Leftrants

All the news that doesn't fit on my other blog

893 notes

cultureunseen:

Fannie Lou Hammer
October 6, 1917 – March 14, 1977 (age 59)


(When we say that they don’t make them like this Sister anymore, OMG!
Beaten damn near to death by white men in jail, after being detained on a false charge and she still continued to fight!)

(via cultureofresistance)

20 notes

As a mode of public pedagogy, a state of permanent war needs willing subjects to abide by its values, ideology and narratives of fear and violence. Such legitimation is largely provided through a market-driven culture addicted to production of consumerism, militarism, and organized violence, largely circulated through various registers of popular culture that extend from high fashion and Hollywood movies to the creation of violent video games and music concerts sponsored by the Pentagon. The market-driven spectacle of war demands a culture of conformity, quiet intellectuals and a largely passive republic of consumers. But it also needs subjects who find intense pleasure in the spectacle of violence.
Neoliberalism and the Machinery of Disposability (via azspot)

(via azspot)

Filed under violence neoliberalism perpetual war

221 notes

Mass incarceration has long been present in extreme dictatorships. But today it is emerging as inextricably linked to advanced capitalism…Most of the people who are being incarcerated are also the people who do not have work and from whom work will not be found in our current epoch…today’s prisoners in the United States and United Kingdom are increasingly today’s version of the surplus laboring population common in the brutal beginnings of modern capitalism…many transnational corporations have set up satellite factories inside prisons…Available evidence suggests that the majority of corporations profiting [in some form] from prison labor [include] Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, Starbucks and Walmart…the profits of private prisons are represented are represented as a positive addition to a country’s GDP even as they are a government cost; in contrast, government run prisons are only represented as government debt.
Saskia Sassen (via azspot)

(via azspot)

37 notes

Can't We Just Say the Roberts Court Is Corrupt?

The Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was not about aggregate limits on individual campaign donations to candidates in federal elections. The case was about what constitutes a bribe, how big that bribe has to be, and whether an electoral system can be corrupt even in the absence of a legally demonstrable cash payment to an office holder or candidate for an explicitly specified favor. The Roberts court, or five of its nine members, adopted the misanthrope’s faux-naïve pose in ruling that private money in politics, far from promoting corruption, causes democracy to thrive because, money being speech, the more speech, the freer the politics. Anatole France mocked this kind of legal casuistry by saying “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

(Source: azspot)

8 notes

Discarded by the corporate state, dispossessed of social provisions and deprived of the economic, political and social conditions that enable viable and critical modes of agency, expanding populations of Americans now find themselves inhabiting zones of abandonment marked by deep inequalities in power, wealth and income. Such zones are sites of rapid disinvestment, places marked by endless spectacles of violence, and supportive of the neoliberal logics of containment, commodification, surveillance, militarization, cruelty and punishment.
Henry A. Giroux at TruthOut. Neoliberalism and the Machinery of Disposability (via protoslacker)

184 notes

If you are 35 or younger - and quite often, older - the advice of the old economy does not apply to you. You live in the post-employment economy, where corporations have decided not to pay people. Profits are still high. The money is still there. But not for you. You will work without a pay rise, benefits, or job security. Survival is now a laudable aspiration.
Wow. This piece.  (via likeapairofbottlerockets)

(via rafaelfajardo)

589 notes

If you’re poor, the only way you’re likely to injure someone is the old traditional way: artisanal violence, we could call it – by hands, by knife, by club, or maybe modern hands-on violence, by gun or by car. But if you’re tremendously wealthy, you can practice industrial-scale violence without any manual labor on your own part. You can, say, build a sweatshop factory that will collapse in Bangladesh and kill more people than any hands-on mass murderer ever did, or you can calculate risk and benefit about putting poisons or unsafe machines into the world, as manufacturers do every day. If you’re the leader of a country, you can declare war and kill by the hundreds of thousands or millions. And the nuclear superpowers – the US and Russia – still hold the option of destroying quite a lot of life on Earth.
Call Climate Change What It Is: Violence (via azspot)

(via azspot)

4,467 notes

assangistan:

via anarcho-queer:

WikiLeaks: Obama Administration Pressured Haiti’s President To Lower Minimum Wage
A Wikileaks post published on The Nation shows that the Obama Administration fought to keep Haitian wages at 31 cents an hour.
Contractors for Fruit of the Loom, Hanes and Levi’s worked in close concert with the US Embassy when they aggressively moved to block a minimum wage increase for Haitian assembly zone workers, the lowest-paid in the hemisphere, according to secret State Department cables.
It started when Haiti passed a law two years ago raising its minimum wage to 61 cents an hour. According to an embassy cable:
This infuriated American corporations like Hanes and Levi Strauss that pay Haitians slave wages to sew their clothes. They said they would only fork over a seven-cent-an-hour increase, and they got the State Department involved. The U.S. ambassador put pressure on Haiti’s president, who duly carved out a $3 a day minimum wage for textile companies (the U.S. minimum wage, which itself is very low, works out to $58 a day).
Haiti has about 25,000 garment workers. If you paid each of them $2 a day more, it would cost their employers $50,000 per working day, or about $12.5 million a year … As of last year Hanes had 3,200 Haitians making t-shirts for it. Paying each of them two bucks a day more would cost it about $1.6 million a year. Hanesbrands Incorporated made $211 million on $4.3 billion in sales last year.
Thanks to U.S. intervention, the minimum was raised only to 31 cents.
The revelation of US support for low wages in Haiti’s assembly zones was in a trove of 1,918 cables made available to the Haitian weekly newspaper Haïti Liberté by the transparency group WikiLeaks. As part of a collaboration with Haïti Liberté, The Nation is publishing English-language articles based on those cables.

assangistan:

via anarcho-queer:

WikiLeaks: Obama Administration Pressured Haiti’s President To Lower Minimum Wage

A Wikileaks post published on The Nation shows that the Obama Administration fought to keep Haitian wages at 31 cents an hour.

Contractors for Fruit of the Loom, Hanes and Levi’s worked in close concert with the US Embassy when they aggressively moved to block a minimum wage increase for Haitian assembly zone workers, the lowest-paid in the hemisphere, according to secret State Department cables.

It started when Haiti passed a law two years ago raising its minimum wage to 61 cents an hour. According to an embassy cable:

This infuriated American corporations like Hanes and Levi Strauss that pay Haitians slave wages to sew their clothes. They said they would only fork over a seven-cent-an-hour increase, and they got the State Department involved. The U.S. ambassador put pressure on Haiti’s president, who duly carved out a $3 a day minimum wage for textile companies (the U.S. minimum wage, which itself is very low, works out to $58 a day).

Haiti has about 25,000 garment workers. If you paid each of them $2 a day more, it would cost their employers $50,000 per working day, or about $12.5 million a year … As of last year Hanes had 3,200 Haitians making t-shirts for it. Paying each of them two bucks a day more would cost it about $1.6 million a year. Hanesbrands Incorporated made $211 million on $4.3 billion in sales last year.

Thanks to U.S. intervention, the minimum was raised only to 31 cents.

The revelation of US support for low wages in Haiti’s assembly zones was in a trove of 1,918 cables made available to the Haitian weekly newspaper Haïti Liberté by the transparency group WikiLeaks. As part of a collaboration with Haïti Liberté, The Nation is publishing English-language articles based on those cables.

(via lointaine-3)

42 notes

An educator cannot be viewed as a technician, a functionary carrying out the instructions of others. Educators are learned scholars, community researchers, moral agents, philosophers, cultural workers and political insurgents. - Paulo Freire from Pedagogy of the Oppressed
(via sincecombahee)

Educators are…

(via carlosesoto)

(via hongkongteacher)

254 notes


To challenge the insensitivity of drone attacks as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, a few artists installed a massive portrait in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.Drone attacks regularly occur in the adjoining tribal areas. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot, but a child’s face.The poster is also designed to be captured by satellites in order to make it a permanent part of the landscape on online mapping sites. The campaign is part of French artist JR’s ‘Inside Out’ movement. Reprieve/ Foundation for Fundamental Rights helped launch the effort. PHOTO: COURTESY ‘INSIDE OUT’
via Express Tribune

To challenge the insensitivity of drone attacks as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, a few artists installed a massive portrait in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Drone attacks regularly occur in the adjoining tribal areas. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot, but a child’s face.

The poster is also designed to be captured by satellites in order to make it a permanent part of the landscape on online mapping sites. The campaign is part of French artist JR’s ‘Inside Out’ movement. Reprieve/ Foundation for Fundamental Rights helped launch the effort. PHOTO: COURTESY ‘INSIDE OUT’

via Express Tribune

(via cultureofresistance)

11 notes

satanic-capitalist:


Recipe For Revolt: America Is Wealthier But Americans Are Poorer
By David Cay Johnston


How government policies worsen the nation’s income and wealth disparities comes into sharp focus in a new government report on capital gains. The short story: Investing is gaining and work declining as sources of income.
Capital gains come from selling assets such as stocks, real estate and businesses. Property owned for more than a year is taxed at lower rates than wages and in some cases is tax-free.
Although capital gains are growing — an indication that national wealth is growing — far fewer capital gains are going to the vast majority, while those at the absolute top of the economy are enjoying vastly more. This trend, as well as other official data, suggests that wealth is piling up at the top and that a narrowing number of Americans are wealth holders.


Larger pie, smaller slice


These findings emerge from a new report by the Statistics of Income branch of the IRS that examined a large set of taxpayers over nine years. I have reanalyzed the data, adjusted for inflation, and then compared similar, but not identical, data for 2012, the year with the latest available numbers.
To understand recent changes in capital gains, think of a pie made from the money received when stocks and other assets are sold for a profit. Call it a capital gains pie.
Now imagine we set down the 1999 and 2007 capital gains pies side by side to see how they were sliced up and handed out to four Americans sitting at the dinner table, who represent four different income classes.
The good news is that the 2007 pie is 40 percent larger than the 1999 pie. But it’s also important to consider the size of the various slices.
The smallest slice from both pies goes to the vast majority of Americans, roughly the bottom 90 percent, whose total income in both years was less than $100,000. In 1999 they got 13.9 percent of the pie, but in 2007 just 5.3 percent. That was such a dramatic decrease that even though the pie was much larger in 2007, that year’s pie slice contained only slightly more than half the dollars of the 1999 slice, $91 million reduced to $49 million. In other words, the bottom 90 percent took a huge capital gains hit, despite the overall increase in wealth.
Next are the slices going to the roughly one in eight Americans making between $100,000 and $1 million. Their slice shrank from 35.5 percent to 28.6 percent, but the dollars received grew by 13 percent, because the pie got bigger.
Next come the small number of Americans, roughly one in 400, who made between $1 million and $10 million in both years. Their slice of pie also shrank, from just over 28 percent to just under 24 percent.  But the total dollars in their slice went up by 17 percent.
And what of the top group, the slightly more than 18,000 households with total income of $10 million or more in both years? Their slice doubled to more than 42 percent of the pie. And because the pie was also bigger, their cash from capital gains in 2007 was 2.6 times greater than in 1999.


So in 1999 the already very rich made almost $146 billion from capital gains, but eight years later they made more than $388 billion.
Wealth was already highly concentrated in America before the 2008 financial crisis, especially financial wealth — stocks, bonds, the cash value of life insurance policies and cash. The Great Recession was a disaster for those who were forced to sell assets due to unemployment, but a grand opportunity for those with the money to buy stocks and other assets at fire sale prices. Since Barack Obama took office five years ago the stock market has more than doubled, while average incomes have fallen.


The role of policy


So are these trends due simply to the luck of the free market? No, in fact, government polices have played an important role in generating these grossly unequal outcomes.
First, tax cuts: One in 1,000 Americans, roughly those making more than $2 million annually, enjoyed 12.5 percent of the tax cuts championed by President George W. Bush. When that’s combined with previous tax cuts under Presidents Johnson, Reagan and Clinton, the top 400 taxpayers in 2006 enjoyed a 60 percent reduction in their total tax burden compared with 1961, my analysis of a different set of IRS statistics shows.
Second, wages hardly grew during the years 1999 to 2007 — or since. Adjusted for inflation, the average wage reported on tax returns in 2007 was only 1.7 percent more than in 1999. That works out to an average annual pay increase of a nickel an hour, not that anyone would notice such a tiny sum — less than $2 per week.
In the next five years, to 2012, the average wages on tax returns remained essentially flat, up $55 compared with 2007. That’s the equivalent of getting a raise each year of about half a penny per hour — less than 20 cents per week.
When wages do not grow but the cost of living rises, people have a reduced capacity to save and invest. Those among the less well off who had saved only to join the ranks of the long-term unemployed have had to sell some or all of their investments to those who are better off.
Among the vast majority a dwindling share of people report any capital gains. In 1999 it was more than 9 percent of taxpayers, but in 2012 it was under 5 percent.
The decimation of unions, enabled by government policies that make organizing extremely difficult, is a major factor in stagnant wages. Moving factory work offshore has added to the downward pressure on wages.  Now some white-collar workers are feeling the effects, since almost any job done at a computer can be moved to a low-wage country such as India.
Third, the massive growth of subsidies to business tends to increase the value of companies that get such deals; to enable profit taking, dividends and oversized compensation; to weaken competitors not afforded these gifts (perhaps because of lack of lobbying power and campaign contributions); and to burden taxpayers generally. Many of these subsidies come from state and local governments, virtually all of which inordinately burden those down the income ladder more than the well off, because of regressive levies such as sales taxes.
Holding down wages has increased corporate profits, which have soared to heights never before seen, at least since the government started issuing consistent statistical measures in the late 1920s.
For the bottom 90 percent, roughly the same group making under $100,000 that the IRS studied, total income in 2012 was $31,000 in 2012, down almost $5,400 — or about 15 percent — compared with 1999, analysis of tax data by economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty shows.
However, incomes soared for the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent — approximately 16,000 households, or a slightly smaller group than the 18,000 high earners in the IRS study. This group averaged almost $31 million in 2012, up $5 million compared with 1999.
In a representative democracy we choose our leaders, who in turn set policy. A major reason we are not getting laws and regulations that support the vast majority of Americans is that members of Congress and candidates for President must raise money from wealthy donors, who in return for their largesse want policies bent in their favor.
The Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday in McCutcheon v. FEC is probably not the last to overturn limits on campaign giving that were adopted after the Watergate scandal revealed the corrupting influence of big money. As big money’s influence grows due to the high court’s decision we can expect those slices of pie to be recut again and again with fatter slices for the political donor class and thinner slices for everyone else.

This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/recipe-revolt-america-wealthier-americans-are-poorer-1396794671. All rights are reserved.

satanic-capitalist:

image

Recipe For Revolt: America Is Wealthier But Americans Are Poorer

By David Cay Johnston

How government policies worsen the nation’s income and wealth disparities comes into sharp focus in a new government report on capital gains. The short story: Investing is gaining and work declining as sources of income.

Capital gains come from selling assets such as stocks, real estate and businesses. Property owned for more than a year is taxed at lower rates than wages and in some cases is tax-free.

Although capital gains are growing — an indication that national wealth is growing — far fewer capital gains are going to the vast majority, while those at the absolute top of the economy are enjoying vastly more. This trend, as well as other official data, suggests that wealth is piling up at the top and that a narrowing number of Americans are wealth holders.

Larger pie, smaller slice

These findings emerge from a new report by the Statistics of Income branch of the IRS that examined a large set of taxpayers over nine years. I have reanalyzed the data, adjusted for inflation, and then compared similar, but not identical, data for 2012, the year with the latest available numbers.

To understand recent changes in capital gains, think of a pie made from the money received when stocks and other assets are sold for a profit. Call it a capital gains pie.

Now imagine we set down the 1999 and 2007 capital gains pies side by side to see how they were sliced up and handed out to four Americans sitting at the dinner table, who represent four different income classes.

The good news is that the 2007 pie is 40 percent larger than the 1999 pie. But it’s also important to consider the size of the various slices.

The smallest slice from both pies goes to the vast majority of Americans, roughly the bottom 90 percent, whose total income in both years was less than $100,000. In 1999 they got 13.9 percent of the pie, but in 2007 just 5.3 percent. That was such a dramatic decrease that even though the pie was much larger in 2007, that year’s pie slice contained only slightly more than half the dollars of the 1999 slice, $91 million reduced to $49 million. In other words, the bottom 90 percent took a huge capital gains hit, despite the overall increase in wealth.

Next are the slices going to the roughly one in eight Americans making between $100,000 and $1 million. Their slice shrank from 35.5 percent to 28.6 percent, but the dollars received grew by 13 percent, because the pie got bigger.

Next come the small number of Americans, roughly one in 400, who made between $1 million and $10 million in both years. Their slice of pie also shrank, from just over 28 percent to just under 24 percent.  But the total dollars in their slice went up by 17 percent.

And what of the top group, the slightly more than 18,000 households with total income of $10 million or more in both years? Their slice doubled to more than 42 percent of the pie. And because the pie was also bigger, their cash from capital gains in 2007 was 2.6 times greater than in 1999.

So in 1999 the already very rich made almost $146 billion from capital gains, but eight years later they made more than $388 billion.

Wealth was already highly concentrated in America before the 2008 financial crisis, especially financial wealth — stocks, bonds, the cash value of life insurance policies and cash. The Great Recession was a disaster for those who were forced to sell assets due to unemployment, but a grand opportunity for those with the money to buy stocks and other assets at fire sale prices. Since Barack Obama took office five years ago the stock market has more than doubled, while average incomes have fallen.

The role of policy

So are these trends due simply to the luck of the free market? No, in fact, government polices have played an important role in generating these grossly unequal outcomes.

First, tax cuts: One in 1,000 Americans, roughly those making more than $2 million annually, enjoyed 12.5 percent of the tax cuts championed by President George W. Bush. When that’s combined with previous tax cuts under Presidents Johnson, Reagan and Clinton, the top 400 taxpayers in 2006 enjoyed a 60 percent reduction in their total tax burden compared with 1961, my analysis of a different set of IRS statistics shows.

Second, wages hardly grew during the years 1999 to 2007 — or since. Adjusted for inflation, the average wage reported on tax returns in 2007 was only 1.7 percent more than in 1999. That works out to an average annual pay increase of a nickel an hour, not that anyone would notice such a tiny sum — less than $2 per week.

In the next five years, to 2012, the average wages on tax returns remained essentially flat, up $55 compared with 2007. That’s the equivalent of getting a raise each year of about half a penny per hour — less than 20 cents per week.

When wages do not grow but the cost of living rises, people have a reduced capacity to save and invest. Those among the less well off who had saved only to join the ranks of the long-term unemployed have had to sell some or all of their investments to those who are better off.

Among the vast majority a dwindling share of people report any capital gains. In 1999 it was more than 9 percent of taxpayers, but in 2012 it was under 5 percent.

The decimation of unions, enabled by government policies that make organizing extremely difficult, is a major factor in stagnant wages. Moving factory work offshore has added to the downward pressure on wages.  Now some white-collar workers are feeling the effects, since almost any job done at a computer can be moved to a low-wage country such as India.

Third, the massive growth of subsidies to business tends to increase the value of companies that get such deals; to enable profit taking, dividends and oversized compensation; to weaken competitors not afforded these gifts (perhaps because of lack of lobbying power and campaign contributions); and to burden taxpayers generally. Many of these subsidies come from state and local governments, virtually all of which inordinately burden those down the income ladder more than the well off, because of regressive levies such as sales taxes.

Holding down wages has increased corporate profits, which have soared to heights never before seen, at least since the government started issuing consistent statistical measures in the late 1920s.

For the bottom 90 percent, roughly the same group making under $100,000 that the IRS studied, total income in 2012 was $31,000 in 2012, down almost $5,400 — or about 15 percent — compared with 1999, analysis of tax data by economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty shows.

However, incomes soared for the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent — approximately 16,000 households, or a slightly smaller group than the 18,000 high earners in the IRS study. This group averaged almost $31 million in 2012, up $5 million compared with 1999.

In a representative democracy we choose our leaders, who in turn set policy. A major reason we are not getting laws and regulations that support the vast majority of Americans is that members of Congress and candidates for President must raise money from wealthy donors, who in return for their largesse want policies bent in their favor.

The Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday in McCutcheon v. FEC is probably not the last to overturn limits on campaign giving that were adopted after the Watergate scandal revealed the corrupting influence of big money. As big money’s influence grows due to the high court’s decision we can expect those slices of pie to be recut again and again with fatter slices for the political donor class and thinner slices for everyone else.

This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/recipe-revolt-america-wealthier-americans-are-poorer-1396794671. All rights are reserved.

(via cultureofresistance)

2,607 notes

Only American audiences ask me, “What should I do?” I’m never asked this in third world. When you go to Turkey or Colombia or Brazil, they don’t ask you, “What should I do?” They tell you what they’re doing… These are poor, oppressed people, living under horrendous condition, and they would never dream of asking you what they should do. It’s only in high privileged cultures like ours that people ask this question… We can do anything. But people here are trained to believe that there are easy answers, and it doesn’t work that way. If you want to do something, you have to be dedicated and committed to it day after day. Educational programs, organizing, activism. That’s the way things change. You want a magic key, so you can go back to watching television tomorrow? It doesn’t exist.
Noam Chomsky | Imperial Ambitions (via goleyaas)

(Source: sgandhi, via cultureofresistance)