This is a personal blog. I talk sense and nonsense.
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"…Rich people don’t riot because they have other forms of influence. Riots are a class act.”

Nobody in their right mind wants more violent protests. But nobody wants more Michael Browns either. And those two things – the violence of the state and the violence of the street – are connected. “A riot,” said Martin Luther King, “is the language of the unheard.” The people on the streets don’t donate thousands of dollars to anyone’s campaign. They don’t get a seat at any table where decisions are made or have the ear of the powerful. But with four black men killed by the police in the country in the last four weeks, they have a lot to say, and precious few avenues through which to say it. The question now is who’s listening.

Libertarians are the new confederates

And here’s another chapter in the perennial debate about conservatives: stupid or evil?

Paul Ryan offered his opinion on federal intervention in Ferguson:

"There is no problem with the federal government having a role," he said. "But in all of these things, local control, local government, local authorities who have the jurisdiction, who have the expertise, who are actually there are the people who should be in the lead."

He said that today. Has he literally been hiding under a rock?

  • Missouri Governor Jay Nixon took his sweet time before doing anything about Ferguson. When he did choose to act (by imposing a curfew), he made things even worse. Local leadership!
  • Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder said today that he wants “Anglo American justice" for Ferguson. Local solutions!
  • Ferguson’s mayor, James Knowles, has denied there is or ever has been a “racial divide” in his city. Local insight!
  • A Missouri GOP official has described the effort to register more voters in Ferguson as “disgusting" and "inappropriate". Local politics!

At this point, the only reasonable conclusion is that the local authorities in Missouri and Ferguson are clueless and repulsive. Yet Paul Ryan thinks they should be given the lead to resolve a situation they themselves have created and escalated.

So….is Paul Ryan a dumbass?

I don’t think Paul Ryan is a dumbass, but he often sounds like one. In this instance, he’s chosen to ignore U.S. history and everything that has happened in Ferguson lately because it is evidence that not only conflicts with his ludicrous political philosophy, but destroys it.

But I don’t think it’s just a case of cognitive dissonance. No one who remains a libertarian past the age of 19 or so can be trusted because, in this country, quite a few self-described “libertarians” would be better described as neo-Confederates. Many of these same ‘libertarians’ are even bringing back antebellum classics like nullification.

No, Paul Ryan isn’t a dumbass. Paul Ryan knows what he’s doing.

Terrible Florida Mom Arrested For Leaving Kids At Park While Getting Them Food →

Let’s make sure we have the law straight: If you’re a poor mother, you can be arrested for child neglect if you leave your kids alone while you go to a food bank so you can feed them, go to a job interview (so you can feed them), or work (so you can feed them).

These arrests are part of the terrible trap we’ve set for impoverished parents:

In the mid-1990s, President Clinton signed welfare reform legislation into law that changed welfare in America profoundly. One of the major changes welfare reform brought about was the work requirement. Now, even women with young children were required to be working, or looking for work, in order to receive benefits. In a radio address after signing the bill, Clinton promised that if poor people went to work, “we will protect the guarantees of health care, nutrition, and child care, all of which are critical to helping families move from welfare to work.”

We broke that promise. State and federal childcare spending last year fell to the lowest level since 2002. Much of the money available for childcare comes to states through Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or today’s version of welfare, but TANF hasn’t been adjusted for inflation since 1996. It’s lost a third of its value since then. The money spent on childcare has declined from a high of $4 billion in 2000 to $2.6 billion in 2013. That means fewer and fewer children get subsidized care. The number of children served by subsidies is at the lowest level since 1998. In [Shanesha] Taylor’s home state of Arizona, childcare spending has been axed by 40 percent, dropping 33,000 kids. In [Debra] Harrell’s, it was cut by more than 30 percent, dropping 2,500 children.

We’ve also taken the rug out from under any mothers who might need assistance because they can’t find work or the work doesn’t pay enough. In 1996, welfare reached 72 percent of poor families with children. That had dropped to a mere 26 percent by 2012.

So when a homeless mother needs to go to a job interview or a mother making less than $8 an hour needs to go to work, what options have we given them? Few, if any.

Military weaponry makes a bad situation much worse, but the core problem is still police forces that have nothing but contempt for the populations they’re supposed to “protect and serve.” By all means criticize the hardware — but the real problem isn’t going to go away if the use of that hardware is dialed back, because cops will treat civilians they despise with contempt using whatever’s at hand. And if Paul’s fellow libertarians get us talking almost exclusively about gear and government, then they’ll have successfully diverted the discussion onto their turf, for their ends. We mustn’t let that happen.

Steve M., reminding us that Amadou Diallo and Rodney King were brutalized with what were basically glorified sticks. The pricey military gear makes it easier for the police to monitor and attack larger numbers of civilians at one time, but it’s the institution itself—its bigotry, authoritarianism, and lack of accountability to the public it professes to serve—that is the real problem.

never understand where the “as a taxpayer” types are after high-profile incidents of police brutality

jakke:

The Ferguson police are a public service that’s spending a ton of money forcibly intimidating the residents and restricting media access and protecting their total impunity rather than suspending the officers responsible without pay and cooperating with an external inquiry. If ever there were a totally wasteful and self-interested government agency, it’s the Ferguson police right now. And there are so many pundits and think tanks and elected officials who make a career out of loudly criticizing misallocation of government resources, but somehow they’re all totally silent on this one.

The criminal justice system is working perfectly as far as those “as a taxpayer” people are concerned. They’re not the ones being harassed and assaulted by the police—the folks they’re scared of (black people, poor people, queer people, immigrants, etc.) are. These “as a taxpayer” types probably think outfitting cops with paramilitary gear so they can more effectively terrorize minorities is a great use of their tax dollars.

And the “misallocations” of government resources that these same people tend to be focused on are welfare programs for those same despised minorities. Agricultural subsidies that mostly benefit white farmers and artificially raise the cost of food? Fine. Food stamps to help struggling families afford to eat? NOT FINE WHAT ARE WE SOVIET RUSSIA

Lifestyle feminism ushered in the notion that there could be as many versions of feminism as there were women. Suddenly the politics was being slowly removed from feminism. And the assumption prevailed that no matter what a woman’s politics, be she conservative or liberal, she too could fit feminism into her existing lifestyle. Obviously this way of thinking has made feminism more acceptable because its underlying assumption is that women can be feminists without fundamentally challenging and changing themselves or the culture. For example, let’s take the issue of abortion. If feminism is a movement to end sexist oppression, and depriving females of reproductive rights is a form of sexist oppression, then one cannot be anti-choice and be feminist. A woman can insist she would never choose to have an abortion while affirming her support of the right of women to choose and still be an advocate offeminist politics. She cannot be anti-abortion and an advocate of feminism. Concurrently there can be no such thing as “power feminism” if the vision of power evoked is power gained through the exploitation and oppression of others.

— bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody (via oldfrnd)

(via historic-upstart)

Rasmussen Poll: Wendy Davis Trails GOP Opponent By Single Digits →

That’s +4 points since their last poll in March, but an 8 point lead is still fairly big. She needs HIGH turnout by Democratic voters:

Davis hopes that momentum includes areas like Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio, the urban centers where Democrats thrive. Republicans tend to swamp those votes with huge support in the suburbs, such as Collin and Denton counties, and rural areas.

In those areas she hopes to increase voter turnout at least 5 percent, a tough task during midterm elections, when casual Democratic voters tend to stay away from the polls.

This is the case in many areas of the country. Democratic voters simply do not turn out in sufficient numbers for many reasons (including active voter suppression efforts by Republicans), even if they are the majority. This is a big problem.

(Source: quickhits, via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

In reality, Americans are less likely to move upward from their class of origin than are Germans, Canadians, Finns, French people, Swedes, Norwegians, or Danes. But the myth, fortified with bracing doses of positive thinking, persists. As two researchers at the Brookings Institution observed, a little wryly, in 2006:

“[The] strong belief in opportunity and upward mobility is the explanation that is often given for Americans’ high tolerance for inequality. The majority of Americans surveyed believe that they will be above mean income in the future (even though that is a mathematical impossibility).”

— Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided:  How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America (via x09)

(Source: sociolab, via ethiopienne)

In Florida, in 2011, a law was signed that made it illegal for doctors to ask patients if they owned a gun. If doctors violate this law, they can be disciplined, leading to fines, citations and even a loss of their license.

Do You Own a Gun? In Florida, Doctors Can’t Ask You That. (via azspot)

The 2nd Amendment trumps the 1st Amendment because in Republicanworld, you list the most important things second.

(via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

cognitivedissonance:

PREACH

Respectfully, I have to disagree. I am pretty sure they did know the ramifications of their decision and that’s why they made it. It’s not a coincidence that they are all male Catholics.

cognitivedissonance:

PREACH

Respectfully, I have to disagree. I am pretty sure they did know the ramifications of their decision and that’s why they made it. It’s not a coincidence that they are all male Catholics.

(via thepeoplesrecord)

(via abagond)

crocobaby:

Do you think every president goes through a awkward first few weeks in office when they’re not sure when’s the right time to ask if aliens are real or not?

During my first day in office, I’d be reading all the classified documents about JFK’s assassination. Just to make sure.

(Source: star-loser, via apsies)

If a corporation has “free speech rights” to buy elections, then it should be subject to American taxes even if it “moves” overseas just like actual American people are. If a corporation like Hobby Lobby has personal “religious rights” not to cover its employees’ contraception, then it’s enough of a person to pay expatriate taxes if it decides to move to Ireland.

It has to be one or the other. You can’t become a person when it’s convenient to your bottom line, but not when it isn’t.
…[W]e need to stop talking about the economy in ways that make it seem like the weather. The economy is a result of the rules we create and the choices we make. The people who are struggling to make ends meet do so because we have built — through intentional choice — an economy that produces inadequate incomes for more than one-third of all Americans…

Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director for the Center for Community Change

Paul Ryan: “My plan will end poverty by forcing the poor to sign contracts saying they will get off food stamps and start a hedge fund.”

Story:

The Worst Part Of Paul Ryan’s Poverty Plan Is Based On A Media Myth

(via teapartycat)

The “discussion draft” submitted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to the House Budget Committee on potential solutions to poverty in America includes the proposal that low-income Americans would have to sign “contracts” in order to remain eligible for social safety net benefits, such as food stamps, or SNAP. The contract would include: benchmarks, such as finding a job, enrolling in employment training, or even meeting “new acquaintances outside circle of poverty”; a “timeline” in which individuals are contractually-obligated to meet those benchmarks; bonuses for meeting benchmarks early; and “sanctions for breaking the terms of the contract”:

I’m sure giving the impoverished even more paperwork to deal with will help them not be poor anymore. As with almost all libertarians, Paul Ryan is secretly a major fan of big government—as long as it’s used to crush people other than him.

It’s funny that Ryan is so hellbent on ‘reforming’ entitlements like Social Security. It seemed to work fine for him. You all remember that he paid for college using Social Security survivor benefits, right?

(via mediamattersforamerica)