Category Archives: Intolerance

The Empire Files: Bloodshed on the border


In the second part [first part here] of “The Empire’s Border,” her report on the bloody politics of the United States’ southern border, The Empire Files‘ Abby Martin examines the origins of that boundary line in bloody conflict, America’s first imperial war against another American nation state.

Her focus then shifts to the first border wall, erected after a fierce street battle in the border town of Nogales, Arizona/Juarez, Mexico 98 years ago.

Adding immensely to the border tensions was the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement [and do watch Hillary’s spouse preaching its virtues on signing the treaty into law].

Then came 9/11, and the subsequent paranoia-enabled national security spending binge, in which fears of boundary leakage proved centers of immense profits and bureaucratic binging. . .

Increased deaths became inevitable, especially given a media fueled campaign of paranoia direction against brown-skinned people.

Well, we’ll leave the rest for you.

From teleSUR English:

The Empire Files: The Empire’s Border Part II – A Hidden War

Program notes:

In the second installment of this two-part episode, Abby Martin continues her investigation of the hidden war on the U.S.-Mexico border, looking at the root causes of the epidemic of migrant deaths. The Empire Files documents an inflated, paramilitary Border Patrol, the devastating impacts of NAFTA, how the U.S. Empire benefits from immigrant labor and what can change the equation.

Featuring interviews with Todd Miller, author of ‘Border Patrol Nation’, and Araceli Rodriguez, mother of Jose Antonio, a 16-year-old boy murdered by Border Patrol.

Headline of the day: Incendiary class warfare


From Deutsche Welle, a sad case of profitable exploitation pitting one group of the ostracized against another:

Berlin homeless face eviction for refugees

A Berlin home that has housed homeless people for 20 years is in danger of being cleared. The owners have seen a new opportunity: the city pays 50 euros a night to house refugees.

And from Al Jazeera English, yet another example:

Paris police clear sprawling Roma camp at city’s edge

Rights group Amnesty International demands city officials find new space for evicted Roma mid-winter

Chomsky on Bernie: New Dealer, not a socialist


From Al Jazeera English, Chomsky makes a point we’ve been making, then looks at the rest of the candidates and some New Atheist idiocy:

UpFront – Noam Chomsky on Clinton vs Sanders

Program notes:

Renowned political theorist Noam Chomsky is often cited for his criticism of the US political system.

In the second of a special two-part interview, Chomsky sits down with Mehdi Hasan to discuss the US presidential election and the rise of Islamophobia.

The US academic says Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has the “best policies”, but little chance of winning in a “mainly bought” election.

When asked if he would vote for presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton if he lived in a swing state, Chomsky says: “Oh absolutely… my vote would be against the Republican candidate.”

The painful slow death of the liberal church


In this, the latest episode in his series for teleSUR English, Pulitzer prize winning journalist and Harvard Divinity School graduate Chris Hedges joins two graduate students of Union Theological Seminary to discuss the plight of the liberal Christian church in the United States.

As conservative — even radically conservative — Christian denominations surge in membership and their seminaries thrive, the schools which turned out the liberal ministers who served as bulwarks of the civil rights movement are faced with declining enrollments.

As Michael Vanacore and Edward Escalon recount, Union is currently center of a storm of controversy as the school entertains plans to build a luxury condominium tower as a way to fund repair of is decaying campus.

The tragedy is that development of the project would go a long way toward gentrifying Manhattan’s Morningside Heights, a neighborhood largely inhabited be people of color.

It’s a fascinating discussion.

From the Real News Network:

Days of Revolt: The Suicide of the Liberal Church

Program notes:

In this episode of teleSUR’s Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges speaks with two Union Theological Seminary student-activists about their fight against the school’s plans to sell property to luxury condo developers and further gentrify Harlem.

As for esnl, we’re of the atheist persuasion. That said, we don’t espouse to the creed of the so-called New Atheists, folks who are as evangelical about their beliefs that they remind us of Jehovah’s witnesses.

We’ve believed, in turn, in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Christianity again, before arriving at our present position.

There are many times in our life when we’ve been helped by religious folks, including the months after we forced out of our parental home for refusing induction into the army during the Vietnam War, when we were given a place to live in the homes of a Quaker family and later a religiously Jewish family.

It was our father’s mother who led the integration of her Presbyterian church in Abilene, Kansas, early in the last century, forcing the overtly racist minister to back down when she threatened to lead her family and friends in an exodus from the church.

The resurgence of fundamentalist Christianity, often tinged with racism and bigotry against all whose lives differ from their narrowly prescribed beliefs and proscribed conduct, is fully as disturbing as the soaring wealth of the one percent.

The fusion of two tendencies in today’s political landscape is troubling indeed.

Ted Cruz and his frightening fanatical followers


A short excerpt from an Iowa caucus post mortem by Amanda Marcotte for Salon:

As Cruz noted in his victory speech Monday night, Bob Vander Plaats and Rep. Steve King are national co-chairs for his campaign. King, of course, is a notoriously loony right wing nut who has argued that legalizing same-sex marriage means people will now marry lawnmowers and has equated undocumented immigration with the Holocaust.

Vander Plaats, who heads up Iowa’s religious right behemoth, the Family Leader, has argued that his interpretation of “God’s law” should trump the actual laws of our country, that gay marriage will lead to parents marrying their children, and that Vladimir Putin was right to sign a law criminalizing those who speak out for gay rights.

 Right before the caucus, Cruz launched “Pro-Lifers for Cruz,” a group that is also a magnet for the most radical elements of the Christian right. It’s chaired by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, a group that is so virulently anti-gay that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has declared it a hate group.

Troy Newman, the head of Operation Rescue, is on the board as well. Newman is beyond a radical anti-choicer, a man who believe that abortion doctors should be executed and women who abort pregnancies, which is about 30 percent of American women by age 45, should be jailed for murder. Newman’s single-minded obsession with abortion has led him to blame everything from the California drought to HIV to 9/11 on the fact that we have legal abortion.

UPDATE: Here’s a video report from Thom Hartmann of RT’s The Big Picture with an analysis of Cruz’s supporters, including clips of them spouting their bile in their own words:

Why Ted Cruz Is Unfit to Be President

Program notes:

Ted Cruz has been endorsed by people who think Hitler was a gift from God — by people who think being gay deserves the death penalty — and by people who’ve called for the murder of abortion doctors. So why is the media still treating him like he’s a serious candidate for president?

Borrowing while black: Banksters in action


Just having a name that sounds like the applicant is African American will cost the would-be borrower a 71 percent reduction on the lender’s credit score, according to a new study.

From teleSUR English:

Mortgage lenders across the United States discriminate against African-Americans clients, according to a new study.

In an industry where credit scores are meant to determine eligibility, race was half as much a determining factor of the lender’s response to a loan request.

The study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Urban Economics, emailed over 5,000 Mortgage Loan Originators—the first point of contact that can offer and negotiate loans—with white-sounding and Black-sounding names.

Differences in the initial responses were significant enough to note consistent discrepancies: in the rate, length, content, tone and timing of the responses. The African American-sounding clients were repeatedly treated more poorly. On the whole, the treatment amounted to about 71 percent lower credit score.

More from the Marquette University College of Business Administration:

A Marquette University study forthcoming in the Journal of Urban Economics has found that African-Americans seeking home loans are discriminated against by mortgage lenders at the earliest stages of the application process.

According to Dr. Andrew Hanson, associate professor of economics and the study’s lead author, black Americans are far more likely than white Americans to be ignored by mortgage loan originators.

Hanson pointed out that allegations of discriminatory lending practices during the 2004-08 housing boom resulted in the two largest cash settlements ever between mortgage lenders and the Department of Justice — $335 million from Bank of America’s Countrywide group and $175 million from Wells Fargo. The complaints alleged that these institutions steered equally qualified minority applicants into higher interest (sub-prime) loans and charged higher fees than for white borrowers.

“While some observers may chalk the root cause of discrimination during the boom to an unusual housing and lending market, that may not necessarily be the case, as our research points out,” Hanson said.

In the three-year study, Hanson and his collaborators tested for racial discrimination by mortgage lenders using what’s known as a correspondence experiment approach. The team sent identical email inquiries to lenders, with one primary difference — the name of the potential borrower.

“We used names that are highly likely to be associated with either African-Americans or white Americans to see if their inquiries were treated differently by lenders,” Hanson said.

After analyzing the data from more than 10,000 emails, Hanson found net discrimination by 1.8 percent of lenders through non-response. The study also showed that lenders offer more details about loans and are more likely to send follow-up correspondence to whites.

“Looking just at the response rates of mortgage loan originators, the effect of being African-American is equivalent to the effect of having a credit score that is 71 points lower,” Hanson noted.

Headline of the day II: The view from abroad


Heading a must-read analysis from  Der Spiegel:

America’s Agitator: Donald Trump Is the World’s Most Dangerous Man

Donald Trump is the leader of a new, hate-filled authoritarian movement. Nothing would be more harmful to the idea of the West and world peace than if he were to be elected president. George W. Bush’s America would seem like a place of logic and reason in comparison.