July 23, 2010

Shirley Sherrod’s Race-Based Grievance-Mongering: Right at Home With Team Obama

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:44 pm

A revealing look at a 2007 report by a “community” organization with which Sherrod had a long affiliation.

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It would be easy to leave this alone, but I shouldn’t, and won’t.

The media narrative is supposedly settled: Poor, put-upon black woman gets accused of racism, is “vindicated,” gets job back. Andrew Breitbart bad, Shirley Sherrod angelic.

Dan Riehl at Human Events correctly says: “Horse manure” (bolds are mine) –

Breitbart’s web-posting of the speech showed more racism at one NAACP event than those charging Republicans and Tea Parties with racism have yet to produce after making accusations for months on end.

But it is Breitbart who should be convicted for false charges in the court of public opinion? That is totally absurd given the actual facts.

Sherrod twice decried present-day racism, as if it was 400 years ago. That suggests a person whose views on race have not truly changed at all. But she doesn’t stop there. Sherrod says, “I haven’t seen such mean-spirited people as I have seen lately over this issue, healthcare. Some of the racism we thought was buried, didn’t it surface.”

In Sherrod’s world, no one is allowed to object to a significant Obama-supported policy change impacting the healthcare of all Americans without being labeled a racist. Clearly Sherrod sees everything through the lens of color or race. If her view is not racist, it is supremely ignorant and unfit for a public official. It is meant to marginalize any and all legitimate opposition to a political act. Sherrod is merely projecting her own racism into a perfectly rational, legitimate political debate so as to avoid it. That is not democracy; it is race-based demagogy commonly employed by racists everywhere. And still she was not done.

During the Bush years, says Sherrod, “We didn’t do the stuff these Republicans are doing because you have a black President.” Gone is any valid argument over actual policy, fiscal restraint, government growth, or control of healthcare—supported or opposed by entire national political parties. In Sherrod’s world, everything is all and only about race. If that isn’t a tenet of racism, then what is? Without ignorant race-based presumptions, otherwise known as racism, Sherrod’s entire scope of political argument falls apart.

Now the woman has bared her statist, Stalinist fangs:

She agreed with the (CNN) hosts that it would be a “great thing” if (Breitbart’s web site) Big Government was shut down. “I don’t see how that advances us in this country.”

“Shut down”? Who would do this? Why, the real big government.

Since she’s going on the offensive, she’s still fair game.

So just for the heck of it, let’s look at a June 2007 report (large PDF) called “The Status of Human Rights For Southern Rural Black Women,” by The Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic and Social Justice (SRBWI). In 2007, Sherrod was identified in the report as the group’s “State Lead” for Georgia and a member of its Regional Advisory Board.

The SRBWI, which has dutifully placed a “we support Shirley” narrative on its home page, has acknowledged administrative support from the Children’s Defense Fund, whose Maria Wright Edelman wrote a brief foreword to the 2007 report.

This bunch seems to think that it’s still 1948 (bolds are mine):

(Page 8 of PDF) “About this report”

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948, guarantees the rights of all people to economic, social, cultural, political and civil rights. Many of the rights outlined in the global declaration exist only as empty promises for some citizens across the United States.”

(Page 53 of PDF, Page 46 of report) “Call to action”

“Since 1948, violations of human rights have been addressed in countries across the world, but seldom in the United States.”

It’s as if the 1964 Civil Rights Act (passed thanks to Republicans) never happened. It’s as if there was no War on Poverty (it wasn’t effective, but that’s not the point here; these people act as if there wasn’t even any effort).

The group’s “Call to Action” (Page 53 of PDF, Page 46 of actual report) is right out of the radical playbook, and is really a “gimme” list (bolds are mine):

Everyone who works should have the right to jobs that pay enough to ensure an existence worthy of human dignity.

… Children should be provided after-school and summer educational supports to help them make up for lost time and overcome previous continuing school disparities.

Every person should have the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of families, including food, clothing, housing, transportation and medical care and necessary social services …

… decent housing in America should be a given.

No one is disputing that there aren’t serious problems in the rural south. What should be obvious by now, but clearly isn’t, is that passive “solutions” involving presumptive “rights” that don’t exist which require the government to provide (i.e., to take money from other people and give it to the politically aggrieved) aren’t solutions at all. But in the SRBWI’s grievance-obsessed world, which is Shirley Sherrod’s world, that’s all there is.

Hers is a mindset that should have no place in government administration. Sadly, it’s a mindset that is has gained dominance in the Obama administration.

Bureaucracies and Universities: The Left’s ‘Chokepoint Charlies’

OfficialStatistsCertificateOfPermisAt the nation’s universities and in government bureaucracies, “Chokepoint Charlies” have the power to end careers and control people’s lives — and they do abuse it.

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Note: This column went up at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday.

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In the days of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War, “Checkpoint Charlie” was a border crossing point between East and West Berlin. Its obvious purpose was to prevent those who wished to escape the Communist tyranny of East Germany from doing so. In the roughly 2-1/2 years before the Wall’s construction choked off the flow, roughly 550,000 East Germans fled to the West.

The communists had their checkpoints. Leftists have their chokepoints. Those who occupy positions in university systems, government bureaucracies, and unions, often with the active assistance of the courts, serve as the system’s “Chokepoint Charlies.” You can’t get through or move on unless you comply with their demands or behave according to their established norms. This column will focus on the first two sets of Chokepoint Charlies.

In university systems, the most obvious chokepoint is tenure. If you achieve it, you have a position for life; if you don’t, your career is essentially over. Not surprisingly, leftist-dominated universities have used denial of tenure as a principal means of culling promising conservative professors, or even usually reliable liberals who utter occasional center-right thoughts, from their faculties’ ranks.

Other university chokepoints are in the classroom. For the most part, it’s still true that if you’re bright enough, apply yourself, keep your head down, and avoid making too many waves, you’ll get through. But if you happen to incur the wrath of an intolerant radical prof by expressing a dissenting view, no matter how well-supported, you may find yourself with a failing grade, a lengthy redress or appeals process with less than assured results, and perhaps the inability, at least at that university, to go on to the next step in your desired major.

Perhaps the most dangerous chokepoint at universities is in research. If your line of inquiry leads to conclusions that are contrary to established beliefs — say, just for the heck of it, if you find evidence that the earth really hasn’t been warming, or even if it is warming that it’s not significantly influenced by human activity — there’s more than a slight chance that your “peer reviewers” won’t be impressed, and that your next funding request may not be granted. Just like that, you’re on the outside looking in. As seen in the ClimateGate e-mails, you’ll also be the recipient of major grief, up to and including active attempts to prevent your work’s publication, from agenda-driven ideologues who are secondarily and not primarily scientists.

If there’s a solution that will lead to the elimination of higher education’s chokepoints, the relentless college cost bubble, where tuition and fees are entering at least their fifth decade of rising faster than general inflation by a substantial margin, may present the opportunity. The past year’s increases, in the presence of nearly zero inflation, have been particularly offensive. I believe the entire mechanism of higher education needs a comprehensive re-think. If you don’t, ask yourself this question: Given today’s technology, if the buildings, dorms, and stadiums weren’t already there, would you organize a university system as it is organized today? I didn’t think so.

Then there are the far more pervasive chokepoints that come courtesy of government. Almost inevitably, the left takes something that started out as something desirable and develops it into a political or statist tool to assert control.

For an extreme example, take the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In the early 1970s, the idea of doing something about legitimately problematic pollution was a good one. But going after law-breaking polluters and protecting the air and water supplies was hardly enough for the radical environmentalist movement. Their minions have worked tirelessly and relentlessly during the EPA’s 40-year existence to morph it into the $10 billion command-and-control center it is today. Along the way, they received substantial help from Congress, which conferred automatic “standing” to their “public interest” groups in litigation, and the courts, which ultimately and incredibly decided that what humans and other living things exhale is a pollutant. Now, if Congress is able to pass cap and trade, the agency will be well on its way to possessing its Holy Grail of chokepoints: the ability to dictate financial consequences for virtually any human action that is somehow seen in their eyes to have some potential to negatively impact Dear Mother Earth.

The nation’s healthcare system is another key weapon in the statists’ chokepoint arsenal. Of course, the idea of protecting seniors from catastrophic health care costs had considerable appeal in the mid-1960s. Too bad that this is only a small portion of what Congress passed. Medicare led instead to government dominance of over-65 health care. How interesting, and unsurprising, that Medicare has the worst record in the key chokepoint area of rejected medical claims.

Decades later, having gained additional beachheads in children’s health care and prescription drugs (one of the saddest examples of opportunistic capitulation by alleged conservatives in our history), health care’s Chokepoint Charlies are on the cusp of achieving control over the entire sector. If the recess-appointed radical whom President Obama has placed in charge of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid get his way — a man who believes that spending 8% of GDP on healthcare is quite enough (currently it’s about 17%) — the term “chokepoint” may take on a whole new meaning for seniors and others needing life-saving or life-improving treatment.

In the two examples cited and in so many other areas, the government’s Chokepoint Charlies have taken decades to build up their powers, and will of course fiercely resist relinquishing it. Reining them in will more than likely also require decades. A prerequisite to reversing their constantly hardening tyranny is getting enough voters to wake up to what has happened already, and to how recognize much worse it could really get. Despite all the premature end-zone dancing, I’m not at all convinced that we’re there yet.

James Webb’s WSJ Op-Ed: No Free Passes Here, Pal (‘Do As I Say, Not As I Have Campaigned and Voted’)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:21 am

From the Virginia Democratic Senator’s op-ed today:

Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege

… Forty years ago, as the United States experienced the civil rights movement, the supposed monolith of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant dominance served as the whipping post for almost every debate about power and status in America. After a full generation of such debate, WASP elites have fallen by the wayside and a plethora of government-enforced diversity policies have marginalized many white workers. The time has come to cease the false arguments and allow every American the benefit of a fair chance at the future.

… Contrary to assumptions in the law, white America is hardly a monolith. And the journey of white American cultures is so diverse (yes) that one strains to find the logic that could lump them together for the purpose of public policy.

… The old South was a three-tiered society, with blacks and hard-put whites both dominated by white elites who manipulated racial tensions in order to retain power. At the height of slavery, in 1860, less than 5% of whites in the South owned slaves. The eminent black historian John Hope Franklin wrote that “fully three-fourths of the white people in the South had neither slaves nor an immediate economic interest in the maintenance of slavery.”

… Nondiscrimination laws should be applied equally among all citizens, including those who happen to be white. The need for inclusiveness in our society is undeniable and irreversible, both in our markets and in our communities. Our government should be in the business of enabling opportunity for all, not in picking winners. It can do so by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes.

Memo to my fellow politicians: Drop the Procrustean policies and allow harmony to invade the public mindset. Fairness will happen, and bitterness will fade away.

Truly noble sentiments, but you’ll excuse me if I have a problem with Mr. Webb’s sincerity.

That’s because of three obvious questions which Mr. Webb must confront:

  • Where were you when your 2006 election opponent was being mercilessly smeared by an agenda-driven press over totally bogus charges of racism?
  • Who did you vote for in the 2008 presidential election?
  • How many white privilege myth-assuming minority set-aside and reverse-discriminating provisions contained in Barack Obama’s bogus stimulus plan, statist health care plan, and so-called financial services plan have you enabled with your three “yes” votes, the third of which occurred mere days ago?

The answers, I believe, are:

  • “I did nothing, or almost nothing.”
  • “Racial Greivance Monger in Chief Barack Obama.”
  • Lots and lots,” clearly totaling “dozens.” One example: The financial services bill ” creates the Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion in at least 20 federal financial services agencies.”

If the three answers are as I believe they are, Mr. Webb has aided and abetted the very things he is criticizing today for almost four years.

No one should believe that a word of what Webb has written is sincere unless and until we see and hear at least three  heartfelt “I was wrong, I am sorry” statements.

Positivity: Canonization cause for murdered Oklahoma priest moves to Rome

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:44 am

From Oklahoma City:

Jul 23, 2010 / 05:35 am

The archdiocesan phase of Fr. Stanley Rother’s cause for canonization came to a close in a Mass this week at Our Lady’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City. The local archbishop expressed his conviction during the homily that the missionary is a martyr and a saint.

Fr. Rother spent 13 years in Guatemala as a parish priest in Santiago Atitlan, a small town caught up in the Guatemalan Civil War in the 1970s and 80s. Aware that his life was in danger he returned to Oklahoma in Jan. 1981, but, recognizing that his heart was with the people, he returned just months later.

He was assassinated on July 28 of that year by three men who broke into the mission rectory.

Fr. Rother’s cause for canonization was initiated in Oct. 2006 when Archbishop of Oklahoma City, Eusebius J. Beltran, commissioned a committee to collect information about his life and the circumstances that led to his death. He also contracted a canon lawyer, Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, to act as postulator in Rome.

Dr. Ambrosi’s law firm specializes in causes for beatification and canonization. Incidentally, they are also managing the cause Cardinal John Henry Newman, who will be beatified by the Pope on Sept. 19.

After the extensive documentation was compiled on the life and service of the Oklahoma priest and verified by an archdiocesan tribunal in a rigorous 33-month process, just this week it was consigned to Dr. Ambrosi, thus beginning the “Roman phase” of the cause.

Go here for the rest of the story. …