Wednesday, July 31, 2013

the hon.bro.preznit's minister of negroe affairs indeed...,

townhall | If we put ourselves into the shoes of racists who seek to sabotage black upward mobility, we couldn't develop a more effective agenda than that followed by civil rights organizations, black politicians, academics, liberals and the news media. Let's look at it.

First, weaken the black family, but don't blame it on individual choices. You have to preach that today's weak black family is a legacy of slavery, Jim Crow and racism. The truth is that black female-headed households were just 18 percent of households in 1950, as opposed to about 68 percent today. In fact, from 1890 to 1940, the black marriage rate was slightly higher than that of whites. Even during slavery, when marriage was forbidden for blacks, most black children lived in biological two-parent families. In New York City, in 1925, 85 percent of black households were two-parent households. A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia shows that three-quarters of black families were two-parent households.

During the 1960s, devastating nonsense emerged, exemplified by a Johns Hopkins University sociology professor who argued, "It has yet to be shown that the absence of a father was directly responsible for any of the supposed deficiencies of broken homes." The real issue, he went on to say, "is not the lack of male presence but the lack of male income." That suggests marriage and fatherhood can be replaced by a welfare check.

The poverty rate among blacks is 36 percent. Most black poverty is found in female-headed households. The poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits since 1994 and is about 8 percent today. The black illegitimacy rate is 75 percent, and in some cities, it's 90 percent. But if that's a legacy of slavery, it must have skipped several generations, because in the 1940s, unwed births hovered around 14 percent.

Along with the decline of the black family comes anti-social behavior, manifested by high crime rates. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Using the 94 percent figure means that 262,621 were murdered by other blacks. Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation's population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it's 22 times that of whites. I'd like for the president, the civil rights establishment, white liberals and the news media, who spent massive resources protesting the George Zimmerman trial's verdict, to tell the nation whether they believe that the major murder problem blacks face is murder by whites. There are no such protests against the thousands of black murders.

There's an organization called NeighborhoodScout. Using 2011 population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 crime statistics from the FBI and information from 17,000 local law enforcement agencies in the country, it came up with a report titled "Top 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in America." They include neighborhoods in Detroit, Chicago, Houston, St. Louis and other major cities. What's common to all 25 neighborhoods is that their makeup is described as "Black" or "Mostly Black." The high crime rates have several outcomes that are not in the best interests of the overwhelmingly law-abiding people in these neighborhoods. There can't be much economic development. Property has a lower value, but worst of all, people can't live with the kind of personal security that most Americans enjoy.

Disgustingly, black politicians, civil rights leaders, liberals and the president are talking nonsense about "having a conversation about race." That's beyond useless. Tell me how a conversation with white people is going to stop black predators from preying on blacks. How is such a conversation going to eliminate the 75 percent illegitimacy rate? What will such a conversation do about the breakdown of the black family (though "breakdown" is not the correct word, as the family doesn't form in the first place)? Only black people can solve our problems.

about Double-0's minister of negroe affairs and the other establishment negroes on msnbc...,

democracynow | Cenk, welcome to Democracy Now! What happened?

CENK UYGUR: Well, it’s exactly as I explained on The Young Turks. You know, I was going along doing a program. You know, they did have, early on, some stylistic comments. I was trying to listen to them, you know, in terms of body language—don’t wave your arms, act like a senator. I don’t know why you would want a talk show host to act like a senator, but fine, it’s the medium that you’re working in. If I’m working on the internet, you know, it’s different than working on television. And, you know, taking those points is no problem at all.

But in April, when they pulled me in, Phil Griffin gave me this big speech about how we’re the establishment, and it would be cool to be like outsiders, but we’re not, we’re insiders, and we have to act like it. And I remember thinking at the time, well, there’s no way I’m going to do that. So I’m going to give them what I got. And then, if they like it, they like it. If they don’t, they don’t.

And honestly, I didn’t know which way they were going to go with it, because I know how much they care about ratings. So I figured if I delivered good ratings, that that would probably do the job. Well, it didn’t, because I delivered really good ratings, beating CNN significantly, handily, and also improving upon the numbers from last year. So there’s no question about the ratings. And then they pulled me in and said, "Well, you know, we’re going to go in a different direction at 6:00 anyway." And when I asked them about it, they didn’t really have a good answer as to why, leading me to believe that that giant conversation we had three months ago might have been part of the reason.

AMY GOODMAN: In December of last year, Phil Donahue joined Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker on their show to discuss his ouster from MSNBC during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Donahue was the lone journalist daring to publicly oppose the war at its onset.
PHIL DONAHUE: I opposed the war.
ELIOT SPITZER: And was that one of the reasons they pushed you off?
PHIL DONAHUE: Oh, read the memo—
ELIOT SPITZER: Right, right.
PHIL DONAHUE: —published by the New York Times.
PHIL DONAHUE: "Donahue’s antiwar voice is not going to work against the flag waving on the other station." Donahue and any antiwar voice in 2002—
ELIOT SPITZER: Right, right.
PHIL DONAHUE: Remember, they’re all doing what I did then now.
PHIL DONAHUE: I mean, the whole channel is now.
PHIL DONAHUE: You could not criticize this war four months before the invasion.
PHIL DONAHUE: It was not good for business. You had—General Electric had no interest in featuring an old talk show host who was against the president’s war. It was—it was unpopular. You weren’t American. This is what you get with corporate media. It’s going to happen again.
AMY GOODMAN: Cenk Uygur, does your situation compare to that of Phil Donahue’s? Do you think Al Sharpton would take a very different political line than you would?

CENK UYGUR: So, there’s a couple of different things here. First of all, it’s not just Phil Donahue. I had Jesse Ventura on The Young Turks a little while ago, maybe over a year ago. And what people don’t remember is that he also had a big contract from MSNBC at the time to do a show, and they told him, "You know what? It’s OK. Take the money. You don’t even have to do the show." Why? He said they found out that he was against the Iraq War and said, "That’s OK. We don’t want you on air then." OK?

And Ashleigh Banfield, when she gave a great speech in Kansas about how the war didn’t make any sense, she went from their star reporter to literally being moved into a closet. And they wouldn’t even let her out of her contract so she can go on another network and talk. It was unbelievable.

Now, the distinction there is Donahue, Ventura, Banfield were all under different management at MSNBC. So you have to be clear on that, and you can’t put that on them. But the similarity is that it is corporate media, right? And whether it’s the pressure to go right, the pressure to go left, pressure to appease the Bush administration, or pressure to appease the Obama administration, it exists. And it’s not just MSNBC. You think that the CNN hosts can aggressively challenge government officials? I don’t think so. It doesn’t look that way at all. And of course, when you get to Fox News, they’re a whole different animal: they’re purely propaganda. So, to me, this is not an issue of just MSNBC management now, no.

poetic justice moralizes, it excuses hedonic uselessness, it eschews excellence...,

theroot | Buried beneath the ever-growing pile of rubble that is the negative reaction to CNN anchor Don Lemon's "tough love" comments about the black community was the excellent rebuttal by Global Grind's editor-in-chief, Michael Skolnik.

"It's a reflection, it's a mirror," said Skolnik when asked by Lemon if rap and hip-hop "glorify prison culture," specifically the apparently cutting-edge trend of wearing baggy pants.

"Don't break the mirror," continued Skolnik, visibly upset. "Look at yourself."

"Well, that's, it's that, well, isn't that what --" stuttered Lemon after the briefest moment of dead air. He seemed taken aback and most of all confused by Skolnik's call to self-reflection.

"Isn't that what I'm trying to do here by telling people, 'Hey listen, I love you, but these are things you need to work on'?" asked Lemon, still not getting it. "I'm just being honest here.'"

Pointing the finger and peering into a mirror are two very distinct actions. One requires little save griping, and the other forces you to do more than simply judge. Forgive me for quoting two of Oprah's favorite gurus, Dr. Phil and Iyanla Vanzant: A mirror compels you to "get real with yourself" and "do the work." A pointed finger is nothing but a cocked gun aimed at the dreaded and scary other. But like my great grandmother (and probably yours, too) always said, "When you point a finger at someone else, three more are pointing right back at you."

folks gotta get that eudaimonic groove back...,

sciencedaily | Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health, according to new research led by Barbara L. Fredrickson, Kenan Distinguished Professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The sense of well-being derived from "a noble purpose" may provide cellular health benefits, whereas "simple self-gratification" may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found. "A functional genomic perspective on human well-being" was published July 29 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Philosophers have long distinguished two basic forms of well-being: a 'hedonic' [hee-DON-ic] form representing an individual's pleasurable experiences, and a deeper 'eudaimonic,' [u-DY-moh-nick] form that results from striving toward meaning and a noble purpose beyond simple self-gratification," wrote Fredrickson and her colleagues.

It's the difference, for example, between enjoying a good meal and feeling connected to a larger community through a service project, she said. Both give us a sense of happiness, but each is experienced very differently in the body's cells.

"We know from many studies that both forms of well-being are associated with improved physical and mental health, beyond the effects of reduced stress and depression," Fredrickson said. "But we have had less information on the biological bases for these relationships."

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

first class...,

npr | Cornish: You take us back into the 1860s ... and in those days in Washington, D.C., what makes this place a fertile ground, actually, for the education of blacks?

"It's so interesting to think that — not interesting — it's so stunning to think that in the South, before the Civil War, you could have a finger cut off if you were caught trying to learn to read if you were a slave. But Washington, D.C., while there weren't any schools for blacks, they weren't going to stand in the way of blacks getting an education.

"So as early as 1807, these small schools started popping up in churches and homes. A lot of Quakers came down from the North to Washington. They understood that this was a place where there was an opportunity to lay the groundwork for what turned into a pretty spectacular education system for black Americans."

And it helps that there's this large population of free blacks already living there.

"Exactly. And they were fighting so hard to continue the progress of education. For a long time, there were grammar schools only and elementary schools, and a few free blacks got together and they saw their moment. Because after the Civil War, the U.S. government said, 'OK, we've got all these free black children, we have to give them schools.' So a group of free blacks got together and said, 'We're going go make a high school. We see this moment in time. We're just going to do it.' And it started in 1870 with four students in the basement of a church."

Now talk a little bit about what the goals are for this school in particular. From its very beginning, academic standards are just so incredibly high.

"What ended up happening is the first African-Americans to go to competitive colleges — Oberlin, Amherst, Brown, Harvard — they would graduate from school and have nowhere to go. Many of them came back to teach at this high school. My mom and dad went to this high school in the 1940s; they had a very different experience. My mother was born and raised in Washington, D.C. My dad was born and raised in Harlem, and my grandmother picked him up at 14 and took him to D.C. just to go to Dunbar, which many people did. People moved to D.C. just to send their kids to this high school.

"And my mom used to talk about having teachers who were Ph.Ds. You had the first three black women to get Ph.Ds; two of them went to Dunbar, and two of them taught at Dunbar.

"So what ended up happening was that these next two and three generations were these hypereducated African-Americans."

So the school was basically in a way benefiting ... from the glass ceiling of segregation. That these high-achieving African-Americans, they don't have anywhere to go once they get out of these schools and broken these barriers. And they come back into the community.

"It's a perversity of it, right? And it's funny because I stayed up at night, worried that someone would think I was actually writing a book that talked about 'segregation is a good thing' because it of course isn't, it of course was horrible. And that was the other part that I found so fascinating about this story. You had all these people who were so educated, speaking two and three languages, going to a school and getting an education on par with white student in Washington, D.C., but had these other restrictions on their lives."

don lemon backs o'lielly over the hon.bro.preznit's minister of negroe affairs....,

rawstory | CNN anchor Don Lemon came to the defense of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Saturday regarding O’Reilly’s heavily-criticized take regarding crime in the African-American community.

“In my estimation, he doesn’t go far enough,” Lemon said in a commentary, before going on to list five tips for Black Americans to improve their living situation, starting with an entreaty to young African-American men to stop letting their pants sag as a fashion choice.

“Walking around with your a*s and your underwear showing is not okay,” Lemon said. “In fact, it comes from prison. When they take away belts from prisoners so they can’t make a weapon. And then it evolved into which role each prisoner would have during male-on-male prison sex.”

Lemon also advised Black viewers to stop saying “the N-word,” to encourage young members of the community to finish their education and to “respect where you live.”

“I’ve lived in several predominantly white communities in my life,” Lemon said. “I rarely, if ever, witnessed people littering. I live in Harlem now. It’s a historically Black neighborhood. Every single day, I see adults and children dropping their trash on the ground when the garbage can is just feet away. Just being honest here.”

Additionally, Lemon cited an oft-mentioned statistic saying 72 percent of African-American children were born out of wedlock. But that figure has been in dispute since as far back as 2009, when columnist Ta-Nehisi Coates pointed out in The Atlantic that the birth rate among Black women was actually declining at the time, and that the birth rate for married Black women was lower than among married white women.
“There is no data to show that the black ‘illegitimacy’ figure of 70 percent has been caused by unmarried black women having more kids than they did in the past,” Coates wrote at the time. 

Lemon’s remarks were also ripped in a subsequent panel discussion by Global Grind editor-in-chief Michael Skolnick.

“I think your remarks sound like a conserative preacher on a Sunday,” Skolnick told Lemon. “Certainly Bill O’Reilly should welcome you on his show. I’m disappointed in you. You’re talking about sagging pants? I’ve heard this rap for years, talking about sagging pants. Let’s talk about why we incarcerate 2.2 million people in this country, and why young kids look up to guys who come out of jail.”

“Michael, not every Black kid is in jail,” Lemon countered. “And there are rules. People should know where that style comes from. Whether it’s a Black kid, a white kid, a Black kid, whether it’s Justin Bieber. That is glorifying prison culture. Who wants to see someone’s butt-crack?”

When Lemon asked Skolnick whether hip-hop culture glorified that aethetic, Skolnick shot back that the music is a reflection of society.

“Don’t break the mirror, look at yourself,” Skolnick told Lemon.

o'lielly doubled down on the minister of negroe affairs...,

O'Reilly called on "civil rights folks to stop maligning the country and face up to a huge problem that is directly harming millions, primarily, in the African American community." He continued to blame these problems mainly on the collapse of the traditional black family unit, saying that the civil rights industry ignores it, along with an entertainment industry that embraces "gangster culture."

O'Reilly then turned to Sharpton, who he said "attacked the messenger, implying that I am a racist." In response to Sharpton playing O'Reilly's infamous "motherfucking iced tea" moment, O'Reilly accused him of taking it out of context, declaring that Sharpton and other TV pundits are "attacking me because I am a threat to them."

O'Reilly declared, "The day of the race hustlers is coming to an end." He said people like Sharpton aren't interested in solving the real problems of the black community,

the hon.bro.preznit's minister of negroe affairs responds to o'lielly

MSNBC's Al Sharpton took Bill O'Reilly's recent comments about race head-on Friday evening, after the Fox anchor singled him out last night for being "in business with people who put out entertainment harmful to children." Sharpton called it "ridiculous" that O'Reilly is somehow the "expert on what the vast majority of African-Americans want."

"In the time since George Zimmerman's acquittal," Sharpton declared, "some right-wingers have gone into overdrive to push the most negative stereotypes of the African-American community for their own gain." He lumped O'Reilly in with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity as the "unholy triumvirate of right-wing reaction" that has "been desperate not to have a real conversation about the injustices of the justice system."

Sharpton mocked O'Reilly and others for their sudden concern about gang violence in Chicago, something he said "many of us in African-American community" have been talking about for months. "Better late than never, I guess." On O'Reilly's focus on the breakdown of the African-American family, Sharpton asked, "Is Bill O'Reilly saying George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin because Trayvon was born out of wedlock, even though he wasn't? That's ridiculous, right?"

"All of this is an effort to avoid addressing the urgent topic that something is fundamentally flawed with our justice system if laws like Stand Your Ground allow a kid to be gunned down," Sharpton continued. "But Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly don't want to talk about that."

Sarcastically calling O'Reilly the "expert on the vast majority of what African-Americans want," Sharpton said, "we need a real conversation about justice in this country, not the same old right-wing divide and conquer garbage. Bill O'Reilly, the Willie Horton stuff has got to go."

bill o'lielly went in on the brouhaha...,

 "The sad truth is that from the president on down, our leadership has no clue, no clue at all about how to solve problems within the black community," O'Reilly said. "And many are frightened to even broach the issue. That's because race hustlers and the grievance industry have intimidated the so-called 'conversation,' turning any valid criticism of African-American culture into charges of racial bias." He said it's these attitudes that have forced African-Americans to "fend for themselves in violent neighborhoods."

Coming back to Trayvon Martin specifically, O'Reilly said there is only evidence that George Zimmerman "profiled" the 17-year-old because he was "dressed in clothing sometimes used by street criminals"--not his skin color. "It was wrong for Zimmerman to confront Martin based on his appearance," he said. "But the culture that we have in this country does lead to criminal profiling because young black American men are so often involved in crime."

This led O'Reilly to pinpoint the primary cause of these statistics: "The disintegration of the African-American family." More than anything else, he chalked up black crime to the fact that "73% of all black babies are born out of wedlock," a problem that he said Obama and other civil rights leaders refuse to address. He also pointed fingers at the entertainment industry, and particularly "gangsta culture," for "encouraging irresponsibility" and "glorifying bad behavior."

O'Reilly outright rejected the notion, put forward by "race hustlers and limousine liberals" that "unfair" incarceration rates for "non-violent" drug offenses contribute to the problem, calling out Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Obama for refusing to condemn drug dealers. Getting more and more heated as he progressed, O'Reilly argued that blacks' disadvantages "has nothing to do with slavery. It has everything to do with you Hollywood people and you derelict parents."

In conclusion, O'Reilly said, "it's now time for the African-American leadership, including President Obama, to stop the nonsense. Walk away from the world of victimization and grievance and lead the way out of this mess."

Monday, July 29, 2013

stranded by sprawl...,

NYTimes | Detroit is a symbol of the old economy’s decline. It’s not just the derelict center; the metropolitan area as a whole lost population between 2000 and 2010, the worst performance among major cities

Atlanta, by contrast, epitomizes the rise of the Sun Belt; it gained more than a million people over the same period, roughly matching the performance of Dallas and Houston without the extra boost from oil.
Yet in one important respect booming Atlanta looks just like Detroit gone bust: both are places where the American dream seems to be dying, where the children of the poor have great difficulty climbing the economic ladder. In fact, upward social mobility — the extent to which children manage to achieve a higher socioeconomic status than their parents — is even lower in Atlanta than it is in Detroit. And it’s far lower in both cities than it is in, say, Boston or San Francisco, even though these cities have much slower growth than Atlanta. 

So what’s the matter with Atlanta? A new study suggests that the city may just be too spread out, so that job opportunities are literally out of reach for people stranded in the wrong neighborhoods. Sprawl may be killing Horatio Alger. 

The new study comes from the Equality of Opportunity Project, which is led by economists at Harvard and Berkeley. There have been many comparisons of social mobility across countries; all such studies find that these days America, which still thinks of itself as the land of opportunity, actually has more of an inherited class system than other advanced nations. The new project asks how social mobility varies across U.S. cities, and finds that it varies a lot. In San Francisco a child born into the bottom fifth of the income distribution has an 11 percent chance of making it into the top fifth, but in Atlanta the corresponding number is only 4 percent. 

When the researchers looked for factors that correlate with low or high social mobility, they found, perhaps surprisingly, little direct role for race, one obvious candidate. They did find a significant correlation with the existing level of inequality: “areas with a smaller middle class had lower rates of upward mobility.” This matches what we find in international comparisons, where relatively equal societies like Sweden have much higher mobility than highly unequal America. But they also found a significant negative correlation between residential segregation — different social classes living far apart — and the ability of the poor to rise. 

And in Atlanta poor and rich neighborhoods are far apart because, basically, everything is far apart; Atlanta is the Sultan of Sprawl, even more spread out than other major Sun Belt cities. This would make an effective public transportation system nearly impossible to operate even if politicians were willing to pay for it, which they aren’t. As a result, disadvantaged workers often find themselves stranded; there may be jobs available somewhere, but they literally can’t get there. 

The apparent inverse relationship between sprawl and social mobility obviously reinforces the case for “smart growth” urban strategies, which try to promote compact centers with access to public transit. But it also bears on a larger debate about what is happening to American society. I know I’m not the only person who read the Times article on the new study and immediately thought, “William Julius Wilson.” 

A quarter-century ago Mr. Wilson, a distinguished sociologist, famously argued that the postwar movement of employment out of city centers to the suburbs dealt African-American families, concentrated in those city centers, a heavy blow, removing economic opportunity just as the civil rights movement was finally ending explicit discrimination. And he further argued that social phenomena such as the prevalence of single mothers, often cited as causes of lagging black performance, were actually effects — that is, the family was being undermined by the absence of good jobs.

city vs. suburbs

bloomberg | Walking to meet friends for a drink at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar in bustling downtown Birmingham, Michigan, Cindy Boudreau said she never goes into Detroit except for an occasional Red Wings hockey game. She doesn’t see the point, especially now that the city is bankrupt. 

“We would rather stay in the suburbs,” Boudreau, a 66-year-old retired real-estate manager, said in an interview about a block from a park where children played on an Astroturf-covered mound. “We’ve got all we want here.” 

Boudreau’s view exemplifies a generations-long divide between Detroit, where the per-capita income is $15,261, and suburbs such as Birmingham, where it’s $67,580. Detroit’s record $18 billion bankruptcy case raises questions about how affluence can co-exist with poverty, and whether urban areas with hollow cores can thrive. 

Cities in Oakland County, which abuts Detroit, constitute what amounts to a parallel community that is whiter, richer and more Republican. L. Brooks Patterson, the county executive for 20 years, argues that Oakland can function apart from a failed Detroit -- that Michigan’s prosperity no longer depends on its largest city. Republican Governor Rick Snyder says the entire state’s future is bound together.

Urban Island
“That’s the debate that we really need,” said Lou Glazer, president of Michigan Future, an Ann Arbor nonprofit working to improve the economy. “What’s Detroit going to be? Is it going to be connected to the region or not? Is it going to be vibrant, and if it is, what’s the role of the suburbs?” 

Detroit became the fourth-largest U.S. city by 1950 with the growth of the auto industry, as what are now General Motors Co. (GM), Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC churned out cars. Since then, 1 million have left for places such as Oakland County, whose population more than tripled to 1.2 million. 

The county is the state’s wealthiest, according to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis statistics. Cities such Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, where auto executives and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lived, are only a few miles from Detroit’s vast tracts of decay.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

what difference did the lack of private higher-ed make in the etiology of detroit's failure?

theatlantic |  Private non-profit institutions enroll fewer than 15 percent of U.S. undergraduates, but they account for 27 of the 60 U.S. members of the Association of American Universities, the leading group of elite research institutions, whose members employ on average 11,400 people each. In 1950, about the time Detroit's population began falling, private institutions were 18 of the 32 AAU members.

Today, the top 20 universities in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings are all private institutions, as are 15 of the 20 largest university endowments. That dominance is regretted by many, but it's no coincidence. Top private institutions are more varied in their missions, and more malleable and flexible to respond to new opportunities and change direction. The best of them are more entrepreneurial and less bureaucratic. Those and other reasons have simply made them, historically, more appealing places for very rich people to give enormous amounts of money (and unlike any public university I know of, at a certain price they'll even name the place after you).

Of course, Detroit isn't the only major American city without a prominent private research university (Portland, Minneapolis-St. Paul and San Diego are all vibrant -- though the last two have large public research institutions). But it is arguably the most surprising. Detroit was once America's fourth-largest city, and not lacking in rich philanthropists. More to the point, a century ago, it was the Silicon Valley of its day, bustling with engineering talent, entrepreneurs, and venture capital. Imagine visiting Detroit in 1920 then journeying to the farmland of Palo Alto, CA, and finally the tobacco warehouses of Durham, NC. Which place would you have bet on to become a global research and education powerhouse? Yet among those three, only Detroit failed to do so. Frederick Rudolph's still-landmark history of American higher education, The American College & University was published in 1962, when Detroit still had over 1.5 million people. The city's name does not appear in this book, nor in Thelin's 2004 successor volume A History of American Higher Education.

I can't articulate a single, overarching theory for why this is so, but I can offer two ideas. The first involves a series of contingencies dating to the early 19th century, whose effect was to lessen the chance of such an institution being in place to later grow and thrive in Detroit. The second dates to Detroit's golden days in the early 20th century, and the economic culture from which its wealth emerged. Fist tap Big Don.

neofeudalism YES! new ideas - not gonna happen....,

NYTimes | I HAD spent much of my life writing music for commercials, film and television and knew little about the world of philanthropy as practiced by the very wealthy until what I call the big bang happened in 2006. That year, my father, Warren Buffett, made good on his commitment to give nearly all of his accumulated wealth back to society. In addition to making several large donations, he added generously to the three foundations that my parents had created years earlier, one for each of their children to run. 

Early on in our philanthropic journey, my wife and I became aware of something I started to call Philanthropic Colonialism. I noticed that a donor had the urge to “save the day” in some fashion. People (including me) who had very little knowledge of a particular place would think that they could solve a local problem. Whether it involved farming methods, education practices, job training or business development, over and over I would hear people discuss transplanting what worked in one setting directly into another with little regard for culture, geography or societal norms. 

Often the results of our decisions had unintended consequences; distributing condoms to stop the spread of AIDS in a brothel area ended up creating a higher price for unprotected sex. 

But now I think something even more damaging is going on. 

Because of who my father is, I’ve been able to occupy some seats I never expected to sit in. Inside any important philanthropy meeting, you witness heads of state meeting with investment managers and corporate leaders. All are searching for answers with their right hand to problems that others in the room have created with their left. There are plenty of statistics that tell us that inequality is continually rising. At the same time, according to the Urban Institute, the nonprofit sector has been steadily growing. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of nonprofits increased 25 percent. Their growth rate now exceeds that of both the business and government sectors. It’s a massive business, with approximately $316 billion given away in 2012 in the United States alone and more than 9.4 million employed.

uh.., colleges and healthcare complexes are little unsustainable artificial urban densities

npr | The debt-laden city of Detroit has been an incubator for new strategies in urban revitalization, including a downtown People Mover, casinos, urban farms, artist colonies and large scale down-sizing.

In the wake of the city's bankruptcy, many in the community are thinking small.

Just outside of downtown Detroit is a neighborhood called Midtown. Like many hip, urban neighborhoods, it's got hipsters on fixed geared bikes, yoga studios, boutiques for dogs.

And while urban neighborhoods in other cities have been redeveloping for a decade or more, things here are just now starting to take off.

Part of the reason is a woman who's often called the Mayor of Midtown.

Sue Mosey is president of , a non-profit planning and economic development agency that works to encourage new business and housing and preserve the history of the neighborhood about two miles north of downtown.

"It's been an area that's experienced a lot of disinvestment over the last 60 years," says Mosey. "But over the last 10 to 20 years there's been a lot of reinvestment coming back into the neighborhood."

The neighborhood has a large public university, an arts college. It has two major healthcare systems, the big cultural institutions. It's anchored by Wayne State University, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Medical Center and the Henry Ford Hospital and the College of Creative Studies.

why detroit failed - peak capitalism/contraction/racism/corruption

boomerangbeat | Early 1950s
  • Peak population at 1.8 million as the automobile industry boomed
  • Automobile factories generated high-profile labor unions, which initiated strikes  in support of benefits, pensions, and increased wages
Mid 1950s
  • Increased competition from foreign auto makers led to several U.S. auto manufacturing mergers
  • Because Detroit had gone all in in the auto industry, the mergers proved problematic as jobs started to disappear (poor planning)
    • Rapid growth from the auto industry boom resulted in social tension and racism as whites repeatedly refused to work with blacks
    • Extensive freeway systems allowed for commuting, causing several to move to the suburbs
    • People in the suburbs meant fewer jobs and a smaller tax base in the city
    • Late 70s – Detroit continued to struggle with foreign auto competition
    • On the verge of bankruptcy, rather than restructure they imposed a city income tax in addition to the state income tax (city/state takes a percentage of your paycheck – based on income – to pay the government)
    • Mayor opted not to battle union concessions meaning public union workers were getting what they wanted with little push back
    • Unions received higher wages and generous pension packages (payment during retirement) that caused the local government to pay millions to people who were no longer working
    • Politicians would often give the unions what they wanted in return for votes (corruption)
    • People will often vote for politicians to break up or weaken public sector unions in order to fix state budget problems
    • Mayor (now a convicted felon) used the city’s credit card recklessly for more than $2 billion, including more than a billion against the city’s pension funds (union workers)
  • Mayor racked up 1/3 of a billion dollars against the city’s pension funds
  • Detroit has had to rely on the state to help pay its government employees
Overarching problem = political corruption. Instead of using money to restore the city, Detroit raised taxes (2.5%, highest in the state) and gave the money to union workers in return for labor peace.

the "family" silver WILL be sold to pay these bills....,

NYTimes | As Detroit files for bankruptcy — the largest American city ever to do so — the impressive collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts has become a political bargaining chip in a fight that could drag on for years between the city and its army of creditors, who have said in no uncertain terms that the artworks must be considered a salable asset. 

“We haven’t proposed selling any asset,” said Bill Nowling, a spokesman for Kevyn D. Orr, the state-appointed emergency manager appointed to deal with Detroit’s debts, which could amount to more than $18 billion. “But we haven’t taken any asset off the table. We can’t. We cannot negotiate in good faith with our creditors by taking assets off the table. And all of our creditors have asked about the worth of the D.I.A. And we’ve told them that they’re welcome to find out.” 

Unlike most art museums around the country, which are owned by nonprofit corporations that hold a collection in trust for citizens, the institute is owned by Detroit, as is much of its collection — which is not particularly deep but includes gems by artists like Bruegel, Caravaggio, Rembrandt and van Gogh. It is considered among the top 10 encyclopedic museums in the country. 

Museums do not generally appraise the market value of their works beyond a blanket amount for insurance policies. But experts have speculated that the institute’s works could bring more than $2 billion if sold.
About a month ago, the institute’s officials were contacted by Christie’s auction house, which asked for an inventory of works and asked if appraisers could visit to assess the collection. It is unclear whether such a visit took place and whether it was creditors or someone else who enlisted Christie’s to begin an appraisal. (Mr. Nowling said that the emergency manager’s office did not do so, and Christie’s declined to comment.)
But as Detroit’s financial fate comes before a federal bankruptcy judge, it is clear that the desire of creditors to determine the collection’s worth will not go away. 

The museum, which has hired a well-known bankruptcy lawyer, Richard Levin, to advise it on its possible exposure, declined to comment on Friday. But on its Facebook page, the museum said: “As a municipal bankruptcy of this size is unprecedented, the D.I.A. will continue to carefully monitor the situation, fully confident that the emergency manager, the governor and the courts will act in the best interest of the City, the public and the museum.” 

Few large American art museums have found themselves in the financial cross hairs quite as often as the Detroit Institute of Arts. Not long after it was founded in 1885, it became enmeshed in a lawsuit that led to a loss of city appropriations, putting it in budgetary straits. In 1955, during a city financial crisis, the museum’s acquisitions mostly ceased. And in 1973, during another economic downturn, it had to close temporarily.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

the real reason for modern gun control...,

The Gun Control Act of 1968 kicked off a frenzy of new US gun laws... Here´s the secret history behind the timing.

The first gun laws restricting private citizens were dictated by the British Empire against American colonists. The Empire wanted only the military to have weapons of self defense.

The next wave of anti guns laws in the US took place after slavery was abolished. The laws, passed by Southern legislatures, prohibited Afro-Americans from owning firearms.

The next big wave of anti gun laws, which we are still in the middle of, started in the mid 1960s.


Yes, we had a number of assassinations, but they´ve been proven to be government conspiracies (JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King, etc.)

The hysteria against private gun ownership begin when Afro-Americans started using firearms to protect their civil rights.

That´s the history behind these laws.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 kicked off a frenzy of new US gun laws... Here´s the secret history behind the timing.

The first gun laws restricting private citizens where dictated by the British Empire against American colonists. The Empire wanted only the military to have weapons of self defense.

The next wave of anti guns laws in the US took place after slavery was abolished. The laws, passed by Southern legislatures, prohibited Afro-Americans from owning firearms.

The next big wave of anti gun laws, which we are still in the middle of, started in the mid 1960s.


Yes, we had a number of assassinations, but they´ve been proven to be government conspiracies (JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King, etc.)

The hysteria against private gun ownership begin when Afro-Americans started using firearms to protect their civil rights.

That´s the history behind these laws. - See more at:

Friday, July 26, 2013

the two faux democracies threaten life on earth...,

paulcraigroberts | Amitai Etzioni has raised an important question: “Who authorized preparations for war with China?” Etzioni says that the war plan is not the sort of contingency plan that might be on hand for an improbable event. Etzioni also reports that the Pentagon’s war plan was not ordered by, and has not been reviewed by, US civilian authorities. We are confronted with a neoconized US military out of control endangering Americans and the rest of the world.

Etzioni is correct that this is a momentous decision made by a neoconized military. China is obviously aware that Washington is preparing for war with China. If the Yale Journal knows it, China knows it. If the Chinese government is realistic, the government is aware that Washington is planning a pre-emptive nuclear attack against China. No other kind of war makes any sense from Washington’s standpoint. The “superpower” was never able to occupy Baghdad, and after 11 years of war has been defeated in Afghanistan by a few thousand lightly armed Taliban. It would be curtains for Washington to get into a conventional war with China.

When China was a primitive third world country, it fought the US military to a stalemate in Korea. Today China has the world’s second largest economy and is rapidly overtaking the failing US economy destroyed by jobs offshoring, bankster fraud, and corporate and congressional treason.

The Pentagon’s war plan for China is called “AirSea Battle.” The plan describes itself as “interoperable air and naval forces that can execute networked, integrated attacks-in-depth to disrupt, destroy, and defeat enemy anti-access area denial capabilities.”

Yes, what does that mean? It means many billions of dollars of more profits for the military/security complex while the 99 percent are ground under the boot. It is also clear that this nonsensical jargon cannot defeat a Chinese army. But this kind of saber-rattling can lead to war, and if the Washington morons get a war going, the only way Washington can prevail is with nuclear weapons. The radiation, of course, will kill Americans as well.

Nuclear war is on Washington’s agenda. The rise of the Neocon Nazis has negated the nuclear disarmament agreements that Reagan and Gorbachev made. The extraordinary, mainly truthful 2012 book, The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, describes the post-Reagan breakout of preemptive nuclear attack as Washington’s first option.

who authorized preparations for war with china?

yalejournal | Abstract—The Pentagon has concluded that the time has come to prepare for war with China, and in a manner well beyond crafting the sort of contingency plans that are expected for wide a range of possible confrontations. It is a momentous conclusion that will shape the United States’ defense systems, force posture, and overall strategy for dealing with the economically and militarily resurgent China. Thus far, however, the military’s assessment of and preparations for the threat posed by China have not received the high level of review from elected civilian officials that such developments require. The start of a second Obama administration provides an opportunity for civilian authorities to live up to their obligations in this matter and to conduct a proper review of the United States’ China strategy and the military’s role in it. 

The U.S. Military /Civilian Relationships in Facing China
The United States is preparing for a war with China, a momentous decision that so far has failed to receive a thorough review from elected officials, namely the White House and Congress. This important change in the United States’ posture toward China has largely been driven by the Pentagon. There have been other occasions in which the Pentagon has framed key strategic decisions so as to elicit the preferred response from the Commander in Chief and elected representatives. A recent case in point was when the Pentagon led President Obama to order a high level surge in Afghanistan in 2009, against the advice of the Vice President and the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. The decision at hand stands out even more prominently because (a) the change in military posture may well lead to an arms race with China, which could culminate in a nuclear war; and (b) the economic condition of the United States requires a reduction in military spending, not a new arms race. The start of a new term, and with it the appointment of new secretaries of State and Defense, provide an opportunity to review the United States’ China strategy and the military’s role in it. This review is particularly important before the new preparations for war move from an operational concept to a militarization program that includes ordering high-cost weapons systems and forced restructuring. History shows that once these thresholds are crossed, it is exceedingly difficult to change course.

In the following pages I first outline recent developments in the Pentagon’s approach to dealing with the rise of China; I then focus on the deliberations of the highest civilian authorities. These two sides seemed to operate in parallel universes, at least until November 2011 when the pivot to Asia was announced by the White House—though we shall see their paths hardly converged even after that date. I conclude with an outline of what the much-needed civilian review ought to cover.

I write about the “Pentagon” and the “highest civilian authori­ties” (or our political representatives) rather than contrast the view of the military and that of the civilian authorities, because the Pentagon includes civilians, who actively partici­pated in developing the plans under discussion. It is of course fully legitimate for the Pentagon to identify and prepare for new threats. The question that this article raises is whether the next level of government, which reviews such threats while taking into account the input of the intelligence com­munity and other agencies (especially the State Department), has adequately fulfilled its duties. Have the White House and Congress properly reviewed the Pentagon’s approach—and found its threat assessment of China convincing and ap­proved the chosen response? And if not, what are the United States’ overarching short- and long-term political strategies for dealing with an economically and militarily rising China?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

is obama the same as george zimmerman?

nationalreview | He could have been me. I could have been out on neighborhood watch in my community performing my duties on a rainy night. It could have been me following a young African-American male around in my neighborhood because I did not recognize him, and because my neighborhood had been burglarized by young African Americans. It could have been me lying beneath a young black man who was striking my head against the concrete, my nose broken in a fight gone bad. It could have been me that tragic, deadly night.

It could have been me facing criminal charges for doing nothing illegal that night, presumed guilty of a crime I didn’t commit, and presumed guilty of being a racist, even though I had not an ounce of racism in me, and even though the way I lived my life was proof of that assertion.

It could have been me who, after being acquitted by a jury of my peers in a state trial that never would have happened but for the color of my skin — not even the color of my skin, but what my name suggested the color of my skin might be — soon became the target of an investigation by the federal government.
It could have been me facing a media so hell-bent on turning me into a monster that they said and did almost anything, including doctoring a 9-1-1 call, in order to turn me into something I wasn’t.  

It could have been me who will live with the fact that my actions led to the taking of a young life.

It could have been me. I could have been George Zimmerman.

That was the part of President Obama’s speech I was waiting to hear after his very good — but incomplete — speech about the Zimmerman case. It is true that President Obama could have been Trayvon Martin. But it is equally true that he could have been George Zimmerman.

That’s the thing about real empathy; you have to walk in the shoes of all people, not just the ones you agree with or relate to.

I was waiting for that part of the speech because President Obama is uniquely qualified to give it. Because he is half white and half black, just as George Zimmerman is half white and half Hispanic — just as most Americans are half something and half something else.

Part of the speech given by President Obama was sensitive and filled with the right kind of emotion and tone. The warehousing of young inner-city males in prisons for low-level crimes is a tragedy and also a national disgrace (one, by the way, that white Christian conservatives are working hard to rectify). Disparity in sentencing is a real problem; too many African-American males are sentenced far more stringently than whites who commit similar crimes. And the president was right to talk about the terrible disparity in unemployment rates between white people and African Americans, and the particularly high rate of youth unemployment in our inner cities. White people need to know more about these facts, and President Obama was right to talk about those things.

black "public intellectuals" up in arms and increasingly at odds with one another and the hon.bro.preznit...,

eurweb | This past week Dr. Cornel West has been working overtime with  the clowning of anything Obama. His latest fusillade is directed at both both MSNBC and their host Rev. Al Sharpton.

As we reported earlier, When Dr. West was asked his opinion President Obama’s comments on the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, he resorted to characterizing the president as a “global George Zimmerman.”

Well, West made a visit to Tavis Smiley’s radio show this past weekend and said Rev. Sharpton is still on “the Obama plantation” which has keeps Sharpton from being more critical of the president and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Smiley has also made controversial remarks about Obama and his response to the George Zimmerman trial.
“Deep down in his soul I think he really does feel a fire, but he can’t allow that fire to in any way spill over toward the White House. Why? Because he’s still too tied, he’s too uncritical, he’s too deferential, he’s too subservient as it were and as long as that’s in place we’re going to find ourselves unable to tell the fundamental truth,” West told Smiley.

Both West and Smiley of course had their own spin on Zimmerman’s acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin and continued to delve into the media’s handling of the racial dynamics involved in the case.
“What’s your sense of how the media, and not just Fox News but beyond that, your read as you’ve been watching this, how the media handled this case?” Smiley asked West.

“I think that it’s been decrepit though, brother. I mean, you get a focus on some of the upper middle class folk. I mean, what I call the ‘rent-a-negro’ phenomenon on MSNBC…’” West answered. West’s displeasure with MSNBC may come as a surprise to some as he has appeared as a guest on the network frequently in the past.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

entheogenic esotericism

academia | That entheogens might have a legitimate place in religion at all is controversial among scholars, but for reasons that have less to do with factual evidence than with certain ingrained prejudices rooted in Western intellectual culture. Firstly, on the crypto-Protestant assumption that “religion” implies an attitude in which human beings are dependent on the divine initiative to receive grace or salvation, the use of entheogens is bound to suggest a “magical” and therefore not “truly religious” attitude in which human beings themselves dare to take the initiative and claim to have the key of access to divinity. Such a distinction (in which the former option is coded positively and the latter negatively) makes intuitive sense to us because modern intellectual culture since the Enlightenment has internalized specific Protestant assumptions to an extent where they appear wholly natural and obvious: in Cliford Geertz’s famous formulation, the dominant symbolic system clothes them with such an “aura of factuality” that the “moods and motivations” connected to them seem “uniquely realistic”.6

These assumptions are, however, culture-specific and highly problematic. The underlying opposition of “religion” versus “magic”(along with “science”) as reified universals has been thoroughly deconstructed,in recent decades, as artificial and ethnocentric to the core: it depends on normative modernist ideologies and implicit hegemonic claims of Western superiority that are rooted in heresiological, missionary and colonialist mentalities but cannot claim universal or even scholarly validity. Ultimately based upon the theological battle against “paganism”, the “magic versus religion” assumption, including its “manfipulative” versus “receptive” connotations, is a distorting mirror that fails to account for the complexity of beliefs and practices on both sides of the conceptual divide.7

A second cause of controversy has to do with certain idealist frameworks or assumptions that seem so natural to Western scholars that they are seldom reflected upon. Religion is generally supposed to be about spiritual realities,not material ones, and therefore the claim that modifying brain activity by chemical means might be a religious pursuit seems counterintuitive. It comes across as a purely technical and quasi-materialist trick that cheats practitioners into believing they are having a “genuine” religious experience. However, such objections are extremely problematic. First, they wrongly assume that there are scholarly procedures for distinguishing genuine from fake religion. Second, they ignore the fact that any activity associated with mind or spiritis inseparable from neurological activity and brain chemistry. In our experience as human beings we know of no such thing as “pure” spiritual activity (or, for that matter, any other mental activity) unconnected with the body and the brain: if it did exist, we would be incapable of experiencing its effects. 8

Since all forms of experience, including “experiences deemed religious”, are bodily phenomena by defnition, it is arbitrary to exclude entheogenic religion merely because of the particular method it uses to influence the brain. A final cause of controversy is, of course, the well-known rhetoric employed in the “war on drugs” since the end of the 1960s. Here the polemical use of reified universal categories is once again decisive: rather than carefully differentiating between the enormous variety of psychoactive substances and their effects, the monolithic category of “drugs” suggests that all of them are dangerous and addictive. Although the medical and pharmacological evidence does not support this assumption, politics and the media have been singularly successful in promoting the reified category; and as a result, the notion that entheogens might have a normal and legitimate function in some religious contexts is bound to sound bizarre to the general public. Scholars who insist on differentiating between different kinds of “drugs”, pointing out that some of them are harmless and might even be beneficial 10 therefore fnd themselves ina defensive position by default: it is always easy for critics to suggest that their scholarly arguments are just a front for some personal agenda of pro-psyche-delic apologetics.

The bottom line is that, for all these reasons, the very notion of entheogenic religion as a category in scholarly research finds itself at a strategic disadvantage from the outset. It is simply very difficult for us to look at the relevant religious beliefs and practices from a neutral and non-judgemental point of view, for in the very act of being observed – that is, even prior to any conscious attempt on our part to apply any theoretical perspective – they already appear to us pre-categorized in the terms of our own cultural conditioning.

Almost inevitably, they are perceived as pertaining to a negative “waste-basket category” of otherness associated with a strange assortment of “magical”, “pagan”,“superstitious” or “irrational” beliefs; and as such, they are automatically seen as diferent from “genuine” or “serious” forms of religion. The “drugs” category further causes them to be associated with hedonistic, manipulative, irresponsible, or downright criminal attitudes, so that claims of religious legitimacy are weakened even further. In this chapter an attempt will nevertheless be made to treat entheogenic esotericism as just another form of contemporary religion that requires our serious attention. A first reason for doing so is strictly empirical: if it is true that entheogenic esotericism happens to exist as a signifcant development in post-World War II religion and in contemporary society, then it is simply our business as scholars to investigate it. A second reason is more theoretical in nature: both the “esoteric” and the “entheogenic” dimension of this topic challenges some of our most deeply ingrained assumptions about religion and rationality, and studying their combination may therefore be particularly helpful in making us aware of our blind spots as intellectuals and scholars.

the racist war against the native american church...,

nativeamericanchurches | Like the miner’s canary, the Indian marks the shifts from fresh air to poison gas in our political atmosphere: and our treatment of Indians, even more than our treatment of other minorities, reflects the rise and fall in our democratic faith” Felix S. Cohen 

The Genealogy of James Warren ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney (James) shows he is an American Native Black Seminole, and a bloodline descendant of Seminole Medicine Man and War Chief Osceola (1804 –1838) and his escaped African American slave wife (Name, date of birth and death unknown).  James is also the namesake and bloodline descendant of one James Mooney (02/10/1861 – 12/22/1921), Irish-Scottish son of Irish Catholic immigrants, and American born U.S. Citizen.  James Mooney was employed as an Ethnologist at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C. (1885 – 1921). Here is an account of three men that did everything in their power to assist the indigenous peoples and preserve their ancient spiritual ceremonies. Without their efforts, it is possible that the American Native spiritual ceremonies and peoples of North America may not have survived the repeated atrocities perpetrated or supported by misguided United States Bureau of Indian Affairs for more than 100 years. 

Osceola (Billy Powell), Medicine Man and War Chief (1804-1838) was an influential Seminole leader who fought the United States to a standstill in the Florida Everglades during the second Seminole War, also known as the Florida War of 1835.  James’s ancestral family fought the U.S. military in an attempt to stop the expulsion of our First Nations people from their ancestral homeland. They strongly resisted efforts to bring about the deliberate annihilation of their indigenous earth based religious culture.
In 1918, James’s forefather James Mooney fought a war of words before Congress, successfully halting the passage of a Peyote law that was designed to make illegal the entire American Native way of life. Pointedly, the dominant Christian religious mainstream sought to end our earth-based ceremonies and healing and empowerment rites, supplanting these traditions with those imported from across the seas.  More recently, the efforts to deny constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom have been promoted and enforced by a federal agency known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).  James’s great grandfather’s successful defense of our sacrament before Congress was a first step in a long journey to restore and maintain our ancient religious heritage.  Later in that same year, he persuaded a group of Oklahoma American Native Spiritual leaders, gathered by Frank Eagle (Ponca Tribe), and wrote the by-laws that incorporated the first United States Native American Church  (est. El Reno, Oklahoma, 1918).  He astutely sought to use the laws of the insurgent intruders to protect the sacred use of the Native American Church’s indigenous religious ceremonies.  Sadly,  establishment of the Native American Church has, until recently, only provided nominal legal protection for the rights of its members.
James Mooney understood the relentless nature of the illegal and immoral political maneuvers designed to outlaw the First Nation’s entire earth-honoring religion. He foresaw the overwhelming influences of zealot religious ministries from a variety of churches, conspiring with greedy business owners seeking profits at any cost.  These political factions have continued for decades to persuade the BIA to attempt to outlaw many practices of the Native American Church, supplanting our religious ceremonies with  ‘modern’ alternatives that, in some cases, violate the very spirit of our understanding and our way of life.
As James Mooney predicted, our indigenous religious culture would endure decades of anti-American Native spiritual edicts and activities, enacted and propagated by the BIA.  This agency has repeatedly conspired with the entire United States Judicial system, including but not exclusive to the United States Attorney General’s Office, through State, County and City Attorney’s offices, in an orchestrated effort to continue to deny the civil liberties of America’s First Nations.
This hierarchy has acted and conspired  to deny our religious indigenous culture the ability to practice healing and empowering spiritual ceremonies and rites honoring our ancient Mother Earth and Father Sky. 

black indians forcibly prevented from freeing their minds...,

MAPS | In a 1991 case related to peyote (Lophophora williamsii), U.S. District Chief Judge Juan Burciaga stated: “The government’s war on drugs has become a wildfire... today, the war targets one of the most deeply held fundamental rights—the First Amendment right to freely exercise one’s religion.”1

Burciaga could rebuff the prevailing political mandate of religious discrimination only because he was about to retire. Unfortunately, the courts and law enforcement in the United States are rarely sympathetic toward the use of psychoactive sacraments. This article clarifies some of what is being suppressed with regard to churches that use peyote, other psychedelics, or Cannabis.

Negro Church of the First Born. John C. Jamison of Tulsa, Oklahoma was a black man who was raised among the Indians and spoke three Native American languages. His small Christian church had an organizational infrastructure with at least six officers. Some members were drawn by the healings that Jamison tried to perform in the traditional Indian manner. Jamison conducted peyote ceremonies from 1920 until his murder by a lunatic in 1926. The government’s hostility toward peyote discouraged some of his black congregation. Jamison never succeeded in getting his organization officially incorporated. His road meetings were similar to those of the Native American Church, although he was criticized for introducing some modifications of the conventional ritual.

how did the irs, the dea, and the judiciary become our primary religious judges?

NYTimes | Sixty-four-year old Roger Christie, a resident of Hawaii’s Big Island, although most recently of Cell 104 at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center, is a Religious Science practitioner, a minister of the Universal Life Church, ordained in the Church of the Universe (in Canada), an official of the Oklevueha Native American Church of Hilo, Hawaii, and the founder of the Hawai’i Cannabis THC Ministry.
As you might guess, it was the last of those spiritual vocations that landed him in prison. 

In 2010, Mr. Christie, along with several co-defendants, was indicted on charges including conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana. He does not dispute the facts of the case. He just believes that his operation — “a real ‘street ministry’ serving the needs of our neighbors from all walks of life,” he told me in an e-mail from prison, “busy six days a week,” employing “three secretaries and a doorman” — was protected by the First Amendment. 

On July 29, Mr. Christie’s lawyer will argue in Hawaii federal court that his client should be allowed to present a religious-freedom defense at the eventual criminal trial. He will base his argument on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by Congress in 1993, which requires the government to show a “compelling interest” whenever it “substantially burdens” a religious practice. In 2006, the Supreme Court relied on the act to permit a New Mexico church to use the hallucinogen hoasca, or ayahuasca, for sacramental purposes. 

But so far such exceptions have been granted to small religious communities and relatively obscure drugs: for American Indians’ use of peyote, for example, or the New Mexico church with its ayahuasca. But marijuana? That would be problematic. 

“The difference is that peyote and hoasca have little or no recreational market, and that is not likely to change because they make you sick before they make you high,” Douglas Laycock, who teaches constitutional law at the University of Virginia, wrote in an e-mail in explaining why a court would be unlikely to approve of the church’s practice. “Marijuana has a huge recreational market. Diversion from religious to recreational uses, and false claims of religious use, would be major problems.” 

Mr. Christie is hoping that now, as many state marijuana laws are liberalized, federal courts may allow him to argue for the sacramental needs of his ministry, where he worked full time until his arrest. First, he must convince a federal judge that his religion — or one of his religions — is not just a form of personal spirituality concocted to get stoned legally.

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