A year ago this December, one of the luminaries of the independent author self-publishing community proposed an anthology of short stories to be published by an ad hoc group of authors. This was proposed on the Writers’ Café of the Kboards (Kindle Boards) website. This call to stories was immediately me with enthusiasm. Many authors wanted their story included; some offered services like proofreading. I began working on my short story. There was no shortage of volunteers. There were plenty of Indians but no chief. For while the honcho who had proposed the idea was good at delegating authority, he did not really want to accept the role of Editor-in-Chief. I do not write to assign blame.

I don’t know if that was the fatal flaw or not. My review of the relevant threads on the project is incomplete. Much good will and talent was thrown into the proposed anthology. For a while, it looked like the whole thing might gel and move to completion. In the end, it founded and fell apart. It went blub blub and sank.

Then something remarkable happened.

A new crew, including some of the original members, put on the mantle of authority, a line from Aeschylus, resurrected the anthology and propelled it forward. There was plenty of discussion about the type of stories, length, what charity to donate any profits to—it had been decided at the outset not to publish for profit—absolutely the right decision, in my experience. A new editor emerged, Andrew Ashling. He had the good habit of showing up regularly for work. He made good executive decisions and grew into the job of editor. A female clique developed. Fortunately, it made good decisions. There were spirited exchanges back and forth. Once the cover design had been selected, one writer wanted the book to be called the “The Hip Pocket Anthology,” until it was pointed out to him that the pocket in question was not on the hip.

Long story short, on December 14, 2014, Stories On The Go, a Kboards Flash Anthology was published to immediate acclaim. It grows stronger in the rankings every day, it seems. Everyone who contributed a story or helped in some way with the anthology has a right to feel proud. It’s a feather in our cap.

I’ve wondered how such a diverse assortment of independent authors, some who have created their own publishing houses, could coalesce and create an anthology. I realized that being independent did not mean anti-social. I think we all understood that there would be no third-time-is-a-charm opportunity.

Kboaards AnthologyMy story “Einstein Stayed Here,” set in Brooklyn, is in the middle of the pack. So, load up your Kindle, put in your heavy-duty eyeballs, and start reading.

By Hudson Owen All Rights Reserved.

The President, began his speech by saying that the immigration system was broken. How many times have you heard that before? What does it mean? We no longer have immigration laws—they disappeared in a puff of smoke? All our immigration agents have likewise disappeared?

If the system is broken, who broke it? And, tell me this, why does fixing the system always mean a better deal for the illegals?

In my view, the immigration system is being overwhelmed by legal and illegal immigrants. According to my reading, the FBI, which must vet every single application for citizenship, is at least three years behind in this task.

There are just too many people pouring into this country, legally and illegally. We should shut down immigration to all but a handful of people for five years, say. Fat chance that will happen.

The President repeated the meme that there are too many illegals to round up in one fell swoop. So? Does that mean it’s no longer worthwhile to deport illegal residents in smaller numbers. The President seems to have suggested that it is un-American to deport those who live illegally inside the US. “ It’ not who we are,” he said. Why aren’t we allowed to enforce our laws? Aren’t we supposed to be a nation of laws?

Does the President believe in open borders?

Have you ever wondered about the value of anchor babies? Under Obama’s plan, the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who have lived in the country for at least five years can apply, starting in the spring, for relief from deportations for a period of three years. About 3.7 million immigrants are expected to qualify under the new guidelines. There you go! Those babies are valuable for mom and pop. These peasants are mostly uneducated, but they know how to use our laws to their advantage.

Here’s a weird definition of amnesty, for you. According to the President:

“Amnesty is the immigration system we have today — millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s the real amnesty — leaving this broken system the way it is.”

So, just to be clear, real amnesty is when millions of people living here (illegally) don’t pay their taxes or play by the rules. Say what? I’m reaching for my Webster’s dictionary.

The President said many things for the benefit of illegal aliens. He said nothing to address the concerns of US citizens, the people born and raised in this country. Why is that? Are those who live here legally chopped liver? We no longer count for something?

The subways in Brooklyn are getting crowded. Often I don’t find a seat riding into the city. I look down and see a twenty-something with jet black hair and Yankees baseball cap. Chances are he is an illegal. I’m a senior citizen. Why do I have to stand while he gets a seat? Hey, I’m talking to you. Why?

By Hudson Owen. All Rights Reserved.

Contrary to popular opinion, I’m going to predict an early end to the so-called Islamic State.  Military experts are saying it will take years to do IS in, requiring lots of boots on the ground.  Maybe not.  Before the air strikes, IS could move men and equipment with relative ease.  Not any longer.  Everyone is getting into the act of attacking the brutal fanatics, including Arab states.  The Netherlands, Belgium and Australia are the latest to sign up. For years, Saudi Arabia has been purchasing top of the line fighters and fighter bombers from Western countries.  Now, its’ bombs away on IS.

The growing coalition, led by the U.S. , is destroying oil refineries in the possession of IS.  That’s really bad news for IS.  Without gas, the Toyotas and tanks will grind to a halt.  They won’t be able to re-supply their various outposts and captured towns.  One by one, the Kurds and Iraqi Army will be able to re-take the towns and cities captured by IS.  There are already quite a few boots on the ground fighting IS.  Now, the sky is filling with adversaries.  There are many hostile eyes in the sky, including planes, drones and satellites.  The U.S. can mount air strikes around the clock, day and night.  Anything the pilot sees, he can destroy.  There isn’t much cover in the desert.

This is how the Allies put an end to the Third Reich.  We bombed their refineries especially in Rumania.  American heavy bombers flew at low altitude over Ploiesti to make sure we destroyed it.  We took heavy losses in men and aircraft for that raid, but we destroyed Ploiestie.  There are photos of German jets sitting on runways unable to fly because they had no fuel.  Hitler’s last gasp thrust against the Allies, what became the Battle of the Bulge, stalled for lack of fuel.

One thing IS or ISIS does really well is to create new enemies with its outspoken brutality.  Now the whole world is lining up to destroy it.  More than 40 nations have pledged or given aid to those fighting this grim, artless caliphate.   Now, they are lining up to bomb IS into oblivion.  There will be jihadies a year from now, for certain.  Sad, but true.   I will be surprised if this upstart, bloodthirsty Islamic State is among them.

By Hudson Owen.  All Rights Reserved.

I watched part of the funeral proceedings of 18-year-old Michael Brown on television on August 25th. I wasn’t surprised by the emotion, per se; after all, it was a funeral. I was put off by the emotionalism: a woman stomping and shaking her head, Martin Luther III imploring the heavens with open arms. The ceremony was attended by Rev. Jesse Jackson and Spike Lee among other black luminaries. What should have been a private ceremony was turned into an international event in which angry Black America shook its fist at White America over the police shooting of the unarmed black teen.

There was very little of Michael Brown, from what I saw. The family apparently only came up with the one snapshot of the youth giving a questioning, sullen look at the camera in the one still shown in the media. It matched in character the video where Mr. Brown, the size of an NFL lineman, stole a handful of cigars from a convenience store, showing the small (Asian?) store owner out of the way, in leaving.

There was so little of Michael Brown in the ceremony that one could almost imagine that the whole thing was a set up, a hoax. Did he ever have a birthday party, go on a class trip? Did he ever smile? Was he just another young thug in training like Trayvon Martin?

The Reverend Al Sharpton seemed to sense that Michael Brown was a weak case on which to rally black support against the police by saying that they, the black community, wanted the police and they recognized the black-on-black crime problem merited a mention. Looking ahead, Sharpton could probably see that obtaining murder one against a reasonable looking white police officer would be difficult if not impossible once the details came out in a grand jury. Will anyone believe that Police Officer Wilson gunned down young Michael Brown in cold blood? Really?

One of the stories floating around out there is that Michael Brown had once confided to someone that one day the whole world would know his name Was this entire episode a bid for fame gone wrong, or a deliberate attempt at suicide by cop?

The way I see it, the situation breaks down like this.

A black man, often a large black man, commits a petty crime. In the case of Rodney King, the crime was speeding. The suspect was approached by the police who try to arrest the subject. The subject resists arrest. This is where things quickly go downhill. Eric Garner, the 350-pound Staten Island man who police were trying to arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes, died while police were wrestling with him on the ground. The initial take-down as shown in the video taken by a bystander, was a headlock. It is unclear from the video if that ever developed into a choke-hold. None of this would have happened if Mr. Garner had not resisted arrest.

Rodney King was badly beaten; Eric Garner died of asphyxiation; and Michael Brown was shot to death by Police Officer Wilson. All three black men were unarmed. Act three of this drama occurs when the news races through the black community and, as if on signal, the black community loots and burns the neighborhood. It’s almost as if they think its their right to do so. The Los Angeles riots in 1991 killed 53 people. Remember those Koreans defending their business with gunfire? They were non-whites. Many of the looted and torched business in Ferguson, Missouri were owned by non-whites. No matter. They got punished too.

What is to be done?

Some black activists say that the police should allow petty crime and concentrate on serious offenses. Lately, Mayor de Blasio has staunchly defended the “broken windows” police polity exacted by his police commissioner Bill Bratton, insisting that the little things count, just as they did in the Giuliani administration, where Mr. Bratton first served as police commissioner. By tackling the quality of life crimes, which began the big turnaround in New York City during those years. It took years of tough policing using policies like stop ‘n frisk to bring down the high murder rate to the low levels of today.

In other words, you can’t allow Michael Brown to steal cigars and get away with it.

If you were to ask any of the male black leaders present at the funeral ceremony who commits what types of crimes in New York City, you will not get a straight answer. This is because they do not want to admit the truth, which is that the overwhelming amount of street crime is committed by young black and Hispanic males, according to police statistics.

So, the paradigm, at least in the large metropolis, is not the black kid assaulted by the white police department, but all of society put as risk at the hands of the Destructive Black Male, as I have dubbed him in my essay “Trayvon Martin and Race In America.” There are reasons why this black male came into being and reasons why he will be outside the walls of the new city states in America. This essay is available on Amazon.com.

The Ferguson police now wear body cameras.

By Hudson Owen – All Rights Reserved

I call them that, these children who are traveling up from Central America, mostly unaccompanied by adults, to cross the southern border into the United States. It’s a long, dangerous trek of more than a thousand miles. Once here, they’ve made it—big time. Current law protects them from being immediately deported because they come from countries not bordering on the United States, such as Guatemala or Honduras.

Once they cross the border these kids become wards of the state, which is obliged to provide food, clothing and shelter for them, and legal defense, over the months and years it will take the government to build a case to deport them. Approximately half of these children will not attend their deportation hearings; they will slip into the shadows instead. Some will stay with relatives already living in the U.S. Who are these people? Are they illegals themselves? Do they live on welfare? Carry infectious diseases? How many kids will be swept into the drug trade or prostitution here?

In most cases, the long journey was facilitated by cross-border gangs like MS-13, which charge from five to eight grand per child. The gangs are big winners in all this.

I call them Kamikaze Kids because they go all out—do or die. They are an embarrassment to the Obama administration because they demonstrate that the border us far from secure. How can we have comprehensive immigration reform if we cannot protect ourselves from an invasion of children?

This is no laughing matter. Each child represents a financial time bomb, costing someone, the taxpayer, tens of thousands of dollars over the months and years needed to raise a child to maturity, to provide a stable family setting, presents on birthdays and at Christmas. Online estimates for child care at the rudimentary level range from $250 to $1000 per day. Who is going to pay for all this? Can the government force you to adopt one of these children? Will it build refugee camps around the country?

Yes, life is horrible in these Central American countries, with their high murder rates. Life is also tough for American children, especially those raised by single parents or relatives in the projects. While Americans may have infinite dreams and good intentions, our society does not have infinite resources. It would be immoral to favor foreign-born children over American children. We don’t have sufficient candy canes to hand out to everyone.

There are those who say this is not the time to talk tough about protecting the border. I say it’s always a good time to protect the border and prevent one more burden from undermining the middle class and thereby putting all our children at risk.

 Copyright 2014 by Hudson Owen. All Rights Reserved.

Early in his May 21, 2014 essay “The Case for Reparations,” in The Atlantic, Senior Editor Ta-Nehisi Coates writes this paragraph:

 “One thread of thinking in the African American community holds that these depressing numbers partially stem from cultural pathologies that can be altered through individual grit and exceptionally good behavior. (In 2011, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, responding to violence among young black males, put the blame on the family: “Too many men making too many babies they don’t want to take care of, and then we end up dealing with your children.” Nutter turned to those presumably fatherless babies: “Pull your pants up and buy a belt, because no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.”) The thread is as old as black politics itself. It is also wrong. The kind of trenchant racism to which black people have persistently been subjected can never be defeated by making its victims more respectable. The essence of American racism is disrespect. And in the wake of the grim numbers, we see the grim inheritance.”

 Well, how do you win respect? President Obama has spoken public ally about the baggy pants syndrome, especially in the wake of terrible street violence in his hometown Chicago.

 Michael Nutter is African American; in fact, the third African American mayor of Philadelphia. One would think that Coates, a black grievance writer par excellence, would listen to a voice like that, but no. No, because it speaks directly to the issue of black male responsibility, and Mr. Coates doesn’t like that because it diminishes his case for the black man as white victim and therefore deserving of reparations.

 With a sweep of the pen, Ta-Nehisi Coates completely undermines the moral and legal basis of our society. Whites and Asians may be held accountable for their actions but not African American men and women. Or children.

 Not long ago the New York press reported the story of a 14-year-old who was shot by police somewhere in the’ hood—anywhere from East New York, in Brooklyn, to Harlem. I’ll call him Juwan. Juwan was chasing another man at 3 a.m. with a gun when he ran afoul of a street patrol. Juwan engaged the police in gunfire and paid for that action with his life. His aunt was interviewed on local TV. “Why they killin’ our children?” she asked philosophically, meaning the police. No mention was made of the parents. You could safely bet your 401K that the boy’s parents had little influence in his life. It was up to the aunt to raise and bury the child.

 Mr. Coates says that black teen pregnancy is at record lows. Surely, a good thing if true. It is also true, so I have read, that the percentage of black children born out of wedlock has risen from 50% in the 1960s to app. 75% today. Three-quarters of black children born in America today are illegitimate. That is a staggering statistic.

 *** 

What kind of dollar amount to be paid to African Americans would be satisfactory? Who would decide the amount? Mr. Coates mentions several figures based on the average disparity of wealth between blacks and whites, as well as the rather paltry sum paid by the post-WWII German government to the Jews. Mr. Coates acknowledges that the money did not bring the victims of the Holocaust back to life, but was constructive as part of the German nation coming to terms with the enormous damage it inflicted on the Jews. However, those sums are ongoing and include home care for the dwindling number of survivors of the Holocaust.

 Who would decide that reparations were to be paid: Congress, the Supreme Court? Would it be one and done, or a series of payments made over a period of years, as Mr. Coates suggests; a transfer of wealth from white pockets to black pockets based on the average wealth disparity between whites and blacks in the country?

 It is difficult to imagine any such transfer of wealth without a fight. What about victims of reverse discrimination? Would they receive an exemption? Would descendents of Abolitionists pay the same as descendents of slave owners? What about mixed marriages? Would the one drop rule apply? Would children receive a full share? How about felons in prison? Would millionaires pay more than white families in debt?

 Relatives of victims of the World Trade Center destruction were offered substantial sums in excess of a million dollars, by the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, in some cased, based on the deceased individual’s current level of income and age—a simple insurance payout based on actuarial tables. Relatives who accepted the deal agreed not to sue the airlines, for one. No one expected the money to heal their emotional wounds. And that was a tiny bureaucracy, essentially one man, Kenneth Feinberg, compared to the behemoth that would spring up to administer reparations along with the politicians who would be sewing new pockets into their coats to line them with cash.

 In a post-affirmative action world, one would expect substantially less sympathy for reparations to be paid willy nilly to Black America no matter how dreadful the past was for the slaves and their children. There just isn’t the big money needed to fund Great Society programs such as the War on Poverty and War on Drugs, as in the past—unless the President redirects some of the trillions being printed for the purpose of quantitative easing in that direction. The middle class is not moving up the career ladder as in former times. Many college grads are not attaining entry level jobs in their area of study and are living at home with mom and dad.

 Billions of dollars are being consumed by millions of illegal immigrants to pay for social services, health care and for the education of their children. Also to consider are the equally astronomic costs to society of imprisoning the two million prison inmates in this country, which are disproportionately black. It can cost anywhere from 30 to 60 grand per prisoner per year: three meals a day plus a roof over your head and health care.

 *** 

What would White America expect for the transfer of wealth from their pockets to Black America? Would there be a national sigh of relief across the land? Would there be a national thank you note to whites for their generosity? Would Reparation Day become a new national holiday right up there with Martin Luther King Day and Christmas?

 Would White America expect better behaved black youth? Fewer black butt cracks displayed in public as per Mayor Nutter? Fewer illegitimate births? The voluntary disbandment of criminal gangs? Hispanics would receive no reparations and might be none too happy about the black bounty not coming their way.

 Maybe we would hear grumbling, that the check amount was way too small; the check was not delivered on time; a decision that reparation money could be taxed.

 What would Juwan do with his share, were he alive to receive it? Would that sum help to keep him alive or put him in his grave?

What black politicians still living in the 1960d and grievance writers like Ta-Nihisi Coates don’t understand or refuse to acknowledge, is that the era of big spending is over. President Obama might say he is comfortable with a 17 trillion dollar debt but is not showering us with greenbacks. I received a tax rebate check from President George W. Bush in the amount of $600–but not a dime from President Obama. The U.S. Mint will not strike the one trillion dollar coin.

 What all the social dollars spent with the best of intentions to erase poverty and level the playing field has left us with, besides whatever gains that money has made, is a hard core urban terrorist I call the Destructive Black Male (along with his buddy, the Destructive Hispanic Male) in my essay “Trayvon Martin and Race in America.”

 You know, the kind whose bullets fly through windows in the projects and always kill or maiming the grandmother everyone loves or the young student about to graduate from the top of his class, it seems. The kids who never carry a book in school and are the reason why the new normal has brought armed police officers and metal detectors into public schools. They seed the world with their children, dropping them off as they drive on their destructive path through civilization.

 During slavery, so I have read, black families tried hard to keep together or to keep in touch with members sold off to distant places. By contrast, the welfare state has alienated and impoverished the black family, creating new dependencies on the state.

 In the final year of the Bloomberg administration, the Board of Education wanted to close 50 schools. Just close them and start all over. It’s no wonder that parents in Harlem and elsewhere in New York City scream to get their children into charter schools.

 It could be that someday soon Juwan’s aunt will change her tune and complain the cops are running fewer patrols in her neighborhood, and crime is up. Where are the police?

 About a year ago, the Detroit Police Department issued a travel advisory: “Travel in this city at your own risk.” Actually, the core of the city is reasonably safe. It’s those glittering buildings you see at night in the Chrysler “Imported From Detroit” commercials for its vehicles. Beyond that is a wasteland: hundreds of square miles of abandoned homes and weeds off the grid.

 I believe this wasteland will be reclaimed someday by a hardy new breed of urban pioneer.   We have already seen how rustbelt cities like Pittsburgh have been at least partially rebuilt. It might also be true that civilization will demand tough new measures to protect itself against the urban terrorist, walling him out of the city core; constructing a new ghetto reminiscent of the Middle Ages’ ghettos to partition off the Jews. We see indications of this in science fiction movies like “The Hunger Games,” with its gleaming capital Panem; and “Elysium,” where the good life is positioned like a giant flying saucer over teeming, wretched life on Earth.

 The monies that Mr. Coates thinks should be coming due in the form of reparations from White America to Black America will instead be expended to clean up after superstorms like Katrina and Sandy, affecting all races, and constructing defenses against gangbangers and the urban terrorists who have gone beyond the bounds of tough love.

 

Copyright by Hudson Owen.  All Rights Reserved.

Vladimir Putin, President

Russian Federation

Dear President Putin,

                In light of current events in Ukraine, I am dropping y you a line to share a few thoughts with you.  I know you are s busy man, even on an ordinary day when the sun is shinning, much less today.  Even so, sometimes it is good to listen to an outside opinion.

                You have said many times that the breakup of the Soviet Union, of which you were a KGB officer, was a great tragedy; and that you want to restore Russia its former glory.  Not exactly as it was, but close to it, by gathering back the recently independent states of the former USSR, of which Ukraine is a key player, into the Russian Federation.

                That is a very ambitious goal, Mr. President.  Every time the Russian Army goes on the march, ears perk up all over Europe and around the globe.  Many of us remember when the Warsaw Pact marched into Prague in 1968, on the pretext that the West had overrun Czechoslovakia and Pact troops were being sent in to rescue them.  That was a lie, as the soldiers soon found out. 

                Much has changed in the world since those days.  The Warsaw Pact is history, so is Czechoslovakia, so is the Soviet Union.  NATO remains, and I know you are uncomfortable with that.   Some of the former members of the Pact are now members of NATO, for example, the Czech Republic.  You want to draw a line and stop that advance, while, at the same time, trading with Western Europe and the world.  What would Russia’s vast energy resources be worth if you could not sell them on the world market?

                You don’t really want to own Eastern Europe and accept full responsibility for the individual states.  You want to be more like an uncle than a father, Uncle Vladimir, keeping this expanded Russian Federation under a watchful eye.  Well, many of us would like to bring back the good old days here at home.  We liked Ike and would love to bring back the Eisenhower years.  America was simpler back then.   The country was move unified.  Not perfect, by any means.  But those were happy days for many of us despite the onset of the Cold War.

                Perchance, did you ever hide under your school desk during air raid drills back then?  When the air raid siren sounded the lesson stopped.  We got down on the floor and curled into a ball, with our backs to the windows, so that if The Bomb went off nearby, we would not get get flying glass in our faces—not that that would have mattered much, under the circumstances.

                You see, there is one word to describe the Soviet Union to us back then: Fear.  Fear of all those rockets and bombs headed our way if it came to war.  Fear of the apocalypse, of nuclear winter, the extinction of life, as we knew it, on our planet.

                Stop for a moment and consider what Nadia wants instead of what Vladimir wants.

                Nadia teaches literature in a small school outside of Moscow.  She studied English and literature in university.  She visits friends in Moscow and once went with a group of fellow students to Paris.  In the virtual world, Nadia has many friends around Europe and the world.  Right now, she is sending them a snapshot she took of her boyfriend clowning in front of a World War II Russian tank that has been sitting on a pedestal since the end of the war.

            Usually, she gets a warm response to her texts and photos—she has a good eye.  This time, however, a friend in Budapest adds a few words of concern about politics.  Another Web acquaintance in London cancels her planned trip to Moscow in the spring.

            Nadia loves Russian literature and language.  She can recite poems by Pushkin and Yevtushenko, and listens to certain girl bands.  At the same time, she does not wish to be bounded by Russian politics and history.  Why should she?  With the device she holds in hand, she can communicate with folks around the planet.  Nadia is not exceptional, in this way.  She is like young people everywhere.

            More than you realize, Mr. President, you also live in Nadia’s world, as do your two daughters.  You do business with the West, sell energy to the West.  Since Peter the Great, Russia has looked to the West.  It looked to the West for help in the Great Patriotic War.  And the Allies were generous in their response to Mother Russia’s needs.

            Business interests must be based on mutual respect not the threat of military force to settle negotiations.  You understand force and the costs of force.  What did force get Russia in Afghanistan?  You could give the command for Russian troops to occupy all of Ukraine and place it under martial law.  How many thousands of soldiers do you think would be required to secure the natural gas pipelines that run for hundreds of kilometers through Ukraine?    You have an aircraft carrier deal with France.  What would you do if France stopped working on your order and froze Russian assets?  The French also possess nuclear weapons, so it would not be easy to push France around.

            Whatever crimes you might have committed, you are not Hitler or Stalin.  Your hands do not drip with the blood of millions.  I do not think you wish to visit that level of brutality on the world.  Surely, you must realize that by rebuilding  the USSR as the Russian Federation, you will trigger a new Cold War. The return of fear.  You have the power; you hold the lever of history in your hands.  How do you wish to be remembered by history, Mr. Putin?  How do you wish to be regarded by Nadia?

Sincerely,

Hudson Owen

Brooklyn, NY

 

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