Breaking: New Year dawns on schedule!


With us in a distant locale:
Yesterday, we journeyed to the Hudson Valley to attend a bit of a memorial service.

The new year has dawned bright and clear in this locale. With apologies, we expect to resume our current series on Saturday.


  1. Interesting reading in the Howler's absence.

    1. Very interesting. It's no wonder police are overwhelmingly conservative. If they don't start out that way, racist liberals and Al Sharpton will change them.

    2. 11:01 is anyone arguing otherwise? No one is. It's also true the negative black experience in America today has nearly everything to do with black culture and nearly nothing to do with slavery or systemic racism.

    3. Historical injustice has affected every group in America. How do you think most Americans got here? Injustice in their home countries. One historical injustice suffered by the Irish in America was that they were disproportionately drafted into the army during the civil war and many gave their lives to free African Americans from slavery, not as volunteers but as conscripts torn from their families and jobs.

      Please explain the difference between an indentured servant or transportee and a slave. Please explain how the history of enslavement of the Irish by the British and the enslavement of the British by the Irish and the enslavement of many other European peoples by the Romans was different than the enslavement of Africans by various groups (including other Africans) and different than the ongoing current enslavement of people of all races and ethnicities in the modern slave trade. Slavery is bad, no matter who it happens to and no matter who is doing it. How is it especially bad when it happens to Africans compared to other groups?

      How is the historical injustice emerging from the past enslavement of Africans different than the historical injustice accorded Irish by the British in the centuries following their colonization (still ongoing in Northern Ireland)? Do you imagine the prejudices justifying that subjugation are any less pernicious just because the peoples involved are both white? If you are Irish and you travel in Europe, you still encounter lingering remnants of that discrimination -- I've had people commit derogatory acts against me in Amsterdam solely because of my trace of an Irish accent, and despite being American.

      When people cite statistics showing that African-Americans have it tougher than whites, to what extent are those stats caused by being black as opposed to the elements of culture that are part of black experience? To what extent can any historical legacy account for current actions that are self-defeating and lead to poorer outcomes for African Americans?

      It's true some cops don't like blacks. It's true some cops don't like women. It's true some cops don't like young people. It's true some cops don't like people much. So what? Some of those cops are themselves black and some of them don't like whites. Or Asians, or Hispanics or immigrants. In general, people who are poor, uneducated, adopt anti-social behaviors, engage in criminal acts, or are suffering from untreated mental illness do have it much tougher when they interact with cops, white or black. I am not convinced it is because they are black or white and not because of these other social factors.

      It makes more sense to focus on changing what can be changed instead of focusing almost entirely on what cannot be changed. Skin color, race, historical injustice cannot be changed. Behavior can be changed. Black people cannot control white behavior, but they can affect their own behavior. By changing your own behavior, you change the way others react to you. It is much more difficult to try to change others directly, but anyone can change his or her own actions. Complaining about racism is a waste of time. Trying to succeed in spite of it yields better results, because not everyone is racism, not everything is unjust and there are ways to succeed, even in the worst circumstances. That is all any oppressed people can do, as individuals. When people fail to do that, they will have a MUCH tougher time, whether white or black.

    4. @1:22 and @ 1:44

      The cold truth is African-Americans have it harder than other ethnic groups in the USA. That is a fact. And anyone who denies it is not living in the real world.

    5. Somebody asks:

      How is the historical injustice emerging from the past enslavement of Africans different than the historical injustice accorded Irish by the British in the centuries following their colonization (still ongoing in Northern Ireland)?

      In the case of the Irish, they were conquered (more than once), then British Anglicans settled in Ireland, enriched themselves at the expense of the native inhabitants with the plantations they ran, issued edicts against the practice of Catholicism, attempted to enforce those edicts and ultimately retreated to establishing various discriminatory practices against the Catholics there in the Irish homeland. Subsequently there was a lot of violence that contributed to the reestablishment of Irish sovereignty over most of Ireland. (Would you recommend American blacks practice violence on a similar scale in the U.S.?)

      Blacks, on the other hand, were sold into slavery and shipped from Africa to the Americas where they were not continuing to live there homeland amid their own centuries old institutions- nor, for the most part, were they allowed to establish any institutions of their own in the United States from which to organize political power for decades after emancipation except through black Christian churches and schools. (After 1900 and into the '30s there were a few nascent black separatist organizations and what proved to be a few mainstream political institutions with staying power like the NAACP, that appeared. Ultimately the Nation of Islam established itself as an outside the mainstream stable and ongoing black institution.)

      In the case of Irish slavery in the American colonies, it seems that race played a decisive role in maintaining the right of the Irish slave to eventually earn their freedom in the 17th century and caused the phenomenon to die out completely in the 18th century during which time YMMV on whether there was a booming Irish demographic that survived that earlier period. Or do you think it was just because the Irish were less productive and long-lived in slavery than were blacks and that's why they got out from under the yoke sooner?

      And do you really want to make the argument that Roman civilization was built on slavery and they all had a jolly good time so what's the big deal?

    6. It seems to me that when one offers slavery as a cause of some current situation, there are unexplained causal steps. E.g, consider the murder rate. It's a fact that slavery existed in this country and it's a fact that blacks today commit murder at a much higher rate than non-blacks. This is a big problem for today's blacks, because most victims of black murders are also black. Did the past institution of slavery cause today's high murder rate? If so, by what series of steps did this impact occur?

      No doubt we can all guess some answer to this question, but I don't think anyone can answer it with confidence.

    7. Somebody on 01/01/2015 @ 1:30 PM linked to the edited text of an email from a New York City policeman to Josh Marshall:

      ***[QUOTE] [As to the recent killing of two NYPD policemen] I have not been this upset since 9/11, when I lost a close friend, a city cop. It’s an emotional time, I feel the loss deeply. It’s senseless, and I do believe that some of the rhetoric contributed to it. There is a sense, too, that the protesters have crossed over the line of free speech. Free speech should not include the right to block traffic, or bridges - and there is a sense that de Blasio has allowed that.

      On-scene commanders seem to have allowed the acts of blocking traffic, normally an offense. But couple protests that skirt the edge of laws or break them and include incendiary rhetoric and anti-police sentiment, and the cops start to scratch their heads…

      Who do cops work for? We try to be impartial. We uphold the constitution and the laws… so there is not a real sense that the police work for de Blasio or the People or the City Council or Bratton… the sense is that we enforce those laws that the people put in place. And when the politicians allow people to break those laws in the name of free speech, the cops feel betrayed.

      I get the reason behind civil disobedience, etc, but civil disobedience is normally undertaken at the risk of arrest. I think even the cops respect that… you want to make your point, you get carried to the paddy wagon. Point taken, with all due respect. But when that risk is taken away by a political decision not to arrest, the cops see a slippery slope to anarchy. (In New York, though, with few exceptions, its a credit to both the citizens and the police that we did not see another Ferguson. Let’s hope it stays that way.) [END QUOTE]***


    8. ...continued

      From back in 2009 here's a different perspective on the exercise of free speech and the right of assembly:

      ***[QUOTE][0:07] ...I mean instinctively, marches I've been on lately, I mean lately like for the last decade -- they really are, you do feel impotent. You feel like you're engaging in some type of weird Disneyland activism. You know -- like there's going to be like Mickey Mouse and Snow White, with a banner in front of me -- it's like totally fake somehow. Why is that?

      So, I did some research and I discovered -- and many of you are lawyers, you'll appreciate this, that actually there's been -- it feels fake because it is fake. Now, I've discovered that for thirty years there's been a systematic effort on the part of those who benefit from a small group of people holding power, a systematic effort to kill off effective protest by a death by a thousand cuts of bureaucracy [through] over-permitization in jurisdiction after jurisdiction. So what do I mean by this?

      ...In trying to answer the question how do you save a nation from being closed by an oligarchy that wants to close democracy I looked at other times and places where citizens effectively pushed back against would be dictators. And one thing that came up again and again and again is mass protest. Not only did it come up, but mass protest always works, always works. I mean, unless the leaders are willing to literally send out the military with sub-machine guns and mow people down, mass protest like the kind you saw in Pakistan, the kind you saw with people power in the Philippines, the kind you saw all over the Baltic states, Estonia, when they were bringing down the Soviet Union, the kind you saw in East Germany always works. The Civil Rights movement: mass protest.

      [2:35] OK, so what kind of mass protest? The kind of mass protest that always works is illegal just about everywhere in the United States today. Why is that? For protests to be effective you have to stop traffic. You have to stop traffic.

      What keeps you from getting a permit in the United States? Stepping a foot into the street. Now why do you have to stop traffic? Because for a protest to do anything it has to disrupt business as usual. I don't mean violence, whoever is tape recording this to take it back to Quantico, or whatever, I don't mean violence... [END QUOTE]***

    9. CMike, you don't seem to know much about the Irish diaspora. You also don't seem to know much about the actual violence that occurred in connection with slavery. A good source on that is Jordan's White Over Black, one of the best histories of slavery in the USA. You also don't seem to know that Irish were taken to English to be slaves, nor that English people were taken to Ireland as slaves -- St. Patrick was one such. I see your comment about the Irish eventually becoming free as analogous to African Americans who eventually also became free. In both cases, freedom didn't result in automatic prosperity. The lingering effects of Irish oppression in the USA are part of the context in the movie Good Will Hunting, which is centered on Southie, the equivalent to urban black America in terms of poverty and exclusion. Note that despite his talent Will is a janitor at the beginning of the film. I don't offer film as reality, but I do think that people are insufficiently aware of the poverty and difficult circumstances of the white underclass. That leads to stupid statements, such as that African Americans have it tougher than any other group in America. When the statistics are offered up, no one includes the stats for Native Americans, which are still worse than those for African Americans. They are utterly ignored because they don't support the script.

      If things were worse for African Americans, I believe there would be more revolutionary violence. That there is not is because things are pretty good, despite the current problems.

    10. The maladjusted Will is a janitor because of the physical and other abuse he suffered growing up in foster care, not because Irish geniuses couldn't catch a break in Boston in the 1980s or 90s. It was fiction, not lunacy.

      American blacks do not have a tradition of revolutionary violence, at least not a successful tradition, probably because of the overwhelming and pervasive brutality they were met with whenever they asserted themselves both before and after the Civil War- certainly not because they had it pretty good when compared to the plight of other oppressed peoples.

      I'm not sure what your point is on Native Americans.

      I've not read that Jordan book.

      5th century Ireland and the life of St. Patrick seem essential, or at least highly relevant to this discussion? Lord help us then:

      [QUOTE] Professor Paul Freedman: Today, we're going to talk about Ireland and England, predominantly England, not because Ireland isn't important, but because we know less about Ireland. The reason we know relatively more about England in its post-Roman period, that is to say after 420, is because of the historian Bede writing in the early eighth century, a monk at Jarrow, which was part of a twin monastery in Northumbria, which you see on your map on the northeastern part of England before you get to what's now Scotland.

      Bede wrote, among other things, A History of the English Church and People, which is full of miracles and very, very pro-Christian, as much as Gregory of Tours. But it is a much more easy -to-follow narrative, and a narrative with a certain kind of point. It's about the conversion of England and the establishment of the Church.

      The other advantage for England over Ireland in terms of evidence is archaeology. A lot more has been done with excavating sites in England. Now by England, we mean literally England, the part that is not Wales, not Scotland, not Ireland, the part of the British Isles. The ensemble, essentially the two islands, are referred to as the British Isles. Britain is England, Scotland and Wales. Ireland is Ireland....

      [END QUOTE]

    11. Will Hunting was abused in foster care, which he wound up in due to poverty. He is self-educated because the education system didn't get him to college, where he obviously belonged. In that, he is not unlike many deserving African American kids. He has a history of arrests because violence and drinking are part of Irish poverty. It is interesting that you attribute social causes to individual flaws. For African Americans, everything is systemic. For white people everything is an individual responsibility.

  2. Happy 2015!

    Here are some missed media musings from 2014.

  3. David in Cal says:

    It seems to me that when one offers slavery as a cause of some current situation, there are unexplained causal steps....

    I wholeheartedly agree. My comment was in response to somebody who explicitly asked, if only for rhetorical effect, what was different about the oppression the Irish suffered in Ireland from what enslaved Africans and their enslaved descendants suffered in America.

    1. CMike, my comment contains the words "Irish in America" and I was not focusing only on Ireland. Irish came on ships from Ireland driven by famine and poverty, and lured by deceitful jobbers seeking labor, and they were actively deported, often for minor crimes or for being destitute. They had to work off the cost of their transportation via involuntary servitude, sometimes for a finite period and sometimes indefinite. Like most dependent people (women, children, servants, apprentices) they were whipped for infractions, ill fed and clothed, and they could not leave their work. The kinds of debt-slavery inflicted on African American share-croppers after the civil war was shared by Irish and other immigrant farm workers and factory workers. You really need to read more history.

    2. Somebody,

      I quoted you directly and I addressed the issues the Irish faced both on their home island and in the colonies. As for the nineteenth century tale of Irish woe in America, if you're as old as I am I'm guessing we both started reading about that in Thomas Sowell's 1975 Race and Economics. Sowell was as merciless discussing the Irish plight in New York City as any ante-bellum states' righter condemning life in the North.

      As to whether I need to read more history: always, you're dead on right about that. Fortunately it's something I enjoy doing but I'll never so much as cover the basics- and I'm just talking about Western Civ.

    3. Have not read Sowell -- I graduated in the 60's. I have read a lot of history, focusing on immigrant experience and social history of the 1700s and 1800s. I don't like distorting history to support political positions, no matter who does it.

      Afrocentric history did that in the 90's and the latest brouhaha over the Selma movie's treatment of LBJ is a case in point. It isn't right to present distortions so egregious as to be lies in a film that should be uplifting and WILL be taken as true. To what end was this done? Similarly, Spike Lee never misses an opportunity to introduce factual inaccuracies portraying white characters worse than they were (even when translating a novel to the screen). Much as I might sympathize with their points, I don't think factual history should be warped. The result is generations who believe myths created as propaganda.

  4. The cold truth is Irish-Americans have it harder than other white ethnic groups in the USA. That is a fact. And anyone who denies it is not living in the real world.

  5. Believe It or Not! It has been over a year since these jihads began.

  6. Good Day !!

    I am Hwa Jurong, a Reputable, Legitimate & an accredited money
    Lender. I want to use this medium to inform you that i render reliable beneficiary
    assistance as I'll be glad to offer you a loan at 2% interest rate to
    reliable individuals.

    Services Rendered include:

    *Home Improvement
    *Inventor Loans
    *Car Loans
    *Debt Consolidation Loan
    *Line of Credit
    *Second Loan
    *Business Loans
    *Personal Loans
    *International Loans.

    Please write back if interested.
    Upon Response, you'll be mailed a Loan application form to fill. (No social
    security and no credit check, 100% Guaranteed!) I Look forward permitting me to
    be of service to you. You can contact me via e-mail: or
    Yours Sincerely,

    Hwa Jurong(MD).