July 26, 2010

Funny … and Sad But True

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:46 pm

From James Pethokoukis at Reuters:

Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, doesn’t want tax rates to reset higher at the end of this year, even for the rich. The White House and the Treasury think differently. Here’s how an off-the-record Bernanke might try to talk Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, around to his point of view.

From: Ben Bernanke
To: Tim Geithner
Subject: Bush tax cuts
Date: July 25, 2010

T-Dawg: First, major congrats on getting the financial reform bill passed. Trust me, I don’t want to have to make another late-night trip to Capitol Hill to beg Congress to bail out the banks. (Still worried about TBTF, though.) Man, can that Pelosi give a guy the evil eye! Hope the bill doesn’t cost you that future CEO gig at Goldman! (Totally joking!)

Read the whole thing.

The sad part is that Team Obama probably has too much invested in letting taxes rise, and too little political capital to risk angering their nutroots base, without which they might lose Congress AND the Senate. Barring a major sea change, Geithner wins, and the U.S. economy loses.

Charles Sherrod Explains It All (Sort of)

Here is the longer, 4-1/2 minute version of what is originally posted at Riehl World View (direct YouTube).

Charles Sherrod, husband of Shirley, has sort of explained the history behind the lawsuit that led to a $13 million court settlement that included a combined $300,000 in pain and suffering awards to Mr. and Mrs. Sherrod.

In January 2010, Mr. Sherrod gave a 26-minute speech (“Rev. Charles Sherrod Delivers Keynote Address at Race and Law Conference”) at “’50 Years After the Sit-Ins,’ a conference at the University of Virginia School of Law”).

In the process, Sherrod also revealed much of his attitudinal outlook. I’ll let him indict himself without comment (beyond bolding). I’ll also note that I can’t explain some obvious factual discrepancies contained therein, and therefore won’t try to:

Transcript (as noted, an edited version of a longer speech):

Ten years ago, we held in group ownership a non-profit organization called New Communities Incorporated. We farmed it for 17 years. We held onto it for that number of years.

Then we had five straight years of drought.

Then we had a three-year fight with USDA, just to get the right to get loans for drought, when all around us plantations, all kinds of plantations, that we proved were getting loans. And they were saying that since we’re a corporation, we’re not an individual, we’re not a farm.

It took us three years to win that fight, then four more years of late payments from USDA that caused us to lose this land.

We appealed to hundreds of black and white groups to save the land. $250 a(n) acre to save 6,000 acres. Lookin’ for 6,000 people to give $250 to save 6,000 acres of land, the largest piece of land owned by blacks in the country anywhere in a single tract. Muslims owned more land than we did but not in a single tract.

We lost that 6,000 acres in 1985. We sued the federal government because we were faithful, and had good lawyers. We won a large sum of money so that New Communities could live again and will live again. A large sum of money, large … (makes three four-fingered hand signals with his right hand) … sum of money — so that New Communities, a project to stabilize Southern farmers, to create a food delivery system from the South to our people in the North, and participate creatively in the international trade, were our three objectives.

So that possibility is yet alive. Young people, you will be making more money than we ever dreamed of. Please find a way, find a way that we can trust each other. So that our monies can work for our total liberation. We have ideas, inventions, athletic talents. But our labor and our monies and our contracts usually end up in white folks’ hands and pockets. When will we trust our own?

Finally we must stop the white man and his Uncle Toms from stealing our elections. We must not be afraid to vote black. We must not be afraid to turn a black out who votes against our interests.

For full context, I listened but didn’t fully watch the 26-minute original (taking notes while the video ran). There are couple of other choice nuggets that I’ll refrain from noting, but nothing that affects the context of what I’ve transcribed.

I guess none of what Mr. Sherrod said at the time was controversial enough to be considered newsworthy at the time. I wonder if that would have been the case if, say, a moderately well-known white man had made a speech suggesting that “we have to stop blacks from stealing elections”?

AmSpec’s Jeffrey Lord: ‘Sherrod Story False’ (Update: The Definition of ‘Lynch’)

The American Specator’s Jeffrey Lord, thanks to outstanding research, has done a definitive analysis (print version) of the nature of and circumstances surrounding the death of Bobby Hall.

In her now-infamous NAACP speech, Shirley Sherrod asserted that Hall was “lynched” in the 1940s.

Read the whole thing. I will only present Lord’s opening and conclusion.

The opening:

It isn’t true.

Shirley Sherrod’s story in her now famous speech about the lynching of a relative is not true.

Lord proves that the relative, Bobby Hall, was not “lynched.” Court documents that went all the way to the Supreme Court recounting the circumstances of his murder that everyone agreed with demonstrate that.

Bobby Hall was murdered. Lord allows for the possibility that Ms. Sherrod doesn’t know that Hall was murdered and not lynched, given the 65 years that have passed since the Supreme Court’s decision and the possibility that she has mistakenly learned family or other folklore and not the true account of the events that occurred. Fair enough.

Intentionally or not, Sherrod’s story as told in her NAACP speech is false. Anyone who knows anything about the South’s post-Reconstruction/Jim Crow history knows that although the crimes are both obviously heinous, there is a crucial difference between saying that “he was murdered” and claiming “he was lynched.”

As to why justice wasn’t done, here’s Lord’s powerful conclusion (bolds are mine):

… Here’s a suggestion.

The next time Ms. Sherrod visits Washington, she can take a trip up to Capitol Hill.

First, she can visit the Supreme Court of the United States, and ponder the connection between progressivism and racism. Take a look inside the ornate chamber where on May 7, 1945, Justice Hugo Black, a lifetime member of the Ku Klux Klan honored with a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court, an honor made possible because he used his racism to support the New Deal, voted to overturn the conviction of Sheriff Claude Screws for beating Bobby Hall to death.

Then a short stroll adown the street and she can visit another of Capitol Hill’s enduring monuments: The Richard B. Russell United States Senate Office Building. As she strolls down its old marble corridors, surrounded by the offices of powerful United States Senators and their staffs, she perhaps can take the time to reflect once again on the night her father was murdered. And that the very building in which she walks is named in honor of the progressive/racist Democrat who was without doubt responsible for helping lots of Georgia farmers on a scale even Sherrod might not be able to imagine. But to do that he had to help create and nurture the atmosphere that made her father’s death — and that of Bobby Hall — possible.

Perhaps, just perhaps, she’ll even wonder if she understands just how much her own career and the things she said in that famous speech are sounding to some ears ever-so-slightly just like those of Justice Black and Senator Russell. Down the scale a bit — a bureaucrat is not the same as a Senator or a Justice — but still finding herself on the same scale nonetheless. A little concern for the poor folks here, a few government farm dollars and jobs over there and — oh yes- a little dropping of the race card here and there so those jobs and dollars keep flowing.

Maybe she can even tell us why she stood up in front of the NAACP and said something that was completely, totally, untrue.

There is no reason in the world this episode cannot move race relations forward. Ms. Sherrod seems like a good person. But as with alcoholics and drug addicts, those addicted to the potent political cocktail of the progressive racism variety need somehow to be able to summon the guts to stand up and say the problem is not with Fox News or Andrew Breitbart or Tea Parties or anyone else.

Fox News and Andrew Breitbart are not the ones who killed Bobby Hall and then overturned his (killer’s) conviction.

Fox News and Andrew Breitbart are not the ones who killed Shirley Sherrod’s father in 1965.

And Fox News and Andrew Breitbart are not the ones who went out of their way to honor (KKK member) Hugo Black and (outspoken white supremacist) Richard Russell with a Supreme Court nomination and the naming of a Senate Office Building.

We know who did these things. And when Shirley Sherrod finally gets a minute’s peace — so should she.

A year before the 1965 murder of Shirley Sherrod’s father, Republican votes overcame strong Southern Democrat opposition to ensure that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law. At the time, Georgia Senator Richard Russell, Democrat, said the following:

We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states.

No one, especially Shirley Sherrod, should ever forget that the party of the person whose deciding Supreme Court vote let Bobby Hall’s killer go free begins with a “D,” and that the party of the white supremacist after whom a Senate office building was named also begins with that same letter.

___________________________________________________

UPDATE: Sherrod’s/Obama’s desperate defenders, as well as a few people who should know better (and would, if they hadn’t started typing before thinking, have attacked Lord for asserting the obvious, namely that Bobby Hall was NOT lynched. Part of Lord’s response:

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary defines lynching as: “to put to death, esp. hanging by mob action and without legal authority.”

I have read the Court’s decision. Three people are not a “mob.” A mob is defined as a “large crowd.” So there was no “mob action” because there was no mob. Second, the Supreme Court specifically said the Sheriff and his deputy and a local policeman acted “under color of law.” Which means they had legal authority.

So to say that Bobby Hall was lynched is, factually, according to the Supreme Court and, if you prefer, Webster’s, not true. No mob. Therefore no “mob action.” And the three had “legal authority.”

… So when Ms. Sherrod uses the highly inflammatory word “lynching” — when it is quite specifically not so because of the above reasons — what is she doing? Why is she doing it? She was factually wrong. She was legally wrong. She did it anyway.

I say all Lord needed was the fact that Hall wasn’t hung. The “mob” and “legal authority” points are bonuses.

As noted earlier, it would be unfair not to hold out the possibility that at the time of her speech Shirley Sherrod had been misled by relatives’ and/or others’ characterizations of Bobby Hall’s death. If so, she knows better now. Maybe she’ll have the courage to admit it, but I doubt it.

Kudlow Alludes to the Concentration of Corporate Power

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:14 am

In the process of echoing something I mentioned in my Pajamas Media column and others elsewhere have mentioned, Larry Kudlow (“Job Market Fix Does Not Rest With Bernanke”) briefly pointed to a de facto concentration of economic power that is underway:

At the end of two days of testimony, Bernanke’s message seemed to be this: Expect the zero-interest-rate policy to be extended for another year. Futures markets now predict free money until September 2011.

Whether the economic outlook is as downbeat as Bernanke suggests is an interesting question. The vast majority of corporate profit reports for the second quarter show better-than-expected earnings and top-line revenues.

In other words, the CEOs are a lot less pessimistic about the future economy than Wall Street or Main Street.

P&L statements from companies one would find listed in the Dow 30, S&P 500, and/or NASDAQ 100 are pretty strong, especially when generally compared to everyone else.

In doctrinaire leftist circles, this should because for a collective “oops.” After all, isn’t the socialist agenda all about cutting big corporations down to size instead of watching them prosper?

In the useful idiots’ corner, yes. In the power-hungry real world, no.

Big companies will generally do better in a statist regime — at least for a time — because they have the army of lawyers, lobbyists, and compliance people who can deal with thousands of pages of new legislation and the accompanying tens of thousands of pages of regulations that follow. They can figure out how to (again, for a time) make peace with the alligator and arrange for it not to eat them first. They’re also in a better position to cut through the tangled web of red tape and jump through the ever-increasing number of hoops required to get government work, which becomes more important as statists grow their direct and indirect control of the economy.

Unless and until, of course, they mess up in some public fashion (e.g., BP). Hell hath no fury like a statist taking advantage of a serious corporate error.

When in power, statists prefer a smaller number of corporate subjects, as they’re easier to manage than hundreds of thousands of feisty, independent-thinking little guys and gals.

Well, at least there’s a big-picture payoff for this “order,” right? Wrong.

Small businesses create most jobs, especially in a recovery, as many old ways of doing things get thrown overboard and new ideas and products emerge. But the “regime uncertainty” (Amity Shlaes’ term) FDR first introduced into the economic landscape, and which the Obama administration has deliberately chosen to multiply, causes businesses small and large to pull back from risk-taking and to keep their payrolls at the minimum level necessary to muddle through.

Thus we have the worst of both worlds: a recovery where economic power becomes more concentrated at the top and job creation is mediocre at best.

This is what the electorate chose in 2008. Too bad it wasn’t what was advertised. But make no mistake: The concentration of power was fully intended; the lack of a job-loss recovery may or may not have been, but it was an inevitable accompaniment.

Positivity: An American Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:58 am

Read Michael S. Malone’s moving tribute to his mother, who died on July 4. What a remarkable life indeed.