​HELPING UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS


By DR. GLENN MOLLETTE 
 
Unemployed Americans need cash. We go to work in return for a paycheck. With unemployment we lose the paycheck.  It's a simple but very painful formula for millions of Americans. 
 
Paychecks pay the rent or the mortgage, the car payment, utilities, groceries and school clothes for the kids. 
 
Whatever amount the government will provide unemployed Americans are hoping will be on the generous side. The $600 a month boost has been a financial plus. The downside to this is the government is broke and doesn't have this money to dole out. The deep hole of debt being dug for America's grandchildren is staggering and shameful. Another downside is who feels compelled to work if their total unemployment income is over $900 a week? A lot of people don't make this much money from their 40 hour a week jobs. Another downside with unemployment checks has been the long wait for some of them to arrive. Many suffering people are still waiting. 
 
In the meantime, the government should freeze student loan repayments for the unemployed. 
 
America's universities must do a serious financial huddle and cut cost on the exorbitant tuition they've been charging students. Higher education has been handing out bigger and bigger dilemmas for Americans every year. Families must consider community or junior college for the time being. Typically, federal grants will cover most of the costs of a community college. This should be considered seriously if the student is in the first two years of college and still taking traditional required classes or electives. You don't need to be spending or borrowing $30,000 to $50,000 a year if you are drowning financially. Commuting or taking online classes from the local community college may not seem very glamorous. However, we are talking about surviving financially and a year or two of local community college keeps the studies going without adding debt and more pressure. 
 
Banks and finance companies should come up with a six-month system that allows the unemployed a break from making payments. The money is still owed and has to be paid back but with proof of unemployment the debtor gets a bye for a few months as they try to regain financial stability. 
 
The government should issue short-term emergency medical cards. This is a pandemic. People are sick. If you have lost your job and your health insurance your terrified to go to the doctor. The federal government would have to issue money to the states or directly issue cards. This would have to be a short-term deal until America finds a vaccine and we can get back on our feet. 
 
Finally, issue the unemployed a SNAP card. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This is not a dream world for anybody but it could provide several hundred dollars a month for groceries. The card works just a like credit card. American families must have food on the table. 
 
More than anything we need a vaccine for Covid-19. Please, join with me in this prayer that a vaccine will be ready soon.


LIFE IS A PUZZLE


By DR. GLENN MOLLETTE
 
Don't give in that you cannot do any better. You can do better if you put your mind to doing better. If you give up then you don't have a chance. The only people who do better and go forward are those who try. Everyone has the freedom to try.
 
Think about what you would like for your life to look like. Get a clear picture in your mind. What would it take to achieve that life? Somethings are difficult to achieve but most situations can be made better.
 
What will it take to make your life a little better?  Could changing your daily eating just a little make a significant difference in how you feel? Could it make a difference in how your clothes fit? Are you willing to try?
 
Most people need a little more money. How will you obtain it? Chances are it won't just appear. Utilize what you know and your skills to work for you. Everyone has gifts and abilities that can be useful if channeled properly. Often it may be what you know or what you can do that will work for you to develop more income. Keep in mind that this may take some time. What you are thinking about today could take weeks or months to see results. Therefore, start now.
 
We often give up. We try and work hard and seldom see much results and then stop. Often, we get close to being where we want to be and then quit. We lose 20 pounds but put it right back on. We give up a habit but go back to it. We start a project and then quit. So often, a great idea is like a puzzle with so many pieces that have to fall into place. Once you find all the pieces the puzzle is a beautiful picture that you put together with patience and trying and trying again to fit the right pieces where they belong.
 
Our lives are like puzzles. We must have a picture in our minds of what we would like to look like if we are going to put that kind of life together.  We try different pieces and often they don't fit. Too often we try to make the pieces fit where they don't belong and that never works for a picture. So, you have to keep trying. I've seen people with puzzles out on a table for weeks trying to figure out which piece goes where. This is where most of our lives are much of the time. Trying to find the right piece of the puzzle.
 
Making the picture of our lives the way we want it to be is often changing. What we may want today has probably changed from what we wanted even ten years ago. The dynamics are still the same though. Whatever you are working on still requires patience, effort, faith and most importantly a clear picture in your mind of what you are trying to put together.

Dr. Glenn Mollette, Washington, D.C.


  BIDEN IS GOING TO WIN


By JACOB PICKERING

Just like about every other fretful Democratic/liberal/progressive person in America, I’ll admit I’ve had a mild case of political PTSD left over from 2016 (and from 2000 & 2004 for that matter).  However, these days the national political opinion polls are truly glorious.  There is no doubt about it, folks.  Joe Biden is going to win one of the largest, overwhelming landslide victories in American presidential election history.

This impending political news is outstanding if you’re a Democrat.  The polls in the usual swing states are also quite clearly in Biden’s favor as well, not to mention the numerous traditionally Republican-controlled states now on the verge of finally becoming swing states thanks to demented Donald Trump’s ongoing, internationally televised mental breakdown and political self-destruction taking the entire racist, fascist Republican Party down with him in flames on Nov. 3.

And of course that’s what we’re all watching in real time right now - diabolical Donald Trump’s farcical, full-blown maniacal meltdown both politically and psychologically speaking.  Haven’t you noticed that President Trumptanic is literally sweating almost as much as tricky Dick Nixon did back in the day?  Some in the American media are pointing out the obvious (that the metaphorically buck naked, morbidly obese Orange Emperor has no brain and is completely insane), but most reporters are apparently, for some strange reason (could it be cowardice?), still too afraid to tell the terrible truth about traitor Trump the tangerine tyrant.  Why?  What is the so-called free press so afraid of?

What ever happened to our fearless, heroic, patriotic profession of journalism that actually, once upon a time, had the respect and admiration of the American people?  How did we go from The Washington Post’s Woodward & Bernstein bringing down sweaty Richard Nixon’s paranoid presidency (which wasn’t nearly as criminal and nowhere near as treasonous as traitor Trump’s Russian-controlled Republican regime) to this current situation (with some notable exemplary exceptions) where most American journalists voluntarily choose to act like they’re living in an authoritarian country without a First Amendment?  

Freedom of speech doesn’t mean much if everyone is too terrified of consequences (or too satisfied with their paychecks) to speak truth to power.  Allow me an attempt, if you will, to lighten the mood of my fellow Democrats/liberals/progressives with some good news for a change!  Yes, folks, it’s true:  Trump’s foolish fascist regime is finished, and his much-deserved political execution is right around the corner.  USA!  USA!  USA!

In fact, despicable Donald Trump is the pathetic political equivalent of a “Dead Man Walking” (all apologies to Sean Penn & Susan Sarandon).  As a long-time observer of American elections, I have no doubt at all at this point as to what the outcome will be.  And nothing that I have to say about it is going to decrease voter turnout in the least.  Democratic voter turnout wasn’t a problem at all during the primaries, and the anti-Trump turnout will be massive in November.  

Unlike 2016, Trump’s psychotic sales pitch is falling on deaf ears, since he is a disastrously failed incompetent incumbent who can’t even come up with a reason as to why he should be given a 2nd term, other than the fact that Trump the plump chump is a ridiculous racist who is in love with the Confederate flag and sacrilegiously worships statues of Confederate traitors.  And as poorly as these clueless conservative Republican politicians did in 2018, what possible reason would there be to believe the GOP’s chances could improve in 2020?   

This election really is all over but the shouting, and we should stop playing defense politically, stop living in fear of what happened in the previous election(s), and go on the offense unreservedly in the remaining 3 months of this one. Our cause is righteous and we will be victorious, because the racist Republican Party is doing everything possible at this point to lose.  We the people are going to win in 2020 in a landslide!  Let’s win this one for the late, great John Lewis.

Believe it or not, there actually is light at the end of this particularly long, dark, terrible tunnel of lies and treason otherwise known as the Trump Administration.  Traitor Trump (otherwise known as the Confederate flag-loving racist Moscow-loving moron) can’t lie his way out of this one, and his big daddy Vlad can’t steal this one thanks to Trump having effectively (and perhaps only temporarily) turned many highly-skilled, tough-as-nails, patriotic operatives in our military and intelligence communities into hardcore partisan Democrats.  The so-called “deep state” is in fact watching this one very closely, and Trump’s corrupt Russian war criminal benefactors know it.  Trump is done.

Calling the CIA “Nazis” as one of his first official statements as president was actually the end of Trump’s “re-election” chances.  (And, after all, Trump wasn’t legitimately elected the first time around according to irrefutable statistical analyses of the official vote totals in 2016 from the swing states under Republican control, which show unmistakable signs of the statewide vote totals having been altered to give Trump margins in those states just above the automatic recount thresholds.)  

So to sum up, there is no need to worry about winning in 2020, if they let the people vote.  And we the people will vote for Joe Biden for President and for other Democrats down-ballot this Nov. 3rd in historically impressive numbers.  G[-]d Bless America!  And G[-]d Bless our soon-to-be 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden.  

Jacob Pickerling, Arcata, CA, USA


      I’M CALLING ON MY LAWMAKERS TO FUND VOTE-BY-MAIL

By MAXIE JUZANG

To the Editor:

COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on our families, our economy, and our elections. But Congress has the power to intervene right now.

In response to safety concerns and pressure from constituents like me, Congress has already passed limited funds to expand absentee voting, online registration, and in-person early voting, but it’s simply not enough.

Without $4 billion in total funding for election assistance, voters may not be able to make their voices heard during one of the most important elections of our lifetime. We need our leaders to prevent a situation where any voter is forced to choose between protecting their health and casting their ballot.

While these policies are critical as we recover from this national crisis, voting reforms like expanding no-excuse absentee voting and online voter registration are common-sense changes that will help voters participate in the political process. Multiple states have already adopted vote-by-mail, and their models could be implemented across the country.

I expect Congress to provide more economic relief, but the next bill also needs to include expanded funding for mail-in voting, more early voting at safe polling places, and other options to make voting as safe as possible this November.

If voting by mail is good enough for Donald Trump, it should be good enough for all of us. Congress needs to make it possible for every eligible American to vote by mail if they choose to do so.

Maxie Juzang, Tarzana, CA

           CONGRESS SHOULD PROTECT OUR ELECTIONS AND

FUND VOTE-BY-MAIL


By JULIE VALENTINE

To the Editor:

This election is the most important in my lifetime -- but this national crisis will make it difficult for many to participate in it.

That’s why voting rights experts agree: Americans must be able to cast a ballot by mail to ensure that they can safely and securely vote this year. Trump and his cronies are wrong: Mail-in voting is not a means to rig the vote. In fact, Trump himself has voted by mail numerous times.

Funding has already been approved by the House, so it’s far past time for the Senate to step up and make sure that voting is safe, fair, and accessible for everyone.

While no voting system is perfect, we already know voting by mail works. Multiple states already conduct their elections almost entirely by mail, with incredibly high turn-out rates. According to The New York Times, in the 2018 midterms, states that allowed voting by mail had, on average, a 15.5 percent higher turnout than states that did not.

Increasing voter participation is a universal good that benefits everyone -- and our elected leaders should want everyone that’s eligible to vote.

In this election, perhaps more than any other before it, voters deserve the chance to elect leaders who will protect their health and their safety, governing with their interests in mind.

I’m grateful that my representatives allocated some funds to expand vote-by-mail and other election assistance measures like early voting, but I am counting on Congress to recognize the greater need to protect our democracy and the health of their constituents. States need an additional $3.6 billion in federal funding right now.

We have to protect our elections before it’s too late.

Julie Valentine,  Canoga Park, CA     


​PROPER NUTRITION CAN REDUCE THE SEVERITY OF CORONAVIRUS INFECTIONS


By RICHARD SCHWARTZ

There are currently daily reports of record-breaking incidents of coronavirus worldwide. As the Coronavirus epidemic escalates, it is important to recognize a generally overlooked possibility of taking steps now to reduce the severity of symptoms should one have the misfortune of getting the disease.

According to T. Colin Campbell, PhD, director of the China-Cornell-Oxford study, deemed the Grand Prix of epidemiology by the NY Times, dubbed by the NY Times as the "grand prix of epidemiology," shifting to a nutritious, well-balanced plant-based diet can greatly reduce the effects of COVID-19. 

Based on his extensive research, he stated, “antibody prevalence was highly correlated with vegetable consumption, dietary fiber, and plant protein. In short, more plant food consumption was associated with more antibodies . . . In our research, we also found that people consuming more animal protein had fewer antibodies, even in those consuming a very low amount of animal protein." Therefore, he  concluded, “switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet should lessen the severity of disease symptoms [if you become a victim of coronavirus] while simultaneously increasing COVID-19 antibodies,”

An extremely important factor during the deadly growth of coronavirus infections is that, according to Dr. Campbell, the positive effects could “begin within days,” possibly providing “enough time for people not yet infected by COVID-19 to strengthen their immunity,” yielding, “a faster, safer, more comprehensive long-term solution.” At a time when many hospitals and medical professionals are severely stressed, reducing the number of people whose symptoms require hospitalization is essential.    

Other medical experts agree that whole-food plant-based diets can reduce the severity of coronavirus infections. Michael Greger, MD, author of  How Not To Die, How to Survive a Pandemic, and  Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching also believes that well-balanced plant-based diets can play a preventive role. In an exclusive interview with the magazine Plant Based News, he asserted, “A plant-based diet offers protection against COVID-19 because we have so much lower rates of the pre-existing conditions that increase your risk, Hypertension, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes. These are the diseases that are dramatically lower among those who eat a healthy, whole food, plant-based diet.” 

Dr. Kim Williams, Chief of the Cardiology Division at Rush University, who treats coronavirus patients, said, “there is actually good medical evidence that viral illnesses are less severe if you have lower levels of inflammation and higher levels of interferon, which is typically what happens when you have a good, vitamin and mineral plant-based diet.”

Professor K Srinath Reddy. President of the Public Health Foundation of India, said, “people who are taking a lot of fruits and vegetables as part of their natural diet have better innate immunity, and they may be able to fight the infection much better,”

Nutrition experts recommend fiber-rich foods to reduce respiratory infection symptoms, including fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, green tea, white mushrooms, seaweed, flaxseeds, garlic, and fresh ginger. These foods are loaded with nutrients that can improve immune function, another factor that can reduce the impact of viral diseases.

In addition to reducing the severity of COVID-19 impacts and the risks for heart disease, several types of cancer, diabetes, and other life threatening diseases, shifting to healthy plant-food diets has many additional advantages:

It reduces the risks of future pandemics. The widespread mistreatment and consumption of animals caused many past pandemics, including SARS, MERS, bird flu, swine flu, and Ebola. The ability of plant-based diets to lower risks for future pandemics is stressed in a recent UN report, “Preventing the next pandemic. - Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission.”

It reduces climate change and other environmental threats. A 2006 UN Food and Agriculture Organization report, “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” showed that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases, in CO2 equivalents, than all the cars, planes, ships, and other means of transportation worldwide combined. A 2009 cover article, “Livestock and Climate Change,” by two World Bank environmentalists, stated that the livestock sector is responsible for at least 51% of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. This is especially significant regarding coronavirus, because climate change increases the frequency and severity of wildfires, and smoke inhalation worsens the symptoms of viral infections.

It reduces the current widespread, severe mistreatment of farmed animals.

It reduces the current very wasteful use of land, energy, water, and other increasingly scarce resources.

It is most consistent with basic Jewish teachings on preserving our health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, reducing hunger, and pursuing peace and justice, 

It reduces chances for violations of the kosher laws due to scandals involving inadequate supervision or accidental mixing of meat and dairy products in kitchens.

So, if you want to protect yourself against a Covid catastrophe - and help improve your general health and save the planet at the same time - please evolve your diet to a plant-based one. The sooner the better.

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D., Staten Island, New York


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     13-19 Av, 5780                                                        Aug.3-9, 2020 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES--640th Web Ed.



                                                                                               

               _____________________________________
EDITORIAL MASTHEAD


Apple, Rabbi Dr. Raymond, Jerusalem, Israel,

contributing columnist


Berg, Rabbi Steven, Los Angeles, California

contributing columnist

Mollette, Glenn, Washington, D.C., contributing columnist

Reuben, Liz  editor

Sackett, Shmuel, contributing columnist

Sattath, Rabbi Noa, Jerusalem, Israel, contributing columnist

Schwartz, Richard, PhD, Staten Island, New York,

contributing columnist


Veltmeyer, James Dr., La Jolla, California, contributing columnist


 ___________________________________________________
DISCLAIMER


The Jewish Observer Los Angeles holds itself harmless from any and all representations made in this opinion/editorial section.  The paper does not necessarily agree with all or any opinions or editorials published.  Freedom of speech is a Constitutional right which entitles every voice to be heard in a civil manner.  This paper does not publish language of bigotry, hatred, racism and any other vile aspects of English language to defame, hurt or harm another person via publication.  It aims to abide by the tenants of Judaism.

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The Jewish Observer,

Los Angeles

​​A GOOD BICYCLE RIDE


By DR. GLENN MOLLETTE 
 
I've been a bicycle rider my whole life. Fifty years ago, this month I was riding my bike about six miles round trip to Bible school at Tomahawk, Kentucky. I did so for an entire week. During the week I was one of several young people who prayed the prayer to receive Christ. On Sunday morning in 90-degree July heat I put on the best clothes I owned and rode my Western Auto yellow three speed bike almost five miles one way over two mountain hills to Inez, Kentucky. I was a bit wet with sweat after that ride. I parked my bike in the front yard of Russell Williamson and went into First Baptist Church to make my decision for Christ public. Russell Williamson was a state hall of fame basketball coach, educator and businessman. Two years later I would be ordained beside Russell Williamson.
 
Later that night my parents would drive me back to church to be baptized. Since that day I've had the opportunities to travel the country and I've been all over the world. And, it just keeps getting better, all by the grace of G[-]d. He has been a lot better to me than I could ever be to [H]im as I know I'm probably one of the most imperfect people G[-]d ever created. 
 
Still, I marvel at G[-]d's grace, provisions and all that [H]e allows me to do and enjoy. Here I am today, fifty years later and I don't feel like G[-]d has ever turned [H]is back on me or excluded me from [H]is care. There have certainly been some bumps in the road and some rough times along the way. The way life is there are bound to be more curves and some tough terrain. It's just life. If you think you are going to sail through life unscathed from bruises, cuts and some pain then you haven't lived long enough to know better. Eventually you'll know the journey of life is not always a smooth ride. 
 
However, I want to say I'm grateful for life and the opportunity to live life. This is a difficult time in the world for everybody in different ways. Covid-19, business failures, financial and personal struggles exclude none of us and to some extent are inclusive of us all. 
 
Today, allow me to give thanks for my 50-year pilgrimage of faith in Christ. It's been quite a trip.  If you have not opened your heart to G[-]d's love today in Christ please consider it. I'm not talking about joining a church or acting like some ridiculous religious people act.  But, consider letting G[-]d love you today because [H]e does and [H]e will take you further than you can ever imagine. 

Dr. Glenn Mollette, Inez, Kentucky 


BLACK COMMUNITIES HAVE BEEN ROBBED’:

WILL REPARATIONS FOR BLACK AMERICANS FINALLY

GET REAL CONSIDERATION?


By MEERA JAGANNATHAN

Protests over George Floyd’s death have also come to channel anger and despair over broader inequalities that black people have long faced in the U.S.  George Floyd was the initial impetus for the largely peaceful protests that unfolded in recent days. Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

The death of George Floyd and the coronavirus pandemic’s racial disparities have put historic inequalities shouldered by black Americans in starker relief than ever before -- and some advocates say they point to a long-overdue consideration of reparations.

“It is time to really have a serious conversation about restoring the wealth that’s been extracted by racism,” Andre Perry, a fellow at the center-left Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and co-author of the April report “Why we need reparations for Black Americans,” told MarketWatch.

Perry, who’s nearing 50, said he couldn’t recall another time when the country was “this close” to advancing on the issue of reparations.

‘It’s becoming more and more obvious that black communities have been robbed of the money that they’re owed from slavery, from Jim Crow racism and from systemic racism in things like housing and criminal justice.’
— Andre Perry, a fellow at the center-left Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program

“It’s becoming more and more obvious that black communities have been robbed of the money that they’re owed from slavery, from Jim Crow racism and from systemic racism in things like housing and criminal justice,” he said. “You can call it reparations, but at the end of the day, it’s about giving people what they’re owed and what’s needed in order to make communities less vulnerable to economic shocks and policy disasters in the future.”

Perry isn’t the only one sounding the call for reparations. Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder Bob Johnson last week called for $14 trillion in reparations to atone for slavery, government-sponsored discrimination and “permanent emotional trauma” experienced by black Americans. The proposed reparations, he said in a statement, would take the form of direct cash payments over 10 to 20 years to descendants of African-American enslaved people.

“This is definitely the moment,” Nkechi Taifa, a human-rights attorney and decades-long reparations advocate, told MarketWatch. “People are really mad; they’re upset; they are outraged,” she said.

“When those things are in people’s minds, they begin to think out of the box,” she added. “They begin to get a little bit more creative.” She said she had seen a “sea change” in mainstream civil-rights and advocacy organizations embracing the idea over the past couple of years.


Protests over George Floyd’s death symbolize more than police brutality

Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer was filmed pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, was the initial impetus for the largely peaceful protests that unfolded in recent days. But the demonstrations have also come to channel anger and despair over broader discrimination and structural inequalities that black Americans have long faced in this country — including the fact that they account for a disproportionate share of people killed by police.

Meanwhile, the average white household in the United States has about 10 times the wealth of the average black household, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, the cumulative result of factors such as redlining, housing and lending discrimination, and a limited ability to benefit from policies like the GI Bill. The median annual income among black Americans is about $42,000, compared to white Americans’ roughly $71,000. Black people are more likely to be uninsured and to live in poverty.

The average white household in the United States has about 10 times the wealth of the average black household.

The coronavirus pandemic has only compounded these disparities: African-American COVID-19 patients bear a disproportionate share of illness and death from the disease, studies show, and they are overrepresented in essential jobs that require leaving home for work.

And despite a better-than-expected May jobless rate, black people saw their unemployment rate inch up from 16.7% to 16.8%, while white people’s unemployment rate dipped from 14.2% to 12.4%, according to Labor Department numbers released Friday. Floyd himself had reportedly lost his job due to Minnesota’s shutdown.

“If the progressive platforms that come out of these protests do not contain a clear call for reparations, it will be hard to take them seriously,” Nikole Hannah-Jones, a New York Times Magazine reporter whose “1619 Project” about the legacy of slavery won a Pulitzer Prize this year, wrote on Twitter TWTR, -3.16%.


‘That promise was never fulfilled’

Public support for reparations remained relatively low as of last year: Just 29% of Americans said they believed the government should make cash payments to black Americans descended from slaves, according to a Gallup poll published last July, with black Americans (73%) far more likely than white Americans (16%) or Hispanic Americans (47%) to support the idea. Despite low overall support for this model of reparations, the share in favor has grown over time: In 2002, only 14% of Americans polled by Gallup backed the idea.

Younger adults are substantially more likely than older adults to support both an official apology from the federal government for slavery and reparations in the form of cash payments, according to an AP-NORC poll conducted in September.

During a campaign event last week, Delaware state Sen. Darius Brown pushed Joe Biden to actually fund reparations rather than study them.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, early last year reintroduced House bill H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations proposals for African Americans. The legislation, repeatedly introduced by the late Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers since 1989, was the subject of a June 19, 2019 congressional hearing that included testimony from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, actor Danny Glover and then-presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat who also introduced a Senate companion bill.

Nearly every 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, including presumptive nominee Joe Biden, eventually backed the idea of studying potential reparations proposals. During a campaign event last week, Delaware state Sen. Darius Brown pushed Biden to actually fund reparations rather than study them, the Washington Post reported.

A number of smaller efforts to consider reparations have also sprung up in recent years. Schools including Georgetown University have examined their legacies of slavery and sought to compensate descendants of enslaved people through various means. A bill in California seeks to launch a task force to recommend reparations plans, while the Evanston, Ill., city council has committed to putting tax revenue from recreational cannabis sales toward reparations.

Duke University economist William Darity, a leading proponent of reparations, said he believed there had been momentum building recently for the idea to receive serious consideration.

“The reaction to the recognition of the types of atrocities that are associated with police brutality may swing the pendulum further in that direction,” Darity said. “I’m not certain, but one might view this as a more hopeful moment than any other that we have had since the aftermath of the Civil War, when the formerly enslaved were promised 40-acre land grants, but that promise was never fulfilled.”

Darity speculated that if those 40-acre allocations had been made, and formerly enslaved people had been protected in their ownership of that property, “we may not have needed to have a conversation about reparations today — because that was the beginning of the construction of the black-white wealth gap in the United States.”

President Trump said last year he thought the prospect of reparations was “a very unusual thing.” “It’s been a very interesting debate,” he told The Hill. “I don’t see it happening, no.” The most powerful Republican in Congress, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, has said he believes reparations aren’t a “good idea” and that “no one currently alive was responsible for that.”

Some prominent black voices, including Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, have also rejected the idea. “I don’t think reparations help level the playing field — it might help more eruptions on the playing field,” he told Fox News in response to the proposal by Johnson, the BET founder.

‘One might view this as a more hopeful moment than any other that we have had since the aftermath of the Civil War.’

Burgess Owens, a former NFL player now running as a Republican to represent Utah’s 4th congressional district, argued that the reparations movement was premised on “a divisive and demeaning view of both races” in a 2019 Wall Street Journal op-ed headlined “I Didn’t Earn Slavery Reparations, and I Don’t Want Them.”

And Coleman Hughes, a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute and contributing editor for City Journal who testified against H.R. 40 during the June 19, 2019 hearing, said talk of reparations right now would be a “distraction” from the real issues of racism and police brutality.

“George Floyd will lead to reparations getting taken more seriously, but I don’t think that’s a good thing,” he told MarketWatch. “We could get reparations tomorrow, and all the problems that led to [the death of] George Floyd would remain — so what we need to do is focus on those reforms to the police that would actually prevent such a thing from happening again.”

Hughes said he agreed with the idea of reparations for people who grew up experiencing Jim Crow-era segregation. When the victims of such injustices are still alive, he said, “then as a matter of principle, I think it’s always OK to give them reparations checks if they’re demanding it.” But many black Americans alive today learned about slavery and legal segregation from their schools, parents or grandparents rather than experiencing them firsthand, he said. The median age of black people in the U.S. was 34 in 2018, according to the Pew Research Center.

“The moral enormity of slavery is such that you cannot make this feel like a closed wound, except by accepting that you cannot change the past,” Hughes said. “The problem is that in trying to change the past, you can end up really messing with the present — or failing to focus on the things about the present that you can change.”


What reparations could actually look like

Reparations for injustices committed against groups of people aren’t without precedent, many advocates point out. Germany, for example, has paid billions of dollars in reparations to Holocaust survivors over the past several decades.

The U.S. has its own examples: In 1988, the federal government issued an apology and $1.6 billion to Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II. The government also compensated Native American tribes whose land it had seized, though critics say Native Americans didn’t receive direct control of the money.

Proposals for reparations for black Americans have taken a variety of forms. University of San Diego Law School professor Roy Brooks has proposed an “atonement model” that includes cash payments as a small component but puts “rehabilitative reparations” — that is, addressing racial disparities in homeownership, wealth and educational funding — at the forefront.

In their April paper, Perry and his co-author, Brookings fellow Rashawn Ray, called for a federal reparations package that includes individual payments, college tuition, student loan forgiveness, down-payment and housing-revitalization grants, and business grants for descendants of enslaved black Americans.

“This reparations package for Black Americans is about restoring the wealth that has been extracted from black people and communities,” they wrote. “Still, reparations are all for naught without enforcement of anti-discrimination policies that remove barriers to economic mobility and wealth building.”

Darity’s proposal, meanwhile, is premised on the idea that reparations are not exclusively for slavery but also for legal segregation and post-Civil Rights Act mass incarceration; police killings of unarmed black people; credit, housing and employment discrimination; and the racial wealth gap. He believes that for both “symbolic and substantive reasons, a major portion of any reparations fund should constitute direct payments to eligible recipients.”

“We think that’s the most effective way to erase the racial wealth gap,” he said. “Using intermediate programs or intermediate institutions potentially leads to dilution of the allocation of the funds, and probably limits the extent to which they will actually reduce or eliminate the racial wealth gap.”

In a paper published last week by the progressive Roosevelt Institute, Darity and his frequent collaborator, writer A. Kirsten Mullen, estimated this would require a federal expenditure of $10 trillion to $12 trillion in 2016 dollars to eligible recipients. Darity said one potential issue would be how to structure the payments so they didn’t trigger a significant amount of inflation.

Eligible recipients, the co-authors argue, should be individuals who can demonstrate that they have at least one ancestor who was enslaved in the U.S. and that they’ve self-identified as black, African American or negro on an official document for at least 12 years prior — in Darity’s words, “descendants who have a direct claim on an unmet promise.” (This approach is controversial with many activists who believe that descendants of black immigrants, who may also have experienced discrimination, should not be excluded.)

As for the usual question of where the money for such a large-scale program would come from, Darity said, “I’m amazed that anybody still asks that in light of the way in which the government has mobilized expenditures in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.” “The government always finds the capacity to fund anything that it has a will to fund,” he said.

Perry, for his part, argues that a rising tide lifts all boats: Addressing injustices against black people will improve outcomes for all Americans, he said. If the coronavirus crisis has demonstrated anything, he added, it’s that our fates are linked with those of our neighbors.

“This COVID moment really showed that a few months of stalling one’s chances at the American dream can set entire communities on their head,” Perry said. “Try decades of that, generations of that.”


         CONGRESS MUST FUND VOTE-BY-MAIL IN EVERY STATE

By JULIE SANFORD

To the Editor:

This election is the most important in my lifetime -- but this national crisis will make it difficult for many to participate in it.

That’s why voting rights experts agree: Americans must be able to cast a ballot by mail to ensure that they can safely and securely vote this year. Trump and his cronies are wrong: Mail-in voting is not a means to rig the vote. In fact, Trump himself has voted by mail numerous times.

Funding has already been approved by the House, so it’s far past time for the Senate to step up and make sure that voting is safe, fair, and accessible for everyone.

While no voting system is perfect, we already know voting by mail works. Multiple states already conduct their elections almost entirely by mail, with incredibly high turn-out rates. According to The New York Times, in the 2018 midterms, states that allowed voting by mail had, on average, a 15.5 percent higher turnout than states that did not.

Increasing voter participation is a universal good that benefits everyone -- and our elected leaders should want everyone that’s eligible to vote.

In this election, perhaps more than any other before it, voters deserve the chance to elect leaders who will protect their health and their safety, governing with their interests in mind.

I’m grateful that my representatives allocated some funds to expand vote-by-mail and other election assistance measures like early voting, but I am counting on Congress to recognize the greater need to protect our democracy and the health of their constituents. States need an additional $3.6 billion in federal funding right now.

We have to protect our elections before it’s too late.

Julie Sanford, Van Nuys, CA