Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman (2015)
This is a decent history of how African Americans struggled to get the vote in reality, including coverage of the Jim Crow era. But the real meat of the book starts about page 236 when the whole Shelby disaster gutting the Civil Rights Act began.
It is especially bitter to be writing this today. Today, April 7, 2017, was the day the Supreme Court was killed by Mitch McConnell and his cronies by changing the rules to get the judge, Neil Gorsuch (forever will be Gorsuck to me) that ruled against women’s access to contraception in the disastrous Hobby Lobby decision [rest in hell Scalia] on the freaking Supreme Court. His opinion was based on the absurd belief that WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH RIGHTS were subordinate to the religious delusions of employers. His claim was based on the notion that ANYTHING that allowed women employees to have access to birth control made the “religious” employers “complicit” in allowing women to have bodily autonomy and not be forced to become pregnant and subsequently be forced to give birth.
Continue reading Give Us the Ballot by Ari Berman
She has a video interview about Dark Money on YouTube.Radical Right
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right has been getting a lot of attention, quiet rightly since it discusses the now infamous Libertarian/Bircher Koch brothers and their billions and billions and billions and, by God, you peons deserve NOTHING! NOTHING, DAMN YOU TAKERS! EAT SHIT AND DIE! Though then I’m not sure how they would have enough workers to destroy the environment to increase their wealth JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN beyond 86 billion dollars.
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold history of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg (2016)
Equality as an ideal, in the abstract, serves as the theme of American democracy. It is false, of course, as a reality.
Rich white men never willingly gave any power, money, or anything else to anyone unless they were forced to do so. Married women were denied legal existence being subsumed upon marriage only as a adjunct to the husband. And were legally chattel back in the day.
Americans are not and have never been living in a “classless society.”
Continue reading White Trash by Nancy Isenberg
This is a continuation of a really long post posted recently. I have to take the book back to the library but can’t resist sharing some more of the book before tomorrow.
Chapter 4 is titled “You get what you deserve” and encapsulates various justifications for inequality.
He starts with some stats on property and the fact that minimum wage is “below the poverty line for a family of two, let alone a family of four.” It would seem obvious, with companies making massive profits — or even small net profits — that the owner class could afford to pay more than minimum wage. Because like Chris Rock said, the fact that we have to have a minimum wage law at all means employers wouldn’t pay you at all if they could. And by gosh, they are coming after every labor law that ever was passed including or maybe especially minimum wage.
Through the “science” of economism, however, conservatives can “prove” that increasing wages will not reduce poverty, but will increase unemployment. The argument starts out flawed because employees have NO POWER TO SET WAGES unless they are in a union. Even then, employees must be willing to go on strike and try to cost an exploitive employer so much in lost profit that they will agree to pay fair wages. Being on strike requires back up funds, courage, and risk. People who were the original strikers risked their lives and were killed by POLICE for daring to demand living wages. That’s how bad American employers don’t want to pay wages: they would rather kill people that make a nickel less for themselves.
Continue reading Economism part 2 of 2
The American Way of Poverty: How the other half still lives by Sasha Abramsky (2013)
The book is full of tales of woe, so much so that you would think that politicians could not ignore such a reality. I considered suggesting sending this book to legislators, but their collective entrenched delusions would not comprehend these stories as FACT. Neither would they see this situation as SYSTEMIC. The few unfortunate cited are exceptions, not the standard way of this great America life, contrasted with their own economically secure collective multimillion dollar personal life experience.
The tyranny of the majority now in government at state and federal levels is deliberately eliminating every possible aspect of the common good. Proudly dismantling the safety net. The stupid people that voted for the monsters remain deluded that they will be better off.
The American Way of Poverty is divided into two parts. Broadly speaking, the first part of the book tells the stories of the impoverished people I met around the country, whereas the second part of the book maps out a broad set of policy discussions and connections between issues that any meaningful national level attempt to tackle poverty will have to include. These include tax reform, the welfare system, wages, access to healthcare, changes that could be made in the criminal justice system, changes in how America deals with addiction and mental illness, reforms in the foster care system, and many other area that overlap with poverty. (p. 330)
Note the link in the paragraph above goes to the web site for the book and contains some of the interviews and oral histories.
Continue reading The American Way of Poverty by Sasha Abramsky