Category Archives: War on the Poor

Fun With Deportation

The NYT decided to actually investigate something this week because they thought the result would embarrass Obama (their main criteria for greenlighting political exposes). It does. It also embarrasses the whole Democrat party.

With the Obama administration deporting illegal immigrants at a record pace, the president has said the government is going after “criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the community, not after students, not after folks who are here just because they’re trying to figure out how to feed their families.”

But a New York Times analysis of internal government records shows that since President Obama took office, two-thirds of the nearly two million deportation cases involve people who had committed minor infractions, including traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all. Twenty percent — or about 394,000 — of the cases involved people convicted of serious crimes, including drug-related offenses, the records show.

Aside from the usual circumstance of Obama’s mouth writing checks his administration can’t – or won’t – cash, this is a classic example of standard Democrat duplicity: doing what they see as expedient and then blaming progressive activists for making his job dealing with batshit crazy Pubs more difficult. According to Obama and his people, when progressives call him on his bullshit, they are hurting him; when they try to help him achieve his stated goals, they are hurting him; when they won’t follow him as he surrenders to conservative insanity, they are hurting him. In fact, it seems that the very existence of progressives is a threat to him. Continue reading

Requiem for America (Old Skool)

As Jim Hightower put it,

Step right up, folks, and take your chances in the Amazing New American Workplace. Constantly high unemployment! Low wages always! No employee bargaining power! A corporate paradise!

Indeed. They’ve got what they wanted: a paucity of jobs against a glut of workers making for a terrified workforce and a terminally insecure society, the destruction of the unions that were all that offered hope to laborers that they wouldn’t forever be trapped on the bony rack of the minimum wage, and a populace trained to think of corporate managers as heroes and Masters of the Universe even if the populace doesn’t particularly like to think of them that way. Continue reading

The Problem With “Public”

Two hundred-plus years of dangerously liberal thinking have created a good deal of confusion in some weak minds. One of the most damaging of these confusions, one that you may still be harboring without realizing its deep and divisive nature, is the idea that there are such things as “public” facilities. Or, indeed, a “public good”. In fact, the very word “public” arises from a severe misunderstanding of what forms a “society”. Continue reading

Anti-War Republicans? You Bet!

Mike Thompson, Detroit Free Press


The World Bank Report: What Does it Really Mean?

I don’t know what to call this: Ironic? Naive? A joke?

Despite an intensified campaign against poverty, World Bank programs have failed to lift incomes in many poor countries over the past decade, leaving tens of millions of people suffering stagnating or declining living standards, according to a report released Thursday by the bank’s autonomous assessment arm.

“Autonomous” in this case has to be translated as “clueless, out of the loop”. You see, what the “autonomous assessment arm” is criticizing happens to have been the goal of the World Bank from the beginning.

Among 25 poor countries probed in detail by the bank’s Independent Evaluation Group, only 11 experienced reductions in poverty from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, while 14 had the same or worsening rates over that term. The group said the sample was representative of the global picture.”

Achievement of sustained increases in per capita income, essential for poverty reduction, continues to elude a considerable number of countries,” the report declared, singling out programs aimed at the rural poor as particularly ineffective. Roughly half of such efforts from 2001 to 2005 “did not lead to satisfactory results.” During that period, new World Bank loans and credits aimed directly at rural development totaled $9.6 billion, or about one-tenth of total bank lending, according to the group.

***

[T]he study found that growth has rarely been sustained, exposing the most vulnerable people — the rural poor — to volatile shifts in their economic fortunes. Per capita income rose continuously from 2000 to 2005 in only two in five of the countries that borrowed from the World Bank, the study reported, and it increased for the full decade, from 1995 to 2005, in only one in five.

The study emphasized that economic growth is, by itself, no fix: How the gains are distributed is just as important. In China, Romania, Sri Lanka and many Latin American countries, swiftly expanding economies have improved incomes for many, but the benefits have been limited by a simultaneous increase in economic inequality, putting most of the spoils into the hands of the rich and not enough into poor households, the study concluded.

“But..but…but…that’s what we wanted to do!”Indeed.

In a terrifying and important new book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins, who for 30 years negotiated a lot of those deals in Third World countries while working for an international consulting firm on behalf of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, lets the cat all the way out of the bag – making poor countries poorer was precisely what the WB and IMF intended to do – and for very good reason, at least from their perspective.

Continue reading

Children With Mental Disabilities Jailed

The consequences of the radcons ‘starve the beast’ strategy can be ugly. In a recent speech, Bill Moyers said:

These deficits have been part of their strategy. Some of you will remember that Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan tried to warn us 20 years ago, when he predicted that President Ronald Reagan’s real strategy was to force the government to cut domestic social programs by fostering federal deficits of historic dimensions. Reagan’s own budget director, David Stockman, admitted as much. Now the leading rightwing political strategist, Grover Norquist, says the goal is to “starve the beast” — with trillions of dollars in deficits resulting from trillions of dollars in tax cuts, until the United States Government is so anemic and anorexic it can be drowned in the bathtub.There’s no question about it….

No, there isn’t, and in the real world, not the FantasyLand of Publican ‘optimism’, this is what it means:

WASHINGTON, July 7 – Congressional investigators said Wednesday that 15,000 children with psychiatric disorders were improperly incarcerated last year because no mental health services were available.The figures were compiled by the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Government Reform in the first such nationwide survey of juvenile detention centers.

“The use of juvenile detention facilities to warehouse children with mental disorders is a serious national problem,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, who sought the survey with Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California.

The study, presented at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, found that children as young as 7 were incarcerated because of a lack of access to mental health care. More than 340 detention centers, two-thirds of those that responded to the survey, said youths with mental disorders were being locked up because there was no place else for them to go while awaiting treatment. Seventy-one centers in 33 states said they were holding mentally ill youngsters with no charges. (emphasis added)

Social Darwinism in action is not a pretty sight. It isn’t forgivable, either.

An HHS Crackdown on States? Or Kids?

The NY Times reports today that Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson has initiated–or appears to have initiated; when dealing with “good news” coming out of the Bush Admin, I’ve learned to be very cautious–a crackdown, finally, on the scandalous treatment of child welfare programs in a number of states, including Florida, which gained national attention several times last year when children who were supposed to be in the care of the state due to abusive parents either died unaccountably or simply disappeared from the system altogether. Similar, if less drastic, faults exist in a number of states.

The federal report was based on a review of state data and case files, as well as interviews with children, their biological parents, foster and adoptive parents, social workers and juvenile and family court judges.Federal officials repeatedly cited states for certain deficiencies: significant numbers of children suffering abuse or neglect more than once in a six-month period; caseworkers not visiting children often enough to assess their needs; and not providing promised medical and mental health services.

**************************************

Federal officials said 16 states did not meet any of the seven standards. These states were Alaska, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The sad truth is that child welfare funds have been cut by a LOT of states in an effort to reduce debt. Federal money to support such programs was one of the first items to be cut in the new Republican govt’s budget, cuts which, along with cuts in state budgets, helped pauperize child welfare programs all over the country. Bob Herbert pointed out in one of his columns a while back attacking the tragedies in Florida (no longer available online) that child welfare workers there were responsible for as many as 400 cases apiece because of cuts in personnel–ten times as many as the maximum suggested by Federal guidelines.

Every one of the flaws mentioned in the HHS report is directly traceable to Federal or state funding cuts, yet the HHS-Sec isn’t proposing new money to cover the shortfalls–not in Junior’s corporate-owned Admin, he’s not–but penalties that will make the money crunch even worse.

The federal government provides $7 billion a year to states for foster care, adoption assistance and other child welfare programs. If states do not correct the deficiencies, they stand to lose some of the money.Penalties are estimated at $18.2 million for California, $3.6 million for Florida, $3.5 million for Texas, $3 million for Pennsylvania, $2.5 million each for Ohio and Michigan, and $2.3 million for New York.

The penalties, if enacted, will require yet more program and personnel cuts and weaken already tenuous state systems possibly to the breaking point. On the other hand, who wants to see the dangerously sloppy and inattentive way states have shoveled the problems of at-risk children onto the back burner continue?

I suspect that Tommy, who had, shall we say, a “mixed” record while Gov of Wisconsin, is going for an easy political kill here, like his so-called “Children First” program in Wisconsin which used the hot “deadbeat Dads” controversy to shift some of the state’s responsibilities for the care and protection of children from indigent families onto the backs of fathers who couldn’t pay their child support.

On the other hand, there was Tommy’s showpiece, “Wisconsin Works”, his version of the 1996 Congressional mandate to reform Welfare. Unlike the lazy, not to say mean, “make-’em-go-to-work-and-damn-everything-else” approach taken by many states’ govs, Tommy actually crafted an intelligent program that provided job training and financial and educational support to families on welfare (a model, incidentally, that was developed and tested in a small way in pilot programs in the early and mid-80’s right here in MA and then promptly defunded and totally ignored when it worked; I know–I was there). W2, as it was called, successfully put some 90% of welfare families into real jobs and off the state welfare rolls, many of them for good.

So that’s my problem: Is this a shot-across-the-bow in a war against the budget-cutters who are doing all the damage? Tommy’s way of announcing that he wants HHS’ funds restored? Or is it an s-across-the-b in a new war on children by the BA, infamous for its bait-and-switch tactics?

I know which way I’m leaning, but then I’m a cynic.