Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Nerve of These Palestinians

So apparently Israel is saying that it would be a ""strategic mistake by the world" if they were to recognize a Palestinian state:

Upgrading the Palestinians' U.N. status would be a "strategic mistake by the world", a senior Israeli official said on Wednesday, cautioning that Israel had prepared a slew of punitive and diplomatic responses.

I mean the NERVE of these Palestinians to assert themselves. How dare colonized and marginalized people stand up and be recognized as a people and a place. The nerve!

The United States has said it would veto any such resolution at the Security Council, but Israel is troubled by the Palestinian fallback option of seeking upgraded "non-member state" capacity at a supportive General Assembly.

'Cause you know the United States knows all about appropriating other people's land, breaking treaties and generally fucking over native populations for "newcomers".

Corporate Blackface

From the Inquisitor

The carrier awarded the prize to two white men who donned blackface – a form of theatrical makeup used to create a stereotyped caricature of a black person – and “afro” wigs in an attempt to “honor” their favorite player, Fiji-born Wallabies flanker Radike Samo.


While Radike Samo said he was not offended by the stunt and even posed in a picture with the ticket winners

Well in that case.....

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's The Negroes Fault

Rolling out on why the Tea Party is in congress:

Although African Americans voted at record levels during the 2008 presidential race, we fell off dramatically during the midterm elections of 2010 and this inaction gave us our own NWA — the group America loves to hate, the tea party members of Congress. In 2010, preliminary national exit polling, the youth vote — 18-to-29-year-olds — that helped catapult President Obama into office comprised just 9 percent of voters this year, compared to 18 percent in 2008.'s the fault of black folks. The question I have for this is as follows: Where did these Tea Party Republicans in congress come from? Since we are speaking of Congress then we know that unlike the Senate these individuals represent relatively small districts within states. We also know that these districts are usually drawn up in a way to favor one party over another. They create Republican "safe" districts and Democrat "safe" districts. We know that black folks vote overwhelmingly Democrat. We're not talking 60% or 70% but 90+%. It is safe to say that in the district level black folks were not voting for Tea Party candidates AND that Tea Party candidates could not even make a showing even WITH low voter turn out. Since there are no Democrat Tea Party members that I know of, then these people came from Republican districts where it is also safe to say have little if any black folks in them. Of the ones who may have black folks odds are they either did not vote for the Tea Party candidate or they are Republicans and agreed with the particular candidate in which case they voted their conscience which we cannot complain about.

So given all this, why even try to write an article blaming low black voter turn out for the relative success of the Tea Party when it is highly unlikely that black voters had ANY impact on those district races? Oh right...gotta do the guilt-the-vote thing.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Who'd a Thunk It?

From the Washington Post:

But a soaring jobless rate among African Americans and a newfound comfort by black lawmakers to criticize Obama’s economic policies are prompting the White House to recalibrate — and to focus more directly on the struggles of black America.

Wait. Let me get this straight. People making demands of the president is causing the president to address their particular constituency? Shocking. SHOCKING!

And the White House announced this week that Obama will pay a Labor Day visit to Detroit, a hard-hit city where a town hall meeting held by the black caucus drew headlines last week when Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) decried the black jobless rate as “unconscionable” and blasted the president for his recent Midwestern bus tour that focused on rural white communities.

Shocking! Shocking! Let me catch my breath because I never ever contemplated the idea that pressuring the president would get results. Never. EVER! SHOCK-the-fuck-ING!

The Rev. Al Sharpton, a top outside adviser to the White House on black community concerns, said that political success in 2012 will require more policy specifics.

“There is going to have to be a different and more direct approach,” he said. “The direct approach has to say, ‘Here’s our jobs plan, here’s the plan to get it done and here’s the enemies against it.’ ”

WAIT WAIT WAIT! This would be the same Al Sharpton who was telling everyone to get off Obama's dick? Really?

“We don’t want to come across as being critical of the president,” Curry said. “But if the president can count on 90 percent of the African American vote, then the African American community should expect something from the man who’s getting 90 percent of their support.”

Well look who finally woke up. How long have I been saying this? How long?

“If he comes and speaks out for black people in the middle of this, he will lose his reelection, and you know it,” said Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.).

Earth to Rep. Frederica: If Obama fails to win re-election it will not be because of attention paid or not paid to black folks. That kind of thinking is called "blaming the victim". Racists will not vote for Obama regardless of WHO he helps out. Republicans who hate Democrats simply because they are Democrats will not vote for Obama. People who think that Obama has either caved to big finance or is a "mascot" for big finance will not vote for Obama (or vote reluctantly out of fear of whatever Republican is in the offering). Obama will win or lose because of the policies he puts into place across the board or not. It will be due to the economic and social environment but it will not be because black folks got a few token construction jobs. This whole "Can't be seen with the Negroes" attitude needs to get dead. Quickly.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Obama Considering Something The Ghost Proposed Ages Ago

From the NY Times:

One proposal would allow millions of homeowners with government-backed mortgages to refinance them at today’s lower interest rates, about 4 percent, according to two people briefed on the administration’s discussions who asked not to be identified because they were not allowed to talk about the information...

But refinancing could have far greater breadth, saving homeowners, by one estimate, $85 billion a year. Despite record low interest rates, many homeowners have been unable to refinance their loans either because they owe more than their houses are now worth or because their credit is tarnished.

This is something I suggested as soon as that bubble popped. Though I would have taken it further and lowered the principle on these homes that were clearly overvalued to begin with. By freeing up the mortgages that people were paying they will spend it on other things. The only ones who will be complaining are those who foolishly invested in mortgage backed securities and frankly I could give a good damn what they think.

Will Obama Denounce MLK at Memorial?

David Swanson has an excellent piece comparing Obama and King. Powerful stuff

Did Martin Luther King, Jr., not face the world as it is? Was he delusional? Did he stand idle in the face of threats? This is President Obama’s position.

Did King oppose protecting and defending people? Of course not. He worked for that very goal!

I'm not a student of non-violence since I do believe that there are people who will simply attempt to kill you because they are simply out of their minds and have no regard for anyone's life, including their own. But in the larger arena Swanson and King have a good argument and if one is going to tell people in the streets to be "non-violent" by invoking King then one has an obligation to carry that same ideology into the world stage.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Strauss-Kahn and Reasonable Doubt

"It's not what you know, it's what you can prove"
Training Day

As expected the case against Strauss-Kahn was dropped. The easy answer is the privilege answer. People with privilege (read money) tend to get the benefit of the doubt when dealing with the authorities than those without. Of interest is that a good deal of people who would level this charge were happy that OJ Simpson received such treatment (though he made it to court). Still though there is water in that argument. Simply put, if you have a shark of a lawyer you have a better chance at maneuvering the criminal justice system than if you do not. And shark lawyers cost money. Lots of money.

There is however a second issue that is just as if not more important here. The US system of criminal "justice" rests on the concept of reasonable doubt. In a criminal case a jury of 12 "peers" must decide unanimously that a defendant is guilty "beyond reasonable doubt". Not all doubt but reasonable doubt. Furthermore it is the job of the state to furnish this proof. Not the defense. Not the media. Not the organization to which you belong to. The state. A prosecutor must (should) have a reasonable expectation that the charges against an individual will meet this standard. Clearly if the prosecutor thinks that the suspect has a weak defense team or some means of robustly defending himself then the prosecutor is going to be far more careful going about preparing a case than if the suspect is some kid picked up on a street corner drug bust. Strauss-Kahn was a high profile person with a "robust" defense team so even after the show of a perp walk and a stint in Rikers was not going to make him fold like a "regular" jump-out-the-shadows rapist would likely do. The prosecutor knew that if there was ANYTHING in the past of Ms. Diallo, they would use it to destroy her credibility on the stand.

Understand that credibility is what a jury uses to judge whether a witness is credible or not. Why should anybody on a witness stand be believed? Their truthfulness can only be inferred by something else. We use education, diction, body language and the like to determine credibility. We do this all the time. Ask how many people will trust the word of someone caught lying about anything in the past and they will tell you that their trust is lowered by such an event. If that person is caught lying multiple times, then that trust is lowered even more. If that person has been caught lying about the same thing they are trying to convince you about how trustworthy would you find them? Exactly.

This was the problem that the prosecution faced. It is not that it was unlikely that Ms. Diallo was lying about what happened in the Sofitel that day. It was that they had proof that she lied about a number of things including a rape claim. If anything that one lie on her asylum application was the most damaging item that the prosecution had to deal with. Statistically men are less likely to believe in a rape accusation. Men are also far less sympathetic to women who have lied about a rape. There's nothing nefarious about this. It is self interest. As a man being accused of rape is a big deal. If the prosecution had to deal with any men in the jury it would take only one to not believe Ms. Diallo for there to be an acquittal. Add to the rape issue the evidence that Ms. Diallo spoke via telephone to a drug dealer of some sort about the case, allegedly saying that "he's rich" and "I know what I'm doing" you have enough technical reasonable doubt that any prosecutor is going to question the strength of his case, particularly in the face of a high profile defendant.

How would the defense play these two pieces of information? Simple. First they will concede to all the forensic evidence. They will say that a consensual sex act(s) occur ed and that Strauss-Khan is particularly aggressive and that explains the alleged digital bruising to the vagina. They will explain that Strauss-Kahn did in fact comment about his position as head of IMF as a means to take away fear of Ms. Diallo losing her job and the payment that would be coming her way (though that would open him up to solicitation charges but lets run with this). They will say that for whatever reason she was upset about the money (or him having ejaculated in her mouth, who knows) and decided that she either wanted more money (backed up by the recent news of a civil suit) or revenge (also backed up by the civil suit). They will say that Ms. Diallo has, in the past used rape as a means of getting what she wanted (asylum) so it isn't unreasonable to think that she is doing so again. Then they'll trot out all the unsavory people she has been associating with. They would question why this woman did not fight this man off. They will ask where are the bruises. They will ask, what kind of woman would allow a man to do these things and offer no resistance that would mark a naked man. Yes, this would be a "blame the victim" fest at it's ugliest.

Does this mean that I think Strauss-Khan did not commit the crime? No. I think he did. His history, which would have been introduced into court (though I have questions as to it's admissibility )indicates a high likelihood that he did in fact attack Ms. Diallo. But as Alonzo of Training Day fame asked: It's not what you know, it's what you can prove. Prior history may serve as a pointer but it does not prove this case and the burden of proof is on the state not on the defense.

I would have loved to see Ms. Diallo get her day in criminal court and let the jury decide but I completely understand why this went the way it did.

Monday, August 22, 2011

They Learn Quick

While at the laundry I read about the Pakistani couple who were shot at in the street. The wife died. turns out the husband had set it up. The kicker:

Parvaiz, according to prosecutors, initially described a trio of attackers: one white, one black and one whose race he said he could not determine. He later changed his story, describing all three as black, before finally admitting to setting up the shooting, according to his arrest affidavit.

And you know that white folks who hang out with black folk are really "black"

Every group of folk that make it to America learn that the blacks are the ones to shit on. They learn quick eh?

The Cost of Pathologising the Body

The NY Times posted a piece about transgender people who go to unlicensed "doctors" in order to get silicone injected into parts of their bodies in order to look more "feminine". It is a sad testament to the backwards thinking that has gone into making transgender people "normal".

Ms. Quispe, an Ecuadorean immigrant who came to New York at age 9, was determined to get the curves that would make her look more feminine. But she lacked health insurance or the money to pay for surgical procedures that would provide them; they can cost as much as $70,000. So she tried something else: she went to a so-called pumper, a person who illegally injects silicone to modify the body.

For her first injections, she said, she went to the Upper East Side, to an apartment with a view of the East River. In a small room she lay down on a narrow massage table, having paid $1,200 to get four cups of silicone injected into her hips and buttocks — without anesthesia.

When she slid off the makeshift surgical table, she saw bright red drops of blood staining the white sheet. The pumper, she said, dabbed Krazy Glue over each puncture — there were six on each side — to stop the bleeding. Then the pumper covered them with gauze and wound plastic wrap over the wounds before telling Ms. Quispe to get dressed....

t the beginning of July, she was hospitalized for an infection. Her body has been left scarred and misshapen. The skin on her buttocks and legs is discolored, and a lump of hardened silicone the size of a golf ball hangs behind her left knee.

A completely sad event and one that was completely avoidable. This reminds me of an article I read some time ago about the prescription of medication to deal with depression. The author made the point that generally speaking the biochemical process of becoming depressed (and coming out of it) is normal. What is abnormal is the taking of brain altering drugs to "overcome" a natural process of grieving or whatever it is that triggers the episode. The author had a similar problem with the prescription of Ritalin to children who's brains are still developing. Again, the problem isn't really with the brain but with the environment. For example boys being naturally hyper are more likely to be drugged because parents and teachers simply don't want to deal with boys being, well, boys. Of course these drugs have side effects and therefore we have many cases of perfectly fine brains (or brains in development) that are being pathologized for the benefit of pharmacological pushing corporations. And now that the people are on drugs they NOW have actual physiological problems which they did not have before (ever read the warnings about suddenly stopping?).

So back to these "women". What this article fails to mention, and which is absent from the discussion of transgender persons is that there is nothing at all wrong with their bodies. They may think or feel that they inhabit the wrong body but there is, in fact, nothing wrong with these bodies (due exceptions for those born with both genitalia and had gender assignment surgery which is a 50-50% chance of being wrong. And due exception to those with actual chromosomal abnormalities but each of these cases are relatively rare and I mean RARE). The actual problem with these individuals is from the neck up, not from the neck down. Of course this is not a popular thing to say in many circles, but it is the truth. Fortunately at some point it will be possible to identify which gene is responsible for the brain failing to recognize what body it is inhabiting and correct that problem.

I suppose that until then we'll have to continue to point out the fallacy of celebrating a "pregnant" man and other such absurdities in the name of "tolerance". Me I'll just continue to call a spade a spade... or in this case a male a male.

Julius Malema

Heir apparent to the ideology of the PAC:

But after becoming president of the Youth League — a post once held by Nelson Mandela who was also seen as a firebrand in his youth — in April 2008, Julius Malema picked a rich furrow to plough by taking a vocal, populist and nationalist position on issues of race and wealth redistribution.

The stance has won him supporters not only in the youth league but the mother party as well. Among prominent supporters are Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Housing Minister Tokyo Sexwale and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Among many white South Africans, they have made him into a bogeyman who together with his army of supporters could seek belated revenge on them for apartheid.

Isn't that always the case with backboned black men? We speak up and folk get nervous about what we might do. As Bob Marley sang: Guiltiness!

Telegraph of London

Worker Treatment in the Congo

The BBC is reporting on a new project in the DRC which highlights the blatant disregard of the safety of the Congolese workers:

In downtown Kinshasa, where the authorities are hoping to give the area a facelift, luxury building projects are flourishing with at least 20 high-rise buildings under construction.

Most of them are run by Indian or Lebanese businessmen who employ Congolese builders.

They rush towards construction sites at dawn and queue for work. At the new Congo Trade Centre site, Indian staff give the workers instructions in the local Lingala language.

The lack of regulations in the country means that labour is cheap and working conditions are basic.

Carrying piles of bricks on his head, a Congolese worker points at his feet. He is wearing flip-flops and a band-aid on his right ankle.

"It is a big problem because there are nails everywhere," he says.

None of the builders are wearing safety gear and some even work barefoot.

Pay is handed over to each worker at the end of the day while another team prepares for the night shift.

"I earned $4.50 for 12 hours of work," another Congolese man says.

"But I have to spend $1 in transport and another one for food."

I bet I can find a picture of slave labour from the US and colonial Africa that looks the same way. 500 years and we STILL haven't learned?

Clothing, Phones, Etc..A Land of Consumers

The Next Web has an article discussing the proliferation of cell phones in Africa and the fact that prices of smartphones will need to come down as more Africans get hooked up.

TNS Global Market Research recently conducted a study that revealed that low cost Chinese smart phone options are currently putting pressure on more established phone manufacturers to lower their price points in countries like Nigeria. According to the study, “Nigerian mobile consumers are cost-conscious and will embrace low cost smartphones required for dynamic changes in the Internet landscape. Any mobile phone manufacturer that intends to retain its Nigerian customers and sustain its market share must be ready to offer lower cost options.”

This is just another example of how Africa is becoming the dumping ground for China's goods. Whether it be apparel or accessories, the African marketplace is becoming a China market. How can local goods compare or even get off the ground in the face of such competition? Having apparently ceded the market for manufactured electronic goods to the East and West the question will now be whether Africans will be able to get into the application space in their own countries as well as abroad.

Where do we Settle the World Refugees

Title being the question from a Fast Company article on the refugee situation in East Africa:

Perhaps the answer is closer at hand. If famines are ultimately a failure of governance rather than crops--as Nobel Prize-winner Amartya Sen argued in his landmark Poverty and Famines--then what Somalia needs isn’t aid, but good governance. Or at the very least, a pocket of good governance willing to take refugees in.

I've made this point in the past that the frequent famines in this part of Africa has little to do with nature but is rather a result of a perfect storm of bad governing and allowing cultures to not adapt to a changing environment because generally, in my opinion, flying in to help the backward natives is a cute thing for rich, mostly white, people to do. I've asked before, who in the US would tolerate having a nice well dug for them if they had no water. Yet well digging is what a lot of NGO's do in Africa.

Also I reported many years ago that a lot of governments are of the opinion that taking care of the poor is the business of NGO's and not of the government. What is the government's job then? To facilitate tax collection, world "aide" and, I suppose a location for the UN to show that it is doing something other than holding meetings.

At some point these refugees will have to come to a point where they are no longer satisfied with living in the situations where they are. I suppose when tent living and standing in line for handouts from the closest NGO with plumpinut, rice and distilled water comes to constitute daily life the idea of doing anything else even if one had the energy and the relative safety to do it doesn't enter the mind.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"What Is Wrong With US?"

From a piece on the string of homicides in Essex County:
"They had 30,000 people out looking for that kid," he says. "The whole community, out for one kid. And here we are burying our kids left and right. What’s wrong with us?"

This is the magic question. When I have so-called conscious people from said communities threaten me due to differences over translation of religious texts, then the answer is simply that we do not value and honor ourselves. I remember when the Kings of Comedy came out and Cedric the Entertainer had a set about the differences between white folk and black folk. He used the example of someone sitting in a seat that did not belong to them. He said the white folks "hoped" that no one was sitting in their seats whereas the black folk said "There betta not be" anyone sitting in the seat. This encapsulates the problem. The willingness to go directly to confrontation and almost culturally bred, yes I said it, willingness to 'Step to" someone who has disrespected us in the silliest way is what is fueling this crisis. Combine that with fear of reprisal from those who commit these crimes and you have a perfect storm.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Police State Alert

So BART shut down cell service in it's station. Too bad if you were expecting an emergency call.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit District acknowledged Friday that it interrupted cellphone service at some stations earlier this week when activists threatened a civil disturbance.

Don't expect the government to do anything about that. It's not like it's the public airwaves. Not like your first amendment right to free speech doesn't cover what you use to make that speech. Not like BART isn't a public "utility" and therefore "owned" by the very same people they blocked cell access to. Nope. not at all.

The Whites have become Black

Check the video and check his definition of "black":

Black: "A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture...This language which is wholly false, which is this Jamaican patois that has been intruding in England"

On The London Riots

I had to refrain from posting on the London riots for a couple of reasons. First I simply was not informed enough about the situation and did not want to drag the '85 riot as a stand in for current issues. Secondly, when I saw all the white faces in the crowds I knew that this was not a simple "white-black" thing and therefore required more insight.

Let me say at the outset that my European roots of democracy is Locke. I believe the government runs by the permission of the people and when that government fails to respect the wishes of the people that it is illegitimate and the people are completely within' their rights to rise up against it (and it's agents). My African roots of democracy is from an example I read about many years ago, where the king of a people (I'm guessing an Akan group) wears these sandals. The king's feet were to never touch the ground. If that king abused his authority then the people would petition the elders of the community who would then meet with the king and remove his sandals representing an end of his rule. Again, an example of "by the will of the people".

Anyone who has followed the economic goings on in England knows that there has been quite a bit of unrest around the "austerity" programmes that have been enacted by the government. For example on March 26, 2011 there was a huge protest in Picadilly and oh yeah...there was violence. And do note all the white faces in this particular protest. And who could forget the protest from November of 2010? And lastly we have the rock thrown at Prince Charles' ride?

So it is easy to dismiss the claims by certain government officials that the recent spate of "violence" is simply the work of hoodlums and "people from outside Tottenham". Indeed as with any mass demonstration there are those who are criminals, those who are simply bored and those who are simply excited who join up and do what they like. But given the list of protests that I have given, it is not possible to say that there is not a pattern of people who are tired of the status quo in England.

So let's look at what sparked this particular incident. We have a young man who was allegedly doing something that caught the attention of the local anti-crime unit. In whatever ensued, this young man, Mark Duggan was accused by police to have shot at them. They claimed that they fired in self defense. This is a typical NYPD move and it is not surprising that Cameron has been calling on an old NYPD chief for "help". It turns out that Duggan had not fired a shot. That doesn't mean that he didn't pull it out or point it at anyone, but we know that the initial statement by police was a flat out lie and therefore anything else that they have to say on the matter is suspect.

We know that the community, which according to one man, has the same "stop and frisk" policy as the NYPD, with no doubt the same record of stopping people who have done nothing wrong, never did anything wrong, and will never do anything wrong; had rallied at the police station asking for "justice". There was a scuffle when a young woman was trying to verbally confront a police officer and she was struck. At that point the "rioting" started.

Whatever you think about rioting the details here are important. If we simply isolate this incident, the police made a series of errors. First they confronted a man in a cab who was not leaving a scene of a crime or suspected of going to a scene of a planned crime (as far as we know). In other words, as far as we know the police had no business bothering Duggan at all. Secondly they shot him up. Thirdly when confronted with a clearly angry crowd they decided to manhandle a young woman. A total PR failure. At this point I really have no sympathy for the Tottenham police. As far as I'm concerned had the crowd burnt the police station to the ground I wouldn't have shed so much as a tear. Again, I am of the belief that when the police act in a criminal manner, they are no longer acting under the color of law and are no more protected than any other citizen.

We should not be surprised that a community that is resentful for being harassed by police who may feel that the recent austerity actions by the government says that they are not worth the effort, would decide to burn and loot. Not surprising at all. Now add to this the recent spate of protests due to the austerity programme then we should not be surprised by recent reports that many of the rioters and looters are not poor but are the same people that were seen in the first linked Reuters piece. Folks who are being shafted by the government. When the people see that the bankers who were engaged in RICO (US corrupt organizations) activities and were not held responsible, but the common man has to "tighten his belt" and has to pay to drive in certain parts of town and tighten their belt for the "good of England", will say,"Fuck it, I'm gonna take this TV." When the banks are bailed out but you and I have to see our retirement ages rise, the benefits drop and the cost of education skyrockets, then why would the people feel particularly bad about stealing a pair of trainers? When these politicians talk about "where are the parents?" Where we know they are ignoring the whites, lets answer that they are probably out working second and third jobs.

But I'm going to repeat what I've said to people many times over the years. You put these billboards up with the glamorous lifestyles and televisions commercials where the people who have something are the ones that are something. Don't be surprised when those who do not have the legal means to get that something to be somebody go about it the wrong way. Don't be surprised when the youth, who are not stupid, see the clear double standard and due to not having the same impulse control as their elders and who may be medicating their anger with drugs and alcohol, jump up and decide "fuck it" and make stupid decisions. I'm not condoning that kind of decision. I'm simply not surprised when the decision is made.

Lastly I would be remiss to point out the fact that the British government has made noise about Twitter, Facebook and RIM needing to be blocked or to block user access. The hypocrisy of such a move cannot be going unnoticed by various Arab (and other) regimes. What is also of great importance is how user information is being mined by the English government in such a manner as to show just how much of our so called "private" information is not really all that private particularly when that information is something the government wants or wants to suppress. But anyone who has been paying attention knows that England has been well along the path of government Surveillance of citizens so it's wish to blackout communication is not surprising.

In conclusion, I have to say that my sentiments run as the woman in the above video. Random acts of looting and burning never help a cause. It turns people against whatever legitimate gripes a group may have. And of course that is always the risk of violence, that those who are not really in for "the cause" move in for their own ends and are used by the media to portray the entire operation as lawless. Indeed had the protestors in other cities had kept their violence simply to police and other representations of government, that would have been a powerful message to the "leadership" that this is real business.

Watch The White Supremacy

From the NYT article on Watch The Throne:

Mr. West is expansive:

I’ll never let my son have an ego

He’ll be nice to everyone wherever we go

I mean, I might even make him be Republican

So everybody know he love white people

Let me say that if you're ballin' like Jay and Ye are supposedly ballin' why is it even important that white people love you? I mean I'd think with the bucks rollin' in, the investments made, that who likes who is simply not even on the radar. I guess they're really letting us know that they were truely "Niggas in Paris".

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Steve Harvey is Wrong

Though I do not agree with everything that West and Smiley say, attempts by Harvey and his ilk to stifle debate by launching attacks upon Black authenticity of critics of Obama are much more revolting.

From Weblog of Dawud Walid

Eddie Griffin

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Decline of the American Market

The LA Times published a report on companies increasing their investments overseas. It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to annual (and quarterly) reports from various industries. Apple's profits now come from overseas more than the US market and is still growing. The Big Three automakers have been drawing profits from China for some time now. Matter of fact it may be opined that without the Chinese market GM et-al would have probably gone under a while ago.

The reason for all of this is clear. Capitalism. Capitalism has a rule: Grow or die. It's that simple. It's not merely profits. In corporate capitalism, one must grow a company in order for the shareholders to profit. If a company is stable, that is, it is not growing but is profitable in it's operations, the shareholders don't see any "return" on their investment and therefore don't make money. So a company must grow (increase profits). The two easiest ways to do so is to squeeze the cost of labour and to expand the market (sell more stuff). US capitalism has done the former by outsourcing as much as it can to low cost nations. Those are the ones where there are lax environmental laws, lax labour laws and a large population of desperate people for whom 5 bucks a day, if that, are princely sums. The problem with this procedure is that eventually every competing company has offshored and so the relative advantage of cheap labour disappears (race to the bottom phenomenon). Thus one is forced to option two: expand the market. Unfortunately the US (and much of western Europe) is what we call a saturated market. The consuming class (middle class) has the car, clothes, etc. already. They have brand loyalties. Except for break out items like the iPad and iPhone, there is little growth going on in these markets. So if you're looking to grow and return dividends to your shareholders what do you do?

Well right across the Pacific is this country with a middle class population that is as large as the entire population of the United States. Let me say that again: There is a country with a middle class population as large as the entire population of the United States. Oh, and that population is growing. There's another country on the Indian sub-continent with a huge population of bright people who are like this other country is growing it's middle class at a fast rate. If you are a company looking to grow and profit would you be looking to America or looking to these places. Don't think too hard now.

GM and BMW are in the process of making models of their vehicles specifically for the Chinese market. Buick is alive for the sole reason that the Chinese, for reasons I am yet to fathom, adore the brand. China has a number of Android phones and iPad knockoffs (among other things) that makes the American market the definition of an "not-free" market by comparison.

But back to the American market. Anyone who's been paying attention has seen the writing on the proverbial wall. Offshoring of manufacturing jobs coupled with the huge debts racked up by the "middle class" which represents the bulk of US GDP and the continued off-shoring of revenue to tax havens (legal tax evasion). As discussed earlier the race to the bottom is creeping into the middle class as occupations that require expensive college educations that commanded high 5 and 6 figure salaries can be (and are being) sent to anyone with a fast internet connection and a PC. They will gladly do for $20k, if that much, what you ask $100k for. You do the math. The S&P downgrade is really a reflection of the dire future of the American market. If there is going to be debt payment, much less growth, then there are structural issues that the US will have to deal with. Currently the US is a "first world" country with a "third world" economic mentality. A lot of the reaction coming out of Washington has been generally "we've always paid so what's the problem?" Well you know what I tried that on my auto insurance company. I told them that as long as I've been driving they haven't had to pay out a single cent so why hasn't my premium been going down? Well apparently I'm still "a risk". So the issue is not what I've been doing but what my alleged current situation says to them. The minute it was clear that a part of the US governing establishment would even consider not paying their international bills, that was all S&P needed to see. As a matter of fact I'm surprised that the other rating agencies haven't done the same. S&P is probably thinking that if by some chance the same folk who threatened default were to actually occupy the White House they may actually carry out such a plan. They also recognize the unwillingness of this government to tax the very people who have the means. It's all very bad. Line this up with BRIC and the increase talk of moving away from the US Dollar as the reserve currency there's not a lot of reasons for the ratings bodies to be confident.

So again, you're a company, the US market and finances are not looking very good, what do you do? 300 million middle class Chinese. Think about it. But don't think too hard.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Black Mascot for the Oligarchs

Mike Whitney in Counterpunch

Obama has been zeroing in on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from the very beginning. Why else would Wall Street throw their support behind a total "unknown"; a two year senator with no foreign policy experience and a background in community organizing. That's hardly the type of resume that makes one a shoo-in for Empire's top-spot. There must have been a quid pro quo, a tacit understanding that if Obama was elected, he'd carry out the corporate/Big Finance agenda. And, so he has.

A kinder, gentler way of saying the same thing?

The Deal

Last December I made it clear that I thought Obama had caved when he allowed Republicans to hold unemployment benefits extension hostage in order to protect the Bush era tax cuts. I reported on Obama's comments:

Last night "Angry Obama" made an appearance and scolded Democrats who have been crying foul over his capitulation to the Republicans over the Bush tax cuts. What caught my attention was his "hostage" analogy:

I think it's tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers, unless the hostages get harmed. Then people will question that strategy. In this case the hostage was the American people, and I was not willing to see them get harmed.

Let me also revisit my commentary on the science of "hostage taking":

During negotiations, the hostage taker may be "convinced" to make slight concessions such as freeing a hostage or two, but they do not EVER make concessions on their primary objective.


The proper hostage taker like any skilled negotiator knows what their objectives are and what they are willing to concede on in order to obtain that objective.

In this case the hostage takers represent the financed class (some of whom are not even citizens, but who's registered entities are subject to taxation). The finance interests in the US do not care about the hostages except for how they may be used for capital. They care about their long term interests: less taxes and access to government coffers.
They will gladly allow the unemployed to receive benefits because those benefits go directly to them on the form of debt payments. Seriously, unemployment benefits go to food, rent / mortgages and other non-discretionary expenditures.

Not only did the big money people get an extension of the Bush tax cuts, they got a reduction in the estate tax as well. They reduced payroll taxes as well, meaning that a country currently "at war" will be seeing less income to pay for it. I don't suppose that the defense contractors will be reducing their prices to the government to reflect this. Back to the hostage scenario though.

Now returning to this new, yet to be voted on deal:

White House officials confirmed that there would not be an extension of unemployment benefits as part of the final package. The administration had insisted that an extension be part of the grand bargain it was negotiating with Boehner. But when those discussions fell apart, so too did efforts to ensure that unemployment insurance was part of a final package. A senior administration aide added that the president would push for an extension in the months, if not weeks, ahead.

Note that unlike last time, unemployment benefits, that were held hostage last time, did not make the cut. What is the president going to do? Exactly what he should have done back in December. Introduce an extension later as a separate piece of legislation as to separate it out from the budget "negotiations". Had he done this back in December it is likely that the Bush tax cuts would have been history by now and the budget issue as we know it would be completely different given the amount of the deficit that is due to those cuts.

The Huffington Post article says:

Some observers scored one victory for the president -- the second round of cuts do not kick in until 2013, when the Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire. Having a fresh round of deficit reduction that is all cuts with no revenues could give the White House ammunition to end the tax cuts on wealthier Americans, as it failed to do last winter.

So then they will be right back in the same position in 2013. Are we to believe that 3rd time is the charm?

Also written by the Huffington Post:

Liberals were extremely displeased with the final result of the talks, which began with Democrats saying there should be no strings attached to a debt limit increase that would enable the country pay its bills.

Then they insisted that if deficit reduction was going to be linked to the debt limit, then closing loopholes and raising taxes on the rich had to be part of the deal.

They lost completely on both counts, and House Republicans managed to pull the entire deal further and further to the right, even inserting a requirement into the agreement for a vote on a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

So the least vulnerable population in the US continue to be protected? Their stocks and hedge funds that are in dollar denominations stay at value. A "good" deal indeed. There are people who will object to this analysis because for them the whole "debt ceiling" thing has been resolved. What they fail to understand is that the "debt ceiling thing" ought never have been on the table. As explained above it was simply the gun to the nation's head to get a particular objective through.