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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Original Caravan vs Today's Caravan

Reportedly there is a caravan of people headed towards the United States of America.  The people in the caravan have left their land of origin to seek a better life for themselves and/or their family. Hundreds of years ago, Europeans also left their homeland in caravans, venturing across the ocean that separated Europe from the new world.  The Europeans destination also was the land currently called, the United States of America. 

Today, awaiting the caravan is an organized United States government that has no plans to openly welcome those in the caravan or to give them shelter or asylum.  What kind of reception did the Europeans receive when they arrived in what is now the United States?  Awaiting them was a land inhabited by Native American people.  Although there may have been some resistance by the Native Americans to the incoming Europeans arriving on their shores, for the most part there was no concerted effort to keep the invading Europeans out.

So what is the difference between that era and today’s era?  The ancestors of those first arriving Europeans will not admit it, but some of the current European Americans may not want to share the resources of the United States with people coming into the country.  It is ironic that those people coming are seeking the same things as the first boat caravans of Europeans who arrived here those hundreds of years ago. 

Imagine if Native Americans had the weaponry and organized resources to keep the Europeans out?  Those Europeans would not have settled in this land and would not have needed to resort to importing slaves to perform the hard work the Europeans did not want to do themselves.  No European arrival, no slave trade. No destruction of families in the continent of Africa.

Some would try to say keeping “immigrants” out of the United States unless they “legally” enter is for the protection of the citizens of the United States of America.  Did anyone ever call the invading Europeans “illegals” when they settled into what is now the United States.  Let’s just say what this policy is.  It is purely selfishness.  European Americans understand how they have come to economic power in the United States.  Basically European Americans entered a country where other people were already present. To build up the new land in the image they desired, European Americans purposely devised a system of slavery to force others to do the hard work they were unwilling to do.

European Americans are not willing to share the resources of the United States with those who want to come here to better themselves.  It’s a “I’ve got mine”, “you get yours somewhere else” mentality.  European Americans know through the history they have written.  Because they came to this land to steal land from others, wipe out the existing civilization, and only focus on self preservation, European Americans fear they too will face the same fate as the Native American culture they obliterated.

Don’t be fooled by talk that immigration policies are intended to keep the citizens of the United States safe.  More people are being killed by domestic terrorism than any threat by immigrants.  Fear is a powerful force.  You are being misled into fearing immigrants.  Selfish motives are behind those who push the fear onto you.  Many of those who are pushing the fear are descendants of those original caravans of Europeans who have economically prospered over the years and who are now enjoying the resources of the United States.  They do not want competition from an influx of people who they see as a threat.   They know what happened to the Native Americans when caravans of European Americans came to this land.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Indoor Dog Park vs Other Needs

I saw a human interest story on the “news” about a week or so ago.  It was touting the future building of an indoor dog park.  A timely story with the approach of winter and severe cold temperatures about a month away. Then I thought about the many empty buildings all around this geographic area.  Then I thought about the numerous homeless people, some not wanting to be homeless, and how they would love to have an indoor homeless shelter in the cold of winter in any of the empty buildings that exist.

But, the indoor dog park will be in a neighborhood where incomes are above the norm.  In that neighborhood the priority is for an indoor dog park, not a homeless shelter for people. The need for a shelter for homeless people is not a concern of those who live in affluent neighborhoods.  Instead a support building for their pets is the immediate concern. 

That’s the nature of our human existence.  We are not our brother’s keeper.  We focus in general on ourselves first and what makes us comfortable and our lives easier.  That is our culture and how we generally have been taught on how we should be.  It’s understandable.  If we don’t take care of ourselves who will take care of us?  It’s like the choice of building an indoor dog park versus a homeless shelter to shield the homeless from the cold of the winter.  Depending on where you live, some would vote for the indoor dog park.  Others the homeless shelter.  It’s all from the perspective you are coming from.

I’m not going to rail against the decision to build the indoor dog park.  It’s what the people in that area want, because that is what they feel they need to support.  It fits their lifestyle.  Sometimes we need to sacrifice our desires and replace them with doing what is needed to help other people.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic.  Epidemic is defined as something that spreads rapidly among people in a community, most commonly related to a disease.  For the past year I’ve been confused as to how people making a decision to take a drug and then get addicted to the drug, can be labeled as an epidemic?  Even politicians believe conscious decisions by human beings can now be categorized as epidemic behavior.  We have entered a new era where an unwanted behavior can be blamed on an “epidemic”.  I thought an epidemic was when some disease is forced upon people?  I did not know that people could be forced to become addicted to drugs?

What separates the taking of opioids from other human addictions? So what is next?  The marijuana epidemic?  The pornographic epidemic?  I don’t recall anyone ever saying there was a poverty epidemic in the United States despite there being thousands of people who need food every day.  Even though I see homeless people downtown, on street corners and entrances/exits ramps of highways I don’t recall the news talking about the homeless epidemic.

The use of the term opioid epidemic appears to be related to people wanting us to care about those in the majority who unfortunately get addicted to opioid medications.  When social programs existed to feed and house people the response was, people should get jobs and make money to take care of themselves.  Why not the same response now?  People should be cautious and not get addicted to opioid medications.  What is the difference in saving someone from medications versus saving someone from a life of poverty?  Are not both caused by systemic issues?

I especially cringe when politicians talk and support legislation to assist those with opioid addictions.  It seems like selective choosing of whom to assist.  If the people impacted look more like you, there seems an inclination to want to support them.  Call it reverse welfare.  Yes, I have compassion for those who are suffering due to addictions.  But the key is not to help them after they get addicted.  The key is to provide information that tells people in advance to avoid specific human choices that may lead to their being addicted to either a substance or to some type of behavior.  The medical community should share the burden in resolving this “opioid crisis”.  Are they not the source of the problem?

So now we are in the epidemic era.  What’s next? With the events of the weekend maybe someone will  identify  a “hate epidemic”.  Come on people.  It’s about bad choices we make.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Thornton vs Brooks - Indiana 5th Congressional District

Leadership.  That is one trait that we look for in those running for public office.  The ability to work with others to identify options for easing the pain that life sometimes brings us, is another trait we should look for.  The desire to listen first to understand what people are concerned about.  People should not seek an office because they think they have solutions to the problems of the world.  We all know that human beings can not create solutions.  We only create a process by which some will gain and others will not.  How is that a solution?

If an elected public servant does not demonstrate the above traits, especially after having served several terms in their current position, they should not be reelected.  Such is the case with Susan Brooks.  Her fear of town hall meetings with her constituents does not warrant her being given another 2 year term.  Her views that citizens who decide to take drugs, not being forced to take drugs, should be treated as if they have a disease does not warrant another term in office.  Yes, people make mistakes, but why single out a specific class of people as needing help?  If that is Ms. Brooks views, will she next seek leniency for those who commit crime because they are caught up in a crime epidemic?

Yes, Susan Brooks seems comfortable meeting with groups who have a specific interest?  But what about those who are not part of an interest group?  A town hall where every day citizens can just express themselves is what she never gave us.  So we should choose not to give her another term in office.

Dee Thornton presents an influx of fresh air and untainted viewpoints.  She just wants to be of assistance to people in the 5th District.  Two years.  That is what we should give her to allow her to demonstrate that she can do better than Susan Brooks.

Look up one of Dee Thornton's donuts with Dee events.  Go hear her speak and ask her your questions unfiltered by a staff member.  Dee deserves a chance to represent the 5th district.  Give her the opportunity.  Vote early, tell your friends to vote.  Vote for Dee Thornton for our Congressional Representative in the 5th District in Indiana.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Scootermania in Urban Areas

In May of this year I encountered my first experience with scooters being used in downtown areas of a city.  I was in Nashville, Tennessee and was surprised to see many people riding scooters near the downtown area.  Well, the scooter movement has moved further north in the Midwest. Downtown Indianapolis, Indiana is now in the throws of "scootermania".  While downtown this weekend a common sight was seeing a scooter parked along a sidewalk.

I am surprised that their is not more concern about what safety issues come up with allowing people to just pick up and start "driving" a scooter along streets, paths, and sidewalks.  Their is no requirement to prove you can "drive" a scooter without crashing into people, buildings, cars or other scooters.  People are not required to take a driver's test or a written test on the rules of driving a scooter.  No, you just pay and go.

What that means is that pedestrians, buses, and cars are dealing with unproven scooter drivers.  We are at their mercy and can only hope they know how to drive the scooter properly.  I recently saw a video of a scooter rider being hit by a truck as the truck was pulling out of a parking garage.  The scooter rider made no attempt to slow down as he approached the parking garage exit.  He assumed he had the right of way.  Even I as a pedestrian know to look out for cars exiting a parking garage.

But of course when profit is a factor common sense is forgotten.  Now I as a driver have to be concerned about looking out for scooter traffic when I drive downtown.  Just what I needed!  I would urge the "law makers" to consider requiring scooter drivers to be certified that they are qualified to drive in urban downtown traffic.  If not we will hear about more accidents and yes unfortunately someone will die in a vehicle vs scooter collision.  Lastly with winter approaching I hope the use of scooters is banned during wintry weather!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

ABC Nightly News Presents 3 "different" stories featuring black people

The ABC evening news presented several stories one evening this week.  The stories all related to black people.  The first story was related to the discovery of a “compound” allegedly built by or with the help of a black couple.  Somehow the story line turned to a comment that children were being taught to conduct school shootings.  The inference was black people were somehow being taught to target European American schools.  As far as I recall none of the school shootings have involved a black person as a shooter.  So why is someone now trying to tie in black people to school shootings?  It was as if someone was purposely trying to move the discussion on the causes of school shootings into the “black” lane.

A second story was related to a video of a couple of teens harassing and kicking an older foreign man.  One of the teens was black.  Ironically the father of the teen was a black police chief.  The story closed with a comment that the black teen’s actions were being investigated as a hate crime.  Another reversal.  A black person being investigated for a hate crime.  Hate crimes were designed to protect minorities.

The last story was about a white man saving a black teenager from drowning.  A white male coming to the rescue of a black person.

The sequence of stories and the fact that there were three stories featuring black people seemed strange.  Producers of the news make decisions on which stories will be featured in the 25 minutes or so allotted.  Each story appeared to have a theme.  Blacks overseeing the training of kids to become school shooters.    Black people perform hate crimes.  White people are the saviors of black people. 

  We know that the truth normally is that school shooters have been white males and typically have attacked European American middle class and upper class schools.  Minorities are normally the victims of hate crimes.  White people typically do not worry about the lives of black people.

What the news shows viewers has great influence.  It influences thought, beliefs, and follow up actions.  The producer of the news apparently had a story that he wanted to be told.  Another viewpoint related to black people that he wanted to present.  So viewers just understand that people also have underlying reasons for showing certain stories with a different view.  It could be that people are trying to divert you from the truth.

Friday, July 27, 2018

The National Football League and the "flag" controversy

Jerry Jones and son, team vice president Steven Jones, have made themselves clear.  Players are expected to put aside their feelings regarding police brutality, social injustice and racial equality.  When they come to “work” to entertain football fans and television viewers, all players are expected to put their feelings in a box in the locker room and come out to the field as if “all is well” in the real world. The youngster Ezekiel Elliott and his views on standing in unity just underscore that many of the new generation of black people have no real understanding of the journey of black people in this country.  It's a fact and it's a shame.

The history of standing for the anthem dates back to traditions established for military personnel before the year 1900.  Over the years the tradition/ritual has cascaded down to the general public at sporting events.  The fact is there is no need to play the anthem at sporting events.  It was pushed upon us quietly and now has become a ritual that we blindly just follow.  Playing the anthem has now evolved through a careful campaign as being a way to show support for the nation and has been construed now as support for veterans, especially those who have given their lives.  Of course when someone ties in support for deceased veterans it becomes an emotional issue.  Who would dare disrespect a military veteran who died “for the country”?  It was a brilliant move to relate standing for the national anthem with support for those who died in military conflicts. 

So instead of playing the national anthem why isn’t there some type of common prayer done before sporting events?  Or a moment of silence where people can contemplate emotional issues?  Maybe someone wants to reflect on the impact of cancer on their loved ones.  The impact of the opioid crisis.  A time for reflection and quiet prayer by parents and students that they will not be impacted by school shootings.  Time for black people to reflect on how ancestors were killed in race riots and no one held accountable for the murders.  Time to ensure your Native American costume is in order so you can make ridicule of a culture annihilated by your ancestors.

We could reflect on and do so much in those minutes that are now used to continue a tradition we follow as if we are all Nazis in the Germany of Adolph Hitler.  Stand, put your hand over your heart, take off your hat, and sing dammit!  40,000 plus captive robots.

Me.  At basketball and baseball games I just stand silently and think of how in these United States of America Black people were; kept in slavery for hundreds of years; families not allowed to follow natural patterns of growth; men, women, and children lynched; people denied equal treatment based solely on the color of their skin and perpetuated stereotypes; and of how there is little concern when unarmed black people are killed by the armed police?

Jerry and Steven Jones say forget all about that!  Players, put your toe on the line and let’s play this game!  It’s all about control.  What I can make you do by constructing rules, traditions and rituals.
I’ve stopped watching NFL football and purchasing any items sponsored by the NFL.  I’ll try to ensure I find out what companies are sponsoring the NFL and stop feeding my money to those companies.

There are different types of slavery.  Mindless slavery to rituals and traditions is just one form.