A CONSERVATIVE CHOICE FOR THE MINORITY'S VOICE

Politics

Funny But Serious……

 

 


Race War, by Rev. Wayne Perryman

Dear Friends:

With a member of the Black Panther Movement stating that he wanted to kill [white] “cracker babies” and the Justice Department refusing to prosecute two Black Panthers for voter intimidation;

With Arizona Immigration Law being classified as a racist law and Eric Holder and the Obama administration suing Arizona;

With the Tea Party participants being labeled as racist and the NAACP considering a resolution condemning the racist elements of the Tea Party;

With Mel Gibson making racial comments in anger with an argument his girlfriend;

With a white police officers killing a black child in Detroit;

With an Oakland police officer being convicted of a lesser charge for killing a black man;

With a black conservative beaten in St Louis by two people opposing Tea Party and a black leader calling the black victim an Uncle Tom

With Michael Steele, Chairman of RNC saying that “white Republicans are afraid of him when he walks in a room;”

With Jesse Jackson accusing the owner of the Cleveland NBA basketball team of being a “slave owner” because Lebron James decided to join the Miami Heat;

With Glenn Beck booking the Lincoln Memorial to hold his own rally before black Civil Rights leaders could book it,

Racial tension in America, (as I had predicted) is starting to heat to boiling point and the Democrats love it. Why? Because racial violence on the streets of America would distract citizens from of the other crucial issues facing America. When Obama was running for President, I predicted that the “race card” would be played and that his presidency could divide America (racially) rather than unite us. Let’s look at the possible matches that could light the powder keg for a race war.

A. For the first time in recent history the average whites is no longer afraid of being called racists and are ready to defend themselves if an outbreak happens

B. Since Obama took the Whitehouse, whites have attended gun shows in record numbers and have armed themselves

C. Whites are tired of being called racist and under the Obama Administration, the conditions of African Americans have worsen and blacks want to blame someone other than Obama

D. Fox News consistent coverage of the the Black Panther’s racist statements of killing white babies, by Bill Oreilly, Beck, Hannity, and Megan Kelly angers both non-racist whites and red neck whites who are looking for a fight.

E. Tension is building up in the Latino population over immigration and although the vast majority of the Latinos are law abiding citizens, those in the drug cartel would profit from a race war.

F. Islamic terrorist would love to see a major racial conflict on the streets of America to help them carry out their agenda.

We need to pray for peace and find some way to bring us all together. If we overlook these realities, we are only asking for trouble, trouble that we all will regret. Yes, Fox and all the other networks along with the Justice Department should look into the “hate comments,” by the Black Panther, but they must understand when their reporting reaches a point when it is no longer informing the public – but inflaming them.

Rev. Wayne Perryman


Signs of the Times

Thomas Sowell

 

If you could spend vast amounts of other people’s money just by saying a few magic words, wouldn’t you be tempted to do it? Barack Obama has spent hundreds of billions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money just by using the magic words “stimulus” and “jobs.”

It doesn’t matter politically that the stimulus is not actually stimulating and that the unemployment rate remains up near double-digit levels, despite all the spending and all the rhetoric about jobs. And of course nothing negative will ever matter to those who are part of the Obama cult, including many in the media.

But, for the rest of us, there is a lot to think about in the economic disaster that we are in.

Not only has all the runaway spending and rapid escalation of the deficit to record levels failed to make any real headway in reducing unemployment, all this money pumped into the economy has also failed to produce inflation. The latter is a good thing in itself but its implications are sobering.

How can you pour trillions of dollars into the economy and not even see the price level go up significantly? Economists have long known that it is not just the amount of money, but also the speed with which it circulates, that affects the price level.

Last year the Wall Street Journal reported that the velocity of circulation of money in the American economy has plummeted to its lowest level in half a century. Money that people don’t spend does not cause inflation. It also does not stimulate the economy.

The current issue of Bloomberg Businessweek has a feature article about businesses that are just holding on to huge sums of money. They say, for example, that the pharmaceutical company Pfizer is holding on to $26 billion. If so, there should not be any great mystery as to why they don’t invest it.

With the Obama administration being on an anti-business kick, boasting of putting their foot on some business’ neck, and the president talking about putting his foot on another part of the anatomy, with Congress coming up with more and more red tape, more mandates and more heavy-handed interventions in businesses, would you risk $26 billion that you might not even be able to get back, much less make any money on the deal?

Pfizer is not unique. Banks have cut back on lending, despite all the billions of dollars that were dumped into them in the name of “stimulus.” Consumers have also cut back on spending.

For the first time, more gold is being bought as an investment to be held as a hedge against a currently non-existent inflation than is being bought by the makers of jewelry. There may not be any inflation now, but eventually that money is going to start moving, and so will the price level.

Despite a big decline in the amount of gold used to make jewelry, the demand for gold as an investment has risen so steeply as to more than make up for the reduced demand for gold jewelry, and has in fact pushed the price of gold to record high levels.

What does all this say? That people don’t know what to expect next from this administration, which seldom lets a month go by without some new anti-business laws, policies or rhetoric.

When you hire somebody in this environment, you know what you have agreed to pay them and what additional costs there may be for their health insurance or other benefits. But you have no way of knowing what additional costs the politicians in Washington are going to impose, when they are constantly coming up with new bright ideas for imposing more mandates on business.

One of the little noticed signs of what is going on has been the increase in the employment of temporary workers. Businesses have been increasingly meeting their need for labor by hiring temporary workers and working their existing employees overtime, instead of hiring new people.

Why? Because temporary workers usually don’t get health insurance or other benefits, and working existing employees overtime doesn’t add to the cost of their benefits.

There is no free lunch– and the biggest price of all is paid by people who are unemployed because politicians cannot leave the economy alone to recover, as the American economy has repeatedly recovered faster when left alone than when politicians decided that they have to “do something.”


In Case You Missed It: Black Owned Businesses Soared Under the Bush Administration

nbcc

 
For Immediate Release
Contact:  Kay DeBow kdebow@nationalbcc.org 

 
Dateline:  Washington, DC July 13, 2010 – The US Census Bureau has released the latest numbers on small business – by race and gender – and the numbers are all positive.  The fastest growing segment of small business is that of Black owned businesses with a growth rate of 60.5% compared to 18% for the overall total (2002 vs. 2007).  It appears to the National Black Chamber of Commerce that a reduction in business taxes, personal taxes plus a prohibition on Project Labor Agreements (union only jobs) and a strong push in federal procurement paid dividends to American entrepreneurs.  “This isn’t a coincidence. There is cause and effect and something happened during the Bush years”, says Harry C. Alford, President/CEO and co-founder of the NBCC.
 
When the NBCC was founded in 1993, the Census Bureau reported 300,000 Black owned businesses doing $30 billion.  Today’s report states there are 1.9 million Black owned businesses doing $138 billion.  In addition to the positive environment in the previous decade there has been a strong awakening within the Black community about the value of entrepreneurship and good old American capitalism.  “The efforts of the Civil Rights Movement are bearing fruit”, says NBCC Chair Sherrie Gilchrist, “A little equality can go a long way.”
 
Here are the top ten states for Black owned businesses:  1. New York with 204,093; 2. Georgia with 183,876; 3. Florida with 181,469; 4. Texas with 154,255; 5. California with 137,875; 6. Illinois with 106,679; 7. Maryland with 102,130; 8. North Carolina with 83,880; 9. Michigan with 72,549 and 10. Virginia with 63,399.
 
Georgia leads the nation in growth with a whopping 103.3% increase (2002 vs. 2007).  The inclusionary efforts of the late Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson are still paying dividends.  Conversely, California is lagging the nation with only 22.2% growth which can be attributed to Proposition 209 and other locally related economical stress.
 
The NBCC federation, the largest Black business association in the world, is very proud of this progress and looks forward to a continuing bright future.


Pulpit Freedom Sunday 2010

Pastors and churches are often confused about their right to speak truth from the pulpit on politicians and political issues. For 56 years, the IRS has wrongly attempted to silence pastors (the IRS code is over 3.4 million words long – almost five times longer than the Bible), and radical secularist groups such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State further attempt to intimidate churches and pastors into inaction.

Yet today, more than ever, a pastor’s voice must be heard, and Biblical truth must be brought to bear on current issues, including those of candidates and elections. Pastors do have the right to speak Biblical truth from the pulpit without fear of censorship or punishment from the government. Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a premier national legal group that defends the constitutional rights of Christians, has organized a concerted effort to push back against this unconstitutional government intrusion into the pulpit.

In 2008, ADF launched the Pulpit Initiative to protect the right of pastors to speak freely from the pulpit on any and all issues addressed by Scripture. That year, thirty-three pastors from twenty-two states participated in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” addressing civil issues, candidates, and the upcoming elections from a Biblical perspective. In 2009, over eighty pastors from 30 states and the District of Columbia participated.

This year, Pulpit Freedom Sunday will take place on September 26, 2010. On that day, pastors from across the country will stand together to address the issue of candidates and elections from their pulpits.

Your church can help make Pulpit Freedom Sunday a great success. Please visit www.speakupmovement.org/church for more information about how you can get involved in Pulpit Freedom Sunday 2010, or call (800) TELL-ADF. ADF will stand with pastors to protect their constitutional rights from censorship or intimidation.

Daniel Webster rightly noted: “God grants liberty only to those who love it and are always ready to guard and defend it,” and the freedom of the American pulpit is a liberty worth defending. We strongly encourage your church to contact ADF and let them know that you will participate in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.”

God Bless!

David Barton


Black Republicans Make History

By Frances Rice, President, National Black Republican Association.

Congratulations to the black Republican candidates who won their primaries several months ago, as well as on June 22nd, the most notable of whom is Tim Scott of South Carolina who received over 68 percent of the vote in the Republican Party runoff. A Charleston resident, Scott is also a state representative and previously served 13 years on the Charleston County Council. He is vying to become South Carolina’s first black Republican congressman in more than a century. If successful in November, Scott would be among the first black Republican legislators elected since the 2003 retirement of J.C. Watts from Oklahoma.

Scott and the other black Republican nominees, if elected in 2010, would join the ranks of the first blacks who were elected to Congress during the Reconstruction era – all Republicans. On the list that is posted on the NBRA website are the first two black Senators and the 21 black members of the House of Representatives.

Hiram Rhodes Revels of Mississippi was the first black elected as a United States Senator, serving from 1870 to 1871. He was followed in the Senate by black Republican Blanche K. Bruce of Mississippi. Republican Joseph Rainey of South Carolina was the first black to enter the House of Representatives. 

During the era of Reconstruction, Democrats – using the Ku Klux Klan – launched a reign of terror against Republican leaders, especially black Republican elected officials. A series of brutal acts by Democrats were among the reasons there were no more black Republicans elected to Congress for nearly one hundred years, until the election of Edward Brooks of Massachusetts in 1966.

Racism in the Democrat Party – past and present – is buried by the liberal press since it does not fit the media template in which the Republican Party is painted as a racist party. The charge that the Republican Party lacks diversity prevails in spite of the existence of around two million black Republicans in America. Ignored by the media is the fact that a black man, Michael Steele, is chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Invisible to liberal journalists are talented black Republicans such as NFL hall of famer Lynn Swann; boxing promoter Don King; singer/songwriter Lloyd Marcus; actor/wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; rapper/actor James “LL Cool J” Todd Smith; and businessman/talk show host Herman Cain.

Virtually no credit is given to Republican leaders for their inclusiveness, including President George W. Bush who appointed more blacks to high-level positions than any president in our nation’s history. Bush’s appointees included Gen. Colin Powell as the first black Secretary of State and Dr. Condoleezza Rice as the first black female Secretary of State. Both of these accomplished black Republicans were derided as “House Negroes” by Democrats.

While denouncing the Republican Party because so few blacks attend Republican meetings, journalists overlook how the denigration of black Republicans by Democrats instills in most blacks a reluctance to become politically active in the Republican Party.

Systematically ignored by the press are Republican-sponsored meetings attended by large numbers of blacks. Journalists avoided the regional faith-based imitative meetings held during the Bush Administration and attended by thousands of blacks. The liberal media displayed a decided lack of interest in the Washington, DC leadership conferences sponsored by Republican Senators Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Rick Santorum that attracted over 500 blacks each year. Few reporters covered the meetings hosted by the Republican Party of Florida for seven years where over 500 black Republicans attended each time. Although all media outlets were invited to the NBRA Black Republican Forum held in New York City, where football hero Lynn Swann was the keynote speaker, only C-Span bothered to show up.

The media also pays scant attention to the numerous black Republican elected officials serving around the country, most of whom were elected in largely Republican districts. Some excellent examples can be found in the sunshine state, including Florida Representative Jennifer Carroll (R-Fleming Island); Mayor Gow Field of Lakeland; County Commissioner Carolyn Mason of Sarasota and City Commissioner Phillip Walker of Lakeland. Also noteworthy is NBRA Vice Chairman Richard St. Paul who was elected to serve on the New Rochelle City Council in New York.

The press perked up a bit after a record number of black Republicans, 32 candidates, threw their hats into the political ring for the 2010 elections. Those who won their primaries and secured their Republican Party’s nomination in the past few months are: Star Parker (California’s 57th congressional district); Issac Hayes (Illinois’ 2nd congressional district); Chuck Smith (Virginia’s 3rd congressional district); Marvin Scott (Indiana’s 10th congressional district); Damon Dunn (candidate for California Secretary of State); C. Morgan Edwards (North Carolina State Senate); Gwen Patrick (California House District 52); Stephen Broden (Texas House District 30); James White (Texas House District 12); Marilyn Jackson (Texas House District 51).

The two other black Republicans who won their June 22nd primaries, in addition to Tim Scott, are Bill Randall (North Carolina 13th congressional district) and Bill Marcy (Mississippi 2nd congressional district).

A laughable feature of the media’s reporting on Tim Scott is the assertion by liberal journalists that Republicans had to overcome their racism in order to nominate Scott. The reporters used the racist past of South Carolina as the basis for their slam against Republicans. Never mind the fact that the Democratic Party controlled South Carolina for over 100 years after the Civil War, and it was the Democrats who were discriminating against blacks. As is explained in the article “The Myth of the Racist Republicans” by Gerard Alexander, which is posted on the Claremont Institute’s website, the 30-year odyssey of the South switching to the Republican Party begun in the 1970′s by Richard Nixon was not an appeal to the racists.

In a 2002 article posted on the Internet, the co-architect of Nixon’s Southern Strategy, Pat Buchanan, explained the genesis and purpose of the strategy. Buchanan wrote that Nixon declared that the Republican Party would be built on a foundation of state’s rights, human rights, small government and a strong national defense, and leave it to the Democrat Party – the party of Maddox, Mahoney and Wallace — to “squeeze the last ounce of political juice out of the rotting fruit of racial injustice.”

The racist Democrats (some of whom became known as “Dixiecrats” when they formed the “State’s Rights Democratic Party” just for the 1948 election) did not all join the Republican Party- the party of freedom and equality for blacks. In fact, those racists declared they would rather vote for a “yellow dog” than a Republican. Sadly, most blacks today have taken on the hatred for the Republican Party from the Democrats without understanding the origin of that hatred.

Once Democrats cease their insidious racism toward black Republicans, African-Americans will no longer feel that their votes are taken for granted. They will, in increasing numbers, seize control over their own destinies. They will vote for candidates based on the content of their policies, not merely the label of their party.

That truly was the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was — as the media seems to have forgotten — a Republican.


The GOP’s Black Surge

by Samuel P. Jacobs

BS Top - Jacobs Black GOP South Carolina state Rep. Tim Scott thanks supporters on Tuesday, June 8, 2010, in North Charleston, S.C. Three African-American Republicans win races in the South. Samuel P. Jacobs on the victors’ chances this fall—and whether the Bush-era bid for a bigger GOP tent is gaining new momentum.

Republicans looking for a feel-good story about widening their party’s tent need look no further than South Carolina’s First Congressional District where Tim Scott, a black lawmaker from Charleston, beat Paul Thurmond, the son of erstwhile segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond. There hasn’t been an African-American Republican in the House of Representatives since Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts exited in 2003. Scott’s solidly Republican district will almost certainly send him to Washington in the fall, making him the fourth black Republican to be elected to Congress in the modern era.

“If we have three to five elected this fall,” Johnson says, “that is better than any election since Reconstruction.”

But Scott wasn’t the only black Republican to score a win on Tuesday night. In North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, former military man Bill Randall won a run-off, setting him for an uphill contest against Democratic incumbent Brad Miller. In Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District, Bill Marcy, a retired Chicago police officer, won the GOP nomination. Marcy, too, faces a Democratic incumbent, Bennie Thompson, unlikely to lose his seat.

John Avlon: Crazy Texas Republicans Timothy F. Johnson, founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a group dedicated to adding African-Americans to the party of Lincoln’s ranks, originally had his eye on 32 black candidates running on the Republican ticket this cycle. The primary process has winnowed that group down. He says he expects a half-dozen or more black candidates to make it to the general election, and a smaller subset to actually win a ticket to Washington. While candidates like Scott, Randall, and Marcy defy the good ol’ boy image of the GOP in the south, African-American candidates like Ryan Frazier and David Castillo have appeared out West.

“For far too long, all Americans have assumed that all blacks think alike and vote alike,” Johnson says. “We don’t. We’re just as opinionated as the rest of America. No president should assume that because their skin color is the same as mine that they ultimately have my vote.” The black Republicans getting the most attention these days are Star Parker, running in California’s 37th District, and Florida’s Allen West. Parker has attracted party glitterati like Sarah Palin to her side, but her district, which includes Long Beach and Compton, is about as blue as they come. West, a retired lieutenant colonel, has a real shot of bumping off Democratic Rep. Ron Klein.

“This is not about trying to get 40 out of 40,” Johnson, who is vice chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, says. “We’re showing that black candidates do run as Republicans. Many of them have the heart but they are learning as the go.”

Four percent of African-Americans voted for John McCain in 2008. Only 1.5 percent of delegates in the Republican National Convention were black. The lily-white affair played so poorly that party officials have dedicated themselves to diversifying the ranks by the time the 2012 convention rolls around in Tampa Bay. At minimum, the GOP is aiming to have 10 times as many black delegates in Florida, raising the number from 36 to 360.

Johnson’s ultimate goal? Having as many black Republicans in Congress as black Democrats. But that will take time—and even a few black Republican congressmen winning in November would be historic.

“If we have three to five elected this fall,” Johnson says, “that is better than any election since Reconstruction.”

Samuel P. Jacobs is a staff reporter at The Daily Beast. He has also written for The Boston Globe, The New York Observer, and The New Republic Online.

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Republicans Raise Minority Profile. WSJ.com

By DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON And VALERIE BAUERLEIN

South Carolina Republicans shattered racial traditions this week by voting to nominate an Indian-American woman for the state’s governorship and an African-American for the U.S. Congress—punctuating a year in which the GOP has fielded more non-white candidates nationally than any since the 19th century.

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Tim Scott with his mother Tuesday after he became a GOP Congressional candidate in the state.

GOPRACE_1

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Nikki Haley in Columbia, S.C., after winning the Republican gubernatorial primary for South Carolina on Tuesday

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Nearly 40 African-Americans ran for the U.S. House or Senate as Republicans this year, according to the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a black Republican group. Eight black hopefuls have secured the GOP nomination in primaries, and several more are in the running in states where primaries haven’t yet been held.

Notable was the choice this week in a predominantly white congressional district in South Carolina of Tim Scott, a 44-year-old African-American, over the son of former U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond—a figure who once symbolized segregation in the Deep South.

Mr. Scott, a state House member and former chairman of the Charleston County council, tweeted Tuesday night that “history is made in S.C.!” Mr. Scott is now the favorite to win the election in November and thus become the first black Republican in Congress since Rep. J.C. Watts (R., Okla.) retired in 2003.

But a contradiction remains: Despite the GOP’s ability to attract minority candidates it has trouble luring minority voters. The vast majority of the non-white candidates running as Republicans already have lost, dropped out or are expected to lose this season.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Wednesday shows that support for the GOP among blacks and Hispanics has fallen sharply from earlier this decade. And the presence of an incumbent black Democratic president is likely to hinder African-American support for Republican presidential candidates in 2012.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who is also black, has emphasized to minority groups his party’s historic origins as the opponent of slavery and its connections to the first black members of Congress during Reconstruction. He says the GOP’s success in fielding minority candidates this year is a watershed in returning diversity to the GOP but that the party must do much more to make an economic case to non-white voters.

“For anyone to think that this is somehow a panacea, and all African-Americans and Hispanics will start signing up for the GOP, you’re crazy,” Mr. Steele said in an interview. “We’ve got work to do. I’m not blind to that reality.”

Timothy F. Johnson, founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, said 2010 is a milestone—especially in tapping into the fundamental conservatism of many African-Americans on some social issues. “Blacks are conservative but they vote Democratic,” Mr. Johnson said.

African-Americans tend to be significantly more conservative on social and cultural issues than whites, particularly on homosexuality, according to a 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center. The study indicated that 40% of black respondents were socially conservative, compared to 26% of whites.

Some of the more successful black Republican candidates this year have tapped into African-American conservative religious activism more effectively than white candidates in the past.

Isaac Hayes, the GOP nominee seeking to knock out U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who has represented the 2nd District of Illinois for 15 years, is a youth minister at Chicago’s 20,000-member Apostolic Church of God—where President Barack Obama delivered a 2008 Father’s Day speech.

Mr. Hayes said he was drawn to the GOP during the administration of former President George W. Bush because of social issues, such as opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion. Mr. Hayes emphasizes those stances in conversations with voters, many of whom are evangelical Christians who have tended to vote Democratic because of economic issues.

“It’s a really good opportunity for us because right now, black Americans realize that the Democratic Party has not represented our best interests,” Mr. Hayes said. “That doesn’t mean that Republicans have done everything right, but people are open to trying a different way.”

Nikki Haley, the Indian-American mother of two who won the runoff in South Carolina’s GOP gubernatorial primary this week, hit core conservative themes in her long-shot campaign—opposing health-care reform, taking a hard line on immigration and underscoring her conversion to Christianity. She is now the favorite to win the governorship in November. Ms. Haley would become the second child of Indian immigrants to be elected a governor in the U.S., joining Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who was elected in 2007.

Other black Republican nominees considered viable in the November general election include Stephen Broden, a Dallas pastor running in the 30th District of Texas and Michael Faulkner, a former NFL player and pastor running in the 15th District of New York.

Yet even as the GOP scored successes this year with minority candidates, the overall perception of the party among black and Hispanic voters has fallen significantly. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 14% of black voters and 24% of Hispanic voters felt positively about the Republican party. That number is far below that of late 2000, when Republicans appeared to be gaining strength among some African-Americans and were seen positively by 20% or more.

Similarly, the sentiment of Hispanics, who were assiduously courted by Mr. Bush, has soured sharply as Republicans have led the charge for tougher policies on immigration. Support for the party fell to 24% in this weeks poll from levels that ranged from one-third to more than 40% in the first half of the decade.

The Rev. Joe Darby, senior pastor of Charleston, S.C.’s 3,000-member Morris Brown AME Church, said the nomination of Mr. Scott may change the face of the GOP but doesn’t represent a shift in appeal to most African-Americans. “I’m not going to hope my breath and think this is a brave new world for the Republican Party,” Mr. Darby said.

Mr. Steele, the RNC chairman, says 2010 will be a historic turnaround for the Republicans in building minority support around economic growth issues, even if only one or two black candidates ultimately win election to Congress.

“I had none,” Mr. Steele said. “If I get one, let alone three, that is the starting point of turning that page.”

Write to Valerie Bauerlein at valerie.bauerlein@wsj.com


Contradictory Thinking in the Black Community, by Vanessa Jean Louis

Black Culture critics typically don’t get as much airtime as those who perpetuate victim hood. However, if we are to make progress as people of color, we must combat some of the counter-intuitive and counterproductive views that plague our communities. Shedding light on the issues is only one of a series of steps that must be taken to foment an “Urban Conservative” counter culture.

“Low-skilled jobs typically held by minorities in the inner city are being outsourced, yet let’s continue to support/vote for Democrats so they can raise taxes on the rich to close the economic gap.”

Leftists call it “greed,” I call it “common sense”. Most corporations get into business to make a profit and share the dividends of theirs profit with their shareholders. In the midst of making money allocating scarce goods and resources (capitalism), these corporations hire people giving these employees means of economic subsistence. Since the 1960s, because of increased labor costs, many corporations have outsourced their companies into countries where the cost of operating is cheaper. In other words, as prices to operate business in America go up, profit margins go down-so it only makes sense that these businesses harbor in places that will help increase their profit margins. That’s not greed, that’s Business 101.

During the Great Depression, whatever toils experienced by White America were felt at least two-fold by those in the Black community. The same holds true today. While the national unemployment rate hovers around 10 percent, it’s over 50 % higher in the Black Community. Understanding how tax policy and regulation can have a retardant or stimulative effect on the economy is pivotal. Hence why Conservatives like Jack Kemp wanted the Federal Government to play an integral part in “Enterprise Zones/Communities”. In Enterprise Zones/Communities, states and federal taxes are lowered temporarily. Moreover, regulation that would otherwise be confiscatory is lifted in order to foment economic activity and increase employment in areas with high poverty and other social maladies that are often correlated with decrepit social conditions.

I always ask my liberal brothers and sisters to explain the contradictory nature of complaining about lack of jobs and opportunities when they support a political ideology that supports raising taxes and increasing the regulatory burdens placed by bureaucrats–which has an inevitable effect on employment opportunities. So, if low employment opportunities are a huge problem, why support politicians who are for hurting the small business owners who are most likely to employ low-skilled workers who disproportionately represent the inner city cohort?

Moreover, many business owners assert that since demand is low due to the recession, the temporary “tax-credits” that are being offered by the Obama administration aren’t going to be enough of an incentive for small businesses to hire new workers.

Black Conservatives and Republicans are “sell-outs”, but the criminals involved in the penal system aren’t?

After years of working in the inner city, some people who have come to know me through my writings have called me a “sell-out” by virtue of not identifying with the Black monolith, politically. As unabashed Black Conservatives and/or Republicans, it’s just the name of the game that we have to deal with. I must admit, it’s growing on me (like fungus would grow on a host)-albeit very uncomfortable since I pride myself in being a “conscious” (semi-Afrocentric) Conservative…never mind the fact that I’m in the trenches everyday…

How is it that the criminals and the street thugs who terrorize their neighborhoods aren’t considered “sell-outs”? I’ve grappled with this for a while. I’ve read the writings of other black/urban conservatives lamenting on this very issue. I can’t seem to understand how my “blackness” is constantly questioned, but those who kill, maim, and get people who look like me addicted to drugs aren’t ever really questioned about their allegiance to the Black community? What’s even more ironic is how rappers who glorify the “thug life” (who have helped in part produce a generation of what I call the “un-conscious”) rarely have their “blackness” questioned. I find most disheartening the members of the Black Intelligentsia who defend these culprits involved in the penal system as “victims”—when the people who they oppress by their actions are really the ones we need to worry about.

“Despite centuries of oppression that only ended in the past few decades, Black people are incredibly resilient BUT the proverbial “system” has enough power to hold us back?

The resiliency of Black folks is something that should never go unspoken. With over 250 years of chattel slavery, and decades of Jim-Crow- the Black family managed to stay virtually intact (until the 1960s) ONLY through faith in Christ, and self-sufficiency coupled with mutual aid networks. The fact that the “Black Wall Street” (Greenwood, Tulsa Oklahoma) was rebuilt to bring about another economic resurgence in the 1950s after it was burned by angry White men in the 1920s (who envied the economic prosperity that the free markets and capitalism brought to blacks) is also testament to that fact.

If we are such “victims” of a purported establishment, why were we able to accomplish so much before it became politically opportunistic to help us? I’m not in any way diminishing the role of Government when it came to acting as a fiduciary for Black civil rights. What I’m saying is, what excuses do we really have in 2010 when there are hoards of programs in higher education actively (to the point of frivolous lawsuits) seeking more and more members to add to the growing numbers of the Black Intelligentsia?

In addition to many minority recruitment initiatives, when it comes to small business development, there are special set asides for minorities to start their own businesses. The fact is that our progenitors who opened up their own businesses didn’t have the opportunities that we have today.

Moreover, if we are indeed resilient how can we believe that our economic, social, and political achievements can be stifled…in 2010? I’m not deluding myself about there being barriers to success; I just refuse to believe that those blockades can stop us (in theory and in practice).

Unfortunately, any attempts to say “Enough is enough” are clouded by culture apologists who are more comfortable with the status quo because it cements their position as power brokers and “leaders” in the Black community. While I don’t necessarily automatically discount the validity of some of the views I feel are contradictory to our objectives as people of color, I think it’s important to shine light on these blatant contradictions for the sole purpose of our social advancement. As an urban conservative, I experience first hand how the liberal side seems to dominate the dialogue and thus the agenda. That needs to stop.

http://blog.afroconservative.com/


THE SAGA OF RAND PAUL – DEMOCRATIC PARTY RACIAL POLITICS IN ACTION

By Frances Rice
May 26, 2010

Regardless of the issue – from immigration to ObamaCare – Democrats, with the complicity of the liberal media, demonize as racist average Americans who oppose their socialist agenda and are unhappy about how President Barack Obama and the Democrats in control of Congress are ruining our economy with massive deficit spending.

Incredibly, Democrats even stoop to condemning as racist anyone who dares to engage in philosophical discussions about the constitutional limitations on federal powers – just ask Rand Paul who dared to voice the fact that a few aspects of the 1964 Civil Rights Act lacked constitutional authority.

Lost in the media-generated firestorm designed to falsely paint Paul as a racist and derail his bid for a US Senate seat is any discussion about the reason why civil rights laws were necessary in the first place – Democratic Party racism.

In his new book, “Whites Blacks & Racist Democrats”, Wayne Perryman provides startling details about racism in the Democratic Party from 1792 to 2009. Perryman describes how the Democratic Party became known as the “Party of White Supremacy” that fought to preserve slavery and enacted discriminatory laws to deny civil rights to blacks.

Included in Perryman’s book are facts about how the Republican Party that was founded in 1854 as the anti-slavery party became the party of freedom and equality for blacks. Republicans fought to end slavery; amended the U.S. Constitution to grant blacks freedom, citizenship and the right to vote; and pushed to enact every piece of civil rights legislation from the 1860′s to the 1960′s over the objection of the Democrats.

Perryman brought to light the 1875 Civil Rights Act, the first law that dealt with accommodations and equality and was passed by a Republican-dominated Congress. To their eternal shame, Democrats in 1883 convinced the United States Supreme Court to declare the 1875 Civil Rights Act as “unconstitutional.” Eleven years later in 1894, Democrats passed the 1894 Repeal Act to overturn the previous civil rights legislation passed during Reconstruction by Republicans.

Perryman also revealed that in 1964 while debating the accommodations portion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Democrat Senator Olin Johnson of South Carolina argued: “Mr. President, this is the blackest day in the U.S. Senate since 1875, when the Congress passed a Civil Rights bill similar to this one. It was 89 years ago that the [Republican] Congress passed the nefarious Reconstruction era Civil Right laws, identical with what we are now discussing, which were later declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Senate, if it passes this measure before us, will be compounding that unconstitutional error made back in 1875. I predict that this bill will never be enforced without turning our nation into a police state and without the cost of bloodshed and violence…”

Ignored by the media today, as they attempt to paint all Republicans as racist, is the fact that Jim Crow laws were enacted by Democrats to force private businesses to refuse services to blacks. Those Jim Crow laws were in violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which states, in part: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The entire text of section 1 of the 14th Amendment is below.

It is rank hypocrisy for the liberal press to give Democrats, including former Klansman Democrat Senator Robert Byrd, a pass for their real racism, while attacking Rand Paul, labeling him as a racist for his theoretical musings about the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In essence, Paul, who said he detested racism in any form, wondered whether other means, such as boycotts, may have been effective in forcing an end to non-governmental racial discrimination. Paul focused on the fact that the 14th Amendment to U.S. Constitution provides the federal government only with the power to stop racial discrimination by state and local governments.

Our nation will continue to be divided along racial lines until we bring an end to the Democrats’ despicable race-baiting by holding Democrats accountable for their racism – past and present.

_____________________________

Amendment 14 – Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868.

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Frances Rice is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and Chairman of the National Black Republican Association. She may be contacted at: http://www.NBRA.info


What Hitler Knew

a sobering History lesson: church and state

By Bryan Fischer

  

  All of us agree that the left has made its major gains in eroding religious liberty in America through activist judges. What they have not been able to gain at the ballot box, or through the legislative process, or through their elected representatives, they have gained through out-of-control judges who legislate from the bench.
  These judges, taking a twisted, distorted and upside-down view of the First Amendment, have removed prayer, Bible reading and the Ten Commandments from public schools, and are rapidly stripping Americans of what remains of the first liberty the founders guaranteed to us in the Bill of Rights.
  To recognize judicial activism when it pertains to the First Amendment, we need to have a clear understanding of what it does and does not mean.

Only Congress can violate the First Amendment
  Most of us are familiar with the wording of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
  The most overlooked, ignored, forgotten, and yet most important word in this amendment, is the first one: “Congress.” Congress shall make no law.
  The only entity the founders restrained in the First Amendment was the Congress of the United States. No entity or individual other than Congress is restrained.
  Do not miss the significance of this. It is constitutionally impossible for a governor, a state legislature, a mayor, a city council, a principal, a teacher or a student speaking at graduation to violate the First Amendment, for one simple reason: they’re not Congress.
  Some will surely cite the Incorporation Doctrine, which is based on the plainly false theory that the 14th Amendment applies the restrictions of the First Amendment to the states. But the Incorporation Doctrine itself is clearly a pernicious and lethal exhibition of judicial activism, which nobody thought of until 1947 when it came to the repression of religious liberty.
  Somehow the use of the 14th Amendment to stifle religious expression at the state and local level had escaped the finest legal minds in America from 1868, when the 14th Amendment was enacted, until the Everson ruling of 1947, a span of 79 years.
  Now, the Constitution did not suddenly change in 1947; what changed was the willingness of hyperactive justices to start finding emanations and penumbras in the Constitution, fabricated out of whole cloth by their fevered judicial imagination.
  We know as a matter of historical record that the 14th Amendment does not incorporate the First Amendment against the states. We know this because in 1875, James Blaine, a senator from Maine, tried to push his Blaine Amendment through Congress.
  His proposed wording read, “No state shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Do not miss the implication of this. If the framers of the 14th Amendment had intended to incorporate the First Amendment against the states, there simply would have been no need – just seven years later – for the Blaine Amendment. Sen. Blaine simply would have been told, “Hey, didn’t you get the memo? The 14th Amendment has already done this.”
  In passing the 14th Amendment, Congress clearly had no intention of clamping down on religious freedom at the state or local level.
  Even more telling is this indisputable historical fact: Sen. Blaine’s amendment did not make it through Congress. Congress rejected his effort to take the First Amendment and use it to squeeze the life out of religious freedom at the state and local level.

Religion in the Constitution
  So if Congress alone can violate the First Amendment, how can it do that? The founders were clear: The only way Congress can violate the First Amendment is to “establish a religion.”
  Now when the founders used the term “religion,” they did not use it, as we often do, to refer to religion in general, let alone to mere public references to God, as the ACLU argues.
  No, what they meant by “religion” was one of the various sects of Christianity. At the time of the founding, 99.8% of the population were followers, to one degree or another, of the Christian faith. Almost all of the other 0.2% were followers of the Jewish faith. Virtually 100% of the Americans at the time of the founding were adherents of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
  The founders used “religion” in much the same way my friends and I did on the playground when I was young. We’d ask each other, “What religion are you?” by which we meant, “Are you Baptist or Lutheran or Methodist or Roman Catholic?”
  The term “establishment” also had a clear, precise, unambiguous and technical meaning at the time. To “establish” a “religion” meant to pick one Christian denomination, give it preference in law, and compel citizens to support it with their tax dollars.
  Our founders had seen in England the kind of religious tyranny and repression that results from an established church and were determined not to repeat that mistake in the our young nation.
  So only Congress can violate the First Amendment, and the only way it can do that is to select one Christian denomination, make it the official church of the United States, and compel citizens to support it with their tax dollars.
  Don’t miss this: if Congress doesn’t do that, it can do anything it wants. It has complete constitutional liberty to engage in any kind of religious expression it chooses as long as it does not establish an official church.

Religious liberty in the U.S.

  Now, why is all this important? Why is it so important for us to fight to protect genuine religious liberty in America?
  Here are two official slogans [cited in The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, 1933-1945, by John S. Conway]:
    1) “Politics do not belong in the church” and 2) “The church must be separate from the state.”
  These mottos did not come from the ACLU, nor from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. No, these slogans, word for word, came directly from the mind of Adolf Hitler.
  These were official slogans of the Nazi Party, adopted in the mid-1930s and relentlessly hammered into the minds of the compliant German population by the Nazi propaganda machine.
  In essence, what Hitler said to German pastors was this: “I don’t care what you teach your congregations, as long as you don’t talk about politics, and as long as you keep your voice inside the four walls of your churches.”
  Why did Hitler do this? For one simple reason. He knew that the only force in Germany which could keep him from fulfilling his totalitarian ambitions was the church of Jesus Christ. He knew that if he could not silence the voice of the church, he could not exercise total domination.
  He also knew that if he could silence the voice of the church, nothing could stand in his way.
  The church and its leaders meekly capitulated to this form of tyranny, and 25 million people died as a result, 6 million of them Jews.
  Secular fundamentalists in the United States know the same thing that Hitler knew. The only thing that stands in their way of the total takeover of our culture, the final removal of any mention of God from the public arena, and the shredding of the last remains of our Judeo-Christian value system, is the church of Jesus Christ.

Public square only for the left?
  I once had a lesbian activist say these exact words to me when I was pastoring: “I don’t care what you teach or believe as long as you keep it inside the four walls of your church.” In essence, she was saying, “Your church belongs to you, but the public square belongs to us.”
  They know that if they cannot silence the voice of the church, they cannot succeed. And they also know that if they can silence and neutralize the voice of the church, nothing stands in their way.
  I submit that the future of our country, as well as the future we leave to our children and grandchildren, hinges on this one question and this one question alone: Will the church allow its voice to be intimidated into silence, or will our spiritual leaders once again take their prophetic role in our society and speak truth outside the four walls of the church?
  Will the leaders of the church once again speak the unchanging and unchangeable truths of God and his Word into the public square? Will our pulpits once again flame with righteousness, or will the church allow its voice to be overpowered by the strident voices of the left?
  Our future as a nation hinges on the answer to that question. And so we turn our eyes to the leaders of the church of Jesus Christ, and we ask, “What will you do? What will your answer be?”

Be informed and involved
1. Regularly visit www.afa.net and www.OneNewsNow.com
2. Encourage your pastor to address moral issues (as they play out in the public arena) from the pulpit.
3) Urge friends to subscribe to AFA Journal and AFA Action Alerts
4) Listen to American Family Radio or watch programs at www.afr.net.

Resources at https://store.afa.net  
The American Heritage Series by WallBuilders.
Rediscovering God In America by Newt and Callista Gingrich.


A Return To Common Sense, by Mike Nozzolio

Growing up in a working class family with Mom, Dad, and my two brothers, we didn’t have the best of everything. We did, however, learn very early how to stretch a dollar and the value of hard work and sacrifice. We never felt deprived.  When times were tough, my parents, especially my mother, who was the money manager of the family, taught us invaluable and common sense lessons about ways to save money.

New York State could take a lesson from my mother. Times are tough in New York State and it’s time to use common sense when it comes to state spending.

Not too long ago, a corrections officer suggested a common sense way to save money in the state’s prison system. He offered simple, nutritionally balanced suggestions on ways to save on the meals that the state provides to the inmate population. One of his suggestions was to substitute bread instead of hot dog and hamburger rolls, which are more expensive. He also suggested that instead of sugared drinks like Kool-aid that the State serve water with meals and serving hard-boiled eggs instead of deviled ones. These small substitutions, in addition to being healthier, would save New York State over a million dollars!

Of course, switching from rolls to bread will not solve New York State’s

$9.2 billion deficit, but the point is that there are savings to be found in every Department and Agency in the State and you don’t always have to look very hard to find them. Common sense suggestions like these should be discussed as a part of the budget negotiations – negotiations that sadly, are NOT taking place. 

Shockingly, open meetings on the budget have been halted in Albany. The legislators from New York City, who currently control both the Assembly and Senate, continue to violate the law and refuse to hold the public budget conference committee meetings that could bring an end to the budget stalemate.  

In the meantime, taxes and spending are spiraling out of control. Local taxpayers, already hit hard with the high cost of living in New York are suffering. Layoffs have already begun to hit business, industry, education and all levels of the private sector. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an end in sight to the budget crisis

The New York City legislators who control the budget process are the same people who forced last year’s New York State budget through with the largest tax and spending increases in State history! Last year’s closed door negotiations resulted in spending increases of more than $12 billion and imposed over $8.5 billion in new taxes – taxes that drove up the costs of electricity, health insurance, automobile registration and recreational fees.

Once again, legislators from New York City are hiding behind closed doors, reviewing the budget in secret and without input from the public. They don’t want your interests to be represented or protected!

We are now facing our 6th week without a New York State budget! One party rule with Governor Paterson, the State Assembly and State Senate has taken us out of balance and has proven to be a disaster! The people of New York State deserve better.

There are many ways to reduce spending. New York State can start by weeding out the waste and abuse in its multi-billion dollar welfare and Medicaid programs.  New York State can consolidate services and eliminate highly overpaid administrative staff positions in all levels of government. 

These suggestions should be a part of the budget process and would be if the budget conference committee meetings -  meetings that are required by law -  were actually taking place!

There are solutions to the problems that are plaguing our State. Reduce the taxes that are strangling New York property tax owners, cut spending, and provide business incentives that will encourage job growth and development. I will continue to fight for the common sense solutions that are basic to every successful household like the one I grew up in, and essential to our State’s economic recovery.


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Email address: nozzolio@senate.state.ny.us

Friends or Foes? by, Rev. Tommy Davis

I recently encountered two old friends whom I’ve known for a very long time. They were standing in front of a house drinking and having conversation. I was driving by when one of them screamed out: “Preacher man!”

I pulled over and began conversations with them. One of the men spoke about my connections with the local police department interacting with the major crimes division as a crisis chaplain. I advised my old friends that I am not strattling the fence when it comes to the law. You are either guilty or not guilty. Choose what side you are going to be on—right or wrong.

As I expected, they began calling the police department “corrupt” and attempted to justify why they must carry firearms “to protect themselves” from “crooked” officers. I explained to them that police officers may not be perfect but their professions are safer than standing on the corner. One of the gentlemen in the crowd previously had a warrant; and when I stumbled upon the scene, two officers took him into custody.

They began to complain that there were no jobs and that “these white folks” didn’t want to give them any work. Mind you, both of these fellows are nearly 50 years of age and spent several years in prison. I had to shoot back and advise that I received most of my college education on a scholarship and Pell grant; that I had to work in the hot fields of North Carolina to buy things that I wanted even though my parents had the money. That I had to work as a janitor for ten years putting myself through school. I had to remind them that I quit being a drunk and a young juvenile delinquent, and am now married with three children, owning real estate and am productive in my field.

The mindset that currently floats around is that someone must give black people something as opposed to the employment seeker looking to be an asset and constructive in whatever shape or form within the community. Rather than teach their children to become police officers, they are teaching youngsters to abhor the profession and attempt to gain an economic advantage through misconduct.

In addition, these men told me that their guns are bigger than the police department and that if things “hit the fan” it will be a “lot of blood”. I sternly advised them that their modern way of thinking was unacceptable and that if I ever showed up with the SWAT team; just remember, “I will not hesitate to give testimony confirming the officers’ justification of force.”

Folks, the problem with crime is that the liberals are giving criminals too many excuses. My specialty is intervention at homicide scenes to administer psychological first-aid to the victim’s loved ones. At the same time I am able to assemble evidence that may lead to a primary suspect or suspects. In building relationships within the community, citizens have become comfortable informing the chaplain regarding people who may be responsible for committing major crimes. To my old “friends”, I am a snitch. But to the law abiding citizenry, I am an asset.

What can be done about the existing shared intellectual currency in these depraved neighborhoods? Do we remove the free lawyers (public defenders) and increase the consequences of crime? Do we lock ‘em up and hide the key? I think the answer is Christ.

First, we have to prohibit the criminal by incarceration (arrest) from engaging in further offense. Then we can preach the Gospel and let Christ turn the caterpillar into a butterfly.

No amount of Habitat for Humanity, Housing Authority or laws will make the criminal legally productive. Some people have ceased committing crimes only to become idle. Taxpayers still have to pick up the tab. My opinion, the answer is to be found in Christ as it is Him who can make the former criminal productive. From a liability to an asset who’s more concerned about creating jobs rather than just having them. In other words, from socialism to capitalism. Fair trade—not robbery. Thereby benefiting both parties where the criminal can become a friend and not a foe.


Why the Government Fails to Maintain Anything

by Jim Powell

As the mad scramble to pass President Obama’s stimulus bill reminded us, politicians love to start new government programs. They gain things they can brag about during their reelection campaigns. But there’s little to be gained by maintaining programs somebody else started. No surprise, then, that in budget battles, maintenance tends to be under-funded.

Moreover, as power is centralized, those further down the chain of command, who are nominally responsible for maintaining government assets, have less and less authority to do so. Since nobody really owns government assets, nobody has a personal stake in protecting their value. Consider a few cases.

Why Can’t Government Maintain New Orleans’s Levees?

hurricane-katrina bay in backgroundThe nearly half-million people of New Orleans wanted to live in their big bowl below sea level, and they entrusted politicians with the job of maintaining more than 125 miles of levees. These large walls, typically made of earth and/or stone, surrounded the city to keep out water from the Mississippi River (to the south and southeast of the city), Lake Borgne (to the east), Lake Pontchartrain (to the north), and various canals. Since water continuously leaked into the city, there were floodwalls, about 200 floodgates, plus pumps and drainage canals for additional protection.

Then Hurricane Katrina hit. It crossed Florida on Thursday, August 25, 2005, as a Category 1 (weakest category) hurricane, then gathered strength as it reached the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Wind velocities accelerated, and by Sunday, August 28, Katrina was a Category 5. It weakened somewhat to a Category 4 when it made landfall east of New Orleans the next day, with winds of up to 145 miles per hour. We all know what happened next.

But why did it happen? There seemed to be problems almost everywhere in New Orleans’s levee system. Dr. Peter Nicholson, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Hawaii, headed a study of the levee failures on behalf of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He reported, “We found literally dozens of breaches throughout the many miles of levee system. A number of different failure mechanisms were observed.” Ivor van Heerden, deputy director of Louisiana State University’s Hurricane Center, criticized the design and suggested that inadequate construction could also be an issue. Forensic teams that studied these levees generally agreed with the assessment.

Who was responsible for the failure of the levees?

They needed maintenance because everything needs maintenance and because each year the city was sinking about an inch deeper into the Mississippi River mud. Although New Orleans politicians’ most important job was public safety and the levees obviously affected public safety, politicians seemed to believe doing maintenance work–which would probably go unseen–wouldn’t serve their personal interests (especially getting reelected).

The state had established the New Orleans District Levee Board in 1890 to be responsible for maintaining the levees around the city. But the board members, a majority of whom are appointed by Louisiana’s governor, pursued their interests by expanding their power, gaining jurisdiction to develop properties around the levees. Board members spent time on such matters as licensing a casino, leasing space to a karate club, and operating an airport and marinas. The Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee reported, “A review of the levee-district board minutes of recent years revealed that the board and its various committees spent more time discussing its business operations than it did the flood-control system it was responsible for operating and maintaining.”

James P. Huey, who had been on the board for 13 years and served as its president for nine years, blamed the state legislature. He claimed that the board had to generate money from those time-consuming extraneous businesses because the state legislature had cut the board’s revenue in half. So even though members of the board knew that a levee in New Orleans East was three feet below its design height–which would affect its ability to withstand a storm surge and therefore jeopardized the people in the city–they didn’t get it fixed because they were squabbling about who would pay for it. The Army Corps of Engineers refused. The board wrote letters to their members of Congress asking Washington for money, but they were busy with other things. And the Flood Control Act, which Congress passed in 1965, sent a clear signal that the federal government would bail out people who wanted to live in flood-prone areas like New Orleans.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers handled design and construction of the levees, as it handled flood-control projects throughout the United States. But its budget consisted almost entirely of “earmarks,” assuring that appropriations would be spread around congressional districts. That gave incumbents something to brag about during their election campaigns. The problem was that spending a lot more money on New Orleans flood protection wasn’t the top priority for the state’s politicians. J. Bennett Johnston Jr., for example, when he was a Louisiana senator, secured appropriations for four new dams on the Red River between Mississippi and Shreveport, costing $2 billion.

Bottom line: Nobody in the city, state, or federal governments wanted responsibility for maintaining the levees.

Why Can’t Government Maintain Public Housing?

toon_freeman_10_2009

Because poor people tend to live in poor housing, many people thought it would be a good idea for government to build housing. This started during the New Deal and accelerated after World War II as the federal government subsidized municipalities. Public housing projects were given names–like Cochran Gardens, Maplewood Court, Henry Horner Homes, and Rockwell Gardens–that suggested they might be charming.

A guiding principle of the time was that housing projects should be massive. In part this reflected the influence of the Swiss-born architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris–later known as Le Corbusier–who urged during the 1920s that people be concentrated in big buildings consisting of cell-block apartments. The buildings were set pieces, surrounded by empty parks and separated from their neighborhoods. Bigness became a kind of architectural cult, embraced by Soviet mass murderer Joseph Stalin and others during the mid-twentieth century. Like so many Soviet buildings, U.S. housing projects tended to be big and ugly.

Consider the experience of the Chicago Housing Authority, the third-largest public-housing bureaucracy in the United States. It built a four-mile stretch of housing projects. Just one of them, the Robert Taylor Homes, included a couple dozen 16-story buildings containing 4,400 units altogether. It was reportedly the world’s largest housing project.

These monstrosities quickly deteriorated. “The buildings in its enormous family developments are literally crumbling,” reported housing analyst Susan J. Popkin in 2000. “They are relatively old; most construction occurred during the 1950s and early 1960s. The original materials were cheap and have not held up well over time. Further, the buildings are poorly designed, with exterior hallways and elevators that have proven extremely difficult to maintain.” The government couldn’t begin to take care of this development. Popkin went on, giving a litany of problems familiar to many residents of “the projects” across the country:

Because the hallways of the high-rises are covered with metal grates, the buildings look like prisons. Many apartments (and some entire buildings) are boarded up because their major systems–plumbing, heating, electrical–have failed. The grounds and hallways are often filled with refuse and reek of human waste. The buildings are infested with vermin, including rats, mice, roaches, and even feral cats. Lights in interior hallways, elevators, and stairwells are vandalized regularly, leaving these areas dark twenty-four hours a day. The buildings’ exteriors, halls, and stairwells are often covered with graffiti or, in the better-maintained developments, the evidence of the janitors’ attempts to paint over the mess.

Without constant vigilance it is nearly impossible to keep the units clean. In addition to the dirt that blows in from outdoors, it is not uncommon to see apartment walls literally crawling with roaches. Most apartments also have serious maintenance problems, owing to years of neglect and failed structural systems. For example, in some units, it is impossible to turn off the hot water in the bathrooms, so the walls now have severe moisture damage.

Despite spending millions of dollars on law enforcement in the housing projects, neither the federal government nor the city have been able to maintain public safety. Maintenance people were afraid to enter the housing projects, which contributed to their deterioration.

During the 1980s real estate developer Vincent Lane became chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority and ordered police to “sweep” through public housing projects, ejecting people who weren’t legitimate residents. But the American Civil Liberties Union challenged these sweeps, and evidently they were discontinued. Moreover, they were expensive–about $175,000 per building–and Lane became embroiled in conflict-of-interest scandals involving security service contracts. The Chicago Housing Authority had trouble securing enough funding for its operations, and by the 1990s it had ceased making major repairs.

The next short step was to demolish the disastrous housing projects. The last tower came down in 2007. The city of Chicago began building townhouses, some of which were sold to middle-income private buyers, while others were reserved for former tenants in the projects. Applicants were screened in an effort to avoid drug users or those with criminal records. But construction is likely to proceed slowly and accommodate a fraction of the people who had lived in the projects.

Perhaps the most notorious of all housing projects was Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis, designed by Minoru Yamasaki, winner of a number of architectural awards and praise in Architectural Forum. Pruitt-Igoe included 33 11-story buildings on 57 acres in DeSoto-Carr, a poor section of the city. There were 2,870 apartments.

The project was finished in 1956. “Only a few years later,” reported Alexander von Hoffman of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, “disrepair, vandalism, and crime plagued Pruitt-Igoe. The project’s recreational galleries and skip-stop elevators, once heralded as architectural innovations, had become nuisances and danger zones. Large numbers of vacancies indicated that even poor people preferred to live anywhere but Pruitt-Igoe. The St. Louis Housing Authority spent $5 million trying to fix the problems but failed.” In 1972, three of the 16-year-old Pruitt-Igoe buildings were demolished. The following year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development agreed Pruitt-Igoe was hopeless, and the rest of it came down.

Similar public housing projects across the country were just as wretched. Joseph Petrone, a former maintenance supervisor with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, recalled: “I’d go to work at Schuylkill Falls [a PHA project] with a .38-caliber revolver in my belt and a big stick in my hand. The stick was for the German shepherds people kept tied to their doorknobs. The halls were covered with trash because the dogs would tear up the trash bags. We’d find bodies in the elevator shafts; the kids would play there, get stuck, and fall or get crushed.” The government was incapable of maintaining anything it built.

Why Can’t Government Maintain National Parks?

More than a century ago, “Progressives” promoted the idea that only government could be trusted to take care of natural wonders like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. Things have worked out rather differently. Apparently when politicians began considering the idea of national parks, nobody thought much about maintenance. For example, Congress was assured Yellowstone wouldn’t cost Washington anything once the initial roads and buildings were constructed. In 1916 Stephen Mather, who managed the national parks, reported, “The revenues of several parks might be sufficient to cover the costs of their administration and protection and Congress should only be requested to appropriate funds for their improvement.”

Over the years, presidents have bragged about how much they added to the National Park Service. Now it includes some 6,000 historic structures, 8,500 monuments, 2,000 bridges and tunnels, 4,300 employee housing units, and 27,000 campground sites, as well as docks, parking areas, and other assets. But it wasn’t until 2002 that the National Park Service began to assess their condition.

Since the federal government “owns” the national parks, their funding depends on Washington politics. The prevailing policy has been that most revenue generated in the parks goes to Washington. As a consequence, the parks have had to lobby politicians for appropriations. But over the years the biggest increases in federal spending have involved wars and social programs. The National Park Service has had a hard time competing for funds with the likes of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. It’s a small pig at the trough. There has been a big backlog of deferred National Park Service maintenance jobs that lacked funding. Roads are sometimes hazardous because of potholes. Visitor facilities are falling apart. Historic structures are in jeopardy. Sewage systems have broken, causing pollution.

Why Should Government Start Something It Can’t Maintain?

Government cannot be counted on to maintain anything well because there’s no political glory in maintenance. Those who sign major laws, who launch new government programs, and who cut the ribbons for new government buildings can brag about their exploits during reelection campaigns. But politicians don’t seem to gain any credit with voters when they maintain programs that somebody else started. In many cases, like adding more cement to New Orleans levees, maintenance work is invisible.

Since taxpayer money is wasted when it’s spent on projects that subsequently suffer from inadequate maintenance, and often much harm is done, government should be limited to projects it might be able to maintain. If this means government ends up doing little, so be it.


It's Time For The Civil Rights Leadership and Parrots To Sit Down

by Akindele Akinyemi (March 1, 2010)
It’s time for the civil rights leaders in our community to sit down and enjoy their rest of their lives.

It’s time for Black folks who call themselves conservatives and parrot the ideologies of mainstream conservatives to sit down as well.

We are in a state of crisis, emergency and straight catastrophe. No longer we need the old guard of leadership to try to lead us into the promise land. This has hurt our cause tremendously.

It still bothers me to see how the Congressional Black Caucus, the most ineffective caucus on Capitol Hill, to clown the Obama Administration because he is not doing enough for Black America.

What?

President Obama is the President of the United States not Black America. And if he was the President of Black America I would tell him to put on a bulletproof vest because there is ALWAYS a hater in the midst.

Black America ELECTS the Congressional Black Caucus to REPRESENT us. Instead, it was revealed how they represent corporate interests. No surprise there since these same corporate interests they entertain have not brought back jobs into the urban community.

But most importantly, we have not even heard them COLLECTIVELY fight against failing education in our community. Oh, I forgot they cannot do this because of the teacher unions.

This is why they need to sit down for good. Not just the CBC but these Legislative Black Caucus leaders as well. We will START with my homestate of Michigan where every urban center is destroyed to the core. From Detroit to Benton Harbor to Muskegon to Saginaw there is zero growth in these areas.

And we keep electing more foolishness into office to constantly ignore the needs of the urban communities. Not just Black Democrats but Black Republicans are NOT off the hook either.

We appreciate everything our leaders did in the Civil Rights Movement. Some of these people died for freedom and justice. If it was not for the Civil Rights Movement we would have still been drinking from separate water fountains, riding on the back of the bus and being lynched for looking at a White woman.

However, there comes a time when we need to re-evaluate our position as a community.

Even with Blacks coming into political power in the late 60 and early 70s, or Blacks becoming Republicans or independents our brand of leadership have not changed. Therefore, it has created a vacuum for our future.

These civil rights leaders have not addressed how our young Black men are barely surviving in the 21st century. In fact, today so many of us do not exist in our community. 50% to 80% of prison and jail populations are made up of Black men although we are less than 7% of the total U.S. population.

And while these same Civil Rights leaders who beg for the crumbs that fall from our masters tables more than 70% of our children are born into single, female-headed households. When we discuss colleges and universities the Black male populations on many major college campuses total a mere 1% to 3%.

Now some feel that President Obama should directly address these issues. I do not feel that way. I feel that these same haters who originally jumped on Hillary Clinton’s bandwagon before Obama’s bandwagon should be called out and VOTED out for allowing such genocide to occur in our communities. They have never liked Obama and in my personal opinion are no better than mainstream conservatives criticizing him. Maybe they should have voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin or Ron Paul in the last Presidential election and called it even.

Well, these same old civil rights leaders have paralyzed our community with their inept policies. It hurts me to see people cheering on old Black men or women for re-election to send back to Congress, the State House or Senate when they are STUCK in their ways of thought. This is not elevation but stagnation. The voting on name recognition only has killed progress in our community and we need to open this decade with new leadership that will work on our behalf. For those who oppose term limits on any level need to rethink your position. Ask yourself, when was the last time Congressman John Dingell brought anything new to the table? The man has been in office since 1955. Congressman John Conyers have been in office since 1964.

Today, this new generation of urban leaders often fights battles on two fronts: 1) we fight to remedy and mitigate against the vestiges of racism and inequality that still remain; and 2) we struggle with some older generation leaders who are unable or unwilling to make room, make way, get on board, be led or at the very least – get out of the way.

New generation urban leaders often find themselves in a constant struggle to both recognize, honor and respect those who came before while exercising our own authentic leadership relevant to the 21st century and beyond. We struggle to find the space to lead and to do so in our own way, with our own style, vision and methods; and we long to do so with the respect and support of older leaders whom we typically came into our work admiring, respecting and wanting to emulate.

For example, there are a large number of young Black conservatives who lack knowledge of their own history and culture. This, in return, as affected their dialogue to create solutions because most do not know what happened in the past. Part of this reason is because most of these young people were born in the mid to late 80s so they never experienced the Civil Rights or Black Power movements. And most are too young to remember the conscious hip hop movements of the late 80s to early 90s that helped reflect and reinforced our conscious way of thinking.

Mentors like myself not only must educate those who are serious about change in our community but also give them a worldview of education that can help connect them with their past to present and connect them to the global balance sheet that exists out here. When young Black conservatives begin to discuss policy issues and move away from political rhetoric they will (1) be able to begin solution driven policies that are 21st century based and (2) create a new pool of independent thinkers/scholars that value not only the importance of education as a passport to freedom but understand economics, family and urban infrastructure.

Until that happens, young Black conservatives will continue to rely on Glenn Beck and other mainstream conservatives who are (1) opportunists and (2) divisive. These people do not have the right ingredients to solve what is going on in urban America. Older Black conservatives have an full obligation (whether they like it or not) to mentor and educate our young people who are conservative by teaching them the truth about our plight here in this country and where we are going. To do otherwise is failure.

Meanwhile, in the past 50 years we need to ask in urban America what has transformed into making our cities great, our educational system better and our families intact? The only thing our Democratic civil rights leadership gives you today is a headache when you try to figure out what they’re standing for and what they’re doing to remedy the social and economic disparities this community is facing today. It’s embarrassing.

On the other hand, Black conservatives use the easy way out by pointing to the War on Poverty programs of the late 60s. But refuse to take the hard way in when it comes to solutions and practices that will help engage action. It’s easy for both sides to play the blame game but when its time to talk about infant mortality, unemployment, and education we need to learn that (1) whatever worked in the 1950s is most likely NOT applicable in 2010 and (2) we are living in an information age NOT an industrial age. You can keep conservative values BUT the strategy in the transformation and policy process must be different to keep up in a global competivie society.

Today, this new generation of Black leadership is struggling to find the space to co-exist, thrive and lead with an older generation not always willing to pass the baton and graciously make room. That is fine because we have a history of innovation on our side. Leadership in this community must be policy oriented and spiritual based. When I say spiritual I am not just talking about Christianity. I find more spiritual people who take care of themselves OUTSIDE the church with holistic diets, exercise, and expanding their way of thinking. Everyone who is participating in the transformation of our community will not be Baptist, AME or COGIC. Some may practice Judaism or some might be Muslim. Should we ostracize them because they have a different faith? Again, are you thinking for yourself or is someone thinking for you?

The socio-political infighting amongst each other is not only dangerous and damaging for the negative impact it can have on our communities’ need for real, united leadership but is is also self-destructive in nature. One side is talking about the free market while the other side is talking about Keynesian economics. How about both sides coming together to create a new economic model that we can compete globally and gain our fair share of wealth that we can tap into? This will take a high level of scholarship to develop which means you will have to think outside the box.

I understand that we have some of our elders in the community embracing this new generation of urban leaders who have proven themselves fully capable of taking the mantle to further advance civil rights and social change. The challenge is will older leaders, the trailblazers whose shoulders many of us stand on, get on board to work with and support the new generation of leaders so that we can experience the manifestation of the very dreams they fought hard for?

This is why its time to make the transformation from civil rights to silver rights. Its time to move into the next phase of the Civil Rights Movement. Education is a global silver right and I cannot understand why so many of us will not take to the streets to change our outdated academic system. If we can take the same energy to elect President Obama then what is our excuse of not taking the same energy to save both our families and education system? How come we have to be a reactionary group of people when we should be proactive?

It’s time for this generation to fully engage in public-private partnerships, helping convert small business dreamers into small business owners and helping people help themselves to create more stakeholders in our community.

What our Democratic civil rights leadership must understand is that the 20th century was marked, both here and abroad, by issues related to race and the color line. Today, in the 21st century, its marked by issues of class and poverty.

Let’s face it the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and it is harder for the average person, simply to remain “middle class.” 30 short years ago, middle class meant one parent working, and one parent raising our children at home, as a sort of domestic engineer. Today middle class most often means two parents working, and the television set and popular culture is raising our children, in our place.

And with so many people living from paycheck to paycheck (if they are even working to begin with) is a struggle. In this community we are one paycheck away from poverty. This must change.

An estimated 65 million Americans have no traditional banking relationship. Another 33 million are dirt poor in this country.

Now when you look at Black America and keep in mind our leadership comes from our community we see how one million Black children in the United States are living in extreme poverty. 58% of Black boys do not graduate from high school in the United States. Many of the 42% who do will be given diplomas that graduate them to low-wage jobs or no jobs at all, street-corner hustling, incarceration and violent death. In fact, for most of these students, their high school diplomas will not lead to a decent job, acceptance to a good college or even qualify them for military service.

Today, I can careless what you refer yourself to my concern is can we get the job done?

Our community must immediately disengage from the diversions of mind-deadening entertainment, useless sports, hyper-sexuality, excessive social celebrations, pointless conversations and debates about Democrats and Republicans..conservatives vs. liberals, meaningless media and the civil rights issues approaches to managing our problems. We must begin to think independently not rely 100% on Fox News, Tea Parties, NAACP Dinners and Fighting the Power. Our market is now global not just domestic. Our destiny has nothing to do with 1776 but 2010.

We must focus on the most important issue in our communities — making EDUCATION the highest priority. Please, do not come to me about how to make a million dollars when (1) you are broke yourself and (2) possess a hustling mentality. If quality education is not the foundation of your solution then you are wasting time. Black have to get out of this hustling mentality that has created a rat race in our community. The same people who are telling you NOT to get involved in certain policies are INVOLVED themselves if not making money on the side. Think for yourself to create a new level of leadership.

We must create a counterculture of literacy and learning that replaces intellectual apathy and resistance to educational progress. Somehow, we must re-inspire our children to want to learn and to love to learn. But having educated children is not enough. We must have educated families and educated communities. Every Black man, woman and child must become part of this new community of learners.

Now more than ever in our history, leadership in the Black community needs to be cross-generational, united and mutually respectful. Anything less is a recipe for failure.


Time for a New Generation of Black Leaders

Written By Star Parker

Black History Month 2010 is not a great time for a party. Unemployment at almost 10%, and well over 16% among blacks, doesn’t make for much of a festive mood.

But if the mood is not festive, shouldn’t it be reflective?

Certainly, there’s reason for pride in black achievement in the forty plus years since the Civil Rights movement.

We’ve now got a couple black billionaires and a black president. The percentage of blacks with college degrees is three times greater now than in 1970.

But black household income is still just 62% of white households. And the black poverty rate, at twice the national average, has hardly budged since the late 1960’s.

Blacks should be asking hard questions when, over this period of time, many immigrants from different backgrounds have come to this country with little and moved into the middle class in one generation.

The accumulation of considerable black political power – black mayors, governors, a 42 member Black Congressional Caucus, and now a black president – has made hardly a difference. It should be clear that black economic distress is not a political problem.

Studies show that it’s family and education that produces success in America. Income correlates with education and education correlates with family background.

Now consider that in 1970, 62% of black women were married compared to 33% today.

In 1970, 74% of black men were married, compared to 44% today. Or that in 1970, 5% of black mothers were never married compared to 41% today.

The Civil Rights movement was, of course, a religiously inspired and led movement. It made liberal use of the biblical imagery of the Exodus of the Israelite slaves from Egypt. Taylor Branch called his trilogy about Dr. King and the movement he led “Parting of the Waters”, “Pillar of Fire”, and “At Canaan’s Edge.”

To the misfortune of blacks who put great hope in the redemptive powers of that movement, their leaders prematurely closed their bibles.

The story of the liberation of the Israelite slaves did not end with their release from their Egyptian taskmasters. That was the beginning. They then proceeded to the mountain in the wilderness to receive the law to take with them and live by in the Promised Land.

When it was clear that the former Egyptian slaves were not up to the task, they were condemned to wander for forty years in the wilderness so that a new generation would arise, enter the land, and build the nation.

Let’s recall that the law they received was about family (honor your parents), about property and ownership (thou shalt not steal), and about being concerned about building your own and not what your neighbor has (thou shalt not covet).

Rather than seeking redemption through this law, post-Civil Rights movement black leaders sought redemption in politics. The welfare state, entitlements, transfer payments, and the politics of differences and envy. Should we be surprised by the result?

The New York Times recently reported that from 2004 to 2008, the political and charitable arms of the Congressional Black Caucus raised more than $55 million from corporations and unions. According to the Times, most of these funds were “spent on elaborate conventions…a headquarters building, golf outings,…and an annual visit to a Mississippi casino resort.”

More was spent on the caterer for the Caucus’s Foundation annual dinner – $700,000 – than it gave out in scholarships.

It’s now over forty years since the Civil Right movement. Enough wandering in the wilderness.

It’s time for a new generation of black Americans to step forward. A generation to turn to the truths that will rebuild black lives, black families, and lead blacks to the freedom that Dr. King and all blacks have dreamed about.


History turned right side up

The friend of minorities and immigrants is not govern­ment but “Work! Work!! Work!!! Work!!!!” | Marvin Olasky  WORLD Magazine

Oscar Stanton De Priest (1871-1951) was the first African-American elected to Congress in the 20th century. Like Barack Obama, he rose through Chicago machine politics. Unlike Obama, De Priest was a Republican firmly opposed to big government. He lost his seat in 1934 when African-Americans voted their empty pocketbooks and began a massive switch from the Republican Party that had claimed their allegiance for 70 years to the Democrats who have claimed their allegiance for the past 75.

That switch had political consequences—Democratic control of Congress, with rare exceptions—and socioeconomic ones as well: Asian immigrants typically built businesses and many African-Americans have as well, but black economic progress in the popular mind is connected to government growth and affirmative action. Schoolroom and media accounts during February’s Black History Month celebrate big-government proponents but generally ignore fighters for individual liberty like De Priest, NAACP co-founder Moorfield Storey, Howard University dean Kelly Miller, and novelist Zora Neale Hurston.

Jonathan Bean’s Race & Liberty in America (University Press of Kentucky and The Independent Institute, 2009) points out that “academic booklists reflect the politically correct view that left-wing liberals or radicals completely dominated the struggle for racial freedom.” Bean’s excellent book shows that many African-American leaders in the 19th and 20th centuries had a different emphasis. Those leaders prized individual rights, Christianity, and markets where the only color is the green of greenbacks. Those leaders knew that government power enforced racist codes and segregation.

Free markets, as Frederick Douglass understood, work for minorities. (Some streetcar companies opposed segregation because it increased their cost of doing business.) From the Civil War to the 1890s, ex-slave Douglass’ stump speech emphasized “WORK! WORK!! WORK!!! WORK!!!! Not transient and fitful effort, but patient, enduring, honest, unremitting and indefatigable work, into which the whole heart is put.” Douglass sided with employers over racist unions and asked that they give the ex-slave opportunity: “Give him a chance to do whatever he can do well. If he fails then, let him fail! I can, however, assure you that he will not fail. Already he has proven it. As a soldier he proved it.”

In 1924 Kelly Miller, the Howard University dean who was the first African-American admitted to Johns Hopkins, also argued that blacks should favor free markets rather than government or union power: “The capitalist has but one dominating motive, the production and sale of goods. The race or color of the producer counts but little. . . . The capitalist stands for an open shop which gives to every man the unhindered right to work according to his ability and skill. In this proposition the capitalist and the Negro are as one.”

But the development of federal jobs programs and welfare during the 1930s moved many African-American leaders to the big-government side. In 1951 Zora Hurston decried such selling out for temporary advantage: “Throughout the New Deal era the relief program was the biggest weapon ever placed in the hands of those who sought power and votes. . . . Dependent upon the Government for their daily bread, men gradually relaxed their watchfulness and submitted to the will of the ‘Little White Father,’ more or less. Once they had weakened that far, it was easy to go on and on voting for more relief, and leaving Government affairs in the hands of a few.”

Those few, in one sense, have done well by African-Americans over the past half-century: Federal power ended the segregationist power of state and local governments. The feds also mandated affirmative action programs that helped some blacks achieve middle-class status. And yet, as Shelby Steele, Stephen Carter, and others have pointed out, those programs left many blacks wondering whether they could have made it on their own, and left others wallowing in welfare.

As sociology professor Anne Wortham concluded in 1978, “For blacks like me, the supreme irony of having to contend with affirmative action measures is that we grew up in a tradition which prepared us for precisely the opposite—that tradition which measured achievement in terms of merit as evidenced by one’s skill, knowledge, experience, interest and attitude. . . . [Now] I am branded as incapable of walking through the gates of opportunity on my own.”

The black-left alliance has produced obvious economic benefits for some African-Americans, but at what cost?


Chicago's Real Crime Story by Heather MacDonald

Why decades of community organizing haven’t stemmed the city’s youth violence
 
 
The beating death of Derrion Albert captured national attention last September.

Barack Obama has exploited his youthful stint as a Chicago community organizer at every stage of his political career. As someone who had worked for grassroots “change,” he said, he was a different kind of politician, one who could translate people’s hopes into reality. The media lapped up this conceit, presenting Obama’s organizing experience as a meaningful qualification for the Oval Office.

This past September, a cell-phone video of Chicago students beating a fellow teen to death coursed over the airwaves and across the Internet. None of the news outlets that had admiringly reported on Obama’s community-organizing efforts mentioned that the beating involved students from the very South Side neighborhoods where the president had once worked. Obama’s connection to the area was suddenly lost in the mists of time.

Yet a critical blindness links Obama’s activities on the South Side during the 1980s and the murder of Derrion Albert in 2009. Throughout his four years working for “change” in Chicago’s Roseland and Altgeld Gardens neighborhoods, Obama ignored the primary cause of their escalating dysfunction: the disappearance of the black two-parent family. Obama wasn’t the only activist to turn away from the problem of absent fathers, of course; decades of failed social policy, both before and after his time in Chicago, were just as blind. And that myopia continues today, guaranteeing that the current response to Chicago’s youth violence will prove as useless as Obama’s activities were 25 years ago.

One year out of college, Barack Obama took a job as a community organizer, hoping for an authentic black experience that would link him to the bygone era of civil rights protest. Few people know what a community organizer is—Obama didn’t when he decided to become one—yet the term seduces the liberal intelligentsia with its aura of class struggle and agitation against an unjust establishment. Saul Alinsky, the self-described radical who pioneered the idea in Chicago’s slaughterhouse district during the Depression, defined community organizing as creating “mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people.” Alinsky viewed poverty as a political condition: it stemmed from a lack of power, which society’s “haves” withhold from the “have-nots.” A community organizer would open the eyes of the disenfranchised to their aggrieved status, teaching them to demand redress from the illegitimate “power structure.”

Alinskyite empowerment suffered its worst scandal in 1960s Chicago. The architects of the federal War on Poverty created a taxpayer-funded version of a community-organizing entity, the so-called Community Action Agency, whose function was to agitate against big-city mayors for more welfare benefits and services for blacks. Washington poverty warriors, eager to demonstrate their radical bona fides, funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into Chicago’s most notorious gangs, who were supposed to run job-training and tutoring programs under the auspices of a signature Alinskyite agency, the Woodlawn Organization. Instead, the gangbangers maintained their criminal ways—raping and murdering while on the government payroll, and embezzling federal funds to boot.

The disaster failed to dim the romance of community organizing. But by the time Obama arrived in Chicago in 1984, an Alinskyite diagnosis of South Side poverty was doubly irrelevant. Blacks had more political power in Chicago than ever before, yet that power had no impact on the tidal wave of dysfunction that was sweeping through the largest black community in the United States. Chicago had just elected Harold Washington, the city’s first black mayor; the heads of Chicago’s school system and public housing were black, as were most of their employees; black power broker Emil Jones, Jr. represented the South Side in the Illinois State Senate; Jesse Jackson would launch his 1984 presidential campaign from Chicago. The notion that blacks were disenfranchised struck even some of Obama’s potential organizees as ludicrous. “Why we need to be protesting and carrying on at our own people?” a prominent South Side minister asked Obama soon after he arrived in Chicago. “Anybody sitting around this table got a direct line to City Hall.”

Pace Alinsky, such political clout could not stop black Chicago’s social breakdown. Crime was exploding. Gangs ran the housing projects—their reign of thuggery aided by ACLU lawsuits, which had stripped the housing authority of its right to screen tenants. But the violence spread beyond the projects. In 1984, Obama’s first year in Chicago, gang members gunned down a teenage basketball star, Benjy Wilson.

The citywide outcry that followed was heartfelt but beside the point. None of the prominent voices calling for an end to youth violence—from Mayor Washington to Jesse Jackson to school administrators—noted that all of Wilson’s killers came from fatherless families (or that he had fathered an illegitimate child himself). Nor did the would-be reformers mention the all-important fact that a staggering 75 percent of Chicago’s black children were being born out of wedlock. The sky-high illegitimacy rate meant that black boys were growing up in a world in which it was normal to impregnate a girl and then take off. When a boy is raised without any social expectation that he will support his children and marry his children’s mother, he fails to learn the most fundamental lesson of personal responsibility. The high black crime rate was one result of a culture that fails to civilize men through marriage.

Obama offers fleeting glimpses of Chicago’s social breakdown in his autobiography, Dreams from My Father, but it’s as if he didn’t really see what he recorded. An Alinskyite group from the suburbs, the Calumet Community Religious Conference, had assigned him to the Roseland community on the far South Side, in the misguided hope of strong-arming industrial jobs back to the area. Roseland’s bungalows and two-story homes recalled an era of stable, two-parent families that had long since passed. Obama vividly describes children who “swaggered down the streets—loud congregations of teenage boys, teenage girls feeding potato chips to crying toddlers, the discarded wrappers tumbling down the block.” He observes two young boys casually firing a handgun at a third. He notes that the elementary school in the Altgeld Gardens housing project had a center for the teen mothers of its students, who had themselves been raised by teen mothers.

Most tellingly, Obama’s narrative is almost devoid of men. With the exception of the local ministers and the occasional semi-crazed black nationalist, Obama inhabits a female world. His organizing targets are almost all single mothers. He never wonders where and who the fathers of their children are. When Obama sees a group of boys vandalizing a building, he asks rhetorically: “Who will take care of them: the alderman, the social workers? The gangs?” The most appropriate candidate—“their fathers”—never occurs to him.

Surrounded with daily evidence of Roseland’s real problem, Obama was nevertheless at a loss for a cause to embrace. Alinskyism, after all, presupposes that the problems afflicting a poor community come from the outside. Obama had come to arouse Roseland’s residents to take on the power structure, not to persuade them to act more responsibly. So it was with great relief that he noticed that the Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training (MET), which offered job training, lacked a branch in Roseland: “ ‘This is it,’ I said. . . . ‘We just found ourselves an issue.’ ” So much for the fiction that the community organizer merely channels the preexisting will of the “community.”

Obama easily procured a local MET office. It had as much effect on the mounting disorder of the far South Side as his better-known accomplishment: getting the Chicago Housing Authority to test the Altgeld Gardens project for asbestos. In an area that buses wouldn’t serve at night because of fears that drivers would get robbed or hit by bricks, perhaps asbestos removal should have been a lower priority, compared with ending the anarchy choking off civilized life. In fact, “there is zero legacy from when Obama was here,” says Phillip Jackson, director of the Black Star Project, a community group dedicated to eliminating the academic-achievement gap. Jackson, like other local leaders, is reluctant to criticize Obama, however. “I won’t minimize what Obama was doing then,” he says.

In 1987, during Obama’s third year in Chicago, 57 children were killed in the city, reports Alex Kotlowitz in his book on Chicago’s deadly housing projects, There Are No Children Here. In 1988, Obama left Chicago, after four years spent helping “people in Altgeld . . . reclaim a power they had had all along,” as the future president put it in Dreams from My Father. And the carnage continued.

In 1994, two particularly savage youth murders drew the usual feckless hand-wringing. An 11-year-old Black Disciples member from Roseland, Robert “Yummy” Sandifer (so called for his sweet tooth, the only thing childlike about him), had unintentionally killed a girl while shooting at (and paralyzing) a rival gang member. Sandifer’s fellow Black Disciples then executed him to prevent him from implicating them in the killing. A month later, after five-year-old Eric Morse refused to steal candy for an 11-year-old and a ten-year-old, the two dropped him from a 14th-story window in a housing complex, killing him. Eric’s eight-year-old brother had grabbed him to keep him from falling, but lost his hold when one of the boys bit him on the arm. None of the perpetrators or victims in either case came from two-parent families.

A year after these widely publicized killings, and on the eve of Obama’s first political campaign, the aspiring state senator gave an interview to the Chicago Reader that epitomized the uselessness of Alinskyism in addressing black urban pathology—and that inaugurated the trope of community organizer as visionary politician. Obama attacks the Christian Right and the Republican Congress for “hijack[ing] the higher moral ground with this language of family values and moral responsibility.” Yeah, sure, family values are fine, he says, but what about “collective action . . . collective institutions and organizations”? Let’s take “these same values that are encouraged within our families,” he urges, “and apply them to a larger society.”

Even if this jump from “family values” to “collective action” were a promising strategy, Obama overlooks a crucial fact: there are almost no traditional families in inner-city neighborhoods. Fathers aren’t “encouraging” values “within our families”; fathers are nowhere in sight. Moving to “collective action” is futile without a core of personal responsibility on which to build. Nevertheless, Obama leapfrogs over concrete individual failure to alleged collective failure: “Right now we have a society that talks about the irresponsibility of teens getting pregnant,” he told the Reader, “not the irresponsibility of a society that fails to educate them to aspire for more.”

The same rhetorical leapfrogging governs the Obama administration’s and the Chicago political establishment’s response to current Chicago teen violence. Compared with the 1990s, that violence is way down—114 children under 17 were killed both in 1993 and in 1994, while 50 were in 2008. But the proportion of gang-related murders has gone up since the late 1980s and 1990s, when the Chicago police, working with federal law enforcement, locked up the leaders of Chicago’s most notorious gangs. Those strong leaders, it turns out, exercised some restraint on their members in order to protect drug profits. “Back then, you knew what the killings were about,” says Charles Winston, a former heroin dealer who made $50,000 a day in the early 1990s in the infamous Robert Taylor Homes. “Now, it’s just sporadic incidents of violence.” The Black Star Project’s Phillip Jackson compares the anarchy in Chicago’s gang territories to Somalia: “There are many factions,” he says, all fighting one another in unstable, shifting configurations.

In the early 2000s, the number of assaults reported in and around schools increased significantly, according to Northwestern University political scientist Wesley Skogan. School dismissal time in Chicago triggers a massive mobilization of security forces across the South and West Sides, to try to keep students from shooting one another or being shot by older gang members. Police officers in bulletproof vests ring the most violence-prone schools, and the Chicago Transit Authority rejiggers its bus schedules to try to make sure that students don’t have to walk even half a block before boarding a bus.

Each street in a neighborhood possesses a mystical significance to its juvenile residents. What defines their identities isn’t family, or academic accomplishments or interests, but ruthless fealty to small, otherwise indistinguishable, pieces of territory. Roseland’s 123rd Street is the 12-Treys’ turf, 119th Street belongs to the 11-9s, and 111th Street is in an area of Roseland called “the Ville.” Gang members from the Ville aren’t supposed to cross 119th Street; doing so will provoke a potentially lethal challenge. School-reform initiatives may have contributed to increasing tensions on the streets by shutting down failing schools and sending students into enemy territory; the demolition of Chicago’s high-rise housing projects in the 2000s likewise disrupted existing gang groupings.

In September 2009, that now-notorious cell-phone video gave the world a glimpse of Barack Obama’s former turf. Teenagers—some in an informal school uniform of khaki pants and polo shirts, others bare-chested—swarm across a desolate thoroughfare in Roseland; others congregate in the middle of it, indifferent to the SUVs that try to inch by, horns blaring. Against a background din of constant yelling, some boys lunge at one another and throw punches, while a few, in leisurely fashion, select victims to clobber on the torso and head with thick, eight-foot-long railroad ties. Derrion Albert is standing passively in the middle of a knot on the sidewalk when one boy whacks him on the head with a railroad tie and another punches him in the face. Albert falls to the ground unconscious, then comes to and tries to get up. A boy walking by gives him a desultory kick. Five more cluster around him as he lies curled up on the sidewalk; one hits him again with a railroad tie, and another stomps him on the head. Finally, workers from a nearby youth community center drag Albert inside. Throughout the video, a male companion of the videographer reacts with nervously admiring “damns.”

In the Alinskyite worldview, the school system was to blame, not the students who committed the violence. Several years before, Altgeld Gardens’s high school, Carver High, had been converted to a charter military academy. Students who didn’t want to attend were sent to Fenger High School in the Ville, several miles away. Students from Altgeld Gardens and from the Ville fought each other with knives and razors inside Fenger High and out, their territorial animosity intensified by minute class distinctions. Ville children whose mothers use federal Section Eight housing vouchers to rent homes look down upon housing-project residents like those from the Gardens. The morning of the Albert killing, someone fired a gun outside Fenger; during the school day, students sent one another text messages saying that something was likely to “jump” after school. When students from the Gardens, instead of immediately boarding a bus home, walked down 111th Street—the heart of Ville territory—the fighting started. Derrion Albert had a loose affiliation with Ville students; the students who killed him were from the Gardens.

South Side aldermen and the usual race claque accused the school bureaucracy of insensitivity and worse in expecting Altgeld Gardens and Ville children to coexist without violence. In a pathetic echo of 1950s civil rights protests, Jesse Jackson, cameras in tow, rode a school bus with Altgeld Gardens students from their homes to Fenger High, demanding that Carver be converted back to a neighborhood school. No one pointed out that the threat from which Jackson the Civil Rights Avenger was protecting black students came from other black students, not from hate-filled white politicians. Obama’s former organizing group, the Developing Communities Project, led noisy parent protests, demanding that Carver accept all comers from Altgeld Gardens and reduce its military component to a quarter of the school. James Meeks, a race-baiting South Side pastor and an Illinois state senator, staged his own well-photographed bus tour, taking suburban officials through Roseland and past Fenger to demonstrate the “adversity” that Fenger students faced compared with suburban kids—though the greatest adversity comes from the violence that students inflict on themselves.

Other protests sent an even more muddled message. After a day when a dozen fights in Fenger High School provoked a security clampdown and five arrests, a group of parents and students staged a two-day boycott of classes, complaining of excessive discipline and harsh treatment from the guards. “They put us on lockdown for two hours because of a little fight,” senior DeShunna Williams told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It was just an ordinary fight.” Schools can only restore safety by strict discipline and zero tolerance for violence, however. If parents and students protest whenever such discipline is enforced, they undercut their own call for greater safety.

Mayor Richard Daley initially rejected the protesters’ demands. “The day when the city of Chicago decides to divide schools by gang territory, that’s a day when we have given up the city,” he said. But the Chicago Public Schools soon promulgated a policy letting Fenger students transfer out of the school. Few mothers took advantage of the option for their children, despite the weeks of agitation for it. Meanwhile, the school system allocated millions of additional dollars to protect Fenger students from one another. Ten extra school buses now escort the 350 Altgeld teens to and from Fenger every day, and school administrators pressed the Chicago Transit Authority to add more public bus routes around Fenger so that students wouldn’t have to wait on the sidewalk for more than a few minutes.

Who wins the award for the most Alinskyite evasion of personal and parental responsibility after Albert’s death? Perhaps not the local protesters but the federal officials dispatched to Chicago for damage control. The videotaped murder, seen around the world, couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Obama administration—just over a week before the Olympic Committee was to decide on Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 games. On October 1, the day before Obama was to make his last-minute pitch to the Olympic Committee in Copenhagen, the White House announced that Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan would fly to Chicago to deliver a federal response to youth violence. The next day, Chicago lost its bid in the first round of votes, but Holder and Duncan continued to Chicago the following week.

Their message picked up exactly where Obama’s 1995 Chicago Reader interview left off. “I came here at the direction of the president, not to place blame on anyone, but to join with Chicago, with communities across America in taking responsibility for this death and the deaths of so many other young people over the years,” announced Duncan. Of course, the government has been “taking responsibility” for children for several decades now, at a cost of billions of dollars, without noticeable effect on inner-city dysfunction. The feds have funded countless programs in child and youth development, in antiviolence training, in poverty reduction. If “collective action,” as Obama put it in 1995, could compensate for the absence of fathers, the black violence problem would have ended years ago.

Holder’s remarks were just as irrelevant (though, to his credit, he did pledge $500,000 for beefed-up school security). “We have to ask hard questions, and we have to be prepared to face tough truths,” he said, and then proceeded to ignore the hard questions and duck the tough truths. “Youth violence is not a Chicago problem, any more than it is a black problem, a white problem, or a Hispanic problem,” he claimed. “It is something that affects communities big and small, and people of all races and all colors. It is an American problem.” Tough-truth quotient: maybe 20 percent. No, youth violence isn’t just a Chicago problem. Urban school districts across the country flood school areas with police officers at dismissal time. But youth violence is definitely correlated with race. Though rates of youth killings and shootings vary—Chicago children under the age of 17 are killed at four times the rate of New York children, for example—youth violence is disproportionately a “black problem” and, to a lesser extent, a Hispanic one. According to James Alan Fox and Marc Swatt of Northeastern University, the national rate of homicide commission for black males between the ages of 14 and 17 is ten times higher than that of “whites,” into which category the federal government puts the vast majority of Hispanics. Black juveniles accounted for 78 percent of all juvenile arrests between 2003 and 2008 in Chicago; Hispanics were 18 percent, and whites, 3.5 percent, of those arrests. Recognizing that tough truth is the only hope for coming up with a way to change it.

In Chicago, blacks, at least 35 percent of the population, commit 76 percent of all homicides; whites, about 28 percent of the population, commit 4 percent, and Hispanics, 30 percent of the population, commit 19 percent. The most significant difference between these demographic groups is family structure. In Cook County—which includes both Chicago and some of its suburbs and probably therefore contains a higher proportion of middle-class black families than the city proper—79 percent of all black children were born out of wedlock in 2003, compared with 15 percent of white children. Until that gap closes, the crime gap won’t close, either.

Official Chicago’s answer to youth violence also opts for collective, rather than paternal, responsibility. The Chicago school superintendent, Ron Huberman, has developed a whopping $60 million, two-year plan to combat youth violence. The wonky Huberman, who created highly regarded information-retrieval and accountability systems for the police department and the city’s emergency response center in previous city jobs, has now applied his passion for data analysis to Chicago’s violent kids. Using a profile of past shooting victims that includes such factors as school truancy rates and disciplinary records, he has identified several hundred teens as having a greater than 20 percent chance of getting shot over the next two years. The goal is to provide them with wraparound social services. (The profile of victim and perpetrator is indistinguishable, but targeting potential victims, rather than perpetrators, for such benefits as government-subsidized jobs is politically savvy.) The program will assign the 300 or so potential victims their own “advocates,” who will intercede on their behalf with government agencies and provide them with case management and counseling.

In some cities, it’s a police officer who visits a violence-prone teenager to warn him about staying out of trouble. Chicago sends a social worker. The Chicago police department has kept a low profile during the public debate over teen shootings, ceding primary accountability for the problem to the school system. This hierarchy of response may reflect Chicago’s less assertive police culture compared with, say, New York’s. “We’d marvel at how the NYPD was getting mayoral support” during New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s tenure, says a former Chicago deputy superintendent. “Mayor Daley is not a cop supporter; it’s no secret that he rules the police department with an iron fist.” The South Side’s black ministers, whom Daley does not want to alienate, also act as a check on more proactive policing. There have been few calls in Chicago for a more aggressive stop-and-frisk policy to get illegal guns off the street, and the police department hasn’t pushed to implement one.

Now, perhaps if Huberman’s proposed youth “advocates” provided their charges with opportunities to learn self-discipline and perseverance, fired their imaginations with manly virtues, and spoke to them about honesty, courtesy, and right and wrong—if they functioned, in other words, like Scoutmasters—they might make some progress in reversing the South Side’s social breakdown. But the outfit that Huberman has picked to provide “advocacy” to the teens, at a reported cost of $5 million a year, couldn’t be more mired in the assiduously nonjudgmental ethic of contemporary social work. “Some modalities used in this endeavor,” explains the newly hired Youth Advocates Program (YAP), “include: Assess the youth and his/her family to develop an Individualized Service Plan (ISP) to address the individual needs of each youth.” The Youth Advocates Program’s CEO tried further to clarify the advocates’ function: “If a family needs a new refrigerator or a father needs car insurance, it’s the advocate’s job to take care of it,” Jeff Fleischer told the Chicago Tribune. The reference to a “father” is presumably Fleischer’s little joke, since almost none of the Chicago victims-in-waiting will have their fathers at home. It’s not a lack of material goods that ails Chicago’s gun-toting kids, however, or their mothers’ lack of time to procure those goods. Providing their families with a government-funded gofer to carry out basic adult tasks like getting car insurance will not compensate for a lifetime of paternal absence.

The Youth Advocates Program represents the final stage of Alinskyism: its co-optation by the government-funded social-services industry.

Obama came to Roseland and Altgeld Gardens with the fanciful intention of organizing the “community” to demand benefits from a hostile power structure. But here’s that same power structure not just encouraging demands from below but providing the community with its own government-funded advocates to “broker and advocate for each youth and family,” as YAP puts it, thus ensuring constant pressure to increase government services.

Huberman’s plan for ending youth violence includes other counselors and social workers who will go to work in the most dangerous public high schools. He also wants to create a “culture of calm” in the schools by retraining security guards and by de-emphasizing suspensions and expulsion in favor of “peer mediation.” Nothing new there: in 1998, Chicago schools announced plans to train students to be peer mediators and to engage in conflict resolution. In fact, there is nothing in Huberman’s plan that hasn’t been tried before, to no apparent effect. You’d think that someone would ask: What’s lacking in these neighborhoods that we didn’t notice before? The correct answer would be: family structure.

Needless to say, everyone involved in the Albert beating came from a fatherless home. Defendant Eugene Riley hit Albert with a railroad tie as he lay unconscious on the ground in his final moments. According to 18-year-old Riley’s 35-year-old mother, Sherry Smith, “his father was not ready to be a strong black role model in his son’s life.” Nor was the different father of Riley’s younger brother, Vashion Bullock, ready to be involved in his son’s life. A bare-chested Bullock shows up in the video wielding a railroad tie in the middle of the street. As for Albert himself, his father “saw him the day he was born, and the next time when he was in a casket,” reports Bob Jackson, the worldly director of Roseland Ceasefire, an antiviolence project.

The absence of a traditional two-parent family leaves children uncertain about the scope of their blood ties. One teen who attends the Roseland Safety Net Works’s after-school program thinks that she has more than ten siblings by five different fathers, but since her mother lives in North Carolina, it’s hard to pin down the exact number. Eight of the ten boys enrolled in Kids Off the Block, another after-school program, don’t know their fathers. “The other two boys, if the father came around, they’d probably kill him,” says Diane Latiker, who runs the program. If children do report a remote acquaintance with their father, they don’t seem to know what he does for a living.

Though teen births have dropped among blacks since the 1990s, unwed pregnancy is still a pervasive reality in Chicago’s inner-city high schools. “Last year at Fenger, it was all you heard about—pregnancies or abortions,” reports the youth president at Roseland Safety Net Works. In autumn 2009, one in seven girls at Chicago’s Paul Robeson High School was either expecting or had already given birth to a child. It’s not hard to predict where Chicago’s future killers will come from.

A 15-year-old resident of Altgeld Gardens, for example, was sitting at home with her three-month-old boy during the week of Veterans Day this year, having been suspended for fighting. You’d never know it from her baby-doll voice, but this ninth-grade mother runs with a clique of girls at Fenger High “who have no problem taking you out,” says Bob Jackson. She lives with her 34-year-old mother, two brothers, and a sister; she sometimes sees her father when he’s in town but doesn’t know if he has a job. Her son’s father, still playing with toys, isn’t providing support. She was on her way to pick up free food from the federal WIC program when I spoke with her.

The next stage in black family disintegration may be on the horizon. According to several Chicago observers, black mothers are starting to disappear, too. “Children are bouncing around,” says a police officer in Altgeld Gardens. “The mother says: ‘I’m done. You go stay with your father.’ The ladies are selling drugs with their new boyfriend, and the kids are left on their own.” Albert’s mother lived four hours away; he was moving among different extended family members in Chicago. Even if a mother is still in the home, she may be incapable of providing any emotional or moral support to her children. “Kids will tell you: ‘I’m sleeping on the floor, there’s nothing in the fridge, my mother doesn’t care about me going to school,’ ” says Rogers Jones, the courtly founder of Roseland Safety Net Works. “Kids are traumatized before they even get to school.” Some mothers are indifferent when the physical and emotional abuses that they suffered as children recur with their own children. “We’ve had mothers say: ‘I was raped as a child, so it’s no big deal if my daughter is raped,’ ” reports Jackson.

The official silence about illegitimacy and its relation to youth violence remains as carefully preserved in today’s Chicago as it was during Obama’s organizing time there. A fleeting reference to “parental” responsibility for children is allowed, before the speaker quickly moves on to society’s more important role. But anything more specific about fathers is taboo. “I have not been in too many churches lately that say: ‘Mom, you need to find yourself a husband, this is not the norm,’ ” observes Jackson—an understandable, if lamentable, lacuna, he adds, since single heads of households constitute the vast majority of the congregation. Press coverage of teen shootings may mention a participant’s mother, but the shooter and victim may as well be the product of a virgin birth, for all the media’s curiosity about where their fathers are. I asked John Paul Jones of Obama’s old Alinskyite outfit, the Developing Communities Project, if anyone ever tries to track down the father of a teen accused of a shooting. The question threw him. “Does anyone ever ask: ‘Where are the fathers?’ ” he paraphrased me. A brief silence. “That’s a good point.”

Some members of Chicago’s Left will argue against holding fathers or mothers responsible for their children. “To blame it on the family is totally unfair,” says Gwen Rice, a board member of the Developing Communities Project. “I’m tired of blaming the parents. The services for the poor are paltry; it boggles the mind. Historically, you can’t expect a parent who can’t get a job to do something that someone with resources can do. These problems have histories; there are policies that have mitigated against black progress. What needs to happen is a change in corporate greed and insensitivity.” Rice corrects my use of the term “illegitimacy”: “There are no illegitimate births,” she says.

One activist, however, makes ending illegitimacy an explicit part of his work. “I tell people: ‘Unless you get married, you will perish,’ ” says the Black Star Project’s Phillip Jackson. An intense, wiry man who looks like a cross between Gandhi and Spike Lee, Jackson organizes events to make fathers visible and valued again, like “Take Your Child to School Day.” Yet Jackson is not immune from the Alinskyite tic of looking to government for solutions to problems of personal responsibility (nor does Jackson avoid launching groundless charges of racism). He has gathered a crate of petitions to President Obama regarding Chicago’s youth violence, some of whose signers are as young as four. “President Obama, please send help for the sake of these young people in Chicago,” reads the petition. Asked what he wants Obama to do, Jackson’s answers range from a trickle-up stimulus plan to jobs to leadership.

Jobs, whether government-created or not, aren’t likely to make much difference in the culture of illegitimacy. As journalist Nicholas Lemann observed over two decades ago in The Atlantic Monthly, the black illegitimacy rate has only a weak correlation to employment: “High illegitimacy has always been much more closely identified with blacks than with all poor people or all unemployed people.” An Alinskyite approach to the related problems of illegitimacy and crime is only a distraction. Seeking redress and salvation from the “power structure” just puts off the essential work of culture change.

Barack Obama started that work in a startling Father’s Day speech in Chicago while running for president. “If we are honest with ourselves,” he said in 2008, “we’ll admit that . . . too many fathers [are] missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. . . . We know the statistics—that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of school and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.”

But after implicitly drawing the connection between family breakdown and youth violence—“How many times in the last year has this city lost a child at the hands of another child?”—Obama reverted to Alinskyite bromides about school spending, preschool programs, visiting nurses, global warming, sexism, racial division, and income inequality. And he has continued to swerve from the hard truth of black family breakdown since his 2008 speech. The best thing that the president can do for Chicago’s embattled children is to confront head-on the disappearance of their fathers and the consequence in lost lives.

Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor of City Journal and the John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

by Claude E. Pope Jr.

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began his remarkable address in front of the Lincoln Monument by praising the man in whose “symbolic shadow” he stood: Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President of the United States.

Speaking of the Emancipation Proclamation, he said, “This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice.”

Martin Luther King was a Republican in spirit and in registration.

Then, he praised the founders of America, for their vision of inalienable rights for all people.

Martin Luther King was a patriot.

In the body of his speech, he decried the sad state of equality for black people, and recited a litany of their contemporary sufferings. As you read that list, it is perfectly clear that each and every example he cited, from the deep south to “the slums and ghettos of our northern cities,” came from an area where the Democrat Party ruled with little more than token opposition.

Big city bosses and white supremacist southern politicians, Democrats all, kept the lives of black Americans “sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.”

“Negroes,” he said, lived “on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.” But then he warned his followers against “drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” He warned them they “must not lead us to a distrust of all white people…[because] their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.”

King then began the rhetorically brilliant series of “I have a dream…” statements. His dream, he said, was “deeply rooted in the American dream.” How sad it is that so many of today’s so-called civil rights leaders reject the American dream altogether, in favor of a socialist fantasy urged on them by the modern Democratic Party, and degraded with quotas, entitlements and the mentality of victimization.

The most famous component of Dr. King’s dream was when he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Republicans applauded that sentiment then, and now. We have forged a record we can be proud of in implementing it, from Lincoln’s time, to Dr. King’s time, to our time. The Democrats went to war over it in 1860, filibustered it in 1964, and reject it to this day.

The core principles of the Republican Party mirror those of Dr. King. As we always have, we embrace all people regardless of color, and endorse laws and institutions that do not discriminate against any human. We invite African Americans to “come home” to the Republican Party.

Here in North Carolina, that invitation has special meaning. In the 1890’s, decades after reconstruction was dead in most of the old Confederacy, a bi-racial Republican Party was active and successful, electing several blacks to Congress, the state Legislature and other offices. But a vicious campaign by Democrat white supremacists, led by long-serving Democratic Senator Furnifold M. Simmons and the Raleigh News and Observer eventually defeated the coalition of Republicans and populists that had been so successful.

As we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and his message of inclusion, let us honor his memory by continuing to strive for his ideals.

Claude E. Pope, Jr.
Chairman – Wake County Republican Party
http://www.wakegop.org

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Black Tea Partiers Rip Chris Matthews for "Monochromatic" Remark

For Release: January 6, 2010
Contact:
David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or project21@nationalcenter.org or Judy Kent at (703) 759-7476 or jkent@nationalcenter.org

On the January 5 edition of his MSNBC program “Hardball,” Chris Matthews claimed that everyone participating in tea party rallies such as the one held in Washington, D.C. on September 12, 2009 were white.

In a discussion with Mark McKinnon of the Daily Beast and Susan Page of USA Today, Matthews said: “And they’re monochromatic, right?…  Meaning they’re all white.  All of them — every single one of them — is white.”

Members of the Project 21 black leadership network disagree.  They were there.

Bob Parks, a Project 21 member from Virginia, said: “Here’s a news flash for Chris Matthews.  I was there.  So was my son.  Last time I checked, both of us are black — and we weren’t the only black people there.  I know other black people who attended the September 12 rally in Washington, including some of the ones who spoke at the podium!  I guess the MSNBC camera people missed them.”

Parks continued: “To me, this means Chris Matthews thinks that blacks who don’t toe the liberal line are either invisible – and apparently irrelevant – or such sellouts that they’ve become white.  Obviously, he doesn’t have the guts to have us on ‘Hardball’ so he can call us all-white ‘teabaggers’ to our faces.”

Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli of New York was one of the speakers at the September 12 rally.  She said: “Chris Matthews’ statement exposes how his narrow-minded liberal bias blinds him to the truth.  I was a speaker at the FreedomWorks 9.12 March on D.C. and several similar rallies in Pennsylvania.  I’m also an active member in a local tea party organization.  The tea party movement is not about color.  It is about Americans expressing their concerns about the growth of government which will diminish individual liberty.”

Borelli continued: “Chris Matthews may be the first liberal of the new year to play the race card to try to stifle First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly, but I’m sure he won’t be the last.”

Besides the September 12 rally in Washington, D.C., Deneen also spoke at tea party rallies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 9, 2009 and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on November 14, 2009.  She has been asked to speak at the “Tax Day Tea Party” being organized by FreedomWorks in Washington, D.C. for April 15, 2010 and is a member of the White Plains Tea Party in New York.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).


CBO Says GOP Health Care Plan Reduces Costs

Connie Hair
by  Connie Hair
11/2009
Actor Jon Voight and nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin are joining Cong. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn), Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga), Cong. Mike Pence (R-Ind), Republican House leadership and other Republican members  to make calls on their representatives.  

Their message is to kill this turkey of a government-takeover of health care. Action is important today because Speaker Nancy Pelosi has hinted at a floor vote on the Dems’ massive bill this Saturday. Thousands are expected to join in the rally and the march through the House Office Buildings.

The rally/press conference starts at noon on the West Capitol steps where Presidential inauguration ceremonies are held.

HUMAN EVENTS will be there in force tweeting from the scene; follow @jedbabbin for live updates. We’ll bring you full coverage tomorrow.

CBO Analysis Says Repub Healthcare Alternative Reduces Costs

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) last night released a preliminary analysis (pdf) of the Republican alternative health care bill offered in the form of an amendment.  The amendment would eliminate Pelosicare bill in its entirety and become the replacement bill.  

The CBO and JCT found that the Republican alternative would lower premiums by up to 10 percent and reduce the deficit by $68 billion over 10 years without tax increases.  The letter confirmed what Republican have been saying all along:  their alternatives offer common sense, free market solutions which are always cheaper than leviathan government programs.

“When it comes to reforming health care, controlling skyrocketing costs is the American peoples’ top priority.  Now CBO has confirmed that the Republican plan will lower health care costs for American families, and that’s good news for everyone struggling in today’s economy.  The choice now could not be clearer: Speaker Pelosi’s plan raises costs. Our plan lowers them,” said Rep. John Boehner, the House Republican Leader.

“Across the country the American people are calling on Washington to pass responsible reform that will lower health care costs.  Yesterday, House Republicans answered that call by putting forward common-sense health care legislation that reduces the deficit, lowers premiums, and ensures coverage for those with pre-existing conditions,” said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), Chairman of the House Republican Caucus.

“The Democrats’ 2,000-page plan to give Washington more control via tax increases, mandates, bureaucracies, czars, and government-run insurance will not lower costs. We seek to lower costs by giving Americans more control over how they spend their health care dollars, allowing the purchase of coverage across state lines, ending costly lawsuit abuse, and providing important protections for those with pre-existing conditions,” said Rep. Tom Price, M.D. (R-Ga.), Chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

The CBO also found that health insurance premiums for many American families will cost nearly $5,000 more under Democrat reforms than they would under the Republican plan.

The CBO estimated that by 2016 the ‘average of the three lowest-cost basic plans’ under the House Democrats’ bill would be $15,000 for a family.  Last night the CBO estimated that the Republican alternative bill would lower the cost of premiums for individuals at a rate of up to 8 percent, the small group markets would be lowered by up to 10 percent, and the large group market by up to 3 percent.  

According to the CBO, average health care premiums in the individual market would be $11,000 in 2016 under current law.  An 8 percent reduction in those costs would mean a premium of $10,120 — nearly $5,000 less expensive than the cheapest Democrat plan.  The CBO estimates the least expensive Democrat plan is unlikely to attract many families, which would result in the average premiums costing even more in the Democrats’ government-run exchange.

“With this bill, Republicans are proving you can lower health care costs without raising taxes, without cutting Medicare, without spending over $1 trillion and without putting the federal government in charge of your health care decisions,” said Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), top Republican on the House Ways and Means committee.

CBO and JCT:  Pelosicare Raises Taxes by $729.5 Billion

The elections this week in Virginia and New Jersey proved overwhelmingly that Americans are not happy with unemployment, the economy, out of control government spending and debt and taxing and borrowing and spending even more.  Apparently, the House Democrat leadership hasn’t yet gotten the message.

They are determined to shove their $1.6 trillion dollar Pelosicare bill through the House this week.

According to reports from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), H.R. 3962, the new Pelosicare bill, will raise taxes a whopping $729.5 billion.

The JCT is nonpartisan committee with a staff of Ph.D. economists, attorneys, and accountants, to assist members of both parties in both houses of Congress on tax legislation.  This week they released their official score of Pelosicare.  The JCT found that the taxes aimed at “high-income filers,” aka small businesses, would have their taxes raised by $460.5 billion.  This is a job killer that is not indexed for inflation, meaning every year this bracket would reach down and grab more people who are lower on the income chain.

The bill mandates that every individual purchase insurance.  Those who do not comply will pay a fine.  The JCT confirmed that the consequence of not paying the fine could be a jail sentence — all for not purchasing the health insurance your government will be selling.  Something’s really wrong with that picture.  How is it Constitutional for the government to force you to buy a product, any produce, especially one that they’re selling themselves?

Both the CBO (pdf) as well as the JCT say this mandate would raise $33 billion in taxes.

The bill also mandates that businesses pay 72.5 percent of health insurance (65 percent for couples), hitting small businesses with a job-killing tax of 8 percent if they cannot afford to buy the insurance.  This mandate also includes same sex couples.  According to the CBO and JCT, these provisions would tax the businesses another $135 billion.

Here’s where it gets sticky.  As happened in Tennessee with the fiasco called TennCare, employers who are already buying insurance for their employees will find it less expensive to pay the 8 percent fine.  In these tough times is it unrealistic to believe that employers would not cut costs by merely paying the fine and moving their employees to the government-run system.  Some estimates say as many as 114 million people will lose their private health insurance as a result.

JCT also scored $56.4 billion in other taxes including corporate reporting ($17.1 billion), worldwide interest penalties ($26.1 billion), treaty withholding ($7.5 billion), and codification of the economic substance doctrine ($5.7 billion).

This “economic substance doctrine” is the Orwellian process by which the IRS can disallow perfectly legal tax deductions if they decide your motive in making a purchase was to lower your taxes.

Flexible Spending Accounts, Medical Savings Accounts, Medical Reimbursement Arrangements and Health Savings accounts would no longer be able to reimburse individuals for purchasing over-the-counter medications.   All of the medicines that have been made more readily available by eliminating the requirement for a prescription from your doctor would no longer be a tax deductible purchase.  The bill increases penalties on these accounts for non-qualified withdrawals from these accounts from 10 percent to 20 percent.  According to the JCT, this would add up to $19.6 billion in taxes.

The bill also caps amounts that can be placed into these accounts annually, so the more than 8 million people also use Health Savings or Flexible Spending accounts as the means to purchase their health insurance coverage would not be able to keep the coverage they have without facing these stiff penalties and tax increases.

The bill also taxes “Cadillac” health plans held by union members.  This provision would raise another $2 billion in revenue.

Also found in the bill is the repeal of tax deductions offered to companies that subsidize their retirees’ prescription drug plans.  This will tax businesses an additional $3 billion and likely cause some to drop the subsidy from plans offered to retirees.

Pelosicare also hits manufacturers of medical devices such as pacemakers, wheelchairs, hip replacements and heart valves, with an additional $20 billion in taxes.  If you want less of something, tax it.  The tax will undoubtedly be passed on to consumers resulting in higher prices.  Wasn’t this supposed to be about lowering costs?

All of that adds up to new taxes in the amount of $729.5 billion dollars on individuals and America’s businesses, large and small.  And these are just the estimates.  Never in the history of government-run health programs have they ever been anywhere near the actual cost of the programs.


Connie Hair is a freelance writer, a former speechwriter for Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and a former media and coalitions advisor to the Senate Republican Conference.

The Curse of Good Government

Mises Daily: Wednesday, December 9, 2009 by

As one who has made a career out of criticizing government and exposing the various predations of government, one would think I would be intelligent and wise enough not to expect that entity we know as “good government.” In fact, given that I am quite familiar with the entire socialist calculation debate and have assigned numerous papers covering that subject to my MBA students, it should have dawned upon me by now that “good government” is an oxymoron at best and a delusional term at worst.

Yet I must admit that whenever I see government doing something that is outrageous or even wasteful or seemingly stupid, my “good government” ideals seem to kick in and I find myself thinking that the powers that be could learn how to do things correctly. At that point, it never occurs to me that maybe, just maybe, the mechanism of action we know as government cannot be operated in a “proper” way at all, because no intellectual device exists that permits us to properly determine just what is “good” or “bad” government.

Not that there is a dearth of true believers. Last year, Paul Krugman waxed eloquent about the goodness of the state (as long as it is run by “good” people), writing,

Before Mr. Obama can make government cool, however, he has to make it good. Indeed, he has to be a goo-goo.

Goo-goo, in case you’re wondering, is a century-old term for “good government” types, reformers opposed to corruption and patronage. Franklin Roosevelt was a goo-goo extraordinaire. He simultaneously made government much bigger and much cleaner. Mr. Obama needs to do the same thing.

However, before one can be a true goo-goo, one must believe in the state. Witness Krugman’s description of the failures of the Bush administration:

Needless to say, the Bush administration offers a spectacular example of non-goo-gooism. But the Bushies didn’t have to worry about governing well and honestly. Even when they failed on the job (as they so often did), they could claim that very failure as vindication of their anti-government ideology, a demonstration that the public sector can’t do anything right.

This is a curious way to describe the failures of government, blaming those malfunctions on the notion that those carrying out their powers really did not believe that their powers were legitimate, and so they failed. I recall many things that Bush and his minions did while they were in office, but I cannot recall any time that anyone in that administration was reluctant to use their powers. Indeed, the Bush administration was extremely abusive during its eight years in power, and I don’t believe that the administration engaged in such behavior because its principals were laissez-faire libertarians, and I do not recall Bush blaming the failures of the government’s pathetic and ill-advised response to disasters like Hurricane Katrina on the illegitimacy of government.

(Granted, I am using logic here, something that generally is missing from Krugman’s column. Instead, we see partisanship and personal invective, combined with the religion of statism, something that really should be beneath a man who has received the academic honors he has garnered in his career. While Krugman has viciously attacked the Austrians in his writings, I cannot recall reading anything by an Austrian, dead or living, that makes the same kind of politically partisan comments that regularly appear in Krugman’s articles and columns.)

Unfortunately, Krugman goes on to claim that FDR created a governing apparatus via the New Deal that wisely and honestly dealt with the economic calamity in a positive way:

F.D.R. managed to navigate treacherous political waters safely, greatly improving government’s reputation even as he vastly expanded it. As a study recently published by the National Bureau of Economic Research puts it, “Before 1932, the administration of public relief was widely regarded as politically corrupt,” and the New Deal’s huge relief programs “offered an opportunity for corruption unique in the nation’s history.” Yet “by 1940, charges of corruption and political manipulation had diminished considerably.”

The historical record says something else. James F. Couch and William Shughart in their book, The Political Economy of the New Deal, lay out example after example of the political calculus that was used in determining where New Deal relief money would be spent. They concluded, after examining the spending patterns, that political considerations determined what projects would be funded and how much money would go into them.

In reviewing the book 10 years ago, I noted how the authors pointed out the Works Progress Administration (WPA) pay differentials in different states:

One example [Couch and Shughart] give is the dispersal of Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects. Given the supposed “compassionate” nature of the Roosevelt administration, one would think that those in the most dire need would receive the most help. Under the leadership of Roosevelt deputy Harry Hopkins, however, the WPA discriminated among states according to the political needs of the Democratic party, as government dollars were distributed according to their marginal political benefit.

Compensation was tied to area incomes. For example, an “intermediate” WPA worker in Tennessee would earn 23 cents per hour, while his counterpart in New York received $1.57. Skilled laborers working on WPA projects made 31 cents an hour in Tennessee and Alabama and $2.25 in New York. Professional pay was 34 cents per hour in Alabama and $3.03 in Pennsylvania.

Compare the Couch-Shughart study to Krugman’s praise of the WPA:

The Works Progress Administration, in particular, had a powerful, independent “division of progress investigation” devoted to investigating complaints of fraud. This division was so diligent that in 1940, when a Congressional subcommittee investigated the W.P.A., it couldn’t find a single serious irregularity that the division had missed.

F.D.R. also made sure that Congress didn’t stuff stimulus legislation with pork: there were no earmarks in the legislation that provided funding for the W.P.A. and other emergency measures.

According to the very partisan Krugman, government under FDR acted with compassion and worked to meet needs as they existed. According to Couch and Shughart, government acted, well, like government. New Deal money was used to buy votes and to spread political influence.

Krugman also fails to point out that in many cases, WPA workers were forced to register as Democrats and some projects required workers to make financial contributions to the Democratic Party. But since he is a partisan Democrat, I suspect he believes that such a requirement was part of enforcing “good government.”

In other words, any accurate reading of the historical record demonstrates that the New Deal was not the epitome of “goo-gooism,” or whatever Krugman wants to call it. Instead, we find that people in government operated according to the political calculus that both Austrians and public-choice economists have been pointing out for years.

What can be done? To be honest, nothing. There is no way that we can create a government that taxes and spends according to some imaginary formula that “maximizes” the “public good.” These are merely terms created to hide the fact that the only calculus politicians can call upon is based upon political costs and benefits.

Obviously, pointing out that politicians make politically based choices is a no-brainer; even people like Krugman are not oblivious to political corruption. However, so-called progressives believe they have a way to create and maintain “good government”: place more power in the hands of the executive branch of the US government. The executive branch, which would be dominated by “selfless” bureaucrats and “experts,” would allow resources to be directed “properly” by taking the decision-making power from the hands of elected politicians who are prone to corruption and let the people with the best intentions make the important decisions.

However, if there is one thing we have learned from this country’s century-old experiment in giving “independent” bureaucrats more power, it is that the bureaucracies created their own political fiefdoms and the problems and economic dislocations they have forced upon our society are worse than anything even the most corrupt politicians have done.

We are dealing with human nature, and putting on the robes of a selfless bureaucrat does not increase one’s qualifications to run the affairs of others. Furthermore, the notion that experts placed in government are going to run things properly is delusional at best and dangerous at worst.

Take the Federal Reserve, for example. The Fed is a Progressive Era creation, with its vaunted “independence” from whims of politicians. Its chairman, Ben Bernanke, is a really intelligent person who has operated in the highest academic circles. He was valedictorian of his high-school class, went to Harvard, and received his doctorate from MIT. Bernanke is the epitome of Progressivism and “good government,” and if there is a “goo-goo” in Washington, it is Bernanke.

However, this really intelligent person almost has single-handedly run the US economy into the ground. Granted, it takes a very special person to have this kind of influence, but Bernanke has been up to the task. Now, it would seem to me that Bernanke is exactly the kind of expert we would want working in the temples of government. I don’t detect his taking money on the sly or engaging in the bottom-dwelling quid pro quo actions of many people in government.

In other words, I believe that Bernanke truly believes that he has been doing the right thing. However, the man has been a disaster. He has had the power to act on his belief that the Great Depression came about because Herbert Hoover’s government did not print enough money. The notion that inflation is a positive economic force should be verboten to anyone with a doctorate in economics, but here we see Bernanke as the apostle of inflation, being cheered by other “good government” elites who are either stupid or craven enough to demand the destruction of the US dollar.

The response of the elites has been predictable. The Atlantic magazine, in a recent issue praising Bernanke and other “Brave Thinkers,” sniffed that Bernanke “somehow found time to bear the made-for-TV harangues of financially illiterate members of Congress.” Bernanke’s quote for the article tells the story of the “expert” who is just plain wrong.

There were many people who said, “Let them fail. It’s not a problem. The markets will take care of it.” And I think I knew better than that.

However, it is utterly clear that Bernanke did not know better than the markets. And what were the brilliant things that he did in order to confound those ignorant markets that wanted to liquidate the failing firms? According to the Atlantic,

He dropped target interest rates to near-zero for the first time in history; made trillions of dollars in government cash available to financial institutions; expanded the Fed’s lending and relaxed its collateral requirements; bought up billions of dollars in securities backed by consumer debt and mortgages; prevented the collapse of AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac…

This is not brilliance; this is cranking up the printing presses, something that governments have done in Argentina, Zimbabwe, and Bolivia, not to mention Weimar Germany, with predictable results. The problem was that none of the things that Bernanke did addressed any of the real damage done to the structure of production in our economy. He just showered the markets with paper money, and his adoring chorus in the media and academe sang his praises.

I suspect that Bernanke has set an example of “good government” for these elites. First, he “saved” the economy; second, he has had to put up with “non-goo-goos” like Ron Paul, who clearly do not worship the state nor the characters that statism produces.

Those of us who understand that the mechanism of economic calculation is not something that “goo-gooism” can successfully reproduce via simple brilliance certainly won’t be declared heroes by the apostles of statism. Indeed, we are placed in the category of the “financially illiterate” because we understand that sound money is not a hindrance to economic growth or even to economic fairness.

Unfortunately, the “good government” advocates don’t see it that way. Instead, “good government” seems to involve reckless spending by Washington, endless printing at the Fed, and bailout after bailout. After all, the “goo-goos” know best.

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In The Black: Some People See Only Race

ArtIm: 20091201

by Gary DeMar, Dec 01, 2009

There’s a scene in the film Malcolm X when Malcolm Little (later to take the name Malcolm X, X standing for his unknown African heritage[1]) is in prison and is introduced to the philosophy of the “Honorable Elijah Muhammad” and the Nation of Islam (N.O.I.) by a fellow prisoner named John Elton Bembry. (Bembry is a composite character who does not appear in the book The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Malcolm’s family members introduced him the tenets of the N.O.I.) Malcolm was wasting his life outside of prison, and he was wasting his life in prison. Bembry saw something in Malcolm, but Malcolm was resistant to change and had no interest in the Nation of Islam until Bembry showed him a dictionary and the definitions of “black” and “white.” It was a strategic move that rattled the former street hustler.

The definition of “black,” as Bembry read from an edition of Webster’s Dictionary, is always negative: “destitute of light, devoid of color, enveloped in darkness, utterly dismal or gloomy, soiled with dirt, foul, sullen, hostile, forbidding, outrageously wicked.” White, on the other hand, is positive: “the color of pure snow, the opposite of black, free from spot or blemish, innocent, pure, without evil intent, harmless, square deal, honest.” Malcolm makes a connection: “This is written by White folks, right?” White is wrong, Black is right, just like the Nation of Islam teaches.[2]

Malcolm Little became Malcolm X and embraced the racist ideology of the (N.O.I.). To Malcolm, the White man is a “blue-eyed Devil.” This was the teaching of the Nation of Islam as articulated by its founder Wallace D. Fard Muhammad and his successor Elijah Muhammad. Race became Malcolm’s entry into the Black community, and he used it well to recruit fellow blacks. But after leaving the N.O.I., he began to change his view of White people. He began to see that not all Whites were devils. As his assassination at the hands of Black men proved, some Blacks are devils.

Malcolm’s break with the N.O.I. did not set well with the organization’s leadership. This included Elijah Muhammad and Louis X, better known as Louis Farrakhan. While in Mecca on a pilgrimage, Malcolm wrote the following to his assistants at the Harlem Mosque:

Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and the overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races. . . . You may be shocked by these words coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought-patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions. . . .[3]

While Malcolm changed his views regarding race, it seems that there are people today who define everything by race. Farrakhan and Rev. Jeremiah Wright are extremist examples of keeping the issue of race front and center in American politics. There are others. But what’s most irritating is the way some people see race in everything and make a point of keeping the wound of racial conflict festering.

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned the dictionary scene in the film Malcolm X. The streetwise Malcolm naively accepts the illogical leap that the definitional meaning of black and its descriptive attributes are applicable to people with dark skin. A dictionary edited by Blacks would have to acknowledge that the definition of “black” is the absence of light. In fact, The Urban Dictionary offers these definitions:

  1. A color widely defined as the absence of light.
  2. The darkest shade possible
  3. The opposite of white . . . best described on the Yin & Yang symbol.

Bembry was poisoning the well by continually stating that these are the White man’s definitions. He had a vested interest in making all aspects of White society and culture, even the standard definition of black, to mean anti-Black person. It’s a common tactic. You can easily win a debate by making an issue “racial.” Conversation over.

Joy Behar, who co-hosts on “The View,” couldn’t help turning “Black Friday” into a racial issue. Whoopi Goldberg opened the show with the declaration that “Today is Black Friday, all day long.” Behar offers this rejoinder: “Isn’t it a little racist to call it Black Friday? . . . [T]here’s a negative connotation to it? Or does it mean something else?” Goldberg, for once, had better sense: “No, it’s like when you make all the money—you’re in the black.” Behar finally gets it:  “So it’s positive?” Yes, Joy, it’s positive. Being “in the black” is better than being “in the red.” It won’t be too long before some Native Americans protest that a red should no longer be used to indicate a deficit.

Blacks are not helped by the continued claim that all problems for them are racial. Some are, but many aren’t. Black on Black crime is not the fault of White people. Sky-high out-of-wedlock births are not the fault of Whites. High dropout rates among Blacks are not the fault of Whites. The solution is not to cry “racism” and blame everything on Whites or hundreds of years of oppression. Blacks won’t find their problems solved by appealing to the State. Welfare programs have done a lot to keep Black families down by subsidizing family fragmentation and fostering multi-generational dependency. Black problems aren’t solved by naming streets after Martin Luther King, Jr. The same can be said for the King Holiday and Black History Month. These are liberal crumbs to appease the Black community, but have any of these actions helped Blacks? Guilt-ridden Whites vote for them, and anyone who does not will be labeled, you guessed it, a “racist.”

This is not to say that Blacks should imitate “White culture.” There is nothing inherently good in being White. Whites have similar pathologies. There is no inherently good Black culture. Black is not always beautiful, and, of course, the same can be said for white. There’s a great deal of good in both cultures.[4] Malcolm Little came to his senses in prison. He decided that he was not going to play the victim any longer. The dictionary that put him on the road to racial hatred also liberated him. He studied that dictionary until it became a part of him. But it wasn’t until he abandoned the line that it’s all the White man’s fault that he was truly free.

Some Blacks will say that I don’t know what it’s like growing up Black. There is no doubt about it; I don’t know what it’s like, and I never will. But my lack of Black perspective doesn’t change what is going on in some areas of the Black community. I can’t change what I’m not, but I am responsible to change what I am. There is no one to blame but me. The sooner I realized this, the sooner I took responsibility for my failings.

Endnotes:

[1] The “X” is not the Roman numeral 10. The “X” was a placeholder for a Black person’s unknown African name. His American surname was given to him by his slave master. Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, and Lew Alcindor became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
[2]
For a succinct study of the Nation of Islam history and philosophy, see Richard Abanes, Cults, New Religious Movements, and Your Family: A Guide to Ten Non-Christian Groups out to Convert Your Loved Ones (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), chap. 6.
[3] The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley (1965), 391.
[4] There had been a vibrant Black culture in America, even before the end of segregation. See Mark Cauvreau Judge, If It Ain’t Got that Swing: The Rebirth of Grown-Up Culture (Dallas, TX: Spence Publishing Co., 2000).


Health Insurance at DMV?

Terence P. Jeffrey
You Will Get Health Insurance at DMV — Literally (It’s in the Bill)
10/2009
The most revelatory passage in the so-called “plain English” version of the health care bill that the Senate Finance Committee approved on Tuesday (without ever drafting the actual legislative language) says that in the future Americans will be offered the convenience of getting their health insurance at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

This is no joke. If this bill becomes law, it will be the duty of the U.S. secretary of health and human services or the state governments overseeing federally mandated health-insurance exchanges to ensure that you can get your health insurance at the DMV.

You will also be able to get it at Social Security offices, hospitals, schools and “other offices” the government will name later.

Page 19 of the committee’s “plain English” text says: “The Secretary and/or states would do the following: … Enable customers to enroll in health care plans in local hospitals, schools, Departments of Motor Vehicles, local Social Security offices, and other offices designated by the state.”

This is the bill’s most revelatory passage because it sublimely symbolizes the bill’s true aim: a government takeover of the health care system.

You do not get food at the DMV. You do not even get auto insurance at the DMV. But under what The Associated Press inaptly calls the Finance Committee’s “middle-of-the-road health care plan,” you will get health insurance at the DMV.

What will the DMV and health care have in common if this bill is enacted? Government will control both.

A couple of weeks ago, the Finance Committee voted down the public option — a health insurance plan run directly by the government. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and all three House committees working on the bill had included the public option in their versions. So, the establishment media made much of the fact that the Finance Committee did not.

But the omission is almost meaningless.

The public option is only one lane on the road to socialized medicine. Government subsidies and government regulations are two others — and they run like a super highway through the Finance Committee bill.

The bill orders all states to create an “exchange” where companies offering government-approved plans can sell health insurance. Americans earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level ($103,000 for a family of five) would be eligible for federal subsidies in the form of a refundable tax credit to buy health insurance — but only if they buy one of the government-approved plans in the government-created exchange.

The government will not pay this subsidy to the individuals purchasing insurance. The U.S. Treasury will pay it directly to the government-approved insurance providers.

“The Treasury would pay the premium credit amount to the insurance plan in which the individual is enrolled,” says the committee’s “plain English” text.

Four different levels of insurance plans will be available in the exchange — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. But every year, the secretary of health and human services will determine what services need to be offered by these government-approved and government-funded plans.

“The Secretary of HHS,” says the “plain English” text, “would be required to define and update the categories of covered treatments, items and services within the benefit classes no less than annually through a transparent and public process that allows for public input, including a public comment period.”

Under this bill, the government commands individuals to secure insurance for themselves and their dependents. “In order to insure compliance, individuals would be required to report on their Federal tax return the months for which they maintain the required minimum health coverage for themselves and all dependents under age 18,” says the text.

The government would enforce this mandate with a fine. “The consequence for not maintaining insurance would be an excise tax of $750 per adult in the household,” says the text.

The bill does not similarly order businesses to provide employees with health insurance. However, people who get insurance through their employer will not be eligible for the federal subsidies.

And here is the whip the government will use to drive most Americans into government-approved, government-subsidized, government-controlled health insurance: An employer that decides not to provide health insurance for its workers will be required to pay a fee to the government for each of its workers that receives a federal subsidy. But the total paid to the government by any employer will be capped at $400 times the total number of that employer’s workers.

Even though this fee will not be tax deductible, it will be far cheaper for a business to pay the government $400 per worker than to pay a private insurance company thousands per worker for an insurance plan.

The Finance Committee has created an irresistible incentive for American businesses to drop their workers off at the DMV where they can enroll in government-funded, government-approved, government-regulated health insurance plans.


Terence Jeffrey is editor at large of HUMAN EVENTS.

If you would like to send a comment to Mr. Jeffrey you can reach him by email at terencejeffrey@eaglepub.com


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