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republican

This article in the Washington Post really gets at the crux of the difference in outlook between liberals and conservatives:

Chaffetz was articulating a commonly held belief that poverty in the United States is, by and large, the result of laziness, immorality and irresponsibility. If only people made better choices — if they worked harder, stayed in school, got married, didn’t have children they couldn’t afford, spent what money they had more wisely and saved more — then they wouldn’t be poor, or so the reasoning goes.

[ . . . ]

Since the invention of the mythic welfare queen in the 1960s, this has been the story we most reliably tell about why people are poor. Never mind that research from across the social sciences shows us, over and again, that it’s a lie. Never mind low wages or lack of jobs, the poor quality of too many schools, the dearth of marriageable males in poor black communities (thanks to a racialized criminal justice system and ongoing discrimination in the labor market), or the high cost of birth control and day care. Never mind the fact that the largest group of poor people in the United States are children. Never mind the grim reality that most American adults who are poor are not poor from lack of effort but despite it.

Conservatives believe in a meritocracy; people who get ahead do so because they “deserve” to, because they’ve worked hard and pulled themselves up by the proverbial bootstraps. The flip side to that is that poor people or the less successful are seen as also “deserving” of their failure, because they’re lazy, stupid, or otherwise unworthy.

Liberals tend to believe that success and failure are mostly based on factors completely outside of one’s control: Systematic and structural factors that set some people up with advantages that allow them to succeed despite themselves, and others with such insurmountable odds that it would take a miracle to defy them.

As usual, the real truth lies somewhere in between the two. A lot of our success or failure *is* structural and outside of our control. And our choices and actions do matter, but they’re not the only things that matter. I think so many people struggle with the notions of systematic discrimination and privilege simply because they don’t want to let go of feeling like they’re in control of their own lives. I get that. I really do. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to attack people for being poor, though.

Alain de Botton has a good TED talk about this, which is worth a watch if you have a few moments.

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Steve Bannon has admitted that Trump’s choices for his cabinet were deliberately set up to destroy the agencies that they were appointed to lead:

In the clearest explanation for why nearly all of Trump’s cabinet choices are known mostly for despising and attacking the very Federal agencies they’ve been designated to lead, Bannon explained—in very clear language–that they weren’t appointed to lead these agencies, but to destroy them:

Atop Trump’s agenda, Bannon said, was the “deconstruction of the administrative state” — meaning a system of taxes, regulations and trade pacts that the president and his advisers believe stymie economic growth and infringe upon one’s sovereignty.

“If you look at these Cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction,” Bannon said. He posited that Trump’s announcement withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership was “one of the most pivotal moments in modern American history.”

I mean, it HAD to be true, right? But to actually admit it? You’re an antisemitic scumbag, Mr. Bannon, so maybe you don’t know the definition of the word “chutzpah”… but that’s pretty much it.

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Sanity prevails in the USA

11.07.2012

Months and years of campaigning, more than$2.2 billion in election spending, over 100 million votes cast… and Americans in their wisdom decided to essentially maintain the status quo. President Obama returns to the White House for a second mandate. The Senate stays blue; the House stays red. But lest anyone was thinking that this whole […]

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Palin won’t run

10.05.2011

Sarah Palin won’t run for President in 2012: After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States. As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When […]

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And on the issues front

11.08.2006

The sweeping gains made by Democrats tonight only tell half the story. There were also a number of issues votes that, if nothing else, indicate that the country is feeling more anti-Bush right now than pro-Liberal. For example: Constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage won approval in South Carolina, Tenessee, Virginia and Wisconsin, with similar […]

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The halfway-there elections

11.06.2006

Tomorrow’s U.S. midterm election is garnering way more attention than this non-event typically gets. The prospect of the Democrats taking back one or maybe even both houses has got a lot of people talking, but it’s really the same old nonsense, rehashed. If the Democrats take control of the House (somewhat likely) and/or the Senate […]

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Too much power

11.04.2004

Bush winning the election is not what’s making me so uncomfortable. At least, it doesn’t make me any more uncomfortable than a Kerry win would have. The trouble is, the combination of results that have given the Republicans another four years in the White House, significant gains in Congress and a virtual lock on the […]

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What if . . .

06.16.2003

Gore had won the 2000 election? The game of “what if” can be endless and pointless but it can also be fun. So I was thinking about what might have happened if the outcome of the 2000 election was different. What if the whole Florida ballot scandal never happened and Al Gore was voted into […]

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Rightward shift for American Jews?

01.22.2003

The Canadian Jewish News has a story about how increasing numbers of American Jews are breaking the traditional alignment with the Democratic party and moving rightward. We are now experiencing “a very explosive moment in Jewish politics,” one that is rocking the traditional Jewish affiliation with the Democratic party and creating an undercurrent of anti-Semitism, […]

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