Feeding the frenzy: the Atlanta murders and anti-Asian racism

Bam. Right out of the gate, national news media, advocacy groups, celebrities and politicians tied Tuesday night’s spa killings by Robert Aaron Long in Atlanta of seven women and one man, six of them of Asian descent, to anti-Asian racism.

“Call the Atlanta killings what they are: racial terrorism,” ran the Boston Globe headline on March 17.

“The killings of eight people, including six women of Asian descent, during a shooting spree in the Atlanta area yesterday have prompted a national outcry, and at a news conference today Biden noted a “very, very troubling” pattern of violence against Asian-Americans in recent months,” The New York Times reported.

The paper went on to cite statistics reported by Stop AAPI Hate, a nonprofit social organization that says it tracks incidents of discrimination, hate and xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. “Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders were targeted in nearly 3,800 hate incidents reported over the past year, according to Stop AAPI Hate,” the paper said.

NBC news even reported Stop AAPI Hate’s numbers as fact on March 17, with absolutely no critical analysis. “There were 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents, mostly against women, in past year,” ran the NBC headline.

Meanwhile, the left-leaning policy institute, the Center for American Progress, tried to tie the Atlanta killings to not only anti-Asian racism, but to white supremacy and misogny as well. “We…need to be unafraid and unflinching in calling Tuesday’s attack what it was: the result of anti-Asian racism, white supremacy, and misogyny, the Center said. “Anything less would be counterproductive in our fight to dismantle these systems of violence. Increased anti-Asian rhetoric and violence are a tragic reminder of the urgent need to dismantle white supremacy. #StopAsianHate

Others piled on:

  • Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms noted that the shootings follow a surge in racial violence against Asian Americans across the U.S. “It is unacceptable, it is hateful, and it has to stop,” she said.
  • Former President Donald Trump bears some responsibility for threats and violence against Asian Americans, said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “There’s no question that some of the damaging rhetoric that we saw during the prior administration…has elevated threats against Asian-Americans.”
  • “The reported shootings of Asian American women on Tuesday in Atlanta is an unspeakable tragedy—for the families of the victims first and foremost, but also for the AAPI community—which has been reeling from high levels of racial discrimination,”  Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate said in a statement.
  • Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a racial justice nonprofit, argued that Long was motivated by hate because he chose “targets owned by Asians.”
  • Bee Nguyen, the first Vietnamese American to serve in the Georgia house of representatives, said”misogyny and xenophobia” prompted the shootings.
  • Olivia Munn, who recently called out the new Teen Vogue editor-in-chief for her past allegedly racist tweets against Asians, said she’s “struggling” with the latest act of violence. “We are being targeted, we are living in a country that is attacking us simply just for being us,” Munn said. 
  • One news outlet, NewsOne, even tied the resignation under pressure of Teen Vogue editor Alexi McCammond, 27, to the spa murders partly because she sent a derogatory tweet about an Asian teacher when in college. “The move comes as violence against AAPI communities has spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, culminating in a targeted attack on Tuesday in Georgia where six Asian-American women were killed in massage parlors,” NewsOne, a Black-focused site, reported today.

There’s one problem. All the evidence, including statements by Long, indicates the shootings were not racially motivated.

“He (Long) apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction, and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places, and it’s a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate,” said Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Jay Baker.

But in the current frenzy over purported anti-Asian incidents in the United States, the temptation to tie the Atlanta shootings to anti-Asian racism has apparently been too tempting and the hook too easy.

Part of that is likely because it serves the agenda of some groups trying to draw attention to themselves. Part is probably because too much of the media is lazy, jumping on convenient connections to fill out a story and draw an audience.

And part, in this case, is probably because tying the shootings to anti-Asian racism caters to the predispositions of liberal audiences. They’re the ones now pushing to have the shootings called a hate crime, so they can push the Asian anti-racism connection harder, despite the evidence.

The reaction to the incident involving the Covington Catholic students near the Lincoln Memorial in January 2019 is a case in point of jumping to conclusions that satisfy presumptions.

Media outlets, celebrities and social media leaped on a viral videotaped encounter between a Native American man and high school boys that suggested a clash of racial and ideological differences. The initial media portrayal of the incident triggered outrage at the students in some quarters. The students received death threats and Covington Catholic High School temporarily closed due to fears for its students’ safety.

When more complete video footage emerged, it was clear that the students were not the aggressors in the incident. Reporting on the incident was so egregious that Nicholas Sandmann, the Covington student featured in most media coverage of the incident, filed lawsuits against CNN and The Washing ton Post. Both settled with Sandmann. The terms of the settlements were not disclosed.

All of this squanders the faith and trust of the general public. But in this age of preconceived notions and instant outrage it probably won’t stop.

The Covid Rescue Act is just a start. Next up: exploding debt.

Before President Biden signed the 630 page $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Democrats focused most of their public messaging on the $1400 checks that would be going out to everybody and their brother (and sister). Who doesn’t like free money, the Democrats figured. After President Biden signed the bill, Democrats shifted some of their messaging to highlighting an expansion of the child tax credit (CTC).

Before the new law, the CTC allowed qualifying families to reduce their income tax bills by up to $2,000 for each child through age 16. The new law increases the credit to $3,000 a child and makes parents of 17-year-olds eligible to for the 2021 tax year. The credit rises to $3,600 for children under the age of 6 as of the end of 2021.

For a qualifying family with one child, the previous credit would have cut a $5,000 tax bill to $3,000. Under the new law, the credit will cut the tax bill to $2,000, and to $1,400 if the child is under age 6. The benefit amount will gradually diminish for single filers earning more than $75,000 per year, or married couples making more than $150,000 a year.

Though framed as an expansion of the current tax credit, it is essentially a guaranteed income for families with children, because it will provide most parents a monthly check of up to $300 per child. That’s because unlike the current program, where the money is distributed annually as a tax reduction or check, the new program will send out monthly checks to provide a more stable cash flow.

Kiplinger illustrated the program by assuming a family of five with three children ages 12, 7 and 5. Assuming the family qualifies for the higher child credit and doesn’t opt out of the advance payments, they could get $800 per month from the IRS from July through December 2021, for a total of $4,800. They would then claim the additional $4,800 in child tax credits when they file their 2021 return next year.

But neither the Democrats nor the media are talking about how much the benefit will cost. You have to be a very aggressive, persistent searcher to find a number. 

According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the CTC expansion in President Biden’s rescue bill will cost a whopping $110 billion just in 2021. 

But that probably won’t be the final cost because Democrats want to make the new CTC program permanent. Left-leaning groups are already lobbying for permanency. 

“Substantially increasing the CTC on a permanent basis would help secure economic stability for working families, reduce inequality, and sustainably boost economic growth,” says one such organization, the Center for American Progress. “It would be one of the most effective investments we can make as a society.”

Democrats have already introduced bills in the House and Senate to make the CTC changes permanent. 

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget figures the ultimate price tag of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act could be twice as high if some of the policies in the bill are extended beyond their presumed expiration dates, substantially increasing deficits and debt.

As Jared Bernstein, a top economic advisor to Biden told the Wall Street Journal last month, “When you’re worried about fiscal sustainability, the things that hurt you are not the temporary measures,” Mr. Bernstein said in an interview late last month. “It’s the things that are permanent [and] that aren’t paid for.”

On March 22, 2021, the New York Times reported that President Biden’s advisers were expected to present a proposal to him recommending a series of bills that would propose a $3 trillion economic package. This would be in addition to extension of the so-called temporary tax cuts meant to cut poverty that are already on the books, which could cost an additional billions of dollars. 

Since neither the Democrats nor Republicans seem much concerned about exploding deficits and debt, it’s doubtful that policies in the American Rescue Plan Act that lawmakers decide to make permanent or the cost of the $3 trillion package will be fully offset with tax increases or spending restraint.

“In addition to trying to make permanent some of the temporary provisions in the package, Democrats hope to spend trillions of dollars to upgrade infrastructure, reduce the emissions that drive climate change, reduce the cost of college and child care, expand health coverage and guarantee paid leave and higher wages for workers,” The New York Times reported.

Hang on. It’s going to be a rough, and expensive, ride. 

So much for free speech: the left and Chicago’s anti-Trump demonstrations


A Trump supporter (R), confronts a demonstrator after Donald Trump canceled his rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago on March 11, 2016

With all the hyperventilating by major media about the chaos that forced cancellation of Donald Trump’s planned March 11 event in Chicago, there’s been little mention of the role left-wing organizations played in fomenting and supporting the clashes with the goal of shutting down the event.

Not only that, but an analysis of news coverage by ABC, CBS and NBC found that the protesters escaped nearly all blame. By a 15-to-1 margin, the networks blamed Trump, not the leftist protesters, for the campaign violence.

“The left’s coercive tactics aimed at shutting down speech with which they disagree are appalling and un-American, and they would be shocking were they not so commonly employed; Trump didn’t start that fire,” James Taranto wrote today,

Ignored by most of the media, anti-Trump progressives played a major role in spurring the turmoil.

Prior to the event, left-leaning activist groups and individuals aggressively recruited protesters to obstruct it.  Typical was a prominent Chicago activist, Ja’Mal Green, who posted on his Facebook page, “Everyone, get your tickets to this. We’re all going in!!!! ‪#‎SHUTDOWN”. (Not everybody on Facebook agreed with his tactics. One person commented, “…the ” shutdown” caused many fence sitters to jump into the Trump camp. Stifling freedom of speech for another while gloating over your free speech stand makes no sense.”)

After cancellation of the Trump event, an e-mail from MoveOn.org, a liberal advocacy organization, highlighted “the support we provided students in Chicago last night by printing signs and a banner and recruiting MoveOn.org members to join their peaceful protest.”

“We’ll support MoveOn.org members to call out and nonviolently protest Trump’s racist, bigoted, misogynistic, xenophobic, and violent behavior — and show the world that America rejects Trump’s hate,” the email read. “And to keep it going, we’re counting on you to donate whatever you can to cover the costs of everything involved — the organizers, signs, online recruitment ads, training, and more.”

Another e-mail from ThinkProgress.org, part of the Center for American Progress, founded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, was headlined “How Activists Mobilized to Shut Down Trump in Chicago”.

The e-mail noted approvingly that a student in the U.S. illegally had started a petition on MoveOn.org calling on the school to cancel the event, claiming that Trump’s visit was a “standards and safety issue” and that “I, and other students…are in direct danger.”

Then there’s People for Bernie Sanders, co-founded by Charles Lenchner, who was previously a founder of Ready for Warren, and Winnie Wong, a founding organizer of Occupy Wall Street who also helped launch Ready For Warren.

After cancellation of Trump’s Chicago event, the organization joyfully tweeted, “Remember the ‪#TrumpRally wasn’t just luck. It took organizers from dozens of organizations and thousands of people to pull off. Great work.” (Not all recipients of the tweet were quite as excited. One commenter said, “This is organized vigilantes against Trump/capitalism…”)

I’m not excusing Trump for his rhetoric, but reporters and the media need to do their job and report fully on the campaigns and the players, not just bury us in daily horse race stories, visuals without context and opinions masquerading as news. We’d all be better educated voters if they did.








Obama and Immigration: shoot me now or shoot me later

“Shoot me now or shoot me later,” Javert belted out in Les Miserables.

In the same vein, you know Obama’s going to do it. It’s just a matter of when.

President Obama is going to issue sweeping executive orders on immigration, but just not yet. Instead, he’s going to do it when he thinks there will be less political damage.



Earlier this year Obama said that inaction by Congress was going to force him to make major immigration changes by executive order before the end of summer.

But on Sept. 7, Obama said he’d wait until after the November elections to take action. On NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Obama said he would act before the end of the year. “…it’s going to be more sustainable and more effective if the public understands what the facts are on immigration…,” he said.
Pollster Pat Caddell took a more cynical perspective, asserting that Obama, by deciding to defer action until after the November elections, is really saying, ‘Hey, dummies after you’ve voted, then I’m going to drop this on you.”

Obama’s decision allows liberal Democrats running in liberal states or districts to publicly whine and complain about the delay while allowing Democrats in conservative states or districts to try to avoid the subject altogether.

Democratic Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina, for example, were all worried that executive actions by Obama would jeopardize their tight races in conservative-leaning states. Now they can rest easier.

But some Democrats and Republicans may find that delay is not without its costs.

As the New York Times reported, Angela M. Kelly, vice president for immigration policy at the Center for American Progress, said Latinos are going to expect Mr. Obama to take even more expansive executive action later this year, given the delay.

Honey, our paychecks are shrinking

It was a lofty goal.

One of the principal goals of the Oregon Business Plan when it launched in 2002 was to raise Oregon’s per capita personal income above the national average by 2020.


So much for that dream.

Oregon’s per capita personal income in 2013, total personal income divided by total population, was 90.3 percent of the U.S. average, which was actually down from 2001, when it was 94.6 percent.*

Oregon’s per capita income has grown for the past three years, and that’s reason for optimism, but so has the per capita income in other states, so Oregon is still lagging behind.

Eric Fruits, a faculty member at Portland State University, warns against braking out the bubbly over Oregon’s income growth, even though it put Oregon 15th in personal income growth among the United States and the District of Columbia. That’s because, he argues, over the long run Oregon’s per capita income growth has lagged the rest of the U.S. by two to four tenths of a percentage point and the difference compounds over time.

“Even the tiniest drags on the economy can compound over time such that a state that begins almost nine percent richer than the rest of the country can end up decades later being nine percent poorer than the rest of the country,” Fruits wrote recently.

Equally troubling is that behind the per capita income numbers are some discouraging data on Oregon’s and the nation’s changing workforce.

Oregon’s job growth in 2013, during which its job base grew by 2.4 percent and it added about 39,000 jobs, was one of the fastest in the country. It was exceeded only by North Dakota and Florida.  If the pace continues this year, Oregon could recover all the jobs lost in the recession before 2014 ends.

Already, the country as a whole has regained all the jobs lost during the Great Recession, though it took six and one-half years. But consider that the country’s population has grown by about 15 million since the Great Recession began and the potential workforce has grown as well.

Also, consider the types of jobs that are being created.

At the start of 2008, a private-sector worker earned $818.31 a week. In April 2014, almost six and one-half years later, that figure had grown to $838.70, just $20 a week more.

While the economy has been adding jobs, the new jobs are not enough to keep up with population growth and too often aren’t the solid middle class jobs we need for the overall economy to thrive.

“Although employers added jobs in a broad range of industries, the bulk of new jobs added are found in a handful of industries known for low wages—accommodation and food services, temporary help services, retail trade, and long-term health care, ” the left-leaning Center for American Progress notes.


If Oregon really wants to advance relative to other states, we need more firms selling lots of products, hiring lots of people, and paying high wages to generate the gains that are needed across the state, the Oregon Business Plan recently noted.. That means we need to start more, grow more, recruit more and retain more highly productive companies in a variety of sectors across the state.



*Per capita personal income

National        Oregon

2002       $31,481         $29,400

2003       $32,295         $30,144

2004       $33,909         $31,597

2005       $35,452         $32,542

2006       $37,725         $34,644

2007       $39,506         $35,796

2008       $40,947         $36,772

2009       $38,637         $35,621

2010       $39,791         $35,869

2011       $41,560         $37,744

2012       $42,693         $39,166

2013       $44,543         $40,233


*Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis; Oregon Employment Department, WorkSource Oregon
















Gervais gets it right on condoms for teens

One of every 20 girls in grades six through 12 in Oregon’s Gervais School District got pregnant this school year. That’s right. One of every 20.

So the District, thinking of those nine girls and others, as well as the boys involved, is making condoms available to students in those grades, its Superintendent, Rick Hensel, said yesterday. The District is on the right path.

A study last year by some nursing interns at Oregon Health & Science University revealed that 42 percent of Gervais High School students surveyed said they “never” or “sometimes” use anything to protect themselves from pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

The disturbing rate of teen pregnancies in Gervais runs contrary to overall trends in Oregon, where teen pregnancies girls dropped 55 percent from 1988 to 2010, according to a Guttmacher Institute analysis. Gervais’ situation also in inconsistent with trends in the nation as a whole. According to the Guttmacher study, teen pregnancies have declined dramatically in the United States since their peak in the early 1990s, as have the births and abortions that result.

I’m drawn by this situation to revisit an earlier post about the perils and consequences of single motherhood in which I pointed out that single motherhood is a prescription for economic insecurity for many women.


I cite this because, according to the Campaign for Our Children, Inc.,

  • Even though most teen mothers have expectations for marrying the father of their child, not even eight percent of unwed teen mothers are married to the baby’s father within one year of giving birth.
  • Teenage mothers have reduced chances of ever marrying compared to women who do not have children.
  • Teenage marriages are unstable; one-third of teenage marriages formed before the bride is 18 years old end in divorce within five years, and almost half dissolve within 10 years.

As the Single Parents Network says, “Children from homes run by teenage mothers have to face almost insurmountable obstacles in life.”

Single-mother families are nearly five times as likely to be poor than married-couple families and a majority of America’s poor children live in single mother-led households, according to the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

At the other end of the political spectrum, the conservative Heritage Foundation says marriage is the greatest weapon against child poverty.

“Family disintegration, lack of education, and counterproductive welfare incentives all contribute to child poverty,” Heritage wrote recently. “Rebuilding a strong marriage culture should be at the forefront of our efforts to fight poverty.”

A New York Times story cited a number of studies that attributed the growing income gaps in American society to the changing structure of the typical family with the growing number of single parent families. The article suggested that changing marriage patterns could account for anywhere from 15-40% of growing income inequality across the country, with a surge in births outside of marriage among less educated women pushing single-parent families into the lower end of the socio-economic range.

Helping teenagers reach adulthood before having children will mean more children will grow up in families with healthy marriages, will improve the well-being of children and will strengthen society.

Single mothers = singular troubles

It’s no secret that single motherhood is a prescription for economic insecurity for many women.

Single-mother families are nearly five times as likely to be poor than married-couple families and a majority of America’s poor children live in single mother-led households, according to the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

Lone mothers

At the other end of the political spectrum, the conservative Heritage Foundation says marriage is the greatest weapon against child poverty.

“Family disintegration, lack of education, and counterproductive welfare incentives all contribute to child poverty,” Heritage wrote recently. “Rebuilding a strong marriage culture should be at the forefront of our efforts to fight poverty.”

A New York Times story cited a number of studies that attributed the growing income gaps in American society to the changing structure of the typical family with the growing number of single parent families. The article suggested that changing marriage patterns could account for anywhere from 15-40% of growing income inequality across the country, with a surge in births outside of marriage among less educated women pushing single-parent families into the lower end of the socio-economic range.

“College-educated Americans … are increasingly likely to marry one another, compounding their growing advantages in pay,” The Times said. “Less-educated women…are growing less likely to marry at all, raising children on pinched paychecks that come in ones, not twos.”

“It is the privileged Americans who are marrying, and marrying helps them stay privileged,” said Andrew Cherlin from Johns Hopkins University.

Now there’s even more evidence connecting single-motherhood to poverty.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit for low to moderate income working persons, particularly those with children.

The Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based centrist think tank, put together an illuminating interactive map of the share of taxpayers that claim the EITC at the county level nationwide:

Map: The Earned Income Tax Credit in Your County

Brookings then compared the EITC map with a map of single motherhood in the United States in the most recent year for which complete data is available.

Map: Percent of all households that are single female headed with children in 2010.

The principal conclusion? The map of EITC benefits by county looks a lot like a map of single motherhood.

As Brookings points out, looking at the number of parents in a household as an indicator of financial stability and opportunity, changing marriage patterns could account for anywhere from 15-40% of growing income inequality across the country.

While correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causation, the link between poverty and mothers with children growing up without a father is clearly something that ought to be part of the discussion of income inequality in the United States.