Search This Blog

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Vilifying the Poor - Rebuttal to Star Parker

So, a friend sends an email to me containing a piece written by Star Parker summarizing (pitching?!?!) her 6 year old book, Uncle Sam's Plantation. This was my response....

Let's face it. One has to deal in facts - true facts or lies that are claimed to be facts - to get the attention of Star Parker offers neither. She only has opinions. Maybe her absence from sites like Factcheck ought to be read as testimony to her utter irrelevance in the larger debate about federal spending, policy matters, budgets, and the poor.

In my opinion, she's nothing more than the African-American Ann Coulter. Have a listen to her at: She and Ann make about the same amount of sense to me, too.......none.

And it comes as no surprise to me that only the yellowest of all the news networks, The Hannity/Beck Network, would even care about what she has to say.

If anyone is interested in some facts about the programs she vilifies, here are some links you might find useful.
* Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF):
"Under the welfare reform legislation of 1996, (the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act – PWRORA – Public Law 104-193), TANF replaced the welfare programs known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program and the Emergency Assistance (EA) program. The law ended federal entitlement to assistance and instead created TANF as a block grant that provides States, territories and tribes federal funds each year. These funds cover benefits, administrative expenses, and services targeted to needy families. TANF became effective July 1, 1997, and was reauthorized in February 2006 under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005."

The Goals stated are
" States receive a block grant to design and operate their programs to accomplish the purposes of TANF.

These are:

  • assisting needy families so that children can be cared for in their own homes
  • reducing the dependency of needy parents by promoting job preparation, work and marriage
  • preventing out-of-wedlock pregnancies
  • encouraging the formation and maintenance of two-parent families."

Now we can't have any of that, now can we?

Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS): was replaced 13 years ago by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) (see above and

Emergency Assistance to Needy Families with Children (EANF)
One of the rare situations where you can actually stump Google.
Your search - "Emergency Assistance to Needy Families with Children (EANF)" - did not match any documents.
If she's going to criticize a program - one that looks like it no longer exists (see above), was administered by states and, at least in New York, required conditions like you to be homeless with little or no food ( - she should at least get the name right. Those kinds of errors tell me a lot about the credibility of the source......again, none.

So what's my point? To point out what I consider to be the obvious, of course! ;-) Like most people with an agenda, she's not letting facts get in the way.

And why this fascination with vilifying the poor?
...They don't make laws
...They don't have lobbyists
...They don't have much, if any, money
...They don't own banks, brokerages, or insurance firms
...They aren't typically registered as members of the party who passed such legislative gems in the name of capitalism and free markets as the Graham-Leach-Bliley act which, as you all know, removed all the safeguards, oversights, regulations, and restrictions on financial services companies created by the Glass-Steagall act which, as you also know, had to be passed by a Democratically-led Congress in 1933 to try and protect us from the greedy motherf***ing capitalists who gave us the first Great Depression and are back with their sequel, "Great Depression II: You Dumb-Asses Didn't Learn a Thing the First Time, Did You?"
...The poor didn't create bullshit investment instruments like collateralized debt obligations that tanked the whole friggin' world's economy while the modern day heros of capitalism were still getting paid their obscenely large bonuses
...The poor weren't the ones buying homes they couldn't afford, nor were they the ones writing the mortgages without so much as a passing interest in anyone's ability to repay the loan because the mortgages were being bundled and sold to someone else which eventually turned into the CDOs which.....oh hell, my head is spinning.
...They don't lobby their Senators and Representatives for tax cuts to wealthy Americans that accomplished nothing except to piss away a federal surplus and didn't create any noticeable improvement to the economy
...They didn't leave the Obama administration with a wrecked economy, a $500billion deficit (which probably doesn't really account for everything since W did Iraq off the books), a financial system in total ruin thanks to a lack of regulation, and a world roiling in political, social, and cultural turmoil

Do I really need to go on?

So what's her message - all you poor African Americans stop sitting around pretending that there's no work and go out there and make your mark in the world? Is that it? Is that all that's needed to get our economy growing again?

So Obama should abandon social programs and keep funneling money to the wealthy? Will that solve our problems?

Or is she also complaining that the president didn't just let W's utter and complete disaster culminate in the closing down of the world's economy? Let them fail, is that it? No such thing as too big to fail? Now that really would have been poetic justice for those who really think there is such a thing as capitalism and free markets, now wouldn't it?

I've news for you.....there's no such thing. The world is run by an oligarchy of rich and powerful people. It's not James Bond versus Specter, but it's not truly capitalism or free markets, either. And Oboma ain't no savior and he ain't no devil. He's one of them, too, just a little further to the left than others.

Hell, it's starting to look more and more like how Bill Mahr recently described our two-party system, "Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital."

So let's say that Star (is that really her name?) is right. How could she not be, right? Hell, just look at the facts.
1. Our primary and secondary public education is extremely well-funded, progressive, and effective especially in inner city neighborhoods.
2. Higher education is eminently affordable to anyone who wants to go.
3. And the Republican administration of the last 8 years with all of their free market deregulation, tax cuts for the wealthy, and sound economic and fiscal policies has left us with an economy so sound and robust that it's just chock full of great paying jobs whether or not you even have a degree and so long as you get your sorry, shiffless, ass of the front stoop and go looking.




Anonymous said...

Kudos for a great rebuttal to Star Parker. She is a hypocrite of the highest order -- not only is she now divorced from the white minister she married, but also lost a teen-aged daughter to questionable behavior echoing Star's party-girl background. Google Rachel Parker/Orange County Register and read more about it.
Parker is simply a well-paid shill who happened to have latched onto the GOP money bank and is laughing all the way there.
How this woman has snowed so many people is an example of how gullible a society we really are. Good thing I heard about her eons ago when she appeared on an Oprah Winfrey show as a welfare-basher who acted like a hysterical hyena, who even Oprah was unable to control. She needs to crawl under the rock she came out of...

Greg said...

Thanks for stopping by and your kind words. Doesn't it always seem the most self-righteous are usually the least qualified to be so? ;-)

Alison said...

Thank you, thank you, for doing the research. I just got this email from a dear but very conservative friend, and thanks to you, I was able to respond with a rebuttal.

And again I say - thank you!

Greg said...

My pleasure, Alison! Glad that I could help. Feel free to spread the word to others. We seem as a society to be less and less concerned about facts and the truth, and I'm just trying to do my small part to shine a little light on them.

Anonymous said...

I saw no more reverence for 'facts' in the rebuttal than in the Star Parker piece. What ought to be called into question is the choice between government controlling our lives and individual responsibility, without which liberty is impossible.

Greg said...

Dear Anonymous of January 15th,

Perhaps we have a different definition of the word 'fact'. has it's first entry as, "something that actually exists; reality; truth" May I suggest you re-read the post?

No one is arguing that individual responsibility is important. The post was directed at the lack of facts offered by Ms. Parker in vilifying the poor, her inconceivable lack of attention to the truth, and my complete disagreement with her conclusions. She's a huckster trying to sell her book. Nothing more. She's trying to dupe people she knows won't bother to check the facts into thinking she's some kind of credible commentator - nothing more - by citing programs that don't even exist or which are administered in ways completely at odds with her claims.

As Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." If you care to offer any facts, please feel free.


Anonymous said...

This post helped me out greatly! I couldn't put into words why she leaves a bad taste in my mouth!
Thank you!

Greg said...

Dear Anonymous of June 15th,

I'm glad that you found this post helpful. You're most welcome! Please feel free to share it.

Marilyn Reed said...

Sounds pretty racist to me. Star Parker is the real deal. I've spent hours with to drive her to and from the airport when she visited our city. She has lived what she talks about and knows more about welfare than any of you who think government can fix the problems of the poor. Look at the "War on Poverty"....we have more poor than ever because handouts don't equal teaching a man or a woman to fish for themselves. Get back to me when you've researched and written four books and started a national organization and become a well known & well respected speaker...You too, Greg, who won't even tell us your last name or what qualifies YOU to judge Star Parker.

El Jay said...

I just wrote a comment on the CURE page expressing shock and dismay at Star Parker's horrible attitude toward the poor, expressed today on Fox and Friends. Just get out and get a job, she said. I cannot imagine the damage she is doing to the hearts of struggling families of color. And it's especially disheartening to think of how she is playing right into the hands of racists. My God, what an awful person.

Sean Bearly said...

You listed several factual things the poor don't do, basically pointing out they are not responsible for the problems you identify. But before you asked, "Do I really need to go on?" you should have mentioned the one thing they do, vote. And they vote predominately for the Democratic Party. They vote for the politicians that promise them stuff. And while I have no issue with that motivation, I do have issue with not mentioning it, pretending that the poor have no responsibility for either the fact that they are poor or the results of their voting. The wealthy or well-connected have their methods of buying politicians and the politicians have their methods of buying votes. It is this system of corporate capitalism combined with buying votes with promises and handouts that is responsible for all the problems we have and it is irresponsible to focus on only one side of it. All politicians are guilty of it.