The Diversity Hustle

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The Diversity Hustle

A merry-go-round that has different colors and genders of jackasses and elephants is pure deception.
“Putting new mannequins in window displays and keeping policies intact does everything to perpetuate fraudulence and does nothing to fix the underlying problems.”
There is only one thing more reprehensible than overt racism and that is exploiters who use the pains of marginalized people to advance their own agendas. There is a reason I find myself being more and more repulsed by Democrats, I’ve come to accept the mendacity of Republicans, however the hypocrisy of Democrats and their enablers in mainstream media is something that truly gets under my collar.
A few days ago, Nancy Pelosi reclaimed the Speaker’s gavel eight years after leading the Democrats to a resounding defeat. Yet again, she used the plight of women as a human shield to at once justify her campaign and intimidate anyone who did not want to support her. Let’s get one thing straight, Pelosi is to the struggles faced by women as Donald Trump is to grace and humility.
Identity politics is nothing but a diversity hustle, For the record, it’s not only Democrats who use this scam to get elected, Republicans deploy the same game of grievance and feigned concern to wield power and dupe their constituents. After all, Trump got elected President by treading on the hopes and frustrations of his supporters the same way that Barack Obama hoodwinked his believers.
“Pelosi is to the struggles faced by women as Donald Trump is to grace and humility.”
Just because they look like us does not mean they are for us. We have to stop falling for the slick marketing schemes used by Democrats and Republicans, one where they parade new faces and personalities to make us believe that we are making progress. A merry-go-round that has different colored and different genders of jackasses and elephants is pure deception, putting new mannequins in window displays and keeping policies intact does everything to perpetuate fraudulence and does nothing to fix the underlying problems.
Sadly, this dubious ruse keeps working every election cycle. The first black president ended up being nothing more than a puppet of banks and Wall Street, the first woman Secretary of State ended up being another warmongering maniac, the first Muslim Congressman did nothing to ameliorate the plight of the poor and oppressed, the first transsexual representative will just fall in line and be another reliable vote of neoliberalism. Establishment voices use identity to hide the insidious policies that are being pushed by both parties, amazingly countless Americans keep falling for this bullshit.
“The first black president ended up being nothing more than a puppet of banks and Wall Street.”
Mary Antoinette was the last queen of France who lived lavishly during the dawn of the French Revolution, did her gender give her any special insight into the burdens of countless millions of Parisian women who were being crushed by hunger and homelessness? Idi Amin was a Ugandan leader, did that mean that he had the interests of tens of millions of Africans in mind just because he shared their complexion? Hitler was part Jewish, did that mean that he should be lauded just because he shared the ethnicity of the millions of Jews he murdered? At what point are we going to judge people by their deeds instead of falling for their identity driven shakedowns?
I don’t care about the successes of the first (insert identity here) if their achievements do not lead to the betterment of the people they supposedly represent. This year is being lauded as the year of women because Congress has the highest number of women Representatives and Senators. Who cares! We can have all 535 positions being held by women or “people of color” but what does it matter if the economic and foreign policies they keep enacting never changes? What does it matter whose face is in power if the masses she/he represents is languishing in abject poverty or pervasive hopelessness?
“We must find a way to dismantle the two factions that have monopolized power and commandeered government.”
If we truly want to change the structural issues that gash at humanity and lessen inequalities that permeate throughout society, we must find a way to dismantle the two factions that have monopolized power and commandeered government. Doing so requires that we stop being a cult of personality and that we cease being transfixed on political parties. The people we keep sending to DC to speak on our behalf—most of whom have no idea what are struggles or lives are about—are never more powerful than the institutions that they are signing up to serve. Until we focus on policies instead of being hooked on the narcotic of parties and personalities, we will keep getting diversity hustles and social justice bamboozles and getting the same results no matter who is in power.
2020 promises to reach a crescendo of absurdity when it comes to diversity hustles being unleashed by two faced candidates. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders and a slew of “I’m one of you” scam artists will flock to Iowa to push their qualification through the prism of identity. They will promise change, pander and throw out platitudes, each one throwing crumbs to marginalized groups. They will go toe-to-toe with a Donald Trump who has also perfected the swindle of speaking to people’s grievance. If you found yourself getting upset because I included one of your political heroes, just know that is how the diversity hustle works. It’s easy to see when others get jived, a lot harder to understand when you are the one being hustled.
“They will promise change, pander and throw out platitudes, each one throwing crumbs to marginalized groups.”
The diversity hustle is nothing more than emotional manipulation, con artists are ruthlessly targeting specific demographics by changing the makeup of the parties without changing the foundation of the institutions. I used the word demographic for a reason, in marketing, the most vital step is to understand specific audiences based on age, race, gender, orientation and the various ways we are sliced and diced as a society. Politicians are using diversity as a business plan; they don’t care about our concerns, they are just hoping to capture ratings by using our pains as catnip.
It is high time that we stop falling for this bamboozle, just because they share our skin don’t make them our kin and just because they resemble us does not mean they represent our interests. Keep this in mind the next time some politician or pundit talks about the year of women, gays, blacks, Latinos or whatever other identity they choose to manipulate.

From BAR

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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Why Aren’t Liberals Celebrating Higher Gas Prices? It’s What They Want Democrats have spent the past two decades advocating for policies that artificially spike fossil fuel prices.

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With consumer confidence at a 17-year high and economic prospects looking relatively strong, congressional Democrats have taken to grousing about the gas pump as a midterm strategy. “These higher oil prices are translating directly to soaring gas prices,” declared Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, “something we know disproportionately hurts middle- and lower-income people.”

If this is true, then why have Democrats spent the past two decades advocating for policies that artificially spike fossil fuel prices? If higher energy costs hurt Americans—and thank you, senator, for conceding this point—why have liberals favored increasing gas taxes, inhibiting exploration for fossil fuels (including a ban on fracking for less environmentally damaging gas in a number of places), and capping imports? If higher gas prices disproportionately impact the working class and poor, then why do Democrats push for national schemes designed to create false demand through a fabricated marketplace?

Not a single reporter asked the Democrats who were performing at a press conference in front of an Exxon filling station the other day if higher gas prices might incentivize Americans to switch to subsidized “alternative” energy sources—even though this happens to be the prevailing theory driving much of their energy policy. Shouldn’t Democrats be celebrating the fact that fewer Americans were driving on Memorial Day? I thought we were facing an apocalyptic situation here.

Schumer conveniently blamed the United States’ exiting of the Iran nuclear deal for the spike—an agreement he supposedly opposed. Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz, a self-styled “climate hawk,” claimed, “There’s a straight line between Trump’s policies and the price of gasoline.” We can only now assume he believes the prevalence of cheap fossil fuels is imperative in the effort to alleviate poverty and create wealth. I concur. But don’t worry about Iran, senator; there’s plenty of oil elsewhere.

Politico maintains that Democrats have stolen a page from the “GOP playbook to attack Trump,” which is true, though the difference is that Republicans generally support proposals that make gas more affordable. The Obama administration, for example, benefited greatly from a recalcitrant GOP Congress’s committed obstruction of an untold number of terrible initiatives. We should recall that the energy secretary openly wrestled with ways “to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” When Obama was asked in 2008 if the $4-a-gallon gas prices at the time were beneficial for the American economy, the presidential candidate prevaricated, saying, “I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment.”

What is the gradual adjustment Democrats prefer today? A slow and steady move to $7? Right now U.S. gas prices are only a fraction of those in European nations, and yet Democrats acted as if Trump had triggered Armageddon when he decided to leave the Paris climate agreement. Do you want us to follow Norway’s lead or not?

Democrats had opposed the opening of pipeline projects, of new drilling, and allowed the Environmental Protection Agency to transform from a regulatory agency that was protecting the environment to a place where the administration could implement backdoor legislation that American voters had rejected. If Democrats hadn’t lost power in 2010, we might be living with those $4 per gallon prices today.

To understand how this policy manifests, just look at California, where gas prices are consistently among the highest in the nation—despite the fact that there are no constraining geographic or economic impediments to cheap energy. Last year, the legislature pushed through another gas tax (and an even larger one on diesel) and extra “fees” to help make one of the most regressive energy policies in the country even more onerous and expensive.

Now, obviously the entire spectacle is for show. Schumer says, “It’s time for the president to buck his oil executive buddies,” because lots of ignorant voters probably believe that the price of crude oil can be controlled by a few nefarious CEOs. The only question I have is: Why don’t these profit-mongering oligarchs keep prices high all the time?

Of course, in the real world, summertime typically brings a spike in prices—and despite Schumer’s forecast of “soaring gas prices,” prices are already dropping again. Given the fungibility of commodities and the track record of the Middle East, we’ll likely always have to deal with some painful fluctuations in the price of energy, regardless of what we do at home. But relying on market forces has, by every conceivable measurement, had a better track record than price controls.

So while Democrats have learned to be less open with their intentions, the policies speak for themselves. What do they plan on doing about oil prices when they win the election? Yell at some executives? Why doesn’t anyone with access ask these concerned senators if they believe cheap fossil fuels is preferable? Or do they still support policies that spike energy prices on purpose?

By David Harsanyi/Reason

Posted by The NON-Conformist

How Insurance Companies Can Force Bad Cops Off the Job

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In exchange for coverage, insurers can demand that police departments implement new policies and training, and dismiss problem officers.

When Anthony Miranda was sworn in as police chief of Irwindale, California, four years ago, the department in this small gravel-mining city about 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles was in the midst of a downward spiral. Three officers had recently been accused of serious crimes. One had embezzled $250,000 of his 89-year-old father’s life savings, another had sexually assaulted a woman delivering newspapers on a side street at dawn, and the third had molested minors under his supervision in an “explorer scout” program. There were 14 internal investigations underway.

The problems with the police force were not just troubling—they were existential. In August 2013, the city’s insurer, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority, had threatened to revoke Irwindale’s liability insurance unless City Hall and the police department took substantive steps to tackle internal corruption, the likes of which had led to nearly $2 million in settlements paid out over a five-year period.

Loss of insurance would have been the death knell for the local police force: In recent years, cities in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Louisiana, and elsewhere in California have had to disband their police departments after losing  coverage. A big claim—like the $2.75 million settlement later awarded to the victim in the “explorer scout” case—could bankrupt a municipality with a small budget and tax base, like Irwindale. The city has only 1,400 people.

“I told them if we didn’t get our house in order, we would lose it,” Miranda told me. He had watched in 2010 as police officers in nearby Maywood turned in their badges and radios in a small ceremony after that city’s liability coverage was withdrawn by CJPIA, due in part to the excessive number of claims against the police. “It was pretty sobering,” he said. Yet the company’s threat, and the “performance improvement plan” it required officials to follow, finally set Irwindale on a path toward overhauling its dysfunctional department.

While much attention has been paid to the issue of police misconduct —with 14 cities pursuing consent decrees with the Department of Justice—what is less well known is how liability insurers can put a private-sector spin on reform, by demanding structural changes in the police departments that they cover. In April, a paper by the University of Chicago law professor John Rappaport detailed the effects these companies have had on police forces across America.

In Wisconsin, for instance, an insurer in 2002 recommended new training and supervision of SWAT teams in the Lake Winnebago area in the aftermath of two botched drug raids. In 2010, a police chief in Rutledge, Tennessee, was fired to appease the town’s liability insurer after assault allegations were leveled against him. In many other states, police forces have been asked to adopt new policies regarding body cameras, strip searches, and use of force.

Although an outside company exerting influence on local police may not seem compatible with good governance, there are hidden advantages to insurers’ monitoring police departments and suggesting improvements. For one, insurance companies are apolitical. “I think the debates about policing have become so fraught and so inflammatory,” Rappaport told me. “To have this big, well-heeled institution saying, ‘We’re not interested in that debate, we just want to get those numbers down’—it can make reform more palatable because it takes the electricity out.”

Cash-strapped cities, meanwhile, can benefit from the services offered by liability insurers, from police training sessions and applicant screening to data-driven insights gleaned from the insurer’s work with other municipalities. In Irwindale, there were biweekly meetings with an outside risk manager; hundreds of hours of training sessions for police officers on topics like sexual harassment and use of force; and outside reviews of all internal-affairs investigations. The department had 18 months to clean up its act in order to keep its coverage. “I’ve never seen such a thing in my whole career,” Miranda said. “I’m going on 27 years.”

The possibility of private-sector police regulation is of heightened interest under a Trump administration that intends to minimize the Department of Justice’s role in police oversight. Earlier this spring, for example, Attorney General Jeff Sessions unsuccessfully tried to scuttle the police consent decree in Baltimore. “Insurers have a much bigger role to play in a world where the DOJ is not going to be aggressive, and we’re going to have to rely on private plaintiffs to bring lawsuits and seek money damages,” Rappaport said. (Last month, Republican lawmakers introduced a bill in Congress that would make it nearly impossible to sue the police in the first place, including in brutality cases).

At the moment, companies’ influence is primarily felt in small and midsize cities, because major cities have large enough tax bases and budgets to absorb high damages from lawsuits. They generally “self-insure,” which renders them relatively impervious to market forces. But there are signs the dynamic may be shifting. William Murphy Jr., a Baltimore trial attorney specializing in criminal and catastrophic injury cases, who represented Freddie Gray’s family in their police-brutality lawsuit there, is fine-tuning a new bill on behalf of the Baltimore city council that would require the city to purchase liability insurance. Murphy, who played himself on The Wire, became intrigued by the idea after reading Rappaport’s paper. He was particularly interested in the risk-management techniques used by insurers—like sending updates on legal developments affecting law-enforcement agencies—to prevent misconduct from happening in the first place.

According to Murphy, Baltimore can acquire liability insurance from a Maryland risk-sharing pool created for local governments. “Our city can’t complain it’s too expensive, because God knows what they’ve been doing in the past has been expensive, without even giving fair settlements to injured people,” he noted. Maryland, like many states, has caps on the monetary damages that can be awarded in lawsuits against local governments. In 2011 an $11.5 million jury award in a police-brutality suit in Prince George’s County was reduced to just $400,000. Major cities electing to purchase liability coverage, Murphy said, will benefit both communities and police departments. “People will be able to get the settlements juries award, with this additional protection of insurers insisting on proper training and identifying bad actors,” he said.

Threatening to revoke a city’s insurance coverage can spur or speed reforms, but it’s not a perfect tool, said Norman Lefmann, assistant executive officer of CJPIA, the risk-sharing pool that insures Irwindale and some 120 other municipalities in California. “We have no ultimate enforcement ability, so it still does require the city and police department to have the wherewithal to make the changes that need to be made,” he pointed out. “We have no control over them.”

Police Chief Miranda describes the year and a half his officers in Irwindale spent under their insurer’s performance-improvement plan as “the biggest significant emotional event for this department.”

Before the threat of losing their insurance materialized, the city had failed to invest in adequate training for police officers, citing budgetary concerns. The two-dozen members of the department only had about 300 hours of training in three years. But fearful that their force could be disbanded without sufficient reform, the city dedicated money from asset forfeitures—a practice that itself is under scrutiny—and used it on training sessions for officers. Members of the police department participated in around 1,000 hours of training in a single year after CJPIA got involved.

As the trials of the three policemen accused of wrongdoing moved through the courts, Miranda reviewed spreadsheets with the city’s risk manager and regularly sent status reports for ongoing investigations. “It was pretty tough but long overdue,” he said. Eventually, the three officers went to prison for their crimes, and Irwindale kept its liability insurance and police force.

Lefmann said Irwindale’s claims have gone down since the performance improvement plan was completed, but was quick to note that “when there are systemic issues, it doesn’t change overnight.” And, because of the recent multimillion-dollar settlement in the “explorer scout” case, Irwindale is still exposing other members of the risk pool to claims that far outpace the small city’s contributions.

Nevertheless, “now we’re in a much better place,” Miranda said. His remaining police officers were able to “change their morale and attitude and get right,” he said. “At the end of the day this very negative thing was a very positive thing for our city.”

By RACHEL B. DOYLE/TheAtlantic

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Eight Policies That Prevent Police Brutality

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Civilian deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers have become so routine in the US that it risks becoming predictable. This has resulted in a growing movement of fearful, outraged citizens concerned with police violence–including the increasing militarization of police departments. However, a new report suggests that curbing police violence is quite possible, if police departments and local officials commit to it.

In the aftermath of the Ferguson protests, a citizen’s group—known as Campaign Zero (CZ)—came together to research and recommend solutions to end police brutality. In their “Police Use of Force Project,” Campaign Zero identified eight policies that greatly decrease the likelihood of police violence:

Require officers to de-escalate situations before resorting to force.
Limit the kinds of force that can be used to respond to specific forms of resistance.
Restrict chokeholds.
Require officers to give verbal warning before using force.
Prohibit officers from shooting at moving vehicles.
Require officers to exhaust all alternatives to deadly force.
Require officers to stop colleagues from exercising excessive force.
Require comprehensive reporting on use of force.
Researchers examined 91 of the 100 largest cities to see if police departments were using these policies, and found that none of the departments utilized all eight. The lowest rates of police killings were associated with those departments that implemented four or more policies—only about a third of the country’s largest departments. If all the policies were enforced, it’s estimated police killings would drop by 72%.

Why then are implementation rates so low? Historical precedence is partly to blame. In some cases, police unions claim that the policies would endanger officers. However, research findings show the opposite: better regulation of use of force is better for police, too—with the numbers of officers assaulted or killed in the line of duty decreasing in proportion to the number of policies adopted. It’s time to call for the implementation of “Use of Force” policies in every city and community across the country.

From/Projectcensored

Posted by The NON-Conformist

The Silencing of Coretta Scott King Is an Act of Systemic Racism

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On Tuesday night, during debate about the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, Republican extremists silenced Senator Elizabeth Warren as she was discussing Sessions’s record. They did not object to the facts she cited. They refused to hear them.

This is what systemic racism looks like in America.

As part of her remarks, Senator Warren read from Coretta Scott King’s 1986 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the nomination of Sessions to a federal judgeship. The letter was never entered into the record by then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Strom Thurmond.

Mrs. King’s words, however, were based on facts she had observed about Sessions’s beliefs and conduct. She knew, for example, that as US Attorney Sessions had tried to prosecute one of her late husband’s pallbearers for helping elderly citizens vote in Alabama. Mrs. King knew that her husband had died for standing up to men like Jeff Sessions. She wasn’t attacking his character or pretending to know what was in his heart. She had witnessed the heart of his policy.

Senator Sessions, and anyone else who has a history of supporting systemic racism, cannot be protected from the truth of their own record. We need to have a grownup conversation about race in America and the ways it shows up in the heart of policies.

Refusing to restore the Voting Rights Act is systemic racism. As King wrote in 1986, “Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge.”

More recently, Sessions opposed restoring and updating section 4 of the Voting Rights Act after the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court decision. He sat idly by as the Supreme Court and politicians dismantled and attacked voting rights. As a US Attorney in Alabama, he unjustly prosecuted voting rights advocates who worked closely with Martin Luther King, Jr. This baseless, politically motivated case ended in unanimous acquittal of these defenders of civil rights. “A person who has exhibited so much hostility to the enforcement of those laws, and thus, to the exercise of those rights by Black people should not be elevated to the federal bench,” King wrote.

His support to repeal health care access, which impacts 3 million African Americans, is systemic racism. His refusal to support living wages to the 54 percent of African Americans who make less than living wages is systemic racism. Scapegoating Muslim refugees and mobilizing a deportation force is systemic racism. Senator Sessions has a clear record of promoting xenophobia and religious bigotry; his former aid, Stephen Miller, who learned political extremism in my home state of North Carolina, is reported to be the chief author of Trump’s Muslim ban. Sessions has defended the legitimacy of religious tests in immigration policy that could be used to ban immigration by Muslims.

None of this is an attack on Senator Sessions’s character. Senator Warren knows as well as Mrs. King did that Jeff Sessions can smile and be cordial. But his whole political career has been about defending systemic racism. This fact cannot be silenced in our public discourse.

Racial inequality persists in America not because of men in white robes but because of the policies supported by men like Jeff Sessions. Gutting public education in the name of “choice” is systemic racism and has been since Brown v. Board of Education. Using dog whistles to attack so-called “entitlement” programs, which actually serve more white people than black or brown people, is systemic racism. Promoting “law and order” policies that target poor black and brown people for mass incarceration is systemic racism. Talking about voter fraud and crime-ridden communities while plotting voter suppression is systemic racism.

If Senate rules allow this truth to be shut down then the Senate rules are wrong. While many extremist leaders continue to try to hide the truth of their embrace of systemic racism, we as moral activists will not be silenced. We are called to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. We will show up. We will sit in. We will cry out. We will not stand down. Those politicians who believe in a moral agenda for this nation must do the same.

By Dr. William J. Barber II/TheNation

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Sarah Palin Blames Son’s Domestic Abuse Arrest on Obama’s Policies

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During her Tulsa speech at a Donald Trump rally last week, Sarah Palin addressed what she deemed “the elephant in the room”: her son Track‘s domestic violence arrest.

Palin’s son––a 26-year-old Iraq veteran––was arrested after an alleged incident of domestic violence against a woman and possession of a firearm while intoxication. He has been charged with assault in the fourth degree.

More from Mediate and Politico

Posted by Libergirl and The NON-Conformist

Supreme Court: States Can Ban Affirmative Action Policies

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Posted by Libergirl

TIME

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that states can ban affirmative action policies without violating the U.S. Constitution.

The ruling, in a 6-2 decision, upholds a voter-approved amendment to Michigan’s state constitution that prohibits race-based college admissions decisions, effectively banning affirmative action in the state. The Supreme Court reversed a lower court opinion that the ban was discriminatory. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined for a dissenting decision. Justice Elena Kagan did not participate.

Seven other states—Arizona, California, Florida, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Washington—have similar bans, and the ruling paves the way for others to vote.

The ruling follows a long-term trend of eroding support in the courts for affirmative action policies across the country, echoing a statement from former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor following a high court ruling in 2003 that upheld the constitutionality of colleges considering race as a factor in college admissions. O’Connor said that…

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