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YoungDemCA

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This is your brain on Whiteness: The invisible psychology of white American ignorance explained

snip:
The dominant corporate news media have used the Baltimore uprising and other similar events to attack Black America’s character, values, and culture. The argument is clear: The events in Waco were committed by white men who happen to be criminals; the Baltimore uprising was committed by black people who, because of their “race” and “culture,” are inherently criminal.

Racial bias in news reporting has been repeatedly documented by scholars in media studies, critical race theory, political science, and sociology. As anti-racism activist Jane Elliot incisively observed, “People of color can’t even turn on the televisions in their own homes without being exposed to white racism.” The centuries of racism, and resulting stereotypes about the inherent criminality of Black Americans, are central to why the events in Waco and Baltimore have received such divergent news coverage.


snip:
White racial logic demands that whites and blacks engaged in the same behavior are often described using different language. (White people have a “fracas,” while black people “riot”; during Hurricane Katrina white people were “finding food,” while black people were “looting.”)

In the post civil rights era, White racial logic also tries to immunize and protect individual white folks from critical self-reflection about their egos and personal relationships to systems of unjust and unearned advantage by deploying a few familiar rhetorical strategies, such as “Not all white people,” “We need to talk about class not race,” or similarly hollow and intellectual vapid and banal claims about “reverse racism.” Ego, language, and cognition intersect in the belief that Whiteness is inherently benign and innocent.

Whiteness is many things. It is a type of property, privilege, “invisibility,” and “normality.” Whiteness also pays a type of psychological wage to its owners and beneficiaries. While its relative material value may be declining in an age of neoliberalism and globalization, the psychological wage wherein Whiteness is imagined as good and innocent, and those who identify themselves as “white” believe themselves to be inherently just and decent, still remains in force. One of the most important psychological wages of Whiteness remains how white folks can imagine themselves as the preeminent individual, the universal “I” and “We,” while benefitting from the unearned advantages that come with white privilege as a type of group advantage.

Non-whites in the United States, and the West more broadly, do not have the luxury of being individuals. If a “Black” person commits a crime, it is somehow a reflection of the criminality of Black people en masse. Similarly, when a person who happens to be marked as “Arab” or “Muslim” commits an act of political violence, an obligatory conversation on the relationship between “terrorism” and the “Muslim community” ensues.


http://www.salon.com/2015/05/22/this_is_your_brain_on_whiteness_the_invisible_psychology_of_white_american_ignorance_explained/

Differences in gender roles and socialization of children start from very, very early age

A child's earliest exposure to what it means to be male or female comes from parents (Lauer & Lauer, 1994; Santrock, 1994; Kaplan, 1991). From the time their children are babies, parents treat sons and daughters differently, dressing infants in gender specific colors, giving gender differentiated toys, and expecting different behavior from boys and girls (Thorne, 1993). One study indicates that parents have differential expectations of sons and daughters as early as 24 hours after birth (Rubin, Provenzano, & Luria, 1974).

Children internalize parental messages regarding gender at an early age, with awareness of adult sex role differences being found in two-year-old children (Weinraub, Clemens, Sachloff, Ethridge, Gracely, & Myers, 1984). One study found that children at two and a half years of age use gender stereotypes in negotiating their world and are likely to generalize gender stereotypes to a variety of activities, objects, and occupations (Fagot, Leinbach, & O'Boyle, 1992; Cowan & Hoffman, 1986). Children even deny the reality of what they are seeing when it doesn't conform to their gender expectations (i.e., a child whose mother is a doctor stating that only men are doctors) (Sheldon, 1990).

Sons have a definite edge as far as parental preference for children is concerned. Most parents prefer male children to female children throughout the world (Steinbacher & Holmes in Basow, 1992, p. 129). Also, people who prefer sons are more likely to use technology for selecting the sex of their child (Steinbacher & Gilroy, 1990). This preference for male children is further emphasized by the finding that parents are more likely to continue having children if they have only girls than if they have only boys (Hoffman, 1977).


http://gozips.uakron.edu/~susan8/parinf.htm


Early gender socialization starts at birth and it is a process of learning cultural roles according to one's sex. Right from the beginning, boys and girls are treated differently by the members of their own environment, and learn the differences between boys and girls, women and men. Parental and societal expectations from boys and girls, their selection of gender-specific toys, and/or giving gender based assignments seem to define a differentiating socialization process that can be termed as "gender socialization". There are numerous examples from varied parts of the world confirming that gender socialization is intertwined with the ethnic, cultural, and religious values of a given society. And gender socialization continues throughout the life cycle.

Gender socialization is the process by which people learn to behave in a certain way, as dictated by societal beliefs, values, attitudes and examples. Gender socialization begins as early as when a woman becomes pregnant and people start making judgments about the value of males over females. These stereotypes are perpetuated by family members, teachers and others by having different expectations for males and females.

Imagine the following scenario: a young pregnant woman is about to have her first child. When asked whether she wishes to have a girl or boy, she replies that it doesn’t matter. But, sitting next to her is an older relative who says “Oh, hopefully it will be a boy.” In small, but meaningful ways such as this, gender socialization starts even before birth.

Children start facing norms that define “masculine” and “feminine” from an early age. Boys are told not to cry, not to fear, not to be forgiving and instead to be assertive, and strong. Girls on the other hand are asked not to be demanding, to be forgiving and accommodating and “ladylike”. These gender roles and expectations have large scale ramifications. In many parts of the world, girls face discrimination in the care they receive in terms of their access to nutritious foods and health care, leading them to believe that they deserve to be treated differently than boys. The degree of gender differences observed varies in all cultures in respect to infant, toddler and young child health, nutrition, care developmental activities, education, hygiene and protection.


http://www.unicef.org/earlychildhood/index_40749.html

I don't have any children of my own, but my sister's kids are at that very interesting age where they're just starting to identify things as "for girls" or "for boys." In a few months, I suspect my nephew won't be caught dead in Cinderella's shoes, especially when he reaches the age of my 6-year-old niece, who is currently going through her pink princess phase and notably moving into the age where "everyone in my class" birthday parties start to become "girls only" birthday parties, starting a cooties and gender-based separation that will most likely remain until middle school, when hormones override cootie-based fears and long-held gender separation rules and boys are once again permitted to join parties (much to my brother-in-law's dismay).

But going through a pink princess period and engaging in gender-specific birthday celebrations and the like might not be entirely helpful, from a developmental standpoint, according to Lise Eliot, the author of Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps – and What We Can Do About It. As Eliot tells Helena de Bertodano of the Times of London, the brains of boys and girls aren't really that different after all; it's the social conditioning they receive that makes them pick up and internalize gender roles. "Everything is filtered through a lens of whether you believe boys and girls are hard-wired. I don't think your average person appreciates that differences in the brain can be learnt."

Eliot's work is reflected in a study recently published in Sex Roles, which surveyed 80 families and "looked at differences in the way play and caregiving were initiated verbally, and how the participants responded - also verbally - to this initiation, for mother-son, mother-daughter, father-son and father-daughter combinations," by placing toddlers in a one-on-one situation with their parents for snack-time interaction and play-time interaction. Researchers found that toddlers of both genders showed similar communication methods during snack time, but picked up on cues given by their parents during play time, as fathers tended to encourage assertive behavior while mothers encouraged cooperation and fairness. According to the authors of the study: "It would appear that children in the same family have different experiences in their play interactions with their mothers and fathers. Such differences may teach children indirect lessons about gender roles and reinforced gender typed patterns of behavior that they then carry into contexts outside of the family."

So how can parents challenge stereotypical notions of gender? Eliot suggests that it isn't as easy as giving a girl a raygun and having a boy play with My Little Pony: "Many parents have tried this, to little effect. Girls turned the trucks into families, boys played catch with the dolls, and both sexes knew there was something fishy going on." She instead suggests that parents consider buying toys such as Legos for girls, which encourage "the kind of visuospatial skill that is linked to higher mathematic achievement," and perhaps getting your son a pet, as it encourages boys to be nurturing and patient.


http://jezebel.com/5561837/girls-are-pink-boys-are-blue-on-toddlers-and-gender-roles

Republicans: Medicaid signup numbers proof that costs will be more than projected

More than 12 million people have signed up for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act since January 2014, and in some states that embraced that piece of the law, enrollment is hundreds of thousands beyond initial projections. Seven states have seen particularly big surges, with their overruns totaling nearly 1.4 million low-income adults.

The federal government is picking up 100 percent of the expansion costs through 2016, and then will gradually cut back to 90 percent. But some conservatives say the costs that will fall on the states are just too big a burden, and they see vindication in the signup numbers, proof that costs will be more than projected as they have warned all along.


snip:
Obamacare originally expanded Medicaid — which traditionally served poor children, pregnant women and the disabled — to all childless low-income adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (about $16,250 for an individual) across the country. But the Supreme Court made expansion optional in 2012. And 21 states, mostly with GOP governors, have resisted.

The expansion of Obamacare will cost our state taxpayers $5 billion,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in an interview with POLITICO last week, referring to the 10-year cost. “Name the health care program — I think the only one is Medicare Part D — that cost less than what they initially anticipated…Historically, if you look at the numbers, with the growth in Medicare costs, Medicaid costs, it’s always multiples.” A bitter critic of Obamacare, Scott at one point surprisingly backed expansion, but withdrew his support earlier this year. His state legislature is deeply split on Medicaid policy.



Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/skyrocketing-medicaid-expansion-obamacare-republican-governors-118011.html#ixzz3adfuIB13

So Republican Governors are basically all but admitting that under their leadership, their states have seen an increase in the number of poor people, no?

Financialization: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (Daily Kos diary, 2014)

The current phase of American capitalism's chronic stagnation has entered a phase of what many call "financialization" or the growth in the dominance of the financial sector of the economy. More than just the financial sector and credit being a larger share of overall GDP (much like the share of auto production in the US economy immediately after WII) financial thinking itself comes to overtake the very basis of policy making and the daily calculus of various economic actors. Hence, for example, the former concern with GDP and personal income growth by the Federal Reserve and other policy making bodies is replaced by the concern to stabilize and ensure asset prices, especially as they serve as the collateral needed to sustain consumer spending and hence growth. Economist Thomas Palley explains the new policy dynamic;

"Whereas pre-1980 policy tacitly focused on putting a floor under labor markets to preserve employment and wages, now policy tacitly puts a floor under asset prices. This policy behavior has been clearly visible with the 2007 U.S. subprime mortgage crisis. It is not a case of the Fed intentionally bailing out investors. Rather, the macro economy is now vulnerable to asset price declines so that the Fed is obliged to step in to prevent such declines from inflicting broad macroeconomic damage."



snip:
The housing price bubble may have been linked to finance capital's need for ever greater profits but the profitability of the new derivatives, Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) was based significantly on subprime borrowers or those whose interest rates were significantly above the norm. One British researcher, Johnna Montgomerie ties the rise of the subprime borrower directly to the creation of a massive group called the working poor under new liberal, free market capitalism and the rise of the heavy financial indebtedness of this class. "The making of the subprime borrower," Montgomerie contends, is directly related to the inequalities created by monopoly finance capitalism and its distinct model of debt based growth. Montgomerie points out that not only did subprime lending increase from 4% of all mortgage lending in the US in the early 1990s and increase to a quarter of all mortgage loans by 2005 at the height of the subprime lending craze, but over this same period, the average household consumer and mortgage debt of US families earning below $20,000/year (the lowest income quintile) tripled from about $5,700 in 1992 to nearly $18,000 in 2007 on the eve of the current crisis. (Montgomerie; 2010; in ed. Konings; 106-109) Thus, the subprime mortgage fiasco is inseparable from the growth of class polarization under neo-liberal, finance capitalism. Montgomerie concludes by linking the long term process of neo-liberal economic restructuring and its connection to the new growth of the working poor with the ongoing financialization trends and debt driven economic growth.

The details of the housing bubble and its bursting is well known. About $7 trillion in stock market wealth and $8 trillion in residential real estate value quickly disappeared due to the crash of 2008. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report of 2011 noted that one of the most salient facts of the financialization phase of late capitalism was the growth of the financial industry itself not due to the financing of regular economic opportunities but by its own enlargement. It isn't only that financial sector profits grew from 15% of all corporate profits in 1980 to 33% in 2001; its the growth of financial sector assets and borrowing in order to swell the industry itself in order to promote the real growth of an economy on a mountain of debt in order to swell all capitalist profits without middle class income growth. This is well reflected in the growth of financial firms themselves and an increase in the size of the financial sector relative to the size of the non-financial sector.

If we look closely at the nature of the current crisis we can easily see how it unfolded. Daniel Gross, a financial writer for Salon and other online Media sources, points out how the housing bubble was created to save both Wall Street and the US economy in an era of growing over debt including balance of payments deficits with our major trading partners. Gross pointed out that residential real estate was the most responsive to low interest rate incentives. The price of real estate rose so fast in the late 1990s and early 2000s that low interest and down payments made sense to lenders because of the growing value of their collateral. And along with the growth of real estate prices grew home equity credit lines to fuel spending to sustain the economy. Gross points out that between 2001 and late 2004, home equity withdrawls rose from $59.1 billion to $206.7 billion. (Gross; 2009; 28) Thus, the bubble fueled the economy in lieu of growing real middle class income.


snip:
Dramatically increased leveraging, in search of greater profits, led to a crisis of mammoth proportions but not only because of misplaced bets and risky Wall Street speculation. The entire US economy had become a house of cards because big capital, financial, industrial and commercial, believed it was possible to do an end run around healthy middle class real income growth allowing it to be substituted by an increasingly indebted class of working poor who are nearly one third of all US households today. Financialization isn't parasitism; it is the normal outcome of unbridled capitalist development and its tendency toward the concentration and centralization of income, output and wealth. This crisis is the result. As Karl Marx once remarked, "The chief impediment to the expansion of capitalism is...capital itself!


http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/04/27/1295056/-Financialization-The-Highest-Stage-of-Capitalism

How the Bush Administration let the Saudis off the hook for 9/11, and directed attention to Iraq

First, some initial context from the 9/11 Commission Report:

Al Qaeda appears to have relied on a core group of financial facilitators who raised money from a variety of donors and other fund-raisers, primarily in the Gulf countries and particularly in Saudi Arabia. Some individual donors surely knew, and others did not, the ultimate destination of their donations. Al Qaeda and its friends took advantage of Islam's strong calls for charitable giving, zakat. These financial facilitators also appeared to rely heavily on certain imams at mosques who were willing to divert zakat donations to al Qaeda's cause.

Al Qaeda also collected money from employees of corrupt charities. It took two approaches to using charities for fund-raising. One was to rely on al Qaeda sympathizers in specific foreign branch offices of large, international charities-particularly those with lax external oversight and ineffective internal controls, such as the Saudi-based al Haramain Islamic Foundation. Smaller charities in various parts of the globe were funded by these large Gulf charities and had employees who would siphon the money to al Qaeda.

In addition, entire charities, such as the al Wafa organization, may have wittingly participated in funneling money to al Qaeda. In those cases, al Qaeda operatives controlled the entire organization, including access to bank accounts. Charities were a source of money and also provided significant cover, which enabled operatives to travel undetected under the guise of working for a humanitarian organization.

It does not appear that any government other than the Taliban financially supported al Qaeda before 9/11, although some governments may have contained al Qaeda sympathizers who turned a blind eye to al Qaeda's fundraising activities. Saudi Arabia has long been considered the primary source of al Qaeda funding, but we have found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization. (This conclusion does not exclude the likelihood that charities with significant Saudi government sponsorship diverted funds to al Qaeda.)

Still, al Qaeda found fertile fund-raising ground in Saudi Arabia, where extreme religious views are common and charitable giving was both essential to the culture and subject to very limited oversight. Al Qaeda also sought money from wealthy donors in other Gulf states.


http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report_Ch5.htm

Some damning links to the Saudi regime from a (long) Vanity Fair article from 2011:

snip:
Several years later, in two long conversations with Jean-Charles Brisard, author of a study on terrorist financing for a French intelligence agency, (John) O’Neill was still venting his frustration. “All the answers, all the clues that could enable us to dismantle Osama bin Laden’s organization,” he said, “are in Saudi Arabia.” The answers and the clues, however, remained out of reach, in part, O’Neill told Brisard, because U.S. dependence on Saudi oil meant that Saudi Arabia had “much more leverage on us than we have on the kingdom.” And, he added, because “high-ranking personalities and families in the Saudi kingdom” had close ties to bin Laden.



In spite of the fact that it had almost immediately become known that 15 of those implicated in the attacks had been Saudis, President George W. Bush did not hold Saudi Arabia’s official representative in Washington at arm’s length. As early as the evening of September 13, he kept a scheduled appointment to receive Prince Bandar at the White House. The two men had known each other for years. They reportedly greeted each other with a friendly embrace, smoked cigars on the Truman Balcony, and conversed with Vice President Dick Cheney and National-Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.


snip:
It would soon become evident that, far from confronting the Saudis, the Bush administration wanted rapprochement. The president would invite Crown Prince Abdullah to visit the United States, press him to come when he hesitated, and—when he accepted—welcome him to his Texas ranch in early 2002. Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice were there, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell and First Lady Laura Bush.


At page 396 of the Joint Inquiry’s report, in the final section of the body of the report, a yawning gap appears. All 28 pages of Part Four, entitled “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters,” have been redacted. The pages are there, but—with the rare exception of an occasional surviving word or fragmentary, meaningless clause—they are entirely blank. The decision to censor that entire section caused a furor in 2003.

Inquiries established that, while the withholdings were technically the responsibility of the C.I.A., the agency would not have obstructed release of most of the pages. The order that they must remain secret had come from President Bush.



snip
Know what? “I can’t tell you what’s in those pages,” the Joint Inquiry’s staff director, Eleanor Hill, said. “I can tell you that the chapter deals with information that our committee found in the F.B.I. and C.I.A. files that was very disturbing. It had to do with sources of foreign support for the hijackers.” The focus of the material, leaks to the press soon established, had been Saudi Arabia.

There were, sources said, additional details about Bayoumi, who had helped Mihdhar and Hazmi in California, and about his associate Basnan. The censored portion of the report had stated that Anwar Aulaqi, the San Diego imam, had been a “central figure” in a support network for the future hijackers.

A U.S. official who had read the censored section told the Los Angeles Times that it described very direct, very specific links” with Saudi officials, links that “cannot be passed off as rogue, isolated or coincidental.” The New York Times journalist Philip Shenon has written that Senator Graham and his investigators became “convinced that a number of sympathetic Saudi officials, possibly within the sprawling Islamic Affairs Ministry, had known that al-Qaeda terrorists were entering the United States beginning in 2000 in preparation for some sort of attack. Graham believed the Saudi officials had directed spies operating in the United States to assist them.”

Most serious of all, Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff reported that the information uncovered by the investigation had drawn “apparent connections between high-level Saudi princes and associates of the hijackers.” Absent release of the censored pages, one can only surmise what the connections may have been.




The coup de grace: Blaming it on Iraq:


In the 18 months before the invasion, however, the Bush administration had persistently seeded the notion that there was an Iraqi connection to 9/11. While never alleging a direct Iraqi role, President Bush had linked Saddam Hussein’s name to that of Osama bin Laden. Vice President Cheney had gone further, suggesting repeatedly that there had been Iraqi involvement in the attacks.

Polls suggest that the publicity about Iraq’s supposed involvement affected the degree to which the U.S. public came to view Iraq as an enemy deserving retribution. Before the invasion, a Pew Research poll found that 57 percent of those polled believed Hussein had helped the 9/11 terrorists. Forty-four percent of respondents to a Knight-Ridder poll had gained the impression that “most” or “some” of the hijackers had been Iraqi. In fact, none were. In the wake of the invasion, a Washington Post poll found that 69 percent of Americans believed it likely that Saddam Hussein had been personally involved in 9/11.

None of the speculative leads suggesting an Iraqi link to the attacks proved out. “We went back 10 years,” said Michael Scheuer, who looked into the matter at the request of director Tenet. “We examined about 20,000 documents, probably something along the lines of 75,000 pages of information, and there was no connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam.”


http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2011/08/9-11-2011-201108

And the rest is - as they say - "history".

Meanwhile...as the 9/11 Comission (and others) followed the money...

Al Qaeda appears to have relied on a core group of financial facilitators who raised money from a variety of donors and other fund-raisers, primarily in the Gulf countries and particularly in Saudi Arabia. Some individual donors surely knew, and others did not, the ultimate destination of their donations. Al Qaeda and its friends took advantage of Islam's strong calls for charitable giving, zakat. These financial facilitators also appeared to rely heavily on certain imams at mosques who were willing to divert zakat donations to al Qaeda's cause.

Al Qaeda also collected money from employees of corrupt charities. It took two approaches to using charities for fund-raising. One was to rely on al Qaeda sympathizers in specific foreign branch offices of large, international charities-particularly those with lax external oversight and ineffective internal controls, such as the Saudi-based al Haramain Islamic Foundation. Smaller charities in various parts of the globe were funded by these large Gulf charities and had employees who would siphon the money to al Qaeda.

In addition, entire charities, such as the al Wafa organization, may have wittingly participated in funneling money to al Qaeda. In those cases, al Qaeda operatives controlled the entire organization, including access to bank accounts. Charities were a source of money and also provided significant cover, which enabled operatives to travel undetected under the guise of working for a humanitarian organization.

It does not appear that any government other than the Taliban financially supported al Qaeda before 9/11, although some governments may have contained al Qaeda sympathizers who turned a blind eye to al Qaeda's fundraising activities. Saudi Arabia has long been considered the primary source of al Qaeda funding, but we have found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization. (This conclusion does not exclude the likelihood that charities with significant Saudi government sponsorship diverted funds to al Qaeda.)

Still, al Qaeda found fertile fund-raising ground in Saudi Arabia, where extreme religious views are common and charitable giving was both essential to the culture and subject to very limited oversight. Al Qaeda also sought money from wealthy donors in other Gulf states.


http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report_Ch5.htm

In spite of the fact that it had almost immediately become known that 15 of those implicated in the attacks had been Saudis, President George W. Bush did not hold Saudi Arabia’s official representative in Washington at arm’s length. As early as the evening of September 13, he kept a scheduled appointment to receive Prince Bandar at the White House. The two men had known each other for years. They reportedly greeted each other with a friendly embrace, smoked cigars on the Truman Balcony, and conversed with Vice President Dick Cheney and National-Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

There is a photograph of the meeting, which has been published in the past. This year, however, when the authors asked the George W. Bush presidential library for a copy, the library responded in an e-mail that the former president’s office was “not inclined to release the image from the balcony at this time.”

It would soon become evident that, far from confronting the Saudis, the Bush administration wanted rapprochement. The president would invite Crown Prince Abdullah to visit the United States, press him to come when he hesitated, and—when he accepted—welcome him to his Texas ranch in early 2002. Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice were there, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell and First Lady Laura Bush.



In the 18 months before the invasion, however, the Bush administration had persistently seeded the notion that there was an Iraqi connection to 9/11. While never alleging a direct Iraqi role, President Bush had linked Saddam Hussein’s name to that of Osama bin Laden. Vice President Cheney had gone further, suggesting repeatedly that there had been Iraqi involvement in the attacks.

Polls suggest that the publicity about Iraq’s supposed involvement affected the degree to which the U.S. public came to view Iraq as an enemy deserving retribution. Before the invasion, a Pew Research poll found that 57 percent of those polled believed Hussein had helped the 9/11 terrorists. Forty-four percent of respondents to a Knight-Ridder poll had gained the impression that “most” or “some” of the hijackers had been Iraqi. In fact, none were. In the wake of the invasion, a Washington Post poll found that 69 percent of Americans believed it likely that Saddam Hussein had been personally involved in 9/11.

None of the speculative leads suggesting an Iraqi link to the attacks proved out. “We went back 10 years,” said Michael Scheuer, who looked into the matter at the request of director Tenet. “We examined about 20,000 documents, probably something along the lines of 75,000 pages of information, and there was no connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam.


http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2011/08/9-11-2011-201108

Why evangelical Christianity and right-wing economic views so often go together in the United States

Thought that this was a fascinating article. It's not really a question of prioritizing religious beliefs over economic self-interest; it's the fusing of the two in a way that results in a dogmatically right-wing political ideology.

snip:
However compelling this dichotomy (between economic and cultural issues) may be, it is a false one. As a researcher and social scientist, I have found that economic perspectives are indelibly tied to religious cosmologies. Voters need not choose between God and mammon. Instead, they tend to see their money, the market, and the economy as a reflection of their God.


snip:
In 2005, I, along with a team of researchers at Baylor, began surveying American religious beliefs, values and behaviors. Last fall, our third installment of the Baylor Religion Survey was released. Our combined research, which included polling from Gallup and dozens of detailed one-on-one interviews, suggests that value and economic concerns are becoming increasingly hard to disentangle. In fact, for many white evangelicals, religious and economic spheres are conceptualized as two sides of the same coin. They describe their worldview as one in which the spiritual and the material are mutually dependent and interactive. And the popularity of this worldview cuts across social class.


snip:
To put this more concretely, approximately 31 percent of Americans, many of whom are white evangelical men, believe that God is steering the United States economy, thus fusing their religious and economic interests. These individuals believe in what I call an “Authoritative God.” An Authoritative God is thought to be actively engaged in daily activities and historical outcomes. For those with an Authoritative God, value concerns are synonymous with economic concerns because God has a guiding hand in both. Around two-thirds of believers in an Authoritative God conjoin their theology with free-market economics, creating a new religious-economic idealism. Nearly one-fifth of American voters hold this viewpoint, signaling that it can be a major political force.



snip:
In Europe, I have found that belief in an Authoritative God is not at all associated with economic conservatism, and in Latvia and the Slovak Republic it even predicts a socialist ideology. Depending on where you are in the world, an Authoritative God is not always a capitalist.

But the United States stands as a clear exception. Americans who feel that “God has a plan” for them and their country are much more likely to think that “success is achieved by ability rather than luck” and that “able-bodied people who are out of work should not receive unemployment checks.” And over half (54 percent) of Americans who think God controls the economy feel that “anything is possible for those who work hard”; in contrast, only one-quarter of Americans who rely on human resourcefulness, rather than God’s plan, feel this way.

Perhaps it is the fervent individualism of American Christianity which makes free market capitalism seem like a Divine mandate. Because evangelicals assert that you alone are responsible for your eternal salvation, it makes sense that the individual is also responsible for his or her economic salvation without government assistance, especially if God is the only assistance you really need.


http://religionandpolitics.org/2012/06/13/how-your-view-of-god-shapes-your-view-of-the-economy/#sthash.EpXyGfFH.dpuf

There are 10 communities in the US where the median household income....

...is over six figures, and over 60% of the population is Black.

All 10 are in Maryland.


Calculated using this:
http://www.city-data.com/advanced/search.php#clear

Here's a history lesson: women, people of color, poor immigrants, and LGBT people...

have always been oppressed in this country, and much (though not all) of that oppression has been economic.

Nowadays, it seems like the non-oppressed (since people don't like being called "privileged", it offends their delicate sensibilities ) corollaries to those respective groups - men, whites, native-born Americans, the "middle class", heterosexuals and anyone else who has otherwise benefited from a long history of this inequality and injustice - it seems like members of the non-oppressed groups are finally "paying attention." The reason? Because issues like economic inequality, unemployment, etc., are starting to affect them. To put it bluntly: They see their own status, their own power and privilege being eroded, and they are understandably scared shitless.

One way that a dominant group can assert its power over oppressed groups is by claiming that the concerns of the oppressed groups don't matter, or that they don't matter as much as the concerns of the dominant group - which the dominant group just assumes are universal priorities. That's privilege. That's what I have seen, and many others on this board (or who were on this board...) can back me up on that.

You want an honest discussion? How about some intellectual honesty from your "comrades", from those who claim re: the challenges and struggles that face us today, "It's not race, it's not gender, it's not sexuality, it's not any of those things...it's economic class!" Because from what I can tell, many of the loudest drumbeats for the "class war" to be our focus, our priority, come from the same people who have minimized, dismissed, bullied, and otherwise been tone-deaf on the "identity politics" issues.

Women, people of color, the LGBT community, poor immigrants, etc. have always been fighting against ALL forms of injustice-economic, social, racial-many of them, on this board, since before DU was started, or even since before I was born (since I am a fairly young adult, after all...), or since before the Reagan administration....you get the idea. Yet the dominant, privileged culture didn't merely neglect those organizers and activists, it actively opposed them. That history needs to be acknowledged and accounted for, before we can do anything else.

Unfortunately, judging by some (but not all, mercifully) of the responses in this thread, the tone-deafness and casual dismissals and willful ignorance of the everyday lives, experiences, and struggles of those whose political priorities are considered "divisive identity politics" are still issues. So, to answer your original question: No, we can't. At least, not yet.






Feminism and the Labor Movement: A Century of Collaboration and Conflict (scholarly article)

A century after the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, women have become nearly half of the unionized labor force. They work in the growing service and public employment sectors as nurses, home attendants, teachers, and clerks. Previously labeled women's issues—maternity leave, equal pay, sexual harassment, and work-family balance—have become union issues. Women hold leadership positions in the AFL-CIO and Change to Win. With the disappearance of manufacturing and the growth of service labor, women of color—both immigrant- and U.S.-born—have become the driving force in the labor movement for safe jobs, living wages, and dignity at work, leading women-dominated unions and worker associations. It is not an overstatement to say that the future of the labor movement appears (to be) up to the women.

It hasn't always been this way. For at least a century, labor feminists have fought for the interests of wage-earning women and working-class housewives, both within the feminist and the labor movements. Still, the priorities of the women's movement for sex-based rights and those of the labor movement for class solidarity often diverged during the twentieth century. Working-class feminists struggled against middle-class feminists who focused primarily on achieving equality with male professionals and executives. They also battled men who sought to exclude women from unionized jobs and who denied organized women workers a full share of power in the labor movement.

Highlighting key moments when feminists and unionists came together over the last century, this essay offers a usable past drawn from the fraught—but often productive—relationship between feminism and labor. An examination of the contact between organized women's groups and organized labor, women's organizations within the labor movement, and feminist labor organizing shows that when feminists and unions worked together, both benefited. Labor gained when it understood women's issues as crucial for the advancement of the working class. The women's movement was at its strongest when its membership and agenda crossed class lines. Recognition of this history may help to revitalize feminism as much as organized labor.


http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/nlf/summary/v020/20.1.boris.html

Eileen Boris and Annelise Orleck. Feminism and the Labor Movement: A Century of Collaboration and Conflict. New Labor Forum
Volume 20, Issue 1, Winter 2011. pp. 33-41
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