Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Why Pointing Out and Righting an Injustice is Everybody's Business

by Nomad

It's disheartening to think that the color of a person's skin can still have such a effect on people's attitudes. It makes me depressed to think that, in this day and age, it is still necessary for a white person to step in for whatever reason.  
On the other hand, it's even worse to think that a person would look the other way and not step in when they see unfair treatment.

Friday, August 19, 2016

After Destroying the GOP in November, Will Donald Trump Go After Fox News Next?

by Nomad

TrumpHere's probably the best explanation for Donald Trump's strange presidential run. As crazy as it seems, in a Trumpish way, it makes perfect sense.  

Like Poe's purloined letter, sometimes the obvious explanation is hidden right under your nose.
Nothing has been quite as inexplicable as this election cycle. It's hard to get a grip on the insanity of it. Most of it is coming from the Right and Donald Trump. Without resorting to a psychological ailment, coming up with an explanation for Trump's decisions and behavior isn't easy.

The Hiring of Ailes and Bannon 

The June's issue of Vanity Fair, however, offers one theory that makes pretty good sense. The writer postulated that Trump's run for president was nothing less than an ingenious form of self-promotion. Not an earthshaking observation, I understand. 
According to insiders, Trump was never interested in being president. And, no, he hasn't even been making a big fat joke (my pet theory)
Actually, his entire campaign has been a promotion of his next business project, the creation of his media empire, a la NewsCorp's Rupert Murdoch. 
Fox News but without the decency and intelligence.

According to several people briefed on the discussions, the presumptive Republican nominee is examining the opportunity presented by the “audience” currently supporting him. He has also discussed the possibility of launching a “mini-media conglomerate” outside of his existing TV-production business, Trump Productions LLC. He has, according to one of these people, enlisted the consultation of his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who owns the The New York Observer.
In this light, the bizarre events in this election cycle suddenly begin to make sense.
Trump’s rationale, according to this person, is that, “win or lose, we are onto something here. We’ve triggered a base of the population that hasn’t had a voice in a long time.” For his part, Kushner was heard at a New York dinner party saying that “the people here don’t understand what I’m seeing. You go to these arenas and people go crazy for him.”
When Trump hired the scandalized the former Fox News CEO Roger "Grabass" Ailes as a debate consultant, many analysts thought it showed extraordinarily poor judgment.  Or, on the more positive side, a very forgiving nature.
Trump has talked about outreach when it came to minorities and women. Ailes' idea of "outreach" to women could easily be made into a dirty joke.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ditat Deus: How Red-State Arizona's Failed Policies on Poverty Just Got a little Worse

by Nomad

Arizona is a showcase of Republican policy when it comes to helping needy families. But that's not meant to be praise. Poverty has become an intractable problem and legislators seem to be intent on making life more difficult for the poor.

No Hope, No Change

Arizona's state motto is Ditat Deus which in Latin, translates as "God Enriches" and, for some Arizonans that might be true, but for many others, God seems to have all but forgotten them. Actually, it's not necessary to lay the blame on divinities but on the easily-distracted Republican legislators. 

When the US Census Bureau updated its poverty estimates last year, the bad news about Arizona should have been hard for state officals to ignore. The state ranked third in the nation when it came to the percentage who were at or below the federal poverty line. That's an estimated 21 percent of the state's population.

You'd think those numbers would set off alarm bells that past policies just weren't working. You'd think politicians would realize that changes had to be made as soon as possible. 
That's not what happened. 
Last summer, coincidentally, Arizona became the first state to cut poor families’ access to welfare assistance to a maximum of 12 months over a lifetime.  With the passage of the law, Arizona will have the harshest limit of all the states, most of which offer benefits for five years, the duration allowed under federal law. 
As a local source noted last month:
It means an estimated 2,500 people — including 1,500 kids — will no longer qualify for the modest stipends the program provides. The average payment is $278.
Democrats lawmakers and advocates for the poor struggled in vain to keep the program at its two-year limit went unheeded.

In the debate, Republican Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City. delivered the standard Republican approach to poverty: 
“I tell my kids all the time that the decisions we make have rewards or consequences, and if I don’t ever let them face those consequences, they can’t get back on the path to rewards. As a society, we are encouraging people at times to make poor decisions and then we reward them.”
It's a pretty pathetic excuse for parsimony. Reagan taught us that the poor don't need our pity or our assistance. And ever since then, the conservatives have been saying that poor have only themelves to blame. We must assume such a rationalization allows them to feel superior and look at themselves in the mirror.