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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Poverty, Basic Needs & The Different Faces of Bigotry

In Politics, Racism, Society on February 8, 2016 at 7:48 am

Racism in America exist. Still does and sadly it appears it always will.  You see it everyday in their eyes, their responses. You feel its presence in interactions. You read about it in the news.  You see it play out in the media. I mean how is it that Floyd Mayweather gets roasted for his boastful antics, but Connor McGregor isn’t?  Now I am not a fan of how Floyd promoted himself – I am a big fan of his skills – but McGregor is just as boastful and disrespectful to his opponents yet is categorized as a colorful, exuberant character?  Huh?!? BUT this blog is not about that type of bigotry – more on that at another time. This is about the bigotry that transcends race, color or creed.  It’s the bigotry of the rich vs poor, the haves vs have nots.  This has never been more evident than the water scandal in Flint, Michigan, a hard scrabble, blue collar city.  If this was a more affluent city, do you really think this would have happened AND continued once the problem was brought to light?!?  Come on now!  This has been a disgrace. Children have suffered all in the name of money.  Think this would happen in Scarsdale, NY? La Jolla, CA? I think not.  It doesn’t stop there. How many times have you heard or read about some wealthy person who gets away with a crime cause they could afford to sweep it away.  The other day I was at a dinner in Baltimore with some attorney clients of my firms. The fact they were all Caucasian, while usual, wasn’t the focus.  The conversation turned to a couple of people, teenagers & adults alike, who had committed an injustice or crime (regardless of the severity) and due to connections or money for proper representation, were able to “get off” with nary a fine.  Being a man of color, with modest means & a hard scrabble upbringing, it rankled me. It’s not like I did not know this occurs, but to hear it then & there, coupled with the mater of fact sound in their voices – I had to comment.  I told them of a recent story I had heard when a truck driver, who was a man of color, was delivering some equipment to my home.  As I usually do, I chatted him up as I appreciated him delivering my shipment. Somehow the conversation turned to him advising he had done two years in prison. When asked why, he explained assault.  Apparently, he was at a bar when he got into an argument with another patron, someone he knew of, who had been harassing his son.  He admitted they were both a little inebriated so it escalated. Noticing it was getting heated, he decided to walk away, but the other patron, a younger Caucasian male followed him outside & tried to attack him.   He defended himself & apparently “beat this boy down.”  He of course got arrested and charged, even though he had witnesses collaborating his story.  He could not afford a good attorney and thus was forced to take a plea deal, which resulted in his two year stint, even tho the injured party decided not to press charges! If he had money would he had done time?  I think not!  The table grew somber for a few as they took in every word.  Their eyes told the story.  This story happens everyday all over the world. It doesn’t make the news, but affects many. Bigotry and injustice comes in all forms.  Working class and people with less monetary means (I hate using the description of poor people, cause they can be people of character, joy, dedication and thus never a “poor person”) feel it everyday on our roads, in our schools and with our healthcare.  The people of Flint deserved better.  It is their right as humans to drink water without the fear of getting sick.  It was a travesty without reproach and needs to be used as an example for all humanity’s sake.

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. 

           – Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Rights, Struggles & The Cost of Being Black

In Education, Politics, Racism, Society, Spirituality on August 17, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Ferguson, Mo, the site of the most recent crime against a person of color can be any town USA. This type of atrocity has occurred all over America spanning decades. It is a travesty the powers that be continue to allow these acts to go for the most part unpunished. As a human first & a person of color second, it saddens & infuriates me that these instances continue to occur without any seemingly remorse from those who continue to perpetrate these crimes – and yes crimes is what they are. If two men are fighting and in the course of their battle one man unintentionally kills the other, he is brought up on charges – usually murder at first. Then tell me please how the police can continuously kill unarmed black males without charges? Don’t give me that fear for their life shit! In these cases there was no life or death instance. As a person of color, a Latino male and a black man, I have been victim to many a racial insult, profile or injustice; instances that have shaped me, have stuck to my gut and is never far from my thoughts. They have made me who I am. My anger and my sorrows. I easily could have been Mr. Mike Brown, Mr. Travon Martin, Mr. Oscar Grant, Mr. Sean Bell….must I continue? I have been in situations just like these young men found themselves in, in some instances even fighting back, but was lucky enough to have physically survived them (thanks Brother Blood), but each left an emotional scar. So each time this happens, I can taste the anger inside me. As a youth, my initial reaction was to strike back with force, but with age comes knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Unfortunately the protests, the rioting, the speeches don’t change much. They bring some awareness, but are usually forgotten in short order. When these scared souls see the rioting as portrayed in the media, they sit at home shaking their heads while exclaiming….”see they are animals!” Are we supposed to expect these fools to understand how the years of institutional hatred, human betrayal and attacks on our dignities have affected us? These simpletons believe all that they see & fear what they do not understand. I can go on for pages on the issues, but in my humble opinion, to make real change, we need to change ourselves too. We need to first & foremost focus more on education, as it will be our salvation. With education comes confidence, comes creation, comes self reliance. We need a change in our leadership. We need leaders who understand the plight, not just wax poetically when shit goes down, but leaders who are there everyday trying to teach and help. Leaders who will hire, educate & mentor. We need to raise our families, be fathers to our children & take pride in our communities. We have to stop giving ignorant people reasons to fear us. We need to teach our people that a singular action by them can cause a ripple effect on us all. Let’s stop giving the police reason to stop us, fear us or kill us. Let’s pull up our pants, tighten our belts and speak intelligently. Youngsters put the colors away, channel that energy into uniting and growing stronger collectively. Let’s pick our brothers up when they struggle with the change. Let’s stop complaining about what they are not doing and let’s just do ourselves!!! Create our own commerce. Let’s get the Jordan’s, Beyonce’s & Lebron’s of the world to the table and become spokespeople for our communities. Let’s force them to take a stand while teaching the youth who look up to them. Let’s work hard at whatever it is we do for a living. Let’s teach our young people how to respond when we are stopped by the police while still keeping our dignity. When we get into the boardroom, let’s bring more with us while remembering where we came from. Unfortunately, we can not keep expecting these folks to change, we gotta make the change. Each and everyone of us must do our part or our future will remain our past.

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.

– James Thurber

Freedoms, Women & Total Ignorance

In Politics, Racism, Religion, Society on October 30, 2012 at 11:10 pm

It is unbelievable to me how in the year 2012, there are still parts of the world that treat women as if they should be subservient, devoid of many choices that we all take for granted. My daughters are free to think for themselves, secure an education & make life decisions based on what they want to do or is important to them. Luckily, these precious beings were not born in areas of the world were most women are not afforded these basic rights & civil liberties. Under the cloak of religion or tradition, these cowards believe that all women should serve subservient roles to men. Recently a 15 y/o girl in Pakistan, who had the audacity to want an education, was shot in the head by ignorant men who believe no female should aspire to learn, grow or demand to be free to choose their way. They believe women have no right to be more than servants catering to their every whim. This has drawn my ire like nothing in recent memory. As I look into the eyes & windows to the souls of any of my daughters, where hopes & aspirations shine bright, my anger boils when I think of how any one can be so evil. I thank the good Lord for giving them to me, allowing them the freedom to seek & the good graces to choose. I often hear my daughters express future goals, careers & aspirations. They look forward to lives full of promise & growth. How can anyone believe they should have none of this just because of their gender? To believe they use religion as a crutch makes it all the worse. God created us all & thus provided us with equal opportunities to live the life we choose to live. Those who try to prohibit, restrict or eradicate this are weak mental midgets who need to make themselves feel superior to mask their apparent lack of self esteem. Hopefully the world has taken notice now.

Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.

– Unknown.

Black Panthers, Tea Party & Social Contradictions

In Politics, Society on November 16, 2010 at 8:02 pm

I know it’s been awhile, but I have been compelled to blog about this topic.  Is there really a difference between the Black Panther Party & the New Tea Party?  Really? Yet the powers that be seem to be much more accepting of the Tea Partiers who promote violence and hatred, mostly subliminally, against those of different beliefs, cultures and government.  If you ask me the Black Panther Movement was a fight for equality amongst people.  There were hundreds of white americans involved in the Black Panther Movement, many well known celebrities and well do to business owners.  However, for those of you who don’t know, they were systematically dismembered, yes I mean dismembered.  They were infiltrated, wrongfully accused, unlawfully jailed and even murdered.   Huey Newton was a like a Glen Beck is today, but with out the freedom Beck seems to have as he organizes rallys, while instilling fear and hatred.  Imagine if President Obama started a covert operation to eradicate the right wing zealots like the Black Panthers were under LBJ, Nixon and Hoover.  While the Black Panther Party was mostly about growth and acceptenance for all, the fact they were African Americans who demanded equal rights seemed to scare the government into acting violently and swiftly.  However, if you dig deeper, (read the book a Taste of Power by Elaine Brown or Revolutionary Suicide by Huey Newton for a quick reference course) what they really wanted was to be able to enjoy the civil liberties all other citizens were accustomed to, while the Tea Partiers seem to be pushing for a return to the old times when they ruled with an iron fist.  Now understand, the Panthers would defend themselves when they had to and yes they were armed at times, but wouldn’t you be with all the vile that was being tossed their way.  How is that different from the Tea Party today?  They both wanted change, except the Panthers looked for positive, forward progression, while the Tea Pariers look to go backwards, trying to regain their old glory I suppose.  Have you seen or heard about their rallies?  How long will we continue to accept the Sarah Palin’s of the world as they say and spread the stuff she says without recourse.  Where was the Panther’s Freedom of Speech when they needed it? Look up Fred Hampton, a Black Panther Leader from Chicago, so you can see how they were dealt with.  The Panthers fought for Congressional seats too, but no one listened.  They spoke of Pride, just like the Tea Partiers. They too tried to re-organize how the government looks at things.  But yet, they were treated differently.  It is just not the times folks.  The fact of the matter is the only difference is pretty obvious.

Fear Makes strangers of people who would be friends.

                              – Shirley MacLaine

History, Zealots & Capitialism

In Education, Politics, Racism, Religion on October 7, 2010 at 8:43 pm

What is America coming too?  There is a big debate, or rather fight, going on right now over the way we learn and have been taught history and science.  “Conservatives / Right Wing Christians” are arguing the textbooks used in todays schools do not aptly reflect AmeriKKKa’s Christain values by promoting “multiculturalism” among other things.  They feel these books should depict our country in a better light, focusing on the notion that this is the best, most noble nation in the world.  They accuse the liberals of negatively representing American history.  As Ed Lover would say….”C’mon Son!!!! Go ahead with that bullshit right there!”  How could they not see how by attempting to rewrite history as it occurred they are commiting total blasphemy.  The shit hit the fan recently when in Texas, of course it had to be Texas, it’s 15 member state Board of Ed, which are now controlled by “Conservatives”, demanded significant changes to social study textbooks.  They now want the textbooks to stress how the U.S. is a ‘Christian land governed by Christian principles.”  Really??  Isn’t that Muscular Christians again trying to force feed skewed ideology and beliefs?  They are trying to downplay or eliminate some historical figures like Thomas Jefferson (yeah – thee Thomas Jefferson – he of one of the founding fathers fame), Ed Kennedy & Cesar Chavez’ because of their alleged liberal or anti church / state beliefs to accentuate figures like Ronald Regan, who they feel led a conservative resurgance in the 80’s and 90’s.  What?!?  They also want to eliminate how history reports Slavery.  Now I have always felt the teaching of Slavery and how it has been taught has always been a negative subliminal message to people of color.  Imagine how it begins to make young people of color feel as they learn how they would have been (and in different ways – still treated) back in the day and how it begins to foster a sense of  superiority amongst Caucasians from an early age, while developing a sense of deference to these young people of color.  But these zealots want to paint the whole slavery issue not as America’s black eye, but as a by product of British rule Amerikkka struggled to change.  That sad part is the textbook industry is poised to make these changes because Texas is the second largest textbook market in the country spending upwards of “$60 million annually on books”!!  Now that is Capitalism at its finest folks – sacrifice the truth for the almighty buck.  If that ain’t the American way, what is? 

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

                                               – Albert Einstein

Religion, Etiquette & The Constitution

In Politics, Religion on August 25, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I must admit I am torn over this mosque being built near ground zero. On one hand I feel it is extremely insensitive to built this mosque and Muslim community center near where nearly 3000 Americans were killed by terrorist allegedly in the name of “their” Islam. It’s almost like flaunting what was done without recourse. On the other hand we live by a constitution that supposedly grant civil liberties like freedom of speech and religion. If we don’t allow this to be built, we are going against everything this country stands for and only allow these rights to be exercised when it is agreed upon by the majority or by a popular vote. We must remember this heinous act was committed by zealots who disregarded what Islam is supposed to stand for. Timothy McVie, an alleged devout Christian, once blew up an office building killing numerous citizens.  Should we not allow a catholic church within a mile radius? The problem is, as I see it, is fear. Most people really do not understand the true meaning of Islam, they equate it with those who are intolerant of other religions. Then again, they can build this center in an area where the feelings are not as raw, where people can’t help but look at it as a slap in the face and a sort of terrorist “trophy” for their action on that fateful day.   My hope would be that if completed it would promote understanding and healing. But who am I kidding, nothing can ever remove the stench & anger over what occurred that day. If we don’t allow it, aren’t we just like those same people we detest. If we do allow it, then what the hell do we stand for?  So back and forth I go.  If we go by the constitution, the document this country is supposed to live by, then they have a right to built the mosque, although it may not be wise to do so. The problem is the constitution also states all men are created equally, with the right to purse happiness and freedom – things not always adhered to by all citizens of this great country.   If they go through with building this mosque it would do more to alienate the masses then bridging the gap to acceptance. The area is not ready for it. It will create greater animosity, fear & contempt.  If given the opportunity, I would tell the Imam to do the right thing, understand the pain felt by what transpired that day, the pain still felt by those directly affected and those of us New Yorkers who will never forget.  So go ahead built your mosque, foster an understanding of your religion, just do it elsewhere.

Passions unguided are for the most part mere madness.

– Thomas Hobbes

Toxic Radio & Dangerous Right Wing Rhetoric

In Politics, Racism, Radio on August 16, 2010 at 10:03 pm

People like Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh & Sarah Palin are dangerous.  Each time they open their mouths, they run the risk of inciting some disillusioned, ignorant or racist individual of caucasian decent to commit violence against others.  They create a fear deep within them that America, their so called riches and their freedom are being transferred to people of color.   Recently a white man in San Francisco was arrested for drunk driving in his pick-up truck (so cliche’) stocked with weapons, on his way to massacre employees of a foundation Mr. Beck had numerous times called a “central player in the left wing conspiracy” .  This idiot, who I am positive was not the first & will not be the last, claimed he was motivated by Mr. Beck’s rants.  People like Mr. Beck hide behind the Freedom of Speech mantra to spew their hatred.  They rip Obama every chance they get, not due to racism they say, of course not, rather it’s for what they claim is the betterment of “their” Amerikkka.  Back in the late 60’s, early 70’s the Black Panthers and to a lesser extent, the Young Lords, were systematically dismantled and sometimes murdered by these same types of individuals who hide behind their alleged love of freedom.  Back then, they claimed the brothers where spreading hatred and government overthrow – not exactly different than what we are hearing from these right wing zealots who have a powerful forum in Fox News in which to spread their dangerous verbiage to distrustful and scared citizens, who have been deceived not by those they are told to hate, but by the same types of politicians they now listen to point the finger away from themselves.  Sort of like a more advanced three card monty scheme hustlers invented back in the day.  Damn these jokers even try to steal our hustle.

There are some that only employ words for the purpose of discussing their thoughts.

– Voltaire