Saturday, August 27, 2011
While our oligarchic kleptocrats running Fitzwalkerstan have never been big on facts and figurin the recent numbers suggest that things aren't going so well in the place "open for business". Here's a few things to mull over your Spotted Cow:
"Wisconsin lost 12,500 private sector jobs in July:
The economic slowdown hit Wisconsin in July as the state lost 12,500 private sector jobs on a seasonally-adjusted basis, according to the state Department of Workforce Development.
The state gained 4,300 government jobs during the month, so the state had a net job loss of 8,200 during the month, on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Most of the government jobs (4,100) were added at the local level. The federal government added 300 jobs in the state and the state cut 100 government jobs.
The July job losses cancel out most of the 12,900 private sector job gain and 9,500 net job gain that the state posted in June on a seasonally adjusted basis.
The news is a blow to Gov. Scott Walker’s goal of helping the private sector in the state create 250,000 jobs during his first term in office. The state has now added 28,700 private sector jobs since Walker was sworn in at the beginning of this year. At that pace of about 4,100 private sector jobs per month the state will add only 196,800 private sector jobs by the end of Walker’s term. The state needs to add an average of 5,208 private sector jobs each month to reach Walker’s goal."
"Wisconsin ranks 19th nationally in child poverty":
"Child poverty, across the country, increased in 38 states from 2000 to 2009, according to a recent report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Wisconsin fared better than the national average, but followed the same trend, with children in poverty rising from 10 percent in 2000 to 17 percent in 2009, putting the state at No. 19.
Researchers concluded that low-income children will likely suffer academically, economically and socially long after their parents have recovered.....
Wisconsin came in 12th, showing improvement in teen birth rate and infant, child and teen mortality rates. However, the amount of low-birthweight babies, children in poverty and children in single-parent families grew.
Mississippi had the most children living in poverty, with 31 percent..."
Not necessarily Scott Walker's fault but considering his policies unlikely to get better.
And of course there's Milwaukee, Little Johannesburg, worse than Mississippi:
"One out of three school-age children in Milwaukee lived with a family in poverty in 2005, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Wednesday.
Milwaukee ranked sixth highest overall among the nation's 70 largest school districts; only Cleveland, New Orleans, Detroit, Fresno, Calif., and St. Louis had higher percentages of children living with families in poverty."
I kind of doubt that this number has gotten any better either.
Monday, August 22, 2011
What's really going on here? Don't expect MSM to tell you anything. William Engdahl lays it on:
"Engdahl says NATO’s actions in Libya have created a very virulent precedent.
“What we have going on in Libya for some months now is a major effort by the US and NATO forces to pour at least $1 billion by various estimates into the so-called Transitional National Council,” he said. “It’s rival tribal clan warfare that is going on in Libya. This is not a democracy movement by any stretch of the imagination.”
Engdahl said it is simply an insurgency being supported covertly by US-financed armed shipments to the rebels – in order, he claimed “to simply carve up the oil fields and get them into Western hands, rather than in Libyan state hands, which Gaddafi held firmly on to.”
David Maimela from the South Africans for Peace in Africa Initiative shared Engdahl’s pessimism about Libya’s near future.
“NATO has not achieved anything [in Libya],” he said. “Even if they are to remove Gaddafi and his government at the moment, what we are going to have is a greater form of political instability in the country and a further breakout of civil war in Libya,” he said."
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
The American media has been careful to portray recent unrest in the UK as just criminal activity as opposed to a reaction to economic injustice and disparity. Religion Dispatches puts a new perspective in "Our Great War Is a Spiritual War". Particularly interesting is the participants interpretation of events:
"“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”
" …with the complicit support of the government, the banks looted the nation’s wealth while destroying countless small businesses and brought the whole economy to its knees in a covert, clean manner, rather like organised crime... These kids would have to riot and steal every night for a year to run up a bill equivalent to the value of non-paid tax big business has ‘avoided’ out of the economy this year alone. They may not articulate their grievances like the politicians that condemn them but this is absolutely political… It’s mad, sad and scary when we have to take to the streets to defend our homes and businesses from angry thieving kids, but where are the police and what justice is ever done when the mob is dressed in pinstripe?"
Who can blame them?
Saturday, August 13, 2011
I have spent the better part of the last week pondering the results of the Wisconsin recall and have come to some conclusions. The recall of republican state senators failed in its ambitious goals. The democratic party failed to grasp what was really at stake at both the state and national level. The state party was disorganized and couldn't get out a coherent message and instead treated the recall as a group of local contests with no common thread. The national party continues to fail by having no values or principles that distinguish them from the republicans except by degree of complicity. The debt ceiling debate was a perfect example. My representative, Tammy Baldwin, demonstrated as much courage as any democrat by voting against this travesty for reasons of principle, namely the lack of sacrifice from the oligarchs and the national security state. President Obama was nowhere to be seen or heard on the subject. He has become a caretaker, holding the place down until the real owners show up. If I would have known this I'd rather left the the presidency in republican hands and let them suffer the consequences of a decade of misrule. In the end I have to agree with the World Socialist Web Site:
"In the end, the recall campaign boosted the fortunes of the Republicans in Wisconsin and nationally, along with their right-wing corporate backers who flooded the state with millions in campaign funding. Going into another recall vote next Tuesday—this time for two Democrats—the Republicans could extend their majority in the state senate, which is currently 17-16.
Even if the Democrats had won the election, workers in the state would have seen no fundamental change. Like the Republicans, the Democrats on every level of government have insisted that the working class must pay for the economic crisis, tax cuts for the wealthy and other supposedly “job-creating” incentives for big business.
In Wisconsin, the Democrats boasted that they had made the deepest cuts in state history, including public employee furloughs and other concessions, under Walker’s Democratic predecessor, Governor Jim Doyle."
In the words of anarchist David Graeber:
"WE FACE A GIANT MACHINE DESIGNED TO DESTROY ANY SENSE OF POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE FUTURES"
Sunday, August 07, 2011
This of course is dedicated to the pyromaniacs currently manning that fire station known as the U.S. House of Representatives. Watching last weeks events with what can only be described as something like morbid fascination I decided to assemble a few of what I thought were some of the more pithy comments out there:
From Matt Taibbi:
"So the debt deal has finally been reached. As expected, the agreement arrives in a form that right-thinking people everywhere can feel terrible about with great confidence.
The general consensus is that for the second time in three years, a gang of financial terrorists has successfully extorted the congress and the White House, threatening to blow up the planet if they didn't get what they wanted.
Back in 2008, the congress and George Bush rewarded Hank Paulson and Wall Street for pulling the Cleavon-Little-"the-next-man-makes-a-move-the-n---er-gets-it" routine by tossing trillions of bailout dollars at the same people who had wrecked the economy.
Now, Barack Obama has surrendered control of the budget to the Tea Party, whose operatives in congress used the same suicide-bomber tactic, threatening a catastrophic default unless the Democrats committed to a regime of steep spending cuts without any tax increases on the wealthy."
"Make no mistake about it, what we’re witnessing here is a catastrophe on multiple levels.
It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isn’t over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders, and they can now act with the confident expectation that he will.
In the long run, however, Democrats won’t be the only losers. What Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question. After all, how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nation’s economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it can’t."
And Dave Cohen at Decline of The Empire with what I thought was one of best blog titles "Dying Government Fails To Commit Suicide, Will Try Again Later":
"A self-inflicted disaster. The government held a gun to its head and threatened to kill itself (video below). Fortunately—or unfortunately, I can't decide which—the government didn't pull the trigger.
Guess what? There is no "plan" in any time frame which will address both the long-term fiscal gap without weighing heavily on a weak recovery economy. This "plan" doesn't exist! Can't possibly exist!
As I've told you over and over again, it took 30 years to get here. That's why the politicians basically did nothing, for there is nothing they can do so without 1) screwing the special interests who actually elected them or 2) screwing the low- and middle-income people who voted for them. That's why every citizen with an interest in the matter—outside the politicians who negotiated it—is unhappy with the deal. That's why the government is feeling suicidal lately. Forget about the politics, those are mere details. Think about it. It's not clear which is worse: raising the debt ceiling or not raising the debt ceiling. Few Americans can wrap their heads around this. Prepare yourself for a lot of future unhappiness."
Our political system has now devolved to a point where it is totally unresponsive to the needs of the majority of the citizens. On a national level we are confronted with the choice of the ongoing criminal enterprise known as the the republican party versus a national democratic party with no apparent principles worth actually fighting for or identifiable values. My only consolation in the midst of this dermocracy, (taken from the Russian, dermo or shit), is living in Wisconsin where a sizable portion of the populace has awakened and will hopefully begin the laborious process of freeing itself. On to the recalls.
Friday, August 05, 2011
It is heartening to know this guy can't go anywhere without public outcry and protests. The people turning out against Walker are the newly radicalized middle class who are the answer to the question "Will Americans ever start to react to the rampant economic injustice and disparity that characterizes our oligarchic kleptocracy?"
Next week in Wisconsin will be very interesting to put it mildly.