Sunday, May 29, 2016
Saturday, May 28, 2016
White people benefit each and every day from the legacy of slavery and racism. They can move to the suburbs to “give their children the best education” because they have better jobs and histories of redlining, restrictive covenants, job flight, and violence made the suburbs traditionally a white-only space. They benefit from a lack of police violence. They benefit from better jobs and education. They benefit each and every day. The middle class is built on a foundation of slavery and racism. If we are going to accept those benefits, we also need to pay up to even the playing field. Otherwise, we are just continuing to invest and benefit from a racist society.
Friday, May 27, 2016
I want to make this simple. Here's what Donald Trump did recently:
Even among sleazebags, this is not normal behavior. This is pathological sleaziness. It's literally beyond belief. Do not let Trump distract you with his latest barrage of insults. Do not turn your attention to the latest polls. Do not let this be normalized away as "just another Trump thing."
- He pledged $1 million to help veterans.
- He tried to weasel out of it for months and hoped no one would notice.
- When he finally got caught, he ponied up grudgingly and insulted the reporter who caught him.
Maybe we need to put this in simpler terms. $1 million is one ten-thousandth of Trump's claimed wealth. The average American household has a net worth of about $50,000. One ten-thousandth of that is $5. In terms of its effect on his personal finances, what Trump did was the equivalent of promising five bucks to a homeless vet and then trying to weasel out of it. What kind of person would do that?
This deserves far more attention than it's gotten. If character is supposed to be important in our presidents, this is evidence of the most contemptible kind of character imaginable. He tried to cheat a bunch of veterans! Can we please not shrug our shoulders and let this fade away?
Thursday, May 26, 2016
I single him out not because he's unusual, but because he's typical. All "real Americans" are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. There is no such thing as an American who is not an immigrant or the descendants of immigrants.
As I have said before, the only people on this continent with the right to demand deportation of immigrants are full-blooded natives, who have a genuine grievance against the interlopers who have ruined their home.
This young man is us. We are him and we always have been. It's silly to say immigrants are the best of America, because immigrants are all of America.
From the Herald:
As 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache stood at attention during the commencement ceremony at West Point, New York, on Saturday, he was overcome with emotion. Tears rolled down both cheeks, but his gloved left hand held firm on his white, gold and black "cover," the dress headgear that Army cadets wear.
The photograph of Idrache, by Army Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant, was published Tuesday on the Facebook page of West Point's U.S. Military Academy, and it almost immediately went viral. Part of that is Idrache's background: He worked his way through one of the nation's most prestigious military schools after immigrating to the United States from Haiti, earning his citizenship and serving for two years as an enlisted soldier with the Maryland Army National Guard, according to Army records.
"I woke up this morning and found my face all over Facebook and with it myriad of amazing comments about my accomplishments," Idrache wrote Tuesday on Facebook. "I am humbled and shocked at the same time. Thank you for giving me a shot at the American Dream and may God bless America, the greatest country on earth."
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/nation-world/national/article79994127.html#storylink=cpy
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Starting today, May 24, 2016, legislation goes into effect that will allow most West Virginia residents to carry concealed handguns without a permit.
They also aren't required to have any training. At all. As in zero. Nadda. Zilch.
That means no safety training with a gun is required. No live-fire training with a gun is required. They aren't even required to watch a 5 minute video on gun safety.
This is insane.
West Virginia is now one of eight states where no permits are required: Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi and Vermont.
I watched some of the video of West Virginians legislators talking about this decision and it boggles my mind this passed.
Friends who carry concealed guns take the required training very, very seriously. One has explained how dangerous it is for people from states with weak or no training requirements to be allowed reciprocity carry with his state.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Not to mention missing me and all my Bern-feeling friends.
We're not all white, not all men, not all young, not disaffected, not bitter with Hillary-hate, not pie-in-the-sky dreamers, not BernieBros.
We supported Bernie out of hope for change, if you'll forgive the expression. We never thought Bernie would get close to the nomination. But we thought it possible he could change the conversation.
We always knew Hillary would be the nominee. We always knew we would vote for her. Even those of us who opposed her in 2008 and who still see her militarism as the greatest danger to the republic know we cannot vote repug and cannot sit this one out.
But it gets more difficult to support her when Hillarybots like you insult us like this. It makes us think you don't want our votes.
The point is not to demonize, but, if you like, to de-angelize. Like any political movement (including the Democratic Party, which is, yes, a coalition of interest groups) Sandersism has been an assemblage of people with a variety of motives, not all of them pretty. Here’s a short list based on my own encounters:1.Genuine idealists: For sure, quite a few Sanders supporters dream of a better society, and for whatever reason – maybe just because they’re very young – are ready to dismiss practical arguments about why all their dreams can’t be accomplished in a day.2.Romantics: This kind of idealism shades over into something that’s less about changing society than about the fun and ego gratification of being part of The Movement. (Those of us who were students in the 60s and early 70s very much recognize the type.) For a while there – especially for those who didn’t understand delegate math – it felt like a wonderful joy ride, the scrappy young on the march about to overthrow the villainous old. But there’s a thin line between love and hate: when reality began to set in, all too many romantics reacted by descending into bitterness, with angry claims that they were being cheated.3.Purists: A somewhat different strand in the movement, also familiar to those of us of a certain age, consists of those for whom political activism is less about achieving things and more about striking a personal pose. They are the pure, the unsullied, who reject the corruptions of this world and all those even slightly tainted – which means anyone who actually has gotten anything done. Quite a few Sanders surrogates were Naderites in 2000; the results of that venture don’t bother them, because it was never really about results, only about affirming personal identity.4.CDS victims: Quite a few Sanders supporters are mainly Clinton-haters, deep in the grip of Clinton Derangement Syndrome; they know that Hillary is corrupt and evil, because that’s what they hear all the time; they don’t realize that the reason it’s what they hear all the time is that right-wing billionaires have spent more than two decades promoting that message. Sanders has gotten a number of votes from conservative Democrats who are voting against her, not for him, and for sure there are liberal supporters who have absorbed the same message, even if they don’t watch Fox News.5.Salon des Refuses: This is a small group in number, but accounts for a lot of the pro-Sanders commentary, and is of course something I see a lot. What I’m talking about here are policy intellectuals who have for whatever reason been excluded from the inner circles of the Democratic establishment, and saw Sanders as their ticket to the big time. They typically hold heterodox views, but those views don’t have much to do with the campaign – sorry, capital theory disputes from half a century ago aren’t relevant to the debate over health reform. What matters is their outsider status, which gives them an interest in backing an outsider candidate – and makes them reluctant to accept it when that candidate is no longer helping the progressive cause.So how will this coalition of the not-always disinterested break once it’s over? The genuine idealists will probably realize that whatever their dreams, Trump would be a nightmare. Purists and CDSers won’t back Clinton, but they were never going to anyway. My guess is that disgruntled policy intellectuals will, in the end, generally back Clinton.The question, as I see it, involves the romantics. How many will give in to their bitterness? A lot may depend on Sanders – and whether he himself is one of those embittered romantics, unable to move on.
Monday, May 23, 2016
The policy of deliberate impoverishment is not new; it's been around at least as long as the idea of some people having more than others.
But it's conservative America in which the policy has reached its highest achievement. Not coincidentally because in America the policy has been from the beginning justified by racism.
One of the two fundamental problems with American welfare policy is that at its core, it assumes that the poor are morally deficient and need to be fixed instead of just poor. So rather than just increase the money in these programs, politicians blather on about the morality of the poor, which is an excuse not to fully fund them.We know growing up poor is bad for kids. But instead of focusing on the money, U.S. anti-poverty policy often focuses on the perceived moral shortcomings of the poor themselves. We don’t try to address poverty directly, or alleviate it; we simply try to change the way poor people behave, especially poor parents. Specifically, we offer two choices to poor parents if they want to escape poverty: get a job, or get married. Not only does this approach not work, but it’s also a cruel punishment for children who cannot be held responsible for their parents’ decisions.
Policy that addresses poverty by punishing the poor for their perceived misdeeds plays on some popular misunderstandings, especially about marriage and parenting. Many non-poor people mistakenly believe that our lax attitude toward marriage is behind the child poverty problem. That’s why a Heritage Foundation claim that marriage reduces the chance of living in poverty by 82 percent has been a staple on the Republican campaign trail this season, and welfare money has been diverted from alleviating poverty to promoting marriage among the poor.…First, single parenthood doesn’t just cause these social ailments, it also reflects them. Some of these problems are merely the consequence of whatever caused their parents to be single in the first place: poverty, illness, incarceration, weak relationship skills, and so on. In other words, successful people are more likely to raise successful children and to have successful marriages. Research on marriage among poor Americans clearly shows that the majority want to be married, but they aren’t for a variety of reasons related to their poverty. Faced with poor prospects in a marriage partner, some women reason, “I can do bad by myself,” as reported in the book “Promises I Can Keep,” by Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas. Some couples place marriage on a pedestal, and plan to postpone it until they are financially stable. As one young man with a pregnant girlfriend put it, “I’d rather get engaged for two years, save money, get a house, make sure … the baby’s got a bedroom.” For too many, however, that moment never arrives.
Poverty clearly lowers the chance of a successful marriage, even as being single may make it harder to escape poverty. This pattern is the subject of a long-running debate among social scientists. Although we can’t agree on the exact breakdown of cause and effect, any reasonable researcher will concede it runs both ways.
This has always been a problem with the nation’s response to the poor. From the early charity programs of the antebellum period to Social Darwinism to the Salvation Army to the present, the poor’s poverty is consistently seen as their own fault and something that can be fixed if we intervene in the right way. So the problem becomes unwed mothers instead of a lack of economic opportunity. Why blame capitalists when you can blame 23 year old women who lack a GED?But the second answer is perhaps more important for today’s poverty debates. It is that the number of single-parent families doesn’t drive the poverty rate – rather, it mostly helps determine which families and children will be poor, not how many will be. How many people live in poverty is largely the outcome of our policy choices, about jobs and wages, and support for poor families. A key study compared poverty rates and family structure in 18 countries, finding that the United States had the highest rate of poverty among single-mother families – more than 40 percent, compared with 5 or 10 percent in the Nordic countries. No country had as large a difference in poverty rates between single mothers and the rest of the population as the United States – that’s our unique penalty for single parenthood.
Meanwhile what the poor actually need are good-paying jobs for people without college educations, which are fewer and farther between in our outsourced, automated, subcontracted, franchised, temp worker economy.The other fundamental problem with our welfare policy is racism. While not all the poor are people of color or immigrants, many are. And if West Virginia and eastern Kentucky they are mostly white, we find ways to denigrate them anyway. The problem of the poor is also “the problem of black people.” Or Mexicans. Or the Irish in 1850. Or Italians in 1910. Or whatever. But always black people. Focusing on actual poverty alleviation would mean having to deal with the inequalities at the heart of our society, which means dealing with white supremacy and structural racism. And we can’t be having that, now can we.