Friday, October 28, 2011

Too many Sunday Only Preachers

As I observe the police crackdown of the Occupy movements from Atlanta to New York and from Oakland to Chicago, I am troubled. Namely for two reasons the first being how inept many of us African Americans are in supporting and understanding the axiological meaning of the protest and second, how fickle, taciturn and downright ill-informed we are as African Americans and a nation as a whole. This is made even more obvious as I listen to talk show host that seem to consistently abrogate logic for the sole purpose of manifesting partisan political support. Unfortunate also is the fact that many who lead these charges offer their myopic positions on the premise of objectivity yet fail to encourage the type of fully involved intellectual discussions that were the foundations of both the platforms of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

To the first point, I am amazed. It seems as if we as a culture, albeit not monolithic, purport ourselves in a monolithic disposition. Taking the support for our current President alone and his political party, it has been estimated that regardless of affect or effect, African Americans support both at an astonishing 95 percent clip. More astonishing is that the section of our community that used to engage in the politics of what was best for the people as opposed what was best for political accomplishment is no longer in existence. Instead they have returned back to the day prior to Dr. King and are more akin to the black ministers who engaged him to stop his protest and accept the status quo as opposed to stand on the side of right, liberty and justice.

Now I know that the average African American only functions at a 6th grade math level, but what is it hard to understand about the top 1 percent controlling more than 40 percent of this nation’s wealth or that their rate of income has increased 275 percent over the past decade compared to under 30 for the rest of the nation? Why is it so difficult to understand the impact of fractional banking and the production of complex financial instruments and papers, worth nothing, that make this populous rich on the burdens of the poor and middle class? How can it not be visible that the rates of unemployment and incarceration and disease are disproportionately impactful on the poor, middle class and minority communities? I just do not get it. Even worse, how we as a segment of the population turn the other cheek, look away and dare not hold the current presidential administration to the same standard we held the prior?

We are quick to jump on Herman Cain for his inconsistencies, flip flopping and other miscues – and rightly so, but we seem to intentionally avoid acknowledging the same for Obama. I believe as Malcolm X, in 1964 while addressing a church in Cleveland when he stated:

“It was the black man's vote that put the present administration in Washington, D.C. Your vote, your dumb vote, your ignorant vote, your wasted vote put in an administration in Washington, D.C., that has seen fit to pass every kind of legislation imaginable, saving you until last, then filibustering on top of that. And you’re and my leaders have the audacity to run around clapping their hands and talk about how much progress we're making. And what a good president we have.”

Malcolm was not even speaking of our current administration but his words ring just as true today. He was speaking of our leadership and more importantly, to us to ignore facts for no purpose at all. For example I have spoken with people about my concerns with the health care bill. We talk and when I point out that premiums increase and that dental and eye care is not included, they ask where I heard that. I ask them if they read the bill and in each case they say no. How can we talk to someone who supports from only what others have told them and never even having read something for themselves? The same is true with many of the other issues proposed by Obama.

The Jobs bill for example, listening to black talk radio from Dr. Lorraine White to the Rev. Al Sharpton, it is as if they want this implemented regardless, and that it will actually do what it is said to do – create jobs. Now I am all for trying, but after reading it, it seemed to be just another $450 billion for the top 1 percent. I said the same with the first stimulus that resulted in 2.5 million lost jobs. Reading it on the surface the Jobs Bill sounds good, but when you examine it, it really on serves the wealth. For example, there is a proposal to give tax incentives to business that hire folks who have been out of work for 6 months or longer. This may sound good, but thinking as I do; there is nothing in there to stop them from hiring these folks, firing folks they already have and pocketing the loot. How many jobs would actually be created if you hire 20 and fire 20?

Then there is the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. This 27-member council — made up mostly of corporate executives and academics, wants to get rid of Sarbanes-Oxley, the antifraud law passed in 2002 in response to Enron, WorldCom and the dot-com bust. Based on a recent report , almost all of this body want Congress to remove the accounting and auditing safeguards put in place to keep Enron and recent Wall street level fraud from occurring - a goal of corporate America since its establishment.

Even his recent flip-flop on his own administration’s commitment to clean air (by deciding not to raise Federal ozone standards for air pollution) when he said he would seems that the President is more a friend on big corporations more than the common man. Reminiscent of the late Ronald Reagan, who also overruled the EPA. Obama did this unilaterally against the unanimous opinion of its independent panel of scientific advisers, and directed administrator Lisa Jackson.

None of our community gate keepers, especially from the clergy ever say anything about this. Instead they continue to make excuse for practices as inconsistent as Michelle Bachmann’s or Rick Perry’s understanding of history.

In the past religion mainly in the form of our Christian churches served a purpose, but no longer. The old time religion many once asked for in song has mutated into corrupted hard drives formatted for mass marketing success in the form of profit at the expense of its congregations. Preachers nowadays have chauffer driven limousines while many of their flock subsist on MARTA tokens and catch the bus. In our past religion as well as the church were purposeful. Not only where they spiritual in essence and focus, they were also social institutions that put the community from which they originated first and foremost even before the word of God.

In the past from Fred Shuttlesworth to Martin Luther King Jr., to Adam Clayton Powell to Joseph Lowery, ministers, preachers and the pulpits they orchestrated did more than spread the divine word, they also if not more so engaged in taking part and in most cases advancing the social and political injustices confronted by African Americans regardless of demonization or social class. Their faith was on the surface first but secondary in action with respect to their incessant fight for civil rights and social injustice. Running Sunday schools was as equally (if not less) important than the bus boycotts and sit-ins they organized. They were not only preachers on Sunday but every other the day during the weeks for teaching people about their rights and local laws that empowered their congregations to reinforcing the importance of education.

Now in the political year approaching (2012) even with a presupposed African American President, our churches no longer see the utility of serving to assist in the fight against oppression, economic inequality, social injustice or exploitation exalted toward the mass majority of people of color in our nation. Where ever we are, we will be inundated with politicians begging us for our vote selling the snake oil dreams and promises that they know they will not keep. All, even Obama, will ask and send us to wars in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to fight for reason we do not have any connection too yet we fight with courage but don’t have the courage to fight for what is ours here at home.

The Malcolm speech I cited was called “the Ballot or the Bullet. In that speech he also stated, “, I am one who doesn't believe in deluding myself. I'm not going to sit at your table and watch you eat, with nothing on my plate, and call myself a diner. Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on that plate.” Continuing he said about the ballot or the bullet, “you're afraid to use an expression like that, you should get on out of the country; you should get back in the cotton patch; you should get back in the alley. They get all the Negro vote, and after they get it, the Negro gets nothing in return. All they did when they got to Washington was give a few big Negroes big jobs. Those big Negroes didn't need big jobs, they already had jobs. That's camouflage, that's trickery, that's treachery, window-dressing.”

Like him, I am neither republican nor democrat, and as such have the clearest vision of the treachery crooks of both of the political cloth demonstrate. And as for as the inaction in my community, all I can say is that we have too many “Sunday Only Preacher,” and we need a lot more of the everyday kind who are willing not only to be honest with their community, but themselves as well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Obama’s African Policy in Somalia Resembles Neocolonialist Genocide

I often wonder what Obama’s father would say about his son’s incessant intervention in Africa. For certain, I know he would not say Obama’s loves him some Africa. Maybe he would because every time we look around, he sending troops to the continent left and right and in all cases to date, to murder established leaders. We saw what his intervention in Libya resulted in and we know that the goal in Uganda is to kill Joseph Kony, the leader of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). And in Somalia, a nation that has not had a functioning government since 1991 when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, we may be doing our most dirtiest job.

Mohammed Siad Barre came to power via a military coup in October 1969 scientific socialism as Somali state policy - Somali nationalism with the goal of uniting all Somali people under one flag. Once (1970s), the United State provided military and economic assistance to Somalia, and the U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu became one of the biggest American diplomatic missions in Africa. After being criticized by the world for providing military support to the Siad Barre regime, efforts in Congress to cut off military assistance to Somali finally succeeded in 1989.

Although we know that the present food and refugee emergency in Somalia is considered to be the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, placing millions at immediate risk via disease, drought and massive starvation, the Obama administration sent a U.S. Marine task force to the region instead of focusing on humanitarian aid and has escalated drone attacks in Somalia that contribute even more to the starvation and death of additional millions of Africans. For it is the administrations belief that the al-Shabab resistance is mostly responsible for the drought emergency.

Strange since the Obama administration has put in place policies to limit food aid to the region in an effort to starve out those who might be supporting the Shabab. Yes food as a weapon of war in Somalia. What we forget is that the problems of today can be connected to our action four yeas ago when we got the Ethiopian government to invade Somalia in an effort to overthrow an Islamist government that had established peace by ended street battles between warlords and militias via islamic fundamentalist law..

But what is more problematic for me as an African American who has lived in the region (Ethiopia in 1999) and visited Somalia, is the reckless manner in which we disrespect and lessen the value of lives there via the US policy of using drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to kill civilians in the hundreds daily. In addition, this is not even mentioned on the news nor is discussed openly by President Obama almost Bush-like. Maybe this is why the President is seeking to ban the access of international news agencies the likes of Press TV who reports such daily.

When I lived in Africa, Press TV, BBC, Der Welt Television (Germany) and Al-Jazerra were watched more than any American News outlet and to me are equal to ITN and PBS in their coverage of world news. Since I do not have cable television, I am left to reading the web sites of these respected news agencies. Case in point, the information I have found on the aforementioned in the past two weeks alone is startling and unbeknownst to most US citizens.

On Oct 14, 2001, an attack by a US UAV resulted in the killing of at least 78 people and injured 64 others in southern Somalia. The attack, which occurred near Qooqani town located in southern Somalia happened the same day another US drone attack killed 11 civilians and wounded 34 more in Hoosingow district in the south of the country. Oct 21, 2001 another attack by a US unmanned aerial vehicle killed at least 44 civilians and injured 63 others in southern Somalia near Ras Kamboni town in the Badhaadhe district of Lower Juba region near the border with Kenya. Several hours latter, a US done attack killed 22 in Kudhaa Island in southern Somalia near the border with Kenya.

Somali military officials reported an attack on Oct 22, 2011 near the town of Bilis Qooqani, an unmanned US drone strike killed at least 49 people in famine-stricken in southern Somalia, while injuring at least 68 others. The next day, Oct 23, 2011, US drones carried out attacks near the Bilis Qooqani districts in southern Somalia, leaving 9 dead and 14 others wounded.

The following day, On Oct 24, 2011, an attack took place in the Somali island of Kudhaa near the country's border with Kenya according to Somali army officer Colonel Aden Dheere in which killed at least 36 Somali people. Latter that day, another 59 people were killed and dozens more injured during French military attacks on Kudhaa.

In each case Washington claims the airstrikes target militants, though most such attacks have resulted in civilian casualties in Somalia. More recently representatives of the Obama administration have denied any “US involved or supported airstrikes in Somalia: a claim friends and associates of mine from my days living in the region contradict.

Whatever the case, the facts remain the same. First, Somalia strategic location in the horn of Africa and its vast natural resources cannot be questioned. Second, It is not implausible that the US would do anything to keep China, India and Russia out of the region. Third, the nation is a geopolitical prize that has brought about the United States via the Obama administration to use neocolonial approaches to develop a foothold in the nation as well as offers a reason to employ resources of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), to achieve any clandestine objectives, especially in the context of the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP). Supported by the U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and the Special Operations Command (SOCAFRICA). Not to mention they are involved with assisting the brother of President Yoweri Museveni in training troops for military efforts both in Somalia and Uganda. Strange since the Obama administration as recently as yesterday denied any involvement in arial strikes in Somalia. Like I said, very Bush-like.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Obama Sends Troops to Another Oil Rich African Nation

Is it just me, or is it strangely funny and coincidental that over the past decade everywhere we sent US troops in which we aided in the death; killing or assignation of a sovereign foreign head of state has been in an energy rich country with vast amounts of oil and/or natural gas. Saddam Hussein was in Iraq and he was hanged. Kaddafi was in Libya and he was summarily executed. In Afghanistan, no telling how many tribal and regional leaders (since they historically never had a nation state with a central government) we have killed. And as I stated in each case they have what we need to paraphrase the great Biz Markie – Oil and natural gas. This tradition is continuing with the recent deployment of US service personnel to Uganda. Oil and Uganda? Yes.

If you didn’t know Uganda is sitting on tons of oil. Oil exploration began in Uganda’s northwestern Lake Albert basin nearly a decade ago and according to estimates by the Energy Ministry, the African nation has over two billion barrels of oil. The British firm Tullow Oil operates three oil blocks in the region, and had sold off part of its stake to Total and China's CNOOC. But the sale was halted following the allegations of bribery. Specifically that Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has been accused of receiving funds to lobby for oil production rights on behalf of the Italian oil firm ENI, which eventually lost its bid for exploration rights to British firm Tullow Oil. In addition, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa and Internal Affairs Minister Hilary Onek have also been accused of taking bribes from Tullow Oil worth over US$23 million and $8 million respectively.

As a result of these activities occurring over the past few weeks, it is ironic the Obama has decided to intervene with the rebels he claims are wrecking havoc in the region and fostering social unrest. Obama notified House Speaker John Boehner, of deploying the mostly Special Operations Forces, to central Africa with the first troops reportedly arriving in Uganda on last Wednesday.

Truth is that the rebels are representative of the people just as those he sent NATO forces to protect in Libya. It was hoped that the discovery of oil would improve the economic conditions of the masses of which 51 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. The Uganda economy is suffering from a 20-year high double-digit inflation now at 28.3 percent.

Oil exploration began in Uganda’s northwestern Lake Albert basin nearly a decade ago, with initial strikes being made in 2006 and is scheduled to begin oil refining in 2014 . The 2.5 billion barrels of crude along Uganda's western border with Congo will be extracted upon the development of a refinery in a phased manner, starting with capacity of around 40,000-60,000 barrels a day before peaking at 150,000 barrels a day by 2016.

Many are unaware that Africa's exports of oil to the United States, largely from Nigeria and the dictator state of Equatorial Guinea, at rates almost equal to those of the Middle East. But again why now? I have outlined several factors including the suggestion of US intervention by, the International Crisis Group, which is the principal author of “Responsibility to Protect,” the military doctrine used by Obama to justify the U.S. led NATO campaign in Libya. Even more coincidental is that billionaire George Soros is a member of its executive board and personally, just recently recommended the U.S. deploy a special advisory military team to Uganda.

Soros, via his Open Society Institute is one of only three nongovernmental funders of the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect, as well as other Institute advisors including Samantha Power, the National Security Council special adviser to Obama on human rights, who also aided in the establishment of the International Criminal Court. Soros himself maintains close ties to oil interests in Uganda. As early as April of 2010, Soros’ International Crisis Group, or ICG, released a report sent to the White House and other lawmakers advising the U.S. military to run special operations in Uganda to seek Kony’s capture. It makes sense seeing that in 2008 a National Oil and Gas Policy, proposed with aid from a Soros-funded group, was supposed to be a general road map for the handling and use of the oil.

Like in Libya, the U.S. mission will be to advise forces seeking to kill or capture Joseph Kony, the leader of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). In the past, the Obama administration has stated it would only deploy US troops in the Middle East, Africa or Central Asia to target terrorist groups and rogue states that threaten the U.S. Unfortunately this is not an apt description of the Lord’s Resistance Army

So why is it that all of a sudden we are sending troops to another African nation? Not any nation but one rich in oil? We know the region, which includes South Sudan - which became an independent state in July after a two-decade civil war with the government in Khartoum, is also one of the emerging oil-rich states producing 500,000 barrels per day. This account for 80 percent of the country’s untapped oil deposits: meaning our presence may provide for increased penetration by Western-based oil firms in the United States and Europe. We know that the U.S. was a major proponent of splitting off South Sudan from the central government, as well as supporting the secessionist rebel movements in the western region of Darfur.

South Sudan became an independent state in July after a two-decade civil war with the government in Khartoum. Sudan is one of the emerging oil-rich states producing 500,000 barrels per day. The oil concessions in Sudan were largely in partnership with the People’s Republic of China and other Asian and Middle Eastern states.

Uganda has yet to produce a single barrel of oil, but it is obvious that its presence has played a key role in the Obama’s administration via the influence of George Soros to intervene militarily to help Uganda fight the rebels of the LRA who are currently in the Central African Republic.

I find this puzzling since we had these opportunities before oil was found and neglected to get involved. Now we are and the only fact that has changed is that the country is now rich in oil and we want to get out hands on it. To do such, we will most likely kill another person in another nation who has the support to the people more than the elected government does.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Watch Out: Government Can assassinate a US Citizen Anytime they Want

I am thoroughly convinced that the American people do not know or understand the constitution and could care less if their unalienable rights are trampled on, for most of us accept without question whatever the government does or states. And don’t let it be implemented by a half white half black president – the first African American to serve in such a capacity in our nation’s history.

To be honest, I could care a rat’s azz about the death of anyone who formulates murder against any US citizen, in particular if it is one Anwar al-Awlaki. But I have reservations concerning the logic that would proffer such an outcome as being accepted in the annals of legal jurisprudence.

The Obama administration put into place a legal standard albeit it untested, that allows for the singular approval from the Executive branch of the federal government, without proof to allow the federal government to target individual American citizens for assassination. Did I say the executive branch singularly and without proof? All one has to do is be seen as being an enemy combatant or organizer against the US government. I wanted to write about this last week but I did not, hoping, maybe even anticipating that the Obama Administration would release, make available to the public the presupposed legal guidance his team of legal advisors developed to approve such targeted assignations. I expected such because after all, it was he who stated his administration would be the most transparent ever. However the Obama Administration has refused to release or make public its finding for this action that makes it ok and constitutionally legal to assassinate American citizens of speculation and allegation alone without due process.

This too means that the President, if he decides can make the decision to kill anyone, even me, without due process if they perceive my words as action as being as being a threat to US (their executive branch) interest. Meaning if they perceive my words to be an enemy to what they propose from a policy perspective, they can send a drone to my little residence in the world, without the authority of congress or a judicial body and kill me and my family with no questions asked.

Due process is the basic concept that laws and legal proceedings must be fair. Our constitution guarantees that the government cannot take away a person's basic rights to 'life, liberty or property, without due process of law. It originates in the Fifth Amendment and says to the federal government that no one shall be "deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law." It is even mentioned again in the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868.The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the deprivation of liberty or property without due process of law. A claim that is cognizable only if there is a recognized liberty or property interest at stake.

I didn’t support the Bush Administration’s position on this subject nor do the Obama administration acknowledged continuance of this Bush-era policy authorizing the killing of US citizens abroad. Also I find it difficult for either administration as they saw it, to define the entire world as being a battlefield. My fear and questions pertains to the designation of either picking up arms against this country or being described as “hostile” and/or displaying “hostilities” to the US government mean?

>The reason we have the second amendment is for average folk to be able to organize and fight against the rise of a tyrant or coterie of tyrants who may happen to rise into a power of leadership in our government. Moreover, there is no definition of what hostile is with respect to the abrogation of one’s constitutional rights. Could one be hostile for writing a vehement opinion against the government, elected official? Could a radio caller or host be held to the same standard?

A president should not be able singularly to order a targeted “hit” on any US citizen regardless of location. I also think that his legal advisors and the Attorney General should explain the basis in law for such a policy that violates individual constitutional rights. After all it was President Obama who stated on his campaign website: “Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.” Instead he has dramatically increased governmental secrecy.

All I can say is watch your back because it is evident that the present administration is no different from the last and will invoked unconstitutional executive secrecy to do whatever it desires. He has ignored his campaign promise to protect government whistleblowers, and instead has persecuted and prosecuted more government whistleblowers than ever in US History. I just hope the government doesn’t consider me hostile and target me if they see fit one day while I am teaching class or driving down the street with my family.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

1000 Days: Brilliant But No Management Skills

Our current President, Barack Obama is a brilliant man. Personally I would rank him as one of the smartest Presidents we have had since Richard Nixon and in the same breath with Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson. But as history has shown us, to be a brilliant President does not necessarily translate into being and effective or efficient one. Yes Obama is brilliant, but just using the example of his efforts to gain traction with our current economic conundrum, it is obvious he lacks the management skills required to astutely address this nation’s economic woes.

Now I am no Obama cognoscenti nor is this to state that he cannot manage, sure he can however much remains to be said of management skills regarding economics. Sure he is a competent jurist and astute in constitutional law, but one can simply examine how he works with his economic team to objectively examine his skill set in terms of management ergo concluding something is lacking. For the record before I proceed, I want to say I stated before and now that Tim Geithner was the wrong man for the job of Treasury secretary and I still stand by this. First I still maintain distrust for former Republicans that turn democrat in particular if they once worked for Kissinger and Associates. Second he is and foremost a banker and will always be as opposed to those of us on main street. I also had a problem when Geithner was living with Daniel Zelikow, as a top JP Morgan Chase executive, while he was overseeing the bailout of several huge Wall Street banks, including JPMorgan, which received $25 billion in federal rescue funds from the TARP program.

I can use the dysfunction of Obama's retinue of economic advisors to demonstrate why I have this opinion and come to the aforementioned conclusion. To start off with, Larry Summers (former Director of National Economic Council), Paul Volcker (former Federal Reserve Chairman), Christina Romer (former Economic Advisor), Elizabeth Warren (former Special Advisor to the Treasury Secretary), Peter Orszag (former Budget Director), and Tim Geithner (Secretary of the Treasury) alone provide me with more than enough substance to make this argument. Just looking at documented occurrences covering the Volcker rule, issues regarding Citibank, the bailout and the first stimulus, gives one an additional layer for discussion.

With respect to Larry Summers, it could be implied that the reason he resigned as director of the National Economic Council was his incessant economic blunders and what some could assert criminal actions. As an economist at Harvard and at the World Bank, Summers argued for privatization and deregulation in several areas, including finance. Prior to this under Clinton, he Summers oversaw passage of both the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed Glass-Steagall and Commodity Futures Modernization Act (which banned all regulation of derivatives, including exempting them from state antigambling laws) as well as permitted the previously illegal merger that created Citigroup. Not to mention, Summers, in concert with Greenspan, and Rubin and dismissed all warnings regarding the impending economic turmoil that we currently experience.

It was a major mistake to place Summers in an advisory role as a man who one did not perceive America’s economic crisis as a serious threat and two, as a man that developed many of the rules in which began this crisis.But this was more the fault of Obama obviously not having studied his past thoroughly and accepting on face value recommendations from his fat cat Wall Street donors.

In concert with Geithner, Summers cost us regular taxpaying citizens up to a trillion dollars or more. How because Obama puts on a front in front of the regular citizen hammering out loud at the banking industry and its faults, yet employs the very same men who rigged this game on behalf of the banking industry. Thus it is hard to say you are hard on banks and want them to get their acts together when behind closed doors you give them everything they ask for and more. Even with respect to Elizabeth Warren, the woman Obama wanted to head his Consumer Protection Agency, Geithner worked against the President wishes, for he insured the Banking industry and Wall Street she would not be approved for nomination, against the wishes of the President.

For example, the Obama administration’s $500 billion plus proposal was only beneficial to the banks and big dollar investors at the expense of the US tax payer. Why? Because we gave money to bailout make believe a false alarm problem contrived by bankers singularly. If one consider a toxic asset held by Citibank with a face value of $1 million, but with zero probability of any payout and therefore with a zero market value, most investors would not purchase such an asset. However, if Citibank itself sets up a Citibank Public-Private Investment Fund (under the Geithner-Summers plan), this allowed the bank to bid the full face value of $1 million for the worthless asset because it can borrow $850K from the FDIC, and get $75K from the Treasury (BAILOUT) to make the purchase - meaning the bank will only have to come $75K out of pocket. This means the bank (Citibank in this instance) would get $1 million for the worthless asset, while the fund in its name ends up with a pile of worthless assets against $850K in debt to the FDIC – allowing the fund to declare bankruptcy and make an easy $1 million. This is the best hustle since buying Newports in the South and selling up North.

I know I said I would present a discussion on the Volcker rule, but I do not want to bore you any further. In summary, regardless of being a President, Mayor, or Governor, Obama does not seem to have or display the management skills required to understand the creative use or utility of power at his hands. Unlike Maynard Jackson, Coleman Young, Richard Nixon, Willie Brown or even a Hank Parker, Obama appears to lack in terms of economic prowess and maybe even social acumen, the apperception that he is in a distinctive place in which the suitable exercising of influence can gather immense efficacy. Unlike the other African Americans mentioned above, although not serving as the President, Obama, has not shown he knows how to use power creatively and find the balance to take chances to correct existing inequities regardless of the political risk.

Like I said Obama is smart, but his management skills lack something: what I cannot say. The turnaround of the members of his economic top advisors suggest this alone. It is one thing to have high turnover, but if any other business or organization showed similar levels of turnover, they would go out of business or become inoperable. Moreover, it is clear that no other parts of his top advisors in other areas (state department, or Justice for example) have displayed similar high rates of attrition. No wonder the economy is in shambles.

I agree the prior presidents from Reagan to Bush 43 got us in this mess, but I also acknowledge that trying to suppurate consensus is not the same as making a decision. Selecting the wrong people (smart folks who do not get along or see eye to eye) is not helpful either and doesn’t equals being able to make a decision. Obama may be too smart for his own good, thinking that coming to a consensus is more important than making a decision. Sometimes a president or a governor or mayor must manage situations accordingly and decide on one policy over another. Can Obama do this has yet to be determined pertaining to his economic policy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New York City Criminalizes Food Stamp Recipients By Requiring Fingerprints

When we think of fingerprinting, the first thing that often comes to fruition is its use in criminal investigations and its strong association with one being considered a criminal. It is so powerful a tool in tracking alleged suspects of criminal activity that last spring, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began the roll-out of a nationwide biometric identification system for suspects, inclusive of a new fingerprinting database for law enforcement.

However, now it seems that fingerprinting is being used for less than criminal activity. In New York City, the Bloomberg Administration has implemented a program that will require applicants for food stamps to be electronically fingerprinted. This requirement makes the city one of only two jurisdictions in the country that require applicants to be fingerprinted along with Arizona. Approximately 1.8 million people receive food stamps in New York City.

California used to have this requirement, but just this month, Gov. Jerry Brown acted to eliminate the requirement that food stamp recipients in California be fingerprinted. Brown signed a bill that ended the Statewide Finger Imaging System for the 3.8 million Californians participating in the federally funded Cal Fresh program, starting Jan. 1 – a program that is designed to increase participation in programs to feed the poorest residents.

Politicians, in particular suggest that fingerprinting is an effective way to reduce and prevent fraud. However there has yet to be any evidence that such is the case with respect to efficacy and utility. Not to mention that economist have pointed out that the process cost an estimated $187,364 a year to implement for the already cash-strapped city and state.

Research from the Urban Institute, as cited by New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, estimates that around 30,000 people are deterred from getting food stamps because of the fingerprinting requirement.

Use of fingerprinting in the current economy in which a majority of African Americans are disproportionately impacted, will only serves to criminalize being poor.In addition, there are no guarantees that this information will not end up in the data bases of law enforcement agencies bring to the fore a forth and fourteenth amendment concerns. Last, it adds more to the already existing stigma around applying for federal aid by treating poor and minority individuals like criminals for trying to access a legal program.

The question is why it does in New York City when it is not required anywhere else in the state of New York?

Monday, October 17, 2011

SWAT Teams in St. Louis Protecting Bank of America; Refusing Customer Withdrawals

Israel’s New Bouncer

The first time I read about it, I doubted its truth on historical and political merits alone. Not saying it was not true, but rather it was questionable with respect to the aforementioned and its timely manifestation. I am referring to the recent and weird allegation made suggesting that Iran was behind a plot to assassinate Adel al Jubeir and bomb the Israeli embassy. According to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the plot was "directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government and, specifically, senior members of the Quds Force." But the catch is that according to U.S. officials, the suspect would pay $1.5 million to the Los Zetas drug cartel to kill the Saudi ambassador at a Washington restaurant also frequented by congressmen and senators.

I have written in this very forum about the US and Iran, most recently as it concerned our inability to be consistent with our positions taken concerning how we decided who should be ousted and what citizenry we supported during the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa starting with Tunisia last year and more specifically, how we tend to look the other way in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain but not Libya or Uganda. Not to mention the taciturn neglect the current administration shows to African Americans while kowtowing to the American Zionist lobby.

Even our own history should have the less than average reader concerned about our allegations concerning this plot. First, we should be reminded that the US government gave Saddam Hussein biological weapons and urged him to use them against Iran. Although Hussein decided that biological weapons went too far and backed down from the US plan, we used the same biological weapons we gave to Hussein as a basis to invade Iraq, even though UN monitors had already verified that the weapons had been destroyed.

Then there was the recent fiasco in which we provided support and approval for Israel to assassinate several leading Iranian nuclear scientist over the past two years in an attempt to impede Iran’s progression toward nuclear self sufficiency.

Like I am actually supposed to believe that Iran is a threat to us. We are just another bouncer under the auspice of a new administrative head. We already fund Israel's military, why should we fight wars for them as well? Maybe it is a ploy to take some heat away from Eric Holder is getting slammed for the illegal “fast and furious” gun running activities. After all who else better to assert that Iran tried to recruit a Mexican drug cartel to kill the ambassador of Saudi Arabia via a weed smoking used car salesman from Texas than Holder? Maybe it is a way for us to justify the Obama administrations giving cluster bombs to Israel just a week after Former New York mayor Ed Koch stated openly that Obama was no friend of Israel.

Maybe Iranian parliament member Alaeddin Boroujerdi was right when he said the accusation “a plot to divert the public opinion from the crisis Obama is grappling with.” Plus the informant is dubious to say the least seeing he was “previously charged in connection with narcotics offenses….in exchange for … various narcotics investigations” being dismissed. This based on the indictment of course.

The case made by the US is more media PR than actual fact since they are not supported by any hard evidence. The only evidence we have, which isn’t even related to this adduced collusion is the history of our relationship with this Persian nation - the only Persian nation in the world who happens to be surrounded by nations who hate Persians. Also they are the only Shia run regime in the world, surrounded by regimes that hate Shia. True they are a major producer of oil, but still have to import gasoline.

My question is why the suspect would even ask if the others involved were “any good with explosives?” We know that the US Intelligence indicates Iran's Qods Force are the best in the world when it comes to improvised explosive devices and explosively formed penetrators into Iraq. Seems as if Obama wants to show Israel we will do anything for them even start a war with Iran. Seems as well that we have been doing all in our might to fabricate a reason for such a war just to appease the Israel lobby. The only query that remains is why now and I suspect we will be finding out more real soon. But I am skeptical seeing this is the week we have a masive airlift drill in mediternanian with Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nec Spe, Nec Metu

An associate of mine who I have grown sincere admiration and respect for and a friend used twitter yesterday to foster a discussion regarding President Obama and why people would or would not decide to support him during the 2012 election. What I noticed was that people, in particular African Americans have a real strong conviction and evince such with passion. In addition, I also noticed that it was frequent that people would challenge individuals to “check their facts” or charge “racism” if one disagreed with the President or ANY of his policies.

As you may or may not know, I am a free thinker and a habitual call-it-like-I-think-it-err. Just stating this because regardless of race or political affiliation, or rather one is a racist or a punk (synonymous in my purview) - I call them as I see them. I was reminded of this when a fellow blogger called in on my radio show and indicated that it was funny to him how when I was writing about George W. Bush, my post obtained anywhere from 80 to 100 comments daily but that when I held Obama to the same critical standard, they dropped to less than 5 comments a post.

Getting back to my associate, the results of his forum indicated just how much as a populous we 1] neglect significance in being politically astute, 2] how defensive we get when the person (especially if he is black) is the politician we support and 3] how quick all logic is disregarded when the information or point of contention has a negative impact on African Americans in particular and is accurate.

For example, for me to openly criticize the economic approach of President Obama is tantamount to being an uncle tom, racist or something even worse. Albeit it has nothing to do with the person, his race and/or political affiliation, and more a dissonance with Keynesian economic philosophy, because I am an African American my position is untenable and unreasonable.

Even if I state what I agree with and approve of that the President has implemented thus far, I am still considered against the President just because I am in disagreement with a single policy. I was supportive of the administration’s efforts to implement tougher regulations that would have reduced the amount of federal financial aid flowing to for-profit colleges that prey on mainly low income African Americans. However, I eventually became disappointed when his administration caved to the industry’s lobbyists and their campaign against the Obama administration. I was able to applaud the first bill he signed into law on approving legislation that expands workers' rights to sue over discrimination and the fact that so far he is setting records for the number of women and minorities nominated to lifetime appointments at the level of the Federal Courts. Nearly half of the 73 candidates he has tapped for the bench have been women. In all, 25% have been African Americans, 10% Hispanics and 11% Asian Americans. He is the first president who hasn't selected a majority of white males for lifetime judgeships, far exceeding the percentages in the two-term administrations of Bill Clinton (48.1 percent) and George W. Bush (32.9 percent).

I was also supportive of President Obama’s $1.15 billion measure to fund a settlement for African American farmers reached more than a decade ago via the 1997 Pigford v. Glickman case against the U.S. Agriculture Department over claims of discrimination. This made it possible for approximately 70,000 African American farmers to receive cash payments and debt relief from the federal government. However when I question the decision to pander to #ocupywallstreet protesters and the same night attend an upper East Side DNC $35,800 a plate fundraiser resulting in $2.4 million added to his rer-election campaign from Wall Street financiers and call it hypocrisy, my position was vilified. When I spoke out against the President’s policy decision to ask Congress to make it easier for private debt collectors to call the cellphones of consumers delinquent on student loans and other debt owed the federal government using robo calls I was condemned.

If I speak out and say I disagree with the Obama’s administration decision to waive legally mandated penalties for countries that use child soldiers and provide those countries U.S. military assistance, just like he did last year I am a hatter. The White House will issue a series of waivers for the Child Soldiers Protection Act, a 2008 law that is meant to stop the United States from giving military aid to countries that recruit soldiers under the age of 15 and use them to fight wars, for Yemen, South Sudan, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Last year, the White House didn't even tell Congress when it ended the Child Soldiers Prevention Act penalties. Their rational was suspect at best.

The truth is that I have problems with the policies and not the man. I would have had the same problems if they were implemented by a man or woman, republican or democrat of any race and ethnicity. The problem is to be an African American and voice these concerns means accepting the vilification asserted in the opening paragraphs. Unfortunately, like politicians the people who support selected candidates do not use binary decision to make responses that respond to logic gates like computers and tend to ignore transient memory for better or for worse. As in football, they will accept a holding called missed by a referee if their team scores but scorn and excoriate the same referee that misses the same call on the other team.

This is the world of the astute and adroit individual of color who examines the etiology of the political actions (especially if they pertain to President Obama). For being objectives means we can examine and understand this dystopian political frontier as the malicious state it is. It portends a dark future in which all power is concentrated in the hands of a few turning our nation into an oppressive state. The sad reality is that the voting populous and pundits in their sciolism do not have a clue that for us it is “Nec Spe, Nec Metu” - Without hope, without fear. For we know that Bacillus cannot live with antibodies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Obama Panders to Cantor’s Mob

With the recent protest across America, one single observation that can be drawn is the level of two-faced hypocrisy evident in the elected leadership residing in Washington, D.C. The only consistent factor is the irony that both President Obama and the Tea Party Republicans were elected to implement change. Unfortunately neither has produced and continue to serve the oligarchs and plutocrats that fill their campaign coffers instead of the common citizenry of this once great nation.

Obama has done every shuck and jive dance move to pass his jobs bill that he only needs to wear black face to complete his vaudvillesque act. The Republicans namely Eric Canto and John Boehner have done everything in their power to make it seem as if they are actually working for the people when they are not, seeming to always leave their white sheets hanging in the closet at home as opposed to showing their true colors.

Eric Cantor and Barack Obama are both bought and paid for by the people they claim to dislike on behalf of Obama, and protect on behalf of Cantor. From the recent discussion on Israel, it is obvious that they care and want to give more loot without any query to Israel equally than they do the American people. Just ask Benjamin Netanyahu who Eric Cantor tried to play against the President. The problem is that American voters, in particular black folk do not understand that people like Eric Cantor or Barack Obama do not represent mainstream American interests or the interest of the American citizenry in generally.

Obama talks a better game about main street and the common man but all the ambassadors he has appointed and the majority of his cabinet members all gave his campaign $500,000 or more. He as cantor, have stood by and enabled America's Wall Street and Corporate criminal elite resulting in this economic imbalance in our nation. Do not get me wrong, this includes every national politicians since Andrew Jackson since in my locution, he was the last President who genuinely understood the plight of the people albeit he was a crooked white supremacist. The sad reality is that with the assistance of the media, both the leadership of the democratic and Republican Party’s act as if their only public duty is to tell us regular folk what and how to think.

We on the ground level see what our elected leadership does not – that our social structure only is efficient and works to service the desires of a few and is inequitable for the majority. In addition it is more than obvious that this approach they foster is not sustainable forever, unless they intend to rule by brute force.

These, our elected official via policy are more concerned with the views and support of the market manipulators on Wall Street than the American people. The same Wall Street that has bought our Congress and the President for they are merely corrupted element within an otherwise legitimate system. So what he have learned from the occupy Wall Street protest is that the America police will do what these oligarchs of wealth and power desire before they serve the poor and middle class. They will arrest, beat and pepper spray regular Americans who only desire to exercise their constitutional rights to assembly and free speech although they are paid to protect and serve the innocent.

To Eric Cantor and the police departments around the USA we are mobs and in the eyes of Obama, we only deserve to be pandered to in an effort to be re-elected. Mobs as opposed to Americans protesting injustice, political corruption and corporate fascism. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, who openly states that flood, hurricane and tornado victims must pay for their own recovery by cutting social programs so his party and their supporters can continue to rape the middle class. It is clear that Eric Cantor, from his voting record and spends without repute his donations, that he represents big business, executives on Wall Street, and those who have power no differently than the democrats who go to Washington.

Cantor serves to helps companies abuse their employees by opposing unemployment benefits. He has consistently with banks that fund his campaign even voting to bail out a bank that his wife works for, and sits on the board of directors. A bank in which the minimum account balance for its wealth management division is $40 million. He has side with big oil and is one of the best fund raisers in the Republican Party. Open records indicate that he spent $7,400 of donor money on gourmet chocolates last year alone. But that is possible when you are getting money from lobbyist for Genworth Financial and AstraZeneca PLC. When asked if he would pass any elements of the Obama Jobs bill, he said yes - a provision that allows government contractors to collect all the money that is due to them rather than have 3% withheld for taxes (costing US tax payers $14 million over next ten years).

Obama is just as bad. As I wrote earlier this year, “ though Obama vowed to end “special interests” from his administration, nearly 200 of his biggest donors have landed plum government jobs and advisory posts, and/or won federal contracts worth millions of dollars for their business interests. Just for raising $50,000 to $500,000 for his campaign. In total, 184 of 556, or about one-third, of Obama bundlers or their spouses joined the administration in some role. In fact, 80 percent of those who collected more than $500,000 for Obama took key administration posts. Also, President Obama's appointment of William Daley as his chief of staff is another example. Daley was an executive at JPMorgan Chase, the investment bank that received a $12 billion bailout during the financial crisis

As I write this, forty-six states are trying to keep the poor, elderly and minorities from voting in the next election by putting up roadblocks to them getting a "valid" photo ID, all under the guise of republican leadership. Just last night, Obama, after he said he understood the protestors, attended an Upper East Side DNC fundraiser to wine and dine Wall Street big wigs that cost attendees $35,800 each. An event that raised him $2.4 million from more than 60 financiers running the top funds on Wall Street. Yes, our current President claims to be for change and the people but he gives billions to Banks and corporations like Solyndra.Wall Street has trampled the American dream and politicians on both sides of the aisle are the reason us regular folks continue to have night mares.

Monday, October 10, 2011

America’s Celebration of Disease and Genocide

It is not uncommon for people to offer praise to individuals for their historical impact. The consternation however begins when we applaud these individuals in complete absence of their entire body of work. The case can be made for example with Confederate General and the mass murdering founder of the Ku Klux Klan Nathan Bedford in several states across the south. But more prescient is the inchoate historical record of Christophoro Colombo , who we know better as Christopher Columbus.

Americans the descendent of the first illegal immigrants will give national praise to this man today for reasons I cannot ascertain, although the excuse is that he discovered America – a place where people had already occupied and had been living for centuries prior to his first voyage.

A holiday in theory is a day of celebration or honor.If this is the case, let us be clear of what there is to honor or celebrate Columbus for. Outside of making Europeans happy and proud, the only reality was that his voyage to the new world was a “harbinger of genocide” to non Europeans. We honor a ruthless slave master and a plundering megalomaniac. He schemed support from the Spanish crown in a manner that would make Wall Street Bankers seeking a bailout proud.

History informs us he discovered America in October 1492, but it was that month on the 12th in the Bahamas’ and from their sailed his three infamous ships to the coast of Cuba and Hispaniola (I always wondered why the people already there renamed their island after Spain). I called him a megalomaniac because his fellow Europeans of the time, his main interest was women, conquest and gold. In fact, among the individuals he called “Indians” in Hispaniola, he decreed that they must offer tributes of Gold to him or suffer death. His options were either convert and accept Christianity or be exploited or enslaved. Ironically he did not convert as many to Christianity for it reduced the number of folks he could make slaves.

Way I see it, giving Columbus a holiday means you should give one to the man who enslaved, killed and stripped inhabitants of their flesh in Mexico and feed them to the dogs – Bartolome de Las Casas a holiday too. The celebration of this man is merely a celebration of greed and the near total annihilation of the indigenous people of the places he landed. Thus this Columbus day as all of the ones before and in the future is just another way for America to honor and celebrate disease and genocide in what they termed the new world.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Non-Performing Papers

The present global economic crisis is the result of black market economics. By black market, I mean the same economic practices that allow the criminal underworld to function. A world in which few if any records exist regarding their profits – a shadow economy.

The new business of America and much of Europe operates without standards or oversight and the known value of most paper assets or financial instruments. Such to the extent that they cannot even be used to guarantee credit, a consistent observation in plain view in the US market and those in Europe. If one was to ask what were these papers and why they cannot be given accurate value, I could not answer because there are so many and no regulation for them that the only proof that they exist is reduced to growing unemployment, homelessness and protestors in the streets worldwide. I can say this because it has been “estimated” there combined value to be between $600 and $700 trillion – ten times the GDP of the entire world.

We see their weight on all markets. Take America for example, it is difficult not to see the impact of derivatives, mortgage backed securities, interest rate swaps or credit default swaps on the destruction of our economy. Both nongovernmental credit and private lending has dropped and contracted more than 20 percent since 2007. Namely because regulations that once existed that may have prevented this crisis have been reduced to nonexistent. Used be a time when people knew who own a mortgage for a house. Now such is impossible because the paper trail does not exist since most have been pooled and packaged into liquid Mortgage backed securities that allowed for them to get around the usual means to record the owners of said mortgages. Now most are hidden in a “shell company (MERS)” instead of banks or companies that have an actual interest in reclaiming the mortgage debt. This means that the value of even the bonds backed by mortgage backed securities will always be questionable and housing prices will continue to fall.

The same is true with default swaps. In an effort to avoid the tedious processes involved in recording and tracking the value of paper products and the foolish leveraging practices that created MBS’s, credit default swaps were invented. These “made out of thin air” papers were created so that lenders could insure the risk of papers with no know value and sell them to others. Now it is impossible for anyone to know who bears the risk for these instruments they are supposed to guarantee. This overlapping of paper means that no one can even accurately say what is owed or what their value are.

I intentionally did not include “off-balance sheet accounting “because it would show how our current fiscal crisis is truly the consequence of criminal activity, although our President says there are now laws to suggest that criminal activity was conducted by large Wall Street banks. I would disagree.

It is criminal because their actions has resulted in the number of Americans on food stamps increasing 74 percent since 2007 and 77 percent of US citizens now living from pay check to paycheck to date. Yet no such increases have proffered by bankers and corporate big wigs and their precious hedge funds created around these complex papers although most are none performing – not worth their stated value.

It is criminal when we question the rationale for the intense dislike for Wall Street when the President and Congress, who are recipients of large donation from this group and their K street lobbyist, are connected at the hip. We are a nation where the ratio of household debt to personal income is 154 percent. Yet the average CEO made 343 times more money than the average American did last year.

Yes it is criminal and unfortunately the President, Congress and Senate are criminal as well if they cannot see or understand such. But what can one expect when the percentage of millionaires in congress is more than 50 times those in the general public? Yes our crisis is the result of lawmakers who made money from rules that created these non-performing papers. Papers that obviously perform for politicians, CEOs and Wall Street bankers, but not for us.