Posts Tagged African American

Republicans Who Refused to Do Their Jobs Are Complaining About Getting Nothing Out of Shutdown


Republicans Who Refused to Do Their Jobs Are Complaining About Getting Nothing Out of Shutdown

By: Rmuse
Saturday, October 19th, 2013

 

Boehner didn't get anything

 

Most Americans consider earning a decent wage for their labor a fair exchange between them and their employer, and likely their employer feels their outlay for wages in return for a day’s work an expense worth making. It is difficult to imagine an employee refusing to do their job while still drawing their salary and then complaining that they were disappointed they were cheated out of something over and above their salary. In the real world, an employee who refuses to do their job would be summarily terminated and certainly would not be paid. Over the past two days, Republican members of Congress and their conservative talking heads angrily complained they did not get anything for shutting down the government and attempting to crash the nation and world’s economy.

Republicans consider their work in Congress warrants greater recompense than their bloated salaries, and generally consider taking something from the people, retarding economic growth, and killing jobs as a fair exchange for them and their corporate employers. Extremist Republicans asserted they did not get anything for doing their jobs of funding the government and paying their bills, but they did receive their taxpayer-funded salaries, healthcare, and expenses while they held the nation hostage. However, they also got what they cherish most of all; causing Americans economic pain, and as a value-added bonus were able to inflict  more damage to the economy and kill more American jobs.

Republicans always regarded taking things from Americans part and parcel of their dog-given duty as conservatives, but it became their raison d’être early in 2009 after the people elected an African American as President. After taking control of the House in 2011, instead of creating jobs like they promised throughout the 2010 midterm election season, they immediately began taking away women’s rights, constitutional protection from evangelical domination, social programs, and various protections from predatory corporations and financial institutions. Still, it was insufficient for Republicans and they manufactured a serious fiscal crisis in the summer of 2011 that was such a bonanza they had to repeat it again in 2013.

The results of the first Republican debt-ceiling crisis wasassessed by a former Republican Commerce Secretary and fanatical fiscal hawk, and his very comprehensive studyrevealed the high “cost of crisis-driven fiscal policy” Republicans have practiced since an African American man is the President. According to Peter G. Peterson, the perpetual manufacturing of partisan fiscal crises have created sufficient uncertainty to reduce growth since 2009 by as much as 0.3 percentage points annually that killed as many as 900,000 potential jobs every year. Add to that nearly one-million jobs lost to Republican’s cherished sequestration President Obama paid as ransom during the 2011 debt crisis coupled with reduced annual growth by 0.7 points since 2010 and they successfully increased unemployment by almost a full percentage point that meant another 1.2 million jobs lost that should have been sufficient payment for even the greediest Republican.

Peterson’s report examined two possible economic scenarios that a Treasury default would have produced, and at the least it would create a recession that would see unemployment rise to 8.5% and cost 2.5 million jobs, and a longer, deeper, “more volatile recession in which joblessness would rise to 8.9% and kill more than 3 million jobs.” Republicans are looking forward to their next assault on the economy with an eye toward slashing discretionary spending more regardless their cuts have already reduced annual GDP growth by 0.7% since 2010, and raised the unemployment rate 0.8% that represents 1.2 million jobs lost to Republican crisis-driven economics. The full effects of the latest “crisis” will not be fully known for months, but thus far it cost the government $24 billion, cut GDP by nearly a percentage point, and killed as many as 400,000 jobs. One economist claims the shutdown will have “trimmed fourth-quarter growth by 20%;” an outcome any business would “consider a disaster.” Republicans complain their deliberate “disaster” did not give them anything that they really wanted.

The extremist Republicans and teabaggers in the House and Senate feel so personally affronted they were forced to do their jobs without a big bonus, their leader Ted Cruz promised to lash out at the American people and their government again. According to the seditious conspiracy’s de facto leader Cruz, “this was going to be a multi-stage, extended battle I think is going to bring back jobs and economic growth.” However, for 44% of Americans who said the shutdown had hurt their families, including 19% who said it hurt a lot, Cruz’s reassurance can only mean the next crisis is going to be even more painful and for Republicans who measure “winning” by the level of pain they wreak on the people and the economy, the people should be quaking.

For Republicans to complain they did not “get anything” out of their government shutdown and damage to economic growth including killing jobs is an outrage. It is true that Republicans measure their success by the harm they cause the American people and the economy, but even the greediest Republican should be pleased they drew their congressional salary, cost the nation $24 billion, cut nearly a percentage point off of GDP, and killed hundreds-of-thousands of jobs adequate recompense for shutting down the government. However, it was not enough for Republicans and they intend to make up for it by heading into the next stage of their “work” resolute they will get “something big” for not doing their jobs when government funding runs out and the debt ceiling needs to be raised.

An overwhelming majority of Americans worried about the Republican shut down’s impact on the nation, with 71% saying the shutdown hurt the economy, and 73% saying it had hurt the country as a whole, and various economists’ assessments demonstrate the people’s worries are well-founded. What Americans should really be worried about is how much damage the next stage of Cruz’s extended battle will inflict on the nation, because if Republicans think costing the nation $24 billion, a drop in GDP, and hundreds-of-thousands of jobs lost was “not getting anything,” the people are in for a world of hurt because although congressional Republicans’ are employees of the people, they cannot terminate them for a year.

 Republicans Who Refused to Do Their Jobs Are Complaining About Getting Nothing Out of Shutdown.

 

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GOP Launches Race War to Boost the 1 Percent | Alternet


GOP Launches Race War to Boost the 1 Percent

From Newt’s epithets to the gutting of food stamps, Republicans try to unite white people to serve a hideous agenda.

September 27, 2013

 

 

The recent vote of House Republicans to cut $40 billion from the food stamp program reflects a deep-seated and insidious racial resentment toward Americans of color. This racial resentment rears its ugly head within the provisions for the bill that demand that non-employed participants in the program get a job, job training or do community service activities. Though the bill in its current form will most likely die in the Senate, the fact that Republicans would even pass it should concern us.

Conservatives continue to lead under the aegis of a deliberate and willful ignorance about the long-term existence of a group known as the working poor, people who work long hours in low-wage paying menial labor jobs, and therefore cannot make ends meet. Moreover, there is a refusal to accept that the economic downturn in 2008 created conditions of long-term unemployment, such that people simply cannot go out and “get a job” just because they will it to be so.

I often wonder if government officials actually talk to real human beings about these policies, because if they did, they would find many people with a deep desire to work, but a struggle to find well-paying jobs. Some of those people would gladly take jobs that pay far less, but are frequently told that their education and years of work experience make them over-qualified.

This is not a race-based problem. The American middle class itself is shrinking dramatically each year in relation to a poor economy, an insistence on austerity measures from the right, and a capitulation to these measures on the left. However, the complete irrationality and utter severity of the legislation, and the total lack of empathy and identification that inform contemporary Republican social advocacy is tied to a narrative about lazy black people and thieving “illegal” brown people.

In 1976, Ronald Reagan invented the term “welfare queen,” to characterize the actions of exactly one person in Chicago who had bilked the welfare system out of a staggering amount of money. Buttressed by an underlying white racial resentment of the liberal pieces of legislation that emerged during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations – laws that had attempted to change conditions, but could not change hearts and minds around racial inequality issues — white conservatives latched on to a narrative about lazy African-Americans stealing from taxpayers and living lavish lives financed by the welfare state.

That narrative has persisted well into the 21st century when Newt Gingrich derisively referred to Barack Obama as the “Food Stamp President” in the 2012 elections. Uninterrogated and misplaced racial resentment has been the most effective strategy for making white people support draconian social policies in the name of “taking the country back.” This is true, even though in sheer numbers, white people are the largest group of recipients of the SNAP program.

Fiscal conservative politicians (including some Democrats like Bill Clinton) have presided over a massive and systematic redistribution of wealth into the 1 percent since the 1980s. For African-Americans this means that we lost over half of our collective (and meager) net wealth, in just the last five years, due to predatory lending and the the machinations of big business. But it is easier to hate and regulate welfare recipients.

Since everyone knows that welfare queens finance their lives of luxury through the receipt of food stamps, which amounts on average to about $135 in groceries each month, cutting the food stamp program, a move that will take nearly 4 million people off the rolls in the next 10 years, is not merely a pragmatic measure or a “necessary evil,” but rather a deeply symbolic act that points to recalcitrant and entrenched racist attitudes on the right. It turns out, then, that African-Americans are not the only group of voters whose political behavior is motivated – at least, in part — by racial identity.

The Republican Party often capitalizes on these attitudes about poor African-Americans in moments of economic downturn, as a way to rally white working- and middle-class American voters. This is very similar to the strategy used by the Southern Planter class in the 1850s to curtail alliances between working-class white people and enslaved African-Americans.

Rather than create a more equitable system by freeing the enslaved and paying everyone fair wages, the plantocracy deployed a narrative about white racial superiority that caused poverty-stricken white people to disavow their own class interests in service of racial unity. In fact, as David Roediger outlines in his now classic work “The Wages of Whiteness,” this is one of the key processes that led to white people in the U.S. becoming a unified racial group, beyond the ethnic identities (Polish, German, Irish, etc.) that had previously characterized them. Without benefit of this historical context, the consistency with which contemporary white conservatives vote against their own economic interests, in order to remain beholden to fiscal and social conservatism would appear downright peculiar.

Beyond the academic implications of these choices, I am concerned about real people who need access to these services. There are members of my own family who need public assistance, because they live in economically depressed areas where job opportunities are few. There are college students and graduate students whom I teach, who are supporting themselves through school, and use food stamps so they can eat each month. And there are countless children, who come from poor homes in rural and urban areas throughout this country, who need the security that comes from being able to eat three square meals a day, so that they can be healthy and perform well in school.

A final note of caution: In a world with no food security, there will be increased violence. This is related to a contemporary crisis that we are seeing among youth. When we scratch our heads wondering why we have seen a surge of bullying in schools and bullying deaths in response, perhaps we should admit that we are a nation of bullies. Our children are merely modeling the logic of a nation that ties its own sense of status, identity and power to its ability to unrelentingly pick on the “least of these.” In this American dystopia, the disproportionately black and brown least of these will be left with no other choice but to fight back or (destroy themselves and others as they) die trying.

 GOP Launches Race War to Boost the 1 Percent | Alternet.

 

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For the past 2 Plus Years Republicans Have Stolen The Rights of People of Color


For the past 2 Plus Years Republicans Have Stolen The Rights of People of Color

By: RmuseJul. 21st, 2013

racism-text-straight

In the middle of the 19th century, an idea took hold in America that special virtues of the American people and their institutions were destined to expand across the continent under divine direction, and to accomplish this wonderful task, Native people were systematically swept aside to make room for white European immigrants. The unspoken “special virtues” of the American people were that they were white Christians destined to reform, re-educate, and dominate Native Americans that was not unique to America, and world history bears out that the alleged superiority of the white race resulted in a concerted effort to subjugate darker races in every country on Earth. The idea that dark-skin is tantamount to inferiority still plagues America, and it is the driving force behind efforts by conservatives to disenfranchise minorities in America regardless they are African American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian, or of Middle Eastern descent. The election of the first African American President exposed the white superiority mindset among many Americans, and it emboldened conservatives to re-assert their belief the white race is destined to dominate what they consider inferior peoples.

President Obama’s speech and reaction to the racial implications in the Trayvon Martin killing brought up some very prescient points about how many white people view African Americans with suspicion based solely on their skin color. It is an issue that was prominent during the British Empire’s conquest over foreign lands, and led to near extermination of Tazmanian and Australian aboriginal people that Europeans emigrating to America perpetuated, and British and Germans reiterated in Africa in the early 20thcentury. According to “racial science,” dark-skinned people were genetically inferior to the white race, and their worth was measured by how easily they could be “Christianized” and “subdued” as a compliant workforce for white overlords. Crucial to the Aryan mindset was convincing European populations that dark-skinned people were, by virtue of genetics, prone to laziness, lawlessness, and a clear threat to the white race because they multiplied faster than whites.

There are Republicans who openly warn the so-called “divine dominion” over America their “European” (read white) ancestors championed is at risk, and it fuels racial bigotry and hate from conservatives convinced white people are destined to dominate America. In his book, State of Emergency, Pat Buchanan wrote that “If we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built.” The idea that European descendants’ divine destiny to control America fuels racial bigotry toward all minorities in America, and it is more rampant among the population than the public is inclined to believe. Recently, at the MLB all-star game, American citizen Marc Anthony, of Puerto Rican descent, sang “God Bless America” that invoked rage and racial slurs by white Americans who were furious a “Mexican sang god bless America at the national pastime.” The white supremacy mindset plaguing America makes no special distinction between African Americans, Mexican Americans, or Asian Americans, because their problem is with non-white Americans.

The racial profiling law Arizona passed specifically targeted Hispanics, and some of the recent comments flowing from Republicans at the blasphemous idea of immigration reform have as their basis the idea America was destined by god to be a white nation. Of all the reasons conservatives have devised to rid the country of Hispanics, an immigration analysis from the Heritage Foundation revealed the white supremacist mindset in existence for hundreds of years is still prevalent among conservatives. Jason Richwine proposed that African Americans and Hispanics are genetically incapable of intelligence, and he warned of deep-set differentials between races he claims “are the result of a genetic component to differences in IQ.” He asserted that “no one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.” The same mindset was the driving force behind Eugenics the Nazis used to exterminate what they considered inferior people, and interestingly they used American racial scientist’s conclusions and recommendations in their attempt to exterminate Jews.

President Obama brought up one very good point during his Trayvon speech that demonstrates the institutionalized racism in America. He asked if Trayvon Martin had been armed, would he have been protected by Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, and the NRA answered with silence by never claiming that if Martin had a gun, he could have stopped a bad guy who stalked and confronted him. States with Stand Your Ground laws do not afford people of color the same protections as their white counterparts, and it is doubtless because they are regarded as inferior, suspicious, and naturally up to no good.

When the President said it was important to recognize that the African American community looked at the Trayvon Martin killing and subsequent acquittal of George Zimmerman through experiences and history that doesn’t go away, the converse is also true. Many in the white community have century’s worth of indoctrination that people of color are dangerous, lazy, and inferior, and it extends far beyond African Americans. There is a tendency among many white Americans to distrust any person of color whether they are Native Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or African Americans and it is evident in the way they refer to minorities in everyday conversations. One can hardly avoid a hearing a friend, co-worker, or neighbor refer to another American by their racial makeup whether it is disparaging or not, and its basis is in white superiority over “the other.”

For the past two-and-a-half years since Republicans took power in states and Congress, there has been a sustained assault on people of color to deprive them of their constitutional rights. The assaults on President Obama are racially motivated whether it is mocking his heritage or questioning the legitimacy of his academic achievements, because in the white supremacist’s mind, it is impossible that a dark-skinned man had the intelligence to graduate from an Ivy League University, much less lead the most powerful nation on Earth. The President is right that Americans have “to do some soul-searching,” and mentioned convening a conversation on race, but he acknowledged that “folks are locked into the positions they already have,” and the one position that is impossible to overcome, or talk about, is the centuries-long notion that people of color are inferior to  the white race.

President Obama said “things are getting better and each successive generation seems to be making progress when it comes to race, but it doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated,” and it will never be eliminated until politicians start calling out blatant racism. There are woefully too few politicians willing to condemn racism, and with the predominance of Republicans in states and Congress sponsoring, supporting, and voting for race-based legislation, there are myriad opportunities to cite Republicans’ racial-biases. It leads one to wonder just how far-reaching centuries of indoctrination that people of color are genetically inferior permeates the population, and it is unfortunate to admit, but George Zimmerman is likely an average white supremacist who just happened to carry a gun.


 For the past 2 Plus Years Republicans Have Stolen Thel Rights of People of Color.

 

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The Mainstream Media Continues to Ignore Rampant Republican Fueled Racism


The Mainstream Media Continues to Ignore Rampant Republican Fueled Racism

By: Rmuse Sep. 8th, 2013

gop racism

 

It should not be difficult to quantify or define racism, but curiously, scholars have not come to a consensus on what does and does not constitute discrimination based on race. However, in general terms racism is views, practices and actions reflecting the belief that human beings are divided into distinct races that share attributes which make that group less desirable, more desirable, inferior, or superior. America is a racist nation despite the people elected an African American man as President twice and civil rights groups’ diligence to give people of color equality. The concept that the white race is superior has plagued this nation since its inception, but over the past four years it has increased in part because of Republican pandering to race-based opposition to President Obama, and in part by the media and Democrat’s reticence to address the racial animus toward people of color. Recently, there were two reports of blatant racism in so-called Christian churches that demonstrate the efficacy of teaching that the white race is superior, and belies their namesake’s commandment to love your neighbor as yourself.

Last week a pastor in a North Carolina church, Freedom House, sent an email to church members who act as greeters for Sunday morning service asking that only white people stand at the front door to greet the congregation. The pastor’s email was a reminder to volunteers that since fall is one of their busiest times of the year, first impressions matter and that the church wanted the cream of the crop manning the front doors to “bring the racial demographic pendulum of the church back to the mid-line.” The email also acknowledged the sensitive nature of the request, but contended that quality trumps quantity and it was more important to have fewer greeters at the door if it meant those welcoming visitors represented the congregation’s best.  The revealing part of the story is that the pastor is African American. Her intent was to reflect the church’s racial diversity, and because African American congregants were not the “moneymakers” the church needed the pastor was trying to attract a more affluent (read whiter) membership.

The idea that an African American preacher felt the need to signal Black members they were inferior and that the “best of the best” of the congregation is defined by the white race is blatantly racist and informs the preacher’s acceptance of generations of white supremacists inculcating the population to believe the white race is inherently superior to people of color. That it is being advanced in Christian churches is despicable to say the least, but it is a recurring theme evidenced by another report that white churches in the South are teaching people that voting anything other than Republican is a one-way ticket straight to the proverbial Hell and white Southern Christians are buying the propaganda in large numbers.

An Alabama legislator described a call from a white Republican church member who shared an experience in church related to a local school district applying to be an independent segregated school. The caller explained that during the Sunday service congregants were “bullied into supporting the school district” separating itself from the county to “minimize the number of blacks that are in our school district.” The Republican was disheartened because as a longtime educator supporting integrated schools, she had never considered that the Republican perspective included white supremacy or that is was propagated by so-called Christians. The Alabama legislator confessed it is a regular occurrence in many local Baptist churches.  Obviously, the Republican woman has not been paying attention to the rise of racial animus and white supremacy permeating the party since the election of Barack Obama as President.

Slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King once noted that the most segregated hour in America is at 11:00 on Sunday during church services that provides a perfect opportunity for white supremacists to indoctrinate and incite fear of the “the other” that conservative talking heads and Republicans parrot in their assaults on the President and people of color in general. The failing of the media, and Democrats, to cite dog whistle and blatant racism inherent in Republican ranks contributes to the problem and it is an important aspect of Republican tactics to promote white supremacy with impunity. Americans who are not infected with racial animus have bought into the idea that calling out racism makes them a racist and it contributes to Republican success at spreading their blatantly racist messages unopposed.

Conservative media and Republicans are not reticent to inject racism into every news story, political campaign, and opposition to social programs affecting all Americans, and they proceed with confidence knowing full well their racist machinations will never be challenged. President Obama has adhered to Dr. King’s policy of connecting the plight of people of color with America’s economic opportunity inequities, and it is a valid approach. However, it does nothing to identify Republican’s advancing the cause of poverty on the back of racial animus and fear that people of color are robbing them, even poor white Americans, of their “hard-earned success” and the American Dream.

That the white race is superior to people of color is the social contract conservatives have made with their supporters, and libertarians, Republicans, and teabaggers expand the supremacists reach by opposing issues such as healthcare for all, food assistance, social programs, and immigration reform because they tie them to rewarding people of color at the expense of the white race. It explains why poor white Americans who support Republican policies consistently vote against their own self-interests, and reveals the depth of hatred many white people harbor for people of color. In fact, despite his success and rise to the highest office in the land, President Obama has become the face of “the other” that besides being reviled as un-American is often accused of hating white people.

White supremacists labored in society’s shadows after the limited success of the Civil Rights movement, but that changed with the election of Barack Obama. The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented the alarming rise of racially motivated hate groups since 2008, and few Americans have spoken out against the sheer brazenness of groups calling for race war or blatant racism targeting African Americans. Two weeks ago in a former Confederate state, South Carolina, 25 African Americans were evicted from a restaurant after waiting two hours to be seated because one white bigot felt threatened by a group of paying Black customers. Instead of a public outcry against blatant racism, main stream media failed to report the story on every evening newscast across the country because if there is one thing Republicans and conservative-biased media will not allow, it is citing the racism and white supremacy plaguing America and it is why it continues to grow unabated.


 The Mainstream Media Continues to Ignore Rampant Republican Fueled Racism.

 

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Republicans Hide Their Racist Disenfranchisement Efforts by Claiming MLK as Their Own


Republicans Hide Their Racist Disenfranchisement Efforts by Claiming MLK as Their Own

By: Sarah Jones Aug. 28th, 2013

 

MLK let freedom ring

 

Every time a civil rights moment is commemorated, a Republican tries to take credit for it, as if somehow this will erase their utter contempt (evident in their policy and their rhetoric) for African Americans and minorities.

The 50th anniversary of the Dream is no different. Conservatives scampered to claim MLK, Jr. as a Republican.They claim black conservatives are giving rise to a “new civil rights movement” that oddly doesn’t include voting rights as an issue, but instead focuses conveniently on a “moral” message of independence and hard work. Somehow the voting rights will come to you if you just close your eyes and pray.

PolitiFact has to rate these Republican lies about Martin Luther King, Jr because they come around so often. They give it a big fat FALSE.

That didn’t stop black Republicans from trying to claim King again this year. It doesn’t seem to dawn on anyone in the party that the GOP doesn’t support anything that King stood for.

Republicans always seek to distract the public from reality and policy with hot rhetoric.

When Republican Representative Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin vowed to fix the Voting Rights Act at an RNC event commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, ostensibly celebrating MLK, Dana Milbank suggested, “the light applause suggested that most of those in attendance were not with him.”

Milbank went on to describe the best reaction, which went to conservative activist Bob Woodson for saying King would want them to condemn corrupt black politicians. He warned of white persecution, “We should not wait for evil to wear a white face before we get outraged.” Yes, King was no doubt big on white self-pity and delusions of persecution.

On August 25, 2008, the Democratic Strategist dealt with this annoying habit of Republicans, “They’re at it again. The National Black Republican Association is bragging that they have put up 50 billboards in Denver claiming that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican. ”

They then cite Chapter 23 of the Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., which doesn’t speak too highly of the GOP and sadly applies as much today as it did at the time:

The Republican Party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, and extremism. All people of goodwill viewed with alarm and concern the frenzied wedding at the Cow Palace of the KKK with the radical right…

On social and economic issues, Mr. Goldwater represented an unrealistic conservatism that was totally out of touch with the realities of the twentieth century. The issue of poverty compelled the attention of all citizens of our country…

On the urgent issue of civil rights, Senator Goldwater represented a philosophy that was morally indefensible and socially suicidal. While not himself a racist, Mr. Goldwater articulated a philosophy which gave aid and comfort to the racist…

In the light of these facts and because of my love for America, I had no alternative but to urge every Negro and white person of goodwill to vote against Mr. Goldwater and to withdraw support from any Republican candidate that did not publicly disassociate himself from Senator Goldwater and his philosophy.

By all reasonable accounts, King was not a person who affiliated with any party. However, as Politifact points out, “We also know from his autobiography that he wrote to a supporter in 1956 that ‘in the past, I always voted the Democratic ticket.’”

He himself tells us that he was a Democratic voter, not a Republican. This does not make him a “Democrat”, but it certainly doesn’t make him a Republican. Not that it matters — what matters is where the parties stand today, and which party is advancing the issues of the poor, of social justice, of equality, of opportunity.

King ought to know how he voted, unless Republicans are questioning King’s authority on himself, which wouldn’t surprise me one bit at this point.

Even if Republicans were right, and they are not, it doesn’t matter how he voted then; he would not support the modern day Republican party. The press should ask Republicans when they run on this lie why they feel the need to so mislead the voters with a cowardly dodge to hide their racist policies under the banner of MLK Jr.

MLK Jr’s son Martin Luther King III told the AP in 2008, “It is disingenuous to imply that my father was a Republican. He never endorsed any presidential candidate, and there is certainly no evidence that he ever even voted for a Republican. It is even more outrageous to suggest he would support the Republican Party of today, which has spent so much time and effort trying to suppress African American votes in Florida and many other states.”

With Republicans, everything is only skin deep. It’s all about appearances. That’s why they ran Sarah Palin to get women votes, and keep desperately trying to claim MLK, Jr. as their own, as if this would suddenly erase 60 years of racist Southern Strategy, actual policies that harm the poor, and racist efforts to steal the vote from minorities.

 Republicans Hide Their Racist Disenfranchisement Efforts by Claiming MLK as Their Own.

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Boomerang Babies: Record Numbers of Young Adults Live with Parents at Terrible Cost | Alternet


AlterNet / By Lynn Stuart Parramore

Boomerang Babies: Record Numbers of Young Adults Live with Parents at Terrible Cost

Facing big debts and few decent jobs, today’s young people can’t get started in life.

Photo Credit: shutterstock.com

August 5, 2013   

America’s young people have been hit so hard by the crappy economy that they can’t even get out the door. A fresh study from Pew Researchreveals that 36 percent of Millennials —young adults ages 18 to 31 — are still living under their parents’ roofs (this includes college students who come home for breaks). Not since the 1960s have so many young people resorted to couch surfing with mom and dad, a record 21.6 million young adults last year.

This is a gigantic sign that something is going horribly wrong in our economy—something that will cost everybody.

The Wages of Recession

The U.S. has seen a significant uptick of young people unable to afford to move out on their own since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, when just 32 percent lived with their parents. And if you look beyond college years to the 23-28 range, the number living with parents leapt by more than 25 percent bewteen 2007 and 2011, according to the Census Bureau. Clearly, the ongoing jobs crisis is a major cause: 63 percent of Millennials had jobs in 2012, down from 70 percent in 2007. Young people continue to face a jobs crisis even as the economy improves, as  Catherine Ruetschlin and Tamara Draut of the public policy think tank Demos have found. They are facing a deficit of 4 million jobs, with African Americans and Hispanics worst hit.

Interestingly, according to the Pew poll, it’s the young men who are having the hardest time moving out. Forty percent of young men are currently living at home, compared to just 32 percent of young women. Men suffered the biggest job losses in the financial crisis, but they also gained the most post-recession jobs. There may be cultural factors operating in the fact that more young men stay home, including less expectations that they will contribute to chores or face close supervision.

Even if a young person is lucky enough to have a job, the work may be temporary, part-time and/or poorly compensated. Many young people, particularly those eager to pursue careers in journalism, finance and other highly competitive fields, work as unpaid or underpaid interns, as Ross Perlin documents in his bookIntern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy. New research reveals that nearly half of graduating college students have done unpaid internships, and only 37 percent of them end up receiving job offers. The numbers of unpaid and paid internships — many of which offer only small stipends — are rising.

Trying to work and pay back student loans at the same time makes coming up with rent a daunting challenge. Student debt, which we already knew was astronomical, quadrupling from just $240 billion in 2003 to more than $1 trillion today, turns out to be even worse than we thought, according to findings from Demos. Two-thirds of seniors leave college with an average of $26,600 in student loans, and the financial burden holds them back in a number of ways. They have trouble saving, and even when they are able to stash away enough money for a mortgage, young people with debt have to pay a higher interest rate than those without it.

Families Under Stress

Certainly there are cultural differences in the perception of what it means for young adults to be living at home, and some may see extended families living under one roof as a good thing, with individuals sharing resources and support. But the Pew research shows that only 35 percent of Millennials living at home actually pay rent, and 25 percent don’t contribute at all to household expenses.

Parents with little to spare have to put off retirement and dig into savings to support children they hoped would land a decent job after graduation. For all the blather about college not being worth the cost, those with a bachelor’s degrees are still in better shape than those with only a high school diploma, according to the Pew poll. Forty percent of those with a high school education or less live with their parents, versus 18 percent of college grads.

In researching this article, I contacted both young people and parents who have adult children living at home. The challenges of continuing to live at home are heartbreaking, not only to individuals, but to entire families. A health problem, a divorce or a pregnancy can send young people who thought they had made it on their own back to their parents’ homes.

Mitch D. is currently looking for a job while living with his parents. He did two years of community college, taking a break from his education due to a serious health crisis, which was covered by Medicaid. Now that he is healthy, Mitch has been kicked off the Medicaid rolls and does not have any insurance. When I asked him how he felt, he wrote to me that he felt hopeful, but his words betrayed a sense of crimped expectations: “I have good people around me and I’ll eventually go to a 4 yr college. Just trying to find a menial job for now.”

Victor L.’s 18-year-old son has autism, and is living at home. He landed a job on a paper delivery route and is looking for something better, but as his father put it, they’re seeing “lots of applications to jobs but no hiring.” The family is assisted by a good disability program, but finances are still shaky. “We save when we can,” writes Victor, but he is scared about the rising cost of groceries and other expenses.

One young woman told me on Twitter that she is divorced with two kids, and the combination of high rents and low pay has forced her to seek shelter with her parents. Another, Georgette K., explained that she was 25 and just had to move back in with her parents after seven years on her own. The reason? Dead-end minimum wage jobs. Her words capture the pain many young people feel about their situation and the strain on family life:

“I feel hopeless, actually. Our relationship has been strained for many years. Also, I highly value my independence. It’s been 8 months now, & I feel like I’m never going to get out on my own again. It’s like I’m stuck in a time warp. Feels like I’m 16 all over again…except worse.”

When asked about the phenomenon of adult children living at home, one mom quipped, “They’re supposed to leave?” The child in her house just turned 30.

Economic Nightmare

When young people are stuck living with their parents, the entire economy suffers.

The reasons are numerous. To start with, our bad economy is being driven by low demand; that is, the inability of people to pay for goods and services. When young people don’t form households, they aren’t buying microwaves and TVs. This, in turn, affects businesses, which respond by not hiring workers, or getting rid of current employees.

Unemployed or under-employed young people are a terrible waste of human capital and lower the productive capacity of the nation. When they start their careers late, they tend to have lower wages and greater odds of future joblessness than those who don’t. The lost tax revenues that result spell trouble, as does a greater demand for government-provided services such as healthcare and welfare payments. Bloomberg senior economist Joseph Brusuelas estimates that the youth unemployment crisis may cost the U.S. a staggering $18 billion over the next decade. He calls his estimate “conservative.”

A scarred, anxious generation is in dire need of vigorous government intervention. America’s youth unemployment situation is among the worst of large, wealthy economies, yet the response of the Obama administration to this crisis has been utterly inadequate. Of all economic demons, youth unemployment is one of the simplest to slay from a policy perspective — if there is leadership available to make that happen.

For example, the government could introduce broad job-creation measures focused on getting young people back to work. It could adequately support the kinds of spending that will stimulate job growth. It could focus on public spending as investment that pays off tremendous future dividends rather than a waste of money.

But it hasn’t. Why? Part of the problem is the influence of the faulty economy theory promoted in Washington that serves only the wealthy.

For the better part of three decades, the popular — and completely baseless — “skills mismatch” theory has dominated public policy. This is a blame-the-victim argument promoted by conservative economists and corporate chieftains which holds that there are enough jobs if only young people had the right skills or the right education.

This myth has been repeatedly debunked by researchers as the Wharton School of Finance, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the University of California-Berkeley, and others (see Peter Cappelli’s “Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs”). The proof is in the numbers: if businesses faced a skills shortage, we’d expect to see wages in some sectors rising rapidly as employers compete for a limited number of workers, but we certainly haven’t seen that happening. Yet President Obama has repeated the skills-mismatch nonsense many times over the course of his tenure, including in his 2012 State of the Union speech. Telling young people to just “go get some skills!” is sounding increasingly hollow and cruel in the face of a still-growing crisis.

The Obama administration has also been hampered in its response to the youth jobs crisis by austerity policies based on the discredited theory that debt, rather than lack of demand, is the problem driving a bad economy. Such theories have consumed most of the Republican Party, but many in the Democratic leadership have bought into this economic mythology. Policies which focus on slashing government investment, vital services and often jobs only exacerbate the demand problem and worsen the human catastrophe of unemployment.

The folly of austerity has already played out viciously in Europe and ought to provide a cautionary tale. But despite the fact that the favorite academic research of austerity hawks has been exposed as deeply flawed (the infamous work of Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff) the voices of austerity-pushers like Alan Simpson and Erksine Bowles, co-chairmen of the President’s wrong-headed deficit-reduction commission, still echo throughout Washington. The pair recentlypublished an op-ed once again calling for curtailed government investment and cuts to the social safety net — just the sort of thing to drive more young people to desperation.

Eventually, the failure to address the catastrophic situation facing young people leads to social unrest. When young adults have tried hard to get work, but find instead not only a lack of jobs, but an array of useless or bought politicians and greedy bankers set against them, they begin to experience rage. This has been observed all over the world, from the Arab Spring to the Occupy movement. When young people have nothing left to lose, they start to lose it.

 Boomerang Babies: Record Numbers of Young Adults Live with Parents at Terrible Cost | Alternet.

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Obama’s immigration trifecta – War Room – Salon.com


FRIDAY, JUN 15, 2012

Obama’s immigration trifecta

The three specific ways his dramatic announcement boosts his reelection prospects

 

Obama’s immigration trifecta

President Obama on Friday. (Credit: AP/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Barack Obama’s surprise decision to grant work permits to as many as 800,000 illegal immigrants who are otherwise law-abiding and who came to the country as children has the potential to boost his reelection prospects in three particular ways.

One, obviously, involves Hispanic voters, who sided with Obama by a 36-point margin in 2008. He has a similar advantage over Mitt Romney today, but there are some ominous signs about enthusiasm, with Hispanics lagging behind whites and African-Americans when pollsters gauge the likelihood of a voter actually showing up in November. In Gallup’s most recent data, 81 percent of whites and 76 percent of African-Americans said they’ll definitely vote this fall, compared to just 66 percent for Hispanics.

The good news for Obama is that this represents an improvement over April, when only 58 percent of Latinos called themselves definite voters. But his administration’s record on immigration has attracted the ire of Hispanic leaders. Today’s announcement has the potential to mend those fences and boost overall enthusiasm.

It also preempts an anticipated move by Mitt Romney, who went far to the right on immigration during the GOP primaries and who is looking for a way to tack toward the middle. The assumption has been that Romney would ultimately line up with a modified Dream Act proposal being drawn up by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

This was problematic for Obama, since immigration groups have been signaling their openness to Rubio’s basic framework – allow work permits, but not a path to full citizenship. So there was a potential for Rubio to roll out his plan, Romney to endorse it, and for momentum to quickly build behind it – making Obama seem like a weak leader and helping the GOP’s image with Hispanic voters. But with his action today, Obama has essentially made Rubio’s pending proposal official government policy. Obama looks like the strong leader here, and he also just blocked the path to the middle that his opponent was eying.

The final benefit for Obama is that this will bait the nativist right. Just before Obama made his announcement this afternoon, CNN had Joe Arpaio, one of the GOP’s most divisive anti-immigrant leaders, on its air. Iowa Rep. Steve King, who regularly speaks disparagingly of immigrants, is now vowing to sue to stop Obama’s new policy. It’s very possible that this will trigger an eruption of ugly rhetoric that will remind Hispanics why they’ve been shying away from the GOP and hurt the party’s image with all swing voters.

If there’s any political risk in this for Obama, it’s the simple fact that he’s taking an action that isn’t explicitly related to the economy, which will allow Republicans to claim – as they did during last month’s gay marriage saga – that he’s pandering to his base at the expense of creating jobs. That talking point didn’t seem to have any negative effect on Obama then, though, and it probably won’t now.

 Obama’s immigration trifecta – War Room – Salon.com.

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Don’t rush to judgment in Trayvon case? That’s moral cowardice – Leonard Pitts Jr. – MiamiHerald.com


Don’t rush to judgment in Trayvon case? That’s moral cowardice  

BY LEONARD PITTS JR.

LPITTS@MIAMIHERALD.COM

Once upon a time in the late ’90s, a certain black newswoman was awarded her own column. She wrote 12 pieces, three of them about race. That was too many for her boss, who told her to tone it down. Confused, she went to a white colleague for advice. He explained that, being black, she lacked the judgment to decide if a given racial matter merited a column. In the future, he suggested, if she saw some racial issue she thought worth writing about, she should bring it to him and let him decide.

That paternalistic offer is brought to mind by a recent on air statement from Tamara Holder, a contributor to Fox “News,” about the killing of Trayvon Martin. “The blacks,” she told Sean Hannity, “are making this more of a racial issue than it should be.”

One is reminded that the more things change, the more they don’t. One wonders how much of a racial issue Trayvon’s death should be, in Ms. Holder’s esteemed opinion.

There is a storyline coalescing here among conservative pundits. From Holder to Hannity to William Bennett to my colleague, Glenn Garvin, it says there’s been a “rush to judgment” against George Zimmerman, the man who stalked and killed an unarmed 17-year-old black kid he found suspicious.

Candidly, there is good reason to fear such a rush. Anyone who remembers the Tawana Brawley hoax and the Duke Lacrosse case, among others, knows many African Americans have proven prone to jumping to conclusions of racism even when the evidence thereof is dubious. Some black folks see racial mistreatment everywhere, always.

But some white folks see it nowhere — ever. That’s a corollary truth that seems apropos to this moment. Indeed, when a black man named Abner Louima was maimed in an act of broomstick sodomy by New York Police, Holder’s friend Hannity accused Louima of lying. Don’t rush to judgment, he warned.

For some people, that is less sage advice than default response. The Rodney King beating, said former Los Angeles Police chief Daryl Gates, “did look like racism,” but wasn’t. “This is not a racial issue,” said a school official in Louisiana after six black kids were charged with attempted murder for a schoolyard fight with a white classmate.

And so on.

There is a line — subjective but, there, just the same — between avoiding a rush to judgment and avoiding judgment itself. If rushing to judgment suggests a reflexiveness that ill serves the cause of justice, refusing to judge suggests a moral cowardice that does the same.

Where this case is concerned, it is telling that judgments made weeks after the fact are being called rushed. The rapid response nature of media being what it is, we make judgments everyday based on much less than five weeks of reflection. We do this on matters of economics, war, politics, scandal.

But, of course, race is different. It scares some of us, particularly when it requires them to concede the continued existence of injustices they would rather deny. They are aided in this denial by a naïve belief that a thing can’t truly be racist unless it is wearing a pointed hood or spouting epithets.

But racial bias is seldom so conveniently obvious. More often, it lurks behind smiles and handshakes, unknown sometimes even to its host. More often it is deduced, not declared, seen in excuses that don’t add up, justifications that make no sense, logic that is not.

As in Zimmerman’s decision to stalk Trayvon. Five weeks later, for all the back and forth, push and pull, no one has yet explained what the boy did that made him suspicious. Five weeks later, the initial conclusion still feels like the right one: Trayvon did not seem suspicious because of what he did but because of what he was.

So fine, let us not rush to judgment. But let’s not rush from it, either.

 Don’t rush to judgment in Trayvon case? That’s moral cowardice – Leonard Pitts Jr. – MiamiHerald.com.

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Trayvon ‘killed by a stereotype’ – Leonard Pitts Jr. – MiamiHerald.com


Posted on Saturday, 05.05.12

IN MY OPINION

Trayvon ‘killed by a stereotype’

 

BY LEONARD PITTS JR.

LPITTS@MIAMIHERALD.COM

I don’t care about George Zimmerman’s MySpace page.

Granted, it was gratifying to read recently in The Miami Herald about his crude animus toward Mexicans (“soft ass wanna be thugs”) and his reference to a former girlfriend as an “ex-hoe.” Given the way white supremacists and other Zimmerman supporters have exaggerated and manufactured evidence to paint Zimmerman’s unarmed 17-year-old victim, Trayvon Martin, as a thug who somehow deserved shooting, this unflattering portrait offers the same satisfaction one feels any time the goose is basted with sauce that was prepared for the gander.

But ultimately, Zimmerman’s online profile is as irrelevant as Trayvon’s to any real understanding of the social dynamics that were at play the night the boy was shot to death. Worse, our fixation on this ephemera, the need on the one hand to make Trayvon some dark gangsta straight from Central Casting and on the other to find a Klan hood in the back of Zimmerman’s closet, suggests a shallow, even naïve, understanding of the role race seems to have played in this tragedy.

The pertinent fact is that Zimmerman found Trayvon suspicious because, as he told the 911 dispatcher, the boy was walking slowly and looking around. That might be the behavior of a boy who was turned around in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Or of a boy enjoying a cell phone conversation with a girl and not overly eager to return to where his sweet nothings might be overheard by his dad.

That no such alternate possibilities seem to have occurred to Zimmerman for even an instant suggests the degree to which we as a people have grown comfortable with the belief that black is crime and crime is black. Nor are African Americans immune to the effects of that invidious formulation.

Indeed, the dirty little secret of the Martin killing is that Zimmerman could easily have been black. True, a black Zimmerman probably would not have been sent home by prosecutors who declined to press charges — whiteness still has its privileges — but otherwise, yes. It is entirely possible.

Why not? Blacks watch the same TV news as anyone else. We internalize the same message. We drink the same poison.

Why else do you think black folk flinch when the mug shot goes up on television, hoping the face will not be brown — as if we bore some communal responsibility for the suspect’s misdeeds? Why else do you think so much of our music is a song of violence and crime? Why else, when I ask an auditorium full of black kids how frequently the individual who murders a white person is black, do they figure it at 75 percent? Why else are they shocked to hear it’s only 13?

At some subterranean level, we — African Americans — still believe the garbage of innate criminality we have so assiduously been fed, and struggle with hating ourselves, as America long ago taught us to do. We struggle with it, yet we know better from firsthand, man-in-the-mirror experience. So how much harder is the struggle for white folks?

This is why I grow impatient with those — black, white and otherwise — who think the salient social issue here is George Zimmerman’s character. It is not. Nor is it Trayvon’s.

It is, rather, that ours is a nation so obscenely comfortable in conflating black with crime that a civilian carrying no badge of authority nevertheless feels it his right to require that an American boy walking lawfully upon a public street justify his presence there. And it is the knowledge that at least some black men would have done the same.

To make this about Zimmerman is to absolve the rest of us for maintaining a society that, in ways both overt and covert, still makes criminality a function of skin. Trayvon Martin was killed by a stereotype. George Zimmerman is just the guy who fired the gun.


 Trayvon ‘killed by a stereotype’ – Leonard Pitts Jr. – MiamiHerald.com.

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Playing the Violence Card – NYTimes.com


Playing the Violence Card

By KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD
Published: April 5, 2012

 

EVER since the culture wars of the 1980s, Americans have been familiar with “the race card” — an epithet used to discredit real and imagined cries of racism. Less familiar, however, is an equally cynical rhetorical tactic that I call “the violence card.”

 

Topos Graphics
 

Here’s how it works. When confronted with an instance of racially charged violence against a black person, a commentator draws attention to the fact that there is much more black-on-black violence than white-on-black violence. To play the violence card — as many criminal-justice advocates have done since the Rodney King police brutality case of the early 1990s — is to suggest that black people should worry more about the harm they do to themselves and less about how victimized they are by others.

The national outrage over the Trayvon Martin case has prompted some recent examples. Last week, the journalist Juan Williams wrote in The Wall Street Journal of the “tragedy” of Trayvon’s death but wondered “what about all the other young black murder victims? Nationally, nearly half of all murder victims are black. And the overwhelming majority of those black people are killed by other black people.” During a debate about the case on Sunday on an ABC News program, the commentator George F. Will argued that the “root fact” is that “about 150 black men are killed every week in this country — and 94 percent of them by other black men.”

For Mr. Williams, Mr. Will and countless others playing the violence card, the real issue has little to do with racist fears or police practices — even though those would seem to be the very issues at hand.

It’s true that black-on-black violence is an exceptionally grave problem. But this does not explain the allure of the violence card, which perpetuates the reassuring notion that violence against black people is not society’s concern but rather a problem for black people to fix on their own. The implication is that the violence that afflicts black America reflects a failure of lower-class black culture, a breakdown of personal responsibility, a pathological trait of a criminally inclined subgroup — not a problem with social and institutional roots that needs to be addressed through collective effort well beyond the boundaries of black communities.

But perhaps the large scale of black-on-black violence justifies playing the violence card? Not if you recall how Americans responded to high levels of white-on-white violence in the past.

Consider the crime waves of 1890 to 1930, when millions of poor European immigrants came to America only to be trapped in inner-city slums, suffering the effects of severe economic inequality and social marginalization. Around the turn of the century, the Harvard economist William Ripley described the national scene: “The horde now descending upon our shores is densely ignorant, yet dull and superstitious withal; lawless, with a disposition to criminality.” But the solution, Ripley argued, was not stigma, isolation and the promotion of fear. “They are fellow passengers on our ship of state,” he wrote, “and the health of the nation depends upon the preservation of the vitality of the lower classes.”

As a spokesman for saving white immigrant communities from the violence within, Ripley was part of a national progressive movement led by Jane Addams, the influential social worker of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the face of grisly, gang-related youth shootings — “duplicated almost every morning,” Addams wrote — she insisted that everyone from the elite to community organizers to police officers had a part to play.

She and other progressives mobilized institutional resources to save killers and the future victims of killers. Violent white neighborhoods were flooded with social workers, police reformers and labor activists committed to creating better jobs and building a social welfare net. White-on-white violence fell slowly but steadily in proportion to economic development and crime prevention.

In almost every way the opposite situation applied to black Americans. Instead of provoking a steady dose of compassionate progressivism, crime and violence in black communities fueled the racist belief that, as numerous contemporaries stated, blacks were their “own worst enemies” — an early version of the violence card. Black people were “criminalized” through various institutions and practices, whether Southern chain gangs, prison farms, convict lease camps and lynching bees or Northern anti-black neighborhood violence and race riots.

Racial criminalization has continued to this day, stigmatizing black people as dangerous, legitimizing or excusing white-on-black violence, conflating crime and poverty with blackness, and perpetuating punitive notions of “justice” — vigilante violence, stop-and-frisk racial profiling and mass incarceration — as the only legitimate responses.

But the past does not have to be the future. The violence card is a cynical ploy that will only contribute to more fear, more black alienation and more violence. Rejecting its skewed logic and embracing a compassionate progressive solution for black crime is our best hope for saving lives and ensuring that young men like Trayvon Martin do not die in vain.

 Playing the Violence Card – NYTimes.com.

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