Better late than never I say, but then again I’ve always been of the mind that if you need to use force to exercise your “authority” within a community, you probably have no business being there doing what you’re doing in the first place.
Only someone with the trust and the respect of a community will ever have any true authority to enforce justice, with an emphasis on its justness and a lot of that stems from the fact that they have a stake in it in some way and are somehow already a part of that community.
This is an incredible story. Man discovers several women who’d been missing for years had been held against their will by his own neighbor and helps them gain their freedom. Give it a watch and let me know what you think.
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Found out today that I was selected to join Obama‘s Fall Fellowship to begin helping to organize for his re-election. Needless to say, I’M PUMPED!!!! More to follow folks, really starting to think that my good vibes are starting to pay dividends, everything in my life feels like it is coming full circle from a few month’s ago… Really looking forward to it!
Don't be sheisty, if you like it, share it. Spread the love people
Despite being woven like fabric within America’s creation story, George Washington and the rest of his contemporaries, commonly called our founders, stay something of a mystery to many of us. George Washington, a man we all “know”, many idolize, few compared to (if legends are correct) and still fewer actually know the first damn thing about. When he finally left office, Washington left the nation with some final pieces of wisdom before retiring away to Mt. Vernon. Most important of those warnings was that against party politics, something which he was adamantly opposed to.
Originally, his intent was to finish the first term of President, retiring peacefully to Mt. Vernon, to enjoy out the rest of his years with his both his beloved wife and crops. Rivalries among his cabinet forced him to postpone this goal, yet a while longer (much to Martha’s chagrin), in favor of a second term. Like a stern father, he had to be strict, and at times severe in the way with which he handled the rivaling factions in the government. It reminds me of a parent reprimanding both siblings, regardless of whether justification existed or not. The government was already showing signs of fracturing from within. Serious animosities had arisen between his Secretary of the TreasuryAlexander Hamilton and his Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson about differing philosophies of governance, especially about the role of the role of a centralized bank, among other things including personality differences.
Hamilton believed very strongly in a strong central bank, Jefferson believed the no less passionately in the exact opposite. Rather than putting his and wife’s personal wishes before the immediate needs above those of the infant nation; he did what any good parent would do; whatever the situation required. When he finally did retire from his life of service, it was not without offering prescient and heartfelt words of wisdom, which have proven true in today’s current political situation.
Prescient Words of Wisdom;
Here’s what George Washington had to say about partisanship;
One of the expedients of Party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions & aims of other Districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies & heart burnings which spring from these misrepresentations. They tend to render Alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal Affection
Essentially he is warning us against placing more faith in any interest above the interests of the union as a whole.
Heres what comes later down the document about this as well;
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissention, which in different ages & countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders & miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security & repose in the absolute power of an Individual: and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.
It serves always to distract the Public Councils and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill founded Jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot & insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence & corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country, are subjected to the policy and will of another.
The New Age Nation State:
Rather than a foreign nation, it is in the interests of the corporations we are divided and conquered. A tactic our nations founders had used against the native tribes in their incessant need for more and more land from them. Lessons our founders once used to their advantage against neighboring native tribes in pursuit of a burning desire for more. More land, more resources, more titles; our inherent greed at use against us.
Factionalism, tribalism, nationalism, partisanship, whatever you would like to call it; It is an apt summary for the current political climate. When members of the “Tea Party” will sit down on the duties required of their elected place because a member of the opposition sits in office and then gloat about it, as if THAT were the job well done, says all that needs saying. Congress has one of the 2 lowest approval ratings of all time; it’s a tie for a total of 10%….
That’s what you would score on a test as long as you write your name somewhere on it. At least they knew you showed up and gave you credit for attendance.
Despite the low approval ratings of Congress, or our clear political quagmire of apathy and stalemate, or the lack of any meaningful legislation making this a more free and just society, corporate interests continue to be pursued; How is this done?
By donating heavily to both sides of the aisle, corporations ensure they benefit, irrespective of which party is victorious, something only worsened by Citizens v. United.
This is the most fractured I have ever seen the country; people can hardly speak with one another if they don’t belong to the same party. Millions of American’s are out of work, in debt, are losing their homes or unable to afford medical bills.
People, real life people, the backbone of this country; are hurting now to a degree not seen since the Great Depression. All this time, major corporations are making money hand over fist while workers and small business owners struggle to ride the storm out. as corporation’s now make up 51 of the worlds largest 100 economic entities, and Executive pay has grown exponentially. Economic disparity in the United States is now the largest it has ever been at any point recorded in history. When is enough going to be enough; When will we stand up and say that whats right for companies is not necessarily right for you and me?
Appeasing The Beast Within:
Unlike under Roosevelt, who put millions of Americans to work through the various programs that made up his famous alphabet soup; fixed prices preventing companies from inflating costs on people already struggling to get by as well as enforcing other strict controls on the banking industry and a reckless business climate that placed the nation into the deep hole the country was forced to climb from. The modern consensus approach is an appeasement policy much like the British originally had with Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
Rather than forcing companies to hire x amount of people at the risk of having any sort of federal grants, subsidies, tax break or other form of government help or aid immediately withdrawn; we entertain the thought our unemployment stems from not being “business friendly” enough. Where is the post “New Deal” or “Great Society” conversation in favor of “worker friendly” laws?
We sit idly by as factions of the government push for less government regulations in the lives of the business community, while allowing for more government contact and control within our own. A woman’s right to choose, or gay people’s right to marry are topics of conversation, but increased regulations on the reckless businesses that led us further down this rabbit hole are nowhere to be found.
Despite the knowledge, the lost revenue from the Bush Era tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy would make up almost our entire deficit, these people still want more. More tax breaks, more favoritism, more opportunity to further place the nation deep within their sleeper hold like a tights clad professional wrestler. If we make it easier on them, THEN, and only then, they will hire more workers. The only problem with that; it will probably be in China.
All of the government regulations put in place out of dire need were slowly and systematically undone; including Glass-Steigal, which separated the personal from commercial banking industry to avoid precisely the type of financial meltdown we are still recovering from. Where we once looked at the corporate gluttony and mistreatment of all that stood in their way as being despicable; think the “Robber-Barrens” of old; we now idolize them in their current form. Bill Gates, or the late Steve Jobs are cult hero’s, Apple and Microsoft aren’t painted in the same light as Standard-Oil, Anaconda, or any of the railroads. We no longer hear talk of trust-busting our a push against monopolization. Why do we no longer see these corporations for the exploitative companies they are?
Is it perhaps because their exploitation happens overseas, to foreigners; therefore out of sight and out of mind? The fact the exploitation happens overseas in no way benefits the American worker to any degree. Look how many companies have outsourced people’s jobs, closed factories, and killed pensions regardless of anyones years of dedicated service to the company…
We’re still being exploited, it’s just harder to place your finger upon exactly why you go to work and feel like you’re being shafted, it’s not really the working conditions anymore, or the hours; it’s the fact we are now less well off than our parents were; doing more for less witnessing the ever shrinking “middle class”,
I leave you with a famous poem about Nazi Germany, by Martin Niemoller;
“First They Came for the Jews” By Pastor Niemoller
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Are we willing to make the same mistakes again? Or are we willing to do something about it, and in some way force the political system to work in the interest of human beings again? Or will we be forced into the realization that it is our lives, our liberty, and our land they finally wish to take?
And will it then be too late?
Breaking the Pattern:
It is up to us to hold our government accountable to act in our best interests and not solely those of large commercial entities. In the post Citizens United world, the only advantage we have over these corporations is the right to vote. We must exercise this right judiciously; ensuring the voting record of our congressmen closely aligns with what we want. This election offers us a referendum, not against the Obama administration, but on government in general, our chance to demand bi-partisan coöperation. If we do nothing, we continue the steady downward spiral we now are in; if we stand up and speak out demanding fair and balanced information from our journalists, and honest representation from our politicians; nothing can stop us.
I once told my closest of friends something he never forgot when we stopped doing drugs; “rock bottom is the second you put down the shovel, all that’s left to do then is to climb back up”
I hope this sticks with others as much as it once did my friend We can continue to dig, or we can begin our ascent, but the choice is ours.
All Men Were Created Equal.. Or at least so they said….
Hopefully, we are not unaware to the fact this has not always been the case. Large groups of people were at various times denied the simple ability to enjoy their rights the same, especially the right to take part in the political process. For this “fact” we take for granted, to in fact become reality, required much work. Great sacrifices made the Bill of Rights most famous phrase “all men are created equal” ring true (at least closer to the truth), but there is further yet to go.
While complacency comes easily to a generation free from want or struggle; Governance of our nation, simply placed on “cruise control” is folly. An act comparable to falling asleep at the wheel. Our rights are no longer safe, our interests no longer pursued; In short, our trust is misplaced.
Our collective interests have never been MORE threatened, major gains made towards leveling the playing field, ensuring America is the land of opportunity for all have been undone. Markets are deregulated, allowing the near fatal Wall Street collapse, hard-fought gains made by Unions tarnished and undone. Safeguards for the working man are being unraveled in the interest of appeasing the mythical Job-creating class.
Major corporations are posting record profits, as the rest of the nation is in the grips of a depression that appears everlasting. A single Supreme Court ruling has ensured our nations future, will be run in the interests of major corporations. Unions, police officers, firefighters, and teachers are labeled as special interests, while the implication that the interests of billionaires and the average worker are the same is well and alive.
Perhaps a reminder of what it cost will serve as a call to action,
People just like us, fought to be included, because it was what they wanted. Hard-fought gains made through constant struggle now lie in mortal danger. If we do not put aside petty differences and begin acting in the interest’s of people,
real people, flesh and blood people, like you or I; our nation will never be the same.
Corporate $$$ corrosively eats into the political process, cancer quickly metastasized until suddenly gone terminal. If we do not take aggressive treatment against this malignant tumor, Democracy as we know it will wither and die.
The majority decision in Citizens v. United, has jeopardized the very thing taken for granted by my entire generation, the right to stand up and be heard. However futile it may seem, it was a right hard for many to come by. 5 men, part of a court labeling itself Supreme,
silently hits delete on over 200 yrs. Of hard work, struggle and progress.
We must hold this Supreme Court accountable for its reverse activist stance, basing their decision Chevron or Shell have as much right to Free Speech as us, from a case with such a limited scope. But, Corporations ARE NOT people, this fact is plain!
While all men (and women) may (technically) be created equal, this constitutional protection should not apply to corporate entities. How can the interests of you or I compete, with a fortune 500 company?
When someone such as Sheldon Adelson (who recently donated $10,000,000) has committed to spending as much as it takes to get his way, is it not common sense to believe that his interest will eventually be served over my own?
Does anyone seriously believe that the advent of unlimited donations to the Super PAC has not tainted Democracy?
If for some strange reason your answer to that question is yes, …
I think you need to really take a second, maybe a deep breath or two (or even three), and get your shit together.
There, thats better.
How can we confer upon a conscious-less being all the rights that you or I enjoy? Are we able to prove premeditation or intent, or use emotion to establish a motive in a crime? When was the last time you heard about a corporation receiving the death sentence, or anything other than a fine, (let alone jail time)? Aside from punitive damages the answer is really, NEVER.
The Very Nature of Corporations is Corrupt!
The interests being served are not yours or mine, unless, of course we sit upon the board as a CEO or large shareholder. Corporations exist for the sole purpose of making a profit, every year more profit than the year before.
While it may be ok for their employees to be forced to sacrifice, it is never acceptable for corporations to just be getting by, able to afford paying the bills, but you might have to wait for that vacation home you want to buy. How many people can relate to that idea? Barely scraping by?
Money, for money’s sake at the cost of everything and anyone standing in their way, profit over people no matter the margin. That is the nature of the beast, the only possible outcome of a partnership born solely of greed is the neglect of basic human interests.
Do we really want to allow these people and company’s who have already bent the nation to their will
to dominate electoral politics; providing them a blank check for “free speech”, government sold to the highest bidder?…. I think our government is fucked up enough already without muting the interests of the general population in pursuit of the all mighty dollar.
Without the constraints of citizenship, these multinational corporations are free to pick up and go wherever working costs and conditions are low….China, Latin America, India, Pakistan, this is where the jobs go. No loyalty, free to pick up and move shop, but their vote and their influence has already been cast.
Please take a second, offer your signature, donate if you feel so inclined. Do something though, share the article, comment and speak your mind. Doing nothing is just another shade of guilt, but guilty all the same. Through our inaction we have nobody but ourselves to blame;
Jeffrey Toobin wrote a very enlightening and disheartening article about the inner workings of the Supreme Court regarding their decision in Citizens v. United, featured in the New Yorker. You can find it here.
Also here is an article about how today’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold their earlier 2010 decision will affect the future of the nation found in the Atlantic.
Here is a site dedicated to amending the constitution to undo the conservative corporate interests of the current Supreme Court, as it has become clear they are indifferent to the corrupting influence their decision has played on electoral politics. movetoamend.org.
The Nation also has a push to amend the constitution which you can become a part of right here, as does Bernie Sanders.
With the passing of Rodney King, and the death of Trayvon Martin both happening the same year as the 20th anniversary of the LA Riots, I took time to pause and think, are we really willing to continue obliviously repeating history? Has our country truly made significant gains in racial equality? Or is it possible that the real problem lies somewhere underneath it all, in implicitly racist ideologies, both in practice and in preach? These incidents of racial tensions, and public outcry are not mere outliers, they’re statistical probabilities. America remains separate and unequal, where wage and race increasingly determine your ability to successfully compete, for that shrinking piece of the pie.
For those of you not already acquainted, Mr. King was pulled over for a DUI by LAPD, and after a tussle, left brutalized by police. Rodney King’s beating was so severe it required hospitalization for the injuries sustained. A spectator captured much of the encounter on video camera, eventually leading to the indictment of all officers (they were acquitted), and later settlement for Mr. King. I am not going to even touch on that event too much, or attempt to argue one way or the other,- just giving a very brief, brief. –
The important part is the rioting caused by the acquittal, was the result of years of racial tension left untreated, a plain another case of history repeats… There is something truly wrong when citizens feel they have no recourse other than violence to turn to in order to gain some sense of relief to their feelings oppression. Following the acquittal of the officers, at the hands of a mostly white jury in Simi Valley, outside Los Angeles County, these tensions finally came to a head, the City of Los Angeles burned for days afterwards, as citizens turned to violence for relief.
-AS the city was being burned and looted, rioters battling with police; Mr. King offered the famous quote, “Can’t we all just get along”, despite his beating from police.
The question we all still need to ask ourselves, is;
yeah, Can We?
Despite what our high school history courses may have taught us (or not taught), nothing was completely overcome at the end of Ken Burns documentary. When the teacher turned back on the lights, inequality still exists. This nation is still grossly separate and unequal, and yes the word racism still applies. We sweep this stain under the carpet, away from prying eyes, where it seeps and it bleeds deep into the hearts of those for whom it is the cold hard truth of reality.
Why the history lesson you might ask?
I lead with a small history lesson, because the tension surrounding Trayvon Martin’s case is rooted firmly in the past. Racism and its existence, the United States personal boogeyman, is an unexplainable, indefensible and inexcusable blemish on a career supposedly built upon such lofty beliefs.
Freedom and Equality, Democracy for all.
The nation at large has hoodwinked itself into the greatly mistaken belief that civil rights was an issue of the past, when it gets brought up they act as if someone decided to be dealer of imaginary cards.
They must just be playing that almighty RACE CARD, as if it were an Ace upon their sleeve.
African-American and Latino youth are daily witnesses that all men are NOT created equal in the eyes of the law, as they suffer humiliation through racial profiling by a largely white police force which doesn’t share the hardships of their lives. Young men especially, live in constant reminder of the fact, regardless of crime, they are already criminalized in the eyes of many, law enforcement most of all.
Without fanfare, or much media attention, the United States has created a prison population more than double that of China’s, a nation more than thrice our size. Those who populate this new form of slavery just so happen to be predominantly Black and Hispanic, most for non-violent crimes.
-Oh Surprise, Surprise!-
According to the same Stanford study the upper right hand graph is from,
The incarceration rate in the United States has grown so dramatically since the 1970s that the U.S. now has one of the highest rates in the world. The rise in incarceration has been especially prominent among young Black males and high school dropouts. As shown in this graph, a full 37% of those who are both young black men and high school dropouts are now in prison or jail, a rate that’s more than three times higher than what prevailed in 1980.
Percent of 20-34 year old men in prison or jail, by race, ethnicity, and educational attainment, 1980 and 2008
Source: Western, Bruce & Becky Pettit (2010). Incarceration and Social Inequality. Daedalus, 139(3), 8-19
We have fallen back into a trap, losing touch and losing focus of a pure and simple fact. The people who founded our nation upon those hallowed principles, did it upon Black and Latino backs.
Without thanks, and without praise, the system repays them by still trying to hold their progress back. We all need to ask ourselves why we can’t be more like the late Mr. Rodney King? Instead of violence he turned to peace for relief.
Not only that;
Do we wish to go forward; or do we wish to go back?
Do we wish to see what form the next incarnation will take?
Who the next Rodney King, or Trayvon Martin will inevitably be; suffering death or bodily injury at the hands of needless harassment?
Most importantly, if we do, will the next time be as peaceful and as bloodless as the last (except the blood of Trayvon Martin, whose breaths that night proved to be his last.)?
Unfortunately there is a wealth of information out there to give credit to what I have said. I have provided some links below if you would like to learn more or would in some way like to get involved in reversing the blatantly racist justice system’s current path. Here is a contact list by state as well. Stanford University has also provided a list of proposals which are looked upon as pragmatic means of combatting the gross inequality existent today.
For those of you interested in rehashing the 1992 LA Riots;
Mother Jones, consistently one of my favorite and most respected indpendant news sourcescame out with this article last month explaining the Trayvon Martin case according to the evidence available to the public now. I know that MoJo said they would be updating the article regularly as new evidence becomes available.
This is a great resource for anyone unfamiliar with the case to become acquainted as well as bringing back up to date those of us who have allowed the increased clamor leading up to the General Election this novermber to push the case back onto the sideburner. I still believe that the Trayvon Martin case and how it is handled is going to continue to prove a damning guidestick regarding the racist nature of our society and our legal system. In regards to the source
Newsweek recently did a study in which they asked 1,000 Americans to take the same citizenship test required of foreigners applying for naturalization. According to Newsweek, 38% failed the test. Now I’m sure that this fact does not surprise most Americans, I know that it certainly didn’t surprise me for one. But, on the same note, it also hasn’t received the amount of media attention that I would hope it would have received. There is not national outcry, no call for more education in the realm of civic duty (its common knowledge that we already have our hands full enough just teaching the current subjects). This is a statistic that scares me. Therefore I have compiled for you something of a cliffs-notes to citizenship.
I am willing to bet my life savings, the majority of Americans are unable to name their states Senators and Congressional Representatives,
let alone how to contact them to make sure their voice is heard beyond election day (mind you in any given election less than half the population even votes in the first place). Come election day, most Americans blindly cast their vote for a representative or a proposition which they neither know nor understand, and then promptly catch an acute case of amnesia, giving them free rein to impose their will until the next election cycle. This balance goes on uninterrupted year after year, unless of course said representative becomes tangled in scandals web. Funny how it takes hookers and blow, or a hummer on the clock, for American’s to become incensed, despite the fact that were being politically and economically fucked in the ass.
It’s funny that most americans speak of the nation as being theirs;
Therein lies an implied ownership, and therefore some semblance of responsibility and care. I find this implication to be by and large a false one.
The true act of OWNERSHIP, is never an effortless one.
The analogy that I wish to draw is this; It isn’t the title to a car which necessarily makes it YOURS, it’s the acts of care and upkeep which you undertake in the interests of keeping it on the road. When you go beyond the specified amount of miles without servicing your vehicle, it doesn’t stay on the road as long as possible right? Without changing the oil, replacing the brakes, and the tires, or the windshield wipers, maybe taking it into a mechanic when you’re unsure; your vehicle is destined to meet with an untimely demise. Why then is our nation any different, why treat the most important thing in our lives as if it is less than our first car? Why do we treat our country and its governance like we were all once again a kid, making false promises of responsibility to our parents to get that puppy we wanted? I’m sorry, no matter how much you would like to claim ownership, if you don’t feed it, walk it, or clean its shit up, it’s not really yours now is it?
During football season, nobody likes a monday morning quarterback,
Of course it’s easy to see the flaws in logic or execution while using the deep perceptions of hindsight, a prism of 20/20 vision. Why then do we refuse to take action on the issues important to us? Instead of seeking out the news to make informed decisions, we vote on American Idol, or the next new “reality show”. Why are we so content to allow the media to falsify or omit the facts in a tragic rendition of theater fed to the public like chinese manufactured kibbles and bits; tainted and toxic. We allow all this to happen, the wool to be pulled before our eyes, and yet we’re still puzzled at how something as corrupt as the Bernie Madoff scandal, Wall Street bailouts, insider trading from members of congress, Secret Service and escorts, the list goes on… and on…. and on… What do you expect when you structure a society around the accumulation of wealth by any means necessary? Greed begets Greed, Evil begets Evil; There is nobody to blame but yourself that your interests are not being served when you don’t follow through; cause you better believe that corporations or those with money will, and do, especially after the Citizens United decision (a decision made by an institution with our interests in mind?).
Heres a question I would like to pose to you;
considering the fact that corporations hold all the legal rights that you or I do, including freedom of speech. Now that the Supreme Court has lifted the campaign expenditure limitations from them through the ruling in Citizens v. United as infringing upon their Freedom of Speech;
Does all men were created equal still apply?
Do you have as much “free speech” as Nike, or Apple? Are your interests treated the same when it comes time to craft policy? Maybe only in the sense that it is offered freely….
For those of you suffering from the treatable disease of being a natural born citizen of the United States, I have included a little cheat sheet. I do this in the hopes that you will use it, look at it as impartially as possible and make the decision that you feel best. Barring an unforseen accident or illness, you WILL have to LIVE with it.