Open Thread

Here is the basic idea of an open thread. This is where a comment, idea, link, or whatever can be posted when it doesn’t necessarily fit the subject matter of any available post. This also can be where people can lodge their complaints or make suggestions, including possibilities for future posts.

Plus, this would be a good place for rants, as I’ll be less discerning in my moderation of comments here. I encourage open discussion. But there are limits. If your comment creates a negative atmosphere or simply lessens my happiness, then it will not be approved. I will use my discretion. Make sure your comment is worthy of your time and my own.

11,784 thoughts on “Open Thread

    • Some people go to immense effort make complicated arguments for what amounts to commonplace bigotry. Why don’t they simply state what they think? It’s like they are ashamed of their actual beliefs and so try to hide their message under a pile of verbiage and cherrypicked data. If someone can’t make an honest straightforward statement of their beliefs, what is the point of spinning a complex web of obfuscation?

    • I looked through several hundred comments. I found a few good ones. But the majority of commenters (75-90%) were some combination of overtly racist, dismissive of genuine concerns and problems, downplaying the seriousness of the issues, sidestepping honest discussion, generally oblivious of any larger context, historically ignorant, in denial about ongoing entrenched legacies of the privileged and underprivileged, and trying to rationalize away factual realities of injustice, segregation, and oppression. And that is the comment section in what is considered one of the most liberal newspapers in the country.

      MyThreeCentsSan Francisco
      “It is always judges living in their pristine gated communities who want to force public housing on affluent neighborhoods, but not their own.”

      In San Francisco, developers of new market-rate residential developments have two choices: either (1) set aside a specified percentage of the units (10%, I believe) as low-income units; or (2) contribute a much higher percentage of the overall project budget (25%, I believe) in cash to a city fund to be used to build low-income units somewhere else in the city.

      Can you guess what percentage of developers have chosen Door #1 — designate 10% of the new units as low-income units? If you guessed 0%, you’re correct.

      Can you guess how much of that city fund set aside to build low-income units has actually been used to build low-income units? If you guessed 0%, you’re correct.

      Here you have a group of American citizens who were brought here against their will and worked like dogs for 400 years never being allowed to access or enjoy the fruits of their own labor. This is followed by more than 50 years of violent Jim Crow. The chaser on that is Government supported and implemented policy that denied them access to VA backed loans and FHA mortgages unless they lived in already blighted and segregated neighborhoods. Programs that built housing for poor whites were specifically deemed off limits to Blacks. There is no need to bring up the discrimination faced in education and employment opportunity. What you end up with is not a scenario conducive to up by the bootstrap success.People regardless of their race need a decent place to live. The idea that people who are Black should be relegated to dangerous and substandard housing is odious and anti American. Today almost half this country’s population is technically poor. White flight may have worked in the past but the problem of poverty is now to sweeping. It is time to stop fleeing from this “problem” and properly solve it.

      S. BaldwinMilwaukee
      The most affluent areas in many cities seem to have the best street maintenance, the best park maintenance, the best school maintenance, the most public investment, etc…. Can’t that be changed? While it’s not right to just give economically depressed areas what they want, it is right to give them some of the tools and resources they need to develop and become more competitive.

      A RaoSan Francisco
      I think what most folks are missing is the housing being discussed here is not the much vilified section 8 housing, but housing built with federal tax credits by private developers. Residents of this housing contribute to their rent in some form and are not the poorest of the poor but rather working class folks who need help with affording decent housing (what the industry coins “60-80% of area median income”) The people who are lucky enough to get selected are often families with young kids or the elderly on fixed income. I’m ashamed of these comments denouncing people who need help with housing as not hard working enough or criminals who will degrade wealthier neighborhoods. This is the mindset that contributes to the socio economic divisions that deepen every day in the US.

      novanyNew York
      Sadly, even well-educated and well-employed minorities face discrimination from the likes of co-op and condo boards and unethical real estate agents. This certainly happens in Westchester County, NY (which also has a very poor record of where low-income housing projects are built).

      Also low-income does not equal “criminal.”

      novanyNew York
      Yes, but unlike Sweden, the US has a long history of shameful legalized racism and discrimination. Hint: Jim Crow. These rascist & discriminatory attitudes run deep and have resulted in certain groups not being able to as easily attain the opportunities and dreams that other groups have been able to.

      “Let Your Motto Be Resistance”Washington, DC
      What the bulk of white America continues to deny is that whites in general, but well-off whites in particular, were able to amass assets and use their secure financial status to pass their wealth from generation to generation, aided and abetted by the expressed racist policies of the federal government.

      Nowhere is this so blatantly obvious than in the area of housing. The institutional racism of the federal government not only played a direct role in maintaining the color line, but also in “strengthening the walls of the ghetto,” as Douglas Massey & Nancy Denton writes in their book, “American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass.”

      The main culprit was the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), now an entity of HUD. Through its expressed racist underwriting practices and policies that recommended the application of racially restricted covenants, it financed the suburbanization of America, creating massive white wealth while constraining Black Americans’ residential opportunities to central-city ghettos of major U.S. metropolitan communities and denying them one of the most successful generators of wealth in American history—the suburban tract home, i.e. the “Levittowns” of America.

      What is often not acknowledged is that the same social system that fosters the accumulation of private wealth for whites denies it to Blacks.

      “Social Engineering” built white wealth, especially in the area of housing.

      MichaelJersey City
      Educated your self about the history of inherited wealth, housing discrimination, and segregation in this country:
      The privileged and entitlement you enjoy White America is hardly something you’ve worked hard to earn.

      Michael DiMennaTucson/Baltimore
      Our gerrymandered landscape has kept development and people herded into economically, class and racial pockets. Our entire quest to get away from ‘those kinds of people’ cuts across racial, class and economic lines with political power; and has sprawled out of cities into the suburban world gobbling up farmland and green space and otherwise cycling back reclaiming urban spaces pushing out the poor to completing the ‘gentrification’ of the cities. If the Supreme court does its job addressing gerrmandering the physical landscape will go under the most dramatic change in our history. Or we will continue to have buildings with poor doors around the corner. The disenfranchised by definition is politically powerless, less mobile, less educated, and inclusively social incestuous just like everybody else. As long as we reserve dignity for our own tribe and segregate ourselves we will keep getting further and further from the ideals that created our ‘perfect union’. These days though it looks like we are a bit incapable of creating the society we want TOGETHER so I must say: God save the United States of America.

      FKWillowick, Ohio
      I grew up in small-town Midwest and I live in “flyover country” now, so I’m not a Hollywood or East Coast liberal elite. I get that people are concerned about having poor people live near them for a number of reasons. What I don’t get is how angry and narrow-minded so many of the commentators here are. There is a lot of blaming the poor for their condition (some of which is deserved and a lot of which isn’t), and a lot of attacking those who have tried to find solutions to housing for low-income people. Practically none of these angry commentators offer a suggestion of what to do to help the situation and in fact they seem to be pretty okay with poor people just suffering as they are. If you think I’m being unfair, read these comments again and see how many people just want to lash out at both the poor and those who want to do something about it. So much bitterness and so little caring.

      Back in the 1960’s, as Dad was driving from our NJ home across the GW Bridge, I asked about the brightly colored apartment building and who lived there. He told me that it was probably poorer minorities.

      He explained that people were prejudiced against groups they didn’t know, and that if the government made a law that moved one minority family on every block of every town and state in the US, racism would probably be gone in a generation.

      What a concept my 86 yr old father had 50 years ago.

      It is astounding to read some of these comments which seem to divorce the long-term financial and social consequences of decades of racial segregation in America. In the aftermath of the housing bubble, hundreds of millions in fines have been paid by major money center banks for disproportionately steering minority home buyers into mortgage loans with predatory terms and conditions.

      Suggesting lowering home values is a primary concern of building affordable housing, the “demographic” homeowners in upscale areas should be afraid of isn’t racial but economic/professional because the inhabitants Platinum Ghetto of Wall Street did far more

      I grew up in a mixed income neighborhood. My family was working class, but I got to go to school with kids from upper middle class and even wealthy families. I still remember reading a letter in the local paper, in which a man whined about his kids having to share a school with children from poor families. Anyway, I got a great education, but more importantly I was able to access educated, succesful mentors that guided me. Now I’m in my third year of medical school. Eventually, I’ll be upper middle class — and I’ll be looking to live in an area that welcomes socioeconomic diversity rather than fears it. I don’t think I could stand to live surrounded by such self-righteous elitism.

      drjec20002Rumson, NJ
      Those who don’t want their preconceived notion that improving the lot of others will destroy theirs are off base, as studies have shown. And, the concept that welfare is “stealing” form others falls right into the mental trap set by libertarians eg, the deceased economist James Buchanan and his underwriter, Charles Koch. America is changing colors and those who are afraid will have to catch up psychologically or exclude themselves from the evolution of this country. Blacks want no less from life than do whites. But, with segregation (overt and covert; intentional and inadvertent) their opportunities are limited. When you wake up every morning as a white person it is hard to feel the oppression, the constraints, felt by a person of color. Don’t buy into the idea that “those” people are any less intelligent. That their hopes, wishes, and dreams are any less real than a white person. They’re just more out of reach. Ideally, the same opportunities are out there for everyone. But, in reality, the color of you skin dictates where you are welcome (see comments in this string), where you go to school, the opportunities your parents had before you. It’s a complex issue that will only be resolved when the fear instilled by distorted information fed to us produces. Blacks, Hispanics, what do they want then is any different from what you want for yourself and your kids. Those concerns expressed are visceral fears. Not rational or based on real facts.

      Victoria CNC
      “What this means, fair-housing advocates say, is that the government is essentially helping to maintain entrenched racial divides, even though federal law requires government agencies to promote integration.”

      The government essentially created and sustained these segregated practices, from before 1900. So much of the argument, and it comes out in the article (from both sides) is the us vs. them; “They [Black or Hispanic] are going to…[increase crime, decrease property values, sublet, or overcrowd].” “They [White] are going to…[discriminate, flee, or remove their children from schools].”

      It seems that the answer is not as easy as spending money in one particular location. Why not find solutions that allow affordable housing and opportunities in suburban areas, and also renews urban areas that lack resources, safety, and schools?

      James WilliamsPunta Gorda FL
      Like it our not, admit it or not, we have a class system in America. It’s one based on wealth (both earned and inherited), and on ethnicity and race. This leads those who have to not want those who don’t have living in their neighborhoods. This leads folks who have (whether they earned it or inherited it) to applaud their hard work and success and to see those who don’t have as having no incentive and being unwilling to work hard. It’s tough being on the bottom and trying to scrape your way up, but it’s even harder having to face the sense of privilege possessed by those who have. I would just ask that all of us embrace grace.

      I am at the point of believing that getting decent housing for low to lower middle to middle income people take precedence over the exact locations. By I want to see the housing be designed well and well constructed, made safe ,and convenient to schools and in cities, mass transit and shopping.

      What has happened to the efforts that were common going back to the 70’s to encourage architects to come up with plans that meet needs, attractively, efficiently?

      This well designed housing should have apartments designated at multiple income levels. Perhaps with rent supports that vary with income. Voila: no more total isolation of the poorest. And housing that younger people can afford. Or perhaps older folks wanting to return to apartment living.
      Make it desirable and they will come.

      There is a dearth of rental housing in most places; endless fights over location have helped to delay any building at all –
      except for the very wealthy, where powerful builders seem to get what they want. People are desperate.

      It seems Republicans prefer to keep “those people” in a state of permanent public squalor… Safely tucked away in their ghettos… Ghettos created by, and maintained through, generations of racial discrimination and economic deprivation…

      Cut education! Cut jobs programs! Cut drug programs! Cut after school programs! Cut healthcare, food, and housing! Cut the minimum wage!

      Cut MY TAXES!

      All is well!

      All is well until they are asked to live anywhere near the consequences of their demands…

      How Christian of them.

      Mark Question3rd Star to Left
      Income inequality segregates people. If we treated all our citizens with respect and genuine care there would be fewer desperate or/and unbalanced people to fear; we might even let our hearts grow 3 sizes this day when we realize that our purpose here is to learn to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. (Its a problem if you hate yourself and project that hate onto others) Everyone is a potential neighbor. Deal with it like a compassionate human being not a like a thoughtless and selfish person. Take a look at Norways’ healthy attitudes towards it’s citizens as compared to ours:

      Philip WBoston
      Boston leads the way on segregation. Whole neighborhoods are reserved for people of color. Lines were drawn back in the 60s by Irish Politicians and they have managed to maintain the status quo. The neighborhoods of Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester are almost exclusively Black and Brown. While 54% of the population is of color only 25% of the Boston Police and Fire Departments are of color. The State Supreme Court have stated that Black men are totally justified in running away from Police as past bullying has demonstrate. Great article and very true.

      CarlSouth of Albany
      What’s interesting about our system is the direct correlation between structural race division and capitalism. The school issue is just a correlary to the upper middle and middle class housing hustle. They see non-owners i.e. Low income renters hurting their home values. Meanwhile, tax dollars are subsidizing both groups. Through direct low income housing or mortgage interest and property tax tax deductions. It just comes back to the money hustle. If property owners didn’t receive so many federal kickbacks it would be a much more level playing field. The obsession with property – we can thank our the British partition-worldview of our nation’s founding.

      Cheap housing is being opposed by people who worry that it might lower the value of their homes. Whether that’s code for racism or not, it really cuts to the heart of the matter: housing in America is an investment first and a place to live second.

      Homeowners and landlords both have a vested interest in seeing prices go up, up, up, even if that means pricing everyone else out of the market, and they have a whole lot more political power and influence than the poor people they’re pricing out. Whether it’s house-flipping or the “luxury” apartment craze, the homeownership culture in the US is all about raising the price by any means necessary so that you’ll be able to sell it for a profit and use that money to buy an even more expensive house. People like to put the blame on restrictive zoning and land use regulations, but even those are largely the result of homeowners and developers seeking to keep prices high and neighborhoods exclusive. There’s no cheap housing because everyone who already has a house wants home prices to go up, not down, and they do all they can to make sure it stays that way.

      damon waltonclarksville, tn
      This is a great article which highlights the underlying issue when is comes to fair housing…race. Affordable housing in some form or another always had connotations to due with minorities and poverty. Also highlights the “not in my backyard” mentality. Plus identifies if one is as progressive or liberal as they claim to be. Its easier to parachute into poor minority communities to dole out aid and services while keeping ‘those people’ at an arm’s length away. Once we put folks from different income and racial backgrounds as their neighbors then we start see protests. And if we want to prevent working class neighborhoods from turning into economic blights then we must invest jobs, well resourced public schools, and green spaces into these hard hit areas. Then folks will return or willing to stay.

      Joan StaplesChicago
      Legal efforts to bring justice to people of color is important. But, in the long run, opportunities to get to know people of color without stereotypical thinking is the long-run solution. This can be done by connecting people over issues rather than living next door — at least for the time being. I happen to live in an integrated, not just a desegregated community. But it is an ongoing effort. My husband worked as a social worker in public, largely black housing. He learned that the majority of folks living there upheld more “middle class” values than are portrayed in the media. This does not mean that we shouldn’t learn to respect all people, but nothing will change unless multiple strategies are used.

      The book “The Color of Law” lays out the argument for government obligation to promote integration extremely well. Cities across America were segregated explicitly along racial lines by government policy at the federal, state, and local levels. Through redlining, enforcement and support of restrictive covenants, and racially targeted zoning laws blacks were systematically restricted to certain areas of different cities, prohibited from taking advantage of the kind of federally insured mortgages that allowed the middle class in America to grow, and crowded into high density, high rent areas that hastened those areas turning into slums. Through these and other mechanisms racial segregation turned into racial/income segregation. We then turned our government policy to efforts to segregate along socioeconomic lines. So the case for the government’s role in integration is that the situation is only the way it is due to government policy explicitly supporting racist ideals clearly against the post civil war constitutional amendments so they are obligated to rectify this harm although there may be some growing pains in the neighborhoods they seek to integrate (although many of those pains are overexaggerated). I understand the immediate knee jerk reaction to efforts like these but a more complete understanding of our history can change the way you see our current situation. Check the book out, it’s a great read.

      YcmichelNY, NY
      I find it odd that you’re ‘besieged’ by crime in NYC, where all statistics continue to point to historically low levels of crime. Perhaps you’re exaggerating just a little?

      I live in what was once an extremely high-crime area in Manhattan (I also grew up a few blocks north) and I don’t worry about my wife coming home late at night, cars almost NEVER get broken into anymore and most stores operate late nightly without fear of armed robberies. This is all 2 blocks from one large housing project and 5 blocks from another. Most low income people want the same thing you do: a safe environment for their loved ones to exist in, good schools for their kids and services that are accessible.

  1. No, it’s adults who segregate themselves. And if the process were so “natural” as you argue, then laws to enforce segregation would have been unnecessary. When legal means did not exist, then whites resorted to violence to enforce segregation.

    • It’s the ignorance that gets to me. I’ve seen way too much ignorance from way too many Americans for way too long. There is no other possible conclusion than such massive ignorance is entirely willful, which is to say it is built on lies and motivated by dishonesty. No one lacks knowledge about any of this because of a lack of access to this knowledge. Even when most of these people are directly confronted by the knowledge, they either dismiss it or ignore it and their ignorant beliefs remain unchanged.

  2. What the bulk of white America continues to deny is that whites in general, but well-off whites in particular, were able to amass assets and use their secure financial status to pass their wealth from generation to generation, aided and abetted by the expressed racist policies of the federal government.

    Nowhere is this so blatantly obvious than in the area of housing. The institutional racism of the federal government not only played a direct role in maintaining the color line, but also in “strengthening the walls of the ghetto,” as Douglas Massey & Nancy Denton writes in their book, “American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass.”

    The main culprit was the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), now an entity of HUD. Through its expressed racist underwriting practices and policies that recommended the application of racially restricted covenants, it financed the suburbanization of America, creating massive white wealth while constraining Black Americans’ residential opportunities to central-city ghettos of major U.S. metropolitan communities and denying them one of the most successful generators of wealth in American history—the suburban tract home, i.e. the “Levittowns” of America.

    What is often not acknowledged is that the same social system that fosters the accumulation of private wealth for whites denies it to Blacks.

    “Social Engineering” built white wealth, especially in the area of housing.

  3. Our gerrymandered landscape has kept development and people herded into economically, class and racial pockets. Our entire quest to get away from ‘those kinds of people’ cuts across racial, class and economic lines with political power; and has sprawled out of cities into the suburban world gobbling up farmland and green space and otherwise cycling back reclaiming urban spaces pushing out the poor to completing the ‘gentrification’ of the cities. If the Supreme court does its job addressing gerrmandering the physical landscape will go under the most dramatic change in our history. Or we will continue to have buildings with poor doors around the corner. The disenfranchised by definition is politically powerless, less mobile, less educated, and inclusively social incestuous just like everybody else. As long as we reserve dignity for our own tribe and segregate ourselves we will keep getting further and further from the ideals that created our ‘perfect union’. These days though it looks like we are a bit incapable of creating the society we want TOGETHER so I must say: God save the United States of America.

  4. I lived in a somewhat run-down rural area near the Canadian border last summer. The type where most homes had chipping paint, drugs, etc.

    It wasn’t dangerous though. I kept my bike outside locked to the street sign and no one tried to steal it. There was just a lot of drug dealing happening but no one bothered me

    I grew up in small-town Midwest and I live in “flyover country” now, so I’m not a Hollywood or East Coast liberal elite. I get that people are concerned about having poor people live near them for a number of reasons. What I don’t get is how angry and narrow-minded so many of the commentators here are. There is a lot of blaming the poor for their condition (some of which is deserved and a lot of which isn’t), and a lot of attacking those who have tried to find solutions to housing for low-income people. Practically none of these angry commentators offer a suggestion of what to do to help the situation and in fact they seem to be pretty okay with poor people just suffering as they are. If you think I’m being unfair, read these comments again and see how many people just want to lash out at both the poor and those who want to do something about it. So much bitterness and so little caring.”

  5. I’m in CA all the time and honestly, it’s pretty run down relative to the cost of living. Even middle class areas look pretty run down compared to an equivalent area in another state. The only areas that look “nice” are wealthy areas.

  6. American racism is so endemic it is amazing how many immigrants, who themselves are Black or Dark Skinned, buy into it. Several African immigrants have chosen to move out of apartments with too many Black Americans in many parts of Texas. On the other hand, my travels through the ghettos of America reveal not just “economic deprivation but a terrible psychological depravity” that leads to environmental neglect, poor public hygiene, poor parenting (this I think is pervasive in many White communities these days too), poor schooling and poor sense of community belonging, responsibility and appropriate social compliance.

    Lot of middle class families, struggling themselves, do not want to take the risk of moving into neighborhoods with badly brought up people, or people they assume are badly brought up. And sometimes there is White flight based on White fright.

    In the apartment complex we are in, which was pretty good a year ago, with all the amenities, is slowly declining with a lot of younger irresponsible people moving in (who don’t train and/or clean their dogs well), few ghetto people (White and Black) who are not very good at keeping things clean and a management that just wants to collect money and not supervise properly. We plan to move soon, but because of my Huntington’s I will move into a nursing facility. But my wife, soon to be ex, actually wants to move out of the country itself.

    Our housing problems are more than a race issue! It is a huge class divide too!

    • I saw that one in the comment section. What is most sad is how racism and classism perpetuate themselves generation after generation. There have been centuries of laws and public policies that help maintain this. But the entire way our society and economy is structured makes change almost impossible.

      The privileges and prejudices are built into every aspect of our lives, to such an extent that most people are oblivious to them or at least don’t appreciate their full impact. It’s so pervasive that it’s almost impossible to see because the only way to get an outside perspective would be to live for years or decades in an entirely different kind of country, which is something few Americans get to experience..

  7. This is a great article which highlights the underlying issue when is comes to fair housing…race. Affordable housing in some form or another always had connotations to due with minorities and poverty. Also highlights the “not in my backyard” mentality. Plus identifies if one is as progressive or liberal as they claim to be. Its easier to parachute into poor minority communities to dole out aid and services while keeping ‘those people’ at an arm’s length away. Once we put folks from different income and racial backgrounds as their neighbors then we start see protests. And if we want to prevent working class neighborhoods from turning into economic blights then we must invest jobs, well resourced public schools, and green spaces into these hard hit areas. Then folks will return or willing to stay.

    • The problem is so vast and entrenched that we are beyond the point of reforming the system.

      The entire economic system has shifted in such a way that even a New New Deal might not be enough. What made FDR’s New Deal possible was a post-war economic boom, mass industrialization, etc. The economy now is going in an entirely different direction with neoliberalism, globalization, offshoring, deindustrialization, mechanization, the gig economy, loss of job security and good benefits, worsening inequality, stagnant/dropping wages, a growing permanent underclass, and much else.

      FDR was able to force policies onto national corporations, but now corporations are transnational and in some cases have as much or more power than small countries. With neoliberal corporatism, inverted totalitarianism is taking hold where big biz controls big gov. There is no failure in the social order as it is functioning exactly as designed. Racial and class segregation are features and not bugs of the system.

  8. I have mixed feelings. We need to provide equal opportunity for the less fortunate to succeed. That includes reducing inequality by making massive social investments in schools, income maintenance, public works, child care, and universal health care, funded through increased marginal tax rates on the very rich. And here in California, it means repealing Prop 13 that benefits primarily corporations and older homeowners while pounding on young families, who pay two to three times the property tax of their next door neighbor. But the social engineering has to be done right. You start with helping people right where they live now. As their lives stabilize and they are able to amass some capital, they can eventually relocate. At that point, they have made an investment in themselves and will be a good neighbor

    Those who fear that housing projects will bring crime and lowered housing values have valid concerns. I lived for four years in a “redevelopment” area of San Francisco (on Diamond Street in Glen Park). Our superficially lovely street included low income housing projects interspersed with middle class homes. The daily onslaught of crime was truly stunning: car theft, car vandalism, rape, armed robberies, car jacking, burglary, arson…. The day someone tried to break in while we were asleep was the last straw. Frightened, I almost bought a 357 magnum at a gun store – but thought better of it, and instead sold our home at a loss, and regained a life of peace and tranquility.

    • The deck is stacked in so many ways. Even being well informed, it’s hard to comprehend the vastness of it. Thousands of research papers and hundreds of scholarly books have been written detailing every aspect of the historical legacies and ongoing realities of systemic and institutionalized prejudices, biases, injustices, oppression, and on and on and on and on…. It’s fucking depressing. And the response of self-serving willful ignorance is infuriating.

  9. I mostly agree, but I think you understate the role of race in economic class. Multiple studies have found that job applicants with names suggesting they belonged to a racial minority (or were female) were less likely to get responses for job applications and mentorship requests. Another study showed that resumes for STEM jobs with female or minority names yielded about 20% lower initial salary offers than similar resumes with white-names.

    There are more subtle factors too. Growing up, how many times did you see a black or latino person represented on the TV in a succesful, professional career? Now, how many times did you see them as criminals? Those kind of subtle biases infect everyone, including the racial minorities themselves. Not only do minorities have to overcome this negative bias in other people, they have to overcome it in themselves first.

    Race isn’t the whole story, for sure. I know someone who grew up in extreme poverty and is white. But dropping the accent and moving away from impoverished town was enough to shed the stigma (though not the scars) of her upbringing. Someone named Martinez or De’shawn can come from a middle class backround and still face stigma from their race alone.

    • I wish there was a way that we could talk about all problems we face in this society: racism, classism, etc. Too many people act like that it has to be one thing or another. Only one explanation is allowed at a time. Only one issue is allowed to be prioritized and all else dismissed. But the reality is all of the problems overlap to such a degree they are ultimately inseparable.

      We should be willing to admit that poor whites sometimes can escape poverty in a way that is much more difficult for poor minorities. But we also should be willing to admit that few poor whites ever escape the trap of poverty. Most poor whites come from families that have been stuck in poverty for centuries, often never having known anything else. There is a long long history of class oppression that preceded racialized slavery and American society was built on that inherited legacy of class oppression. The racial order then added another layer to it.

      Here is my intellectual conclusion. I think it’s fair to say that it is all fucked up and, one way or another, most Americans are being fucked over.

  10. This is a slanted and structurally prejudiced article.

    Historically, NY’s minority communities, pre-public-housing, were pushed from one fringe neighborhood to the next.

    The notorious “Five Points” where NYPD headquarters sits today, was the site of the open sewage collection pond and NY’s most notorious slums. The Draft Riots of 1863 pushed many free-black out of NY altogether. The creation of Central Park, while glorious for Fifth Avenue, displaced a poor shanty town occupied by the lower classes and minority. Lincoln Center, and other Robert Moses directed “Urban Renewal” efforts displaced San Juan Hill and helped concentrate the poor in Harlem causing black and white middle class owners to feel overwhelmed and flee.

    An argument can be just as easily advanced, in other words, that rich white developers looking for ‘the next neighborhood opportunity’ as speculators have been equally guilty of displacing the poor and cynically using housing programs to plot their next “thirty year buy and hold strategy.”

  11. Some of the tax breaks given to builders were originally designed to promote building in poor and blighted areas (e.g., TIFs — tax increment financing). But as others have noted, these tax breaks almost inevitably manage to one way or another to serve the interests of the upper class of wealthy residents and property speculators.

    In the local area here, TIFs have been given to the same well connected builder who uses the tax breaks to put up high rises for the wealthiest residents in already wealthy town. This has led to gentrification which pushes out not just the poor but the working class and middle class. And of course, this is happening in a liberal town that is in love with neoliberal corporatists like Hillary Clinton.

    There is always a racial component to these kinds of things. I’ve never seen research done in this city. But I’m sure there are racial biases in how realtors and landlords treat people.

    For certain, I know that I’m the product of a long history of racial practices. I spent part of my childhood in the sundown town of Deerfield IL, my dad grew up in the sundown town of Alexandria IN, my mom grew up next to and both my parents went to college in the sundown town of West Lafayette IN, my paternal grandfather grew up amidst New England wealth that was as privileged white as they come, my paternal grandmother grew up in Klan strongholds where violent race wars were happening, my maternal grandparents grew up in the very heart of the Second Klan, and some of my ancestors were slaveholders. Now my parents and I live in this privileged white liberal class town with proven racial biases in drug arrests and surely in other areas.

    Yet I meet white people all the time who would deny race plays any significant role. Our entire lives are racialized to the core.

    It’s not just what was done against minorities but, maybe more importantly, what was done for whites. The two books that explain what privilege has meant better than any others are Ira Katznelson’s “When Affirmative Action Was White” and Cybelle Fox’s “Three Worlds of Relief.” Those are the kinds of books I wish I could force every American to read. They should be required reading in every high school and college.

  12. “When will it end? Freedom includes freedom from forever war. Yet Americans continue to be told that the price of freedom is having U.S. troops deployed everywhere — the projection of power in 100+ countries. And some consider it patriotic to support those commitments without question, since to question it is seen as not supporting the troops. Which is nonsense, since our troops fight, at least in theory, to support and defend the U.S. Constitution, which, among other rights, enshrines freedom of speech and the right to dissent.

    “Can we contemplate a future Fourth of July in which American troops are no longer stuck in an infinite loop, fighting yet again in the blasted streets of Mosul or on the dusty plains of Helmand province? A day of independence from war?

    “That would truly be a day to celebrate with parades, parties, and fireworks.”


    At the beginning of this week, Republican senators were planning to head home for the Fourth of July recess and celebrate the nation’s independence and freedom by enacting their idea of liberty: denying health insurance to more than 20 million people. By the middle of the week, their hopes were dashed.[…]

    Once again the Republicans have found themselves in the peculiar position of possessing total control of the elected branches of the fe deral government, yet unable to act on one of their longstanding dreams: not just slowly destroying Medicaid, a federal program that guarantees healthcare to millions of poorer people, but also forcing people to rely upon the free market for their healthcare. […]

    But that only begs the question: why haven’t the Republican free-market fanatics mobilized their base in support of the bill? Why aren’t they flooding the Senate with phone calls in favor of making people fend for themselves in the healthcare insurance market? Where’s the passion for the market, the hostility to the welfare state, that has so defined the conservative cause since the New Deal? […]

    The problem, in other words, may not be the personnel. It may be the principles. Unlike Reagan, today’s Republican is no longer warmed in the same way by the burning belief that anything the state does in the realm of social welfare is automatically bad.

    mark June 29, 2017 at 4:20 am | #
    “Time was when even the worst legislation came with some kind of justification, when you could count on the hacks at Heritage to explain why eating children will encourage entrepreneurship, or something. ..But now we have legislation that will change the lives of millions, and they haven’t even summoned the usual suspects to explain what a great idea it is. If hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, Republicans have decided that even that’s too much; they’re going to try to pass legislation that takes from the poor and gives to the rich without even trying to offer a justification.”

    (Paul Krugman blog, 16th June 2017).

    Being bold is the order of the day.

    “The data showed that the Financial Times had the most divided readership. While the newspaper endorsed the Conservative Party, just 40 per cent of its readers voted Tory, while 39 per cent opted for Labour….In spite of the Sun’s strong endorsement of the Tories, 30 per cent of the paper’s readers still backed Labour at the polling booths. And 24 per cent of the Tory-backing Times still voted red, with 58 per cent backing the blues and 14 per cent opting for Tim Farron’s Liberal Democrats.”

    (How people voted in the election according to which newspaper they read, Independent, Rachel Roberts, Wednesday 14 June 2017).

    The Sun is largely believed to be edited by Murdoch and he also owns the Times.

    Bold, Bold, Bold!

  14. This is what is so bad about the Democratic establishment playing Russian roulette with American lives. They gambled everything on a right-wing strategy of suppressing democracy. But they lost everything and it is Americans who will suffer for their arrogance.

    So what keeps the GOP, particularly the elite sectors, with Trump? Like David Dayen, I’ve begun to think it all comes down to the judiciary. Trump has gotten one Supreme Court appointment, he may well get more, and he’s moved more quickly on lower-court appointments than Obama did. The legal arm of the conservative movement is probably the best organized, most far-reaching and far-seeing sector of the right. They truly are in it—and have been in it—for the long game. Control the Supreme Court, stack the judiciary, and you can stop the progressive movement, no matter how popular it is, no matter how much legislative power it has, for decades.

    It may seem ironic that a movement that came to power on the basis, in part, of a populist surge against “activist judges” would come to rely upon the judiciary as its most reliable weapon. But it’s not: while conservatism, from its beginning, has struggled to be an elitist movement of the masses, a populist movement for privilege, it has never departed from its elitist origins and supremacist mission. Going back to the rotten boroughs and Lords of early 19th century Britain, the right has always relied upon the least democratic sectors of the state. With this embrace of the judiciary as its last bastion of power, the right has come home.

    If there is an irony here, it is this: Since Trump’s election, and before that, liberals have seen the Constitution as the greatest weapon against the hard right. But long after Trump is gone, the hard right will be relying upon the judiciary—and behind that, the Constitution—to protect their gains. As was true of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the right will depend upon unelected judges interpreting the law, in defiance of the popular will. The very thing, in other words, that liberals think is the antidote to Trumpism—the Constitution—will turn out to be its long-term preservative, the elixir of life.

    Larry Houghteling June 15, 2017 at 11:35 am | #
    Absolutely spot-on perfect, especially the last paragraph.

    It’s obvious to me and I’d hope to most of you that — at the very least! — Supreme Court justices should serve limited terms, say, ten years. But what are the chances of amending the Big C to do that? As H.G. Wells so presciently put it, “Americans imprisoned themselves in their Constitution, and the rest of their history are the extraordinary results.”

    Steve Hamlett June 15, 2017 at 1:17 pm | #
    Not so sure. The R’s would still get the judges they want if they impeached Trump and brought in Pence. They’d get everything ELSE they want, too. So why stick with Trump? It’s all (and always) about re-election. Impeaching Trump would make instant enemies of all those voters who love Trump much more than they love their Republican senator of congressweasel, making their re-election next time around much more iffy.

    Arthur Reber June 15, 2017 at 1:19 pm | #
    Beg to differ. They’d get the same political framework with Pence, the same judicial appointments, the same agency heads. Methinks there’s a more devious game being played. Trump creates chaos. Chaos attracts attention, from the Democrats, from the media, from the public. While everyone is freaking out over his antics, the GOP can (and is beginning to) move ahead with their agenda (defanging Dodd-Frank, the AHCA). Without Trump distracting everyone, the media and the public would focus on the havoc that their economic, social and educational programs will wreak. Trump’s the perfect red herring — drag it across the trail and everyone is off following the scent.

    jonnybutter June 15, 2017 at 2:22 pm | #
    They’d get the same political framework with Pence,

    But impeachment and removal – or resignation – would themselves be costly for the GOP. I agree that distraction is effective for the moment, but honestly, the Dems pretty much suck no matter what the GOP does. There are other ways of distracting, misdirecting, etc., and they all seem to work.

    Debra Cooper June 16, 2017 at 12:28 am | #
    Pence’s judges would be as right wing as Trump’s .

    It is one reason that has some saliency it is still insuficient. it is also about the base of the Republican party. They are Trumpians now as much as they are Republicans. While severe gerrymanding protects those Republican electds in those extremely safe disticts…however they are safe only if yu stay loyal to party “principles” and the party leader.

    Billikin June 18, 2017 at 11:54 am | #
    Don’t forget inertia. The Republicans don’t need a reason to stick with Trump. They need a reason not to.

  15. We attempt to summon the magic reality-bending force of the show to cause Trump to get impeached and get off by testifying against Jared.

    Then we talk to novelist China Miéville about his new book “October,” and how Lenin was the first online guy.

    • It’s not all any single factor. That is what is hard for many to understand. And in a large country like the US, the exact mix of factors differs by area, from neighborhood effect to regional culture.

      For example, research has shown how slavery has a continuing legacy in the places where it was concentrated, communities where there is greater poverty for both blacks and whites to this day. This demonstrates how an entrenched racial order harms even most whites in economic terms but also in terms of public services.

    • I always wonder what represents temporary shifts versus long-term trends. What will the demographics of different areas look like decades from now? I’m not sure we can predict that based on present data. Too much is changing in too many different ways, including changes not just in the population but how people identify themselves in the data. I keep thinking about how racial and ethnic identities might change drastically over this coming century.

    • A while back I looked at the racial demographics of the high school I went to. It didn’t seem like it had changed much. It still was about half black and half white, if I’m remembering correctly. It would be curious to compare places where demographic shifts are happening and other areas where it isn’t happening.

  16. I always thought it was funny how “Asian” is one group. For one thing, south and East Asians don’t even look alike, much less all the cultural differences. But these two groups are one group in America, and don’t segregate that much in terms of living near each other and going to the same schools even while whites flee the schools.

    I also notice Asians (especially Filipinos) integrating with Latinos. A lot of the heavily Asian ethnoburns in SoCal are 1/3 Latino or more, with Latinos working at the Asian restaurants and stores

    • Broad labels like Asians, Hispanic/Latino, etc are not entirely meaningful. But they serve a purpose in the American social order. It helps create the ideological narratives for corporate media reporting and political rhetoric.

    • I noticed how many people in a discussion like this still don’t get it. Obamacare was right-wing healthcare reform that helped big insurance and still left healthcare unaffordable for many poor people. They didn’t see that getting better or possibly worse under Clinton. At least, Trump said he would fix the mess, even though he was lying.

      I wrote about this a while back showing how many people were feeling so desperate that they hoped against all hope that Trump might do what Democrats had refused to do. Many of these people understood how shitty Trump possibly was. But what else were they to do. Vote for Clinton? Clinton is part of the ruling elite that has fucked them over and forgotten about them. Why would they vote for Clinton to fuck them over even further?

      “Oller likes the idea of universal coverage. She supported President Obama in 2008 and 2012 specifically because of his promises to expand affordable health insurance. But in 2016, she decided to vote for Trump. In part, she felt it was a bit of a toss-up. She kept describing voting as something akin to “Russian roulette” — you never really know what you’ll get with a candidate, she argued.”

      What gets me is that some of these asshole commenters have the audacity to call these people stupid.

      Well, most of the eligible voters in states like that probably didn’t vote at all, much less for Trump. But if they had a choice of someone like Sanders, many of those who didn’t vote and many of those who voted for Trump would have instead voted for a real progressive. That wasn’t the choice they were given. They weren’t given a real choice at all. Voting for Trump was mostly a protest for the minority of eligible voters who did vote for him. It’s not like Trump won the popular vote (or Clinton either, in terms of the all eligible voters)

      I wonder how many of these commenters calling these poor whites stupid were themselves stupid enough to vote for Obama and Clinton. I knew both Obama and Clinton were full of shit, such that I didn’t vote for either (except for Obama the second time because I wanted Dems to have no excuses for his failure). If those on the political left weren’t so utterly retarded, we would have better choices of candidates. But too many on the political left are so easily manipulated by fear and lies, spin and rhetoric.

      Some people need to look in the mirror before blaming others.

      That said, there were some good comments as well:

      The4thTriumvir [score hidden] an hour ago
      It’s almost like Bernie Sanders offered Trump country everything they thought Trump would give them. Crazy, right?

      attosama 28 points 19 hours ago
      The main stream doesn’t actually care, they only talk about Trump for the explicit purpose of ad revenue. I guarantee you that come 2018 and 2020, they’ll give little air time the GOP’s opponents and focus on Trump’s latest tweet. If they actually cared, they be talking about how much the country is hurting under Trump, not which not nostril he chose to pick today. Worse still, these goons are getting their highest ratings yet, and American is feeding these vultures as they polarize our country even more.

      debaser11 22 points 18 hours ago
      Yeah everyone talks about how ‘CNN hates Trump,’ but CNN loves Trump. The only ‘ideology’ corporate media has is make money and Trump makes them a lot of money.

      attosama 10 points 15 hours ago
      It’s honestly the biggest scam, it’s yellow journalism at its finest.

      Andy1816 68 points 20 hours ago*
      Democrats have absolutely got to step up and be able to say “We will not take your heathcare away, we will give it back to you.” But it’s also time to scrap the ACA and move to Single Payer ASAP, for the simple reason that the ACA is fucking incomprehensible to this exact type of person in the article. And it’s for that reason that ACA keeps getting used as a cudgel against Democrats by voters who, largely, benefitted from this Act but simply do not realize it. It’s too complicated, and so shitheads like McConnell can use uninformed people’s confusion to trick them into thinking the bill does “bad things”. […]

      I encourage everone to scroll through that and compare the NHS announcement with the ACA eligibility flowchart. That is criminally overcomplicated. I just want to go to the fucking doctor and not walk out broke.

      radarerror30 20 points 15 hours ago
      Thank you for writing this. As I write this, millions of poor Americans who are too wealthy for Medicaid get thrown into a system of high deductibles and mythical subsidies that are hidden from view.
      My mother recently died because of her shitty healthcare and high deductibles, so she couldn’t get treated for a preventable heart condition. It irritates me to no end to see neoliberals crowing about how she should have known and gamed the system better (if there is even such a thing), ignoring the likelihood that she would have lost her job and coverage if she were hospitalized thanks to our lack of labor rights in this country.

      Uranus_Hz 26 points 18 hours ago
      A lot of people, myself included, are still pissed is because Obama didn’t start at ‘single payer’ and negotiate from there. Instead he started with what Dems viewed as a ‘reasonable compromise’ and then had to move right from there.
      However, considering the high unemployment rate resulting from the George W Bush Recession, I can understand why Dems might have been reluctant to throw additional millions from the insurance industry into those unemployment lines.

      ZRodri8 18 points 15 hours ago
      I’m pissed to that Hillary thought catering to the right before even sitting down to talk was being “pragmatic.”
      Like wtf? Why couldn’t people see through that bullshit? I’ve never heard of a negotiator say that catering to the other person immediately is good negotiating strategy.

      RandomMandarin 7 points 12 hours ago
      A lot of people, myself included, are still pissed is because Obama didn’t start at ‘single payer’ and negotiate from there.
      He was trying to keep Lieberman happy.

      leftofmarx 6 points 9 hours ago
      Obama got HeritageCare passed just 15 years after they proposed it. Pretty fast turnaround for Republican success. All they had to do was get a black guy on the Democratic ticket elected to do pretty much everything they wanted while making it look like a feud to the plebs.

      kornian [score hidden] 2 hours ago
      And that was when he had a majority. The democrats wasted all their political capital passing a conservative policy, which was forced further to the right. They then celebrated their “victory”.

      xveganroxNorth America 8 points 12 hours ago
      Only thing I’d add is for the love of God don’t switch to “single payer” – that’s just terrible branding. Call it “Medicaid for all,” “universal healthcare,” or even “Medicare for all” (people love Medicare) but single payer sounds like you’re making them pay for it, and maybe that sounds condescending as hell but there are some 20 million people out there who believe in FEMA death panels.

      Captain0010 5 points 7 hours ago
      I think it’s worth pointing out that he specifically said that he won’t take away health care and the US will have THE best healthcare system. It’s not like he said he will take down healthcare and they voted for him. The fact that they bought his lies is another topic. But do not worry. In 2020 or whatever the next guy will promise change and they will vote for him

      AMP_Link_Bot 6 points 4 hours ago
      Read the article. They voted for him because he promised to reopen the coal mines and to NOT take away healthcare benefits.
      Voting for trump in coal country was a rational decision. It’s not their fault Trump is a pathological liar. Recall the alternative for them was Hillary NOT Bernie.

      czerniana 16 points 15 hours ago
      There’s a house about a mile away that is on a busy road. They’ve had a Trump/Pence billboard in their yard attached to their garage for, well, since all of this started.
      I noticed two days after the latest healthcare bill release they have taken it down. This house looks like it’s owned by poor older people. I’ve never seen anyone young, and it takes days to get yardwork done, even on a riding mower.
      I had wondered when the straw would hit the camel’s back. If it doesn’t go back up, I’ll know it was this moment. I have to wonder what’s really going through their minds. Do they feel regret? Are they just angry? Do they just not want to be perceived as still supporting him but really do?
      My Sanders magnet will stay on my truck till it fades too much to be recognized. Even if we can’t have him for President, his campaign stood for everything I believe in. Taking care of each other.

    • The problem with liberalism is liberals. Or to put it another way: Liberalism has gotten a bad name or simply become meaningless because the most prominent self-avowed liberals have consistently acted in ways that are illiberal or even anti-liberal.

      What is a liberal ideology without liberal action, liberal policies, and liberal results? Well, it’s plain hypocrisy and empty rhetoric.

      Yet liberalism as a pragmatic program remains popular among the majority, as indicated by Sanders being the most popular politician right now.

      A year or so ago a conservative friend posted some nonsense on Facebook about liberals supporting “safe spaces” in colleges. I wrote back “I’m a liberal and I think that whole movement is nuts. You go to College to expand your horizons not stay within your comfort zone”

      My friend wrote back “You’re not a liberal.

      “Of course I am” I replied listing my liberal bona fades. Antiwar, pro-environment, in favor of progressive taxation, single payer health care system, pro-choice, and of course, pro freedom of speech.

      As it turned out she may have been right. A few weeks later I posted the same opinion on a liberal bulletin board thread on a site that I had long been a member of and was promptly and viciously attacked as a racisist, a sexist and a hater of trans, gay and bisexual people.

      Since the Clinton administration Democrats have been decoupling themselves from the liberal economic legacy of FDR and in its place assembled a coalition of interest groups many of which have very little in common with each other. Maybe that’s where the nastiness, insularity, the preciousness, the insane notion that nothing can be questioned for to do so feeds the right wing agenda comes from.

      These days I’m no longer calling myself a liberal. My positions on the issues haven’t changed and if you call me a liberal I won’t argue with but to be honest I don’t want to be associated with those people.

      Luis NieblaPhoenix, AZ
      Let’s look at liberal’s position on poverty: “You need to help folks get back on the job,” which is really the same positions the right has, ignore the economic institutions that cause poverty, FIX poor people.

      Liberalis have never defended militant labor or unions, they were part of the death of it. All progress in this country was created by radicals, not by liberals were just jumped on the bandwagon when all the hard work was already done. Liberals always insist on open dialogue, rather than an understanding of how power works.

      Liberals also don’t understand how social justice struggle works. Where are the riot cops, the angry business owners, the hedge fund managers in liberal images of struggle? In liberalism, the other side is inherently evil, but this is not really self-evident. Liberalism will always be subservient to capitalism, and it will never be capable of fundamentally challenging it and changing our society in a profound way.

      Join your local DSA, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about the class solidarity that liberals never talk about.

      This is just another way to demonize and discredit the left. It’s too bad so many who like to call themselves “progressive” have fallen for this. As for Clinton, many have forgotten that when he left office he was referred to as “the best Republican President ever!” He was hardly a liberal and we all knew it.

      RaeNew Jersey
      Yes we avoid the word liberal (and all labels) for a number of reasons one of which their meaning is not apparent to everyone and is misused by most. Not to be insulting (just realistic) but Americans are not well educated in this regard. The average person cannot properly define Socialism and that’s a problem.

      Progressive only means Not Regressive now (going backwards) = not much at all. I detest the word. It has gotten us nowhere.

      Republicans have set the agenda/terms/dialogue since ReaganDemocrathave gone along with it. Have moved with great accommodation steadily to the center and allowed the country and themselves to be redefined for political expediency. Hence the reason for this article’s existence.

      What’s left of “the left” has little trouble understanding what has happened.

      RadicalnormalLos Angeles
      Sorry, but I don’t hear progressives beating up on “liberals.” As a progressive myself, I embrace the term. I do, however, hear people rightly beating up on “Neo-Liberals,” “Blue Dog Democrats,” and “The Democratic Establishment” who are rightly criticized for weakening the Democratic brand. True progressives and liberals alike are sick of triangulation, sick of “Republican Lite” politics and demand that the Democratic Party get back to truly LIBERAL values like those espoused by Bernie Sanders — and FDR!

    • There is much ambiguity about liberalism in the US. That article is better than average, but even it comes off as largely ignorant in the typical way seen in ‘mainstream’ (corporate/corporatist) media.

      “America’s version of liberalism has always been a curious one. In Europe, the word has traditionally meant a preference for things like limited government, separate private and public spheres, freedom of the press and association, free trade and open markets — what’s often described as ‘‘classical liberalism.’’ But the United States had many of those inclinations from the beginning.”

      I wish we had less historical amnesia.

      Many classical liberals from past centuries, including among the American revolutionaries and founders, were radical left-wingers. They criticized Christianity, theocracy, monarchy, plutocracy, authoritarianism, centralized government, concentrated wealth and power, corporatism, big biz, etc. They did this while often advocating for democratic process, social democracy, universal suffrage, women’s rights, black rights, abolition of slavery, basic income/citizen’s dividend, progressive taxation, public schools, etc.

      Not every classical liberal agreed with all or necessarily even any of those exact positions. And it is fair to point out that some classical liberals were what today we would call reactionary conservatives, as opposed to traditionalists defending the ancien regime. But among classical liberals, this represented the leftward range of ideas and values under discussion. Classical liberalism meant many things to many people, ever since the beginning of the Enlightenment Age. It always had immense diversity and inconsistency.

      Why can’t we begin discussions like this with a basic acknowledgment of historical facts?

      “By the 20th century, American liberalism had come to mean something distinct. The focus on individual liberties was still there, but the vision of government had become stronger, more interventionist — ready to regulate markets, bust monopolies and spend its way out of economic downturns. After the end of World War II, this version of liberalism seemed so triumphant in the United States that the critic Lionel Trilling called it the country’s ‘‘sole intellectual tradition.’’ Its legislation legalized unions and, with Social Security, created a pension system; a health plan for older Americans, Medicare, was on the way.”

      Liberalism didn’t really change all that much. 20th century liberalism was a direct continuation of liberal ideas and policies that were first formulated and advocated centuries earlier. FDR’s Second Bill of Rights was inspired by Thomas Paine. The critique of big biz and corporatism goes back to a central reason the American Revolution even happened at all, as the founders were extremely mistrustful of the corporatist collusion that had formed between big gov and big biz. That was what the whole tax issue was about, as big biz was being given preferential treatment by big gov. Many of the founders didn’t just want to bust up monopolies but to create laws that would prevent them from ever forming in the first place. That is why they put severe restrictions on corporate charters that remained the predominant US political position until the 20th century neoliberal corporatists gained power.

      As for legalizing unions, the fight about organized labor goes back to the ending of feudalism, the enclosure movement that stole and privatized the commons, and the attack on the rights of commoners (what later would be referred to as the rights of Englishmen). Thomas Paine witnessed organized labor and the early labor union movement in England. The only reason the US government had to legalize unions in the 20th century is because corporations had gained power to essentially make them illegal prior to that. Legalizing them was removing interventionist government in its suppression of organized labor in the defense of big biz.

      Why is there so little historical context to articles like this?

  17. MumboJumbo212 months ago
    The problem I see is the Stockholm Syndrome in the voters themselves. The mainstream Democrats I know do see behind the bullshit behind what people like Tom Perez say, but they still allow the fear of what the right will do dominate their decision and candidly accept the corruption and morsels they receive from the Democratic party.

    They don’t want to try to fight and get what’s needed even when a great opportunity rises (ie. Bernie’s run), because the “risk” is always perceived as too great from the right. It is almost as if while we have superheroes on television and in the theaters fighting against all odds, we do not have to take those large risks to fight for the people who desperately needed Bernie’s reform in real life.

    Majoofi2 months ago
    “Unity” means sheep-dogging progressives back into a barn that is burning down. The DNC using Sanders as a branding gimmick.

    Debbie Johnson-McNutt2 months ago
    Bernie is trying to hold his tongue when Perez is speaking. Bernie, just leave the Dems in the dust as they did you and your supporters during the primary. The time is ripe for a new third party, The Peoples Party.

    Blah deBlah2 months ago
    The Dems don’t fuck around.
    Bernie Sanders may be scared for his own well being, or that of his family.
    Be that as it may, it isn’t an acceptable excuse.
    If Bernie Sanders has been threatened then he’s weak for not standing up to the people who threatened him.
    If he’s corrupt then fuck him.
    Either way, I have given up on Bernie Sanders.
    To be honest, I gave up on him the moment he conceded and announced his support for Hillary Clinton.

    Blah deBlah2 months ago (edited)
    +craig robb
    Exactly my point, craig!
    Bernie worked for decades to amass an impressive track record.
    And it was all undone in one sad moment when he stood on that stage and, instead of fighting Hillary Clinton and her corruption, he caved to pressure and endorsed her, giving up in the process.
    I’m sorry, but I want a leader with more of a sense of fight to him or her than that.
    And as for the DNC emails that revealed all their corruption:
    I will NEVER vote for another Democrat!
    Millions of others agree with me.
    The Dems will never, ever regain a huge chunk of their former voting base, mainly the true Progressives and those with integrity.
    Now all that’s left are unthinking idiots and craven corporatists.
    The few good people left in the Dem Party will abandon it.
    Plus, the people in positions of authority right now at the Democrat Party/DNC would die before relinquishing their power.
    There is a majority portion of the Dems who absolutely despise Bernie Sanders and Progressivism as a whole.
    Those craven corporatists and idiot followers will never be able to stop themselves from acting like the entitled, bullying assholes that they truly are, no better than any Republican.
    The corporatist wing of the Dem Party won a coup during the last primary election, and there is no healing from that.
    Progressives will not be content being stuck in the back of the bus, so to speak, and that’s exactly what going back to the Dem Party will mean.
    I watch too many movies, eh?
    Well, it’s pretty obvious to me that you haven’t read enough history books.
    Please, don’t try to condescend to me.

    Theresa Powell2 months ago
    +condew HacDC I’m so sick of hearing how a third party will NEVER win, We are supposed to value COMPETITION in this country, so no I’m not buying that spineless shit anymore, the MORE democracy, the better, sure, a third party may not win at first, but give it time, the American people are getting fed up with our American monarchy’s and want CHOICES!!

    Blah deBlah2 months ago
    Democrats are as much our enemy at this point as Republicans, maybe even more so.
    The Dems have a very powerful, dangerous tool at their disposal:
    Vast oceans of unthinking, integrity-free group thinkers who try to kill Progressive ideals on sight.
    At this point in our history the Dems are the ideological enemies of Progressives.

    kellyloganme2 months ago
    The affirmative vision is exactly what it has been for forty years – “Don’t worry your little heads about anything, we got this. Just trust us, work with us and reject anyone dissenting or asking questions.”

    Santos D2 months ago
    Exactly right.
    I actually think this “Unity Tour/On The Road Wrestling Match Tour” is fantastic. It gives everyone a chance to see exactly what the conflict within the Democratic Party is about.

    Also, I LOVE people chanting “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” at every event, and giving Corporate Dems a hard time for opposing progressive policies!

    toby buckwyler2 months ago
    Perez is just another Bill Clinton Neoliberal.
    We want Bernie Sanders , because he’s a FDR Democrat…..arguably the best President in our history.

    Tony Gilmour2 months ago (edited)
    Good review! Yes, tool boy Perez is INCREDIBLY full of shit, which is why he has the position he does. The DNC would never let a real progressive in there.
    However, he isn’t nearly as full of shit as Chris Hayes, who led Perez right where he wanted him to go. Saying (13:45) HRC ran on hope! HUNH!!???? Uh, NOOOOOO, the insufferable criminal hag ran almost exclusively on “I’m not Trump” (either that, or trying like hell not to have to talk about her own atrocious record). How could Sanders sit there like a lump on a damn log and let that one slide by?
    And they still have yet to acknowledge how extremely fraudulent the dem primary was, but expect Sanders backers to just come back based on this empty rhetoric?
    “Values”!!? Whenever anyone from the DNC talks about that key code word, prepare to bend over and get a really big cock stuffed up your ass. What does it mean? I’ll tell ya, it means that we, us serfs, should keep licking the boots of the corporate donor fuckers (and be thankful for the privilege) who threw us overboard more than twenty years ago.

    Textynn2 months ago
    “Hope on the ballot” is exactly what they plan to do. No promises, no clear ideas, just some lame hopy changy garbage that will get them votes and offer exactly nothing. This is the man the Dems want and they picked him because he knows who the masters are and how to say exactly nothing wrapped up in a useless feel good general language. People should be fuming .

    Natalie Williams2 months ago
    How about exposing the Koch’s and Soro’s of our nation/world, who seek to destroy the rights, lives, and environments of others to preserve their own wealth and gain complete Control over everyone else? That’s the problem. Fat Cats think their great wealth can buy legislation and governments . . . and so far, they’ve been right.

    el dwdubu2 months ago
    ACA does not make health care a right it makes it an obligation to pay insurance companies. Perez is so full of it.

    Blah deBlah2 months ago (edited)
    The Dems know that doing anything more than just glossing over issues AT THIS PARTICULAR POINT IN TIME would mean that their base will do some soul searching.
    Soul searching is the VERY LAST THING the Dem Establishment want its base to engage in right now.
    Be scared about Russia, enraged at Trump, whatever it takes to change the narrative away from actual, thoughtful dialogue.
    The Dems are hoisting themselves by their own petard.
    That Party needs to go away.
    Former Bernie supporter here, totally disgusted with Bernie’s Stockholm Syndrome.

    Angel Tibbs2 months ago
    That’s what I thought, thanks. This unity tour is basically Clinton’s failed campaign 2.0 – don’t look at our corruption, fear Trump. Failed Clinton and will fail any Clintonite Dems in future. All they stand for is fundraising, Trump bashing and Russia blaming. This renders them useless to most of us. Again, good analysis.

  18. In a recent interview, Noam Chomsky made statements like this about Trump:

    “We have to be a little cautious about not trying to kill a gnat with an atom bomb.”
    “I don’t think things are quite that bleak.”
    “elections are pretty much bought.”

    Yet when Hillary Clinton was nominated, he stated that we had to vote for her to fight against Trump. His argument then was that we had to vote based on fear, not principles. But if we always support those who are stealing elections (as Chomsky knows is happening), then how does change ever happen? He has no answer for that.

    When someone has asked him about what they specfiically can do to make a difference, Chomsky has argued that he can’t tell anyone what to do and each person has to figure it out for themselves. If so, why does he tell everyone how to vote? It’s infuriating, especially coming from one of the most brilliant and well-informed public intellectuals.

    • Anyone who knows American history knows that this exact kind of situation has happened thousands of times all across the US. A new immigrant group shows up with a new culture and sometimes a new religion. Much changes, but eventually the immigrant group assimilates and/or moves to the suburbs.

  19. I was thinking about how much time has passed. I’m a younger GenXer. When I was only five years old, the first wave of Millennials was being born. When I graduated high school, the first wave of Millennials was entering high school. Now it’s approaching a quarter century since I graduated high school.

    It just occurred to me that Millennials are old enough to be grandparents, if a Millennial had a child when they were age 18 and their kid had a child when they were 18. Millennials are no longer the young generation. They are already a large part of the workforce.


    ProPublica: You were initially in favor of Republican efforts to tighten voting and reconfigure districts. What first appealed to you about those ideas?

    Dale Schultz: Well, the blunt truth is, as a partisan politician, your knee-jerk reaction is to protect the standing of your party because that solidifies your power to accomplish what you want to do. My good friend and former colleague, Tim Cullen, also served as Senate majority leader but on the Democrat side, and we’ve said we’re both guilty of voting for redistricting maps which were politically motivated. This isn’t a one party sin. It happens on both sides, and that’s why we introduced our bipartisan bill to change how we redistrict in Wisconsin. I’m happy the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up the issue this fall.

    The Republicans pushing the voter ID effort cited voter fraud as a concern and a reason to tighten voting rules and requirements. Did anyone ever show you compelling evidence of that?

    No, in fact, quite the opposite. Some of the most conservative people in our caucus actually took the time to involve themselves in election-watching and came back and told other caucus members that, “I’m sorry, I didn’t see it.”

    In terms of voting laws, look, I don’t have a fundamental problem with having to show a photo ID in order to vote, but what I do have a problem with are the severe restrictions on what kind of photo ID is allowed and also using these laws to suppress the votes of specific groups.

    You need to understand, I come from the old school of the “Institution of the Senate.” When I was coming up through the ranks, and even when I was majority leader, I put great stock and respect into the chairmanship system. When you were given a chair of a committee, you were expected to put the good of the Senate above all else. So when the chair of the Senate elections committee says there’s a problem with voter fraud in the state, and the committee passes a bill out, you take them at their word.

    But that’s on me.

    Anyway, I ultimately ordered my staff to launch our own investigation and come up with three concrete examples of voter fraud in Wisconsin. Well, guess what? They couldn’t do it, and you need to understand the time, I had graduates from the University of Wisconsin journalism school on staff who’d worked for national publications. But we did come up with two examples. One was a Republican legislative staffer who’d voted in the Madison area as well as back in her hometown in the same election. The other was the estranged wife of a Republican. That’s it, and both examples were on the Republican side.

    Did you ever raise the lack of evidence with your Republican colleagues?

    Our caucuses were quite raucous. Our meetings and how we dealt with one another was blunt.

    I asked my colleagues to show me three specific examples, and all I got was a bunch of hand-wringing and drama-filled speeches about the “buses of Democrats being brought up from Chicago.” I said, “Show me where that was ever prosecuted or even charges brought.” It was crickets. Nobody could give me an answer, and that was both an eye-opening and sad moment for me because I think it finally hit me that time-honored tradition of the “Institution of the Senate” was all but dead.

    You know, I had, I think it’s fair to say, a reputation for challenging the thinking of our caucuses. But if you find yourself in a situation where you’re dissenting too often, pretty soon people go, “Well, he never agrees with us, he’s not really one of us. We’re not going to bother to listen.” So, you learn to pick your spots and try to make a difference where you can.

    I want to be clear. I don’t want to cast myself as some sort of superhero. Look, I’m a politician. I was for 30 years. Inherently, that means that you compromise and that everybody’s hands get a little dirty as they try to work out a solution that is the best for people.

    People were very frank and this is not a game for the timid. People were very emotional, but you know when it comes to casting votes, people know that once the decision is made, the team pretty much sticks together.

    Talk about why you later came to regret ever voting for the measures.

    I voted for the first voter law bill, and then I did what I’d done since I first got elected in 1982; I went out and did my regular scheduled district office hours. It took all of my first stop to realize I didn’t do my homework. I had town and village clerks coming up to me saying, “Dale, are you nuts? Do you realize how restricting voting hours and early voting and absentee voting is going to affect how people can vote let alone making our jobs all the harder?” They also made it clear that there was no voter fraud happening that they were aware of. Because of the feedback from my constituents, I voted no on the subsequent bills.

    I enjoyed all the people I represented and it was a great honor. But there were occasions where people said, “Dale, I’ve heard your explanation on what you’ve done and why you’ve done it, but I think you got this wrong.” And I think voter ID was one of those.

    A long time ago my father told me on the farm, if you happen to, when you’re out in the pasture, put your foot in a cowpie, don’t sit there and explain why you stepped in it, just take it out. And it’s been my experience politically, that when you do that, and you explain the reasons, people tend to see that as a politician evolving and thinking and listening, and I think most people are hungry for that. And they’re supportive of that, as long as it doesn’t become a daily flip-flop.

    The numbers are in from the 2016 election in Wisconsin. The state surprised the pollsters by going for Trump. And now there’s likely to be a long debate and examination of whether the voter ID and other measures played a role in that outcome. Any early thoughts?

    Oh, yeah, all of these things have an impact. Even just constantly keeping up a steady drumbeat of claims about election fraud has an impact. It motivates a base. How big an impact probably varies from state to state. In very close elections, even seemingly small impacts can have great consequences.

    You got out of elective office after 32 years. Why?

    Well, because I like to think I’m old enough and wise enough to know that there’s more to life than politics, as important as it’s been to me and as enjoyable as it has been to me for all those years. Then again, it’s not that I haven’t been bothered by the changes I’d seen around me or just the simple reality that it was less fun than it used to be as people stopped thinking and became more Pavlovian.

    • DHFabian • 2 days ago
      Dale Schultz is correct, but not in the way that (I assume) he thinks. It’s true that, since the 1980s, WI Democrats have leaned far to the right. Maybe it has reached the point where Dems fear that if they lean any further, they’ll only tip over and crash to the ground.


    But Poole’s careful to point out that protesting policies is different from protesting people with different perspectives. In fact, cultivating understanding between those who wish to welcome refugees and those who oppose their resettlement has become an important goal for Soft Landing, especially since the arrival of refugees in Missoula has been a source of contention in surrounding towns and rural areas.

    “Doing something as large and life-changing as bringing refugees to a community that hasn’t done that in a long time requires more than just supporters to be engaged and interested,” she says. To this end, Poole recently participated in a public information meeting in Hamilton, Montana, a place where local county government sent a letter to the U.S. State Department opposing refugee resettlement in Missoula. The purpose of the meeting was to share information about refugee resettlement and listen to concerns, according to Poole, not to settle an argument.

    This is a tactful approach in Montana, a rural state that recently elected a vocal supporter of the travel ban, Greg Gianforte, to Congress following a contentious special election. The approach, though, comes naturally to Poole and her colleagues.

    “Our goal is not to convince people what we’re doing is right and what they’re doing is wrong,” she says. “Our goal is just to create a more welcoming environment for refugees to call home.”

    • I don’t know how this fits in. In the late 19th to early 20th century, there was more diversity in the US than has ever existed before or since.

      Back then, ethnic enclaves were everywhere and English was just one language among many, as Protestantism was just one religion among many. Across the country, there were thousands of newspapers, book publishers, churches, and even public schools that were operating in languages other than English.

      But that is considered one of the high points of the American experience. Culture of trust was high and civic organizations were common.

      The fact of the matter is that all of this was possible because this diversity had yet to be assimilated. These immigrants maintained their traditional cultures which included all that was healthy about them. It was assimilation that destroyed that, with the inevitable atomization and isolation of individuals along with the destruction of the extended family, kin-based communities, and multigenerational households.

      None of this fits into the narrative that is told by the political right. There is a near complete historical amnesia. The reason they don’t want to to remember it is that it wasn’t only a time of strong families and communities but also one of the times of the greatest violence and conflict. The two aren’t separate, which is inconvenient for those who want to nostalgically romanticize the past.

      It was the very strength of cultures back then that separated one culture from the others. The other issue is that the only reason those cultures were strong is because they still maintained the social capital that they brought with them from the Old World. American culture has depended on a constant influx of social capital because American society is dependent on constantly destroying social capital. The US has never been a stable social order.

      Any possibility of honest discussion about this is out of the question.

  22. “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum—even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”

    —Noam Chomsky, The Common Good


    “A state of mind is utopian when it is incongruous with the state of reality within which it occurs.”
    —Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia

    We are all utopians now. I don’t think there is a person alive who hasn’t at one time or other thought to themselves: the world is fucking insane. Look around you at the world today. Charles Derber tells us that sociopathy is antisocial behavior by an individual or institution that typically advances self-interest, such as making money, while harming others and attacking the fabric of society. In a sociopathic society, sociopathic behavior, both by individuals and institutions, is the outcome of dominant social values and power arrangements. A sociopathic society, paradoxically, creates dominant social norms that are antisocial— that is, norms that assault the well-being and survival of much of the population and undermine the social bonds and sustainable environmental conditions essential to any form of social order. Like an autoimmune disease, such antisocial societal programming leads to behavior that weakens and can, in the most extreme scenario, kill the society itself.1

    Is that what we’re doing? Committing social hari-kari? Suicide? Or, sociopathic genocide against ourselves? Madness reigns.

  24. “After decades in which Wall Street masters of the universe were lionized in the media and popular culture, star investment bankers — rich, usually white men in nice suits — just don’t match the popular image of criminals. Democrats as well as Republicans cozied up to big business, outsourcing the Treasury Department to Wall Street and the Justice Department to corporate law firms. Even after the financial system collapsed, the Obama administration’s priority was to bail out the megabanks — to “foam the runway,” in Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s words. The Justice Department became increasingly staffed by intelligent, status-seeking, conformist graduates of the nation’s top law schools — all of whom had friends on Wall Street and in the defense bar. In that environment, the easy choice was to play along, strike a deal with an impressive-sounding fine (to be absorbed by shareholders) that held no one responsible, and avoid risking an acquittal or a hung jury. (The book’s title comes from then-U.S. Attorney James Comey’s name for prosecutors who had never lost a trial.) Corruption can take many forms — not just bags of cash under the table, but a creeping rot that saps our collective motivation to pursue the cause of justice. As Upton Sinclair might have written were he alive today: It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his résumé depends upon his not understanding it.

    “There’s just one problem. While the “unelected permanent governing class” may have been willing to look the other way when highly paid bankers wrecked the economy, many of the workers who lost their jobs and families who lost their homes were not. Outside the Beltway, the fact that the Wall Street titans who blew up the financial system suffered little more than slight reductions in their bonuses only reinforced the perception that the “system” is “rigged” — with the consequences we know only too well. Many people simply want to live in a world that is fair. As Eisinger shows, this one isn’t.”

  25. I was wondering about rural and urban percentages in the South. It looks like only a few states in the entire country are still majority rural and some of those are actually in the North. The South overall like all other regions overall are now majority urban.

    Click to access urusstpop19002000.pdf

    Click to access JRSS%202013%2028%202%2090-121(2).pdf


    “They are the nation’s invisible homeless population, undercounted for years, hiding out in cars and abandoned buildings, in motels and on couches, often trading sex for a place to sleep. And now, for a complex variety of reasons, the number of youth — teens and young adults — living on the street appears to be growing.

    “San Diego saw a 39 percent jump in homeless youth over the past year. In Atlanta, the number of homeless youth in 2016 was estimated to be nearly triple that of previous years. After a concerted effort to count homeless young people, Seattle’s King County saw its numbers jump more than 700 percent between 2016 and 2017. And the number of homeless, unaccompanied public school students increased one-fifth between 2012 and 2015.”

    • Everything he says is true. But this is what always bothers me the most. We are talking about highly educated, smart scholars who are promoting these ideas. The ignorance of history, social science, etc is mind-boggling.

      Even in 1990s when the Clash of the Civilizations was a hot topic, these kinds of people should have known better. At that point, racial essentialism had been criticized by anthropologists for about a century. Race never made sense as a scientific category, much less as a frame to define civilizations and analyze global conflicts.

      I’m a weirdo in that I hold scholars to a higher standard, especially those acting as public intellectuals.

    • That further corroborates the theory that how slowly genetics changes. It took a long time for humans to settle in Europe before genetic changes happened.

      The selective pressure must have been fairly low. Even today, not all Europeans are light-skinned and can digest milk. It’s interesting that Basque who are the oldest Europeans and so had the longest time to genetically change are among the darker-skinned Europeans.

      This also indicates that most of these changes have been only partial and not drastic. Even with these minor changes, the human species remains one of the least genetically diverse of comparable species.

    • Here is something amusing. Put the following in the context of the link you posted, pointing out that the genetics for light skin have only existed for 8,000 years. Published a year after that article, there was a book entitled “The White & Aryan Civilizations: Started 12,000 Years ago in Gobekli Tepe to Serve Humanity”.

      That makes me laugh. Gobekli Tepi was already abandoned 9,000 years ago, which was 3,000 years after it was first constructed and a 1,000 years prior to the appearance of the first white person. Are white people time travelers who built these temples as a monument to their own whiteness that would only exist 4,000 years later?

    • This comes down to definition.

      The majority Americans hold many positions (on war, legal/police/prison reform, healthcare reform, education reform, social safety net, free trade deals, taxation, etc) that are more liberal than held by most self-identified ‘liberals’. Self-identified liberals tend to only be genuinely liberal on a few symbolic issues that are used as political footballs but have little impact on the actual lives of most people in the real world.

      It’s questionable how genuine is their liberalism on even those symbolic issues. They don’t tend to fight all that hard for any liberal issue, not even the symbolic. When have we seen supposedly liberal Democrats promote serious gun control reform and I don’t mean the empty rhetoric to rile up the partisans during elections?

      Their greatest advocacy is protecting their own economic position and privilege, often using rhetoric of liberalism. I live in a very liberal town and yet the tax breaks designed for poor blighted neighborhoods (TIFs) somehow end up only benefiting rich liberals. So, these tax breaks are created using liberal rhetoric about helping the poor and uplifting economy, but in practice it’s just more divisive class politics.

      Is someone a liberal because they say they are a liberal or because they act according to liberalism in more ways than they don’t?

      All that liberalism has become as a label is a class identification and, of course, class correlates and is conflated with race. To say that the most segregated schools are actually in pretty liberal areas (i.e., areas where higher rates self-identify as ‘liberal’) is simply to say that most segregated schools are actually in most economically segregated areas of the upper middle class and upper class.

      It’s a less shocking statement when restated. What is shocking is how confused, meaningless, and almost irrelevant the very notion of ‘liberalism’ has become in our society.

  27. Exactly, the American peace has brought stability to Europe and to a certain extent Asia, but what of the rest of the world? The Middle-East has spent the Pax-Americana going through their own Century of Humiliation, Latin America’s lack of interstate wars is more a fact of the terrain rather than American oversight instead they have to deal with Narco violence which are often just as violent as most modern wars, Africa was dismissed early on as a basket case of perpetual famine, HIV, and insane warlords with sunglasses, machetes, and berets, which allowed China to fill that vacuum because they actually provide more than virtue signalling movie stars taking selfies with starving children. Not to mention the hell that the US put South East Asia through before the general stability we see today.

    • There is the rub.

      Americans and many Europeans have had a self-interested reason to believe US propaganda about Pax Americana and the spread of democracy/freedom. Even the poorest imperial subjects of the American Empire were still benefiting from the social order, as compared to the rest of the world, and so those poorest imperial subjects weren’t as motivated as they might have been to fight/revolt against imperial oppression. But the fact that it was all bullshit was a lot more obvious and lot less tolerable outside of this sphere of privilege and power.

      That is what amazed me in listening to a video of Osama bin Laden. He explained all of this in great detail. Osama, related to the Saudi royal family and the son of a billionaire plutocrat, was far more educated and worldly than most Americans. All that most Americans know is the propaganda they learn from public education, big biz media, and corporatist politicians.

      Osama regularly attended elite secular schools (not religious madrassas) in multiple countries, including for a short period at a Quaker institution. These schools taught some Western curricula and culture. He read European literature and studied economics and business administration, having received a degree in civil engineering and maybe public administration. According to Wikipedia, “Three of Osama bin Laden’s wives were university lecturers, highly educated, from distinguished families.” From childhood to adulthood, he traveled and lived in many countries, having seen with his own eyes what was going on in the world.

      The point is that, no matter what one thinks about the morality or even practicality of his methods in achieving the desired ends, his reasons were well informed and rational. Few Americans ever bother to come close to the knowledge that Osama gained about the larger world. Even most US politicians are complete ignoramuses in comparison. Obviously, knowledge doesn’t equate to moral superiority, but then again neither does ignorance equate to moral superiority. At least, Osama knew what he was doing and why he was doing it, which is more than most Americans can claim in their support of their immoral and oppressive government.

      Just imagine what we could accomplish in society if we only found a way to combine BOTH knowledge AND morality. Sadly, in the US sociopolitical system and media-military-industrial complex, we Americans get neither. It’s the rest of the world that suffers the worst for this failure, although an increasing number of Americans are starting to think that this doesn’t particularly benefit them to any great degree either. It turns out that cheap consumer goods can only placate the American public for so long, but it’s disappointing and frustrating that cheap consumer goods managed to placate the American public for this long. It’s a little late in the game to attempt to grow a conscience and ask for forgiveness.

  28. Conservatives call you things like Gook and at least have the good graces to not hire you because they don’t want to be around “your kind.” Liberals might not straight up call you a gook on the street but they hire you, keep you in a lowly position for lowly pay, make fun of you and your culture at the water cooler, and openly brag about their sexual conquests in East and South East Asia. All the while pricing out the Black and Brown families they claim to love so much, using vile language like Riff Raff to describe them and saying that if that Hispanic lady keeps selling fruit outside their home they’re going to crush their merchandise one day, all the while proudly claiming that their work lays the foundation for the Anti-Trump resistance. TBH, at this point I’m glad the Democratic party is as desolate as it is right now.

    • Implicit class ideology trumps explicit political ideology. It matters more how much money someone makes, what kind of work they do, what kinds of privileges and opportunities and resources are available to them, and what is their socioeconomic position in the social order. All of that matters a thousand times more than whether they claim they are conservative or liberal.

      Another way to think about this is that we are all liberals in this post-Enlightenment WEIRD society, but liberalism means many different things to various demographics. To the middle-to-upper class, liberalism is primarily about economics with some largely symbolic social liberalism (free speech, gay rights, gun rights, etc) thrown on top. I take seriously how many middle-to-upper class conservatives claim to be classical liberals, which is just their way of admitting to being reactionary liberals. But the point is that they are liberals, just a particular variety of liberalism that gets called conservatism.

      It comes down to definition again. I’m not always consistent in how I use such words. Context matters a lot. I go back and forth about whether there is any point in using such confused and confusing language. I’ve increasingly come around to the point of view that to criticize liberals is simply a way of criticizing our liberal society, and that in no way lets conservatives off the hook.

      Those same middle-to-upper class conservatives aren’t all that different in that they too have learned to use politically correct language and often use it more pervasively and effectively than self-identified liberals. There was a former white supremacist who explained that they learned to tone down their racism so that it was more hidden and so allowed for easier recruitment. Barely a day goes by when I don’t hear something that is racist/sexist/etc or implies racism/sexism/etc even as the person saying it would deny being a racist/sexist/etc.

      Almost everything is one way or another about class politics, even race. Racialized slavery and Jim Crow (as feudalism before it) was simply the attempt to turn class politics into caste politics, which was the largely successful attempt to create an entrenched permanent underclass. That project of creating a permanent underclass is still ongoing, but it’s taken new form. The problem is that the permanent underclass keeps fighting back and refuses to stay in their place.

  29. All the hominids have been interbreeding for a long time. It appears that if two hominids met they would eventually have sex. Then again, maybe early hominids were simply having sex with a wide variety of species, hominid or otherwise. If it wasn’t a preferred food or a known threat, then maybe the only other option was to fuck it or be fucked by it. Most of the time this didn’t lead to viable offspring, but sometimes it did.

    “For almost a century, Neandertals were considered the ancestors of modern humans. But now, in a new plot twist in the unfolding mystery of how Neandertals were related to modern humans, it seems that members of our own lineage were among the ancestors of Neandertals. Researchers sequenced ancient DNA from the mitochondria—the tiny energy factories inside cells—from a Neandertal that lived at least 100,000 years ago in southwest Germany, and found that its mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) resembled that of modern humans. In a new report in Nature Communications, researchers conclude that this Neandertal, as well as others whose mtDNA was previously sequenced, inherited their mitochondrial genomes from mating with an early ancestor of Homo sapiens.”

  30. I constantly wonder how much this type of thing is simply ignorance or intentional dishonesty:

    “The simple fact is that politicians have their hands tied by their own voters and by other circumstances they don’t fully control.”

    This statement makes no sense according to what we actually know.

    Studies have already proven that US politicians usually ignore the general public and have little understanding even of the views of their own constituents. Some of those same studies have shown that US politicians almost always do whatever the wealthiest want them to do. We also know that the plutocracy, as individuals and part of mega-corporations, that wields this power and influence has increasingly become international with little loyalty to any single country.

    “The instances where there is successful global or regional cooperation come about because of clear mutual benefit that can be sold to the folks back home.”

    The only thing sold back home, besides cheap consumer goods, is propaganda. And the interests that most benefit from this propaganda don’t care too much about what happens back home. Many in the plutocracy have multiple citizenships, multiple homes, multiple bank accounts, and multiple investments in various countries around the world. There are even a number of politicians who have dual citizenship, such as US citizenship and Israel citizenship. These plutocrats have no home or, if they do have a place they call home, it might not be the place where they are most strongly pushing propaganda and policies.

    When Hillary Clinton as Secretary State made decisions about which countries to give money to, did she base her decisions on the majority public opinion and national voting patterns of the American public or did she look to see which national government donated how much money to the Clinton Foundation? The answer to that is so obvious that only a fucktarded idiot would have to pause to state the obvious, that money talks and bullshit walks. And don’t kid yourself that the Clintons are the only politicians with this kind of relationship to foundations and donations.

    Articles like this about geopolitics end up sounding like propaganda as well. But the key point is that much of propaganda is to keep in line those most invested in the system. This worldview of geopolitical determinism and capitalist realism simply is an evasion of moral responsibility. The propaganda then serves as personal rationalization and the official cover story. The point is to get the ruling elite on the same page, repeating the same rhetoric and talking points. This is why there has been immense effort to consolidate nearly all of the media into the control of a few mega-corporations that are tied closely to the political system, from the party duopoly to the military-industrial complex.

    “Chief among the common misconceptions about the way official propaganda works is the notion that its goal is to deceive the public into believing things that are not “the truth” (that Trump is a Russian agent, for example, or that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, or that the terrorists hate us for our freedom, et cetera). However, while official propagandists are definitely pleased if anyone actually believes whatever lies they are selling, deception is not their primary aim.

    “The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an “official narrative” that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between “the truth” as defined by the ruling classes and any other “truth” that contradicts their narrative.”

    • These self-styled Masters of the Universe have no power.

      The plutocrats, oligarchs, and corporatists are forced against their will by geopolitical forces and public demand. The most powerful people in the world deny having power. It’s similar to how right-wing corporate media hacks accuse corporate media as being left-wing biased and, unsurprisingly, the moderate-right corporate media hacks who are attacked as left-wingers generally agree with them or at least go along with the narrative framing of this corporate propaganda.

      If everything is geopolitically determined beyond anyone’s control, why do the most powerful people in the world annually spend trillions of dollars of other people’s money to manipulate those geopolitical conditions and outcomes? If politics is just a puppet show with no one holding the strings, what good is done by all of those CIA covert operations, wars of aggression, military bases on every continent, and international trade agreements? Why not just let it all play out as it is going to do no matter what anyone does?

      Maybe the answer is that this rhetoric is entirely bullshit. Nothing is determined. Choices were made in the past that shaped present geopolitics. And choices are being made in the present that are shaping geopolitics at this very moment. But that is the point and Friedman knows it.

      What he really is saying is that the Geopolitical Deciders have already decided and so there is nothing that anyone else can do that will alter the now inevitable course. It’s a declaration of hegemonic power, by someone who has spent his entire career with close ties with the ruling elite, specifically in its form as the deep state. He can state what geopolitics determines because he is part of the power structure that determines geopolitics… or at least attempts to do.

      The point is nothing he says can be taken at face value. His words aren’t meant to describe reality but to influence and shape reality. His business, Stratfor, is psyops.


      “In 2012 and 2013, documents were published by WikiLeaks from Stratfor, a security consultant firm which had been nicknamed ‘the Shadow CIA’. The documents dated from 2004- 2011 and showed various inner workings of the company, from how they laundered money through the Bahamas to how they planned to collate private data about US citizens from various Government organisations. The documents were uncovered by the hacker group Anonymous, who later said that Stratfor were ‘clueless’ when it came to database security – rather worrying for a company in possession of so much private data.”

      “It’s going to take me a while to get to all this material. But, we have to remember that Stratfor was hacked a couple of years ago and suffered a near fatal blow to its reputation, and is trying to rebuild it. Second, I see him as trying to talk sense to the neocon persuasion that has taken hold. In essence, he is speaking to elites in very coded ways, in essence, saying, Do you really want to bring chaos to a country that has 1200 nukes ready to launch? When he says, We are an empire, but we don’t have to use all of our power. Grow up.

      “He is speaking as a advocate of the American imperium but one which is very dangerous to itself.”

      “How would you like to tap into an exclusive private intelligence service staffed by ex-CIA analysts who glean exclusive information from shadowy sources, cross-grid raw intel to detect relevant patterns, and alert you by email when the product requires your attention? Membership in this elite club will cost you just $349 a year, and you’ll also get a free book that predicts the next 100 years of human history.

      “Welcome to Stratfor, the brainchild of George Friedman, a Texas academic and sometime U.S. government consultant, who became an intelligence entrepreneur and runs what the press routinely calls “a private CIA” out of an office building in downtown Austin. In a crowded market where The New York Times can’t successfully charge for premium content, Friedman’s thriving business targets a key market niche: corporate types with geopolitical exposure who are too busy or too ill-informed to use Google.”

      “They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example :

      ““[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control… This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase” – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez.

      “The material contains privileged information about the US government’s attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor’s own attempts to subvert WikiLeaks. There are more than 4,000 emails mentioning WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. The emails also expose the revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States. Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money. The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world.’”

    • What bothers me is that those like Friedman and Mauldin are often insulting my intelligence. They are treating me the reader as stupid in their pretending to be stupid. But I’m fairly confident that they are far more intelligent than what they are letting on by what they write for public consumption.

      It’s the similar what bothers me about some HBDers. A few of them are quite smart and well informed. It comes off as disingenuous and hence dishonest when they pretend the ideological beliefs and agendas they promote are mere idle speculations without historical context or real world consequence.

      There is one thought that leaves me uncertain, though. There is the old saying that a con man has to first con himself. That is to say that people on their way to convincing others of lies end up believing them. It’s a way of lessening the cognitive dissonance. Considering that, when people act stupid long enough, that stupid mentality becomes what they identify with.

    • I’ve always been uncomfortable with the USA enemy imaging any place or playing geopolitical enemy imaging simply because when it does, Americans of that ethnicity or who aren’t but look like that ethnicity tend to get screwed over. See: Japanese American internment, South Asians and Arabs getting beat up after 9/11 through the decade, Harassment of Chinese-American scientists recently, murder of Vincent Chin during Japan’s economic rise (even though Chin wasn’t even Japanese), or shit, even harassment of Russian Americans scientists

  31. The US government has a long history of causing or worsening the very problems they claim to be fighting. This is as true in their dealing with other species as in dealing with humans:

    “How effective is lethal control?

    “It is understandable for struggling ranchers to blame coyotes for economic losses, because kills leave tangible signs and killing predators seems like a logical solution. However, a widely cited 2006 study called coyotes scapegoats for factors that were more directly related to the decline of sheep ranching in the United States.

    “The author, Dr. Kim Murray Berger, who was then a research biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, built and tested a series of statistical models to explain the declining number of sheep being bred in the United States. She found that variables including the price of hay, wage rates, and the price of lamb explained most of the decline, and that the amount of money spent on predator control had little effect.

    “Other research indicates that even if predation is one factor in ranchers’ economic losses, lethal control is not the best way to reduce it.

    “One 2016 analysis reviewed studies that compared lethal and nonlethal strategies for controlling livestock predation. Lethal methods ranged from civilian hunts to government culls. Nonlethal methods included fladry, guard animals, chemical repellents, and livestock protection collars. The review found that nonlethal methods generally reduced livestock predation more effectively, and that predation actually temporarily increased after use of some lethal methods.

    “Why would predation increase after predators are killed? When pack animals such as coyotes, dingoes, and wolves are killed, the social structure of their packs breaks down. Female coyotes become more likely to breed and their pups are more likely to survive, so their numbers may actually increase. Packs generally protect territories, so breaking up a pack allows new animals to come in, raising the population. In addition, some new arrivals may opportunistically prey on livestock, which can increase predation rates.

    “These findings extend beyond the United States. A three-year study in South Africa found that using nonlethal methods to protect livestock from jackals, caracals, and leopards cost ranchers less than lethal methods, both because less predation occurred and because the nonlethal methods cost less.

    “In Australia, dingoes occupy a similar ecological niche to coyotes and are similarly targeted. In a recent case study at a cattle station, researchers found that ceasing all lethal and nonlethal predator control reduced predation of cattle by dingoes as the social structure of the resident dingoes stabilized.

    “Even research by USDA supports this pattern. In a recent study, researchers from several universities, the USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center, and the nonprofit advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife analyzed wolf predation rates for sheep producers on public grazing lands in Idaho. Predation was 3.5 times higher in zones where lethal control was used than in adjacent areas where nonlethal methods were used.”

  32. “CEO pay at America’s 500 largest companies averaged $13.1 million in 2016. That’s 347 times what the average employee makes.

    “So CEOs make a lot of money. But, some say, so do athletes and movie stars. Why pick on corporate bosses, then?

    “First, because the market sets compensation for athletes and movie stars, but not for CEOs. Teams and movie studios bid for athletes and movie stars. CEO pay is set by a rigged system that has nothing to do with supply and demand.”

  33. It is interesting and inspiring. But the anti-government bullshit is tiresome. There has been nothing stopping big biz and other private businesses from doing the right thing for centuries. Yet our capitalist system has fucked over the environment. Any failures of big gov is simply because it has been bought by big biz.

    This guy made his money with a restaurant chain. He only did this restoration project in retirement. Of all the food that was raised to sell in his restaurants that made him rich, how much of it was produced sustainably? Probably not much if any. It is because businessmen like this that there has been so much environmental destruction. Then he takes a small part of his profit and undoes a small part of the damage. This makes him feel good and soothes his conscience.

    Well, fuck you! It’s nice that you did a demonstration project. But it’s not as if this guy is showing us anything we didn’t already know. The kinds of liberals and left-wingers he probably hates could have told him all this decades ago.

    This has always been my complaint about conservatism. It is a highly destructive ideology that argues that solutions to the problems privately caused by conservatism should be dealt with privately by conservatism. Do these people take us for idiots? It’s like expecting the person who drives you over a cliff to disassemble the vehicle and turn it into an airplane that will save you before you hit the bottom. I don’t quite have that much confidence in human ingenuity.

    It might be wiser to not cause so much harm in the first place. Then you wouldn’t need rich assholes to invest money in celebrity projects to make themselves feel important.

    • Is that supposed to make us Americans feel better? Well, at least our healthcare system is better than that of the oppressively authoritarian failed state formed out of the fallen Soviet Union. Is Trump so friendly with Putin because he hopes to implement this fine Russian model of healthcare in order to further cut taxes for the American plutocracy?

  34. Alt righters love using old tourist videos, ads, and idealized paintings to showcase the “good old days” as if they represented reality. Ironically, modern day tourist videos and ads are 10x nicer XD

    Watch the tourist videos Expedia makes and you’d think the locations are all literally paradise whereas even those old tourist videos show a lot of grittiness and ugly streets with power lines everywhere and trash on the curb sides

    • People used to have lower standards. Earlier last century, It seems like industrial pollution, power lines, and trash was simply considered normal. Maybe alt righters are nostalgic for a time when standards were lower.

  35. I should satirize these guys someday lol. I’ll take a photo of a Walmart or strip mall and call it “Western serenity” than take a photo of a non-western hole-in-the-wall restaurant or corner store and call it “dirty invasion” XD

    • I was just at Walmart today. Of course, a Walmart in a small middle class college town is far different than what you would find in a rural area or big city. I don’t go there that often because it is at the far other side of town and there is really no point for me to shop there, other than as a decent place to buy cat food (they also have the cheapest kefir in town).

      Anyway, what I noticed is that Walmart is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse places in Iowa City. There is a large number of minorities of great diversity, including Muslims, who are customers or employees. There is almost no stereotypical “white trash” at this local Walmart. It wouldn’t surprise me if half the people in the store were minority of one variety or another.

  36. I can’t speak for out west but here In the east cities are much much much cleaner now than in the good old days, tourism videos not withstanding. And if you’re a tourist, the food is much better in cities these days. It’s much less smoggy now and there’s less lead particulates in the air

    There is a lot of poverty and inequality though, but biting poverty was also a problem in the good old days, hidden, of course.

    The water on the NYC waterways is still not that great, but it’s MUCH cleaner now. Out east especially in industrial areas waterways used to be so dirty they caught in fire.

    The smog in Pittsburgh used to get so bad it would look like nighttime at 10AM

    • All that pollution from the good old days is probably why so many older people now have higher rates of certain diseases than ever seen before, from cancer to Parkinson’s. Not to mention all that lead pollution that left a generation, especially among poor minorities, brain damaged and with impulse control issues.

      Millennials are fortunate to be the first generation in a long time to not grow up with all that shit, although instead Millennials get all kinds of chemicals in their food and pharmaceuticals. At least, chemicals in food and pharmaceuticals don’t cause smog. But all the pharmaceuticals in the water supply are having some strange effects on the wildlife, in particular amphibians

      The fact that rivers no longer catch on fire is a definite positive. I was just talking to my dad about that. A friend of his got a job in Cleveland OH, a place where the river caught on fire. That must have been a sight to see. I wonder if that is what used to be considered a tourist attraction.

  37. I feel like some alt-righters are mentally off the deep end because I’ve seen them nostalgize not just idealized paintings or charming things but literally, run of the mill things like average streets and tract housing and strip malls XD

    • People can nostalgically romanticize almost anything.

      There does seem to be a difference between those on the political right and political left. I feel nostalgia for how this town used to be when I was a kid, but I’m not one to romanticize the past. I don’t like the gentrification that has happened. It just doesn’t seem all that important in the big picture.

      The downtown I remember was itself gentrified compared to the decades prior when it had fallen into decay. I’ve met people who felt nostalgia about that earlier Iowa City with its quaint charm of empty lots from burned down or knocked down buildings and lots of cheap housing right downtown.

      It used to be a downtown for the average person, then it became a downtown for the middle class, and now it is a downtown for the upper class. I think we are at the furthest end of gentrification at this point. Maybe it will head back the opposite direction again and then future generations will feel nostalgia for the present gentrification.

    • I remember hearing that when I was younger. It didn’t have much impact on me at the time, as I was apolitical until the 2000s. I doubt I was shocked by the message that people were hypocritical, but admittedly my intolerance for hypocrisy has grown over time. The song speaks to me more now than in the past. Even though the truth of the song was always obvious, it took a long while to drive the message home for me.

      Maybe I used to think there was a limit to hypocrisy, that given the opportunity more people would do the right thing. I have less faith now, not necessarily less faith in humanity in a larger sense but less faith in American society and the US political system. The social order breeds hypocrisy. It’s nearly a requirement to function in this society. Someone who isn’t hypocritical won’t make it very far, won’t be successful on the terms of this society.

      As Bonhoeffer put it,stupidity “is in essence not an intellectual defect but a human one… And so it would seem that stupidity is perhaps less a psychological than a sociological problem.” Conditions of stupidity create results of stupidity.

      These newer versions of the song are nice as well:

    • Between the multiple revised versions of Phil Ochs’ song, that pretty much covers the ruling ideologies of our political system. It does help to clarify why so many Americans hate both main parties.

    • The problem is that social science research disproves this ‘theory’. Humans show great variety in who and how many they empathize with.

      The claims made by those on the political right only apply to those on the political right. It’s true that they tend to only empathize with small numbers of people who are like themselves and/or immediately a part of their experience. Those on the political left, however, find it much easier to empathize with strangers on the other side of the planet. That is why liberals and leftists are often referred to as bleeding hearts.

      This relates to a number of personality traits and psychological factors, as shown in research.

      Conservatives tend to have thicker boundaries and liberals thinner boundaries, the latter correlating with the ability to imaginatively and viscerally enter into another’s experience. But there is an even worse factor involved. Conservative social views and moral judgments correlate to the Dark Triad of Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy (all three are strongly negatively correlated with Honesty-Humility).

      The failure of those on the political right is that they are always projecting onto others. They don’t have much self-awareness or psychological understanding. And it is interesting to note that most psychotherapists, social workers, and social scientists are on the political left.

      There is as much or more a psychological than an ideological reason for this. Or rather the ideological is often more of a result of and/or justification for the psychological. Liberals/leftists value empathy more than conservatives/right-wingers for the simple reason that liberals/leftists have more talent for empathy (research shows libertarians are the least empathetic of all).

      This doesn’t exactly put the political right in positive light.

      “This reminds me of what could be called empathetic imagination. Research shows that liberals test higher on the measurment of ‘thin boundaries’. One attribute of ‘thin boundaries’ is empathy. Other research shows that liberals are more distracted because they are constantly paying attention to other people such as watching eye cues. In this way, liberals are more tangibly aware of the people around them. This makes sense when one considers liberal philosophy which focuses on empathy and compassion, on considering the larger collective of humanity rather than just the individual or the group the individual belongs to. For liberals, this isn’t just a set of beliefs but an actual experience of reality.

      “There is an example of this.

      “Stem cell research is supported by liberals because, whether or not they have personal experience related to the issue, they can imagine and empathize with the suffering of those who could be helped by medical procedures developed through stem cell research. On the other hand, conservatives on average don’t support stem cell research, but conservatives who have a loved one who could be helped because of stem cell research show a majority support for it. The key difference between the two categories of conservatives is personal experience. Conservatives depend on personal experience more than liberals when it comes to empathizing with others and treating them compassionately.

      “Everyone, whether liberal or conservative, can understand the suffering of others more easily if the person suffering is a loved one or if the suffering touches upon some other personal experience. However, only liberals show the propensity to care about suffering to which they have no personal connection. It is easier for someone with a liberal predisposition to imagine how others experience the world (empathy, imagination and liberalism are found to be correlated in the research done on MBTI ‘intuition’, FFM ‘openness to experience’ and Hartmann’s ‘thin boundary type’). This is why conservatives perceive liberals as moral relativists for the liberal mindset is more open to considering such subjective and intersubjective factors, rather than narrowly focused on emotionally-detached principles.”

      “We see that liberals and progressives are more sympathetic toward animals and foreigners than are conservatives and libertarians.”

      Click to access 0501cohrs.pdf

      “In sum, our study contributes to the understanding of attitudes toward restrictive political measures that were issued in the aftermath of September 11 and thus to the understanding of psychological underpinnings of threats to democracy. Predispositions like RWA, SDO, political ideology, and personal values played a significant role in this matter. Although feelings of threat from terrorism did not automatically lead to stronger endorsement of surveillance measures and restriction of civil liberties, they reinforced the effect of RWA on support for surveillance.”

      “They offered some other scenarios too, about collateral damage in military situations, for instance, and found similar differences: Conservatives accepted collateral damage more easily if the dead were Iraqis than if they were Americans, while liberals accepted civilian deaths more readily if the dead were Americans rather than Iraqis.”

      “We see that liberals and progressives are more sympathetic toward animals and foreigners than are conservatives and libertarians. Conversely, though not to the same extent, conservatives are more sympathetic toward soldiers and babies than are progressives and liberals. Criminals, drug addicts, and the homeless are again more “popular” among progressives and liberals than among conservatives and libertarians.

      “Sympathy here is a relative term. Absolutely speaking, progressives and liberals are very sympathetic towards babies and American soldiers, for example. It is only when sympathy is compared between different groups that significant differences emerge. For very conservative voters, American soldiers are on the top. For progressives, soldiers share fourth place with foreigners.”

    • Economics and race have been two of the most key factors in the US for centuries.

      When a racial order is enforced, it exacerbates class differences and makes people obsess over economic issues. And when people face under-/unemployment, poverty, debt, unpaid bills, downward class mobility, loss of benefits, economic insecurity, homelessness, desperation, hunger, etc… well, it brings out the worst in people.

      During hard times and social tension, people become more fearful and outraged, more isolated and insular, more groupish and conservaitve-minded, and more prone to authoritarianism and the Dark Triad. It becomes easy for politicians and demagogues to divide the people and turn them against each other, to scapegoat and attack the weakest.

      Any area of society that turns shitty increases the probability of other areas of society also turning shitty. It’s not hard to understand.


    According to detailed notes taken during their private meeting in Hamburg, Germany, the Great American President, Donald Trump, sternly confronted President Vladimir Putin. At the meeting, Trump asked Putin, “Your Honorable and Presidential Sir Vladimir, did you order anyone to hack into our election last year? I mean the cable networks, CNN, CIA and NSA, they keeping saying you did. You didn’t do that, did you?”

    President Vladimir Putin reportedly lowered his head and confessed on the spot. “I am so sorry, Donald. Your Excellency, my friend, it was all just a big practical joke! This has been on my conscience for months; I’ve been dying to tell you. No offense, it worked out for you, yes? But we didn’t mean to help you win! It all happened like this: We were sitting around, drinking vodka and my head of the FSB, Boris Badenov, he said to me, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny, to smear the intertubes with false news stories about poor Hillary being Hitler reincarnated, and a child porn pizza queen? We can peek into Hillary’s emails and then use bloggers and bots to flood the news with jokes and playful nonsense, just for fun! Just for fun!’

    Putin continued. “Well, Donald, I’m sure you can imagine, I laughed so hard at Boris. I said, ‘Who will believe it? The Americans aren’t that gullible!’ Boris laughed too. He said, ‘No one will, of course! It’ll be the biggest joke ever, and Hillary will love it! The world will finally know what a funny teddy bear our Russian President really is! You and Hillary are such great friends; you know she’ll get a big kick out of it, right?’

    “Donald, I couldn’t resist. You see, Hillary and I had a red-hot love affair, way back. Me being the Most Virile President of Russia ever, she had a thing for me, and blondes, well, I couldn’t resist that either. We are still great friends, and I was certain such a great joke would make her, and even the entire world, laugh out loud. As everyone knows, we Russians love to joke.”


    July 10

    1832 – Andrew Jackson vetoes legislation to renew the charter of the private Second Bank of the United States
    “Is there no danger to our liberty and independence in a bank that in its nature has so little to bind it to our country?… Should its influence become concentrated, as it may under the operation of such an act as this, in the hands of a self-elected directory whose interests are identified with those of the foreign stockholders, will there not be cause to tremble for the purity of our elections in peace and for the independence of our country in war? Their power would be great whenever they might choose to exert it; but if this monopoly were regularly renewed every fifteen or twenty years on terms proposed by themselves, they might seldom in peace put forth their strength to influence elections or control the affairs of the nation. But if any private citizen or public functionary should interpose to curtail its powers or prevent a renewal of its privileges, it cannot be doubted that he would be made to feel its influence.”

    July 12

    1804 – Death of Alexander Hamilton, first US Secretary of the Treasury
    Hamilton called people the “mob at the gate” and decried “Our real disease, which is Democracy.”

    He was a major proponent of First Bank of the United States – a privately owned national bank. The name was to deceive people into thinking that money creation was done by the government instead of corporate banks. The nation’s money was created out of thin air and loaned to the government – at interest – and to private individuals. Eighty percent of the stock was privately held. Hamilton called the public debt “a public blessing” because of his belief that it would tie the wealthy (who would own the government bonds) of the country to the government, and they would, in turn, provide political support for higher taxes, to make sure that there was enough money in the treasury to pay off their principal and interest.

    1817 – Birth of Henry David Thoreau, American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian
    “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”
    [Note: Focusing on fundamental constitutional and other structural and cultural changes are those that strike at the root.]

    1873 – The Farmers’ Anti-Monopoly Convention, Des Moines
    The Convention resolved that: “all corporations are subject to legislative control; [such control] should be at all times so used as to prevent moneyed corporations from becoming engines of oppression.”

    July 13

    1956 – J.R.R. Tolkien is quoted on the topic of modern governments
    “The main mark of modern governments is that we do not know who governs, de facto any more than de jure. We see the politician and not his backer; still less the backer of the backer; or what is most important of all, the banker of the backer. Enthroned above all, in a manner without parallel in all past, is the veiled prophet of finance, swaying all men living by a sort of magic, and delivering oracles in a language not understood of the people.” – Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, quoted in Contour magazine.

    • That news article is from almost exactly a year ago. I’ve seen reports about either that study or similar studies.

      I know that the Pentagon, based on their assessments, have been warning about this for years. And Pentagon officials aren’t known for being any combination of Quaker pacifists, bleeding heart liberals, or hippy tree-huggers.

      Most of the comments to the article are idiotic and ignorant, as is typical. But there was one particularly good comment in the bunch:

      “we should consider the alternative idea… that War increases Climate change… I have seen figures approximating US Armed Forces are responsible for at least 20 to 30% of global greenhouse emissions. Uses more petroleum, jet fuel, gasoline, cement and emits more CO2 than any other institution worldwide.”

    • The simplest, most obvious explanation is probably the most likely to be true:

      “To my mind, the reason why Americans are getting slower on average is a good one: With more people interested in running to get and stay fit, there is an unavoidable drop in the level of training and preparedness. More people run, and the results are slower overall.”

      In my own exercise, I rarely run all that fast. My purpose in exercise isn’t to compete or set a record. It’s purely about the aerobics.

      Also, I sometimes jog as a mode of travel to get around town and I usually wear a 20 pound backpack (sometimes 30 pounds, as I carry books and bottles with me). To me, it’s partly a practical issue. I don’t own a car, I’m not all that interested in public transportation, and I rarely ride my bike. I just enjoy traveling by foot.

      I don’t jog even to get somewhere faster. I just jog because I like to. I sometimes jog slower than I could speed walk, but a speed walk isn’t overly aerobic. There has been times when I was going for a slow jog when a long-legged person was out-striding me and passed me by, but of course I had my backpack on.

      It doesn’t bother me to have someone going faster than me. I’m not trying to prove my masculinity or anything. That is probably true of most people who are simply exercising for purposes of health. Few people are in it as a competitive sporting activity.


    In February, college sophomore Trevor Hill stood up during a televised town hall meeting in New York and posed a simple question to Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives. He cited a study by Harvard University showing that 51% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 no longer support the system of capitalism, and asked whether the Democrats could embrace this fast-changing reality and stake out a clearer contrast to right-wing economics.

    Pelosi was visibly taken aback. “I thank you for your question,” she said, “but I’m sorry to say we’re capitalists, and that’s just the way it is.”

    The footage went viral. It was powerful because of the clear contrast it set up. Trevor Hill is no hardened left-winger. He’s just your average millennial—bright, informed, curious about the world, and eager to imagine a better one. But Pelosi, a figurehead of establishment politics, refused to–or was just unable to–entertain his challenge to the status quo.

    It’s not only young voters who feel this way. A YouGov poll in 2015 found that 64% of Britons believe that capitalism is unfair, that it makes inequality worse. Even in the U.S., it’s as high as 55%. In Germany, a solid 77% are skeptical of capitalism. Meanwhile, a full three-quarters of people in major capitalist economies believe that big businesses are basically corrupt.

    Why do people feel this way? Probably not because they deny the abundant material benefits of modern life that many are able to enjoy. Or because they want to travel back in time and live in the U.S.S.R. It’s because they realize—either consciously or at some gut level—that there’s something fundamentally flawed about a system that has a prime directive to churn nature and humans into capital, and do it more and more each year, regardless of the costs to human well-being and to the environment we depend on.

    Because let’s be clear: That’s what capitalism is, at its root. That is the sum total of the plan. We can see this embodied in the imperative to grow GDP, everywhere, year on year, at a compound rate, even though we know that GDP growth, on its own, does nothing to reduce poverty or to make people happier or healthier. Global GDP has grown 630% since 1980, and in that same time, by some measures, inequality, poverty, and hunger have all risen. […]

    Once we realize this, we can start connecting the dots between our different struggles. There are people in the U.S. fighting against the Keystone pipeline. There are people in Britain fighting against the privatization of the National Health Service. There are people in India fighting against corporate land grabs. There are people in Brazil fighting against the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. There are people in China fighting against poverty wages. These are all noble and important movements in their own right. But by focusing on all these symptoms we risk missing the underlying cause. And the cause is capitalism. It’s time to name the thing.

    What’s so exciting about our present moment is that people are starting to do exactly that. And they are hungry for something different. For some, this means socialism. That YouGov poll showed that Americans under the age of 30 tend to have a more favorable view of socialism than they do of capitalism, which is surprising given the sheer scale of the propaganda out there designed to convince people that socialism is evil. But millennials aren’t bogged down by these dusty old binaries. For them the matter is simple: They can see that capitalism isn’t working for the majority of humanity, and they’re ready to invent something better. […]

    None of this is actually radical. Our leaders will tell us that these ideas are not feasible, but what is not feasible is the assumption that we can carry on with the status quo. If we keep pounding on the wedge of inequality and chewing through our living planet, the whole thing is going to implode. The choice is stark, and it seems people are waking up to it in large numbers: Either we evolve into a future beyond capitalism, or we won’t have a future at all.

    • Diversity and homogeneity are social constructions that shape our perception and experience. When an enforced social order artificially creates inequality and division, is it all that shocking that it leads to the intended results of mistrust, conflict, and group-mindedness?

      The better question is why do we want a social order that accomplishes this. The only interests being served by this are the ruling elite who use it to maintain their power and position.

    • That is what I’ve wondered. Why would a baby ever think about it’s own race? How would a baby know its own race? For one thing, race is a scientific idea about sub-species and babies don’t tend to think in scientific terms all that often. Even ignoring that, does a baby sit around comparing the skin color on its hand to every person it meets? Or more likely, would a baby simply feel positive emotions toward any person who looks most similar to it’s caregivers? Why not go with the simplest, most obvious answer?

  41. That Putnam study, a lot of people actually have problems with the design of it

    Fwiw, in Los Angeles one of the least trusting cities, he found that newcomers were much less trusting that longtime residents. And LA is full of newcomers. Also, nonwhites skew the trust rate because they trust much less.

    • Also, poverty seems to affect trust more negatively than diversity, even if the latter does affect it in many studies.

  42. I think the writer is a race baiter in denial who feels discomfort at non-whites but won’t say it outright.

    There is a lot of misinterpretation and mis-contexting of Putnam’s paper for one. Also, saying “young people are leaving for more affordable places lije NEW YORK CITY” is totally pulled out of his ass. The other studies are also taken out of context. Vancouver residents feeling lonely for example, when put in context with other studies show it’s actually the maritimes region and Quebec that are least trusting and most lonely, regions that are less diverse. The study also said nothing about people “being polite but wary” in fact it says nothing at all about how people act to others, just their own feelings of trust. It also didn’t ask how they interacted with people, it just recorded which city they lived in and how they felt about trusting people.

    Other studies actually find that people who have positive interactions with other races, even as trivial as a polite convo with the cashier, increases trust.

    I do think people being “new” to an area and not having roots can increase lack of belonging and loneliness though and that’s what Putnam even found. Having a lot of people new to an area can skew things

    A more collectivist, pro-redistributionist Bernie type left is also resurging during this highly diverse time. While the California demotratic party sucks as usual, the Bernie-type pro-single payer movement is surging among constituents there despite the state’s diversity. And a lot of the Californian Berniecrats are white

    Not saying diversity dosen’t ahve challenges, just that the alt-right narrative in incomplete.

    • The purpose of the alt-right narrative isn’t to be complete, accurate, honest, and truthful. It’s just ideological rhetoric that cherrypicks the facts that fit the narrative, spin the facts that don’t perfectly fit the narrative, and ignore or dismiss all other facts that contradict the narrative.

      That some facts might be useful or partly useful to their agenda is completely arbitrary. They simply throw out a bunch of factoids and pseudo-facts, just to see what sticks. And then they hope no one looks to closely to see the bullshit seeping through.

    • “This article argues that individuals in countries with a more diverse political discourse express high levels of social tolerance relative to those in low‐discourse countries. Political systems with more parties facilitate the consideration of a broader range of issues, including those relevant to the interests of marginalized groups, and greater exposure to these issues increases individually‐held levels of social tolerance. Using data from the World Values Survey and other sources, we demonstrate that the number of parties in the legislature is positively related to social tolerance.”

      That probably relates to the research showing low economic inequality correlates to increased political trust, moderation, and compromise. Certainly, low economic inequality (as with low segregation) correlates to social tolerance. But I suspect that countries with low economic inequality would also have more diverse political discourse because low economic inequality goes hand in hand with low inequality of political power and political representation.

      All of this is rather common sense or should be. It’s not that the ruling elite in countries like the US don’t know this. The creation of high inequality and division along low trust and tolerance is intentional. It’s a feature, not a flaw. It makes authoritarian social control easier.

  43. Perhaps.

    I find old houses dinky and uncomfrtoable, but maye that;s that bad maintainance. I’m at my friend’s house a lot this summer and she lives in an old bungalow with 5 roommates and it’s dinky as fuck. I also lived in a 1930’s building last summer that was dinky, kind of uncomfrtoable but that was probably because it lacked air conditioning during summer XD

    • I guess it depends on the old house. I live in an old house. I only have an apartment, but it’s decently sized with a full bathroom and a large kitchen. It’s more space than I need and the ceilings are high which makes seem even more spacious.

      My brother owns an old house, also with high ceilings. It has 4 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, a bunch of closets, a large kitchen, a dining room, a family room, a foyer, a full front porch, a back mud room, a garage, a full basement, and I think some attic space as well. He lives in it with only his wife and small child. And it is on a nice corner lot. He got it cheaply because he is living in a small town.

      This is the Midwest. I don’t know that old houses on average are larger here. But houses in the Midwest are more likely to have such things as large basements, attics, and garages — all of which are nearly non-existent in the South.

  44. When I lived in a dorm in Manhattan’s East Village, it was a gridded style street but I was fucking miserable there. Places like West Village, Montreal’s Old Town which looks European, and even Tokyo do feel “cozy” though. But most of Manhattan feels ugly even post gentrification. I always wonder what makes an urban area feel cozy and charming while urban areas like NYC just feel ugly

    • I know what makes urban areas feel cozy neighborhoods to me. It’s combination of small square city blocks, neighborhood schools and parks, narrow tree-lined streets, nice sidewalks, small front yards, houses with porches that are near the sidewalk, houses more closely spaced, well lit with streetlights, alleys with most of the garages on the back, etc. Basically, I’m describing the Midwest I came to love as a child. It’s why I hated South Carolina.

    • Implicit bias and other biases are a constant factor in society and prejudices become internalized. Any intervention would have to be applied regularly and systematically while also changing the negative conditions that promote and maintain the biases.

      It’s like claiming preschool programs are a failure when there is no follow up in later education. It’s never enough to temporarily help someone when the problems those people are facing are permanent, not temporary. It’s the reason why giving a homeless person some spare change doesn’t cause them to stop being homeless.

      Why is this treated as a surprising result? I sometimes wonder if people like Claire Lehman really are that stupid or just pretending to be.

  45. This is a great article:
    That is more knowledge about American history than most Americans ever get in all of their formal education.

    It’s hard to see what is so good about war or, in many cases, revolution when it is co-opted by the ruling elite. In what way were most Americans (blacks, Native Americans, women, poor white men, etc) better off after the American Revolution and Constitutional Convention than before it? And how is the US a better country today than Canada for gaining ‘independence’?

    • I generally agree. People can and will get used to almost anything. But that goes in all directions, good and bad. If the ruling elite figure ways to maintain the conditions of division, that will become permanently normalized.

      That is what this commenter misses when he states, “You cannot have an empowerment of one group without another group feeling as if they are being pushed down.” Actually, we can have exactly this, as long as economic inequality is decreased and then maintained at low levels. This means increasing economic mobility, increasing economic redistribution through progressive taxation and public investments, etc.

      The problem is the ruling elite know this. They realize that the only way they can maintain their power within this specific sociopolitical order is by promoting and enforcing inequality, segregation, division, and divisiveness. This will continue until the public or external conditions force change. It won’t go away on its own because immense effort and wealth is being invested into maintaining it.

      Simply being patient won’t make these problems disappear. They were intentionally created and so will have to intentionally undone by way of intentionally creating a different sociopolitical order.

  46. Many of the plutocratic and aristocratic founders, specifically among the Federalists, were intentionally trying to create a new empire. Some of them were quite open about this in their debates, even if they didn’t use those exact words.

    And it didn’t take long before the US was attacking independent nations: Canada, Mexico, Native nations, etc. One of the first political actions taken after the American Revolution was to extend the US Westward using genocide, displacement, land theft, and war. The US built on the British colonies was originally quite small, only consisting of a narrow strip of Eastern coastal area.

    A few readers have asked an interesting question, “After the Civil War, and up until 1900, what else did the U.S. military do besides fight Indians?”
    The idea here is well taken.
    If you go with what Hollywood has to offer, then I can see how someone can really believe that all the U.S. military did after the Civil War was to build forts, fight Indians, and rescue settlers throughout the West.
    I can see how some folks out there would have the impression that the only military action during the time was against Indian tribes here.
    When most people think of the period in American History, they think of Custer getting wiped out at the Little Big Horn, or maybe have the impression that the only thing our military did in those days was fight Indians like say in John Wayne’s “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon” down in the South-West.
    In reality, the United States Navy and the Marine Corps had America seeing action all over the world.


    Sixty years ago this week, on Aug. 19, 1953, the United States, in collaboration with Britain, successfully staged a coup in Iran to overthrow democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh that a newly declassified CIA document reveals was designed to preserve the control of Western companies over Iran’s rich oil fields.

    The U.S. government at the time of the coup easily had manipulated Western media into denigrating Mossadegh as intemperate, unstable and an otherwise unreliable ally in the Cold War, but the real motivation for hijacking Iran’s history was Mossadegh’s move to nationalize Western-controlled oil assets in Iran. According to the document, part of an internal CIA report:Mohammad Mossadegh

    “The target of this policy of desperation, Mohammad Mosadeq, [sic] was neither a madman nor an emotional bundle of senility as he was so often pictured in the foreign press; however, he had become so committed to the ideals of nationalism that he did things that could not have conceivably helped his people even in the best and most altruistic of worlds. In refusing to bargain—except on his own uncompromising terms—with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, he was in fact defying the professional politicians of the British government. These leaders believed, with good reason, that cheap oil for Britain and high profits for the company were vital to their national interests.”

    There you have it, the smoking gun declaration of the true intent to preserve high profits and cheap oil that cuts through all of the official propaganda justifying not only this sorry attempt to prevent Iranian nationalists from gaining control over their prized resources but subsequent blood-for-oil adventures in Iraq and Kuwait. The assumption is that “the best and most altruistic of worlds” is one that accommodates the demands of rapacious capitalism as represented by Western oil companies.

    Tragically, the coup that overthrew Mossadegh also crushed Iran’s brief experiment in democracy and ushered in six decades of brutal dictatorship followed by religious oppression and regional instability. If Iran is a problem, as the United States persistently and loudly insists, it is a problem of our making. Mossadegh, who earned a doctorate in law from Neuchatel University in Switzerland, was not an enemy of the American people; he was an Iranian nationalist who as the CIA’s own internal report concedes was preoccupied with the well-being of his people as opposed to the profitability of Western oil interests.

    The CIA report derides the Western media’s acceptance at the time of the coup of the demonization of all actors on the world stage that fail to follow the approved script provided by the U.S. government. As the report notes, the “complete secrecy about the operation,” breached only by leaked information, made it “relatively easy for journalists to reconstruct the coup in varied but generally inaccurate accounts.”

    Without conceding responsibility for misleading the media, the report says “The point that the majority of these accounts miss is a key one: the military coup that overthrew Mosadeq [sic] and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of U.S. foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government. It was not an aggressively simplistic solution, clandestinely arrived at, but was instead an official admission that normal, rational methods of international communication and commerce had failed. TPAJAX (the operation’s codename) was entered into as a last resort.”

  48. These kinds of policies and actions supported by major Democratic figures like Obama and the Clintons are what self-proclaimed ‘moderates’ and ‘centrists’ call lesser evil:

    Villegas’ assertion that the U.S. was involved in this attack is not based on mere speculation. Pérez has been known to work for Miguel Rodríguez Torres, a former general and former minister of Venezuela’s Department of Interior Relations, Justice and Peace who is currently being investigated for his ties to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the CIA. The charges first surfaced when the Venezuelan news agencyÚltimas Noticias obtained an official DEA document that described Rodríguez Torres as a “key information provider” for the agency and recommended that he be secured as a protected source for the DEA and U.S. government. It also noted that 40 percent of his assets and wealth are held in the U.S. under his wife’s name.

    The U.S. has long sought to oust the left-wing, democratically elected government that was brought to power in Venezuela by Hugo Chávez in the late 1990s. Since Chávez’s election, the U.S. is believed to have spentbetween $50 to $60 million to strengthen the country’s right-wing opposition in the hope that they would win elections. Former U.S. President Barack Obama alone dedicated $5 million to “support political competition-building efforts” in Venezuela.

    More recently, the U.S. Senate has been mulling over new legislation that would provide an additional $20 million for “democracy promotion” efforts in Venezuela. However, some of these efforts in the past have led to right-wing politicians and their affiliates paying protesters in cash to violently escalate opposition rallies.

    Such rallies have turned increasingly violent in recent weeks, with three people burned alive by opposition protesters just in the last week. Journalists have also been targeted, with some being directly shot at andothers threatened with being lynched or set aflame. Despite the violence, the Venezuelan opposition is likely to continue receiving funding from the U.S., which is eager to gain control of Venezuela’s oil reserves – the largest in the world – no matter the cost.


    Henry Kissinger urged President Richard Nixon to overthrow the democratically elected Allende government in Chile because his “‘model’ effect can be insidious,” according to documents posted today by the National Security Archive. The coup against Allende occurred on this date 40 years ago. The posted records spotlight Kissinger’s role as the principal policy architect of U.S. efforts to oust the Chilean leader, and assist in the consolidation of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.

    The documents, which include transcripts of Kissinger’s “telcons” — telephone conversations — that were never shown to the special Senate Committee chaired by Senator Frank Church in the mid 1970s, provide key details about the arguments, decisions, and operations Kissinger made and supervised during his tenure as national security adviser and secretary of state.

    “These documents provide the verdict of history on Kissinger’s singular contribution to the denouement of democracy and rise of dictatorship in Chile,” said Peter Kornbluh who directs the Chile Documentation Project at the National Security Archive. “They are the evidence of his accountability for the events of forty years ago.”

    Today’s posting includes a Kissinger “telcon” with Nixon that records their first conversation after the coup. During the conversation Kissinger tells Nixon that the U.S. had “helped” the coup. “[Word omitted] created the conditions as best as possible.” When Nixon complained about the “liberal crap” in the media about Allende’s overthrow, Kissinger advised him: “In the Eisenhower period, we would be heroes.”


    The US has perfected regime change operations from the 1950s up through today. The standard method of operation is finding an issue to cause dissent, building opposition in a well funded civil society ‘movement’, manipulating the media, putting in place US friendly leaders and blaming US opposition for the coup to hide US involvement. This approach is consistent no matter which party is in power in the US.


    The US Agency for International Development (USAID) was created by Pax Americana to provide a cover for CIA agents under the pretext of helping the 3rd World. US Imperialism has to do some good or its potential targets would not open their doors to intelligence agents posing as do gooders, so USAID was created.

    Today the USAID is headed by Gayle Smith, formerly the “Special Advisor” to President Barack Obama and Senior Director of the National Security Council. To put it simply, Gayle Smith is one of the top “spooks” in the USA, someone who told the CIA what to do.

    Today this former “spook” is running a multibillion dollar “aid agency” with thousands of employees or “contractors” operating world wide. Who knows who is an agent and who is a real aid worker when it comes to USAID.

    Earlier this year Ms. Smith sent 25 senior CIA investigators to Ethiopia to see first hand what was going on with the nationwide uprising under cover of “investigating the drought”. Their report, yet to be made public, must have been pretty dire for not to long later, Freedom House, that excreable voice of the CIA, published a report insinuating that replacements for the present Ethiopian regime could be in the works.

    USAID is up to its ears in the effort for “regime change” in South Sudan with dozens of CIA ops operating inside the country. Look at Latin America and the USAID’s dirty war against Cuba for decades now with USAID involved in recent “coups” and “quiet coups” in Central and South America.

    When you deal with the USAID you are dealing with the USCIA and never forget it. Better yet, kick them out of your country like our government did here in Eritrea more than a decade ago.


    Vice President Joe Biden‘s son and a close friend of Secretary of State John Kerry’s stepson have joined the board of a Ukrainian gas producer controlled by a former top security and energy official for deposed President Viktor Yanukovych.The move has attracted attention given Messrs. Biden’s and Kerry’s public roles in diplomacy toward Ukraine, where the U.S. expressed support for pro-Western demonstrators who toppled Mr. Yanukovych’s Kremlin-backed government in February. The uprising provoked a pro-Russia backlash that has plunged the post-Soviet republic into conflict and brought it to the brink of civil war.


    A study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, “Who governs? Who really rules?” in this country, is:

    “Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But, …” and then they go on to say, it’s not true, and that, “America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened” by the findings in this, the first-ever comprehensive scientific study of the subject, which shows that there is instead “the nearly total failure of ‘median voter’ and other Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories [of America]. When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

    To put it short: The United States is no democracy, but actually an oligarchy.

    The authors of this historically important study are Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, and their article is titled “Testing Theories of American Politics.” The authors clarify that the data available are probably under-representing the actual extent of control of the U.S. by the super-rich:

    ‘Economic Elite Domination theories do rather well in our analysis, even though our findings probably understate the political influence of elites. Our measure of the preferences of wealthy or elite Americans – though useful, and the best we could generate for a large set of policy cases – is probably less consistent with the relevant preferences than are our measures of the views of ordinary citizens or the alignments of engaged interest groups. Yet we found substantial estimated effects even when using this imperfect measure. The real-world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater.”

    Nonetheless, this is the first-ever scientific study of the question of whether the U.S. is a democracy. “Until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions [that U.S. policymaking operates as a democracy, versus as an oligarchy, versus as some mixture of the two] against each other within a single statistical model. This paper reports on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.” That’s an enormous number of policy-issues studied.

    What the authors are able to find, despite the deficiencies of the data, is important: the first-ever scientific analysis of whether the U.S. is a democracy, or is instead an oligarchy, or some combination of the two. The clear finding is that the U.S. is an oligarchy, no democratic country, at all. American democracy is a sham, no matter how much it’s pumped by the oligarchs who run the country (and who control the nation’s “news” media). The U.S., in other words, is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious “electoral” “democratic” countries. We weren’t formerly, but we clearly are now. Today, after this exhaustive analysis of the data, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” That’s it, in a nutshell.


    Two weeks ago in reaction to the McCutcheon decision we touched on an issue that will become central to our movement: Has the democratic legitimacy of the US government been lost?

    We raised this issue by quoting a Supreme Court Justice, former US president and a sitting US Senator:

    “The legitimacy of the US government is now in question. By illegitimate we mean it is ruled by the 1%, not a democracy ‘of, by and for the people.’ The US has become a carefully designed plutocracy that creates laws to favor the few. As Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissenting opinion, American law is now ‘incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy.’ Or, as former president, Jimmy Carter said on July 16, 2013 “America does not at the moment have a functioning democracy.”

    “Even members of Congress admit there is a problem. Long before the McCutcheon decision Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) described the impact of the big banks on the government saying: ‘They own the place.’ We have moved into an era of a predatory form of capitalism rooted in big finance where profits are more important than people’s needs or protection of the planet.”

    The legitimacy of the US government derives from rule by the people. If the US government has lost its democratic legitimacy, what does that mean? What is the impact? And, what is our responsibility in these circumstances?

    We can go back to the founding document of this nation, the Declaration of Independence for guidance. This revolutionary document begins by noting all humans are born with “inalienable rights” and explains “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted” and that government derives its “powers from the consent of the governed.” Further, when the government “becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government….”

    After we wrote about the lost democratic legitimacy of the United States, this new academic study, which will be published in Perspectives on Politics,revealed that a review of a unique data set of 1,779 policy issues found:

    “In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule — at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.”

    And, this was not the only study to reach this conclusion this week. Another study published in the Political Research Quarterly found that only the rich get represented in the US senate. The researchers studied the voting records of senators in five Congresses and found the Senators were consistently aligned with their wealthiest constituents and lower-class constituents never appeared to influence the Senators’ voting behavior. This oligarchic tendency was even truer when the senate was controlled by Democrats.

    Large Majorities of Americans Do Not Rule

    Let the enormity of the finding sink in – “the majority does not rule” and “even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.”

    Now, for many of us this is not news, but to have an academic study document it by looking at 1,779 policy issues and empirically proving the lack of democratic legitimacy, is a major step forward for people understanding what is really happening in the United States and what we must do.

    Before the occupy movement began we published an article, We Stand With the Majority, that showed super majorities of the American people consistently support the following agenda:

    • Tax the rich and corporations
    • End the wars, bring the troops home, cut military spending
    • Protect the social safety net, strengthen Social Security and provide  improved Medicare to everyone in the United States
    • End corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests
    • Transition to a clean energy economy, reverse environmental degradation
    • Protect worker rights including collective bargaining, create jobs and raise wages
    • Get money out of politics

    While there was over 60% support for each item on this agenda, the supposed ‘representatives’ of the people were taking the opposite approach on each issue. On September 18, the day after OWS began we followed up with a second article dealing with additional issues that showed, the American people would rule better than the political and economic elites.

    While many Americans think that the government representing wealthy interests is new, in fact it goes back to the founding of the country. Historian Charles Beard wrote in the early 1900’s that the chief aim of the authors of the U.S. Constitution was to protect private property, favoring the economic interests of wealthy merchants and plantation owners rather than the interests of the majority of Americans who were small farmers, laborers, and craft workers.

    The person who is credited with being the primary author of the Constitution, James Madison, believed that the primary goal of government is “to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.” He recognized that “if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure.” As a result of these oligarchic views, only 6% of the US population was originally given the right to vote. And, the first chief justice of the US Supreme Court, John Jay believed that “those who own the country ought to govern it.”

    This resulted in the wealth of the nation being concentrated among a small percentage of the population and their wealth being created by slaves and other low-paid workers who had no political participation in government. The many creating wealth for the few has continued throughout US history through sweat shops, child labor and now, poverty workers, like those at the nation’s largest employer, Walmart. By putting property ahead of human rights, the Constitution put in place a predatory economic system of wealth creation.

    In fact, Sheldon Wolin describes the Constitutional Convention as blocking the colonists desire for democracy, as economic elites “organize[d] a counter-revolution aimed at institutionalizing a counterforce to challenge the prevailing decentralized system of thirteen sovereign states in which some state legislatures were controlled by ‘popular’ forces.” The Constitution was written “to minimize the direct expression of a popular will” and block the “American demos.” For more see our article, Lifting the Veil of Mirage Democracy in the United States.

    In many respects, since the founding, the people of the United States have been working to democratize the United States. Gradually, the right to vote expanded to include all adults, direct election of US Senators was added as a constitutional amendment but these changes do not mean we have a real democracy. The work is not done. The legitimacy of people ruling has not been achieved.

    While we have the right to vote, our carefully managed elections consistently give Americans a choice of candidates approved by the wealthiest; and through campaign financing, media coverage, ballot access, managing who participates in debates and other means, the ruling elite ensure an outcome that will not challenge the power of the wealthiest Americans and the country’s biggest businesses.

    This week, Nomi Prins, a former managing partner at Goldman Sachs wrote about the long history of how the nation’s biggest bankers have controlled presidents throughout the last century. She writes: “With so much power in the hands of an elite few, America operates more as a plutocracy on behalf of the upper caste than a democracy or a republic. Voters are caught in the crossfire of two political parties vying to run Washington in a manner that benefits the banking caste, regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican is sitting in the Oval.”

    In many respects, our task is to complete the American Revolution and create a real democracy where the people rule through fair elections of representatives and there is increased direct and participatory democracy.


    The Democrats and Republicans Have Created Fraudulent Debates

    The hubris and manipulation of the two establishment parties is evident in the presidential debates. The two Wall Street-funded parties decide who is allowed to participate in the debates. The so-called debate ‘commission’ is a disguise apparatus of the Democratic and Republican parties. It is a commission in name only, in reality it is a corporation created by the two parties and controlled by the two parties. When the disguise is removed, it becomes obvious that the Democrats and Republicans are choosing to only debate Democrats and Republicans, and preventing any competition.Democracy Not Plutocracy

    In 1988, the Republican co-founder, Frank Fahrenkopf, who remains a co-chair, indicated at the news conference announcing the ‘commission’ that they were “not likely to look with favor on including third-party candidates in the debates.” The New York Times quoted the Democratic co-founder, Paul Kirk, saying: “As a party chairman, it’s my responsibility to strengthen the two-party system.” As a result, there has not been a third party candidate in the debates for 24 years, even though there have been third party candidates on enough ballots to win a majority of electoral college votes in every election. Closed debates create the illusion that there are only two candidates running for president.

    When the ‘commission’ was founded, the League of Women Voters warned that the parties taking over the debates would “perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.” They resigned their historic role as the non-partisan sponsors of the debates because they refused to be “an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.” They foretold the truth, and now we must all work to undo the hoax.

    This year, 76% of voters want four-candidates in the debates. A majority of people in the US believe neither party represents them. The two parties are shrinking and now each make up less than 30% of the voters, with a record 50% of voters considering themselves independents. The two establishment parties have nominated the two most unpopular candidates in history with six in ten voters disliking Clinton and Trump. An Associated Press/GfK poll found that four out of five voters fear at least one of the two nominees, and 25% fear both, a number confirmed by Gallup. Three-quarters of those planning to vote will do so based on whom they dislike rather than whom they support.

    This is why three-quarters of voters want Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party included in the debates – people want more choices. Both will be on almost every ballot but voters will not get to hear from them and learn what they stand for. The dislike of the two parties and their candidates is also why the fake ‘commission’ must do all it can to prevent voters from knowing that they have more choices for president.

    And, they have an ally in the media which expects to receive $6 billion in political advertising in 2016.The media wants that advertising more than they want a real democracy. As the CEO of CBS said, “Super PACs may be bad for America, but they’re very good for CBS.” As a result, you will see no criticism of the fake debate commission. Jill Stein was able to briefly sneak in an article on The Hill website about her experience during the first debate last week, i.e. being excluded from the debate, escorted off campus when she was doing media interviews, holding a people’s debate outside the debate area and 22 people being arrested for protesting the closed debates, as well as how her campaign used social media to break through. The article was up briefly, but quickly disappeared from the front page.

    In almost every election a large majority of US voters want more candidates in the debates but the phony commission serves as a blockade, preventing real democracy. If we want a democracy that is of, by and for the people, it is critical we end the debate commission’s fraud on US voters. Rather than creating barriers to participation, the rule should be simple and objective: if a candidate is on enough ballots to win 270 electoral college votes they should be included in the debate as very few overcome the ballot access hurdles placed before independent parties.

    The United States is in a Democracy Crisis

    The fraudulent debates are one example of many of how US democracy is manipulated and managed to ensure that only candidates who represent the wealthy can be elected. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs reported this year on the extent of the democracy crisis. They found the legitimacy of US government has disappeared:

    “Nine in 10 Americans lack confidence in the country’s political system, and among a normally polarized electorate, there are few partisan differences in the public’s lack of faith in the political parties, the nominating process, and the branches of government.”

    Plutocracy definedThere is close to unanimous consensus that the elections fail voters and do not create a legitimate government. The poll taken as the primary season came to a close found “only 13% say the two-party system for presidential elections works.” The elections have left most Americans feeling discouraged with 70% saying they experience frustration and 55% reporting they feel helpless. Only 13% feel proud of the presidential election.

    The excluded parties are taking unusual steps to reach voters. Jill Stein accomplished a historic breakthrough during the first presidential debate, by using cutting edge social media tools to insert her live voice into the debate in real time. The Stein-Baraka campaign used Facebook, Twitter and Periscope to reach approximately 15 million voters within 24 hours of the first debate, “Jill Stein” trended at #1 on Facebook on debate day and Google searches spiked with one of the top search phrases being “How do I vote for Jill Stein?” No 3rd party candidate has reached such a large audience since Ross Perot was included in the debates 24 years ago. But, this cannot compete with the two party debates which appeared on every network with an audience of more than 80 million and constant discussion in the media leading up to the debate and after it.

    Green Party nominees, vice president Ajamu Baraka and Jill Stein, president, at Green Party Convention, August 2016
    During the upcoming vice presidential debate on Tuesday, candidate Ajamu Baraka will be using the same social media tools as Stein as well as being inserted live into the debates by Democracy Now. Baraka will answer every question as if he were included by pausing the debate and then returning to it after he answers. This three-candidate debate can be viewed on Jill Stein’s Facebook page and website, as well as on Ajamu Baraka’s Facebook page and on Democracy Now.

    Presidential debates are not only about getting someone elected, they are also about setting the political agenda for the country. With only the Democratic and Republican nominees included many key political issues are not being discussed. The debates spend a lot of time on nonsense while ignoring many important issues that impact the lives of the people of the United States as well as ensuring a liveable planet.

    In the first debate, time was spent on whether President Obama was born in the United States, or whether Donald Trump’s criticism of a former Miss Universe was inappropriate. But there was no discussion of tens of millions of people living in poverty, what the country can do to confront climate change, how to erase student debt or whether the United States should be an empire.

    In fact, the word “empire” has never been in a presidential debate as the political elites do not want to discuss the reality of US global domination. They do not want people considering that an empire economy is the reason for many of our economic problems. These are a few issues among many that will not be discussed this election season.

    And, if an issue like healthcare is discussed there will be no one on stage who represents the views of the 60% of voters who support a single payer, improved Medicare for All, because neither of the establishment party nominees do. There will also be no one on stage to talk about key movement issues like the systemic racism exposed by Black Lives Matter, the wealth inequality demonstrated by Occupy, and the protests against pipelines by Indigenous Peoples and communities across the country. On these and many other issues there will be no discussion or only discussion from the point of view of two Wall Street-dominated parties. The political agenda will be warped and ignore the people’s concerns.


    Some of the poll’s key findings are:

    Just 10 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the country’s overall political system while 51 percent have only some confidence and 38 percent have hardly any confidence.

    Similarly, only 13 percent say the two-party system for presidential elections works, while 38 percent consider it seriously broken. About half (49 percent) say that although the two-party system has real problems, it could still work well with some improvements.

    Most Americans report feeling discouraged about this year’s election for president. Seventy percent say they experience frustration and 55 percent report they feel helpless.

    Few Americans are feeling pride or excitement about the 2016 presidential campaign, but it is grabbing the public’s attention. Two-thirds (65 percent) of the public say they are interested in the election for president this year; only 31 percent say they are bored. However, only 37 percent are feeling hopeful about the campaign, 23 percent are excited, and just 13 percent say the presidential election make them feel proud.

    The public has little confidence in the three branches of government. A quarter (24 percent) say they have a great deal of confidence in the Supreme Court and only 15 percent of Americans say the same of the executive branch. Merely 4 percent of Americans have much faith in Congress. However, more than half (56 percent) of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the military.

    Only 29 percent of Democrats and just 16 percent of Republicans have a great deal of confidence in their party. Similarly, 31 percent of Democrats and 17 percent of Republicans have a lot of faith in the fairness of their party’s nominating process.

    Neither party is seen as particularly receptive to fresh ideas. Only 17 percent of the public say the Democratic Party is open to new ideas about dealing with the country’s problems; 10 percent say that about the Republican Party.

    The views of ordinary voters are not considered by either party, according to most Americans. Fourteen percent say the Democratic Party is responsive to the views of the rank-and-file; 8 percent report that about the Republican Party.

    Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has never held elected office or worked for the government, but most Americans do not regard the Republican Party as especially receptive to candidates from outside the usual influence of Washington and party politics. Only 9 percent consider the Republican Party open to outsiders.

    Most Republicans (57 percent) say Trump’s candidacy has been good for the Republican Party, although only 15 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of independents agree.

    The Democratic Party is not viewed as friendly to outsiders either. Only 10 percent say the Democratic Party is open to candidates that are independent of the established order.

    However, in contrast to Trump, the entry of Bernie Sanders into the race for the Democratic nomination is not see as a negative for the party. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Democrats say Sanders’ bid for the nomination has been good for the Democratic Party, along with 43 percent of Republicans and 22 percent of independents (54 percent of independents report it is neither good nor bad). Although Sanders has served in Congress as a House member and Senator for more than 25 years, he was an independent and did not register as a Democrat until recently.


    Some other key areas of national consensus:

    •    83% agree that “the rules of the economy matter and the top 1 percent have used their influence to shape the rules of the economy to their advantage;
    •    Over 90% agree that it is important to regulate financial services and products to make sure they are fair for consumers;
    •    Four-fifths say Wall Street financial companies should be held accountable with tougher rules and enforcement for the practices that caused the financial crisis;
    •    By a three-to-one margin, the public supports closing tax loopholes that allow speculators and people who make money from short-term trades to pay less taxes on profits than full time workers pay on their income or wages.
    •    About two-thirds oppose corporate trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and 75% believe such deals destroy more jobs than they create.

    These are just a few examples that show near unanimity on issues where the government – answering to the oligarchs – does the opposite of what the public wants and needs.


    Will any of the paid professional Progressives ever admit so? Not as long as their careers and funding depend upon it; they can’t afford to take off their rose-hued glasses.

    More importantly, how do people who aren’t the kept, professional Progressives go about asking the right questions, organizing the right ways, and making the fundamental, radical structural changes that will topple the institutional control of the 1% over our lives, communities, politics and biosphere?

    I posed that question to someone not fooled by the foibles and feints of the Progressive Movement, my colleague Patrick Barrett, a University of Wisconsin academic who studies social and political movements. A veteran of the 1960s civil rights and anti-war movements, Patrick has never swooned to the spell of the Progressive Democrats. Patrick is one of the few truly wise people I know.

    “What gets lost in all this faux movement politics,” said Barrett, “is any real challenge to the growing imbalance of social, political and economic power. Quite the contrary, the ultimate impact of their actions is to reproduce if not aggravate that imbalance. What we’ve got here is a deeply symbiotic relationship between a pseudo-movement that derives its raison d’etre and financial vitality from a vilification of the right, which it has helped to create and without which it would have no reason for existence. Indeed, the more extreme the right becomes, the better it is for them, since they live off of fear-mongering. To oppose the right in a meaningful sense would put them out of business. That isn’t to say that there is nothing to be feared in the right or that some of these folks don’t think they’re fighting the good fight, but rather that the two work in tandem, much like a good-cop-bad-cop team. As the right becomes ever more extreme, this Democratic Party cum non-profit industrial complex moves further and further to the right itself, thereby giving the Republicans and their ilk ever greater leash and making it easier to frighten the “progressive” masses.”

    Barrett concluded, “Lest anyone think that this is some kind of conspiracy theory, it’s important to emphasize that this is primarily a function of social and economic structures and political institutions that create a market for these sorts of pseudo-movement leaders, who will flourish if the conditions are right. That’s why we need to focus our attention on altering those conditions, something these people have little or no interest in doing.”


    Any conversation about “resistance” must start with the state. The state, better known as the interconnected institutions of governance, is the central force that manages oppression in society. Under US imperialism, the state manages oppression through a variety of mechanisms. Special bodies of armed men play an especially critical role in the maintenance of oppressive social relations. Police, military, and private security forces all serve to violently enforce ruling class law and generalize submission to the interests of the ruling class. However, “the resistance” finds itself entangled in another form of state power.

    That form is the non-profit industrial complex and its attending Democratic Party paymasters. “The Resistance” has significant support from the non-profit industrial complex and the Wall Street-stuffed coffers of the Democratic Party. Such support is evident in the organizations, the Town Hall Project, and Indivisible. The Democratic think-tank Center for American Progress (CAP) assists each of these so-called anti-Trump focused organizations. On CAP’s Board of Directors sits Democratic Party elites Madeline Albright and John Podesta.

    This is the same Albright who helped enforce brutal sanctions against Iraq as Secretary of State under Bill and Hillary Clinton. It was Albright who commented that it was “worth it” to murder over 500,000 Iraqi children by way of US-sponsored starvation. Podesta was Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair during her losing Presidential campaign in 2016. Leaked Podesta emails revealed that the Clinton campaign rigged the Democratic primaries against Bernie Sanders. They also outlined how Clinton used her extensive connections with Wall Street firms to expand the influence of the Clinton Foundation.

    Any real “resistance” to the Trump Administration’s policies in this period must be equally opposed to the machinations of the Clinton camp of the state. Anything less should warrant suspicion from resistance forces. One cannot separate the rise of Trump from the failures of the Democratic Party. It was the Democratic Party, not Trump, that pushed the political trajectory of the US even further rightward through its incessant collaboration with capital. Since the 1980s, the Democrats have led the way in the projects of austerity, mass incarceration, and war. These policies have understandably bred a high degree of cynicism among more left-leaning Democrats, requiring the intervention of the first Black President to keep “hope” for the party alive.


    The birth rate among American teenagers, at crisis levels in the 1990s, has fallen to an all-time low, according to an analysis released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The decline of the past decade has occurred in all regions in the country and among all races. But the most radical changes have been among Hispanic and black teens, whose birth rates have dropped nearly 50 percent since 2006.

    Theories on the reasons for the dramatic shift include everything from new approaches to sex education to the widespread availability of broadband Internet. But most experts agree on the two major causes.

    The first is the most important and may be obvious: Today’s teens enjoy better access to contraception and more convenient contraception than their predecessors, and more of them are taking advantage of innovations like long-acting injectable and implantable methods that can last years over a daily birth control pill. But the second cause is something that goes against the conventional wisdom. It’s that teens — despite their portrayal in popular TV and movies as uninhibited and acting only on hormones — are having less sex.


    After being sexually assaulted by a cellmate, transferred from HMP Bedford to HMP Norwich to HMP Isis (inside Belmarsh’s wall), I collapsed physically and mentally. My diet, being largely vegan, had been insufficient. It is a struggle to maintain a vegetarian diet in prison, let alone veganism. Apples, oranges and the occasional soy yogurt were my daily bread for the first 60+ days. Once you arrive at a new prison you are moved at least twice before the administration “settles” you, and this is only if you have reached the terminus of your stay in Her Majesty’s care. This is most unsettling: imagine being chucked out of your house every couple of weeks, sent to a filthy place with shit on the walls, hair everywhere, and – if you’re extra lucky – blood stains on the walls, floors and sink!

  62. “The value of metaphors should not be underestimated. Metaphors have the virtue of an expected behavior that is understood by all. Unnecessary communication and misunderstandings are reduced. Learning and education are quicker. In effect metaphors are a way of internalizing and abstracting concepts allowing one’s thinking to be on a higher plane and low-level mistakes to be avoided.”

    —Fernando J. Corbató, “On Building Systems That Will Fail”


    STAMFORD, CT—Caught off-guard by the shocking nationwide marketing blitz, anti-drug advocates roundly criticized Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the maker of OxyContin, for its massive new “It Gets You High” campaign. “We’re in the midst of an unprecedented opioid crisis in this country—is it really helpful to have thousands of billboards, website banners, and bus ads touting how incredible you’ll feel after just 10 milligrams?” said National Institute on Drug Abuse spokeswoman Tina Walters, adding that brightly lit billboards with slogans such as “What A Rush” and “Take More, Feel Better” represented a new low for the already grossly irresponsible drug manufacturer. “OxyContin is more than addictive enough on its own and certainly doesn’t require any assistance from television commercials that feature animated 40-mg tablets singing a catchy song about taking all the pain away or beautiful models looking into the camera and saying ‘I want an Oxy man.’” At press time, anti-drug advocates were beside themselves upon learning Purdue had just bought the naming rights for Snorting Oxy Gets You High Faster Stadium.


    A New York Magazine article has gotten significant attention for its warning that much of the earth will become uninhabitable within our lifetimes. What do you think?

    “Pfft. Every year they predict human extinction within a century, and every year it doesn’t happen.”

    “You’d be pessimistic too if you worked at a magazine in today’s publishing environment.”

    “Why didn’t anyone warn us sooner?”

  65. I think this is one area where the internet can be a really bad thing. I don’t know how many of these sort of attacks happen in real life against white people, but any that do happen end up getting upvoted or reposted around the internet. And people are much more willing to generalize and lament against certain things that white people do. For example, as a software developer in Seattle I have never been personally attacked for moving there and being part of that community, but I have seen tons of posts online about how people like me are ruining the city. I know there is a level of truth to it and that I’m in a privileged position so I try not to get angry, but if I felt attacked in this way and didn’t feel at all like I was in a somewhat privileged position I can see how this could start make me rather bitter and opposed to political correctness and the like.
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    [–]thehalfdimeshow 9 points 3 days ago
    It happened to me one time last year in class. I was told I didn’t get to have an opinion on the election because I was a white guy. Shrugged it off and moved on with my day. This is so incredibly mild compared to the racism others go through.
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    [–]metronNYC 13 points 4 days ago
    Conservatives seem to be more reactionary. They see any joke against white people as a slight, while accepting the most blantant racist and sexist dog whistles from politicians, and right wing talk radio hosts.
    Any anti-white conservative sentiment gets magnified on social media, then they lash out by voting in people like trump. They don’t mind taking Republican promises at face value because things were so different not too long ago for the conservative white person, and they are desperate to revert any change to the status quo. If Republicans continue enacting policies and trying to privatize everything, they might have their wish.

    • I put everything in context. What is a bit of anti-white sentiment compared to centuries of continuous and ongoing anti-black/minority prejudice that has been and is systemic and institutionalized, not to mention oppressive and often violent.

      It’s understandable that people who have faced the worst prejudice are often the most bitter and angry. And it’s understandable that these bad feelings will often target random people, often not the most deserving of criticism. That sucks and it can get tiresome. If someone treats me unfairly, I won’t just take it. But even so, I will try to understnad where that person is coming from.

      It’s how I looked at the 9/11 terrorist attack. A few thousand killed by religious terrorists is nothing compared to the state terrorism of the US government that has killed at least several million in just the War on Terror alone and possibly killed hundreds of millions in my lifetime.

      It’s hard for me to be shocked by the predictably inevitable consequences of blowback. Sure, religious terrorism sucks. But then again, state terrorism is far worse in devastation. Most Americans, including most poor minority Americans, have no fucking clue of what it is like to be the target of US state terrorism.

      Having dealt with many personal problems (severe depression, learning disability, etc), I still realize that there are billions of people in the world who have life as hard or worse. And in many ways, I’m one of those privileged people here in the West who has benefited from the mass oppression and suffering of others, even if it isn’t my fault that my government has chosen to act in those ways.

      It’s all about perspective. This requires knowledge and awareness, empathy and compassion. The world is a shitty place for most people. For those who aren’t in the upper classes, much of life is simply struggling to get by until death. Considering that, it is perfectly normal that people feel shitty and act shitty.

    • Yet race realist HBDers, hardcore social conservatives, pseudo-libertarian Ayn Rand Objectivists, loony alt-righters, and other reactionary right-wingers keep telling me that stereotype threat, along with systemic and institutionalized prejudice, is bullshit liberal propaganda.

      ““Our society tends to associate brilliance with men more than with women, and this notion pushes women away from jobs that are perceived to require brilliance,” said Bian. “We wanted to know whether young children also endorse these stereotypes.”

      “With this question in mind, the researchers tested children ranging from 5 to 7 years in a series of studies. In one experiment, the children heard a story about a person who was “really, really smart” and were then asked to guess which of four unfamiliar adults (2 men, 2 women) was the story’s protagonist. They were also asked to guess which adult in a series of paired different-gender adults was “really, really smart.” While the results showed both boys and girls aged 5 viewed their own gender positively, girls aged 6 and 7 were significantly less likely than boys to associate brilliance with their gender. These age differences were largely similar across children of various socioeconomic and racial-ethnic backgrounds.

      “A subsequent study asked whether these perceptions shape children’s interests. A different group of boys and girls aged 6 and 7 were introduced to two games—one described as for “children who are really, really smart” and the other for “children who try really, really hard.” The content and rules of two games were otherwise very similar. Children were then asked four questions to measure their interest in these games (e.g., “Do you like this game, or do you not like it?”). Girls were significantly less interested than boys in the game for smart children; however, there was no difference between the boys’ and girls’ interest in the game for hard-working children—a finding that illuminates the targeted nature of gender stereotyping.

      “A final experiment compared 5- and 6-year-old boys’ and girls’ interest in games for smart children. The results showed no significant differences in interest between 5-year-old boys and girls, consistent with the absence of brilliance stereotypes at this age. However, by 6 girls’ interest in the activities for smart children was again lower than that for boys.”

  66. Here is the kind of thing I always wonder about. It shows the dissociation and hypocrisy of the American mind, although a specifically right-wing example.

    As you know, suburbia was part of the racial project. It was enacted in concert with sundown towns, ghettoized inner cities, redlining, neighborhood associations, and racially biased New Deal programs and GI Bill (e.g., housing loans). This is why the political right uses the 1950s (to early 1960s) tv vision of the perfect suburban family as their core standard of what it means to be American.

    But the political right wants to ignore something. This racial project was social engineering. Because the Nazis made eugenics unpopular, more systematic methods of social control and racial border policing had to be enforced. This was a major project that required immense collective effort and immense funding, much of it government funding.

    This social engineering project was heavily subsidized with government funding cheap housing loans that allowed working class whites to buy nice houses, cheap college that allowed working class whites to become middle class, cheap gas that was kept artificially lower than it would have been in a free market, a 500 billion dollar interstate highway system that made suburbia and car culture possible, and so much else.

    This is everything the political right claims to hate. It is big government using taxpayer money to manipulate society through social engineering. And all of this was done when top margin taxes were the highest they had ever been. It was progressive taxation that “stole from the rich” in order to socially engineer a middle class white utopia. Of course, minorities and the poorest whites were left out of the equation.

  67. I have a prediction. The future will be dominated by societies that invest the most in their public good. This will include obvious things such as public education, public infrastructure, and public funding of scientific research and development. But maybe more importantly it will include public healthcare,

    The country that most successfully builds the best public healthcare system will improve it’s populations physical health, mental health, neurocognitive development, average IQ, etc. Also, it will be the most prepared for climate change disasters, epidemics, and bio-terrorism. In the future, public healthcare might be the single greatest factor of national security.

    Why do so few people think about this? Right-wingers are afraid that someone will get something they deserve. And the liberal class just wants to maintain the status quo that privileges them. But few are talking about public healthcare as a core national concern and major geopolitical issue. Politicians tell us we can’t afford high quality public healthcare. I’m thinking that we can’t afford to not have high quality public healthcare. The survival of our country might depend upon it.

    I find the ignorant obliviousness and reactionary narrow-mindedness in the mainstream to be strange. All of this seems obvious to me. Yet it’s not even on the radar of the dominant corporatist politics, big biz media, and public awareness. That said, the Pentagon understands this kind of thing all too well, as they obsess over analyzing present developments and future scenarios. Maybe we should put the well-funded Pentagon in control of public healthcare.

  68. Let me throw out another thought. I wanted to express something that has been on my mind for a long time, as it endlessly perplexes me.

    It is the whole issue of racism, race realism, genetic determinism, capitalist realism, environmental fatalism, human nature innateness, etc. They all overlap and interlock into a mutually supporting social order. Not every single person in our society believes every single aspect of this ideological worldview, but there are enough people who are committed to it or complicit with it in one way or another. For example, race realism is inherently and inevitably racist. But race realism pervades every aspect of our lives and few people infected with race realist ideology would identify as racists.

    Most HBDers claim they aren’t racists or genetic determinists, even as their entire worldview feeds into racism and genetic determinism. There was a left-winger who used to comment on my blog for years and we parted ways after it was revealed that he had been hiding his race realism the entire time, probably hiding even from himself as humans are quite talented at doing. I’ve also met many liberals who hold all kinds of race realist and racialist views (such as about racialized medicine, e.g., sickle cell) with seeming no self-awareness of the implications, partly because even few well educated Americans are well informed about the topics.

    Similarly, I’ve had discussions with people about nature vs nurture. Many people drawn to this frame do so because they are arguing for nature, not nurture. It’s a frame that is biased to one side, almost by design. Even when I can get someone to understand that the nature/nurture debate is meaningless and irrelevant, they often will return to arguing it as if they heard nothing I said and understood none of the evidence that contradicts the false division. People can sometimes understand a topic intellectually while it not sinking deeper into the psyche. It remains surface level understanding that quickly dissipates.

    This is the power of a racial order. It doesn’t just pervade society but more importantly it pervades the mind. It shapes how we think, perceive, and act. All of this happens without any awareness or intention needing to be involved. This is how good people can support, be complicit in, and/or simply be oblivious to truly bad things in the world all around them. The social order and the ideological worldview behind it becomes internalized. Not even the smartest, most well educated, and well informed people are immune from this. Sometimes the smart idiot effect will make them the most prone.

  69. Here is a good discussion of the lack of human comprehension of complex systems:

    This is a central issue underlying the nature/nurture debate, based on a false dichotomy. What is involved is complex interactions and inseparable relationship between biology, genetics, epigenetics, environment, culture, society, parenting, education, neurocognition, psychology, linguistic relativity, diet/nutrition, toxins, stress, disease, parasites, microbiome, etc. We simply have neither the language nor the concepts to make sense of it all.

    Timothy Morton takes this a step further. He wrote a book about what he calls hyperobjects. They are holistic systems that operate beyond the capacity of human perception and cognition. They are so vast and pervasive that we often can’t even recognize that they exist. Ecosystems are an example of this, as humans have only through immense scientific research began to grasp their existence and significance.


    “I am withdrawing to write a book. And another time: I am withdrawing to construct a labyrinth. Everyone imagined two works; to no one did it occur that the book and the maze we’re one and the same thing.”

    “I leave to the various futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths.”

    “This network of times which approached one another, forked, broke off, or were unaware of one another for centuries, embraces all possibilities of time. We do not exist in the majority of these times; in some you exist, and not I; in others I, and not you; in others, both of us.”

    “Time forks perpetually toward innumerable futures. In one of them I am your enemy.”

    “I thought of a labyrinth of labyrinths, of one sinuous spreading labyrinth that would encompass the past and the future and in some way involve the stars.”


    NEW YORK—Left aghast and upset after seeing her beloved firstborn son all over the evening news, a distraught Ivana Trump reportedly called her ex-husband at the White House Tuesday night to ask him what he did to her beautiful baby boy. “My sweet, sweet perfect boy. He was always such a precious angel, and now look—look what you’ve done to him!” the president’s first wife said in audible anguish, adding that all her “Little Donny” had ever wanted was to build houses and hunt with his brother, not get dragged into her ex-husband’s “sick, twisted world.” “Look at that sweetie-pie face sent straight from heaven—now it’s on every newspaper and every cable channel. Oh, my darling son! He was too pure, too delicate for this life. You’ve ruined him! Why? Oh, God, why?” At press time, the teary-eyed businesswoman and former model reportedly made President Trump promise he’d never do anything to risk the unsullied innocence of her “dearest beautiful pumpkin” Eric, contending that the boy was much too slow and dull to ever understand the circumstances he’d find himself in.


    WASHINGTON—After gently knocking on his brother’s door and insisting he really should eat something, Eric Trump left a plate of seared foie gras outside a despondent Donald Trump Jr.’s bedroom door, sources said Wednesday. “Hey, Donny, you sure you don’t want a little supper?” said Trump, telling his brother that he might be feeling sad, but that didn’t mean he had to go all day on an empty stomach. “It’s got pear puree and beluga caviar, too. We know how much you like that. Okay, how about I just leave this right here, and you can have some anytime you get hungry? And, hey, we saved you a blackberry mousse torte. It’ll be in the fridge whenever you feel like coming down.” Despite insisting he wasn’t hungry and wanted to be left alone, Donald Trump Jr. had at press time opened his door halfway, brought the plate into his room, and quietly closed the door behind him.


    As an iceberg the size of Delaware broke away from an ice shelf in Antarctica Wednesday, scientists released findings that up to 668 U.S. communities could face chronic flooding from rising sea levels by the end of the century.

    More than 90 U.S. communities are already grappling with “chronic inundation” from sea level rise caused by climate change—meaning they have crossed the threshold for when “flooding becomes unmanageable for people’s daily lives,” disrupting “people’s routines, livelihoods, homes, and communities.”

    When Rising Seas Hit Home, the new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, found that number could nearly double, to 170, over the next two decades.

    Coastal sections of Lousiana and Maryland account for the majority of the communties that are currently experiencing heavy flooding, but USC researchers predict these unmanageable floods will reach the Jersey Shore and Florida’s Gulf Coast by mid-century.

    By 2100, they calculate 40 to 60 percent of all oceanfront communities on the East and Gulf Coasts, and a growing number of West Coast communities, will be inundated with chronic flooding. At-risk regions include major cities like Boston, Savannah, Fort Lauderdale, Newark, and four of New York City’s five boroughs.

  74. HMmm… but wouldn’t the mixed central Asians like Uighurs themselves have been created out of very different looking groups (Caucasian, Asian mixes) yet are now a single ethnic group? Also, there are high tensions in central Asians between different ethnic groups who are similar looking. Kyrgyz and Uzbek is one. Or ethnic tensions between African groups, English/Irish, etc

    • Seriously a lot of tensions between groups who “are of the same race.” Jews versus Palestinians for one. They’re all “Caucasian” XD Similsrly most modern groups are products of previously different groups mixing together.

      • All of hominid evolution has been a regular mixing of genetic populations, including at least two evolutionary bottlenecks.

        If humans had become genetically separated long ago and rarely mixed, genetic research would find more diversity across populations. But that isn’t the case. Homo Sapiens are among the least genetically diverse among comparable species, specifically higher primates.

        A race is a scientific term for a genetically distinct sub-species whose population is isolated from other sub-species. No such thing exists in the human species. There is no way for race realists to get around this basic scientific fact.

    • The author makes some good points. But I’d make a correction to one point in the conclusion:

      “At the Greenwood forum, audience members were reminded of Martin Luther King Jr.’s disappointment in the “white moderate.” His “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” points the finger directly at Seattle-type progressives: “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.””

      MLK supposedly was using the “white moderate” as a way of actually talking about black moderates. He didn’t want to turn his criticism directly on the respectable middle blacks he was trying to persuade. He knew criticizing them directly would be taken as an attack and would simply turn them away. So, he used white moderates as a proxy to communicate his message about the failure of moderation.

    • I like seeing someone else questioning this kind of data and think about it more deeply beyond the superficial patterns.

      My sense is that some of the most interesting things happening in our society are being left out of the data. That is because the data categories were mostly designed at an earlier time last century. This reinforces old thinking onto new social conditions, as a way of maintaining the social order or at least the appearance of the social order.

      “Chandler is deeply skeptical of the recent census data, which shows an uptick of almost 2 percent in Seattle’s non-Hispanic white population (from 65.2 percent to 67 percent of the city’s overall population) over the past year. He suspects the influx of white people is an anomaly rather than a trend, but he’s also concerned that census categories don’t capture the unique international diversity of our region, pointing out that many new Middle Eastern and Eastern European arrivals to our city may be included as “white.”

      ““You don’t know who’s foreign-born,” says Cuc Vu, director of the recently expanded Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs in downtown Seattle. Vu shares Chandler’s concerns over the census’ “white” category and adds that the “black” category also doesn’t differentiate between native-born African Americans and our city’s growing East African community.”

  75. Ever think how pointless all this is in the big picture? Like “pale blue dot” moment

    I think people fear losing status when new groups come. For example, I think about Hawaii and how it is the one place in the USA where minorities (at least Asians and Pacific Islanders) may not be second class citizens, but a mass migration of a different people might change that. Similarly I think skke whites fear losing “majority privilege” or white privilege. Though white privilege exists when where they are minority as euro imperialism was worldwide.

    • I regularly think how pointless all this is in the big picture.

      I’ve been trying to get past the superficial level of distraction. That is the purpose of my theory about symbolic conflation. I was thinking about a second layer to this might be found with what could be called symbolic dissociation, where false dichotomies are used to frame public debate and so control public perception/cognition.

      The symbolic conflation uses a symbolic issue to replace and obscure the real issue. Then symbolic dissociation turns that symbolic issue into a simplistic divide. The result is fake debate over a fake issue, a double-layered diversionary tactic.

      It’s a highly effective tool of social control, maybe the most central tool that is used.

  76. I like psychology. I might go back for graduate degree someday. Who knows

    One thing is how expensive schools are these days if you don’t get funding. That’s an issue I have. My coworker has debt from a masters degree in biology

    • Higher education would be more attractive if it were cheaper. Like funding of healthcare, I bet countries that heavily fund education will have an extreme advantage this century.

      I’m reminded of why US soldiers were such of high quality during WWII. It was because so many American men had received extensive training from New Deal programs: building, engineering, repair, etc.

      They had advanced technical skills useful on the battlefield before they were even drafted. This allowed the US army to organize quickly and get men to the front lines right from the moment war was declared.

      This was only possible because of progressive taxation that invested trillions of dollars into public funding. That is the problem with waiting to put public funding in place only after a problem arises. At that point, it might be too late.

      We live in a society at present where the responsibility for almost everything is shifted to the individual. That is not a long term strategy for collective success as a country.

      • Yeah. I doubt it as well. That isn’t a problem, as long as the blogger still took the science seriously on its own terms. But it seems that it all comes down to ideological rhetoric to ensure his ideological group wins the political game.

    • The whole left/right thing is fascinating. The reason for it isn’t entirely clear. But some of the research is beginning to explain some of the possible significance. But I don’t know that anyone has yet figured out the reason one person develops one way while others another way.

  77. Here is an article that is a perfect example of the liberal class:

    It shows how much the liberal class is enmeshed in capitalist realism. When the person involved came to a sense of futility in her environmental activism, she turned to her role as a consumer-citizen. This is the mentality that big biz interests have been pushing.

    If individuals can be blamed for not taking responsibility in small ways, then that lets big biz off the hooks. After all, in capitalist realism, big biz has no choice but to give people what they want and the public has no choice other than the neoliberal corporatism the system is built on.

    This was made clear to me when I read an article explaining the origins of the crying Native American commercial. It was paid for by big biz to promote the idea that litter and recycling are about individual choice. This was to distract from the fact that most trash, pollution, etc is coming from big biz and not individuals. If every individual in the world recycled, it wouldn’t put a dent in the problem of big biz not recycling.

    The last thing the liberal class wants to face is that change has to happen collectively at the level of the entire society.

    • There is a dark history in this country, much of it at the local level. And it’s a lot more complex than the standard racial narrative. It’s too bad that all of this isn’t taught to all American students. An occasional article like this doesn’t do justice to this legacy of collective shame.

  78. I’m not sure why so many people on both sides, including independents, keep wanting to make the Russian fiasco a partisan issue. People’s brains have become so polarized that they can’t think straight or see the obvious. Partisan politics makes people stupid, including many people who aren’t even partisans.

    It just gets worse and worse. This might end up being not just the biggest scandal in our lifetimes but the biggest scandal in American history. Its just one thing after another.

    Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., was caught in a lie about his and other Trump campaign figures meeting with Russians. He replaced that lie with another lie, then after being further challenged told an entirely new lie, and finally after he ran out of lies he was forced to admit the truth. He also released his emails for otherwise officials were going to get a warrant to seize them. His father, our president, then praised him for his ‘transparency’.

    It turns out Jr. and others talked to the Russians in the hope of getting Russian state intelligence on Hillary Clinton. There were eight people in total were in the meeting — including: Manafort (campaign chairman), Kushner (president’s son-in-law and top adviser), the Russian lawyer, a Russian interpreter, a Russian American lobbyist who is a Soviet veteran ( he is a former Soviet counterintelligence officer and suspected of still working with Russian intelligence), and several other people including an unknown figure that remains a mystery. This happened after they received the message that the Russians wanted to help the Trump administration. Donald Trump Jr.’s reply was “If it’s what you say I love it.” The person they talked to is a lawyer and former state prosecutor connected to the Kremlin through her close relationship with the top prosecutor for the Russian government, the latter seemingly the suggested source of info being offered. This was a major meeting:

    “New details from others involved in arranging the meeting point to other Trump links to Moscow. The session was set up at the request of Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star whose Kremlin-connected family has done business with Trump in the past, according to the person who arranged the meeting.
    “Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who represents Agalarov, confirmed Monday that he requested the Trump Tower meeting at Agalarov’s request. Emin Agalarov and his father, Aras Agalarov, a wealthy Moscow real estate developer, helped sponsor the Miss Universe pageant, then owned by Trump, in Russia in 2013.
    “After the pageant, the Agalarovs signed a preliminary deal with Trump to build a tower bearing his name in Moscow, though the deal has been on hold since Trump started his campaign for president. [[[.]
    “The involvement of the Agalarovs brings the meeting closer to Trump’s past business interests and to the Kremlin. Trump has spent time with both Emin Agalarov and his father – appearing in a music video for the pop singer that was filmed at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton hotel in 2013.
    “The Agalarovs are also close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Aras Agalarov’s company has been awarded several large state building contracts, and shortly after the 2013 pageant, Putin awarded the elder Agalarov the “Order of Honor of the Russian Federation,” a prestigious designation. […]
    “Emin Agalarov told The Post in an interview in April 2016 that he had spoken with Trump numerous times about the need to build stronger ties between Russia and the United States.”

    It was a set up. There apparently was no information given. It was probably just a Russian operation to fuck around with the Trumps because they could. Any professional politician or serious political operative would have run away from that situation as fast as they could. But the Russians obviously realized how naive is the Trump family and their associates. It wouldn’t be surprising if Putin wanted all of this to come out in order to create a scandal. And the Trumps are simply too stupid to understand the game that is being played. They though they were master chess players when it turns out they are just pawns. But as far as the law goes, the Trumps being stupid and naive doesn’t make them any less legally culpable. Jr and others might be facing charges of conspiracy to commit election fraud and conspiracy to obtain information from a foreign adversary, which could mean major prison time. It’s already been proven Trump’s campaign is involved, but investigators will look to see what Trump knew and when he knew it.

    Worse still, Peter W. Smith killed himself recently because of a Russian connection. He was a major GOP figure and Trump supporter. He had been a donor, political operative, and opposition researcher for the far right of the GOP for decades. His dislike of the Clintons goes at least back to the 1990s, when he first began looking for info on them.

    During the time Trump openly asked the Russians to hack and release Clinton’s emails, Smith claimed he was working with retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (who at the time was Trump’s campaign national security advisor) in his talking to Russian hackers about getting access to Clinton’s deleted emails. He admitted all of this in a WSJ interview, days before his suicide: “He also implied that he had been working with retired Lt. Gen Mike Flynn while Flynn was an advisor to Trump. He told a computer expert who was working for him at the time that he was talking to Flynn about his research. When he spoke with The Wall Street Journal, Smith only said that he knew Flynn but did not say Flynn was involved in his investigation.”

    It’s unclear what actually happened as he is no longer available for further questioning. But if it turns out that he really was working with Flynn, that will be damaging to an extreme degree. Flynn also got into trouble for Russian connections. And Trump brought Flynn into his administration even after being warned that he had Russian connections (i.e., his private conversations with the Russian Ambassador and accusations of his misleading U.S. officials about his various ties with foreign governments, including Russia and Turkey). But what stands out is that Smith’s plan was a highly organized and well funded operation:

    “The figure carrying out the operation in question was Peter W. Smith, who died at the age of 81 earlier this year. Smith is hardly a lone kook. He’s an established Republican donor with a demonstrated history in financing ethically murky investigations, such as paying Arkansas state troopers for stories of Bill Clinton’s sexual dalliances.
    “Smith surfaced earlier in the week in an explosive Wall Street Journal report by Shane Harris, which Harris followed up on Friday night. What really underscores the significance of Harris’s reporting, though, is a detailed account, also published Friday night, by Matt Tait, a British cybersecurity expert who dealt extensively with Smith. Tait’s report makes it clear that Smith had access to Michael Flynn, at the very least, and was working not only to obtain stolen Clinton emails but also to hide the Trump campaign’s involvement.
    “Tait had established some expertise analyzing Clinton’s emails; Smith, who said he had been contacted by someone who possessed a cache of emails from Clinton’s private server, wanted help validating them. As Tait explains, he warned Smith that Russia had been conducting an attack on the U.S. elections, but Smith appeared completely unconcerned about it. Smith tried to hire Tait for his project and showed him a document creating an independent-looking organization to try to acquire the stolen emails. The document, Tait reports, “detailed a company Smith and his colleagues had set up as a vehicle to conduct the research: ‘KLS Research’, set up as a Delaware LLC ‘to avoid campaign reporting,’ and listing four groups who were involved in one way or another.” This certainly appears like an attempt to mask the Trump campaign’s involvement in the plot.
    “The document listed a series of high-level Trump campaign officials: Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Sam Clovis, Lt. Gen. Flynn, and Lisa Nelson. Bannon and Conway, contacted by the Journal, deny any involvement with Smith. But Smith’s comments to Tait indicate a fairly close understanding of Trump campaign internal dynamics. It is possible he was bluffing, but Smith seemed to be displaying authentic insider credentials.”

    In all of this, the president’s family, campaign staff, administration officials, and GOP insiders were involved in multiple meetings with Russians. The president himself a short while ago sold a house far above market price to a Russian, which is a common practice for laundering money. The Trump family has had close ties to the Russian oligarchy for decades. What makes it even more weird is that Trump seems to have a man-crush on Putin. As the scandal was worsening, the uncommonly long private meeting the two had recently emphasized this point. Beyond this, there is the actual hacking of the computers of state election officials that supposedly Russians were behind, according to the CIA (assuming they are telling the truth). What I’ve described here is a small sampling of the crazy shit that has been going on that shows connections to Russia.

    How blatantly bad does it have to get before it is no longer considered a partisan issue. It is getting harder to dismiss, but even months ago it was obvious that there was something to it. Now it’s at a point where it’s about to blow up, especially with a special counselor whose job is to look for criminal charges that can be prosecuted. After recent events, I bet there are a lot of GOP politicians and insiders who are quickly backing away from the Trump administration. These people aren’t stupid and like rats they’ll abandon a sinking ship. It’s about to get very interesting.

    BTW I love Shep Smith. He was one of the few people on big biz news who will state things simply and straightforwardly. He may be on Fox News, but it doesn’t stop him from cutting through the bullshit when he feels its important.

    Here is more info on all that has been happening:

    This interview was amusing:

  79. The US is a politically corrupt country. But most of that political corruption is concentrated at the very top of society. And that was true long before Trump became president. The sad part is that much of the political corruption around the world has been promoted and funded by the US government.

    The US doesn’t have a record of spreading freedom and democracy. If all the US government does is meddle in a foreign election, the people of that country should feel lucky. The US government has been known to regularly do far worse than that. Even the suffering and death of millions of innocents is no obstacle to a geopolitical agenda.

    It’s sort of amusing to see the tables turned on the US government. Russia learned well from a half century of Cold War. This is yet more blowback, just 9/11. We Americans fuck with people for decades and then act shocked that anyone would dare fuck with us. Many look at the Trumps as stupid and naive. Well, as far as I can tell, there sure are a lot of stupid and naive Americans who, in their ignorance of history, seem to never see anything coming.

    There are many reasons that we Americans shouldn’t commit evil against others. For one, it’s simply morally wrong. Plus, it contradicts everything we claim this country stands for. But just as important, it’s simply not very intelligent as the short term gains of being a global bully has long term dire circumstances. Future generations of Americans are going to feel nothing but hatred and shame at the present generation of Americans. There is very little to be proud about as an American right now or in recent history

    But while Americans feel justifiably angry at alleged interference with their political process, they have also been handed a mirror, and the reflection should disturb them.

    For the US is a world leader in the field of intervening in the internal affairs of other countries. The alleged interference is far more extensive than hacking into emails belonging to unfavoured political parties. According to research by political scientist Dov Levin, the US and the USSR/Russia together intervened no less than 117 times in foreign elections between 1946 and 2000, or “one out of every nine competitive, national-level executive elections”.

    Indeed, one cannot understand US-Russian relations today without acknowledging America’s role in the internal affairs of its defeated cold war foe. As Stephen Cohen puts it, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the approach of US advisers “was nothing less than missionary – a virtual crusade to transform post-communist Russia into some facsimile of the American democratic and capitalist system”.

    As soon as Bill Clinton assumed the White House in 1993, his experts discussed “formulating a policy of American tutelage”, including unabashed partisan support for President Boris Yeltsin. “Political missionaries and evangelists, usually called ‘advisers’, spread across Russia in the early and mid-1990s,” notes Cohen: many were funded by the US government. Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser, talked of Russia “increasingly passing into de facto western receivership”.

    The results were, to put it mildly, disastrous. Between 1990 and 1994, life expectancy for Russian men and women fell from 64 and 74 years respectively to 58 and 71 years. The surge in mortality was “beyond the peacetime experience of industrialised countries”. While it was boom time for the new oligarchs, poverty and unemployment surged; prices were hiked dramatically; communities were devastated by deindustrialisation; and social protections were stripped away.

    To the horror of the west, Yeltsin’s popularity nosedived to the point where a communist triumph in the 1996 presidential elections could not be ruled out. Yeltsin turned to the oligarchs, using their vast resources to run an unscrupulous campaign. As Leonid Bershidsky puts it, it was “a momentous event that undermined a fragile democracy and led to the emergence of Vladimir Putin’s dictatorial regime”. It is even alleged that, in 2011, Putin’s key ally – then-president Dmitry Medvedev – privately suggested the election was rigged. In the run-up to the election, Russia was granted a huge US-backed IMF loan that – as the New York Times noted at the time – was “expected to be helpful to President Boris N Yeltsin in the presidential election”.

    Yeltsin relied on US political strategists – including a former aide to Bill Clinton – who had a direct line back to the White House. When Yeltsin eventually won, the cover of Time magazine was “Yanks to the rescue: The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win”.

    Without the chaos and deprivations of the US-backed Yeltsin era, Putinism would surely not have established itself. But it’s not just Russia by any means, for the record of US intervention in the internal affairs of foreign democracies is extensive.

    Take Italy in 1948: as the cold war unfolded, the US feared that a socialist-communist coalition would triumph in Italian elections. It barred Italians who “did not believe in the ideology of the United States” from even entering the country; funded opposing parties via the CIA; orchestrated a massive propaganda campaign, including millions of letters from Americans of Italian origin; and made it quite clear, via the State Department, that there was “no further question of assistance from the United States” if the wrong people won. Its efforts were a success. This was the first of many Italian elections featuring US interference.

    Take the CIA’s self-professed involvement in the military coup that overthrew democratically elected secular Iranian president Mohammad Mosaddeq in 1953: it was “carried out under CIA direction as an act of US foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government”, as the agency later confessed. The nature of the 1979 Iranian revolution cannot be understood without it. Or what of CIA backing for Augusto Pinochet’s murderous overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973?

    There are more recent examples too. Take the military overthrow of Honduras’ Manuel Zelaya in 2009. The then secretary of state – a certain Hillary Clinton – refused to describe the toppling of Zelaya as a “military coup”, which would have required the suspension of US aid, including to the armed forces. Rather than call for Zelaya’s reinstatement, Clinton called for new elections. US assistance – including military aid – continued as dissidents were treated brutally; as death squads re-emerged; as violence against LGBT people surged; and as widely boycotted unfair elections took place.

    Allegations of Russian interference in the US elections are undoubtedly alarming, but there’s a double standard at play. Meddling in foreign democracies only becomes a problem when the US is on the receiving end. The US has interfered with impunity in the internal affairs of so many other countries. The day that all such interference is seen for what it is – a democratic outrage, unworthy of any great nation – will be a great day indeed.

    • One thing to remember is that racial mixing has always been central to the US racial order. For centuries, most of the American black population was a mix of African and European ancestry. Almost by definition to be black in the US means to be racially mixed.

      The distinction isn’t between those of European ancestry and those of African ancestry. Rather the distinction is between those seen as of pure ancestry (whites, Asians, etc) and those seen as of mixed ancestry (blacks, Hispanics, etc).

      But that is maybe beginning to break down, as even whites have become more mixed. The idealized white in the US once meant being a pure WASP, but that hasn’t been true since the era following mass immigration.

  80. “This is a juicy article. You should do some quotes or analysis. Here’s a quick skim:
    Interestingly, many biracial groups (e.g., the Aboriginal-Whites (Metis) of Canada, Indian-Whites of India, Korean-Whites of Korea, and the Vietnamese-Whites of Vietnam) are perceived as having lower status than both of their parent groups, whereas groups such as the “Coloured” population of South Africa, and the mixed-race populations of South America have come to adopt an intermediate status above their subordinate parent group, but below dominant Whites (Davis, 1991; Sidanius, Peña, & Sawyer, 2001).
    The results of this study give assurance of the reliability of this empirical discovery. Again, when targets were half-White and half-minority, the Asian and Black labels were accepted more often than the White label, regardless of whether the target was half-Asian or half-Black. However, a racial hierarchy in hypodescent (i.e., a pattern of hypodescent consistent with the extant racial hierarchy) and gender effect also emerged, such that this did not apply as much to half-Asian targets in general, and to half-Asian females in particular.”

    • Here is the abstract:

      “IQ gains in the 20th century have faltered. The losses of Nordic nations after 1995 average at 6.85 IQ points when projected over thirty years. On Piagetian tests, Britain shows decimation among high scorers on three tests and overall losses on one. The US sustained its historic gain (0.3 points per year) through 2014. The Netherlands shows no change in preschoolers, mild losses at high school, and possible gains by adults. Australia and France offer weak evidence of losses at school and by adults respectively. German speakers show verbal gains and spatial losses. South Korea, a latecomer to industrialization, is gaining at twice the historic US average.
      “When a cohort is compared to an earlier cohort, IQ trends vary dramatically by age. Piagetian trends indicate that a decimation of top scores may be accompanied by gains in cognitive ability below the median. They also reveal the existence of factors that have an atypical impact at high levels of cognitive competence. Scandinavian data from conventional tests confirm the decimation of top scorers but not factors of atypical impact. Piagetian tests may be more sensitive to detecting this phenomenon.”

      As one person noted in response to that tweet, “It sounds like he’s saying that the smarter people are getting dumber.
      (Something holding them back from excellence?)” It’s unclear to me what exactly Flynn is arguing. Have top scorers actually gotten stupider? Or has there been a change in how IQ is being tested? Or is there a change in the demographics of top scorers with high economic mobility in some of these countries? Would it be surprising to find changes in demographics as demographic groupings are changing?

      It’s sort of like arguing that American runners have gotten slower as more people have gotten involved in running for health reasons. It’s a meaningless conclusion because it’s comparing two things that aren’t meaningfully comparable. It’s easy to find data artifacts of changing conditions that don’t actually indicate anything significant. The same thing happens when looking at vast sets of data and finding tons of correlations, most of them being spurious.

    • I always worry about conclusions based on limited data.

      We don’t understand the reasons for these kinds of differences. And so we are likely to come to false conclusions and offer unhelpful solutions. There could be many dietary, epigenetic, and environmental factors that differentiate most Asian-Americans from other American populations. I don’t see any reason, based purely on ignorance, to automatically blame ancestral genetics.

      It’s like African-Americans being treated for diseases that are more common among West Africans but are becoming uncommon for African-Americans. Those very diseases are still common among many Southern European populations, but an American doctor wouldn’t think of treating those white people for diseases that are considered a black condition.

      Racial categories lead to simplistic and stupid thinking. This is because racial categories are proxies for other factors. But we rarely bother to understand those other factors.

  81. I wonder if standing burns calories. I work at an ice cream shop this summer and constantly standing and walking and it’s exhausting at the end of the day definitely

    • Some recent research has shown that standing, as compared to sitting, correlates to better health.

      I would assume that it would have to involve burning more calories. Muscles are being used while standing that aren’t being used while sitting, and using muscles burns calories. Maybe more importantly, it allows for more circulation which is increasingly important as one ages, such as avoiding blood clots.

      I purposely stand when I’m at work even though I have a chair I could sit in because I feel crappy when I sit around all the time. I actually like standing. The only time I prefer sitting is when I’m really sleepy or really focused.

  82. Either native/European mixes tend to be very white passing, or my idea of who looks white is somewhat broad. Maybe I think they look white peolle a lot of “white” identified people have native ancestry that I’ve come to associate their looks with white? Who knows.

    My high school friend was half white/apache and was very tan though, so he didn’t present as white. Locally I know a native guy who if he didn’t say so I’d just think he was white, maybe just not hitler-would-be-proud white, but white in that a lot of white Americans can look like him.

    • I’m partly of Kentuckiana stock (from the region of Kentucky and Indiana). There is particular look to someone from Kentuckiana, somewhat similar to Appalachia and parts of the rural South.

      I remember seeing a lady who looked stereotypically Kentuckiana. I thought to myself that I bet she is from Kentucky and indeed she had a Kentucky license plate. Part of that Kentuckiana physical appearance is what could be thought of as Native American high cheekbones.

      There really was a lot of mixing in that region. That particular look is very much ‘white’ in the stereotypical American sense and yet it isn’t ‘white’ in the stereotypical British or Northern European sense.

      My best friend in high school was of poor rural ancestry, although his family had been in the city in recent generations. He was what some might think of as Scots-Irish redneck. But thinking back on how he looked, I could see that he maybe had some Native American in him. Like my Kentuckiana grandfather, my South Carolina friend had thick black hair.

      Southern whites also have higher rates of African ancestry as well. Compared to Upper Midwesterners of Northern European ancestry, Southern whites do have a darker complexion and darker hair.

      It could be noted that many Canadians came from the US Upper Midwest. At one point, there was a large migration of farmers that moved north across the border. There is both much more of a shared history, culture and ancestry between the Upper Midwest and Canada.

  83. Canada is notorious for its racism against natives. When I lived near Quebec border this summer, my coworkers boyfriend was a half-Mohawk whose dad lives on the Mohawk reservation outside Montreal. When they went to Montreal, amthe canadian border guards look at them and treated them like shit, somehow being able to tell he was native and weee like “wtf is this white girl doing with him.” But my coworker says the Canadian guards and definitely tell even though I and probably many Americans can’t

    Meanwhile I thought he was white haha

    • It’s easy for Americans to forget how mixed up is the genetics of the American population.

      If any of your family has been in North America going back to prior centuries, there is a high probability that you have a diverse racial and ethnic ancestry. Genetic testing only looks at a tiny part of your ancestral genetics, your paternal and maternal lines. For those who descend from American colonists, there are many ancestors whose genetics won’t show up in genetic testing.

      My American ancestry goes back about 4 centuries. I maybe have around a thousand ancestors who have been in North America at various points of history, many of them living near Native Americans. A large part of my Kentuckiana family was on the frontier. including Indian fighters. My earliest known American ancestor in the Virginia colony fought Native Americans and owned a Native American slave.

      Chances are extremely high of there having been some racial mixing at some point in my American ancestry. Yet I look like an all-American white guy. I’m a standard American mutt.

  84. I have noticed this phenomenon is especially prevalent in Scandinavian countries, and it is painfully obvious to everyone that Scandinavian men with mail order brides are your society’s massive losers. But at least in Scandinavia and in Europe generally there is a culture mixed children can feel somewhat part of, by partial blood ties and by indoctrination (you mention sagas and skiing; every european country has equivalent cultural activities). In the USA instead whiteness is purely based on looks and some very bizarre, arbitrary activities like refusing delicious fried chicken and camping around wilderness, so it’s even worse for the mixed male because he just can’t fit in, not looking the part. It’s not that in Europe a mixed can really fit in, but he is more likely to be considered half euro whatever he may look like because of blood ties; in the USA, he is 0% white because of the one drop rule. Are mixed in Norway considered at least part Norwegian?

  85. White worship is a powerful force that seems very prevalent in Latin America as it is almost everywhere else. I understand that Latin America has a racial hierarchy that places anything white on top as the most beautiful and successful and indigenous on the bottom.
    permalinkembedsavereportgive goldreply
    [–]2790_m8white/latina[S] 11 points 20 hours ago
    Thanks, and oh no it’s not lecturing, I didn’t know that, my family would never talk about it, let alone my grandma. Nahuatl is what a norteño friend told me is proper for Southwest natives. I’d have to ask my grandma again to get the real answer, though.
    And yeah, it is bad, especially the media, and the indigenous suicide rate has only been climbing. It’s depressing what this racism does to people.

    • There are lots of varieties of racism around the world. It’s interesting that in millennia past it wouldn’t have been a matter of which race or ethnicity you belonged to, at least not in how we think about it. Rather it would have been about what religion you belonged to or what governing body you lived under… and also about your social position, aristocracy or peasant, free or slave, etc.

      Roman emperors and Greek thinkers weren’t always respectively Roman or Greek, not in the ancestral sense, although many people were Roman or Greek by culture, language, citizenship, and such. Or to be an Israeli in the ancient world simply meant to live in Israel, even if you weren’t a Jew. And besides, large numbers of non-Semitic people outside of Israel converted to Judaism for various reasons, sometimes because of social status and political privileges when Jews were legally treated as respected group.

      It makes me wonder how the social order will be defined and divided up in the coming centuries. Our present racial order will eventually disappear and be replaced by something else. In the big picture, the racial order hasn’t existed all that long.


    “When people say Bernie is crazy, no. Bernie is talking about inequality,” Steyer said in an interview with Mic. “That is the burning issue in the United States.”

    Steyer, as Mic’s Jake Horowitz notes, is a longtime donor to the Democratic Party, and he spent a whopping $87 million on Democratic candidates and causes in 2016.

    Though he endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primaries, Steyer told Mic that he has come to view Sanders’s progressive platform as the necessary way forward.

    “There is an absolute, unspoken war between corporate interests and the American people,” he said. “That’s the underlying subtext for all of the public discussions within the Democratic party. We’re seeing a deliberate attempt to take away [working families’] future by really rich people. Until we address that, I don’t think we’re dealing with the reality Americans are facing today.” […]

    As Common Dreams has reported, a new initiative launched by two tech billionaires—Mark Pincus, the the co-founder of Zynga, and Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn—will pressure the party to move rightward by adopting a stance that is both “pro-social” and “pro-business.”

    “I’m fearful the Democratic Party is already moving too far to the left,” Pincus recently said.

    Steyer argues the opposite. Democrats, he says, must embrace “a solidly progressive agenda” if they want to win back the Congress and ultimately the presidency.

    “Democrats have to move from resistance to offense,” Steyer concluded. “Being not-Trump is not nearly enough. We have to put forward our positive vision for the future. If we can’t do that, then I don’t understand the point.”

  87. Debs, one of the greatest American left-wingers, came out of the same part of Indiana that my family lived in for generations. Then again, it was also the location for the headquarters of the Second Klan. It was a part of the country that has long included both radical and reactionary politics.

    Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

    I listened to all that was said in this court in support and justification of this prosecution, but my mind remains unchanged. I look upon the Espionage Law as a despotic enactment in flagrant conflict with democratic principles and with the spirit of free institutions. …

    Your Honor, I have stated in this court that I am opposed to the social system in which we live; that I believe in a fundamental change—but if possible by peaceable and orderly means. …

    Standing here this morning, I recall my boyhood. At fourteen I went to work in a railroad shop; at sixteen I was firing a freight engine on a railroad. I remember all the hardships and privations of that earlier day, and from that time until now my heart has been with the working class. I could have been in Congress long ago. I have preferred to go to prison. …
    I am thinking this morning of the men in the mills and the factories; of the men in the mines and on the railroads. I am thinking of the women who for a paltry wage are compelled to work out their barren lives; of the little children who in this system are robbed of their childhood and in their tender years are seized in the remorseless grasp of Mammon and forced into the industrial dungeons, there to feed the monster machines while they themselves are being starved and stunted, body and soul. I see them dwarfed and diseased and their little lives broken and blasted because in this high noon of Christian civilization money is still so much more important than the flesh and blood of childhood. In very truth gold is god today and rules with pitiless sway in the affairs of men.

    In this country—the most favored beneath the bending skies—we have vast areas of the richest and most fertile soil, material resources in inexhaustible abundance, the most marvelous productive machinery on earth, and millions of eager workers ready to apply their labor to that machinery to produce in abundance for every man, woman, and child—and if there are still vast numbers of our people who are the victims of poverty and whose lives are an unceasing struggle all the way from youth to old age, until at last death comes to their rescue and lulls these hapless victims to dreamless sleep, it is not the fault of the Almighty: it cannot be charged to nature, but it is due entirely to the outgrown social system in which we live that ought to be abolished not only in the interest of the toiling masses but in the higher interest of all humanity. …

    I believe, Your Honor, in common with all Socialists, that this nation ought to own and control its own industries. I believe, as all Socialists do, that all things that are jointly needed and used ought to be jointly owned—that industry, the basis of our social life, instead of being the private property of a few and operated for their enrichment, ought to be the common property of all, democratically administered in the interest of all. …

    I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.

    This order of things cannot always endure. I have registered my protest against it. I recognize the feebleness of my effort, but, fortunately, I am not alone. There are multiplied thousands of others who, like myself, have come to realize that before we may truly enjoy the blessings of civilized life, we must reorganize society upon a mutual and cooperative basis; and to this end we have organized a great economic and political movement that spreads over the face of all the earth.

    There are today upwards of sixty millions of Socialists, loyal, devoted adherents to this cause, regardless of nationality, race, creed, color, or sex. They are all making common cause. They are spreading with tireless energy the propaganda of the new social order. They are waiting, watching, and working hopefully through all the hours of the day and the night. They are still in a minority. But they have learned how to be patient and to bide their time. The feel—they know, indeed—that the time is coming, in spite of all opposition, all persecution, when this emancipating gospel will spread among all the peoples, and when this minority will become the triumphant majority and, sweeping into power, inaugurate the greatest social and economic change in history.

    In that day we shall have the universal commonwealth—the harmonious cooperation of every nation with every other nation on earth. …

    Your Honor, I ask no mercy and I plead for no immunity. I realize that finally the right must prevail. I never so clearly comprehended as now the great struggle between the powers of greed and exploitation on the one hand and upon the other the rising hosts of industrial freedom and social justice.

    I can see the dawn of the better day for humanity. The people are awakening. In due time they will and must come to their own.

    When the mariner, sailing over tropic seas, looks for relief from his weary watch, he turns his eyes toward the southern cross, burning luridly above the tempest-vexed ocean. As the midnight approaches, the southern cross begins to bend, the whirling worlds change their places, and with starry finger-points the Almighty marks the passage of time upon the dial of the universe, and though no bell may beat the glad tidings, the lookout knows that the midnight is passing and that relief and rest are close at hand. Let the people everywhere take heart of hope, for the cross is bending, the midnight is passing, and joy cometh with the morning.


    During the year I spent in Iraq, the only deaths experienced by the Army units I was embedded with were suicides.

    The death I was most familiar with was a young Private, who put his assault rifle into his mouth. No one back home saw what I saw, because they were not supposed to see: the fan spray of blood and brain on the wall, already being washed off as I arrived to look.

    These things are not unspeakable, we just don’t want to talk about them, and the bloodless narrative says we don’t have to. That keeps it alive. Because when the narrative fails, the wars tend to end.

    For example, in 1969, Life magazine published a famous edition consisting entirely of portraits of the Americans who died in Vietnam that week. Many subscribers canceled, but many more looked for the first time outside the narrative. The war found its end.

    In another conflict, President Bill Clinton pulled American troops out of Somalia after a photo showed crowds cheering a dead American soldier dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. That image dogged American war mongering until it could be cleaned up by the bloodless narrative of Gulf War 1.0.

    We are no longer likely to see those nasty pictures. The military has become more skillful at manipulating the media, even as the media has become more compliant. In the X-rated world of war, most of the media refuses to budge from family fare.

    The military-media symbiosis is just one more tool that feeds the narrative. As long as Americans are convinced of the bloodlessness of perpetual war, the wars will go on.


    Problems are frequently blamed on the other 50%, or immigrants, or Russia, rather than on pollution, resource depletion, and overshoot.

    I often wonder if the elites are knowingly deceitful, or if they are in denial and believe what they tell us.

    I suspect the latter.

    It seems to be a general observation that, when facing a serious threat, the elites of a country can reason that the best strategy for them is to cheat the people and save themselves. In the present situation, the threat of global warming seems to be driving some elites to do exactly that. They deny the threat while at the same time maneuvering to save themselves by moving to higher grounds and equipping their mansions with air conditioning. For all they care, the rest of the people can drown or roast.

    But, as the threat of climate change becomes clearer, the elites may discover that nobody can survive in an uninhabitable planet. Then, they may finally decide to try to do something to save the ecosystem from which we all depend. But it may well be too late.


    Nature is complicated. Rarely do things fit exactly into our nicely thought out theories or hypotheses. We should expect that our systems don’t always line up with the theory. When the trend is clearly in the opposite direction, eventually that makes into refining the theoretical framework of the field (we hope). But what about when we expect something to have an effect and it doesn’t? The first thing to do of course is to make sure that our design is robust and the lack of effect isn’t due to some failing of our studies. But what if that checks out?

    I suspect there is a lot of important information out there buried in files of experiments/studies where no difference was detected. I am hardly the first to make this observation. Long ago when I began my career, I had lofty ambitions to never let data languish. But now I can see why these kinds of datasets do. My own have. It takes a lot more to write a convincing paper about a lack of difference than a difference. Storytelling is easier and neater when the facts fit the theory. It isn’t just reviewers and readers that have a more difficult time with negative results but I’m finding as a writer it is also much more difficult to process and, well, just get on with it and write these stories.


    July 22, 2015 – Donald Trump interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper

    TRUMP: “The politicians are going to destroy this country. They’re weak and they’re ineffective and they’re controlled by the lobbyists and special interests…They will do whatever I want … I’ve had lobbyists and I’ve had some very good ones. They could do anything. They could take a politician and have them jump off this ledge. ”

    COOPER: “Can you actually change that culture of corruption?”

    TRUMP: “Well, you can in the sense that the top person can’t be bought [indicating himself] … but these lobbyists totally control these politicians … I see Bush [Jeb] with the lobbyists … they’re totally telling him what to do, like a little puppet. And the same with Hillary and everybody else. Now, when I’m in business, I’m part of that game … these guys are desperate for money. I don’t need it.”

  92. “When the Earth was decentered from the universe by Copernican astronomy, this was more than compensated for by the innumerable images of the Earth produced over the years by artists and scientists alike. The Earth was, and is, in many ways, still at the center of things. In this sense, the first televised images of the Earth can no doubt be regarded as the pinnacle of a species solipsism, one that has its underside in the many computerized film images of a disaster-worn, zombie-ridden, apocalyptic landscape. We are so fixated on the Earth – that is, on ourselves – that we would rather have a ruined Earth than no Earth at all.”

    —Eugene Thacker, Starry Speculative Corpse: Horror of Philosophy: Vol 2

    • I wonder if that was just correlation research.

      Maybe the kind of person to confront racism is the kind of person to have higher self-esteem. In order to prove causation, they’d have to get low self-esteem individuals to confront racism and get high self-esteem individuals to not confront racism. And then see if their respective levels of self-esteem increases and decreases.

      I’d also suspect that this is highly context-dependent. Confronting racism in some situations and in some societies would lead to negative responses/consequences (or simply frustration/outrage) and so wouldn’t likely increase self-esteem even in individuals prone to high self-esteem.

  93. The food director here in DC completely changed the culture of student meals by serving wholesome, real foods but then was fired after he refused to put processed foods back on the menu at the request of the for profit companies that line the pockets of our local politicians:

    The superintendent followed suit stating that food is not a core competency of a school district. Regardless of how smart you are, you’ll live a sad life if you’re overweight and sick.

    • The problem with capitalism is that it incentivizes many bad things: sickness, pollution, war profiteering, cronyism, corruption, bureaucracy, monopoly/oligopoly, authoritarianism, corporatism, inequality, poverty, wealth concentration, privatization of public goods, resource extraction, etc. A genuine free market can only exist where such incentives are highly regulated, controlled, and limited by a well functioning democratic government or other public institutions.

  94. Obese kids = fat profits.

    I recently heard a story involving a man who got his first MD from a school in the Far East. He then got another one from an American school. His comment to the story teller was in the West, they teach doctors to treat the symptoms and not the cause. They teach the opposite in the East. Ever wondered why our health care cost are raging out of control?

    Sick people = Healthy profits. This really isn’t that difficult to understand.

    • This is why the for-profit model of healthcare is failure by design. It incentivizes not treating or preventing the causes of disease. That would decrease the customers seeking the product of healthcare and so decrease profit. There is no way to make an optimally functioning basic healthcare system that is profit-driven.

      It’s like expecting corporate media to do fair, accurate, and probing investigative journalism of the corporations that are part of the same parent company and the corporations that provide the advertising profits. There is no incentive to do actual journalism that harmed the profits of involved corporations and much incentive to avoid such journalism. All a corporation has to do to avoid being the target of investigative journalism is to be connected to the parent company or spend advertising dollars on every major news outlet capable of doing serious investigative journalism.

      It’s the same reason politicians tend not to regulate and instead do favors for the special interests that fund their campaigns, donate to their foundations, and support their projects. Or imagine making a fossil fuel corporate executive the head of a federal agency that regulates fossil fuel pollution or determines the gas efficiency standards for vehicles.

  95. I was talking to my dad about something. I was reminded of how consistently people on the political right use moral relativism in defense of their views. It’s similar to how often they use political correctness. The obvious reason it stands out is that they are constantly criticizing the political left for exactly these reasons. But those on the political right don’t seem to ever notice this inconsistency/hypocrisy.

    I know that my dad doesn’t and he is a thoughtful guy who thinks of himself as consistently principled. It’s interesting how easily moral relativism slips out on a regular basis. I suspect he uses moral relativism more than I do, as I tend to be rather harsh in my demands of consistency. When I do use moral relativism, I prefer to do so openly. Even my uses of moral relativism are more consistently applied in terms of my reasoning, meaning that they are only applied when one consistent principle trumps another consistent principle. It isn’t really moral relativism, but a decision about prioritizing values.

    I think it’s harder for those on the political right to admit that they do this same thing, in determining the priority of values. The reason for this is that such prioritizing is always context-dependent. Acknowledging context seems to bother people on the political right, as more of them seem to want to believe that principles and values should exist independent of context. The irony is that their refusal to acknowledge this probably ends up making them more inconsistent because context influences their thinking unconsciously and so the results are less systematic.

  96. To be honest, I’m kind of put off by crime when thinking about moving to Washington DC/Maryland for an internship. Of course there are safe and bad areas in the area but the FairVote office while not being in a terrible area is kind of close to some bad areas. Especially because I like walking around outside, jogging, etc and I’m a petite woman

    • Most people who live in places like that rarely leave their neighborhood and would only travel through neighborhoods similar to their own. It’s a psychological segregation as much as a physical segregation, but those lines of segregation are also heavily policed so that the upper classes can live in a bubble. The problem is that, for those not in the upper classes, they are outside the bubble and so are part of the population that is target of social control.

  97. DC may be the center of government, but the sheer poverty in the city is stark and depressing. The areas near the government buildings and NW DC are gentrified and full of wealthy asswipes but go to the east side of DC and the poverty screams at you

    • It demonstrates on the small scale what has happened to the entire country: worsening inequality, economic and racial segregation, ghettoization followed by gentrification, a rigid class order with a plutocracy and permanent underclass, deindustrialization and gutted communities, tax-funded socialism for the rich and austerity capitalism for everyone else, etc.

    • That is stupid. It’s already been proven that a mainstream Western diet of crappy food is unhealthy. It’s also plain ignorant.

      The problem isn’t just GMOs but that GMOs make possible the higher concentrated use of chemicals used on plants. And there is research that shows GMOs to be correlated to health problems. We can argue about there needing further research, but the problem is the corporate interests promoting GMOs don’t want further research. They’ve made promises that their GMO plants wouldn’t escape into the wild and yet they have. The long term consequences of this are unknown.

      If clean living makes no difference, why do indigenous people eating a traditional diet not have all of the major health problems that Westerners have? For most of history, humans ate foods that were organic, free range, and cultured. That is a normal human diet that humans were evolved to live on.

    • Southern Europeans are part of the same broad genetic population as those in North Africa and the Levant. Would the new Middle Eastern and North African category be a racial category or an ethnic category? Hispanics can identify as white because those are separate kinds of categories. If a Semitic Palestinian isn’t white, is a Semitic European not white as well? Also, why don’t blacks who are majority European ancestry identify as white?

  98. According to the DSM of course. I suspect we don’t really understand our brains. We should maybe try and build our societies on the needs of our brains rather than building our brains on the needs of society.

    • I’ve made that exact same kind of argument, although broader. I’ve always thought that society should serve humans, instead of the other way around. That apparently is what puts me on the political left.

      Conservatives and right-wingers tend to think humans should serve and hence conform to the social/political order, religious/moral order, economic/class order, racial/ethnic order, etc. This is because the political right tends to begin with an idea of how humans should be and then judge/punish harshly those humans who don’t fit the ideology.

      This is why we have our present capitalist realism, based on assumptions about human nature. It is irrelevant what liberal social scientists say about human nature. The ideological dogmatists already know.

    • My nephew and nieces have been raised as vegetarians. But they all consume dairy. They don’t have healthy diets, though. The oldest of the three has always been a bit sickly, not that it has stopped her from growing tall.

  99. I’m mildly lactose intolerant, but I notice that drinking raw milk is easier on my system than regular milk. Might just be a coincidence though

    • Raw milk probably has living microbes that help the body digest the milk, similar to how lactose inolerance decreases by consuming cultured milk (yogurt, kefir, etc). It’s possible that you aren’t so much lactose intolerant as you are intolerant to heavily processed and denatured dairy products.

  100. Studies of identical Black twins with one being raised by wealthy white parents showed a marked drop in IQ to the level of their sibling once that aforementioned twin returned to an impoverished Black community without resources, and absent intellectual stimulation from peers with similar educational background. Hence racism serves to isolate the inquisitive mind.

    • What I find most shocking is that we need a study to tell us something so blatantly obvious that it should be accepted as common sense. It would require immense research disproving this kind of common sense because it would be amazingly bizarre to find the opposite result.

      Yet we are so ignorant as a society that we argue about the impact of racism, even as thousands of studies and sets of data have proven beyond all doubt the impact of racism. If racism had no impact on society and on individuals, racists wouldn’t be so committed to systematically enforcing racism onto others in maintaining a racial order.

  101. I tend to distrust elite school “progressivism” because elite schools by nature serve to reinforce the establishment and status quo. Basically, there’s the nagging suspicion that elite school liberalism tends to be the “love me I’m a liberal” kind. Additionally, Being an Asian American who has been up close with the attitudes and hypocrisy people part of these scenes engage in, I suppose that is also a perspective. So I certainly have come to see elite schools as dishonest, at best.

  102. Someone once remarked that even Harvard students are biased because a study on harvard undergrads showed that two students of different races were less likely to trust each other with money in a type of money trust game. They were like “elite college students should be the least racist people and even theyre racist! See!”

    And I’m like, on what planet are elite college students seen as the least racist and most enlightened? LOL

    Less overtly racist, maybe. Not less shitty, racist, classist, sexist, whatever. If anything, in a lot of ways, they’re way worse than the kinds of people we tend to see as racist, aka, poor southerners, uneducated people, etc. And Many oter people agree with me. Fuck, even poor whites who make it to elite colleges relate to the same alienation from elite school BS that minorities report

    • Joe Bageant made the point that the average poor white has more everyday relationships and interactions with non-whites than do upper class whites. It’s common among poor whites in the South to have friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc who are non-white. And it’s also common for them to have a non-white married into the family. There is racism among poor whites, but it involves much more personal stakes.

    • That is always what bothers me, dishonesty.

      It’s what irritated me about HBDers, as it ended up feeling like bullshit with an ulterior motive that they wouldn’t acknowledge. Race realism is racism. Just own it and then we can have an honest debate or at least an honest fight. But it’s also what pisses me off about the pseudo-liberalism and pseudo-progressivism of so many Democratic leaders and partisans.

      Few people will state what they actually believe and advocate because, if they did, most Americans would oppose them. It becomes a game of manipulation through rhetoric, propaganda, and public perception management.

    • This is the kind of thing that is happening all over the country at the community level.

      This is why progressivism and social democracy will grow strongest through grassroots action. This is what will shape GenZ and the generation following them. Younger Americans will find themselves increasingly left behind by an increasingly right-wing federal government of inverted totalitarianism serving the interests of plutocrats and corporatists.

      The only way GenZ will be ‘conservative’ is in wanting to conserve the environment, conserve communities, and conserve the public good. They will be a cautious generation that embraces the precautionary principle, a key factor of left-wing politics in the US.

    • I’ve seen data about this. Drug abuse is far worse in the upper classes than in the lower classes. This is because wealthier people can afford addiction and they have the privilege to avoid legal consequences. Very little of the drug war has targeted this highly drug addicted population.


    Today’s show features Betsy Levy Paluck, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs, expert on the dynamics of social networks and behavioral norms. We discuss how groups normalize behaviors in a variety of contexts, and what we know about intervening to change behaviors. How much do we really know about the effectiveness of diversity training and media campaigns? What is the role of the mass media in creating or reducing prejudice? Listen for all this and a broader discussion on large-scale conflict resolution and how personal relationships feed into cultural trends.


    While I think both Mann and Holthaus are brilliant scientists who identified some factual problems in the article, I strongly disagree with their statements about the role of emotions—namely, fear—in climate communications and politics. I am also skeptical of whether climate scientists should be treated as national arbiters of psychological or political questions, in general. I would like to offer my thoughts as a clinical psychologist, and as the founder and director of The Climate Mobilization.

    Affect tolerance—the ability to tolerate a wide range of feelings in oneself and others—is a critical psychological skill. On the other hand, affect phobia—the fear of certain feelings in oneself or others—is a major psychological problem, as it causes people to rely heavily on psychological defenses.

    Much of the climate movement seems to suffer from affect phobia, which is probably not surprising given that scientific culture aspires to be purely rational, free of emotional influence. Further, the feelings involved in processing the climate crisis—fear, grief, anger, guilt, and helplessness—can be overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean we should try to avoid “making” people feel such things. Experiencing them is a normal, healthy, necessary part of coming to terms with the climate crisis. I agree with David Roberts that it is OK, indeed imperative, to tell the whole, frightening story. As I argued in a 2015 essay, The Transformative Power of Climate Truth, it’s the job of those of us trying to protect humanity and restore a safe climate to tell the truth about the climate crisis and help people process and channel their own feelings—not to preemptively try to manage and constrain those feelings.

    Holthaus writes of people feeling deep anxiety, losing sleep, re-considering their lives due to the article… but this is actually a good thing. Those people are coming out of the trance of denial and starting to confront the reality of our existential emergency. I hope that every single American, every single human experiences such a crisis of conscience. It is the first step to taking substantial action. Our job is not to protect people from the truth or the feelings that accompany it—it’s to protect them from the climate crisis.

    I know many of you have been losing sleep and reconsidering your lives in light of the climate crisis for years. We at The Climate Mobilization sure have. TCM exists to make it possible for people to turn that fear into intense dedication and focused action towards a restoring a safe climate.

    In my paper, Leading the Public into Emergency Mode—a New Strategy for the Climate Movement, I argue that intense, but not paralyzing, fear combined with maximum hope can actually lead people and groups into a state of peak performance. We can rise to the challenge of our time and dedicate ourselves to become heroic messengers and change-makers.

    I do agree with the critique, made by Alex Steffen among others, that dire discussions of the climate crisis should be accompanied with a discussion of solutions. But these solutions have to be up to the task of saving civilization and the natural world. As we know, the only solution that offers effective protection is a maximal intensity effort, grounded in justice, that brings the United States to carbon negative in 10 years or less and begins to remove all the excess carbon from the atmosphere. That’s the magic combination for motivating people: telling the truth about the scale of the crisis and the solution.

    In Los Angeles, our ally City Councilmember Paul Koretz is advocating a WWII-scale mobilization of Los Angeles to make it carbon neutral by 2025. He understands and talks about the horrific dangers of the climate crisis and is calling for heroic action to counter them. Local activists and community groups are inspired by his challenge.

    As columnist Joe Romm noted, we aren’t doomed—we are choosing to be doomed by failing to respond adequately to the emergency, which would of course entail initiating a WWII-scale response to the climate emergency. Our Victory Plan lays out what policies would look like that, if implemented, would actually protect billions of people and millions of species from decimation. They include: 1) An immediate ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure and a scheduled shut down of all fossil fuels in 10 years; 2) massive government investment in renewables; 3) overhauling our agricultural system to make it a huge carbon sink; 4) fair-shares rationing to reduce demand; 5) A federally-financed job guarantee to eliminate unemployment 6) a 100% marginal tax on income above $500,000.

    Gradualist half measures, such as a gradually phased-in carbon tax or cap-and-trade system, that seem “politically realistic” but have no hope of actually restoring a safe climate, are not adequate to channel people’s fear into productive action.

    • My nephew and nieces are GenZ. I know some others of this generation. There is nothing about them that indicates conservatives, much less right-wing. If anything, quite the opposite. But I can’t how representative is my personal sample. I just don’t see any thorough data that shows any trend toward the right in the American population.

  105. Not sure which generation I fall under. I was born in 1994. I think that makes me a younger millennial. I remember 9/11 clearly, but I was also fairly young then. But most people called “millennials” are a bit older than me.

    • You are on the cusp of the two generations. You wouldn’t have had much experience of the 1990s, as it was only the first 6 years of your life. The major social and political experiences of childhood to young adulthood that helped to shape your worldview probably are more in common with most in GenZ: Bush administration and policies, 9/11 attack, war on terror, Iraq War, 2008 recession, austerity politics, Obama’s election, Occupy, Tea Party, ACA, etc.

  106. I feel like Gen Z is still a little young to really gauge their politics. Half the generation is still in elementary school.

    As the articles say, Gen Z lacks the youthful idealism maybe, but they don’t seem particularly alt-right either. I do get that many of them, and millennials, like sticking it to PC and basically being contrarian to the percieved status quo, as is common among the young. That dosen’t mean their actual ideology is reactionary though

    • Trump will push the young further left. GenZ will nostalgically idealize Obama. And as Sanders is the most popular politician in the country, his policies of moderate social democracy are already supported by most Americans.

  107. “Generation Z grew up in a chaotic world marked by 9/11 and the Wars on Terror. Unlike the millenials, who had their innocense stripped from them just as they came of age, Generation Z has never known that innocence.

    As such, Generaztion Z is far more financially-minded than the Millenials, so they tend to be more in favor of the free market. They prefer lower taxes and more lassiez-faire policies.

    Also, a counter-culture has grown against political-correctness, a late Millenial term and has begun to shift right.

    However, most interestingly, Generation Z, out of all Generations in history, seems to be most similar to their grandparents—the Silent Generation. They both grew up in the face of horrible conflict and financial collapse, and thus, want security.

    • Moderate Republicans no longer exist. The Democratic establishment is more right-wing than once was considered moderate Republican. Anyway, I doubt this is an accurate assessment. All of the data I’ve seen shows the US public steadily shifting left for decades.

      As for such things as fiscal responsibility, conservatives and republicans have never genuinely cared about that. I doubt GenZ is in favor of putting the country further in debt by promoting spending that benefits plutocrats while giving more tax cuts to plutocrats, by externalizing the costs onto GenZ.

      If GenZ will be like the Silent Generation, then we are looking to a highly radical future. It was Silent Generation radicals such as MLK who transformed the US during the mid-20th century. Most of the major leaders during the 1960s were Silent Generation, including anti-war and anti-nuclear activists.

      Amanda Love · University of Wisconsin-Madison
      Every single major anti-Trump protest since the election has had a distinct overrepresentation of high school students, and I’ve seen a study/poll showing that high school students are less apolitical than in the past and that they lean strongly left. Don’t put your head in the sand and assume they’re going to support the Republicans without major concessions.

  108. Hermann’s description of the Far Right’s mixed-up politics as “a libertarian resistance with an authoritarian program” matches Jane Mayer’s description of oil billionaire Charles Koch’s politics/personality exactly in her book, “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right”. Koch, formerly of the John Birch Society, his brother, and their wealthy pals have bought themselves a whole army of unsuspecting, unhappy and ready to rebel, working, middle class and poor voters. They did this over the last 40 years by buying their way into the media, and into Universities to set up phony academic departments to give their self-serving ideas a little sheen of credibility. The unhappy and uneducated have bought it hook, line and sinker.
    Meanwhile, even though only partly at fault, Liberals are blaming themselves for the country’s swing to the far right. The Democrats are floundering around without any sort of compass, ignoring the clear call home to the left from the Sanders Progressives. Those Progressives are the left’s version of “alternative”, and might just as easily have captured most of those rebelling voters if the Democrats had stayed out the way of Sanders in primary elections. Instead they played right into the hands of the Kochs, Putin and Trump, and alienated a huge bloc of potential voters with a very disliked establishment candidate. The Kochs set the stage for it years ago, and Trump waltzed up onto it and stole the show.

    well so we are in a situation very similar to the 1930’s Europe. The financial crisis precipitated a misallocation of capital throughout the economy, which should have been focused on dealing with the dislocation of millions of people caused by the invention of the steam and combustion engines.

    We have today the exact same technology caused transformation of the global economy. Add to that an explosion in populations throughout the 3rd world, many countries literally quadrupling their numbers between 1950 and today. These are technical issues, problems in search of solutions. But once again, our worst instincts for survival edge out rational thought.

    And then, once again, we are governed by an elite that is devoid of a moral compass, has zero empathy for those less fortunate. Uses every tool of mass manipulation to incite those not equipped with rational thought to serve its purposes.

    Now come the liberals, embracing ideals of fair combat, the way things should be. It will not end well, unless those equipped for a martial response join their cause. And are allowed to do so.

    It is inevitable that as more and more ideas, ideologies, schools of thought etc. become verboten that the aura of coolness becomes the right’s.
    Yea, the reactionary becomes the true revolutionary in an age of non-stop foment. Incessant societal turmoil leads to a younger generation that wants stability above all else. Who here thinks generation Z, raised during never-ending wars and recession, would not broadly want a nationalistic government that promotes economic growth and narrow self interest overseas?
    When corporatism becomes allied with the latest societal crazes at no cost to the bottom line, when it becomes clear that higher education is about inculcation at the expense of real learning and when the popular media demonize the other (if the other is your evangelical christian working class red-stated) then yes, progressivism has become the dominant culture intent on the annihilation of the vestiges of the older culture, and the role of the underdog is no longer awarded to the despised maligned hippy, but the despised maligned hillbilly.
    The only solution would be for liberals to become less censorious and dogmatic. I’m not going to hold my breath.

    • What this analysis fails to understand is that the liberal class of the Democratic Party is in alignment with the neoliberals and neocons. They didn’t fight the political right because in many ways this so-called liberal class is part of the political right. They are socially liberal in the way right-wing libertarians are socially liberal, but ultimately this liberalism is superficial and doesn’t define their political commitments to power and privilege.


    While I have given small amounts to Democratic candidates in the past, I have no problem whatsoever working for a Republican administration. I believe that every president, regardless of party, has the right and responsibility to implement his policies. But that is not what is happening here. Putting citizens in harm’s way isn’t the president’s right. Silencing civil servants, stifling science, squandering taxpayer money and spurning communities in the face of imminent danger have never made America great.

    Now that I have filed with the Office of Special Counsel, it is my hope that it will do a thorough investigation into the Interior Department’s actions. Our country protects those who seek to inform others about dangers to American lives. The threat to these Alaska Native communities is not theoretical. This is not a policy debate. Retaliation against me for those disclosures is unlawful.

    Let’s be honest: The Trump administration didn’t think my years of science and policy experience were better suited to accounts receivable. It sidelined me in the hope that I would be quiet or quit. Born and raised in Maine, I was taught to work hard and speak truth to power. Trump and Zinke might kick me out of my office, but they can’t keep me from speaking out. They might refuse to respond to the reality of climate change, but their abuse of power cannot go unanswered.


    A few years ago I was speaking to a group of parents whose children had just started Hampshire College. A father asked a question that was on many minds: “How can your college be rigorous without grading student work?” Before I could respond, another parent stood up and asked, “May I answer that?” I nodded with interest.

    “I run a company,” he said, “and I have a few thousand employees in multiple locations. They’d be mystified if our managers started to give them grades. We manage by setting goals, evaluating progress, and mentoring employees on how to improve their performance. What would a letter grade tell them?”

    At the college where I serve as president, we do evaluate student work; we just use a higher-quality method. Our students receive written evaluations not only on every assignment, but also for every course and learning activity. These evaluations are designed to be formative teaching tools.

    For similar reasons, we completely stopped accepting SAT and ACT for admissions two years ago, after an internal study revealed standardized test scores are poor predictors of student success at Hampshire. We also recognized the bias of standardized tests against low-income students, and the negative influence of standardized testing on education. […]

    How do our students compare with the alumni of traditional, GPA-reliant programs? According to federal data compiled and reported by the National Science Foundation, Hampshire College ranks in the top 1.4 percent of U.S. colleges by alumni who advance to earn a doctorate. By this measure, we rank #40 in a nation of 3,000 colleges,* side by side with the most distinguished institutions of higher learning.

    And that’s without ever giving any student even one grade.

  111. Like every other area of our society, the democratic and anti-democratic can’t coexist. Corporatism in government and science is simply anti-democratic. As a society, we have so far decided that we don’t want democracy. But with looming problems that could take down civilization itself, prioritizing power and wealth over the public good won’t be a sustainable strategy.

    Since the early 2000s, scientists have championed an alternative to subscription publishing called “open access”. This solves the difficulty of balancing scientific and commercial imperatives by simply removing the commercial element. In practice, this usually takes the form of online journals, to which scientists pay an upfront free to cover editing costs, which then ensure the work is available free to access for anyone in perpetuity. But despite the backing of some of the biggest funding agencies in the world, including the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, only about a quarter of scientific papers are made freely available at the time of their publication.

    The idea that scientific research should be freely available for anyone to use is a sharp departure, even a threat, to the current system – which relies on publishers’ ability to restrict access to the scientific literature in order to maintain its immense profitability. In recent years, the most radical opposition to the status quo has coalesced around a controversial website called Sci-Hub – a sort of Napster for science that allows anyone to download scientific papers for free. Its creator, Alexandra Elbakyan, a Kazhakstani, is in hiding, facing charges of hacking and copyright infringement in the US. Elsevier recently obtained a $15m injunction (the maximum allowable amount) against her.

    Elbakyan is an unabashed utopian. “Science should belong to scientists and not the publishers,” she told me in an email. In a letter to the court, she cited Article 27 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, asserting the right “to share in scientific advancement and its benefits”.

    Whatever the fate of Sci-Hub, it seems that frustration with the current system is growing. But history shows that betting against science publishers is a risky move. After all, back in 1988, Maxwell predicted that in the future there would only be a handful of immensely powerful publishing companies left, and that they would ply their trade in an electronic age with no printing costs, leading to almost “pure profit”. That sounds a lot like the world we live in now.

  112. I suspect the explanation might be quite simple.

    If most people fully acknowledged the problems we face, there would be large numbers of people who would simply give up and maybe kill themselves. The sad irony is that such a response to immense problems becomes makes more sense the longer we don’t deal with them.

    The problems we have are only so overwhelming because we have refused to face them, but we claim we don’t face them because they are overwhelming. In that case, why didn’t we face them back when they weren’t yet overwhelming?

    I have been always fascinated by how people’s consciousness of collective threats blurs and disappears as the threat gets closer. Look, here, at the concept of “peak oil” as it appears on “Google Trends.” You see how it dwindled to almost zero interest after having been popular at the beginning of the 21st century.

    There are many more examples, a classic one is how the 1972 study “The Limits to Growth” was forgotten as the threat it described became closer in time. So, if you think about this, it is maddening: the earth is becoming more warm and people worry less about that? The same about oil; the more we use, the less there is; how come that people worry less and less about the problem? Maddening, indeed.

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