Friday, May 08, 2015
Black Lives Matter
But to liberals black lives matter only when the lives are taken by white police
By Walter E. Williams
Before we examine the issue of police shootings of blacks, I would like to start the conversation with another question. Here it is: If a person chooses to stand on railroad tracks in the face of an oncoming train, who is responsible for his being run over? And if many people meet their maker this way, what would you recommend as the best way to reduce such deaths? Would you focus most of your efforts on train engineers, or would you counsel people not to stand on railroad tracks in the face of an oncoming train?
In principle, the answer to these questions might help with the issue of police shootings in general and particularly those of blacks. First, the Ferguson, Missouri, case: Having robbed a liquor store, the person is walking in the middle of the street and blocking traffic. A police officer tells the person to get out of the street. What would you suggest the person do? Would you suggest that he ignore the police officer's instructions, push the officer as he attempts to get out of his vehicle and afterward attempt to take the officer's pistol?
In the case of the New York City death of Eric Garner, what would you recommend? A person is illegally selling cigarettes. The police try to effect an arrest. What would you recommend that the person do? As the police try to take the person into custody, would you advise the person to swat away the arms of the arresting officer, to tell the officer "Don't touch me!" and to continue resisting arrest?
What about the shooting of Walter Scott by a North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer? If an officer makes a traffic stop, would you advise that the driver flee so as to avoid arrest?
Let me be clear: I am justifying neither the behavior of police officers nor the deadly outcomes of their confrontations with these three black men. Similarly, I would not justify the behavior of a train engineer or the outcome a person experiences standing on the train tracks in the face of an oncoming train. I would counsel a person not to stand on railroad tracks in the face of an oncoming train.
Similarly, the advice that I would give to anyone of any race in dealing with police is: Follow the officer's instructions. Do not resist arrest or attempt to flee. Do not assault the police officer or try to disarm him. Had this advice been taken, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Walter Scott would be alive today.
Criminal activity is a major problem in many black communities. That means many black citizens will have some kind of contact with police officers, either as victims of crime or as criminals. One of the true tragedies is that black politicians, preachers and civil rights advocates give massive support to criminals such as Brown, Garner and Scott. How much support do we see for the overwhelmingly law-abiding members of the black community preyed upon by criminals?
The average American has no idea of the day-to-day threats and fears encountered by the law-abiding majority in black neighborhoods on account of thugs. In addition to giving threats and instilling fears, criminals have turned many black communities into economic wastelands where there is a lack of services that most Americans take for granted, such as supermarkets, other shops and even home delivery. Black residents must bear the expense of having to go out of their neighborhoods to shop or shop at high-cost mom and pop stores.
The protest chant that black lives matter appears to mean that black lives matter only if they are taken at the hands of white police officers.
Race, Politics and Lies
By Thomas Sowell
Among the many painful ironies in the current racial turmoil is that communities scattered across the country were disrupted by riots and looting because of the demonstrable lie that Michael Brown was shot in the back by a white policeman in Missouri
Totally ignored was the fact that a black policeman in Alabama fatally shot an unarmed white teenager, and was cleared of any charges, at about the same time that a white policeman was cleared of charges in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.
In a world where the truth means so little, and headstrong preconceptions seem to be all that matter, what hope is there for rational words or rational behavior, much less mutual understanding across racial lines?
When the recorded fatal shooting of a fleeing man in South Carolina brought instant condemnation by whites and blacks alike, and by the most conservative as well as the most liberal commentators, that moment of mutual understanding was very fleeting, as if mutual understanding were something to be avoided, as a threat to a vision of “us against them” that was more popular.
That vision is nowhere more clearly expressed than in attempts to automatically depict whatever social problems exist in ghetto communities as being caused by the sins or negligence of whites, whether racism in general or a “legacy of slavery” in particular. Like most emotionally powerful visions, it is seldom, if ever, subjected to the test of evidence.
The “legacy of slavery” argument is not just an excuse for inexcusable behavior in the ghettos. In a larger sense, it is an evasion of responsibility for the disastrous consequences of the prevailing social vision of our times, and the political policies based on that vision, over the past half century.
Anyone who is serious about evidence need only compare black communities as they evolved in the first 100 years after slavery with black communities as they evolved in the first 50 years after the explosive growth of the welfare state, beginning in the 1960s.
You would be hard-pressed to find as many ghetto riots prior to the 1960s as we have seen just in the past year, much less in the 50 years since a wave of such riots swept across the country in 1965.
We are told that such riots are a result of black poverty and white racism. But in fact — for those who still have some respect for facts — black poverty was far worse, and white racism was far worse, prior to 1960. But violent crime within black ghettos was far less.
Murder rates among black males were going down — repeat, DOWN — during the much lamented 1950s, while it went up after the much celebrated 1960s, reaching levels more than double what they had been before. Most black children were raised in two-parent families prior to the 1960s. But today the great majority of black children are raised in one-parent families.
Such trends are not unique to blacks, nor even to the United States. The welfare state has led to remarkably similar trends among the white underclass in England over the same period. Just read “Life at the Bottom,” by Theodore Dalrymple, a British physician who worked in a hospital in a white slum neighborhood.
You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large.
Non-judgmental subsidies of counterproductive lifestyles are treating people as if they were livestock, to be fed and tended by others in a welfare state — and yet expecting them to develop as human beings have developed when facing the challenges of life themselves.
One key fact that keeps getting ignored is that the poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits every year since 1994. Behavior matters and facts matter, more than the prevailing social visions or political empires built on those visions.
Hillary Clinton goes all in on immigration; pledges to outdo Obama
Hillary Clinton held a Cinco de Mayo event with illegal immigrants in Nevada Tuesday — "an especially appropriate day for us to be having this conversation" — in which she promised to go farther than President Obama in using executive authority to confer legal status on illegal immigrants, and to ultimately to award them U.S. citizenship. No matter what Republicans might offer to illegal immigrants in terms of legal status, Clinton said, she will offer more.
Changing the immigration system will be a top priority should she become president, Clinton said. "We can't wait any longer. We can't wait any longer for a path to full and equal citizenship."
Clinton made clear she would go beyond any Republican, be it Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, or any other, in conferring benefits on currently illegal immigrants. "This is where I differ with everybody on the Republican side," she said. "Make no mistakes — today not a single Republican candidate, announced or potential, is clearly and consistently supporting a path to citizenship. Not one. When they talk about legal status, that is code for second-class status."
As for Obama's unilateral executive action, Clinton said she will defend what has already been done and then add action of her own. "I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship for you and for your families across our country," she said.
"I will fight to stop partisan attacks on the executive actions that would put Dreamers, including those with us today, at risk of deportation. And if Congress continues to refuse to act, as president I would do everything possible under the law to go even further. There are more people, like many parents of Dreamers, and others, with deep ties and contributions to our communities, who deserve a chance to stay, and I will fight for them."
"I want to do everything we can to defend the president's executive orders," Clinton said at another point. "Because I think they were certainly within his authority, constitutionally, legally, they were based on precedent that I certainly believe is adequate. And then still try to go further and deal with some of these other issues, like the re-unification of families that were here and that have been split up."
A number of words were missing from Clinton's discussion of immigration. She did not say "border," for example, or "visa" or "E-Verify" or "workplace." The notion of enforcing the nation's immigration laws as they currently exist was not on the table.
Clinton has not always been quite so expansive on the subject of immigration. For much of 2014, as the nation debated Obama's threatened unilateral executive action, Clinton stayed out of the conversation, not committing one way or the other. In the summer of 2014, when there was a flood of unaccompanied minor illegal immigrants across the southeastern border, Clinton advocated sending most of them back to their home countries.
"They should be sent back as soon as it can be determined who the responsible adults in their families are…" Clinton said at the time. "But I think all of them who can be, should be reunited with their families."
During her 2008 run for president, Clinton famously opposed issuing drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.
That's all in the past. Now, Clinton is again running for president, and with Hispanic votes to be won, she is vowing she will not be outbid when it comes to the subject of immigration.
The IRS Goes to Court
The agency suggests it can discriminate for 270 days. Judges gasp
It isn’t every day that judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declare themselves “shocked.” But that happened on Monday when an animated three-judge panel eviscerated the IRS and Justice Department during oral argument in a case alleging the agency delayed the tax-exempt application of a pro-Israel group due to its policy views.
In December 2009, Pennsylvania-based Z Street applied for 501(c)(3) status to pursue its pro-Israel educational mission. In July 2010, when the group called to check on what was taking so long, an IRS agent said that auditors had been instructed to give special attention to groups connected with Israel, and that they had sent some of those applications to a special IRS unit for additional review.
Z Street sued the IRS for viewpoint discrimination (Z Street v. Koskinen), and in May 2014 a federal district judge rejected the IRS’s motion to dismiss. The IRS appealed, a maneuver that halted discovery that could prove to be highly embarrassing. Justice says Z Street’s case should be dismissed because the Anti-Injunction Act bars litigation about “the assessment or collection of tax.” Problem is, Z Street isn’t suing for its tax-exempt status. It’s suing on grounds that the IRS can’t discriminate based on point of view.
The three judges—Chief Judge Merrick Garland,David Tatel and David Sentelle—were incredulous. You say they want a tax exemption, but that’s not the complaint, Judge Sentelle admonished government lawyer Teresa McLaughlin: “They are not in court seeking to restrain the assessment or collection of a tax, they are in court seeking a constitutionally fair process.”
The suit should also be foreclosed, the government argued, because under Section 7428(b)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code groups may sue to obtain their tax-exempt status if no action has been taken for 270 days, and that should be an alternative to Z Street’s approach.
“You don’t really mean that, right? Because the next couple words would be the IRS is free to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint, religion, race [for 270 days]. You don’t actually think that?” Judge Garland said. “Imagine the IRS announces today a policy that says as follows: No application by a Jewish group or an African-American group will be considered until one day short of the period under the statute . . . Is it your view that that cannot be challenged?”
The judges also asked why the government had buried the key precedent in a footnote in its brief. In Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl, the Supreme Court decided that the language of the Anti-Injunction Act did not preclude cases like Z Street’s. In a previous case before the D.C. Circuit, Judge Garland noted, the court also “rejected” the exact arguments the government was making, “so in a way we have already decided every issue before us today, against you.”
Poor Ms. McLaughlin was sent to argue the indefensible so the IRS can delay discovery until the waning days of the Obama Administration. “If I were you, I would go back and ask your superiors whether they want us to represent that the government’s position in this case is that the government is free to unconstitutionally discriminate against its citizens for 270 days,” said Judge Garland.
Ms. McLaughlin replied, “Well, I will take that back.” The Beltway media may be bored, but the IRS scandal is a long way from over.
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Posted by JR at 12:33 AM