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Common Core: The Bluest Eye Debate

I’m coming late to the discussion about the inclusion of Toni Morrison’s novella Bluest Eye on high school reading lists (it is a popular choice for high school and college English classes as well as women’s studies classes, and this popularity predates the relatively new Common Core standards debates).  Some activists who became aware of the Toni Morrison book through their opposition to Common Core are arguing that Bluest Eye endorses child molestation because the book contains a character who is a molester speaking in the first person, and Morrison herself has made comments to the effect that she is trying to get readers to see his point of view, comments that are being taken out of context and misconstrued.  Incidentally, the book is also extremely graphic, more graphic than many people who are weighing in to defend it seem to be aware of — I suspect many of them didn’t actually read the book.

I don’t think The Bluest Eye is in any way an endorsement of pedophilia.  But I also don’t think that it, and other “problem story” books like it, are appropriate for literature classes — nor that they are put on the curriculum for their qualities as literature in the first place.  We’ve turned English and literature classes (excuse me, language arts) into social problem encounter sessions — sessions that often devolve into narcissistic competitions between varying claims of victimization.

This isn’t a new development: when I attended high school in the early 1980’s, Ordinary People was the “problem story” we were spoon-fed.  I remember embarrassing classroom discussions where the teacher seemed to be screening us for The Warning Signs of Suicide Attempts By Nice Middle-Class Kids, and to this day I also remember the general horror when she tried to make us talk in class about references to masturbation in the story.  To make things worse, rather than just being about thinking about Elizabeth McGovern, who played the love interest in the film version, masturbation was presented therapeutically — as the solution to anxiety recommended to the main character by his earthy white-ethnic psychiatrist — so there were layers upon layers of creepy psychologizing and equally creepy racial stereotyping being imposed on us.

I remember thinking at the time that the moral lesson of Ordinary People was the opposite of the moral lesson of Johnny Tremain.  I also thought it might be a sneaky exercise in making us appreciate reading Shakespeare.  For that, at least, it was effective: I gladly embraced the rigors of Elizabethan verse after wallowing in the claustrophobic wimpiness and snide references to female WASP frigidity unleashed by Robert Redford in his unpleasant movie version of that unpleasant, practically anti-literary novel.

Poor Mary Tyler Moore, too.

The Bluest Eye isn’t appropriate for children.  Full stop.  And though it is generally recommended only for 11th and 12th graders, I don’t think it’s appropriate for them, either, because any protracted classroom discussion forces students to engage in a sort of competitive demonizing — whites and child molesters being the targets — while simultaneously forcing discussion of extremely graphic sexual assaults, which is not appropriate for any literature classroom — including college classrooms.

Yet, Bluest Eye doesn’t endorse pedophilia. It accurately depicts the ways pedophiles view their crimes — how they seek tacit approval from society while abusing and grooming their victims.  It’s a powerful book for that, though the ways I have seen it taught have much more to do with creating tension between students of different races based on the child character’s feelings about whiteness.  And the way Morrison conflates “whiteness” with child molestation from the victim’s perception is disturbing.

It might be a good book for a college or graduate-level psychology or criminology course if the purpose of the assignment was learning about the dynamics of sex offenses involving children.  It’s also beautifully written, though I think Morrison cribs an awful lot — pretty much everything stylistic — from Faulkner.

The justification given for such readings — the claims that “social problem” books should be taught to “sensitize” and give voice to victims and help them speak out — is largely just self-aggrandizement by educators.

The activists who became aware of The Bluest Eye through their scrutiny of Common Core materials are certainly on the right track.  Through fighting Common Core, they are gaining an ever-deepening understanding of what academia has become.  The movement is maturing impressively fast, and the deeper they dig, the more evidence they’re uncovering about the ways that Common Core is both a new threat to local control of education — and just the latest iteration of the political and emotional manipulation that took over K – 12 classrooms a long time ago.

But to say that The Bluest Eye is sympathetic to child molesters is not defensible.

 

Political Organizing Notes: The Irony of ALEC versus Better Georgia (and Their Apologists at the AJC)

I have no use for monied special interests of any political stripe. But conflating the conservative business lobbying group ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) with the Trayvon Martin tragedy, as Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal Constitution does here and has done elsewhere, is unspeakably sleazy.

Jim Galloway: Giving Indignation a Bad Name

The AJC used to practice some standards in its political reporting. No matter where Galloway’s predecessor stood on issues, he made an effort to be even-handed, and this sort of character assassination was not routine.  No more: Jim Galloway sets a deeply nasty, unprofessional, uninformed tone.

How uninformed?  It’s amazing how fast sloppiness takes over when the newsroom stops even trying to present a facade of objectivity.  This AJC story uncritically apes a press release from the vaguely-named, doesn’t-practice-what-they-preach group, Better Georgia.  And by being busy with such uncritical aping, Jim Galloway and his trusty polysci sidekicks miss some pretty glaring flaws —  one might call them ironies — in the Better Georgia report.

But “miss” is not quite the right term: “cover-up” is better, as I’ll explain below.

By all means take a look at the ALEC report from Better Georgia — you’ll see revelations of a bunch of $12 lunches and so on. Horrors!  Is it really possible that giant special interests buy legislators lunch, send them to conferences, and give them money for their campaigns?

The point is not that these are good things: outsized influence in politics is not good, but, contrary to what Better Georgia wants you to believe with their breathless exposé, everyone in politics does it.   Verizon does it and the ACLU does it; Apple Corporation does it; the Eagle Forum does it; Planned Parenthood does it; the Christian Coalition does it.

More to the point, Better Georgia does it, but what is even more ironic than just doing it is how they do it: they do it by engaging in precisely the same tax-deductible sleights-of-hand that they condemn in ALEC and others.  They do it with money funneled through various nonprofit schemes, some unaccountable, some with changing names, some using precisely the same tax reporting loopholes they scream about when other groups use them.

Ironically, Better Georgia is the real fake grassroots organization with a top-down agenda — an accusation they falsely fling at ALEC, which doesn’t pretend to be what it is not.  Better Georgia is the Georgia office for ProgressNow, a Soros-funded network of powerful leftist political operators who use their state-level groups to gain credibility in the media (a not-too-difficult task with sycophants like Jim Galloway to carry their water) and to present a local face.   Depending on the state, chapters of ProgressNow focus on different issues to mobilize local activism, but they focus mainly on the progressive/leftist/Democrat/public school employee/NEA agenda.

After all, that’s where state political power resides: educator unions are pretty much the biggest leftist power base, especially in Republican-controlled states.  In right-to-work  Republican states, they’re among the few unions powerful enough to make demands at all.  Teacher’s unions and other progressive groups use Better Georgia as a shell organization as scores of lefty foundations and donors from elsewhere help perpetuate and bankroll the fraud.  It’s a way for Democratic Party operatives to extend their state-level reach through faux-local politics.  Just take a look at their website: it’s a confection of professionally manufactured vagueness, right down to the neutral-sounding name and odd lack of detail.

Contrast this with ALEC, which openly names its corporate members and openly promotes its political agenda, no matter what you think of that agenda.

Better Georgia could not perpetrate this fraud without armies of lackeys in the media and in academia.  Ironies abound: in thousands of newspaper stories and a growing dungheap of pseudo-academic “studies,” the Tea Party, which is an actual grassroots movement, is attacked by the Jim Galloways of the world for being an astroturf group.  Meanwhile, Galloway and his editors at the AJC help perpetrate a deception by reporting on Better Georgia as if it were a real “grassroots” group arising spontaneously from citizen action, rather than the brainchild of a group of professional DNC operatives.

In some ways, Better Georgia has a similar profile to Americans For Prosperity, a national nonprofit of the right that partners (and I mean partner) with Tea Party groups.  I realize heads might explode at this comparison, but I think it’s apt in several ways.  In both cases, a national nonprofit that is not entirely transparent about its motives and organization creates state offices to maximize its influence on state-level legislation.  In both cases, the big nonprofit claims membership from among the ranks of local activists and purports to speak for those activists on a wide range of issues and legislation.  Both have people who join locally, but Better Georgia, being part of a leftist, union-driven movement, probably speaks more seamlessly for individual members’ interests because those interests — growing the government dependency culture, defending union and public worker turf, opposing school choice, socializing medicine  — march in lockstep with its members’ paychecks and pocketbooks.  The relationship between AFP and Tea Party groups is much more voluntary, and often much more rocky, a fact that speaks well for the Tea Party and even sometimes for AFP — at least when they play fair, which isn’t always the case.

AFP tries to use the power of the grassroots to advance their agenda, but the Tea Party and related groups are fiercely independent and genuinely citizen-led.  While they often have common cause with AFP, AFP is not the Tea Party, though in Florida in particular they pretend as if they run the movement, and I have seen some very ugly efforts in that state to try silence Tea Party activists.  I doubt Better Georgia has such problems — precisely because a victory for Better Georgia generally means that the taxpayers, and not their members, are on the hook for one thing or another: taxpayers are the grudging involuntary “partners” in Better Georgia’s every scheme.

And of course the media hysterically demonizes the Koch brothers, who make many jobs in this state and elsewhere and are reportedly very ethical employers, no matter the problems with AFP.  ALEC is similarly the victim of relentless media smears, a trend that is accelerating with this recent Better Georgia report — and the reports simultaneously generated in other states by other ProgressNow “affiliates.”

Better Georgia’s report on ALEC is pure partisan agitprop.  I haven’t had much time to look at it, but one thing immediately jumps out: the research selectively focuses on donations to Republicans in this state while ignoring donations made to Democrats by the very same companies.  This is a very useful side-effect of the state-based pseudo-activism model.  For example, in Republican-majority Georgia, ProgressNow’s front group Better Georgia can attack every company that donates to Republicans; meanwhile, their group in California, Courage Campaign, can avoid criticizing the same companies when those companies donate to the Democratic elected officials there.  That’s political expediency at its slickest (check out the website of Better Georgia’s California partner to see a less covert version of the group’s radical aims).

Also, when it takes three paragraphs to describe how a school choice bill for handicapped students is a Tool of the Man, you’re either not very good at producing agitprop, or you are very good at it.  It’s hard to tell, however, how good Better Georgia really is at manufacturing agitprop because they’re getting such a helping hand from the media — and the taxpayers, who were forced to fund that Grady High School video.

If there were real political reporters left at the AJC, there would be some semblance of nuance in discussions about Better Georgia, ProgressNow, ALEC, AFP, the Tea Party, and a host of other political issues.  Readers might even learn something when they read the AJC, which changed its slogan a few years ago from Covers Dixie Like The Dew to the highly funny yet less amusing following non-trifecta: Credible. Compelling. Complete.

Ed Kramer Guilty of Child Molestation: Now Will Bob Barr Face Consequences for His Role in the Deception?

After leaving Congress in 2003, Georgia Congressman Bob Barr reinvented himself politically in dramatic ways.  He aligned with the ACLU, began advocating for the legalization of marijuana, and ran for president on the 2008 Libertarian Party ticket.  Now Barr is attempting to rejoin the Republican and conservative mainstream in a bid to secure Georgia’s 11th District congressional seat, where he is currently a leading contender.

Barr’s about-face on issues that alienate conservative voters left many wondering what he really stands for.  His role in the notoriously corrupt defense of now-convicted child molester Ed Kramer should raise more questions in voters’ minds.  Here is my previous post on Kramer’s decade-long manipulation of the justice system.

Edward Kramer, co-founder of the sci-fi and fantasy convention, Dragoncon, pled guilty in a Georgia courtroom yesterday to three counts of child molestation in a case that has been delayed thirteen years, thanks to repeated efforts by Kramer himself to claim medical incapacity.  Barr served as Kramer’s attorney until early 2013, when he decided to run for office again.  But Barr did not just serve as Kramer’s lawyer: he held the sci-fi purveyor up as the victim of a religion-fuelled witch-hunt; he helped him deceive the court regarding his client’s capacity to sit through a trial, and he helped him acquire an eyebrow-raising bond agreement that enabled Kramer to flee the state illegally, resulting in Kramer’s arrest in 2012 for endangering another child — a 14 year old boy Kramer had in his motel room in Connecticut.

As if these facts aren’t bad enough, Barr used the molester’s defense to promote his new libertarian politics.  You cannot separate the Kramer case from the person Barr is offering to voters, even if he tries to distance himself now.

In 2007 Barr told an audience at the Federalist Society that Kramer was a victim of his new pet peeve, prosecutorial over-reach.  Despite the fact that it was Kramer himself who had created the delays, Barr insisted that it was the fault of the state.  The video of Barr promoting Kramer’s case as a civil rights issue has, curiously, been scrubbed from the internet in the last 24 hours, but Barr’s incredibly sophomoric amicus brief on behalf of Kramer is going to be harder to erase.  Barr should be called on to re-release the video: he isn’t running for dog-catcher; he’s running for Congress, and his behavior and expressed beliefs between 2003 and 2013 should not be hidden from voters this way.

Ed Kramer, Out and About

Ed Kramer claimed for more than a decade that his medical condition prevented him from participating in a trial.  He claimed he was in excruciating pain, that he couldn’t walk or move or sit up, that he was not able to breathe.  Yet there are pictures of him from this time happily participating in a Dragoncon convention, and after Barr helped him get cut free from house arrest (a strange request from an invalid), he fled to another state and began filming a movie, where he was caught with the 14-year old boy in his custody.  He continues to play these legal games today.

Barr was not just Kramer’s defense attorney: he helped Kramer remain free through serial deception, then he helped Kramer blame the system — and the public — for trial delays he had actually created.  Along the way, Barr used Kramer’s case to assert that our justice system is corrupt and untrustworthy.  This is Barr’s political record for the last six years: by all means let him run on it.

Kramer avoided trial for almost a decade. He was released from house arrest in 2009 and the case remained in a holding pattern for two more years before he was allegedly spotted in a Milford, Conn., hotel room with an unsupervised 14-year-old boy.

Barr stayed involved in the Kramer case until it didn’t until it didn’t serve his political goals to be involved anymore.  He even lacks a strong commitment to injustice, is the best that might be said.

Is Katherine Ann Power Violating the Law by Profiting from the Murder of Officer Walter Schroeder? Did Boston University and Oregon State Help Her Break Parole?

In 1970, Katherine Ann Power helped murder Boston Police officer Walter Schroeder in a bank robbery.  Power was a college radical who was helping arm the Black Panthers by robbing banks and stealing weapons.  Thanks to her violent acts, rather than any discernible academic accomplishment, she is now a celebrity in academic circles, like many other violent terrorists of her time, including Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Susan Rosenberg, judge and “human rights” law professor Eleanor Raskin, and Obama Recovery Act advisor Jeff Jones.

Officer Walter A. Schroeder

Officer Schroeder, a member of an extended family of Boston police, left behind nine children who were raised by their mother in public housing following his death — and at least four of his children followed him into police work.  Schroeder’s brother John, also a police officer, was murdered on the job three years after Schroeder’s death.

As the Schroeder family mourned their losses, Power went into hiding, aided disgracefully by feminist activists who sided with a murderer over the widowed mother and nine children she left destitute.  Such is the power of sisterhood.  Power’s boyfriend and fellow murderer-cum-political-activist, Stanley Bond (they met at Brandeis, which was admitting ex-cons like Bond as part of a government rehabilitation project), was a prison pal of serial rapist-murderer Alberto DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler.  But of course, hanging with serial killer rapists is no impediment to sanctification if you also hate the right people, like police.  By preaching the murder of cops, then murdering a cop, Bond and Power earned eternal approval in faculty lounges.  A feminist collective in Connecticut helped her change her identity after Schroeder’s murder.  Then a group of lesbian activists in Corvallis, Oregon helped her become a restauranteur.

In 1993, Power emerged from hiding and received a token sentence for her crimes.  She was also on the receiving end of a tidal wave of positive publicity for the story she composed about her time in hiding, most disgracefully from Newsweek Magazine, which grotesquely equated her “travails” in the underground with the suffering of Schroeder’s nine children at his death.  Equally grotesquely, the New York Times’ Timothy Egan portrayed Power as a suffering, traumatized victim of conscience — and a pretty terrific cook, to boot:

The therapist, Linda Carroll, said she had never seen a psyche so battered as that of the fugitive, Katherine Ann Power. It was impossible for her to believe that this bespectacled cook with the terrific polenta recipe, a person who would cry at any mention of family, had spent 14 years as one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 10 most wanted fugitives … Earlier this week, Ms. Power had a reunion with her family in Boston. On Wednesday, she was led in shackles to court, where she pleaded guilty.  Ms. Carroll saw her patient on television on Wednesday night; she saw that she was smiling. “I burst out crying,” she said. “I was so proud of her. She had walked away but she had walked away as a whole person.”

Carroll, Egan, and other attention-seekers piled on, shilling stories of their encounters with the beautific Power.  The murderer was credited with possessing a special sense of peace and enlightenment, something she is now monetizing in places like Taos, where she recounts her “journey”; the horrors of her brief prison sentence, and her current status as a “practical peace catalyst,” as she puts it.  This is a schtick she had perfected before emerging from hiding in 1993, when she hurried from perfunctory non-apologies to the family to immediately demanding attention through a “victim-perpetrator reconciliation program.”  Such programs, like many prison rehabilitation schemes, have become taxpayer-funded platforms for killers to goose their narcissistic pleasure through recounting crimes and claiming theatrical remorse.
At the time Powers was convicted, she was given a sentence that forbade her from profiting from her crime.  Her parole ended in 2013, and she is now making up for lost time, and cash: she has published a book, and the “Peace Studies” program at Oregon State University in Corvallis, where she lived in hiding for years, is honoring her this month.  Somebody should look into the legality of her earning money now from the murder of Officer Schroeder.

But even if she is permitted to profit now, did Power violate parole prior to 2013?  Powers’ sentence, and whether college and university presidents in Boston and Oregon helped her violate it, deserves further scrutiny.  Oregon State promoted her at an event that was held in 2001, while her parole restrictions on profiting from crime were still in place; they also awarded her a degree in Ethics that arguably was granted to her because of her notoriety.  Is there a paper trail on that?  She received a liberal studies degree from Boston University while incarcerated, a degree in which she wrote about herself being in prison: was this not profiting from her crime, too?

It is time to take a hard look at the blood money being earned by unrepentant criminals like Katherine Ann Power.  And any police officer residing in Oregon should call Oregon State to protest the current deification of a terrorist who preached the murder of police and then murdered a police officer.  You’re paying for it with your tax dollars — in fact, given the federal subsidies that are the lifeblood of all of higher education, we’re all paying for Katherine Ann Powers and her murderous academic peers.  Here is the contact information for the Oregon State’s president.

Katherine Ann Power, Enjoying her Newsweek Cover

When Katherine Ann Power was featured as a damsel-in-distress on the cover of Newsweek, one of Walter Schroeder’s children, then-Sgt. Claire Schroeder, delivered this powerful response:

“When Katherine Power and her friends robbed the State Street Bank in Brighton with semiautomatic weapons, my father responded to the call. One of her friends shot my father in the back and left him to die in a pool of his own blood. Katherine Power was waiting in the getaway car, and she drove the trigger man and her other friends away to safety.

“Twenty-three years later, Katherine Power stands before you as a media celebrity. Her smiling photograph has appeared on the cover of Newsweek. She has been portrayed as a hero from coast to coast. Her attorney had appeared on the Phil Donahue show. [She] is receiving book and movie offers worth millions of dollars on a daily basis.

“For reasons that I will never comprehend, the press and public seem more far more interested in the difficulties that Katherine Power has inflicted upon herself than in the very real and horrible suffering she inflicted upon my family. Her crimes, her flight from justice and her decision to turn herself in have been romanticized utterly beyond belief.

“One of the news articles about this case described it as a double tragedy–a tragedy for Katherine Power and a tragedy for my father and my family. I will never comprehend, as long as I live, how anyone can equate the struggle and pain forced upon my family by my father’s murder with the difficulty of the life Katherine Power chose to live as a fugitive.

“Some of the press accounts of this case have ignored my father completely. Others have referred to him anonymously as a Boston police officer. Almost none of the stories has made any effort to portray him in any way as a real human being. It is unfair and unfortunate that such a warm and likeable person who died so heroically should be remembered that way.

“One of the most vivid pictures I have of my father as a police officer is a photograph showing him giving a young child CPR and saving that child’s life. I remember being so proud of my father, seeing him on the front page of the old Record American, saving someone’s life. Years later, when I was a 17-year-old girl at my father’s wake, a woman introduced herself to me as that child’s mother. I was very proud of my dead father.

“More than anything, my father was a good and decent and honorable person. He was a good police officer who gave his life to protect us from people like Katherine Power. I do not doubt for a moment that he would have given his life again to protect people from harm. He was also a good husband and he was a good father. I have been proud of my father every single day of my life. I became a police officer because of him. So did my brother Paul, my brother Edward and, most recently, my sister Ellen.

“My father had so many friends that we could not have the funeral at the parish where we lived because it was too small. On the way to the church the streets were lined with people. As we approached the church, the entire length of the street looked like a sea of blue–all uniformed officers who had come to say goodbye to my father. I saw from the uniforms that the officers had towns and cities all across the United States and Canada. I felt so proud but so hollow. I remember thinking that my father should have been there to enjoy their presence.

“When my father died he left behind my mother, who was then 41 years old, and nine children. He wasn’t there to teach my brothers how to throw a football or change a tire. He wasn’t there for our high school or college graduations. He wasn’t there to give away my sisters at their weddings. He could not comfort us and support us at my brother’s funeral. He never had a chance to say goodbye. We never got a last hug or kiss, or pat on the head.

“Murdering a police officer in Boston to bring peace to Southeast Asia was utterly senseless then and it is just as senseless now. The tragedy in this case is not that Katherine Power lived for 23 years while looking over her shoulder. The tragedy is that my father’s life was cut short for no reason, shot in the back with a bullet of a coward while Ms. Power waited to drive that coward to safety.”

As the late Larry Grathwohl observed, the terrorists of the Weather Underground, the Black Liberation Army, the Black Panthers and other violent groups were not seeking peace: they were seeking communist victory and protracted, bloody revolution on the streets of America.  It is shameful that Oregon State University is honoring a murderer and terrorist in a so-called “peace program,” or any other academic pursuit.  It may be illegal that they endowed her with academic privileges and resources in the past.  Anyone wishing to share information for making the case that Powers illegally profited from her role in the murder of Officer Schroeder at Oregon State, Boston University, or at the Unitarian Churches that hosted her “peace” talks should contact this blog.

In 1970, Katherine Ann Power was radicalized by Stanley Bond, a killer empowered by the Brandeis University scholarship he was given because he had committed violent crimes; 43 years later, Power is being similarly empowered to deliver her coded messages of hate to new generations of impressionable students.  Whether or not Katherine Power can be held responsible for breaking the terms of her parole, it is time to start holding colleges and universities responsible for the fiscal support and academic honors they shower on people who murder police and others.  These academic officials have made their institutions accomplices to murder.

Lysenkoist Healthcare Promotion, Courtesy of the New York Times

In its never-ending quest to act as the Official Organ of the Obama Administration (OOOh -Ah), The New York Times is finding new inspiration in Trofim Lysenko, the Stalinist agronomist whose peasant background, unwillingness to acknowledge errors, and willingness to send his scientific critics to their death catapulted him to the head of the Soviet Institute of Genetics.

Lysenko promised to “turn the barren fields of the Transcaucasus green in winter” through a process of exposing seedlings to cold, but his primary success lay in purging “bourgeois” adherence to the scientific method and replacing it with a “proletarian” belief that the plant world would respond to Marxist-Leninist pressures in ways identical to humans.  Unfortunately, because plants lack the forethought to worry about other plants sending them to Siberia, Lysenko met only with limited scientific success.

However, his ideas spawned a tremendously successful academic-political movement, Lysenkoism, which proved that militant adherence to Marxism/Leninism combined with public humiliation of politically incorrect peers could transform entire intellectual disciplines with great efficiency.  What wheat seeds refused to do, intellectuals adapted to, and by the 1940’s, Lysenkoist mediocrity was so prevalent among un-purged Russian scientists that the Soviets were, happily for us, stymied in their efforts to build nuclear weapons.

The practice of Lysenkoism begins with a political hypothesis (ie. “Stalin will like this”) and proceeds to subjugate all data to that theory.   It is not so much a scientific method as a filing system, like all grand collectivist schemes, and what it produces mainly is more bureaucracy, rather than more bread, or automobiles, or healthcare.

But Lysenkoism is very good at manufacturing bureaucracy.  Freed from the constraints of reality and the limits of the natural world, academics have proven to be especially resourceful at institutionalizing pet beliefs.

Beliefs are easier to grow than wheat, and for this reason, Lysenko retained absolute power in the Soviet Academy of Sciences until he didn’t anymore, at which time he was declared officially no longer “immune to criticism” and deposed in the manner to which he had become accustomed to deposing his enemies.

Nonetheless, Lysenkoism beats on in the heart of every utopian bureaucrat.  It moistens the pen that writes thousand-page regulatory bills and re-animates the botoxed brows of Today Show hosts who toil in the fields of daytime television, squashing dissent to the President’s Healthcare Great Leap Forward.

Granted, our cadres of official journalists are still awaiting the Great Leap Forward in media centralization that was sadly postponed when the Internet amplified voices other than their own.  They can only dream of confessions like this one, written (or at least signed) in 1949 by one Professor B. Kederov after he failed to appropriately admire one of Trofim Lysenko’s proclamations.  The idea that a thought crime could consist of not praising a leader fulsomely enough would have seemed alien in America a few years ago:

I consider it my party duty to state that I fully agree with the criticism and definitely denounce the sermon of alien cosmopolitan viewpoints that I permitted myself to carry out.  The danger of such viewpoints becomes especially obvious now, when all along the ideological front our party and the entire Soviet nation are engaged in a determined struggle against corrupt bourgeois ideology and against bourgeois cosmopolitanism as the ideological weapon of American imperialism; in this condition, the slightest advocacy of cosmopolitan viewpoints is direct treason to the cause of communism.

Lacking, for now, the power to extract public confessions, our fourth estate is limited to accusing the President’s opponents of thought crimes like racism and churning column inches of apparatchik prose  denouncing “bourgeois” opposition to Obamacare’s record-breaking harvest of successes.

Such reporting requires papering over of great expanses of facts to the point of Lysenkian absurdity.  For example, in response to the high costs already being imposed on small businessmen and other individual insurance purchasers, the Times on Sunday ignored that problem entirely, denounced the naysayers, and proclaimed that Obamacare was actually helping people who dream of becoming small businessmen in the future.  Don’t look at dour old facts, said the Times, look to the possibilities of an imaginary future.  This is Lysenkoist reporting at its best:

In the weeks since the health insurance marketplaces of the Affordable Care Act went online, a well-publicized ripple of alarm and confusion has permeated the ranks of small-business owners. But less well known is the response of another contingent: newcomers to entrepreneurship who see the legislation as a solution to the often insurmountable expense of getting health insurance.

The article profiles Rajeev Jeyakumar, co-founder of an “online job marketplace” website who just found out that he qualifies for enough public aid to pay $74 a month for health insurance in Manhattan that “even includes dental,” he gloats.  Lucky him: we are all subsidizing his teeth cleaning as he plays venture capitalist.  But Jeyakumar is chipping in by “refraining from using his Citi Bike membership or playing sports, lest he sustain an injury requiring medical care” until his taxpayer-subsidized health insurance kicks in.

The moral of this tale is understandably fuzzy, as the Times leaves out all pertinent facts, such as how much Mr. Jeyakumar’s health insurance will cost if he actually earns any money and ceases to be subsidized by the rest of us, or what he had planned to do if he had been mowed down by a bus prior to the time that the mere promise of Obamacare magically transformed him into a socially conscientious, non-Citi Bike-riding citizen.

Both Mr. Jeyakumar and Constantina Petrou, another web-based consultant profiled in the article, believe that they can now hire employees because of Obamacare.  Petrou claims she has been unable to hire full-time employees because of the price of healthcare but that Obamacare may enable her to do so “depending on the new costs of coverage.”  These costs, which would seem to be the point, are not further discussed.  Jeyakumar imagines he will tell his still-imaginary future employees to “shop the new health care exchanges on their own” and “bump up their salaries to cover the cost.”  Petrou “will either pay for a portion of the individual plans that her employees shop for on the exchange, or she may take advantage of tax credits and offer a small group plan,” the costs of which are also not discussed.

All of these options existed before the magic of Obamacare, only the promise of cheaper coverage has been replaced with the reality of massive price hikes.  But there is no need to discuss this if you are the New York Times and the purpose of your article is to attach negative adjectives like “alarmed” and “confused” to small businesspeople who are not appropriately “excited” and “happy.”

Besides, notes the Times, many more jobs are being created thanks to the problems that have been created by Obamacare.  Even the failure of the website and the “alarm” and “confusion” of small business owners are turning out to be job creators.  When government policies create a famine, the peasants will find new markets for their potatoes:

Jack Hooper is among those who see the law as a business opportunity … As he began investigating his own health care options, he realized that the Affordable Care Act could provide more than just access to coverage for his family … He anticipates that premiums will remain expensive, pushing many Americans to high-deductible plans, and that these people will need help in managing care-related expenses.

Hooper anticipates meeting that need, and he anticipates a big demand for his services:

Based on his previous experience working for the federal government, he says, he is not surprised by the problems that have emerged in the Healthcare.gov site. Entrepreneurs like him will end up providing the ultimate solutions to the problems that have emerged from the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Hooper says.

In other words, Mr. Hooper’s future small business success depends on charging money to small businessmen who cannot afford to pay medical bills that are not covered by the expensive new insurance they are required to buy under Obamacare: Obamacare is thus “opening doors for entrepreneurs.”  The series of magical beliefs required to commit this to the page probably wouldn’t make a Lysenko blush, but step-by-step we’re getting there.

Laying Out the Lies of the Left

This is Leszek Kolakowski.  He is worth getting to know at this juncture in history; his essay, My Correct Views on Everything, is a classic rejoinder by an aging man who has seen the worst of the twentieth century and learned from it, addressed to somebody who has seen the worst of the twentieth century and is still making excuses for it.

That person is E.P. Thompson, seen here being admired by vast audiences for his views, roguish hair and faux-peasant sartorial choices.  If you attend a fairly rigorous college, or any arts and sciences graduate school, you will likely be assigned Thompson but not Kolakowski.  You are also likely to be attending a place where the school’s president earns far more annually than 99.9% of all those nasty “capitalist” businessmen being demonized by the faculty, who simultaneously do not think that it’s a bad thing for tenured professors and university presidents to get rich off the labor of others because their highly original thoughts on the horrors of capitalism merit six figures a year and a stable of adjuncts and grad students to do all the real teaching.

How much money do these gilded thinkers receive?  Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz, 600K annual retirement; Ohio State’s Gordon Gee, a $5.8 million package, including funds to pay taxes on what the taxpayers are paying him.

But Joe the Plumber is the greedy capitalist.

It makes perfect sense that a Thompson would be worshipped in such idiot temples and a Kolakowski not so much cast out as utterly erased.

In the kingdom of the blind, blind people are probably going to gang up on you and poke your last good eye out.

There is a far too modest book reviewer on Amazon whose description of Howard Zinn is too scatological to repeat — do find it yourself — but he explicates Leszek Kolakowski beautifully:

Kolakowski’s writings about Marxism are incomparably better than anyone else’s. For one thing, he knows the subject inside and out, having apparently read everything that Marx and his disciples every wrote, having spent much of his life in a communist country, and having evolved from Party member, to revisionist, to outspoken opponent. Then there is his matchless talent for lucid exposition: Marx’s ideas, muddled and impenetrable in their original form, become perfectly clear when Kolakowski talks about them.

As a critic of Marx, Kolakowski is scrupulously fair and objective, while pulling no punches. His analyses are models of honest, careful, trenchant criticism. His essays are also quite entertaining, full of self-deprecating irony, and biting sarcasm.

No one excels K. in the dissection of Leftist argumentation. In a highly amusing rebuttal of E. P. Thompson’s “open letter”, Kolakowski slams Thompson’s use of double standards: Whatever goes wrong in capitalist countries is attributed, by definition, to “the capitalist system”. Whatever goes wrong in socialist countries is excused as a “transitional phase” and/or is attributed to the remnants of capitalism, or to “capitalist encirclement” or to some other non-communist influence. An even-handed, empirical comparison of the two systems would show, says K., “…that the only universal medicine (the Left) has for social evils (state ownership of the means of production) is not only perfectly compatible with all the disasters of the capitalist world – with exploitation, imperialism, pollution, misery, waste, national hatred, national oppression – but that it adds to them a series of disasters of its own: inefficiency, lack of economic incentives and, above all…a concentration of power never known before in human history.”                                                                                           — Kurt J. Acker, “bookmuncher”

Sort of sounds like Obamacare, doesn’t it?

~~~

Now to the lie of the week.  It is expressed visually and verbally — amplified through the newspaper layout — and once you see it, it is impossible to un-see it, though I can’t show it to you because the page won’t upload.  Suffice to say, on Thursday, the top, left-hand corner of the New York Times featured this article:

G.O.P. MAPS OUT WAVES OF ATTACKS

OVER HEALTH LAW

TELLING VOTERS’ STORIES

Focus on Oversight by House Panels Meets With Successes

By JONATHAN WEISMAN and SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

WASHINGTON — The memo distributed to House Republicans this week was concise and blunt, listing talking points and marching orders: “Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance.” “Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs.” “The Exchanges May Not Be Secure, Putting Personal Information at Risk.” “Continue Collecting Constituent Stories.”

The document, the product of a series of closed-door strategy sessions that began in mid-October, is part of an increasingly organized Republican attack . . .

The article and headline insinuate that the public’s complaints about Obamacare are being manufactured by Republicans in shadowy back rooms.  The fact that Democrats also meet in back rooms to create shadowy messaging accusing Republicans of manufacturing the public’s complaints about Obamacare is not mentioned, of course, because the Times reporters are participating in that messaging.

So, it’s OK.

When Democrats do something, it’s good; when Republicans do the same thing, it’s evil.  Simple, once you get the hang of it.  For example, Weisman and Stolberg breathlessly report that the Republicans are using a “playbook” on healthcare, as if every single legislator in both parties did not have a similar playbook on each issue of import.  This is disgraceful stuff even for the Times, ugly bias and dishonesty disguised as reporting:

A 17-page “House Republican Playbook” walks members through “messaging tools” like talking points, social media tactics and “digital fliers”; details lines of attack; offers up a sample opinion article for local newspapers; and provides an extensive timeline on the health care law and an exhaustive list of legislative responses that have gone nowhere.

A message of the week is presented to the Republican members at the beginning of each week, Ms. McMorris Rodgers said. A “Call to Action” email chain distributes relevant breaking news. A new website, gop.gov/yourstory, is collecting anecdotes from each member.

Oh, no: a website collecting anecdotes?  Here is the White House website for collecting anecdotes by immigrants:

Unless you are one of the first Americans, unless you are a Native American, you came from someplace else. That’s why we’ve always defined ourselves as a nation of immigrants. And we’ve always been better off for it.”

—President Obama

Share your own story to help remind Washington that we need an immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

Here is the Democratic website for collecting anecdotes about how the ACA has helped people:

Are you a young adult who has been able to stay on your parents’ plan? A small business owner who has received tax credits for providing insurance to your workers? Maybe you no longer have a lifetime limit on your insurance policy—ensuring that you’re able to continue receiving treatment for an illness without getting hit with astronomical medical bills. Or perhaps you’re a senior who now has access to free preventive care that you have put off for too long.

We want to hear from you.  How has health care reform changed your care?

I could go on and on . . . and on.  But you take the point: the New York Times is falsely asserting that the Republicans are doing something other than the ordinary political activities practiced by both parties.

Jonathan Weisman and Sheryl Gay Stolberg are lying about this.  Technically, the lie is a lie of omission — they do not admit that Democrats use identical message tactics, and they do not mention the playbook the other side is using in this specific debate.  But it’s a sleazy, highly orchestrated lie nonetheless.

It’s also not the only bold untruth on the Times’ front page yesterday.  The editors didn’t stop at a single act of sophistry above the fold.  They didn’t merely accuse their enemies, the Republicans, of astroturfing a real citizen movement; they also shamelessly pretended, in the next article, that messaging that actually is crafted by professional activists (and Times journalists) was merely an example of people speaking their minds:

Illegal Immigrants Are Divided Over Importance of Citizenship

By JULIA PRESTON

Glendy Martínez is waiting anxiously to see if Congress will ever pass legislation to allow immigrants like her, without papers, to stay in the country legally. But frankly, she says, she does not care if it will include any promise of citizenship.

With the earnings from her job in a Houston hair salon, Ms. Martínez, 30, is supporting one child born in Texas and three others she left behind in her home country, Nicaragua.

“So many people back there depend on those of us who are here,” she said. “It would be such a help if we could work in peace …”

And so on.  Apparently the Times just spontaneously found all these people saying the same thing about not wanting citizenship — by sheer coincidence.  No astro-turfing there.  No mention of messaging research by CASA de Maryland or La Raza or any of the dozens of well-heeled George Soros-funded groups agitating for open borders.  No mention of the paid trainers teaching people what to say to the media.  No mention of rooms with whiteboards and bunches of computers where the elected officials from NALEO analyze which messages work or don’t work with the public as they plot to slip immigration amnesty through during the holidays, while we’re busy and don’t particularly want to be screamed at for being racist for a few festive weeks.

No “multilayered, sequenced assault,” which is the exaggerated militaristic argot Weisman and Stolberg sneeringly used to smear the opponents of Obamacare.

Incidentally, the Times is also being deceptive about the desire of illegal immigrants to become citizens — note that in the article they carefully avoid citing any of the recent and well-publicized statistics on the subject, substituting personal stories or alleged personal stories (told by people who are already lying by being here) for facts they apparently would rather not address.

Fact: 87% of illegal immigrants recently polled by NBC want nothing less than full citizenship:

Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, an immigrant advocacy organization, said that practically everyone her organization works with hopes for citizenship rather than merely a green card.

“A lot has changed between 1986 and today,” she said. “There used to be a view that the line was blurred . . . but I think the line has become brighter about whether you’re a citizen or not and how you’re viewed.”

Many feel that only naturalization will allow them to feel fully engaged and accepted in their new country. “They don’t want to be a second-class citizen,” said Gustavo Torres, executive director at CASA de Maryland, an advocacy group.

The Times article uses old numbers, the very numbers that have been recently discredited.  Weirdly, they do so by attributing those numbers to Republicans, as if they were worried about being caught in a lie and decided to insinuate that it was Republicans, not them, who believed the wrong data.  Do they sit up in the Times newsroom all night, straining to create even more disinformation?  The article itself was probably crafted specifically to help run cover for the recent polls, which were not received well by those who don’t want to see blanket amnesty — in other words, most Americans.  Thus, the Times is committing its own “multilayered, sequenced assault” on both inconvenient truths and on the people who express beliefs they wish to silence or discredit.

Funny work for a newspaper.  In America, that is.  This sort of raw propaganda would be right at home in several of the places from which Leszek Kolakowski fled.

 

See also: Don’t Let Anyone Silence You On The Illegal Immigrant Amnesty Bill . . . Especially Other Republicans

 

 

Seventies Redux: Jim Jones, Rosalyn Carter — A More Innocent Time

Thanks to Peach Pundit for linking to my logorrhea on healthcare navigation.  One of the fun things about being back in Georgia — as opposed to Florida, with its tedious palm trees, balmy beaches, and light traffic — is having an institutional memory of the political scene.  I spent twenty years in downtown Atlanta.

Once, when I was new to the city, I got off work around 3 a.m. from my job on the docks of the Georgia World Congress Center.  I drove past the Ponce de Leon Krispy Kreme donut shop, which looked way to scary to patronize, and went to an all-night grocery story instead.  In the dairy aisle, there was this wired guy who looked like he was coming from an adult costume party: he had on what  looked like a sort of mini-cape, with giant epaulets and lots of braid.  He had cornered an old woman and was lecturing her on the crucial differences between Jumbo and Large eggs.

Weird, I thought, and crossed the grocery story off my list of places to go to in the middle of the night.

Some time later, I saw the egg man holding a press conference on TV.  He was Atlanta Chief of Police (and future Clayton County Commissioner) Eldrin Bell.

Weird, I thought, and crossed Ponce de Leon off my list of ways to drive home from work.

Before I moved to Atlanta in 1988, the only thing I really knew about Georgia was that Jimmy Carter came from there.  Or, near there.  I’m sorry to say that where I came from, everything south of the Newark existed only vaguely to us.  To people in Poughkeepsie, Carter’s drawl, and Miss Lillian, and Billy all seemed as exotic as The Dukes of Hazard.  My parents, however, had loved the way the Carters walked to the White House on inauguration day, like ordinary people.

But sadly, there are no ordinary people in politics.  This week marks the 35th anniversary of the murder/suicide of some 900 people belonging to the communist cult called Jonestown.  Oh, you didn’t know it was a communist cult?  Did you know a communist killed JFK?  That Sirhan Sirhan, who killed RFK, was a cult hero to the American communist group, The Weather Underground?

Communism was still as common as herpes in the Seventies, something that’s very hard to explain to anyone under sixty today.

The list of politicians who helped Jim Jones create his communist third-world-hellhole-turned-murder-camp is long, weird, and disgraceful.  Jonestown wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill cult — it was a racket for stealing welfare and social security benefits from the vulnerable people lured there with the help of politicians like Harvey Milk, whose culpability is conveniently forgotten by those who wish to turn Milk into a martyr because he was openly gay and murdered in office.

Current California Governor Jerry Brown, Walter Mondale and Rosalyn Carter also hobnobbed with Jones, pre-massacre, and Communist Party member Angela Davis used her position as a professor at UCLA to abet Jones in events that led up to the massacre — something the highly-esteemed Dr. Davis does not include in her definitely for-profit speeches to academic audiences today.

Note the Bill Maher poster (?) behind the dancing soon-to-be mass murderer

The taxpayers of California are currently supporting an entire academic sub-discipline dedicated to Jones:  Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple, aka Jonestown apologetics, is ironically housed in the Department of Religion at San Diego State University.  Read my essay about the politicians and academicians involved with Jones here:

Mass Murderer Jim Jones: Religious Extremist or Atheist Stalinist?  Answer: What’s Best for the New York Times?

Tonight, Cliff Kincaid will be talking about the communists and the JFK assassination on the America’s Survival Roku channel and the online site Kenney TV — watch here on Roku, or live on the internet at 9:00.  And for evidence about the Soviets’ involvement in the JFK murder, here is Cliff’s article, Why the Communists Killed Kennedy, which references important work by Ion Mihai Pacepa and Humberto Fontova, two experts who are worth reading on this subject and others.

More stomach-churning Seventies nostalgia next week  . . .

 

 

Healthcare Navigators: It’s Not Who They Are, It’s What They Are

The Georgia political blog Peach Pundit has issued a challenge to readers to find out if the “healthcare navigators” hired in Georgia to “educate” and sign people up for the Affordable Care Act are as corrupt as these Texas navigators caught on tape counseling people to lie about their income by the indefatigable videographer James O’Keefe.

I did a little research and found a range of credibility among the nonprofit groups that are either receiving federal tax dollars directly or are “partnering” with the people who received grants to provide navigation in Georgia.  But their credibility is not the real problem, as I’ll explain below.

According to Georgia Health NewsSEEDCO and UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Science and Cooperative Extension are receiving federal grants to provide navigators in Georgia.

In the (not so) private market, individual insurers are also “navigating” their customers through the health care exchanges with no federal grant money — unless you count the fact that they’re taking advantage of Obamacare by raising rates while simultaneously claiming victimization from the law, despite getting huge new pools of customers.  New customers’ premiums are largely paid for by their current customers through federal subsidies mandated by the law — so what’s not to love?  The insurers are putting on a good show of complaining, but what they’ve been doing under the sheets with the infamous Ms. Fed at the Crony Capitalism Motel would blow away the usual black light hotel bedsheet Primetime exposé.

My little family of two is facing a premium increase of between 180% – 240% next December for virtually the same high deductible plan we have now — and I know that the government and the private insurers are heading off to Vegas together to blow that wad on a good steak dinner together, despite all the finger-pointing on both sides, such as this blindingly insane class war Cokie Roberts/Kaiser Family Foundation video you really have to watch to believe.

Do note that we’re self-employed and buy our own insurance, so we don’t really count as humans under the ACA.  Think of us as the lab rats, the 5% already thrown into the nearest cages and hooked up to the electrodes.  What happens to us now will be happening to people in group plans later on, a timeline I still cannot believe is legal, unless by “legal” you mean “first screw all the people without lobbyists.”

you’ll be joining us in here soon

“Navigation” seems like a new concept to many people, but within the government subsidized healthcare/welfare industry — Medicaid, Medicare (yes, it is subsidized), WIC, Section 8, EITC and so on — there are always people doing some type of “navigation.”  In our current bifurcated economy, where the rich advocate for the poor to live like kings, navigators paid for by taxpayers help poor people sign up for every other-person’s tax dollar for which they could possibly qualify.  Many of these expenditures are a healthy and noble — supporting the truly disabled, for example — but when people play the system, we’re not only losing money to them; we’re paying navigators to teach them how to most efficiently pick our pockets.  And there is a lot of intentional deception that goes on, deception that gets systematically overlooked by the government employees administrating these programs.  Many of the most suspect Welfare Maximization Accomplice grants are laundered through university research — for example, I know of a university-based program in Florida geared exclusively at signing up illegal immigrant families for public benefits, though nobody would admit that out loud.

Academics play bag man in fiscal crimes against taxpayers all the time, reaping government grants and career advancement by pretending they are doing research, when what they’re really doing is handing out other people’s money, then using big words to declare the handout a success.  Studying themselves playing Daddy Warbucks with taxpayer sawbucks is how sociologists and others climb the tenure ladder.  They choose their favorite nonprofit, “partner” with them, then praise the nonprofit’s excellent performance in solving social problems, even if the executive director made off to Jamaica with all the money.

So long as it was stolen in a spirit of helping the poor, Professor Poodle can still brag about his commitment to the underclass when he’s not busy fuming about Fox News at the Departmental Nondenominational Solstice Holiday Party.

The fraud angle of all this ballooned under community organizer Obama, by design. Every rebranded ACORN worker out there offering free Obamaphones to welfare cheats is a navigator.  So I’m glad to see James O’Keefe doing what he does better than anyone — giving people a glimpse of the underbelly of our corrupt welfare state.

But fraud is a feature, not a bug of this system.  Another round of firing allegedly “rogue” employees for doing precisely what they were hired to do in the first place is the only reaction we can expect from the powers-that-be.  The rogue navigators aren’t really rogue –they represent the very spirit of the thing.

~~~

The real problem with navigators is what they are actually navigating — the collapse of boundaries between big corporations, big nonprofits, and the government.  So it doesn’t matter so much whether the entity doing navigation has a good reputation or a bad reputation: the activity itself fuels the belief that the highest calling of civic life is to transfer as much money as possible from working, taxpaying people to people who avoid working and paying taxes.  In a way, the Sharpton-level fraudsters handing out government-subsidized-iphones to crack dealers are the least harmful actors on the stage: they are expendable clowns, while the real damage is being done with subtle efficiencies by Chamber types who span the political spectrum.

~~~

In Georgia, the groups involved in government-subsidized healthcare navigation have a range of reputations.

Georgia Watch is a well-known consumer organization boasting a transparent track record of their activities.  Their board of directors (readily accessible on-line) includes Clark Howard, who has a great and very much well-earned reputation for advocating fiscal responsibility.  Their tax records are up to date, and they are responsive to questions posed to them.

Still, there are problems with what they’re doing, which I’ll get to below.

On the other hand, SEEDCO, which recently received $2.2 million from the Department of Health and Human Services to provide navigators in Georgia, has an extremely troubling record of padding claims about numbers of clients served.  How troubling?  The New York Times actually went after them; the federal government actually filed charges against them, and they were actually found guilty of those charges, something that happens to big nonprofits wasting/stealing tax dollars about as frequently as the moon turns to blue cheese.  Luckily for SEEDCO and their extremely well remunerated CEO, Barbara Dwyer Gunn, the feds settled on the hilarious punishment that they must pay back a fraction of the taxpayer money they fraudulently pocketed and agree to actually follow, you know, laws from now on.

This is a fabulous example of white collar criminals getting away with a slap on the wrist.  But you won’t hear much whining about this sort of prosecutorial lenience from the usual sources because Ms. Dunn (400K plus a year) is a “social justice” worker running a noble “nonprofit” helping the “underserved.”

B.D.G.: her salary sure wasn’t docked for tax fraud

Incidentally, SEEDCO funnels taxpayer dollars to some Georgia nonprofits that also offer an incomplete or not very credible face to the public.  For example, recent tax filings by the Asian American Resource Foundation Inc in Suwanee do not list the names of board members.  Nor does the group’s website, though it boasts of “an 11-member Board of Directors, which is comprised of a diverse and committed group of African American, Asian and Caucasian men and women from the business and faith-based communities within greater Atlanta.”

Is this really a problem?  Yes, it is, because AARF receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal HUD grants and has done so over a number of years, during which time they continued filing those incomplete 990 tax forms.  Their tax forms state vaguely that the group “provides education to the unskilled with state grant and support shelter for homeless or the poor with federal HUD grant.”  This really smacks of dialing it in.  If AARF was some small, amateur nonprofit, I’d allow that filing mistakes were made.  But when it’s my money going into somebody’s pocket and they produce a tax return like that — well, if I hadn’t worked in the nonprofit service provision industry in Atlanta for years, I guess I’d be surprised by that kind of systematic non-compliance.

But I did.  So I’m not.

Other SEEDCO grant recipients in Georgia that fail to offer much information about how they’re spending our money include SPARC, the Single Parent Alliance and Resource Center (SPARC).  I couldn’t find a record of their 990s on the comprehensive GuideStar site.  Yet SPARCC boasts of involvement in VISTA/AmeriCorps, which is a federal program that provides select nonprofits with free (ie. taxpayer funded) full-time workers and more free (taxpayer funded) money for supervising those workers.

In other words, it is a program that gives free activists and boatloads of administrative money to left-wing nonprofit organizations, courtesy of the taxpayers.

SEEDCO gives grants to these agencies and many more like them — but the money they are giving away is taxpayer money.  In 2011, the taxpayers gave them $31 million, virtually their entire budget, and they played kingmaker with it, handing it out to left-wing groups that do various types of activism.  Much of their work is touted as “job readiness”, but the real business they’re in is coalition-building for political ends under the flag of “social justice” or “anti-poverty” or “family assistance.”  Such coalition building on our dime has been the major racket of the Left since the Clinton administration (actually longer, but the contemporary movement dates to then).

The worst thing is that, at some point, this became an uptown game, and everything else in the economy ceased to exist.  Once the health insurance companies and home mortgage banks jumped into bed with the feds (joining academia and big nonprofits in there), the result was unelected, unaccountable mega-coalitions like the ones below — chewing off larger and larger portions of government activities and control over tax dollars.  Big corporations love this scheme because they can pretend to be “socially responsible” while protecting their interests with elected officials, who also want to appear socially responsible while they reward their friends sitting on the same boards.  Foundations such as Annie E. Casey provide a charitable public face for the corporations that donate to them and for the politicians who give these silk-stocking “nonprofits” our money — and control over bigger and bigger parts of government.

Taxpayers aren’t just squeezed out: they are now demonized.

Here are some examples of “nonprofit” partnerships paid for by demonized taxpayers:

Or this:

Or this:

• AbellFoundation
• AltmanFoundation
• AnnieE.CaseyFoundation
• ArthurM.BlankFamilyFoundation
• BaltimoreCommunityFoundation
• TheCenterforWorkingFamilies,Inc.
• ClarkFoundation
• ColumbiaUniversity
• ConnecticutAssociationforHumanServices
• ConstellationEnergyFoundation
• ExxonMobil
• FordFoundation
• FoundationfortheCarolinas
• ICFInternational
• KresgeFoundation
• Mayor’sFundtoAdvanceNewYorkCity
• MDRC
• MemphisBioworksFoundation
• Michigan Association of United Ways
• MizuhoUSAFoundation
• NationalCommunityActionFoundation
• NeighborWorksAmerica
• NewYorkCommunityTrust
• PloughFoundation
• RepublicBank
• ResCare,Inc.
• RobinHoodFoundation
• SingleStopUSA
• StarrInternationalFoundation
• TheAaronandLillieStrausFoundation
• TennesseeCommunityServicesAgency
• TheAlvinandFannyB.ThalheimerFoundation • TrinityWallStreet
• TulsaCommunityActionProject
• United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta
• United Way of New York City
• UpperManhattanEmpowermentZone
• vanAmeringenFoundation
• WachoviaWellsFargoFoundation
• WalmartFoundation
• Harry&JeanetteWeinbergFoundation
• WorkForceEssentials

  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Georgia Department of Human Services
  • Louisville Metro Department of Community
  • Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Maryland Department of Human Resources
  • NewYorkCityCouncil
  • New York City Department of Housing
  • New York City Department of Small Business Services
  • NewYorkCityHumanResourcesAdministration
  • New York State Department of Health
  • New York State Department of Labor
  • New York State Office of Children and Family Services
  • New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
  • Tennessee Department of Human Services
  • U.S.CentersforMedicareandMedicaidServices
  • U.S.Congress
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • U.S.SmallBusinessAdministration

What are these lists?  The first block is corporate and government partners of The Center for Working Families, the Georgia branch of a national nonprofit that claims to help “working families” gain “independence” through all the usual pathways: green job training funded by government referendums, plus maximization of the welfare state through “application assistance for over 21 [programs] such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, TANF, Together RX, PeachCare for Kids and utility assistance” and “Referrals for comprehensive services including childcare, training, education and certifications, rental assistance and legal assistance.”

In other words, navigation.  They maximize public benefits for people.  We pay for it coming, and we pay for it going.  Doubtlessly they’re in on healthcare navigation too.

I’ve worked with many such nonprofits, and the only people getting anything other than more welfare benefits out of it are the people employed by the agency itself.  And there is real human tragedy behind this: CWF actually boasts on their website of having helped a whole 19 clients “create or expand” a full-time “microenterprise.”  That’s approximately two jobs invented for each massive corporate or government “partner.”  The “entrepreneur” page features a picture of a woman operating an ice cream truck, hardly stable employment, and the page notes that some of the businesses actually existed before CWF provided more resources.  And doubtlessly that’s the best they can do.

The rest of their work is the sort of government-mandated job preparation stuff we’re already paying for two, three, five, or ten times over through K – 12 education, community colleges, colleges, and public social service agencies.  Organizations like CWF are uniquely valuable to the Democratic party agenda, however, because they spread tax money around to high-powered activists in the community who “pay back” at election time.  And for the most part, the money and services go down a rat hole — something I also watched in Atlanta year after year after year when I worked in social service advocacy and “outreach.”

CWF’s annual budget?  2.9 million in 2011, the latest reporting year.

The second list, above, is the partnerships of the Asian American Resource Foundation, which, like CWF, also receives money from SEEDCO and also from the state and from HUD.

And the third list is SEEDCO’s own corporate and government partners and donors, none of whom, apparently, bothered to notice while SEEDCO screwed the taxpayers blind.

Like all ingrates, SEEDCO also fails to acknowledge their biggest donor: you.

Don’t expect an invitation to their next black-tie gala, either.

We are living in the age of Faux-lanthropy.  Faux-lanthropy is a polygamous marriage between big business, big nonprofits, and the big welfare state — a union of super-rich leftists, crony capitalists, dumb-yet-dangerous Marxist academicians, and the unproductive poor, all united against the dwindling middle.  To understand the way this works in detail, read my report on faux-lanthropists and the Recovery Act at America’s Survival — Obama Stimulus Dollars Funded Soros Empire.  In short: the super-rich partner with government social welfare advocates and their academic poodles to create poverty programs and services that are then paid for by ordinary taxpayers, who are endlessly demonized.

The ugliest, most cynical examples of faux-lanthropy are spawned in the financial services industry, where billionaires who cashed in on the mortgage bubble then got bailed out by the taxpayers now play in the platinum sandbox of New York City.  The Big Apple effectively exterminated its last middle class resident around the time Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went belly up, so there’s nobody to harsh the vibe as former investment bankers play Lady Bountiful to gang-bangers on our dime while sending their own kids off to tony private schools in Millbrook.

But this sort of behavior happens in Georgia, too.  SEEDCO is an example of faux-lanthropy, but so is Georgia Watch, despite the good people on their board and the good deeds they tout on their website.  They are just as bound up in promoting the interests of certain crony capitalists as their less ethical peers.  If anything, the fact that they have reputable leaders makes it worse.

Such is the seduction of “doing good.”

You simply can’t claim to be “advocating for consumers” when your board is loaded with big businessmen engaging in political partisanship on an issue that affects millions of consumers negatively and enhances your board members’ bottom lines positively.  That flies in the face of Georgia Watch’s entire mission, and I’m astonished that they don’t see that and — at the barest minimum — include disclaimers on their website about their board members’ fiscal interests.

You also can’t claim to be objectively evaluating the effects of the new healthcare exchanges when you’re taking money from a corrupt entity like SEEDCO to promote the new healthcare exchanges.  I reached out to Georgia Watch last week and asked them to disclose the money they are receiving from SEEDCO (cough, the taxpayers) on their website, and Elena Parent, their Executive Director, wrote the following back to me:

We are going to be completely overhauling our website soon. Right now posting things on it isn’t easy. I’m happy to tell you we are funded for 1/4 of a navigator which is $15,000 all in (salary, travel, equipment, benefits) through the SeedCo consortium.

You see, it’s really hard to change a website.  I wonder if Georgia Watch accepts that excuse from the big industrialists who don’t sit on their board.  And yes, Ms. Parent, that is an awfully teensy-weensy grant from SEEDCO, but you don’t really need the money and you are prominently listed on their homepage as their Georgia partner, thus granting your (state) political credibility to them and their (federal) government influence to you, which is the real point of such partnerships.

There’s more than one type of currency in lobbying . . . and other political acts.

One of the awful things that happens in nonprofit advocacy is that people start to believe their own hype.  There’s nothing nonprofit about the nonprofit world: 99% of it is just political lobbying for this or that client group and this or that special interest.  The salaries are outrageous and the graft is greater than anything private industry has managed to accomplish since the Gilded Age.

That’s why all sorts of big businesses do more and more of their business and political work — and lobbying — through 501-c3s, foundations, and coalitions, right and left.

Georgia Watch’s board of directors:

  • Natalie Allen, International Anchor, CNN
  • Phil Baldwin, CEO, CredAbility
  • Raymond P. Carpenter, Carpenter & Associates, LLC, Chairman, Georgia Watch Board of Directors
  • Beth Cayce, Founder & CEO, CaraVita Home Care
  • Dennis Creech, Executive Director, Southface Energy Institute
  • Leonce Crump, Pastor, Renovation Church
  • John Dalton, MD, Orthopedic surgeon, Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow
  • Kathy Floyd, Advocacy Director, AARP of Georgia
  • Clark Howard, Nationally Syndicated Host, The Clark Howard Show
  • Jimmy Hurt, Attorney, Hurt Stolz
  • Allie Kelly, Sr. Vice President, Georgia Conservancy
  • Danny Orrock, Counsel, Crawford Communications
  • Charlie Tanksley, Founding Partner, The Barnes Law Group, LLC
  • Martha Wilber, MD, Associate Medical Director, Kaiser Permanente

So Georgia Watch is a big cheerleader for Obamacare.  Why is this a problem?  Well, for one thing, they have Kaiser Permanente on their board, and if that doesn’t scream “conflict of interest,” I don’t know if those words mean anything at all.  Now, it’s fine to have Kaiser (and the AARP) on your board, but don’t then pretend you don’t have skin in the game.

These “champions of Georgia consumers” have also been silent on Obamacare’s negative effects on consumers.

When Georgia Watch goes after Georgia Power or some of the other industries they monitor, they apply a very different set of standards than the ones they practice themselves.  I have no particular love for Georgia Power or any other company that engages in crony capitalism while monopolizing a service I must purchase, but I also see no difference between Georgia Power profiting from their government monopoly in energy and Kaiser Permanente profiting from their new government monopoly in healthcare (yes, it’s essentially a single-payer monopoly they divvy up with other big healthcare insurers — all the worst aspects of our old system and the worst aspects of socialized medicine, rolled up into one).

The hypocrisy is galling.  Here, for example, is what Georgia Watch says is wrong about Georgia Power’s new nuclear plant — the one they are fighting in the courts “on behalf of consumers”:

In a series of cases before the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to monitor the cost of constructing two new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle, Georgia Watch is working to protect consumers. A legal dispute between Georgia Power and its Plant Vogtle contractors over cost overruns from project design issues and schedule delays could end up costing Georgia Power ratepayers $400 million or more! In a brief filed at the Commission on August 3, 2012, Georgia Watch once again called on Commissioners to approve a risk sharing mechanism as a means of protecting ratepayers. Currently, the entire cost of overruns is unfairly borne by ratepayers alone.

This is Georgia Watch’s battle cry: consumers are being soaked; prices are too high; Georgia Power is forcing the public to shoulder its expenses and overruns; it’s unfair.

And here is what Georgia Watch says about Obamacare’s overruns (such as: the $600 million website fiasco; forcing some consumers to shoulder costs before others; duplicative spending on dubious navigators; the horrible lies about “keeping your plan,” and most importantly, the lies about saving money, while middle-class people like me get throttled with 200 – 300% price increases):

They say . . . nothing.

Actually, it’s worse than that: they’re behaving as if none of these things are happening to consumers.  They’re running cover for their own board members while pretending to be a consumer advocacy organization.  Isn’t it funny how many millions of words have been spilled over the alleged astro-turfing of the Tea Party by the Koch brothers, while huge crony industries on the Left escape similar scrutiny when they really astroturf issues — carrying water for the government, and even using our tax dollars to do it?

Unfortunately, as with the probable outcome of James O’Keefe’s latest exposé, nothing much changes when the system is jerry-rigged to maximize dependency on the government.  That’s what navigators for the new healthcare law — and many other programs — are really doing.  So to expect something different from them is sort of like trying to turn a sow’s ear back into a pig.  It’s just as impossible as all the other things you try to do with the darn thing.

 

 

 

Join Me and Mary Grabar Nov. 3 for a NAS-Sponsored Lecture: Weather Underground in the Ivy Tower

 

You Are Invited!

Weather Underground in the Ivory Tower:

Transforming Education from Kindergarten to College

A lecture by Mary Grabar and Tina Trent

Free and Open to the Public

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 2:00 p.m. — Refreshments Follow Lecture

The Solarium, 321 W. Hill Street, Decatur, GA 30030 (Oakhurst Neighborhood)

Since emerging from hiding in the 1980’s, former Weather Underground and Black Panther terrorists who once bombed police stations and robbed banks now use college and university campuses to advance their radical politics.   Mary Grabar and Tina Trent, both Ph.D.’s and former college instructors, will speak about the toxic influence of “tenured radicals” on higher education.

Mary Grabar will tell the story of how Weatherman Bill Ayers’ vision of education as classroom-based “revolution” has become the dominant teaching philosophy in schools of education, including Common Core.

 Tina Trent will discuss how the embrace of radical politics by women’s studies departments has led to a campus-based feminist movement that is increasingly anti-law enforcement and actually opposed to efforts to address violent crimes against women through traditional legal channels.

This lecture is made possible through the generosity of the Devereaux F. and Dorothy M. McClatchey Foundation and sponsored by the Georgia Chapter of the National Association of Scholars.

 All are welcome for an afternoon of stimulating discussion.  Drinks and refreshments will be served.  Free parking is available in the parking lot and on the street.  Handicapped accessible.  For additional information, contact tinatrent1@gmail.com.

Timothy Alan Oates: Florida Under Gov. Bob Graham Let Another Child Rapist Free To Rape Again, Thank God for Registries

. . . The bad old days.  This is Timothy Allen Oates:

In 1987, according to the Tampa Bay Times, he was sentenced to “27 years for ransom, attempted sexual battery on an adult and indecent assault on a child younger than 16.”  Actually it looks like it was ten years.

In any case, he was not supposed to be out of prison until 1997.  Or maybe 2014.  But he only served four years.  He got out in 1991, and guess what he did next?  He went back to prison for additional charges (and some of what may be the same charges).  In 1993, he was sentenced to 27 years and served ten years and nine months.  He got out a second time in 2004.

And then guess what he did next?  We don’t know the whole story, but last month he allegedly molested at least one child younger than 12 and took off for Washington State.

So why was he released in 1991, just a few years after being sentenced for multiple, violent sex crimes?  Why did he receive a sentence of 27 years in 1993 and get out a little more than ten years later?

In order to understand this case, you have to do a bit of digging.  Here is his record with the Department of Corrections.  This first block is the sentencing from 1987.  The second block is the sentencing from 1993.  The third block is the time he actually served in prison.  Look at the dates of the offenses — the 2/1/87 and 9/2/87 offenses appear in both sentencings.  The 5/18/86 charge was only part of the 1987 court decision, while a new 3/1/92 charge appears in 1993.  So my guess is that he was released VERY early for the first set of charges, then re-offended the minute he got out, then was re-sentenced on some crimes and given additional time for the new charges.

There are some other things to understand: he was 23 when he was first sentenced for this set of crimes.  So we don’t know if he had a juvenile record.  He was given a serious second chance, then he went right back into prison.  He got a third chance after his sentence was cut by more than 60%.  Now he’s been caught again.

This is what crime control was like in the 1980’s.  Things got better in the 1990’s, but not enough.  What does it take to put away a child rapist?  I’ll get back to you when we figure that out.

Thank God for sex crime registries.  Without registration, this guy would still be on the loose.  If only the media would mention that once in a while.

Prior Prison History: (Note: Data reflected covers periods of incarceration with the Florida Dept.of Corrections since January of 1983)
Offense Date Offense Sentence Date County Case No. Prison Sentence Length
05/18/1986 L/L, INDEC.ASLT CHILD U/16 09/29/1987 HILLSBOROUGH 8607334 10Y 0M 0D
05/18/1986 KIDNAP MINOR FOR RANSOM(ATTEMPTED) 09/29/1987 HILLSBOROUGH 8607334 10Y 0M 0D
09/02/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 09/29/1987 HILLSBOROUGH 8711422 10Y 0M 0D
02/01/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 09/29/1987 HILLSBOROUGH 8711423 10Y 0M 0D

Current Prison Sentence History:

Offense Date Offense Sentence Date County Case No. Prison Sentence Length
09/02/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 03/11/1993 HILLSBOROUGH 8711422 27Y 0M 0D
02/01/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 03/11/1993 HILLSBOROUGH 8711423 27Y 0M 0D
02/01/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 03/11/1993 HILLSBOROUGH 8711423 27Y 0M 0D
03/01/1992 KIDNAP;COMM.OR FAC.FELONY 12/09/1993 PINELLAS 9206504 27Y 0M 0D
03/01/1992 L/L, INDEC.ASLT CHILD U/16 12/09/1993 PINELLAS 9206504 15Y 0M 0D

 

Incarceration History:
Date In-Custody Date Out-of-Custody
10/02/1987 11/27/1991
04/08/1993 01/01/2004