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Member since: Wed Jan 18, 2012, 11:29 PM
Number of posts: 4,826

Journal Archives

British voters who oppose immigration, multiculturalism, social liberalism, etc. were pro-Brexit

And by overwhelming margins, for that matter.

On either side, 51% of voters thought capitalism was a force for ill, while 49% thought it was a force for good.

But sure, the results of this referendum were about "neoliberal tyranny."

Report: ‘Racial Rules’ Widen Economic Inequality for African Americans

Great article.

The income gap between rich and the poor Americans is the highest it has been in nearly 100 years, but the racial inequality gap is even wider. From high school graduates to graduate degree holders, black men and women today continue to earn less than similarly skilled white men and women. Yet missing from this conversation is a full understanding of the historical forces that have constrained African American earning power.

The Washington-based Roosevelt Institute, a nonprofit economic think tank, recently released the study, “Rewrite the Racial Rules: Building an Inclusive American Economy,” that explains how the country’s racial history affects the national economic landscape that African Americans must navigate. “A series of racial rules has really set the foundation for the racial and economic inequality,” explains Andrea Flynn, an Institute fellow who co-authored the study.

By 1980, the economic progress that blacks made during the civil rights era had plateaued. Today, explains Flynn, “there’s a perception that we’re all starting from the same place.” That perception colors how whites evaluate African American success: 66 percent of adults, including 71 percent of whites and 53 percent of blacks, believe that the primary reason that blacks can’t get ahead lies with personal shortcomings and not discrimination.

Yet American workplaces remain highly segregated. After 1980, many employment sectors lost ground on diversity: Between 2001 and 2005, nearly one-third of all industries, including transportation services and banking showed a trend toward resegregation among white men and black men.

The report concludes that race-neutral rules won’t work since slavery and Jim Crow produced discriminatory attitudes and practices that have been difficult to eradicate and still pervade American society today, noting that “The enduring legacy of black slavery is built into our current institutions, policies, programs, and practices and has multigenerational impacts on the life chances and outcomes of black Americans.”

The report suggests that in order to create a more inclusive economy, the U.S. still must rely on racially explicit affirmative action policies and anti-discrimination mandates. African Americans saw modest gains in employment and education after race-specific policies like affirmative action policies were implemented.


Not In My Gay Bar (HuffPo)

Powerful and poignant guest article in the Huffington Post by Joshua Manning. A few excerpts:

Living in the largest city in one of the most progressive states in the country, it would be easy to assume I don’t need a safe space to be gay. Yet even on the streets of downtown Boston, I have been spat at and called a faggot. I have been punched in the face by a stranger for (as far as I could tell) the crime of wearing a shirt that looked too gay. And there’s the lower-level stress. When I meet a stranger, I begin a dance that every gay person you’ve met has probably done - after we “come out” to the world, we still have to come out to each new person we meet because the assumption is always that we are straight until proven gay. It sounds trivial, but this dance has to be done just so. It can’t seem like you’re forcing the issue; it must seem natural. You have to bring it up early, even when it’s irrelevant to the current conversation, because you never know when the conversation is going to turn towards your personal life and by then it might be too awkward. You hope that the stranger will react well, but you don’t know what to expect. In most social exchanges, the only viable alternative to this dance is to carefully mind your pronouns, and that just feels like being back in the closet.

This is what it feels like in Boston as a well-employed gay white male. The world is far more risky for LGBT people living in poverty, LGBT people of color, for trans people in general, for LGBT people in more conservative parts of the country, the list goes on. My worries are a baseline - it only gets harder from here.

Which is why, for many LGBT people - myself included - gay bars are on that very small list of transformative places. The moment you walk in, none of those worries are relevant. You are not going to be punched or harassed. You already came out to everyone just by walking in the door - no conversational juggling needed. You don’t need to read into every interaction because the space exists to equalize all the reasons you would do that. That is true whether you like the bar or not - from the seediest dive to the clubbiest club. In there you can connect differently when, for a few hours, you’re in a safe place where it feels like the world is made for you. Some of this connection lingers in the outside world - it’s why you’ll often hear LGBT people call each other “family” even when we don’t know each other.

As the politics of the situation are hashed out in the news, we’ve read numerous possible motivations behind this attack. Republicans in particular are convinced that radical Islam is to blame. But Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike in our country have long used religion as a justification for bigotry and brutality towards the LGBT community - to reject us, to kick us out of our homes, to beat us up, degrade us, and sometimes kill us, and then to turn back around and invalidate those struggles. The Orlando massacre is shocking, but the slower trickle of hate-motivated LGBT homicides by people of all faiths each year, in aggregate, far exceeds the number of LGBT people killed in this incident. Treating this solely as an issue of Islam is not only taking a narrow field of view, it’s cherry-picking data and misdiagnosing the problems that actually hurt us, and it distracts from a productive discussion about making our community safer.


In spite of the very real progress that the LGBTQ community has made in recent decades through gruelingly hard work, agiation, organizing, and unimaginable pain and suffering, our society still has a long way to go in securing liberty and equality for the LGBTQ community - and other socially marginalized and persecuted groups, for that matter.

Let us never be complacent.

Oakland’s Prosperity Movement fights gentrification by supporting local culture

(Adimu) Madyun said that Oakland’s depletion of jobs and resources and its failing education system have made the city ripe for the picking, a blueprint that stretches across the country where African American and Latino neighborhoods have been gentrified.

“These new economies are being developed, but the African American population and the Latino population and immigrant population are all being locked out of this new economy, and people are coming in because they see that they can make money off of Oakland. So there’s a whole other population that says, ‘We can make money in Oakland, we can suck Oakland dry, we can pimp Oakland.’ They say, ‘We can make money off that hoe called Oakland,’ which makes it very different from someone who says, ‘I love Oakland! Man, I want to go in there and start a business,’” said Madyun.


A reminder of who actually supports - and has supported all along - Donald Trump's campaign

The White Nationalists Who Support Donald Trump


Top Racists And Neo-Nazis Back Donald Trump


I Criticized Donald Trump, And Was Attacked Online By Neo-Nazis


I have noticed in recent years just how openly and blatantly racist a lot of (white) people have become (or at the very least, they have become far more vocal about it). I routinely hear horrifying things about minorities, women, and immigrants - even from people who are (or rather, I had thought were) pretty liberal. Pretty scary.

Racism and bigotry in general never went away, it just hid in the shadows, lurking like a predator that was waiting for the right opportunity to strike again. And the candidacy of Trump has been a golden opportunity, a galvanizing force for anyone who has a bigoted bone in their body and isn't or doesn't want to be ashamed by it. Consider the fact that the Republican nominee - the nominee of one of the two major parties - is enthusiastically supported by Neo-Nazis and other white supremacists. Those people never support the Republican nominee, let alone as openly and unashamedly as they have been supporting Trump!

The Neo-Nazis and other white natinoalist/supremacist/identity movements have officially gone mainstream. Holy. Fucking. Shit.

How Bernie Sanders Exposed the Democrats’ Racial Rift

Excellent Politico article.

Though it might offend his uber-progressive supporters to hear this, the Sanders insurgency is largely a white revolution. All the talk about Sanders representing the future of the Democratic Party because of his overwhelming popularity among young people leaves out an important caveat: He couldn’t persuade minority voters to sign on. In many ways a Sanders victory, propelled by the least diverse states in the nation, would have been a step backward in American race relations. Now that Hillary Clinton has laid claim convincingly to the nomination with decisive wins in California and New Jersey, the party—and Bernie’s supporters—are at a crossroads. If they insist on maintaining their purist divide from Clinton, they will create a rift in the party that’s not just ideological, but racial.

Sanders coming from seemingly nowhere to seriously challenge Clinton while drawing historically large and enthusiastic crowds has soaked up much of the attention in the Democratic race, making it feel as though he’s hit a chord that resonates throughout the party. But his brand of idealism has been rejected by the majority of minority voters—Clinton won every contest with at least a 10 percent black population, except Michigan, and each state where Latinos make up at least 10 percent of eligible voters, except Colorado, according to Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight.com. On top of that, they have been mocked by some Sanders supporters for supposedly “voting against their self-interest” because they refuse to believe a political revolution is at hand. That has been particularly galling to black voters who had to endure claims from conservatives in 2008 that they were voting for Barack Obama only because of race—even though they had spent their entire adult lives voting mostly for white presidential candidates. Now their preference for Clinton’s brand of pragmatism, something they’ve seen result in real progress time and again, is being questioned as well, this time by fellow Democrats.

Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com has shown that Clinton’s victories look much more like the Democratic Party—which, with a projected 54 percent white vote this year, will be majority-minority long before the country is—than do Sanders’ wins. Even in Sanders’ upset in Michigan, pundits were claiming he had made a breakthrough with black voters because he lost them only by 35 percent points. And exit polling data in Nevada that showed him edging Clinton among Hispanics is widely suspected to be wrong, given where Clinton racked up votes in that state.

Minority voters have been watching in horror as millions of Republican voters choose Trump either because of, or despite, his open bigotry. The Sanders supporters who toy with the idea of shunning Clinton in November and allowing Trump to become president to force a revolution that Sanders couldn’t deliver are playing with fire. To minority voters, Trump’s candidacy feels like an existential threat. It’s one thing for Republicans to either ignore or embrace his racism; the party already seems unwilling or incapable of making the kinds of adjustments it must to attract more non-white voters. It’s quite another for white Democrats to not appreciate how liberal minorities feel about the possibility of a Trump presidency and what that would say about the state of racial progress in America. It would be a slap in the face, the latest sign that a kind of white privilege—throwing a temper tantrum because they don’t get their way despite how much it hurts people of color—is deeply rooted within liberal, Democratic ranks as well.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/06/2016-bernie-sanders-hillary-clinton-democrats-race-racial-divide-213948#ixzz4BlPY6r17

Not only can the US Constitution be amended, but existing amendments can be reinterpreted

Both of these things have happened repeatedly throughout American history.

Also, take a look at the first clause of Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution:

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

There it is, in black and white (pun intended). The institution of slavery is enshrined in the US Constitution. We just disregard that part of the Constitution, because we eventually recognized that our moral code is not (and should not be) dictated by a piece of paper that itself was an imperfect and incomplete compromise between a wide array of wealthy, powerful interests in the era of the early Republic.

Apparently though, for some strange and mysterious reason, the Second Amendment is completely off-limits. The normal process of contextualization, compromise, and regulation does not apply here. Intriguing...

This just about sums up the gun "debate" in the US

"If the murder of 30 schoolchildren and their teachers didn't result in stricter gun regulation then neither will the murder of 50 LGBT Americans."

We have done this song and dance so many times that I lost count several mass shootings ago. The gun nuts won. There will be nothing other than meaningless (and frankly, insulting) "thoughts and prayers" from the same people who will never support any increase in gun regulation. In fact, it is far more likely that there will be less regulation of firearms in the future, especially if Trump is elected and the Republican Party continues to control Congress and the Supreme Court.

The United States of America, the self-described Leader of the Free World, can't even protect its own people from being murdered in cold blood by nuts with guns - all in the name of "freedom." The freedom of gun owners to buy their precious toys and for gun manufacturers to make them and for gun stores to sell them. Naturally, this all comes at the cost of the freedom to not live in fear every time you go out in public that some deranged asshole might shoot you. The former freedom exists at the expense of the latter one. That is the choice we have collectively made as a society. Gun rights are more important than human safety.

Pretty fucking sad.

On Saudi Arabia's central role in sponsoring terrorism and the ideology that underpins it

The most fundamentally important thing to understand about Saudi Arabia's role in aiding, abetting, and assisting Al-Qaeda and its various offshoots is that the House of Saud's legitimacy as the ruling family of their country is based entirely on their alliance with the Wahhabist religious establishment that controls Saudi society. The Wahhabis support the al-Saud's rule in exchange for the latter's protection of the Land of the Two Mosques. This alliance has been solidified by intermarriage between the two ruling establishment of Saudi Arabia over the three centuries of the alliance's existence. In sum, the alliance between the al-Saud's and the Wahhabis is an integration of the ruling political and religious classes in the Kingdom - classes who support each other in a mutually beneficial agreement.

However, there is a fundamental tension between the fanatically puritanical and austere Wahhabis on the one hand and the decidedly lavish, Westernized lifestyles of the al-Sauds on the other. In a society that is absolutely dominated by Wahhabist extremist ideology, the vast majority of criticism of and dissent against the ruling family is rooted in the argument that the al-Sauds are total hypocrites who preach Wahhabism yet practice "corrupt", decadent, and Westernized lifestyles. In other words, the House of Saud is accused by its internal critics of not being Wahhabist enough.

The implication of this tension is that the al-Saud has adopted a strategy of brutally crushing (most) domestic dissent (except from the Wahhabist religious establishment, whom as previously mentioned, the ruling family depends on for support and legitimacy) while generously funding and exporting Wahhabist ideology to the rest of the world. In essence, the House of Saud exports both its ideology and many of its most extreme critics to both Islamic and non-Islamic countries around the globe.

Consequently, al-Qaeda and allied organizations are heavily funded by wealthy Saudi donors who, for the most part, operate freely within the Kingdom. All of this is why Saudi Arabia has been, at best, an unreliable and deeply problematic "ally" in America's global battle against al-Qaeda and its allies. Unfortunately, should the House of Saud fall, there will be no remotely "liberal" or Westernized democracy to take its place. This is a society that is deeply steeped in regressive cultural traditions and extreme religious ideology. And as much as I absolutely loathe the House of Saud and its brutal and barbaric oppression of its own people, I honestly do not see there being a better alternative; just a lot of scarier and more dangerous ones.

Really a fucked up situation all around.

I could say a lot about the act of evil committed in Orlando last night, but nothing would change

So I will just reiterate what I have always believed: intense fear and hatred will inevitably lead to violence, sooner or later. I don't give a shit about what religion or political ideology or whatever the fuck these murderers use to even attempt to justify their actions. There is no justification. There is no explaining. There is no equivocation. This is unacceptable and beyond the pale, period.

I will end with this quote from an American icon who fought violence with truth and love, and ironically (if not surprisingly) was ultimately a victim of violence himself.

Man was born into barbarism when killing his fellow man was a normal condition of existence. He became endowed with a conscience. And he has now reached the day when violence toward another human being must become as abhorrent as eating another's flesh.

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

RIP to all the victims of this despicable hate crime and act of terrorism.
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