Paul Ryan’s Politics of Gruel…….are Workhouses Next?

Oliver Twist

“Please sir, I want some more…” it’s one of the most poignant pleas in literature, recognizable by generations of people around the world as the words spoken by a young and hungry Oliver Twist in Dickens’ famous novel of the same name. The story is about an orphan who endures a miserable existence in a workhouse and then placed with an undertaker. The story was Dickens’ protest against the English Poor Law of 1834, which dictated that the poor could no longer receive charity while residing in their homes, to receive any public charity or service, they would now have to enter a workhouse.

I couldn’t help thinking about young Oliver Twist as I watched Paul Ryan twisting himself like a pretzel in trying to manage two essentially incompatible things: adhere to conservative economic dogma while exhibiting compassion for the poor. For Republicans with national ambitions the last few years have been tough. Despite their best efforts even low information voters are losing belief in ‘trickle down’ economics. That belief may have sustained people in the Reagan, Bush and Clinton years – despite ample evidence to the contrary – but the impact of the Great Recession combined with the response to the Occupy Movement has effectively destroyed any illusion the wealthy intend to allow their wealth to trickle down to the rest of us.

Unfortunately, conservative ideology is resistant to reality or facts so the economic proscriptions have failed to change with the times. Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio among others continue to assert the best way to reduce poverty is by giving more tax cuts to the rich. The belief that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ is at the heart of modern-day conservatism and of the continuing debate about the role of government in meeting the basic needs of its people.

Last week also saw the convergence a few events – the one year anniversary of the GOP “Autopsy” analyzing the reasons why Republicans failed to win the national election in 2012; St. Patrick’s Day and the attempt by Republicans to capitalize on Obama’s recently announced “Brother’s Keepers Initiative” by exhibiting their support for young black men. It provided opportunities for great political commentary, my favorite – Timothy Egan’s non-subtle reminder of the history of Ryan’s Irish ancestors and the role of the British aristocracy in facilitating the Great Famine that cost millions of Irish lives:

A great debate raged in London: Would it be wrong to feed the starving Irish with free food, thereby setting up a “culture of dependency”? Certainly England’s man in charge of easing the famine, Sir Charles Trevelyan, thought so. “Dependence on charity,” he declared, “is not to be made an agreeable mode of life.”

And there I ran into Paul Ryan. His great-great-grandfather had fled to America. But the Republican congressman was very much in evidence, wagging his finger at the famished. His oft-stated “culture of dependency” is a safety net that becomes a lazy-day hammock. But it was also England’s excuse for lethal negligence.

There is no comparison, of course, between the de facto genocide that resulted from British policy, and conservative criticism of modern American poverty programs.

But you can’t help noticing the deep historic irony that finds a Tea Party favorite and descendant of famine Irish using the same language that English Tories used to justify indifference to an epic tragedy.

That critique was followed by a brutal take-down by Paul Krugman where he called Ryan out for using the dog-whistle of racial stereotypes in blaming high unemployment on a culture of not working in “inner cities”:

So it’s comical, in a way, to see Mr. Ryan trying to explain away some recent remarks in which he attributed persistent poverty to a “culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working.” He was, he says, simply being “inarticulate.” How could anyone suggest that it was a racial dog-whistle?

He said what he said because that’s the kind of thing conservatives say to each other all the time. And why do they say such things? Because American conservatism is still, after all these years, largely driven by claims that liberals are taking away your hard-earned money and giving it to Those People.

Some might accuse me of piling on – I say, if he can dish it, he should be able to take it.

The Past is Present

The stratified English class structure of the last century is reflected in the popular PBS series, Downton Abbey. The highest social class belonged to the Lord and Lady Granthams, aristocrats who did not have to work for a living – they lived on the income of their estates and investments. Today they’re known as the “Makers”, financiers, business execs and corporate moguls who derive their wealth thru managing corporate empires and investments. The English middle class of that era was looked down on by the rich for having to work, so to make themselves feel better about it, they embraced their burden and raised work to a moral virtue – sound familiar? Today, we have members of Congress asserting that those who don’t work, don’t deserve to eat. The moral value attached to work, along with middle class insecurity about its own standing and legitimacy, led English society to subject the poor to cruel and dehumanizing treatment. Having attained middle class status, many members were anxious to differentiate themselves from the lower classes – one way to do so was to stigmatize them as indolent freeloaders – todays 47% aka the “Takers”. Victorian society interpreted economic success as a sign of moral virtue – that God favored the successful person’s efforts, and, so interpreted poverty as a sign of God’s judgment based on weakness of the poor person.

The sentiment behind the Poor Law of 1834 reflected these beliefs. The law allowed the poor to receive public assistance only if they lived and worked in established workhouses. Workhouses were deliberately made to be as miserable as possible to deter the poor from relying on public assistance. The philosophy was that the miserable conditions would prevent able-bodied paupers from being lazy and idle bums. The number of people who passed thru British workhouses is staggering – in the 100 years of their operation, more than 14 million people were compelled to turn to the workhouse for food, shelter, clothing and health care.

I’ve often wondered if whites who are descendants of European immigrants remember the contempt in which many of their ancestors were held in their native countries that led them to flee; or the discriminatory treatment they received when they arrived in the U.S. Anti-immigrant sentiment was as virulent against southern Europeans, Irish and Jews during the late 19th and early 20th centuries as it is towards Hispanics and other brown people today.

Recently, I came across an amazing documentary that featured famous Brits learning about their ancestors experiences with the workhouse. I share some clips that have particular resonance to today’s conversation about the reasons for persistent poverty and treatment of the poor.

British actor Brian Cox was researching the history of his great-grandfather Patrick McCann, an Irish laborer forced to seek work in Glasgow, Scotland. A widower with a small boy to support, he suffered from chronic bronchitis and after a workplace injury left him unemployed was forced to turn to the workhouse.

Brian Cox’s great-grandfather was physically disabled, but according to the standards of the time, he was considered one of the undeserving poor. Because of his health issues he had difficulty sustaining steady employment which led to the state labeling him a “malingerer”, someone unwilling to work.

Paul Ryan’s district includes the city of Racine where high unemployment has been a chronic problem for decades. The problem has only worsen since the Great Recession. In May, 2013 unemployment in Racine was 11.6%, the second-highest rate in the state. Median income for residents of the City of Racine is substantially lower than that of county or state residents. An analysis of income by race and ethnicity shows that white residents have twice the median income than black residents.

No state comes close to Wisconsin in imprisoning black men. There’s a direct relationship between Wisconsin’s propensity for imprisoning black men and their inability to get work, but you won’t hear Paul Ryan acknowledge that. A recent report found that 12.8%, or 1 in 8 of African-American working age men, were incarcerated. That rate is 32% higher than the second worst state, Oklahoma, and nearly double the national average of 6.7% (or 1 in 15). The report, aptly titled: Wisconsin’s Mass Incarceration of African-American Males: Workforce Challenges for 2013 found the following:

Among the most critical workforce issues facing Wisconsin are governmental policies and practices leading to mass incarceration of African-Americans men and suspensions of driving privileges to low-income
adults.. . . Particularly affected were African-American men, with the 2010 U.S. Census showing Wisconsin having the highest black male incarceration rate in the nation. In Milwaukee County over half of African-American men in their 30s have served time in state prison. . . . Prison time is the most serious barrier to employment, making ex-offender populations the most difficult to place and sustain in full-time employment. When DOT driver’s licensing history is also considered, transportation barriers make successful labor force attachment even less likely. Yet, most of the recent state policy discussions about preparing the Wisconsin workforce and debates over redistribution of government job training dollars have largely ignored African-American men and relegated ex-offender populations to a minor (if not invisible) place in Wisconsin’s labor force.

Almost a quarter of Racine households had incomes at or below poverty levels in 2012, and 40 percent of children under age 18 were in poverty. “The root causes are jobs and education,” according to Racine Mayor John Dickert. Those numbers leap for families where women are the sole source of income. According to 2012 estimates, 52% of families with a female head of house are in poverty in Racine.

In the workhouse system, poor people who died while an inmate (yes, that’s what they called them) and whose families could not afford to bury them would have their bodies consigned for dissection for medical research – repayment for the ‘crime of pauperism’. Wonder how long it will take for Paul Ryan or some other Tea Partier to propose a similar measure – you can get welfare benefits if you’re willing to leave your body to science – a new form of debt collateral? Compassionate conservatism has been replaced with Dickensian indifference.

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D.C. takes step toward legalizing pot for private use

Now if we can just get Congress to use it maybe they might mellow out a bit……..

CNN Political Ticker

(CNN) — The Washington City Council passed a measure on Tuesday that would move the District of Columbia one step closer to decriminalizing marijuana in most cases.

Members approved the bill 11-to-1 in the first of two votes likely this month.

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Obama Exhales Slowly………………..

It’s been a long time coming. President Obama has been very open about his youthful drug use, admitting to using cocaine and marijuana during his student years. Yet he was shielded from police by the protection that comes with attending elite schools. As a community organizer on the south side of Chicago it was impossible for him to be unaware of the terrible impact of the ‘war on drugs’ in poor black communities. Illinois still has the distinction of being one of the states with the worst racial disparities in drug law enforcement. A black man is 40 times more likely to be arrested for drugs in Illinois than a white man, despite similar rates of group drug use. So, it was heartening to hear him finally acknowledge what we all know – marijuana law enforcement disproportionately targets low-income and urban youth of color for behavior (possessing or using marijuana) that suburban and/or affluent youth engage in with impunity. When queried about shifting public opinion regarding marijuana, the President maintained his position opposing legalization but said he was very troubled by the disparate nature of marijuana law enforcement. Obama said the following:

“Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.” But, he said, “we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.” Accordingly, he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”

The media has focused on Obama’s continued opposition to marijuana legalization despite his belief that marijuana is not more dangerous than alcohol – a legal, regulated drug. Many in the drug policy reform community believe the President has not gone far enough, he should come out fully in support of legalizing marijuana, a position the majority of Americans now favor.

As a long time drug policy reform supporter, I was not disappointed by the President’s statements, I applaud and commend them. By talking about the issue the way he did, he framed it in a way that resonates strongly with me – as a racial justice issue. Regardless of how one feels about the efficacy of making marijuana legally available for adult consumption, there is no question that our current policies and efforts to enforce them are hurting African-American and Latino youth. It’s ironic, a majority of the Beltway media (particularly those over 50) are primarily concerned about the effect marijuana legalization could have on children – as if the hundreds of thousands of children of color that are negatively affected by marijuana prohibition don’t exist. I guess in their world, they don’t count.

I applaud President Obama for acknowledging that it’s not behavior but privilege that determines outcomes for many youth – the privilege not to be surveilled, the privilege of not being followed, stopped, questioned or frisked, the privilege of possessing marijuana with the knowledge no police officer is going to ask you to empty your pockets, arrest you for your weed and imprint you with the stigma of criminality that may follow you forever.

Obama’s statement suggests his administration is seeking to get out of the business of marijuana law enforcement. The uphill battle he faces in advancing this relatively modest policy reform is evident by the immediate pushback from his own administration. The Boston Herald reported, DEA chief Michele M. Leonhart slammed President Obama’s recent comments comparing smoking marijuana to drinking alcohol at an annual meeting of the nation’s sheriffs, according to two sheriffs who said her remarks drew a standing ovation. Hopefully when President Obama learns his appointed head of the Drug Enforcement Administration still believes the agency should prioritize prosecuting pot offenses, he’ll take a deep breath, exhale slowly, call her in and tell her to look for another job. That would be change we can believe in.

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Obama’s Inequality Problem……..Illusory Wealth

Tomorrow President Obama will deliver the annual State of the Union (SOTU) address to an audience that will include members of the Congress, the Supreme Court, the national media and a large segment of the politically motivated public. It’s been widely reported the central theme of his address will be the growing problem of income inequality and the lack of upward mobility for the majority of Americans, not just the urban poor. I’m sure he’ll cast his proposals as representing an agenda to expand opportunity and ensure all have access to the American dream of intergenerational upward mobility, a dream that died in the U.S. heartland, in the industrial centers of Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin. The people in these areas of the country are looking for someone to resurrect their hope in the American dream, a need the Obama campaign understood and exploited in the 2008 campaign theme: HOPE and CHANGE.

Here we are in January, 2014 and President Obama needs to persuade the country there’s still reason to hope for change they can believe in, when the reality is his greatest accomplishment has been the unquantifiable job of preventing things from being much worse. The economy is growing slowly but steadily and unemployment has declined (though not for the long-term unemployed). Recovery from the Great Recession of 2008 has been robust for the top 1% who’ve captured the lion’s share of increases in wealth, practically nonexistent for the ‘middle class’ whose wages stay stagnant despite increased productivity and for the poor, it’s been Dickensian. After years of attempting to work with Republican leaders in Congress to enact legislation to address pressing national issues such as: job creation, infrastructure repair, immigration reform, climate change, education, housing and civic participation, President Obama is charting a different course – one that relies more on executive action. I say Hooray for that!!

Regardless of the course President Obama lays out in his SOTU speech, he and we face a somewhat intractable problem that it will take more than one President and one presidency to unwind. There’s no debate about the dramatic increase in wealth experienced by the top 1% over the past few decades. According to a recent report, 85 people control more wealth than the bottom half of the global population. The gap in the U.S. has similarly widened – in 2012, the top 1 percent collected 19.3% of all household income and the top 10 percent took home a record 48.2% of total earnings, The media punditry class likes to refer to these numbers when talking about income inequality, what they’re less likely to talk about is the source of the wealth that has fueled income inequality.

Despite elected officials promises to restore the American middle class, we’ve increasing become a country with just two classes economically – the class of people who work for money and the class of people whose money works for them. The financial leaders of Wall Street and the international investment community who’ve seen their wealth grow astronomically have a clearer understanding than most of us about the ephemeral nature of their success. As articulated beautifully by Paul Krugman:

We’re not talking captains of industry here, men who make stuff. We are, instead, talking about wheeler-dealers, men who push money around and get rich by skimming some off the top as it sloshes by. They may boast that they are job creators, the people who make the economy work, but are they really adding value? Many of us doubt it — and so, I suspect, do some of the wealthy themselves, a form of self-doubt that causes them to lash out even more furiously at their critics.

For a more colorful description of this lucrative game, this excerpt from the Wolf of Wall Street is spot on:

The wealthy are not entirely wrong to feel defensive. Increasingly Americans are realizing their interests are completely divergent from the interests of the ruling class. There was a time when corporations strived to be like IBM, a blue chip company with a reputation for having a great work environment and good employee benefits, now the model is Wal-Mart, the country’s largest employer with a reputation for having an oppressive work environment and such meager benefits many full-time employees still have to rely on food stamps to eat. Ever since the Occupy Movement defined the divide between the 99% who produce the wealth and the 1% who get to enjoy it, folks are paying more attention to the wolves of Wall Street.

The super-rich have a number of methods of lashing out. The most obvious is to gin up their attack dogs in the right-wing media to beat the drum of “class warfare” and pen the type of rant published recently in the Wall Street Journal comparing criticism of the 1% to Nazi persecution of the Jews and suggesting the country is on the verge of a “progressive Kristallnacht”. The less obvious but more effective method is the one they’ve employed over the last several election cycles – elect extreme right-wing candidates who have mastered 3D politics: Destruction, Distortion and Deflection – making it a self-fulfilling prophecy that government is unable to respond to the needs of the average person.

Unfortunately for the wealthy, despite their attempts at dumbing down the public, we’re just not there yet and filmmakers are playing their own subversive role in shining light on otherwise dark spaces. Millions of people will enjoy watching Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill as demoniacal deceptive traders in the Wolf of Wall Street. At some point after they stop laughing, they’ll think about the description of ‘The Market’ as a giant Ponzi scheme and wonder just how much of the wealth of the top 1% is based on creating tangible goods and services and how much of it is ‘wealth on paper’ generated by making successful bets with other people’s money? If they ponder it longer they’ll come to the revelation upon which revolutions are based: the ‘Kristallnacht’ event already happened but it was not perpetrated by progressives – it was the financial ‘Kristallnacht’ of 2008 when the wealth and savings of millions was destroyed by the recklessness of financial wheeler-dealers, who then turned around and blackmailed the government into forcing us to pay to repair the mess. Think about it – if the financial destroyers had been held accountable for their actions, we all would see these emperors have no clothes. Their wealth is not real and they create little of value.

Why are we letting these people ruin our economy, destroy paths to mobility and compromise our democracy? The wealth of a nation is in its people, not in the pockets of greedy and paranoid con artists.

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A Hallelujah Moment! Justice for Clarence Aaron and Seven Others Serving Time for Crack Cocaine Offenses

Today in an exercise of Executive Clemency, President Obama commuted the sentences of Clarence Aaron and seven other men and women serving harsh mandatory sentences under what the president described as an “unfair system” that included the disparity which punished offenses involving crack cocaine 100 times more harshly than offenses involving powder cocaine. The 100:1 crack cocaine sentencing disparity has been widely derided as unjust and disproportionately imposed on African-Americans who consistently comprised more than 80% of all federal crack cocaine defendants. It was substantially reduced by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2011 and now stands at 18:1.

All of the men and women who received executive clemency have served more than 15 years in prison, six of the eight had received life sentences. Clarence Aaron was sentenced at age 22 to life in prison for a minor role in a local drug deal. His real crime, refusing to ‘cooperate’ with prosecutors who wanted him to give state’s evidence in exchange for a lighter sentence. I remember clearly the first time I learned about Clarence Aaron’s case, he was featured in the 1999 Frontline documentary “Snitch”, which highlighted the ways mandatory sentencing provisions are used by prosecutors to coerce cooperation agreements from defendants – many charged as drug conspirators. Clarence Aaron was an example of what happens to a person who fails to cooperate, he was convicted on the basis of testimony by co-defendants and received three consecutive life sentences – an outcome that shocked a member of his jury who had no idea of the potential sentence.

Clarence Aaron has been in prison for 20 years, at 42, he’s spent almost as much of his life behind bars as he spent a free man. We can’t give him back the years he lost or the years lost by the other seven men and women who were victims of racially biased crack cocaine sentencing laws, but we can move affirmatively to reduce the injustice to future generations.

Reducing the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses was a good first step, we need to revisit the policy of mandatory minimum drug sentencing and the widespread use of drug conspiracy provisions to ensnare vulnerable people tangentially involved in illicit drug markets in order to boost drug convictions and incarceration rates. Clarence Aaron was charged and prosecuted as a co-conspirator in a drug deal involving some friends and family members. His principal involvement was driving his friends to meet some folks from whom they then bought drugs. It was never alleged that Clarence Aaron bought drugs, used drugs or had any drugs in his possession but under the federal drug conspiracy provisions being charged as a co-conspirator makes you accountable for any and all drugs that may be involved in the criminal activity and thereby subject to the same sentence as a principal actor. Think of it this way – you drive your buddy to a secret rendezvous with his/her lover and now you’re charged with their infidelity. Doesn’t seem right or fair?

Throughout the country scarce police resources are devoted to hunting down and locking up people involved with drugs while the folks who raid our pension funds, pollute our environment, bankrupt our cities and subvert effective government, act with impunity, safe in the protection that comes with privilege. Equal justice under the law should mean just that – equal justice, for all. There are thousands of others serving long prison terms for crack cocaine offenses, they deserve to come home too.

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Blind Eyes and Deaf Ears

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Gating the Debate about Race……………

I’ve got a new term to add to the American colloquial lexicon: Gating – to close off discussion of a sensitive cultural or political issue (e.g. race, torture, abortion) by declaring an incident a “teachable moment” sitting down for a well-publicized outdoor summit (preferably over a low-cost beverage like beer or soda – coffee & water are too expensive) preferably with an important figure (like a current or former President) and then making a documentary about the experience to demonstrate how well the process works.

I’m dismayed at the number of people who insist that because Prof. Gates and his supporters think Sgt. Crowley’s actions were racially-biased, they are accusing him of being a racist. Alleging that someone has treated you unfairly because you’re black is not the same as accusing them of being racist. It’s unfortunate the media regularly conflates these issues – they are  quite distinct. Many people, white and black engage in racially discriminatory acts, that doesn’t make them racists. Most African-Americans have learned to be nuanced in making these distinctions as Pres. Obama demonstrated in his remarks when he said the Cambridge Police Dept “acted stupidly” in arresting Prof. Gates and taking him to the station. He didn’t mention Sgt. Crowley by name and didn’t single out anyone. I believe he was totally correct in his assessment that it was “stupid” for the police to arrest Gates given the facts as he knew them at the time. Little that’s been revealed since then contradicts or undermines Pres. Obama’s original assessment.

Focusing on Pres Obama’s use of the word “stupidly”  (debatably inartful) has enabled the media to ignore the facts underlying the arrest, including the fact that if the incident had not become a political issue, Sgt. Crowley would be facing a police investigation and possible reprimand for his behavior and apparent falsification of records – as the audio tapes and other corroborating evidence do not support his written version of events.

For those New Yorkers who maintain racial profiling is not a real problem, contemplate this: Police stopped and interrogated New Yorkers 171,094 times between January and March, and more than 151,000 of those individuals were sent on their way without charges. Approximately 89,000 of those stopped were black, 56,000 were Latino, and 16,000 were white.  Blacks make up about 25% of New York City’s population but were more than 50% of those stopped. More than 80% of those stopped were not charged with doing anything wrong.  Consider, for a moment, what this means.  Police officers make the decision to take a person, walking down the street minding his own business, seize him (in the legal sense of preventing him from continuing on his way unimpeded) and then place their hands on his body to determine whether he has anything that would lead them to arrest him.  This could include a weapon, or drugs, or stolen property.  But whatever causes the police officers to make the decision to seize and touch a citizen, they are wrong 88% of the time.  That’s an extraordinary number of innocent, law-abiding citizens who are being denied their right to walk down the street unmolested by the police.

For the 20% of cases that lead to a summons or arrest, consider this: I co-authored a report about the NYPD practice of  manufacturing arrests for  marijuana possession – in part to justify “stop and frisks” and in part to maintain their arrest numbers. In the course of a police ‘frisk’ or search, police officers may discover small amounts of marijuana in the person’s pockets or bag. The individual is then charged with having “marijuana in public view”, an arrestable misdemeanor offense under NYS Criminal Code Sec. 221.10. During the ten years from 1997-2007, the NYPD made more than 360,000 arrests for misdemeanor marijuana possession, more than any police dept in the country. More than 85% of those arrests were of Black and Latino young men under the age of 25 even though collectively, they comprise less than 40% of marijuana users. If that’s not racial profiling I don’t know what is.

What’s worse is that NYS decriminalized marijuana possession in 1977 in order to protect young people (then defined as middle-class white students) from the stigma of an arrest and criminal record for what was deemed an essentially harmless crime. Yet, here we are 30 years later, using a law designed to protect white youth to ensnare Black and Latino youth into the criminal justice system needlessly. These are the very same youth we say we want to help stay in school and enhance their employment potential yet we support police policies that ensure their marginalization and alienation from the mainstream……Why?

Many have said the Gates incident was relatively harmless in its consequences, but as Bob Herbert points out, being arrested handcuffed, fingerprinted and photographed for a police mugshot is humiliating and has long term consequences. Like every other arrestee, Prof. Gates’ photos and fingerprints are now in the FBI criminal database along with all the millions of people whose arrest records are easily accessible for anyone who cares to search for it online. Unlike many arrestees he has a secure job, housing and relative security – for many a criminal arrest forever impacts their ability to get a job, apply for credit, housing, certain licenses and even to adopt a child.

No harm, no foul – I don’t think so.

Right now the media is focused on the issue of white rage and backlash to what is perceived as an increase in Black power and influence. Yet, the reality is Black unemployment is more than 20%, Black youth unemployment in NYC is more than 35% and rising. Very little of federal stimulus spending is being directed towards this vulnerable population. Pres. Obama’s election has given many Blacks, especially the young, hope the system can work for them despite considerable evidence to the contrary. The consequences of this generation watching their best hope being steadily emasculated politically and culturally (the rhetoric around Pres. Obama is growing more hateful daily) combined with continued economic displacement and neglect deserve serious consideration. Almost every major incident of urban unrest was sparked by an incident of police brutality or misconduct. We ignore the problem at our peril. The fire next time, may not be so easily put out – it may take a lot more than a few beers on the WH lawn………

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