Do Black People Need Black Billionaires?

Remember the black preachers, politicians, and business people like Bob Johnson who tried to convince us Trump would be good for black people?

““Work is more precarious today than it was in the past, and in particular, black individuals are more likely to be in precarious employment scenarios with jobs that face greater wage and work-hour volatility,” Hamilton said. “Bob Johnson’s in the billionaire’s club with Donald Trump, so it’s not surprising that they align in their vision on labor.”

Johnson, who’s been friendly with Trump through the years, said he had met with Trump at his golf club in New Jersey shortly after his win when the president-elect offered Johnson a cabinet position.”

“America’s First Black Billionaire Says Trump Economy Has Been Good For African Americans” | The Washington Post | Tracy Jan | 04/07/2018

As culture warriors pro-Trump African Americans are finding it harder to make that case. Indeed, they’ve squandered what little cred we begrudgingly gave them. More spin, less fact is now the order of the day.

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Skin Or No Skin In A Game Called Syria

Bashar al-Assad is a geek with a lisp, a former optometrist and ELO fan. But we should also remember what he comes from. His father Hafez al-Assad used the suicide bomber to birth the modern era of international terrorism.

“Although incontrovertible proof is lacking, Western intelligence believes that the truck bombs used in the attack on the American Marine and French compounds in Beirut last October were rigged in the Bekaa Valley, which lies along the Syrian border. If so, the Syrians must have at least known that a terrorist operation was in the works, because they monitor the valley closely. Suspicion of Syrian involvement is further strengthened by a long history of violent underground activities in Lebanon by Assad’s agents. Redeployment of the Marines from land to sea would remove that particular target, but there are other places in the Middle East where terrorism can be used against Americans or American interests. In addition, Assad’s military forces, including his Soviet missiles, make him a serious local threat.”

Syria’s Assad: His Power And His Plan” | The New York Times | Stanley Reed | 02/18/1984

Also remember that the Assads are Ba’athists. Like Saddam Hussein, Ba’athists are fascists who model their party on the Nazis. They are as far from mainstream politics as a regime can get. They have nowhere else to go from how far they’ve already gone.

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What Arms Race?

Congratulating Putin was not the most important thing said on a call President Trump made to Russian President Vladimir Putin:

“President Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers Tuesday when he congratulated Russian President Vladi­mir Putin on his reelection — including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating “DO NOT CONGRATULATE,” according to officials familiar with the call.”

Trump’s National Security Advisers Warned Him Not To Congratulate Putin. He Did It Anyway” | The Washington Post | Carol D. Leonnig, David Nakamura, Josh Dawsey | 03/20/2018

Rather, it was mentioning that he and Putin would meet soon to “discuss the arms race”:

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The Rising Costs Of Late Life And The Falling Value Of Wisdom

It’s easy to see the retirement crisis as an economic issue of which money is the measure of well-being.

“So now, at 76, [Roberta] earns $915 a month through Social Security and through Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, a program for low-income seniors. Her rent, which she has had to cover solo since her roommate died in August, is $1,040 a month. She’s been taking on credit-card debt to cover the gap, and to pay for utilities, food, and other essentials. She often goes to a church food bank for supplies.

More and more older people are finding themselves in a similar situation as Baby Boomers reach retirement age without enough savings and as housing costs and medical expenses rise…”

“This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like” | The Atlantic | Alana Semuels | 02/22/2018

I read it as a cultural issue about the declining value of knowledge.

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The Needs Of The Manny Outweigh The Needs Of Baltimore

Ken Rosenthal was the first to report negotiations between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox for third baseman Manny Machado:

“The White Sox engaged in multiple conversations with the Orioles on Wednesday and discussed a package for Machado that would include either right-hander Lucas Giolito or right-hander Michael Kopech but not both, according to sources.

Machado, 25, would be young enough to lead the White Sox’s return to prominence, provided the team acquired him and signed him long-term. He has informed the Orioles he wants to return to shortstop, his original position, but one he has played only sparingly in the majors.”

“Machado In Chicago? White Sox Are Serious Suitors For the Orioles Star” | The Athletic | Ken Rosenthal | 12/14/2017

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May The Web Be Unbroken

Barack Obama was wrong or feckless on a number of important issues, but on that “You didn’t built that” remark from his re-election campaign he was sorta right:

The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

President Obama Campaign Rally in Roanoke” | Barack Obama | C-SPAN | 12/16/2015

Obama got a lot of flack for saying this—much of it from those captured by a shallow narrative of tech innovation driven by bold visionaries rather than sluggish bureaucracies. (How Silicon Valley pushed this narrative, known as The Californian Ideology, is an interesting story on it’s own. Wikipedia has an excellent summary of it. In The Century Of The Self, documentariam Adam Curtis draws connections between the Californian Ideology and Ayn Rand’s philosophy.)

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“Kreuzberg”: Why The Berlin Wall Fell But Never Really Collapsed

Few people know how nostalgic I am for The Cold War. How cold it was, the 70s and 80s. How close and comforting it was. How us vs. them. How history’s most dangerous dance. How many “No Nukes” rallies. How death gray the mushroom clouds. How radiated our dreams. How many times some New Wave band would record a song that taught the same lessons as “99 Luftballoons” or “Cities In Dust.”

Ever wonder how many times the end of the world was averted by just one person who said “No” to the ultimate “Yes?”

At least once …

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Thinking Differently About North Korea

What’s the difference between North Korea pointing nuclear missiles at America next year and Russia or China pointing much more powerful missiles at America right now? According to National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster:

[T]he classical deterrence theory, how does that apply to a regime like the regime in North Korea? A regime that engages in unspeakable brutality against its own people? A regime that poses a continuous threat to the its neighbors in the region and now may pose a threat, direct threat, to the United States with weapons of mass destruction? A regime that imprisons and murders anyone who seems to oppose that regime, including members of his own family, using sarin nerve gas in a public airport?””

“It’s Time To Accept That North Korea Is A Nuclear State” | Gary Wetzel | Foxtrot Alpha | 7/04/2017

The musty bouquet of words another National Security advisor uttered in 2003 notwithstanding, surely the difference between Russia’s or China’s gun sights and the DPRK’s can’t be how crazy Kim Jong Un must be. Yes, he’s a megalomaniac. But crazy?

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Culture War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning

Culture War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning

In the beginning war looks and feels like love. But unlike love it gives nothing in return but an ever-deepening dependence, like all narcotics, on the road to self-destruction. It does not affirm but places upon us greater and greater demands. It destroys the outside world until it is hard to live outside war’s grip. It takes a higher and higher dose to achieve any thrill. Finally, one ingests war only to remain numb.”

Chris Hedges, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

1. Love

Culture war is the crack cocaine of American politics.

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