Monday, August 31, 2015

Remembering Hurricane Katrina

From The Ramparts
                                                Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                          Remembering Hurricane Katrina

            "Katrina was the most destructive storm to strike the United States and the costliest storm in U.S. history, causing $108 billion in damage, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA). It ranks sixth overall in strength of recorded Atlantic hurricanes. It was also a very large storm; at its peak, maximum winds stretched 25 to 30 nautical miles (46 to 55 kilometers) and its extremely wide swath of hurricane force winds extended at least 75 nautical miles (138 km) to the east from the center." Hurricane Katrina: Facts Damage and Aftermath Kim Ann Zimmerman

            August 29, 2015 marked the tenth anniversary of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to the city of New Orleans and the whole Gulf Coast region. Hurricane Katrina caused thousands of deaths, destruction in the hundreds of billions of dollars and disrupted life in a way that forced the nation to look at its priorities, its long history of racism and defined the ineptitude and callousness of the government.
            Katrina started out as a tropical storm but once it moved over the warm waters it picked up energy and intensity eventually developing into a category five storm. The storm was monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the various weather services and the military. So for the Bu$h administration, the Louisiana
state officials and local municipalities to say they had no idea the storm was going to reach such ferocity is disingenuous at least and even criminal at best. Once the storm went inland over Florida it was categorized as a mild category one hurricane but as it traveled  West into the Gulf of Mexico it gained more and more intensity  and developed into a category five storm.                           
            The government's response to Katrina was pathetic. The levy system in New Orleans was destined to withstand a category three storm at most, Katrina when it hit New Orleans was a category five storm. The storm surge was over twenty feet high with winds of 115-130 miles per hour! New Orleans and the whole Gulf Coast were totally caught off guard for a storm of such a magnitude. But what the nation initially saw was New Orleans being battered by the storm's rains and high winds. In the ensuing days the raw reality of the racial, the socio-economic and political dynamics of the city were exposed for the world to see.
            The corporate mind control apparatus originally showed the storm and flooding. Later they focused on the people who did not nor could not get out they showed mostly poor black and desperate people clamoring for help trying to survive the best they could in horrific conditions.  Within days, the media focused on unfounded reports of massive looting in New Orleans, mostly by blacks, but when they showed whites breaking in and looting they were depicted as trying to survive not as criminals. The media reports of rampant looting were exaggerated and contributed to a siege mentality that opened the door for police and government abuse.
            Despite its image as a cosmopolitan, progressive city, racism is deeply rooted in the city of New Orleans.  At the time of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was populated by a large segment of poor blacks whose prospects for employment were bleak; who in many cases were living off of government largess and welfare. The media did not look favorably on these people after the initial shock of the storm. The media depicted them as refugees and questioned their intelligence for remaining in the city during a catastrophe when the fact of the matter is, government on all levels failed the whole region!      "Hurricane Katrina, its 115-130 mph winds, and the accompanying storm surge it created as high as 27 feet along a stretch of the Northern Gulf Coast from Mobile, Alabama, to New Orleans, impacted nearly 93,000 square miles of our Nation—roughly an area the size of Great Britain. The disaster was not isolated to one town or city, or even one State. Individual local and State plans, as well as relatively new plans created by the Federal government since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, failed to adequately account for widespread or simultaneous catastrophes. We were confronted by the pictures of destroyed towns and cities, each with their own needs. Smaller cities like Waveland, Mississippi, were completely devastated by Hurricane Katrina and required smaller scale yet immediate search and rescue efforts as well as large volumes of life saving and sustaining commodities. New Orleans, the largest affected city—which dominated much of what Americans saw on their televisions—suffered first from the initial impact of Katrina and then from the subsequent flood caused by breaches in its 350 mile levee system. Over an estimated eighteen-hour period, approximately 80 percent of the city flooded with six to twenty feet of water, necessitating one of the largest search and rescue operations in our Nation’s history." The Federal Response To Hurricane Katrina Lessons Learned February 2006
            President Bu$h dilly-dallied even though he was forewarned and kept abreast of the storm's development and progress, he lied and said he had no idea the storm posed such a dire threat.  Members of his cabinet went shopping and spoke nonchalantly about the storm while thousands suffered during and immediately following the storm.  This attitude and inaction set the tone and tenor for much of what happened or failed to happen in the wake of the hurricane. President Bu$h was later forced to apologize as the world looked on in shock at the way the US government treated its citizens.
             The government's response on all levels was so feeble and even hostile  Kanye West an entertainer said during a nationally televised awards program. "George Bush don't care about Black people." Many took West to task for saying it but the record shows the state and federal governments' inaction gave credence to what West said.
            "The last National Hurricane Center Hurricane Katrina forecast on Friday, August 26, as the storm intensified in the Gulf of Mexico, gave Federal, State, local, and private sector officials, in hindsight, approximately fifty-six hours advance notice that the hurricane would make landfall near the City of New Orleans.  Preparations took on a greater urgency on Friday, August 26, due to Hurricane Katrina’s continuing intensification and west-southwest track from Florida into the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour declared states of emergency for their respective States.37 Gulf Coast States and localities expanded their EOC staffing and operations schedules in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina.38 The Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi State EOCs soon were activated to their highest levels. 39 State agencies began putting their response plans into action." The Federal Response To Hurricane Katrina Lessons Learned February 2006 
            Eighty percent of the city was under water, municipal government was crippled, its social services were totally overwhelmed and most agencies and offices including the police were not functioning.  Mayor Nagin showed his frustration and helplessness in the national media. On the ground things did not go well. Professional mercenaries were hired by residents and the US government alike to "secure" the city.  The media created a disinformation campaign the made it easy to demonize the residents trapped in the city and create a climate of martial law and racial vigilantes. " But there's an even harsher truth, one some New Orleans residents learned in the very first days but which is only beginning to become clear to the rest of us: What took place in this devastated American city was no less than a war, in which victims whose only crimes were poverty and blackness were treated as enemies of the state. It started immediately after the storm and flood hit, when civilian aid was scarce—but private security forces already had boots on the ground. Some, like Blackwater (which has since redubbed itself Xe), were under federal contract, while a host of others answered to wealthy residents and businessmen who had departed well before Katrina and needed help protecting their property from the suffering masses left behind. According Jeremy Scahill's reporting in The Nation, Blackwater set up an HQ in downtown New Orleans. Armed as they would be in Iraq, with automatic rifles, guns strapped to legs, and pockets overflowing with ammo, Blackwater contractors drove around in SUVs and unmarked cars with no license plates."  The Secret History of Hurricane Katrina James Ridgeway
            Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco set a confrontational rather than a conciliatory tone towards the residents of New Orleans when she called out the National Guard, "These troops are fresh back from Iraq, well trained, experienced, battle tested, and under my orders to restore order in the streets.  They have M-16s and they are locked and loaded.  These troops know how to shoot and skill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will."
            When the National Guard finally arrived the troops approached their mission as one of a military occupation rather than one of search, rescue, evacuation and aid. They viewed and treated the people and situation as a hostile environment. It wasn't until General Russell Honoree an African-American and native of Louisiana took command of the troops that the mission became an effective humanitarian effort.
            In its aftermath many are saying the ruling elites used Hurricane Katrina as convenient tool for ethnic cleansing to rid the city and area of thousands of poor African-Americans. Census figures confirm these assertions. "In the 2000 census New Orleans population constituted of 67.3% black and 28.1 % white. However, in the four months following Hurricane Katrina; 'The New Orleans metro area’s population was 37% black between January and August 2005 and fell to 22% between September and December 2005. The percentage of white residents grew from 60% to 73%. Households earning between $10,000 and $14,999 annually dropped from 8.3% to 6.5%; while those with a yearly income of between $75,000 and $99,999 rose from 10.5% to 11.4%', according to statistics released by the Census Bureau in June 2006. The disaster of Hurricane Katrina is used effectively to artificially change the demography of New Orleans. The Population of New Orleans metropolitan area has become substantially whiter, older and less poor — not because people suddenly got richer, but because the poor are being shut off the city — and it shrank to less than half its size, according to the Census Bureau. 'New Orleans is not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again', said Alphonso Jackson, and is moving fast in that direction. It is suggested that only the whites and affluent are encouraged to make New Orleans their home at the expense of African-Americans and their cultural heritage."  Ethnic Cleansing In New Orleans Ghali Hassan
            As we look back ten years after Hurricane Katrina let us not forget there are racists and psychopaths in high places who have the power to actualize their goals and objectives to place profits over people who do not have the best interests of African-Americans at heart in New Orleans or anywhere else.



Monday, August 24, 2015

Operation Fruhmenschen

                                        From The Ramparts
                                      Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                     Operation Fruhmenschen

            "The Washington Post reported that black elected officials were the target of investigations for corruption in 14 percent of the 465 political corruption cases launched between 1983 and 1988—a period in which blacks were just 3 percent of all office holders. Gentleman’s Quarterly (GQ) magazine noted that about half of the Congressional Black Caucus members were the subject of investigations or indictments between 1981 and 1993. States GQ, 'For the numbers to be equal for white representatives, 204 of the 409 whites … would have been subjected to the same scrutiny during that time … Yet, according to justice Department figures, only 15 actually were.'" Black Elected Officials Targeted By Law
            It seems like every time you turn around some Black politician is being indicted on corruption charges, for taking bribes, or some other form of unethical behavior.  It is sad to watch Black people who run for office, who manage to get elected destroy their reputations and ruin their lives for essentially peanuts. Some you wonder about, some you ask yourself could they be that sleazy, desperate or simple minded to sell their souls, ruin their reputations and careers for next to nothing?
            Others you think to yourself yeah from what I've seen, heard or know about them this seems probable, yeah they did it. Locally and nationally Black politicians are being arrested, indicted and in many cases convicted at an alarming rate in disproportionate numbers to their percentage in the political environment. Is this a coincidence?
             Is it the politicians? Are there inherent flaws in the job of being a politician, are politicians subject to temptations regular folks aren't?  Is it the system? Is selective prosecuting going on? Or are there nefarious plots and schemes afoot to take down Black politicians?
            Several years ago I came across some information that suggests there is a definite mentality and program within the US Department of Justice that has been going on for decades to bring down Black politicians. It is called Operation Fruhmenschen. According to some it has been going on since the 1950's.
            Unlike COINTELPRO the FBI's counterinsurgency campaign against dissent and radical social activism which is more widely known, there is not a lot of information about the inner workings of Operation Fruhmenscen. Nevertheless the figures do support the notion selective prosecution is going on and Black officials are the targets of disproportionate Department of Justice and US Attorney scrutiny and indictment.
            What is known is that the US Department of Justice agents and US attorneys who participated/participate in Operation Fruhmenscen are racists and they do what they do because in their twisted minds they believe African-American are not morally fit to govern white people and they want to return to the days when Black political participation was prohibited by law.  Operation Fruhmenscen first became public when a long time California Black politician Mervyn Dymally who had been Lt Governor of California and a US Congressman discovered he was the target of Operation Fruhmenscen himself.
            Dymally was an activist public servant from Los Angeles who lent his name and political saavy to numerous causes and personalities often running counter to the powers that be on both sides of the aisle. When Dymally was chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in the 1980's-90's he was investigated by the FBI, and IRS who reviewed his tax returns all the way back to 1947! Their audits found no impropriety but the government owed him eighty-nine cents. "Dymally's progressive stance earned him the antagonism of many of his colleagues across the conservative political spectrum. He became a principal target of the FBI's 'Operation Fruehmenschen' (German for 'primitive man'), a program designed to discredit Black elected officials on the grounds they were mentally and socially inappropriate to head governmental agencies. This witch hunt included scrutiny by the Justice Department and the IRS, which audited his tax returns back to 1947, finding only that the government owed him a grand total of 89 cents. Even so, he worked tirelessly behind the scenes to neutralize the volatile relations between Blacks and local, state, and federal entities as well as law enforcement. Others who toiled to prevent bloodshed were LAPD officers Duwayne Rice, Edward Henry, and former chief and present councilman Bernard Parks. Their efforts are a part of a forgotten segment of Los Angeles history that has yet to be told."
            Mervyn Dymally wasn't the only one to allege government harassment. Calls from activists and politicians around the country demanding a formal investigation prompted Detroit Congressman John Conyers to initiate an investigation into national government harassment. But Conyers was thwarted by US Attorney General Dick Thornburgh who refused to supply statistics on the racial breakdown of  DOJ political prosecutions. Hence Conyers was unable to get the critical information he needed to hold proper hearings.
            Nevertheless there was validity to the allegations.  In 1989 Gwen Ifill (currently a PBS news anchor) wrote an article for the Washington Post documenting that in over 465 public corruption cases over a five year period charges of official corruption in offices higher than the local school board found "black elect officials were in fact being prosecuted far more heavily than their representation in the population of elected officials". Based upon Ifill's research, "Black officials were five times more likely than their white counterparts to be investigated by the DOJ." Rumor Repression and Racial Politics How The Harassment of Black Elected Officials Shaped Post Civil Rights America by George Derek Musgrove 2012 University of Georgia Press
            In his book Rumor Repression and Racial Politics How The Harassment of Black Elected Officials Shaped Post Civil Rights America  Dr George Derek Musgrove examined disproportionate harassment and prosecution as a means to counter Black enfranchisement in the post 1965 Voting Rights Act era. He documents an alarming pattern of harassment, surveillance and  prosecution used by local, state and federal authorities to go after Black elected officials. Much of it took place in the 1980's and 90's. I suspect little has changed since then, that the mindset, consciousness and motivations behind disproportionate prosecution still exist today. Remember how FBI surveillance devices were found in City Hall in Mayor Street's office?
             Am I suggesting all the recent arrests of local Black politicians are bogus, that they are all victims of Operation Fruhmenscen? Of course not. Many actually deserved to be indicted and convicted. But the pattern of Operation Fruhmenscen is real and ongoing. There are certain elements all the Frumenchen cases have in common: unwarranted scrutiny, lack of probable cause, "stings", government agent entrapment or setups and quite often prosecutorial misconduct very similar to what the government did to activists and radicals during the aggressive COINTELPRO days.  
            During the 80's and 90's many Black politicians claimed government harassment and selective prosecution; people like Marion Barry Mayor of Washington D.C.,  Harold Ford Sr a US Congressman representing Memphis Tennessee and Richard Arrington the Mayor of Birmingham Alabama felt their indictments were unwarranted. Documents show that in fact they were targets of government scrutiny and the government stooped to any means to discredit them and nail them. Remember how the FBI forced a prostitute to set Marion Barry up while the FBI recorded and taped what they were doing?
            The FBI threatened to arrest her and take the woman's child if she didn't cooperate with them and set Barry up. Should Barry have gone to the hotel with her and smoked crack cocaine? Of course not but the government spies on you to discover your weaknesses and they play on people's foibles and shortcomings. We all have them. (Even FBI Director J Edgar Hoover the supposed champion of morality, virtue and true blue American values was found to be a cross dressing homosexual himself!)
            In all probability Operation Fruhmenschen just like COINTELPRO is still going on. Only today COINTELPRO is legal thanks to the 9-11 false flag operation and the bogus war on terror. But does this mean we should give elected officials who get caught with their hand in the cookie jar a pass? Of course not! It means all of us should be aware just how rotten, low down and despicable the government can be. We should realize the whole system is corrupt and it has the potential to corrupt even the most idealistic and honest people. It means we have to hold ourselves to higher ethical and moral standards, be above reproach so that when they try to set us up to knock us off we don't fall for their okey-doke.


Monday, July 06, 2015

Heeding Cheyney's Call

From The Ramparts
                                                  Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                                Heeding Cheyney’s Call

            On Wednesday July 15th at 6:30 PM at Zion Baptist Church Broad and Venango Streets in Philadelphia there will be a mass meeting to update and discuss the ongoing struggle to save and resurrect historic Cheyney University. The meeting is being called by Heeding Cheyney’s Call a broad based coalition of alumni, students, current and retired faculty and HBCU advocates who have sued the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the US Department of Education to remedy decades of deliberate underfunding, willful neglect and discriminatory policies that have adversely impacted the historic institution.  During the meeting the Heeding Cheyney’s Call Steering Committee will provide an update on the status of the lawsuit, where the university stands fiscally and operationally and the plans to save and enhance the university.
            Dr. E. Sonny Harris a retired mathematics professor and former president of the retired faculty union spearheaded the Heeding Cheyney’s Call initiative with Michael Coard, a well known activist attorney, and several officers of the Cheyney University National Alumni Association. The group took the name Heeding Cheyney’s Call because a line in the school’s Alma Mater reads, “When Thou Callest Alma Mater, never shall thou call in vain.” 
As alumni we knew we had to answer the call in Cheyney’s hour of need!  The group formed a steering committee and subsequently met with US Department of Education representatives, local, state and federal elected officials and education advocates in the early Spring of 2013. Everyone the steering committee met with stated emphatically there was no political will on the part of the Corbett administration to do the right thing.
 The July 15th meeting is to dispel false rumors about Cheyney’s pending demise, its closing and/or merger with West Chester University. Twenty-seven months ago Professor Harris called select alumni together to discuss the situation at Cheyney and formulate a plan to save and reenergize the university. He felt compelled to act because enrollment was dwindling precipitously, the fiscal situation was deteriorating and the    university leadership lacked the vision and skills to turn the situation around. It was apparent there was no desire by the Corbett administration to do the right thing short of outside legal intervention.
Corbett’s agenda called for the slashing of funds for education across the board, primary, secondary and higher education such as community colleges, the fourteen state owned universities and four state related institutions: Penn State, Temple, Pitt and Lincoln University.  Only last ditch efforts by Democrats prevented Corbett’s disastrous cuts from going into effect. Nevertheless, all public education took a major hit. “Governor Tom Corbett, newly sworn into office, proposed the most drastic cuts to a state’s public education system in the country. Basic education programs saw a 15% cut, a loss of $1.18 billion… Corbett proposed to cut PASSHE funding for its 14 sister institutions by 53.8% in his 2011-2012 budget. That would have amounted to a total of $625 million. These cuts would have also affected the four state-related universities (Temple, Pitt, Lincoln and Penn State). The General Assembly could have taken a stand against such draconian cuts. Instead they reduced the governor’s budget cut proposal to 20%, which amounted to a loss of $90 million in funding to the system and to the four state- related schools.” In Defense of Public Education In The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
For Cheyney, Corbett’s funding cuts were even more devastating due to the Commonwealth’s bi-partisan history of underfunding the institution and its Draconian performance funding criteria which negatively impacted Cheyney and the other smaller PASHEE schools. While chronic underfunding has been bi-partisan, Corbett’s right wing agenda and his Republican cohorts’ support for it were instrumental in drastically cutting funding for public education while supporting additional appropriations for prison construction.
 “Since taking office Corbett has continued to build three new prisons, one in Benner Township and two in Montgomery County. He is also expanding nine existing prison, including SCI Cambridge Springs, SCI Forrest, SCI Houtzdale, SCI Mahanoy, SCI Rockview, SCI Greenburgh, SCI Laurel Highlands, SCI Pine Grove, and SCI Coal Township. These new and expanded prisons cost $68 million to build and add 5,000+ beds to the state prison system. Though the expansion plans were initiated by the Rendell Administraton, Governor Corbett has continued to aggressively move them forward. These plans are out of step with the national trend toward shrinking state prison systems.” Six Myths About Prison Expansion in Pennsylvania
Borrowing money for new prisons is especially egregious when according to the state’s own crime statistics, crime has been declining in Pennsylvania the past several years!   But the Republican agenda of cutting social programs, building prisons and privatizing public services moved full steam ahead under Tom Corbett.
At a press conference in October 2013 Heeding Cheyney’s Call hinted at taking action to go into Federal Court to reopen a 1999 Consent Decree between the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania if the state did not repent and live up to the agreement.  That consent decree agreement called for the continued support of the Cheyney University and its Keystone Honors Program through special line item funding, facilities and technology upgrades, renovation and new programs. The Commonwealth had reneged on the agreement and HCC was going to hold them accountable.
From January of 2014 through late summer of 2014, the HCC negotiating team and representatives from Governor Corbett’s legal staff and PASHEE met ostensibly to find common ground to remedy the situation. Heeding Cheyney’s Call was joined in the negotiations by lead attorney Joe Tucker of the Tucker Law Group the largest Black law firm on the East Coast. Joe Tucker specializes in Civil Rights and Education law. We were also joined and assisted by Dr Earl Richardson, President Emeritus of Morgan State University and Attorney Pace McConkie two founding members of the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education the group that successfully sued the state of Maryland on behalf of the four HBCUs there. The contributions of and support of Joe Tucker, Dr. Richardson and Attorney McConkie have been invaluable!
While discussions with the Commonwealth were cordial, they proved unfruitful. The Corbett administration was unbending and adamant; they said they were not going to give Cheyney any additional monies. Meanwhile conditions at the school worsened, enrollment continued to decline and as a result the deficits spiraled out of control. The president, Dr Michelle Howard-Vital, retired, but thankfully the Provost, Dr. Phyllis Dawkins served as acting president and provost until an interim president was hired.
 On October 29, 2014 Heeding Cheyney’s Call filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and The US Department of Education. The suit withstood legal challenges by both defendants and is proceeding on the Court’s docket. In the meantime Tom Corbett lost the gubernatorial election. His successor Tom Wolf a Democrat had campaigned to restore equitable education funding to both public and higher education. Wolf’s administration inherited the lawsuit. But unlike Corbett, Wolf’s people are willing to sit down and genuinely attempt to work out a solution. All parties know litigating this case will be protracted and an extremely costly affair.
It is important Cheyney alumni, the community at large and higher education advocates support Heeding Cheyney’s Call. Make plans to come out on July 15th to hear the facts about the lawsuit, why it was filed and its significance, learn the status of the negotiations and be prepared to help with the plans to revive and resurrect Cheyney University. The meeting begins at 6:30 at Zion Baptist Church Broad and Venango Streets parking is free after 6:30.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Television Values and Our Worldview

                                                   From The Ramparts
                                                  Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                      Television, Values and Our World View

“Everyday we are exposed to a particular lifestyle portrayed in movies, tv shows, billboards and commercials. We see people dressed a certain way, living life ‘to the fullest’ – in a particular way. Unfortunately, these characters are created to sell products or raise ratings. Often what is portrayed may not be aligned with reality and yet we may feel that…We long to have the kind of life they live. We wish our lives were just as exciting. We wish we had such close relationships and friends. We wish we would run into that kind of luck we see on TV. We wish we can live just as recklessly, perhaps promiscuously without consequences. We wish we could be as happy as the people we see. We wish to look the way they look, have the body shape as they do… Media has a way of creating a longing for things we don’t have, whether or not they are realistic or not. Unfortunately our lives don’t wrap up cleanly in 30 minutes. Unfortunately there is consequences to our actions. Unfortunately reckless actions lead to pain, suffering and life long regret. Unfortunately reality says our life probably will not or maybe will never pan out the way we see on TV. Unfortunately we do have limits in ability, skills, and even physical appearance. Unfortunately the way a particular product brings completely happiness and satisfaction as seen on the joyous beautiful actors having fun is not true to reality. ” Influence of Media and Advertising In Our View of Life

There are several views about the mass media, to some they are merely a means to sell products and keep the economy afloat; to others the media is an insidious promoter of crass materialism and narcissism while others believe the media is a Trojan Horse and we bring the values contained within it, a particular view of the world, modeling behavior and telling us what to think and believe into our psyches. All three views are correct; together they reveal how pervasive, influential and ubiquitous mass media has become.
For example, the Fox Television Network was cofounded in 1985 by international media tycoon Ruport Murdock and after a series of bold programming moves has ascended to both the top network and cable news rating spots. Fox scored big by putting animated series in their prime time line up, snatching Sunday NFL from CBS and creating programming for a younger more diverse demographic audience. This year Fox scored another coup with its new series Empire.  Empire shot to the top immediately and is the mega hit of the 2015 season. Many industry insiders are saying Empire has revitalized network television viewing!
Fox began promoting Empire during the latter stages of the NFL season, when the program debuted a few weeks ago it caught on instantly. When I think about it, Empire is nothing more than a variation of New York Undercover which ran on the Fox TV Network from 1994-98, but with a twist. Both shows have a Hip Hop flava but instead of just showing recording artists at the end of the show in scenes in the night club owned by one of the character’s father in New York Undercover; Empire incorporates Hip Hop, R&B and the entertainment industry into the show itself. Show business is an integral component of the show. However unlike New York Undercover which was a gritty in the Hood action police series, the characters and artists in Empire are nestled around the opulent and decadent lifestyles of the main characters played by Terrance Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Gray who are cast as music industry icons. The Empire series even had Malik Yoba who starred in New York Undercover as a prime character but he was killed off in the season finale.
While Empire debuted much later than the Showtime series Power, which is very similar in theme to Empire, Empire became an instant hit. Black people flipped out over it and praised it to the heavens on social media and it caught on in record fashion! Now everyone is talking about it even within the industry, “Another impressive aspect to Empire’s early success is its ability to reach large numbers of viewers while also over performing in certain demographic groups. Last week’s episode, for example, will end up reaching over 15 million viewers once a week’s worth of DVR data is tallied, putting it among the top ten most-watched shows on broadcast TV this season…  Women are certainly helping to drive tune-in for Empire, with ratings among female audiences about two times the size of the male viewership. But that’s actually not a huge gap, at least relative to many other hits. NBC’s Wednesday dramas (and its hit reality show The Voice) also perform about twice as well with women versus men, while ABC’s The Bachelor attracts three female viewers for every one dude. As for the ethnic makeup of Empire, the show’s majority-minority cast has paid off in a big way. Last week’s episode was by far the No. 1 English-language show on broadcast TV in homes with African-American and Hispanic heads of household — and by a huge margin. Among Hispanics, Empire out rated its nearest scripted broadcast rival (Fox’s Backstrom) by a 2-1 margin. And in addition to making it into one out of every three black homes, as noted above, among African-American women between 35 and 49, the show is literally the equivalent of a Super Bowl. Last Wednesday’s episode scored a 40.6 rating and 76 share in that group (including three days of DVR replays) — a number exceeding the rating of some NFL championship games this century.” Empire Is A Massive Hit, Here’s What It’s Success Could Mean For The TV Business, by Josef Adalian
When I first saw the promos I decided to watch Empire just to see the images and content it was going to propagate. Unfortunately it lived up to my worst apprehensions. Empire like Power promotes the theme that the recording industry specifically and Black business in general is undergirded and financed by crime.
I’m not naïve, I know organized crime was intricately involved in the music industry in the past, that organized crime controlled the juke boxes in retail stores and determined which records got into them, but both Power and Empire make it seem like the only way to make it in business is to have a criminal background and an illicit cash flow!
 I know from writing about Black businesses and entrepreneurs for twenty five years, that capitalization and lines of credit are major obstacles for most Black entrepreneurs; but most of the people I’ve interviewed over the years used sweat equity, their savings, family and friends support and in a few rare instances bank loans to start their businesses. But if you believe what you see on shows like Empire and Power, you think the only way to make it in business is to be a thug, drug dealer and a sociopath.
Before you tell me to lighten up, it’s only a TV show, and fantasy; or that some rappers did start out as street thugs or drug dealers; remember the role media plays in shaping values, perceptions and our view of reality. “People are often influenced as much by artistic, media, and pop cultural representations as they are by personal experiences. Most of what is known about the world comes from symbolic rather than experienced reality, particularly in advanced media-saturated societies like the United States. According to Ray Surette (1998), foremost researcher in the area of media and crime, what you know comes from ‘all the events you didn’t witness but believe occurred, all the facts about the world you didn’t personally collect but believe to be true, and all the things you believe to exist but haven’t personally seen’ Youth (and adult media junkies) tend to be more influenced by pop culture, are more technologically savvy, and are more likely to weave information from media sources into their worldview than older people. Children and adolescents largely rely on symbolic reality they draw from popular culture to form their cognitive scripts.” Jacqueline Helfgott Criminal Behavior Typologies and Criminal Justice, Chapter 10 The Influence of Technology, Media and Popular Culture on Criminal Behavior Coypcat Crime and Cybercrime
Empire reinforces three specific negative stereotypes: to be popular as a Black musician you have to be from the streets, inner city entrepreneurs have to be underwritten by criminality and murder and viciousness are how you make it in this world.
 Think about it, Terrance Howard’s character is a talented murderer; Taraji P. Hensen’s character “Cookie” is a street smart convicted felon who went to jail because she was a drug dealer! Plus Terrance Howard’s character denigrates all three of his sons because they are not street tough.
 Are crime and criminality a reality in the Black community? Certainly, but it is not the primary ethos of our people despite what the monopoly media says. The fact is the vast majority of us aren’t sociopaths and we don’t engage in illegal activities. But Hollywood doesn’t care about that.
The irony is the United States is a criminogenic society to its’ core; it exists because of its crimes against humanity, genocide, slavery and imperialism, and we see the criminality of the ruling class and their minions every day. Daily we are shown that US sponsored violence, war, plunder and rapine are okay, that massive Wall Street rip offs and malfeasance will go unpunished, that bribery and graft are legitimate ways to advance your career/business and the police can shoot and maim citizens with impunity.
The monopoly media promotes incivility, rudeness, personal aggression and hostility as well as greed, materialism and animus. The TV program Empire promotes these values also. The show’s co-producer, Lee Daniels, is aggressively pushing the envelope and venturing into uncharted waters for African-American program content by exploring story lines about homosexuality and mental illness. The show also makes success in the entertainment industry seem easy, like all you need is talent to make it. We all know that’s not true, innate talent must be nurtured and it takes hard work to make it and making it is not guaranteed.
 But we don’t have to be bamboozled, no one forces us to watch TV, to stream media nor does anyone hold a gun to our heads.  In the US we are given an almost unlimited choice of what to watch on TV, cable and the Internet. Just as Cassandra warned the people of Troy not to accept the Greek’s gift of the giant horse, not to take it into their city, I’m warning you not to consume too much TV.  Hopefully unlike the people of Troy you will heed my advice. If you are going to watch television and/or streaming media do not be a passive media consumer. Become a critical thinker and a skeptic about what you see, read and listen to.



Friday, March 20, 2015

Pension Insecurity

                                                        From The Ramparts   
                                                     Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                                      Pension Insecurity

“It's no secret that pension plans around the country are in trouble. The old-fashioned defined benefit plans in both the public and private sectors face funding shortages, and some radical solutions have been proposed to fix them. The trouble extends to so-called multiemployer pension plans that provide benefits -- or promise them -- to more than 10 million union members, including those of the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and the National Electrical Contractors Association. Some are running alarmingly short on money, prompting a coalition of union officials and industry executives to put aside their differences and hammer out what they hope is a potential solution that involves compromises from all involved, including existing retirees.” The Fix for Multiemployer Pension Plans Jennie L. Phipps
It’s no secret but it is not something the monopoly media talks about regularly because they don’t want workers to know what’s happening. The US pension system both the private and public sectors is in deep trouble. Current private and public pension systems are severely underfunded and face humongous shortfalls that will impact both future and current retirees. One estimate says private pension funds are underfunded to the tune of $343 Billion. “For many investors, last year's stock market gains helped make up for the heavy losses inflicted by the 2008 financial collapse. But it turned out to be a lousy year for private pension funds, which lost ground on their funding levels. After gradual progress rebuilding the funds they need to pay retirees, the average private pension fund held about 80 percent of what it needs to cover those payments, according to a report by benefits consultant Towers Watson. That's down from 89 percent at the end of 2013 and represents an overall deficit among large corporate plans of about $343 billion, nearly double the shortfall a year earlier. Much of the shortfall came from an increase in liabilities (or the amount they now expect to owe beneficiaries). Even as companies have pared back their defined-benefit plans—the ones that pay a guaranteed check for life—the cost of keeping that promise has increased. There are two big reasons: lower interest rates and longer life expectancies.” Private Pension Fund Levels Fall Behind John W. Schoen
Things are so bad for private pension funds employers and unions are coming together to resolve the crisis but their solutions do not bode well for workers and retirees. The workers many of whom are members of trade unions are going to be asked to work longer and take reduced benefits and some current retirees maybe asked to take cuts in their benefits. “The National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans, a coalition of unions and companies that employ union workers, has released its report, ‘Solutions Not Bailouts,’ which recommends taking these and other drastic steps: raise retirement ages in line with those of Social Security. Allow trustees of the most troubled pension plans to suspend some benefits and even cut benefits that current pensioners already receive. Create new types of plans, such as variable annuity plans in which the benefit would rise or fall depending on investment performance but provide a minimum ‘floor’ using conservative return assumptions. This would reduce employers' liability.” The Fix for Multiemployer Pension Plans Jennie L. Phillips
The owners/employers are pushing for changes that will allow the ones who underfunded the programs in the first place, themselves, to suspend and or cut benefits for current retirees and workers. Keep in mind the government has a type of insurance fund that was created to cover the shortfalls when private pensions go belly up. That’s the good news. The bad news is the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp (PBGC) is experiencing a cash shortfall itself! “The latest annual report from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation makes for some very uncomfortable reading. The deficit in PBGC’s multi-employer program quintupled in 2014, soaring to $42.4 billion from ‘only’ $8.3 billion in 2013. That massive deficit is problematic for millions of workers who now stand to receive mere pennies on the dollar in promised pension benefits. It’s a huge headache, too, for federal taxpayers, who could be charged with bailing out underfunded private-sector pensions that were never intended to become public liabilities.” As The Pension Agency Falters Who Gets Stuck With the Bill? Rachel Greszler
There is a vicious Class War going on in America and workers in the private and public sectors are under attack by the corporate owners. Since Ronald Reagan decertified the Air Traffic Controllers Union all unions have been under an unrelenting attack from both the Republicans and Democrats. There is a bi-partisan class war being waged by the millionaires in the US Senate and Congress on working folks. While Congress did move to infuse more cash into the PBGC by raising the premiums employers pay into it, these increases have not kept pace with the cost of living due to sub par returns on the investments and a failure to maintain the premiums in accordance with pension plan benefits and actuarial liabilities. So now Congress has to come up with another plan but don’t think they are going to give the tab to the people who bribe them with campaign donations. “The latest assault on private pensions may be coming from the U.S. Congress. Lawmakers on Wednesday were finalizing a deal to shore up the government's pension insurance fund with provisions that would raise premiums and allow troubled pension plans covering more than one employer to cut retiree benefits. As of midday Wednesday, the reform provisions, which drew loud opposition from unions and other groups representing retirees, were not included in the latest version of a massive, $1.1 trillion spending bill, according to a spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee. The measure may be voted on as an amendment in the Rules Committee, she said. Payments to backstop these so-called multiemployer pension plans have run to hundreds of millions of dollars in the last decade. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. has warned it may run out of funds unless Congress implements reforms.” Congress Eyes Move To Cut Pension Benefits  John W. Schoen
Current and future behavior can easily be predicted by looking at past behaviors.  During bankruptcies by the airlines and steel industries in the early 2000’s the owners were allowed to file bankruptcy, renege on their pension fund obligations and dump their obligations onto the PBGC which was both overwhelmed and underfunded! “Legislation enacted in July 2004 relaxed funding standards across the board and specifically allowed two distressed industries, airlines and steel, temporary additional underfunding. If this legislation represented a massive bet for the government, then the Pension Protection Act of 2006 could be seen as doubling down on this bet. The new law generally requires plans to reach full funding over a seven-year transition period, with longer periods specifically allowed for airlines. If the funding levels do not recover over time, the PBGC will be forced to take on plans that have become even more severely underfunded. With the PBGC itself already severely in the red, the prospect of allowing any employers to further underfund their plans may come back to bite the agency with a vengeance.  Recent legislation was driven by the fact that the airline and steel industries, already financially weak, were particularly hard hit in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. United Airlines terminated all its DB plans, dumping an additional 120,000 employees into the system with a projected cost to PBGC of over $5 billion. This follows the distress termination of the US Air’s pilots’ pension plan. As one airline after another dumps pension plans on the PBGC, the temptation for the remainder increases. The industry is highly competitive, lacks pricing power, and suffers from overcapacity; established airlines are being undercut by start-up ventures with lower operating costs. Cutting costs by dumping pensions may be the only way some carriers can survive. Unfortunately, the U.S. taxpayer may end up paying the bill.”
            The goal of the one percent is to fleece the rest of us and to put us on the hook for their failures. So don’t be surprised if there isn’t a push to get taxpayers to bail out the PBGC sometime in the not too distant future! About twelve years ago Kelly Patricia O’Meara an investigative report with the Washington Times informed me about his situation when I had her as a guest on my Internet radio program. At that time the PBGC was insolvent. Since then Congress pumped more money into it but as the 2014 report indicates, PBGC is again facing major problems which will negatively impact employees in the larger unions like the Teamsters.
            The public sector   doesn’t have PBGC to bail them out, usually it is the taxpayers who are forced to step in and pony up the money to shore up the severely underfunded public pensions. “State and local pension plans are currently underfunded by $4.7 trillion, up from $4.1 trillion just last year.  Worse, just 36% of what is owed is now funded — meaning taxpayers at the state level will be asked to either pony up the taxes to pay for it or cut benefits sharply. All told, State Budget Solutions notes, the liability across the U.S. is over $15,000 a person. But not all states are equal: Three big, heavily unionized, mostly Democratic states account for 30%, or $1.4 trillion, of the pension underfunding — California, Illinois and New York. Because of chronic mismanagement and the power of public sector unions in these and other states, millions of citizens face a grave financial risk they might not even know about… A big problem is underfunded pensions aren't included in state budgets right now. So they're largely invisible. But $4.7 trillion is a lot of money, and as time goes on and the underfunding remains, states will be forced increasingly to raise taxes, cut services and/or add to their debt to make good on extravagant promises made by union-supported politicians to public employees.
The magnitude of the red ink has been carefully hidden by faulty and in some cases downright dishonest accounting. Many states routinely overestimate returns on pension investments, while underestimating the payouts. The State Budget Solutions report bluntly calls this a ‘betrayal’ of both retirees and taxpayers.” States In Danger As Pension Underfunding Of $4.7 Trillion Threatens Their Fiscal Health
            Unionized workers in the US are being fleeced and the politicians are siding with the one percent. Their goal is to decimate unions and return the nation to the gilded age of the robber barons. Tax breaks for the rich and corporations, pension cuts for workers. Don’t say you weren’t warned.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

2014 Predictions

                                                        From The Ramparts
                                                       Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                                           2014 Predictions

            I don’t profess to be a fortune teller, an exotic Swami or professional prognosticator. I do know human beings are creatures of habit and if you discern people’s values, habits, patterns and/or proclivities you can reliably predict their future behavior. With that in mind, I am offering a few predictions for 2014 based upon past attitudes, values and behavioral patterns.
Looking at the West, especially the US with its history of open and clandestine invasion, genocide, neo-colonialism, neo-liberal imperialism and warmongering, we can safely say it will continue into 2014. The US will use even more drones to bomb innocent men women and children in places like Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan as they continue the totally bogus War on Terrorism.
The US will stay in Afghanistan to continue to reap record opium crops (60% of the world’s opium supply) that make the CIA, organized crime and Wall Street banksters so rich. In fact the US CIA World Factbook lists opium as Afghanistan’s leading crop. But Afghanistan is also awash in mineral resources such as: iron, uranium, cooper, cobalt, lithium, natural gas and some oil. Don’t count on the US vacating Afghanistan in 2014.
The American government in cahoots with the international bankers and multi-national corporations will put an even deeper palm print on the continent of Africa in: the Central African Republic which has abundant resources of timber, diamonds and cotton. The US will create pretexts to send more troops, drones or “aid” to Mali to ensure they keep tabs on the uranium, phosphate and gold there, Nigeria will be a focal point because the elites want to protect the Anglo-American oil interests there. Libya will be on the Western imperialists clip board as the consequent societal collapse following the 2011 US toppling of Qadhafi worsens.  Of course the kleptomaniacs also want the oil and gold there. The vampire elites are looking at South Sudan and will attempt to destabilize it further to gain full access to the oil deposits there while Israel covets the water from the Nile River. South Sudan also has gold and diamonds as well as fertile land that make it irresistible to the corporate theives. South Africa will be in the cross hairs for several important reasons: one they have linked with Brazil, Russia, India and China to form the BRICS powerful trading and economic block. The BRICS are talking about establishing a global bank that would rival the IMF, World Bank and Bank of International Settlements. That’s a no no that could lead to war. The BRICS pose a nominal threat to the Western banking cartels. Look for the Western shot callers to attempt to destabilize these countries internally. You may see or hear about riots, demonstrations and clashes with police but know the West is behind most of this! The West views South Africa as a weak link in the coalition. South Africa is also being watched because there is turmoil in the platinum mines with workers demanding higher wages. The thugs in the corporate suites won’t tolerate that. As we close out 2013, news about what’s happening in Congo and Uganda is being suppressed. Look for incidents in that region to make news early in 2014.
Expect tensions to escalate between Japan its US ally and China over disputed islands in the East China Sea. Recently China initiated an Air Defense Zone in the East China Sea and requested other nations apprise them of their military flight plans and have their military planes identify themselves when approaching the area. Japan and the US immediately indicated their refusal to comply and within hours sent planes and bombers into the area without notifying China. There were no confrontations but the next time Japan and the US did it, China scrambled jets to intercept and shadow their aircraft. China recently sent its only aircraft carrier into the region. On another occasion China sent three ships to confront a US Navy guided missile cruiser supposedly in international waters. This has the potential to escalate into full scale hostilities. A war with China that also involves Japan, South Korea, Viet Nam and the US would be one way for the US to get out from under the trillions of dollars of debt it owes both China and Japan. Don’t think I’m using hyperbole, the oligarchs are really that sick.  Hopefully cooler heads will prevail.
The global economy will teeter back and forth on the brink of collapse as the insolvency of sovereign nations and the “Too Big To Fail” banks pose an ever growing threat. The unregulated over leveraged global derivatives trade took AIG and Lehman Brothers down in 2007. That situation has not been resolved despite the bailouts, and ominously the derivatives bubble has grown to between 600 trillion with a “T” and 1.5 quadrillion dollars. That gargantuan total is bigger than the total global GDP of all developed and developing nations put together!  If it comes unraveled like it did in 2007 it will mean the end of the Western economic system as we know it. This news is being suppressed by the corporate media. You won’t find it anywhere except on a few sites like and  The derivatives bubble will inflate even larger in 2014 bringing the world closer to financial Armageddon.
Keep your eyes on Detroit. In 2014 the one per cent vampires and vultures will pick that once great city clean leaving pensioners strapped, services cut to the bone and the poor in a lurch. This is the template the financial oligarchs plan to use on the state, local and federal levels. Keep in mind there are numerous municipalities, counties and states on the brink of insolvency. Over one hundred public worker pension funds are underfunded around the country by trillions of dollars. Politicians cannot raise enough tax money to cover the shortfalls. Keep in mind the US government is broke, it cannot pay its debts (that’s why they have to raise the debt ceiling). The federal government doesn’t have the money to pay for Social Security or Medicare!  In effect the US government is already in default to its own citizens!! So to forestall the inevitable, they will usher in austerity programs. For a preview, watch what they do to Detroit.  
In 2014 the Kleptocratic corporate elites and their cohorts in Congress will write and pass legislation that further undermines the social safety nets on the local, state and federal levels.  In 2014 more and more people will become knowledgeable about Frankenfoods the so called Bio-Technology industry that is destroying the global ecosystem. A grass roots movement will generate opposition to GMOs but the Obama administration will side with Monsanto and the other bio-tech giants.
Lastly there will be calls for Obama’s impeachment. Whether or not they will be successful is not clear. A certain foreign nation and their powerful lobby want to frighten Obama into following their “Middle East” war agenda. If he refuses they will sic their dogs in Congress and the media on him. 
The good news for 2014 is, more and more people will awaken to their/our divinity. Many more folks will discover and actualize their innate potential on a practical and meaningful level. Yes many will continue to live in ignorance and decadence; many will die prematurely but in 2014 more people will empower themselves in a mighty way. Many will dabble in urban gardening and organic farming. More people will live better, healthier happier lives. In 2014 many will wake up and empower themselves despite the collapse going on around them. Oh by the way, Happy New Year!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

US Police State, No Longer A Secret

From The Ramparts

Junious Ricardo Stanton

The US Police State, No Longer A Secret

“Ethnic and religious 'profiling' is rife in all transport centers (airports, bus and train stations and on the highways). Mosques, Islamic charities and foundations are under constant surveillance and subject to raids, entrapment, arrests, and even Israeli-style ‘targeted’ assassinations... The second core group, targeted by the police state, includes African Americans, Hispanics and immigration rights activists (numbering in the millions). They are subject to massive arbitrary sweeps, round-ups and unlimited detention without trial as well as mass indiscriminate deportations.”

During the Civil Rights and Black Power movements the psychopathic oligarchy that rules this country decided to crack down on all dissent. Following the elites' directives, the US government unleashed illegal, wide scale covert insurgency programs called COINTELPRO, Operation CHAOS, Project Merrimac and numerous others designed to infiltrate, undermine and destroy dissent and opposition to US racist domestic and imperialistic foreign policies. The ruling elites were determined to maintain and expand their empire by eliminating all opposition to their global war machine and domestic colonialism.

One of the ideological platforms of militant activists during the '60's and '70's was the African-American community was a colonized area kept in subjugation by institutionalized racist police, judicial and terrorist organizations operating on behalf of a race, color and class based system. They equated urban ghettos with concentration camps similar to the oppression on Native American reservations. They postulated rural blacks in the South and Mid-West were bond to a vicious and stultifying caste system that need to be exposed and broken. They pointed to this country's long history of surveillance, monitoring, terrorism and oppression of blacks that was still going on in the '60's and '70's.

As the Civil Rights movement morphed into a broader more global movement embracing the liberation struggles of people of color around the world, the US government moved to protect their corporate masters by intensifying its attacks on the leadership of grass roots organizations of all stripes and persuasions. The assassinations of Medgar Evers NAACP, Malcolm X (EL Hajj Malik El Shabazz) Organization of Afro-American Unity, Martin Luther King Jr. SCLC, Fred Hampton The Black Panther Party and the infiltration of organizations like the Nation of Islam coupled with the systemic framing, slandering, persecution, round up and killing of not only blacks but members of La Raza Unida, The American Indian Movement, radical labor organizations, the anti-war and environmental movements signaled the commitment of the elites and their minions to squash all dissent.

This was the beginning of the so called “culture wars” that are still raging today. The culture wars are really proxy fights by the fascist establishment using their media, institutions and personalities to demonize and rail against anyone who doesn't go for their okey-doke. This is why the system moved so deliberately and thoroughly to crush the Black Liberation and Afrocentric movements. Independent thought is a no no in the eyes of the ruling elites. You believe what they say or else!

On a more hard core level the US government funded and provided local police with advanced weaponry and technology for use against dissidents who lashed out against their oppression and terror. The governments “wars” on crime, drugs and terror are disingenuous euphemisms for the elites' wholesale attack on us using crime, drugs, Oklahoma City, Waco and 9-11 as a pretext. After all its an irrefutable fact the US CIA runs the global drug trade and the big Wall Street banks launder the money. This drug money is the source of much of their “black ops” budget. So its all a scam designed to facilitate a police state environment. “We're living in a fascist state in which absolute power is concentrated in a capitalist criminal cabal that uses military and police power to dominate the people mentally and physically. The U.S. had been moving toward a total police state since about 1913; but in 2012 the final nail in the coffin of democracy and justice was hammered into place with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, Title X, Subtitle D (NDAA)!... Scores of U.S. cities are now using surveillance television camera systems to spy on citizens--shades of 1984. With video cameras perched atop buildings and poles, watching whatever American are doing, do you suppose there might be some potential for abuse in such systems? Christian Parenti's, article, "DC's Virtual Panopticon," in the June 3, 2002 issue of The Nation describes how 'police in Detroit and DC have used CCTV [closed-circuit television] to stalk personal foes, political opponents and young women.' Smile, you're on Kandid Kamera”

Abuses of the state became so widespread, rampant and egregious against white folks during the 1970's the US Congress was forced to investigate. Of the two major Senate investigations into these abuses one (the Rockefeller Report) was a total sham and white wash. The other (The Church Committee Report) was far more thorough and found the FBI and CIA had broken and circumvented federal state and local laws and violated the rights of countless Americans. Senator Church was an early opponent of the Vietnam War so he raised the ire of the Military-Industrial complex. In response, the Right Wingers and CIA surreptitiously funded opposition to Senator Frank Church's bid for reelection in 1981 and he was narrowly defeated.

The police state is much more evident today than during the days of COINTELPRO which is one reason for the passivity and numbness towards it. “Active support for the police state peaked during the first 5 years post- 9/11 and subsequently ebbed as the Wall Street-induced economic crisis, loss of employment and the failures of government policy propelled concerns about the economy far ahead of support for the police state. Nevertheless, at least one-third of the electorate still supports the police state, ‘right or wrong’. They firmly believe that the police state protects their ‘security’; that suspects, arrestees, and others under watch ‘must have been doing something illegal’. The most ardent backers of the police state are found among the rabid anti-immigrant groups who support arbitrary round-ups, mass deportations and the expansion of police powers at the expense of constitutional guarantees.

The third possible motive for acquiescence in the police state is ignorance: those millions of US citizens who are not aware of the size, scope and activities of the police state. Their practical behavior speaks to the notion that ‘since I am not directly affected it must not exist’. Embedded in everyday life, making a living, enjoying leisure time, entertainment, sports, family, neighborhoods and concerned only about household budgets … This mass is so embedded in their personal ‘micro-world’ that it considers the macro-economic and political issues raised by the police state as ‘distant’, outside of their experience or interest.” The Rise of The Police State

Unlike the '60 and '70's ,today there is no widespread massive social opposition to US foreign and domestic policies. COINTELPRO is still operational only in the guise of the USAPATRIOT ACT and other post 9-11 police state legislation. “ The US Patriot Act was enacted by a Congress that had not actually read it. The only thing representatives and senators got was a two or three page compendium from the White House press office. Nobody was actually given the time to read the provisions of the act. The White House intimidated members of Congress into passing the bill by telling them that if they refused to sign it, they'd be labeled as 'unpatriotic'--something almost all members of Congress were frightened of at the time. Lieberman, Daschle and Gephardt later wrote a memorandum stating that Congress had effectively given the Bush Administration 'near dictatorial powers.'”

The police state quickly smashed the Occupy Movement once it could no longer be ignored and it gained momentum and raised awareness of the direct responsibility of the banksters and corporations in the decline of our standard of living and the escalation of economic apartheid in the US.

Anyone who raises the issue of class warfare in the US or who publicly stands up of the 99% gets demonized by the media and the system. If you doubt what I'm saying take a deeper look at what happened to Elliott Spitzer, John Edwards, Lou Dobbs (who has since resurfaced on Fox TV) and Rob Blagojevich. Each one of these white men was doing just fine within the system until they offended Wall Street in one way or another. Contrast their situations with the CEOs of the giant banks or with Jon Corzine who should be languishing in a federal prison; but nooo, they're free as birds living high on the hog thanks to this totally corrupt system.

The Big Brother police state is alive and well in 2012 and it will become more pervasive unless we take a stand to fight the powers that be.