social issues

O’ Where-O’ Where has my America Gone-O’ Where can It Be?

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We have two American flags always: one for the rich and one for the poor. When the rich fly it means that things are under control; when the poor fly it means danger, revolution, anarchy.

Henry Miller

What in the world is happening to America? The things that you are about to see in the videos posted in this article are so disturbing and so violent that it is hard to believe that it is actually Americans that are doing this to one another. Once upon a time, Americans generally conducted themselves with humility, grace, civility, honor and with a tremendous amount of respect for others. Sadly, those days are now long gone. Now, large numbers of people in this country are just going wild. Unfortunately, the videos you are about to watch are not isolated incidents. Stuff like this is going on all over the country. So what is going to happen when the economy collapses and shortages begin? What kind of violence and rioting should we expect to see at that point? Just recall what we witnessed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Sadly, if the videos below are any indication, the thin facade of civilization that we all take for granted every day could completely disintegrate in the event of a major economic catastrophe.

Today, society actually teaches our young people to be disrespectful and rude. Arrogance and violent behavior are glorified in our movies, on television and in our music. Our culture is literally degenerating right in front of our eyes. The whole country seems to become more selfish, more self-centered and more greedy every single day. In such an environment, is it any wonder that our young people are exhibiting such extreme behaviors?

The violence that you are about to see is very disturbing because it is real. If you spend most of your time isolated in your own little world, these scenes of brawling and violence will probably come as a great shock to you. But this is what is really happening in the United States of America today.

If people are willing to go so wild while times are still relatively good, what in the world is going to happen if a major disaster strikes or the economy collapses and they have been without food for two or three days?

This is something that we all really need to consider. In the United States today, there are millions of people with no jobs, no hope and no future. The mainstream media keeps promising that an “economic recovery” is right around the corner and most Americans are desperately hoping that 2013 will be better, but you can almost feel the frustration of the American people rising.

We live in a country today that is very frustrated and very angry. Some of that anger and frustration is rational, but a whole lot of it is irrational. Most Americans have been brought up to believe that they are entitled to “a good life”, and when that doesn’t happen they start behaving like spoiled little brats.

If some major emergency comes along that pushes the U.S. economy over the edge, it could cause massive societal upheaval. There wouldn’t be close to enough law enforcement personnel in the entire country to be able to handle the rioting and looting that we could potentially see.

Back during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the American people were able to pull through because our citizens still possessed a great deal of character. But today many Americans are incredibly spoiled. Many Americans believe that they are entitled to everything and that life is all about them. They are in love with themselves, they are in love with money and wealth, they are arrogant and boastful, they don’t respect their parents, they are addicted to entertainment, they have very little self-control and they have very little love for others.

Fortunately, there are also many Americans that still have good hearts, that are willing to fight for the truth and that are willing to live for something greater than themselves.

This is one of the most extraordinary times in all of human history to be alive, and as I noted in a previous article, it is those that are willing to live life unselfishly that will be pleased with the legacy that they have left behind….

When I was young, someone told me the following: “Life is like a coin – you can spend it any way that you want, but you can only spend it once.” So how are you spending your life? Are you just “killing time” and watching world events go by or are you actively trying to make a difference? When your life is over, will you be proud of the legacy that you have left, or will you be ashamed of what you have done with the time that you were given? None of us can go back now and change what we have done in the past, but the future stands unwritten before us. The remaining chapters of your life can be a beautiful thing – but only if you are courageous enough to seize the day.

We are going to need leaders that are going to be able to keep it together when times get tough in the years ahead. When most people realize that the “good times” are gone forever, they are absolutely going to lose it. Many people are going to totally freak out.

But if you are willing to embrace the challenges ahead instead of letting them swamp you with anger and desperation, then the coming years could become a great time of victory and adventure for you.

So what do you think about the crazy videos that you just viewed above? Do you think that Americans are emotionally prepared for an economic collapse? Why do you think people are suddenly acting so crazy?

In the America that most of us grew up in, most Americans considered themselves to be part of the “upper middle class”, the “middle class” or “the lower middle class”. Yes, there have always been poor people and homeless people, but they were thought to be a very small sliver of the population. Well, today all of that is dramatically changing. America’s emerging “poverty class” is exploding in size at the same time that America’s middle class is rapidly disappearing. You won’t hear it on the mainstream news, but the truth is that the United States has lost ten percent of its middle class jobs over the past decade. Only the top 5 percent of income earners in the U.S. has had their incomes increase enough to keep up with the rising cost of living over the past 40 years. The truth is that today there are a whole lot of people aggressively jostling for the small number of good jobs that are actually available and each year millions more Americans are being squeezed out of the middle class. The number of Americans that are financially dependent on the U.S. government continues to set new records month after month. The number of Americans that are participating in the labor force continues to go down. The sad reality is that the “American Dream” that so many Americans used to take for granted is being ripped away from us. If you still believe that the United States is guaranteed to always have a very large, very prosperous middle class then you really need to read the statistics listed below.

If you told most Americans ten years ago that in 2013 over 43 million Americans would be on food stamps hardly anyone would have believed you.

But yet here we are.

The U.S. economy simply is not producing enough good jobs anymore. Most of those that are able to acquire one of these jobs have been able to cling to middle class status, but for millions upon millions of others economic desperation has become “the new normal”.

In fact, more Americans than ever seem to have just given up. The number of working age Americans that are not even looking for work anymore is at a record high. The number of Americans that endlessly receive government “anti-poverty” benefits continues to go up and up.

Once upon a time America was a nation packed with hopelessly optimistic “go-getters” that were brimming with entrepreneurial spirit. But now we have tens of millions of docile sheep that seemingly have no hope, no future and that apparently have no problem with permanently being dependent on the government.

But of course it must be noted that thanks to “globalism” and thanks to the greed of the gigantic predator corporations that now dominate our economy that it has become extremely difficult to “make it” in today’s economy.

It really is incredible to see what has happened to America. Once upon a time we were the greatest economic machine in the history of the world, but now we are literally being dismantled piece by piece. The poverty that we are witnessing today is only going to become even worse as the U.S. economy continues to decline.

The following are 27 signs that America’s poverty class is rapidly becoming larger than America’s middle class….

#1 Only 47 percent of working-age Americans have a full-time job at this point.

#2 One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.

#3 In America today, 8.9 million people are working part-time jobs for “economic reasons”.

#4 During the last school year, almost half of all school children in the state of Illinois came from families that were considered to be “low-income”.

#5 In 2010, more Americans than ever before were living below the official federal poverty line.

#6 The number of net jobs gained by the U.S. economy during this past decade was smaller than during any other decade since World War 2.

#7 The Bureau of Labor Statistics originally predicted that the U.S. economy would create approximately 22 million jobs during the decade of the 2000s, but it turns out that the U.S. economy only produced about 7 million jobs during that time period.

#8 108.6 million Americans are either unemployed, underemployed or considered to be “not in the labor force”.

#9 The United States now has 10 percent fewer “middle class jobs” than it did just ten years ago.

#10 The number of Americans that have become so discouraged that they have given up searching for work completely now stands at an all-time high.

#11 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

#12 According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, visits to soup kitchens are up 24 percent over the past year.

#13 Approximately 5 million U.S. homeowners are now at least two months behind on their mortgage payments.

#14 The number of Americans filing for bankruptcy rose another 9 percent in 2010.

#15 In 2009, total wages, median wages, and average wages all declined in the United States.

#16 According to a survey released very close to the end of 2010, 55 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck.

#17 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

#18 The number of Americans on food stamps set a new all-time record every single month during 2010, and now well over 43 million Americans are enrolled in the program.

#19 Even in our nation’s capital stunningly large numbers of Americans are suffering in desperate poverty. Today, 21.5 percent of the population of Washington D.C. is on food stamps.

#20 It now takes the average unemployed American over 33 weeks to find a job.

#21 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#22 The number of American families that were booted out of their homes and into the streets set a new all-time record in 2010.

#23 Some formerly great industrial cities are rapidly turning into ghost towns. For example, in Dayton, Ohio today 18.9 percent of all houses are now standing empty.

#24 Ten years ago, the “employment rate” in the United States was about 64%. Since then it has been constantly declining and now the “employment rate” in the United States is only about 58%. So where did all of those jobs go?

#25 A recent study by a law professor from the University of Michigan found that Americans that are 55 years of age or older now account for 20 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States. Back in 2001, they only accounted for 12 percent of all bankruptcies. It is getting really, really hard to live on a fixed income in the United States.

#26 In the United States today, there are over 6 million Americans that have been unemployed for half a year or longer.

#27 One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government.

In 2011, even more Americans are going to fall out of the middle class and into the poverty class.

The dynamics of the game have changed. Once upon a time if you got a college education and you worked really hard you were virtually guaranteed a ticket to the middle class.

Well, no matter what you may have been promised, those days are now long gone. Now those in the U.S. middle class are trapped inside a really twisted, really bizarre game of musical chairs. If you still have your seat you should be very thankful, because chairs are being pulled out of the game constantly as the middle class rapidly shrinks.

Sadly, the economic decline of America is only going to accelerate as government debt continues to mount and as our jobs and our industries are shipped overseas as part of the new “global economy”.

Our politicians are doing nothing to stop all of the long-term trends that are ripping the middle class to shreds so the poverty class is going to continue to explode in size in the months and years to come.

So if you are still part of the middle class, enjoy it while you can, because the party is ending and they are starting to turn out the lights.

More Black Men May Be Taking Bar Exams Than Are Behind Bars

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All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.

Aristotle

The ‘myth’ that more African-American males are in prison than in college isn’t helping anyone who’s working toward a BA.

While running for president in summer 2007, Barack Obama told a crowd at an NAACP forum: “We have more work to do when more young black men languish in prison than attend colleges and universities across America.”

Last December, Charles Barkley, a broadcaster and former NBA player, told Bob Costas: “You know, we’ve got more black men in prison than we do in college, and crime in our neighborhoods is running rampant.”

Barkley and Obama are merely two among many prominent Americans, black and white, who, while arguing for creation of stronger opportunites for African-American males, have promulgated the idea that more black men are behind prison bars than on college campuses.

There’s just one problem in that plea for action: The assertion isn’t true.

New research shows there are now 600,000 more African-American men in colleges than in prison, contradicting a “myth” that some advocates believe is undermining progress in the black community.

These advocates argue that the false statistic feeds the “narrative around affirmative action” that says black men need help to achieve equality.

As the Supreme Court prepares to hear a case on affirmative action that could restrict use of race to determine enrollment at public universities, its time to conquer the myth once and for all, Ivory Toldson, a professor at Howard University School of Education, tells TakePart.

“Really what [young black men] need to get into colleges is college-level classes, guidance services, college fairs, college tours. But stats like that give the impression what they need to go to college is a violence prevention program or a gang abatement program.”

“It’s a line that was marketed very well,” says Toldson, who’s researched the statistic. “It’s what a lot of people think is true intuitively and has gotten repeated over and over. That’s one of the reasons why it persists.”

That statistic originated with a study by the Justice Policy Institute, a criminal-justice reform think tank, which calculated that 791,600 black men were in jail or prison in 2000, and 603,032 were enrolled in colleges or universities. Critics say the JPI study didn’t use accurate data.

“In the past, the numbers still appeared close enough to say, well, you know, maybe there’s something to it, even though you can’t really quantify it right now,” says Toldson. “Right now we’re at a point where they’re not even close.

“We’re at a good point for us to just move past that myth and start thinking about some real problems,” continues Toldson. “Really what [young black men] need to get into colleges is college-level classes, guidance services, college fairs, college tours. But stats like that give the impression what they really need to go to college is a violence prevention program or a gang abatement program.”

One government policy instituted in the 1960s that was designed to place more black men into college is affirmative action, a program that factors race into the university admissions process. But affirmative action might soon be alive only in history.

A Supreme Court ruling is pending in Fisher v. The University of Texas, a case that is being brought by Abigail Fisher, a white student who was denied acceptance by the University of Texas at Austin. Fisher’s lawyers argue that her grades and test scores were higher than those of some students who were admitted, and only the university’s policy of considering race led to her denial, which, according to the lawyers, was unconstitutional.

The college-versus-prison statistic has helped perpetuate the argument for supporting affirmative action, says Janks Morton, a Washington, D.C.-based filmmaker whose first documentary, 2007’s What Black Men Think, confronted persistent myths and fallacies about black men in American society.

“You come up with this thing that black men need a hand up, they need help, they’re not able to achieve on their own, and then that ties into the narrative around affirmative action,” Morton tells TakePart. “If you really look at the data right now, the majority of [black men] are making these strides without this kind of affirmative action narrative.

“It tends to highjack the conversation, and I think it distracts from the accomplishments of young black men.”

Affirmative action, he adds, “might need to be rethought and rescaled back.”

Morton says there’s resistance in the black community to abolishing the prison-versus-college myth because some advocates have a financial stake in it. “It’s a money extracting proposition for organizations that are vested in that kind of advocacy around black male identity.”

Morton says the faulty statistic imperils the progress of the next generation of African-American men.

“We have to think about what the internalization of this negative messaging has done to a generation of young black people,” he says. “There are so many positive achievements of this group right now that we can start to raise the bar of expectation. We can use the model of young black boys who are achieving and elevate that.”

Why not Ron Isley: Why not Wesley Snipes?

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Male privilege and entitlement are dying a very painful death; no one gives up power without a struggle.

Gloria Allred

Actor Stephen Baldwin has agreed to plead guilty to a felony tax charge and pay New York state approximately $350,000 in back taxes, his lawyer told the New York Daily News.

Attorney Russell Yankwit said Baldwin is “happy that he’s not going to jail,” and has five years to pay back the money. Yankwit said if Baldwin pays back the debt within one year, the case will be discharged.

Ronald Isley gets 3 years for tax evasion:
Isley Brothers lead singer Ronald Isley has been sentenced to three years and one month in prison for tax evasion.

Isley was also ordered to pay $3.1 million in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Conte.

Actor Wesley Snipes has been released from a federal prison where he was serving a three-year sentence after being convicted on tax charges in February 2010.

The release to a supervised residential location in New York occurred Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons told CNN.

Snipes, 50, who starred in the “Blade” action movies and “White Men Can’t Jump,” had been serving time at a federal prison in Pennsylvania. A jury convicted him of willfully failing to file tax returns for 1999, 2000 and 2001. Snipes was acquitted of felony tax fraud and conspiracy charges.

In June 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of his sentence, which he had argued was too harsh for a misdemeanor conviction.

NEWARK, N.J. — Eight-time Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill pleaded guilty Friday to not paying federal taxes on more than $1.5 million earned over three years.

Appearing in U.S. District Court in Newark, Hill admitted failing to file tax returns from 2005 to 2007. She faces a maximum one-year sentence on each of the three counts. She was charged three weeks ago.

Dressed in a dark jacket, white button-up shirt and a long reddish-orange skirt, Hill declined to comment after Friday’s hearing. During the hearing, attorney Nathan Hochman indicated that Hill planned to pay back the taxes she owes.

U.S. Magistrate Michael Shipp initially scheduled sentencing for early October but agreed to delay it until late November to give Hill time to make repayment.

Hill admitted she didn’t pay taxes on about $818,000 earned in 2005, $222,000 in 2006 and $761,000 in 2007. The money was earned by four corporations she owned.

The 37-year-old South Orange resident got her start with The Fugees and began her solo career in 1998 with the critically acclaimed album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”

She then largely disappeared from public view to raise her six children, five of whom she had with Rohan Marley, the son of famed reggae singer Bob Marley.

Excuses are not enough to get away from paying the money. Speculation of one being better than the other, how do you measure that? Look out, Mr. Obama, a tax revolt has begun in America led by Mickelson & Woods

President Obama, you have a big problem. You may own the media, so you can control the Benghazi disaster. But you have no control over this one. A tax rebellion has started.

Phil Mickelson is one of the most famous athletes in the world. He is worth in the vicinity of $100 million. Last year he made almost $50 million. Yet he doesn’t want to pay California’s high taxes.

Tiger Woods is far more famous and worth far more — over $1 billion, yet he agrees with Mickelson and admits that he left California in 1996 for the exact same reason: high taxes.

In the same week, famed boxing promoter Bob Arum announced that superstar boxing legend Manny Pacquiao’s next fight will not be in held in America.

The man who makes tens of millions per fight refuses to pay Obama’s higher U.S. income taxes. He is considering Mexico City, Asia, or Dubai for his next fight.

Can you imagine? Smart businessmen would rather choose Mexico City over America because of Obama’s taxes.

Then Tina Turner went public. She is renouncing her U.S. citizenship to become a Swiss citizen- which just happens to have lower taxes than Obama’s America.

But these are just the rich celebrities courageous enough to go public. This is merely the tip of the iceberg. The rich are fleeing in droves. The Obama tax and spend Ponzi scheme is imploding.

What changed?

The technology revolution has made it possible to do business from places where the taxes are lower (or non existent) and where the government treats us better. Obama had better learn this lesson fast, because this tax rebellion is spreading to millions of Americans with far smaller incomes or assets than Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, or Manny Pacquaio.

The signs are everywhere that a tax rebellion has begun.

The latest U.S. Census showed us that the states with low taxes enjoyed the fastest population growth- states like Nevada, Texas, Florida, and Arizona.

Not surprisingly, the states losing the most population are all high tax states like California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and of course Obama’s Illinois.

These states that Americans are running from are all governed just like Obama wants to govern the entire country. Soon these same Americans running away from California, New York and Illinois will instead be running away from America.

Ask the co-founder of Facebook, who recently renounced his citizenship and left for Singapore (where the capital gains taxes are zero).

Ask big-time Democratic contributor Denise Rich, who recently renounced her citizenship to leave for Austria.

The trickle is turning into a torrent. Record numbers of wealthy Americans are giving up their citizenship- eight times more than before Obama became president.

Of course we already know that only one year after the UK imposed a “Millionaires Tax” two thirds of the millionaires in England disappeared off the tax rolls.

High taxes have worked well in England…they are about to endure an unheard of in history triple dip recession…the third recession in 5 years. Folks that’s called a Great Depression.

We already know that millionaires are escaping France at a record pace because of high tax rates imposed by the new Obama-clone Socialist President of France. Even leftist actors like Gerard Depardieu have been forced to abandon the country they love.

The famous actor isn’t alone. Requests by citizens to leave France are up by 500%.

But then came the coup de grace. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has just announced he is leaving France because of taxes.

High taxes are even chasing away the presidents of their own countries!

High taxes work great in France. Their Labor Minister announced just this week that France is “totally bankrupt.” His words.

I understand all of this only too well. I’ve got my own “escape from taxes” story. I arrived in sunny Southern California in 1989. I fell in love. I thought I would never leave. I woke up every morning to walk on the beach, and to watch dolphins swim from my deck. I married a former Miss Oklahoma. I was in heaven.

Unfortunately, during the next decade California grew more and more desperate. Taxes were raised again and again. There were so many rules, regulations, and lawsuits, it became impossible to run a business in California. So I escaped to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas is “America’s Monte Carlo.” It’s a place with no state income tax, business income tax, capital gains tax, or inheritance tax…and the 16th lowest property taxes in America. A place where the state constitution bans income taxes, limits the time politicians can meet, and welcomes guns in the hands of law abiding citizens. I call it heaven. As long as the taxes stay at zero, I’ll never leave.

But I’m not alone. During the past decade over 1.3 million residents escaped California. When I add up the income taxes, property taxes, business taxes, and the payroll and income taxes for the 100 employees I took with me…chasing me away probably cost California about $2,000,000 in lost revenues. Multiply that times thousands of other high income, high net worth, business owners among the 1.3 million who have escaped…and that accounts for why California is always broke, insolvent, and desperate.

You know what they say about pigs- they get slaughtered. California is certainly a pig. Just like the “PIIGS” in Europe- Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain all chased away their richest citizens and business owners. Now they have nothing left. Their tax base is destroyed. Add France and the UK to the list. There all going down.

If we let big government progressives have their way, California’s sad story and Europe’s tragic story will also be America’s sad story. Obama is killing the American Dream. Phil Mickelson was only vocalizing what millions of business owners in America are thinking right now.

Governments lie when they say taxes are good, or “fair” or the price you must pay for a “civilized society.” Big government doesn’t lead to a better life. Big government leads to a miserable life. I’m enjoying a much better quality of life in Nevada with lower taxes- it isn’t even close.

Here’s the reality — the high tech revolution has killed the progressive and socialist dream. We aren’t trapped anymore. You can’t tax us to death, simply because you don’t own us. We have I-Phones, I-Pads, I-Pods, text, laptops, and Satellite TV. We can do business from anywhere in the world- from a beach in Sydney, to a mountaintop in Nepal, to a forest in New Zealand, to a luxury high rise in Hong Kong. It’s called freedom.

Sorry, President Obama your dream is about to collapse. Ask Phil Mickelson, or the President of France, or all those millionaires missing in England, or soon half the business owners in America.

Tax and spend is DOA (dead on arrival).

Christlikeness is not weakness

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The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.

Ernest Hemingway

Jesus…for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross. Hebrews 12:2

Christ’s devotion to His Father and to God’s love for me kept Him on the cross. It was His unwavering commitment to His heavenly Father that prompted Him to begin ministry by submitting Himself to baptism by John. It was Christ’s devotion to His Father that motivated Him to spend forty days in the desert, alone and needy, so that He could be tempted with everything I might face–and yet remain victorious. It was because of His dedication to His Father that Christ enduerd the rejection, hatred, and betrayal of the very people He would die for. Christ’s devoted commitment was ultimately displayed in the turning point of human history–His death on the cross.

Hebrews tells us that Christ endured the cross because He looked forward to the joy of the days before Him. That means He so looked forward to a relationship with me that He was willing to die. The joy of the relationship with me is a part of what motivated Christ to put up with all the ridicule and disappointment.

We need a taste of that devotion if our marriages, friendships, relationships are to survive the tests life is sure to bring. Couples often ask for maritial help after one of life’s tragedies, such as a baby lost in labor, a bankruptcy, or a rebellious teenager. None of us is exempt from life’s pain, but couples seem to take two distinct paths as they recover from life’s hurts. For some couples, tragedy draws them closer together. For others, tragedy seems to break the already fragile relationship. My wife and I have suffered several tragedies in the past year, homelessness, joblessness, loneliness, financial bankrupcy,hope depleted due to the strain of what others were thinking of our all of a sudden sufferings to destitution, but we stayed devoted to the number one strand that holds our life together and that is Jesus. We went to jail for working a job that we found on Career Builders. We found out it was a scam 4 weeks into trying to save our home and comfortable exsistance. Faced with new felonies and no one wanting to trust us as being valid individuals, we were perplexed at first about what to do. We began to stand and pray staying in a position of humility. God gave temporary housing and revelation knowledge about why people react and work and live as They do. We moved on with trust in God’s provisions and found a family that was willing to endure with us what it took to get us on our feet again. devotion is the key that starts the hand of God to make all things work together for the good of them that love Him and are called according to His purpose.

I found out after watching so many of my cohorts suffer devorce due to the same trials I was facing, maybe not jail and the felon who is not able to get work due to the injustice associated with being apart of an un forgiven society, but finances didn’t allow their spouses to stand nor did the men stand for Christ. The couples who survive life’s tragedies are the ones who show devotion in the everyday things. They express commitment and devotion to one another regularly through acts of devotion, big and small. They love Jesus and listen to Him on the day of corporate worship, they hear Him when they have times of devotion with them closed in with the holy spirit and The word of God, they pray together about what is troubling them. They pray for the world and those who mistreat them. The put their enemies before God, they put their neighbors on the alter, they speak life about the promises they remind God that He said in His word. Lord do as you have said for your servant is the cry of them doing times of prayer.

We are not where we want to be, but we are where God dwells. We will get to be stewards again of our own. We beleive God is doing things that only He knows about. Lord, help us to remember to perform acts of devotion for each other in marriage and mankind. If you are upon a time in your life that requires devotion to God and the one you are with, stay connected to the hand that is scared for you.

The crimes of the system and the reform we need; Wake up People!!!

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One ever feels his twoness – an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two reconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

W. E. B. Du Bois

I contemplate often the choices I made that are so in my past, but I fall daily to the harassment of the enemy of my soul due to the social and economic challenges that face so many of my people. There are many new and innovative practices to disqualify you as an individual and race of people. It is my hope that someone reads between the lines and gets motivated to continue to fight with their minds and not their hands.

I hope as you take a look at this post it synergize you into getting clean of all drugs and ill behavior to position yourself for success. We have so many achievers and over-comers who strived through  much more hideous acts of racism and oppression that there is no justifiable reason for you to stay ignorant of the enemy  devices. Players,  pimps, and drug dealers are just commercialism tactics to sway your behavior to oppress your own people or another human being. I want to introduce you to some information that may have missed your gaze.

“The young man was shot 41 times while reaching for his wallet”…“the 13-year-old was shot dead in mid-afternoon when police mistook his toy gun for a pistol”… “the unarmed young man, shot by police 50 times, died on the morning of his wedding day”… “the young woman, unconscious from having suffered a seizure, was shot 12 times by police standing around her locked car”… “the victim, arrested for disorderly conduct, was tortured and raped with a stick in the back of the station-house by the arresting officers.”

Does it surprise you to know that in each of the above cases the victim was Black?  If you live in the USA, it almost certainly doesn’t.

Think what that means: that without even being told, you knew these victims of police murder and brutality were Black. Those cases—and the thousands more like them that have occurred just in the past few decades—add rivers of tears to an ocean of pain.  And they are symptoms of a larger, still deeper problem.

I. The Real Situation

Conventional wisdom says that while some disparities remain, things have generally advanced for Black people in America and today they are advancing still. People like Obama and Oprah are held up as proof of this. But have things really moved forward? Is this society actually becoming “post-racial”?

The answer to that question can be found in every corner of U.S. society.

Take employment: Black people remain crowded into the lowest rungs of the ladder…that is, if they can find work at all. While many of the basic industries that once employed Black people have closed down, study after study shows employers to be more likely to hire a white person with a criminal record than a Black person without one, and 50% more likely to follow up on a resume with a “white-sounding” name than an identical resume with a “Black-sounding” name. In New York City, the rate of unemployment for Black men is fully 48%.

Or housing: Black people face the highest levels of racial residential segregation in the world—shunted into neglected neighborhoods lacking decent parks and grocery stores and often with no hospitals at all. Black people, as well as Latinos, who had achieved home-ownership had their roofs snatched from them. They were the ones hit hardest by the subprime mortgage crisis after having been targeted disproportionately by predatory lenders—resulting in the greatest loss of wealth to people of color in modern U.S. history.

Or healthcare: Black infants face mortality rates comparable to those in the Third World country of Malaysia, and African-Americans generally are infected by HIV at rates that rival those in sub-Saharan Africa. Overall the disparities in healthcare are so great that one former U.S. Surgeon General recently wrote, “If we had eliminated disparities in health in the last century, there would have been 85,000 fewer black deaths overall in 2000.”

Or education: Today the schools are more segregated than they have been since the 1960s with urban,

predominantly Black and Latino schools receiving fewer resources and set up to fail. These schools more and more resemble prisons with metal detectors and kids getting stopped and frisked on their way to class by uniformed police who patrol their halls. Often these schools spend around half as much per pupil as those in the well-to-do suburbs.

Or take imprisonment: The Black population in prison is 900,000—a tenfold increase since 1954!—and the proportion of Black prisoners incarcerated relative to whites has more than doubled in that same period. A recent study pointed out that “a young Black male without a high school degree has a 59 percent chance of being imprisoned before his thirty-fifth birthday.”

On top of all that, and reinforcing it, is an endlessly spouting sewer of racism in the media, culture and politics of this society—racism that takes deadly aim at the dreams and spirit of every African-American child. And who can forget the wave of nooses that sprung up around the country, south and north, in the wake of the 2007 struggle in Jena, Louisiana against the prosecution (and persecution) of six Black youth who had fought back against a noose being hung to intimidate them from sitting under a “whites only” tree at school?

All this lay beneath the criminal government response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. For reasons directly related to the oppression of Black people throughout the history of this country, and continuing today, African-Americans were disproportionately the ones without the resources to get out of the way of that storm, as well as the ones concentrated in the neighborhoods whose levees had gone unrepaired for years. Far from “mere” incompetence, the government responded with a combination of gun-in-your-face repression and wanton, murderous neglect. People were stuck on rooftops in 100-degree heat for days on end, with nothing to eat or drink. Prisoners were left locked in cells as waters rose to their necks. The protection of private property and social control was placed above human life. The governor of the state ordered cops and soldiers to shoot on sight “looters”—that is, people trying to survive and to help others. On at least one occasion, people trying to escape the worst-hit areas were stopped by police at gunpoint from crossing over to a safer area. When evacuations finally were carried out, they were done with the heartlessness of a cruel plantation owner. Families were separated, with children ripped away from parents. Tens of thousands were scattered all over the country with one-way tickets, sometimes not even told their destinations. Back home, bodies were left floating in water, or lying on sidewalks, underneath debris, decomposing and mangled, for months.

Through it all, politicians and commentators spewed out unrelenting racism. Who can forget Barbara Bush herself, the president’s mother, and her remark in a shelter for refugees from Katrina—some separated from their families and having lost everything, including dear ones—that “[S]o many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.” 10-term Congressman took the prize for declaring, “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.”

Since then, the first…the second…the third anniversary of Katrina passed with many parts of New Orleans still uninhabitable ghost towns. In the mostly Black 9th Ward, blocks of devastated houses have been razed—a vast wasteland now dotted with occasional concrete steps going nowhere. When Black people have fought to stay in the projects which are still habitable, they have been driven out—and when they have protested at City Council, they have been pepper-sprayed and beaten.

Oil rigs and tourist areas are long since back up and humming, while rebuilding schools, hospitals, and childcare centers are pushed off the list. Through it all, cops and national guards continue to occupy poor neighborhoods like enemy territory.

Does all this look like a “post-racial” society to you?

The answer is clear. And while more Black people than ever before have been allowed to “make it” into the middle class, two things must be said.

First, even for these people their situation is still tenuous. To take one stark example: In opposition to the widespread notions of the “American dream,” where each successive generation “does better” than the previous one, the majority of the children of middle-class Black families have been cast, by the workings of this system, onto a downwardly mobile path. And every Black person—no matter how high they rise—still faces the insults and the dangers concentrated in the all-too-familiar experience of being stopped for “driving while Black.” As Malcolm X said over 40 years ago, and as is still true today: What do they call somebody Black with a Ph. D.? A “nigger.”

Second, and even more profoundly, for millions and millions of Black people things have gotten WORSE.

It will not help—in fact it will do real harm—to believe in this “post-racial” fantasy, or even the “less ambitious” lie of steady improvement. The cold truth of the oppression of African-American people must be squarely confronted and deeply understood, if it is ever to be transformed.

II. Shining a Light on the Past to Understand the Present—and Transform the Future

If you go to the doctor with a painful condition, she’ll ask you to describe the symptoms. If she’s any good, she won’t just prescribe a few pills and send you on your way—she’ll try to figure out the cause of your problem, where it came from. She’ll order some tests, and then she’ll do more. She’ll ask you when the symptoms arose. She’ll take your family history, asking about your parents, and even your grandparents. And that’s what we’re going to do—go through the history of America to discover the source of the profound problems we have sketched out here.

The Rise of Capital—on a Foundation of Slavery and Genocide

This country was founded on the twin crimes of the genocidal dispossession of its Native American (Indian) inhabitants, and the kidnapping and enslavement of millions of Africans. But this essential and undeniable truth is constantly suppressed, blurred over, distorted and excused—all too often treated as “ancient history,” if admitted at all. But let’s look at its implications.

Modern capitalism arose in Europe, when the merchant class in the cities—the newly arising capitalists, or bourgeoisie—began to set up workshops in which they exploited peasants who had been driven off their land, as well as others who could not make a living any longer other than by working for, and being exploited by, these capitalists. This was the embryo of the modern proletariat—a class of people who have no means to live except to work for someone else, and that works for wages in processes that require a collectivity of people working together. The early capitalists, like their descendants, would take possession of and sell the goods thus produced, paying the proletarians only enough to live on, and thereby accumulating profit. They did this in competition with other capitalists, and those who could not sell cheaper were driven under; this generated a drive to gain any possible advantage, either through lowering wages and more thoroughly exploiting the proletariat, or through investing in more productive machinery, or both. This twin dynamic of exploitation and competition drove forward the accumulation of capital in a relentless and ever-widening cycle.

But this was not some linear or self-contained process. In fact, capitalism in Europe “took off” with the development of the world market, and that in turn was fed and driven forward by the slave trade. Ships would sail from London and Liverpool, in England, filled with the goods sold by the capitalists. They would unload these goods for sale or trade in the coastal cities of Africa, and fill their holds with human beings who had been captured in raids in the African countryside. They would then take this human cargo to the Americas and the Caribbean, to be sold as slaves. Then the ships would take the sugar, cotton, rice and other goods produced by the slaves in these colonies back to Europe, to be sold for use as raw materials or food. And so on, every day, year in, year out—for centuries. This slave trade and the slave economy that went with it—along with the extermination of the Native peoples of the Americas (the Indians) through deliberate slaughter, disease, and working them to death in silver mines—formed what Karl Marx called the “rosy dawn of the primitive accumulation of capital.”

The crime was enormous. Between 9.4 and 12 million Africans were kidnapped, sold and sent to the Americas as slaves. Over two million more died in the voyage from Africa, and enormous numbers perished in Africa itself, through the slave-taking raids and wars, followed by forced marches in chains to the coastal African cities to feed this market. At least 800,000 more died in the port cities of Africa, locked down in prison (the barracoons) awaiting shipment. Once in the Americas, slaves were sent to “seasoning camps” to “break” them—where an estimated 1/3 of the Africans died in that first hellish year.

Take a few seconds to think about the reality behind those numbers. THOSE WERE HUMAN BEINGS! Numbers alone cannot hope to capture the agony and suffering all this meant for over three centuries; the best these numbers can do is give a sense of the sheer scale and scope of the barbarity. But even today this is very little known, and what went into the foundation of American history is barely taught, if at all, in the schools, or recognized in the media and culture.

Those Africans who survived this hell were then forced to toil as slaves, doing the work to “tame” the Americas—to develop the agriculture that would form the basis for the new European colonies. A respected historian put it this way: “Much of the New World, then, came to resemble the death furnace of the ancient god Moloch—consuming African slaves so increasing numbers of Europeans (and later, white Americans) could consume sugar, coffee, rice, and tobacco.” Within Africa itself, the slave trade caused tremendous distortions in the development of Africa and gave rise to the major African slave-trading states in west Africa, as these states traded slaves to the Europeans for commodities that included guns. I am not going to put that much more on the history, but I am going to say read for yourself and change the way you live and act.

W.E.B. Du Bois, Gelatin silver print c.1911,
W.E.B. Du Bois, Gelatin silver print c.1911, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
W.E.B. Du Bois (1868–1963).  The Souls of Black Folk.  1903.
The After-Thought
  Hear my cry, O God the Reader; vouchsafe that this my book fall not still-born into the world-wilderness. Let there spring, Gentle One, from out its leaves vigor of thought and thoughtful deed to reap the harvest wonderful. (Let the ears of a guilty people tingle with truth, and seventy millions sigh for the righteousness whichexalteth nations, in this drear day when human brotherhood is mockery and a snare.) Thus in Thy good time may infinite reason turn the tangle straight, and these crooked marks on a fragile leaf be not indeed

America the addicted society

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I’ve seen firsthand the terrible consequences of drug abuse. My heart is with all who suffer from addiction and the terrible consequences for their families.

Columba Bush

I realize this subject may not mean anything to some because just like death until it hits home we minimize its reality. I was once apart of this mess. I went so far as to allow myself to have a radiometric-addiction to women, blink and money. I used all of them for selfish gain. I see now the destructive nature of all of them without having been educated I was doom to continue in my downward spiral.

When God delivered me from myself I pledged to be an instrument of good and not evil. I want to educate all on these toxic cultures that plague our communities and homes. The silent killer today that leads to all this dysfunction is deception and delusion of ones self.

I hope this article help’s someone or someone’s family member. I hope this visual aid by NAS is not offensive, but educational about all the forms of addictions, foods, medical prescription, out of touch realities such as religions and toxic programming.

English: Source: The National Institute on Dru...
English: Source: The National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Image taken from http://www.drugabuse.gov/pubs/teaching/Teaching2/Teaching4.html http://www.drugabuse.gov/pubs/teaching/Teaching2/largegifs/slide18.gif (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia) released a report on addictions today that is remarkably comprehensive and even more remarkably honest in portraying the virtually utter failure to identify and effectively treat addiction in the U.S.

The report, titled “Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap Between Science and Practice,” starts with the premise that addiction is a disease. Addiction is not recreational drug use or risky behaviors (like adolescent binge drinking or buying drugs on the street). They focus on abuse and dependence on alcohol, legal and illicit drugs, and tobacco. While the authors recognize a group of addictive/compulsive behaviors, they are not covered in this report.

CASA Columbia is a renowned research center on addiction. For the past five years it brought together a team of addiction, public health and judicial experts, universities, medical centers, and other mainstream officials under the direction of Drew E. Altman, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Kaiser Family Foundation, to study and survey the field of addiction in order to give us a landscape report of such precision and breadth. Scientific literature was reviewed, extensive surveys were conducted (throughout the U.S. and an in-depth survey in New York State), leading researchers and experts were interviewed, focus groups were held, and state and federal licensing, certification and accreditation rules and regulations were examined. Care was taken to hold to high standards of analysis and evidence. In short, this is one tome we ignore at our own peril.

Their definition of addiction is alcohol and drug (including tobacco) abuse (compulsive use despite clear harm to relationships, work and physical health) and dependence (where the body experiences withdrawal when blood levels of a substance drop).

Their definition of treatment is that of psychological and social therapies (like motivational interviewing/motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy — CBT — provided individually and in groups, the often highly-effective but controversial contingency management approaches that reward abstinence, and family therapies) and medications used to treat additions (like naltrexone, nicotine replacement and buprenorphine — see here and here). They do not include detoxification (typically repetitive, expensive, and often medically-unnecessary interventions that are generally ineffective in promoting recovery), peer- and religious-based counseling, emergency room and prison/jail services. Don’t bother to pick up this 573-page report (more than half of which is appendices and references) if you believe addiction is a failure of will, a form of moral turpitude, or habits where people should “just get over it” (though some future campaign should try to change your mind).

The consequences of untreated addiction, and its predecessor risky alcohol and drug use, are chilling. The report concludes that:

“Risky substance use and addiction constitute the largest preventable public health problems and the leading causes of preventable death (emphasis mine) in the U.S. Of the nearly 2.5 million deaths in 2009, an estimated minimum of 578,819 were attributable to tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.”

The report also estimates the costs of addiction and risky substance use behaviors to government coffers alone to exceed $468 billion annually. Yet, and here is the most important finding of all, only one in 10 people with addiction to alcohol and/or drugs report receiving any treatment — at all. Can you imagine that measure of neglect were the conditions heart or lung disease, cancer(s), asthma, diabetes, tuberculosis, or stroke and other diseases of the brain?

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disability in this country. But the catastrophic effects of addiction do not stop there: The report considers car crashes, where 40 percent of fatalities involve someone under the influence; the five-fold increase in prescriptiondrug overdose deaths since 1990, where OD fatalities exceed traffic accidents; increased risk of heart and lung diseases, cancer and sexually-transmitted diseases; and parental substance abuse, which increases the risk of their children performing poorly in school and developing conduct and trauma disorders, asthma, ADHD, depression and, of course, addiction itself. Family dysfunction warrants particular notation, since addiction produces financial and legal problems (property and violent crimes) and increases domestic violence, child abuse, unplanned pregnancies, and motor vehicle accidents.

The report is exhaustive in the ways it considers legal and illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Each section is clear, compelling and exceptionally well-supported with tables and references. A thorough analysis of why we are at this deeply troubling state of neglect examines how addiction has been systematically omitted from medical care, how treatment providers are terribly undertrained to deliver a range of proven treatments, how treatment programs are not sufficiently held accountable for delivering evidence-based practices, and how private insurance payers have eluded the provision of adequate benefits and defaulted payment to the public sector. But what we need to know far beyond the inescapable evidence of how big and bad the problems are is what can be done?

The opening recommendation is a page out of every good textbook of public health. Start by detecting a problem that is — by inattention or aversion — kept out of sight. We do not deal with what we do not confront. More than 80 million people (!) in this country ages 12 and older abusively engage in substance use without meeting criteria for addiction (defined above) and represent an exceptional opportunity to intervene early and effectively, yet this is not happening. Simple screening tests for alcohol, drugs and tobacco exist and can be made standard practice throughout medical care (and in educational and counseling settings). SBIRT — Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral for Treatment — is a recognized, proven and even reimbursed medical procedure that awaits general use despite the consequences of not using it.

The report offers a set of treatment recommendations and asserts importantly that comprehensive treatment (combining psychosocial and pharmacological interventions) is generally better than reliance on one approach alone. There is an abundance of information on treatment, beginning with stabilization of the disease and continuing on to acute care with therapy and medications. The authors provide critically-important and urgently-needed information about how chronic disease management techniques extant throughout medicine today need to be applied to addiction. Nutrition and exercise are woven into the treatment approaches. AA, NA, SMART and other longstanding and effective recovery programs find their way into the report as “support services,” revealing its particularly medical and judicial framework.

One finding that may pertain to readers of this post, or people they know, is that public attitudes about the causes of addiction “… are out of sync with the science.” Their survey work reveals that one-third of Americans still regard addiction as a “… lack of willpower or self-control.” We can be our own worst enemy, and local and national efforts to change minds and hearts are needed.

Further recommendations are framed as major sections on how to close the science-to-practice gap (to make happen in everyday practice what we know from science that works): commencing a national public education campaign, mandating program adherence to proven practices, establishing quality improvement tools and procedures to steadily and progressively improve program performance, insurance reform, and organizing federal oversight into one agency on addiction.

There is so much more in the report that this summary cannot cover. Among the findings readers may also want to take guidance from are on special populations (from youth to the elderly, and including veterans, pregnant women and those with co-occurring medical and mental health disorders), on parity legislation and the do-or-die role of funding prevention and services, and on education and practice standards. The report serves both as a call to action and an encyclopedic warehouse of information.

The CASA Columbia report’s strengths are its veracity, clarity and credibility, the last based on the excellent science they summarize and the caliber of the report’s authors. A shortcoming is that it was developed by experts in medicine, addictions, public health and jurisprudence; as a result, it does not report on the emerging and abundantly-used field of complementary and alternative approaches to addiction “treatment” (such as yoga and acupuncture) nor dedicate much report real estate to 12-step and related recovery models. Nor does the report consider how making legal substances more expensive and more difficult to get could be used as means of controlling youth drinking and other compulsive habits, though CASA Columbia did consider these interventions last year in a report on adolescent substance abuse (see here and here).

Practitioners, policy makers, educators and responsible citizens should more than consider “Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap Between Science and Practice.” It needs to become an agenda for action. Not doing so will mean that this country would have decided to continue to neglect its most prevalent, destructive and costly of diseases