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I'm an electrical engineer and mathematician by training. My career has spanned diverse areas of expertise from being part of a team which designed the world's most powerful computers to corporate consulting around business transformation and information-based solutions to being a corporate sales and marketing executive in the information technology and business consulting space. I’ve led teams responsible for innovative and transformative solutions and been part of teams that helped set strategy for many of America's greatest companies. Two of my interests are econometrics, democratic finance and quantitative - qualitative analysis. Over the years I have developed risk-based models and trading systems meant to identify significant investment opportunities and periods of extreme risk. My blog is an outlet for another of my passions, writing. I generally consider myself a contrarian. Therefore, many of my rantings are meant to encourage people to question what they believe to be true. Terms of Use & Disclaimer: First off, I don't take anything on here too seriously and you shouldn't either. These are simply sardonic rantings of Bill, my alter ego, often meant to agitate for peaceful & nonviolent reform. This web site reflects the views of its authors. It is unaffiliated with any NASD broker/dealer. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of anyone other than its authors. The information on this site is provided for discussion purposes, comedic relief and entertainment only and are not investing recommendations. The authors may have positions in securities mentioned herein. Under no circumstances does this information represent a recommendation to buy or sell securities. While information discussed on this site was gathered from what are believed to be reliable sources, in no way is informational accuracy guaranteed. All information on this site may contain errors and omissions. Trading and investing involves high levels of risk. Always consult a licensed financial advisor or broker before making any and all investment decisions. Authors of this site and any sites which are fed by said site, including Open Salon and others, will assume no responsibility for the actions of the reader and user. Readers and users agree, as condition to accessing this site, to release and hold harmless this site's authors from all liability in connection with this site or any views posted on this site. All readers and users of this site agree that use of this site requires acceptance to the current Terms Of Use & Disclaimer and that current terms include any and all use and material from site inception. If you do not understand these statements in their entirety or do not agree to be bound by this current agreement, you must immediately discontinue use of this site. This Terms Of Use & Disclaimer may change at any time and it is the reader's and user's responsibility to review, understand and abide by any updates.

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JANUARY 21, 2013 10:29PM

The Black Elite and the Legacy of Martin Luther King

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I haven't been at a computer today so this is late.  But I wanted to get this up.  I have felt compelled to write about the topic covered in this video for many years but have refrained from doing so.  I most certainly feel very strongly that the views shared by Glen Ford on The Real News are indeed filled with substantial truth.  

There are about five or so historical figures in this nation that I hold in very high regard.  Their desire for human dignity was so powerful they truly changed the course of history in this nation.   They lived through incredibly wicked social injustices and literally coalesced those oppressed into great movements against tyrannical and illegitimate authority.  And, there was none more powerful than Martin Luther King…  Well, Mother Jones, the most dangerous woman in America, might have given him a run for his money. 

I don’t believe in hero worship or outsourcing one’s power to another human being.  But, I do believe that we should honor those amongst us who are able to rise above the human condition and truly accomplish great things on behalf of human decency and dignity.   To truly accomplish acts of selflessness.  Whether that is our parents or anyone else who, in some small way, is able to make the world a little bit better for the rest of us.  I mean truly better.  Tangible results not political rhetoric or hollow promises. 

Martin Luther King wasn’t a perfect person.  Surely we are all complex, often even paradoxical as King was.  But he was probably the most positively impactful person in our nation’s history.  And, in countless ways that people don’t yet realize.  This was a powerful man with a powerful mind with a timeless message of human equality and human dignity for all people. 

On this day, we honor the dignity he fought so fervently to bring to all people.  A dignity that is currently under assault once again in this nation and around the world.   

Title link video here.

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Actually I prefer Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis, and Malcolm X, to Martin Luther King. Although Kings message has been watered down considerably in the lens of the corporate controlled MSM. He wasn’t quite the pacifist he was portrayed as today. There is a great little piece about that in You Are Being Lied To: The Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes and Cultural Myths. You would love that book TL.
Great post. I agree with you about hero worship. I'm tired of being disappointed, but I would also agree about Mother Jones.
Although King made a significant dent in the vile mistreatment of black Americans it is noteworthy that his outrage over the meaningless butchery in Vietnam has little effect on Americans, both black and otherwise, in the continuous bludgeoning of other nations around the world with it's military and economic might resulting in the callous deaths of hundreds of thousands of totally innocent people and the destruction of economies of lesser nations. The current black president seems totally oblivious to the monstrous incarceration of incredible numbers of black people to the profit of the private prison industry thus returning many blacks to the tradition of slavery through other means. To honor a man means to honor his beliefs, not merely his existence, and in this the nation has failed totally.
The Civil Rights Movement opened doors to ambitious black people. It was probably inevitable that some of them were selfish and cynical in their motives.o me the importance of Dr. King and others who have become "heroes" or "icons" or "symbols" is as catalysts, not as idols up on a pedastal.Their influecne and continued relevance, if any, completely depends on what their words and theri examples awaken with us and future peoples. Glenn Greenwald has a post on today's AlterNet that sharply contrasts Dr. King's view of US militarism and foreign policy with the Bush-Obama line that controls US actions abroad. Personally, I think it was probably inevitable that Obama, too, would be seen as both the fulfillment in some ways, and the betrayal in other ways, of Dr. King's legacy. History, I think Marx observed, is the most cruel of the goddesses, showing us endless ironies and paradoxes.
Booker T Washington and WEB Dubois and Frederick Douglass are important in that story too.
[r] Amen, TL! Thanks for this. It was a hard day to get through with all the pomp and circumstance and no mention media-wise of hard and ugly and craven reality perpetrated by the Obama administration.

I appreciated the article by Glen Ford when I read it, "Don't You Dare Conflate MLK with Obama" But they did, didn't they? Jill Stein speaks of the politics of courage, and when MLK talked tough love to LBJ about Vietnam, and it was a high risk and the "cronyism" was lost as so much political cronyism is when anyone shows spine, all or nothing, MLK showed and role modeled character and conscience.

I love that Glen Ford points out that if MLK were alive in this year of Obama he would be leading anti-drone and anti-corporatism and anti-Obama protests not enjoying lobster lunches and schmoozing with the black and white misleadership classes. Obama and his cabal and the journalists know that but they diss the voices of MLK followers by blacking out their messages and their very existence.

The Progressive Caucus of the House is such a laugh. Nancy Pelosi gives them the Obama marching orders and they goose step. This is the best we got? 72 so-called Progressives. Hah!!! A friend at work says the popularity of Congress is right there UNDER bedbugs. Seriously, NO ONE IS SERIOUSLY GOING ON RECORD AS OPPOSED TO THIS TYRANNICAL AND FRONTMAN FOR OLIGARCHS (Glen Ford's label) TOXIC PRESIDENT?????

I watched the NewsHour today and there was no mention of anything negative about Obama. Drones. Illegal wars. Torture. Brennan. Assassination. Assassination of Americans. Signature strikes. NDAA. Immunity for corporate fraud. Brooks and Shields gave homage as did the historians.

And the poignant moment someone said when Obama turned around to view the hundreds of thousands who came out in the cold to celebrate his leadership as he bombs the shit out the Middle East and now Africa, sanctions starve people, drones incinerate them, his covert CIA and black ops armies torture and detain and kidnap people. Kill lists. Gitmo innocent men still stuck there for another year, 11 is it? God damn. And Obama speaks enough rhetoric to confuse those not paying attention. Austerity is necessary and noble. And he will need to be strong about slashing our social programs, social security, medicare, medicaid, food stamps. Profits are obscene for the wreckers of our economy, the outsourcers of our jobs, the hoarders of the TARP bailout money, but Obama talks about the necessity of sacrifice. Anyway, what was Obama thinking when he looked out and saw so many in denial of what he does, celebrating who he is not. His victims cheering him on. Wow. Stockholm syndrome on steroids.

TL, there is NEVER mention on the NewsHour and much of MSNBC at least when I used to watch (sometimes Chris Hayes now) of the LEFT that are protesting Obama and sickened by his obscene policies. Only the right do they bring up, the wrong-headedness and racism of the tea party they bring up. There is never the acknowledgement of the left real liberals who are appalled by the amorality and violence of Obama's regime. The trashing of our constitutional rights. That is demoralizing to us and disenfranchising. I'd say marginalizing but they don't even suggest we are on that left margin at all.

The mainstream media is captured by the military industrial security and let's add media complex and sadly most of America is in the media and the personality cult of Obama's hypnotic thrall.

best, libby
All interesting comments. Everyone marches to the beat of their own drummer and finds inspiration through different venues and voices. There were certainly countless people who impacted our history. Jan, I have a post just for you and I think it might help you to consider a different way of looking at events... But, I won't be putting it up anytime soon. And Libby, I, like you, am sickened by the complete lack of grace amongst the propaganda and pomp of this most recent inauguration. I found Ford's comments about King being in opposition to the corporate state's protagonist, Obama, to be refreshing in light of the pablum we are fed by elites, many liberals, Hollywood and the MSM. Personally, I truly have no appreciation for what kind of people can party to excess while so many tens of millions of Americans are living in abject poverty. Poverty created by politicians and their corporate masters.

No true leader of the people would be caught up in the bubble in Washington or dining and partying like royalty while so many in our nation and around the world are denied basic human dignities. Stokely Carmichael, Jesus of Nazareth, Mother Jones, Frederick Douglas, William Lloyd Garrison and others whose struggles were to define human decency and dignity would never be dining with our self-appointed royalty. They would be humbly dining with with their brothers and sisters as a sign of the strength of their bond.
@Jack Heart though I love all that you mentioned for Black people (and I don't know how many of us realize this) we would not have come this far if we didn't have both sides of the coin. Dr. King was the preferred method for much of White America, the others were the necessary method of many in Black America. If White America had not seen the alternative they may have been hosing and sicing dogs on us to this day.
@Don Rich I think Booker T would be the Obama to Dubois and Douglass as more in line with Angela Davis.
@libbyliberalnyc the progressive wing is the regressive wing of the Democratic party. First there is no leader only popular news personalities who further an agenda they call progressive but I could wrestle them to the ground with history to support why they are wrong on illegal immigration and MIA on just about everything else except for gay rights. Unfortunately the progressive wing reminds me of the alliance between Blacks and Jews that was torn apart in NY when Black parents decided they wanted a voice on their kids school board. The Jews had control even in Black neighborhoods and they felt betrayed because of the work they did with Civil Rights, but in reality they worked towards their right to be called White/Jews and if using Black people helped them to that end they would. You will notice that alliance is no longer even talked about. Jews went from not being able to join country clubs and being excluded just for their religion. They weren't even considered White, because White meant White Anglo-Saxon Protestant in those days or WASP. Now they are the same as WASP do you see Jews as a driver of Civil Rights today?
I respect your opinion but I have to disagree with your statement that MLK was the preferred method for white America. I certainly would agree that it is plausible that Obama fits that bill for white elite liberals because he is biracial and elite-educated. But white America killed MLK. Whether one believes it was the government, capitalism, the war state or a crazed lunatic acting on his own........... if there was some power that conspired to kill him, all of those institutions were manifestations of white patriarchal power in our nation.

Certainly there had to be an on-the-ground movement led by local civil rights advocates for King to be successful. Maybe that is what you are trying to say. And, we can debate if the chicken or the egg came first. ie, Did the movement gain inertia before King? And, I certainly respect all of the contributions made by men and women of all ethnicities in this struggle. And, mind you, it was a multi-cultural, multi-racial movement, and that is what finally gave it the power necessary to force change. As a society We The People need unity to solve the ills of corruption and tyranny that face our citizens; a reason why divisive politics define both parties. That is, to atomize dissent and turn us against each other.

But it was MLK who coalesced those movements, that may not have gained enough inertia to affect truly substantial change without a national leader. King was unique because he was able to take those local movements and organize them into concrete action at the national level.