The Biggest Ghetto in America

Conservatives – especially their Lawn Jockey black conservative servants, like to talk about black folks and the inner city. It, like almost everything conservatives have to say is a lie – a flim flam game.Since I was hammering the Wall Street Journal’s professional Uncle Tom, Jason Riley a few posts ago - let’s use one of his buckdances for his WSJ Massa’s as an example -

Liberals in general, and the black left in particular, like the idea of talking about racial problems, but in practice they typically ignore the most relevant aspects of any such discussion. Any candid debate on race and criminality in this country would have to start with the fact that blacks commit an astoundingly disproportionate number of crimes. African-Americans constitute about 13% of the population, yet between 1976 and 2005 blacks committed more than half of all murders in the U.S. The black arrest rate for most offenses—including robbery, aggravated assault and property crimes—is typically two to three times their representation in the population.

“High rates of black violence in the late twentieth century are a matter of historical fact, not bigoted imagination,” wrote the late Harvard Law professor William Stuntz in “The Collapse of American Criminal Justice.” “The trends reached their peak not in the land of Jim Crow but in the more civilized North, and not in the age of segregation but in the decades that saw the rise of civil rights for African Americans—and of African American control of city governments.”

The left wants to blame these outcomes on racial animus and “the system,” but blacks have long been part of running that system. Black crime and incarceration rates spiked in the 1970s and ’80s in cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia, under black mayors and black police chiefs. Some of the most violent cities in the U.S. today are run by blacks.

One more time for the Lawn Jockey set – the issue is POVERTY, not black folks, not white folks,not cities..The issue buckdancers is POVERTY.

The White Ghetto

There are lots of diversions in the Big White Ghetto, the vast moribund matrix of Wonder Bread–hued Appalachian towns and villages stretching from northern Mississippi to southern New York, a slowly dissipating nebula of poverty and misery with its heart in eastern Kentucky, the last redoubt of the Scots-Irish working class that picked up where African slave labor left off, mining and cropping and sawing the raw materials for a modern American economy that would soon run out of profitable uses for the class of people who 500 years ago would have been known, without any derogation, as peasants. Thinking about the future here and its bleak prospects is not much fun at all, so instead of too much black-minded introspection you have the pills and the dope, the morning beers, the endless scratch-off lotto cards, healing meetings up on the hill, the federally funded ritual of trading cases of food-stamp Pepsi for packs of Kentucky’s Best cigarettes and good old hard currency, tall piles of gas-station nachos, the occasional blast of meth, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, petty crime, the draw, the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers, and death: Life expectancies are short — the typical man here dies well over a decade earlier than does a man in Fairfax County, Va. — and they are getting shorter, women’s life expectancy having declined by nearly 1.1 percent from 1987 to 2007.

If the people here weren’t 98.5 percent white, we’d call it a reservation.

Driving through these hills and hollows, you aren’t in the Appalachia of Elmore Leonard’s Justified or squatting with Lyndon Johnson on Tom Fletcher’s front porch in Martin County, a scene famously photographed by Walter Bennett of Time, the image that launched the so-called War on Poverty. The music isn’t “Shady Grove,” it’s Kanye West. There is still coal mining — which, at $25 an hour or more, provides one of the more desirable occupations outside of government work — but the jobs are moving west, and Harlan County, like many coal-country communities, has lost nearly half of its population over the past 30 years.

There is here a strain of fervid and sometimes apocalyptic Christianity, and visions of the Rapture must have a certain appeal for people who already have been left behind. Like its black urban counterparts, the Big White Ghetto suffers from a whole trainload of social problems, but the most significant among them may be adverse selection: Those who have the required work skills, the academic ability, or the simple desperate native enterprising grit to do so get the hell out as fast as they can, and they have been doing that for decades. As they go, businesses disappear, institutions fall into decline, social networks erode, and there is little or nothing left over for those who remain. It’s a classic economic death spiral: The quality of the available jobs is not enough to keep good workers, and the quality of the available workers is not enough to attract good jobs. These little towns located at remote wide spots in helical mountain roads are hard enough to get to if you have a good reason to be here. If you don’t have a good reason, you aren’t going to think of one.

Appalachian places have evocative and unsentimental names denoting deep roots: Little Barren River, Coal Pit Road. The name “Cumberland” blankets Appalachian geography — the Cumberland Mountains, the Cumberland River, several Cumberland counties — in tribute to the Duke of Cumberland, who along with the Ulster Scots ancestors of the Appalachian settlers crushed the Young Pretender at the Battle of Culloden. Even church names suggest ancient grievances: Separate Baptist, with the descriptor in all-capital letters. (“Come out from among them and be ye separate” — 2 Corinthians 6:17.) I pass a church called “Welfare Baptist,” which, unfortunately, describes much of the population for miles and miles around. Continue reading

Republican District Hurt By Budget Cuts

Last night’s Gubernatorial election in Virginia went about as expected, although the Republican challenger was a bit closer than projected. Looking at the voting acrss the State, the more populaous and prosperous areas voted overwhelmingly Democrat, while rural counties and the southwestern mountain are voted heavily Republican.

There are a lot of similarities between those areas and the area in this article in Kentucky. Poor white folks voting for their own misery… wonder when these folks are going to finally wake up and realize their Tea Party representatives don’t give a damn about their welfare.

Austerity deals harsh blow to already stricken land

Republican Congressman Hal Rogers brought so many federal dollars home to eastern Kentucky’s coal country, he was crowned “Prince of Pork.”

Now that spigot has been turned off, just when his district might actually need it the most.

Competition from natural gas, cheaper coal, and environmental regulations have hastened the demise of the mining industry here, already in decline. More than 6,200 eastern Kentucky miners have been laid off since July 2011. There are now fewer coal jobs here than in 1920, when the great-grandfathers of today’s miners wielded shovels and pick-axes.

But sequestration—a series of across-the-board spending cuts that many Tea Party Republicans have come to embrace—and other austerity measures have accelerated the economic free fall. Unemployment benefits to laid-off miners are shrinking; fewer meals are getting delivered to homebound seniors; and there’s less money to help workers retool for new jobs. Beginning Friday, food stamps will be cut by an average of $36 per month for a family of four.

It’s yet another blow to struggling Appalachian mining towns like Harlan, where the mayor estimates that 15% of the town’s residents have moved out in the past year, searching for work elsewhere.

Unsold guns are piling up in pawnshops. Even the local mortician is feeling the pinch: grieving relatives are downgrading from hardwood coffins to two-gauge steel, and ordering five baskets of flowers instead of twenty or thirty. “If I don’t sell to the coal people, I don’t sell,” one Harlan businessman explained.

Rogers has been one of the few Republicans to slam sequestration as devastating, unworkable, and unrealistic. Unless Congress decides otherwise, $109 billion in cuts will continue every year until 2021—a budget that Rogers must implement as chair of the House Appropriations Committee. But many of his Republicans colleagues have embraced the $85 billion in cuts this year as guaranteed spending cuts. It’s unlikely that budget negotiations that started this week in Congress will reverse all of them.

The incremental nature of sequestration —slow rolling, local, and scattered unevenly nationwide—has made the belt-tightening hard to measure and easy to dismiss since the cuts took effect in March. “The people that I’ve talked to seem to be doing well,” Missouri Rep. Billy Long said in April. “In fact, when I got out in restaurants here in town, people come up to me. They want to see more sequestration, not less.”

Even some Democrats believe the White House overhyped the cuts when it made dire predictions about their impact, some of which didn’t pan out. “I think they probably went over the top in terms of saying that the consequences were going to be horrible. The lines in the airports aren’t long, the world hasn’t changed overnight,” said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.

But Harlan sees long lines. They are in the unemployment office, filled with out-of-work miners chasing any rumor of jobs left to be had. A TV in the waiting area explains how federal cuts have chipped away at the safety net most had hoped they would never need.

“Sequestration…What does that mean for you? Your Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits that begin on or after March 31, 2013 must be reduced 10.7% for each week of unemployment through September 2013.”

“Sequestration is a terrible way to do business. I’ve said it since day one. It slices the good with the bad, and removes the duty of Congress to ensure vital programs, like Head Start and various grant programs receive adequate support,” Rogers told MSNBC. “Couple those deep cuts with the rapid loss of coal mining jobs in eastern Kentucky and we’re now facing an economic superstorm.”

For Donnie Reeves, 40, each passing week of unemployment means less security. He lost his mining job in March, just weeks before his wife Tiffanie lost her job as a teaching assistant. “After December, it’s no more unemployment, no more nothing,” he said in August.

“I would have to work a minimum of three jobs, each 40 hours a week at minimum wage. That’s to keep the lights on. No groceries, no gas,” said Donnie, who made $70,000 in his best year.

Donnie spent the summer retraining for a factory job through an emergency federal program spared—this time—from sequestration’s axe. Tiffanie found a job helping unemployed Kentuckians like her husband find work.

But with two teenage kids and their hometown’s economy in tatters, the Reeves know that their future may lie outside Harlan, leaving behind a family rooted here for more than 120 years.

“Tiff,” he told her last spring, when they were first considering the idea, “we’re giving up.”…

The New Jim Crow – Racism or Class?

An interesting view from Author Robert D. Putnam on inequalities in American society and the economy. Putnam believes that racism isn’t the major impediment to economic mobility in the country anymore – class is. And as far as that goes he may be correct. However, in weighing whether racism is an issue – a lot depends on just what you define as “racism”. The conservative view of that is “we aren’t hanging you from trees and burning down your homes anymore – so there is no racism”. Of course to anyone else with an IQ above freezing water – racism is a lot more nuanced that just physical acts of depravity. I mean – just because you aren’t shooting me – doesn’t mean you aren’t trying to kill me with a knife.

Robert Putnam: Class Now Trumps Race as the Great Divide in America

Robert D. Putnam, author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, issued a strong warning to anti-poverty advocates at a forum on social connectedness at the Aspen Ideas Festival Saturday, urging the audience to get beyond talking about poverty and race and start thinking about social mobility and class instead.

“Those two conceptual moves, framing it as poverty and thinking about it as a matter of race, have a very deep history… and I think both politically and analytically that’s an almost fatally flawed framework,” said Putnam, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, in response to remarks from co-panelists Anne Mosle, vice president of policy at the Aspen Institute, and Mario Small, chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago.

“You say poverty to most ordinary Americans, most ordinary voters, they think black ghettos,” he continued, whereas over the last couple of generations “class, not race is the dominant — and becoming more dominant — dimension of difficulty here.”

“Relatively speaking, racial differences controlling for class are decreasing while class differences controlling for race are increasing in America,” he said. “Non-white folks with a college education are looking more and more like white folks with a college education and white folks who haven’t gotten beyond high school are looking more and more like nonwhite folks who haven’t finished high school.” Continue reading

If There Were a 1% Debate… MLK vs. Romney

What would MLK do? What would MLK say?

There is very little evidence that MLK would have anything good to say about today’s Republican Party. Indeed – for many folks today’s Republican have gone about as low as you can go.

Here is a mash up of points by MLK and “Willard” Romney…

O’Reilly vs Tavis Smiley and Cornel West

Cornel West and Tavis Smiley have a tete a tete over poverty, Occupy Wall Street, and jobs…

OReilly’s 9% “addiction” number is questionable – when he ties it to poverty.

Lot of rich junkies in this country.

American Tent Cities

What is the difference between Picture 1 and Picture 2?

But they live here and allowed me inside

Picture 1

 

Picture 2

 

Picture 1 is in America – right here in New Jersey. It, and the “Tent City” it is in, are all some luckless Americans have to live in anymore.  Picture 2 is of a Tent City in Haiti.

They, a poor country to begin with,  suffered a massive earthquake, destroying tens of thousands of homes and villages… These Americans are trying to survive the impact of conservatism in America, where our country’s jobs and manufacturing have been sold to the lowest bidder, and 28% of the Middle Class has fallen into poverty. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, with no chance of getting them back anytime soon. Millions of Americans have lost their homes due to predatory lending and the bust of the Credit bubble. Millions try and survive without Healthcare.

It is the Second Great Depression.

I see Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas leading in the Republican Primaries bragging on his Texas Economic Miracle…

Except it seems that the Texas Economic Miracle is about as fake as the Texas Education Miracle under the last Texas Governor to run for the Presidency.

Texas ranks 6th in terms of people living in poverty. Some 18.4% of Texans were impoverished in 2010, up from 17.3% a year earlier, according to Census Bureau data released this week. The national average is 15.1%.

And being poor in Texas isn’t easy. The state has one of the lowest rates of spending on its citizens per capita and the highest share of those lacking health insurance. It doesn’t provide a lot of support services to those in need: Relatively few collect food stamps and qualifying for cash assistance is particularly tough.

Lot of folks figured out former Governor, former President Bush was “all hat an no cattle” to borrow a Texas phrase. Seems that Governor Perry doesn’t even have the “hat” part right.

Which is why the Tea Party Republicans are trying so hard to sell racism against the nation’s first black President…

Instead of politics.

 

 

The New Jim Crow – Virtual Slavery – Republicans Bring Back Chain Gangs to Replace Paid Labor and Illegal Immigrants

Post Civil War Much of the South Was Rebuilt By Prison Labor Slavery

Chain Gangs were once a fixture in the South. Used as a slavery replacement strategy, prisoners – almost exclusively black, were used for everything from rebuilding the City of Atlanta after the Civil War to picking cotton, and laying railroad tracks.

The Prison Slavery System is making a big comeback, with major corporations – and in states which have driven out their “illegal immigrants”, now need Prison labor to pick the crops.

With black unemployment hovering at 16.5%, and teen unemployment hovering at 50% – in conservative America, if you are black – you have to go to jail to get a job.

Wisconsin Republicans aren’t that ambitious…yet.

Prison inmates replace unionized workers in Racine, Wisconsin

 

Prison inmates have replaced union workers in Racine County, Wisconsin, thanks to the changes to the states collective bargaining laws that went into effect at the end of June.

The Journal Times reported prison inmates will now be able to do tasks such as landscaping, painting, and shoveling sidewalks in the winter that were previously performed by unionized employees.

Inmates are not required to do any work for the county, but can receive time off their sentence if they do. Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig said the use of prison labor would not result in any public works staff reductions.

“We’re gonna have them do landscaping at county buildings, have them pick up trash on the roads,” he told local Fox News 6. “So we can use some of the county personnel to do difficult tasks, such as putting in a parking lot at the park.”

Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a non-fiscal version of his budget plan into law in March that stripped nearly all collective bargaining rights from Wisconsin public workers, giving officials the power to make many changes affecting workers without formal negotiations.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 146 other followers