Friday, January 28, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Ilargi: VK, roving reporter for The Automatic Earth, has been playing with the numbers from the January 7 employment report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It seems valuable to look at unemployment from this, a different, angle. Some of it may even surprise you.
The total non institutional civilian labor force (Americans 16 years and older who are not in a institution -criminal, mental, or other types of facilities- or an active military duty) is reported as 238.889 million. Of these, we see:
- Employed: 139.206 million people (58.3% of labor force)
- Unemployed: 14.485 million people (6.1% of labor force)
Obviously, that can't be the total picture, we're only at 64.4%. This is why:
- Part time employed for economic reasons: 8.931 million people. This concerns people who want a full-time job but can't get one.
- Part time employed for non-economic reasons: 18.184 million people. Non-economic reasons include school or training, retirement or Social Security limits on earnings, but also childcare problems and family or personal obligations.
The BLS definition states: "Not in the labor force (NILF). A person who did not work last week, was not temporarily absent from a job, did not actively look for work in the previous 4 weeks, or looked but was unavailable for work during the reference week; in other words, a person who was neither employed nor unemployed." (Clearly, this does include lot of unemployed people).
To summarize: 108.616 million people in America are either unemployed, underemployed or "Not in the labor force". This represents 45.5% of working age Americans.
If you count the "Part time employed for non-economic reasons", you get 126.8 million Americans who are unemployed, underemployed, working part time or "Not in the labor force". That represents 53% of working age Americans.
So only 47% of working age Americans have full time jobs. While the official unemployment rate is 9.4%. Something's missing somewhere.
A few more factoids on the topic:
- Today, the long term unemployed make up 42% of total unemployed. That is to say, of course, those who are actually counted as unemployed instead of "Not in the labor force".
- 43.2 million Americans receive foodstamps. That's 18.1% of all working age Americans. If they all have on average 1.5 dependents, which is probably a reasonable estimate, a full one third of the US population receives at least part of their food through this syste
Sunday, January 23, 2011
The larger picture is even grimmer, since the accumulation of surrendered freedoms to fight the "war on terror" is shifting the United States piece by piece from a constitutional republic toward a new-age totalitarian state, as Abby Martin notes in this guest essay:
In George Orwell’s 1984, Britain is depicted as a totalitarian police state that is ruled by the Party, or Big Brother – an enigmatic, ubiquitous elite that controls society through heavy surveillance, nationalist propaganda and historical revisionism.
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The concept seems like a far-fetched portrayal of a democratic nation’s demise into totalitarianism, but in America’s “post 9/11” climate of fear, the United States government has been building a comprehensive grid of surveillance and control that bears frightening similarities to Orwell’s fictional narrative.
The glaring difference between the two is that Orwell’s dystopian society is overtly totalitarian. America, conversely, operates under a “soft fascism” – an insidious, systematic method of preventative action and corporate top-down control over society’s media, economy and politics – while maintaining the necessary illusion of personal choice and freedom.
A populace with little to no concept of their subjugation makes them the perfect subjects to rule.
Many Americans might not feel the government’s hand or Big Brother’s watchful eye directly in their lives. However, with the use of GPS, cell phones and the Internet, every move we make can be tracked, cataloged and divided into demographics that are used to increase corporate advertising efficiency and to create a “chilling effect” throughout our culture, stifling dissent and diminishing activism.
During times of war, governments are notorious for capitalizing on their ability to suppress dissent and manipulate the masses. In the wake of 9/11 hysteria, the Bush administration enacted several controversial pieces of legislation that severely curtailed Americans’ freedoms under the pretext of “security” and “protection.”
With the help of a consistently compliant and unquestioning media, his administration also instituted a legal framework to circumvent citizens’ civil liberties and target their free speech.
Bush’s cabinet adopted Orwellian rhetoric and Nazi style propaganda to litigate sweeping measures that further eradicated liberty: The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act’s (USA Patriot Act), warrantless domestic wiretapping, and the Homegrown Terrorism Act & Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act’s criminalization of thought and peaceful activism.
Nine years after 9/11 and two years into Obama’s reign, the vague threat of terrorism still hangs in perpetual balance as the justifying cliché for the administration’s continuation of such Bush-era policies.
Obama has followed the same Bush trends of illegal detention, rendition, wiretapping, spying, state secrets, demonization, persecution and fear mongering against the population.
Obama has aggressively cracked down on whistleblowers who exposed military corruption. He gave a green light to assassinate US citizens abroad without due process of law.
One of the most disturbing trends in the ever-expanding police state are the new Z Backscatter vans, vehicles that are giant X-ray machines, designed to discreetly scan through people’s houses and cars without their knowledge – a surveillance tool that blatantly violates Fourth Amendment rights.
Like Orwell’s portrayal, the U.S. government’s expanding power structure relies on nationalist propaganda to manufacture and cultivate the fear of an enemy. Although the “war on terrorism” has consumed the political climate for almost a decade, the chances of actually dying in a terrorist attack in the United States are statistically insignificant.
This little mentioned fact undermines the current administration’s justification for their extension of state powers and secrecy in order to protect the country’s “national security.”
It’s critically important to create dialogue about America’s covert slide to fascism. Absolute power corrupts absolutely – our politicians and their corporate puppeteers will continue their greedy power grabs unabated unless our society starts speaking out against the dehumanization and the unconstitutionality of the emerging police state.
Abby Martin is an artist, activist and journalist based in Oakland, California. Her work appears at MediaRoots.org.
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Saturday, January 22, 2011
Well, the thought police have kicked in the door and hauled off yet another patriot...Keith Olbermann has been silenced in the middle of a contract by the elitist cabal...How long will it be before anyone who dares speak out against the tyranny of the banks and the corporate/governmental oppressors is rounded up and dispensed with? I've got my 12 guage shotgun right here by my side and my killer dogs lying in wait, so you black-shirted goon squads take heed...When you come to kick in my door and silence me you better bring a lot of ammo...
YOU HEAR ME SCUMBAGS???