Monthly Archives: September 2016

TEACHERS’ UNIONS – OPPRESSOR OF BLACKS AND OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR

The failure of public schools to properly educate American students, particularly nonwhite minorities, can be attributed largely to the policies and priorities of teachers’ unions. This is according to the website, discoverthenetworks.org.

The largest teachers’ unions in America today include the 3.2 million member National Education Association (NEA) and the 1.5 million member America Federation of Teachers (AFT). Devoted to promoting all manner of left-sing political agendas, these organizations rank among the most powerful political forces in the United States today. Forbes magazine routinely ranks the NEA among the top 15 in its “Washington’s Power 25” list of organizations that wield the greatest political influence in the American legislative system. The Association has earned that rating, for the most part, by making almost $31 million in campaign contributions to political candidates since the early 1990s. The AFT has given more than $28 million to its own favored candidates. Furthermore, these figures do not include expenditures on such politically oriented initiatives as television ads or “get out the vote” efforts.

If the $59 million in combined NEA and AFT campaign donations, more than $56 million has gone to Democrats. This imbalance reflects only the political leanings of the union leaders, not the rank and file school teachers. Surprisingly, just 45% of public school teachers are registered Democrats, and more NEA members identify themselves as conservatives (27%) than liberals (21%).

The NEA derives most of its operating funds from the member dues that, in almost every state, are deducted automatically from teachers’ salaries. Because member dues constitute the very lifeblood of the teachers’ unions, the latter strive mightily to avoid losing any of those members regardless of their professional competence or lack thereof. Even in school districts where students perform far below the academic norm for their grade levels, and where dropout rates are astronomically high, scarcely one in a thousand teachers is ever dismissed in any given year.

In most states, teachers are automatically awarded tenure after only a few years on the job. Once tenured, even the most ineffective and incompetent instructors can have long and relatively lucrative careers in the classroom if they wish to stay in the field of education. For example, between 1995 and 2005, just 112 of the 43,000 tenured teachers in Los Angeles lost their jobs, even though 49% of the students in their school district failed to graduate from high school. The story has been much the same elsewhere.

In addition to aggressively defending the rights of incompetent instructors, the teachers’ unions have likewise objected to merit pay proposals that would reward good teachers and punish bad ones. When Florida legislators in 2009 called for a merit pay system, the head of the state teachers’ union accused the lawmakers of punishing and scapegoating teachers and creating more chaos in Florida public schools. When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie suggested a similar arrangement for his state in 2010, the teachers’ unions asserted that his effort was intentionally designed to demean and defund public education. In Chicago, union officials have argued that merit pay programs can narrow curricula by encouraging teachers to focus on testing.

Teachers’ unions also oppose voucher programs that would enable the parents of children who attend failing inner-city public schools to send their youngsters, instead, to private schools where they would have a better chance to succeed academically.

While progressive democrat politicians, who receive much financial support from teachers’ unions, are opposed to school voucher programs, they continue to send their kids to expensive private schools.  When former Vice President, Al Gore, who was asked why he opposed school vouchers for black children, while sending his own son to a private school, he said, “If I had a child in an inner-city school, I would probably be for vouchers too.”

Everyone reading this article probably has one or more friends who are public school teachers and members of one or more teachers’ unions. Low pay appears to be the major gripe of public school teachers, and here in Alabama, teachers do have a reputations of being only concerned with pay and not concerned with teaching our children. They agree that there are problems in the states’ public schools that need to be fixed, with their solution being just give us raises and we’ll fix the problems. Most of us who work in the private sector have to perform adequately before we are given raises by our employers.

I have observed over the years that public school teachers are very inflexible when it comes to new and innovative ideas for improving the quality of education. As indicated above, they are against a voucher system which would allow students who would, because of residence, have to attend failing schools, be given vouchers to attend private schools. Furthermore, public school teachers are against any type of home schooling, even though home schooling has been proven to be successful.

The only method of teaching they appear to advocate is that which occurs in a school room where there is one teacher and possibly an aid teaching a small group of students. During the technological revolution (1989 to 2005), the teachers I knew were adverse to any kind of modern technology and resisted any kind of change to their methods of operation.

Those of us who have been in the workplace for years know that “ways of doing things” are constantly changing. Think back to that first job you had out of college then fast-forward to today. Wow!

Like Social Security, certain parts of teacher compensation packages are considered “sacred cows.” Don’t you dare even whisper about changing them. If you suggest making changes or that changes might be coming, you’re automatically accused of being against public education and hating school teachers. Sound familiar?

In many states across the nation, including in my state, Alabama, it has been suggested by private financiers that fully funded retirement systems might not be able to sustain themselves. For those currently drawing retirement benefits, those benefits won’t change. But for younger state employees, retirement funding might have to change. Public school teachers, including union leaders, have demonized anyone who suggested that changes might be needed in the future.

Most public school teachers I know vote Democrat and hate Republicans. They vote Democrat because Democrats promise to procure higher salaries and better benefits for them. It’s been this way for decades and nothing for teachers seems to have improved.

While towing the liberal line along with having an inflexible attitude toward change by members of teachers’ unions, is most certainly oppressing blacks and people of color, because so many who are falling into these groups do not have the means to send their children to private schools or the time to home school their children.

Have the leaders of teachers’ unions, along with the rank and file members, ever thought about listening to what private enterprise is suggesting for improvements. Maybe if they did, both sides could use their expertise and influence to create a robust public education environment. Sadly, though, I’m not holding my breath.

Note: Much of the information provided for this article was taken from discoverthenetworks.org.

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JIMMY CARTER’S COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT

How the Community Reinvestment Act oppressed blacks and other people of color

On September 2, I authored an article entitled “My Thoughts on Colin Kaepernick.” My thoughts when I initially learned about Kaepernick’s actions were, how is the United States currently oppressing black people or all people of color, for that matter? Affirmative action programs are still in place which allow blacks to get “bumped up” ahead of whites with respect to employment, promotions, college acceptance, etc. Along that line, Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act paved the way for many people to qualify for loans to purchase homes when those same people were not capable of making the house payments. A lot of those folks were black. Furthermore, being able to collect welfare for having a child out of wedlock, a part of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, was directed toward blacks in order to keep them voting Democrat.

According to discoverthenetworks.org, in his book, Back to Work, former president Bill Clinton attributed the housing market crisis of 2008 to the greed of banks that were over-leveraged, with too many risky investments, especially in subprime mortgages and securities and derivatives that were spun out of them. Clinton opined that the crash occurred because there was too little government oversight of, and virtually no restraint on, risky loans without sufficient capital to back them up. President Obama attributed the crisis to the failed policies of the days when Wall Street, unencumbered by government regulators, played by its own rules.

Discoverthenetworks.org further indicated that the earliest roots of these government policies can be traced back to the mid-1970s when progressive Democrats in Congress began a campaign to help low income minorities improve their economic condition through homeownership. At that time, the homeownership rates of blacks and Hispanics alike were just above 40%, while the white rate hovered nearly 70%. Because the Congressional Democrats felt that these inequities were evidence of America’s persisting racial injustice, many Democrats pushed for measures to rectify the situation.

Henry Reuss, a far-left McGovern Democrat sponsored the Housing and Community Development Act of 1977. Title VIII of this bill, known as the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), required each appropriate Federal financial supervisory agency to assess each bank’s record of helping to meet the credit needs of its entire community, including low and moderate income neighborhoods. In other words, this was a mandate for banks to make special efforts to seek out and lend to minority borrowers of meager to modest means. The bill passed with near unanimous Democrat support and was signed into law by President Carter in 1977.

The law was founded upon a principle with far reaching implications that government intervention was necessary to counteract the racist and inequitable nature of American society, including the free market. In the early 1990s, implications of this premise began to “hit the fan” when studies showing disparate mortgage loan approval rates for blacks and whites resulted in sensational media headlines. In 1992, researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston released the results of a seminal study which found that whites and blacks with equivalent incomes had been denied mortgages at the rates of 17% and 38% respectively.

As a result of the study, then Attorney General Janet Reno warned that no bank would be immune to an aggressive Justice Department campaign to punish discrimination in lending practices. Also, Comptroller of the Currency, Eugene Ludwig told the Senate Banking Committee, “We have to use every means at our disposal to end discrimination and to end it as quickly as possible.”

Media institutions including not only the liberal Boston Globe, but Business Week jumped on the bandwagon with Business Week sporting a headline that read, “There’s no Whites Only Sign, but…”

A second study that was done for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston showed that black loan applicants not only had greater debt burdens and poorer credit histories than their white counterparts, but also tended to seek loans covering a higher percentage of proper values in question. The later study determined that after correcting for these and other standard credit criteria such as income, net worth, age, education, and probability of employment, the loan rejection gap between racial groups dwindled to 11% for whites and 17% for blacks. By manipulating the numbers, The Boston Federal Reserve Bank report chose to imply that racism played a role in the disparity. For additional statistics, visit DiscoverTheNetworks.org.

The Federal Reserve Board in Washington later re-examined the original Boston Fed Study and found its conclusions difficult to justify. Similarly, Nobel Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, found that the first Boston Fed study had some serious methodological flaws, making its results dubious. Furthermore, in 1988, it was reported that the data used by that study contained literally hundreds of errors via such variables as the net worth of the applicants and the interest rates of the loans they sought. When those data errors were corrected, evidence suggesting that lenders had discriminated against minority borrowers disappeared.

As we all know, Democrats don’t use facts when determining their plans of action, they float on emotions while considering how they, the governing powers, can further intrude into our lives and make us more dependent on big government. Thus, the Clinton administration was determined to transform the CRA from an outreach effort into a strict quota system. Under this new arrangement, if a bank failed to meet its quota for loans to low income minorities, it ran a high risk of failing to earn a satisfactory CRA rating from the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). Because this could derail bank operations and expansion, the banks had no recourse other than to drastically lower their standards on down payments and underwriting in order to approve many loans even to borrowers with weak credit credentials.

Additional pressure was applied to banks by community organizations such as ACORN and the Greenlining Institute. By accusing banks, however frivolously or unjustly, of having engaged in racially discriminatory lending practices that violated the mandates of the CRA, these groups could stall or prevent banks from expanding or merging as they wished. Moreover, these groups routinely threatened to file lawsuits or negative publicity campaigns against such banks.

As a result of such pressures, CRA commitments, which from 1977 to 1991 had cumulatively totaled just under $9 billion, suddenly jumped to $34 billion in 2991 alone. Then over the next 16 years, those commitments would amount to $6 trillion.

However, the CRA was not the only mechanism designed by government to impose lending quotas on financial institutions. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the leadership of Henry Cisneros, developed rules encouraging lenders to increase their approval rates for loans to minority applicants by a hefty 20% within one year. In 1993, HUD began filing legal actions against mortgage bankers who had turned down a higher percentage of minority applicants than white applicants, regardless of their reasons for doing so. This caused lenders to lower their down payment and income requirements for minorities. Moreover, HUD pressured the government sponsored institutions, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest sources of housing finance in the United States, to earmark a rising number of their own loans for low-income borrowers.

No one supported these reckless lending practices more fervently than Democratic Congressman, Barney Frank, a member of the powerful House Committee on Financial Services. Subsequently in 2004, Frank said that the federal government had probably done too little rather than too much to push Fannie and Freddie to meet the goals of affordable housing.  Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, called Freddie and Fannie, of the greatest success stories of all time.

It should be noted, though, that some Republicans were also in favor of lower mortgage approval standards. In 2002, the Bush administration pressed Congress to pass the American Dream Down Payment Initiative to subsidize the down payments and closing costs of low income and first time home buyers. After ADDI was enacted, President Bush also pushed Congress to pass legislation permitting the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to make zero down payment loans at low interest rates to low income individuals.

These political pressures entirely restructured the landscape of the mortgage lending business. Subprime loans, which had constituted just 7% of all mortgages in 2001, accounted for 19% of mortgages by 2006. The situation was exacerbated further by the fact that many banks securitized the risky loans.

The result of these ill-conceived lending practices was a full-blown financial crisis characterized by countless home foreclosures and skyrocketing employment rates. The primary victims of these calamities were non-white minorities of modest means, the very people who were the intended beneficiaries of the CRA, the ADDI, and the aforementioned HUD and FHA policies. As of November 2011, approximately one quarter of all black and Hispanic borrowers had either already lost their homes to foreclosure or were seriously delinquent, compared to just under 12% of white borrowers. These disparities in foreclosure rates were, for the most part, due to African Americans and Hispanics having comparatively poor credit ratings and being disproportionately represented among those who had fallen into the financial trap of the high-priced subprime mortgages encouraged by the CRA and similar government policies.

Is stated by discoverthenetworks.org that the housing market crisis cast a black cloud over what had been one of America’s greatest success stories, the rise of the black middle class. Between 1949 and 1994, the proportion of African Americans in the middle class had nearly quadrupled, from 12% to 44%, an unprecedented advance for any formerly oppressed group in any society on record.

In addition to foreclosures, other indignities suffered by non-white minorities included the loss of jobs and the rising unemployment rates. And if these blows to the black community were not enough, left-wing Democrats, for reasons of promoting economic justice, tried to resurrect the CRA in 2009. In that year, 53 Congressional Democrats sponsored the Community Reinvestment Modernization Act in order to close the wealth gap in the United States by increasing home ownership and small business ownership for low and moderate income borrowers and persons of color. Specifically, the legislation sought to extend the CRA’s strict lending requirements to credit unions, insurance companies and mortgage lenders and to make its mandates more explicitly race-based by applying lower lending standards not only to low and moderate income borrowers, but to any non-white minorities, regardless of income.

Every American, man, woman, and child, was hurt by the Community Reinvestment Act and other  liberal/progressive policies that were put in place over the years since the late seventies, with minorities and people of color being hit the hardest.

While very few people “on the street” can intelligently discuss the Community Reinvestment Act, implemented by the far left and signed into law by President Jimmy Carter, this law, to date, as wreaked more suffering on the American people than any other piece of passed legislation and it took it took nearly a generation after its enactment for the full effects to be realized.

I have often said that the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare is the most insidious piece of legislation that has ever been wrought on the American people and I sticking to my statement. It took thirty years for the American people to realize the full results of the Community Reinvestment Act. What is in store for the American people thirty years from now?

Note: The facts and substances of this article originated from the website, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org.

 

 

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REMEMBERING THE 9/11 ATTACKS

I had been at work maybe twenty or thirty minutes when my office mate hung up from a telephone call and said, “Hey Nancy, a plane just hit one of the World Trade Center buildings.”

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Terry had been on the phone with his wife (I can’t remember her given name), who had called him to tell him. We both tried to get some information from the Internet, but were unable to do so. Momentarily, Terry’s phone rang again and it was his wife again, telling him that another plane had hit the other tower. Terry, again, was the one who conveyed that information to me. By then we knew that something bad was happening and the whole office was buzzing, and no Internet was available. The conference room TV was turned on and we were told that we could watch what was happening.

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We then learned about the plane crashing into the Pentagon and a plane that was thought to be heading toward the Capitol building had crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

While that day certainly changed our lives forever in many ways, some things do remain the same. The evil forces out to destroy our way of life failed, didn’t they. I went to church this morning, sang hymns, prayed, and listened to the message without fear of reprisal. Yesterday, I attended the Alabama vs. Western Kentucky football game. Instead of a purse, women must limit the items they carry in to the stadium to a rather small, clear plastic bag. There’s still college football, one of the greatest pleasures this nation has to offer, with very little changing.

Overall security is much tighter and flying on commercial airlines has changed dramatically. I don’t fly much anymore, but when I do, making sure I have everything in order is a big deal. For those who fly regularly, adaption was much easier.

In the decade preceding 9/11, there was very little military action, but after 9/11, that has not been the case. We’re continuously at war, and most of us have become desensitized to it. That’s not a good thing, but fighting terror is not like fighting a conventional enemy or another country. I often times wonder if we will ever conquer terrorism.

9/11 has undoubtedly changed our views regarding the culture and religion of Islam. Before 9/11, Muslims were Muslims, we weren’t afraid of them; nor did we look upon them as belonging to groups whose intentions were to kill Americans. I don’t see Muslims being viewed in the same light as they were before 9/11 in my lifetime.

Yes, there have been many changes in the United States of America in the last fifteen years and many of them not good. This article is not meant to be political, instead, the focus of this article is on actually little our lives have changed with respect to the 9/11 attacks.

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Sometimes I wonder what the master minds and the minions of the 9/11 attacks, who are still alive, think about their plans to destroy our way of life. They failed miserably.

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MORE THOUGHTS ON COLIN KAEPERNICK

The following is a continuation of my September 2, 2016 article about the San Francisco 49er quarterback, Colin Kaepernick who refuses to stand while the national anthem is played before San Francisco football games. Some of the following is re-hash, but I’ve also injected new areas of thought.

There’s several pieces to the Colin Kaepernick saga. First of all, he does have the right to sit or kneel while the national anthem is played before San Francisco 49ers football games. Plus everyone else has a right to their opinion about it. Colin is employed by the San Francisco 49ers organization and while he is acting in the course and scope of his employment by San Francisco, he has to do what they say. As his employer, the 49ers’ organization, in my opinion, should tell him to stand. If he doesn’t, he’s out the door. But the NFL and its associated teams have become very leftist over the years, and I guess it didn’t occur to them to just simply tell Mr. Kaepernick, “Yes, you will stand for the national anthem.” But neither the NFL nor the San Francisco 49ers are going to tell him that. So, we’re moving on.

When CK says that American is a nation that oppresses blacks and other people of color, my initial thoughts were just how is happening. Civil Rights legislation was passed in 1964. Subsequently, there was the implementation of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society in the mid-sixties, where we were told that for a few dollars more a month from taxpayers, we would be able to eradicate poverty among blacks as well as whites. Following the implementation of the Great Society, Affirmative Action legislation was passed and programs were implemented whereby blacks had the opportunity to achieve at the same level as whites without meeting the same requirements as whites. In the late seventies, under the Carter administration, the Community Reinvestment Act was passed which basically allowed banks to lend money to buy houses to people who were not financially able to qualify for a loan to purchase a home. This allowed many blacks to obtain loans to purchase homes.

But wait, these programs haven’t worked. These programs have done nothing to help blacks and other people of color. Instead it could be said that these programs have oppressed blacks and other people of color. Maybe Colin Kaepernick has a point. But I don’t think this is what he and other liberals meant. The above programs plus the rise to power and prominence of teachers’ unions in this country have all contributed to the increased crime rates, increased poverty rates, the dissolution of the nuclear family, and the failing schools which are all prevalent in the black community.

In the second decade of the 21st century, over a half century since Civil Rights legislation was passed and signed into law, terms like “black community” shouldn’t exist except for historical documentation purposes.

One of the programs I cited as detrimental to blacks and other people of color is Affirmative Action, according to the conservative website, Wing Nut Gal, in an article dated October 29, 2014, “Affirmative action is one of the most racist and bigoted practices in the United States of America today. It says to minorities that you’re not good enough to make it in the “white man’s world.” You’re inferior. And because you’re inferior, we’re going to help you because we’re your friends.”  To read the entire article visit The Racist, Bigoted Policy of Affirmative Action.

In the next few days, I will be examining other policies, birthed by liberals that are serving to oppress blacks and other people of color. And you know something, these policies aren’t helping us white folks out much either.

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MY THOUGHTS ON COLIN KAEPERNICK

Sometimes issues arise that I just don’t want to talk about, nor write about, and this is one. The story has grown legs, perhaps even tentacles, plus liberals and conservatives are taking opposing points of view. One thing good about it, though, is that as of this writing, the current president of the United States has not said a word.

I think it’s very disappointing that someone who has lived the American dream, someone who has the potential to be one of this country’s icons, is too stupid to realize that he’s throwing his life away.

Of course, Colin Kaepernick has the free speech right to remain seated during while the national anthem is played before NFL games. But so does everyone else have the right to voice their opinions on Kaepernick’s actions.

As Colin’s employer, the San Francisco 49ers franchise could nip this one in the bud. The head coach and/ or the “higher ups” could have said to Mr. Kaepernick, “Oh yes, you will stand up.” If Colin Kaepernick still refuses to stand up, fines and other disciplinary actions can be taken, including the ultimate disciplinary action, dismissal from the team. Since I haven’t heard of anyone voicing the above, I wonder if I’m the first or the one and only.

My thoughts when I initially learned about Kaepernick’s actions were, how is the United States currently oppressing black people or all people of color, for that matter. Affirmative action programs are still in place which allow blacks to get “bumped up” ahead of whites with respect to employment, promotions, college acceptance, etc. Along that line, Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act paved the way for many people to qualify for loans to purchase homes when those same people were not capable of making the house payments. A lot of those folks were black. Furthermore, being able to collect welfare for having a child out of wedlock, a part of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, was directed toward blacks in order to keep them voting Democrat.

Now, a number of us, including myself, feel that the above government programs have actually done more to hurt and denigrate blacks. So, I guess you could agree that the United States of America is oppressing blacks and all people of color. Maybe we should all remain seated when the National Anthem is played.

I don’t think this is what Colin Kaepernick meant when he stated that America was oppressing blacks and other people of color. Since the media and the liberals are going with it, we’ll say that America oppresses blacks and other people of color because of the whites, particularly the conservative white folks who cling to their guns and to their Bibles. Don’t say I’m not flexible!

First of all, I don’t believe that blacks and other people of color are oppressed by the United States of America. The government programs that I highlighted above were put in place to assist blacks in assimilating to the American way of life. (We know those programs have not worked, but try to think like a liberal for a moment, at least.) We also have laws forbidding discrimination in place. I’d say on paper, blacks and other people of color have definite advantages over us typical white folks.

Colin, tell me the ways that America oppresses blacks. The first step in solving a problem is to define the problem, including facts supporting the existence of the problem. So, lay it out there. Simply sitting for the National Anthem is not going to solve what you see as a problem.

While I stand by my statement that the United States of America does not oppress blacks or other people of color, I’m not saying that there is no racism and/or bigotry in individual Americans. That racism/bigotry will never end until Christ returns and sets up his 1000 reign here on earth. Does that mean that we shouldn’t try to do something about it? Of course not! We have to teach our children right from wrong and as Christians, we have to follow Jesus and do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Will we slip up? Absolutely! We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and will continue to do so.

While it has always appeared to me that liberals continue to make a consistent effort to establish “Heaven here on earth,” that will never happen. Thus, in their failures, they will forever continue to blame white people, conservatives, Christians, gun owners, southerners, etc.

Is there hope for any of us? More importantly, is there hope for blacks and other people of color who have been oppressed and continue to be oppressed by liberal policies including those outlined above? Those policies that liberals consider “sacred cows,” and conservatives are not allowed to whisper about, much less take steps to change? Those policies that were sustained during the Obama administration and will be continued should there be a Clinton administration? You think about it and then tell me.

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