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Will Privatizing Child Protection Protect Georgia’s Children? Yes and No.

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As Georgia prepares to follow in Florida’s footsteps in privatizing child protection services, there has been a lot of politicking but little talk about the real issues that lead to failures to protect children “in the system.”  Privatization in Florida has been a very mixed bag, with some counties improving their performance and other counties mired in scandals involving the private non-profit agencies hired to protect children.  It’s reasonable to expect that Georgia will fare a little better, but don’t expect the failure rate to drop — or rise — significantly.

The failures lie in policies enforced by the courts, and nobody is talking about reforming those policies.

Like Florida, Georgia plans to eventually privatize the services that come after an investigation has determined a child is in danger, namely: foster care, family “reunification” interventions, and adoption.  State workers will continue to be responsible for investigating abuse, and courts will still be responsible for deciding if a child should be removed from a home, returned to a home, or adopted.

Private agencies do a great job with adoption, and some of them do a better job than the state in supervising foster care.  Much of this care is already done through public-private partnerships in Georgia.  But in all the politicized talk about private versus public, little has been said about the real  problem with our child protection services.

The problem is the mandate to keep families together or achieve “reunification” as soon as possible.

Approximately a decade ago, many states began to move towards a model of keeping families together, no matter the cost.  Florida went further than Georgia, though it wasn’t an issue tied to privatization because that part of child protection is still performed by state agencies.

And now Florida is counting the bodies.

In an extraordinary report, the Miami Herald investigated the deaths of 477 children who  had prior contacts with child protection services.  477 — since just 2008.  The Herald makes a strong case for blaming the mandate for “family preservation” for many of those deaths:

They tumbled into canals and drowned, baked in furnace-like cars, were soaked in corrosive chemicals, incinerated, beaten mercilessly, and bounced off walls and concrete pavement. One was jammed into a cooler posthumously; others were wrapped like a mummy to silence their cries, flattened by a truck, overdosed and starved. An infant boy was flung from a moving car on an interstate. A 2-year-old girl was killed by her mom’s pet python.

The children were not just casualties of bad parenting, but of a deliberate shift in Florida child welfare policy. DCF leaders made a decision, nearly 10 years ago, to reduce by as much as half the number of children taken into state care, adopting a philosophy known as family preservation. They also, simultaneously, slashed services, monitoring and protections for the increased number of children left with their violent, neglectful, mentally ill or drug-addicted parents.

Public or private, the child protection system is dealing with multigenerational problems that are far more severe than most people realize.  It’s easy to criticize government social workers, or to lash out at efforts by private agencies.  The hard part is acknowledging that “family preservation” may be the wrong goal:

Rather than go to court to force parents to get treatment or counseling, the state often relied on “safety plans” — written promises by parents to sin no more. Many of the pledges carried no meaningful oversight. Children died — more than 80 of them — after their parents signed one or, in some cases, multiple safety plans.

• Parents were given repeated chances to shape up, and failed, and failed and failed again, and still kept their children. In at least 34 cases, children died after DCF had logged 10 or more reports to the agency’s abuse and neglect hotline. Six families had been the subject of at least 20 reports.

The decision to prioritize family unification was made by bureaucrats and politicians from across the political spectrum.  Liberals defend state agencies and argue that biological parents should receive as many resources as possible to keep their children; conservatives argue for the primacy of family and against state involvement.  Failure is bipartisan:

“It’s the system that’s broken. When numbers take over instead of outcomes for people, you are doomed to failure,” said James Harn, a 30-year law enforcement officer who spent his last nine years as a commander supervising child abuse investigators at the Broward Sheriff’s Office before leaving a year ago. “They want to keep families together, but at what cost?”

Prioritizing family preservation is just one policy error.  Others involve the increasingly hands-off attitude towards the family arrangements of women living on public services and the leniency granted to serial offenders in the courts.  
Social workers have had little power since the 1960′s to insist that women on welfare live alone with their children, rather than inviting a boyfriend, or a series of men into their state-subsidized homes.  These unattached men frequently abuse the children they are living with:

The night before Aaden Batista died, his killer played a baseball game on his Xbox, smoked marijuana and gave the toddler a bath.

As Aaden’s mother, Whitney Flower, worked as a medical assistant at a nearby hospital, Jason Padgett Sr. prepared the toddler for bed, putting on his diaper before, ultimately, viciously shaking him and slamming his head on the floor. . .

Aaden became part of the yearly count of children killed at the hands of paramours — child welfare’s oddly genteel term to describe boyfriends or girlfriends of custodial parents. Protecting children from abusive paramours is one of the great challenges facing the Department of Children & Families.

“Paramours are a huge red flag,” said Richard Gelles, dean of the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as chairman of child welfare at the school. “They are enormously over-represented as the slayers of young children.”

Under-prosecution and under-incarceration, especially for domestic violence, presents another problem.  Expect this problem to grow worse as “Right on Crime” Republicans, left and right-wing libertarians, leftists, and liberals join forces to shrink our criminal  justice system and empty the prisons.  Their political kumbaya moment is going to mean more violence, more crime, and more murders.   You need only peruse the Miami child death report to find evidence of hundreds of people who have been granted serial leniency in our allegedly-harsh justice system:

In the pre-dawn hours of May 5, 2009, Jasmine Bedwell had to make a decision: Take more blows or more chokes — but try to rescue her son from the clutches of her enraged boyfriend — or go find help. She left and borrowed a cellphone to call 911.

 
 
 

 

 

Maureen Faulkner: Stop Mumia Abu Jamal’s Lawyer, Debo Adegbile, From Department of Justice Appointment

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There is a Change.org petition drive you need to act on TODAY!

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Vote “No” to the Confirmation of Debo Adegbile to the Department of Justice
Petition by Maureen Faulkner
Los Angeles, CA

PLEASE SHARE THIS PETITION WITH FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND COLLEAGUES!

As early as Tuesday [UPDATE: THE VOTE HAS BEEN DELAYED UNTIL WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5], the Senate will vote to confirm Debo Adegbile as the next Assistant Attorney General to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. This confirmation must be stopped.

Thirty years ago, Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was violently murdered by Mumia Abu-Jamal, a member of a racist group that advocated violence against police. A jury convicted him and sentenced him to death for the brutal crime.

In the three decades that followed, Abu-Jamal filed appeal after appeal – each rooted in lies, distortions and allegations of civil rights violations. Today, as Officer Faulkner lies in his grave, Abu-Jamal has become a wealthy celebrity and continues to spew his vitriol from prison.

Old wounds were ripped open again, and additional insult was brought upon our law enforcement community when President Obama nominated Mr. Adegbile for the Department of Justice post. Mr. Adegbile previously led the Legal Defense Fund at the NAACP. In that position, Mr. Adegbile chose to throw the weight and resources of his organization behind Abu-Jamal. Attorneys working under Mr. Adegbile’s supervision have stood before rallies of Abu-Jamal supporters and openly professed that it was “an extreme honor” to represent the man who put a hollow based bullet into Officer Faulkner’s brain as he lay on the ground wounded, unarmed, and defenseless.

While Mr. Adegbile may be a well-qualified and competent litigator, through his words, his decisions, and his actions he has clearly and repeatedly demonstrated that he is not the best person to fill this position. Clearly there are others with similar qualifications that would be better choices.

The thought that Mr. Adegbile would be rewarded, in part, for the work he did for Officer Faulkner’s killer is revolting. Please set aside any partisan feelings you have and do the right thing when you vote on Mr. Adegbile’s confirmation. Please vote “no.”

………………………………………………….

Previous TINATRENT.COM Posts On Officer Faulkner and the Pro-Mumia Movement:

Mumia Abu-Jamal and Marty Hittleman: California Teachers Endorse a Cop Killer, Get Caught, Blame Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Maureen Faulkner is Right: The Fight Against Mumia Will Never Be Over, as Amnesty International Proves with Their Holiday Catalogue

More on Mumia

I Will Be on Cliff Kincaid’s Roku Show Wednesday Night Talking About Immigration . . .

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. . . the plight of American workers, and why Republicans and Libertarians don’t seem to care.

Who’s with us

Who’s against us

Who’s hiding behind trees pretending they have “no position at all”

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Tune in to the show on the America’s Survival website at 9:00 or on Roku at the America’s Survival channel.  Writes Cliff:

. . . watch it live on our homepage on Wednesday night at 9:pm Eastern www.usasurvival.org by clicking on the Roku image on the right side. 

 

An Academic Friend, See Thru Edu, and a Great Book on Great Books and the Common Core

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The subtitle for this blog is:   Academia.  Crime.  Politics.

It has been pointed out to me on several occasions that the slogan is redundant.  I agree.

But there are still a few people in academia who stand up to the gaseous tyrants who make up ever-larger portions of the tenured class.  Bob Paquette of Hamilton College is one of them.  Dr. Paquette is a much-respected historian of slavery, with decades of accolades for his work.  But when he spoke out in defense of teaching Western Civilization and against the unhinged radicalization of academic programs at his college, he found himself on the receiving end of the usual, intellectually incoherent backlash.

How unhinged and intellectually incoherent?  The details are the stuff of vaudevillian humor:

So a Weather Underground terrorist, Ward Churchill, and a Raelian sex cult cloning scientist walk into a faculty lounge in upstate New York . . .

Read the rest here.

Paquette blogs at the website See Thru Edu, which is an essential resource on higher education for conservatives.  He takes the Tea Party movement seriously (like few in academia).  I want to point readers to two recent blog posts he wrote, one about the treatment of Sarah Palin, and this essay, which I encourage you to read and share with anyone who has or will have children attending college:

How Our Universities Breed Intolerance

[T]he Tea Party … have elicited a torrent of denunciation on elite college campuses and have spurred restless nights for the barons of both the Republican and Democratic parties. [They] have an independent, populist, and anti-elitist bent.  No matter who is manning the presidential helm, they have concluded, the country they love remains tossing and turning in waters ever more dangerous to them and to their traditional values, which they once thought were mainstream.  They see themselves being squeezed in a vise in which the turning device, attached to the upper clamp, manufactures the energy for the lower clamp to screw from below. In their search for a moral social order, they feel increasingly betrayed by many of the country’s most important institutions:  government, churches, unions, and schools.

… [Tea Partiers] represent legions far more diverse than your typical university faculty. They wear blue collars as well as white collars, populate northern and southern climes, and collectively groan under growing burdens of taxes and statist regulation.

The essay offers advice to parents of college-bound students, with more to come in future work:

Take this advice.  The brand of elite colleges is overrated and has more to do with the screening process of able admissions officers than the value-added during four years of matriculation.  Many of the chaired professors at elite universities have little intensive contact with undergraduates. Few bear the onerous tasks of intensively grading exams and papers. Outstanding teachers exist at every major institution of higher education in the country.  The trick is locating them. For that you need an insider. A professor whom you can trust to direct your son or daughter to the best, that is the most knowledgeable, demanding, and nurturing professors in their fields, those willing to spend time with serious students, is worth his weight in Ivy-League tuition dollars.

With its focus on higher education, See Thru Edu does not often discuss Common Core.  But Mary Grabar of Dissident Prof has posted there, and she recently introduced me an amazing new book: Terrence Moore’s The Story-Killers.  I’m only one chapter into it, but I can’t recommend it highly enough, as both a great read about the importance of literature instruction and a devastating, substantive critique of contemporary education reforms.

Moore is a teacher (and former Marine) — if you’re going to read one book about Common Core, this is it.

And if you’re in Atlanta area, Terrence Moore is coming to Gainesville on January 13 to speak with Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project and State Senator William Ligon in an event sponsored by the Georgia Concerned Women for America.

The fight has only just begun.

Political Science’s Hateful Pseudoscience: Harvard’s Theda Skocpol Wants The Tea Party to Stop Participating in Politics

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Unlike literature professors, whose impenetrable secret twin languages and embarrassing fixation on their own genitals tend to keep them off the editorial pages, political scientists are always with us, especially during elections, when they slap on their wizard hats to make predictions that range from the pseudo-wise (I predict there will be . . . an election on November 7) to the pseudo-scholarly (Obama is magic!).

Political science just keeps getting worse as the last holdouts from a generation that at least feigned objectivity die off and get replaced by ideologues who are so far removed from objectivity that they’re feigning scholarship instead.

Nowhere is this tendency more obvious than in the growing field of Tea Party Studies.  No, they don’t call it that, but they might just have to invent a name to tell the paramedics.  Tenured political scientist types contemplating this citizen participation movement become so unhinged that their normally pseudo-scientific discourse spins off into something that virtually needs to be translated back into English from banshee.  All the shrieking is surely tough on those last five unreconstructed poly-sci professors cowering at the end of the hall, longing for the days when they could quietly feed voter lists into the Harwell Dekatron.

I’ve been trying to read the growing crop of academic Tea Party books alongside the growing crop of academic Occupy books, but it’s like watching a coven try to stab their mothers to death while using a Ouija Board to wake up the chicken they had for dinner last week.  One would think, based solely on evidence from the library shelf, that the many, many millions of highly constructive participants in the Occupy movement managed to cure cancer using only the consensus model of decision-making while the two dozen or so Tea Partiers were busy out back burning tires and forcing the womenfolk to mend their pointy hoods for them.  And I realize that last bit is not funny, but it is a not-inaccurate description of what academicians think about the Tea Party: they think (to use the word loosely) that Tea Partiers are murderous, calculating-yet-stupid racists who need to proactively be wiped from the earth, or at least the voter rolls, if ever American politics can be made to emanate goodness and light again.

Take, for example, this essay by the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University, Theda Skocpol.  There’s a lot to laugh at, from Ms. Skopol’s breathless Cosmo style of describing her own scholarship (she deploys a “full panoply of research”) to her bizarre euphemism for virtue: “active government.”  Then there’s her evidence for proving that the Tea Party is stupid: Tea Party members, she tells us breathlessly, sometimes vote for different people during primaries:

During the last election cycle, no far-right candidate ever consolidated sustained grassroots Tea Party support, as those voters hopped from Rick Perry to Herman Cain to Newt Gingrich to Rick Santorum.

For those of you unschooled in the full panoply of the academic method, what Skocpol is saying here is that Tea Partiers are so stupid that they actually hold differences of opinion, unlike Democrats, who are demonstrating only intellectual prowess when they, say, dump Hillary Clinton in the 11th hour because Barack Obama’s handlers managed to paint a big R on her forehead while his aides snapped photos of themselves drunkenly fake-raping a cardboard cutout of the former First Lady.

Once you get the hang of the theoretical framework (Democrats good: Conservatives eeevil; Tea Party rrracist), the rest of Skopol’s work isn’t hard to grasp — because there isn’t any of it.  It also can’t be very hard to write, which at least makes her efficient at playing faux populist while carrying water for the insider trading billionaires, hedge fund owners, real estate developers, trust fund babies and other secretive Democracy Alliance types who pay her and her fellow intellectuals to criticize the Tea Party . . . by accusing them of being dupes for secretive billionaires, hedge fund owners, real estate developers, and trust fund babies.

Out here in the non-academic air, such behavior is called psychological projection, or just dishonesty, but in academia it goes by the name of civic engagement, and Ms. Skopol is one of the most civic engagers around, being director of the Scholars Strategy Network, which describes itself as “a federated membership association for civically engaged scholars at colleges and universities across the United States.”  It is really a multi-campus-based propaganda tool for the Democratic Party.

The practice of political science was bad enough when its confidence men merely combined the calculated dishonesty of political operatives with the logorrhea of the intellectual class.  But now that academia has tipped to full-throttle leftism, it has grown both more shrill and less intelligent, even at its own invented games.  Ms. Skocpol actually presents, as evidence of Tea Party malfeasance, the fact that Tea Parties sometimes produce voter’s guides.  The voter’s guide is an entirely ordinary political tool used, of course, by all political parties, but in the hands of the Tea Party it becomes, to Skocpol, a de facto weapon of malevolence:

[V]arious right-wing tracking organizations … keep close count of where each legislator stands on “key votes”—including even votes on amendments and the tiniest details of parliamentary procedure, the kind of votes that legislative leaders used to orchestrate in the dark.

Horrors.  The Tea Party is so actually civically engaged that its members want to know how congressional voting works and to share that knowledge with others.  How dare they question the totemic rituals performed by our Capitol Hill Overlords.  This sort of thing would be funny if it were not disturbing that an endowed Chair at Harvard would argue that citizens should not look too closely at politics — and that she does so in the name of civic engagement.

But the kicker is this: Skocpol doesn’t just think the Tea Party is full of stupid people.  She wrote the editorial in question in order to dumb down her “research” to make it accessible to the little people on her own side, the ones who agree with her politics.  That is the mission of the Scholars Strategy Network, though of course they put it differently on their homepage.  It is a measure of how little she thinks of the little people of the Left that she doesn’t admit to them that Scholars Strategy Network itself promotes political report cards as she denounces the Tea Party for using political report cards.

And so Theda Skocpol efficiently conflates all the magical beliefs driving political science today: if the Right does something like voting, it’s bad; if the Left does anything, it’s noble — and — if political scientists are doing it, it’s obviously above reproach.

 

Ed Kramer Guilty of Child Molestation: Now Will Bob Barr Face Consequences for His Role in the Deception?

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After leaving Congress in 2003, Georgia Congressman Bob Barr reinvented himself politically in dramatic ways.  He aligned with the ACLU, began advocating for the legalization of marijuana, and ran for president on the 2008 Libertarian Party ticket.  Now Barr is attempting to rejoin the Republican and conservative mainstream in a bid to secure Georgia’s 11th District congressional seat, where he is currently a leading contender.

Barr’s about-face on issues that alienate conservative voters left many wondering what he really stands for.  His role in the notoriously corrupt defense of now-convicted child molester Ed Kramer should raise more questions in voters’ minds.  Here is my previous post on Kramer’s decade-long manipulation of the justice system.

Edward Kramer, co-founder of the sci-fi and fantasy convention, Dragoncon, pled guilty in a Georgia courtroom yesterday to three counts of child molestation in a case that has been delayed thirteen years, thanks to repeated efforts by Kramer himself to claim medical incapacity.  Barr served as Kramer’s attorney until early 2013, when he decided to run for office again.  But Barr did not just serve as Kramer’s lawyer: he held the sci-fi purveyor up as the victim of a religion-fuelled witch-hunt; he helped him deceive the court regarding his client’s capacity to sit through a trial, and he helped him acquire an eyebrow-raising bond agreement that enabled Kramer to flee the state illegally, resulting in Kramer’s arrest in 2012 for endangering another child — a 14 year old boy Kramer had in his motel room in Connecticut.

As if these facts aren’t bad enough, Barr used the molester’s defense to promote his new libertarian politics.  You cannot separate the Kramer case from the person Barr is offering to voters, even if he tries to distance himself now.

In 2007 Barr told an audience at the Federalist Society that Kramer was a victim of his new pet peeve, prosecutorial over-reach.  Despite the fact that it was Kramer himself who had created the delays, Barr insisted that it was the fault of the state.  The video of Barr promoting Kramer’s case as a civil rights issue has, curiously, been scrubbed from the internet in the last 24 hours, but Barr’s incredibly sophomoric amicus brief on behalf of Kramer is going to be harder to erase.  Barr should be called on to re-release the video: he isn’t running for dog-catcher; he’s running for Congress, and his behavior and expressed beliefs between 2003 and 2013 should not be hidden from voters this way.

Ed Kramer, Out and About

Ed Kramer claimed for more than a decade that his medical condition prevented him from participating in a trial.  He claimed he was in excruciating pain, that he couldn’t walk or move or sit up, that he was not able to breathe.  Yet there are pictures of him from this time happily participating in a Dragoncon convention, and after Barr helped him get cut free from house arrest (a strange request from an invalid), he fled to another state and began filming a movie, where he was caught with the 14-year old boy in his custody.  He continues to play these legal games today.

Barr was not just Kramer’s defense attorney: he helped Kramer remain free through serial deception, then he helped Kramer blame the system — and the public — for trial delays he had actually created.  Along the way, Barr used Kramer’s case to assert that our justice system is corrupt and untrustworthy.  This is Barr’s political record for the last six years: by all means let him run on it.

Kramer avoided trial for almost a decade. He was released from house arrest in 2009 and the case remained in a holding pattern for two more years before he was allegedly spotted in a Milford, Conn., hotel room with an unsupervised 14-year-old boy.

Barr stayed involved in the Kramer case until it didn’t until it didn’t serve his political goals to be involved anymore.  He even lacks a strong commitment to injustice, is the best that might be said.

Lysenkoist Healthcare Promotion, Courtesy of the New York Times

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In its never-ending quest to act as the Official Organ of the Obama Administration (OOOh -Ah), The New York Times is finding new inspiration in Trofim Lysenko, the Stalinist agronomist whose peasant background, unwillingness to acknowledge errors, and willingness to send his scientific critics to their death catapulted him to the head of the Soviet Institute of Genetics.

Lysenko promised to “turn the barren fields of the Transcaucasus green in winter” through a process of exposing seedlings to cold, but his primary success lay in purging “bourgeois” adherence to the scientific method and replacing it with a “proletarian” belief that the plant world would respond to Marxist-Leninist pressures in ways identical to humans.  Unfortunately, because plants lack the forethought to worry about other plants sending them to Siberia, Lysenko met only with limited scientific success.

However, his ideas spawned a tremendously successful academic-political movement, Lysenkoism, which proved that militant adherence to Marxism/Leninism combined with public humiliation of politically incorrect peers could transform entire intellectual disciplines with great efficiency.  What wheat seeds refused to do, intellectuals adapted to, and by the 1940′s, Lysenkoist mediocrity was so prevalent among un-purged Russian scientists that the Soviets were, happily for us, stymied in their efforts to build nuclear weapons.

The practice of Lysenkoism begins with a political hypothesis (ie. “Stalin will like this”) and proceeds to subjugate all data to that theory.   It is not so much a scientific method as a filing system, like all grand collectivist schemes, and what it produces mainly is more bureaucracy, rather than more bread, or automobiles, or healthcare.

But Lysenkoism is very good at manufacturing bureaucracy.  Freed from the constraints of reality and the limits of the natural world, academics have proven to be especially resourceful at institutionalizing pet beliefs.

Beliefs are easier to grow than wheat, and for this reason, Lysenko retained absolute power in the Soviet Academy of Sciences until he didn’t anymore, at which time he was declared officially no longer “immune to criticism” and deposed in the manner to which he had become accustomed to deposing his enemies.

Nonetheless, Lysenkoism beats on in the heart of every utopian bureaucrat.  It moistens the pen that writes thousand-page regulatory bills and re-animates the botoxed brows of Today Show hosts who toil in the fields of daytime television, squashing dissent to the President’s Healthcare Great Leap Forward.

Granted, our cadres of official journalists are still awaiting the Great Leap Forward in media centralization that was sadly postponed when the Internet amplified voices other than their own.  They can only dream of confessions like this one, written (or at least signed) in 1949 by one Professor B. Kederov after he failed to appropriately admire one of Trofim Lysenko’s proclamations.  The idea that a thought crime could consist of not praising a leader fulsomely enough would have seemed alien in America a few years ago:

I consider it my party duty to state that I fully agree with the criticism and definitely denounce the sermon of alien cosmopolitan viewpoints that I permitted myself to carry out.  The danger of such viewpoints becomes especially obvious now, when all along the ideological front our party and the entire Soviet nation are engaged in a determined struggle against corrupt bourgeois ideology and against bourgeois cosmopolitanism as the ideological weapon of American imperialism; in this condition, the slightest advocacy of cosmopolitan viewpoints is direct treason to the cause of communism.

Lacking, for now, the power to extract public confessions, our fourth estate is limited to accusing the President’s opponents of thought crimes like racism and churning column inches of apparatchik prose  denouncing “bourgeois” opposition to Obamacare’s record-breaking harvest of successes.

Such reporting requires papering over of great expanses of facts to the point of Lysenkian absurdity.  For example, in response to the high costs already being imposed on small businessmen and other individual insurance purchasers, the Times on Sunday ignored that problem entirely, denounced the naysayers, and proclaimed that Obamacare was actually helping people who dream of becoming small businessmen in the future.  Don’t look at dour old facts, said the Times, look to the possibilities of an imaginary future.  This is Lysenkoist reporting at its best:

In the weeks since the health insurance marketplaces of the Affordable Care Act went online, a well-publicized ripple of alarm and confusion has permeated the ranks of small-business owners. But less well known is the response of another contingent: newcomers to entrepreneurship who see the legislation as a solution to the often insurmountable expense of getting health insurance.

The article profiles Rajeev Jeyakumar, co-founder of an “online job marketplace” website who just found out that he qualifies for enough public aid to pay $74 a month for health insurance in Manhattan that “even includes dental,” he gloats.  Lucky him: we are all subsidizing his teeth cleaning as he plays venture capitalist.  But Jeyakumar is chipping in by “refraining from using his Citi Bike membership or playing sports, lest he sustain an injury requiring medical care” until his taxpayer-subsidized health insurance kicks in.

The moral of this tale is understandably fuzzy, as the Times leaves out all pertinent facts, such as how much Mr. Jeyakumar’s health insurance will cost if he actually earns any money and ceases to be subsidized by the rest of us, or what he had planned to do if he had been mowed down by a bus prior to the time that the mere promise of Obamacare magically transformed him into a socially conscientious, non-Citi Bike-riding citizen.

Both Mr. Jeyakumar and Constantina Petrou, another web-based consultant profiled in the article, believe that they can now hire employees because of Obamacare.  Petrou claims she has been unable to hire full-time employees because of the price of healthcare but that Obamacare may enable her to do so “depending on the new costs of coverage.”  These costs, which would seem to be the point, are not further discussed.  Jeyakumar imagines he will tell his still-imaginary future employees to “shop the new health care exchanges on their own” and “bump up their salaries to cover the cost.”  Petrou “will either pay for a portion of the individual plans that her employees shop for on the exchange, or she may take advantage of tax credits and offer a small group plan,” the costs of which are also not discussed.

All of these options existed before the magic of Obamacare, only the promise of cheaper coverage has been replaced with the reality of massive price hikes.  But there is no need to discuss this if you are the New York Times and the purpose of your article is to attach negative adjectives like “alarmed” and “confused” to small businesspeople who are not appropriately “excited” and “happy.”

Besides, notes the Times, many more jobs are being created thanks to the problems that have been created by Obamacare.  Even the failure of the website and the “alarm” and “confusion” of small business owners are turning out to be job creators.  When government policies create a famine, the peasants will find new markets for their potatoes:

Jack Hooper is among those who see the law as a business opportunity … As he began investigating his own health care options, he realized that the Affordable Care Act could provide more than just access to coverage for his family … He anticipates that premiums will remain expensive, pushing many Americans to high-deductible plans, and that these people will need help in managing care-related expenses.

Hooper anticipates meeting that need, and he anticipates a big demand for his services:

Based on his previous experience working for the federal government, he says, he is not surprised by the problems that have emerged in the Healthcare.gov site. Entrepreneurs like him will end up providing the ultimate solutions to the problems that have emerged from the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Hooper says.

In other words, Mr. Hooper’s future small business success depends on charging money to small businessmen who cannot afford to pay medical bills that are not covered by the expensive new insurance they are required to buy under Obamacare: Obamacare is thus “opening doors for entrepreneurs.”  The series of magical beliefs required to commit this to the page probably wouldn’t make a Lysenko blush, but step-by-step we’re getting there.

Laying Out the Lies of the Left

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This is Leszek Kolakowski.  He is worth getting to know at this juncture in history; his essay, My Correct Views on Everything, is a classic rejoinder by an aging man who has seen the worst of the twentieth century and learned from it, addressed to somebody who has seen the worst of the twentieth century and is still making excuses for it.

That person is E.P. Thompson, seen here being admired by vast audiences for his views, roguish hair and faux-peasant sartorial choices.  If you attend a fairly rigorous college, or any arts and sciences graduate school, you will likely be assigned Thompson but not Kolakowski.  You are also likely to be attending a place where the school’s president earns far more annually than 99.9% of all those nasty “capitalist” businessmen being demonized by the faculty, who simultaneously do not think that it’s a bad thing for tenured professors and university presidents to get rich off the labor of others because their highly original thoughts on the horrors of capitalism merit six figures a year and a stable of adjuncts and grad students to do all the real teaching.

How much money do these gilded thinkers receive?  Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz, 600K annual retirement; Ohio State’s Gordon Gee, a $5.8 million package, including funds to pay taxes on what the taxpayers are paying him.

But Joe the Plumber is the greedy capitalist.

It makes perfect sense that a Thompson would be worshipped in such idiot temples and a Kolakowski not so much cast out as utterly erased.

In the kingdom of the blind, blind people are probably going to gang up on you and poke your last good eye out.

There is a far too modest book reviewer on Amazon whose description of Howard Zinn is too scatological to repeat — do find it yourself — but he explicates Leszek Kolakowski beautifully:

Kolakowski’s writings about Marxism are incomparably better than anyone else’s. For one thing, he knows the subject inside and out, having apparently read everything that Marx and his disciples every wrote, having spent much of his life in a communist country, and having evolved from Party member, to revisionist, to outspoken opponent. Then there is his matchless talent for lucid exposition: Marx’s ideas, muddled and impenetrable in their original form, become perfectly clear when Kolakowski talks about them.

As a critic of Marx, Kolakowski is scrupulously fair and objective, while pulling no punches. His analyses are models of honest, careful, trenchant criticism. His essays are also quite entertaining, full of self-deprecating irony, and biting sarcasm.

No one excels K. in the dissection of Leftist argumentation. In a highly amusing rebuttal of E. P. Thompson’s “open letter”, Kolakowski slams Thompson’s use of double standards: Whatever goes wrong in capitalist countries is attributed, by definition, to “the capitalist system”. Whatever goes wrong in socialist countries is excused as a “transitional phase” and/or is attributed to the remnants of capitalism, or to “capitalist encirclement” or to some other non-communist influence. An even-handed, empirical comparison of the two systems would show, says K., “…that the only universal medicine (the Left) has for social evils (state ownership of the means of production) is not only perfectly compatible with all the disasters of the capitalist world – with exploitation, imperialism, pollution, misery, waste, national hatred, national oppression – but that it adds to them a series of disasters of its own: inefficiency, lack of economic incentives and, above all…a concentration of power never known before in human history.”                                                                                           – Kurt J. Acker, “bookmuncher”

Sort of sounds like Obamacare, doesn’t it?

~~~

Now to the lie of the week.  It is expressed visually and verbally — amplified through the newspaper layout — and once you see it, it is impossible to un-see it, though I can’t show it to you because the page won’t upload.  Suffice to say, on Thursday, the top, left-hand corner of the New York Times featured this article:

G.O.P. MAPS OUT WAVES OF ATTACKS

OVER HEALTH LAW

TELLING VOTERS’ STORIES

Focus on Oversight by House Panels Meets With Successes

By JONATHAN WEISMAN and SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

WASHINGTON — The memo distributed to House Republicans this week was concise and blunt, listing talking points and marching orders: “Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance.” “Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs.” “The Exchanges May Not Be Secure, Putting Personal Information at Risk.” “Continue Collecting Constituent Stories.”

The document, the product of a series of closed-door strategy sessions that began in mid-October, is part of an increasingly organized Republican attack . . .

The article and headline insinuate that the public’s complaints about Obamacare are being manufactured by Republicans in shadowy back rooms.  The fact that Democrats also meet in back rooms to create shadowy messaging accusing Republicans of manufacturing the public’s complaints about Obamacare is not mentioned, of course, because the Times reporters are participating in that messaging.

So, it’s OK.

When Democrats do something, it’s good; when Republicans do the same thing, it’s evil.  Simple, once you get the hang of it.  For example, Weisman and Stolberg breathlessly report that the Republicans are using a “playbook” on healthcare, as if every single legislator in both parties did not have a similar playbook on each issue of import.  This is disgraceful stuff even for the Times, ugly bias and dishonesty disguised as reporting:

A 17-page “House Republican Playbook” walks members through “messaging tools” like talking points, social media tactics and “digital fliers”; details lines of attack; offers up a sample opinion article for local newspapers; and provides an extensive timeline on the health care law and an exhaustive list of legislative responses that have gone nowhere.

A message of the week is presented to the Republican members at the beginning of each week, Ms. McMorris Rodgers said. A “Call to Action” email chain distributes relevant breaking news. A new website, gop.gov/yourstory, is collecting anecdotes from each member.

Oh, no: a website collecting anecdotes?  Here is the White House website for collecting anecdotes by immigrants:

Unless you are one of the first Americans, unless you are a Native American, you came from someplace else. That’s why we’ve always defined ourselves as a nation of immigrants. And we’ve always been better off for it.”

—President Obama

Share your own story to help remind Washington that we need an immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

Here is the Democratic website for collecting anecdotes about how the ACA has helped people:

Are you a young adult who has been able to stay on your parents’ plan? A small business owner who has received tax credits for providing insurance to your workers? Maybe you no longer have a lifetime limit on your insurance policy—ensuring that you’re able to continue receiving treatment for an illness without getting hit with astronomical medical bills. Or perhaps you’re a senior who now has access to free preventive care that you have put off for too long.

We want to hear from you.  How has health care reform changed your care?

I could go on and on . . . and on.  But you take the point: the New York Times is falsely asserting that the Republicans are doing something other than the ordinary political activities practiced by both parties.

Jonathan Weisman and Sheryl Gay Stolberg are lying about this.  Technically, the lie is a lie of omission — they do not admit that Democrats use identical message tactics, and they do not mention the playbook the other side is using in this specific debate.  But it’s a sleazy, highly orchestrated lie nonetheless.

It’s also not the only bold untruth on the Times’ front page yesterday.  The editors didn’t stop at a single act of sophistry above the fold.  They didn’t merely accuse their enemies, the Republicans, of astroturfing a real citizen movement; they also shamelessly pretended, in the next article, that messaging that actually is crafted by professional activists (and Times journalists) was merely an example of people speaking their minds:

Illegal Immigrants Are Divided Over Importance of Citizenship

By JULIA PRESTON

Glendy Martínez is waiting anxiously to see if Congress will ever pass legislation to allow immigrants like her, without papers, to stay in the country legally. But frankly, she says, she does not care if it will include any promise of citizenship.

With the earnings from her job in a Houston hair salon, Ms. Martínez, 30, is supporting one child born in Texas and three others she left behind in her home country, Nicaragua.

“So many people back there depend on those of us who are here,” she said. “It would be such a help if we could work in peace …”

And so on.  Apparently the Times just spontaneously found all these people saying the same thing about not wanting citizenship — by sheer coincidence.  No astro-turfing there.  No mention of messaging research by CASA de Maryland or La Raza or any of the dozens of well-heeled George Soros-funded groups agitating for open borders.  No mention of the paid trainers teaching people what to say to the media.  No mention of rooms with whiteboards and bunches of computers where the elected officials from NALEO analyze which messages work or don’t work with the public as they plot to slip immigration amnesty through during the holidays, while we’re busy and don’t particularly want to be screamed at for being racist for a few festive weeks.

No “multilayered, sequenced assault,” which is the exaggerated militaristic argot Weisman and Stolberg sneeringly used to smear the opponents of Obamacare.

Incidentally, the Times is also being deceptive about the desire of illegal immigrants to become citizens — note that in the article they carefully avoid citing any of the recent and well-publicized statistics on the subject, substituting personal stories or alleged personal stories (told by people who are already lying by being here) for facts they apparently would rather not address.

Fact: 87% of illegal immigrants recently polled by NBC want nothing less than full citizenship:

Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, an immigrant advocacy organization, said that practically everyone her organization works with hopes for citizenship rather than merely a green card.

“A lot has changed between 1986 and today,” she said. “There used to be a view that the line was blurred . . . but I think the line has become brighter about whether you’re a citizen or not and how you’re viewed.”

Many feel that only naturalization will allow them to feel fully engaged and accepted in their new country. “They don’t want to be a second-class citizen,” said Gustavo Torres, executive director at CASA de Maryland, an advocacy group.

The Times article uses old numbers, the very numbers that have been recently discredited.  Weirdly, they do so by attributing those numbers to Republicans, as if they were worried about being caught in a lie and decided to insinuate that it was Republicans, not them, who believed the wrong data.  Do they sit up in the Times newsroom all night, straining to create even more disinformation?  The article itself was probably crafted specifically to help run cover for the recent polls, which were not received well by those who don’t want to see blanket amnesty — in other words, most Americans.  Thus, the Times is committing its own “multilayered, sequenced assault” on both inconvenient truths and on the people who express beliefs they wish to silence or discredit.

Funny work for a newspaper.  In America, that is.  This sort of raw propaganda would be right at home in several of the places from which Leszek Kolakowski fled.

 

See also: Don’t Let Anyone Silence You On The Illegal Immigrant Amnesty Bill . . . Especially Other Republicans

 

 

Seventies Redux: Jim Jones, Rosalyn Carter — A More Innocent Time

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Thanks to Peach Pundit for linking to my logorrhea on healthcare navigation.  One of the fun things about being back in Georgia — as opposed to Florida, with its tedious palm trees, balmy beaches, and light traffic — is having an institutional memory of the political scene.  I spent twenty years in downtown Atlanta.

Once, when I was new to the city, I got off work around 3 a.m. from my job on the docks of the Georgia World Congress Center.  I drove past the Ponce de Leon Krispy Kreme donut shop, which looked way to scary to patronize, and went to an all-night grocery story instead.  In the dairy aisle, there was this wired guy who looked like he was coming from an adult costume party: he had on what  looked like a sort of mini-cape, with giant epaulets and lots of braid.  He had cornered an old woman and was lecturing her on the crucial differences between Jumbo and Large eggs.

Weird, I thought, and crossed the grocery story off my list of places to go to in the middle of the night.

Some time later, I saw the egg man holding a press conference on TV.  He was Atlanta Chief of Police (and future Clayton County Commissioner) Eldrin Bell.

Weird, I thought, and crossed Ponce de Leon off my list of ways to drive home from work.

Before I moved to Atlanta in 1988, the only thing I really knew about Georgia was that Jimmy Carter came from there.  Or, near there.  I’m sorry to say that where I came from, everything south of the Newark existed only vaguely to us.  To people in Poughkeepsie, Carter’s drawl, and Miss Lillian, and Billy all seemed as exotic as The Dukes of Hazard.  My parents, however, had loved the way the Carters walked to the White House on inauguration day, like ordinary people.

But sadly, there are no ordinary people in politics.  This week marks the 35th anniversary of the murder/suicide of some 900 people belonging to the communist cult called Jonestown.  Oh, you didn’t know it was a communist cult?  Did you know a communist killed JFK?  That Sirhan Sirhan, who killed RFK, was a cult hero to the American communist group, The Weather Underground?

Communism was still as common as herpes in the Seventies, something that’s very hard to explain to anyone under sixty today.

The list of politicians who helped Jim Jones create his communist third-world-hellhole-turned-murder-camp is long, weird, and disgraceful.  Jonestown wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill cult — it was a racket for stealing welfare and social security benefits from the vulnerable people lured there with the help of politicians like Harvey Milk, whose culpability is conveniently forgotten by those who wish to turn Milk into a martyr because he was openly gay and murdered in office.

Current California Governor Jerry Brown, Walter Mondale and Rosalyn Carter also hobnobbed with Jones, pre-massacre, and Communist Party member Angela Davis used her position as a professor at UCLA to abet Jones in events that led up to the massacre — something the highly-esteemed Dr. Davis does not include in her definitely for-profit speeches to academic audiences today.

Note the Bill Maher poster (?) behind the dancing soon-to-be mass murderer

The taxpayers of California are currently supporting an entire academic sub-discipline dedicated to Jones:  Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple, aka Jonestown apologetics, is ironically housed in the Department of Religion at San Diego State University.  Read my essay about the politicians and academicians involved with Jones here:

Mass Murderer Jim Jones: Religious Extremist or Atheist Stalinist?  Answer: What’s Best for the New York Times?

Tonight, Cliff Kincaid will be talking about the communists and the JFK assassination on the America’s Survival Roku channel and the online site Kenney TV — watch here on Roku, or live on the internet at 9:00.  And for evidence about the Soviets’ involvement in the JFK murder, here is Cliff’s article, Why the Communists Killed Kennedy, which references important work by Ion Mihai Pacepa and Humberto Fontova, two experts who are worth reading on this subject and others.

More stomach-churning Seventies nostalgia next week  . . .

 

 

Healthcare Navigators: It’s Not Who They Are, It’s What They Are

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The Georgia political blog Peach Pundit has issued a challenge to readers to find out if the “healthcare navigators” hired in Georgia to “educate” and sign people up for the Affordable Care Act are as corrupt as these Texas navigators caught on tape counseling people to lie about their income by the indefatigable videographer James O’Keefe.

I did a little research and found a range of credibility among the nonprofit groups that are either receiving federal tax dollars directly or are ”partnering” with the people who received grants to provide navigation in Georgia.  But their credibility is not the real problem, as I’ll explain below.

According to Georgia Health NewsSEEDCO and UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Science and Cooperative Extension are receiving federal grants to provide navigators in Georgia.

In the (not so) private market, individual insurers are also “navigating” their customers through the health care exchanges with no federal grant money — unless you count the fact that they’re taking advantage of Obamacare by raising rates while simultaneously claiming victimization from the law, despite getting huge new pools of customers.  New customers’ premiums are largely paid for by their current customers through federal subsidies mandated by the law — so what’s not to love?  The insurers are putting on a good show of complaining, but what they’ve been doing under the sheets with the infamous Ms. Fed at the Crony Capitalism Motel would blow away the usual black light hotel bedsheet Primetime exposé.

My little family of two is facing a premium increase of between 180% – 240% next December for virtually the same high deductible plan we have now — and I know that the government and the private insurers are heading off to Vegas together to blow that wad on a good steak dinner together, despite all the finger-pointing on both sides, such as this blindingly insane class war Cokie Roberts/Kaiser Family Foundation video you really have to watch to believe.

Do note that we’re self-employed and buy our own insurance, so we don’t really count as humans under the ACA.  Think of us as the lab rats, the 5% already thrown into the nearest cages and hooked up to the electrodes.  What happens to us now will be happening to people in group plans later on, a timeline I still cannot believe is legal, unless by “legal” you mean “first screw all the people without lobbyists.”

you’ll be joining us in here soon

“Navigation” seems like a new concept to many people, but within the government subsidized healthcare/welfare industry — Medicaid, Medicare (yes, it is subsidized), WIC, Section 8, EITC and so on — there are always people doing some type of “navigation.”  In our current bifurcated economy, where the rich advocate for the poor to live like kings, navigators paid for by taxpayers help poor people sign up for every other-person’s tax dollar for which they could possibly qualify.  Many of these expenditures are a healthy and noble — supporting the truly disabled, for example — but when people play the system, we’re not only losing money to them; we’re paying navigators to teach them how to most efficiently pick our pockets.  And there is a lot of intentional deception that goes on, deception that gets systematically overlooked by the government employees administrating these programs.  Many of the most suspect Welfare Maximization Accomplice grants are laundered through university research — for example, I know of a university-based program in Florida geared exclusively at signing up illegal immigrant families for public benefits, though nobody would admit that out loud.

Academics play bag man in fiscal crimes against taxpayers all the time, reaping government grants and career advancement by pretending they are doing research, when what they’re really doing is handing out other people’s money, then using big words to declare the handout a success.  Studying themselves playing Daddy Warbucks with taxpayer sawbucks is how sociologists and others climb the tenure ladder.  They choose their favorite nonprofit, “partner” with them, then praise the nonprofit’s excellent performance in solving social problems, even if the executive director made off to Jamaica with all the money.

So long as it was stolen in a spirit of helping the poor, Professor Poodle can still brag about his commitment to the underclass when he’s not busy fuming about Fox News at the Departmental Nondenominational Solstice Holiday Party.

The fraud angle of all this ballooned under community organizer Obama, by design. Every rebranded ACORN worker out there offering free Obamaphones to welfare cheats is a navigator.  So I’m glad to see James O’Keefe doing what he does better than anyone — giving people a glimpse of the underbelly of our corrupt welfare state.

But fraud is a feature, not a bug of this system.  Another round of firing allegedly “rogue” employees for doing precisely what they were hired to do in the first place is the only reaction we can expect from the powers-that-be.  The rogue navigators aren’t really rogue –they represent the very spirit of the thing.

~~~

The real problem with navigators is what they are actually navigating — the collapse of boundaries between big corporations, big nonprofits, and the government.  So it doesn’t matter so much whether the entity doing navigation has a good reputation or a bad reputation: the activity itself fuels the belief that the highest calling of civic life is to transfer as much money as possible from working, taxpaying people to people who avoid working and paying taxes.  In a way, the Sharpton-level fraudsters handing out government-subsidized-iphones to crack dealers are the least harmful actors on the stage: they are expendable clowns, while the real damage is being done with subtle efficiencies by Chamber types who span the political spectrum.

~~~

In Georgia, the groups involved in government-subsidized healthcare navigation have a range of reputations.

Georgia Watch is a well-known consumer organization boasting a transparent track record of their activities.  Their board of directors (readily accessible on-line) includes Clark Howard, who has a great and very much well-earned reputation for advocating fiscal responsibility.  Their tax records are up to date, and they are responsive to questions posed to them.

Still, there are problems with what they’re doing, which I’ll get to below.

On the other hand, SEEDCO, which recently received $2.2 million from the Department of Health and Human Services to provide navigators in Georgia, has an extremely troubling record of padding claims about numbers of clients served.  How troubling?  The New York Times actually went after them; the federal government actually filed charges against them, and they were actually found guilty of those charges, something that happens to big nonprofits wasting/stealing tax dollars about as frequently as the moon turns to blue cheese.  Luckily for SEEDCO and their extremely well remunerated CEO, Barbara Dwyer Gunn, the feds settled on the hilarious punishment that they must pay back a fraction of the taxpayer money they fraudulently pocketed and agree to actually follow, you know, laws from now on.

This is a fabulous example of white collar criminals getting away with a slap on the wrist.  But you won’t hear much whining about this sort of prosecutorial lenience from the usual sources because Ms. Dunn (400K plus a year) is a “social justice” worker running a noble “nonprofit” helping the “underserved.”

B.D.G.: her salary sure wasn’t docked for tax fraud

Incidentally, SEEDCO funnels taxpayer dollars to some Georgia nonprofits that also offer an incomplete or not very credible face to the public.  For example, recent tax filings by the Asian American Resource Foundation Inc in Suwanee do not list the names of board members.  Nor does the group’s website, though it boasts of “an 11-member Board of Directors, which is comprised of a diverse and committed group of African American, Asian and Caucasian men and women from the business and faith-based communities within greater Atlanta.”

Is this really a problem?  Yes, it is, because AARF receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal HUD grants and has done so over a number of years, during which time they continued filing those incomplete 990 tax forms.  Their tax forms state vaguely that the group “provides education to the unskilled with state grant and support shelter for homeless or the poor with federal HUD grant.”  This really smacks of dialing it in.  If AARF was some small, amateur nonprofit, I’d allow that filing mistakes were made.  But when it’s my money going into somebody’s pocket and they produce a tax return like that — well, if I hadn’t worked in the nonprofit service provision industry in Atlanta for years, I guess I’d be surprised by that kind of systematic non-compliance.

But I did.  So I’m not.

Other SEEDCO grant recipients in Georgia that fail to offer much information about how they’re spending our money include SPARC, the Single Parent Alliance and Resource Center (SPARC).  I couldn’t find a record of their 990s on the comprehensive GuideStar site.  Yet SPARCC boasts of involvement in VISTA/AmeriCorps, which is a federal program that provides select nonprofits with free (ie. taxpayer funded) full-time workers and more free (taxpayer funded) money for supervising those workers.

In other words, it is a program that gives free activists and boatloads of administrative money to left-wing nonprofit organizations, courtesy of the taxpayers.

SEEDCO gives grants to these agencies and many more like them — but the money they are giving away is taxpayer money.  In 2011, the taxpayers gave them $31 million, virtually their entire budget, and they played kingmaker with it, handing it out to left-wing groups that do various types of activism.  Much of their work is touted as “job readiness”, but the real business they’re in is coalition-building for political ends under the flag of “social justice” or “anti-poverty” or “family assistance.”  Such coalition building on our dime has been the major racket of the Left since the Clinton administration (actually longer, but the contemporary movement dates to then).

The worst thing is that, at some point, this became an uptown game, and everything else in the economy ceased to exist.  Once the health insurance companies and home mortgage banks jumped into bed with the feds (joining academia and big nonprofits in there), the result was unelected, unaccountable mega-coalitions like the ones below — chewing off larger and larger portions of government activities and control over tax dollars.  Big corporations love this scheme because they can pretend to be “socially responsible” while protecting their interests with elected officials, who also want to appear socially responsible while they reward their friends sitting on the same boards.  Foundations such as Annie E. Casey provide a charitable public face for the corporations that donate to them and for the politicians who give these silk-stocking “nonprofits” our money — and control over bigger and bigger parts of government.

Taxpayers aren’t just squeezed out: they are now demonized.

Here are some examples of “nonprofit” partnerships paid for by demonized taxpayers:

Or this:

Or this:

• AbellFoundation
• AltmanFoundation
• AnnieE.CaseyFoundation
• ArthurM.BlankFamilyFoundation
• BaltimoreCommunityFoundation
• TheCenterforWorkingFamilies,Inc.
• ClarkFoundation
• ColumbiaUniversity
• ConnecticutAssociationforHumanServices
• ConstellationEnergyFoundation
• ExxonMobil
• FordFoundation
• FoundationfortheCarolinas
• ICFInternational
• KresgeFoundation
• Mayor’sFundtoAdvanceNewYorkCity
• MDRC
• MemphisBioworksFoundation
• Michigan Association of United Ways
• MizuhoUSAFoundation
• NationalCommunityActionFoundation
• NeighborWorksAmerica
• NewYorkCommunityTrust
• PloughFoundation
• RepublicBank
• ResCare,Inc.
• RobinHoodFoundation
• SingleStopUSA
• StarrInternationalFoundation
• TheAaronandLillieStrausFoundation
• TennesseeCommunityServicesAgency
• TheAlvinandFannyB.ThalheimerFoundation • TrinityWallStreet
• TulsaCommunityActionProject
• United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta
• United Way of New York City
• UpperManhattanEmpowermentZone
• vanAmeringenFoundation
• WachoviaWellsFargoFoundation
• WalmartFoundation
• Harry&JeanetteWeinbergFoundation
• WorkForceEssentials

  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Georgia Department of Human Services
  • Louisville Metro Department of Community
  • Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Maryland Department of Human Resources
  • NewYorkCityCouncil
  • New York City Department of Housing
  • New York City Department of Small Business Services
  • NewYorkCityHumanResourcesAdministration
  • New York State Department of Health
  • New York State Department of Labor
  • New York State Office of Children and Family Services
  • New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
  • Tennessee Department of Human Services
  • U.S.CentersforMedicareandMedicaidServices
  • U.S.Congress
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • U.S.SmallBusinessAdministration

What are these lists?  The first block is corporate and government partners of The Center for Working Families, the Georgia branch of a national nonprofit that claims to help “working families” gain “independence” through all the usual pathways: green job training funded by government referendums, plus maximization of the welfare state through “application assistance for over 21 [programs] such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, TANF, Together RX, PeachCare for Kids and utility assistance” and “Referrals for comprehensive services including childcare, training, education and certifications, rental assistance and legal assistance.”

In other words, navigation.  They maximize public benefits for people.  We pay for it coming, and we pay for it going.  Doubtlessly they’re in on healthcare navigation too.

I’ve worked with many such nonprofits, and the only people getting anything other than more welfare benefits out of it are the people employed by the agency itself.  And there is real human tragedy behind this: CWF actually boasts on their website of having helped a whole 19 clients “create or expand” a full-time “microenterprise.”  That’s approximately two jobs invented for each massive corporate or government “partner.”  The “entrepreneur” page features a picture of a woman operating an ice cream truck, hardly stable employment, and the page notes that some of the businesses actually existed before CWF provided more resources.  And doubtlessly that’s the best they can do.

The rest of their work is the sort of government-mandated job preparation stuff we’re already paying for two, three, five, or ten times over through K – 12 education, community colleges, colleges, and public social service agencies.  Organizations like CWF are uniquely valuable to the Democratic party agenda, however, because they spread tax money around to high-powered activists in the community who “pay back” at election time.  And for the most part, the money and services go down a rat hole — something I also watched in Atlanta year after year after year when I worked in social service advocacy and “outreach.”

CWF’s annual budget?  2.9 million in 2011, the latest reporting year.

The second list, above, is the partnerships of the Asian American Resource Foundation, which, like CWF, also receives money from SEEDCO and also from the state and from HUD.

And the third list is SEEDCO’s own corporate and government partners and donors, none of whom, apparently, bothered to notice while SEEDCO screwed the taxpayers blind.

Like all ingrates, SEEDCO also fails to acknowledge their biggest donor: you.

Don’t expect an invitation to their next black-tie gala, either.

We are living in the age of Faux-lanthropy.  Faux-lanthropy is a polygamous marriage between big business, big nonprofits, and the big welfare state — a union of super-rich leftists, crony capitalists, dumb-yet-dangerous Marxist academicians, and the unproductive poor, all united against the dwindling middle.  To understand the way this works in detail, read my report on faux-lanthropists and the Recovery Act at America’s Survival – Obama Stimulus Dollars Funded Soros Empire.  In short: the super-rich partner with government social welfare advocates and their academic poodles to create poverty programs and services that are then paid for by ordinary taxpayers, who are endlessly demonized.

The ugliest, most cynical examples of faux-lanthropy are spawned in the financial services industry, where billionaires who cashed in on the mortgage bubble then got bailed out by the taxpayers now play in the platinum sandbox of New York City.  The Big Apple effectively exterminated its last middle class resident around the time Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went belly up, so there’s nobody to harsh the vibe as former investment bankers play Lady Bountiful to gang-bangers on our dime while sending their own kids off to tony private schools in Millbrook.

But this sort of behavior happens in Georgia, too.  SEEDCO is an example of faux-lanthropy, but so is Georgia Watch, despite the good people on their board and the good deeds they tout on their website.  They are just as bound up in promoting the interests of certain crony capitalists as their less ethical peers.  If anything, the fact that they have reputable leaders makes it worse.

Such is the seduction of “doing good.”

You simply can’t claim to be “advocating for consumers” when your board is loaded with big businessmen engaging in political partisanship on an issue that affects millions of consumers negatively and enhances your board members’ bottom lines positively.  That flies in the face of Georgia Watch’s entire mission, and I’m astonished that they don’t see that and — at the barest minimum — include disclaimers on their website about their board members’ fiscal interests.

You also can’t claim to be objectively evaluating the effects of the new healthcare exchanges when you’re taking money from a corrupt entity like SEEDCO to promote the new healthcare exchanges.  I reached out to Georgia Watch last week and asked them to disclose the money they are receiving from SEEDCO (cough, the taxpayers) on their website, and Elena Parent, their Executive Director, wrote the following back to me:

We are going to be completely overhauling our website soon. Right now posting things on it isn’t easy. I’m happy to tell you we are funded for 1/4 of a navigator which is $15,000 all in (salary, travel, equipment, benefits) through the SeedCo consortium.

You see, it’s really hard to change a website.  I wonder if Georgia Watch accepts that excuse from the big industrialists who don’t sit on their board.  And yes, Ms. Parent, that is an awfully teensy-weensy grant from SEEDCO, but you don’t really need the money and you are prominently listed on their homepage as their Georgia partner, thus granting your (state) political credibility to them and their (federal) government influence to you, which is the real point of such partnerships.

There’s more than one type of currency in lobbying . . . and other political acts.

One of the awful things that happens in nonprofit advocacy is that people start to believe their own hype.  There’s nothing nonprofit about the nonprofit world: 99% of it is just political lobbying for this or that client group and this or that special interest.  The salaries are outrageous and the graft is greater than anything private industry has managed to accomplish since the Gilded Age.

That’s why all sorts of big businesses do more and more of their business and political work — and lobbying — through 501-c3s, foundations, and coalitions, right and left.

Georgia Watch’s board of directors:

  • Natalie Allen, International Anchor, CNN
  • Phil Baldwin, CEO, CredAbility
  • Raymond P. Carpenter, Carpenter & Associates, LLC, Chairman, Georgia Watch Board of Directors
  • Beth Cayce, Founder & CEO, CaraVita Home Care
  • Dennis Creech, Executive Director, Southface Energy Institute
  • Leonce Crump, Pastor, Renovation Church
  • John Dalton, MD, Orthopedic surgeon, Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow
  • Kathy Floyd, Advocacy Director, AARP of Georgia
  • Clark Howard, Nationally Syndicated Host, The Clark Howard Show
  • Jimmy Hurt, Attorney, Hurt Stolz
  • Allie Kelly, Sr. Vice President, Georgia Conservancy
  • Danny Orrock, Counsel, Crawford Communications
  • Charlie Tanksley, Founding Partner, The Barnes Law Group, LLC
  • Martha Wilber, MD, Associate Medical Director, Kaiser Permanente

So Georgia Watch is a big cheerleader for Obamacare.  Why is this a problem?  Well, for one thing, they have Kaiser Permanente on their board, and if that doesn’t scream “conflict of interest,” I don’t know if those words mean anything at all.  Now, it’s fine to have Kaiser (and the AARP) on your board, but don’t then pretend you don’t have skin in the game.

These “champions of Georgia consumers” have also been silent on Obamacare’s negative effects on consumers.

When Georgia Watch goes after Georgia Power or some of the other industries they monitor, they apply a very different set of standards than the ones they practice themselves.  I have no particular love for Georgia Power or any other company that engages in crony capitalism while monopolizing a service I must purchase, but I also see no difference between Georgia Power profiting from their government monopoly in energy and Kaiser Permanente profiting from their new government monopoly in healthcare (yes, it’s essentially a single-payer monopoly they divvy up with other big healthcare insurers — all the worst aspects of our old system and the worst aspects of socialized medicine, rolled up into one).

The hypocrisy is galling.  Here, for example, is what Georgia Watch says is wrong about Georgia Power’s new nuclear plant — the one they are fighting in the courts “on behalf of consumers”:

In a series of cases before the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to monitor the cost of constructing two new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle, Georgia Watch is working to protect consumers. A legal dispute between Georgia Power and its Plant Vogtle contractors over cost overruns from project design issues and schedule delays could end up costing Georgia Power ratepayers $400 million or more! In a brief filed at the Commission on August 3, 2012, Georgia Watch once again called on Commissioners to approve a risk sharing mechanism as a means of protecting ratepayers. Currently, the entire cost of overruns is unfairly borne by ratepayers alone.

This is Georgia Watch’s battle cry: consumers are being soaked; prices are too high; Georgia Power is forcing the public to shoulder its expenses and overruns; it’s unfair.

And here is what Georgia Watch says about Obamacare’s overruns (such as: the $600 million website fiasco; forcing some consumers to shoulder costs before others; duplicative spending on dubious navigators; the horrible lies about “keeping your plan,” and most importantly, the lies about saving money, while middle-class people like me get throttled with 200 – 300% price increases):

They say . . . nothing.

Actually, it’s worse than that: they’re behaving as if none of these things are happening to consumers.  They’re running cover for their own board members while pretending to be a consumer advocacy organization.  Isn’t it funny how many millions of words have been spilled over the alleged astro-turfing of the Tea Party by the Koch brothers, while huge crony industries on the Left escape similar scrutiny when they really astroturf issues — carrying water for the government, and even using our tax dollars to do it?

Unfortunately, as with the probable outcome of James O’Keefe’s latest exposé, nothing much changes when the system is jerry-rigged to maximize dependency on the government.  That’s what navigators for the new healthcare law — and many other programs — are really doing.  So to expect something different from them is sort of like trying to turn a sow’s ear back into a pig.  It’s just as impossible as all the other things you try to do with the darn thing.