Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hooray! The Surge is Working…Again

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

-H. L. Mencken
The previously discredited CNBC ace shill Jim 'Mad Money' Cramer has now become the point man for the regenerated Wall Street hydra, launching into a sleazy Rovian war with a real life economist who actually got it right in predicting the collapse Nouriel Roubini. Roubini, a man who was from the outset mocked, scorned and derisively labeled ‘Dr. Doom’ by the same type of four-flushing assholes who brought us Deep Capture has been declared public enemy number one and must be taken out with extreme prejudice for the big con to succeed. The oafish court jester of looter capitalism is now back with a vengeance as he according to this piece by Frank Rich of the damned liberal New York Times states in his recent piece Awake and Sing!:

“I am pronouncing the depression over!” declared CNBC’s irrepressible Jim Cramer on April 2. The next day the unemployment rate, already at the highest level in 25 years, jumped yet again, but Cramer wasn’t thinking about the 663,000 jobs that disappeared in March. He was thinking about the market. Mad money. Fast money. Big money. The Dow, after all, has rallied in the weeks since Timothy Geithner announced his bank bailout 2.0. Par-tay! On Wednesday, Cramer rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, in celebration of the 1,000th broadcast of his nightly stock-tip jamboree.
Roubini appropriately dismissed the man who acts like a baboon on crystal meth:
But "Cramer is a buffoon", the professor countered, on the sidelines of a conference in Canada on Tuesday night. "He was one of those who called six times in a row for this bear market rally to be a bull market rally and he got it wrong. After all this mess, and after Jon Stewart, he should just shut up because he has no shame."

The latest rally will fail when it becomes clear the economy is not improving and that several banks will be unable to pass the "stress tests" currently being carried out by the federal government, Mr Roubini says.

"Cramer keeps insulting me personally and saying a bunch of lies," he told an Associated Press reporter. "He is not a credible analyst."
Which of course didn't stop the NYT from piling on Roubini in a Wednesday Op-Ed column by that unbiased source of wisdom William D. Cohan (a contributing editor for Fortune Magazine, the rag that featured a fawning hagiography back in the Depression years about Benito Mussolini and his fine corporate fascist system) that in upholding the finest traditons of Judith Miller poo pooed the questioning of the miraculous profits of Goldman Sachs as so much conspiracy theory even though Hank Paulson obviously had at best a conflict of interest in presiding over the TARP plan to socialize the losses of the looters to keep the big casino going. Similar sliming has been done to Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman in the insipid Newsweek cover story of a few weeks back by hack Evan Thomas who openly and brazenly admits his bias: "If you are of the establishment persuasion (and I am), reading Krugman makes you uneasy.". Stenographers for the elite like Thomas are largely responsible for this disaster to begin with in that they failed to perform their constitutional duties in ensuring that a free press would ensure that power be kept in check but he and his ilk are more interested in careerism, sucking up to the establishment and ensuring that they keep get invited to cocktail parties. No wonder that the regular corporate media is getting its ass kicked by the alternative media and the blogs, you just can't trust the bastards on anything anymore.

But I digress...

It is asinine and childish to think that Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs did not abuse his position as the Bush regime's Treasury Secretary to favorably rig the big bailout for the benefit of his cronies, just look at how the AIG bailout was used to further shore up the big Kahuna of the street and ensure that the revolving door between the temple of avarice and the White House remains fully operational. Seems like the blood sucking jackals at the real center of American political power, Goldman Sachs is sending it's legal army after a Florida based blogger named Mike Morgan for daring to set up a website Info, Comments, Opinions and Facts About Goldman Sachs. The white shoe Wall Street law firm Chadbourne & Parke has been set loose upon poor Mr. Morgan for his daring to question these criminal pigs and their ongoing assault on the American economy - you know it's bad when they don't outsource their wetwork to India but somehow the site which as the delightful url of has really but a bug up the pasty white asses of the house of Paulson and Blankfein.

I would recommend that everyone take the time to not only check out Mr. Morgan's site but to back him in his David versus Goliath stand against the mother of all moneychangers in Goldman Sachs. Let the buffonish tea baggers take to the streets at the behest of the deranged shill Glenn Beck, Dick Armey, uber crackpot Richard Mellon Scaife and the Texas oil Nazi Koch Foundation (see Think Progress for the scoop on who is really sponsoring this phony white populist mayhem) but the real enemy of America sits in the ivory tower at 85 Broad Street in lower Manhattan and it's toxic tentacles extend directly into the highest realms of the new Obama administration. Putting Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers in charge of economic policy along with other dubious appointments (or in the case of real progressives non appointments) are an early indicator that the only change for Obama is going to be chump change. The hedge fund hyenas and derivatives alchemists and their pushers are going to have free reigh while an exponentially growing number of Americans are being rendered jobless, homeless and exiled to tent cities...hell, at least Reagan gave people surplus cheese.

In a remarkable interview on the PBS program Bill Moyers Journal former S & L regulator William K. Black gets right to the heart of things:

BILL MOYERS: Is it possible that these complex instruments were deliberately created so swindlers could exploit them?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Oh, absolutely. This stuff, the exotic stuff that you're talking about was created out of things like liars' loans, that were known to be extraordinarily bad. And now it was getting triple-A ratings. Now a triple-A rating is supposed to mean there is zero credit risk. So you take something that not only has significant, it has crushing risk. That's why it's toxic. And you create this fiction that it has zero risk. That itself, of course, is a fraudulent exercise. And again, there was nobody looking, during the Bush years. So finally, only a year ago, we started to have a Congressional investigation of some of these rating agencies, and it's scandalous what came out. What we know now is that the rating agencies never looked at a single loan file. When they finally did look, after the markets had completely collapsed, they found, and I'm quoting Fitch, the smallest of the rating agencies, "the results were disconcerting, in that there was the appearance of fraud in nearly every file we examined."

BILL MOYERS: So if your assumption is correct, your evidence is sound, the bank, the lending company, created a fraud. And the ratings agency that is supposed to test the value of these assets knowingly entered into the fraud. Both parties are committing fraud by intention.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Right, and the investment banker that — we call it pooling — puts together these bad mortgages, these liars' loans, and creates the toxic waste of these derivatives. All of them do that. And then they sell it to the world and the world just thinks because it has a triple-A rating it must actually be safe. Well, instead, there are 60 and 80 percent losses on these things, because of course they, in reality, are toxic waste.

BILL MOYERS: You're describing what Bernie Madoff did to a limited number of people. But you're saying it's systemic, a systemic Ponzi scheme.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Oh, Bernie was a piker. He doesn't even get into the front ranks of a Ponzi scheme...

BILL MOYERS: But you're saying our system became a Ponzi scheme.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Our system...

BILL MOYERS: Our financial system...

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Became a Ponzi scheme. Everybody was buying a pig in the poke. But they were buying a pig in the poke with a pretty pink ribbon, and the pink ribbon said, "Triple-A."
In a nutshell the system itself is rotten to the core and Geithner, Bernanke and the rest of Mr. Obama's A Team of the best and the brightest are just more of the same dirty rotten scoundrels who have destroyed the global economy and are now being allowed to finish the job. For Christ's sake, Obama is actually going out on television and pushing refinancing as if most people really qualify anyway for the simple reasons that (a) the banks aren't lending (b) their existing loans are well in excess of the property value in most cases...and (c) you can no longer instantly qualify for a 400,000 loan if you have no job and about a million a month are being jettisoned as the real economy continues the freefall. I mean Jesus Fucking Christ, is this guy a president or a pimp?

Selling the Sizzle: The recent attempts to manage perception in order to reflate the bubble and save the squadrons of corrupt paper dealers is a propaganda masterpiece unseen since the bloodshed and chaos of the Iraq war was flushed down the memory hole courtesy of the great General Petraeus and THE SURGE. What is now going on is every bit as dishonest and even more monstrous in that the large scale thieves who run the system are using their media and pocket politicians to further entrap Americans in the shackles of debt slavery from which they shall never be free as long as the failure of unregulated looter capitalism is not dealt with and the cancer cut out once and for all. Don't believe anything, it's all a big lie of Hitlerian proportions, a public relations stew of deception that Goebbels would be proud of and you just have to love that little bumper sticker slogan Green Shoots.

Do NOT, I repeat do NOT put one nickel into the markets because in the end you will be sorry. I am advising people to take this postponement of the looming collapse as an opportunity to shore up your personal positions. Do not spend a dime you don’t have to spend, take all of your money out of your 401k once it has been reflated and put it into real assets. Pay down debt, start learning about how to garden, hey our grandparents did it didn’t they? Stockpile non-perishable food, buy a Lifestraw (provided you can find one) because they are coming to privatize your water soon, buy guns and ammo and most importantly be suspicious of anything that the assclowns who run the corporate media try to sell you with their propaganda.

Obama, tagged as the pope of hope by one blogger is just another errand boy for the big banks. Pope of dopes is more like it , it took Clinton and Bush years to cheapen the presidency but Obama has done it in record time, sliming around with the likes of Jay Leno on the electronic crackpipe, taking pot shots at cripples, escalating the war in Afghanistan, reneging on boatloads of campaign promises and in the absolute nadir shilling for the banks in imploring people to refinance their overvalued McMansions and other cheaply constructed shitboxes.

The Obamanoids eat it up too, they are legion and tripping over themselves in falling in line to shill for the most despicable of the Obama administration policies, like the failure to order the Justice Department to arrest Karl Rove for flouting subpoenas, continuing the illegal wiretapping, escalating the war in Afghanistan and most odiously as all choosing to back the banksters in the gutting of the American economy. Sure, there are the little feely good cosmetic changes like stem cell research and relaxing restrictions on Cuba (both by the way make economic sense and if there is one thing to commend Obama on it is the lack of ideology exhibited early on, which in a way is also damnable in that it only supports the status quo) and that ridiculous ‘pirates’ thing which is about as phony as Reagan’s defeat of that industrialized military juggernaut Grenada.

One thing is for certain though, no matter how well that Surge II works it is only going to make the inevitable collapse that much worse when it does come. And those vicious shitheads who worship the unholy trinity of Limbaugh, Palin and Joe the Plumber will only become meaner and more better positioned to take advantage when it becomes apparent that the only change that has occured is a new coat of paint on the whorehouse that is American capitalism.

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Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership, Global Issues, Updated: January 02, 2009




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Canadian Study a Lesson for Teabaggers: "Three in Four Suffer From Cuts to Public Spending"

Tax cuts could diminish the standard of living for the vast majority of Canadians who enjoy the public services that they fund, according to a study (pdf HERE) by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released on Wednesday.

The majority of Canadian households enjoy a higher quality of life because of the public services their taxes fund, the study argues.
"What passes for a tax cut debate in Canada is really only half the debate," said study co-author Hugh Mackenzie, an economist. ..."The suggestion we often hear, that taxes are a burden, hides the reality that our taxes fund public services that make Canada's standard of living among the very best," he said.

The study uses Statistics Canada data on government revenues and expenditures to compare public spending in categories including health care, education, social services, old-age security benefits and employment insurance. ...Using the statistics, the report finds that the average per capita benefit from public services in Canada in 2006 was about $16,952.
"The overall impact of tax cuts — and the cuts in public services that accompany them — has not been addressed in any substantive way," the study states. "Tax cuts are always made to sound like they're free money to middle income Canadians. They are anything but," Mackenzie said. "We're far better off with the public services our taxes fund than we are with tax cuts." Any reduction in income tax results in an equivalent constraint on public spending, the study says, and about three in four Canadians suffer from cuts to public spending.

Overall, the tax cuts implemented in Canada in the last 15 years have had the net effect of reducing the living standards of most Canadians, the reports says.

The study also finds that the number of public services used by Canadians appears to increase as household income and size increase. This is particularly true for households that have children who are accessing publicly funded elementary and secondary schools and seniors who are more likely to use the public health-care system. "Families with young children will tend to benefit relatively more from the health-care system, whereas families with older children will tend to benefit from the public education system to a greater extent than other types of families," the study states.
It's not hard to predict the kind of reaction that this report is going to get from the conservative movement in the US. Reports based on provable facts and confirm-able statistics are not to their liking anyway. They much prefer to rely on ideologically-based theory drawn out of thin air (or worse) - thin air that evidently gets compressed and heated, then spewed out of bloviators' blowholes at FOX "news" in support of this tea-bagging movement. Which, by the way, is an excellent example of astroturfing as defined by Wikipedia, "formal political, advertising, or public relations campaigns seeking to create the impression of being spontaneous "grassroots" behavior, hence the reference to the artificial grass, AstroTurf."

Nor should the motive behind this campaign escape anyone but the morans (sic, see photo) it is directed towards. (or should that be against?) The conservative movement has been pretty successful in the past at getting the poorly educated to vote against their own interests based on simplistic slogans. "Read my lips, just say no, drill baby drill" etcetera. My guess is that they're trying to bring back the glory days of monosyllabic right-tard propaganda -- in spite of being utterly discredited by the spectacular economic disaster wrought from their trickle-down 'free market' policies. My hope is that they're wrong, and that even the worst of the low-information voters will wake up once they've lost their jobs and their homes, and are living in cardboard boxes and depending on food stamps. But then, past experience has been that really poor people don't vote at all, and the GOP has made it nearly impossible for the homeless to even register to vote, so that hope might be a bit optimistic.

The Economist just hosted a debate on whether it's time that the rich be required to pay more in taxes. Just reading some of the closing remarks by Chris Edwards of the Cato institute, arguing against the motion, reveals the paucity of the conservative argument. Unable to attack the logic of his opponent, he mounts a personal, ad hominem attack. "[Parisian economist Thomas] Piketty's understanding of the nature of income is very European, " he whinges. Name calling is rightly regarded as the lowest rung on the scale of debating technique, (see triangular diagram near the bottom) and is characteristic of someone who can't base their argument on facts or logic. So I would say the pro-tax side won the argument.

(Parenthetically, it could, should and must be said that this debate is just one battle being fought in an ongoing and increasingly bitter war between the classes. Because this whole unfortunately named teabagging movement is nothing more than a propaganda effort to perpetuate the Reagan tax cuts. The rich would prefer that you pay for the jackboot that presses against your own neck. If you don't mind, there's a good boy.)

One of the comments at The Economist succinctly expresses why certain functions should not and can not be left to the marketplace.
Of course, the free market doesn't provide universal quality education: thus we must rely on governments to provide this service, and others like it that also serve the greater good but generate no profit. Isn't that the point of taxes in the first place?
You'll often hear Thom Hartmann make the same point in a slightly different way on his radio show. "Don't we already have socialist fire services, socialist police forces, socialist roadways, and a socialist armed forces?"

I would add an observation of my own to that argument. When governments contract out to private enterprise to provide necessary services, they almost invariably do so under a system that is more crony capitalism than healthy competitive free enterprise. Can you say 'cost-plus, no-bid?' It is far better for the public that the money be spent within a government department where it can be more carefully controlled, and where there is recourse for diversion, mis-spending and waste. The whole 'privatization is more efficient' argument falls apart under any close examination.

Certainly the argument against paying taxes for government corruption is a valid one, but just as certainly the remedy is to attack the corruption, not the taxation. Ironically the same type of people who want to spare their buddies the burden of paying their fair share tend to be the type who want to pay off those same buddies through graft. A kind of self-fulfilling prophecy which if you think of it is hardly surprising considering that they want the government to fail. Or at least they claim to; really what they want is a government under their control - maximizing and guaranteeing their profits, socializing their losses, and calling out the guard should the hoi-polloi ever get fed up with the arrangement. In a word, fascism.

Going back to the comment made in The Economist, I think the author chose the perfect example. There is no better investment that a government can make than providing the public with free quality education. A better-educated citizen will earn much more during his lifetime, eventually paying back all the taxes gone into his schooling with interest. Which a wise government will then re-invest on educating his kids.

Maybe it's high time that the wise taxpayer learned that simple lesson. It would certainly be preferred to being conned into participating in some phony protest against your own interests.

ADDENDUM: Just as one example of the COST of LOWER taxes, here's a study of what it cost Americans to NOT have universal health care. (From the National Coalition on Health Care.) Just one fact from this piece forms a conclusive argument. The US spends 17% of GDP on health care and 40% of people are either not covered or not sufficiently covered. Canada covers EVERYBODY for 9.7% of GDP.


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Why this Crisis May be Worse than the Great Depression

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

About one percent of the nation owning more than about 90 percent of the rest of us combined not only foresaw the impending crash but planned to benefit from it. GOP types have traditionally gotten rich by playing 'last man out loses'! A race to be first to 'get out' has triggered many a panic creating bargains to be picked up, fortunes to be made on the inevitable upside. The big difference now is that --this time --there may not be an upside.

The sheer size of this crisis is worrisome. During the Great Depression, the US still had viable industries that had not yet been exported to China by way of the Bushes and Wal-Mart. The US manufactured automobiles, refrigerators, radios and, later, televisions sets. The steel industry created Pittsburgh. Autos made Detroit. America's work and labor were the sources of its wealth. The right wing exploitation and export of that wealth is the source of our current poverty, the financial collapse and our impending slide into third world status. An increasingly tiny elite is the cancer upon the body politic and economic.

The US oligarchy demonstrates why it so foolhardy to transfer so much wealth to so few so quickly. These 'few' foresaw the crisis and triggered it by bailing out early. It is left to the rest of us to pick up the tab.

Something like 50 trillion dollars in derivative debt is far bigger than even the stock market. Derivatives are collateralized debt obligations, leading to the erroneous conclusion that 'debt is money'. The current crisis is proof that it is not. Moreover, anyone who has ever taken a course in accounting knows the accounting equation: net worth = assets - liabilities. That the money changers swapped these instruments did not change the accounting equation. Money owed you is not money in the bank --a lesson that is, of late, very expensive.
Many have said that 'we are doomed'! Our borrowing will be financed by our own savings. Already, Beijing is poised to become the financial capital of the world.

We can thank Wal-Mart and GOP policies for that outcome. In previous articles, I have traced the rise of the Axis of Wal-Mart/China to the faustian bargain Bush Sr cut with Chinese poohbahs as he paved the way for Nixon's infamous visit to the Forbidden city back in 1973. The quick rule of thumb: whenever the US is betrayed, you can be sure to find a GOPPER in hiding whenever the shit hits the fan.

Lately, it has become fashionable to 'spread the guilt' around! What's up with that? I suspect another scheme, another right wing tactic. Fact is GOP 'trickle down' policies have had the measurable effect of enriching just one percent of the nation's population. When the GOP has been caught holding the blood-dripping dagger over the corpse I am in no mood to listen to crap like: 'but Democrats are 'bad' too!' Not this time! Democrats were in office but eight years out of thirty! But in those measly eight years the trend in which wealth flows upward was reversed only to be undone by Bush Jr.

So --if you wish to dilute the open/shut case against Reagan/Bush/Bush Jr cite me some facts and spare me the bullshit!

It was not so long ago that a Democratic president had left to his incompetent GOP successor a whopping budget surplus, a growing economy, the lowest unemployment in decades, and --for Republicans --the most worrisome trend of all: the rich were no longer getting richer as they had done during the Reagan/Bush years. I can think of only one group of people who are most miserable when times are good! REPUBLICANS!

Historically, Republicans have always benefited from recessions.
  1. Recessions are not caused by declining stock markets but seem always to be accompanied by them and are often predicted by them. Republicans play the game of 'last man out wind', taking their profits in numbers that often cause the panic. Only insiders benefit. Others are forced to take their losses.
  2. A depressed market becomes an opportunity for the elite oligarchs to get back in. This elite, in fact, controls the market. Everyone else is exploited by the oligarchs.
  3. It is easy to make money 'selling short' if you have an insider's knowledge of the market. That fortunes were made short-selling subsequent to the 911 attacks seems to me persuasive, perhaps conclusive evidence that 911 was an inside job. What was known by whom and when? No wonder Bush covered up 911. The answer to those questions would have exposed a murderous conspiracy, perhaps 'insiders' inside Bush's criminal and treasonous administration.
  4. Unemployment always rises during times of recession. Should they survive, companies will hire from a larger labor pool at lower wages, lower salaries, reduced benefits, and less vacation or sick time. The GOP despises the Clinton years --not because they were bad but because they were good years and fondly remembered. Europe after the Black Death has that much in common with the Clinton years. The labor supply had been depleted by plague. A would-be employer often had to accede to a worker's demands--better working conditions, more money, a place to live! The serfs had been freed and it was the beginning of the end for Feudalism. I had hoped that a less traumatic cataclysm would have already freed modern day "corporate serfs." Alas! My hopes are dashed. If the US survives at all, you can rest assured that the ruling elite will hire from an impoverished and growing labor pool. Wages and salaries are sure to be inadequate and, as a result, the 'recovery' (should there be one) will be slower for it.
  5. Only the oligarchs benefit when many businesses go out of business during depressions which have the effect of 'weeding out' the competition, consolidating oligarchical gains. A conservative, therefore, is someone who supports a free market when it benefits him and the oligarchy at every other time.
  6. Recessions are not always accompanied by a decline in prices. As many businesses fail, competition is decreased and higher prices result. Given the demand for a particular product, a company may actually earn more money selling fewer units. The difference comes out of your ass. Such demand is called: inelastic, i.e. revenues increase as prices increase --even if total sales should fall.

Unless someone blows the whistle or exercises some clout, the increasingly tiny elite of just one percent of the US population will be even richer at the end of this ruinous and tragic financial collapse. You can be sure the oligarchs foresaw the collapse and hastened it. You can be sure that they alone will benefit from it as they have benefited from every other such crisis in US history.

Depressions are defined by a 'contraction' of the supply of money. It has been asked: 'where did all the money go?'. Much of it was exported to offshore bank accounts in anticipation of a domestic collapse. But much of that money didn't really exist. It was just paper. It became fashionable to consider DEBT as money. But debt is not money and never was. Anyone who has ever considered the significance of the accounting equation --capital equals assets MINUS liabilities knows the truth of it. Nor is 'debt' money for those holding the paper. Loans are good only when backed up by collateral or, in some cases, one's earnings and ability to re-pay. As in all crashes, a 'bill' has come due but cannot be paid.

If debt is not money, what is? A question that was debated just prior and during the Great Depression and, again, in the 1980s. At that time, there were attempts to create a stable ERM --an Exchange Rate Mechanism for European currencies. A gold standard was also discussed. In both cases, it was 'labor' that sucked up the costs of implementation which consisted of efforts to force manufacturers to keep costs down. Again --it is not wealth that trickles down. It is 'costs' that always trickle down and labor is always expected to suck up the costs and consequences of such schemes.

More recently, a 'gold standard' was discussed. Who would have borne the costs of such a scheme when it became clear that the US cannot back up but a fraction of its 'currency' with gold? Ron Paul, I believe, advocated a tax rebate for precious metals purchases. That would have hastened the collapse by encouraging a run on the dollar! But, in fact, the ordinary working person does not invest in precious metals and, if he had done, the decline in consumer spending would have brought about the collapse of our economy even sooner and, arguably, the effects would have been even worse.

Following is a PBS NEWS HOUR Interview with Nassim Nicholas Taleb of October, 21, 2008. A Famous economist, Taleb authored "The Black Swan". Also appearing on the video is Dr. Mandelbrot, professor of Mathematics. Both point out several reasons that make the current crisis worse, more serious than the Great Depression.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Revolution Delayed: Remembering Stokely Carmichael

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Kwame Ture, better known to the American public as Stokely Carmichael, gave the Civil Rights movement its most memorable phrases and slogans, most notably, 'Black Power" and "Black is Beautiful". It was on the campus of the University of Houston that I heard Carmichael urge the 'radicalization' of every college and university campus in the nation. Many feared that the idea would catch on. But for the local and national media reps, I may have been the only 'white' face in the auditorium --a sign of
troubled times.

In the video following this article, he is similarly impassioned, warning of possible 'genocide' against the black man, as in fact, genocide had been perpetrated against my own ancestors -- the Native Americans. On yet another occasion, Carmichael quoted the existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre --and added that he did not need a law from the 'white man' to tell him that he was free. "I know that I am free!" He didn't need a law --a 'honky' law -- to tell him what he already knew.

Later, white students, perhaps inspired to exercise 'student power', protested the US quagmire against the various 'peoples' in Southeast Asia. When they were fired upon at Kent State, four students were killed and nine others wounded. They died martyrs to the cause of free speech in America.

White students were inspired to exert 'power' -- if not 'black power'. Both faced a common oppression, a Military/Industrial complex which by way of a 'draft' sent young men of both races to SE Asia to fight yet another war of US imperialism in defense of a string of faceless Viet Namese generals --all US stooges. In response, an entire generation proposed to change the world.

Despite the best efforts of a generation, we are now dictated to by a ruling oligopoly that represents but one percent of the nation's population. The oligopolists have partnered with their military wing --the 'Military/Industrial Complex'. This unholy alliance is supported by and benefits only the increasingly tiny, ruling elite of just one percent of the nation's population and more specifically a right wing media owned by just seven major, powerful corporations. It is an environment in which your so-called 'representatives' in Washington may ignore you with impunity.They no longer have to care and don't.

Your only chance of making your preferences known are all but nullified by an obstacle course called the 'primary process', the object, the measured effect of which is to marginalize the independent vote, i.e, any candidate not issuing from either wing of the establishment, that is, the Democrats or the Republicans. Meaningful 'campaign reform' requires the outright abolition of the absurd, seemingly endless and prohibitively expensive 'primary' process. It's only effect is a bad one: it guarantees a corrupt two party system in which just two parties compete for crooked money.

In a race to the rear, both parties are corrupt. The only logical choice --the Democrats --are desirable or better but only because they are merely 'less bad'. It's a fucked up system! Our only choice is not between better or worse but between crooked on the one hand and utterly beyond all redemption on the other. Even in the thirties, humorist Will Rogers would assure us: "I am not a member of any organized political party! I am a Democrat!" Another, more recently, defended his support of Democrats: " least they are our crooks!" The reductio ad absurdum of American politics sounds like an early 1960s TV game show: "Choose Your Crook!"

Carmichael, the flamboyant civil rights leader, died of cancer in Conakry, Guinea at the age of just 57. In the mid-1960's he may have ignited a white backlash and alarmed even the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Nevertheless, he understood what every revolutionary of the period understood: the US 'establishment' is corrupt and illegitimate. His words are just as relevant today as they were when they were spoken. He spent his last 30 years in Guinea, advocating revolutionary agenda that was all but ignored in the US.

He joined the SNCC --the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee --in 1960 while a student at Howard University. By 1961, he had became a member of what is remembered as the 'Freedom Riders --black and white volunteers who sat next to each other as they traveled throughout the Deep South. Initially, the 'white' community regarded the tactic as a deliberate provocation. And so it was! The tactic had roots in Thoreau and Ghandi. Violent reactions to it merely proved the point. Arguably, the tide had turned. Bigotry had been exposed; point made!

It was in 1966 that James Meredith began a solitary March Against Fear from Memphis to Jackson. He was soon shot by a sniper. Immediately, other campaigners, including Carmichael and Dr. Martin Luther King took up the banner in Meredith's name.

It was the 27th time that Carmichael had been arrested. Upon his release --on June 16th --Carmichael made his historic 'Black Power' speech.
Upon his release from jail on June 16, 1966, Carmichael made an impassioned speech on the topic of Black Power, railing against advocates of integration and calling instead for black rage and militancy:
"The advocates of Black Power reject the old slogans and meaningless rhetoric of previous years in the civil rights struggle. The language of yesterday is indeed irrelevant: progress, non-violence, integration, fear of 'white backlash,' ... One of the tragedies of the struggle against racism is that up to this point there has been no national organization which could speak to the growing militancy of young black people in the urban ghettos and the black-belt South. There has been only a 'civil rights' movement, whose tone of voice was adapted to an audience of middle-class whites.... We had only the old language of love and suffering. And in most places -- that is, from the liberals and middle class -- we got back the old language of patience and progress.... There is no black man in the country who can live 'simply as a man.' His blackness is an ever-present fact of this racist society, whether he recognizes it or not.... 'Integration' as a goal today speaks to the problem of blackness not only in an unrealistic way but also in a despicable way.... 'integration' is a subterfuge for the maintenance of white supremacy."

By this time, Carmichael had clearly rejected nonviolent civil disobedience as a vehicle for black progress. His desire instead was to burn all bridges between black and white America. Establishing himself as a committed black separatist, he denounced the integrationist Martin Luther King, Jr. as an "Uncle Tom" and began advocating armed violence as the favored means of promoting civil rights.

--Stokely Carmichael, A Guide to the Political Left
A book followed in 1967: Black Power. It was not universally embraced. The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), called Carmichael's ideas 'black racism' Nevertheless, 'black power' is more readily remembered than his other slogan: "Black is Beautiful". Madison Avenue failed to equal either slogan for their ability to 'brand' and 'position' not just a product but a movement and, at the same time, putting all opposition in a defensive posture from which they never recovered.