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The Left Call offers an essential American Left perspective with incisive commentary on far-reaching social, economic, and political issues. [more]
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The most popular articles.
- U.S. Crime Rates 1960-2010: The Facts Might Surprise You (88,849)
Original article appears below foreword. FOREWORD In the aftermath of recent violent mass-shooting events in the United States along with increased traffic to this particular article, I feel compelled to preface it by saying that this article's...
- What Does It Mean To Be A Liberal? (29,364)
We are witnessing a consolidation of the political left (liberal) and political right (conservative) into distinct parties in America, and I believe this has brought about confusion in political self-identity. People tend to stick with the political...
- July 1, 2012: The Day ISPs Start Spying On Customers (21,457)
Correction: This story originally cited July 12, 2012 as the date ISPs start spying on customers as this was the date widely reported at the time of publishing. There are still conflicting reports but it appears the correct date is July 1, 2012....
The best articles.
The Left Call has over 1500 articles articulating a fiery American Left viewpoint. Here are some of the best, organized by topic.
To be a liberal is to see government as an extension of the community, and therefore a force of good. Waste and corruption do exist within all human created entities, but government is no more inviting or immune to those forces than a corporate board room.
I think the best way to answer the question of what it means to be a liberal is to define the main tenets of modern social liberalism. 1. Government as a source of good. 2. Tolerance, respect, compassion and empathy. 3. Rational and reasoned thought. 4. Freedom, liberty, and individual autonomy. 5. Progress.
A dollar is a dollar, right? Well, it is true from a monetary perspective that each dollar is worth, well, a dollar. But the “utility” value of each dollar is not equal, and is entirely dependent on your income level. “Utility is a measure for the degree of happiness or benefit something of value gives you,” says CTLawGuy on DemocraticUnderground. “[T]he more you have of something, the less utility value each additional unit carries. This is called ‘diminishing returns.’”
ECONOMIC INEQUALITY / ECONOMIC JUSTICE
[D]eclining union representation in the private workforce has a lot to do with growing inequality. It was a national source of pride to say the largest employer [General Motors] was unionized and paid its workers a living wage with benefits, but that was 50 years ago. It should now be seen as a national source of shame to say the largest employer [Walmart] is not unionized and does not pay its workers a living wage, and in many cases, does not offer benefits.
Economic inequality touches everything. From the nutritional benefit of the food one can afford, to the education one has access to, vast inequality in America offers extreme advantages to some, acute obstacles to others. Most of us know this is the case, but it seems some on the Right refuse to acknowledge it, or say we should not talk about it out of a fraudulent fear that it will divide Americans. Well, I hate to break it to you, but we are divided, and ignoring it doesn’t change the fact that people in this country are divided by an immense chasm separating the “haves” and the “have nots.”
America is exceptional all right, its exceptionally jaded, exceptionally cynical, exceptionally resentful, and exceptionally callous. We are so judgmental of others, so righteous of our own strengths, so high on our own self-worth, we believe we need to be exceptionally tough when it comes to anyone who does not measure up.
HEALTH CARE AS A RIGHT
The show Breaking Bad is about Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who is diagnosed with lung cancer in the first episode of the series. Because he does not want to be a financial burden to his family, he uses his chemistry skills to produce and sell a super pure methamphetamine, and in the process become “Heisenberg,” his menacing alter ego. During the course of the series, we watch the Walter White character transform from seemingly meek and innocent to astonishingly scheming and rancorous. But it didn’t have to be that way.
Medicare is still a tremendously efficient insurance program compared to private insurance. Medicare’s administrative costs (costs not directly related to health services) runs around 2 percent. Compare that to private insurance which has administrative costs running from 10 to 20 percent or sometimes much higher. Explain to me: How is it more efficient to provide health care insurance by a for-profit company compared to a non-profit, low overhead public-run program? The answer should be obvious.
I’ve worked at the same small company for over a decade making a good middle/upper-middle class wage and, while I used to be covered under the health insurance plan they offered me, when my wife quit her job (which gave her health insurance) to stay home with our new son, I had to consider what the cheapest option was to cover all 3 of us. My company’s health insurance coverage was the obvious choice, since it was great for me alone, but I soon discovered that if I added my wife and child, my company wouldn’t pay anything at all for them. In fact, it would cost me somewhere in the neighborhood of $15k more per year.
POLICE STATE / PRISON-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
[T]he war on drugs is a perfect example of failed “tough on crime” policies. Our stance on drugs for over 40 years is not so much intended to fix a problem, as much as it’s meant to extend punitive platitudes, uttered by spineless politicians, to appease the masses. About the same percentage of the population uses drugs now compared to before we declared a war on a substance. So clearly creating a more punitive system, in this case for drug offenders, did nothing to lower the recidivism and use rates.
What’s the connection between incarceration and voting? First, if you’ve done your time, you should not exit prison with a limited set of rights. Second, if you were going to limit rights, why voting? Could it be that our prisons disproportionately incarcerate young black males? And well, you know, we have a history of suppressing the black vote in America. I’m just spitballing here.
[T]here are some who are unconvinced there’s a problem. To some, these victims are not victims at all. To some, the mere fact that police used force is enough evidence that the resulting death was unfortunate, but necessary. But that kind of attitude is dangerous. That kind of attitude leads to a passivity. This is the kind of indifference you’d expect to see in a police state scenario in some fictional dystopic movie like The Hunger Games. Sure, you have your few rabble-rousers, but in large part the population can be separated into the demoralized masses, with the rest falling into the category of sympathizers or even worshippers, those who have nothing but kind words for their aggressive authoritarian overlords.
While the 50-year low for murder per 100,000 was in 1962 and 1963 with 4.6 per 100,000, those years were actually down a bit from the rest of the 1960s which ranged from 4.8 to 7.3. What was the 2010 number? – 4.8 per 100,000 – That’s a tie with 1961. Yes, you read that correctly. The murder rate, indexed to population was at a near 50-year low in 2010. Compare that to the worst year, 1980, when the rate was 10.2 per 100,000.