September 28, 2016
The Obama administration began revising sentencing guidelines and commuting prison sentences for convicted criminals a year or so ago, releasing thousands of felons. Obama’s Department of Justice also began systematic investigations into civil rights violations by urban police departments about that same time, mostly in response to Black Lives Matter protests and demands for action. Of course, municipal leaders have reacted to various community protests by BLM and others with aggressive policy reform of police departments. What are the results of these social justice driven programs? According to the FBI, last year saw a 4% increase in violent crime in the US and an 11% spike in murder/manslaughter. Incidents of rape are up over 6% and assault is up 4.5%. Whether this is due to the large number of criminals released into communities or due to the Ferguson Effect*, President Obama and his administration have made Americans less safe from crime, especially in large urban areas.
Read more about the FBI 2015 Crime Statistics here.
*In Ferguson, MO, violent crimes jumped 65% last year.
September 21, 2016
In case readers wonder if traditional Republican (aka Conservative) ideas are still worth considering, I offer some model programs that have been put into play and are working. Albuquerque’s Mayor Richard Berry initiated “There’s a Better Way” as a response to increased homelessness. This program offers homeless people public service work in exchange for a wage, food and shelter. Participants are able to access city services, including health care, and about 100 have found permanent employment through the program. Governor Walker of Wisconsin led an overhaul of the state’s FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) program, linking food stamp benefits provided to able-bodied recipients without dependent to working at least 80 hours a month. It also provides access to job search and job training services. In the past year, 14, 400 FSET participants have found permanent employment. Of course, Conservatives are strong believers of community-based solutions, such as the Joseph Project. This career placement program is based out of the Greater Praise Church of God in Christ in Milwaukie Wisconsin, and is sponsored by Senator Ron Johnson and other community leaders. At a national level, House Speaker Paul Ryan has offered a comprehensive anti-poverty plan as a core piece of the Republican legislative agenda.
September 9, 2016
I have several challenging articles to suggest this week. Victor Hanson Davis (my favorite contemporary historian) discusses how the affluent in our society, The Virtue-Mongers, try to make themselves feel and look virtuous despite their privilege. Rimah Jaber, of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, points out the need for professional standards in Ethics in Online Activism: False Senses of Social Action or Effective Source of Change? In a related article, Heather MacDonald of the Washington Examiner critiques the Black Lives Matter movement for veracity. Her essay, Black Lies Matter, measures the claims of BLM against the statistical evidence. Finally, Jed Babbin, of the American Spectator, looks at the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s role in it, and notes All the Lies: They’ve Turned Us Into a Rotting Banana Republic.
September 7, 2016
“If you live in a society where (your children) have to learn to duck and dodge bullets, you have to teach them how to duck and dodge bullets. That’s all you can do.” – Stephanie Armas (from 500 Homicides, CNN)
Since the start of the year, 512 people have been shot and died in Chicago. (382 were wounded in the gunfire.) Most of these murders have been gang related. Most victims were black. Many victims were not in gangs but bystanders.
Chicago already has the strictest gun control laws in the country. Mayor Emanuel and the city leaders have further responded to this surge in violence by admonishing the police department as a “cesspool of racism” and creating a “Reconciliation Process” to “publicly acknowledge CPD’s history of racial disparity and discrimination.” Read more here.
Violence is surging in Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis, Milwaukie and a host of other progressive cities who have embraced social justice at the expense of actual justice. When cities (or nations) ignore the rule of law in favor of progressive programming, the results are unsurprisingly chaotic and dangerous, often to the very population the progressive programs were supposed to help.
August 31, 2016
Two scholars from opposite sides of the political spectrum offer historical discussions of the contemporary impulse towards factions. In “The New Tribalism and the Decline of the Nation State,” Robert Reich compares the separatist tendencies developing around the world with changes we’ve seen in this country recently. Victor Hanson Davis explores “Diversity: History’s Pathway to Chaos” to demonstrate the effects of sectarianism. The two authors are surprisingly in agreement on the risks to our society inherent in tribalism .