Man of Peace

Under Obama the United States has been at war longer than under any other U.S. President, in fact every day of his presidency.

Since receiving the Nobel Peace Prize (and the attendant $1M prize money) the community organizer / agitator, cum president has engaged in bombing 7 countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Syria – three more countries than George W. Bush bombed. During his presidency, the Obama administration as dropped over 100,000 bombs that have resulted in how many civilian deaths? That number is obscured in false and misleading reports, contradictory estimates and optimistic military claims. Is one or thousands justified?

Obama the candidate is often remembered for pledging to end America’s wars in the Middle East. But he didn’t oppose war outright; he said he was opposed to “dumb” wars. Personally, I would think most wars if not all wars are “dumb” wars. What say you? The Obama administration has skillfully skirted the issue by substituting ‘war’ with ‘kinetic military action’ launching two undeclared wars and deploying U.S, Special Forces to 85 countries around the globe.

Throughout all this the deafening silence of the anti-war protest is baffling.

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Ah, Cindy

Freedom at Last

It’s for my freedom she explained

Why she walked out on me

That winter day so long ago-

Oh, so unexpectedly

 

And now she’s finally free at last

-Her mortal mantle cast

Days no longer turned to night:

Exchanged for an Astral flight

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LIFE CHOICES

Transcendent One-who we call God

-expresses through all Life

Being! The foundation of all

Through the prism of Life

 

Infused by this One Energy:

Nature: identity-

Not fixed but transformational

By our Being-Internal

 

Freedom from Past experiences

Focused on the moment

Defines our future existence

Liberates our Lost lament

 

Moment by moment, choice by choice

Our future is ordained

Not by our past nor circumstance

-There’s no one else to blame

 

Free of chains that once bound my Way

Our pasts are past-that’s all-

Claim this Moment-at once, today

Instance Now! Emerges my Soul.

 

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Where have all the Anti-War Protestors Gone–Part III

Update regarding our anti-war president.

According to the Congressional Research Service, there were 32,800 U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan in January 2009, when Obama entered office. In February 2009, the U.S. deployment increased to 35,900. By December 2009 the U.S. forces in Afghanistan had increased to 69,000. And by September 2010 they had increased to 98,000.

Obama announced a second increase in the U.S. forces in Afghanistan on March 27, 2009.

1,575 of the U.S. casualties in Afghanistan–or 72.8%–have taken place since that March 27, 2009 announcement.

So I wonder again, where have all the anti-war protestors gone?

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The Sir Arthur Annals -Giveaway

Check out the Goodreads.com Giveaway for my latest book, the Sir Arthur Annals -My Brother Who Would be Sherlock Book I.

Follow the whimsical, mythical adventures of sleuthing in northwest North Carolina as Sir Arthur is confronted with and solves crimes and conundrums. As a bonus, included is a tale of Sherlock Holmes in Atlanta written by Sir Arthur.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18887054

Also available on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Arthur-Annals-Brother-Would-Sherlock/dp/0991198603/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385829626&sr=8-1&keywords=sir+arthur+annals

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Reporting Illegal Immigrants

First of all it is instructive to clarify the difference between immigrant and alien. An alien is someone who is a citizen of a foreign country. An immigrant in a country is someone who has relocated there from another country. An immigrant may or may not be an alien.

If the immigrant has applied for and received citizenship, then they are no longer an alien. An alien is subject to host country laws regarding non-citizens. These laws require registration and documentation defining their status while they are in the host country.

Those who sneak into the country are referred to as “entry without inspection” (EWI). Others enter with legal documentation and then violate the terms on which they have been admitted. Both types of illegal immigrants are deportable under Immigration and Nationality Act Section 237 (a)(1)(B) which says:

“Any alien who is present in the United States in violation of this Act or any other law of the United States is deportable.”

If you have evidence of illegal immigration, you are encouraged by the authorities to report illegal immigrants by contacting the main DHS Hotline for assistance at (866) 347–2423, or the Border Patrol Sector where the illegal aliens are located and ask them to investigate further.

Our laws also hold that even lawful permanent resident aliens (those with a “green card”) can be deported if they are convicted of committing crimes.

The Department of Homeland Security still doesn’t have a way to report illegal aliens over the internet.  But the Federal Bureau of Investigation does. All Special Agents of the FBI now have the power to enforce immigration law. You can report illegal immigrants by calling or writing one of the FBI field offices.

All male illegal aliens, as well as male permanent resident aliens, ages 18 through 25 are required by Federal law to register with the Selective Service System. If they do not register, they can be prosecuted for a felony and fined up to $250,000 and/or imprisoned for up to five years. They may also be denied U.S. citizenship. You can also report draft registration violators to the FBI.

Many Illegal aliens and criminal alien residents are guilty of some type of fraud against the Social Security system.  For many false documents is a way of life.  The Office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration operates a fraud hotline for reporting misuse of social security cards and false statements on claims either by employers or employees.

The greatest incentive for illegal aliens to come to the United States is to find work. If there are no employers willing to hire them, then the flood of illegal aliens will subside.

From the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986:

It is unlawful for a person or other entity to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an unauthorized alien. Violators are reported to the regional Immigration and Customs Enforcement office.

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Where are all the Anti-War Protestors Gone–Part II

What ever happened to the anti-war protestors –especially now, on the eve of another war act by the Nobel Peace recipient, Barak Obama?

Is there a note of irony here?

A day after Barack Obama vowed to put any intervention in Syria to a vote of both the Senate and House of Representatives, Kerry said the administration was confident of winning a motion of the kind that David Cameron unexpectedly lost last week. “We don’t contemplate that the Congress is going to vote no,” Kerry said, but he stressed the president had the right to take action “no matter what Congress does“.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, said today that President Obama “really ought to consider” returning his Nobel Peace Prize Medal immediately, including the “really nice” case it came in.

Jagland, flanked by the other four members of the Committee, said they’d never before asked for the return of a Peace Prize, “even from a damnable war-criminal like  Kissinger,” but that the 10% drawdown in US troops in Afghanistan the President announced last week capped a period of “non-Peace-Prize-winner-type behavior” in 2011.  “Guantanamo’s still open. There’s bombing Libya. There’s blowing bin Laden away rather than putting him on trial. Now a few US troops go home, but the US will be occupying Afghanistan until 2014 and beyond. Don’t even get me started on Yemen!”

The Committee awarded Obama the coveted prize in 2009 after he made a series of speeches in the first months of his presidency, which convinced the Peace Prize Committee that he was: “creating a new climate of…multilateral diplomacy…an emphasis on the role of the United Nations…of dialogue and negotiations as instruments for resolving international conflicts…and a vision of world free of nuclear arms.”

“Boy oh boy!” added Jagland. “Did we regret that press release!”

But, he revealed the committee members were all “legless drunk” the day they voted, as it was the start of Norway’s annual aquavit-tasting festival. The “totally toasted” members listened over and over to replays of Obama’s Cairo speech, tearing up and drinking shots to the glorious future: a black man leading America and the world into a new era of peace, hope and goodwill. “For a few hours we were all 18 year-old students again at the beautiful, occasionally sunny University of Bergen! Oh, how we cried for joy!”

The chairman said the committee weren’t “going to be pills” about getting the Prize back because they still “basically really liked” Mr. Obama and that sending it back in a plain package by regular mail would fine if it would save him the embarrassment of a public return. But added Jagland, “things could get nasty” if the committee didn’t see it by the time they announce the new Peace Prize winner in the fall. He and the committee then excused themselves to resume their celebration of Norway’s annual aquavit-tasting festival.

The White House had no comment. It later announced an aggressive new covert CIA initiative to identify and apprehend Al Qaeda operatives in Scandinavia.

 

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The Alarming Neo-Militarism of the United States

Looking around I can’t help but marvel at the national media veneration of all things military. It’s quite a change from the anti-war screech that greeted us returning veterans of the Vietnam Conflict (Kháng chiến chng M). Where is that voice today? From a self-styled pacifist president we see continuing (and historically failed) imperialistic policies executed around the world. Why? Perhaps a brief look at history will shed some light on our present prevailing darkness.

Because of the constraints of time and space, we will limit this brief journey through history to the recent 20th century, notwithstanding the lessons learned (or failed to learn) from the city state of Sparta, the Roman Empire, the Aztec nation, the Kingdom of Prussia or even our ally, the British Empire, to mention a few.

Militarism is commonly defined as the belief or desire of a government that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to aggressively use it to defend and promote national interests. The underlying implication is the glorification of the ideals of a professional military class and the dangerous predominance of the armed forces in the administration or policy of the state. Militarism is the significant element of the imperialist ideology of an expansionist state.

So what specifically are the dangers inherent in militarism?

Let’s take a quick look at Germany (often mirrored in the Italian fascist empire under Benito Mussolini; the Chilean Augusto Pinochet, the Argentinian dictator, Jorge Rafael Videla, North Korea, Myanmar, Liberia, Nigeria and Uganda to cite a few). The roots of German militarism can be found in 19th-century Prussia and the subsequent unification of Germany under Prussian leadership. After Napoleon conquered Prussia in 1806, one of the conditions of peace was that Prussia should reduce its army to no more than 42,000 men. In order that the country should not again be so easily conquered, the King of Prussia enrolled the permitted number of men for one year, then dismissed that group, and enrolled another of the same size, and so on. Thus, in the course of ten years, he was able to gather an army of 420,000 men who had at least one year of military training. The officers of the army were drawn almost entirely from among the land-owning nobility. The result was that there was gradually built up a large class of professional officers on the one hand, and a much larger class, the rank and file of the army, on the other. These enlisted men had become conditioned to obey implicitly all the commands of the officers, creating a class-based culture of deference. Sound familiar?

This system led to several consequences. Since the officer class also furnished most of the officials for the civil administration of the country, the interests of the army came to be considered as identical to the interests of the country as a whole. (Can you see a parallel yet?) A second result was that the governing class desired to continue a system which gave them so much power over the common people, contributing to the continuing influence of the Junker noble classes (or as in the United States, the moneyed class).

Militarism in Germany continued after World War I and the fall of the German monarchy.  During the period of the Weimar Republic (1919–1933), the Kapp Putsch, an attempted coup d’état against the republican government, was launched by disaffected members of the armed forces. After this event, some of the more radical militarists and nationalists were subsumed into the NSDAP (The National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), commonly known in English as the Nazi Party), while more moderate elements of militarism declined. The Third Reich emerged as  a strongly militarist state, the consequences of which are well known.

In parallel with 20th-century German militarism, Japanese militarism began with a series of events by which the military gained prominence in dictating Japan’s affairs. Under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, the Bolsheviks established the Soviet state on 7 November 1917, immediately after the Russian Provisional Government, which governed the Russian Republic, was overthrown during the October Revolution. We all know well the history of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union and the resulting Cold War waged through the last half of the 20th century and the ensuing massacre of millions of dissenting voices.

Back to the United States and our present predicament.

After the end of the American Civil War the national army fell into disrepair. Reforms based on various European states including Imperial Britain, Imperial Germany, and Switzerland were made so that it would become responsive to control from the central government, prepared for future conflicts, and develop refined command and support structures; it led to the development of professional military thinkers and cadre. During this time the intellectual ideas of Social Darwinism propelled the development of an American overseas expansion in the Pacific and Caribbean. This required modifications for a more efficient central government due to the added administration requirements. The enlargement of the U.S. Army for the Spanish–American War was considered essential to the occupation and control of the new territories acquired from Spain in its defeat (Guam, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Cuba). The previous limit by legislation of 24,000 men was expanded to 60,000 regulars in the new army bill on 2 February 1901, with allowance at that time for expansion to 80,000 regulars by presidential discretion at times of national emergency. Again, U.S. forces were enlarged immensely for World War I.

Between the first and second world wars, the US Marine Corps (Semper Fidelis) engaged in questionable activities in the Banana Wars in Latin America. Retired Major General Smedley Butler, at the time of his death the most decorated Marine, spoke strongly against a trend to what he considered trends toward fascism and militarism.

Serious permanent buildups were a result of the Cold War. Dwight D. Eisenhower, a retired top military commander elected as a civilian President, warned of the development of a military-industrial complex, more complex than many traditional ideas of militarism. In the Cold War, there emerged many civilian academics and industrial researchers, such as Henry Kissinger and Herman Kahn, who had significant input into the use of military
force.

It has been argued that the United States has shifted to a state of neo-militarism since the end of the Vietnam War. This form of militarism is distinguished by the reliance on a relatively small number of volunteer fighters; heavy reliance on complex technologies; and the rationalization and expansion of government advertising and recruitment programs designed to promote military service.

And, as been counseled, follow the money.

Fiscal Year 2013 OCO funding by Military Operations exceeded $87 Billion dollars. In 2012, the total National Intelligence Program (NIP) and the Military Intelligence Program (MIP) exceeded $75 Billion dollars. That’s a combined $1.62 Trillion dollars.

One a final note for thought. Imperialism, as defined by the Dictionary of Human Geography, is “an unequal human and territorial relationship, usually in the form of an empire, based on ideas of superiority and practices of dominance, and involving the extension of authority and control of one state or people over another.” It is often considered in a negative light, as merely the exploitation of native people in order to enrich a small handful. Lewis Samuel Feuer identifies two major subtypes of imperialism; the first is the “regressive imperialism” identified with pure conquest, unequivocal exploitation, extermination or reductions of undesired peoples, and settlement of desired peoples into those territories, examples being Nazi Germany (can someone say, the western expansion of the United States?). The second type identified by Feuer is “progressive imperialism” that is founded upon a cosmopolitan view of humanity that promotes the spread of civilization to allegedly “backward” societies to elevate living standards and culture in conquered territories, and allowance of a conquered people to assimilate into the imperial society, an examples being the Roman Empire and the British Empire. Does this sound like anything the United States is promoting throughout the Middle East and our stated goal of expanding democracy—whether they want it or not?

The term as such primarily has been applied to Western political and economic dominance in the 19th and 20th centuries. Some writers, such as Edward Said, use the term more broadly to describe any system of domination and subordination organized with an imperial center and a periphery. According to the Marxist historian, Walter Rodney, imperialism meant capitalist expansion. It meant that European (and American and Japanese) capitalists were forced by the internal logic of their competitive system to seek abroad in less developed countries opportunities to control raw material, to find markets, and to find profitable fields of investment.

Really, do we want to continue down this road in the United States today?

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Read history: Gun confiscation leads to mass murder by government

Democide

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

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How Not to Win a War

America’s Failed War on Poverty

In his first State of the Union speech in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a “War on Poverty.”

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan delivered a State of the Union address in which he declared that the War on Poverty had failed. Now, with the poverty rate in America expected to reach its highest rate since 1965, it looks like Reagan may have been right.

One half of all jobs in the U.S. today now pay less than $35,000 a year. Adjusted for inflation, that’s one of the lowest rates for American workers in five decades.

There’s a common perception that somebody who’s poor or living below the poverty level is lazy or simply living off government handouts. The actual average poor person is actually working.

Since the Great Society era of Lyndon Johnson, the country has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into poor urban neighborhoods. The violence and crime generated in these neighborhoods costs hundreds of billions more. And after all this time, all this money and all this energy, the inner city populations are worse off than ever before. There is more drug addiction and more social and family breakdown among this population than when the Great Society was launched. Incarceration rates have risen to levels that shock the world (though they make for safer streets); the inner city abortion rate has reached levels that must surely appall even the most resolute pro-choicers not on the Planned Parenthood payroll. Forty percent of all pregnancies in New York end in abortion, with higher rates among Blacks; nationally, the rate among Blacks is three times the rate among white women. Put it all together and you have a holocaust of youth and hope on a scale hard to match.

This is not a lot to show for almost fifty years of fighting poverty — not a lot of bang for the buck.

“Fifteen trillion dollars: That’s how much American taxpayers have forked over in the name of helping the poor since 1964,” reported The New American. “And what do we have to show for it? A poverty rate that has barely budged, an entrenched bureaucracy, and a population — like that of Greece and Portugal, two welfare-state basket cases — increasingly dependent on government handouts.”

The New American cited a recent Cato Institute report by Michael Tanner, which advances the claim that despite all the efforts and spending, the current war on poverty is ultimately failing.

The poverty rate has risen to 15.1 percent of Americans, despite the mass amount of government funding and attention.

“This year the federal government will spend more than $668 billion on at least 126 different programs to fight poverty,” according to the Cato report. “And that does not even begin to count welfare spending by state and local governments, which adds $284 billion to that figure. In total, the United States spends nearly $1 trillion every year to fight poverty.”

Since the mid 60′s we as a country have spent $16 Trillion on means tested government income re-distribution programs (welfare). We are now $14 Trillion in debt and have 44 million people on food stamps, over 40 million kids getting free school lunches, 9 million more on WIC, about 8 million in subsidized housing, 5 million on TANF, 8 million on SSI (including 1.2 million kids), about 49 million on Medicaid and 71 million households not paying federal income taxes because of EITC and the Child Tax Credit. Does anybody really think more debt or taxes to pay for more income re-distribution programs is really going to help anything? How can a tax system be called “fair” when 47% of households are getting a free ride on the backs of the 53% who are paying income tax and carrying their own weight in society? What part of that is sustainable? What part of that is fair? The cost of all the wars this country has ever fought doesn’t come close to this massive shift of wealth from the people who earn it – to the people who do not earn it. And no – I am not
wealthy, just sick and tired of paying other people’s bills while the poor folks “benefits” just keep growing and getting passed from generation to generation.

“The poor, in other words, are getting poorer — or more precisely, poverty in America is becoming an increasingly extreme and unequal phenomenon.”

15 Shocking Poverty Statistics.

#1 Approximately 45 million Americans were living in poverty in 2009.

#2 According to the Associated Press, experts believe that 2009 saw the largest single year increase in the U.S. poverty rate since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.

#3 The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

#4 According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, on a year-over-year basis, household participation in the food stamp program has increased 20.28%.

#5 The number of Americans on food stamps surpassed 41 million for the first time ever in June.

#6 As of June, the number of Americans on food stamps had set a new all-time record for 19 consecutive months.

#7 One out of every six Americans is now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program.

#8 More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid, the U.S. government health care program designed principally to help the poor.

#9 One out of every seven mortgages in the United States was either delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.

#10 Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment insurance, which is almost four times as many as were receiving it in 2007.

#11 The number of Americans receiving long-term unemployment benefits has risen over 60 percent in just the past year.

#12 According to one recent survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job.

#13 Nationwide, bankruptcy filings rose 20 percent in the 12 month period ending June 30th.

#14 More than 25 percent of all Americans now have a credit score below 599.

#15 One out of every five children in the United States is now living in poverty.

How’s this WAR working out for America?

Brief History and Background:

War on Poverty, International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences | 2008

The war on poverty of the John F. Kennedy (1917–1963) and Lyndon B. Johnson (1908–1973) administrations grew out of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and continued from 1964 to 1981. It had antecedents, beginning with the 1941 state of the union address of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882–1945), in which he enunciated “freedom from want” as one of four fundamental human rights. This pronouncement was taken as a program by Governor W. Averill Harriman (1891–1986) in New York state from 1954 to 1958.

A more direct antecedent had developed in New York City in 1946 at the Lafargue Psychiatric Clinic at the Saint Philip’s Episcopal Church in Harlem, where Shelton Hale Bishop (1889–1962) served as rector. The clinic was named for Paul Lafargue (1842–1911), a medical doctor and the son-in-law of Karl Marx (1818–1883). Its director was psychiatrist Frederic Wertham (1895–1981). Thurgood Marshall (1908–1993) and Kenneth B. Clark (1914–2005) were members of this church. Wertham, Marshall, and Clark collaborated to help the NAACP win the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which outlawed segregation in public schools.

MOBILIZATION FOR YOUTH

Three years later, an organization called Mobilization for Youth was incorporated on the Lower East Side of New York City by the Henry Street Settlement House with the collaboration of the Columbia University School of Social Work. In 1959 the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which had just received increased allocations from Congress, provided a two-year planning grant, and Columbia sociologists Richard A. Cloward (1926–2001) and Lloyd Ohlin were retained as consultants. Cloward and Ohlin had developed an extension of Durkheim-Merton alienation/anomie opportunity theory in
sociology, and in 1960 they published Delinquency and Opportunity, in which they argued that delinquents behaved in unapproved ways precisely because they had accepted approved social goals but found no socially approved means by which they could attain those goals, and so resorted to unapproved means. To motivate delinquents to adopt not only the goals but the approved means, opportunity must be provided. In support of this idea, Leonard S. Cottrell Jr. (1899–1985) of the Russell Sage Foundation testified on March 10, 1960, before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee that delinquency was not so much a matter of curing sick individuals but of curing sick communities.

Mobilization for Youth’s final planning report, “A Proposal for the Prevention and Control of Delinquency by Expanding Opportunity,” was presented December 9, 1961, and was submitted to the NIMH for funding. The NIMH, the President’s Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime (PCJDYC), the U.S. Department of Labor and other federal agencies, the New York City government, and the Ford Foundation subsequently funded Mobilization for Youth for $12.5 million for three more years. In April 1962 Mobilization for Youth submitted “Youth in the Ghetto: A Study of the Consequences of Powerlessness and a Blueprint for Change” to the PCJDYC review committee, headed by Cottrell. This committee recommended that one million dollars be granted to the program. The city of New York, under Mayor Robert Wagner (1910–1991), then allocated $3.5 million from its antipoverty funds. The Department of Labor under the Manpower Development and Training Act granted another half million dollars for job training aspects of the program. The initial directors were Cloward and George A. Brager (d. 2003).

In his first race for the office of New York City mayor in 1977, Edward Koch coined the terms poverty pimp and povertician to refer to Raymon Velez of the South Bronx. Velez, born in Puerto Rico in 1930, had developed beginning in 1968 a network of organizations in the South Bronx funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). He had earned a BA in history and political science from Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, after which he became a school teacher. Immigrating to New York, Velez became a social worker. On the basis of his antipoverty network, which provided needed social services and jobs to residents of Puerto Rican neighborhoods, he gained popularity and turned this social and economic success toward politics. Velez became the “boss” of South Bronx politics, securing the election of many Puerto Ricans to city, state, and federal office. In the 1980s he was elected to the New York City Council, a step downward in his estimation, and served only briefly. This evidently was a slap at Democratic primary opponent, Herman Badillo, whom Velez supported. The rise of Puerto Rican political power in the South Bronx was attained at the expense of Jewish politicians who previously had controlled the area. Changing demographics accounted for the transition.

THE FEDERAL ANTI-POVERTY PROGRAM OF THE KENNEDY JOHNSON ADMINISTRATIONS

In the presidential election campaign of 1960, John F. Kennedy promised a “war against poverty and degradation” and “an economic drive on poverty” to address the high and persistent unemployment of the 1957–1958 and 1959–1960 recessions. His thought on this issue was based largely on John Kenneth Galbraith’s (1908–2006) The Affluent Society (1958), especially chapter 23, “The New Position on Poverty.” Upon Kennedy’s election, the president’s Council of Economic Advisors and the Budget Bureau immediately advocated a tax cut, accompanied by an increase in spending as a Keynesian economic remedy for the recession. The result would be a deliberate increase in the federal deficit. This was an attempt to establish Keynesian economic theory as a viable basis for government economic policy. The president accepted this advice.

The particular cabinet departments and programs involved in the spending increases and tax cuts were determined in other ways. In March 1961 Kennedy called a President’s Conference on Juvenile Delinquency, chaired by his brother Robert F. Kennedy (1925–1968), the new attorney general. Based upon the recommendations of the March conference, the PCJDYC was established on May 11, 1961. The PCJDYC was to finance projects seeking a solution to juvenile delinquency. Robert Kennedy selected his friend David Hackett as executive director.

In September 1961 Congress passed the Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Offenses Act, which authorized demonstration and training programs in finding “the most effective ways of using total resources to combat juvenile delinquency in local communities.” It authorized an expenditure of $10 million over three years for the program. In 1962 the committee gave planning grants to agencies in sixteen cities. The act also funded Mobilization for Youth in late 1961 to develop a plan of action to curb juvenile delinquency on New York’s Lower East Side. Cloward then lent his principal assistant, sociologist James A. Jones (1932–1992), to Kenneth Clark to design a similar program for Harlem.
Clark and Jones in 1962 established Harlem Youth Unlimited Inc. (HARYOU), of which Jones became research director. Harlem Congressman Reverend Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (1908–1972), the new chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, formed a rival Harlem organization, Associated Community Teams (ACT). He then insisted that HARYOU be merged with ACT, and when this was accomplished, Clark resigned. He was replaced by ACT executive director Livingston Wingate (1916–1995), Powell’s assistant.

In December 1962 President Kennedy asked his Council of Economic Advisors chairman, Walter W. Heller (1915–1987), to pull together all available information on the poverty issue. Heller assigned this task to council member Robert J. Lampman (1920–1997). He and Heller suggested that Kennedy read socialist Michael Harrington’s (1928–1989) The Other America: Poverty in the United States (1962), along with Leon Keyserling’s (1908–1987) Poverty and Depression in the United States (1962). Harrington was considered a “responsible radical,” because he was a follower of former Trotskist Max Schactman, whose tactic was to “bore from within.” This meant that instead of running Socialist Party candidates for elective office, the party would support Democratic Party candidates. Harrington, thus, had been a wellknown worker for left and liberal organizations and journals throughout the 1950s. In July 1959, he wrote an article on poverty for Commentary Magazine, and it was from this article that the book The Other America grew. In an approving commentary of Galbraith’s book The Affluent Society (1958), he noted the existence of 50 million impoverished people in the United States, about one quarter of the total population. Poverty persisted from generation to generation, helped by what Oscar Lewis called a “culture of poverty,” a non-Marxist idea. It was precisely this idea that recommended him to the Kennedy administration, because it undercut left leadership of the anti-poverty struggle. Harrington’s entire body of work thus led to an eager anticipation of the book, and accounted for the wide extent of its positive reception. That he had worked for Catholic organizations did not hurt his acceptance by the president, even though he had lapsed from the faith by then. After Lampman reported that the U.S. poverty rate was increasing, Kennedy directed Heller to include a “war on poverty” in the 1964 White House legislative package for Congress.

On the day after Kennedy’s November 22, 1963, assassination in Dallas, Heller met with President Johnson and suggested to him that a war against poverty might be a good way to begin his presidency. Johnson agreed. In his 1964 state of the union address, titled “The War on Poverty,” he called on Congress to enact a package of measures embodying programs that would eliminate poverty “in our lifetimes.” On February 1, 1964, Johnson appointed Kennedy’s brother-in-law and Peace Corps director Sargent Shriver to head a Task Force on Poverty.

THE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY ACT

David Hackett and Richard Boone of PCJDYC suggested that their community action model should be the vehicle for this war on poverty. Other departments proposed programs over which they had jurisdiction. At this point, the Budget Bureau, headed by economists Kermit Gordon (1916–1976) and Charles L. Schultze, became involved. Budget Bureau staff member William B. Cannon wrote a memorandum suggesting that the community action program begin with ten demonstration areas across the country, and that a development corporation be established in each. Schultze suggested similarly that poverty funds be allocated to “pockets of poverty,” rather than uniformly across the country. He also suggested using the term action program, from Cannon’s memo, rather than development corporation. Someone added community to action program, and the community action title of the proposed legislation was born. The task force developed the plans for an organization to conduct the “war on poverty,” and submitted them to the president on March 15, 1964; he then disbanded the group. The next day, on the basis of the task force report, Johnson delivered a message to Congress calling upon it to enact legislation creating such an agency. He stated that the program would not consist of top-down planning from Washington, but would involve the talents of people from all over the country, at every level of society. He also called for the establishment of an office of equal opportunity. In testimony before Congress in 1964, Shriver listed 137 people who had participated in writing the legislation. On August 29, 1964, Congress passed, and Johnson signed into law, the Equal Opportunity Act of 1964. The act created the OEO, and on August 30, 1964, Congress gave the OEO $947.7 million for ten programs.

The OEO was initially lodged in the Office of the President, but subsequently became an independent agency. Shriver was named director of the OEO and served until 1968. Economist and AFL-CIO lobbyist Hyman H. Bookbinder, a member of Shriver’s 1964 task force, became associate director.

The Equal Opportunity Act also created an OEO Advisory Committee of fourteen, which was appointed by President Johnson on January 29, 1965. Perhaps the most important arm of the OEO administrative structure, although it had no program responsibilities, was the Office of Research, Plans, Programs, and Evaluation, which might be called the “war room” of the war on poverty. Here were placed those economists who had actual experience in administering economic planning. The first director of this office was Joseph A. Kershaw (1913–1978), who served from 1964 to 1966. He was succeeded by Robert A. Levine (1966), Robinson G. Hollister (1966–1968), and Walter Williams (1968–1969). Levine attempted to establish a five-year plan to end poverty that proposed a national negative income tax program to replace Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The OEO funded the New Jersey Negative Income Tax demonstration project to estimate the cost of the program.

The war on poverty required for its success a definition of poverty and a means of measuring it. In March 1965, Kershaw and the Office of Research, Plans, Programs, and Evaluation used the work of economist Mollie Orshansky of the Social Security Administration to establish such a definition. Two months later, the OEO officially adopted the Orshansky poverty thresholds as a working definition of poverty.

The unique feature of the Equal Opportunity Act was Title II: the Rural and Urban Community Action Program. The OEO divided the country into seven to ten regions, each with a regional director. Fieldworkers in the Washington headquarters traveled to regions to help establish and monitor the operation of community action agencies located in the major cities of each region. In addition, the OEO funded national organizations to facilitate theoretical and empirical research on the issue of poverty. Chief among these were the Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies, the National Association for Community Economic Development, the Institute for Research on Poverty, the Urban Institute, the Center for Community Economic Development, and the National Rural Center.

THE INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH ON POVERTY

The Institute for Research on Poverty was established at the University of Wisconsin by Lampman, who was considered the leading expert on the economics of poverty. Its first director was Harold W. Watts (1966–1971). By 1985, with the OEO no longer in existence, oversight of the Institute for Research on Poverty had shifted to the assistant secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation. By 1996 the institute was no longer the national poverty center, but only one among several area poverty centers. The Center for Community Economic Development in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was codirected in 1971 by Geoffrey P. Faux, who had been director of the OEO Economic Development Division from 1967 to 1970. The National Rural Center was established in 1975, with F. Ray Marshall as president and director. When President Jimmy Carter named Marshall his secretary of labor in 1977, John M. Cornman replaced him.

Half of the OEO’s community action program funds went to prepackaged national programs such as Head Start. The other half went to local initiative programs developed by the community action agencies themselves.

New York City, where the theory and operational model for the war on poverty had been developed, now received feedback from the federal government. In 1962 Mayor Wagner had created a Council on Poverty and an Anti-poverty Operations Board. Surgeon Arthur C. Logan (1909–1973) was the first chairman of the community action program under Wagner. Wagner was defeated in 1965 by former congressman John V. Lindsay (1921– 2000), who in 1966 established a Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty, headed by Mitchell Sviridoff (1918–2000). The task force recommended the establishment of a superagency comprised of all agencies having any responsibility for providing services to the poor. On September 15, 1966, Lindsay established the Human Resources Administration, which included the Community Development Agency and the Manpower and Career Development Agency, among other agencies. The Community Development Agency was designated the New York City community action agency under the OEO. Sviridoff served as head of the Human Resources Administration from 1966 to 1967.

New York’s Community Development Agency was headed by George Nicolau from 1966 to 1967. He was replaced by Major Owens in 1968, and Owens served until 1973. In 1968 the agency wrote a grant proposal to NIMH for a Brownsville Community Council economic advocacy planning project. The NIMH funded the proposal, its first grant to a community action agency to conduct economic advocacy planning, and the Brownsville Advocacy Planning Agency was born. The agency’s staff included graduate students in economics from Yale and Columbia universities.

A participant in the 1949 founding of the NIMH, and a member of its advisory board at the time of this grant, was Eli Ginzberg (1911–2002), director of the Conservation of Human Resources Project of Columbia Business School. His staff at Columbia in 1956 consisted of two economists and four psychologists and social psychologists. The grant to the Brownsville Community Council was a departure, as advocacy planning was developed largely by architects and city planners. Columbia’s School of Architecture, for example, was responsible for the creation of the Architect’s Renovation Committee of Harlem and the East Harlem Studio of the Real Great Society Uptown. In the 1950s the NIMH had established a unit to finance outside research. In response to Johnson’s war on poverty, the NIMH established centers for minority group and urban mental health problems. It was the conjuncture of these institutions and forces that enabled the grant to the  Brownsville Community Council in 1968.

Robert Kennedy resigned as attorney general and was elected senator from New York in 1964. In 1966 he and Jacob Javits (1904–1986), the senior senator from New York, introduced the Kennedy-Javits Amendment to the Equal Opportunity Act, creating a new Title I-D, the special impact program (SIP). This title caused a shift in the OEO toward community-controlled business development through community development corporations. The community development corporations were designed as community holding companies or community trusts. To administer the new program, the OEO established the Economic Development Division, under which the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation in Brooklyn, New York, and the Hough Area Development Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio, were funded in 1966 as the first two community development corporations in the nation.

In 1967 the Edith Green Amendment placed a ceiling of 33 percent for representatives of the poor on a city’s community action agency. In the meantime, Kenneth Clark in 1967 founded the Metropolitan Applied Research Center and served as president until 1975. The Metropolitan Applied Research Center received a grant of $190,000 from the Field Foundation. In 1970 the center and Howard University, with an $860,000 Ford Foundation grant, established the Joint Center for Political Studies in Washington, D.C., with Howard law professor Frank D. Reeves (1916–1973) as director.

From 1968 to 1969, New York’s community action program guidelines made advocacy planning the highest project-funding priority, leading to the funding of the Pratt Institute’s Center for Community Development; Harlem Commonwealth Council’s (HCC) Commonwealth Holding Company, Inc., a subsidiary, with the Black Economic Research Center in Harlem as a major consultant; and the Brownsville Advocacy Planning Agency. These organizations were intended to provide economic expertise and advocacy for their respective communities in dealing with the City Planning Commission and other relevant city, state, and federal agencies in developing and locating commercial, industrial, and service enterprises.

The Ford Foundation, a major partner of the federal and city governments in the war on poverty, provided grants for advocacy planning to the Black Economic Research Center from 1968 through 1980. The center developed the theory that the major economic problem of black Americans was not labor market inequality but capital market inequality, which included access to the major stock and commodity exchanges, as well as to the Treasury Department, which represented capital interests, on a communal basis. Current capital reallocation was necessary, and the first stage of such a transfer was social capital, including infrastructure, and educational facilities with financing for operations.

Current income redistribution was also deemed necessary, along with future nondiscrimination in markets to maintain the gains achieved. These developments were a direct confrontation of the theory upon which the war on poverty was based—that a change of unmeasurable internal states of being could result in a measurable diminution of poverty in a finite and short period. It also confronted the theories of economists Gary S. Becker, Theodore Schultz (1902–1998), and Milton Friedman (1912–2006), which defined lifetime earnings as capital stock, human capital, and focused on future income distribution and not current income redistribution. This polemic was one of the sources for the development of the reparations argument in the black community. Reparations as a large lump sum would enable the purchase of capital assets by the residents of black communities, and avoid the necessity for politically impossible capital expropriation. This concept, which had been a tenet of black nationalist doctrine since the 1920s, began to gain academic and social respectability at the Black Economic Development Conference in Detroit in 1969.

DEVELOPMENTS UNDER NIXON AND LATER ADMINISTRATIONS

The election of Richard M. Nixon (1913–1994) as president in 1968 heralded the demise of the OEO and the war on poverty. In April 1969, Donald H. Rumsfeld was appointed OEO director with the charge to dismantle the agency. He selected Richard B. Cheney as his assistant. Howard Phillips was appointed as OEO director in 1973 to succeed Rumsfeld. However, court decisions forced the administration to expend the funds appropriated, because the Equal Opportunity Act had a ten-year life by law. In 1970 amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act created SIP Title VII. Title VII funds went to, among other entities, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, which created surplus-earning entities in rural areas of southern states. OEO programs were transferred to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and to the Department of Labor. By the time Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974, the war on poverty was essentially over.

The coup de grâce occurred from 1974 to 1976 during the Gerald R. Ford (1913–2006) administration. Funding for OEO programs could now be legally cut, and the OEO was actually abolished by the Headstart, Economic Opportunity, and Community Partnership Act of January 4, 1975, which created the Community Services Administration (CSA), the name suggesting a retreat from community action by citizens to government provision of services to citizens in communities. For the horizontal relationships among equal citizens uniting to achieve a commonly determined purpose at the neighborhood level was substituted the old vertically hierarchical relationship between the rulers and the ruled.

From 1977 to 1981 the Carter administration attempted to resurrect the war on poverty by increasing funding for the CSA and enacting legislation expanding the SIP emphasis. Chief among the new institutions established by Congress was the National Consumer Cooperative Bank, signed into law in 1978 and opened for business in 1980, and the Rural Development Loan Fund, established in 1981. Both had boards of directors consisting of representatives elected by residents of low-income communities. The National Consumer Cooperative Bank made federally subsidized below-market-rate loans to consumer and producer cooperatives in largely urban areas. From the Community Economic Development Act of 1981, the Rural Development Loan Fund was to consist of all remaining funds from Part A of Title III of the Equal Opportunity Act and the funds from Title VII community development credit unions. It was located in the CSA, and provided one-percent interest rate loans for rural business purposes.

The OEO, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Ford Foundation had earlier financed the development of the idea for these financial institutions. Edward K. Hamilton and Belden Hull were hired as consultants by the National Rural Center and the Opportunity Funding Corporation (established in 1970) to design the bank as an experiment in development finance. The Opportunity Funding Corporation was an OEO demonstration project in community capital development, led by John Gloster, a former Atlanta insurance executive. The National Rural Center invited experts from Europe, Canada, and the United States to a conference at the University of Wisconsin to provide ideas on a design. The final design drew upon the Treasury Department’s new Federal Financing Bank, established in 1973. This design was negotiated largely at the Treasury Department with an interagency task force appointed by President Carter.

With Carter’s defeat by Ronald Reagan (1911–2004) after one term, however, the fate of the war on poverty was sealed. The Equal Opportunity Act was repealed on October 1, 1981. The Community Development Block Grant was established in 1981, ensuring that federal funds would not go directly to neighborhoods but would be filtered through established political groups at the state and municipal levels. Then CSA was abolished, although the Rural Development Loan Fund was allowed to remain.

Despite these developments, the national advocacy groups for community development corporations continued the battle against poverty, financed as before the war on poverty by religious organizations, universities, private foundations, and unsystematically by federal, state, and local government. The war on poverty had degenerated from a massed frontal assault into a guerrilla war. In addition, the surpluses generated from the operation of community development corporations and cooperatives were plowed back into operations to help finance operations and expand capital equipment. And the national financial institutions still existed. As of 2005, at least 80 percent of counties in the United States still had community action agencies or community development corporations.

CONCLUSION

The war on poverty involved socially well-placed individuals using social science ideas to create new institutions in low-income communities, and at the national level to assist these local institutions. These individuals and institutions then engaged in actions that created historic events. The social science ideas reflected Keynesian economic theory, as well as opportunity theory in sociology and social psychology, and the political science theory of urban politics that maintained that urban neighborhood communities should be self-governing, independent political entities.

The new institutions created were, at the first level, community social service agencies in poor communities. The organizations responsible for these creations were private religious organizations, universities, and foundations. Using these community organizations as models, the federal, state, and local governments transformed their structures to replicate those of the private social service agencies for these functions, and wrote these changes into law. These practices thereby became obligatory for the nation as a whole and, importantly, became familiar to the large portion of the electorate who were neither poor nor involved in service to the poor.

 

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