Archive for the ‘Wealth inequality’ Category

Who must give up identity politics?

August 30, 2012

Joe Klein says Democrats must give up identity politics. Excuse me?

Was Todd Akin a Democrat when he attacked women’s right to bodily autonomy?

Was Alan Clemmons a Democrat when he wrote a law which would suppress the voting rights of minorities?

Was Jan Brewer a Democrat when she denied public benefits to young immigrants working in and to the benefit of this country?

Was Peter King a Democrat when he created a panel to persecute American Muslims?

And was the Republican Party Platform somehow hijacked by Democrats where it calls for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman?

No. Those were all Republicans playing to their monochromatic base of male Christians.

Those were Republicans treating women’s bodies as their property, deciding that the voting rights of poor people, dark people, elderly people and students were not as important as winning an election, deciding that working to make a life in the land of the free should be as hard as the government can make it for immigrants, pissing on the First Amendment by trying to create classes of citizen where Christians are above suspicion while those other religions are the focus of hate and fear, and deciding that the genitalia of an individual matters more than the relationship between two people.

And the same things that motivate those Republicans would motivate those who come after, to come after contraception once abortion was illegal. They would further reduce the number of people who have the right to vote until it is only a few white males with enormous pots of money, own land, and have the good sense to be of the majority denomination. They would profit off of the labor of immigrants while paying them pennies and blaming them for anything wrong in a community. It wouldn’t be enough for it to be a Christian Theocracy after a time: you would have to be the right type of Christian. Which denomination of Protestant are you? Lutheran? You are too quiet for the American Christendom. Better to have been Baptist. And as for gays? Have you noticed that when Christian Republicans quote Leviticus, it always seems to be the same verse?

Who needs to give up identity politics?

Hell, nobody on the side of equality until the actions in the list above are political poison.

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Is it news if it’s not reported?

August 24, 2012

 

 

 

Since corporate profits keep going up- showing that corporations are benefiting from the many services that our government offers- the fact that corporate tax revenue is decreasing seems relevant and necessary to our political discussions.

Does the very idea of those discussions happening strike anyone else as extremely unlikely?

Apparently so. (Note the third panel especially)

 

Chart found through Wonkwire. Comic through Political Irony.

Atheism Plus Social Activism

August 19, 2012

Atheism Plus logo suggestions by Jadehawk

First, if you haven’t read Jen’s call to action, go read it and the follow up. I have to say: this is the movement I thought I had joined.

My reason for becoming an atheist- the reason I started losing my faith and questioning religion- was because of biblical passages that were anti women, anti homosexual, pro slavery and pro disproportionate response. Yes, I am an atheist because I don’t believe in god, but that is just the definition. I didn’t question the existence of god first. I questioned the morality of god:

I asked how could God kill children with bears just because they called someone baldy? Couldn’t the prophet have used a beneficial miracle or just good works to show that other things are more important than outward appearances? How could it be deemed appropriate by an omnibenevolent and omniscient being to create homosexuals and then declare homosexuality to deserve death by stoning? If it was a sin, why would God make some people have the urge and others without? And how could two adults being in love ever be a sinful thing?

I asked how God could make women the property of their fathers, to be bought for marriage. How could God decide that war and slavery was correct and that virgin women captured in battle were prizes for warriors? I asked how God could flood the whole world and kill everybody for being sinful when he made them to be sinful in the first place.

And the sick thing was, I wasn’t asking “how crazy is this god?” I was asking “how sinful am I that I can’t even begin to understand God’s Perfect Morality?” I was questioning God’s morality to understand it: and thought that it was evidence of my sinful state that I failed to understand.

But it wasn’t understandable as morality because it wasn’t morality. Even when I realized that, I didn’t stop believing in God. At first I simply decided that the bible didn’t properly record His morality. It took me a long time of exploration and questioning before I finally rejected the god hypothesis. But it was the immorality of the Christian Bible that started me questioning.

And it is my humanism that makes me blog as an atheist. My atheism itself might be just a conclusion about rejecting a premise because of insufficient evidence, but pointing out that lack of evidence is a means to an end: that of freeing minds from the shackles of religion, and undoing the social harms done in its name.

If you think that humans deserve equal rights, that women and men are equal, if you think that death sentences by stoning or otherwise deliberately carried out slowly are barbaric, and that love between consenting adults is something to be celebrated rather than to be opposed, if you think that distinctions in pigmentation are trivial and the social differences that result are profoundly terrible and that slavery and rape can never be justified, then you should oppose religion. But you shouldn’t stop at religion.

These wrongs exist outside of religion as well: religion is merely a transmission device that causes the ideas within to be more resistant to change. But we need to oppose misogyny and racism, homophobia  ableism and xenophobia wherever they may be. And while we are at it, we should fight the undervaluing of labor and the overvaluing of capital. Opposing these things helps everybody, whether you are privileged or oppressed on any particular question doesn’t change that: as a white person, it is in my interest to oppose racism just as it is in the interest of a straight person to oppose homophobia.

This especially goes for the situation of social movements focused on achieving progress in one facet of human rights: ignoring the other facets doesn’t work. You can’t claim to be working for human rights, and then say “Yes, but not for those people.” Just as the gay rights movement had to reform to include lesbians, the atheist community has to embrace women, the LGBTIQ community, people of color and has to embrace their issues as well. This should be a natural fit – as I pointed out, those issues are our issues – but I know we are going to have to work to make up for those activists who only care if an issue effects white straight males.

Elizabeth Warren for President 2016

August 16, 2012

After all of the fake and contrived controversy regarding Obama saying “you didn’t build that” regarding bridges, roads, the education provided to you by teachers, etc…

I am glad to remember that Elizabeth Warren said much the same thing as Obama, but allowed little possibility of the type of creative misunderstanding his words were put through:

Emily reminded me of this here, but I first saw Warren’s speech last year through Steve Benen.

Food, Education and Race.

August 14, 2012

 

At the same time as the CDC reports that obesity is increasing across the nation…

a study shows that school nutrition laws have a substantial correlation with reduced weight gain.

Also, studies show a persistent gap in health and longevity between people of different education levels and races.

If we were to make education through college- and quality school lunches in K-12- economically available to all Americans, perhaps we could substantially increase the health of America, and reduce health care costs as part of the deal.

Romney’s Ryan-Written 0.82% Effective Tax Rate.

August 11, 2012

With all the talk over Mitt Romney’s tax secrecy, Paul Ryan was probably not the best VP pick Romney could have made. After all, Ryan is an economic Randian who wrote a tax plan under which Romney would pay no taxes at all on the $20 million in capital gains and carried interest Romney makes every year.

Romney even admitted this when commenting on Gingrich’s similar plan in the primary.  The only income (that we know about) of Romney’s that Ryan’s plan would tax is the “not much” (hundreds of thousands) that he made in speaker’s fees in 2010, and the probably similar amounts he made in speakers fees in other years. When O’Brien did the math, Romney’s taxes under Ryan’s plan came out to an effective rate of 0.82% on $21,661,344.

Link found at Political Wire.

Romney’s Tax Policy “Mathematically Impossible”

August 7, 2012

The Republican nominee- Willard Mitt Romney- has yet to release his tax returns, but has given two details about his tax plan. He promises to reduce the deficit, but also to cut marginal tax rates by 20% across the board.

When the nonpartisan group Tax Policy Center (whose work was previously described by the Romney campaign as “objective, third-party analysis”) conducted analysis of Romney’s tax policy while giving it the benefit of every doubt and implausibly favorable conditions, they found that his tax policy was “mathematically impossible” without tax increases on the middle class.

Now that it objects to the Tax Policy Center’s conclusion, the Romney campaign is describing their work as “just another biased study from a former Obama staffer.”

Romney doesn’t know if he’s paid lower than 13.9% effective tax rate.

August 4, 2012

Mitt Romney was asked by ABC News if there was ever any year when he paid lower than a 13.9% effective tax rate as his 2010 tax returns show.

Said Romney: “I haven’t calculated that. I’m happy to go back and look but my view is I’ve paid all the taxes required by law.”

However, when pressed if he would get back to the interviewer, Romney wouldn’t directly answer the question.

There are a few reason why this matters:
One is that Romney is trying to portray himself as an economic policy wonk: the numbers guy. If he honestly doesn’t know if he has ever paid less than what he paid on the one tax return he release, that undermines his own narrative. On the other hand, he might know that he did pay less than 13.1%- and how much less- and he is dishonestly guarding that fact, because he knows it won’t play well with people making less than one hundredth what he makes and who pay a higher tax rate than he does.

Second is that Romney- while behaving as though his taxes are nobody’s business- is arguing for a tax plan that harms 95% of Americans– but not on people at the top. No, the top few- including Romney- are the ones he wants to give tax breaks. Of course, he already gets generous tax breaks, such as a tax deduction of $129,697 because of having large amounts of money overseas.

And third is this strange idea that capital should be taxed less than labor. Shouldn’t work be encouraged? After all, capital without labor fills storage rooms, gathers dust in warehouses or rots on the vine. And yet Romney’s income from owning capital is taxed less than income that Americans get from doing work.

Americans should be led, not driven by fear.

July 26, 2012

We have some serious issues in the United States:

We are embracing majority rule while turning our backs on individual rights.

We are complacent in the status quo and frightened of the other.

Our media and culture is trained to ignore the harm done by familiar institutions, while focusing on the harms of unfamiliar institutions.

We are told that immigrants will take our jobs – despite economics telling us immigration is a net good and emigration the net harm- and we are told that established multinational chains wouldn’t do anything to harm us because of the invisible hand of the market.

We are willing to give up our rights of privacy and freedom from bodily search for the sake of – not security – but the mere illusion of security.

We have public monies going to prop up a thousand intellectually bankrupt dogmas, and schools sacrificing scientific understanding in our children to the shrine of “teaching the controversy”: a controversy which only exists in culture, not in scientific fields.

We have the middle class and small businesses taking on a disproportionate share of taxes, while the ultra rich and mega corporations keep their money in tax havens and get the lion’s share of subsidies and services. And this is cheered on by those who cannot face the fact that they are more likely to get hit by lightening twice than to ever win that lottery which would still not make them of the 1%.

The American Dream still exists, but few can see it for fear.

It gets better: and it makes me love our species.

July 11, 2012

I am inspired by our species: by our progress in humanism, by our art, by our moments of bright shining passion: by our love for each other as human, as equals rather than idealizations or icons.

I love when attitudes change towards greater love and equality. Even though it frustrates me that progress is so slow, I love that people are advocating for gay marriage in greater numbers than ever.

I love seeing people fight for their rights, and I love seeing allies fight for the rights of others… and I love that they are doing it sometimes for their loved ones, and sometimes out of a deep and unequivocal realization that treating people as people is something demanded by our very humanity.

And I love when people bravely declare who they are, and the reactions they get include love and respect. I love that safe spaces are being made in communities which previously weren’t safe, and I love that the safe spaces that exist are getting bigger and more inclusive.

I love that when we talk about gender, race, sexuality, disability, wealth and other places where inequalities arise in our societies, more and more people are examining their privilege and are starting to Get It.

And I love being able to say: I am a part of this, however small. We may be a bunch of tragically fragile hairless apes, but we have brains, we have compassion, we have righteous indignation and we have persistence by the ton. We will make our societies more just, more equal and more caring.

Because we are just too damn stubborn not to.

Links from Addicted to Pez. (Emily’s Tumblr)