Socialism Key to North Dakota's Propspertiy and 3.3% Unemployment Rate
The Bank Behind the North Dakota Miracle >>>>
North Dakota is the only state to be in continuous budget surplus since the banking crisis of 2008.
Oil is certainly a factor, but it is not what has put North Dakota over the top. Alaska has roughly the same population as North Dakota and produces nearly twice as much oil, yet unemployment in Alaska is running at 7.7 percent. Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming have all benefited from a boom in energy prices, with Montana and Wyoming extracting much more gas than North Dakota has. The Bakken oil field stretches across Montana as well as North Dakota, with the greatest Bakken oil production coming from Elm Coulee Oil Field in Montana. Yet Montana’s unemployment rate, like Alaska’s, is 7.7 percent.
A number of other mineral-rich states were initially not affected by the economic downturn, but they lost revenues with the later decline in oil prices. North Dakota is the only state to be in continuous budget surplus since the banking crisis of 2008. Its balance sheet is so strong that it recently reduced individual income taxes and property taxes by a combined $400 million, and is debating further cuts. It also has the lowest foreclosure rate and lowest credit card default rate in the country, and it has had NO bank failures in at least the last decade.
If its secret isn’t oil, what is so unique about the state? North Dakota has one thing that no other state has: its own state-owned bank.
Access to credit is the enabling factor that has fostered both a boom in oil and record profits from agriculture in North Dakota. The Bank of North Dakota (BND) does not compete with local banks but partners with them, helping with capital and liquidity requirements.
North Dakota’s money and banking reserves are being kept within the state and invested there. The BND’s loan portfolio shows a steady uninterrupted increase in North Dakota lending programs since 2006.
So since North Dakota has a govt. run bank, it must be on the verge of bankruptcy and collapse, right? WRONG! The bank had a 19% profit return on investment. Goldman Sachs would kill for thoser kinds of numbers.
In criticizing U.S. policy in Vietnam, King said America was "one of the main purveyors of violence" in the world. Imagine King, with his sing-song black preacher cadence, saying that over and over and over again on CNN.
Longtime readers of this column might say this is typical Sean Gonsalves fare. And it's true. So, let me explain just how typical I am.
I'm just a typical American who happens to be black, and no matter what Limbaugh says about Barack's grandma, there's a difference between typical and stereotypical.
Like most typical black people my age, from the time I was a little boy, through high school, right up until early adulthood, I spent a lot of time in the black Baptist Church. Tuesday night prayer meetings. Wednesday night bible study. And Sunday service.
It's "typical" because something like 90 percent of all African-Americans are nominally-affiliated believers. And that's why I can say with certainty that no black person in America was shocked to hear Rev. Jeremiah Wright's "controversial" preaching and are probably more shocked at the hysterical and hypocritical manufactured controversy surrounding Wright.
I know we're in the new PC era of "colorblindness," where the word "racist" has been flipped on its head by the fading neo-right to mean: any public talk about race, without doing the Bill Cosby/Thomas Sowell routine, is "racist."
People are free to think whatever they want but just so we're clear: a racist, by definition, is someone who explicitly or implicitly believes one racial group is morally and intellectually superior to others. Only in a warped world is it considered "racist" to talk publicly about the legacy of white supremacy.
So let me tell you 'bout my typical black mother. She's a church-going woman and she made sure my younger brother and I were church-going kids. No if, and, or she would whoop our butts. And not just church. My mother was a big fan of Sunday school too.
Boredom and longing to watch the 49ers or Raiders on TV aside, my Sunday school teachers sparked in me a deep and abiding interest in studying the bible (King James Version).
As a child of extreme energy and passion, I was drawn to the books of the Prophets (Jeremiah, Amos, Ezekiel, Isaiah etc.) -- at first because it was fun to see my Sunday school teachers squirm when asked a hard question about, say, Elijah murdering hundreds Baalists, after he already proved his point. You'd think the fire would have be enough to settle the Who's-God-is-Real contest but nope -- Elijah just had to put the sword to every non-believer in sight.
It wasn't until I began seriously studying the prophetic tradition that I came across the work of the great Rabbi Abraham Joshua Herschel . First, Heschel taught me what a prophet is not: "A prophet is neither a messenger, an oracle, a seer, nor an ecstatic," but "a witness to the divine pathos, one who bears testimony to God's concern for human beings."
Reading the prophet's words, "one cannot long retain the security of a prudent, impartial observer. The prophets do not offer reflections about ideas in general. Their words are onslaughts, scuttling illusions of false security, challenging evasions, calling faith to account, questioning prudence and impartiality."
As any black church-goer will tell you, prophetic preaching is the communal lifeblood of black religious experience in America. Always has been. Rev. Jeremiah Wright comes out of that experience -- an experience I personally encountered the Sunday I attended Oakland's Allen Temple.
Wright used the Samson and Delilah story as his text, raising the question Delilah kept asking Samson: "What makes you so strong?" Then he asked his black audience: And what makes you so strong, black people?
He wanted to know, how is it, that after all black people have experienced -- from slavery and lynching to segregation and economic deprivation -- we could still produce such a wide array of heroic personalities. He listed well-known black achievers from Sojourner Truth to, yes, Bill Cosby, periodically punctuating his laundry list with the "what makes you so strong" question.
I shared a portion of Wright's sermon in a column about 10 years ago, which prompted the USA Today to ask me to write a black history month piece. I received hundreds of e-mails and letters in response, mostly from white readers asking for a copy, saying they loved it because the sermon was an uplifting affirmation of the human spirit; that while people are often victimized, it doesn't mean they can't ultimately be victorious.
It was in another column -- an Easter column -- that I shared the last part of Wright's "What Makes You So Strong?" sermon; re-telling his re-telling of when the late great theologian Paul Tillich visited the University of Chicago Divinity School in the 50s.
Wright was a seminary student at the time and Tillich came to give a three hour lecture "proving" that the historical resurrection of Jesus was a myth, concluding his talk by saying that because black American religious experience is based on a supposed relationship with "a Risen Lord" -- who, in fact, didn't exist -- black American spirituality was nothing more than "emotional mumbo-jumbo."
Tillich asked the packed lecture hall: "Are there any questions?" The silence was deafening, Wright said, until an old black preacher with white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium. The old preacher reached into his brown bag lunch and pulled out an apple. As he loudly chomped and munched on his apple, the old black preacher asked:
"Was this apple I just ate -- bitter or sweet?" Tillich responded: "I can't answer that question because I haven't tasted your apple." The old preacher put Tillich's condescension in its place. "And neither have you tasted my Jesus," he said. Game over.
Again, the response I got from mostly white readers was overwhelming. In fact, an evangelical book publisher (Guideposts) asked if they could re-print it in an upcoming book, Let There Be Laughter: A View from the Pew . I said yes. After all, I stole it from Wright. The book was published in 2005.
Now along comes the Wright "controversy" and Barack was forced to confront the issue of race. In doing so, he spoke to us like adults.
Unfortunately, some adults just don't want to have grown up conversation. They want to talk about Wright's "controversial" (prophetic) preaching.
Funny how nobody wants to talk about McCain's relationship with the controversial white preacher John Hagee.
I guess it's asking too much of "Christian" America to notice the huge difference between a preacher steeped in the biblical prophetic tradition and "Christians" like Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph. You don't see members of Wright's church going out and putting "hatred and anti-Americanism" into practice by becoming domestic terrorists. Nope. Members of Wright's church just go out and do things like run for president and energize an entire generation of new voters.
You know the world's crazy when hope is confused with hate.
Good thing for Martin Luther King admirers -- blogs, talk radio, and 24/7 cable news "analysis" weren't around in the Sixties.
King might not have the status of patron saint in the temple of American civil religion. Then again, King is safely dead. While America may be the land of "second-chances," its people are definitely not the type to give props to a prophet while he or she is alive.
President Obama should use Reagan's "are you better off than you were fours ago?" as stated in the article " The Race Is Still Kerry's To Lose".
President Obama saved us from a recession which many feared would evolve into becoming a worldwide depression, so yes every US citizen is better off today than they were fours ago. If we had four more years of Bush 43 we'd probably be in a worldwide depression now.
We've seen how to combat economic downswings. Our country has done it before. It is by doing what President Obama wanted, but it is unfortunate for us all that the "Party of No" had other priorities.
The article "How to End This Depression" makes the case that we could be out of this economic morass easily.
The article states "The truth is that recovery would be almost ridiculously easy to achieve: all we need is to reverse the austerity policies of the past couple of years and temporarily boost spending….Meanwhile, the strong measures that would all go a long way toward lifting us out of this depression should include, among other policies, increased federal aid to state and local governments, which would restore the jobs of many public employees; a more aggressive approach by the Federal Reserve to quantitative easing (that is, purchasing bonds in an attempt to reduce long-term interest rates); and less timid efforts by the Obama administration to reduce homeowner debt."
President Obama has not been in charge of the government, but the "Party of No" has set records forfilibustering Democrats' legislation which was aimed at helping our recovery as the article "The Latest Lie: "Obama Got Everything He Wanted"" illustrates.
Whenever I see a GOP operative responding to the "Party of No" ruining our recovery by smarmily saying that President Obama was in charge of the government because his failed policies led us into huge deficits and high unemployment I become enraged with their duplicity. Sometimes they'll even say that if the Republicans in the House can't work with a Democratic President, the US needs a Republican President. Doesn't that make your blood boil? They should be rewarded for achieving a moniker of "Party of No" by having a President of their own party. How about they should get punished for obstructing the effective functioning of Congress? Rove trained these operatives and they all stay on Rove's directives, which are no more than sound bites aimed at attracting their base through anger against the Democrats.