Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Welfare State Kills Children

On February 22 a court in suburban Washington, D.C., passed judgment in one of the most horrendous cases of child abuse in modern times. Renee Bowman, the adopting parent of three girls, had for years starved, neglected, and beaten them, while keeping them locked night and day in their bedroom. She choked two of the girls to death and put their bodies in plastic bags and stored them in the freezer. The third girl escaped the house by jumping from a window.

At first glance, these child murders may seem an inexplicable, isolated tragedy; a closer look reveals that this outrage was constructed, piece by thoughtless piece, by the modern welfare state.

The first error came with the selection of Bowman as the adoptive parent. She was obviously a negligent and seriously deranged person who should never have been approved for adoption. Well, who approved her? The adoption had been supervised from start to finish by a government agency, the District of Columbia’s Child and Family Services. In theory, it was supposed to establish that Renee Bowman, the mother, was a suitable parent. In practice, it didn’t even notice—or care—that she had a criminal record, a rather glaring instance of “government failure” by this notoriously incompetent agency.

The next link in the tragedy concerns Bowman’s motivation for adopting the children. If she did not love children, if she saw them as a burden to her, such a burden that she considered them better off dead, why had she bothered with expense and effort of adopting them? The answer is money. In 1980, Congress approved a subsidy program to provide payments to parents who adopt children from foster care. I’m sure lawmakers thought it was a useful idea. If federal money can buy ethanol, they reasoned, why wouldn’t it buy adoptions?

Well, it does buy adoptions, but not high-quality ones. Worthy parents adopt out of love, conviction, enthusiasm, and dedication. They are willing to make real sacrifices for their children. Putting money on the table changes the mix of motivations. Yes, loving parents will still appear, but insensitive people who view children as an economic commodity also come forth. Renee Bowman was one of these insensitive, grasping types. She was being paid $2,400 a month by the federal government to be listed as the mother of these three girls; altogether she collected $152,000. “This woman was in it for the money,” said the prosecutor at the trial. “And by killing the children, keeping them literally on ice, the money continued to flow.”

Officials point out that without adoption subsidies to attract parents, children would languish in the state foster care systems. There’s some truth to this, but it exposes another flaw in the state system of handling orphans. Under government management, adoption from foster care has become a tortuous process, one burdensome and demeaning to prospective parents. The government agencies are so focused on trying to apply a host of bureaucratic regulations that they repel many prospective parents, especially independent-minded individuals critical of silly red tape and micromanagement. The result is that children languish in foster care, even though hundreds of thousands of prospective parents would like to adopt them. A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics found there were nearly 600,000 women seeking to adopt children, a figure over four times the total of 129,000 children in foster care available for adoption. The oversupply of willing parents holds for all categories of children, including older children, black children, and children with disabilities.

Adoption Impediments

The severity of government’s impediments to adoption was documented by a study undertaken in 2005 by Listening to Parents, a nonprofit research group. It followed 1,000 prospective parents who called a public child-welfare agency seeking to adopt. Out of this initial group, only 36 adoptions occurred.

Having inadvertently contrived a deplorably low adoption rate, government sought to correct the problem by applying government’s inevitable fix-all: throwing more money at the problem, in the form of adoption subsidies. They created a situation of moral hazard where a person like Renee Bowman might adopt children primarily for the money, and, lacking love and a sense of responsibility, might neglect and abuse them.

Bowman’s was not an isolated case. Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy reported in February 2009 that in the previous eight months at least seven adopted children in D.C. had been killed, their adoptive parents charged or suspected in the homicides. The number of children in Washington D.C.’s adoption subsidy program who are being neglected and abused in ways short of murder could easily number in the hundreds.

This brings us to the most shocking failure in this sorry episode. After the deadly consequences of the misguided adoption subsidy became screaming headlines, officials did nothing! They didn’t close down the program. They didn’t fire, fine, or imprison employees responsible for the miscues. They didn’t resign in shame and embarrassment. Jobs and careers depend on this program: It’s in officials’ economic self-interest to downplay its problems. The same is true of the pressure groups that represent parents taking the subsidy. Their attitude was captured by a Washington Post reporter: “Even with limited oversight, most children end up in safe and supportive families, advocates said.”

In the old days, before we got hardened to welfare-state abuses, we would have said that a system that resulted in even one murdered child was unacceptable. Today, the self-interested participants of the welfare state are content with a program where “most” of the children aren’t slain.

The solution to the travesties being committed by government child welfare agencies lies right before us: move away from the welfare state as fast as we can. Turn the problem of orphans, foster care, and adoptions back to private charitable and commercial entities, unsubsidized by tax money and largely unregulated.

Will errors occur in this voluntary system? Undoubtedly they will, but there could hardly be more blunders than government agencies now commit. And the voluntary system would have this advantage: When a private agency was implicated in a tragic malfunction, donors and customers would be free to turn away from it and the agency would disappear.

In today’s welfare state we have no way to eliminate or even significantly reform wrongheaded government agencies that monopolize human services. They continue to feast on our tax dollars no matter how deplorable the outcome.


What is a "Black Agenda"?

Mychal Massie, chairman of the Project 21 black leadership network, is critical of the premise of talk show host Tavis Smiley's upcoming March 20 conference that seeks to set a "black agenda" for America. "What is a black agenda?" asks Project 21's Massie. "Jobs, retirement income, education, cost of living, crime and so on are not black American issues. They are American issues. It's not predicated on race and color. So why is Tavis Smiley seeking to divide us when Americans should be coming together?"

Tavis Smiley, a PBS host, is set to hold a conference at Chicago State University on March 20 to discuss the alleged need for an exclusive political agenda for black Americans. Smiley has been critical of Barack Obama for not paying special attention to the black community and has taken black leaders to task for not pushing Obama to maintain a race-specific agenda for black citizens. Panelists at the event are reported to include noted left-wing luminaries Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, Julianne Malveaux, Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan.

"Project 21, the group I head, exists because there are those who would deny there is a diversity of opinion within the black community," noted Massie. "With panelists representing a political range from Jesse Jackson to Louis Farrakhan, it seems sadly obvious that Smiley's gathering will perpetuate this myth."

Talking to the Associated Press about his conference and black support for Obama during the election and the need for his March 20 conference, Smiley asked: "[N]ow that he's elected, what are black people being asked to do to hold him accountable to our agenda?"

"Obama is the President of the United States of America, he is not the president of black America," Project 21's Massie countered. "He can no more be expected to show preferential treatment to blacks any more than Jimmy Carter was expected to have shown preferential treatment to white southerners. Smiley, who recently abandoned his 'State of Black America,' is apparently feeling left out. This seems to be just another way for him to promote Tavis Smiley's race-mongering agenda."

Massie added: "One need only look at the cast malevolent marplots Smiley assembled as a panel to understand exactly what is taking place. I can assure you this is about them heretofore not being able to capitalize to the extent they would like from Obama being in office."


Britons powerless to remove illegal immigrants living in their back gardens

At first sight, the piles of rubbish and debris strewn across this garden make it look just like a rubbish tip. But on closer inspection, it is revealed to be a makeshift camp for desperate Eastern European immigrants. Around a dozen are camping out in residents' gardens, sheds and even their trees as they cannot afford their own homes.

Those who live in the street in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, have been told they are powerless to remove the trespassers taking shelter on their land. Groups of immigrants have moved into the gardens of at least six properties since November last year, leaving a trail of cider bottles, bags of human waste and drugs needles behind them.

Though homeowners have appealed for help, the police and council say they cannot arrest the trespassers - who have no passports and are mostly from Eastern Europe - because they claim it is a civil, not a criminal matter. The immigrants gained access to the land through an open alleyway and sleep on dirty mattresses, using rolled-up blankets as pillows.

Ian Treasure, 41, one of the homeowners affected by the camps, said a man named Joseph from the Czech Republic was living in his garden coal shed. Despite six phone calls to Peterborough City Council pleading with them to evict the immigrants and remove the mountains of dumped rubbish, he could not get the man to leave. Mr Treasure said: 'The area has become overrun. It is disgusting and the worst thing is that nobody is doing anything about it. Every day it gets worse. 'It all started in November. I was looking out of the window and I saw a mattress in my coal shed. I went out and it turned out I had a lodger there. 'I'm not sure how many there are because I try to stay away from them but I'm fed up because they regularly drink in our gardens and take drugs.'

Mr Treasure said he had asked the man, who speaks broken English and has scabs on his face, to leave dozens of times. 'The angriest I have got was the first time I saw drug needles there in January. I freaked out,' he said. Mr Treasure added that he was incredibly frustrated that the council and police had done nothing to help him. He added: 'The police's hands are tied. All they can do is just move them on and then they would be back so it would be a waste of time.'

Ricky Smith, 23, attempted to remove the squatter in his shed after catching him defecating on his lawn on Wednesday night. He said: 'I slung all his belongings into a pile and told him to get out. I haven't seen him since so hopefully he has got the message. 'I caught him defecating on my lawn, where my dog plays. I had to build a fence to keep him out of that part of the garden so my dog doesn't get ill playing in his mess.'

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said that the makeshift camps were not a criminal matter. He said: 'Anybody is allowed to use reasonable force to stop people trespassing and get them off their property - much like a bouncer in a pub or club. 'If there is some sort of confrontation then we can step in and prevent a breach of the peace, but we cannot act directly against the trespassers.'

A spokesman for Peterborough council said: 'We are aware of a number of people who are sleeping in these gardens. 'We will be working to help them access the services which are available to them.'

Peterborough's MP Stewart Jackson today said Labour had failed to deal with immigration problems that have led to jobless migrants camping in British gardens. The Tory MP said: 'The Labour government was warned that uncontrolled immigration would cause these sorts of problems. 'They have ignored Peterborough's needs and local taxpayers have been forced to foot the bill for their foolish and misguided policies.'


Hilarious! Australian students become the first "Aborigines" to attend Oxford University

I wish the young people mentioned in the news story below all the best but calling them Aborigines is a laugh. I have a blue-eyed, fair-haired sister in law who is also called an Aborigine. Such is the politically correct nomenclature used in Australia. That real Aborigines have black skin, dark eyes, flat noses and heavy features is supposed to be invisible, apparently. At least the guy on the right below has something of the distinctive heavy features.

Even Charlie Perkins was not much of an Aborigine. His skin was yellowish rather than black and his nose was as narrow as mine. Such people would once have been called "half-castes" or "quarter castes" and beyond that simply "whites", though it might occasionally be observed that such "whites" had "a touch of the tar-brush" in their ancestry.

In short, the people in this story tell you NOTHING about people of wholly Aboriginal ancestry, though the do-gooders no doubt will be pretending that it does. I think it is an imposture to keep referring to people as "Aborigines" when they are clearly nothing of the sort. It certainly does no favours to Aborigines to have people held out to them as role models who are in fact effectively whites. I know Aborigines well and they have their own great strengths and virtues -- but they are not the same as the strengths and virtues of whites. May I use "paternalism" as a descriptor of the nonsense below?

Paul Gray, left, and Christian Thompson sit with Rachel Perkins, the daughter of Charlie Perkins

When Australian indigenous leader Charlie Perkins played football against Oxford university students in Britain in the 1960s, he was inspired to forgo a contract with Manchester United and return home to pursue a university education. Mr Perkins eventually become the first indigenous person to graduate from an Australian university in 1965 and went on to become a prominent Aboriginal leader who campaigned for civil rights reform.

Now two students will study at Oxford in his honour, the first Aboriginal Australians to be accepted into the prestigious British university. Christian Thompson, 32, and Paul Gray, 26, were announced this week as the inaugural recipients of the Charlie Perkins Scholarships to attend Oxford University.

Mr Gray will develop research into the neurobiological processes in children as a result of traumatic events in early life as part of a postgraduate degree in experimental psychology.

Mr Thompson will undertake doctoral studies in fine art at the Ruskin School of Art where he will conduct research on the Indigenous Australian artefacts at the Pitt Rivers Museum’s Collection. Mr Thompson, an acclaimed artist who is currently studying at the Amsterdam School of Fine Arts in the Netherlands, described it as a “life changing opportunity”. “To be one of the first two Aboriginals to ever go to Oxford is pretty wild,” he told The Times. “It’s going to be exciting to be in an environment which is all about the pursuit of knowledge.” Mr Thompson will also hold a residency with the Blast Theory art collective in Brighton in August prior to starting his studies at Oxford.

For Mr Gray, it will be his first visit to Britain. “I’m really excited about it, it’s going to be such a great opportunity for us,” he said, adding that he is a little wary of the British weather. “Luckily I don’t feel the cold too much, so hopefully it’ll be ok.”

The pair will travel to the UK next month for an orientation visit to the university and will begin their studies in October. The scholarship is jointly funded by the British and Australian governments.

SOURCE (Andrew Bolt has a more graphic comment on the matter)


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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