Archive for Henry Wolff

Adios, Old Dead White Men

Letter to the editor:

In August 1960 President Dwight Eisenhower, five-star general, Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, received a letter from a New York dentist. The dentist wanted to know why the President of the United States had a portrait of Robert E. Lee on the wall of his office. After all, hadn’t Lee devoted “his best efforts to the destruction of the United States Government.”

President Eisenhower replied: “We need to understand that at the time of the War Between the States the issue of Secession had remained unresolved for more than 70 years. Men of probity, character, public standing and unquestioned loyalty, both North and South, had disagreed over this issue as a matter of principle from the day our Constitution was adopted.”

“General Robert E. Lee,” the President continued, “was in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation.” Many prominent Americans of Eisenhower’s era and before expressed similar golden opinions of Lee.

Times change. People change. Golden opinions of Lee do not meet the emotional needs or serve the political objectives of growing segments of diverse 21st century America. Of more value is an image of Lee as villain. And so we read such stories in the News-Topic as “Confederate monument pedestals re-purposed for video.” Pedestals in New Orleans where Confederate statues once stood now have “something positive for blacks,” statues of “everyday, under-represented people” (November 26).

This replacement logic extends far beyond the Civil War. In 2002, for example, the New York Times described scholars “in a state of near panic after watching [George] Washington all but disappear from the national consciousness in the space of a single generation.”

“By comparing textbooks used in the 1960’s with those of today, researchers at Mount Vernon have concluded that Washington is now accorded just 10 percent of the space he had then.”

Erasure and vilification of giants of history will accelerate. Disparities in social outcomes among groups persist. This demands explanation. Converting noble figures of the past into pariahs helps. There is also the demographic revolution created by the 1965 Immigration Act’s “chain migration” features. New populations are expanding in America. These cannot identify with American historical figures — old dead white men — however admirable — especially if admirable.

Surrender of cultural heritage (history, literature, art) is among many unquantifiable costs of mass Third World immigration.

Sincerely,
Tom Shuford
Lenoir

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People of Color in Publishing’: Striving for More Industry Diversity

The pervasive lack of diversity within the book publishing industry, both in terms of the composition of the workforce and the types of books being produced, has been the subject of numerous surveys and discussions, and the inspiration for the We Need Diverse Books and #ownvoices movements. Publishing staffers from a number of houses and agencies have recently gathered to form People of Color in Publishing, a grassroots organization addressing the need for greater inclusivity within all areas of children’s and adult publishing. The group was founded this past July by Patrice Caldwell, associate editor at Disney-Hyperion, with the aim of “supporting, empowering, and uplifting racially and ethnically marginalized members throughout the industry.” An official launch event was held on December 6 in New York City.

{snip}

Founder Caldwell told PW, “The idea for the group came from wanting a safe space for people of color within the publishing industry. I wanted a place for activism and organizing, where we could vent our frustrations but also work towards solutions.” The core members of the team came together during the summer, after Lee & Low marketing and publicity assistant Jalissa Corrie reached out to Caldwell, whom she’d met through online networking. {snip}

Team Building

To date, People of Color in Publishing’s private Facebook group connects more than 470 members, many of which support the organization’s work through participation on five subcommittees. Porscha Burke and Saraciea Fennell, co-chairs of the PR and Communications subcommittee, are responsible for managing the organization’s social media outreach, blog, and growing newsletter. Burke, who is a publishing manager at Random House, joined the group in its initial stages. {snip}

Fennell, who is a freelance publicist and formerly worked at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, said, “Our goals are to continue to build our platforms and connect even more meaningfully with current industry insiders, while also helping advance opportunities for other people of color to break into publishing.” Fennell is also involved with Latinx in Publishing, and described plans for continued partnerships, including another Three King’s Day event next month with National Book Award finalist Erika L. Sánchez.

Ebony LaDelle, senior marketing manager in HarperCollins’s YA division, joined the group via Fennell’s invitation and became co-chair of the Outreach and Partnerships subcommittee following Emi Ikkanda’s departure in September. A particular focus of the committee is on reaching out to individuals of diverse backgrounds who are working to break into the business. {snip}

In addition to recruitment of diverse staffers, the group is also dedicated to supporting individuals of color who are already established in the industry. Saba Sulaiman, an associate agent at Talcott Notch Literary Services, serves as co-chair for the Mentorship and Retention Committee, alongside fellow literary agent Beth Phelan.

People of Color in Publishing is also committed to serving the needs of diverse authors and illustrators. A member of the group since its early stages, Jalissa Corrie is now co-chair of the Writers and Illustrators subcommittee, which she said is working “to better serve the needs of writers and illustrators of color including Native/Indigenous writers and illustrators.” One of the group’s first projects has been to design and distribute a survey assessing the needs of diverse children’s book creators. “Overall, the writers and illustrators who have completed the survey are thrilled that we, as an organization, are dedicated to [assessing] their needs so that their voices will be heard,” Corrie said.

Off to a Good Start

On December 6, People of Color in Publishing held an official launch event, open to all members of the publishing community, at the Society of Illustrators in New York City. There was a line out the door to enter the sold-out event, which had been relocated from its original venue to accommodate the crowd. The event was sponsored by Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency, Lee & Low, Scholastic, the Children’s Book Council, and Inkluded.

{snip}

During the launch, Caldwell and fellow members of the various subcommittees introduced themselves and their group’s mission, and revealed the official logo. Addressing the need for a wider range of “mirrors and windows” for readers and publishing staffers alike, Caldwell said, “We often forget the most powerful mirrors and windows are people—role models to look up to. It’s never just about books.” She spoke of her group’s mission to “find the [diverse] talent, and ask them what they need to succeed.” Caldwell offered a final word of encouragement to her peers: “You are all unstoppable.”

Next, Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander took the stage to deliver the keynote address. He stressed that diverse books are for all readers. “The books don’t necessarily segregate themselves; we do that,” he said. Alexander echoed Caldwell’s statement on the importance of hard work, determination, and mentorship, saying, “I am a 24-year overnight success.” The author cited his friend and former professor Nikki Giovanni as someone who helped shape his career. He concluded by telling aspiring authors and publishers, “You have to be willing to be mentored. Always be present and say ‘yes’ to that opportunity. If it was meant to be, it will be.”

Buoyed by the success of the group’s first year, Caldwell and the rest of the team are looking toward future goals, including potential partnerships with the We Need Diverse Books internship program. Though all agreed that much work remains to be done, they are encouraged by the community’s growing support. As Caldwell said to the attendees during the launch event, “By stepping inside these walls tonight, you’re moving beyond just asking, ‘Why is publishing so white?’ ”

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The Power of Cognitive Ability in Explaining Educational Test Performance

Abstract

The paper examines the relationship between cognitive ability at thirteen years of age and children’s academic performance assessments at aged nine. Alongside cognitive ability, other variables considered predictive of academic success were assessed including personality measures, birthweight, handedness, socio-economic background, parental education, home language, and child-rearing practices such as breast-feeding and access to video-games. The final sample comprised 7525 children who participated in both wave 1 and wave 2 of the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) longitudinal study. Participants in the study were selected through the state school system using a 2-stage sampling method producing a large sample representative of the national population of nine-year-old children. Linear multiple regression identified five variables which significantly explained both reading and mathematics test scores: two cognitive ability measures, birthweight, wealthier households, and high attendance at parent-teacher meetings. Gender, parental education, and home language also made a contribution to reading test scores, while a general factor of personality was significant for mathematics. Overall the cognitive ability measures accounted for almost all of the explained variance, and other factors, while sometimes statistically significant, were of relatively minor importance.

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Trump Administration to Reconsider Race-Based Special Education Quotas

Today the Trump administration plans to suspend last-minute Obama-era regulations that required states to set quotas for special-education services based on race, known as the “significant disproportionality” rule. Although the regulations became binding two days before the end of the Obama administration, they have not yet affected children because they required data collection and paper-pushing that states were to have completed this coming July. That’s a good thing, because if the rule went into effect its biggest victims were likely those who don’t need any more disadvantages: minority special-needs kids.

The initial rule was based on data showing African-American children are more likely to be identified as needing special education services than are kids from other racial groups, said Max Eden, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who studies education policy. The Obama administration just assumed the reason for that was institutional racism, then rushed to force states to administer special-needs services according to race. If the feds found “significant disproportionality” — a term federal law does not define — among the percentages of kids of each race given special-education services, districts could have parts of their federal special education funding redirected.

{snip}

Rather than putting a child’s individual needs first, under this system states and therefore schools would be pushed to assign kids special-education services such as tutoring or therapy based at least partly on the students’ race. The policy theory parallels Obama administration school discipline race quotas that left educators across the country decrying a rash of violence and other disruptive behavior especially inside schools and districts with higher minority populations.

{snip}

In most prior studies, researchers concluded that minority children were being over-identified as disabled and suggested that schools may be using discriminatory identification practices. Concerns that minority children were being misidentified as disabled subsequently led to federal legislation and policies requiring U.S. schools to monitor the extent to which minority children are over-represented in special education.

However, the prior empirical work used to justify federal legislation and policies had largely not accounted for alternative explanations, including minority children’s well-known greater exposure to the risk factors for disability (e.g., poverty, low birthweight, lead exposure) that in turn would result in elevated likelihood of experiencing cognitive and behavioral impairments and attending academic and behavioral difficulties in school.

New work by Morgan and his colleagues, which better accounts for minority children’s greater risk factor exposure and experience of academic difficulties, repeatedly finds that minority children are less likely to be receiving special education services for identified disabilities.

This state of affairs for minority children parallels the general state of affairs in special education services, where children who need specific help are frequently denied it. {snip}

This situation, of having bureaucrats with other interests than the best service for the child in question all negotiate what he will get, “sets off a fundamentally adversarial relationship between student and family and school,” Eden said. “The student and family says ‘We need more,’ and the school has every incentive to say ‘We don’t think you need more.’”

{snip}

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‘100% Guarantee’: Systematic Trade in Fake Asylum Stories Revealed in Sweden

No legal reason for staying in Sweden? No problem, as plenty of “asylum dealers” offering false online histories, fabricated refugee stories and counseling on how to trick the authorities has been revealed operating in the Nordic country — with tacit endorsement from the authorities.

A widespread network of “asylum dealers” providing fake asylum stories to people seeking residence permits in Sweden has been revealed by Swedish Radio.

“I had been rejected and was afraid that they would expel me back to Iran. Then I heard that there were people who could help one out with asylum,” a client of “asylum dealers” named “Hamid” (assumed name) told Swedish Radio. “I was able to buy a blog critical of the regime that had been active for several years. I took it over and then they helped me update it as if it had always been mine,” “Hamid” explained. With the help of this new false evidence, he was able to gain a residence permit in Sweden.

After hearing several similar stories and discovering a plethora of websites providing both false asylum stories and helping to obtain visas on dubious grounds, Swedish Radio staff contacted one of them under the pretense of smuggling an Iranian brother to Sweden, emphasizing that the man had no legal protection reasons.

The journalists were immediately offered a deal, in which the “brother” would be provided a networking history as a regime critic and receive counseling on how to present his legend in a more advantageous light. The “brother” would also receive an invitation from a company as a valid visa reason. Lastly, he would also receive background evidence on how to present his fictional asylum report to the Migration Board.

The price for the entire package, which allegedly came with a “100 percent guarantee,” was approximately SEK 60,000 ($7,100).

Swedish Radio reviewed three sites in Farsi selling fabricated asylum stories and tailored “asylum packages” for those willing to come to Sweden. Similar websites, however, exist in other languages.

Despite the fact that the counterfeit asylum stories business is illegal and the authorities have been aware of its prevalence for several years, no investigation has been made. Even if the Migration Board and the Police Office admitted that such rackets can undermine confidence in the asylum system, both authorities argue that their counterpart is more equipped to reveal asylum fraud.

“In Sweden, the punishment for this crime would be quite low. At the same time, it would require a lot of stress and internet research. So it would be economically unreasonable to earmark the resources that would be required to identify an offender,” says Patrik Engström, the head of the National Borders Police. “The police in Sweden are facing a situation in which we find it difficult to investigate high-priority crimes. Even though we would like to investigate these crimes, it’s not possible to prioritize them,” he explained.

“Sweden has been very attractive for asylum applicants. A lot of people have come here if compared with other European nations, which may mean that these packages are designed for Sweden specifically,” Petrén said.

EU Asylum Support Office president Anis Cassar argued that the asylum trade is likely to challenge the EU’s entire asylum system.

“Basically, this is about people selling illegal ways of getting to and staying in Europe. It can undermine the entire asylum system, and it’s also a security issue,” Anis Cassar told Swedish Radio.

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Cocaine, Marijuana and Cash Used to Buy Votes in Saskatchewan First Nation Election, Report Says

Cocaine, marijuana and tens of thousands of dollars in cash were used to bribe voters in a recent Saskatchewan First Nation election, says a report commissioned by the federal government.

In a 19-page report obtained by CBC News, former RCMP officer Bob Norton concluded there is “no doubt” vote-buying occurred during the April 20 election at Mosquito Grizzly Bear’s Head Lean Man First Nation.

Although Norton didn’t pinpoint a total amount, witness statements pegged it at more than $70,000.

“I am also satisfied, based on what I was told, that marijuana and cocaine was used to purchase ballots in this election,” stated the report.

Indigenous Services Canada, a federal government department, commissioned the report after Mosquito band members appealed the election results.

An Indigenous Services Canada official confirmed the report’s authenticity in an email to CBC News. The department will evaluate the report and any other evidence, then decide on any possible action, said the email. There is no time frame for a final decision.

Approximately 650 people inhabit the First Nation located approximately 120 kilometres west of Saskatoon, with another 650 voting band members living off-reserve.

Mosquito has been plagued by frequent election and governance problems. Vote-buying was discovered in its 2013 and 2015 elections, and several Mosquito officials have been convicted of fraud related to band funds.

This appears to be the first time drugs have been linked to the vote buying.

The report said victorious council candidate Joel Starchief gave marijuana to three band members in exchange for their votes.

One voter described Starchief giving him $80 and a “20 chunk” of marijuana wrapped in tin foil on two occasions.

“I want you to vote for me. I will give you weed to vote for me,” Starchief said, according to the voter’s account.

The voter replied, “I just went, I said yes. And I volunteered, ya, … I guess I got the weed.”

The report stated Starchief has denied all allegations. Norton did not find him to be forthright, unlike the other witnesses.

A receptionist said Starchief and other councillors were in a meeting Tuesday. Neither he nor Chief Daniel Starchief returned an interview request Tuesday. None of the voters who filed the appeal could be reached Tuesday.

Norton’s report doesn’t cite any other Mosquito candidates by name for violations, but he made it clear the problem runs much deeper.

He talked to nearly a dozen band members, including three elders. They were too afraid to give official statements, but shared details of the election and their lives in the region, he said.

“I understand their reluctance, as they fear for their well being and worry about being refused band benefits for not supporting the incumbents,” Norton said.

According to the report, Norton is president of Norton Security Consulting in Manitoba. He has 25 years of experience as a member of the RCMP and 15 years as a private investigator, including more than a decade overseeing and investigating First Nations elections.

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Preliminary Exit Poll Results: How Different Groups Voted in Alabama

See how different groups voted in the special election for U.S. Senate in Alabama between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. The poll was conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Pool, The Washington Post and other media organizations. Click here for exit poll methodology.

Jones benefited from near-unanimous support from black voters, historically large support from whites

Fully 96 percent of African Americans supported Jones, similar to President Obama’s 95 percent support among this group in 2012. But Jones fared much better than Obama among white voters, garnering 30 percent of their votes, twice the 15 percent who voted for Obama. Jones made particularly large gains among white women and those with college degrees.

Moore won among white college graduate women

Preliminary exit poll results showed Moore faring worse among white voters than Republicans in previous Alabama elections, but he maintained a lead among both white men and women and those with and without college degrees.

Nationwide, the 2016 election brought about a stark divide in support among whites by both gender and education, with white women and college graduates more likely to recoil from Trump’s campaign and swing in Democrats’ direction than white men and those without college degrees.

Conservative and Republican turnout differed little from past in Alabama

Conservatives and Republicans each make up more than 4 in 10 Alabama voters, according to preliminary exit poll results, figures that are on par or down just slightly from presidential elections in 2012 and 2008 won handily by Republican presidential nominees.

{snip}

While the share of liberals has increased nationwide in the past few elections, the preliminary exit poll finding is also much different than recent statewide polling. In 2016, Gallup found 17 percent of adults in Alabama identifying as liberal, putting it in the bottom fifth of states.

White evangelical Christians were the only group showing slight signs of slippage in preliminary exit polls. They made up 44 percent of voters compared with 47 percent of voters in the 2012 and 2008 presidential elections.

{snip}

Young voters back Jones by wide margin

Alabama voters ages 18 to 44 supported Jones by a roughly 20-point margin over Moore, marking a stark shift from 2012 when Mitt Romney won voters under 45 by a small margin.

Moore led among older voters, especially seniors, who favored him over Jones by about 20 points.

{snip}

Trump disapproval rivaled approval in state he won by 28 points

Trump won Alabama with 62 percent of the vote in 2016, but he enjoyed far less support among voters in Tuesday’s Senate election in Alabama.

{snip}

More Alabamians wanted Republicans to control Senate than Democrats

By a narrow 50 to 45 percent margin, more Alabama voters said they wanted Republicans to control the Senate than Democrats.

 

{snip}

[Editor’s Note: There are graphics and more detailed breakdowns at the original article link below.]

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Trump: We’re Going to End Chain Migration and the Visa Lottery

President Donald Trump pledged to end chain migration and the visa lottery system on Tuesday in response to an attempted terror attack.

Trump recommitted to a total overhaul of the nation’s green card and immigration system in his first on-camera remarks on an explosion yesterday in Manhattan.

‘The lottery system and chain migration, we’re gonna end them fast. Congress must get involved immediately, and they are involved immediately,’ he said. ‘And I can tell you, we have tremendous support. They will be ended.’

The president was signing a bill that authorized more spending on the nation’s defense in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. He said the bill that allows for a larger military footprint could not have come at a ‘more opportune or important time’ in the context of the two recent assaults on New York.

‘These attacks underscore the dangers we face from around the globe,’ the president stated.

President Donald Trump pledged to end chain migration and the visa lottery system on Tuesday in response to an attempted terror attack

Democrats and Republicans are currently locked in a battle over government spending right now that Trump asked lawmakers to separate from a fight on the immigration system.

Some Democrats have said they will force a government shutdown if a long-term appropriations bill does not protect illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Trump’s reply has been that he will not accept legislation that deals with immigration until he gets the permission he’s seeking to restructure the system.

In addition to the funding he’s demanding for a border wall, Trump also wants the government to move to a merit-based immigration system to cut down on the number of people using familial ties as justification for their entry to the U.S.

Trump signed legislation on Tuesday that authorizes the Pentagon to spend more money on military aircraft, submarines and the soldiers themselves but does not deliver the money to the armed services. The funds themselves are tied up in the broader appropriations bill.

The military is further prohibited from receiving part of the money Trump approved today with the National Defense Authorization Act by a bill that was passed in 2011 that introduced the government sequester.

‘Congress must finish the job by eliminating the defense sequester and passing a clean appropriations bill. I think it’s going to happen. We need our military. It’s got to be perfecto,’ Trump said on Tuesday.

‘At this time of grave global threats, I urge Democrats in Congress to drop their shutdown threats and descend clean funding and a clean funding bill to my desk that fully funds our great military. Protecting our country should always be a bipartisan issue, just like today’s legislation,’ he added.

The U.S. must send a message to its allies, Trump said that ‘America is strong, proud, determined, and ready.’

‘And I might add, when we’re completed — and it won’t be that long — we will be stronger than ever before — by a lot,’ he said.

The bill he signed today, Trump said, will allow the U.S. to continue to ‘obliterate ISIS’ outside of Iraq and Syria.

‘They spread to other areas and we’re getting them as fast as they spread,’ he said as he boasted, ‘We’ve had more success with ISIS in the last eight months than the entire previous administration has had during its entire term.’

The White House said Monday in its first comments on the attempted New York City terror attack that it would ‘destroy the evil ideology that is behind ISIS’ and fully ‘eradicate’ it.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at the top of her press briefing that the officers who apprehended the would-be terrorist were heroes as she thanked them on behalf of the president, who had yet to personally speak out about the explosion that morning in Manhattan.

‘There is more work to be done on the ground in the shrinking ISIS-controlled areas, and the president’s plan to annihilate ISIS is moving forward,’ Sanders said. ‘We must also destroy the evil ideology that is behind ISIS and attacks like today’s. This ideology has no borders, but it must be eradicated.’

Sanders said that the U.S. and the coalition of nations it leads would ‘not stop until it is accomplished’ and that the attack underscores the need for the U.S. to ‘protect our borders’ and move to a merit-based system of immigration.

Hours later, just before close of business, Trump said in a White House statement that convicted extremists should ‘deserve the strongest penalty allowed by law, including the death penalty in appropriate cases.’ He also brought up and pledged to end chain migration.

A Bangladeshi man identified as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah was taken into custody yesterday morning with serious injuries after a pipe bomb he was carrying malfunctioned and exploded prematurely inside a Midtown Manhattan subway station.

Ullah is a Bangladeshi national who has been living in the U.S. for the past seven years. Fox News reported, and the White House has since confirmed, that the former taxi driver came to the U.S. on a F-4 visa, a preferential visa for those who have family already in the U.S.

His immigration designation is F-43, which means he claimed the right to a green card because he is the child of the brother or sister of a U.S. citizen and was under 21.

Ullah reportedly told the authorities that he was inspired to detonate a bomb in New York by ISIS.

Sanders could not say on Monday if he was radicalized before or after he came to the U.S.

It was the second time in two months that New York City was the target of a terrorist attack, and the first since President Trump sparked Muslim outrage around the world last week by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

A previous New York City attacker was awarded a visa through the country’s lottery system. Trump immigration changes, that are codified in a bill that’s been introduced by Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue in the U.S. Senate, would also get rid of that provision.

Trump had not spoken on camera about the attack that happened yesterday until mid-day Tuesday. He thanked the first responders to the scene local and federal law enforcement officers for their swift action.

‘They did an incredible job,’ he said.

Trump had tweeted on Monday about a New York Times story that claimed, among other things, that he drinks 12 diet cokes a day. And used his juice on Tuesday to berate a New York senator who said he should resign over allegations that he assaulted 16 women before he was president.

At a quarter to 5 pm, Trump released a statement via the White House press office that said the attack ‘once again highlights the urgent need for Congress to enact legislative reforms to protect the American people.

‘America must fix its lax immigration system, which allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access our country,’ he said. ‘Today’s terror suspect entered our country through extended-family chain migration, which is incompatible with national security.’

Bangladesh is not on Trump administration’s list of countries whose residents require extreme vetting to enter America.

The president said in his Monday statement that the executive action, which the Supreme Court let take effect after several revisions, ‘is just one step forward’ and that is why Congress must move to a merit-based immigration system.

He also demanded that Congress increase the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

‘The terrible harm that this flawed system inflicts on America’s security and economy has long been clear. I am determined to improve our immigration system to put our country and our people first,’ he said. ‘Second, those convicted of engaging in acts of terror deserve the strongest penalty allowed by law, including the death penalty in appropriate cases. America should always stand firm against terrorism and extremism, ensuring that our great institutions can address all evil acts of terror.’

Pictured above is the ID photo the suspect was carrying around with him at the time

  • Akayed Ullah moved to the U.S. from Bangladesh with his family seven years ago.
  • He came to the U.S. on a F-4 visa, a preferential visa for those who have family already in the country, according to Fox News. He is now a legal green-card holder according to the New York Post.
  • Bangladesh’s police chief said the suspect, who lived in Chittagong, had no criminal record and wasn’t on the radar of authorities.
  • Ullah lived in Brooklyn and held a taxi license from 2012 to 2015, when it lapsed. It was for a livery service rather than a yellow cab.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CNN that Ullah was ‘disgruntled’ and learned how to make the pipe bomb online.
  • There are conflicting reports about where Ullah made the device.
  • The New York Post say he constructed it at the electrical company where he worked, while a law enforcement source who spoke to the AP said he made it in his apartment.
  • Law enforcement sources who spoke to Ullah at the hospital say he confessed to plotting the attack in retribution for recent actions by Israelis against Muslim Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
  • Investigators have yet to determine an official motivation for the failed attack, but there have been reports that Ullah was inspired by ISIS.
  • Law enforcement officials told the Associated Press he was not in direct contact with the terrorist group.
  • So far, officials believe that Ullah carried out the attack as a ‘lone wolf’.

Law enforcement officials told the Associated Press that Ullah was inspired by the group, but not in direct contact with them. The attack is being celebrated on pro-ISIS ‘channels’.

So far, officials believe that Ullah carried out the attack as a ‘lone wolf’.

Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that the suspect ‘supposedly was setting the device off in the name of ISIS’ and that it was ‘definitely a terrorist attack, definitely intended’.

At a morning press conference, current NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said that the suspect ‘did make statements’ but that they are not going to comment on them yet.

Though it’s still early in the investigation, New York City officials say it was definitely an attempted terror attack.

‘This was an attempted terror attack and thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals,’ Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

CNN reports that it appears the Subway was not the intended target of the pipe bomb, and that it may have went off prematurely.

They also learned that the device was homemade and could have caused catastrophic damage if it went off as intended.

Commissioner O’Neill said that they have obtained CCTV footage of the attack, but they have not detailed yet what it shows.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal is the largest in the country and the busiest in the world — serving about 225,000 commuters a day.

It’s what’s known by law enforcement officials as a ‘soft target’ because it handles a lot of traffic but doesn’t have the same kind of security as a place like an airport.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said a bombing in the subway is ‘one of our worst nightmares’ — but he said New Yorkers will get through this as they have before on 9/11 and even the most recent terror attack on Halloween.

‘This is the New York. The reality is we are the target by many who would like to make a statement against democracy and against freedom. We have the Statue of Liberty in our harbor and that makes us an international target.

‘We understand that anyone can go on the internet and download garbage and vileness on how to put together an amateur-level explosive device and that is the reality that we live with.

‘The counter reality is that this is New York and we all pitch together and we are a savvy people and we keep our eyes open and that’s what ‘see something, say something’ is all about. And we have the best law enforcement on the globe and we’re all working together extraordinarily well,’ Gov. Cuomo said.

Following the attack, police descended on two addresses connected to Ullah in Brooklyn — one in Flatlands and one in Kensington.

Police had cordoned off the block of East 48th Street in Flatlands where the alleged terrorist had been living and the bomb squad were on the scene.

Alan Butrico, owner of Locksmith hardware store on Avenue N in Marine Park, told DailyMail.com that a Bangladeshi family lives at the home the police had cordoned off. He said he believed three men, a woman and a child lived there and that there had never been any problems with them other than that they occasionally blocked his driveway.

Ally Mohammed, who works in the deli across the street, described the family as ‘very nice, hardworking people’. He said that the suspect’s mother came into his store and was very pleasant and that his father owned a grocery store in the area.

Mohammed said that he believed the suspect lived with his brother, sister-in-law and their child, of around four years old. He said that he believed the brother had finished college and had a job in the city.

He said he did not believe Ullah was married or had any children.

‘What he did has nothing to do with Islam, maybe he was brainwashed,’ Mohammed said

Kisslyn Joseph, 19, from Grenada, has been staying next door to the suspect’s home at her brother Kevin Alexander’s house.

She told DailyMail.com that she heard shouting from what appeared to be an argument on the phone inside the home on Sunday morning around 2am.

She said that the argument was in English but she was unable to hear what was being said.

Other neighbors also had negative memories of Ullah.

‘He was just nasty. We would tell him to move the car, he felt like he owned it,’ the owner of a hardware store who had previously fought with Ullah told CBS News.

‘I’ve seen him in the neighborhood walking around. Pretty much looks like he always has something on his mind. Never says hello, doesn’t talk to anybody,’ one woman said.

Social worker Michael, 35, was commuting from New Jersey to Brooklyn when the chaos unfolded.

He said: ‘There were people running from various angles and screaming that someone had a gun. People were saying ‘just run, just go’. Everyone was looking around confused.

POLICE ASK FOR PUBLIC’S HELP

Anyone with information on suspect Akayed Ullah is being asked to call the terror hotline at 888-NYC-SAFE

‘After a few minutes I think I heard another person say there was an explosion and that’s when people started to panic. There was a lot of chaotic shouting and screaming. I saw a guy spring past me and as people scattered the crowd began to hurry more and push through the doors.

‘There are escalators that lead outside and steps and people were running up to get outside. We are talking 50 or 60 people. People were running over each other at one point. It became like a domino effect as everyone tried to run through the doors.

‘We got out and I ran across the street to 41st. I could hear sirens going off and people were grabbing their phones and calling home. Everyone was quite panicked and shook up.’

He added: ‘It’s scary. I’m quite on edge now.’

Video from above the ‘Crossroads of the World’ showed lines of police and emergency vehicles, their lights flashing, lining the streets and no other vehicle traffic moving.

Everything around the Port Authority in the 42nd Street area was shut down while police investigated the bombing — a surreal scene of what would ordinarily be a bustling rush hour.

A spokesman for the Port Authority say they plan to have the transit hub up and running fully by the evening rush hour.

Mayor De Blasio said getting transportation up and running again was an important message to the failed terrorist.

‘We’re not going to allow them to disrupt us. That is exactly what they what and that is exactly what they are not going to get,’ he said.

While the suspect’s motivation has not been established yet, his alleged statements about ISIS and Bangladeshi background suggest he was motivated by extreme religion.

The attack also comes on the heels of a Muslim day of rage in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, last week where thousands of Muslims protested over President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The decision — which breaks with decades of tradition in international policy — has drawn widespread criticism from Muslims and Christians around the world.

Previous presidents have refrained from such direct involvement in the Middle East’s historic conflict but Trump proudly waded in. Moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a campaign promise which he now boasts about fulfilling.

This attack underscores the need for Congress to work with the President on immigration reforms that enhance our national security and public safety. We must protect our borders. We must ensure that individuals entering our country are not coming to do harm to our people and we must move to a merit-based system of immigration.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted Monday morning that the president had been briefed on the situation.

At an afternoon press conference, Sanders released a statement on behalf of the administration — saying this morning’s incident is a further example of the need for tougher immigration policies.

‘This attack underscores the need for Congress to work with the President on immigration reforms that enhance our national security and public safety. We must protect our borders. We must ensure that individuals entering our country are not coming to do harm to our people and we must move to a merit-based system of immigration,’ she said.

Monday’s explosion also comes a month after Sayfullo Saipov plowed through cyclists on the a cycle path in Tribeca.

The Uzbek national killed eight people in his rented Home Depot truck by mowing them down before crashing into a school bus. He injured another 12.

Saipov, 29, who was living in Paterson, New Jersey, was gunned down by a police officer and remains in custody.

After the attack, the dollar lowered but stock markets recovered when the situation had been contained.

The S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq indexes rose 0.1 to 0.3 percent when the main U.S. stock markets opened two and a half hours later.

The dollar slipped as far as 113.245 yen against the Japanese currency. The Swiss franc, a refuge at times of heightened risk, reached a high of 1.16755 francs per euro. .

‘We did see equities futures moving lower and it is not a surprise that we saw a move in crosses like dollar-yen,’ said CIBC’s head of currency strategy Jeremy Stretch. ‘There is a susceptibility, whenever there is a degree of uncertainty, for the usual suspects to react.’

The post Trump: We’re Going to End Chain Migration and the Visa Lottery appeared first on American Renaissance.

New DHS Secretary Embraces Conservative Immigration Reforms

Newly confirmed Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sounded right at home among the Trump administration’s immigration hawks on Tuesday, calling for major policy changes during one of her first public addresses as DHS chief.

Appearing alongside Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Baltimore, she laid out several border security priorities for the department in the wake of another terrorist attack in New York City, but it was her remarks on structural immigration reform that stood out.

Nielsen backed two significant changes to the U.S. immigration system — curtailing family-based immigration and doing away with the diversity visa lottery.

{snip}

Nielsen’s remarks Tuesday morning are likely to assuage, for now, some conservative immigration reformers who have expressed concern about her previous remarks on amnesty for DACA recipients and the need for the border wall. Nielsen has also been criticized for her connections to homeland security officials in the George W. Bush administration, such as Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, who pushed for amnesty while in office and were prominent members of the “Never Trump” contingent.

In her first press conference as DHS chief, though, Nielsen sounded like a disciple of Sessions’, the administration’s leading immigration hawk. She backed the border wall, saying it was needed to “stem the tide of illegal crossings,” and called on Congress to tighten rules on asylum claims and the resettlement of so-called unaccompanied children.

Nielsen also joined Sessions in connecting the immigration system to the spate of gruesome killings by MS-13, which has seen a resurgence in several U.S. metro areas including Boston, Long Island and Washington, D.C. The transnational gang has been able to thrive, she said, in part because it can recruit young illegal immigrants who have been resettled in the interior of the country by U.S. authorities.

The growth of MS-13 is a “deadly consequence of unsecured borders and failed immigration policies,” Nielsen said.

The post New DHS Secretary Embraces Conservative Immigration Reforms appeared first on American Renaissance.

For Minnesota Somalis, a Raw, Rising Fear of Deportation

{snip}

Minnesota immigration lawyers are scrambling now to get emergency stays for Hussein and other Somali clients who’ve been ordered deported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Hussein’s flight included 91 other men and women; at least 10 were Minnesota residents.

Their families fear their loved ones could die in Somalia’s violence. The worry extends beyond those individuals who face deportation to those they leave behind. Their stories are heart-rending.

{snip}

More Somalis are being deported in similar fashion now than any other time.

ICE deported 512 Somalis from around the country from October 2016 through September 2017, compared to 198 during the same period a year earlier, according to the agency’s data.

Lawyers and advocates say a majority of those deported in the 2017 fiscal year happened under the Trump administration. There are more detentions, more arrests and more people held in jail pending their deportation than before, according to immigration lawyers.

{snip}

Ceja-Orozco and other attorneys are scrambling to get emergency stays for their clients in the hope of re-opening their cases by arguing that it’s dangerous to send people to Somalia. Many note the recent bombings in Mogadishu in October, where more than 500 people were killed.

Immigration lawyers also say the U.S. government is not taking that into account when it deports Somalis, some who have lived in the United States for decades and don’t know much about their homeland.

Federal immigration officials say they are just enforcing the law.

“ICE promotes public safety and national security by ensuring the departure from the United States of all removable aliens through the fair and effective enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws,” Raedy said.

The United States formally recognized the Somali government in 2013 after decades of no diplomatic relations between the two countries. In June 2016, the first U.S. ambassador to Somalia in 25 years was sworn in.

The country still continues to grapple with security, unemployment, drought and other longstanding challenges as it slowly tries to recover from decades of violent conflict.

While the U.S. military continues to hunt terrorists in Somalia with drones, the Trump administration has placed travel restrictions on that country and five other mostly Muslim countries.

Since 2014, the number of Somalis deported to Somalia has been increasing. In the 2017 fiscal year alone, the U.S. sent five charter flights full of deportees to Somalia.

If the current pace of deportations continue to rise, more Somalis could be deported to Somalia in the 2018 fiscal year than being admitted into the United States.

{snip}

The post For Minnesota Somalis, a Raw, Rising Fear of Deportation appeared first on American Renaissance.

180,000 Pesos for a Virgin Wife Under 15

In the second poorest municipality in one of Mexico’s poorest states, girls under the age of 15 are being sold by their fathers as virgin brides for 180,000 pesos (US $9,400), or in many cases even less.

In the last 17 years, more than 300 young women have been forced into marriages of that type in Metlatónoc, Guerrero, according to a human rights center in the Montaña region where the municipality is located.

In most cases, the fathers of prospective grooms pay the fathers of young daughters so that their sons can have a teenage, virgin girl as a wife.

If a higher price is quoted, the typical response is “they don’t want her as a whore,” Melitón Hernández, a police chief in the town of Yuvi’nani, told the newspaper El Universal.

A local lawyer and advisor to the municipal trustee said that the tradition is engrained in society, above all among the indigenous Mixtec Tu’un Savi people.

“It’s an old practice that we can’t eradicate even though the law says that the practice is a crime, specifically human trafficking,” Serafín Nava Ortiz said.

Another lawyer, who works for the Tlachinollan human rights center in Tlapa, has worked on more than 100 forced marriage cases over the past 17 years in which she has tried to convince parents of girls to alter their opinions about the practice.

Girls who refuse to get married at such a young age turn to the center to act as a mediator with their parents, Neil Arias explained.

Often, she believes she is successful in changing the parents’ minds but admitted that once they left the center’s doors, she didn’t know what the final outcome would be.

“How many marriages end up being carried out or are left unregistered? It’s unknown.  It’s a hidden figure, the cases are still constant,” she said.

In its 2017 annual report, the Tlachinollan center stressed that the practice has lost all of its traditional significance to become nothing more than a “commercial exchange” that infringes on a girl’s body and dignity and “could result in the crime of human trafficking” being committed.

Treated like objects and the private property of their husbands, the girls and are forced into sexual relationships without giving prior consent, the center said.

Cases of rape, family conflict and breakdown and monetary disputes have all been reported in relation to the practice. At least one man has also been imprisoned on human trafficking charges despite arguing that he acted in good faith in accordance with his community’s traditions and customs.

In an interview, even the police chief admitted buying wives for his sons, saying that three years ago he paid 110,000 pesos (US $5,735) for a 14-year-old bride. Asked where he got the money from, Hernández responded, “I was on the other side [United States].

“I brought about 300,000 pesos from there . . .” he explained. Years earlier, he paid 130,000 pesos for a wife for his eldest son.

Others sell goats, pigs or land to raise the funds, Hernández explained, adding openly that many men also cultivate opium poppies. He also joked about buying his own wife, saying flippantly that he paid “50 pesos about 55 years ago.”

However, for the Tlachinollan center and at least some elements of local authorities, the issue is much more serious. Nava Ortiz explained that while the matter is more complex than it seems at first glance, the practice of buying underage girls for marriage against their will must be stamped out.

“For us, the authorities, this practice is a crime,” the trustee advisor said. “We have to end this practice, through talking [and] raising awareness.”

The post 180,000 Pesos for a Virgin Wife Under 15 appeared first on American Renaissance.

Brussels Is Blind to Diversity

{snip}

On Wednesday, the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) released a report on discrimination against minorities in the EU. The results are “worrying and frustrating,” according to Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos from FRA, in that not much has changed in 10 years. Nearly 40 percent of respondents reported having faced discrimination in the last five years, with discrimination occurring most often while looking for a job.

But while Brussels has not shied from raising flags on discriminatory behavior across the EU, when it comes to what’s going on in its corridors of power, it has for the most part turned a blind eye.

Brussels itself is a diverse city by global standards: Around half of the EU capital’s 1.1 million residents were born outside of Belgium, the majority of them in Turkey or Africa.

Large EU institutions such as the European Commission rigorously collect data on the nationality, age and gender of their staff.

They ask nothing about racial or ethnic backgrounds. One of the effects is to narrow the pool of people who work for the EU to the point that they no longer resemble ordinary Europeans.

The EU and many of its national governments do not collect statistics about the size of their ethnic minority populations. As a result, statistics on race in Europe are difficult to come by.

There are close to 50 million people of a racial and ethnic minority background living in the EU, according to an examination of data sources complied by governments, researchers and NGOs in each country. That’s about 10 percent of the bloc’s population.

Brussels itself is a diverse city by global standards: Around half of the EU capital’s 1.1 million residents were born outside of Belgium, the majority of them in Turkey or Africa. The city is home to more embassies — around 200 — than any other in the world.

And yet, the best estimates — by those working on racial and religious diversity — put the minority population directly employed by EU institutions at around 1 percent. The only major international institution in Brussels with a somewhat ethnically diverse staff is NATO: thanks to Turkey and the United States.

“If you want to see diversity in the European institutions, look at the faces of the cleaners leaving the building early in the morning and contrast that with the white MEPs and officials entering,” said Syed Kamall, a British Muslim who leads the European Conservatives and Reformists [in the European Parliament], the third largest political party.

Brussels’ blindness to diversity flows in part from its bureaucracy being built on the French model: In France it is illegal to collect data on race. Furthermore, in Belgium demanding information about a person’s ethnicity leaves one subject to legal action.

The lack of diversity is aggravated by the realities of the EU labor market, where it often takes a master’s degree just to land an internship. If you can’t afford to live off a credit card to get started in Brussels and weren’t brought up learning multiple languages it can be nearly impossible to build a career.

That has real implications for how EU decisions are made — and for how the rare minority staff members are treated.

{snip}

The lack of diversity in EU institutions often leaves officials blind to how their policies — internal, as well as those affecting the entire bloc — impact minorities.

In June, European skin cancer specialists and public affairs consultants installed a special camera in a foyer of the European Parliament in Brussels to promote proper use of sunscreen lotion.

The camera showed a successful sunscreen application as a black smear across the user’s face. The problem: It didn’t work on dark-skinned people. When POLITICO tested the system and asked how it worked for people of color an organizer said: “We’ve been avoiding black people in the corridors all week.”

Sarah Chander from the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) said that when she lobbies EU officials on race issues, she faces condescension. “There’s an audacity in the institutions because they work on the idea of multicultural Europe,” and yet “every single one of them is white,” she said.

“Many working in the ‘Brussels bubble’ feel that working on progressive issues gives them a sense of immunity for the overwhelming whiteness of their institutions and organizations.”

In a roundtable convened by POLITICO to hear the experiences of people of color working in EU circles, those who had worked in both the U.S. and Europe complained about both lack of individual awareness and lack of HR diversity systems in Europe — including in branch offices of U.S.-headquartered companies.

In the FRA survey released Wednesday, employment is listed as the arena where the greatest discrimination prevails. EU institutions are under pressure to promote diversity based on gender and nationality. But with few ethnic minorities on staff, race falls to the wayside in EU planning.

{snip}

Asked in 2016 about the institution’s color blind approach to hiring, the Commission’s deputy chief spokesman, Alexander Winterstein, said the institution’s “workforce pictures the full diversity we have in Europe.”

“If you walk through our corridors you will see people from all walks of life, from all over Europe,” he said, adding that to be hired by the Commission, “you pass a competition and then you join us. Everybody can do that.”

{snip

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Ryan Says Illegal Immigrant ‘Dreamers’ Won’t Be Part of House Spending Bill

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Tuesday rejected efforts to shoehorn a major immigration fight into year-end talks over avoiding a government shutdown, saying illegal immigrant “Dreamers” should be tackled in separate legislation.

The announcement is a blow to immigrant-rights advocates who have set an artificial year-end deadline for passing a bill to grant Dreamers full legal status.

Republicans including Mr. Ryan have said there’s no rush, pointing instead to a March 5 deadline when the phaseout of the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty kicks in.

{snip}

Top congressional leaders are negotiating an overall spending number for 2018 and 2019, and once that’s done Mr. Ryan said the House will send over its full package of spending bills approved earlier in the year. The Senate has yet to approve any of its spending bills.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday that the spending negotiations are “advancing well,” but listed sticking points.

{snip}

Mr. Schumer also said he’s still hoping to tackle immigration in the year-end bill, saying Democrats could accept “a significant investment in border security in exchange for DACA.”

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Charter School Leaders Are Complicit with Segregation, and It’s Hurting Their Movement

Charter Schools Didn’t Create Segregation But The Charter School movement isn’t helping to end it either.

{snip}

A recent Associated Press analysis of national school enrollment data found that “as of school year 2014-2015, more than 1,000 of the nation’s 6,747 charter schools had minority enrollment of at least 99 percent, and the number has been rising steadily.”

A startling number, but the charter school lobby essentially responded with a version of, “So what?”

“Academics, attorneys, and activists can hold any opinion they want about public charter schools and other families’ school choices,” said a spokesperson for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in an official response to the AP story. “In the end, parents’ and students’ opinions are the only ones that matter. And every year, more parents are choosing charter schools.”

New York magazine columnist Jonathan Chait co-signed that dismissal of segregation with a column that essentially argued it’s not really the job of charter schools to change the system of oppression that created schools that perform poorly, “because integrating schools is hard,” and he calls the criticism of increased segregation among charters as merely a “talking point.” For Chait, rising test scores trump segregation concerns.

In the all-charter district of New Orleans, virtually no (less than one percent) white students attend schools in that have earned a “D” or “F” performance rating.

In the all-charter district of New Orleans — that Chait described at the 2015 anniversary of Hurricane Katrina as “spectacular” in another defense of charters — virtually no (less than one percent) white students attend schools in that have earned a “D” or “F” performance rating. But 77 percent of white students are enrolled in “A-” and “B-” rated schools, according to a new report by non-profit advocacy group Urban League of Louisiana. It is unthinkable that this situation would be tolerated if the students’ races were reversed. It is clear that segregation, and who gets a quality choice, matters.

{snip}

The segregated state of our schools helps maintain the inequitable funding that determines families’ educational options. When the government-backed Home Owner’s Loan Corporation developed color-coded maps to sort out who could receive mortgage lending, blacks who lived in the red sections of the map were not given loans. And of course, the most well-resourced schools just happen to be located in the most expensive neighborhoods.

Giving kids a quality education is an excellent goal. But getting to the source of inequity is real reform.

The Brookings team looked closely at district lines, and they found that if you remove them, many schools become more racially imbalanced. It seems to me that wealthy neighborhoods are using district lines to leverage themselves against demographic shifts. According to EdBuild, a non-profit focused on school finance issues, the most egregious cases of segregation are shown by the roughly 36 districts that were formed since 2000 as a result of secession — when a school district splits from a larger one.

{snip}

The Brookings report found that among the racially imbalanced schools, charters stood out as having a much higher representation of black students. Their imbalance rating is roughly four times that of traditional public schools. {snip}

{snip}

In a statement in response to the AP story, Shavar Jeffries, national president of Democrats for Education Reform, said sarcastically, “Apparently, the school segregation problem boils down to Black and Brown parents choosing schools that aren’t White enough, as if the doors of all-White schools would magically open if only they had the good sense to seek to enroll their children in them.”

Our fascination with inclusion is inherently corrupt, because it is born of the misconception that whiter schools are better.

{snip} To dismiss segregation is to accept structural inequality and the status quo.

We’ve simply given up on the radical idea of integrating schools. The last major effort occurred in 2007, in the Supreme Court case Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1. The court ruled that Seattle and Louisville school districts’ efforts to desegregate/integrate schools by using individuals’ race to place students in schools were unconstitutional. The “diverse by design” coalition, a group of deliberately integrated schools that poses more of a threat to structural inequality, offers some hope.

The AP study pointed to the right problem with charter schools: an overrepresentation of black and brown students. {snip}

The post Charter School Leaders Are Complicit with Segregation, and It’s Hurting Their Movement appeared first on American Renaissance.

Denmark’s Government at Risk in Row with Nationalists over Syrian Refugees

Demands from the nationalist Danish People’s Party (DF) that Syrian refugees be sent home as soon as possible are threatening to bring down the country’s centre-right minority government.

The government depends on the right-wing DF to pass budget and tax legislation, although it is not a part of the ruling coalition.

DF is seeking tighter immigration rules in return for tax cuts. It wants to make it easier for authorities to revoke residence permits for refugees who fled from war once there is peace in their home countries.

Such a move, however, could violate international human rights guarantees, posing a problem for the government.

On Friday DF gave its backing to the 2018 fiscal budget, leaving broader negotiations on tax reforms and stricter immigration policies to be resumed after the New Year.

However, junior government partner Liberal Alliance said it wants to pass tax reforms along with the budget and would not support the budget in parliament unless a deal to cut taxes was agreed.

If LA does not vote to give the budget final approval, Rasmussen could be forced either to hand power to the Social Democrat-led opposition or to call a snap election. The final vote on the budget is on December 22.

“The government can bring itself down before Christmas if it actively works for it, it is possible,” DF leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl told reporters on Tuesday.

“Of course it will have consequences if a government can’t even vote for its own budget in parliament. The prime minister has to relate to that. It’s his responsibility,” Dahl said.

Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who was in Paris on Tuesday for a climate conference hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, has expressed confidence that his government will vote in favor of the budget.

DF’s proposal would impact the more than 10,000 Syrians that have sought asylum in Denmark since the beginning of 2015 under rules to protect people fleeing from war and not just refugees that are personally persecuted.

The proposed tightening comes on top of already strict policies for people with temporary residence permit that are not allowed to seek family reunification until after three years.

Refugees should be able to work or go to school while in Denmark, but those activities should not be targeted at integrating them into the Danish society or qualify them for permanent citizenship, DF said.

The post Denmark’s Government at Risk in Row with Nationalists over Syrian Refugees appeared first on American Renaissance.

EU Pushes to Curb Africa Migration More, Still Split on Hosting Refugees

European Union leaders will discuss how to further curb immigration from across the Mediterranean over dinner on Thursday, but are as divided as ever on how to take care of refugees who still make it to Europe.

Their chairman, Donald Tusk, proposed creating a new financing tool in the bloc’s next multi-year budget from 2021 to “stem illegal migration”, replacing the ad hoc calls for money that EU states have seen since arrivals peaked in 2015.

Despite heavy criticism by human rights groups that it is aggravating the suffering of refugees and migrants on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, the EU is sticking to its policy of providing various kinds of assistance to the governments and U.N. agencies in the Middle East and Africa in order to prevent people making the trek north.

While implementing these plans in some places, notably the lawless Libya, is proving difficult, all EU states and institutions in Brussels agree on the approach.

However, the question of how to handle refugees who have made it to the EU is as divisive now as it was two years ago.

Italy, Greece and other frontline states on the Mediterranean, as well as the rich destination countries such as Germany, want all member states to be obliged to take in a set allocation of asylum-seekers.

But several eastern ex-communist EU members reject mandatory quotas, saying accepting Muslim refugees would undermine their sovereignty and security, and the homogeneous makeup of their societies.

They want to help instead with money, equipment and personnel for controlling the bloc’s frontiers.

The Commission is already suing Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic for failing to take in their allotment of asylum-seekers from the peak of the EU’s migrant crisis in 2015.

Divisions

Recent proposals for future solutions go in opposite directions, giving little hope of a deal by the target date of June.

The bloc’s current chair Estonia suggested sticking to the obligatory scheme when immigration is extremely high, but adding some flexibility by legislating that the receiving and sending states must agree on any relocation.

That plan has been quickly dismissed as a non-starter by diplomats from several EU states.

The bloc’s executive, the European Commission, proposed that the bloc approve compulsory and automatic relocation for times of mass immigration, but rely on voluntary help in normal circumstances. The European Parliament wants mandatory relocation at all times, regardless of migratory pressures.

But now Tusk himself has also come out against quotas, telling EU leaders in a note that they had proven “highly divisive” and “ineffective”.

The Commission’s migration chief, Dimitris Avramopoulos, told a news conference on Tuesday that Tusk’s paper was “undermining one of the main pillars of the European project — the principle of solidarity”.

For now, immigration figures remain so low compared to the peak of 2015-2016 that the public pressure on EU leaders to come up with a quick fix has eased.

That could yet change, however, with Italy’s parliamentary election next spring, coinciding with the start of a new migration season.

Germany, currently consumed with trying to form a new government, has long suggested that if no consensus can be reached, an asylum reform could be passed by majority vote — something that would inevitably deepen the divisions and mistrust between member states.

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Claim: Newly Arrived Migrants Arrested for Swedish Synagogue Attack

Three men have been arrested for the attempted firebombing of a Swedish synagogue in Gothenburg, and according to a far-left group all three are recent asylum seekers from Syria and Palestine.

{snip} The three men arrested in connection with the attack are said to be asylum seekers who came to Sweden this year from the Middle East, according to George Soros-funded far-left group Expo.

Expo, who are known for their activism against right-wing groups in Sweden, claim they spoke to President of the Swedish Western Regional Police Ulla Brehm, who confirmed the arrests. They also say that they obtained court documents which showed that all three suspects are asylum seekers and that the trio pled not guilty to charges of deliberate arson.

{snip}

The post Claim: Newly Arrived Migrants Arrested for Swedish Synagogue Attack appeared first on American Renaissance.

Bangladesh: Runaway Muslim Persecution of Hindus

If you want to punish a non-Muslim, especially a poor Christian in Pakistan, point your index finger at him and utter the word “blasphemy.” You will soon find thousands of Islamic hardliners beside you chanting, “Death to blasphemers!” Similarly, if you want to root out a Hindu family from its ancestral home in Bangladesh, just accuse one of its members of insulting the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. You will soon find thousands of Muslims rushing to burn the Hindu family’s whole neighborhood down, without hesitation or evidence.

Such behavior towards minorities — Christians in Pakistan and Hindus in Bangladesh — has become commonplace among fundamentalist Muslims in both countries, whose governments have surrendered to Islamists.

On November 5, for instance, a Bangladeshi Muslim, Alomgir Hossein, filed a complaint against a Hindu, Titu Roy, for allegedly posting derogatory remarks about the Islamic Prophet Muhammed on Facebook. The Muslims of Titu Roy’s hometown of Thakurpara (a Hindu-dominated village in Rangpur) gave police a 24-hour ultimatum to arrest the “blasphemer,” or they would take action.

Although Titu Roy lives with his wife and two children 500 miles away in Narayanganj, a few days later, after Friday prayers, around 20,000 Muslims from neighboring villages descended upon Thakurpara to take “revenge.” Ignoring police attempts at dissuasion, the mob set fire to at least 30 Hindu homes, and looted and vandalized others.

When police intervened, clashes erupted. One man was killed and 20 others were injured, including four policemen. The police claimed it was activists from the Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami who led the arson attacks to create unrest ahead of the parliamentary elections.

In a horrible twist, an investigation into the Facebook post that ostensibly sparked the riots revealed an apparent case of mistaken identity. It turned out that the user who wrote the supposedly offensive comments was MD Titu, not Titu Roy. (MD is an abbreviation for Muhammed, used by millions of Muslims across the world; Titu is one of the rare names that is used by both Muslims and Hindus.)

This was also not the first time that Muslims used social media pots as an excuse to attack Hindus in Bangladesh. According to the U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom report for 2016:

“There were a significant number of attacks against religious minorities [in Bangladesh], particularly Hindus. In October hundreds of villagers in the eastern part of the country vandalized more than 50 Hindu family homes and 15 Hindu temples, following a Facebook post believed by some to be offensive to Islam. High levels of election-related violence in June resulted in the death of 126 individuals and injuries to 9,000 others. In one attack in a suburb of Dhaka, the media reported hundreds of attackers used sticks and bamboo poles to beat a group of Catholics and vandalize their homes and shops, injuring an estimated 60 people.”

The report further cited religious minorities in Bangladesh who claim that the government continues to discriminate against them in property disputes, and does not adequately protect them from attacks. A report from Minority Rights Group International, released in November 2016, confirmed the findings:

“A large number of attacks targeting religious minorities in particular have subsequently been claimed by the organization Islamic State — a claim vigorously denied by the Bangladeshi government, which has attributed the attacks to domestic militant groups. Regardless of their authorship, since the beginning of this new outbreak of violence, the authorities have visibly failed to ensure the protection of those targeted.”

According to an eminent Bangladeshi economist and researcher, Dr. Abul Barkat of Dhaka University, within 30 years, there will be no Hindus left in the country, based on “the rate of exodus over the past 49 years.” Barkat, author of “Political Economy of Unpeopling of Indigenous People: The Case of Bangladesh,” said that between 1964 and 2013, 11.3 million Hindus had left Bangladesh due to religious persecution and discrimination.

The Hindus of Bangladesh, a country created in 1971 from East Pakistan, have a long history of repression at the hands of Muslims. According to a 2013 report by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF):

“Hindu minorities living in countries throughout South Asia and other parts of the world are subject to varying degrees of legal and institutional discrimination, restrictions on their religious freedom, social prejudice, violence, social persecution, and economic and political marginalization. Hindu women are especially vulnerable and face kidnappings and forced conversions in countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan. In several countries where Hindus are minorities, non-state actors advance a discriminatory and exclusivist agenda, often with the tacit or explicit support of the state.”

The HAF has designated Bangladesh as one of four “egregious violators” of the human rights of their Hindu populations, second only to Afghanistan. It is little wonder, then, that the Hindu population there is in steep decline, with a 2011 national census suggesting that a mere 8.4% remained, with nearly one million having left the country after 2001. To this day, Hindus continue to seek refuge in neighboring India.

Although secularism is enshrined in the constitution of Bangladesh, the country is being “purified” by — and for — its fundamentalist Muslims.

The post Bangladesh: Runaway Muslim Persecution of Hindus appeared first on American Renaissance.

Chain Migration: Burdensome and Obsolete Chain Migration from Terror-Afflicted Countries Presents a National Security Risk

Washington, D.C. (December 11, 2017) – An analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies examines chain migration and the immigration background of the Port Authority bomber.  Akayed Ullah, a lawful permanent resident, is a citizen of Bangladesh who came to the United States in February 2011 on an immigrant visa in one of the chain migration categories. Ullah qualified to enter at age 20 as the nephew of a naturalized U.S. citizen. The relative who sponsored Ullah and his family reportedly entered originally under the visa lottery and became a US citizen.

Highlights on immigration to the U.S. from Bangladesh:

  • Approximately 90 percent of the immigrants from Bangladesh in the last decade have received green cards through sponsorship by a relative who immigrated earlier;
  • The number of immigrant visas issued to Bangladeshis was about 6,000 in 2000, but today is about 12,000 in 2017, illustrating the multiplier effect of chain migration.
  • There are more than 175,000 citizens of Bangladesh on the immigrant visa waiting list, of whom just over 165,000 (94 percent) are waiting in the sibling/nephew/niece category;
  • For many years citizens of Bangladesh were leading participants in the annual Visa Lottery.  In 2007, 36% of the immigrant visas issued in Bangladesh were under the lottery.  By 2012, Bangladesh was disqualified based on high annual numbers of green cards awarded.
  • In 2017, 99% of the more than 12,000 immigrant visas awarded to Bangladeshis were family-based.

View CIS articles on chain migrant charged in NYC attack:

https://cis.org/Vaughan/Chain-Migration-Burdensome-and-Obsolete
https://cis.org/Arthur/Chain-Migrant-Charged-New-York-City-Attack

Jessica Vaughan, the Center’s director of policy studies, writes, “Congress should modernize our immigration system by sharply trimming the obsolete chain migration categories, as recommended by the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform headed by late civil rights icon Barbara Jordan, and as required by several bills pending in Congress.”

Andrew Arthur, the Center’s resident fellow in law and policy, in addressing the multiple terrorist attacks in the U.S. writes, “These attacks demonstrate an illogical dysfunction at the heart of our immigration system. No connection whatsoever to the United States is necessary for a foreign national to apply for a visa through the visa lottery, and in fact that visa category exists primarily to benefit nationals of countries with low levels of immigration to America. And, respectfully, the nephew of a United States citizen (like Ullah) has only the most tangential of ties to this country before he arrives; even then that tie is only to the sponsoring aunt or uncle.”

Extra vetting would not have prevented this attack, but eliminating chain migration would have. The RAISE Act, S. 354, presently under consideration in the Congress, would break chain migration and shift the U.S. towards a merit-based system. Arthur commends the legislation and emphasizes that “The most important choice that a free people can make is to decide whom it will allow to share in its blessings and future success.”

The post Chain Migration: Burdensome and Obsolete Chain Migration from Terror-Afflicted Countries Presents a National Security Risk appeared first on American Renaissance.

French Opposition Elects Hard-Right Leaning Leader

France’s bitterly divided conservative opposition party has elected a new hardline leader, marking a move away from centre ground toward the territory of the far right.

Laurent Wauquiez will take control of the Les Républicains (LR) party after its disastrous performance in the presidential election earlier this year when its candidate, François Fillon, failed to make it into the second-round vote.

Wauquiez was elected president of LR on Sunday with 74.6% of the votes. However, less than half of the 235,000 paid-up party members bothered to cast a ballot. In total, just under 99,600 voted.

Wauquiez has run a hawkish leadership campaign, running on an anti-immigration and anti-welfare programme, and has worried some party heavyweights with his possible “porosity” to far-right Front National ideas. He refused to call on LR supporters to back Emmanuel Macron against the FN’s leader, Marine Le Pen, in the second round of the presidential vote in May.

There were two other, largely unknown, candidates but members gave Wauquiez, 42, a clear victory, making a second-round vote unnecessary.

Wauquiez is expected to consolidate his victory by appointing a youthful shadow cabinet to challenge Macron and raise the party from what he described as the ruins of its presidential catastrophe.

His hard-right line does not, however, have unanimous support. Franck Riester, a former LR member of parliament, has left the party, accusing Wauquiez of playing into the FN’s hands. “By running after the Front National, we will end up by giving the far right power,” Riester said recently.

Valérie Pécresse, a former budget minister under Nicolas Sarkozy and influential leader of the Ile de France region, said Wauquiez’s victory could shrink, or at worst, destroy LR.

“It’s a risk. To avoid it we have to accept our differences and not try to bury them,” she has said.

Pécresse said the party had to learn the lesson of its defeats in 2012, when Sarkozy lost the presidential election to Socialist François Hollande, and 2017, when Fillon’s chances were destroyed by a financial scandal. Above all, she said, it had to avoid being a conduit for FN ideas.

“Each time, there’s the reflex to creep towards the hardcore right,” she said. There should be no “porosity with the Front National … that’s a red line. If the right ends up on that slippery slope, then it’s no longer my right.”

Until now, the LR, previously led by Sarkozy, had followed the centre-right tradition that has been a dominant force in French politics, providing an umbrella for centrists, economic liberals and those who leaned further to the right.

Macron, however, has captured the centre ground in French politics and headhunted some of the LR’s emerging stars, including his prime minister, Édouard Philippe, and budget minister, Gérald Darmanin.

Wauquiez, a devout Catholic, supports economic protectionism and state intervention to regulate the economy, takes a tough line on immigration and social welfare – he considers France’s social model obsolete – and is opposed to the 35-hour maximum working week, same sex marriage and IVF.

He has promised “intransigent secularism” seen as anti-Islam, and believes France should not have to apologise for events in its past, all subjects that echo with the far right, though he recently rejected doing any deals with the FN.

Hervé Gattegno, the editor of Le Journal du Dimanche and a political commentator, said Wauqiuez risked pushing more moderate conservatives into the arms of Macron’s ruling La République en Marche.

“The more radical Laurent Wauquiez becomes, the more the centrist and moderate LRs are tempted to rally to the president. So it’s a strategy of making the right more extreme, which doesn’t seem to be to be very clever.

“Perhaps he hasn’t understood what most [centre] right voters have and what all the opinion polls reveal: the real head of the [centre] right is, for the moment, in the Elysée. It’s Emmanuel Macron,” Gattegno told Europe1 radio.

The post French Opposition Elects Hard-Right Leaning Leader appeared first on American Renaissance.

Boston. Racism. Image. Reality.

{snip}

Except that Boston’s reputation problem goes much deeper than an online search. A national survey commissioned by the Globe this fall found that among eight major cities, black people ranked Boston as least welcoming to people of color. More than half — 54 percent — rated Boston as unwelcoming.

{snip}

The reputation is real, and pervasive — but, most important, is it deserved?

The Globe Spotlight Team analyzed data, launched surveys, and conducted hundreds of interviews, to answer just that question. Spotlight examined the core of Boston’s identity: our renowned colleges and world-class medical institutions; the growth that keeps expanding our skyline; business and politics; and our championship sports teams.

{snip}

Look at the Seaport, a whole new neighborhood rising on the South Boston Waterfront that benefited from $18 billion in taxpayer investment, and you see none of the richness of an increasingly diverse city. Look at Boston’s lauded colleges and realize black students remain rare; the percentage of black enrollment at many top universities has not increased appreciably in three decades, stuck in the single digits.

Look at our political institutions and try to recall how many black politicians have been elected to statewide office — or to the top job in City Hall — in the last half century. (Answer: 2.)

Peek, if you can, into corporate board rooms in Massachusetts, where only 1 percent of board members at publicly traded firms are black. Step into the newsrooms and front offices of media organizations anywhere in Boston, including the Globe’s Page 1 deliberations, and see few black faces.

And look at the area’s middle-class black neighborhoods — if you can find one. There also are not many downtown restaurants and bars where black patrons can go spontaneously and see others who look like them. Living in Boston can be a particularly isolating experience for black professionals.

Although the city’s vast sports, entertainment, and cultural offerings are open to all, it’s perhaps little wonder why black people are hard to spot at, say, a Red Sox or Patriots game or the Museum of Fine Arts. It could be they simply choose not to go, or it may be the cost. African-Americans in Greater Boston have a median net worth of just $8. That means they owe almost as much as the combined value of what they own, be it a car, or house, or savings.

Finally, know that if you seek an apartment in the region using Craigslist, and if you are black, you can’t count on getting equal treatment, even in this day and age, a Globe study found. This inquiry, like this Spotlight series, focuses on the black community specifically, not all communities of color, because blacks have had the longest and most contentious history with racism in Boston.

{snip}

In a 1983 series of stories, a team of Globe reporters took a hard look at racial equality in our region. It was not a pretty picture, but local leaders promised things would improve. Thirty-four years later, the promise has yet to be fulfilled. For example:

Then: Just 4.5 percent of black workers were officials and managers.
Now: That number has barely moved, to 4.6 percent in 2015.

Then: The “Vault” — an organization of Boston’s most powerful business leaders — had no black people among its 20 members.
Now: The “New Vault” — the 16-person Massachusetts Competitive Partnership — has no black members.

Then: This area’s unemployment rate was about twice as high for blacks as whites.
Now: The gap remains, with black unemployment more than double the rate of white workers in 2014.

{snip}

Demographics and destiny

To truly explain why racial inequities persist in the Boston area, it is necessary to understand how much can be blamed on demographics and how much can not.

Greater Boston stands out among the nation’s top 10 metro areas in one distinct way. We have the highest proportion of white residents — nearly three out of every four.

Our area’s black population is small and the size relatively unchanged in decades — only 7 percent, or 334,000 people, in a region of 4.7 million. If you look only at the city of Boston, the black population is about 23 percent, or about 148,000 people.

And it’s been this way for decades, in large part because the metro area never benefited from the Great Migration — the post-Civil War movement of blacks from Southern states in search of opportunity — the way places like Chicago and New York did.

{snip}

But Boston is also very different. New York and Chicago dwarf Boston in size and scale. The population of New York City alone is 8.4 million people, nearly 2 million of whom are black. That translates into more black residents who earn more money, leading to a developed middle class with extensive professional representation — in other words, cities made welcoming, in part, because there simply is a critical mass of black residents who reflect the achievement possible within their community. Boston lacks that advantage.

{snip}

The experience in other cities shows that, even when the black population is relatively small, things can be done with sufficient will. Minneapolis, Denver, and Seattle — all with smaller black populations than Boston — have elected black mayors at least once. Boston has never even come close.

{snip}

Using a methodology employed by academic researchers who study bias in housing, the Globe conducted a study of nearly 600 Craigslist ads from rental landlords in the Greater Boston area, finding housing discrimination remains in Boston.

Overall, landlords ignored nearly 45 percent of e-mails from prospective tenants with black-sounding names, like Darnell Washington or Keisha Jackson, versus 36 percent of e-mails from people with white-sounding names, like Brendan Weber or Meredith McCarthy.

For example, when a prospective tenant using the name Allison Wolf asked about renting a two-bedroom condo in Boston’s Back Bay, the landlord responded later that day. “It’s available,” she e-mailed back. “You can see it on Sunday.” But when a prospective tenant asked about that same apartment the same morning using the name Tamika Rivers, the landlord never replied.

The difference was even more pronounced when landlords received more informal e-mails with grammatical errors or typos, with landlords seeming more forgiving of such written lapses among whites than blacks.

{snip}

The missing middle class

The lack of a robust black middle class is both a result, and a cause, of Boston’s reputation as an unwelcoming place. As blacks move up the economic ladder here, they encounter an increasingly white world, and their solitary and alienating experience becomes part of our city’s word-of-mouth reputation.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the city’s history — the mayhem surrounding court-ordered school desegregation — was reason enough for many black graduates and professionals to settle elsewhere. Boston’s black middle class stagnated, providing little incentive for the next round of graduates to stay in Boston. And so a cycle, or perhaps a spiral, began.

Today, of all the households in the region earning at least $75,000 annually, only 4 percent are black.

{snip}

The Globe ran a data analysis of census tracts nationally to see which met three criteria: At least 15 percent of the residents are black; and among the black residents, at least 30 percent had a four-year college degree and their household income was at or above the median for their metro area. (That is about $75,000 in Greater Boston.)

Here in Greater Boston there are just four such enclaves: two in Stoughton, one in Milton, and one in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood. If the search were done looking for neighborhoods that met these criteria for white residents, the results would be a bountiful choice of 516 enclaves. The Boston area also reflects a pattern of segregation that is more extensive than in most other metro regions, studies show.

Forty-five other metropolitan areas have far more black enclaves than Boston, including some major metropolitan centers, such as New York, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, each with more than 100 enclaves, and other smaller urban areas, particularly — but not only — in the South.

The town with the highest concentration of black residents in Massachusetts is Randolph, which is about 30 minutes south of the city. More than 40 percent of Randolph’s population is black, as is the town council president and superintendent of schools. Its median household income is about $12,000 less than the overall metro area.

{snip}

Our own worst enemy

There is no doubt that Boston has made gains in overcoming its history of racism. Gone are the days when black people crouched in cars, windows rolled up, hats pulled low so as not to be seen driving through the streets of South Boston or Charlestown, fearing racial slurs or real physical violence.

Though safety remains an issue in some neighborhoods, violent crime in Boston is the lowest in a decade. Also, as police forces nationwide work to end deep mistrust of them within black communities, Boston’s officers have so far avoided high-profile clashes that have led to protests elsewhere, and have garnered generally favorable reviews about the city’s level of outreach.

Despite the dearth of black politicians elected to statewide office — save for Deval Patrick’s two terms as governor and Edward Brooke’s path-breaking election as state attorney general and a US senator in the 1960s and 1970s — gains have also been made locally, including the election of black candidates in predominantly white neighborhoods.

{snip}

There was the case of Charles Stuart, a white man who in 1989 killed his wife and then lied, describing the assailant as a black man. The city readily set out in pursuit of a man fitting the fake description.

That was followed by the 2009 arrest of a prominent African-American scholar at Harvard, Henry Louis Gates Jr., handcuffed after being confronted by police for allegedly breaking into his own home, attracting national headlines.

{snip}

The region’s main tourism website features a video of overwhelmingly white faces inviting visitors to places like Faneuil Hall, Symphony Hall, and along the Charles River. And the introduction of the website’s “neighborhood dining guide” only highlights the Back Bay, downtown, the North End, and the Seaport — all neighborhoods with few black residents.

{snip}

Compare that to Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., where black travelers can find entire itineraries on those area’s tourism websites dedicated to African-American arts, culture, food, and history.

{snip}

Despite a thriving economy fueling a downtown building boom, black residents in Massachusetts are twice as likely as their white counterparts to be unemployed. They earn sharply lower salaries when they do land jobs, have little savings, and are far less likely to own their homes.

The median net worth of non-immigrant African-American households in the Boston area is just $8, the lowest in a five-city study of wealth disparities. It’s hard to ignore the dramatic contrast to the $247,500 net worth for white households in the Boston area.

{snip}

And when it comes to income alone, the imbalance looks like this: For every one black household earning more than $75,000 in the metro region, there are about 21 white ones.

{snip}

Everywhere you look

Even though about 334,000 black people live in Boston’s metro region, few of them can be found at the city’s most iconic locations.

Less than 2 percent of some 4,600 fans counted systematically at select entrances in Fenway Park on a summer night when the Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals were black. And of nearly 8,000 ticketholders counted at Gillette Stadium at a game this fall, about 2 percent were black.

On a sunny Saturday in September, about 4 percent of the roughly 3,000 patrons counted entering the Museum of Fine Arts, one of the largest museums in the country, were black. And about 4 percent of the more than 1,180 people counted walking into the Boston Children’s Museum on an October Saturday were black.

Of the 200 diners sipping cocktails and enjoying Thursday night dinner in October at Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square, four were black. That same night and time, only one black person ate at Ostra in the Back Bay and no black people dined at Blue Dragon in the Seaport.

And during the Saturday night rush at Legal Harborside, about 4 percent of nearly 380 diners were black, while about 10 percent of diners were black that same night at the Cheesecake Factory at the Prudential Center, which could be due to its more moderate-priced menu and accessible location.

There are only a small number of restaurants in which black diners report they can dependably find other black people, including Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen, Slade’s Bar & Grill, and Savvor Restaurant & Lounge.

{snip}

Everyone in Boston loses out on the cultural front. The downtown dining and social scene does not reflect the city’s full diversity, and some black patrons who want to dine in places with others like them organize “friendly takeovers” of establishments with their friends or hold private events. It’s today’s answer to social segregation in Boston.

{snip}

For black professionals who live or work outside of the heart of the city’s black community, day-to-day life can be very isolating.

For many, this means being the only black person in the room, turning them into the de facto emissary and expert on the entirety of the global black experience, a translator of everything from HBO’s “Insecure” to soca music to respectability politics and the Black Power movement.

Also, being the only one in the room often means being constantly on guard, policing your attire, aesthetic, tone, speech, and mannerisms.

{snip}

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84% of Men Convicted of Grooming Young White Girls Are Asian

The vast majority of men convicted of grooming young white girls – 84 per cent – are of Asian origin, according to a report to be published this week.

The study by the renowned counter-extremism think-tank Quilliam says that of these, seven in ten are believed to be of Pakistani-Muslim heritage.

Asian gangs have deliberately abused white girls because they hold entrenched racist attitudes towards them as being ‘easy targets’ for sex, according to the report, which is based on the testimonies of convicted Asian men during court hearings.

It adds: ‘Girls from the Asian community are seen as commodities to be “protected”, whereas girls from outside of the community are seen as fair game.’

The study – likely to provoke controversy – is written by two British Pakistani authors, who say they hope it will encourage their community to ‘take responsibility’.

The authors said in a statement: ‘In attempts to protect the ‘‘sentiments’’ of the British Pakistani community, we have failed vulnerable young girls who have suffered years of irreversible damage.’

They added that there was a disproportionate representation of males with Asian heritage convicted in such cases ‘with the Asian male perpetrator/white female victim dynamic serving as the prominent feature of these grooming gangs.

‘Most of these men are of Pakistani (Muslim) origin, and the victims that have come forward so far are almost exclusively young white girls.’

The Quilliam study comes after a spate of high-profile court cases, one of which involved the Rochdale child abuse ring.

In 2012, nine British Pakistani men were convicted of abusing under-age white girls. Although the testimonies of three victims led to the convictions of the gang members, police believe the group abused and trafficked as many as 47 white girls.

A separate grooming gang from Rochdale involving ten more men was convicted at a trial in 2015.

The first case was made into a controversial three-part BBC drama called Three Girls, which was broadcast earlier this year.

The Quilliam report studied all court cases involving grooming gangs in England and Wales between 2005 and 2017. It said that 58 gangs had been prosecuted in that period, with 264 individual convictions.

Shabir Ahmed,(top), ringleader of the Rochdale gang and 8 convicted gang members.

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Surge in White and Female Terror Suspects Pushes Up the Number of Arrests to Record High

A surge in the number of white and female suspects has pushed up the number of terror related arrests in the UK to a record high, official figures have revealed.

A total of 400 people were detained on suspicion of terrorism offences last year, up 54 per cent on the previous 12 months and the highest since records began.

While the rise was down in part to the large number of arrests made in the wake of Manchester and London attacks, figures showed a spike in the number of white suspects held.

The total number of white people arrested on suspicion of terror related offences rose by 77 per cent, up from 81 to 143.

The Asian ethnicity group saw the largest number of arrests overall, 174, which accounted for 44 per cent of the total, a slight drop on the previous 12 months.

It was also revealed that 58 of those held were female — the highest number on record.

The 400 arrests, which were made in the year to September, represented the highest total since data collections started in 2001.

The figure included 12 people detained in connection with the Westminster terror attack; 23 arrested following the bombing of the Manchester Arena; 21 detained in the wake of the London Bridge atrocity; one arrest in connection with the Finsbury Park attack and seven arrests following the Parsons Green tube attack.

A Home Office statistical bulletin said: “As a result, the number of arrests in the year to 30 September 2017 was the highest since the data collection began.”

Out of the 400 people who were arrested 97 people were charged with terrorism related offences; 18 were charged with other offences; 213 were released without charge and 60 were released on bail; 11 faced alternative action and one case was pending.

Earlier this week, Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, revealed that British intelligence had foiled nine terror plots in the last 12 months.

Security Minister Ben Wallace said police and security services “have been clear that we are facing a shift rather than a short-term spike in the terrorist threat”.

He added: “The statistics we are publishing today demonstrate the breadth of work that they undertake, alongside the rest of the criminal justice system, day in and day out to keep us safe.

“But this is not the totality of our work. The whole of society must come together to challenge the terrorist threat.

“The public must remain alert but not alarmed and report any suspicions they have about unusual activity or behaviour to the appropriate authorities.

“Furthermore, the Government is reviewing its counter-terrorism strategy in light of recent attacks to ensure we meet the threat from terrorism now and in the future.”

The post Surge in White and Female Terror Suspects Pushes Up the Number of Arrests to Record High appeared first on American Renaissance.

Trump May Get Tax Cut Bill with More Generous Credits For Illegal Immigrants

President Trump has been willing to accept almost anything to close the deal on his giant tax cut bill before Christmas, including staying mum about a measure that would allow illegal immigrants to pocket the more generous child tax credit included in the package.

Illegal immigrants have been collecting the payoff from the “refundable” tax credit for years because of an IRS interpretation of how the rule was drafted. The Republican-controlled Congress this fall had a chance to correct that in the tax code overhaul that in the Senate version doubled the child tax credit to $2,000 and expanded eligibility.

The House bill increased the child tax credit to $1,600 and upped the income cutoff to receive it.

Both bills neglect to require that the worker have a Social Security number to claim the credit but require only that the qualifying child have a Social Security number.

Under those conditions, illegal immigrant workers with children who benefit from birthright citizenship — a relatively common phenomenon among America’s estimated 12.5 million illegal immigrants — could cash in.

{snip}

George Mason University law professor David K. Rehr, who teaches legislative advocacy and strategic leadership in Washington, said Mr. Trump is playing the Washington game.

{snip}

Mr. Rehr said that even the illegal immigrant loophole, which has the potential to outrage Mr. Trump’s base, has to be negotiable to get a bill though the legislative process.

{snip}

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Women and Non-White Characters Are Speaking More in Recent Star Wars Movies

{snip}

USC engineer Shri Narayanan has begun harnessing the force of artificial intelligence (AI) to quantify and measure character dialogue, giving Hollywood filmmakers a scientific tool to increase diversity in films. It’s a work in progress, said Narayanan, USC’s  Niki & C. L. Max Nikias Chair in Engineering. His team of doctoral students have been developing software that can analyze scripts, identify speaking parts and cross-reference actor names with a race database to breakdown dialogue by gender and race.

A recent analysis of the Star Wars films, dating back to the 1977 original, “A New Hope,” shows stark advancement for women and minorities in a franchise with global cultural power.

According to the analysis, all of the dialogue in “A New Hope,” written and directed by George Lucas, was spoken by white (and mostly male) characters. It wasn’t until “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980 that a non-white character had any speaking time: Lando Calrissian, played by Billy Dee Williams.

In 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” the amount of female-driven dialogue more than tripled from 6.3% in “A New Hope” to nearly 28%. Moreover, the dialogue in the “Force Awakens” passed the Bechdel test, which asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women speaking to each other about something other than a man, a test “Force Awakens” passed. “A New Hope” did not. “The Force Awakens” also expanded racial diversity. Non-white speaking dialogue accounted for roughly 40% of all lines.

“The Last Jedi,” bowing Dec. 15, brings back Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Gwendoline Christie, and will introduce Kelly Marie Tran, a Vietnamese-American actor, who is bringing visibility to Asian actors who have long struggled to win meaningful roles on major movies.

Because the Star Wars franchise has tremendous power to shape perceptions and inspire a generation of kids that see themselves reflected in a major film franchise, Narayanan argues that his software can provide a tool for storytellers to counteract implicit biases.

“The global reach of this media talks to people around the world, for years to come, for generations to come,” he said. “People still go back and see the first movies from the original trilogy. These movies also capture a snapshot of society as we are.”

The increased representation in the recent Star Wars features has not been accidental. J.J. Abrams, director of “The Force Awakens,” has spoken of the importance of diverse casting, saying films have a responsibility to reflect society. He has also been tapped to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX.”

Last year’s “Rogue One,” the first Star Wars spin-off, featured female lead Felicity Jones as well as Diego Luna, who did not try to hide his Mexican accent when he portrayed the character Cassian.

… “Rogue One” {snip} featured the widest range of racial identities, and made for the lowest amount of non-white dialogue as more characters from a range of backgrounds had speaking time.

“One of our motivations is to see more (diverse) representations, especially those that are facing children,” the researcher said. {snip}

The post Women and Non-White Characters Are Speaking More in Recent Star Wars Movies appeared first on American Renaissance.

Google Sends Powerful Migrant Crisis Video by Polish Government to ‘YouTube Jail’

YouTube has ‘quarantined’ a hard-hitting video on Europe’s migrant crisis released by Poland’s conservative government, as part the platform’s crackdown on “hate speech and violent extremism”.

The Polish Ministry of Interior and Administration’s video has been placed in a controversial state designed by YouTube to limit access to videos it says contain “supremacist” or “extremist” content, but which don’t break any of the platform’s rules.

{snip}

But YouTube has now placed the powerful video in “limited state” — a condition designed to severely reduce the potential audience for “borderline” content. Videos placed under this system are unsearchable, impossible to embed on other sites, and removed from users’ recommended videos lists.

{snip}

Google unveiled the policy in August among a raft of new measures which the video-sharing website said it will use to counter “extremism”. It announced a partnership with 15 “expert NGOs and institutions” — including the Council of Europe’s left-wing No Hate Speech Movement and George Soros-linked groups — who will direct them in identifying objectionable content.

Explaining the system, YouTube said it bans content which “promotes violence or has the primary purpose of inciting hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes”, as well as “content intended to recruit for terrorist organizations, incite violence, celebrate terrorist attacks, or otherwise promote acts of terrorism.”

{snip}


(2:49)

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Zimbabwe’s White Farmers Will Get Compensation—But They’re Not Getting Land Back

Zimbabwe wants to address the chaotic and violent manner in which it took away land from local white farmers nearly 20 years later as new president Emmerson Mnangagwa bids to reassure investors his administration is restoring respect for property rights and investment protection.

The agrarian reform, presided over by president Robert Mugabe in 2000, displaced the mostly white commercial farmers without compensation. Mugabe said the policy was earmarked at putting productive land into the hands of black Zimbabweans although most of them were inexperienced and poorly resourced, leading to a fall in agricultural production and leaving the country a net importer of staple maize grain between 2000 and 2016.

More than 4,000 white commercial farms were displaced and their land designated for resettlement of black farmers and reports say about five white farmers were killed as the process turned violent.

The opposition, Movement for Democratic Change, this week criticized the violent takeover of white-owned farms under the “haphazard” land reform policy for its “uncoordinated trajectory”. MDC also slammed top members of ruling top Zanu PF for “selfishly and corruptly” awarding themselves huge tracts of arable farm land which they couldn’t manage.

Mugabe’s decision to pursue white Zimbabwean farmers under the sensitive banner issue of land reform was a key turning point in his 37-year rule and put the nail in the coffin for his relationship with former colonial power Britain and other western countries. Many white commercial farmers, responsible for large chunks of the agriculture-led economy, fled the country, some feared for their lives. The fallout cost Zimbabwe international economic partners and investors also departed as the economy spiraled out of control.

Mnangagwa had already during his inauguration speech that the land reform policy will not be reversed but also made assurances that his administration will seek to champion property rights. Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said this week the government will open dialogue with affected commercial farmers to make “appropriate compensation”.

Chris Mutsvangwa, the information minister said the government is investigating illegal farm take-overs.

Zimbabwe is desperate to drum up growth in the agriculture sector which has suffered collapse under Mugabe. Economists in Zimbabwe say the new policy to compensate farmers is aimed at drumming up economic support from the international community through correction to bad policy implementation. Mnangagwa has all but scrapped the indigenization policy that sought to put the control of foreign firms in the hands of black Zimbabwean groups although platinum and diamond miners will still be required to cede majority shares to local groups.

“Land that was taken away has to be compensated and this is something that the government has neglected over the past years. It is time to show goodwill and to express a reformist attitude for the new administration,” said Zimbabwe economist Moses Moyo.

Although the black farmers were resettled on prime commercial land, production has nose-dived and Chinamasa will seek to address this through ensuring that land is in the hands of those who are able to utilise it. Zimbabwe has premised its 3% economic growth prospects for this year on growth in the agriculture sector and is also punting a 4.5% economic growth projection for 2018 on the sector, alongside expected recovery in mining output.

“Beneficiaries of the Land Reform Programme are required to fully utilize the land and improve on productivity. Idle land represents dead capital and promotes speculative tendencies, if not checked on the part of the land holders,” added Chinamasa.

The post Zimbabwe’s White Farmers Will Get Compensation—But They’re Not Getting Land Back appeared first on American Renaissance.

Tanzanian President Magufuli Pardons Child Rapists

Children’s rights activists have condemned the pardon of two child rapists by the Tanzanian president.

Kate McAlpine, director of the Arusha-based Community for Children Rights, told the BBC she was “horrified but unsurprised”.

John Magufuli made the pardon in his independence day speech on Saturday.

Singer Nguza Viking, known as Babu Seya, and his son Johnson Nguza, known as Papii Kocha, were pardoned for raping 10 primary schoolgirls.

The president selected a group of prisoners to be released, who he said had corrected their behaviour.

Ms McAlpine said the pardon illustrated Mr Magufuli showed a “lack of understanding about violence against children”.

She linked this latest speech to his June announcement where he banned pregnant schoolgirls from returning to school.

“He has a blind spot when it comes to recognising children as victims. Pregnant schoolgirls are pregnant because they are victims of violence.”

Childrens’ rights activist Helen Kijo Bisimba told the BBC’s Munira Hussein in Dar es Salaam that “forgiving those criminals will add more pain to the family and parents”.

She added that she is campaigning to change the constitution to ban the president from doing the same thing again.

Child rape cases in Tanzania tend to be dealt with between families, or rapists have been known to pay off police and court staff, Ms McAlpine said.

“It’s extremely rare for child rape cases to get to court in Tanzania,” she said, and even rarer for the culprits to get life sentences.

Despite this, Viking and Nguza were sentenced to life in prison for raping 10 girls in 2003 aged between six and eight years who were pupils at a primary school in the Tanzanian city Dar es Salaam.

They had served 13 years of their sentence when they were released on Saturday.

Local media say the singers were met by cheering crowds when they emerged from jail.

The post Tanzanian President Magufuli Pardons Child Rapists appeared first on American Renaissance.

Anti-Migrant Leader Pushes to Win National Power in Italy

The leader of an Italian party that hopes to capitalize on growing resentment of migrants and asylum-seekers told supporters in Rome Sunday it would be “splendid” if he wins national elections and his government can issue one-way tickets home to undeserving refugees.

Matteo Salvini wants to propel his anti-migrant Northern League, which was founded in 1991 as a regional party in Italy’s affluent north, to its first premiership in the national election set for early 2018.

To do so, Salvini needs to build support in the south, an underdeveloped area of Italy the League has long denigrated as living off government aid.

{snip}

Domeniconi was referring to the hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers and economic migrants that have received shelter in Italy after being rescued at sea from traffickers’ boats setting out from the Libyan coast.

Opinion surveys have found that many Italians blame the newcomers for crime.

“The Salvini government will have the (nation’s) doors wide open for women and children who are fleeing war, but not for those bringing war to our home,” Salvini told the rally. For the latter, “we need one-way tickets to send them back.”

{snip}

Currently, children born in Italy to migrants with long-term residence permits have to wait until they reach age 18 to seek Italian citizenship. The proposed law would make children as young as 12 who are born in Italy, as well as those arriving as youngsters, eligible to request citizenship after five years of schooling in Italy.

Saying that citizenship “isn’t an electoral gift,” Salvini told the approving crowd that the legislation “won’t happen thanks to the League and you.”

{snip}

Salvini at the rally heaped praise on U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the former for tax reform and fighting illegal immigration and the latter for “defending values and national borders.”

{snip}

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Brooklyn-Based Bangladeshi Cab Driver Caused Rush-Hour Panic in Manhattan When His ‘Revenge’ Pipe Bomb Exploded Too Early

A Bangladeshi national in his 20s has been taken into custody with serious injuries after a pipe bomb he was carrying malfunctioned and exploded prematurely inside a Midtown Manhattan subway station Monday morning.

It was the second time in two months that New York City was the target of a terrorist attack.

The explosion happened around 7:20am, in an underground tunnel linking the Port Authority Bus Terminal to Times Square. The underground tunnel is a major thoroughfare for workers during the morning rush hour.

The suspect, identified as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, was walking east towards Times Square when a ‘low-tech’ explosive attached to his body with Velcro and zip ties partially exploded. Another five-inch metal pipe bomb was found on his person.

A photo from the scene shows Ullah crumpled up on the ground of the tunnel as police took him into custody. He was then rushed to Bellevue Hospital to be treated for serious burns and cuts to his abdomen and hands.

Three other people also reported to local hospitals for minor injuries like ringing in the ears and headaches.

Law enforcement sources who spoke to the New York Post says Ullah is speaking to investigators at the hospital, and says he carried out the attack in revenge for his people.

‘They’ve been bombing in my country and I wanted to do damage here,’ Ullah, who has lived in the U.S. for seven years, said, according to the sources. Ullah added that he made the bomb at the electrical company where he works.

It’s unclear what violence Ullah was referring to, since Bangladesh is one of the U.S.’s largest allies in southeast Asia. However, it is home to many Rohingya Muslims, refugees from Myanmar. Violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar has intensified in recent months.

There have been reports that Ullah—a former taxi driver—was inspired by ISIS.

Law enforcement officials told the Associated Press that Ullah was inspired by the group, but not in direct contact with them.

So far, officials believe that Ullah carried out the attack as a ‘lone wolf’.

Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that the suspect ‘supposedly was setting the device off in the name of ISIS’ and that it was ‘definitely a terrorist attack, definitely intended’.

At a morning press conference, current NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said that the suspect ‘did make statements’ but that they are not going to comment on them yet.

{snip}

‘This was an attempted terror attack and thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals,’ Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

CNN reports that it appears the Subway was not the intended target of the pipe bomb, and that it may have went off prematurely.

They also learned that the device was homemade and could have caused catastrophic damage if it went off as intended.

{snip}

Police had cordoned off the block of East 48th Street in Flatlands where the alleged terrorist had been living and the bomb squad were on the scene.

Alan Butrico, owner of Locksmith hardware store on Avenue N in Marine Park, told DailyMail.com that a Bangladeshi family lives at the home the police had cordoned off. He said he believed three men, a woman and a child lived there and that there had never been any problems with them other than that they occasionally blocked his driveway.

Ally Mohammed, who works in the deli across the street, said the family are from Bangladesh and described them as ‘very nice, hardworking people’. He said that the suspect’s mother came into his store and was very pleasant and that his father owned a grocery store in the area.

Mohammed said that he believed the suspect lived with his brother, sister-in-law and their child, of around four years old. He said that he believed the brother had finished college and had a job in the city.

Akayed Ullah

He said he did not believe Ullah was married or had any children.

‘What he did has nothing to do with Islam, maybe he was brainwashed,’ Mohammed said

Kisslyn Joseph, 19, from Grenada, has been staying next door to the suspect’s home at her brother Kevin Alexander’s house.

She told DailyMail.com that she heard shouting from what appeared to be an argument on the phone inside the home on Sunday morning around 2am.

She said that the argument was in English but she was unable to hear what was being said.

Social worker Michael, 35, was commuting from New Jersey to Brooklyn when the chaos unfolded.

He said: ‘There were people running from various angles and screaming that someone had a gun. People were saying ‘just run, just go’. Everyone was looking around confused.

‘After a few minutes I think I heard another person say there was an explosion and that’s when people started to panic. There was a lot of chaotic shouting and screaming. I saw a guy spring past me and as people scattered the crowd began to hurry more and push through the doors.

‘There are escalators that lead outside and steps and people were running up to get outside. We are talking 50 or 60 people. People were running over each other at one point. It became like a domino effect as everyone tried to run through the doors.

‘We got out and I ran across the street to 41st. I could hear sirens going off and people were grabbing their phones and calling home. Everyone was quite panicked and shook up.’

He added: ‘It’s scary. I’m quite on edge now.’

Video from above the ‘Crossroads of the World’ showed lines of police and emergency vehicles, their lights flashing, lining the streets and no other vehicle traffic moving.

Everything around the Port Authority in the 42nd Street area was shut down while police investigated the bombing – a surreal scene of what would ordinarily be a bustling rush hour.

{snip}

The attack also comes on the heels of a Muslim day of rage in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, last week where thousands of Muslims protested over President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The decision—which breaks with decades of tradition in international policy—has drawn widespread criticism from Muslims and Christians around the world.

Previous presidents have refrained from such direct involvement in the Middle East’s historic conflict but Trump proudly waded in. Moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a campaign promise which he now boasts about fulfilling.

{snip}

The post Brooklyn-Based Bangladeshi Cab Driver Caused Rush-Hour Panic in Manhattan When His ‘Revenge’ Pipe Bomb Exploded Too Early appeared first on American Renaissance.

Woman Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime in Beating of Disabled Teen Live on Facebook

A Chicago woman who live-streamed video of the racially charged beating of a teen with mental disabilities pleaded guilty Friday to a hate crime and was sentenced to four years of probation.

Calling the incident “horrific,” Cook County Circuit Judge William Hooks banned Covington from social media over the four years, prohibited her from contact with two of her co-defendants and ordered her to do 200 hours of community service.

{snip}

Hooks said he hoped the strict terms of probation would put Covington on a more productive life path, but he warned she would face prison time if she violated any of the restrictions.

{snip}

Facebook Live video posted on Jan. 3, 2017, shows the verbal and physical attack of a mentally disabled man. The Chicago Tribune edited this video to protect the victim’s identity and for time.

The video, which sparked national outrage, focuses often on Covington’s face. She smokes what appears to be a blunt — a cigar stuffed with marijuana — while narrating some of the action.

Three others were charged in the incident: alleged ringleader Jordan Hill, 19, as well as Tesfaye Cooper, 19, and Covington’s sister, Tanishia, 25. Their cases are still pending.

The video, posted in January, shows the four — who are all African-American — cutting the 18-year-old white victim’s scalp with a knife, punching and kicking him and laughing as he was bound and gagged in an apartment on Chicago’s West Side.

{snip}

Among the abuse seen on the Facebook video, prosecutors have said, is one of the women laughing as she punches the teen; a male foot on the victim’s head; the teen groaning in pain as a male pulls a cord around his neck; and the victim screaming in fear when a male approaches with a knife, saying, “Should I shank his a–?”

At one point, prosecutors said, Hill and Cooper ordered the victim into a bathroom and forced him to drink water from the toilet.

The teen was bound and gagged, a sock placed in his mouth and his lips taped shut. With the knife, Hill then cut a chunk of the victim’s hair, cutting his head, and stabbed him in the left forearm, prosecutors have said.

The victim, who prosecutors said has schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was able to flee the building when the four co-defendants left the apartment to confront neighbors who had complained about the noise, prosecutors have said.

{snip}

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How to Think About Discipline Disparities

One of the things that makes the topic of discipline disparities so difficult is that it’s hard to untangle students’ behavior from adults’ responses. As Matt Barnum put it in a recent Chalkbeat article, “black and poor students have substantially higher suspension rates than white and more affluent peers. Figuring out why is tricky. Is it because certain groups of students behave differently, or because teachers and administrators respond differently to the same behavior?”

{snip}

Before we get to that, let’s try a thought experiment regarding the achievement gap, one I also ran past Barnum. African-American twelfth-graders are 2.6 times likelier to score below the proficient level on the NAEP reading exam than are white students. Yet no one but an extremist would chalk up the entirety of that achievement gap to racially biased teachers. To be sure, bias plays a role, as studies are finding that teachers tend to have lower expectations for children of color. Systemic inequality is certainly a factor as well, given that children of color are more likely to attend schools with lower funding levels and weaker teachers.

But almost everyone would acknowledge that some portion of the achievement gap—probably a large portion—is due to out-of-school factors. That’s been clear since the Coleman Report, and strong evidence is found in the fact that signs of this achievement gap start as early as two or three years of age. Tragically, children of color are significantly more likely to be raised in poverty, without fathers in the home, and by adults with relatively low levels of education themselves. All of these factors, on average, make an impact on academic achievement from a very early age.

{snip}

… Isn’t it likely that at least some of the suspensions gap stems not from racism or variations in discipline policies but from differences in student behavior—differences driven by poverty and the other out-of-school factors mentioned above? {snip}

So they did a clever analysis, looking at fights that pitted white students against black students, checking to see if students participating in such fights received similar penalties. What they found was that black students were 1.6 percentage points more likely to receive a longer suspension than were white students.

Put these two findings together, and they indicate to me that 1) educator bias is playing a role, but 2) it’s probably a small role (1.6 percent in the white/black fight analysis) versus a very big gap (black students suspended at 200 percent the rate of white students).

{snip}

But just as much of the racial achievement gap can be explained by out-of-school factors, so too, I suspect, can much of the racial suspensions gap be explained by differences in behavior that are driven in large part by those same background factors. Consider Tom Loveless’s findings from California, for example, that students from single-parent families were twice as likely to be suspended as other students. Because black students in the Golden State are about three times as likely to live in single-parent homes, this out-of-school factor explains a big part of California’s racial suspensions gap.

There’s also strong evidence, for example from this recent Arkansas study, that much of the suspensions gap happens between schools rather than within them. In other words, high-poverty, high-minority schools suspend a lot more students than lower-poverty, lower-minority ones. {snip}

{snip}

If this picture is even close to accurate, and discipline disparities are driven more by disparities in student behavior than by teacher and administrator reactions to student behavior, it has major implications. It means those of us (myself included) who want to reduce discipline disparities should be focusing more of our efforts on addressing student misbehavior, via better teaching, better counseling, stronger attention to character, more engaging environments, and stronger relationships among kids and between kids and adults in a school. It also means that civil rights officials should be incredibly careful about jumping to conclusions based on raw discipline data. (Though they should absolutely investigate specific complaints of discrepant and discriminatory treatment because of students’ race or other protected status.) What we shouldn’t do is make it hard or impossible for educators to use suspensions as one tool in their discipline toolbox, or embrace what amounts to quotas on student discipline, which could result in under-disciplining some groups of students or over-disciplining others.

{snip}

Making progress on this difficult issue is predicated on acknowledging an uncomfortable truth, one that can easily be demagogued: On average, due to a host of factors beyond their own control, including poverty, fatherlessness, and trauma, poor children of color are more likely to misbehave at school than are their peers. Saying so doesn’t make you a racist, it makes you a realist. And starting with the facts makes it much more likely that we will find our way to some real solutions.

The post How to Think About Discipline Disparities appeared first on American Renaissance.

Inside the Shady World of DNA Testing Companies

Should you drunkenly celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or Oktoberfest? Can you brag about your ancestors having first-class seats on the Mayflower? Do you need to feel extra, extra bad about slavery? All these questions and more can be answered by sending a vial of your spit off to a company like Ancestry.com, 23andMe, or Living DNA … in theory. But the reality of those businesses is a lot less science, and a lot more hustle. We talked with Morgan, who works for one of the major ancestry testing companies. He had some interesting things to say …

6 The Tests Aren’t As Accurate As They’re Claimed To Be

DNA is one of the most aggressively scientific acronyms in the English language. Look at this test results page!

But when Inside Edition had a set of triplets send their spit in to Ancestry.com and 23andMe, they got wildly different results from both services. Neither gave each triplet the same ancestry results — which, considering they all came from the same womb, is pretty weird.

“Tests can be a crapshoot. For DNA tests, they use genetic markers, which are little variations in the DNA one or several groups may have, but others do not. The more markers there are, the more accurate the test will be.”

Some companies may use 12, 37, or 67, while others claim to use more than 700,000 different markers. Any of those numbers can sound impressive with the right marketing spin behind them, but the simple fact of the matter is that nobody’s method is perfect. “The best we can do is give a certain range based on those markers (or show who they are most similar to), and sometimes we’ll move up a percentage point of an ethnic group if it doesn’t add up to 100 percent.”

Inside Edition found differences of over 10 percent between the triplets they tested. That is not a small gap. If you were off by 10 percent on a DNA test, you could technically be a mouse. Maybe it’s unreasonable to expect perfect accuracy from saliva you mailed to a lab. But a lot of people do anyway, and Morgan winds up dealing with their complaints.

“At least once a week, we’ll get a call from somebody who took two or three other tests and then ours, and complains about how different they are. Usually it’s 5-20 percent off, but we got an email from a guy showing how in one test he was 7 percent Irish, Scottish, and Welsh, then on another he was 33 percent, and then on ours 45 percent, and he wanted to know what was wrong with everyone. We wrote to him that each test is different because of the number and types of genetic markers used, which can skew data, but he wrote back and said that we were con men.”

Genetics experts from the University of Texas and the University of North Carolina have gone so far as to say that these companies are preying on people, because they don’t truly have the information they need to pinpoint your origins on a map, and that it’s not possible to trace unique ancestry that way. As they put it, “That’s the beauty of this scam. The companies aren’t scamming you. They’re not giving you fraudulent information. They are giving you data, real data, and allowing you to scam yourself.”

{snip}

5 They Might Tweak Results to Avoid Pissing People Off

Morgan admitted to having changed people’s results. “We only did this on rare occasions, when we knew they weren’t using it as means to harm someone.” A lot of this is done under the guise of having the tests line up with what the business already knows of the customer’s expectations. It’s easier to do that than to deal with an endless parade of clients who are intensely pissed off because they aren’t as Dutch as they expected to be.

“{snip} It pays to suck up to the people who pay you.

“One woman sent the packet out with green shamrocks and a green leprechaun hat on it. She was really proud to be Irish. She even said she was excited to see if she was 100 percent Irish. But the test found no Irish blood. It was half Eastern Europe, then a mix of different places in Germany and Italy, and even Greece.” Clearly, this woman’s family had either lied to her, been lied to themselves, or she was one of those stealth adoptions that happen every so often. “The consensus was that she would send a huge fit if she was shown not to be Irish at all, so we made her 20 percent Irish and highlighted our disclaimer about results not being accurate.” Or they could have put down “100 percent” on St. Patrick’s Day and still technically be right.

{snip}

It’s not unheard of for genetic tests to be altered. New York crime lab workers have sued the police for forcing them to change or ignore results, and The New York Times found that anything related to DNA, from Ancestry results to crime scenes, can be fabricated easily. North Korea disavows that Kim Jong-Un is a quarter Japanese, despite a lot of evidence to the contrary. So Morgan and his co-workers aren’t even close to alone in their little DNA-based white lies.

4 It’s Really Easy to Mess Up the Tests

There are a lot of ways to get DNA: blood, semen, bloody semen, etc. But Morgan’s company, and most of the industry, prefers to use spit. “We use saliva for our test. You get this vial in a packet we send, and after washing out your mouth with Listerine to kill all germs, you spit.” (If it’s just chewing tobacco spit, they’ll mark you down as “Alabaman” and leave it at that.)

{snip}

Another thing that complicates DNA test results: interracial lovemaking. “Sometimes the saliva looks good and we test it, but then the results show something really messed up. We had a few tests where the genetic markers where everywhere, on five continents. It’s really rare for that to happen. The percentage points were 10 percent in India, 10 percent in China, 5 percent Native American, 10 percent Sub-Saharan Africa, 20 percent Scandinavia-Norway. You can imagine. I called [some of these customers], I explained what the situation was and went down the results, and what always happened was that they would say yes to half, and no to the other half of the ancestry they knew. When we asked if they knew anyone who fit the other ancestry results, they would say, ‘Oh, my husband/wife/fiancee/boyfriend/girlfriend is!'”

{snip}

3 They Will Screw With Racists

“I only know of two times somebody wanted to be tested for being another ethnicity because they didn’t like that ethnicity. Both times, [they were] white people not wanting to believe they had black ancestors.” The first of these made an offhand remark that, “‘I’m hoping it will show people I’m not black.’ And not as a joke. He was serious.” The second customer was even less subtle: “He caught himself from saying the N-bomb. He said, ‘I want to know if any of my family are ni- black.'”

Morgan and his colleagues were caught between a rock and a really-want-to-mess-with-racists place. It would’ve been fun to throw a “10 percent West African” in there, but then they might have a pissed-off, dangerous person at their office, waving a gun. “Since we couldn’t do anything to the results (and we wanted to), what we did was add ‘< 1 percent’ to each African category of ethnicity. That way we weren’t lying, and they would both be wondering how much under a percentage point was. We always try to round to the nearest number because we sometimes hear about percentage points, but for them, we leave it open to whether it’s a one or a zero.”

It’s a compromise that’s elegant in its passive-aggressive simplicity. And it got a result. “The near-N-bomber wrote to us asking what that meant, and we wrote back that it meant it was under 1 percent. And we were not saying zero. Unless they got another test, that was going to bother them. Maybe they weren’t 100 percent Caucasian. I mean, they were, according to the results, but this way it leaves it open, and they’ll always be wondering.”

{snip}

2 They Uncover Hidden Family Secrets

Genetic ancestry tests have caused a lot of problems, from cops being treated differently when they suddenly learn they’re of mixed race to happy marriages ending when a test reveals hidden infidelities. So Morgan gets lots and lots of calls.

“The number one reason they call us after they get their results back is to contest something that exposed a family secret. Sometimes it was a parent not really being their parent, or an orphan who didn’t know their history now finding out that they were half Native American this entire time and needing someone to talk to.” Obviously, that kind of news would be shocking for anyone. But sometimes it goes well beyond mere shock.

{snip}

DNA testing has apparently been a real nightmare for parents who casually lie to their children. “A man who also found out he was adopted called us to say that he and his parents were now no longer on speaking terms. Everything had been fine until he took the test. His family was 100 percent Scots-Irish, and the tests showed him as 100 percent Eastern European. His family had never told him, and he made it until his 20s before finding out. There had been some big blowout, and he told me, ‘Your company ruined my entire life. I don’t even know who I am anymore,’ and he started crying. We didn’t ruin the relationship with his family, but I concede we probably provided the spark for it.”

{snip}

1 People Demand They Forge Their Results

“You would think there would be a lot of racists wanting black ancestry changed, but except for maybe two incidents, it hasn’t happened. Most white people who found out that they’re part black or part Native American have been quite accepting, if not a little excited. And black people who found out they’re part white have been the same way. It’s the sub-areas or implied ancestry that make people mad enough to call us.” Oddly enough, “most of our calls have been from people wanting to be changed from Italian.”

{snip}

It all comes down to pride, and the unfortunate fact that race matters a lot more to most people than they’re willing to admit. There are millions of folks out there who’d never argue one race is superior to another, but who’d fight you to the death if you dared to suggest they were German instead of Scottish. {snip}

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Religious Holidays Aren’t Represented Equally on Campus

It’s that time of year again, and Loyola has decked out its buildings with decorations for the holiday season. But Christmas gets more attention on campus than other religious holidays.

Although Loyola fosters a space for non-Christian religions to practice their faith — such as in the Damen Student Center’s second floor of Ministry Offices for Muslim, Hindu and Jewish students — there is a lack of public festivity compared to Christmas, such as decorations and activities of other religions’ holidays the entire student body could be part of.

Roman Catholicism is the largest religious group on campus, according to Loyola’s undergraduate admissions’ latest report. The report said the 2016 first-year class identified as 60 percent Roman Catholic and 40 percent other — Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox.

{snip}

Christmas is a Christian holiday, but is observed by many non-Christians, too. Muslims, however, celebrate two major religious holidays: Eid al-Fitr — a religious holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan (the month of fasting) — and Eid al-Adha, known as the Feast of Sacrifice.

Eid is celebrated on different dates each year because the Islamic calendar follows a lunar cycle, as opposed to the more globally used solar cycle. However, Eid al-Fitr usually occurs mid-June and Eid al-Adha occurs toward the end of August.

{snip}

So far, in honor of the Christmas season, Loyola has put up lights and trees in various campus buildings. The university participated in its Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony Nov. 28 in the Damen Student Center, which included Santa Claus, an ice rink, hot chocolate and art decorations.

But the Eid is celebrated only among Loyola Muslim students themselves, which includes a morning prayer service and a dinner, according to Ahmed. Decorations aren’t hung on campus buildings nor activities hosted by the university.

Last year, because the Eid fell during the school year, Ahmed said he had to continue his day with classes after the prayer.

“Eid [at Loyola] is a bit dampened just because you have to go about your normal routine along with Eid,” Ahmed said. “At home it’d be a big family thing, dress up and go to the mosque. We’d spend the day together and celebrate … compared to that, college Eid has been less.”

Ahmed said the lack of celebration impacts international students and students from out of state the most.

“The atmosphere [in Muslim based countries] is a lot different than [in the United States] it’s like Christmas here,” Ahmed said.

{snip}

“I think if the leadership is exposed to the Muslim voice, the voice who wants to make campus more festive for other holidays, I think that’s definitely one step,” Ahmed said.

Bryan Goodwin, associate director of the student complex, said demographics don’t guide the decorations during the holiday season.

{snip}

With other religions in mind, Goodwin said the university tries to be as general as possible with its decorations, including banners that say “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas.”

Goodwin said they’d be willing to incorporate as many religions during this holiday season and even during individual times, if those religious groups requested it.

“We feel that we do a good job at the student center of allowing other faiths to [join the holiday season],” Goodwin said. “We pride ourselves on wanting to make sure we’re aware. We always lend ourselves the conversation.”

Mozaffar also said he doesn’t think the Loyola administration would be opposed to putting up decorations for Muslim holidays, but the dates in which the Eid falls under makes it difficult to address because it happens toward the beginning of the school year. Mozaffar also said the MSA hasn’t proposed decorations either.

{snip}

“Will there be Eid celebrations on a scale of a Christmas tree? Demographically, I doubt it’s going to happen just because the prevalent holiday celebrated from the student body at Loyola is Christmas,” Ahmed said. “But if Eid was celebrated at the scale of Christmas, I would be so happy.”

{snip}

“People should at least know about [other holidays],” Singh said. “They’re smaller festivals, but they’re not small to the people celebrating them.”

Singh said it’s the responsibility of both student organizations representing other faiths and cultures and the university to publicly celebrate as many religious holidays on campus as possible.

The post Religious Holidays Aren’t Represented Equally on Campus appeared first on American Renaissance.

Hastings Says Never Told of $220K Settlement for Sex Harassment Claims Against Him

The U.S. Treasury Department settled a $220,000 sexual-harassment lawsuit on behalf of Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) in 2014, according to Roll Call.

But the South Florida lawmaker said he was never informed of any settlement.

“This matter was handled solely by the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment. At no time was I consulted, nor did I know until after the fact that such a settlement was made,” said Hastings in a written statement to POLITICO Florida.

{snip}

Hastings said the original lawsuit was dismissed in 2012 and that he was cleared in 2014 by the House Committee on Ethics.

The lawsuit was filed in 2011 by Judicial Watch, a public interest group. In the lawsuit, a former staffer on the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Packer, alleges she was the victim of “unwelcome sexual advances” and “unwelcome touching” by then-chairman Hastings.

Packer also claimed retaliation by the congressman and his staff director, Fred Turner, who also was named in the suit. The conservative judicial watchdog charged that Packer was unfairly targeted because she was a Republican serving in a commission ruled by Democrats.

{snip}

Alcee L. Hastings

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Welcome to the Hell Hole That Is Brussels

{snip}

When then-candidate Donald Trump noted in January 2016 that, thanks to mass immigration, Brussels was turning into a hell hole, Belgian and European politicians presented a united front at the (media) barricades: How dare he say such a thing? Brussels, capital of the European Union, the very quintessence of the post-modern world, the avant-garde of the coming new “global civilization,” a hell hole? {snip}

However, Donald Trump, in his unmistakable, brash style, was quite simply right: Brussels is rapidly descending into chaos and anarchy. Exactly two months after that dramatic Trumpism, Brussels was eviscerated by a horrific Islamic terror attack that left 32 people dead. And that was only the tip of the monstrous iceberg that has built up over three decades of mass immigration and socialist madness.

Last month alone in Brussels, there were three separate outbreaks of rioting and looting on a major scale.

First, there was the qualification of the Moroccan team to the soccer World Cup: between 300 and 500 “youths” of foreign origin took to the streets of Brussels to “celebrate” the event in their own way, looting dozens of shops in the historical center of Brussels, wreaking havoc in the deserted avenues of the “capital of civilization” and, during their riot, injuring 22 police officers.

Three days later, a social media rap music star nicknamed “Vargasss 92,” who is a French citizen of foreign origin, decided to organize another unauthorized “celebration” in the center of Brussels, which quickly turned into another riot. Again, shops were destroyed and people assaulted for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Short clips of the event streamed onto the social networks, showing the world (and Belgians) the true face of Brussels without the politicians’ makeover. {snip}

Finally, on November 25, the socialist authorities in charge of the City of Brussels had the bright idea of authorizing a demonstration against slavery in Libya, which quickly descended into yet another riot: shops were destroyed, cars set on fire, 71 people arrested.

This lawlessness, with not even the remotest political justification, is the new normal in Brussels. {snip} The new Brussels is characterized by riots and looting by people of foreign origin, as well as the ongoing heavily-armed military presence in the streets of Brussels, in place since March 22, 2016, the day that European Islamists murdered 32 and wounded 340 people in the worst-ever terrorist attack in Belgium.

One may wonder why these fine Belgian soldiers patrolling the streets do nothing to stop the rioters. For the simple reason that it is outside of their remit; should a soldier actually hurt a looter, he would probably be publicly chastised, pilloried by the media, put on trial and dishonorably discharged.

It would be funny if it were not so serious. After the first two recent riots, Belgian state television (RTBF) organized a debate with politicians and pundits from Brussels. Among the participants was Senator Alain Destexhe, from the center-right Reformist Movement (the party of Belgium’s Prime Minister).

Destexhe is an interesting figure in Belgian politics. In French-speaking Belgium, he has been among the few to say publicly that the mass-immigration Belgians are inflicting upon themselves is unsustainable, that Islam may not be such a peaceful religion, and that school classes in which 90% of the children are of foreign origin, who do not speak French or Dutch at home, are not a recipe for success{snip}

When, during this debate, Destexhe tried to make his point — that there is a connection between the non-integration of many people of foreign origin in Brussels and the decades-long high level of immigration — the moderator literally yelled at him that “Migration is not the subject, Monsieur Destexhe! MIGRATION IS NOT THE SUBJECT, STOP!”, before giving the word to a “slam poet”, a young woman who explained that the problem was that women wearing the Islamic veil (such as herself) do not feel welcome in Brussels. The audience was then instructed to applaud her. Also on the set was a Green Party politician who affirmed that “nobody knows the origin of the rioters.” Hint: they were, in their own idiosyncratic way, “celebrating” Morocco‘s victory. A great moment of Belgian surrealism? No, just a typical political “debate” in French-speaking Belgium, except that normally Destexhe is not invited.

The picture would not be complete without mentioning that the very night that the first riot began, November 11, an association called MRAX (Mouvement contre le racisme, l’antisémitisme et la xénophobie) published on its Facebook page an appeal to report any case of “police provocation” or “police violence”. The results of the riot? 22 police officers hurt, zero arrests. MRAX is not only a bunch of leftist Islamist sympathizers, they are heavily financed by taxpayers. {snip}

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Rep. Steve King: ‘Diversity Is Not Our Strength’

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said that diversity is no America’s strength in a pair of tweets Friday.

King linked to an article by the Voice of Europe Friday that quoted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban saying that cultures shouldn’t be mixed, arguing that it’s “against common sense.”

King tweeted the story with the message, “Diversity is not our strength.”

“Assimilation has become a dirty word to the multiculturalist Left. Assimilation, not diversity, is our American strength,” he tweeted.

King, one of the most vocal critics of immigration in Congress, has made controversial statements in the past, including praise for far-right European politician Geert Wilders.

{snip}

The lawmaker has also defended former Maricopa Country Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court for refusing to halt his immigration patrols but later pardoned by President Trump. King said that he doesn’t agree that “profiling is wrong.”

{snip}

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Contrary to Media Reports, FBI Hate Crime Statistics Do Not Support Claims of Anti-Muslim Backlash

{snip}

The annual release of the FBI’s hate crime statistics report has attracted little attention by the mainstream media in the past few years. The most recent report, however — revealing a rise in hate crimes targeting Muslims and whites in 2016 — has been greeted with more notice than usual by the daily newspapers; even CNN chimed in to highlight the results of the report.

The reason for the sudden interest in the report was that its data appeared to confirm some of the conventional wisdom about the impact of the U.S. 2016 presidential election on anti-Muslim sentiment in America. According to the report, compared to 2015, there were increases in most categories of hate crimes. The bulk of them were based on race, ethnicity and ancestry — with the total number of such incidents rising by 5%. Still, it is the increase in anti-Muslim crimes, which increased by 20% since 2015, that stands out.

As bad as that sounds, there are those, such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), who consider it to be merely another piece of evidence that America has become a hostile place for Muslims since the September 11, 2001 attacks – and particularly since Donald Trump began running for president. In fact, the ADL, which has long held that hate crimes are under-reported, due to the lack of uniform procedures for compiling data in different states around country, views the FBI report as simply the tip of the iceberg.

If the ADL is correct, it would be logical to conclude that hate crimes in America in general, and victimization of American Muslims in particular, may constitute a far greater problem than even the worrisome statistics indicate. In fact, they might mean that those who have suggested that the United States is an Islamophobic nation, as a 2010 Time magazine cover story did, could be right. The more one examines the FBI data, however, the less likely he is to reach such a conclusion.

{snip}

In the first place, the FBI statistics by themselves do not show the context of the rise in hate crimes and anti-Muslim incidents. What most of the stories about the report neglect to mention is that in 2015, the FBI changed its method of classification. Before then, ethnicity- or nationality-spurred hate crimes were designated as Hispanic or non-Hispanic. The FBI subsequently revised that classification, breaking down hate crimes into a variety of possible categories. As a result, the most recent data is misleading, making the incidents in which Arabs or Muslims were targeted appear to be more numerous than in previous years.

{snip}

Let us look at the actual data. In 2000, the FBI reported 28 instances of anti-Islamic crimes. In 2001 (the year of the 9/11 attacks), the total rose considerably — to 554 — but then went to down to 171 in 2002. It stayed at that level for most of the decade, dipping to 105 in 2008. In 2010, a year in which a controversy raged over ultimately aborted plans to build an Islamic center and mosque in place of one of the buildings that had been damaged by falling debris from the World Trade Center attacks, the number rose to 161. In 2014, it was 154.

The claim that the relatively small number of hate crimes can be attributed to under-reporting is implausible, given the cultural climate and plethora of media outlets eager to find evidence for Islamophobia. The lack of concrete evidence to support claims of Islamophobia is due to the fact that after 9/11 — and every other jihadist terrorist attack in America since then (such as the Boston Marathon bombing and the San Bernardino attack) — the U.S. government has gone out of its way to discourage anti-Muslim rhetoric and to differentiate the actions of a few fanatics from those of the law-abiding majority.

{snip}

The myth of a post-9/11 “backlash” against Muslims is politically motivated and spread by groups such as the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which presents itself as a civil rights group, but was founded to serve as a front organization for the terrorist group Hamas. The effort to persuade the public that America is Islamophobic stemmed largely from the aim to shift the narrative about terrorism to that of an Islamist war on the West to one according to which Muslims are terrorized by and in the United States.

{snip

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Sailor Staged Racist Vandalism, Navy Says

A sailor who claimed someone scrawled racial slurs on his bed aboard an aircraft carrier —sparking a viral Facebook post in the process — staged the incident himself, the Navy said Friday.

Marquie Little, a 27-year-old African American seaman, posted photos to Facebook on Nov. 15 under an alias that showed his rack on the carrier George H.W. Bush covered in trash and racial slurs.

“I proudly serve the Navy and this is what I’m receiving in return,” he wrote in the post.

“It’s not my first time being called a word such as that,” the aviation boatswain’s mate airman said in a phone interview later that month. “It puzzled me as to who would do it and why they would do it.”

But on Friday Cmdr. Dave Hecht, a spokesman for Naval Air Force Atlantic, said “a thorough investigation” conducted with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service found inconsistencies in the sailor’s account.

“A NCIS-supported command investigation following claims of racially-motivated vandalism aboard the (carrier) has determined that the alleged victim staged the incident himself,” Hecht said in an email.

{snip}

“He will remain a member of the crew and continue to perform his military duties,” Hecht said.

Little denied staging the racist vandalism, and said Friday that NCIS had not done a proper investigation, but did not elaborate.

{snip}

Hecht said that, while the Navy had disproven the sailor’s claims, it used the incident to provide additional crew training and reemphasize that vandalism and racism would not be tolerated.

{snip}

The sailor’s Facebook post had drawn nearly 20,500 shares as of Friday.

The Navy incident follows another one this fall at the Air Force Academy preparatory school, where racial slurs were found written on the dorm message boards of five black cadet candidates.

The Air Force later said that one of those five black cadet candidates had admitted to writing the slurs.

The post Sailor Staged Racist Vandalism, Navy Says appeared first on American Renaissance.

It Will Take More Than Single-Payer to Make Baltimore Healthy

{snip}

Images like these have long made Baltimore a poster child for the urban poverty that results from institutional racism—even more so after the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray and the protests that followed. By the latest estimates, more than 28 percent of African Americans in the city live below the poverty line. The poverty rate for Baltimore households headed by women—the vast majority of whom are African American—is far higher, 41 percent.

These numbers provide as much insight into the health crisis facing African American neighborhoods as MRIs or CT scans of the individuals living within them. Maybe more. Because poverty—and the racism that gave rise to it—is the overarching reason why the life expectancy in 14 of Baltimore’s predominantly African American neighborhoods is now lower than North Korea’s.

One of those neighborhoods is the one where Glenn Ross lives, Madison/Eastend, which is 90 percent African American and where the average life expectancy is not quite 69 years. Life expectancy in the nearby Baltimore neighborhood of Medfield/Hampden/Woodberry/Remington, which is 78 percent white, is 76.5 years.

The reasons for this disparity aren’t hard to find. Compared with Medfield/Hampden/Woodberry/Remington, Ross’s neighborhood of Madison/Eastend has a homicide rate nearly 12 times higher, a cancer mortality rate 66 percent higher, and an AIDS mortality rate more than 12 times higher.

{snip}

“There’s a difference between health care, which is critically important, and the array of social, economic, and environmental determinants of health,” says Dr. Brian Smedley, co-founder and executive director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity. “In fact, the health of populations is only minimally affected by health care. Some estimates are that only 20 percent [of a population’s health] can be explained by access and the quality of care.”

The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) estimate is less generous. In its report “Healthy Baltimore 2020: A Blueprint for Health,” BCHD points out that although 97 percent of health-care dollars are spent on the health-care system, only 10 percent of what determines life expectancy actually happens “within the four walls of a clinic.” The other 90 percent is decided upstream, where people live, work, go to school, and spend their free time.

{snip}

Some who “argue that we need to expand access to health insurance tend to also believe that if we achieve universal coverage, then racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic health care and status gaps will close,” Smedley says. “That’s simply not the case.”

What’s sending black people in Baltimore to an early grave isn’t that America lacks a Canadian-style health-care system. It’s the legacy of Jim Crow.

“Blacks should be quarantined in isolated slums in order to reduce the incidence of civil disturbance, to prevent the spread of communicable disease into the nearby White neighborhoods, and to protect property values among the White majority.” They could be words in South Africa’s Pass Laws, but they come from the text of a 1911 Baltimore city ordinance.

The ordinance was eventually overturned, but for all the difference that made, it may as well have stayed on the books. Baltimore whites had long believed segregation was fundamental to protecting themselves from the crime, “loose morals,” and illness that were presumably endemic to African Americans. City ordinance or not, Baltimore lenders, mortgage bankers, and real-estate interests conspired in plain view to keep black families from moving into white neighborhoods.

There was never any ambiguity about whether African Americans could get loans to buy houses in the city’s white neighborhoods, or any doubt that anyone who attempted to sell or rent to blacks would be penalized for it. In 1934, Baltimore’s homegrown segregationists gained a powerful new ally with the creation of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), one of the crown jewels of the New Deal, which, as a matter of policy, denied mortgage insurance to black people. The feds also established the practice of redlining, literally marking off African American neighborhoods on maps and designating those who lived within them, regardless of their income, as credit risks. At the same time, the FHA was backing loans for whites—essentially underwriting their exodus from the city.

{snip}

While redlining didn’t create TB, it was responsible for its phenomenal spread in Baltimore’s African American community, and the illness and death that followed. A century later, redlining continues to determine the health of the city’s black neighborhoods.

Today, according to a survey by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED, known today as Prosperity Now), 32 percent of black Baltimore households have no household net worth at all, and 67 percent have so meager a level of liquid savings that they could meet their basic expenses for no more than three months if they had a medical emergency or suffered a job loss.

The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and CFED report that if current trends continue, the average black household in the United States will need 228 years to accumulate as much wealth as their white counterparts have now. Wealth inequality, rooted in segregation, has made poverty an enduring fact of life in Baltimore. It’s the common thread to the social determinants that are robbing African Americans of their health.

{snip}

The experience of violence and degradation in black America, of course, has all too commonly come under the color of law. Police violence and abuse are a fundamental cause of the stress and trauma suffered by black people. Two-thirds of young African Americans say that they or someone they know has experienced violence or harassment at the hands of the police, according to a 2016 GenForward poll. Thirty percent of black men say they experienced it themselves. And hearing, reading, or seeing news coverage of police violence and harassment of black people can activate what psychologists call “racial trauma,” triggering memories of police harassment and other instances of racism that they and the people they know have experienced. Almost one in ten black Americans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

“I’d go there if I had an accident, but not if I had a choice,” he says. “He” is a retired Baltimore steelworker who’s shy about being quoted by name. “There” is Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital. Together with the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic, Hopkins is part of the trinity of top-ranked U.S. hospitals—a latter-day Lourdes to which sick people from around the world beat a path, hoping to find cures they’ll find nowhere else. But in Baltimore’s African American community, the hospital has a different reputation.

“They treat black people with disrespect,” he adds. “Whites get much better care.”

It’s a view shared by many African Americans. Many grew up having heard the story that if they played too close to Hopkins they might get snatched off the street for medical experiments. In their 2013 book Lead Wars, historians David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz revealed that as late as the 1990s researchers affiliated with Hopkins conducted a study that exposed children, most of them African American, to dangerously high amounts of lead.

{snip}

To what extent, though, does racism still affect the medical system at large? In 2015, The Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics reported on the findings of a study led by Dr. Monika Goyal of Children’s National Health System and Dr. Nathan Kuppermann and Sean Cleary of George Washington University. They found that “[b]lack children are less likely [than white children] to receive any pain medication for moderate pain and less likely to receive opioids for severe pain, suggesting a different threshold for treatment.”

{snip}

One change that would likely have a positive impact on the quality of health care provided to African Americans would be an increase in the number of black doctors. It’s not only a matter of African Americans feeling more comfortable having a black doctor; it’s that African American doctors may be more willing to see low-income—disproportionately minority—patients. In a 2015 New England Journal of Medicine article, Dr. David Ansell and Dr. Edwin McDonald wrote, “Black medical students are more than twice as likely as white students to express a desire to care for underserved communities of color. Our inability to recruit black men into medicine is alarming, given the urgency of racial health care disparities in the United States.”

By some measures, only about 5 percent of practicing physicians are black, and there’s little evidence that number is going to grow. In 2004, medical school enrollment for African American students was 7.4 percent, but by 2011 it dropped to 7 percent.

The reasons why have been talked over (and over) for years: Throughout K–12, schools aren’t identifying and encouraging African American students who may have an interest in medicine; schools attended by black children don’t have the same resources to teach science that predominantly white schools do; the shortage of black physicians means there are few role models; many black college graduates are unprepared to apply to medical school; and, of course, black students and their families can’t afford the staggering price of studying medicine.

For generations, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) like Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Meharry Medical College in Nashville trained the lion’s share of America’s black physicians. They’ve also struggled to survive financially. Now, with Donald Trump suggesting that federal support for them may be unconstitutional, HBCUs could be facing their toughest times ever.

One group working to counteract these trends is White Coats 4 Black Lives, or WC4BL, a national organization of medical students whose mission is “to eliminate racial bias in the practice of medicine and recognize racism as a threat to the health and well-being of people of color.” With 54 active chapters at medical schools across the nation, WC4BL says its primary goal, in the spirit of Black Lives Matter, is to put medicine’s racial disparities on the front burner.

{snip}

Despite the fact that the health crisis facing African Americans has less to do with access to insurance than with those other social determinants, the idea that health is rationed not only by class but by race hasn’t commonly been part of the current argument for universal coverage. That’s partly the result of political calculation. Talking about black people suffering poor health more and dying sooner isn’t likely the most persuasive argument for many white voters. When Republicans sought to repeal the Affordable Care Act, one reason they failed is that Medicaid had acquired so many white recipients (by virtue of both the ACA’s raising the income eligibility threshold and the downward mobility of the white working class) that it had become impossible for Republicans to get away with deriding it as a giveaway to blacks.

{snip}

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