Monthly Archives: February 2015

Malcolm X Was Right About America

by Chris Hedges, mirrored from Common Dreams

Malcolm X about two weeks before he was murdered in 1965. (Photo: AP/Victor Boynton

NEW YORK—Malcolm X, unlike Martin Luther King Jr., did not believe America had a conscience. For him there was no great tension between the lofty ideals of the nation—which he said were a sham—and the failure to deliver justice to blacks. He, perhaps better than King, understood the inner workings of empire. He had no hope that those who managed empire would ever get in touch with their better selves to build a country free of exploitation and injustice. He argued that from the arrival of the first slave ship to the appearance of our vast archipelago of prisons and our squalid, urban internal colonies where the poor are trapped and abused, the American empire was unrelentingly hostile to those Frantz Fanon called “the wretched of the earth.” This, Malcolm knew, would not change until the empire was destroyed.

“It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck,” Malcolm said. “Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, then capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.”

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The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment

by Jim Clifton, Gallup


Here’s something that many Americans — including some of the smartest and most educated among us — don’t know: The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.

Right now, we’re hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is “down” to 5.6%. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.

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Chicago For Sale

by Paul Buchheit, mirrored from Common Dreams

A sign in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. The sinister reality, despite lofty promises and calls for renewal, is that privatizers are positioning themselves for the kill. (Photo: A. Germanos/Common Dreams/cc)

Chicago is being privatized. Assets are being sold off, Wall Street debt is mounting, and the mayor conducts business with multi-millionaire donors who often reap benefits from their connections to City Hall. The people of Chicago, who will be electing their next mayor on February 24, need to know the facts about their city’s financial problems. Some of these facts won’t be found in the mainstream media.

Like Detroit in 2013, Chicago is becoming a symbol of a divided nation, of a society crippled by a 35-year-old notion that the “public good” is somehow un-American. Other U.S. cities have learned that their people and their public services are not products to be bought and sold. Chicago, under Rahm Emanuel and Richie Daley and an assortment of Illinois Governors, has been headed in the other direction.

Schools For Sale 

It starts with the public schools, the anchors of their communities and centers of equal opportunity for our children. Illinois cut education spending by a greater percentage than any other state in fiscal 2012, and for 2013 it was third-worst in cuts per student. Privatizers rushed in and blamed the public system. As a result, 50 neighborhood schools were closed in Chicago, opening the way for charter schools, which take taxpayer money but have little accountability to the public and an obligation only to their investors.

No Money. Whose Fault?

In recent years the state’s largest corporations have been paying only about a third of their required state taxes. Many of these companies have avoided their taxes by threatening to relocate in other states, effectively holding Illinois hostage, while reducing their tax payments by billions of dollars. The plunder goes beyond that. A report by the nonprofit “Good Jobs First” revealed that over 300 Illinois companies are KEEPING the state taxes paid by their employees. That’s right – the “Economic Development for a Growing Economy” (EDGE) Tax Credit gives corporate subsidies of tens of millions of dollars meant for education and infrastructure, while average citizens make up the difference.

More Outrageous Corporate Subsidies 

Illinois is paying more in corporate subsidies, tax breaks, and loopholes than it pays each year toward its pension fund. As one example, the state has hundreds of companies enjoying TIF subsidies, which divert tax revenue from schools to business development. Hundreds of millions of dollars are lost to our public schools.

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