1. image: Download

    badass-bharat-deafmuslim-artista:

socialismartnature:

Breaking via ABC News: UN Human Rights Council votes to open inquiry into alleged war crimes in Gaza; U.S. is the ONLY “no” vote.
That’s because the U.S. is a direct accomplice to every war crime that Israel commits.

USA, the world’s #1 killing machine.

    badass-bharat-deafmuslim-artista:

    socialismartnature:

    Breaking via ABC News: UN Human Rights Council votes to open inquiry into alleged war crimes in Gaza; U.S. is the ONLY “no” vote.

    That’s because the U.S. is a direct accomplice to every war crime that Israel commits.

    USA, the world’s #1 killing machine.

    (Source: twitter.com)

     
  2. image: Download

    neurosciencestuff:

Researcher shows how stress hormones promote brain’s building of negative memories
When a person experiences a devastating loss or tragic event, why does every detail seem burned into memory whereas a host of positive experiences simply fade away?
It’s a bit more complicated than scientists originally thought, according to a study recently published in the journal Neuroscience by ASU researcher Sabrina Segal.
When people experience a traumatic event, the body releases two major stress hormones: norepinephrine and cortisol. Norepinephrine boosts heart rate and controls the fight-or-flight response, commonly rising when individuals feel threatened or experience highly emotional reactions. It is chemically similar to the hormone epinephrine – better known as adrenaline.
In the brain, norepinephrine in turn functions as a powerful neurotransmitter or chemical messenger that can enhance memory.
Research on cortisol has demonstrated that this hormone can also have a powerful effect on strengthening memories. However, studies in humans up until now have been inconclusive – with cortisol sometimes enhancing memory, while at other times having no effect.
A key factor in whether cortisol has an effect on strengthening certain memories may rely on activation of norepinephrine during learning, a finding previously reported in studies with rats.
In her study, Segal, an assistant research professor at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research at ASU, and her colleagues at the University of California-Irvine showed that human memory enhancement functions in a similar way.
Conducted in the laboratory of Larry Cahill at U.C. Irvine, Segal’s study included 39 women who viewed 144 images from the International Affective Picture Set. This set is a standardized picture set used by researchers to elicit a range of responses, from neutral to strong emotional reactions, upon view.
Segal and her colleagues gave each of the study’s subjects either a dose of hydrocortisone – to simulate stress – or a placebo just prior to viewing the picture set. Each woman then rated her feelings at the time she was viewing the image, in addition to giving saliva samples before and after. One week later, a surprise recall test was administered.
What Segal’s team found was that “negative experiences are more readily remembered when an event is traumatic enough to release cortisol after the event, and only if norepinephrine is released during or shortly after the event.”
“This study provides a key component to better understanding how traumatic memories may be strengthened in women,” Segal added, “because it suggests that if we can lower norepinephrine levels immediately following a traumatic event, we may be able to prevent this memory enhancing mechanism from occurring, regardless of how much cortisol is released following a traumatic event.”
Further studies are needed to explore to what extent the relationship between these two stress hormones differ depending on whether you are male or female, particularly because women are twice as likely to develop disorders from stress and trauma that affect memory, such as in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In the meantime, the team’s findings are a first step toward a better understanding of neurobiological mechanisms that underlie traumatic disorders, such as PTSD.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

    neurosciencestuff:

    Researcher shows how stress hormones promote brain’s building of negative memories

    When a person experiences a devastating loss or tragic event, why does every detail seem burned into memory whereas a host of positive experiences simply fade away?

    It’s a bit more complicated than scientists originally thought, according to a study recently published in the journal Neuroscience by ASU researcher Sabrina Segal.

    When people experience a traumatic event, the body releases two major stress hormones: norepinephrine and cortisol. Norepinephrine boosts heart rate and controls the fight-or-flight response, commonly rising when individuals feel threatened or experience highly emotional reactions. It is chemically similar to the hormone epinephrine – better known as adrenaline.

    In the brain, norepinephrine in turn functions as a powerful neurotransmitter or chemical messenger that can enhance memory.

    Research on cortisol has demonstrated that this hormone can also have a powerful effect on strengthening memories. However, studies in humans up until now have been inconclusive – with cortisol sometimes enhancing memory, while at other times having no effect.

    A key factor in whether cortisol has an effect on strengthening certain memories may rely on activation of norepinephrine during learning, a finding previously reported in studies with rats.

    In her study, Segal, an assistant research professor at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research at ASU, and her colleagues at the University of California-Irvine showed that human memory enhancement functions in a similar way.

    Conducted in the laboratory of Larry Cahill at U.C. Irvine, Segal’s study included 39 women who viewed 144 images from the International Affective Picture Set. This set is a standardized picture set used by researchers to elicit a range of responses, from neutral to strong emotional reactions, upon view.

    Segal and her colleagues gave each of the study’s subjects either a dose of hydrocortisone – to simulate stress – or a placebo just prior to viewing the picture set. Each woman then rated her feelings at the time she was viewing the image, in addition to giving saliva samples before and after. One week later, a surprise recall test was administered.

    What Segal’s team found was that “negative experiences are more readily remembered when an event is traumatic enough to release cortisol after the event, and only if norepinephrine is released during or shortly after the event.”

    “This study provides a key component to better understanding how traumatic memories may be strengthened in women,” Segal added, “because it suggests that if we can lower norepinephrine levels immediately following a traumatic event, we may be able to prevent this memory enhancing mechanism from occurring, regardless of how much cortisol is released following a traumatic event.”

    Further studies are needed to explore to what extent the relationship between these two stress hormones differ depending on whether you are male or female, particularly because women are twice as likely to develop disorders from stress and trauma that affect memory, such as in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In the meantime, the team’s findings are a first step toward a better understanding of neurobiological mechanisms that underlie traumatic disorders, such as PTSD.

    (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

     
  3. monanotlisa:

    iwouldfookthat:

    Anthony Mackie + Hats

     
  4. jethann:

    when all of your friends are online: image

    (Source: jethann)

     
  5. image: Download

    waitingforthet:

If there’s anything the X-Men do well/often, it’s sleep with each other. And their enemies.

Zero, Scott. We all know your number is zero. It’s okay. It suits you.

    waitingforthet:

    If there’s anything the X-Men do well/often, it’s sleep with each other. And their enemies.

    Zero, Scott. We all know your number is zero. It’s okay. It suits you.

     
  6. gameangels:

    I just wanted you to know I appreciate the risk you’re taking. Regardless of your opinion of Cerberus, of me, you are a valuable asset to all of humanity. Be careful, Shepard.

     
  7. bitchesaloud:

    it’s been 20 years for fuck sake Usagi get your shit together

    (Source: keitaroyevon)

     
  8. 06:38

    Notes: 72755

    Reblogged from keptonice

    Tags: rblgharry potteradaptationbooks vs movies

    Okay, okay, I’m going to tell you what Hermione sees in Ron.

    A trio is a balancing act, right? They’re equalizers of each other. Harry’s like the action, Hermione’s the brains, Ron’s the heart. Hermione has been assassinated in these movies, and I mean that genuinely—by giving her every single positive character trait that Ron has, they have assassinated her character in the movies. She’s been harmed by being made to be less human, because everything good Ron has, she’s been given.

    So, for instance: “If you want to kill Harry, you’re going to have to kill me too”—RON, leg is broken, he’s in pain, gets up and stands in front of Harry and says this. Who gets that line in the movie? Hermione.

    “Fear of a name increases the fear of the thing itself.” Hermione doesn’t say Voldemort’s name until well into the books—that’s Dumbledore’s line. When does Hermione say it in the movies? Beginning of Movie 2.

    When the Devil’s Snare is curling itself around everybody, Hermione panics, and Ron is the one who keeps his head and says “Are you a witch or not?” In the movie, everybody else panics and Hermione keeps her head and does the biggest, brightest flare of sunlight spell there ever was.

    So, Hermione—all her flaws were shaved away in the films. And that sounds like you’re making a kick-ass, amazing character, and what you’re doing is dehumanizing her. And it pisses me off. It really does.

    In the books, they balance each other out, because where Hermione gets frazzled and maybe her rationality overtakes some of her instinct, Ron has that to back it up; Ron has a kind of emotional grounding that can keep Hermione’s hyper-rationalness in check. Sometimes Hermione’s super-logical nature grates Harry and bothers him, and isn’t the thing he needs even if it’s the right thing, like when she says “You have a saving people thing.” That is the thing that Harry needed to hear, she’s a hundred percent right, but the way she does it is wrong. That’s the classic “she’s super logical, she’s super brilliant, but she doesn’t know how to handle people emotionally,” at least Harry.

    So in the books they are this balanced group, and in the movies, in the movies—hell, not even Harry is good enough for Hermione in the movies. No one’s good enough for Hermione in the movies—God isn’t good enough for Hermione in the movies! Hermione is everybody’s everything in the movies.

    Harry’s idea to jump on the dragon in the books, who gets it in the movies? Hermione, who hates to fly. Hermione, who overcomes her withering fear of flying to take over Harry’s big idea to get out of the—like, why does Hermione get all these moments?

    [John: Because we need to market the movie to girls.]

    I think girls like the books, period. And like the Hermione in the books, and like the Hermione in the books just fine before Hollywood made her idealized and perfect. And if they would have trusted that, they would have been just fine.

    Would the movies have been bad if she was as awesome as she was in the books, and as human as she was in the books? Would the movies get worse?

    She IS a strong girl character. This is the thing that pisses me off. They are equating “strong” with superhuman. To me, the Hermione in the book is twelve times stronger than the completely unreachable ideal of Hermione in the movies. Give me the Hermione in the book who’s human and has flaws any single day of the week.

    Here’s a classic example: When Snape in the first book yells at Hermione for being an insufferable know-it-all, do you want to know what Ron says in the book? “Well, you’re asking the questions, and she has to answer. Why ask if you don’t want to be told?” What does he say in the movie? “He’s got a point, you know.” Ron? Would never do that. Would NEVER do that, even before he liked Hermione. Ron would never do that.

    — Melissa Anelli THROWS IT DOWN about the way Ron and Hermione have been adapted in the movies on the latest episode of PotterCast. Listen here. This glorious rant starts at about 49:00. (via karakamos)
     
  9. design-is-fine:

    Rosenthal Donatello set, sugar & milk, 1915-20. Porcelain. Painted by N. J. Lalonde, Overglaze in rectilinear art deco pattern. Germany. Via Goldstein Design Museum

     
  10. image: Download

    blacklustersoul:

naturalblkgirlsrock:

Brooklyn Spectacles

She’s so pretttty

    blacklustersoul:

    naturalblkgirlsrock:

    Brooklyn Spectacles

    She’s so pretttty

     
  11. image: Download

    astolat:

hahaha OK tumblr, don’t let me down. I know there must be several appropriate Supernatural reaction gifs for this. *waits hopefully*

Remember that whole “there’s no way to do fandom wrong” thing? ALMOST no way. This is the wrong way. Bobby Singer is disappointed.

    astolat:

    hahaha OK tumblr, don’t let me down. I know there must be several appropriate Supernatural reaction gifs for this. *waits hopefully*

    Remember that whole “there’s no way to do fandom wrong” thing? ALMOST no way. This is the wrong way. Bobby Singer is disappointed.

     
  12. Gents of the Inquisition

     
  13. ardatli:

    drawsshits:

    crowlbee:

    This generator is hilarious, amazing magic.

    "A piano teacher who is an undercover spy enters a surf competition with a father of five who practices the dark arts"

    "A hitman with a new lease on life courts an adventurer"

    A cheerleader who can’t speak writes a TV pilot with a punk rocker from Oklahoma”

    A philosopher with a stutter competes in a singing contest against a gang leader from Iowa

    A piano teacher with nothing to lose inherits a father of eight who is the embodiment of Satan

    A shamed priest who’s a cannibal tries to find the identity of a taste tester

    A former president who turns tricks on the side is stranded on a desert island with a journalist who practices the dark arts

    A cartoon rabbit has their identity stolen by a former vice president

    A dog trainer who is secretly a superhero is sucked into another dimension along with a magical snowman who likes to be naked

    A Nobel Prize winner on a reality show opens a resort with a born again Christian who manages a semi-pro baseball team

    A conductor from Kentucky starts a doomed romance with a rapper from Pennsylvania

    A nun who can’t stand attention is mistaken for left wing talk show host who escaped from prison

     
  14. image: Download

    marvelpocexchange:

Sadly, there are times when life gets in the way of fandom. In those cases, we need some help.
If you are able to fill in for anyone that is unable to complete their fanwork, please leave a comment on This Post (LJ) or This Post (DW) or drop us an e-mail at marvelpocmods@gmail.com.
 We will take your original sign up sheet as a guideline for what you’re comfortable with. If you would like to help out and you did not sign up for the fest originally, you can use the modified version of that form that can be found on the LJ and DW posts. 
Thank you very much for any help you may be able to provide!

    marvelpocexchange:

    Sadly, there are times when life gets in the way of fandom. In those cases, we need some help.

    If you are able to fill in for anyone that is unable to complete their fanwork, please leave a comment on This Post (LJ) or This Post (DW) or drop us an e-mail at marvelpocmods@gmail.com.

     We will take your original sign up sheet as a guideline for what you’re comfortable with. If you would like to help out and you did not sign up for the fest originally, you can use the modified version of that form that can be found on the LJ and DW posts. 

    Thank you very much for any help you may be able to provide!

     
  15. image: Download

    blue-author:

tydon:

bessibels:

neverbat:

mylittledraenei:

blue-author:

addictinginfo:

Minimum wage should be linked to the poverty level. 

This is basic economic fact.
A business that claims it can’t afford to pay a living wage to its workers is admitting that by definition it fails to meet its basic operating expenses. That major multinational corporations can be “successful” while failing to meet a basic operating expense is only possible because We The People pick up their greedy/lazy slack through taxes and charity. 
And yet somehow it’s everybody else who’s a moocher and a looter…
And this corrosive greed is a big part of what’s slowly poisoning the U.S. economy. Money being hoarded at the top and put in “safe” investments and bank accounts is money that does nothing for no one. It’s just an elaborate means of keeping score. Money put into the hands of the workers does what money is meant to do: it circulates. It gets spent. The same dollar will go through dozens of sets of hands, touching dozens of lives, feeding dozens of people and sparking profits for dozens of businesses. The same dollar, in the hands of the rich, will generally do… nothing. It won’t create jobs. It won’t fund innovations. It won’t start businesses.
Less than 1% of corporate revenues become wages for workers. Less than 3% of the wealthy are actually entrepreneurs (people who risk their money on business ventures that create jobs). 
But 100% of the working class spends their money. That money creates jobs. That money fuels innovations. That money becomes profits. That money keeps the economy ticking.
We have been lied to about who are the parasites and who are the drivers of the economy. We have largely accepted a view of money as a means of keeping score and the economy as something that must have winners and losers, rather than money being a proxy for barter and an economy being a way to divide the labor of society and distribute the load of living

#poverty #classism

"A business that claims it can’t afford to pay a living wage to its workers is admitting that by definition it fails to meet its basic operating expenses."

"Less than 1% of corporate revenues become wages for the workers."

I’m sorry. But this shows a lack of basic economic knowledge. Money sitting in a bank does not slow down the economy in any way. The way banks lend out money is by taking it out of people’s savings. So when a billionaire has money sitting in his account it is actually being loaned out to businesses to start up, or to homeowners to get a mortgage for their house. Having all the wealth at the top is actually the most efficient way. However much it sucks. This is where government is supposed to step in and provide equality. However in the us specifically due to gerrymandering, there is the most unproductive US government in history, and since they all have so much job security they have no problem taking bribes from lobbyists. At this point I would honestly not consider the US a democracy. Democracy demands choice, of whichever there is none in the current system. I believe any of the founding fathers would agree. That is what has lead to the income inequality. A broken government, not a broken economic system. Capitalism is the greatest invention of human kind. Even Karl Marx admitted it. Anyone who says otherwise is simply undereduated on the matter.
Edit: woops, I forgot to say that I whole heartedly agree about paying a living wage. Only your reasoning was critically flawed

Folks, this morning I got an ask in my inbox from the learned individual above me. It said “Please refrain from making up statistics. It does everyone a disservice.” No context, no explanation of what it might have been in reference to, and not a thought in the asker’s head that while whatever had prompted it might have been fresh and new in his mind, it was likely something days or weeks or even months old.
I point this out because thinking that his message alone was sufficient to convey any meaning to me shows both a failure of critical thinking and of empathy, both of which are key to believing that pure unbridled capitalism is the greatest system on earth.
Even though when one receives nonsense in their inbox—and a drive-by observation with no indication about what the observation is about is nonsense, let’s make no mistake—there’s no obligation to puzzle out for oneself what one’s correspondent couldn’t be bothered to make clear, I came to this blog to see if I could spot what might have prompted it, and here it is.
I’ll note that this person had nothing to say about the statistics I used in the actual reply to this post, which is a convenient omission… the asker would like to believe that the stats are made-up, but is clearly not confident in that belief.
Anyway.
Tydon.
You have an overly simplistic view of how banks operate, but I’m glad you brought them up, because they offer a fairly recent example of how the economy is better served when money circulates closer to the bottom.
See, banks don’t literally take Moneybags Q. Rockefeller’s money from his account and give it to anyone who needs a loan. In point of fact, the money that banks lend out is represented by only a fraction of their actual liquid holdings. 
The money banks lend out is actually borrowed directly from the federal reserve at a lower interest rate, with the bank’s assets that include Moneybags Q. Rockefeller’s cash simply the collateral. This is why the interest rate the bank will give you on your savings and charge you on your loans is tied to the federal reserve interest rate.
And actually, you can read the sentence “They don’t literally take Moneybags Q. Rockefeller’s money from his account and give it to anyone who needs a loan.” sentence with emphasis on either clause, because they really don’t give it to just anyone who needs a loan.
Maybe you’ve only recently started paying attention to the world, but you might recall that during the biggest round of the “too big to fail” bank bailouts, the decision was made to resolve the then-current level of crisis by pumping money into the banks to keep them solvent. The idea was that not only would this save the banks, but it would save the economy, because at that time, banks weren’t lending. There was a credit freeze, because their outstanding liabilities (loans, money they were owed) had too low a ratio against their cash on hand.
(Note that it’s not that they didn’t have enough cash on hand to cover their liabilities; they never do. It’s that the fraction was too low to allow them to do so.)
So the banks were either too broke or too nervous to lend money, and the economy ground to a halt, because we have a debt-driven society where individuals mostly lack the capital needed to start a business, build a home, or buy a vehicle, even though these can be essential parts of life and are major drivers of the economy.
(Sidenote: Capitalism! The greatest invention! will always and inevitably eventually lead us to the point where the economy grinds to a halt, because the competition that capitalism depends on has no reset button. Imagine if every time a team won a football game, they were allowed to carry over their score to the next game, and if they lost, they started over at 0. How many seasons would it be before a few teams had an unbeatable spread? And then next year, those teams would have an even bigger advantage. It takes an outside force—like government regulation—to ensure that the competition that capitalism depends on to do anything but produce an unsustainable oligarchy actually remains competitive.)
So, the American people or at least our representatives were sold on this marvelous plan whereby we give this money directly to the banks and they will then be free to start lending again.
Do you remember what happened next?
Do you?
I do!
Nothing.
The banks, recognizing that the system was still shaky and volatile and that their basic position hadn’t changed, hoarded the money. The credit freeze continued. 
It was a classic case of “YOU HAD ONE JOB!” We gave the money to the banks with a clear expectation of how it would be used, but no enforcement clause because ew, regulation, and because rational self-interest, and because invisible hand of the free market… but apparently the invisible hand was taking a personal day, because the predicted market forces did not act upon the banks and they acted in irrational self-interest to preserve themselves in a way that prolonged the crisis that was endangering them.
Even now it is markedly harder for the average person to get a loan for… well, anything. Loans have resumed, but money is still mainly circulating near the top, which in terms of overall health of an economy, is not much different from money being hoarded at the top.
Now, there was an alternate bailout plan that never got much traction for reasons having to do with the cultural consciousness of the U.S and how it’s been warped by worship of capitalism and the related “Just World” fallacy.
The alternate plan would have been to bail out the people whose homes were being foreclosed upon, the people whose mortgages were at the crux of that aspect of the crisis. Just take the same money and start paying off mortgages and other loans.
Now! What would the result have been? Well,the first thing is: the banks still get the same money. The money ends up in the hands of the bank. But all those people making mortgage payments also effectively get that money. Because the money they would have used for a payment is still in their hands, at whatever point they would have gotten it.
We the taxpayers spend the same money, but double the results! Magic, isn’t it? And the magic doesn’t stop there, because… again… the money in the homeowners’ hands will be spent, and passed on to someone else, who will spend it again, and again, and again… right on up the chain.
The extra money that the bailed out homeowners would have gotten due to the alternate plan would have still ended up at the top. Because that’s how capitalism works. So there’s no reason except base, venal greed of those at the top to oppose “bottom up” economics like this, and the economic lift they generate benefits the people at the top all the more.
A dollar released into the economy will keep being spent until it’s in the pocket of someone who can afford to save it, at which point it will be saved in a bank or invested in the markets. Even if you think the best place for the dollar is the bank/the markets, letting it run up the ladder first is helpful.
And the banks, under this plan? The banks can increase their lending based on this influx of cash, but we’re not depending on their generosity to jumpstart the economy as much as we did under the bailout we gave them. And since they’re no longer holding so many unstable assets but they also can’t look to the paid-off mortgages as a potential source of income, they have more of a reason to start making more loans, which from the bank’s point of view is an investment. Their lending is also emboldened by a rosier financial outlook, because all those people whose mortgages were paid off? They have a higher credit score. They have more money. They have fewer worries. They have more cash and more reason to spend it, which the economy kind of needs.
And the economic gains don’t stop there! A lot of people whose mortgages were “failing” (though “sabotage” might be a better word, though that’s another post) went through foreclosure. There’s a cascade effect here, as people who lose a house often lose so much more. First, there’s the equity they had in the house. The bank does not pay them back the money they’ve put in the house. They don’t “own their share” of the house, however long they’ve been paying off the mortgage. Second, there’s the expense of moving—if they could find another place—or the reality of homelessness, which makes it harder to hold a job or access basic services.
Basically, a foreclosure is one of the most expensive things a person can go through, but it’s something you only go through if you can’t afford it.
Capitalism! The greatest invention of mankind!
Now, let’s talk about all those foreclosed homes. Under the “money belongs in banks, that will jumpstart the economy!” plan, the banks ended up the proud owners of millions of empty houses that no one could afford to buy.
Is this good for the banks? No. Is it good for the economy? No. A house depreciates in value each year; an empty house deteriorates rapidly. The average foreclosed home in a bad economy is not an asset to a bank, but a liability that they feel in their hearts should be an asset.
According to the almighty laws of supply and demand, all those empty houses should have created a bonanza for first time homebuyers. It should have been a buyer’s market. Did you know banks have been paying to have empty houses bulldozed rather than maintaining them? Did you know that several municipalities have created—at the urging of banks—programs where banks can donate the land that was under these houses to the city for tax credits (that don’t come close to the value of the land, but if no one can afford to build or buy a house, then they can’t sell the land)?
According to basic market economics, if a bank is paying a dude in a bulldozer $2,000 (note: arbitrary figure, insert whatever number sounds realistic to you here) to destroy a house, I should be able to walk up and say, “Gentlemen, I will solve your problem for the low, low cost of $1,800.” As in, they pay me to take the house off their hands. Why shouldn’t they? If things worked the way the fairy tale version of capitalism says they should, banks would give away homes or pay people to take them before they paid more to destroy them.
And yet that didn’t happen, because the banks realized that if they sold their houses below “market value”, the price of homes would fall, and the value of their holdings would fall even farther. Note that “market value” here is not actual market value, the actual price the market will bear. According to fairy tale capitalism, with all these banks in the country we would just need to find the one bank that’s willing to deal fairly and give it our business and the other banks would follow suit or fall behind. 
But that doesn’t work if the banks are more interested in protecting their own game.
So all those empty houses, deteriorating, losing value… people pumped a lot of money into those houses and a lot of that value is just gone. Rotted. Burned. Bulldozed.
If we’d injected the money closer to the bottom than the top, that value would still be around. We could have saved that value.
We have had decades of experience in all the myriad ways that trickle-down economics don’t work, but the main reason is the simplest: money doesn’t trickle down in a capitalist system. Expecting it to is like expecting the higher scoring team in a game’s points to leak over to the other team’s side.
If we’d bailed out from the bottom up… the banks would have gotten their money, but everyone else would have benefited and the economy would have been lifted as all those dollars “trickled up”.

    blue-author:

    tydon:

    bessibels:

    neverbat:

    mylittledraenei:

    blue-author:

    addictinginfo:

    Minimum wage should be linked to the poverty level. 

    This is basic economic fact.

    A business that claims it can’t afford to pay a living wage to its workers is admitting that by definition it fails to meet its basic operating expenses. That major multinational corporations can be “successful” while failing to meet a basic operating expense is only possible because We The People pick up their greedy/lazy slack through taxes and charity. 

    And yet somehow it’s everybody else who’s a moocher and a looter…

    And this corrosive greed is a big part of what’s slowly poisoning the U.S. economy. Money being hoarded at the top and put in “safe” investments and bank accounts is money that does nothing for no one. It’s just an elaborate means of keeping score. Money put into the hands of the workers does what money is meant to do: it circulates. It gets spent. The same dollar will go through dozens of sets of hands, touching dozens of lives, feeding dozens of people and sparking profits for dozens of businesses. The same dollar, in the hands of the rich, will generally do… nothing. It won’t create jobs. It won’t fund innovations. It won’t start businesses.

    Less than 1% of corporate revenues become wages for workers. Less than 3% of the wealthy are actually entrepreneurs (people who risk their money on business ventures that create jobs). 

    But 100% of the working class spends their money. That money creates jobs. That money fuels innovations. That money becomes profits. That money keeps the economy ticking.

    We have been lied to about who are the parasites and who are the drivers of the economy. We have largely accepted a view of money as a means of keeping score and the economy as something that must have winners and losers, rather than money being a proxy for barter and an economy being a way to divide the labor of society and distribute the load of living

    #poverty #classism

    "A business that claims it can’t afford to pay a living wage to its workers is admitting that by definition it fails to meet its basic operating expenses."

    "Less than 1% of corporate revenues become wages for the workers."

    I’m sorry. But this shows a lack of basic economic knowledge. Money sitting in a bank does not slow down the economy in any way. The way banks lend out money is by taking it out of people’s savings. So when a billionaire has money sitting in his account it is actually being loaned out to businesses to start up, or to homeowners to get a mortgage for their house. Having all the wealth at the top is actually the most efficient way. However much it sucks. This is where government is supposed to step in and provide equality. However in the us specifically due to gerrymandering, there is the most unproductive US government in history, and since they all have so much job security they have no problem taking bribes from lobbyists. At this point I would honestly not consider the US a democracy. Democracy demands choice, of whichever there is none in the current system. I believe any of the founding fathers would agree. That is what has lead to the income inequality. A broken government, not a broken economic system. Capitalism is the greatest invention of human kind. Even Karl Marx admitted it. Anyone who says otherwise is simply undereduated on the matter.

    Edit: woops, I forgot to say that I whole heartedly agree about paying a living wage. Only your reasoning was critically flawed

    Folks, this morning I got an ask in my inbox from the learned individual above me. It said “Please refrain from making up statistics. It does everyone a disservice.” No context, no explanation of what it might have been in reference to, and not a thought in the asker’s head that while whatever had prompted it might have been fresh and new in his mind, it was likely something days or weeks or even months old.

    I point this out because thinking that his message alone was sufficient to convey any meaning to me shows both a failure of critical thinking and of empathy, both of which are key to believing that pure unbridled capitalism is the greatest system on earth.

    Even though when one receives nonsense in their inbox—and a drive-by observation with no indication about what the observation is about is nonsense, let’s make no mistake—there’s no obligation to puzzle out for oneself what one’s correspondent couldn’t be bothered to make clear, I came to this blog to see if I could spot what might have prompted it, and here it is.

    I’ll note that this person had nothing to say about the statistics I used in the actual reply to this post, which is a convenient omission… the asker would like to believe that the stats are made-up, but is clearly not confident in that belief.

    Anyway.

    Tydon.

    You have an overly simplistic view of how banks operate, but I’m glad you brought them up, because they offer a fairly recent example of how the economy is better served when money circulates closer to the bottom.

    See, banks don’t literally take Moneybags Q. Rockefeller’s money from his account and give it to anyone who needs a loan. In point of fact, the money that banks lend out is represented by only a fraction of their actual liquid holdings. 

    The money banks lend out is actually borrowed directly from the federal reserve at a lower interest rate, with the bank’s assets that include Moneybags Q. Rockefeller’s cash simply the collateral. This is why the interest rate the bank will give you on your savings and charge you on your loans is tied to the federal reserve interest rate.

    And actually, you can read the sentence “They don’t literally take Moneybags Q. Rockefeller’s money from his account and give it to anyone who needs a loan.” sentence with emphasis on either clause, because they really don’t give it to just anyone who needs a loan.

    Maybe you’ve only recently started paying attention to the world, but you might recall that during the biggest round of the “too big to fail” bank bailouts, the decision was made to resolve the then-current level of crisis by pumping money into the banks to keep them solvent. The idea was that not only would this save the banks, but it would save the economy, because at that time, banks weren’t lending. There was a credit freeze, because their outstanding liabilities (loans, money they were owed) had too low a ratio against their cash on hand.

    (Note that it’s not that they didn’t have enough cash on hand to cover their liabilities; they never do. It’s that the fraction was too low to allow them to do so.)

    So the banks were either too broke or too nervous to lend money, and the economy ground to a halt, because we have a debt-driven society where individuals mostly lack the capital needed to start a business, build a home, or buy a vehicle, even though these can be essential parts of life and are major drivers of the economy.

    (Sidenote: Capitalism! The greatest invention! will always and inevitably eventually lead us to the point where the economy grinds to a halt, because the competition that capitalism depends on has no reset button. Imagine if every time a team won a football game, they were allowed to carry over their score to the next game, and if they lost, they started over at 0. How many seasons would it be before a few teams had an unbeatable spread? And then next year, those teams would have an even bigger advantage. It takes an outside force—like government regulation—to ensure that the competition that capitalism depends on to do anything but produce an unsustainable oligarchy actually remains competitive.)

    So, the American people or at least our representatives were sold on this marvelous plan whereby we give this money directly to the banks and they will then be free to start lending again.

    Do you remember what happened next?

    Do you?

    I do!

    Nothing.

    The banks, recognizing that the system was still shaky and volatile and that their basic position hadn’t changed, hoarded the money. The credit freeze continued. 

    It was a classic case of “YOU HAD ONE JOB!” We gave the money to the banks with a clear expectation of how it would be used, but no enforcement clause because ew, regulation, and because rational self-interest, and because invisible hand of the free market… but apparently the invisible hand was taking a personal day, because the predicted market forces did not act upon the banks and they acted in irrational self-interest to preserve themselves in a way that prolonged the crisis that was endangering them.

    Even now it is markedly harder for the average person to get a loan for… well, anything. Loans have resumed, but money is still mainly circulating near the top, which in terms of overall health of an economy, is not much different from money being hoarded at the top.

    Now, there was an alternate bailout plan that never got much traction for reasons having to do with the cultural consciousness of the U.S and how it’s been warped by worship of capitalism and the related “Just World” fallacy.

    The alternate plan would have been to bail out the people whose homes were being foreclosed upon, the people whose mortgages were at the crux of that aspect of the crisis. Just take the same money and start paying off mortgages and other loans.

    Now! What would the result have been? Well,the first thing is: the banks still get the same money. The money ends up in the hands of the bank. But all those people making mortgage payments also effectively get that money. Because the money they would have used for a payment is still in their hands, at whatever point they would have gotten it.

    We the taxpayers spend the same money, but double the results! Magic, isn’t it? And the magic doesn’t stop there, because… again… the money in the homeowners’ hands will be spent, and passed on to someone else, who will spend it again, and again, and again… right on up the chain.

    The extra money that the bailed out homeowners would have gotten due to the alternate plan would have still ended up at the top. Because that’s how capitalism works. So there’s no reason except base, venal greed of those at the top to oppose “bottom up” economics like this, and the economic lift they generate benefits the people at the top all the more.

    A dollar released into the economy will keep being spent until it’s in the pocket of someone who can afford to save it, at which point it will be saved in a bank or invested in the markets. Even if you think the best place for the dollar is the bank/the markets, letting it run up the ladder first is helpful.

    And the banks, under this plan? The banks can increase their lending based on this influx of cash, but we’re not depending on their generosity to jumpstart the economy as much as we did under the bailout we gave them. And since they’re no longer holding so many unstable assets but they also can’t look to the paid-off mortgages as a potential source of income, they have more of a reason to start making more loans, which from the bank’s point of view is an investment. Their lending is also emboldened by a rosier financial outlook, because all those people whose mortgages were paid off? They have a higher credit score. They have more money. They have fewer worries. They have more cash and more reason to spend it, which the economy kind of needs.

    And the economic gains don’t stop there! A lot of people whose mortgages were “failing” (though “sabotage” might be a better word, though that’s another post) went through foreclosure. There’s a cascade effect here, as people who lose a house often lose so much more. First, there’s the equity they had in the house. The bank does not pay them back the money they’ve put in the house. They don’t “own their share” of the house, however long they’ve been paying off the mortgage. Second, there’s the expense of moving—if they could find another place—or the reality of homelessness, which makes it harder to hold a job or access basic services.

    Basically, a foreclosure is one of the most expensive things a person can go through, but it’s something you only go through if you can’t afford it.

    Capitalism! The greatest invention of mankind!

    Now, let’s talk about all those foreclosed homes. Under the “money belongs in banks, that will jumpstart the economy!” plan, the banks ended up the proud owners of millions of empty houses that no one could afford to buy.

    Is this good for the banks? No. Is it good for the economy? No. A house depreciates in value each year; an empty house deteriorates rapidly. The average foreclosed home in a bad economy is not an asset to a bank, but a liability that they feel in their hearts should be an asset.

    According to the almighty laws of supply and demand, all those empty houses should have created a bonanza for first time homebuyers. It should have been a buyer’s market. Did you know banks have been paying to have empty houses bulldozed rather than maintaining them? Did you know that several municipalities have created—at the urging of banks—programs where banks can donate the land that was under these houses to the city for tax credits (that don’t come close to the value of the land, but if no one can afford to build or buy a house, then they can’t sell the land)?

    According to basic market economics, if a bank is paying a dude in a bulldozer $2,000 (note: arbitrary figure, insert whatever number sounds realistic to you here) to destroy a house, I should be able to walk up and say, “Gentlemen, I will solve your problem for the low, low cost of $1,800.” As in, they pay me to take the house off their hands. Why shouldn’t they? If things worked the way the fairy tale version of capitalism says they should, banks would give away homes or pay people to take them before they paid more to destroy them.

    And yet that didn’t happen, because the banks realized that if they sold their houses below “market value”, the price of homes would fall, and the value of their holdings would fall even farther. Note that “market value” here is not actual market value, the actual price the market will bear. According to fairy tale capitalism, with all these banks in the country we would just need to find the one bank that’s willing to deal fairly and give it our business and the other banks would follow suit or fall behind. 

    But that doesn’t work if the banks are more interested in protecting their own game.

    So all those empty houses, deteriorating, losing value… people pumped a lot of money into those houses and a lot of that value is just gone. Rotted. Burned. Bulldozed.

    If we’d injected the money closer to the bottom than the top, that value would still be around. We could have saved that value.

    We have had decades of experience in all the myriad ways that trickle-down economics don’t work, but the main reason is the simplest: money doesn’t trickle down in a capitalist system. Expecting it to is like expecting the higher scoring team in a game’s points to leak over to the other team’s side.

    If we’d bailed out from the bottom up… the banks would have gotten their money, but everyone else would have benefited and the economy would have been lifted as all those dollars “trickled up”.