Friday, November 24, 2017

Yes Mr. Ball A "Thank You" Was In Order


While I can be very critical of the actions of our current president, in this instance I happen to side with him. Not that I am condoning his childish responses on Twitter concerning the matter; however, I can understand where he is coming from. Truth be told, I would hope that Mr. Trump did not make the effort to free the young men from the Chinese prison just for praise, but out of truly being concerned for their well being as U.S.Citizens.

I have traveled outside of the U.S. on multiple occasions throughout the years and I am always mindful to do a little bit of research about the customs and cultures of where I'm about to travel.  I do this because the last thing that I would want to happen on my trip is to do something that is considered offensive or against that country's laws. The last I checked, stealing is wrong regardless of where you travel and shoplifting is a form of stealing.  I don't care how valuable or valueless the article(s) may be, stealing is wrong and illegal no matter what country you are in. At the end of the day, those boys had absolutely no business whatsoever of even attempting to take anything without paying for it whether they were in the U.S. or abroad. Ironically, I was just in China in July.

One would think history would have deterred those young men from even attempting to do anything out of line in a foreign country. Clearly, the names Michael Fay or Otto Warmbier meant nothing to LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley because if they did, I doubt very seriously if they would have committed their act.  The fact that we do not know our history, pay attention to, or learn from it is a topic for another blog post so let me not digress. Back to Elder Ball saying "Thank You." In Luke 17:11-19 we read the story of how Jesus heals ten lepers and only one of them came back after he was healed to give thanks. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Now unlike Trump, Jesus did not go on a rant or throw a Twitter fit; however, he did ask about the other nine. If you were to read the story, you would see that all ten asked to be healed in loud voices and yet only one said thank you when their request was answered in their favor.

This is the problem I have with Mr. Ball not saying thank you to the president for whatever role he played in getting the boys out of that Chinese prison and back home. Whether it was a phone call, a text, a tweet or just the relationship that Trump has with the president of China if it played a part in getting those boys home than a thank you was indeed in order. The bottom line is, those boys could have still been sitting in that Chinese prison.  In the Michael Fay case then-president, Bill Clinton was able to get the Singaporean government to lower Fay's penalty to four lashes from six; the caning was administered on May 5, 1994.  Otto Warmbier passed away shrouded in mystery shortly after his return to the U.S. from North Korea.

Think about it, is vandalizing property in Singapore, attempted theft of a poster from a hotel in North Korea, and taking items from three stores in China without paying for them worth the price these individuals had to pay? They all acted abroad as if they were on U.S. soil and did not expect the swift and harsh consequences. Presidents had to step in to get them back, so yes Mr. Ball a thank you was in order and no it ought not to be predicated on flying on Air Force One. Your son, as well as those other two boys, could still be sitting in that prison in China. There’s a Chinese expression, “Kill the chicken to scare the monkey.” Other countries do not tolerate or take the posture that we take in the U.S. of being innocent until proven guilty. So the fact that the boys were able to come home is certainly worthy of a thank you. How big of a deal is it to say "Thank You?"


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Need To Impeach



Dear Elected Official,

This is not a time for “patience” — Donald Trump is not fit for office. It is evident that there is zero reason to believe “he can be a good president.”

Whether by the nature of Mr. Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia, his willingness to exploit the office of the Presidency for his personal gain and treat the government like a family enterprise, his conduct during Charlottesville, his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accords, or his seeming determination to take the nation to war, he has violated the Constitution, the office of the Presidency, and the trust of the public. He is a clear and present danger to the United States of America.

Republican Senator Bob Corker, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, referred to the Trump White House as a daycare center, and observed that this president has put us “on the path to World War III.” This comes following reports that Trump’s own Secretary of State referred to him as a “moron” and that Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have an agreement not to leave Trump home alone for fear of what he could do. And we have seen other Republican Senators, including Senators Sasse and Flake, express their own profound concerns.

If Trump has lost the trust of the members of his own administration and leading members of his own party, surely it is time to act.

An accounting of his record to date leads to the same conclusion. He is turning his back on Lady Liberty by holding immigrant children hostage. He is actively sabotaging the Affordable Care Act — a law he is constitutionally obligated to faithfully execute — while seeking to strip away health care coverage that will leave millions of Americans to choose between life and bankruptcy. He is repealing clean air protections and unleashing polluters, even as increasingly catastrophic natural disasters supercharged by our warming planet ravaged the country throughout the summer — from hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, to the wildfires that have raged across California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. He has threatened to reduce aid for millions of American citizens in Puerto Rico who are struggling to survive without drinkable water or electricity — a move that would be a total dereliction of his duty. And every day, Americans are left bracing for a Twitter screed that could set off a nuclear war. These actions represent systemic attacks on our nation’s future. They endanger every single one of your constituents. That’s why you have a duty to speak out.

There is no moral reason to remain silent about this. Constitutional experts like Noah Feldman have already laid out clear legal and historical foundations for impeachment.  Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, a co-author of the Federalist Papers — and an immigrant himself — argued that “high crimes and misdemeanors” could be defined as “abuse or violation of some public trust.” This president has clearly already exceeded these standards. Congress has impeached past presidents for far less.

While we know that Republicans do not seem prepared to pursue impeachment even as members in their own ranks openly question Trump’s fitness for office, we are all working hard to ensure Democrats will take back the House and Senate in 2018. 

Given Trump’s total lack of fitness for office, the question of impeachment becomes a very real issue should we succeed in our midterm goal. That makes it imperative for every Governor of every state, and every mayor of every city, to acknowledge where they stand. This question affects the lives of every single American. They deserve to hear whether or not our party is willing to do what is necessary to protect them and their families. This is not an academic exercise. The very stability of the Republic is at stake.

So, by way of this letter, I am asking you today to make public your position on the impeachment of Donald Trump and to urge your federal representatives to remove him from office at once. Every day he remains in reach of the nuclear codes is another day for him to menace the citizens you serve and protect. Your constituents deserve to know they are represented by people in every level of government who have the patriotism and political courage to stand up and take action when it is so desperately needed.  This is not a time to give in to an establishment that insists on acting the way the establishment always does, with “patience” or “caution.” It is an unprecedented moment, and it calls for extraordinary measures. We cannot remain fixated on what is politically smart. We have to do what is morally right.

Sincerely,

Tom Steyer

https://www.needtoimpeach.com/

Thursday, August 31, 2017

There Is A Difference Between Stupid and Ignorant

This is another one of my Seinfeld like posts wherein I'm sure no one has taken the time to really think about this. If you recall the show Seinfeld, the show mostly was about things we take for granted and never give much thought to until it is brought to our attention. Well, this post does that.

For the most part, unwittingly we use the terms "stupid" and "ignorant" interchangeably when in reality they do not mean the same thing. When I started doing my research for this post I found myself having to dig a little deeper than I had anticipated once I read the dictionary definitions of each word. You'll see what I am referring to as you keep reading.


"Knowledge" and "intelligence."  leaped at me from the respective definitions as I know these two words are often used interchangeably as well. Hence my having to dig a little deeper. so I followed the same thought process. Let's take a look at the definitions of knowledge and intelligence.




If you notice as I did in reading the definitions, one who acts or is stupid, lacks intelligence, while one who acts or is ignorant lacks knowledge. One who acts or is stupid lacks the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills, while one who acts or is ignorant lacks facts, information, awareness, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education. That's the difference.

When we call someone stupid or when someone is acting in a stupid manner, what we are saying is that he/she does not have the ability to acquire/apply knowledge and skills versus someone who has the ability and is unaware or acts as if he/she is unaware.

Most of us are far more ignorant than we are knowledgeable about many subjects. Most of us are experts in one or two areas. That does not make us stupid. Just because I do not know Astrophysics, does not mean that I am stupid. Most of us probably fall into the category of ignorant than stupid.

We see and experience many stupid acts, stupid thoughts and stupid words said on a daily basis. There are things that many of us see others do that we question ourselves saying, "Now you can't tell me that he/she did not know better than that?"  We say to ourselves, "It seems to me that common sense would have told him/her, not to do or say that." For those who are truly stupid, they never grasped reasoning, comprehension, judgment, and understanding. That's why you could have someone playing music in their backyards at 150 decibels at 11:30 p.m. and not understand why the neighbors are complaining or the police are called. Examples such as this could go on and on.

Lastly, it's one thing to be ignorant and it's another thing to be ignorant and just not care. There are certain areas such as parenting, leadership, and relationships (there are others I am sure) that while we may begin as ignorant, we cannot afford to stay ignorant. Contrary to the old adage that "Ignorance is Bliss," in many areas it is not nor should it be.  Being ignorant about something that you know you need to be aware of, means that action must be taken. Intentional ignorance is costly.  In 2017 with all of the technology and information that is available to us, there really is no excuse for anyone to remain ignorant in anything that really matters in life. I am not talking about a subject like Astrophysics unless you intend to be an astrophysicist. I am talking about everyday life experiences that we cannot afford to be ignorant in. Because of intentional ignorance, our children are running amok. Because of intentional ignorance, our country [U.S.A] is being run off of the rails. Because of intentional ignorance, our world is going to Hell in a handbasket. When do we say enough? Nero is fiddling while Rome burns.

So, we really must take a look at who and what we call stupid compared with who and what we call ignorant as they are two different meanings. One who is ignorant has the ability compared with one who is stupid does not. Something to critically think about........

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Friday, August 25, 2017

I Think Too Deep

This is going to be one of those posts where I am sure the reader will probably come to the conclusion that I think too deep. I'm often told that I think too deep when I give my thoughts in terms of the subliminal and subconscious messages and signals that are sent in words, photos, advertisements and of course actions. Such is the case with the retweet shown in the photo on the left by President Trump of a meme about the recent eclipse of the sun starring him.

When I shared my thoughts on the roles Denzel Washington and Halle Berry were awarded their Oscar Awards for, I was met with "You think too deep." That was not the only time I was met with that response. Maybe my critics are right. I may indeed think too deep and for me, that's okay because I really do pay particular attention to what is not said or seen. That's why I love autobiographies and memoirs as they reveal the behind the scenes and what's not seen or heard on camera. I'm fascinated by the subconscious and subliminal messaging that occurs that those who do not think so deeply miss. I love the book Subliminal Seduction and still have an old copy on my bookshelf as I write this post. I believe in 2017 the popular term for reaching the subliminal or subconscious is "Dog Whistling," which is a subtly aimed political message which is intended for and can only be understood by a particular group. Donald Trump's theme of Make America Great Again is viewed by many as one such dog whistle.

As stated, allegedly, President Trump retweeted a tweet about his eclipsing President Obama. In my "think too deep" mind, I see plenty of opportunity for deep thinking as the picture says a lot. First the fact that the creator came up with the idea and more importantly the fact that the president retweeted it says volumes. Clearly, it could not mean performance because as much as he may be trying, Trump has not out performed Obama. It cannot be about Trump winning an election over Obama because he did not run against Obama. It certainly could not be about Trump eclipsing Obama with oratory skills class or charisma because he does not beat him in those areas either. And surely it could not be about him eclipsing Obama on Twitter because Obama broke and now holds the record for most Twitter "likes" with his tweet about Charlottesville. So what could this eclipsing be? I know, I think too deep.

Trump won the presidency because there are a lot of "Trumps" (and I don't mean family members) out there who love the fact that Trump says what they feel deep down inside and cannot say or display, particularly about or against people who do not look like them. There are folks out there who have been in torment for the last eight years because an African American male was duly elected President of the United States of  America. Some of those folks did not have a good night's rest from the time Obama was elected until his two terms were completed.

If we look and listen closely to Donald Trump over these past months, it seems as if his agenda has been to outdo or overturn what was done by Barack Obama. It's almost as if he is obsessed with Obama. If you listen carefully, you will notice that Trump finds some way to weave Obama's name into his endeavors, reasoning or excuses every chance he gets. I will go as far as to say that I do not believe that Trump would have run for president if John McCain or Mitt Romney had won their respective elections against Barack Obama. Donald Trump ran for president because I am sure in his mind he felt if that Black man can do it, anybody can. How hard can it be if that Black man could get elected?

Trump connected with that meme above because it speaks to what he believes in his heart of hearts. He is trying to erase the fact that a black man was President of the United States. During the campaign, he called Romney, McCain and Hillary Clinton, losers and said it venom. He thought they were the biggest losers going because not only did they lose, but lost to that Black man. How dare they.....

Sadly, that meme spoke not only to Trump but to the many who think in terms of race such as the overt and covert supremacists, nationalists, and KKK as it was one of them who created the meme. This eclipsing of credit has been done historically with inventions, labor, music, and the list can go on and on.

Thankfully, as we saw in the Charlottesville debacle, in 2017 there are enough people of all races, colors, creeds, ethnic groups, and religions who are not supporting or standing for this hatred. This is not the early Twentieth Century which makes the retweeting of that meme by the President of the United States that much more troubling and sad. He is so starstruck that he can't see what that meme really was saying. He's so hellbent on erasing the Black man's legacy that he doesn't understand what his retweeting of that tweet signaled, or maybe he does.....  I know, I think too deep. The good news is, I don't believe that I am the only one thinking deep in 2017. Vast numbers of people are awakening to the hatred spewed by these hate groups and are not afraid to act and speak out against it.

I find it ironic that the President of the United States can retweet such a meme yet Colin Kaepernick cannot find a job in the National Football League because he chooses to take a knee during the saluting of the flag and singing of the national anthem. I know, I think too deep.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I Would Rather See Hateful Hearts Toppled Instead of Statues. Toppling a Statue and not Changing Hearts is Meaningless

This is one post that I as the author will probably be considered an outlier in terms of being African American. Depending on your views, one might think that I have lost my mind, however, rest assured I have not.

This whole fracas, debacle, tragedy, foolishness or whatever you would like to call the sad display in Charlottesville, Virginia allegedly began over the proposed removal or taking down of a statue of  Robert  E. Lee, the Confederacy’s top general. I say allegedly because in my mind that was just an excuse for the hatemongers to launch their campaign. They were looking for a reason and found one.

Man wearing Arkansas Engineering Shirt
Now, this is where many will consider my view on this statue issue going south (no pun intended).  As one who is well versed in the history of African Americans and slavery in the U.S. and the Civil Rights movement, this view could be considered odd. I truly understand the symbolism of the statues and Confederate flags and other objects related to that period of time; I get it. I really do. But, what good is ripping down statues and removing flags when hearts are not changing? Whether the statue or flag is displayed or not, the hatred is still there. For me, the issue is not the statue or the flag, but the hatred.  Yes, by all means, the statues and flags are outward symbols of the hatred but they are nowhere near as destructive as the internal hatred that is still in the hearts of too many. In Charlottesville, the Supremacists/Nationalists/KKK or whatever they call themselves did not even bother to cover their faces as in days of yore. They were bold enough to show themselves full frontal to the cameras. Jobs and reputations be damned as they did not care who in the world saw their unabashed exhibition of hate. Some touting organizational logos/slogans such as the man wearing the Arkansas Engineering shirt. As with every atrocious act, i.e. lynching, slavery, etc. in the name of supremacy, Charlottesville was just one more example in our long history of pure unadulterated hatred and no removing of a statue or flag will remedy that. Once we eradicate the hatred, then we will stop building monuments and flying flags that represent hate.

Yes, visually it will satisfy many to not have to see the statues and flags as reminders of a so called day gone by (I say so called because it is not a day gone by, it is still today), but what good is having the visual reminder gone when the hate that caused the events and people who are being memorialized still exists internally within so many? So, ripping down statues and prohibiting flags are nice, but in my view purely symptomatic, symbolic and topical. The root of the issue [hate] is still not addressed.

As always I refer to one of my favorite people who walked the face of the earth, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said:
It may be true that you can’t legislate integration, but you can legislate desegregation. It may be true that morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law can’t make a man love me, but it can restrain him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important also. So while the law may not change the hearts of men, it does change the habits of men. And when you change the habits of men, pretty soon the attitudes and the hearts will be changed. And so there is a need for strong legislation constantly to grapple with the problems we face.
We must all work to change the habits of men in order for attitudes and hearts to change. It cannot take two or more days for the President of the United States to give a half hearted, forced or "check the box," denouncing of acts that the group's leaders and organizers proudly stated were being done in his name and to fulfill his agenda of making America white, I mean, great again. The various groups had clearly heard, received and understood the dog-whistle(s) during the campaign and since.

So, this view may seem counter to many, but I will continue to care less about a statue or flag and remain more concerned with changing the habits of men in order for attitudes and hearts to change. I will continue to believe that hate will never win and that darkness cannot drive out darkness. I will continue to join others who are looking to be a light in a dark world. I don't give a damn about the labels of "Right" or "Left" or "Liberal" or "Conservative," as they are just labels that were created by man to divide.

I close with words of wisdom from our 35th U.S. President, John F. Kennedy:
Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are man-made — therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable — and we believe they can do it again.
Our problems are man-made -- therefore, they can be solved by man.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

#CHARLOTTESVILLE

A few years ago Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright included in one his sermons the notion of God "Damning"  America and folks such as Sean Hannity and others were apoplectic over Rev. Wright's commentary. I listened as Hannity and others maligned Barack Obama for the "crowd he associated himself with"  over and over again. They marveled that the Obamas could sit under this man and listen to such rhetoric. As with most cases, the message was lost as what Rev. Wright said in the message was taken out of context.


One dictionary definition of the word Damn is to be condemned by God to suffer eternal punishment in hell. Well, truth be told, there are times when it seems like America has been condemned by God based on her treatment of too many of her citizens who do not look a certain way or have a certain complexion or ethnic background.  The good news is God gives a way out of the "damning" in 2 Chronicles 7:14 where He says "If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  We haven't humbled ourselves or turned from our wicked ways, therefore, our land has not been healed.

Interestingly enough,  Many Americans have partnered in this damning. I'm sure many of you are asking, "What do you mean by that?" Let's take a look at this last election, what the results said and how it all connects to what we are witnessing in Charlottesville as I write this post. Upon learning on November 9, 2016, that Donald J. Trump had actually won the presidency, I was literally waiting for Rod Serling to come out and let me know that I had indeed entered the Twilight Zone. If one is honest and forget about "left" and "right," one would have to admit that we have had many Twilight Zone experiences since January 20, 2017.

Donald Trump's election to the presidency immediately reminded me of  1 Samuel, Chapter 8 in the Bible where Israel asks for a King against the advice and wishes of Samuel. In fact, God tells Samuel
"Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them."  I encourage you to look up and read the entire chapter [1 Samuel 8] for yourself as we also see the consequences that God details that will happen as a result of their having this king that they wanted so badly.  Consequences (I'm somewhat paraphrasing), such as the taking of sons and appointing them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen.  The making of instruments of war, while taking daughters [grabbing them by their pussies] to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. The best fields and vineyards will be taken through eminent domain and given to his children along with a tenth of your income to give to his cabinet/administration. He will take the best immigrants who can pass the latest immigration process and put them to his [menial] work which will ultimately exacerbate the economic "Haves" and the "Have Nots."  Go ahead, pick up a Bible (notice I did not say "your Bible," as I do not want to assume) and find 1 Samuel Chapter 8 and read it in its entirety and see if I am making this up. Parallel what is going on then to what is going on now.  In essence, the people of that time damned themselves just as we have damned ourselves.

The cartoon above accurately depicts the seeds that were sown during the election campaign and yet we as a country with our votes said this is what we wanted; sexism, bigotry, fear, vulgarity, hate, division, racism, and violence. Heck, we get that on a daily basis in the White House, so why would we expect anything less outside of it. The one credit I do give and will continue to give Donald J. Trump is the fact that he did not put on an act when he was running for president. The same Donald Trump we witnessed when he was campaigning was the same Donald Trump that he has always been. To get a flavor of what I am saying, I encourage you to read The Truth About Trump by Michael D'Antonio. Trump's playbook has not changed since his childhood. All of what we are seeing has been his Modus operandi (M.O.) since his childhood and yet we elected that. In short, we damned ourselves and thus my premise.

I cannot in this post list all of the foolishness that has gone on since Trump's taking of office as it is too long, however, Charlottesville is the latest in this never ending saga of which this post is about. Sadly, in America, what we are seeing in Charlottesville is not new, it is only rearing its head publicly and boldly because the participants feel empowered by who is at the helm. In fact, according to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke:
“This represents a turning point for the people of this country,” said Duke in video uploaded to Twitter by Indianapolis Star photojournalist Mykal McEldowney. “We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump. Because he said he’s going to take our country back. That’s what we gotta do.”
I don't believe Duke is far off base with his thoughts. It would likely be safe to say that this bunch rallying in Charlottesville is a part of the 39 to 40 percent of those making up Trump's current approval rating.

What we are witnessing in Charlottesville is reminiscent of a short sixty-five or so years ago. In my mind, the difference is that the latter Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Gen Zers are not going to subscribe to Gandhi and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s methodology of nonviolence. Personally, I do not believe that this group is going to just sit and take a beat down. This group does not have the discipline or the patience for that. In other words, folks will have a fight on their hands. Sadly, this is exactly what too many are hoping for. The White Nationalists were looking for a reason and the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in their mind was a perfect launch site.

We have not learned yet that hatred cannot and will not win. Evil may have its time, but in the end, good will triumph over evil. Light will always trump (no pun intended) darkness.  Hatred only begets more hatred. The whole notion of supremacy is and has always been rooted in hatred and will not stand. There is only one race and that is the Human Race. We all bleed the same color blood and feel the same emotions. We all want to be loved, recognized and appreciated. We ought to be celebrating what our differences bring to the table instead of using the differences as something to separate us or see them [differences] as something negative or bad. Historically, each group has contributed intellectually and physically to the making of America and to the rest of the world for that matter. But too many would not know that because the contributions of those who do not look a certain way or have a certain complexion have been intentionally left out of the history books.

I could go on and on, but I won't. When do we as human beings wake up? When do we learn that we must indeed work together as brothers or perish together as fools? Charlottesville is taking us back into the foolishness which ultimately will lead to us all perishing.