Booker: Baby Bonds can help close a gap created by 400 years of inequality

This was published today by Cory Booker in the Opinion section of NJ.com:

Wealth, unlike income, is often passed from one generation to the next — and with it, access to opportunity. Those who have wealth can do things like buy a home, get a college degree without being saddled with debt, or start a small business. Those who start life without wealth are often robbed of the opportunity to ever get it.

Today, the gap between those who have wealth and those who don’t is at its highest point in decades — in 1963, families near the top had six times the wealth of families in the middle; by 2016, they had 12 times the wealth. And this gap is particularly stark along racial lines — a recent study by the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice found that the median net worth for a Black or Latino/a New Jerseyan is $179, compared to $106,210 for a white New Jerseyan.

The same is true nationally: the median Black family has about $1 in wealth for every $8 held by the median white family. Put even more starkly, the 400 wealthiest Americans, according to Forbes magazine hold more wealth than all Black families in the U.S., combined.

The wealth gap in America is an urgent crisis that is denying generation after generation of New Jerseyans access to opportunity. That’s why I’ve proposed giving every child born each year in our country — including the 100,000 New Jerseyans born each year — a “Baby Bond” — a savings account seeded with $1,000 at birth that will grow in value as every child grows up. Depending on a family’s income, a child would receive up to an additional $2,000 added to their account, plus interest, each year — in New Jersey alone, roughly one in eight kids would qualify for this full payment.

By age 18, a child could access up to $50,000 to pay for college, put a down payment on a home, or jump-start a small business — the kinds of investments that create intergenerational wealth and change life trajectories.

As President Biden seeks to ‘build back better’ our economy in the wake of the devastating pandemic, he should embrace Baby Bonds as an idea that can help level the playing field and expand opportunity to every American child.

A 2019 study out of Columbia University found that a proposal like this one would be so effective at closing the racial wealth gap that it would nearly eliminate it among young adults. Additionally, a McKinsey report found that closing the racial wealth gap in America could grow our economy for everyone by 4% – 6% of our GDP — or anywhere between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion.

Read more.

We in New Jersey are proud of our Senator Cory Booker. It is this kind of innovative thinking and out-of-the-box creative solutions which make him the outstanding legislative leader that all the other senators aspire to be and look upon for guidance. Who else but Senator Booker could conceive such an idea as Baby Bonds for all children with annual supplements for minority children? They are a great alternative to Bail Bonds, to be sure.

From Lefticon:

Economic inequality – income inequality; the wealth gap between the rich and the poor, usually expressed as income rather than net worth.

Economic inequality occurs in any society with a class structure, such as monarchism, feudalism, social democracy, and capitalism. It is essential to all forms of capitalism, whether industrial, retail, or financial. It can only be abolished through communism, where classes cease to exist, and all wealth is owned collectively.

Economic intervention – any interference by government in the operation of the free market in a capitalist system.

Economic interventions include but are not limited to taxes, subsidies, regulations, rationing, bailouts, quotas, caps, and tariffs. These interventions often have nothing to do with economics per se, but rather with policies related to the environment, climate change, alternative energy, and workplace equality which have economic consequences. Their primary intent is to incentivize or disincentivize human behavior via social engineering, or to assist a favored industry via crony capitalism, but they have a secondary impact on the economy as a whole.

Laissez-faire capitalists oppose economic interventionism as interference with the complex equilibrium maintained by the feedback relationship between supply, demand, and price. Socialists, on the other hand, support those interventions that incentivize behavior or place a burden on the private sector, while opposing those that rescue a failing capitalist system and delay its anticipated collapse and replacement by socialism.

Social democrats, who merge the social welfare features of socialism with the wealth creation of capitalism, are perfectly content with economic interventions, the power of central banks to set interest rates, and the Keynesian fiscal policy of stimulating the economy through governmental borrowing and spending. They also support eco-socialism (eco- for ecology), which imposes environmental regulations on capitalist industries.

Economic justice – the elimination of income inequality through the redistribution or abolition of wealth and private property.

Economic justice is a form of distributive justice. It can only be achieved fully through the confiscation of private property and the forceful expropriation of wealth, as was implemented in the former USSR.

Economic and social justice are intimately related in theory but often disconnected in practice. Even in the USSR, economic equality did not result in full economic or social justice. The commissars, nomenklatura, and higher-level apparatchiks enjoyed special privileges and educational opportunities, as well as special apartments and stores, automobiles, and countryside dachas. They became a bureaucratic ruling class which caught the attention and criticism of Trotsky and Schachtman, among others. Furthermore, a disproportionate number of men occupied higher-level positions, which had a disparate impact on women.

In non-totalitarian states such as the social democracies of western Europe, and to a lesser extent in the United States, social inequalities still exist and economic inequality is only partly ameliorated through taxation and welfare.

Poland fights Big Tech with push to block social media censorship

This was reported yesterday by Benjamin Hall on Fox News:

Social media companies that censor users or remove posts for ideological reasons could soon face fines in Poland in a world-first attempt to curb the power of Big Tech through legislation.

Speaking to Fox News, the architect of the law, Deputy Polish Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta, said social media companies have for too long been targeting conservatives, Christianity and traditional values by banning them and removing posts and the Polish government is saying “enough!”

“We see that when Big Tech decides to remove content for political purposes, it’s mostly content which praises traditional values or praises conservatism,” he said, “and it is deleted under their ‘hate speech policy’ when it has no legal right to do so.”

Under the new legislation, any platform that bans a user would face fines of $13.5 million unless the content is also illegal under Polish law. An arbitration committee would be set up to oversee disputes.

Tech companies had reached a point where they were deciding what was legal and what was not — but that was not their role, Kaleta says.

“Freedom of speech is not something that anonymous moderators working for private companies should decide,” he said. “Instead, that is for the national body; duly elected officials and all industries, car, phones, finance — were unregulated till they grew too large — the same should happen with Big Tech.”

He added that the removal of former U.S. President Donald Trump from social media platforms was just another example of Big Tech overreach and set a dangerous precedent.

“It’s very disturbing because if Big Tech sees themselves as an organization empowered enough to ban a sitting president of the U.S., it sends a message to the world –that we can ban anyone, whenever we want,” he added.

Poland spent 45 years under communism, and Kaleta says that experience has taught it the value of free speech and that when the country sees these disturbing new trends toward censorship, the red light goes on.

Read more.

The Polish government is conservative and believes in traditional values. So, of course they would object to our social media policing the disinformation, hate speech, racism, and white supremacy of the right. But did they ever come face-to-face with violent right-wing insurrectionists and domestic terrorists invading the sacred precincts of their Parliament? Did they cower under their desks hoping for the police to rescue them?

Lived experience and standpoint epistemology make all the difference. Yes, they may have experienced Communism, but how much worse could that have been than the experience of our Blacks under slavery and systemic racism?

Unless they have walked in our shoes and those of our Blacks, they have no right to be so judgmental of our social media who are just doing their job.

From Lefticon:

Judgmentalism – propensity to unfavorable judgments about an individual, group, institution, system of belief, or culture.

“Being judgmental” means making an inappropriate negative judgment. It can be an expression of disapproval, such as “You’re being judgmental!” an admonition, “Don’t be judgmental!” or a command, “Stop being judgmental!”

It should be noted that Marxists are not judgmental when they apply Critical Theory to all aspects of Western culture because it is an approved method of dialectical materialism, fully consistent with progressive values and norms, proven effective in bringing about non-violent cultural change.

On the other hand, Christians are judgmental when they judge others by Christian values and norms, because Jesus disapproved of judgmentalism. As He once said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1) And as the great community organizer Saul David Alinsky recommended in his fourth rule: “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.”

Social media interactive Internet networks which facilitate the sharing of ideas, opinions, random thoughts, and information between individuals, communities, and organizations.

The main social media platforms are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. These platforms have evolved into oligopolies controlling the dissemination of information to the masses.

Along with their ability to influence the masses comes the responsibility to assure the correctness of the information transmitted, so that it is free of misinformation, disinformation, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, anti-Semitism, emotional violence, white-supremacism, or hate. To that end, censorship is exercised through deplatforming, demonetization, and shadow banning.

Note:  Social media censorship works hand-in-hand with the cancel culture to protect the people from right-wing disinformation, incitement to violence, insurrection, and domestic terrorism.

Austin Orders Military Stand Down to Address Challenge of Extremism in the Ranks

This was reported yesterday in the DOD News by Jim Garamone:

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has ordered a DOD-wide stand down to discuss the problem of extremism in the ranks, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said today.

Austin and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with service civilian leaders and service chiefs to discuss the problem of extremism. Kirby noted that some of the extremists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 were active duty service members and others were military veterans.

Kirby was quick to say that “the vast majority of men and women who serve in uniform and the military are doing so with honor, integrity and character, and do not espouse the sorts of beliefs that lead to the kind of conduct that can be so detrimental to good order and discipline and in fact is criminal.”

Still, Austin said in the meeting with military leaders that while the numbers may be small, they are not as small as anyone would like. “No matter what it is, it is … not an insignificant problem and has to be addressed,” Kirby said during a press gaggle in the Pentagon.

The stand down will occur over the next 60 days, Kirby said. This is so “each service, each command and each unit can take the time out to have these needed discussions with the men and women of the force,” he said.   […]

This is a thorny problem, one that has raised its head in the past. There is a DOD Instruction aimed at this very problem — DODI 1325.06 “Handling Dissident and Protest Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces.”

The DOD Instruction expressly prohibits military personnel from actively advocating for and participating in supremacist, extremist or criminal gang doctrine, ideology or causes, Kirby said.

Read more.

A military stand down is a suspension of operations. Sixty days is a long time to suspend operations; a lot can happen in sixty days. What if, for example, China invaded Taiwan during that period and our military was standing down while busily purging racists, white supremacists, and domestic terrorists?

This means that the President and Secretary of Defense consider right-wing extremism in the military to be a serious problem, more serious than any military actions that Russia, China, or Iran could undertake in the next two months. And certainly, more serious than the extreme left-wing violence and destruction wrought by Black Lives Matter (BLM) and antifa in 2020 and still erupting this year.

In their vetting and purging, I doubt if they will find many BLM and antifa types in our current volunteer military, but there will be a lot of Trump supporters, some of whom could be extremists. It will be interesting to see how this and their LGBT policies affect troop morale.

Secretary Austin should consider assigning a political officer to each military unit to maintain ideological purity and loyalty—something like the political commissars of the old Soviet military. In order to demonstrate resonance with the whole progressive agenda, each political officer or commissar should be a woman, transgender, gay, or Black, or a combination of these qualifications through intersectionality. Candidates can be recruited from recent university graduates with degrees in women’s and gender studies or critical race theory.

From Lefticon:

Domestic terrorism – the deliberate use of violence against citizens or government officials of one’s own country to bring attention to a political cause.

In conventional terrorism, such as that perpetrated by jihadists, the actions involve physical violence and property destruction. Domestic terrorism, on the other hand, is more often nonphysical violence that is emotional or epistemic. It can include anything that triggers an unpleasant or uncomfortable collective response of anxiety, anger, fear, hate, or disgust. Some examples include:

      • inflammatory speech;
      • social media tweets or other posts inciting violence;
      • Internet bullying;
      • espousing anti-Semitism;
      • inciting to protest, demonstration, or riot;
      • fomenting hate, violence, or racism;
      • spreading misinformation or disinformation;
      • disputing or challenging election results;
      • promoting climate change denial; and
      • endangering our democracy.

This expanded definition was used to describe the actions of President Donald Trump during the final weeks of his presidency and to label him and his supporters as domestic terrorists. It does not apply to the physical violence, property destruction, occupation of government property, arson, and looting by Black Lives Matter and antifa.

Note:  Domestic terrorism is not to be confused with domestic violence.

Biden moves to reverse Trump immigration policies

This was reported yesterday by Ted Hesson and Steve Holland in Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday ordered a review of asylum processing at the U.S.-Mexico border and the immigration system as he seeks to undo some of former President Donald Trump’s hardline policies.

Biden also created a task force to reunite migrant families who were separated at the border by Trump’s 2018 ‘zero tolerance’ strategy.

“We are going to work to undo the moral and national shame of the previous administration that literally, not figuratively, ripped children from the arms of their families,” Biden said, as he signed the three immigration-related executive orders at the White House.

The executive orders called for a dizzying array of reviews and reports that could trigger policy changes in the weeks and months ahead, but provide limited immediate relief to immigrants barred by Trump-era rules.

Immigration advocates have urged the new Democratic administration to quickly undo Trump’s policies but Biden aides say they need time to unravel the many layers of immigration restrictions and to put in place more migrant-friendly systems.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.

The cautious strategy reflects the tightrope Biden is walking to reverse hardline Trump policies while simultaneously trying to prevent a surge in illegal immigration. Biden opponents could also derail or slow down his agenda with lawsuits if his administration moves too quickly and fails to follow proper procedures.

In a sign of the wary approach, Biden’s executive orders on Tuesday did not repeal an order known as ‘Title 42,’ which was issued under Trump to stop the spread of the coronavirus and allows U.S. authorities to expel almost all people caught crossing the border illegally.

He did, however, mandate a review of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a Trump program that ordered 65,000 asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their U.S. court hearings.

The Biden administration has stopped adding people to the program but has not yet outlined how it will process the claims of those already in it.

Across the border in Mexico, migrants enrolled in MPP said they were anxious for news about Biden’s plans for the program.

“I don’t understand why he doesn’t just say what he’s going to do,” said Cuban asylum seeker Yuri Gonzalez, who has been waiting for over a year in Ciudad Juarez.

Chad Wolf, former acting U.S. Department of Homeland Security secretary under Trump, said in an interview that halting the MPP program was a mistake because it had been an effective deterrent to illegal immigration.

Read more.

It is necessary to understand President Biden’s actions on immigration from a purely political perspective, rather than as the result of animosity to the former President he recently defeated.

From Lefticon:

Immigration – moving from one country to another with the intent of becoming a permanent resident.

Immigration usually flows from a less developed or more oppressive country to one that is more developed or less oppressive. Despite its white supremacism, systemic racism, imperialism, interventionism, and foundational slavery, the United States remains the ultimate immigration destination for the people of the world, as it has been for more than a century. Apparently the US living standards, opportunities for advancement, and generous welfare programs outweigh its negativities.

There are two paths of immigration to the United States, legal and undocumented. Legal immigrants are those who follow a long and detailed process, enter through controlled ports of entry, and receive no special treatment. Undocumented immigrants, on the other hand, are those who bypass the legal process, enter at their choice of time and place, and enjoy the hospitality of sanctuary cities, the support of advocacy groups, the ministration of Christian charities, and the backing of powerful foundations. They were once called illegal aliens, but that term is clearly offensive and it was changed to “undocumented immigrant” in deference to their sensitivities. If apprehended, however, they can be deported. If deported, they can return as frequently as they wish without additional penalty except re-deportation. Like a dialectic spiral, this course of action has no established limit.

Of the many motives for immigration to the United States, the most traditional is the desire to become American: to work, prosper, assimilate, and contribute to the uniquely American culture that is an amalgam of the many cultures of earlier colonists and immigrants. Traditional legal immigration with assimilation, however, had the political consequences of increasing the dominant white majority.

Without assimilation, enclaves of new immigrants retain a primary national identity with their country of origin and resist the language and traditions of their new country. They quickly become another minority enjoying the privileges and benefits of the country’s social welfare programs. Providing them with benefits immediately on arrival solidifies their dependency on government and their solidarity with the political party that is protective of those benefits. Since social welfare is one of the hallmarks of progressivism, they become progressives. And since the only progressive party is the Democratic Party, they become Democrats. Even if they collectively overwhelm the welfare and medical systems, causing financial insolvency on a city or state level, the result can be a welcome stimulus for political change toward socialism as described by the Cloward-Piven strategy.

On the other hand, immigration with assimilation into the common language and culture strengthens the dominant majority. When immigrants accept and blend into the culture of their new country, they become less dependent on government and less supportive of a progressive social agenda. This was the case in the United States from 1921 to 1965 because of laws like the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and the Immigration Act of 1924. The first of these established a National Origins Formula, a quota system that was designed to preserve the white-hegemonic racial and ethnic composition of the country as it existed then. The number of immigrants from each foreign nation was limited to 3% of the number of American citizens of that national origin in the 1910 census. Subsequent laws kept the basic formula with minor changes, like changing the 3% to 2%, and the census data from 1910 to 1920. Since the United States population at that time was predominantly of northern and western European origin, immigration from those countries was favored over immigration from southern and eastern Europe and the Slavic countries of central Europe. Asians and Africans were excluded.

This repressive policy finally changed with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which ended quotas for those from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, while continuing them for Europeans. In the compassionate spirit of family reunification, it encouraged immigrants to bring in their extended families regardless of employability, a process known as chain migration. Its highly successful H-1B visa program paved the way for qualified Asian professionals with special expertise in the STEM fields to come to the United States. They and their offspring now work as scientists, engineers, and executives in our high-technology industries and as doctors, nurses, and technicians in our hospitals and clinics. Their dominance in those fields has encouraged our university students to direct their energies to other critical areas such as law, finance, business administration, public administration, economics, political science, journalism, critical race studies, gender and women’s studies, and the social sciences.

Note:  The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was sponsored by Sen. Philip Hart of Michigan and Rep. Emanuel Celler of New York. It is called the Hart-Celler bill, but its passage was attributed to the support of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts. All were progressive Democrats.

Biden rescinds 1776 commission via executive order

This was reported by Caroline Kelly on January 21, 2001 in CNN Politics:

President Joe Biden on Wednesday issued an executive order to dissolve the 1776 commission, a panel stood up by President Donald Trump as a rebuttal to schools applying a more accurate history curriculum around slavery in the US, Biden’s transition team announced Wednesday.

The commission had been formed as an apparent counter to The New York Times’ 1619 Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning project aimed at teaching American students about slavery that Trump, speaking last fall, had called “toxic propaganda.” The announcement comes just two days after the commission issued an inflammatory report on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and just hours before Biden will take over from Trump, whose time in office was marked by racist statements and actions.

In its report released Monday, the commission asserted that “the Civil Rights Movement was almost immediately turned to programs that ran counter to the lofty ideals of the founders,” specifically criticizing affirmative action policies and arguing that identity politics are “the opposite of King’s hope that his children would ‘live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’ “

Calling today’s ideological divisions akin to those experienced during the Civil War, commission members also took aim at feminists and the widespread use of ethnic and racial identities in American life, arguing that they had been constructed by “activists.”

“A radical women’s liberation movement reimagined America as a patriarchal system, asserting that every woman is a victim of oppression by men. The Black Power and black nationalist movements reimagined America as a white supremacist regime. Meanwhile, other activists constructed artificial groupings to further divide Americans by race, creating new categories like ‘Asian American’ and ‘Hispanic’ to teach Americans to think of themselves in terms of group identities and to rouse various groups into politically cohesive bodies,” the report stated.

Trump announced that he was establishing the commission last fall, following a slew of Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the country. He had blamed the school curriculum for violence that resulted from some of the protests, saying that “the left-wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools.”

Larry Arnn, the president of Hillsdale College, who had drawn criticism for his comments in 2013, when he said state officials had visited the college to see whether enough “dark ones” were enrolled, was chosen to chair the commission. Carol Swain, who once wrote that Islam “poses an absolute danger to us and our children,” was chosen as vice chair.

Read more.

From Lefticon:

1619 Project – a project of the New York Times to change the historical date of the founding of the United States from 1776 to 1619, and to “place the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a country.”

This ongoing project was initiated in 2019, on the 400th anniversary of the arrival (in 1619) of the first twenty African slaves in the English colony of Virginia. Initiated by a staff writer, Nikole Hannah-Jones, it was endorsed by the NY Times Magazine editor-in-chief, Jake Silverstein, and introduced with a special edition of the Magazine featuring essays by staff writers and literary contributions by Black authors. Hannah-Jones had discovered that 1619 was the date of the founding of the United States, not 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and that the Revolutionary War was fought to preserve the institution of slavery, not to secure independence from Britain.

The 1619 Project is consistent with the postmodern concept of truth unrelated to objective reality. It is the outcome of neo-Marxist critical race theory; the lived experience of Blacks; and the standpoint epistemology of those who endured systemic racism during 400 years of a white-dominated culture. Public schools throughout the US have adopted it as a featured part of their curriculum.

Amazingly, this project was not the product of accredited historians, but of journalists without historical training. Nikole Hannah-Jones received the Pulitzer Prize for her accomplishment. The only criticism was from a few scholars, historians, and former President Trump, who started the 1776 Commission in response to it.

Note:  The 1776 Commission was abolished by President Biden during the first week of his presidency.

1776 Commission – a commission dedicated to the traditional narrative of the founding of the United States before its revision by the 1619 Project, the New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning counternarrative.

This commission was founded by President Trump on November 2, 2021, and immediately disbanded by executive order by President Biden on January 20, 2021, the first day of his presidency. Though himself a white male like our founding fathers, President Biden preferred the narrative of the 1619 Project, which honored Blacks as the race most responsible for making the founding of the United States possible.