This article mirrors my own opinion… The unemployed have become a pawn in the game of politics. The people have got to take their power back…
“…the focus on the deficit is, in part, a measure of “how effective conservatives have been at changing the narrative of economic policy from one dominated by talk of fiscal stimulus to one now in lockstep with notions of fiscal austerity.” Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum concurs that this is “neither surprising nor, in a sense unwarranted.” However, he says, “What is unwarranted…is the yellow line in the chart, the one that shows mentions of unemployment: it’s down to about 50, which means about two mentions per week in each newspaper.” – Jason Linkins
May 18, 2011 | Categories: Are you paying attention!?..., Economics, Politics | Tags: Austerity, economic, Economic policy, Fiscal policy, Kevin Drum, politics, Unemployment, United States | Leave a comment
Race is EVERYWHERE…because it is the original sin of this country. And those with the power and control to stop it have ignored it while continuing to reap its benefits. I will not ignore it. I cannot.
And it seems even the President cannot escape it either…
Worse than all of this, was that just like the late baseball legend Jackie Robinson before him, President Obama has to put up with the insults, lunacy, and outright bigotry with a smile. He can’t lose his cool because he is the first. He must handle himself with grace and class or the next black candidate for president won’t stand a chance.
For many of us who are educated African-Americans of a new generation, we get it. We live it. We know what it feels like to be the first in our firms, corporations, universities, or industries. We know coded race talk when we see it. We know what it feels like to be delegitimized, and questioned, stared down in a funny way regardless of the accolades and laurels of our degrees or achievements.
And we hurt for the president yesterday.
We tweeted and Facebooked, texted and emailed in total shock and awe. I think it took a good five minutes for my younger brother, a minister, and my mom to calm me down on the phone as I was yelling at the top of my lungs about how appalled I was that the president of the United States was being treated in such a shameful manner. I truly felt off center — like I had personally been kicked. Once we stopped and prayed, I was able to put pen to paper and begin to write down my thoughts.
In a March 2008 interview with The Washington Times, former U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice said that America was still suffering from “its great birth defect”. By that she meant that the United States still has trouble dealing with race because it was founded on the backs of black slaves, who were legally denied the very opportunities of freedom and equality that our nation was founded upon. The very rights afforded to whites, and stripped from blacks for hundreds of years. You do the math. Her point: racism has vestiges, consequences, legacies.
As I have now reflected on all of the coverage and conversation I saw on television and social networking on this issue yesterday, once again race was everywhere. It is a defect — one we have yet to acknowledge truly or be brave enough to confront. I am not talking about marches or protest. I am talking about candid dialogue and sharing that opens our hearts and connects us as humans in a way that moves us forward as equals.
African-Americans could feel and see it playing out. It was so familiar. But many Americans denied it was even an issue at all. Some feel Trump and the birthers have a right to see more proof that the president is indeed a U.S. citizen. They find it okay to question “how” and “why” he got into an Ivy League school, even though he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was president of the Harvard Law Review.
I have come to conclude, sadly that we are cowards when it comes to race as Attorney General Eric Holder said because some of my fellow Americans refuse to connect that dots, even when all of the proof is right in their face. I struggle now; with how do we ever bridge the seemingly growing divide on race.
So what’s the real issue here? Barack Obama was admittedly a kid who had some challenges growing up. A biracial male who never really knew his father. He tried drugs, he rebelled a bit, and then he woke up, discovered himself and found his way. Yes, he transferred from Occidental College to Columbia University. No doubt affirmative action played a role. In the 1980s college deans were starved for promising if even somewhat wayward black males like the president. They wanted to open doors for these young men, give them the same access that generations of reckless, restless, feckless and sometimes law breaking young white men had enjoyed for centuries. Their bet–their social experiment– whatever you want to call it paid off, handsomely.
In the final analysis, at some point as the president said we will have to turn our attention to the serious issues facing America. The circus-like media atmosphere and nonsense have polluted our thinking and distorted our sense of what matters. We cannot grow stronger, richer and faster as a nation if we continue on this course of hate and prejudice. It is rooted in fear, misunderstanding and a stubborn unwillingness to confront what really ails us — race, and how it lives just beneath the surface always waiting to exact a price and press a burden on those who want to be rid of that burden most of all. – Sophia Nelson
- Why Obama can’t escape America’s great ‘birth defect’ (thegrio.com)
- Is Obama an ‘affirmative action president’? (thegrio.com)
- Is Barack Obama Finally an American? (theroot.com)
- Okay, Tell Me This Isn’t Racist (themoderatevoice.com)
April 28, 2011 | Categories: Are you paying attention!?..., GOP/Republican smears, Politics, post racial, Race, Race & Politics | Tags: African American, Barack Obama, Columbia University, Harvard Law Review, Latin honors, President Obama, United States, United States Secretary of State | Leave a comment
Two weeks ago, Republican staff at the Congressional Joint Economic Committee released a report, “Spend Less, Owe Less, Grow the Economy,” that argued that slashing government spending and employment in the face of a deeply depressed economy would actually create jobs. In part, they invoked the aid of the confidence fairy; more on that in a minute. But the leading argument was pure Mellon.
Here’s the report’s explanation of how layoffs would create jobs: “A smaller government work force increases the available supply of educated, skilled workers for private firms, thus lowering labor costs.” Dropping the euphemisms, what this says is that by increasing unemployment, particularly of “educated, skilled workers” — in case you’re wondering, that mainly means schoolteachers — we can drive down wages, which would encourage hiring.
There is, if you think about it, an immediate logical problem here: Republicans are saying that job destruction leads to lower wages, which leads to job creation. – Paul Krugman
So let me get this straight… The GOP wants to CUT government spending and thereby CUT public sector jobs so the market will be FLOODED with workers who will be willing to take LESS money in a more competitive jobs market which LOWERS their labor costs…
So you might have a job but you will be paid less. How does this philosophy help the average working person and their family? It does not. The only entities these types of policies help are the corporations and the wealthy elite. This also PROVES that Republicans never believed that Reaganomics or “Trickle-down” economic policies would benefit working Americans.
I don’t need anymore reasons to not vote for any Republican who supports these policies. But for any of you who remain committed to this debunked theory of economics and continue to vote against your own economic interests (or not vote at all)…consider this another warning of how little respect the Republican party has for average working Americans as they continue to line the pockets of their corporate donors.
- Paul Krugman: The Mellon Doctrine (economistsview.typepad.com)
- The Mellon Doctrine (nytimes.com)
- How to Kill a Recovery… (bruceturnerjr5.wordpress.com)
- The Forgotten Millions (bruceturnerjr5.wordpress.com)
April 1, 2011 | Categories: Are you paying attention!?..., Economics, I couldn't have written it better myself..., Politics, The TRUTH is the light (As Granny would say...) | Tags: Employment, Government spending, Paul Krugman, Reaganomics, Republican, Trickle-down economics, United States, United States Congress Joint Economic Committee, Wage | Leave a comment
Wow… The descriptive nature of this piece is so intense…I have nothing more to add.
Please share this with anyone who will listen…
Are we All Black Americans Now | The Nation
In the months following September 11, my colleague Cornel West offered this insight: national political elites used the devastating attacks to promote the “niggerization of the American people.” West understood that long before 9/11, African-Americans were intimately familiar with terrorism. Through the Jim Crow century, they were routinely and randomly brutalized and murdered by well-organized groups of whites acting beyond the confines of the official state but with the tacit consent of their society. Under the shadow of lynching, black Americans learned what it meant to feel, as West describes, “unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence, and hated for who they are.” After 9/11 far too many Americans, unaccustomed to this sense of collective intimidation, felt helpless to halt an unjustified war or the erosion of civil liberties. Thus, whether or not they were black, Americans were “niggerized” by the attacks.
In recent months, I have been reminded of Professor West’s analysis because one way to read our current moment is as a blackening of America. The social, economic and political conditions that have long defined African-American life have descended onto a broader population, and it has been instructive to watch how the nation has responded.
Initially, conservatives argued that Tea Party activists had every right to be disgusted with national leadership and to demand swift economic intervention to combat the near 10 percent unemployment rate. Since the mid-1970s, except for a brief dip between 1998 and 2002, unemployment among African-Americans has routinely exceeded 10 percent, yet African-Americans were rarely encouraged to blame systems or organize collectively. Instead blacks were stereotyped as lazy and undeserving. This characterization has been an effective ideological tool for politicians intent on limiting social programs, cutting welfare, ignoring cities, slashing job training and neglecting housing.
Within months, the Tea Party shifted its focus to the deficit. As it did, policy debates about the poor and unemployed came to mirror decades of discourse about black Americans. Extensions of unemployment insurance were decried as “creeping socialism.” Echoing theories of dependency leveled against African-Americans for decades, one conservative blogger suggested that extending unemployment benefits would create “a permanent entitlement and would perpetuate unemployment.” Perhaps, in this moment, Americans understood how dangerously corrosive the characterization of the poor as “idle” is for black people.
This past November the TSA introduced screening procedures that many Americans—liberals and conservatives alike—deemed intrusive, random and demeaning. But for decades urban police forces have regularly employed race-based traffic stops and pedestrian stop-and-frisks in African-American communities. These policing practices have done little to make neighborhoods safer, but they have contributed to massive incarceration rates for black men. Justifying their racially punitive behavior as a reasonable response to potential crime, police forces have acted largely with the consent of white Americans, some of whom later decried the TSA’s new procedures. Perhaps, for a moment, they felt the stinging humiliation that routinely accompanies black life.
Few events more clearly demonstrated the blackening of America than the standoff in Wisconsin. Like the nineteenth-century leaders of Southern states who stripped black citizens of voting rights, public accommodation and civic associations, Wisconsin’s Republican majority dismantled the hard-won basic rights of Wisconsin workers. Like those Confederate leaders, the Wisconsin GOP used intimidation, threats and even the police against demonstrators and rival officials. As the saga unfolded, many Wisconsin citizens felt stunned that their once-secure rights might be eliminated. For a moment, perhaps, they glimpsed the experience of black men and women who watched the shadow of Jim Crow blot out the promises of emancipation.
The 1880s were also the decade when efforts to create corporate personhood were initiated by wealthy railroad barons. In a 2010 article, James and Tomilea Allison (psych professor at Indiana University and former mayor of Bloomington, respectively) traced how these corporate interests misrepresented past cases so that the Supreme Court eventually relied on nonexistent precedent to twist Fourteenth Amendment protections intended for newly freed slaves to instead offer shelter for profiteering corporations. More than a century later, these arguments were crucial to the Citizens United decision, which putatively endowed extraordinarily wealthy corporations with an “equal” right to electoral influence but in practice gave them breathtakingly unequal representation. Perhaps, as they are reduced to a fraction of a citizen, other Americans now catch a glimpse of what it means to be codified as only three-fifths of a person.
Today corporate greed, conservative ideology, manufactured right-wing populism and progressive complicity are making more and more Americans into, as Professor West might characterize them, “niggers.” Rather than try to escape the pain of experiencing some small familiarity with blackness, Americans could choose to learn from generations of African-Americans who resisted dehumanizing processes of domination and inequality. During the 2008 election Obama’s detractors tried to smear him by suggesting that “Hussein” was a terrorist’s moniker. As a demonstration of solidarity, thousands of Americans informally declared that they too would be known by the middle name Hussein. It was purely symbolic, but it rested on a belief in the power to change meaning by embracing rather than eschewing that which is labeled subordinate, alien, dangerous and shameful. By embracing our collective blackness, perhaps we can find the fortitude and creativity necessary to face the continuing erosion of our national social safety net in the face of a persistent economic crisis. – Melissa Harris-Perry
Your thoughts!!?? Please share…
- Should All Americans Embrace Their Blackness? (theroot.com)
- On Chronic Stress, Racism, and Inequities in Adverse Birth Outcomes among Black American Women (medhumanities.org)
April 1, 2011 | Categories: Are you paying attention!?..., Economics, I couldn't have written it better myself..., Race & Politics, The TRUTH is the light (As Granny would say...) | Tags: African American, Black people, Cornel West, Jim Crow laws, Melissa Harris-Perry, Tomilea Allison, United States, Wisconsin | Leave a comment
I have nothing more to add…
The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.
Nearly 14 million Americans are jobless and the outlook for many of them is grim. Since there is just one job available for every five individuals looking for work, four of the five are out of luck. Instead of a land of opportunity, the U.S. is increasingly becoming a place of limited expectations. A college professor in Washington told me this week that graduates from his program were finding jobs, but they were not making very much money, certainly not enough to think about raising a family.
There is plenty of economic activity in the U.S., and plenty of wealth. But like greedy children, the folks at the top are seizing virtually all the marbles. Income and wealth inequality in the U.S. have reached stages that would make the third world blush. As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion.
Americans behave as if this is somehow normal or acceptable. It shouldn’t be, and didn’t used to be. Through much of the post-World War II era, income distribution was far more equitable, with the top 10 percent of families accounting for just a third of average income growth, and the bottom 90 percent receiving two-thirds. That seems like ancient history now.
The current maldistribution of wealth is also scandalous. In 2009, the richest 5 percent claimed 63.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. The overwhelming majority, the bottom 80 percent, collectively held just 12.8 percent.
This inequality, in which an enormous segment of the population struggles while the fortunate few ride the gravy train, is a world-class recipe for social unrest. Downward mobility is an ever-shortening fuse leading to profound consequences.
A stark example of the fundamental unfairness that is now so widespread was in The New York Times on Friday under the headline: “G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether.” Despite profits of $14.2 billion — $5.1 billion from its operations in the United States — General Electric did not have to pay any U.S. taxes last year.
As The Times’s David Kocieniewski reported, “Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.”
G.E. is the nation’s largest corporation. Its chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, is the leader of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. You can understand how ordinary workers might look at this cozy corporate-government arrangement and conclude that it is not fully committed to the best interests of working people.
Overwhelming imbalances in wealth and income inevitably result in enormous imbalances of political power. So the corporations and the very wealthy continue to do well. The employment crisis never gets addressed. The wars never end. And nation-building never gets a foothold here at home.
New ideas and new leadership have seldom been more urgently needed. – Bob Herbert
- G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether – NYTimes.com (maximuslibertas.wordpress.com)
- Andrew C: The Austerity Delusion – NYTimes.com (nytimes.com)
March 26, 2011 | Categories: Are you paying attention!?..., Economics, I couldn't have written it better myself..., Politics, The TRUTH is the light (As Granny would say...) | Tags: Bob Herbert, Consumption and Wealth, economic, Economic inequality, Economic Policy Institute, General Electric, New York Times, Social Sciences, United States | Leave a comment
I live in Michigan…and this hits home.
Republicans are the enemy of the working people.
It’s time to understand the tactics of your enemy and make real counter-moves. This is not a game.
March 9, 2011 | Categories: Are you paying attention!?..., Economics, Politics | Tags: Michigan, Naomi Klein, politics, Republican, Shock Doctrine, Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, United States, Wisconsin | 3 Comments
This article, pointedly, argues why the issues in Wisconsin are not only relevant to middle-class union workers…but also to you college educated seemingly insulated white collar workers who feel that unions have lost their way and their value. I know a few of these guys/gals. Too busy protecting themselves by degrading those who seem to be beneath them not understanding that their protection lies in defending their neighbors and fellow citizens. When you ask these people if their employer would let them go if it made sense monetarily and the profit motive were strong enough, they will tell you “yes”. You would think that these reasonable people would, by extension, understand that they are not special and could be out of work at the whim of their employer. But they rarely make that connection. Maybe they are not as smart as they give themselves credit. Instead of practicing this sort of isolationism that our culture seems ti trumpet, we all need to realize that our strength lies in our community. We are all in this together. Until we understand this, they will be coming after you next, and in a lot of ways, they already have.
It’s corporate power vs the people.
Who’s side are you on……?
The belief that education is becoming ever more important rests on the plausible-sounding notion that advances in technology increase job opportunities for those who work with information — loosely speaking, that computers help those who work with their minds, while hurting those who work with their hands.
Some years ago, however, the economists David Autor, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane argued that this was the wrong way to think about it. Computers, they pointed out, excel at routine tasks, “cognitive and manual tasks that can be accomplished by following explicit rules.” Therefore, any routine task — a category that includes many white-collar, nonmanual jobs — is in the firing line. Conversely, jobs that can’t be carried out by following explicit rules — a category that includes many kinds of manual labor, from truck drivers to janitors — will tend to grow even in the face of technological progress.
And here’s the thing: Most of the manual labor still being done in our economy seems to be of the kind that’s hard to automate. Notably, with production workers in manufacturing down to about 6 percent of U.S. employment, there aren’t many assembly-line jobs left to lose. Meanwhile, quite a lot of white-collar work currently carried out by well-educated, relatively well-paid workers may soon be computerized. Roombas are cute, but robot janitors are a long way off; computerized legal research and computer-aided medical diagnosis are already here.
And then there’s globalization. Once, only manufacturing workers needed to worry about competition from overseas, but the combination of computers and telecommunications has made it possible to provide many services at long range. And research by my Princeton colleagues Alan Blinder and Alan Krueger suggests that high-wage jobs performed by highly educated workers are, if anything, more “offshorable” than jobs done by low-paid, less-educated workers. If they’re right, growing international trade in services will further hollow out the U.S. job market. – Paul Krugman
March 9, 2011 | Categories: Are you paying attention!?..., Economics, The TRUTH is the light (As Granny would say...) | Tags: Alan Blinder, Blue-collar worker, corporations, Employment, Frank Lévy, Manual labour, Paul Krugman, Richard Murnane, Unions, White-collar worker, Wisconsin | Leave a comment