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From To The Point News by Sean Collins


Amazing scenes from Baltimore: rioters throwing bricks at police, looting and burning down a CVS pharmacy and other stores, stomping on police cars and setting them on fire.

The rioting followed the funeral of Freddie Gray on Monday (4/27), a black man who died in police custody in uncertain circumstances. The next day (4/28), National Guard in camouflage patrolled the streets, and a curfew was imposed.

The rioters also burned down a housing project for seniors and a community centre, a $16million investment by the Southern Baptist Church that was due to open in six months. It was meant to be a sign of hope in a blighted area.

Reverend Donte Hickman, who worked for years on the project, said “My eyes have been filled with tears.” Of the arsonists, Hickman said “I can”t make sense out of nonsense”.

What is so sad about the degeneration of protesting over Gray’s suspicious death into rioting and arson is how self-destructive it all is. Rather than strike a blow against the police, the political authorities or “the system,” the rioters mainly hurt their own communities, making life worse for local people and even themselves.

And yet, despite the evident self-destructiveness, some were claiming that the rioters were “uprisers” that represented a “rebellion”. Morehouse College professor Mark Hill Lamont told CNN that the turmoil in Baltimore was “resistance to oppression” rather than rioting.

Salon commentator Benji Hart called the rioting a “legitimate political strategy”: “When we see police cars being smashed and corporate property being destroyed, we should see reasonable responses to generations of extreme state violence, and logical decisions about what kind of actions yield the desired political results.”

But there was nothing “political” in the rioting and looting. It wasn’t a continuation of protests by other means. In fact, in political terms, destroying one’s neighborhood is a big setback for those who want to have legitimate concerns about policing addressed and effect other changes.

Indeed, most people in Baltimore, including those in the deprived areas, do not see the rioting as being in any way positive or political. One resident, Clarence Cobb, told the New York Times he was heartbroken: “It’s sad, this don’t make no sense.” He added: “It comes to a point where you just got to take pride in your own neighborhood. This makes us look real bad as a city.”

Freddie Gray’s cousin, Carron Morgan, told a Baltimore Sun reporter: “This is not justice. This is just people finding a way to steal stuff.”

Many people’s image of Baltimore is shaped by the excellent TV series, The Wire, which examined the problems besetting the city from different angles. David Simon, the show’s creator, had a robust retort to those endowing the rioting with progressive content:

“The anger and the selfishness and the brutality of those claiming the right to violence in Freddie Gray’s name needs to cease… If you can’t seek redress and demand reform without a brick in your hand, you risk losing this moment for all of us in Baltimore. Turn around. Go home. Please.”

Later, when he was accused of blaming the victim, Simon replied: “Looting a CVS and some liquor stores and burning a senior centre site and the backs of some Federal Street rowhouses? Yeah, I got no problem showing my contempt for that.”

As we know from The Wire and elsewhere, the people of Baltimore, like those in many of America’s inner cities, do face enormous obstacles to getting on in life. Unemployment in Baltimore is high, with more than 50 per cent out of work in certain areas of the city, and many people are poor. Violent crime is more than three times the national average, and black men are incarcerated at high levels. Relations between the population and the police are seriously strained – and that can’t be neatly blamed on race, as Baltimore has for many years had a black mayor and a black police commissioner, and 40 per cent of the police officers are black.

The Baltimore Sun recently reported that “over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil-rights violations. Victims include a 15-year-old boy riding a dirt bike, a 26-year-old pregnant accountant who had witnessed a beating, a 50-year-old woman selling church raffle tickets, a 65-year-old church deacon rolling a cigarette, and an 87-year-old grandmother aiding her wounded grandson.”

In other words, Freddie Gray’s death was seen by many as only the latest example of a deeply disturbing pattern.

These are facts. Yet it does not follow that current circumstances in Baltimore provide the “fuel” for rioting or otherwise explain it. Commentary that effectively says “black people in Baltimore live in poor conditions, they are justifiably angry, so of course they are going to smash things up” is patronizing.

Most of those who express this view begin by saying “this is not to excuse…”, such as when Obama said: “There’s no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday.”

But Obama and others then quickly move on to outline a litany of conditions that somehow are supposed to explain the rioting. This is a more subtle view, seemingly analytical and sympathetic, but it betrays low expectations of local people. And based on interviews in the aftermath of the rioting, it is not how the people of Baltimore see themselves.

Too many are claiming that the rioting was predictable and inevitable. But rioting is not inevitable. Saying “Well, what do you expect them to do?” is not progressive; it is insulting.

A minority of the Baltimore population rioted. Essentially some people in Baltimore opportunistically used legitimate concerns about policing as an excuse for destructive, illegitimate ends. This does not mean that it is not serious.

Attempts to downplay the rioting as no big deal, and to blame the media for covering it (like when City Council president Bernard Young says he is “disturbed by the way the media is focusing on the negativity of this city”), are an evasion. But it does mean that there is the potential for the majority to assert itself.

The rioting in Baltimore exposes a breakdown in social order and a vacuum of authority. Leaders, from politicians to the police, do not appear able to assert and obtain authority. They have all seemed to be caught off-guard and out of touch, especially with younger people.

The police in particular lack authority. They can’t command people simply with their presence in the way they once might have done, and they now have only two modes of operation: stand by, or go in with excessive force. And after authorities in Ferguson were widely criticized, both politicians and the police are not clear on what to do.

It is not just those at the top who lack authority. Parents, pastors and other community leaders do not seem capable of taking control, either. They are all appalled that this is happening, but seem one step behind.

In that regard, one mom, Toya Graham, has been rightly praised for stopping her son from rioting. In a video that went viral, Graham is seen pushing her masked son away from the crowd, slapping him on the head over and over, and screaming at him.

Not all support Graham – an Occupy activist said “the violent mother’s actions constitute second-degree child abuse” – but the popularity of the hashtag #momoftheyear shows that many do. That’s encouraging, even if moms on their own can’t solve all of the problems.

Those who have visited Baltimore will know that it is, despite its problems, a wonderful city. People are friendly and will call strangers “hon” (short for “honey”). Cuisine, culture and sports are all vibrant. The city is more than a poverty-stricken mess, and the people protesting, cleaning up afterwards and volunteering to help others are more representative than those who rioted.

The people of Baltimore have the potential to achieve their aspirations. But liberals do them no favors, nor show them true support, if they gloss over what happened, dismiss residents as inevitably prone to rioting, or try to glorify destructiveness and claim it is a form of political protest.

Sean Collins is a writer based in New York.

The Truth Rarely Gets Spoken

Orioles Executive Vice President John Angelos, son of majority owner Peter Angelos had this to say about the riots in Baltimore: The Truth Rarely Gets Spoken

“Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela, and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.

That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, an ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importance of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ball game irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.”

Fiddled Global Warming Figures

Christopher Booker wrote about fiddled global warming figures in the Telegraph, “Last month, we are told, the world enjoyed “its hottest March since records began in 1880”. This year, according to “US government scientists”, already bids to outrank 2014 as “the hottest ever”. The figures from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were based, like all the other three official surface temperature records on which the world’s scientists and politicians rely, on data compiled from a network of weather stations by NOAA’s Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN).

“But here there is a puzzle. These temperature records are not the only ones with official status. The other two, Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) and the University of Alabama (UAH), are based on a quite different method of measuring temperature data, by satellites. And these, as they have increasingly done in recent years, give a strikingly different picture. Neither shows last month as anything like the hottest March on record, any more than they showed 2014 as “the hottest year ever”.”

Here’s a graph of the raw data:
fiddled global warming figures

Looks to me that temperatures are the same as back in 1950, even with increased CO2. Here’s the same data adjusted to reflect global warming:

fiddled global warming figures

Why would someone do that? Because it is propaganda designed to convince. It’s a big lie designed to enrich someone’s pockets. It’s a hoax to seize power! It’s a way to put fear into the minds. It’s a crock.

Largest Bank In America Joins War On Cash

Largest Bank In America Joins War On Cash

I have cautioned investors for many years not to store gold and silver in safe deposit boxes, now Largest Bank In America Joins War On Cash. I said you may not be able to gain access to your box when you really need it. Now look what the largest bank in the U.S. is doing. Chase even goes as far as to prohibit the storage of cash in its safe deposit boxes. In a letter to its customers dated April 1, 2015 pertaining to its “Updated Safe Deposit Box Lease Agreement,” one of the highlighted items reads: “You agree not to store any cash or coins other than those found to have a collectible value.” Whether or not this pertains to gold and silver coins with no numismatic value is not explained.

Well Duh Hillary

Lack of Affordable Housing

Lack of Affordable Housing

The Richmond Times-Dispatch editorializes, about the disturbing report (commissioned by the Capital Region Collaborative, which is the offspring of the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission and the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce) that draws attention to the lack of affordable housing.
More than one-third of area households pay more than 30 percent of their income to keep a roof over their heads. Affordable housing has been an issue since before the housing bubble really inflated, and it has remained an issue after the housing collapse — which suggests the issue is systemic. The systemic problem is that regional inflation-adjusted housing costs have increased significantly, whereas inflation-adjusted incomes have increased very little, or not at all.

Looking at the chart above, the median household income is flat to down 5% since 2001 and median gross rent and median housing costs for owners are up 15% to 20% from 2001.

Politicians bemoan the fact that there is little in the way of affordable housing, yet the “barriers to entry” is a major reason for high rents and a systemic problem.

All builders face “barriers to entry” when they pursue a project. Among their biggest obstacles when building housing units are the high development fees and other demands on construction imposed by city governments. Throughout the country, our leaders preach the value of keeping communities economically viable. Yet their development restrictions are often so onerous that builders must charge excessively high rents in order to gain a return on investment. This also applies to commercial real estate.”
High rental rates usually cause families to buy rather than rent. Traditionally, buying a home is cheaper than renting. Studies show that families who own their homes pay just 22.1 percent of their income toward housing. The high rental rates bring on new supply of apartments until too many are built and the oversupply causes rents to shrink. When rates get low enough families find it cheaper to rent rather than buy.

Across the country rents have been rising. Nationwide, demand for rental housing by people between the ages of 25 and 34 has driven up rents to the point that in 2012 renters devoted an average of 32.9 percent of their income toward housing. The cost of rental housing is up 3.4% over five years. This should be a time of rising homeownership, yet, the homeownership rate in 2014 has fallen to 64.8 percent; it’s lowest in 19 years, according to U.S. Census statistics.
It’s a crazy time.

We have a new phrase. It’s called “cost burdened.” Approximately 35% of all households in the Richmond Regional Planning District are “cost burdened.” The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) established the term “cost burdened” to define households that need more affordable housing. HUD defines cost burdened households as “families who pay more than 30% of their income for housing… and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation, and medical care.” Households that pay more than 50% of their income for housing are considered severely cost burdened and may face even harder choices between paying for housing and other necessities. Approximately 15% of all households in the Richmond Regional Planning District pay more than 50% of their income for housing.
What is the solution? The Richmond Times-Dispatch suggests the solution to housing affordability is pay people more money. Housing cost burdens span all income levels, but are most common among households with low incomes (80% of AMI or lower) and moderate incomes (80-120% AMI). Of the region’s cost burdened households, more than three-fourths are in the low-income category. A family of four with a household income below $58,300 would be classified as having a low income.

If we made sure all workers made $29 per hour for a 40 hour week for 52 weeks, a worker would make $60,320 per year. No more top down approaches as the Report suggests. Just pay people more! It’s a crazy time.

Nobody thinks of the consequences, such as restrictions by Obamacare that are causing employers to hire workers for less than 40 hours per week; or the adjustments that will be made in prices. It stands to reason that if you pay a waiter $29 an hour, you will have to raise food prices to cover the cost. How about the means tested benefits a family receives because of their low income. Many of those benefits will be lost. How about higher incomes equal more taxes. I am not sure a simplistic solution of paying people more will really benefit the people you are trying to help.

Americans have worried for years and years about affordable housing. We have built housing that had to be bull-dozed because of massive failure. We have subsidized housing and passed that burden on to the 30% who pay taxes. No one has tried loosening restrictions on builders that would help them lower costs of building. Maybe we don’t need more government, but more market solutions.

2.7 Mag Off Oregon Coast

M 2.7 – 18km NNW of Gold Beach, Oregon

42.573°N 124.479°W


Some Hillary Stuff

Jack Kelly writing at To The Point News gives us some Hillary Stuff. Hillary announced her candidacy for president Sunday with a tweet and an insipid video. There were lots of glitches in the rollout, but she is campaigning exactly as an unlikeable candidate with stale, unpopular ideas, a record devoid of accomplishment, and a closet full of scandals ought to campaign.”

“Hillary should join Guardians of the Galaxy, because she’s always talking to plants,” said Jim Treacher.

In a planned luncheon with plants, Hillary didn’t leave a tip, but few of the Lying Swine (the MSM) mentioned that.

4.2 Magnitude Strikes Offshore Oregon

M 4.2 – 203km W of Bandon, Oregon

43.431°N 126.875°W
10.0 km

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