What we lost

Click to enlargeLibrary of Congress

❝ Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X met only once. On March 26, 1964, the two black leaders were on Capitol Hill, attending Senate debate on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

❝ King was stepping out of a news conference, when Malcolm X, dressed in an elegant black overcoat and wearing his signature horn-rimmed glasses, greeted him.

“Well, Malcolm, good to see you,” King said.

“Good to see you,” Malcolm X replied.

❝ Cameras clicked as the two men walked down the Senate hall together…

❝ The exchange would last only a minute, but the photo remains a haunting reminder of what was lost. They would never meet again before each was assassinated, first Malcolm X and then King.

I met each of these men. Briefly. Once each.

BITD, when I still was a performing artist, I opened for Dr. King on a street corner in the West Side of Chicago. !2-string guitar and all, it was a sunny day in reality and metaphor. MLKjr had come to Chicago to join the fight to end institutional racism, segregated schools in Chicago. Joining Al Raby. Confronting Mayor Daley and part of the racist wing of the Democratic Party. The summer of 1965.

I met Malcolm on another street corner. In 1958 in Harlem. He stood on a step ladder addressing a crowd of a hundred or so. Near Lewis Michaux’s African National Memorial Bookstore. A frequent use for that street corner. I’d taken the A Train to Harlem with my closest friend then. A young Black man working as medical intern for a homebound physician. I was working as a technician in a corporate research lab. We met at night school – both trying to get degrees somehow that might put us in line for better paying work. Both trying to learn more about the nation around us. The racism that chained us together.

Malcolm saw us on the edge of the crowd. And after his speech he came over and asked why we were together. And though his meet was obviously focussed on my friend Daniel, he praised our seeking knowledge, together or separately. Encouraging us.

Both were dead, assassinated within a decade.

Will Complacency Be Tested in 2018?

❝ After years of post-crisis despair, the broad consensus of forecasters is now quite upbeat about prospects for the global economy in 2018. World GDP growth is viewed as increasingly strong, synchronous, and inflation-free. Exuberant financial markets could hardly ask for more…

❝ As was evident in both 2000 and 2008, it doesn’t take much for overvalued asset markets to fall sharply. That’s where [a] third mega-trend could come into play – a wrenching adjustment in the global saving mix. In this case, it’s all about China and the US – the polar extremes of the world’s saving distribution.

China is now in a mode of saving absorption; its domestic saving rate has declined from a peak of 52% in 2010 to 46% in 2016, and appears headed to 42%, or lower, over the next five years. Chinese surplus saving is increasingly being directed inward to support emerging middle-class consumers – making less available to fund needy deficit savers elsewhere in the world.

❝ By contrast, the US, the world’s neediest deficit country, with a domestic saving rate of just 17%, is opting for a fiscal stimulus. That will push total national saving even lower – notwithstanding the vacuous self-funding assurances of supply-siders. As shock absorbers, overvalued financial markets are likely to be squeezed by the arbitrage between the world’s largest surplus and deficit savers. And asset-dependent real economies won’t be too far behind.

I agree with Stephen Roach’s analyses of global economics, macro or otherwise, much of the time. He’s done the research and pursued an active living from managing his understanding of economic trends. Especially in Asia. Now, he’s back in the US – back in the US – back in the USA – trying to broaden the understanding of global economics inside a nation where a larger percentage of the population prefer to pray for guidance than to investigate, analyze and learn.

America’s history as a slave-based economy needs compensation for evil

❝ Mélisande Short-Colomb sits cross-legged on the purple comforter draped over her twin bed. She lives in the dorms here at Georgetown University, where she just wrapped up her first semester as a freshman.

Short-Colomb is 63. But that’s not all that makes her different from her student peers.

❝ Last year, she learned about her ancestors’ ties to the university when she was contacted by a genealogist tracing the descendants of slaves that Jesuits at Georgetown owned almost two centuries ago. She had been working in New Orleans as a chef, but when Georgetown offered her and all of the descendants of the slaves a special legacy admission status, she decided to become a student again.

Compensation for past injustice is not a new concept in law – even American law. Though, let’s face it, we have no shortage of politicians who would fight against such compensation unless it provided direct benefit to their own corrupt lives. And then there still are Dixiecrats who miss the “good old days” of institutional racism.

Flat Earth True Believers Grow Their Numbers in The U.S. — Of Course.

In case you need reminding, here’s what round looks like

❝ The U.S. flat-Earth movement is booming, according to new data that shows more Americans scoured the internet for flat-Earth theories in the last 12 months than ever before.

The Economist tracked how often Americans searched for the words “flat Earth” through Google from 2013 to today. Beating even Kylie Jenner’s famous chemtrail theory, the numbers have been growing since mid-2014…

❝ Urging caution, The Economist cites the dangers of conspiracy theories. The anti-vaccination movement, for example, has been linked to outbreaks of measles cases. Google searches for “anti-vax” exploded when the Centers for Disease Control reported a sharp rise in measles cases in 2015. Unlike the flat-Earth movement, however, this peak was not sustained.

It’s nice to see Trump supporters have an additional center of crap stupidity to keep themselves occupied. Keeps them away from self-harming and voting – for a while.

America’s economy rocks — if you live in a blue county

Click into the article for largerLazaro Gamio/Axios

❝ Economic prosperity is concentrated in America’s elite zip codes, but economic stability outside of those communities is rapidly deteriorating.

❝ U.S. geographical economic inequality is growing, meaning your economic opportunity is more tied to your location than ever before. A large portion of the country is being left behind by today’s economy, according to a county-by-county report released this morning by the Economic Innovation Group, a non-profit research and advocacy organization. This was a major election theme that helped thrust Donald Trump to the White House…

Not that he has a clue or inclination about repairing any of this.

❝ The fastest growing western cities (such as Gilbert, Ariz., and Plano, Texas) and “tech hubs” (Seattle, San Francisco, Austin) dominate the list of the most prosperous cities in the country. Cities that were once industrial powerhouses in the Midwest and Northeast are now more likely to be on the distressed end of the spectrum, like Cleveland and Newark.

“Today’s jobs are going almost exclusively to people with education beyond high school, and those jobs are going to thriving communities,” said John Lettieri, co-founder of EIG. “It’s a self-reinforcing cycle.”

RTFA. Click through to the article – use the link under the map. Conclusions are wishy-washy. The sort of political analysis that illustrates American dedication to sophistry. But, hey, that’s how the Establishment got to limit the whole political process to two Tweedledee and Tweedledumb parties.

Christianity in America grudgingly moves in opposite directions

A series of Pew Research Center polls released last week shows how ideas about religious belief and morality are increasingly falling along racial and political lines. Fifty-six percent of Americans now say that belief in God isn’t a necessary component of morality, up from 49 percent in 2011. The uptick reflects the wider prevalence of the spiritually unaffiliated, or “nones,” as nearly a quarter of Americans identified as atheist or agnostic in 2011.

The change may be only a 7-point difference. But those differences manifest themselves almost exclusively along political lines.

Having resolved this discussion to the best information available in science and philosophy – at the time – I’ve been a philosophical materialist, a dialectician, an atheist since 1956. Every serious scientific publication I’ve read since has only strengthened that conviction.

While Republicans have roughly held steady in their attitudes — 50 percent say a belief in God is necessary for morality, while 47 percent say it is not — Democrats have shown the most change in their perspectives. Almost two-thirds of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters now say belief in God is not part of being a good person, compared with 51 percent in 2011.

RTFA for more directions – and direction – the authors seem solid that this portion of their survey speaks most accurately to changes in the United States.