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The Crumbling Michael Brown Movement in Ferguson, MO

On August 9, 2014, just after noon, Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson were walking in the middle of Canfield Drive in Ferguson, Missouri, when they encountered Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer. Minutes later, Brown, who was not armed, was fatally shot by Wilson.

Michael Brown was a black teenager; Darryl Wilson is a white cop…

And that was all the information many needed to attempt to kick the “white cops hunt black males” crusade into high gear.

Almost immediately, the effort to portray Michael Brown as a college-bound “gentle giant”, complete with endearing life images:

Michael Brown, cap & gownMichael and brother

was underway, similar to the campaign that followed Trayvon Martin’s death. There were efforts to link Michael Brown’s demise to that of NYPD Chokehold victim Eric Garner.

And, sadly, and predictably, the violent reaction began. On August 10th, the day after Michael Brown’s death, looting broke out. On August 11th, it got worse, despite the pleas of Brown’s family. Police responded with riot control tactics, firing high-velocity bean bags and tear gas at protesters, including an elected official. By the 13th, SWAT officers were dispatched and journalists arrested; the situation looked, well, out-of-hand.

Which prompted Missouri’s Governor to declare a state of emergency and impose a curfew in Ferguson, actions sure to manage tensions…not.

By then, enough “chum” was in the water to attract the country’s two largest race sharks: Al Sharpton appeared in nearby St. Louis on August 12th; Jesse Jackson arrived in Ferguson on the 15th.

However, those visits did not go entirely as planned. A crowd booed Jackson off the stage at an event after he requested donations. Ferguson’s mayor said neither he nor his city’s black leaders wanted Sharpton’s “help”. A former NBA player labeled Sharpton a “coon”. Others had choice words as well, not only for Sharpton, but also for the president of whom he is, and they once were, so fond.

While Jackson’s, Sharpton’s, and Obama’s popularity waned among Ferguson residents, regard for the Ferguson police apparently strengthened, judging by an August 14th call to the Rush Limbaugh program. Perhaps it is because the police arrest the rioters and looters who are mostly out-of-towners with no connection to Michael Brown or to Ferguson; those arrested for felony looting on August 10th already had criminal records.

Those expecting to ride a wave of racial discontent to effect change, beginning in Ferguson, must now combat a wave of apathy now moving through that emotionally-fatigued community. What went wrong?

Winston Churchill once said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” Well, the lies associated with the “Michael Brown Police Execution” account seem to have run their course. Now the truth appears on the move as well.

Let’s begin with the shooting. Early “accounts” indicated Brown, ran from Officer Wilson then, after being shot in the back, turned and faced Wilson with his hands raised in surrender…and then Wilson opened fire again, killing Brown. The assertions that Brown’s killing was an “execution” conjured notions that he was shot at close range. Then, Brown’s family requested an autopsy…

Which Dr. Michael M. Baden, former New York City chief medical examiner, performed at no charge. Baden’s report showed:

    • Brown was shot at least six times,
    • No bullet wounds to the back of Brown’s body,
    • No gunpowder residue on Brown’s body, suggesting the shots were not fired at close range, and
    • An entry wound to the top of Brown’s head, of which Baden said, “It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer.”

Afterward, Dr. Baden said, “People have been asking: How many times was he shot? This information could have been released on Day 1. They don’t do that, even as feelings built up among the citizenry that there was a cover-up…”

Indeed. Information available on August 9th was withheld, like the surveillance video of the robbery Brown allegedly committed shortly before his death. Not only was release of that video delayed, the federal government opposed its release altogether. And there is yet more unreleased information.

In response Dr. Baden’s report, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department would conduct its own autopsy, and Jesse Jackson told CNN, “This is bound to escalate tensions. This is a very provocative report.”

Translation: the report did not say what they wanted.

There is no reason yet for federal involvement in resolving the shooting, unless the feds have a vested interest in a particular outcome. And why is an ostensibly objective and scientific report considered provocative?

And why weren’t these images of Michael Brown available earlier, to give a more complete picture of the “gentle giant”?

Michael Brown, gun & cashMichael Brown robbery

And why are Sharpton and Attorney Benjamin Crump (of Trayvon Martin family fame) yet stirring up a violence-racked community with speeches that cannot soothe?

This is no longer about Ferguson, Missouri, and at least some of the residents know it. It can no longer be about Michael Brown; he becomes less useful as an icon the more that emerges about him and the circumstances of his death. And, if in killing Brown, Wilson did not act improperly, then this can no longer be about police brutality or the use of excessive force.

So what does that leave?

It leaves people who want to impose a political result, by violence if necessary, because they believe it is for the greater good, or because it means they will get paid. It leaves Civil Rights veterans like John Lewis calling for federal troop deployment in Ferguson, somehow equating criminal looters in 2014 with nonviolent activists in the 1960′s, and Missouri’s governor calling the National Guard to Ferguson.

This is about control, not of Ferguson, but of the political narrative in America, and of the American people. Someone believes they can stir up enough racial unrest to force a political change that will make martial law not just a local phenomenon, but the national norm. Their narrative, in brief, is this:

    The police cannot be trusted; they will kill you and deny all of your rights. Your only hope is to put all of your confidence in the federal government to protect you from the police.

They are unlikely to succeed this time in Ferguson, Missouri, but they are certain to try again, and again, believing you will lose the resolve to remain free and instead acquiesce to the government plantation.

For What Will Liberals Be Hobby Lobby-ing Next?

Those interested in the Hobby Lobby decision (U.S. Supreme Court Case Number 12-6294, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., et al., Applicants v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al.), announced 30 June 2014, should know of these:

    1. Sterilization Surgery for Women,
    2. Surgical Sterilization Implant for Women,
    3. Sterilization Surgery for Men,
    4. Implantable Rod,
    5. IUD Copper,
    6. IUD w/ Progestin,
    7. Shot/Injection,
    8. Oral Contraceptives (Combined Pill) “The Pill”,
    9. Oral Contraceptives (Progestin only) “The MiniPill”,
    10. Oral Contraceptives Extended/Continuous Use “The Pill”,
    11. Patch,
    12. Vaginal Contraceptive Ring,
    13. Diaphragm with Spermicide,
    14. Sponge with Spermicide,
    15. Cervical Cap with Spermicide,
    16. Male Condom,
    17. Female Condom,
    18. Spermicide Alone,
    19. Plan B, Plan B One Step, Next Choice, and
    20. Ella

which are the 20 FDA-approved birth control methods for women. Why? First, because Hobby Lobby always covered 16 of them in its health insurance plan for female employees…and still does. Next, because the methods to which Hobby Lobby objected:

    5. IUD Copper,
    6. IUD w/ Progestin,
    19. Plan B, Plan B One Step, Next Choice, and
    20. Ella

are abortifacients, or methods that do, or can, end a pregnancy rather than prevent it. Further, Plan B and Ella are “emergency contraception”, not intended for use as primary birth control, and IUDs are an unpopular method with minor to serious side effects.

Hobby Lobby’s owners opposed neither the safest, nor most popular, methods of birth control approved for women; they opposed ones that could kill an unborn child, because paying for that violated their religious beliefs.

In advocating for their religious liberty, Hobby Lobby’s owners:

• Kept costs low for female employees by continuing to pay for the safest and most popular birth control methods,
• Maintained basic health care for women by covering 80% of FDA-approved methods, with the others available or “make-able”, for little to no cost,
• Opposed no law (the mandate was not part of Obamacare, but an HHS-issued regulation, neither reviewed nor approved by Congress), and
• Stayed out of women’s health decisions. Hobby Lobby only cares about which contraception methods it funds, not which methods women choose.

Nevertheless, when Hobby Lobby prevailed, leading Liberals made fantastic claims:

    “It’s very troubling that a sales clerk at Hobby Lobby who need contraception, which is pretty expensive, is not going to get that service through her employer’s health care plan because her employer doesn’t think she should be using contraception” — Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State

    “Apartheid in South Africa was justified on religious grounds. The Southern Baptist Convention justified slavery and later Jim Crow and segregation on religious grounds. We don’t accept that as a society anymore and we should not accept plain out gender bigotry. Withholding basic health care from women is bigotry plain and simple. We should not accept it.” — Terry O’Neill, President, National Organization for Women

    “Today, the Supreme Court took an outrageous step against the rights of America’s women, setting a dangerous precedent that could permit for-profit corporations to pick and choose which laws to obey.” — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

    “Employers have no business intruding in the private health care decisions women make with their doctors. … If the Supreme Court will not protect women’s access to health care, then Democrats will.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Not surprisingly, the Obama White House joined in the fantasy chorus, saying the “…decision jeopardizes the health of women employed by these companies”, and others fanned the flames of a “War on Women” resulting from the decision. Simply put, these statements and assertions have no basis in fact.

The real problem is not that Liberals are lying; it is that the lies are so overt and blatant. The Court was clear that Affordable Care Act did not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), but that HHS regulations, made law by no one, did, as stated on page 2 of the decision:

    Held: As applied to closely held corporations, the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate RFRA. Pp. 16–49.

Consequently, Hobby Lobby was not picking which laws it would or would not follow. Then there was this from page 8:

    Under RFRA, a Government action that imposes a substantial burden on religious exercise must serve a compelling government interest, and we assume that the HHS regulations satisfy this requirement. But in order for the HHS mandate to be sustained, it must also constitute the least restrictive means of serving that interest, and the mandate plainly fails that test. There are other ways in which Congress or HHS could equally ensure that every woman has cost-free access to the particular contraceptives at issue here and, indeed, to all FDA-approved contraceptives.

Meaning the government had other ways to implement this policy. So why attempt to do so by attacking religious liberties, while hiding behind women’s skirts? And not only did the administration lose this decision, the defeat was quickly followed by stays of mandate granted to the Catholic broadcaster EWTN, Wheaton College, and 6 other Catholic Groups.

Again, why the overt attack on the rights of religious groups and others that are anti-abortion, when their positions do not oppose Obamacare? And why the wildly inaccurate statements later, as though the rights of anyone, apart from those with religious convictions, were ever at risk?

If one walks into a Hobby Lobby Store and asks a female employee, “How did this case impact your contraception care in your health plan?”, the answer will likely be, “It didn’t, and I never thought it would as long as my employers won.”

Yet the internet, and social media, are rife with screams of how women are wronged…..

Though 80% of FDA birth control methods were always available…

Though the four methods opposed were either the least popular among women, or not considered primary birth control for anyone…

Though no law was challenged, just a regulation with which the people’s representatives (Congress) had no involvement…

There is an agenda afoot, one unfriendly to freedoms which are the bedrock of liberty in the U.S. So, it can now be well said, regarding their pursuit of policy, that Liberals will lie blatantly. The only question is, “About what will they lie about next?”

Are Folks Mad At Mirrors?

When this seemingly innocuous commercial aired:YouTube Preview Image
no one anticipated the negative reaction, right?

Well, if one believes a major food producer, in 2013, was naive regarding social media, and the potential for strong reactions to a nontraditional ad, then that would be right. However, General Mills, the maker of Cheerios cereal, was not naive. They were not only aware of the potential reaction, they prepared for it:

    Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing for Cheerios, said it’s the first time the ad campaign that focuses on family moments has featured an interracial couple, with General Mills Inc. casting the actors to reflect the changing U.S. population.

Knowing the internet denizens would react, the company went with a family portrayal that was uncommon in TV ads, responding to increasing numbers of multiracial youth in the U.S. Translation: Cheerios held up a mirror to the country, one not normally seen in TV commercials. Does anyone honestly believe that was accidental?

It is not cynical to think two factors drove the Cheerios ad:

    1) Folks tend to buy stuff that people who look like them use, and

    2) There ain’t no such thing as bad publicity

Want proof that Cheerios meant to hold up that mirror of a changing American demographic? Check out their ad at the 2014 Super Bowl ad:YouTube Preview Image
Of course, not everyone reacted negatively and those that did, well, they just seemed unhappy with what the mirror showed.

Away from the TV screen, the imagery does not stop: YouTube Preview Image
This Staten Island woman’s unhappiness with Battat Inc.’s packaging differences between white and black “Our Generation” dolls alleges racism. But is the allegation true? It may depend on whether one is the “paying consumer” or the “intended consumer”.

There is a black doll with one outfit and no accessories in the box and, for the exact same price, a white doll whose box is “loaded with gear”. It looks like an overcharging of “paying consumers” who want a black doll. While it is unlikely (though not impossible) that black dolls cost more to make, it is more likely that a pricing error occurred; these things happen.

So, the “Our Generation” doll makers may not be trying to tell “Our Generation” anything, except that their distributors make mistakes. There is nothing to indicate that the Staten Island woman alerted store personnel to her concerns as the mother in Fayetteville, GA, did. Unfortunately, rarely do those called racist by “paying consumers” get the benefit of the doubt.

However, an “intended customer” can react to products differently. Abrianna received the same black doll that angered the Staten Island Target woman. Abrianna had no problem with what the manufacturer tried to tell her: YouTube Preview Image
She is not mad at the mirror presented by the “Our Generation” doll. I wonder if it is better to let Abrianna see her doll as like herself and beautiful, or to tell her that the manufacturer put an ugly message in a doll she believes looks like her?

Here is another item one might find on a department store shelf; should this marketing image displease anyone?

Baby Carrier Packages

Two baby carriers, both made by the same company. Quite a few people on social media took issue with this, calling it obviously racist, among other things. But remember: Folks tend to buy stuff that people who look like them use. With that in mind, let’s consider some demographic information that was undoubtedly known to any marketing department.

The federal government’s 2011 data on U.S births showed 72.3% of black children, and 29.1% of white children, were born out-of wedlock. So, less than 3 in 10 black children were born into a nuclear family, while less 3 in 10 white children were born outside of a nuclear family.

Another way to interpret the data — in the U.S., you are about 2-1/2 times more likely to see this: white nuclear family

than you are likely to see this: black nuclear family

So, would you market a baby carrier to blacks showing a nuclear family, reminding them of what they likely are not, or would you “go with the flow” of the black single parent norm?

Of course, no marketing department, at any company, generated those statistics; they simply cannot ignore such demographic information when trying to sell products, including baby carriers. Baby K’Tan did not paint a picture of Americans when it created the images for customers to see when shopping; they held up a mirror to Americans, in hopes that they would see people like themselves using their product…and buy it.

It is common for people to become unnerved when they see portrayals of themselves with which they are not comfortable. Some will feel uneasy about “race mixing”, even as the mixing proportions increase. Some will assume the worst motives are behind simple mistakes, while others see positives in the same situation. Some will disbelieve what are demonstrable, yet uncomfortable facts, about themselves.

The trouble, however, is not in the portrayals; it is in the underlying truths that cannot be easily dismissed. So, the questions is: when “Mirror, Mirror” on the wall asserts that a person or group is NOT the fairest of them all, will folks get a grip on the truth, or get mad at the mirror?

The Futility of Reparations, for Slavery or Anything Else

America’s first slavery reparations attempt proved unintended and unsuccessful.

Union General William T. Sherman issued Special Field Order #15 in January 1865, seizing about 400,000 acres of Southern coastal land and giving it, in 40-acre parcels, to newly freed slaves. No whites could live there, apart from assigned military personnel. A later order authorized loaning mules to black settlers.

Though Sherman’s orders likely created the “40 acres and a mule” idea that many consider the U.S. Government’s “promise” to former slaves, that was not Sherman’s primary intent. His March to the Sea created thousands of black refugees who followed his army; the orders ended Sherman’s responsibility for their support and protection. They also punished Confederate rice planters for their role in the war. But after President Lincoln’s assassination, President Johnson overturned Special Field Order #15, the land returned to its previous owners, and the reparations attempt failed.

Subsequent attempts during Reconstruction were more intentional, but not more successful.

Radical Republicans in Congress like Thaddeus Stevens worked to secure freedoms for former slaves granted under a newly ratified 13th Amendment, and drafted early 14th Amendment versions. Stevens pursued “40 acres and a mule” reparations, proposing to redistribute the land of Southern whites, owning 200 acres or more, to blacks. Stevens considered the South conquered territory and wanted to eradicate the foundations of Southern society through federal governance. However, Stevens’ preferences did not happen.

After U.S. Reconstruction, three 20th Century reparations attempts occurred:

    The Treaty of Versailles, which punished Germany for World War I’s devastation,

    • The collapse of the Nazi Regime, which fully revealed the atrocities committed against Jews by Germany and other countries, and

    • The internment of Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

How did they fare? Briefly:

    • The Treaty of Versailles’ war reparations so devastated Germany’s economy that Adolf Hitler rose to power; instead of repaying the Allies for their harm from WWI, reparations led directly to the even larger WWII,

    Holocaust Reparations: 1) were not popular in Israel, called “blood money” by many; 2) compensated a government that did not exist when the atrocities occurred, instead of individuals who directly suffered; and 3) were paid only by West Germany, which was least like the Nazis (East Germany ignored reparations calls), and

    • The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 did not compensating internees until 1990. The $20,000 given to survivors was worth $2,494.26 in 1942, when the average house in the U.S. cost $6,827; many other survivors received only 1/4 that amount. Internees lost not only 5 decades, but also 60% and more of the value of their confiscated goods.

Nevertheless, and at the start of every U.S. Congress since 1989, Rep. John Conyers, D-MI introduced legislation, House Resolution (H.R.) 40, with this formal title:

    To acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery, subsequently de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.

Saying he wants to “heal this nation”, Conyers vows to continue introducing this bill until it becomes law:YouTube Preview Image
After a quarter century, apparently no one believes it will “heal” anything; H.R. 40 has never to come to a vote, even when Democrats held the majority in Congress. Perhaps they see the poor record of reparations and find there is no benefit in their consideration.

Nevertheless, reparations supporters have advocates other than John Conyers, and forums outside the U.S. What they do not have is more success:

    • In 1999, The African World Reparations and Repatriation Truth Commission’s Accra Declaration, demanded “the West” pay $777 Trillion to Africa within 5 years. The amount was not paid. (World Gross Domestic Product in 1999 was $30.2 Trillion, less than 1/25th of the demanded amount),

    • In 2004, descendants of American slaves sued Lloyd’s of London for insuring slave ships in the 1800′s. The lawsuit, and subsequent appeals, failed,

    • Also in 2004, Rastafarians in Jamaica claimed Europeans should pay £72.5 Billion to resettle 500,000 of them to Africa. The British government and rejected the claim, denying accountability for wrongs committed in earlier centuries,

    • In 2007, Guyana’s president called for European nations to pay reparations for slavery. They did not,

    • In 2011, the Caribbean island state of Antigua and Barbuda took to the U.N. to demand reparations from former slave-owning countries. The demand remains unmet,

    • and so on…

Adding to this litany of frustration and failure is Ta-Nehisi Coates’ recent essay in the Atlantic, The Case For Reparations, which states, in its subtitle: “…Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole”…and that is a problematic assertion.

Because morals and money are like apples and oranges, neither comparable nor fungible. Money neither creates nor corrects erase immorality, and money neither determines nor measures a person’s, or situation’s, morality.

Which, in part, explains: why reparations backfire (World War I); how poor a remedy they provide (Japanese internment); and the resistance to throwing money at troubling, even tragic, events which cross both time and international boundaries, especially when offending, as well as the injured, parties are dead.

Coates, instead of keeping morals and money separate, or recognizing the historic failures of reparations attempts, simply repeats the flawed proposition presented before: harm occurred, therefore someone must pay, even if all involved are dead. Still, Coates’ essay does something unique, if unintentional: without specifically addressing them, Coates demonstrates the failings of those he puts forth as victims. Further, he does so in a way that weakens his “case”. Consider the account of Chicago’s Contract Buyers League.

Coates’ describes an unscrupulous system of exploiting blacks, in 1950′s and 1960′s Chicago, through “buying” homes on contract, a predatory agreement that combined all the responsibilities of homeownership with all the disadvantages of renting—while offering the benefits of neither:

    “In a contract sale, the seller kept the deed until the contract was paid in full—and, unlike with a normal mortgage, [the buyer] would acquire no equity in the meantime. If he missed a single payment, he would immediately forfeit his…down payment, all his monthly payments, and the property itself.”

The FHA, which opted not to discourage racial discrimination in its housing policies, left blacks to the Chicago thieves who would rob multiple families with a single property, serially evicting them for failing to make inflated monthly payments on an overpriced house. No doubt those whites engaged in this scam were at fault; they set traps which they sprung, reset, and sprung again, to blacks’ detriment.

But there is something interesting in the words of the black buyers. From the essay:

    “We were ashamed. We did not want anyone to know that we were that ignorant,” (Clyde) Ross (one of the blacks who “bought” a home on contract and would later join the Contract Buyers League) told me… “I’d come out of Mississippi where there was one mess, and come up here and got in another mess. So how dumb am I? I didn’t want anyone to know how dumb I was.

    “When I found myself caught up in it, I said, ‘How? I just left this mess. I just left no laws. And no regard. And then I come here and get cheated wide open.’ I would probably want to do some harm to some people, you know, if I had been violent like some of us. I thought, ‘Man, I got caught up in this stuff. I can’t even take care of my kids.’ I didn’t have enough for my kids. You could fall through the cracks easy fighting these white people. And no law.”

Could Ross avoid the contract buy scheme? Not if he wanted a house. But did Ross have to “buy” a house? Had he not, his children might have fared better:

    “The problem was the money,” Ross told me. “Without the money, you can’t move. You can’t educate your kids. You can’t give them the right kind of food. Can’t make the house look good. They think this neighborhood is where they supposed to be. It changes their outlook. My kids were going to the best schools in this neighborhood, and I couldn’t keep them in there.”

Had Ross walked away from his contract, he would have lost every dollar paid to the seller. But how much more did he lose by staying, and at what cost to his children, according to his own word? Many gave up their lives ending slavery and Jim Crow segregation that hurt them and the next generation of people they would never see or know; is it therefore unreasonable to think a father should give up a house that hurt him and his children?

Mattie Lewis and Ethel Weatherspoon, like Clyde Ross, became members of the Contract Buyers League. Coates spoke with them as well:

    In 1958, [Mattie Lewis and her husband] bought a home in North Lawndale on contract. They were not blind to the unfairness. But Lewis, born in the teeth of Jim Crow, considered American piracy—black people keep on making it, white people keep on taking it—a fact of nature. “All I wanted was a house. And that was the only way I could get it. They weren’t giving black people loans at that time,” she said. “We thought, ‘This is the way it is. We going to do it till we die, and they ain’t never going to accept us. That’s just the way it is.’

    “The only way you were going to buy a home was to do it the way they wanted,” she continued. “And I was determined to get me a house. If everybody else can have one, I want one too. I had worked for white people in the South. And I saw how these white people were living in the North and I thought, ‘One day I’m going to live just like them.’ I wanted cabinets and all these things these other people have.”

Coates quotes scripture at the beginning of his essay, Deuteronomy 15:12-15. However, heeding another scripture might have protected Lewis:

    Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. — 2 Corinthians 10:12 (ESV)

Measuring one’s success by comparing oneself to others, even one’s oppressors, is poor judgment. The essay continued:

    Whenever [Lewis] visited white co-workers at their homes, she saw the difference. “I could see we were just getting ripped off,” she said. “I would see things and I would say, ‘I’d like to do this at my house.’ And they would say, ‘Do it,’ but I would think, ‘I can’t, because it costs us so much more.’ ”

    I asked Lewis and Weatherspoon how they kept up on payments.

    “You paid it and kept working,” Lewis said of the contract. “When that payment came up, you knew you had to pay it.”

    “You cut down on the light bill. Cut down on your food bill,” Weatherspoon interjected.

    “You cut down on things for your child, that was the main thing,” said Lewis. “My oldest wanted to be an artist and my other wanted to be a dancer and my other wanted to take music.”

When blacks strive to be like white people, not out of need, but simply to emulate whites…
When emulating whites makes them volunteer for scams…
When volunteering for scams means children’s aspirations get set aside…

That is beyond poor judgment; that is a moral failing, and not just that of a depraved oppressor, but also that of a willing victim.

In the end, fewer than 20% of Chicago’s Contract Buyers League members kept their homes, and their lawsuit failed. But slavery did not cause those losses; choosing to “get cheated wide open” did. Are reparations due for that?

Coates made the effort to tie all of the 20th century ills of blacks to the 17th through 19th century phenomenon of slavery, a common tactic of blacks and others who are, politically, left-of-center. However, this denies the fact that there has not been slavery in the US for 150 years; it denies that those who owned, and those who were, slaves are all dead; it denies that each generation makes its own decisions and its own way, like former slaves who formed a majority in South Carolina’s legislature during Reconstruction, or Madam C.J. Walker, the daughter of former slaves who became America’s first self-made female millionaire; it denies that compelling descendants to bear, and also monetize, the misdeeds of their ancestors is wrong (Ezekiel 18:20).

And it denies the lessons of history regarding reparations: they do not work. One could argue, at 40% of U.S. welfare recipients, blacks already receive reparations of a kind, as they have since the War on Poverty was declared a half century ago. How much of the trillions spent made it to blacks is hard to measure, but these things are not:

    • Only 32% of black men, and 26% of black women are married today; in 1960, 61% of blacks were married,

    Black Illegitimacy stands above 70%, more than 3 times pre-War on Poverty levels,

    “From 1973 to 2012, abortion reduced the black population by 30%, and that doesn’t even factor in all the children that would have been born to those aborted a generation ago”, and, though less than 13% of the U.S. population, blacks account for 30% of U.S. abortions, as blacks accepted left-leaning political ideology, including that they should be paid for evils done (though not to them personally) in the past.

Neither have the effective reparations from the War on Poverty done much to correct poor economics for blacks: in 2012, the black poverty rate (36.7%) was about 70% higher than the national rate of 21.8%, and roughly double that of whites (18.5%). If giving blacks money to correct the sins of the past, which was clearly among the aims of LBJ’s Great Society, worked, then the current condition is hard to explain.

Unless one accepts the lessons of history, and human nature’ bent, which both say reparations do not work…neither can they. Giving people money they did not earn does not create success. Else, every public assistance recipient would remain above the poverty line, and every lottery winner would thrive.

Blacks seeking success, despite the ravages of history, might heed Booker T. Washington and, “Cast down your bucket where you are!” rather than seek another’s bucket. To all who “help” blacks by giving him a check for past injustices, Frederick Douglass’ words remain wise:

    In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us…. I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! … And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! … Your interference is doing him positive injury.

In looking to settle “moral debts” from the past, history teaches that the time for reparations has not only not come, but that it will never arrive.

The “Buy-In” Is Worse Than The “Sell-Out”

The NBA’s Donald Sterling debacle made some blacks look bad and, as it drags on, is making others look even worse. Start with the young black men, millionaires only because they can play a game, turning their clothes inside out over what a white man said to his side chick during a conversation that was none of their business:YouTube Preview Image
It was not a good look.

Other NBA players, however, did a “buy in”, threatening to boycott playoff games unless Sterling received severe punishment, and willing to suffer the consequences of their actions. Hard to say how meaningful those consequences would be, given that their contracts are guaranteed. So, a bunch of black millionaires were willing to disrupt the incomes of others, while their money continued to flow.

If THAT is what a “principled stand” looks like, then that, also, was not a good look.

Then, of course, the race shakedown artists appeared, not even waiting for them to haul Donald Sterling’s corpse from his owner’s suite before making demands. Interestingly, among those demanding change from the NBA was a group who had taken Sterling’s money for many years, and publicly acknowledged the “racist owner’s” support of blacks.

Another case of bad optics.

Consequently:

    A) NBA players (blacks) wish to dictate what owners (whites) say privately; if they don’t like it, then ownership should change hands?

    B) NBA players (blacks) can threaten to disrupt owners’ (whites) income, while their salaries from the owners remain guaranteed?

    C) Other, unaffected blacks should demand white owners reform their behavior, despite accepting money from misbehaving owners?

To the extent there is a “Yes” answer to those questions, then blacks cannot seem principled, fair, or without hypocrisy. However, many see those blacks who would answer “No” as “Oreos”, “Uncle Toms”, or “Sell-Outs”. Case in point: consider Mark Cuban’s recent comments:YouTube Preview Image

So interesting how many blacks heard Cuban say “black kid”…”hoodie”…”late at night”…”I’m walking to the other side of the street”…and missed his statements about bald and tattooed white guys, and prejudice in general. Cuban was honest and accurate; he was just not politically correct.

Stephen A. Smith’s initial reaction to Cuban’s comments was negative. Then he stopped accepting second-hand accounts, listened to Cuban’s words, and considered the comments not racist, but illustrative:YouTube Preview Image

Apparently, that was the wrong view for a black man to take, in the view of some. Even more apparent: Smith was not only unwilling to modify his view, he was more than willing to help his critics change their views:YouTube Preview Image

There is no middle ground between Smith’s sentiments, expressed while defending himself and in articulating his take on the “American Dream”, and those of blacks who see race the same way some see winning:YouTube Preview Image

For those fixated on race, which includes an uncomfortably large percentage of blacks, this is clear: you are either someone who is a “Buy-In” to their ideology, or you are a “Sell-Out”. While “Sell-Out” is a harsh label, as Smith can attest, it is still less painful and demeaning than being among those who “Buy-In”.

And Smith did not “buy in”. Instead, he was a “sell out” to the notion that he could work himself out of poverty and mediocrity…and he is foolish enough to believe others can emulate his success…if they first emulate his effort. He was not a “buy in” to the idea that public assistance, tied to government-supported illegitimacy was a long-term solution for economic viability, as some apparently are:YouTube Preview Image
Instead, Smith was a “sell out” to pursuing higher education and internships and building a career, which generally delivers a better standard of living than anything a government provides for “free”.

Consider that Smith describes himself as someone who grew up poor and was held back in the 4th grade. Had he been among those who “buy in” to the myth that prison planners use elementary school reading scores to predict inmate populations, then he should be behind plexiglass, not on the other side of an LED screen, and wearing an orange one-piece, instead of well-tailored suits. A fair question might be, “which is a better look for a black man?”

Consider Smith’s salient point about the music and sports stars whom many blacks see as achieving the American Dream: “…I don’t consider them the American Dream; I consider them to be a fantasy turned (to) reality…”

Simply put, everyone is NOT equal; some folks are special, and possess gifts and abilities others will never receive. That many blacks yet “buy in” to the notion that such have achieved the “American Dream” is both self-defeating and is a perversion of the term.

The American Dream is not unique because special people achieve it; it is unique because there is a special place, America, where anyone can achieve it. And there is no “buy in” to the American Dream; whoever would achieve it must “sell out”, abandoning everything that would hinder success, including the opinions of friends, confidants, and peers. Unfortunately, among black people, there are too many who “buy in”:

    To the notion that racism is the primary reason the black unemployment rate remains nearly double that of whites,

    To the notion that today’s blacks suffer the after-effects of a slavery they have never experienced, and deserve “reparations” from those who did them no harm,

    To the notion that blacks cannot be racist, even though the entire nation, it seems, disagrees, and

    To the notion that the self-inflicted wounds of crime and ignorance can be bound up by politicians, or police, and not by those blacks who hurt and get hurt

to ever achieve the American Dream…

The sad thing is, while “buy in” blacks claim the victory of the Civil Rights Movement, only “sell out” blacks live that victory. For many “buy in” blacks, We Shall Overcome remains a song about the future; while for “sell out” blacks, it speaks of daily challenges conquered…and they have greater reverence for a different tune:YouTube Preview Image

So, the “buy in” black looks ahead to what he hopes will be a brighter day, while the “sell out” black looks back on a wondrous and unfinished journey. It should be easy to determine which is a better look for black, or any, people.

The Numbers Make No Sense, But Things Are Better?

The economic indicators are a jumbled mess…and that may be on purpose.

The financial markets soar, but fewer stocks have rising prices. Corporate profits reach all-time highs, but employees receive their lowest share of it 1947…as they struggle to reduce consumer debt that hit a record high in 2012.

The employment picture is even more confusing.

The U.S. economy added 288,000 in April 2014, and the headline unemployment rate declined from 6.7% in March to 6.3%. Additionally, upward revisions for the two prior months mean 713,000 people found work from February through April. That seems positive, even hopeful…until one learns 806,000 people left the workforce in the month of April alone and that the exodus from the workforce, not the number of people finding work, accounts for the decrease in April’s unemployment rate. Interestingly, people leaving the workforce since 2009 account for all the unemployment rate decline during the Obama administration, and for dropping the labor force participation rate to a 35-year low.

Despite this, the press says the job market is improving, going so far as to say leading indicators signal the pace of U.S. economic growth is poised to snap back. How, or even when, that might occur when First Quarter GDP growth for this year was 0.1% - yep, ZERO-POINT-ONE…PERCENT – is mystifying. Equally mystifying is how the experts conclude weather caused the poor growth growth, but did not affect stock prices. More mystifying still is how the president concludes an economy, absent of growth, is improving.

So, stock markets are high, but not that many stocks are rising; businesses make more money, but employees see less of it, while consumer and public debt are at all time highs, here and abroad. Some find work, but even more give up looking; the economy does not grow, but we hear it is getting better. Yep, clear as mud.

The mixed messages don’t stop there. The president says of “income inequality”: “I believe this is the defining challenge of our time”: YouTube Preview Image
Yet, his policy “prescriptions” may only exacerbate the disease:

    His minimum wage increase will reduce the number of jobs, according to the CBO and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve,

    The president wants Obamacare implementation “follow through”, though the CBO has determined it will cut work hours by the equivalent of 2,000,000 full-time jobs, and

    Obama’s “Promise Zones” sound like Clinton’s “Empowerment Zones”, which made poorly validated claims of helping the poor, and like the “War on Poverty”, which has cost $15 Trillion (perhaps more) over the last half-century, with the Census Bureau reporting a higher poverty rate now than in 1966. (Reflect on that: We have spent the rough equivalent of the current national debt on a project that has missed its mark for the last 50 years. One can only wonder where the economy might be had that money remained in the private sector.)

It is hard to see how any “income inequality” challenge would be met by reducing the number of available work opportunities, or by doubling down on policies that have not worked for decades.

Today’s U.S. economy is a modern retelling of the Emperor’s New Clothes, complete with a media chorus that works to explain away the nakedness much of the public has already seen.

Simply put, things are not better for U.S. economy. The number of people in the workforce, as a percentage of the working population, has not been this low since 1979. Some may recall that the Jimmy Carter economy is what led to the Reagan Revolution in 1980, and that Ronald Reagan won re-election in 1984 by helping to put Americans back to work after the Carter years: YouTube Preview Image

Unfortunately, though Americans considered jobs and the economy their top priority 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, the federal government maintained a different perspective. Instead of focusing, the president has instead “pivoted” to jobs and the economy so many times that he resembles a whirling dervish: YouTube Preview Image
The result from all that “spin” is 11.3 million people out of the workforce, against approximately 4.1 million jobs added since 2009. Add to that, a great number of the jobs gained are part-time, not full-time. Add to that, median income for U.S. households is down since the Great Recession ENDED.

For all the confusing and conflicting economic news, one thing is quite clear: America has failed to do, from 2008 through 2014, what she accomplished from 1980 to 1984, even though — with double-digit unemployment, inflation, and federal interest rates — the 1980′s began with a much more troubled economy.

What seems most odd is that all the bad information about the economy is even worse for blacks, who voted 95% for Obama in 2008, and 93% for Obama in 2012. Despite “depression level” unemployment, higher poverty rates than any ethnic group, and losing ground “in every single leading economic indicator category”, many blacks remain willing to defend Obama against (imagined) racial attacks on him (something the president encourages), but not willing to defend themselves against the economic attack of his policies on them.

A telling quote is this:

    “Still, 61 percent regard the economy negatively, including a majority of all age and income levels, most independents and 80 percent of Republicans. Only among Democrats, people with a postgraduate education and blacks do a majority regard the economy as good.”

So you have to be either a Democrat, highly educated, or black to believe the economy is doing well, even though it is not doing well. That is a strange collection of people who simply do not believe that “fat meat is greasy”.

As long as such people ignore the essential facts to support an ideology, there will always be an ideological struggle. As long as the nation allows those who share such an ideological view to hold elective office, there will always be unnecessary economic struggles…and people purposely contorting data to make things seem better than they are.

And until the clear thinking among the American people either purge or abandon a government containing such ideologues, we may never see “Morning in America” again.

The Disturbing Donald Sterling Episode…

Showing himself a “strong leader”, and setting himself apart from his predecessor, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver acted: YouTube Preview Image
The move is praised by pundits, YouTube Preview Image
former players, YouTube Preview Image
coaches, YouTube Preview Image
and politicians, as well as other interested parties.YouTube Preview Image
Judging by the social media reaction, one might decide this the most positive occurrence in the United States in many years. However, the action against Sterling is more problematic than satisfying, particularly for those who value individual liberty.

First, there is the problem of acting against Donald Sterling at all. The NBA has known of Sterling’s racism for many years:

    • Heckling his teams during games,
    • Berating players in the locker room after games, and inviting guests there to admire their “beautiful black bodies”,
    • Paying players on Fridays, by check, after the banks had closed, and
    • Suspending players, without pay, for negative public comments.

Then there are the lawsuits:

    • 2003 – Federal Housing Discrimination: Claims included disparaging comments against black and hispanic tenants, refusing to accept rent (then using that as a basis for eviction), and having residents sign in as guests. Dismissed after a settlement was reached in 2005. Sterling was ordered to pay $5 Million in plaintiff’s attorney fees,
    • 2006 – Federal Housing Discrimination: Filed by the Justice Department during the Bush administration, claims included refusing to rent to non-Koreans in LA’s Koreatown, and turning away families with children. Settled in 2009, with Sterling paying a $3 million fine, with no admission of liability, and
    • 2009 – Wrongful Termination: Filed by Hall of Famer and longtime Clippers’ General Manager Elgin Baylor, claiming race and age discrimination. Baylor dropped the racism allegation before trial…and lost in court in 2011.

Commissioner Silver, while announcing the lifetime ban, acknowledged that he has known the Clippers’ owner for more than two decades. It is difficult to believe that the audiotape, which revealed sentiments agreeing with public rumor and public legal record, surprised Silver.

It is surprising, however, that the NBA ignored decades of Sterling’s inappropriate public actions, only to ban him now for private statements.

Silver was questioned about that during the news conference:

    Jovian Wei of Fox News asked, “Should someone lose their team for remarks shared in private — is this a slippery slope?”

    Silver responded, “Whether or not these remarks were initially shared in private, they are now public, and they represent his views.”

Which is, of course, chilling. First of all, privately-held racist, or any other, views are neither illegal, immoral, nor unethical; those characterizations are reserved for public behavior… which, again, in Sterling’s case, the NBA ignored.

Next, there is the matter of punishing people for what they think that is no one else’s business. Much is made about the statements coming to light, and that therefore it is appropriate to act upon them. However, that is an odd notion.

Private communication generally cannot be used to convict a person of a crime. If it cannot be used to take away a person’s liberty, then how should it be the basis to take someone’s property, especially when criminality is not even alleged? Should Sterling indeed go down, will the Orlando Magic owner, who donated private money to support traditional marriage, also lose his team, especially after the NBA gushed so publicly over Jason Collins?

The question is this: not whether private statements or actions might become public but, even if made public, whether a person’s noncriminal private deeds should be used to deprive them of benefits from properties and investments?

While the answer is, and should remain, “No”, the NBA now works to legitimize the authority of “thought police”, or political correctness, to punish people, materially, for “inappropriate” private beliefs, not inappropriate public actions, individual liberty consideration be damned.

Of course, Sterling’s history includes many appropriate actions, including: making millionaires of scores, if not hundreds, of young black men over the course of 33 years; hiring and keeping a black vice president of basketball operations for 22 years, despite a losing record and only one playoff series win during that span; donations to many charities, who are deciding what to do with the money.

And it includes longtime support of the Los Angeles Chapter of the NAACP. Shortly before Sterling paid a multimillion dollar settlement in the Justice Department’s housing discrimination suit against him in 2009, the Los Angeles NAACP presented Sterling with a lifetime award. They were scheduled to fete Sterling again, this month, before the Sterling audiotape surfaced. None of that matters now.

In another unsurprising move, the head of the Los Angeles NAACP, a man with a past as scurrilous as Sterling’s, has resigned…but the NAACP’s integrity, or lack thereof, is another matter entirely.

Sacramento Mayor and former NBA Player Kevin Johnson made a telling statement in his remarks:

    “I believe that today stands as one of those great moments: where sports, once again, transcends, where sports provides a place for fundamental change on how our country should think and act.”

Of course, the NBA did not identify any inappropriate action, on Sterling’s part, against either the NBA or its players. So is Mr. Johnson looking to control thought? Through sports?

Magic Johnson said, of Sterling’s remarks, “…there is no place in our society for it…” and, of Sterling, “…he should stand up and say, I don’t want to own a team anymore…”

Hmmm…

So, a sports league should dictate to the nation: how it should think and act; what things do, or do not have a place in society; and who should be allowed to invest in what…based on how they feel about what others may think, which is none of their business?

If that does not subject individual liberty to collectivist thought, then it is difficult to say what does.

Not surprisingly, the race pimps have appeared. Jesse Jackson is already looking to coax cash from Hewlett-Packard, so he’s busy. However, Al Sharpton and the NAACP (you cannot make this stuff up) want to shake down the NBA regarding diversity…perhaps they will demand more white players?

One thing is certain: the push for “what we think” over “what is right” will continue, so long as you have thinking like this in the black community: YouTube Preview Image

The Non-Case That Won’t Be Going Away…Anytime Soon

Here’s the deal: This past August, a governor’s close aide e-mails one of the governor’s appointees, saying “traffic problems” should occur in a specific city. The appointee makes some calls and, on September 9th, voila, problems emerge. The city’s mayor contacts the governor’s administration to complain. The appointee e-mails the aide and another official, misleading them about what caused the problem.

An appointee of the neighboring state’s governor then orders the problem stopped. In the midst of this, the governor is re-elected by a wide margin. After joking about the incident, the governor says he knew nothing about its cause.

And then it all blows up for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie…

Since October, all manner of things continue to swirl about: subpoenas, hearings, impeachment threats. The appointee who made calls to cause the traffic problems resigned, and Christie fired the aide who sent the “traffic problems” e-mail. The appointee who resigned recently said Christie knew about the lane closures when they occurred…as though traffic could halt on the world’s busiest bridge and Christie – and a few million other people – would not know.

Add to that, Hoboken’s mayor accused Christie’s administration of bullying her over Hurricane Sandy relief funds, but her story doesn’t add up, and there is no corroboration. Now, concerns about her diary entries pertaining to a 2013 wrongful termination suit damage her credibility, including the fact she was accused of perjury in that case.

The DNC ran a Superbowl online ad about the re-inventing drama of the governor’s troubles, reading in part, “And it’s only the first quarter. It’s going to be a long game.” That could be true for Christie’s attackers as well: as Democrats and the press yell “Fire!”, it is not that easy to see even smoke in this “scandal”. As ABC News notes, “there has been no evidence linking him directly to the scandal.”

So why is the press spending so much time on what they admit is a non-story, especially when we have more Obamacare train wrecks occurring, “traitors” nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and a Texas Democrat struggling with the truth about her own life story?

Because none of those other items pose a threat to the presidential aspirations of one Hillary Rodham Clinton.

A UK publication said it, straight out: Republicans can’t blame Clinton for Benghazi while absolving Christie of Bridgegate. How that statement could be made with a straight face goes a long way toward explaining the liberal mind, and not only in the US. Somehow:

    • Not knowing about a “traffic study” (Christie) is equal to not admitting what you know about a terrorist attack (Clinton)?
    • Staff members lying about bridge lane closures (Christie) is equal to staff members denying requests for increased security (Clinton)?
    • Four months after the incident occurs, holding a press conference to take responsibility for what occurred YouTube Preview Image is equal to telling Congress “What difference, at this point, does it make?” YouTube Preview Image

It is unlikely that many reasonable people will see an interstate traffic jam as equal to an international terror attack, but the effort to show equivalence be made. If it is not, then how can a woman who lost to Barack Obama in 2008 prevail against anyone who would hang her involvement in his failing presidency around her neck, as Christie might?

Therefore, the strategy Obama employed against Mitt Romney in 2012 comes against Chris Christie in 2016…even though it is only 2014…and even though the party presidential primary elections remain 2 years away…and even though neither Christie nor Clinton have announced their candidacy for the nation’s highest elected office. The “Kill Romney” strategy irrelevancies and deceptions to distract people from the Obama record and focus them on an illusory version of his opponent’s history. The strategy was arguably effective, but the 2012 election was closer than many might think.

However, Democrats may believe the margin was narrow because they did not seek to “Kill Romney” soon enough. To correct that error, they seek Christie’s blood nearly two years before the presidential primaries, and are employing a full-court press. At the state level, New Jersey Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski, a Democrat has issued subpoenas and launched investigations. At the federal level, Obama’s HUD Inspector General is looking into whether Christie misused Hurricane Sandy relief funds. Interestingly, Republicans are tacitly on board for Christie’s demise, running their own investigation of Christie.

It’s not difficult to appreciate the Democrat motivation for attacking Christie; they seek the “Clinton Coronation” they failed to deliver in 2008. Six years ago, Hillary Clinton ran a great campaign: she knew the issues, had good messaging, the best political strategists, and made no mistakes. All things were ready for her to win…except the fact that Democrat voters, wanted someone else, and leading Democrats jumped off the Clinton bandwagon. Now, the party wants to make up for its “betrayal”.

The Republican motivation for killing Christie may not seem obvious until you remember the Obama praise and “bro hug”

Bro Hug

(which Christie says did not happen), which get credit for helping the president win re-election. Before that, there was Christie’s keynote address at the 2012 Republican National Convention address, which appeared to support his own presidential aspirations more than support the party’s nominee, Mitt Romney. At least in the eyes of the GOP establishment, Chris Christie simply is not as “part of the family”.

Consequently, the issue of betrayal will keep “bridge-gate” with us for some time to come. Republicans will use it to punish Christie for his betrayal in 2012; Democrats will use it to whitewash their betrayal of Hillary Clinton in 2008 and, in the Democrats’ calculus, no Christie means Hillary can’t lose.

So, the long knives are out for Christie on the Democrat side, and revenge-minded Republicans have a few stilettos of their own. The political class does not want a Chris Christie presidency: the Democrats want to apologize to Hillary Clinton for 2008 by nominating her in 2016, and the GOP…well, no one knows who they want…but it ain’t Chris Christie.

However, if Hillary Clinton couldn’t beat Barack Obama with a near-perfect campaign in 2008, who can she beat in 2016, when she has to answer for Obama’s policies?

And Now, Football Must Die…

American Football is quintessentially…American. Unlike soccer (what the rest of the world calls “football”), where participants can’t use their hands as part of the “beautiful game”, Football requires full-body participation in repeated outbursts of violent energy. Also unlike soccer, Football is a game of testosterone; women and young children can neither play it well, nor with the requisite emotion and camaraderie…

YouTube Preview Image

American Football is men, combining their individual might, speed, guile, bludgeoning, and force of will with that of other men, as a committed unit to physically complete against another group of men. It is simultaneously the height of rugged individualism and the ultimate expression of team. Football models achieving the American Dream: personal sacrifice and perseverance, teamwork, a hero’s rise, the breakthrough moment, full commitment, win or lose, in pursuit of an unwilling objective. Football elevates some and humiliates others, yet remains egalitarian; it exposes every man’s weaknesses – and that man will either be made better, or be made to go away, by the revelation.

However, Football is losing its place in the country that invented it (After all, how long can you support a professional expression of hyper-masculinity in a culture concerned with a “war on women”?). This teacher of basic truths struggles in an American society increasingly comfortable with complex lies. Unless that changes, this politically incorrect game will die.

The National Football League (NFL) began as the American Professional Football Association (APFA) in 1920, with four Ohio teams, in a Canton automobile showroom. By 1927, after franchise fits and starts, the NFL trimmed 22 clubs to 12, cutting financial dead weight and shifting its center from the Midwest to the East Coast. A de facto ban on black players in 1933 was overcome after World War II. In 1946, the NFL headed West, with the Cleveland Rams relocating to Los Angeles.

In 1960, Texas oilmen, kept from NFL franchises, launched the American Football League (AFL), sparking a competition that led to Super Bowl I in 1967 and an explosion in player salaries. Along the way, Football replaced baseball as America’s favorite sport. The two leagues merged, in 1970, into the modern NFL.

Today, the NFL’s 32 teams span the country. A sport once ignored after the Midwestern Fall now rivets the nation’s attention year round. Yet Football is both under attack and in decline, with few realizing the situation, though the signs are visible.

Before the NFL, Football brought glory and built character, but no one played for any real money. Football was a vehicle to launch young men’s careers; it was not itself a valid career choice. The professional league did not immediately change even the best players’ minds on that. The 1935 Heisman Award winner was the first player chosen in the NFL’s 1936 inaugural draft. But Jay Berwanger never played in the NFL, opting instead for a manufacturing career.

And the young NFL was not immediately a big money career. In the NFL’s early decades, most players had jobs or businesses. Football players had to WORK, not just work out, during the off-season. However, that prepared them for life after Football, even as they played, integrating them, socially and economically, into their communities. But the big money, which began with the AFL-NFL competition for players, brought big changes.

Big salaries isolated Football, creating players who are much larger, and richer, than the people among whom they live, leaving them with little physically, economically, or socially in common with their communities.

The source of Football salaries created another form of isolation. Most people generate their incomes from their local economies. Football players…not so much. Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans’ economy, cutting off local jobs and incomes. Yet Saints’ players still got their checks, without interruption…because the NFL, not the cities, pays most of player salaries.

NFL teams generate about, $51 Million from annual ticket sales; NFL payrolls, in 2012, ranged from $91.9 Million to $118.3 Million. The league provides what teams cannot from TV and other revenue.

Another, and worse, form of isolation is of players from education. Before the NFL, Football was an education vehicle; players left the game in their twenties to compete in the fields of business, education, and politics. Even after the game went pro, early NFL players were likely to be college graduates. However, by 1989, only 1 in 3 NFL players had college degrees. By 2004, the number rose to 46%, however the damage was already done.

Large NFL contracts isolated players from college degrees, lessening their marketable skills once their playing careers ended. When an All-Pro defensive lineman admits he was functionally illiterate in college, yet was an upperclassmen; when the Number 1 pick in the 2006 NFL draft files for bankruptcy protection in 2014, that is not integrating men into society. That is destroying men within society.

Now, there is “chicken little” talk of concussions and players safety; some surmise it may end football, as parents, including NFL players, grow wary of seeing their sons play Football, though the science is not settled. And the NFL wants to head off the issue with a monetary settlement, which is stalled in court.

However, in truth, concussions and CTE will likely be the feather that knocks over a weakened sport. The real damage to Football began long before people showed concern for how many times a player “got his bell rung”.

When American Football went professional, it began turning from a game that integrated young men into society as educated, aggressive, and disciplined leaders, and into a sideshow of well-paid, large-bodied characters who are likely uneducated or undisciplined entertainers.

Without the NFL, this outburst:

YouTube Preview Image

is harmless exuberance from a 20-year-old kid. Instead, it is from a 25-year-old kid (big difference, right?), who makes a half million per year, and causes a national uproar. Seriously?

Without the NFL, this foolishness:

YouTube Preview Image

is unconscionable, along with the support of the group that led to this idea in the first place.

If there were no “next level”, which paid folks to play, then a free education, and the connections that come with it, would be appreciated, rather than sniffed at. Football players as college employees? Do they wish to pay taxes on those scholarships and stipends?

Football no longer has giving men with uncommon drive a path to societal greatness as its primary function. Too often, it simply prepares a small minority (there are less than 2000 active NFL roster spots each year) to play a game for pay, extending their adolescence well into their 20′s and 30′s, and leaving them unmarketable and broke when done.

If Football provides nothing more than money, while crippling those who play it, then who could blame a reasonable society for turning away from such an enterprise.

It is time to return Football to what it did well, before a great game goes away.

So, How Much WORSE Can It Get…?

I just see a huge train wreck coming down

That is what Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) told Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in April 2013, about the Obamacare rollout, then less than six months away.

Baucus would later say, some two weeks before the rollout, that he longer expected a debacle and that his April statement was a wake-up call to the administration, “That was the whole point of it and we got their attention and worked to try to straighten things out.

It will be a train wreck…It won’t be a train wreck…Senator, as the old folks say, “Always go with your first mind.”

Obamacare’s problems are now myriad, with more, different, and more devastating items than most imagined. In May 2013, Institute for Policy Innovation resident scholar Merrill Matthews saw not one, but four impending train wrecks for Obamacare:

    • Overstating the readiness, and the potential cost savings, of Electronic Health Records (EHR),
    • A lack of support from health insurers and from the public,
    • Ignoring health insurance experts to draft a law that explodes health insurance premiums, and
    • Underfunding the high risk pools for the “uninsurables” with pre-existing conditions, thereby leaving people the law intended to help with no help at all.

So far, two of those wrecks have occurred; does anyone seriously consider a problem with EHR and with insuring those with pre-existing conditions unlikely? Everyone should have seen these problems coming; the Obama administration certainly did.

Candidate Obama repeatedly promised Americans that his health care reform would lower health insurance premiums for American families: YouTube Preview Image

Obamacare in hand and seeking re-election, the promise of premium reductions became a story of reducing total health care costs.

Then, four months after the 2012 election, HHS Secretary Sebelius let the cat out of the bag: insurance premiums could rise and not fall at all. Recently, the Manhattan Institute predicted rates would double for young men and increase 62 percent for young women. By then, Obama had changed his tack to taking credit for the slowest rate of increase in 50 years.

So much for the exciting promises of dramatic decreases in premiums. Does anyone else see a problem with that one?

Then there is the HealthCare.gov website, which the administration promised to have ready on October 1, 2013: YouTube Preview Image

However, by that date, the website was neither fully built nor tested: YouTube Preview Image

The president said he did not think himself “stupid enough to go around saying this is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity a week before the website opens if I thought that it wasn’t going to work.” He then stated, “Clearly we, and I, did not have enough awareness about the problems with the website.”

Yet, multiple reports show that the administration, including the White House, was aware of website problems, months in advance. Is the president being truthful when he denies knowing anything was wrong, or does this fall into the category of his “Like it…Keep it” promise?

Regarding that, the president did apologize for the millions of health insurance cancellations, but did not call them unanticipated. That may be because the administration published, in June 2010, that 40% – 67% of individual health insurance policies would not have the promised “grandfather” status. We are to believe the president did not know what his administration predicted, not 90 days after Obamacare became law? No one told him? Really?

(Something is greatly amiss, as touching this man’s veracity, intelligence, competence, or any combination of the foregoing.)

Unfortunately, the carnage will not stop with the private health insurance market, estimated to eventually see some 16 million policies go away. That’s small potatoes; the next wave of cancellations will wash through the beaches of the employer-provided health insurance market and erode 68% of those policies, leaving 129 million Americans without the insurance they liked and hoped to keep.

If that was not enough, we now see people losing access to the doctors they trust, beginning in Connecticut, and beginning with Medicare Advantage patients, with UnitedHealthCare firing thousands of doctors.

As Vice President Joe Biden said: YouTube Preview Image

So big, in fact, that the administration is looking for other folks to take the fall. They are blaming insurance companies for the millions of cancellation forced by their regulations; they are blaming the GOP for not helping them fix a mess with which Republicans had nothing to do; and blaming the media for not telling Americans how good Obamacare is. CNN is even blaming Christians for Obamacare’s woes.

But CNN also blames Christians for homosexual teen suicides, for homosexuals getting beaten on the street…CNN blames Christians for a number of things, but CNN is not officially part of the administration, and I digress.

The administration, and its supporters, are in full bunker mentality mode. The troubles with Obamacare are hurting more than the president. After the government “shut down”, Democrats held a significant lead over Republicans in the generic Congressional ballot; a more recent poll saw the GOP in the lead. Expect that lead to grow as more people lose their health insurance because of a law for which only Democrats voted.

Much is made of Republican in-fighting and disarray. Even more is made of the Republican Congress being less popular than the president. But that static picture ignores some important facts.

One is that it does not matter what people think of Congress; it only matters what they think of their individual Congressman. Who cares if they hate John Boehner in California, when the people who determine if he stays in Congress live in Ohio. The second fact is Obamacare will continue to be the gift that keeps on giving problems to everyone who voted for it…which includes not a single Republican. Which means Democrats, and not Republicans, may have the worsening problem.

How much worse can it get? Well, if 129 million Americans lose their health coverage before November 2014, then Max Baucus’ Obamacare rollout concern will be midterm election prophecy, and Democrats may, after the pools close in 2014, call 2010 “the good ol’ days”.

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Welcome , today is Friday, October 31, 2014
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