Bernie Sanders Is Gandhi Reincarnated


The secret ingredient in the Bernie Sanders soup, he’s a Jew. Nobody, but nobody doesn’t like him because he speaks from his kosher DNA heart. Moses wrote down the public servant recipe and labelled it Tikkun: Seeing Judaism as an expression of the prophetic ideal of social justice. Love thy neighbor, clothe the naked, walk with God, beat swords into plowshares. As ritual and practice have fallen away over the generations, this has become the core identity of liberal Judaism. Its central mission is nothing less than to repair the world (“Tikkun olam”).

Tikkun Olam is Judaism envisioning an ideal world. Often translated to mean ‘repair of the world’, and even as social justice, tikkun olam underpins our religious way of life and perspective that works towards a time of peace – not just ending war, but a time of prosperity, health and justice for all.

Not since Gandhi has there been a politician spouting such squishy-whishy feel good rhetoric. If Gandhj hadn’t died six years before Bernie was born, I would say the Mahatma was Feeling the Bern.


badminton-house_2549913bSubmitted by Eric Zuesse via,

How Aristocracies Benefit Both From Racism And From Anti-Racism

A good example of the way in which aristocracies benefit both from racism and from anti-racism, is Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the US Presidency, which is heavily backed by America’s aristocracy, and which is fueled not only by their money but also by the widespread racism in American culture, and especially by the equally widespread repudiation by many Americans against racism.

Her opponent in the Democratic Party primaries, Bernie Sanders, was loathed by America’s aristocracy, because he was accusing them of destroying the country and was proposing policies to restore democracy to America, by means of various governmental interventions to reverse the existing undemocratic government’s wealth-transfers «from the masses to the classes». Sanders was publicly acknowledging that any government is a societal-prioritizing instrument, and that it therefore transfers wealth from some to others, via taxes and other essential policies, and so the wealth-distribution needs to be an independent focus of governmental policies – not simply ignored by government and subsumed within the «economic growth» concern.  

Here is how Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination in the primaries: She won 84% of the Black vote in the crucial South Carolina primary, where 61% of the voters, in that Democratic primary, were Blacks. Sanders won 58% of Whites voting there. Clinton won, of the total SC primary vote, 73% to Sanders’s 26%, a crushing 47% margin of victory. And then in the later southern primaries, her margins of victory among the overwhelmingly high proportion of Blacks in the Democratic Parties those states, were similar, which fact (her numerous primaries crushing him, especially on Super Tuesday) cemented Sanders’s loss, and her win, of the Democratic nomination.

Whereas both of the primaries that preceded South Carolina (the caucus in Iowa, and the election in New Hampshire) were in overwhelmingly White northern states, which had been little shaped by the legacy of slavery, the racial situation was much more tense in SC, and also in the other southern states, where the culture of slavery still persists, more than a century after the Civil War that was fought over slavery.  

Sanders’s message, that economic inequality is the linchpin of America’s increasing inequality of economic opportunity, was a colossal flop among southern Blacks, for whom the pervasive anti-Black racism amongst their local non-Blacks, seemed to be far more the cause of Blacks’ suppressed economic opportunities than did the existing economic inequality itself. To them, Sanders’s argument (that economic inequality is self-perpetuating, and thus needs specific governmental policies to address) seemed false (because the racism there is so intense). They couldn’t understand rich-versus-poor, because what they saw around them every day was Black-versus-White. As Hillary and Bill Clinton’s, and Barack Obama’s, friend and chief economic advisor, Lawrence Summers, taught to his students at Harvard, «I think we can accept, I think we should accept inequality of results, recognizing that those who earn more are in a better position to contribute more to support society».

tyranny-featured-537x350 It’s standard aristocratic propaganda, that economic inequality doesn’t result from economic inequality. The aristocracy want the public to believe the lie that inequality of the wealth-distribution isn’t self-perpetuating and thus doesn’t need governmental policy-changes in order to be reduced – wealth-redistribution by means of conscious targeted governmental policy in order to redistribute it. The aristocracy, and their agents, at Harvard and elsewhere, hide from the public (and from students) the fact that wealth-redistribution doesn’t occur on its own and can’t be addressed by policies that also help aristocrats (such as «more spending on infrastructure» etc. – the standard liberal growth-oriented policies, which don’t also really affect the wealth-distribution, which the aristocracy want to remain tilted in their favor). This lie – that economic inequality doesn’t itself stunt the economic opportunity for the public in the future – also caused Sanders’s support to be less among people who had PhD’s and other post-college degrees, than among mere college-graduates. Clinton won biggest among people with no education beyond high school, and with PhD’s and other post-college degrees. Upper-level education is strongly dependent upon funding from the aristocracy, so the more of it one had, the less progressive and more authoritarian one tended to be, and this showed in the vote. Clinton’s high support also among the low-educated mass of Democrats (ones with no exposure to college) resulted from the primacy there of two other stanchions of conservatism: religion and family (including ancestry, which brings in also clan and tribe). Furthermore, those voters are usually working so hard just to stay alive; they haven’t the time to be able to see politics beyond the mass-media, which of course are owned by the aristocrats and thus slanted toward Clinton, against Sanders.  

Clinton also benefited (though only to a lesser extent) from the fact that most of the voters in the South Carolina Democratic primary were women, to whom she was likewise targeting an anti-bigotry pitch: in that case, anti-sexist. 

By «racism» in the title here, is meant also any discrimination against a racial, ethnic, gender, religious, or any other non-economically-defined segment of the population; so, it includes also gender-discrimination and other forms of discrimination. In other words: all forms of bigotry, and of opposition to bigotry, distract from the oppression of the public by the aristocrats (the billionaires and centi-millionaires and their agents), and focus the attention instead against bigotry (or in favor of a particular type of bigotry, against a particular group); and, thus, bigotry and anti-bigotry benefit the aristocracy.  

hillary buttonClinton’s basic message is that America’s inequality of economic opportunity isn’t a class-phenomenon, but a bigotry-phenomenon, such as discrimination against Blacks, against women, against gays, etc. This message won among the Democratic Party’s many minority-groups (Blacks, Hispanics, etc.), even though the economic inequality that her financial backers foster (and which here policies advance) has produced these people’s rotten education, inability to get out of debt, high assessed interest-rates, high rates of illness, etc. These conceptual connections as blockages against economic opportunity are abstract, whereas the incidences of bigotry against these people are concrete, blatant blockages.

Clinton’s contest against the other Party’s nominee, the Republican Party’s Donald Trump, is against an aristocratic candidate who has largely been pitching to bigots for his votes – especially to bigots against Muslims, and against Hispanics. He now is faced with two contradictory demands: he can either focus more on the economic-class divide (hoping to draw off some of the Sanders voters), and thereby antagonize America’s aristocracy even more than he already has (by his opposition against Clinton’s record as a war-monger, and against her blatant lying and corruption, things that are mainstays in any aristocracy and thus insult aristocrats including himself), or else he can continue to focus on bigots; but, if he does the latter, then the contest will largely become one between bigots (voting for him) and anti-bigots (voting for Clinton), in which case there will continue to be many aristocrats who (unlike the aristocrat Trump himself) flee from any public association with any form of bigotry (almost all aristocrats pretend to be opposed to it, just as the Clintons and Obama so prominently do) and so (in addition to Hillary’s being an ideal nominee for aristocrats) they’ll starve Trump’s campaign of cash, and he’ll then almost certainly lose – or, at least, that’s the scenario.

This is not a prediction that he will lose. The current US Presidential contest has no clear historical precedent, although the strategic realities in it are the standard ones in political contests. Trump is an extremely formidable campaigner, who has beaten all of his opponents so far and also every one of the ‘experts’ or pundits. (I’m actually expecting him to win; but that’s neither here nor there.)

The irony is that what the current contest displays with especially stark clarity is the historically well-established reality, that aristocracies benefit both from racism and from anti-racism. It has hardly been clearer than it is here, despite the other, highly unusual, aspects of the current US Presidential contest.

One thing that rather directly displays the undemocratic reality of today’s American politics is that both Trump and Clinton have (and throughout the contest did have) exceptionally high net-disapproval ratings from the American public, and that the only two candidates, of either Party, who had net-positive approval-ratings, were Bernie Sanders, and (the Republican candidate) John Kasich. If this country had been a democracy, then those were clearly the most-preferred candidates, and so the final contest would have been between those two, but neither of them even made it to the final round. This fact is yet another example showing that, at the present stage in American history, the US is a dictatorship by its aristocracy (who disliked both of the nation’s most-preferred candidates).

In theocratic Iran, the clergy determine what final choices the public will have; in aristocratic-dictatorial US, the aristocracy do. Bigotry, and its natural response – anti-bigotry – both advance the cause of the aristocracy, anywhere. It’s not just divide-and-conquer. It’s also redirect-and-distract.




You are free to do good karma – unto others as you would have others do unto you – there’s a 100,000 to 1 chance that you’re going to be reborn and repeat the good bad karma business until you get it right. Dharma is your destiny but until you figure out who you are and your purpose in life, dharma will remain a mystery.

The following case study of Louie Khan illustrates my idea of an Astrological Algorithm, a guide to help you “follow your bliss.”.

Louis Isadore Kahn was an American architect, based in Philadelphia. After working in various capacities for several firms in Philadelphia, he founded his own atelier in 1935. February 20, 1901, Kuressaare, Estonia.

As an architectural student at the University of Cincinnati from ’62-’68 Louie Kahn inspired me and my colleagues with his design for the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban (National Assembly Building) in Dhaka, Bangladesh (1962–1974). We also lamented that nearly every one of our architect heroes was over fifty before they became famous. My Astrological Algorithm explains, at least in my own mind, why.


February TWENTIETH the Day of THE IMPRESSION: Those born on February 20 are taken up with the theme of both registering an impression and making an impression on others. Because of their receptive nature, they generally have vivid memories and can much later repeat accurately what they have seen or heard. On the other hand, they will usually do what they have to do to make certain that others remember them as well. February 20 people want to be taken seriously, and therefore forcefully stamp their mark on whatever it is they carry out, be it their business involvements, creative efforts or family responsibilities.

STRENGTHS: Perceptive, Cooperative, and Memorable;

WEAKNESSES: Impressionable, Reactive, and Overemotional


FIVE of Diamonds The SALESPERSON Card – This card has its share of challenges and its share of gifts. Like all fives, they dislike routine and abhor anything that pretends to limit their freedom. They can be perpetual wanderers, never settling down for anything long enough to make it pay off. This includes their work and relationships. All 5’s have an inner restlessness, but they truly want to accomplish something of value and stability in their lives. They are inherently spiritual and know what is of true value. The challenge comes in practicing what they know. They come into this life with a certain amount of karma which often takes considerable hard work to discharge. If they are lazy, there will be many problems. They must practice what they know and do what it takes to get the job done without shirking responsibility. They make great sales people and they have tried many things in life and know how to relate to anyone on their own level. Their inner truth is their guiding light.


AQUARIUS-PISCES CUSP – The Cusp of Sensitivity February 16-22: Those born on the Cusp of Sensitivity are often success-oriented individuals who give top priority to their career. They are usually fighters, an attitude sometimes based on underlying insecurity and the need to prove themselves. A chip-on-the-shoulder attitude in many Aquarius-Pisces makes them aggressive toward others and belligerent when attacked. A real personal challenge for Aquarius-Pisces, then, is to rediscover and acknowledge their inner makeup and to break down some of the barriers they have built up. The tough, even aggressive exterior of many born on the Aquarius-Pisces Cusp belies the sensitive personality inside. Extremely vulnerable as children, Aquarius-Pisces react to criticism or abuse from others by building a wall around themselves. Carried with them into adulthood, this armor may give the impression of an inner self far different from the reality.

Strengths: Success-Oriented, Concerned, Caring

Weaknesses: Insecure, Pessimistic Isolated


There are 53 Karmic Paths, every twenty years or so they repeat. Kahn February 20, 1901 and Gable traveled together, while Ford and Beethoven marched to the same drummer The Way of REFORM generations before.

Henry Ford July 30, 1863

Beethoven December 1770

Clark Gable February 1, 1901

#9 The Way of REFORM – Energy to Revolution: The tremendously energetic individuals born on the Way of Reform came to this lifetime to overthrow established systems and institute new ways of viewing or doing things. On this karmic path reform has many meanings. In one respect it represents a revolutionary toppling of existing mores or organizations. However, it can also mean a return to a more traditional approach, sometimes after an extended period of innovation. Moreover, it also implies “re-creation,” an act of creativity that gives something a new or more vital form. The individuals who find themselves on this karmic path will be called to involve themselves in all the aforementioned aspects of reform. In order to do this, they must first deeply involve themselves in the status quo, for only by understanding the traditions of the past and present can they make revolutionary corrections that will be of benefit to all. Finally, as much as they would prefer otherwise, those on the Way of Reform must not be content to merely change society but are also fated to learn how to reform their own moral and value systems.

DHARMA  for the Way of REFORM

CORE LESSON: Committing fully to a cause, project, or even another human being. 

GOAL: To be a catalyst for change

RELEASE: The use of seduction as a tool. 

REWARD: The joy of changing other people’s lives for the better.


ATTACHMENT STAGE (0-18 months)

The Avoider:  Minimizer, Rigid Boundaries
Basic Fear (Wound):  Contact may lead to emotional and physical rejection, loss of self through contact with parent (partner).
Internal Message:  Don’t be
Core Belief:  I have no right to exist
Relationship Belief:  I will be hurt if I initiate contact with you
Image of Partner:  Demanding, all consuming
Relationship to Partner:  Detached; avoidant
Core Issue:  Too much togetherness;  too many feelings;  too much chaos
Typical Frustration:  You hate me;  you feel too much
Recurrent Feeling:  Terror and rage
Conflict Management:  Hyper-rational;  avoidant;  passive/aggressive withdrawal and coldness
Growth ChallengeClaim right to be;  initiate emotional and physical contact;  express feelings;  increase body awareness and sensory contact with environment 
The Clinger
Maximizer, Diffuse Boundaries
Basic Fear (Wound): Separation and abandonment;  loss of self through loss of contact with parent (partner)
Internal Message Don’t need me
Core Belief:  I can’t get my needs met
Relationship Belief:  I am safe if I hold on to you
Image of Partner: Unavailable;  has no feelings; a rock wall
Relationship to Partner:  Clinging; demanding; attempts to fuse
Core Issue: Separateness
Typical Frustration: You are never there
Recurrent Feeling: Voracious rage and terror
Conflict Management: Hyperemotional, uncompromising; demanding, then giving in
Growth ChallengeLet go; do things on your own; negotiate

EXPLORATION STAGE: (18 months to 3 years)

The Isolator:  Minimizer, Rigid Boundaries
Basic Fear (Wound):   Being smothered, absorbed, humiliated, loss of parent (partner)
Internal Message  Don’t be separate
Core Belief:   I can’t say no and be loved
Relationship Belief: I will be absorbed if I get close
Image of Partner:  Insecure; too dependent; needy
Relationship to Partner: Sets limits on togetherness; passive/aggressive; acts out absorption fears by distancing
Core Issue: Personal freedom; autonomy
Typical Frustration: You need too much
Recurrent Feeling Recurrent Feeling: Fear and impotent fury
Conflict Management: Oppositional; distancing
Growth Challenge: Initiate closeness; share feelings; increase time together; integrate positive and negative traits in partner
The Pursuer:  Maximizer, Diffuse Boundaries
Basic Fear (Wound):  Unreliability of others, abandonment; loss of parent (partner)
Internal Message  Don’t be dependent
Core Belief:   I can’t count on anyone
Relationship Belief:  If I act independent, you will abandon me
Image of Partner:   Distant; has no needs
Relationship to Partner:  Ambivalent pursuit and withdrawal
Core Issue:  Partner reliability; support; standing
Typical Frustration:  You are never there when I need you
Recurrent Feeling: Panic and anger
Conflict Management: Blaming, demanding; chasing; complaining; devaluing
Growth Challenge: Initiate separateness; develop outside interests; internalize partner; integrate positive and negative traits of partner


At the age of three, Louie saw coals in the stove and was captivated by the light of the coal. He put the coal in his apron, which caught on fire and seared his face. He carried these scars for the rest of his life. Age three made for an IDENTITY crisis and his choices were either a CONTROLLER or the DIFFUSER. In Louie Kahn’s case a scarred face and the fear of being shamed placed him in the role of the CONTROLLER.

The Controller:  Minimizer, Rigid Boundaries
Basic Fear (Wound): Being shamed; loss of control; losing face; loss of parental (partner) love
Internal Message  Don’t be what you want to be, be what we want you to be
Core Belief:   I can’t be me and be accepted and loved
Relationship Belief:  I’ll be safe if I stay in control
Image of Partner:   Unorganized; scatterbrained; over-emotional
Relationship to Partner:  Domineering; critical; invasive; withholding
Core Issue:  Partner’s emotional liability, chaos, and passivity
Typical Frustration:  You want me to be somebody else; you don’t know what you want
Recurrent Feeling:  Shame and anger
Conflict Management:  Rigidly imposes will; super-rational with occasional angry outbursts; takes charge; punishes
Growth Challenge:  Relax control; mirror partner’s thoughts and feelings; develop flexibility and sensitivity

The Diffuser:  Maximizer, Diffuse Boundaries
Basic Fear (Wound):  Being invisible, self-assertion, loss of parental (partner) love 
Internal Message  Don’t assert yourself
Core Belief: I’ll never be seen, valued, and accepted
Relationship Belief:  I’ll be loved if I go along and please others
Image of Partner:   Insensitive; controlling
Relationship to Partner:  Submissive; passive-aggressive; manipulative
Core Issue:  Partner rigidity and dominance
Typical Frustration:  You never see me; you want everything your way
Recurrent Feeling:  Shame and confusion
Conflict Management:  Confused; alternates between compliance and defiance; exaggerates emotions; makes few suggestions; self-effacing
Growth Challenge:  Assert yourself; set boundaries for yourself; respect boundaries of others


The Competitor:  Minimizer, Rigid Boundaries
Basic Fear (Wound):   Being a failure, guilt and disapproval, fear of parental (partner) disapproval
Internal Message  Don’t make mistakes
Core Belief:  I have to be perfect
Relationship Belief:  I’ll be loved if I am the best
Image of Partner):   Manipulative; incompetent
Relationship to Partner:  Competitive; aggressive; puts partner down
Core Issue:  Control; battle for who’s boss
Typical Frustration:  You are never satisfied
Recurrent Feeling:  Anger and guilt
Conflict Management:  Competes for control
Growth Challenge:  Accept competence; become cooperative; mirror and value partner’s efforts

The Compromiser:  Maximizer, Diffuse Boundaries
Basic Fear (Wound): Being aggressive, successful, competent, and powerful, losing parental (partner) approval
Internal Message  Don’t be powerful
Core Belief:  I don’t know what to do; I can’t be aggressive or express anger
Relationship Belief:  I’ll be loved if I am good and cooperative
Image of Partner:   Never satisfied; has to win
Relationship to Partner: Manipulative; compromising; sabotaging
Core Issue:  Feeling controlled; efforts not valued
Typical Frustration:  You always have to win
Recurrent Feeling:  Helpless and resentful
Conflict Management:  Compromises; manipulates
Growth Challenge: Be direct; express power; develop competence; praise partner’s success

The Loner:  Minimizer, Rigid Boundaries
Basic Fear (Wound): Ostracism by peers; parental (partner) rejection
Internal Message  Don’t be close
Core Belief:  I am not lovable
Relationship Belief:  I’ll be hurt if I try to be close
Image of Partner:   Gregarious and intrusive
Relationship to Partner:  Exclude partner from inner world; make unilateral plans; counter-dependent
Core Issue: Partner intrusiveness
Typical Frustration:  You don’t like me; you won’t leave me alone
Recurrent Feeling:  Resentment and depression
Conflict Management:  Avoids conflict; sulks
Growth Challenge:  Develop same-sex friends; join partner in socializing; share feelings and thoughts with partner; become inclusive

The Caretaker:  Maximizer, Diffuse Boundaries
Basic Fear (Wound): Having or expressing needs; being excluded; parental (partner) rejection
Internal Message  Don’t have any needs of your own
Core Belief: Others need me
Relationship Belief:  I’ll be loved if I meet your needs
Image of Partner: Unappreciative
Relationship to Partner: Self-sacrificing; intrusive
Core Issue: Partner’s exclusion
Typical Frustration: You don’t appreciate me or my efforts
Recurrent Feeling: Resentment; depression
Conflict Management: Tries to be understanding and nice
Growth Challenge: Express needs to partner and others; self-care; respect partner’s privacy; take time alone


The Rebel:  Minimizer, Rigid Boundaries
Basic Fear (Wound):  Being controlled by others (parent/partner)
Internal Message:  Don’t grow up
Core Belief:  I am not trusted
Relationship Belief:  I’ll be controlled if I give up dissent
Image of Partner:  Too nice; counter-controlling; devalues partner
Relationship to Partner: Rebellious; controlling; devalues partner

Core Issue: Freedom to break the rules
Typical Frustration:  You are never on my side
Recurrent Feeling: Anger and disappointment
Conflict Management: Rebellious; suspicious of motives
Growth Challenge: Maintain self-identity; be responsible to others; learn to trust others
The Conformist:
 Maximizer, Diffuse Boundaries
Basic Fear (Wound): Being different from others; disapproval of parent (partner)
Internal Message: Don’t make waves
Core Belief: I have to be good
Relationship Belief: I have to hold things together
Image of Partner: Rebellious child
Relationship to Partner: Condescending; critical; controlling
Core Issue : Stability and cooperation
Typical Frustration: You won’t grow up; you always want to be different
Recurrent Feeling:  Angry self-righteousness
Conflict Management:  Tries to impose rules
Growth Challenge:  Experiment with being different; take risks, develop identity


Middle age is a time in which adults take on new job responsibilities and therefore often feel a need to reassess where they are and make changes while they feel they still have time. In his 1965 article “Death and the Midlife Crisis” for the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, psychologist Elliot Jaques coined the term “midlife crisis,” referring to a time when adults realize their own mortality and how much time they may have left in their lives.

The midlife transition (or crisis) can also be understood using a Myers-Briggs personality model stemming from the works of Carl Jung. The stages are as follows:

  • Accommodation—presenting ourselves as different people (“personae”) based on our situation
  • Separation—removing the personae we wear in different situations and assessing who we are underneath; rejecting your personae, even if only temporarily
  • Reintegration—feeling more certain of your true identity and adopting more appropriate personae
  • Individuation—recognizing and integrating the conflicts that exist within us, and achieving a balance between them

Kahn did not arrive at his distinctive architectural style until he was in his fifties. Initially working in a fairly orthodox version of the International Style, he was influenced vitally by a stay as Architect in Residence at the American Academy in Rome during 1950, which marked a turning point in his career. After visiting the ruins of ancient buildings in Italy, Greece, and Egypt, he adopted a back-to-the-basics approach. He developed his own style as influenced by earlier modern movements, but not limited by their sometimes-dogmatic ideologies.

At the age of 61 Kahn started work on the (National Assembly Building) in Dhaka, Bangladesh , one of the twentieth century’s greatest architectural monuments, and without question Kahn’s magnum opus.”

Louie Kahn followed his karmic path, The Way of Reform in the field of Architecture and setting an example for all of us architect wannabees. As they say and believe in Bangladesh putting the hot coal in his apron scarring his face for life was his karma. Designing buildings as the sole practitioner late in life was his dharma.



All that glisters is not gold;

Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgement old
Your answer had not been inscroll’d
Fare you well, your suit is cold.

I boarded a KC-130 cargo plane on August 15, 1971 for a free ride to Rio de Janeiro, with an intermediate stop in Panama. The next morning I reported to Howard Air-force Base operations and got a “sorry Charlie” no flight to Brazil today – Nixon closed the Gold Window – nobody knows what to do.


I never liked ‘Tricky Dick’ after I stood on the curb to wave at his caravan from the Cincinnati airport when he was the 1960 Republican candidate running against JFK. My enigmatic mother had raised me to read body language at the attenuated level of today’s most sophisticated facial recognition software. I voted for George Wallace in 1968 as a protest vote in the Nixon-Humphrey presidential race. Although I was drafted twice in the Vietnam era, what really hurt was Nixon’s signature on my Honorable Discharge document.


I was serving my last six months of military service as a recruiter in the OSO (Officer Selection Office) in my hometown Cincinnati, Ohio, when an USAF sergeant touted space-available free air travel on MAC flights. All I had to do was drive to Charleston, SC. and get on a jet plane – the embassy-run – going on it’s weekly visit to the ten capitals of South America. All went well, the Howard AFB softball baseball team and I were the only passengers riding inside this empty 747 sized aircraft. Four hours later we arrived at the base and my only confusion was asking for directions to the BOQ which is called VOQ (Visiting Officers Quarters) in air force lingo.

 It wasn’t until Brexit, QE (Quantitative Easing), Lehman Brothers and the 2008 crash, that  I began to realize what Tricky Dick had done to the world economy 45 years ago. I got a ‘D’ in economics but after university I got an ‘A’ in new home sales because I knew enough about how-it-works to explain 100% financing, as no money down, to my first time home buyers.

However, the ‘invisible hand’ of Richard Nixon reaffirmed my lack of economic acumen when I took a liar loan (stated income) from Citi-mortgage in January 2008, using the naive thought that if the bank gives you the money it must be okay. When I should have gone with if you don’t need the money, it’s okay. Tricky Dick’s trick was to renege on the Bretton Woods Agreement.


All the king’s men and all the king’s horses met at the George Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New York to let the US dollar be the world’s reserve currency as long as it was linked to gold, $35/oz in 1971. Truman, Eisenhower, and JFK played by the rules of the agreement but LBJ couldn’t pay for his “guns and butter” agenda of Vietnam and the ‘Great Society.’ Therefore, in 1965 and 1968 Congress helped him out by removing the 25% dollar/gold cover – every Federal Reserve Note issued they were required to have 1/4th of the denomination in bank vault gold.

This action allowed the Fed to print money to its heart’s content and enabled the politicians to spend it to infinity and beyond. The ‘Nixon Shock’ followed me to Park Ridge, Illinois Hillary Clinton’s hometown. I was hired by The Austin Company in May 1974 to watch while inflation went to 12% and the interest rate hit 21%. My East European co-workers opened Swiss bank accounts and contemplated the firm’s $100 offer if we bought a GM car, under the, “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country,” banner.


Now I understand the ’73 Oil Embargo. The Saudi’s were paid in dollars and after Nixon debased the currency they raised the price from $2.50 a barrel to $25.00. Oil became liquid gold with an inverse relationship with the dollar. The more money the Fed prints the higher per barrel price of oil. That was true until 2015 when global GDP stopped growing and the demand for oil fell way below the supply.

My father made me a jitney, the forerunner of the go-kart. He put a lawnmower motor in my Red Flyer wagon and off I went cruising the neighbor at sub 20 mph speeds because he wisely installed a governor on the engine – no matter how much I put the pedal to the metal I couldn’t go above the twenty mark. So, you see what Tricky Dick did on August 15th, 1971 was remove the governor entirely – no more four to one ratio for gold backed Federal Reserve Bank Notes, just let her rip.

RELIGION: Depends On the Street Where You Were Born


Arthur Miller would never have married Marilyn Monroe if he had titled his book, “Nervous Breakdown of a Salesman,” but that is how I discovered how life is all about Race, Religion, Politics, Sex and Money. I asked to be a salesman because I needed Money and like asking a bank, if you need it don’t ask.

After I was fired the first time I joined 40+, listed my ten life accomplishments, practiced interviewing and got another chance to hear, “I hate to let you go.” When my demonic boss convinced me to get on my knees and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior I knew my childhood confusion about religion had caught up with me.


Life is all about Race, Religion, Politics, Sex and Money. Growing up on Mooney Avenue as a Christian Scientist in a fifty-fifty neighborhood of Catholics and Protestants, religion, not race, politics, sex and money was my problem. At Walnut Hills High School, one third Jew, one third Black, one third White I still didn’t feel like I fit in and week-daily retreated to Mooney Avenue as soon as the last bell rang. My first three years at the University of Cincinnati I drove, instead of taking the bus, but the routine was the same get home as soon as my last class ended.

surfs up

Twenty-one was my personal emancipation year – voted for Goldwater, joined Sigma Chi Fraternity, moved into the fraternity house, graduated from Sunday school, got drunk, wrecked my ’63 Corvette Stingray, took my first aspirin and left my celibate ‘emotional geek’ lifestyle for the greener hedonist streets beyond Mooney Avenue.

Montserrat Quai

Graduated with a B.S. of Architecture, magnum cum ‘skin of my teeth,’ joined the US Marine Corps for three years of ‘man-up’ training, voted for George Wallace, married an adult child of alcoholic German-Catholic parents and moved to nove-cuatro-nove, Avenida Higeninoplis, Sao Paulo, Brasil. A year after our arrival, Jimmy Carter, sent Roslyn and a Black guy from the State Department to preach human rights to Latin America’s dictator leaders, giving me my first glimpse of race, religion, politics, sex and money in action overseas.

The money part I learned the hard way, while my engineer co-workers lived within their means my ACAP partner and I augmented my salary with loans from nine different banks. Three years later the jig was up and I returned to Christian Science to save my fiscal ass. It didn’t work so I tried attaching an EMBA to my CV and pursuing a sales career which premeditated my mid-life crash.

My second marriage alleviated my Money and Sex worries so that I could move on to Race and Politics. In my sophomore ‘widower’ year, I traveled to Eugene, Oregon where they know nothing of Race and everything “off the wall” about Politics. The “Ducks” swim on the most politically active college campus in America, Obama visited three times in his 2008 campaign. Obama memorabilia accounts for one third of the city’s GDP, logging reparations and coffee bars make up the remainder. If I’m not mistaken, Obama was the first Black man to visit Oregon.

However, my hedonist underbelly soon relieved me of all the money I brought from Texas and I was forced to run away to China to make ends meet. After four years of whistling past the ATM machine, my ‘higher power’ took pity on me by sending a thrifty hedonist marriage partner. Our combined 12 years of teaching ESL in China has proven to be our only marketable life skill, and so it is. Our expat lifestyle has demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt, that life outside the US is hedonist heaven. But even in heaven it’s still all about Race, Religion, Politics, Sex and Money.

Camel Neighorhood

Our landlord says we are living at Hasim Iscan Mah. 1307 Sok. Muratpasa/Antalya, Turkey 07100, but little does he know that Jane’s still at 1506 Muscatine Avenue in Iowa City and I never left 3531 Mooney. I wonder what the Turks think about Race, Religion, Politics, Sex and Money? We’ll soon find out.

RACE: “White Guilt”


“On Being Black and Middle Class”

Shelby Steele (1988)

Shelby Steele is an African American author, columnist, documentary film maker, and a Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, specializing in the study … January 1, 1946 (age 70), Chicago, IL.

One of the most controversial selections to have appeared in The Best American Essay series, Shelby Steele’s 1988 essay disturbed readers who saw it not as a black writer’s candid account of his divided identity but rather as an assimilationist endorsement of white America.  In refusing to define himself solely along racial lines, Steele appeared to be turning his back on his own people.  His essay, however, calls into question this very dilemma: Steele wonders why black middle-class Americans are somehow expected to celebrate the black underclass as the “purest” representation of African American identity.  While maintaining that he has more in common with middle-class Americans than with underclass blacks, Steele confesses that he often finds himself contriving to be black, aligning himself with a “victim-focused black identity.”  He concludes his essay with a distinction he believes African Americans must make if they are to enjoy the opportunities open to them: they must learn, he says, to distinguish between “actual victimization” and “identification with the victim’s status.”  In his resistance to that kind of “identification,” Steele establishes his own “identity” as a writer and individual.


Shelby Steele is a professor of English at San Jose State University. His collection of essays, The Content of Our Character, won the National Book Critics Circles Award for general nonfiction in 1991.  His essays have appeared in a wide variety of periodicals, including Harper’s, The American Scholar, Commentary, The New Republic, Confrontation, Black World, and The New York Times Magazine.  “On Being Black and Middle Class” originally appeared in Commentary (1988) and was selected by Geoffrey Wolff for The Best American Essays 1989.

“On Being Black and Middle Class”

   Not long ago, a friend of mine, black like myself, said to me that the term “black middle class” was actually a contradiction in terms.  Race, he insisted, blurred class distinctions among blacks.  If you were black, you were just black and that was that.  When I argued, he let his eyes roll at my naivete.  Then he went on.  For us, as black professionals, it was an exercise in self-flattery, a pathetic pretension, to give meaning to such a distinction.  Worse, the very idea of class threatened the unity that was vital to the black community as a whole.  After all, since when had white America taken note of anything but color when it cane to blacks?  He then reminded me of an old Malcolm X line that had been popular in the sixties.

Question: What is a black man with a PhD?  Answer: A nigger.

For many years I had been on my friend’s side of this argument.   Much of my conscious thinking on the old conundrum of race and class was shaped during my high school and college years in the race-charged sixties, when the fact of my race took on an almost religious significance.

Progressively, from the mid-sixties on, more and more aspects of my life found their explanation, their justification, and their motivation in race. My youthful concerns about career, romance, money, values, and even styles of dress became a subject to consultation with various oracular sources of racial wisdom.  And these ranged from a figure as ennobling as Martin Luther King, Jr., to the underworld elegance of dress I found in jazz clubs on the South Side of Chicago.  Everywhere there were signals, and in those days I considered myself so blessed with clarity and direction that I pitied my white classmates who found more embarrassment than guidance in the fact of their race.  In 1968, inflated by my new power, I took a mischievous delight in calling them culturally disadvantaged.


But now, hearing my friend’s comment was like hearing a priest from a church I’d grown disenchanted with.  I understood him, but my faith was weak.  What had sustained me in the sixties sounded monotonous and off the mark in the eighties.  For me, race had lost much of its juju, its singular capacity to conjure meaning.  And today, when I honestly look at my life and the lives of many other middle-class blacks I know, I can see that race never fully explained our situation in American society.  Black though I may be,  it is impossible for me to sit in my single-family house with two cars in the driveway and a swing set in the back yard and not see the role class has played in my life. And how can my friend, similarly raised and similarly situated, not see it? Yet despite my certainty I felt a sharp tug of guilt as I tried to explain myself over my friend’s skepticism. He is a man of many comedic facial expressions and, as I spoke, his brow lifted in extreme moral alarm as if I were uttering the unspeakable. His clear implication was that I was being elitist and possibly (dare he suggest?) anti-black-crimes for which there might well be no redemption. He pretended to fear for me. I chuckled along with him, but inwardly I did wonder at myself. Though I never doubted the validity of what I was saying, I felt guilty saying it. Why? After he left (to retrieve his daughter from a dance lesson) I realized that the trap I felt myself in had a tiresome familiarity and, in a sort of slow-motion epiphany, I began to see its outline. It was like the suddenly sharp vision one has at the end of a burdensome; marriage when all the long-repressed incompatibilities come undeniably to light. What became clear to me is that people like myself, my friend and middle-class blacks generally, are caught in a very specific double bind that keeps two equally powerful elements of our identity at odds with each other. The middle-class values by which we were raised-the work ethic, the importance of education, the value of property ownership, of respectability, of “getting ahead,” of stable family life, of initiative, of self-reliance, etc.-are, in themselves, raceless and even assimilationist. They urge us toward participation in the American mainstream, toward integration, toward a strong identification with the society-and toward the entire constellation of qualities that are implied in the word “individualism.” These values are almost rules for how to prosper in a democratic, free-enterprise society that admires and rewards individual effort. They tell us to work hard for ourselves and our families and to seek our opportunities whenever they appear, inside or outside the confines of whatever ethnic group we may belong to.

mlk jr

But the particular pattern of racial identification that emerged in the sixties and that still prevails today urges middle-class blacks (and all blacks) in the opposite direction. This pattern asks us to see ourselves as an embattled minority, and it urges an adversarial stance toward the mainstream, an emphasis on ethnic consciousness over individualism. It is organized around an implied separatism. The Opposing thrust of these two parts of our identity results in the double bind of middle-class blacks. There is no forward movement on either plane that does not constitute backward movement on the other. This was the familiar trap I felt myself in while talking with my friend. As I spoke about class, his eyes reminded me that I was betraying race. Clearly, the two indispensable parts of my identity were a threat to each other. Of course when you think about it, class and race are both similar in some ways and also naturally opposed. They are two forms of collective identity with boundaries that intersect. But whether they clash or peacefully coexist has much to do with how they are defined. Being both black and middle class becomes a double bind when class and race are defined in sharply antagonistic terms, so that one must be repressed to appease the other.

But what is the “substance” of these two identities, and how does each establish itself in an individual’s overall identity? It seems to me that when we identify with any collective we are basically identifying with images that tell us what it means to be a member of that collective. Identity is not the same thing as the fact of membership in a collective; it is, rather, a form of self-definition, facilitated by images of what we wish our membership in the collective to mean. In this sense, the images we identify with may reflect the aspirations of the collective more than they reflect reality, and their content can vary with shifts in those aspirations. But the process of identification is usually dialectical. It is just as necessary to say what we are not  as it is to say what we are-so that finally identification comes about by embracing a polarity of positive and negative images. To identify as middle class, for example, I must have both positive and negative images of what being middle class entails; then I will know what I should and should not be doing in order to be middle class. The same goes for racial identity.

james baldwin

In the racially turbulent sixties the polarity of images that came to define racial identification was very antagonistic to the polarity that defined middle-class identification. One might say that the positive images of one lined up with the negative images of the other, so that to identify with both required either a contortionist’s flexibility or a dangerous splitting of the self. The double bind of the black middle class was in place….

The black middle class has always defined its class identity by means of positive images gleaned from middle- and upper-class white society, and by means of negative images of lower-class blacks. This habit goes back to the institution of slavery itself, when “house” slaves both mimicked the whites they served and held themselves above the “field” slaves. But in the sixties the old bourgeois impulse to dissociate from the lower classes (the “we-they” distinction) backfired when racial identity suddenly called for the celebration of this same black lower class. One of the qualities of a double bind is that one feels it more than sees it, and I distinctly remember the tension and strange sense of dishonesty I felt in those days as I moved back and forth like a bigamist between the demands of class and race.

Though my father was born poor, he achieved middle-class standing through much hard work and sacrifice (one of his favorite words) and by identifying fully with solid middle-class values-mainly hard work, family life, property ownership, and education for his children (all four of whom have advanced degrees). In his mind these were not so much values as laws of nature. People who embodied them made up the positive images in his class polarity. The negative images came largely from the blacks he had left behind because they were “going nowhere.”

black rednecks

No one in my family remembers how it happened, but as time went on, the negative images congealed into an imaginary character named Sam, who, from the extensive service we put him to, quickly grew to mythic proportions. In our family lore he was sometimes a trickster, sometimes a boob, but always possessed of a catalogue of sly faults that gave up graphic images of everything we should not be. On sacrifice: ”Sam never thinks about tomorrow. He wants it now or he doesn’t care about it.” On work: ”Sam doesn’t favor it too much.” On children: ”Sam likes to have them but not to raise them.” On money: “Sam drinks it up and pisses it out.” On fidelity: ”Sam has to have two or three women.” On clothes: “Sam features loud clothes. He likes to see and be seen.” And so on. Sam’s persona amounted to a negative instruction manual in class identity. I don’t think that any of us believed Sam’s faults were accurate representations of lower-class black life. He was an instrument of self-definition, not of sociological accuracy. It never occurred to us that he looked very much like the white racist stereotype of blacks, or that he might have been a manifestation of our own racial self-hatred. He simply gave us a counterpoint against which to express our aspirations.  If self-hatred was a factor, it was not, for us, a matter of hating lower-class blacks but of hating what we did not want to be.

Still, hate or love aside, it is fundamentally true that my middle-class identity involved a dissociation from images of lower-class black life and a corresponding identification with values and patterns of responsibility that are common to the middle class everywhere. These values sent me a clear message: be both an individual and a responsible citizen; understand that the quality of your life will approximately reflect the quality of effort you put into it; know that individual responsibility is the basis of freedom and that the limitations imposed by fate (whether fair or unfair) are no excuse for passivity. Whether I live up to these values or not, I know that my acceptance of them is the result of lifelong conditioning. I know also that I share this conditioning with middle-class people of all races and that I can no more easily be free of it than I can be free of my race. Whether all this got started because the black middle class modeled itself on the white middle class is no longer relevant. For the middle-class black, conditioned by these values from birth, the sense of meaning they provide is as immutable as the color of his skin.

I started the sixties in high school feeling that my class-conditioning was the surest way to overcome racial barriers. My racial identity was pretty much taken for granted. After all, it was obvious to the world that I was black. Yet I ended the sixties in graduate school a little embarrassed by my class background and with an almost desperate need to be “black.” The tables had turned. I knew very clearly (though I struggled to repress it) that my aspirations and my sense of how to operate in the world came from my class background, yet “being black” required certain attitudes and stances that made me feel secretly a little duplicitous. The inner compatibility of class and race I had known in 1960 was gone.

dream deferred

For blacks, the decade between 1960 and 1969 saw racial identification undergo the same sort of transformation that national Identity undergoes in times of war. It became more self-conscious, more narrowly focused, more prescribed, less tolerant of opposition. It spawned an implicit party line, which tended to disallow competing forms of identity. Race-as-identity was lifted from the relative slumber it knew in the fifties and pressed into service in a social and political war against oppression. It was redefined along sharp adversarial lines and directed toward the goal of mobilizing the great mass of black Americans in this warlike effort. It was imbued with a strong moral authority, useful for denouncing those who opposed it and for celebrating those who honored it as a positive achievement rather than as a mere birthright.

The form of racial identification that quickly evolved to meet this challenge presented blacks as a racial monolith, a singular people with a common experience of oppression. Differences within the race, no matter how ineradicable, had to be minimized. Class distinctions were one of the first such differences to be sacrificed, since they not only threatened racial unity but also seemed to stand in contradiction to the principle of equality which was the announced goal of the movement for racial progress.

The discomfort I felt in 1969, the vague but relentless sense of duplicity, was the result of a historical necessity that put my race and class at odds, that was asking me to cast aside the distinction of my class and identify with a monolithic view of my race. If the form of this racial identity was the monolith, its substance was victimization. The civil rights movement and the more radical splinter groups of the late sixties were all dedicated to ending racial victimization, and the form of black identity that emerged to facilitate this goal made blackness and victimization virtually synonymous. Since it was our victimization more than any other variable that identified and unified us, moreover, it followed logically that the purest black was the poor black. It was images of him that clustered around the positive pole of the race polarity; all other blacks were, in effect, required to identify with him in order to confirm their own blackness. Certainly there were more dimensions to the black experience than victimization, but no other had the same capacity to fire the indignation needed for war. So, again out of historical necessity, victimization became the overriding focus of racial identity. But this only deepened the double bind.


The fact that the poor black’s new status was only passively earned by the condition of his victimization, not by assertive, positive action, made little difference. Status was status apart from the means by which it was achieved, and along with it came a certain power-the power to define the terms of access to that status, to say who was black and who was not. If a lower-class black said you were not really “black”-a sellout, an Uncle Tom-the judgment was all the more devastating because it carried the authority of his status. And this judgment soon enough came to be accepted by many whites as well.

In graduate school I was once told by a white professor, “Well, but . . . you’re not really black. I mean, you’re not disadvantaged.” In his mind my lack of victim status disqualified me from the race itself. More recently I was complimented by a black student for speaking reasonably correct English, “proper” English as he put it. “But I don’t know if I really want to talk like that,” he went on. “Why not?” I asked. “Because then I wouldn’t be black no more,” he replied without a pause. To overcome his marginal status, the middle-class black had to identify with a degree of victimization that was beyond his actual experience. In college (and well beyond) we used to play a game called “nap matching.” It was a game of one-upmanship, in which we sat around outdoing each other with stories of racial victimization, symbolically measured by the naps of our hair. Most of us were middle class and so had few personal stories to relate, but if we could not match naps with our own biographies, we would move on to those legendary tales of victimization that came to us from the public domain.

The single story that sat atop the pinnacle of racial victimization for us was that of Emmett Till, the Northern black teenager who on a visit to the South in 1955, was killed and grotesquely mutilated for supposedly looking at or whistling at (we were never sure which, though we argued the point endlessly) a white woman. Oh, how we probed his story, finding in his youth and Northern upbringing the quintessential embodiment of black innocence, brought down by a white evil so portentous and apocalyptic, so gnarled and hideous, that it left us with a feeling not far from awe. By telling his story and others like it, we came to feel the immutability of our victimization, its utter indigenousness, as a thing on this earth like dirt or sand or water.

Of course, these sessions were a ritual of group identification, a means by which we, as middle-class blacks, could be at one with our race. But why were we, who had only a moderate experience of victimization (and that offset by opportunities our parents never had), so intent on assimilating or appropriating an identity that in so many ways contradicted our own? Because, I think, the sense of innocence that is always entailed in feeling victimized filled us with a corresponding feeling of entitlement, or even license, that helped us endure our vulnerability on a largely white college campus.

In my junior year in college I rode to a debate tournament with three white students and our faculty coach, an elderly English professor. The experience of being the lone black in a group of whites was so familiar to me that I thought nothing of it as our trip began. But then halfway through the trip the professor casually turned to me and, in an isn’t-the-world-funny sort of tone, said that he had just refused to rent an apartment in a house he owned to a “very nice” black couple because their color would “offend” the white couple who lived downstairs. His eyebrows lifted helplessly over his hawkish nose, suggesting that he too, like me, was a victim of America’s racial farce. His look assumed a kind of comradeship: he and I were above this grimy business of race, though for expediency we had occasionally to concede the world its madness.

My vulnerability in this situation came not so much from the professor’s blindness to his own racism as from his assumption that I would participate in it that I would conspire with him against my own race so that he might remain comfortably blind. Why did he think I would be amenable to this? I can only guess that he assumed my middle-class identity was so complete and all encompassing that I would see his action as nothing more than a trifling concession to the folkways of our land, that I would in fact applaud his decision not to disturb propriety. Blind to both his own racism and to me-one blindness serving the other-he could not recognize that he was asking me to betray my race in the name of my class.

His blindness made me feel vulnerable because it threatened to expose my own repressed ambivalence. His comment pressured me to choose between my class identification, which had contributed to my being a college student and a member of the debating team, and my desperate desire to be “black.” I could have one but not both; I was double-bound. Because double binds are repressed there is always an element of terror in them: the terror of bringing to the conscious mind the buried duplicity, self-deception, and pretense involved in serving two masters. This terror is the stuff of vulnerability, and since vulnerability is one of the least tolerable of all human feelings, we usually transform it into an emotion that seems to restore the control of which it has robbed us; most often, that emotion is anger. And so, before the professor had even finished his little story, I had become a furnace of rage. The year was 1967, and I had been primed by endless hours of nap-matching to feel, at least consciously, completely at one with the victim-focused black identity. This identity gave me the license, and the impunity, to unleash upon this professor one of those volcanic eruptions of racial indignation familiar to us from the novels of Richard Wright. Like Cross Damon in Outsider who kills in perfectly righteous anger, I tried to annihilate the man. I punished him not according to the measure of his crime but according to the measure of my vulnerability, a measure set by the cumulative tension of years of repressed terror. Soon I saw that terror in his face, as he stared hollow-eyed at the road ahead. My white friends in the back seat, knowing no conflict between their own class and race, were astonished that someone they had taken to be so much like themselves could harbor a rage that for all the world looked murderous.

Sugar Speakers Parking Lot

Though my rage was triggered by the professor’s comment, it was deepened and sustained by a complex of need, conflict, and repression in myself of which I had been wholly unaware. Out of my racial vulnerability I had developed the strong need of an identity with which to defend myself. The only such identity available was that of me as victim, him as victimizer. Once in the grip of this paradigm, I began to do far more damage to myself than he had done. Seeing myself as a victim meant that I clung all the harder to my racial identity, which, in turn, meant that I suppressed my class identity. This cut me off from all the resources my class values might have offered me. In those values, for instance, I might have found the means to a more dispassionate response, the response less of a victim attacked by a victimizer than of an individual offended by a foolish old man. As an individual I might have reported this professor to the college dean. Or I might have calmly tried to reveal his blindness to him, and possibly won a convert. (The flagrancy of his remark suggested a hidden guilt and even self-recognition on which I might have capitalized. Doesn’t confession usually signal a willingness to face oneself?) Or I might have simply chuckled and then let my silence serve as an answer to his provocation. Would not my composure, in any form it might take, deflect into his own heart the arrow he’d shot at me?  Instead, my anger, itself the hair-trigger expression of a long-repressed double bind, not only cut me off from the best of my own resources, it also distorted the nature of my true racial problem. The righteousness of this anger and the easy catharsis it brought buoyed the delusion of my victimization and left me as blind as the professor himself.

As a middle-class black I have often felt myself contriving to be “black.” And I have noticed this same contrivance in others-a certain stretching away from the natural flow of one’s life to align oneself with a victim-focused black identity. Our particular needs are out of sync with the form of identity available to meet those needs. Middle-class blacks need to identify racially; it is better to think of ourselves as black and victimized than not black at all; so we contrive (more unconsciously than consciously) to fit ourselves into an identity that denies our class and fails to address the true source of our vulnerability.

For me this once meant spending inordinate amounts of time at black faculty meetings, though these meetings had little to do with my real racial anxieties or my professional life. I was new to the university, one of two blacks in an English department of over seventy, and I felt a little isolated and vulnerable, though I did not admit it to myself. But at these meetings we discussed the problems of black faculty and students within a framework of victimization. The real vulnerability we felt was covered over by all the adversarial drama the victim/victimized polarity inspired, and hence went unseen and unassuaged. And this, I think, explains our rather chronic ineffectiveness as a group. Since victimization was not our primary problem-the university had long ago opened its doors to us-we had to contrive to make it so, and there is not much energy in contrivance. What I got at these meetings was ultimately an object lesson in how fruitless struggle can be when it is not grounded in actual need. At our black faculty meetings, the old equation of blackness with victimization was ever present-to be black was to be a victim; therefore, not to be a victim was not to be black. As we contrived to meet the terms of this formula there was an inevitable distortion of both ourselves and the larger university. Through the prism of victimization the university seemed more impenetrable than it actually was, and we more limited in our powers. We fell prey to the victim’s myopia, making the university an institution from which we could seek redress but which we could never fully join. And this mind-set often led us to look more for compensations for our supposed victimization than for opportunities we could pursue as individuals.


The discomfort and vulnerability felt by middle-class blacks in the sixties, it could be argued, was a worthwhile price to pay considering the progress achieved during that time of racial confrontation.  But what may have been tolerable then is intolerable now. Though changes in American society have made it an anachronism the monolithic form of racial identification that came out of the sixties is still very much with us. It may be more loosely held, and its power to punish heretics has probably diminished but it continues to catch middle-class blacks in a double bind thus impeding not only their own advancement but even, I would contend, that of blacks as a group.

The victim-focused black identity encourages the individual to feel that his advancement depends almost entirely on that of the group. Thus he loses sight not only of his own possibilities but of the inextricable connection between individual effort and individual advancement. This is a profound encumbrance today, when there is more opportunity for blacks than ever before, for it reimposes limitations that can have the same oppressive effect as those the society has only recently begun to remove. It was the emphasis on mass action in the sixties that made the victim-focused black identity a necessity. But in the eighties and beyond, when racial advancement will come only through a multitude of individual advancements, this form of identity inadvertently adds itself to the forces that hold us back. Hard work, education, individual initiative, stable family life, property ownership-these have always been the means by which ethnic groups have moved ahead in America. Regardless of past or present victimization, these “laws” of advancement apply absolutely to black Americans also. There is no getting around this. What we need is a form of racial identity that energizes the individual by putting him in touch with both his possibilities and his responsibilities.

It has always annoyed me to hear from the mouths of certain arbiters of blackness that middle-class blacks should “reach back” and pull up those blacks less fortunate than they-as though middle-class status were an unearned and essentially passive condition in which one needed a large measure of noblesse oblige to occupy one’s time. My own image is of reaching back from a moving train to lift on board those who have no tickets. A noble enough sentiment-but might it not be wiser to show them the entire structure of principles, efforts, and sacrifice that puts one in a position to buy a ticket any time one likes? This, I think, is something members of the black middle class can realistically offer to other blacks. Their example is not only a testament to possibility but also a lesson in method. But they cannot lead by example until they are released from a black identity that regards that example as suspect, that sees them as “marginally” black, indeed that holds them back by catching them in a double bind.

A Black man with an enslaved mind is a dangerous pawn (VIDEO)

  To move beyond the victim-focused black identity we must learn to make a difficult but crucial distinction: between actual victimization, which we must resist with every resource, and identification with the victim’s status. Until we do this we will continue to wrestle more with ourselves than with the new opportunities which so many paid so dearly to win.

Follow the Decline of MONEY

money bridge

We Have Been Thrown Under the Money Bridge

The Emperor is always the last to learn that he is not wearing any clothes. America somehow thinks that September 11th, 2001 is Pearl Harbor II. America is worried that Lehman’s downfall on September 15th 2008 is the remake of the “Crash of ’29,” in 3D. Obama, the current emperor, thinks like FDR, that his government can save America with affordable health care, a free college education, and something called cap and trade. Unlike FDR, there are only merchants in Obama’s realm, all the farmers and manufacturers are living and working in China.

When Roosevelt said, “The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself,” in one of his famous “fireside chats” to share his solution for the 1937 dust bowl, he had a more balanced citizenry of farmers, merchants and manufacturers. The farmers had stopped making money after WWI (1914-1919), the merchant bankers had gone bust in 1929, the manufacturers had laid-off, 25% of their employees, and then in 1937 the topsoil of the Texas-Oklahoma Panhandle blew away, to once again reveal Coronado’s “Inland Desert.” FDR, like all the well intentioned emperors of America, tried to solve the problem but in the end only made it worse.

Obama, the merchant CEO, and Xi Jinping, the manufacturer-plantation overseer, are co-captaining the world’s largest super-tanker in uncharted waters. The co-captains are joined daily in the officers’ mess, by industry lobbyists, political party leaders and government technocrats, while the farmer crew cannibalizes the sea and soil, to keep the ship afloat. The earth is the iceberg and two-thirds of the problem lies below its surface. This is not a redo of ‘Titanic’ it’s the ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ and Denzel Washington is under contract to play Obama. The evidence of impending disaster is everywhere, climate change, world hunger, US addiction to a corn obesity diet, desertification, over population, and the gaping disparity in rural-urban income.

Obama, the merchant CEO, has chosen to ignore the ‘Terrestrial Carbon Sequestration’ counsel of soil management experts and stick with the same merchant bankers who created the Lehman dance, while believing that this time, it will be different. The new FDR, thinks Roosevelt was using the “Farmer’s Almanac,” as a teleprompter when he delivered his “The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself,” quote. The tagline of the Obama administration is, “Yes, we won’t have inflation, even though we printed twice as much money, as we have in the bank.”

Xi Jinping, after his yearlong honeymoon with Obama, aboard the US-Sino Love boat, now thinks that the U.S. married China only for the dowry. After all China had sustained itself for 5,000 years, suffering only occasional bouts of indigestion, brought on by the unintended consequences of governmental actions. China and President Xi wouldn’t even be talking to President Obama, if ‘Tricky Dick’ hadn’t made that cold call on Chairman Mao. Can you blame Xi and the Chinese government for their skepticism when the U.S. never gave China the time of the day, until Wall Street collapsed? Then again Xi had no choice but to accept the co-captainship, because those no good Yankee merchant bankers had already sold China a bunch of ‘too big to fail’ banknotes.

Marco Polo, the first Yankee peddler who visited China, went back to Venice, bearing the technological advancements of printing, gun powder, and paper money, along with silk, the rude produce of the land. However, 600 years later, the Chinese emperors started losing faith in welcoming foreigners, after the British, under the banner of Yankee Imperialism, waged their “War to Sell Drugs.” China holed-up in her ‘mansion’ until those pesky Yankee traders, dangled the baubles of the Asian Tigers in front of Deng Xiaoping. As Professor Jiang has noted, from that day forward the Chinese farmer stopped making a living.

I think the boys up top need some help from down below. Yes, they are our leaders, our only hope of saving the world from itself. Yes, they are well intentioned, well educated, well respected and well thought of, and they still need our help. They could have used some pre-marital counseling, but as in most shotgun marriages there was no time for that. How do we tell the boss what he should do? How do we, in the ‘new top down world order’ speak up? How do we tell the co-emperors that they aren’t wearing any clothes?

Ever since Lincoln was shot, America’s farmers, manufacturers and merchants have tried to curry favor with the emperor and his entourage, by organizing themselves in associations. Alexis de Tocqueville, in 1835, came to the then 25 States, interviewed 200 business and political leaders, went back home and wrote his seminal work, “Democracy in America.” Tocqueville attributed America’s success in creating a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, to 1) associations of like-minded individuals, 2) a fresh start in the new world and 3) no interference from a powerful church. The United States and Mexico both were start-up constitutional democracies The Catholic Church divided the power with their colonial governments, whether they were democracies or dictatorships. Karl Rove’s Christian coalition is an example of the damage that can be done when religion is used to win an election. However, the power behind the Yankees, was their need to form associations of individuals united in a common cause. These networks of local citizens were then able to speak with one voice, on issues that were important to their members.

One such association, known as the Grange, after the end of the Civil War in 1867, helped the farmer get his fresh start after the two centuries of unintended consequences, caused by the slavery form of agricultural subsidies. The Grange actually was one of several adult education movements after the War and had contemporaries like the Knights of Labor and the Farmers’ Alliance. The National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, as it is officially known, was conceived by Oliver Hudson Kelley and several of his colleagues at the – believe it or not – U S. Department of Agriculture. The term “Grange” comes from England and means an old estate where a variety of agricultural activities were carried on. The mission of the Grange was meant to:

1) advance agriculture through education; 2) make farmers more aware of new farming methods and legislation that was affecting them; 3) improve the living and working conditions of farming families; 4) organize cooperative economic power; and 5) overcome their isolation. (Stubblefield, 1994)

The Grange had a rocky beginning, taking on and promising too much at once. They had their greatest gain during the depression of 1873, when farmers turned to politics to cure their political problems. By 1874, almost nine thousand Granges with a membership of 643,125 had been organized in twenty-four states (Woods, 1991). It declined thereafter, but picked up again in the late 1880s (Buck, 1913).

One of the Grange’s contribution as a movement was creating social and educational opportunities at the local, state and national level. They had some outside lecturers, but relied heavily on their own membership to interchange views, prepare papers, debates, and talks about issues of interest. It was less about getting knowledge from the “experts” than gathering information and forming opinions themselves, from the ground up through group involvement.

The Grange movement won several political battles for farmers. They strongly influenced the breakup of the power of railroads that set exorbitant prices for shipping crops and goods. This made it possible for farmers to actually make a living, instead of giving their earnings to the railroads to ship their produce. They conceived of and pushed for rural mail delivery, improved rural highways and greatly influenced the establishment and quality of rural schools. These are a few among many political accomplishments that the Grange was instrumental in bringing to the national, state and local debate.

Perhaps most unique as an organization of its time, the Grange was a forward-looking leader in the way that it handled membership and the participation of women. When the Grange was first in the minds of its creators, the men who were discussing it did not even consider membership of women to their organization. Caroline Hall, the niece of founder Oliver Hudson Kelley, told her uncle, “Your organization will never be permanent if you leave the women out!” (Gardner, 1949) The Grange went on to include women as full voting members, able to hold any of the sixteen offices in each local Grange hierarchy. Women became Grange masters, chaplains, secretaries, lecturers, gate keepers, etc. In fact, in order to begin a Grange, four of the necessary ten members had to be women. For many years’ women enjoyed many more rights and responsibilities within the Grange than in general American society.

Ask 10 people nowadays what the Grange is and they look puzzled. “Something to do with farms,” and “I’ve seen their halls,” is as close as they can come to defining the oldest agricultural organization in the country.

But in its heyday in the 1870s and in its strong community presence into the 1960s, the Grange was a force to be reckoned with. It was heralded for improving rural life even as some called it a cult. It was appreciated for providing halls and social gatherings that put the heart in some small communities.

income-inequality-usa-14 (1)

The farmers, after WWI, started abandoning the countryside for jobs in the cities, and formed associations of merchants and manufacturers, like Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, and Toastmasters. The first three organizations were formed to help the individual business man succeed through the contacts and social relationships formed while performing community service projects. Toastmasters started out as a self-improvement (public speaking) offering of the Anaheim, CA, YMCA.

Zone Lion

At age fifty, following my mid-life crisis I joined Kiwanis, Lions, Toastmasters, and the late ‘30’s self-help group Alcoholics Anonymous. The Follett Lions Club was the Chamber of Commerce and the only non-denominational group in population 400, Follett, TX. ‘Vernie’ Schoenhals was the only farmer member and he was retired. We had the Texas A&M, PhD economist – I billed him as ‘the Alan Greenspan of the Prairie” – do an analysis on what the community could do to save itself from extinction. His well thought out answer was that we had a good transportation system – we could leave town by US 15 or hop a freight train. I could have called in a priest to give us ‘last rights’ but the Baptist majority wouldn’t have gone for it.

Barn Sugar Speakers

I joined Sugar Speaker Toastmasters when Shelby returned us back to Houston, to practice my, “why you should drive fifty miles out in the country for a $12 gallon of goat’s milk.” Maybe I should have joined the Optimist Club but as it turned out, talking out loud to your friends and fellow members has similar benefits to AA and group therapy that Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions and the Optimists can’t provide. Around midway in my stay at Sugar Speakers, Toastmasters International, began promoting itself as the world leader in both communications and leadership skills training.

I didn’t pay attention or immediately buy into that leadership stuff because after all I was a graduate (barely) from the nine month officers’ training course offered by U.S. Marine Corps, at Quantico, Virginia. However, eighteen months in Middle Kingdom Toastmasters Club, in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China, had proven to me that I only learned the steps, the rules of leadership. Probably because my higher power and most assuredly the USMC didn’t want me to endanger the lives of others under my command, I never went to war. I was terrified of standing in front of the 127 enlisted in my artillery battery, and saying, “Men, follow me!” I’d rather try to tell 127 anybodies about my latest and greatest idea and cower at the first raised eyebrow of disbelief.

My Toastmasters experience in China is different, no raised eyebrows, just a “what did he say look,” no matter what topic I was pontificating on at the time. But real leadership training, I got because I was the only Yankee Toastmaster in the club. The Marine Corps only taught me the dance steps but Toastmasters China I got to practice dancing in front of a live audience.

In China, I was not self-conscious about my dancing, communication and leadership skills because nobody from my cultural group was watching. There are 300 million young adults (80 percent women, average age 24) who hunger and thirst for the Toastmasters oral English communications and leadership opportunity. Why? So they can get a good job, make money and see the world.

The Grange Society is dead, domestically Lions, Kiwanis and Rotary are, ‘on the ropes’ only AA (recovery of self) and Toastmasters (self realization) are growing at home and abroad. At Sugar Speakers, the membership is comprised of merchants of service (engineers, consultants, accountants, insurance, etc.), while the membership of Beijing Advanced, On The Way and Middle Kingdom is primarily merchants of educational services and manufacturers of technology hardware and software.

“All things considered,” my goal is to introduce Toastmasters to Henan and Zhenghou Universities as the most effective and efficient way to learn to speak English fluently and while learning the international language, develop their communication and leadership skills. The college crowd can then bring the farmer population on board with Mandarin Toastmaster clubs. Think of it as a Grange Society with Chinese characteristics.

iT’s In The Cards

Tour_Cheat beter

You want to believe in astrology and fortune telling but you just can’t accept it a 100%. As an architect, I was a failure at trigonometry, calculus and not interested in mathematical calculations or charts of any kind, least of all the movements of planets. I needed visual images to understand. In Eugene, Oregon, home of all things strange, I was introduced to ordinary playing cards, as a system to easily describe an individual’s past, present, and future. It is like using Bill Gates’ “Windows.” I don’t know the first thing about how it works but I know how to use it.

card suits

 Let Me Help You, With Your Unbelief

When, I was a small boy, my father and I were catching fish, right and left, “hand over fist,” on a beach in Florida. We dug a hole in the sand bank to put the fish in for safe keeping. However, we were so busy catching fish, that we didn’t notice the rising tide, creeping ever higher up the sand bank, until a big wave came ashore and washed our entire catch out to sea. Astrology is just like the changing times of high and low tide, mathematical computations of the moon’s orbit and the forces of gravity.

The Chinese are more superstitious than the West, most probably because they invented or discovered, depending on your beliefs, the science of astrology 5,000 years ago. However, my survey of Toastmasters members found no one who believed in Astrology or Fortune-Tellers and only a few who thought that there was some truth in fate or destiny. I became a believer when my prospective partner asked me – no admonished is a better choice – the Who Am I question. I was told that everyone needed to become self-aware to discover their true Who Am I-ness. Sure enough, when I read the karmic path description for 9/13/43, in Gary Goldschneider’s “Destiny,” I found that I was ignorantly following “The Way of Resolve.” Unfortunately, even though I was in my sixty-fifth year on the road, I hadn’t gone anywhere.


Goldschneider, is a traditional western astrologer and his three volumes, “The Language of Birthdays,” “Destiny,” and “Relationships,” tell you who you are, where you’re going and how you get along with others. They don’t tell you where you are in the 0-99 life cycle. This is where ordinary playing cards, make the past, present and future easily understandable. The Chinese also created the first playing cards, complete with the four suits and face (court) cards in the 9th century. Later, they applied the designs to the tiles (also called cards) used in Mah Jong (Ma Jiang), using four sets of red, green and white dragons ,  which, one thousand years later, became our four sets of King, Queen, and Jack. 

In the beginning the emperor had his team of astrologers gazing up at the sky day and night, to glean his future. Gradually lesser ranking leaders wanted to know the secrets of the constellations. It turns out, that like the gravitational force of the moon determines the timing of ocean tides, so it is for people simply by knowing the date of their birth. The Chinese based their calcs on the Lunar calendar and the West on the Solar but both provide a cradle to grave road map of our lives. Ordinary playing cards represent the 52 weeks and four cards (birth, ego, debit & credit) delineate the individual destines for each of the 366 possible birthdays.

By the thirteenth century, the concept of playing cards had traveled (or invented, if you ask the Egyptians) to the Middle East. The Islamic types are represented by a deck preserved in the Topkapi Museum, Istanbul. These hand-painted cards, potentially the world’s oldest survivors, originated in Mamluke Egypt before 1500. The deck is fragmented but clearly consisted of 52 cards arranged in four suits, each with ten numeral cards and three court cards (Commander, Lt. Commander, 2nd Lieutenant). The Islamic suit signs were coins (perhaps descendants of the Chinese coins), cups, swords and polo sticks. Some experts see these signs as emblematic of four officers serving in the sultan’s court: perhaps treasurer, cup-bearer, sword-bearer and polo-master.

 Leave it to the French card makers, c. 1470, to dress up the cards, and creating the familiar suit signs of Spades, Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds (which the French call Spearheads, Hearts, Trefoils and Squares). The cards no longer required carved blocks but could be quickly and cheaply made from ordinary stencils. A notable printmaking center was Rouen, France, and from this city cards were imported by the English. Thence, by stages, the same designs reached the American colonies, especially the U.S.A and eventually the world.


Tarot Death card today’s Ace of Spades

Tarot Travel card with its descendant the Five of Spades

Italian card makers preserved the Queen, along with a King, Knight and Valet, for use in a new game, c 1420, called Tarocco. Also added were a wild card (the Fool) and 21 special cards, mystical symbols that served as trumps (originally meaning “triumphs”). Among the Florentines, the trump suit expanded until their Tarocco set totaled 97 cards.

The game spread northwards, called Tarot by speakers of French and Tarock by the Germans. In Germany and Austro-Hungary, the trump cards were allowed to illustrate any variety of new scenes and subjects. In all nations, the concept of trumps also came to be applied to common cards, no longer requiring any picture cards beyond the usual courts.

The Tarot did not acquire its modern use by fortune tellers until the 1780s when French scholars interpreted the Old Italian symbols as “hieroglyphs” from ancient Egypt, the reputed source of Western magic and occult philosophy. Now, Tarot decks are made, sold and advertised for divination, with no awareness that they were originally used in common games.  Olney_Richmond2Olney Richmond brought the current system of astrology using ordinary playing cards to the public’s attention in 1894.

Robert Camp ‘s Love Cards uses modern day psycho-babble terminology to update Olney’s work and help the layman understand the four topics of common interest: MONEY, RELATIONSHIPS, HEALTH & WORK.

gary goldschneider

Gary Goldschneider is arguably America’s foremost Astrologer. His three books are the Encylopedia of Birthdays, Relationships and Destiny. Now, all three books are on the web at www.thesecretlanguage of

Roy Gillett Published on May 23, 2013 I want to buy this  more recent tutorial on Astrology, because of its illustrations. I’m not interested in becoming or practicing Astrology, much in the same way I use Windows 10 for the things I can do with it.

swami tegAt iT’s In The Cards and gregory I combine Robert Camp’s Love Cards with GaryGoldschneider’s Language of Birthdays, Destiny and Relationships for each day of the year.

swami teg

DR. SEUSS: Primer for 2nd Language Acquisition

Green Eggs and Ham

Number of Characters: TWO (2)

 Sam I Am Sam-I-amNot Sam I Am Friend

Reading Level: 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade

Setting: In a house, on a boat, in a car, in a train

Suggested Props to Make: green eggs, ham, a fox, a mouse, a box, a goat, a tree

Vocabulary: The book has exactly 50 words: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, Sam-I-am, say, see, so, thank, that, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you



I Am SamSam-I-am: I am Sam. Sam-I-am

Friend: That Sam-I-am! That Sam-I-am! I do not like that Sam-I-am!

未标题-9pg 10 11

Sam-I-am: Do you like green eggs and ham?

Friend: I do not like them, Sam-I-am. I do not like green eggs and ham.


Sam-I-am: Would you like them here or there?

Friend: I would not like them here or there. I would not like them anywhere. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam-I-am.

未标题-18Sam-I-am: Would you like them in a house? Would you like them with a mouse?

Friend: I do not like them in a house. I do not like them with a mouse. I do not like them here or there. I do not like them anywhere. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

未标题-23Sam-I-am: Would you eat them in a box? Would you eat them with a fox?

Friend: Not in a box. Not with a fox. Not in a house. Not with a mouse. I would not eat them here or there. I would not eat them anywhere. I would not eat green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

未标题-27Sam-I-am: Would you? Could you? In a car? Eat them! Eat them! Here they are.

Friend: I would not, could not, in a car.

未标题-29Sam-I-am: You may like them. You will see. You may like them in a tree!

Friend: I would not, could not in a tree. Not in a car! You let me be. I do not like them in a box. I do not like them with a fox. I do not like them in a house. I do not like them with a mouse. I do not like them here or there. I do not like them anywhere. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

未标题-33Sam-I-am: A train! A train! A train! A train! Could you, would you, on a train?

Friend: Not on a train! Not in a tree! Not in a car! Sam! Let me be! I would not, could not, in a box. I could not, would not, with a fox. I will not eat them with a mouse. I will not eat them in a house. I will not eat them here or there. I will not eat them anywhere. I do not eat green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

未标题-37Sam-I-am: Say! In the dark? Here in the dark! Would you, could you, in the dark?

I could not, could not, in the dark.

未标题-39Sam-I-am: Would you, could you, in the rain?

Friend: I would not, could not, in the rain. Not in the dark. Not on a train. Not in a car. Not in a tree. I do not like them, Sam, you see. Not in a house. Not in a box. Not with a mouse. Not with a fox. I will not eat them here or there. I do not like them anywhere!

Sam-I-am: You do not like green eggs and ham?

Friend: I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

未标题-43Sam-I-am: Could you, would you, with a goat?

Friend: I would not, could not, with a goat!

未标题-45Sam-I-am: Would you, could you, on a boat?

Friend: I could not, would not, on a boat. I will not, will not, with a goat. I will not eat them in the rain. I will not eat them on a train. Not in the dark! Not in a tree! Not in a car! You let me be! I do not like them in a box. I do not like them with a fox. I will not eat them in a house. I do not like them with a mouse. I do not like them here or there. I do not like them ANYWHERE! I do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

未标题-53Sam-I-am: You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may, I say.

Friend: Sam! If you will let me be, I will try them. You will see.

未标题-57(Friend eats the green eggs and ham)

未标题-59Friend: Say! I like green eggs and ham! I do! I like them, Sam-I-am! And I would eat them in a boat. And I would eat them with a goat…and I will eat them in the rain. And in the dark. And on a train. And in a car. And in a tree. They are so good, so good, you see!  So I will eat them in a box. And I will eat them with a fox. And I will eat them in a house. And I will eat them with a mouse. And I will eat them here and there. Say! I will eat them ANYWHERE! I do so like green eggs and ham! Thank you! Thank you, Sam-I-am!

Burning Man – Elite Refugee Camp

Palestinian refugee housing in Lebanon, 60 years on.

Sixty-year-old Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. No path to citizenship for fear it would upset the sectarian balance of Sunnis, Shiites, Christians and Jews.

Hurricane Katrina

More than one million people in the Gulf region were displaced by the storm. At their peak hurricane relief shelters housed 273,000 people.

katrina park

Later, approximately 114,000 households were housed in FEMA trailers.

layout burning
Burning Man Arial view of a master planned refugee camp


burning man theme

Black Rock City, often abbreviated to BRC, is the name of the temporary city created by Burning Man participants. Much of the layout and general city infrastructure is constructed by Department of Public Works (DPW) volunteers who often reside in Black Rock City for several weeks before and after the event. The remainder of the city including theme camps, villages, art installations and individual camping are all created by participants.

To comply with the new requirements and to manage the increased liability load, the organizers formed Black Rock City, L.L.C. Will Roger Peterson and Flynn Mauthe created the Department of Public Works (DPW) to build the “city” grid layout (a requirement so that emergency vehicles could be directed to an “address”) designed by Rod Garrett, an architect. Rod continued as the city designer through 2011 until his death at 76. He is also credited with the design of all of the man bases from 2001 through 2012, the center camp cafe and first camp. With the success of the driving ban, having no vehicular incidents, 1998 saw a return to the Black Rock desert, along with a temporary perimeter fence. The event has remained there since.

2015 Attendees 70,000 Ticket $400 Costs $15,000,000


 burning tents

Burning Man temporary housing ranges from tents, hexaports to RV’s’


saradon burning

 katy perry BMBurning Man attendees Susan Sarandon and Katy Perry



 temple-frillBurning Man temple examples

Burning Man 2015. Photo by Scott London (

Burning Man dress code: wear it and share it.