Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Gloria Steinem on "My Life on the Road," feminism


Goodbye Middle Class: 51 Percent Of All American Workers Make Less Than 30,000 Dollars A Year

From Washington Blog:  http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/10/goodbye-middle-class-51-percent-of-all-american-workers-make-less-than-30000-dollars-a-year.html
 
By Michael Snyder, End of the American Dream


We just got more evidence that the middle class in America is dying.  According to brand new numbers that were just released by the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all workers in the United States make less than $30,000 a year.  Let that number sink in for a moment.  You can’t support a middle class family in America today on just $2,500 a month – especially after taxes are taken out.  And yet more than half of all workers in this country make less than that each month.  In order to have a thriving middle class, you have got to have an economy that produces lots of middle class jobs, and that simply is not happening in America today.

You can find the report that the Social Security Administration just released right here.  The following are some of the numbers that really stood out for me…

-38 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000 last year.
-51 percent of all American workers made less than $30,000 last year.
-62 percent of all American workers made less than $40,000 last year.
-71 percent of all American workers made less than $50,000 last year.

That first number is truly staggering.  The federal poverty level for a family of five is $28,410, and yet almost 40 percent of all American workers do not even bring in $20,000 a year.

If you worked a full-time job at $10 an hour all year long with two weeks off, you would make approximately $20,000.  This should tell you something about the quality of the jobs that our economy is producing at this point.

And of course the numbers above are only for those that are actually working.  As I discussed just recently, there are 7.9 million working age Americans that are “officially unemployed” right now and another 94.7 million working age Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force”.  When you add those two numbers together, you get a grand total of 102.6 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/10/goodbye-middle-class-51-percent-of-all-american-workers-make-less-than-30000-dollars-a-year.html

The Hypocrisy of ‘Helping’ the Poor

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/04/opinion/sunday/the-hypocrisy-of-helping-the-poor.html?_r=1
 

Feminism isn’t dead, despite all the assassination attempts

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/25/feminism-isnt-dead-spectator

The proclaiming of the ‘end of feminism’ by the Spectator and others is merely an attempt to deflect blame for problems society has failed to tackle

Sunday 25 October 2015

Feminism is dead. Long live feminism. The front page of the Spectator and a spate of other articles would have us believe the battle is won and we can now “move on”.

I can’t be the only one who thinks this is wonderful news. We highly strung, hand-wringing, over-sensitive, perpetually offended wilting violets can hang up our suffragette-coloured hats, stop combing Twitter in desperate search of minor criticism to weep about and finally stop hating all the men for long enough to get boyfriends. Rejoice!

Except … there are still just a few minor issues to sort out. As kind as it is of the Spectator (that great bastion of equality, which recently brought us a blow by blow comparison of the looks of the female Labour leadership contenders) to let us poor weary feminists off the hook, there’s a bit of a catch. Women are still being murdered by their male partners every week; 85,000 of us are still being raped each year and 400,000 sexually assaulted; while 54,000 of us lose our jobs each year because of maternity discrimination. British women earn about 19% less than men overall, there are fewer of us running FTSE 100 companies than there are men named John. We are the majority of low-paid workers and the domestic and caring work we do is unpaid and undervalued. At school, one third of us will suffer unwanted sexual touching, also known as sexual assault, between the ages of 16 and 18. One in four of us will experience domestic violence. But you already know all that. You’ve heard it all before. The Spectator and others are terribly thoughtful to offer us a break, because it is a bit tiring, really, to repeat these statistics over and over again. It’s difficult to keep banging on about a problem that remains unsolved, while a vocal section of the population sticks its fingers in its ears and sings: “Nah nah nah nah naaaah, I can’t hear you!”

There is a bit of a glitch in their plan though, because angrily denying that a problem even exists tends to be one of the clearest indicators that a society has yet to get to grips with it.

So what is the source of this growing angst about feminism? If the movement truly were fading to an obscure death, as so many commentators suggest, you might think that front-page articles declaring its proponents “feminazis” and trumpeting its demise would hardly be necessary. The real clue is to be found in the articles themselves, which fixate on objections to wolf whistles and urge us to get a grip and admit that the real reason for the under-representation of women in politics is women’s own gooey fixation with babies. (Don’t worry, there’ll be an emergency feminist meeting where we can get together and work out what to do now the secret ovary-aching truth has been revealed.)

Both arguments suggest a stricken, defensive desire to deflect any sense of blame from the majority of men. If we maintain that there might be some connection between the treatment of women’s bodies as public property in the street and the fact that they are discriminated against in the workplace, we’re suddenly suggesting wolf-whistlers might have to reconsider their behaviour. If we foist the burden for discrimination on women’s own uncontrollable hormones, there’s no longer any public responsibility to do anything about the problem, because it’s perfectly natural.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/25/feminism-isnt-dead-spectator

Thursday, October 22, 2015

U.S. Ally Saudi Arabia Prepares to Behead, Crucify Pro-Democracy Protester Ali Mohammed al-Nimr

Yet more anti-human behavior from the followers of Allah. Islam stand in opposition to all that Western Civilization stand for.  Including human rights, freedom of speech, and thought.  They are anti-woman and anti-LGBT.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Buying begets buying: how stuff has consumed the average American's life

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/20/consumption-consumerism-americans-buying-stuff

Our addiction to consuming things is a vicious cycle, and buying a bigger house to store it all isn’t the answer. Here’s how to get started on downsizing


Tuesday 20 October 2015

 
The personal storage industry rakes in $22bn each year, and it’s only getting bigger. Why?
I’ll give you a hint: it’s not because vast nations of hoarders have finally decided to get their acts together and clean out the hall closet.

It’s also not because we’re short on space. In 1950 the average size of a home in the US was 983 square feet. Compare that to 2011, when American houses ballooned to an average size of 2,480 square feet – almost triple the size.

And finally, it’s not because of our growing families. This will no doubt come as a great relief to our helpful commenters who each week kindly suggest that for maximum environmental impact we simply stop procreating altogether: family sizes in the western world are steadily shrinking, from an average of 3.37 people in 1950 to just 2.6 today.

So, if our houses have tripled in size while the number of people living in them has shrunk, what, exactly, are we doing with all of this extra space? And why the billions of dollars tossed to an industry that was virtually nonexistent a generation or two ago?

Well, friends, it’s because of our stuff. What kind of stuff? Who cares! Whatever fits! Furniture, clothing, children’s toys (for those not fans of deprivation, that is), games, kitchen gadgets and darling tchotchkes that don’t do anything but take up space and look pretty for a season or two before being replaced by other, newer things – equally pretty and equally useless.

The simple truth is this: you can read all the books and buy all the cute cubbies and baskets and chalkboard labels, even master the life-changing magic of cleaning up – but if you have more stuff than you do space to easily store it, your life will be spent a slave to your possessions.

We shop because we’re bored, anxious, depressed or angry, and we make the mistake of buying material goods and thinking they are treats which will fill the hole, soothe the wound, make us feel better. The problem is, they’re not treats, they’re responsibilities and what we own very quickly begins to own us.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/20/consumption-consumerism-americans-buying-stuff

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It is now clear that the hippies won the culture war

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/2015/09/it-is-now-clear-that-the-hippies-won-the-culture-war/
 
History News Network
28 Sep 2015

 
As blue jeans, beards, body adornments, natural foods, legal marijuana, gay marriage, and single parenthood have gained acceptance in mainstream American society in recent years, it is now clear that the hippies won the culture wars that were launched nearly fifty years ago. It was in the mid-1960s that one of America’s oddest social movements, the hippies, suddenly appeared. This counterculture of psychedelic drugs, rock music, and casual sex had its roots in the gargantuan size of the baby boomer generation, in youth’s churning hormones, and in the arrival of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD or “acid”). The Sixties counterculture, its beliefs and practices, its odyssey into the Seventies, and its many legacies as it became integrated into mainstream culture help explain the United States today.

Hippies, almost all of whom were white and middle-class, owed a lot to the Beat Generation. In the Fifties the writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg promoted an alternative lifestyle outside the middle-class “rat race.” Like the Beats, hippies smoked marijuana, grew beards, indulged in a lot of sex, and rejected mainstream values, but the new generation also marked itself as distinct. Taking LSD in prodigious quantities, freaks preferred rock to jazz and wore bright-colored clothes. Far more numerous than the Beats, hippies dominated entire urban neighborhoods, such as the Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco and the East Village in New York. Unlike the gloomy Beats, hippies were exuberant. Large numbers made these youthful rebels optimistic that the entire society would eventually join the counterculture, and in a way it did.

At the heart, the counterculture was about three things: a search for authenticity, an insistence upon individualism, and a desire for community. Although hippies disagreed about many things, they shared a desire to be authentic. Being true to one’s self meant rejecting middle-class culture in order to “do your own thing.” A spiritual search was often part of the quest. Deeply suspicious of both society and government, freaks embraced individualism as a true expression of authenticity. However, this attitude left hippies feeling isolated and lonely, which explains why the love generation sought community. In the mid-Sixties communes popped up in cities. By the early Seventies rising rents, racial tensions, and crime drove hippies “back to the land.” Self-sufficient agriculture was a hard transition for children of the suburban middle class. Most communes failed when trust funds, parental checks, or welfare payments ran out. Hippie women bore a lot of children. Rural communes did enable residents to sort out their lives.

Psychedelic drugs and rock music were accompanied by the explosion of easy sex. More casual sexual mores, however, had been going on in American society for a hundred years, as evidenced by the growing divorce rate. Hippies merely accelerated the process. They declared their parents to be hypocrites for preaching traditional values while having many affairs. Free love would not have happened without the birth control pill. First sold in 1960, it took several years before single young women gained access. Once the risk of an unwanted pregnancy plummeted, the double standard ended. Hippie men declared that everyone should have sex with whomever they wanted whenever they wanted. In practice, this turned out to mean that hippie men indulged themselves, while women ended up discarded, heart-broken, and depressed. Eventually, many hippie women came to see free love as a male sexual fantasy that did not meet women’s needs. Some hippie women became feminists.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/2015/09/it-is-now-clear-that-the-hippies-won-the-culture-war/

Sam Harris On Progressivism, Torture, Religion & Foreign Policy


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

How Did the Democrats Become Favorites of the Rich?

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/07/opinion/how-did-the-democrats-become-favorites-of-the-rich.html
 
Voters on both the left and the right often claim that there is no difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties, and of course that isn’t true. There’s a big difference between Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia, for one thing. But there may be more to this argument than you think.

Democrats now depend as much on affluent voters as on low-income voters. Democrats represent a majority of the richest congressional districts, and the party’s elected officials are more responsive to the policy agenda of the well-to-do than to average voters. The party and its candidates have come to rely on the elite 0.01 percent of the voting age population for a quarter of their financial backing and on large donors for another quarter.

The gulf between the two parties on socially fraught issues like abortion, immigration, same-sex marriage and voting rights remains vast. On economic issues, however, the Democratic Party has inched closer to the policy positions of conservatives, stepping back from championing the needs of working men and women, of the unemployed and of the so-called underclass.

In this respect, the Democratic Party and its elected officials have come to resemble their Republican counterparts far more than the public focus on polarization would lead you to expect. The current popularity of Bernie Sanders and his presidential candidacy notwithstanding, the mainstream of the Democratic Party supports centrist positions ranging from expanded free trade to stricter control of the government budget to time limits on welfare for the poor.

“Both Republicans and many Democrats have experienced an ideological shift toward acceptance of a form of free market capitalism which, among other characteristics, offers less support for government provision of transfers, lower marginal tax rates for those with high incomes, and deregulation of a number of industries,” the political scientists Adam Bonica, Nolan McCarty, Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal write in a 2014 essay titled “Why Hasn’t Democracy Slowed Rising Inequality?”

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/07/opinion/how-did-the-democrats-become-favorites-of-the-rich.html

Monday, October 5, 2015