September 22, 2017

Why do so many unwealthy whites fall for Trump?

Sam Smith - One of the most frustrating things about the Trump phenomena is how many unwealthy whites have fallen for his con. This is, unfortunately, not a new phenomenon. You can go all the way back to the Confederacy and find it flourishing. As one commentator put it, "poor whites supported slavery because it guaranteed that no matter how poor they might be, they would never be at the very bottom of the social hierarchy. Poor whites believed that supporting white unity and the planter class was a surer way of getting their interests addressed."

David Hackett Fischer described southern culture as accepting "hegemonic liberty," which is to say the more power you have the more liberty you have. Even if you are near the bottom of the pile, some one like Trump can become an aspiration rather than a threat.

There is one good way to change this view and that is to have a politics that directly addresses the needs of poor whites rather than, as is currently the case with liberals, disses them for how badly they have been fooled. It's been over four decades since the Democratic Party seriously included the needs of less wealthy white America in its agenda. As I wrote in 2006, "History joins common sense in arguing that if the Democratic Party were to return to a broad based politics based on the improvement of the economic, educational, and social conditions of average Americans it might once again become the dominant force in this country."

In fact, the initial election of Obama greatly increased the Democratic margin in the House, but that quickly collapsed with policies that even when, like Obamacare, they contained very helpful elements, became muddled in procedural issues that distracted from their underlying purpose. And no modern Democratic president came close to first 100-day session of Congress during which Franklin Roosevelt pushed through legislation that rescued the banking industry, established the Civilian Conservation Corps, passed the National Industrial Recovery Act, provided relief for millions of citizens, regulated Wall Street, created bank deposit insurance and set up the TVA.

The beauty of the helping the economics of the white working class is that you also help everyone - including black and latinos - while making ethnicity less of an issue. Otherwise, you shouldn't be surprised to find thing as Lyndon Johnson once described, "If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."

How to determine that the used car you're looking at was flooded

John Gear Law Office & Salem Consumer Law - "A master mechanic told me that any inspection should now include putting a probe inside the door.  Apparently that will show water damage."  - Illinois Consumer Attorney Dan Daneen

And consumer attorney extraordinaire Joanne Faulkner of New Haven, CT, reports:

"Consumer Reports has suggested tips for identifying cars that may have spent time underwater. A buyer or mechanic should look for these telltale signs:
  • Caked-on mud and a musty odor from the carpets. New carpets in an older vehicle may be another red flag.
  • A visible water line on the lens or reflector of the headlights.
  • Mud or debris trapped in difficult-to-clean places, such as gaps between panels in the trunk and under the hood.
  • Rusty exposed screws under the dashboard. Unpainted metal in flood cars will show signs of rust.
  • Rubber drain plugs under the car and on the bottom of doors that have been removed. That may have been done to drain floodwater.
Also keep in mind that parts from the scrapped cars could well end up in yours, as in a situation where a body shop cuts corners in a collision repair by using parts from a scrapped car instead of new parts. A fender or hood that spent time immersed in fresh water might not be a problem, but a transmission that took a salt water bath could well turn up with bearing or seal failure."

Survivalism growing among the wealthy

New Yorker -[ Survivalism, the practice of preparing for a crackup of civilization, tends to evoke a certain picture: the woodsman in the tinfoil hat, the hysteric with the hoard of beans, the religious doomsayer. But in recent years survivalism has expanded to more affluent quarters, taking root in Silicon Valley and New York City, among technology executives, hedge-fund managers, and others in their economic cohort.

Last spring, as the Presidential campaign exposed increasingly toxic divisions in America, Antonio García Martínez, a forty-year-old former Facebook product manager living in San Francisco, bought five wooded acres on an island in the Pacific Northwest and brought in generators, solar panels, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. “When society loses a healthy founding myth, it descends into chaos,” he told me.

The author of “Chaos Monkeys,” an acerbic Silicon Valley memoir, García Martínez wanted a refuge that would be far from cities but not entirely isolated. “All these dudes think that one guy alone could somehow withstand the roving mob,” he said. “No, you’re going to need to form a local militia. You just need so many things to actually ride out the apocalypse.” Once he started telling peers in the Bay Area about his “little island project,” they came “out of the woodwork” to describe their own preparations, he said. “I think people who are particularly attuned to the levers by which society actually works understand that we are skating on really thin cultural ice right now.”

In private Facebook groups, wealthy survivalists swap tips on gas masks, bunkers, and locations safe from the effects of climate change. One member, the head of an investment firm, told me, “I keep a helicopter gassed up all the time, and I have an underground bunker with an air-filtration system.” He said that his preparations probably put him at the “extreme” end among his peers. But he added, “A lot of my friends do the guns and the motorcycles and the gold coins. That’s not too rare anymore.”

Tim Chang, a forty-four-year-old managing director at Mayfield Fund, a venture-capital firm, told me, “There’s a bunch of us in the Valley. We meet up and have these financial-hacking dinners and talk about backup plans people are doing. It runs the gamut from a lot of people stocking up on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, to figuring out how to get second passports if they need it, to having vacation homes in other countries that could be escape havens.” He said, “I’ll be candid: I’m stockpiling now on real estate to generate passive income but also to have havens to go to.” He and his wife, who is in technology, keep a set of bags packed for themselves and their four-year-old daughter. He told me, “I kind of have this terror scenario: ‘Oh, my God, if there is a civil war or a giant earthquake that cleaves off part of California, we want to be ready.’ ”


All state Medicaid directors come out against Obamacare kill

Market Watch - All 50 state Medicaid directors have come out against Senate Republicans' latest bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, joining the chorus of opposition from health and insurance groups. In a statement, the bipartisan National Association of Medicaid Directors warned the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill would place a huge financial burden on states.

"Taken together, the per-capita caps and the envisioned block grant would constitute the largest intergovernmental transfer of financial risk from the federal government to the states in our country's history," the group said. NAMD also said the bill vastly underestimates the ability of states to create their own health-care programs in just two years, as the bill requires. "The vast majority of states will not be able to do so within the two-year timeframe envisioned here, especially considering the apparent lack of federal funding in the bill to support these critical activities," they said. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week. Almost every major health-care organization, key Republican governors and a major insurance lobby have come out opposing the bill.

Harvard's motto switches to "Falsitas"

Harvard’s Institute of Politics has invited Donald Trump’s former press secretary Sean Spicer and rescinded a similar invitation to whistleblower and trans activist Chelsea Manning.

In other words, hire the liar and fire the truth teller. 

Study: Bias against hiring blacks hasn't declined

New America Media  - Rates of discrimination against African Americans in field experiments of hiring did not decline from 1990 to 2015, according to the largest and most comprehensive meta-analysis of its kind.

“It is often suggested that prejudice and discrimination are fading out over time through a gradual process of liberalization of attitudes,” says Lincoln Quillian, senior author of the study and professor of sociology at Northwestern University. “But we found striking stability in discrimination against African- Americans.”

The researchers found some evidence that discrimination declined during this period for Latinos, although the small number of field experiments including Latinos means the trend results are not highly certain.

“During this time, the country saw some favorable racial trends, like declining black-white test score gaps, slow declines in racial residential segregation, and the election of the country’s first black president,” says Quillian, a faculty fellow with the university’s Institute for Policy Research. “But whites received on average 36 percent more callbacks to interview than African-Americans with equal job qualifications, and we found no evidence that this level of discrimination had changed.”