(CNN)A co-founder of Facebook is donating $20 million of his fortune to Democratic coffers in a late and likely consequential move to help defeat Republican candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
By: M. K. Williams
… is actually a book. Yes, seriously. There is a book titled Dear White America and the author’s name is Tim Wise.
I reluctantly picked it up at a Barnes and Noble that was going out of business a few years ago. I initially thought that it was another “angry black person” book, yelling at white people (which is probably what you’re thinking this article is right now). But I went ahead and picked it up anyway. My mental shelves were already packed with a wealth of non-fictional information that could inspire me to yell at all the white people I wanted to my own dang self. That particular day I didn’t need anybody else yelling the same thing that I could have been yelling at white folks for.
To my utter disbelief, a young looking white man appeared inside the book’s back cover. I couldn’t even claim him as lightskinned. This man was straight up white. So I checked to make sure that I picked up the right book, but it still said Dear White America. When I decided to catch the book being tricky, I read a few pages. The next thing I remember was that the receipt functioned as my bookmark while I consumed the first 3 chapters sitting in my parked car.
I’ve since followed Wise’s growing influence. From videos of lectures and panel discussions to appearances on CNN, Wise is one of the boldest white men I have ever heard speak the raw truth about the American mindset.
The only way that I can describe Tim Wise is to ask you to imagine that a black nobel laureate rode a time machine back to the 60’s, got filled with the holy ghost in Nashville, Tennessee, then had his brain squeezed into Wise as a toddler – who apparently has been walking around with it ever since. Believe me.
Which brings us now to Donald Trump. If you’re not wealthy and are even thinking about voting for Donald Trump – don’t let that man make a fool out of you.
You obviously have good sense if you can sit through reading this. I’m not trying to be funny this time. You are interested in varying views and I can bet, you’re the type of person that believes in due diligence. It doesn’t hurt that you also A) read beyond a fourth grade level – which our failing public school systems say is a major accomplishment in this country; B) seek out facts TO read which; C) demonstrates that you don’t blindly follow the crowd. It’s the same innate intelligence that’s been giving you pause over and over again about Donald Trump.
I don’t know if you’re tired of establishment politics or if you agree that the economy is a hot mess. I don’t even care if you’re just sick and tired of not getting to see white people everywhere you go. Some things and people can’t be wished away if we tried, and trust me, I’ve tried.
I’m keeping it real with you and hope that you can too. Regardless of how your search has landed you on this page, it doesn’t matter as long as you remember this – Donald Trump and the republican agenda is NOT the answer to improve the quality of your life or that of the “middle class”.
Thanks to the heartless, dog-eat-dog business practices of this country’s largest corporations / employers, THERE IS NO middle class majority anymore. There are the poor, the working poor, the small group of folks who are clinging on to high paying jobs or nest eggs that they earned or inherited, and then of course there are the wealthy.
By the way, the same greed driven cut-throat business tactics mentioned above are exactly what Donald Trump is famous for.
The comfortable job stability of an abundantly thriving middle class has gone bye-bye. From the working poor to the “middle class”, everyone is constantly watching their back, praying that they don’t lose their jobs or nest eggs. Those with the latter are constantly trying to find ways to hold on to their money, which lands many on Wall Street’s front porch of volatility. Both know that they’re one month’s earnings away from a potential financial catastrophe. We watched as major corporate facilities closed down. We read and lived through countless layoffs and furloughs across the country. To add insult to injury we saw in three decades time, hundreds of the nation’s largest corporations pull branches of their operations completely OUT of the country while eagerly GIVING OUR OLD JOBS AWAY to people overseas.
What is not as easy to see is how the wealthy have been playing the majority of Americans like a fiddle. President L.B. Johnson advised his White House Aid, Bill Moyers in 1960,
“I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it,” he said. “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” L.B. Johnson to White House Aid, William Moyers
Tell me this – how in God’s good name are Mexicans (and the silent nod including black folks for that matter) responsible for the fact that 10% of people in this country, WHOM ARE PRIMARILY WHITE, earn an average of 9 times more than the entire remaining 90% do? There aren’t enough illegal immigrants in the world that could pull off such a coup against the United States. And how are illegal immigrants supposed to take over the country when so many are busy doing work that we’re either too lazy or unskilled to do?
There’s only one way to pull this old trick off: To exploit the majority..regardless of color, gender or faith. First tactic: don’t let the majority get along with one another. If they do, they will unite and take over. To do this, the power structure must create theories and practices to wedge a division between them. To effectively do this, there must some form of “reward system” for one group while imposing a “penalty” for another. Sound familiar? It should. Poor whites and slaves were getting along just fine in America back in the day. While slaves were being beaten and killed into destitution, poor whites just had no other choice. For neither could read or write, so both had to do the same manual labor to eat. So, when the wealthy/educated class saw these folks uniting and having babies and parties and rebellions, they knew they had to do something quick. So, they offered poor whites land and a small taste of power in the form of jobs…as “overseers” of slaves. Division complete The rest is history.
(A great lesson about power by former Parliament member, Tony Benn)
If you’re super rich and back Trump, I can almost understand because you probably want to stay super rich and get even richer – regardless if you’re democrat, republican, green, purple, or independent. I would imagine that you think Trump will definitely protect your interests because you have money. However, this fundamental question remains: Why should 90 % of us suffer to make you rich?
I don’t know about you, but I believe Trump could care less if half the planet had to drop dead in order for him to stay rich. As a matter of fact, I don’t think that he would care if half of us got blown off the map by a Putin or North Korean nuclear attack judging by the way he talks.
Let’s take a look at the striking comparison between the Great Depression leading into the 1930’s and the Great Recession of the early 2000’s.
1. In 1928 and 2007 the earnings of those who made the highest 10% peaked. Also during those years, this same group paid historically low tax rates.
2. The stock market crashed in 1929 ushering in the Great Depression. The most devastating Recession since the Great Depression tore in with a crash in 2008.
When the largest share of the country’s money stays in the hands of a few, the many can’t afford to buy goods and services. Without enough money, the companies who employ people to provide goods and services can no longer afford to pay them. Wala! The companies cut jobs or worse, go out of business like those which brought lawsuits against Donald Trump.
Don’t just take my word about it. See the hard facts below from the Economic Policy Institute (their text is in blue). You can find my recommendations in the conclusion.
Income includes the revenue streams from wages, salaries, interest on a savings account, dividends from shares of stock, rent, and profits from selling something for more than you paid for it. Income inequality refers to the extent to which income is distributed in an uneven manner among a population. In the United States, income inequality, or the gap between the rich and everyone else, has been growing markedly, by every major statistical measure, for some 30 years.
Household and Family Income
Income disparities have become so pronounced that America’s top 10 percent now average nearly nine times as much income as the bottom 90 percent. Americans in the top 1 percent tower stunningly higher. They average over 38 times more income than the bottom 90 percent. But that gap pales in comparison to the divide between the nation’s top 0.1 percent and everyone else. Americans at this lofty level are taking in over 184 times the income of the bottom 90 percent.
The top 1 percent of America’s income earners have more than doubled their share of the nation’s income since the middle of the 20th century. American top 1 percent incomes peaked in the late 1920s, right before the onset of the Great Depression.
Inequality in America is growing, even at the top. The nation’s highest 0.1 percent of income-earners have, over recent decades, seen their incomes rise much faster than the rest of the top 1 percent. Incomes in this top 0.1 percent increased 7.5 times between 1973 and 2007, from 0.8 percent to an all-time high of 6 percent. The Great Recession in 2008 did dampen this top 0.1 percent share, but only momentarily. The upward surge of the top 0.1 percent has resumed.
The 1990s saw the annual incomes of the ultra rich explode in size. Between 1992 and 2002, the 400 highest incomes reported to the Internal Revenue Service more than doubled, even after the collapse of the dot.com bubble in 2000. In the early 21st century, the economic boom driven by the real estate bubble would more than triple top 400 average incomes before the 2008 economic collapse.
High levels of income concentration are pervasive across the country, but there are important differences among states. Connecticut has the highest threshold for entry into the top 1 percent. At least $677,608 in annual income is needed to be a member of this elite group in that state. That’s three times the minimum needed to be among the top 1 percent in bottom-ranking Arkansas. (place cursor on each state for detailed data)
Before the 1980s, lower-income earners owned a far larger portion of total U.S. income than they do today. How much more income would these earners be making today if the United States had the same distribution of income as the nation displayed in 1979? NPR found that Americans would experience income increases of at least $3,000 across all quintile levels, with the highest quintile owed an additional $17,311. The top 1 percent of earners would see a dramatic fall in their income, losing more than just $824,844.
The Congressional Budget Office defines before-tax income as “market income plus government transfers,” or, quite simply, how much income a person makes counting government social assistance. Analysts have a number of ways to define income. But they all tell the same story: The top 1 percent of U.S. earners take home a disproportionate amount of income compared to even the nation’s highest fifth of earners.
Since 1979, the before-tax incomes of the top 1 percent of America’s households have increased more than four times faster than bottom 20 percent incomes.
The Congressional Budget Office defines after-tax income as “before-tax income minus federal taxes.” After taxes, top 1 percent incomes are increasing even faster than before taxes. Before-tax income growth for the top 1 percent has averaged 174.5 percent since 1979. The after-tax increase: 200.2 percent. A progressive tax system should function to narrow income gaps between the affluent and everyone else. Over recent decades, America’s tax system has done no narrowing.
In the United States today, unions have a much smaller economic presence than they did decades ago. With unions playing a smaller economic role, the gap between worker and CEO pay was nine times larger in 2013 than in 1980.
Wages in the United States, after taking inflation into account, have been stagnating for more than three decades. Typical American workers and the nation’s lowest-wage workers have seen little or no growth in their real weekly wages.
Between 1979 and 2007, paycheck income of the top 1 percent of U.S. earners exploded by over 256 percent. Meanwhile, the bottom 90 percent of earners have seen little change in their average income, with just a 16.7 percent increase from 1979 to 2014.
Productivity has increased at a relatively consistent rate since 1948. But the wages of American workers have not, since the 1970s, kept up with this rising productivity. Worker hourly compensation has flat-lined since the mid-1970s, increasing just 15.5 percent from 1979 to 2013, while worker productivity has increased 132.8 percent over the same time period.
Nobody has to be an economist to see what’s right in from of their faces. Greed at the top has sucked a lion’s share of money directly away from the majority and into their own pockets. And the top earners in this country WANT the majority of Americans to remain broke and dumb so that they can continue to rob us blind.
The top 10% of earners are the very ones who are making the corporate decisions to slash thousands of American jobs at a time with a stroke of a pen which represent billions in American wages . They then hire cheaper employees abroad. Despite popular belief, overseas employees are NOT just laborers in the manufacturing sector. They are also giving our jobs to cheaper highly skilled professionals ranging from engineers and scientists to construction workers and MBA’s.
To slap a “STUPID” sticker on the brows of Americans, they promote a big fat lie that of all people – it’s the Mexicans who are taking over. Then, they get all the stupid-sticker folks riled up to VOLUNTARILY pay for a 2,000 mile long x 30 feet high Trump billboard.
If you’re not rich and are looking to improve your quality of life i.e.,. the very possibility of higher wages, lower taxes, and guaranteed healthcare in the event that you get ill, vote for Hillary Clinton. On the other hand, if you want to lose any chance of keeping affordable/ guaranteed healthcare as you continue to work at a job which pays you less than you made 10, 15, and even 20 years ago, while watching the rich pay less in taxes than you do – vote for Donald Trump. That’s just the bottom line. Check their records. Oh, Darnit! I almost forgot…one won’t release them.
Restrictions on early and weekend voting implemented by Wisconsin Republicans over the last five years are unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Friday.
U.S. District Judge James Peterson found a series of other voting changes signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker to be unconstitutional, but did not overturn the state’s photo identification requirement.
“Wisconsin’s strict version of voter ID law is a cure worse than the disease,” Peterson wrote, before noting he is bound by earlier cases in Wisconsin and Indiana to reject the challenge to the law in its entirety.
The decision will not affect the Aug. 9 primary election.
Peterson issued a series of changes to the laws that will be undertaken as the state transitions from having its elections overseen by the now-defunct Government Accountability Board to a new elections commission.
Laws that limited in-person absentee voting to one location, limited early voting hours and eliminated weekend voting are unconstitutional, Peterson ruled.
The 2013 law limiting hours for in-person absentee voting “intentionally discriminates on the basis of race,” Peterson wrote in a 119-page decision.
“I reach this conclusion because I am persuaded that this law was specifically targeted to curtail voting in Milwaukee without any other legitimate purpose. The legislature’s immediate goal was to achieve a partisan objective, but the means of achieving that objective was to suppress the reliably Democratic vote of Milwaukee’s African Americans,” Peterson wrote.
Peterson — who was appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama in 2014 — also overturned laws that increased the residency requirement for voters from 10 days to 28 days, prohibited distributing absentee ballots by fax or email and required “dorm lists” used as proof of residence to include citizenship information.
The judge also overturned a provision of the voter ID law banning the use of expired but otherwise qualifying student IDs at the polls.
Also addressed in Peterson’s ruling was the state’s ID petition process, or IDPP — the system qualified voters use to obtain a free ID from the state. The lawsuit argued the IDPP is ineffective and has failed minority groups in particular.
Peterson found the system does not require “wholesale invalidation,” but that it does not act as an effective safety net for qualified electors who struggle to obtain proper IDs.
“The IDPP is pretty much a disaster,” Peterson wrote, later referring to it as a “wretched failure.”
Under Peterson’s ruling, once a petitioner submits sufficient materials, the state Division of Motor Vehicles must “promptly issue a credential valid for voting, unless readily available information shows that the petitioner is not a qualified elector entitled to such a credential.” The state must also “inform the general public” of that process.
“Petitioners and the public must be informed that these credentials have a term equivalent to that of a driver license or Wisconsin ID, and that they will be valid for voting until they expire or are revoked for good cause,” Peterson wrote.
According to the state, 420,000 free state ID cards have been issued since July 2011, 127,000 of which were new IDs, while 1,389 IDPP petitions were filed.
But 70 percent of the would-be voters who have gone through the IDPP process are non-white, plaintiffs’ attorney Josh Kaul argued in court. And of 61 denials issued, he said, 81 percent of those who were denied were non-white.
Plaintiffs in the case sought to overturn voting policies signed into law by Walker between 2011 and 2015, including restrictions on early voting hours and locations, the elimination of straight-ticket voting and a photo identification requirement.
Laws left untouched by Peterson’s ruling include provisions eliminating straight-ticket voting, statewide special registration deputies and the use of corroboration for registration.
“We argued Gov. Walker made it harder for Democrats to vote and easier for Republicans to cheat, and the judge agreed,” said One Wisconsin Institute executive director Scot Ross.
Department of Justice spokesman Johnny Koremenos said the agency is reviewing and analyzing the court’s “lengthy order,” but based on an initial reading, plans to appeal it to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
A spokesman for the governor’s office said they are still reviewing the order.
“This is a liberal judge’s attempt to undermine our elections less than four months out,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester. “It’s also an obvious attempt to usurp the power of the legislature. I’m confident that the laws will be reinstated upon appeal. The measures did not disenfranchise voters; they protected the integrity of our elections and people’s right to vote.”
Michael Haas, interim administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said the decision is being reviewed in consultation with DOJ attorneys.
“If upheld, this decision would make significant changes to election laws affecting voters, which will require the Elections Commission to work very closely with local election officials to implement the changes and to educate voters. We will be providing further guidance to clerks and the public early next week,” Haas said.
Attorneys challenging the laws said the state engaged in “targeted, purposeful racial discrimination” by implementing them.
“The suite of changes only makes sense if explained by an intent to gain political advantage by disadvantaging racial minorities, disadvantaging young people,” argued plaintiffs’ attorney Bruce Spiva in his closing arguments last month.
Spiva argued Republicans had “motivation and opportunity” to discriminate against likely Democratic voters, that there was no need for “sweeping changes” to the state’s elections laws and that the state’s articulated interests in implementing the changes were “paper thin.”
Attorneys for the state argued plaintiffs failed to establish standing for the case.
Then-assistant attorney general Clay Kawski — who has since beenappointed by Walker as a Dane County Circuit Court judge — accused plaintiffs’ counsel of “cherry-picking” examples of problems with the laws.
Kawski said plaintiffs sought the “home run” solution in asking for the laws to be overturned, but said they hadn’t made an effective case for it.
“Wisconsin has an exemplary elections system,” Kawski said. “Wisconsin elections are fair, easy to navigate and open to all.”
The trial, held in May, included testimony from elections experts, DMV employees, a former Republican legislative staffer, city and county clerks and several witnesses who faced difficulties obtaining photo IDs.
Plaintiffs included One Wisconsin Institute, Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund and individual voters.
Also on Friday, a federal appeals court struck down North Carolina’s photo ID law and reinstated an additional week of early voting. The court ruled that the laws were enacted with discriminatory intent. Earlier this month, a federal court found Texas’ voter ID law to be discriminatory.
And earlier this week, a federal judge ruled that Wisconsin voters without proper ID can vote using an affidavit to swear to their identity.
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Tim Wise, the now internationally acclaimed antiracist essayist, author, and educator breaks it down: “Racism as Divide and Conquer, From the 1600’s to Donald Trump”. ( Talk starts @ 1 minute, 35 second mark.)
When questioning a “Tea Party” leader during the 2012 Presidential election, what year she would pick as ideal to their slogan, “Taking America Back”, her answer was 1957.
It’s no surprise that Tim Wise was the person who posed that question. In this CNN interview, Wise breaks down racial nostalgia and racial anxiety represented in the Trump campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again”.
What would America be like if Tim Wise became President one day? Perhaps his slogan would be, “Love Thy Neighbor: Make America Better For Everyone”.
M. Kita Williams
Dr. Bernard Lafayette has long been known as a global authority on Kingian Nonviolence. Lafayette, SNCC Co-Founder and original Freedom Rider in the Civil Rights Movement, astounded the international community after successfully cross training police forces and former gang members in South Central Los Angeles the principles of Kingian Nonviolence. The results of the training in the South Central LA region were seen almost immediately in a sharp decline in police and gang violence.
Since, Dr. Lafayette has not only taught Kingian Nonviolence in the United States, but also across the world with incredible results.
More information about Dr. Bernard Lafayette can be found below and anywhere you may search for him on the web.
M. Kita Williams, civilrightsagenda.com
Bernard Lafayette Jr.
Freedom RiderTampa, FL
Twenty-year-old Bernard Lafayette hailed from Tampa, FL and was enrolled as an undergraduate at Nashville’s American Baptist Theological Seminary. A veteran of the Nashville sit-ins, Lafayette had already staged a successful impromptu Freedom Ride with his close friend and fellow student activistJohn Lewis in 1959, while traveling home for Christmas break, when they decided to exercise their rights as interstate passengers by sitting in the front of a bus from Nashville, TN to Birmingham, AL.
As part of the May 17 Nashville Student Movement Ride, Lafayette endured jail time in Birmingham, riots and firebombings in Montgomery, AL, an arrest in Jackson, MSand jail time at Parchman State Prison Farm during June 1961.
After the end of the Freedom Riders campaign, he worked on voting rights and helped to coordinate the 1968 Poor Peoples Campaign. He completed a doctorate in Education at Harvard University and for several years was the Director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island. He currently teaches at Emory University and conducts nonviolent workshops worldwide.
Eugene Stoner, the inventor of the original AR-15, designed the weapon specifically for the U.S. military. Stoner was an ex-marine, and after many years of silence, the Stoner family spoke out about the intent of their father’s invention on June 16, 2016.
“Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47,” the Stoner family told NBC News. “He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events.”
NBC News’ exclusive with the Stoner family also revealed that, “The ex-Marine and “avid sportsman, hunter and skeet shooter” never used his invention for sport. He also never kept it around the house for personal defense. In fact, he never even owned one.
And though he made millions from the design, his family said it was all from military sales.”
“After many conversations with him, we feel his intent was that he designed it as a military rifle,” his family said, explaining that Stoner was “focused on making the most efficient and superior rifle possible for the military.”
He designed the original AR-15 in the late 1950s, working on it in his own garage and later as the chief designer for ArmaLite, a then small company in southern California. He made it light and powerful and he fashioned a new bullet for it — a .223 caliber round capable of piercing a metal helmet at 500 yards.
The Army loved it and renamed it the M16.
But after Stoner’s death in 1997, at the age of 74, a semi-automatic version of the AR-15 became a civilian bestseller, too, spawning dozens of copy-cat weapons. The National Rifle Association has taken to calling it “America’s rifle.”
The bullets that tore through the Pulse nightclub in Orlando were Stoner’s .223 rounds, fired from a AR-15 spin off made by Sig Sauer.
In all, an AR-15 style rifle has been used in at least 10 recent mass shootings — including at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and a work party in San Bernardino, California.
“What has happened, good or bad, since his patents have expired is a result of our free market system,” Stoner’s family said. “Currently, a more interesting question is ‘Who now is benefiting from the manufacturing and sales of AR-15s, and for what uses?'” (Courtesy: NBC News)
This question, posed by those who knew the inventor better than anyone, has now sent a much needed shockwave of wake-up calls across the country about the so-called American favorite “sporting gun”. Clearly, the AR-15 was neither designed for self defense nor sport, but for assault.
M. Kita Williams