Cognitive Dissonance

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

Posts tagged Inequality

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There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all

Mario Savio on civil disobedience. Savio was a free speech crusader, activist, and teacher of mathematics and physics. As the NYPD brutally abuses protesters on Wall Street, I implore those standing strong to remember Savio’s words.

(via cognitivedissonance)

Reposting this for Dan Siegel today. He’s an inspiration. 

Filed under Mario Savio Civil Disobedience politics protest inequality injustice fear Occupy Wall Street Dan Siegel

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This is a big deal. Dan Siegel, legal adviser to Oakland, Calif. Mayor Jean Quan, resigned over the brutalization of Occupy Oakland protesters and says he now supports the Occupy Wall Street movement. Approximately an hour ago, he wrote on Twitter, “No longer Mayor Quan’s legal advisor. Resigned at 2 am. Support Occupy Oakland, not the 1% and its government facilitators.”

This came after he encouraged people to mobilize to Occupy Oakland late last night, where another raid resulted in upwards of 32 arrests, according to Occupy Oakland leaders. Police declared the park a crime scene Monday and forced media to leave.

If more high-ranking municipal officials have an attack of conscience and do the right thing, what then? It appears city and state governments are already a titch frightened of the Occupy movement. If their own people refuse to obey or resign in protest, perhaps it will be time to take this a little more seriously. Change from the bottom on up, folks.

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under Dan Siegel BFD Jean Quan Mayor Jean Quan Occupy Oakland Oakland California politics protest injustice inequality Doing the right thing 1% 99% Occupy Wall Street OWS Occupy Everywhere

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Also controversial was the collision between three Occupy protesters and a car outside the convention center. [Clare] O’Connor reports that the protesters set up makeshift blockades on streets surrounding the center. One driver, identified as Shawn Valentine, plowed through the blockade, injuring protester Heidi Sippel, her thirteen-year-old son, and her wife Brandy Sippel, who is three months pregnant. According to Occupy, he also hit a fourth victim who is still hospitalized.

Police did not charge the driver — Lt Christopher Micciche says the Sippels “either ran toward or jumped in front of the moving vehicle.” He adds that “it was essentially an accident where three individuals were injured but they were in violation by being in the roadway.” The Sippels, meanwhile, say they were charged with a traffic violation and fined.

Anna North, "Police Bravely Defend Man’s Right To Hit Pregnant Protester With Car"

Jesus. This guy hits a kid and a pregnant woman, plus two other people and is NOT cited?! Adding insult to injury, the people he hit were cited. According to The Telegraph, they were cited for “for obstructing traffic and being in the road in contravention of a ‘do-not-walk’ sign, both of which carry fines.”

Fuck everything about this - can you folks imagine the outrage if a doctor working at a Planned Parenthood got angry at the protesters blocking the exit to the parking lot and then plowed into a few? Operation Rescue used this very tactic of blocking streets and parking lots. From the Supreme Court of Florida:

As traffic slowed on Dixie Way and began its turn into the clinic’s driveway, the vehicle would be approached by persons designated by the respondents as sidewalk counselors attempting to get the attention of the vehicles’ occupants to give them anti-abortion literature and to urge them not to use the clinic’s services. Such so-called sidewalk counselors were assisted in accomplishing their approach to the vehicle by the hesitation or momentary stopping caused by the time needed for the picket line to open up before the vehicle could enter the parking lot.

The outcry would be tremendous. Fox would be on the scene within minutes. Now, Operation Rescue was prevented from doing this later by federal injunction. Later, police would direct traffic if need be at Operation Rescue rallies in order to prevent protesters getting hit by cars or traffic snarls. 

Why didn’t that happen in DC? Where were police? I live in Laramie, Wyoming. When we have huge sporting events connected to the University of Wyoming, our city’s population can effectively double for the day. Before and after football (or basketball) games, there’s masses of people running across the road, walking on the road, sometimes slapping the hoods of cars that come close, and generally making the busiest road in town absolute hell. Guess what? Police direct traffic. When there’s people in the road, you address the traffic situation in order to avoid people getting hit.

Or you can send the message that as long as you are driving a luxury car, like Mr. Shawn Valentine, you can hit all the people you want. As long as they’re Occupy protesters. Or poor.

Filed under Occupy DC Occupy Wall Street OWS Politics Shawn Valentine protest Heidi Sippel Brandy Sippel Occupy Everywhere 1% 99% police injustice inequality

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Traders From Chicago Board Of Trade Dump McDonald’s Applications On Occupy Chicago Protesters

Ah, yes. The Chicago Board of Trade keeps it classy. Remember this? They posted the “We are the 1%” sign in their windows to mock Occupy Chicago. The sad truth is that they’re probably not in the 1%.

The truly asshole move is not the dumping of applications themselves. It’s that McDonald’s most recent hiring day resulted in 938,000 applicants being turned away from even part-time employment at McDonald’s. Plus, the traders appear to have violated state law in regards to the Illinois Litter Control Act.

It’s cool, though. Because these hippies just need to get a job, amirite?! There’s one job opening for every 4-5 people looking, but you just need to TRY HARDER! LULZ! </sarcasm>

Filed under Chicago Board of Trade Occupy Chicago Politics inequality protest economy McDonald's For fuck's sake Asshattery 1% 99% Occupy Wall Street OWS Occupy Everywhere

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You know, we have young people who are today occupying Wall Street, [saying] that there are some people out there that are making too much money. And if somebody were to ask me what’s the best advice that I could give them? It would be that money is probably the most highly overrated thing in the world from a standpoint of being happy with your life. It’s good to have some. Because I’ve been without and I’ve had some, and it’s better to have some.

But the fact is, uh, go find that passion in your life… what I’m saying here is that the vast majority of people don’t go do what they do in life with only the thought of ‘I’m gonna make some money.’

Rick Perry, speaking in Iowa on teachers, making money, and why the Occupy Wall Street folks just don’t have enough “passion.”

*Sigh* Fucking hell. 

Actually, you know what? That’s not true. I don’t hate the people freezing their asses off occupying Wall Street while Rick Perry sits in his ill-fitting suit of smug and remarks that money is overrated. It’s not about people having too much money. It’s about a significant amount of people not having any money in order to enrich a very small amount of those who already do.

Your pithy little admonishments to those at Occupy Wall Street to find their passion is completely and one hundred percent intellectually disingenuous. Many of those folks followed their passions, got a degree, and can’t find a goddamn job. They’re saddled with tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt after being told by snide little bastards like yourself to pursue that piece of paper representing their passion and employment prospects. My passion doesn’t pay the rent, and the utility companies don’t take passion as currency. 

Money is only irrelevant when you make a living wage and aren’t one missed paycheck away from homelessness. 

Fuck you with all the fucks I have left to give today.



Filed under Rick Perry Fuckery money Occupy Wall Street Fuck You Conservative conservatives GOP republican republicans Texas 2012 OWS poverty inequality injustice my rage is exponential income income inequality

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Official refuses Tennessee governor’s orders to break up ‘Occupy Nashville’

Just one week after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) saw his order to push an “Occupy” protest out of a public park at night rebuked by a local official, Tennessee’s governor is experiencing a similar problem.

Gov. Bill Haslam (R) has twice given the order to crackdown on protesters at “Occupy Nashville,” only to see it denied by judicial commissioner Tom Nelson. In Tennessee, a judicial commissioner has the authority to determine whether crimes have been committed.

"The magistrate’s position is sort of a safety valve to prevent overzealous officers from putting people in jail for no reason," Nashville attorney Jim Todd said to the Associated Press.

Nelson ordered the release of 29 protesters arrested last Thursday because “the state had not given the protesters adequate notice that it was changing the rules.”

Go Nashville! Let’s see more of this here and less of what’s happened in Denver and Oakland.

Filed under Occupy Occupy Wall Street Occupy Everywhere Occupy Nashville politics economy arrest injustice inequality

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Socializing risk, privatizing profit

From PoliticusUSA:

Today’s wealthy conservatives feel like they are entitled to suck the rest of us dry. The people who are Occupying Wall Street aren’t parasites. They are regular Americans who have seen our political and economic systems used as a weapon against them. These people aren’t leeching off the wealthy. They are the reason why the wealthy have been successful. Whether the 1% want to admit or not, they couldn’t have gotten to where they are today without the rest of us. Our society enabled them to get rich.

The real parasites aren’t the protesters. The true parasites are those people who crashed the economy, begged the American people for a handout, and promptly then resumed making a profit off the economic misfortune they caused. The parasites are people like Rush Limbaugh who refuse to pay their fair share… Someday we will have a government that shares the values of Occupy Wall Street. Maybe someday, the people will once again occupy Washington.

Attacking Occupy protesters for being parasites and not paying taxes (they do) is getting old. This article points the figure at the true parasites. It’s not the protesters or unions. It’s those who espouse personal responsibility until they need a bailout. The 99% are on the hook if the 1% fail. If the 99% continue to fall behind, who’s going to bail the 1% out again?

From the same PoliticusUSA article:

Without realizing it, Rush Limbaugh also provided his listeners insight into the mindset of the one percent when he said that it is okay to be a parasite as long as you don’t advertise it. I would also add that the wealthy believe that they have a right to engage in economically parasitic behavior because they are rich. This is the same mindset that glorifies the term job creator. It is the mindset that believes that tax cuts for the rich create jobs, and it also allows them to hold the beliefs the problem really is government regulation, and that everyone else isn’t rich because they are lazy.

Well, we’re more than motivated now.

Filed under 99% 1% socialism privatization profit Occupy Wall Street OWS economy politics injustice inequality

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Why Did Eric Cantor Skip Out on His Inequality Speech? He Had Nothing To Say

Just two weeks after denouncing economic-justice protesters as an angry “mob,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) seemed to be shifting gears. Last Sunday, Cantor acknowledged the “warranted" frustrations of the middle class, and this week, was even poised to deliver a speech on economic inequality.

As it turns out, Cantor changed his mind. Yesterday, the oft-confused Majority Leader abruptly canceled, saying the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School invited the public to attend the speech, which meant Cantor would refuse to appear. The Republican appears to have been fibbing - university officials explained that the event had always been billed as “open to the general public,” and that Cantor’s accusation of a last-minute change in attendance policy simply wasn’t true.

That Cantor was afraid to talk about economic inequalities in front of the public is pretty ridiculous. That Cantor is making dishonest excuses makes matters slightly worse.

Emphasis mine. Why would Cantor not want to speak in front of the public? The school also notified him that protesters would be present. Either reason is not a good one for cancelling a speech. Citing the public being allowed to attend is just somewhat offensive. Looking at the text of his speech, it wasn’t anything new. For example, Cantor’s planned remarks included this gem:

It is this foundation — hard work, faith, family, and opportunity — that provides each of us with the prospects of unlimited potential in America. Each generation is able to get a little further ahead, climbing up the ladder of success in our society. How quickly you move up – or sometimes down – should be completely up to you. Much of the conversation in the current political debate today has been focused on fairness in our society. Republicans believe that what is fair is a hand up, not a hand out. We know that we all don’t begin life’s race from the same starting point. I was fortunate enough to be born into a stable family that provided me with the tools that I needed to get ahead. Not everyone is so lucky.

Read the full speech here. He includes nothing about how to give a “hand up” as he puts it, but who’s shocked that he did not address income inequality in a speech about income inequality, eh? …Anyone?

Filed under Eric Cantor Republican republicans politics University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania inequality protest weasel income inequality American government economy UPenn Wharton Business School

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These people down there, they’re not the counter-culture. They’re the culture. They don’t want free love. They want paid employment. They don’t hate capitalism. They hate what’s been done to it.

And they resent the Republican mantra that the market perfectly rewards the hard-working and punishes the lazy, and the poor are just jealous moochers who want a handout. Yeah, because if there’s one group of people who hate handouts, it’s Wall Street.

Bill Maher’s take on the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Well done.


Filed under Bill Maher Occupy Wall Street politics republican republicans capitalism demands OWS Wall Street hypocrisy hippies protesters protest inequality GOP

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In response to bill to drug-test welfare recipients, Ohio Democrat proposes testing lawmakers

An Ohio Democratic lawmaker is proposing to drug-test elected officials, in response to a Republican-backed bill calling for drug-testing of welfare recipients.

Rep. Robert Hagan’s bill would require statewide officeholders, legislators, members of Gov. John Kasich’s jobs board and recipients of federal bailout money to pay for their testing for un-prescribed pharmaceuticals, illegal drugs and alcohol. Officials testing positive would have to undergo treatment or be booted from office.

Hagan says it’s hypocritical for lawmakers to say they’re protecting taxpayer money by testing welfare recipients for drugs if they themselves won’t submit to testing.

Well, well, well… isn’t this just marvelous? Of course, I’d prefer not drug-testing welfare recipients, but let’s make it more equitable, shall we? He suggested anyone who receives taxpayer dollars should be tested if welfare recipients are tested - simple as that. Let us not forget how drug-testing folks applying for welfare turned out for Florida

Oh, and he supports the Occupy Movement. He spoke at Occupy Youngstown:

"Wall Street started the war, and we the people will finish it," Rep. Robert Hagan of Youngstown told a fired-up crowd.

BAMF credentials established, sir.

Filed under Robert Hagan Bob Hagan Youngstown politics mandatory drug tests drug test welfare inequality BAMF Democrat Ohio Occupy Wall Street Fuck yeah

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Here&#8217;s the University of Arkansas Kappa Sigma fraternity house across the street from Occupy Fayetteville protesters with a banner reading &#8220;The 1%&#8221;. Way to keep it classy, bros. Here&#8217;s the thing: I&#8217;m 100% sure that the majority of you are not in the 1%. Those of you who might be in that 1%, I&#8217;d bet it&#8217;s technically your parents who are in the 1%. ¿Comprende? You just made your frat look like it&#8217;s full of asshole rich kids. Fabulous job, guys.
And a video of the sign hanging:

Here’s the University of Arkansas Kappa Sigma fraternity house across the street from Occupy Fayetteville protesters with a banner reading “The 1%”. Way to keep it classy, bros. Here’s the thing: I’m 100% sure that the majority of you are not in the 1%. Those of you who might be in that 1%, I’d bet it’s technically your parents who are in the 1%. ¿Comprende? You just made your frat look like it’s full of asshole rich kids. Fabulous job, guys.

And a video of the sign hanging:

Filed under Occupy Arkansas Occupy Fayetteville University of Arkansas Occupy Wall Street Occupy Together asshats rich kids Arkansas politics economy inequality douchebaggery frat brothers brat in the frat

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On fallacious 53%-ers, the 99%, taxes, and income inequality in the US

Rebloggable by request:

 lyddawiya asked:
What exactly is a 53%er? Pardon my ignorance. 

Meg of Cognitive Dissonance:

These are supposedly the only people who pay taxes. Currently, 53% of Americans pay income tax. Sounds unfair, right? But this neat little point is wrong. The other 47% do pay taxes. They aren’t all getting full federal refunds or are in such a low tax bracket they don’t pay federal taxes, i.e. seniors on a fixed income.

This whole “53%-ers” thing started with Red State blogger and CNN commentator Erick Erickson whining about being in the 53%. He started a sad little tumblr, We are the 53%, to mock the We are the 99% site and Occupy Wall Street. He ignores that the 47% percent pay payroll taxes, gasoline taxes, sales tax, state tax etc. There’s a short summary of that talking point, and its fallacies here.

However, here’s how that breaks down:
Dark red and dark grey = State and local taxes
Light red and light grey = Federal taxes 



An explanation by G. William Domhoff from the University of California, Santa Cruz:

But what matters in terms of a power analysis is what percentage of their income people at different income levels pay to all levels of government (federal, state, and local) in taxes. If the less-well-off majority is somehow able to wield power, we would expect that the high earners would pay a bigger percentage of their income in taxes, because the majority figures the well-to-do would still have plenty left after taxes to make new investments and lead the good life. If the high earners have the most power, we’d expect them to pay about the same as everybody else, or less.

Citizens for Tax Justice, a research group that’s been studying tax issues from its offices in Washington since 1979, provides the information we need. When all taxes (not just income taxes) are taken into account, the lowest 20% of earners (who average about $12,400 per year), paid 16.0% of their income to taxes in 2009; and the next 20% (about $25,000/year), paid 20.5% in taxes. So if we only examine these first two steps, the tax system looks like it is going to be progressive.

And it keeps looking progressive as we move further up the ladder: the middle 20% (about $33,400/year) give 25.3% of their income to various forms of taxation, and the next 20% (about $66,000/year) pay 28.5%. So taxes are progressive for the bottom 80%. But if we break the top 20% down into smaller chunks, we find that progressivity starts to slow down, then it stops, and then it slips backwards for the top 1%.

Specifically, the next 10% (about $100,000/year) pay 30.2% of their income as taxes; the next 5% ($141,000/year) dole out 31.2% of their earnings for taxes; and the next 4% ($245,000/year) pay 31.6% to taxes. You’ll note that the progressivity is slowing down. As for the top 1% — those who take in $1.3 million per year on average — they pay 30.8% of their income to taxes, which is a little less than what the 9% just below them pay, and only a tiny bit more than what the segment between the 80th and 90th percentile pays.

The entire article is extremely informative in regard to taxes, income, wealth, power, and the disparities between all of them in the U.S.

Erickson’s site is truly sad in that these folks are completely enthralled with the ideas that they got everything they had themselves, and second, that this system of barely staying above water and working 3 jobs to do so is a-okay. Two excellent responses to this site can be found here and here.

Incidentally, Erickson’s site has been nailed making up the 53% pics at least once by the internet’s photoshop wizards. 

Filed under income taxes politics Erick Erickson 53% 99% inequality occupy wall street rebloggable by request ask ask box