Archive for July, 2013

One More Thing

July 21, 2013

I really want to move on from the George Zimmerman trial, but I keep thinking about President Obama’s statement. There is something that he said that really bothers me.

The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there’s going to be a lot of arguments about the legal issues in the case — I’ll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues. The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries were properly instructed that in a case such as this reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury has spoken, that’s how our system works.

I wish that he had stopped there. That is the only thing he needed to say and if he had stopped with that he might have done a great deal of good for this country. He had to continue in order to put things in context, though.

But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling.

You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.

There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me — at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.

And I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear. The African American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws — everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.

Now, this isn’t to say that the African American community is naïve about the fact that African American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system; that they’re disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It’s not to make excuses for that fact — although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context. They understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history.

And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African American boys are more violent — using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.

I think the African American community is also not naïve in understanding that, statistically, somebody like Trayvon Martin was statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else. So folks understand the challenges that exist for African American boys. But they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it and that context is being denied. And that all contributes I think to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.

Now, the question for me at least, and I think for a lot of folks, is where do we take this? How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction? I think it’s understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through, as long as it remains nonviolent. If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family. But beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do.

What does all of this have to do with the actual trial? George Zimmerman was on trial for killing Trayvon Martin. The jury decided, reasonably in my opinion, that there was not enough evidence to convict Zimmerman of murder. George Zimmerman was not on trial for the past iniquities of American race relations. The treatment of African-Americans in this country has often been unjust and deplorable. We have made much progress in recent decades and will continue to do so, despite the efforts of race-hustlers like the President.

However, the trial of George Zimmerman could only be conducted on the basis of the facts in the case. The jury could only decide the verdict based on the facts presented to them by the attorneys. They could not and should not have taken into account America’s past history of race relations. That was irrelevant to the question of whether or not George Zimmerman is guilty of the charges brought against him. With his remarks, President Obama seems to be trying to make the Zimmerman trial a trial on American race relations. Would he have preferred that the jury find Zimmerman guilty as some sort of recompense for past injustices? Considering the efforts of his Justice Department to retry Zimmerman, I think the answer must be yes, even if the result is unjust for Mr. Zimmerman. Here again we see the difference between “social justice“, and actual justice.

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The President Speaks

July 19, 2013

And I wish that he would just shut up. Here is a full transcript of his remarks. I was going to copy them here but they are rather long, so I will only put in excerpts that I wish to comment upon.

First of all, I want to make sure that, once again, I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation. I can only imagine what they’re going through, and it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it.

What about the family of George Zimmerman? They are living in fear because of the large number of death threats they have received. Does the president have nothing to say to them? What about George Zimmerman? Can he not affirm that he was acquitted and should not be terrorized?

The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there’s going to be a lot of arguments about the legal issues in the case — I’ll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues. The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries were properly instructed that in a case such as this reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury has spoken, that’s how our system works. But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling.

You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.

There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me — at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.

If President Obama had a son, he would not be Trayvon Martin. He would be attending an exclusive private school, just as the President’s daughters are attending and he would have many opportunities that other Americans, White or Black, do not have. Barack Obama spent much of his young life either abroad, or being raised by his White mother and his White grandmother in predominantly White and well off neighborhoods. He has led a life of privilege. Trayvon Martin was not attending a private college-prep school, like Obama did, and it is very unlikely that he would have been able to attend Harvard Law School, no matter how bright he might have been. Barack Obama’s life experiences have not been typical of most African-Americans, no matter how much he would like to pretend they have.

And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African American boys are more violent — using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.

It is not an excuse. It experience teaches us that African American boys are more likely to commit a violence crime, then it is sensible to be wary of African American boys. If Asian girls or Native American transvestites committed a disproporionate share of the crimes in the US, people would be wary of them. The question must be, what are we going to do about this, besides blaming racism.

I think the African American community is also not naïve in understanding that, statistically, somebody like Trayvon Martin was statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else. So folks understand the challenges that exist for African American boys. But they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it and that context is being denied. And that all contributes I think to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.

If a White male teen had knocked an armed man to the ground and was pummeling him, the outcome might have been much the same. The only difference is that the race hustlers and the Left would have had nothing to work with and the case would never have gotten national attention.

Now, the question for me at least, and I think for a lot of folks, is where do we take this? How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction? I think it’s understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through, as long as it remains nonviolent. If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family. But beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do.

I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it’s important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government, the criminal code. And law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.

I think Eric Holder should leave George Zimmerman alone. The constitution forbids double jeopardy for a reason

Number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, I think it would be productive for the Justice Department, governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists.

If he wants to reduce the mistrust that currently exists, how about reining in Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

When I was in Illinois, I passed racial profiling legislation, and it actually did just two simple things. One, it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped. But the other thing was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias and ways to further professionalize what they were doing.

And initially, the police departments across the state were resistant, but actually they came to recognize that if it was done in a fair, straightforward way that it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them and, in turn, be more helpful in applying the law. And obviously, law enforcement has got a very tough job.

And I’m doing my best to make it tougher.

I know that there’s been commentary about the fact that the “stand your ground” laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case. On the other hand, if we’re sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there’s a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we’d like to see?

And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these “stand your ground” laws, I’d just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.

We ought not to allow people to defend themselves. To answer the question, if Mr. Zimmerman had assaulted Martin, then certainly Martin would have had the right to stand his ground and defend himself.

And then, finally, I think it’s going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching. There has been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven’t seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have. On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there’s the possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can? Am I judging people as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin, but the content of their character? That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.

The truth is that you can not be honest about matters of race in this country. But if we want to have that conversation, why don’t we start with the fact that many Blacks are prejudiced against Whites?

And let me just leave you with a final thought that, as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. It doesn’t mean we’re in a post-racial society. It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated. But when I talk to Malia and Sasha, and I listen to their friends and I seem them interact, they’re better than we are — they’re better than we were — on these issues. And that’s true in every community that I’ve visited all across the country.

And so we have to be vigilant and we have to work on these issues. And those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our nature, as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions. But we should also have confidence that kids these days, I think, have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did; and that along this long, difficult journey, we’re becoming a more perfect union — not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.

The tragedy of Barack Obama is that he could have done much to promote racial healing in this country. Being half White and half Black he could have been a sort of bridge bring people together. Most Whites were happy to see a Black man being elected president. Barack Obama chose not to play that role. He decided to embrace the politics of division, of envy, of class hatred and racial animosity. His country is the worse for it.

 

 

Larry Grathwohl

July 19, 2013

In a sane and just world, Larry Grathwohlwould be recognized as a true American hero. His successful effort, as an FBI informant, to infiltrate the terrorist group the Weather Underground and to attempt to bring them to justice would be common knowledge and his book about his experiences would a best selling, making Grathwohl a wealthy man.images

In a sane and just world, terrorists and murderers like Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dorhn would be spending their lives in prison, justly reviled by the nation they sought to destroy. Their protegé, one Barack Obama, would not dare to enter politics for fear that an alert media would expose his sordid and radical past.

We do not live in a sane and just world. In this insane and unjust world we do live in, heroes like Larry Grathwohl live and die in obscurity, their work largely unrecognized. Villains like Ayers and Dorhn do not pay the price for their crimes but are treated as heroes by the Left wing media and Hollywood. Fawning movies by A list celebrities white wash their murderous pasts, implying that they were just a little bit over excited at times, not crazed radicals who were perfectly willing to see tens of million of their fellow Americans perish in concentration camps.

Larry Grathwohl is now in a saner and more just world, having left this one yesterday. He has gone to his reward for his heroism. One can hope that the villains he exposed will soon face the justice they deserve.

Jesse Jackson is a Human Leach

July 18, 2013
English: Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. discusses ...

Human leach

In a column that appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, Jesse Jackson called for a United Nations investigation into the racial context behind the death of Trayvon Martin.

If Trayvon Martin were not a young black male, he would be alive today. Despite the verdict, it’s clear that George Zimmerman would never have confronted a young white man wearing a hoodie. He would, at the very least, have listened to the cops and stayed back. Trayvon Martin is dead because Zimmerman believed that “these guys always get away” and chose not to wait for the police.

Trayvon Martin’s death shatters the convenient myths that blind us to reality. That reality, as the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board wrote, is that “black men carry a special burden from the day they are born.”

Both the prosecutor and the defense claimed that the trial was not about race. But Trayvon Martin was assumed to be threatening just for walking while being young, black and male.

That is the reality that can no longer be ignored. Through the years, gruesome horrors — the murder of Emmitt Till, the shooting of Medgar Evers in his front yard — have galvanized African Americans and public action on civil rights. Trayvon Martin’s death should do the same.

I do not know if the Rev. Jackson is ignorant of the actual events of the shooting or if he is a liar. Considering his past history of using real or imaginary racial grievances to extort corporations and enrich himself, I am going to go with liar. The truth is that Martin’s skin color was irrelevant to the question of whether he would have died that night. Here is the transcript of the 911 call that George Zimmerman made.

Dispatcher

Sanford Police Department.

Zimmerman

Hey we’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there’s a real suspicious guy, uh, it’s Retreat View Circle, um, the best address I can give you is 111 Retreat View Circle. This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher

OK, and this guy is he white, black, or hispanic?

Zimmerman

He looks black.

Dispatcher

Did you see what he was wearing?

Zimmerman

Yeah. A dark hoodie, like a grey hoodie, and either jeans or sweatpants and white tennis shoes. He’s here now, he was just staring.

Dispatcher

OK, he’s just walking around the area…

Zimmerman

looking at all the houses.

Dispatcher

OK…

Zimmerman

Now he’s just staring at me.

Dispatcher

OK-you said it’s 1111 Retreat View? Or 111?

Zimmerman

That’s the clubhouse…

Dispatcher

That’s the clubhouse, do you know what the-he’s near the clubhouse right now?

Zimmerman

Yeah, now he’s coming towards me.

Dispatcher

OK.

Zimmerman

He’s got his hand in his waistband. And he’s a black male.

Dispatcher

How old would you say he looks?

Zimmerman

He’s got button on his shirt, late teens.

Dispatcher

Late teens. Ok.

Zimmerman

Somethings wrong with him. Yup, he’s coming to check me out, he’s got something in his hands, I don’t know what his deal is.

Dispatcher

Just let me know if he does anything, ok?

Zimmerman

(unclear) See if you can get an officer over here.

Dispatcher

Yeah we’ve got someone on the way, just let me know if this guy does anything else.

Zimmerman

Okay. These (expletive) they always get away. Yep. When you come to the clubhouse you come straight in and make a left. Actually you would go past the clubhouse.

Dispatcher

So it’s on the lefthand side from the clubhouse?

Zimmerman

No you go in straight through the entrance and then you make a left, uh, you go straight in, don’t turn, and make a left. (expletive) he’s running.

Dispatcher

He’s running? Which way is he running?

Ambient sounds are heard which may be Zimmerman unbuckling his seat belt and his vehicle’s “open door” chime sounding. The change in his voice and the sound of wind against his cell phone mic indicate that he has left his vehicle and is now walking. The dispatcher seems to pick up on these changes and sounds concerned when he later asks Zimmerman if he is following Martin.

Zimmerman

Down towards the other entrance to the neighborhood.

Dispatcher

Which entrance is that that he’s heading towards?

Zimmerman

The back entrance…(expletive)(unclear)

This section of the recording has been the subject of much speculation. Some suggest that Zimmerman has just made a racial slur, but the audio is not clear.

Dispatcher

Are you following him?

Zimmerman

Yeah.

Dispatcher

Ok, we don’t need you to do that.

Zimmerman

Ok.

Dispatcher

Alright sir what is your name?

Zimmerman

George…He ran.

Dispatcher

Alright George what’s your last name?

A clicking or knocking sound can be heard here

Zimmerman

Zimmerman

Dispatcher

And George what’s the phone number you’re calling from?

Clicking or knocking sound is heard again

Zimmerman

[phone number removed]

Dispatcher

Alright George we do have them on the way. Do you want to meet with the officer when they get out there?

Zimmerman

Yeah.

Dispatcher

Alright, where you going to meet with them at?

For the remainder of the recording, Zimmerman sounds distracted. The knocking sound occurs several times during the final exchange with the dispatcher

Zimmerman

Um, if they come in through the, uh, (knocking sound) gate, tell them to go straight past the club house, and uh, (knocking sound) straight past the club house and make a left, and then they go past the mailboxes, that’s my truck…[unintelligible]

Dispatcher

What address are you parked in front of?

Zimmerman

I don’t know, it’s a cut through so I don’t know the address.

Dispatcher

Okay do you live in the area?

Zimmerman

Yeah, I…[unintelligible]

Dispatcher

What’s your apartment number?

Zimmerman

It’s a home it’s [house number removed], (knocking sound) oh crap I don’t want to give it all out, I don’t know where this kid is.

Dispatcher

Okay do you want to just meet with them right near the mailboxes then?

Zimmerman

Yeah that’s fine.

Dispatcher

Alright George, I’ll let them know to meet you around there, okay?

Zimmerman

Actually could you have them, could you have them call me and I’ll tell them where I’m at?

Dispatcher

Okay, yeah that’s no problem.

Zimmerman

Should I give you my number or you got it?

Dispatcher

Yeah I got it [phone number removed]

Zimmerman

Yeah you got it.

Dispatcher

Okay no problem, I’ll let them know to call you when you’re in the area.

Zimmerman

Thanks.

Dispatcher

You’re welcome.

Notice that Mr. Zimmerman did not identify Martin by race until the dispatcher asked him. Even then he seemed not to be certain at first. Perhaps the hoodie that Martin was wearing and the darkness made it difficult to be sure of his race. Notice that Zimmerman stated that the individual was acting in a suspicious manner, “on drugs or something”. It is clear that Zimmerman was not just following the first Black person he happened to see, nor did Martin appear to be just walking home.

It took me about 3 seconds to find this transcript via Google. What is Jackson’s excuse? Let’s go on.

What it dramatizes is what Michelle Alexander calls “the New Jim Crow.” Segregation is illegal; scurrilous racism unacceptable. But mass incarceration and a racially biased criminal justice system have served many of the same functions. Since 1970, we’ve witnessed a 600 percent increase in the number of people behind bars, overwhelmingly due to the war on drugs. Those imprisoned are disproportionately African Americans. The U.S. now imprisons a greater percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid.

Drug usage is not dramatically greater in the black community. But young black males are racially profiled, more likely to be stopped and frisked (something New York Mayor Bloomberg defends), more likely to be arrested if stopped, more likely to be charged if arrested, more likely to be jailed if charged. In schools, zero tolerance — once again enforced disproportionately against people of color — results in expulsions, creating a virtual pipeline to prison.

Why are so many young Black men in prison? Why are Black men more likely to be profiled? Black men are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the crime that occurs in the United States. It actually makes sense to profile Black men, even if the great majority of Blacks profiled are innocent of any crime. This is a deplorable situation, even if overall crime rates have been dropping in recent decades. This situation will not be resolved as long as influential people in the Black community insist on blaming “whitey” for all of their woes. We need to ask serious questions about why so many young Black men are attracted to criminal behavior. Until that happens the prison will continue to be filled with young Black men and young Black men will continue to be killed in self defense. The sad thing is that Jesse Jackson does seem to have some idea of what is going wrong.

 

The results are devastating. Young fathers are jailed. Children grow up in broken homes, in severe poverty, since those convicted never really leave prison. They face discrimination in employment, in housing, in the right to vote, in educational opportunities, in food stamps and public support. As Alexander argues, the U.S. hasn’t ended the racial caste system, it has redesigned it. 

 

As Trayvon Martin’s death shows us, the norm increasingly is to police and punish poor young men of color, not educate or empower them. And that norm makes it dangerous to be young, black and male in America. 

It is not just that young fathers are jailed. The public support that Jackson claims discriminates against Blacks tends to make young father superfluous. This might be part of the reason that around 70% of Black babies are born to a single mother. This high rate of illegitimacy has proven to be absolutely devastating. I suspect that the Black family was stronger during Jim Crow and even slavery than it is now. What is Jackson doing about this? Blaming others.

There are three possible reactions to this reality. African Americans can adjust to it, teaching their children how to survive against the odds. We can resent it, seething in suppressed fury until we can’t stand it anymore. Or we can resist, assert our rights to equal protection under the laws, and challenge openly the new reality.

We need a national investigation of the racial context that led to Trayvon Martin’s slaying. Congress must act. And it’s time to call on the United Nations Human Rights Commission for an in-depth investigation of whether the U.S. is upholding its obligations under international human rights laws and treaties. Trayvon Martin’s death demands much more than a jury’s verdict on George Zimmerman. It calls for us to hear the evidence and render a verdict on the racial reality that never had its day in court at the trial.

Or we could have an honest conversation about the causes of the problems that beset the Black community. We could teach young Black men to takes responsibility for themselves and not blame racism for every setback. But then, a community of confident achievers would have no use for the likes of Jesse Jackson. He is not and never will be part of the solution. He profits too much from the problem. He is a parasite, living off the misery of others.

 

Racial Tensions

July 17, 2013

Dennis Prager shares a few thoughts about “racial tensions” in his latest column.

The greatest hope most Americans — including Republicans — had when Barack Obama was elected president was that the election of a black person as the country’s president would reduce, if not come close to eliminating, the racial tensions that have plagued America for generations.

This has not happened. The election, and even the re-election, of a black man as president, in a country that is 87 percent non-black — a first in human history — has had no impact on what are called “racial tensions.”

In case there was any doubt about this, the reactions to the George Zimmerman trial have made it clear. The talk about “open season” on blacks, about blacks like Trayvon Martin being victims of nothing more than racial profiling and about a racist criminal justice system, has permeated black life and the left-wing mainstream media.

I put quotation marks around the term “racial tensions” because the term is a falsehood.

This term is stated as if whites and blacks are equally responsible for these tensions, as if the mistrust is morally and factually equivalent.

But this is not at all the case.

“Racial tensions” is a lie perpetrated by the left. A superb example is when the New York Times described the 1991 black anti-Semitic riots in Crown Heights, Brooklyn as “racial tensions.”

For those who do not recall, or who only read, viewed or listened to mainstream media reports, what happened was that mobs of blacks attacked Jews for three days after a black boy was accidentally hit and killed by a car driven by a Chasidic Jew.

He has some more to say about “racial tensions”, but it is the conclusion of his column that I am interested in.

Once one understands that “racial tensions” is a euphemism for a black animosity toward whites and a left-wing construct, one begins to understand why the election of a black president has had no impact on most blacks or on the left.

Since neither black animosity nor the left’s falsehood of “racial tensions” is based on the actual behavior of the vast majority of white Americans, nothing white America could do will affect either many blacks’ perceptions or the leftist libel.

That is why hopes that the election of black president would reduce “racial tensions” were naive. Though a white person is far more likely to be murdered by a black person than vice versa, all it took was one tragic death of a black kid to reignite the hatred that many blacks and virtually all black leaders have toward white America.

Let’s put this in perspective. Ben Jealous of the NAACP, Al Sharpton of MSNBC, Jesse Jackson, and the left-wing media compete to incite hatred of America generally and white America specifically. Over what? A tragic incident in which a Hispanic man (regularly labeled “white”) said, with all physical evidence to support him, that fearing for his life, he killed a black 17-year-old (regularly labeled “a child”).

The very fact that George Zimmerman — who is as white as Barack Obama — is labeled “white” bears testimony to the left-wing agenda of blaming white America and to the desire of many blacks to vent anger at whites.

And that is why the election of a black president has meant nothing. Indeed, to those whose lives and/or ideologies are predicated on labeling America and its white population as racist, it wouldn’t matter if half the Senate, half the House and half the governors were black.

It is an inconvenient truth, and one that is racist to acknowledge, but it is the Black or African-American population in the contemporary United States that is the most racist, at least in terms of being race conscious and of openly expressing their hatred of other races, especially Whites. It is not uncommon for Black public figures to make hateful statements that if said by a White would make him a pariah very quickly. White, except for unreconstructed racists, tend not to be very race conscious at all. Of course, this is because, in large part, Whites are still the majority and the norm in American society. Still, there is also the fact that Whites have been taught that racism in any form is evil and paying too much attention to race, except in a liberal, politically correct way is dangerously close to racist heresy. So, to the extent that many Whites are race conscious, they often despise their own race.

Justice demands that we treat everyone decently regardless of race and Christ commands His followers to treat everyone as a child of God. With that in mind, I can’t help but think there is something deeply unhealthy about a person railing against people who look like her.

Jared Taylor at American Renaissance has written about this quite often. He seems to believe that the best way to fight Black racial consciousness is to encourage White racial consciousness. This opinion often gets him labeled as a racist, perhaps with some justice. I think he is wrong, though. As I have already stated, Jesus Christ forbids us to be conscious of nationality race, sex or any other distinction except for Christ, as Paul writes,

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (Col 3:11)

For a more practical reason, if the demographers are correct and whites are going to become a minority in the next century, than the last thing we need is race consciousness of any sort. A nation composed of  about three or four “tribes”, each jealously conscious of its prerogatives can only lead to continuing and uncompromising conflicts and perhaps civil war. A multi-racial race conscious America would most likely resemble the former Yugoslavia then the country we are familiar with.

It would seem, then, that the only way to reduce racial tensions would be to reduce race consciousness for everyone. This would be the sensible thing to do, and perhaps the most just. It is too bad that the liberal media, the Democratic party, and the likes of Al Sharpton and Ben Jealous are not the least bit interested in doing what is sensible or just.

 

The Emperor Julian 2

July 17, 2013

I left the story of the Emperor Julian yesterday as he was entering Constantinople to be made Emperor. Today I will write of what Julian did as sole Emperor of the Roman Empire.

Emperor Julian the Apostate

Julian decided that as Emperor, he would help to bring back the old traditions that had made Rome great. The early emperors had pretended that Rome was still a republic and made a great show of consulting the Senate and ruling within the laws. They were not dictators or kings, just the first citizens (princeps) of Rome. Over the centuries, times had changed and the pressures of foreign invasions and civil wars with usurpers had seemed to make it necessary for the Emperor to be an autocrat, ruling by decree. To avert assassinations, the later Emperors encouraged people to believe them to be more than human, the pagan Emperors became gods, the Christians, God’s representatives on Earth. Elaborate ceremonies had developed and Emperors now wore magnificent robes and had golden crowns. They kept courts full of servants and officials. Julian decided that all of this was unnecessary and expensive. He dismissed all of the useless courtiers who were cluttering the palace and tried to live the simple and virtuous life of a philosopher king.

 

 

Julian also sought to bring back the old Pagan religion of Greece and Rome. He reorganized the various priesthoods to make them more like the Christian clergy and encouraged acts of charity. He was so enthusiastic a participant in the old rites of sacrifice that his subjects started to refer to him as “the Butcher”. Julian did not persecute the Christians, except to forbid Christians from teaching classical literature on the grounds that they didn’t believe in the old gods. Julian knew that past persecutions had only strengthened the Christians, and in any event by then there were too many Christians for the church to be suppressed. What Julian did instead was to proclaim complete freedom of religion.It should be recalled that part of the reason Constantine had supported the Christians was to give the Roman people something to unify them. It did him and his sons no good if the Christian sects fought among themselves, so he and later Emperors liked to establish one sect as orthodox and others as heretics to be suppressed. Julian hoped that the sects would fight among themselves and so weaken and discredit Christianity.

 

 

The Roman Empire still had an unresolved war with the Persians, so Julian decided to prepare for a campaign to the east. The city of Antioch was chosen to be the staging ground for the campaign and Julian traveled there in May 362. He stayed in Antioch for nine months overseeing preparations. It was not a pleasant time for him. Antioch boasted one of the oldest Christian communities in the Empire and by then a majority of the citizens were Christians. They did not like their pagan Emperor, especially after he made the public relations blunder of moving a saint’s remains in order to restore a pagan temple.They also did not know what to make of an Emperor who eschewed ceremony and tried to portray himself as their equal.  He did nothing to repair the damage to his relations with the people and even composed a satire called “the Beard Hater” which savagely mocked the Antiochenes. Everyone was relieved when it was time for Julian and his army to march to war.

 

 

Julian was confident and ambitious about the upcoming campaign. This was not to be a mere border war as the Romans and Persians or Parthians had been fighting for centuries. Julian wanted to settle matters with the Persians. Julian believed that if he could be the new Julius Caesar in the west, he could be the new Alexander the Great in the east.

 

 

He began the campaign in march 363. At first Julian was as successful against the Persians as he had been against the Germans. He was able to bypass or defeat the Persian forces sent against him and won a major battle at the Persian capital of Ctesiphon. He was unable to capture the city however, and his officers were growing increasingly uneasy over the likelihood of the Roman supply lines being cut off by the Persians. .This was a dangerous possibility because  the withdrawing Persians had waged a scorched earth policy making it difficult for the Romans to live off the land of their enemies and  in order to engage the Persian forces defending Ctesiphon, the Romans had had to cross the Tigris, which now lay between the Roman army and Roman territory. Julian was somewhat reluctant to abandon his conquests but upon receiving news of a large Persian army approaching to relieve Ctesiphon, he agreed to withdraw. The Romans fought another battle with the Persians at Samarra.The battle was indecisive but Julian was mortally wounded. He managed to live for two days and then died of his wounds. His last words were allegedly,”You have won, O Galilean.” If he didn’t actually say this, he might as well have.

 

 

Julian's Campaign

Julian’s Campaign

The Roman army, still pursued by the Persians and on the wrong side of the Tigris, quickly selected a Christian named Jovian to be the new Emperor. In order to permit the Romans to return to their territory, Jovian was obliged to make a treaty with the Persians that was very much in their favor. He restored Christianity to a privileged position but he only reigned eight months before dying of natural causes. From Jovian’s time onward, Rome was to be a Christian Empire, and the old pagan religion faded away. By 380, the Emperor Theodosius I made Christianity Rome’s official state religion and ended all support of competing faiths. The Olympic Games were ended and pagan temples were destroyed. The Galilean had won.

 

 

I have to wonder if Julian would have been more successful if he had lived longer. I doubt it. He was working against all the trends of his times and against the beliefs of his most prominent subjects.  I do not doubt that Constantine’s conversion to Christianity was sincere, but he was a shrewd enough politician to see that Christianity was the future of the Western world. The Christians were better organized than any competing faith and their religious doctrine was more appealing. Even without Constantine’s support, the Christians were becoming a majority, especially in the Eastern Empire. Julian would have been a better Emperor if he had not tried to spend so much effort in reviving a dead past.

 

 

 

 

The Emperor Julian 1

July 16, 2013

A little while back, I mentioned the Roman Emperor Julian in passing. He was the Emperor who tried to restore paganism as the state religion of the Roman Empire, after Constantine had legalized Christianity. He was actually quite an interesting historical figure, so I thought I would write a little more about him.

IMPERATOR - imperator DOMINVS·NOSTER - our lor...

Julian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Julian was born Flavius Claudius Julianus in May or June ofA.D. 331 or 332. His father was Julius Constantius, the half-brother of the Emperor Constantine I and his mother was named Basilina. Both parents were Christians so Julian was raised as a Christian. When Constantine died in 337, his three surviving sons; Constantius II, Constantine II, and Constans divided the Roman Empire among them. (Evidently Constantine was not too original in naming his children.) Constantius II got the wealthier eastern half of the empire while the other two brothers each received a share of the western half. The three brothers then slaughtered every remaining member of their family who could possibly have a claim to the throne. Only Julian and his half-brother Gallus were spared because of their youth.

Julian grew up in the province of Bithynia under the care of his maternal grandmother and was taught by Eusebius, the Bishop of Nicomedia and a eunuch named Mardonius. He had a Christian education and had a thorough knowledge of the Bible, which he used later in life to attack the Christian faith. He was also educated in the old Greek and Roman classics. Meanwhile his cousins fell out among themselves and began to quarrel over their inheritance. Constans and Constantine II fought a war in which Constantine was killed in 340. Constans turned out to be a cruel ruler and was killed by the usurper Magnentius in 350. Julian lived an uncertain life, sometimes exiled to one of the imperial estates, sometimes summoned to play a role at court.

It may be the savage behavior of Julian’s cousins that turned him against Christianity. He may have decided that if that was the way Christian rulers acted, he wanted no part of it. His continuing studies in philosophy probably also played a role in his conversion to paganism. He began to study Neoplatonism in 351. In 355 he moved to Athens, which had become something of a university town, to continue his studies in philosophy. While he was in Athens, he was initiated into the Eleusinian Mystery cult. Julian would probably been happy spending the rest of his life in Athens, studying and teaching, but that was not to be his fate.

In 351, Constantius made Julian’s brother Gallus Caesar over the Eastern Empire, while he marched west to deal with Magnentius. In the late Roman Empire, “Caesar” was a title given to a junior Emperor while “Augustus” referred to the senior Emperor. Gallus was corrupt and brutal so when Constantius finished his business in the west he had Gallus arrested and executed. In 355, Constantius  summoned Julian to Mediolanum (modern Milan) which had become the western capital of the Empire and made him Caesar over the West, charging Julan with the task of driving out the German tribes which were raiding into Gaul. Over the next three years, Julian revealed an unexpected talent for military affairs. His soldiers were victorious in nearly every battle with the Germans and not only did he drive them back across the Rhein, but he even invaded Germany and compelled several kingdoms to submit to Roman authority. His soldiers adored him and hailed Julian as the new Julius Caesar.

Constantius II

Constantius II

Back east, Constantius was not happy.  He had been having difficulties with the Sassanid Persians and Julian’s successes made him look bad in comparison. Constantius also knew that over successful generals had a way of becoming Emperors. In 360, he sent orders west for half of Julian’s forces to be transferred east for the war with Persian. Julian’s troops did not want to leave Gaul so they proclaimed him Augustus. It is not known to what extent this was something Julian wanted, but he must have realized that he had no choice but to go ahead and allow himself to be made Emperor. Constantius would never have believed that it wasn’t Julian’s idea so he had to either fight or die.

Julian marched with his army east while Constantius left Constantinople to meet Julian in battle. Fortunately, the Roman Empire was spared yet another civil war. In November 361, Constantius died of natural causes. In his will, he declared Julian to be sole Augustus or Emperor. Julian quickly traveled to Constantinople to be made Emperor.

This post is longer than I had expected so I will cut it in half. I will post the rest of the story of the Emperor Julian tomorrow.

Letter to the Courier Journal

July 15, 2013

Louisville is the closest large city to my hometown of Madison and the Louisville Courier Journal is the newspaper there. The Courier Journal’s editorial policy is reliably liberal, which may be why they are suffering a slow, steady decline in circulation. Their editorials often seem more suited to deep blue California or Massachusetts than to red Kentucky and Indiana. Last Sunday, they ran an editorial about the perpetually embarrassing (to them) Rand Paul. It begins in their usual moderate, even-handed tone.

The tea party has gone to Washington all right and the public is getting a good look at the toxic brew bubbling out of its cracked pot.

Unfortunately for Kentucky, once again it involves Sen. Rand Paul, a Bowling Green Republican with presidential ambitions who swept into office in 2010 on a wave of tea-party enthusiasm.

He’s devoting almost as much time to embarrassing Kentucky as he is making out-of-state campaign trips (Saturday, Las Vegas).

Wanting limited, constitutional government that lives within its means and doesn’t abuse the rights of its citizens is toxic and crack-pot. They quickly move on to the subject of the editorial.

Last week came the latest embarrassment, astonishing news that Sen. Paul employs a former radio shock jock and Confederate sympathizer Jack Hunter, who calls himself the “Southern Avenger,” has appeared in public in a Confederate flag mask, boasted of secessionist views and venerates John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln.

“John Wilkes Booth’s heart was in the right place,” Mr. Hunter explained in a 2004 commentary, according to the Washington Free Beacon, the conservative online news outlet that broke the story. “The Southern Avenger does regret that Lincoln’s murder automatically turned him into a martyr.”

Yeah, that probably is regrettable, under the extremist views of Mr. Hunter and his ilk.

But even more regrettable and astonishing is what Sen. Paul plans to do about it. Nothing.

“Are we at a point where nobody can have had a youth or said anything untoward?” he told the Huffington Post.

Sen. Paul is standing by his man, despite widespread denunciations and the virtually unanimous view of outside political observers — from left and right — that Mr. Hunter must go. Immediately if not sooner.

Let’s be clear here. Mr. Hunter, 39, isn’t just a low-paid flunky who fetches coffee and opens mail.

He is the social media director for Sen. Paul, earning $40,000 for seven months’ work, and helped Sen. Paul write his 2011 book “The Tea Party Goes to Washington.”

I won’t attempt to defend Jack Hunter. I doubt there are many of his views that I would agree with. The point I would like to make is that Rand Paul is hardly the first potential presidential candidate to have a controversial associate. There was one Barack Obama, who I recall had a few friends who might be considered extreme or even criminal. Somehow, I do not recall the Courier Journal running editorials about Mr. Obama’s associates, so I wrote a letter to the editor inquiring about the subject.

I was interested to read your editorial about Rand Paul’s associate Jack Hunter. It is certainly alarming that a man with such extreme views should be close to a potential presidential candidate. I wonder if you could provide me with the dates that you ran editorials about candidate Barack Obama’s unseemlier associates such as the Rev. Jeremiah “God d— America” Wright whose church he attended for 20 years and Bill Ayers, his neighbor who helped Obama launch his political career and just happens to be an unrepentant terrorist and murderer. I hope you can let me know when those editorials ran as soon as possible.
Thank you.

Somehow, I don’t think I am likely to get a response.

Leviticus

July 15, 2013

It is unfortunate that all too few Christians in this secular age ever actually read the Bible. Many Christians realize this and make a resolution to read the bible all the way through, from beginning to end. This is the way most books should be read, but it is not a good way to read the Bible for the first time. The Bible is an anthology so it is perfectly acceptable to skip around.

The problem with reading the Bible from beginning to end is that you quickly come to some of the driest and least interesting parts. Genesis is interesting and fun to read, full of great stories like the Creation, Adam and Eve, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and others. The story of Moses and the escape of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt as told in the book of Exodus is exciting too. But, then around chapter 20 of Exodus there is the beginning of the law code as told to Moses at Mount Sinai. Chapter after chapter describes the laws, the building of the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant, the clothes of the priests and their consecration ceremony. There is some relief with the story of the Golden Calf in chapter 32, but soon we are back to law codes and a description of the building of the tabernacle that is a repeat of the earlier passages.

Leviticus is worse. There is no action at all in this book except for the deaths of Nadab and Abihu

English: Aaron's Sons, Nadab and Abihu, Destro...

English: Aaron’s Sons, Nadab and Abihu, Destroyed by Fire; Leviticus 10:2; 1625-30 engraving by Matthäus Merian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

for offering “strange fire” to the LORD Other than that, there is just chapter after chapter of ordinances dealing with offerings and sacrifices, priestly ordinations, clean and unclean foods, leprosy (almost certainly not the disease that is now called leprosy, so modern translations say “skin disease”), mold and mildew, the Day of Atonement, forbidden sexual  relations, festivals, and other such matters. It would not seem as if much of this book is relevant for the modern Christian. We don’t sacrifice animals at the temple anymore. We go to a dermatologist if we have a disgusting skin disease. Perhaps it might be simply ignored.

I think that would be a mistake. The first time Bible reader or the beginning Christian ought not to try to tackle Leviticus, but the more experienced Christian ought to read the book of Leviticus all the way through at least once, for the central theme of Leviticus is one Christians need to remember, especially in these irreverent times. That central theme is God’s absolute holiness.

If you ask any believer what characteristics God possesses they would be quick to mention His omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence. They might also state that He is a loving God and indeed the first Letter of John states that God is love. One attribute that tends to be forgotten is God’s holiness, or goodness. God is entirely good and holy and there is no evil in him. People of modern times tend to overlook God’s holiness and assume that he is a being much like themselves, only grander. The modern image of God seems to be of a kindly elderly man played by George Burns or Morgan Freeman, or of Jesus the hippie. The book of Leviticus shows a different side.

The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.

“‘Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.

“‘Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.

“‘When you sacrifice a fellowship offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. It shall be eaten on the day you sacrifice it or on the next day; anything left over until the third day must be burned up. If any of it is eaten on the third day, it is impure and will not be accepted. Whoever eats it will be held responsible because they have desecrated what is holy to the Lord; they must be cut off from their people.

“‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.

19 “‘Keep my decrees.

“‘Do not mate different kinds of animals.

“‘Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.

“‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. (Lev 19:1-9, 19)

God says, “Be holy for I the LORD your God am holy.” Over and over there is the refrain, “I am the LORD your God.” Notice also besides the obvious moral laws, there is the concept of a separation between the holy and the worldly. Do not blend separate things together.

The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death. The members of the community are to stone him. I myself will set my face against him and will cut him off from his people; for by sacrificing his children to Molek, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. If the members of the community close their eyes when that man sacrifices one of his children to Molek and if they fail to put him to death, I myself will set my face against him and his family and will cut them off from their people together with all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molek. (Lev 20:1-5)

There follows laws about illicit sexual practices, etc, all of which get the death penalty.  Most people would regard these laws with death for so many crimes as barbaric. Perhaps, but the purpose of such severity is to reinforce the seriousness of keeping holy things holy and to worship only the Lord, not turning to other gods.

Here is one more excerpt.

31 “Keep my commands and follow them. I am the Lord. 32 Do not profane my holy name, for I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord, who made you holy 33 and who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord.” (Lev 22:31-33)

God loves us but He is much, much more than the popular conceptions of Him. He is holy and He wants us to be holy.

Furtive Fauna

July 14, 2013
Cover of "Furtive Fauna: A Field Guide to...

Cover via Amazon

A great poet once said that no man is an island. He was more right than he could possibly have known. Each one of us is not an island, but a community, an ecosystem, if you will. Each one of us has a number of creatures who depend on us for a meal, or a place to live. Most people despise these dependants who live off us as disease carrying parasites and seek to get rid of them at any cost. Roger M. Knutson might disagree. Roger Knutson is a biologist who has written Furtive Fauna, a field guide to the creatures that live on us or near us. Knutson asserts that our dependants are more to be pitied, even respected, than hated. After all, the human body is not exactly an easy environment to live on.

In Furtive Fauna, Professor Knutson catalogs the many creatures that live with us. He starts with the occasional visitors, like ticks, flies and mosquitoes who like to drop by for a quick snack. He then moves on to some of our neighbors, bedbugs, fleas, and others who live in our clothes and bedding. These neighbors, like any good neighbor, often visit us, and like good hosts, we provide them with food and shelter. Then, there are our friends and companions; lice and mites, who like to live with us and keep us company. You can never feel lonely as long as you know you have mites living on you. Finally, we have the friends that are too small to see, like bacteria. They are everywhere and we could not live without them.

Roger Knutson’s descriptions of the various furtive fauna are brief, humorous, and fun to read. You may never come to love the little beasts that live off you, but after reading Furtive Fauna, you will never think of them in quite the same way.


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