Bread and Circuses

 

Elections are here.

The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it… which for the majority translates as ‘Bread and Circuses.’

‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.”
Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein was a science fiction writer along with Isaac Azimov and Arthur C. Clarke were considered the “Big Three” of science fiction writers. He received 7 Hugo Awards presented for the best achievements in science fiction or fantasy works. He was described early on by Asimov as a “flaming liberal” but he went through a conversion displayed in his later novels and short stories. He recognized the reformation that the country was experiencing and he was critical about it. As a science fiction writer you not only try to envision and predict the future but to notice societal trends. You then utilize those trends to estimate the impact on society.

Bread and circuses was not a new concept, throughout civilization those in power have sought to prevent revolt, as well as distract the populace by ensuring they were fed and entertained. HIstory is littered with invasions, wars and conflicts over resources that one group had and another lacked and desired. Diplomacy was useful but one thing about diplomacy was the agreements rarely produced lasting resolutions, in many cases they only set up or were the cause of the nest conflict. The UN is ineffective because of this, we ignore it at our peril.

With the advent of democracy or representative governments as the de facto mode of governance in the world, particularly Western Civilization this is even more important now. The shift of power or the appearance of a shift from the centralized absolute power of the hereditary monarchs which prevailed until the 18th century to the representative democracies or constitutional monarchies of today has meant that those who can provide the bread and circuses for their people will continue to rule.

Today giving people what they want, though not necessarily what they need dominates every election in this country. Offering of bread ( free health care,  welfare, housing, higher minimum wages, college tuition, etc.) or  the circus(legal marijuana, abortion on demand, gay marriage, immigration, school reforms, etc.) decide elections. Little if any consideration is given to the long-term consequences of what is offered or given. Giving people what they want or convincing enough that what is offered is what they really want is used to gain, expand and maintain power by both sides.

Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.”
Robert A. Heinlein

There is plenty of evidence of this; You have Union groups that force non-Union members to pay fees. You have gay groups that have managed to get the government to force others to host their weddings, make their wedding cake, take their photos despite the religious objections of those people. Now as has been done in Europe a couple is trying, with local government help, to have a Reverend officiated a gay marriage or face fines or jail.

We see this in the opposition to Voter Id laws; These laws are almost universal around the world, yet in US they are bitterly opposed. One of the main arguments is that minorities will be disenfranchised by these laws. As the witnesses for the DOJ recently testified:

It’s also the case that — well, yes, so it would, empirically more likely affect African Americans. Also, understanding within political science, that people who register to vote the closer and closer one gets to Election Day tend to be less sophisticated voters, tend to be less educated voters, tend to be voters who are less attuned to public affairs. That also tells me from the literature of political science that there are likely to be people who will end up not registering and not voting. People who correspond to those factors tend to be African Americans, and, therefore, that’s another vehicle through which African Americans would be disproportionately affected by this law.

Translation we need same day registration and voting because blacks are too ignorant or civic minded to register to vote beforehand. The words disparate impact, discrimination, privilege are used to hammer others who do not agree to consent with their views. If that fails threats of violence in the form of riots or physical violence are used. This was evident in 2010 during the Trayvon Martin Case, that forced the State to press charges against George Zimmerman, will it work this year in the attempts to charge Darren Wilson in Ferguson?

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”
Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

The effects of battling Global Warming are starting to felt in this nation, despite the fact that the World has not warmed in over 18 years. Policies implemented to combat CO2 production the bogeyman in the AGW theory, has meant that people are paying more for electricity and heating costs. In healthcare, the new Obamacare law is now also making healthcare unaffordable for many, the opposite of the law’s intent, while not denting the number of uninsured.

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”
Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

The Federal government has been printing money at a furious pace, this policy of Quantitative easing (QE), has meant that the rich have gotten richer while those in the Middle has stagnated. Trillions borrowed to pay for TARP, Porkulus and the millions now in the welfare system will mean that future generations will be socked with a huge bill to pay.

The middle class is the hardest hit, while the poor receive assistance from the government to ease or shield them from the results of such policies and the rich can afford it, it is the middle class which bears the brunt. Obamacare has truly become a tax-hit on  many families who are now paying thousands more in healthcare while receiving little or in many cases less coverage or benefits.

Food prices which is not used to calculate inflation, have soared. Ground beef prices are almost 40% higher than 4 years ago, bacon is twice as expensive as 4 years ago. In some instances the prices increases have been hidden by smaller packaging. A 5lb bag of sugar is now 4lb for the same or higher price. 16oz cans now contain 12oz, etc. But even this can’t hide that the cost have risen while wages have not.

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

Robert A. Heinlein

This is the reality we face, history has proven this time and time again. We can ignore history and keep saying to ourselves that we will get it right this time, until this time comes and goes and then we realized were did we go wrong? The answers are and have always been in front of us. We keep trying to re-invent the wheel but forgetting how the original used to work. Petty differences are the circuses used to distract us. Petty new rights are the bread used to attracts us, yet neither makes the wheel work any better or go any faster but boy can they be use to maintain their power.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
Robert A. Heinlein

Amen.

 

 

 

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Ebola in NYC

Obama is on this!

It appears that a doctor who had returned from Guinea 10 days ago from the group Doctors without Borders has tested positive for Ebola. It seems that while he was on a self quarantine it was not very rigorous.

Before he started feeling the symptoms today and was rushed to the hospital with a police escort, he was out bowling yesterday with his girlfriend. Exposing her and countless others. He also used über which will probably get negative PR to counter any good PR they were getting from their Flu shot program.

Hopefully, this case will be isolated to the doctor and he will fully recover but we see again the foolishness of believing that the simple screening we have implemented will be sufficient to deter future cases. The next one may not call the hospital when symptoms hit him/her and may instead contaminate many others before diagnosed.

This is the danger of allowing PC considerations dictate public policy. The Administration knows of the dangers and it is following a policy that endangers other citizens in order to appease those that would accuse of racism or overreaction. It is doing this not because it in the public’s interest but because it is in their best political interest. 2 more years!

 

Imagine, an Obama as the Candidate he told us he would be

romney-2012-blog-image-hope-and-change

The euphoria and heady days of 2008 and the candidate for President Barack H. Obama are long gone. For many the Hope and Change that was promised has given way to cynicism, disappointments, blame shifting, name
calling, and to many horror at how things have turned out. For most, except the most partisan out there President Obama and his Administration have been a failure. We can argue as to the causes but the fact remains. Imagine what could have been had Candidate Obama had become President Obama. Before the election there were some doubts about Obama, veteran newscasters Charlie Rosen and Tom Brokaw expressed some of those in October 2008, and though some like Limbaugh have mischaracterized the conversation, the substance was that Obama was a somewhat unknown quantity. In the end they did as much of the MSM did in regards to Obama in 2008 and they just downplayed or ignored their instincts, choosing instead to join the bandwagon and helped Obama win the Presidency and a sweeping majority in Congress to boot.

Right after the election there were indications that something could be wrong, when Obama started doing press conferences with the non-existent seal of the Office of President-Elect of the US, a concocted title that he and his transition team would go on to use until his inauguration. But it was a meeting 3 days after his inauguration on January 20th, 2008 that set the tone for the rest of his Presidency. It was at this meeting with the heads of Congress that was meeting to discuss the stimulus package proposals, that President Obama told Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona, “I won” and House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, “elections have consequences!”. The meeting which was supposed to foster bi-partisanship, had turned into, something else. The Republicans which had been battered and powerless, having lost Congress and the Presidency would now be unified, and would ride the Tea Party wave into control of the one-half of Congress in 2010, effectively stopping Obama’s agenda and our current situation. Let us Imagine what it could have been had the uniter, moderate, consensus builder, bi-partisan, post-partisan Candidate that was elected in 2008 had actually been what was advertised.

  • 2009- After assuming office with the economy still mired in a Recession, Obama held a meeting with Congress leaders for proposals to help the country still mired in a Recession. As a result a package of tax-cuts and spending on infrastructure was devised, with the cost of package being off-set in part by the winding down of operations in Iraq.
  • In June, he expresses his full support of the Green Revolution Movement in Iran, supporting the Secular student and young Iranian movement to replace the Islamic Republic.
  • Obama also supported the Honduran Supreme Court, that sought to stop the President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya, who with the help of Hugo Chavez, was trying to change the Honduran Constitution to allow him to run for re-election which the Constitution did not allow. Following a similar tactic that the Presidents of Venezuela’s Chavez had employed to keep himself in power. The same thing was done in Ecuador and Nicaragua who changed their Constitutions to allow the President to run indefinitely,  de-facto dictators.
  • In July, when asked to comment on the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates, a friend, Obama replied that it was a local law enforcement issue and as President it would not be his place to take sides.
  • In August he proposes a budget that starts to remove elements from the TARP and ARRA legislations to bring his baseline budget more in line with the Budgets before both emergency legislations.
  • In September he urges Congress to forgo the Mathew Shepard legislation as there was already Hate Crimes laws that were applicable not to mention State sanctions that did not require another Federal intervention.

 

  • 2010-After the loss of the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for 47 years after his death in January, President Obama formally asks his fellow Democrats in Congress to work with Republicans on the Health Care Bill. The people had sent a message and he got it, the present bill was not what the people wanted.
  • After announcing the end of Combat Operations in Iraq, due to the success the “Surge” in Iraq, Obama promises to work on a new SOFA agreement to monitor and assist the new Iraqi government past the current date of 2011. He explains that this small force was needed to ensure the hard-fought gains of the American Serviceman and Women during their intervention in Iraq.
  • In Afghanistan, the “good war”, he follows the advice of his military for a similar surge that proved a game changer in Iraq.

Now I was going to continue and to list other areas where Candidate Obama would have acted differently from President Obama, like after the loss of one half of Congress he would moderate his policies and be more inclusive, or how he would act more forcefully when confronted by malfeasance by members of his Cabinet (ATF, NSA, IRS, HHS, DOJ, VA, etc all had scandals). Perhaps, he would not insert himself into the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin shooting, while ignoring the mass killing going on in Chicago and other cities. He would not intentionally disregard laws that he was opposed to, simply because prosecutorial discretion allows him too, but at the end of the day as the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exclaimed;

What difference at this point does it make?

As I was writing this blog piece, I was following the events of the plane that went down in the Ukraine. It appears that it was shot down, by whom? It is not clear, it could have been the Russians, the Russian backed rebels or even the Ukrainians who also have the capability. Whatever the circumstances a plane bound for Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam with almost 300 people had been shot down with not survivors. Among the dead were 23 Americans, over 100 children and this was his statement;

‘Before I begin, obviously the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border. And it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. Right now we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens on board. That is our first priority.’

‘And I’ve directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government. The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why. And as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families and passengers, wherever they call home. ‘

Obama then jarringly quickly returned to his prepared remarks.

‘I want to thank Jeremie for that introduction’ he said. ‘Give Jeremie a big round of applause.’ ‘It is great to be in the state that gave us Joe Biden. We’ve got actually some better-looking Bidens with us here today.  We’ve got Beau and his wife, Hallie, are here. Give them a big round of applause. We love them.’  …’Jack Lew’s signature is actually on your money,’ he said, ‘although it’s kind of illegible. We teased him when he first became treasury secretary that he was going to have to fix his signature a little bit because it looked just like a caterpillar running along the bottom.’

In all his statement regarding the event was about 40 seconds long before he turned to the teleprompter and his speech about transportation and boosting infrastructure spending. Regardless of the reason for the crash, a mechanical malfunction, pilot error, or some freak natural event the crash and death of 300 individuals IS a tragedy. That this might be the result of human intervention and deliberate whether in error or not, President Obama’s disconnect was in full display. It was a shameful display with jokes and political attacks against the Republicans. The total disregard for human beings is nothing new to President Obama as displayed by his reluctance to address the current border situation. The masses of young children and adults coming in the country after a hazardous journey were many are dying on the way. Young girls are being raped to the point that the DHS Secretary Johnson is testifying that girls are given birth control before they embark to the US and when they arrive as reported here. Not only that but the law that the Administration is claiming that is forcing them to accept the illegals the “William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008” is not applicable to as many as 85 percent of the cases because the children are being smuggled into the country, in many instances with a parent,  and not victims of trafficking, making them ineligible for the protections afforded by the law. It is just another instance of the Obama Administration expanding the parameters of a law to suit its political purposes. You can read the Center for Immigration Studies explanation of the law, here.

Whether Obama the Candidate was just a dream foisted by a pliant and cheerleading MSM,  he was a good great con man who suckered the nation or a combination of both, maybe he just never existed, it was a projection in most of Americans. That is probably closer to the truth but just Imagine if that person existed was in charge today, just Imagine. If there is a lesson here is that something that seems to good to be true, usually is and that is particularly the case in politics. We need to vet our candidates well, or else they will become President or Senator or Congressman, and we want the candidate to be that person we choose, not an empty Bear in a suit who is now loose.

Tea Party “is” responsible for the IRS, VA, Benghazi and other scandals

The Tea Party, or a better description the Tea Party movement, is responsible for the scandals that plaguing the Obama Administration, by bringing to the forefront the problems that afflict our government; cronyism, incompetence, size, mismanagement and size. Its populists message made inroads with people and appealed to voters across, racial, political, income and age lines.  It was this disenchantment that a young Jr. Senator from Illinois was able to tap into the Presidency over the more senior and experience opponents; first in the Democratic Primary against Hillary Clinton and then against long-time Senator McCain both Washington insiders.

The origins of the Tea Party Movement or TPM  are difficult to place, since many groups have claimed to be Tea Party Patriots or a variation, many in commemoration of the original protest that gave its name the Tea Party of 1773, a protest against the Crown’s taxes in the colonies. The current TPM really started to take shape as a protest against the Bush Administration, in particular the then proposed TARP program and the  Bush Administration expansion of the Federal government in 2008.

In 2009, with the new President Obama and its expansion of the TARP, to the bailout GM and Chrysler as well as the Stimulus Bill and later the proposed Health Care overhaul bill, while mired in a recession flamed the TPM into a National movement. The TPM held massive rallies throughout the country and in the mid-term elections of 2010 many candidates supported by the TPM were elected into Congress over Establishment politicians. Those gains in 2010 and the earlier victory of Senator Scott Brown at the beginning of 2010 to replace Senator Ted Kennedy who had died cemented the TPM as a legitimate force in National politics. Brown’s election was extremely important as his election would provide the Republicans with 41 Senate seats, which would have been enough to sustain a filibuster of the Obamacare bill in Congress.

Senator Brown’s election was important in other ways because it forced the Democrats to find ways to thwart the TPM and its populist movement. It also marked the departure of how the MSM’s media outlets covered the TPM. The TPM’s strong opposition to the Health Care bill, the Stimulus and other policies of the new Administration was from that point on in the MSM’s (Main Street Media) eyes one driven by racism, homophobia, xenophobia,  Hellenologophobia, anti-government, anarchists or just plain crazy people. One example of this is the Media’s reporting of the protests outside of Congress on the day that then Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and her entourage of Democratic Leaders including many from the CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) marched in with her oversized mallet to commemorate the passage of the Health Care Bill. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and other members of the CBC would claim that protester spat on him as they hurls racist slurs at him other Congressmen, despite the dozens of MSM cameras and hundreds more of others that were recording the event, none have corroborated his accusations. Breibart even offered a $100,000 reward for any video or audio that corroborated the claims, needless to say the reward was never claimed, in fact all the video footage disproved the claims. It didn’t stop the MSM from reporting the claims as factual, to this day many point to that non-event as proof of the TPM’s racism, just another instance of the MSM’s false but accurate reporting that become vogue when reporting about the TP or non-Democrats for that matter.

The TPM was becoming a powerful force in politics, one that could upset the delicate balance our 2 party system had developed through the years. To the Democrats it was siphoning support from those fiscally responsible Democrats still in the party, even though the party itself had taken a sharp turn to the left. To the Republicans they faced the possibility of it being consumed by the movement, upsetting the things as they are of the Establishment. Both parties have profited from government largesse, the Democrats would get funding for their social engineering and the Republicans the Defense and breaks for corporate entities. Both could go home to their districts and “bring home the bacon” from Washington and use it to get elected and re-elected. It was something that both would tout endlessly about  during the election season by incumbents and opponents if one failed to deliver. The TPM was looking to upset that symbiotic relationship between the parties, they had to be stopped.

In the beginning the Republican Party was happy with the Tea Party as it added life to their ranks who had been demoralized after the Bush Administration, they had lost both Houses of Congress and the Presidency and seemed lost without a clear message for the future. The TPM gave them a boost that they sorely needed, but it became apparent that the TPM was not going to be puppet of the Establishment Republicans, in fact the TPM would go just as hard against them as they would against the Democrats.  If the movement was to be stopped the Democrats would have to get involved to help and they did utilizing their allies in the MSM, Hollywood and some Republicans to bring a stopped to the TPM.

The Media’s reporting of the TPM changed, rallies that were once looked upon skeptically now were reported in negative connotations, the attendees where under reported, the racial make-up of the attendees was analysed, income levels, intelligence, etc. The TPM was put under a microscope, in the 2010 Mid-terms any Tea Party supported candidate was vetted rigorously, after the elections much was made about those that lost but very little was said about those that one, which far out-numbered the loses. The TPM candidates were often vilified, their statements were often taken out of context and portrayed negatively, but all of this was not enough to stop the wave that saw the Republican party from retaking one half of Congress putting the stop brakes on the Obama Administration Agenda. It was clear that the TPM needed to be stopped or 2012 would be another bad year for the Democrats.

This is why the TPM is responsible for the scandals that would follow. The Obama Administration and the Democrats Congress in had a very pro-Government Agenda. They sought to pass legislation that would radically change our country. From climate change regulation, to gun control, health care, financial regulation, etc. all would consolidate power on the Federal government. To the Democratic leadership, name the problem, more government seemed to be their solution. This of course was contrary to the TPM’s message, that saw too much government intervention and spending as the problem. To accomplish this the Administration and the Democratic Leadership set about in motion several actions to prove the not only the need for government intervention but that it could deliver the goods.

Fast and Furious– To prove the need for stricter gun control, it revived a Bush Administration program that was intended to track guns purchased in the US and sold to Mexican Drug Cartels, only this time the amount of guns would be much larger and no attempt would be made to track the guns across the border, we also would not notify the Mexican authorities of it. The hope was that when those guns would turn up in Mexico and traced back to the US, it would lend impetus to gun control legislation. This led to these guns being used to kill at least 2 US border agents and hundreds more dead in Mexico, including several massacres in Mexico.

Solyndra and others– To prove that the government could stimulate and replace the use of fossil fuels, millions of dollars were given to Solyndra and other renewable energy companies most have ceased operations, a few are limping along but the program has been a colossal waste of taxpayers money.

Benghazi and Arab Spring To demonstrate the new approach to Foreign relations, the Administration backed the rise of Islamist factions in allied countries, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Syria and Libya, the rebellions in those countries have thrown them all into chaos. Secular Tunisia is in turmoil by the new proposed constitution based on Sharia Law, Libya is split in two and in a continuing civil war, Yemen has been split with large portions in control by al-Qaeda, Syria was plunged into a civil war that has more that 150, 000 dead and millions residing in refugee camps, Egypt rejected the rule of the Islamist with a coup by the military who now rule the country. Also worth mentioning the rise al-Qaeda related groups in Mali that required the intervention of the French, or Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighboring countries. In Benghazi the same groups that we assisted in overthrowing the government attacked our Consulate which led to the deaths of our Ambassador and 3 others. In Syria the rebels that we were supporting have now turned around and have conquered large portions of Iraq, possibly leading to the partition of the country into 3 different factions.

Ukraine and Russia– The “reset” with Russia has worked about as well as can be expected with this Administration with the Ukraine losing the Crimea and in danger of losing the Eastern half of the country after we supported the Maidan pro-Western uprising against its elected government. Russia is also supporting the Syrian government which we are opposing and strengthening ties with China.

VA scandal– The Administration pointed to the VA as the standard and goal of its Health Care ambitions, it paid bonuses to their officials for delivering the quality of care that showed how a government could take over the health system and provide a quality service. Instead those bonuses helped to incentivize a system that failed to perform and hid the results of its failure with mock lists when those waiting to receive care died while waiting to see a doctor.  At the same time whistleblowers were harassed and fired when they brought the failures to light.  Meanwhile millions were paid to the families of the dead veterans in settlements to cover their failures to provide care.

IRS scandal To prevent the TPM from spreading its message, the IRS was weaponized to prevent local groups of TPM and Conservative groups the means to organize as an entity. The groups were investigated, slow walked and people on donor lists were investigated and audited.  Unlike the DNC and RNC the TPM is not one national organization but a conglomeration of smaller regional entities working together. They also did not share a single platform as some shared some social goals but others didn’t. The end result was that the TPM was mostly silent in the run-up to the 2014 Presidential Elections, which was immensely helpful in the re-election of the Obama Administration. Without their local voices the TPM, and the marginalization of the “teabaggers” by the MSM it blunted and silenced the TPM.

There other instances of actions that were caused by the TPM but as you can see the Administration and Establishment Republicans have taken measures to quashed the TPM. Just yesterday Senator Cochran won the primary in Mississippi over a TPM,  Conservative challenger by depicting his challenger as racist and directly appealing to the black community for its votes.  One black pastor who helped to organize votes against Cochran opponent, was asked why he was supporting Cochran over his challenger, he said because he that his challenger Chris McDaniel was a tea partier and a racist so he was helping Cochran win.  Oh by the way he also said that he would work hard come November to elect the Democratic nominee.

Like I said at the beginning, the Tea Party is to blame.

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Little Lies

In 1987, Fleetwood Mac released the song “Little Lies” it would be their last top 10 hit in the US. As the song goes the singer would rather hear “little lies” than the truth. We as a country are willing to accept the fantasy, the little lies than to inform ourselves.

If I could turn the page
In time then I’d rearrange just a day or two
Close my, close my, close my eyes
But I couldn’t find a way
So I’ll settle for one day to belive in you
Tell me, tell me, tell me lies

We allow others to re-write history, to re-arrange events, to re-define people, all to conform, to get along, to not offend, to question lest we be labeled sexist, racist, extremist, Conservative, out of touch or just plain crazy.  In seeking this conformity we forget that Little Lies have a way of becoming Large Lies and that while that little lie does not affect you personally,  at this time, those big ones will one day.

Tell me lies
Tell me sweet little lies
Although I’m not making plans
I hope that you understand there’s a reason why
Close your, close your, close your eyes
No more broken hearts

It is easier to accept the lies, nobody wants to be heartbroken. It is hard to accept that you been duped, that you have been lied to , that the world is a dangerous place and it cannot fit into easy understandable, predictable and controllable ways. The real world is harsh, it is cruel, it has no pity and accepts no excuses or good intentions.

A few months ago, Ezra Klein former columnist for the Washington Post, got together with other writer and columnist to launch a new website Vox.com.  Its aim is to explain complex problems in a short column or a 5 minute video. I was awestruck that the idea, it was perfect for today’s generation. A generation that has the attention span of a 30 second commercial. At the same time I was floored that such an idea could get the backing he requested $10 million dollars and that such a thing was even contemplated. The sheer brazenness and arrogance of Klein and his collaborators to think that they would succeed at this venture was and is amazing.

I guess that is the whole point, we like little lies, as any attempt to explain complex problems so callously would entail. How else could think that explaining the Iraq problems, or the IRS scandal or even the Obama Administrations failures could be explained in such a short concise manner.

But, we Americans and most residents of what is call the First World are nothing but arrogant. We are so arrogant that many believe that not only can we affect the weather but the entire global climate.  We recede the oceans, save the whales and polar bears even if they are not in any danger from changes in the weather.  We have deified ourselves, that we know exactly what time conception occurs and the difference between a clump of cells and what would be a human being. We know that if someone is biologically a male but feels in his heart that he is a female that this is as it should be. I think therefore I am, I am a female or male then that is all there is to it. Biology be damn, after all with some hormone treatments and a little nip here or there we can be whoever or whatever we want to be.

This is how a little know Jr. Senator from the State of Illinois is elected to the Highest Office in the US. We know he attended Columbia and Harvard Law School but for someone who has been declared the smartest President in our history, we have no idea what his grades were.  Does anyone think today that if he was an ace student, considering how narcissistic he has been, that we would not be constantly reminded of how well he did in school? This was a pretty lie we told ourselves to at least justify to our selves voting for an unknown entity with really sharp creases and the ability to read a speech from the teleprompter.

Women told themselves lies about Sarah Palin, what “real” woman is still married to his high school sweetheart, 20+ years later. Is not like she attended an Ivy League school, she graduated from the University of Idaho, Idaho.  Palin not only worked but had more than 2 kids, one who had Down Syndrome. I know she was the youngest and first female elected to governor in Alaska but we know that there had to been some shenanigans for that to happen. Worst of all she was unabashedly a follower of that cult of paternalistic, gay hating, anti-abortion group of people; the Christians.

We were told that we could spend ourselves out of a recession, that we could “reset” with Russia, that we could negotiate with terrorists without detriment, that we could replace all of our energy needs using 13th century technology and solar batteries. We were told that we could create a new health care program which would insure everyone, but if we like our plan we could keep it, if we like our doctor we could him to and not only would it not cost us more but it would save us $2500 a year.

We were told that a YouTube video which few had seen, not only caused mass protests and riots in Egypt but led to the attacks on our Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, who were told we had help dispose of its leader to prevent him from defending hi self in a revolution. We were told that these people who were revolting were Moderates, who really liked us and would help the country.

We were told that a few rogue IRS agents in an office in Cincinnati were responsible for denying, delaying, releasing information on non-profits groups that would be opposed to the Administration. Now that we know that this is not exactly the truth, we are told that the e-mail communications of the lead official in charge of supervising this are lost due to a computer failure, but not just hers but 6 other officials which would also have been involved all suffered catastrophic computer failures so their e-mail communications are lost as well.

Too many have accepted the little lies, too many have made excuses, have attempted to clarify, to tell us that what we were told, was not what we thought but something else entirely.  Regardless many say it is for our own good, if it didn’t work it is not because of them, the liars, but those who resisted the lies, yes they are the ones responsible. Because it is not a lie if you believe in it, if you close your eyes, you can make it true.

That is why someone who has lived for 18 years on  residences provided free of charge, while earning 4 times the median family income can go on National TV,  and with a straight face claim that she understands what Americans are feeling, because after 18 years of receiving room and board from us, she was broke from debts she acquired to buy 2 new homes while waiting for multi-million dollars windfalls in book deals that were in the works.

This is how our President can claim to emphasize with single parent homes, completely forgetting that he grew up with his grandparents who paid for his elite private school in Hawaii while his mother continued to live in Indonesia. This is how a 6′ + tall young black male, Trayvon Martin on his 3rd 10 day suspension from school in a little over half the school year, can become the martyr for all young black males. How a portly short Hispanic man, of mix heritage can become the most hated man in the country and have part of his heritage brushed aside because it is inconvenient.  How his parents which had him bounce from home to home and who was left alone with son of his father’s mistress for the weekend are now the epitome of the perfect parents for our country.

Is not that politicians lie, that is expected to a degree.  Some lie by omission, some over promise, some lie our ignorance, some for expediency like I said it is expected to a degree. What I do expect is that there be consequences for continued lying.  That we could be more discerning and not so cheap with our trust. I hope that when little lies become big lies, that we stop reelecting those that abuse our trust, and it is not just politicians but the media, or anyone else.

It is up to us, to make that happen, accountability in government or anywhere else begins with us. As Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying

“The government you elect is government you deserve.”

H.L. Mencken said the same thing, but better:

“People deserve the government they get, and they deserve to get it good and hard.”

Tell me lies
Tell me sweet little lies

 

The Incredible Lightness of Being a Pop Culture President

Back in 2004, President Obama’s speech at the Democratic Convention put him on the map. A young State Senator from Illinois, highly educated of mix race who raised hopes of a better America. From that springboard he thrust into the national spotlight, first elected to serve in Congress as Illinois’ Jr. Senator serving in that capacity from 2005 until his election as President in November 2008.

In 2006, the future President wrote a second book, The Audacity of Hope, this book was more like a thesis on his political views and made his case to ascend to the Presidency. His first book, Dreams of my Father, which had been published in 1995 and then re-published to include the 2004 speech, was an auto-biography of his life until his election as the first Black President of the Harvard Law School Review. Both books won Grammy’s for best spoken word album, Dreams in 2006 and Audacity in 2008. Oprah Winfrey highly recommended his books, and was a central early supporter for his bid to the Presidency.

President Obama became a celebrity, even before he ran for President. Little was known about him except that which he had written in his books. The vetting that normally accompanies anyone seeking our highest office was forgotten. Contrast this to the investigations into the life of Sarah Palin who was running as VP candidate. Remember the calls from NY Times and other media entities for help in reading all, of  then Governor Palin’s e-mails, accusations that she was not the mother of her son, etc.

Very little vetting of Barry Soetero, aka Barack H. Obama was done. His celebrity status served as shield to his past and his written words were taken as gospel as to how he would lead the country. Obama would use his celebrity, clamoring for Hope and Change but anything time his got specific about what that entailed, he would either say something that should have made people cringe and take pause, or he would speak in such general terms that the words were meaningless. He would get a Nobel Peace Prize, months after taking office and without any accomplishments to merit such award, other that just being Obama.

When in January of 2008, as he was running for the nomination for President he said;

You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know — Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”

While he was unable to establish his cap-and-trade system as his own Democrats bailed on the idea, he is now doing using Executive fiat by utilizing his EPA and their power to regulate to achieve the same goal. At the time the MSM was not listening, they were remarking on how great the creases on his pants were, how good his oratory sounded, what would his picks for NCAA would be.

After all he was this guy who as Joe Biden said, was clean and articulate and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would expound as, “light-skinned” and “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”,  was a star. A celebrity that they could ride into the White House and to control Congress. Obama was that and much more, like a Hollywood A-list actor who could portray many roles, a blank slate that people could project anything to.

To the young, he was someone who appear just as comfortable talking about basketball, movies and Hip Hop music as he was about boring politics.

To women, he embodied the new man, a well-dressed metro sexual totally in tune with his femininity.

To Blacks, he was one of their own, someone raised by a single mother who through education and hard work had risen to the top, despite discrimination and racism.

To the Old, here was a minority candidate that would prove once and for all that they were not bigots, and racists, that they could elect some other if the candidate was right.

To the Academia, he was a product of themselves, an embodiment of their goals

To the Middle Class, he appear as someone who knew their struggles, an outsider who had risen, to deliver the relief they needed after the battering the Recession had given them.

He was the anti-War, anti-Bush, anti-Capitalist candidate, he was everything they projected and he was none of that. At the end of the movie the projector is turned off and people have to get on with their lives.

The movie is over for many people, the credits are rolling for others. Far too late many are recognizing that it was all a façade an illusion. It was a long movie that had a promising plot and characters but that ultimately did not deliver. This is not just those Independents and Republicans who helped to elect him and re-elect Obama but many of his own that are realizing this.

As Richard Fernandez writes, using a runaway train for a metaphor;

The illusion of concordance may have held up at first, at the start of the Obama administration. But ever since Hope and Change left the off-ramp it seems headed off into the blue and nobody is quite sure where it’s going.  A terrible realization has set in among insiders. Suppose this wheel is disconnected from the steering linkage?”

Although it fashionable to caricature the liberal mindset, intelligent liberals are no fools. Many of them have a record of solid achievement believed they could safely engage in income transfers, arms control, engagement with American enemies or even opening the border because they could turn off the valve if things threatened to go too far.  They were comfortable with power and certain — perhaps over certain — of their own judgment.’

“They’re a bunch of authentic geniuses on a runaway train wondering what went wrong. The blind spot that fooled them was basic.  They took the terms of the train journey at face value. That made them highly vulnerable to the one man who boards the train for whom the agreement means nothing at all;”

Worth reading the whole article, these are people who read the plot the skipped the reviews or only those that were favorable and paid to see this movie but now the movie is ending and a hallow feeling is all that is left. Yet there are still some believers, some refuse to leave the movie theater and want an encore.

As James Taranto, writing in Wall Street Journal, describes National Journal’s Lucia Graves’ article “Obama’s Thankfully ‘Dictatorial’ Approach to Climate Change.”

According to Graves, Limbaugh “has it precisely backward: The decision to use executive authority is the means, not the ends.” And you’ll never guess what justifies the means: “It also makes a lot of sense when it comes to global warming given Congress’s failure to pass the Waxman-Markey energy bill in 2009, and, for decades before that, to pass any sort of comprehensive climate legislation whatsoever.”

Yes, it has come to this. Americans are being urged to submit to “dictatorial” government because democracy is incapable of controlling the weather. “In college classes, climate change is taught as a textbook example of where democracy fails,” Graves asserts in the very first sentence of her column.”

As with all fads in Pop Culture, Obama has a deadline. At some point people realize that wearing pants 3 sizes too big and showing your dirty boxers, is not cool anymore. Or that Uggs boots are ugly, that Rap music is not Urban Poetry but a misogynist, violent and detrimental genre of music to the Social fabric of our country, especially the Inner Cities.

There is nothing wrong with having ‘Hopes and Dreams’, as long as we keep the facts in mind and act accordingly. Otherwise we have to delude ourselves and as Victor Davis Hanson, writes treat “Fictions as Truth”, another must read.

Eventually, the credits roll and the movie ends. We have to move to the exits of the theater and ponder the reality as it hits us in the face. Currently there are more people who are more familiar with our Pop President’s dealings with Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Will and Jada Smith or his basketball picks than his policies or their effect on them.  Obama is not the first Pop President, certainly JFK and more recently Clinton used their celebrity to help govern. Obama may be the first to be elected because of his celebrity, and has proven just as shallow, as little as them.

Perhaps Obama should remember those words that helped to propelled him into the spotlight, and eventually into the Presidency:

Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.

Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.

There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.

The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.

We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states.

There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.

We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

Those words that seemed to have so much meaning then, but now sound just like any other spoken by a Hollywood Actor. Roll the credits; THE END


 

Race- Getting wrong again- The Case against Reparations

UPDATE!

Kevin Williamson writing for the National Review gives his take on the same subject, here’s an except:

It may very well be the case that African Americans will never, no matter what policies are enacted, catch up economically with whites. Even assuming that invidious racism were an entirely negligible factor, it is likely that economic development will tend to proceed along broad racial channels if, for example, people of various ethnicities tend to largely marry within their ethnic group, live in neighborhoods largely populated by co-ethnics, and engage in other social-sorting behavior that is racial at its root but not really what we mean by the word “racism.” If that is the case — and it seems that it is — then initial conditions will be very important for a very long period of time.

And that would be true even if there had been no slavery and no discrimination. Imagine, for example, that rather than having been brought to the colonies as slaves, the first Africans to arrive in the New World had come as penniless immigrants in 1900. If their incomes grew in the subsequent century at the same rate as those of white natives, then a century later they’d still be as far behind as they were when they arrived. Income gaps have been closed and closed quickly by some immigrant groups — notably European Jews, Vietnamese immigrants, and Indian immigrants — because their incomes across the first few generations grew much, much more quickly than the native rate. And though the hostility that often met these immigrants is not comparable to the experience of slavery and African Americans’ subsequent repression, it is worth appreciating that Jewish and Asian immigrants have not always been welcomed with universal warmth. The black experience is unique within the context of American history, but it is hardly unique within the context of the experience of other racial minorities in other societies throughout history.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/378737/case-against-reparations-kevin-d-williamson

 

The election season must be near, it is easy to tell as articles such as, the Atlantic’s  Ta-Nehisi Coates’, “The case for reparations“, get published and become the fodder for all the talking heads in the MSM. While it was not his intent he makes a good case as to why we don’t need reparations.  In his attempt to demonstrate the uniqueness of the “Black Plight” he rather shows how similar the experience is to that faced by other groups of immigrants and migrant worker who have thrived and persevered despite the obstacles they originally faced. After quoting the Bible, John Locke and another anonymous source he begins his essay thus:

“The state’s regime partnered robbery of the franchise with robbery of the purse. Many of Mississippi’s black farmers lived in debt peonage, under the sway of cotton kings who were at once their landlords, their employers, and their primary merchants. Tools and necessities were advanced against the return on the crop, which was determined by the employer. When farmers were deemed to be in debt—and they often were—the negative balance was then carried over to the next season.”

Peonage or debt servitude was very common and it was not limited  to blacks but many white farmers had similar arrangements and similar results. A real example of State sponsored Peonage would be like that which was instituted by the Spanish Crown in 1873 when it abolished slavery in Puerto Rico. Under the new law that emancipated the slaves, the slave owners were compensated by the government for their former slaves but it also decreed that the former slaves must work the land of their previous owner for a minimum of 3 years.  They would not be “free” until that time expired.  Though they would be compensated for their work, they could not leave until the peonage had been paid.  Those that did not stay on the land that was provided to them, as many did, without title to the property until their time was up would lose claim to the property and became fugitives. That is not what Mr. Coates describes, but a very common happening to this day of farmers borrowing money for expenses using the projected future crops, with the land as collateral.  If the crops failed or prices deviated many farmers found themselves losing their land to their lenders or bank.  But fallow land is not profitable so many lenders resorted to share-cropping , that would allow the farmer to remain and work the land while debts were paid and crops was the only collateral available to them at that point. In Mississippi for instance while 70+% of black farmers were sharecroppers so were 40% of white farmers.  By the 1920’s  the price of cotton was on a free fall which meant perpetual debts for both black and white farmers. Coates likes to use small anecdotes in making his case, but they leave out information,  is misleading,  incomplete or unverifiable. His anecdote on how the Ross family lost their farm due to back taxes, for instance does not have a date only that it was when Mr. Ross was a child.  He then talks about a story by the AP in 2001 detailing 406 victims throughout the South that the story determine were documented thefts of black properties.  Sad as that may have been 406 “thefts” out of the millions of farmers that existed in the South is hardly indicative of anything. Again he does not mention the story by name, or authors or provide a link. He goes on to detail how Mr. Ross was a smart kid but the better school was to far to walk and return in time to work the fields, this strikes me as a decision of convenience for him and his family. Whether the white kids had access to a school bus or not is immaterial as he was not prevented from attending this new school because of  busing, schools were segregated, but because it would be inconvenient to the family. The same thing happens with Coates’ anecdote about Mr. Ross horse. The story is meant to garner sympathy for a young child. But, does it do that.  Examining the story it is very strange that if the point was to relieve the kid of the horse that they would pay anything for it. Further, if you do a simple search about the prices of a colt,  you find that $17 is about the  price you would pay in 1933 for a 2-year-old colt.  A 6 month-old horse was worth about $8, he could buy 2 for the price of the one he lost or sold.  I can’t help but wonder if because, this was 1933 and the 4th year into the Depression that having a horse for leisure was an extravagant luxury during that time. Cotton had been falling from their high pre-Civil War highs when the South produced 3/4 of  the world’s cotton. In 1919 cotton hit its high 35 cent per bale before the bottom fell out of cotton prices. By 1933 the price was down to 5 cents per bale.  In fact the sharp decrease in prices of cotton in the 20’s led to the First Great Migration of blacks farmers to the North. Looking back at historical data, the avg. price of cotton between 1900 and 1945 was 14.6 cents,  from a high of 35 cents in 1919 to a low 5 cents in 1933 so the prices the Ross family was being paid are certainly within the range of what others were getting regardless of race. Cotton prices would not hit 50 cents a pound until the mid 1970’s, all of this information is readily available for Mr. Coates if he wanted to educate or inform the readers of plight of the farmers at the turn of the century. Living in a farm is hard work, regardless of race.  The years at the turn of the century were hard on farmers there is no need to try to insinuate that things were harder because of race.  The same hardships were faced by White sharecroppers as Black sharecroppers. Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty show, was suspended from his show on the A&E network,  was suspended  for his comments on gay relationships but in that same article he also said this:

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

There were calls by some to label Robertson for saying this, as it is against the prevailing story from people like Mr. Coates that Blacks left the South because of discrimination which drove them out of their farms and homes. The truth is a little more nuanced than that.  Is interesting that Mr. Coates choose to showcase Mr. Ross’ story and not someone from another southern State.  Mississippi was the first State to elect a Black Senator in 1870 and the second in 1875.  Their new Constitution in 1868, the  convention adopted universal suffrage; did away with property qualifications for suffrage or for office, a change that also benefited poor whites; provided for the state’s first public school system; forbade race distinctions in the possession and inheritance of property; and prohibited limiting civil rights in travel.   The reforms only lasted for 22 years until 1890 when a new constitution disenfranchised most blacks and poor whites but by that time fully 2/3 of Mississippi’s Delta  farmers where black. Blacks kept coming to the Delta area and it was not until first agricultural depression culminating in the early 20’s that the first Great Migration of  Blacks to the North occurred.  As falling prices of Cotton caused many Black and White farmers to sell their land in order to pay-off  debts.  Though many did remain as sharecroppers for another 20 years. Was discrimination part of the decision to leave the Delta farms and seek better fortunes in the North, probably but it was not until the economic conditions got dire that many made that decision.  The North needed labor, the South had excess labor as with Migration of workers economics was the driving factor. Mr. Coates continues with Mr. Ross’ life by detailing his efforts to buy a home in Chicago,  using  a Contract for Deed.  He tries very hard to make the practice seem nefarious, but that is far from the case. Contract for Deed or Land Contracts are still used to this day.  It provides people who have lack credit or have limited resources and opportunity to own a  property and are used quite frequently.  Are there risks involved sure for both the buyer and the seller. Depending on how the contracts are written a buyer risks losing his investments if he loses his job or some large expense like the boiler breaks down and he is unable to pay for the repairs.  Owners risk potential buyers leaving the property before the contract is finished in deplorable conditions that would require a capital expense before the property could be sold again. Either way Mr. Ross was able to purchase his home using this method despite his complaints against the way by which he bought the property. The complaint about lack  of access to equity in the house while on the Contract Sale is true, but if as Mr.Ross did, and buy out his home the equity did not disappear only his access to it while paying for the house. None of this would strike any other large group of immigrant out of the ordinary, Germans, Poles, Jews, Italians, Irish, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, etc all faced restrictions and lack of access to financing, areas where they could not buy a house at all and were steered to certain areas at one point or another. Mr. Ross’ story should be one about perseverance and success not as case for reparations.  It seems such a shame that rather than celebrating his achievements we are told to see his story as one of deprivation and envy because his journey should have been easier in Mr. Coates’ opinion.

“Contract sellers became rich. North Lawndale became a ghetto…” “According to the most-recent statistics, North Lawndale is now on the wrong end of virtually every socioeconomic indicator. In 1930 its population was 112,000. Today it is 36,000. The halcyon talk of “interracial living” is dead. The neighborhood is 92 percent black. Its homicide rate is 45 per 100,000—triple the rate of the city as a whole. The infant-mortality rate is 14 per 1,000—more than twice the national average. Forty-three percent of the people in North Lawndale live below the poverty line—double Chicago’s overall rate. Forty-five percent of all households are on food stamps—nearly three times the rate of the city at large. Sears, Roebuck left the neighborhood in 1987, taking 1,800 jobs with it. Kids in North Lawndale need not be confused about their prospects: Cook County’s Juvenile Temporary Detention Center sits directly adjacent to the neighborhood.”

This is one of Mr. Coates’ most spurious charges, he does not explain how Black home ownership created a ghetto with all the connotations that come with that charge.  If home ownership created a ghetto in North Lawndale, then perhaps the problem is the pressure that is put on Blacks to own a home when renting is better option.  Instead of pushing for higher rates of home ownership, especially of those on the fringes we should discourage it until they a stronger foundation (long-term employment, financial security, marriage, stability, substantial down payment) things that many first-time Black buyers lack, but feel pressure to commit to buying a home nevertheless. There segregation was policy practice against Blacks, as it was other groups but does policies are not in force now and have not been for decades.  Today’s segregated communities are the result, in many cases of governmental policies.  Free or subsidize Housing that directs the poor to certain neighborhoods, welfare policies that penalize recipients if they get married, obtain a job or move to another area and the lack of accountability of those that game the system. Making matters worse, has become permissive of lifestyle choices that while at pains to say it, sociologists have now recognized that the family unit is the a main contributor to many of the ills that Mr. Coates feel will be cure by re-desegregation.  Including lower crime rates, higher wealth and incomes.  It is the reason why Latinos the group most often compared, comparatively to Blacks have surpassed them in practically every category even though back in the 60’s they trailed Blacks and Whites by wide margins. Today Latino’s are reaching parity with Whites in all categories and are poised to supplant Whites as the largest Ethnic group. The rest of Coates’ long essay does not break any new ground, he tries to correlate poverty with crime as an excuse to the Black real problems with high crime in their neighborhoods.  One statement he made I want to address.  He writes the following:

“From the White House on down, the myth holds that fatherhood is the great antidote to all that ails black people. But Billy Brooks Jr. had a father. Trayvon Martin had a father. Jordan Davis had a father. Adhering to middle-class norms has never shielded black people from plunder. Adhering to middle-class norms is what made Ethel Weatherspoon a lucrative target for rapacious speculators. Contract sellers did not target the very poor. They targeted black people who had worked hard enough to save a down payment and dreamed of the emblem of American citizenship—home ownership. It was not a tangle of pathology that put a target on Clyde Ross’s back. It was not a culture of poverty that singled out Mattie Lewis for “the thrill of the chase and the kill.” Some black people always will be twice as good.”

Yes, Trayvon Martin had a “father”  and mother as did Jordan Davis and Billy Brooks Jr. but what they lacked was a family unit. All three were sent to stay with their fathers because they had become too much to handle for their respective mothers.  Being a sperm donor is easy, being a father is much harder.  Showing up after problems manifest themselves is failing in your duties as a father and should not be celebrated. Ethel Weatherspoon, like Clyde Ross bought a house in the North Lawndale area is she also to blame for the condition of the neighborhood today? Of course not, and neither are the rapacious speculators that sold them the house.  They wanted the American Dream to own a house and they did, using the method available to them as many others of limited means did before. That is the problem with Mr. Coates’ essay, with the exception of the despicable period of slavery, the hardships and triumphs  are the same that many other ethnic groups faced and are still facing. The Black experience is only singular in their estimation, as is their feeling that because of slavery their road should to success should have been paved, rather than a curvy, rock-strewn one with detours along the way.

The road to success is not straight. There is a curb called Failure, a loop called Confusion; speed bumps called Friends; red lights called Enemies;caution lights called Family. You will have flats called jobs. But, if you have a spare called Determination; an engine called Perseverance; insurance called Faith, and a driver called Jesus, you will make it to a place called Success!!- Anon.

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