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We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates is an important book.  The following notes restructure my views on Blacks in America from the past relative to moving forward… read this and let the concepts sink into your mindset.

There is a basic assumption in this country, one black people are not immune to, which holds that if blacks comport themselves in a way that accords with middle-class values, if they are polite, educated, and virtuous, then all the fruits of America will be open to them. In its most vulgar form, this theory of personal Good Negro Government denies the existence of racism and white supremacy as meaningful forces in American life.

page 22   When political strategists argue that the Republican Party is missing a huge chance to court the black community, they are thinking of this mostly male bloc – the old guy in the barbershop, the grizzled Pop Warner coach, the retired Vietnam vet, the drunk uncle at the family reunion. He votes Democratic, not out of any love for abortion rights or progressive taxation, but because he feels – in fact, he knows – that the modern-day GOP draws on the support of people who hate him.

page 54  Implicit in the notion of code-switching is a belief in the illegitimacy of blacks as Americans, as well as a disbelief in the ability of our white peers to understand us.

page 67 The four million enslaved bodies, at the start of the Civil War, represented an inconceivable financial interest – $74 billion in today’s dollars- and the cotton that passed through their hands represented 60 percent of the country’s exports.

“White men,” wrote Mississippi senator and eventual president of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis, “have an equality resulting from a presence of a lower caste, which cannot exist were white men to fill the positions here occupied by the servile race.”

page 85  America is literally unimaginable without plundered labor shackled to plundered land, without the organizing principle of whiteness as citizenship, without the culture crafted by the plundered, and without that culture itself being plundered.

page  138 The poet Lucille Clifton once put it succinctly:

They act like they don’t love their country

No

What it is

Is they found out

Their country don’t love them.

page 140 “When our laws, our leaders, or our government are out of alignment with our ideals, then the dissent of ordinary Americans may prove to be one of the truest expression of patriotism,” Obama said in Independence, Missouri, in June 2008.

page 152  I subscribed, like most, to the theories of the sociologist William Julius Wilson: that the decline of the kind of industrial-high-paying low-skill jobs that built America’s white middle-class had left large numbers of young black men unemployed, and the government made no real effort to ameliorate this shift. An array of unfortunate consequences issued from this swift – family poverty, violent streets, poor schools.

page 158 Whites in the middle class often brought with them generational wealth – the home of a decreased parent, a modest inheritance, a gift from a favorite uncle.  Blacks in the middle class often brought with a generational debt – an incarcerated father, an evicted niece, a mother forced to take in her sister’s kids.  And these conditions, themselves, could not be separated out from the specific injury of racism, one that was not addressed by simply moving up a rung.

The sin of slavery did not stop with slavery.  On the contrary, slavery was but the initial crime in a long-tradition of crimes, of plunder even, that could be traced into the present day. And whereas a claim for reparations for slavery rested in the ancestral past, in was now clear that one could make a claim on behalf of those who were very much alive.

page 163 The Case of Reparations… Deuteronomy 15: 12-15

And if thy brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.  And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.  And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD they God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing today.

page 168  From 1930s through the 1960s, black people across the country were largely cut out of the legitimate home-mortgage market through means both legal and extralegal.  Chicago whites employed every measure, from “restrictive covenants” to bombings, to keep their neighborhoods segregated.

page 176 “A heavy account lies against us as a civil society for oppressions committed against people who did not injure us,” wrote the Quaker John Woolman in 1769, “and that if the particular case of many individuals were fairly stated, it would appear that there was considerable due to them.”

page 179 The last slaveholder has been dead for a very long time.  The last soldier to endure Valley Forge has been dead much longer.  To proudly claim the veteran and disown the slaveholder is patriotism a la carte.  If Thomas Jefferson’s genius matters, then so does his taking of Sally Hemings’ body.

page 186  Old-age insurance (Social Security proper) and unemployment insurance excluded farmworkers and domestics – jobs heavily occupied by blacks.  When President Roosevelt signed Social Security into law in 1935, 65 percent of African Americans nationally and between 70 and 80 percent in the South were ineligible.

page 200 To celebrate freedom and democracy while forgetting America’s origins in a slavery economy is patriotism a la carte.

page 201  And this destruction did not end with slavery.

page 202  Black nationalists have always perceived something unmentionable about America that integrationists dare not acknowledge – that white supremacy is not merely the work of hotheaded demagogues, or a matter of false consciousness, but a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it.   …that American prosperity was ill gotten and selective in its distribution. What is needed is an airing of family secrets, a settling with old ghosts.

page. 206  All of our solutions to the great problems of health care, education, housing, and economic inequality are troubled by what must go unspoken.  “The reason black people are so far behind now is not because of now,” Clyde Ross told me.  “It’s because of then.”

page  215  The most direct example in my life of the price we black people paid for living under the weight of someone else’s purpose – of being a disposable prop in someone else’s national sage – was my friend Prince Jones, murdered by a police officer shortly after I’d left Howard.

page 231 In absolute terms, America’s prison and jail population from 1970 until today has increased sevenfold, from some 300,000 people to 2.2 million.  The United States now account for less than 5 percent of the world’s inhabitants – and about 25 percent of its incarcerated inhabitants.  In 2010, a third of all black male high school dropouts between the ages of 20 and 39 were imprisoned, compared with only 13 percent of their white peers..

page 240 Just as ex-offenders had to learn to acculturate themselves to prison, they have to learn to re-acculturate themselves to the outside.  But the attitude that help one survive in prison is almost the opposite of the kind needed to make it outside.  Craig Haney, a professor at UC Santa Cruz who studies the cognitive and psychological effects of incarceration, has observed:

A tough veneer that precludes seeking help for personal problems, the generalized mistrust that comes from the fear of exploitation, and a tendency to strike out in response to minimal provocations are highly functional in many prison contexts but problematic virtually everywhere else.

page 249  When the Justice Department investigated the Ferguson Police Department in the wake of Michael Brown’s death, it found a police force that disproportionally ticketed and arrested blacks and viewed them “less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue.” This was not because the police department was uniquely evil – it was because Ferguson was looking to make money.

page 250 Gunnar Myrdal, 1944: “Such persons are a danger to the Negro community. Leniency toward Negro defendants in cases involving crimes against other Negroes is thus actually a form of discrimination.

page 257 Surveys have concluded that blacks and whites use drugs at roughly the same rates.  And yet by the close of the twentieth century, prison was a more common experience for young black men that college graduation or military service.

page. 258 Deindustrialization had presented an employment problem for America’s poor and working class of all races.   Prison presented a solution: jobs for whites, and warehousing for blacks.

page 275  For African Americans, unfreedom is the historical norm.  Enslavement lasted for nearly 250 years.  The 150 years that followed have encompassed debt peonage, convict lease-labor, and mass incarceration – a period that overlapped with Jim Crow.  This provides a telling geographic comparison.  Under Jim Crow, blacks in the South lived in a police state.  Rates of incarceration were not that high – they didn’t need to be, because state social control of blacks was nearly total.  Then, as African Americans migrated north, a police state grew up around them there, too.

page 280 Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 1964.  His point was simple, if impolitic: Blacks were suffering from the effects of centuries of ill treatment at the hands of white society.  Ending that ill treatment would not be enough; the country would have to make amends for it. “It may be that without unequal treatment on the immediate future there is no way for (African Americans) to achieve anything like equal status in the long run,” Moynihan wrote.

page 318  Power was what mattered, and what characterized the differences between black and white America was not a difference in work ethic, but a system engineered to place one on top of the other.

page  328  According to Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at New York University who studies economic mobility, black families making $100,000 a year or more live in more disadvantage neighborhoods than white families making less than $30,000.  This gap didn’t just appear by magic; it’s the result of the government’s effort over many decades to create a pigmentocracy – one that will continue without explicit intervention.

page 322  Obama: “speak to the hurt, and the sense of injustice, and the self-doubt that arises out of the fact that (African Americans) are behind now, and it makes us sometimes feel as if there must be something wrong with us – unless you’re able to see the history and say, “It’s amazing we got this far given what we went through.”

page 334  For a century after emancipation, quasi-slavery haunted the South.  And more than a century after Brown v. Board of Education, schools throughout much of this country remain segregated. There are no clean victories for black people, nor, perhaps, for any people.  The presidency of Barack Obama is no different.  One can now say that an African American individual can rise to the same level as a white individual, and yet also say that the number of black individuals who actually qualify for that status will be small.

page 350  Black workers suffer – if it can be called that – because it was and is our lot.  But when white workers suffer, something in nature has gone awry.  And so an opioid epidemic is greeted with a call for treatment and sympathy, as all epidemics should be, while a crack epidemic is greeted with a call for mandatory minimums and scorn.

page 350  On the eve of secession, Jefferson Davis, the eventual president of the Confederacy: The white laborers of the South are all of them men who are employed in what you would term the higher pursuits of labor among you.  It is the presence of a lower caste, those lower by their mental and physical organization, controlled by the higher intellect of the white man, that gives this superiority to the white laborer.  Menial services are not there performed by the white man.  We have none of our brethren sunk to the degradation of being menials.  That belongs to the lower race – the descendants of Ham.

page  354  “These days, what ails working-class and middle-class blacks and Latinos is not fundamentally different from what ails their white counterparts,” wrote Senator Barack Obama in 2006:

Downsizing, outsourcing, automation, wage stagnation, the dismantling of employer-based health-care and pension plans and schools that fail to teach young people the skills they need to compete in a global economy.

page 364  The first black president found that he was personally toxic to the GOP base.  An entire political party was organized around the explicit aim of negating Obama.  It was thought by Obama and others that this toxicity was the result of a relentless assault waged by Fox News and right-wing talk radio.  Trump’s genius was understanding that it was something more, that it was a hunger for revanche so strong that a political novice and accused rapist could topple the leadership of one major party and throttle the presumed favorite of another.

page  365  It is as if the white tribe united in demonstration to say, “If a black man can be president, then any white man – no matter how fallen – can be president.”

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smallyesno

If voting and public policy aren’t your things, you should think again.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease or folks who actually vote decide everything.  Democrats generally advocate for working people but those same people blow off voting. They spent countless hours on cellphone games, sports, T.V. or just chilling but can’t find 15 minutes to vote.

We are at a crossroads with policy in the South.  I personally see a re-segregation of the region voluntarily but if you know southerners, the wealthy will get theirs and everything else.  In rural counties, certain people are moving out of the county seats, homeschooling their kids and envisioning a battle to create a nation where everyone looks and acts like them.

We need a country where all voices are heard at the discussion table and we need 5 hot topics to convince people on my side of the railroad tracks that voting in every local, state and federal election is of vital importance.  Here is the kicker: some of the issues don’t seem to directly involve you but they do.

Weed: The majority of southerners and I have never violated marijuana laws.  We need to have a public discussion and statewide vote on weed laws compared to legal alcohol and prescription opioid drugs.  Firstly, California Governor and former smoker Jerry Brown is right; we shouldn’t have a society in which everyone is high daily….people have things they need to do.  If that was the case, the rest of the world would overtake us in productivity.  However, cannabis seems to have serious medical benefits and is possibly less harmful than liquor.

Some think the alcohol lobby is fighting weed legalization but I think the drug companies don’t want homegrown competition for pain relief.  While hard drugs like heroin and cocaine should never be recreational, the people should be allowed to vote on weed because the criminal commerce of this product is packing prisons.  Let me understand: crack was horrible and destroyed our community (lock them up and toss the key) but opioids are destroying the other side of town and they need treatment.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN will have a special report on pot vs. pills on April 29, 2018, and I look forward to getting better informed. Agriculture is Georgia’s top industry and our research universities might one day develop, as Colorado has, cannabis strains that reduce anxiety and pain without euphoria. The people should be allowed a vote.  Former State House member and current candidate for Secretary of State Dee Dawkins-Haigler broke down the cannabis public policy points in a You Tube video I came across recently. I sincerely appreciate the intelligent progressive dialog.

Schools:  “Make America Great Again” involves changing the structure of school funding.  Taxpayers often complain that the money spent on schools should be higher in their part of the community because their property taxes fund the local portion of schools.  The ultimate objective of the school choice movement is finding a dollar amount for educating each kid and allowing parents the flexibility to leave their children in public schools, move them to private schools or keep the money and teach them at home. Because that amount won’t pay for a private school education, working class families will have fewer options.

Some conservatives argue that the only job of teachers is to teach but modern teachers are role models and surrogate parents.  People learn to be around folks not like them from classmates and teachers—Black, White, Red, Brown, Yellow.  To the Duck Dynasty types, everyone not like them is likely against them.  Teachers and coaches are selected by principals and administrators and those people are selected by elected school board members.  If you don’t vote, your kids won’t have any teachers with their cultural background.  We also know that teaching has been one of the first middle class positions in many Black families.

Military: The Armed Forces and civilian federal government jobs joins teachers as Black mobility opportunities.  As you know, Black G.I.s died for freedom in Europe and southeast Asia when their families weren’t free in Georgia. We must vote to support the troops by electing a President and Congress that will send troops into harm’s way only when a clear and present danger exists and start the mission with a defined exit strategy.  The Pentagon, White House and Congress should be watched on behalf of our brave service members like a hawk because rich kids aren’t on the frontline as much as working class folks are.  A young high school graduate from the poorest family can have a career and a place to live a week after graduation if he or she joins the military….and never see poverty again.  But, a leader like the current President could send him into combat because some other leader looked at him funny.

Healthcare: We need universal basic healthcare coverage for every American.  Currently, the uninsured use the E.R. as a doctor’s office.  An annual checkup could detect an issue early and the cost of treatment would be low.  Actually, we need a tough, preventative healthcare system in which doctor’s warn of the looming consequences of bad habits like obesity and substance abuse.  Some hardcore public policy wonks believe expensive treatment for those who were long ago warned should be withheld.

If you won’t vote for Democrats who support healthcare rather than the far right conservatives who are in bed with the insurance, hospital and drug companies, you shouldn’t be surprised that America will be great again when poor people start dying.

Jobs: America is the land of opportunity and I hope you have had a few.  Ideally, kids would pay attention in school, at church and at home—learning the information and skills needed to train on the man’s job or in college.  In reality with technology and innovation, companies can function more productively with fewer people.  The competition for jobs and career is intense and growing more intense as other parts of the world emerge in the global market place.

In a nutshell, our young adults need to be clean cut, focused, energetic and patient.  The progressive movement is pointing out low wages resulting from corporate greed and as President Trump says, we need to manufacture things in America again.  There is no easy answer but we know that the solution involves a comprehensive plan—everyone at the table.  But, if working people don’t vote, the decision will primarily reflect the interests of rich fat cats.

In summary, we can’t figure out why my side of the community doesn’t vote but we better come up with some hot topics fast.

Black-White-Vote-t-shirt-dress-sticker

No..don’t..stop.  In Georgia Democrat politics, we are continuing the same self-destructive, plantation mentality of the last 20 years and are about to experience the same results.  We need to borrow a few plays from the Republican playbook…not the nasty disinformation but the posture toward the people.  If you noticed I didn’t say “voters”…I typed “people” because on the GOP side, the voters and the people are the same because most of them vote in every election while the “people” the Dems help and serve “vote” occasionally.  This must end.

Background: The Democrat Party of Georgia and much of the South lost most statewide elections in the last 10 to 15 years.  We have seen our officeholders drop to record low numbers in the state houses and state constitutional positions as rural Whites bounced for the GOP.  Those White voters broke the awkward alliance of Dixiecrats and the descendants of those oppressed until recently.

Problem: The establishment of the Democrat Party in Georgia consists of the same people from our heyday.  While we appreciate your service, something must change because the state and the nation has fallen into dangerous hands.  The establishment naturally enjoys power and status; their agenda is to keep control of everything.  No, their real agenda is to select candidates with deep pockets or who can raise big bucks.

Those candidates then hire the establishment’s cohorts as fundraisers, campaign managers, etc.  With secondary regard for the actual election results, the E wins by staying paid before one vote is casted.  For sake of full disclosure, I assumed I would be part of the E after returning to the state as a former congressional staffer. In all likelihood, my opinions would be different if the E valued my centrist views.

I feel like that guy Joseph from the Bible who was sold into slavery by his brothers but became pharaoh’s chief adviser.  In the end, he told his brothers that they meant it for evil but God meant it for good.  In this comparison, the GOP would be pharaoh?  Well, it was always my old country club, less nutty Republican friends who discuss policies with moderate Dems.  It’s ashamed that the extremes in their party took over; I know the feeling because the same can be said for the well-intended give, give, give, assist, assist, assist ultra-liberals in our party.

The Establishment or E is again running things from fancy offices in Buckhead and Marietta.  Like the latte-sipping liberals who control the national Democrat Party, they decide first who can produce enough money to keep them in tall cotton then, they craft what is important as issues based (you guessed it) on which interest groups have fat checkbooks.  Actually, the selected candidates are generally good people.  To me, it started with cookie company executive Michael Coles in the Senate race of 1998.

Georgia politically has three sections: Metro Atlanta, the Next Five Cities and Rural Georgia.  I haven’t been in Atlanta in six years—the traffic is too fast for me.  What voters do in rural Georgia should be based on what is important to us and not what the E in Atlanta and D.C. what to “teach” us is vital.

I give Trump credit for listening to his people (many of whom are nutty) and telling them he would do what they wanted if placed in office.  While he is so very wrong on most matters, the Democrats should learn to listen to the people first as Trump did….folks like that.

The Democrat Party of Georgia wants more White voters.  I know you aren’t running anything but you mouth in the South without a certain number of reasonable Whites.  But, I refuse to beg or want the people who said horrible things about the Obamas yet think Trump is great…good riddance.  Our better hope for White voters is suburban moderates and non-voting hip young people.

A national party has variety at the decision-making table…that’s not true of the current Georgia or national GOP.  I appreciate the diversity of the current Dem candidates for statewide office; some are friends and we see the return of a true Blue Dog.  The people will decide during the primary who moves forward…not the Establishment.  What you are not going to do is have the E in the plantation big house tell us in the field (the grassroots) what to do like we are children.

biisal

Shall we start 2018 by keeping it real; keeping it “100” as the kids say.  There are three long-term political prizes on the horizon of Georgia politics: the Democrat presidential nominee winning our state in 2020 and the retirements of Rep. Sanford Bishop and Senator Johnny Isakson.

These two statesmen are rare nice fellows in the mess that has become official Washington.  We need to look down the bench and study the depth charts to groom “who’s next.” Oh, some folks are grooming themselves in my opinion.

First, Former Congressman John Barrow (UGA, Harvard Law) is supposedly running for Secretary of State.  Are you kidding me?  This five terms representative would have been a Hillary Cabinet member.  He is gold or White gold to be exact.  Barrow was one of the last White Dems in the House from the South…super significant.  Traditionally, someone with his resume would only seek governor or U.S. Senator so his not running for governor is indication that Stacey Abrams is unbeatable in the primary.

To me, John Barrow and Stacey Evans are running statewide to build networks for Senate runs in the future.   After Black women flexed their political muscles in Alabama, you know the sistas in Georgia will show stronger muscles for Abrams in the primary this summer.

Rep. Sanford Bishop has had a stellar career but it could have been better.  We need Bishop to be the leader of rural Dems across the South but he won’t do it.  He likes being friendly with his “dear colleagues” on the other side of the aisle to get things done bla bla bla.  I have a newsflash for my old boss: most guys on the other side are horrible people these days.  It’s time to start throwing elbows in the paint.  Bishop should be able to tell you who he is grooming as congressional candidates in every district south of Atlanta.  See, we can’t win statewide without “down ballot” – congressional, state legislature, city council, county commission and school board.

Mayor Rufus Davis of Camilla and a host of Black mayors across Georgia are changing the game without seeking permission from the old guard.  Stacey Abrams must wonder why the old guard should be at the table since the party went down on their watch; they were too nice to counterbalance the ugliness and lies of the Tea Party.

The replacement for a retired Sanford Bishop needs to be a tough and resourceful leader because getting Trump out of the White House is so very important… nuclear nightmare important.

vote

The ultimate political objective is Donald Trump exiting the Oval Office.  Reasonable Americans should be laser-focused on that happening.  We shouldn’t blame President Trump for being exactly who he always was and employing “by any means necessary” methods to win.

For me, the blame lies primarily with a Republican Party that has so demonized everyone else that any member of their party is better than any Democrat.  The Democrats put Trump in the Oval because they ignored non-city voters; the Dems’ preoccupation has been driving higher voter turnout in cities and suburbs while blowing off us rural people as hicks and bumpkins.  Your Whole Foods pumpkin was grown by a bumpkin.

Achieving the objective starts with projecting the end and reverse engineering the desired result.  President Trump shouldn’t be reelected in 2020 and I personally think he has had it with public office…so let’s do him a solid and vote him out.  But, he can’t win the general election in November of that year if he isn’t on the ballot.  As Habakkuk 2:2 says, write the vision and make it plain upon the tables…tables, tablets, iPads, Galaxy Notes, smart phones.

The goal to reach the objective is: smart southern Blacks possibly swaying Republican primaries for better Republican candidates.

Most southern Blacks are Democrats but some like blogger Keith McCants and I are what you might call “functional Democrats.”  We know that an alarmingly big percentage of Blacks aren’t registered or vote only for the big elections.  President Obama often mentioned the large number of people who voted for him and exited the polling place without voting for other contests on the ballot.  We need some real hard hitting voting and public policy education and it can’t come from candidates or political parties… it must be us talking to us about us.

The well-intended Democrat Party is a comedy of errors and would have completely collapsed if not for the star power of the Clintons and the Obamas.   Whomever the Democrats select as their/our nominee in 2020, it should be fast and Bernie-free…I personally say Hillary.  Georgia Democrats would be free to vote in the Republican primary for a reasonable GOP candidate like Ohio Governor John Kasich.  It’s called hedging your bets with nuclear chips on the table.  A Democrats winning is important but not as important as keeping an unstable person out of the position.  Oh, I have Republican friends who to this day never supported Trump and question his fitness for public service.

The ultimate objective is assisted by election goals next year.  To me, all elections (state, local and federal) are indirect referenda on Trump and Obama.  If you still think Obama is a horrible person and Trump is wonderful, you have issues and will be in my prayers.   I might not be a strong Democrat but I am surely an Obamacrat.   Obamacrats and Trump supporters logically wouldn’t support the same candidates next year.

This blog started over 10 years ago and a recurring plea has been for Blacks to diversify our political portfolio…. don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.  Moderate to conservative Black southerners should strategically deal with reasonable people in both parties to achieve the objective of “a more perfect union.”  From the center, the Far Left seems almost as odd as the Far Right.

Weak Families = Crime

20171127_131822

The Sunday Albany Herald had an outstanding article about the root causes of crime.  To be honest, crime starts with the family foundation. When that mad man shot police in Houston last year, the Black police chief said the police are the scapegoats for bad families, underperforming schools and everything else wrong in America.

Before I share the hottest points from the article, I want to put my two cents worth in the mix.  A woman alone rarely successfully raises a strong man.  I couldn’t bring a girl up properly without help from ladies in my family, church and community.  Black churches need to be packed and teaching churches like the A.M.E. church shouldn’t be dying.  The residual benefit of church attendance for young family should be fellowship with successful and encouraging members of the community…folks eager to share their keys to positive living as well as connections.  Kids need to learn how to sit up straight and pay attention in class and that starts in church.

The federal and state government has unintentionally destroyed the Black family with too much assistance.  Kids plan to have kids like this: You have a baby with any oh body and you go get a check. Huh?

Then, you have babymakers, I refuse to call them fathers, who are too cool to flip burgers or pick fruit but not too cool to have others feed their “seed.”

Albany Herald    Sunday, November 26, 2007

Officials: Crime may be symptom of family issues             by Jon Gosa

Poverty is the mother of crime.

With statistics showing 33.8 percent of Albany’s population living at or below the poverty level, lack of material success seems to be a powerful argument for the city’s escalating violent crime.

“I want to know why these kids are out at 2 or 3 a.m., shooting each other.” City Commissioner Jon Howard said.  “Where are their parents? I don’t know how you do it, but we have to address the family.  I have a slogan: ‘If you can’t feed ‘em, don’t breed ‘em.’

71 percent of babies born in Albany were born to unwed mothers.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study by Patrick Fagan “The Real root Causes of Violent Crime: the Breakdown of Marriage, Family and Community” the rise in violent crime over the past 30 years parallels the rise in families abandoned by fathers.

Data show that the type of aggression and hostility demonstrated by a future criminal often is foreshowed in unusual aggressiveness as early as age 5 or 6.

Even in high-crime inner-city neighborhoods, more than 90 percent of children from safe, stable homes do not become delinquents.

Many lawmakers in Congress and in the states assume that the high level of crime in America must have its roots in material conditions, such as poor employment opportunities and a shortage of adequately funded social programs.  But, members of Congress and other policymakers cannot understand the root causes of crime if they insist on viewing in purely in material terms. The view blinds policymakers to the personal aspects of crime, including moral failure, the refusal to exercise personal responsibility and the inability or refusal to enter into family and community relationships based on love, respect and attachment both to the broader community and to a common code of conduct.

Government policy has, evidence indicates, become a powerful facilitator of the long-term rise of crime.  

  

gilll

Gil Scott Heron

 

My mind is blown by election numbers. The mayor of Camilla, Georgia, and I were talking this morning about the vast opportunities that exist for communities that simply register and vote…the squeaky wheel gets the grease. In Sylvester, Georgia, the newspaper reported that 26% of the 2,900 registered voters made it to the polls this month—mayor’s race decide by 600 so-odd people total while it was 1,200 two elections ago.

Parents support the football teams in Camilla, Sylvester and across the South; they brave bone-chilling weather for hours, cook post-game meals and boost the cheerleaders and marching band. I hope they like marching in uniforms because the current occupant of the White House might draft them into a nuclear war with that fellow in North Korea. But, we should remember that President Trump didn’t win the popular vote and less that 10,000 voters in two states could have given the election to Clinton.

Police wear uniforms and I am fortunate to live in a town with decent officers. On the other hand, the Worth County Sheriff’s Office actions are being reviewed. I think I voted for the Sheriff and always had a “how you” familiarity with sheriffs of my teen years. But, when it was time for upset people to sign a petition to recall the Sheriff, it was clear that many if not most of those parents in the football crowd don’t vote.

My brothers hipped me to election stats with the first lines of Gil Scott-Heron’s “B Movie” after Carter fell to Reagan.  But, President Reagan (right or wrong) was tough….cheap steak tough. Trump is a character and real Republicans know it. At the risk of sounding dramatic, life as we know it might be saved by electing local leaders this year who serve as the foundation for winning in 2018 and ultimately taking the White House from Trump and those like him. While candidates are important, it all begins with reaching people—turning pissed-offed people into regular voters. Gil Scott Heron seems like a visionary today.

B-Movie

Well, the first thing I want to say is: Mandate my -ss! Because it seems as though we’ve been convinced that 26% of the registered voters, not even 26% of the American people, but 26% of the registered voters form a mandate or a landslide. 21% voted for Skippy and 3, 4% voted for somebody else who might have been running.

What has happened is that in the last 20 years, America has changed from a producer to a consumer. And all consumers know that when the producer names the tune, the consumer has got to dance. That’s the way it is. We used to be a producer – very inflexible at that, and now we are consumers and, finding it difficult to understand. Natural resources and minerals will change your world. The Arabs used to be in the 3rd World. They have bought the 2nd World and put a firm down payment on the 1st one. Controlling your resources we’ll control your world. This country has been surprised by the way the world looks now. They don’t know if they want to be Matt Dillon or Bob Dylan. They don’t know if they want to be diplomats or continue the same policy – of nuclear nightmare diplomacy. John Foster Dulles ain’t nothing but the name of an airport now.

The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia. They want to go back as far as they can – even if it’s only as far as last week. Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards. And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes riding to the rescue at the last possible moment. The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse – or the man who always came to save America at the last moment – someone always came to save America at the last moment – especially in “B” movies. And when America found itself having a hard time facing the future, they looked for people like John Wayne. But since John Wayne was no longer available, they settled for Ronald Reagan and it has placed us in a situation that we can only look at -like a “B” movie.

Come with us back to those inglorious days when heroes weren’t zeros. Before fair was square. When the cavalry came straight away and all-American men were like Hemingway to the days of the wondrous “B” movie. The producer underwritten by all the millionaires necessary will be Casper “The Defensive” Weinberger – no more animated choice is available. The director will be Attila the Haig, running around frantically declaring himself in control and in charge. The ultimate realization of the inmates taking over at the asylum. The screenplay will be adapted from the book called “Voodoo Economics” by George “Papa Doc” Bush. Music by the “Village People” the very military “Macho Man.”

“Company!!!” “Macho, macho man!” “Two-three-four.” “He likes to be .. well, you get the point.” “Huuut! Your left! Your left! Your left, right, left, right, left, right…!”

A theme song for saber-rallying and selling wars door-to-door. Remember, we’re looking for the closest thing we can find to John Wayne. Clichés abound like kangaroos – courtesy of some spaced out Marlin Perkins, a Reagan contemporary. Clichés like, “itchy trigger finger” and “tall in the saddle” and “riding off or on into the sunset.” Clichés like, “Get off of my planet by sundown!” More so than clichés like, “he died with his boots on.” Marine tough the man is. Bogart tough the man is. Cagney tough the man is. Hollywood tough the man is. Cheap steak tough. And Bonzo’s substantial. The ultimate in synthetic selling: A Madison Avenue masterpiece – a miracle – a cotton-candy politician …Presto! Macho! “Macho, macho man!”

Put your orders in America. And quick as Kodak your leaders duplicate with the accent being on the dupes – cause all of a sudden we have fallen prey to selective amnesia – remembering what we want to remember and forgetting what we choose to forget. All of a sudden, the man who called for a blood bath on our college campuses is supposed to be Dudley “God-damn” Do-Right? ”

You go give them liberals hell Ronnie.” That was the mandate to the new Captain Bligh on the new ship of fools. It was doubtlessly based on his chameleon performance of the past: as a Liberal Democrat. As the head of the Studio Actor’s Guild, when other celluloid saviors were cringing in terror from McCarthy, Ron stood tall. It goes all the way back from Hollywood to hillbilly. From Liberal to libelous, from “Bonzo” to Birch idol, born again. Civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights: …it’s all wrong. Call in the cavalry to disrupt this perception of freedom gone wild. God damn it, first one wants freedom, then the whole damn world wants freedom.

Nostalgia, that’s what we want…: the good ol’ days, when we gave’em hell. When the buck stopped somewhere and you could still buy something with it. To a time when movies were in black and white, and so was everything else. Even if we go back to the campaign trail, before six-gun Ron shot off his face and developed hoof-in-mouth. Before the free press went down before full-court press, and were reluctant to review the menu because they knew the only thing available was…Crow.

Lon Chaney, our man of a thousand faces: no match for Ron. Doug Henning does the make-up; special effects from Grecian Formula 16 and Crazy Glue; transportation furnished by the David Rockefeller of Remote Control Company. Their slogan is, “Why wait for 1984? You can panic now…and avoid the rush.” So much for the good news….

As Wall Street goes, so goes the nation. And here’s a look at the closing numbers: racism’s up, human rights are down, peace is shaky, war items are hot. The House claims all ties. Jobs are down, money is scarce, and common sense is at an all-time low on heavy trading. Movies were looking better than ever, and now no one is looking, because we’re starring in a “B” movie. And we would rather had…John Wayne. We would rather had…John Wayne.

“You don’t need to be in no hurry. You ain’t never really got to worry. And you don’t need to check on how you feel. Just keep repeating that none of this is real. And if you’re sensing, that something’s wrong, Well just remember, that it won’t be too long Before the director cuts the scene. yea.” “This ain’t really your life, Ain’t really your life, Ain’t really ain’t nothing but a movie.”