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Willie Pep

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Member since: Sun Oct 16, 2016, 05:41 PM
Number of posts: 521

Journal Archives

Europeans like Columbus were not the only violent people.

In light of the present controversy over Columbus Day, I think it is important to note that Europeans weren't the only violent people in the world during the period. On Aztec human sacrifices:


There is an unfortunate tendency among some liberals to concentrate solely on atrocities committed by Europeans while ignoring the sometimes unpleasant historical evidence about non-European societies. The tendency sometimes goes so far as to paint non-Europeans as living in Edenic harmony with each other and nature until the evil Europeans showed up and made a mess of things. This itself can be seen as a racist trope, that of the "noble savage" untouched by the evils of modern Western civilization. It denies the reality and complexity of non-European societies.

Please note that I am NOT making excuses for the many atrocities and injustices committed by European colonialists, just that there is a very strong tendency on the part of some people on the left to have a biased and selective view of history.

They thought they were going to rehab. They ended up in chicken plants.

Very depressing but important article on rehabilitation work programs.

Across the country, judges increasingly are sending defendants to rehab instead of prison or jail. These diversion courts have become the bedrock of criminal justice reform, aiming to transform lives and ease overcrowded prisons.

But in the rush to spare people from prison, some judges are steering defendants into rehabs that are little more than lucrative work camps for private industry, an investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

The programs promise freedom from addiction. Instead, theyíve turned thousands of men and women into indentured servants.

The beneficiaries of these programs span the country, from Fortune 500 companies to factories and local businesses. The defendants work at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Oklahoma, a construction firm in Alabama, a nursing home in North Carolina.

Full article: https://www.revealnews.org/article/they-thought-they-were-going-to-rehab-they-ended-up-in-chicken-plants/

America's passion for guns: ownership and violence by the numbers

I thought this was an interesting article from The Guardian on some gun statistics from the United States.

Not only is the United States the runaway world leader for gun ownership Ė it also suffers mass shootings at more than 11 times the rate of any other developed country, according to a 2014 study published in the International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences.

For the full article see: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/02/us-gun-control-ownership-violence-statistics

How did gun control become a "losing issue" for Democrats?

I am wondering if members here could help with some history. It seems like there used to be more support for gun control legislation. It seems like up until the 1990s there was more support for gun control laws culminating in legislation like the Brady Bill. But since then there has been a big push against gun control and now many people, including some liberals, seem to see the issue as a political liability and a losing issue for Democrats.

So what accounts for this change? I have heard theories ranging from the decline in crime making people less anxious about controlling gun violence (the theory being that white Americans tended to be more supportive of gun control when they thought it would take guns away from non-white criminals but not themselves) to blowback from incidents like Ruby Ridge and Waco in the 1990s that made people wary of government overreach.

Your thoughts?

Medicare for All and cost controls.

Will the current version of the Medicare for All bill succeed in controlling costs? All of the successful universal health care systems have costs controls in place but this seems like a major political problem for this bill.

Supporters of Medicare for All usually concentrate on the issue of insurance company opposition but any system that controls costs will necessarily mean that other powerful interests will have to take financial haircuts. This includes pharmaceutical companies, doctors, dentists and hospitals. These groups (especially doctors) are much more popular than the insurance companies and I can see their opposition being a major roadblock to affordable universal health care. Yet I don't see too many proponents of Medicare for All tackling this issue.

How will Medicare for All control costs across the board and how do proponents of the bill plan to overcome massive opposition from the health care interests listed above?

Question about Hillary Clinton and the white working class

If I remember correctly Hillary Clinton was actually pretty popular with white working-class voters back in 2008 during the primary against Obama to the point where she was strongly identified with this demographic group. Fast forward to 2016 and this is apparently no longer true.

What explains such a large change? I am not sure if racism and sexism can explain the shift because many of these people were enthusiastic about Clinton (a woman) in the 2008 primary then voted for Obama (a black man) in the general election.

I wonder how Clinton went from being a popular figure with WWC voters in 2008 to being so unpopular in 2016. Any thoughts?

Article on Sanders-Trump voters

I don't know if this article has been posted here yet but John Sides wrote an interesting article in The Washington Post on whether Bernie Sanders supporters cost Hillary Clinton the election. When discussing the profile of Sanders-Trump voters Sides writes:

Perhaps the most important feature of Sanders-Trump voters is this: They werenít really Democrats to begin with.

Of course, we know that many Sanders voters did not readily identify with the Democratic Party as of 2016, and Schaffner found that Sanders-Trump voters were even less likely to identify as Democrats. Sanders-Trump voters didnít much approve of Obama either.

In fact, this was true well before 2016. In the VOTER Survey, we know how Sanders-Trump voters voted in 2012, based on an earlier interview in November 2012. Only 35 percent of them reported voting for Obama, compared with 95 percent of Sanders-Clinton voters. In other words, Sanders-Trump voters were predisposed to support Republicans in presidential general elections well before Trumpís candidacy.

Schaffner found that what distinguished Sanders-Trump voters from Sanders-Clinton voters wasnít their attitudes about trade, but their attitudes about race. When asked whether whites are advantaged, Sanders-Trump voters were much more likely to disagree than were Sanders-Clinton voters.

Full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/08/24/did-enough-bernie-sanders-supporters-vote-for-trump-to-cost-clinton-the-election/?utm_term=.ffa58d907760

I think this is an important point because I don't think that Sanders really did much at all to damage Clinton among likely Democratic voters. The Sanders supporters who voted for Trump were likely going to vote for the Republicans in the presidential election and contrary to popular belief these folks weren't economic populists but more likely vote based on racial issues.

The article doesn't touch on Sanders voters who voted third party or stayed home but I wouldn't be surprised if these people also turned out to be less likely to regularly vote for Democrats. From what I read online (I know, not an accurate way of measuring things) many Bernie or Bust types were likely the kind of people who sat out elections or voted for the Greens. They didn't strike me as disgruntled Democrats.

In any event I thought this would be an interesting article to discuss since it sheds some light on which Sanders supporters didn't vote for Clinton. It looks like many of them weren't Democrats at all and likely favored the Republican Party in presidential elections.

Can John Bel Edwards Teach Democrats How to Win in the South?

Politico has a very interesting article on Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. The article discusses Edwards' political career and whether he might be a model for other Democrats trying to win in Southern states.


Why the Left needs to stop attacking unions

Erik Loomis over at Lawyers, Guns and Money has a great post on the devastating impact the judiciary has had on organized labor.

As I have said repeatedly, for all that so-called union reformers want to blame unions for their own problems today, it just doesnít fit the evidence. Even if many union leaders were (or are) lame and making questionable decisions, itís far more accurate to place laborís demise at the hands of the government.

You can read the entire post here: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/09/courts-devastated-organized-labor

I think this is an important post for Labor Day weekend because there is a strong tendency among some left-wing people today to blame unions and union officials for all of the problems of the labor movement. Some on the Left like to repeat talking points about union leaders that you would likely hear on talk radio or Fox News, including attacking unions for being too close (some would say subservient) to the Democrats and spending more time on politics than organizing. But as Loomis points out, whether organizing is successful or not is heavily dependent on the legal environment that unions find themselves in, which means that unions have to care about things like who makes appointments to the judiciary and the NLRB which means that unions have to care about politics whether they want to or not. This is why labor unions are usually close to the Democratic Party, because they need political allies and most Democrats are much more receptive to labor than are most Republicans.

Finally, in a related piece Loomis throws some cold water on the tendency of some on the Left to romanticize working-class activism. Many working-class people are not liberals and this includes many union members, so the theory that unions just need to be more radical is a bit unrealistic when you take into account the fact that many union members are far from being liberals, let alone left-wing activist types.

See: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/09/labor-historians-white-working-class-trump-voters

I am not trying to argue that all union leaders are super liberals either or that corruption and incompetence doesn't exist in the ranks of organized labor but union leadership is usually more liberal than the rank-and-file and tends to understand the importance of needing political allies and getting people to the polls for the Democrats in most cases. Some people on the Left are naive about the prospects of working-class radicalism and they would be wise to stop attacking the people who are in the trenches doing most of the fighting these days. Honestly, I am tired of seeing the Left spend more time attacking the Democrats, unions and other allies instead of the Republicans, the Koch brothers and other right-wing forces.
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