Cognitive Dissonance

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

Posts tagged economic violence

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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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Catholic Bishop's Labor Day Statement 2013

Every human being enjoys a basic right to be respected, not because of any title, position, prestige, or accomplishment but first of all because we are created in the image and likeness of God. From an ethical and moral perspective we embrace the exhortation of St. Paul “to anticipate one another in showing honor” (Rom 12:10). Today’s competitive culture challenges us to strive for victory and advantage, but for St. Paul the challenge is to build each other up and honor one another’s innate dignity.

Labor Day is an opportunity to take stock of the ways workers are honored and respected. Earlier this year, Pope Francis pointed out, “Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person… . It gives one the ability to maintain oneself, one’s family, to contribute to the growth of one’s own nation.” Unfortunately, millions of workers today are denied this honor and respect as a result of unemployment, underemployment, unjust wages, wage theft, abuse, and exploitation.

Even with new indicators of some modest progress in recovery, the economy still has not improved the standard of living for many people, especially for the poor and the working poor, many of whom are unemployed or underemployed. More than four million people have been jobless for over six months, and that does not include the millions more who have simply lost hope. For every available job, there are often five unemployed and underemployed people actively vying for it. This jobs gap pushes wages down. Half of the jobs in this country pay less than $27,000 per year. More than 46 million people live in poverty, including 16 million children. The economy is not creating an adequate number of jobs that allow workers to provide for themselves and their families. Jobs, wages, and poverty are interrelated. The only way to reduce the widening gap between the affluent and the poorest people in our nation is by creating quality jobs that provide a just compensation that enables workers to live in the dignity appropriate for themselves and their families.

Right on. It’s not often I praise the Catholic Church for anything, but it’s lovely to see the Catholic Bishops moving back towards a message of social justice, versus one of exclusion. Not that I think this speaks for the church as a whole, but praise when it’s due, y’know? Pope Frank ain’t perfect, but he’s better than Emperor Palpatine Pope Benedict.

Filed under Catholic Church labor Labor Day organized labor dignity economy economic crisis economic violence politics news religion

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Top Enron Fraudster Will Spend Less Time In Prison Than A Father Who Sold His Own Pain Pills

Sickening. From ThinkProgress:

John Horner had no record of drug-dealing when he was sentenced to a 25-year mandatory minimum prison term for selling some of his own pain pillsto an undercover informant who befriended him and told him he could not afford both his rent and his prescription medication. Horner, a fast-food restaurant worker and a father, had been prescribed the pain medication because of an injury in which he lost an eye, according to a BBC report.

If, as expected, he serves all 25 years, Horner will be 72 when he is released, and he will have spent more time in prison than the former Enron CEO who was convicted in one of the largest corporate fraud schemes in modern history. Last week, the Department of Justice said it is considering a deal to shorten Jeffrey Skilling’s sentence. But even if he serves every year, Skilling will still have fared better than Horner with a sentence of 24 years.

This is what the “War on Drugs” hath wrought. People selling small amounts of drugs to pay for food and rent are facing longer mandatory minimum sentences than banksters who defraud people for millions — sometimes billions — of dollars.

White collar crime has very few to none mandatory minimum sentences, while blue collar crime, particularly drug crimes, have a plethora of mandatory minimum sentences, and disproportionately send low-income people of color off to prison.

If we’re going to have mandatory minimums for drugs, which I absolutely abhor, at least consider a mandatory minimum for financial crimes — say, one year for every hundred thousand stolen and/or defrauded? Remember, Bernie Madoff is the exception in sentencing and not the rule. 

Filed under Drugs War on Drugs politics policy economic violence white collar crime Enron financial crimes finance

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38,000 NYC Transit Workers To Join Occupy Wall Street Next Friday

Up until this announcement, the Occupy Wall Street movement has been unwieldy and somewhat lacking in a coherent voice, but that’s all about the change. New York City labor unions have decided to descend upon the streets of Lower Manhattan on Friday.

The leadership of the Transit Workers Union Local 100—comprised of subway and bus workers—voted unanimously to support the protestors. With a membership of 38,000, 5 Oct. will easily be the largest day yet in the protest. On 12 Oct., SEIU 32BJ, representing doormen, security guards, and maintenance workers around the city, is also staging a rally in support of the cause.

It’s unclear for now whether the transit system will be completely shut down while the 38,000 workers are participating in the protest. If it is, the Occupy Wall Street movement will definitely make its mark in history. And either way, it now has a substantial footing to make a real statement about American economy policy.

Jackie DiSalvo, an #OccupyWallStreet organizer, summarized the movement’s policy as such: "Occupy Wall Street will not negotiate watering down its own message."

You have no idea how excited I am to see this. 

Update: Conflicting reports online have this set for Wednesday or next Friday. Tell you what - join Occupy Wall Street in NYC or a nearby city both days!

Filed under NYC Occupy Wall Street protest Wall Street politics economy economic violence US government financial crisis inequality New York City

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Occupy Wall Street: 'Pepper-spray' officer named in Bush protest claim

A senior New York police officer accused of pepper-spraying young women on the “Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations is the subject of a pending legal action over his conduct at another protest in the city.

The Guardian has learned that the officer, named by activists as deputy inspector Anthony Bologna, stands accused of false arrest and civil rights violations in a claim brought by a protester involved in the 2004 demonstrations at the Republican national convention.

Then, 1,800 people were arrested during protests against the Iraq war and the policies of president George W Bush.

Alan Levine, a civil rights lawyer representing Post A Posr, a protester at the 2004 event, told the Guardian that he filed an action against Bologna and another officer, Tulio Camejo, in 2007. The case, filed at the New York Southern District Court, is expected to be heard next year.

Shock, gasp, clutch the pearls. An officer accused of violating the civil rights of protesters is accused more than once. Interesting that it’s directed at protesters supporting progressive causes. Maybe Officer Bologna takes after the stock that created Sheriff Joe Arpaio. 

A word of advice to the NYPD: Remember Rodney King. Remember what happened after the LAPD beat him to an inch of his life and the officers responsible were not punished. Remember and learn.

Filed under Civil Rights protest Wall Street Occupy Wall Street Anthony Bologna inequality injustice police brutality New York NYPD NYC Economic violence politics police law enforcement

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We’ve had 30 straight years of pretty much unabated tax cutting for the rich. And yet a random comment that perhaps the rich aren’t actually undertaxed on Twitter gets me lots of angry retorts–from a lot of people I’d bet aren’t rich themselves. The idea that ‘you can’t tax success’ is ridiculous on its face: that’s what we do every single time we pay income taxes. We certainly didn’t manage to find a way to tax failure, or else Wall Street would be out of business.

Threatening to essentially tank the economy again if you are taxed is economic violence.

"Returning to the Scene of the Class War" by Sarah, on Feministe

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Tax the rich. Now.

When even conservative economists are calling for taxes to be raised on the rich, maybe it’s about time. We’re living in this delusional la-la land, where if Warren “El capitalismo espectacular” Buffett suggests raising taxes on the rich, he’s a socialist. If the economy has hope of ever rebounding, spending cuts are not the only answer. We must also raise revenue. The temporary Bush tax cuts must be allowed to expire. 

The super-rich must not be allowed to hold the economy hostage any longer. One percent of the country cannot, logically, dangle the futures of the other 99% off of a cliff without an outcry… can they?

Filed under It's time to get pissed politics taxes tax the rich economy economic violence tax cuts Tax cuts don't solve everything

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Indiana Planned Parenthood to drop Medicaid patients

Planned Parenthood of Indiana will stop seeing Medicaid patients after Monday because of an Indiana law that cut the provider’s funding.

PPIN went to court last month to prevent Indiana from cutting funding to the state’s largest reproductive health care provider. U. S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt said she would make a decision on whether to enjoin the law by July 1.

"Our 9,300 Medicaid patients, including those who had appointments Tuesday, are going to see their care disrupted," Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of PPIN, said in a statement. The Medicaid funds stopped May 11, the day Republican Governor Mitch Daniels signed a law that restricts abortions and cuts federal funding to Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood performs abortions, but even before the Indiana law passed, federal money could not be used to pay for abortions. Indiana cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood that covers other reproductive health services, including contraception and cancer screening.

After Monday, PPIN said it will have run out of the donations it used to pay for existing Medicaid patients after the bill made national news… If the judge doesn’t make a favorable ruling by July 1, PPIN said it will start closing health centers and reducing staff. 

North Carolina and Kansas have also restricted funding to Planned Parenthood, but their actions do not affect payments from the federal Medicaid program. Indiana blocks both state and federal payments.

Ideologues: Your actions have real life consequences. Observe above. The money you blocked paid for zero abortions. It DID pay for preventative care, cancer screening, and reproductive care. It DID give people all over Indiana access to care they couldn’t otherwise afford.

Now, I’m going to use language here you may understand better. Planned Parenthood also provides services that have nothing to do with no-no parts, naughty bits, or whatever you call them. Here’s a short list:

  • Anemia testing 
  • cholesterol screening
  • diabetes screening
  • physical exams, including for employment and sports
  • flu vaccines
  • help with quitting smoking
  • high blood pressure screening
  • tetanus vaccines
  • thyroid screening

Expect an increase in emergency room visits, Indiana. Any of the pro-lifers want to step up and help pay for these things? Hmmm? It’s the pro-life thing to do, right?

Filed under Indiana Planned Parenthood abortion pro-life pro-life is anti-woman Medicare unjust injustice poverty economic violence

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Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

Economists long ago tried to justify the vast inequalities that seemed so troubling in the mid-19th century—inequalities that are but a pale shadow of what we are seeing in America today. The justification they came up with was called “marginal-productivity theory.” In a nutshell, this theory associated higher incomes with higher productivity and a greater contribution to society. It is a theory that has always been cherished by the rich. Evidence for its validity, however, remains thin. The corporate executives who helped bring on the recession of the past three years—whose contribution to our society, and to their own companies, has been massively negative—went on to receive large bonuses. In some cases, companies were so embarrassed about calling such rewards “performance bonuses” that they felt compelled to change the name to “retention bonuses” (even if the only thing being retained was bad performance). Those who have contributed great positive innovations to our society, from the pioneers of genetic understanding to the pioneers of the Information Age, have received a pittance compared with those responsible for the financial innovations that brought our global economy to the brink of ruin.

A sobering look at inequality in the United States that raises a serious question: Where do we go from here?

Filed under Inequality Wealth economy economic crisis economic violence top 1% United States

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The Real Housewives of Wall Street Why is the Federal Reserve forking over $220 million in bailout money to the wives of two Morgan Stanley bigwigs? 
By Matt TaibbiApril 12, 2011 9:55 AM ET
America has two national budgets, one official, one unofficial. The official budget is public record and hotly debated: Money comes in as taxes and goes out as jet fighters, DEA agents, wheat subsidies and Medicare, plus pensions and bennies for that great untamed socialist menace called a unionized public-sector workforce that Republicans are always complaining about. According to popular legend, we’re broke and in so much debt that 40 years from now our granddaughters will still be hooking on weekends to pay the medical bills of this year’s retirees from the IRS, the SEC and the Department of Energy.
Most Americans know about that budget. What they don’t know is that there is another budget of roughly equal heft, traditionally maintained in complete secrecy. After the financial crash of 2008, it grew to monstrous dimensions, as the government attempted to unfreeze the credit markets by handing out trillions to banks and hedge funds. And thanks to a whole galaxy of obscure, acronym-laden bailout programs, it eventually rivaled the “official” budget in size — a huge roaring river of cash flowing out of the Federal Reserve to destinations neither chosen by the president nor reviewed by Congress, but instead handed out by fiat by unelected Fed officials using a seemingly nonsensical and apparently unknowable methodology.
Read more…

The Real Housewives of Wall Street
Why is the Federal Reserve forking over $220 million in bailout money to the wives of two Morgan Stanley bigwigs?

By Matt TaibbiApril 12, 2011 9:55 AM ET

America has two national budgets, one official, one unofficial. The official budget is public record and hotly debated: Money comes in as taxes and goes out as jet fighters, DEA agents, wheat subsidies and Medicare, plus pensions and bennies for that great untamed socialist menace called a unionized public-sector workforce that Republicans are always complaining about. According to popular legend, we’re broke and in so much debt that 40 years from now our granddaughters will still be hooking on weekends to pay the medical bills of this year’s retirees from the IRS, the SEC and the Department of Energy.

Most Americans know about that budget. What they don’t know is that there is another budget of roughly equal heft, traditionally maintained in complete secrecy. After the financial crash of 2008, it grew to monstrous dimensions, as the government attempted to unfreeze the credit markets by handing out trillions to banks and hedge funds. And thanks to a whole galaxy of obscure, acronym-laden bailout programs, it eventually rivaled the “official” budget in size — a huge roaring river of cash flowing out of the Federal Reserve to destinations neither chosen by the president nor reviewed by Congress, but instead handed out by fiat by unelected Fed officials using a seemingly nonsensical and apparently unknowable methodology.

Read more…

Filed under Wall St. Matt Taibbi fraud bailout economic crisis economic collapse economic violence class war Rich versus Poor Rolling Stone Wall Street