Looking At the Vanishing American Dream
If you want to understand politics, you better educate yourself about crony capitalism. Outsourcing is highly profitable for the select few who manipulate the financial markets. A global system of distorted trade that lines the pockets of cronies that have access to serious capital.
See the videos ...
Naomi Klein vs. Alan Greenspan on crony capitalism in the US
Also see the Documentary video ... *The Global Doctors - 35-min Documentary
They maximize their corporate reach, built upon the lowest cost of production or service costs. Moving the venture to the next futile pasture, means that the next herd of sheep can graze and deplete the grass. The stock price jumps because earnings are sheltered by the unencumbered flow of imports not subject to domestic tariffs.
The reason that billionaires protect this charade and form a super elite rests upon their ability to penalize the vast majority by draining the life from middle class affluence. You say what else is new! The twist is that the remaining few who still are able to keep their heads above the waves, mostly work for transnational firms, derive funding from these corporations or are government bureaucrats.
It’s all one big buddy system. Free trade is designed to be anti-competitive for domestic enterprises. That’s the entire point.
If the goal is to swell sales at the lowest possible cost, sure move offshore. However, a business does not possess rights, for a corporation is an artificial invention that lawyers dreamed up to confuse the public and shelter the privileged.
Read more *Outsourcing - the worst of Crony Capitalism and *The Fed and Crony Capitalism
The distribution of income in the United States is becoming more unequal! Labor still captures about two-thirds of national income, but only skilled workers have benefited. See *Rich Nation, poor Nation
Asia's crony capitalism has proved that it isn't ready for prime time. As most residents of SE Asia understand, the surging economy of the region is largely controlled by a limited number of wealthy families who suck in the money and only allow the bare minimum to trickle down to the masses.
Read more *Crony Capitalism in SE Asia Other references *Crony Capitalism and
*Corruption and Development in South Korea and the Philippines
Europe's mixed economies perch on a powder keg of 20 percent youth unemployment. Read more *Is Europe Doomed to Continued Economic Stagnation?
They have destroyed over 2.8 million jobs.
More extreme Republicans may actually want a fiscal train wreck: they could then slash federal spending on social programs and claim that it wasn't their fault.
Thus far, the Bush gang has been able to borrow to make up the rising difference between taxes and spending. As of June, 2003, China, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong owned a combined total of about $696 billion in Treasuries, about 46 per cent of the outstanding bond debt.
China alone now holds $290 billion in US government bonds, more than any other foreign lender.
The radical right in the United States is in control of the White House and is intent not only on "undermining the multilateral international order," but also on bringing the country to its financial knees so they can destroy Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.
That certainly explains why the Bush cabal is pursuing its present economic suicidal course.
Read more ... *Bush over 2.8 Million Jobs Destroyed.
A police state exists when federal and state political and police mechanisms:
1. Shut down media coverage after they steal an election
2. Serve the central government instead of serving the citizens
3. Enforce the policies of the central government instead of responding primarily to criminal misdeeds
4. Spy on and intimidate citizens
All these conditions now exist in the United States! Read more *American Police State
America - Get Real
In the American system - for the last quarter century, virtually all the rewards of growth have gone to the educated, enterprising and already affluent. See *As Cheap Oil Ends
Americans are delusional, They think they can continue living the way they’ve been living for the last 50 years. They think the key to it is to find a way to keep getting fuel.
For Americans, the American way of life is non-negotiable. The trouble is, Americans may not be willing to negotiate. But if they don’t, they are going to find that someone else is negotiating for them. And that someone else is called reality.
Higher fuel prices will change everything - the suburbs will become unlivable and undesirable. Wal-Mart will be unable to continue stocking its shelves with cheap imports ... food will have to be produced locally, not shipped half-way around the world...and people will have to find ways to manufacture locally too.
History of the Standard of
Living in the United States
In 1820 the United States was fifth in world rankings, falling roughly thirty percent below the leaders (United Kingdom and the Netherlands), but still two-to-three times better off than the poorest sections of the globe.
It is notable that in 1820 the richest country (the Netherlands at $1,821) was approximately 4.4 times better off than the poorest (Africa at $418) but by 1950 the ratio of richest-to-poorest had widened to 21.8 ($9,561 in the United States versus $439 in China), which is roughly the level it is today (in 1998, it was $27,331 in the United States versus $1,368 in Africa).
All countries that are rich today had rapid increases in their material standard of living, realizing more than ten-fold increases since 1820.
Economic progress has been uneven over time. If annual or quarterly data were given, it would show that business cycles have been a major feature of the economic landscape since industrialization began in the 1820s. By far the worst downturn in U.S. history occurred during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when real per capita GDP declined by approximately one-third and the unemployment rate reached 25 percent. See ... *History of the Standard of Living in the United States
United Kingdom Living
Standards Outstrip USA
America last overtook Britain economically in the final years of the 19th century, during the so-called second industrial revolution, which brought mass manufacture and sharply rising prosperity to the United States.Stumble It!
LIVING standards in Britain are now set to rise above those in America for the first time since the 19th century, because of the UK economy’s record run of growth and rising incomes going back to the early 1990s.
In those days, according to Oxford Economics, Britain’s GDP per capita was 34% below that in America, 33% less than in Germany and 26% lower than in France. Now, not only have average incomes crept above those in America but they are more than 8% above France and Germany.
Americans have long complained that average incomes have been stagnant in their country. One often-quoted statistical comparison suggests that in real terms the median male full-time salary in America is no higher now than it was in the 1970s.
The UK has been catching up steadily with living standards in the US since 2001 – so, it is a well established trend rather than simply the result of currency fluctuations.
Despite the fact that Americans benefit from lower prices than those in Britain, and the average American has more spending power than his UK counterpart and pays lower taxes.
However, the British typically have significantly longer holidays than Americans as well as access to “free” health care.
Previous comments to this post ...
In the United Kingdom, people are much more "a citizen of the world" here. The States are isolated & don't get on well with the rest of the world. There's a lot of help & support for families in the UK. Health, eye doctors & dentists free for kids & the poor.
I had cancer & had to stop working for 10 years. I didn't have to worry about my kids, the rent or anything. I had the best surgeon & consultants. Clean, modern & compassionate care - all free.
The government paid our rent & supported us & our kids for many years. Now we can afford to pay some of our own way, but still get government help. We can't afford vacations or eating out every week, but we are not suffering.
I shudder to think of what our lives would have been like if I lived in the States. See *UK living standards outstrip US
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Battle of the Blogs Debates Continued (EuroYank's)
1. comment here 2. announce your participation here,
link to your post here 3. continue this post on your blog
4. One post per blogger per theme.
Each theme posted here is a basic introduction.
You can expand and add your own points!
(I reserve the right to choose topics and start each debate.)
This Is the Fourth Debate Topic ...
The Foreign Press
You Never See
(English Language Version)
Americans rarely if ever read foreign news. Americans rely on their local newspapers to cover any foreign news of interest. Consequently, Americans only hear about the foreign news their newspapers decide to cover, and the spin their local media uses.
Here are some direct links to foreign newspapers in English online, and foreign news headlines seldom, if ever, covered by the American Press.
*Germany Times - (click on each picture to see the full story)
*The Local Berlin (Germany's News In English)
Provides all the latest news from Germany, plus features, discussion and advice.
Provides daily local and international news as well as feature articles on topics relevant to expatriates.
German biggest newsweekly offering English translations of its cover stories and the most important feature articles whenever they concern international affairs.
*Sign and Sight
English language service of the largest cultural online magazine in German language.
Selected articles from the English-language newspaper for Berlin.
*New Berlin Magazine
Translates outstanding articles by non-English language authors bringing them to a worldwide audience. Daily listings and recommendations of the best music, clubs, and parties in Berlin. Also has hostel reviews, maps, as well as descriptions of top music venues, museums, and restaurants.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
The Uncelebrated American May Day Holiday
Mayday - Part 1
May Day - Part 2
See these important sources *May Day USA News and Events
*The Anarchism Videos
May Day USA
In 1887 four Chicago anarchists were executed. A fifth cheated the hangman by killing himself in prison. Three more were to spend 6 years in prison until pardoned by Governor Altgeld who said the trial that convicted them was characterized by "hysteria, packed juries and a biased judge".
The state had, in the words of the prosecution put "Anarchy .. on trial" and hoped their deaths would also be the death of the anarchist idea.
The anarchists were trade union organizers and May Day became an international workers day to remember their sacrifice. They were framed on false charges of throwing a bomb at police breaking up a demonstration in Chicago. This was part of a strike demanding an 8 hour day involving 400,000 workers in Chicago that started May 1st 1886 .
The anarchist idea did not die in Chicago in 1887. Today it inspires a new wave of struggle against global capitalism. Join in this struggle.
Not many people know why May Day became International Workers Day and why we should still celebrate it. It all began over a century ago when the American Federation of Labor adopted an historic resolution which asserted that "eight hours shall constitute a legal day's labor from and after May 1st, 1886".
In the months prior to this date workers in there thousands were drawn into the struggle for the shorter day. Skilled and unskilled, black and white, men and women, native and immigrant were all becoming involved.
In Chicago alone 400,000 were out on strike. A newspaper of that city reported that "no smoke curled up from the tall chimneys of the factories and mills, and things had assumed a Sabbath-like appearance".
This was the main center of the agitation, and here the anarchists were in the forefront of the labor movement. It was to no small extent due to their activities that Chicago became an outstanding trade union center and made the biggest contribution to the eight-hour movement.
When on May 1st 1886, the eight hour strikes convulsed that city, one half of the workforce at the McCormick Harvester Co. came out. Two days later a mass meeting was held by 6,000 members of the 'lumber shovers' union who had also come out. The meeting was held only a block from the McCormick plant and was joined by some 500 of the strikers from there.
The workers listened to a speech by the anarchist August Spies, who has been asked to address the meeting by the Central Labour Union. While Spies was speaking, urging the workers to stand together and not give in to the bosses, the strikebreakers were beginning to leave the nearby McCormick plant.
The strikers, aided by the 'lumber shovers' marched down the street and forced the scabs back into the factory. Suddenly a force of 200 police arrived and, without any warning, attacked the crowd with clubs and revolvers.
They killed at least one striker, seriously wounded five or six others and injured an indeterminate number.
Outraged by the brutal assaults he had witnessed, Spies went to the office of the Arbeiter-Zeitung (a daily anarchist newspaper for German immigrant workers) and composed a circular calling on the workers of Chicago to attend a protest meeting the following night.
The protest meeting took place in the Haymarket Square and was addressed by Spies and two other anarchists active in the trade union movement, Albert Parsons and Samuel Fielden.
The police attack
Throughout the speeches the crowd was orderly. Mayor Carter Harrison, who was present from the beginning of the meeting, concluded that "nothing looked likely to happen to require police interference". He advised police captain John Bonfield of this and suggested that the large force of police reservists waiting at the station house be sent home.
It was close to ten in the evening when Fielden was closing the meeting. It was raining heavily and only about 200 people remained in the square. Suddenly a police column of 180 men, headed by Bonfield, moved in and ordered the people to disperse immediately. Fielden protested "we are peaceable".
At this moment a bomb was thrown into the ranks of the police. It killed one, fatally wounded six more and injured about seventy others. The police opened fire on the spectators. How many were wounded or killed by the police bullets was never exactly ascertained.
A reign of terror swept over Chicago. The press and the pulpit called for revenge, insisting the bomb was the work of socialists and anarchists. Meeting halls, union offices, printing works and private homes were raided. All known socialists and anarchists were rounded up.
Even many individuals ignorant of the meaning of socialism and anarchism were arrested and tortured. "Make the raids first and look up the law afterwards" was the public statement of Julius Grinnell, the state's attorney.
Eventually eight men stood trial for being "accessories to murder". They were Spies, Fielden, Parsons, and five other anarchists who were influential in the labour movement, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Michael Schwab, Louis Lingg and Oscar Neebe.
The trial opened on June 21st 1886 in the criminal court of Cooke County. The candidates for the jury were not chosen in the usual manner of drawing names from a box. In this case a special bailiff, nominated by state's attorney Grinnell, was appointed by the court to select the candidates.
The defense was not allowed to present evidence that the special bailiff had publicly claimed "I am managing this case and I know what I am about. These fellows are going to be hanged as certain as death".
The eventual composition of the jury was farcical; being made up of businessmen, their clerks and a relative of one of the dead policemen. No proof was offered by the state that any of the eight men before the court had thrown the bomb, had been connected with its throwing, or had even approved of such acts. In fact, only three of the eight had been in Haymarket Square that evening.
No evidence was offered that any of the speakers had incited violence, indeed in his evidence at the trial Mayor Harrison described the speeches as "tame". No proof was offered that any violence had been contemplated. In fact, Parsons had brought his two small children to the meeting.
That the eight were on trial for their anarchist beliefs and trade union activities was made clear from the outset. The trial closed as it had opened, as was witnessed by the final words of Attorney Grinnell's summation speech to the jury. "Law is on trial. Anarchy is on trial.
These men have been selected, picked out by the Grand Jury, and indicted because they were leaders. There are no more guilty than the thousands who follow them. Gentlemen of the jury; convict these men, make examples of them, hang them and you save our institutions, our society."
On August 19th seven of the defendants were sentenced to death, and Neebe to 15 years in prison. After a massive international campaign for their release, the state 'compromised' and commuted the sentences of Schwab and Fielden to life imprisonment. Lingg cheated the hangman by committing suicide in his cell the day before the executions. On November 11th 1887 Parsons, Engel, Spies and Fischer were hanged.
600,000 working people turned out for their funeral. The campaign to free Neebe, Schwab and Fielden continued.
On June 26th 1893 Governor Altgeld set them free. He made it clear he was not granting the pardon because he thought the men had suffered enough, but because they were innocent of the crime for which they had been tried. They and the hanged men had ben the victims of "hysteria, packed juries and a biased judge".
The authorities has believed at the time of the trial that such persecution would break the back of the eight-hour movement. Indeed, evidence later came to light that the bomb may have been thrown by a police agent working for Captain Bonfield, as part of a conspiracy involving certain steel bosses to discredit the labor movement.
When Spies addressed the court after he had been sentenced to die, he was confident that this conspiracy would not succeed. "If you think that by hanging us you can stamp out the labour movement... the movement from which the downtrodden millions, the millions who toil in misery and want, expect salvation - if this is your opinion, then hang us!
Here you will tread on a spark, but there and there, behind you - and in front of you, and everywhere, flames blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. You cannot put it out".
Over a century after that first May Day demonstration in Chicago, where are we? We stroll though town with our union banners - about the only day of the year we can get them out of head office. Then we stand around listening to boring (and usually pretty meaningless) speeches by equally boring union bureaucrats.
You have to keep reminding yourself that May Day was once a day when workers all over the world displayed their strength, proclaimed their ideals and celebrated their successes.
It is important that "once upon a time" it was like that. We can do it again. We need independent working class politics. No collaboration with government and bosses. Real solidarity with fellow workers in struggle, not a blinkered sectional outlook. We still need a further reduction in working hours, without loss of pay, to make work for the unemployed.
We need revolutionary politics. That means politics that can lead us towards a genuine socialism where freedom knows no limit other than not interfering with the freedom of others. A socialism that is based on real democracy - not the present charade where we can choose some of our rulers, but may not choose to do without rulers.
A real democracy where everyone effected by a decision will have the opportunity to have their say in making that decision. A democracy of efficiently co-ordinated workplace and community councils. A society where production is to satisfy needs, not to make profits for a privileged few. Anarchism.
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