Tuesday, November 24, 2009

459 years later

I write this with a heavy heart and before I leave for Memphis to bury my last grandmother. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “how soon ‘not now’ becomes never.” If anytime these words ring truer today than in times past. It has been 459 years since the first inhabitants of Africa were brought to these shores and just 41 years ago the descendents of these individuals were granted the right to vote.

In this age of swag and want to be goons, gangsters and thugs and women who admire supper head, something has gone amiss. Albeit not a sooth sayer as written in Oedipus Rex, I do know that as a whole we are oblivious to most if not all that is around us with the exception of what is going on with Chris Brown and Rhiana or the latest video labeled number one on 106 and Park. You ask someone what they think of the economic recovery act and they will say they dont know, or haven't read it as if we expect others to do for us, what we should do for ourselves. Even worse when confronted of such, we get offended, get defensive and feel degraded by what I write, type or say.

The truth of the matter is that we degrade ourselves when we do not objectively attempt accept or acknowledge our intellectual prowess is different, ill-informed and unequipped to solve or deal with the problems our community faces. We even feel better by making excuses. Because for a lot of us, if the shoe fits, do not want to wear or accept it without being distorted by any process of defensiveness. We know little of history let alone the world around us. I made a statement as such on twitter and was told that I was degrading black people. The truth is that i did not feel degraded and I am black. I can query about floating interest rates and get no response, but ask about Drake's latest song then everyone chimes in.

Now I aint searching or seeking glory I learned that such was Napoleon’s dénouement. Nor do I write this to make friends but rather to try and take care of mines. But to speak of such makes some folks mad and sensitive like Ralph Tresvant. We should in my mind be able to accept the truth no matter how painful, for until we do we will continue to enslave ourselves while at the same time complain yet feel no need to work for what we desire. Our folks did not fight slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation for us to just do nothing except watch TV, listen to music and think we free.

This is real and strange, especially in a time in which we have seen history made with the election of our 44th president. Yet many of us do not have a clue and don’t tend to nourish ourselves mentally and intellectually. Instead we attend to the mundane – celebrity and materialism. The real materialism in the world is family and what we can do with out minds, but we continue to lag behind in this understanding and focus on shopping malls and what is feed to us on television. Yep, it has been 459 years since we were brought here in the form of slaves, now we remain slaves, seem to be negro comfortable and even worse – enslave our selves through our apathy.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Virgie Ingram (1921 - 2009)

My granny died yesterday morning.That is her in front of my shop in the wheel chair with my mother and daughter. We represent 4 generations. I wrote this for here when i went to see her a few months ago. I miss here, but will remember all the things she told me. These are a few:

1] "excuses, boy dont make no excuses, ifs ands pots and pans the whole world would be a kitchen".....................granny

"i will try is the same as saying i will fail"............. granny

3] "dont do things trying the be famous or successful, just strive to be great and kind"....granny

4] "if you wanna hide something from a nigga put it in a book, read all and every thing, they could be talking about me and you wouldnt know if u dont read everything".............granny

5] "if u a ditch digger be the best ditch digger 'cause they will always call torrance to dig that ditch"...granny

I miss my granny, especially her laugh - love always - Pumpkin

Thursday, November 19, 2009

this aint Zimbabwe

Ok, you know me, its all about the economy folk. I have been looking over the back of Geithner and Obama, at least as much as I can suppurate from their statements and documented economic proposals. My problem remains the same – it cannot work with increasing unemployment, inflation, believing that some corporations are too big to fail and more importantly, having no policy designed to stabilize and or empower the US dollar.

The future I see is one of massive government-debt defaults and increased poverty. Yep, poverty. Especially since the debt we have amassed as a nation will eventually be passed on to the US Treasury, Federal Reserve Bank and us regular folk. You can call me crazy if you like but logic and reason remains. Firstly, 1% of Americans own more than 90% of the nation’s wealth, not to mention our debt over the past two years has moved from 11 trillion dollars to almost 25 trillion dollars.

This years annual report on hunger released by the United States Department of Agriculture reported 49.1 million Americans in 17 million households lacked dependable access to food in 2008. This is close to 17 percent of the US population. This tells me more people are below the official poverty level – maybe about 80 million folk. This is not impractical an estimate since the US Census Bureau announced last September that real median household income in the United States fell about 4 percent between 2007 and 2008 alone.

True, I am not an economist but I am no idiot either. The declining state of the US economy is regressing as so at the pace of an avalanche. I suggest we start to watch oil and commodity prices as the real indicator of what is anticipated for the future. I mean you think we don’t have jobs now, there will be less and less if inflation continues to rise, which means prices will increase and folk will be spending less. I hope the President is on to of this, I mean I know he was just in China meeting with our debtors to ensure them that they can keep lending us money. Don’t know if he discussed the dollar for at this rate it will be virtual worthless. This means inflation will only continue as indicated by the recent consumer price index. This suggest to me that if we keep adding to the debt, folk may loose faith in the markets and stop investing all together making this current recession palpable in comparison what may follow. Maybe we need to consider ending floating exchange rates in this country. It is worth a try because in simple terms, money is only worth what folks are willing to exchange for it. This aint Zimbabwe but we may be soon.

Friday, November 06, 2009

madness, madness, war

Coming home to a place you know well and trying to reintegrate after being deployed abroad cannot be comprehended by the average citizen, as well many civilian politicians, community leaders and even some top military brass. This is because we as a nation are insensitivity to others and do not understand what it means to go off and fight for ones life in a brazen and foreign land. Thus it doesn’t surprise me that a person, regardless of any social marker, can flip like a light switch and kill folk in their immediate environment.

For years we have been aware of cases of men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and committing violent criminal acts. Just last month a 21-year old Indiana man killed himself in a movie theater after watching Zombieland. Then there was the case of William Grant Johnson who killed a physician in New York and shot several others before he was captured. And there was Michael James in Hawaii who murdered his wife and son and also killed himself. Then there is Jacob Gregory Swanson of California who killed his girlfriend and committed suicide afterwards. The list goes on and on: William Howell, a Colorado-based Army Special Forces soldier who shot himself in the head in his front yard in March; the attempted murder-suicide at Fort Lewis this summer, and the Iraq war vet who killed himself and wife in Washington state less than a month ago.

This is not just consistent for our recent wars but even wars of past Last month in the UK and American Vietnam veteran killed his boss and tried to kill three others in a “Reservoir Dogs style attack”. We have known for years that domestic violence has been on the rise for war veterans as well as the extent to which PTSD has been occurring as well however, what do we do nothing, and act like nothing is going on or worse as if it is not a serious problem that needs to be addressed. All we do is turn our backs, watch football, and decide what clubs we going to go too while these folks come back here in states of anger and rage we will never comprehend.

Most of us know a war is going on but are with drawn and only show passion if any in the form of political discourse. The truth is that we are removed otherwise, far removed and live our lives the way we would if a war was going on or not. It is like the military is involved, engaged and fighting the war by themselves because the general public goes around as if we don’t care. We don’t even feel the impact of the war for the only ones that really do either are fighting it nor have family members fighting in it. And just imagine how that makes veterans returning home feel?

As a scientist, I know first hand that we aint doing our part. I mean there is no research available nor being conducted to discern the impact of multiple tours and their effect on behavior; or how many tours are too much before a person evinces serious problem behavioral outcomes; or how effective are the evaluation measures we use to suppurate data from veterans returning home; or how well (if at all) are the programs we use to re-integrate veterans are? Ask this as a scientist for I see the same thing in the field of my specialty which is working with infectious disease and mental health outcomes among correctional populations. The goals of my confederates and me are to re-integrate inmates successfully, reduce mental health and infectious disease outcomes as well as keep them from returning back to prison.

We have found that there are different approaches that work for different inmate/correctional populations and worse, there exist no standard protocols for program implementation for inmates and vary from state to state. We need to support research and encourage research for the purpose of dealing with the behavioral health outcomes of military populations. I say this as a scientist; for it seems we are doping nothing and worse do not know what is required or needed; what works and what doesn’t.

What ever the case we need some answers and some answers fast. These folks are used to solving problems by killing - killing is all they know. Otherwise it will only get worse and Major Malik Nadal Hasan, MD wont be the last. It all reminds me of “Five nights of bleeding” by Linton Kwesi Johnson- especially the lyrics there is “war amongs' the rebels, madness, madness, war,

Monday, November 02, 2009

Wall Street, DC

For the past coupla a few years I have been writing and thinking a lot about money and economics. Before then I used to always write about foreign policy, I don’t know why, for my professional expertise, or any of my Undergraduate, master of doctorate degrees are in the area of either foreign policy or economics. Moreover, nor am I a conspiracy theorist. I guess you can say I just like puzzles and problem solving and more importantly freely thinking for myself.

I have been consistent and even accurate in my analysis and evaluation with respect to the US government and the so-called representation of an economy it fosters. I have also been consistent in pointing out that there is no difference really between the political beasts we call Washington, DC and the financial varmints we label Wall Street. And for me there is no better example than the Crooks who operate at the top levels of Goldman Sachs. The way I have figured since the 1960, the folks who run and formulate Washington’s economic policy are the same folk who make fist full of loot for their own personal interest. Starting with the chief Thief in charge – Robert Rubin. Now Rubin was forced to resign from CitiGroup as its Chairman earlier this year for his messed performance. It was profitable for him seeing he left with more than 100 million in his pocket. However, he got his start with Goldman Sachs in the mid 1960s where he eventually became co-chairman in 1990. He was only around for a few years for afterwards he became Assistant to the President for economic policy and eventually US Treasury secretary in 1995.

Then there was Stephen Friedman who served as Chairman from 90 to 94 and as the director from 2005 to date. However in between he was the Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve from 2008-2009. Also there is Adam Storch (VP from 2004-2009 for GS) who now serves as the managing executive of the Security and exchange – as if we expect folks to police themselves. Henry Paulson was Chairman CEO of Goldman Sachs until he resigned to become US Treasury secretary in 2006 until 2009.

It also works the other way around. Michael Paese was deputy staff director on the House Financial services committee from 2007-2008 before becoming Director for Government Affairs for GS which he serves as today. Robert Zoellick was US trade representative from 2001-2005 as well as deputy secretary of state from 2005-06 before putting in work as a managing director at GS from 2006-2007.

This is just an example for I can say the same about Citigroup and others. In fact Geithner was VERY close to executives of Citigroup, ( Robert E. Rubin). Now all I am saying is that it is difficult for me to see how folks who created this problem while working both on Wall Street and In the Halls of Washington Politics can solve the problem. Moreover, I think it really show what the problem is. One of importance is revealed incessant incompetence. If most of us messed up dollars on our jobs at scales way less than what Rubin did at Citigroup – we would be fir4d and likely not be employed again. But not these folks. They are head of the game. And we Americans don’t get it, nor does Obama or any of them other politicians regardless of political affiliation. I don’t know about yawl, but I don’t trust nor love them Wall Street, DC hoes. I mean I do not see a difference between the two: Wall Street or DC, do or can you?