Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Black Lives Matter Foundation

A large majority of the black American population is facing an existential crisis. Dope, family disintegration, poor education and a lack of infrastructure have been plaguing these millions for years.

They have been the target of large scale attempts to improve their environment. Some of Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" programs were targeted for black Americans ( Then there was school busing and affirmative action and generous welfare regimes. The outcome is generally regarded to be a catastrophe with vast numbers of black Americans suffering from ever worsening drug, domestic, educational and infrastructure problems. 50+ years, countless billions of dollars and very little to show for it.

It seems obvious, given all that has been tried, that solutions which depend on conventional American policy preferences have failed miserably. Internecine  war is well underway and claiming new victims in black America every day.

During the period of time that has elapsed since the 1960's civil rights offensive  there has been another, parallel, development that has transformed a small but important part of the black community.

Racial barriers to success in sports and entertainment have been removed and declared dead. One noteworthy result of this development has been the accumulation of a vast amount of wealth by some black Americans.

  • It is reliably reported that there are about 35,000 black American millionaires as defined by the IRS; assets - liabilities - the value of one's primary residence (Dr. D. Kimbro, "The Wealth Choice"). 35,000 millionaires means that they hold, cumulatively, at least 35 billion dollars. That is not assets it is net worth. The remainder after deducting their liabilities.

  • We know that they hold a great deal more wealth than that. In fact, the ten wealthiest black Americans hold, between them, 14.6 billion dollars (, so the group of 35,000 can be said to have net worth of at least 49 billion dollars. If half of them have net worth of 10 million dollars and the rest net worth of 1 million dollars then the value of all their net worth would be at least 200 billion dollars. The total is likely closer to 350 billion dollars.

These black American millionaires and billionaires (there are only 2)  are easily identifiable. Many of the top 10 are household names; Oprah, MJ, Magic, Tiger and Bill Cosby. We can all name dozens of others; Charles Barclay, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Shaq, Kobe, Chris Rock, Morgan Freeman, Barack Obama and so on. No doubt there is a mailing list that identifies them all.

They should create and fund The Black Lives Matter Foundation and proceed to attempt the rescue of their brethren from an existential crisis.

That neither federal, state nor local governments are capable of dealing with the problem is apparent. That there are more black Americans succeeding in less spectacular ways than the millionaires is not arguable. At least that has been accomplished. That many millions more are trapped in an endless cycle of poverty and self-destruction is similarly not arguable.

There is precedent for the members of a community who have succeeded banding together to save those of their brethren who have not. Wealthy American Jews, that very small proportion of Jews who found great success, spent what had to be spent to save the rest of us. Government was no help. Antisemitism was rampant. Our benefactors built hospitals, schools, community centers, in other words, infrastructure. This was not accomplished overnight. But, as is obvious to anyone who cares to see it, it has been wildly successful.

It is, in my opinion, time for that newly minted class of extremely wealthy black Americans to coalesce, assert themselves and commit a portion of their vast wealth to saving their people, as ours were saved. The government has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that it is entirely incapable of ameliorating these problems. Some of the reasons government fails so badly at these efforts are baked into the nature of government and the motives of politicians. Government is not a philanthropic undertaking. Politicians are motivated differently than private philanthropists. There is no one else to rely on but yourselves.

Privately funded community centers based on the Jewish Community Center model could provide, free of charge (or otherwise depending on your preferences) supplemental education, job skills training, productive living training, day care services, legal services, drug treatment, food, shelter and an oasis of safety in otherwise turbulent neighborhoods.

No decent medical services in  the neighborhood? Build some, we did. You have vast and rapidly growing resources, use them and save your people.

I have no doubt that many of our black American millionaires are very charitable. I believe their charity is being largely wasted in a low-key scattershot approach to  solving a problem of immense proportion.

You can do it. It has been done before. In fact we built and generously support an entire country, Israel. You are fortunate to have a country. So build your neighborhoods.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Do Black Lives Matter?

Yes, of course. But that does not appear to be the actual question posed. The question being asked is "Do Black lives matter more than other lives?" The answer is no. Emphatically.

I grew up in Canada. There were never any Black slaves in Canada. Black people, as I grew up, were just that, black People. There were not a lot of black People in Canada and I encountered few in the 25 years I lived there. Among those few I encountered was Marion Cumberbatch, our housekeeper of long standing. So, anecdotally I suppose you could say that they occupied the lower levels of society, much as they did/do in the USA. On the other hand, there was the white Scottish housekeeper who worked for a neighbor's family, so who knows.

Being a Jew I benefit from a long tradition of sympathy with oppressed people (we can talk about the "Palestinians" some other time) but I find myself less and less sympathetic to American Blacks as they continue to take advantage of  unconstitutional, in my opinion, so-called Affirmative Action programs while rampaging here and there in protest of the unfair treatment they claim to be enduring at the hands of White Americans.

The reason for my lack of sympathy is the Alice in Wonderland nature of their campaign. Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown were thugs who were killed in self-defense.

"Hands up, don't shoot" is a complete and ugly distortion of the facts.

As "presentism" (judging historical figures by today's moral standards) takes hold in America a lot of history is being revised or eliminated. Did you know that 268,000 mostly white Union soldiers died to liberate black slaves? Or that another 300,000 or so were wounded in the same pursuit? Or that more than 1.5 million mostly white men served in the Union armies? Did you know that those 1.5 million represented about 20% of the male population of the North? 1 out of 5 men served. Or that in 2015 dollars the Union spent $147,000,000,000 ($36,700 per slave of the 4,000,000 then in bondage) to liberate the slaves? Apparently even our hillbilly ancestors knew that "Black lives Matter". Too bad their sacrifice has been completely dishonored by the dreadful conduct of so much of the black community recently.

Did you know that the first president of the NAACP was White? Did you know that the chairman of the NAACP in 1914 was a Jew? No? I thought not. Can you think of a reason you don't know that? I know, you would rather not. Me too.

Here is some of the NAACP's history as it appears in Wikipedia:

The conference resulted in a more influential and diverse organization, where the leadership was predominantly white and heavily Jewish American. In fact, at its founding, the NAACP had only one African American on its executive board, Du Bois himself. It did not elect a black president until 1975, although executive directors had been African-American. The Jewish community contributed greatly to the NAACP's founding and continued financing. Jewish historian Howard Sachar writes in his book A History of Jews in America of how, "In 1914, Professor Emeritus Joel Spingarn of Columbia University became chairman of the NAACP and recruited for its board such Jewish leaders as Jacob Schiff, Jacob Billikopf, and Rabbi Stephen Wise."[19] Early Jewish-American co-founders included Julius Rosenwald, Lillian Wald, Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch and Wise.
According to "Over the years Jews have also expressed empathy (capability to share and understand another's emotion and feelings) with the plight of Blacks. In the early 20th century, Jewish newspapers drew parallels between the Black movement out of the South and the Jews' escape from Egypt, pointing out that both Blacks and Jews lived in ghettos, and calling anti-Black riots in the South "pogroms". Stressing the similarities rather than the differences between the Jewish and Black experience in America, Jewish leaders emphasized the idea that both groups would benefit the more America moved toward a society of merit, free of religious, ethnic and racial restrictions."[20] further states, "The American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the Anti-Defamation League were central to the campaign against racial prejudice. Jews made substantial financial contributions to many civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, the Urban League, the Congress of Racial Equality, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. About 50 percent of the civil rights attorneys in the South during the 1960s were Jews, as were over 50 percent of the Whites who went to Mississippi in 1964 to challenge Jim Crow Laws."[20]
As a member of the Princeton chapter of the NAACP, Albert Einstein corresponded with Du Bois, and in 1946 Einstein called racism "America's worst disease".[21][22] Du Bois continued to play a pivotal role in the organization and served as editor of the association's magazine, The Crisis, which had a circulation of more than 30,000.
Moorfield Storey, who was white, was the president of the NAACP from its founding to 1915. Storey was a long-time classical liberal and Grover Cleveland Democrat who advocated laissez-faire free markets, the gold standard, and anti-imperialism. Storey consistently and aggressively championed civil rights, not only for blacks but also for Native Americans and immigrants (he opposed immigration restrictions).

Yes, American slavery was an abomination. Yes,  there continues to be identifiable racism in the USA. There always will be. Just as there will always be anti-semites, anti-Irish, anti-fat, anti ugly and so on. Most of us keep fighting to make these anti's as marginal as possible.

Ugly, racialist movements like "Black Lives Matter" only serve to make those of us who believed in the fight for equality cringe and stand down. Apparently nothing is enough so why bother.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

The Gay Marriage Fight Continues/Updated 9-6-15

I have written before about my opposition to gay marriage. It is, in my view, as simply impossible for two people of the same gender to "marry" as it is for Bruce Jenner to "be" a woman. He can never '"be" a woman. He is a man, now and forever.

That he wishes to imitate being a woman is fine with me. If gay people wish to imitate being married that is also fine with me. They cannot ever "be married" in any traditional way.

Which brings me to the kerfuffle in Kentucky. Kim Davis, Rowan County, KY clerk of courts is probably going to jail for refusing to marry gay people in defiance of the Supreme Court and a contempt citation from a local Federal Magistrate.

This is what happens when 9 people in robes decide to make policy rather than interpret the law. See Roe v Wade. 40+ years of controversy still going strong.

There is an interesting side note to this wee circus.

Those of us on the right have long been playing a game that has come to be called, "Name that Party". It stems from our almost universal observation that the main stream press, when dealing with malfeasance of Republicans, immediately mentions their party affiliation. When dealing with malfeasance by Democrats, well, not so much.

In this story and many others covering the controversy, the political affiliation of Ms. Davis is never mentioned. Name that party? Why, Democrat, of course.

Given the nature of her objection the MSM gets a bonus by not naming her affiliation.
 Based on the subject matter of the controversy, not naming her party affiliation allows most people to default to the position that she must be a Republican.

After all who else could possibly be mean and stupid enough to oppose gay marriage. A two-fer.

UPDATE: This is just too precious. One of the NYTimes editors fell for their own ruse. This correction appears today:

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 9.26.09 AM

Saturday, June 13, 2015

All Men are Created Equal

It came to my attention during a discussion not long ago that the context of the phrase may have been lost.

The person I was speaking to, not an American, pointed out the obvious: All men are not created equal. Her example was that the son of a prostitute was not at all equal to the son of a doctor. True, except in one regard; we are all created with unalienable rights given to us by our Creator (see previous post for my use of Creator).

At the time that the Founders proclaimed our independence the civil rights regime of every society that I know of was based on God's direct relationship with the various monarchs extant then. The religion practiced by the monarch did not appear to matter. The structure was always the same.You have heard, I am sure, of the Divine Right of Kings. Further, the rights of his subjects were mostly comprised of the rights he chose to confer on them. For the most part they could be given and taken away at the whim of the monarch. (Until after WWII for example, the Emperor of Japan was believed to be the son of god.) There were some exceptions, the Magna Carta, for example, but not many.

For the first time, as far as I know, the American system disengaged the monarch and put the people, all of them, in direct relationship with their civil rights. The first time, ever.
In this respect, and this respect only, were the Founders asserting the equality of men. This was an incredibly revolutionary assertion.

The then existing institution of slavery does not, in my opinion, invalidate their assertion. At that time those who condoned the practice did not consider slaves human. That they were wrong is beside the point. At that time women were generally not considered the equal of men. That they were wrong is also beside the point.

In their context, in their time, the views they held were commonplace. That they were not as enlightened as we are today is entirely predictable and irrelevant. In case it has gone unnoticed, we evolve. Were it otherwise our creation would have been accompanied by the invention of cars, planes, telephones, modern medicine and personal computers. 10's of billions of us lived and died during the thousands of years that humans were such slaves to our needs and environments that there was no time for meaningful innovation.

When did that state of being change dramatically? The Industrial Revolution and the soon to follow establishment of the United States of America, where all men are created equal and a reliable rule of law, not the whim of monarchs, governs. At the time, the only such place on Earth.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Why We Have Rules

I have written often about human nature. It is obvious to me that any policy or political philosophy that ignores human nature is bound to fail. How do we know what human nature is?

Its most objective definition is actually stated in the reverse, in my opinion. That definition is the 10 Commandments. After all, who, if not The Creator, would be in a better position to evaluate the character of characters he created.

The first four command us not to do what we naturally do; extol ourselves. These commandments then posit that left to our own unchecked preferences we would all insist that we are god and prefer our own rules to those laid down by others. Thus, the other, laying down the rules must be far more powerful than mere mortals. You can  use your own experience to evaluate the success of the first four commandments.

The fifth commandment instructs us to honor our parents. I'm guessing that whoever wrote this commandment had noticed that children, particularly teens and young adults, routinely consider their parents to be complete idiots and often treat them accordingly. The author was likely the parent of more than one of these offensive beasts.

Later in life parents tend to become a burden to their children. Another appropriate time for the application of the commandment in an effort to ensure that the children, no longer young, are sufficiently afraid of other-world complications that they will abide by the injunction. You can use your own experience to evaluate the success of the fifth commandment.

Numbers 6,7 and 8 tell us what god thinks is part of our nature but commands that we not succumb to our nature and; murder, commit adultery and steal. Considering the current pace of murder, divorce and theft it looks to me, once again, as though The Creator knows his customer. Given the astonishing rate of incarceration and divorce in this country, it seems, once again that he understands our character.

Number 9, "Thou shalt not bear false witness..." points to the fact that many of us are liars. That is apparently so basic and pervasive a human trait that any important document tells us that we must swear that we are not lying.

It is so basic a feature in fact that several words and phrases have been developed to be used to persuade our friends, absent a sworn declaration to the contrary in support of the veracity of our assertion, that we are not lying. These words and phrases include, "frankly", "honestly", "to be perfectly honest", "to tell you the truth" and so on. Don't ever use them.

Number 10 addresses covetousness. As we have all observed humans are extremely jealous creatures. Disastrously so in many cases.

So, our Creator, the bible tells us, for reasons left completely unexplained, decided to create a bunch of creatures who:
1) Have little respect for anyone but themselves;
2) Treat their parents like crap;
3) Murder, steal and commit adultery;
4) Lie constantly; and
5) Live lives fueled by being jealous of their fellow men.

That is the judgment of human nature according to the 10 commandments. Although I refer to god and The Creator, I do so for convenience only. It is clear to me that there is no god and that some other method of creation produced us. Imagine the spectacular idiocy of knowingly creating a group that you know in advance will be severely flawed. Ridiculous. Whoever the authors of the old testament were, they were simply creating a blueprint for socialization using a bogey man as their weapon for forcing compliance. Not a unique tool. Every religion created before and after Judaism proceeds similarly.

The lesson here is that we cannot create policies and/or political philosophies that rely on honesty, respect, fair dealing or selflessness and expect them to succeed without the simultaneous application of severe penalties for transgression.

The spectacular abuse of every social program in this country is evidence enough to prove this point.

Socialism fails at every turn because it must rely on an absence of covetousness to succeed. Can not happen. Capitalism works because it appeals to our true nature. Covetousness, for example, is rewarded if it is accompanied by hard work. Of course, there are those who choose to substitute murder and/or dishonesty for hard work and are also rewarded. The Mob, for example.

So conduct yourselves accordingly. Plan for those you interact with to be liars and cheats if they can get away with it. Your planning will protect you from many of the usual human behaviors. Ronald Reagan may have said it best: Trust but verify. A few moments of thought will lead you to the conclusion that this phrase actually restates, politely, a very old saying: I don't trust him as far as I can throw him.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Capitalism's Creative Juice, the Threat of Failure

Over the last few years I have added a new name to my list of favorite opinion writers, Kevin Williamson of National Review. An article he published today is, in my opinion, a must read. He is an unabashed supporter of Capitalism and seems to me to understand its workings with more clarity than most.

"One of the rarely appreciated aspects of the capitalist model of innovation is that the wealthy subsidize the development of products for everybody else: The mobile phone is a case study in that process, as is the electric car, as indeed were ordinary cars. The firm that developed the first automotive air-conditioning and power windows was a high-end marque that despite its landmark innovations is no longer with us: Packard. The Bonfire of the Vanities–era financiers who carried the first mobile phones paid for much of the research and development that made them ordinary products for non-gazillionaires. My own financial means at the moment do not, alas, afford the purchase of the new plug-in hybrid from Porsche — which is a million-dollar supercar — but the technologies developed for the 918 Spyder will make their way through the marketplace the same way that the automatic transmission (Oldsmobile, 1940), the supercharger (Mercedes, 1921), and the independent suspension (Mercedes, 1933) went from being expensive options on cars for the rich to being standard equipment on your Hyundai."

This, to me, is an excellent insight and might be valuable knowledge for the Occupied crowd to have as they talk to each other on their cell phones castigating the evil rich. But for the evil rich they would have no cell phones or much else for that matter. Anyone remember the Lhada? No? That is because it no longer exists. It was a car built in the USSR. My sister bought one back in the 70's. Predictably the worst car ever manufactured. There is a good reason for its failure and Williamson explains it below.

Williamson's piece is actually a response to a comment made by the US Government's Chief Technology Officer. She said,

“Why can’t the federal government have websites and digital services that are awesome?”

He proceeds to answer her question. In his penultimate paragraph he explains:

"Non-performing federal agencies do not go bankrupt, federal bureaucracies do not see their shares tank when they do poorly, and government entities do not have their assets acquired by more effective competitors. Political bureaucracies are creatures doing violence to the evolutionary equilibrium — dinosaurs running amok in modern technological civilization, and Jurassic Park taught us how that turns out."

Read more at:
Read the whole thing if you have the time and the interest.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Lies, Always

The gender wage gap has been getting a lot of press recently. Of course, as we all know if we give it a moment's thought, there is no such thing. Would any of you tolerate doing the same job, with the same skills, dedication and outcome for less money than the person sitting beside you doing the same job? No you wouldn't. Do you know anyone who would? It has been the law in this country since 1965 that wage discrimination by gender is unlawful.

The famous "Women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men" is true. It is also entirely meaningless. That statistic is arrived at by adding up all wages earned by women and dividing that number by the number of women in the work force, doing the same for men and comparing the results. Given the career choices that women and men make for various reasons the outcome is entirely predictable. Teachers and Librarians are deemed to be less valuable to our economies than Doctors and Lawyers. They just are. I doubt it surprises anyone that Doctors earn more than Teachers.

The Left is heavily invested in their "War on Women" trope and so they cannot let this go. And so they do what they always do...Lie.

This reminds me of a recent Michelle Obama story. When asked during an interview with People Magazine last winter whether  she had experienced racism personally she answered in the affirmative and related the story of having gone to Target "in disguise" and being asked by another customer to reach something on a shelf for her. Implicit in her telling is that the customer just assumed she was a lowly Target worker because Michelle is black. It was a terrible experience.

The following is copied from the linked story. This is how she told the story somewhat earlier during a Letterman appearance.

“That’s my Target run. I went to Target,” she said. “I thought I was undercover. I have to tell you something about this trip though. No one knew that was me because a woman actually walked up to me, right? I was in the detergent aisle, and she said — I kid you not — she said, ‘Excuse me, I just have to ask you something,’ and I thought, ‘Oh, cover’s blown.’ She said, ‘Can you reach on that shelf and hand me the detergent?’  I kid you not.”
As the audience laughed, she went on, “And the only thing she said — I reached up, ’cause she was short, and I reached up, pulled it down — she said, ‘Well, you didn’t have to make it look so easy.’ That was my interaction. I felt so good. … She had no idea who I was. I thought, as soon as she walked up — I was with my assistant, and I said, ‘This is it, it’s over. We’re going to have to leave.’ She just needed the detergent.”

So, a short person (color of skin not noted) asked a tall person  to get something off a high shelf for her.  Just a normal human interaction. No racism, no nothing. Michelle just "felt so good".

Disgraceful liars, all of them all of the time. There is an element of very good news here. A 50 year old black woman cannot point to a single act of racism in her life. That is real progress. We should be congratulating each other on our accomplishment. So congratulations. You will not hear that from these black libs because many of them would be out of business if they confessed to their lies.

They Never Take Ingenuity into Account

There have always been Malthusians among us, even before there was a Malthus.

These are people who look at the present and extrapolate it to the future without considering that historically humans have shown that we learn as we go along. An essential part of being human is being creative and adaptive.

Despite the evidence of the last 200 years of technological breakthrough after breakthrough the same people continue to predict man-made disaster from over population and over industrialization without a moments regard for our innovative history.

At the link you will find an excellent exposition of the complete failure of  the Malthusians predictions since 1970. All the predictions were reasonable if you choose to think of the human race as one that never learns anything.