(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY JULY 29, 2019) — THE PLANET steps aside today for this guest column from John McWhorter. We occasionally publish guest columns not because we agree or disagree with the content but because they are reasonably well written and contain arguments pertaining to relevant social issues. Up or down, left or right, if you have something to say, we invite you to put it into words. We will publish submissions that meet those simple criteria. We do it as yet another way to make this site responsive to the need for open exchanges in the free marketplace of ideas. As the local mainstream media restricts opportunities for free speech, THE PLANET seeks to expand those opps.

With that, we present a column dealing with the problem of black-on-black violence. It seems fitting we should publish it now, with  presidential politics on the Democrat side having been reduced to one issue: race. That issue will dominate the upcoming Dem debates, we predict. Frontrunner Joe Biden will be standing between Kamala Harris and Corey Booker, the marshmallow in the ‘smores. By the time the two have done with Biden over “white privilege” and shrieking “racist,” Biden will emerge the stronger. The polls won’t show it, but Dems will secretly realize that Biden is their only chance to avoid getting overwhelmed by the President in 2020 — secretly, because not one in their number has the pragmatism let alone guts to reign in then eliminate race-themed politics. Trump presides over a strong economy and record-low unemployment, with the Fed about to lower interest rates.

Dems until recently had one other issue beside race: impeachment. Then they had the brilliant ides to call Robert Mueller to testify on the Hill. End of discussion. They thought Mueller would come in with enough loaded ammo to sink Trump. Instead, a tired, old, feeble looking Mueller took the hot seat with a cap gun with no caps. James Freeman of the Wall Street Journal put it most cleverly when he asked, “Did Robert Mueller Read The Mueller Report?” Kyle Smith of the New York Post called Mueller’s appearance “the Al Capone’s Vault of political news.”

The Dems blew it big time, and now they are left with a party hijacked by the a contingent so far left it can’t be found on the wing. They’re trying to push Biden, their only real chance, out of the way with by playing the race card. All that brand of totalitarianism will achieve is self-immolation.

Now to the guest piece.

———- 000 ———-

Special to THE PLANET

By John McWhorter

The reason Black Lives Matter has a lot of eyes rolling is not because people don’t care about black people and don’t understand the problem with police. The problem is that the typical black man in a particular kind of community is at much, much more risk of being killed by another black man. And you can’t argue it away. There are all these sophisticated feints such as saying that there’s a difference between the state murdering and citizens murdering. But none of it goes through.

Hundreds of black men are killing each other every summer. And so I think, in short, Black Lives Matter is important. It could make an important difference in modern black history. But for it to be a movement that resonates historically, it has to add a new wing where it firmly says and stands behind the idea that black lives matter when black people take them too.

There has to be a second wing that goes into black communities and works in a real way on the black-on-black murders. That would make Black Lives Matter complete. As it is now, it’s incomplete, and it looks shrill. The idea that Black Lives Matter only when white people try to take take them looks childish,  peevish, wrong, and incomplete.

I am never more struck than I am lately about how certain sentences that you hear often enough are accepted as truth until they become almost a kind of music. You take a group of people who are all the same color and you put them together in neighborhoods where job opportunities are not great. And the inevitable result is that the men are going to start killing each other over trivia?

That is an equation that I don’t think any historian or any anthropologist would think of as applicable to homo sapiens that we know.

A group of people who are poor, all put together in one place, without a whole lot of opportunity will start killing one another. No. If you think about it, it would be considered racist if a white person said that 75 years ago.

But today we’re somehow encouraged to think about that as an “enlightened” or “humane” take on what goes on in black America. And as far as changing the subject, all you have to do is think about the mother who just lost her second son. Now go up to her with a pad and tell her, “Well, this is really sad, but we’re really more interested in things that the state does. We’re really more interested in things that people who are responsible for the public order do. Now the fact that this was done by somebody who was from three blocks over, well, we’re sorry, that’s regrettable, but we’re not concerned with that. We’re doing this now.” It seems almost inhumane yet we’re supposed to accept that as wisdom.

And it’s not that the black men shooting each other are evil. I understand their humanity too.

But the idea that democracy is threatened by the white cop whereas if the kid from three blocks over does it, well he’s just an ordinary person? No!

The situation that we’re in now is as if—think about Selma. Think about watching people coming over that bridge with the terrible things that happened, and meanwhile over on the other side of the bridge, black teenagers were killing each other by the dozens every summer. And the idea was, “No, we’re not really going to think about that, because they kinda can’t help it, and that’s not important.” Imagine what Selma would’ve looked like if that’s what the situation was. That’s where we are now. And no amount of fancy Latinate words can disguise that simple fact from me or most of America watching.

———- ooo ———-

THE PLANET thanks our guest writer. We invite anyone to submit columns to this website. We will publish irrespective of political leaning, as long as they are well written and argued.


“Television has changed the irresistible force to an immoveable object”Laurence J. Peter.



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  1. Mad Trapper
    August 1, 2019 at 1:37 am #

    Soteros house of cards falling down.

    • Mad Trapper
      August 1, 2019 at 1:40 am #

      Mueller; ” Well I can’t get into THAT!!!”

      • Mr. Fritz
        August 1, 2019 at 4:21 am #

        It’s only a matter of time before the manure hits the fan. Under Trump’s admin., the truth will come out!
        Watch the rats squirm!
        Hopefully Epstein will live to testify, as Trump is also breaking up the pedophile ring.

        • Tom Betit
          August 2, 2019 at 2:22 am #

          Trumps timing is impeccable, should be very relevant topic just in time for election season !

          Hopefully we have a similar situation happening in the commonwealth as fakers administrations corruption is coming completely unraveled. With whistle blowers becoming more common. Orange man bad will be very disappointed in rino Charlie.

          Epstein’s odds are equal to whitey bulger’s, I’m surprised he’s still breathing- possibly he is accustomed to lack of air – from erotica asphyxiation.

          Mad trapper
          Case against Comey will evolve, it’s a bit of a stretch in front of a jury looking at one individual, but when you can see the whole picture it’s obvious. Barr and Durham are two of the best prosecutors ever, Comey won’t be going anywhere. Imagine Sidney Powell will have judge Sullivan into another tirade aimed again at Federal prosecutors, like his Epic scolding of Eric holders prosecutors of Senator Ted Stevens. History repeats itself until change is instituted.

  2. Pat
    August 1, 2019 at 3:54 am #

    Mueller was asked if he had access to all of President Trump’s financial records (tax returns) during his investigation and he conveniently said he couldn’t comment. He could have easily stopped the Democrat lie that nobody has checked out his tax returns. This was obviously done to help Democrats.

  3. Lenny
    August 1, 2019 at 4:28 am #

    Chris Connell for Ward 4! He’s done a great job. Wish he’d run for mayor one of these years. He has business experience AND common sense.

    • danvalenti
      August 1, 2019 at 8:56 am #

      We agree with your assessment of councilor Connell.

      • shakes
        August 1, 2019 at 9:00 am #

        Doesn’t he own a lot of dilapidated multi-tenant buildings around Town? Anyone check out reports of code violations?

  4. Auto Phil
    August 1, 2019 at 4:58 am #

    What other catastrophes have to occur for the city to fix the next big problem?

    Fire hydrants not working?
    Sorry, we’ll fix that for the next time a structure burns uncontrollably in a densely populated neighborhood. Well, maybe not for the next time….but now everyone knows, so we’ll look into it…

    Timmy falls into a well? Oops. Sorry. We knew that well was a danger. We didn’t want to address it though until someone got hurt. We’ll work on addressing it.

    Interesting safety strategy. What other neglect will be unearthed in the next oops! incident….

    • danvalenti
      August 1, 2019 at 8:56 am #

      They should have called Lassie to get Jon Provost out of the well!

      • Tom Betit
        August 1, 2019 at 4:31 pm #

        Did google take over the planet
        A lot of censorship recently
        Very unplanet and anti 1st amendment

        • danvalenti
          August 1, 2019 at 5:52 pm #

          I have explained this 1,001 and one times. No internet firewall is perfect, BUT … BUT THE PLANET will put up our system against anyone’s because we’ll win. We have a system now that maintains its feistiness and relevance while at the same time keeping it from degenerating into the cesspool — they very things that has caused other local media just to shut you and the public out. This is the FINAL TIME I will explain this. From here on, such cries of “censorship” will be vanquished to Siberia. Period.

          • Fugimoto Hockalugi
            August 1, 2019 at 7:04 pm #

            I knew Russia fit in somewhere.

          • Tom Betit
            August 2, 2019 at 2:30 am #

            It’s like the sky is falling, Democrats are seeing Russians, Hitler and racists everywhere.

            Seems much like a preplanned propaganda campaign!
            That some people actually believe it.
            Proves the old adage
            “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” – Abraham Lincoln

  5. The school committee
    August 1, 2019 at 5:46 am #

    Tyer ran on her ability to limit tax hike for the low income taxpayer,Mayor Tyer failed to do this in 4 years.There is no excuse as this is how she got elected.
    Mazzeo will now have her 4 year shot to control the purse.If Mazzeo does not do it we will move on to the next liar.

    • B. Clairmont
      August 1, 2019 at 8:41 am #


      Please show me one lit card, or speech or newspaper article where she said what you say. You won’t find one. You are making things up.


      • Acute Angina
        August 1, 2019 at 9:41 am #

        TSC is creatively mendacious.

        • danvalenti
          August 1, 2019 at 2:32 pm #

          You get THE PLANET’s gold star for the use of the word “mendacious.” That’s a “big boy” word. Proud of you!!

      • The school committee
        August 1, 2019 at 10:55 am #

        It’s in the video of a Dan Valenti show with her and Bianchi facing off.

      • ProxyDate
        August 1, 2019 at 8:21 pm #

        Bad News Barry gets owned yet again.
        It’s nice to see it happen to him and his wife.

        Watch it, watch the whole thing. Personally I think it gets really interesting when Tyer starts lying at about the 32 minute mark.
        Go back to hairdressing Linda

  6. The school committee
    August 1, 2019 at 6:01 am #

    Tyer raised my real estate tax 20% in 4 years and she raised water and sewar rates 100%

    • Trump 2020
      August 1, 2019 at 8:30 am #

      That’s what democrats do.

    • B. Clairmont
      August 1, 2019 at 8:50 am #

      Lets talk tax rates.

      In 2016 the residential rate was $18.76/ $1,000 of value. In 2019 it was $19.42/ $1,000 of value. A 3.52% increase over 4 years.

      In 2016 the commercial rate was $38.06/ $1,000. In 2019 it is $39.94. A 4.93% increase over 4 years.

      If your personal tax bill went up over 4 years either you invested in your property, or the value went up, which means you are making money on your home, which you should be thankful for.

      But for sure, she hasn’t increased the tax rate by 20%. For residents it is less than 1% per year. FACT!


      • Ted
        August 1, 2019 at 9:42 am #

        Stay down, Luke.

      • The school committee
        August 1, 2019 at 11:51 am #

        OK,a 3000k tax bill in year 1 was up only 3.5% was at 3420 bucks year 4

  7. Merry & Bright
    August 1, 2019 at 9:07 am #

    So who is running for Mayor, Barry or Linda? Barry you stated that Linda does not read Dan’s blog and you don’t tell her what is being said. Why? You seem to speak for her all the time, are you her voice? Do you tell her what to say all the time? If so, why have you not answered many questions that have been asked on this blog about road repair, line painting, traffic division and a multitude of issues that are causing the City of Pittsfield to decline under her term?

    • ProxyDate
      August 2, 2019 at 4:44 am #

      In case you haven’t figured it out, Barry lies a lot and he’s a bully who likes to threaten people.
      He’s more worried about her having a job than anything else.
      That’s why so many people in city hall are doing less work and are turning civil service jobs into political ones.
      Kufflinks Kerwood is going to be out on the street if she loses so he’s running numbers behind the curtain to make her look good and to give her talking points. It’s a daily occurrence at City Hall, I see and hear it all the time.
      The best one yet. Them talking about how to shift the tax rate and how Linda didn’t understand the concept at all. .

  8. Fake News
    August 1, 2019 at 9:32 am #

    If the value of your home goes up and you aren’t selling or if you can’t get the price it’s assessed for this is just a sneaky way to increase taxes.

    • B. Clairmont
      August 1, 2019 at 10:10 am #

      Fake argument. The real estate market is hot and prices are going up. Most sell for more than the assessed value. FACT!


      • B. Clairmont
        August 1, 2019 at 10:25 am #

        Here are some examples of sales vs. assessments from sales listed in Sunday’s paper…

        6 Aspen Way sold for $415,000, assessed at $371,700.

        106 Morningview Drive sold for $165,000 assessed at $138,700.

        35 Brunswick sold for $440,000, assessed at $350,600.

        15-17 Spring sold for $82,500, assessed at $85,300 (overassessed by $2,800)

        674 West Housatonic sold for $199,900, assessed at $108,600.

        124 Bryan sold for $179,900, assessed at $131,600.

        Some of these properties sold for significantly more than the assessed value.


        • ProxyDate
          August 1, 2019 at 4:32 pm #

          If they sell for more than plus or minus 10% over of their assessed values, the sales are invalid and are coded out.
          It means the assessors are not doing their jobs right and are incompetent or there’s other property (like personal property involved).
          In any case the assessors have to find out why via a survey or interview with the buyer, seller, or real estate agent.

          Nice try you scumbag liar. Give everyone the sale codes on the properties in question and if they were used in the statistical sample for setting the tax rate.

      • The school committee
        August 1, 2019 at 11:12 am #

        If your realestate taxes are 3200 in year 1 and 4000 in year 4 your taxes have gone up closer to 25% over 4 year,Yes or no?

      • The school committee
        August 1, 2019 at 11:13 am #

        Ask the new owner what his new taxes are?

      • Fake News
        August 1, 2019 at 1:11 pm #

        If houses in Pittsfield are selling like hot cakes now are we losing population? Are ghosts moving in? Fact.

  9. Fake News
    August 1, 2019 at 9:34 am #

    The fake mayor is publishing pictures with a fake indian , a fake Massachusetts resident (both senators) and a fake republican. How appropriate.

  10. The school committee
    August 1, 2019 at 11:03 am #

    For low income taxpayers Barry using your logic means a house is not your home.Poor people cant play the real estate game. Mostly they cant make repairs.Your buyers in the Aspen Way house are 1%ers.Maybe they continue to flip .But please explain how the bottom analyzes your numbers.

  11. The school committee
    August 1, 2019 at 11:10 am #

    If your realestate taxes are 3200 in year 1 and 4000 in year 4 your taxes have gone up closer to 25% over 4 year,Yes or no?

  12. Drew Z
    August 1, 2019 at 11:40 am #

    Barry,there is a property on Lenox Ave that was assessed for over 170 g no takers over six years. Now the property is assessed for 141g after improvements,shell game? Another item,was watching the homeless committee with fast Eddie chairman,a citizen wanted to know how he is chairman or became chairman. Do you know.

  13. Auto Phil
    August 1, 2019 at 11:47 am #

    If you invest in your property and the value goes up, you aren’t necessarily making money unless the new value surpasses the amount of money you put in.

    If you sell the house at a higher price, you then have to pay a capital gains tax as well.

    Wait, isn’t BC an accountant…?

    • B. Clairmont
      August 1, 2019 at 12:22 pm #

      Only if it is a rental. Unless the gain on your personal residence is in excess of $500,000, in which case I feel sorry for you.


      • Auto Phil
        August 1, 2019 at 1:19 pm #

        I stand corrected! Thank you. Good to know. I patiently await the day I’ll sell my home for a 1/2 mill more than I paid!

  14. The school committee
    August 1, 2019 at 11:52 am #

    OK,a 3000k tax bill in year 1 was up only 3.5% was at 3420 bucks year 4

  15. The school committee
    August 1, 2019 at 11:54 am #

    Assessed value means nothing as it is the rate per k thats important

    • danvalenti
      August 1, 2019 at 2:28 pm #

      When one looks closely at how the assessments are done in many towns and cities, unfortunately including Pittsfield, one sees that assessments are almost completely arbitrary. We have a friend who had the house he owns with his wife “assessed” in a one-minute drive by. The guy never even got out of his (the city’s) vehicle. Nonetheless, his assessment went up almost $20K. The only “improvement” he made was getting rid of a dog house (the pup died). He’s livid. Don’t know what his next move will be. This is a story oft repeated in the city. Funny thing is how prices on “certain” properties in tonier sections remain the same for assessment purposes — until they sell. Then the $175,000 “assessed” house goes for $300,000. Another Pittsfield coincidence.

      • B. Clairmont
        August 1, 2019 at 4:26 pm #


        See my post above. The examples I gave were from all around the city. Values are going up because the market is hot in Pittsfield. Ask any real estate agent.

        The assessed values are at least partially based on sales in the neighborhood. If sales indicate that prices are 10% above assessed values for a particular neighborhood, when they reassess you should expect a 10% rise in your assessment.


        • ProxyDate
          August 1, 2019 at 8:47 pm #

          Again Barry is lying.
          If the assessed value goes up over 10% the sale is classified as not valid. If the sale is more than 10% below the assessed value it’s not valid.

          Valid sales are not directly tied to a given property or neighborhood they are used as a statistical survey as what is called an ASR assessment to sales ratio.
          It’s that ratio, after all the sales are coded (valid, invalid, family, government, not for profit, foreclosure and a host of others) that establish a factor to increase the tax rate.
          It then becomes a function of new growth, levy limit, spending, any existing overrides, certified free cash, and a number of other factors that allow the tax rate to be set.

          So lying Barry just lied again.

      • ProxyDate
        August 1, 2019 at 4:52 pm #

        File an abatement you can only do it after January 1

        • danvalenti
          August 1, 2019 at 5:48 pm #

          That’s what I recommended. Can’t hurt.

    • B. Clairmont
      August 1, 2019 at 4:20 pm #

      Your making my point. See my earlier post where residential rates per went up by less than 1% for her four years.


      • ProxyDate
        August 1, 2019 at 8:48 pm #

        How can you tell Barry is lying?
        He’s talking to tying on planet valenti.

  16. B. Clairmont
    August 1, 2019 at 12:24 pm #

    You’re making my point, S.C., the rate per thousand has gone up less than 4% on homeowners over a four year period. See my post above.


    • ProxyDate
      August 2, 2019 at 4:26 am #

      And lying Barry knows that the tax rate doesn’t matter as it’s an inverse function of assessed values.

      Want the tax rate to go down, increase the assessed value.
      What matters is how much money your total bill is one year to the next.

      Subtract your 2018 bill from your 2019 bill.
      If that number is a positive number your taxes have gone up.
      If that number is a negative number your taxes have gone down.
      You can calculate the percent yourself. Then ask yourself is it worth it? If not file an abatement on a January 1st.

  17. X-Lachs Lounge
    August 1, 2019 at 1:08 pm #

    Terry Kinnas had to explain to the master accountant how the 1% raise for the school dept was closer to 18%. So he can be slow to perceive.

  18. Magoo
    August 1, 2019 at 1:17 pm #

    Your clock is 3 hours behind, if you haven’t noticed!

    • Mr. Fritz
      August 1, 2019 at 2:20 pm #

      You must be either new to the planet, or not very observant!!

    • danvalenti
      August 1, 2019 at 2:23 pm #

      Noticed a long time ago. It’s West Coast time for my days in LA. Been out there a lot lately, BTW.

  19. Aerin
    August 1, 2019 at 3:08 pm #

    Is Barry just on here to baffle everyone with bs about taxes and distract us from the fact that Tyer had done nothing about crime but stick us with a DA who has very little legal experience and next to no criminal expertise? Wag the Dog, much?

  20. ProxyDate
    August 1, 2019 at 4:26 pm #

    Not only is Barry Clairmont a bully who threatens people, he’s trying toooo hard to protect loser Linda the mayor.

    You don’t have to consider mill rate (rate per thousand), you don’t have to consider assessed value, all you have to do is look at the final bill from each year.
    Not the first two, those are estimated bills, but your final bill, that is issued after January 1st.
    The easiest way for the layman to compare how much their taxes have gone up is to look at what they paid total for the year by comparing the 4th quarter bills.

    Now scumbag lying Barry knows this, as does Loser Linda and Kufflinks Kerwood. That’s why they work so hard to manipulate the numbers and try and get you to focus on your tax rate and not your tax bill.

    Here’s a simple example to follow.
    Let’s say your house is assessed at $1000
    Let’s say the mill rate is $20 per thousand.
    You’d get a tax bill of $20.

    What loser Linda and Kufflinks Kerwood did, they made you focus on the tax rate and made a big deal about how they lowered it for the first time in years.
    They didn’t tell you that they also increased your assessed value and for most people that would mean the would pay MORE in taxes.

    So what loser Linda did was have Kufflinks and the assessors play a numbers game.
    Your house (via drive by assessing or paper/computer assessing)
    Goes from $1000 to $1100
    Tax rate goes from $20 to $19.98
    So now your total tax bill for the year? $21.98
    Did the tax rate go down, yep.
    Did your tax bill go up? Yep!
    So remember how do you tell when loser Linda is lying?
    Her lips are moving.

  21. Merry & Bright
    August 1, 2019 at 4:45 pm #

    Proxy – very well said. My earlier comment evidently fell through the rabbit hole, but I don’t appreciate the way both Barry and Linda bully and try their best to intimidate taxpayers. Especially don’t like how Barry feels he is so smart and us taxpayers are dumb. All I know is my taxes have increased yet my street is pothole ridden, has not been swept, curbing is all torn up from the many plows that plowed bare pavement this past winter. Cars are driving at least 45 miles over the speed limit and this is City wide so what are we getting for our taxes? Oh well, not going to change because Barry thinks we taxpayers are all lying about these things and he won’t share any of these issues with Linda.

  22. The school committee
    August 2, 2019 at 4:12 am #

    Barry’s numbers don’t add up.Tax bill when she started,tax bill when she got beat.Water bill when she started and water bill when she got beat.You can not run a city if you don’t call in your schools department head and tell them to cut 4 million from their budget.Crosby school is a dump,PHS is a dump.They both have unhealthy heating environments .