Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending August 5, 2017; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending August 10, 2017; Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier Quits Presidential Council, “Colorblindness” Must End


Of Note items

(1) Cannot find a job? Move! Billionaire Donald Trump (the 45th president who often travels to his properties) and economist Tyler Cowen (professor of economics at George Mason University) advise you to move, forgetting at-will employment, lack of relocation-cost reimbursement, effect of child custody agreements, underwater mortgages, or other real-life (not academic economist’s) considerations (for example, unemployed people do not have money).

(2) Detestable overt and implicit “colorblind” racial violence. It is commendable that Kenneth Frazier, CEO, Merck & Co., stated that he quit from Trump’s President’s Manufacturing Council as a result of Trump’s lack of response to the tragedy in Charlottesville, Va. (Image is from Frazier’s tweet (link above).)

merck ceo leaves council 2017

However, while the racial violence was overt in Charlottesville, the everyday implicit racial bias is equally corrosive to a fair society. The everyday silent, hidden “colorblind” violence continues. It would be far more helpful for Frazier to start a CEO-led committee to expose and eradicate all discrimination in the workplace.

The Supreme Court, through Antonin Scalia and John Marshall Harlan, demonstrated its institutional loyalty to the racial status quo–white-race societal dominance. The Federal Reserve, in its completed , almost 20-year employment discrimination case, Artis v. Greenspan Bernanke Yellen, also demonstrated its institutional fidelity to “colorblind” racial discrimination.

(See Auerbach, Robert (2008). “Deception and Abuse at the Fed,” chapter 8, and Merton, Rev. Thomas (1964). “Seeds of Destruction” (Letters to a White Liberal).)

2014-03-04-auerbach
Sheila Clark’s letter to the EEOC (printed in the Auerbach book, page 123).

The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending August 5, 2017, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received

Category Action Taken
Forms Forms — initial Board review to extend with revision the Application for Employment with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FR 28, FR 28s, and FR 28i).
-Proposed, July 24, 2017Forms — initial Board review to extend without revision the Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Disclosure Requirements Associated with Proprietary Trading and Certain Interests in and Relationships with Covered Funds (Regulation VV) (FR VV).
-Proposed, July 27, 2017
Enforcement Barclays Bank PLC, New York Branch, New York, New York — issuance of a consent order of prohibition against Michael Weston, a former institution-affiliated party.
-Announced, July 24, 2017M&T Bank Corporation, Buffalo, New York, and Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company — written agreement dated June 17, 2013, terminated July 25, 2017.
-Announced, July 27, 2017

Federal Reserve Board: Balance Sheet (H.4.1 Release)

The Board publishes data of factors affecting reserve balances. The digest is called the H.4.1 Release, and they are published every Thursday (or the next business day if the publication date falls on a federal holiday). The release for August 10, 2017, is below.

[Note: The blog will cover the line titled “Total Factors Supplying Reserve Funds.”]

H.4.1 Release–Factors Affecting Reserve Balances

Total factors supplying reserve funds (as of August 9, 2017):  $4,515,817 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)

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Futility of “Colorblindness” and Bill Maher: The Attempt to Use the First Amendment as a Cover for Racial Abuse; the Never-Ending Pain (and Seeming Persistence) of the N-Word

In a few seconds on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher show, the sad reality of U.S. culture was laid bare for all to see. First, a white man, Bill Maher, felt comfortable enough to casually use the N-word. Then, on top of that, a United States Senator, Benjamin Sasse (R-Nebraska), with black constituents, tacitly agreed with Bill Maher’s use of the N-word, saying absolutely nothing.

Senator Sasse wrote later he was surprised by the statement and that was the reason for his silence. But surely no one in who lives in the United States is unfamiliar with the N-word and its meaning. So, I do not accept Senator Sasse’s explanation. (Would he be that passive if someone he knows was insulted? Only he knows, but I suspect the answer is no.)


Note:  Moreover, Senator Sasse stated he is a “First Amendment absolutist,” which apparently means that racial abusive language is supposed to be protected. In contrast, in the United Kingdom, racial abuse is a criminal offense. This situation shows that the United States still has a long way to go in resolving its moral failings and inhumanity due to chattel slavery. Attempting to force targets of racial abuse to accept racial abuse as licit will ultimately lead to disaster.


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Virginia Slave Law, 1705

I have to say I was surprised by the anger towards use of the N-word by Maher, as hip-hop music sung by black music artists is often filled with extreme and excessive use of the N-word (and, at times, vulgar language). This music is popular and is sold internationally. So, people learning English will pick up language from U.S. chattel slavery. This situation should be held as absolutely disgusting, but it is not. The United States will have to reckon with its practice of chattel slavery and Jim Crow before liberally throwing this inhuman word around–by people like Maher and, indeed, anyone else.

As the blog stated in 2014–

With this word and the bloody context surrounding and involving it

  • no young person,
  • no singer,
  • no newspaper,
  • no journalist,
  • no agent provocateur,
  • no athlete,
  • no actor

nobody–can sanitize (or dare sanction the use of) this ugly word! There must be a full accounting of the blood spilled and denied humanity of Black people first (current time included). Once that is done, then the society will be able to take on the word, which if the corrective action would have been placed into effect, the word would disappear from the lexicon.

A few seconds in a TV show in 2017 captured the failure of the United States to reckon with its living legacy of chattel slavery. It has distorted the culture of the United States in harmful ways.

Note: After this post was published, the blog became aware of Ice Cube’s comment to Maher about the ownership of the n-word. The blog’s response is the same–the word is vile and must be removed from music lyrics sold for general consumption.

 

 

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Futility of “Colorblindness”: Red Cross Poster Associated Negative Connotations to Nonwhite Characters; Mere “Apology” Insufficient

The Washington Post reported on the following story. A user of a pool looked at an American Red Cross poster and felt uncomfortable because the characters that displayed the so-called uncool pool behaviors were generally nonwhite. The posters were created by the American Red Cross and distributed. Seemingly, throughout the process, no one noticed this particular issue.

American Red Cross former pool safety poster; photo of poster taken by Margaret Sawyer

The response from the Red Cross was unsurprising, denying racial “intent” and promising to correct the situation. However, the situation is not overt discrimination but the formation of mental negative connotations and then representing those negative ideas with nonwhite characters or people.

A quote from Reverend Thomas Merton’s book, “Seeds of Destruction” (Letters to a White Liberal), page 19-20, demonstrates the weakness of reliance on claims of lack of “intent”:

We have been willing to grant the Negro rights on paper, even in the South. But the laws have been framed in such a way that in every case their execution has depended on the good will of white society, and the white man has not failed, when left to himself, to block, obstruct, or simply forget the necessary action without which the rights of the Negro cannot be enjoyed in fact. Hence, when laws have been passed, then contested, dragged through all of the courts, and finally upheld, the Negro is still in no position to benefit by them without, in each case, entering into further interminable lawsuits every time he wants to exercise a right guaranteed to him by law.

(Note: Emphasis, above (in bold), the blog author’s.)

A mere “apology” is insufficient to address this issue. The negative associations in the poster (and elsewhere in the culture of the United States) will have to be unearthed, raised to the sunlight, examined, and dealt with totally. As seen with Antonin Scalia (1936-2016), the United States’ cultural practices need much attention and correction in order to be truly inclusive of all people.

The work of Jane Elliott is a good start to begin the inquiry.

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Futility of “Colorblindness” and Fareed Zakaria: In His Program “Why They Hate Us?” Zakaria Defends Muslims at the Expense of Black People; Zakaria, Thus, Is a Dangerous Hypocrite

I distrust percentages stated alone, especially those drawn from the malleable area of statistics, unless those percentages are surrounded by the raw numeric data from which they are derived. The abstract nature of percentages by themselves without solid context leads to problems.

Such problems are magnified when they involve racial issues in the United States. The acceptability of ruining black people for just being black has long been present in the culture of the United States of America. So, the sloppiness of Fareed Zakaria’s reporting in this area cannot be accepted. In defending his Muslim people, he casually and brutally attacked black people, a practice that is well established in the practice of white supremacy.

Only in his case, Zakaria delivered the punch and then cynically tried to apply a soothing balm of explanation that one cannot rabidly hate the entire group of which he accused 50% of the members of being murderers. This is simply beneath dignity, and I cannot accept Zakaria’s work as being valid ever again.

Here is Zakaria’s quotation from his program “Why They Hate Us?”:

But here’s another way to think about this. In America, African-Americans make up about 13% of the population, yet they comprise about 50% of homicide offenders, according to a Justice Department study. Now we understand — I hope we understand — that when we see a black man on the street, we cannot and must not treat him as a likely criminal. It would be dehumanizing, unfair and racist. In America, of all places, people should be treated as individuals and not as stereotypes from a racial, ethnic or religious group. And remember, the Bangladeshi cabdriver who drives you to the airport has nothing, nothing to do with ISIS, even though he is also a Muslim.

 

United States (population: 308,745,538) (2010 Census)

Race Percentage of population Number
White 72.4% 223,553,265
Black 12.6 38,929,319
Native American 0.7 540,013
Asian 4.8 14,674,252

The issue I have is the casual implication that Zakaria presents as fact and then attempts to explain and defend–in so many words, even though I implied that 19 million black people commit murder, you the viewer cannot therefore hate all black people. This quotation is simply sloppy reporting, factually incorrect, cowardly, and categorically unacceptable.

For an example, here are the number for murders in 2013 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Murder
Race, Ethnicity, and Sex of Victim by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex of Offender, 2013
[Single victim/single offender]
Race of victim      Total Race of offender Sex of offender Ethnicity of offender1
White Black or

African

American

Other1 Unknown Male Female Unknown Hispanic

or Latino

Not

Hispanic

or Latino

Unknown
White 3,005 2,509 409 49 38 2,661 306 38 532 945 1,528
Black or African American 2,491 189 2,245 20 37 2,217 237 37 76 807 1,608
Other race2 159 32 27 96 4 142 13 4 10 63 86
Unknown race 68 25 17 3 23 38 7 23 3 14 51

The truth is only a minuscule subset of the total black population commit homicide (2,491/38,929,319=0.0001 ). Whites commit homicide also (something that Zakaria does not even state for context–the number is similarly small based on population); moreover, when Dylann Roof killed (note: as of the date of this post, Roof is still awaiting trial) 9 people in Charleston, South Carolina, no one painted the entire white population of the United States as a homicidal, bloodthirsty group of people.

Zakaria’s failure in the midst of defending his own people from broad-brush attacks has not gone unnoticed; I am extremely disappointed in his sloppy work product in failing to carefully craft every element of his reporting. He has recklessly left black people exposed to further unfair discrimination; it is disgustingly unacceptable.

Barack Obama: The President Nominates Dr. Carla Hayden to be the 14th Librarian of Congress

The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, nominated Dr. Carla Hayden, chief executive officer, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Md., to be the 14th Librarian of Congress.

A video introduction for Dr. Hayden follows.

The position of Librarian of Congress has a 10-year term.

Dick Grote and “Rank and Yank”: Ranking and of “Calibration Meetings” Provoked Chaos at Yahoo, Inc.; Another Warning to Avoid or Remove Forced Distribution Evaluation Systems

The story of the damaging effects of forced distribution rating systems (“rank and yank”) are rarely discussed. But, because of the ill effects on employee’s livelihoods, policy makers must thoroughly investigate and examine forced distribution performance evaluation systems, primarily advanced by Dick Grote and similarly minded apologists.

The quote from the New York Times Magazine illuminates the chaos of forced distribution and corrosive effect on collaboration and on the organization itself. Simply put–forced distribution, in whatever form, does not work. The reasoning for being forced to give a negative review (that is, an effective notice of termination) to somebody on arbitrary and capricious reasons in so-called calibration meetings is an absolute notice of warning before using such rating systems. (Emphasis, in bold, is from the blog author.)

[Marissa] Mayer’s largest management problem, however, related to the start-up culture she had tried to instill. Early on, she banned working from home. This policy affected only 164 employees, but it was initiated months after she constructed an elaborate nursery in her office suite so that her son, Macallister, and his nanny could accompany her to work each day. Mayer also favored a system of quarterly performance reviews, or Q.P.R.s, that required every Yahoo employee, on every team, be ranked from 1 to 5. The system was meant to encourage hard work and weed out underperformers, but it soon produced the exact opposite. Because only so many 4s and 5s could be allotted, talented people no longer wanted to work together; strategic goals were sacrificed, as employees did not want to change projects and leave themselves open to a lower score.

One of the uglier parts of the process was a series of quarterly “calibration meetings,” in which managers would gather with their bosses and review all the employees under their supervision. In practice, the managers would use these meetings to conjure reasons that certain staff members should get negative reviews. Sometimes the reason would be political or superficial. Mayer herself attended calibration meetings where these kinds of arbitrary judgments occurred. The senior executives who reported to Mayer would join her in a meeting at Phish Food and hold up spreadsheets of names and ratings. During the revamping of Yahoo Mail, for instance, Kathy Savitt, the C.M.O., noted that Vivek Sharma was bothering her. “He just annoys me,” she said during the meeting. “I don’t want to be around him.” Sharma’s rating was reduced. Shortly after Yahoo Mail went live, he departed for Disney. (Savitt disputes this account.)

Futility of “Colorblindness”: The n-word Signifies Dehumanization; No Good Can Come from Its Use

With shock (so distressed, I nearly called to cancel my subscription), I saw that the Washington Post, through reporters Dave Sheinin and Krissah Thompson, as well as Lonnae O’Neal Parker, had published an article about the n-word, the vile English word created to enshrine the idea that Black people are not human beings but rather mere property to be bought and sold. The United States (in particular, the White social control structure), regardless of civil rights laws, has never fully accounted for and compensated to Black people for the blood, sweat, and tears resulting from the abuse that has been imposed upon the Black people of the United States of America.

There is significant resistance to do such accounting and compensation, yet there is an eagerness by the same White structure to provide many excuses for the cruel word of Black dehumanization. This time, through the article, it is posited–

  • that since Black young people use some variant of the disgusting word among themselves,
  • that since “Black singers” use (*abuse*) the abhorrent word in their hip-hop lyrics (sold predominately to Whites and worldwide (people learning English hear this word and learn it like other vocabulary–very sad and distressing), in a music industry controlled by Whites,

the horrible word has lost its sting and thus can be used by all.

Except, White people maintain their humanity (and psychological ownership of “free and equal” Black people), while Black people again have their very humanity on the block to be haggled over, debated, bought, and sold. Simultaneously, the humanness of Black people is disregarded and scattered to the winds. These points fuel the volcanic reaction that bursts forth when a White person deigns to use the word and strong offense is taken by a Black person. [In addition, the swastika or the holocaust would never be considered for such a redefinition, yet it is licit for Black people’s humanity to be played with like dominoes.]

With this word and the bloody context surrounding and involving it

  • no young person,
  • no singer,
  • no newspaper,
  • no journalist,
  • no agent provocateur,
  • no athlete,
  • no actor

nobody–can sanitize (or dare sanction the use of) this ugly word! There must be a full accounting of the blood spilled and denied humanity of Black people first (current time included). Once that is done, then the society will be able to take on the word, which if the corrective action would have been placed into effect, the word would disappear from the lexicon.

I have no hope that this accounting will ever occur; I am reaching-ever closer-the point of giving up on this country. The hapless government response–at all levels, state and federal–with the events in Ferguson, Missouri, with the killing of Mr. Michael Brown, Jr. (his parents have had to seek justice from the United Nations Human Rights Committee against Torture in Geneva, Switzerland), serves as an tiny example of what would happen with of a nationwide focus on accounting for the past and present racial abuse against Black people and to finally recognize the innate humanity of Black people in the United States of America.

{Postscript: There was discussion about the National Football League assessing fines for the use of the vile English word on the football field (ostensibly by Black players toward other Black players). The fact is the football field can be considered a workplace and as such the civil rights laws applicable to the workplace should apply.}