Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘AlterNet

Senior Israeli Rabbi Calls for the Mass Execution of Palestinians

Shmuel Eliyahu has a long history of hate speech.

Senior Israeli Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu believes the Israeli army should stop arresting Palestinians and execute them instead.

“It must execute them and leave no one alive,” Eliyahu wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday, according to Defend Democracy Press.

Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of the city of Safed, has a record of making racist remarks about Arabs and Muslims. He once said Israel should take “revenge” against Arabs, and that Palestinians, whom he once labeled enemies of Israel, must be “destroyed and crushed in order to end violence.”

In a previous Facebook post, Eliyahu argued Palestinians who are arrested should not be kept alive.

“If you leave him alive, there is a fear that he will be released and kill other people,” he wrote. “We must eradicate this evil from within our midst.”

In 2012, Eliyahu was accused of making racist remarks after calling Arab culture “cruel” and saying Arabs have “violent norms” that have “turned into ideology.”

The charges were later dropped by the Israeli Justice Ministry amidst speculation that journalists had misrepresented his words.

On a separate occasion, Eliyahu claimed that Arabs steal Jewish farm equipment in an attempt to blackmail Palestinian farmers.

“The minute you make room for Arabs among Jews, it takes five minutes before they start to do whatever they want,” he said.

Tensions have been heightened recently in occupied Palestinian territory as a result of the restrictions placed on Palestinian worshippers entering the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

As many as 300 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since October 2015. 

Celisa Calacal is a junior writing fellow for AlterNet.

She is a senior journalism major and legal studies minor at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. Previously she worked at ThinkProgress and served as an editor for Ithaca College’s student newspaper. Follow her at @celisa_mia.

Another endangered species? The Middle Class?

Is that Piketty’s prophecy comes true?

According to a new report, the richest 1% have got their mitts on almost half the world’s assets.

Think that’s the end of the story? Think again. This is only the beginning.

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014

New research reveals the superrich have grabbed half the world’s resources — and their wealth is only growing

The “Global Annual Wealth Report,” freshly released by investment giant Credit Suisse, analyzes the shocking trend of growing wealth inequality around the world.

What the researchers find is that global wealth has increased every year since 2008, and that personal wealth seems to be rising at the fastest rate ever recorded, much of it driven by strong equity markets.

But the benefits of this growth have largely been channeled to those who are already affluent.

While the restaurant workers in America struggled to achieve wages of $10 an hour for their labor, those invested in equities saw their wealth soar without lifting a finger. So it goes around the world.

The bottom half of the world’s people now own less than 1 percent of total wealth, and they’re struggling to hold onto even that minuscule portion.

On the other hand, the wealthiest 10 percent have accumulated a staggering 87 percent of global assets.

The top percentile has 48.2 percent of the world wealth. For now.

One of the scary things about the wealth of the super-rich is what French economist Thomas Piketty pointed out in his best-selling book, Capital in the 21st Century.

Once they’ve got a big chunk of wealth, their share will get bigger even if they sit by and do absolutely nothing.

Piketty sums up this economic reality in a simple and horrifying formula: r > g.

Basically, this means that when rate of return on wealth is greater than the overall rate of growth of the economy, as it has nearly always been throughout history, the rich will grow inevitably richer and the poor poorer unless there is some kind of intervention, like higher taxes on wealth, for example.

If r is less than g, the assets of the super-wealthy will erode, but if r is greater than g, you eventually get the explosion of gigantic inherited fortunes and dynasties.

This is happening now: If you look at the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in America, you see a lot more inherited fortunes in the upper ranks than you did a couple of decades ago, when the policies that held inequality at bay began to get dismantled.

In today’s top 10, there are more scions of the Walton family than entrepreneurs like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. These people have essentially done nothing of value for society, and yet their undue influence shapes our political landscape with the wave of a wad of cash.

There have been moments in history when things were not so lopsided.

During the post-war period, inequality was contained because governments made sure their rich didn’t accumulate at such alarming rates by doing things like taxing their estates at a high rate. At the same time, they created policies to lift the incomes of the less well-off and allow them to have some basic security.

But that’s an exception in history. Most of the time, this kind of intervention did not happen, and so the rich kept gobbling more and accumulating more power to keep it that way until one of two things happened — a revolution or some kind of catastrophe or disruptive event, like a war, shook things up.

As the Credit Suisse report states:

“[Wealth inequality] has been the case throughout most of human history, with wealth ownership often equating with land holdings, and wealth more often acquired via inheritance or conquest rather than talent or hard work.

However, a combination of factors caused wealth inequality to trend downwards in high income countries during much of the 20th century, suggesting that a new era had emerged.

That downward trend now appears to have stalled, and possibly gone into reverse.”

That’s right. We’re on a turbo-charged ride back to the days of Downton Abbey.

Piketty warns that we’re in the early stages of reverting right back to periods of massive inequality, like 19th-century Britain or 18th-century France, where great dynastic fortunes ruled and everybody else fought for scraps.

(The new power of Germany, which didn’t accumulate capitalist wealth, was a handicapped for the capitalist nations of England and France that ignited the WWI in order to stop the increased trade exchange of Germany in world market)

What the statistics and formulas don’t show is the kind of human suffering that results from this kind of extreme inequality.

While the global elite zip around the world in private jets and watch their stock portfolios expand on computer screens from within their gated mansions, the bottom half stays awake at night trying to think of how to pay for medicine for a sick child.

The things that give life dignity and meaning, like a quality education, a decent job, and the security of knowing you have a roof over your head and a doctor to care for you when you are ill grow further and further out of reach.

Anxiety never leaves because one unforeseen mishap can push you down into poverty, and if you’re already there, you spend much of your time searching, often fruitlessly, for a way out.

But there’s a little bit of anxiety percolating at the top, too.

On the June cover of the conservative magazine American Spectator, a cartoon shows an incensed mob looking on as a monocled fatcat is led to a bloody guillotine — a scene evoking the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. The caption reads, “The New Class Warfare: Thomas Piketty’s intellectual cover for confiscation.”

In the story that accompanies the image, James Pierson warns of revolution and a growing class of suffering people who want to punish the rich and take away their toys.

That would be one way to address things. Another would be the recognition that inequality is extremely destabilizing and dangerous, and that non-violent interventions are possible, as we saw in America with the New Deal.

Things like robust tax reform, unions, regulation, changes in corporate governance and CEO pay, affordable education, jobs programs, expansion of Social Security and universal healthcare.

Or we could just do things the old-fashioned way and wait for a disaster even bigger than the meltdown of 2007-’08. In that case, fasten your seatbelts. This ride could get very rough.

America’s Declining Empire, Occupy Movement, the Arab Spring…and Noam Chomsky
 
On April 24, AlterNet promoted Noam Chomsky’s new book “Occupy”…Chomsky wrote: “America’s declining power is self-inflicted”.
 
 
“Last year, the Occupy Movement rose up spontaneously in cities and towns across the country, and radically shifted the discourse and rattled the economic elite with its defiant populism. Noam Chomsky wrote in his book  Occupy:  “the Occupy Movement was the first major public response to thirty years of class war.”

Chomsky looks at the central issues, questions and demands that are driving ordinary people to protest. How did we get to this point? How are the wealthiest 1% influencing the lives of the other 99 percent? How can we separate money from politics? What would a genuinely democratic election look like?

Chomsky appeared on this week’s AlterNet Radio Hour. Below is a transcript that’s been lightly edited for clarity. (You can listen to the whole show here.)

Joshua Holland: I want to just ask you first about a few trends shaping our political discourse. I’ve read many of your books, and the one that I probably found influential was Manufacturing Consent. You co-authored this manuscript in the late 1980s and since then we’ve seen some big changes. The mainstream media has become far more consolidated, and at the same time we’ve seen a proliferation of other forms of media.

We have the alternative media outlets, like online outlets like AlterNet and various social media. Looking at these trends, I wonder if you think that the range of what’s considered to be acceptable discourse has widened or narrowed further?

Noam Chomsky: Actually, I had a second edition to that about 10 years ago with a new, long introduction. At that time, we didn’t really think much had changed, but if we were to do one now we would certainly want to bring in what you’ve just mentioned.

Remember we were talking about the mainstream media. With regard to them I think pretty much the same analysis holds, although my own feeling is that, since the 1960s, there has been some broadening and opening through the mainstream — the effect of the activism of the ’60s, which changed perceptions, attitudes, and civilized the country in many ways. Topics that are freely talked about today were invisible, and, if visible, were unmentionable 50 years ago.

Furthermore, a lot of the journalists themselves are people whose formation was in the ’60s activism and its aftermath. These are changes that have been going on for a long time. With regards to the alternative media, they certainly provide a wide range of options that weren’t there before, and that includes access to foreign media. On the other hand, the Internet is kind of like walking into the Library of Congress in a sense.

Everything in the Library of Congress is there, but you have to know what you’re looking for. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you might as well not have the library. Like you can’t decide you want to become a biologist.

It’s not enough to walk into Harvard’s biology library. You have to have a framework of understanding, a conception of what’s important and what isn’t important; what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense. Not a rigid one that never gets modified, but at least some kind of framework.

Unfortunately that’s pretty rare. In the absence of activist movements that draw in a very substantial part of the population for interaction. Interchange, the kinds of things that went on in the Occupy community for example, in the absence of that most people are kind of at sea when they face the internet.

Yes, they can find things of value and significance, but you have to know to look for them and you must have a framework of analysis and perception that allows you to weed that out from a lot of the junk that surrounds it.

Note: AlterNet is offering readers an opportunity to purchase Noam Chomsky’s new book, Occupy, available here.

 
 

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