America is awash in money, yet poverty grows: We need a Basic Income Guarantee


 
This is a guest editorial by Allan Sheahen, the author of the new book Basic Income Guarantee: Your Right to Economic Security (Palgrave/MacMillan, NYC). A previous essay from Mr. Sheahen, “Jobs are not the answer: The BIG idea that libertarians and socialists alike can agree on?” was published at Dangerous Minds last week and proved to be very popular.

America is awash with money.

Yet poverty continues to grow.

Does anybody care?

The latest government figures show that 46 million Americans live in poverty, more than at any other time in our nation’s history. That’s 15.1 percent of our population. One in five children live below the poverty line of $22,314 for a family of four, compared to one in twelve in France and one in 38 in Sweden.

Yet whenever elected officials ask their constituents what issues are most important to them, poverty isn’t even on the list. The economy, jobs, Afghanistan, the environment, health care, and education always show up. But not poverty.

Accordingly, Congress is now debating not whether to cut food stamps for the poorest Americans, but by how much.  The Senate is proposing $4 billion in cuts. The House wants to cut $20 billion. Many Democrats are supporting the Senate version.

More than a half-million people are homeless in America. Food banks and homeless shelters are serving more people now than a year ago.  Unemployment is at 7.6 percent.

The problem is that all the private charities in America can’t end hunger and poverty. Ending poverty demands government programs, such as Social Security, unemployment compensation, Medicare, welfare, food stamps, child care, and more.

The 1996 Welfare Reform Act was sold to us as a way to get people off welfare, and it did.  Welfare rolls in the United States are down more than 50 percent.  But it didn’t reduce poverty. That’s because welfare reform dumped many recipients into low-paying jobs—with no benefits or ability to move up.

Does anybody care?

Maybe we care, but we don’t know what to do about it. So we shrug, say the poor will always be with us, and forget about it.

In 1969, a Presidential Commission recommended we establish a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) at the poverty level for all Americans.

On that Commission, the chairmen of IBM, Westinghouse, and Rand, former California Gov. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown and 17 others unanimously agreed with economist Milton Friedman that: “We should replace the ragbag of welfare programs with a single, comprehensive program of income suplements in cash—a negative income tax.  It would provide an assured minimum to all persons in need, regardless of the reasons for their need.”

Fast-forward 44 years, and we find that welfare has failed because it has destroyed people’s ability to take control of their own lives and make their own decisions. We assume the poor are incapable of making sound decisions; that they can’t be trusted with cash and have to be protected from themselves. It’s as if your employer thought you so irresponsible that he sent part of your paycheck to your landlord, another part to your grocer, another to the bank that provided your car loan, another to your doctor.

There are more than 300 income-tested social programs costing more than $400 billion a year. Much of that money goes for administrative expenses, not to the needy.

Charles Murray, whose 1984 book Losing Ground claimed that welfare was doing more harm than good, now agrees with the BIG approach.

“America’s population is wealthier than any in history,” Murray writes in his new book, In Our Hands.  “Every year, the American government redistributes more than a trillion dollars of that wealth to provide for retirements, health care, and the alleviation of poverty. We still have millions of people without comfortable retirements, without adequate health care, and living in poverty. Only a government can spend so much money so ineffectually. The solution is to give the money to the people.”

Murray calls for giving an annual cash grant of $10,000—with no work requirements—to every adult over age 21.

Indeed, the U.S. is a wealthy nation. Our 2011 Gross Domestic Product was $14.4 trillion. That’s an average of $46,000 for each man, woman and child in the country. It’s an average of $61,000 per adult. It’s more than enough to end poverty.

Poverty is wrong. A Basic Income Guarantee would establish economic security as a universal right. It gives each of us the assurance that, no matter what happens, we won’t go hungry.

Allan Sheahen is the author of the new book: Basic Income Guarantee: Your Right to Economic Security (Palgrave/MacMillan, NYC).  For more information, go to www.basicincomeguarantee.com

Below, footage of FDR’s so-called “Second Bill of Rights” speech which was filmed right after he had finished his State of the Union Address on radio on January 11, 1944.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
How low can it go? Millions of Americans live on LESS THAN $2 A DAY according to alarming new study
08.19.2013
03:35 pm

Topics:
Class War
Economy
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
SOCIALISM NOW


 
A new report from the National Poverty Center (NPC) throws the disturbing trend of “extreme poverty” (as opposed to mere “deep poverty”) into stark relief: There are currently an astonishing 1.65 million American households (with 3.55 million children living in them) where each family member lives on less than $2 a day!

Mull that over for a moment. Half the country is near or below the poverty line already!

My parents operate a soup kitchen/food pantry out of their church and my mother has all kinds of sad stories about kids who will rip open packs of raisins and wolf them down like they’re feral and other kids who look like they’re dead behind their eyes. For many of the children who they see regularly, if it weren’t for subsidized school lunches and stops at more than one local church food pantry, they’d be starving. On the weekends, many of them probably do.

I should mention that this is in West Virginia, a state with super high, very persistent structural unemployment rates and a very, very frayed government social services network, one of the worst—and stingiest—in the nation. People think of West Virginia as being a backwards place, but you could choose instead to see it as a glimpse of a possible, even likely, future: Want to know what our increasingly predatory capitalist society will look like in another ten years? West Virginia looks like that NOW.

There are no jobs, the roads are full of potholes that can swallow a pick-up truck, the land has been raped by the coal companies’ mountaintop removal activities and your next door neighbor is all too happy to sell the fracking rights to his backyard to a multinational. Who cares what you think or if it fucks up your living situation? No one is going to turn away an offer that can see them turn into the next Jed Clampett. Who could blame them? I mean… get real.

West Virginia, rural Texas, the meth-head armies of the California desert, the vast tracts of uninhabited homes across the sun belt. There’s some ill shit brewing in this country.

Debra Watson writes at the World Socialist Website:

The report, published in Social Service Review, was authored by H. Luke Shaefer, University of Michigan, School of Social Work, and Kathryn Edin, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government. Measuring extreme poverty uncovers a further income stratification among those below the official poverty level. The sharply rising income inequality in the US has created in its wake a new phenomenon: massive numbers of US families that live in daily conditions once relegated the poorest of the poor in the economically underdeveloped world.

It throws light on particular aspects of the growth in inequality in the US that have not been examined in reports from the Census Bureau and other sources that compare income for different quintiles of the population. Some recent research has developed a category called “deep poverty” or a yearly income below half the official poverty line. Both these methods of research have revealed drastically rising inequality and the growth of deep poverty in recent years.

The researchers used the figure of $2 a day per person, the United Nations measure of poverty in developing countries. The official poverty line for a family of three would equate to roughly $17 per person per day averaged over a year. Deep poverty, below half the poverty line, would equate to an average of approximately $8.50 per person per day.

At $2 per person per day, the extreme poverty category examined in this report finds a family with virtually nothing to live on, or roughly 13 percent of what is considered official poverty. Social science researchers have estimated that it requires an income twice the Census Bureau’s official poverty level to actually support a family.

Counting food stamp benefits, now called SNAP, as cash only reduces the number of extremely poor households with children by half. The current food assistance benefit for a family of three tops out at $526. Since it only is available to families with income below 130 percent of the official poverty level, receiving the benefit does not bring any family to a livable income. If counted as the equivalent of cash income, the assistance actually would barely move a family in extreme poverty to deep poverty.

In addition, the SNAP benefit itself is facing serious cuts and even outright elimination for many poor families. In November, a family of three will lose $29 a month when the SNAP per person benefit allotment is cut as the federal government eliminates stimulus measures instituted in the immediate aftermath of recession. Five million people will be entirely cut off from SNAP benefits if limits in eligibility are imposed under plans to cut the program that emerged during discussion of the new Farm Bill this summer.

When Bill Clinton—no fan of welfare—was in office there were an average of 25.5 SNAP million recipients each month, but by the end of 2012, it was nearly twice that, at 47.5 million people.

The minimum wage is basically a slave wage, and everyone knows it. It works out to about just about half of what has been computed to be a living wage. You can work full-time and it’s still nowhere near close to providing for a life of basic dignity. Sure, no one’s forcing anyone with a whip to their backs to take a job that pays $7.40 an hour, but even when people are willing to work hard, and do, there’s often no way, as in none, for them to be able to make it work in this harsh, unsympathetic society.

And now the foaming at the mouth Republicans want to cut food stamps even more. The wishy-washy Democrats will undoubtedly let them get away with a little bit of it in the name of “compromise” (because they know, like the GOP knows, that the poorest of the poor seldom vote, so they’ll give on that).

Far from being Ronald Reagan’s “rising tide that lifts all boats,” in 2013 American-style capitalism is a raging tsunami of economic degradation, battering her own people against its rocks. If the news of millions of people in the richest country in the world living on less than $2 a day doesn’t shock you to your very core, what the fuck would?

Would it take a rash of childhood deaths attributed to malnourishment?

How many deaths of US children from severe malnutrition would be acceptable? Where then should society draw the line? Is allowing kids to suffer from brain damage and developmental problems okay or is that not okay?

It’s predictable that the most vulnerable are expected to bear the brunt of it. But for how long? An empty stomach breeds resentment. The GOP (and their complicit pals the moderate Democrats) seem intent on stoking the flames of class war. If they want to breed a class war mentality, they’re going about it in the right way!

Less than two dollars a day. How much lower can it go? (Hint: “To nothing” is not the correct answer)

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
We’re screwed: How will we survive in a future without jobs?

How much longer can capitalism last when robots do all the work?

Hard Times Generation: Families living in cars
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Is this the single best segment of ‘The Colbert Report’ ever? It very well might be!
08.15.2013
09:56 am

Topics:
Heroes
Queer
Television
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
Stephen Colbert


One of the most eloquent men in America.

Stephen Colbert is a national treasure, we all know it, and this is perhaps the single best segment that I have ever seen on The Colbert Report.

Huffington Post said that it’s likely to leave you in tears and that’s most certainly true, but this is also absolutely hysterically funny. It’s a cute, sweet, feel-good tale, but when you see the preacher with the oxygen container, well, it goes into the comedic stratosphere after that. The producers and writers, and Stephen Colbert himself, of course, deserve a standing ovation.

I don’t really need to describe this to you, do I? Just hit play and meet Mayor Johnny Cummings of Vicco, Kentucky and the many wonderful people who live in his town (If you are blocked from the Comedy Central link, here it is on YouTube).
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the kitschy Christian Americana of the Precious Moments Chapel!


 
Artist Samuel J. Butcher is about as American as an artist can possibly be, like, say Ansel Adams, Norman Rockwell or even Andy Warhol. He draws, paints in oil, water-color, acrylic and sculpts in mixed-media.

Butcher is primarily known as the artistic creator of the Precious Moments brand. His easily identifiable big-eyed characters, originally modeled after one of his toddler sons, and his American-Christian themes make his kitschy work instantly recognizable. Chances are your grandmother has at least one Precious Moments statuette. Precious Moments is the second most lucrative brand in the figurine marketplace.

A deeply religious man, Butcher purchased a parcel of land in the Ozark Mountains near Carthage Missouri and set about building the Precious Moments Chapel, which he worked on, really, really obsessively for years before it opened in 1989.

In the Precious Moments Chapel, Butcher used his characters to bring Bible stories to life in dozens of murals—9,000 square feet of them all hand-painted by the artist—including the Creation myth and the resurrection of Jesus.

There is also mural called “Hallelujah Square” that memorializes the lives of real children who died young and depicts them being reunited with their parents in Heaven. Naturally the ceiling of the Precious Moments Chapel has been called “America’s Sistine Chapel” by the aesthetically undiscerning, but that still doesn’t mean that it’s not sort of weirdly cool anyway.

Would it surprise you to know that the country’s largest Precious Moments gift shop is adjacent to the Chapel? No?
 

 

 

 

 
Below, some smart-asses from an indie band called Fishboy stop by this unusual roadside attraction and crack wise over the Precious Moments Chapel:
 

 
A more sincere look around the Precious Moments Chapel:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
It’s take your gun to Starbucks day: No really, it is and people are doing it right now
08.09.2013
08:07 am

Topics:
Current Events
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
guns
Starbucks


 
Guns—lots of ‘em—and really strong coffee. What could possibly go wrong?

You might expect something like this from Chick-fil A, but did you know that it’s “Starbucks Appreciation Day,” as organized by Second Amendment enthusiasts in as many as 30 states? Apparently so according to the Facebook page that was set up for it. Might be a good day to test out the java at Dunkin’ Donuts, eh?

“Starbucks is allowing us to lawfully carry firearms in their store. Recently, they have been the target of unjust attacks from certain groups that do not support our right to bear arms. We will thank starbucks for standing up for our right to bear arms by going there on Friday, August 9th. We ask that if you choose to carry a firearm during this event that you follow all local, state, and national laws; and if you choose not to carry that you wear pro-gun rights apparel.”

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America had this to say at their Facebook page:

TELL STARBUCKS TO STOP ARMED RALLIES AT ITS STORES ON AUG. 9: More than 2,000 gun advocates are planning armed rallies inside Starbucks across the country on Friday as part of “Starbucks Appreciation Day,” which honors the company’s lax gun policies. More than 30 states allow open carry without a permit, screening or training. Starbucks has the legal right to prevent gun in its stores, just like it bans smoking outside its stores.

Tell Starbucks it is not ok to endanger our children and families

To say nothing whatsoever about the SAFETY OF THEIR OWN EMPLOYEES, for fuck’s sake! (“You screwed up my mocha latte ON PURPOSE, you lib’rul barista piece of shit. You think you’re funny, don’t cha?” and so on.)

Fred F. Cuomo-Tondalo left this scathing comment on the guns and caffeine fanpage:

Yeah in Newtown Starbucks they are having cutouts of the Newtown kids who were killed for target practice while you digleberries drink your lattes

Pretty much…

But Jame Yeager, the wag who posted the below pic of “the event,” on its fanpage asking for captions, had the best comment of all:

Moments later they formed an ass to mouth human centipede.

BOOM! Some university researcher needs to study the correlation between gun permits and Viagra prescriptions. There should at least be a legal provision in our gun laws stating that you must be able to actually SEE your own dick to own and carry a firearm.

Jame also posted THIS.
 

 
Via Joe.My.God

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Capitalism is dead: American poverty to go mainstream as 80% predicted to feel economic insecurity


Look like anyone you know?

Data from an as-yet unpublished survey reported on by The Associated Press today predicts that four out of five U.S. adults—an astonishing 80%, so guess what, this depressing figure probably includes YOU, bucko, unless you were born rich—will face grinding unemployment, near-poverty and a reliance on welfare for at least a part of their lives. The stated reason for this widespread economic insecurity is the lack of stable, good-paying manufacturing jobs, but isn’t that just a polite way of saying “because the fucking system is rigged by the 1%”? Of course it is.

Eighty percent? EIGHTY PERCENT???

Yeah, that’s right, eighty percent. How much longer will people put up with this? All for them and none for you? The pessimistic answer would be to shrug it off and say “it’ll never happen”—I thought this myself for decades—but I’m not so sure about that anymore. With grim figures like these—and so many “have nots” standing on the same side of the gated communities—this country will surely become a tinderbox. Sooner rather than later, I’d suspect.

Hardship is particularly growing among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families’ economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy “poor.”

“I think it’s going to get worse,” said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend but it doesn’t generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.

“If you do try to go apply for a job, they’re not hiring people, and they’re not paying that much to even go to work,” she said. Children, she said, have “nothing better to do than to get on drugs.”

While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in the government’s poverty data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.

For non-whites the economic insecurity figure rises to an an even more astonishing 90%!

And right at the time when the GOP wants to gut welfare, Social Security and stop the implementation of the Affordable Care Act cruelly denying healthcare coverage to all those poorz who thought they finally were gonna get some. Nice timing Republicans, you must really like the thought of your heads being hoist on pointy sticks by pitchfork wielding mobs. You’d have to think that even a rah-rah red state Fox News viewer might finally wake up to the abject stupidity of voting for a Republican who wants to gut social programs, when they are OVERWHELMINGLY STATISTICALLY LIKELY to amongst the legions of the shit-out-of-luck themselves—HELLO NORTH CAROLINA—but I won’t hold my breath waiting for that.

By 2030, it’ll be even worse: Based on current trends of widening income inequality, in a blink of an eye, historically speaking, 85% of EVERY working-age adults in the U.S. will experience economic insecurity. What’s wrong with a system like this BESIDES EVERY DAMNED THING?

Do they OWE US a living? Of course they fucking do!

Think about it, under such circumstances, obviously being in the top 20% would be the way to swing, but even so, would you WANT to live in that sort of Mad Max scarcity society? How walled off would the wealthy have to be in a world like that to feel truly safe? Their children would have to have armed guards at all times!

What was it again, that Senator Huey Long said in his famous “Every Man a King” speech? Oh yeah:

How many of you remember the first thing that the Declaration of Independence said? It said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that there are certain inalienable rights of the people, and among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”; and it said, further, “We hold the view that all men are created equal.”

Now, what did they mean by that? Did they mean, my friends, to say that all men were created equal and that meant that any one man was born to inherit $10,000,000,000 and that another child was to be born to inherit nothing?

Did that mean, my friends, that someone would come into this world without having had an opportunity, of course, to have hit one lick of work, should be born with more than it and all of its children and children’s children could ever dispose of, but that another one would have to be born into a life of starvation?

That was not the meaning of the Declaration of Independence when it said that all men are created equal of “That we hold that all men are created equal.”

Now was it the meaning of the Declaration of Independence when it said that they held that there were certain rights that were inalienable—the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Is that right of life, my friends, when the young children of this country are being reared into a sphere which is more owned by 12 men than it is by 120,000,000 people?

Of course Huey Long was assassinated for saying things like this in the 1930s, but things are different these days.

This simply can’t hold. It’s not going to. It can’t.

Hey Mr. Tea party man, try telling someone who is 26, owes over $100,000 in student loans and who works slinging coffee because no law firms are hiring that cutting taxes for the rich and abolishing the minimum wage is going to create jobs. Try telling them that the way things worked in the 20th century are the way things are always going to be and that “the system”—this system that is keeping them from realizing their full potential as human beings—should be preserved and that the same solutions that (supposedly) worked back in the Ronnie Raygun era are exactly what the doctor ordered. If they’re even remotely aware of the world around them, they will laugh right in your fool face. No wonder the millennials can’t wait for the baby boomers to die off. I can’t say I blame them.

It’s just getting to be a joke. The Democrats are a booby prize, of this I am only too well aware, but for all of their faults, at least they tend to be SANE. The Republicans, well, they have to be pushed out of the way. And soon. Hopefully this will be achieved democratically, but if not, the entire shithouse looks increasingly like it’ll blow in the coming years.

Look at the options. YOUR options. They’re closing down. Look at what they are taking from us. In the near future, these roads will become even narrower, more crowded, more dog-eat-dog for your children, should you be lucky enough to be able to afford to raise a family.

This is what we’re facing. What should be done about this? And WHO is going to do it?

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
American Obscenity: Corporate CEOs make 380x the wage of the average American worker!

Below, George Carlin on the American Dream
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
If you can make it all the way through Sarah Palin’s cousin’s band, I will eat my hat
07.22.2013
11:06 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
Sarah Palin
Missing Stateside


 
With Sarah Palin’s enthusiastic endorsement of her cousin’s group as “the most patriotic band I know!”, Albuquerque’s Missing Stateside are poised to become one of the biggest local bands in middle-American butt-rock. For those of you not familiar with the rural areas of fly-over states, these kinds of bands are as ubiquitous as they inescapable. At every state fair, there is a Missing Stateside. At every dive bar, there is a Missing Stateside. At every fish fry, barbeque, Fourth of July? Of course there is a Missing Stateside!

JD Morgan, Palin’s kin, started the band on a military base in Iceland in 2003, during which time I’m sure both Sigur Rós and Björk felt an inexplicable chill in their bones. The dudes have since opened for such heavy-hitters as Foghat, Steppenwolf, Skid Row and even Quiet Riot. As horrifying as I find this particular “genre” of music, it’s fish in a barrel stuff to mock, and honestly I’ve no particular inclination to tear apart the band of what appears to be a gracious, mannerly guy, who’s simply playing his music. Like I said, there are a million bands exactly as terrible as this one.

Besides, I’m having flashbacks from listening to that song, and I need to go lie down. Proceed at your own caution.
 

 
Via Noisey

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
‘Overpasses For Obama’s Impeachment’ want to get rid of Obama because of his gay lovers!


 
A group of “grassroots” goofballs in Tecumseh, OK, calling themselves “Overpasses For Obama’s Impeachment” cited a graphic with 60 reasons why the President should be impeached on their Facebook page. One of the reasons is his “gay lovers”...

“Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment” writes:

His actions go unimpeded, our pleas through petitions unanswered. Our calls and letters to Congress are left ignored and unopened. [Just hazarding a guess here, maybe, just maybe it’s because they’re from crazy people?—RM]

Our only peaceful recourse is to take to the streets and overpasses of America and DEMAND that our nation be returned to We the People, and that Barack Hussein Obama be Impeached, removed from office, and held accountable for his actions while serving as President.

There must be loads of impeachable offenses committed by the Obama administration—I’m no fan—but things like “Breitbart,” (do they think his death was an Obama-ordered hit?), “FEMA Camps,” “ACORN” and “Valerie Jarrett” are just not among them. The reasons these soft-brained kooks have come up with… hell, a liberal who despised Obama couldn’t convince these kinds of people that they’re barking up the wrong damned tree…
 

 
As pointed out by The New Civil Rights:

The group has a GoFundMe page, with a fundraising goal of $1 million. So far, they’ve raised $224.

I wonder if that amount will cover the royalties for the Muse song they used in their video when the band’s attorneys contact them?

The goofy group say they need the money to expand their meaningless, ineffectual overpass activities:

None of the money is going to make anyone rich, line any pockets, or to fund any personal gain.

Wait, they need a million bucks to fund them to stand on overpasses yelling stupid shit at cars that cannot hear them or even read their ill-conceived signage?

Good luck with all this, “Overpasses For Obama’s Impeachment”! Only $999,776.00 to go!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Are the Rich Committing Treason?


 
A beautifully worded, very brief think piece by Prof. Robert Reich, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor, is making the rounds that puts the behavior of the nation’s 1% into stark relief.

Are the rich committing treason? Certainly they’re committing something…

Permit me an impertinent question (or three).

Suppose a small group of extremely wealthy people sought to systematically destroy the U.S. government by (1) finding and bankrolling new candidates pledged to shrinking and dismembering it; (2) intimidating or bribing many current senators and representatives to block all proposed legislation, prevent the appointment of presidential nominees, eliminate funds to implement and enforce laws, and threaten to default on the nation’s debt; (3) taking over state governments in order to redistrict, gerrymander, require voter IDs, purge voter rolls, and otherwise suppress the votes of the majority in federal elections; (4) running a vast PR campaign designed to convince the American public of certain big lies, such as climate change is a hoax, and (5) buying up the media so the public cannot know the truth.

Would you call this treason?

If not, what would you call it?

And what would you do about it?

Nicely done, Robert Reich!

Discuss!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Sad Tea partiers (plus a few black people) rally at pathetic anti-immigration march in DC today


Just look how many of them showed up…

A bizarre event with ties to a notorious white-supremacist organizer John Tanton (“The organized anti-immigration ‘movement,’ increasingly in bed with racist hate groups, is dominated by one man, John Tanton.”—SPLC) as well as other front groups that have long been trying to drive a wedge between US blacks and Latinos, such as the “Black American Leadership Alliance,” is, right now, occurring in Washington, DC.

Billing itself as a gathering that will bring together “grassroots Americans from across the political spectrum” to march against immigration reform, the so-called “March for Jobs,” heavily promoted by Brietbart.com (who are webcasting the event live) will feature/is currently featuring speeches from anti-immigration reform members of Congress, fun fun peeps like Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Mo Brooks (R-AL), and not to mention former Florida Republican Congressman Col. Allen West.

Talk about a Republican brain trust… If not for Harvard Law grad Cruz, the collective IQ of that bunch would be about 250…

One of the speakers today is “Progressives for Immigration Reform” executive director Leah Durant. Durant, who also helms the “Black American Leadership Alliance,” is frequently heard on rightwing talk radio and Fox News, and preposterously billed as a “progressive” voice(!!) for the most regressive and intellectually indefensible bullshit that reichwingers just LOVE to hear black people spout, such as Durant’s greatest (s)hit, the debunked myth that the Senate’s immigration reform bill would disproportionately spike African-American unemployment rates (despite plenty of studies which show that the opposite would, in fact, occur):

Durant told Breitbart News on Sunday evening that this event is meant to ensure that all working Americans, especially black Americans, get a voice in the immigration debate. “At a time when nearly 22 million Americans are either out of work or underemployed, it is our strong belief that now is no time to engage in policies that would artificially add millions more workers to US labor markets, dramatically increasing competition for scare U.S. jobs,” Durant said. “At 13.8%, black unemployment is nearly double that of the national average.  Our coalition - the Black American Leadership Alliance reflects the views of everyday middle-class Americans rather than the political elites and big business interests from both the right and left, that have championed large-scale immigration to the US.”

Is Leah Durant a useful idiot for a slicker generation of less-overt, more urbane, 21st century Klans-types? Or worse?

Honestly, who cares how cynical she is? This march looks not only to be one of the least influential events to take place in Washinton, DC this entire year, these people are preaching to the goddamned choir anyways. Look at that photo above, tweeted by sad Brietbart toady Matthew Boyle. The entire event, it seems fair to wager, will see more African-American faces on the stage than off it.

Do dip into the LiveStream webcast on Brietbart, it’s really interesting, trust me. As are the live comments whizzing past. Here’s one I just caught:

“When an honest man finds he is wrong, he either stops being wrong, or stops being honest. Allen West chose to stop being honest.”

Someone else puked up “Amnesty is just another name for slavery for the Mexicans!” via their Cheetos-stained keyboard…

The camera angle being used by Brietbart livestream doesn’t allow the viewer to see how few folks turned up, but tweets from the event like “Standing ovation of Col. Allen West!” are given away by the “plop plop” nature of the applause that you can (barely) hear. Here’s a link to the “March for Jobs” LiveStream, if I embed it, it’s on auto-play.

Below, note how many actual black people have showed up for the Black American Leadership Alliance’s event. Notice also, if you will, how much of the audience appears to be related to Ted Nugent, or each other for that matter. Just sayin’
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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