Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Important News in late December 2017

Also, it is important to never give up. I know countless stories of people who suffered a lot and they achieved massive blessings. Therefore, it is our responsibility to not only do the right thing. We have the responsibility to help others. The reason is that we aren't islands as human beings. The nature of human beings is to be loved, is to be respected, and to work in dealing with their communities. That is why it is important for us to show empathy to those who deserve it. Also, naivete ought to be completely rejected. There are certainly people who believe in evil and do evil. Those, who do evil, don't deserve coddling. They deserve accountability and justice. Just because you may act meek doesn't mean that you take disrespect. No one should take disrespect period. That is why it is the truth that courage, excellence, dedication, and humility will go a long way in one's total longevity. We live life not only for ourselves. We live life in order for us to recognize the inherit value of the rest of humanity (including Nature) too.

The GOP tax bill is a total disgrace. It has nothing to do with helping all Americans. It has to do with benefiting a select group of the super wealthy primarily. Many GOP members have made tax cuts into a fetish and believe in the lie of trickled down economics.  The bill definitely doesn't benefit the poor as the GOP leadership doesn't give an inch of care for the poor. That's obvious. Also, the majority of Americans in about 55 percent oppose the tax bill. This 1.5 trillion dollar tax bill is filled with tax cuts and tax code revisions. It will eliminate the ACA's individual mandate, cuts to the mortgage interest deduction, a long-standing break for state and local taxes, subsidies for public transportation, and a key funding method for roads and other public projects. This will harm urban and poor communities nationwide. This will be the largest tax overhaul since 1986. Legislation that will transfer trillions of dollars from the working class to the richest 10 percent of the population, disproportionately to the richest 1 percent and 0.1 percent, will be made the law of the land within less than two months of its initial release and without a single congressional hearing. Much of the bill has been created in secret without input from the American people outside of Congress. The bill has token benefits for college students and some child tax credits (which should happen) and other matters, but it does nothing to radically improve the economic lives of all Americans. Enactment of the cynically named “Tax Cut and Jobs Act” will slash federal tax revenues by between $1 trillion and $2 trillion over the next decade. The sharply increased budget deficit and national debt will be used to justify a frontal attack on the core social programs remaining from the 1930's and 1960's: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The heart of the bill is a massive cut in the corporate tax rate from the current 35 percent to 21 percent. It is estimated that this alone will increase corporate revenues by some $6 trillion over the next decade. The effective US corporate rate, i.e., the rate corporations actually pay after making use of tax loopholes and dodges of various kinds, is presently between 19 and 21 percent, already below that paid by US rivals in Europe and Asia. According to economists at the University of Pennsylvania, under the new law the effective rate across all industries will fall to 9 percent next year. There are provisions that eliminate or reduce current tax deductions used by tens of millions of working Americans, including deductions for mortgage interest and state and local taxes. The bill also pares back deductions on losses from fires and floods, and repeals them for alimony payments and moving expenses. Low income people who currently claim the earned income tax credit will lose an estimated $19 billion over the coming decade because of the chained CPI. The the bill terminates all provisions relating to individual tax rates at the end of 2025, leaving low and middle-income people facing a sudden, large tax increase for 2026 and beyond. The oligarchy controls the majority of the leadership of Democrats and Republicans. This bill is for and by the oligarchy as they control most of the wealth of America. The oligarchy never relinquishes their power without struggle against the agenda of the oligarchy. Therefore, we must continue to fight for economic justice.

Recently, Cornell West wrote an article criticizing Ta-Nehisi Coates. You know that I don't back down from confronting issues. So, here are my views about this dispute or debate. First, West's criticism of Coates is similar to his criticism of Obama. In essence, West feels that Coates doesn't go far enough in criticizing Obama and he believes that he doesn't go far enough in utilizing a class analysis or an analysis about certain issues (like Wall Street's predatory acts, imperialistic aggression overseas or various forms of discrimination against the oppressed). West wrote that Coates writes about racism/white supremacy and nothing more. Coates expressed pessimism about the American experiment because of the unfair experiences of black people in the Americas for centuries. Capitalist exploitation has harmed black people. We know where this comes from. West is correct to expose imperialism, neoliberalism, and other evils. West is right to expose the crimes of imperialism from drone strikes to bloody wars. The truth is in between the 2 extremes. West omits that Coates has critiqued Obama on many issues. Not to mention that Coates also did the right thing in advocating for reparations (a black man calling for reparations by definition is not a neoliberal), racial justice, and economic justice. Coates isn't perfect and no human is perfect. Yet, Coates' views on race and other injustices aren't synonymous with neoliberal views. As for neoliberalism, it is the philosophy of believing in globalization, deregulation, tax cuts for the rich, and other policies of the status quo. Therefore, it is completely unfair to compare Coates to a neoliberal extremist bend on privatization, ecological disaster, and other forms of oppression. West is right on many issues, but he must realize that he isn't the sole arbitrator of Blackness. Blackness comes in many different forms and Coates is a black man too. Some of West's criticisms of Obama go beyond legitimate critique, but personal invective (like him calling Obama a Rockefeller Republican in blackface. That's crossing a line. He called Obama other names that I can't mention here. I disagree with Obama on some issues, but I don't call him out of his name). Cornell West should realize that not everyone will agree with him on everything while Coates should realize that exposing Wall Street, empire, class oppression, and other forms of oppression does a great job in building on his ideologies. Coates should never feel shame about his unapologetic exposure of white racism as he's telling the truth about the vicious nature of white racism. So, both men should learn from each other and grow. I feel very disappointed in West calling Trump his "authentic Brother." Trump a'int my Brother in no shape or form. I reject permanent pessimism as a solution as I do believe in hope and a willingness to fight for change. So, both West and Coates are black intellectuals. Our real enemy isn't Coates. It's the system of racism/white supremacy. That's my take.

On Monday, Donald Trump came out to give his foreign policy position. He gave his speech at Washington, D.C. and he released his 55 page document National Security policy. His foreign policy is called by him as "America First." That is just a coded phrase meaning American imperialism and American domination of the geopolitical structure of the world. Trump believes in upending climate change agreements, building a xenophobic wall, and ending the nuclear accord with Iran (which has worked). Reactionary foreign policy advisor Stephen Miller edited the document too. It has anti-immigrant themes. In his speech, Trump criticized previous American Presidents for ignoring the "forgotten" Americans, which is nothing more than describing some Americans who want to revert to the bad old days of the 1950's (and before). It or his foreign policy includes a military build up and a more aggressive posture against China and Russia. It wants also to increase U.S. nuclear capacity. The document wanted a trade war and other economic policies beneficial to Wall Street interests and multinational corporations (not the masses of working and poor people in America). The document claims that the military is being depleted, which is a lie. While the multiple wars waged over the past 16 years have caused a spending of nearly $6 trillion and Washington continues to spend more on its military than the next eight countries combined. Trump's supporters claims that Trump promotes isolationism, but he wants to extent U.S. military forces overseas. The document is not ambiguous. It is very clear in its precepts of militarism, economic deregulation, extremism, egoism, and a lack of a cogent strategy to handle international affairs.

Days ago was the Birthday of Sister Cicely Tyson. She is now 93 years old. For over 50 years, Cicely Tyson has blessed us with her beauty, her acting talent, her philanthropy, and her excellent wisdom. She broke down barriers for black people and women, especially black women. She displayed non stereotypical, realistic ,and honest roles spanning before the 1960's. She was born in New York City. Her parents were Afro-Caribbeans from Nevis in the West Indies. She acted in Frontiers of Faith on NBC back in 1951. She was in TV shows and movies during the 1960's. She was in the critically acclaimed movie of Sounder back in 1972. She has shown excellence on the screen. She won many Emmys because of her talanted performances. The Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, a magnet school in East Orange, New Jersey, was renamed in Tyson's honor. She plays an active part in supporting the school, which serves one of New Jersey's most underprivileged African-American communities. On November 22, 2016, she was awarded the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. She continues to act and do movies in this decade of the 2010's. A role model for black women is her reality. Working hard and enjoying life are part of her whole persona. She is an inspiration forever. I wish Sister Cicely Tyson more blessings.

By Timothy

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