Thursday, January 21, 2016

Current Events

                                Image result for chart us income distribution                  

                                                From The Ramparts
                                                Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                                   Current Events

            2016 has gotten off to a rocky start, the global economic system is experiencing tremors and rumblings of a downturn that may lead to significant damage to an already precarious global economic condition. The media and the Obama administration tell the American public the economy is doing well and in a growth mode but nothing could be further from the truth. For example early 2016 reports indicate this will be a bad year for the retail giants which will impact domestic and global employment numbers and people's ability to pay their bills.
            Even the 1% ownership class is alarmed as the stock markets have been down early in January 2016 with gloomy predictions as the Wall Street machinations, casino style manipulations and Ponzi schemes finally catch up to the 1 % crowd. But the bad news is while most of us are not into the stock and commodities markets, the downturn or crash may take us all down with them because many of our pension funds are tied to them.
            "Stock markets in the US and around the world ended the week with massive selloffs, rocked by fears that the slowdown in China and plunging oil and commodity prices will trigger a new financial crisis on the order of the 2007-2008 disaster. Another sharp fall on Chinese markets, with the Shanghai Composite Index dropping 3.55 percent, followed by a 6 percent fall in oil prices to $29 a barrel, set off a wave of panic selling. The mood was summed up by the chief strategist at Federated Investors, who said, 'Investors are scared to death, and the fact that it’s happening at the beginning of the year has some historical significance.'
            A major factor in the Chinese selloff was concern that Beijing will report its weakest full-year growth figure in 25 years on Tuesday. On Friday, Walmart announced that it will close 269 stores, 154 of them in the US, and eliminate 16,000 jobs. The Walmart statement, coming on the heels of multi-store closure announcements by Macy’s and Sears-Kmart, highlighted the worsening slowdown in the real economy globally and in the US that underlies the turbulence on stock and bond markets. It also reflected the reality of falling wages and mounting income insecurity affecting broad layers of the US population." Global Stock Plunge Amid Fears of A New Financial Crisis  by Barry Grey 16 January 2016
            A recent report showed there are record numbers of retail chain and big box stores shutting stores down and laying off employees:  The following is a recent report on this situation. "Macy’s will close 36 stores and cut hundreds of jobs after a disappointing sales and earnings performance in 2015. Other big-name chains are also closing up shop at under-performing locations in 2016, including Gap Inc., which will shutter 175 across North America, and Walgreens, which plans to close 200. These announcements have become fairly predictable. Just today,J.C. Penney told that it would likely shut seven mall stores before 2016 is out. Of these retailers downsizing brick-and-mortar footprints, J.C. Penney is the most at-risk, according to data from Rapid Ratings.",.
            J.C. Penney is not the only major retailer that plans to close stores in 2016. Other retail giants have also announced plans to close stores and lay off workers. Here is a list of the names of the retailers and the number of stores that have announced will close in 2016. 400  Office Depot / Office Max (by 2016), 223 Barnes & Noble (through 2023), 200  Children’s Place (through 2017), 200 Walgreens (by 2017), 175 Aeropostale (over the next several years) 154 Walmart (US 102 Walmart Express, 12 Walmart Supercenter, 6 Walmart, 23 Walmart Neighborhood Market, 4 Sam's Clubs), 150 American Eagle Outfitters (through 2017) 150 Finish Line ,120 Chico’s (through 2017),1 Persnickety Toys, 100 Pier One (through 2017) 60 Pier One (fiscal 2016, ending February, 2016), 54  Golf Galaxy (by 2016 ,36  Macy's, 35  Gap / Gap Kids (2016), 30 Hartstrings (Out of Business) , 27  Sears and Kmart, 20 Pick ’n Save (by 2017), 14 Kitson’s , 10 Barnes & Noble (2016 calendar year), 5  Hallmark,  3 Martin's Food and Drugstore, 2  Elder-Beerman (Bon-Ton),  1 American Greetings, 1 Ann Taylor, 1 Target, 1  Wavedancer (Out of Business)
            None of the presidential candidates are talking about this, to hear them tell it everything is honky-dory because for most of them it is, they are rich and they don't have to worry about the things most Americans fret and fume about like job security, having to work two or more jobs, surviving on a pension, how they can pay their bills, piling debt and lowered standards of living.
             The Republican candidates are fixated on war, expanding the police state, and none of them are talking about issues and solutions the resonate with working class or poor people: income inequality, economic apartheid, the outsourcing of US jobs and the bail out of Wall Street.  It's as if they have all gone totally insane, they are totally insensitive to the plight of the average citizen. Hillary Clinton is a tool of Wall Street and a warmonger so we cannot expect her to offer any real solutions for us.  Senator Sanders talks about economic inequality but does not mention  how US imperialism is draining the economy.
            Other critical issues facing us in 2016 are the very real threats to humanity, world peace and ecocide by the psychopathic and megalomaniacal ruling elites. The famed Doomsday Clock a visual reminder of the potential for global annihilation was moved closer to the midnight hour; to 11:57 PM this year. "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists doesn't use the clock to make any real doomsday predictions. Rather, the clock is a visual metaphor to warn the public about how close the world is to a potentially civilization-ending catastrophe. Each year, the magazine's board analyzes threats to humanity's survival to decide where the Doomsday Clock's hands should be set. Experts on the board said they felt a sense of urgency this year because of the world's ongoing addiction to fossil fuels, procrastination with enacting laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions and slow efforts to get rid of nuclear weapons."
            Genetically Modified Organisms, what I call Frankenfoods and Frankenseeds  are on the rise and proliferate the globe despite the efforts of activists and scientists to warn us about their dangers. The US government is being bribed and bought off by the giant so called bio-tech industries like Monsanto which are doing booming business both here and around the world! "The "Big 6" pesticide and GMO corporations are BASF, Bayer, Dupont, Dow Chemical Company, Monsanto, and Syngenta. They are so called because they dominate the agricultural input market -- that is, they own the world’s seed, pesticide and biotechnology industries. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), corporate concentration of the agricultural input market 'has far-reaching implications for global food security, as the privatization and patenting of agricultural innovation (gene traits, transformation technologies and seed germplasm) has been supplanting traditional agricultural understandings of seed, farmers' rights, and breeders' rights.'""Big_6"_Pesticide_and_GMO_Corporations
            These are just a few of the issues facing us in 2016 that for the most part the corporate mind control apparatus is not discussing because they are too busy  distracting us from what is really going on in the world and brainwashing us to go along with the ruling class' okey-doke and flim flam which could very well bring the world to the brink of economic collapse, world war or both.


Friday, January 15, 2016

The Suppressed Martin Luther King Jr.

   From The Ramparts
   Junious Ricardo Stanton
 The Suppressed Martin Luther                          King Jr.

            As we celebrate the natal day and life's work of Martin Luther King Jr, let us look at him for all he was not as he is narrowly depicted and shown by the corporate mind control apparatus. During this time we are usually bombarded with sound bytes from his 1963 March on Washington speech, but I have a dream part. Rarely if ever do they share the beginning of the speech because it was more militant in tone than the second half. 
only part of the whole speech, the second half, the
            Rarely if ever does the corporate media chronicle his later work as a Peace activist when he became one of the most prominent voices to end US imperialism, militarism and a potent advocate for economic justice here at home. We are always shown him pushing for racial reconciliation but rarely are we shown the Martin Luther King who demanded economic justice for all people. Nor are we shown King planning for his Poor People's Campaign and camp out in Washington D.C.
            King was concerned about the whole person, the whole body politic and he spoke out vociferously about ending the war in Southeast Asia and redirecting America's financial and economic resources towards the betterment of all her citizens. It was at this point in his life and mission he was shunned, rejected and vilified by the corporate media and US government. Once he uttered the words of his Why I Oppose the Vietnam War Martin Luther King Jr became persona non grata to the US ruling oligarchy.
            The first part of the March on Washington speech is very powerful it holds up a mirror to America to expose its hypocrisy and its chronic failure to live up to its professed creed. It offers in the second half a exhortation of hope, a vision for a better America that still to this day has not materialized.  Since we are not shown or provided an opportunity to see and hear all that Martin Luther King Jr. said that fateful day, in the spirit of shedding  light on what King said that day I am sharing it with you in this commentary. 
            " I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the 'unalienable Rights' of 'Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.' It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.'
            But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand's of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
            It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
            But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
            The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
            We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: 'For Whites Only.' We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until 'justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.'
            I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream..."
            May the spirit of justice exemplified by Martin Luther King Jr live on forever!


Sunday, January 03, 2016

2016 Trends and Predictions

                                                   From The Ramparts
                                                 Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                               2016 Trends and Predictions

            As I have observed and stated on numerous occasions, human beings are creatures of habit and once you discern their proclivities, patterns, customs, folkways and traditions  etc. you can accurately predict their current and future behavior. If we watch what people do, and how they act rather than going by what they say, you can better detect their patterns and habits and predict their behavior.
            You can also manipulate people if you play on their emotions, ambitions and take advantage of their gullibility, naïveté or ignorance. The ruling class' play book is slim because they too are creatures of habit motivated by greed, megalomania and hubris. They do the same things over and over using the same or variations of the same strategies simply because they work. Plus they have the power and means to coerce our compliance, cowardice and acquiescence! Having said that and in keeping with observed trends, patterns and behaviors I can confidently make the following predictions about 2016:  US police will continue to kill more citizens. How can I make this prediction? Because the trend of police using lethal force on unarmed citizens (mostly Black and Brown people) is on the upswing. Neither the FBI nor the federal government keeps data on the number of civilians shot and killed by US police officers but by looking at the FBI's numbers which are not all inclusive you can discern the trend of police homicides is on the rise. According to the Killed By Police Website from May 1 to December 31 2013, US police killed 769 civilians,  from January 1 2014 to December 31, 2014, 1108 citizens were killed.
            The Washington Post in an article published on December 26, 2015 revealed, "In a year-long study, The Washington Post found that the kind of incidents that have ignited protests in many U.S. communities — most often, white police officers killing unarmed black men — represent less than 4 percent of fatal police shootings. Meanwhile, The Post found that the great majority of people who died at the hands of the police fit at least one of three categories: they were wielding weapons, they were suicidal or mentally troubled, or they ran when officers told them to halt. The Post sought to compile a record of every fatal police shooting in the nation in 2015, something no government agency had done. The project began after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014, provoking several nights of fiery riots, weeks of protests and a national reckoning with the nexus of race, crime and police use of force. Race remains the most volatile flash point in any accounting of police shootings. Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police this year, The Post’s database shows. In the majority of cases in which police shot and killed a person who had attacked someone with a weapon or brandished a gun, the person who was shot was white. But a hugely disproportionate number — 3 in 5 — of those killed after exhibiting less threatening behavior were black or Hispanic." A Year of Reckoning: Police Fatally Shoot Nearly 1,000
            Given the mentality and training of US police and the racist nature of US culture we can safely predict more police killings of Black and Brown people (mostly unarmed males) will occur in 2016.  Given the murderous police rampage will likely continue, we can also predict The Black Lives Matter movement will naively continue to plead and appeal to the morals and sense of justice of whites to decrease the killings of unarmed Black and Brown folks. The Black Lives Matter movement and Black folks should seek redress for the murders of  unarmed Black people but they should also note the historical and cultural implications of this centuries old pattern and conclude we are at war.
            While this pattern of police violence is ongoing, our greatest threat is not from police but from within our own communities! The fervor for justice overlooks and ignores the Black on Black fratricide and maladaptive responses to European oppression that continue to grip, weaken and plague our community. We kill ourselves at a much more alarming rates than the KKK, Police or White Citizens Council ever could!
            This fratricide is a manifestation of  our frustration, self-hatred and lack of self-knowledge.  None of this is in isolation. It is all interrelated and intertwined held together by a deliberate system of European menticide (mental genocide), the deliberate attempt by whites to destroy our minds, to drive us insane, via their Eurocentric education system, their mass media that pumps out lies and vile stereotypes and depictions of  African people, including the promotion and rewarding of Blacks who create, promote and glamorize the same stereotypes that portray Blacks as: thugs, hyper-sexed predators, low life skeezers, killers and sociopaths or the other extreme of mindlessly loyal servants in service of European imperialism, domination and exploitation.
            We can safely predict 2016 will see further deterioration of public education as cash strapped states, counties and municipalities grapple with ways to pay for a public education system that maintains a two tiered structure: one the educates the haves and another that offers minimal services to the have not's.
             "On average, schools serving more minority populations have less-experienced, lower-paid teachers who are less likely to be certified. A report from the Center for American Progress found that a 10 percentage point increase in students of color at a school is associated with a decrease in per-pupil spending of $75. Disparities in course offerings mean students of color have fewer opportunities to challenge themselves with more difficult courses — the type of courses needed to prepare for a four-year college degree or for a high-paying career in STEM.
            In seventh and eighth grades, blacks make up 16 percent of students, but account for 10 percent of students taking Algebra 1 and 9 percent of students passing the course. While nearly one in five white students took Calculus in high school, one in 15 black students did. Fewer black students have access to a full range of high school math and science courses — algebra I, geometry, algebra II, calculus, biology, chemistry and physics. They are under-represented in gifted and talented programs. Black students take fewer Advanced Placement classes than white students and score lower on AP tests. While black students disproportionately attend schools with higher minority populations, the teachers, principals and administrators who interact with the students are a different story. When the U.S. Department of Education collected data in the 2007-2008 school year, 80 percent of principals in public schools were white. Meanwhile, only 6.2 percent of high school public school teachers across all subject areas are black — the highest percentage is for health and physical education, where 9.2 percent of teachers are black." US Education: Still Separate and Unequal
            Options to combat this debilitating trend include: home schooling where parents come together to develop a rigorous educational curricula for their children and Afrocentric community schools that supplement what the children get in the local public schools; but these require an uncompromising commitment on the part of the parents and the community. The seminal questions is, do we have that type of commitment?
            Another potential trend in 2016 will be increasing hopelessness, lethargy, depression and stagnation within our communities. We are being dumbed down, lobotomized and zombified. We take our own selves out of the game by drinkin' and druggin' much to the delight of our tormentors and adversaries. It makes them richer and weakens us so they can further exploit and dominate us!
            The good news is that none of these predictions or scenarios have to come to pass or manifest; we can alter our future and our reality! But we have to be willing to make a serious change in our mental processes and lifestyles. We will have to take action! Heretofore we have been unwilling to use our imagination, the greatest gift the CREATOR gave us other than LIFE itself, to spark a personal, group and collective transformation. We can do better!
            Too many of our people live in communities that have been red lined, where disinvestment and decay are rampant and where for the most part a dynamic and progressive collectivist Black leadership is absent. Black children and adults do not see images of strong Black leaders like Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Noble Drew Ali or Septima Clark working to rebuild the community, to empower our people or exhort them to be their greatest selves.
            We fail to realize there is always an opportunity to change. We do not have to continue to be depressed, lethargic and unfulfilled. We can decide we can do and be healthier, more productive and transform ourselves and our communities. Just as changing one letter can change a word's meaning (for example change the i to an e and bitter becomes better), we can change our attitude, change our goals and decide to become enthusiastic, focused and productive as opposed to frustrated, depressed and uncreative.
             The good news is 2016 doesn't have to be a continuation of years past. We can change these negative trends because we have agency and the power to change ourselves! We can go from feeling powerless to being powerful! We can transform ourselves and our reality simply by changing how we think, what we think about and how we use our energy. We can do this. The Civil Rights and Black Power movements changed the world!  Yes our adversaries pushed back with COINTELPRO and attempted to crush our spirits but our warrior spirit is still alive deep inside of us.
            We have the power to metaphysically defeat our tormentors! Victory will not come through physical weapons (at least not in the beginning). Transformation begins on the mental and spiritual levels! Change your mind, change your outlook, change your energy level from apathy to gusto. Change your self-image, attempt to discover and actualize the talents and latent potential residing within you. Determine to bring them out to the fullest.
             Just as a small seed yields a large tree baring seasons of fruit, your imagination and energy will bare positive results. As we get stronger, more confident and accomplished in our mental alchemy we will notice a significant change in ourselves and our world. Don't let anyone discourage you, stay strong and you will transform and make 2016 a great year for you and yours. As we come together we can and will transform the world.