Friday, October 30, 2015

WEEKEND READING (Oct. 30, 2015)

Bill Gates: Only socialism can save the climate, 'The private sector is inept' (U.S. Uncut).

When stupid people don't know they're stupid (Ring of Fire).

Rights-to-carry laws = More crime: Revisiting the link between guns and violent crime (Journalist's Source).

Football coach's Christian crusade backfires hilariously as school prayers get a Satanic twist (Raw Story).

The assault at Spring Valley High shows the School-to-Prison pipeline in action (Huffington Post).

What White Privilege looks like, in one cartoon (Upworthy).

White Privilege in real time (Facebook).

Icelandic bankers are not too big to jail (face 74 years in prison), but U.S. bankers bask in bailouts (Zero Hedge).

Super yacht getaway subs and luxury bomb shelters: The elite are the most paranoid preppers of all (Zero Hedge).

Cuba's had a lung cancer vaccine for years, and now it's coming to the U.S. (Huffington Post).

The city of San Diego is suing Monsanto for poisoning its marine life and polluting its bay (Alt Health Works).

The Tea Party is on life support: New poll shows it's less popular than ever (Salon).

Robert Reich explains why capitalism is broken and the importance of Bernie Sanders (Policy Mic).

Benghazi, Joe McCarthy and the witch trials: Trey Gowdy's farcical hearings tap into a deep, dark American current (Salon).

How Republican Benghazi obsession makes us less safe (Buzz Flash).

Another corporate gift/subsidy ... BP's $20.8 billion Gulf spill settlement nets $15.3 billion tax write-off (Forbes).

Our obscene love affair with psychopath Saudi kings needs to end (Ring of Fire).

Prostitute hound Senator David Vitter (R-LA) unleashes his posse on blogger who broke his sex-life story (Ring of Fire).

Rep. Jason Chaffetz moves to impeach IRS chief (Huffington Post).

Christian marriage adviser: Use 'fear and dread' to control your wife - as God intended (Raw Story).

U.S. plans to send destroyer to China's artificial islands (RT).

Moscow summons UK attache over claims RAF licensed to down Russian jets (The Guardian).

Pentagon: U.S. to begin 'direct action on the ground' in Syria and Iraq (Crooks and Liars).

Ohio's John Kasich indicates his GOP rivals Trump and Carson are crazy (Raw Story).

Florida voters spurn Bush, Rubio for Trump (Real Clear Politics).

Ted Cruz's best moment in the debate was also completely wrong (Vox).

Robert Reich: 'Wall Street is on the road to another crisis' - Bernie knows it, why doesn't Hillary (Alternet).

We now have an ETA when the bond bubble will burst (Zero Hedge).

New wireless technology can see people through walls (RT).

Higher education: Capitalism at its most despicable (Buzz Flash).

- Mark 


"The society that separates its scholars from 
its warrior will have its thinking done 
by cowards and its fighting by fools."

- Thucydides
Ancient Greek General and Historian

- Mark 

Thursday, October 29, 2015


- Mark


The Huffington Post has an interesting article that explains how the police "assault at Spring Valley High" is just one example of how our School-to-Prison pipeline works. I'm not going to spoil it for you, but the demographics behind the numbers makes it clear that our nation clearly has a problem when it comes to dealing with issues of race, discipline, and justice.

This Tom Tomorrow comic - captured here - helps drive home the national disconnect around the issue of race and justice, especially when it comes to our constitutional protections ...

Whether it's being part of a "suspect class" from birth, or having your constitutional rights put up for debate because you're part of this suspect class, it's clear that "white privilege" is a discussion topic that America needs to take up - as this Upworthy clip suggests.

- Mark

Hat tip to Kerstin and Gerald for the links.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


I didn't watch the GOP debate, again.

It's not that I don't find them important. They are important, if for no other reason than you get to see what the candidates are saying to one another, and America, in real time.

Still, I didn't watch the GOP debate because I've figured out that my interest is driven more by the entertainment value and the inevitable "OMG" moment. I would be watching because I want to see a train wreck ... I would be watching to see what insanely stupid comment is uttered rather than to learn about policy priorities (simply saying "cut taxes" and "let's make America stronger through war" is buffoonery, and not informed policy).

I shouldn't be tuning into our presidential debates simply because I want to be amused by people who will eventually say ignorant and off the wall things. If I wanted this kind of amusement I could watch the Kardashians or Honey Boo Boo (is that still on?).

Still, at the end of the day, my real issue is what all of the GOP candidates ignore. Specifically, they ignore where we were 7 years ago. Let's take a look.

* The stock market had crashed, and was heading towards Great Depression territory. 
* Wall Street was begging for protection, and were black mailing the nation for trillions in bailouts (which they eventually got).  
* The real estate market had crashed, and millions of people ended up losing their homes.  
* The banking system was in disarray, and on the verge of collapse. 
* The Federal Reserve and all the market experts were naively "shocked" by market events (as if reckless deregulation, lax oversight, and cheap money weren't a clue). 
* Unemployment was above 7% and heading north. 
* Our multi-trillion dollar war debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan were going strong.  
* President Bush, who had inherited budget surpluses, was leaving President Obama built-in $1.4 trillion budget deficits. 

Here's the point I'm trying to make. According to virtually every economic indicator, things are better today than they were when President Bush left office.

Yet all of the Republican presidential candidates talk as if President Obama did absolutely nothing to clean up his predecessors mess. Watching adults embrace and indulge this kind of delusion is not healthy.

So, no, I did not watch the GOP debate tonight. Watching for amusement purposes, while indulging delusional thinking, just doesn't seem right. Nor is it the best use of my time.

The fact that millions of Americans don't understand any of this says much about the state of our nation.

- Mark


I just called my teenage son for a ride. He's in high school, and is staying after school to do homework with his friends. So I'm waiting. My car didn't break down. In fact, our car is fine. But my wife has it. My daughter has the car I used to drive, but she's attending college at CSU, Monterey Bay (which makes me an Otter Pop).

I don't know why, but after getting off the phone with my son, I had an epiphany. I started thinking how life has passed by so quickly, and how roles change. I'm now waiting for my teenage son to pick me up, again.

But this is a good thing, on many levels.

Specifically, waiting is allowing me to see a few things. The reality is I don't need a car. My son does, for all the reasons a 16 year-old needs a car.

The best part of him owning his car is he paid for it. What's even better is that he seemed kind of annoyed when we offered to help him out with a newer car. He was clear: "I want to pay for my own car." And he did.

My daughter could probably do without a car, and didn't ask for one. In fact, we gave her the one she has because of her grades in high school. But most importantly, we wanted to make sure she wasn't driving around in a piece of crap like I did when I went to college. Breaking down is different when you're a female, no matter how prepared you are (a bit sexist, perhaps, but I don't care). So my daughter is now driving what I drove around.

So, here's my new reality, and the reason for my epiphany. I'm in my 50s, and I don't have my own car. At some point in my life I'm sure I thought living in California and not having a car of my own would be an indication of something gone wrong. A failed life comes to mind. But this is not the case.

Given the circumstances, I'm OK with not having my own car. Waiting for my teenage son to pick me up is a good thing. It gives me time to see things.

This was my Wednesday Epiphany.

- Mark 

Saturday, October 24, 2015


- Mark


From The New Yorker ...

- Mark

Hat tip to Cheryl for the link.

WEEKEND READING (Oct. 24, 2015)

Democrats are in denial. Their party is actually in deep trouble (Vox).

Bernie Sanders' brilliant plan to turn Post Offices into banks (U.S. Uncut).

Europe's migrant crisis (The Irish Times).

President Obama holds photo op to publicly veto defense bill GOP leadership told him not to veto (The New Civil Rights Movement).

IMF: Saudi Arabia running on empty in five years ... as it struggles with slumping oil prices (Al Jazeera).

Prior to Benghazi, were there really 13 attacks on embassies and 60 deaths under George W. Bush? Actually, there were more (PolitiFact).

Here are 9 reasons Denmark's socialist economy leaves the U.S. in the dust (U.S. Uncut).

Global famines are fewer, but armed conflicts threaten food security (The Irish Times).

Paul Ryan, opponent of paid family leave, demands Congress respect his need for family time (The Slot).

CNN host destroys Jeb Bush: You blame Hillary for Benghazi but insist brother blameless for 9/11 (Raw Story).

GOP donor caught voting 5 times in Governor Walker's recall election (Crooks and Liars).

With abandoned gas wells, states are left with the cleanup bill (NPR).

5 corporations sucking California dry during the drought (Zero Hedge).

Negative interest rate policies here we come ... Stuffed with (QE) cash, and reluctant to loan money, banks are now turning down deposits as stealth NIRP takes hold (Zero Hedge).

Racist sues college over Spanish-speaking students, judge orders her to pay $111,000 (Addicting Info).

Wannabe "good guy with a gun" shoots himself in the leg during a movie (TPM).

For offenders who can't pay, it's a pint of blood or jail time (NY Times).

Driver who swerved and hit a motorcycle: 'I don't care' (Lane Splitter).

Congress cashes in on insider trading (Represent Us / Vimeo).

How Congress overhauled [i.e. gutted] its insider-trading law (NPR).

Trump accidentally demolishes the Fox News Benghazi narrative (Media Matters).

How Donald Trump is destroying Fox News' carefully crafted Benghazi narrative (Crooks and Liars).

New report on Trey Gowdy's links to Stop Hillary PAC (Select Committee on Benghazi).

CIA catches Republicans red-handed altering Hillary's Emails to smear her (Occupy Democrats).

On Benghazi, Congress could take a lesson from Beirut (The Atlantic).

Republican candidates, ranked by who God loves most (God / The Slot).

A brief history of VPs trying (and mostly failing) to be president (Vox).

From The Newsroom, "Why the Tea Party is the American Taliban" (Facebook).

China vs. the United States: A tale of two economies (Visual Capitalist).

- Mark

Friday, October 23, 2015


In case you didn't understand the last part of former Chief Justice Burger's comments, President Reagan explains what Burger was talking about ...

- Mark


What if they started a war and everyone came? This is the question asked about events in the Middle East by Peter Van Buren at Tom Dispatch

What ISIS claims, and the actual territory under their control

Peter Van Buren's article offers a clear and relatively short assessment of what's happening in the region, and provides an exceptionally concise paragraph discussing our new quagmire, Iraq. It's an especially readable review for beginners and experts alike.

I also happen to agree with most of the article.


Areas across five nations where ethnic Kurds - who oppose ISIS - reside.  

- Mark 

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Rolling Stone magazine posted the "5 Absurd Moments From the Hillary Clinton Benghazi Hearing" earlier today. I'm sure there are more absurdities, but they were putting this together in real time (as it were).

You'll want to read Rolling Stone's observations - especially since they come with video - but know one thing: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (and others) got it right when he made it known that the special Benghazi committee was designed to hurt Hillary Clinton politically. The hearing today was not about bolstering security at our embassies in the future, or knowing what "really" happened.

Here are the Benghazi committee's 5 absurd moments, in brief, as outlined by Rolling Stone.

1. GRANDSTANDING : Rep. Susan Brooks grandstands about the size of e-mail stacks. 
2. IGNORANCE: Rep. Brooks puts up a map of Libya and admits people (like her) don't really "know much about Libya." 
3. JOE McCARTHY'S GHOST: Rep. Mike Pompeo's Joe McCarthy Moment happens when he accuses Hillary's State Department team of meeting with al Qaeda fighters prior to the attack, and then admits he can't produce the information to back up his allegation.  
4. DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO: Rep. Peter Roskam scolds Hillary Clinton for reading notes while he speaks, which is ironic when you see this ... 
Rep. Roskam reading notes as Hillary speaks.

5. ROSKAM'S "MEAN GIRLS" MOMENT: Rep. Roskam rudely cuts Hillary Clinton off, while trying to condescend to her for reading her notes, as she's trying to respond to him (after he read his notes while Hillary was responding to him ... huh?).

You can read and watch the moments captured by Rolling Stone here.

What a circus.

Sigh ...

- Mark

Addendum: As expected, here's another absurd moment, courtesy of Rep. Martha Roby.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Click here for a humongous USA Today front page spoof featuring "Back to the Future" headlines. It's pretty clever.


- Mark

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015


Not your typical Sunday drive. The India-Killar Kishtar Route ...

For additional video of the Kishtwar Route click here and here.

- Mark

Hat tip to my cousin Mike for the clip.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


The following clip is spot on. From HBO's The Newsroom we get, "Why the Tea Party is the American Taliban" ...

- Mark 


A photo series by Tom Hussey captures the elderly as they reflect on their younger selves.

You can see more of Tom Hussey's work by clicking here or here.

- Mark

Saturday, October 17, 2015

WEEKEND READING (Oct. 17, 2015)

Too funny ... The Daily Show "obtains" surveillance footage of Ben Carson at Popeyes (Crooks and Liars).

Tennessee's first year of drug testing welfare applicants didn't go very well (Think Progress).

My night with a Nazi (Ozy).

Forget Harvard: Here's where to go to college if you want a high paying job (FastCoexist).

Rick Joyner: I prayed for drought to strike California (Right Wing Watch).

Rick Wiles: Persecution of Kim Davis leading to America's destruction (Right Wing Watch).

Ted Cruz: Obama "Radical and Zealot" for welcoming refugees "coming here to commit jihad" (Right Wing Watch).

Ted Cruz demands Portrait Gallery remove bust of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger (Right Wing Watch).

Ted Cruz once again twists the facts about Planned Parenthood (Right Wing Watch).

Air Force quietly implements "stop loss" [a.k.a. forced conscription, or back-door draft] provision to fill deployments (John Q. Public).

Stop loss debacle exposes inverted Air Force priorities (John Q. Public)

The Republicans' incompetence caucus (David Brooks / NY Times).

The Republican Party is producing "leaders of jaw-dropping incompetence" (Vox).

Paul Krugman bursts David Brooks' fantasy land version of conservatism: "Actually existing conservatism is a radical doctrine (Salon).

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert to plead guilty in hush-money case (Mother Jones).

House Republicans voted against 8 bills to help veterans since Obama took office (Democratic Underground).

Second Republican congressman admits Benghazi Committee was 'designed to go after' Clinton (Think Progress).

Feds say Fox News' favorite CIA source turns out to be a total fraud (Mother Jones).

Report: Walmart workers cost taxpayers $6.2 billion in public assistance (Forbes).

It's Official: White folks in Red States are the biggest food stamp 'moochers' in the country (AATTP).

California will automatically register millions of voters (Think Progress).

Charges filed against woman who opened fire on suspected shoplifters in Michigan (Daily Kos).

Grand jury indicts 15 on gang terrorism charges for parading Confederate flags through black child's party (Raw Story).

California is building the country's largest solar desalination plant (FastCoexist).

LIBOR interest rate-rigging scandal: British bankers' trial begins in U.S. (The Guardian).

U.S. government deporting Central American migrants to their deaths (The Guardian).

More Americans have died from guns in the U.S. since 1968 than on the battlefields of all the wars in American history (Martin Grandjean).

Why Sweden is shifting to a 6-hour workday (FastCoexist).

The Guardian view on Russian intervention in Syria: Mixed motives (The Guardian).

- Mark

Friday, October 16, 2015


The gun nuts won't get this, but the larger point here is clear.

- Mark 


Via Politics USA we learn that 99% of Bernie Sanders' donors can give again; and they can do it multiple times over if they give what they gave the first time.

Here is a statistic that strikes a blow against Citizens United and should worry the billionaire class who are attempting to purchase control of the United States government. Bernie Sanders raised $41.4 million, and 99% of his donors can give to his campaign again.

Here are the basic numbers from the Sanders campaign:
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ raised $26.2 million during the third quarter of this year – all of it for use in primaries and caucuses – in a grassroots presidential campaign that has drawn 1.3 million small donations since it began. 
The average donation was $30 apiece. 
The campaign closed the books at the end of the Sept. 30 reporting period with almost $27.1 million in the bank after spending about $11.3 million, according to a report filed on Thursday with the Federal Election Commission. 
Since his White House bid was launched last April 30, Sanders has banked a total of about $41.4 million, according to the report. 
Only 270 of Sanders’ 650,000 donors gave the maximum $2,700 allowed.
That last sentence is what should scare the billionaires who are trying to buy the US government. Bernie Sanders was able to raise more money than every Republican presidential candidate, and he did it by not maxing out his donors. At thirty bucks a pop, his donors could give to him 90 times before they would max out and hit their contribution limit for the primary.


In a few words, after the first Democratic debate this week, Bernie Sanders is sitting in a pretty sweet spot.

- Mark 

Thursday, October 15, 2015


First time gun shoppers get an unexpected history lesson in New York City gun shop ...

- Mark

Hat tip to Agulia for the clip.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


The results are in. In spite of what the headlines and inside the beltway pundits say, Bernie Sanders won the debate according to the people who actually count. This CNN poll is typical ...

Click here for more details than you're probably looking for on the topic.

- Mark

Addendum: Here's one more ...


The idea that the state should stay out of the marketplace and let market players do what they want is a myth. And it's perpetuated by - surprise, surprise - people and market players who benefit financially from no oversight or few regulations.

In my book The Myth of the Free Market I explore the thoughts of Adam Smith (1723-1790), the intellectual Godfather of free market economics. It's clear Adam Smith believed people should be free to make their way in life, which meant they should be free of stifling feudal practices that maintained royal privileges and unearned life positions held by court sycophants. 

In order to achieve these freedoms Smith argued the feudal state - with all of its stifling customs and traditions - should stay out of the marketplace.  

While Adam Smith argued the state should stay out of the marketplace, he did not say market players should be free to do what they wanted. Rather, Smith argued the state should stay out of the market because of how it reinforced the stifling habits of feudalism (which undercut initiative), and because how it had historically - from Rome through 17th century Britain - intervened on behalf of those with power and privilege (which rewarded access). 

What really irked Adam Smith was how the state intervened on behalf of those who already had wealth and power.

To prevent the state from rewarding privilege Smith argued the government should not intervene in the market place. Just as significantly, Smith also argued that if the state did intervene it should be done only to maintain a level playing field, or what he called the "laws of justice." 

In simpler terms, providing subsidies and protection, or giving privileged market players a green light to do as they please, was not what Adam Smith was proposing. The real goal behind laissez-faire economics is to create a level playing field while preventing privilege from being unduly rewarded.

This simple message is lost on modern free market proponents. 

But wait, there's more.

We need to understand that Adam Smith's complaints about the feudal state in 1776 do not apply to the modern state. The modern state, with its liberal constitutions, is obligated to protect the interests of commoners, or the middle-class. Guaranteeing access and a level playing field - again, Smith's "laws of justice" - almost mandate state intervention. This is what the Enlightenment and the liberal revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries were all about. 

Most free marketeers don't understand any of this because - to be blunt - they are historical and constitutional illiterates. 

Their ignorance of history is what compels them to conflate or draw false equivalencies between the state Adam Smith described in the 18th century, and the modern liberal state we live in today. 

So, yeah, the idea that the state should stay out of the marketplace and let market players do what they want is a myth. 
And it's perpetuated by - surprise, surprise - people and market players who benefit financially from no oversight or few regulations.

I bring all of this up because former Labor Secretary Robert Reich provides us with three additional market myths in the modern world. Because we buy into these myths we allow policies to be created that help stifle the prospects of the middle class which, in turn, perpetuates and widens the gaps between those at the top of our financial food chain and the rest of us.

- Mark

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


If you're not smiling or laughing I'm pretty sure I know why ...

- Mark

Hat tip to Robin for the meme.

Monday, October 12, 2015

WEEKLY READING (Oct. 12, 2015)

You think the NSA is bad? Meet former CIA director Allen Dulles (Mother Jones).

Too funny (but not for those sensitive to creative language) ... UK reporter fed up with studio manager who wants him to report outside in the cold, finally reports "the f***ing news" as he's told (YouTube / Facebook).

Ben Carson's far from the only conservative saying gun control caused the holocaust (Vox).

The simple truth: President Obama is too intelligent for Republicans to understand (Forward Progressive).

Republican Rep. Charlie Dent calls for "bipartisan coalition" to select new speaker (Real Clear Politics).

Speaker Paul Ryan? Here's what you need to know about his biggest influence - the lunatic Ayn Rand (Raw Story).

Donald Trump and the Republican descent into xenophobia (Truth Out).

Inglis, Florida: Home to the 1,000th U.S. mass shooting since Sandy Hook (The Guardian).

Neat interactive (and article) helps us understand elite theory in America ... Nearly half the cash in the 2016 presidential race comes from just 158 families (NY Times).

Facebook readers hand righteous smack down to Bakersfield Christian mom who won't let son learn about Islam (Raw Story).

Media silent as fake videos trigger four Planned Parenthood arsons in two months (Occupy Democrats).

U.S.-Europe trade accord draws 250,000 protesters in Berlin (Bloomberg).

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a one sided deal to help the 1 percent (NY Times).

Hillary's record: Pretending to oppose trade agreements (Huffington Post).

The moral case against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (Nation of Change).

U.S. interventionist policies in Iraq unleashed chaos, brutality and death still unfolding today (Truth Out).

After 1996 mass shooting, Australia enacted strict gun laws. It hasn't had a similar massacre since (Slate).

Record global sell-off of U.S. could trigger economic collapse ... with some good charts (Money Morning).

The right to bear arms is anti-democratic (Prospect Magazine).

Republicans finally admit Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong, investigation was a sham (Occupy Democrats).

Here come the Republican moderates (The Atlantic).

"The Great Deception" ... A brief and very accessible historical overview of central banking in America (Shah Gilani / Wall Street Insights & Indictments).

No, your eco-vacation is not actually doing animals any favors (Mother Jones).

7 myths and atrocities of Christopher Columbus that will make you cringe (US Uncut).

What OPECs new romance with Russia means for oil prices (Money Morning).

Sanders vs. Clinton: Who has the best plan for college students (Nation of Change)?

- Mark 

Saturday, October 10, 2015


I was just going to provide a link to this, but it's such an inspiring story I had to post it in its entirety. From Griot Magazine we get "The White Man in That Photo." Enjoy ...

Peter Norman (L), Tommie Smith (C), and John Carlos (R).

Original text by Italian writer Riccardo GazzanigaTranslation by Alexa Combs Dieffenbach.
Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, and it certainly deceived me for a long time.
I always saw the photo as a powerful image of two barefoot black men, with their heads bowed, their black-gloved fists in the air while the US National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” played. It was a strong symbolic gesture – taking a stand for African American civil rights in a year of tragedies that included the death of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy.
It’s a historic photo of two men of color. For this reason I never really paid attention to the other man, white, like me, motionless on the second step of the medal podium. I considered him a random presence, an extra in Carlos and Smith’s moment, or a kind of intruder. Actually, I even thought that that guy – who seemed to be just a simpering Englishman – represented, in his icy immobility, the will to resist the change that Smith and Carlos were invoking in their silent protest. But I was wrong.
Thanks to an old article by Gianni Mura, today I discovered the truth: that white man in the photo is, perhaps, the biggest hero of that night in 1968. His name was Peter Norman, he was an Australian who arrived in the 200 meters finals after having ran an amazing 20.22 in the semi finals. Only the two Americans,Tommie “The Jet” Smith and John Carlos had done better: 20.14 and 20.12, respectively.
It seemed as if the victory would be decided between the two Americans. Norman was an unknown sprinter, who seemed to just be having a good couple of heats. John Carlos, years later, said that he was asked what happened to the small white guy – standing at 5’6”tall, and running as fast as him and Smith, both taller than 6’2”.
The time for the finals arrives, and the outsider Peter Norman runs the race of a lifetime, improving on his time yet again. He finishes the race at 20.06, his best performance ever, an Australian record that still stands today, 47 years later.
But that record wasn’t enough, because Tommie Smith was really “The Jet,” and he responded to Norman’s Australian record with a world record. In short, it was a great race.
Yet that race will never be as memorable as what followed at the awards ceremony.
It didn’t take long after the race to realize that something big, unprecedented, was about to take place on the medal podium. Smith and Carlos decided they wanted to show the entire world what their fight for human rights looked like, and word spread among the athletes.
Norman was a white man from Australia, a country that had strict apartheid laws, almost as strict as South Africa. There was tension and protests in the streets of Australia following heavy restrictions on non-white immigration and discriminatory laws against aboriginal people, some of which consisted of forced adoptions of native children to white families.
The two Americans had asked Norman if he believed in human rights. Norman said he did. They asked him if he believed in God, and he, who had been in the Salvation Army, said he believed strongly in God. “We knew that what we were going to do was far greater than any athletic feat, and he said “I’ll stand with you” – remembers John Carlos – “I expected to see fear in Norman’s eyes, but instead we saw love.”
Smith and Carlos had decided to get up on the stadium wearing the Olympic Project for Human Rights badge, a movement of athletes in support of the battle for equality.

They would receive their medals barefoot, representing the poverty facing people of color. They would wear the famous black gloves, a symbol of the Black Panthers’ cause. But before going up on the podium they realized they only had one pair of black gloves. “Take one each”, Norman suggested. Smith and Carlos took his advice.
But then Norman did something else. “I believe in what you believe. Do you have another one of those for me”? he asked, pointing to the Olympic Project for Human Rights badge on the others’ chests. “That way I can show my support for your cause.” Smith admitted to being astonished, ruminating: “Who is this white Australian guy? He won his silver medal, can’t he just take it and that be enough!”.
Smith responded that he didn’t, also because he would not be denied his badge. There happened to be a white American rower with them, Paul Hoffman, an activist with the Olympic Project for Human Rights. After hearing everything he thought “if a white Australian is going to ask me for an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge, then by God he would have one!” Hoffman didn’t hesitate: “I gave him the only one I had: mine”.
The three went out on the field and got up on the podium: the rest is history, preserved in the power of the photo. “I couldn’t see what was happening,” Norman recounts, “[but] I had known they had gone through with their plans when a voice in the crowd sang the American anthem but then faded to nothing. The stadium went quiet.”
The head of the American delegation vowed that these athletes would pay the price their entire lives for that gesture, a gesture he thought had nothing to do with the sport. Smith and Carlos were immediately suspended from the American Olympic team and expelled from the Olympic Village, while the rower Hoffman was accused of conspiracy.
Once home the two fastest men in the world faced heavy repercussions and death threats.
But time, in the end, proved that they had been right and they became champions in the fight for human rights. With their image restored they collaborated with the American team of Athletics, and a statue of them was erected at the San Jose State University [located in the heart of California's Silicon Valley]. Peter Norman is absent from this statue. 

His absence from the podium step seems an epitaph of a hero that no one ever noticed. A forgotten athlete, deleted from history, even in Australia, his own country.
Four years later at the 1972 Summer Olympics that took place in Munich, Germany, Norman wasn’t part of the Australian sprinters team, despite having run qualifying times for the 200 meters thirteen times and the 100 meters five times.
Norman left competitive athletics behind after this disappointment, continuing to run at the amatuer level.
Back in the change-resisting, whitewashed Australia he was treated like an outsider, his family outcast, and work impossible to find. For a time he worked as a gym teacher, continuing to struggle against inequalities as a trade unionist and occasionally working in a butcher shop. An injury caused Norman to contract gangrene which led to issues with depression and alcoholism.

As John Carlos said, “If we were getting beat up, Peter was facing an entire country and suffering alone.” For years Norman had only one chance to save himself: he was invited to condemn his co-athletes, John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s gesture in exchange for a pardon from the system that ostracized him.
A pardon that would have allowed him to find a stable job through the Australian Olympic Committee and be part of the organization of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Norman never gave in and never condemned the choice of the two Americans.
He was the greatest Australian sprinter in history and the holder of the 200 meter record, yet he wasn’t even invited to the Olympics in Sydney. It was the American Olympic Committee, that once they learned of this news asked him to join their group and invited him to Olympic champion Michael Johnson’s birthday party, for whom Peter Norman was a role model and a hero.
Norman died suddenly from a heart attack in 2006, without his country ever having apologized for their treatment of him. At his funeral Tommie Smith and John Carlos, Norman’s friends since that moment in 1968, were his pallbearers, sending him off as a hero.
Tommie Smith (L) and John Carlos (R) as pall bearers at Peter Norman's funeral, 2006.

“Peter was a lone soldier. He consciously chose to be a sacrificial lamb in the name of human rights. There’s no one more than him that Australia should honor, recognize and appreciate” John Carlos said.
“He paid the price with his choice,” explained Tommie Smith, “It wasn’t just a simple gesture to help us, it was HIS fight. He was a white man, a white Australian man among two men of color, standing up in the moment of victory, all in the name of the same thing”.

Only in 2012 did the Australian Parliament approve a motion to formally apologize to Peter Norman and rewrite him into history with this statement: This House ...  
“[R]ecognises the extraordinary athletic achievements of the late Peter Norman, who won the silver medal in the 200 meters sprint running event at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, in a time of 20.06 seconds, which still stands as the Australian record”. 
“Acknowledges the bravery of Peter Norman in donning an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge on the podium, in solidarity with African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who gave the ‘black power’ salute”. 
“Apologises to Peter Norman for the wrong done by Australia in failing to send him to the 1972 Munich Olympics, despite repeatedly qualifying; and belatedly recognises the powerful role that Peter Norman played in furthering racial equality”. 

However, perhaps, the words that remind us best of Peter Norman are simply his own words when describing the reasons for his gesture, in the documentary film “Salute,” written, directed and produced by his nephew Matt.
“I couldn’t see why a black man couldn’t drink the same water from a water fountain, take the same bus or go to the same school as a white man.
There was a social injustice that I couldn’t do anything about from where I was, but I certainly hated it.
It has been said that sharing my silver medal with that incident on the victory dais detracted from my performance.
On the contrary. I have to confess, I was rather proud to be part of it”.

- Mark