Story 1: Democrats Lose 50 Year War on Poverty Start 100 Year War on Work: Millennial Moocher Mania — Grow The Government Shrink The Economy and Employment! — Progressive Permanent Poverty People — Videos Videos
The Chicago professor examined the law’s incentives for the poor not to get a job or work harder, and this week Beltway budgeteers agreed.
By JOSEPH RAGO
In September, two weeks before the Affordable Care Act was due to launch, President Obama declared that “there’s no serious evidence that the law . . . is holding back economic growth.” As for repealing ObamaCare, he added, “That’s not an agenda for economic growth. You’re not going to meet an economist who says that that’s a number-one priority in terms of boosting growth and jobs in this country—at least not a serious economist.”
In a way, Mr. Obama had a point: “Never met him,” says economist Casey Mulligan. If the unfamiliarity is mutual, the confusion is all presidential. Mr. Mulligan studies how government choices influence the incentives and rewards for work—and many more people may recognize the University of Chicago professor as a serious economist after this week. That’s because, more than anyone, Mr. Mulligan is responsible for the still-raging furor over the Congressional Budget Office’s conclusion that ObamaCare will, in fact, harm growth and jobs.
Rarely are political tempers so raw over an 11-page appendix to a dense budget projection for the next decade. But then the CBO—Congress’s official fiscal scorekeeper, widely revered by Democrats and Republicans alike as the gold standard of economic analysis—reported that by 2024 the equivalent of 2.5 million Americans who were otherwise willing and able to work before ObamaCare will work less or not at all as a result of ObamaCare.
As the CBO admits, that’s a “substantially larger” and “considerably higher” subtraction to the labor force than the mere 800,000 the budget office estimated in 2010. The overall level of labor will fall by 1.5% to 2% over the decade, the CBO figures.
Mr. Mulligan’s empirical research puts the best estimate of the contraction at 3%. The CBO still has some of the economics wrong, he said in a phone interview Thursday, “but, boy, it’s a lot better to be off by a factor of two than a factor of six.”
The CBO’s intellectual conversion is all the more notable for accepting Mr. Mulligan’s premise, which is that what economists call “implicit marginal tax rates” in ObamaCare make work less financially valuable for lower-income Americans. Because the insurance subsidies are tied to income and phase out as cash wages rise, some people will have the incentive to remain poorer in order to continue capturing higher benefits. Another way of putting it is that taking away benefits has the same effect as a direct tax, so lower-income workers are discouraged from climbing the income ladder by working harder, logging extra hours, taking a promotion or investing in their future earnings through job training or education.
The CBO works in mysterious ways, but its commentary and a footnote suggest that two National Bureau of Economic Research papers Mr. Mulligan published last August were “roughly” the most important drivers of this revision to its model. In short, the CBO has pulled this economist’s arguments and analysis from the fringes to center of the health-care debate.
For his part, Mr. Mulligan declines to take too much credit. “I’m not an expert in that town, Washington,” he says, “but I showed them my work and I know they listened, carefully.”
At a February 2013 hearing he pointed out several discrepancies between the CBO’s marginal-tax-rate work and its health-care work, and, he says, “That couldn’t persist forever. There would have to be a time where they would reconcile those two approaches somehow.” More to the point, “I knew eventually it would be acknowledged that when you pay people for being low income you are going to have more low-income people.”
Mr. Mulligan thinks the CBO deserves particular credit for learning and then revising the old 800,000 number, not least because so many liberals cited it to dispute the claims of ObamaCare’s critics. The new finding might have prompted a debate about the marginal tax rates confronting the poor, but—well, it didn’t.
Instead, liberals have turned to claiming that ObamaCare’s missing workers will be a gift to society. Since employers aren’t cutting jobs per se through layoffs or hourly take-backs, people are merely choosing rationally to supply less labor. Thanks to ObamaCare, we’re told, Americans can finally quit the salt mines and blacking factories and retire early, or spend more time with the children, or become artists.
Mr. Mulligan reserves particular scorn for the economists making this “eliminated from the drudgery of labor market” argument, which he views as a form of trahison des clercs. “I don’t know what their intentions are,” he says, choosing his words carefully, “but it looks like they’re trying to leverage the lack of economic education in their audience by making these sorts of points.”
A job, Mr. Mulligan explains, “is a transaction between buyers and sellers. When a transaction doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. We know that it doesn’t matter on which side of the market you put the disincentives, the results are the same. . . . In this case you’re putting an implicit tax on work for households, and employers aren’t willing to compensate the households enough so they’ll still work.” Jobs can be destroyed by sellers (workers) as much as buyers (businesses).
He adds: “I can understand something like cigarettes and people believe that there’s too much smoking, so we put a tax on cigarettes, so people smoke less, and we say that’s a good thing. OK. But are we saying we were working too much before? Is that the new argument? I mean make up your mind. We’ve been complaining for six years now that there’s not enough work being done. . . . Even before the recession there was too little work in the economy. Now all of a sudden we wake up and say we’re glad that people are working less? We’re pursuing our dreams?”
The larger betrayal, Mr. Mulligan argues, is that the same economists now praising the great shrinking workforce used to claim that ObamaCare would expand the labor market.
He points to a 2011 letter organized by Harvard’s David Cutler and the University of Chicago’s Harold Pollack, signed by dozens of left-leaning economists including Nobel laureates, stating “our strong conclusion” that ObamaCare will strengthen the economy and create 250,000 to 400,000 jobs annually. (Mr. Cutler has since qualified and walked back some of his claims.)
“Why didn’t they say, no, we didn’t mean the labor market’s going to get bigger. We mean it’s going to get smaller in a good way,” Mr. Mulligan wonders. “I’m unhappy with that, to be honest, as an American, as an economist. Those kind of conclusions are tarnishing the field of economics, which is a great, maybe the greatest, field. They’re sure not making it look good by doing stuff like that.”
Mr. Mulligan’s investigation into the Affordable Care Act builds on his earlier work studying the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka the stimulus.
The Keynesian economists who dominate Mr. Obama’s Washington are preoccupied by demand, and their explanation for persistently high post-recession unemployment is weak demand for goods and thus demand for labor. Mr. Mulligan, by contrast, studies the supply of labor and attributes the state of the economy in large part to the expansion of the entitlement and welfare state, such as the surge in food stamps, unemployment benefits, Medicaid and other safety-net programs. As these benefits were enriched and extended to more people by the stimulus, he argues in his 2012 book “The Redistribution Recession,” they were responsible for about half the drop in work hours since 2007, and possibly more.
The nearby chart tracks marginal tax rates over time for nonelderly household heads and spouses with median earnings. This index is a population-weighted average over various ages, jobs, employment decisions like full-time versus part-time. Basically, the chart shows the extra taxes paid and government benefits foregone as a result of earning an extra dollar of income.
The stimulus caused a spike in marginal rates, but at least it was temporary. ObamaCare will bring them permanently into the 47% range, or seven percentage points higher than in early 2007. Mr. Mulligan says the main response to his calculations is that people “didn’t realize the cumulative effect of these things together as a package to discourage work.”
Mr. Mulligan is uncomfortable speculating about whether the benefits of this shift outweigh the costs. Perhaps the public was willing to trade market efficiency for more income security after the 2008 crisis. “As an economist I can’t argue with that,” he says. “The thing that I argue with is the denial that there is a trade-off. I argue with the denial that if you pay unemployed people you’re going to get more unemployed people. There are consequences of that. That doesn’t mean the consequences aren’t worth paying. But you can’t deny the consequences for the labor market.”
One major risk is slower economic growth over time as people leave the workforce and contribute less to national prosperity. Another is that social programs with high marginal rates end up perpetuating the problems they’re supposed to be alleviating.
So amid the current wave of liberal ObamaCare denial about these realities, how did Mr. Mulligan end up conducting such “unconventional” research?
“Unconventional?” he asks with more than a little disbelief. “It’s not unconventional at all. The critique I get is that it’s not complicated enough.”
Well, then how come the CBO’s adoption of his insights is causing such a ruckus?
“I would phrase the question a little differently,” Mr. Mulligan responds, “which is: Why didn’t conventional economic analysis make its way to Washington? Why was I the only delivery boy? Why wasn’t there a laundry list?” The charitable explanation, he says, is that there was “a general lack of awareness” and economists simply didn’t realize everything that government was doing to undermine incentives for work. “You have to dig into it and see it,” he explains. “The Affordable Care Act’s not going to come and shake you out of your bed and say, ‘Look what’s in me.’ “
Judging by their reaction to the CBO report, the less charitable explanation is that liberals would have preferred that the public never found out.
Mr. Rago is a member of the Journal’s editorial board.
Lawmakers Spar Over CBO’s U.S. Health-Law Findings
Questions Over Impact on Workforce Create ‘Hysteria’ on Capitol Hill
A new report outlining the effect of the Affordable Care Act on the labor market continued to reverberate on Capitol Hill Wednesday, with lawmakers in both parties saying the findings bolstered their view of how the law would play out.
Republicans at a House Budget Committee hearing said the report, released Tuesday, shows the health law will drive people out of the work force. Democrats countered that the report shows the law will give workers flexibility to leave jobs they are locked into because of health-care benefits.
The sparring came in response to a Congressional Budget Office analysis concluding that subsidies in the law, combined with easier access to health care, would create incentives for many Americans to cut their work hours, leading to a net reduction of 1.5% to 2% from 2017 through 2024. This would be the equivalent of reducing the labor force by 2.5 million workers in 2024, the CBO found.
“The effects we estimated are almost entirely choices by people,” CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said at the hearing. He said, for example, that the labor changes wouldn’t be driven by employers cutting jobs, but rather workers deciding to cut back on their hours to take care of their children, parents, or to pursue other interests.
The report struck a chord in Washington. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) said at the hearing that the analysis by CBO, a nonpartisan agency that advises Congress, had caused “hysteria.”
Many Republicans said the CBO confirmed their long-held belief that the law would have a direct impact on the labor market and harm economic growth. They said it would expedite the decline in labor-force participation, which is expected to worsen in coming years as more aging Americans drop out of the work force.
“These changes—they disproportionately affect low-wage workers,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said. “Translation: Washington is making the poverty trap worse.”
Democrats on Wednesday said the study confirmed their belief that the law would free many Americans from a phenomenon known as “job lock,” or the idea that people don’t change their jobs for fear of losing their health benefits.
“More Americans will be able to voluntarily, choose—choose—to work fewer hours or not take a job because they don’t depend on that job any more for the provision of health insurance,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) said. “Before the Affordable Care Act, if you lost your job, you lost your health insurance.”
Mr. Elmendorf stressed that the law’s impact on the labor market could be difficult to predict. He agreed, for example, with one Republican lawmaker who said that by reducing the number of hours worked by many Americans, it would reduce overall wages and lower the amount of money people paid in taxes from 2017 through 2024.
But he also agreed with a Democratic lawmaker who said the law could—in the short-term—create some new jobs by freeing up disposable income from workers who previously had to set aside money for health coverage.
The law’s impact on the labor market has drawn the focus of researchers since it was passed, in part because the law makes so many changes to health-care delivery that its broader economic impacts have proved difficult to predict.
A 2013 study by researchers at Northwestern University, Columbia University and the University of Chicago estimated the Affordable Care Act’s impact could be particularly acute, including among Americans who are near retirement and hang on to jobs to retain health care before they qualify for Medicare at age 65.
The study found the new law “creates a nonemployer option for health insurance that is going to be fairly priced for a large number of Americans, and that hasn’t been available,” said Craig Garthwaite, an assistant professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, and one of the study’s co-authors.
But he said there is a trade-off to the broader access to health care, and said “there should be some pause for concern here about any policies that actually weaken labor-force attachment.”
CBO Report Forecasts More People Will Opt to Work Less as They Seek Coverage Through Affordable Care Act
By LOUISE RADNOFSKY and DAMIAN PALETTA
The new health law is projected to reduce the total number of hours Americans work by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time jobs in 2021, a bigger impact on the workforce than previously expected, according to a nonpartisan congressional report.
The analysis, by the Congressional Budget Office, says a key factor is people scaling back how much they work and instead getting health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The agency had earlier forecast the labor-force impact would be the equivalent of 800,000 workers in 2021.
Because the CBO estimated that the changes would be a result of workers’ choices, it said the law, President Barack Obama‘s signature initiative, wouldn’t lead to a rise in the unemployment rate. But the labor-force impact could slow growth in future years, though the precise impact is uncertain.
Social programs in the United States
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Social Security Administration, created in 1935, was the first major federal welfare agency and continues to be the most prominent.
The programs vary in eligibility requirements and are provided by various organizations on a federal, state, local and private level. They help to provide food, shelter, education, healthcare and money to U.S. citizens through primary and secondary education, subsidies of college education, unemployment disability insurance, subsidies for eligible low-wage workers, subsidies for housing, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, pensions for eligible persons and health insurance programs that cover public employees. The Social Security system is the largest and most prominent social aid program.Medicare is another prominent program.
Not including Social Security and Medicare, Congress allocated almost $717 billion in Federal funds in 2010 plus $210 billion was allocated in state funds ($927 billion total) for means tested welfare programs in the United States–later (after 2010) expenditures are unknown but higher. As of 2011, the public social spending-to-GDP ratio in the United States was below the OECD average.
Total Social Security and Medicare expenditures in 2013 were $1.3 trillion, 8.4% of the $16.3 trillion GNP (2013) and 37% of the total Federal expenditure budget of $3.684 trillion.
In addition to government expenditures private welfare spending in the United States is thought to be about 10% of the U.S. GDP or another $1.6 trillion.
[hide]Characteristics of Households by Quintile 2010
Earners Per Household
Married couples (%)
Single Parents or Single (%)
Ages of Householders
65 years +
Work Status householders (%)
Worked Full Time (%)
Worked Part Time (%)
Did Not Work (%)
Education of Householders (%)
Less than High School
High School or some College
Bachelor’s degree or Higher
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Social programs have been implemented to promote a variety of societal goals, including alleviating the effects of poverty on those earning or receiving low income or encountering serious medical problems, and ensuring retired people have a basic standard of living.
Eligibility for welfare benefits depends on a variety of factors, including gross and net income, family size, pregnancy, homelessness, unemployment, and serious medical conditions like blindness, kidney failure or AIDS.
Drug Testing for applicants
Drug testing in order for potential recipients to receive welfare has become an increasingly controversial topic. Richard Hudson, a Republican from North Carolina claims he pushes for drug screening as a matter of “moral obligation” and that testing should be enforced as a way for the United States government to discourage drug usage.  Others claim that ordering the needy to drug test “stereotypes, stigmatizes, and criminalizes” them without need.  States that currently require drug tests to be performed in order to receive public assistance include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah.
A chart showing the overall decline of average monthly welfare benefits (AFDC then TANF) per recipient 1962–2006 (in 2006 dollars).
Some have argued that welfare has come to be associated with poverty. Martin Gilens, assistant professor of Political Science at Yale University, argues that blacks have overwhelmingly dominated images of poverty over the last few decades and states that “white Americans with the most exaggerated misunderstandings of the racial composition of the poor are the most likely to oppose welfare”. This perception possibly perpetuates negative racial stereotypes and could increase Americans’ opposition and racialization of welfare policies.
In FY 2010, African-American families comprised 31.9% of TANF families, white families comprised 31.8%, and 30.0% were Hispanic. Since the implementation of TANF, the percentage of Hispanic families has increased, while the percentages of white and black families have decreased. In FY 1997, African-American families represented 37.3% of TANF recipient families, white families 34.5%, and Hispanic families 22.5%. The population as a whole is composed of 63.7% whites, 16.3% Hispanic, 12.5% African-American, 4.8% Asian and 2.9% other races. TANF programs at a cost of about $20.0 billion (2013) have decreased in use as Earned Income Tax Credits, Medicaid grants, food stamps (SNAP),Supplemental Security Income (SSI), child nutrition programs (CHIP), housing assistance, Feeding Programs (WIC & CSFP) along with about 70 more programs have increase to over $700.0 billion more in 2013.
In 2002, total U.S. social welfare expenditure constitutes over 35% of GDP, with purely public expenditure constituting 21%, publicly supported but privately provided welfare services constituting 10% of GDP and purely private services constituting 4% of GDP. This compared to the “welfare” states of France and Sweden where welfare spending ranges from 30% to 35% of GDP.
The Great Recession made a large impact on welfare spending. In a 2011 article, Forbes reported, “The best estimate of the cost of the 185 federal means tested welfare programs for 2010 for the federal government alone is $717 billion, up a third since 2008, according to the Heritage Foundation. Counting state spending of about $210 million, total welfare spending for 2010 reached over $920 billion, up nearly one-fourth since 2008 (24.3%)”–and increasing fast. The previous decade had seen a 60% decrease in the number of people receiving welfare benefits, beginning with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, but spending did not decrease proportionally during that time period.
Impact of social programs
[hide]Average Incomes and Taxes
CBO Study 2009*
Tax rate %3
Taxes Pd. 5
Source: Congressional Budget Office Study
1. Market Income = All wages, tips, incomes etc. as listed on Income tax form
2. Federal Transfers = all EITC, CTC, medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), Social Security, SSI etc. received
3. Average tax rate includes all Social Security, Medicare, income, business income, excise, etc. taxes.
4. Net Federal taxes paid in dollars
5. Percent of all federal taxes paid
6. #W = Average number of workers per household in this quintile
7. % Net Income = percentage of all national income each quintile receives after taxes and transfers.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, social programs significantly raise the standard of living for low-income Americans, particularly the elderly. The poorest 20% of American households earn a before-tax average of only $7,600 – less than half of the federal poverty line. Social programs increase those households’ before-tax income to $30,500. Social Security and Medicare are responsible for two-thirds of that increase.
Public Health nursing made available through child welfare services, 1935.
Federal Social Welfare programs
Colonial legislatures and later State governments adopted legislation patterned after the English “poor” laws. Aid to veterans, often free grants of land, and pensions for widows and handicapped veterans, have been offered in all U.S. wars. Following World War I, provisions were made for a full-scale system of hospital and medical care benefits for veterans. By 1929, workers’ compensation laws were in effect in all but four States. These state laws made industry and businesses responsible for the costs of compensating workers or their survivors when the worker was injured or killed in connection with his or her job. Retirement programs for mainly State and local government paid teachers, police officers, and fire fighters—date back to the 19th century. All these social programs were far from universal and varied considerably from one state to another.
Prior to the Great Depression the United States had social programs that mostly centered around individual efforts, family efforts, church charities, business workers compensation, life insurance and sick leave programs along with some state tax supported social programs. The misery and poverty of the great depression threatened to overwhelm all these programs. The severe Depression of the 1930s made Federal action almost a necessity, as neither the States and the local communities, businesses and industries, nor private charities had the financial resources to cope with the growing need among the American people. Beginning in 1932, the Federal Government first made loans, then grants, to States to pay for direct relief and work relief. After that, special Federal emergency relief like the Civilian Conservation Corps and other public works programs were started. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s administration proposed to Congress federal social relief programs and a federally sponsored retirement program. Congress followed by the passage of the 37 page Social Security Act, signed into law August 14, 1935 and “effective” by 1939–just as World War II began. This program was expanded several times over the years.
After the Great Society legislation of the 1960s, for the first time a person who was not elderly or disabled could receive need-based aid from the federal government.[dubious – discuss] Aid could include general welfare payments, health care through Medicaid, food stamps, special payments for pregnant women and young mothers, and federal and state housing benefits.
In 1968, 4.1% of families were headed by a woman receiving welfare assistance; by 1980, the percentage increased to 10%. In the 1970s, California was the U.S. state with the most generous welfare system. Virtually all food stamp costs are paid by the federal government. In 2008, 28.7 percent of the households headed by single women were considered poor.
Welfare reform (1990s)
Before the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, welfare assistance was “once considered an open-ended right,” but welfare reform converted it “into a finite program built to provide short-term cash assistance and steer people quickly into jobs.” Prior to reform, states were given “limitless” money by the federal government, increasing per family on welfare, under the 60-year-old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. This gave states no incentive to direct welfare funds to the neediest recipients or to encourage individuals to go off welfare benefits (the state lost federal money when someone left the system). Nationwide, one child in seven received AFDC funds, which mostly went to single mothers.
In 1996, under the Bill Clintonadministration, Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which gave more control of the welfare system to the states though there are basic requirements the states need to meet with regards to welfare services. Still, most states offer basic assistance, such as health care, food assistance, child care assistance, unemployment, cash aid, and housing assistance. After reforms, which President Clinton said would “end welfare as we know it,”amounts from the federal government were given out in a flat rate per state based on population.
Each state must meet certain criteria to ensure recipients are being encouraged to work themselves out of welfare. The new program is called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). It encourages states to require some sort of employment search in exchange for providing funds to individuals, and imposes a five-year lifetime limit on cash assistance. The bill restricts welfare from most legal immigrants and increased financial assistance for child care. The federal government also maintains an emergency $2 billion TANF fund to assist states that may have rising unemployment.
Following these changes, millions of people left the welfare rolls (a 60% drop overall), employment rose, and the child poverty rate was reduced. A 2007 Congressional Budget Office study found that incomes in affected families rose by 35%. The reforms were “widely applauded” after “bitter protest.”The Times called the reform “one of the few undisputed triumphs of American government in the past 20 years.”
Critics of the reforms sometimes point out that the massive decrease of people on the welfare rolls during the 1990s wasn’t due to a rise in actual gainful employment in this population, but rather, was due almost exclusively to their offloading into workfare, giving them a different classification than classic welfare recipient. The late 1990s were also considered an unusually strong economic time, and critics voiced their concern about what would happen in an economic downturn.
National Revieweditorialized that the Economic Stimulus Act of 2009 will reverse the welfare-to-work provisions that Bill Clinton signed in the 1990s, and will again base federal grants to states on the number of people signed up for welfare rather than at a flat rate. One of the experts who worked on the 1996 bill said that the provisions would lead to the largest one-year increase in welfare spending in American history. The House bill provides $4 billion to pay 80% of states’ welfare caseloads. Although each state received $16.5 billion annually from the federal government as welfare rolls dropped, they spent the rest of the block grant on other types of assistance rather than saving it for worse economic times.
[hide]Spending on largest Welfare Programs
Federal Spending 2003-2013*
Medicaid Grants to States
Food Stamps (SNAP)
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Child Nutrition Program (CHIP)
Support Payments to States, TANF
Feeding Programs (WIC & CSFP)
Low Income Home Energy Assistance
* Spending in millions of dollars
The following is a short timeline of welfare in the United States:
1880s–1890s: Attempts were made to move poor people from work yards to poor houses if they were in search of relief funds.
1893–1894: Attempts were made at the first unemployment payments, but were unsuccessful due to the 1893–1894recession.
1932: The Great Depression had gotten worse and the first attempts to fund relief failed. The “Emergency Relief Act”, which gave local governments $300 million, was passed into law.
WIA Adult Employment and Training
formerly JTPA IIA Training for
Disadvantaged Adults & Youth
Food Stamp Employment
and Training Program
Native American Training
TANF Block Grant Services
Title XX Social Services Block Grant
Community Service Block Grant
Social Services for
Refugees Asylees and Humanitarian Cases
Safe and Stable Families
Title III Aging Americans Act
Legal Services Block Grant
Emergency Food and Shelter Program
Healthy Marriage and
Responsible Fatherhood Grants
Independent Living (Chafee
Foster Care Independence Program)
Independent Living Training Vouchers
Maternal, Infants and
Children Home Visitation
CHILD CARE AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Child Development Block Grant
Childcare Entitlement to the States
TANF Block Grant Child Care
CHILD CARE & CHILD DEVELOPMENT TOTAL
Community Development Block Grant
and Related Development Funds
Administration (Dept. of Commerce)
Appalachian Regional Development
Enterprise Communities Renewal
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TOTAL
TOTAL in millions (2011)
Social Security OASDI (2013)
TOTAL in millions
* Spending in millions of dollars
2.3 Trillion Dollar Total of Social Security, Medicare and Means Tested Welfare
is low since latest 2013 means tested data not available but 2013
“real” TOTAL will be higher
The Social Security program mainly refers to the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program, and possibly the unemployment insurance program. Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB), also known as Old-age Insurance Benefits, are a form of social insurance payments made by the U.S. Social Security Administration paid based upon the attainment old age (62 or older).
Unemployment insurance, also known as unemployment compensation, provides for money, from the United States and the state collected from employers, to workers who have become unemployed through no fault of their own. The unemployment benefits are run by each state with different state defined criteria for duration, percent of income paid, etc.. Nearly all require the recipient to document their search for employment to continue receiving benefits. Extensions of time for receiving benefits are sometimes offered for extensive work unemployment. These extra benefits are usually in the form of loans from the federal government that have to be repaid by each state.
Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over; to those who are under 65 and are permanently physically disabled or who have a congenital physical disability; or to those who meet other special criteria like the End Stage Renal Disease program (ESRD). Medicare in the United States somewhat resembles a single-payer health care system but is not. Before Medicare, only 51% of people aged 65 and older had health care coverage, and nearly 30% lived below the federal poverty level.
Medicaid is a health program for certain people and families with low incomes and resources. It is a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and is managed by the states. People served by Medicaid are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, including low-income adults, their children, and people with certain disabilities. Poverty alone does not necessarily qualify someone for Medicaid. Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with limited income in the United States.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a program administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides matching funds to states for health insurance to families with children. The program was designed to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid.
Per capita spending on tertiary education is among the highest in the world. Public education is managed by individual states, municipalities and regional school districts. As in all developed countries, primary and secondary education is free, universal and mandatory. Parents do have the option of home-schooling their children, though some states, such as California (until a 2008 legal ruling overturned this requirement), require parents to obtain teaching credentials before doing so. Experimental programs give lower-income parents the option of using government issued vouchers to send their kids to private rather than public schools in some states/regions.
As of 2007, more than 80% of all primary and secondary students were enrolled in public schools, including 75% of those from households with incomes in the top 5%. Public schools commonly offer after-school programs and the government subsidizes private after school programs, such as the Boys & Girls Club. While pre-school education is subsidized as well, through programs such as Head Start, many Americans still find themselves unable to take advantage of them. Some education critics have therefore proposed creating a comprehensive transfer system to make pre-school education universal, pointing out that the financial returns alone would compensate for the cost.
Tertiary education is not free, but is subsidized by individual states and the federal government. Some of the costs at public institutions is carried by the state.
The government also provides grants, scholarships and subsidized loans to most students. Those who do not qualify for any type of aid, can obtain a government guaranteed loan and tuition can often be deducted from the federal income tax. Despite subsidized attendance cost at public institutions and tax deductions, however, tuition costs have risen at three times the rate of median household income since 1982. In fear that many future Americans might be excluded from tertiary education, progressive Democrats have proposed increasing financial aid and subsidizing an increased share of attendance costs. Some Democratic politicians and political groups have also proposed to make public tertiary education free of charge, i.e. subsidizing 100% of attendance cost.
In the U.S., financial assistance for food purchasing for low- and no-income people is provided through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. This federal aid program is administered by the Food and Nutrition Serviceof the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but benefits are distributed by the individual U.S. states. It is historically and commonly known as the Food Stamp Program, though all legal references to “stamp” and “coupon” have been replaced by “EBT” and “card,” referring to the refillable, plastic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards that replaced the paper “food stamp” coupons. To be eligible for SNAP benefits, the recipients must have incomes below 130 percent of the poverty line, and also own few assets. Since the economic downturn began in 2008, the use of food stamps has increased.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a type of United States Federal assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to states in order to provide a daily subsidized food service for an estimated 3.2 million children and 112,000 elderly or mentally or physically impaired adults in non-residential, day-care settings.
Sessions Warns House GOP: Immigration Bill Is Bad Politics, Bad Policy
Offers a better way forward.
By DANIEL HALPER
Yesterday afternoon, before President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Senator Jeff Sessions’ staff hand-delivered to each Republican member of the House an important memo on the so-called immigration reform bill being debated on Capital Hill. The 3-page document, written by Sessions, argues that pushing the current immigration legislation forward is bad politics, bad policy, and that there’s a better way for Republicans.
Sessions believes House Republicans are at risk of falling into President Obama’s trap. “[A]ccording to news reports, House Republican leaders are instead turning 2014 into a headlong rush towards Gang-of-Eight style ‘immigration reform,’” writes Sessions. “They are reportedly drafting an immigration plan that is uncomfortably similar to a ‘piecemeal’ repackaging of the disastrous Senate plan—and even privately negotiating a final package with Democrat activists before consulting with their own members.”
It’s bad politics, Sessions writes. “In the rush to pass an immigration bill, there has been a near absence of any serious thought about the conditions facing American workers. The last 40 years has been a period of record immigration to the U.S., with the last 10 years seeing more new arrivals than any prior 10- year period in history. This trend has coincided with wage stagnation, enormous growth in welfare programs, and a shrinking workforce participation rate. A sensible, conservative approach would focus on lifting those living here today, both immigrant and native-born, out of poverty and into the middle class—before doubling or tripling the level of immigration into the U.S.
A sensible immigration policy would also listen to the opinion of the American people. Not the opinions of the paid-for consultants trotted out with their agenda-driven polls to GOP member meetings—but the actual, honest opinion of the people who sent us here. There is a reason why none of the corporate-funded ads for amnesty breathe a word about doubling immigration levels. According to Rasmussen Reports, working and middle class Americans strongly oppose large expansions of our already generous immigration system. Those earning under $30,000 prefer a reduction to an increase by an overwhelming 3-1 margin.
And bad policy, the senator from Alabama details. “Coordinating with a small group of the nation’s most powerful special interests, last year President Obama and Senate Democrats forced through an immigration bill which can only be described as a hammer blow to the American middle class. Not only would it grant work permits to millions of illegal immigrants at a time of record joblessness, it would also double the annual flow of new immigrant workers and provide green cards to more than 30 million permanent residents over the next decade. These new workers, mostly lesser-skilled, will compete for jobs in every sector, industry, and occupation in the U.S. economy.”
He adds, “House Republicans, in crafting immigration principles, should reply to the President’s immigration campaign with a simple message: our focus is to help unemployed Americans get back to work—not to grant amnesty or to answer the whims of immigration activists and CEOs. In turn, that message could be joined with a detailed and unifying policy agenda for accomplishing that moral and social objective.”
As for Sessions’ “Better Agenda,” he lays it out very precisely:
The GOP’s 2014 agenda should not be to assist the President in passing his immigration plan. Rather, it should be a consuming focus on restoring hope and opportunity to millions of discouraged workers. The GOP’s 2014 agenda should be a national effort—announced proudly and boldly—to reduce the welfare rolls and get America back to work, including:
More American energy that creates good-paying jobs right here in the U.S.
A more competitive tax and regulatory code that allows U.S. businesses and workers tocompete on a level global playing field
A trade policy that increases U.S. exports and expands domestic manufacturing
An immigration policy that serves the interests of the American people
Converting the welfare office into a job training center
Making government leaner and more accountable to U.S. taxpayers
Restoring economic confidence by continuing our effort to balance the federal budget
An all-out immigration push is inimical to these goals.
Rep. Ryan: GOP Looking at Legal Status, Chance for Citizenship
Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), a leading GOP advocate for tackling immigration, confirmed Wednesday that Republicans are looking to give illegal immigrants legal status right away, with the chance for a green card—and citizenship—down the line.
Officials familiar with the planning had said as much before. But Mr. Ryan is the first member of the GOP leadership to lay out the Republican vision publicly.
At issue is how to handle more than 11 million people already in the U.S. illegally. Most House Republicans oppose the Senate approach, whereby all qualified illegal immigrants would first win legal status, then have the chance to apply for legal permanent residence (also known as a green card), and then for citizenship. House Republicans call that a “special path to citizenship” that is unavailable to those who followed the law.
First, illegal immigrants would be offered a “probationary” status, allowing them to work while the government tightened border security and interior enforcement. Officials have explained that this would allow people to work legally while they wait for permanent legal status. (Officials have explained that this group could revert to illegal status if enforcement benchmarks are not met.)
Mr. Ryan said it would make sure that the Obama administration went ahead with the enforcement provisions. “We want to make sure that we write a law that he can’t avoid,” Mr. Ryan said.
After that, they would be eligible for a “regular work permit,” he said.
“If those things are met, you satisfy the terms of your probation, you’re not on welfare, you pay a fine, you learn English and civics, and the border’s been secured and interior enforcement independently verified, then you can get a regular work permit,” he said.
At that point, this group could apply for green cards using the same system available to any newcomer.
“That’s the kind of process we envision,” he said. “Which is not a special pathway to citizenship and it’s not going to automatically in any way give an undocumented immigrant citizenship.”
Some Democrats and immigration advocates have signaled that they could accept this approach, depending on the details. It’s unclear whether enough Republicans would feel the same. The idea will get its first full airing on Thursday afternoon, when House Republicans are scheduled to discuss immigration at their retreat in Cambridge, Md.
Story 1: The Stupid Republican Party Leadership About To Commit Political Suicide By Supporting Legal Status For 40 Million Plus Illegal Aliens — The Party Will Split and Their Base Will Stay Home On Election Day 4 November 2014 — Videos
Immigration Reform Bill May Offer Protections For Illegal Aliens Convicted Of Certain Crimes!
John Boehner’s Sad Excuses On Immigration Reform
Backing in G.O.P. for Legal Status for Immigrants
The House Republican leadership’s broad framework for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws will call this week for a path to legal status — but not citizenship — for many of the 11 million adult immigrants who are in the country illegally, according to aides who have seen the party’s statement of principles. For immigrants brought to the United States illegally as young children, the Republicans would offer a path to citizenship.
But even before the document is unveiled later, some of the party’s leading strategists and conservative voices are urging that the immigration push be abandoned, or delayed until next year, to avoid an internal party rupture before the midterm elections.
“It’s one of the few things that could actually disrupt what looks like a strong Republican year,” said William Kristol, editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, calling an immigration push “a recipe for disaster.”
At the same time, Republicans have seen their support from Latinos plummet precisely because of their stance on immigration, and the “statement of principles,” barely more than a page, is intended to try to reverse that trajectory.
The statement of principles criticizes the American higher education system for educating some of the world’s best and brightest students only to lose them to their home countries because they cannot obtain green cards; insists that Republicans demand that current immigration laws be enforced before illegal immigrants are granted legal status; and mentions that some kind of triggers must be included in an immigration overhaul to ensure that borders are secured first, said Republican officials who have seen the principles.
With concern already brewing among conservatives who call any form of legal status “amnesty,” the document has the feel more of an attempt to test the waters than a blueprint for action. House Republican leaders will circulate it at a three-day retreat for their members that begins Wednesday on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Several pro-immigration organizations that have been briefed on the guidelines say they are not intended to serve as a conservative starting point for future negotiations, but as a gauge of how far to the left House Republicans are willing to move.
The principles say that Republicans do not support a “special path to citizenship,” but make an exception for the “Dreamers,” the immigrants brought into the country illegally as children, quoting a 2013 speech by Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader. “One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents,” Mr. Cantor said at the time. “It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who know no other home.”
Even ardent proponents of an immigration-law overhaul are, at best, cautiously optimistic. In June, a broad immigration overhaul — with a 13-year path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants now in the country illegally, and stricter border security provisions that would have to be in place before the immigrants could gain legal status — passed the Senate with bipartisan support. But that legislation has largely stalled in the Republican-controlled House, where Mr. Boehner has rejected any negotiations with the Senate over its comprehensive bill.
“This is obviously a long, hard road,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat, who helped negotiate the Senate bill, “but I think since August, the number on the other side vehemently opposed has stayed the same, the number who think it should go forward has grown, and numbers in the wide middle are less opposed than they used to be. But that doesn’t guarantee an outcome one way or another.”
Republican Party leaders, backed strongly by business groups, have said an overhaul is critical if they are to repair their political position with Latino and other immigrant voters.
Barry Jackson, Mr. Boehner’s former chief of staff, is consulting for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which supports an overhaul that expands high-technology visas and guest worker programs.
But immigration is less of an issue during midterm elections, when immigrants are not as likely to vote and House members in safe districts are insulated somewhat from the wrath of more moderate swing voters. Often the biggest threats to Republicans are primary challenges from more conservative candidates who say that changing the immigration status of someone who is in the country illegally amounts to amnesty for a lawbreaker.
TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism
Giving Away Money Costs More Than You Think
Downsizing the Federal Government
Downsize the Department of Energy
Can We Eliminate the Department of Education? (Charles Murray)
$5 Billion Loan for Solar Energy — Department of Energy
Phil Kerpen on Neil Cavuto to discuss the DOE loan program
Our Ever Growing Dependence on Government
Obamanomics: A Legacy of Wasteful Spending
Why Does Big Business Love Big Government? (Domhoff, Rothbard, and Evers)
G. William Domhoff is a research professor in psychology and sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Who Rules America? (1967), Bohemian Grove and Other Retreats: A Study in Ruling-Class Cohesiveness (1974), and other books.
A prolific author and Austrian economist, Murray Rothbard promoted a form of free market anarchism he called “anarcho-capitalism.”
Bill Evers was a resident scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution (and is currently a research fellow there) and also served as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development in the U.S. Department of Education from 2007-09.
In this lecture Domhoff, Rothbard, and Evers talk about the “interlocking overlappers” that get together to influence the government, in California and in the country generally. They each spend some time describing what it is that draws businesspeople to market-capturing and rent-seeking behaviors, and take questions from the audience.
Walter Block – Free-Market Environmentalism [Australian Mises Seminar 2012]
How Murray Rothbard Became a Libertarian
The tide is rising for America’s libertarians
By Edward Luce
The new spirit in a rising climate of anti-politics has become an attitude, rather than a movement
Robert Nozick, the late US libertarian, smoked pot while he was writing Anarchy, State and Utopia. He would applaud the growth of libertarianism among today’s young Americans. Whether it is their enthusiasm for legalised marijuana and gay marriage – both spreading across the US at remarkable speed – or their scepticism of government, US millennials no longer follow President Barack Obama’s cue. Most of America’s youth revile the Tea Party, particularly its south-dominated nativist core. But they are not big-government activists either. If there is a new spirit in America’s rising climate of anti-politics, it is libertarian.
On the face of it this ought to pose a bigger challenge to the Republican party – at least for its social conservative wing. Mr Obama may have disappointed America’s young, particularly the millions of graduates who have failed to find good jobs during his presidency. But he is no dinosaur. In contrast, Republicans such as Rick Santorum, the former presidential hopeful, who once likened gay sex to “man on dog”, elicit pure derision. Even moderate Republicans, such as Chris Christie, who until last week was the early frontrunner for the party’s 2016 nomination, are considered irrelevant. Whether Mr Christie was telling the truth last week, when he denied knowledge of his staff’s role in orchestrating a punitive local traffic jam, is beside the point. Mr Christie’s Sopranos brand of New Jersey politics is not tailored to the Apple generation.
The opposite is true of Rand Paul, the Kentucky senator, whose chances of taking the 2016 prize rose with Mr Christie’s dented fortunes last week. Unlike Ron Paul, the senator’s father, who still managed to garner a large slice of the youth vote in 2008, Rand Paul eschews the more outlandish fringes of libertarian thought. Rather than promising an isolationist US withdrawal from the world, he touts a more moderate “non-interventionism”. Instead of pledging to end fiat money, he promises to audit the US Federal Reserve – “mend the Fed”, rather than “end the Fed”. Both find echo among the Y generation. So too does his alarmism about the US national debt. Far from being big spenders, millennials are more concerned about US debt than other generations, according to polls. They are also strongly in favour of free trade. More than a third of the Republican party now identifies as libertarian, according to the Cato Institute. Just under a quarter of Americans do so too, says Gallup.
All of which looks ominous for Ted Cruz, the Texan Republican whose lengthy filibuster against Obamacare last year lit the fuse for the US government shutdown. Mr Cruz, also a 2016 aspirant, leads the pugilistic wing of the Republican party that is prepared to burn the house down in order to save the ranch. Although also a Tea Partier, Mr Paul is cultivating a sunnier Reaganesque optimism that draws on the deep roots of US libertarianism. His brand of politics also strikes a chord with those who fear the growth of the US surveillance state – the types who view Edward Snowden (another millennial) as a hero rather than a traitor. Last year the US House of Representatives came within 12 votes of passing a bill to defund the National Security Agency. Mr Paul led the bill in the Senate. Next time they could succeed.
November 2012: While Obama lost ground among white male voters, his 2012 victory was the product of perhaps the most diverse electoral coalition in American history. Voters talk about how they interpret the president’s re-election
What does it mean for the Democrats? In terms of social values, libertarians are almost identical to liberals. Smoking pot and same-sex marriage both meet with big approval. The same is not necessarily true of guns. In spite of recent school massacres, 40 US states now have “concealed weapons” laws – many passed in the past 12 months. Again, millennials are surprisingly sceptical of gun control, say the polls. But it is on economic policy where they really part company with liberals. The Great Depression helped forge a generation of solid Democrats. The same does not appear to be true of the Great Recession. Franklin Roosevelt helped dig people out of misery in the 1930s by providing direct public employment. Mr Obama, on the other hand, has stuck largely to economic orthodoxy. He may have missed a golden opportunity to mould a generation of social democrats.
He has also inadvertently fuelled scepticism about the role of government. Mr Obama came to power in 2008 on a surge of voluntarism. He did so in part by appealing to youthful idealism about public service. That now feels like a long time ago. Distrust in public institutions has continued to rise during his presidency – most strongly among the youngest generation. The share of voters who identify as independents, rather than Democrats or Republicans, recently hit an all-time high of 42 per cent, according to Gallup. This is bad news for established figures in either party – and, indeed, in any walk of life. Hillary Clinton should beware. So should Jeb Bush.
On the minus side, libertarians have no real answer to many of America’s biggest problems – not least the challenges posed to US middle-class incomes by globalisation and technology. Nor are they coherent as a force. Libertarianism is an attitude, rather than an organisation. It is also potentially fickle. Young Americans disdain foreign entanglements. That could change overnight with a big terrorist attack on the homeland. They feel let down by Democrats and hostile to mainstream Republicans. Yet they could flock to an exciting new figure in either party. Theirs is a restless generation that disdains authority. Establishment figures should take note. Tomorrow belongs to them.
DOE says its energy-scoring software — called the Home Energy Scoring Tool – is like a vehicle’s mile-per-gallon rating because it allows homeowners to compare the energy performance of their homes to other homes nationwide. It also provides homeowners with suggestions for improving their homes’ efficiency.
The software is part of the government’s effort to reduce the nation’s energy consumption; but it’s also billed as a way to keep home-retrofitting going, at a time when stimulus funds for weather-proofing have run out.
The Home Energy Scoring Tool “can be a powerful motivator in getting homeowners to make energy efficiency improvements,” DOE says. “It’s also a great way to help trained workers enter the private sector energy improvement market as funding for weatherization efforts decline.”
DOE says its Home Energy Score is useful if you are a homeowner looking to renovate or remodel your home, lower your utility bills, improve the comfort of your home, or reduce your energy usage. Moreover, “the score serves as an official way to document these improvements and thereby enhance your home’s appeal when you’re ready to sell.”
Right now, getting your home scored is voluntary.
To produce a Home Energy Score, a trained, “qualified assessor” comes to your home — for a fee — and collects approximately 40 pieces of data about the home’s “envelope” (e.g., walls, windows, heating and cooling systems) during an hour-long walk-through.
Based on the home’s characteristics, the DOE software estimates the home’s annual energy use, assuming “typical homeowner behavior.” The software then converts the estimated energy use into a score, based on a 10-point scale (10 being the most energy-efficient). The 1-10 scale accounts for differences in weather conditions by using the zip code to assign the house to one of more than 1,000 weather stations.
In addition to showing the home’s current energy efficiency — or inefficiency — the score also shows where a home would rank if all of the energy-saving improvements identified during the home walk-through were made. That may prompt some homeowners to buy new windows or doors, for example, boosting the market for home retro-fitters.
DOE recommends getting a Home Energy Score “as soon as the program becomes available in your area.” The program launched in 2012, and at this time, only single-family homes and townhouses can be scored.
The scoring is available only through DOE’s participating partners, which include state and local governments, utilities, and non-profits. DOE does not determine how much an assessor charges to score a house. “It will depend on what the local market supports.” But DOE says its partners “have indicated plans to charge between $25 and $125 for the Home Energy Score.”
And yes, the size of the home matters because larger homes use more energy.
The Home Energy Score and the associated report is generated through DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory software. The 2014 version of DOE’s Home Energy Scoring Tool will be introduced at a webinar on Tuesday.
The Home Energy Score is similar to a vehicle’s mile-per-gallon rating, says the U.S. Energy Department. (Graphic is from DOE website)
DOE says more than 8,500 homes have been scored by the Energy Department’s growing network of more than 25 partners and 175 qualified assessors.
The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.
Cathy Zoi on the new Home Energy Score pilot program
Acting Under Secretary Cathy Zoi talks about the new Home Energy Score pilot program that was announced today by Vice President Biden and U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The Home Energy Score will offer homeowners straightforward, reliable information about their homes’ energy efficiency. A report provides consumers with a home energy score between 1 and 10, and shows them how their home compares to others in their region. The report also includes customized, cost-effective recommendations that will help to reduce their energy costs and improve the comfort of their homes.
200,000 homes weatherized under the Recovery Act
Home Energy Score Pilot Program Launched By DOE
Home Energy Score Qualified Assessor module 1 intro
‘Duck Dynasty’ Reversal Shows GLAAD Has an Expiration Date
A few years ago, I couldn’t imagine a network disregarding GLAAD’s recommendations
By Brandon Ambrosino
Phil v. The Gays. With which will we side? Or rather, against which will we side? This is the question that society demands we answer. Are we anti-Phil or anti-gay or anti-GLAAD or anti-A&E or anti- … ?
Perhaps no other word sums up the Duck Dynasty fiasco as aptly as the word “anti.”
Whenever I hear that someone is anti-this or that, I immediately think of the old quip about MADD – are there any mothers for drunk driving? – and ask myself if anyone is really in favor of the particular thing being protested. Since GLAAD has recently taken a hard-line stance against Phil Robertson’s “anti-gay” comments, I’ve been asking myself a similar question about defamation: Who among us is for it? Most of us are decidedly against defamation, although we choose not to publicly participate in institutional demonstrations to prove how against it we are. But, of course, GLAAD is an institution, and therefore their criticism reverberates at systemic levels.
Founded in 1985 in the wake of the AIDS crisis, GLAAD was formed to protest skewed coverage of LGBT issues and “to put pressure on media organizations to end homophobic reporting.” The original name was an acronym for “Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation,” and although the organization has recently rebranded itself by deciding that the letters G-L-A-A-D aren’t actually going to stand for anything any more, their reputation for protesting defamatory speech is well known both within and without the LGBT community.
It goes without saying that GLAAD has done a great deal of good for the LGBT community, and for that they deserve our applause and honor. As they noted in their announcement heralding their name change, their work continues to educate and influence the greater culture. Historically they’ve been a symbol of inclusion and tolerance, and they’ve worked tirelessly to infuse these values into our controlling media discourses. Frankly, though, I don’t think their hasty reaction to Phil Robertson displayed our LGBT community’s best values.
Before many of us even learned that Phil Robertson was interviewed by GQ, GLAAD had already convinced us that Phil’s words were vile and offensive, and called upon A&E “to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.” (I still wonder how many of us – commentators included – have read the actual story in GQ.) A&E offered its own kneejerk response to GLAAD’s kneejerk response, and placed Phil on “indefinite” hiatus, which then prompted some Evangelicals to offer up their own kneejerk response which had something to do with the freedom of speech and now – did I hear this correctly? – Chick-fil-A. In the end, after carefully reviewing all of the responses, A&E issued a final response explaining their decision to lift Phil’s suspension, which resulted in yet another predictable response from GLAAD. I’m not sure how we do it, but we manage to craft responses to our opponents without ever having actual conversations with them.
It isn’t shocking that a conservative Christian duck-hunter from Louisiana has opinions that GLAAD deemed “anti-gay,” and it isn’t shocking that A&E immediately kowtowed to GLAAD at the first drop of the word “homophobic.” What is shocking, however, is that A&E lifted Phil’s hiatus in spite of the fact that they knew GLAAD wasn’t going to be happy about it. A few years ago, I couldn’t imagine a network disregarding GLAAD’s recommendations. A&E is certainly setting a precedent – which makes me wonder about where we are today with queer politics.
In the ’80s and ’90s, GLAAD was necessary, if only because top media outlets needed to be reminded that journalistic ethics applied to AIDS coverage, too. But in 2014, how necessary is GLAAD? I don’t mean to suggest that the organization isn’t doing some good for our world – as I’ve already noted, they are! But as America edges closer and closer to unqualified and full inclusion of LGBT persons, I wonder if an organization whose raison d’etre is to find and shame instances of discrimination isn’t just a bit archaic.
If our goal is to progress beyond defamation against LGBT persons, then that means GLAAD has a sell-by date. To put it in a different, albeit cheekier way: Defamation is good for GLAAD’s business. To bankrupt our society of LGBT defamation would certainly put GLAAD out of work. It’s hard for me to imagine I’m the only one who’s wondered about this. In fact, GLAAD’s recent name-change only confirms that their leadership has been reexamining and revising their purposes moving forward. Again, I’m not suggesting our world doesn’t need GLAAD: There certainly is a place for them. But A&E’s latest reversal should make us question what exactly that place is. http://ideas.time.com/2013/12/28/duck-dynasty-reversal-shows-glaad-has-an-expiration-date/
Related Posts On Pronk Palisades
God Is Behind Going Duck Crazy — Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson Suspended From Show For Expressing Views On Gays — Will Not Inherit The Kingdom of God — I’m With Phil — Photos & Videos
CNN’s Christmas Present For President Obama: Record Low Obamacare Poll Numbers
Brit Hume on Obama’s 43% Approval Rating: ‘I think these chickens are coming home to roost!’
MSNBC: Obama Poll Numbers At All Time Lows, Dragging Down 2014 Democrats
New Poll: Obamacare Approval Sinks To 31% Down 12 Points Since Oct – Rolling Collapses – Varney
ABC: New Poll Numbers Brutal For Obama
What you missed on Washington Week: Obama’s poll numbers slipping
Democratic senator says Obamacare could have ‘meltdown,’ hurt party
President Barack Obama’s healthcare law could have a “meltdown” and make it difficult for his Democratic Party to keep control of the U.S. Senate next year if ongoing problems with the program are not resolved, a Democratic senator said on Sunday.
Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has urged delaying a penalty for people who do not enroll for health insurance in 2014 under the law, told CNN that a transitional year was needed for the complex healthcare program, commonly known as Obamacare, to work.
“If it’s so much more expensive than what we anticipated and if the coverage is not as good as what we had, you’ve got a complete meltdown at that time,” Manchin told CNN’s “State of the Union” program.
“It falls of its own weight, if basically the cost becomes more than we can absorb, absolutely.”
The White House has been scrambling for months to control the damage from the botched October 1 launch of the law, formally called the Affordable Care Act, which aimed at making sure that millions of Americans without health insurance are able to receive medical coverage.
There have been complaints from consumers about higher premiums than they previously had to pay for health insurance after their old plans were canceled because of new standards under the law, as well as lingering problems with the main web portal used to sign up for insurance, HealthCare.gov.
Manchin said Senate Democrats who are up for re-election next year are “feeling the weight” of the program’s woes and could have trouble keeping their majority in the chamber.
Republicans have been highlighting the healthcare law’s difficulties as they seek to gain the six seats they would need to win control of the 100-member Senate.
“It needs to turn around,” Manchin said of Obamacare. “I’m not going to say that I think we will lose it (the Senate). It’s going to be extremely challenging. We have some very good people who are truly there, I believe, for the right reason. They’re going to be challenged for the wrong reason.”
Obama acknowledged on Friday that that the bungled launch of the healthcare law was his biggest mistake of 2013. His public approval numbers have dropped to historic lows over the law’s debut.
The president said more than 1 million people have signed up so far for new coverage under Obamacare through HealthCare.gov, which services 36 states, and 14 state-run marketplaces.
A day earlier, Obama’s administration said people whose insurance plans were canceled because of the law may claim a “hardship exemption” to the requirement that all Americans must have coverage by March 31 next year or face a penalty.
Manchin, a conservative Democrat whose state of West Virginia has been increasingly trending Republican, has made no secret of his frustration over the program’s fits and starts.
Last month he introduced legislation to delay by a year the $95 penalty for failing to sign up for health insurance, saying Americans should not be penalized while Obamacare is going through its “transition period.”
Manchin does not face re-election next year, but some Democrats who do have also urged changes to the program, such as extending the open enrollment period beyond the March 31 deadline. One third of the Senate is re-elected every two years.
Segment 0: U.S. District Court Rules National Security Agency (NSA)’s Phone Surveillance Program Unconstitutional — Videos
Judge rules NSA spying program likely unconstitutional
Federal Judge Rules NSA Spying On All American Phone Calls Unconstitutional
OBAMA defends Massive NSA Spying PRISM program. Taps in to Data of Apple, Google, Skype, Verizon
Sen. Paul Applauds the Protection of Fourth Amendment Rights
Dec 16, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. Rand Paul today issued the following statement applauding the U.S. District Court ruling that deemed the National Security Agency’s (NSA) phone surveillance program unconstitutional:
“I commend U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon for upholding and protecting our Fourth Amendment rights. This decision represents an important first step in having the constitutionality of government surveillance programs decided in the regular court system rather than a secret court where only one side is presented,” Sen. Paul said. “In June, I introduced the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act which, if enacted, would have restored our Constitutional rights and declared that the Fourth Amendment shall not be construed to allow any agency of the United States government to search the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause. The NSA phone surveillance program is a blatant abuse of power and an invasion of our privacy. This ruling reminds the Federal government that it is not above the law. I will continue to fight against the violations of American’s Constitutional rights through illegal phone surveillance until it is stopped once and for all.”
Nelson Mandela Death: A Look at South Africa’s First Black President – Documentary
Nelson Mandela – Who was Madiba? Truthloader
Remembering South African leader Nelson Mandela
25 Things You Didn’t Know About Nelson Mandela And His Enduring Legacy
Randall Robinson on Nelson Mandela, U.S. Backing of Apartheid
A Tribute To Nelson Mandela (R.I.P) 1918-2013
The Right Wing Vs Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela & Fidel Castro: A Video You Won’t See on the Evening News
Desmond Tutu Blasts ANC South African Gov’t as Worse Than Apartheid
Mandela The Man and His Country
African National Congress Terrorists Captured (1988)
The Truth on the ANC and South Africa
Christopher Hitchens on the ANC, South African Apartheid, History, Desmond Tutu (1985)
100 Years of Struggle — Mandela’s ANC
Umkhonto we Sizwe(MK)
ANC – VIP’s of Violence Part 1 of 3
Part 1 of 3. A fully factual, well researched and presented documentary on the actions of the ANC that it was hoped would never surface in public – ANC – African National Congress, ruling party in South Africa. What was said in 1987 still applies today, most Black people have not seen a dramatic change in their circumstances……
Nelson Mandela never did renounce the use of violence.
ANC VIP’s of Violence Part 2 of 3
ANC – VIP’s of Violence Part 3 of 3
The Death Of Apartheid – The Whites Last Stand
Who is Nelson Mandela ?
Nelson Mandela Exposed: Communist ANC Ties & The Stupidity Of Black People
WATCH Bill O’Reilly Open Fire on Nelson Mandela: ” Great Man, But He Was a Communist “
Alex Jones: Nelson Mandela is “a horrible person”, “communist mass-bomber”
Racist songs of the ANC and Nelson Mandela- Part 1 of 2
Racist songs by the ANC and Nelson Mandela- Part 2 of 2
Nelson Mandela sings about killing whites
My tribute to vintage Nelson Mandela of South Africa.
NBC and ABC Bash Reagan as Pro-Apartheid During Mandela Coverage
South Africa Today: Did the Mandela Revolution Succeed?
November 30, 2010 | The relatively peaceful transition from apartheid to the beginning of democracy in 1994 was greeted around the world as the beginning of a new era in African politics. Professor Charles Villa-Vicencio, former national research director of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, offered an assessment of the positive momentum and the challenges facing his native South Africa sixteen years later. Assessing the tendency among some rulers of new democracies to resort to the authoritarian tendencies of the governments they have replaced, the question was asked as to what extent South Africa’s current rulers have consolidated and advanced the gains introduced by the Mandela administration. Special attention was given to the current political divisions within the ANC government and the economic challenges facing the country.
Charles Villa-Vicencio is a leading global authority in matters related to transitional justice and reconciliation. A distinguished theologian, he has published numerous works in various scholarly forums. His contributions extend beyond academics: from 1996-1998, he played a central role in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where he acted as national research director. Villa-Vicencio has used his insight and expertise to advise numerous countries dealing with the challenges of rebuilding their societies after periods of internal strife, including Peru and various African nations. Villa-Vicencio is the author of several books, including A Theology of Reconstruction: Nation-Building and Human Rights (1992) and Civil Disobedience and Beyond: Law, Resistance, and Religion in South Africa (1990). In addition, he has edited or co-edited various volumes, such as Looking Back, Reaching Forward: Reflections on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa (2000, with Wilhelm Verwoerd), and The Provocations of Amnesty: Memory, Justice, and Impunity (2003, with Erik Doxtader).
Former ANC Youth League President Julius Malema has officially formed a new political party.
Mandela began as a terrorist and never turned his back on monsters like Arafat and Castro, whom he considered brothers in arms. When he was released from prison by deKlerk, he showed unexpected statesmanship, counseling reconciliation rather than revenge, no small achievement in a country in which the “liberation” movement (led by Mandela’s wife and party) placed oil filled inner tubes around the necks of former comrades and set them on fire.
But if a leader should be judged by his works, the country Mandela left behind is an indictment of his political career, not an achievement worthy of praise – let alone the unhinged adoration he is currently receiving across the political spectrum.
Mandela’s Economic Legacy Threatened by S. Africa Inequality
By Mike Cohen
Nelson Mandela emerged from 27 years in apartheid jails in 1990 pledging to seize South Africa’s mines and banks. Four years later, his government slashed spending and courted foreign investors, paving the way for the longest period of growth in the country’s history.
The former president and Nobel Laureate, who died yesterday at the age of 95, was instrumental in getting the African National Congress, which led the fight against apartheid and has ruled ever since, to embrace an open economy.
“Only a Mandela could have realigned the ANC’s economic policy from the mindset of the 1950s, with the development state, with socialism, with nationalization, to the world of the 1990s and beyond,” Robert Schrire, a politics professor at the University of Cape Town, said in an interview. “He recognized that for the poor to prosper, the rich had to feel they had a future in the country.”
Yet Mandela’s legacy of economic stability is beginning to come under attack as the country fails to slash unemployment and reduce inequality. The jobless rate remains 24.7 percent, while average earnings for black households are a sixth of their white counterparts. The ANC’s youth wing last year waged a campaign for the nationalization of banks and mines, the very policies ditched by Mandela in 1994, and poor communities have staged a series of protests against a lack of housing and basic services.
The rand has plunged 19 percent against the dollar this year, the worst performer of 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg, and was trading at 10.4751 as of 1:32 p.m. in Johannesburg today.
“We still have racial unemployment, racial poverty and racial inequality,” said Sidumo Dlamini, president of the 2.2-million-member Congress of South African Trade Unions, the country’s largest labor grouping and a member of the ruling alliance. “Our country is still in white hands.”
Mandela’s embrace of spending rigor and foreign capital allowed the economy to expand for 15 years, until the third quarter of 2008, when the global financial crisis pushed it into recession. That growth and rising tax receipts enabled the post-apartheid government to extend welfare grants to about 16 million people and give more than 85 percent of households access to electricity, up from 45 percent in 1996.
Instead of nationalizing companies, Mandela coaxed foreign investors into the country. His ideological shift laid the groundwork for Lakshmi Mittal’s LNM Group to buy Africa’s biggest steelmaker in 2004 and London-based Barclays Plc to take control of South Africa’s largest consumer bank in 2005. In 2011, Fayetteville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. bought a majority stake in the nation’s biggest general-goods wholesaler.
Restoring confidence in South Africa’s economy in 1994 was a significant achievement. Apartheid had turned South Africa into a pariah state, subjected to international sanctions and boycotts. The economy was hemorrhaging foreign capital, had only enough reserves to cover 10 days of imports and was running a budget deficit of 9.1 percent of gross domestic product.
Mandela asked Chris Liebenberg, who had just retired as chief executive officer of what is now Nedbank Group Ltd., the country’s fourth-largest bank, to become finance minister. He accepted the job on condition that South Africa would have a market-related economy and exercise fiscal discipline.
“Those were tough times,” Liebenberg said in an interview. “We were heading for bankruptcy. Mandela was very mindful that the ANC having not been in government would not be as astute in managing the economy as it should be. He came to me because I was a banker with lots of international contacts and experience.”
In his first budget, Liebenberg raised taxes, equalized the tax system for all racial groups and slashed the defense budget. Those measures helped the government to raise $750 million in 1994 in its first post-apartheid international bond sale, 50 percent more than originally planned. By 1999, the Finance Ministry had reduced the budget deficit to 2.3 percent of GDP.
Mandela also persuaded Chris Stals, the central bank governor, to postpone his retirement by five years to help manage the country’s transition.
Life in Prison
“We made steady progress from day one on for those first five years,” Stals said in an interview. “Our main task was to bring us back into the world economy. Mr. Mandela certainly made a major contribution to that. The trust people had in him and his policies certainly enabled us to lay a very good foundation.”
That trust was hard won.
Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of treason in June 1964, serving much of his sentence on Robben Island near Cape Town. His economic thinking was framed in terms of the ANC’s 1955 Freedom Charter, which called for the country’s mineral wealth and banks to be transferred to the ownership of the people.
“The question of nationalization of mines is a fundamental policy of the ANC,” Mandela said shortly after his release. “I believe the ANC is quite correct in this attitude and we should support it.”
A year later, he assured foreign companies their investments were safe following talks with then-Chinese Premier Li Peng, who told him nationalization wasn’t viable and that China was considering selling state companies.
“The world had changed while Mandela was in jail,” said Iraj Abedian, an economist who helped craft the Mandela’s administration’s 1996 hallmark economic policy, which won praise from international investors. “His engagement with the role players in the political, economic and financial world brought that reality home.”
Mandela helped set the broad parameters of economic policy, while leaving formulation and execution to his subordinates, according to Liebenberg, who now helps manage charities established by the former president.
“Until Mandela set his stamp on a policy I think it would not have been possible to drive it through the ANC,” Liebenberg said. “It certainly would not have been possible to drive it through government.”
Abedian, now CEO of Pan-African Capital Holdings, a Johannesburg-based advisory service, was struck by the attention to detail that Mandela, a trained lawyer, gave to policy making.
“He would go through every document word by word, line by line,” Abedian said. “It was a question of understanding the rationale for every step, weighing it up, questioning it in detail, far more than people would believe.”
Stals recounts how after Trevor Manuel was appointed finance minister in 1996 and the rand tumbled 8.8 percent in the space of a month, Mandela would phone him two or three times a day for market updates.
“He showed a great interest in what we did and he was always quite well-informed,” said Stals. “He liked to discuss the monetary policy issues. He never really interfered, he never really gave instructions.”
Still, the stability that Mandela engineered in those early years after apartheid never made South Africa an economic dynamo. Economic growth has averaged 3.5 percent since 2004, compared with 10.5 percent in China and 7.7 percent in India.
Moreover, the Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, has risen to 0.63 in 2009 from 0.59 in 1993, making South Africa one of the world’s most unequal societies. Poverty remains most prevalent among black South Africans, who make up 79 percent of the population of 53 million.
Mandela never tackled labor laws that companies say stifle investment, or turned around an education system that has left South Africa with labor shortages for skilled jobs.
A wave of violent labor unrest that swept the country in 2012 has continued this year, with workers in the mining, agriculture and transportation industries going on strike for higher wages. The unrest peaked on Aug. 16, when police killed 34 protesters at a Lonmin Plc platinum mine.
Labor unions and the South African Communist Party blame the 1996 economic framework, known as Growth, Employment and Redistribution, for entrenching apartheid-era inequity. The policy, which was spearheaded by Manuel and described by Mandela as “non-negotiable,” sought to trim state borrowing, contain inflation and gradually relax exchange controls.
“Established capital benefited from stabilization and liberalization measures,” while the interests of the poor and working class were largely overlooked, said Blade Nzimande, the SACP’s general secretary.
The ANC’s Youth League revived calls for nationalization, saying drastic steps were needed to distribute the country’s wealth more equitably. The league has toned down its demands since its leader Julius Malema was expelled from the ANC last year.
Mandela did the best he could for the country under the circumstances, Abedian said.
“Very few people appreciated what unstable macroeconomic conditions apartheid had left behind,” he said. “In that type of environment what was critical was to have a credible, not necessarily an instant, solution. Mandela realized what steps had to be taken to normalize and stabilize the economy.”
A COSTLY strike by carworkers in South Africa was at last called off on October 6th. The production lost to the dispute cannot easily be made up as car plants often work around the clock. Worse, the country’s reputation as a place for foreign investment has suffered. BMW, a big German carmaker, says the damage caused by the strike will influence the company’sfuture investment plans.
That sobering statement came just days after the IMF’s anual health-check on the economy. It is a portrait of a country that increasingly relies on foreign creditors to plug the holes in its finances yet does little to ensure that this much-needed investment will keep flowing.
The IMF’s judgment could scarcely be more damning. The report says that South Africa’s economy has grown far more slowly than its peers. The misery in Europe, where a big chunk of South Africa’s exports usually go, has not helped. But it does not excuse troubles at home: “Although weak trading-partner growth contributed, domestic factors were an important reason why South Africa’s growth has been below that of other emerging markets,” the report notes.
It might beggar belief that carworkers can strike for big wage increases when South Africa’s economy is growing so slowly and its unemployment rate is a depressing 25%. Yet the crux of the country’s economic difficulties is an “insider-outsider” complex, says the IMF, which affects both jobs and goods markets. It is costly to fire workers even with good reason. The protections afforded to insiders with jobs leave employers less willing to hire in case they turn out to be work-shy or incompetent. Meanwhile outsiders, mostly the young, are locked out of work.
Business in South Africa is part of the racket. It feigns to loathe costly regulations but in fact red tape makes it harder for job-creating start-ups to challenge established businesses. The IMF notes that the rate of creation and survival of new companies is one of the lowest in the world. This is a sweet deal for incumbent firms, which are more profitable in South Africa than their peers in many emerging markets, including Brazil, China, India and Russia. The lack of competition imposes an additional cost (over forgone jobs) on poor households in the form of high prices.
The social problems related to joblessness are reason enough to shake things up. But reform is even more urgent because of South Africa’s reliance on the kindness of strangers. It runs a current-account deficit of more than 6% of GDP: this is how much it adds to its overdraft with foreigners each year. It would better if this was funded by foreign direct investment, the sort of long-term capital that a BMW plant represents. But the gap between what South Africa spends and what it earns has been bridged by foreign buying of government bonds. The proceeds have gone on public-sector wages rather than on infrastructure projects, such as roads, ports and power plants.
Such purchases cannot be relied on for ever. Interest rates will eventually return to more normal levels in America and Europe. When that happens, capital will flow less freely to emerging markets, such as South Africa. And foreign investors might take fright sooner than that. In the rush for the exits, long-term interest rates would rise and the currency would wilt, leaving the economy in even deeper trouble.
Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtatu, then a part of South Africa’s Cape Province. Given the forename Rolihlahla, a Xhosa term colloquially meaning “troublemaker”, in later years he became known by his clan name, Madiba. His patrilineal great-grandfather, Ngubengcuka, was ruler of the Thembu people in theTranskeian Territories of South Africa’s modern Eastern Cape province. One of this king’s sons, named Mandela, became Nelson’s grandfather and the source of his surname.Because Mandela was only the king’s child by a wife of the Ixhiba clan, a so-called “Left-Hand House”, the descendants of his cadet branch of the royal family were morganatic, ineligible to inherit the throne but recognized as hereditary royal councillors. His father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a local chief and councillor to the monarch; he had been appointed to the position in 1915, after his predecessor was accused of corruption by a governing white magistrate. In 1926, Gadla, too, was sacked for corruption, but Nelson was told that he had lost his job for standing up to the magistrate’s unreasonable demands. A devotee of the god Qamata, Gadla was a polygamist, having four wives, four sons and nine daughters, who lived in different villages. Nelson’s mother was Gadla’s third wife, Nosekeni Fanny, who was daughter of Nkedama of the Right Hand House and a member of the amaMpemvu clan of Xhosa.
“No one in my family had ever attended school [...] On the first day of school my teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave each of us an English name. This was the custom among Africans in those days and was undoubtedly due to the British bias of our education. That day, Miss Mdingane told me that my new name was Nelson. Why this particular name I have no idea.”
Later stating that his early life was dominated by “custom, ritual and taboo”, Mandela grew up with two sisters in his mother’skraal in the village of Qunu, where he tended herds as a cattle-boy, spending much time outside with other boys. Both his parents were illiterate, but being a devout Christian, his mother sent him to a local Methodist school when he was about seven. Baptised a Methodist, Mandela was given the English forename of “Nelson” by his teacher. When Mandela was about nine, his father came to stay at Qunu, where he died of an undiagnosed ailment which Mandela believed to be lung disease. Feeling “cut adrift”, he later said that he inherited his father’s “proud rebelliousness” and “stubborn sense of fairness”.
His mother took Mandela to the “Great Place” palace at Mqhekezweni, where he was entrusted under the guardianship of Themburegent, Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo. Although he did not see his mother again for many years, Mandela felt that Jongintaba and his wife Noengland treated him as their own child, raising him alongside their son Justice and daughter Nomafu. As Mandela attended church services every Sunday with his guardians, Christianity became a significant part of his life. He attended aMethodist mission school located next to the palace, studying English, Xhosa, history and geography. He developed a love of African history, listening to the tales told by elderly visitors to the palace, and became influenced by the anti-imperialist rhetoric of Chief Joyi. At the time he nevertheless considered the European colonialists as benefactors, not oppressors. Aged 16, he, Justice and several other boys travelled to Tyhalarha to undergo the circumcision ritual that symbolically marked their transition from boys to men; the rite over, he was given the name Dalibunga.
Clarkebury, Healdtown, and Fort Hare: 1936–1940
Mandela c. 1937
Intending to gain skills needed to become a privy councillor for the Thembu royal house, Mandela began his secondary education at Clarkebury Boarding Institute in Engcobo, a Western-style institution that was the largest school for black Africans in Thembuland. Made to socialise with other students on an equal basis, he claimed that he lost his “stuck up” attitude, becoming best friends with a girl for the first time; he began playing sports and developed his lifelong love of gardening. Completing his Junior Certificate in two years, in 1937 he moved to Healdtown, the Methodist college in Fort Beaufort attended by most Thembu royalty, including Justice. The headmaster emphasised the superiority of English culture and government, but Mandela became increasingly interested in native African culture, making his first non-Xhosa friend, a Sotho language-speaker, and coming under the influence of one of his favourite teachers, a Xhosa who broke taboo by marrying a Sotho. Spending much of his spare time long-distance running and boxing, in his second year Mandela became a prefect.
With Jongintaba’s backing, Mandela began work on a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree at the University of Fort Hare, an elite black institution inAlice, Eastern Cape, with around 150 students. There he studied English, anthropology, politics, native administration, and Roman Dutch law in his first year, desiring to become an interpreter or clerk in the Native Affairs Department. Mandela stayed in the Wesley House dormitory, befriending his own kinsman, K.D. Matanzima, as well as Oliver Tambo, who became a close friend and comrade for decades to come.Continuing his interest in sport, Mandela took up ballroom dancing, performed in a drama society play about Abraham Lincoln, and gave Bible classes in the local community as part of the Students Christian Association. Although having friends connected to the African National Congress (ANC) and the anti-imperialist movement who wanted an independent South Africa, Mandela avoided any involvement, and became a vocal supporter of the British war effort when the Second World War broke out. Helping found a first-year students’ house committee which challenged the dominance of the second-years, at the end of his first year he became involved in a Students’ Representative Council (SRC) boycott against the quality of food, for which he was temporarily suspended from the university; he left without receiving a degree.
Arriving in Johannesburg: 1941–1943
Returning to Mqhekezweni in December 1940, Mandela found that Jongintaba had arranged marriages for him and Justice; dismayed, they fled to Johannesburg via Queenstown, arriving in April 1941. Mandela found work as a night watchman at Crown Mines, his “first sight of South African capitalism in action”, but was fired when the induna (headman) discovered he was a runaway. Staying with a cousin in George Goch Township, Mandela was introduced to the realtor and ANC activist Walter Sisulu, who secured him a job as an articled clerk at law firm Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman. The company was run by a liberal Jew, Lazar Sidelsky, who was sympathetic to the ANC’s cause. At the firm, Mandela befriended Gaur Redebe, a Xhosa member of the ANC and Communist Party, as well as Nat Bregman, a Jewish communist who became his first white friend.Attending communist talks and parties, Mandela was impressed that Europeans, Africans, Indians and Coloureds were mixing as equals. He stated later that he did not join the Party because its atheism conflicted with his Christian faith, and because he saw the South African struggle as being racially based rather than class warfare. Becoming increasingly politicised, in August 1943 Mandela marched in support of a successful bus boycott to reverse fare rises. Continuing his higher education, Mandela signed up to aUniversity of South Africa correspondence course, working on his bachelor’s degree at night.
Earning a small wage, Mandela rented a room in the house of the Xhoma family in the Alexandra township; although rife with poverty, crime and pollution, Alexandra always remained “a treasured place” for him. Although embarrassed by his poverty, he briefly courted a Swazi woman before unsuccessfully courting his landlord’s daughter. In order to save money and be closer to downtown Johannesburg, Mandela moved into the compound of the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association, living among miners of various tribes; as the compound was a “way station for visiting chiefs”, he once met the Queen Regent of Basutoland. In late 1941, Jongintaba visited, forgiving Mandela for running away. On returning to Thembuland, the regent died in winter 1942; Mandela and Justice arrived a day late for the funeral. After passing his BA exams in early 1943, Mandela returned to Johannesburg to follow a political path as a lawyer rather than become a privy councillor in Thembuland. He later stated that he experienced no epiphany, but that he “simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.”
Law studies and the ANC Youth League: 1943–1949
Beginning law studies at the University of Witwatersrand, Mandela was the only native African student, and though facing racism, he befriended liberal and communist European, Jewish, and Indian students, among them Joe Slovo, Harry Schwarz and Ruth First. Joining the ANC, Mandela was increasingly influenced by Sisulu, spending much time with other activists at Sisulu’s Orlando house, including old friend Oliver Tambo. In 1943, Mandela met Anton Lembede, an African nationalist virulently opposed to a racially united front against colonialism and imperialism or to an alliance with the communists. Despite his friendships with non-blacks and communists, Mandela supported Lembede’s views, believing that black Africans should be entirely independent in their struggle for political self-determination. Deciding on the need for a youth wing to mass mobilise Africans in opposition to their subjugation, Mandela was among a delegation that approached ANC President Alfred Bitini Xuma on the subject at his home in Sophiatown; the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) was founded on Easter Sunday 1944 in the Bantu Men’s Social Centre in Eloff Street, with Lembede as President and Mandela as a member of the executive committee.
At Sisulu’s house, Mandela met Evelyn Mase, an ANC activist from Engcobo, Transkei, who was training at the time to become a nurse. Married on 5 October 1944, after initially living with her relatives, they rented House no. 8115 in Orlando from early 1946. Their first child, Madiba “Thembi” Thembekile, was born in February 1945, and a daughter named Makaziwe was born in 1947, dying nine months later of meningitis. Mandela enjoyed home life, welcoming his mother and sister Leabie to stay with him. In early 1947, his three years of articles ended at Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman, and he decided to become a full-time student, subsisting on loans from the Bantu Welfare Trust.
In July 1947, Mandela rushed Lembede to hospital, where he died; he was succeeded as ANCYL president by the more moderate Peter Mda, who agreed to co-operate with communists and non-blacks, appointing Mandela ANCYL secretary. Mandela disagreed with Mda’s approach, in December 1947 supporting an unsuccessful measure to expel communists from the ANCYL, considering their ideology un-African. In 1947, Mandela was elected to the executive committee of the Transvaal ANC, serving under regional president C.S. Ramohanoe. When Ramohanoe acted against the wishes of the Transvaal Executive Committee by co-operating with Indians and communists, Mandela was one of those who forced his resignation.
In the South African general election, 1948, in which only whites were permitted to vote, the Afrikaner-dominated Herenigde Nasionale Party under Daniel François Malan took power, soon uniting with the Afrikaner Party to form the National Party. Openly racialist, the party codified and expanded racial segregation with the new apartheid legislation. Gaining increasing influence in the ANC, Mandela and his cadres began advocating direct action against apartheid, such as boycotts and strikes, influenced by the tactics of South Africa’s Indian community. Xuma did not support these measures and was removed from the presidency in a vote of no confidence, replaced by James Moroka and a more militant cabinet containing Sisulu, Mda, Tambo and Godfrey Pitje; Mandela later related that “We had now guided the ANC to a more radical and revolutionary path.” Having devoted his time to politics, Mandela failed his final year at Witwatersrand three times; he was ultimately denied his degree in December 1949.
Defiance Campaign and Transvaal ANC Presidency: 1950–1954
Mandela took Xuma’s place on the ANC National Executive in March 1950. That month, the Defend Free Speech Convention was held in Johannesburg, bringing together African, Indian and communist activists to call an anti-apartheid general strike. Mandela opposed the strike because it was not ANC-led, but a majority of black workers took part, resulting in increased police repression and the introduction of the Suppression of Communism Act, 1950, affecting the actions of all protest groups. In 1950, Mandela was elected national president of the ANCYL; at the ANC national conference of December 1951, he continued arguing against a racially united front, but was outvoted. Thenceforth, he altered his entire perspective, embracing such an approach; influenced by friends like Moses Kotane and by the Soviet Union‘s support for wars of independence, Mandela’s mistrust of communism also broke down. He became influenced by the texts of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, and embraceddialectical materialism. In April 1952, Mandela began work at the H.M. Basner law firm, though his increasing commitment to work and activism meant he spent less time with his family.
In 1952, the ANC began preparation for a joint Defiance Campaign against apartheid with Indian and communist groups, founding a National Voluntary Board to recruit volunteers. Deciding on a path of nonviolent resistance influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, some considered it the ethical option, but Mandela instead considered it pragmatic. At a Durban rally on 22 June, Mandela addressed an assembled crowd of 10,000, initiating the campaign protests, for which he was arrested and briefly interned in Marshall Square prison. With further protests, the ANC’s membership grew from 20,000 to 100,000; the government responded with mass arrests, introducing the Public Safety Act, 1953 to permit martial law. In May, authorities banned Transvaal ANU President J. B. Marks from making public appearances; unable to maintain his position, he recommended Mandela as his successor. Although the ultra-Africanist Bafabegiya group opposed his candidacy, Mandela was elected regional president in October. On 30 July 1952, Mandela was arrested under the Suppression of Communism Act and stood trial as a part of the 21 accused – among them Moroka, Sisulu and Dadoo – in Johannesburg. Found guilty of “statutory communism”, their sentence of nine months’ hard labour was suspended for two years. In December, Mandela was given a six-month ban from attending meetings or talking to more than one individual at a time, making his Transvaal ANU presidency impractical. The Defiance Campaign petered out. In September 1953, Andrew Kunene read out Mandela’s “No Easy Walk to Freedom” speech at a Transvaal ANC meeting; the title was taken from a quote by Indian independence leader Jawaharlal Nehru, a seminal influence on Mandela’s thought. The speech laid out a contingency plan for a scenario in which the ANC was banned. This Mandela Plan, or M-Plan, involved dividing the organisation into acell structure with a more centralised leadership.
Mandela obtained work as an attorney for the firm Terblanche and Briggish, before moving to the liberal-run Helman and Michel, passing qualification exams to become a full-fledged attorney. In August 1953, Mandela and Oliver Tambo opened their own law firm, Mandela and Tambo, operating in downtown Johannesburg. The only African-run law firm in the country, it was popular with aggrieved blacks, often dealing with cases of police brutality. Disliked by the authorities, the firm was forced to relocate to a remote location after their office permit was removed under the Group Areas Act; as a result, their custom dwindled. Though a second daughter, Makaziwe Phumia, was born in May 1954, Mandela’s relationship with Evelyn became strained, and she accused him of adultery. Evidence has emerged indicating that he was having affairs with ANC member Lillian Ngoyi and secretary Ruth Mompati; persistent but unproven claims assert that the latter bore Mandela a child. Disgusted by her son’s behaviour, Nosekeni returned to Transkei, and Evelyn embraced the Jehovah’s Witnesses and rejected Mandela’s obsession with politics.
Congress of the People and the Treason Trial: 1955–1961
“We, the people of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know:
That South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people.”
Mandela came to the opinion that the ANC “had no alternative to armed and violent resistance” after taking part in the unsuccessful protest to prevent the demolition of the all-black Sophiatown suburb of Johannesburg in February 1955. He advised Sisulu to request weaponry from the People’s Republic of China, but though supporting the anti-apartheid struggle, China’s government believed the movement insufficiently prepared for guerilla warfare. With the involvement of the South African Indian Congress, the Coloured People’s Congress, the South African Congress of Trade Unions and the Congress of Democrats, the ANC planned aCongress of the People, calling on all South Africans to send in proposals for a post-apartheid era. Based on the responses, a Freedom Charter was drafted by Rusty Bernstein, calling for the creation of a democratic, non-racialist state with the nationalisationof major industry. When the charter was adopted at a June 1955 conference in Kliptown attended by 3000 delegates, police cracked down on the event, but it remained a key part of Mandela’s ideology.
Following the end of a second ban in September 1955, Mandela went on a working holiday to Transkei to discuss the implications of the Bantu Authorities Act, 1951 with local tribal leaders, also visiting his mother and Noengland before proceeding to Cape Town. In March 1956 he received his third ban on public appearances, restricting him to Johannesburg for five years, but he often defied it. His marriage broke down as Evelyn left Mandela, taking their children to live with her brother. Initiating divorce proceedings in May 1956, she claimed that Mandela had physically abused her; he denied the allegations, and fought for custody of their children. She withdrew her petition of separation in November, but Mandela filed for divorce in January 1958; the divorce was finalised in March, with the children placed in Evelyn’s care. During the divorce proceedings, he began courting and politicising a social worker, Winnie Madikizela, who he married in Bizana on 14 June 1958. She later became involved in ANC activities, spending several weeks imprisoned.
On 5 December 1956, Mandela was arrested alongside most of the ANC Executive for “high treason” against the state. Held in Johannesburg Prison amid mass protests, they underwent a preparatory examination in Drill Hall on 19 December, before being granted bail. The defence’s refutation began on 9 January 1957, overseen by defence lawyer Vernon Berrangé, and continued until adjourning in September. In January 1958, judge Oswald Pirow was appointed to the case, and in February he ruled that there was “sufficient reason” for the defendants to go on trial in the Transvaal Supreme Court. The formal Treason Trial began in Pretoria in August 1958, with the defendants successfully applying to have the three judges – all linked to the governing National Party – replaced. In August, one charge was dropped, and in October the prosecution withdrew its indictment, submitting a reformulated version in November which argued that the ANC leadership committed high treason by advocating violent revolution, a charge the defendants denied.
In April 1959, militant Africanists dissatisfied with the ANC’s united front approach founded the Pan-African Congress (PAC); Mandela’s friend Robert Sobukwe was elected president, though Mandela thought the group “immature”. Both parties campaigned for an anti-pass campaign in May 1960, in which Africans burned the passes that they were legally obliged to carry. One of the PAC-organized demonstrations was fired upon by police, resulting in the deaths of 69 protesters in the Sharpeville massacre. In solidarity, Mandela publicly burned his pass as rioting broke out across South Africa, leading the government to proclaim martial law. Under the State of Emergency measures, Mandela and other activists were arrested on 30 March, imprisoned without charge in the unsanitary conditions of the Pretoria Local prison, and the ANC and PAC were banned in April. This made it difficult for their lawyers to reach them, and it was agreed that the defence team for the Treason Trial should withdraw in protest. Representing themselves in court, the accused were freed from prison when the state of emergency was lifted in late August. Mandela used his free time to organise an All-In African Conference near Pietermaritzburg, Natal, in March, at which 1,400 anti-apartheid delegates met, agreeing on a stay-at home protest to mark 31 May, the day South Africa became a republic. On 29 March 1961, after a six-year trial, the judges produced a verdict of not guilty, embarrassing the government.
Mandela House in the Johannesburg township of Soweto was Mandela’s home before his 27-year imprisonment, and his home immediately after being released from prison. The property is now a national museum.
Disguising himself as a chauffeur, Mandela travelled the country incognito, organising the ANC’s new cell structure and a mass stay-at-home strike for 29 May. Referred to as the “Black Pimpernel” in the press – a reference to Emma Orczy‘s 1905 novel The Scarlet Pimpernel – the police put out a warrant for his arrest. Mandela held secret meetings with reporters, and after the government failed to prevent the strike, he warned them that many anti-apartheid activists would soon resort to violence through groups like the PAC’sPoqo. He believed that the ANC should form an armed group to channel some of this violence, convincing both ANC leader Albert Luthuli – who was morally opposed to violence – and allied activist groups of its necessity.
Inspired by Fidel Castro‘s 26th of July Movement in the Cuban Revolution, in 1961 Mandela co-founded Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”, abbreviated MK) with Sisulu and the communist Joe Slovo. Becoming chairman of the militant group, he gained ideas from illegal literature on guerilla warfare by Mao and Che Guevara. Officially separate from the ANC, in later years MK became the group’s armed wing. Most early MK members were white communists; after hiding in communist Wolfie Kodesh’s flat in Berea, Mandela moved to the communist-owned Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, there joined by Raymond Mhlaba, Slovo and Bernstein, who put together the MK constitution. Although Mandela himself denied ever being a Communist Party member, historical research has suggested that he might have been for a short period, starting from the late 1950s or early 1960s. After his death, the Communist Party and the ANC confirmed that he was a Communist Party member when he was arrested in 1962.
Operating through a cell structure, the MK agreed to acts of sabotage to exert maximum pressure on the government with minimum casualties, bombing military installations, power plants, telephone lines and transport links at night, when civilians were not present. Mandela himself stated that they chose sabotage not only because it was the least harmful action, but also “because it did not involve loss of life [and] it offered the best hope for reconciliation among the races afterward.” He noted that “strict instructions were given to members of MK that we would countenance no loss of life”, but should these tactics fail, MK would resort to “guerilla warfare and terrorism”.
Soon after ANC leader Luthuli was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the MK publicly announced its existence with 57 bombings onDingane’s Day (16 December) 1961, followed by further attacks on New Year’s Eve.
The ANC agreed to send Mandela as a delegate to the February 1962 Pan-African Freedom Movement for East, Central and Southern Africa (PAFMECSA) meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Traveling there in secret, Mandela met with Emperor Haile Selassie I, and gave his speech after Selassie’s at the conference. After the conference, he travelled to Cairo, Egypt, admiring the political reforms of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and then went to Tunis, Tunisia, where President Habib Bourguiba gave him £5000 for weaponry. He proceeded to Morocco, Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Senegal, receiving funds from Liberian President William Tubman and Guinean President Ahmed Sékou Touré.Leaving Africa for London, England, he met anti-apartheid activists, reporters and prominent leftist politicians. Returning to Ethiopia, he began a six-month course in guerrilla warfare, but completed only two months before being recalled to South Africa.
Police shots of several accused in theRivonia Trial. The portrait at the top is of Mandela, the chief accused. The photograph in the lower right-hand corner is of Walter Sisulu.
On 5 August 1962, police captured Mandela along with Cecil Williams near Howick. A large number of groups have been accused of having tipped off the police about Mandela’s whereabouts including Mandela’s host in Durban GR Naidoo, white members of the South African Communist Party, and the CIA, but Mandela himself considers none of these connections to be credible and instead attributes his arrest to his own carelessness in concealing his movements. Of the CIA link in particular, Mandela’s official biographer Anthony Sampson believes that “the claim cannot be substantiated.” Jailed in Johannesburg’s Marshall Square prison, he was charged with inciting workers’ strikes and leaving the country without permission. Representing himself with Slovo as legal advisor, Mandela intended to use the trial to showcase “the ANC’s moral opposition to racism” while supporters demonstrated outside the court. Moved to Pretoria, where Winnie could visit him, in his cell he began correspondence studies for a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from theUniversity of London. His hearing began on 15 October, but he disrupted proceedings by wearing a traditional kaross, refusing to call any witnesses, and turning his plea of mitigation into a political speech. Found guilty, he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment; as he left the courtroom, supporters sang Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika.
“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. “
“In a way I had never quite comprehended before, I realized the role I could play in court and the possibilities before me as a defendant. I was the symbol of justice in the court of the oppressor, the representative of the great ideals of freedom, fairness and democracy in a society that dishonoured those virtues. I realized then and there that I could carry on the fight even in the fortress of the enemy.”
On 11 July 1963, police raided Liliesleaf Farm, arresting those they found there and uncovering paperwork documenting MK’s activities, some of which mentioned Mandela. The Rivonia Trial began at Pretoria Supreme Court on 9 October, with Mandela and his comrades charged with four counts of sabotage and conspiracy to violently overthrow the government. Their chief prosecutor wasPercy Yutar, who called for them to receive the death penalty. Judge Quartus de Wet soon threw out the prosecution’s case for insufficient evidence, but Yutar reformulated the charges, presenting his new case from December until February 1964, calling 173 witnesses and bringing thousands of documents and photographs to the trial.
With the exception of James Kantor, who was innocent of all charges, Mandela and the accused admitted sabotage but denied that they had ever agreed to initiate guerilla war against the government. They used the trial to highlight their political cause. At the opening of the defence’s proceedings Mandela gave a four hour long speech. That speech – which was inspired by Castro’s “History Will Absolve Me” speech – was widely reported in the press despite official censorship, and has been hailed as one of his greatest speeches. The trial gained international attention, with global calls for the release of the accused from such institutions as the United Nations and World Peace Council. The University of London Union voted Mandela to its presidency, and nightly vigils for him were held in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. Deeming them to be violent communist agitators, South Africa’s government ignored all calls for clemency, and on 12 June 1964 de Wet found Mandela and two of his co-accused guilty on all four charges, sentencing them to life imprisonment rather than death.
Robben Island: 1964–1982
Lime quarry on Robben Island where Mandela and other prisoners were subjected to hard labour
Mandela and his co-accused were transferred from Pretoria to the prison on Robben Island, remaining there for the next 18 years. Isolated from non-political prisoners in Section B, Mandela was imprisoned in a damp concrete cell measuring 8 feet (2.4 m) by 7 feet (2.1 m), with a straw mat on which to sleep. Verbally and physically harassed by several white prison wardens, the Rivonia Trial prisoners spent their days breaking rocks into gravel, until being reassigned in January 1965 to work in a lime quarry. Mandela was initially forbidden to wear sunglasses, and the glare from the lime permanently damaged his eyesight. At night, he worked on his LLB degree, but newspapers were forbidden, and he was locked in solitary confinement on several occasions for possessing smuggled news clippings. Classified as the lowest grade of prisoner, Class D, he was permitted one visit and one letter every six months, although all mail was heavily censored.
The political prisoners took part in work and hunger strikes – the latter considered largely ineffective by Mandela – to improve prison conditions, viewing this as a microcosm of the anti-apartheid struggle. ANC prisoners elected him to their four-man “High Organ” along with Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and Raymond Mhlaba, and he involved himself in a group representing all political prisoners on the island, Ulundi, through which he forged links with PAC and Yu Chi Chan Club members. Initiating the “University of Robben Island”, whereby prisoners lectured on their own areas of expertise, he debated topics such as homosexuality and politics with his comrades, getting into fierce arguments on the latter with Marxists like Mbeki and Harry Gwala. Though attending Christian Sunday services, Mandela studied Islam. He also studied Afrikaans, hoping to build a mutual respect with the warders and convert them to his cause. Various official visitors met with Mandela; most significant was the liberal parliamentary representative Helen Suzman of theProgressive Party, who championed Mandela’s cause outside prison. In September 1970 he met British Labour PartyMPDennis Healey. South African Minister of JusticeJimmy Kruger visited in December 1974, but he and Mandela did not get on. His mother visited in 1968, dying shortly after, and his firstborn son Thembi died in a car accident the following year; Mandela was forbidden from attending either funeral. His wife was rarely able to visit, being regularly imprisoned for political activity, and his daughters first visited in December 1975; Winnie got out of prison in 1977 but was forcibly settled in Brandfort, still unable to visit him.
The inside of Mandela’s prison cell as it was when he was imprisoned in 1964 and his open cell window facing the prison yard on Robben Island, now a national andWorld Heritage Site. Mandela’s cell later contained more furniture, including a bed from around 1973.
From 1967, prison conditions improved, with black prisoners given trousers rather than shorts, games being permitted, and food quality improving. In a FIFA documentary, Mandela commented on howfootball gave hope to his fellow inmates; “the game made us feel alive and triumphant despite the situation we found ourselves in”. In 1969, an escape plan for Mandela was developed by Gordon Bruce, but it was abandoned after being infiltrated by an agent of the South African Bureau of State Security (BOSS), who hoped to see Mandela shot during the escape. In 1970, Commander Piet Badenhorst became commanding officer. Mandela, seeing an increase in the physical and mental abuse of prisoners, complained to visiting judges, who had Badenhorst reassigned. He was replaced by Commander Willie Willemse, who developed a co-operative relationship with Mandela and was keen to improve prison standards. By 1975, Mandela had become a Class A prisoner, allowing greater numbers of visits and letters; he corresponded with anti-apartheid activists like Mangosuthu Buthelezi andDesmond Tutu. That year, he began his autobiography, which was smuggled to London, but remained unpublished at the time; prison authorities discovered several pages, and his study privileges were stopped for four years. Instead he devoted his spare time to gardening and reading until he resumed his LLB degree studies in 1980.
In April 1982 Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Tokai, Cape Town along with senior ANC leaders Walter Sisulu, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada and Raymond Mhlaba; they believed that they were being isolated to remove their influence on younger activists. Conditions at Pollsmoor were better than at Robben Island, although Mandela missed the camaraderie and scenery of the island. Getting on well with Pollsmoor’s commanding officer, Brigadier Munro, Mandela was permitted to create a roof garden,also reading voraciously and corresponding widely, now permitted 52 letters a year. He was appointed patron of the multi-racial United Democratic Front (UDF), founded to combat reforms implemented by South African President P.W. Botha. Botha’s National Party government had permitted Coloured and Indian citizens to vote for their own parliaments which had control over education, health, and housing, but black Africans were excluded from the system; like Mandela, the UDF saw this as an attempt to divide the anti-apartheid movement on racial lines.
Violence across the country escalated, with many fearing civil war. Under pressure from an international lobby, multinational banks stopped investing in South Africa, resulting in economic stagnation. Numerous banks and Thatcher asked Botha to release Mandela – then at the height of his international fame – to defuse the volatile situation. Although considering Mandela a dangerous “arch-Marxist”, in February 1985 Botha offered him a release from prison on condition that he ‘”unconditionally rejected violence as a political weapon”. Mandela spurned the offer, releasing a statement through his daughter Zindzi stating “What freedom am I being offered while the organisation of the people [ANC] remains banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.”
In 1985 Mandela underwent surgery on an enlarged prostate gland, before being given new solitary quarters on the ground floor. He was met by “seven eminent persons”, an international delegation sent to negotiate a settlement, but Botha’s government refused to co-operate, in June calling a state of emergency and initiating a police crackdown on unrest. The anti-apartheid resistance fought back, with the ANC committing 231 attacks in 1986 and 235 in 1987. Utilising the army and right-wing paramilitaries to combat the resistance, the government secretly funded Zulunationalist movement Inkatha to attack ANC members, furthering the violence. Mandela requested talks with Botha but was denied, instead secretly meeting with Minister of Justice Kobie Coetsee in 1987, having a further 11 meetings over 3 years. Coetsee organised negotiations between Mandela and a team of four government figures starting in May 1988; the team agreed to the release of political prisoners and the legalisation of the ANC on the condition that they permanently renounce violence, break links with the Communist Party and not insist on majority rule. Mandela rejected these conditions, insisting that the ANC would only end the armed struggle when the government renounced violence.
Mandela’s 70th birthday in July 1988 attracted international attention, notably with the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert at London’sWembley Stadium. Although presented globally as a heroic figure, he faced personal problems when ANC leaders informed him that Winnie had set herself up as head of a criminal gang, the “Mandela United Football Club”, who had been responsible for torturing and killing opponents – including children – in Soweto. Though some encouraged him to divorce her, he decided to remain loyal until she was found guilty by trial.
Recovering from tuberculosis caused by dank conditions in his cell, in December 1988 Mandela was moved to Victor Verster Prison nearPaarl. Here, he was housed in the relative comfort of a warder’s house with a personal cook, using the time to complete his LLB degree.There he was permitted many visitors, such as anti-apartheid campaigner and longtime friend Harry Schwarz. Mandela organised secret communications with exiled ANC leader Oliver Tambo. In 1989, Botha suffered a stroke, retaining the state presidency but stepping down as leader of the National Party, to be replaced by the conservative F. W. de Klerk. In a surprise move, Botha invited Mandela to a meeting over tea in July 1989, an invitation Mandela considered genial. Botha was replaced as state president by de Klerk six weeks later; the new president believed that apartheid was unsustainable and unconditionally released all ANC prisoners except Mandela. Following the fall of theBerlin Wall in November 1989, de Klerk called his cabinet together to debate legalising the ANC and freeing Mandela. Although some were deeply opposed to his plans, de Klerk met with Mandela in December to discuss the situation, a meeting both men considered friendly, before releasing Mandela unconditionally and legalising all formerly banned political parties on 2 February 1990. The first photographs of Mandela were allowed to be published in South Africa for 20 years.
Leaving Victor Verster on 11 February, Mandela held Winnie’s hand in front of amassed crowds and press; the event was broadcast live across the world. Driven to Cape Town’s City Hall through crowds, he gave a speech declaring his commitment to peace and reconciliation with the white minority, but made it clear that the ANC’s armed struggle was not over, and would continue as “a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid.” He expressed hope that the government would agree to negotiations, so that “there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle”, and insisted that his main focus was to bring peace to the black majority and give them the right to vote in national and local elections. Staying at the home of Desmond Tutu, in the following days Mandela met with friends, activists, and press, giving a speech to 100,000 people at Johannesburg’sSoccer City.
In May 1990, Mandela led a multiracial ANC delegation into preliminary negotiations with a government delegation of 11 Afrikaner men. Mandela impressed them with his discussions of Afrikaner history, and the negotiations led to the Groot Schuur Minute, in which the government lifted the state of emergency. In August Mandela – recognising the ANC’s severe military disadvantage – offered a ceasefire, the Pretoria Minute, for which he was widely criticised by MK activists. He spent much time trying to unify and build the ANC, appearing at a Johannesburg conference in December attended by 1600 delegates, many of whom found him more moderate than expected. At the ANC’s July 1991 national conference in Durban, Mandela admitted the party’s faults and announced his aim to build a “strong and well-oiled task force” for securing majority rule. At the conference, he was elected ANC President, replacing the ailing Tambo, and a 50-strong multiracial, mixed gendered national executive was elected.
Mandela was given an office in the newly purchased ANC headquarters at Shell House, central Johannesburg, and moved with Winnie to her large Soweto home. Their marriage was increasingly strained as he learned of her affair with Dali Mpofu, but he supported her during her trial for kidnapping and assault. He gained funding for her defence from the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa and from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, but in June 1991 she was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison, reduced to two on appeal. On 13 April 1992, Mandela publicly announced his separation from Winnie. The ANC forced her to step down from the national executive for misappropriating ANC funds; Mandela moved into the mostly white Johannesburg suburb of Houghton. Mandela’s reputation was further damaged by the increase in “black-on-black” violence, particularly between ANC and Inkatha supporters in KwaZulu-Natal, in which thousands died. Mandela met with Inkatha leader Buthelezi, but the ANC prevented further negotiations on the issue. Mandela recognised that there was a “third force” within the state intelligence services fuelling the “slaughter of the people” and openly blamed de Klerk – whom he increasingly distrusted – for the Sebokeng massacre. In September 1991 a national peace conference was held in Johannesburg in which Mandela, Buthelezi and de Klerk signed a peace accord, though the violence continued.
CODESA talks: 1991–1992
The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) began in December 1991 at the Johannesburg World Trade Center, attended by 228 delegates from 19 political parties. Although Cyril Ramaphosa led the ANC’s delegation, Mandela remained a key figure, and after de Klerk used the closing speech to condemn the ANC’s violence, he took to the stage to denounce him as “head of an illegitimate, discredited minority regime”. Dominated by the National Party and ANC, little negotiation was achieved. CODESA 2 was held in May 1992, in which de Klerk insisted that post-apartheid South Africa must use a federal system with a rotating presidency to ensure the protection of ethnic minorities; Mandela opposed this, demanding a unitary system governed by majority rule. Following the Boipatong massacre of ANC activists by government-aided Inkatha militants, Mandela called off the negotiations, before attending a meeting of the Organisation of African Unity in Senegal, at which he called for a special session of the UN Security Council and proposed that a UN peacekeeping force be stationed in South Africa to prevent “state terrorism“. The UN sent special envoy Cyrus Vance to the country to aid negotiations.Calling for domestic mass action, in August the ANC organised the largest-ever strike in South African history, and supporters marched on Pretoria.
Following the Bisho massacre, in which 28 ANC supporters and one soldier were shot dead by the Ciskei Defence Force during a protest march, Mandela realised that mass action was leading to further violence and resumed negotiations in September. He agreed to do so on the conditions that all political prisoners be released, that Zulu traditional weapons be banned, and that Zulu hostels would be fenced off, the latter two measures to prevent further Inkatha attacks; under increasing pressure, de Klerk reluctantly agreed. The negotiations agreed that a multiracial general election would be held, resulting in a five-year coalition government of national unity and a constitutional assembly that gave the National Party continuing influence. The ANC also conceded to safeguarding the jobs of white civil servants; such concessions brought fierce internal criticism. The duo agreed on an interim constitution, guaranteeing separation of powers, creating a constitutional court, and including a US-style bill of rights; it also divided the country into nine provinces, each with its own premier and civil service, a concession between de Klerk’s desire for federalism and Mandela’s for unitary government.
The democratic process was threatened by the Concerned South Africans Group (COSAG), an alliance of far-right Afrikaner parties and black ethnic-secessionist groups like Inkatha; in June 1993 the white supremacist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) attacked the Kempton Park World Trade Centre. Following the murder of ANC leader Chris Hani, Mandela made a publicised speech to calm rioting, soon after appearing at a mass funeral in Soweto for Tambo, who had died from a stroke. In July 1993, both Mandela and de Klerk visited the US, independently meeting President Bill Clinton and each receiving the Liberty Medal. Soon after, they were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway. Influenced by young ANC leader Thabo Mbeki, Mandela began meeting with big business figures, and played down his support for nationalisation, fearing that he would scare away much-needed foreign investment. Although criticised by socialist ANC members, he was encouraged to embrace private enterprise by members of the Chinese and Vietnamese Communist parties at the January 1992 World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Mandela also made a cameo appearance as a schoolteacher reciting one ofMalcolm X‘s speeches in the final scene of the 1992 film Malcolm X.
With the election set for 27 April 1994, the ANC began campaigning, opening 100 election offices and hiring advisor Stanley Greenberg. Greenberg orchestrated the foundation of People’s Forums across the country, at which Mandela could appear; though a poor public speaker, he was a popular figure with great status among black South Africans. The ANC campaigned on a Reconstruction and Development Programme(RDP) to build a million houses in five years, introduce universal free education and extend access to water and electricity. The party’s slogan was “a better life for all”, although it was not explained how this development would be funded. With the exception of the Weekly Mail and the New Nation, South Africa’s press opposed Mandela’s election, fearing continued ethnic strife, instead supporting the National or Democratic Party.Mandela devoted much time to fundraising for the ANC, touring North America, Europe and Asia to meet wealthy donors, including former supporters of the apartheid regime. He also urged a reduction in the voting age from 18 to 14; rejected by the ANC, this policy became the subject of ridicule.
Concerned that COSAG would undermine the election, particularly in the wake of the Battle of Bop and Shell House Massacre – incidents of violence involving the AWB and Inkatha, respectively – Mandela met with Afrikaner politicians and generals, including P.W. Botha, Pik Botha andConstand Viljoen, persuading many to work within the democratic system, and with de Klerk convinced Inkatha’s Buthelezi to enter the elections rather than launch a war of secession. As leaders of the two major parties, de Klerk and Mandela appeared on a televised debate; although de Klerk was widely considered the better speaker at the event, Mandela’s offer to shake his hand surprised him, leading some commentators to consider it a victory for Mandela. The election went ahead with little violence, although an AWB cell killed 20 with car bombs. As widely expected, the ANC won a sweeping victory, taking 62 percent of the vote, just short of the two-thirds majority needed to unilaterally change the constitution. The ANC was also victorious in 7 provinces, with Inkatha and the National Party each taking another. Mandela voted at theOhlange High School in Durban, and though the ANC’s victory assured his election as President, he publicly accepted that the election had been marred by instances of fraud and sabotage.
The newly elected National Assembly’s first act was to formally elect Mandela as South Africa’s first black chief executive. His inauguration took place in Pretoria on 10 May 1994, televised to a billion viewers globally. The event was attended by 4000 guests, including world leaders from disparate backgrounds. Mandela headed a Government of National Unity dominated by the ANC – which alone had no experience of governance – but containing representatives from the National Party and Inkatha. Under the Interim Constitution, Inkatha and the NP were entitled to seats in the government by virtue of winning at least 20 seats. In keeping with earlier agreements, de Klerk became first Deputy President, and Thabo Mbeki was selected as second. Although Mbeki had not been his first choice for the job, Mandela grew to rely heavily on him throughout his presidency, allowing him to organise policy details. Moving into the presidential office at Tuynhuys in Cape Town, Mandela allowed de Klerk to retain the presidential residence in the Groote Schuur estate, instead settling into the nearby Westbrooke manor, which he renamed “Genadendal“, meaning “Valley of Mercy” in Afrikaans. Retaining his Houghton home, he also had a house built in his home village of Qunu, which he visited regularly, walking around the area, meeting with locals, and judging tribal disputes.
Mandela moved into the presidential office at Tuynhuys, Cape Town.
Aged 76, he faced various ailments, and although exhibiting continued energy, he felt isolated and lonely. He often entertained celebrities, such as Michael Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, and the Spice Girls, and befriended ultra-rich businessmen, like Harry Oppenheimer of Anglo-American, as well as Queen Elizabeth II on her March 1995 state visit to South Africa, resulting in strong criticism from ANC anti-capitalists. Despite his opulent surroundings, Mandela lived simply, donating a third of his 552,000 rand annual income to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, which he had founded in 1995. Although speaking out in favour of freedom of the press and befriending many journalists, Mandela was critical of much of the country’s media, noting that it was overwhelmingly owned and run by middle-class whites and believing that it focused too much on scaremongering around crime. Changing clothes several times a day, after assuming the presidency, one of Mandela’s trademarks was his use of Batik shirts, known as “Madiba shirts“, even on formal occasions.
In December 1994, Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, was finally published. In late 1994 he attended the 49th conference of the ANC in Bloemfontein, at which a more militant National Executive was elected, among them Winnie Mandela; although she expressed an interest in reconciling, Nelson initiated divorce proceedings in August 1995. By 1995 he had entered into a relationship with Graça Machel, a Mozambican political activist 27 years his junior who was the widow of former president Samora Machel. They had first met in July 1990, when she was still in mourning, but their friendship grew into a partnership, with Machel accompanying him on many of his foreign visits. She turned down Mandela’s first marriage proposal, wanting to retain some independence and dividing her time between Mozambique and Johannesburg.
Presiding over the transition from apartheid minority rule to a multicultural democracy, Mandela saw national reconciliation as the primary task of his presidency. Having seen other post-colonial African economies damaged by the departure of white elites, Mandela worked to reassure South Africa’s white population that they were protected and represented in “the Rainbow Nation“. Mandela attempted to create the broadest possible coalition in his cabinet, with de Klerk as first Deputy President. Other National Party officials became ministers for Agriculture, Energy, Environment, and Minerals and Energy, and Buthelezi was named Minister for Home Affairs. The other cabinet positions were taken by ANC members, many of whom – like Joe Modise, Alfred Nzo, Joe Slovo, Mac Maharaj and Dullah Omar – had long been comrades, although others, such as Tito Mboweni and Jeff Radebe, were much younger. Mandela’s relationship with de Klerk was strained; Mandela thought that de Klerk was intentionally provocative, and de Klerk felt that he was being intentionally humiliated by the president. In January 1995, Mandela heavily chastised him for awarding amnesty to 3,500 police just before the election, and later criticised him for defending former Minister of Defence Magnus Malan when the latter was charged with murder.
Mandela personally met with senior figures of the apartheid regime, including Hendrik Verwoerd‘s widow Betsie Schoombie and the lawyer Percy Yutar; emphasising personal forgiveness and reconciliation, he announced that “courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.” He encouraged black South Africans to get behind the previously hated national rugby team, the Springboks, as South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup. After the Springboks won an epic final over New Zealand, Mandela presented the trophy to captain Francois Pienaar, an Afrikaner, wearing a Springbok shirt with Pienaar’s own number 6 on the back. This was widely seen as a major step in the reconciliation of white and black South Africans; as de Klerk later put it, “Mandela won the hearts of millions of white rugby fans.” Mandela’s efforts at reconciliation assuaged the fears of whites, but also drew criticism from more militant blacks. His estranged wife, Winnie, accused the ANC of being more interested in appeasing whites than in helping blacks.
More controversially, Mandela oversaw the formation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate crimes committed under apartheid by both the government and the ANC, appointing Desmond Tutu as its chair. To prevent the creation of martyrs, the Commission granted individual amnesties in exchange for testimony of crimes committed during the apartheid era. Dedicated in February 1996, it held two years of hearings detailing rapes, torture, bombings, and assassinations, before issuing its final report in October 1998. Both de Klerk and Mbeki appealed to have parts of the report suppressed, though only de Klerk’s appeal was successful. Mandela praised the Commission’s work, stating that it “had helped us move away from the past to concentrate on the present and the future”.
Mandela on a visit to Brazil in 1998
Mandela’s administration inherited a country with a huge disparity in wealth and services between white and black communities. Of a population of 40 million, around 23 million lacked electricity or adequate sanitation, 12 million lacked clean water supplies, with 2 million children not in school and a third of the population illiterate. There was 33% unemployment, and just under half of the population lived below the poverty line.Government financial reserves were nearly depleted, with a fifth of the national budget being spent on debt repayment, meaning that the extent of the promised Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) was scaled back, with none of the proposed nationalisation or job creation.Instead, the government adopted liberal economic policies designed to promote foreign investment, adhering to the “Washington consensus” advocated by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Under Mandela’s presidency, welfare spending increased by 13% in 1996/97, 13% in 1997/98, and 7% in 1998/99. The government introduced parity in grants for communities, including disability grants, child maintenance grants, and old-age pensions, which had previously been set at different levels for South Africa’s different racial groups. In 1994, free healthcare was introduced for children under six and pregnant women, a provision extended to all those using primary level public sector health care services in 1996. By the 1999 election, the ANC could boast that due to their policies, 3 million people were connected to telephone lines, 1.5 million children were brought into the education system, 500 clinics were upgraded or constructed, 2 million people were connected to the electricity grid, water access was extended to 3 million people, and 750,000 houses were constructed, housing nearly 3 million people.
The Land Restitution Act of 1994 enabled people who had lost their property as a result of the Natives Land Act, 1913 to claim back their land, leading to the settlement of tens of thousands of land claims. The Land Reform Act 3 of 1996 safeguarded the rights of labour tenants who live and grow crops or graze livestock on farms. This legislation ensured that such tenants could not be evicted without a court order or if they were over the age of sixty-five. The Skills Development Act of 1998 provided for the establishment of mechanisms to finance and promote skills development at the workplace.The Labour Relations Act of 1995 promoted workplace democracy, orderly collective bargaining, and the effective resolution of labour disputes. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 improved enforcement mechanisms while extending a “floor” of rights to all workers; the Employment Equity Act of 1998 was passed to put an end to unfair discrimination and ensure the implementation of affirmative action in the workplace.
Many domestic problems remained. Critics like Edwin Cameron accused Mandela’s government of doing little to stem the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country; by 1999, 10% of South Africa’s population were HIV positive. Mandela later admitted that he had personally neglected the issue, leaving it for Mbeki to deal with. Mandela also received criticism for failing to sufficiently combat crime, South Africa having one of the world’s highest crime rates; this was a key reason cited by the 750,000 whites who emigrated in the late 1990s. Mandela’s administration was mired in corruption scandals, with Mandela being perceived as “soft” on corruption and greed.
In September 1998, Mandela was appointed Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement, who held their annual conference in Durban. He used the event to criticise the “narrow, chauvinistic interests” of the Israeli government in stalling negotiations to end theIsraeli-Palestinian conflict and urged India and Pakistan to negotiate to end the Kashmir conflict, for which he was criticised by both Israel and India. Inspired by the region’s economic boom, Mandela sought greater economic relations with East Asia, in particular with Malaysia, although this was scuppered by the 1997 Asian financial crisis. He attracted controversy for his close relationship with Indonesian President Suharto, whose regime was responsible for mass human rights abuses, although privately urged him to withdraw from the occupation of East Timor.
Mandela faced similar criticism from the West for his personal friendships with Fidel Castro and Muammar Gaddafi. Castro visited in 1998, to widespread popular acclaim, and Mandela met Gaddafi in Libya to award him the Order of Good Hope. When Western governments and media criticised these visits, Mandela lambasted the criticisms as having racist undertones. Mandela hoped to resolve the long-running dispute between Libya and the US and Britain over bringing to trial the two Libyans, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi andLamin Khalifah Fhimah, who were indicted in November 1991 and accused of sabotaging Pan Am Flight 103. Mandela proposed that they be tried in a third country, which was agreed to by all parties; governed by Scots law, the trial was held at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands in April 1999, and found one of the two men guilty.
Withdrawing from politics
The new Constitution of South Africa was agreed upon by parliament in May 1996, enshrining a series of institutions to check political and administrative authority within a constitutional democracy. De Klerk opposed the implementation of this constitution, withdrawing from the coalition government in protest. The ANC took over the cabinet positions formerly held by the National Party, with Mbeki becoming sole Deputy President. When both Mandela and Mbeki were out of the country in one occasion, Buthelezi was appointed “Acting President”, marking an improvement in his relationship with Mandela.
Mandela stepped down as ANC President at the December 1997 conference, and although hoping that Ramaphosa would replace him, the ANC elected Mbeki to the position; Mandela admitted that by then, Mbeki had become “de facto President of the country”. Replacing Mbeki as Deputy President, Mandela and the Executive supported the candidacy of Jacob Zuma, a Zulu who had been imprisoned on Robben Island, but he was challenged by Winnie, whose populist rhetoric had gained her a strong following within the party; Zuma defeated her in a landslide victory vote at the election.
Mandela’s relationship with Machel had intensified; in February 1998 he publicly stated that “I’m in love with a remarkable lady”, and under pressure from his friend Desmond Tutu, who urged him to set an example for young people, he set a wedding for his 80th birthday, in July. The following day he held a grand party with many foreign dignitaries. The 1996 constitution limited the president to two consecutive five-year terms. Mandela did not attempt to amend the document to remove the two-term limit; indeed, he had never planned on standing for a second term in office. He gave his farewell speech on 29 March 1999, after which he retired.
Retiring in June 1999, Mandela sought a quiet family life, to be divided between Johannesburg and Qunu. He set about authoring a sequel to his first autobiography, to be titled The Presidential Years, but it was abandoned before publication. Finding such seclusion difficult, he reverted to a busy public life with a daily programme of tasks, meeting with world leaders and celebrities, and when in Johannesburg worked with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, founded in 1999 to focus on combating HIV/AIDS, rural development and school construction. Although he had been heavily criticised for failing to do enough to fight the pandemic during his presidency, he devoted much of his time to the issue following his retirement, describing it as “a war” that had killed more than “all previous wars”, and urged Mbeki’s government to ensure that HIV+ South Africans had access to retrovirals. In 2000, the Nelson Mandela Invitationalcharity golf tournament was founded, hosted by Gary Player. Mandela was successfully treated for prostate cancer in July 2001.
Publicly, Mandela became more vocal in criticising Western powers. He strongly opposed the 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo and called it an attempt by the world’s powerful nations to police the entire world. In 2003 he spoke out against the plans for the US and UK to launch the War in Iraq, describing it as “a tragedy” and lambasting US PresidentGeorge W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair for undermining the UN. “All that (Mr. Bush) wants is Iraqi oil,”. He attacked the US more generally, asserting that it had committed more “unspeakable atrocities” across the world than any other nation, citing the atomic bombing of Japan; this attracted international controversy, although he later reconciled his relationship with Blair. Retaining an interest in Libyan-UK relations, he visited Megrahi in Barlinnie prison and spoke out against the conditions of his treatment, referring to them as “psychological persecution”.
In June 2004, aged 85 and amid failing health, Mandela announced that he was “retiring from retirement” and retreating from public life, remarking “Don’t call me, I will call you.” Although continuing to meet with close friends and family, the Foundation discouraged invitations for him to appear at public events and denied most interview requests.
He retained some involvement in international affairs. In 2005, he founded the Nelson Mandela Legacy Trust, travelling to the U.S., to speak before the Brookings Institute and the NAACP on the need for economic assistance to Africa. He spoke with U.S. SenatorHillary Clinton and President George W. Bush and first met then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama. Mandela also encouraged Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to resign over growing human rights abuses in the country. When this proved ineffective, he spoke out publicly against Mugabe in 2007, asking him to step down “with residual respect and a modicum of dignity.” That year, Mandela, Machel, and Desmond Tutu convened a group of world leaders in Johannesburg to contribute their wisdom and independent leadership to some of the world’s toughest problems. Mandela announced the formation of this new group, The Elders, in a speech delivered on his 89th birthday.
Mandela’s 90th birthday was marked across the country on 18 July 2008, with the main celebrations held at Qunu, and a concert in his honour in Hyde Park, London. In a speech marking the event, Mandela called for the rich to help the poor across the world. Throughout Mbeki’s presidency, Mandela continued to support the ANC, although usually overshadowed Mbeki at any public events that the two attended. Mandela was more at ease with Mbeki’s successor Jacob Zuma, although the Nelson Mandela Foundation were upset when his grandson, Mandla Mandela, flew him out to the Eastern Cape to attend a pro-Zuma rally in the midst of a storm in 2009.
In 2004, Mandela had successfully campaigned for South Africa to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, declaring that there would be “few better gifts for us in the year” marking a decade since the fall of apartheid. Mandela emotionally raised the FIFA World Cup Trophy after South Africa was awarded host status. Despite maintaining a low profile during the event due to ill-health, Mandela made his final public appearance during the World Cup closing ceremony, where he received a “rapturous reception”. Between 2005 and 2013, Mandela, and later his family, were embroiled in a series of legal disputes regarding money held in family trusts for the benefit of his descendants. In mid-2013, as Mandela was hospitalised for a lung infection in Pretoria, his descendants were involved in intra-family legal dispute relating to the burial place of Mandela’s children, and ultimately Mandela himself.
Senator Barack Obama meets for the first time with Nelson Mandela, 17 May 2005
In February 2011, he was briefly hospitalised with a respiratory infection, attracting international attention, before being re-hospitalised for a lung infection and gallstone removal in December 2012. After a successful medical procedure in early March 2013, his lung infection recurred, and he was briefly hospitalised in Pretoria. On 8 June 2013, his lung infection worsened, and he was rehospitalised in Pretoria in a serious condition. After four days, it was reported that he had stabilised and remained in a “serious, but stable condition”. En route to the hospital, his ambulance broke down and was stranded on the roadside for 40 minutes. The government was criticised for the incident, but Zuma countered that throughout, Mandela was given “expert medical care.”
On 22 June 2013, CBS News stated that he had not opened his eyes in days and was unresponsive, and the family was discussing how much medical intervention should be given. Former bodyguard Shaun van Heerden, described by CBS News as “Mandela’s constant companion for the last 12 years”, had publicly asked the family to “set him free” a week prior. On 23 June 2013, Zuma announced that Mandela’s condition had become “critical“. Zuma, accompanied by the Deputy President of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, met Mandela’s wife Graça Machel at the hospital in Pretoria and discussed his condition. On 25 June Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba visited Mandela at the hospital and prayed with Graça Machel Mandela “at this hard time of watching and waiting”. The next day, Zuma visited Mandela in the hospital and canceled a visit scheduled for the next day to Mozambique. A relative of Mandela told The Daily Telegraph newspaper he was onlife support.
On 4 July, it was reported that David Smith, a lawyer acting on behalf of Mandela family members, claimed in court on 26 June that Mandela was in a permanent vegetative state and life support should be withdrawn. The South African Presidency stated that the doctors treating Mandela denied that he was in a vegetative state. On 10 July, Zuma’s office announced that Mandela remained in critical but stable condition, and was responding to treatment.
On 1 September 2013, Mandela was discharged from hospital although his condition remained unstable.
On 6 December 2013, President Zuma announced a national mourning period of ten days, with the main event held at the FNB Stadiumin Johannesburg on 10 December 2013. He declared 8 December 2013 a national day of prayer and reflection: “We call upon all our people to gather in halls, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and in their homes to pray and hold prayer services and meditation reflecting on the life of Madiba and his contribution to our country and the world.” Mandela’s body will lie in state from 11–13 December at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and a state funeral will be held on 15 December 2013 in Qunu, South Africa.
Mandela was an African nationalist, an ideological position he held since joining the ANC, also being “a democrat, and a socialist”. Although he presented himself in an autocratic manner in several speeches, Mandela was a devout believer in democracy and abided by majority decisions even when deeply disagreeing with them. He held a conviction that “inclusivity, accountability and freedom of speech” were the fundamentals of democracy, and was driven by a belief in natural and human rights. This belief drove him to not only pursue racial equality but also to promote gay rights as part of the post-apartheid reforms.
A democratic socialist, Mandela was “openly opposed to capitalism, private land-ownership and the power of big money”. Influenced by Marxism, during the revolution Mandela advocated scientific socialism, although he denied being a communist during the Treason Trial. Biographer David James Smith thought this untrue, stating that Mandela “embraced communism and communists” in the late 1950s and early 1960s, though was a “fellow traveller” rather than a party member. In the 1955 Freedom Charter, which Mandela had helped create, it called for the nationalisation of banks, gold mines, and land, believing it necessary to ensure equal distribution of wealth. Despite these beliefs, Mandela nationalised nothing during his presidency, fearing that this would scare away foreign investors. This decision was in part influenced by the fall of the socialist states in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc during the early 1990s.
Mandela was a private person who often concealed his emotions and confided in very few people. Privately, he lived an austere life, refusing to drink alcohol or smoke, and even as President made his own bed, although was also renowned for his mischievous sense of humour. He was known for being both stubborn and loyal, and at times exhibited a quick temper. He was typically friendly and welcoming, and appeared relaxed in conversation with everyone, including his opponents. Constantly polite and courteous, he was attentive to everyone, irrespective of their age or status, and often talked to children or servants. In later life he always looked for the best in people, even defending political opponents to his allies, who sometimes thought him too trusting of others. He was highly image conscious, and throughout his life always sought out fine quality clothes, with many commentators believing that he carried himself in a regal manner. His official biographer Anthony Sampson commented that he was a “master of imagery and performance”, excelling at presenting himself well in press photographs and producing soundbites. In describing his life, Mandela stated that “I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.”
Mandela was married three times, fathered six children, had 17 grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren. He could be stern and demanding of his children, although he was more affectionate with his grandchildren. His first marriage was to Evelyn Ntoko Mase in October 1944; they divorced after 13 years in 1957 under the multiple strains of his adultery and constant absences, devotion to revolutionary agitation, and the fact that she was a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a religion requiring political neutrality. The couple had two sons whom Mandela survived, Madiba “Thembi” Thembekile (1945–1969) and Makgatho Mandela (1950–2005); his first son died in a car crash, and his second son died of AIDS. The couple had two daughters, both named Makaziwe Mandela (born 1947 and 1954); the first died at the age of nine months, the second, known as “Maki“, survived Mandela. Makgatho’s son, Mandla Mandela, became chief of the Mvezo tribal council in 2007.
Mandela’s second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, also came from the Transkei area, although they, too, met in Johannesburg, where she was the city’s first black social worker. They had two daughters, Zenani (Zeni), born 4 February 1958, and Zindziswa (Zindzi) Mandela-Hlongwane, born 1960. Zindzi was only 18 months old when her father was sent to Robben island. Later, Winnie was deeply torn by family discord which mirrored the country’s political strife; separation (April 1992) and divorce (March 1996), fuelled by political estrangement. Mandela’s third wife was Graça Machel (née Simbine), whom he married on his 80th birthday in 1998.
Influence and legacy
By the time of his death, Mandela had come to be widely considered “the father of the nation” within South Africa, and “the founding father of democracy”, being seen as “the national liberator, the saviour, its Washington and Lincoln rolled into one”. Mandela’s biographer Anthony Sampson commented that even during his life, a myth had developed around him that turned him into “a secular saint” and which was “so powerful that it blurs the realities.”Within a decade after the end of his Presidency, Mandela’s era was being widely thought of as “a golden age of hope and harmony”. Across the world, Mandela earned international acclaim for his activism in overcoming apartheid and fostering racial reconciliation, coming to be viewed as “a moral authority” with a great “concern for truth”.
He has also received international acclaim. In 1993, he received the joint Nobel Peace Prize with de Klerk. In November 2009, theUnited Nations General Assembly proclaimed Mandela’s birthday, 18 July, as “Mandela Day“, marking his contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle. It called on individuals to donate 67 minutes to doing something for others, commemorating the 67 years that Mandela had been a part of the movement.
The African National Congress (ANC) is the Republic of South Africa’s governing political party, supported by its Tripartite Alliancewith the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a “disciplined force of the left”. Members founded the organisation as theSouth African Native National Congress (SANNC) on 8 January 1912 at the Waaihoek Wesleyan Church in Bloemfontein to increase the rights of the black South African population. John Dube, its first president, and poet and author Sol Plaatje were among its founding members. The organisation became the ANC in 1923 and formed a military wing, the Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) in 1961.
It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa on the national level since 1994. It increased its majority in the 1999 elections, and further increased it in 2004, with 69.7% of the votes. In 2009 its share of the vote reduced slightly, but it remained the dominant party with 65.9% of the votes.
The founding of the SANNC was in direct response to injustice against black South Africans at the hands of the government then in power. It can be said that the SANNC had its origins in a pronouncement by Pixley ka Isaka Seme who said in 1911, “Forget all the past differences among Africans and unite in one national organisation.” The SANNC was founded the following year on 8 January 1912.
The government of the newly formed Union of South Africa began a systematic oppression of black people in South Africa. The Land Act was promulgated in 1913 forcing many non-whites from their farms into the cities and towns to work, and to restrict their movement within South Africa.
By 1919, the SANNC was leading a campaign against passes (an ID which non-whites had to posses). However, it then became dormant in the mid-1920s. During that time, black people were also represented by the ICU and the previously white-only Communist party. In 1923, the organisation became the African National Congress, and in 1929 the ANC supported a militant mineworkers’ strike.
By 1927, J.T. Gumede (president of the ANC) proposed co-operation with the Communists in a bid to revitalise the organisation, but he was voted out of power in the 1930s. This led to the ANC becoming largely ineffectual and inactive, until the mid-1940s when the ANC was remodelled as a mass movement.
The ANC responded militarily to attacks on the rights of black South Africans, as well as calling for strikes, boycotts, and defiance. This led to a later Defiance Campaign in the 1950s, a mass movement of resistance to apartheid. The government tried to stop the ANC by banning party leaders and enacting new laws to stop the ANC, however these measures ultimately proved to be ineffective.
The ANC and its members were officially removed from the United States terrorism watch list in 2008.
Umkhonto we Sizwe
Umkhonto we Sizwe (or MK), translated “Spear of the Nation”, was the military wing of the ANC. Partly in response to the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, individual members of the ANC found it necessary to consider violence to combat what passive protest had failed to quell. There was a significant portion of the ANC who therefore turned to violence to achieve their goals. A significant portion of ANC leadership agreed that this violence was needed to combat increasing backlash from the government. Some ANC members were upset by the actions of the MK, and refused to accept violence as necessary for the ending of apartheid, but these individuals became a minority as the militant leaders such asNelson Mandela gained significant popularity. Many consider their actions to be criminal, but the MK deemed the means justified by the end goal of ending apartheid. The MK committed terrorist acts to achieve their aims, and MK was responsible for the deaths of both civilians and members of the military. Acts of terrorism committed by the MK include the Church Street bombing and the Magoo’s Bar bombing. In co-operation with the South African Communist Party, MK was founded in 1961.
The ANC deems itself a force of national liberation in the post-apartheid era; it officially defines its agenda as the National Democratic Revolution. The ANC is a member of theSocialist International. It also sets forth the redressing of socio-economic differences stemming from colonial- and apartheid-era policies as a central focus of ANC policy.
The National Democratic Revolution (NDR) is described as a process through which the National Democratic Society (NDS) is achieved; a society in which people are intellectually, socially, economically and politically empowered. The drivers of the NDR are also called the motive forces and are defined as the elements within society that gain from the success of the NDR. Using contour plots or concentric circles the centre represents the elements in society that gain the most out of the success of the NDR. Moving away from the centre results in the reduction of the gains that those elements derive. It is generally believed that the force that occupies the centre of those concentric circles in countries with low unemployment is the working class while in countries with higher levels of unemployment it is the unemployed. Some of the many theoreticians that have written about the NDR include Joe Slovo, Joel Netshitenzhe and Tshilidzi Marwala.
In 2004, the ANC declared itself to be a social democratic party.
The ANC holds a historic alliance with the South African Communist Party (SACP) and Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), known as the Tripartite Alliance. The SACP and COSATU have not contested any election in South Africa, but field candidates through the ANC, hold senior positions in the ANC, and influence party policy and dialogue. During Mbeki’s presidency, the government took a more pro-capitalist stance, often running counter to the demands of the SACP and COSATU.
Following Zuma’s accession to the ANC leadership in 2007 and Mbeki’s resignation as president in 2008, the Mbeki faction of former ministers led by Mosiuoa Lekota split away from the ANC to form the Congress of the People.
The ANC flag is composed of three stripes – black, green and gold. Black symbolises the native people of South Africa, green represents the land and gold represents the mineral and other natural wealth of South Africa. This flag was also the battle flag of the Umkhonto we Sizwe. The official party flag also has the emblem of the party incorporated onto the flag.
Politicians in the party win a place in parliament by being on the Party List, which is drawn up before the elections and enumerates, in order, the party’s preferred MPs. The number of seats allocated is proportional to the popular national vote, and this determines the cut-off point.
The ANC has also gained members through the controversial floor crossing process.
Although most South African parties announced their candidate list for provincial premierships in the 2009 election, the ANC did not, as it is not required for parties to do so.
Proportion of votes cast for the ANC in the 2009 election, by ward.
The ANC represented the main opposition to the government during apartheid and therefore they played a major role in resolving the conflict through participating in the peacemaking and peace-building processes. Initially intelligence agents of the National Party met in secret with ANC leaders, including Nelson Mandela, to judge whether conflict resolution was possible. Discussions and negotiations took place leading to the eventual unbanning of the ANC and other opposing political parties by then President de Klerkon 2 February 1990. These initial meetings were the first crucial steps towards resolution.
The next official step towards rebuilding South Africa was the Groote Schuur Minute where the government and the ANC agreed on a common commitment towards the resolution of the existing climate of violence and intimidation, as well as a commitment to stability and to a peaceful process of negotiations. The ANC negotiated the release of political prisoners and the indemnity from prosecution for returning exiles and moreover channels of communication were established between the Government and the ANC.
Later the Pretoria Minute represented another step towards resolution where agreements at Groote Schuur were reconsolidated and steps towards setting up an interim government and drafting a new constitution were established as well as suspension of the military wing of the ANC – the Umkhonto we Sizwe. This step helped end much of the violence within South Africa. Another agreement that came out of the Pretoria Minute was that both parties would try and raise awareness that a new way of governance was being created for South Africa, and that further violence would only hinder this process. However violence still continued in Kwazulu-Natal, which violated the trust between Mandela and de Klerk. Moreover, internal disputes in the ANC prolonged the war as consensus on peace was not reached.
The next significant steps towards resolution were the Repeal of the Population Registration Act, the repeal of the Group Areas and the Native Land Acts and a catch-all Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act was passed. These measures ensured no one could claim, or be deprived of, any land rights on the basis of race.
In December 1991 the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) was held with the aim of establishing an interim government. However a few months later in June 1992 the Boipatong massacre occurred and all negotiations crumbled as the ANC pulled out. After this negotiations proceeded between two agents, Cyril Ramaphosa of the ANC, andRoelf Meyer of the National Party. In over 40 meetings the two men discussed and negotiated over many issues including the nature of the future political system, the fate of over 40,000 government employees and if/how the country would be divided. The result of these negotiations was an interim constitution that meant the transition from apartheid to democracy was a constitutional continuation and that the rule of law and state sovereignty remained intact during the transition, which was vital for stability within the country. A date was set for the first democratic elections on 27 April 1994. The ANC won 62.5% of the votes and has been in power ever since.
The most prominent corruption case involving the ANC relates to a series of bribes paid to companies involved in the ongoing R55 billion Arms Deal saga, which resulted in a long term jail sentence to former Deputy President Jacob Zuma‘s legal adviser Schabir Shaik. Schabir Shaik was released after about two years on the basis that he was terminally ill. Zuma, now the State president, was charged with fraud, bribery and corruption in the Arms Deal, but the charges were subsequently withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa due to their delay in prosecution. The ANC has also been criticised for its subsequent abolition of the Scorpions, the multidisciplinary agency that investigated and prosecuted organised crime and corruption, and was heavily involved in the investigation into Zuma and Shaik.
Tony Yengeni, in his then position as chief whip of the ANC and also head of the Parliaments defence committee has recently been named as being involved in a R6 million bribe with the German company ThyssenKrupp over the purchase of four corvettes for the SANDF. German detectives raided the offices of the German company and found documentation linking Yengeni to the bribe
Other recent corruption issues include the sexual misconduct and criminal charges of Beaufort West municipal manager Truman Prince, and the Oilgate scandal, in which millions of Rand in funds from a state-owned company were allegedly funnelled into ANC coffers.
The ANC has also been accused of using government and civil society to fight its political battles against opposition parties such as the Democratic Alliance. The result has been a number of complaints and allegations that none of the political parties truly represent the interests of the poor. This has resulted in the “No Land! No House! No Vote!” Campaign which becomes very prominent each time the country holds elections.
The ANC spent over R1 billion of taxpayers’ money on luxury vehicles, expensive hotels, banquets, advertising and other “wasteful expenditure” between August 2009 and April 2010. The main thrust behind this reporting is the official opposition in the country, the Democratic Alliance (DA), which kept a tally of the expenditure called “The Wasteful Expenditure Monitor”.
The ANC have been criticised for its role in failing to prevent the 16 August 2012 massacre of Lonmin miners at Marikana in the North West. Some allege that Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, a close confidant of Jacob Zuma, may have given the go ahead for the police action against the miners on that day.
Commissioner Phiyega of the ANC came under further criticism as being insensitive and uncaring when she was caught smiling and laughing during the Farlam Commission’s video playback of the ‘massacre’. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has announced that he no longer can bring himself to exercise a vote for the ANC as it is no longer the party that he and Nelson Mandela fought for, and that the party has now lost its way, and is in danger of becoming a corrupt entity in power.
Professor Carroll Quigley, Bill Clinton’s mentor at Georgetown University, authored a massive volume entitled “Tragedy and Hope” in which he states: “There does exist and has existed for a generation, an international network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so. I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960s, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims, and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies, but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.”
“The powers of financial capitalism had another far reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements, arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences…”
“The apex of the system was the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the worlds’ central banks which were themselves private corporations…”
“The growth of financial capitalism made possible a centralization of world economic control and use of this power for the direct benefit of financiers and the indirect injury of all other economic groups.” Tragedy and Hope: A History of The World in Our Time (Macmillan Company, 1966,) Professor Carroll Quigley of Georgetown University
“The Council on Foreign Relations is the American branch of a society which originated in England (RIIA) … [and] … believes national boundaries should be obliterated and one-world rule established.” Dr. Carroll Quigley
“As a teenager, I heard John Kennedy’s summons to citizenship. And then, as a student, I heard that call clarified by a professor I had named Carroll Quigley.”President Clinton, in his acceptance speech for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, 16 July 1992
“Quigley” is the late Carroll Quigley, a Council on Foreign Relations member and historian, as well as mentor to CFR and Trilateral Commission member Bill Clinton. The lecture is based around the following quote from his book Tragedy & Hope, pp. 1247-1248:
“The National parties and their presidential candidates, with the Eastern Establishment assiduously fostering the process behind the scenes, moved closer together and nearly met in the center with almost identical candidates and platforms, although the process was concealed as much as possible, by the revival of obsolescent or meaningless war cries and slogans (often going back to the Civil War)….The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy. … Either party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.”
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Megyn Kelly Interviews Charles Krauthammer on Obamacare Outrage – Kelly File – 10/30/13
More Than a Website
Health Site Is Improving But Likely to Miss Saturday Deadline
Louise Radnofsky and Spencer E. Ante
Despite recent progress at HealthCare.gov, a raft of problems will remain beyond the Obama administration’s Saturday deadline to make the troubled federal insurance website work.
The news isn’t all bad: Users say the site looks better, pages load faster, and more people are getting through to sign up for health plans.
But technical problems still affect HealthCare.gov’s ability to verify users’ identities and transmit accurate enrollment data to insurers, officials say. The data center that supports the site faces continuing challenges, and tools for processing payments to insurers haven’t been built.
Technical staff in Washington have been racing up to the end-of-November deadline. In their last public pronouncement on the effort, three days before the deadline, officials said they had much to do to get the site into a condition where it functions smoothly for a majority of users.
The success of the White House’s signature domestic initiative is riding on the technicians’ ability to fix the site, as well as the rest of the federal technology supporting enrollment. Across the nation, that effort is being eyed hopefully by supporters of the law, since the site is the centerpiece of the effort to overhaul American health care and extend coverage to millions of people.
Those hopes were deflated by a series of blows for the administration right up until Nov. 30, and the site continued to experience outages, both planned and unplanned, in the week leading up to the deadline.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the administration was planning to change its Web-hosting provider from Verizon Communications Inc. VZ -0.62%Verizon Communications Inc. U.S.: NYSE $49.62 -0.31 -0.62% Nov. 29, 2013 1:00 pm Volume (Delayed 15m) : 4.30M AFTER HOURS $49.79 +0.17 +0.34% Nov. 29, 2013 4:42 pm Volume (Delayed 15m): 611,247 P/E Ratio 65.29 Market Cap $141.91 Billion Dividend Yield 4.27% Rev. per Employee $651,745 11/27/13 H-P Will Replace Verizon for W… 11/20/13 Investors Tell AT&T, Verizon t… 11/18/13 Supreme Court Declines to Hear…More quote details and news »VZ in Your Value Your Change Short position subsidiary Terremark to Hewlett-Packard Co. in the spring, a complex transition that could introduce new challenges and take months; and the same day, the administration said it was shelving for a year any attempts to operate an online exchange for small businesses. On Wednesday, Verizon declined to comment on its clients.
Officials mixed optimism with caution. “November 30th does not represent a relaunch of HealthCare.gov,” said Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which operates the site. “It is not a magical date. There will be times after November 30th when the site, like any website, does not perform optimally.”
For the fix-it drive that began in late October, the administration tapped former White House adviser Jeff Zients and QSSI, a unit of UnitedHealth Group, to act as the new lead contractor, establishing a 24-hour “war room” operations center to coordinate contractors who previously weren’t working well together. Since then, officials have focused on fixing the kinds of wrinkles that were most obvious to users.
They have reported success in speeding up the response time of the system, lowering it from an average of eight seconds at launch to less than one second for most users. They say they have eliminated a host of glitches in the software so that pages now load incorrectly less than 1% of the time. And they say they have added “visual cues” to help users navigate the system more easily.
Technicians have been racing to add new computer server, storage and database capacity to the website, hoping to get the site ready to withstand 50,000 simultaneous users by Sunday, as was originally intended, said people familiar with the work. “I think we are close,” said one.
Some people involved with enrollment say they have seen a notable uptick in recent weeks. Maine Community Health Options, a nonprofit plan based in Lewiston, Maine, now is getting “hundreds of enrollments” a day, rather than the dozens it saw trickling in earlier this month, said Chief Executive Kevin Lewis.
But problems with the performance of the site’s databases, storage and servers and their interaction with each other continue to slow the site or make it unavailable for short periods, according to government officials and contractors working on the project.
Explore how America’s health-care overhaul will affect you on this first-person adventure. CLICK THE IMAGEto start interactive experience.
Karen Egozi, CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida, which has trained nearly 50 people to help others enroll, said the performance of the website has improved in recent weeks but suffers from unpredictable glitches. On Nov. 19, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius visited a medical center in Miami and watched a member of Ms. Egozi’s staff help a couple fill out an application. The website failed, in front of a local TV camera crew.
On the weekend of Nov. 23 and 24, Ms. Egozi said her navigators were able to sign up a few people. But on Nov. 25, she said the site was down for a little while. “Sometimes, similar to when the secretary was here, the site does not let us through to the next section,” she said. “It was not working today, but yesterday it worked well.”
One source of early problems: The government had bought web-hosting services from Terremark subsidiary that initially gave it a highly virtualized system of servers shared by other groups within the Medicare center, rather than a dedicated group of computer servers for HealthCare.gov. Plans are in place to replace the Verizon unit with H-P this spring.
HHS also didn’t initially contract for a backup website or monitoring tools like those used by sophisticated consumer sites, according to people familiar with the matter.
The website still has no separate backup copy, but it did replace the virtual database with dedicated hardware, and bought and installed monitoring software.
Meanwhile, the site has a backlog of users who encountered problems in its first weeks of operation. Some appear to be locked out from the early stages unless they can get their account deleted. Others are stuck at the next big stage, persuading the federal government of their identity and their income so their application for tax credits can be processed.
Yannette Castellano waits to talk to a navigator about health-care options available under the Affordable Care Act, at the North Shore Medical Center, on Nov. 19 in Miami. AP
Guy Dicharry of Los Lunas, N.M., said he had been in limbo at the identity-verification stage since Oct. 5, despite giving the site personal information several times so it can confirm his income. He hasn’t heard back about a paper application submitted Nov. 1.
“This has been botched and is not getting fixed. If it’s not fixed, I’ll be ringing in 2014 as a newly uninsured person. I suspect that is the opposite of what the ACA was supposed to achieve,” said Mr. Dicharry, who described himself as a supporter of the Affordable Care Act. Because of their age and income, Mr. Dicharry and his wife stand to gain valuable subsidies toward the cost of coverage, but only if he buys it through the website.
Ronald Gallagher of Paradise Valley, Ariz., said he had been helping his daughter shop for coverage. After 16 hours over four days starting Oct. 1, they were told her identity was verified and she could pick a plan. But when they logged in to the website, it said her application was “In Progress.”
After failing to get help from a call center, father and daughter filled out an application over the phone in early November, but they still haven’t received a letter telling what insurance plans she qualifies for. “So far, nothing the government has done has worked,” Mr. Gallagher said.
Even when people successfully enroll, insurers say they sometimes get incorrect data. Ms. Bataille, the government spokeswoman, said officials have seen “marked improvements” in the information transmitted to insurers but “we know there are still issues that remain.” An HHS official also said that there had been improvements in identity verification, but that the agency knew it wasn’t fully fixed.
Mr. Lewis of Maine Community Health Options also worried about a larger volume of applicants, especially since insurers have now been told to find ways to process applications that come in from people as late as Dec. 23 in time for their coverage to begin Jan. 1, rather than a previous Dec. 15 deadline.
If “there’s an avalanche on that last date, I don’t know if the system will be able to support all that,” he said.
Book TV: After Words: Harry Markopolos, “No One Would Listen”
Madoff Whistleblower Speaks with ABC News Radios Aaron Kate
Ackerman Scolds SEC for Not Stopping Bernie Madoff Scheme Despite Being Told About It 10yrs Ago
Markopolos: I gift wrapped and delivered the largest Ponzi scheme in history to the SEC
Rep. Maloney on Madoff Fraud
Congressman Spencer Bachus questions at Madoff Ponzi Fraud Hearing
Congressman Sherman questions Harry Markopoulos
Ron Paul – Madoff Fraud Hearing – Congress – Big Ponzi Scheme 01-05-09
DP/30: Chasing Madoff, subject Harry Markopolos (pt 1 of 2)
DP/30: Chasing Madoff, subject Harry Markopolos (pt 2 of 2)
Background Articles and Videos
Bernie Madoff on the modern stock market
Bernie Madoff Reveals to Barbara Walters He Is ‘Happier in Prison’
Bernie Madoff’s Jail Cell and His Future Life in Prison, Levine: “He’s Worse Than a Child Molester.”
The Madoff Hustle – Part 1
The Madoff Hustle – Part 2
The Madoff Hustle – Part 3
The Madoff Hustle – Part 4
Part 1: The Hunt for Madoff’s Money
Part 2: The Hunt for Madoff?s Money
Too Good to be True- The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff Part 1
Erin Arvedlund first wrote about Bernie Madoff for Barrons in 2001 and published her book, Too Good to be True- The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff in August of 2009. In this episode of The Massachusetts School of Law’s Books of our Time, Dean Velvel, himself a Madoff victim, and Arvedlund discuss the history of the brokerage industry, the possible culpability of the entire Madoff family, the difference between Madoff’s legitimate brokerage firm and his illegitimate hedge fund and the steps that lead up to the largest Ponzi scheme in American History. Arvedlund tells the story of Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme with the knowledge and detail of an insider, and sheds new light on the greatest financial enigma of American History.
The Massachusetts School of Law also presents information on important current affairs to the general public in television and radio broadcasts, an intellectual journal, conferences, author appearances, blogs and books. For more information visit mslawledu.
Too Good to be True- The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff Part 2
Segment 0: HIM Obama, HIM Obama, HIM Obama — His Imperial Majesty — Monarch of Marxism, Czar of Communism, Shah of Socialism, and Pharaoh of Progressivism — His Imperial Majesty Obama — HIM Obama, HIM Obama, HIM Obama — HIM That Must Be Obeyed — If You Like Your Plan You Can Keep Your Plan For One More Year — Videos
A Montage of Obama’s “If You Like Your Plan Keep It” Lies
President Obama describing how to reach single payer flashback
Barack Obama: ‘We Fumbled the Roll Out on This Health Care Law,’ ‘That’s on Me’ – 11-14-2013
Barack Obama Full Speech on Obamacare Disaster & Keep Your Plan Promise – November 14, 2013
Obama wants it both ways on single payer
Obama’s Single Payer Health Care System : New World Order ( NWO )
President Obama Wants A Single Payer Health Care System
Obama on single payer health insurance
Barack Obama and single payer health care
Obama On Single Payer Health Care
President Obama answers question on Health Care Website (C-SPAN Clip)
Obama Town Hall 1st Question? Single Payer
Obama In ’09: Medicare “Is Going Broke”
Trustees say long-run Medicare, Social Security deficit is $66 trillion
Social Security and Medicare – the two largest federal programs – are on track to generate $66 trillion in deficits over time, according to the latest analysis from the programs’ trustees.
Taken together, the reports underscore the fact that whatever modest improvement there has been in the near-term deficit outlook, the nation still faces deep long-term fiscal challenges.
In 2013, Social Security’s trustees expect the program to pay out $79 billion more in benefits than the government collects in Social Security taxes, and anticipate the program running deficits in perpetuity. This is despite the expiration of the 2011-12 payroll tax holiday and the improvement in the economy. Back when President Bush advocated Social Security reform, the program wasn’t supposed to start running annual deficits until 2018.
Typically, the media places emphasis on the Social Security “trust fund.” That is, in past years in which the government was collecting more in Social Security taxes than it cost to provide benefits, it spent the surplus on other government functions and issued IOUs to the Social Security system. Though the distinction is silly given that the money all has to come from the same bank account, the trustees estimate that these IOUs will now run out in 2033, at which point, absent other changes, the federal government would have to automatically cut Social Security benefits by 23 percent. When Bush was advocating Social Security reform, this wasn’t projected to happen until 2042. Put another way, the trust fund exhaustion date that was 37 years away during the Bush era when liberals denied the existence of a Social Security crisis, is now just 20 years away.
Under the trustees’ “infinite horizon” estimates that project the cost of Social Security over time in present dollars, the program is running a long-term deficit of $23.1 trillion.
When it comes to Medicare, the outlook is even grimmer, because the demographics of an expanding older generation, which challenge the finances of Social Security, interact with rising health care costs.
The finances of Medicare are also more complicated, because the program has several different funding streams. The hospital payment program, Medicare Part A, like Social Security, is financed by a payroll tax, in addition to general federal revenue. Medicare Part B (which covers services such as doctors visits and lab tests in addition to equipment such as wheelchairs) and Medicare Part D (which covers prescription drugs) are financed by a combination of collecting premiums from beneficiaries and general revenue.
Over time, the trustees project the hospital fund has $3.5 trillion in unfunded obligations, Part B will require $25 trillion in general revenue to finance, and Part D — passed by a Republican Congress and signed by Bush — will require an injection of $14.4 trillion. All told, Medicare will run $42.9 trillion short. Combined with Social Security, the long-term deficit of the two programs is $66 trillion.
This, however, likely understates the true extent of the financial problems facing Medicare. The reason is that these projections assume that all of the Medicare cuts in President Obama’s health care law will be fully implemented and that Congress will allow scheduled cuts to doctors’ payments to go into effect, even though lawmakers routinely vote to delay such cuts.
Paul Spitalnic, the acting chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in a statement at the end of the report, cautioned that the projections were ultimately “implausible.” For instance, they would require a cut to Medicare physicians’ payments of nearly 25 percent this January.
“Further, while the Affordable Care Act makes important changes to the Medicare program and substantially improves its financial outlook, there is a strong likelihood that certain of these changes will not be viable in the long range,” Spitalnic wrote. He continued: “Without unprecedented changes in health care delivery systems and payment mechanisms, the prices paid by Medicare for health services are very likely to fall increasingly short of the costs of providing these services. By the end of the long-range projection period, Medicare prices for hospital, skilled nursing facility, home health, hospice, ambulatory surgical center, diagnostic laboratory, and many other services would be less than half of their level without consideration of the productivity price reductions. Medicare prices would be considerably below the current relative level of Medicaid prices, which have already led to access problems for Medicaid enrollees, and far below the levels paid by private health insurance. Well before that point, Congress would have to intervene to prevent the withdrawal of providers from the Medicare market and the severe problems with beneficiary access to care that would result. Overriding the productivity adjustments, as Congress has done repeatedly in the case of physician payment rates, would lead to substantially higher costs for Medicare in the long range than those projected under current law.”
According to an alternate set of assumptions in which Congress undoes these cuts, the trustees estimate that the Medicare program could cost about 50 percent more over a 75-year period.
On paper, the Medicare hospital “trust fund” won’t be exhausted until 2026, which is two years later than last year and nine years later than before the passage of Obamacare. But, this estimate is based on the same unreasonable assumptions. Additionally, it’s misleading, because the projected Medicare savings are really supposed to be used to help finance the health care law’s new spending rather than extend the solvency of Medicare.
Chris Wallace: ‘One of the Problems’ with Obamacare is Too Many Poor People Get Medicaid
Obamacare numbers coming ‘shortly’
Obamacare Official Enrollment Numbers Released by Sebelius
Obamacare Numbers Don’t Lie – WSJ RPT: Obamacare Enrollment Well Bellow Goal – Sen Ted Cruz
$1 Billion Spent on Obamacare Ads by 2015 – Katie Pavlich vs. Alan Colmes – Fox News – 8-21-13
Opt Out – The Exam – Creepy Uncle Sam
Uncle Sam plays proctologist in creepy political ad
Fewer than 27,000 health care sign-ups through federal website; 79,000 more in state sites
Putting a statistic on disappointment, the Obama administration revealed Wednesday that fewer than 27,000 people signed up for private health insurance last month in the 36 states relying on a problem-filled federal website.
States running their own enrollment systems did better, signing up more than 79,000, for a total enrollment of over 106,000.
Still, that was barely one-fifth of the nearly 500,000 people administration officials had projected would sign up the first month of Obama’s signature program, a numerical rebuke to the administration’s ability to deliver on its promise. The 106,185 people who made it all the way through to selecting a plan represent just 1.5 percent of the 7 million people the administration hopes to enroll by next year.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said things will get better, and quickly. “There is no doubt the level of interest is strong,” she said.
The administration said an additional 1 million or so applicants have been found eligible for government-subsidized private coverage in new state-level insurance markets, and about half are within sight of having their plans lined up for the start of next year. An additional 396,000 have been found eligible for Medicaid, the safety-net program that is shaping up as the health care law’s early success story.
The numbers landed amid a political storm on Capitol Hill. Democrats who had hoped to run for re-election next year on the success of the health care law are increasingly worried.
It’s not only the website woes, but a wave of cancellation notices hitting constituents whose individual health insurance policies don’t measure up to the law’s requirements. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has scheduled an all-Democrats meeting Thursday with White House health care officials.
The administration has staked its credibility on turning the website around by the end of this month. From the president on down, officials have said that HealthCare.gov will be running smoothly for the vast majority of users by Nov. 30.
Some outside experts are concerned. “People are starting to get nervous because there is not enough indication from the government that things are on track,” said Caroline Pearson, who runs the health reform practice at Avalere Health, a market analysis firm. “You wonder if there are still underlying programming problems that are causing the system to shut down when volume is high.”
Administration officials have not specified what “running smoothly” means, or what would constitute the “vast majority” of users.
On daily media calls, Health and Human Services department officials have described a situation where problems get fixed and then new issues crop up as consumers are able to venture further into the website. It’s a bit like traffic heading back to a city late on a summer Sunday: You get past one jam, and odds are you run into another.
There was a hopeful sign this Tuesday when Julie Bataille, HHS communications director for the rollout, said that 275,000 people who got hung up in the early days are being invited back to try to complete their applications. The administration is sending the email invitations in batches, so as not to risk any disruptions. White House chief technology officer Todd Park told Congress on Wednesday that system response times are much faster, and error rates have plunged.
HHS reports 106,000 have picked health plans through ObamaCare exchanges
Published November 13, 2013
The Department of Health and Human Services reported Wednesday that more than 100,000 people have selected a health care plan through the ObamaCare exchanges — a number that, likely due to widespread website failures, falls far short of the administration’s goal.
The administration had originally hoped to sign up a half-million people in the first month of open enrollment. Now more than six weeks into the troubled launch of HealthCare.gov and other state-based exchanges, HHS announced Wednesday that 106,185 people had selected a plan as of Nov. 2.
The announcement had been highly anticipated, as lawmakers have been pressing the administration for weeks on official figures.
But even the statistic revealed on Wednesday might be inflated.
The administration said the figure counts all those who have selected a health care plan from state and federal exchanges, even if they haven’t yet paid a premium on those plans.
One source explained to Fox News that no one is really “enrolled” until the insurance company knows about it.
Still, the numbers announced Wednesday stand as the most definitive account to date from the administration of how many people have been able to wade through the problem-plagued website and pick a plan.
The administration says a total of 975,407 applied for coverage and received an eligibility determination, but have not yet selected a plan. In addition to the 106,185who have selected a plan, another 396,261 have been determined as eligible for Medicaid or a similar government program for children.
Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend
Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don’t tell the truth uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
The truth is in the eyes
Cause the eyes don’t lie, amen
Remember a smile is just
A frown turned upside down
My friend let me tell you
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don’t tell the truth, uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
Beware, beware of the handshake
That hides the snake
I’m telling you beware
Beware of the pat on the back
It just might hold you back
I tell you, you can’t see behind smiling faces
Smiling faces sometimes they don’t tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don’t tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
(Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes)
(Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes)
I’m telling you beware, beware of the handshake
That hides the snake
Listen to me now, beware
Beware of that pat on the back
It just might hold you back
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don’t tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
Your enemy won’t do you no harm
Cause you’ll know where he’s coming from
Don’t let the handshake and the smile fool ya
Take my advice I’m only try’ to school ya
Obama to AMA keep your doctor and insurance we will build economy
Obama Knew Millions Would Not Keep Their Private Health Insurance, Get Ready To Pay Much More!
President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obama-care, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.
Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”
Obama knew millions would lose their health insurance
Obama administration knew millions would lose health insurance
How Cronyism is Hurting the Economy
If You Like Your Health Care Plan You Can’t Keep It!
Uploaded on Jun 16, 2010
Fox News report highlighting how empty Obama’s promise “If you like your health care plan you can keep it” really is. A new government report reveals that 51% of employers may have to relinquish their current health care coverage by 2013 due to ObamaCare. That numbers soars to 66% for small-business employers.
With new restrictions on health insurance being issued by the Secretary of Health and Human Services millions of Americans will shortly be forced to accept government insurance. Exempted from these new rules will be labor unions.
Remember that Obama in a September 2009 speech to congress said: “If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out.”
O.K. Obama misrepresented what was in his plan. It’s time to CALL HIM OUT. Then THROW him out in 2012!
UnitedHealth Group Overview Video
UnitedHealth Group’s Simon Stevens
United Health Group Pressuring Employees To Campaign Against Health Care Reform (With Audio)
Wealth Strategies: Obamacare to benefit HCA, UnitedHealth
Obamacare Fallout – Critics Ask If White House Was Misleading Americans – Brit Humes – Kelly File
A tech firm linked to a campaign-donor crony of President Obama not only got the job to help build the federal health-insurance Web site — but also is getting paid to fix it.
Anthony Welters, a top campaign bundler for Obama and frequent White House guest, is the executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group, which owns the software company now at the center of the ObamaCare Web-site fiasco.
UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Quality Software Services Inc. (QSSI), which built the data hub for the ObamaCare system, has been named the new general contractor in charge of repairing the glitch-plagued HealthCare.gov.
Welters and his wife, Beatrice, have shoveled piles of cash into Obama’s campaign coffers and apparently reaped the rewards.
Beatrice Welters bundled donations totaling between $200,000 and $500,000 for Obama’s campaign during the 2008 election cycle, according to campaign- finance data compiled by Center for Responsive Politics.
SICK CALL: Obama bundler Anthony Welters’ firm owns the company picked to repair the health Web site.
The couple then became top donors for Obama’s inauguration festivities, kicking in $100,000 out of their own pockets and bundling another $300,000 from friends and business associates, according to the center.
The investments quickly paid off for Beatrice Welters. The Obama administration tapped her in 2009 for the plum job of US ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, which she held through last November.
The couple have been frequent guests at the White House.
Visitors logs show at least a dozen visits between the two by the end of 2012, the most recent information available.
The entire Welters family has gotten into the donation game.
The Welters, along with their sons, Andrew and Bryant, have contributed more than $258,000 to mostly Democratic candidates and committees since 2007.
What’s more, UnitedHealth Group is one of the largest health-insurance companies in the country and spent millions lobbying for ObamaCare.
The insurance giant’s purchase of QSSI in 2012 raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill, but the tech firm nevertheless kept the job of building the data hub for the ObamaCare Web site where consumers buy the new mandatory health- insurance plans.
QSSI has been paid an estimated $150 million so far, but officials couldn’t say how much more the company might collect on the repair contract.
By all accounts, the data hub has run smoothly while many other components of the Web site have failed.
Meanwhile, tempers flared among Obama’s Democratic allies over the disastrous rollout of the president’s signature initiative.
“I’m extraordinarily frustrated,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) after top Obama-administration officials gave Senate Democrats a private briefing on the state of the Web-site repairs.
He said they were losing confidence the site could be quickly fixed.
“I don’t think there’s confidence by anyone in the room. This is more of a show-me moment,” said Merkley.
Anthony Welters is the Executive Vice President of United Health Group, which serves more than 70 million Americans through its health and well-being companies. In January 2011, Mr. Welters was appointed a Member of the Office of the CEO.
Mr. Anthony Welters served as an Executive Vice President at Unitedhealth Group Inc. since December, 2006. Mr. Welters served as the President of Public and Senior Markets Group at UnitedHealth Group Inc. since September 2007. He served as the Chief Executive Officer of AmeriChoice Health Services, Inc. He served as Head of Public & Social Markets Group of UnitedHealth Group since August 2007. He co-founded AmeriChoice Corporation (AmeriChoice) in 1989 and served as its Chief Executive Officer and President from 1989 to December 2006. He served a number of senior positions in the federal government and in private industry. He served as an Attorney for the securities and exchange commission and an Executive Assistant of U.S. Senator Jacob Javits. He served as Director of Federal Affairs and as Assistant Vice President of corporate development of AMTRAK. He served as an Associate Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. He serves as the Chairman of the Board of Morehouse School of Medicine Inc. He served as Chairman of AmeriChoice Corporation from 1989 to September 2002. He serves as Vice Chairman of New York University, Morehouse School of Medicine the NYU Hospitals Center and the Library of Congress. He serves as Vice Chairman at the Board of Trustees of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. He serves as a Trustee of Morehouse School Of Medicine Inc., The. He has been an Independent Director of Qwest Communications International Inc. since July 25, 2006, CR Bard Inc. (formerly known as Bard C R Inc.) since February 1999, West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. since March 1997 and AmeriChoice Corporation since 1989. He has been a Director of Loews Corporation since October 8, 2013. He serves as a Director of Horatio Alger Association, The Congressional Black Caucus foundation Inc., The An-bryce Foundation and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. He serves as Council Member of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. He serves as Trustee of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He serves as Trustee of the Healthcare leadership Council, New York University Law School and Medical Center and the National board of the Smithsonian Institution and is a Member of the Young President’ organization. He is a recipient of the Horatio Alger Award in recognition of his achievements and contributions to society and serves on the board of that charitable organization. Mr. Welters holds a JD from New York University of Law and a BA from Manhattanville College. He is admitted to the bars of New York and DC.
On August 13, 2013, the registrants Board of Directors elect Anthony Welters as a director of the registrant, with both such actions to become effective on October 8, 2013. Mr. Welters is Executive Vice President and a member of the Office of the CEO of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated. He is also Chairman of the Boards of the Morehouse School of Medicine and of New York University School of Law.
UnitedHealth Group Inc
Compensation for 2011
Restricted stock awards
All other compensation
Non-equity incentive plan compensation
Options Exercised for 2011
Number of securities underlying options exercisable
Number of securities underlying options unexercisable
My political philosophy has always been classical liberal or what is called in America libertarian.
I consider myself part of the conservative movement as well as the Tea Party movement.
Today to get elected libertarians must compete against the Democratic Party, the media and the Republican establishment. All three are controlled and lead by progressives or big government interventionist statists.
Stop wasting time trying to reform the Republican Party.
Forget about the progressive controlled Republican Party.
Time for another political party, call it the Independent Party!
Glenn Beck Reveals a Story He Hasn’t Been Able to Share for Over a Year – GOP ‘COUP’ STORY
Published on Oct 9, 2013
10/9/13 – Glenn Beck shared a story with viewers on Wednesday that he’s been keeping close to the vest since before the 2012 election, explaining that he’s been waiting for the right time to say what exactly happened, and what it means for the country. It all began, Beck said, in what he believes was late August when he was getting ready to do a number of events with FreedomWorks.
“It’s about 4:00 in the afternoon and I get a call from the president of FreedomWorks, Matt Kibbe, and I can hear the distress in his voice,” Beck said. “[Kibbe said], ‘Glenn, I’ve just been escorted out of my office by armed guards and told not to come back.’”
Kibbe added that he wasn’t the only one forcefully escorted out, and that they had been hijacked, so to speak, by the “old guard” GOP establishment.
“There was a coup during the election, and it was powerful,” Beck said. “They were trying to get rid of the libertarian, Tea Party-minded power players, and first and foremost on that hit list was Matt Kibbe and his allies. They didn’t like the fact that FreedomWorks was cleaning house in the GOP…that they were targeting people like Orrin Hatch. It didn’t sit well with the Karl Roves of the GOP world…” Beck said that shortly thereafter he got a call from the man inside FreedomWorks who had “ordered the hit,” who explained how the whole situation was “really good” because now he was the face of FreedomWorks and people trust him.
“His face never saw the light of day on my program,” Beck said. “I hung up the phone with him, the next day I called board members of FreedomWorks…and we said we support the libertarian voice, and if you allow this coup to sit, we’re done and we’ll expose it.” “It wasn’t even a week later the board took a vote and decided to reinstate Matt Kibbe as president,” Beck said. “Put in the half of the staff — all the libertarians that had been escorted out — reinstated all of them, and then escorted the leader of this coup and his cronies out the door for good.”
Beck spoke about the ramifications of the “coup” for the 2012 election, and said now is the right time to share the story because “the exact same thing — the same people really — are doing this now in the GOP.”
“Anyone in Congress or the Senate who associates with FreedomWorks, the Senate Conservatives Fund, the Tea Party, anybody, anybody is being targeted by the same class of establishment Republican progressives,” Beck said. “They do not like it when you organize. They do not like it when you choose the candidates that you actually want.”
Beck said it’s the same reason why lawmakers are not truly pursuing the IRS’ targeting of small government groups, because progressives on both sides “want that tool in place…to come after people like you.”
“This has never been about left and right,” Beck said. “This is about freedom, freedom, and tyranny.”
Beck has said multiple times that he has no desire to see a third party, and reminded how the Republican Party began.
“Before the GOP was in existence, it was a two party system — the Democrats and the Whigs,” Beck said, noting that many Whigs and a fair number of Democrats were frustrated that both parties were offering much of the same.
“Charles Sumner was one of the most hated people by the Whigs and the Democrats…so much that he was literally beaten within an inch of his life on the House floor because no one stepped in to stop it,” Beck continued. “Within four years, Sumner wasn’t the most hated anymore — he was the most beloved man in the Republican Party, and the Whigs were extinct. I’m telling you that’s what’s coming if we stand.” Beck said men like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul may be the “Charles Sumner” of today, and he has no doubt that someday soon they will be “the most beloved members of the new Republican Party…”
Milton Friedman: The Future of Freedom
Libertarianism | Murray N. Rothbard
Leonard Liggio on the Rise of the Modern American Libertarian Movement
Jon Stewart’s 19 Tough Questions for Libertarians!
There Will Be No Economic Recovery. Prepare Yourself Accordingly
Benghazi, Victims’ Families & Investigators Testify At House Hearing On Benghazi – Lou Dobbs
9-19-2013 “Reviews of the Benghazi Attack and
Unanswered Questions” Part I
9-19-2013 “Reviews of the Benghazi Attack and Unanswered Questions” Part II
Benghazi Scandal Review Of The Benghazi Attack & Questions That Remain Unanswered
No solution for Benghazi until 2016 election
Rep. Gowdy Talks Obamacare and Benghazi with Lou Dobbs
Chairman Issa’s Opening Statement Benghazi
Chaffetz Questions Adm. Mullen About Military Capability During Attack In Benghazi
Chaffetz to Families of Benghazi Victims: “We have a duty to find out the truth.”
Benghazi Victim’s Mother ‘Why Isn’t Hillary Out Here’
Congressman Mica questions Administration on Benghazi
In an exchange with witnesses during our Congressional Oversight Hearing, Congressman John Mica explains to Administration officials that most Americans believe the State Department report on responsibility for the Bengazhi attack was a “whitewash”. Those conducting the review were appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who they failed to interview along with other top State and Administration officials. Mica stated that this looks like an inside job where no one was held accountable, fired and none of the killers captured or brought to justice.
Benghazi Scandal It Was Clear Pretty Quickly General Benghazi Was No Demonstration!
Independent Benghazi Review Briefed Clinton, Mills on Report Before Released
House Of Scandals Obama Gives Speech To Distract Americans Rand Paul R KY) Hannity
The Benghazi Testimony Fox Doesn t Want You To See
Rep. Meehan Questions Officials Responses to Location of Embassy in Benghazi
DC Scandals – Time To Testify? – Issa: We Call Hillary Clinton Back! – Benghazi Scandal
Benghazi Scandal Investigation Widening Lawmakers Seek Interviews Of 13 Top Officials
Benghazi Scandal Is Obama Admin Trying To Hide Something! Force Into Silence! OReilly
Complete News – General Petraeus leaked secret info on Benghazi attack to his mistress?
Military Action In Syria Is Designed To Cover Up Benghazi – Glenn Beck
A Diplomatic Security (DS) special agent (left) watches the crowd as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2nd from left) and Haitian President Rene Preval (right) answer journalists’ questions January 16, 2010, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, about rescue and relief efforts in the aftermath of the January 12, 2010, earthquake that left tens of thousands of Haitians dead. (AP Photo)
Washington has taken its eye off the ball. It is time to stop this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals.
President Barack Obama
Obama Says Scandals Happening Under his Watch Are ‘Phony Scandals’
Benghazi probe didn’t go far enough, Republicans claim
A new congressional report targets the investigation of the attack that killed America’s ambassador to Libya two years ago. Republicans on the House Oversight Committee claim the Benghazi probe didn’t go far enough. Sharyl Attkisson reports on what some are saying on Capitol Hill.
Benghazi Scandal “Phony Scandal?” – David Ubben Fought Alongside FMR Navy Seal To Protect Consulate
Benghazi Survivors Spent 20 Hours Waiting For Medical Help
David Ubben Fought Alongside FMR Navy Seal To Protect Consulate – Spent 20 Hours Waiting For Medical Help With a Shredded Right Leg!
New Details About Benghazi Survivor Who Risked Life To Save Colleagues
Who Order Stand Down Order??
Fox News David Ubben Is the Benghazi Survivor Who Is Still Recovering at Walter Reed
Obama’s Selective Phony Accents
Obama Is So Damn Phony About Everything
Obama Says Benghazi. NSA, and IRS scandals are fake
The president is more concerned about the effect of his words than their relation to fact.
Many years ago, I was a member of a committee that was recommending to whom grant money should be awarded. Since I knew one of the applicants, I asked if this meant that I should recuse myself from voting on his application.
“No,” the chairman said. “I know him too — and he is one of the truly great phonies of our time.”
The man was indeed a very talented phony. He could convince almost anybody of almost anything — provided that they were not already knowledgeable about the subject. He had once spoken to me very authoritatively about Marxian economics, apparently unaware that I was one of the few people who had read all three volumes of Marx’s Capital and had published articles on Marxian economics in scholarly journals. What our glib talker was saying might have seemed impressive to someone who had never read Capital, as most people have not. But it was complete nonsense to me.
Incidentally, he did not get the grant he applied for.
This episode came back to me recently, as I read an incisive column by Charles Krauthammer, citing some of the many gaffes in public statements by the president of the United States. One presidential gaffe in particular gives the flavor and suggests the reason for many others. It involved the Falkland Islands.
Argentina has recently been demanding that Britain return the Falkland Islands, which have been occupied by Britons for nearly two centuries. In 1982, Argentina seized these islands by force, only to have British prime minister Margaret Thatcher take the islands back by force.
With Argentina today beset by domestic problems, demanding the return of the Falklands is once again a way for Argentina’s government to distract the Argentine public’s attention from the country’s economic and other woes.
Because the Argentines call these islands “the Malvinas,” rather than “the Falklands,” Barack Obama decided to use the Argentine term. But he referred to them as “the Maldives.” It so happens that the Maldives are thousands of miles away from the Malvinas. The former are in the Indian Ocean, while the latter are in the South Atlantic.
Nor is this the only gross misstatement that President Obama has gotten away with, thanks to the mainstream media, which sees no evil, hears no evil, and speaks no evil when it comes to Obama.
The presidential gaffe that struck me when I heard it was Barack Obama’s reference to a military corps as a military “corpse.” He is obviously a man who is used to sounding off about things he has paid little or no attention to in the past. His mispronunciation of a common military term was especially revealing to someone who was once in the Marine Corps, not Marine “corpse.”
Like other truly talented phonies, Barack Obama concentrates his skills on the effect of his words on other people — most of whom do not have the time to become knowledgeable about the things he is talking about. Whether what he says bears any relationship to the facts is politically irrelevant. A talented con man or a slick politician does not waste his time trying to convince knowledgeable skeptics. His job is to keep the true believers believing. He is not going to convince the others anyway.
Back during Barack Obama’s first year in office, he kept repeating, with great apparent earnestness, that there were “shovel-ready” projects that would quickly provide many much-needed jobs, if only his spending plans were approved by Congress. He seemed very convincing — if you didn’t know how long it can take for any construction project to get started. Going through a bureaucratic maze of environmental-impact studies, zoning-commission rulings, and other procedures can delay even the smallest and simplest project for years.
Only about a year or so after his big spending programs were approved by Congress, Barack Obama himself laughed at how slowly everything was going on his supposedly “shovel-ready” projects.
One wonders how he will laugh when all his golden promises about Obamacare turn out to be false and a medical disaster. Or when his foreign-policy fiascoes in the Middle East are climaxed by a nuclear Iran.
State Department’s Benghazi review let senior officials off the hook, report finds
The State Department review of the Benghazi terror attack let senior officials off the hook for the policy decisions that led to sub-standard security at the U.S. compound in eastern Libya, according to a draft House committee report obtained by Fox News.
The nearly 100-page report concludes that the State Department’s internal review board — called the Accountability Review Board, or ARB — was flawed. The report by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee alleges the board’s probe was not comprehensive, its interviews were not thorough, and the investigation itself may have been damaged by conflicts of interest.
A central finding is that the department, as a result of the board’s findings, meted out discipline to four mid-level officials (who were later re-instated anyway), but the board glossed over the actions and decisions of senior-level officials. The report claims the internal review identified many of the security problems with the Benghazi compound, while ignoring who was behind the policy decisions that led to them.
Specifically, the report points to the authorization by Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy to continue operating the ad hoc compound in Benghazi. The interim report found that a December 2011 action memo, prepared by Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and signed off on by Kennedy, green-lighted the operation. Witnesses told Republican investigators that this decision to run the operation on an ad hoc basis was largely responsible for the inadequate security presence on the ground in Benghazi, not money.
The report also noted that it’s unclear which other senior leaders were involved in this decision but said it is likely, based on email evidence, that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s views played a role in the decision-making.
None of the four State Department employees who were disciplined after the ARB was released in December, and later re-instated by Secretary of State John Kerry in August, were responsible for making policy. The draft states that the use of administrative leave was meant to leave the impression of accountability.
The draft interim report, which was produced by the Republican majority, states clearly that Clinton wanted to extend the Benghazi operation. I reported that several officials within the Near Eastern Affairs office recalled Clinton’s desire to leave the operation in place once the primary diplomatic facility in Tripoli was re-opened.
In the summer of 2012, as security conditions unraveled, with documented attacks on western facilities, a State Department officer who served on the Libya desk said Kennedy was asked about the mission’s future, and Kennedy said he would first have to check with Clinton. Based on a conversation between Ambassador Chris Stevens – who was later killed in the attack — and Clinton, Stevens’ deputy Greg Hicks testified it was the former secretary of State’s personal goal to have a permanent operation in Benghazi.
State Department Assistant Secretary of State Douglas Frantz said Sunday that the ARB’s and State Department’s response to Benghazi has been “thorough and transparent.”
“In fact, it set a new standard for transparency measured by tens of thousands of pages of documents turned over to Congress, testimony in public and closed hearings and a declassified report for the public,” he said. “To suggest anything has been hidden or that accountability has been averted requires willful ignorance of these facts.”
“Twisting the facts to advance a political agenda does a disservice to those who lost their lives and those who have devoted the past year to understanding what happened and implementing security procedures to make certain it does not happen again,” Frantz added. “The ARB report did not find that any individual willfully ignored his or her responsibilities or engaged in misconduct; it did not find that anyone breached his or her duty so as to be subject to termination or other discipline. It did, however, identify leadership deficiencies on the part of four employees”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the committee’s top Democrat, in a written statement called the report’s claims “unsubstantiated accusations.”
“This Republican report is not an official Committee report, but rather a completely partisan staff report that the Chairman apparently did not want Committee Members to see before he leaked it to the press. Rather than focusing on the reforms recommended by the ARB, Republicans have politicized the investigation by engaging in a systematic effort to launch unsubstantiated accusations against the Pentagon, the State Department, the President, and now the ARB itself,” he said.
But the draft report said that there were other problems with the internal review.
As one example, the co-chairman of the ARB Ambassador Thomas Pickering told investigators that his team had the authority to conduct depositions, and the authority to issue subpoenas. But the Board never used these authorities, instead relying heavily on group and individual interviews.
While the ARB placed blamed on the State Department Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs for “systemic leadership and management deficiencies,” the NEA’s second in command was only interviewed once, in a group setting. Adm. Mike Mullen, the other co-chairman of the ARB, was asked by congressional investigators why the second in command was not more thoroughly questioned, and according to the draft, Mullen said the official did not seem to bear significant responsibility.
The draft interim report also concluded that the State Department’s unwillingness to provide the working documents from the ARB made an independent assessment by the congressional committee difficult. Rather than record or transcribe interviews, the ARB relied on summaries. Mullen said he found the summaries to be accurate.
As for an alleged conflict of interest, the interim draft states that Kennedy, whom the interim report found to bear significant responsibility for the Benghazi policy, oversaw the selection of the ARB staff. Mullen told investigators he considered the staff’s familiarity with the State Department to be useful. But in at least one instance, Cheryl Mills, who was Clinton’s chief of staff, was given advance warning that her questioning before the ARB would be rough.
The interim report states that members of the House oversight committee, led by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., will sharpen its focus on the senior State Department officials who drove the policy decisions in Benghazi.
The failure to affix blame above the assistant secretary level could impact future decisions on “expeditionary diplomacy” where diplomats are now operating in areas they would have pulled out of a decade ago. Critics have accused the Obama administration of favoring a light footprint which does not reflect the security conditions on the ground.
The draft interim findings will be released early next week. The House oversight committee has hearings scheduled for Sept. 19.
In the summer of 2011, just weeks after civil war broke out in Syria, the Tehran Times released a report entitled, Iran, Iraq, Syria Sign Major Gas Pipeline Deal. The report provided details on how Iran planned to export its vast natural gas reserves to Europe through a pipeline that traversed both Iraq and Syria. This Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline would be the largest gas pipeline in the Middle East and would span from Iran’s gas-rich South Pars field to the Mediterranean coastline in Lebanon, via Iraq and Syria.
Syria’s strategic location, and its warm water port on the Mediterranean, have placed it near the center of a major effort by Western nations to pump cheap Middle East gas supplies to Europe and beyond.
Syrian President Assad has since rejected the Arab Gas Pipeline and has instead begun working closely with Iran on Iran’s proposed gas pipeline, dubbed the Islamic Pipeline. This proposed pipeline would obviously compete directly with the Arab Gas Pipeline and its goal of delivering Mideast natural gas to Europe.
But what about Russia? Why are they choosing to side with Syria despite the massive propaganda push by the West? Russia’s economy is predominantly based upon its enormous energy supplies. Much of Europe is dependent upon Russian oil and gas, and this dependency is growing. Russia has the world’s largest reserves of natural gas. Which country has the second largest reserves? Iran.
Iran, however, is isolated with no current ability to export its vast energy supplies to Europe. Russia has its eye on the potential profits of bringing Iranian oil and gas online for Europe. For this reason, (among a myriad of others) it has sought to solidify its relations with Iran. Of course, the most direct route for moving Iran’s energy supplies to Europe is right through the heart of Iraq and into Syria. So, it appears that Russia’s alliance with Syria has less to do with Syria and much more to do with the Iranian gas that may soon flow into Syria.
In the end, these conflicts in the Middle East are all about controlling the flow of energy resources.