|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 28, 2018 at 9:25 AM||comments (0)|
The illusion of "Choice" is not "CHOICE". By JJP
The Corporate Plan to Groom U.S. Kids for Servitude by Wiping Out Public Schools
It was the strike heard ‘round the country.
West Virginia’s public school teachers had endured years of low pay, inadequate insurance, giant class sizes, and increasingly unlivable conditions—including attempts to force them to record private details of their health daily on a wellness app. Their governor, billionaire coal baron Jim Justice, pledged to allow them no more than an annual 1% raise—effectively a pay cut considering inflation—in a state where teacher salaries ranked 48th lowest out of 50 states. In February 2018, they finally revolted: In a tense, four-day work stoppage, they managed to wrest a 5% pay increase from the state. Teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky have now revolted in similar protests.
It’s the latest battle in a contest between two countervailing forces: one bent on reengineering America for the benefit of the wealthy, the other struggling to preserve dignity and security for ordinary people.
If the story turns out the way the Jim Justices desire, the children of a first-world country will henceforth be groomed for a third-world life.
Gordon Lafer, Associate Professor at the Labor Education and Research Center at the University of Oregon, and Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, help illuminate why this is happening, who is behind it, and what’s at stake as the educational system that once united Americans and prepared them for a life of social and economic mobility is wiped out of existence.
The Plan: Lower People’s Expectations
When Lafer began to study the tsunami of corporate-backed legislation that swept the country in early 2011 in the wake of Citizens United—the 2010 Supreme Court decision that gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited sums to influence the political system—he wasn’t yet clear what was happening. In state after state, a pattern was emerging of highly coordinated campaigns to smash unions, shrink taxes for the wealthy, and cut public services. Headlines blamed globalization and technology for the squeeze on the majority of the population, but Lafer began to see something far more deliberate working behind the scenes: a hidden force that was well-funded, laser-focused, and astonishingly effective.
Lafer pored over the activities of business lobbying groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – funded by giant corporations including Walmart, Amazon.com, and Bank of America—that produces “model legislation” in areas its conservative members use to promote privatization. He studied the Koch network, a constellation of groups affiliated with billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. (Koch Industries is the country’s second-largest private company with business including crude oil supply and refining and chemical production). Again and again, he found that corporate-backed lobbyists were able to subvert the clear preferences of the public and their elected representatives in both parties. Of all the areas these lobbyists were able to influence, the policy campaign that netted the most laws passed, featured the most big players, and boasted the most effective organizations was public education. For these U.S. corporations, undermining the public school system was the Holy Grail.
After five years of research and the publication of The One Percent Solution, Lafer concluded that by lobbying to make changes like increasing class sizes, pushing for online instruction, lowering accreditation requirements for teachers, replacing public schools with privately-run charters, getting rid of publicly elected school boards and a host of other tactics, Big Business was aiming to dismantle public education.
The grand plan was even more ambitious. These titans of business wished to completely change the way Americans and their children viewed their life potential. Transforming education was the key.
The lobbyists and associations perfected cover stories to keep the public from knowing their real objectives. Step one was to raise fears about an American educational crisis that did not, in fact, exist. Lafer notes, for example, that the reading and math scores of American students have remained largely unchanged for forty years. Nonetheless, the corporate-backed alarmists worked to convince the public that the school system was in dire condition.
Step two was to claim that unproven reforms to fix the fictional crisis, like online learning, were sure to improve outcomes, despite the fact that such schemes go directly against hard evidence for what works in education and deny students the socialization that is crucial to a child’s progress. Sometimes the reformers said the changes were needed because of budget deficits; other times, they claimed altruistic aims to improve the quality schools.
In Lafer’s view, their strategy had little to do with either.
The Motivation: Keep the Masses Down as Inequality Rises
It’s one thing for big businesses to be anti-worker and anti-union, but also anti-student? Why would business lobbies deliberately strive to create what amounts to widespread education failure?
It’s not hard to see how certain sectors in the corporate world, like the producers of online learning platforms and content, could cash in. But it’s harder to fathom why corporate leaders who don’t stand to make money directly would devote so much time and attention to making sure, for example, that no public high school student in the state of Florida could take home a diploma without taking an online course. (Yes, that’s now law in the Sunshine State).
It’s about more than short-term cash. While Lafer acknowledges that there are legitimate debates among people with different ideological positions or pedagogical views, he thinks big corporations are actually more worried about something far more pragmatic: how to protect themselves from the masses as they engineer rising economic inequality.
“One of the ways I think that they try to avoid a populist backlash is by lowering everybody’s expectations of what we have a right to demand as citizens,” says Lafer. “When you think about what Americans think we have a right to, just by living here, it’s really pretty little. Most people don’t think you have a right to healthcare or a house. You don’t necessarily have a right to food and water. But people think you have a right to have your kids get a decent education.”
Not for long, if Big Business has its way. In President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, they have dedicated partners in redirecting public resources to unregulated, privately owned and operated schools. Such privatization plans, many critics say, will reinforce and amplify America’s economic inequality.
U.S. public schools, which became widespread in the 1800s, were promoted with the idea that putting students from families of different income levels together—though not black Americans and other racial minorities until the 1950s—would instill a common sense of citizenship and national identity. But today, large corporations are scoring huge successes in replacing this system with a two-tiered model and a whole new notion of identity.
Lafer explains that in the new system, the children of the wealthy will be taught a broad, rich curriculum in small classes led by experienced teachers. The kind of thing everybody wants for kids. But the majority of America’s children will be consigned to a narrow curriculum delivered in large classes by inexperienced staff —or through digital platforms with no teachers at all.
Most kids will be trained for a life that is more circumscribed, less vibrant, and, quite literally, shorter, than what past generations have known. (Research shows that the lifespan gap between haves and have-nots is large and rapidly growing). They will be groomed for insecure service jobs that dull their minds and depress their spirits. In the words of Noam Chomsky, who recently spoke about education to the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), “students will be controlled and disciplined.” Most will go to school without developing their creativity or experiencing doing things on their own.
The New Reality: Two Americas, Not One
Economist Peter Temin, former head of MIT’s economics department and INET grantee, has written a book, The Vanishing Middle Class, which explains how conditions in America are becoming more like a third-world country for the bulk of its people. He agrees with Lafer that the corporate-driven war on public schools is not just about money, but also about a vision of society.
People like Betsy DeVos, he says, are following the thinking of earlier ideologues like James Buchanan, the Tennessee-born, Nobel Prize–winning economist who promoted current antigovernment politics in the 1970s. The “shut-the-government-down” obsession is really an extreme form of libertarianism, he says, if not anarchism.
Temin also agrees that shrinking the horizons of America’s kids makes sense to people who follow this philosophy. “They want to exploit the lower members of the economy, and reducing their expectations makes them easier to manipulate,” says Temin. “When they aren’t able to go to college and get decent jobs, they become more susceptible to things like racist ideology.”
In other words, dismantling the public schools is all about control.
Buchanan was an early proponent of school privatization, and while he echoed the fears and frustration many Americans felt concerning desegregation, he typically made a non-race-based case for preserving Jim Crow in a new form. He argued that the federal government should not be telling people what to do about schooling and suggested that citizens were being stripped of their freedom. But as Sam Tanenhaus points out in TheAtlantic, issues of race always lurked in the background of calls for educational freedom and “choice.” In a paper he co-authored, Buchanan stated, “every individual should be free to associate with persons of his own choosing.” Segregationists knew what that meant.
Policies that end up reducing educational opportunities for those who lack resources creates inequality, and economic inequality reduces support for public schools among the wealthy. It’s vicious feedback loop.
In his book, Temin describes a process that happens in countries that divide into “dual economies,” a concept first outlined by West Indian economist W. Arthur Lewis, the only person of African descent to win a Nobel Prize in economics. Lewis studied developing countries where the rural population tends to serve as a reservoir of cheap labor for people in cities — a situation the top tier works very hard to maintain. Temin noticed that the Lewis model now fits the pattern emerging in the richest country in the world.
America, according to Temin, is clearly breaking down into two sectors: Roughly 20% of the population are members of what he calls the “FTE sector” (i.e., the finance, technology, and electronics sectors). These lucky people get college educations, land good jobs, enjoy social networks that enhance their success, and generally have access to enough money to meet most of life’s challenges. The remaining 80% live in a world nothing like this; they live in different geographies and have different legal statuses, healthcare systems, and schools. This is the low-wage sector, where life is getting harder.
People in the low-wage sector carry debt. They worry about insecure jobs and unemployment. They get sick more often and die younger than previous generations had. If they are able go to college, they end up in debt. “While members of the first sector act,” Temin has said, “these people are acted upon.”
Temin traces the emergence of the U.S. dual economy to the 1970s and 80s, when civil rights advances were making a lot of Americans uneasy. People who had long been opposed to the New Deal began to find new ways to advance their agenda. The Nixon administration gave momentum to anti-government, free-market fundamentalist ideologies, which gained even more support under Reagan. Gradually, as free-market programs became policy, the rich began to get richer and economic inequality began to rise. Economist Paul Krugman has called this phenomenon the “Great Divergence.”
But it was still possible to move from the lower sector to the affluent sector. The path was tough, and much harder for women and people of color. Yet it existed. Through education and a bit of luck, you could develop the skills and acquire the social capital that could propel you out of the circumstances you were born into.
The dismantling of public education, as Temin sees it, will shut off that route for vastly more people. Like the privatization of prisons, which has increased incarceration rates and cut the mobility path off for more Americans, putting schools into private hands will land even more on the road to nowhere. Even those who were born into the middle class will increasingly get pushed back.
The Future: Mobilization or Bloodshed?
Temin relates that in human history, unitary economies are more the exception than the rule.
In the U.S., there was the Jim Crow era, the Gilded Age, and before that, slavery, which was an extreme form of dual economy. But from the end of WWII through the 1960s, the country began to develop a unitary economy. The idea that everybody should have opportunities became more and more widespread. But there was a backlash, and America still dealing with it.
In the Lewis model of the dual economy, there is still path to the upper sector, but Temin warns that America may be on the way to going one step further. “If you really prevent people from moving up, you get something that looks like Russia or Argentina,” he says. In these two-tiered societies, life is difficult for most people. Life expectancies for all but the affluent go down.
Unfortunately, once you’ve developed a dual economy, getting out of it isn’t pretty. Temin notes that it often happens through devastating wars. “Sometimes the kings who are all cousins turn on each other,” he says. “Other times, the leaders sleepwalk into the war as Trump could possibly do with North Korea.”
Such upheavals create instability that sometimes opens up the possibility of restructuring society for the benefit of more people. But it’s a painful, bloody process. Political mobilization can work, but it’s very hard to get various groups who are dissatisfied to join forces.
Lafer points out that we don’t yet know how this story is going to turn out. “Politics remains forever contingent, never settled,” he says. “The struggle between public interest and private power will continue to play out in cities and states across the country; even with the heightened influence of money in the era of Citizens United, the power of popular conviction should not be underestimated.”
The teachers in West Virginia and now other states across the country have turned the anger fueled by the corporate vision of the future in a positive direction. They are fighting back, peacefully, and winning something—not just money, but a sense of dignity suited to the job of preparing the country’s kids for life. It remains to be seen if the rights of the many can triumph over the selfishness of the few, and whether economic servitude will be the fate of the children of the wealthiest nation the world has ever seen.
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 24, 2018 at 10:30 AM||comments (0)|
45 years later America's plan to recaputure freed slaves/black men has come full circle! Problem/Reaction/Solution.. Gangster. By JJP
Nixon official: real reason for the drug war was to criminalize black people and hippies
The war on drugs: Is it a genuine public health crusade or an attempt to carry out what author Michelle Alexander characterizes as "the New Jim Crow"?
A new report by Dan Baum for Harper's Magazine suggests the latter. Specifically, Baum refers to a quote from John Ehrlichman, who served as domestic policy chief for President Richard Nixon when the administration declared its war on drugs in 1971. According to Baum, Ehrlichman said in 1994 that the drug war was a ploy to undermine Nixon's political opposition — meaning, black people and critics of the Vietnam War:
At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. "You want to know what this was really all about?" he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."
This is an incredibly blunt, shocking response — one with troubling implications for the 45-year-old war on drugs.
It's possible Ehrlichman wasn't being honest, given that he reportedly felt bitter and betrayed by Nixon after he spent time in prison over the Watergate scandal. Nixon also very much despised drugs, which likely played a role in his policies beyond political goals. And his drug czar, Jerome Jaffe, strongly pushed for treating drugs as a health issue, not solely a criminal matter as Ehrlichman suggested.
But the claim of racial prejudice is not implausible. Although black Americans aren't more likely to use or sell drugs, they're much more likely to be arrested for them. And when black people are convicted of drug charges, they generally face longer prison sentences for the same crimes, according to a 2012 report from the US Sentencing Commission.
Ehrlichman claimed this was a goal of the drug war, not an unintended consequence. And Baum cites this as one of many reasons to end the drug war once and for all.
Ending the war on drugs doesn't have to be a binary choice between prohibition and legalization
Baum's argument: Drug prohibition began with poor intentions, it has contributed to terrible consequences (racial disparities in the justice system and drug-fueled violence around the world), and it has failed to significantly curtail drug abuse and trafficking. So we should try a new approach — and legalize and regulate drugs.
But in doing this, Baum glosses over a few options. Even if it's true that the drug war was launched on faulty reasons, that doesn't mean it hasn't led to some benefits. And even if those benefits aren't worth the costs of the current model of prohibition, there are alternatives to pulling back drug prohibition besides legalization.
As I've written before, the drug war does likely prevent some drug use: One study by Jon Caulkins, a drug policy expert at Carnegie Mellon University, suggested that prohibition multiplies the price of hard drugs like cocaine by as much as 10 times. And illicit drugs obviously aren't available through easy means — one can't just walk into a CVS and buy heroin. So the drug war is likely stopping some drug use: Caulkins estimates that legalization could lead hard drug abuse to triple, although he told me it could go much higher.
THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES TO PULLING BACK DRUG PROHIBITION BESIDES LEGALIZATION
America's latest drug epidemic provides some evidence for Caulkins's claims. In the past couple decades, doctors loosened access to very addictive and potentially deadly opioid painkillers. Painkiller abuse exploded, leading not just to more overdose deaths but to people trying other opioids, such as heroin, and overdosing on those as well. So more access led to more abuse and deaths.
Does this mean the war on drugs, as it's currently fought, is worth it? Not necessarily. It's a matter of weighing the pros and cons of the current model of drug prohibition.
So maybe the drug war reduces drug use. But it also enables and reinforces the justice system's biases against minority Americans. And it perpetuates a black market for drugs that fuels violence in the US and around the world, particularly in Mexico.
But there are options to draw down the war on drugs without legalization. The US could decriminalize — remove jail time and other criminal penalties for personal possession but not sales — and emphasize prevention and treatment, as Portugal has done. It could allow supervised injection sites for heroin users to provide a safe place to use the drug, as Canada, Switzerland, and several others have done. It could allow for the medical use of some drugs, such as psychedelics, as some researchers have pushed for. These are steps countries and states could take without legalizing drugs.
Baum does, however, acknowledge that even if a country does legalize, there are various ways to do it. Governments could spend much, much more on prevention and treatment programs alongside legalization to deal with a potential wave of new drug users. They could require and regulate licenses to buy drugs, as some states do with guns. Or they could ban private, for-profit sales of drugs, limiting greedy companies' abilities to market and sell the drugs no matter the consequence (as tobacco companies have done to get Americans hooked on cigarettes — to still very deadly effects).
None of these policies would wholly eliminate drug abuse, drug deaths, or drug-related violence and crime. But drug policy is often about picking the best out of the available bad options, rather than picking the perfect solution.
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 24, 2018 at 9:50 AM||comments (0)|
Its sad that Black America will not wake up and realize America was and will always suffer from systemic White Supremacy. The writing is on the wall, did anyone go to jail for these financial crimes? No By JJP
‘This can’t happen by accident.’
For generations, African Americans have faced unique barriers to owning a home — and enjoying the wealth it brings. In Atlanta, where predominantly black neighborhoods are still waiting for the recovery, the link between race and real estate fortune is stark.
SOUTH DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — When the new subdivisions were rising everywhere here in the 1990s and early 2000s, with hundreds and hundreds of fine homes on one-acre lots carved out of the Georgia forest, the price divide between this part of DeKalb County and the northern part wasn’t so vast.
Now, a house that looks otherwise identical in South DeKalb, on the edge of Atlanta, might sell for half what it would in North DeKalb. The difference has widened over the years of the housing boom, bust and recovery, and Wayne Early can’t explain it.
The people here make good money, he says. They have good jobs. Their homes are built of the same sturdy brick. Early, an economic development consultant and real estate agent, can identify only one obvious difference that makes property here worth so much less.
“This can’t happen by accident,” he says. “It’s too tightly correlated with race for it to be based on something else.”
The communities in South DeKalb are almost entirely African American, and they reflect a housing disparity that emerges across the Atlanta metropolitan area and the nation. According to a new Washington Post analysis, the higher a Zip code’s share of black residents in the Atlanta region, the worse its housing values have fared over the past turbulent housing cycle.
Predominantly black neighborhoods have been left out of the recovery across Atlanta
In the Atlanta region, the racial makeup of a Zip code predicts how well home values have fared there. Values are down in almost all Zips where the population is at least 40 percent African American. The difference is especially stark in DeKalb County.
Zip codes in areas with a low black population increased in value.
Increase in home values
CHANGE IN HOME VALUES,
2004 TO 2015
Decrease in home values
Other metro Atlanta Zip codes
Zip codes in areas with a high black population decreased in value.
Sources: Black Knight Financial Services, Census Bureau, ESRI
Nationwide, home values in predominantly African American neighborhoods have been the least likely to recover, according to the analysis of home data from Black Knight Financial Services. Across the 300 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, homes in 4 out of 10 Zip codes where blacks are the largest population group are worth less than they were in 2004. That’s twice the rate for mostly white Zip codes across the country. Across metropolitan Atlanta, nearly 9 in 10 largely black Zip codes still have home values below that point 12 years ago.
And in South DeKalb, the collapse has been even worse. In some Zip codes, home values are still 25 percent below what they were then. Families here, who’ve lost their wealth and had their life plans scrambled, see neighborhoods in the very same county — mostly white neighborhoods — thriving.
“I don’t think it’s anything local residents did that caused that to happen,” Early says. “I think it’s all outside forces that did this.”
The region reflects the complex ways that housing and race have long been intertwined in America. Across the country, blacks are less likely to own homes; those who did were more likely during the housing bust to slip underwater; and as a result, a larger share of black wealth has been destroyed in the years since then
CHANGE IN HOME VALUE SINCE 2004
DOWN 20% 30294
Homes in Zip code 30294 in Ellenwood, Ga., are worth $32,252 less than in 2004. This is in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga. metro area.
These disparities, though, are not simply about income, about higher poverty levels among blacks, or lower-quality homes where they live, according to economists who have studied the region. The disparities exist in places, like neighborhoods in South DeKalb County, where black families make six-figure incomes.
In the middle- and upper-class subdivisions where Early was driving one winter day, there’s little visible blight. But there also isn’t a for-sale sign in sight. People who would like to sell well-kept homes don’t believe they’ll be able to, which, in a market struggling to recover, means that other people won’t be able to sell, either.
Touring the neighborhood, Early pulls into Southland, a subdivision popular with black professionals before the bust, and parks in front of a five-
bedroom home in whitewashed brick that backs onto a golf course. In 2005, it sold for $440,900. Most recently, last June, it sold for $290,000.
He pulls up to another home — $70,000 in wealth lost. And another — $100,000 just vanished.
He parks in the driveway of a spacious red-brick home with blue shutters and two maple trees out front. David Sands and his family paid $269,000 for it in 2005. The last time he tried to refinance it, he was told it was worth $189,000.
“It just does not make sense,” says Sands, a retired Air Force information manager with two grown children, sitting in his living room with Early. The two men co-chair a housing committee for the local community improvement association that is researching what’s wrong with housing values. “You’ve got doctors, lawyers, teachers, all kinds of professional people, retired military like myself, who’ve done everything right — everything right — and it never seems to work out in our favor,” Sands says. “We’re not talking about people who got fraudulent loans, who didn’t have jobs to pay for them.”
There’s something fundamentally unfair about that, he and Early believe, about all the African Americans here who got the education, to get the job, to buy the home, to create the wealth, to sustain their families — only to fall behind anyway.
“Some people are going to have issues,” Sands says. They miss the good interest rates, or have the misfortune of living near a foreclosured home, or they bear the brunt of a change in lending policy. Of his black neighbors, Sands says: “We are always ‘some people.’ ”
‘The facts are clear’
ELLENWOOD, GA - FEBRUARY 18: A subdivision that was never developed is photographed on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2016. Shot for a story about what many call unfair housing appraisals in the area. (Photo by Kevin D. Liles/For the Washington Post)
A brick entrance wall marks the border of an Ellenwood, Ga., subdivision that was never built. A Washington Post analysis found that the higher a Zip code’s share of black residents in the Atlanta region, the worse its housing values have fared over the past turbulent housing cycle. (Kevin D. Liles for The Washington Post)
In the catalogue of ways African Americans have been hurt by the housing market, going back through history, Early says this feels like the newest affront: While home values are rising elsewhere in the recovery, something appears to be holding them back here.
“We can all guess exactly why it’s race, and we can have theories, but the facts are clear,” says John O’Callaghan, president of the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership. “Values in South Metro Atlanta, particularly in African American neighborhoods, are coming back very, very slowly. And it’s going to be a long time before we get these neighborhoods back to where they were.”
The explanation isn’t simply about race itself — a house isn’t worth less because a black family owns it — but also about all the inequities that have been correlated with race over time. Black homeowners and predominantly black communities who had been barred from earlier generations of lending — victims of discrimination and government policy — were particularly likely to be targeted for predatory loans during the bubble, according to both academic research and federal lawsuits that the Justice Department brought against banks.
About the series
A bubble sent home values soaring in many U.S. cities. Their crash pulled the country into recession. After an uneven recovery, what kinds of neighborhoods are better off, or worse?
These stories map the winners and losers of this tumultuous era.
Even well-off African Americans, like the ones in some South DeKalb subdivisions, were more likely to be given subprime loans when they should have qualified for better ones. Nationwide, black families earning around $230,000 a year, according to research by sociologist Jacob Faber, were more likely at the height of the bubble in 2006 to be given a subprime loan than white families making about $32,000. The problem, Faber argued, wasn’t that professional blacks didn’t understand that they qualified for better loans; they were targeted for bad loans. Subprime lenders viewed them, Faber argued, as particularly profitable targets.
Longtime homeowners in South DeKalb say they are now being punished for their Zip codes. All these recent problems — the predatory lending, the foreclosures, the abandoned development — occurred around them. And that past still tugs at their property values, no matter how much work they do to maintain their homes.
The Stonecrest shopping mall that was supposed to galvanize development in South DeKalb was never completed. The Southland subdivision was a hot spot for mortgage fraud by house flippers who bought cheap foreclosed properties and then sold them at inflated prices to straw buyers, pocketing the difference and leaving the homes to fall into foreclosure again.
In Atlanta and its suburbs, along with dozens of other cities, the National Fair Housing Alliance has also documented that banks have done a poorer job maintaining foreclosed properties in largely minority communities than in white ones.
Dan Immergluck, a professor at Georgia Tech, suggests that the area’s problems are a result of “cumulative causation” — all of these forces building upon each other. Controlling for poverty rates and the age and type of housing, his research shows Atlanta area Zip codes with larger black populations were more likely to suffer a steep decline in home values and experience little recovery
A racial divide in DeKalb County’s housing recovery
Home values in largely African American neighborhoods of DeKalb County outside Atlanta still lag far behind where they were a dozen years ago. Home values in white neighborhoods have fared much better.
CHANGE IN HOME VALUES SINCE 2004
Sources: Black Knight Financial Services, Census Bureau, ESRI
In neighborhoods such as these in South DeKalb, a struggling housing market takes on a life of its own: As home values fall, so do property tax dollars that fund schools and public services. As the quality of those services declines, a community becomes less desirable, further yanking down property values.
Then it becomes impossible to sell. When most of the transactions in a housing market are distressed sales and investor purchases, there are few clean “comparable” sales homeowners can use to justify the value of their houses. Then homeowners who can’t sell don’t create the comps the next round of homeowners needs to sell. Predominantly black neighborhoods additionally struggle from a smaller pool of demand, because non-black home buyers are less likely to look for housing there.
What’s happening in these neighborhoods isn’t entirely explained by the size of the bubble they experienced or the severity of the bust. Elora Raymond, a PhD candidate working with Immergluck and a graduate research assistant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, has looked more closely at the relationship between race and negative equity, which occurs when homeowners owe more on their homes than they’re worth.
Throughout the South and in metropolitan Atlanta in particular, places with lingering negative equity are in predominantly black Zip codes, Raymond found. When she controlled for income levels and measures of housing quality, race still mattered. When she controlled for the severity of the earlier subprime and foreclosure crises, race still mattered. When she added controls for how far prices tumbled during the bust, she got the most surprising result: Race mattered even more.
Black neighborhoods nationwide have struggled the most
The racial disparities in Atlanta are a stark reflection of a national trend: Predominantly black Zip codes are twice as likely as white Zip codes to have lost home value between 2004 and 2016
In Zip codes where the largest share of the population is...
41% had a decrease
Note: Data is for Zip codes in the 300 largest metro areas.
Sources: Black Knight Financial Services, Census Bureau, ESRI
These neighborhoods aren’t struggling the most today, in other words, simply because they had the steepest price drops in the late 2000s. Comparable white neighborhoods that fell as far have still come back faster.
“That says, ‘Wow, we really need to look into the recovery,’ ” Raymond says. “This isn’t a story anymore about the crash. This is a story about what happened afterward, or what didn’t happen.”
The recovery, as Early believes, appears to be uniquely disadvantaging black communities, and in ways that aren’t true, according to Raymond’s data, for the region’s Hispanics.
“If the recovery is happening in a way that really widens the gap in black-white housing wealth, this is going to be a problem,” Raymond says. “This is going to be a problem for generations.”
‘I’ve waited long enough’
ELLENWOOD, GA - FEBRUARY 18: David Sands (left) and Wayne Early pose for a portrait inside Mr. Sands' home on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2016. The two are members of an organization that is fighting what they consider unfair housing appraisals in the area. (Photo by Kevin D. Liles/For the Washington Post)
David Sands, left, and Wayne Early co-chair a housing committee for the local community improvement association that is researching what’s wrong with housing values. “It just does not make sense,” says Sands of neighborhoods where home values are still falling. (Kevin D. Liles for The Washington Post)
Tracey Williams bought her home for the pond out back that reflects the neighbors’ lit windows at dusk. Her subdivision was once an old dairy farm, and the scene from her deck still feels quiet, as if she owns a small piece of the country. After she bought the home in 2002, her mother planted six small Leyland cypress shrubs along the side of the property. In the years it has taken the trees to grow taller than the house, Williams has gotten no closer to getting any equity out of it, since the house has lost value faster than she’s paid down the loan.
The modest three-bedroom home, about a 15-minute drive from where David Sands lives in South DeKalb, cost $154,000 in 2002. For 13 years, Williams, an instructional coach in the Atlanta public school system, has made every payment on it. Two years ago, she started adding an extra $100 each month toward the principal.
Last year, when she tried to refinance her loan at a lower interest rate, she was told the house was worth $89,000. And then she learned from her mother, who lives nearby, that Wayne Early was collecting appraisals and stories to document what looks to everyone like evidence of an unfair system.
On his list now: The grandmother who had to move back from Louisiana when the sale of her home fell through because the appraisal came in low. And the retired couple who gave up and moved to Panama because they were tired of fighting their low home value. And the family in Lavonia that can’t refinance. And the man who’s still living in the custom house he built in 2002, when he meant to stay just five years.
Williams’s story is this: Today she owes $114,000, a sum the bank said was too high relative to the appraised value to qualify for a refinancing.
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 10: A mural for Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)?in the Old Fourth Ward district is photographed on Thursday, March 10, 2016. Shot to be part of a double exposure project on housing story in Atlanta. (Photo by Kevin D. Liles/For the Washington Post)
ELLENWOOD, GA - FEBRUARY 18: Darryl Josey exercises in the River Vista Estates subdivision at dusk on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2016. Shot for a story about what many call unfair housing appraisals in the area. (Photo by Kevin D. Liles/For the Washington Post)
LEFT: A mural in Atlanta depicts Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). A hero of the civil rights movement, he represents a district where African American homeowners have not shared in the market’s recovery. RIGHT: Darryl Josey jogs in the River Vista Estates subdivision in Ellenwood, Ga., at dusk in February. During the subprime lending boom, high-earning blacks were more likely to pushed into such loans than whites making much less. (Kevin D. Liles for The Washington Post)
This is how plummeting values undermine even homeowners who aren’t trying to sell. Williams, 45, is financially cautious. When she moved in, she used rabbit ears on the TV because she didn’t want to pay for cable.
The aging refrigerator is the one that was in the house the day she bought it. Only recently did she buy herself a new couch. She has a credit score of 811.
But she’s barred from lowering her mortgage payments, as many other homeowners can — interest rates are about half what they were in 2002 — because the value of her home keeps slipping away. And so she’s paying for the disparities in the market twice: with the lost value of her home, and the higher cost she pays to own something that’s not worth much after all.
“You think the longer you stay in the home, the closer you are to paying it off, and the value goes up,” she says. “I had no idea I would be in the predicament I’m in. Because I’d never seen it happen.”
Like Early and Sands, she looks around and worries about a wider trend.
“I hate it, but it comes down to race,” Williams says.
Williams and her neighbors say it’s that reason — the housing market’s long history of racial bias — that makes it hard to do what homeowners usually do when times are tough: Wait.
“I think I’ve waited long enough,” Sands says. “We shouldn’t have to wait for anything. We’re doing everything we’re supposed to do. What are we waiting for?”
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 24, 2018 at 9:40 AM||comments (0)|
The Welfare/Tax Payer Money is never closed when it comes to the Military Industrial Complex. By JJP
Federal defense contractors find a new profitable business: Obamacare
Two years ago General Dynamics, one of the biggest federal contractors, reported a quarterly loss of $2 billion. An “eye-watering” result, one analyst called it.
Diminishing wars and plunging defense spending had slashed the weapons maker’s revenue and left some subsidiaries worth far less than it had paid for them. But the company was already pushing in a new direction.
Soon after Congress passed the landmark Affordable Care Act, the maker of submarines and tanks decided to expand its business related to health care. Its 2011 purchase of health-data firm Vangent instantly made it the largest contractor to Medicare and Medicaid, huge government health plans for seniors and the poor.
“They saw that their legacy defense market was going to be taking a hit,” said Sebastian Lagana, an analyst with Technology Business Research, a market research firm. “And they knew [the ACA] was going to inject funds into the health care market.”
They were right. In a way that is deeply changing Washington contracting, growth opportunities from the federal government have increasingly come not from war but from healing, an examination by Kaiser Health News and The Washington Post shows.
Politics are frozen. Budgets are tight. But business purchases by the Department of Health and Human Services have doubled to $21 billion annually in the last decade and are expected to continue rising.Politics are frozen. Budgets are tight. But business purchases by the Department of Health and Human Services have doubled to $21 billion annually in the last decade and are expected to continue rising.
HHS is now the No. 3 contracting agency, thanks to health-law spending combined with outlays for computer upgrades and Medicare’s drug program that grew during the administration of George W. Bush. HHS outranks NASA and the Department of Homeland Security in business deals and spends more than the departments of Justice, Transportation, Treasury and Agriculture combined, federal data show.
If health care is “the new oil,” as some investors hope, HHS is one of the richest fields — along with massive opportunities in health-related computer spending by the departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Treasury.
“The DOD market is very weak,” said Steve Kelman, a Harvard management professor and contracting specialist. “The two growth markets are cybersecurity and health care. So everybody’s trying to get into those.”
The new money is buying medical-record software, insurance websites, claims processing, data analysis, computer system overhauls, consumer education and consulting expertise to control costs and identify fraud.
True, it’s a fraction of the $200 billion-plus the Pentagon spent on planes, bombs and other purchases in fiscal 2014. But thanks largely to automatic cuts set in 2011, defense contracting has dipped by more than a third since 2008 despite continuing conflict in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Few expect that to happen to health contracting — even with limited budgets and Republicans opposed to the health law controlling both sides of Congress. Analysts expect the Ebola crisis to add billions more to an HHS budget that was already expected to grow.
“It’s going to be really hard to find more money,” said Stephen Fuller, an economist at George Mason University who follows federal spending closely. “But I would think HHS is in a position to sustain their funding levels and gain some as well where other agencies are going to find it more difficult just to keep what they have.”
This KHN story also ran in The Washington Post. It can be republished for free (details). logo washingtonpost110
HHS’ contracting budget is separate from the billions the agency pays in reimbursement to caregivers of Medicare patients; its grants to states for Medicaid; and its awards through the National Institutes of Health to clinical research institutions such as the Johns Hopkins University.
If health care is “the new oil,” as some investors hope, HHS is one of the richest fields — along with massive opportunities in health-related computer spending by the departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Treasury. Traditionally HHS vendors processed Medicare claims, made vaccines and managed information technology. HHS spending had already spiked in 2009, before the health law was passed, thanks to extraordinary purchases of H1N1 flu vaccines. But the ambitious ACA, intended to expand health coverage, overhaul payments and reengineer care —and with ample budgets to attempt all three — changed the game.
“Just because of the Affordable Care Act our health care business has probably doubled in the last five years,” said Nelson Ford, CEO of LMI Government Consulting, which helps HHS analyze and regulate the new, private insurance plans sold under the law.
The law effectively created major companies from scratch as well as growing new divisions at established businesses.
“It just occurred to me: If this bill does become law it will be a level playing field [for contractors] and we’ll have a head start,” said Sanjay Singh, who founded Reston-based hCentive based on the Affordable Care Act’s promise. “And we can build a company.”
Today hCentive employs more than 650 people. The company built the federal government’s online marketplace for small-business health plans and is working on insurance portals for Massachusetts, New York, Colorado and Kentucky.
Business at HighPoint Global, with offices in Virginia, Maryland and Indiana, ballooned from a few million to more than $100 million annually after it landed the job of training and quality control for dozens of call centers handling questions about the insurance marketplaces, federal data show. HighPoint CEO Ben Lanius declined a request for an interview.
For contractors, profiting from the health law goes far beyond the $840 million-plus HHS has already spent on the troubled healthcare.gov portal. (This year the agency fired CGI Federal, the site’s primary contractor, and replaced it with Accenture. HHS contracted with CGI for work worth $339 million the last two years; with Accenture, $192 million in contracts, records show.)
Defense giant Serco has done more than $400 million worth of business with HHS in the past two years, records show, much of it for collecting paper insurance applications that surged when the online marketplaces failed.
HHS’ innovation lab, with a $10 billion budget over a decade, is hiring research firms such as Mathematica to test alternatives to traditional, “fee for service” medicine that encourages unnecessary procedures. The ACA also furnished an extra $350 million to hire cyber sleuths to fight Medicare fraud.
A related law, the HITECH Act of 2009, steered another $30 billion via Medicare reimbursements to spur hospitals and doctors to buy medical-record software from private industry.
For traditional defense contractors, health care isn’t the new oil. It’s the new F-35 fighter or Zumwalt-class destroyer.
“This is a pretty exciting time to be in the federal health IT space,” said Horace Blackman, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of health and life sciences. “The biggest opportunities I would point to are efforts associated with the Affordable Care Act.”
While Lockheed has run HHS computers for a long time, its business with the agency has increased by more than half since 2006 to $300 million annually, according to federal records.
The company won part of a $15 billion data management contract from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2012, along with Accenture, CGI Federal and others. It’s bidding with many others on another giant health job — an $11 billion Pentagon contract to modernize the military’s computer medical records.
Defense vendors are recycling products from battlefield to bedside. Lockheed says it converted missile-defense software into a hospital tool for the early identification of sepsis, a life-threatening response by the body to infection.
“We’re seeing a lot of these companies quietly repositioning and reusing their legacy capabilities,” said John Caucis, a senior analyst with Technology Business Research.
Along with cybersecurity smarts, Washington employers especially prize health analytics skills, recruiters say.
“We have 200 epidemiologists. We have clinical statisticians. We have physicians. We have nurses,” said Amy Caro, head of the health division at Northrop Grumman, better known for its B-2 stealth bomber.
Among other HHS work, Northrop manages data sharing for the National Institutes of Health; helped launch the health law’s accountable care organizations to control costs and improve care; and turned telecommunications software into a Medicare fraud detector.
The quickest way to acquire a particular expertise needed by HHS, some contractors have found, is often to mimic General Dynamics and buy somebody already doing the work.
In October Xerox said it acquired Consilience Software, maker of patient case-management and disease-surveillance programs for government agencies. The same month defense and intelligence giant Booz Allen Hamilton said it bought the health division of Genova Technologies, a tech company that has done $90 million in HHS business since the health law was passed, according to federal records.
The deal is part of a larger push by Booz, majority owned by the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, to sell technology services and consulting to HHS.
Its yearly business with the agency has quadrupled in the last decade to $170 million even as its overall revenue from the federal government has shrunk, according to contracting data. (However, the extent of Booz’s government work is unclear because its jobs for spy agencies don’t show up in official records, contracting specialists say.)
This summer Booz won part of a huge (potentially $7 billion) job to help HHS’ innovation lab design, run and evaluate tests to improve care results and control costs. Other awardees include RTI International, a nonprofit; Deloitte, a consulting firm; the Lewin Group, a consultancy owned by insurer UnitedHealth Group; and Truven Health Analytics, a research shop owned by private equity investors Veritas Capital.
Booz officials did not respond to repeated requests for interviews.
Health-care acquisitions by defense contractors don’t always work smoothly. In 2011 General Dynamics paid Veritas nearly $1 billion for Vangent, a seller of health information technology and business services.
General Dynamics did not make executives available for interviews. But the deal did not go as well as the company hoped, as Vangent’s corporate culture clashed with that of the buyer, said Technology Business Research’s Lagana. Part of General Dynamics’ $2 billion quarterly loss at the end of 2012 was — ironically — related not to defense but to Vangent and its health-care work, he said.
But thanks to Vangent, the company got the task of staffing call centers to explain healthcare.gov to consumers. That job became bigger than anybody imagined when the site crashed during insurance enrollment a year ago. General Dynamics ended up hiring 8,000, mostly temporary workers to run hotlines for Obamacare as well as Medicare.
This year healthcare.gov is working better, by many accounts. Enrollment began Nov. 15. Again General Dynamics has been hiring to answer the phones. The company’s $815 million in spending commitments from HHS made it the agency’s top contractor for fiscal 2014, not counting vaccine makers.
And because its call-center jobs are “cost-plus” contracts, every hire comes with a built-in profit.
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 24, 2018 at 9:35 AM||comments (0)|
If this doesn't make you rethink eating processed meats I don't know what will! By JJP
Ditch trade deal with Trump rather than accept chlorinated chicken, Britons say
Exclusive: Britons would rather cancel post-Brexit deal with US than accept lower food standards
The British public are overwhelmingly willing to ditch plans for a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States in order to protect the UK’s high food safety standards, new polling seen by The Independent shows.
The finding amounts to a public vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s Brexit trade strategy, which aims to paper-over a potential hit to EU commerce by having “global Britain” sign deals with other countries around the world – the richest of which is the US.
American trade negotiators are expected to demand Britain opens its markets to US foodstuffs that are currently illegal under EU rules as the price of a free trade agreement. Practices banned in the EU but currently widespread in the US including chlorine-washed chickens, hormone-treated beef, meat from animals fed on chicken faeces and crops washed with controversial herbicide chemicals.
A recent US trade department appraisal of EU safety regulations complained of “costly and burdensome” stipulations in European regulations on meat and described aspects of the EU’s regulations on the use of chemicals as “simply unnecessary”.
When asked whether ditching current standards would be a price worth paying for a deal, a full 82 per cent of the public said keeping current regulations in place should take priority – even if they killed a deal – compared to just 8 per cent who said a free trade agreement with the US should go ahead.
Theresa May’s trade chief, Liam Fox, has defended the possible legalisation of banned US agricultural practices, telling MPs that he was “a great believer in giving the public a choice over what they are eating” and that “there are no health reasons why you couldn’t eat chickens that have been washed in chlorinated water”. The international trade secretary has said the media are “obsessed” with such meat.
The polling, commissioned by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and conducted by Opinium, also shows that the public favour alignment with EU regulations to secure a better trade deal with the EU. A wider report drawn up by the progressive think tank also shows Leave and Remain voters are equally opposed to any reduction in food standards.
Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox has defended the potential introduction of chlorine-washed chicken to British supermarkets (PA)
Other trade-offs and hurdles to the “global Britain” strategy emerged this week after India’s high representative in the UK said increased free movement for Indians to come to Britain would need to be offered for India to open its markets to UK goods. Though such a move to loosen immigration control would likely give the UK an economic boost, it would likely undermine the Government’s longstanding goal of reducing immigration to the tens of thousands.
Last week Japan’s chief diplomat told The Independent that it would prioritise a deal with the European Union over one with a post-Brexit Britain.
One year to Brexit: What is still needed to complete a deal with the EU?
Marley Morris, senior research fellow at IPPR and author of the report said: “Our new polling finds that there is little public appetite for a deregulated, buccaneering Britain post-Brexit. The public overwhelmingly prioritise food safety over a trade deal with the US.
“They also favour continuing to align with EU consumer, environmental, and employment standards over deregulating. With the US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross suggesting that the UK ditch rules on food imports as a precondition of a trade deal, our polling reveals that independently striking trade deals around the world will be no easy ride for the UK government, and will come with its own set of political dilemmas.”
US president Donald Trump has expressed enthusiasm for a “great” and “very big and exciting” trade deal with Britain after it leaves the EU.
Responding to the new findings, a Department for International Trade spokesperson told The Independent: “We have been clear that the UK will maintain its high animal welfare and environmental standards in future free trade agreements.”
The Opinium polling for IPPR took place between 19 and 22 January 2018 and asked a weighted sample of 2,004 UK adults.
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 24, 2018 at 9:25 AM||comments (0)|
Largest private sector employer in America. Let that sink in! By JJP
Walmart's CEO makes a lot more than the company's median worker. 1,188 times more, to be exact.
Doug McMillon earned $22.8 million during the retailer's last fiscal year, which ended on January 31, according to a company filing.
Walmart's median employee, meanwhile, earned $19,177 in the same period.
The retailer, which is the nation's largest private-sector employer, has about 2.3 million global employees, including full-time and part-time workers. Roughly 1.5 million are in the United States.
Many companies have recently had to release CEO pay ratios for the first time. The move is newly mandated under a provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reforms passed during the Obama administration.
The ratios show that even after the 2008 financial crisis, chief executives continue to make exponentially more than their employees.
At Macy's (M), the CEO earned $11.1 million in the last fiscal year — 806 times the median employee. At Gap, the chief executive made $15.6 million, or 2,900 times the median employee.
Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove said that in the past few years, the company has made important investments in its workers, including raising its minimum wage to $11 an hour in February. Walmart (WMT) has also put money into training and education programs for employees.
"It's about moving people beyond entry-level jobs by giving associates clearer career paths, skills-based training and more control of their schedule," Hargrove said.
McMillon has held Walmart's top job since 2014. Under his leadership, the retailer has made major gains in online sales as it tries to stay competitive with Amazon (AMZN).
For Walmart's latest fiscal year, McMillon received a salary of $1.3 million. The largest chunk of his compensation came in the form of stock awards.
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 16, 2018 at 12:30 AM||comments (0)|
"The analysis, which looked at the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations, identified that only a tiny handful of mega-corporations, mostly banks, had a disproportionate amount of power over world events." The global banking system has its hands on our neck. By JJP
Here Are The 147 Transnational Companies Who Run The World
Written By: Sean Adl-Tabatabai
These companies are run by Technocrats who are all busy perfecting the the ultimate and interconnected global supply chain. The list is not necessarily perfect, but it is representative of a class of super-companies who are running the global show. ⁃ TN Editor
A study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich has found that a mere 147 corporations control the world – orchestrating events and controlling governments.
The analysis, which looked at the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations, identified that only a tiny handful of mega-corporations, mostly banks, had a disproportionate amount of power over world events.
Newscientist.com reports: “Reality is so complex, we must move away from dogma, whether it’s conspiracy theories or free-market,” says James Glattfelder. “Our analysis is reality-based.”
Previous studies have found that a few TNCs [Trans-National Corporations] own large chunks of the world’s economy, but they included only a limited number of companies and omitted indirect ownerships, so could not say how this affected the global economy – whether it made it more or less stable, for instance.
The Zurich team can. From Orbis 2007, a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide, they pulled out all 43,060 TNCs and the share ownerships linking them. Then they constructed a model of which companies controlled others through shareholding networks, coupled with each company’s operating revenues, to map the structure of economic power.
The work, to be published in PLoS One, revealed a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships. Each of the 1318 had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were connected to 20. What’s more, although they represented 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own through their shares the majority of the world’s large blue chip and manufacturing firms – the “real” economy – representing a further 60 per cent of global revenues.
When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.
The top 50 of the 147 super-connected companies
1. Barclays plc
2. Capital Group Companies Inc
3. FMR Corporation
5. State Street Corporation
6. JP Morgan Chase & Co
7. Legal & General Group plc
8. Vanguard Group Inc
9. UBS AG
10. Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
11. Wellington Management Co LLP
12. Deutsche Bank AG
13. Franklin Resources Inc
14. Credit Suisse Group
15. Walton Enterprises LLC
16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp
18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc
19. T Rowe Price Group Inc
20. Legg Mason Inc
21. Morgan Stanley
22. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc
23. Northern Trust Corporation
24. Société Générale
25. Bank of America Corporation
26. Lloyds TSB Group plc
27. Invesco plc
28. Allianz SE 29. TIAA
30. Old Mutual Public Limited Company
31. Aviva plc
32. Schroders plc
33. Dodge & Cox
34. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc*
35. Sun Life Financial Inc
36. Standard Life plc
38. Nomura Holdings Inc
39. The Depository Trust Company
40. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
41. ING Groep NV
42. Brandes Investment Partners LP
43. Unicredito Italiano SPA
44. Deposit Insurance Corporation of Japan
45. Vereniging Aegon
46. BNP Paribas
47. Affiliated Managers Group Inc
48. Resona Holdings Inc
49. Capital Group International Inc
50. China Petrochemical Group Company
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 15, 2018 at 10:00 AM||comments (0)|
Which means 18 percent went to just 99 percent . Gangster Capitalism 101! By JJP
Richest 1 percent bagged 82 percent of wealth created last year - poorest half of humanity got nothing
22 January 2018
Eighty two percent of the wealth generated last year went to the richest one percent of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth, according to a new Oxfam report released today. The report is being launched as political and business elites gather for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’ reveals how the global economy enables a wealthy elite to accumulate vast fortunes while hundreds of millions of people are struggling to survive on poverty pay.
Billionaire wealth has risen by an annual average of 13 percent since 2010 – six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers, which have risen by a yearly average of just 2 percent. The number of billionaires rose at an unprecedented rate of one every two days between March 2016 and March 2017.
It takes just four days for a CEO from one of the top five global fashion brands to earn what a Bangladeshi garment worker will earn in her lifetime. In the US, it takes slightly over one working day for a CEO to earn what an ordinary worker makes in a year.
It would cost $2.2 billion a year to increase the wages of all 2.5 million Vietnamese garment workers to a living wage. This is about a third of the amount paid out to wealthy shareholders by the top 5 companies in the garment sector in 2016.
Oxfam’s report outlines the key factors driving up rewards for shareholders and corporate bosses at the expense of workers’ pay and conditions. These include the erosion of workers’ rights; the excessive influence of big business over government policy-making; and the relentless corporate drive to minimize costs in order to maximize returns to shareholders.
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International said: “The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system. The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited to ensure a steady supply of cheap goods, and swell the profits of corporations and billionaire investors.”
Women workers often find themselves off at the bottom of the heap. Across the world, women consistently earn less than men and are usually in the lowest paid and least secure forms of work. By comparison, 9 out of 10 billionaires are men.
“Oxfam has spoken to women across the world whose lives are blighted by inequality. Women in Vietnamese garment factories who work far from home for poverty pay and don’t get to see their children for months at a time. Women working in the US poultry industry who are forced to wear nappies because they are denied toilet breaks,” said Byanyima.
Oxfam is calling for governments to ensure our economies work for everyone and not just the fortunate few:
Limit returns to shareholders and top executives, and ensure all workers receive a minimum ‘living’ wage that would enable them to have a decent quality of life. For example, in Nigeria, the legal minimum wage would need to be tripled to ensure decent living standards.
Eliminate the gender pay gap and protect the rights of women workers. At current rates of change, it will take 217 years to close the gap in pay and employment opportunities between women and men.
Ensure the wealthy pay their fair share of tax through higher taxes and a crackdown on tax avoidance, and increase spending on public services such as healthcare and education. Oxfam estimates a global tax of 1.5 percent on billionaires’ wealth could pay for every child to go to school.
Results of a new global survey commissioned by Oxfam demonstrates a groundswell of support for action on inequality. Of the 70,000 people surveyed in 10 countries, nearly two-thirds of all respondents think the gap between the rich and the poor needs to be urgently addressed.
“It’s hard to find a political or business leader who doesn’t say they are worried about inequality. It’s even harder to find one who is doing something about it. Many are actively making things worse by slashing taxes and scrapping labor rights,” said Byanyima.
“People are ready for change. They want to see workers paid a living wage; they want corporations and the super-rich to pay more tax; they want women workers to enjoy the same rights as men; they want a limit on the power and the wealth which sits in the hands of so few. They want action.”
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 15, 2018 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
US total debt $70 Trillion dollars not counting unfunded liabilities. Interest on said debt $2.7 Trillion dollars. How do you think this will end? By JJP
Global Debt Jumped to Record $237 Trillion Last Year
Global debt rose to a record $237 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2017, more than $70 trillion higher from a decade earlier, according to an analysis by the Institute of International Finance.
A $237 Trillion Record
Global debt climbed by 42 percent in the fourth quarter from a decade earlier
Source: Institute of International Finance
Among mature markets, household debt as a percentage of GDP hit all-time highs in Belgium, Canada, France, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. That’s a worrying signal, with interest rates beginning to rise globally. Ireland and Italy are the only major countries where household debt as a percentage of GDP is below 50 percent.
Still, the ratio of global debt-to-gross domestic product fell for the fifth consecutive quarter as the world’s economic growth accelerated. The ratio is now around 317.8 percent of GDP, or 4 percentage points below the high in the third quarter of 2016, according to the IIF.
Among emerging markets, household debt to GDP is approaching parity in South Korea at 94.6 percent.
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 14, 2018 at 9:45 AM||comments (0)|
True American history, Facts? By JJP
St. Augustine, Florida: Birthplace of African American History
By David Nolan
The rich African American heritage of St. Augustine should cause all history textbooks to be rewritten.
Africans Helped Establish America's Oldest City
When the Spanish conquistador Pedro Menendez founded St. Augustine in 1565, not only were there black members of his crew, but he noted that his arrival had been preceded by free Africans in the French settlement at Fort Caroline, just a few miles north.
Our oldest written records, the Cathedral Parish Archives, list the first birth of a black child here in 1606--thirteen years before many textbooks say that the first blacks on these shores arrived at Jamestown in 1619.
Battle of Fort Mose
The first legally recognized community of ex-slaves was Fort Mose, the northern defense of St. Augustine, founded in 1738 to protect the city from British invasion. In 1740, when General James Oglethorpe attacked from Georgia, it was the Battle of Fort Mose that proved decisive in turning him around and sending him back from where he came. The site of this free black fort is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark and is run by the Florida Park Service. It is considered the focal point for the first Underground Railroad, which ran not from south to north, but rather from the British southern colonies farther south into Spanish Florida, where escaped slaves would be given their freedom.
Africans in Florida's Military
Everyone has heard of General Colin Powell, but two centuries before him there was a black general in St. Augustine. His name was Jorge Biassou, and he was one of the original leaders of the slave uprising in Haiti in the 1790s. In the twists and turns of international politics, he became a Spanish general. He was sent to St. Augustine in 1796, as the second-highest paid official of the colony, and stayed here until his death in 1801. His funeral was held at the Cathedral on the Plaza downtown, and he is buried in Tolomato Cemetery on Cordova Street.
A black militia saved St. Augustine from invasion at the time of the War of 1812, and its members were awarded land grants in gratitude by the Spanish governor.
John Horse, African-Seminole
Africans and Seminoles
Blacks played an important role in relations with the Seminole Indians. A free black man named Antonio Proctor served as Indian interpreter for the first American governor of Florida. A century and a half later one of his descendants, Henry Twine, was active in the civil rights movement and became the first black vice mayor of St. Augustine.
Other blacks lived within the Seminole nation, and rose to high position there. A black man named Abraham was sometimes called "the prime minister of the Seminoles." Another Black Seminole, John Horse, played a prominent military role in the Indian wars of the 1830s.
The End of Slavery
During the Civil War, black St. Augustinians served in both the Union and Confederate armies. Their graves can be found in many of our historic cemeteries. Harriet Tubman, the famed "conductor" of the Underground Railroad, accompanied the Union soldiers who came down the St. Johns River during the war.
Former slaves established the community of Lincolnville in 1866 in the southwest peninsula of St. Augustine. Lincolnville is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in part because of its origins, in part because--given its time of development--it includes the greatest concentration of treasured Victorian architecture in the Ancient City, and in part because it was the launching place for demonstrations that led directly to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The famed abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, spoke here in 1889 at Genovar's Opera House on St. George Street.
St. Augustine's African-American Community
Zora Neale Hurston
A thriving black business district grew up along Washington Street in the 19th and early 20th century. Frank Butler, the leading businessman, also developed Butler's Beach on Anastasia Island, one of the historic black beaches of Florida from the age of segregation. He also had real estate holdings in West Augustine around the campus of Florida Normal (later Florida Memorial) College, a black school--and St. Augustine's first college-- that was located here from 1918 until 1968. The internationally celebrated novelist Zora Neale Hurston was among its teachers. There is a historic marker at the house at 791 West King Street where Hurston lived.
The Fight for Equal Rights in St. Augustine
Dr. Martin Luther King in St. Augustine jail
St. Augustine played a major role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Demonstrations began here with a sit-in at the local Woolworth's lunch counter in 1960 and grew to a crescendo by 1964 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led his last major campaign that resulted in passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964--one of the two great legislative accomplishments of that movement. Dr. King went on from here to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. A street running through the heart of Lincolnville has been named in his honor.
There is a Freedom Trail of historic sites of the civil rights movement, honoring local heroes like Dr. Robert Hayling, dentist and organizer, and the St. Augustine Four (young teenagers who spent six months in jail and reform school for trying to order a hamburger at the Woolworth's lunch counter).
Your visit to St. Augustine is incomplete without exploring the rich African American heritage that changed our nation's history and inspired the world.
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 14, 2018 at 9:45 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 14, 2018 at 9:40 AM||comments (0)|
Gangster! By JJP
S.J.Res.23 - Authorization for Use of Military Force
To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those
responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United
Whereas, on September 11, 2001, acts of treacherous violence were
committed against the United States and its citizens; and
Whereas, such acts render it both necessary and appropriate that the
United States exercise its rights to self-defense and to protect
United States citizens both at home and abroad; and
Whereas, in light of the threat to the national security and foreign
policy of the United States posed by these grave acts of violence;
Whereas, such acts continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat
to the national security and foreign policy of the United States;
Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take
action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against
the United States: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, <
of Military Force. 50 USC 1541 note.>>
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This joint resolution may be cited as the ``Authorization for Use of
SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) <> In General.--That the President is
authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those
nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized,
committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11,
2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any
future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such
nations, organizations or persons.
(b) War Powers Resolution Requirements.--
(1) Specific statutory authorization.--Consistent with
section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress
declares that this section is intended to constitute specific
statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of
the War Powers Resolution.
[[Page 115 STAT. 225]]
(2) Applicability of other requirements.--Nothing in this
resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers
Approved September 18, 2001.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S.J. Res. 23 (H.J. Res. 64):
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 14, 2018 at 9:25 AM||comments (0)|
Not to be cruel, but what did these highly educated teachers think would happen if you cut property taxes and give tax abatements to corporations and businesses? This ideology of free market capitalism is toxic. By JJP
How tax cuts for the rich led to the Oklahoma teachers strike
Three charts explain how this fight was a decade in the making.
By Alvin Chang
The Oklahoma teachers strike is now in its second week — but it was a long time in the making.
In the mid-2000s, the Oklahoma state legislature approved several tax cuts that largely helped the rich. “That was a time when the economy was booming and oil prices were high, and for a time it looked like you could have it all,” said David Blatt, who runs the Oklahoma Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.
But after the economy tanked in 2008, the state legislature didn’t change course. In fact, it kept cutting taxes for the wealthiest Oklahomans while leaving schools underfunded.
This has made Oklahoma teachers deeply distrustful of their state leaders.
Before the strike last week, the state legislature tried to avert the work stoppage by passing a $447 million tax increase that effectively gives teachers an average annual pay bump of $6,000. That concession from the state legislature didn’t meet the teachers’ full demands, but it was a huge win considering the state legislature hadn’t approved a tax increase since 1990.
But teachers are still angry and distrustful of state legislators, and they have plenty of momentum heading into day eight of the strike.
To fully contextualize this situation, let’s run through a few charts:
1) Oklahoma has been cutting the top tax rate for more than a decade
In the mid-1990s, Oklahoma’s top individual income tax rate was lowered to 6.65 percent.
But there was a caveat to this tax cut: If the state didn’t raise enough money, that rate would jump back up to 7 percent. In 2003, that’s exactly what happened — but state leaders repealed that trigger. They kept the rate at 6.65 percent.
And they never looked back:
Before the recession, the state could have tax cuts while also funding public services like education. Then the recession, as well as downturns in the oil and gas industry, hit Oklahoma hard.
Blatt told me, “There was no corrective mechanism to raise the taxes back up — particularly because some of these tax cuts were backloaded and phased in. Basically, we’ve just had a one-way ratchet where taxes had been lowered.”
2) These tax cuts hit education the hardest
These tax cuts, which were passed in 2004, ultimately caused Oklahoma to lose about $1.022 billion in annual revenue. (This is in 2016 dollars.)
The Oklahoma Policy Institute extrapolated that out to the proportion education typically receives. It found that the tax cuts took away about $350 million from state education every year.
The state’s education budget is about $2.9 billion.
3) Who benefited most from the tax cuts? The wealthy.
But these tax cuts weren’t being given back to middle-class Oklahomans. For the most part, these cuts benefited the affluent and wealthy.
In fact, the bottom 80 percent of earners saved the same amount as the top 1 percent.
The Republican-controlled state legislature argued that these tax cuts would help spur the economy in Oklahoma. But the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has found that these state income tax cuts aren’t good ways to create growth:
This approach is not supported by the preponderance of the relevant academic research and has not worked particularly well in the past. The states that tried deep income tax cuts over the last three decades have not seen their economies surge as a result.
4) Falling teacher compensation is a larger national trend
Once you adjust for inflation, teacher pay is falling nationwide.
Meanwhile, their health care costs are increasing.
These trends are what spurred the teachers strike in West Virginia and what has fueled talk of teachers strikes in several other states.
What ended the strike in West Virginia was a 5 percent pay raise and a hold on increasing health insurance costs, concessions that were enough to satisfy teachers.
But in Oklahoma, teachers want a $10,000 pay bump in the next three years — $6,000 the first year and $2,000 the second and third years. They’re also demanding raises for school support staff and all state employees, as well as increased funding for their schools, their pensions, and their health care.
State leaders gave them a part of what they wanted and appear to be waiting out the teachers. But after more than a decade of cutting taxes for the wealthy while education is underfunded, it’s unclear what will be enough for teachers to end this strike.
“We absolutely expect there to be as many teachers here Monday and Tuesday, if necessary, and Wednesday and Thursday,” Alicia Priest, president of the teachers union, told the Oklahoman.
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 14, 2018 at 9:20 AM||comments (0)|
Do you think public/elected officials who also receive public assistance. Will be forced/required to take drug test? I don't think so. By JJP
Trump Administration Considers Making Some Food-Stamp Recipients Get Drug-Tested
Washington (AP) -- The Trump administration is considering a plan that would allow states to require certain food stamp recipients to undergo drug testing, handing a win to conservatives who've long sought ways to curb the safety net program.
The proposal under review would be narrowly targeted, applying mostly to people who are able-bodied, without dependents and applying for some specialized jobs, according to an administration official briefed on the plan. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said roughly 5 percent of participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program could be affected.
The drug testing proposal is another step in the Trump administration's push to allow states more flexibility in how they implement federal programs that serve the poor, unemployed or uninsured. It also wants to allow states to tighten work requirements for food stamp recipients and has found support among GOP governors who argue greater state control saves money and reduces dependency.
Internal emails obtained by The Associated Press indicated that Agriculture Department officials in February were awaiting word from the White House about the timing of a possible drug testing announcement.
"I think we just have to be ready because my guess is we may get an hour's notice instead of a day's notice," wrote Jessica Shahin, associate administrator of SNAP.
Conservative policymakers have pushed for years to tie food assistance programs to drug testing.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, sued the USDA in 2015 for blocking the state from drug testing adults applying for food stamps.
A federal judge tossed the suit in 2016, but Walker renewed his request for permission later that year, after Donald Trump had won the presidency but before he took office.
"We turned that down," said former USDA Food and Nutrition Service Undersecretary Kevin Concannon, who served in the position under the Obama administration from 2009 until January of last year. "It's costly and cumbersome."
The proposal is not expected to be included in a GOP-written farm bill expected to be released as soon as early this week, a GOP aide said.
Federal law bars states from imposing their own conditions on food stamp eligibility.
Still, some states have tried to implement some form of drug testing for the food assistance program, so far with little success.
Judges have blocked similar efforts in other states. In Florida in 2014, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court's ruling that drug testing SNAP recipients is unconstitutional.
But at least 20 states have introduced legislation to screen safety net program participants in some capacity, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
In December, Walker began moving ahead with a workaround, drug testing participants in the state's Employment and Training Program who also received food stamps.
USDA under Trump has not taken a public position on drug testing. But Secretary Sonny Perdue has promised to provide states with "greater control over SNAP."
"As a former governor, I know first-hand how important it is for states to be given flexibility to achieve the desired goal of self-sufficiency for people," he said. "We want to provide the nutrition people need, but we also want to help them transition from government programs, back to work, and into lives of independence."
The emails obtained by the AP suggest that a plan could be forthcoming.
The plan would apply to able-bodied people who do not have dependents and are applying for certain jobs, such as operating heavy machinery, the official said.
In a February 15 email to USDA officials, Maggie Lyons, chief of staff to an acting official at the Food and Nutrition Service, said, "We need to have a conversation about timing given budget and when the (White House) wants us to release drug testing."
If the administration moves forward, it would not be the first time drug testing was used in a safety net program.
At least 15 states have passed laws allowing them to drug-test recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, also known as welfare.
The discussion of the future of SNAP and potential changes to the program are set against the backdrop of the 2018 farm bill, slated for release as soon as this week. The bulk of the bill's spending goes toward funding SNAP, which often proves the most contentious part of negotiations; late last month, House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., issued a statement on behalf of Democrats denouncing "extreme, partisan policies being advocated by the majority."
Ed Bolen, senior policy analyst at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities think tank, said requiring drug testing for food benefits will have consequences for already vulnerable populations. What's more, he said, implementing drug testing for SNAP recipients is legally murky.
"Are people losing their food assistance if they don't take the test, and in that case, is that a condition of eligibility, which the states aren't allowed to impose?" he said. "And does drug testing fall into what's allowable under a state training and employment program, which typically lists things like job search or education or on-the-job experience? This is kind of a different bucket."
The emails also show that USDA is weighing the possibility of scaling back a policy currently enacted in 42 states that automatically grants food stamp eligibility to households that qualify for non-cash assistance, like job training and childcare. The proposed change, which would impose income limits, could potentially affect millions.
Republicans tried to make similar changes when Congress passed the 2014 farm bill, but the cuts were rejected by Democrats and did not end up in the final bill.
Concannon, the former USDA undersecretary, said the Trump administration "is keen on weakening the programs developed to strengthen the health or fairness or access to programs and imposing populist requirements that aren't evidence based, but often stigmatize people."
The USDA in recent months has been under fire for its controversial plan to replace a portion of millions of food stamp recipients' benefits with a pre-assembled package of shelf-stable goods dubbed "America's Harvest Box." The food box plan was tucked into the Trump administration's proposed 2019 budget, which included cutting the SNAP program by $213 billion over the next 10 years. SNAP provides food assistance to roughly 42 million Americans
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 14, 2018 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
The myth of "Horatio Alger" is alive and kicking! By JJP
For Many Blacks, College Degrees Come With Outsized Debt
Sonia Williams was floored when she realized what it would cost for her daughter, Jenele, to attend college.
“We heard stories, but when you go through it, that’s when you really say, ‘Wow,’” says Williams, who moved to the United States in the 1980s from the Caribbean island of Antigua.
Jenele Williams will be the first in her family to graduate from college in the U.S. But along with the second diploma she’s on track to earn this spring as she finishes a joint bachelor’s and master’s program in business administration, she’ll have tens of thousands of dollars in student debt. She and her mother, who took out parent loans, owe a combined total of about $93,000.
The Williamses are one family in a community that bears a disproportionate and growing share of the student debt burden: black Americans.
Ninety percent of black students have had to take out student loans during their undergraduate years, compared with 68% of students overall, according to National Center for Education Statistics’ 2011-2012 data, the most recent available. The average cumulative loan amount among black students ages 18-24 in their fourth year of college or higher grew 157% in about two decades, from $12,100 in 1989-90, to $31,100 in 2011-12, according to a NerdWallet analysis of the data. That was more than double the rate for students of all races.
Experts cite a host of reasons for this trend, including:
The racial wealth gap.
Smaller endowments at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) compared with other schools.
The tendency for black students to disproportionately attend for-profit colleges, which cost more than public schools on average and often are associated with poorer outcomes.
The racial wealth gap
There’s a racial wealth gap, and it has widened since the Great Recession, says Sara Goldrick-Rab, professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University in Philadelphia. “Black wealth was decimated by the recent recession in a way that white wealth was not,” Goldrick-Rab says.
In 2004, black families in the U.S. had a median net worth of $25,186 while white families had a median net worth of $168,509, nearly seven times higher, according to a 2015 Federal Reserve Board paper. By 2013, the wealth gap had grown: Black families had a median net worth of $11,068, while white families had a median net worth of $134,118 — 12 times higher.
Net worth, or wealth, considers a family’s total assets — including a home, savings and investments — in relation to debts, including mortgages, credit card debt and student debt. When black families have fewer assets compared with debts, more students take out loans to pay for their education, says Sandy Baum, a senior fellow who studies college access and financing at the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based economic and social policy research group.
“They don’t have anywhere else to get the money,” Baum says.
Smaller endowments at HBCUs
Students at HBCUs borrow student loans at higher rates than students at other colleges and universities, according to a UNCF report published in December 2016. The report cites the wealth gap and rising college costs as reasons. It also points out that HBCUs have smaller endowments than other schools, which means they can’t offer financial aid packages as generous as those at other institutions.
The top 10 HBCU endowments in 2015 ranged from Virginia State University’s $33.90 million to Howard University’s $659.63 million, according to the UNCF report and a 2015 study by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. The top 10 non-HBCU endowments range from the University of Michigan’s $9.95 billion to Harvard University’s $36.45 billion.
Black students and for-profit colleges
Black students are overrepresented in four-year, two-year and less-than-two-year programs at for-profit colleges, according to a 2014 report by the Center for Responsible Lending. Students at for-profit programs, no matter the duration, tend to pay more than or about as much as students at public and private nonprofit schools — and take on more debt for it, according to the report.
For-profits have “positioned themselves as a means for traditionally underserved students of color to achieve educational success,” the report adds.
Researchers from the American Sociological Association turned to inner-city Baltimore in 2016 to study why African-American youth attend short-term programs at for-profit trade schools. Among other things, they found that students were drawn to programs that advertised a fast and direct path to the workforce.
But that path isn’t always direct or even existent: For-profit schools tend to have lower graduation rates, higher student-loan default rates and poorer employment outcomes than public and private nonprofit schools, according to the 2014 Center for Responsible Lending report.
How to avoid student loans and manage existing debt
Sonia Williams has already begun paying back her student loan, even though her daughter hasn’t yet graduated from Hampton University in Virginia, an HBCU. In doing so, she is minimizing the interest that’s piling up.
Other ways to manage student debt or reduce your dependence on loans in the first place include the following:
Tips for avoiding student debt
Tips for handling existing student debt
Apply for scholarships from organizations such as the UNCF.
Save for college in a tax-advantaged account, like a 529 plan.
Research college costs and career outcomes before choosing a school.
Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid every year to apply for federal grants and work-study and, if needed, federal loans.
Switch to a federal income-driven repayment plan if you’re struggling to afford your monthly payments.
Apply for a federal loan forgiveness program. You may qualify if you work for the government or a nonprofit, or if you’re a teacher.
Consider refinancing your student loans to get a lower interest rate.
Each of the options for managing your existing student loans — income-driven repayment, forgiveness and refinancing — has risks too, so do your research first.
Also, remember that you don’t have to pay for student loan help, even if you see so-called student debt relief companies advertising forgiveness or consolidation for a cost.
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 14, 2018 at 8:55 AM||comments (0)|
Yet another promise from "AmeriKKKa" that wasn't kept.; as if we expected otherwise from AmeriKKKa! 1866 Civil Rights Act 40 acres and a Mule/Freedmans bank ring a bell By JJP
The Fair Housing Act’s unkept promises
By Aaron Glantz / April 11, 2018
It was just a week after Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, when, 50 years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
The final major piece of legislation enacted during the civil rights era, the Fair Housing Act was designed to end the practice of redlining, or government-sanctioned lending discrimination. Back in the 1930s, federal officials drew lines on maps around neighborhoods with high concentrations of African Americans and immigrants, and told banks they were “hazardous” to lend in.
With a few strokes of the pen, housing discrimination on the basis of race was banned. Johnson called it “one of the proudest moments of my presidency.” He said he “signed into law the promises of a century.”
But 50 years on, it’s clear, those promises have not been kept. Today, the homeownership gap between black people and white people is greater than it was when segregation and discrimination were legal, according to the most recent figures from the Census Bureau.
I’ve been investigating racial discrepancy with my colleague Emmanuel Martinez. We combed through 31 million mortgage records and found a troubling pattern of home loan denial to people of color in cities across the country.
Here’s a breakdown of what we’ve learned, and potential change we’ve seen since our first story came out two months ago:
People of color continue to be denied home loans at rates far greater than white people, even when they make the same amount of money.
We found 61 cities across the country where people of color were far more likely to be turned down for a conventional home loan than their white counterparts, even when they made the same amount of money, wanted to take out the same size loan and buy in the same neighborhood.
The disparity was present in major metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Antonio and Washington, D.C., along with smaller cities from Iowa City, Iowa, to Santa Fe, New Mexico. (To see a full list of cities where we found problems in lending, check out our modern-day redlining app.)
The Fair Housing Act is rarely enforced.
Since President Donald Trump took office, the Justice Department has not sued a single lender for failing to lend to people of color. Workers in the agency’s civil rights division report they have lost faith in their leaders’ integrity.
“It might be very frustrating for people, who were motivated by a desire to enforce and uphold civil rights law, to see those laws being undermined by senior leadership,” former Justice Department civil rights lawyer Gary Herbert told Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.
On March 29, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania state Sen. Vincent Hughes, wrote to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, demanding an investigation into modern-day redlining reported by Reveal.
“We are shocked by the revelations contained in the report,” they wrote. “These findings must be completely and fully investigated and if the claims are found to have merit, the appropriate and necessary steps should be taken to ensure that these practices cease.”
Two weeks later, the Justice Department has not responded to Casey and Hughes’ letter. Spokesman Devin O’Malley declined to comment, or even acknowledge receipt of the request.
Members of Congress want answers.
In the absence of action from the Trump administration, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have sought to turn up the heat on banks in other ways.
During his first appearance before the House Financial Services Committee, newly installed Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell was grilled on racial disparities in lending. Members of the committee pressed Powell to address the problem, which they said was destroying neighborhoods.
“Where there’s loan activity, houses have a chance to sell. Where houses sell, people move in. Where people move in, restaurants, community centers and grocery stores are built,” Democratic Rep. Lacy Clay of Missouri told Powell. “And none or very little of that is happening in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods in St. Louis or elsewhere in this country.”
Powell did not offer a specific remedy, but told the committee the Federal Reserve would use its authority to crack down on discrimination.
“Racial discrimination in mortgage lending and in any kind of lending is completely unacceptable,” he said. “And wherever we have authority, we will use it to stop that from happening and punish it when it does happen.”
Since then, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has said Ben Carson’s failure to enforce anti-discrimination laws is “the scandal that should get (him) fired” as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, has entered Reveal’s investigation into the Congressional Record. Ellison and Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee have asked for hearings on modern-day redlining,
And locally, people are taking action.
Since Reveal published its investigation, attorneys general in four states and the District of Columbia have begun to probe fair lending violations in their communities.
“Mortgage discrimination on the basis of race is unlawful and wrong. I will not tolerate it in our state,” said Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, where Reveal identified three communities – Bellingham, Wenatchee and Tacoma – where people of color faced statistically significant disparities in mortgage lending.
Ferguson, along with attorneys general in Iowa, Delaware and the District of Columbia said they were troubled by our reporting and had begun looking into the matter. They joined Pennsylvania, where Attorney General Josh Shapiro had earlier announced an investigation led by his office’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Pennsylvania state Treasurer Joe Torsella has also launched an investigation into three banks identified by Reveal that hold state deposits. In Philadelphia, the City Council held a hearing into Reveal’s findings, prompting community advocates to come forward with ways that banks and other mortgage lenders could be held accountable locally.
When he signed the Fair Housing Act 50 years ago, President Johnson proclaimed, “the bell of freedom rings out a little louder.” But he also said, “there is much yet to do.”
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 14, 2018 at 8:40 AM||comments (0)|
The cures of "Bill Clinton" will continue to haunt America for years to come. This is why 6 companies/banks control what we consume on television! By JJP
Democracy in Peril: Twenty Years of Media Consolidation Under the Telecommunications Act
Wall Street's sinister influence on the political process has, rightly, been a major topic during this presidential campaign. But, history has taught us that the role that the media industry plays in Washington poses a comparable threat to our democracy. Yet, this is a topic rarely discussed by the dominant media, or on the campaign trail.
But now is a good time to discuss our growing media crises. Twenty years ago this week, President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The act, signed into law on February 8, 1996, was "essentially bought and paid for by corporate media lobbies," as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) described it, and radically "opened the floodgates on mergers."
For more original Truthout election coverage, check out our election section, "Beyond the Sound Bites: Election 2016."
The negative impact of the law cannot be overstated. The law, which was the first major reform of telecommunications policy since 1934, according to media scholar Robert McChesney, "is widely considered to be one of the three or four most important federal laws of this generation." The act dramatically reduced important Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations on cross ownership, and allowed giant corporations to buy up thousands of media outlets across the country, increasing their monopoly on the flow of information in the United States and around the world.
"Never have so many been held incommunicado by so few," said Eduardo Galeano, the Latin American journalist, in response to the act.
Twenty years later the devastating impact of the legislation is undeniable: About 90 percent of the country's major media companies are owned by six corporations. Bill Clinton's legacy in empowering the consolidation of corporate media is right up there with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and welfare reform, as being among the most tragic and destructive policies of his administration.
Of all the presidential candidates running in 2016, the Big Media lobby has chosen to back Hillary Clinton.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is not merely a regrettable part of history. It serves as a stern warning about what is at stake in the future. In a media world that is going through a massive transformation, media companies have dramatically increased efforts to wield influence in Washington, with a massive lobbying presence and a steady dose of campaign donations to politicians in both parties - with the goal of allowing more consolidation, and privatizing and commodifying the internet.
This issue has not been central in the 2016 presidential election. But it is deeply concerning that, of all the presidential candidates running in 2016, the Big Media lobby has chosen to back Hillary Clinton. Media industry giants have donated way more to her than any other candidate in the race, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. In light of this, we must be mindful of the media reform challenges we face in the present, as we try to prevent the type of damage to our democracy that was caused by the passing of this unfortunate law.
A Threat to Democracy: The Telecommunications Act and Media Consolidation
When President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act into law, he did so with great fanfare. The bill, which was lobbied for in great numbers by the communications and media industry, was sadly a bipartisan misadventure - only 3 percent of Congress voted against the bill: five senators and 16 members of the House, including then-Rep. Bernie Sanders.
At the time, President Clinton touted the law as "truly revolutionary legislation ... that really embodies what we ought to be about as a country." House Speaker Newt Gingrich boasted of projected consumer savings and private job growth. Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan) "thanked God" for the bill that would "make this country the best served, the best educated and the most successful country ... in all areas of communications."
Despite all of these glowing words, the consequences of the bill were disastrous. The act "fueled a consolidation so profound that even insiders are surprised by its magnitude," said one trade publication, according to Robert McChesney, in his book, Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times.
More than 90 percent of the media is owned by just six companies.
"Before the ink was even dry on the 1996 Act," wrote S. Derek Turner, research director of Free Press, in a 2009 report proposing a national broadband strategy, "the powerful media and telecommunications giants and their army of overpaid lobbyists went straight to work obstructing and undermining the competition the new law was intended to create."
Media consolidation was already an extremely pressing concern long before 1996. In 1983, Ben Bagdikian published his groundbreaking book, The Media Monopoly, which revealed that just 50 corporations owned 90 percent of the media. That number gradually dwindled over the coming 13 years and was accelerated by the Telecommunications Act. This has led us to the aforementioned crisis where more than 90 percent of the media is owned by just six companies: Viacom, News Corporation, Comcast, CBS, Time Warner and Disney.
Radio has seen an equally appalling consolidation, which has been horrendous for both news media and music. In 1995, before the Telecommunications Act was passed, companies were not allowed to own more than 40 radio stations. "Since passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Clear Channel [now called iHeartMedia] has grown from 40 stations to 1,240 stations - 30 times more than congressional regulation previously allowed," according to a report from the Future of Music Coalition.
Local newspapers, too, have been stung by these deregulations. Gannett, for instance, owns more than 1,000 newspapers and 600 print periodicals. Layoffs have been the norm for the company, including at USA Today, the paper with the largest circulation in the country, where layoffs were described as a "total bloodbath" in the American Journalism Review.
Save the Internet: The Next Big Media Battle
There was a lot at stake when media companies lobbied for reform in 1996. There is just as much at stake today in the battle for a free and open press. Not only have big media companies continued to push for more consolidation and mergers, but they are also seeking to commodify and privatize the internet. This has become a major concern for advocates of "net neutrality," who want to "save the internet," and ensure it is protected as a public utility with equal access for everybody. An FCC ruling in February 2015 has protected the internet for now, but as Free Press warns, the internet is still "in danger."
"Net neutrality has made the internet an unrivaled space for free speech, civic participation, innovation and opportunity. Net neutrality prohibits online discrimination and gives any individual, organization or company the same chance to share their ideas and find an audience," explains Free Press's website, Save the Internet. "Companies like Comcast and Verizon aren't used to losing in Washington, and they'll do everything they can to knock down the Title II protections the FCC approved on Feb. 26, 2015."
The organization is right to be concerned. One reason for the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, as McChesney wrote in 1997, was the sheer power that the media and communications industry has in Washington. "Both the Democratic and Republican parties have strong ties to the large communication firms and industries, and the communication lobbies are among the most feared, respected and well-endowed of all that seek favors on Capitol Hill."
Today that power and influence has only increased. "From 2002-2008, the industry increased its spending on lobbying efforts every year," reports the Center for Responsive Politics. "The streak snapped when the Great Recession set in and most clients cut back on their DC efforts, and then reversed again in 2013. In 2014, cable and satellite providers spent nearly $8.1 [million] on lobbying."
Big Media's Relationship With Hillary Clinton
What is most revealing when analyzing the donation patterns of these industries in the data from the Center for Responsive Politics - be it cable television, print and periodicals, radio or telecom services - is that Hillary Clinton is, by far, the largest recipient of donations of any candidate in the 2016 election in either party. In fact, of all the top industries that have donated to Clinton, the TV/movies/music category ranks behind only the securities and investments category. (This data is from reports filed on January 31, 2016, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.)
How can we have a real debate about media issues, when we depend on that very media to provide a platform for this debate?
More troubling is that these filings come on the heels of a report from Politico that the Clinton Foundation has received donations, some of them very large, from most of all the major media companies directly: Viacom, News Corporation, Reuters, NBCUniversal, Newsmax, Time Warner, Mort Zuckerman (owner of US News &World Report and the New York Daily News), Comcast, AOL Huffington Post Media and Robert Allbritton (owner of Politico). George Stephanopoulos, one of ABC News' most visible journalist and a former staffer for President Clinton, has also been under scrutiny for not disclosing a $75,000 donation to the foundation.
Of course, the Clinton Foundation is not a political campaign and does some philanthropic work. So while this all might be legal, it is extremely unsettling, especially in tandem with all the campaign donations Hillary Clinton has received from the major players in this industry.
In March 2015, for instance, a Comcast executive held a $50,000 per plate fundraiser for Clinton's super PAC. "Comcast NBCUniversal operates in 39 states and has 130,000 employees across the country," said company spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice at the time. "It is important for our customers, our employees and our shareholders that we participate in the political process."
Of course, media companies don't just donate to Clinton, but also to members of Congress from both parties. Further, as the Center for Responsive Politics reports, the FCC is filled with "revolving-door" employees, who have been switching back and forth between government work and lobbying for Comcast.
Their aggressiveness in Washington makes them a dangerous enemy in the fight for free and democratic media. In this environment, it should come as no surprise that the position of FCC chairman is typically held by a former lobbyist for the cable industry, such as Tom Wheeler, the current chairman, who was once president of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, a major opponent of net neutrality.
And while it is good news that Clinton has come out in favor of net neutrality, it is a reasonable fear that she could change her views once elected, especially given her relationship with Big Media. It would not be the first time a president has changed a view after being elected, as we learned when Barack Obama embraced a mandate in health care, or when George H.W. Bush raised taxes, despite his infamous promise that he never would.
It is important to note that, whatever her relationship with the telecommunications industry, it is not fair to blame Hillary Clinton for the Telecommunications Act of 1996. As first lady, Clinton was not in charge of telecommunications policy and there doesn't appear to be evidence she played a role in constructing or fighting for the law in the White House. In fact, 20 years later, it is difficult to find any public statements from Hillary Clinton expressing her opinion about the law or its impacts. She did address a question at the 2012 YearlyKos convention about the Telecommunications Act. Her response, however, did little to clarify her views on the subject. She said:
You'll have to ask [then-Vice President] Al Gore. We've had a lot of media consolidation. We've had some good competition. We have a lot that we need to do to begin to create a more competitive framework. Al was very involved in designing and pushing that through - he is an expert; I am not ... We've got to take a hard look at this and I don't want to say something I may not really support. So I have to look at that proposal.
Clinton is now, however, deep into a presidential run and could well be responsible for appointing the head of the FCC. She owes it to voters to describe her views on the Telecommunications Act, and on media consolidation more broadly, in a way that goes beyond advising Americans to "go ask Al Gore."
Why Media Reform Matters
When McChesney observed that the communications lobby was "among the most feared, respected and well-endowed of all" groups in Washington, he also pointed out one of the great challenges about trying to fight Big Media.
"[The] only grounds for political independence in this case," he wrote about the debate over the Telecommunications Act, "would be if there were an informed and mobilized citizenry ready to do battle for alternative policies. But where would citizens get informed?"
In other words, how can we have a real debate about media issues, when we depend on that very media to provide a platform for this debate? It is no surprise, for instance, that the media largely ignored the impact of Citizens United after the Supreme Court decision helped media companies generate record profits due to a new mass of political ads. "Super PACs may be bad for America, but they're very good for CBS," said CBS president Les Moonves, in a rare moment of candor at an entertainment conference in 2012.
This catch-22 is indeed one of the great difficulties about fighting for a vibrant media and a healthy democracy. But it is a challenge advocates of free media must embrace. Supporting independent media is one important way to help bring light to issues the corporate media ignores.
Media reform is the issue that affects all other issues. As the impact of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has shown, democracy suffers when almost all media in the nation is owned by massive conglomerates. In this reality, no issue the left cares about - the environment, criminal legal reform or health care - will get a fair shake in the national debate.
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 14, 2018 at 8:25 AM||comments (0)|
It's not an accident "Descendants of Slaves" are 475 years behind! By JJP
Reparations for Slavery in the United States?
Although nearly seven in ten Americans oppose paying reparations to African Americans who are descendants of slaves for the harm and racial discrimination caused by slavery, opinion divides along racial lines according to an Exclusive Point Taken-Marist Poll, commissioned by WGBH Boston for its new late-night, multi-platform PBS debate series Point Taken. While white Americans overwhelmingly oppose restitution, a majority of African Americans favor redress. Latino Americans divide.
Nearly six in ten Americans assert the current wealth of the United States is not significantly tied to work done in the past by slaves, although most consider the history of slavery and other forms of racial discrimination to be at least a minor factor in the gap in wealth between white and black Americans. Here too, opinions differ based on racial background.
The national survey was conducted by The Marist Poll in advance of this week’s Point Taken episode, airing Tuesday, May 10th at 11pmET (check local listings) and streaming on pbs.org/pointtaken. The series is hosted by Carlos Watson, Emmy Award winning journalist and OZY Media co-founder and CEO.
68% of residents nationally do not think the United States should pay reparations to descendants of slaves, and a similar proportion of American adults, 72%, argue that the United States should not compensate African Americans, in general, for the harm caused by slavery and other forms of racial discrimination.
White Americans, 81%, are much more likely than African Americans, 35%, and Latinos, 47%, to oppose giving monetary compensation to descendants of slaves. Similarly, 85% of white residents, but, only 32% of African-American adults are against giving reparations to all African-American citizens. Of note, Latinos divide about whether or not reparations should be paid to the descendants of slaves. However, a majority of Latinos, 54%, do not support paying reparations to all African Americans for the harm caused by slavery.
Differences based on generation are also present. Millennials are more likely than older generations to favor paying reparations to, both, the descendants of slaves and the larger African-American community. However, 49% of millennials oppose providing compensation to the descendants of slaves, and a majority, 56%, is against paying reparations to African Americans, in general.
Greater support for reparations exists when the question spotlights private companies who admitted and apologized for profiting from American slavery. Still, 58% of Americans say these companies should not pay money to descendants of slaves, and 65% oppose paying reparations to the larger African American population for the harm and racism stemming from slavery.
Again, differences based on race and generation exist. African Americans, 75%, are more likely than whites, 25%, and Latinos, 54%, to support reparations to the descendants of slaves paid by companies who admit to profiting from slavery. Millennials, 55% are more likely than older Americans to favor these private companies paying reparations.
When it comes to these private companies giving monetary compensation to the overall African-American community, 64% of African Americans and 53% of Latinos, compared with 18% of whites, favor such payments. While a majority of millennials, 51%, oppose such action, they are more likely than their older counterparts to support this proposal.
“These results, while not surprising, are indeed striking in the persistent racial divide in attitudes about reparations. Tonight, Point Taken delves into this sensitive and provocative subject,”says Denise DiIanni, series creator and Senior Executive-in-Charge.
59% of Americans say the current wealth of the United States is not significantly tied to work done in the past by slaves. But, 71% of residents think the history of slavery and other forms of racial discrimination is at least a minor factor in the wealth disparity between white and black Americans. Included here are 40% of residents who believe this is a major factor in the wealth gap.
African Americans, 66%, are more likely than whites, 21%, and Latinos, 44%, to say the wealth of the United States is significantly tied to work done by slaves. Generationally, millennials, 44%, are more likely than older generations to report the current wealth of the United States is significantly tied to work done by slaves. 46% say there is not a significant link.
Spanning all demographic groups, at least a majority thinks the history of slavery and other forms of racial discrimination in the United States is at least a minor factor in the gap of wealth between white and black Americans. However, there are some notable distinctions. 90% of African Americans, compared with 81% of Latinos and 66% of whites, have this view. In fact, 73% of African Americans consider slavery and discrimination to be a major factor in that disparity. Millennials, 56%, are also more likely than other generations to perceive this to be a major factor.
Many Americans, 69%, including half of African Americans, think slavery and racial discrimination is part of the history of the United States, but it is time to move beyond it. 27% believe slavery and racial discrimination is a wrong that still needs to be made right by the U.S. government. Whites, 76%, are more likely than Latinos, 56%, and African Americans, 50%, to think the nation should move beyond this concern. Of note, 49% of African Americans report this is a wrong that still needs to be corrected. Millennials, 57%, are the least likely of the generations to believe it’s time to put the issue of slavery behind the nation and are the most likely to report that it is still a wrong that needs to be made right by the U.S. government, 40%.
This survey of 1,221 adults was conducted April 27th and April 28th and May 2nd through May 4th, 2016 by The Marist Poll sponsored and funded in partnership with WGBH’s Point Taken. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the contiguous United States were contacted on landline or mobile numbers and interviewed in English by telephone using live interviewers. Results are statistically significant within ±2.8 percentage points. The error margin increases for cross-tabulations.
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 14, 2018 at 8:20 AM||comments (0)|
Who do you think was left out from getting free land? Descendants of Slave(Black Americans)! The mthyology of America is amazing! By JJP
LAND RUN OF 1889.
The Land Run of 1889, although not without precedent in the history of the West, began the disposal of the federal public domain in Oklahoma. The legal basis for opening the Oklahoma District, now called the Unassigned Lands, came in 1889 when, in the U.S. Congress, Illinois Rep. William Springer amended the Indian Appropriations Bill to authorize Pres. Benjamin Harrison to proclaim the two-million-acre region open for settlement. Under the provisions of the Homestead Act of 1862, a legal settler could claim 160 acres of public land, and those who lived on and improved the claim for five years could receive a title.
The ink was hardly dry on Harrison's March 23, 1889, proclamation before Oklahoma settlement colonies were being formed in major U.S. cities. A multitude of impoverished farmers were not alone in their zeal to settle the Unassigned Lands, known popularly as the Oklahoma Lands. Tradesmen, professional men, common laborers, capitalists, and politicians alike looked to the cornucopia of opportunity offered by settlement of the long-withheld lands of Indian Territory. Across the nation, prospective settlers began hitching their teams to wagons and loading aboard their families and scant worldly goods. Others saddled their fastest horses or caught trains for what they considered to be the most advantageous point of entry. "It is an astonishing thing," the New York Herald observed on the eve of the opening, "that men will fight harder for $500 worth of land than they will for $10,000 in money."
The Unassigned Lands, left vacant in the post–Civil War effort to create reservations for Plains Indians and other tribes, were considered some of the best unoccupied public land in the nation. The surrounding tribal-owned lands included the Cherokee Outlet on the north, bordering Kansas; the Iowa, Kickapoo, and Pottawatomie reservations on the east; and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Reservation on the west. These too would later be opened to settlement. To the south lay the Chickasaw Nation.
In the spring of 1889 the largest accumulations of would-be settlers massed in camps at the Kansas border towns, mainly at the railroad towns of Arkansas City and Caldwell. With people being restrained there by U.S. troops, the boomer camps grew larger and larger. On the south, however, long lines of white-sailed wagons wound their way up from Texas directly to the south line of the Unassigned Lands at Purcell in the Chickasaw Nation. From that point many of the settlers moved northward up the eastern line and along the main (south) branch of the Canadian River, which formed the southern boundary of the target area. On the west, clusters of drought-stricken families from the Texas Panhandle and No Man's Land flooded to the boundary near Fort Reno and west of Kingfisher stage station.
The anxious crowds at Arkansas City and Caldwell demanded and received permission to begin on April 18 their journey across the Cherokee Outlet. Following a nighttime rainstorm U.S. troops began leading long trains of settler wagons over muddy trails across the Cherokee Outlet toward their "promised land." One memorable event during the Arkansas City exodus occurred when the contingent crossed the flooded Salt Fork of the Arkansas River. They tore boards from a nearby Santa Fe Railway station and planked the railroad bridge that spanned the river. Settlers then unhitched their teams, pulled their wagons, and led their horses across the bridge.
The Caldwell crowd, a harmonious and happy conglomeration of ten thousand farmers, cowboys, and old soldiers in buggies, wagons, and on horseback, helped one another ford the Cimarron River before making final camp at Buffalo Springs north of Kingfisher. There on the day before the opening, Easter Sunday, they played baseball, held foot races, and conducted religious services. The frontier fellowship continued that night when the old army-camp call of "Oh, Joe, here's your mule!" circulated from one bed site to another through the darkness.
Many hopeful land-seekers at Arkansas City intended to ride in on the Santa Fe Railway line that crossed the territory through the very heart of the Oklahoma Lands. Similarly, thousands crowded the station at Purcell, filling a special "boomer train" to overflowing.
Rail stations at Guthrie, Edmond, Oklahoma (City), Verbeck (Moore), and Norman, created when the line was built in 1886–87, offered high potential for townsites. Kingfisher, not then a rail town but a land office location like Guthrie, was also a site of choice for settlers and townsite companies.
Although the opening was directed principally to agricultural allotments, many who made the run were just as interested in the attendant opportunities that came with the creation of towns and community governance. The Seminole Townsite and Improvement Company was the most prominent of several promotional ventures that had been formed. This entity, founded by officials of the Santa Fe line, enjoyed the privilege of entering the Oklahoma Lands early and surveying the townsite plats at the various stations. Further, their men were aboard the first trains, ready to jump off and begin staking their claims. But there were other groups that would likewise conduct townsite surveys, the result of which would be the selling of conflicting town lots to buyers and creating added havoc in an already chaotic situation. Oklahoma City, Edmond, and Guthrie were all so affected.
Some who made the run sought to beat others to choice homesteads by entering early and hiding out until the legal time of entry. These people came to be known as "sooners." The hundreds of legal contests that arose from this practice would be decided first at local land offices, then by the Department of the Interior. Argument would arise over what constituted the "legal time of entry"—sun time at high noon, or meridian time.
In theory, the rush for land would be monitored by U.S. troops. By fact, however, the thinly manned armed force maintained surveillance over only a small portion of the extensive perimeter of the Oklahoma Lands. The troops that escorted the Caldwell and Arkansas City overland caravans monitored the line on the north. Troops were likewise stationed west of Kingfisher and on the line at Fort Reno. A cavalry troop from Fort Sill arrived at Purcell on the day before the run, far too late to contain the settler mass from spreading out to unmonitored points, like 7-C Flats, along the eastern and southern boundaries.
The largest accumulations of contestants were at the line north of Mulhall and Guthrie, north of Kingfisher, and at Purcell. But thousands of others surrounded the Oklahoma Lands at other sites independently and in small conclaves. Not a few entered the run area ahead of time, joining the railroad men, carpenters, teamsters, woodcutters, soldiers, and federal officials. Many of the latter were considered to be "legal sooners" by virtue of their working in some capacity for the government. Among the most notorious to take advantage of their authority were U.S. marshals and their deputies.
April 22, 1889, dawned bright and clear upon the estimated fifty thousand people who surrounded the Unassigned Lands. As noon approached, horsemen and wagons crowded forth to positions on the line, among them a few hardy women. Because of the social restraints of the day few African Americans were at the front, though many came in immediately behind the initial rush and were rightfully "Eighty-niners."
The great dramatic moment came when at the stroke of noon starting signals were given at the many points of entry. In some instances it was given by a blue-clad military officer firing his pistol or by his trumpeter, at times by a citizen firing his rifle in the air, or, as at Fort Reno, by the boom of a cannon. All produced the same results—a tumultuous avalanche of wagons and horsemen surging forward all in one breathtaking instant.
Families that remained behind at the line cheered as a husband or father made his wild dash to choose his 160 acres. He would then determine its range and township from the surveyors' cornerstone markers and plant a stake bearing notice of his name and location. Some would immediately begin making token improvements such as digging a well or arranging logs for a potential home. Others would hurry to the land office to register their claim.
The first of eight land-rush trains from Arkansas City, each loaded to the ceiling inside and atop with anxious contestants, reached the north line behind the opening charge. The train arrived in Guthrie at 1:25 p.m. to find the newly born town already brimming with people. "Looking like a giant centipede with hundreds of arms and legs and heads sticking out everywhere," the double-engine boomer train from Purcell arrived at Oklahoma Station at 2:10 p.m.
April 22, 1889, was a day of chaos, excitement, and utter confusion. Men and women rushed to claim homesteads or to purchase lots in one of the many new towns that sprang into existence overnight. An estimated eleven thousand agricultural homesteads were claimed. There would be many hardships ahead, and many would be forced to contest others who claimed the same farm or lot. A few sooner contests made it to the U.S. Supreme Court. One precedent-setting case was Smith v. Townsend (1892), claimants at Edmond Station, in which it was determined that Alexander Smith, a Santa Fe worker, had acted illegally in making his run from the railroad right-of-way. The high court's ruling in this matter eventually caused many old boomers, such as William Couch and his family, to lose valuable claims in Oklahoma City and elsewhere. But April 22, 1889, was nonetheless a significant day in national history, one that gave birth to new hope for thousands of Americans and became an iconic image in the history of the West.
By setting the stage for non-Indian settlement of other sections of Indian Territory, the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 quickly led to the creation of Oklahoma Territory under the Organic Act of 1890 and ultimately to the formation of the forty-sixth state of the Union, Oklahoma, in 1907.
|Posted by Jerrald J President on April 5, 2018 at 8:35 PM||comments (0)|
The adoption of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution extended civil and legal protections to former slaves and prohibited states from disenfranchising voters “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Which means the 13th 14th and 15th Amendments are for "Descendants of Slaves"! By JJP
Landmark Legislation: The Enforcement Acts of 1870 and 1871
The adoption of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution extended civil and legal protections to former slaves and prohibited states from disenfranchising voters “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Forces in some states were at work, however, to deny black citizens their legal rights. Members of the Ku Klux Klan, for example, terrorized black citizens for exercising their right to vote, running for public office, and serving on juries. In response, Congress passed a series of Enforcement Acts in 1870 and 1871 (also known as the Force Acts) to end such violence and empower the president to use military force to protect African Americans.
In its first effort to counteract such use of violence and intimidation, Congress passed the Enforcement Act of May 1870, which prohibited groups of people from banding together "or to go in disguise upon the public highways, or upon the premises of another" with the intention of violating citizens’ constitutional rights. Even this legislation did not diminish harassment of black voters in some areas.
In December 1870, Senator Oliver H.P.T. Morton, an Indiana Republican, introduced a resolution requesting the president to communicate any information he had about certain incidents of threatened resistance to the execution of the laws of the United States. After the Senate adopted Morton's resolution, President Ulysses S. Grant submitted several War Department reports relating to events in several southern states. These reports were referred to the Select Committee of the Senate to Investigate the Alleged Outrages in the Southern States, chaired by Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts. In the next Congress the Joint Select Committee to Inquire into the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States broadened that mandate.
While these committees were investigating southern attempts to impede Reconstruction, the Senate passed two more Force acts, also known as the Ku Klux Klan acts, designed to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The Second Force Act, which became law in February 1871, placed administration of national elections under the control of the federal government and empowered federal judges and United States marshals to supervise local polling places. The Third Force Act, dated April 1871, empowered the president to use the armed forces to combat those who conspired to deny equal protection of the laws and to suspend habeas corpus, if necessary, to enforce the act.
While the Force acts and the publicity generated by the joint committee temporarily helped put an end to the violence and intimidation, the end of formal Reconstruction in 1877 allowed for a return of largescale disenfranchisement of African Americans.