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  •  We've had two major victories today, (5+ / 0-)

    and OPOL's response is "1 step forward and 10 or 20 back. Just a matter of perspective I guess." Who exactly is asking "what's the big deal?" today? I too would love to see some "more compassion and ... relating to the problems of others". Two hard-fought victories for marriage equality don't deserve to be so glibly dismissed.

    •  I celebrate our victories. (20+ / 0-)

      But they do not wipe out everything else. I wasn't speaking in terms of what happened today, I was speaking to what has happened in the last 50 years. Yes, 10 or 20 steps back is being generous and optimistic.

      •  The quote (4+ / 0-)

        comes from your response to a comment about today's news. As for the last 50 years, I'll take the US of 2013 over that of 1963 any day. Even with all of the very real problems we have today, we live in a much freer, much more egalitarian country.

        •  Much more egalitarian? (23+ / 0-)

          Perhaps,like most Americans, you are unaware of how bad it is:

          Americans vastly underestimate the degree of wealth inequality in America, and we believe that the distribution should be far more equitable than it actually is, according to a new study.
          Perhaps you are unaware that this inequality has been getting steadily worse since the early 1970's, with the pace of concentration continuing to increase during Obama's terms.  In terms of percent of total wealth and total net worth, the bottom 80% of the country now own less than half as much of the total worth as they did in 1963.  I'm not going to look up all the figures for you--the vast majority of growth over the previous decade and longer has gone to the top 1% with that amount even more concentrated in the top .1%.  There are many ways of portraying the obscene inequality in wealth and income in the US which have been regularly publicized.  The fact is that wealth is concentrating more in fewer hands and this concentration is occurring at an increasingly rapid rate.  Comparison of average CEO salaries with average workers salaries also demonstrates this fact.

          Here is an extensive analysis.

          Wealth equals power, nor more than ever in the time of Citizens United, so this wealth inequality translates to power inequality.

          There has been incredible progress in terms of racism, homophobia, and other prejudices, but this does not translate to a more egalitarian society.  Racism has always been at the service of economic exploitation, not the other way round.  It is confusion over this which prevents members of traditionally dominant groups, especially white males, from being able to imagine that powerful people are not necessarily committed to racism as a means to keep people down--they are as happy to impoverish white as black, straight as gay, so long as they keep their mansions, yachts, and firm grip on the levers of power.

          The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress. - Bacevich

          by geomoo on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 09:48:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not white, (4+ / 0-)

            so no need to tell me about what white men can and cannot imagine. You are correct, wealth is more concentrated today than it was in 1963, but that is not the only measure of an egalitarian society. To claim that 1963 America, pre-Civil Rights Act America, pre-Medicaid America (i.e. pre-Great Society America), where women earned 58.9 cents for every dollar that men earned (to give a few examples) was more egalitarian because wealth was more evenly distributed is ridiculous.

            •  Heh... 1963 was the year the CIA created (14+ / 0-)

              the Domestic Operations Division despite the charter that prohibited the CIA from operating domestically. This program has directly led to where we are today.

              •  Mayhap some information? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                deep info

                I have a simple note that in 1963, a National Censorship Agreement was established? modified? between DoD and OEP (now FEMA). Any embellishments?

                •  It has a new name (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  One Pissed Off Liberal
                  National Resources Division
                  The National Resources Division (NR) is the domestic division of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Its main function is to conduct voluntary debriefings of U.S. citizens who travel overseas for work or to visit relatives, and to recruit foreign students, diplomats and businesspeople to become CIA assets when they return to their countries.[1]


                  The division was formed in 1991 by the merger of the CIA's Foreign Resources Division and the National Collection Division.[2]

                  The Foreign Resources Division was created in 1963 as the Domestic Operations Division and given the responsibility for clandestine operational activities of the Clandestine Services conducted within the United States against foreign targets. Its eventual function was to locate foreign nationals of special interest who resided in the United States and recruit them to serve as CIA assets when they returned home (or to some other foreign location).

                  Here's information on how they operated. The date shown in this document is 1964.


                  Also in 1964, President Johnson allowed CIA Director John McCone to create a new super-secret branch of the CIA's proprietary front organisations called the Domestic Operations Division (DOD), the very title of which mocked the supposed congressional prohibition of CIA operations inside the U.S.

                  In the classified document creating the DOD, the scope of its activities were "to exercise centralised responsibility for the direction, support and coordination of clandestine operational activities within the United States." One of those activities was burglarising foreign diplomatic sites at the request of the National Security Agency (NSA).

                  The CIA also expanded the role of its "quasi-legal" Domestic Contact Service (DCS), an operation designed to brief and debrief selected American citizens who had travelled abroad in sensitive areas of intelligence interest. The DCS also monitored the arrivals and departures of U.S. nationals and foreigners.

                  Thus, a nationwide network was established, comprising the DOD, the DCS and the Agency's network of fronts, covers and phoney organisations, operating entirely without congressional oversight or public knowledge.

              •  Nope (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Nada Lemming

                The CIA, and the NSA, were both created with passage of the National Security Act of 1947.


                The passage of the NSA in 1947 was the day that our Constitutional government ended. A day that will live in infamy.

                (In all fairness, I can understand why it was passed, and why a shadow government was created. Before "The Bomb", it took a long time to invade and overthrow a country. After "The Bomb", it would only take minutes. They had to create an organizational body outside of Washington, and therefore outside of the normal Constitutional succession of power)

                •  See my post above (0+ / 0-)


                  You may be interested in having a look at the second link on that post. It shows a long and dirty history of domestic spying and interventions by the CIA.

                  "It is shameful for the American people to be so misled. There is no federal agency of our government whose activities receive less scrutiny and control than the CIA."
                  - SENATOR STUART SYMINGTON,
                  Member Joint Senate Committee for CIA Oversight, Nov 23rd 1971
            •  And just how much have we gained? (13+ / 0-)

              I've heard that women now make 75 cents for every dollar that men earn - i.e., a net gain of all of 11.1 cents in 50 years.

              And A LOT of that "equalizing" has been because the earnings of men have been going DOWN.

              Also, in 1963 one person could support a whole nuclear family. Now it takes two-plus.

              Progress, you say?

              If it's
              Not your body,
              Then it's
              Not your choice
              And it's
              None of your damn business!

              by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 11:24:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Except 1963 America was an ... (18+ / 0-)

              ... America where it was conceivable that Medicaid and single-payer Medicare could be passed, that the VRA could be passed ... an America where that roughly half of the productivity growth of the country flowed through to wage and salary growth, so that 58.9% when the Equal Pay act was signed was growing in real terms, as opposed to 77% of stagnant wage and salaries as all productivity growth is channeled to profits.

              Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

              by BruceMcF on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 11:26:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Yes indeed, I grew up around virulent racism (7+ / 0-)

              Destructive, blatant open racism.  One thing I am proud of my generation for is the progress made.  My home town in the South is unrecognizable in comparison--I watched in awe as dramatic changes were evident every time I returned.

              I will disagree with you that, because you are black, you know what's true for white people.  I can imagine what it was like for you--I stood by as a young boy and watched terribly hurtful things, sometimes done consciously, often not.  I saw people I loved be unconsciously hateful.  I could feel some of the pain, but I cannot know.  Nor can you know what it was like for me, what went on around the all-white dinner table when no blacks were present.  I would hope that, like me, you apply your imagination as much as possible.  I believe that imagination and compassion can bridge the gap.  But I do not accept that black people know what it was like for them better than whites do and also know what is was like for whites better than whites do.  I do not grant all-knowing status on the basis of all-too-real oppression.  To me, it doesn't make any sense--no one can know exactly what it is like for another.  So, to be more specific, I believe it is as difficult for blacks as for whites to step out of the racial divide-and-conquer tactics and understand that, while the powerful are happy to use racism when it is convenient, they are as happy to prosper on the backs of "white trash" as on the backs of African slaves.

              Which brings me back to my point.  I am arguing that the essence of equality is power.  Just because the terms of inequality have shifted, that does not mean we are a more egalitarian society.  To understand this requires understanding that economic exploitation was the driving force behind racism and not the other way around.  The few people who increasingly control what happens in our politics, economy and society are happy enough to see racism lose some of its sting so long as it doesn't cost them any money.  Not to imply, of course, that racism is a thing of the past.  But one may well ask, if AA's are so much more equal now, why has this not translated into relative economic power.  I assume you've seen the numbers describing what is happening in black america today.  I wonder if you've also seen the statistics that by a wide margin, black's think their economic situation has improved during Obama's time in office, when the numbers prove them to be dramatically mistaken.

              I really don't mean to degrade what has always been a proud thing for me, a thing that I love my society for.  Quite honestly, I never thought I would see the day.  I also like to think I played some small part.  This makes it all the more difficult to see the cooptation and perversion of Dr. King's legacy so prevalent today, and even more painful, what I see as continued hornswoggling of black America by an indescribably cynical and ruthless ruling elite, most recently in the form of using Barack Obama to continue an agenda Dr. King would have found loathsome.  This should be a proud moment of triumph, but once again, the rug is pulled out from under.  I saw Jesse Jackson cry on election eve; now I see him reduced to protesting at the WH  I'm sorry, but this is how I see it.  I think black America has been had yet again by a ruling elite whose appetite for cruelty and greed knows no bounds.  Perhaps it is easier for me, as a white, to understand just how manipulative these people are.  Perhaps not.

              The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress. - Bacevich

              by geomoo on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 12:11:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oops. "bamboozled" is the reference I meant (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gooderservice, deep info

                instead of hornswoggled, as I see a man I used to admire, a popularizer of that word if not the first to use it in this context, be 100% co-opted by the Obama Brand.

                The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress. - Bacevich

                by geomoo on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 12:25:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Not black either. (0+ / 0-)

                Hispanic. Latin American, born in Argentina, but lived in the U.S. for a long time.

                Even if one accepts your measure of equality (solely determined by economic power), the relative position of blacks and whites in America is better today than in 1963. See here. Real median income of blacks in 1963 was less than half what it was for whites. In 2010, it was ~79%. I share everyone's frustration that these measures are not even more equal, but denying progress has been made is ignoring reality.

                I will say that claiming"black America has been had yet again" is profoundly offensive. Black Americans are just as capable of making informed political choices as you and anyone else, and to claim they, as a group, were bamboozled by Obama is a patronizing attempt to deny that. Jesse Jackson should protest the White House; there are many reasons to exert pressure on Obama. It does not mean he was fooled by Obama.

                •  A lot of self-serving assumptions (6+ / 0-)

                  which render communication nearly impossible.  I'll start out with the flat out misrepresentation.  If you would kindly re-read my comment, you will find a significant percentage of my remarks are devoted to exactly the opposite of "denying progress has been made."

                  Comparing median income of blacks with that of whites in the two eras ignores concentration of wealth among the top percentile.  Would you be content to see the median wealth of blacks and whites equal to one another, with 99% of that wealth concentrated in the hands of the top .1 percentile?  My own eyes tell me that things are better than 1963.  I well remember the first time I walked into McDonald's on a visit back to my home town and a well-dressed black high school student waited on me.  Wow, a real job.  That's awesome.  It may me feel so good.

                  As to it being "profoundly offensive" to express an opinion, quite simply, hogwash.  Nonetheless, I'll respond to your all-too-familiar tirade by saying that the opinion I express is a received opinion.  I repeat, it shouldn't matter, but I receive this opinion and the data to back it up from a well-known black commentator.  Does that make it okay to say what I think?  Or are there only certain black commentators who speak for "the black community" and whom we whites can cite in safety.  Please save the canned lectures from Racism 101.

                  As to Jackson, you misunderstood what I wrote.  I have no idea whether he has been fooled by Obama.  What I question is, why is he not in the cabinet?  Why are not the other black leaders who gave so much of their lives to the cause not the voices we hear now, for the first time, speaking out in the mainstream the conscience of black America?  That was my point there.

                  The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress. - Bacevich

                  by geomoo on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 01:49:32 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I can read just fine (0+ / 0-)

                    Spare me your condescension. You asked "if AA's are so much more equal now, why has this not translated into relative economic power"? I provided figures that proved your premise false, the economic power of black Americans has increased significantly both in absolute terms and relative to white Americans since 1963. In the context of a paragraph that accepted your simplistic notion of egalitarianism solely determined by economic power, I stated "denying progress has been made is ignoring reality". If it isn't clear yet, the progress I'm referring to is economic progress. Who misrepresented whom?

                    Some opinions are offensive, some are not. To claim black Americans have been "had" by Obama is an offensive opinion because it is patronizing, because it assumes an entire racial group is less sophisticated politically than you, because it presupposes that black Americans were motivated by a singular political idea. The black commentator who's view you claim to be parroting is being no less offensive.

                    I apologize if I misunderstood your point about Jesse Jackson.

                    •  Okay, you can be right (4+ / 0-)

                      I expect that I have said nothing worth considering, nothing that adds to the conversation, and that the world is now better off that you have disproved every aspect of everything I said.

                      You make some good points, and you do respond somewhat.  I can see what you're saying and I can see some ways in which we are talking past one another because of definitional issues.  Four years ago, I would have attempted to respond, to clarify, to continue.  But I stopped participating in "conversations" that have this sort of tone about a year ago.  As I say, there are too many "profoundly offensive" assumptions that you make about me and what I intend to say.  I wish you could take my word for it that there is a conversation to be had in there.  And if you are bothered by condescension, I suggest you check in with how you've been feeling toward me throughout this exchange.

                      I will give one example, though

                      because it assumes an entire racial group is less sophisticated politically than you
                      This is not so.  I assume much of the country, irrespective of race, has a less acute bullshit meter than I have.  This happens to be something I'm good at, and it applies to humans irrespective or race or religion.  I feel the same way about members of my own family.  I agree with John Pilger that "President Obama does one thing while Brand Obama makes you believe something else."  There is absolutely nothing racist or condescending about this view, correct or incorrect.  If correct, however, it is especially heartbreaking to think this is what is happening to AA's who, as much as one may want to pretend that race doesn't matter, overwhelmingly support Obama BECAUSE of his race.  If, in fact, they are being taken for a ride like the rest of liberal America, then that is a sad fact.

                      But I'm done now.  I know a dead end conversation when I see one.  Feel free to insult me one more time from a high horse and we'll call it a day.

                      The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress. - Bacevich

                      by geomoo on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 02:55:39 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Black Americans have (0+ / 0-)

                        overwhelmingly supported Democrats for many, many years - long before Obama ever considered running for president - for lots of perfectly good reasons (not least of which are the overtly racist policies pursued by Republicans). That there is very strong support for Obama among black Americans is not surprising, given this history. It would be silly to deny that pride in having the first black president didn't play some part, but claiming "AA's ... overwhelmingly support Obama BECAUSE of his race" is reductivist and ignores the role black Americans have played as an integral part of the Democratic base. I have as high a self-opinion as anyone, but to deny that others have the capacity to and DO make informed, logical, sound political judgments is not only wrong, it is a poor lens through which to understand others' actions.

                        All that said, I do agree with you that part of having an egalitarian society is a much more equitable distribution of the wealth generated by its members than ours. We are nowhere near where we can and should be.

                        •  I'll just put this here as a general axiom (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          gooderservice, deep info

                          I expect I'll need it again if I keep participating on dkos, and I can just link to this comment.

                          When I express my opinion about something, I am not stating, either explicitly or by implication, that no one else can think for themselves or have differing opinions from mine.  Assuming this, and not otherwise, would be a good starting point for a conversation.  Or perhaps I can just preface everything I say with, "I might be wrong but . . ."

                          Thank you for the acknowledgement that distribution of wealth has some role to play.

                          The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress. - Bacevich

                          by geomoo on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 06:29:05 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  Two corrections (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Nada Lemming

                      *whose view [it's late where I am]

                      *I apologize that I misunderstood your point about Jesse Jackson (no weasel apologies from me).

            •  1963 was far more egalitarian... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              One Pissed Off Liberal

              But perhaps we're using different definitions of "egalatarian".

              I don't judge "egalitarian" by what happens to the proletariat, while ignoring the lords... I think you have to judge it by the difference between the proletariat and the lords.

              The Lords are far, far more wealthy and powerful than they were in 1963, and everyone else is substantially less powerful.

              Now,  almost everyone earns less than 0.1 cents for every dollar which a 1%er CEO takes home.  Compared to that "58.9 cents" doesn't sound so bad, does it....

      •  When I read about the Civil Rights era in the late (9+ / 0-)

        50's and 60's I see a lot of comparisons to today.  Back then advances were also "one step forward, one step back".  Often MLK was derided by youth as not strong enough or too accommodating as he got arrested repeatedly.   Things were very dark in those days and there were increases in violence against African-Americans as the movement progressed.

        •  I've been comparing to the Gilded Age (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          One Pissed Off Liberal

          Unfortunately, the Gilded Age is kind of a nasty precedent.  Things got much worse for decades after the Civil War before they started getting better, and then after decades of really slow progress, we ended up with a small number of half-measures which were insufficient to prevent the Great Depression.

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