The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘elections’ Category

THE GOOD OLD DAYS

It was the year 1957 – 57 years ago.  The scene was Little Rock, Arkansas.  The governor of that state was Orval Faubus (D), a name that may be unfamiliar to younger readers.  The nine male white Justices of the Supreme Court had struck down desegregation in public schools in the Brown vs. The Board of Education decision.  The governor of Arkansas disagreed with that decision and militarized the Arkansas National Guard to prevent black students from attending Little Rock Central High School.

The nine black students who had enrolled in Little Rock Central High School initially were blocked from attending by the Guard.  The Mayor of Little Rock, Woodrow Wilson Mann appealed to President Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) who intervened, sending in the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock to escort and protect the students.  Eisenhower ultimately federalized the Arkansas National Guard, taking them out of the control of Governor Faubus.

Particularly during their first year attending Little Rock Central High, all of the students were subject to derision and abuse by their white counterparts.  One of them, Melba Patillo had acid thrown in her face and several white girls tried to light her hair on fire when she was in the rest room.  Others were spit on as they walked the school’s hallways.  That was the way it was in America in 1957 – at least in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The state of Arkansas elects its governor for a two year term.  Orval Faubus was elected to six successive terms by the citizens of that state.  Notwithstanding what transpired in Little Rock in 1957, Faubus won his final election as governor in 1964 and carried more than 81% of the black vote in that election.  What were the black voters of Arkansas thinking back then?  What are they thinking today?

There was something refreshing about Orval Faubus.  He made the list of the “Top Ten Most Influential Men in America” in 1958.  He was either loved or hated.  There was no parsing your position when it came to the governor.  You knew that Faubus was a strict segregationist.  He made no bones about his position and made no excuses for his beliefs.  Whether you agreed or disagreed with him, it was impossible to say that he was not honest.

I thought about Little Rock as events in Ferguson, MO are unfolding.  To say the least, the way in which the Ferguson PD has managed this has been far from perfect.  Suspicion has arisen because of the failure, until today, to release the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown.  The governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon (D) took charge and by appointing the head of the Missouri State Police,  Captain Ron Johnson took a big step in the right direction.  Johnson is well-spoken and is a calming influence, helping to diffuse a situation that was at a boiling point and is now at a fast simmer.

The family made a statement and appealed to the community to keep calm, to continue to demonstrate but to do so in a peaceful manner.  That is admirable and is what should happen.  But in today’s release of the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown, it was also revealed that Brown was caught on the Quick Trip video security camera, robbing the store.  His identity and participation in this theft has now been confirmed – as well his manhandling the short owner of the store who is dwarfed by this 6’ 4”, 292 pound “gentle giant” as he has been characterized.  And then the attorneys for the Brown family, headed by Benjamin Crump who represented the Trayvon Martin family, released the following statement:

Michael Brown’s family is beyond outraged at the devious way the police chief has chosen to disseminate piece mil (sic) information in a manner intended to assassinate the character of their son, following such a brutal assassination of his person in broad daylight.

There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution style murder of their child by this police officer as he held his hands up, which is the universal sign of surrender.

The prolonged release of the officer’s name and then the subsequent alleged information regarding a robbery is the reason why the family and the local community have such distrust for the local law enforcement agencies.

It is no way transparent to release the still photographs alleged to be Michael Brown and refuse to release the photographs of the officer that executed him.

The police strategy of attempting to blame the victim will not divert our attention, from being focused on the autopsy, ballistics report and the trajectory of the bullets that caused Michael’s death and will demonstrate to the world this brutal execution of an unarmed teenager.

Benjamin L Crump, Esq.
Anthony D. Gray, Esq.
Daryl D. Parks, Esq.

If I hadn’t read the signatures at the end of this statement, I would have guessed that it had been written by Al Sharpton or one of the other race baiters who regularly stir the pot when these sorts of incidents occur.  And just for once, it would give all of us some real reason for outrage if the “victim” as Michael Brown may have been, did not engage in possibly illegal acts, such as the store robbery, which only muddy the waters on what happened.

I didn’t know the late Michael Brown.  Losing your life over fifty dollars worth of stolen cigars is mind numbing.  But I do know that good kids don’t steal from convenience stores.  And if there is one lesson to be learned, it is one that is generally ignored by our black citizens.

In 1964 when black Arkansas voters cast 81% of their ballots for the segregationist/racist Governor Orval Faubus, the overall unemployment rate in this country was 5.2% and for black workers was 6.1%.  Today the rate for black teenagers, kids like Michael Brown is nearly 25% – and black Americans voted for another Democrat, Barack Obama giving him 95% of their ballots.

It makes me long for the good old days.

CHUMP CHANGE

Before he went into business for himself, I remember the night that we were having dinner and my dad made a big announcement to the family.  He had been offered a new sales position with a firm that was a competitor to his present employer and he had accepted it.  But the big part of the announcement was, “If I exceed my quotas, I can earn twenty thousand dollars in my first year.”  A hush fell over the table as mom, grandma and I were awestruck as we tried to contemplate  that massive amount of money.

To put that into perspective, a candy bar cost a nickel; a newspaper cost a dime; and a ride on either New York’s busses or subways cost fifteen cents.  As you’ve guessed, dad’s announcement was a few years ago – when being a millionaire meant being a person who could just about afford to buy or do almost anything.

The way the government throws money (yours and mine) around, we regard hundreds of thousands of dollars as mere rounding errors.  Millions barely get a second look and until we get to billions it doesn’t seem that we want to be bothered with much oversight of how we’re spending the taxpayers’ wealth.  Perhaps that’s how we’ve gotten to a debt that is in excess of seventeen trillion.  That’s seventeen thousand billions – or seventeen million millions.  However you slice it, that’s a whole lot of zeroes.

Now the reason for putting this all in perspective is so that I might mention what in my childhood would have been a massive amount but today is viewed as little more than chump change – the sum of $608,000.  What is this number and why devote a post to it?

Washington, D.C. businessman, Jeffrey Thompson, originally a Jamaican national, is alleged to have raised that sum to benefit a number of our politicians including the candidate-presumptive for president on the Democrat ticket in 2016, one Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Now fundraising isn’t in and of itself illegal if it’s done properly – in fact Obama is in New York today on exactly the same mission.  But what is illegal is for an agent or officer of a campaign to solicit illegal contributions.  Enter Minyon Moore, a top operative in Mrs. Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 nomination bid.

Thompson, who pleaded guilty today to illegal fundraising activity with respect to the 2010 election of D. C. Mayor Vincent Gray, apparently told federal prosecutors that he had been approached by Ms. Moore and was asked by her to conduct illegal fundraising activities in four states and in Puerto Rico.  The investigators went quickly on to add that “there was no evidence that Mrs. Clinton had any knowledge of this activity.”

Now think back a few months to that event in New Jersey known as “Bridge Gate” with which the media had a field day and which is being investigated by a committee of the New Jersey legislature.  In that event, one of Governor Chris Christie’s top aides apparently decided, out of political retribution, to constrict the traffic on the George Washington Bridge to “punish” the mayor of Ft. Lee because she did not endorse her boss.

One of the comments that came from the lead investigator looking into this matter was, “It’s hard to believe that the governor didn’t either direct this or at the least he should have known that it was going to happen.”   Christie in a now famous news conference accepted full responsibility for the event although he denied having any personal knowledge of it.  He fired his aide immediately.

I am inclined to believe Christie’s profession of ignorance.  However, I am also inclined to agree with the investigator’s comment that, “he should have known about it.”  It is exactly for that reason that I discredit the president’s statements that “he didn’t know about the insurance policies that would be cancelled; the fact that everyone is not saving $2,500 a year and people are losing their doctors because of Obamacare.”  It is exactly for that reason that I would not support Chris Christie for president.

But if we apply that logic fairly, how should we be disposed to the potential candidacy of Hillary Clinton?  Should she not have had knowledge of impropriety that was ongoing during her campaign and take responsibility for her staff’s activities?  Or would even raising this issue be nothing more than another assault in the “War on Women?”

I guess if we want to be “gender blind” and fair we should remember the old adage,  “What’s good for the ganders should be good for the goose.”  Even if that goose is Hillary Clinton.

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