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Category Archives: North America

The Struggle to Stay Middle Class

The most significant political legacy of the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession could turn out to be the ongoing shift in the way Americans understand their class position.

The bursting of the housing bubble—which entailed a collapse in home values and a flood of foreclosures—and spiking unemployment led millions of Americans to realize that their “middle-class” lives were just a paycheck or two from evaporating. The acute crisis has stabilized, though many of the jobs lost then have not returned, replaced instead with lower-wage, lower-stability positions.

https://newrepublic.com/article/148130/struggle-stay-middle-class

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Posted by on June 6, 2018 in North America

 

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Trump’s Trade Confusion

The trade skirmish between the United States and China on steel, aluminum, and other goods is a product of US President Donald Trump’s scorn for multilateral trade arrangements and the World Trade Organization, an institution that was created to adjudicate trade disputes.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trump-unnecessary-trade-war-by-joseph-e–stiglitz-2018-04

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2018 in North America

 

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Saudi Crown Prince Boasted That Jared Kushner Was “In His Pocket”

Until he was stripped of his top-secret security clearance in February, presidential adviser Jared Kushner was known around the White House as one of the most voracious readers of the President’s Daily Brief, a highly classified rundown of the latest intelligence intended only for the president and his closest advisers.

Kushner, who had been tasked with bringing about a deal between Israel and Palestine, was particularly engaged by information about the Middle East, according to a former White House official and a former U.S. intelligence professional.

https://theintercept.com/2018/03/21/jared-kushner-saudi-crown-prince-mohammed-bin-salman/

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2018 in Middle East, North America

 

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Gun Nation

Defending the right of United States citizens to buy semi-automatic rifles or carry concealed weapons is akin to denying any human responsibility for climate change. Rational arguments are not the point. No matter how many schoolchildren are gunned down or what the scientific evidence may be for the effects of carbon dioxide emissions, people will not change beliefs that define their identity.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/american-second-amendment-national-identity-by-ian-buruma-2018-03

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2018 in North America

 

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March For Our Lives Was About More Than Gun Control

During the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City in 2011, there was a man who appeared regularly with a sign, painted in black block letters on a white painter’s canvas, that read, “Shit is fucked up and bullshit.” At first glance it felt lazily ironic, directionless, representative of the disorganization that was so often read into (and occasionally true of) the movement. But it was also appropriate. Everything was a mess, and to list all the things that needed changing on one canvas would have taken many more yards and smaller print. Rather, “shit is fucked up and bullshit” became shorthand for the need for systemic change.

https://newrepublic.com/article/147656/march-lives-gun-control

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in North America

 

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How Parkland Teens Are Leading the Gun Control Conversation

It’s lunchtime on a Tuesday, and the kids are piling into a pizzeria booth in Coral Springs, Fla., to plot a revolution. “The adults know that we’re cleaning up their mess,” says Cameron Kasky, an 11th-grader at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who started the #NeverAgain movement to curb gun violence three weeks earlier in his living room. “It’s like they’re saying, ‘I’m sorry I made this mess,’” adds buzzcut senior Emma González, “while continuing to spill soda on the floor.”

Kasky and González are sitting with two more of the movement’s leaders, Alex Wind and Jaclyn Corin. Except they’re not sitting, exactly. They’re crouching diagonally on the seat and leaning back on one another’s knees in order to devour their calzones while maintaining as much physical contact as possible. Corin throws a crouton into González’s mouth. Kasky uses Corin’s knees as a pillow. The conversation turns from their fellow organizer David Hogg (“So laser-focused,” González says, that “he could make his body get pregnant if he wanted to”) to the conspiracy theory that they’re actors being paid by shadowy donors (prompting Kasky to ask why his credit card was recently declined at McDonald’s) to their prolific trolling of the NRA. They agree that the gun lobby’s spokeswoman, Dana Loesch, is “very hot but kind of scary,” as González puts it.

http://time.com/longform/never-again-movement/

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in North America

 

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America still divided by racism into two separate, unequal societies

In 1967, riots erupted in cities throughout the United States, from Newark to Detroit and Minneapolis in the Midwest — all two years after the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles exploded in violence.

In response, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed a commission, headed by Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner, to investigate the causes and propose measures to address them. Fifty years ago, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (more widely known as the Kerner Commission), issued its report, providing a stark account of the conditions in America that had led to the disorders.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/america-still-divided-by-racism-into-two-separate-unequal-societies-2018-03-12

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in North America

 

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Young people can’t change US gun law alone – but they could tip the balance

In May 1963 a white police officer in Birmingham, Alabama, tried to scare some black children as they went to protest against segregation. As fellow policemen turned hoses and dogs on black youngsters nearby, the kids made it plain they knew what they were doing and continued marching towards the demonstrations. A reporter asked one of them her age. “Six,” she said, as she climbed into the paddy wagon.

Events in Birmingham proved a crucial turning point in the civil rights era. Before protests started, only 4% of Americans regarded the struggle for racial equality as the country’s most pressing issue; after Birmingham, it was more than half.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/23/young-people-us-gun-law-florida-schoolchildren

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2018 in North America

 

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Out of Bloodshed, Hope for Gun Control

There is a learned hopelessness about mass shootings in America that creates the foundations for an emotionally hollow, politically impotent, media-saturated response. Conservatives offer prayers for those who have died and oppose any action that will prevent more deaths. Liberals offer outrage at the carnage and demand that something must be done, but then go on to do relatively little. (Gun owners are almost twice as likely as non–gun owners to have contacted a public official about gun policy, and almost three times as likely to have donated to a group that takes a position on the issue.) The rest of the world looks on aghast that an ostensibly mature democracy could witness such a tragedy and decide to do nothing to prevent it from happening again. Cable-news channels screen mawkish portraits of the dead and arm’s-length, usually posthumous profiles of the killer. Talk of evil is “balanced” by calls for legislation. Then, after a few days, the talking and the calling stop—until the next time.

https://www.thenation.com/article/out-of-bloodshed-hope-for-gun-control/

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2018 in North America

 

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Has the NRA Finally Met Its Match?

I was all set to write a column about the paralysis of progressives around guns: how even the ghastliest school shootings rouse few of us to more than hand-wringing and despair. After each massacre, I was planning to say, we go through the motions, writing letters to the editor, making donations to gun-control groups and politicians who promise to fight to stem the tide, but, except for the most dedicated activists, our involvement is pretty small-bore and low-key. The Million Mom March was the last major national mobilization, and that was back in 2000. A majority of Americans support gun control, but the passion—and the money, and Congress—is with the National Rifle Association.

https://www.thenation.com/article/has-the-nra-finally-met-its-match/

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2018 in North America

 

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