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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Trump Escalates The Conflict With North Korea

Let's be clear.  There is no conflict between the American people and the people of North Korea.  We have no reason to be in conflict with each other.  So where is the conflict coming from?  The "leaders" of North Korea and these United States of America are the source of the conflict.  The drama was escalated recently with the comments of United States President Trump when he went into a "fire and fury" monologue several days ago.  Of course this required a comparable response by the leader of North Korea.

Here we have 2 boys in their sandbox playing war.  They are making statements that are supposed to represent the governments of each country.  Little boys with their toy tanks, missiles and soldiers. "Civilized" nations with leaders who are acting uncivilized. What an embarrassment to the human species.

Hopefully the surrounding bureaucracies of the governments will reel in the deranged talk of the "leaders" of the two countries.  They have shown that they do not deserve to lead their nations. War talk is not what the people of the two countries want.  I would like to see these two world leaders stranded together on an isolated island together. The only resources at their disposal being those that nature around them provides.  The only human company being each other.  Then let's hear you talk about "fire and fury" and attacking another country.

Both of these "leaders" need to understand that the power they have is only what the people allow then to have. They are both entering territory where the people need to protect themselves from these militaristic crazies.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

North Korea Missile Launches - No Need for Fear

I was 5 years old back in 1962 and don't remember the drama and fears of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  From what I understand the United States and Russia were on the brink of a nuclear confrontation due to nuclear missiles being placed in Cuba under Russian guidance. Today, almost some 60 years since that time, North Korea has drawn attention due to their testing of ballistic missiles. The fear is that a successful testing of the missiles will enable North Korea to attach a nuclear device to these missiles enabling them to launch a nuclear attack on another country.

This fear seems a little one sided.  The media has been stressing what cities in the United States can be reached by the missiles.  I thought to myself does that mean back in the 1940s and 1950s when the United States was testing nuclear bombs, that other countries in the world were living in fear of the United States launching an attack on them?

To my knowledge there have been no stories from Russia, China, or North Korea over the years expressing fear of the United States unilaterally attacking cities in those countries. So, why are we assuming that North Korea plans to attack the United States once they have nuclear launch capability?  Why would North Korea begin a scenario that would initiate a nuclear holocaust the world might not recover from?

I agree that military based nuclear devices whether owned by a country or a small terrorist group are weapons to be feared. But, does a country have a right to develop nuclear launch capability?  As a deterrent it definitely presents an imposing presence.  In having nuclear launch capability, something could go wrong and eventually will, whether it be an accident or a deranged act by a leader or a group with access to the nuclear weaponry.  The nuclear capability club consists of nine known countries with Israel and North Korea being part of the group.  One understands the fears of Israel in wanting to keep some countries or entities from achieving nuclear capability.  Until those countries or entities withdraw their stated goal of seeing Israel eliminated, self preservation is the motive for Israel to destroy the nuclear capability of a threatening country or entity.

For the United States to arbitrarily decide that preemptive military action would be warranted to prevent North Korea from achieving nuclear launch capability would seem to be a strong leap to a final judgment.  Does North Korea have a right to create nuclear launch capability? Well, the United States thought we did back in the 1940s.  So why should the current nuclear club members be able to dictate who else can join the club?  Is it correct to take military action against any country that tries to join the nuclear club?  Such an action in itself seems to support a country wanting nuclear launch capability to keep other countries from trying to dictate military terms to them.

One thing we need to be conscious of is to not buy the hype that North Korea's missile launching ability means we are being targeted for annihilation. Mistrust builds more mistrust and initiates the actions leading to an eventual conflict.  Japan, the only country to feel the wrath of nuclear bombs is not a member of the nuclear bomb club. Despite the United States killing thousands of innocent civilians in two major Japanese metropolitan areas, the United States and Japan somehow have good relations with each other. The military views of the current North Korean leader should be an area of concern, but not the sole reason for these United States of America to go into full military defense mode.  When the media starts publicizing stories about how residents of Alaska and Hawaii should be concerned and fearful of being attacked, it's time to reel in the media fear machine from inciting mass panic.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Biggest Lies I was Taught In Grade School

The United States educational system is probably similar to those of other countries.  Our American educational system describes the country's historical events in a positive way as to not admit the sins, mistakes, and negative actions taken within the country.  Other countries also probably take the same approach.

One of the biggest lies I was taught while growing up in the American school system was that Christopher Columbus discovered America.  That has to be in the top 3 of lies taught to kids when I was in the school system in the 1960s.  Somehow the American educational system had been taught to ignore the fact that there already was a Native American civilization prospering in what would become the United States of America.  Although in grade school we may have been taught about "Indians" already being in this country, our teachers had already been trained to brainwash us into accepting that despite that fact, Columbus "discovered" a land that people already inhabited. Teaching us that Columbus discovered America  has to be one of the great salesmanship jobs in world history.
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The history I was taught never admitted that adopting slavery as an institution in the United States was a mistake and just wrong.  Kidnapping people from another country and devastating the lives of those families apparently was seen as being a good practice.  For the good of the country slavery had to exist?  The hard labor needed to be performed by someone else?  The history I was taught did not admit how the words in the United States Constitution were written only for the benefit of land owners, specifically white European American ones at that.  The Constitution was basically a racist document designed to support only one segment of the United States, that being white males who owned land.

Now how did the original European Americans obtain the land from Native Americans? Well truthfully they stole, connived  and cheated Native Americans out of what had been theirs for many years. Some of the richest families in these United States may be benefiting from that thievery.  But will they admit that?  Of course they will not.  That would spoil the image that they simply worked hard to achieve all the family has now. You have to admit that Native Americans were forcefully made to give up what had been theirs.

After the Emancipation Proclamation, black people also had property they legally had obtained taken from them through violence, often leading to the death of black people who had owned the land.  This part of American history is low keyed as it does not fit with the image that the United States wants other countries to have of us.

Negative history is kept away from us on purpose.  It truly takes a great country to admit to the sins and travesties that occurred over the years.  The annihilation of Native American culture and the incorporation of slavery into the development of the United States are parts of history that should be covered in detail in our educational system.  Instead an obligatory paragraph or two may be all you find in the textbooks if any coverage at all.

I have read some articles that there is less emphasis on teaching children about the early years of the history of the United States.  One wonders if that is to avoid the embarrassing details of the Native American experience and how slavery was once supported as an acceptable practice in the United States?

I recall an early historical "fact" we learned about George Washington, the first President of the United States.  The tidbit was about how as a boy George confessed to cutting down an apple tree in his yard. Why that was a historical fact of significance puzzles me to this day.  There was no mention that George was also a person who willfully owned slaves, even as President of the United States.

The lies we were taught often were to the neglect of our being shared factual information about the accomplishments of black people over the years.  There are many stories to tell about the journey of black people in the United States. Some are just now coming out after years of being kept quiet. They are all positive stories about the accomplishments and sacrifices of black people that European Americans had no desire to publicize.

I'm always glad to read or hear about positive accomplishments of black people in the present or past. Such information overcomes the opening 5 minutes of negative news about actions taken by black people that you are guaranteed to see on your local news shows.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Implicit Bias Training for Indianapolis Police?

In response to a recent late night fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, the mayor of Indianapolis, Indiana recently announced that "Implicit Bias Training for police" will start in Indianapolis.  This training allegedly will be the first of its kind in these United States of America.

What is Implicit Bias Training?  Implicit bias refers to the stereotypes and attitudes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner.  In other words, all of the things that we have heard, seen and witnessed in life both directly and indirectly play a part in who we are and how we view the world in our subconscious mind.  All of those things play a part in our worldview without our even realizing it.  In high-adrenaline situations, especially involving threats and fears, it's the subconscious mind that takes control more often than not.  It is these biases that are activated involuntarily and without the awareness of the individual.

After recent video recorded incidents of police killing unarmed black men, you would have thought that police departments nationwide would have gathered to discuss the issue of training for police.  Apparently if Indianapolis is the first city to initiate this kind of "implicit bias training"  that national discussion did not occur.  So after decades of incidents of police killing unarmed black men it seems the police are okay with maintaining that their code of "I feared for my life" is good enough to keep killing black men and others whom they have been culturally taught to implicitly fear.

In other words a European American police officer uses deadly force against a black man in any situation because they have been trained to believe a black man will kill the police officer if the officer does not kill them first.  That logic extends to scenarios where the black man is unarmed.

What if black men reversed that logic?  A black man is stopped by the police when the black man has not done a thing to warrant a stop.  So from past events and history shouldn't the black man fear for his life and take all steps to ensure his life as a black man continues?  Do police officers have unlimited rights to draw their weapons and fire their weapons at black men?  If so, don't black men have the right to defend themselves under the logic that they were protecting their right to life and liberty?  Of course in these United States of America we know what the answer to those questions would be.

The best thing we as black men can do is to not put ourselves in a position where a police man has the opportunity to even stop us.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Health Care and Politics

After the Affordable Health Care Act was passed in 2010, members of the Republican party began an effort to repeal the law.  This repeal effort did not include a detailed Republican plan for replacing the provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act.  Once the Republican party won a majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate, the path was smoothed for the Republican party to implement their mysterious new plan that would replace the provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act.

But, their was one problem.  The Republicans did not have a plan ready that would replace the Affordable Health Care Act.  The Republican focus was simply to repeal the Act.  In May of 2017 the Republican controlled House of Representatives passed the 2017 American Health Care Act,.  Afterwards Republican Congress members gathered at the White House to "celebrate" with Donald Trump.  Everyone knew that it was too early for a celebration.  Several months have passed and the Senate is still working on finalizing the details of a new health care act.

It has been stated that the number of uninsured people would increase under the proposed act.  Protests have erupted nationwide with our elected officials feeling the anger of people being threatened with losing their health care insurance.

Here is what I don't get.  The Republican party had 6 years to come up with a detailed plan to replace the Act they simply wanted to repeal.  Six years of attempts to repeal with nothing to replace it with?  What were they thinking?

The Republican health care "effort" was simply politics.  There was no attempt to develop a plan ready to plug into the space created by repealing the original plan. For that the Republican party should be ashamed of itself.  Partisan politics will not help alleviate problems with the health care insurance system in these United States of America.  The Republican party had a chance to develop all the details of the replacement plan but chose not to do so.

Here's a novel thought.  Instead of replacement, why not try to improve the parts of the plan that were not working?  You're in control Republicans.  Get to work and give us a product that improves not simply repeals.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Realizing My Body Is A Rental

As I got older in years and wiser in wisdom I made a decision regarding my physical fitness.  I was used to seeing men aged 50 and up with a rotund belly and obviously over weight.  I decided that I did not want to achieve that look.  Unfortunately the benefits of eating whatever you want as you get older means increased weight and a change in the proportions of your body.  I did not want those "benefits".  That meant that with being less active than when I was younger, I would need to exercise more and modify my diet.

I also realized that my body more or less is a rental.  Eventually I would need to give it back to something called "death".  In that journey towards death, what we put into our bodies and how we treat our body can play a large part in how long our bodies will maintain top condition. I decided to maintain my rental vehicle in the best condition I could for as long as the parts held out.  What that means is monitoring my intake of all the sweets I loved in my younger years.  Cakes, cookies, donuts, brownies would now have to be eaten in moderation and not as often as I had in the past.  That also meant exercising regularly and longer.  For someone in their late 50s this was not what I thought I would be doing as I got older.

I had been jogging 2 miles about 3-4 times a week.  I increased my mileage to at least a 5k, 3.1 miles 3-5 times a week.  I also joined a nearby gym to work on the weights in the gym.  I also decreased my meal portion size.  I wasn't too focused on portion sizes in the past.  But, I realized that piling food on my plate wasn't necessary.  I started decreasing my plate portions.  I also began to make natural fruit smoothies as my dessert and sometime as my breakfast or lunch.

I soon noticed that along with my increased running and activity I began to lose some weight.  I lost approximately 15 pounds.  I realized that the more active I am the more weight I can lose or keep off.  Health issues I had before went away.  It seems the less weight your body has to carry the better off  your body may be.

In this day and age, technology allows for body parts to be replaced.  Hip, knee, and artificial limbs have been created when those body parts are lost or wear out.  That's one way to deal with a body issue.  Me, as long as I can I want to maintain all of my original parts!  I view my body as a gift.  It's up to me to take care of the gift and to maintain it.  So, I see it as a rental. I have my rental contract which has a "to be determined" expiration date.  It's up to me to do all the maintenance and repairs.

I continue my journey knowing that my contract could be broken by accidents or other events.  But until then I'm trying to do my part to maintain my rental.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Paul George Departure? Pacers Fans Clamor "FANS, FANS, FANS"

Angered and upset that star Forward Paul George supposedly does not want to commit to Indiana beyond the 2017-2018 season, die hard Pacers fans were outside Bankers Life Fieldhouse deluging the team general manager with shouts of "FANS, FANS, FANS".  When asked to verify that they meant to send a message that what the fans thinks should matter, the rowdy group brought clarity to the chant.  "No, we realize George is out of here. We just want the Pacers to Find Another Negro Soon "F.A.N.S." to replace him."  Continued the mobs self appointed spokesperson, "We pay good money to have these boys.....uh, players entertain us after we've worked hard all day!"  "As a minimum we want a player with good hang time and somebody who smiles a lot.  Plus he can't be taking any rest days off when playing at home."  "We already have a home in Geist ready for the new player to move into. We can't have him living anywhere else."

In a related story, a Pacers spokesperson was quick to deny that the team was pursuing a jersey patch deal with a historically anti black group which like the NBA also features 3 letters in its name.