Questioning Government Is What Makes You An American

Authored by Rachel Blevins via TheAntiMedia.org,

Questioning your government does not make you Un-American.

It shouldn’t be a hard concept to understand, but based on a lot of the messages and the comments I have received this week, it sounds like some of y’all need a little help…

The United States was founded on the principle that citizens should have free speech, and they should be able to question their government. Yet today, we live in a country where if you use your First Amendment rights in a way that people don’t like, they tell you that if you don’t like what is going on, you should leave the country.

Seriously? This is what it has come to? You just have to take everything you’re fed, and then thank your masters, because at least you’re a slave in the best country in the world?

It amazes me that even at a time when our shiny new Republican president is doing exactly what his Democratic opponent would have done, we still have a public that is brainwashed into believing there is actually a difference between the two parties.

I have been accused of being both a leftist liberal snowflake, and a right-wing conspiracy theorist, and I am often asked where I stand politically, and what party I align with. The answer is always, none of the above.

I believe that the government should be as small as possible, and it’s not my job to tell you which master should rule over you, or how you should live your life. As long as you’re not harming anyone, I believe you should be able to do what you want—it’s your life.

I believe that mass surveillance is unacceptable, and that citizens should turn to their communities when they need help, instead of waiting for government handouts.

I believe that both police officers and politicians should be held accountable for their actions.

In a world filled with problems, I believe that we should take care of our own issues before pointing the finger at others.

I believe that overthrowing governments in sovereign nations is wrong, war should be avoided at all costs, and absolutely nothing justifies killing innocent civilians.

Most importantly, I believe that questioning authority is what truly makes you patriotic—not the other way around.

Visualizing The Global Demographic Timebomb

With record-high amounts of student debt, questionable job prospects, and too much avocado toast in their bellies, many millennials already feel like they are getting the short end of the stick.

But, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins notes, there’s another economic headwind they face as they are coming of age: the percentage of the global population that is 65 or older will double from 10% to 20% by 2050.

As millennials enter their peak earning years, there will be 1.6 billion elderly people on the planet.

SOMEONE HAS TO PAY THE BILL

Today’s infographic comes to us from Aperion Care, and it highlights how demographics are shifting as well as the economic challenges of a rapidly aging global population.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

With an older population that works less, support and dependency ratios get out of whack.

After all, countries already spend trillions of dollars each year on healthcare and social security. These systems were designed a long time ago, and were not setup to work with so few people paying into the programs.

WHICH COUNTRIES FACE HEADWINDS?

While most countries face similar obstacles with aging populations, for some the problem is more severe.

The Potential Support Ratio (PSR), a measure of amount of working people (15-64) for each person over 65+ in age, is anticipated to fall below 5.0 in countries like Japan, Italy, Germany, Canada, France, and the United Kingdom. These countries will all have significant portions of their populations (>30%) made up of elderly people by 2050.

The United States sits in a slightly better situation with 27.9% of its population expected to hit 65 or higher by the same year – however, this is still analogous to modern-day Germany (which sits at 27.6%), a country that is already dealing with big demographic issues.

Here’s one other look, from our previous Chart of the Week on dropping fertility rates and global aging:

Will millennials be able to diffuse the demographic timebomb, or will an aging population be the final straw?

Tolerance-Preaching Professor: ‘Diversity Of Opinion’ Is “White Supremacist Bullshit”

Authored by Justin Caruso via Campus Reform blog,

  • At a recent conference on Critical Race Theory, professors discussed how "there is no virtue in whiteness," with some saying "whiteness" is "inherently violent."
  • Other conference-goers reportedly called the concept of intellectual diversity "white supremacist bullshit," while another said "research" is a "colonial, white supremacist, elite process."

Professors at a recent conference hosted by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis reportedly called whiteness “inherently violent,” saying “diversity of opinion” is just “white supremacist bullshit.” 

The conference, held between May 31 and June 2, was organized by the Critical Race Studies in Education Association (CRSEA), an organization that frequently hosts similar events to bring together an “interdisciplinary consortium of experts who recognize global implications of race and education for minoritized people.”

“As a community, we are committed to (1) countering and combating systemic and structural racism with scholarship and praxis, (2) recognizing the multiple locations of oppression and the myriad manifestations and effects of their intersections and (3) co-constructing liberating knowledge that facilitates collective agency to transform schools and communities,” the group describes itself on its website, a description supported by several attendees at its most recent conference, who quoted highlights from the event on Twitter.  

“Whiteness has already been constructed against blackness. There is no virtue in whiteness, it is inherently violent,” one conference-goer tweeted, referencing a quote from Michael Dumas, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley who spoke at the event.

“Whiteness and the United States knows itself through the violence and death of the subordinated,” another attendee quoted Dumas as saying, with one academic at the conference noting Dumas claimed that there “is no position of whiteness that isn’t already violent.”

Dumas, notably, has expressed similar views in the past, tweeting that “whiteness” is “violent and delusional, delighting in Black death in every historical moment," claiming at the recent conference that “there will never be anything close to justice in the U.S. because the system is built upon violence.”

Other conference speakers, such as Indiana University at Purdue Professor David Stovall, apparently called the term “diversity of opinion” “white supremacist bullshit,” saying “white tears are an act of physical and political violence.”

According to another attendee, Professor James Scheurich, who also teaches at Indiana University’s Purdue campus, claimed that “research” is a “colonial, white supremacist, elite process,” while Professor Theodorea Berry suggested that “some people need to be slapped into wokeness.”

Berry explained to Campus Reform that the "notion of being 'slapped into wokeness' is one where an individual comes to gain [a] level of understanding about others' oppression by experiencing oppression," saying this is "especially true for those socially marginalized" people "who subscribe to respectability politics." 

"The proverbial 'slap' is the incident of marginalization," she added. "The 'wokeness' is the realization that regardless of your privilege, marginalization can occur." 

One attendee, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago, concluded her time at the conference by noting that she’s “happy” since she managed to collect “a few white tears.”

Campus Reform reached out to all of the professors quoted in this article, and will update it if and when responses are received.

Home-Flippers Reliance On Leverage Rises To Highest Level In 9 Years

In the latest sign that the US housing market has peaked after an astounding post-crisis run-up, a report by ATTOM Data Solutions showed that the number of homes flipped by speculators fell to its lowest level in two years.

The report showed that 43,615 single family homes and condos were flipped nationwide during the first quarter of 2017, the lowest number since the first quarter of 2015.

However, even as the number of flipped homes has fallen, their share of total real-estate transactions has actually risen. During the first quarter, they accounted for 6.7% of all transactions, up from 5.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016, and unchanged from the same period a year earlier.

“The business of financing for home flippers continued to grow in the first quarter of 2017 even as the home flipping rate plateaued compared to a year ago and average home flipping returns decreased for the second consecutive quarter,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

“Home flippers financed an estimated $3.5 billion in purchases for homes flipped during the quarter, up from $3.3 billion in the previous quarter and up from $2.4 billion a year ago to the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2007 — a more than nine-year high.”

The explosion in home valuations in urban markets like Brooklyn, Washington D.C. and San Francisco has inspired real-estate speculators to search for the next big score, with the highest percentage of home flips completed with the aid of outside financing occurring in Colorado Springs, Colorado (69.3 percent); Denver, Colorado (54.8 percent); Seattle, Washington (51.6 percent); Boston, Massachusetts (51.3 percent); and Providence, Rhode Island (47.3 percent).

Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate noted that escalating home prices in Seattle forced flippers to rely on financing their purchases.

“Seattle has such a high number of flippers who are financing their purchases relative to the U.S. as a whole due to escalating home prices in our region. The decision to finance is proof that these flippers believe the risks of financing are low due to our booming housing market,” Gardner said in a statement.

Other markets where more than 40 percent of home flips completed in Q1 2017 were originally purchased by the speculator using financing included San Diego, California (46.3 percent); Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota (46.2 percent); Phoenix, Arizona (44.1 percent); San Francisco, California (43.0 percent); and Washington, D.C. (40.5 percent).


“With low interest rates, and available lenders willing to provide non-owner occupied loans, we are seeing many of our investors across Southern California take advantage of leverage financing when participating in housing flips,” said Michael Mahon, president at First Team Real Estate, who covers the Southern California housing market.

The areas where home flipping constituted the highest share of all real-estate transactions was Washington, DC, with a rate of 10.7%, followed by Nevada (9.8 percent); Alabama (9.0 percent); Tennessee (8.9 percent); Maryland (8.5 percent); and Missouri (8.0 percent).

Among 85 metropolitan statistical areas with at least 90 single family and condo home flips completed in Q1 2017, those with the highest home flipping rate were Memphis, Tennessee (15.1 percent); York-Hanover, Pennsylvania (12.5 percent); Fresno, California (11.1 percent); Birmingham, Alabama (10.3 percent); and Las Vegas, Nevada (10.0 percent). Nationwide, the average return for flipped homes fell for the second straight quarter: The average gross flipping profit translated to an average 47.4 percent gross return for homes flipped in Q1 2017, down from an average 49.0 percent gross flipping ROI in Q4 2016 and an average 48.5 percent gross flipping ROI in Q1 2016.

The markets with the highest home-flipping returns were Pittsburgh, PA (141.8 percent); Allentown, Pennsylvania (122.2 percent); Cleveland, Ohio (118.6 percent); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (111.7 percent); and Baltimore, Maryland (106.0 percent).

The median size of homes flipped in Q1 2017 shrunk to 1,402 square feet – the smallest median square footage going back to Q1 2000, the earliest quarter for which data are available.
That’s down from a median 1,409 square feet in the previous quarter, and 1,428 square feet a year ago.

The median year of construction for homes flipped in Q1 2017 was 1978, the same as in the previous quarter but down from a median of 1981 for homes flipped in Q1 2016.

ATTOM defines home flipping as "an arms-length sale of a property for the second time within a 12-month period."