Sparking The Left is a serious advocate for the minimum wage increase to $15 an hour. (It should have been to $25 an hour 20 years ago, honestly). Just check out this great tweet by Sen Bernie Sanders we put on the STL twitter feed:
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released on Mon. 2/8/2021, a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour would boost the wages of the 17 million workers who make less than that now. And another 10 million workers otherwise earning slightly more than $15 per hour might see their wages rise as well. The number of people with annual income below the poverty threshold in 2025 would fall by 1.3 million.
In all fairness, the CBO report also predicted that the increase could be up to 1.3 million jobs lost between the six increases ending in 2025. But a phase-in of a $15 minimum wage would also lift some 900,000 out of poverty. The report also states that there are two points of uncertainty it does not take into account in their final numbers, namely, wage growth or the responsiveness of employment to a wage increase, i.e., how will rich pigs handle these new costs in terms of layoffs, benefits reduction, etc. So these two points show the CBO is not saying their conclusions are scripture.
According to a report done by John Schmitt at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, (Schmitt, 2013), a review of all major academic economic research from the early 1990’s to 2013 on minimum wage increases, minimum wage rates have little or no discernible effect on the employment prospects of low-wage workers. According to Schmitt 2013,
“;;;[T]he weight of the empirical evidence is either inconclusive (statistically insignificant or positive in some cases and negative in others) or suggestive of only small economic effects [pg. 22]
The federal minimum wage being so low is one of the biggest crimes against the people in this country behind our astronomical healthcare costs. And the above cited sources show how many people could be saved by a small hike. The wage has not even increased since 2009. That’s 12 years now. A living wage to everyone, worker or not, should already be considered a human right globally. We cannot even get that for the millions of Americans who work 40 hours a week in the richest nation in history. Low-wage workers cannot stay above the poverty line at $7.25 hr., yet those like Jeff Bezos, who just retired from Amazon with $184.6 billion dollars, could never spend all the money they hoard. And according to the New York Times, Pres. Biden just met with the leaders of major corporations like Wal-Mart, Gap Inc., and JP Morgan Chase, where he probably begged at their feet for help because he promised voters a living-wage (which many experts qualify as $17.50 hr). He has already broken his word in how we will not be getting a full $2000 stimulus check from this worthless government.
This situation and the above cited facts point to one major point that is not new here at STL: We are screaming to the people, “The system does not work for you! Let’s do something about it!” This country’s power structure is simply here to perpetuate the domination of the 1%. And we have to do something about that.
I am keeping up with our STL Twitter feed again at @LeftSparking. You can see some of the most recent posts below, or you can simply follow us on the Twitter app to receive tweets and retweets from STL during the week. Check it out!
The most respected modern far-leftist intellectual is Noam Chomsky. Chomsky is Institute Professor (emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. He is also a historian, a social critic, and an activist, amongst many other important things. Chomsky completely rearranged my world view with a collection of his transcripts compiled from several of his talks entitled Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky . And I once felt that I could rely on him for infallible guidance as a radical leftist thinker. But I just recently found an interview Chomsky did with Canada’s National Observer published June 15th, 2020 that features a zoom call interview where he is described as proclaiming,
Voting for U.S. President Donald Trump is worse than voting for Hitler, Chomsky affirmed to interviewer Linda Solomon Wood, during a Canada’s National Observer-sponsored webinar in April. “Hitler was maybe the worst criminal in human history.” He wanted to murder millions of Jews, Slavs, Roma, homosexuals, others. “But what does Trump want to do? He wants to destroy the prospects for organized human life.”
Chomsky then explains that Trump is doing this horrible thing by destroying the environment with his policies, and that is what makes him worse than Hitler. (Check from minutes 9:32 to 14:00)
How can anyone possibly think that anyone in our modern age, much less former Pres. Donald J. Trump, rivalled Hitler’s criminality? That is the most insane argument I have ever heard. Yes, Trump will probably go down in history as the worst president the U.S. has ever had. And, yes, he tried to overturn Obamacare, gave huge tax cuts to corporations, and ripped kids from their parent’s arms and put them in cages. But Hitler? The Holocaust? The 25 million dead Russians? The destruction of Europe???
Chomsky then goes on to try and support his absurd claim by laying out an historical anecdote where he describes a document by the Nazi regime that was found. It read that even the Germans knew they had to stop the emission of greenhouse gases to protect the planet from overheating. And that is shocking. But worse than Hitler???
Sorry, Noam, Trump and the GOP do not want to intentionally destroy the entire system of organized life. They just have their heads completely in the sand about the global climate crisis due to business interests. The GOP takes three tracks in their thinking on the enviroment, either, A. climate change is not real, or, B. it is not a result of manmade greenhouse gas emissions, or, C. technology will provide us with a solution to the problem once the situation gets what they consider as out of hand. This is simple ignorance and a complete disregard for people’s lives in the interest of wealthy donors. And I am not absolving them from blame for future catastrophes. But it is not the killing of millions in an attempt to lord over the entirety of Europe!
Let it be said that even as enthusiastic radical leftists we cannot fall into the same trap Chomsky has. Sometimes we need to tone down the rhetoric, if you can believe I am saying that. Lenin and the other Bolsheviks were as radical as they come, yet they maintained reality. If not, they never would have kept the Revolution alive. And Marxism is a theoretical framework we believe in, and over-exaggerating does nothing to further the mechanics of it. Nor does it help the movement. Do you think most proletarians would think Chomsky is a complete kook if they heard the above claim? I am sure they would.
I was unable to put anything together for this week’s post due to time constraints, but I did put up five new images in the STL gallery. I do have four quick points on the week’s news below, though. Be back with a full post next week:
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene must be expelled from Congress. This is so painfully obvious I cannot believe I have to advocate for this. There is right and wrong here, people. Stop making excuses for the fascist supporters of these wicked people. We have to draw a line.
If you have some extra funds to lose, download the Robinhood app and invest in GameStop, Blackberry, or another short-squeezed stock to try and stick it to the oligarchs on Wall Street. Just remember, those stocks will come crashing down to their “real” value sometime soon. So make sure not to be left holding the bag, or don’t use any resources you can’t afford to lose.
This is getting very old: the Right must stop equating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol to Black Lives Matter protests. One was an attempt to overturn a democratic election (though bourgeois) while the other is resistance against people being murdered in the streets and in their beds by agents of repression. No comparison.
Facebook is using the excuse that they should be able to take down leftist groups and pages just because they’re trying to get rid of right-wing extremists and Q-anon believers. This goes to the above point in that we are not the same. We are not just differing sides of a “conversation.” There IS right and wrong here.
Below is an exclusive video from Russia, with English subtitles, exposing the existence of a palace owned by Russian premiere Vladimir Putin on the coast of the Black Sea. According to the New York Times, this opulent, crime-as-substance cost somewhere around $1 billion dollars. What does this all include?
The ground floor includes a spa, a movie theater, a wine cellar and an outdoor area with fountains described as an “aqua disco.” The next floor up, according to the report, has a larger theater, a casino hall and a windowless hookah lounge with a pole-dancing stage. The report also describes an underground hockey rink, a church, a tunnel to the seaside and a 260-foot-long bridge leading to a teahouse.
And in the text version of the investigation, which you can translate from Russian, you can take a virtual look-around Putin’s classy hookah lounge/private strip club which is beyond sleazy.
This ostentatious temple built to one mans avarice and megalomania is maybe one of the sickest shows that can be conceived by the radical left.
This work of investigative journalism is hosted, and produced by top Russian dissident Alexei Navalny and his associates. The AP describes Mr. Nalvany as…
He has released scores of damning reports exposing corruption in Putin’s Russia. He has been a galvanizing figure in mass protests, including unprecedented 2011-12 demonstrations sparked by reports of widespread rigging of a parliamentary election.
And there is another great profile of Mr. Navalny here in the NYT here.
Today, as further reported by the AP, an estimated 15,000 demonstrators gathered in and around Pushkin Square in Moscow to protest the unjust incarceration of Mr. Navalny. They were joined by other protesters across the country standing outside in sometimes -58 F weather. Navalny’s being held on trumped up charges of financial crimes clearly levelled against him as a political hit and and an excuse to imprison him. (The charges brought against him and his brother the European Court of Human Rights have declared unwarranted.) Further, these protests have led to the arrests of more than 3,000 peaceful protesters, many more beaten, by the Russian authorities.
Watch the beatings here:
The breadth and depth of the above investigation is unbelievably expansive. Just scroll through the text, as I did, if you can stomach it, and observe the images , 3-D models, and linked .pdf files of floor plans. Remarkable. This video/text also shows one of the many cases of theft (by the “believed” richest man in the world, according to a Fortune report) from the Russian people by Putin, his cronies, and fellow oligarchs.
Why do I find this so upsetting? Because from the momentous days of the October Revolution of 1917, to the fall of the U.S.S.R. in 1989-1991, there was so much work, sacrifice, and eventual loss of dreams for the creation of a true workers’ state. Now look what it has turned into. A plutocracy where the man with more money than Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates has the people beaten in the streets when peacefully protesting. And just over false charges against a rival who wants the best for everyone.
If I were not Kentucky White Trash, I would like to have the money to visit Russia some day and see all of the great sites: St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Winter Palace, Lenin’s Mausoleum. But I swear to you now and to the day of my death, I would never spend a single kopek in the Russian state because, more than likely, it would end up in one of the chests belonging to Vladimir Putin.