It’s a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps

People like that think fairness is a synonym for justice

On Friday four people were found guilty of the crime of littering and trespassing in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona and they face up to six months in prison for their crimes which are serious crimes for sure due to we all would like to see such natural areas kept pristine and clear of refuse but the problem is we don’t all seem to be able to agree what the definition of trash is some of think it’s hispanic people.

The four individuals were volunteers from a humanitarian aid group called No More Deaths and the reason they drove their car to a place where the rules say you can’t drive your car and littered the eyesore water bottles all over the place is that this is an area where people making the arduous and dangerous journey to cross the border between Mexico and the United States have often died in the past and they didn’t want anyone else to have to go and die like that.

They also left some cans of beans behind.

"The Defendants did not get an access permit, they did not remain on the designated roads, and they left water, food, and crates in the Refuge. All of this, in addition to violating the law, erodes the national decision to maintain the Refuge in its pristine nature," the judge Bernardo Velasco wrote in his decision according to The Arizona Republic.

“This verdict challenges not only No More Deaths volunteers, but people of conscience throughout the country,” said Catherine Gaffney, speaking on behalf of No More Deaths and also on behalf of myself and yourself presumably.

“If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country?”

That’s a good question Catherine Gaffney.

Five other people affiliated with the group will go on trial in the next couple of months for similar crimes because there comes a point in the swift descent into fascism where it’s no longer satisfactory for the state to merely injure an undesirable class of people eventually they have to start making an example of the ones who are trying to help them lest the rest of us go and get any wild ideas about what sort of humanity we have left.

He said a lot about justice but here is one thing Dr. King said about what justice is.

“I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”

When we talk about borders we typically mean the geographic kind and when we talk about walls we typically mean the tangible constructed kind but the clearest border and the most impenetrable wall on earth continues to be the one erected around the Babylonian towers of the wealth hoarders. The world’s twenty six richest people now control about the same amount of wealth as the 3.8 billion who make up the poorest half of people around the world Oxfam said in a report released this month. That gap is widening they said as the roughly two thousand billionaires around the world increased the size of their gold coin swimming pools by $2.5 billion dollars a day. In the United States they estimate thirty people control as much wealth as the poorer half of the population.

“The way our economies are organized means wealth is increasingly and unfairly concentrated among a privileged few while millions of people are barely subsisting,” Oxfam’s Matthew Spencer said regarding the report.  “Women are dying for lack of decent maternity care and children are being denied an education that could be their route out of poverty. No one should be condemned to an earlier grave or a life of illiteracy simply because they were born poor.”

Maybe they didn’t want it hard enough? Maybe they were just lazy unlike the big rich boys we all love? Not sure if they checked into that in the report it doesn’t say.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Spencer went on. “There is enough wealth in the world to provide everyone with a fair chance in life. Governments should act to ensure that taxes raised from wealth and businesses paying their fair share are used to fund free, good-quality public services that can save and transform people’s lives.”

Sounds to me like he’s just jealous he isn’t a billionaire. I know I’m also not one but I could be someday so just to be safe I’m gonna side with them until all my hard work eventually pays off.

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. day today which is the day we all come together to point out that if he were alive he would 100% support whatever it is that we happen to already believe ourselves and also probably be our close personal friend. Here’s Mike Pence saying Trump is basically MLK in his efforts to build the border wall.

You can say anything out there now man it’s wild.

I just watched an interview King gave in 1967 to NBC and the interviewer asked him what it was about the negro uniquely among other groups of “immigrants” (lol) to America that has prevented them from assimilating and he explained it like so:

“White America must see that no other ethnic group has been a slave on American soil. That is one thing that other immigrants haven’t had to face. The other thing is that the color became a stigma. American society made the negro’s color a stigma.”

“America freed the slaves in 1863 through the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln, but gave them no land, or nothing in reality, as a matter of fact, to get started on. At the same time America was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and Midwest, which means there was a willingness to give the peasants from Europe an economic base. Yet it refused to give its black peasants from Africa, who came here involuntarily in chains and worked free for 244 years, any kind of economic base. So emancipation for the negro was really freedom to hunger, it was freedom to the winds and rains of heaven, freedom without food to eat or land to cultivate. Therefore, it was freedom and famine at the same time. And when white Americans tell the negro to lift himself by his own bootstraps, they don’t look over the legacy of slavery and segregation.”

“Now I believe we ought to do all we can and seek to lift ourselves by our own bootstraps, but it’s a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. And many negroes, by the thousands and millions, have been left bootless as a result of all of these years of oppression and as a result of a society that deliberately made his color a stigma and something worthless and degrading.”

That all may be true but I feel like maybe if he were alive and he read this op-ed in the Boston Globe from the other day by Jeff Jacoby declaring that racism isn’t a big deal anymore he may have rethought his stance.

It’s easy to conclude that racism is America’s most serious problem if you turn on the news and listen to the whining libs Jacoby wrote but in reality racism isn’t a big problem it’s just a minor problem now. It’s like when you have a serious cold and then a few days later it’s mostly gone but you’ve got a bit of a cough still basically.

To prove that point Jacoby looked at surveys of white Americans over the years who said they wouldn’t flee if a black family moved in next door to them anymore like they used to and that they had black friends themselves now (you wouldn’t know them, uh, they live in another town), and that they’re ok with interracial marriage. Pretty compelling case but one thing he didn’t do was ask any black people what they thought. He did quote Jonah Goldberg from the National Review though so close enough.

I’m not sure if Jacoby read his own paper’s recent spotlight investigation into race in the city but among some other great reporting there one thing it found was that the median net worth of African American families in good old Beantown (Go Patriots!) was $8. No that’s not a typo although so many people thought it was they had to run a followup story reassuring readers that it wasn’t.

The median net worth for white households in Boston was almost $250,000 and the median net worth for Dominican ones was $0.  Those sound like impossible numbers but the way it works is when you add up everything you own all your assets like your house and your car and your savings and all of that and you subtract debt and loans and credit card bills and so on your net worth could actually be negative. Making this all worse of course is that through redlining and predatory lending and discriminatory housing policy and all sorts of other very normal stuff we’ve continued to legislate economic instability into the lives of black people throughout the country.

On the other hand a lot of us know a black guy we might say hello to now and maybe we wouldn’t even get all that pissed off if one of our children married a black fella so you have to admit all this talk about racism all the time is a bit much.

Another place racism didn’t actually exist if you look at the facts was at the March For Life rally in Washington D.C. Turns out those big rowdy boys were actually the real victims if you think about it due to they didn’t start it it was some yelling black guys and an elderly Native American man who drummed in their faces too solemnly.

People have been pouring over every angle of the videos that have emerged of the incident and this is great news for them because when you have so many different angles to look at something you can always find whatever it is you want to see. This is called waiting for all the facts to come in before rushing to judgment which is something the left and the media love to do we love to judge things as they appear to us morally and not wait for the other side to mount a defense on a technicality.

I wrote about the fact-waiting phenomenon and fairness around the time of the killing of Mike Brown by police officers in Ferguson.

"Waiting for all the facts to come in" is a common trope whenever there's a racially charged, or politically tendentious story in the news that captures all of our attention I wrote.

In theory, it's an appeal to some unreachable, platonic model of journalistic balance, the type of "some say, others say" equivocating that comprises most of the work done by our milquetoast national media. This myth presumes that the truth in any story must fall in the exact center of some probability distribution equation between either extreme. It assumes that both extremes hold equal validity, when that is almost never true.

The "waiting for the facts" refrain is most often bellowed from the wrongest people imaginable: 9/11-truthers, vaccine-deniers, climate-change skeptics, police-abuse apologists, homophobes, "race-realists." It's as if in every conceivable argument the truth will eventually out if we just hold on a little while longer, and see how things shake out.

Of course, it doesn't actually mean they want a thorough accounting of the details. Instead it means to wait for a preferred version of the facts to arrive, which are due presently.

In the case of Blue Lives Matters supporters with cop-kissing brains waiting for the facts means forestalling judgment until enough exculpatory evidence can be ginned-up. It means holding out long enough for the police to get their stories straight, to concoct a narrative in which people like Mike Brown are violent criminals. It means laying down covering fire long enough that the character assassins can get the target in their sights. It means anticipating phony injury reports being disseminated, for the likes of  George Zimmerman to get their ducks in order, to bolster their defense. It means leaving the story's carcass out in the sun long enough for the vultures to pick it clean.

"Waiting for the facts" means waiting to develop a cover story. It means waiting for the story to blow over. It means waiting until "But that was seven months ago! Get over it!" becomes a legitimate excuse.

In Jeff Jacoby’s Boston Globe piece about how racism is over he relied on a lot of facts something I am sure he was no doubt very proud of. The worst people alive are very committed to presenting facts but here are some other facts:

While people of color make up about 30 percent of the United States' population, they account for 60 percent of those imprisoned.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime.

In the seven year period leading up to 2012, a black man was killed by a white police officer almost two times a week.

The problem with waiting for the facts is it's a form of control, of maintaining the populaces' passivity in the face of curdling fury and well-earned anger. It's similar to the type of reasoning you hear from the right whenever there's a school shooting or a mass-killing. "Let's not politicize this," they say. "This is not the right time."

It's a means of punting, of forestalling the discussion that needs to happen—not later, but right now.

The whole retreating to our respective corners fall out of the March for Life rally video and the smirking MAGA teen was preordained from the moment it happened. No matter what the instance of racism is the right is going to go into the replay booth to buy time looking for the blade of grass that moved to convince the refs their original call was incorrect. Then the refs who are people like Jake Tapper are going appeal to the letter of the rule book out of perverted sense of fairness.

People like that think fairness is a synonym for justice but it’s not fairness is an impediment to justice a lot of the time. Fairness might be applying the law as it’s written about where and when people can drive onto a wildlife refuge to leave water behind but it’s not justice. Fairness might be treating people of different races equally in our personal interactions while ignoring systemic racism but it’s not justice. Fairness might be letting people who’ve amassed large fortunes keep their money because they worked for it after all but it’s not justice. Justice isn’t fair it’s just.