Sunday, December 29, 2013

"Welfare Queen" Linda Taylor featured in Jet, December 19, 1974

Looks like I am getting to Josh Levin's Slate report on Linda Taylor a bit late.  After Robert Stacy McCain and The Daily Caller have picked over the story, there is not much new for me to say.  I urge all reading this to read every word Levin has to say too.

Anybody born after 1950 might know Taylor as 'Ronald Reagan's totally made up welfare queen.'  There is good reason for your ignorance and my sarcastic quotes, since Reagan did not make her up and he did not use the term "welfare queen."  Reagan's detractors made up the story that he made it up, and they lied for decades that he coined the term too.

From Levin's research, Chicago Tribune reporter George Bliss coined the term "welfare queen" (that Reagan never used) and was reporting on the case two years before Reagan brought up the specifics of the Taylor case.

Jet was reporting substantially the same thing as the Tribune in their December 19, 1974 edition (p. 16, 17).

Facts are facts, and people like to ignore them when they are inconvenient to their narrative.  Let me count the ways...

Consider, for example, the famous story about the "Chicago welfare queen": all wrong, but Reagan carried on regardless.Ronald Reagan: An Autopsy By Murray N. Rothbard

Back in 1976, John Fialka of the Washington Star might have gotten the ball rolling, by taking the facts Reagan cited and dismissing them because the trial was not yet concluded.

This case is also used as one of those examples of 'yea, sure, maybe she got away with this stuff but it is not widespread.'  Which is a different puzzle, when you take into account Taylor's 1970s everybody does it defense.  Here, a few words from her lawyer via the Slate article:

For much of the 1970s, Taylor had consistent legal representation from celebrated black Chicago attorney R. Eugene Pincham. In the run-up to Taylor’s welfare fraud trial, Pincham—who managed to delay the proceedings for years, winning continuance after continuance—positioned his client as a victim of coldhearted, overreaching prosecutors. “It would be a pretty sorry situation if the state tried to prosecute and send to jail everybody from the South Side that took welfare money they didn't have coming," he told the Tribune in 1976. "There'd just be nowhere to put them.” Prosecutors, meanwhile, called Taylor a “parasitic growth,” a leech who gleefully extracted taxpayers’ money.

Mind you, these events are nearly four decades old.  The Tribune's initial reporting, and Ronald Reagan's criticism were of the bureaucracy that allowed this sort of abuse of public funds.  And for over forty years, the Left has been calling anybody who points this out everything from liar to baby killer.

It is not like anything has gotten better over the years either.  As I type in 2013, Russian diplomats in New York city have been uncovered scamming Medicare.  It really does not matter how often these cases are uncovered, as long as there are no consequences for the bureaucrats involved, it will continue.

In 1988, George Will spoke of his experience as a campaign follower and the Jet story had taken in a life of its own.  People in 40 States had seen the same woman, in the same outfit, cashing in food stamps.

Today, folks like Thom Hartmann have carried the torch all the way off of a cliff.  Not only does he deny an easily verifiable true story of welfare fraud and abuse, but he goes so far to say Reagan just made it all up.  Just like Dan Rather, there is no need to verify anything, just make your statements year after year, decade after decade, and don't worry about it.  Truthiemess is what matters:

So, back again to the story, or actually back to Slate. Good old David Weigel decided to pipe up and attempt to carry the cross that his elders, Matthews and Hartmann have not yet dropped.  In his article he states (while defending Paul Krugman's indefensible nonsense, sprinkled with all of those race tags the Left is so fond of):

Taylor was actually a white woman who passed for multiple races, but Krugman was implying that she was black. Conservatives now writing about the story are making sure to score on Krugman, then going on to describe all the other waste the government allows. Doesn't that sort of miss the point? Taylor wasn't emblematic of all welfare users.
Of course Taylor was not emblematic of all welfare users any more than I am "emblematic" of all McDonald's customers.  However, if Weigel would have bothered reading the whole article he might have found the quote, in section 3 of 12 sections, from Taylor's lawyer that I quoted above - “It would be a pretty sorry situation if the state tried to prosecute and send to jail everybody from the South Side that took welfare money they didn't have coming," he told the Tribune in 1976. "There'd just be nowhere to put them.”  That the welfare system is so porous, so unaccountable that Taylor was the canary warning of a poisoned mine.  A mine so poisoned that even today, four decades later, Russian diplomats are pulling the same welfare ripoffs that Taylor pulled and Weigel seems to have no problem with.  Or, perhaps, he has decided to remain as blissfully ignorant of as Progressive greats Chris Matthews and Thom Hartmann.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Well ain't that something

Slashdot posted a story I submitted:
Bitcoin Token Maker Suspends Operation After Hearing From Federal Gov't

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

About that Snowden Oath

Ran into an odd myth that needs quashing.  As far as I know, this is a new one, that federal contractors are required to take some sort of oath as a condition of employment.  No, there is no oath involved.  At best it is a misinterpretation of 5 U.S.C. §3331:
An individual, except the President, elected or appointed to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services, shall take the following oath: “I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” This section does not affect other oaths required by law.

The first sentence tells you who needs to take this oath, and contractors are not in that set.  I was a defense contractor for quite a while and I never took an oath of any kind in relation to those jobs.  As a Soldier, yes I took several.  Another contractor and I discussed it in a thread here, where we responded to the same myth, repeated this morning at Reason, buy none other than judge Andrew Napolitano:
The conspiracy he revealed is vast. It involves former President George W. Bush, President Obama and their aides, a dozen or so members of Congress, federal judges, executives and technicians at American computer servers and telecoms, and the thousands of NSA employees and vendors who have manipulated their fellow conspirators. The conspirators all agreed that it would be a crime for any of them to reveal the conspiracy. Snowden violated that agreement in order to uphold his higher oath to defend the Constitution.
Emphasis mine.

Unless Edward Snowden had some actual, direct employment by the federal government, he swore no oath.  He probably had non-disclosure agreements with his employer and with his clients at the National Security Agency, maybe others, but he did no oath swearing.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Before there was Newman there was Alex Fleischer, USPS

That Newman character on Seinfeld, portrayed by the talented Wayne Knight, was indeed one of my favorite recurring characters of that series.  However, there was a postal 'worker' character from Barney Miller who really set a high bar.  In "Uniform Days" (Season 6, Episode 7, 1980) the great Stuart Pankin played the role of Postal Service employee Alex Fleischer, a mail carrier who had no interest in delivering "unneeded" mail.

Pankin played other characters in several episodes.  Always a fine performance.
Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Repeal Day My Rear End

Junior Johnson
One of my favorite libertarian sites is celebrating Repeal Day.  What they should be celebrating is re regulation day, which is no cause for celebration at all in my book.

If alcohol prohibition was repealed, nobody told the revenuers that.  Actually, they told the public one thing and the law told the revenuers the real deal: Alcohol was not legalized, it was re regulated.

Here is a bit of proof.  One of the first superstars of NASCAR was Junior Johnson.  He got the first high-dollar driving contract in 1955.  Shortly thereafter, the revenuers arrested him for moonshining and he served one year in prison.  Lots of other people suffered the same fate as Johnson, or worse.

All long after alcohol production, sale, and transport was supposedly made legal.

The only thing it did was set up a more statist system, that we can see today in marijuana reform.  As I recently wrote at The Freeman, it is nothing more that a bureaucracy expansion scheme.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

Private property makes all the difference

Public property on the left vs. private property on the right.

In his book "Confessions of an Unconfined Raving Nut," Paul Krassner talks about the Yippie visit to the Woodstock Music Festival and how that was what the Yippie "Festival of Life" was supposed to be. Other than Pete Townshend tossing Abbie Hoffman off the stage, I suppose.

Now pause for a moment and reflect on the differences between the two locations. The YIP gathering presumed that permits would be granted by a Chicago government agency. After all, it is public property, right? Well, the bureaucrats running Chicago did not feel the same way as the Youth International Party and denied permits for the gatherers to sleep in the public parks. Violence ensued as the Yippies clashed with police, the police representing the public.

Flash forward about one year to Woodstock, NY. That town banned th concert in their community, even if it was on private property. So the promoters found Max Yasgur's dairy farm in the town of Bethel, NY. That is where the concert took place. Bethel banned off duty police officers from working the event too.

So, you see, the answer is not more government, but less. Ironically, the Yippies were advocates of much more government (not Jerry Rubin's want of free pot in drugstores, administered by more government).

The Woodstock/Bethel event was staged by young businessmen who might not have gotten their business off to a great start, but they did manage to have about a million people watch 3 days of music without a riot.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

Monday, December 2, 2013

What would Woody Guthrie's Guitar do to Obamacare supporters?

This is the same guy who sang "This Land is Your Land", that had the same contempt for private property shared by both Fascists and Communists.  At least the first version of the song had that contempt blazing through two verses.

So, the question is, just which Fascists is he talking about?  The romantic foe of communists version, i.e., the Joe Stalin definition of Fascist which included everybody from Trotsky to FDR, or the technical definition that means the government tells everybody what to do with their private property for the good of all society?

Since Woody seems like the romantic type, I suppose that he only means anybody who opposed Stalin, in which case he might actually embrace Obamacare and the accompanying dictates over private property that accompany it.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ