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Showing posts from November 2, 2014

What the U.S. economy would look like if racial inequality didn’t exist

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[Racism costs money. I had a couple of pieces sitting around in Pocket until I could get to them, this being one of them. *RON*]

By Emily Badger, Washington Post, 28 October 2014 
The moral case against racial inequality in the U.S. is pretty simple. When we don't give equal opportunity to minority kids, we deny them a full future. When better jobs are kept out of reach of qualified minority workers, we deny their families security, too. When society offers minorities lesser versions of opportunity — in the labor market, in education, in housing — it fails in some fundamental ways.

Now, the economic case against racial inequality is much more complicated. Politically, however, it may also be more powerful. It goes like this: Racial inequality costs the U.S. billions of dollars each year, through the wasted productivity of black men barred from work by their criminal records, through the misallocation of immigrant workers who could be doing mor…

Whose side is Turkey on?

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[A good piece I just ran across on Turkey's current place in the Middle East puzzle, in the wake of ISIS attacks in Kurdistan right on the Turkish border. *RON*]
Patrick Cockburn, London Review of Books, 6 November 2014

Over the summer Isis – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – defeated the Iraqi army, the Syrian army, the Syrian rebels and the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga; it established a state stretching from Baghdad to Aleppo and from Syria’s northern border to the deserts of Iraq in the south. Ethnic and religious groups of which the world had barely heard – including the Yazidis of Sinjar and the Chaldean Christians of Mosul – became victims of Isis cruelty and sectarian bigotry. In September, Isis turned its attention to the two and a half million Syrian Kurds who had gained de facto autonomy in three cantons just south of the Turkish border. One of these cantons, centred on the town of Kobani, became the target of a determined assault. By…

Racial Resentment Drives Tea Party Membership

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["[T]he researchers found racial resentment was a 'distinct factor' driving membership, one which was 'largely independent' from ideological concerns. 'Conservatives who were more racially resentful were substantially more likely to claim Tea Party movement membership.'" *RON*]
By Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard Magazine, 29 October 2014

New research finds a strong link between tea party membership and anti-black feelings.

While some surveys show support for the Tea Party is waning, a recent Gallup poll found the movement “remains a powerful force, given their higher interest in the election, and higher motivation to vote.” It reports 73 percent of self-described Tea Party Republicans are highly motivated to vote in next week’s mid-terms—a figure far higher than that for Democrats or mainstream Republicans.
So what drives these voters, who will clearly have a disproportionate influence on next week’s election results…

Private Donors Are Supplying Spy Gear to Cops Across the Country Without Any Oversight

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[The 1%, the corporatocracy, the police state, and the surveillance state are the same thing. "Across the nation, private foundations are increasingly being tapped to provide police with technology and weaponry that—were it purchased with public money—would come under far closer scrutiny." *RON*]
By Ali Winston & Darwin Bond Graham, Pacific Standard Magazine, 21 October 2014

There’s little public scrutiny when private donors pay to give police controversial technology and weapons. Sometimes, companies are donors to the same foundations that purchase their products for police.

In 2007, as it pushed to build a state-of-the-art surveillance facility, the Los Angeles Police Department cast an acquisitive eye on software being developed by Palantir, a start-up funded in part by the Central Intelligence Agency’s venture capital arm.
Originally designed for spy agencies, Palantir’s technology allowed users to track individuals with unprece…

Wealth inequality in America: It's worse than you think

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[In fact, it's 10 times worse! *RON*]

by Chris Matthews, Fortune, 31 October 2014

A new study shows that the gap in the wealth that different American households have accumulated is more exreme than any at time since the Great Depression

For the true believers in laissez faire economic policy, the recent and ongoing national discussion over income and wealth inequality probably seems like it was started as a cynical ploy for those on the left to gain a political advantage. After all, if rising inequality is a problem, you would be hard pressed to find any solutions offered by the right wing.

It would be laughable to argue that left-leaning politicians aren’t using the issue for political advantage. But focusing on that fact alone misses one of the main reasons we have begun to pay more attention to inequality, which is the fact that we have better tools for measuring and understanding inequality than ever before. This is thanks to the work of ec…