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At The Nation, Mychal Denzel Smith writes We Built This Country on Inequality:

I admit to tuning out most conversations surrounding income and/or wealth inequality in the United States. It’s not because I don’t find these conversations important; they are vital. The problem is that I always hear the issue of inequality situated around what has happened in the last thirty or forty years, which ignores the fact this is a nation built on inequality. The wealth gap didn’t spring up from policy gone awry—it is the policy. This country was founded on the idea of concentrating wealth in the hands of a few white men. That that persists today isn’t a flaw in the design. Everything is working as the founders intended.

The source of that inequality has changed, as the past thirty/forty years have been dominated by the financial class and rampant executive corruption, but the American economy has always required inequality to function. Even times of great prosperity, where the wealth gap decreased, inequality was necessary. The post-WWII period is notable for the lowest levels of inequality in the modern era, but the drivers of that prosperity (the GI Bill, construction of the highway system, low-interest home loans) deliberately left black people out, and the moments of robust public investment that have benefited racial minorities and women have always been followed by a resurgence of concern over government spending and “state’s rights.”

Our job, then, if we’re serious about forming a society of true equality, is to interrogate and uproot the ideologies that created the original imbalance. In other words, we can’t deal with income/wealth inequality without also reckoning with white supremacy and patriarchy.

So far, we haven’t done a very good job of that.


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003Massive protests against US:

The US has occupied Iraq all of 37 minutes, and already is facing mass protests.

In the first Friday prayers since U.S. tanks drove to the heart of Baghdad last week, a Muslim preacher said the United States had invaded to defend Israel and denied Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, a key justification Washington offered for the war.

No prayers were held last Friday. Followers of the preacher, Ahmed al-Kubaisi, carried Korans and waved banners that read "No to America. No to Secular State. Yes to Islamic State."

"Leave our country, we want peace," one banner read.

"This is not the America we know. The America we know respects international law, respects the right of people," Kubaisi said.

What is worrisome to me is not the protests against the US—this was to be expected. It's the way the US invasion and nacent occupation is strengthening the hand of Islamists. Say what you will about Saddam, but he kept the hard-core fundamentalists under control (the reason Hussein and Osama Bin Laden hated each other). They have now been let loose, and it does not portend good things, either for the US occupation or for the region's future.

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On today's rerun of the Kagro in the Morning show, there was tough news everywhere today, from the Senate floor to West, Texas. We spent a little more time clearing up issues of procedure, and pointed out that maybe Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey, both conservatives, have a little bit of thinking to do about who supports you when you go out on a limb to do what you think is the right thing, and who leaves you hanging out to dry. Rep. Aaron Schock declares good corporate PR is now a government entitlement. The attacks in Boston give rise to renewed inquiry into the nature of terrorism, and the political symbolism of using the word.



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