Friday, November 10, 2017

News on this Veterans' Day

There is certainly a serious problem of economic inequality. The IPS or the Institute of Policy Studies released a recent study. That study stated that Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett (or the three wealthiest Americans) own more wealth than the poorest half of Americans (which make up about 160 million people). These three billionaires have the combined wealth of $264 billion. The Institute for Policy Studies report, “Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the rest of us,” reveals that the richest 25 Americans are wealthier than the bottom 56 percent of the US. The net worth of the 400 richest is roughly equal to that of the bottom two thirds of the country, a total of 200 million people. According to the report’s authors, the US has become “a hereditary aristocracy of wealth and power.” This concentration of wealth is a massive level isn't just found in America. It is found internationally too. Oxfam reported in June 2017 that the world’s 5 richest people own as much as the poorest half of the world’s population, down from 80 people in 2015. Today, each of the top 5 billionaires owns as much as 750 million people, more than the total population of Latin America and double the population of the US. That is wild to fathom. Offshore tax havens and legal trusts also are involved in the massive economic inequality in the world.

The Gini Coefficient is also used in economics to define wealth distribution in a country. Many low and middle income people have some wealth but lack liquid savings in dealing with cash or saving. One article says that over 60 percent of Americans report not having enough savings to cover a $500 emergency. According to a recent study of Census data by the Economic Policy Institute, retirement account savings have plummeted in recent years among all age groups. This reality of economic inequality is not new. For decades, deindustrialization, cuts to social programs, tax cuts to the super wealthy, the economic recession, and other problems have caused more economic tribulations. It is no secret that the super-rich have oligarchical influence over economics, politics, and other spheres of influence in the world. That is why it is imperative to talk about these things and organize among workers and the poor in order for us to defeat the agenda of oligarchy and form a greater society where egalitarianism and justice prevail.

Esther Rolle was an actress for decades and she represented the resiliency, strength, and determination of black women. She was famous in playing the mother of a family on Good Times (which is a show about a poor family in a poor Chicago neighborhood). She was born in Pompano Beach, Florida. Her parents came from the Bahamas. Rolle graduated from Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, Florida. She initially studied at Spelman College in Atlanta, before moving to New York City. While in New York, she attended Hunter College before transferring to The New School and then Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. She was involved in music, theater, dance, and film. From the Learning Tree to Rosewood, her roles outlined the breadth of the African American experience. Rest in Power Sister Esther Rolle. Minnie Riperton was one of the greatest singers in history with a crystal clear and powerful voice. Her music was inspirational and she was very honest to express what she was going through. Always the humanitarian, she stood out in the world. She was hopeful and she loved her family with an unconditional love. She was born in Chicago in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood. She not only shown classic records. She also brought awareness about breast cancer and cancer in general. Back in the day during the 1970's, it was taboo for a person in America to talk about cancer like we talk about it today. Yet, Minnie Riperton talked about breast cancer and she was a member of the American Cancer Society. She was young and on 1979, that was the year of her transition. We certainly honor her talent and her compassionate soul.
Rest in Power Sister Minnie Riperton.

Yesterday was the Birthday of the late Dorothy Dandridge. She was a legendary actress spanning decades. Her life was a life that was filled with love, acting, and being ahead of her time. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio and she was a legendary African American actress. Her movies included grit, talent, the complexities of life, and the insights relevant to the human soul. Always the professional, she wanted her audience to witness her work with progressive insights. Her beauty wasn't just in her very beautiful appearance. It was found in her great personality, in her positive energy, and her advocacy for civil rights. It is always beautiful for a human being to stand up for a legitimate cause of the equality of fellow human beings. She could act, sing, and dance. No one can deny her talent. No one can deny her elegance. I do feel star struck when I witness her in her movies. Carmen Jones, Porgy and Bess, and other films presented the world the artistic greatness of African American culture. When I was child during the 1990's, I always loved to watch Carmen Jones. 1965 was the year of her passing. Now, we witness her legacy involving the growth of talented black actresses throughout theater and film. We see the further expression of actors and actresses in having a diversity of roles. So, her passing was sad and now, she is in Paradise. Her life was short, but her passion and her legacy were enormous.
Sweet Dreams Sister Dorothy Dandridge.

Yes, I live in Virginia and it’s getting colder now. The elections shown many things. First, I think that Virginia is a much more progressive state than even 10 years ago. There are more Latinos and Filipinos living in VA. When I was a kid, I saw more Filipinos in my middle school (during the 1990’s) than Latinos. Also, the urban areas of Northern VA, Roanoke, Hampton Roads, and Richmond caused Northam to be elected. A lot of black people live in VA, so many black elected officials were voted in like Fairfax, Daun Hester, etc. The 2017 election blatantly was a total backlash against the agenda of Donald Trump. Trump has shown the face of white racism from his statements to his militarist posture against various nations. We can’t be naive either. We know that we have a very long way to go. Solutions include activism, helping our communities, and forming infrastructure in the black community too. Gillespie lost since he faked who he was. He is a lobbyist from New Jersey trying to act like he is reincarnation of Stonewall Jackson. He placed lying ads and tried to advance fear and xenophobia. It didn’t work. People saw through that facade. For him or Gillespie to overtly condone public funding of Confederate statues (when Confederates are traitors and white supremacist terrorists) brought many black people to the polls. Also, Northam also made the mistake of minimizing the importance of the black Lt. Governor candidate of Fairfax for fear of offending white reactionaries. So, we know about the games from the 2 party system. Virginia certainly is more progressive and this election result showed it. Other elections in Virginia had a historic significance too. Nationwide, there were many firsts for black men and black women being mayors in many cities. Black people (our people) are resourceful. Our eyes are on the prize, which is total black liberation.

By Timothy

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