Blacks should start preparing to manage a future electoral clash between whites and Hispanics…

Blacks don’t have the numbers and it will get worse, unless….

Back in August I wrote the following regarding representative democracy’s failure of black people:

“Representative democracy has failed black people in America.  The representatives from the black community in Washington have been converted into agents for their respective party’s leadership, securing the votes needed so that they can pull up a chair at the trough.  Just like social media has turned subscribers to social networks into resource and product for advertisers, the electoral system has turned black voters into lumps of coal with black congressmen acting as the conveyor belt carrying the coal to the primaries and the national elections.”

In addition to this major fail of black leadership and representative democracy will be the further weakening of black political capital as a result of demographics.  According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the portion of the American population identifying as “black” will increase to 13.3% in 2060, barely budging from the 2014 statistic of 13%.  Meanwhile, the population identifying as “Hispanic” will see their percentage of the population increase to 25.5% in 2060 up from 13% in 2014.

The population identifying as “white” will represent 49.4% of the U.S. population in 2060, down from the 2014 figure of 68.8%.

As a voting bloc, I expect that Hispanics will cement their position as the go-to ethnic group that sways at least the popular vote for president. The current “people of color” movement may have run its course by then depending on much farther the interests of both groups diverge.  Assuming that blacks and Hispanics occupy in 2060 the regions of the country they mostly occupy today, there may not be a demographic clash.  Blacks still mostly occupy the south and southeastern United States while Hispanics mostly occupy Florida, California, Texas, Illinois, and New York.  Two of the states, California and Florida, because of the number of electoral votes they carry, will continue to influence the popular vote and the Electoral College vote.  Hispanics will be in a position to exercise substantial electoral clout.

This clout may come in handy on policy issues such as immigration and trade.  Blacks have expressed animosity to policy that favors immigration because they see immigrants from Latin American countries as competitive cheap labor.  Hispanics see immigration as access to better pay and living conditions while trade benefits Latino populations living on both sides of the southwestern border where there is an opportunity to access and transport more goods and services at affordable prices.

The issue for black political leaders will be how best to manage a political environment, based on a failed representative framework, within which the struggle for public capital will only intensify. One solution may be to go external and manipulate the system from the outside.

Manipulate the equation…Raise the ante….

Yvette Carnell last night described a voting strategy for getting the Democratic Party to take notice of black voters without black voters giving away all of their electoral capital.  The “down ballot” tactic allows black voters to exercise the option of skipping Democratic candidates for president, vice-president, Congress, etc., where those candidates do not offer adequate public policy in exchange for the vote.  Ms. Carnell stresses that blacks should just not show up, but should instead go to the polls and cast a vote on other issues reflected on the ballot with the goal of letting Democrats know that the voter showed up but did not see on the ballot a candidate that presented an adequate black agenda.

Another tactic I would suggest is that blacks skip the primaries and that this practice should start in 2020. Skipping the primaries raises not only uncertainty in both parties, especially the Democratic Party, but would force the parties to pay more attention to black public policy needs and start preparing substantive packages in advance of election so that packages can be put in place soon after an election.

I believe these are the sort of tactics that blacks should implement now in order to strategically position themselves as the price giver versus price takers.

Conclusion: A more active listening public administrator

There is no guarantee 40 years out that black political leaders external to the government will follow the above strategies in the face of changing demographics and political power.  Public administrators should get in the habit of being forward looking, however, as demands of the electorate in the political markets will call for changes in approach to governance.  To stay valid, public administrators have to listen to two constituencies: the elected official that oversees them, and the electorate that at least in theory oversees them both.

 

 

Deep down inside, Democrats want a tyrant …

The executive in a republican form of government …

In a republican form of government, the goal is to temper the passions of the masses in order to maximize your goal for governing: the garnering of the spoils from capturing the government; to direct public capital in a way that awards leadership while placating the citizenry.  Populism is to be squelched if the state is to be efficiently administered.  You can’t have efficient administration if the executive is constantly competing with a citizenry that makes demands for more resources where such demands tend to be driven more by emotion and a limited view of alternatives for garnering resources versus pragmatism.  If the framers of the American constitution got one thing right it was that governance should include a mechanism for keeping the passions of the electorate in check.

Squelching populism is necessary ….

To proceed with the squelching of populism and the promotion of republicanism, you will have to get rid of the notion of the strong, independent executive. The existence of a strong, independent executive indicates that there is a significant majority whose popular vote propelled that executive into office.  Keeping a strong, independent executive in check is the goal of a citizenry seeking to maximize its liberty to trade and use its private capital as it pleases.  Eradicating populism protects the individual from this clear and present danger to her liberty.

I should add that this argument is not about protecting the rich from a future Elizabeth Warren-type presidency.  This protection extends to people like me who are not affluent or well connected.  We, too, have liberties that we do not wish to be trampled upon, including the freedom to be left alone.

This brings me to a second approach to squelching populism: destroying the notion that government is designed to protect you.  Social programs for and income transfers to the poor are not about protecting the less fortunate.  Social programs and income transfers are more about buying votes and keeping the barbarians from knocking down the gates.  A strong, independent executive can use such programs to engender fealty, creating a standing army of passion-driven, unenlightened majorities willing to do their part in the executive’s suppression of the minority’s liberties.

People are, for a government, a resource to be managed, not a ruling force to be submitted to.  The executive should not be bolstered or subjugated by the masses.  This check on the executive should come from the state and national legislatures, bodies that are directly elected by the masses and who, because of their proximity to and familiarity with the people’s unique needs, are best suited for addressing the “distractions” the masses could cause the executive.

Democratic Party hypocrisy …

The Democratic Party feigns anger at Donald Trump’s victory in November 2016.  They have to in order to validate their supporters belief that the political system was supposed to serve their perceptions of fairness.  In actuality, the Democratic Party had no choice but to accept the outcome of the November 2016 election because the outcome showed that the majority of the populace will not be able to create mandates that handcuff a Democratic victor in the future.

Mr. Trump’s share of the popular vote in 2016 and his current job approval rating demonstrates that for all his “going public” efforts and his blustery personality, he is still handcuffed; he is not an independent executive.  The republican form of government still allows the Democratic Party to keep the President in their political cross-hairs by signaling that the President does not have majority support acting as a moat that protects him.  The republican form of government should also give the Democratic Party some hope that if they ran a candidate with the right campaign game plan, that they could manipulate the Electoral College for a victorious outcome.

Observation: Democratic voters want a tyrant ….

The Democratic Party’s supporters, however, want a tyrant. The rank and file voter supports the populist agenda, thus would support a strong, independent leader spawned by populism.  The emotionalism of the average Democratic voter gives me pause because it tells me that this voter has not fully thought through what they are asking for from a populist leader.  A populist leader, as I discussed before, will keep the goody bag filled in order to maintain that support.  It is what they ask for in return for their political packages is what concerns me.

 

Diversity is a fraud.

As a black person I have grown increasingly suspect over the years of calls for diversity. It is not that I have succumbed to another race’s false sense of superiority over mine. It is because diversity is really nothing but an expression of weakness by blacks in America. It is a rallying cry for inclusion of those blacks who consider themselves the cream of the crop and deserving to be placed ahead of other blacks due to their education and their networks. Diversity is a willingness to shun the need to generate and contribute real economic value settling instead for creating arguments that have at their base the need to make white people feel guilty. Diversity is a feel good political package sold to black voters who stand as much of a chance of breaking glass ceilings as the Atlanta Falcons have at playing in the Super Bowl in next year.

As an expression of weakness, calls for diversity are calls for permission to enter a house you are otherwise unwelcome in. We’ve heard the arguments. “Inclusion is the right thing to do.” “Dr. King died because he believed we are all equal in character.” ” It is immoral to exclude people, etc. etc.” It really boils down to begging to be included, basing arguments on weak moral grounds that can fade away when tough economic times appear and animal spirits rise up to battle for scarce capital and jobs.

Diversity benefits only those who come from a certain pedigree. In the real world, diversity doesn’t get most blacks a full time job with benefits. What gets people work in the real world are skill sets that bring value to an employer’s efforts at output and a network that through his new employee an employer can tap into. This is especially important in an information driven economy where workers are no longer “nodes for manufacturing”, where the emphasis is on an employee’s manufacturing skills, but instead is a “node of information”, where the employee uses technology to gather data that helps his employer make the best resource allocations.

The flip side to this argument is that blacks may not be in the position to be “information nodes” given centuries of being locked out of certain networks. My answer is, tough. After being in North America for 400 years and 153 of those years post slavery, Black Americans have had opportune time to accumulate the educational and work experience to access information, garner the appropriate skills, and build valuable networks. Instead of diversifying ourselves into a system dominated by a racial majority and created for a racial majority, blacks need to offset the negative repercussions of the current system by supplementing the current system with a dose of increased self-reliance.

Earlier I described diversity as a feel good political package designed by a political party dominated by white people and sold by an educated small black elite to the masses of black voters. It is a weak package that is comprised of slight modifications to existing civil rights and labor laws with no meaningful transfer of capital involved. It is empty with the only blacks getting paid being the fraternity and sorority boys and girls who have some mid-level office driving cars that they look good in. Diversity has not translated into a political economy that takes us to a higher form of human engagement, one where the basic needs of all are truly provided for.

Diversity is a fraud.

Black creatives should apply constant lobbying pressure on Congress…

The concern: Theft and appropriation ….

The internet has provided opportunities for black creatives to create music, art, film, and writings, and distribute these products all over the globe.  When I set up my first website over 20 year ago, it took an employee at a local print shop to drive home the point with me that I was no longer local, as my mailing address on my new letterhead would imply.  My web address and e-mail he pointed out now took me to another level.  I was now global.  To this day I am still amazed and humbled when I hear from someone in Eurasia or Africa who either needed legal advice, sought some business representation, or read a blog post.

For black creatives in particular the opportunity to share our art and culture and dispel myths about our people is equal to and probably outweighs (slightly) the potential to increase the income for doing what we are good at; for doing what we love.

Centuries of oppression, for being negatively targeted physically and economically because of who we are can manifest itself in anger when our art is appropriated by the majority culture without acknowledgment or compensation.  Ironically, it is that same majority culture that has no problem asserting that blacks have no culture while stealing and re-engineering the culture we have created for the purpose of communicating with and consoling ourselves.

I think this problem, of cultural appropriation, is not relegated to blacks in America alone.  To varying degrees this problem also occurs in other parts of the Diaspora, but because I have spent my entire adulthood in the U.S., I will speak to the impact raiding black culture has on black America.

My concern in the United States is that the sharing economy may seep itself into intellectual property developed and sold by black Americans via inappropriate legislation or the misapplication of current rules applied to copyright, patents, and trademarks.  Blacks in the U.S. need to be aware of the business model that has been emerging in technology and media over the last two decades: appropriating what is considered “public” information or data and re-engineering it for resale.

There is a faux libertarian attitude among many young liberals in media and tech that everything produced should be considered as part of some commons where anyone with the capital and technology can sweep in and extract.  This is the same attitude behind “net neutrality”, where large content aggregators want to transport exabytes of data over public broadband networks for free and if these content providers can’t get their way i.e. send millions of cat and twerker videos over these networks for free, they will then argue that the democratic rights of their subscribers are somehow being violated.  Networks as well as content provided by their subscribers are simply there for free extraction.

This same liberal view toward content, in my opinion, poses a threat to black creativity.  Black creatives in America who do not take action to push back against this attack will find themselves back in the chattel-like slavery of their ancestors.  Whereas their bodies were used for slave labor in the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, their intellectual property, their creativity, will suffer the same fate in the 21st century digital economy.

Taking the property rights approach ….

Blacks own between two to three percent of private capital in the United States.  Giving away our creativity would be tantamount to suicide.  Lobbying pressure should be maintained on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Copyright Office, the U.S. Senate Sub-committee on Intellectual Property and the U.S. House Sub-committee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet.

Action cannot be reactive. It must be proactive.  Black creatives must take action to ensure that legislation is being monitored and where threats are trending, be prepared to draft and present legislation to members of these committees for their consideration.

As creatives we tend to live in our heads, but we must make the concerted effort to keep our third eye open and on the Administration and the Congress.

Republics are to keep the masses at bay, not to include them…

The purpose of governance …

The purpose of taking over government is to control its spoils.  The tricky part is to keep the barbarians from knocking down the gates, an act that may result from the perception that those who have captured government will not allocate an equitable portion of goods, resources, and capital i.e the spoils, to the masses.

The governing class in a republican form of government must then find a way to maximize the prestige and power it garners from taking over government while minimizing the amount of public capital allocated to appeasing the people it rules.  Resources are finite and the governing class can’t afford to have the instrument used for the day-to-day management of the citizenry and the channeling of power and prestige to the governing few to go bankrupt.

The issue then, for those who wish to take over government, is which approach to governance will bring about maximum prestige and power at the lowest cost of paying off the barbarian.  I recommend a political market approach based on transparency.

The market approach of American democracy …

American political governance is limited by the vote buying/selling transactions of the political market.  To garner the right to govern as an elected official, you have to win the vote.  What the candidate is willing to pay for this vote depends on her view of government’s role and her ability to convince the electorate to align its perception with her view.  She will not be transparent about her personal gains from winning office, preferring to tout the benefits that she can help shuttle to Americans as her rationale for running.  She will make the mistake of painting herself as selfless or altruistic.

All market transactions, including political market transactions, are two-sided. The voter/consumer seeks some type of economic relief via a government program, or some cultural win via a statute or regulation, and the elected official is willing to sell her a program in exchange for support in the form of donations, campaign volunteer time, or a vote.  All political parties participate in these transactions.  The voter/consumer must remain aware that these offerings are not being done for altruistic reasons.  They are being done out of the elected official/producer’s self-interest in garnering the power and prestige that comes with elected office.

The benefits of elected official/producer transparency …

When sitting across from the person you are negotiating with, you want as much transparency as possible as to their interests.  Knowing the real value they place on an item they intend to buy from or sell to you helps you to better price your offer.  As an elected official/producer, being transparent with the voter/consumer has three immediate benefits.

First, if the candidate for an office is upfront about their self-interest in running, they can avoid or mitigate the consequences that come from a lack of clarity.  The voter cannot come back and claim that the then candidate now elected official was anything but honest, a virtue many Americans claim to adhere to.

Second, if the candidate is transparent as to their self-interest, she creates a channel within which she can gauge the reasonableness of the voter’s demands.  In other words, the voter has a better understanding of the value of his vote for the candidate and can adjust his demands accordingly.  There will be fewer surprises as to the cost the candidate has to pay in order to secure a continuous flow of power and prestige.  She has a better idea not only of the voter costs for garnering her power and prestige, but can now explore a wider array of options for meeting voter needs at the lowest costs possible.

Another benefit of transparency is that by establishing up front her desire to garner and maximize power and prestige, the candidate will be viewed as transparent going forward during other transactions.  This creation of “good will” can only create for the elected official more opportunities to increase the political capital necessary for deploying the cost effective programs that she can exchange in the future for more votes.

It won’t be the programs that keep the barbarians from knocking down the gates.  It will be the transparency and the perception of honesty that flows that will keep the masses at bay.

Conclusion: Republicans can be transparent without being ogres….

Strength flows from transparency.  Republicans should not be afraid to tell the electorate, “I seek the power and prestige of the office because of the benefits (emotional, psychological, financial) that will flow to me, but I acknowledge those benefits won’t flow to me unless I meet your needs.”

America is a republic and as such, its political power is held by the people and its elected representatives.  What the definition does not tell you is that both groups do not, cannot, and should not rule equally.  What too many choose to describe as “American democracy” is a system that is not based on mass rule, but based purposefully on minority rule.  Because American democracy is in fact based on minority rule (one only need look at the discarding of the popular vote after the November 2016 general election), Republicans especially should take the lead in transparency in governing.  Transparency has a chilling effect on political tension and can only serve to secure Republican political power going forward.

 

For data brokers, California and Vermont are only the beginning….

Washington’s focus on data brokers is blurry …

Congress has been distracted recently with the question of whether or not to impeach and eventually remove the President from office.  The discussion is taking up a lot of oxygen in Washington, but eventually the inside-the-beltway gang will turn itself back to other matters and I believe among those matters will be a national treatment of data privacy.

Pushing the desire for a national treatment of data privacy is the call on the part of broadband companies for federal privacy legislation that treats broadband providers, such as AT&T and Comcast, the same way as Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

While the data broker business model differs from that of a broadband infrastructure provider, the common denominator for congressman and consumer is data and its protection.  Cambridge Analytica’s mishandling of data it obtained from Facebook served to blend in Congress and the consumers’ minds that a bad act on the part of one player automatically taints all other players in the chain of data possession.

The federal and state attempts at reining in data brokers …

On the federal side, Congress has dipped its toe on the “regulate the data brokers” pool with introduction of S. 2342, the Data Broker List Act.  Introduced by Senator Gary Peters, Democrat of Michigan, and co-sponsored by Senator Martha McSally, Republican of Arizona, the Act, if passed, would require that data brokers register annually with the Federal Trade Commission.

Under the Data Broker List Act, there would be certain requirements regarding the acquisition and brokering of personal information, including the requirement that brokered data not be acquired through fraudulent means, and that acquired or brokered personal data not be used for stalking or harassing another person; committing financial or e-mail fraud, or engaging in unlawful discrimination, including discrimination involving credit, employment, or housing.

Data brokers would also be required to implement and maintain a comprehensive information security program designed to protect personal data against hacks and other breaches.

Two states are ahead of the federal government when it comes to legislation regulating data brokers.  Under the Vermont Data Broker Law, there is also a requirement for the annual registration of data brokers with the Vermont secretary of state where company name and physical, email, and internet addresses are required. Data brokers are also required to implement and maintain an information security program that protects Vermont consumers from theft or fraudulent use of personally identifiable information.

California AB 1202 requires that data brokers register with the state’s attorney general, providing company name and physical, email, and internet address.  The legislation, which takes effect next January, is not as comprehensive as Vermont’s statute or the proposed federal data broker legislation in terms of requiring an information security program.

What’s next …

As state legislatures begin their sessions in the next couple of months, data brokers should continue to stay on the look out for pre-filed bills and keep their ears to the ground for any media chatter concerning data privacy protection. Data brokers may also continue refining arguments that promote the positive role they play in ensuring that data that brings value to commercial actors i.e. lenders, landlords, retailers, etc., gets to these market participants thus ensuring that consumers get the products that best suit their needs.

Bubba, Bonds, and Blacks …

As much as blacks loved Bill Clinton, blacks never applied the most important political lesson Bubba himself learned: He who controls the bond markets, wins. Collective or group politics hasn’t gotten blacks much of anything over the past 50 years, but a collective, focused targeting of the bond markets just might.

Yes, there are a few “here and there” types posting on LinkedIn about how well their panel discussions are going and how many awards they are receiving from some social justice warrior group, but the masses are not winning because most of the cream is staying in the cups on the top.

What Mr Clinton realized back in 1994 was that re-election hinged on a happy bond market. Maintaining an economy with low interest rates meant increases in asset prices leading to higher valued collateral upon which more credit could be issued.

Now imagine if 13% of the American population were able to take a 13% position in the bond market. The potential shock waves that synchronized buying and selling would cause would have policy makers asking that group, “Hey! What do you want?”
Blacks wouldn’t need another “get out and vote drive” ever again. The Montgomery bus boycott would pale in significance.

Unfortunately, the inside the box, plantation mentality of partisan politics, especially as orchestrated by liberals, keeps blacks in “Massa ain’t gave me permission yet” mindset. I am seeing cracks in that narrative, but there is still more work to be done….

“You mean to tell me that the success of the economic program and my re-election hinges on the Federal Reserve and a bunch of fucking bond traders?” — William Jefferson Clinton

“I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or as a .400 baseball hitter. But now I would like to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody.” — James Carville