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Member since: Sat Sep 15, 2012, 01:49 PM
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The 99% earns less than you might think.

I found this chart of income percentiles of the lower 99 percent interesting.

The recently released Census Bureau publication Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013 confirmed the dismal picture presented in the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances that median household income has not recovered from the financial crisis and the Great Recession. The publication also contains fascinating information on the level and distribution of income. The numbers go to the heart of conversations about the “middle class” and the “rich.”

The headline news associated with the release of the new Census data was that poverty had declined. Indeed, the decline in the poverty rate was statistically significant and occurred primarily among children. Not to rain on that parade, but the poverty rate remained 2.0 percentage points higher than in 2007.

(Read: Poverty rate falls as middle incomes stall.)

Median family income in 2013 according to the Census was $51,939, compared to $56,436 in 2007. The median means that half of households had higher incomes and half had lower ones. The table above presents the thresholds for being in different parts of the income distribution. For example, a household with an income of $150,000 is at the 90th percentile point, or in the top 10% of the income distribution. Even more amazing, a household with an income of $196,000 is at the 95th percentile, or in the top 5%.


Announcement: I have decided to remain uncommitted

First, please forgive the self-involved nature of this thread. I have an announcement I would like to make. I do not care whom anyone here votes for president. Vote for Sanders, Clinton, O'Malley, Webb, Nader, write in Warren, Gore, anyone you want. I do not seek to influence your vote in anyway. I do not have a candidate, and I am unlikely to make my own decision until shortly before I caucus. I have a couple of them in mind, but it is way too early for me to decide. I will support the Democratic nominee, but I want it publicly known that I truly do not care that much about who gets the nomination. Most of all, I really, really don't care whom any of you votes for. That is entirely your own choice, as are your reasons for making it.

I say this because people seem to be misinterpreting much of what I write and looking for heretical signs of crypto-Clintonian support. Now, I do not dislike Clinton, and I have defended her against what I see as unfair attacks. That, however, doesn't mean I have decided to vote for her. I simply do not dislike her, no more than I dislike Sanders, O'Malley or any other candidate. People should not mistake a failure to despise as support. Do not scour my posts thinking I'm making some case for a presidential candidate, when I haven't even made up my own mind. If you want to go at it with a Clinton supporter, find someone who openly supports her. I will continue to post about issues and dynamics that interest me, but individual politicians have never mattered that much to me. I just don't see them as nearly as important as broader issues and social forces.

Okay? Thanks for your cooperation.

A shout out to "social issues"

I thought I'd give a shout out to the DUers and lurking Americans who fall under what some around here derisively refer to as "social issues." The two parties, we're told, are the same on the issues that "really matter." Some, or most it seems, of our candidates are only liberal or different from Republicans on "social issues," not on what really "counts." So here's to all the social issues like me out there: women, people of color, LGBT Americans, the poor, retirees living on social security, the disabled. We may be some (just guessing here) 80% of the population, but our lives, our basic civil and human rights, aren't included among the issues that "really matter." It's your tough luck being born gay, female, non-white, becoming poor, or elderly, or any other condition other than being so privileged, so white and so male that it makes no difference if Democrats or Republicans control the White House and congress. So if you're one of the many Americans who worry about issues that don't matter, like how to pay for heat or whether you can get married or have access to reproductive health care, I'm giving you a shout out.

I guess we have just gone and screwed stuff up for our betters by having the nerve to think our basic rights matter at all. So you and I just need to be quiet while people whose basic civil rights aren't threatened by a GOP administration lecture us about how we are "corporate sell outs" and aligned with Goldman Sachs and the 1 percent. Now you might think: hey that's strange, that person that keeps calling you a corporate sell-out talks about how they "only have four bathrooms" at their house, when you feel pretty chuffed to have one you can call your own. But keep in mind that your betters know what's really important, and it's just not any of the following issues that are affected by a GOP presidency:

Reproductive rights
Equal pay for equal work
Marriage equality
voting rights
Social Security
Assistance for the poor
Assistance for the disabled
Higher education
K-12 Education
Global Climate Change
The Environment
Federally funded research: NIH, NSF, NEH, and NEA
Family planning at home and abroad
Disaster preparedness (remember Katrina?)
Some regulation of Wall Street vs. Complete deregulation
Job training and infrastructure projects vs. even greater tax cuts for the rich
Prosecution of Hate Crimes
Civil rights and enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment
Women's rights as human rights

It's 19 months until the election

Why do people insist it be resolved today? The Democrats so far have one declared candidate, just one. That bothers the people who oppose her, who have vacillated between comments on her campaign donors and the Iraq war vote to sexist attacks on her appearance and deciphering supposed cryptic messages in her logo. Someone asked why we all have to rally behind Clinton. We don't, not yet anyway. My suggestion is people relax. Wait until some other candidates announce and then argue FOR the candidate you like rather than limiting yourself to attacks on Clinton. It's still a very long time until the election. I know some DUers have been playing fantasy presidential politics for a couple of years now, and it's unfortunate so much energy is taken up in cable news-like prognosticating and hand wringing about potential candidates.

How about people address issues and policies that concern you, issues that you would like to see the Democratic party and the eventual nominee adopt? Saying you dislike Clinton is not enough, especially when there are yet no other declared candidates. What issues do you care about? Do you want to see the influence of big money in politics lessened? Do you want to ensure there is no war with Iran and encourage a rollback of US military entanglements around the world? Rather that beating one another over the heads about our respective views of a single candidate, why not focus on issues and reforms that matter? Because if the only goal is ensuring Clinton not be elected President, most loyal Democratic voters will not go along with it. You need to stand FOR something, not just against Clinton.

Another note. I've seen a lot of sexist crap posted over the last few days in the name of "progressive" reform of the party. No progressive reform can be accomplished through sexism. When people rely on sexism or diminishing the rights of LGBT Americans or any other group, the impression is that the reform some want is more regressive than progressive.

Hey patriarchy

Love it.

I like this one

The entire argument about Clinton's so-called private intelligence network

As far as I can tell, hinges on the term "sensitive source" used by Sydney Blumenthal in correspondence to Clinton.

Let's make clear that we are talking about Benghazi here. Ben-fucking-ghazi. A few weeks ago I asked whether people really wanted to sink to Republican levels in staking out the position for the primary (a primary that is not even yet happening). Clearly the answer to that question is yes, and Benghazi is now the smoking gun for the anti-Clintonites, just as it has been for the GOP for years now.

Benghazi was the located of a clandestine CIA station. We know that not only from news reports but from Republicans letting that classified info slip in front of the cameras. "Sensitive source" could well have referred to one of the CIA agents stationed in Benghazi, or it could have referred to another intelligence source. All we actually know is that Blumenthal considered the source sensitive.

The very article used as supposed evidence of Clinton's running her own intelligence service says:
The reports Blumenthal sent to Clinton appear to have been compiled by Tyler Drumheller, a former chief of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) clandestine service in Europe. Drumheller left the CIA in 2005 and started his own security business. http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/was-hillary-clinton-while-secretary-of-state-running-a-secret-spy-network-150330?news=856096 There's the tried and true tactic of phrasing a baseless allegation as a question.

While the article doesn't concern itself with providing evidence, it says the reports were compiled by a former CIA station chief and sent to Blumenthal, who then sent them to Clinton. It says she received information from this other source, not that she ran her own intelligence network. How does receiving information from a former CIA station chief equate with "running a private intelligence network"? The US government has many, many intelligence agencies. Why would a Secretary of State need or want to create her own? All to hide the fact she knew the consulate in Benghazi was about to be stormed? We're heard this story before, only from the GOP.

The Secretary of State has contact with members of all kinds of US agencies, which any cursory reading of US diplomatic history should make clear. The only way in which the term "sensitive source" can be interpreted to mean she ran a private intelligence network is if people 1) have no regard for the truth, facts or evidence; 2) are looking to gin up opposition to Clinton; 3) and have no compulsion about engaging in lies and distortions in order to serve their goal of destroying one potential candidate.

The entire argument is without evidentiary basis. Now I get that right-wingers will grab onto anything to use against the Democrats, but when supposed Democrats do the same thing, it becomes increasingly difficult to tell Republican from Democrat. Regardless of party, however, intellectual honesty should require more; self-respect should require more.

The politics of Helen Keller, Socialism and disability

In a neoliberal era in which personal choice and triumphs of individual character are heralded above social justice and understandings of structural oppression, I think it useful to examine the historical construction of Helen Keller's life story, a popular interpretation that erases her Marxist activism on disability and supplants it with moral tales of overcoming personal obstacles.

Helen Keller is one of the most widely recognized figures in US history that people actually know very little about. That she was a serious political thinker who made important contributions in the fields of socialist theory and practice, or that she was a pioneer in pointing the way toward a Marxist understanding of disability oppression and liberation—this reality has been overlooked and censored. The mythological Helen Keller that we are familiar with has aptly been described as a sort of “plaster saint;” a hollow, empty vessel who is little more than an apolitical symbol for perseverance and personal triumph.1

This is the story that most of us are familiar with: A young Helen Keller contracted an illness that left her blind and deaf; she immediately reverted to the state of a wild animal, as depicted in the popular movie The Miracle Worker; she remained in this state virtually unchanged until she was rescued by her teacher Anne Sullivan, who “miraculously” introduced her to the world of language. Then time passed, and Helen Keller died eighty years later: End of story.

The image of Helen Keller as a gilded, eternal child is reinforced at the highest levels of US society. The statue of Helen Keller erected inside the US Capitol building in 2009, which replaced that of a Confederate Army officer, depicts Keller as a seven-year-old child kneeling at a water pump. Neither the statue itself nor its inscription provides any inkling that the sixty-plus years of Keller’s adult life were of any particular political import.

When the story of Helen Keller is taught in schools today, it is frequently used to convey a number of anodyne “moral lessons” or messages: There is no personal obstacle that cannot be overcome through pluck and hard work; whatever problems one thinks they have pale in comparison to those of Helen Keller; and perhaps the most insidious of such messages, the one aimed primarily at people with disabilities themselves, is that the task of becoming a full member of society rests upon one’s individual efforts to overcome a given impairment and has nothing to do with structural oppression or inequality.

More about the work she did engage in at:

Time to cover up for Assange again

The statute of limitations are close to expiring. Assange, who faces allegations of sexual assault, has been a fugitive from justice for four years. Swedish prosecutors have decided to travel to the UK, where he is evading justice, to interview Assange before the Statue of Limitations expires.

Lead prosecutor Marianne Ny explained the change in position by saying some of the crimes the 43-year-old Australian is accused of will reach their statute of limitations in August.

"My view has always been that to perform an interview with him at the Ecuadorean embassy in London would lower the quality of the interview, and that he would need to be present in Sweden in any case should there be a trial in the future," Ny said in a statement.

"Now that time is of the essence, I have viewed it therefore necessary to accept such deficiencies in the investigation and likewise take the risk that the interview does not move the case forward."


Now what do you do if you're desperate to ensure Assange doesn't face justice for sexual assault? Assail the integrity of the prosecutor, accuse her of "lying" because Sweden has decided to go to the UK rather than let the charges elapse. It takes a lot of effort and justifications to ensure the great and powerful men like Assange not face consequences for allegations of sexual assault. Female victims: liars, worthless. A female prosecutor: a liar whose character must be assassinated to continue the cover up. The accused rapist: not subject to the laws of mere mortals, too great to be held accountable to charges made by lowly women.

This folks is rape culture.

Naturally they should travel to another country to question a fugitive from justice

because a man such as Assange should not have to comply with normal laws and procedures. He must be served, catered to, despite fleeing from questioning for sexual assault allegations. Another victory for rapists the the great men who are above the law, especially when it comes to allegations of violating lowly women.

And it truly is amazing to see celebration of a two procedures of justice--one for the great men of the world and another for mere mortals.

Rape culture must be protected at all costs, or before long more than 3 percent of rapists will have to do jail time, and 25 percent of women in this world might not experience sexual assault. With that kind of disorder, with women considered equal human beings, white male supremacy might disintegrate. Lord knows we couldn't have that.

Yeah, yeah, You'll claim Assange really isn't a rapist, just like the football players in Steubenville weren't really rapists according to their fan club. We live in a world where rape proliferates yet astounding there are no rapists. The purpose of a criminal investigation and trial is to determine guilt, and since Assange has fled that investigation for four years, he has willfully forsaken the opportunity to clear his name.

Because the same people insist on ignoring all legal evidence in the case and repeatedly and falsely insist there is no legal charge against Assange, I am posting the warrant for his arrest and the UK court decision that made clear what his standing is under UK law.

The link below goes to a PDF of the international arrest warrant.

here are four allegations as set out in box (e) of the warrant:
On 13th – 14th August 2010, in the home of the injured party in Stockholm, Assange, by using violence, forced the injured party to endure his restricting her freedom of movement. The violence consisted in a firm hold of the injured party’s arms and a forceful spreading of her legs whilst lying on top of her and with his body weight preventing her from moving or shifting.
On 13th – 14th August 2010, in the home of the injured party in Stockholm, Assange deliberately molested the injured party by acting in a manner designed to violate her sexual integrity. Assange, who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used, consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her without her knowledge.
On 18th August 2010 or on any of the days before or after that date, in the home of the injured party in Stockholm, Assange deliberately molested the injured party by acting in a manner designed to violate her sexual integrity i.e. lying next to her and pressing his naked, erect penis to her body.
On 17th August 2010, in the home of the injured party in Enkoping, Assange deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep, was in a helpless state.
It is an aggravating circumstance that Assange, who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used, still consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her. The sexual act was designed to violate the injured party’s sexual integrity.

The framework list is ticked for “Rape”. This is a reference to an allegation 4. The other three allegations are
described in box (e) II using the same wording as set out above.


UK appellate court ruling on extradition of Assange to Sweden and his standing under Swedish law.


None of the actual evidence in the case matters of course for those who insist the great men of the world be immune from the laws where lowly women are accusers. That is precisely how power, patriarchy, and violence against women are perpetuated.

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