PUBLIC SAFETY

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.blog

All Involved: A Novel

All Involved

Written by: Ryan Gattis

Narrated by:  Anthony Rey Perez, Marisol Ramirez, Jim Cooper, Adam Lazarre-White, James Chen

RYAN GATTIS (AUTHOR)
RYAN GATTIS (AUTHOR)

Ryan Gattis’s novel, “All Involved”, tells of the Los Angeles riots in 1992.  It illustrates a cause for broken trust between minorities and the police.  It is the story of public safety departments struggling with criminality, poverty, addiction, and discrimination.

STACEY KOON (L.A. POLICE SERGEANT)
STACEY KOON (L.A. POLICE SERGEANT)

Four Los Angeles Police officers inflict a beat-down on Rodney King while arresting him after a high-speed chase.  Sergeant Stacey Koon, the commanding officer at the scene is said to have tazed King twice.  Koon argues the tazing is effective and suggests King is “dusted”; i.e. meaning hyped by PCP.   The four involved officers are white.  Rodney King is black.  King is handcuffed and dragged to the side of the road to wait for an ambulance.  There is no clearer example of how difficult it is–to be Black in America.

RODNEY KING (APPEARANCE 3 DAYS AFTER BEATING 3.6.92--KING DIES IN JUNE 2012 @ 47 YEARS OF AGE)
RODNEY KING (APPEARANCE 3 DAYS AFTER BEATING 3.6.92–KING DIES IN JUNE 2012 @ 47 YEARS OF AGE) There is no clearer example of how difficult it is–to be Black in America.

All four officers are indicted for “excessive force”.  After acquittal by the State, six days of rioting begin.  It is April 29, 1992.  In the end, four police officers, Stacey Koon, and Officer Laurence Powell are convicted by a Federal court.  Each serves two years in prison.  Theodore Briseno and Timothy Wind, the other accused, are acquitted.  Gattis does not dwell on the King’ beat down but infers it is the primer for society’s explosion in South Central Los Angeles.

KOON, BRISENO, WIND, & POWELL
In the end, four police officers, Stacey Koon, and Officer Laurence Powell are convicted by a Federal court.  Each serves two years in prison.  Theodore Briseno and Timothy Wind, the other accused, are acquitted.
RODNEY KING RIOT - SOUTH CENTRAL LOS ANGELES
Gattis’s novel looks at L.A’s riots through the eyes of minority communities living in the poorest parts of South Central Los Angeles.  His story begins with the brutal murder of an innocent Latino by a Latin gang.  The murder occurs just after the State’s acquittal of the four officers.  Gattis infers the murder occurs because it could be disguised by the Angeleno’ riots.

Gattis’s novel looks at L.A’s riots through the eyes of minority communities living in the poorest parts of South Central Los Angeles.  His story begins with the brutal murder of an innocent Latino by a Latin gang.  The murder occurs just after the State’s initial acquittal of the four officers.  Gattis infers the murder occurs because it could be disguised by the Angeleno’ riots.  The murder introduces a cast of characters that will scare most reader/listeners.  Sadly, Gattis’s book will also energize gun-toting vigilantes, reinforce socioeconomic prejudices, and encourage right-wing pundits to argue socialism is ruining America.  Fundamentally, Gattis’s novel exhibits the appalling consequence of America’s neglect of the poor.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA
One may argue there is no justification for rioting in America but current events and past history suggest otherwise.  From the days of the American Revolution to the murder of a 32-year-old woman in Charlottesville, North Carolina by James Fields Jr. in 2017, rule-of-law has been violated by both moral and miscreant Americans.

One may argue there is no justification for rioting in America but current events and past history suggest otherwise.  From the days of the American Revolution to the murder of a 32-year-old woman in Charlottesville, North Carolina by James Fields Jr. in 2017, rule-of-law has been violated by both moral and miscreant Americans.

Every riot is justified and vilified in measures equal to the power and prestige of prevailing interests.  Victims of riots range from rule-of-law enforcement agencies to all socioeconomic levels of American society.  However, the powerless, disrespected, and poor are recycled as perennial victims in every riot.  Those who protect the general public suffer at the time of riot but, as peace is restored, the poor return to a life of quiet desperation and crime that is largely contained and hidden from public view.

GANGS IN SOUTH CENTRAL LOS ANGELES
GANGS IN SOUTH CENTRAL LOS ANGELES (Money, power, and prestige are important to all human beings.  However, the ways of making money in poor communities are often illegal because, like Willie Sutton said about banks–robbing, murder for hire, extortion, and drug trafficking are where the money is.  Gangs proliferate in poor communities.)

Human self-interest is at the heart of what is good and bad in societies based on rule of law.  The rich and middle class are served by rule of law while the poor are often left to fend for themselves.  What Gattis shows in his story is that citizen’ self-interest in poor communities is the same as the general public’ but it takes a different form.

Money, power, and prestige are important to all human beings.  However, the ways of making money in poor communities are often illegal because, like Willie Sutton said about banks–robbing, murder for hire, extortion, prostitution, and drug trafficking are where the money is.  Gangs proliferate in poor communities.  They have their own rule of law because the general public’s rule of law does not equally protect the poor.

If the poor cannot find a job, they sell their bodies or their loyalty.  Turning tricks for money buys food, clothing, and housing–the necessities of life.   Being a gang member or leader becomes the primary ladder for success of the poor.  The stress of being poor is a cycle of illegal selling and buying.  With the sale of one’s body or the trafficking of drugs, the poor are employed in ways that satisfy the human desire for money, power, and prestige.  With the use of one’s body or drugs, the poor escape the mind-numbing reality of being poor in America; i.e. at least until they run out of money, are murdered, or die from the pestilences of life.  American police and fire departments treat the poor less equally because the problems of the poor are increasingly unmanageable.

prostitution
The stress of being poor is a cycle of illegal selling and buying.  With the sale of one’s body or the trafficking of drugs, the poor are employed in ways that satisfy the human desire for money, power, and prestige.

Gattis’s novel posits a solution.  He suggests an American gang of corrections officers to threaten poor community gang leaders with murder and mayhem if they choose to persist in their murderous control of poor communities.  One has to ask oneself–how can vigilantism cure the problem?  The victims of this mentality are decent police and fire department operations that have sworn to protect life and property in the jurisdictions of all citizens of the United States.

pogo
Police and fire departments are caught in the middle of a war that cannot be won.

Police and fire departments are caught in the middle of a war that cannot be won.  It is the same war that defeated America in Vietnam.  As Pogo observed, “We have seen the enemy and it is us”.

The solution for America does not lie in public safety departments being drawn down to the level of gangs but to raise gangs to the level of good citizens by genuinely educating and providing equal opportunity for all.

The map for poverty’s elimination is a destination at the end of a long road.  The road to a police state, a gang-like sanction of government enforcers, is a short cut to Democratic’ Armageddon.  Gattis tells a story that exposes poverty’s sharp edges and democracy’s vulnerabilities.

TRUTH TO POWER

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.blog

The Feminine Mystique 

The Feminine Mystique

4 Star Symbol

By: Betty Friedan

Narration by: Parker Posey

BETTY FRIEDAN (1921-2006)
BETTY FRIEDAN (1921-2006)

By writing–women are human beings first–, Betty Friedan speaks truth to power.  Friedan’s theme in The Feminine Mystique attempts to enlighten thick-headed males and doubting women about the equality of human beings. It is sad to realize that such a banal and obvious statement as “women are human beings first” so perfectly exposes the ignorance of prejudice.

Every rational human being has a brain that neurologically functions in the same way; i.e. through chemical and neural interconnection.  This is not to suggest that brains are exactly alike; that interconnection is exactly the same, or that genetics do not matter.  It is not to suggest that environment does not matter. What Friedan shows is that sexuality, color of one’s skin, and culture are influences that create prejudice while the brain is an infinitely malleable organ that carries the potential for genius as well as stupidity.

Conference
What Friedan shows is that sexuality, color of one’s skin, and culture are influences that create prejudice while the brain is an infinitely malleable organ that carries the potential for genius as well as stupidity.
SIGMUND FREUD (1856-1939)
SIGMUND FREUD (1856-1939) Friedan suggests the Oedipus complex and penis envy are male delusions about female sexuality, perpetrated by Sigmund Freud and endorsed by most intellectuals and academicians in the early 20th century.

Friedan suggests the Oedipus complex and penis envy are male delusions about female sexuality, perpetrated by Sigmund Freud and endorsed by most intellectuals and academicians in the early 20th century.  The Feminine Mystique, published in 1963, acknowledges Freud’s great insight to the psychology of human beings but derides diagnosis of female hysteria as a valid mental disorder.

Female hysteria disappears from professional psychology schools in the mid-20th century.  Friedan suggests female hysteria has little to do with sexuality, women’s menstruation, or change-of-life diagnosis.  Her argument is that conversion disorder; hypochondria-sis, depression and anxiety in women are more likely caused by The Feminine Mystique, a false notion of a woman’s “role” in society; i.e. the idea that a woman can only be a spinster, wife, or mother.

Those roles limit the productive capability of half the human race.  If a spinster chooses not to have a husband, there is more time to make productive contribution to the world.   If a single woman chooses to be a wife, sharing the costs and burdens of domesticity, it leaves ample opportunity for other life interests; the same applies to motherhood.  Being denied constructive opportunity drives women to the neuroses of the modern age.

WOMEN AND THE LADDER TO SUCCESS
If a single woman chooses to be a wife, sharing the costs and burdens of domesticity, it leaves ample opportunity for other life interests; the same applies to motherhood.

A woman can be a spinster, wife, or mother but she can also be a scientist, a President, a business mogul, or a bum.  The Feminine Mystique exposes the false premise that women are primarily breeders and caregivers rather than equals in humanities’ race for money, power, and prestige.  What Friedan reveals in The Feminine Mystique is that women can bear children and be equally interested in and capable of excelling in the world of money, power, and prestige. However, women are frustrated by inequality of opportunity caused by The Feminine Mystique which identifies women in a role that should be shared by all members of the human race.

FAMOUS WOMEN IN HISTORY
FAMOUS WOMEN IN HISTORY   A woman can be a spinster, wife, or mother but she can also be a scientist, a President, a business mogul, or a bum.
SEXUAL PREDATION (WOMEN AS OBJECTS TO FULFILL MALE FANTASIES)
SEXUAL PREDATION (WOMEN AS OBJECTS TO FULFILL MALE FANTASIES)

Birthing children is unique to women just as sperm production is unique to men.  Beyond these unique capabilities, a world of opportunity is open to both men and women, but men have a culturally and historically defined advantage.  Friedan defines men’s advantages by noting false barriers produced by psychologists like Freud that fail to understand they are discounting productive potential of half the human race.

Worse than the existence of barriers to equal opportunity for women, Friedan explains the unconscious conspiracy that pervades American culture.  Freidan acknowledges it is not a cabal of men but that it is a pervasive misunderstanding of what a human being is.

women in man's world
Worse than the existence of barriers to equal opportunity for women, Friedan explains the unconscious conspiracy that pervades American culture.

The tragedy is that this misunderstanding becomes self-perpetuating. Advertising trades on sexual innuendo that perpetuates objectification of women; studies like the Kinsey report falsely infer natural sexuality is inhibited in women that have higher education; blame is placed on women for children that become delinquents because they are not always present as homemakers and caregivers.

ELENA FERRANTE (AN ANOYMOUS AUTHOR--PRESUMED TO BE A WOMAN)
Advertising trades on sexual innuendo that perpetuates objectification of women.

Rationally, most people realize women are not sex objects. Advertising based on sexual innuendo is unlikely to change.  The more ominous concerns raised by Friedan are false correlations suggesting higher education diminishes natural sexuality and that women (mothers) are primarily responsible for what children become as adults.  Higher education is the primary hope for breaking the cycle of unequal treatment of women.  Children become adults as a result of many things—not only from parenting but from genetics, health, and environment.  Mothers are no more to blame than fathers who fail to share the responsibilities of home making and parenting.

parents and children
Mothers are no more to blame than fathers who fail to share the responsibilities of home making and parenting.
INSTITUTIONAL DISCRIMINATION
INSTITUTIONAL DISCRIMINATION–Women doing the same job as men in 2010 receive $.81 for every $1 paid to men, a 19% difference.

Freidan’s concern is that women are not treated as equals even though women are approximately equal-in-number to men.  Things have changed since 1963 but equality remains a work-in-process.  Of the fortune 500 companies in the United States, only 25 have female CEOs.  Women doing the same job as men in 2010 receive $.81 for every $1 paid to men, a 19% difference.  Though house work is shared more now than in the 1960s, women work 18 hours a week homemaking while men work 10 hours a week (according to a PEW Research Study in 2011); i.e. the greatest burden remains with women.  Without meaning to argue that the glass is half empty rather than half full, the revolution exemplified by Friedan’s book is incomplete.   Many people continue to fight for equality of all human beings but many men and women continue to resist; to the detriment of society.

The Feminine Mystique should be required reading in high schools.  It is as relevant today as it was in 1963.

INCOMPETENCE & GREED

Audio-book Review

By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)

Website: chetyarbrough.blog

 

The Big Short                                                         &                       No One Would Listen

By Michael Lewis                                                                             By Harry Markopolos

Narrated by Jesse Boggs                                                    Narrated by Scott Brick & Others

the big shortno one would listen

Michael Lewis details the collapse of the real estate industry and Harry Markopolos dissects Bernie Madoff’s multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme.  Both authors reveal mankind’s inherent incompetence and greed.  This is the 21st century but we still live in Thomas Hobbes’ 17th century world.

MICHAEL LEWIS (AUTHOR, JOURNALIST)
MICHAEL LEWIS (AUTHOR, JOURNALIST)
HARRY MARKOPOLOS (FINANCIAL FRAUD INVESTIGATOR, AUTHOR)
HARRY MARKOPOLOS (FINANCIAL FRAUD INVESTIGATOR, AUTHOR)

“The Big Short” and “No One Would Listen” reveal the nuts and bolts of how smart and stupid a free society can be.  There is plenty of blame for every person involved; both perpetrator and victim.  Human nature is an equal opportunity victimizer.  Freedom of opportunity beckons good and bad behavior in man.

Money lenders like Countrywide and Washington Mutual fed bogus “no doc” mortgages to investment house mathematicians (known as “Quants”) that worked for companies like Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch to create derivative (real estate backed) securities.   Inept management by Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac offered mortgage insurance for grossly overleveraged mortgages.  Companies like AIG removed investor risk by insuring banks against bad investments.  All of these foolish actions coalesced to bankrupt companies and families around the world.  Individual lies, bungles, and missteps in the real estate industry created the worst recession since the 1929 stock market crash.

QUANTS
QUANTS–Money lenders like Countrywide and Washington Mutual fed bogus “no doc” mortgages to investment house mathematicians (known as “Quants”) that worked for companies like Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch to create derivative (real estate backed) securities.
BERNARD MADOFF (AGE 74) SERVING 150 YEAR PRISON SENTENCE
BERNARD MADOFF (AGE 74) SERVING 150 YEAR PRISON SENTENCE

While this real estate debacle was developing, Bernie Madoff built a 50 to 70 billion dollar empire by making fools of the U.S. Government, European royalty, world wide charities, and working families.  Madoff lied, cheated and stole billions of dollars from wealthy investors, charities, and mom and pop businesses with offers of bogus investment returns based on buying from Peter to pay Paul.  He paid dividends to earlier investors by taking money from newer investors.  As long as people believed in Madoff, or deluded themselves, his wheel of fortune continued to roll. As the real estate market collapsed, old investor money was recalled and new money became unavailable.  Madoff’s failure was inevitable.

How could these things happen in a 21st century, democratically elected and governed society?   Hobbes would say “how could these things not happen”?

Michael Lewis identifies seers that recognized “Quants” were packaging doomed mortgages into re-saleable financial instruments called derivatives.  Victims care little about who the seer heroes were but they were ringing warning bells long before the real estate collapse occurred.  Seers by chance and foresight created “The Big Short”; betting on the coming real estate collapse.  Seers became rich as the “too clever”, uninformed, or greedy victims became poor.

GOVERNMENT REGULATION
GOVERNMENT REGULATION-“No One Would Listen” is an indictment of democratic government in free society.  His story exposes an inept and failed SEC, an agency created by government to protect investors.

Madoff’s investment lies were exposed in Markopolos’ written “red flag” report to the Security Exchange Commission in the year 2000.  The title of the book “No One Would Listen” tells the story.  “No One Would Listen” is an indictment of democratic government in free society.  His story exposes an inept and failed SEC, an agency created by government to protect investors.  The irony is that Madoff did not get caught, he confessed in 2009 because his Ponzi scheme fell apart. along with the collapse of the real estate industry.

Regulation is not a perfect solution for control of bad actors in a free society.  However, no regulation is worse.  The forensic reports of Michael Lewis and Harry Markopolos show what happens when efforts to regulate human nature are abandoned.  Thomas Hobbes’ “Leviathan” lives to wreck havoc on society.

The narrators of these two books, Jesse Boggs and Scott Brick, are easy to listen to and the author’s forensic stories are valuable to hear.