In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and religion, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

We shouldn’t be profiting from our students who are drowning in debt while we’re giving great deals to big banks, – the same banks, that destroyed millions of jobs and nearly broke this economy.

Activate the Mechanism!: Walmart is ‘the largest recipient of public aid in the country’

underthemountainbunker:

abaldwin360:

Representative-elect Alan Grayson (D-FL) said Monday that he will put mega-retailer Walmart squarely in his sights during the next Congress for the company’s liberal use of public assistance programs to supplement their workers’ wages.

Speaking to Current TV host Cenk Uygur on Monday’s episode of “The Young Turks,” Grayson called Walmart “the largest recipient of public aid in the country,” saying their low wages force workers to take food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid just to get by.

“The taxpayer pays for the earned income credit,” he said. “The taxpayer pays for Medicaid. The taxpayer pays for unemployment insurance when they cut hours down. And the taxpayer pays for other forms of public assistance like food stamps. I think the taxpayer is getting fed up of paying these things when, in fact, Walmart could give every employee its got, even the CEO, a 30 percent raise and still be profitable.”

He added that while the health care mandate in the Affordable Care Act will help, “that’s just the start.”

“In state after state after state, Walmart employees represent the largest group of Medicaid recipients, the largest group of food stamp recipients, and taxpayers shouldn’t have to bear that burden,” Grayson said. “It should be Walmart. So, we’re going to take that burden and put it where it belongs: on Walmart.”

read more and watch the video at The Raw Story

It goes even further than this, those Walmart employees who make so little that they need to be on foodstamps more than likely spend their foodstamps at Walmart.

In fact, Walmart and other retailers make a killing off of food stamps.

Folks want to complain about people on foodstamps and where their tax money is being spent should take a good hard look at corporations like Walmart who directly benefit from keeping their workers’ wages so low that they need to be on foodstamps to get by. 

We are basically subsidizing Walmart’s profits and in more way than one - first by paying their employees shit so their employees have to use public assistance, then by the profits they make on customers shopping with foodstamps.

Why do we villainize people on public assistance without looking at who is actually benefiting from the fact that people have to be on assistance?  

GREAT point!

A strong organized politicized working class does not exist in the United States today precisely because, through the socialization of mass media, a vast majority of poor and working-class people, along with their middle-class counterparts, learn to think ideologically like the rich even when their economic circumstance would suggest otherwise.

A study published last year by scholars from Harvard Business School and Duke University asked Americans which country they would rather live in — one with America’s wealth distribution or one with Sweden’s. But they weren’t labeled Sweden and America. It turned out that more than 90 percent of Americans preferred to live in a country with the Swedish distribution. Perhaps nothing gets done because, in polls, Americans hugely underestimate the level of inequality here. Not only do we aspire to live in Sweden, but we think we already do.

Romney: Teacher contributions to politicians should be limited - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

goodreasonnews:

Republican nominee Mitt Romney said Tuesday that Democratic politicians have a conflict of interest in dealing with teacher unions because the unions contribute so heavily to their campaigns.

Staggering hypocrisy!

This fucking guy. How can he be serious while one billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, is funding his campaign (superPAC) to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars!? Mitt Romney is a caricature of a shady hypocritical politician, a walking political cartoon.

(Source: think4yourself)

goodreasonnews:

republicanidiots:

roccosphere:

Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren teaches 1 class @ Harvard, makes $50K less than President Obama

Hey Rocco? Elizabeth Warren is a tenured professor at Harvard. They don’t get paid by the class.  


You think that’s bad!? You should see what the top brass at every single major corporation in America are making for poisoning the environment, raiding pensions, dodging taxes, laying off Americans, taking several-month-long vacations and generally shirking their social responsibilities while collecting a greater share of the pie than ever on the backs of people scammed through vicious predatory credit institutions.

goodreasonnews:

republicanidiots:

roccosphere:

Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren teaches 1 class @ Harvard, makes $50K less than President Obama

Hey Rocco? Elizabeth Warren is a tenured professor at Harvard. They don’t get paid by the class.  

You think that’s bad!? You should see what the top brass at every single major corporation in America are making for poisoning the environment, raiding pensions, dodging taxes, laying off Americans, taking several-month-long vacations and generally shirking their social responsibilities while collecting a greater share of the pie than ever on the backs of people scammed through vicious predatory credit institutions.

Henry Ford and “The Virtuous Circle of Growth”: When Capitalists Cared

By Hendrick Smith

IN the rancorous debate over how to get the sluggish economy moving, we have forgotten the wisdom of Henry Ford. In 1914, not long after the Ford Motor Company came out with the Model T, Ford made the startling announcement that he would pay his workers the unheard-of wage of $5 a day.

Not only was it a matter of social justice, Ford wrote, but paying high wages was also smart business. When wages are low, uncertainty dogs the marketplace and growth is weak. But when pay is high and steady, Ford asserted, business is more secure because workers earn enough to become good customers. They can afford to buy Model Ts.

This is not to suggest that Ford single-handedly created the American middle class. But he was one of the first business leaders to articulate what economists call “the virtuous circle of growth”: well-paid workers generating consumer demand that in turn promotes business expansion and hiring. Other executives bought his logic, and just as important, strong unions fought for rising pay and good benefits in contracts like the 1950 “Treaty of Detroit” between General Motors and the United Auto Workers.

Riding the dynamics of the virtuous circle, America enjoyed its best period of sustained growth in the decades after World War II, from 1945 to 1973, even though income tax rates were far higher than today. It created not only unprecedented middle-class prosperity but also far greater economic equality than today.

The chief executives of the long postwar boom believed that business success and workers’ well-being ran in tandem.

Frank W. Abrams, chairman of Standard Oil of New Jersey, voiced the corporate mantra of “stakeholder capitalism”: the need to balance the interests of all the stakeholders in the corporate family. “The job of management,” he wrote, “is to maintain an equitable and working balance among the claims of the various directly affected interest groups,” which he defined as “stockholders, employees, customers and the public at large.”

Earl S. Willis, a manager of employee benefits at General Electric, declared that “the employee who can plan his economic future with reasonable certainty is an employer’s most productive asset.”

From 1948 to 1973, the productivity of all nonfarm workers nearly doubled, as did average hourly compensation. But things changed dramatically starting in the late 1970s. Although productivity increased by 80.1 percent from 1973 to 2011, average wages rose only 4.2 percent and hourly compensation (wages plus benefits) rose only 10 percent over that time, according to government data analyzed by the Economic Policy Institute.

At the same time, corporate profits were booming. In 2006, the year before the Great Recession began, corporate profits garnered the largest share of national income since 1942, while the share going to wages and salaries sank to the lowest level since 1929. In the recession’s aftermath, corporate profits have bounced back while middle-class incomes have stagnated.

Today the prevailing cut-to-the-bone business ethos means that a company like Caterpillar demands a wage freeze and lower health benefits from its workers, while posting record profits.

Globalization, including the rise of Asia, and technological innovation can’t explain all or even most of today’s gaping inequality; if they did, we would see in other advanced economies the same hyperconcentration of wealth and the same stagnation of middle-class wages as in the United States. But we don’t.

In Germany, still a manufacturing and export powerhouse, average hourly pay has risen five times faster since 1985 than in the United States. The secret of Germany’s success, says Klaus Kleinfeld, who ran the German electrical giant Siemens before taking over the American aluminum company Alcoa in 2008, is “the social contract: the willingness of business, labor and political leaders to put aside some of their differences and make agreements in the national interests.”

In short, German leaders have practiced stakeholder capitalism and followed the century-old wisdom of Henry Ford, while American business and political leaders have dismantled the dynamics of the “virtuous circle” in pursuit of downsizing, offshoring and short-term profit and big dividends for their investors.

Today, we are all paying the price for this shift. As Ford recognized, if average Americans do not have secure jobs with steady and rising pay, the economy will be sluggish. Since the early 1990s, we have been mired three times in “jobless recoveries.” It’s time for America’s business elites to step beyond political rhetoric about protecting wealthy “job creators” and grasp Ford’s insight: Give the middle class a better share of the nation’s economic gains, and the economy will grow faster. Our history shows that.

I had my father get sick when I was 22. And I was poor, alright. And my father had an ulcer, and it exploded and you know all these toxins get in your blood. And basically, my father died, whatever, 50 days after his ulcer. So I had a father get sick while I was poor.

My mother got sick when I was rich. And my mother, you know… I don’t really want to get into it, but my mother was sicker than my father. And my mother’s alive. My mother’s fine, OK? I remember going to the hospital to see my mother and wondering, ‘Was I in the right place?’ Like, this was a hotel. Like it had a concierge, man.

People don’t… if the average person really knew the discrepancy in the health care system, there’d be riots in the streets, OK? They would burn this motherfucker down!”

Chris Rock [video]

Bringing this back, because some people don’t seem to understand that there is a discrepancy in the quality of care among poor, middle-class, and wealthy people, NO MATTER HOW DEBILITATING THEIR RESPECTIVE DISEASES MAY BE.

(via cgdageek)

Forever reblog. 

(via missgingerlee)