Briefly Noted: February 2014

Radical Bill de Blasio, New York City’s newly sworn in 109th mayor, owes his political existence to Bertha Lewis, former chief organizer of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). Lewis played a “critical behind-the-scenes” role in de Blasio’s primary campaign, according to reports. New York ACORN’s successor group, New York Communities for Change (NYCC), endorsed de Blasio early last year. NYCC field director Harold Miller, a Lewis protégé, helped run the mayor’s field operation. Lewis stood behind de Blasio during his primary night victory address. De Blasio recognized the role that NYCC played in his campaign, tweeting, “Thanks to nychange members for coming out tonight!” Lewis gloated, “We’re baacccck. The right wing will have to deal with it.” Lewis is also a co-founder of the ACORN-affiliated Working Families Party and the ACORN spinoff group, the Black Institute.

The fact that in 2016 America’s largest metropolis as well as the critical battleground state of Virginia will be under the control of longtime Clinton loyalists is bound to assist the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. De Blasio was campaign manager for Mrs. Clinton’s successful U.S. Senate bid in New York State in 2000. Former Democratic National Committee chief and fundraiser extraordinaire Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton crony, was sworn in as Virginia’s 72nd governor on Jan. 11.

President Obama has nominated Debo Adegbile, a former head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, to be the nation’s top civil rights enforcer at the Department of Justice. During his time at the NAACP Adegbile tried to permanently free unrepentant Philadelphia cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has become a folk hero to the radical Left. Like Attorney General Eric Holder, Adegbile is a staunch affirmative action supporter. Currently he serves as senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.).

Fifty years after liberals launched their “War on Poverty,” Americans aren’t better off. In the State of the Union address on January 8, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “Let this session of Congress be known … as the session which declared all-out war on human poverty and unemployment in these United States.” A half a century later, federal and state welfare spending, adjusted for inflation, is now 16 times greater. The country has spent $20.7 trillion in 2011 dollars over the past 50 years on welfare programs, far exceeding what the U.S. has spent on every war it has fought. Yet “victory” in the War on Poverty is nowhere in sight. In 2012, 15 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line, roughly the same percentage as in the mid-1960s. Currently, around 50 million Americans live below the poverty line, which the government defines as a four-member family earning $23,550 a year. And 47 million Americans receive food stamp benefits, 13 million more than when President Obama was first sworn in.

The War on Poverty also gave taxpayers’ money to so-called community groups like ACORN and Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation in order to encourage them to agitate against the status quo. This, in turn, stimulated demand for more government spending as taxpayer dollars became a kind of ever-increasing subsidy for pro-big government activism. The federal government still hands out huge grants to left-wing groups to subsidize their efforts to take away our economic freedoms.

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