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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Rest Stops on Interstate Highways



I do more highway driving these days.  I’ve learned to appreciate rest stops.  I stop just to use the bathroom and to wake the hell up.  You know that falling asleep feeling you get when driving.  That’s a scary feeling.  It’s like somebody is hypnotizing you and you can’t come out of the trance. That’s when I find a rest area fast. I did not know the history of rest areas.  But knowing this country black people were likely not welcome at most early rest areas.  They probably had unofficial rest areas where black people could stop.  No restroom, no water. No food.  Just a piece of cement in the ground big enough for 1 or 2 cars.   But, I did some research.  Rest areas started in the 1950s.  Some states built them, they claim, to emphasize that state’s culture.  I saw a photo where the state of Texas built rest areas in the shape of Teepees.  Now how insulting was that to Native Americans?  This country takes the land from Native Americans, then mocks them by putting up rest stops with a teepee design.  Who thought of that?  It’s like rubbing it it.  Whomever it was their entire family should be interviewed on TV then lined up to be slapped by the last 15 Native Americans living in this country. Thankfully most of the rest stops I visited looked okay.  But, I always worry about serial killers being inside the bathrooms waiting for me.  So, when I go into a rest room I go in fully loaded.  I’m packing like SWAT on a mission.  I’m talking full body armor, knives, backup guns, stun grenades.  So when I use the bathroom I have one hand on my stuff and the other hand on a weapon. I’m looking around and peeking  at whomever comes in. The food in those rest stop vending machines is sad.  They have sodas and snacks from 20 years ago.  You eat that stuff you’ll have to go big time at the next rest stop. But truckers really need rest stops.  Otherwise truckers would fall asleep and kill all of us.  Now some states are closing rest stops because you’ve got these all purpose gas stations being built with showers, restaurants, stores, video games.   They’re like little cities. I have an idea on how to keep the rest areas open.  Create rest and brothel stops.  That way it becomes a multi service facility. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Enabling Domestic Terrorism?

Two recent mass shootings in the United States claimed the lives of 58 and 26 people respectively. It's now become so common there is even a "top 10" list of mass shootings in the United States.  We all know that as you read this, someone somewhere is making plans for their entry into the "top 10 list".  Unfortunately someone wants to be number one on the list.  Why?  Because we've been taught that being number one is something we should aspire to, even in negativity. That will mean more innocent lives will be lost for some deranged purpose.

The reason for these incidents occurring is not easy to determine.  There is no mathematical equation that shows A plus B will result in C.  C being mass shootings.  Or if their is a profile that predicts such behavior, our law enforcement agencies are not sharing that information with us.  We must agree that in these United States of America we have developed a system and processes that enables people to gain weapons and military accessories that can and will be used during mass shootings.  People are committing mass shootings basically because they can and because our system of obtaining guns enables them to.

People often refer to their second amendment right to bear arms.  We all agree that the second amendment under the US Constitution wasn't intended for the building of gun and ammunition stockpiles for mass shooters to use when they choose.  The second amendment to the United States Constitution says, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."  Unless I'm reading it wrong nowhere does it say that  a human being has the right to purchase unlimited weaponry to use as they wish. The second amendment was proposed in the year 1789.  The complexities of life in the year 2017 do not compare to the "simpler" lifestyle in 1789.  We do need to reflect and act on what the amendment means in today's time frame.  Then the appropriate action to modify access to guns and other weaponry needs to be taken.

Since the police cannot protect everyone from becoming the victim of a crime, we agree that people should have the right to bear arms to protect themselves.  The self protection doctrine has merits.  But how much weaponry does one person need?  Do we not believe that our police forces and armed forces can be trusted to always protect us?  If not, one could say a person should have unlimited access to possess whatever type of non nuclear weaponry they need  to ensure their safety and the safety of their family.  As I read and learn about the massacres inflicted upon black people in these United States during race riots in the early 1900s, I definitely agree that people have the right to protect themselves from unruly mobs.

If the police are primarily responders to acts of violence, then some would say everyone needs some type of protection until the police can arrive.

Whatever side of the debate you are own we have to recognize a basic fact.  Our current system of "gun control" enables most people to obtain enough weapons to perform a mass shooting.  There is no mental health test that prevents a person who has never been labeled "mentally ill" from obtaining the weapons of mass destruction.  It is ironic that the United States often feared countries having weapons of mass destruction, when we ourselves created a system where an individual United States citizen can become a weapon of mass destruction.

Let's face a fact.  Until our lawmakers become recurring targets of mass shooters, laws further restricting access to guns will not be passed.  We know how it works.  It takes a tragedy close to the source to motivate people to act.  Our lawmakers are no different.  When they become as vulnerable as normal people, maybe they will act.  Have you seen the protection lawmakers are given at their office buildings?  They make sure a mass shooter can't get to them.  What about the rest of us?  Are we on our own?

Who knows, maybe we just need to get accustomed to the mass shootings and exercise diligence in where we go?  Get our Wills in order and have our funeral arrangements already worked out in detail. Do individuals have to arm ourselves like in the days of the Wild Wild West and always be ready to defend ourselves from harm?  I do wonder what our governmental agencies are doing to locate and stop mass shooters before they carry out their plans.  Can they develop "profiles" and mechanisms that will raise "red flags" on certain people who "might" be dangerous? How do you identify and label a person as a potential danger due to mental issues?

We have enabled people to obtain and use weapons.  If we don't plan to place further restrictions on access something has to be done to reduce the opportunities for mass shootings to occur.  Otherwise we will soon be talking about a top 20 list.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Real Fake News

Today people have problems with fake news.  Me, I have a problem with the real news.  Especially news about black people.  Nine times out of 10 the first local news story you hear is about a black person  being shot or a black person shooting somebody.  Then the accompanying film of the story is always shot a nighttime, under dark, mysterious, murky conditions.  It’s like they think black people only come out at night like vampires.  The black person could be shot at 9 in the morning.  But, they send the film crew to cover the story 12 hours later at 9 p.m. so everything looks gloomy and depressing.  So now I just refuse to watch the local news.  Then the opposite story happens.  Somebody is murdered in a European American neighborhood.  The news crew comes out in the daytime under a bright sunny sky.  A European American couple is standing outside their $450,000 home on their door step with their two smiling children by their side.  The news reporter is talking about the “unfortunate incident” that occurred as birds chirp in the background, and squirrels scamper around playfully. It’s amazing how murders in European American neighborhoods become “tragedies”, and “terrible accidents” while murders in black neighborhoods are depicted as typical “black on black” crimes.  So don’t worry about fake news.  The real news is the fake news!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

NFL Players Muhammad Ali Moment

The owner of the Dallas Cowboys has made it clear.  A player who kneels during the national anthem will not play in the game for his team.  Their was no discussion or mention by the owner regarding the issue of black men being killed by police in questionable situations.  He apparently doesn't care about that and doesn't want his players to care about that.  Just stand for the national anthem dammit and give your total allegiance to his God, the flag of these United States of America.

Now we will see how his players and other players around the NFL will react. Shades of slavery days!

I attended the public ceremony and farewell to Muhammad Ali in Louisville, Kentucky last year.  Ali took a stand in the 1960s by refusing to report for duty and "service" in the Vietnam War.  That decision resulted in him being banned from boxing until the Supreme Court overruled the ban.  He lost prime years in his career and suffered financially for his stand.  Now NFL players face a decision, especially those who are members of the Dallas Cowboys.  Your Muhammad Ali moment is upon you.  The same for millionaire athletes in other professional sports.

Is the issue of black men being systematically killed by police with no subsequent changes in policy or training worth protesting by players taking a knee during the national anthem?  We will find out during the NFL game Thursday night and the upcoming games of Sunday.

We all know that playing the national anthem and parading the flag is not necessary before sporting events.  It forces us to become junior soldiers who blindly support events and actions occurring within the country, even if the actions are wrong.

Now the players on the Dallas Cowboys and other NFL teams will face a dilemma  Muhammad Ali faced in the 1960s.  NFL players, now comes your Muhammad Ali moment.  In the past thankfully not all black people accepted being enslaved.  Thankfully there was support for slavery in the United States being ended.  The challenge of stepping up and demanding that the issue of blacks being killed by police is here.  It demands action.  It doesn't deserve the issue being swept aside and robotic standing to a flag and a song.  Show us what you have Dallas Cowboys and other NFL athletes. It is your Muhammad Ali moment.

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

There was a documentary on the PBS network in 1987 titled "Eyes On the Prize". It was about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.  The content of the documentary is still applicable to events occurring today.  It's still available and those of you 35 years and younger should definitely watch it.

Recently politicians, owners of professional football teams, and others have attempted to change the issue of black people being killed by police into an issue over protests during the national anthem.  It is a well crafted attempt to deflect attention from the real issue of black men being murdered by police, just because the police allegedly "feared for their lives".  This fear was even being justified by the police when the person they "feared" was unarmed.  That is the reason for the protests.  It's not about the flag it's about having discussions and then efforts to stop the "MBP" Murder By Police.  Videos have been shown in the past years documenting the murder of numerous black men by police officers.  No mass nationwide call for re training of police has occurred.  The city of Indianapolis has talked about starting Implicit Bias Training of policeman.  Otherwise apparently it's business as usual for the majority of police departments in the United States.

It is very cunning to attempt to cover up the real issues under the umbrella of "patriotism", respect for the military, and "respect those who have lost lives in Wars".  No one is attempting to disrespect veterans, so stop the lie that the protestors are purposefully disrespecting those who have lost their lives in past wars.  The attempts to cover up the issues with patriotism and the symbolic playing of the national anthem shows that those who condemn the protest really could care less about the lives of black people impacted by MBP.  Thank you for your honesty regarding your feelings towards black people.  I would rather you go further and just come out and say "you could care less about a policeman killing a black person" rather than hiding behind a flag and a national anthem as you are doing now.

You are artfully attempting to get our eyes off the prize.  You want to have the real issue ignored.  Just know that we will not let the real issue be ignored.  We will continue to protest, march, speak out and take action regarding the real issue.  We will put a stop to the practice of police killing us because they can hide behind the "fear" card. 

It is amazing to see how the patriots and anthem lovers never acknowledge that enslavement of black people, lynching of black people, racism against black people, MBP and other atrocities against black people really occurred in this country.  Playing a national anthem before sporting events and having people stand for a symbolic flag does not wipe out the past or change the present. Fix the issue that is causing the protests.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Beneath the Flag and the National Anthem – Symbols, traditions, and human made laws.

What do the national anthem, the flag, and the pledge of allegiance mean to me as a 60 year old black man?  In these United States, they are all symbolic creations aimed at demanding blind loyalty and devotion to the beliefs and values of European Americans. That devotion is demanded regardless of what atrocities have occurred in this country against black people. European American institutions attempt to impose these symbols upon us to define who has authority over us.  The symbols start in the school system at an early age.  These symbols and customs have found their ways into our sports entertainment. The NBA, a league where over 74% of the players are black, created specific rules to dictate how players must behave when the national anthem is played.  The motive for the creation of these rules apparently is to ensure the majority of the fans who actually attend the games, those being European Americans, are not offended by protesting black athletes.
I have no reason to be blindly devoted to a country that supported the kidnapping of my descendants from Africa to perform hard labor for European Americans.  I have no reason to be blindly supportive of a country that still to this day fails to acknowledge how it carried out the annihilation of the Native American people who were originally here.
For dialogue purposes I would like my fellow European Americans out there to answer these questions:
1.     Why should current day black descendants of enslaved people stand to honor a country where a black man can be murdered without cause by the police?
2.     Why should a black person pay respect to a country that allowed the lynching of black people and continues to allow discriminatory practices solely based on the color of a person’s skin?
3.     Do you acknowledge that your majority status in this country is based on the total obliteration of Native Americans by European Americans via illegal appropriation of their land and resources?
For me that is the starting point of any discussion on race and the protests against the flag and or the national anthem.
Does the national anthem need to be played at sporting events or any public event?  No it does not.  Sports are supposed to be a distraction from our everyday lives.  We go to watch athletes play a game that provides us entertainment.  The introduction of flag waving and national anthem playing is not why people pay to attend events. If you see someone not standing when the national anthem is playing or refusing to face the flag, understand that they have a reason for doing so.  You do not have to accept their reason, only respect it.
If military institutions want to play the anthem at military events, feel free to do so.  But stop using us non soldiers to visually show support for a country by making us stand at any event you feel demands a support of loyalty.  If democracy is about freedom then give us that freedom and do not impose loyalty tests on us at various social/entertainment events.
The issue of people protesting against the playing of the national anthem or protesting the flag of the United States of America is not a new event. In 1916 the President of the United States and then in 1931 the US Congress authorized the “Star Spangled Banner” as the official national anthem of the United States of America.  Only the first verse is traditionally sung. 
In 1892, the pledge of allegiance, which we all may have recited in elementary school, was written. It was modified in 1923, and 1954 to add specific reference to the flag of the United States and reference to God.  Prior to World War II, students in school would salute while reciting the pledge in a manner that was very similar to the German Nazi salute in World War II.  So the “Nazi” salute was replaced with a hand over the heart stance.  Actor Louis Gossett shared the story of how he would recite the pledge in school but instead of reciting the line “…for which it stands..” he would say “.. for Richard Stands…” not knowing what he was really saying!
Protests against the national anthem are documented well back into the 1900s. The reasons were many.  Anti nationalism, anti war, civil rights, even a protest against spending money on building a sports stadium rather than for a drug treatment program.  The protests were by people of various races and beliefs.
As a black man I understand fully why Colin Kaepernick said enough is enough and no longer robotically stood during the playing of the national anthem.  It was a time when month after month a black man was being killed by police. European Americans need to put themselves in our position.  How would you like it if you were systematically stopped for no real reason other than your skin color?  Would you stand for a system where the police are not trained to deal with their biases and not taught how to diffuse a situation to avoid killing someone?
Being “patriotic” always seems appropriate especially after such events as 9/11.   Patriotism that turns into blind loyalty is dangerous.  Blind loyalty fails to see the truth.  As a 60 year old black man, I recall the events of the 1960s and the civil rights era.  I still firmly believe that the protest at the 1968 Olympics by Tommie Smith and John Carlos was a courageous action.  Many people died during and before the civil rights years of the 1960s.  They died in pursuit of having the same rights as European Americans in this “land of the free”.  They spoke up against and protested against racial discrimination.  Unfortunately some of the civil rights struggles that existed in the 1960s continue today.  That is why people like Colin Kaepernick take a stand.  That is why a black man like myself does not feel obliged to stand and place my hand over my heart as the national anthem is played.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

"45" and Kim Jung-Un Do Battle Using Elton John Songs

The nuclear test drama between leaders of the United States and North Korea entered another chapter this week.  "45" called the North Korean leader, Kim Jung-Un, "Rocket Man" and then continued speaking about Kim Jung-Un as the song "Rocket Man" by Elton John played in the background.  Secret service men could be seen in the background mouthing the lyrics of the songs while scanning the crowd.

About half an hour later, Kim Jung-Un responded by calling "45's" remarks those of a barking dog as the Elton John song, "The Bitch is Back" played in the background.

Fifteen minutes later, "45" sent the White House Press secretary to remind the press of his "rain of fire and fury" comments to the sounds of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road".

Kim Jung-Un quickly responded by playing the Elton John song, "Tiny Dancer" with a photographic close up of "45's" crotch area.

Not to be outdone, "45" had the song "Saturday Night's Allright" blasting onto Pennsylvania Avenue through the exterior White House speakers.

Minutes later the airwaves in North Korea were filled with the strands of the song "I'm Still Standing" by Elton John.

"45" then went off his scheduled speech at a luncheon as he started singing the Elton John song, "Bennie and the Jets" as he pointed to a hand held map of North Korea.

The back and forth came to an end and the parties called it a day after Kim Jung-Un played the song "Don't go breaking my heart" as he ordered another missile test over the country of Japan.

We understand that both leaders will be moving to the play list of the Rolling Stones in the next volley of musical exchanges.