“A Gathering Of Old Men” Is Grand Narrative About Racism In Sugar Cane Fields Of Louisiana

I ran across this Ernest Gaines’ work in a book catalog several months ago.   The synopsis seemed appealing but it was not until opening the first pages of A Gathering Of Old Men that I really became aware of the magnificent style of his writing.  While plotting and storytelling obviously rank high for any reader, it always comes down to the ability of an author to write in a way that transports a person almost into the pages.  That is the type of writing Gaines achieves in this short and most compelling read published in 1983.

The story revolves around the death of a Cajun farmer at the hands of a black man.  But as the plot moves along the various personal stories allow for deeper insight into the racial violence and turmoil which has racked the region.  Before long the characters are men that become far more understood.

History allows us to see that racism has long been a stain on the nation.  Our original sin was slavery which germinated from racism.  The story which Gaines has written forces the readers to know that in spite of progress the roots of the problem are still firmly planted in the soil of the nation.  But as he shows in a touching and yet stern fashion the elderly black men of one locale collectively knew what had to be done—not only for the situation at hand but for their own inner beings.

As I read the book–in about three hours–my thoughts were often on the works of Mark Twain.  He was able to create and imitate various dialects for his large cast of charterers.  Gaines has done the same for his Southern women, Cajuns, poor whites, and elderly black men of various backgrounds.   What is disarming is the book works so well that it seems it might be easy to craft such a tale.  But there lies the trick of a remarkable story teller.  Making it look easy is proof that the one with a name on the cover is mighty good at their profession.

It should be noted that Gaines is also the author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.

When Do Christians In U.S. Stand Up To Donald Trump?

How long does a sewer rat get protection from the ones in the pews?

Following the news about the truly troubling actions of a former U.S. attorney, who now serves in the Donald Trump cabinet, there must be some accounting from the ones who always alert the rest of our nation about sin.  How do self-described ‘good Christians’ continually support Trump and what he brought into government?  How do they dare stand up in church, pray so piously in their places of worship, and then turn a blind eye to the glaring truth the rest of the week?

The Miami Herald today published an investigative report examining a decade-old plea deal that current Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, then U.S. attorney in Miami, struck with the billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The report indicated that Epstein’s underage sex ring was larger than previously known and recounted how Acosta’s so-called “non-prosecution agreement” shut down an FBI investigation in exchange for Epstein pleading guilty to two state prostitution charges. Epstein served a little more than a year in jail, but he spent much of that time at a comfortable office on work release.

As part of the arrangement, Acosta agreed, despite a federal law to the contrary, that the deal would be kept from the victims. As a result, the non-prosecution agreement was sealed until after it was approved by the judge, thereby averting any chance that the girls — or anyone else — might show up in court and try to derail it.

For all the high-toned moralizing from conservatives there comes the naked truth that they have no shame, no foundation built on some higher plane of honor.  With continued support from the ‘good Christians’ it proves to the entire nation what really motivates them.  The actions from this crowd does not match their words.

And so it goes.

Trump Administration Will Go Down As MOST Corrupt In U.S. History–Alexander Acosta And Pedophilia Latest Example

I swear to God it was only a couple hours in which I turned off all news and social media. What could possibly happen in such a short span of time while I did some Holiday work?


Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is out of the running to be President Donald Trump’s attorney general following a Miami Herald report that he oversaw a sweetheart deal for a wealthy financier accused of raping teenage girls and running a sex-trafficking ring, according to two people close to the president.

When he was a US attorney in Florida Acosta gave accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein the “deal of a lifetime,” the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

In a sweeping review of the politically connected multimillionaire’s case, the Herald explained how Acosta made an agreement with Epstein to avoid major repercussions for the hedge fund manager, even though a federal investigation identified 36 underage victims.
The report said Acosta forged a deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys where he pleaded to two state prostitution charges, ultimately serving only 13 months and avoiding a federal trial. The agreement, the Herald said, “essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe” and further granted immunity to “any potential co-conspirators” in the case.
Epstein also registered as a sex offender and paid restitution to the victims identified by the FBI.

Study Finds Trump Male Voters Concern With Penis And Manhood Color Political Views

I just comment on the news of the day.   But this news story aligns with everything that has been said about white male Trump voters before on this blog.

Readers know that I was appalled when Donald Trump brought up the size of his penis DURING a nationally televised presidential debate.  I was also taken aback when there was a ‘need’ to release Trump’s testosterone levels when his medical records were made public.  The attempt to connect with a certain type of white male voter was simply mind jarring.

But now some research is showing a most interesting kernel of truth about these ‘strong virile’ Trump voters.  

I am always truly taken aback with news stories and research of this kind that show large segments of the male population to be defined as emotionally stunted.

I am one of those guys who is in touch with his feelings.  I have never been one to stuff my emotions in a bag and pretend they are not in existence.  I recall when my Mom was in the hospital in the final days of her life and my brother told me I needed to “buck it up”.    I had no intention of not feeling everything and expressing how I felt as events played out.

But I know that much of the male world does walk about in a state of stunted emotional development as it is somehow not seen as ‘manly’ to talk about feelings.  But it is not healthy to live that way.  It does not allow for an individual to grow or be responsive to himself or those around him.  It clearly is not something we would want lacking in someone who sits in the Oval Office.

Trump gave a Fox News interview in 2016 where he could not honestly address how others might have injured him over time or bring himself to the point of agreeing that reflecting on how we live our life does matter.  His lack of self-awareness and introspection was simply stunning.

His words make the case about what is lacking in his make-up.

“…but you have to go forward…to look back and say, “Gee whiz, I wish I didn’t do this or that,” I don’t think that’s good… I don’t even think- In a certain way, I don’t even think that’s healthy,” 

That is definitely not the type of individual we should want to have sitting in the White House.  I want my president to have the ability and the  security of self to be able to reflect, ponder, and feel from within about what is happening.    Trump lacks the human qualities we should want in our family members and friends.  He lacks the deeper introspection required of a president.

And now we read of how troubled men who are not able to be connected to their emotions and internal makeup have once again played havoc with the nation.

But our research suggests that Trump is not necessarily attracting male supporters who are as confidently masculine as the president presents himself to be. Instead, Trump appears to appeal more to men who are secretly insecure about their manhood. We call this the “fragile masculinity hypothesis.” Here is some of our evidence.

Research shows that many men feel pressure to look and behave in stereotypically masculine ways — or risk losing their status as “real men.” Masculine expectations are socialized from early childhood and can motivate men to embrace traditional male behaviors while avoiding even the hint of femininity. This unforgiving standard of maleness makes some men worry that they’re falling short. These men are said to experience “fragile masculinity.”

The political process provides a way that fragile men can reaffirm their masculinity. By supporting tough politicians and policies, men can reassure others (and themselves) of their own manliness. For example, sociologist Robb Willer has shown that men whose sense of masculinity was threatened increased their support for aggressive foreign policy.

We wanted to see whether fragile masculinity was associated with how Americans vote — and specifically whether it was associated with greater support for Trump in the 2016 general election and for Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections.

Support for Trump in the 2016 election was higher in areas that had more searches for topics such as “erectile dysfunction.” Moreover, this relationship persisted after accounting for demographic attributes in media markets, such as education levels and racial composition, as well as searches for topics unrelated to fragile masculinity, such as “breast augmentation” and “menopause.”

In contrast, fragile masculinity was not associated with support for Mitt Romney in 2012 or support for John McCain in 2008 — suggesting that the correlation of fragile masculinity and voting in presidential elections was distinctively stronger in 2016.

Parents Who Had Child Killed With Guns In America

A needed gut punch for America to read.

An invisible network of similar threads connects hundreds of grieving parents across America. The connection is not formal. There is no organizational structure, no listserv, no roster of names. But their bond is strong enough that they often describe themselves—glibly but also in earnest—as “the club.” There is only one criterion for membership: you sent a child to school one day and then never saw them again because of a bullet, leaving you with pain, loss and perhaps even other shattered children. “It’s a club you spend your whole life hoping you won’t ever become a part of,” says Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan, 6, was killed in the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. “But once you’re in, you’re in.”

This web of wounded souls spans America. They come from rural outposts and big cities, from Democratic strongholds and the reddest regions of Trump Country. They have different religions, income levels and ethnicities. What they share is the agony that comes with losing a child to gun violence in a place where that child was supposed to be safe. That calamity creates ineffable bonds. Even family and friends “can never fully, fully understand,” says Annika Dworet, Mitch’s wife. “So you feel a special connection with other parents who have gone through this.” Joe Samaha, whose 18-year-old daughter Reema was shot to death at Virginia Tech in 2007, agrees: “We under-stand the pain, the trauma and the long-term aftermath. It’s a brother- and sisterhood.”

Robert Mueller Grip Tightening

Today the wetting of the pants continues for Donald Trump and those foolish enough to be in his circle of corruption.

Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Thursday in New York to lying to Congress about a Moscow real estate project that Trump and his company pursued at the same time he was running for president.
In a nine-page filing, prosecutors laid out a litany of lies that Cohen admitted he told to congressional lawmakers about the Moscow project — an attempt, Cohen said, to minimize links between the proposed development and Trump as his presidential bid was well underway.
As part of Cohen’s plea, he admitted falsely claiming efforts to build a Trump-branded tower in Moscow ended in January 2016, when in fact discussions continued through June of that year, the filing said. Among the people Cohen briefed on the status of the project was Trump himself, on more than three occasions, according to the document.
Trump has repeatedly said that he had no business dealings in Russia, tweeting in July 2016, “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia” and telling reporters in January 2017 that he had no deals there because he had “stayed away.”
According to the filing, the Russians did respond and Cohen discussed the project for 20 minutes on the phone with an assistant to Dmitry Peskov, a senior aide to Russian president Vladi­mir Putin. At the time, Cohen was seeking help with both securing land and financing.


Fox News Vs. The New York Times And The Role Facts Need To Play In Our Democracy

One of those must reads which underscores why we are, where we are.

By the time I take office, what you increasingly have is a media environment in which if you are a Fox News viewer, you have an entirely different reality than if you are a New York Times reader…”

This is a point I have been making for years when it comes to how adrift conservatives are when it comes to facts.

When it comes to Fox News I have long stressed the lesson to be learned is that we can see what happens when one peddles false information and insane conspiracy theories in order to pander to a viewership they know will hang on to your every word without even thinking there might be a chance it couldn’t be true.

Does anyone else see how dangerous this can be?

Who can honestly tell me that anyone with a dose of common sense or one iota of intelligence could stomach even a couple minutes of Sean Hannity without seeking the remote to stop the crazy or blush that some one might catch them wasting time with such a lightweight?

Let no one miss the point which needs to be hammered home.

We have in this nation come to think–among a sizable segment of the TV viewing audience–that a major news organization should function as the propaganda arm of an extremist political ideology.  That group of FOX viewers are fed hours and hours of  content loaded with racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, paranoia and manufactured outrage.  And it is fed to this demographic of mainly old angry white men with a stupefying and brazen disregard for what is factual.

Put a blonde short-skirted woman on as the lies are spewed and the geezer crowd damn near wet themselves.  Or is that just the normal leakage for them? That is the slice of the nation who voted for Trump and drove this nation straight into the ravine which we now find ourselves.

Facts About Immigration From Mexico

Partisan rants from Donald Trump and some seriously flawed Republican members of congress would have people think there is a flood of immigrants storming the border.  Facts, of course, show that not to be the case.  In fact, just the opposite.

The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. fell to its lowest level in more than a decade, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on 2016 government data. The decline is due almost entirely to a sharp decrease in the number of Mexicans entering the country without authorization.

Consequently, today’s unauthorized immigrant population includes a smaller share of recent arrivals, especially from Mexico, than a decade earlier. Increasingly unauthorized immigrants are likely to be long-term U.S. residents: Two-thirds of adult unauthorized immigrants have lived in the country for more than 10 years.

As overall numbers declined, other related changes occurred in the unauthorized immigrant population. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of unauthorized immigrant workers fell, as did their share of the total U.S. workforce over the same period. So did the number of unauthorized immigrant men in the prime working ages of 18 to 44, but not women in that age group.

As their typical span of U.S. residence has grown, a rising share of unauthorized immigrant adults – 43% in 2016 compared with 32% in 2007 – live in households with U.S.-born children.

In the opposite direction, the number of unauthorized immigrants from Central America increased by 375,000 over the same 2007 to 2016 period. The 1.85 million Central American unauthorized immigrants in 2016 mainly came from the three Northern Triangle nations of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, all of which registered increases since 2007.

Among the 20 largest birth countries, unauthorized immigrant totals also grew from India and Venezuela over the 2007-16 period. Meanwhile, there were statistically significant declines from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Korea and Peru.