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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Washington, D.C.: America’s Zimbabwe?

By Nicholas Stix

March, 2003
Middle American News

[Postscript, June 16, 2011: Today, the title, “America’s Zimbabwe” could be applied to at least 15 big cities, in addition to the District of Columbia: Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Memphis, St. Louis, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Oakland, Miami and Buffalo. Hundreds of medium-sized and small cities also fall into in the same category, led by Little Rock, Flint, MI, Jersey City, Paterson, and Camden, NJ, Richmond, Stockton, and Maywood, CA, St. Petersburg, Rockford (no doubt due to the presence of Thomas Fleming!), Springfield, and East St. Louis, IL, New Haven and Hartford CT, Gary, Harrisburg, and Springfield and Lowell, MA. If a city is black or Hispanic-ruled, it is either an American Zimbabwe or on its way. However, some such cities—e.g., Baltimore and Chicago—have had white mayors for a time, but a white mayor can do little against demographics and institutionalized black and/or Hispanic supremacy. New York is on the edge. Note, however, that even cities that are the most relatively livable today, such as Seattle, which is only 7.7 percent black, have degenerated to the point where, by 1950s standards, they are unlivable.]

Washington, D.C., is notorious as a sinkhole of human depravity—but its problems are not limited to the federal government. For the majority black city of 572,000 inhabitants—dubbed affectionately “Chocolate City” by many of its residents—is plagued by the sort of systemic corruption and misery that is more typical of an African kleptocracy, say dictator Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, than an American city.

Washington’s newest scandal has hit its teachers’ union. The city with some of America’s worst public schools has a teachers’ union that has for years been run like an organized crime syndicate. Initially, the FBI charged that officers of the Washington Teachers’ Union had stolen over $2 million in membership dues from its 5,000 members. That figure has since been revised to $5 million—or $1,000 per member—in an affidavit by the national union, the American Federation of Teachers.

The massive embezzlement was only exposed through the efforts of a disgruntled union member, who noticed that last summer the union had deducted $160 from the member’s pay check for dues that should have totaled $16. The member contacted the AFT’s national headquarters, which audited the WTU, and began uncovering discrepancies. In late 2002, the AFT forced out the cronies who had run the local into the ground.

AFT policy requires that each local conduct an internal audit every two years. The WTU, however, had not audited itself since 1995. Barbara A. Bullock had been WTU president since 1993.

Former WTU president Barbara A. Bullock, Bullock’s former assistant Gwendolyn Hemphill, former WTU treasurer James O. Baxter II, Bullock’s “driver,” Leroy Holmes, and others are alleged to have engaged in forgery, credit card fraud, and embezzlement. They allegedly used union money to pay for a fleet of Cadillacs, for mink coats, sterling silver dinner service, custom-made clothing, art works, jewelry, Caribbean vacations, personal entertainment in nightclubs and restaurants, home furnishings, gifts for friends, and to fill their own pockets.

A January 18 Washington Post editorial, $5 Million and Rising,” closed by asking of the AFT, “So how could it have gone on for so long?” The answer, which the newspaper would not give, was that the union was afraid of being accused of racism, had it undertaken its own audits, and uncovered the WTU’s corruption. One might also ask how the FBI could make such dramatic charges, and have so much incriminating evidence, including thousands of dollars worth of items bought with union funds confiscated from the former officials’ homes, without anyone so far being so much as indicted. (The Bureau named the former union officials in an “affidavit”; federal prosecutors did nothing, even though they have convicted union officials on much less.) Finally, one might ask how the corruption could have gone on for so long, without the Washington Post, with all its local school and union contacts, breaking the story.

Unfortunately, the teacher’s union scandal is par for the course, in a city in which it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between “legal” and criminal enterprises, and the renowned local newspaper is too often a day late and a dollar short in its coverage of local crime, corruption, and urban pathology.

Meanwhile, in the District’s schools, illiteracy is the rule. On December 26, economist and syndicated columnist Walter Williams observed that “In only one of [Washington’s] 19 high schools do as many as 50 percent of its students test as proficient in reading, and at no school are 50 percent of the students proficient in math. At nine high schools, only 5 percent or fewer of its students test proficient in reading; and in 11 high schools, only 5 percent or less are proficient in math....

“But that’s not the worst of the story: Each year, more than 80 percent – and up to 96 percent – of high school students are promoted to the next grade.”

And while it is customary for apologists for black corruption and racism to claim that children in such environments fail due to lack of financial support, the District of Columbia is the second-best funded urban system in the nation, spending $10,500 a year per student.

For years, politicians such as Bill Clinton and Al Gore have called on educated, idealistic Americans to teach in inner-city schools. One person who heeded the call was native Washingtonian Joshua Kaplowitz, who through Teach for America, taught in a failing, predominantly black school, Emery Elementary. Kaplowitz’ reward was to endure racist black administrators, colleagues, paraprofessionals and parents, who incited his pupils to show him contempt, including showering him with racial epithets, and who engineered false child abuse accusations and initiated extortionary, frivolous lawsuits against him.

A teacher’s aide from another classroom made a point of barging into Kaplowitz’ classroom, and announcing, “I’ll kick your white a--!” Black staffers and parents agreed, that as a white man, Kaplowitz had no business teaching black children. His black principal, V. Lisa Savoy, terrorized him. And Kaplowitz’s antagonists were aided and abetted by upside-down rules under which it was a crime for a teacher to restrain a bully who was beating another child to a pulp, but legally permissible to permit the bully to continue his violence unimpeded. Kaplowitz reported, “Almost every time I broke up a fight, one of the combatants would fabricate a story about how I had hurt him.”

The teachers’ union scandal also affected the local Democratic Party -- but not overly much. By the time the scandal was uncovered, Gwendolyn Hemphill had left the union, and was D.C. Democrat “State [sic] Committee” executive director. Hemphill, one of the District’s Democrat elite, had also been co-chairman of Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ re-election campaign, and was an elected at-large committeewoman. Hemphill’s husband has a high-level patronage job in the Williams administration, as head of “community outreach.”

It is indicative of the level of corruption that is considered acceptable in Washington, that although under Gwendolyn Hemphill’s leadership, thousands of forgeries were found on Mayor Williams’ nominating petitions, Hemphill was not forced to resign her co-chairmanship, but only resigned on the eve of her being named in the teacher union embezzlement scandal. She has, however, not given up her committeewoman position.

But the current contretemps suffered by Washington’s black Democrat elite is nothing new. Beginning in the late 1970s, the city was run by drug-addicted, womanizing Mayor Marion Barry (1979-1990; 1994-1997). Barry bankrupted the city, by hiring huge numbers of blacks to show-no (show up, but do no work) and no-show (don’t show up at all) jobs.

When Mayor Barry was arrested in a drug sting in 1990, and convicted of a misdemeanor, the six months he spent in jail did not diminish his popularity in the least. After his release, Barry was in 1992 elected to a D.C. council seat, and two years later re-elected to a fourth term as mayor, as if nothing had ever happened.

The early 1990s were marked by scandals rocking the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. In an effort to blacken the department, in 1989 and 1990, the M.P.D. dropped frivolous requirements like criminal background checks to determine if candidates were convicted felons, psychological testing to weed out unstable, violent individuals, and exams that required more than a third-grade level of literacy. As a result, the department suffered a crime wave by its own officers. As William McGowan notes in his book, Coloring the News: How Crusading for Diversity Has Corrupted American Journalism, at station houses convicted felons in uniform were running into the officers who had arrested them. By 1993, 77 officers had been indicted for major felonies including drug dealing and murder, and over 300 officers were on a list maintained by federal prosecutors of officers whose history of criminal and/or unprofessional conduct made them worthless as prosecution witnesses.

For years, the District’s Metropolitan Police Department has had more frequent fatal police shootings of civilians than any other urban police force in America. A Washington Post series reported that “The District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department has shot and killed more people per resident in the 1990s than any other large American city police force....

“... internal police files and court records reveal a pattern of reckless and indiscriminate gunplay by officers sent into the streets with inadequate training and little oversight, an eight-month Washington Post investigation has found.

“Washington’s officers fire their weapons at more than double the rate of police in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Miami.”

However, since the shootings are perpetrated predominantly by black officers, the national media have refused to highlight this scandalous pattern, focusing instead on relatively rare shootings of black suspects by white officers in places like Cincinnati and New York. Meanwhile, the nation’s most draconian gun laws have not kept Washington from competing yearly for the dubious title of America’s Murder Capital among major cities. In 2002, Washington’s rate was 43 homicides per 100,000 people (246 murders). By contrast, New York City’s rate was 8.

Speaking of the press, the city’s leading newspaper, the socialist Washington Post has long refused to do its job of reporting honestly on the city it purports to serve. As revealed by Ruth Shalit in a 1995 New Republic expose, and in 2001 by William McGowan, in Coloring the News, black reporters hired through affirmative action intimidate most white reporters out of reporting on municipal scandals, and if the black reporters fail to “kill” the stories, senior black editors like Milton Coleman either “spike” the stories, no matter how well researched, or place countless obstacles in the reporters’ way, until the stories die the death of a thousand cuts.

It is almost laughable that in 1999, top mayoral aide David Howard. felt obliged to tender his resignation, after ignorant black city workers erupted in outrage over the white Howard’s use of the word “niggardly.” Mayor Williams accepted Howard’s resignation. However, after the story got out, and the District was made a national laughingstock, Williams hired Howard back. The incident was typical of a city in which whites must tread on egg shells at all times.

All of Washington, D.C.’s rotten institutions add up to a city that is run based on black apartheid, a city which has minimal private enterprise, and thus the narrowest of tax bases, and which is supported by the nation’s predominantly white tax base. If America does not put an end to such racial apartheid, the D.C. model may spread, with comparisons to Zimbabwe becoming valid on a national level.

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