This Obsession with Labels Needs to Die

This phenomenon of label obsession can happen within political groups on either side of the spectrum. This fanatical devotion to broad labels is a product of identity politics, which in it of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. Forming politically cultural alliances can be a useful tool in empowering historically vulnerable groups of people. Strength in numbers is an age-old tactic; thus, people who look, act, or believe alike tend to stick together under one banner.

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An Open Letter To President Trump

I am writing to you today about the environment. I hail from sunny Florida, a state that is one of the most at-risk areas when it comes to negative environmental factors. I beg you to calibrate your policy with the protection of the environment in all its forms at the forefront of your mind. I ask you what humanity truly has if the earth is turned into unlivable rubble?

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A New Kind of Normal

Everything currently viewed as culture is only a product of the environment where certain clumps of humans reside. No matter where I live and no matter the daily influences in my life, there is something that essentially exists underneath all of that, which makes each and everyone of us human. It is colloquially known as human nature. 

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Russia Cont.

The allegations contained within are at this point unverified. This means that they haven't been proven true or false. Currently, they are just out there. If proven true, these allegations are incredibly damning of Trump and several members of his team. If proven false, these allegations are one of the biggest slights against a president-elect probably ever. 

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Russia

"We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts in the United States and worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes. We assess the Russian intelligence services would have seen their election influence campaign as at least a qualified success because of their perceived ability to impact public discussion."

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Reaching Outside The Bubble

"This country does not need me to speak out on crimes committed by black folk because nobody in this country is held more responsible for the crimes they commit, and even the crimes they don’t commit, than black folk in America. Right now, young black men in America are incarcerated at a rate higher than South Africans were at the height of Apartheid.

I speak out on injustice. What happened to this man in Chicago was terrible. It was criminal. I hate it, but guess what — justice was swift. It was miraculously swift."

-Shaun King, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS-

"'This is hate. And hate doesn’t have a color,' former Chicago police officer Dimitri Roberts said Thursday, according to CNN.  'So for folks to talk about this is somehow connected to Black Lives Matter is absolutely the wrong way to look at this. ... And we cannot respond to hate with hate. It’s just going to perpetuate the cycle.'"

-Lilly Workneh, Huffington Post-

"'Having a politician who is so open about violence directed toward marginalized communities gives them a gateway to not be policed on shit that they’re doing now,' Basillas said. 'That’s why they are comfortable doing that.'"-Hrag Vartanian, "LGBTQ Activists Attacked by Trump Supporters While Leaving NYC Art Space", HYPERALLERGIC

"This is the problem with America, these people, with these huge platforms fueled by stereotypes and hate create these false ideas about black people–– we are all dangerous, lazy, thieving, Godless people who all subscribe to the same ideologies. The Becks, Lahren’s and people like them ignore facts and profit off of race baiting and divisiveness while the real story like Dylan Roof who actually murdered people because of the same kind of rhetoric they put out goes unnoticed."

-D. Watkins, SALON, "Tomi Lahren’s selective outrage: Chicago Facebook brutality draws her ire, but she’s silent about Dylann Roof’s racism"-

"It is sickening and deplorable [referring to the Chicago incident], but context is necessary. Number one: we have to recognize that in the US, what is antiseptically referred to as race relations are not very good right now. As you may recall, there have been a number of killings of black Americans captured on tape at the hands of the police authorities. Many of the police have not been convicted or jailed. And one of the principles of this nation and many nations is eye-for-an-eye, and tooth-for-a-tooth. And sadly, that kind of approach will leave us all eyeless and toothless. I am afraid as well that the ubiquitous nature of smartphones and the advent of the internet have allowed episodes that might have passed unnoticed and unmentioned, now become worldwide events. If you stir that all together, you get this current tragedy in Chicago."

-Gerald Horne, RT QUESTION MORE-

"But the context matters here. The simple truth is that America has a long history of systemic racism against minorities. There was slavery, which required the Civil War to abolish. Then white supremacist groups, particularly in the South, carried out a racist terrorism campaign for decades in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the US, culminating in race riots and lynchings explicitly meant to oppress black people. At the same time, state governments — again, largely in the South — imposed Jim Crow laws that forcefully segregated white and black people and stripped black Americans of their voting rights.
Today, there are continued racial disparities in just about every aspect of American life, including wealthincomeeducational attainmentlife expectancy, and the criminal justice system. And a man who ran a clearly racist campaign won the presidential election.
It is through this long historic thread that progressives’ concerns about hateful acts against minority Americans developed: It’s not just about an individual police shooting or act of discrimination, but about the broader systemic problems that the individual incident represents.
There is simply no comparable thread of systemic abuses against white Americans, so anti-white attacks, as abhorrent as they may be, don’t draw as much attention.
The Chicago attack also led to swift justice, with the perpetrators already criminally charged — leaving little need for advocacy groups that call for justice in other cases."
...
"Our average white respondent believed that at the time of our survey in 2011, anti-white bias was an even bigger problem than anti-black bias.”
 
Conservatives in particular think this is driven in part by government priorities. Arlie Hochschild, a sociologist and author of Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, provided an apt analogy for how many white conservative Americans feel: As they see it, they are all in this line toward a hill with prosperity at the top. But over the past few years, globalization, public health crises, and other issues have caused the line to stop moving. And from their perspective, people — black and brown Americans, women — are now cutting in the line, because they’re getting new (and more equal) opportunities through new anti-discrimination laws and policies like affirmative action.
Again, there is plenty of evidence against this: White Americans still outperform their black and brown peers in wealthincomeeducational attainmentlife expectancy, and the criminal justice system.
But many conservative white people feel there is anti-white racism out there and that liberals just don’t take it seriously.
And when they see attacks like the one in Chicago and feel that the media coverage and liberal outrage just aren’t at the levels they should be, many of their feelings are, rightly or wrongly, validated.

-German Lopez, VOX-

 

Leveling the Playing Field

In an effort to criticize my liberal view of government, I recently had someone try to convince me that the government is like a family unit. The parents are the government and the kids are the people. Setting aside the fact that neither of the kids pay taxes to this "government", this person's logic went that, in order to level the playing field, the parents can only subsidize both kids an equal amount. Disregarding the fact that their situations are completely different and their needs are completely different, each kid would only receive the same amount of money per month.  

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The Question of Tibet

It is often said by people of other religions that belief in rebirth -the law of Karma- tends to make people accept inequalities of fortune - perhaps accept them too readily. This is only partly true. A poor Tibetan peasant was less inclined to envy his rich Tibetan landlord, because he knew that each of them was reaping the seed he had sown in his previous life. But on the other hand, there is nothing whatever in the law of Karma to discourage a man from trying to improve his own life in the present life. And of course our religion encourages every attempt to improve the lot of others. All true charity has a double benefit - to the receiver in his present life and to the giver in his present life or in his life to come. In this light, Tibetans accepted our social system without any question. 

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Stakeholder Theory

This theory took form in the 1980s with R. Edward Freeman's book, Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach. Freeman argued that the economic theories that were prevalent in the 70s, (e.g. shareholder primacy), were outdated and in desperate need of restructuring. The general idea has come a long way since then, but aspects of the theory are still being debated today as it becomes more and more prevalent in literature and corporate governance. 

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Climate Change

One of the tragedies of this past election is the potential effect that Donald Trump will have on the environment during his presidency. The President-elect consistently made promises during his campaign to pull the U.S. out of The Paris Agreement and stop all US payments to UN programs aimed at fighting climate change. Now, it seems that reality is soon approaching.  

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Standing Rock

I'm sure the irony of the protests at Standing Rock is not lost on many of us. Standing Rock Sioux are once again fighting for the protection of their lands against a hyper-militarized mercenary force that has sprouted up around the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site.  This past Sunday resulted in one of the most traumatic conflicts in the history of this organized protest so far.

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VOTE: Democracy Depends On It

We've been binge-watching a terrible TV show on Netflix for a year, and today, on a election day, we've reached the finale. It's been dirty. It's been visceral. It's been eye-opening, and now, for better or worse, we get to see how it all ends. 

I don't want to be political. I'm not here to convince you who you should vote for today. Everything that's been said about either candidate has been said. If you've already voted, I applaud you for taking the time to participate in government. It means a lot. If you haven't already voted, this post is for you.

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Kids, the American Dream is Real!

This election season is a struggle for opportunity. It is irrelevant whether one is poor or rich, white or black, gay or straight, us or them. All anyone wants is a level-playing field without qualifications.

It is disingenuous then to say, "Kids, the American Dream is real! If everyone works hard enough, they will undoubtedly be able to lift themselves up into prosperity. Trust us!", because we all know that's not really the case.

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2016 Policies - Hillary vs. The Donald

I want everyone to pretend just for a moment that we live in a world where character doesn't matter. No tapes from 2005 exist. Bill Clinton doesn't exist. Congress doesn't exist. Republicans don't exist. Democrats don't exist. Emails don't exist. The past doesn't exist. What only exists are policies. 

Policies that could possibly shape the next four years for better or worse. 

The policies of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Let's remove character and emotion from the equation just for the moment. All of these policies are drawn from each candidate's website for reference. 

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