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TRUMP JUST KILLED AMERICA “BELOW” READ “WHY”   Leave a comment

Posted September 15, 2017 by Teacher Alvin in LEARNING ENGLISH

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THIS IS THE NEW H.U.D STORY!!!   Leave a comment

THIS IS THE NEW H.U.D STORY!!!


In mid-May, Steve Preston, who served as the secretary of housing and urban development in the final two years of the George W. Bush administration, organized a dinner at the Metropolitan Club in Washington, D.C., for the new chief of that department, Ben Carson, and five other former secretaries whose joint tenure stretched all the way back to Gerald Ford. It was an event with no recent precedent within the department, and it had the distinct feel of an intervention.
HUD has long been something of an overlooked stepchild within the federal government. Founded in 1965 in a burst of Great Society resolve to confront the “urban crisis,” it has seen its manpower slide by more than half since the Reagan Revolution. (The HUD headquarters is now so eerily underpopulated that it can’t even support a cafeteria; it sits vacant on the first floor.) But HUD still serves a function that millions of low-income Americans depend on — it funds 3,300 public-housing authorities with 1.2 million units and also the Section 8 rental-voucher program, which serves more than 2 million families; it has subsidized tens of millions of mortgages via the Federal Housing Administration; and, through various block grants, it funds an array of community uplift initiatives. It is the Ur-government agency, quietly seeking to address social problems in struggling areas that the private sector can’t or won’t solve, a mission that has become especially pressing amid a growing housing affordability crisis in many major cities.
Despite its Democratic roots, Republican administrations have historically assumed stewardship over HUD with varying degrees of enthusiasm — among the department’s more notable secretaries were Republicans George Romney and Jack Kemp, the idiosyncratic champion of supply-side economics and inner-city renewal.
Now, however, HUD faced an existential crisis. The new president’s then-chief strategist, Steve Bannon, had called in February for the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” It was not hard to guess that, for a White House that swept to power on a wave of racially tinged rural resentment and anti-welfare sentiment, high on the demolition list might be a department with “urban” in its name. The administration’s preliminary budget outline had already signaled deep cuts for HUD. And Donald Trump had chosen to lead the department someone with zero experience in government or social policy — the nominee whose unsuitability most mirrored Trump’s lack of preparation to run the country.
This prospect was causing alarm even among HUD’s former Republican leaders. At the Metropolitan Club, George W. Bush’s second secretary, Alphonso Jackson, warned Carson against cutting further into HUD’s manpower. (Many regional offices have shuttered in recent years.) Carla Hills, who ran the department under President Ford, put in a plug for the Community Development Block Grant program, noting that Ford had created it in 1974 precisely in order to give local governments more leeway over how to spend federal assistance.
The tone was collegial, built on the hopeful assumption that Carson wanted to do right by the department. “We were trying to be supportive,” Henry Cisneros, from the Clinton administration, told me. But it was hard for the ex-secretaries to get a read on Carson’s plans, not least because the whisper-voiced retired pediatric neurosurgeon was being overshadowed by an eighth person at the table: his wife, Candy. An energetic former real-estate agent who is an accomplished violinist and has co-authored four books with her husband, she had been spending far more time inside the department’s headquarters at L’Enfant Plaza than anyone could recall a secretary’s spouse doing in the past, only one of many oddities that HUD employees were encountering in the Trump era. She’d even taken the mic before Carson made his introductory speech to the department. “We’re really excited about working with — ” She broke off, as if detecting the puzzlement of the audience. “Well, he’s really.”
The story of the Trump administration has been dominated by the Russia investigations, the Obamacare repeal morass, and cataclysmic internecine warfare. But there is a whole other side to Trump’s takeover of Washington: What happens to the government itself, and all it is tasked with doing, when it is placed under the command of the Chaos President? HUD has emerged as the perfect distillation of the right’s antipathy to governing. If the great radical conservative dream was, in Grover Norquist’s famous words, to “drown government in a bathtub,” then this was what the final gasps of one department might look like.
Nov. 9 brought open weeping in the halls of HUD headquarters, a Brutalist arc at L’Enfant Plaza that resembles a giant concrete honeycomb. Washington was Hillary country, but HUD employees had particular cause for agita. For years, the department had suffered low morale, and there was the perception, not entirely unjustified, that it was prone to episodes of self-dealing and corruption — most recently under Jackson, who was scrutinized for awarding HUD projects to companies run by his friends. But the department had experienced a rejuvenation in the Obama era, with morale rebounding under the leadership of his first secretary, Shaun Donovan, an ambitious, politically savvy housing administrator from New York. While it faced postrecession budget austerity — with its ranks dropping well below 8,000, from more than 16,000 decades earlier — the department made homelessness reduction a priority. Under Donovan’s successor, Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, HUD embarked on a major initiative to address residential segregation by requiring cities and suburbs to do more to live up to the edicts of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Before the election, Hillary Clinton’s campaign sent over a large team of policy experts to study up on HUD and prepare to take the baton on these efforts. The Trump campaign sent one person. “And everyone was joking, ‘Well, he’ll be gone on November 9,’” one staffer told me.
So the stricken employees were slightly relieved when Trump’s operation announced a five-person “landing team” for HUD that included Jimmy Kemp, son of Jack. “There may be hope for us after all,” a veteran staffer in one local HUD office told his colleagues. The semblance of normalcy was short-lived. In late November, word got out that Trump’s choice to run HUD was Carson. To Twitter wags, the selection was comical in its stereotyping: Of course Trump would assign the only African American in his Cabinet to the “urban” department. But to many HUD employees, the selection of so ill-qualified a leader felt like an insult. “People feel disrespected. They see Carson and think, I’ve been in housing policy for 20 or 30 years, and if I walked away, I would never expect to get hired as a nurse,” said one staffer at a branch office, who, like most employees I spoke with, requested anonymity to guard against retribution.
Carson himself had some qualms about running HUD. His close friend Armstrong Williams, a conservative commentator who was exposed for receiving payments from George W. Bush’s administration to tout Bush’s education policies on air, told The Hill in November that Carson had reservations about such a job. “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience; he’s never run a federal agency,” Williams said. “The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.” Williams later said his remark had been misconstrued, but Shermichael Singleton, a young political operative who worked for Williams and became a top aide on Carson’s campaign, told me that Carson’s ambivalence was real. Trump’s offer, Singleton said, had provoked deep questions for Carson about his life’s purpose. “It was, ‘Should I do this? What does it all mean?’”
In the end, Singleton said, Carson accepted out of a sense of duty that came from having risen to success from humble origins: raised by a single mother, a housekeeper, in Detroit. “He’s someone born in an environment where the odds were clearly stacked against him, and he believes by personal experience that he could do a lot of good for others.” Kemp agreed. Carson accepted, he said, “because he wanted to do something about poverty.” If anything, Kemp said, Carson felt more suited to the HUD job than he would to a health policy one. “Being surgeon general or secretary of [health and human services], I don’t think he was fully equipped to do that, having been a neurosurgeon,” Kemp said. In other words, Carson knew how little he knew about health policy, an awareness he lacked when it came to social policy. “He thought with HUD, ‘It’s so clear that our approach to poverty has not been completely successful and we can do better, and I think I have some ideas that can be applied,’” Kemp said.
Underlying this rationale were two related convictions. One was the standard conservative bias against expertise and bureaucracy, according to which experts lacked the “common sense” that an outsider from the private sector could provide — a conviction shared, of course, by the man who nominated Carson for the job. The other was a more particular conviction that he, Carson, possessed extra doses of such common sense by virtue of his biography.
First, though, Carson had to survive his confirmation hearing. The prepping was intense. His top handler was Scott Keller, a longtime lobbyist who had served as chief of staff under Jackson and, in that role, become embroiled in the contracting scandals. Keller’s pupil was attentive, and his performance at the January hearing before the Senate Banking Committee was judged a relative success by the press, punctuated by Carson’s disarming remark that the panel’s top Democrat, Sherrod Brown, reminded him of Columbo. Carson’s family and closest aides took him to the Monocle, the lobbyist hangout on the Hill, to celebrate.
As Carson awaited confirmation, though, a leadership cadre was already entrenching itself in the administrative offices on the 10th floor of HUD. The five-person landing team had given way in January to a larger “beachhead” team. This was a more eyebrow-raising group. Its few alums from past GOP administrations were outnumbered by Trump loyalists such as Barbara Gruson, a Manhattan real-estate broker who’d worked for the campaign; Victoria Barton, the campaign’s “student and millennial outreach coordinator”; and Lynne Patton, who had worked for the Trumps as an event planner.
The most influential of the new bunch, it would quickly emerge, was Maren Kasper. Little-known in housing policy circles, and in her mid-30s, Kasper arrived from the Bay Area startup Roofstock, which linked investors with rental properties available for purchase. It partnered with lenders including Colony American Finance, a company founded by Tom Barrack, the close Trump associate. This link to Trump, combined with Kasper’s background in one sliver of the housing realm, was enough to win her a place as one of the minders appointed by the White House to keep an eye on each government department, a powerful role without precedent in prior administrations.
Kasper, the holder of an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business, took her new management role seriously, asserting herself as the final arbiter in the absence of a confirmed secretary. This led to friction both with career housing policy experts and with Carson loyalists, notably Singleton, who had also been hired on. At meetings, Singleton said, Kasper was often “misrepresenting” herself as standing in for Carson. “I made it clear, ‘You don’t speak for Dr. Carson.’ She said, ‘Well, the White House …’” To which Singleton said he responded, “I get what the White House has selected, and I respect that, but he’s the secretary and you need to make sure you understand that.”
That friction lasted only so long. In mid-February, an administration “background check” on beachhead team hires turned up an op-ed critical of Trump that Singleton had written for The Hill before the election. Security personnel came to notify him that it was time to go.
On March 6, Carson arrived for his first day of work at headquarters. In introductory remarks to assembled employees, after he’d gotten the mic back from his wife, he surprised many by asking them to raise their hands and “take the niceness pledge.”
He also went on a riff about immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, capped by this: “That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder, for less. But they, too, had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”
The assembled employees stifled their reaction to this jarringly upbeat characterization of chattel slavery. But in HUD’s Baltimore satellite, where many in the heavily African-American office were watching the speech on an online feed at their desks, the gasps were audible.
Carson’s arrival brought with it a reckoning for career employees: Yes, this person was really in charge. They responded in strikingly different ways. The most progressive-minded were thrown into a sense of crisis: whether to hightail it to avoid whatever radical shifts or indignities were in the offing, or to stay out for the sake of the department’s programs and the millions of people they served.
Then there were the opportunists, those who saw in the vacuum in the upper ranks, where it was taking unusually long to appoint political deputies, the chance to claim higher stations than career employees would typically be able to attain. “There were a couple people in some meetings who were bending over to ingratiate themselves” with the transition team, said Harriet Tregoning, a top Obama appointee in HUD’s Community Planning and Development division, who left in January. “For some, it might be their political leaning. For some, it might be an attempt to gain influence. I saw it happening even while the Obama people were still in the building.”
Finally, there were the clock-punching lifers, the “Weebies” (“We be here before you got here, and we be here after you’re gone”), who recognized a chance to start mailing it in. “It’s ‘I can now meet people for a drink at five,’” said Tregoning. Or, as a supervisor in one branch office put it: “As a bureaucrat, HUD’s an easier place to work if Republicans are in charge. They don’t think it’s an important department, they don’t have ideas, they don’t put in changes.” Left unsaid: that such complacency was an unwitting affirmation of the conservative critique of time-serving bureaucrats.
To the extent that the new leadership was providing any guidance at all, it was often actively discouraging initiative on the part of employees. Shortly after the inauguration, a directive came down requiring employees to get 10th-floor approval for any contacts outside the building — professional conferences, or even just meetings with other departments. Ann Marie Oliva, a highly regarded HUD veteran who’d been hired during the George W. Bush administration and was in charge of homeless and HIV programs, was barred from attending a big annual conference on housing and homelessness in Ohio because, she inferred, some of the other speakers there leaned left.
The department leadership was also actively slowing down new initiatives simply by taking a very long time to give the necessary supervisory approvals for the development of surveys or program guidance. In some cases, this appeared to be the result of mere negligence and delay. In other cases, it appeared more willful. For one thing, there was the leadership’s strong hang-up about all matters transgender-related. The 10th floor ordered the removal of online training materials meant, in part, to help homeless shelters make sure they were providing equal access to transgender people. It also pulled back a survey regarding projects in Cincinnati and Houston to reduce LGBT homelessness. And it forced its Policy Development and Research division to dissociate itself from a major study it had funded on housing discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people — the study ended up being released in late June under the aegis of the Urban Institute instead.
More upsetting for many ambitious civil servants than the scattered nays coming from the 10th floor, though, was the lack of direction, period. Virtually all the top political jobs below Carson remained vacant. Carson himself was barely to be seen — he never made the walk-through of the building customary of past new secretaries. “It was just nothing,” said one career employee. “I’ve never been so bored in my life. No agenda, nothing to move forward or push back against. Just nothing.”
On May 2, I went to the Watergate to see Carson address an assemblage of the American Land Title Association, title attorneys in town for a regular lobbying visit to buttress the crucial support that HUD and others in Washington provide to the American home-buying machine. I was hoping the speech would give me a better sense of what Carson had in mind for the department, which had been hard to elucidate in his few public appearances. Up to that point, he’d made only a few headlines — for getting caught in a broken elevator at a housing project in Miami; for declaring, on a later visit to Ohio, that public housing should not be too luxurious, a concern that the elevator snafu had apparently not allayed. This comment had drawn mockery but genuinely reflected his long-standing outlook on the safety net: grudging acceptance of its necessity only for those at their most desperate moments, a phase of dependency that must be as brief as absolutely possible. This philosophy was frequently intertwined with allusions to the Creator — so frequently that supervisors at one HUD division sent down word to employees that, yes, their new boss was going to talk a lot about God and they’d probably better just get used to it.
But Carson’s address to the lawyers offered little further clarity on his agenda. He opened with a neurosurgery joke. He touched on his vague proposal for “vision centers” where inner-city kids could come to learn about careers. He repeated one of his favorite mantras, that the government needs to make sure people don’t get unduly reliant on federal assistance, because “everybody is either going to be part of the engine or part of the load.” And then, in the heart of the speech, where a Cabinet secretary would normally get down to programmatic brass tacks, came this meandering riff:
“You know, governments that look out for property rights also tend to look out for other rights. You know, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of all the things that make America America. So it is absolutely foundational to our success … On Sunday, I was talking to a large group of children about what’s happening with rights in our country. These are kids who had all won a Carson Scholar [an award of $1,000 that Carson has sponsored since 1994], which you have to have at least a 3.75 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale and show that you care about other people, and I said you’re going to be the leaders of our nation and will help to determine which pathway we go down, a pathway where we actually care about those around us and we use our intellect to improve the quality of life for everyone, or the pathway where we say, “I don’t want to hear you if you don’t believe what I believe, I want to shut you down, you don’t have any rights.” This is a serious business right now where we are, that juncture in our country that will determine what happens to all of us as time goes on. But the whole housing concern is something that concerns us all.”
A few weeks later, it became clear that the “housing concern” perhaps did not concern everyone when the White House released its budget proposal for HUD. After word emerged in early March that the White House was considering cutting as much as $6 billion from the department, Carson had sent a rare email to HUD employees assuring them that this was just a preliminary figure. But as it turned out, Carson, as a relative political outsider lacking strong connections to the administration, was out of the loop: The final proposal crafted by Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney called for cutting closer to $7 billion, 15 percent of its total budget. Participants in the Section 8 voucher program would need to pay at least 17 percent more of their income toward rent, and there’d likely be a couple hundred thousand fewer vouchers nationwide (and 13,000 fewer in New York City). Capital funding for public housing would be slashed by a whopping 68 percent — this, after years of cuts that, in New York alone, had left public-housing projects with rampant mold, broken elevators and faulty boilers.
“By the time I left, almost 90 percent of our budget was to help people stay in their homes,” Shaun Donovan told me. “So when you have a 15 percent cut to that budget, by definition you’re going to be throwing people out of their homes. You’re literally taking vouchers away from families, you’re literally shutting down public housing, because it can’t be maintained anymore.”
The Trump cuts would mean that several programs would be eliminated entirely, including the home program, which offers seed money for affordable housing initiatives, and the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program that Carla Hills, Ford’s HUD secretary, had praised to Carson at the dinner. In New York, CDBG helped pay for, among many things, housing-code enforcement, the 311 system and homeless shelters for veterans. But the grants were also relied on in struggling small towns, where they paid for sidewalks, sewer upgrades and community centers. In Glouster, Ohio, a tiny coal town that went for Trump by a single vote after going for Obama two to one in 2012, officials were counting on the grants to replace a bridge so weak that the school bus couldn’t cross it, forcing kids from one part of town to cluster along a busy road for pickup.
“Without those funds, it would just cripple this area,” said Nathan Simons, who administers the grants for the surrounding region. HUD, for all its shrinking stature and insecurity complex, has over time worked its way into the fabric of ailing communities throughout the country, a role that has grown only larger as so much of Middle America has suffered decline, and as the capacity of so many state and local governments has withered amid dwindling tax bases and civic disengagement. On my travels through the Midwest I’ve seen how many federally subsidized housing complexes there are on the edges of small towns and cities, places very far from the Bronx or the South Side of Chicago. People living in these places rely on a functioning, minimally competent HUD no less than do the Section 8 voucher recipients in Jared Kushner’s low-income complexes in Baltimore. In an age of ever-widening income inequality, the Great Society department actually plays an even more vital role than when it was conceived.
But if Carson was troubled by the disembowelment of his department, he showed no sign of it. Even before the final numbers were out, he had assured housing advocates that cuts would be made up for by money dedicated to housing in the big infrastructure bill Trump was promising — a notion that his fellow Republican Kemp, among others, found far-fetched. “I’m not sure he understood how that would work,” Kemp told me. “He was probably repeating what had been told to him.” Then, a day after the budget was released, Carson downplayed the importance of programs for the poor in a radio interview with Armstrong Williams, saying that poverty was largely a “state of mind.” This, more than anything, seemed to be a crystallization of the Carson philosophy of HUD: that privation would be solved by the power of positive thinking, that his own extraordinary rise was scalable and could be replicated millions of times over.
Two weeks later, Carson went to Capitol Hill to testify on the budget proposal before congressional panels that would have the final say on the numbers. With Kasper perched over his shoulder, he told both the Senate and House committees that they shouldn’t get overly hung up on the cuts. “We must look for human solutions, not just policies and programs,” he said. “Our programs must reach out and so must our hearts.” The budget, he added, would “help more eligible Americans achieve freedom from regulations and bureaucracy and the ability to govern themselves.”
Members of both parties on the panels seemed dubious. Even conservative Republicans challenged the elimination of CDBG and dismissed Carson’s repeated claim that those and other cuts would be made up for with “public-private partnerships,” noting that such partnerships depended on exactly the public seed money that the budget was jettisoning.
Carson remained unruffled. The cuts were made necessary by the “atmosphere of constraint” created by a “new paradigm that’s been forced on us,” he said, presumably referring to the desire for tax cuts for the wealthy and an even larger military. “The problem that faces us now as a nation will only be exacerbated if we don’t deal with them in what appears to be a harsh manner,” he told the Senate panel. “We have to stop the bleeding to get the healing.”
As I watched the hearings, it occurred to me that Carson was the perfect HUD secretary for Donald Trump, the real-estate-developer president who appears to care little for public housing. He offered a gently smiling refutation to accusations from any corner that the department’s evisceration would have grave consequences. After all, Ben Carson had made it from Detroit to Johns Hopkins without housing assistance, a point of pride in his family. Not to mention that Carson’s very identity — theoretically — helped inoculate the administration against charges of prejudice. (Just last week, Carson said, in the wake of racially tinged violence in Charlottesville, that the controversy over Trump’s support of white supremacists there was “blown out of proportion” and echoed the president’s “both sides” language when referring to “hatred and bigotry.”)
Even better, Carson could be trusted not to resist Mick Mulvaney’s budget designs. At one moment in the Senate hearing, Carson noted that Congress’s recent spending package for the current year had given the department more than it had been expecting. “I’m always happy to take money,” he said, smiling. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the committee’s top Democrat, was unamused. “You have to ask for it first,” he said.
Over at headquarters, the department remained rudderless. By June, there was still no one nominated to run the major parts of HUD, including the Federal Housing Administration and core divisions such as Housing, Policy Development and Research, Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, and Public and Indian Housing, not to mention a swath of jobs just below that level. (Across the administration, Trump had by the end of June sent barely more than 100 names to the Senate for confirmation, fewer than half as many as Obama had by that point in 2009.) Even the stern hand of Kasper was gone — she had been moved to a perch at Ginnie Mae, the arm of HUD that provides liquidity to federal home ownership programs.
The rank and file (whose department book club reading for the summer was “The Employee’s Survival Guide to Change”) took comfort that the two senior nominations that had been announced, for deputy secretary and the head of the Community Planning and Development division, were conventionally qualified. But appointments further down the ranks were alarming.

There was the administrator for the Southwest region: the mayor of Irving, Texas, Beth Van Duyne, who had gained notoriety by warning against the gathering threat of Sharia. She had asked the Texas Homeland Security Forum to help investigate the legality of an Islamic tribunal in North Texas and had taken to Glenn Beck’s talk show to defend the arrest of the Muslim boy who’d brought a homemade clock to school. There was the conservative commentator John Gibbs, who was hired as a “special assistant” in Community Planning and Development. Sample headlines from his columns in The Federalist: “Voter Fraud Is Real. Here’s the Proof”; “If He Really Wants to Help Blacks, Colin Kaepernick Needs to Put Up or Shut Up.”
Then there was Christopher Bourne, the retired Marine Corps colonel who’d served as the policy director of Carson’s presidential campaign. He suddenly showed up as a “senior policy adviser” in Policy Development and Research. “We don’t know what his job is, and as far as I know, he doesn’t know what his job is,” said one of his new colleagues.
In the context of such hires, it did not stun many HUD employees as much as it did the broader public when news broke of the selection of Lynne Patton, the Trumps’ event planner (whom tabloids gleefully referred to as a wedding planner, for her unofficial advisory role on Eric Trump’s nuptials), as regional administrator for New York and New Jersey. It had been plain to see that Patton had been striving to prove that she was no mere hanger-on. She had been visiting senior career staff for a crash course on housing policy. She had helped organize Carson’s listening tour trips, for which her event planning background had prepared her well. And she eagerly tweeted out defenses of him — “Let’s be clear: You can make life too comfortable for anyone — rich or poor — when you do, it’s a disservice,” she declared after his comments on cushy public housing.
Yes, she would now be the chief liaison from HUD headquarters to a region with the largest concentration of subsidized housing in the country — including the huge Starrett City complex in Brooklyn co-owned by Trump — a job once held by Bill de Blasio. (“Normally, these positions go to people who know what they’re doing,” said one longtime staffer at headquarters.) And yes, she would, just a few weeks later, respond to liberal criticism of the department’s decision to approve Westchester County’s long-litigated desegregation plan with a tweet that ended with the words “P.S. I’m black.”
But there were many other things for career employees to worry about that weren’t getting as much attention. Such as what Carson had in mind with the vague “incentivized family formation” push (which falls under the community building part of HUD’s antipoverty mission) that his team had included in a briefing for Hill staffers.
Also worrisome was what the new leadership might do with major Obama-era initiatives, like its desegregation initiative, which, in a 2015 rule called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, required local jurisdictions to come up with ways to reduce segregation or risk losing HUD funding. Carson had written an op-ed against this during the campaign, calling it a “mandated social engineering scheme” and comparing it to a “failed socialist experiment,” and Republicans in Congress were dying to kill it, but so far, the department was still going through the motions with it.
Then there was the mystery of why Carson’s family was taking such a visible role in the department. There was the omnipresent Mrs. Carson. Even more striking, however, had been the active role of the secretary’s second-oldest son. Ben Carson Jr., who goes by B.J. and co-founded an investment firm in Columbia, Maryland, that specializes in infrastructure, health care and workforce development, was showing up on email chains within the department and appearing often at headquarters. One day, he was seen leaving the 10th-floor office of David Eagles, the new COO, who was crafting a HUD reorganization to accompany the cuts.
And finally, there was the beginning of what appeared likely to be a stream of committed career employees quitting. Ann Marie Oliva, the anti-homelessness director, had met with mistrust from the 10th floor, and she was startled when she wasn’t asked to offer input for a speech Carson was giving on homeless veterans. She gave notice in late May, prompting calls from both parties on the Hill saying how sorry they were to see her go. “It is sad,” she told me, “because it’s not partisan and it could’ve been different from the beginning.”
In early July, Ben Carson went on the next leg of his listening tour: Baltimore. I was expecting the department to make a big deal of his return to his longtime home city. But instead, after the poor press coverage from the previous rounds of community outreach, the itinerary for the first day was kept private.
I managed to get my hands on the schedule and tagged along with a photographer. This did not please Carson’s entourage, which included, among others, a high-strung advance man in a bow tie, several security officers, Candy Carson, Ben Jr. and even his wife. When we arrived at the café where Carson and his family were having lunch with the mayor of Baltimore, Bow Tie arranged to have the Carsons rush out through the kitchen area to a back alley to avoid us. When, at the next stop, I was accidentally allowed into a meeting that Carson was holding at the city’s housing authority, Bow Tie leaped across the room to eject me. By the next stop, at a tour of the redevelopment near Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of the federal agents guarding Carson took my picture as I stood on the sidewalk chatting with a neighbor. By the last stop, dinner with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan at a deluxe waterfront restaurant opened by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, I was unsurprised when a Carson aide went to the maître d’ to report my presence at the bar. This was Trumpian anti-press spirit taken to a new level: protectiveness of a government executive to the point of seeking invisibility.
The day had had its awkward moments. In his visit to the Baltimore HUD office, Carson caused friction with his suggestion that staff needed to work harder, comparing the federal work ethic unfavorably with the long hours he put in as a surgeon. Employees were also struck by how he kept seeming to look to his wife for cues as he spoke. At a later meeting with public health officials and researchers, which his wife, son and daughter-in-law also attended, he kicked things off 15 minutes early and referred to those who arrived on time as being late. He demurred when asked by the city’s former Health Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein if he’d commit the department to an ambitious reduction in child lead poisoning, saying something to the effect that he needed to be careful about setting big goals because he “worked for a guy who, if you don’t meet your goals, he’ll so skewer you.”
The next morning, Carson held photo ops at two homes that had undergone HUD-funded lead abatement. At the first home, he looked confused when workers explained that one of their first steps had been to make sure the home’s doors closed properly in the door jambs. “What does that have to do with lead?” asked the nation’s secretary of housing. The workers explained that a key to reducing lead paint flaking was to reduce the friction involved in opening and closing windows and doors. A moment later, a deputy housing commissioner noted that the work had been made possible in part by Community Development Block Grants, which Trump’s HUD budget eliminated.
Ben Carson Jr. resurfaced at the second day’s other open event, a visit to a health fair in East Baltimore. I watched with some amazement as the younger Carson, clad in tinted aviator shades, circulated among those seeking his father’s attention. At one point, Carson Jr. was approached by two entrepreneurs he knew who were hoping to pitch HUD on a proposal to use public housing as the site to pilot their for-profit venture replacing cash bail with the relinquishing of guns. Carson Jr. heard them out and then said, “Have you talked to Dad?” He then led them over to a clutch of Carson’s HUD aides to make introductions.
A moment later, I asked Carson Jr. why he was taking such an active role on the Baltimore trip. “With anything where we can be helpful, if Dad asks us to come along and help out, we’ll always do that. We’re here to offer support, whatever we can do,” he said. I asked about all the time he was spending at HUD headquarters. “If you’re a concerned citizen and you’re not spending time in D.C. trying to actually make sure the right things are happening, then you probably could do more,” he said. “You should have access to your public officials, and if that’s not allowed, then there’s a big problem with how the representatives are handling their relationship with citizens.” (Never mind that in this case, the “public official” was his own father.)
Later, I asked Ben Carson for a comment on his son’s role. “Ben Carson Jr. has visited me, but he has no role at the department,” he said through a spokesman. It was hard to know what to make of it all. On the one hand, it bore obvious similarities to the proliferation of Trumps and Kushners inside the White House, with all their attendant business conflicts.
But it was also possible that Ben Jr., and his mom, were so often at his father’s side for just the reason Ben Jr. claimed, to provide support. Because it was not hard to see why Carson would feel insecurity. He had been chosen for a job he had few qualifications for by a man who had few obvious qualifications for his own job, and he was now being left to his own devices to defend the dismantling of the department he was supposed to run, with an underpopulated corps of deputies at his side. (Even by mid-August, the Office of Public and Indian Housing, which spends tens of billions per year, did not have any senior political leadership whatsoever.) It was as if the White House were ensuring that whatever mere starvation failed to accomplish at HUD, indifference and mismanagement would finish.
The day before, as I waited outside the school building where Carson was meeting with the public health experts, a young mother, Danielle Jackson, had come along with her three young daughters. She asked me what was going on inside, and I told her. She said she herself had been on the waiting list for a Section 8 voucher for three years, and she seemed to take the fact that the famous Baltimore doctor was now running HUD as an omen. “I hope something good happens,” she said brightly.
Her optimism was shared by Carson himself. When I asked him at a brief press conference behind one of the lead-abated homes the next morning how things were going so far for him at HUD, running a big federal department with no prior experience in government, he shrugged. “It’s actually a challenge to inject common sense and logic into bureaucracy, there’s no question about that,” he said. “But it’s coming along quite nicely.”
Do you have access to information about the federal government that should be public? Email alec.macgillis@propublica.org, or here’s how to send tips and documents to ProPublica securely.

Posted August 27, 2017 by Teacher Alvin in LEARNING ENGLISH

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IN A “NUTSHELL” 2.5 MILLION PEOPLE “DIE” IN AMERICA PER YEAR!!!   Leave a comment

National Vital Statistics Report

February 16, 2016
Deaths: Final Data for 2013

Objectives—This report presents final 2013 data on U.S. deaths, death rates, life expectancy, infant mortality, and trends, by selected characteristics such as age, sex, Hispanic origin, race, state of residence, and cause of death. Methods—Information reported on death certificates, which are completed by funeral directors, attending physicians, medical examiners, and coroners, is presented in descriptive tabulations. The original records are filed in state registration offices. Statistical information is compiled in a national database through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Causes of death are processed in accordance with the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision. Results—In 2013, a total of 2,596,993 deaths were reported in the United States. The age-adjusted death rate was 731.9 deaths per 100,000 U.S. standard population, a record low figure, but the decrease in 2013 from 2012 was not statistically significant. Life expectancy at birth was 78.8 years, the same as in 2012. Age-specific death rates decreased in 2013 from 2012 for age groups 15–24 and 75–84. Age-specific death rates increased only for age group 55–64. The 15 leading causes of death in 2013 remained the same as in 2012, although Accidents (unintentional injuries), the 5th leading cause of death in 2012, became the 4th leading cause in 2013, while Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke), the 4th leading cause in 2012, became the 5th leading cause of death in 2013. The infant mortality rate of 5.96 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013 was a historically low value, but it was not significantly different from the 2012 rate. Conclusions—Although statistically unchanged from 2012, the decline in the age-adjusted death rate is consistent with long-term trends in mortality. Life expectancy in 2013 remained the same as in 2012. Keywords: mortality • cause of death • life expectancy • vital
statistics

Highlights
Mortality experience in 2013
• In 2013, a total of 2,596,993 resident deaths were registered in the United States. • The age-adjusted death rate, which accounts for the aging of the population, was 731.9 deaths per 100,000 U.S. standard population. • Life expectancy at birth was 78.8 years. • The 15 leading causes of death in 2013 were: 1. Diseases of heart (heart disease) 2. Malignant neoplasms (cancer) 3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases 4. Accidents (unintentional injuries) 5. Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke) 6. Alzheimer’s disease 7. Diabetes mellitus (diabetes) 8. Influenza and pneumonia 9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis (kidney disease) 10. Intentional self-harm (suicide) 11. Septicemia 12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis 13. Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease (hypertension) 14. Parkinson’s disease 15. Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids • In 2013, the infant mortality rate was 5.96 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. • The 10 leading causes of infant death were: 1. Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities (congenital malformations) 2. Disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight, not elsewhere classified (low birth weight)
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Health Statistics
National Vital Statistics System

2 National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 64 No. 2, February 16, 2016
3. Newborn affected by maternal complications of pregnancy (maternal complications) 4. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) 5. Accidents (unintentional injuries) 6. Newborn affected by complications of placenta, cord and membranes (cord and placental complications) 7. Bacterial sepsis of newborn 8. Respiratory distress of newborn 9. Diseases of the circulatory system 10. Neonatal hemorrhage
Trends • The age-adjusted death rate declined to a record low in 2013, although the decrease from 2012 to 2013 was not significant. • Life expectancy for the total population was 78.8 years in 2013, the same as in 2012. • Life expectancy did not change for any of the major race and ethnicity populations from 2012 to 2013. • Life expectancy for females was 4.8 years higher than for males. The difference in life expectancy between the sexes has narrowed since 1979, when it was 7.8 years, but it has remained at 4.8 years since 2010. • The 15 leading causes of death were the same in 2013 as they were in 2012, although unintentional injuries and stroke exchanged positions in the ranking. • Age-adjusted death rates decreased significantly in 2013 from 2012 for 4 of the 15 leading causes of death and increased for 6 of the 15 leading causes. • Rates for the two leading causes—heart disease and cancer— continued their long-term decreasing trends. Significant decreases also occurred for stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. Significant increases occurred in 2013 from 2012 for Chronic lower respiratory diseases, Influenza and pneumonia, Septicemia, Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, hypertension, and Parkinson’s disease. • Within external causes of injury death, unintentional poisoning was the leading mechanism of injury mortality in 2013, followed by unintentional motor vehicle traffic-related injuries. During 2002–2010, unintentional motor vehicle traffic-related injuries was the leading mechanism of injury mortality, followed by unintentional poisoning, but beginning in 2011, the number of deaths from unintentional poisoning was higher than the number from unintentional motor vehicle traffic-related injuries; see CDC’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) at http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html. • Differences in mortality between the non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white populations persisted. The age-adjusted death rate was 1.2 times greater for the non-Hispanic black population than for the non-Hispanic white population. • The differences in life expectancy among the Hispanic, nonHispanic white, and non-Hispanic black populations in 2013 were the same as in 2012. The difference in life expectancy between the non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white populations was 3.8 years, between the non-Hispanic black and Hispanic populations was 6.5 years, and between the non-Hispanic white and Hispanic populations was 2.7 years.
• The infant mortality rate declined 0.3% in 2013 from 2012, to a record low of 5.96 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, but the decline was not statistically significant. Introduction This report presents detailed 2013 data on deaths and death rates according to a number of demographic and medical characteristics. These data provide information on mortality patterns among residents of the United States by such variables as age, sex, Hispanic origin, race, state of residence, and cause of death. Information on these mortality patterns is key to understanding changes in the health and wellbeing of the U.S. population (1). Separate companion reports present additional details on leading causes of death and life expectancy in the United States (2,3). Mortality data in this report can be used to monitor and evaluate the health status of the United States in terms of current mortality levels and long-term mortality trends, as well as to identify segments of the U.S. population at greater risk of death from specific diseases and injuries. Differences in death rates among various demographic subpopulations, including race and ethnicity groups, may reflect subpopulation differences in factors such as socioeconomic status, access to medical care, and the prevalence of specific risk factors in a particular subpopulation. Methods Data in this report are based on information from all resident death certificates filed in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 99% of deaths occurring in this country are believed to be registered (4). Tables showing data by state also provide information for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (Northern Marianas). Cause-of-death statistics presented in this report are classified in accordance with the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD–10) (5). A discussion of the cause-of-death classification is provided in Technical Notes at the end of the report. Mortality data on specific demographic and medical characteristics cover all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Measures of mortality in this report include the number of deaths; crude, agespecific, and age-adjusted death rates; infant, neonatal, and postneonatal mortality rates; life expectancy; and rate ratios. Changes in death rates in 2013 compared with 2012, and differences in death rates across demographic groups in 2013, are tested for statistical significance. Unless otherwise specified, reported differences are statistically significant. Additional information on these statistical methods, random variation and relative standard error, the computation of derived statistics and rates, population denominators, and the definition of terms is presented in Technical Notes. The populations used to calculate death rates shown in this report for 1991–2013 were produced under a collaborative arrangement with the U.S. Census Bureau. Populations for 2010–2013 and the intercensal period 2001–2009 are consistent with the 2010 census (6–10). Reflecting the latest guidelines issued in 1997 by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the 2000 and 2010 censuses included an option for persons to report more than one race as appropriate for themselves and household members (11); see Technical Notes for
3 National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 64 No. 2, February 16, 2016
detailed information on the 2013 multiple-race reporting area and methods used to bridge responses for those who report more than one race. Beginning with deaths occurring in 2003, some states allowed for multiple-race reporting on the death certificate. Multiple-race data for these states are bridged to single-race categories; see Technical Notes. Once all states are collecting data on race according to the 1997 OMB guidelines, use of the bridged-race algorithm is expected to be discontinued. The population data used to compile death rates by race in this report are based on special estimation procedures and are not true counts (see Technical Notes, ‘‘Race and Hispanic origin’’). This is the case even for the 2000 and 2010 populations. The estimation procedures used to develop these populations contain some error. Smaller population groups are affected much more than larger population groups (12). Data presented in this report and other mortality tabulations are available from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) website, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/deaths.htm. Availability of mortality microdata is described in Technical Notes.
Results and Discussion
Deaths and death rates In 2013, a total of 2,596,993 resident deaths were registered in the United States—53,714 more deaths than in 2012. The crude death rate for 2013 (821.5 deaths per 100,000 population) was 1.4% higher than the 2012 rate (810.2) (Tables A, 1, 3, 4, 14, and 15). The age-adjusted death rate in 2013 was 731.9 deaths per 100,000 U.S. standard population—a record low value, although it was notsignificantlydifferentfrom2012(Table 1).Age-adjusteddeathrates are constructs that show what the level of mortality would be if no changes occurred in the age composition of the population from year to year. (For a discussion of age-adjusted death rates, see Technical Notes.) Thus, age-adjusted death rates are better indicators than unadjusted (crude) death rates for examining changes in the risk of death over a period of time when the age distribution of the population is changing. Age-adjusted death rates also are better indicators of relative risk when comparing mortality across geographic areas or between sex or race subgroups of the population that have different age distributions; see Technical Notes. Since 1980, the age-adjusted death rate has decreased significantly every year except 1983, 1985, 1988, 1993, 1999, 2005, 2008, and 2013 (Figure 1 and Table 1). Race—In 2013, age-adjusted death rates for the major race groups (Table 1) were: • White population: 731.0 deaths per 100,000 U.S. standard population • Black population: 860.8 In 2013, the age-adjusted death rate for the black population was 1.2 times that for the white population (Table B). The average risk of death for the black population was 17.8% higher than for the white population (Table 1). From 1960 through 1982, rates for the black and white populations declined by similar percentages (22.6% and 26.5%, respectively). From 1983 through 1988, rates diverged,
increasing 3.5% for the black population and decreasing 2.0% for the white population. The disparity in age-adjusted death rates between the black and white populations was greatest from 1988 through 1996 (1.4 times greater for the black population). Since 1996, the disparity between the two populations has narrowed, as the age-adjusted rate for the black population declined 27.0% while the rate for the white population declined 15.9% (Table 1 and Figure 2). In 2013, age-adjusted death rates did not change significantly for major race and sex groups compared with 2012 (Tables A and 1). In general, age-adjusted death rates declined from 1980 through 2013 for white males and females and for black males and females. The rate decreased an average of 1.3% per year for white males, 0.7% for white females, 1.4% for black males, and 1.1% for black females during 1980–2013 (Table 1). Rates for the American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN) and Asian or Pacific Islander (API) populations should be interpreted with caution because of reporting problems regarding correct identification of race on both the death certificate and in population censuses and surveys (13). Counts of deaths for the AIAN population are substantially underreported (by about 30%) on the death certificate relative to selfreporting while alive (13). Thus, the age-adjusted death rates that are shown for the AIAN population (e.g., Tables 1 and 16) do not lend themselves to valid comparisons against other races. Year-to-year trends for the AIAN population present valid insight into changes in mortality affecting this group, if it is reasonable to assume that the level of underreporting of AIAN deaths has remained more or less constant over past years (13). The age-adjusted death rate for the AIAN population fluctuated from 1980 through 1999, peaking in 1993 at 796.4 deaths per 100,000 U.S. standard population (Table 1). Since 1999, the rate has trended downward, declining 24.2% from 1999 to 2013. The rate for the AIAN population decreased 0.6% from 2012 (595.3) to 2013 (591.7), although the change was not significant (Table A). In 2013, the age-adjusted death rate for the API population was 405.4 deaths per 100,000 U.S. standard population. The level of underreporting of deaths for the API population (about 7%) is not as high as for the AIAN population (13), but this underreporting still creates enough of a challenge that any comparisons of this population with other races must be interpreted with caution. The age-adjusted death rate for the API population peaked at 586.5 in 1985. The rate fluctuated from 1985 through 1993 before starting a persistent downward trend, decreasing 28.3% from 1993 to 2013 (Table 1). Hispanic origin—Problems of race and Hispanic-origin reporting affect Hispanic death rates and the comparison of rates for the Hispanic and non-Hispanic populations; see Technical Notes. Mortality for Hispanics is somewhat understated because of net underreporting of Hispanic origin on the death certificate (by an estimated 5%), while the non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black populations are not affected by problems of underreporting (13,14); see Technical Notes. Underreporting of Hispanic origin on the death certificate is relatively stable across age groups (13). The age-adjusted death rate in 2013 was 535.4 for the Hispanic population, 747.1 for the non-Hispanic white population, and 885.2 for
4 National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 64 No. 2, February 16, 2016
Table A. Percentage change in death rates and age-adjusted death rates in 2013 from 2012, by age, race, and sex: United States [

Posted August 9, 2017 by Teacher Alvin in LEARNING ENGLISH

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DO YOU HAVE THE Mineral RIGHT’S?? YOU BETTER CHECK!!!   Leave a comment

 

As a property owner, if someone told you they were going to start drilling for oil on your land, you’d probably try to kick them off as a trespasser. But wait! Unless you also own the minerals under your land, that someone might have every right to start drilling.

In the United States, mineral rights can be sold or conveyed separately from property rights. As a result, owning a piece of land does not necessarily mean you also own the rights to the minerals beneath it. If you didn’t know this, you’re not alone. Many property owners do not understand mineral rights.
This article will discuss what mineral rights are, how they can be conveyed separately from the land they lie beneath, and whether you should worry about someone else owning the mineral rights under your property.

 

 

A mineral owner has the right to extract and use minerals found beneath the surface of a particular piece of land. What minerals are included depends on the terms of the specific conveyance (the document within which someone bought or sold the rights). The conveyance might include all the minerals under the land, or be limited to specified minerals.
The most commonly extracted minerals these days are natural gas, oil, and coal (although a mineral owner might also own and extract gold, silver, or other minerals). Occasionally, a mineral rights transfer also includes surface rights. If so, the mineral owner also has the right to extract minerals on the surface of the land, such as clay or gravel.

Mineral rights are automatically included as a part of the land in a property conveyance, unless and until the ownership gets separated at some point by an owner/seller. An owner can separate the mineral rights from his or her land by:
Conveying (selling or otherwise transferring) the land but retaining the mineral rights. (This is accomplished by including a statement in the deed conveying the land that reserves all rights to the minerals to the seller.)
Conveying the mineral rights and retaining the land. (In this case, the seller will issue a separate mineral deed to the purchaser of the mineral rights.)
Conveying the land to one person and the mineral rights to another.

Since a seller can convey only property that he or she owns, each sale of the land after the minerals are separated automatically includes only the land. Deeds to the land made after the first separation of the minerals will not refer to the fact that the mineral rights are not included.
This means that in most cases, you cannot determine whether you own the rights to the minerals under your land just by looking at your deed. Owners are sometimes surprised to find out someone else owns the rights to the minerals under their land.

It is typically a costly process to find out whether someone other than the landowner owns the mineral rights. And perhaps you don’t really need to find out. After all, removing underground minerals tends to involve great expense, so a mineral owner probably won’t find it worthwhile to remove the minerals unless they are valuable and abundant.
For example, if you live in an area that has not historically seen any oil or natural gas drilling, coal mining, or other mineral extractions, it’s not likely that there are many valuable minerals under your land that a mineral owner would bother to remove. It’s even likely that the mineral ownership on your land has not been separated, and that if you own the land, you own the minerals.
Additionally, U.S. laws regulating mining and mineral rights typically prohibit the mineral owner from damaging, or interfering with the use of any homes or other improvements on the land when extracting minerals. As a result, mineral owners do not typically attempt mineral extraction in highly populated areas. This means that if you live in a city, or an area with many houses on small plots of land, you probably won’t need to worry about whether or not you own the minerals under you.

READ!!!

In areas where mineral exploitation is common, whether or not you own the minerals  under your land might be a real concern. For example, if your property is in an area where oil rigs are an everyday sight, where natural gas drilling is prevalent, or where coal mining operations exist, if you don’t own the minerals under your land, the mineral owner might come calling.

A mineral owner’s rights typically include the right to use the surface of the land to access and mine the minerals owned. This might mean the mineral owner has the right to drill an oil or natural gas well, or excavate a mine on your property. The mineral owner is also commonly allowed to build roadways or other improvements necessary to facilitate the mineral extraction.
Sometimes the terms of the conveyance of the mineral rights restrict the mineral owner’s rights. For example, a mineral deed might put a time limit on how long drilling can continue, or restrict excavation to a certain depth. Additionally, to protect the land owner and the environment, state and local laws regulating mining and drilling typically contain restrictions on mineral extraction activities.

DO THIS!! The First Day!!

If a mineral owner contacts you about removing the minerals under your land, your first step should be to contact a lawyer in your area experienced in mineral law. The attorney can help you wade through this complex area of law and determine who really owns the minerals under your land (an arduous process of tracing deeds back to the original mineral reservation or conveyance). A number of owners might even own the rights to different minerals. Additionally, sometimes mineral royalties (the right to profit from the minerals) are conveyed separately from the mineral ownership rights.
If the person claiming mineral ownership has a valid ownership right, you might not be able to prevent him or her from removing the minerals. You can, however, talk with the attorney about how to minimize the removal operations’ impact on you and your land. At a minimum, the attorney can take steps to ensure that the mineral owner complies with any and all restrictions and regulations governing the mineral extraction and clean-up process.

 

Posted July 23, 2017 by Teacher Alvin in LEARNING ENGLISH

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Property Taxes: Legally being applied, or not? “NO”   Leave a comment

 

Property Taxes: Legally being applied, or not?
The issue of real and personal property taxation is long overdue to be challenged. The premise is that for a personal property tax on a free sovereign, private individual to be legal, it must be Constitutional, and applied as the Constitution regulates it. Any other means makes the tax void in law.
All citizens have the right to know why they are being taxed, and to know that it is a legal taxation which represents their interests. Paying taxes without knowing the law and your rights makes you nothing more than a slave.
How many people do you know of or have heard about that have lost their property… home or land, because of not paying property taxes? It occurs across the country on a daily basis. This is not only immoral and unethical, it is criminal and a violation of a person’s civil rights. WHY?
Most every sale of property occurs without ANY Due Process… that is, there has been no court hearing, no judgment, no adjudication of all facts, and no consideration given for the actual laws regarding the tax in the first place. That is where this information come in. You now have a means to not only challenge your property taxes, but to have any lost property returned to you via the courts for violation of your rights and the law, to include damages.
NOTICE:
It is a crime for any government office or any official to auction or otherwise sell in any way, private or business property of any individual WITHOUT FIRST HAVING DUE PROCESS OF LAW, to determine the cause of action and the recourse in law. The sale of any property outside this means is illegal, and all those involved with such a sale, including those purchasing said property, are personally liable for damages, and subject to criminal charges under Racketeering (RICO) laws, and for violation of civil and Due Process rights. All government officials have the “Greater Duty” to know the law and comply with it, and if you are involved with such an auction without Due Process for the owner, you are in breach of your fiduciary duty and you can be held personally liable by those harmed by this fraud. Any challenge to property taxation or property sale made by any citizen requires you to respond, point by point, and to “prove up” your position in law.
For you to understand WHY property taxes as applied are unconstitutional, you need the facts of law. The following Property Tax Challenge Document provides you the laws you need to understand and use to make your case. Be sure to read it through completely. Use it to request from your assessor, the actual authority they have to tax your personal property as they are. Customize it to your personal and state situation, have it Notarized, and send it certified mail, return receipt requested. If they refuse to answer it within 30 days, stop paying your property taxes and use the document as your evidence of good faith efforts to receive proof of the laws. It is also good to CC your State Attorney General, and your Senator and Congressmen, your County Commissioners and perhaps the sheriff. This places them on NOTICE as well, and can be used as more proof of your “good faith” efforts to determine your true liability for property taxes. Keep in mind that you will most likely have to defend yourself against their likely criminal response, but you can do it with this material. If you must, pay the taxes, but be sure to do so with a statement on the check or certified money order to the affect: “Paid under duress and coercion.”
You can also use a form of this to challenge taxes paid on an old piece of property since fraud has no statute of limitations, and damages can be recouped for this fraud. Simply change the verbiage to be asking about past taxes you paid… DON’T TAKE THIS FRAUD LYING DOWN!!!
If you are unsure about this, have your attorney review this document and the laws it references. If he cannot refute the premise, showing the laws and facts that support their position, how can a city government do so? If the attorney tries to refute it, please forward the response to us and we will provide rebuttal and further proof for you and them.
Business Property Taxes:
If you have a business that is “incorporated,” you fall under possible tax liability because to incorporate is to seek a “privilege” from the government and that privilege CAN be taxed… BUT IT MUST BE TAXED ACCORDING TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL FORMS OF TAXATION, WHICH IT NEVER IS. You can use a form of the above document to challenge these taxes as well because they do not fall under legal forms of taxes.
If you have a private business, sole proprietor or other form of private business, you are NOT subject to personal property taxes as the Constitution and laws declare. Challenging these taxes is the first step in freeing yourself from the tyranny and corruption of lawless government and officials, however well-meaning they may be. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. By requesting this information from your city officials, you are not only making sure that you are paying what you legally owe, but you are placing your government officials “ON NOTICE” that this activity could well be illegal and this requires that they personally respond, and investigate or bring to the attention of their superiors, the issue. They have the “Greater Duty” to know the law and comply with it, or they are in breach of their fiduciary duty and can be held personally liable.
This is the first step to take to challenge your property taxes. If the assessor does NOT respond, we will have the next step to take which will be a lawsuit, which is easy to file and you do NOT need an attorney for. In fact, as you begin to learn more about the actual laws and Constitution, you can easily represent yourself in most any case you have to deal with, whether bringing suit, or defending yourself. Seminars will be available in the near future to teach this.
By the way, the same legal argument exists for Income Taxes. Research this as well. You will be amazed and angered at how we have been, and are being, deceived and defrauded by government.
Legal Disclaimer

Posted July 23, 2017 by Teacher Alvin in LEARNING ENGLISH

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