Ending Institutional Racism

My thesis is this: there is nothing more important to the future of our nation than ending racism, particularly institutional racism. This has become a desperate matter of survival for far too many people when it comes to the issue of police killings. These tragedies happen disproportionately to minorities largely because of racism.

Yet the problem goes far beyond that. There is not a single issue in this nation which does not ultimately become polarized and frozen by race. Much of the resistance to government intervention and assistance comes down to a belief that “They” are getting the benefits – the mysterious “other” that is easily blamed for everything. It prevents us from having a useful discussion about “Us”, a free and united people ready to tackle the changes of our world bravely and directly.

But let’s stay with police killings for a moment. Let’s talk about how we get from where we are to a world where no cringes in fear when the disco lights and sirens blare, a world where Black Lives Matter. Let’s talk about how complex issues with hardened battle lines are taken on so that we can get past the problem. Let’s talk about tactics, or how a battle is won.

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Confidence is Back!

Barataria has asked the question several times before – given that things are a lot better than they have been in a long time, why are people so down on the economy?

After posing a few potential reasons, we may have the answer – it was largely an artifact of the presidential campaign. That would make the most sense given that the Conference Board index of Consumer Confidence has hit 104.1, the highest it has been since 2007. Combining that with a strong net approval rating for President Obama, which has been tracking around +8 (52 approve, 44 disapprove) and we have the net positive we should expect.

Will this transfer over to Sec. Clinton in time for the election? Given her performance at the first debate, the answer is that it should.  It’s all coming just in time.

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Debate? I Wanna Rebate

The debate is tonight. Forget everything you know about the election so far because it is about to change. Clinton is going into this with a decent, but not commanding lead so it’s up to Trump to reverse things.

Can he? Will he try to do something big and bold? Or will he go with what got him here, more or less constantly hitting even if the punches are pretty low?

I’m going to argue that it doesn’t matter. This is Clinton’s election to win, and we’ll see why very shortly. If she can erase some of the negativity surrounding her simply by being in charge and very Presidential she can ice this thing. That’s what counts.

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Terror Sinks In

The bombing on Sunday by Ahmad Khan Rahami has left behind a large number of questions. Why did he do it? Was he directed in any way? How was he “radicalized”? How did he get past the FBI? There appear to be a few answers to what was clearly a “lone wolf” attack not directed by Da‘ish (ISIS) but clearly inspired by them, and not many answers are satisfying.

It seems that we will have to get used to these attacks, which is a chilling or angering thought to many Americans. For that reason, the resonance of this attack in the wake of the Orlando Pulse shooting and a stabbing in St Cloud, Minnesota has a greater effect than the more deadly coordinated attacks in France. Da’ish is leaving it’s mark.

But what will this mean in an election year? We can’t say yet. The possibility that this may play into Trump’s hands is even more chilling, as that would mean lasting damage to the US.

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Clinton Stumbles!

Hillary Clinton has pneumonia. Or maybe Parkinson’s. Or she’s something like a propped-up corpse who is barely alive. It all depends on what you think “the real story” is.

If it all seems crazy, it is. Much of the crazy is simply what we can expect in an election season, hopped up a bit in an internet age when anyone can publish a “news story”. But the most important craziness is actually rather sane in that Clinton, for better or worse, is presumed by nearly everyone to be the next President. She is being held to a higher standard on many topics – including the state of her health. Just as it would be big news if Obama had pneumonia, it’s a equally important when Clinton gets it.

Is that higher standard unfair? Is it sexist? Is it really just an excuse to tighten up the race to make it all more interesting? Yes, to all of that and more. But all of this will be washed away in another month once we are into the debates, so it really doesn’t matter.

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Another Way?

The booth was bright yellow, designed to attract attention. A large shirt proclaiming “Legalize Marijuana” nearby also helped the draw. This was where the Libertarian Party of Minnesota made itself known at the Minnesota State Fair in the way you might expect for a third party – after all, they need to make themselves known.

If you stepped up to talk to those staffing it, you might be surprised by my friend Joe McKenzie. He’s a Gen-Xer who is always looking for ways to make the world a better place, whether by organizing a winter clothing drive for new refugees almost spontaneously or by simply being mindful and respectful of the people he’s helped to find jobs. You might also be surprised by what the voters were most interested in, too, given how this election is going.

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Ireland’s Big Payday

In a victory for corporate taxes everywhere, Apple has been ordered to pay as much as €13 billion ($14.7 billion) in back taxes to Ireland. Or, perhaps, in a loss for workers everywhere, a reluctant Ireland is forced to go back on its agreement with Apple to base its European operations there in exchange for much needed tax breaks. Or, perhaps, corporate tax harmonization has been dealt a terrible setback as the European Union (EU) has claimed their turf in what should be hammered out through an international agreement.

What we do know for sure is the massive penalty, the largest ever imposed, is a big blow to Apple, amounting to …. around 7% of their massive $200 billion cash reserves. Unless, of course,  the Republic of Ireland can justify a smaller bill, which they are very much keen to do. So nevermind.

Like corporate taxes themselves, today’s big story is completely negotiable and dependent on your perspective. There will be more to this, but nothing even remotely obvious will happen in the immediate future.

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