Monday, June 29, 2015

WHAT "Post Racial" Society?

The euphoria many of us enjoyed at the election Barack
Obama in 2008 (--and the happy tears!) never destroyed
racism here or anywhere...have we progressed from bad
old days? Yes, because lynching is a hate crime now, and
many other atrocious anti-Black crimes formerly allowed/
ignored are taken seriously in all ethnic communities and
are legally prosecuted.

This past year, though, has been an alarming retrenchment
highly reminiscent of those bad old days: several churches
being set on fire, white cop killings of young unarmed
African American males, the mass murder of Black
church goers in South Carolina by a violently deranged
white youth, and other, if less traumatic incidents too
numerous to list here--What a tragic disgrace!

I have often attended services as one of only two
"white" persons at an AME denomination church.
The kindness and welcoming there can't be beat.
The musical energy and joy the regulars and the
choir exhibit are without  parallel--the musicians
are terrific, inspiring as well. Only one motivated
by the Prince of Darkness would intrude upon
such a setting.

I'm asking America:  WHAT "post racial" Society?
Where is it to be found? It exists in no nation, not
ours, or others, I'm certain. The dark, tribal-primitive
survivalist emotions of the human "family" going back
six million years is still very much part of our psyche.

But in those six million years of evolution, we HAVE
developed our pre-frontal cortex (that highest center
right behind one's forehead), the brain's capacity for
rational thought, studying the arts and sciences, will
power, controlling/modifying our behavior, etc.  By
actively focusing from this most important of all our
bodies' systems, we are better humans, less prone
to evil or thoughtless hurtful harm against others.

Meanwhile, in my alter ego as the Safety Monitor,
I strongly suggest Black churches install metal
detectors in their entrances and exits. Doesn't God
help those who help themselves?



The Month That Was: June 2015, Ugly and Beautiful

What a month this has been! We had horrors of
violent, murderous racism (-the ugly) and decisions
by the Supreme Court to be proud of, passing
Marriage Equality, and re-confirming the ACA  as
federal health insurance law (-the beautiful). It will
be hard to forget June, 2015.  The contrasts are the
yin and yang of our society.

The last week of June will bring more momentous
rulings by SCOTUS, so stay tuned.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Nine Mudered While in Church: Blasting Back to a Bad Past--Again

If any reader rejected my frequent, earlier contentions, namely,
that we've been entering into a new Dark Age, seeing evil events
many of us had hoped were safely cast onto the dustbin of
history--you were resoundingly proven wrong yesterday:

Remember the four little girls killed in a southern state's church
years ago? A hauntingly similar scenario occurred Wednesday,
June 17th, when a young white lunatic entered a church in South
Carolina, fired his gun, killing nine people. (It's as if he read
American History and decided to recreate the horror, going
one better.) There is a clear photo of him, as yet unidentified.

When I add all the retrenchment from humane and sane
policies enacted in the twentieth century together, the
appalling, terrifying conclusion is inescapable--we have,
bit by bit, returned to bad old days. But this disastrous trend
is in its infancy, so we still have time to unite, gird ourselves
for the fight. --So let's fight! Let's organize, not as Occupy
did by having a giant, messy party, without any sustained,
legislative follow-through; instead, let's get serious.

Isn't it high time?

******************************************

UPDATE:  Per CBS Radio, 21 year old Dylan Roof, the
alleged perpetrator has been caught, found in North Carolina
by Debbie Dills, a woman driving near him who took down
his license plate number, then called 911. Our nation owes her
our admiration and gratitude for her quick thinking, her
public-spirited actions.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Why Is the World Crazier Than Ever? Lead with Lead for an Answer

While visiting the University of Chicago recently
with my alum daughter, I picked up a free
publication put out six times a year by the U of C.
The University of Chicago Magazine is a serious,
scientific and cultural institution for, by and about
students and alums of this great school boasting
more Nobel Laureates than many entire nations.

The May/June 2015 issue of  the magazine includes
a must-read article entitled "Immeasurable" in their
regular Legacy column. U of C alum geochemist
Claire C. Patterson was instrumental in waging war
against lead pollution. Without his research and
concomitant fearless grit, cars would still spew
out this tragically dangerous neurotoxin into our air.

Lead pollution is still, sadly, being produced by
utilities, factories, mines and smelters.  As Newton
Second Law theorist chemist Henry Bent has pointed
out, there is no "away". Whatever we have created
on this planet remains here, even if in a different form
...So what are the results of exposure to lead, whether
through the respiratory ingestion pathway or through
the G.I. tract?

(1) Because lead is toxic to every organ system in the
human body, particularly childrens', extra exposure is
to be avoided at all costs. The brain's prefrontal cortex
and the brain as a whole are primarily vulnerable. The
damage includes deficits to learning, judgement and
behavior.

(2) Now for my supposition:  All this lead accumulating
in our brains (-along with all the other assorted poisons we
routinely ingest) MAY WELL account for all the increase
in insanity/violence we observe on the news and in person.
How can anyone escape this horrifying conclusion?

Our ourselves and our world: more poisoned than ever,
crazier than ever.

P.S.: my sources: The University of Chicago Magazine,
May/June 2015; the National Institutes of Health,
Neurotoxic Effects and Biomarkers of Lead Exposure,
January 2009; The EPA, "Learn about Lead".


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Presidential Candidate Sen. Ted Cruz and The Way Back Wing of the Texas Polity

The Way Back Wing of the Texas Polity is ignorant and
strident, yet politically vigorous enough to get  Senator
Ted Cruz to DC with his hideously inappropriate desire for
higher office. It is shocking indeed to do some checking
and find he has actually argued cases before the Supreme
Court. (-!) He, however, has not studied the United States
Constitution itself, or the Federalist Papers, or a very telling
essay by Founding Father and chief constitution author,
Former President James Madison; had "TC" (Cruz) done
so, he would not have bothered to try to renounce his
Canadian citizenship (where he was "natural  born")
in favor of his American citizenship.

If Cruz WAS up on his American History, most
significantly, between 1783 and 1787, he would
know dual citizenship is no bar to a U.S. presidency
(unless the second country is declared an enemy state
by our State Department). A "natural born" citizen of the
U.S. who has additionally acquired a French citizenship is,
under certain circumstances, allowed to hold the office of
U.S. president, for example. The constitution doesn't
stipulate any consideration as to where either parent was
born, ONLY the person who dreams of attaining
that highest of our offices. (--WAIT--he IS qualified to
lead Canada as Prime Minister...go bother THEM, TED!)

But this dopey denizen of Texas, who represents
the way back wing of the Texas polity doesn't
care, or doesn't care to know, what the highest
law of our land in fact does stipulate, bar or
require. Since I do, I think I'd be a better attorney
than Ted, who well may have memorized many
case precedents with only the shallowest of
understandings...

No matter what acts or judicial decisions have been
rendered since 1787, the federal constitution can
only be amended in two ways:

(a) by another runaway, open constitutional
convention, just like the one that established our
nation, or;
(b) by individually passed amendments, the only
way we have acquired any changes to our founding
document since 1787. The Naturalization Act of
1940  can confer citizenship upon an aspirant,
just not the "natural born citizen" category.
(My parents both legally qualified to become
citizens under that 1940 act, but they were
never eligible to become president--whereas
I am constitutionally allowed, born in NYC,
NY, USA.)

There will be more errors revealed about
The Way Back Wing of the Texas Polity,
right here, soon....

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bernie Sanders, China, Isis, et al.: This World Isn't Working Well

I'm chagrined at Bernie Sanders' lack of realpolitik:  he has
proven he is too old to hold high office by declaring himself
a democratic socialist. That philosophy won't fly here in 2015.
The United States in the 1930s did seriously entertain a swing
toward Socialism, as the unions were forming and gaining
political strength, set during the Great Depression largely
created by the irresponsible rich. But by the 1950s, post war
prosperity and the G.I. Bill dialed down super left fervor,
which only briefly reemerged in the 1960s, a very humane
and progressive era which finally, formally recognized
African Americans as full citizens.

Sen. Sanders has his humane dreams, and bully for them,
but he simply should have shut up about his self identified
democratic socialism. The U.S. is a mixed economy, having
some "socialistic" features such as libraries, schools, police,
fire departments, etc. It is also the home of arrant capitalism,
where rules of law and decency are broken every day. The
good senator should have merely pushed  his progressive
agenda, NOT labeling himself with a radical left term,
ruining any chance he might have had to become president.
He is, sadly, too old; attempting to resurrect the 1930s
proves the point.

China, in increasing its military goals and  driving her
hegemony over increasingly large areas is cruisin' for
a bruisin'--the U.S. is flexing its South China Sea
muscles even as I write, via the TPP and some "much-
needed military exercises".  Our nation doesn't realize
we no longer run the planet, which creates foolish,
dangerous, deadly and  costly foreign adventures.
China, though, thinks she has a shot at  world
domination, will pursue it, spurred by her
overpopulation problems...stay tuned.

Isis, a la Sen. Sanders, is conducting a blast to
the past--the far past, where caliphates ruled
vast swathes of the Middle East. Murder is the
fast track to ultimate rule, and Isis is making
some impressive headway there. Again,
stay tuned.

I feel keenly for the young, the other animals,
the plants. Even beyond natural disasters,
humanity is the chief planet killer. The dark
side of our natures predicted such sad doings,
occurring currently and previously. But as
Professor G. Tyler Miller in California explained
in the 1970s, Earth has reached a tipping point
(also agreed to by demographer Paul Erhlich)
which won't be easy to back away from without
a massive, concerted effort, which I don't see
on the horizon or at the end of any tunnel.

This world isn't working well: where is the
help and grit we need?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Big, Bad Banks' Billions Breaking News Stories--Again

PBS, May 20, 2015: The usual suspects have now been fined
more heavily than previously, billions of dollars this time, for
manipulating international currency markets, according to
a young reporter for Bloomberg this evening. She also
reminded us that, as impressive as the amounts are, this
spate of fines will ostensibly not impact these mega banks'
bottom lines; indeed, execs at these institutions have known
the ax was about to drop and have had funds allocated and
accumulating for several years to pay said fines...whew!
No one has been arrested yet, which is par for the course,
although a FEW wretched Wall Street miscreants have been
jailed in the past.

The current financial scandal, serious and sinister as it is,
isn't new. The rigged trading involving five of the world's
biggest banks occurred from 2007 to 2013. Corporate
units of Citicorp, JP Morgan Chase, Barclays, the Royal
Bank of Scotland, and indefatigable UBS have been cited
by the DOJ, the FED and other U.S. and European
authorities, hence the hefty fines, which won't, sadly,
badly hinder these behemoths by much.  As Simon
Johnson at MIT has so memorably said in his books
and all around the media venues, breaking up the
behemoths is the only real way to reel in most of the
detrimental behavior...or resurrect  regulatory walls
between investment, commercial, savings and checking
accounts, a la Glass-Steagall. (Dodd-Frank, a mildly
corrective palliative, passed only after most of its
important enforcement provisions were gutted.)

Just thinking about it takes my breath away--free
trade, anyone? What say you, Laissez Faire devotees
out there? For SIX YEARS the foreign exchange rates
(via the foreign exchange spot markets) between U.S.
and European currencies weren't real reflections of
the ebb and flow of that sainted monolith, the market.

I'll direct my special institutional ire at two of these
big boys, Chase and UBS, both of which are run by
two Americans: Chase's NYC giant Jamie Dimon
who also serves on the NY FED (hello SEC, do your
damn job, stop that) and UBS in Switzerland's Phil
Gramm, former Texas Senator and architect of
Glass-Steagall's demise. Both of these men should,
in my estimation, be in prison, as they contributed
materially to the Great Recession of 2007.

"As long as I got mine, don't care much for anybody else"
is the Wall Street Titans' credo, as well as their acolytes'.
Is such a sentiment worthy of the City on a Hill (per
Reagan, St. Augustine, St. Matthew)? It would seem
not. The United States is really little better than the
usual run of nations, although some of our PR is
inspiring, particularly evoked by our Founders.

To actually deserve such vaunted visions,
the U.S. could:

(1) Fix the SEC
(2) Fix the big banks but GOOD
(3) Stop hiding massive off-budget expenditures

Those three items realized equate to a tsunami-swept
revolution in the financial world, but everything the big
banks' boys do affects every one of us, even isolated
indigenous tribes worldwide...so let's revolt to a new,
more honest day, shall we?

Meanwhile, the banks' nine billion in fines appears mere
slaps on their collective wrists. Today's breaking news
DOES, however, have the value of raising resolve and
creating more questions...

I'm all for that.