Friday, November 17, 2017

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

As I frequently say, I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  In fact I reckon I take prided in how little I actually know.  But every now and then I am able to string together a couple a few thoughts and sentences in such a manner to express what I honestly and truly believe and this is one of those rare times. When it comes to economics, I am no economist but when I read what is proposed and written by many of the “so-called’ experts in this field regarding the present economic standing of the United States, in particular Paul Krugman and Larry Summers, I always think of what Milton Friedman once said: “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand.”

I would not be surprised if a lot of cats consider Paul Krugman and Larry Sumner’s as overly smart and learned men. I would agree and note there are several reason for this, inclusive of their Ivy league educations and their incessant habit of speaking in technical terms employed to make them seem smarter than they are and/or to confuse the listener when they are proven wrong and/or are just guessing about what they think versus what they actually know. I suggest this because both believe economic theory is ALWAYS right which herein my problem with them is. Let us start with Krugman, who clearly has no clue or understanding of middle and lower class Americans.

If you have ever heard Paul Krugman talk or read anything he has penned to paper, one halcyon observation that can be made is that in his astigmatic perspective, he is always right and never wrong. No matter the topic, especially when the subject is rooted in macroeconomics, if you disagree or refute his propositions, you are often accused of having bad data, reconstructing history or just being plane ole illogical. This unceasing proclivity of Krugman’s to be correct in theory but incorrect based on real world standards would be amusing if it were not so dangerous. For example Krugman frequently invents or pretends to have been the economist who predicted the housing bubble. What he forgets to add is that in 2002 he wrote that the Federal Reserve and Alan Greenspan needed to “create a housing bubble to replace the NASDAQ bubble” in order to combat the recession at the time. When this was pointed out, you guessed it, he explained away the unexplainawayable.

He also has a habit of taking credit for stuff that has nothing to do with him or his words like the fact that the U.S. has yet to experience any real increase in price inflation. This although he had stated and predicted that from 2010 on, the U.S. would experience an extended period of unending “process of disinflation.” One could go on and on: the zillion times he has said the Euro would collapse or how negative interest would never ever happen. Regarding the Euro, he even went as far as to put in writing that many of the peripheral countries of Europe would be unable to remain in the Eurozone, even predicting that Greece would be out along with Spain and Italy four years ago.

I won’t just focus on Krugman, for every slap-stick comedy duo has a sidekick and partner and there is no better person I can slot for this role (casting couch aside) than the one and only Larry Summers. Summers, former Treasury Secretary during the Clinton administration and former Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama has blessed the world with the already disjointed and discredited concept of "secular stagnation." Now to provide a little background, when Barack Obama was elected in 2008, he mounted Summers as head of the National Economic Council. This even after he made remarks suggesting that women were biologically and genetically inferiorto men and more so, had not done such a great job while in the Clinton administration with respect to the dotcom bubble and his advocacy for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. The CFMA gave us financial derivatives, credit-default swaps and other complex papers which were basically unregulated and brought about the 2008 financial collapse. Although prior to this he regarded these new changes regarding securitization on Wall Street as being positive.

But I digress, back to secular stagnation. Summers believes that the U.S. economy is engaged in a new long-time trend or new normal that he has termed "secular stagnation." In simple terms, he suggests that without the existence of bubbles in any part of the U.S. economy, it is mathematically impossible for the economy to generate enough spending to get to full employment. For him, this is because since interest rates can't go below zero (Krugmanesque) and because the "natural interest rate “has been permanently lowered into negative territory such that real rates can't go low enough to keep the economy out of a protracted slump.

This all sounds good on paper but there are more than a few things wrong with this vision of Summers. The foremost is how one calculates real rates. How do we measure real interest rates or are we measuring real interest rates? When cats like Summers say that inflation-adjusted rates have been falling, most are just subtracting expected inflation from the nominal interest rate. The concern is that the way I see it, real interest rate is entirely different from the natural interest rate, which mean a more tenable explanation other than secular stagnation and the new normal of sub two percentgrowth, could be due to an unusual prolonged business cycle.

My question is how can cats like Krugman and Summers keep getting away with being so wrong so frequently yet venerated as economic Gods by the elite east and west coast press outlets and even many of our current politicians? Until we figure this out, it will be nearly impossible to have intelligent reasoned and fact based discussions or even arguments with such individuals on the topic of economics. I understand completely what Robert Skidelsky meant when he wrote: “Today’s professional economists, by contrast, have studied almost nothing but economics. They don’t even read the classics of their own discipline. Economic history comes, if at all, from data sets. Philosophy, which could teach them about the limits of the economic method, is a closed book. Mathematics, demanding and seductive, has monopolized their mental horizons. The economists are the idiots savants of our time.” 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The pulse of Black America these days appears to be controlled by several issues, none of which have any true impact on improving the present status quo of the African American community. These include Cam Newton's (seemingly innocents) comment regarding route running, the constant displeasure and anger toward President Donald Trump’s oral attacks against multi-million dollar celebrities associated with professional sports (namely Jemele Hill, LeBron James, & Colin Kaepernick)  and others who have decided to make a stand for (or knee) for whatever reason they say. Sure there is the occasional racist confederate statue and promoted albeit unsubstantiated Russian hacking of the US 2016 Presidential election, but anything that involves policy that could possibly actually assist in empowering the black community economically such as US monetary policy, not a whisper.

To be fair, maybe monetary policy or even fiscal policy are areas not to many African Americans take the time to understand, or maybe they feel it is too difficult a subject to comprehend. Whatever the case, you are more likely to see sincerely emotionally based thought-out gobbledygook on some stupid ish LeBron James said, or on how heterosexual black men are the white men of black people, or how Jemele Hill was right, than the previous. I would expect that a lot of cats know the difference between monetary and fiscal policy, but just in case they dont, I will attempt to explain the two, outline how a lack of focused attention on monetary policy is a slow death of the African American community and how can we change our attitudes such that we focus on tangible political issues instead of cosmetic subjects typical of identity politics that do nothing but aid in divide and conquering everybody.

Fiscal policy is a way a government adjusts its spending levels and tax rates to influence a nation's economy. Examples of this can be observed when the government implements tax cuts. Monetary policy is a macroeconomic policy put in place by central banks like the Federal Reserve designed to control and/or manage the money supply and interest rate. By macroeconomic, I am referring to general economic factors, such as interest rates and national productivity, which in theory can aid in dealing with consumption, inflation and even the Gross domestic product (overall productivity). Some common examples of monetary policy deals with regulating the discount rate of borrowing or lending and purchasing of government securities – all of which are ways the Federal Reserve in this instance, can control the country's money supply. Thus use of the noun money.

For all practical purposes, current US monetary policy is crushing the black community. Sure it has the stock markets at all-time highs (which for the record I benefit from) and has so far created the 2nd longest bull market run in history,  but it hasn’t resulted in any improvement in the economic capacity of the average black person in America. For us, it has yielded a period of wage stagnation even with the supposedly reduction in the national unemployment rate producing economic inequality levels we ain’t had since before the Great Depression. This is even after all the stuff Bush and Obama did based on the request of the Federal Reserve, supposedly to help Main Street (Quantitative Easing, TARP, and the bailouts of Bear Stearns, AIG, and GM). Overall, the median household before-tax incomes have fallen from near $55,000 to $53,000 presently, which means it is even worse for African Americans.

So far, Fed monetary policy has widened the employment gap for prime-age African Americans and whites. Plus, Blacks tend to slightly (if at all), participates in the financial markets, which over the past 8 years have served to mostly advantage the upper 10%. All of which is primarily determined by Federal Reserve’s monetary interventions. Although progressives like Obama and the mainstream media’s  assert that Federal Reserve policies thattarget full employment benefits African-Americans, it is not clear to how this can be the case when there is no evidence of this (albeit Obama said it was), or to support that specific unemployment for certain ethnic racial groups are considered when they formulate and implement monetary policy.

Since 2000 the African-American unemployment rate has been double the white unemployment rate with the unemployment rate of African-American teens being more than six times higher than the overall white unemployment rate.  Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve Board Chair even said that the US central bank was basically powerless to do anything specifically to tackle high unemployment rates in the black community. 

More to this point, Former Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota conducted research on the minutes and transcripts of the central bank’s meetings and found no referencesto the African American unemployment. This was in 2010 and searches for 2008 and 2009 detailed a similar result – at a time when African Americans were disparately being hard hit by the foreclosures when the housing bubble burst. The mortgage crisis in concert with the 2008 economic slump devastated 47 percent of black families’ wealth, wealth which has yet to be recovered.

With 80% of Americans on average earning less than $50,000 and one in two making less than $30,000 annually, it appears that US monetary policy is either tone death or designed to serve the top 10 percent. In some places, especially urban areas and major cities, the unemployment rate is for African-American men between the ages of 18 and 37 is nearly 40 percent unemployment and near 50 percent in cities like Chicago, Baltimore and even Atlanta.


Until the Federal Reserve factor in the experience of black economic conditions when developing and implementing monetary policy, nothing will change. But this won’t change until we who suffer by foul and ineffective monetary policy become more knowledgeable of the issue and remove ourselves from the ridiculous and mundane things we claim to be the most outraged with. Sure they recovery is strong, but only for a small segment of the population, for the average African American it has mainly worsened economic inequities. So forgive me if the removal of a statue, or some millionaire paid to play a kids game is mad supposedly due to police brutality aint that important to me.  I’m mad at this too, but I’m equally upset with the 538 murders and 2,913 shootings in Chicago to date (maybe even more) than the  329 whites, 165 blacks,112 Hispanics killed by police thus far according to the Washington Post. The prior of which is more a function of economic reality of actually failed monetary policy than a rebel flag. But that is just me.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Over the past decade many have openly complained about the brutal and authoritarian political moves of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  From his alleged supplying of ISIS jihadist in their effort to assist in the overthrow of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his helping them to smuggle oil from Iraq and Syria to world markets, to the way in which he dealt with the failed coup attempt against him by arresting his opponents, and closing all their affiliated institutions. There is also the referendum he won to serve both as head of government and the head of state at the same time. However even before this, many came to learn and understand his ruthlessness through his interaction with the Kurdish minority of Turkey, their political representation the Halkların Demokratik Partisi (HDP) and more notably, the Kurdistan Workers, party.

Recently he detained two leaders of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP along with many others accusing them of being supportive of the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) and spreading propaganda. Instead of addressing the vile hazardous actions of ISIS, Turkey under Erdogan has selected to go to war with the Kurds and has been on a continuous exercise attacking Kurdish militias in Syria and bombing Kurdish villages in the region. This is Turkey and how the Turks and Erdogan express their fear of Kurdish independence and self-determination for an ethnic group that make up between 15 and 25 percent of Turkey’s population (8 to 9 million) with an equally long and storied history

Now let us imagine a similar ethnic group both in number (6 to 7 million) and disposition with an equally long and storied history (1100 ACE), however they comprise 28 percent of the population. Like the Kurd’s they have their own language and seek to be independent, and practice self-rule. Moreover, as in the case with the Kurds, they have faced continuous opposition  for having such a desire and even more so for promoting the use of suffrage to determine such. This group of people since then has had many local elected officials arrested by the state government, with the regional police force under orders to arrest mayors if they refuse to appear for questioning by the state investigating their desire to hold a vote for independence.  In addition, the nation’s constitutional court has suspended the prosecutor of the region and central authorities have taken over all spending. Although this ethnic region of the nation is responsible for more than 20 percent of the more than 1 trillion-euro economy, the state central government has threatened to take away all its spending and budgetary authority.  This is Spain and this is how the central government in Madrid and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy express their fear of Catalonian independence and self-determination.

Historically, Catalonia is not a part of Spain just as Kurdistan was not a part of Turkey or Iraq.  This isn’t a new proposition for as in both cases war dictates who draws the boarders of conquered, occupied or colonialized nations. This was true with Catalonia as it was with Turkey, Iraq and Kurdistan after the Ottoman Empire’s defeat in World War I and both nations’ modern borders being demarcated in 1920 by the League of Nations via the Treaty of Sèvres.  However, just as in Turkey, likewise the Spanish government consider holding an independence referendum illegal and that such a vote would be in violation of the Spanish Constitution. To accentuate his point, the federal authorities have arrested scores of local politicians, seized tens of thousands of ballots and are continuously trying to block the official web site for the independence referendum.

It appears as if Spain under the direction of Prime Minister Rajoy is following the script designed and practiced by Erdogan word for word and action by action. Just this week in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Turkish President Erdogan warned that an independence referendum among Iraqi Kurds would have serious consequences. He stated, “Steps such as demands for independence that can cause new crises and conflicts in the region must be avoided. We hereby call on the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government to abort the initiative they have launched in that direction.”  Not to be out done in dictatorial prowess, Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy and his Constitutional Court has not only suspended the Catalonia and legislature but has also blocked all and any measures taken by the pro-independence Catalan government. These strong-armed tactics of intimidation did not end there. The Constitutional Court also levied fines of up to €12,000 a day on members of the Catalan electoral board and Prime Minister Rajoy defends detaining accused separatist politicians for promoting “civil disobedience” and acting “profoundly antidemocratic.” Rayjoy has also ordered all Catalan mayors to appear before the state to answer questions about the move toward independence, however the majority have declare exercised their right to remain silent before the court.

One consistent perspective presented by the Spanish authorities is that the referendum would be unconstitutional because all Spanish citizens would not be able to voteThis is strange since the Spanish Government along with other western nations supported the 1991 Kosovo, Slovenia and Croatia referendums for independence in which Serbian’s were not allowed to vote, nor did they make this sort of argument when the South Sudan was created without all Sudanese not being allowed to vote. In fact, since this time, the Spanish Government has recognized 26 new states the majority which were established independently (a unilateral referendum) of the input of others since that time.

Then there is the issue of when did this become unconstitutional. Some have advocated that the Spanish Constitutional Court’s decision to strike down key elements of the 2006 Catalan statute of autonomy was the actual unconstitutional action that has resulted in what is happening between Spain and Catalonia presently.  Since then, like the big neighborhood bully, Spain has refused to even talk or discuss anything regarding politics (including possible Catalonian succession) with the people of Catalonia and instead forced its opinions and decisions on the citizenry of Catalonia by fiat (speaking of undemocratic).

I used to believe that one of the foremost tenants of democracy was self-determination. The people of Catalonia think in this vein or else they would not have (through their vote) given the Parliament of Catalonia a mandatefor a Proclamation of Independence. Spain and Rajoy may need to find another path of action, for the more they stay on this road, the more they become the mirror image of Turkey and Erdogan.




Wednesday, August 30, 2017

After a few months, it appears that newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron is taking a page or two or three from the Donald Trump platform as well as Trump’s display of vanity. Like a reincarnated but taller version of Napoleon, Macron paraded into the Palace of Versailles a while back announcing extensive new changes to the French political establishment. Macron has broadcast that he plans to reduce the number of delegates in both the upper and lower houses of parliament by a third which for lack of a better phrase is just one phase of him “draining the swamp.” Macron has also channeled his Trumpian policy purview by focusing more and using tougher rhetoric. He is even pushing full steam ahead with his proposed tax cuts even given the $9.1 billion deficit in the French budget. However, the main observable overt behavioral comportment the new French president unfolds is a stuck-up and overbearing arrogance – even more than that of President Donald Trump.

He has other similarities to Trump also including his disdain for and continuous attempts to try and control the press. For example, he seldom speaks to the press and limits his public appearances to staged events in a similar manner as one of his unspoken political idols – Barack Obama. Like Trump, almost immediately after getting into office, he began to focus on fighting terrorism. First Macron created a counterterrorism task force. And has increased spending on fighting terrorism in former French colonies in Africa. But for Macron, all of this is to make him look good and concentrate supreme power and authority, regardless if his actions have substance or not, in his hands alone.

All of this has led some to take note of Mr. Macron of “authoritarian” tendencies.  In an interview, with Le Figaro he described his presidency and himself as the start of “a French renaissance [and] “European one as well,” The 39-year-old former Rothschild banker, has the support of the IMF and EU in his desire to decrease public spending. Then there are his proposed labor reforms, which has turned many of his voting block against him.   If people think that President Trump is arrogant and egotistical, then the same reasoning should fall in line for President Macron. Le Monde has reported that the president believes that his thinking did not "lend itself" to question and answer sessions such as those engendered during press conferences which resulted in him not having one on Bastille Day specifically because his"complex thoughts" may prove too much for journalists, reports say. Thus, in his mind, he Emmanuel Macron is too smart to communicate with, or to the serfs below him who put him in office. This may be why his popularity is even lower than the New USA President.

But if it were just smugness and disdain alone, he may not be perceived as so bad by the French populous.  However, there are other things – policy, that adds to his pomposity. There are his views regarding France’s labor code which he believes destroys jobs. Specifically, Macron’sdesire to harshly restrict payouts from labor boards to fired employees and reduce job protections. This singularly resulted in France’s largest labor unions too take to the streets in protest.  He has also cut social security allowances, housing subsidies, has proposed a partial lifting of the wealth tax and wishes to end local property taxes for 80 percent of those currently paying them starting in 2018. These events also led to widespread protest and this is just on the domestic side. His actions with respect to politics in France are also being severel ridiculed because from afar (not including spending $30,000 on make-up), he appears to put the desires of the EU, like reducing the budget deficit to 3% than for what is best and wanted by the citizens of France. Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin recently announced that the macron administration would cut 13 billion euros in funding for towns, departments and regions by 2022 to meet the EU goals.

There is a growing group of government officials upset by the president. Some say he blames them when policies he has approved are observed as unpopular by the populace. Others feel that he (through his interior minister Gérard Collomb) ignored the needsof migrants when they refused to open a new reception center at Calais for them. Others opposition party members have gone on the record to describe Macron as having "absolutist tendencies." National Front Leader Marine Le Pen said that" the ruling party is "choosing its opposition."

Macron has guaranteed to change by decree (without any input or resistance from the French Parliament) to permanently make the antiterrorism state of emergency standard rule and to reduce the military budget by €850m which some believe led to the resignation of Pierre de Villiers, the head of the armed forces. His decision to address the Congress of the French Parliament ahead of the prime minister'spolicy statement was also viewed as condescending.

The Republicans accuse Macron’s party of ignoring opposition when they appointed Thierry Solère of the majority, got an appointment (by secret ballot) that many say should have gone to the candidate of the largest opposition group, Republicans MP Eric Ciotti.  Macron is also rubbing other European leaders the wrong way. Just this past week he questioned the EU’s labor rules which allow firms to send temporary workers from low-wage countries to richer nations without having to pay social charges, causing Poland’s foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski to suggest that the reason why Mr. Macron was attacking other nations was because the French economy under Macron was not as strong as Poland’s economy.

Macron’s ego has lead him to put civil security above liberty. Only Macron’s Interior Ministry, with little review from the judicial branch has any say in searches and seizures and house arrests and the Macron administration can decide to close mosques if what is being said in them is not to their liking subjectively. Then there is way he talks about his populous as Italian psychiatrist Dr. Adriano Segator noted “When he talks about the poor or insults the workers of northern France, reducing them to smokers and alcoholics, when he denigrates women, lowering them to the level of the ignorant.” But this only makes sense. From an economic perspective, he is the classic neoliberal. He wishes to want to lower corporatetaxes and the cost of labor and reduce the amount of regulations that he believes prevents French business from be competitive on the international stage. And like neoliberals in the US, Macron advances fiscal policy that place the needs of public interest and government privatization over the needs and rights of the people.  If Macron isn’t the perfect example of arrogance, no one is.

Friday, August 25, 2017

I would like to preface this by saying first, please ignore any of the characteristics that some may consider privileged, such as being born in and living during segregation in Memphis in the early 1960s, my IQ of 165 plus, that I speak four languages and read a fifth, and teach statistics and neuroanatomy & behavior. With this out of the way – I don’t give a grass hopper fck about Colin Kaepernick. I do care about him as a person, as I do all people, but I have no interest in his personal life or any other extraneous comportments regarding his existence and/or current circumstances.  I have nothing against him and accept unconditionally that he is a Super bowl caliber quarterback with talents that exceed in my view, 85% of the current first, second and third string quarter backs in the NFL at this moment. However, being good at your job is only a portion of the job description.

Even with this, I do not understand why so many people are upset about him, one man, one man in the top 1 percent of income earners in the USA, not having a job, playing a game called football. Is it because of his afro (which I admit is cool)? Or is it because folks are in their feelings because he selected to take a knee during the national anthem in protest of something he clearly never believed in from the start and that he did for attention anyway? I can say this accurately, for after he noticed NFL owners not looking in his directions, he announced to the public via ESPN that next season he will stand during the National Anthem under the simulacrum that he thinks his method of protest may be taking away from “positive change[s] he believes has been created.”

If he were truthful, he would just admit that he is changing his tune because he misses that loot - them millions from being signed to a NFL team as a quarterback. Back-up quarterbacks make a nice little penny in the NFL. Which is another problem I have, why are folk so mad and want to protest on behalf of a single man? They do not protest about the many former NFL players (many of which are African Americans) suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) - the degenerative brain disease that is hypothesized to be the result of individuals suffering from repeated brain trauma. However, this would make too much sense, protesting for millions of dollars to go to research to understand the etiology and morphology surrounding how Tau proteins form, clumps and diffuse throughout the brain causing neural apoptosis in the process. The money that Kaepernick theoretically would be owed if under contract ($60 plus million) would go a long way for such research. But more than likely the people whom are upset that Kaepernick is unemployed may have Tau proteins of their own spreading throughout their brain given that C.T.E. often affects the pre frontal cortex, an area of the brain essential in executive function, Cognition, working memory, planning and abstract reasoning and the amygdala which is important in emotional control, aggression and anxiety. Cleary these folks are not thinking and allowing emotion to overpower reason.

The truth is Kaepernick is far from broke and more important issues need to be in the forefront than him getting additional millions to by expensive sports cars.  It is estimated that his net worth is between $16 and $22 million by some estimates.  What I believe this is all about is the tendency for African Americans to be preoccupied by mindless self-absorbed celebrity twaddle (living vicariously through the lives of others).  You make his problem your problem and develop a bond, albeit artificially concocted, of outrage rooted in thinking Colin is oppressed just like you – but he isn’t. But in your maniacal (obsessive enthusiasm) psychosis (thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality), you create something that doesn’t exist – he is being black balled. Maybe he is or maybe he isn’t, regardless there is no evidence for either position, just conjecture.

There are several things that are being overlooked.  The first is that the objective of any team, in this case a professional football is to win.  Have anyone thought about what would happen if he was signed by a team.  LeSean McCoy has and notes: "You just got to look at all sides, like if I'm an owner or the GM of a team, do I want to put him on my team? Is he good enough to be on the squad, to even deal with everything that's going on? That's something that I don't really partake in." Right or wrong, Kaepernick will be seen by some as a distraction not worth the attention. Then there is the fact that since his old coach left for the University of Michigan, he has not been the same performance wise.


So, people wake up.  This is not important and please stop comparing this lickspittle to Muhammad Ali, who for the record never begged to get his job back or go to the media and say “I will go and fight the North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front, (Viet Cong) if you give me a job boxing again.”   Not to mention Ali was 100 percent African American, not that it matters, but Kaepernick is half white and was raised by a white couple who adopted him. We could be protesting many serious issues but unfortunately mindless celebrity twaddle wins again. Maybe we will realize our errors and protest Baltimore public schools where it was recently revealed that five Baltimore City high schools and one middle school do not have a single student proficient math and English, yet these schools have some of the highest graduation rates in the city. Or the senseless violence in our major urban and mostly black cities. But I doubt it, because the folks protesting a millionaire quarterback not having a job, likely went to public government schools.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Some may or may not know that one of my favorite books of all time is 1984 written by George Orwell. To be honest, since about ten years of age, I’ve must have read this book more than 20 times. Each time I read it I come away with something new. To refresh your memory, the main character in the book is a man named Winston Smith. Smith works in the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth, where his job is to rewrite history per the desires of the Party that runs the totalitarian government of Oceania. Specifically, he revises old writings, politically inconvenient facts and history to advance the propaganda interests of the Oceania government.  One tool Orwell invents for this purpose was the memory hole.

In 1984, Orwell describes a memory hole is an opening in a wall connected to a tube that is connected to an incinerator. It is employed to destroy any inconvenient or embarrassing fact on historical records that is no longer considered useful for politics. In addition, using the memory hole made it easier for the government to get people to engage in “duckspeak” (speaking without thinking), obviate “oldthink” (thoughts, beliefs or ideas enthused by past events, memories and history in the times before the revolution) and to encourage “blackwhite” (getting folks to believe that 2 + 2 is 5, or that white is black and black is white and to forget that one has ever believed anything different.

Over the past few years, a movement in the African American community has been afloat to remove all historical confederate reminders of the period in which the United States was engaged in a Civil War (1861-1865) and this scares me.  Not because I support the confederacy or do not support the confederacy, but because I support history and learning and pedagogy.  Removing these symbols will do nothing for black folk and make things a lot worse in my view.  First, this is just cosmetic, it will not mean nothing, since when do you get your feeling hurt by looking at a flag or a statue of a many you don’t know historically anything about? Robert E. Lee owned slaves sure, and he ran a plantation before the war, but he historically is no different than Thomas Jefferson or George Washington from this perspective.  Are you upset with the state of Virginia too? Will it be next? After all Virginia was named after the person who introduced slavery to America. Half of the folk so offended likely couldn’t tell you when the civil war was fought without the assistance of google nor have read any book about it or any other American wars for that fact.

I fear that without these historical reminders, being as lazy as we are with respect to reading and our penchant to watch TV more than we read, we will have forgot about this tragic and painful part of U.S. History and sleep walk back into a similar predicament in future generations. It isn’t like we discuss history with our children anyway especially with this most recent generation.  This is one reason why Marcus Garvey wrote “A people without the knowledge of their history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

Our incessant focus on memory holing history is idiotic and ridiculous.  Why is it that we put more time into complaining about statues and flags than our kids killing each other on the streets of Chicago, Baltimore, New Orleans or Memphis every day? Why do we spend more energy on superficial actions when we can go around to any government public school and find more than half of the kids not proficient in ANY subject on grade level? Now these are worth attention, but nope, not sexy or dramatic enough (Deray trained yawl hypocrites well).  I’m not offended or traumatized by any statute or flag.  Why are we as black folk offended and traumatized by historical fact? Will removing them take the historical record away? Will it make more black folk richer? Will less of us live in poverty? Will we start more business? Will it lower STI rates in our community? NOPE – NOT ONE BIT. Because this is misdirected and misguided energy aimed at something that has no tangible impact on any black person in America unless you a puzzy with a soft as wet toilet paper mentally.

It seems as this fake synthetic outrage is becoming a contagious pandemic.  Baltimore City Council has voted to remove four Confederate monuments in the city. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus want to remove all Confederate statues from the Capitol. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), told the Hill that “Confederate memorabilia have no place in this country and especially not in the United States Capitol. These images symbolize a time of racial discrimination and segregation that continues to haunt this country and many African-Americans who still to this day face racism and bigotry.”  Can’t make this up, so now black folks are afraid of ghost and haunted by images and symbols? Even more comedic is that magically, by removing these images and symbols, the past “time of racial discrimination and segregation” will either be forgotten or vaporize and end. Simple ain’t it? Talk about historical revisionism and make-believe.

Bishop James Dukes, pastor of Liberation Christian Center, in Chicago is calling for the removal of a statue of statue George Washington and his and President Andrew Jackson’s name removed from Washington and Jackson parks respectively, because they owned slaves. I suspect cats will be going after all confederate cemeteries and even the Confederate monuments in Gettysburg National Military Park (although Park and State officials say they will never be removed)

What will be next, removing all members of the confederacy or former slave owners from history books? Removing said history books from the libraries’? Preventing people from even writing books on the confederacy or slavery because “these images symbolize a time of racial discrimination and segregation that continues to haunt this country and many African-Americans who still to this day face racism and bigotry?” Will John C. Calhoun, a former vice president and staunch supporter of slavery be next? What about the Dallas Cowboy football team whose blue star is from the Bonnie Blue Flag (a banner of the Confederate States of America at the start of the American Civil War in 1861).  Since many of us black folks do not read as much as previous generations, these two may be safe for as they say “to hide something from a nigg@, put it in a book.”

Yes, one day our kids will not know anything about US history, slavery, the civil war or the deeds of many, good or bad, for the fear of as then Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake noted in signs that confederate monuments were just “part of a propaganda campaign” to “perpetuate the beliefs of white supremacy. “Again, although I am a black man, I will likely be called a racist piece of uninformed white trash, or worse – described as not being woke - for not supporting non-substantive cosmetic actions under the guise of African American self-determination and empowerment. But like the Taliban who destroyed the historical largest standing Buddha’s, in the world in Bamiyan, who had been standing since the century. In Afghanistan, or ISIS, who destroyed the Temple of Baalshamin at the Syrian site of Palmyra because they found the offensive to Allah, similar suggestions about confederate monuments are equally claims of bull shit.

You do not have to agree with me but this is how I see it.  If you do not believe me, just try to take down Auschwitz, Dachau or Buchenwald: Jews will never let it happen because they do not want ANYONE to forget about what happened to them so it will never happen again.  Not us. They write and make documentaries incessantly on every aspect of the Holocaust and you will see at least one every day or weekly on TV around the world.  Whether is on the Kristallnacht or the  Nuremberg Laws or the Jews of Poland or the Jews of Lithuania or the human experimentation they tolerated, they telling their story. Not US.  Instead we get mad and formulate #Noconfederate because we too lazy to write and make our own and/or tell our own historical reality. Like I said. try to take down Auschwitz, Dachau or Buchenwald: Jews will never let it happen because they do not want ANYONE to forget about what happened to them so it will never happen again.  Not us.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Saturday, July 1, 2017

When I look at the current state of U.S. liberal democrats, it reminds of watching a semi-cool white person on the streets of Memphis trying to juk.  They are more than out of place, off rhythm and seemingly unaware of both, which puts them out of touch with reality and the perspectives of others watching them.  It is as if they did not learn any lessons from the victory of Donald Trump in 2016 and like zombies, respond to only things that they see the mainstream media tell them to be outraged about. No real issues, just outrage here, outrage there, here an outrage, there an outrage, everywhere an outrage. Russia collusion or Russian hacking. Trump tweeted this or Trump tweeted that. It is like the dance of the person in Memphis, awkward and an indicator of the dim electoral future liberals have in the U.S. if they do not get on beat.

For starters, they saw what worked for Trump and Bernie Sanders yet they pull out the same old veer offense that continues to turn the ball over after 3 downs. They should be able to observe that they need a similar and HONEST message presented by a younger and more genuine person, not just some east or west coast big wig city elite to garble mumbo jumbo on 30 second commercials that don’t offer policy solutions for everybody.  Instead they run out city slick carpetbagger named Ossoff to run in a district in which he did not live in and spend $23million and worse, did not harvest as many votes as Rodney Stooksbury, the Democrat listed on the ballot during the general election last November. Or as Newsweek put it: “Rodney Stooksbury, who raised no money and had no campaign website or online presence

Trump can say the word puzzy and liberals run out of their house to protest, complain and destroy property, yet seem to forget and equally said nothing and saw no offence in President Obama bombing kids around the globe and cats in Flint have no water to drink and being ordered by democrats to pay for what they cannot consume or face foreclosure. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee just recently called for President Trump to resign for his tweets attacking Mika Brzezinski.  Last I heard the dozens isn’t illegal.  Putting it plainly it is like Mika saying “Donald you dumb and ride the retarded bus” and Trump responding “yo momma smoke crack rock.” End of story (if you cannot stand the heat get out of the kitchen).

This is just one problem; how do they justify calling themselves liberal or progressive if they ignore global suffering and continue to promulgate neoliberal policy that causes suffering not only in the US but around the globe because of wars promoting the global imperialistic goals of neoliberal republicans and democrats?

This dance doesn’t end there.  As 2018 quickly approaches, they still lack not only a solid policy message but also candidates.  They have Tulsi Gabbard who is on the record calling for restoring Glass-Steagall, consistently is opposed to regime change, is against any cuts to Medicare or Social Security and the NSA’s bulk collection of data. But Gabbard speaks her mind and equally goes against the core liberals in the democratic party.  This faction question her passion for LGBT and abortion rights. They also will never forget that she doesn’t tote the party line on fundamental Islamic terrorism noting that for over the last decade most terrorist attacks conducted around the world are the result of “radical Islamic ideology.”  Even more of a concern for the democratic establishment was her resolution she introduced to prioritize Christians and Yezidis — when granting refugee status. 

But Gabbard is ignored and even avoided, just as several other noteworthy leaders of the new school like Kimberly Ellis (as the vote for the Democratic party chair of California held its election demonstrated) and former Ohio state senator Nina Turner. Instead they prefer others like New Jersey senator Cory Booker, Maryland congressman John Delaney and relative newcomer Senator Kamala Harris of California.

Harris is interesting, she has come to political fruition after she was cut off by her colleagues in the Senate while she questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions (an event that she quickly used to raise tens of thousands of dollars) and came to politics being the 29-year-old girlfriend of California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown when he was 60. In 1994 Brown named Harris to the California Medical Assistance Commission, before that he appointed her to the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. She was described by several people at the Capitol as Brown’s girlfriend.”  Harris barley was elected California’s Attorney General in 2010 by about 50,000 after provisional ballots were counted. While AG, her department argued against expanding the early release program for inmates on the basis that it would deplete the cheap (slave) labor force.  Many see Harris as a corporatist and in the mold of the establishment democratic core of the state.

These inconsistencies make the democrats seem fickle.  Take the recent health care debate ironically, in California. Nurses, unions and average citizens were overwhelming in support of what was described as a single payer Medicare for all (the Healthy California Act). But Democrats who maintain complete control of the state to pass a bill like this, did the opposite. In support of corporate donors in the healthcare, insurance and pharmaceutical industries, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon helped to block a Democrat-sponsored bill to create the Healthy California Act. Reports indicate that Rendon has taken in more than  $101,000 from pharmaceutical companies and another $50,000 from major health insurers over the past 5 years. This is par for the course considering that the California Democratic Party has received more than $1.2 million from the specific groups opposing the bill, and more than $2 million from pharmaceutical and health insurance industry donors.


Democrats must show that they are the party of the people. However, their addiction to corporate plutocratic funding seems to prevent them from being able to do such. Not to mention that it abrogates the voices of the citizenry they claim to represent. The liberal establishment wing of the Democratic party is Cleary out of touch, out of step and off beat – awkward choreography sure to lead them to where they do not want to be in 2018.

Thursday, June 29, 2017


I grew up in the 1960s and although there was inherent bias evinced in the press during that time in both print and television media particularly regarding race, there remained objectivity when it came to covering basic news events and stories. This was a time in which I can still remember the folks I read in the local newspapers in my hometown in Memphis and occasionally when I would read the Tennessean out of Nashville, Chicago Tribune or New York Times at the library. But mostly it was The Commercial Appeal, the Memphis Press-Scimitar and the Tri-State Defender. I can even still recall reading the writings of Seymour Hersh, Rheta Grimsley Johnson and Ted Knap as well as watching the evening news reports by Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley and Ed Bradley - although there were only four TV channels then.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and what I was raised to consider journalism and objective reporting to service the need of the people and republic first has molded into the sinew of vile partisan collectivism practiced to serve and maintain a plutocratic status quo – something unheard of in the times of award winning journalist Ernie Pyle.

Now I am not as too well-versed on Pile as many maybe and first became acquainted with him as a child when I was collecting stamps (which I still do). It was beautiful brown and white 16 cent stamp that came out in 1971.  I remember my mother bringing me home a block of four freshly minted stamps which I still have this day. Next I began to find out more about him. The only book I found at my neighborhood library was a collection of his newspaper columns from World War II titled Brave men.

Just revisiting it now, makes me wonder what would so called journalist of this incessant 24 hour a day cable news generation think of Pyle’s work and skill and most importantly, his objectivity. One would never imagine or even picture a 21st century war reporter joining in battle with a platoon they were covering and embedded with during a firefight on the battlefield. Yet this is our reality – we have gone from Ernest Taylor Pyle to CNN and a bevy of leftist and selfish misfits parading as journalist with names like Bash, Acosta, Blitzer, Cooper, Cuomo, Tapper and Lemon. To be honest, I can say the same for other similar news outlets too numerous to name (The Guardian, MIC, MSNBC, Huffington Post, Bloomberg, New York Magazine, New York Times, Vanity Fair & Vox), however, CNN has managed to put themselves out in front of even the nearest competitors for lack of honest reporting, objectivity and being truthful about their ulterior motives – which if I may state in my opinion is to bias and slander all things Trump and prop up the democratic party by any means required (see Kathy Griffin). Then there is the recent real-life example that resulted in three of their news staff being forced to resign over what seems to be a continuous trail of contrived stories on Russia/Trump collusion based on a single anonymous source, which had to beretracted.

This was not the first time. Earlier this month right before CNN hyped-up former FBI
Director James Comey's opening testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Gloria Borger, Jake Tapper and several others published a story (based on anonymous sources) that Comey was expected to dispute President Trump's claims that he had been told on multiple occasions by then Director Comey he was not under investigation. To make a short story shorter, they issued a retraction (they were wrong).

From Trump threatening to invade Mexico and the made-up removal of MLK’s bust from the Oval office to the fabricated increase in suicide deaths of transgenders since his election to the fake Treasury Secretary SteveMnuchin foreclosing on an elderly woman over some pocket change story, the Ernie Pyle’s and Ed Bradley’s are few and between them are thousands of hack’s named Josh Rogin, Anne Applebaum, Dana Schwartz, Sarah Silverman, Keith Olbermann, Matthew Yglesias, Reza Aslan and Joy Ann Reid.

We may have to accept that what was once consider journalism has been thrown out of the window for ratings and partisan demagoguery.  Whether it is intentionally distorting the record or exact quotes to make a point as was in the case of Betsy DeVos (Slate & The Daily Beast) or fake news by omission as in the recent example of NBC’s Meet The Press Host Chuck Todd interviewing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders about the Republican health care bill but nothing about Sanders and his wifebeing under FBI investigation in relation to bank fraud. I am almost certain if it were trump or any of his associates this would have led the questioning and there would have likely been no mention of the health care bill. 

I hope we do not have to settle for the above as being reflective of the new standards of journalism.  But it may just be that in the future, we should expect CNN political correspondents and Democratic operative to be synonymous and expect them to give questions to their hand-picked political favorites as standard operating procedure in the future. Maybe this is where we have landed in this brave new world, in a place where intellectual dishonesty is preferred to accuracy and smearing individuals you do not agree with is paramount than honest and objective coverage for the well-being of the country and public good, even if it means making up fabricated single unnamed sources stories that are unverified about Russia collusion with the executive branch and contrived election interference.  Personally, I have not had cable or television on my farm since 2006.  I say cut off the idiot box but also recognize that such is difficult for individuals not mentally tough enough to move away from the group think of the heard. We have truly come a long way from Ernie Pyle.
Torrance T. Stephens. Powered by Blogger.

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