Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wealth Gap Among Races Widened Since Recession

Millions of Americans suffered a loss of wealth during the recession and the sluggish recovery that followed. But the last half-decade has proved far worse for black and Hispanic families than for white families, starkly widening the already large gulf in wealth between white Americans and most minority groups, according to a new study from the Urban Institute.
I'd file this under "no shit Sherlock" but I remember what the good folks over at Black Agenda Report have been saying for years:
. We can cherish the memory of 8 years of watching that pretty brown family in that big White House, along with unprecedented black unemployment, declining real wages, and the most drastic shrinkage of black family wealth since we began tracking and comparing black and white wealth. Who needs economic progress when millions can take down those old pictures of Martin, and the Kennedy boys, and replace them with the likeness of Barack and Michelle.
Side note: I strenuously object to lumping "blacks" and "hispanics" together. First of all "hispanic" is a term that is applied to persons of various "races" including whites (yes, there are white "Hispanics"). If researchers want to include a category "black hispanics" or "Hispanics of African origins" or wish to lump "black Hispanics" with "blacks" that's one thing, but to include the likes of Mark Cuban and Mark Rubio into "black" is simply bad reporting. Stop that.

In addition, for even better statistical reporting, "Blacks" ought to be broken down to "American born" as in those descended from slave trade era arrivals and recent immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa. There are dynamics to those other communities that differ and impact finances among other things even though they may share similar "first sight" discriminatory practices. Anyway back to the story.

The Urban Institute study found that the racial wealth gap yawned during the recession, even as the income gap between white Americans and nonwhite Americans remained stable.
What was that comment from Obama in regards to "targeting" African-American unemployment? I believe it was something Reaganesque like "Rising tides floats all boats" or "President of all America"? Ummmm...yeah...as Black Agenda Report says: "Such a nice thing to see the Obamas in the white house."
As of 2010, white families, on average, earned about $2 for every $1 that black and Hispanic families earned, a ratio that has remained roughly constant for the last 30 years. But when it comes to wealth — as measured by assets, like cash savings, homes and retirement accounts, minus debts, like mortgages and credit card balances — white families have far outpaced black and Hispanic ones. Before the recession, white families, on average, were about four times as wealthy as nonwhite families, according to the Urban Institute’s analysis of Federal Reserve data. By 2010, whites were about six times as wealthy.

The dollar value of that gap has grown, as well. By the most recent data, the average white family had about $632,000 in wealth, versus $98,000 for black families and $110,000 for Hispanic families.

1) I believe that is a 12% difference between "Hispanic families" and black families. I don't know about you, but where I graduated from 12% is pretty significant difference as to not aggregate the groups "Blacks" and "Hispanics".

2) Notice that the wealth differences has stayed the same for roughly 30 years. So lets assume then that since Affirmative Action and so called "full cooperation" in the economy by African-Americans starts in the 1970s, it means that after the initial bump, on average African-Americans have grew ZERO wealth. That's interesting since supposedly African-Americans have more members in the "middle class" than at any other time in American history.

I won't cover all the causes listed in the article since some of them are obvious. If you bought a house during the bubble with loans that were "too good to be true" well that's what happens when you don't do due diligence. However; here's an interesting point:

Black families also suffered bigger hits to their retirement savings, the Urban Institute found. On aggregate, the value of black families’ retirement accounts shrank 35 percent between 2007 and 2010, while white families’ accounts actually gained 9 percent over the same period. With lower earnings and higher unemployment rates leaving them with a thinner safety net to begin with, black families were more likely to take funds out of the market when it was depressed, leaving them out in the cold as the market recovered.
Lets not add that many black households are headed by a single person which I've already shown has a huge impact on wealth particularly as it concerns African-American women. Also note that African-Americans are the only racial/ethnic group in which women have a higher level of employment than the men. No doubt that these two issues have a huge effect on wealth building and maintenance. But note that the report does not mention marriage and higher employment of African-American men as an obvious solution.
Dedrick Muhammad, the senior director of the economic department at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: “I don’t have a positive feeling about racial wealth inequality resolving itself with the recovery.”
No shit Sherlock.

So how about we stop stating the obvious and start talking about solutions. Businesses that employ locals. End of "show off" purchases that drain wealth. Early investment strategies and early marriage in order to pool resources and build wealth. You'd be surprised how much doing the last two would do to address the wealth gap.

Friday, April 26, 2013

How To Justify An Intervention

White House Says It Believes Syria Has Used Chemical Arms

First you make an announcement that "chemical weapons use" is the "red line":

Today I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command: The world is watching,” Mr. Obama said in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington. “The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable.”
This has the effect of letting all opposition parties know exactly how to get the US involved. Then, SURPRISE, someone decides to announce that Syria has used chemical weapons:
WASHINGTON — The White House said Thursday that it believes the Syrian government has used chemical weapons in its civil war, an assessment that could test President Obama’s repeated warnings that such an attack could precipitate American intervention in Syria.

The White House, in a letter to Congressional leaders, said the nation’s intelligence agencies assessed “with varying degrees of confidence” that the government of President Bashar al-Assad had used the chemical agent sarin on a small scale.
This to a congress that has been looking for an excuse to arm folks who have apparently pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda....Oh sorry...folks who are allied with folks who pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda. 'Cause we all know from vast experience that guns given or sold to one group never ever end up in the hands of those who they weren't "intended" for.

Wink.Wink.

No doubt those troops being sent to neighboring countries will be [continuing] to funnel arms and other "support" to Syrian "rebels" though now with less "cover" as the necessary political excuses are established. And of course the liberal side gets their necessary cover with:

ut it said more conclusive evidence was needed before Mr. Obama would take action, referring obliquely to both the Bush administration’s use of faulty intelligence in the march to war in Iraq and the ramifications of any decision to enter another conflict in the Middle East.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who is chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the agencies actually expressed more certainty about the use of these weapons than the White House indicated in its letter. She said Thursday that they voiced medium to high confidence in their assessment, which officials said was based on the testing of soil samples and blood drawn from people who had been wounded.
'Cause as the election of Obama has clearly shown, Liberals are down with imperialism and intervention and regime change so long as it's on "liberal" terms.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Man and Son Pull AK 47 Over Fried Chicken

Police say the men - 45-year-old Antonius Hart Sr. and 19-year-old Antonius Hart Jr. - placed an order and drove off with it but returned complaining that they didn't get all the chicken they ordered.

The cashier said he would replace the missing pieces. Police say the men then demanded more chicken because they had to drive back to the restaurant. That's when police say Antonius Hart Sr. showed the cashier his weapon and ta restaurant worker called 911.
I cannot make this stuff up.

Gun Legislation Follow Up

One of my points yesterday was that the the actual bill in question was too broad and wasn't actually about so called background checks, has been confirmed:
The base bill on the Senate floor used model language from Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York. Besides gun sales, it also applied to temporary and innocent transfers — like letting your spouse borrow your gun for a few hours to take it to the target range. The expansive language would have felonized almost every American gun owner — and that’s not a concept that has 90 percent support...
I also mentioned the backroom, anti-democratic means that NY State drafted it's legislation:
The Manchin-Toomey substitute avoided the temporary transfer problem. But it was hastily drafted in secret, and seriously miswritten. For example, the language, which claimed to outlaw federal gun registration, would actually have legalized one form of registration that is currently banned: building a registry from the sales records that firearms dealers are required to send to the government when they retire from business.
So all these folks flapping their gums about what the Senate did and did not do should have a seat.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

On That "Gun Control" Vote

There are a lot of upset people out there over the failure of the most recent attempts to blame and infringe on law abiding gun owners pass something called “gun control” through the Senate yesterday.

There are a number of reasons why this latest attempt failed but I'd like to point out the ones I saw that were paramount to the failure.

1) Insulting The Opposition: I have never heard the term “common sense” thrown about so much as I have since the Newtown killings. Apparently people don't realize that when you preface your position with “common sense” you are actually calling your opponent “stupid”. It is never a good idea to insult the very people whom you need to make a deal with. But if we're going to use the term “common sense” then lets look at it in relation to the next point.

2) Criminals Don't Abide By The Law: No matter what law one passes, so long as guns are available criminals will get them. Criminals and those who are legally barred from possessing firearms do not go through “regular channels” to get those guns. Furthermore; restricting certain guns, ammo type and magazine capacity, does not deter the criminal. It's not like the criminal says “well I can't have a big magazine when I go off these folks.” If you're going to have a “common sense” conversation this is where you start.

3) Colorado and Newtown Would Not Have Been Stopped: Lets be clear. The gun that Adam Lanza brought to the school was legally purchased by an adult that passed all the background checks and waiting periods. Adam Lanza did not care that killing was wrong. Adam Lanza did not care about the law. Adam Lanza was concerned with Adam Lanza.

The same goes for the gunman in Aurora Colorado. He purchased his guns legally. He did not care about the law, his victims or anyone else besides himself.

So how is more of the same supposed to prevent these types of events?

4) Put The Burden On Who? Given the facts (not emotion) presented above who are these laws actually going to affect? The law abiding citizen. Why is it that the law abiding citizen must be punished for the actions of the few criminal minded? The left press (and some moderates) spent way to much time making a mockery of gun owners and Republicans (see point one). Sorry folks but you don't insult me and then expect me to play ball.

5) The Original Presentation Was Too Wide: I for one think universal background checks is a great idea. That was the ONLY thing that I agreed with. Most people, including most gun owners agree with that. However yesterday that was an amendment to some other piece of legislation. Most likely something to cover up some unconstitutional mess in the original bill (you'd be surprised how often THAT happens). Once the public was presented with spectres of eliminating “rights” to certain guns and magazines, the prospects for legislation was done for. Couple that with NY State's quickly drafted, backroom legislation that made a mockery of the so called “democratic process” which allows the state to take guns away from owners who have so much as been prescribed Ambien, the opposition, rightly or wrongly, saw any legislation as a sneaky end run around the 2nd amendment.

What should have been done was to not speak of any gun type restriction AT ALL. No discussion of magazine size restrictions or any of that constitutionally questionable and emotionally driven ideas. There should have been one piece of legislation on background checks or at the most one legislation on background checks and mental health funding etc. . On further thought, that should be two different bills.

5) Attempted Emotional Blackmail:

In my opinion the families of Newtown should have been left in Newtown. The president ought not have brought them to D.C. To trot them about for political gain. Yes, it's unfortunate what happened to their kids but first and foremost they are not the first set of people to ever lose children. It smacks of self-importance to me to see these folks on the television practically weeping when mothers and father across the country have had to deal with violence from guns for years and years and nobody gave a damn.

I asked at the time of the Newtown shooting where the outrage was when 33 people were shot in Chicago in a single weekend. I was told “that was different”.

I suppose so: Black young men. Primary difference I see. Why should “where” or “to whom” the violence occurs be the test of outrage? Either you are horrified by gun violence or you're not.

The families were used as a form of emotional blackmail. That is not how legislating should be done.

Lastly based on some commentary I've been seeing, folks apparently have forgotten that the minority have rights. The entire reason that Senate does not operate on a simple majority for a majority of it's decision processes is to make sure that the majority does not run roughshod over the minority. It's convenient to talk about how those who voted against the amendment represent the minority population of the country, but anyone familiar with history will know that the there are plenty of cases where the majority ran over various minority groups. You so do not want to make an argument about the minority being ignored or should be overridden. Today it's something you agree with, tomorrow it may not be.

Right now the Newtown people and Representative Giffords (and her straw purchase attempting husband) are throwing their tantrum now that they didn't get their way. My suggestion: Calm down and go over this list for things you did wrong in approaching the people who's assistance you wanted. And stop with the name calling and the underhanded insults and the snark. It is not cute.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

In Regards to Boston

We don't know who is responsible so just about anything written in terms of motivation will likely be wrong until we know who did it. In the meantime I offer what I wrote back in 2004 (apologies for the linked text. I was using a very different client then that totally ruined headlines and paragraph breaks):
A few months ago I told a co-worker that the only thing limiting the damage from terrorists is the terrorists imagination and that the next attack would involve ordinary vehicles. I still believe this and this recent scare is a validation of that point. And you should be very nervous...

What are they vulnerable to? Random bombings. I say to you that the terrorists will eventually fidn that for effect it would be easier to plant random car bombs all over the 5 boroughs and have them go off at random. Imagine for a minute that you are walkking down 7th Avenue and the car next you blows up and kills maybe 3 people. How nervous would you be for the rest of the day? How about multiple car explosions. all over the city? How scared would you be? How would the city react?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Venezuela Told To Recount By US

You'd think a country that has laws against other countries interfering with the electoral process would have a seat and stay silent when another country has a free election.

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is refusing to accept the official results of Venezuela's weekend presidential election, which gave victory to the protege of the country's late leftist leader Hugo Chavez. The State Department said Tuesday that a full recount of the vote and an investigation into alleged irregularities were needed, given the close tally that almost evenly divided the country. On Monday, the U.S. had called for a full recount before results were certified but the election commission went ahead with certification without one.
Really? The [US] State Department is telling the government of Venezuela how to run it's affairs.

This would be the same country that provided "regime change" in Libya. Is underwriting one in Syria, and previoulsy backed a coup in Venezuela.

Have you guys any shame at all?

Have a seat and shut up.

“Distinguished Warfare” Drone and Cyber Medal Shot Down

Picked up from Ars Technica
the Defense Department has pulled the plug on a proposed medal of valor for drone operators and cyber warriors. The Distinguished Warfare Medal, which was announced two months ago by outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, was shelved by new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on April 15...

The medal was intended to be awarded to members of the military engaged in cyber operations or in drone operations that saved the lives of those on the battlefield, going above and beyond the call of duty.
'Cause we all know it takes real balls to sit in a booth thousands of miles away from "the enemy" and let go a missile at them while they sleep, get married, take a walk, attend a funeral or are eating a meal.

Real guts that.

Cowardice

From Barry Lando. I couldn't say it better myself:
After all, what could be more cowardly than for some unknown, unseen, unannounced killer to blow apart and maim innocent men women and children, without any risk to himself.

You get why I have "issues" with drones now? You cannot seriously back drone bombings on "anyone 16 and older" who may be in the vicinity of [presidentially determined] terrorists and then run your mouth about how cowardly the Boston Marathon attacks were. Seriously. You cannot.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Immigration Reform: What's Not Being Discussed

In the past I've discussed the very real impact of illegal immigration (AP be damned) on wages for "born" Americans and particularly African-Americans. Over at VDARE.com there is a very detailed report on what has going on with employment:
There were 9,956,000 unemployed native-born Americans in March. If March’s job growth rate persists—and if the native-born were miraculously to get all the new positions—it will take 59 months, nearly five years, for the native-born unemployment rate to reach the 4% level considered “full employment” by most economists.
Remember that this report is not discussing the unemployment rate of African-Americans which is far higher than the nation's average (or overall) unemployment rate.
And that would indeed be a miracle. Because about 90,000 legal immigrants arrive every month. That means that essentially all the jobs created last month would be needed just to absorb new legal entrants...

March 2013 was a disaster for native-born Americans and immigrants alike. The Household Employment Survey, which records the ethnicity and nativity of respondents, found across-the-board job declines.

In March:

Total employment fell by 206,000, or by -0.14%
Native-born employment fell by 130,000, or by -0.11%
Foreign-born employment fell by 76,000, or by -0.33%
There's more in the report so you should read it in it's entirety. The point here being that if there is no discussion on how the US fulfills it's obligations to it's citizens first then there is a problem with the discussion period.

The Future of Hate Crime Laws

I've long been against so called "hate crime" laws mostly because it criminalizes motives (and thereby thoughts) rather than actions. Criminal law is supposed to punish the actions of an individual regardless of the why. A motive may be used to establish murder over negligent homicide, but the particular motive ought never be criminalized itself. Hate crimes becomes a slippery slope because if you really think about it, other than some cases of serial killers, just about every hate crime that involves physical violence involves "hate" of some kind.

Hate crimes are usually based on "protected classes". Sexual minorities, race (usually excluding persons classified as white), ethnicity and religion. Now England has gone and added "alternate sub-culture":

Police in Manchester have arrested two people for an attack on a 16-year-old emo in the first recorded hate crime against followers of alternative subcultures.

The force announced last week that it was classing assaults on subcultures such as goths and punks in the same way as offences against race, religion and sexual orientation...

The changes came after senior officers at Manchester worked closely with the mother of Sophie Lancaster, a 20-year-old student who was beaten to death by a gang who took exception to her dreadlocks and piercings.

George Zimmerman's mother lashes out at justice system and media

I bit late in posting this but the LA Times reports on Zimmerman's mother making an ass out of herself and joining George's brother in biasing the potential jury pool against Zimmerman. Well, no one said they were bright.
On Thursday, Zimmerman’s mother celebrated the anniversary by angrily denouncing the justice system and the media for the pushing for the arrest of her son “solely to placate the masses.”
For anyone who pays attention to the title's of court cases like the one Zimmerman is facing the title is usually The People vs. so and so. So yes, the justice [sic] system is supposed to represent and provide justice for "the masses." How exactly do you get mad at that?

“April 11 2012 will be forever remembered by the Zimmerman family as the day the justice system failed us as Americans, and as a consequence an innocent man was arrested for a crime he did not commit, solely to placate the masses,”
I suppose that no one has informed Ms. Zimmerman that all persons under the US justice [sic] system is presumed innocent (unless you are a man accused of rape in which case there is a growing movement to remove that presumption of innocence but that's another post for another time). Zimmerman was arrested because there was probable cause (a dead body killed with his weapon) to arrest him. Exactly how the US Constitution requires. So exactly what is the "failure"?
“From the beginning, this case has been heavily publicized and a false narrative was developed surrounding a very real tragedy when there was little evidence available to the public,” the letter stated. “It is astounding that despite the vast amount of information and evidence now available that supports George’s self-defense claim, the majority of the media avoids its publication. It is indeed alarming that even more media outlets do not regret misinforming the public and have not taken steps to retract the fabrications they are responsible for perpetuating.”
As I've said elsewhere in regards to this matter, I do not know all the data available to the prosecution. I still think it was and is mistake to charge Zimmerman with murder because they will have to prove malice or some sort of depravity and I think that's going to be a hard sell with the information I do know about. That said Zimmerman's mother (and brother) apparently don't understand that Zimmerman is on trial because he followed a person who wasn't doing anything wrong (and no, looking at your surroundings is not evidence of intent to commit a crime). Having your hands in your pocket is not evidence of intent to commit a crime. Running from someone who's been following you in their car is not evidence of intent to commit a crime. Confronting a person who was following you in their car and has decided to follow you on foot is also not a crime (particularly under Florida's stand your ground law).

All these things mean that the police had probable cause to arrest Zimmerman and to try him for whatever they deemed appropriate. I know that it bother's some white people a great deal but black men (and minors) have the same rights as anyone else to walk down the street in peace without being followed by armed people. They have the right to confront a person who is menacing them and the right to defend themselves against someone who poses a risk to them.

Zimmerman could have avoided the entire situation by doing one thing. The thing he was told by the police dispatcher:

Stay in his car.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Alternet does Ageism and Racism in One Go.

Not that I'm in the habit of defending "old white men", you'd think that a "left" organization would avoid entitling an article with:

Old White Guys Focus on Militarizing Border, While Real Americans Descend on DC Looking for Reform
I mean number one what is the purpose of pointing out "old"? Are "old" people not really Americans? Does "Americanness" expire after a certain age? If so then what is the cut off? Thousands of Floridians would like to know.

Seriously though, after dumping on Hillary Clinton for her "real Americans' commentary during her presidential bid, you'd THINK that a left leaning publication would take pause to put "real American" in any story that isn't a direct quote.

The second fault here is the accompanying picture:

Well if he isn't "allowed to stay" then that makes him a "non-American".

Question: Is Alternet implying that non-citizens are "real Americans" and that old citizens are not "real Americans"?

Sounds pretty racist* and ageist if you ask me.

*And this does conform to my definition of racism since it is an ideology based on race.

Don’t Forget, The Young Grow Old

Don't forget what happens when you "grow old".

Rodolfo Acuna warns the Democrats:

Pundit after pundit predicts that the entrance of large numbers gay and Latino voters will end the culture wars that divide the country. There is only one problem — progressives forget that the “Young Grow Old.”

It is easy to get caught up in the euphoria of the moment. I remember demonstrations in the 1960s, and thinking that we had entered a new era. I did not fully appreciate the seductive power of capital in negating any communitarian or humane transformation.
The piece is pretty bad in that it, like many other pieces from people on extremes, uses extreme positions. You're either young and progressive or rich, greedy and selfish. Just like how when people speak of women's bodies you're either fat or anorexic.

I remember my college days. Many of the most "progressive" people were going through college on someone elses dime, dollar and loan signatures. It was completely lost on them that they were "welfare activists" living off mom and dad's hard earned money and soon to run out grants and loans. Many of the most "progressive" people were super duper duper seniors who in addition to continue to spend other people's money on their "education" were some of the least responsible people on campus.

The campus activists who had much to say about tuition increases but never had the sense to get out of school before the next one. That doesn't mean that rising tuition isn't an issue. It is. But anyone against it ought to have as their number one priority to get themselves (and anyone they can convince) to get out as soon as possible. After all the best way to curtail your out of pocket (as well as loan) expenses for education is to graduate as quickly as possible.

Anyway, this particular part of Acuna's essay got my attention:

Nor did I take into account the self-interest of many of the demonstrators who opposed the war; they remained interested for only as long as they were personally threatened. Poverty and injustice was only visible for as long as the young remained young. They became invisible once more as the baby boomers grew old, and took on mortgages. They then distanced themselves from poverty, which again became a non-priority.
Acuna is actually well onto something in regards to those who protest against war. Many of the same people who were very much against the Bush wars and other "wars of empire" went completely silent once Obama took office, if not during his campaign. People who constantly had Bush in the mouth were suddenly "well if the Libyans want..." and "but the Egyptians want..." and "What about that viagra fueled rape story...?" and my favorite "well he's being SMART about it."

It turned out that they were actually opposed to white men (and to a lesser extent women) leading imperial wars. They couldn't fathom how The Ghost was against imperial interference in the matters of other states period. Punto. Full stop.

Supposedly I lack nuance.

As to the second part in regards to mortgages and things; it's called maturity. The young generally waste money and often times it's someone else' money. See when one gets thrown off the parental money titty one starts to look at the world a lot differently. Can't pay that rent? No time for that protest. Oh that art degree you spent 50K on? Well I hope you can eat it 'cause those student loans will soon come due? Oh that's not fair? Why is it not fair that the institution that loaned you money to go to a school you could not afford to go to in the first place, for a degree in a subject you may not get well paid to actually use, expects to be paid back plus extra for their bother?

Oh you want a car? You want to start a family? Get married? Well all of that costs money too and nobody else is going to pay for your life. Once it sinks in that nobody owes you anything for your life and how you live it, a lot of that talk starts to look really immature. It sinks in that those changes you wished for so bad weren't exactly going to happen during your 20's if in your lifetime and...ummm...the bills are due.

Does that mean that we're good with predatory lending? Sky high interest rates on credit cards? 66 month car payment terms and the like? Nope. Those of us who matured in our thinking got smart and minimized our exposure to these things while we spoke out against it. But it becomes pretty hard to sympathize with folks who choose to live way beyond their means and make purposeful fucked up decisions. Let's be clear; there are people out there...a lot of them who simply do not care that other people have to shoulder the burden for their fucked up decisions. They feel entitled to your "help" and "advocacy" because they never grew up.

Check Acuna's next statement:

I bought my first home at 21 – no down payment, total cost $8500. I could qualify for it on my janitor’s salary. Today that same house costs $500,000; $100,000 down. And I am sure I could not qualify for it on a teacher’s salary.
Let's ask Acuna a simple question: Would he accept $8500 for his home now? After all if that is the value of his home and he has principled objections to those who invest making many multiples of money off their investments, then he ought to sell his home to someone for the same amount he paid for it.

Acuna's (who made his living in large part off the government read: other people's money, as a professor at a public institution) partial thesis (the rest being about Mexicans) reminds me of a poet at a slam event who took shots at people with "nine to fives". The room had a good number of people who had "nine to fives" who after the slam were expected to part with their cash to buy this poet's book and CD. How do you insult the same people you're going to ask for money from?

Yeah the young grow old and hopefully mature.

"Remote Threat"

After months gun control coverage and the latest tour of the Newtown families, the NY Times writes this:
The effectiveness of using police officers in schools to deter crime or the remote threat of armed intruders is unclear.
Now if I say it. I'm an NRA shill. When I point out the totally disproportionate fear relative to the actual cases of gun violence in schools, I'm not being sensitive. So what to say about the NY Times?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Al-Qaeda in Syria

File this one in the "Just Can't Make This Up" Folder:
The leader of the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist group fighting in Syria, has pledged allegiance to the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri...

Spokesmen for the Free Syrian Army, considered the main armed opposition group in Syria, reacted to Wednesday's statement by distancing themselves from al-Nusra.

"We don't support the ideology of al-Nusra," FSA spokesman Louay Meqdad told the AFP news agency.

"There has never been and there will never be a decision at the command level to coordinate with al-Nusra," Mr Meqdad went on, while admitting that there had been co-operation between FSA brigades and al-Nusra on "certain operations".
So a group of rebels against the government of Libya Syria has ties to Al-Qaeda. The so called non-Al-Qaeda affiliated "Free Libyan Syria Army" denies cooperation at the "command level" but on the ground, it's whatever's clever.

Who woulda thunk it.

9000 Missile Launches

Again, you don't have to agree with the current DPRK administration but one cannot deny the logic:
Since World War II there have been 9000 missile launches. 4 were by the DPRK. There have been 2000 atomic bomb tests. 3 were by DPRK. No country was sanctioned by the UN Security Council for this. No country except the DPRK. Why wouldn’t the North Koreans be incensed by this double standard, especially when the US has nuclear weapons in South Korea?
This rank hypocrisy whether it be about Iran, Libya, Israel or Venezuela is clear for the world to see. The question I have is why the other members of the so called "international community" haven't taken a stand on it.

Monday, April 08, 2013

There Are Slave States and Noble States

There are slave states and noble states. Noble states develop their own technological infrastructure, GPS, weather reporting, etc., so need satellites. These days satellites are used for many things. If your country doesn’t have your own technology, you end up a slave state, dependent on other countries. Noble countries are in control of their own development and have a future.
You don't have to agree with the leadership of the DPRK, but the above statement is absolutely true.

Is Chuck's Gun Shop To Blame?

Last week Counterpunch ran a piece entitled Chuck’s Gun Shop Throws a Tantrum in which the author pins the blame of crime in Chicago on Chuck's Gun Shop.

2,370 crime guns were traced to just one gun shop located in suburban Chicago between 1996 and 2000. Over 1,300 have been traced to the shop since 2008–as well as 20 percent of all Chicago crime guns used within a year of their purchase. Yet Chuck’s Gun Shop, in Riverdale, far from being shut down as a virtual ATM for crime guns, has actually brought suit against Cook County calling a $25 gun tax that went into effect April 1 unfair.
That's an interesting comment.

One could ask the following question:

Did the owner of Chuck's know that the guns he was selling were being sold to either persons who he knew intended to commit a crime or to persons who he knew were purchasing the guns with the intent of selling them to other people.

If either of the answers to these questions are "yes" then Chuck could and should be prosecuted for gun running and knowingly facilitating straw purchases.

Given that neither the state or the federal governments have gone after Chuck's on such charges, we need to ask another set of questions:

If we know that the guns that were used in the commission of a crime were purchased at Chuck's then why do we not know who those guns were sold to?

Under Illinois law one must have a Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) card, in order to purchase a weapon. There is also a 24-72 hour waiting period between purchase. From Wikipedia:

When a firearm is sold or transferred, the buyer is required to present their FOID card. This applies to private sales between individuals as well as to sales by Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders. For private sales, the seller is required to keep a record of the transfer for at least 10 years.[6] For FFL sales, the seller must retain the federal Form 4473 for at least 20 years. For firearm sales by an FFL holder, or at a gun show, the seller must perform an automated dial-up check with the State Police, to verify that the FOID card is valid, and to redo the background check of the buyer;[3] this additional checking is known as the Firearm Transfer Inquiry Program (FTIP).[7] The buyer is also required to present their FOID card when purchasing ammunition.
So Chuck's cannot legally sell to anyone who does not have an FOID. Chuck's must also keep a record of all purchases for 10 years. How is it that all these apparent straw purchases have been going on at Chuck's? Either there have been 1,300 different buyers since 2008 OR someone or a few somebodies is buying a lot of guns and it isn't tripping any warnings.

You would think that if Chuck's has to keep records for 10 years that upon discovery of a gun that is traced to Chuck's, the buyer would be quickly identified and arrested for illegally transferring a gun to someone who should not have had one. After a bit of time, Chuck's would no longer be a good place for such purchases no?

So I take exception to the idea that Chuck's is an "ATM" for gun crimes. Clearly someone else is the ATM, because unless or until proven otherwise, Chuck's is doing business in full compliance of applicable law. Furthermore the entire article focusing on Chuck's rather than the [most likely] gang members who are actually breaking the law.

Let me be clear. Chuck's is no more responsible for gun crime in Chicago than Sears is responsible for the misuse of the knives it sells in it's stores or Ford for the criminal use of it's cars.

There are large swaths of the US where there are lots of guns and little gun crime. Gun crime is largely an urban problem. To be blunt, in NY, gun crime is largely a black male problem. Black males are the ones shot and the ones doing most of the shooting. In Chicago, gun crime is large a black male problem with black males being shot and the shooters. Let's stop with trying to find blame with other people and businesses. Let's address this issue of a minority of black men who do not value their lives and the lives of those who are around them. The mentality of the kids at the mall in Chicago recently trashing stores and damaging automobiles. It is the mentality of the kids that were running up the Magnificent Mile, bumping into people and starting fights.

That is the source of much of Chicago's gun crimes. Guns are inanimate objects. They can do nothing without someone using it. It's time to talk about the someone.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Job Growth Falls Sharply

Surprise!

The Ghost has been telling people, using research done by Paul Craig Roberts, that the job reports they have been reading in the news has been a total farce. The LA Times is now reporting on what we've been saying for years

The nation's unemployment rate last month dipped a notch to a new four-year low of 7.6%, but for the wrong reason. It dropped because the labor force, those working and looking for jobs, fell by nearly a half-million people. In fact, the share of working-age Americans participating in the labor force declined to a new three-decade low of 63.3%.
A three decade what?

But all these reports of people becoming employed does not square with a three decade low labor force participation rate.

This is usually where someone says something along the lines of "I told you so".

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Problem with "Firsts" Narrative

author update: I was going to shelve this entry. Why? Eh, I'm not sure. Anyway now that the Jackie Robinson movie is upon us I gave this entry another thought and decided to post it anyway. I actually think it's more relevant now than before not only given the movie but some of the conversations I've had since I first typed this up

So I was getting my fix of Stuff Black People Don't Like when I read their latest post on Walmart's "History Teaching History". Apparently Kersey is annoyed that Walmart is making a big deal about Jackie Robinson and other negro "firsts":

The video for this campaign features Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, and Thurgood Marshall… hardly black people who accomplished anything other than being the first black individual to accomplish something white people had been doing for many years (in fact, basically invented – save for the ability to induce white guilt, which is MLK’s specialty).
Now let me say outright that I enjoy Kersey's blog. Really. Unlike a lot of blogs that I read that are simply opinion pieces, this fellow, regardless of your position on his ideology, provides evidence for his position. Believe me when I say it, that such an act puts him far above many popular blogs out there. But this isn't a "love fest" post.

The thing that was so revealing about the post was the basic assumption leveled at the African-Americans mentioned in Walmart's campaign: They were doing something that white people had been doing for years.

First let me go back and discuss my attitude towards the election of Barack Obama to the US Presidency. I am a Garveyite. One of the things Marcus Garvey repeatedly told people was that anything that any other man (he said "man". I'm not going to change it for PC points) had done "the negro can do as well" (see, I didn't change "negro" either). Sad that such a thing even needed (needs) to be said, but it is a powerful statement in a situation where large swaths of the black population apparently believe(d) that they need other people to do things that they should be doing themselves.

Garvey also famously asked of the African: Where are your nations? Where are your men of big affairs? etc. Garvey's position being that the African would not be respected until he can face the rest of the world as an equal in accomplishment rather than as a beggar in constant want of "help". So what does this have to do with Obama?

My position was that I wasn't all that impressed or excited about Obama's election because I was already of the view that a black person was quite capabale of being president (as in was just as capable of doing (or not doing, like Bush) the job as any other "reasonable" candidate or previous office holder. That is, I was not in need of proving to white folks that "we can do that too". The only thing that Obama's election signified was the acceptance of a non-white person into the most powerful office in the land. However, since my family is from Jamaica, I'm already familiar with black head's of state. Therefore I was less concerned with what Obama looked like than I was with what his policies would be. As anyone in formerly formally colonized Africa could tell you, switching out white faces for black ones means extremely little if the actual policies pursued are bad for the population.

The point being was that simply because black activity in certain fields is largely invisible to white people, it does not mean these things are not being done or have been done by black persons. Which brings us back to Kersey's comment.

See in his knee jerk reaction to black folks doing things, he allowed himself to believe that black folks had simply showed up out of thin air to the Supreme Court and National League Baseball. Kersey conveniently ignores the fact of the Negro Leagues that had been operating in parallel to the NLB specifically because African-Americans were barred from the NLB. So his statement that Jackie Robinson's accomplishment was to do something that white people had been doing for years exposes his ignorance of the actual symbolism of Robinson. Robinson isn't noted for being a baseball player. It was for him dealing with white people some of whom wished to kill him for the simple act of playing on a "white field". So let's be clear: Jackie Robinson, in terms of actual baseball, had been doing what black folks had been doing since the game had been invented: Playing at a high level.

But there is another story under Jackie Robinson. Desegregation of baseball also meant the end of the Negro Leagues which ended the ability of African-Americans to make money off the sport by owning and controlling all aspects of the sport: stadiums, teams, etc. None of the official negro leagues were absorbed into the National League. Such a move would have placed African-Americans among the majority owners of long storied and rich teams. This is something I'm quite sure will be totally missed in the Jackie Robinson movie

Then we have Thurgood Marshal. Like Jackie Robinson Thurgood Marshall was doing exactly what black lawyers had been doing: Litigating. Thurgood Marshal's achievement isn't that he somehow figured out how to be a Supreme Court justice. It was that White folks finally felt comfortable to allow a non-white person hold the job.

This is the problem with the "Firsts" narrative: It makes the first seem to be some anomaly in the community. As if "finally" we got one bright enough to be a Supreme Court justice. We FINALY got one good enough to be in the NLB. Foolishness! As Garvey said: Anything anyone else has done you can do as well. It is not a matter of ability. It is a matter of opportunity.

I think it is past time we get off the "first black" narrative and move to accomplishment regardless of when. I think it does a disservice to those who are doing great things but who are not recognized by white folks for whatever reason. It also puts waaay to much power in the hands of white folks to determine who the "first black" is. Why would we do that?

Monday, April 01, 2013

More BS in Chicago

First we had that mall incident. Now this. Look parents..your kids are fucking up badly.