Mike Kueber's Blog

August 4, 2017

A response to Jane Elliott’s “brilliant question.”

Filed under: Culture,Facebook,Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 12:19 am
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White audience left speechless by brilliant question about race.”  That is the title of a You Tube video by Jane Elliott that is shared ad nauseum on Facebook. The other ubiquitous, nausea-inducing video on Facebook has Jeff Daniels explaining in “Newsroom” why American is not the greatest country in the world.

In her short video, anti-racism activist Jane Elliott says, “I want every white person in this room who would be happy to be treated as this society in general treats our black citizens. If you as a white person would be happy to receive the same treatment that our black citizens do in this society, please stand.”

When no one in the audience stands, Elliott asserts that fact as proof that the audience knows how badly society treats blacks, and then she asks why the audience is so willing to accept the mistreatment of blacks.

Yesterday on Facebook, the Elliott video was thrown in my face while I was discussing one of the issues of the day. No, it wasn’t the Trump initiatives on reduced legal immigration or “intentional race-based discrimination” in college admissions. Rather, it concerned a police dust-up with an entitled white kid who refused the officer’s instruction to get out of his Ford Mustang.

My Facebook friend Patricia Spencer Potyka posted a lengthy video of the encounter, and George Thompson, Sr. made the first comment:

  • Thompson – If this driver had not been Caucasian there would have been no discourse: he would have been shot to death. Period.
  • Potyka – Not condoning the driver’s non-compliance initially, but he’s just a kid –scared kid.

At that point, I entered the fray:

  • Kueber – “not condoning noncompliance, but….” “If the driver had not been caucasian… would have been shot to death.” Remember Sandra Flake, the African-American who thought she had a right to stay in her car? She didn’t get shot, but did get arrested. The moral of this story is that when a police officer instructs you to get out of the car, the stupidest thing is to tell the officer that you have the right to stay in your car. Noncompliance is not an option. Yes, this guy is a scared kid, but not too scared to defy a cop while demanding to call his dad. An obvious case of affluenza.
  • Thompson – Ms. Flake, the African-featured woman you alluded to, was arrested, taken to the police station and murdered. Those who are afflicted by President Twitterdumb are not recipients of anodyne jollity. Please reconsider the video, (supra: “A WHITE AUDIENCE IS LEFT SPEECHLESS”) Evil is not funny.
  • Kueber – Mr. Thompson, everyone on Facebook is familiar with Jane Elliot’s silly video. The audience is speechless because the question is ridiculous on multiple levels. Perhaps you could summarize what you gleaned from viewing it.
  • Thompson – And yet you, Mr. Kueber , are apparently at a loss to enunciate even one basis to substantiate the “levels” corroborating your postulate of Ms. Elliot’s question as fatuous? Without such rejoinder, why should anyone entertain your apparent delusions?
  • Kueber – George — #1 – it would be presumptuous for a white person to think he knows how it feels to be treated as a black person in American society. Unless that person is author John Griffin (Black Like Me) or NAACP’s Rachel Dolezal, who is white, but identifies as a black. #2 – American society profiles everybody based on their life experiences with individuals of that type – age, sex, job, home, appearance, manners, accent, religion, politics, etc. That does not make them bigots.  In the abstract you may want to treat everybody as an individual, but it is impossible to ignore your life experiences. #3 – what sort of person would admit to preferring the life of someone else? Certainly not someone listening to Ms. Elliott speak. If Ms. Elliott were to ask a roomful of female feminists to stand if they would be happy to be treated as society treats men, I think the vast majority of them would remain seated.

George Thompson, Sr. appears to have tricked me. He responded to my question with another question, and I fell for his challenge with a lengthy, detailed response while he faded away like the drive-by media. With my response drafted, however, I will have a ready answer the next time someone asks me if I would be happy to be treated as a black person is treated.

Just as I am ready when someone asks if America is the greatest country in the world, in which case I play the Thompson trick and ask them to identify one that is greater 😉

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November 7, 2016

78258 and walking the walk

Filed under: Aphorism,Issues,Philosophy,Politics,Uncategorized — Mike Kueber @ 5:15 am
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One day after yoga practice at Lifetime Fitness I was talking to a couple of progressives about diversity.  One was Anglo, the other Asian/Mexican.  As progressives, they were very proud of San Antonio’s diversity.  I mentioned to them that San Antonio may be diverse, but it was also one of the most socio-economically segregated cities in America.

Although my statement surprised them, they seemed to accept it, and we moved on.  But when I got home, I decided to confirm my accuracy.  A quick google search took me to the news item that I had based my statement on.  According to a March 2016 editorial in the San Antonio Express-News:

  • Overall, San Antonio is middle of the road for big cities when it comes to prosperity and distress. But where we stand out is in our segregation and inequality. We lead the nation when it comes to the extreme differences between our more prosperous neighborhoods and our most distressed neighborhoods. Put another way, our prosperity is not at all shared among the city’s residents. We are the least equal city in the country.
  • Case in point: ZIP code 78207, our poorest. The index highlights this ZIP code and compares it with 78258, on the North Side, and our most prosperous ZIP code. In 78207, nearly half of the adults don’t have a high school diploma. Nearly 60 percent of adults are not working. Unemployment is up. Income is far below the state’s median level. The poverty rate is stuck at 42 percent.
  • In 78258, only 2 percent of residents don’t have a high school diploma. Two-thirds of adults are working. Incomes are way above the state’s median income level. Employment is zooming. The poverty rate is 4 percent.  “These communities look like two different countries,” said Steve Glickman of the Economic Innovation Group.

I forwarded the editorial to my two friends and then pointed out the ultimate irony – they both lived in 78258.  So, although they advocate for diversity and integration, they live lives of homogeneity and segregation.  Sort of like public-school advocates who send their children to private schools.  Or carbon-fuel opponents who consume prodigious amounts of fuel.  And it’s not just progressives.  There are all sorts of conservatives who don’t walk the walk.

This reminds me of another yoga teaching about changing myself and that will change the world. Or as Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world… As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”

November 3, 2016

The revival of protests, but preferably for Progressive causes

Filed under: Issues,Politics,Uncategorized — Mike Kueber @ 6:30 pm
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Protesting is enjoying a renaissance in America.  Many of my Facebook friends (but not my North Dakota friends) are being drawn into the Indian protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.  Although it is hard to discern any valid reason for the protest (no endangered water or violated sacred lands), any self-respecting progressive is going to be attracted to a fight between good-guy victims (Indians) and the bad-guy thugs (Cowboys/oil companies).  When the peaceful protests were ignored by the media, the protesters complained that the media had been co-opted by evil capitalists.  And when the protests turned illegal (trespassing and vandalism), the arrested protesters charged police brutality.  All pretty standard stuff from the 60s.

But even before the Cowboys vs. Indians protest, America was roiled by the Black Lives Matter protest.  Now I have no disagreement with the BLM protest.  Reasonable minds can disagree about whether there is a significant problem in America with the police treatment of black suspects.  Personally, I think the problem is usually with the black suspects, but the perspective of others is that the problem is usually police bias or brutality.  My response to the BLM protesters would not be “All Lives Matter,” but rather that I don’t believe your assertion that the police are acting as if Black Lives Don’t Matter.

The main controversy with the BLM is the form of protest.  And I’m not referring to the hijacking of a Bernie Sanders speech.  If he is such a namby-pamby to allow that, he has no business being president.  I’m referring to the Colin Kaepernick conduct during the national anthem at NFL games.  Clearly, Americans have the right to sit or kneel during the national anthem; the question is whether an employer should allow an employee to engage in a protest while on the job.

Most employers would not allow employees to engage in a protest while working, especially if the protest is controversial.  But the NFL is not “most employers.”  More than 70% of its players are black, so they are especially sympathetic to the BLM cause, even though most of its fans are not black or sympathetic.  That is one of the reasons, imo, that NFL ratings are dropping dramatically this year.

Similarly, most of the NBA’s players are black, so we can expect the NBA to take a similar stand.  Last week, a woman scheduled to sing the national anthem at a Sixer game appeared wearing an “We Matter” t-shirt, and a team underling apparently made a spontaneous battlefield decision to bench her and find a replacement singer.  After the game, several players complained about this treatment of the prospective protester, and the Sixer management concluded that the underling had been wrong and the prospective protester had been wronged, so she they apologized to her and invited her back for another anthem, apparently with their approval to protest however she wants.  I suspect the fans won’t welcome her as warmly as the Sixers do.

Another example of the Progressives flexing their politically-correct muscles occurred yesterday with the University of Wisconsin.   During last week’s football game, a fan caused great uproar by appearing in an Obama mask with prison garb and a noose hanging around his neck.  The University when it learned of the protest, seemed to act responsibly, just like the Sixer underling.  The University stated the following after the game:

  • UW Athletics’ policy regarding admission into the stadium with a costume stipulates that no one may be wearing a mask upon entering the facility. Once inside, it is permissible to wear a mask. The costume, while repugnant AND COUNTER TO THE VALUES OF THE UNIVERSITY AND ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT, was an exercise of the individual’s right to free speech. The university also exercised its rights by asking the individual to remove the offensive parts of the costume.”

But Progressives were not satisfied and lodged a formal complaint with the University, and on Wednesday, the University crawfished, with AD Barry Alvarez announcing:

  • I am deeply troubled by the incident from last Saturday’s game, and I am sorry for the harm it caused.  I am determined that nothing like this will happen again. I appreciated the opportunity to meet with a number of community leaders and students this afternoon to discuss our stadium policies. Our plan, before our next home football game, is to have a revised policy in place. Our department is committed to working collaboratively to make our stadium a great and safe place for fans to watch a football game.”

I look forward to reading how a public university (unlike a private professional team) accommodates the right of fans to protest while simultaneously making a stadium a “great place to watch a football game.”  Are they going to ban masks because Obama masks are racist, at least when joined with prison garb?  (Nooses are another matter.)

It seems that protesting for progressive causes can be a part of the game, but protesting for conservative causes requires that the rules be changed.

 

My presidential vote

Filed under: People,Politics,Uncategorized — Mike Kueber @ 3:41 am
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As I was standing in line to vote today at the Shavano Park City Hall, I noticed that most people in line were reading from their phone, so I decided to join them.  I subscribe to the NY Times and one of the first items to pop up was conservative columnist Ross Douthat’s column titled, “An election is not a suicide mission.”

During the 30-minute wait, I read the column.  Like the Times’s other conservative columnist, David Brooks, Ross Douthat can’t abide Trump, so I guessed correctly what the column was going to say.   He concludes as follows:

  • I agree with them that grave evils will follow from electing Hillary Clinton. But the Trump alternative is like a feckless war of choice in the service of some just-seeming end, with a commanding general who likes war crimes. It’s a ticket on a widening gyre, promising political catastrophe and moral corruption both, no matter what ideals seem to justify it.
  • It is a hard thing to accept that some elections should be lost, especially in a country as divided over basic moral premises as our own. But just as the pro-life movement ultimately won real gains — in lives saved, laws altered, abortion rates reduced — by accepting the legitimacy of the republic even as it deplored the killing of the unborn, so today’s conservatism has far more to gain from the defeat of Donald Trump, and the chance to oppose Clintonian progressivism unencumbered by his authoritarianism, bigotry, misogyny and incompetence, than it does from answering the progressive drift toward Caesarism with a populist Elagabalus.
  • Not because it is guaranteed long-term victory in that scenario or any other. But because the deepest conservative insight is that justice depends on order as much as order depends on justice. So when Loki or the Joker or some still-darker Person promises the righting of some grave wrong, the defeat of your hated enemies, if you will only take a chance on chaos and misrule, the wise and courageous response is to tell them to go to hell.

Douthat’s rationale reflected why I had already decided I would not vote for Donald Trump.  Although he is more conservative than Hillary Clinton, his character is so seriously flawed that a Trump presidency is too risky.  With President Clinton, conservatives can continue to work the democratic process in favor of our policies, and hope that Mitt Romney was engaged in hyperbole when he warned about the tipping point when government moochers become a majority in America.

But I am unwilling to vote for Hillary Clinton, either, not only because of her progressive policies, but also because of her flawed character.  If forced to appoint Trump or Hillary as president, I would appoint Hillary.  But as a protest against both of the two leading candidates, I decided to vote for independent conservative Evan McMullin.  According to the leading election prognosticators, McMullan has a 20% chance of winning Utah, and if a win in Utah prevents either Clinton or Trump from securing an electoral majority, the US House will decide the election, and McMullan would be an excellent compromise President.

And in any event, if Hillary can’t defeat Trump without the vote of true conservatives like me, heaven help us.

 

 

 

A fresh look at political correctness

Filed under: Culture,Issues,Politics,Uncategorized — Mike Kueber @ 3:07 am
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I’ve probably written in this blog a dozen times about political correctness.  The concept drives me crazy.  At various times I have described it, for purposes of progressive politics, as either treating a false statement as true (creating college diversity is intended to improve the learning environment for the other students) or a true statement as false (a victim might have some responsibility for provoking an assault).

A recent column in the Washington Post by Barton Swaim took another tack on describing political correctness and it probably better explains why the concept so frustrates me.  According to Swaim:

  • Political correctness, if I could venture my own admittedly rather clinical definition, involves the prohibition of common expressions and habits on the grounds that someone in our pluralistic society may be offended by them. It reduces political life to an array of signs and symbols deemed good or bad according to their tendency either to include or exclude aggrieved or marginalized people from common life.
  • PC was born of a generous impulse, maybe — it’s good and right to avoid giving offense, when you can. But it has long been a blight and a menace. It obliges us to think constantly about a few topics — topics having mainly to do with racial and sexual identities, but other sorts of identities as well — even as it makes it impossible for us to speak openly and honestly about those same topics. You must consider every facet of life in light of racial sensitivities, sexual politics or some kind of cultural imperialism; but you’d better not talk openly about any of these things unless you’re prepared to negotiate their exquisite complexities and unless you’re up to date on all the latest banned phrases.

Swaim makes two great insights:

  1. Political correctness is focused on taking care of the aggrieved or marginalized – e.g., women, minorities, disabled, gay, etc.
  2. Political correctness discourages us from speaking opening because it is almost impossible to keep up with the latest sensitivities.

Just last week, I read a post from a Facebook friend who was livid because she had been invited to some sort of Housewife networking event.  Little did I know how outdated, and offensive, this term had become.  Stay-at-home mom was OK; housewife certainly was not.

A few months ago, I got into a heated argument on Facebook over a sports column chastising a variety of Olympic reporters for being sexists.  I questioned whether any of the reporting deserved such strong condemnation, and suggested the author might be a femi-nazi.  Whoa, several feminist friends suggested angrily to me that femi-nazi was almost as bad as the n-word and should never be used in civil conversation.  I told them the sexist charge should not be thrown around casually either.  All of this seemed to me like political correctness gone awry.

On a brighter note, however, I once was discussing schooling with a mother of an autistic kid and I stupidly asked if he attended normal classes.  That was another no-no.  Fortunately, she was not part of the PC police and she gently taught me that the correct description was “mainstream classes.”

Unlike the Olympic brouhaha, I appreciated the autism encounter.  Not only did I learn something that made sense, but the person taught me in such a way that didn’t discourage further free speech.

 

 

 

 

October 29, 2015

A Civil Exchange

Filed under: Culture,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 1:17 am
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David Martin Davies is a reporter for Texas Public Radio who uses his Facebook wall in a manner akin to passive-aggressive behavior – i.e., he uses the tone of a reasonable moderate, but his underlying message is usually extreme and radical.

Earlier this week, Davies provided a prime example by posting a 45-year-old, ten-minute news clip from NBC News titled, “Mexican Americans in Texas in 1970.”  Davies described the clip as follows:

  • A documentary from NBC News in 1970 called “Mexican Americans” shot in San Antonio and opens with a sound bite from then SA Mayor McAllister saying some racist stuff. The doc focuses on the economic inequality in SA along racial lines.

As is his wont, Davies characterized McAllister as a racist without providing any specifics re: his “racist stuff.”  Because Davies is an NPR newsperson, his progressive listeners/commenters naturally accepted his conclusory statement without referring to any specifics.

But I decided to listen to the video.  It started with former SA Mayor McAllister saying:

  • Mexicans in America have a different temperament than Anglos.  Mexicans are fine people who are home loving; they love beauty and flowers and music and dancing, but perhaps aren’t as ambitiously motivated as Anglos are to get ahead financially, but they manage to get a lot out of life.

Then NBC newsman Jack Perkins described San Antonio as having a patronizing local government and brutal police conduct.  He complained about the absence of industry in SA and its inadequate school system.  He interviewed a leading proponent of reform, who admitted that he hate “gringos.”  When Perkins asked if gringos hate him, he responded, “I don’t care.  They’ve been screwing us for 200 years.  Sure we want to control this town.”

Perkins ended his report by stating that, “This is the despair that makes the barrios potentially explosive.”  (Incidentally, Perkins noted that Mexican-Americans were still a minority in SA in 1970.)

After watching the clip, I commented to Davies as follows:

  • Mike Kueber – You are really grasping to characterize McAllister’s soundbite as racist while ignoring the leading spokesman for the other side defiantly declaring his hatred of all “gringos.” McAllister merely suggested that Mexican-Americans in SA at that time weren’t as driven as Anglos to achieve financial success. That is racist? Some people denigrate Jews precisely for that – i.e., for being driven to achieve financial success. Aren’t some cultures more entrepreneurial than others? Perkins said that Mexican-Americans in SA wanted to retain their Mexican culture and Spanish language. Was that racist, too? After watching this video, it is easier to understand Julian Castro’s anti-Alamo sentiments.

This comment set of a wide-ranging, substantive discussion as follows:

Michael Canales – “Merely” suggesting that, as a whole, one race of people is inferior to another isn’t racist? That is the definition of “racist”. And to infer that Jews as a race are inherently more driven for financial success is just as racist. A positive racial stereotype is still a stereotype.

Chuck Coats – ”Mexican Americans are not driven to success” sounds pretty doggone racist to me. Although declaring hatred for all gringos is pretty doggone racist too.

David Martin Davies – McAllister was an elected official and a leader in the business community. He should be held to the highest standard. I think that other speaker is Jose Angel Gutierrez and he is an activist and admitted he didn’t like gringos because he was fighting for his people. He was reacting to the oppression of McAllister and the system in Texas at the time. Gutierrez is the reaction to McAllister. Without a McAllister there would be no Gutierrez but the opposite is not true.

Maria A. Berriozabal – I did not see Jose Angel Gutierrez in this clip. Only Richard Avena who was the Director of the US Civil Rights Commission Office that we had here at one time, and Mariano Aguilar, an activist. There are two other speakers whom I did not recognize.

David Martin Davies – Sorry if I got that name wrong – I don’t know these players that well. Never the less the point stands.

Mike Kueber – Michael Canales, McAllister didn’t say one race as a whole was inferior to the other. That is the definition of a racist. Rather he said that SA Hispanics in general had different values than SA anglos. That is inherent in Perkins’ suggestion that …See More

Mike Kueber – David Martin Davies, the activist didn’t say he didn’t like gringos, he said he hated them and wanted to subjugate them, but I accept your point that McAllister should be held to a higher standard.

Mike Kueber – Chuck Coats, I’m glad that you’ll concede that hating everyone of another race is almost as bad as suggesting that the other race isn’t as financially ambitious as yours wink emoticon

Chuck Coats – Concede? All I’m saying is they are both racist statements. That’s it.

Mike Kueber – Chuck Coats, my point was that, imo, David was stretching to characterize McAllister while he seems to be an apologist for the person who is undeniably racist. Perhaps David has accepted the idea that oppressed people, by definition, can’t be racist. Only the oppressors can be racists.

Michael Canales – Would that culture stop at the city limits, or would it have been some foreign vestige? I think you’re missing the implication of his statement. The idea of “culturally less-driven” sounds a lot more like “lazy Mexicans” to me. I’m failing to understand how a successful business man with; purportedly, no racist leanings, could say something like that in the face of obvious socioeconomic disparities.

Mike Kueber – Michael Canales, my law professor in the 70s, Lino Graglia, caught hell for opining that Mexican-American families, in general, did not as much cherish their children’s academic success or scorn their children’s dropping out of school as much as anglo families. Does that make Graglia a racist?

Michael Canales – Judging by what little information I have here, I’d have to say, “it depends”. Was this an observation followed by an interest as to why Graglia was seeing these trends? Were these students dropping out to go to work to support a struggling family? Or are Mexican- Americans culturally predisposed to academic disinterest or failure? We know the latter isn’t true. So maybe LG was just shortsighted.

Mike Kueber – Michael Canales, agree that the distinction between culture and socio-economic condition is valid.

Michael Canales – Yes, agreed. Personally, I feel like McAllister might not have. Have a good evening, Mike.

After this peaceful conclusion, Sarah Fisch decided to join the fun:

Sarah Fisch – If by “grasping,” you mean “maintains a grasp of racist ideology,” you’re right on. To declare that Mexican-Americans at whatever time in history “weren’t as driven as Anglos to achieve financial success,” and to ask the reader to infer, based on stereotypes of Jewish financial prowess, that Mexican-Americans are less-than, is close to the Platonic ideal of racism.

Mike Kueber – I don’t understand why McAllister’s comments justify a leap to Platonic racism. Rather, I see them along the lines of Paul Morand’s famous comment about Manhattan – “The Jews own New York, the Irish run it, and the Negroes enjoy it.” Talk like that is no longer politically correct.

Sarah Fisch – For sure, McAllister’s remarks are very much along the lines of the famous comment by French author Paul Morand (1888-1976). The book that this comment is taken from, “New York,” was published in 1930. Morand was an aristocratic racist and anti-Semite who went on to hold two ambassadorial posts within the Nazi-collaborating Vichy government. Given this context, Morand’s perspective on the 1930s New York City seems maybe not so accurate, or harmless. And given that the endpoint of the politics Morand chose to espouse was Nazism, racism would appear to be a big part of his consciousness, as well as his allure. I’m not saying that McAllister (or you!) are Nazis by any means, but the belief that certain cultures do and should hold less power, whether economic or social, is a cornerstone of racist argument and policy.

Mike Kueber – I wasn’t aware of Morand or his notoriety until I looked up the bromide to determine its author. I think I first read it in some Thomas Wolfe novel. It sounded cute at the time, so I shared it with one of my best friends, a Jew from Brooklyn. He chuckled, too. Ditto, for my other best friend, an Irishman from upstate NY.

Sarah Fisch – Yeah, the New York early-20th century “ethnic white” narrative, which involved primarily Jewish, Italian, and Irish populations, has been written about a lot, and it’s really interesting – “Bonfire of the Vanities” is very much about this story, but this model isn’t applicable to South Texas.  This is way oversimplifying, but the Ellis Island-era immigrant experience in New York City was unique, in that ethnic groups arrived in the same place at the same time, and lived alongside each other – competing, complaining, mis-understanding, inter-marrying. This population was united though various labor and public health movements, and collectively encountered resistance by the pre-existing Protestant white power structure. The history and struggle of Mexican-Americans in South Texas isn’t animated by similarly inter-ethnic shared experience, in which differing responses to the power structure seem to indicate differences between immigrant cultures.  In South Texas, an existing population of people was brutally colonized and oppressed by an encroaching, heavily militarized white power structure who divested people of property and used them as cheap labor. In this way, the Mexican-American struggle in South Texas is much more related to the Native American genocides by Europeans, and to Middle Passage slavery of peoples of the African diaspora, than it is to the experience of the Jews and Irish of New York.

So, in the end, we had a useful exchange of opinions and no one resorted to name-calling other than Davies throwing the race card at old Mayor McAllister.

October 7, 2015

Jeb Bush gets a bum rap on “stuff”

Filed under: Politics — Mike Kueber @ 6:06 pm
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I’m not a big Jeb Bush supporter in his run for the presidency. Like his father, he seems a bit too eager to compromise, and when you combine this trait with his family connection to Mexico, you have a near certainty of a president who will grant amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants (about half Mexican) and ensure the further Latinization and balkanization of America. On a personal level, I don’t like the guy because of his adolescent reputation as an unpopular big bully that seems to have stuck with him.

But in the past two weeks, I believe Jeb has been unfairly criticized for two comments he made regarding “stuff”:

  • Regarding the call for action in response to the Oregon killings – “We’re in a difficult time in our country and I don’t think more government is necessarily the answer to this. I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everybody else. It’s very sad to see. But I resist the notion—and I had this challenge as governor—because we had—look, stuff happens, there’s always a crisis. And the impulse is always to do something and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

This is precisely the notion that I have argued many times. Conservatives try to minimize the role of government in society, so it just doesn’t make sense to us that government should be expanded every time something bad happens. That would be a prescription for disaster. But Bush critics trivialized the substantive philosophy and instead quoted only “stuff happens,” as if Bush was pooh-poohing the entire tragedy.

  • Regarding how the GOP will make inroads into electoral support from African-Americans – “Our message is one of hope and aspiration. It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.”

This, too, is a sound conservative position in opposition to the buying votes of special interests by giving them the spoils of government. But Bush critics, like Charles Blow of the NY Times, accuse him of stereotyping blacks as “leeches” and “welfare queens.”

Incidentally, the nonpartisan website fivethirtyeight.com recently published an article that provides the facts regarding the distribution of free stuff (means-tested Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance, SSI, TANF, and welfare) among the races:

  • As of 2012, 21 percent of the U.S. population, or 52.2 million people, participated in one or more of those six programs on average each month.
  • In any given month during 2012, 42 percent of black Americans received a means-tested benefit, compared with 36 percent of Hispanics, 18 percent of Asians/Pacific Islanders and 13 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
  • Currently the U.S. population is 77 percent white (62 percent of them non-Latino white Americans), 13 percent black, 17 percent Latino and 5 percent Asian. (Latinos are an ethnicity and may be of any race.)

October 6, 2015

Pop honors John Carlos

Filed under: Culture,Issues,Media,Politics,Sports — Mike Kueber @ 10:09 pm
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The past two editions of the Express-News have contained articles concerning the Spurs’ Gregg (Pop) Popovich honoring John Carlos by giving him the opportunity to speak to the Spurs players at their training facility. For those of you who don’t recall Carlos, he and running mate Tommie Smith disrupted a medal ceremony in the 1968 Olympics by standing with heads down and black-gloved fists up (and shoes off) during the playing of our National Anthem. They asserted that their protest was to show support for the black-power movement. Their conduct resulted in them being kicked off the American Olympic team.

In the first article, Dan McCarney reported that Pop brought Carlos in to create a cultural opportunity for the team:

  • Bringing in a guest speaker of such stature is about what you’d expect from Popovich, who makes a concerted effort to push his players to expand their attention beyond the basketball court.

Shooting guard Danny Green seemed to appreciate the gesture:

  • We got a chance to interact with a legend. He paved the way for us. For us young guys, learning the history of where we came from is important. It was important to Pop. He felt the need to share it to us.

Huh? In what sense did John Carlos pave the way for Danny Green? Black athletes were already well established in 1968. Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, et al.

I responded to McCarney’s article with the following online comment:

  • As Vince Lombardi famously said, “What the hell is going on out there?” Carlos’s claim to fame is a notorious attempt to politicize the medal-ceremony at the Olympics. By all accounts, that tactic has been thoroughly discredited and would be met by even more ugly reactions today. So why does Pop glorify the guy? Pop’s hubris is beginning to annoy.

Not surprisingly, my comment was not well received. One of the paper’s most prolific commenters weighed-in as follows:

  • Idiot. Hundreds of Mexican students protesting the extravagant spending by the government in the midst of staggering poverty and oppression were killed and arrested. The order to shoot and arrest came from a totally corrupt government and is well known as the Massacre at Tatelolci (plaza de las tres cultural) and those of us who witnessed the athlete’s expression of solidarity know the truth. All you are is a right wing mouthpiece who has no clue.

I thought that would be the end of the matter, but the newspaper decided to double-down on the matter by publishing a similar article the next day. In this article reporter Mike Monroe reported that the Spurs’ interaction with “civil rights icon John Carlos … continues to resonate with the team.” He also provided Pop’s explanation for the visit – “It’s just an effort to honor somebody who deserves to be honored, and to let our team know the world is bigger than basketball.”

Monroe provided two new examples of the continuing resonation:

  1. Starting forward Kawhi Leonard said Carlos’s talk to the team will be an inspiration throughout the season. “He’s an icon to America. Him coming in here and saying how much he likes your team, you get an enjoyment in your heart and want to keep fighting and make him proud.”
  2. Guard-forward Kyle Anderson was left with an indelible impression. “That was awesome, a great experience. For Pop to actually bring him in and give us a chance to interact with him and ask him questions and learn from him was great. That really meant a lot to us. I felt a lot of pride. When he did what he did he had people in 2015 in mind. He had his kids in mind; he had his grandkids in mind; the future in his mind.”

Do these basketball players know what Carlos did? Although Carlos was only known to me for his outrageous medal-ceremony protest, I decided to consult with Wikipedia to learn if he did anything else noteworthy. Wikipedia reported nothing of significance in Carlos’s life since the medal ceremony other than being kicked off the Olympic team, receiving death threats, failing to catch on in professional football, and writing a memoir.

I commented on Monroe’s article as follows:

  • Carlos’s memoirist complains that the sports world has long treated this medal-stand protestor as a toxic element for attempting to politicize black athletes. Are the Spurs attempting to revive this utterly, comprehensively repudiated concept? Some have suggested that the hiring of Hammon was a political statement; perhaps this is Political Statement #2 from Pop and the Spurs.

Not surprisingly, a guy name Alonso disagreed:

  • You complainers are missing the point. Coach Pop knew his players would like meeting him and he was right. The politics of the Spurs coach and players should not have any impact on whether we root for them on the court. At least it doesn’t for grownups anyway.

I responded to Alonso:

  • The politics of the Spurs coach and players don’t have an impact if they keep those views to themselves. But if they want to start preaching to us, see what happened to the Dixie Chicks. Incidentally, Pop said he wanted to honor Carlos, but nowhere have I seen exactly what he is to be honored for. Disrupting a medal ceremony?

‘nuff said.

 

 

August 24, 2015

What to do with eleven million illegal immigrants

Donald Trump’s strong stance against illegal immigration continues to dominate the contest for the GOP presidential nomination.  Because Trump is the dominant front runner, some of his opponents have been taking potshots at him, but even more forcefully, the media went after him this past weekend.

The principal anti-Trump argument on the Sunday TV shows didn’t concern his bold argument against birthright citizenship, but rather the media asserted that it was not financially and logistically possible to remove eleven million illegal immigrants.  According to cited studies, it would cost hundreds of billions of dollars and take years.

When confronted with these numbers, Trump gave a fuzzy answer that this challenge could be met through his excellent “management.”  Although that answer generally quieted his questioners, I suggest that there is a better answer, which was developed by a man much smarter than Trump – i.e., Mitt Romney.

In 2012, Romney concluded that millions of illegal immigrants would “self-deport” (a) if an effective e-verify system prevented them from securing employing in America and (b) if an improved detection and apprehension process made living in America less safe and secure (no sanctuaries).  At some point, America’s laws could also be tweaked to deny birthright citizenship and educational benefits to illegal immigrants.

I realize these measures are draconian, but if America wants to end illegal immigration, then the magnets that attract illegal immigrants must be eliminated.  Of course, millions of America don’t think that illegal immigration is a big problem, and they will be willing to leave things pretty much as they are.

Elections matter.  I will be surprised if the GOP selects a nominee who is soft on illegal immigration (Bush, Rubio, Walker), but I will also be surprised if the GOP nominee who is hard on illegal immigration (Trump, Cruz, Carson) is able to win a general election.  I think I’m shifting my support from one Cuban (Rubio) to another (Cruz).

August 21, 2015

An open letter to Bill O’Reilly

Filed under: Law/justice,Media,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 10:43 pm
Tags: , ,

Bill, the word for the day is “sophomoric.”  Used in a sentence, “Your reportage this week on anchor babies was sophomoric.”

Why do I think your reportage was “conceited and overconfident of knowledge but poorly informed and immature”?  The Bill of Particulars against you contains two items:

  1. False statements.  In your Trump interview on anchor babies, you paraphrased the 14th Amendment as saying, “If you are born in America, you are a citizen.”  Your omission of the critical middle clause, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” is flagrant journalistic malpractice.  Then you imperiously declared the sentence could have only one legal meaning.  Yes, the sentence you read could only have one meaning, but what is the meaning of the clause you didn’t read?  In law, there is a strong presumption against construing a clause to be redundant or irrelevant.
  2. Two days later, you attempted to buttress your legal opinion by interviewing two legal experts – one a conservative and one a liberal – who agreed with you. In law, a judge will pit two advocates against each other and then decide.  Couldn’t you find anyone to articulate an argument contrary to your position?  What about one of America’s most popular constitutional authorities, Mark Levin, who earlier in the week spoke out strongly against your position?  What about one of America’s most respected federal judges, Richard Posner, who opined about anchor babies in a 2003 appellate decision, “Congress would not be flouting the Constitution if it amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to put an end to the nonsense.  A constitutional amendment may be required to change the rule whereby birth in this country automatically confers U.S. citizenship, but I doubt it.”

It’s not too late to redeem your reputation by apologizing to your viewers and presenting them with a full-throated argument on the meaning of “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”  Is it directed narrowly at foreign diplomats or more broadly at anyone who has allegiance to another country?

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