Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Presidents and Kings

Well today's news was (rightly) dominated by the death of former US President Gerald Ford - the only American to serve as president who was not elected to the office. President Ford of course was confirmed as Vice President with Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned and then Ford became President when President Richard Nixon resigned a year later as the Watergate scandal consumed the nation.

Despite the Saturday Night Live skits portraying President Ford as a clumsy idiot -- which of course he wasn't as evidenced by his football career at the perennial football powerhouse, University of Michigan -- I always had a good feeling about President Ford. He clearly had the "I could drink a beer with that guy" quality so often sought by voters.

President Ford's death this week overshadowed an op-ed/open letter really from Adam Hochschild, author of "King Leopold's Ghost: a story of greed, terror, and heroism in colonial Africa". Hochschild originally wrote this op-ed for the Los Angeles Times but it was also published in my local newspaper. Hochschild's op-ed draws a parallel between King Leopold II of Belgium's brutal colonization of the "Belgian Congo" in Africa and President George W. Bush's current occupation of Iraq.

Having lived/worked in Belgium and having worked with several Africans I do not believe Hochschild comparison between Leopold and Bush is entirely accurate but this is not the focus of my posting today. In his op-ed Hochschild states that, "Lyndon B. Johnson, entered politics as a traditional segregationist but ended up doing more for civil rights than any American president of this century."

You are WRONG on both points Mr. Hochschild regarding President Johnson.

President Johnson robbed American taxpayers by creating a mish-mash of social welfare programs collectively known as the "Great Society" which ultimately created a modern day "plantation" system via public housing projects, food stamps, and government jobs programs for the nation's poor which were predominantly black/African-American.

If you don't believe this please read a copy of my friend, Star Parker's (a black woman/former "welfare queen" now a limited government activist) excellent book, "Uncle Sam's Plantation" which destroys the myth that the "Great Society" helped America's poor. Bottom line -- President Johnson used federal tax dollars to move the nation's poor to housing projects and managed all aspects of the residents' lives via federal programs.

Mr. Hochschild needs to read a few books himself (as he suggests to President Bush in his op-ed) such as Hayek's classic tome -- "The Road to Serfdom"

Habitat (www.habitat.org) not HUD,

Todd

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