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A Case For Reparations


Eugene Stovall

Oakland, California    April 16, 2014




“If they pass reparations, and my taxes are going up, I ain’t paying taxes,” said Chris McDaniel, the Tea Party challenger for Mississippi’s US Senate seat currently held by Republican Senator, Thad Cochran.

 

 

“Blacks Are Poor Because They Won’t Work” – Paul Ryan

 

The National Endowment for Democracy, a $100 million U.S. government-financed slush fund, paid millions of US-tax dollars to neo-Nazis to institute regime-change in Ukraine. Now the United States Congress is doling out more than a billion dollars to Ukraine’s neo-Nazi government and promises to give them billions more in the future. Yet Congressional neo-cons blame the government’s economic woes on black people.

 

Playing “dog whistle” politics, racists like Paul Ryan cite black criminality and laziness for causing the crisis in unemployment, social security and Medicare entitlements. But, for too long white racists have “scapegoated” black people to cover up government corruption at the highest levels. And it is time to set the record straight. Corporate greed, government corruption at every level and a criminal conspiracy by “star families” and grand masters of secret societies have caused American’s middle class to lose their entitlements.

 

The ‘Super Rich’ Feed On Government Welfare

 

For decades, even before its Ukraine adventure, the US government used tax dollars to fund “regime-change’ around the world. Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran and Panama are familiar examples. Clinton overthrew governments throughout Africa. The Bush administration had its Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama destabilized and overthrew Mubarak in Egypt, ordered Gadhafi’s assassination and overthrew the Libyan government and is involved in a savage drone war in Yemen. Obama’s funding of rebels in an attempt to topple Assad’s government has not gone as well as expected, so after two years of conflict, Turkey provided Sarin gas to the Syrian rebels for use on women and children. Then Obama and John Kerry began beating the drum for an all out air war on Syria, using a docile American press to spew out anti- Assad propaganda to whoever would listen. Even now Obama and Kerry wave the red flag for war on Syria, though objective observers, other than the American press, reports that Assad never used poison gas.

 

Obama spends tens of millions of American tax dollars planning for war that will cost tens of billions, but who is benefitting from this orgy of American militarism and exceptionalism? Who is banking the trillions of dollars that the US government shovels into to its military-industrial complex? The answer is clear. The beneficiaries of the American war machine are the ‘Super Rich’, the “star families” and secret societies who are  “too rich fail and too powerful to jail.”

 

Besides Being War Profiteers, the ‘Super Rich’ Feed On Entitlements and Bailouts

 

In 2013, big oil earned profits of $93 Billion but the US government gave big oil an additional $4 Billion in subsidies and entitlements. Though congress delayed the Farm Bill in order to eliminate Food Stamps, the bill contained $20 Billion in Farm Subsidies for the Super Rich. Some members of Congress received $20 Million in Farm Bill subsidies.

 

In 2009, as soon as he took office, Obama gave General Motors and Chrysler an $80 Billion bailout. The following year, he gave Wall Street firms a $61 Billion bailout. Then Obama gave big banks a $16 Trillion bailout to cover their losses from housing market derivatives that they sold on the open market and to European investors. The banks repaid the European investors who bought the derivatives, but did not repay the black families who lost their homes. Then with the approval of the US Supreme Court, Obama created a multi-billion dollar entitlement for the medical insurance industry. Section 1342 of the Affordable Care Act forces taxpayers to pay of all costs incurred by the insurance companies selling their policies through ObamaCare exchanges including their annual $100 Billion tax liability.

So Barack Obama gets bipartisan support for overthrowing governments, for waging illegal wars and for bailing out whole segments of private enterprise, but the ‘first’ black president is unable to do anything about the financial plight of black people in America.

 

Global Trade Agreements and Regime-Change

 

“When the white man came, he had bibles and we had land. Now we have bibles but must pay the white man a tax to live on our land.” African Observer.

 

 

The North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] models the way multinational corporations takeover governments. As the blueprint for the global IMF trade agreements, NAFTA deregulates the US, Canadian and Mexican economies. By eliminating government regulation, corporations have turned the government into a corporate ‘safety net’ making taxpayers liable for their bad decisions and investment losses. The NAFTA model stresses the primacy of profits over wages by allowing corporations to move their labor-intensive operations anywhere labor laws are weak and tax collection is lax. NAFTA-like trade agreements work well where the government is corrupt and corporations use military and police state violence to implement boardroom decisions. Control over government regulation allows corporations to ignore and, in many cases, actively interfere with labor’s ability to organize, strike and oppose predatory corporate practices.

 

Following the NAFTA model, global IMF trade agreements negate all opportunities for collective bargaining. Everywhere corporations actively seek to repeal labor laws that protect workers in favor of right to work laws benefitting employers. Today, it is commonplace for employers to move their operations whenever workers fail to agree to cuts in wages and benefits. In the 20 years, since NAFTA and other global IMF trade agreements have been in effect, multinational corporations have risen beyond the control of democratic regulatory processes. Supported by US militarism, global trade agreements promote the economic interests of the ‘Super Rich’ at the expense of the workers, consumers, small farmers, communities, the environment and even democracy itself. And under the threat of ‘regime-change,’ the ‘Super Rich’ are forcing global trade agreements all over the world.

 

By making loans to compliant governments, the ‘Super Rich’ use the IMF to loot countries through the process of monetizing the world’s natural resources and then charging interest on the monetized value. Governments that refuse to accept the IMF’s trade agreements fall prey to “regime-change” policies of the US and its NATO allies. The US government has operational military bases in 63 countries around the world and strike without warning and without mercy. In Vietnam, Operation Phoenix carried out the assassination of over 100,000 government employees, union officials, student leaders and newspaper journalists who opposed the US policy. Today, IMF trade agreements are being imposed on unwilling countries by drones that have been killing an average of 50 civilians per month since Obama has been in office, almost 4000 men, women and children.

 

 

“When white people catch a cold, black people catch pneumonia”

 

Global trade agreements have skyrocketed corporate profits by depressing worker’s wages. In the US, the depression of white folk’s income results in chronic unemployment for blacks. According to the Department of Labor’s monthly report, the black unemployment rate in January 2014 was increased to 12.1%; nearly double the national unemployment rate of 6.6 percent. The unemployment rate for black men over 20 years old jumped from 11.5 percent in December 2013 to 12 percent in January, compared to white men who experienced a decrease in their unemployment rate from 5.6 percent in December 2013 to 5.4 percent in January. However these dreadful statistics are deceptive. They consider only those black people who are actually in the job market and looking for a job. The true black unemployment rate is above 50%!

 

Looking For A Job: A Black Woman’s Story


For two years, I have been unemployed. I applied to more than three hundred open positions in the insurance industry—an industry that I’ve worked in for ten years. Though I applied for positions advertised on the popular website Monster.com, not one employer responded to my application. Monster.com has a “diversity questionnaire.” You must answer this questionnaire in order to apply for a posted position; it cannot be skipped.  At first, I would mark “Black female”, but after obtaining no results, I began marking “Decline To Identify” instead. Still I got no job offers.  So I applied as Bianca White, a white woman. My phone line rang and Bianca’s email address was packed with potential employers requesting an interview. Several employers called more than once, desperate to interview and hire Bianca White.

 

Chronic black unemployment means hunger and homelessness

 

Today over 100 million people comprise what the U.S. Census calls the poor and the 'near poor.' In other words, almost one-third of the nation, are homeless, hungry and vulnerable. Approximately 15 million Black Americans, 29% of the black population, have no home and cannot feed or clothe themselves or their children. At a time when Barack Obama gives Ukraine a billion dollars and spends billions of tax dollars on regime-change around the world, his government slashes $5 billion in food stamp and unemployment benefits. The food stamp cuts alone will deprive poor families of 2 billion meals over the course of 2014. A teacher really knows what its like to have a child in her class who cannot concentrate on the lesson because the child is hungry or has a child who fails to turn in a homework assignment because his parents have no home. To add insult to injury, Obama is mandating that every poor person subsidize the health insurance industry.

 

Many black Americans who are not classified as “impoverished” still struggle. Some 61% say that their family income lags behind family expenditures; 34% report falling behind in rent, mortgage, or utilities payments. Many say they are unable to buy enough food, afford necessary medical care, or keep up with minimum credit card payments.

 

‘Super Rich’:  Black Poverty A Joke

 

In his 1988 State of the Union address, Ronald Reagan said, "My friends, some years ago, the Federal Government declared war on poverty, and poverty won.” The millionaires in Congress all got a good laugh over this. The median net worth for the 530 current congressional lawmakers is $1,008,767. Congressional Democrats had a median net worth of $1.04 million.

 

Government Sanctioned ‘Loan Sharks’

 

Government corruption has created a new line of business, ‘loan-sharking.’ Payday lending and other high-cost, small-dollar loan businesses feed upon the poverty created by government corruption. Just as the government has legalized gambling, it has legalized ‘loan sharking.’ Loan sharks prey upon those who are too broke to pay their bills. Because millions are willing to pay the high fees to get the money they need, the payday loan business has grown into a billion dollar industry. The Super Rich, awash with cash, are always looking for ways to prey upon the poor. Millions of black Americans turn to payday loans as a quick fix to their financial woes. Though only 4% of whites and 6% of Hispanics take out payday loans, 12% of African-Americans turn to these ‘loan sharks’ each month. To get a two-week loan averaging $375, borrowers pay an interest rate of 350%. Borrowers spend approximately $520 in interest and additional fees are added to the loan after 18 days.

 

Mass Incarceration Of Black Americans

 

Beginning in the 1970s, America’s phony War on Drugs has been the pretext by which the government has incarcerated black people on an industrial scale. Though all studies show that white people use and distribute drug far more extensively than black people, President Nixon aggressively implemented the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, primarily in America’s inner cities. In 1968, 15 % of black adult males had been convicted of a felony and 7% were in prison; by 2004, 33 % of the entire black adult male population had been convicted of a felony and 17% of all black males, 10.2 million had been lodged in American jails, prisons and penitentiaries. Within a 35-year period, Nixon’s War On Drugs had leveraged the mass incarceration of black people into a billion dollar industry. But where did all the black people who were arrested and jailed on drug charges get their illegal drugs?

 

Gary Webb Whistleblower and Martyr

 

In the 1990s, Gary Stephen Webb, a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, published a series of articles linking the CIA with the wholesale dumping of illegal drugs, mainly cocaine, into black communities throughout the US. When Congress passed the Boland Amendment making it illegal for the CIA and other US intelligence agencies to fund the overthrow of the Nicaraguan government, ignoring Congress, the CIA and military intelligence continued to support the Contras from the proceeds of cocaine sales. Gary Webb discovered that the CIA had set up a very sophisticated operation to smuggle cocaine into Arkansas and distribute crack cocaine through black gangs organized by the FBI’s cointelpro operation in Los Angeles. The FBI’s black gangs distributed crack cocaine all over the country. Since Nixon’s drug laws permitted law enforcement agencies involved in the War On Drugs to keep a significant amount of the captured proceeds, these agencies funneled millions of dollars into government operations ranging from arms purchases to campaign contributions and regime-change activities in Nicaragua and later in Panama. Not a few, police officers, FBI agents, judges, banks and politicians joined the ranks of the ‘Super Rich’ from the unreported proceeds of the US government’s lucrative drug trade.  So much money was made that the governments of Israel and South Africa got involved. When Gary Webb alleged that Ronald Reagan was instrumental in the government’s drug distribution network both as governor of California as well as president of the United States, he put a target on his back. In 2004, Gary Webb was found dead from two gunshots to the head. The coroner's office declared that Webb had committed suicide.

 

America’s War on Black People

 

Nixon’s War on Drugs was actually America’s War on Black People. Not only were blacks incarcerated in disproportionately high numbers, the overall US prison population made America the highest ranking jailer in the world. At the same time, America’s War on Black People gave the ‘Super Rich’ another method of making money. Under corporate prodding, the government has begun privatizing the prisons. So lucrative has the prison industry become that the government is now closing mental hospitals and incarcerating the mentally ill in corporate prisons.

 

The high incarceration rate of black people severely impacts the black children who lose both mother and father to the prison system. Black children are being removed from their families and placed in the federal detention system in droves. African-American children are over-represented in juvenile hall, in family courts and in mental institutions. The government has made drug dealing the only occupation available for black youngsters orphaned by the system. To survive outside the prison, these orphans are forced to join gangs.

 

“Kill Everyone Over The Age Of Ten” General Jacob H. Smith US Army 1901

 

America’s bogus War on Drugs has justified the killing of black men. White cops have been given a license to kill on sight, kill if they feel like it, KILL FOR NO REASON AT ALL. Police target African-American communities for high levels of surveillance, using search and seizures without probable cause with impunity.  “Stop and frisk” laws targeting young black males are common throughout the US. And the “Stand Your Ground” laws now being enacted give any non-uniformed white racist the right to legally shoot a black person.

 

The gang wars that the government has instigated in the black communities have caused an astronomical number of deaths. Even more grim are the reports that “drive by” shootings that take the lives of black people, including women, children and infants, are instigated and carried out by the police, themselves. Following upon the heels of the government sponsored crack-cocaine epidemic is the AIDS epidemic. So the government has established a cycle for Black America: black parents are forced into poverty, making them susceptible to using the drugs imported into the US by the government, itself. Then they are arrested and imprisoned. Black children, in turn, drop out of school, join gangs, acquire AIDS and are arrested for drug-related crimes, becoming incarcerated or killed in the process.

 

 

A Case For Reparations

 

Black people not only serve as the “scapegoats” for the takeover of the government by the ‘Super Rich’, for a half century they have been targeted for genocide. If there were a legitimate black leadership, they would be demanding reparations for the harm Black America suffers from the policies of the government of United States and its subsidiaries. However, blacks are not led by anyone with dignity, commitment or intelligence. And like the first ‘Negro’ president, happily serve their white masters.