Saturday, May 21, 2016

ALEX HALEY'S ROOTS REVISITED .

ALEX HALEY'S 
ROOTS REVISITED
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There is so much I like to write about this, but I decided to leave it as it is . There is so much to say about ROOTS, and the new ROOTS soon to air this Memorial Day weekend . I am sure that ,  what ever Haley wrote then  is being "interpreted" for a new generation.
Next Week three network channels plan to air the "rebooted" ( my opinion , watered down ) version of Alex Haley's controversial  quasi - historical novel Roots.  While researching for my blog post I came across numerous articles about Haley's work. As stated by NewsweekRoots remains the third most-watched miniseries of all time. It is also still considered the definitive mainstream portrait of slavery in the U.S. Airing in 1977 to an America still adjusting to a post-civil rights reality, the show was both controversial and educational. Honestly I will try to give my perspective on it . The reception about Roots has not been good over the last decades.The Author Alex Haley has been accused of perpetuation of fraud . Way back in 1977 as a young boy sitting in the living room watching the ABC movie of the week . I remember , that before the mini-series began there was a "parental warning " about "nudity, violence" , what they left out of the picture was a bunch of white actors/ actresses calling a bunch of black actors/ actresses the (1)>> " N WORD" in  the miniseries ( The same with the sequel : Roots , the next generation ) . I was in shock as a young boy seeing actor Ralph Waite from THE WALTON'S tv show cussing , showing lust after some semi-nude captured African women who were being horded up on board the ship the  (1.2)>>Lord Ligonier. The worst offender in the first episode waCaptain Davies and “Girl on Ship”. Capt Davies was
played by (1.2.b)>>Ed Asner , he was "guilt ridden" captain of the Lord Ligonier. A character that was never really part of book.  The Museum of Broadcast Communications recounts that for the first episode of the televised version of Alex Haley’s Roots, “the writers created a conscience-stricken slave captain, Thomas Davies,” played by Ed Asner, “a figure who did not appear in Haley’s novel but was intended to make white audiences feel better about their historical role in the slave trade.” Conscience-stricken or not, Asner’s slave captain is depicted delivering his human cargo to the slave dealers in colonial America. And no one picketed Rootscome awards season for endorsing slavery for obvious reasons, even though by Asner’s reasoning they should have.While everyone agreed that the recreation of the slave ship’s voyage made for frighteningly realistic television, none of the Roots production team gave much thought to what shooting this scene would mean for the black performers involved. The case of Rebecca Bess is the most glaring example in this regard. Credited as “girl on ship,” Bess appears near the end of the first episode as an enslaved woman delivered to Captain Davies’s room as a “bellywarmer.” In the scene the sixteen-year-old Bess, who had never acted professionally, stares with terror at Asner’s character, her arms covering her bare breasts. While Captain Davies says he “does not approve of fornication,” it is implied that he rapes the young girl, signaling that this Christian character has too been debased by the slave trade. The next day (at the start of the second episode of the series), the young girl (still topless) climbs the rigging of the ship and jumps into the ocean to drown. Here I am citing some of the examples to how the directors and producers added "shock value" to the miniseries  , which through it's eight parts , if you "watched" as a young person , these images will be forever implanted.


 Haley claimed that his alleged “direct ancestor”, (1.3)>>Kunta Kinte, came to America in 1767 aboard the Lord Lignonier, a British slaver. Yet a check of the records available show slave ownership records for this same Toby as far back as 1762, five full years before he allegedly was brought to America. These same records also shred much of the oral history he claims was carefully preserved by his family. I remember reading Roots was like reading the "bible" in some ways . Kunta Kinte is brought to America as a slave , he marries , he fathers Kizzy , and in the African tradition he holds up his newly born to (1.4)>>Allah ( god) to the starry heaven beginning a new tradition for his future progeny  . It vary biblical , here Haley injected the first "myth" to his story . That Alex Haley's view point is that HIS ancestors were chosen by God . I was not referring to other African Slaves in the Haley's story ,( you have to pay vary close attention to the story line , not have missed it )  whom were written in as secondary characters, since Haley himself was embellishing an old myth to suit the line of Kinte for himself . There so may critical points to the book , one of which is the portrait of the whites themselves who enslaved the Africans . The whites all of them were painted as being evil degenerates , sadistic , without any godly morals . At the end of the mini-series , we encountered the ONLY "friendly whites" in Haley's story , they were dirt poor , dumb , and helped old Chicken George fight off a bunch of Klan . With all the misery in the story about slavery . Haley's book was politically painting a wrong picture about American history that All WHITES are evil , it left out numerous positive credible sources that would have made a better story .
Plagiarism ? NO!
When Haley was alive, he dodged calling “Roots” non-fiction or even historical fiction. He preferred made-up hybrid descriptions like “faction,” much like Norman Mailer used “factoid” to describe his own colorful and Pulitzer-winning reporting of the political events of 1968.It is not news to black scholars that Haley made mistakes. He, or perhaps lazy assistants, as Haley claimed, might have swiped passages from others, including less celebrated black scholars like Margaret Walker, who also sued Haley for allegedly plagiarizing passages from her Civil War novel “Jubilee.”But, a huckster? A “hoax”? A “fake”? A “con”? Those are Nobile’s words. He’s a good reporter, good at uncovering facts, but I think he missed the larger, more important truth. If “Roots” was a hoax, it was a hoax Americans wanted desperately to believe, which says something more important about Americans than anything Nobile says about Haley.But plagiarism is the least of the problems in "Roots." And they would likely have remained largely unknown, had journalist Philip Nobile not undertaken a remarkable study of Haley's private papers shortly before they were auctioned off.The result was featured in a devastating 1993 cover piece in the Village Voice. It confirmed - from Haley's own notes - earlier claims that the alleged history of the book was a near-total invention of (2)>>Harold Courlander, the first hundred pages were lifted from the book " The African". Unfortunately, the general public is largely unaware of how Haley’s monumental family autobiography, stretching back to 18th-century Africa, has been discredited.Indeed, a 1997 BBC documentary expose of Haley’s work has been banned by U.S. television networks – especially PBS, which would normally welcome such a program. Harold Courlander, who was white, wrote a novel called "The African" in 1967. The book had a similar story of a slave's capture in Africa, his horrific experience as cargo on a ship and his struggle to hold on to his native culture in a harsh new world. While there are major differences between the two books, Courlander and several expert witnesses testified that Haley had used "The African" as source material — both for his 1976 book and the 1977 TV miniseries, which was seen by about 140 million viewers.
The mini-series it's self was one of the first in a long run mini-series to follow on TV . ROOTS is the king along with SHOGUN . Here is what the rest of the social media has been saying about Haley's book . It's not good :


“Roots” was based on the late Alex Haley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning runaway best-seller, which was billed as a factual account (albeit with some fictional embellishments) of his family’s history from Africa through slavery in the South to present times. Black thinker Thomas Sowell, who has written prolifically on race and slavery, makes the same point as Crouch—even if not quite as bluntly. Regarding the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, Sowell remarks that Roots “presented some crucially false pictures of what had actually happened—false pictures that continue to dominate thinking today.”For instance, “Roots has a white man leading a slave raid in West Africa, where the hero, Kunta Kinte [supposedly, Haley’s ancestor] was captured, looking bewildered at the chains put on him as he was led away in bondage.” Moreover, even “the village elders” likewise appeared perplexed by the sight of these “white men” who were “carrying their people away.” In glaring contrast to this depiction, Sowell correctly asserts, the location from which Kunta Kinte was taken—West Africa—had been “a center of slave trading before the first white man arrived there—(2.2)>>and slavery continues in parts of it to this very moment.” He adds: “Africans sold vast numbers of other Africans to Europeans. But they hardly let Europeans go running around in their territory, catching people willy-nilly” (emphasis added).According to Sowell, Roots did more harm than good in fueling “the gross misconception that slavery was about white people enslaving black people.” In reality, “the tragedy of slavery was of a far greater magnitude than that.” Slavery knew no racial boundaries. “People of every race and color were both slaves and enslavers, for thousands of years, all around the world.” Sowell likens slavery to cancer in that it transcends time and place. He concludes: “If reparations were to be paid for slavery, everybody on this planet would owe everybody else.”

 Thomas Sowell hit a point , one issue is that Haley missed a lot of historical research about Africa in the 1750s . The lack therefore of any thing "historical" in Roots was not exactly the point . If their being any kind of exaggerations by the author alone . The story unfolds tranquilly enough. (3)>>Born in 1750, Kinte grows up in a peaceful, sheltering community along the Gambia River in West Africa. He is well schooled in math and writing and the Islamic faith. At age 17, Kinte is snatched from his youthful idyll by the evil, club-bearing “toubobs,” or white people.When he finally regains his senses four days later, Kinte finds himself chained in the stinking, claustrophobic hold of an ocean-going vessel, manned by ugly toubobs, all of them seemingly British or American. After a hellish journey, he arrives in Annapolis, attempts to escape four times, and is subdued only after some poor, white bounty hunters chop off half his foot. The year is 1767.In Haley’s tale, it is the whites who enter the forest and enslave the blacks, not Arab slave traders, not other blacks. Since Kinte is unconscious through the period of transaction, the reader has no picture of African participation in the slave market, nor of any Portuguese or Hispanic involvement in the slave trade.As a Muslim, Kinte does not sense any virtue in Christianity. Indeed, it strikes him as crude and hypocritical. Coming of age during the revolutionary period in Virginia, Kinte sees the revolution as inherently fraudulent: “‘Give me liberty or give me death,’ Kunta liked that, but he couldn’t understand how somebody white could say it; white folks looked pretty free to him.”
Historical Errors ?
A book as massive as THE BIBLE . As a novel
ROOTS was entertaining literature with
a message , but not historical .


Haley's search started with a family tradition about a proud and rebellious slave ancestor who - had been given the name   the slave-name of 'Toby' - was always proud of his African name 'Kintay' along with a few remembered African word supposedly passed on down through the family. Haley tracked 'Toby' to the slave plantation of John Waller (named, for some unknown reason, 'Reynolds' in the TV miniseries - see here for a long list of differences between the TV miniseries and the book), he used the few remembered African words to track down Toby's birthplace to The Gambia in Africa, and he even found the ship - called the Lord Ligonier - which he believed had brought Toby to America in 1767.The book ends when Haley, having gone back the village of Juffure in The Gambia, visits a local oral historian - a 'Griot' - who tells him of one Kunta Kinte who was captured by white men in the woods and taken as a slave. It is a thrilling and moving moment. Through that moment, not only Alex Haley, but millions of other Black Americans learned to value their African lineage - at the time, it was a significant moment in the Civil Rights movement, and part of the raising of Black awareness.But Haley was not a professional historian - he wrote for Playboy magazine - and when they began to check his genealogical research, family historians Gary Mills and Elizabeth Shown Mills found LOTS of mistakes.One of the worst was that the 'Toby' on the Waller estate came to America, not in 1767, as Haley claimed, but in 1762.Worse still, 'Toby' died eight years before Alex Haley's great-great-great-grandmother Kizzy (who Haley said was Toby's daughter) was born - so he CANNOT have been Haley's ancestor.Other historians, including a BBC documentary, have shown that the 'griot' who Haley met in Juffure was not a griot at all, but a 'nice old man' who had been pressurised by the Gambian tourist board into saying what Haley wanted to hear - certainly Juffure has profited from the tourist trade generated by Haley's book.
 Roots still has its supporters, but nobody nowadays tries to claim it is true - they argue instead that perhaps Haley's ancestors didn't come from Juffure and maybe weren't the people Haley thought - but they MUST HAVE come from Africa, and they WERE SURELY captured and brought as slaves on a slave ship - so the story is true in spirit, even if the names are wrong. There is one particular aspect that is probably exaggerated greatly in Roots. Since the slave was a valuable piece of property (as sad as this sounds), it was probably not realistic that a slave's master would deliberately brutalize something so valuable. Punishments were common for slaves who misbehaved or tried to escape, but some portions of the novel (and especially the TV mini-series) showed slaves being abused and even killed for no good reason.As for CONTENT, the information above about Haley's errors of fact, and possible exaggeration of setting could be set against what the pupils are learning in the classroom about the general facts of the slave Trade to come to a conclusion about the video's factual accuracy. However, this in no way takes away the importance of the historical representation of slavery that Haley depicts in his novel. It is an accepted and verified historical fact that slavery is one of the most inhumane movements every practiced by the human race.Roots was a phenomenon in itself; hugely successful, and accepted by both black and white, it set the standard interpretation of slavery and the slave trade for a generation, and played a powerful role in the resurgence of Black awareness and the civil rights movement .




NOTES AND COMMENTS:
(1)>> " N WORD". In the old TV series Roots , the white slaveholders constantly used racial slurs , though I might imagine that the white  actors/ actress may have been uncomfortable using the N-word .The history of the  N word  is often traced to the Latin word niger, meaning Black. This word became the noun, Negro (Black person) in English, and simply the color Black in Spanish and Portuguese. In early modern French, niger became negre and, later, negress (Black woman) was unmistakably a part of language history. One can compare to negre the derogatory N-word  and earlier English substitutes such as negar, neegar, neger, and niggor that developed into its lexico-semantic true version in English. It is probable that n-word  is a phonetic spelling of the White Southern mispronunciation of Negro. I honestly find the word offensive as much as saying a four letter word to some one . It's ingrained in the "consciousness" of the individual that a word can have a powerful effect .  It's like like taking a slap in the face . We also must remember that the few nasty words in our vocabulary started out hundreds of years ago as innocent "words" that now come
back and bite like a bullet . (1.3)>>Lord Ligonier. was an 18th-century slave ship built in New England that in 1767 unloaded slaves in Annapolis, Maryland. The ship was made famous by the novel and television series Roots, as the ship that brought the main character, Kunta Kinte, from the Gambia to the United States.A surviving advertisement records the arrival of the ship with a cargo of slaves at Annapolis in September 1767. This was the basis for Alex Haley's assertion in Roots that his supposed ancestor Kunta Kinte was brought on that voyage. The TV series based on the book invented a failed slave uprising during the voyage.  While (1.2.b)>>Ed Asner character in Roots was highly developed, full of metaphors on tortured ethics and the morality of slavery, biographer Alex Haley would later admit he had no idea who the actual Captain was who had commanded the historic slaver which had kidnapped his ancestor.In a series structured around the will of Haley’s ancestors to survive, Bess’s “girl on ship” stands out as the only character to choose death over the horrors of slavery. Bess came to Roots via Eddie Smith, a local black stunt coordinator in Savannah. She received $187 for diving from the ship into the ocean, which she had to do twice because the camera failed on the first shot. Bess did not know how to swim, so the stunt coordinator gave her lessons in the pool at the Ramada Inn where the cast was staying. Director David Greene recalled that Bess was eager to earn the money to help her parents because her mother was in the hospital. Audiences described watching Roots as a physically and emotionally wrenching experience, but creating these realistic representations of slavery often came at the expense of black performers.  (1.3)>>Kunta Kinte. Haley claimed that his sources for the origins of Kinte were oral family tradition and a man he found in the Gambia named Kebba Kanga Fofana, who claimed to be a griot with knowledge about the Kinte clan. He described them as a family in which the men were blacksmiths, descended from a marabout named Kairaba Kunta Kinte, originally from Mauritania. Haley quoted Fofana as telling him: "About the time the king's soldiers came, the eldest of these four sons, Kunta, went away from this village to chop wood and was never seen again." However, journalists and historians later discovered that Fofana was not a griot. In retelling the Kinte story, Fofana changed crucial details, including his father's name, his brothers' names, his age, and even omitted the year when he went missing. At one point, he even placed Kunta Kinte in a generation that was alive in the twentieth century. It was also discovered that elders and griots could not give reliable genealogical lineages before the mid-19th century, with the single exception of Kunta Kinte. It appears that Haley had told so many people about Kunta Kinte that he had created a case of circular reporting. Instead of independent confirmation of the Kunta Kinte story, he was actually hearing his own words repeated back to him . (1.4)>>Allah (god). Kunta Kinte's African-Muslim identity was part of a much larger movement that took place many years before Kunta was born in the novel Roots. At the height of its expansion, Muslims lived in the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and India. During their religious expansion, Muslims gained a vast amount of land, and Muslims held religious and political influence over the Middle East. Muslims had control over different Christian and Jewish territories in the West, and they influenced the actions and lives of these two religious groups. Muslim attitudes towards women were influenced by African groups. The persistent signification of Haley’s mythology in black cultural representations suggests that Roots entertains some semblance as a canon portrayal of African-American history in the minds of African-Americans in particular, Americans in general.  (2)>>Harold CourlanderApproaching 70 when “Roots” debuted, Harold Courlander was shocked to read it. For the previous 30 years or more, Courlander had been traveling the world collecting folk tales and writing about his findings.In 1978, Courlander sued Haley in a U.S. District Court in New York for copyright infringement. The suit cited 81 passages that had been lifted from Courlander’s “The African,” as well as the plot and certain characters. Haley’s defense fell apart when, during discovery, the plaintiff’s lawyers found three quotes from “The African” among his typed notes, notes that he had apparently failed to destroy.The last thing the judge wanted to do was to undermine a newly ascendant black hero. Midway through the trial, he counseled Haley and his attorneys that he would have to contemplate a perjury charge unless they settled with Courlander. They did just that to the tune of $650,000, or about $2 million by 2005 standards. In return, Courlander agreed to keep quiet about the suit, which he did until he died in 1996.The media paid scant attention to the suit and even then failed to explore the real gist of the scandal: namely that the author of a “nonfiction” book plagiarized from a fictional one. (2.2)>>and slavery continues in parts. Actually,  think the brutality of slavery, not just in the physical sense, but in the social sense as well, is many times minimized in historical presentations.  Hollywood certainly has a checkered past when it comes to presenting historical fact or even accurate depictions, but as this genre of films goes, Roots is pretty good.  I do agree with post #4 in that a minority of slaveowners were actual sadists, but the physical violence (not the least of which was sexual abuse) against slaves, in my opinion, does not receive enough emphasis in cinema or literature, and even in historical texts.  (3)>>Born in 1750, Kinte grows up. In his book: The World and a Very Small Place in Africa, Donald R Wright (2004) points out that Juffue was far from the quiet idyllic backwater it appears as in Haley's book - it was a busy commercial centre, a few miles from the British slaving port. It was part of a western Africa regularly swept by famines, wars and slaving raids.And although in Roots, Kunta Kinte is captured by white 'toubobs'; in reality he would almost certainly have been sold by Black Africans as part of a commercial business deal.And - most controversially of all - it has been suggested that even the depiction of the Middle Passage in Roots might be overdrawn. Although it is fairly certain that everything that happened to Kunta Kinte DID happen to some African slave at a  time on some ship, it is arguable that slave ships as brutally cruel as Haley's Lord Ligonier were rare - it was in the interests of slave traders to keep their cargo strong and healthy, records show that a greater proportin of sailors than slaves died on the Middle Passage, and most of the classic horrors of Middle Passage turn out to be abolitionist propaganda.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Is The Republican party REALLY "dead" ?

With all giddiness , Patrick J. Buchanan said this week : "Bush Republicanism Is Dead and Gone" (1)>>How about the rest of the Republican party ? Pat Buchanan declared that Trump’s rise represents a rejection of 25 years of Bush Republicanism— an ideology which Buchanan says has destroyed America’s once-great manufacturing core, flooded the country with low-skilled workers, and drained the treasury with ill-advised foreign adventures in the Middle East. Trump seemed to scandalize the collective consciousness of professional Republicans with his Saturday debate performance in which he launched a full-throated assault on Bush Republicanism. Trump repudiated all three pillars of Republican globalism: namely, military adventurism, immigration multiculturalism, and trade globalism. Credibly , the Rolling Stone Magazine of 2008 prophetically stated :
"The failure of the administration of George W. Bush — and the accompanying crisis of the Republican Party — has caused a political meltdown of historic proportions. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Bush enjoyed the greatest popularity ever recorded for a modern American president. Re­publicans on Capitol Hill, under the iron rule of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, fattened their coffers through a fearsome operation overseen by corporate lobbyists and GOP hench­men that functioned more like an empire than an old-fashioned political machine. "Republican hegemony," the prominent conservative commentator Fred Barnes rejoiced in 2004, "is now expected to last for years, maybe decades."
From Reaganism to Trumpism?
With (2)>>Donald Trump almost certainly the Republican Party’s candidate for president, pundits in and out of the conservative movement are predicting devastating effects for the party.The combined might of the Republican Party’s best and brightest—16 of them at the outset—proved, in the end, helpless against Trump’s unorthodox, muscular appeal to the party’s voting base. With his sweeping, 16-point victory in Tuesday’s Indiana primary, and the surrender of his major remaining rival, Ted Cruz, Trump was pronounced the presumptive nominee by the chair of the Republican National Committee. The primary was over—but for the GOP, the reckoning was only beginning. FOX News perfectly stated :
"On Sunday, Douthat wrote, “In an unhealthy system, the kind I suspect we inhabit, the Republicans will find a way to crush Trump without adapting to his message. In which case the pressure the Donald has tapped will continue to build — and when it bursts, the G.O.P. as we know it may go with it.”Yes, exactly. The Republican Party is dying because the GOP in DC has gone corporate and K Street. They attack any Republicans who dare hold them to their promises. They’ve gone to war against Heritage Action for America, Club For Growth, the Madison Project, etc. They’ve blackballed any political consultant who does work for outsiders."
What’s happening to the Republican Party is different in many ways, of course. But what we saw in the 2012 primary — the attempted rejection of Mitt Romney by populists desperate for an alternative — and what we’re seeing now in the polls are their worst nightmare . People just did not see it , they voted Obama back in , which created a paradox . If Romney would have won out the election in 2012 . We right now would be electing Romney for his second term . The Republican party would have faired much better in that alternative. A chief concern among congressional Republicans is whether Trump will be a strong enough candidate in the November election to ensure that the party maintains control of Congress. The Trump coalition, which appeals to both the hardest part of the hard right and to a lot of disaffected working-class economic moderates, seems to stem from the Tea Party . It's VARY odd that the GOP jumped to avoid Trump . (3)>>The Trump rhetoric is strangely mirroring the last years of the anti- Obama dialog which the GOP congress has spewed out . ”  Trumpism is the antithesis of Reagan-ism , the GOP follow " Reagan"  the myth.But is the Republican Party actually crumbling? Political parties are powered by coalitions that alternately work together and compete for dominance, and no party is inherently stable. There can also be gradual shifts, however, that fundamentally reshape political parties and the coalitions that constitute them. Trump has certainly shaken up the GOP—whether the rift in the party is beyond repair remains to be seen.


NOTES AND COMMENTS:

 (1)>>How about the rest of the Republican party ? At first glance, the collapse of the Republican Party seems rapid and unex­pected. When viewed within the larger context of American history, however, the party's breakdown looks familiar, even predictable. As in earlier party crackups — 1854,1932,1968 — the demise has involved not a single, sudden explo­sion but a gradual unraveling followed by a sharp and rapid deterioration amid major national calamities. If Bush and the Republican majority in Congress ac­celerated the demise of Ronald Reagan's political era with their assault on tradi­tional American values and institutions — including the rule of law itself — it is a decline that began two decades ago. (2)>>Donald Trump . Trump's numbers in national polls when matched up against Hillary-are SO CLOSE . We could have a landslide unless there is a major get out the vote movement for the GOP- something they do horribly.Trump is disqualified for the presidency by his erratic temperament, his ignorance about public affairs and his scary sympathy for authoritarianism.  Like "Crooked Hillary" , Trump has a few skeletons in his chest  . Donald Trump "seems terrified to release his taxes" because they may reveal his true net worth, his donations to liberal causes, or something even seedier, Sen. Ted Cruz suggested on Meet the Press. It’s important to note that Trump hasn’t been charged with any illegal activity, and it’s reasonable to argue that he was unaware or even a victim in some cases. But Cruz has a point that the mogul has been linked to the mob for decades. Trump was first tied to the mafia in the 1980s, when a $7.8 million subcontract for Trump Plaza was awarded to S&A Concrete, according to Fortune. The company, as Cruz correctly says, was partially owned by Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno, the boss of the Genovese crime family.Trump himself acknowledged as much in a December 2015 interview with the Wall Street Journal, admitting that S&A Concrete was "supposedly associated with the mob."(3)>>The Trump rhetoric. Donald Trump’s policy agenda may or may not represent a wholesale rejection of latter-day Republican orthodoxy. But what he’s selling, purloined slogan and all, is the same old Reaganite promise of a Golden Age restored. It’s as empty now as it was four decades ago.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Disaster in Detroit .

It's NOT just the "water" that's a
problem in Michigan .
Last year if I recall while thumbing through records (1)>>California’s state government made its final interest payments on 2004 deficit bonds, payments that have averaged more than $1 million a day.  That’s $1 million a day, every day, for 11 straight years! It’s a sobering statistic that speaks volumes about California’s decade of deficits — a decade that saw billions more in both painful and gimmickry-laden fixes, a fair amount of national ridicule, and enough voter anger to prompt the historic firing of a governor before the end of his term.(1.2)>>When Detroit filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, the reactions came fast and furious.But there’s no longer any dispute that the Motor City is on the brink of ruin, and as Detroit battles its way through bankruptcy court, the estimate of what it actually owes its creditors keeps rising, to more than $18 billion.Not only has Detroit failed to keep its promises to creditors, but its residents have borne the brunt of the city’s fiscal crisis, and been forced to accustom themselves to sub-standard services. In Detroit, business as usual means buses that take forever to show up, street lights that won’t turn on, garbage that doesn’t get picked up, ambulances that break down, police that never arrive, crimes that go unsolved.
Detroit's "true" Race-card story.
Visiting Detroit is the closest Americans can come to viewing ( perhaps future conditions around the nation)  what appears to be a war-torn city without leaving the U.S. This former powerhouse is a barren stretch of land, devastated by looters and and full of run-down, vacant houses. Rows upon rows of dilapidated structures line the streets; empty apartment buildings and factories consume the landscape. Almost a third of Detroit has been abandoned.(2)>>African- Americans are by far the largest racial or ethnic population in Detroit, which has the highest percentage of black residents of any American city with a population over 100,000. Eighty-three percent of the city’s 701,000 residents are black. It continues to be an underreported story that a white state legislature and white governor took over the city and forced it to file for bankruptcy against the will of its elected representatives. It is also underreported that white governors and the white state legislature failed to provide Detroit with its fair share of state tax revenues – a significant contributor to the city’s current financial distress.It’s important to view what is happening to Detroit and its public employees through a racial lens. The fact that nearly 1.5 million whites left Detroit over the last half century as its African American population grew is the single biggest reason for its current distress. As the wealthier white population left Detroit, the overall population shrank and the city’s tax base shrank, too, leaving Detroit less able to support public schools, public safety, and its huge, geographically spread-out infrastructure. Corrupt mayors or antagonistic mayors are a sideshow compared to the gigantic outmigration of whites that began in the 1950’s and turned Detroit from a wealthy white city into a desperately poor black city.
Detroit's education in shambles.
Creepy looking picture of one of the many
"abandoned" public school buildings
in Detroit . Zombies any one ? lol!
Worse yet Traditionally, the Tuesday of the first full week of May is the National Teacher Day in the USA. But it seems some teachers in Detroit won't be celebrating with their students.For the second day in a row, the (3)>>Detroit Federation of Teachers is calling for "sickouts" at city schools. Monday's protest closed all but three of Detroit's 97 schools in the district, keeping most of the 45,000 students home. There are more than 3,000 teachers in the district and about 1,500 called in "sick."Images of fungus growing on classroom walls, rat droppings littering hallways, and bullet holes set off a mass teacher "sickout" that closed nearly all of Detroit's schools.  Detroit's Public School system is deep in debt and teachers were told by their union Saturday the school system only has enough money to pay them through June 30. Because some school employees can have their pay spread out over the entire year rather than the entire school year, they've already started working for free, the Detroit Federation of Teachers says. What’s going on with Detroit schools?  As Flint endures an environmental catastrophe with its water crisis, the Motor City’s school system is suffering from a financial crisis and will not be able to make payroll. The Michigan legislature is considering laws to address the debt, overhaul the schools and return them to local control.  The school system, which has been under state control since 2009, has $515 million operating debt and total debt over $3 billion, and cannot afford to take on additional loans.  Teachers have held sickouts and filed lawsuits to highlight the problems of black mold, vermin, mushrooms, freezing and boiling-hot classrooms, and crumbling school buildings, all in an environment where students are supposed to learn. Now, six years since emergency management took hold of Detroit's beleaguered school district, there have been four different emergency managers, and financial concerns are even more extreme.At the end of the 2008 fiscal year, the net deficit was $369.5 million, according to the Detroit Metro Times. That was the last year the publicly elected school board had control over DPS. For the 2015 fiscal year, the net deficit had exploded to $1.66 billion. About $900 million of the nearly $1.7 billion deficit is related to unfunded pension liabilities, a new balance-sheet item.
Republican Reproach on it's citizens .
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder,  a
Republican not so happy
these days.
(4)>>Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder again apologized for the Flint drinking water disaster a 2 month's ago. I am a bit curious as what no one in Michigan did not do a state "recall" of this Governor ? You'd think that the people would be more powerful enough to force him out. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder should resign . It's a disgrace how the state of Michigan is being pulled into oblivion .Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton opened up the debate . by joining her opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, in calling for the removal of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder."The governor should resign or be recalled, and we should support the efforts of citizens attempting to achieve that," Clinton said to loud applause early in the two-hour debate.It was the first time she had called for Snyder's removal. Sanders has several times called on Snyder to resign.Snyder has repeatedly resisted calls for his resignation and says he wants to stay on and fix the problems caused by lead contamination of Flint water.Rick Snyder has irretrievably lost all credibility. When 600 likely Michigan voters were asked to rate the Governor’s job performance on how he has handled the lead-contaminated water problem in Flint, 75% gave Snyder a thumbs down! Only 20% felt he was doing a good job, and 5% were undecided. In January, Snyder’s negative rating polled at 69%.He also received an increase on the question of “do you think Governor Snyder should resign?”  Forty-one percent say he should step down. That’s up from 29% who said he should resign in January. But in the most recent survey, half of the respondents, 50%, believe Snyder should stay in office and fix the problem.The Governor’s overall job performance numbers also took a hit. Sixty-nine percent don’t like the job he is doing running the state while 29% approve of his leadership. Only 2% don’t know how they feel. In January, 58% gave Snyder a negative rating. For Snyder and other state leaders, it means facing some uncomfortable truths about Michigan’s future, and taking steps that might not always be popular in the short run. More money for education, starting with toddlers’ first steps and continuing until they walk across a stage with a college diploma. More money to repair and replace our crumbling roads and bridges over which new business and new residents must travel. More of a willingness to invest in the present, to stave off a Dickensian future.

NOTES AND COMMENTS:
(1.2)>>When Detroit. Decades ago, no one would have ever dreamed that Detroit would one day become the epicenter of American decline. The birthplace of the American car industry, with the highest median income and the highest rate of home ownership in the 1950s, now appears to be a city devastated by destruction. Unfortunately Detroit’s decay may only be the beginning: as the United States continues to take on debt let manufacturing fall by the wayside with an increasing push for more “free trade,” Detroit may not be the only “war-torn” city in the U.S. for long. (1)>>California’s state government. Strange as it seems the Detroit budget is equal or greater to the entire past California budget deficit   . California hit bust state wide in 2003 at 20 billion in debt . Here if we compare with one US city like Detroit it's deficit equals almost the same amount . In 2003, California was recovering from the dot-com boom/bust that lingered here in California longer than in most places. Today, of course, we’re suffering from the Great Recession, a much worse economy, the worst since the Great Depression. America possibly is headed into the second “dip” of a double-dip recession.When Schwarzenegger replaced Davis, the state budget deficit widely was reported as $38 billion. But as Spinsanity noted at that the time, the number was exaggerated:Whatever one’s view of the budget deal, the $38 billion deficit no longer existed once the legislation was signed, and the relevant state budget figure became a projected $8 billion deficit for 2004-2005.However, politicians and pundits, either through ignorance or intentional exploitation of voter confusion, routinely repeated the $38 billion figure. Schwarzenegger made a number of references to the $38 billion deficit in the present tense, as if it still existed. For example, on August 7, a week after the budget deal, he said, “We have a $38 billion budget deficit that we have to deal with.”By contrast, the current deficit under Gov. Schwarzenegger for the un-passed fiscal 2010-11 is $19 billion. So, during his term in office, the governor has doubled the deficit he inherited from Davis. (2)>>African- Americans are by far the largest racial or ethnic population in Detroit. The ‘mystery’ of Detroit has people continuing to grasp at straws with a reality they can’t seem to confront. Whether it’s the liberati-types of MSNBC sneering that Detroit is a “libertarian paradise” . Since April 2014, residents of Flint, a city that is almost 57 percent black and incredibly poor, have been drinking and bathing in water that contains enough lead to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of “toxic waste.” According to the latest state data, more than 15 percent of Detroit’s adults have asthma, a 29 percent higher rate than the rest of Michigan. Detroiters are hospitalized for their asthma three times more frequently than other Michiganders. Being black ups the rate significantly: Black Detroiters are hospitalized for asthma at a rate more than 150 percent that of their white neighbors—and Detroit is 83 percent black. Most of the mini-cities ringed around the heavy industry south of Detroit are majority-black too. Poverty compounds the problem—it’s not easy managing a chronic illness when you’re making $24,000 a year, the average household income for black Detroit households.(3)>>Detroit Federation of Teachers is calling for "sickouts".Detroit teachers sick of working in appalling conditions called in sick in huge numbers in the last few weeks , forcing nearly all of Detroit’s public schools to close. Teachers have been using rolling sickouts in recent weeks to spotlight the poor conditions of dilapidated schools. Many say they’re also concerned about stagnant wages, super-sized classes and Gov. Rick Snyder’s controversial plan to divide DPS into two, creating a new debt-free school district.Detroit’s students are trying to learn while breathing in black mold and sitting in classrooms filled with buckets catching toilet water leaking through the ceiling. And that’s not even the worst part.Republican Governor Rick Snyder is not only using the financial emergency management laws to poison children in Flint; he’s doing the same thing in Detroit via the public school system, which the state has controlled for the last seven years. Darnell Earley, the same emergency manager who oversaw the changes in Flint’s water system, is currently in charge of Detroit’s public schools.Detroit Schools are so cold in the wintertime that students expect to have to wear their coats in the classroom, and those same students attempt to learn in the midst of heat exhaustion during the hotter months.Students are forced to learn in the midst of black mold — where crumbling walls, floors, and ceilings drip rain on their heads and electronics. Their bathrooms are broken, and the drinking fountains are scarce. Mushrooms are literally growing from the walls. There is a mustiness in the air and people are getting sick, coming down with headaches, and finding it difficult to breathe. (4)>>Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder again apologized.  The "crisis" in Michigan makes Gov. Snyder a "scumbag" literally . He's so detached from reality as a governor he has left the Michigan people in a crisis larger than anticipated.It's a classic case of government dropping the ball at all levels -- from city to state to federal officials -- said Steve Mitchell, a Republican political consultant and pollster in Michigan.And if there's a textbook for how leaders should respond in crises that cast their leadership in doubt, Snyder appears to be following it. He has publicly apologized twice, "I'm sorry, and I will fix it," Snyder said near the opening of his 50-minute speech, directly addressing the residents of Flint, according to the Detroit Free Press:. "You did not create this crisis, and you do not deserve this."We need to make sure this never happens again in any Michigan city."