“Vigilante groups in America do not trade violence for violence. They murder anyone who defies the structures of capitalism, even if the victims are unarmed. The vigilantes, often working with the approval and sometimes with the collusion of state law enforcement agencies, are rarely held accountable. They are capitalism’s shock troops, its ideological vanguard, used to break populist movements. Imagine that, if instead of right-wing militias, so-called “ecoterrorists”—who have never been found responsible for taking a single American life—had showed up armed in Nevada. How would the authorities have responded if those carrying guns had been from Earth First? Take a guess. Across U.S. history, hundreds of unarmed labor union members have been shot to death by vigilante groups working on behalf of coal, steel or mining concerns, and thousands more have been wounded. The United States has had the bloodiest labor wars in the industrialized world. Murderous rampages by vigilante groups, almost always in the pay of companies or oligarchs, have been unleashed on union members and agitators although no American labor union ever publicly called for an armed uprising. African-Americans, too, have endured a vigilante reign of terror, one that lasted for generations after the Civil War.”
Chris Hedges (via azspot)

(via azspot)


Elites Discover So-Called "Free-Trade" Is Killing Economy, Middle Class

The New York Times editorial board finally gets it right about trade in its Sunday editorial, “This Time, Get Global Trade Right.” Some excerpts:

Many Americans have watched their neighbors lose good-paying jobs as their employers sent their livelihoods to China. Over the last 20 years, the United States has lost nearly five million manufacturing jobs.

People in the Midwest, the “rust belt” and elsewhere noticed this a long time ago as people were laid off, “the plant” closed, the downtowns slowly boarded up and the rest of us felt pressure on wages and working hours. How many towns — entire regions of the country — are like this now? Have you even seen Detroit?

"This page has long argued that removing barriers to trade benefits the economy and consumers, and some of those gains can be used to help the minority of people who lose their jobs because of increased imports," the editors write. "But those gains have not been as widespread as we hoped, and they have not been adequate to assist those who were harmed."

So acknowledging that our trade deals have hurt the country, they say maybe we could try to do it right with coming agreements. They write:

read more

(via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

“It is lunacy to empower a president to kill American citizens in secret, without any requirement that he explain his actions to anyone outside the executive branch. Anyone who tried to insert a provision like that into a country’s Constitution would be a villain of history. It is illiberal, unconservative, and unlibertarian, so in theory it shouldn’t have much support. The fact that it’s accepted without complaint by so many Americans, and actively defended by the Beltway establishment of both major political parties, shows the alarming degree to which we’re willing to give fallible presidents dictatorial powers to fight terrorism.”
“The U.S. military is a socialist paradise. Imagine a testing ground where every signature liberal program of the past century has been applied, from racial integration to single-payer health care—then add personal honor, strict hierarchy, and more guns. Like all socialist paradises, the military has been responsible for its share of bloodshed, but it has developed one of the only working models of collective living and social welfare that this country has ever known.”

See anything wrong here?

(via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

According to Piketty, whose data on income and wealth span three centuries and 20 countries, the forces of convergence (the spread of knowledge and skills, for example) are considerable, but those of divergence have typically had the upper hand. The crux of his argument is a deceptively simple formula: r > g, where r stands for the average annual rate of return on capital (i.e. profits, dividends, interest, and rents) and g stands for the rate of economic growth. For much of modern history, he contends, the rate of return on capital has hovered between 4 and 5 percent, while the growth rate has been decisively lower, between 1 and 2 percent. (Piketty makes a compelling case that economic growth, which depends in good part on population growth, is unlikely to accelerate dramatically anywhere but in Africa, given current demographic trends.) Thus he adduces capitalism’s “principal destabilizing force”: Whenever r > g, “capitalism automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities that radically undermine the meritocratic values on which democratic societies are based.”