Obama

Why did Marissa Alexander get a 20-year sentence despite invoking ‘Stand Your Ground’?

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It’s been 50 years and we as a nation of people of a dark decent haven’t made any head way to equality. I am so appalled at the tragedy of this “Young black man” that never got to say good night mom and dad. It’s been 50 years and we still can see the water hoses being sprayed on us because we want justice and equality. Its been 50 years and I can see our struggle still existing.

I served this country well, distinguished service. I came home to nothing but the same thing that was here when I left. I turned 50 this year and I am seeing my young black men, babies being executed. I see the puzzle being set-up for future blacks and humans to be locked up or on drugs or families subjected to war torn country mental abuse. “STAND YOUR GROUND” Jesus love “US”.

injustice
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yspZ30TSuu0&feature=player_embedded
Late Saturday evening, George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The issue of self-defense played a central role in Zimmerman’s not guilty plea and his defense’s argument against the second-degree murder charges, and his acquittal is drawing comparisons in the media to the verdict of another high-profile Florida shooting incident: the case of Marissa Alexander.

Alexander, an African-American Florida woman, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2012 for shooting what she described as warning shots into a wall during a confrontation with her husband. Alexander’s lawyers claimed self-defense in the case, and said her husband had a history of abuse in their relationship. They invoked Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which gives people the right to use lethal force if they feel their life is threatened. The jury ultimately sided with prosecutors in deciding Alexander’s actions were not in self-defense, WJXT reported.

Her sentencing fell under the guidelines of what’s known in Florida as the “10-20-Life” law, which set certain mandatory minimum sentences for crimes committed with a firearm. The law enacted in 1999 requires that any crime committed with a gun earns the perpetrator a minimum ten year sentence, as the Florida Department of Corrections explains. If the firearm is discharged, the convicted will receive a 20-year minimum sentence, and if shots fired from the gun injure or kill anyone, the minimum sentence is 25-years to life.

Angela Corey, who oversaw the prosecution of Zimmerman, also tried the case against Alexander, and defended the sentencing at the time.

“When she [Alexander] discharges a firearm in the direction of human beings, the legislature says it’s dangerous,” Corey said, according to the Florida Times-Union. “And one of the reasons is because the bullet went through the wall where one of the children was standing. It happened to deflect up into the ceiling, but if it had deflected down it could have hit one of the children.”
http://youtu.be/nay31hvEvrY

shuttlesworth

•Baptist minister and civil rights leader who preaches leftwing politics
•Admires and publicly honors leftists like Danny Glover and Cynthia McKinney
•Rallied to defense of Jean-Bertrand Aristide while condemning the U.S.
http://youtu.be/OUWHc5k6ld4

Born in 1922 in Alabama, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth emerged as one of the most active and storied figures of the early civil rights movement. In 1957 Shuttlesworth allied with Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and Bayard Rustin to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). It was the late Dr. King who would describe the famously fiery Shuttlesworth as the “most courageous civil rights fighter in the South,” a distinction well earned by the man who survived bombing attempts, vicious beatings by chain-wielding racists, and widespread discrimination in his fight to further the cause of black civil rights and overturn America’s Jim Crow laws. The story of Shuttlesworth’s civil rights activism was later chronicled in a 1999 biography, by Andrew M. Manis, titled A Fire You Can’t Put Out: The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham’s Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth.

These accomplishments notwithstanding, Shuttlesworth’s stint as the president of the SCLC would make for a decidedly less inspired book. After the SCLC’s board of directors suspended Shuttlesworth in early November 2004, he resigned in bitterness over the financial mismanagement and internal bickering that had marred the organization’s operations in recent years. Lamenting that the SCLC was at “the low point in its history,” Shuttlesworth penned an incendiary resignation letter in which he charged: “For years, deceit, mistrust and a lack of spiritual discipline and truth have eaten away at the core of this once-hallowed organization.”

Shuttlesworth was far less forthcoming about his own responsibility for the SCLC’s much-maligned reputation. In March of 2004, for instance, he enlisted his credentials as a respected civil rights leader in the service of defending Haitian dictator Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Working in partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus, Shuttlesworth, rather than condemning the crimes of the Aristide government—which included fraudulent elections, pervasive drug running, and a banking racket that had brought about the ruin of the country’s diminutive middle class—chastised the United States, calling for a special investigation to look into the U.S. role in Aristide’s ouster. Demonstrating the kind of moral equivalency that has become a cornerstone of the SCLC in recent years, Shuttlesworth saw fit to draw parallels between Haitian autocracy and American democracy in order to score a political point against the U.S. government.

Claimed Shuttlesworth, “As a nation of laws, we cannot randomly choose when to stand up for the principles of Democracy. How can we in good consciousness claim to be building a democratic society in Afghanistan and Iraq on the other side of the world, while sitting idly by while a democratically elected leader is forced from office less than two hundred miles from the shores of the United States. Such conduct further weakens the United State’s moral authority to hold countries accountable for human rights abuses.”

Nor did Shuttlesworth confine himself to this diatribe. Indulging a penchant for race-baiting that has become the SCLC’s modus operandi, Shuttlesworth unsubtly intimated that the Bush administration’s unwillingness to abide the Aristide regime was actuated by an underlying indifference to the welfare of blacks: “In reality we should not expect anything else from this current administration, as it has done nothing to protect the interests of people of African descent,” Shuttlesworth proclaimed.

Shuttlesworth is a great admirer of such leftist activists as Danny Glover. Though a notorious apologist for the human rights abuses perpetrated by Cuba’s Stalinist regime, the actor was deemed a worthy recipient of the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award, which he received, in November 2003, at a gala dinner in Birmingham, Alabama. And Glover was not the only leftist activist commended by Shuttlesworth. At the SCLC’s 46th annual convention in August 2004, organized by Shuttlesworth as a de facto campaign for the Democratic Party (and featuring an address by Democratic Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards), a “Human Rights Luncheon” honored none other than Cynthia McKinney, a hard-left congresswoman from Georgia who accused President Bush of having had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks but remaining silent about it.

On occasion, Shuttlesworth himself has not been above casting unfounded aspersions on his political foes. Seeking to mobilize black voters against the administration of George W. Bush, Shuttlesworth, in his editorial in the Spring 2004 issue of SCLC Magazine, suggested that the President had not been legitimately elected. “It will be a time for people to know that not all of those who gained high offices in 2000 were the true victors,” Shuttlesworth wrote. Channeling the rage for which he was known in the civil rights era, Shuttlesworth insisted in the same editorial that black Americans were “oppressed minorities,” and exhorted black voters to “organize, mobilize, and agitate for our people’s total Freedom!”

Oneness Intergration Projects: Will It Work In America’s Philosophy?

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Music can also be a sensual pleasure, like eating food or sex. But its highest vibration for me is that point of taking us to a real understanding of something in our nature which we can very rarely get at. It is a spiritual state of oneness.
Terry Riley


Being “one with the tiger” is a popular goal in the modern world, and our leaders are forever leaping into tiger dens in the hopes of becoming one with the beast.

In the Bronx Zoo, David Villalobos was rescued from a tiger den after leaping inside to, in his own words, “Be one with the tiger.”

Being “one with the tiger” is a popular goal in the modern world, and our leaders are forever leaping into tiger dens in the hopes of becoming one with the beast. These leaps of faith end about as well as they did for Villalobos who was mauled by the tiger, but like Villalobos they never seem to draw the proper conclusions about the dangerous nature of tigers.

British, French and German leaders did not hop into tiger enclosures in the London Zoo, the Parc Zoologique de Paris and the Berlin Zoological Garden. Instead they turned these cities into open air safaris where the natives were encouraged to mingle with the tigers. The multicultural safari has not been going well, with the tigers mangling the natives, burning their cars and chewing on their police officers. The European Union zookeepers have been wondering loudly what they can do to fix their oneness integration project, while releasing still more tigers into the streets of London, Paris and Berlin.

The United States did not jump into a tiger den in the Bronx Zoo. That would have been fairly sane compared to its leap into Libya. With the Arab Spring, the tigers were freed and men like Christopher Stevens jumped inside. The bloody marks on the walls of the Benghazi consulate are a grim reminder of what tigers eventually do to the men who move into their dens.

In his Cairo speech, Obama let the Muslim world know that he wanted us to be one with the tiger.

“I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles.”

Three hundred million Americans and one billion Muslims would no longer be exclusive; they would overlap, like a plane overlapping with a skyscraper, a bomb overlapping with a consulate and a falling man overlapping with the open mouth of a tiger.

Oneness is a noble goal, but unlike seeking oneness with the universe, when seeking oneness with a tiger it is best to consider the terms on which that oneness will be achieved. While the man’s idea of becoming one with the tiger is to give it a big hug, the tiger’s idea of becoming one with the man is to devour him. Both are forms of oneness but only of them is survivable for the man.

The Islamist mobs burning embassies, smashing cars and assaulting police officers are the tiger’s growl warning us of the terms on which that overlapping oneness will occur. Islamist rulers in Turkey and Egypt are giving interviews telling us that oneness with them will depend on our willingness to accept their values and laws. The question is whether, like Villalobos, we will be as besotted with the tiger as to accept oneness with it on those devouring terms.

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “If you ride a tiger, it is difficult to get off.” Riding the tiger is difficult enough, but getting off it is even harder.

The United States leaped on the back of the tiger when it began its dangerous relationship with Saudi Arabia. Europe tumbled on when it allowed itself to be flooded with Muslim immigrants who established Islamist mosques and schools in its cities. Both the United States and Europe have been mauled by the tiger, but still believe that there is nothing to do but to go on riding the beast deeper into the jungle until it becomes convinced of our common overlapping values and stops trying to eat us.

The deeper we go into the darkness, the harder it is to tell whether we are riding the tiger or the tiger is riding us. As newspapers tremble at the thought of a Mohammed cartoon and government officials beg YouTube to take down a Mohammed trailer that offends the tiger, it seems as if the tiger is riding us.

According to police detectives, Villalobos became obsessed with tigers. The West has in its own way become obsessed with the Muslim world. Westerners going off to seek oneness with the mysterious east are not a new phenomenon, but a hundred years ago they did not drag entire countries and civilizations them with into the tiger’s maw. Today the new Lawrence’s of Arabia are no longer playing with Eastern empires; they are trifling with the survival of the West.

When Villalobos jumped into the tiger’s den, there were police officers and zookeepers there to rescue him. But as the West leaps into the tiger’s den, who will be there to save us?

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Warning Signs That We Should Prepare For The Worst

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I am seriously looking at the affairs of state and even my life in retrospect of the legal system and our government. Major pieces of the story are unfolding before my eyes. Even while on my bed of meditation “My God” is
still on the throne performing His will in the lives of those consecrated to Him. Position yourself first in The Living God and then prepare accordingly.

The warning signs are all around us. All we have to do is open up our eyes and look at them. Almost every single day there are more prominent voices in the financial world telling us that a massive economic crisis is coming and that we need to prepare for the worst. On Wednesday, it was the World Bank itself that issued a very chilling warning. In an absolutely startling report, the World Bank revised GDP growth estimates for 2012 downward very sharply, warned that Europe could be on the verge of a devastating financial crisis, and declared that the rest of the world better “prepare for the worst.” You would expect to hear this kind of thing on The Economic Collapse Blog, but this is not the kind of language that you would normally expect to hear from the stuffed suits at the World Bank. Obviously things have gotten bad enough that nobody is even really trying to deny it anymore. Andrew Burns, the lead author of the report, said that if the sovereign debt crisis gets even worse we could be looking at an economic crisis that could be even worse than the last one: “An escalation of the crisis would spare no-one. Developed- and developing-country growth rates could fall by as much or more than in 2008/09.” Burns also stated that the “importance of contingency planning cannot be stressed enough.” In other words, Burns is saying that it is time to prepare for the worst. So are you ready?

NationalDebt1-1024x765
Our Prosperity Is An Illusion

That being said, I do believe America is in for some tough times ahead. I still believe America is the greatest country on earth, but we’ve had it too good for too long and, as a result, our nation has become sadly complacent with its finances. So much so that I believe we’ve crossed the Rubicon.

Our government is now so massive, and its obligations — both present and future — are so large that, barring a remarkable and sudden change of attitude by our politicians, a systemic economic collapse is inevitable.

The US National Debt is currently more than $16 trillion. Unfortunately, the US currently owes, depending on who you believe, somewhere between $50 and $100 trillion more in unfunded liabilities for things like Social Security, Medicare and public employee pensions.

America has been able to run up these huge debts because it broke away from the gold standard in 1971. The gold standard imposed at least a modicum of fiscal responsibility and faith in the US dollar because the world’s central banks were allowed to exchange their greenbacks for the gold sitting in Fort Knox.

But once the gold standard was abandoned, our politicians were freed from the constraints that had previously forced them to be fiscally accountable. Pandora’s box was opened.

Since then, lawmakers have been borrowing an unlimited quantity of freshly-printed money to fund their spending sprees — courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank — thereby eliminating the need to worry about tax hikes.

As you can see by the chart below, government spending — and the inherent money printing that is ultimately required to finance it — is now completely out of control; the National Debt is expected to reach $20 trillion by the end of this decade.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Every new dollar that is printed by the Fed increases the money supply, which in turn reduces the value of the dollars already existence — including the ones in your wallet and retirement account.

As you can see from the chart below, soon after the United States abandoned the gold standard in 1971 — and our politicians began to greatly expand the size and scope of the government — cumulative price increases embarked upon an exponential trajectory. Those price increases are the result of the declining purchasing power of the US dollar. In fact, the buck’s purchasing power has been decimated since 1971; so much so that today you would need $559 to buy something that cost $100 back then.

Inflation-in-the-United-States-Since-18001
Clearly, abandoning the gold standard was a fiscally reckless decision, akin to giving a teenager a credit card without a credit limit. To illustrate, let’s first look at the current impacts of America’s spending addiction:

2012 Federal revenue: $2,468,000,000,000
2012 Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
2012 New debt: $1,352,000,000,000
National debt: $16,350,000,000,000
Interest paid on National Debt in 2012: $220,000,000,000
Proposed 2013 sequestration spending cuts: $ 85,000,000,000
Next, let’s drop a whole bunch of zeros from those figures to make the federal government’s ledger look at least little more like a typical household’s finances:

2012 Household income: $24,680
2012 Household expenditures: $38,200
2012 Credit card debt: $13,520
Outstanding balance on the credit card: $163,500
Annual interest on credit card debt: $2,200
Proposed 2013 spending cuts: $850
The figures reveal a dire situation. A financially responsible individual who found himself in a similar situation would drastically cut his spending while looking for ways to increase revenue.

Our politicians insist that’s exactly what they’re doing but, as you can see from the proposed spending cuts, they’re really just going through the motions, financing the nation’s obligations in the same way any financially irresponsible individual would — by taking on even more debt through the selling of US Treasury bonds.

It’s a practice that’s essentially no different than using a VISA card to pay the MasterCard bill.

The Illusion Is Unraveling

The problem is, using one credit card to pay another credit card bill only works for so long. As long as a debt addict can continue to find lenders who are willing to extend additional credit, the game can continue. But once the pool of lenders dries up, the game is over.

No, I can’t say exactly when this will happen. But it’s coming, folks — and when it does, middle-class America’s way of life will undergo a catastrophic change that will dramatically drop their standard of living forever more.

Until recently, the United States’ profligate spending wasn’t much of an issue. For years, plenty of investors — both foreign and domestic — have willingly parked a portion of their money into the perceived safety of America’s bonds. But over the long march of time, the dollar’s standing has seriously deteriorated and, as a result, foreign nations are becoming increasingly reluctant to buy US Treasury bonds because, thanks to the Fed’s near-zero interest rate policy, the risks are no longer worth the reward.

Normally, depressed demand for bonds results in higher interest rates, but so far the Fed has managed to keep bond demand artificially inflated via their quantitative easing campaigns. And the Fed is keeping US Treasury bond rates as low as possible now because interest payments on the National Debt already consume roughly 10% of annual revenue. If US Treasury bond rates increased to merely 5%, America would be forking over one-third of its annual revenue just to satisfy the interest on its $16.5 trillion National Debt; it would also be increasing its annual deficit by more than $800 billion.

The Beginning of “the End”

Although they won’t admit it, the Fed backed itself into a corner with its reckless easy-money policy. They know that once the money-printing party stops, interest rates will have to rise — and then the bond market will almost certainly crash. If that happens, things are going to get very interesting. For example:

As bond rates rise, mortgage interest rates will naturally follow them upwards. And since higher mortgage rates ultimately result in higher house payments for a given size loan, it follows that home prices will have to drop in order to keep them affordable — and the decline could be devastating.
The cost of borrowing will also go up for everyone else including small businesses, corporations, and state and local governments.
The stock market should fall as higher interest rates hurt economic growth and hurt stocks’ value.
Once interest rates start rising, a vicious cycle can ensue as higher interest rates beget larger deficits, which in turn lead to still higher interest rates. As the debt piles up, and the faith in the US dollar continues to diminish, the US will eventually reach its day of reckoning. The US will then be faced with two very unpleasant choices for solving the crisis: print away the debt or default.

Default would lead to the loss of the US dollar’s standing as the world’s reserve currency which would, among other things, cause the price of imports to skyrocket. Consumers’ purchasing power would plummet, and the government would be forced to severely cut back on its spending since it would no longer be able to finance its deficits. However, this is politically untenable.

So the more-likely alternative is that the Fed will simply print away the debt. That would result in hyperinflation as the last vestiges of the dollar’s utility as a reliable store-of-wealth all but disappeared.

What Will Economic Collapse Look Like?

While I don’t expect a Zombie Apocalypse resulting from either scenario, temporary supply disruptions caused by market uncertainties will be inevitable — and that will lead to empty supermarket shelves, fuel shortages and, possibly, utility failures that will almost certainly result in civil unrest and increased crime in more densely populated areas.

The good news is a new (hopefully gold-backed) currency will be issued and society will slowly recover. Eventually. I’m hoping it will take no more than six months before the supply chain recovers enough to eliminate most shortages.

Thankfully, tangible assets won’t go up in smoke after the economy resets; your home, automobile, and other possessions will be unaffected.

More good news: Any long-term debt you hold in old US dollars will essentially be wiped out because you should be able to retire it with worthless currency. It’s why I no longer bother trying to pay down my mortgage early.

Even so, things will never be the same for most people.

Although it’s anybody’s guess, I believe Americans will be lucky if their post-collapse standard-of-living will be equivalent to half of what it is now; worst case, one-third. That isn’t so bad if you earn $1 million per year but, if my assumption is correct, and you earn $60,000 annually, then your post-collapse standard-of-living will be between $20,000 and $30,000 today.

The ensuing economic collapse won’t be the end of the world, but it’s going to be a wild ride. Next, I’ll share some tips on how to survive an economic collapse, and get out relatively unharmed.

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Be Happy About Where You Are Going And What It Will Take To Get There!!!

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Most people don’t enjoy life; they just endure it.
• They think that life must be perfect for them to be happy.
• So they are always looking for a change for the better. If I could just change my situation life would be great. If I could just get rid of all my problems, life would be fine.
• But there’s no such thing as a problem free life.

If you’re going to learn to be happy, joyful, you must learn to be joyful in the situation, in the problems, in the very experiences of life.
• “Happiness” comes from the root word that we get “happening”, from the circumstances.
• Joy is internal. Happiness is external. You have a happy time at Disneyland, you leave and you lose your happiness. Joy can be constant.
• How do you have joy in spite of what is going on in your life?

We are going to learn from Paul. From this passage (that he wrote to believers in Philippi), he seemed positive and happy with his lot, despite being locked up in prison and facing an uncertain future.
• The last 4 years of Paul’s life were miserable. He spent 2 years in prison in Caesarea, and then he was put on a ship to go to Rome to appear before Nero (known for his cruelty against Christians).
• On the way he’s shipwrecked, stranded on an island, bitten by a poisonous snake, survived the winter there, continued on to Rome and spent another 2 years in prison awaiting trial to be executed.
• During this 2 year period in Rome he is chained to a guard for 24 hours a day. He has absolutely no privacy. Every four hours he gets a new guard.

Yet in spite of all of these situations, Paul says in Phil. 1:18b “…I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.”
• What’s Paul’s secret? How does he stay so positive in prison, riding above his troubles, and being joyful in spite of the fact that everything has not turned out the way he planned it.
• His words here reveal FOUR ESSENTIALS for a joyful life:

(1) I NEED A PERSPECTIVE TO LIVE FROM

Every one has problems. When you step in today, you just brought them in here with you.
• Your problems are not so important as how you are looking at those problems.
• The way you look at that problem is much more important than the problem.
• Your perspective makes the difference.

1:12 “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.”
• I can see the best even in the worst. I can see God at work in the problems even when they don’t go my way. If you really believe God is sovereign, you’ve got to believe this.
• This is almost an identical echo of Joseph’s words to his brothers, who sold him to Egypt.
• Gen 50:19-20 Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

1:13 “As a result it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.”
• Paul had always wanted to go to Rome. He meant to have a crusade.
• Instead, God put him in prison where he would write the New Testament. He was chained to the palace guard – the elite troops of the Roman Empire. He was able to influence lives from within the palace.
• And outside, things were moving. 1:14 “Because of my chains most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.”

Amazing, everything that is considered bad (from the human perspective) and turned out to be good (in God’s perspective)!
• This is the attitude we must adopt. This is the perspective you need to live from, if you are going to have joy in your life.
• Roman 8:28 sums up this principle: “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him…”
• LESSON: God has a purpose behind every one of my problems. Get this and let joy fills your heart.

A mother was doing embroidering and her little boy comes by her side. He looked up from the floor and asked what she was doing. She informed him that she was making a beautiful flower. “It looked like a mess to me,” he said. Looking from the underside, that what you’d see. Everything looked so jumbled up with loose thread here and there.
The mom says, “Son, go a play for a while, and when I’m finished, I will let you see it from my side.”
Finally the boy saw it – from the right side – and he saw a beautiful flower by a sunset. He could not believe it, because from underneath it looked so messy.
God has a design. We cannot fully see everything in its beauty from this side of heaven. But one day we will, when we see it from His perspective.

(2) I NEED A PRIORITY TO LIVE BY

When things get tough, I need to be clear what is really important and what is not.
I want to distinguish the trivial from the significant.
• It’s like the famous Bible commentator Matthew Henry, who said after he was robbed, “Thank God, though they took my money, they did not take my life!”
• You can live your life bored down by trivial matters (usually the problems), or be driven by the significant things of life (the matters of great priority).
• Either you decide what’s important in your life or you let other people decide what’s important.
• If you don’t choose your priorities, you’ll go around putting out one fire after another, living your life simply from problem to problem, to problem and not choosing what’s important.

Look at 1:15-17. Paul says there are “competitors” outside criticizing him and attacking his ministry.
• They are doing it out of envy and rivalry, out of selfish ambition, wanting to stir up trouble for me.
• If you want something to steal your joy quicker than anything else, just listen to all the criticism people are throwing up against you.

1:18 “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”

Paul says he is not going to let anyone steal his joy; not circumstances nor critics.
• He said their motives may be wrong, their style may be wrong, but if the message is getting out, so what?
• 1:18 “But what does it matter?” This is the only question in this whole book. It is a question of priority. We do not want to major on the minor. Some things are just not worth quarrelling about or losing sleep over. There’ll be differences but so let them be.
• Paul had set his priorities clear, and will not let criticisms or rivalry steal his joy.

Learn this, don’t let petty things ruin your day and rob you of joy. It’s not worth it. Don’t have to lose sleep over them.
• Differences will always exist. LESSON: Don’t major on the minor things of life. Let them go.
• Focus on what really counts. Know what is important.

(3) I NEED A POWER TO LIVE ON

I need strength to make it and to keep on going.
• Problems can wear you out, and drain you completely. One crisis after another can really cripple you, if you have no outside help.
• You need a fresh power supply.

1:19-20 “I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body…”

Paul says I have two things that give me strength and kept me going in this harsh environment: (1) The prayers of the people; and (2) the help of the Holy Spirit.

He says he eagerly expect and hope that he will have sufficient courage to face the challenges.
• Circle the words “expect and hope”. That’s where he has placed his expectation and hope – in God!
• You can’t live without hope. But you can pin your hope in people or circumstances. Both will change. We need God’s help.

During the American Revolution, when the Army had experienced several setbacks, a farmer who lived near the battlefield approached General Washington’s camp unheard. Suddenly his ears caught an earnest voice raised in agonizing prayer. On coming nearer he saw it was the great General, down on his knees in the snow, his cheeks wet with tears. He was asking God for assistance and guidance.
The farmer crept away and returned home. He said to his family, “It’s going to be all right. We are going to win!”
“What makes you think so?” his wife asked.
“Well,” said the farmer, “I heard General Washington pray such passionate prayer I have never heard before. And God will surely hear and answer that kind of praying.”
The farmer was right! It happened because man is willing to put his hope in God.

• Paul says later in Phil 4:13 “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
• LESSON: Pray and pin your hope in God!

To sum up so far, we need (1) to see things from God’s perspective, (2) major on the important things in life, and not let the trivial things rob us of joy and focus, and (3) lean on God’s strength through prayers. And finally:

(4) I NEED A PURPOSE TO LIVE FOR

1:21 “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
• This is Paul’s purpose of living. He lives to preach the Gospel. This goal provides him the fulfillment of life. He is a happy man because he is fully satisfied with what he is doing.
• You may be able to take away his freedom, his privacy, his comfort, his fellowship with Christians, or everything else, but you cannot take away the joy of doing God’s will.
• Not even the joy of ‘leaving this world and my number one partner and returning home to be with the Lord.

To die is a gain. It’s a blessing. I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far (v.23). That’s the ultimate fulfillment for every Christian.

Phil 1:22-26 “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.”

Even if he stays, it would be for the sake of the believers – for your progress and joy.
• This is Paul’s purpose of living. It is for the sake of others.
• The best use of your life is to invest it in something that will outlast it. How? Invest in His church, the Body of Christ. The things you do for one another, for fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, will be remembered.

The director of the Institute of Child Behavior Research, Bernard Rimland, did a study about happiness.
Each person involved in the study was asked to list 10 people he knew best and to label them as happy or not happy. Then they were to go through the list again and label each one as selfish or unselfish, using the following definition of selfishness – a stable tendency to devote one’s time and resources to one’s own interests and welfare – an unwillingness to inconvenience one’s self for others.
In categorizing the results, Rimland found that all of the people labeled happy were also labeled unselfish. He wrote that those “whose activities are devoted to bringing themselves happiness… are far less likely to be happy than those whose efforts are devoted to making others happy.” The research concludes, “The happiest people are those who help others.”

This is the secret of joy – J O Y – Jesus first, Others second and Yourself third.
• The reason why there is so much unhappiness and discouragement in our society is because we’ve reversed that order to me first, others second and God last (or not even recognized).
• It is a preoccupation with self. What’s best for me? What will make me happy? The ME generation.
• No wonder there is little joy in our society today, but many heartaches and pain.

When you learn to have a greater purpose in your life than just yourself, you will experience joy more than you ever imagine.

There is no such thing as problem-free living.
• When you live by these biblical principles, then problems just aren’t as significant. So what if things haven’t worked out as I’ve planned, God has a purpose that is bigger than my problems.
• God wants you to enjoy the rest of your life. But we need to do it His way.

LET’S PRAY.
(1) Are you looking at the problem from God’s viewpoint or just your own? God has a purpose behind every problem. You need to pray, “Lord, help me to see this problem from Your viewpoint.”
(2) You need a priority to live by. Have you settled the issue of what is really important in your life? Ask God for the wisdom to distinguish what is significant and what is not. Focus on what is important.
(3) You need a power to live on. Have you been trying to solve your own problems? God says, relax. You are carrying a burden that was never intended for you to carry. Come to God and give it all to Him, and ask Him to recharge you – physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Say “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
(4) You need a purpose to live for. Everybody wants to live a long time, but why? Life is not judged by its duration. We want to invest in things significant and eternal. Whose lives have you invested in and whose lives do you want to invest in, in the coming days?

Can you say, “For me to live is Christ!”

Why Obama’s “Black Jobs Plan” Won’t Resolve Black Unemployment or help Felon’s

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We have weapons of mass destruction we have to address here at home. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Homelessness is a weapon of mass destruction. Unemployment is a weapon of mass destruction.

Dennis Kucinich

In my attempt to convey my interest in these social issues plaguing not just African Americans, but our society as a whole I apologize once again if the content of these visual aids are to explicit for the normal content associated with “Fresh Oil”.

“Even if Black employer firms, again totaling around 100,000, were all to hire one Black person, it is unlikely to make a major dent in Black unemployment.”

Recently, President Barack Obama addressed the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and concerns that he was ignoring the disproportionately high unemployment rate among African Americans.

Defending his American Jobs Act, Obama emphasized that the measure would provide tax cuts to businesses–and specifically mentioned 100,000 Black-owned firms–if they hire a new worker or give workers a raise. One CBC member was quoted as saying that Obama’s speech “showed he’s going to fight.”

Obama’s jobs act will not make a dent in Black unemployment, which is now at a staggering 16.7%. And despite emphasizing in his CBC speech Black unemployment and Black-owned firms, his proposal demonstrates more his capitulation to white supremacy than a willingness to challenge it.

Here’s why:

Tax cuts will not address the financial disparities that already exist among firms by race. Indeed, Obama’s proposed measures for helping all (and not just Black) business owners in his jobs act privilege those firms with more money in them, who are more likely to be considered “innovative,” (hence the plan’s emphasis on patents and going global), who have a significant number of employees, and who are in the overall financial position to take advantage of a tax plan.

Black-owned firms already trail behind most other firms in most indicators. As shown in the most recent (2007) Survey of Business Owners, which is administered by the United States Census Bureau every five years, Black-owned firms make up only 7% of all U.S.-located firms. Whites are over-represented as business owners with 83% of all firms.

“Black-owned firms already trail behind most other firms in most indicators.” The amount of receipts differs among racial groups, with Blacks only having $135 billion, which comprises less than 1% (.005% to be exact) of the $30 trillion in receipts for all firms.

The disparity in receipts does not necessarily reflect the number of business owned among racial groups. For example, at an estimated 1.9 million, Black-owned firms outnumber Asian-owned firms by about 400,000, but the latter have over three times the receipts at $506 billion.

And while Blacks have about 300,000 less firms than Hispanics–the majority (91%) of business owners who identify as white, by the way–Black firms have only 40% of the former’s receipts. As a racial group, Blacks even lag behind some ethnic groups. Mexican American-owned firms, for instance, total about 1 million–a little under half of the firms for all Hispanics, regardless of race–a figure that is about 900,000 less than the number of Black firms, yet their receipts are higher at $154 billion.

The disparities are underscored when considering businesses that have employees, with the ability to have employees often related to the finances of a firm. Black-owned employer firms make up 2% of all firms with employees, and whites own 81%. Numbering only a little over 100,000, Black employer firms have receipts of $97 billion, which, like their receipts for all firms, make up barely more than 0% of all employer firms.

Asian American-owned employer firms have almost four times the total number and almost five times the receipts than Black employer firms, despite Asians comprising only one third of the population size of African Americans. Counting the race of the business owner, Black employer firms, employing a total of about 900,000 people, pay the smallest average pay per employee among all employer firms.

Given this data, it is highly unlikely that tax cuts will alleviate Black unemployment as Black employer firms are already lagging financially behind those among most other racial groups. Even if Black employer firms, again totaling around 100,000, were all to hire one Black person, it is unlikely to make a major dent in Black unemployment.

Given that an overwhelming majority of Black businesses are non-employer firms, it is highly unlikely that they will be in the financial position to grow their businesses by hiring workers–or to get the capital to do so–and thus “take advantage” of the proposed tax cuts. “Counting the race of the business owner, Black employer firms, employing a total of about 900,000 people, pay the smallest average pay per employee among all employer firms.”

One of the reasons why these statistics are so alarming is that a plethora of research, both from social scientists as well as just day to day observation and experience on the job market, demonstrates that African Americans are the least likely to be hired by non-Black firms.

And Black firms are already more likely to hire African Americans than non-Black firms. Given the small number of Black employer firms, it is not surprising that unemployment rates for Blacks have generally surpassed all other racial groups, even when the economy was not in a financial crisis.

Non-Black firms, then, are likely not to hire non-Blacks just to take advantage of tax measures (especially when there are growing numbers of non-Black unemployed to choose from) and Black firms, already lagging behind other racial groups by most indicators, cannot possibly be expected to resolve Black unemployment. Nor could they if they wanted to as they don’t have the resources.

Some will say Obama did specifically deal with discrimination and Black unemployment in both his jobs act and his speech to the CBC. For example, the proposal calls for challenging discrimination against the unemployed. However, how will he measure the unemployed in this policy? Will it include the many Black people who are not even included in the Department of Labor statistic for unemployment?

Whatever the case, Obama’s jobs plan does not talk about racial discrimination. Some may think it unnecessary for an act to do so given affirmative action policies. Yet affirmative action policies have often been more commonly applied to corporate jobs and even then, corporate powers have largely determined what politically gets defined as affirmative action these days.

As the major source of new jobs, the overwhelming majority of small businesses are not subject to affirmative action policies due to the small number of people each firm employs. And even if they were, the federal government has tended to be purposefully lax in enforcement and firms have also found ways to use what law professor Tanya K. Hernandez calls “the diversity defense” to hire non-whites but avoid having to account for discriminatory racial hiring practices.

“Black firms, already lagging behind other racial groups by most indicators, cannot possibly be expected to resolve Black unemployment.”

In terms of talking about Black unemployment in his jobs act, the fact sheet–as well as his CBC speech–does cite the aforementioned Black unemployment rate. More, the act mentions how Black youth are particularly affected so as propose a summer youth job program.

One purpose of the initiative, according to the jobs plan, is to help young people develop employment skills. But many of these Black youth likely won’t be hired by non-Black businesses so as to use and be paid for these skills, and again, Black firms do not have the capacity to hire all of them. Further, youth should not be in the position of financially supporting their communities and cannot be used to measure the financial health of their racial groups.

We would not expect whites dismayed about the financial crisis and their unemployment rates to focus simply on the employment prospects or summer job programs for white youth–indeed white youth are not even expected to work in the way Black youth are (nor is employment promoted as an anti-incarceration initiative for white youth in the way it is for Black youth, but that’s another article).

And summer programs are of course seasonal. Finally, summer youth programs do not resolve the fact that way too many Black adults cannot get jobs during any season. Similar to some of his political predecessors, including Richard M. Nixon, Obama’s emphasis on Black unemployment and Black business in his CBC speech promotes a Jim Crow economy–where Black people are largely left to their own devices with a little government support–in this case with the aid of a proposed tax plan for all firms that will purportedly help 100,00 Black firms resolve Black unemployment or increase the human capital of Black youth through summer programs but not guarantee a job after completion.

And similar to Nixon, who championed “Black capitalism” as a containment strategy to repress Black protest or criticism, Obama’s speech to a CBC increasingly and publicly frustrated with Obama’s response to Black unemployment, champions, albeit in a subtle way, Black business owners as important social actors who he plans to “support” (but not in a targeted way) through his proposed tax plan.

Like Nixon, Obama doesn’t challenge or address the larger political economy and anti-Black racism that is largely responsible for Black unemployment nor does he propose that non-Blacks have any responsibility in the economic life of African Americans, either in causing or resolving it.

Overall, an unwillingness to challenge racist hiring practices towards Blacks among firms owned by non-Blacks–again 98% of all employer firms–can co-exist with Obama’s championing of Black firms in the name of addressing Black unemployment. “Like Nixon, Obama doesn’t challenge or address the larger political economy and anti-Black racism that is largely responsible for Black unemployment.”

Thus, Obama’s jobs act and his speech to the CBC are examples of what sociologist Charles Gallagher terms “new colorblind racism,” meaning, unlike traditional colorblind racism, the approach minimally acknowledges racial inequality, and in this case, Black unemployment, without addressing racial hierarchies. Although openly discussing the issue of Black unemployment and proposing a tax measure that will “benefit” all firms–and presumably 100,000 Black businesses–Obama does not challenge the existing financial disparities among businesses–or the role of government programs and the financial institutions he perversely protects in shaping these disparities.

Rather, Obama in his CBC speech, in a Nixonian gesture that “recognizes”–some could even say celebrates–Black-owned firms, insidiously speaks simultaneously to both Black middle-class (pro-)capitalists and working-class Black nationalists who value Black business as a sign of community health. And despite his acknowledgment of the high Black unemployment rate and Black businesses, he also, like Nixon, simultaneously reassures non-Blacks that we will not be affected by his jobs act or by his overtures, even in speech, to the Black community.

In the end, Obama expects African Americans, in this case Black business owners and Black youth, to largely shoulder the burden of resolving the Black unemployment crisis. Obama’s speech to the CBC demonstrates not only his neoliberal tendencies but also his clever strategy of appearing race-specific in his policies.

Obama is an expert at racial double-speak and has found a way to promote a white supremacist agenda while still acknowledging race at certain moments. And he has also found a way to appear as if he is championing African Americans, in the case of his CBC speech, Black business owners, while still permitting business as usual, which includes an unwillingness of non-Black firms to hire African Americans, a lack of government intervention into these hiring practices, an over-emphasis on developing Black human capital, and a capitulation to the white supremacist claim that the state cannot legislate hearts and minds and thus cannot force (job) integration.

While Obama may not win hearts and minds, he doesn’t have to let Blacks suffer just because non-Blacks are racist and are unlikely to stop being so anytime soon. Instead, he can work towards another version of truly race-specific policies or adopt those that have already been proposed by African American advocates. Such initiatives are more likely to address Blacks’ economic status by creating economic programs that specifically target African Americans as a whole instead of simply shifting the burden of resolving Black unemployment on to the Black community.

 

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