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Infoshop News / Men Are Responsible for Mass Shootings
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Yesterday at 06:09:30 PM »
Men Are Responsible for Mass Shootings

So let?s start talking about the culture of toxic masculinity that makes men believe they should get a gun and shoot people with it.
Source: Men Are Responsible for Mass Shootings
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Infoshop News / Notes from the U.S.
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Yesterday at 06:09:30 PM »
Notes from the U.S.

Freedom?s long-running US correspondent Louis Further does his monthly roundup of some of the lesser-known stories that have emerged over the last few weeks.
Source: Notes from the U.S.
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Kept Out: Banks Across U.S. Caught Systematically Rejecting People of Color for Home Loans


Redlining is alive and well in America.


 

A shocking new investigation by Reveal and the Center for Investigative Reporting has uncovered evidence that African Americans and Latinos are continuing to be routinely denied conventional mortgage loans at rates far higher than their white counterparts across the country. Reveal based its report on a review of 31 million mortgage records filed with the federal government in 2015 and 2016. The Reveal investigation found the redlining occurring across the country, including in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis and San Antonio. We speak to Aaron Glantz, senior reporter at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, and Rachelle Faroul, a 33-year-old African-American woman who was rejected twice by lenders when she tried to buy a brick row house in Philadelphia, where Reveal found African Americans were 2.7 times as likely as whites to be denied a conventional mortgage.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: A shocking new investigation by Reveal and The Center for Investigative Reporting has uncovered evidence that African Americans and Latinos are continuing to be routinely denied conventional mortgage loans at rates far higher than their white counterparts across the country. Reveal based its report on a review of 31 million mortgage records filed with the federal government in 2015 and 2016. This is Reveal data reporter Emmanuel Martinez speaking on PBS NewsHourabout the investigation.

EMMANUEL MARTINEZ: Here we have the likelihood of denial. So, black applicants in Philadelphia are almost three times as likely to be denied a conventional mortgage.

REPORTER: Reveal found this troubling pattern in dozens of cities. Philadelphia was one of the largest.

EMMANUEL MARTINEZ: In 61 metros across the country, applicants of color are more likely to be denied a conventional mortgage, even if they have the same financial characteristics as a non-Hispanic white applicant.

AMY GOODMAN: The Reveal investigation found the redlining occurring across the country, including in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Antonio, Texas. The report is being published as the nation is preparing to mark the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Fair Housing Act in April of 1968.

PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON: The voice of justice speaks again. It proclaims that fair housing for all, all human beings who live in this country, is now a part of the American way of life.

AMY GOODMAN: We?re joined now by two guests: Aaron Glantz, senior reporter at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, his new investigation headlined ?Kept Out: How banks block people of color from homeownership?; and we?re joined by Rachelle Faroul, a 33-year-old African-American woman who was rejected twice by lenders when she tried to buy a brick row house in Philadelphia, where Revealfound African Americans were 2.7 times as likely as whites to be denied a conventional mortgage. She was only able to buy a home when her half-white partner, Hanako Franz, signed on. At the time, Hanako was nearly unemployed and working part-time at a grocery store.

Aaron and Rachelle, we welcome you both to Democracy Now! Aaron, let?s begin with you in San Francisco. First of all, explain what redlining is and, then, how African Americans and Latinos are kept out, why this is such a critical story today.

AARON GLANTZ: Well, Amy, 80 years ago, the federal government drew lines on map?

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we seem to have lost Aaron for a moment, in a little satellite glitch. So, why don?t we go right off to Ta-Nehisi Coates He talked about the legacy of redlining during an appearance on Democracy Now! a few years ago, the significance of what this means for the black and the Latino unity.

TA-NEHISI COATES: There?s no way to understand housing as it exists today without federal policy. Black people, as was the thinking at the time, could not be responsible home loaners. The FHA literally drew up the redlining map and then basically distributed?I?m sorry, the Home Owners? Loan Corporation actually did it, and then distributed to banks who used that as policy to determine how they would lend and who they would lend to. The racism in the system was pervasive and total. And the fact that African Americans have been cut out of it is not shocking if you understand what the country was in the 1930s and the 1940s. And this redounds throughout generations. As we know, homes are how people in America build wealth, largely. And if you cut black people out of that opportunity, a lot is explained about what the African-American community looks like today.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that was Ta-Nehisi Coates. Rachelle Faroul, tell us your story. You managed a million-dollar grant in your job at the University of Pennsylvania, are a contractor with Rutgers University. Two lenders turned you down when you tried to buy a home?

RACHELLE FAROUL: Yes. And thank you so much for having me.

I started my homeownership journey in 2016, soon after I moved to Philadelphia from Brooklyn, where I was born and raised. And I wanted to own property, like my mom, like many of her siblings and their parents. And from the beginning, it was just so difficult for me to make this happen. And it?s not to say that I am at all surprised. As an organizer, as someone who is very well read and well versed in all of the ways that black people in America have been disenfranchised routinely over the years, I was more hurt than surprised.

And it really wasn?t until my partner, Hanako?who identifies as Asian, not half-white?stepped in and offered to be my co-borrower that it was pretty much smooth sailing, to the extent that our application was approved. But as soon as she came on, I was largely ignored, and really all that mattered was my money.

That is, unfortunately, not the experience of a large number of black people who try to buy homes in America. Most of us are routinely denied, our applications are rejected, and we are forced to continue to rent from people who don?t care about us, don?t care about our well-being and don?t really consider or value the ways in which we help them accrue wealth.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Rachelle, could you talk about how it is?I mean, you tried, on two different occasions, to get a loan. How did the loan officers treat you, and how did they treat your partner?

RACHELLE FAROUL: Sure. So, in 2016, when I started this process by myself, I had all of the paperwork. I had my tax returns, which I do every year. At that time, I was freelancing and was told that I needed to have more steady income, because so much of my income at the time was undocumented, and to the extent that I was being paid in cash or I wasn?t being paid regularly, and they told me that I needed to have a full-time job.

I then asked if it was possible for me to have a co-signer, and they said yes. I asked my mom. She said yes right away, because this has been just as much a dream for her as it has been for me. And we were rejected right away. And Angela Colloi from FHA told us that the reason why my mom couldn?t be a co-signer was because she had too much student loan debt from her Ph.D., from my bachelor?s and also from my brother?s. My mom has been incredible in helping me stay afloat, my brother and I stay afloat, over the years. And it was really hurtful. At that time, I was mostly hurt for her, because she wanted to be able to support her child in this, you know, really impactful and powerful way and was told that she couldn?t.

And so, I left it at that and got a full-time job here at Penn, where I still work, managing a large grant. And about a year later, I started the process again with the Penn Home Ownership Services, a forgivable loan that?s offered to Penn employees. And again I experienced a lot of difficulty, this time with Santander Bank.

It was, overall, a?I would say, a humiliating process, but one that was also really beautiful, in a way, because all of the people who showed up for me, including Aaron, Ray, the entire team at The Center for Investigative Reporting, Hanako, who is an incredible human, my friends, my colleagues. Folks really, you know, understood the meaning of what is happening, and did as much as they could to support me in my journey. And so, while this has been?and still is, you know, months after we closed?this has been, you know, a reckoning. Again, I am really happy with the way some people showed up for me.

AMY GOODMAN: So you only got it when Hanako signed on with you?

RACHELLE FAROUL: I?m sorry?

AMY GOODMAN: You only got it when Hanako signed on with you?

RACHELLE FAROUL: Yes. And it?s kind of ridiculous. I mean, it?s something that we still laugh about. So, Hanako?s co-borrower application was approved at a time when her credit score was in the 700s. And that is what mattered most, for whatever reason. What didn?t matter at all was the fact that Hanako was working part-time at a grocery store. Her most recent pay stub was like $115. I was helping her pay her health insurance, because, you know, she had such little cash.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, listen, before we get to the end of the show, we wanted?

RACHELLE FAROUL: But even so, she was considered more qualified than me.

AMY GOODMAN: We wanted to bring Aaron Glantz in, although I think we just have you on the telephone, not in a studio, Aaron, because of the satellite glitch. But explain what redlining is and why this is such an important exposť, ?Kept Out: How banks block people of color from homeownership.?

AARON GLANTZ: Well, I mean, as you said earlier, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act in 1968, and that was supposed to make mortgage discrimination illegal. And it was supposed to allow people to build wealth, no matter what their race was. And it was supposed to end segregation. And what we found in our investigation, 50 years later, is that in dozens of cities across the country people of color are still being turned away from the opportunity to live the American dream.

And further, we found that the government is completely dropping the ball on its enforcement of these laws. We found that the Obama administration had sued only a handful of banks for violating the Fair Housing Act. In his first year in office, the Trump administration?s Justice Department did not sue a single financial institution. And the Office of Comptroller of the Currency, which is in charge of enforcing another law called the Community Reinvestment Act, which is supposed to get banks to lend in low-income communities and underserved neighborhoods, was passing these institutions on their community lending reviews, 99 point?99 percent of the time. So, basically, the government is saying that everyone in the banking and mortgage industry is doing a fantastic job. And yet we found that across the country people of color are being turned away, even when they make the same amount of money as whites, even when they?re trying to take on the same size loan as whites, and even when they?re trying to buy in the same neighborhoods as whites.

AMY GOODMAN: And you found that Philadelphia, where Rachelle Faroul is, was particularly egregious.

AARON GLANTZ: We found that in Philadelphia African Americans were 2.7 times more likely to be turned away for a loan, even when you take into account factors that loan officers should be using, like income, that race was still a factor, even after taking into account income and the size of the loan. But, as you mentioned, Philadelphia is not the only city. We found this problem in Atlanta. We found it in Washington, D.C. We found it in San Antonio, Texas, and Detroit, Michigan, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Tacoma, Washington. All over the country, 61 metropolitan areas total, we found?

AMY GOODMAN: We?re going to have to leave it there, Aaron, but we will link to your piece, ?Kept Out.? And thanks so much to Rachelle Faroul.

 

Related Stories


Source: Kept Out: Banks Across U.S. Caught Systematically Rejecting People of Color for Home Loans
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Infoshop News / Class War defeat Qatari Royals and protect protest rights
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Yesterday at 06:01:43 AM »
Class War defeat Qatari Royals and protect protest rights

There?s something delicious about seeing very rich and powerful people take on a fight and then realise they?ve bitten off more than they can chew. They?re not used to it and sometimes seemingly small victories are the best we can hope for.
Source: Class War defeat Qatari Royals and protect protest rights
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Infoshop News / If We Want Kids to Stop Killing, the Adults Have to Stop, Too
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Yesterday at 06:01:43 AM »
If We Want Kids to Stop Killing, the Adults Have to Stop, Too

America's rage-sickness trickles down from the top.
Source: If We Want Kids to Stop Killing, the Adults Have to Stop, Too
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Infoshop News / Why American Workers Aren?t Getting A Raise: An Economic Detective Story
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Yesterday at 06:01:43 AM »
Why American Workers Aren?t Getting A Raise: An Economic Detective Story

Workers are productive and helping the economy grow, yet unlike previous economic expansions, we are hardly seeing big increases in wages. Instead, companies are sitting on their cash or giving it back to their shareholders through dividends and share buybacks.
Source: Why American Workers Aren?t Getting A Raise: An Economic Detective Story
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How the Abortion Debate Turned the Christian Right on to Liberal Arguments and Birthed the Religious Freedom Industry


It's already proving successful in the court of public opinion.


Historically, the Christian Right has not been recognized for its celebration of liberal values. On the contrary, any reference to organizations such as the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition is likely to conjure decidedly illiberal associations. These advocacy groups were famous for their boisterous condemnation of mainstream society and their attempts to legislate a rigid set of conservative moral codes. Among their policy goals, anti-abortion activism was pursued with the greatest zeal. But a recent book by political scientist Andrew R. Lewis suggests that this single-minded religious movement may have yielded some unintended political effects.

In, The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics: How Abortion Transformed the Culture Wars, Lewis argues that anti-abortion activism has been instrumental in conditioning the Christian Right for participation in liberal discourse. Though launched in the stern language of moral condemnation, the Christian Right has followed its anti-abortion vanguard into a twenty-first century rhetoric based in the liberal language of rights. RD?s Eric C. Miller spoke with Lewis about the implications of this unusual outcome.

Your book argues that anti-abortion activism has prompted the Christian Right to embrace liberal discourse. How so?

The primary argument is that the politics of abortion have taught conservative Christians about the value of public arguments grounded in the language of rights, as rights are one of the most accessible forms of American political discourse. This is particularly true as American culture has become more secular and less apt to embrace calls for public morality.

Going back to the early days of the pro-life movement in the 1960s, there was a strong liberal, human rights element to anti-abortion activists, seeking to defend the right-to-life of the unborn. Much of this came from Catholics. As evangelicals and the Christian Right joined the cause in the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was often more rhetorical focus on the immorality of abortion than the rights of the unborn. This reflected the politics of the ?Moral Majority.?

A rights-based stream within the pro-life movement persisted, however, and by the late 1980s and early 1990s, the right-to-life rhetoric triumphed for both the elite activists and the rank-and-file. Importantly, this right-to-life-based framework has allowed for opposition to abortion to compete with the liberal right-to-privacy based argument, serving as a quality public counter-argument. Even more, as conservative Christians have increasingly become a cultural minority in the past two decades, they have begun embracing rights-based rhetoric first learned and used in the pro-life movement in a whole host of other areas of public life, specifically free speech and religious liberty politics. 

The minority angle is interesting since many scholars have traced the founding of the Christian Right back to desegregation, rather than abortion. Does racial politics factor into your argument?

My book is not specifically about the causes of the Christian Right or the shifting of partisan alignments in the South in the latter half of the twentieth century, though I do think my work has some implications for these arguments.

I point readers to those debates, particularly about the role of race versus abortion in the launching of the Christian Right. But I am particularly interested in how conservative Christian politics have been transformed after partisan realignment has occurred?after the conservative Christians have been largely integrated into Republican politics. It is the later period, from the mid-1990s to the present, when the politics of rights have emerged as a dominant force in Christian Right politics. Some of the most thorough quantitative analysis suggests that racial politics were more responsible for partisan change prior to 1990, but after 1990 abortion and other cultural issues played an important role. And so I think I can say with confidence that abortion politics were particularly important in this period.

That said, I do think my book provides a challenge to the historical narrative that minimizes the importance of the politics of abortion in evangelical and Christian Right politics. My book shows how central this issue has been to a host of conservative Christian issues over time, both in elite and mass politics. Abortion is central to conservative Christian politics because it is what political scientists call an ?easy issue??an issue on which people may develop strong, stable opinions. Therefore, it can be used to expand the scope of political conflict into new arenas, and over the past few decades it has been used to teach conservative Christians about the value of rights.

How has the shift toward liberal argument impacted Christian Right positioning with regard to church-state separation?

The biggest change over the past half-century has been the shift toward an almost-singular focus on the free exercise of religion and the right to religious liberty. In a chapter on this in my book, I give most of my attention to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

For much of the twentieth century, the SBC was a strong advocate for church-state separation, defending the First Amendment?s No-Establishment Clause in court and in politics. Now the SBC has largely shifted to defend the Free Exercise Clause exclusively, seeing no real threats to the Establishment Clause. This shift in advocacy corresponds with a major political change within the SBC, but it also corresponds with a change in approach to abortion, which seemed to drive the justification away from the separation position.

Evangelicals became friendlier with Catholics during their shared labor on the abortion issue. Prior to this, Catholics had previously been a primary concern of those promoting church-state separation. Also, if a primary goal is to promote anti-abortion advocacy, which is often couched in religious terms, then religious liberty and not non-establishment must become a priority. And now with the declining status of Christianity in America, religious liberty is continually emphasized. Because of this, the language of rights has been used much more often by conservative Christians, both in public and legal domains.

How has the shift affected Christian Right positions on other issues?such as their opposition to universal health care and support for capital punishment?

In general, until the past decade evangelicals have held similar views to the general public on government-provided health care, but the politics of abortion have played important roles in thwarting major efforts on national health reform. Once Roe v. Wade established a constitutional right to obtain an abortion, abortion politics have been linked with health care politics. This has played out in the variants of the Hyde Amendment, the opposition to the Clinton Health Security Act of 1993, and the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Evangelicals, in particular, have tempered the Left?s right-to-health care with a primary emphasis on ?protecting the rights of the unborn.? This can be seen in the advocacy messages and strategies.

Capital punishment is a nuanced story, and one that is in flux. There has been much emphasis on the Catholic ?seamless garment? approach, seeking to maintain a ?consistent life ethic? to abortion and capital punishment. Pope Francis has recently pushed the Church even more strongly in this directly.

Most evangelicals are supporters of capital punishment, and many evangelical theologians and churches justify capital punishment with a pro-life ethic. The argument is that life is of such a high value that the taking of innocent life demands a capital punishment. So Catholics and evangelicals both use right-to-life justifications, but the Catholics focus on the offenders and the evangelicals focus on the victims.

In a series of survey experiments, these pro-life justifications for the death penalty are seen as more persuasive than pro-life justifications for abolishing the death penalty. That said, evangelical support for capital punishment is declining from its highs in recent years. This is likely due to the public awareness of innocent people being convicted of murder, though it has been welcomed by some calls for less punitive rhetoric and policies within evangelicalism.    

Maybe the most recent deployment of liberal argument from the right concerns same-sex marriage. How did they settle on a religious freedom frame?

Even prior to Obergefell v. Hodges, religious freedom arguments were being advanced by conservative Christians who disapproved of same-sex marriage. For example, several state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA) were put into motion in 2014 and early 2015 in part to try and protect religious objectors.

Immediately after the Obergefell decision, the senior counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom stood on the steps of the Supreme Court and argued for the courts and politics to protect the rights of those who disagree with the decision. Legally, religious freedom is a natural fit, particularly in states with a RFRA, because states need to prove a ?compelling state interest? and use the ?least restrictive means? to ?substantially burden? the religious exercise of individuals?and perhaps businesses. These vary by state, but politically and culturally the shift to religious freedom signaled that these conservative Christian groups were not going to fight the legalization of same-sex marriage by seeking to overturn the decision. Rather than try and overturn Obergefell, as they have been doing with Roe, they consider this a lost cause, retreating instead to a stronger, minority rights position.

You close the book with the hopeful suggestion that this new familiarity with rights discourse will make the Christian Right more attentive to the rights of others and more open to deliberation in a pluralist society. How might that work?

I think it is already working. Over the past 40 years, survey data suggests that evangelicals have become much more supportive of free speech for marginalized groups. Where evangelicals used to be well below the general public on support for free speech, they have largely caught up.

The legal advocacy of conservative Christian advocacy groups matches this trend, as it champions pretty broad free speech rights, not just for evangelicals but also for non-allies. Survey data additionally suggest that evangelicals have become more accepting of gays and lesbians in public life over the past several decades, and the public rhetoric toward these groups, particularly their public participation in society, has become less hostile.

In a survey experiment I conducted with my colleagues, when we primed evangelicals to think about their own rights being in jeopardy, they responded by being more tolerant of groups they liked the least. All in all, the trend is toward evangelicals trying to find their place in the culture, rather than seeking to dominate the culture in the ways that are familiar to those who lived through the Moral Majority and its heirs.

Of course there will still be disagreement among those who feel that conservative Christians? rights are infringing on their own, as well as episodes where the old ways resurface, but the trajectory of conservative Christianity seems to be toward rights and pluralism. This change is monumental, and the pro-life movement and the changing culture have had big influences on it.

 

 

Related Stories


Source: How the Abortion Debate Turned the Christian Right on to Liberal Arguments and Birthed the Religious Freedom Industry
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Infoshop News / Rebecca Solnit on the #MeToo Backlash
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on February 17, 2018, 06:00:47 PM »
Rebecca Solnit on the #MeToo Backlash

This thing has gone too far. It has terrified people, driven them out of their workplaces and even professions, made them afraid to speak up and punished them for speaking. This thing, by which I mean misogyny and violence against women (and girls, and men, and boys, and even babies, but I?m going to skip the horrific baby story that was reported last week).
Source: Rebecca Solnit on the #MeToo Backlash
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Infoshop News / An Anarchist Review of Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on February 17, 2018, 06:00:47 PM »
An Anarchist Review of Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff is a popular book about Trump and his administration. It may be popular because it focuses on Trump's bizarre personal peculiarities rather than the political context and the forces which led to Trump's presidency.
Source: An Anarchist Review of Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
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Infoshop News / Climate Change, Peak Oil, and Globalisation ? 3 Interlinked Problems
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on February 17, 2018, 06:00:47 PM »
Climate Change, Peak Oil, and Globalisation ? 3 Interlinked Problems

Pollution and climate change are already causing many health and food insecurity problems in the world. Pollution and climate change are set to cause much larger problems in the near future, as was recently discussed at the annual UN climate summit COP23
Source: Climate Change, Peak Oil, and Globalisation ? 3 Interlinked Problems
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