How pluralism threatens lower income whites

flagDemocrats are seeing a steady erosion of their traditional support among low and middle-earning white families. That drift contributed heavily to the outcome of the 2014 mid-terms, but it has been in motion since the Civil Rights Acts of the Sixties.

Voices on the left consistently blame Republicans for duping white voters. They claim that Republicans are using a racially tinted “culture war” to persuade low earning whites to vote against their interests.

People do not generally vote against their interests. When it seems that they are, it generally means we have misunderstood their interests. Under current conditions, lower income and rural white voters are absolutely right to be concerned about the death of white supremacy and oppose it with all their energy.

Replacing white supremacy with a genuine pluralism is not only just, it promises massive cultural and economic benefits. The good news is that white supremacy is dying. Unfortunately, we are threatening to replace it with a long era of racial and ethnic political rivalry. Dismantling white supremacy successfully requires us to recognize its role as a load-bearing wall in the structure of our democracy. Until we take seriously the practical consequences of dismantling white supremacy, an authentically post-racial America will elude us.

White supremacy is not merely an outdated bigotry to be banished by the light of reason. It is a pragmatic ideology that for centuries has protected low income whites from being subjected to the same miserable fate as blacks in this country. If racial justice only delivers an equal opportunity to be looted by a powerful elite, then there is no rational reason for low income whites to get on board.

White Americans have always enjoyed the benefits of a powerful shadow welfare state. Fears stirred by the death of racial preferences have deep roots, but they are also practical and material. Ignoring those practical concerns is just as politically dangerous as stoking them.

In America we have succeeded in delegitimizing racism, but this has had the perverse effect of terminating dialogue. Racism comes from somewhere. Race, after all, is a social construct that has no existence anywhere but in culture. It has a logic and a practical purpose. We have largely lost the ability to discuss it in any constructive way. Now it persists as an undercurrent, unacknowledged and elusive yet deeply influential.

Racism has both an emotional and a practical dimension, like two sides of a coin. Its emotional roots are deep, historic, and practically subliminal, bubbling up from long-forgotten sources. They are entwined with very practical benefits that protect economically vulnerable white communities from being exploited in the same manner as minorities.

We like to imagine that we are all self-created from scratch, a pure result of our individual choices. That idea blinds us to the ways that our social and political assumptions, especially the deepest ones associated with identity, actually form.

What we know about the world, or more to the point, what we think we know, mostly comes to us from places we cannot readily identify. What it means to be a good man or a good woman. What habits, food, even clothes are familiar and acceptable or strange and suspicious. Across most of the country, a man does not simply decide one day that a purple shirt would be better than yesterday’s white one. He doesn’t get out of bed one morning and decide to wear a dress instead of jeans. The “why” of the matter isn’t important. That’s just how it is.

We do not construct these assumptions deliberately on the fly. We don’t generally ask where they come from. When powerful forces from the wider world challenge the legitimacy of these assumptions, few of us take time to reassess them. Instead, we push back as hard as we think we can afford to. We resist with whatever means are reasonably, and sometimes unreasonably, available.

Cultural traditions offer security and stability. Security and stability are particularly vital to communities with few options or opportunities. The more dangerous and exploitative the economic environment, the more stubbornly culturally conservative lower income citizens will be.

White supremacy evolved as an absolutely essential survival strategy for whites with little political power or property. Our history glosses over the fact that slavery did not evolve in North America as an exclusively black institution. As early as the 17th century laws were being enacted that assumed that any dark-skinned person was a slave, but until slavery was outlawed for everyone the only protection against potential enslavement rose from white racial solidarity.

Until the early 18th century one of the main sources of slaves for the American colonies was Ireland. As late as 1800 we have a record of an enslaved white woman in North Carolina appealing to the legislature for freedom. Her request was not granted. At the height of the slave period, the case of Alexina Morrison in Louisiana demonstrated that being obviously white was not an ironclad protection against enslavement.

What made slavery for whites increasingly rare was not legal protection – it did not exist – but rather a generally accepted notion of white racial supremacy. For politically and economically vulnerable white citizens, unquestioned collective acceptance of racist ideology was the only reliable guarantor of their liberty.

No one need even remember slavery to inherit that culture. That tradition refuses to fade away because it continues to be relevant in practical ways.

White drivers are not subjected to “stop and frisk.” White schools get privileged access to the best tax base. Almost every college in the country offers preference to “legacies,” students whose families benefited from an era in which only white men were allowed to compete.

The Civil Rights era has threatened those prerogatives without replacing them with something more just. Efforts at desegregation weakened the ties that gave lower wage white families access to schools supported by the resources of wealthier families. They scrambled to find alternatives to busing while the affluent re-sorted themselves into all white school districts where they could further concentrate their resources.

Affirmative action in government hiring has meant that an entire class of relatively secure middle income jobs which had once been reserved for whites (white males, specifically) were now subject to fierce competition. Affluent whites with ready access to education have been largely unaffected by affirmative action while white families of limited means saw opportunities for their children disappear.

Talk of gun control threatens a loss of security, even if that security is an illusion. With their ties to white elites weakening, suspicion of authority is expressed in a futile race for self-protection.

White supremacy means low income whites don’t worry about their kid being killed by George Zimmerman or Darren Wilson. If their white son foolishly carries his Airsoft gun to the park, they don’t worry that police might kill him. White supremacy grants immunity to many social problems that minority communities are left to endure.

Until a few decades ago nearly every job of any economic or social importance was set aside for white men. Still today, the networks built on that heritage still make it easier for whites to access the best jobs in the economy. Lower income whites have consistently enjoyed better access to economic, social and political opportunities by virtue of their race than they would have had by virtue of their income or education. Race matters less than it used to, but it remains a vital shield, a hidden yet powerful social safety net.

Understanding white supremacy as a sort of shadow safety net helps explain one of the icons of the Obama Era. Tea Party groups angrily protest the President’s supposed “socialism” while just as vehemently threatening anyone who might endanger their Social Security or Medicare benefits. The Tea Party movement makes no sense as a reaction to government spending or social programs. It makes absolute practical sense as a movement to preserve an unofficial white social welfare state with all its stated and unstated benefits.

What remains of that shadow safety net matters enormously because life at lower income levels in this country is becoming increasingly precarious. The Middle Class is largely a dead concept. Access to good paying work is highly dependent on education. Getting an education is more expensive than ever while free public schools are increasingly sorted by household income.

Higher income urban whites might retain some distant recognition of what white supremacy meant at one point in our history, but they have shed most of their overt attachment to it. For them, the end of a monolithic cultural domination has brought new opportunities for profit, new music, great food, interesting movies and cool new places to visit. With their race-based alliance with lower income whites melting, they are more closely aligned culturally and politically with an emerging global professional class than with whites in the exurbs.

For lower and middle income white households that did not make the transition from the old economy to the new over the past generation, the picture is stark and legitimately frightening. For large swaths of rural and suburban America, the decline of white supremacy has meant the arrival of competition they were unprepared for. Big metropolitan centers are growing vastly richer, but they are not growing bigger. They are no longer the kind of places you go to live a middle income existence, but globalized centers of excellence where few people can afford to compete and survive.

The countryside is descending into poverty. Farming and resource extraction, the only economic activities that still make sense there on any meaningful scale, require little or no labor.

As bad as conditions are in rural areas, poverty is expanding most quickly in the suburbs. Cheap to build, expensive to live in and expensive to maintain, sprawling suburbs made sense in an era when successful white professionals were looking to protect their racial dominance by hiding from “urban” problems. Now, suburbs place residents far away from emerging opportunities, making it hard to exploit the best that a new era of globalized prosperity offers.

Just as Republicans are largely blind to the conditions and concerns that affect black communities, Democrats are increasingly baffled by the demands of white voters. In particular, Democrats fail to recognize the ways that their social welfare policies intensify white fears.

The left is blindly tearing down a race-based shadow welfare state that once delivered a reliably middle class existence for whites. They are offering to replace it with a centralized social welfare state that compromises middle earners’ interests while only providing relief to those who are financially ruined.

The Affordable Care Act may be the signal example of this failure. Health care reform could have split low and middle income white workers from their alliance with elite whites. Instead we got a program very much like the rest of the safety net.

Most middle and low income whites have some access to health insurance through their employers. The ACA extended Medicaid coverage to the very poor while middle earners who are disproportionately white were excluded from subsidies. The structure of the Affordable Care Act placed a new mandate on struggling middle-earning households while excluding them from most of the benefits of the Act. No one should be surprised at the political result.

The characterization of the Democratic Party as a force for “dependence” makes perfect sense through this lens. White families struggling to hang on to their economic status correctly understand that Democratic policies will do little for them until they’re destitute. Lower income whites are not voting against their interests. With no political options on the table that could reasonably be expected to level the economic playing field, low income whites are making a rational choice to remain tied in racial solidarity to wealthier white households for as long as possible.

The world will be a better place when the concept of white supremacy becomes a matter for the history books. We could take a large step in that direction by recognizing that white supremacy was never merely a matter of ignorance. Living in an environment that respected white culture above all others created an absolutely real, economically meaningful, and yet largely invisible social safety net that elevated opportunity and dignity for lower earning white citizens at the expense of minorities. Offering to tear down a shadow social safety net based on white supremacy and only replace it with a social safety net for the desperately poor is, and will continue to be, a political non-starter.

To clarify, white supremacy is deeply unjust. Whites benefited in the past and continue to benefit from systematic violence aimed at looting the resources of racial minorities. It is also unjust that lower income whites are being made to suffer largely alone for the end of a white supremacist system while wealthier elites who benefited most from that system escape largely unscathed.

There are no major voices for Civil Rights that respect this valid grievance. That is a problem which is presenting dangerous political opportunities to dangerous people. If either party is going to lead us beyond the politics of racial polarization, they will have to find a way to build a replacement for the white shadow safety net that eases conditions for all. If we could deliver credible access to justice, opportunity, and advancement for everyone with the talent and determination to compete, white fears about the decline of their privileges might ease.

Failing to consider the needs of economically vulnerable whites who are suffering from the decline of racial preferences isn’t just bad policy, it is an injustice. Justice requires us to see the wider picture. Thus far the story of Civil Rights in America has excluded the valid concerns of white Americans who have depended on white supremacy for protection from a fundamentally oppressive system. Genuine pluralism requires more than eliminating bigotry. Pluralism depends on delivering a fundamentally just economic and political system in which those bigotries lose their practical relevance.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Civil Rights, Neo-Confederate, Political Theory, Race, Religious Right, Tea Party
315 comments on “How pluralism threatens lower income whites
  1. […] For a while to come it may be Muslims or atheists. Some fearsome alien has always been called on to separate Southern voters from accountable representation. There is no end in […]

  2. johngalt says:

    Chris, I just watched Marco Rubio endorse a version of the minimum income on the Daily Show. His was an expansion of the EITC so that it tops up the income of those who work to some level – his example was $40k for a family of some size. Surely he just sunk his GOP nomination hopes.

  3. “…racially tinted “culture war”…”

    LOL. Hello? Obama administration? Holder Justice Dept.? Ferguson? Staten Island? Al Sharpton? Harvard? Sanford? Brandeis U? Pot, meet kettle. Obama’s *entire* political career is *based* on the politics of racial division. For goodness’ sake, it’s the man’s one true skill.

    Chris, just get it over with and buy yourself a “Je suis Khadijah Lynch” t-shirt today. Or at least sent her a link to this post. She’ll *love* it.

    “First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” – Matthew 7:5

    • Crogged says:

      With some effort correlation can be found in the events happening in the world, or we can have random lists of objects and events, which in layman’s terms is known as Republican political strategy.

      “And he dwelt in that land a long time, like worms out of a hot cheese log.” Firesign Theater 1970.

      • Crogged, I would be the last to claim there is no racism within the ranks of those who claim allegiance to the GOP. Yet we see in Obama’s and Holder’s comments and conduct in widely disparate events over time an ongoing pattern of animus towards the white middle class in general and our nation’s police departments in particular. One cannot help but hear nothing beyond the deafening roar of chirping crickets when it comes to the left addressing the same issue within their own ranks. That’s my only point on this particular topic.

      • fiftyohm says:

        I think we’re all Bozos on this bus, Crogged old buddy.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “That’s my only point on this particular topic.”

        Still leaving you with a cumulative total of zero in useful and rational input.

      • dowripple says:

        “Obama’s and Holder’s comments and conduct in widely disparate events over time an ongoing pattern of animus towards the white middle class in general”

        Ah, perception is everything. I can’t think of a single comment or action by Holder/Obama that offended my white middle class ass. Maybe I need to watch more Fox News…

        Aside from the new poll taxes, the assault on women’s rights, and the obstinate xenophobic roadblocks for immigration, the other side is just as clean. Sorry, I had to balance the talking points 🙂

      • johngalt says:

        The white middle class has been under pressure for a very long time, decades at least. It would have been more surprising had Obama halted this descent rather than perpetuated it. As for the “animus” between Obama and Holder and the police, perhaps one ought to ask where that comes from. Might they have had (or be representing a constituency that has had) a different sort of relationship with law enforcement than this suburban white boy has had? Might that color their view of the interactions between the police and civilians?

      • Crogged says:

        “ongoing pattern of animus towards white middle class in general and our nation’s police departments in particular”. Thank you Richard Nixon, we hardly missed ye.

        All this cheap energy threatening hedge funds, shadow banking and the balance sheets of the governments of energy producing states is a depressing thought and I don’t know how our police departments will survive oversight from civilians speaking rudely and impolitely about their petty little constitutional rights. What’s a few choke holds among friends and tasering 76 year old people may give them the spark they need for their pacemakers they bought off Ebay after we get rid of that dang freedom impinging ‘Obamacare’.

        Dark days indeed, I say we pass a law imprisoning district court clerks and add a Pledge To Order and Decency to the Pledge of Allegiance, Pledge to Texas and moment of silence in our schools. If those lazy children can recite all that why can’t they pass four cumulative tests every semester of every subject they’ve studied since first grade? If we are going to militarize our police then treason and insubordination in the police ranks can be enforced too, what’s in your picnic basket for the hanging in the town square?

      • desperado says:

        It’s a well-known fact that Obama made sure the 401k’s of the white middle-class were excluded from any gain due to the economic recovery.

        It’s a well-known fact that Obama saw to it that white middle-class people with pre-existing conditions were purposely excluded by the ACA.

        It’s a well-known fact that no white middle-class people got any of the jobs created the last 6 years. Orders of Obama

        It’s a well-known fact that Obama wrote into the HARP program guidelines the no white middle-class people were eligible to refinance their homes.

        It’s a well-known fact that Obama’s only demand for rescuing the auto industry was that no white middle-class people were to benefit.

        Isn’t it?

    • Crogged says:

      Fitty, mass transit has always benefited this Bozo-keeps me out of stinky cabs……

  4. kabuzz61 says:

    Captain, I am with you and Tutt. Ladd let’s all of Bubba’s vile comments and allows RoR to threaten you and your family without a peep. To me, that shows the character of the man.

    Adios my friends. Live in your bubble.

    • objv says:

      Adios, kabuzz! I don’t have much time to write. My husband is in the hospital again. All the best to you. Good luck with your new book.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      I have yet to see anyone specifically cite these “threats” to Sternn’s person or family. Accusations without proof also speak to one’s character, and yours is pretty tattered already, kabuzz.

    • johngalt says:

      “Live in your bubble.”

      If this is Kabuzz’s sign off, it is a perfect symbol of his delusion.

    • flypusher says:

      I’m accepting bets on how long this will last,

    • JG, owl, fly, turtles, how is it that you folks have become so very illiberal towards those with opposing views? Honestly, I’m curious. Yeah, we have some pretty heated discussions in this venue, but lately is seems that your posts are increasingly peppered with ad hominem attacks and desultory profanity. Honestly, past experience has led me to expect better from you. What’s changed?

      • flypusher says:

        Speaking for myself, it’s not opposing views, but logical fallacies and outright BS that earn my scorn. I didn’t see the original trolling confession from/about Sternn, but I saw multiple references to it and it fits 100% with his behavior, so I’ll believe it. This particular exchange went over the top IMO, but when a troll gets hoisted on his own petard I can’t dredge up any sympathy for him. I think more than enough electrons have been expended over this matter.

        My go to operating procedure is tit for tat.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Should one maintain Tracian “liberal” behavior toward someone who claims that the sky is green? Toward someone who insists that we are all secretly controlled by etheric puppet-strings held by the Squid Gods on high? Toward someone who believes that President Obama is a homosexual, womanizing, communist, Wall-Street-coddling, anarchic, dictatorial Kenyan?

        In a rational forum, idiocy and delusion deserve neither grace nor respect.

      • johngalt says:

        “Opposing views” that have no basis in reality don’t really deserve equal time or respect. Whether this is the anti-vaxxer crowd or Sternn’s curious views of the political leanings of white Southerners over time, strongly-held opinions based on factual inaccuracy, conspiracy, and prejudice add little to a rational discussion. Note that this is not a condemnation of conservative politics in general, much of which can be justified with logically consistent arguments, but of its interpretation by a specific segment of the population who choose to believe what they want rather than what is.

        Plus, if we are on the subject of ad hominems, being told I am a socialist racist who hates America does get a bit old after a while.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Opposing views are fine, views that are given for shock value are of no use and deserve no respect. If you chose to believe that the comments made by Cappy and Buzzy are to be taken seriously then that is your business. I have neither the patience nor desire to continue wasting time on those two.

        Judging from history then I am sure they will come slinking back soon, too soon in my book.

      • Well, gee, now that the very paragons of moral relativism have rung in, I guess that settles it. Heh, heh. 😉

        Owl, Obama is simply a Marxist from a line of Marxists, no more, no less. As to whether he is the anti-Christ incarnate, I remain completely agnostic… 😉

      • johngalt says:

        Tracy, if I recall you’re a geologist of some sort. What would you do if you encountered a young earther? Someone who earnestly believes that the earth is 6,000 years old? You explain that a variety of scientific approaches from several fields make it possible to ascribe a fairly accurate age to the earth, and it’s rather longer than 6,000 years. This person sticks to their guns, based on nothing other than a literal reading of religious texts. It is not “moral relativism” to disagree with them; you are basing your “opinion” in verifiable facts, their “opinion” comes from thin air. One of them deserves respect, one deserves ridicule.

        Sternn took a lot of young earther positions in political history. Now, I disagreed frequently with his interpretations even on things where the facts were not in question, but it’s hard to respect an argument that begins with, “the sky is green.”

      • flypusher says:

        “Well, gee, now that the very paragons of moral relativism have rung in, I guess that settles it. Heh, heh. 😉 ”

        Well if you want to believe that we only sharpen the knives for righties who post crap, there’s not much we can do to change that, given the shortage of equivalent LWNJs posting here. I was no less hard on a militant vegan on another (now defunct) forum who claiming humans eating meat was “unnatural” than I was on this forum on righties who were trying to justify Todd Akin’s views on reproductive biology.

        Also, exactly when did I supposedly ad hominem you? I disagree with plenty of your views, but I’m not prone to flame people merely for disagreement.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Tracy, I’m unsure how to interpret your winkies.

        Are you claiming Barack Obama is a Marxist because you’re merely trying to yank my chain, or because you’re making a genuine (albeit asinine and totally unsupported) claim and know it will be viewed as crap?

      • Owl, yanking your chain is one of my chief entertainments. I truly apologize for that if it’s caused you any distress; I must admit that I all too often suffer the imp of the perverse.

        Baldly stating that Obama is a Marxist is both an example of yanking your chain and using hyperbole to call attention to less than savory aspects of Mr. Obama’s political ideology. His biological father was certainly a Marxist; his mother was clearly sympathetic to those views, as were his grandparents who actually did most of the heavy lifting in raising him. We can safely assume that Mr. Obama’s political bent leans in that direction, as well. When he talks about “transforming America,” he’s not talking about making America safe for capitalism. When he states that he “believe[s] in redistribution,” he’s not promoting the primacy of property rights. When he reworks 1/6 of the American economy such that the means of production and distribution of healthcare are effectively captured by the federal government via labyrinthine regulatory control, that’s a socialist solution, not a free market solution.

        I humbly submit to you that viewing such observations as “crap” is certainly within your purview, but is more a indication of what might be obstructing your vision (see the Matthew verse, above) than anything else. All of this is a matter of public record, and much of delivered out of Obama’s own mouth:

      • jg, I am indeed “geologist of some sort,” actually, a stable isotope geochemist by academic training, and a petroleum geochemist and explorationist by long vocation. I have of course encountered young earthers; I try to listen to them respectfully and point out the various inconsistencies in their arguments. Certainly I don’t vilify them personally (although I may poke a little fun at them from time to time).

        Since you raise the topic tangentially, let’s consider climate change for a moment. To paraphrase some clever movie dialog, I can tell you I don’t have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for global warming alarmists.

        Of all the folks who post here, I am quite possibly best qualified to express a cogent opinion on the topics of global warming and climate modeling. Despite that, simply because my (qualified scientific) views are in opposition to the current liberal orthodoxy, those with lesser qualifications feel absolutely no compunction over flaming me on the issue. Ah, well. And so it goes.

        “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now, All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” – William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, 1900 (possibly apocryphal)

        Einstein published his special theory of relativity in 1905.

      • johngalt says:

        Well, Tracy, I’m not sure how being a petroleum geochemist makes you any more qualified to comment on global warming than any of the other trained scientists here who understand how to interpret data skeptically, but maybe that is a subject for another day, when we can also talk about how having a livelihood dependent on exploring for new sources of fossil fuels might subconsciously (or not) affect your reading of the scientific literature. Biases exist in all of us. My lab is presently in the midst of a complex experiment using mice in which there is some measure of subjectivity on how to score different groups of animals. Because of the possibility of subconscious bias, the people doing the scoring do not know which groups are the experimental ones and which are the controls.

        You are perhaps a more patient person than I, but having the same discussion repeatedly with someone who disavows well established scientific facts because they don’t agree with preconceived notions they were taught as children becomes quickly tiresome and my willingness to point out that their entire worldview is a series of “inconsistencies” fades into derision. Perhaps a character flaw, but I have a number of those I feel more compelled to work on correcting before that one.

      • jg, much like yourself (I presume), I’ve spent a great deal of time statistically analyzing incomplete data sets, and making predictive extrapolations from the same using complex computer simulations. It happens that my experience in this arena is in basin history modeling and paleoclimate modeling, topics which are not dissimilar to predictive climate modeling. This experience has imbued in me a healthy respect for both the strengths and limitations of deterministic mathematical models.

        I’m certainly willing to entertain the notion that my life experience in the petroleum industry might lead me to a certain bias on the topic; observer-expectancy effect is an issue in many scientific endeavors, especially in the observational sciences. Although, quite honestly, I attribute much of the quasi-religiosity one observes in global warming true believers to (left wing) cultural cognitive bias. You, on the other hand, might also want to consider the notion that my training leads me to a more particular appreciation of deep time and the natural rhythms of the planet than that afforded the average Joe, even the scientifically trained way-above-average Joe. Within the context of our dust mote existences the Earth seems as if it is (and should be) static and unchanging. Over the sweep of geologic time our planet is anything but; it’s actually extremely dynamic and ever changing. (And geology would be an extraordinarily dull field of endeavor were this not the case.) When it comes to our little rock, change *is* the only constant.

        Exchanging views with the folks who frequent this blog is an ongoing exercise in patience, don’t you think?

      • johngalt says:

        Exchanging ideas requires more patience with some people than with others. Your ideas I’m more than willing to hash out, but perhaps in the morning.

      • flypusher says:

        ” You, on the other hand, might also want to consider the notion that my training leads me to a more particular appreciation of deep time and the natural rhythms of the planet than that afforded the average Joe, even the scientifically trained way-above-average Joe. ”

        Anyone who understands evolution will also grok those things.

      • No argument there, fly.

      • Crogged says:

        Tthor you have made these observations before regarding blind acceptance and the point of view coming from your education and experience. I believe you. i’m not going to pretend I have the ability to defend (or attack) the observations reported to us by any media. So why not go to the site mentioned below and participate? What do you have to lose?

  5. rightonrush says:

    You and I both know you are lying Sternn. Plus, you gotta be kidding, I never threatened any of your family or anyone else. I simply got tired of the lies and games you play.

  6. Crogged says:

    “She reminds us that humans are capable of meting out patently cruel and pointless punishment judgments with complete confidence they are doing the right thing.”

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Thanks, Crogged! You’ve linked to what I think is a fascinating article, rendered all the more exciting by the coincidence that I’m currently reading Pinker’s *Better Angels* and start rehearsals tonight for *Measure for Measure*. I’m going to send it ’round to the cast.

      “A recurring discovery of social and cognitive psychology is that human beings are absurdly overconfident in their own knowledge, wisdom, and rectitude. Everyone thinks that he or she is in the right, and that the people they disagree with are stupid, stubborn, and ignorant…. When we make moral judgments based on our parochial understanding of the world, we often do great harm.”

      I won’t dream of claiming immunity to the same dangers myself, but much of what enrages me about the Tea Party is that mixture of parochialism and paternalism, of limited knowledge but unlimited stubbornness, that’s been displayed so often ’round here.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        And, linked from that article, one on pluralism in education at CUNY schools, and the tyranny of the SAT:

        “‘The SAT is a good measure of accumulated opportunity,’ said Bob Schaeffer, public education director at FairTest, an anti-testing group. Yet it may not be a good measure of how well students will perform in college: In his book Crossing the Finish Line, William Bowen reported a raft of research showing that a student’s GPA is a far more reliable predictor than the standardized test score.”

      • Crogged says:

        Unfortunately I’m anecdotal evidence of the above. Effort matters more than talent because talent is a singular point and effort is a lifetime.

      • “..that mixture of parochialism and paternalism, of limited knowledge but unlimited stubbornness…”

        Why, owl, I love it when you tickle my funny bone. I’m sitting at my computer chuckling. That is *precisely* how those of us on the right view the politically correct crowd on the left.

  7. johngalt says:

    Sternn, if you’re really riding off into the sunset, then so be it. That’s your choice.

    The sad thing is that I think most of us, I at least, would be more than willing to condemn ROR’s petty temper tantrum. I don’t give a damn who you are in real life, but if you did not choose to be public, then you shouldn’t be outed. The problem is that you’re such an asshat that you make it nearly impossible to take your side. Your valedictory here is filled with the same victimization that you post so often that it runs together and becomes meaningless, even when you have a legitimate gripe.

    So go. Or don’t. You can sleep comfortably knowing that I won’t be knocking on the door, physically or metaphorically, of you or your family members, well, ever. Take Tutt somewhere nice. She deserves it. In the meantime, I’ll remember your posts as the epitome of a definition posed by Twain more than a century ago: “Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.”

  8. objv says:

    Cap, ROR owes you a big apology. Glad you’re not sticking around waiting for it. He’s apparently not a big enough man to admit he’s wrong.

    I’ve wondered about Chris, too. He’s perfectly willing to tolerate vile language when it’s directed at conservatives. He’s also apparently fine with with sexist language. Tuttabella is said to have pom-poms; I’m delegated to being barefoot in the kitchen. Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee (bubba and Texan) spew nonsense constantly and none of the liberals here try to keep them in check.

    Best of luck to you and Tuttabella. You have not deserved the treatment you have received here.

    • rightonrush says:

      Well now bless your heart OV, I don’t owe Sternn, Tutt nor you jack crap. You feed off lies and try to back those lies up with garbage that can be easily disproved.

    • objv says:

      My, my, bubba, how you do ramble on. I note that you did not copy my entire original comment. Even so, with the what you have provide, there is no logic to to your reasoning.

      How in the world does concern for single mothers and their children translate into wanting women back in the kitchen? I encouraged my own daughter to get a master’s degree and she is currently working as a geochemist. I want women to escape the trap of being single mothers with no education.Your remarks to me were insulting. They were not at all funny. They were sexist..

  9. tuttabellamia says:

    Oh, and speaking of community college classes, hugs and kisses to all the “class” acts on this blog:

    Dow, OV, HT, Fly, Crogged, John Galt, 50.

    Mi Capitan and I are outta here.

    • objv says:

      Tutt, you’re the one who is a class act. It’s been a pleasure, friend, to read your comments. I wish you and Cap every happiness.

    • johngalt says:

      Tutt, I’m sorry about this avoidable and childish dust-up and hope that you aren’t leaving us for good, but if that’s your choice, then best of luck. Your thoughtful comments, open mind, and gentle humor have been an asset to this blog.

    • dowripple says:

      The blog would miss your excellent prose, and I would be dumber for it. I hope you can reconsider.

    • BigWilly says:

      You’re an ass, and I won’t miss you at all.

    • cjfarls says:

      Interestingly, I think the other part of Obama’s higher education plan (elimination of the education savings plan tax breaks as a pay-for) actually is symptomatic of the blog-post discussion and the left’s blindness to the middle-class white concerns. I saw huge push back against the idea because the middle class white folks I associate with that invest in such plans saw this as symptomatic of breaking down one of the few props they currently access and giving it away to the poorer/poorest (minorities)… with almost no recognition that the top quartile of income earners takes the vast majority of the tax benefit, or that the cost benefit of 2 basically free years of community college far exceeds the tax savings they might receive on a few thousand in college savings (and these aren’t folks with 10s of thousands of dollars in college savings).

  10. tuttabellamia says:

    I wonder if somewhere in the mess down below anyone has mentioned the new plan created by President Obama to pay for 3/4 of the first 2 years of community college, for courses that can eventually be transferred to a 4-year college.

    I don’t know all the particulars of the plan but I think it’s an excellent idea, especially for helping low-income people of all colors, including the White community described in the blog entry. I think it’s on a par with and definitely preferable to the minimum income often proposed by the blog host here.

    • dowripple says:

      I absolutely agree! One of my coworkers brought it up (single mother), and is really hoping it happens. I hope it happens too, this is one of those good investments the government should be doing.

    • 1mime says:

      Yep, the ball’s in Congress’ court. Again. Let’s hope this can be an example of mutual interest and compromise between parties. Of course, cost will have to be offset, right? States will have to do some of the heavy lifting, too. Hmm…..Maybe we could close of few of those bases the Pentagon has listed….Priorities USA. Education, health care, jobs. Think the pointy heads in D.C. can get together on this?

      • Creigh says:

        Mime, your thought about “funding” community college by closing unneeded military bases shows a fundamental misunderstanding about real constraints versus financial constraints. Closing a military base frees up real resources relevant to staffing and operating a military base but does nothing specifically to enhance the real resources needed to operate a community college. Funding, in terms of dollars, is simply not the problem, as the Federal government can always “print” money. The question is rather do real resources (instructors, classrooms, laboratories) exist for those dollars to employ. I believe those resources do exist, in the medium term if not the short term. The fact is, the Federal government, which is monetarily sovereign ( that is, can define what “money” is and can create as much of it as they find economically and socially beneficial) is never financially constrained. It is only constrained by the existence of real economic resources (materials, labor, technical know how) that can be purchased with the money it creates in order to achieve its objectives. (Note that state and local governments, unlike the Federal government, are not monetarily sovereign and have to acquire money by taxing or borrowing before spending.) When pundits and politicians tell you the Federal government “doesn’t have the money” for your (or Obama’s) pet project, they are either ignorant of the difference between financial constraints and real constraints or — just possibly — are looking out for someone else’s interests rather than yours.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks for the tutorial, Creigh. Makes sense. It’s all a matter of priorities, isn’t it? America talks a good game about the importance of education for our children and our nation, but then it prices kids out or puts them in hock for years. E. Warren cited a statistic on Joe Scarborough’s Morning Joe program about student loans. She said: students entering college between the years (ONLY) 2007-2012 would generate a NET profit for the federal government of $66 Billion dollars for student loans. That’s criminal.

        I still want those bases closed if for no other reason than to re-direct whatever resources (human and financial) back to the U.S. I’m all for affordable higher education.

      • Creigh says:

        Absolutely a matter of priorities, Mime. Real economic resources (of which human energy and ingenuity are by far the most important) are limited. Unneeded military bases and bridges to nowhere don’t solve real problems. We need to put our energies into investments that yield returns down the line, and education is one of those things. But we also need to pay attention to the demand side of the equation. It won’t do to expand the supply of trained young people if there’s no demand for their time and energy. And right now, after 35 years of ‘supply side economics,’ we have a real demand side problem. Because it turns out that the real ‘job creators’ are not rich people and corporations (which have their role to play, don’t get me wrong), but rather customers with money to spend.

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, well, maybe while the GOP is dillying, this is happening:

        Obama has sent a major infrastructure jobs bill to Congress where it languished. And, I don’t buy Owl’s premise that Dems would block it because it threatens unions. If anything, Dems have been the grown up in the room, and they know this issue is more important than appeasing unions.

      • 1mime says:

        Sorry, Creigh, missed responding to your main point. Of course it’s about demand. And, if business continues to relegate labor to part time jobs, they won’t have surplus funds to enrich businesses. Circular, isn’t it, if one is logical. What’s happened is that business has been enriched by the modus operandi for so long they actually believe the “trickle down” theory! oh, well.

      • Creigh says:

        Right, infrastructure spending is a great demand side stimulus, it employs bodies and puts money in consumers pockets. Plus, it provides real returns. I’ve read that the Interstate highway project has returned 25% or more in economic benefits every year since it was built. And if Democrats want to mandate union labor, fine, but what the gov usually does is mandate union scale.

    • johngalt says:

      I think the plan, like a lot of what Obama proposes, is not well-enough thought out to be ready for prime time. There’s no real funding plan and no mechanism to ensure that those who take advantage of it are serious, rather than just trying to waste a couple of years. I’m not opposed to the concept, but it has zero chance of enactment at this time, so it sounds like grandstanding to me.

      • 1mime says:

        About all Obama is going to be able to do is throw ideas out there. If we agree that the idea has merit, why not put it forward? Frankly, I think we’ll see a lot of trial balloons these next two years as Obama endeavors to remain relevant and be a burr under Congress’ saddle….try to keep them a little off-balance. I’d like him to focus on jobs and the environment and use these issues as a wedge for his support for tax reform, I can’t say I trust the GOP to construct tax reform that doesn’t pile on (watching Ohio/Oregon game) the middle class even more, given that the template apparently is still Paul Ryan’s plan.

      • johngalt says:

        Because he’s the president, not a pundit. Ideas need to be met with a solid blueprint of how to make it happen. What he’s done here is some idle grandstanding to a Democratic base knowing that none of this will ever see the light of day. It’s wasted breath.

      • Crogged says:

        I believe this plan is meant to address the middle class gap when it comes to further education goals. Paying tuition is the bare minimum – one has to eat-this plan allows Pell grants to go further. Not perfect, not sure how it keeps education costs down other than minimizing future loan burden, which is a bigger topic needing further action/discussion.

      • flypusher says:

        “Because he’s the president, not a pundit. Ideas need to be met with a solid blueprint of how to make it happen. What he’s done here is some idle grandstanding to a Democratic base knowing that none of this will ever see the light of day. It’s wasted breath.”

        Well said. When he gets his fellow Dems in Congress to put together an actual bill that deals with all those messy little details, then I’ll take it seriously. Or the GOP could go scoop them….nah, who am I kidding here?

      • Creigh says:

        See above for funding plan. As for weeding out nonserious students, couldn’t they be flunked out? I think a more serious objection might be that this plan would increase the supply of trained young folks, but the apparent problem we’re facing is demand for trained young people. We need a strategy for that, too. Infrastructure, anyone?

    • way2gosassy says:

      Tutt, I don’t know how the plan is being proposed to be paid for. Here in Tennessee, Governor Haslam did pass legislation last year that gives free 2 years of community college or technical school for every high school graduate. I don’t know the details on how this is being paid for either but I think it is an excellent idea. I do think that some of the funds are coming from business through the Chamber of Commerce.

  11. Owl of Bellaire says:
  12. Owl of Bellaire says:

    First, allow me a little happy dance.

    But then, huh? “Threatening my parents and other members of my family”? Unless I missed something awful that was deleted post haste, there’s been no such threatening content in this entire comment thread. Not that Sternn doesn’t love to lie and play the martyr, in open defiance of any actual evidence, but this seems to take the cake.

    There’s plenty of reasonable and intelligent discussion here. But those who are irrational and stupid, like Sternn, have trouble recognizing and participating in it.

    • objv says:

      Owl, could you please try to be less of an intolerant, insensitive twit?

      • fencitter says:

        you and kabuzz’s job as apologist for CaptStern must be an arduous job. My favorite CaptStern quote from the

        “I know logic, bird. I am a conservative. Liberals run on emotion rather than logic,…”

        he has reached a higher plane, becoming a vulcan I suppose.

        everyone needs a white knight I guess, so press on sir…

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      So, you’re also haplessly unable to identify the supposed trigger for Sternn’s departure?

      As usual, conservatives seem to enjoy being mortally offended by things which aren’t actually there.

  13. goplifer says:

    Is anyone having trouble accessing this article where it was posted on the Chronicle site?

  14. Anse says:

    “With their ties to white elites weakening, suspicion of authority is expressed in a futile race for self-protection.”

    I’ve long believed that this explains the transition toward a fully armed and militant society; where the NRA was once a moderate voice on the subject of gun ownership and gun laws, it is now not only a defender of a fully armed-at-all-times populace, it is also (along with others on the Right) a chief cultivator of a deeply suspicious, anti-government mentality. Whites are facing a future in which their power is no longer guaranteed. This correlates perfectly with an increasingly hostile attitude toward government itself.

    Start talking about the wonders of progressive policies in Scandinavia, and the first thing they’ll say is, ‘well, Scandinavia doesn’t have so many….” What’s amusing about this is one would assume that if government programs to address poverty and health care and education don’t work, one would assume they wouldn’t work anywhere. But apparently there are at least some right wingers who think they just can’t work here because we have too many brown people.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Amazing, your comment on Scandinavia. Today i was composing a comment on racism and the same thought occurred to me. Usually the retort is “but they have a homogenous population”. It never occurred to me before to look closer at what was being said.

    • flypusher says:

      To create a truly multicultural and truly free and open society is to venture into uncharted territory. The aims and the principles were stated clearly enough in 1776 and 1783. Actually applying them is the devil in the details. I don’t recall who coined the phrase “the Anerican experiment”; I think it’s one of the best metaphors to describe this country. We still have so much tinkering and adjusting to do. I can only hope that humanity’s nasty habit of tribalism don’t kill this wonderful experiment.

  15. objv says:

    ROR wrote: I detest a damn liar

    Now, ROR, does that mean that Elizabeth Warren should have no future in politics since she lied about having Native American ancestry?

    Warren represented herself as a minority (Native American) to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard which made federal filings on the basis of her unsubstantiated family rumors.

    From wiki:

    “Initial claims by a genealogist in Boston that Warren was 1/32 Cherokee were withdrawn as lacking evidence. The Boston Globe had promoted the news that Warren was 1/32 Cherokee, but when the lack of evidence was discovered, The Boston Globe printed the correction in a section of the paper unlikely to be noticed by the public.”

    “All known evidence shows that Warren’s family always self-identified as white, and her great grandfather even was identified in local newspapers as white when it was reported that he shot an Indian.
    – See more at:

    • texan5142 says:

      Rubeo lied also.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Bubba, nice try but as always just bullshit. Warren claimed ancestry on her university applications. You are a putz! Oh! And a liar.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        kabuzz61 says:
        January 12, 2015 at 11:43 am

        “What you have to do Bubba but are not able to is demonstrate who flung FIRST. Are you grown up enough to see???? No.”

        Well what I see and have demonstrated here and further below is that buzzy “flung FIRST”.


        Proud of yourself buzz?

        Grow up already. What, 70+ in chronological age and you haven’t matured one whit in the last 65? You represent well buzzy.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Oh and buzzy where is YOUR source? I just posted OV’s own source that stated Warren did not use her disputed Native American ancestry for any university admissions.

        Don’t blame me. Blame OV for referencing the source data. And not knowing how to read it. For comprehension. Putz.

      • objv says:

        Texan, did you even read your article? Sorry for the long copy and paste, but this is directly taken from your link.

        The Facts

        Warren’s Lineage

        Warren has claimed Cherokee and Delaware Indian heritage, but the only proof so far seems to be stories she says she heard from family members as a child. Cherokee groups have demanded documentation of the candidate’s Native American ancestry, but she hasn’t delivered.

        The New England Historic Genealogical Society found a family newsletter that alluded to a marriage-license application supposedly listing Warren’s great-great-great grandmother as part Cherokee.

        The Boston Globe misreported this information, saying that the genealogical society had found the marriage license itself and debunked the notion that Warren lied about her lineage. The paper later acknowledged its mistake in a correction notice.

        The author of the family newsletter said she didn’t have documentation of the marriage-license application and she doesn’t know who sent her the reference.

        (Indian Country Today Media Network has posted the family newsletter on its Web site).

        The New England genealogical society clarified in a statement that it has found no proof of Warren’s self-proclaimed Native American lineage. The group also told The Globe that the candidate’s family is not listed in an early-20th century census of major tribes, known as the Dawes Rolls.

        An article in Atlantic magazine pointed out that Warren “would not be eligible to become a member of any of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes based on the evidence so far surfaced by independent genealogists about her ancestry.” That’s because her Cherokee ancestors, if she has any, would either be too distant or they never documented their ties in ways that meet the tribes’ requirements.

      • texan5142 says:

        Did not read the last paragraph did you.

      • texan5142 says:

        You lied, you said that Warren presented herself to the university as of native heritage, there is no definitive prof that she did so.

      • objv says:

        Here’s the last paragraph:

        “The outstanding questions about Warren’s directory listing — and her relying on family lore rather than official documentation to make an ethnic claim — certainly raise serious concerns about Warren’s judgment. But in the debate, the Republican incumbent conflated conjecture and sketchy information to make a claim not supported by the available evidence, and so he earns Two Pinocchios.”

        What don’t you understand? Warren made claims about Cherokee heritage that she was not entitled to make. Brown was the one to earn two Pinocchios because he made some assertions based on conjecture. This does not in any way negate Warrens outright misrepresentations about being a Native American.

      • texan5142 says:

        Why do you not understand that you lied, Warren lie does not excuse your lie. You said she represented herself as native American to aquir her position at the university, there is no evidence that she did… lied.

      • objv says:

        From the wiki article:
        “Later, reporters uncovered that Warren had represented herself to both U. Penn[16] and Harvard for federal reporting purposes[17] as Native American. Warren herself never disclosed that she had represented herself to U. Penn and Harvard as Native American, that information was discovered by reporters. – See more at:

        Read the rest and with the footnotes as an answer to your charge. I did not lie. I’m presenting work that others wrote. You can make a judgement on the basis of their research.

      • texan5142 says:

        Own it.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        objv, Warren is a liar as is Texan. Good job of putting the pointy headed Minnosotian in his place. RoR however, will support Warren.

    • johngalt says:

      All politicians lie. Machiavelli wrote about it 500 years ago and it was old news then. It takes a certain delusion to think that your side does not.

      • texan5142 says:

        Agreed, they all do, I take measure of how erroneous the lie is.
        It is one thing to believe something your grandparents told you that you thought was true versus flat out lying about something you know in your mind to be a lie and to tell that lie anyway.

      • objv says:

        JG, yes, politicians lie. However, in previous comments, ROR took great offense with Cap saying that he was part Native American.

        Aren’t Warren’s assertions similar in that she relied on information provided by relatives? In fact, wouldn’t Warren’s claims be even vaguer than Cap’s? Come on, how could she claim to be a Native American to potential employers when the basis for her claim was that her “Aunt Bea” said that her maternal grandfather had high cheekbones?


        “Warren arrived as a visiting professor in 1992, but left a year later. By then, she had been listing herself for seven years as a minority in a legal directory often used by law recruiters to make diversity-friendly hires. She continued to list herself in the book until 1995, the year she took a permanent position at Harvard.”

        – See more at:

      • johngalt says:

        I’m not getting in the middle of the ROR/Sternn dust-up on whether he is or is not what he claims to be in his online persona.

        But what Warren did seems fairly innocuous. The family lore was that she was a tiny part native American. If your grandmother told you that, would you go researching it? Some people interested in their genealogy might, but most wouldn’t. It gave her a leg up, so she used it. Nobody has accused her of not being ambitious. If that is the worst lie she tells as a politician (which I doubt), then she’s better than 99.9% of them in that regard.

      • objv says:

        JG, the problem is that Warren reported herself as a Native American. It may or may not have led to the University of Pennsylvania or Harvard hiring her, but she should have known better than to claim minority status when she did not meet the criteria for being a Native American – even if it could have been proved that she had a tiny bit of American Indian ancestry.

      • johngalt says:

        This says more about the nonsense that has permeated racial classifications in this country since the bad old days of “octaroons” and “mulattos” and other artificial terms. We choose to classify people this way because it seems easy and, so people who have small and tenuous ties to underprivileged minority status are legally allowed to claim it. Our legal system has chosen this because it is definable without the morass of human judgement. It’s not right, from a moral justice perspective, but the law generally allows people to self-declare this and so if Warren genuinely thought she had some Native American blood, then she could claim that. A more just system would look at the kids of a West Virginia coal miner or Mississippi dirt farmer and realize that they are more needing a hand up than the children of Michael Jordan, Suge Knight or Ben Carson. But that is not the system we have

    • rightonrush says:

      So OV, Sternn was told from childhood he was Cherokee and adopted by his white biological parents. That is damn sad, no wonder he has major problems. Somebody should have notified CPS that he was being so emotionally abused by his real birth parents. Tsk, tsk,tsk.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        He didn’t officially claim his ‘heritage’ in universities to gain favor which the lying sen. Warren did. But that is okay. See, she is a liberal. Liberals lie. Just like you RoR.

      • rightonrush says:

        Hey, if Sternns birth parents lied to him about his NA blood and told him he was abandoned by the Cherokee I can understand his mental anguish on finding out the real truth. I’m sure discovering his white parents were really his birth parents and that they lied because he embarrassed them must have been a big surprise. I for one will be the first to reach out to Sternn and ask him to seek professional help to wade through the years of abuse. Makes me sad what they did to little Sternn.

      • rightonrush says:

        humm Buzz, thanks for the heads up! Wonder if Sternn has used his imaginary NA heritage to gain employment.

      • rightonrush says:

        Dow is you are related to Chaka Khan I’d appreciate it if you could hook me up with a signed photo.

    • johnofgaunt75 says:

      This is a stupid controversy. Her parents told her that she was Native American and she believed it. Shocking! Plenty of families have stories and myths that are passed down generations and are probably false. It doesn’t matter.

      • dowripple says:

        So…I’m probably not related to Robin Hood or Genghis Kahn? Wow, thanks for f-ing up my day! 🙂

      • dowripple says:

        “Khan”, boy would my ancestors be pissed…

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Dow, you related to the forgotten and obscure Jewish branch of the famous Mongolian warlord?

        Now that is a cool lineage/association! 😉

      • kabuzz61 says:

        To officially claim it on an application for favored status is not only a lie but fraud which does qualify her to represent liberals.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Something is only a “lie” if you know the truth to be otherwise.

        But fine points of logic are usually lost on idiot Tea Partisans.

  16. bubbabobcat says:

    Chris I owe you an apology for my Yankee snobbery in disputing your observation in a previous blog that the recent racial police oppression seem to be occurring predominantly in the North. Apparently you are not alone.

    “The nation still has far to go, but this, at least, seems cause for hope. It suggests that the South, after decades of wrestling with its history, is now willing to face injustice head on. And it suggests that the North, after decades of insisting that it was fairer and more free, could eventually do the same.”

    Amazingly prescient again. 😉

    • johngalt says:

      This lets the South off the hook too easily. As I posted in an earlier blog, large cities in the South have had a long time to adjust. Atlanta has been almost exclusively governed by its African-American majority for decades – since the mid-70s. Houston has had ample multi-racial/ethnic representation in Congress and in City Hall (on the city council, at least) for a long time. Feeling like one has representation in government is part of the ownership society that Chris writes about. But if you leave the big cities, things go downhill fast. Jasper, Texas is either an hour-and-a-half or about 60 years from Houston, depending on how you look at it.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        And let’s not even talk about Vidor.

      • 1mime says:

        Events continue to unfold in Jasper. It’s dangerous for black people in rural Texas And in urban areas. What is interesting and hopeful are successful black business men who are stepping up and speaking out. Read:

      • bubbabobcat says:

        JG, I think the quote I lifted is a little out of context as a standalone statement so I probably shouldn’t have highlighted it here.

        The point of the author was not that the South “wasn’t so bad” for slaves and former slaves; it was. But that as a result of the Great Migration due to the continued discrimination in the South after the Civil War via Jim Crow laws, and the violence inflicted upon them, they migrated to the North in droves to as late as the 1970’s and as a result, the same discriminating responses from the Northern Whites were time delayed a bit and not necessarily categorically immune to the same horrors inflicted Blacks in the South to this day.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Plenty of racism in Houston with JG and the birdie constantly looking at color.

      • Turtles Run says:

        I will take their form of “racism”, the fair treatment they give people, versus your old school brand any day.

      • rightonrush says:

        Buzz, is the Clan meeting at your place or at Sternn’s next month?

  17. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    • kabuzz61 says:

      What you have to do Bubba but are not able to is demonstrate who flung FIRST. Are you grown up enough to see???? No.

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Protest, whine, and faux victimize all you want buzzy. The proof is in the pudding of your posts. And the fact that we were all having nice adult conversations until you and Cappy showed up ad dropped your turds in the pool.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      I knew you couldn’t. Just lying like always. Tsk!

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Since buzzy is back in 2nd grade maturity mode again:

      kabuzz61 says:
      January 12, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      “Bubba, nice try but as always just bullshit. Warren claimed ancestry on her university applications. You are a putz! Oh! And a liar.”

      Apparently buzzy YOU flung first, “putz”.

      Grow up already. What, 70+ in chronological age and you haven’t matured one whit in the last 65? You represent well buzzy.

    • flypusher says:

      It seems that you were only commenting on Act I.

  18. briandrush says:

    You know, it just occurred to me that no one has pointed out that Obamacare IS a Republican health-care plan. It’s basically the same arrangement that Mitt Romney used in Massachusetts.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      For Republicans, that’s an embarrassment that points out their addiction to reflexive partisanship over truthful attention to problem-solving.

      For Democrats, that’s either an annoyance since it supplanted single-payer as an option, or simple water under the bridge.

    • johngalt says:

      It has been pointed out in the past. Some of the more reactionary conservatives who post here flat out deny there is any such connection as Romney is just a RINO. They also deny that the GOP ever proposed an individual mandate at the federal level. In related news, they also deny that the sky is blue.

      • 1mime says:

        Dig way back to the GOPhealth care plans offered in 1993 as alternatives to Hillarycare…( As for Romney getting credit as Governor of the Mass. plan, he signed on to the plan but the Democratic state legislature made it happen. Chris’ earlier post on his GOP health care plan alternative contains some really good ideas. It’s a shame the GOP has never gotten behind a solid legislative proposal but instead continues to deflect responsibility by throwing spitballs at the ACA. I, for one, would like to see their solution – one that is a serious commitment to address health care in the United States.

        Fundamentally, America has to decide whether access to affordable, quality health care is a right or a privilege, then fund it. Health care is a serious, expensive problem in America and it is not going away. The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect but at least Dems tried to so something. There are lots of major industrialized countries out there grappling with health care for their citizens, so why not draw upon their experience. I’m weary of all the criticism without a serious alternative being offered. Put up or shut up and stop using health care as a fear/anger tactic. Deal with it.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Basically? Compratively? 40% like? Which is it?

  19. texan5142 says:

    Mexico was great, left 80 degrees to arrive at 3 degrees, and that was warm for the week. Going from a hot dog to a popsicle sucks.

    I love Puerto Vallarta the people are great.

    • rightonrush says:

      Bet you have a tan and a smile on your face….if it 3 degrees back home that smile may be frozen. I’m happy you had a great time.

  20. kabuzz61 says:

    For all you new members showing up, a little warning. If Chris disagrees with the way you comment, he will not only ban you but reveal your identity and work place ISP.

    RoR further down the thread is starting to reveal personal data on someone. Don’t take your anonymity for granted here.

    • way2gosassy says:

      What an absolute load of crap! I have been on these boards as long as you and have on occasion disagreed with Chris and have never been banned nor has my personal information ever been given out.

    • flypusher says:

      Yet you and Sternn remain unbanned and unrevealed.

      The one person who did get that treatment earned it. After being warned first.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      kabuzz, you’re full of it, as usual.

      Chris acted as you described ONCE, in response to a virulent troll who seemed to rejoice in coming back and become ever-fouler, no matter how often his posts were deleted or his accounts banned from contributing.

      But, then, Tea Partisans seem addicted to lies, anyway. It’s easier than thinking.

    • rightonrush says:

      The fruit loop in the catsuit is a butt buddy of Sternn’s and has zero credibility. Sternn was outed years ago on the Chron boards. His lying about adoption and his non existent Native American blood was the straw that did it for me. He was neither adopted nor native American. I’m 1/4 Apache and lost both parents when I was 4 yrs old. My grandparents raised me and my sister, both were salt of the earth and as tough as rawhide. We take care of our own, it’s not easy to adopt a NA child when you aren’t of blood. I resent the hell outta someone who doesn’t know shit about adoption, native American OR any minority try to climb onto our backs to make himself appear “knowledgeable” If I get banned so be it.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        RoR it is you that is full of shit. You are a NA, war hero helicopter pilot that designed modern helicopter design and personally save people from burning buildings on the weekend for ‘fun’. Did i leave anything out?

        I love the comment ‘he did it once’ as if it is an excuse yet Bubba who is equally if not more foul than DanMan stays on the board.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        kabuzz, Dan was considerably fouler and pushier than Bubba. Your lack of perspective is proof of your partisanship.

        But, hey, if you’re too stupid to argue about ideas, I guess you can still scrape together the brain cells to argue about people.

        You may be less profane, but you’re just as much the hapless troll.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        DanMan was out of line a number of times IMO but so is Bubba. I am not the one making excuses.

      • Turtles Run says:


        I understand your frustration with Sternn but your comments below are hurting you more than him. We know he is a liar and a troll. Your comments on his personal life should be off limits you posting it on the board here does nothing because most of us are going to ignore it and it can eventually get you banned. We want you to stay.

        In the end it does not matter if Sternn claims to be part Native American, Dutch, or whatever. We know he is 100% jackass. Don’t let him win.

      • rightonrush says:

        Catsuit whines,”DanMan was out of line a number of times IMO but so is Bubba. I am not the one making excuses.”

        Bottom line, you are not the owner of this blog, Chris is. While you try to take it over with your inane musings, Chris still calls the shots and if you don’t like it tough.

      • rightonrush says:

        I’ll be fine Turtles. Sternn stepped over my line and I will not apologize for calling him out. He can pretend to be most anything but I take serious offense at the adoption and NA lies. It degrades the children that have been put through the process and are of NA blood.

      • Turtles Run says:

        No need to apologize but do not hurt yourself by calling him out. We want you around. He is a fool and no one takes him seriously. He wants to cross that line because it generates the reaction he just got. Believe me I have been suckered to many times as well. Tutt admits that is the goal because they find it amusing. F*** ’em both and lets just go on.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        kabuzz61 says:
        January 12, 2015 at 8:44 am
        “DanMan was out of line a number of times IMO but so is Bubba. I am not the one making excuses.”

        Buzzy, your opinion has zero value to anyone here with more than a couple of cells attached to their brain stem and who is NOT a knee jerk virulent wingnut partisan like yourself. And you have some gall to patently falsely characterize it as an “honest” opinion.

        Even our newest readers and contributors who don’t have the extensive body of evidence (your continually growing lying sackful of shit) the longtime regulars have seen, know who to believe and who not to.

        Hang in there RoR; Buzzy and Cappy are consummate trolls because flinging poo is all they have in their “intellectual” arsenal to cling to. As I noted, beyond the usual suspects who are beyond help themselves, they neither engender, receive, nor deserve respect from the rest of the rational world.

    • 1mime says:

      I’m a GOPlifer newbie and from the posts I’ve read( by Chris), I don’t find him reactionary to a wide spectrum of reader comments. He writes well, explains complex issues and topics clearly, knows his stuff and does his research. (Not sucking up here, that’s really what I think.) We don’t have to agree with him, but we can learn from him and from everyone who posts in kind. That’s the point, isn’t it? Intelligent, diverse thinking? Chris lets the comments unwind and doesn’t jam the process by injecting himself frequently. So, take a bow, All, keep the interesting responses coming and don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m enjoying the repartee and learning from all of you…..racists and communists, alike (-:

      • rightonrush says:

        “I’m enjoying the repartee and learning from all of you…..racists and communists, alike (-:”

        LOL, I normally don’t have my scalping knife and tomahawk out but today just did it for me. The sad thing for some of these Tea-buggers is that I am retiring next month so will have much more time to play with them. That is, if I’m not banned.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        So don’t tilt at windmills, rightonrush. Sternn is impervious to reality, facts, or correction, as he frequently demonstrates.

      • 1mime says:

        ROR, Didn’t mean to leave out the Indians!

      • Turtles Run says:

        1mime – Its OK. Communist covers just about every one of us. Our unofficial name is Chris’ Communist Corner.

      • Turtles Run says:

        or better yet Kris’ Kommunist Korner

      • flypusher says:

        Or Chris’ Communist Corner Pontifications?

      • Turtles Run says:

        Fly – I like the way you think. You just won a Che Guevara t-shirt and beret.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Would that make our discussions a Marx Brothers routine?

      • 1mime says:

        Gosh, Turtle, thank you for clearing up the Communist confusion! I’ll feel a lot more comfortable saying whatever I want to whoever I want about whatever I feel ! (uh, that works here, right?)

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        1mime — Just watch out not to insult Christianity, or kabuzz as the representative of the Tealiban will stamp his feet, pout, and threaten to leave the blog.

        The rest of us wish he actually would. But his trollish impulses are way too strong.

      • Turtles Run says:

        1mime – I will consider it my good deed for the day. Normally, we try to be civil unfortunately we have bad days.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Owl- I’d be interested on your take on Bill Mahar’s comments on Islam during the discussion with Afflec. I don’t watch Kimmel, but there was a video on the CNN site this moning.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Maher often strikes me as a jerk. So far as I can tell, he’s tilting at Islam because it gets him press, but he actually disdains any and all religions.

        Now, I’m an agnostic bordering on atheist myself, but I’ve known good Christians (both Catholic and Protestant), Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccans, etc. A person’s *interpretation* of a faith system is often just as important as the system itself, if not more so.

        One of my Christmas gifts was Steven Pinker’s book *The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined*. It’s got a great section looking at the horrid material in the Bible which was perfectly acceptable in the Iron Age, but which believers tend to conveniently gloss over in the modern era. That doesn’t mark those faithful as bad people, mind you: just practical. It’s fundamentalists, of any faith, who are the seriously damaged whackos, but that blame is on them as much as or more than it is on the faith itself.

      • fiftyohm says:

        I’m with out on the fundamentalism thing, Owl. But there are damn few religions in which the fundamentalists think it’s just fine to murder, rape, dismember, and maim non-fundamentalist members as they are seen as heretics – at least in the modern era. I think I’ve said before that Islam is what Christianity would be without the New Testament. And it acts like it.

        Of course, no one we know personally, of any belief system, espouses an iron-age version of it. But our sample is horribly biased. *Everyone* we know is literate. (To some extent or another, *all* present company included.) *No one* we know grew up in a family that advocated iron-age belief systems. *No one* we know was indoctrinated from early age with a murderous and violent interpretation of any religion, let alone schooled *only* in the Old Testament. I suggest our personal experiences in this regard are so selected as to be completely invalid in the larger context.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “But there are damn few religions in which the fundamentalists think it’s just fine to murder, rape, dismember, and maim non-fundamentalist members as they are seen as heretics.”

        Well, sure, *now* there aren’t. But Christianity used to be just such a faith.

        To me, it’s less an indication of faults in Islam as a faith, and more an indictment of the level of societal development in the Middle East.

        Anybody here read Irshad Manji’s *The Trouble with Islam*? It’s part memoir, part polemic, and if you can get over the fact that it’s written by a lesbian feminist Canadian Muslim, it’s quite good. 🙂

      • fiftyohm says:

        Bloody Canadians! ;-(

        OK – social development is a fair point. But does it strike you as at all strange that the most socially backward places on the planet generally embrace Islam?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Not at all.

        First, it’s not necessarily so: but the Lord’s Resistance Army, for example, doesn’t get as much bad press as Boko Haram. India has a sect of terroristic Christians who force others to convert at gunpoint, along with a nationalist Hindu political party whose partisans have been responsible for assorted atrocities against Muslims and Sikhs. So there’s probably some distorted perspective in our media based on a current bias toward coverage of Scary Muslims.

        Second, though, it actually makes some sense: Islam, I suspect, can be appealing as a counterweight / counterpoint to a Christianity all too often identified with commercially colonialist Western powers (which my spouse and I also mused about over dinner last night, in possible connection with the origins of the Black Muslim movement in the U.S.). And the areas where Islam spread tend to be those areas which, for assorted reasons, are the resource-rich areas technologically advanced Europe colonized and exploited, often through granting intermediate power to local tribes or cliques who have retarded modernization / socialization since decolonization.

        So, yes, I’m going with the whole “correlation is not necessarily causation” thing, though Irshad Manji’s book is quite good at pointing out how the Islam of the Caliphates had a rich tradition of questioning and inquiry, lost in the inward turning and loss of confidence caused by the ascendance of the West. She calls for, essentially, an Islamic Reformation which would encourage individual Quranic interpretation rather than relying solely on the dictates of mullahs — and there are certainly those who would claim that Protestantism led to modern culture.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        More good stuff found by link-wandering from Crogged’s excellent Atlantic article (Pinker-Shakespeare) above, specifically about Boko Haram but with a nod to the Lord’s Resistance Army, and a relevant connection to Nigeria’s corrupt post-colonial government:

      • flypusher says:

        “But does it strike you as at all strange that the most socially backward places on the planet generally embrace Islam?”

        Sounds like a correlation vs causation question here. Is there something intrinsic in Islam that makes it more likely to cause social backwardness? I doubt that. If we look at the data point of here and now, it sure looks that way. But if we look across history, we can find data points of socially backwards Christian places and socially enlightened (by the standards of the times) Islamic places. Owl makes a good point about all the technological, economic and political factors that come into play along with the religious ones. I see the problem as fundamentalism in general, rather than any specific religion. Fundamentalism promotes intolerance and social backwardness. All faiths need to be on guard against it.

      • fiftyohm says:

        So, I see the two recurrent arguments here. First, that colonialism is the bogeyman, and that radical Islam is but a latent visage of the old disease. Second, that all religions are pretty much the same; that throughout history all have had their murderous periods.

        First, colonialism: We speak about colonialism as if it is a recent phenomenon. Pretty much every square inch of the planet was a colony of some foreign power at one time or another. Oh!, (the argument goes), only the post industrial empires count because, well, steam power and other technology enabled them to be global in extent. Really? During Roman times, Scandinavia was as remote as China for practical purposes. But all empires are exploitative, right? Well, to some extent, yes, but in the case of the British Empah, and in India in particular, it also build roads, and critical infrastructure, essentially kick-starting the emergent giant we see today. (Oh yeah. Rome did all that too.) The unifying effects of empire, (language, trade, development, and strategic stability), can be seen in the history of China too, but that doesn’t seem to count, because we only talk about bad crap the empires of Europe caused. (Well, there are the minor exceptions of the United States, and even our Hoser friends to the north, but…) I’m not going all Kipling here, but really, this endless apology and excuse, no matter how long ago or far away, is such a nonsense.

        To Islam: India, by far the largest and most populous of the modern post-colonial states, has a small minority of Muslims. The death rate per capita due to religious extremism is very small when compared to the rest of the developing world. Before we leave India, meriting mention is the fact that the Muslim population there has by far the lowest literacy rate of all groups.

        In Egypt and Pakistan, 82% of the population supports stoning for the ‘offense’ of adultery. The pattern of popular support for such barbarity in correlation with Islam is pretty much universal around the globe. You tell me just how peaceful and tolerant the “vast majority” of citizens of those countries can really be. But my ears ring with the words “fundamentalism is the real problem”, and “fundamentalists are a tiny minority”. Right. Reread the first sentence of this paragraph.

        Yes, I see all religion as a fundamentally flawed worldview. But this doesn’t suggest to me they are all the same. Why should this be so? *No data* supports this premise, and I ain’t buying it.

      • dowripple says:

        “In Egypt and Pakistan, 82% of the population supports stoning for the ‘offense’ of adultery.”

        It seems like you are conflating fundamentalism with something else with your last argument, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. During the times of public executions in Europe, would we have made the same kind of argument about Christianity?

        Has anyone read Diamond’s “The World Until Yesterday”? In his “Collapse” book he just touched the surface of how we interact with *traditional* societies. Maybe that will be my weekend homework…

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Now, now, fifty. I’m not attempting anything resembling “apology and excuse”, simply explanation. I have plenty of beefs with Islam, so I’ll thank you not to force me into some rhetorical corner of being its absolute defender.

        Sure, you might claim that “colonialism,” in the general sense, been around since first one primitive human tribe conquered another for slaves or tribute. But that rather misses the specific term of art as used in history: getting control over another country (so that you seize power from the natives), occupying it with settlers (so that you seize resources from the natives), and exploiting it economically (so that you deny wealth to the natives).

        Did Rome do this? Absolutely. Of course, those events are also thousands rather than hundreds of years in the past, and rather lost in the wash. I doubt there’s anyone even left who can make a well-documented claim for the mistreatment of the Sequani. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness shows up on rather more school reading lists than Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico, and that’s not the fault of limited translations for the latter. The nominal period of “de-colonization” for the European states was as late as after the Second World War, and no-one rationally claims that modern America isn’t affected by our own experiences in the 1950s. Why shouldn’t others be similarly connected to their history?

        Infrastructure built by an empire serves the interests of that empire and its settlers, not of the indigenous people. I’m sure the folks in Londinium and Eburacum loved the Roman roads, but Boudicca appears to have been not so much of a fan. Perhaps she had other concerns. And the way colonial states willy-nilly divvied up the map along spheres of influence agreed upon in drawing-rooms in Versailles or other “civilized” spots with no awareness of reality on the ground, lumping and splitting ethnic groups for the convenience of the cartographer or the overseer rather than for the benefit of the governed, has long-reaching effects. Try looking at an ethnic map of Nigeria, or Sudan, or almost any failed or failing state in Africa, and tell me that’s not part of the original, basic problem with those nations as self-governing states rather than subjugated provinces.

        I hope I don’t have to explain to you the reason why India has only a small minority of Muslims. I have two friends who were extras in Ben Kingsley’s Gandhi: one is the policeman who mutely shakes his fist heavenwards as the caravans of refugees traveling in opposite directions finally cross the median to viciously attack each other. So, again, history hardly makes your chosen comparison a fair one.

        Yes, I’m fully aware that many Muslims support stoning for adultery. We were talking up-thread about Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, which has as a central plot point the use of capital punishment, in European Vienna, for a man getting a child out of wedlock. How many Christians in the United States support capital punishment? How many support the torture of “towel-head terrorists”, or dead-end prison camps where foreign nationals can be held for decades on mere suspicion without trial? We can find “barbarity” over here, too. Is that Christianity’s fault, or does it have other roots?

        You fail to do so, but it’s important to draw a distinction between, say, a Pakistani who believes that adulterers should be stoned in his own country, and an Egyptian who believes that infidels should be slaughtered in somebody else’s country. We may not like free-speech rules in Russia, or commercial regulation in China, or gender restrictions in Saudi Arabia — but we do not invade those countries to change their behaviors. And most Pakistanis (or Egyptians) aren’t frothing at the mouth to do the same to us, either. Conflating the two types of disagreements, of the parochially faithful and of the aggressive fundamentalist, is rather like saying that inhabitants of Texas counties with “blue laws” are just like abortion-clinic bombers.

        Fundamentalism is a problem. I hope I haven’t claimed, and I don’t see others positing, that fundamentalism is the problem. My previous lengthy post, and this even longer one, are all about ringing the usual liberal refrain of, “It’s complicated!”

        I’ve enjoyed meals and parties with lovely Muslims who bore me and my culture no ill will, even as they didn’t agree on all the particulars of day-to-day life. Christians are capable of that, though some fail. Jews are capable of that, though some fail. Muslims are capable of that, though some fail. Do we consider those who have accommodated their faiths to the diverse, industrialized, modern world to be bad Christians, Jews, and Moslems? I hope not!

        Religion is like any tool in the human experience: it can be used for good or ill. But we don’t blame hammers for human violence, or money for human avarice. Blaming Islam seems like an excuse not to blame the specific human beings involved, or to find out what made them seek an excuse for acting the way that they did.

      • dowripple says:

        “parochially faithful and of the aggressive fundamentalist”

        Wow, much better than what I tried to say. Is there a kiddie-comment section for the likes of me?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Pshaw; I merely indulged in a lot more paragraphs. I like your prose and contributions just fine.

      • fiftyohm says:

        First, pay no attention to the new thread Chris has put up. This is far more interesting…

        I think then that we can agree that rather than ‘colonialism’, per se, the willy-nilly divvying up of territory after WWII was an extremely significant factor in the current mess. I say territory rather than nations because, for the most part, and certainly in Africa, there were no extant nations prior to colonialism. I think the facts are that by any objective view, that continent was far more a mess before colonialism than after, and the current state has indeed been a result of the arbitrary doodlings of cartographers without regard to cultural considerations in the post colonial era. But more to the point, that ink actually replaced nothing. Nation-states weren’t divided. It’s a bit like blaming colonialism for not finishing its work, whilst decrying its goal.

        Of course it’s true that colonial powers develop infrastructure in their own interests, but who can deny the benefits of same in a post-colonial era? Would India be where she is today were it not for the railroads and telecommunication infrastructure left behind by the Empah? I seriously doubt it.

        To capital punishment, you are likely aware, my view of the subject has changed over the last few years. My opposition notwithstanding, I see little in common with that practice here in the United States and stoning and beheading in public, let alone the variety of “crimes” for which it is employed in the Islamic world. It is true that we may not invade other countries for their practices against their own inhabitants, but we surely do go after murders on other soil. We do that as we consider that evil intolerable. By definition, and directly from the Koran, capital punishment is to be deserved only for the most vile of crimes; crimes like insulting the Prophet, if you get my drift. The notion that certain ‘crimes’ are viewed by a population as so heinous as to be punishable by death, but *only within national boundaries*, seems to me a bit silly. I said above that our personal experiences with Muslims are not useful to the discussion. A fair point could be made that, at least based on the opinions of large swaths of the Islamic world, we really don’t know, nor have ever met, any *real* Muslims.

        You are correct that most of us do not blame the tool for the violence it may wreck. (Your words.) I’ll let the irony of that hang for our next discussion of an entirely unrelated topic we’ve had great discussions about in the past. I don’t think though that, in any but the most abstract sense, religion is a ‘tool’. (Though I’ve known many ‘religious tools’ in my time!) It’s a belief system not based on reason. In its diversity, some are worse than others. Most start out bad, but many evolve into forms largely unrecognizable from their origins. And some don’t. Either way, 1,500 years is enough goddam time to get the job done. Reformation, indeed. I’m not holding my breath.

        By the way, please keep me posted on the new production. We’re back in Houston until May, and won’t miss it for the world!

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Perhaps we can agree that colonialism plus arbitrary mapping created the current mess. Had we imposed arbitrary boundaries upon foreign territories and then simply left them to work it out, we probably would have seen multiple civil wars and border conflicts, with at least some of them settling down into workable states. Instead, we had unworkable states forced nevertheless to work for the benefit of violent foreign imperialists, who may have left some useful physical infrastructure but almost invariably played “divide and conquer” in the social and political realms and so bequeathed to the decolonized state a toxic legacy of oppression and cronyism.

        You claim “there were no extant nations prior to colonialism.” I’m pretty sure the peoples of Morocco, Libya, the Fulani Empire, Swaziland, the Ashanti Confederacy, Burundi, the Kingdom of Benin, Bunyoro, Dahomey, Rwanda, Oubangui-Chari, Ijebu, Bechuanaland, Merina, Egypt, Zululand, the Fante Confederacy, Basutoland, The Comoros, Algeria, and Zanzibar would disagree with you. The idea that “nothing was there” is a nice bit of Eurocentric ass-covering, but that’s kind of like the claim that the Americas were full of unclaimed land that European settlers were perfectly entitled to take. (Okay, smallpox helped clear titles a bit in that regard, but still….)

        Stoning and beheading in public are painful, no doubt, as well as disgraceful and disgusting. Of course, it’s becoming pretty clear that some of our lethal-injection practices are deficient in those regards, as well. I don’t care for either of them. If you want to accuse other of barbarism, better make sure your own house is in order: that’s a lesson the U.S. learned before the civil-rights movement, when we tried to accuse the Soviet Union of mistreating some of its citizens. Eisenhower realized we had a problem, though it took until LBJ to really face it.

        “We surely do go after murders on other soil”? Nonsense. What serious action have we taken against the massive murder campaign by Boko Haram? What serious action did we take against the Syrian government? What serious action have we taken against the ongoing genocide in Tibet? When did we violate Brazilian sovereignty to protect the Tikuna people, or the Rio Pardo Indians, or the Yanomami? How many Pygmies did we surround with armed forces during the Congo Civil War? Why didn’t we intervene between the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda? What did we do to punish Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers? What did we ever do about Darfur? Or are you saying none of those were “murders”, or that we’re, by token of inaction, just fine with the treatment of all of those peoples?

        I’ll have to tell my Muslim friends that you don’t view them as “real” Muslims. Of course, I’ve heard plenty of Baptists claim that Catholics aren’t “real” Christians. Does anyone get to declare themselves as this sort of arbiter for reality, or does it require special training?

        And, yes, I was fully conscious of the gun-control issue when I wrote that “most of us do not blame the tool for the violence it may wreak.” Of course, requiring people to have a license to drive is hardly blaming automobiles for the deaths they cause; indeed, it’s an example of holding people responsible and requiring for them to demonstrate that responsibility before using those tools. So I doubt I’m going to feel much cognitive dissonance when that topic re-arises, though I’m sure you’ll strenuously encourage it.

        But of course religion is a tool. The scientific method is a tool; marriage is a tool; the concept of “race” is a tool. If a belief system helps you do something, whether that be to make sense of the world or to decide whom to help and whom to hate, then it’s a tool as well as a belief system.

        “1,500 years is enough goddam [sic] time to get the job done”? Tell that to the Christians; after all, Sinn Fein and the Ulstermen were killing each other over religion a mere 2% of that time ago. Tell that to the Catholics, who still haven’t figured out that women are a fully useful and co-equal branch of humanity. Tell that to the squabbling Ultra-Orthodox Jewish sects in New York City, or the violently bigoted Haredim in Israel; after all, they’ve had far longer than the Muslims!

        There are bad Muslims, but not all Muslims are bad. There are bad Jews, but not all Jews are bad. There are bad Christians, but not all Christians are bad. There are bad Zoroastrians, but not all Zoroastrians are bad. They are bad practitioners of Asatru, but not all Asatru devotees are bad. I’m sure there are bad Jedis in Britain, but not all Jedis are bad. Again, religion is a tool. It’s what the human brain does with it that matters, not what is there in isolation. Should we claim that capitalism is bad because of what the Pinkertons and the trusts did to the nascent American labor movement?

        Thanks for the well-wishes on the Shakespeare production. The very first night of rehearsals ended a few hours ago; obviously, it’s far too early for any accurate prognostication, but I have high hopes.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Owl- Apologies for the delayed response. Bust couple of days…

        While it was informative reviewing the history of Africa, some of the territories on your list were actually British colonies, (i.e. Basutoland, which really doesn’t make a great deal of sense in the context of the discussion), but more to the point, *all* these areas has been colonized by other powers well before the European colonization era. Most notably, and earliest were the Byzantines, and later the Ottomans as ‘foreign powers’, but throughout history by a succession of powers and empires of indigenous African origin. Of course, the Ottomans brought the Islamic influence. Most if not all practiced slavery, and all the bad stuff we associate with the Europeans. This sounds too much like the simplistic meme that the “bad European White guys ruined the paradise of Africa” to come from you, so I assume you are merely giving special and primary operative significance to the *last* colonial influence for some reason. In that reason, I’m interested. I’m interested in exactly why you seem, (and note that I say “seem” out of genuine respect for you), to place the full weight of Islamic barbarism at the feet of White colonial powers and the social retardation they caused, instead of where it rationally and squarely belongs.

        Opposed as I may be to any practice of capital punishment, in any form, your suggestion that lethal injection as practiced, (though fairly rarely) in this country), bears any but notional similarity to public beheadings and stonings is baffling. I would perhaps need to consider the cleanliness “my house”, were I defending the practice of capital punishment here in America, but I’m not. I’m assailing the general barbarism of the Islamic world. I’m calling out the barbarous attitudes of (perhaps a substantial majority) of the adherents of that religion. You don’t know any of these people, and neither do I, so again, cocktail party acquaintances and even close friends don’t count.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        fifty — No problem on the delay. I can’t promise to keep firm and consistent attention on this thread, either. 🙂

        I’ll admit to a somewhat sloppy list; my point was that African states existed pre-colonization, so Europeans were not virtuously shouldering the White Man’s Burden and creating order in a vacuum.

        “All those areas had been colonized by other powers well before the European colonization era”? It’s certainly news to me that the Byzantines and/or Ottomans reached, say, Ghana (heart of the Fante Confederacy). Even in areas of Africa which are Islamic, that’s not necessarily a result of colonialism: the Sokoto Caliphate apparently rose from independent city-states remaining from the Kanem-Bornu Empire, which was founded around 700 AD (or 600 BC, depending on who you believe) and became Muslim through trade, not conquest.

        I’m not claiming virtue, let alone “paradise”, on the part of any African state; only trying to combat the all-too-common delusion that the continent was a blank, uncivilized map until the Europeans came to finally organize everything from a previous state of undifferentiated chaos, a fallacy which your argument seems to strongly resemble.

        Similarly, I’m not trying to claim that “bad European White guys” are solely responsible for Africa’s troubles. (Guns, Germs, and Steel probably deserves a passing mention here, for its magisterial look at how Europe came to dominate the world, and why others didn’t.) My continuous refrain is “It’s complicated.” You can’t put all the blame on Islam itself, just as you can’t put all the blame on European map-making or European colonialism or terrestrial geography.

        “Islamic barbarism” is the fault of Muslims, not of Islam. For goodness’ sake, the Old Testament prescribes the death penalty for blasphemy, homosexuality, adultery, talking back to parents, and working on the Sabbath. Meanwhile, it gives a pass to slavery, rape, torture, mutilation, and genocide of neighboring tribes. Moses himself tells his soldiers not only to commit genocide against the Midianites, but to take all the nubile virgins as freely rape-able sex-slaves. Yet we don’t view Judaism as some inherently dangerous, pathological faith.

        As Steven Pinker puts it in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, “The Bible depicts a world that, seen through modern eyes, is staggering in its savagery. People enslave, rape, and murder members of their immediate families. Warlords slaughter civilians indiscriminately, including the children. Women are bought, sold, and plundered like sex toys. And Yahweh tortures and massacres people by the hundreds of thousands for trivial disobedience or for no reason at all. These atrocities are neither isolated nor obscure. They implicate all the major characters of the Old Testament, the ones that Sunday-school children draw with crayons. And they fall into a continuous plotline that stretches for millennia, from Adam and Eve through Noah, the patriarchs, Moses, Joshua, the judges, Saul, David, Solomon, and beyond.”

        Let’s not forget what Jesus says: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

        And that’s not the only nutty bit from Christianity. More Pinker: “The early Christians also extolled torture as just desserts for the sinful… By sanctifying cruelty, early Christianity set a precedent for more than a millennium of systematic torture in Christian Europe. If you understand the expressions to turn at the stake, to hold his feet to the fire, to break a butterfly on the wheel, to be racked with pain, to be drawn and quartered, to disembowel, to flay, to press, the thumbscrew, the garrote, a slow burn, and the iron maiden… you are familiar with a fraction of the ways that heretics were brutalized during the Middle Ages and early modern period….

        “Institutionalized torture in Christendom was not just an unthinking habit; it had a moral rationale. If you really believe that failing to accept Jesus as one’s savior is a ticket to fiery damnation, then torturing a person until he acknowledges this truth is doing him the biggest favor of his life: better a few hours now than an eternity later. And silencing a person before he can corrupt others, or making an example of him to deter the rest, is a responsible public health measure…. The method of choice had been specified by Jesus himself: ‘If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.'”

        Now, were these depravities the fault of Christianity, or of Christians?

        The behavior of radical Muslims is disgusting and intolerable. Islamic radicals are a potent and ongoing threat. And, as should be clear, I’m by no means a fan of any religious faith. But, despite my hard-core agnosticism, I will continue to make the distinction between the shambling, inchoate collections of sayings and beliefs that constitute any system of faith, and the actions of those human beings who internalize and interpret those faiths.

        Does Islam contain some incentives to bad behavior? Sure. Does secular Middle Eastern society, in the way it’s developed from the Caliphates to now, have noxious elements? Sure. Did early-modern colonialism and its aftermath contribute to the modern dysfunction of Middle Eastern and North African governments and economies? Sure. Do the actions of modern Western states and corporations unnecessarily inflame anti-Western sentiments? Sure.

        There is no one, simplistic explanation; as always, it’s complicated. Please don’t try to pin me down to any one, simplistic meme; that’s not the way I roll. 🙂

      • fiftyohm says:

        “Please don’t try to pin me down to any one, simplistic meme; that’s not the way I roll.”

        I know, Owl. Were that the case, I doubt either of us would ‘waste’ our time. 😉 But to the point, your reply was reasonable. To be sure, Christianity has its fair share of nutballs, both past and present. So does Judaism. Pick your poison. But the numbers calling themselves Muslim today, the percentage of Muslims in many regions advocating violent, disgusting behavior, and the huge plurality of perpetrators of global violence and mayhem, (including state-sponsored ones), is so compelling that without any reasonable question these must read directly on the nature of the religion itself.

        Sure, the complete answer is “complex”. But one could (correctly in some sense, I might add), assert that a DWFU fatality might well have had its root cause in something other than some asshole driving drunk; things like his/her parents, peer group, predilections, potty-training, and on and on – none of which are very useful. While oversimplification is a trap, over-complication an issue can lead to exactly the same faulty analysis.

        “Condemn the fault and not the actor of it? (2.2.37) ” How about both?

  21. flypusher says:

    “Indentured servitude seems to get a lot less play in modern historical treatments than in my youth, though perhaps that’s just due to the fuzzy idealism of middle age.”

    I suspect because the stigma and disadvantages would not be passed down to following generations the way slavery/ Jim Crow has been.

    “Heck, debt slavery as a whole seems to puzzle a lot of people, even as we keep seeing it spring up in various Asian and Middle Eastern contexts as an ongoing social problem.”

    Here too:

    • flypusher says:

      Sorry, that was supposed to be at the bottom, under Owl’s post.

    • CaptSternn says:

      If you can afford to own a car, pay for liability insurance, have a license, inspection and registration for the privilege of driving on public roads, then you can afford to pay for violating the laws for driving on public roads.

      And now you compare the privilege of driving on public roads and obeying the laws as slavery? You fit right in with those nuts that claim to be part of the Republic of Texas.

      Back to the kiddie table for you.

      • flypusher says:

        The topic I addressed was debtor’s prison. That’s not the same thing as slavery.

        If your budget is tight, and you are living hand to mouth, a fine could blow your budget. If you had actually read the link, you would have known it wasn’t about people not paying fines, but giving then alternatives other than jail to pay their debts. But why should anyone expect you to do that? So carry on with being the blog fool.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Texas Constitution – Article 1 – Section 18 – IMPRISONMENT FOR DEBT. No person shall ever be imprisoned for debt.

        That is not the same as being imprisoned for breaking the law or not paying the fines. So carry on with being the blog fool.

      • rightonrush says:

        Well, I see the village idiot has wandered back.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Yes, RoR, you have wandered back.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Part of what makes Sternn sound like a ‘bot is his fourth-grade level of repartee.

        So he’s either an electronic entity or a seriously damaged human.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Why? Are you lonesome?

    • flypusher says:

      One- My article link wasn’t referring to TX; the lawsuit was in Alabama.

      Two- it’s all a rose by any other name. Being jail because you can’t pay a fine is the new spin on debtor’s prison. The point of the lawsuit was to allow people to poor to pay at all up front to do community service or work out an installment plan rather than go to jail.

      Three- you have zero originality. Maybe you’re also a bot.

      • CaptSternn says:

        One – You brought up debtor’s prison.

        Two – Going to jail for committing a crime is not the same as being jailed for debt.

        Three – You sound like a bot. Total lack of logic and just automated responses based on input. Zero originality.

      • flypusher says:

        Here’s what happens when rigid thinking rots the brain. You really think it makes a difference to the poor person jailed whether it’s because they can’t pay $ owned to a private entity or it’s because they can’t pay a traffic ticket? We can spend so much time patting ourselves on the backs over how such past evils no longer exist now that we miss them being reborn, especially if we stand on semantics rather that critically observe what’s going on. The problem that the lawsuit addressed was indeed a new incarnation of debtor’s prison, with the new twist being who the $ is owed to. It’s just as harmful to poor people, and counterproductive as the original concept of debtors’ prisons was, and it’s good that reform is in the works.

        Here’s a newsflash for you, we still have slavery in this country right now. It had mutated to adapt to the 21st Century- it also goes by the name of human trafficking.

      • CaptSternn says:

        You are talking to a person that didn’t bother paying fines when he was younger, then went to jail for failing to pay the fines or appear in court.

        Yeah, I wasn’t always a responsible person, I made mistakes. I did things wrong, and I was living paycheck to paycheck. I even dealt with pawn shops. I dealt with being profiled, stopped and searched over and over again, made late for work. Was it because I am part American Indian? Or was it just for my appearance?

        Guess what, I learned. I learned to not speed. I learned to have inspection stickers and registration up to date. I learned to pay the fines when I have broken the rules. I have learned to accept responsibility for my choices, my actions, my mistakes and deal with the consequences.

        Yes, I was poor. Been there, done that. Y’all want to make fun of me, degrade me, based on the fact that I live below my means. Based on where I live. Based on my home and my property. But when times are lean, I manage. And when times are good, I do well and save.

        Yeah, we still have some form of slavery in this nation. It is based on illegal immigration and illegal aliens. But the left, the democrats, support it and want more of it. They still see some people as less than human, nothing more than property, called abortion and eugenics . But they claim killing “minorities” by the tens of millions reduces crime.

        Go back to sitting at the kiddie table. Though you do get a highchair for not using profanity the way your comrades do.

      • flypusher says:

        “Y’all want to make fun of me, degrade me, based on the fact that I live below my means. Based on where I live.”

        Take that up with the people who actually said such things. I am responsible for my posts, not anyone else’s.

        “Guess what, I learned………”

        You still don’t get it, do you? This isn’t about people not being responsible for their actions. Consider this example from the link:

        “Sharnalle Mitchell was arrested Jan. 26 at her home in Montgomery for failure to pay traffic tickets from 2010. The single mother was handcuffed in front of her children, 1 and 4 years old, and sentenced to 58 days in jail to pay off unpaid fines. Mitchell, who also cared for her disabled mother, said she made a couple of small payments but fell behind because she had little income, less than $14,000 a year that she made from her occasional work styling hair.”

        So which solution do you think is better, that she spend almost 2 months in jail because she didn’t have $2,800 to spare on demand or the offer to “pay off her debt at $50 a day, plus make an extra $25 on days she agreed to work as a janitor and clean the dirty jail cells”? Option 1 is the functional equivalent of debtor’s prison, especially in how it screws over her dependents. Option 2 is better for her, her family, and the tax payers.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        I will say when the echo chamber was getting particularly nasty about where you live Captain and Tutt for being with you, Fly did comment that it was getting too personal. Unfortunately, he is the only one.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Yay for you, Sternn. Or not. I had my share of stupid run-ins with the law, too, in younger and more unruly days. However, I’m aware enough of how some of them could have gone worse if I weren’t White. Heck, I’ve *seen* some of those alternative scenarios, as a passenger in others’ vehicles or as a spectator in courtrooms (for myself or with others). That sort of thing doesn’t happen to me any more (though I still have to help out my spouse, who tends to be shockingly lax about “little” things like registration and inspection stickers, and has been burned by them on more than one occasion even into middle age). But I don’t pat myself on the back for being more responsible than those undeserving Others, as you do so regularly.

        I will never forget the day a Black mother and her children came in while I was sending a fax from the front office. She began asking the receptionist about school application forms… upon which the receptionist started trying to direct her toward the similarly-named public school up the road! There wasn’t any effort to actually listen to the woman’s wants or needs, nor even the mere attempt to put up the polite fiction that she might be a legitimate applicant despite her different appearance and manner from many of the school’s existing parents. It was just a straight move toward rebuffing her to someplace else she “belonged”. I tried to interject myself into the conversation, but it was awkward and too late.

        I try my darnedest not to make such assumptions in life. Plenty of other people try and fail, of course. I remember some bad times at Rice in the last decade or so, when White students, generally intelligent and logical sorts, tried to strike up a conversation with Black students by asking what sport they played, as if an athletic scholarship was the only way they’d be there. Avoiding personal misconceptions and careless insults requires vigilance.

        Sternn, I wouldn’t dream of demeaning you based on where you live, though I’d claim that living in the “sticks” certainly doesn’t offer the diversity of personal experiences, or cultural opportunities, or social connections, than you get from living in a more diverse urban area. No, what I *will* demean you for is your ignorance and hatred, your bull-headed insistence on not caring whether you insult others, such as when you fly the noisome, traitorous Confederate flag over your house, as it appears in your home’s Google Streetview photo.

        It’s pretty darned clear that Red states are those with a low population density and low diversity: whenever you get over about 800 people per square mile, or under 45% White population, a Democratic voting pattern tends to follow. For fun graphs and math regarding this point, see (and let me chuckle once again over the subheading, “Red States Are Just Underdeveloped Blue States”).

        No, Sternn, you don’t deserve to be demeaned based on what you live. You deserve to be demeaned based on what you DO, and on how you fail to make even the slightest effort to increase your experiences and your empathy.

      • flypusher says:

        “I remember some bad times at Rice in the last decade or so, when White students, generally intelligent and logical sorts, tried to strike up a conversation with Black students by asking what sport they played, as if an athletic scholarship was the only way they’d be there.”

        That happened when I was there. My last roommate from my grad school days, who was black, told me such a story. I’ve also heard stories from other black students about the campos asking them about what was their business on campus, on multiple occasions.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Yes, Rice deserves high praise for taking itself to court in the early 1960s to break William Rice’s will (though I’m sure the opportunity to charge tuition was perhaps even more attractive than the opportunity to admit minorities). And certain Rice staff have done yeoman service: I met Catherine Clack when she was in Admission, then when she became the university’s first Director of Multicultural Affairs. She’s since added the title of Assistant Dean for Student Life.

        But Rice still has a ways to go in racial relations among the students, alas. Students with Asian backgrounds have done far better in recent years, in part due to President Leebron’s own family background and agenda, but that doesn’t mean those are laurels to rest upon.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Talking about Cathy at Rice reminds me of why I tend to capitalize “Black” and “White” when referring to racial groups.

        She’d written a piece and asked me (even then the grammar cop, even as an undergraduate summer hire) to look it over. I asked why she’d capitalized “Black” and she pointed out that, well, African-Americans aren’t actually that *color*, or even a single color (viz. “Hamitic” vs. “sub-Saharan” skin tones, etc.), so it’s more of an ethnic term like “Arab” or “Inuit” or “Polynesian”: an abstract proper noun rather than a purely descriptive, mundane adjective. (I’m sure I’m relating this differently than our actual conversation, which was certainly more 1980s-style and diffident, and also a quarter of a century ago.)

        Ever the brash undergraduate, I asked why we didn’t do the same for “White” people, who tend to be more pink or light olive than descriptively “white”. And so we did thus in that office, for at least the remainder of the time I was there, and I’ve continued it personally ever since.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Owl, back in my day, our style guide had capitalization for race groups, so Black, White, etc., all received capitalization. I think the style guide might have changed a bit over time, but I’m stuck in my capitalization rut.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        It seems to me the only reasonable way to do it. But, then, I get exercised about such things.

  22. CaptSternn says:

    Lifer, you were just born too late. Much of what you say is truth, truth of 100 years and more ago. Some of what you said was true maybe as recent as 60 years ago. A generation is measured as about 33 years, so those time were about two generations ago. Maybe there are some old-timers that remember those days, but no modern generation has ever experienced such things.

    All are equal, all have equal opportunity, all can achieve what they desire if they put in the time and effort. You did address things like affirmative action and set-asides, that means lowering standards, and then some people wonder if they actually earned what they have or if it was just handed to them because of their skin tone or sex.

    I don’t even know where to begin. Maybe I could take this entry point by point, like gun control. The point behind gun control was originally to deny those that are not “white” access to weapons, to restrict carrying or even owning weapons. Modern prohibition is based on racism, as are sentencing laws, which were written and passed by the left. The left being democrats and GOP establishment.

    It is necessary for the left to keep racism alive, to fan the flames where they can and as much as they can, and that is what you are doing. What would happen if a “white” man were to attack a Hispanic man, and the Hispanic man killed the “white” man in self defense? The Hispanic man would not be charged. But if the Hispanic man kills a “black” man in self defense, suddenly the Hispanic man is “white” and he gets charged and tried based on politics, and then acquitted, and then he is white, except he is Hispanic and a democrat, except when he is white for convenience of the leftist racists.

    When all is said and done, you are a white supremacist and therefore you expect that of everybody else. You cannot imagine that others would be different, that others would see the world through a different lens. That others would not be so concerned about race, especially those of us that are of mixed race.

    I have American Indian blood, so that is what I claim to be. Address me as such and then talk to me about race.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      You poor dupe. Do you even know where reality is any more?

      • flypusher says:

        Planet Sternn is a really scary place. We can all be happy that we don’t live there.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        And it’s surrounded by a thick nebula which keeps inhabitants from clearly perceiving any other part of the universe. Often they don’t even acknowledge such areas exist.

      • flypusher says:

        We should proceed with caution- remember how the Krikkit wars started!!!!

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        I miss Douglas Adams.

    • johngalt says:

      You must not have read all the comments, Sternn. I posted basically this response in your name a few dozen comments down. You needn’t have repeated yourself.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Yes, John, I read your nonsense and you cannot come up with any mature response. Go sit at the kiddie table with Fly, RoR and the bird. Oh, right, “racist”, “neo-confederate”, “redskin” … what other immature tings will you throw out? Oh, right, wait for the vulgarity and profanity that is so common with the emotional left.

      • rightonrush says:

        Come on Sternn…just how much NA blood do you claim? I believe you said you were an adopted that right?

      • CaptSternn says:

        “just how much NA blood do you claim?”


        Native American? 100%. Native Texan? 100%. I was born here, I was raised here, I am native to this nation and to this state. Or do you even know what that means?

      • johngalt says:

        My “nonsense” is paraphrased from comments you’ve made, with a very little bit of hyperbole (I don’t believe you have blamed the crucifixion of Jesus on the Democrats). If you think it is nonsense, then you might need to revise some of your posts. And your entire belief system.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “I don’t believe you have blamed the crucifixion of Jesus on the Democrats.”

        Well, Jews do tend to vote Democratic, so it’s only one small step for a Sternn….

    • rightonrush says:

      How much Indian Blood Sternn? Didn’t you say you were adopted?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Yeah, I am adopted. Abandoned, American Indian adopted by others. I suppose you think I would be better off if I were aborted, Or maybe you would be better off with such eugenics and not having to deal with people like me that were not aborted but still abandoned and happy to be alive? How much? Don’t people like you say 1/16th is enough? Or was it 3/5ths?

      • flypusher says:

        RoR, looks like you triggered the random abortion rant sub-routine.

      • rightonrush says:

        Sternn you are a liar. You are neither adopted nor Cherokee. When you were outed on the Chron. board some years ago it became very easy to catch your lies. Give you enough rope and I knew you would hang yourself.

      • CaptSternn says:

        I am not adopted? I am still an orphan with no adoptive parents?

        No, you are just showing your ignorance and stupidity. I am adopted, and I am thankful that I am alive and I am adopted by a wonderful family.

        Your are not adopted. You are not chosen. Your parents didn’t choose you, they are just stuck with what they got. Pity.

      • rightonrush says:

        You were born Sept. 1, 1965 Sternn. Your parent were as white as snow. You have a birth certificate showing that very fact. Do you want the rest of the info posted or are you gonna finally be a man and fess up? Maybe they just told you that you were adopted because you embarrassed them.

      • CaptSternn says:

        FYI, I am adopted. I have very little information of my background. Did I ever claim to be Cherokee? Nope. Have no idea what tribe I would be part of. I would rather be with the Tejas tribe. But I don’t know, I will probably never know.

        I am AMERICAN Indian, iRISH, Dutch AND English.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Well that got messed up.

        FYI, I am adopted. I have very little information of my background. Did I ever claim to be Cherokee? Nope. Have no idea what tribe I would be part of. I would rather be with the Tejas tribe. But I don’t know, I will probably never know.

        I am American Indian, Irish, Dutch and English, mixed race, by blood. I am German and creole by adoption.

        I am not the one to call for socialism or racism. I will leave that to people like you and Lifer, I would rather embrace individual liberty and rights.

      • rightonrush says:

        Stop lying Sternn, your birth is recorded with the name of your white W – s–b-k-r parents. If I checked I bet I could find out what you weighed at birth. It’s ALL public record so fess up, you are a liar. You said you were Cherokee…do I have to look that post up too? Now for those who frown on this info. I detest a damn liar and really really hate sanctimonious hypocrites like Sternn. I’ve had all of his BS that I can stomach.

      • flypusher says:

        ROR, I don’t care one way or another about his personal info. I know all I need to know about the content of his character from what and how he posts.

      • rightonrush says:

        I know you don’t care Fly but I’m tired of his BS. Just once I want this man to fess up and tell the truth. Perhaps a good dose of reality might unclog his brain.

      • flypusher says:

        ROR I completely understand. I just don’t think he’s worth the risk of banned camp. I think he’ll get troll points for that.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        RoR has the gall to talk about liars. He never served in the military, doesn’t know anything about flying helicopters and is on his third wife. Need I post more???

      • rightonrush says:

        Naw, I’m on my 5th or maybe 6th wife Sternn’s little butt buddy in the catsuit. I lose count of all those wives and the little chill’in I have.. I have the documents to prove what I’m talking about. Besides, you are just another lying troll playing in your litter box and counting the logs you produced today. So, run along and sniff you kitty litter, your momma may have added fresh catnip. You aren’t worth my attention.

    • rightonrush says:

      “I have American Indian blood, so that is what I claim to be. Address me as such and then talk to me about race” I’m addressing it Sternn, remember I’m calling you a liar.

      • rightonrush says:

        I’m okay with getting banned if that’s what Chris chooses to do. People like Sternn need to be called out. I’m 1/4 Apache and I resent like hell somebody using their non-existent blood to tout his knowledge regarding race, culture etc. of minorities. It BS and a slap in the face of true Native Americans and other minorities. He’s a liar, plain and simple.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        ROR, I understand the particular sensitivity and annoyance in the case of Sternn’s claims to Indian blood. But, frankly, I’d rather have you around than see you make yet another useless slap at Sternn’s self-delusional view of the universe.

        You stand to do no harm whatsoever to Sternn, who ignores reality anyways whenever he pleases, and do yourself and us the harm of depriving us of your presence.

        He’s not worth it. We all know he lies.

    • rightonrush says:

      “I have American Indian blood, so that is what I claim to be. Address me as such and then talk to me about race” I’m addressing it Sternn, remember I’m calling you a liar.

  23. flypusher says:

    One aspect I didn’t see addressed (unless I missed it somewhere) is the inevitable demographic shift. Whites will someday not outnumber all the non-whites, and I absolutely do understand the fear of “it being done unto you”.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Hmmm, don’t quite follow. Texas has had a growing Hispanic population for some time now. That has helped us oust the democrats in the 2002 elections after over 100 years of being the majority and even led to a republican super majority in the 2010 elections. Is that your “fear of ‘it being done unto you’ “?

      Hispanics tend to be very conservative people, lead very conservative lives and have strong family values. They also tend to be Catholic, which leads to certain political views and leanings. But all the while that goes as long as you stay out of their business, their personal lives. The democrats are getting all up in their personal lives and personal business, and that is driving them away from the democrats, away from the left.

      And what or who is “white”? Is a person that is 1/16th white considered white? Maybe 3/5ths “white” makes a person “white”?

      Are you able yet to join the adults at the adult table, or will you remain at the kids’ table? Will you stay with the spoiled, petulant kids that refuse to even allow bills come up for debate by stamping your feet, plugging your ears and shouting, “I can’t hear you” over and over?

      Thankfully the adults have helped republicans take control of congress. So let us see how many of those elected republicans will be adults and which ones will side against the adults, against the tea party movement and side with democrats and the GOP establishment.

      • flypusher says:

        Prediction- someone is going to need to do a welfare check on this guy in late 2016.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Didn’t the “establishment” just kick the shaite out of the tea baggers or did Boehner not get re-elected Speaker of the House.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Meanwhile, back in reality, in 2012 Hispanics voted for Obama 71% of the time, with a piddling 21% casting ballots at, er, for Romney. That was a lower percentage than Republican candidates received in the previous three elections.

        Meanwhile, as documented by the Pew Research Center, in 2014’s congressional races nationally, Democrats won the Latino vote by a margin of 62% to 36%. And that’s comparable to the last midterm cycle, when 60% of Latinos voted for a Democratic candidate.

        But Sternn is all about the comfortable, self-serving lies.

      • CaptSternn says:

        But Hispanics, or Latinos, are “white”, bird. See Lifer’s comment about Zimmerman. Only they are not “white” when it suits you or him.

        Hypocrisy is the signature of the left.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Hypocrisy? Sternn, you were was the one who brought up “Hispanics tend to be very conservative people.”

        Eat it, dude; you brought it.

      • flypusher says:

        Where did Chris talk about Zimmernan’s race or ethnicity? I’ll save you some time, the answer is nowhere.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “Where did Chris talk about Zimmernan’s race or ethnicity?” – Fly

        “White supremacy means low income whites don’t worry about their kid being killed by George Zimmerman or Darren Wilson. If their white son foolishly carries his Airsoft gun to the park, they don’t worry that police might kill him. White supremacy grants immunity to many social problems that minority communities are left to endure.” – Lifer

        Maybe you should take the time to actually read Lifer’s entry, Fly. That way you would know what you are talking about rather than just going with emotion or being a ‘bot.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “Eat it, dude; you brought it.”

        Do you need some salt?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        You are enough of an assault by yourself upon logic and truthfulness.

      • flypusher says:

        ““White supremacy means low income whites don’t worry about their kid being killed by George Zimmerman or Darren Wilson. If their white son foolishly carries his Airsoft gun to the park, they don’t worry that police might kill him. White supremacy grants immunity to many social problems that minority communities are left to endure.” – Lifer”

        Which says absolutely nothing about Zimmerman’s ethnic background or race.

  24. BigWilly says:

    The things I wish Jesus would’ve said. Don’t be an asshole. We have no direct evidence of what the Lord said. Hopefully he said (in bold) DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE.

    Jesus would’ve said help. So any of you of Jesus consciousness help out.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Can you explain what you mean by “help out”?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Quit being a racist, sexist, willing slave to the authoritarian elites. That would be a start, Sternn.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Well, that would have you voting against democrats and liberals, Owl. That would be a start.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        A start would be you rejoining reality, liberal bias and all. But you show no signs of ever being shamed into a degree of truthfulness, let alone awareness, of the actual world around you.

      • CaptSternn says:

        I will take that as a “no”, bird. You can’t explain or define. It is all about emotion and hatred for you, even to the point of wishing death on your own family.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        You take everything in whatever way lets you lessen others, advance yourself, and ignore opposition. It’s all about epistemological closure and philosophical self-protection, and wow do you have one acute memetic infection.

  25. briandrush says:

    Okay, time to put on my way-leftie socialist hat here, which I’ve generally not done so far in commenting on this blog.

    Everything you say here is true, Chris, but the slant you’ve taken on it is — a bit odd to my perspective. I mean, yes, of course poor white people enjoyed a privileged position compared to black people and other people of color, and yes, losing that privilege without anything replacing it merely makes the obscene income and wealth disparities in our society worse.

    None of this is news to me. Another way to say it is that the rich and really-truly-privileged coopt the support of their white victims by enabling them to look down on, and have it better than, their non-white victims. It’s a way of dividing the victimized to prevent them from joining forces against what ought to be their common foe: the genuinely privileged. This tactic goes all the way back to the Civil War (or earlier). Slavery was economically disastrous for poor whites, but of course worse for the slaves, so poor whites could be persuaded to support the system over something that would free the slaves, promote racial equality, and put everyone of all races on the same level. That is — everyone who was poor. The rich would remain the rich. And white. But not white like the poor whites; they knew the difference even if they tried to conceal it from general understanding.

    You’re also right that the Democrats haven’t offered a solution, and that’s because they, like the Republicans, are the bought and paid for servants of the wealthy and privileged (with a few exceptions). The rich and privileged are willing to fund subsistence aid to the truly poor because that’s not a huge expense. But they’re not willing to go for a real solution — a general narrowing of income gaps and policies to elevate everyone into the middle class — because that would significantly reduce their own privileged position.

    But that is the only outcome that will really work. With a reasonable share of the nation’s wealth, currently-poor white people won’t feel threatened by loss of privilege, any more than the rich and powerful currently feel threatened. They won’t need to.

  26. 1mime says:

    Life, have I missed a post with your ideas for a health care plan from the GOP perspective?

  27. BigWilly says:

    I think I’m pretty much square in the middle of all of this nonsense. I’ve had to work for years to get here, and that’s the ugly truth of it all. Struggle. From my experience over at the chron I’d have to say that all of the positive aspects of white culture have been bred out of the population and we’ve actually entered the “Brave New World” that Huxley spoke of.

    Huxley thought that the population of the new world would remain perpetually in adolescence, from my experience this is true. Most of the people around me are playing some sort of game. It’s like studying marketing while not realizing that one is part of the same abstraction as “market.” How many times have you heard “Why can’t you just be like everybody else.” Or even “Act your age.”

    No fault divorce, open homosexuality, promiscuity is our duty, domestic partner “arrangements” what ever. You’ve broken down the bad old order and what have you got in its place?

    Some of the Evangelicals believe we are in the “End Times.” I think maybe we will find Christians are excluded from the order. Perhaps it will be warranted to remove the non conforming from the population. I’ll take Belize, if possible.

    All jest aside, much of what I see unfolding in front of me is deeply unsettling for I are the plurality of one.

    • goplifer says:

      Belize is nice. Mostly.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      BigWilly, may I ask what “White culture” entails?

      • BigWilly says:

        What does white culture entail? I suppose that it is a projection upon reality that every individual will realize differently. I view it as positive, albeit flawed. It is the West.

        Perhaps it is Mohenjo Daro and Harappa. Maybe it includes Darius I. It extends all the way into the present through us.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        So, then, Iranians and Indians are part of White culture, in your view?

      • BigWilly says:

        Darius positively identified himself as an Aryan in the Behistun Inscription. Iran is Aryan in the Persian language. The Latin, Germanic, and Slavic languages are all derived from PIE (Proto Indo European) and Persian is a cousin (Indo-Iranian).

        Did you ever note the similarities between a Latin word like Flamines and a Sanskrit word like Brahmin? Or Dyaus Pita with Jupiter and Zeus?

        So why did they go west?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        ‘Cause there were good cattle there, I suspect. 🙂

  28. 1mime says:

    Stephen, thank you for sharing your experience and views. I believe that emerging multi-cultural groups offer a real opportunity to stimulate change in our behavior. Intellect, patience and moderation are key even if dreadfully slow agents of change. Righteous anger is understandable but is not a long-term solution for injustice. Democrats get some things wrong, but they better relate to the daily needs of this group than do conservatives. The refusal of the GOP to see the issues and needs within this group has made them myopic. Why, then, should one believe that the GOP’s interest in them would be motivated by anything more than consolidation of power? Why trust them? And, is selfish interest worse than no interest? Politics aside (ahem), isn’t it a given that America is stronger by embracing diversity rather than fearing and ignoring it?

    Lifer gives me hope that there are people within the GOP who are not wearing blinders but are deeply concerned and attuned to the needs of the poor (of whatever color) and minority. Skeptic that I am, it’s time for some solutions from the GOP. How about jobs to fix our failing infrastructure that would employ the less well educated? Better more relevant education despite one’s neighborhood? Affordable, quality health care that allows people to stay on the job, care for their families, and still put food on the table. These aren’t minority interests; these are basic human needs. A civilized nation has to offer livable wages, educational opportunity and health care access or it dies a slow death. Frankly, I don’t care who gets it done, but it can’t wait much longer in our global economy. As a purely economic matter, I am amazed at tax payers who fail to recognize that they are paying more by relegating indigent care to ER rooms courtesy of hidden hospital district property taxes and higher insurance premiums.

    There is so much in Lifer’s post to absorb and reflect upon (high five, Lifer!) and I look forward to hearing the views of others in this forum. Put the vitriol aside and let’s dig deep about important issues and learn from one another.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      I love your perspective, 1mime. Unfortunately, as all too often, many of your solutions run afoul of the extreme partisan divides characteristic of our currently broken system of government.

      “How about jobs to fix our failing infrastructure that would employ the less well educated?”

      That’s a successful page straight out of Roosevelt’s CCC. But modern Democrats would probably block it because those legions of new workers would compete with union members. Or Republicans would block it because they believe more in stiff-necked principle (such as refusing to let the government actually *do* anything) than in pragmatic results.

      “Better more relevant education despite one’s neighborhood?”

      The teachers’ unions, and their Democratic servants/lawmakers, reflexively stand in the way of many changes (to be fair, because many proposed changes are awful). And Republicans oppose alterations because change costs money, and education has been and thus always *must* be (they stultifyingly claim) a local concern, and because people should still have to use bootstraps, y’know?

      “Affordable, quality health care that allows people to stay on the job, care for their families, and still put food on the table.”

      We’ve seen this one playing out over the past five or six years, with hard-core intransigence on the Right and pussy-footing over special interests on the Left, so I won’t belabor too many details.

      Basically, we need a revolutionary overthrow of our government. I had far rather that NOT be in the form of violent resistance from below, as that kind of false “solution” encourages all kinds of unhealthy impulses. Far better to use ballots rather than bullets, and to have the nation’s inhabitants enforce upon our governing class reformed methods of redistricting, campaign finance, election, and governance.

      We, and our representatives, should prioritize solving problems over celebrating partisanship — but our current broken system, with its “safe seats” and primaries inviting extremists, deluges of cash from corporations and special interests, relentless lock-out of reliable independents or third parties, and cramped legislative calendars dominated by campaigning and fundraising over governing, seems to aim our country more toward future irrelevance than global status.

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t disagree with your view that voting is the best force for change. That may be why the Republican Party is fixated on suppressing/making registration/voting as difficult as possible, Shortening voting hours and days, losing registrations, prohibiting groups like the League of Women Voters (for god’s sake!) from registering people, and so much more which you obviously know. The GOP gets it. They understand the sands of time are against them as whites become the minority. Whenever I have an opportunity to encourage a minority to register to vote, I do so. If they want to bring about change, voting is key. It’s a numbers game.

        As for the partisan divide that keeps common sense solutions from happening, it isn’t easy to buck this but you have to keep trying. What I see is a mental laziness whereby people refuse to do the work to understand issues and form independent opinions. Then they develop foot and mouth disease and are stuck. Read, think, question. Who knows what you might learn from all those racists and communists (-:

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      1mime and Owl, it’s possible that we are in a period of great change and we are too close to notice. After all, WE HAVE A BLACK PRESIDENT. In times of quiet contemplation, this fact brings me up short. Still, after 6 years.

      I remember asking a friend a few years back if we would be a better country if we shook out the political partys. That is, when the blue dog Democrats left and become Republicans. And the liberal Northern republicans were forced out or retired. Well, it has happened. Are we better off? As a country? Not having liberal Republicans in the north and conservative Democrats in the south? I’m not sure. It certainly makes it easier to imply a racist component.

      This realignment was sped up by the Obama presidency. Now to see how it shakes out.

      I think things will be slightly different when we have a white person as president. Even if it is a white women whose last name is Clinton. The Conservative TV and radio will still go nuts but they will have a harder time getting a response from the bar stool crowd.

      We may be able to do more to bring justice to everyday life.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Yes, we have a Black president. As we’ve had a Black attorney general, and Black secretaries of state, agriculture, commerce, labor, health and human services, housing and urban development, transportation, energy, education, veterans’ affairs, and homeland security. (Still waiting on interior, treasury, and defense!) And that highest of positions, and those lower ones, are definitely signs of progress, and I celebrate that progress, frequently.

        But Obama’s election, and re-election, and those other appointments, certainly didn’t cause any massive, earthshaking changes, the bleatings of Tea Partisans aside. Indeed, in the vast majority of cases events have run almost exactly as they might have, had we a White person in those roles instead. You can view that as a paean to racial equality, or a demonstration of how strongly rooted power is in the institutional apparatus and bureaucracy, or a sign of just how hamstrung our government is by reflexive partisan squabbling.

        In fact, I view the “shaking out” of the political parties as one of the great *tragedies* of our recent era. Those liberal Republicans, and those conservative Democrats, were valuable voices, figures who could build bridges and get things done. We need more intra-party diversity — but partisan gerrymandering and its resultant “safe seats” tends to encourage more and more extreme contenders in the party primaries, since whoever is “most” Republicans or Democratic, as appropriate, is thus fated to win.

        No, we need districts, and elections, and legislatures, which encourage *moderates*, not extremists, on *both* sides of the aisle, not just on one. And that’s not what we have right now, to our shame, sorrow, and perhaps eventual defeat as a nation.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Owl, I see your point. About having people willing to compromise. That’s probably what my friend said years ago. I agree the the partisan gridlock isn’t helpful.

        Chris says “In America we have succeeded in delegitimizing racism, but this has had the perverse effect of terminating dialogue. Racism comes from somewhere. Race, after all, is a social construct that has no existence anywhere but in culture. It has a logic and a practical purpose. We have largely lost the ability to discuss it in any constructive way. Now it persists as an undercurrent, unacknowledged and elusive yet deeply influential.”

        So years ago I couldn’t figure out a riddle because the answer was ” the doctor was a women.” Now my primary doctor is female and I don’t question her ability and chose her over her male colleague. I had similar problems with race. So I assume some others will have similar experiences.

        I don’t mean to feed the conservatives, but racism is THE most important problem we face. It is the reason the safety net gets contorted into a give away program. It is the reason we still have defacto school segregation. It is the reason that red states are in the south. It is the reason that rural counties in most states are so conservative even if they are poor. (Actually Chris says that much better than I in his post)

        So, maybe, its possible that, on the margins, that a few percentage points will decide Obama did an OK job relative to the last few presidents. Or that they look for quality Black candidates for the Republican party. Either or both would help our predicament IMO related to Chris’s post.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “Racism is THE most important problem we face.”

        I was marshaling myself to argue that, no, the primary issue is actually inequalities in the distribution of wealth and income, which result in racism as the lower tapers of the socioeconomic curve squabble over the remaining scraps and look for obvious identifiers for in-group solidarity, but I think you may have convinced me otherwise. After all, “redlining” was done by the wealthy to poor Blacks but not to poor Whites.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Sorry, don’t know how to react to that phase “you convinced me” I’ve never seen or heard it before.

      • 1mime says:

        Well, the alternative isn’t very nice, is it? I subscribe to the belief that every person should feel that they can make a difference, because that is when they do. It may be as simple as how you live and treat others; the examples we set for children, friends and colleagues. Kinda’ mushy thinking, but there you have it. Plain. Simple.

  29. johngalt says:

    Lifer, what is it with you liberals and your obsession with race? True conservatives believe everyone is equally able to compete and succeed in society. It’s only liberal racists who think that black people are incapable of succeeding without government help. Are you ashamed of the United States because of slavery? Do you despise the American flag because it represented slavery? Don’t forget that slavery, Jim Crow laws, the crucifixion of Jesus, and every other bad thing that has ever happened in history is because of Democrats.

    There, I saved Kabuzz and Sternn the time of posting their standard responses. You’re welcome.

    • 1mime says:

      Possibly you need to read Chris’ post a second time. Your post makes me wonder what your life experience is regarding minorities and the poor. I concur that Dems share in the responsibility of treating minorities badly, but I disagree that liberals are fixated on race. There’s a whole lot more for liberals to chew on than one issue, as important as race is. As for the view that conservatives believe all are equally able to compete and succeed in society, believing something doesn’t make it so. I agree that it should, but, it’s doesn’t, and this is a big part of the problem. Race, gender, education, family, health, economics and luck share the stage. It’s complicated and Lifer’s deep thinking offers a platform for discussion that is important. Each of us has a different life experience and this should elevate and broaden the discussion.

      • fiftyohm says:

        1mime – Er um, welcome to the blog, but methinks, unless you are being so subtle as to plumb evade this reader, you completely missed the sarcasm in JG’s post.

      • 1mime says:

        You’re right, 50ohm, I did. Thanks for the heads up….I’ll have to pay closer attention to historical posts so I’ll not get my panties in a wad. Great forum, interesting contributors – even the racists (-:

      • flypusher says:

        Was watching “Meet the Press” earlier, and David Brooks had a nice metaphor regarding free expression- that you’re going to have to have the adult’s table and the kid’s table, and you’ll just have to consider the source for dealing with expression from the latter. We have both tables here, and if you just keep reading you won’t have much trouble figuring out who’s sitting where for any particular thread.

        We also have “sent to your room without supper”, but you have to be really, really bad to get that.

    • texan5142 says:

      John galt, you da man.

  30. fiftyohm says:

    Thanks for tossing this little blurb together, Chris. (heh)

    I’ll take some minor issue with a few of your points though:

    First, I don’t see the view of Social Security and Medicare as sacred cows the exclusive, or even disproportionate province of the Tea Party. Innumeracy seems a pan-social phenomenon, and one that favors no particular segment.

    Second, is that measures to dismantle the low-income white safety net will be ever met with resistance unless such efforts are racially blind. The blindfold worn by Lady Justice does not represent efficiency, nor speed, nor even ‘fairness’. It represents objectivity. Some evidence is admissible for example, and some is not, at trial. Are we suggesting here that the complete, collected knowledge of prior transgressions, arrests, opinions, and hearsay from the defendant’s birth to the trial date might not be helpful to the goal of a speedy and correct verdict? Of course *not*. It represents the concept that only facts of specific relevance to the case at hand are to be considered in the verdict. This is the rule of law.

    Similarly, measures taken to dismantle remnants of racism cannot be, in themselves, racist. Of course, the most expedient way to erase any visage of the white social safely net would be the wholesale enforcement of quotas in all quarters of society, from college admissions, to employment, to social benefits, and on and on. It is not surprising to me that this would be resisted – particularly by low-income white people. The goal here is not necessarily questioned by anyone, including the majority of low-income whites. The methodology reasonably is. Like the example of Lady Justice above, the proper course will doubtless take longer, but will be acceptable to all. Short-cuts are doomed, and will probably serve to only prolong the trip to the final dismantling of this invisible social structure.

    Finally, you make mention of the significance of ‘legacies’, in the context of university admissions. JG and I have, on several occasions, pointed out this is not of any real import, and that, for most of the Ivy League at least, fully half (at least), of all admissions and scholarships are earmarked for low-income applicants. The era of the ‘legacy admission’ is, for all intents and purposes, over.

    • goplifer says:

      Lots there, but here’s a quick note on the continuing significance of legacies from the Communists at the Wall Street Journal:

      At some of the country’s most selective colleges, one study has shown, having an alum parent boosts the applicant’s probability of acceptance by 45 percentage points. That is, if one candidate has a 30% chance of admission, an applicant with the exact same academic record and extracurricular activities but also a parent who attended the school as an undergraduate would have a 75% chance.

      Second note: As I tried (and maybe failed) to point out in this long post, the white social safety net has been largely unofficial, a “shadow” welfare state that offers an extremely deep collection of benefits unavailable through the official welfare state. It can be torn down through an embrace of pluralism without changing the official welfare state.

      In the process lower income whites lose a massive collection of benefits they once felt while the only compensation comes through a welfare system that only kicks in for the most part when one is destitute.

      • fiftyohm says:

        I tried, (and apparently failed), to ferret out the source statistics from the WSJ piece, specifically any that demonstrated the premise, “…an applicant with the exact same academic record and extracurricular activities…” This is central to my point. Is having a father who happens to be a Harvard alum, likely to boost ones SAT score 160 points above average? Well, yes it could well be for any number of reasons. Problem is that neither the WSJ piece, nor the NYT piece JG linked below said this. Neither made the correction for “all other things being equal”. I’m not even sure how one might accomplish that feat. How many transcripts are letter-for-letter equivalent?

        Is a student of well educated, Ivy League parents more likely to gain admission to an Ivy? Yes. A bit less likely, based on the Commie WSJ article, than were he were Black, or Hispanic, or a freaking football player, but yes nevertheless. Is this evidence of a substantial ‘legacy bias’? Not from the evidence presented here. What was interesting, (and hopeful), in the linked pieces was that ‘legacy preferences’ are far less racial than in times past, reflecting the diversity of recent student bodies.

        To your second point, you did suggest accurately the nature of the shadow welfare state. I suggested that its dismantling through pure pluralism will not be generally resisted by low-income whites – only that attempts to do so by essentially racist means will be.

      • goplifer says:

        “…an applicant with the exact same academic record and extracurricular activities…” This is central to my point. Is having a father who happens to be a Harvard alum, likely to boost ones SAT score 160 points above average?

        You lost me on the rest of that. I don’t think that was the point of the research. The finding seemed to be that being a legacy was more or less equal to having produced that much higher a score. Did I miss something?

        The absence of a link to the research is a concern, but those numbers are familiar. I’ve been looking for some research done around the U Mich affirmative action case that presented similar results. Their findings were that legacy admissions, not affirmative action, were the reason the white plaintiff in that case was not admitted. Michigan’s law against AA was upheld by the Supreme Court.

        UM’s minority admissions have dropped by a third in the eight years since the decision.

    • johngalt says:

      There is a good deal of nonsense in the article in this link, but if one believes the statistics it contains, legacies are not completely dead, which mostly agrees with what Chris just posted. The most telling, if unsurprising, is that Harvard’s class has more kids from families who make $250,000/year than it does from those making less than $65k, which is close to the median household income.

      • fiftyohm says:

        On the face of it, Occam would suggest that the children of wealthy parents go to better high schools, and are better prepared academically than those from poorer families. Do colleges consider this factor in admissions? I strongly suspect they do. Is this easily quantifiable. No. If it’s not, how can you do the statistics to remove it and render”all other things equal”. That’s why I think it’s balderdash – separating legacy from economics and income.

      • johngalt says:

        Well, presumably you could separate the parental influences due to legacy and due to educational attainment and family income by looking, say, at admission rates at Harvard for students in income brackets based on whether they are legacies or not, but I’m not sure it really matters. Obviously what you wrote is correct: students whose parents went to elite colleges are more likely than the average parent to both demand educational excellence from their kids and to have the means to send them to the best secondary schools. It is rational for elite colleges to select students like this. I suspect that the quality of Harvard graduates (or Stanford, or Yale, or Rice, or whatever) has more to do with the quality of the students admitted than the quality of the education. It’s also rational for them to prioritize legacies, if they think that will maximize alumni donations.

        But much has been written about class stratification and how, despite the popular impression, the likelihood of a kid from the poorest income quintile is less likely to rise to the richest in the US than in other developed countries. This does seem to me to be a problem, and one that the last 50 years worth of affirmative action, de facto quotas, and other preferences has made only a small dent in. The progress made by minorities has come mostly, as Chris writes, at the expense of poorer whites.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Precisely correct. My thesis here is this would be generally accepted by lower income whites were the process not so overtly and inherently racist in nature. Again, no one meriting serious consideration would argue with the goal.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        I’ve often wondered why we can’t simply make educational “benefits” contingent on *low income* rather than on *race*. The two correlate more often than anyone should like and, where they don’t, wealthy Blacks don’t need the help (lest it simply cause more rancor) and plenty of generationally poor Whites do.

        Diversity in fiscal backgrounds is probably just as important in many hallowed halls of academia, for the proper formation of its students, as diversity in racial backgrounds, particularly as we see more and more shades of humanity in our entertainment, industries, and politics.

        But, again, it’s one of those issues which falls in the cracks between battling party orthodoxies, and so it never gets done.

        …unless we manage to break the system which supports those orthodoxies, and have more maverick moderates.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Owl- I agree, but we do provide substantial educational opportunities based on income. The vast majority of scholarships are based not on merit, but on financial need. This is probably as it should be.

      • flypusher says:

        Owl, IIRC, Rice doesn’t charge tuition to students if their families have an income under $80K. That may apply to room and board too.

        But the idea of using socio-economic status instead of race pops up here a lot. Because it makes sense.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “Because it makes sense.”

        But, but… isn’t our “echo chamber” supposed to be “obsessed with race”? 🙂

      • flypusher says:

        The accusations of being obsessed with race are quite ironic, because out in the real world I don’t talk about it much. It’s one of the aspects of white privilege; race doesn’t have a negative impact on me, so I have the luxury of not being aware of it while going about my business.

      • fiftyohm says:

        FP- What about being a girl? 😉

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Ahem. Or a woman?

      • fiftyohm says:


        I love this blog. By the way, anyone heard from Tutt lately?

      • flypusher says:

        FP- What about being a girl? 😉

        I don’t know if anyone will even look down here at the bottom after the thermonuclear dust up above, and that too bad, because 50’s question raises a very interesting point. If anything can one-up racial issues/politics in terms of being a complete mind field, it’s gender issues/ politics.

        So my answer is that it varies a whole lot. In my professional life it wasn’t mattered at all. I would attribute that to the fact that there are many many women in the biological fields, the places where I’ve worked were not lacking for women in high positions, and my mentors had the same expectations for all their students postdocs. But unlike others who post here, I won’t assert that discrimination against women can’t be happening because it didn’t happen to me. One gets all kinds of info at the conferences.

        Outside of work I do have to think of it much more, and I find being female as sort of a 2-ended sword. The most obvious thing is the need to be more wary, particularly if I’m out and about by myself. There’s been the occasional bit of condescension, but nothing I couldn’t deal with. On the positive side, lots of people seem more willing to trust you on the spot if you are female.

      • fiftyohm says:

        FP – I looked down here, and yours was a good response.

  31. bubbabobcat says:

    Going to have to also digest this a bit to respond more fully. Couple of quick notes. Poor Whites still vote against their own economic interest to align with the affluent Whites in solidarity. Government programs for the poor are race blind. They do have the benefit of socially superior benefits to Blacks or minorities in general. i.e. as noted, Whites generally don’t have to worry about being killed by law enforcement for just shoplifting.

    As for the ACA, they DO benefit the White middle class. As noted previously, it gives them economic flexibility to pursue different, better jobs without worrying about being tied to a crappy job for the health benefits. And they cover their kids on their own insurance until age 26 now. There are others, but these two are off the top of my head.

    But otherwise a very complex, detailed, fascinating, (and interesting) post.

    • stephen says:

      The company I work for is phaseing out health insurance for retirees spouses. Several early retirees are happy for the ACA as it enables them to cover their spouses before Medicare kicks in.

  32. Creigh says:

    If there’s a better political blog than GOPLifer out there, I’d be surprised.

    • rightonrush says:

      I’d be surprised if there were a better political blog also. We Texans sure missed out when he left for Chicago.

    • I agree that its pretty damn good!
      But IMHO – Contrary Brin – is better

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Wow, I hadn’t checked in on Brin for a while. Some great thoughts and wonderful links there!

        Brin, like Chris, seems determined to be a *pragmatic moderate*, rejecting the dogmas of extremists on both the Left and the Right. It’s what I find so refreshing, and exciting, about both of them.

    • jwthomas says:

      Well, I haven’t come across a better Conservative blog with the possible exception of Larison’s at The American Conservative. Sane Republican/Conservative blogs are rare and desperately needed for a sensible political dialogue. The NY Times would be doing itself and everyone else a favor by replacing David Brooks’ increasingly dense meanderings with Chris’ incisive commentary.

      • rightonrush says:

        That’s a great suggestion jw.

      • goplifer says:

        Okay, I gotta say that being mentioned in the same paragraph with Larison made me a little verklempt. That’s high praise.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Lifer is no conservative and this is not a conservative blog as far as current political labels go.

      • jwthomas says:

        It’s political labeling instead of rational thinking that’s destroying this country. Chris is trying to initiate a rational political dialogue and that’s Conservative enough for me.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Sternn, like Tracy and kabuzz, insists on being part of a virtuous group of the elect, always oppressed and in danger of martyrdom.

        So they define away everyone except their own crabbed, little corner of the ideological spectrum as unfit, using whatever arbitrary or capricious standards fit their whims and interests, until only THEY deserve the “right” words and descriptors.

        Sternn apparently didn’t learn when he was three or so that he *doesn’t* control the universe, nor the English language.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The bird doesn’t even understand the English language, and that is why it needs the English language “interpreted”. Guess what, republicans won the elections and control of congress. Now you, Lifer and others complain about being oppressed, or about others being oppressed.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Sternn has apparently never tried to read the King James Bible, the works of Shakespeare, or Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, all of which are in English, but not *our* English. Heck, I wonder if he’s ever taken a jab at James Joyce. But probably not.

        Perhaps Sternn, if he’s ever bothered to think about it, considers the authors of the Constitution a bit ham-handed and careless in their quest “to form a more perfect union”. In modern American English, something cannot be “more perfect” any more than it can be “more unique” or someone can be “more pregnant”, since all those adjectives describe absolute states. Unless, of course, you understand Latin etymology and the language of the time. However, Sternn, with his disdain for knowledge that doesn’t confirm his existing prejudices and allow him a lazy, comfortable privilege of self-deceptive assurance, doesn’t actually care about such things. His palace of philosophy is really a dungeon of dumbness.

  33. 1mime says:

    Lifer, great piece, deep thinking. I will have to collect my thoughts to offer a worthy comment. For now, let it suffice that, as a white person from the deep south, the luckiest thing in my life was being born white into a middle class family. All the hard work, educational attainment and personal achievements I have experienced pale beside this one lucky fact.

  34. stephen says:

    I live in a rural area in East Orange County Florida that is rapidly become urban. We are about equally Republican, Democrat and Independent registered. There is another way this thing can shake out. My community mainly white and rural has more in common with a less wealthy urban community across county than the wealthier white community close by. The same can be said for the other community which is African American and its wealthier white community neighbor. A lot of the residents in my community are not poor but many are. Well I am seeing similar voting patterns with with my community and the black urban community. I can see a new voting group of just working poor and middle class emerging compose of white, black and Latino people. My county is a minority majority county and we are a peek at what lies ahead for the nation. This new group is fiscally conservative, socially moderate and pragmatic. We live with, socialize with, and intermarry each other. This emerging group could be the core group that the GOP could cater to and eventually become nationally relevant again. Visiting local working class restaurants, I eat out a lot, I see people of all ethic groups eating together as friends or married. I am a son of the deep south and this is something completely foreign to my ancestors thinking but it is happing never the less including their descendants. I am not worried about the browning of America as I and my family will a part of it and participate in the power shift it will engender. And just as an interesting tidbit the first recorded ancestor in the new world of mine on the paternal side was an indenture servant and he came before the Revolutionary war. He ended up marrying the owner’s daughter ultimately. You are so right slavery was not exclusively a black phenomena in our country.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Indentured servitude seems to get a lot less play in modern historical treatments than in my youth, though perhaps that’s just due to the fuzzy idealism of middle age. Heck, debt slavery as a whole seems to puzzle a lot of people, even as we keep seeing it spring up in various Asian and Middle Eastern contexts as an ongoing social problem.

      Reading about the ongoing injustices of the for-profit prison system, it seems we’re revisiting many of the horrors of the Victorian workhouse: inmates are paid less than minimum wage, but charged above market value for items from the “company store” and so forth. Evil-doers and lazy conservatives are awfully good at reinventing the past. It remains for liberals and intelligent, brave conservatives to invent the future.

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