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Friday, February 8, 2019

The N-word: a Great Distractor From Real Issues.

The N-word: a Great Distractor From Real Issues
When I was in schools – from the elementary to the graduate – the N-word was commonly used in the media, I read it in textbooks, heard on TV.
But that was in a different country.
At least at that time, Russia was very supportive of the fight of Black Americans for having the same rights and social status as White Americans.
On one hand, Internationalism was a key element of the Communist ideology.
On another hand (but that I realized much later) top USSR politicians followed the old rule “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.
When I moved to the U.S., for a long time I did not know that using the N-word by whites was culturally not allowed. And when I learned that fact I just shrugged it off – OK, whatever, every country has its own rules.
Recent events involving black faces (or this one) and the use of N-word sparked a media wave which attracted my attention to the matter.
I got curious about the history of this cultural phenomenon.
Of course, I Googled it.
I've read several links on the history of N-word (the top google searches)
The history of the word itself is pretty straightforward, but the reading did not help me to learn when and why the N-word has become forbidden for the whites.
I do understand the cultural effects of the word, and the psychological reasons for African Americans to impose/demand the sole usage of the word.
I just don’t think this helps African Americans to win their fight for – well, whatever they want to win.
“You are white, and you cannot use the N-word!”
That may sound powerful, and may be even seen as a victory, because, kind of, you won the right for the sole utilization of the word over your “enemies”.
But is it really a victory?
“We live in poverty, our schools are underfunded, our people have no prospects of having a good job, but, man, we can say the N-word, and they cannot! We won!” (this sentence represents a purposeful exaggeration).
To me this looks more like a quasi-victory, a pretend victory, or a fake victory – not sure about the best term (yes, I may see things in a dark way, but my personal policy is "It's better be prepared for the worst-case scenario and be happy it didn't happen, than hope for the best and face the unexpected downturn).
It only makes people feel good about themselves, without actually making them living good.
It deflects energy, and intellect, and efforts from things that are actually important for African American community.
According to a definition, racism is actions guided to discriminate people of a certain race.
Some actions which excite a heated discussion, like painting a face, or dressing a certain way, have nothing to do with racism, but a lot with juvenile stupidity.
As I already mentioned, I would really like to know when and why this word has become the N-word in its current usage.
Some people believe that crack-cocaine was used specifically to suppress Black American population.
I doubt the N-word has been selected specifically to diverge the attention from important issues, but it sure seems to me that it works exactly like that.
Russians say “You can call me a kettle, but just don’t put me in an oven”.
Because people’s actions are much more telling than people’s words.
Or, people’s words are much less important that people’s actions (Trump!).
Focusing on who can and cannot use some words or outfits only seems important, but in realty those actions make no positive difference for anyone in the African American community.
And BTW: so far I have not read or heard anyone in the media who would be advocating the same view as expressed in this piece.
Also, read “The Only Way To Defeat White Nationalism Is To Embrace “Black Nationalism”
P.S. I know, it is a risky post, but it is honest. 

Slavery is bad, awful, inhumane. However, the human race has a very long history of slavery. Many wars ended up by bring slaves to the country of victors. Vikings were using slaves in their villages. For centuries Russia had a cast of slaves. Slaves, and then serfs existed in Russia until 1861 - almost the same year when ... you know. Those slaves were not brought from other countries, they were Russians. But their owners could do, and did, to the slaves whatever they wanted to do, even bad, awful, inhumane things. Everyone who thinks that African Americans were the only people suffering from slavery is simply wrong.
Slavery was (and somewhere still is) the most inhumane form of exploiting humans by other humans. However, even slavery has been removed from many societies, there are still other - less visible - forms of exploitation. Any event when one person uses another person as a tool for his/her individual purpose is a form of exploitation. 
From the general point of view, there are only two forms of human interaction: exploitation of one person by another person; or collaboration between different persons. It's either - or. So, when choosing what politician to support, ask yourself, does this guy want to exploit you, or he/she wants to collaborate with you? And what would you do it the guy would be exploiting other people but no you? And judge by the actions, not by the words, because people who want to exploit others always lie. Always.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

“He who has eyes, let him see”. But what should “She” do?

“He who has eyes, let him see”. But what should “She” do? 

Also read "Why Didn't I Win", by Elizabeth Warren (2020)

“He who has ears, let him hear.
He who has eyes, let him see.”
It’s a noticeable fact that the Bible does not often mention a woman.
Maybe that was a reason for men domination in … well, everywhere, and for a very long time.
Thigs start finally changing (despite a strong resistance from male population, and a wide-spread apathy among women).
And that is a good thing.
The problem with men – especially in business and politics – is that they quickly lose any interest in a topic they discuss and start bragging who has a bigger Dickens.
That is why I don’t place my hope on any male Presidential candidate – they have no chance against Donald Trump. And the reason is not related to a gender per se. The reason is that the Democrats can only beat Trump if they design a mutual strategy, if they will act together in concert, starting NOW (not after the Convention).
This coordination will never happen between men (see the note about Dickens).
However, women candidates still have a chance to work together.
It’s like an Olympics team: on one hand, all the members compete with each other, but as a team they work together to beat other teams.
To succeed, however, they would have to invent and offer to the American voters a brand new philosophy.
Everyone who knows some history is aware of the fact that no revolution happens instantly.
At first there is “the one” who teaches something very different from the common views. Then there is a small group of people who start following the teacher. Then more and more people join the movement. And only then the movement grows strong enough to topple the current regime. And that only happens because the current regime stops answering the needs of the majority.
The current economic, social and political situation in the U.S. is exactly like that: the current economic, social and political regime has stopped answering the needs of the majority.
The problem is that all the contenders from the left still cannot offer to the voters nothing new, they are stuck in the old philosophy of “redistributing”.
No matter who says what about something (“free college”, “Medicare for all”, “jobs for everyone”, etc.) they all propel the same idea: “Most people have a bad life because they are poor, but few people have a good life because they are rich, so we need to take from the rich and give to the poor!”
Everyone who knows some history is aware of the fact that humanity has known many revolutions which were based on exactly this idea. And none of those revolutions ended up exactly like they were intendent.
They idea of the redistribution of wealth may be even correct, but the devil is in the details, namely, who and how will be redistributing that wealth?
Let’s say the new tax code is put in place. Let’s imagine the best case scenario, all the multi-millionaires and billionaires don’t try to leave the country, don’t hide their income but pay the tax as prescribed. The government finally has its coffins full with money. No budget deficit. Huge surplus. What’s next? Who will be writing checks and to whom and for how much? Money does not move from one place to another place automatically. There is always someone who makes the decision, like - how many tanks to make, how many aircraft carriers to build, or how many new hospitals to open and where.
If there are people making such decisions, there are always people who influence people making those decisions.
Those people do not go away, and they are good at what they do. And they do it for money – big money – from those who have those big money. And a dozen of freshly minted progressive politicians will not make any difference.
Unless they – those freshly minted progressive politicians – have a strategy – the strategy that goes way beyond “take from rich and give to poor”.
This strategy is simply absent.
The development of this strategy requires rethinking of all fundamental economic principles. The developers of this strategy should start from asking – again, like it has been done many times in the past – some fundamental questions, like “What is wealth?”, What is money?”, “How do we know how many dollars do we need?”, “Why do people need to work?”, “What is fairness - today?”, etc., the list is long.
Then they need to reassess the whole current structure of the wealth production and distribution, analyzing what elements of this structure help wealth production, what elements of this structure suppress wealth production, what pathways and gates does this structure have and how they affect the wealth flow?
And then they have to develop the new structure, that one which would incentivize working people work better, and rich people share more – the incentives to share have to be built-in in the system, not imposed by controlling and collection agencies (which are susceptible to corruption, or stupidity).
I cannot develop the whole new economic philosophy, but based on my reasoning I can offer one or two ideas which professional economists could use for the further development.
1. It is obvious to me that the nowadays majority of wealth is produced in financial institutions via shares, stocks and other financial instruments which are available only to a tiny portion of the population. It is unfair. To make it fair (or at least fairer) each (of a certain size) corporation has to have shares (not just some), and each corporation needs to transfer 10 % of the shares to a special fund, which would operate similar to the Federal Reserve, i.e. semi-independently from the government. This fund would be used to – well, whatever the fund thinks would make the life of people better (#1 principle of its operation is openness). Is this a new and very unusual idea? Yes. Can it be done? I don’t know. But I do know this idea is worth to be discussed, but no one from the left even raised it.
2. It is not enough to take money from the rich. The goal is to make rich to want to give the money – for example for helping people stay healthy. This is the approach that can be used to decrease spending on health insurance, and to increase the number of insured citizens via a creation (eventually) of a “Federal Health Care Fund”.
The Fund will function in a way similar to the Federal Reserve and the Supreme Court, i.e. the board will be composed based on a consensus between the Congress and the White House (and, maybe, the Governor’s Association); but the board will function independently from all other business and government entities, and the members are elected for life.
The goals and functioning of the board will be:
* Establishing on the annual basis the minimum level of the “States health insurance coverage” (may be different for different States).
*  Every citizen and permanent resident who does not have health insurance coverage can apply for the financial help to cover medical expenses.
* Every U.S. citizen and a U.S. based business will have to pay a one-time annual fee.
* The amount of the fee will be determined by the board depending on the number of the requests, and the total amount of the fund need to grant those requests.
* The amount of the fee will be determined by the board according to the formula set by the board on the annual basis.
*  The fee is NOT a tax, it does NOT go to a federal budget, it CANNOT be used on anything else but the activities set by the board.
* If needed, the board may file a request to the budgeting entities to request funds from the federal budget.
*  This approach will lead to ensuring that every US citizen will have sufficient health insurance.
*   More importantly, this approach will become a strong psychological instrument; this approach will provide incentives for business owners to provide sufficient health insurance, because that would result in decreasing the number of requests to the fund, which would lead to the decrease (and maybe even a complete elimination) of the fee.
*   More importantly, this approach will become a strong psychological instrument; this approach will provide incentives for business owners to extend the health insurance coverage in the various forms, because that would result in decreasing the number of requests to the fund, which would lead to the decrease (and maybe even a complete elimination) of the fee.
*  More importantly, this approach will become a strong psychological instrument; this approach will provide incentives for business owners to reach out to healthcare providers and healthcare insurers to make them to lower the cost of the healthcare, which would lead to the decrease (and maybe even a complete elimination) of the fee.
I have been writing on the matter and expressed some of the ideas in multiple posts, for example:

The Dawn of The Era of Dictatorships; Explained by The Systems Theory.”

Peering through the fog of brainwashing: the real reasons behind the conservative politics.”

and more.
Everyone is welcome to invest his/her time into reading and make his/her mind on the topic.
Now I want to discuss just one more issue of the left: the absence of cooperation.
Currently, narcissism and jealousy is flourishing among the left.
There is no chance male politicians would be able to overcome this temperament.
But female politicians could.
Cooperation (which I proposed right after Trump won the Presidency) should demonstrate people that the Democrats are indeed for the people, and would do anything to increase their (Democrats, not an individual) chance to win.
The cooperation could be in different forms, for example, mutual statements, an announcement of mutual cabinet assignments (“If I win I will take her to be my …”), etc.
When I teach, I always answer a question from a student.
If it was asked the first time.
If the same question is asked again, I answer it, too, but my answer is shorter.
The third time, and I say – “This questions requires a face-to-face discussion, please, see me after a class”.
I believe the same approach works in politics, too.
“Democracy dies in darkness”
But first it needs to be born (i.e invented, and then applied), or reborn (reinvented, and reapplied).
And what history has been showing again and again is that Democracy is born by an Intellect and built for Fairness.
Dr. Valentin Voroshilov