Category Archives: Capitalism

Turkey in crisis: understanding the Erdogan/Gulen split

Turkey in crisis: understanding the Erdogan/Gulen split

“In 2002, when the AKP Party came to power in Turkey, it was considered a new form of Islamic government. It was a marriage, some said, of neoliberalism and Islam. And this was going to be the alternative to the Iranian or even the al-Qaeda model. Turkey was headed, sooner or later, everyone thought, into the European Union. Certainly many forces on both sides within Turkey and Europe wanted it. Of course, there were many opponents. But it was a system, a government, an economy that was fully integrated into global capitalism, and increasingly with success.”

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Not so fast! Massive giveaway to Exxon and Pharma hits roadbump

http://www.salon.com/2013/12/11/not_so_fast_massive_giveaway_to_exxon_and_pharma_hits_roadbump/

“Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Public and Media Affairs Nkenge Harmon told me last year that ‘[n]othing in our TPP investment proposal could impair our government’s ability to pursue legitimate, non-discriminatory public interest regulation.’ Global Trade Watch’s Todd Tucker called that ‘a misrepresentation’ of the issue, saying that ‘once public interest laws are passed,’ proposed language would leave them “susceptible to attack by multinational companies, and taxpayers could be on the hook to pay multinational companies for the privilege of passing that public interest law.'”

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Noam Chomsky: America hates its poor

Noam Chomsky: America hates its poor

“The enormous benefits given to the very wealthy, the privileges for the very wealthy here, are way beyond those of other comparable societies and are part of the ongoing class war. Take a look at CEO salaries. CEOs are no more productive or brilliant here than they are in Europe, but the pay, bonuses, and enormous power they get here are out of sight. They’re probably a drain on the economy, and they become even more powerful when they are able to gain control of policy decisions.”

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Noam Chomsky: America’s infrastructure is broken

Noam Chomsky: America’s infrastructure is broken

“They were General Motors, Standard Oil of California and, I think, Firestone Rubber. The origins of suburbia reveal an attempt to take over a fairly efficient mass-transportation system in parts of California—the electric railways in Los Angeles and the like—and destroy them so as to shift energy use to fossil fuels and increase consumer demand for rubber, automobiles and trucks and so on. [29] It was a literal conspiracy. It went to court. The courts fined the corporations $5000, or something like that, probably equivalent to the cost of their victory dinner.[30]

But what happened in California started a process that then expanded—and in many ways. It included the interstate highway system. That was presented as part of the defense against the Russians. It was launched under the Interstate Defense Highway Act of 1956, and was intended to facilitate the movement of people and goods, troops and arms, and, allegedly, to prevent overpopulation in specific areas that could become the focus of nuclear attack. [31] The slogan of defense is the standard way of inducing the taxpayer to pay the cost of the next stage of the hi-tech economy of course.[32] That’s true whether it be computers, the Internet or, as in this case, a car-based transportation system.[33]

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Meet the Republicans Who Gobbled Millions in Farm Subsidies and Voted To Slash Food Stamps (VIDEO)

Meet the Republicans Who Gobbled Millions in Farm Subsidies and Voted To Slash Food Stamps (VIDEO)

“Between 1995 and 2011 US tax payers gave away 6.2 million dollars in farm subsidies just to members of Congress or their immediate families. Farm subsidy payments are released yearly to recipients who claim them and are issued  regardless of financial or economic need. A Senate Bill  from 2012 which attempted to make changes to the way the farm subsidies are paid out, was shot down by the same Congressional representatives who continuously demand requirements like drug testing, income documentation, work or training, time limits and many other harsh guidelines for impoverished families who dare ask for help with food.” 

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This week in poverty: ’90 percent of workers aren’t getting bupkis’

This week in poverty: ’90 percent of workers aren’t getting bupkis’

‘“If you really want to get wages to grow broadly for everybody it means confronting power in the workplace,” said Mishel. “Confronting the fact that we have an economy geared toward creating huge corporate profits and rising stock prices, but not rising wages, and an economy constructed to give some people power and other people less power.’

Mishel also takes issue with the common assertion by President Obama and others that education is a big part of the solution to the wage problem.

‘Whatever President Obama wants to do in schools or getting more people to go to college is not going to change the fact that wages for college graduates have stagnated for ten years,” said Mishel. “More than 25 percent of college graduates are in managerial or business occupations, and they haven’t had a wage increase in ten years. How can anyone think the answer to the wage problem is going to college?’”

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Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire

Understanding Empire: Technology, Power, Politics

“There is a logic to empire that differs from the logic of a nation, and acts committed in service to an empire but never acknowledged as such have a tendency to haunt the future” (p.8).

BlowbackThe first of an “unlikely” trilogy, Blowback documents the foreign policies and practices of successive U.S. administrations that have sown the seeds for future blowback. “In its narrowest sense, ‘blowback’ means the unintended and unexpected negative consequences of covert special operations that have been kept secret from the American people and, in most cases, from their elected representatives” (p.xi). Written before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and subsequently republished following its prescience, the book lays the groundwork for understanding the past, often hidden roots of contemporary violence. As an expert on Japan, the book’s focus is on U.S. policy in East Asia, particularly the garrisoning of Okinawa, Japan, and the “neo-colonial” economic policies…

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How “Real” Is “Orange Is The New Black”? Comparing The Show To The Memoir To The Numbers

How “Real” Is “Orange Is The New Black”? Comparing The Show To The Memoir To The Numbers

“The privatized prison system benefits prison-building corporations, the companies who facilitate the expensive phone services and the manufacturers of commissary goods — but it also greatly benefits companies who “employ” prisoners to boost their bottom line. UNICOR, for example, “employs” more than 3,000 prisoners starting at 23 cents an hour manufacturing electronic equipment, most of which is for the Department of Defense. UNICOR made over $900 million in revenue last year. In Danbury, Kerman writes, the FCI inmates worked in a UNICOR warehouse making military radio components for a dollar an hour. In Danbury, inmates needed a GED to earn over 14 cents an hour, and a GED program was offered within the prison.

The facilitation and purpose of “work assignments” varies widely from institution to institution — some claim work assignments will give you valuable skills for the real world, others aim to keep the institution going on the cheap, most serve to simply keep inmates busy during the day, and many are essentially a legal form of slave labor.

The show and the memoir are consistent with their portrayal of the work program at Danbury, from the toxic mold preventing Piper from doing the education program to her eventual assignment of electrical.

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Chris Hedges: “America is a Tinderbox”

Chris Hedges: “America is a Tinderbox”

Quote from the interview

“And with the wealth given to us as Americans, we could have eradicated poverty. We could have created a country that was much different than what we have created. And what’s happening now is that we are being rapidly reconfigured into a kind of neo-feudal society, an oligarchic society where increasingly the bottom two-thirds of Americans are hanging on by their fingertips. You have a shrinking, diminishing middle class and an elite that is just making obscene amounts of money at our expense.” — Chris Hedges

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