Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged Inequality

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From US Uncut:

Happening NOW! Walmart workers are getting arrested for striking outside the company’s NYC headquarters as part of a nationwide action.

I stand in solidarity with my brothers and sisters in NYC — and everywhere else — placing their livelihood and lives at risk by standing up for the rights of workers. An injustice to one is an injustice to all.

From US Uncut:

Happening NOW! Walmart workers are getting arrested for striking outside the company’s NYC headquarters as part of a nationwide action.

I stand in solidarity with my brothers and sisters in NYC — and everywhere else — placing their livelihood and lives at risk by standing up for the rights of workers. An injustice to one is an injustice to all.

Filed under Walmart organized labor union there is power in a union Walmart strikers strike injustice inequality economic violence economic inequality NYC New York

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Hawaii has a serious homelessness problem—so now it wants to pass that problem off to the rest of the country. Having reached the highest rate of homelessness in the U.S., lawmakers in paradise have decided to try a new tactic for getting people off the streets: flying them to the mainland. Yes, instead of setting aside money for more shelters or outreach programs, Hawaii’s state legislator has approved a $100,000 fund to offer about 17,000 homeless people one-way tickets off the islands.

The “return-to-home” program is idealistically billed as a way to help people stuck on the island reach family or job opportunities. The program may be labeled “voluntary” but, as in other cities with similar programs, like New York and San Francisco, homeless people who get arrested could wind up faced with the option of jail or the one-way flight, regardless of whether that person has better opportunities elsewhere.

Hawaii Flies Its Homeless Away and Other Ideas from the Fringe" | The Daily Beast

Because a one-way plane ticket is easier than addressing structural inequality and poverty, amirite?

Filed under homelessness hawaii poverty politics news inequality economy structural crisis

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As more lives and communities are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few, the more heroic it sounds to “give back.” It’s what I would call “conscience laundering” — feeling better about accumulating more than any one person could possibly need to live on by sprinkling a little around as an act of charity.

But this just keeps the existing structure of inequality in place. The rich sleep better at night, while others get just enough to keep the pot from boiling over. Nearly every time someone feels better by doing good, on the other side of the world (or street), someone else is further locked into a system that will not allow the true flourishing of his or her nature or the opportunity to live a joyful and fulfilled life.

And with more business-minded folks getting into the act, business principles are trumpeted as an important element to add to the philanthropic sector. I now hear people ask, “what’s the R.O.I.?” when it comes to alleviating human suffering, as if return on investment were the only measure of success. Microlending and financial literacy (now I’m going to upset people who are wonderful folks and a few dear friends) — what is this really about? People will certainly learn how to integrate into our system of debt and repayment with interest. People will rise above making $2 a day to enter our world of goods and services so they can buy more. But doesn’t all this just feed the beast?

I’m really not calling for an end to capitalism; I’m calling for humanism.

Money should be spent trying out concepts that shatter current structures and systems that have turned much of the world into one vast market. Is progress really Wi-Fi on every street corner? No. It’s when no 13-year-old girl on the planet gets sold for sex. But as long as most folks are patting themselves on the back for charitable acts, we’ve got a perpetual poverty machine.

Peter Buffett, “The Charitable Industrial Complex" | The New York Times, July 26, 2013

This thought-provoking editorial about the ultra-rich reinforcing global inequality by supposed “charitable” endeavors is a must read.

Filed under Charity Guilt Inequality wealth accumulation 1% one percent politics economy poverty

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“American Dream”: Food loaded into Dumpsters while Hundreds of Hungry Americans Restrained by Police

Hundreds of poor people waiting outside of a closed grocery store for the possibility of getting the remaining food is not the picture of the “American Dream.” Yet on March 23, outside the Laney Walker Supermarket in Augusta, Ga., that is exactly what happened.

Residents filled the parking lot with bags and baskets hoping to get some of the baby food, canned goods, noodles and other non-perishables. But a local church never came to pick up the food, as the storeowner prior to the eviction said they had arranged. By the time the people showed up for the food, what was left inside the premises—as with any eviction—came into the ownership of the property holder, SunTrust Bank.

The bank ordered the food to be loaded into dumpsters and hauled to a landfill instead of distributed. The people that gathered had to be restrained by police as they saw perfectly good food destroyed. Local Sheriff Richard Roundtree told the news “a potential for a riot was extremely high.”

And what would be more likely to cause a riot? Hungry, desperate people denied the food they were told they would receive, or distribution of said food? I’d be tempted to say that this is capitalism at its most dysfunctional, but it’s actually functioning as it is supposed to here. If a commodity can’t turn a profit for a capitalist, the capitalist is encouraged by the profit motive to dispose of the good quickly. As the author, Sarah Carlson, writes:

In a capitalist society, the motive behind the production of food is not to feed people, housing is not made to give them shelter, clothing is not made to keep them warm, and health care is not offered primarily to keep people healthy. All of these things, which are and should be viewed as basic rights, are nothing other than commodities—to be bought and sold—from which to make a profit. If a profit cannot be made, usually due to overproduction in relation to the market, the commodity is considered useless by the capitalist and destroyed.

Disgusting and heartbreaking. This is not an economic crisis — this is economic violence.

Filed under Capitalism hunger poverty Georgia SunTrust Bank inequality politics policy economy

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This is America, Now: The Dow Hits a Record High With Household Income at a Decade Low

From The Atlantic:

Stocks surpassed the nominal record set in 2007, while the last recorded real median US household income was 8% lower than its 2007 peak.

This is where we are, in picture form:

image

image

Please, explain to me why this is good for the majority of people. Go ahead. Try. I’ll wait.

[ETA]: A sharp-eyed reader noticed the alignment of the graphs is wonky. Here’s the alignment corrected as best as I can manage

Filed under inequality income Politics Economy Dow Jones median income income inequality class war

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PA City Defies Court Order; Reduces Police Officers, Firefighters’ Pay To Minimum Wage

You have to read it to believe it. Scranton, Penn. claims to be broke and has lowered the pay of all city workers to $7.25. That means firefighters and police officers risking their lives for the citizens of Scranton will do so for $7.25/hr. 

It’s insulting and disgusting to think that’s even close to a fair wage. It is impossible to live on minimum wage. That’s $290 a week, about $1,160 a month, and $15,080 a year — before taxes, and for a forty hour work week. Here’s the kicker:

Congressional Republicans repeatedly blocked efforts to extend aid to the states that would have helped shore up their budgets and keep these workers on payroll.

Take a bow, GOP, and ask yourselves: Do you want that police officer responding to your emergency call or the firefighter rushing into your burning house wondering if it’s worth it for $7.25/hr? 

I sure as hell wouldn’t.

Filed under Pennsylvania Police Labor Organized labor politics economy firefighters minimum wage living wage Scranton Inequality GOP public sector public employees

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I see a reporter here. I just pray that you start writing about these issues. I just pray. Stop always writing about, ‘Oh, the person couldn’t get, you know, their food stamps or this or that.’ You know, I saw something the other day — it’s like, another sob story, and I’m like, ‘But what about what’s happening to the country and the country as a whole?’ That’s going to devastate everybody.

Republican Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde scolding the media at a recent event for writing “sob stories” about Americans affected by the recession.

The issues they should be covering? Hovde says lowering the corporate tax rate and the national deficit are more important than unemployment and poverty. Not surprisingly, he’s also a former hedge fund manager.

Go to hell, Eric Hovde. I hope your family never has to do without for fear you’d be too stubborn to ask for help, thereby jeopardizing their existence.

(h/t ThinkProgress)

Filed under Politics poverty inequality fuck you got mine GOP Election 2012 Wisconsin US Senate Republican Eric Hovde

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Hanging in the criminal justice department at UW. The title reads: “What is the sequence of events in the criminal justice system?” As an undergrad, I’ve memorized this chart. And it’s damned hard to follow every branch – especially when every stage has a chance for a subjective decision that can mean the difference between prison or freedom. Is it any wonder so many people, particularly working class people and/or people of color get railroaded? (Taken with Instagram at Arts and Sciences Building)

Hanging in the criminal justice department at UW. The title reads: “What is the sequence of events in the criminal justice system?”

As an undergrad, I’ve memorized this chart. And it’s damned hard to follow every branch – especially when every stage has a chance for a subjective decision that can mean the difference between prison or freedom.

Is it any wonder so many people, particularly working class people and/or people of color get railroaded? (Taken with Instagram at Arts and Sciences Building)

Filed under politics race criminal justice injustice inequality racism classist

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Eight Years Ago, Even Republican Judges Rejected Notre Dame’s Attack On Contraceptive Access

If you heard about the lawsuit filed by 43 religious organizations in regards to providing insurance that covers contraceptives, you’ve probably heard the intellectually dishonest point that the church isn’t trying to shove religious beliefs down people’s throats. Honest!

Well, that shit is nothing new. Arguments against providing said coverage were rejected eight years ago by the California Supreme Court, and there’s little indication the federal court would act differently. The court wrote:

The [law] serves the compelling state interest of eliminating gender discrimination. Evidence before the Legislature showed that women during their reproductive years spent as much as 68 percent more than men in out-of-pocket health care costs, due in part to the cost of prescription contraceptives and the various costs of unintended pregnancies, including health risks, premature deliveries and increased neonatal care. Assembly, Senate and legislative staff analyses of the bills that became the [birth control law] consistently identify the elimination of this economic inequity as the bills’ principal object…

Strongly enhancing the state’s interest is the circumstance that any exemption from the WCEA sacrifices the affected women’s interest in receiving equitable treatment with respect to health benefits. We are unaware of any decision in which this court, or the United States Supreme Court, has exempted a religious objector from the operation of a neutral, generally applicable law despite the recognition that the requested exemption would detrimentally affect the rights of third parties… [I]n rejecting a religious employer’s challenge to a law requiring him to pay Social Security and unemployment taxes for his employees, the [Supreme C]ourt wrote that “[g]ranting an exemption from social security taxes to an employer operates to impose the employer’s religious faith on the employees.

As ThinkProgress notes, the only justice to vote in favor of striking down the contraceptive coverage mandate in California previously compared liberalism to “slavery” and social security to a “socialist revolution.”

Oh, and before anyone howls about “liberal California,” all six justices on California’s Supreme Court were Republican. 

Filed under California birth control reproductive rights court politics Catholic Church Notre Dame gender California Supreme Court gender equality I'm sick of this shit religion inequality

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Boehner: Romney’s Wealth Won’t Hurt Him Because ‘The American People Don’t Want To Vote For A Loser’

I do believe he just called anyone who’s not successful a loser. Exactly what is your definition of success? Those in the top 20%? The top 1%? Those not benefiting from government programs?

If the last point is the case, I’d like to introduce John Boehner to one of the biggest welfare queens in existence:

Meet Willard Mitt “Mittens” Romney. He’s used government programs and loopholes to reduce his taxes for years.

But that’s okay, right? Because at least he’s NOT POOR! What losers. Side note: You just know Boehner spells it “loosers” </sarcasm>

In summary:

Filed under John Boehner GOP politics conservative Republican poverty inequality STFU seriously Orange Mitt Romney