The Flag Is Not The Problem, What You Think It Stands For Just Might Be



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The Flag courtesy of buzzle.com

It looks like Dylann Storm Roof, the white man who shouted racial epithets while committing mass murder inside a predominantly black church, and his plans to start what he called a “race riot” may not have succeeded in one way, but in a roundabout way, he just may  have started another type of riot concerning the Confederate flag that may ironically divide the south. The governor of South Carolina wants to now take the Confederate flag down from the grounds of the State House saying it’s time to do away with this sign of hatred and racism. My only question is why does it take a mass murder to bring on the multi-racial hand holding and the singing? Racism didn’t just magically appear the day Mr. Roof went berserk, it’s been here for ions and nobody cared….until now. This is where we learn if the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, or the dollar, because while everyone wants to pay homage to the fallen African-American church members, some southerners feel to be asked to do away with their symbol of pride and heritage is asking a little too much. That’s why  those who take pride in the solidarity flag may do so on his or her private property.

Since war first began there have been flags, (colors) to signify a certain battle group. Flags are also used to identify certain tribes, civilizations, etc, and flags have become a sense of pride for whoever flew them no matter if it was friend or foe. The United States flag is a culmination of decades of war and it stands for the “brave” who gave their lives for what they believed in which most of the time was protecting peoples right to be free. It’s no different for the solders of the Confederacy who went to war and died fighting a war that in their minds they saw as a worthwhile cause. We know now that the majority of the country saw things a little different but that doesn’t take away their honor as soldiers. When soldiers go off to war under orders from their governments, whose to say if the reasons are just, but they should not be denied the right to have a flag to honor their fallen dead, especially if they lost the war. African-Americans always knew that the Confederate flag was a symbol of the south, racism and slavery, but they also knew that the south lost the war and that in a sense set them free. And while it’s taken a snails pace in history to get this far, there are those who will never comply. Until this day, the Confederate flag posed no threat to anyone and only remained as a proud remembrance for those generations of family members who went off to war and never returned, to hell with the reasons.

One of the most popular television shows on from 1979 until 1985 was The Dukes of Hazzard with Bo and Luke Duke and the “General Lee”, the orange Dodge Charger with the number 01 on the side and a big Confederate flag on the roof, but as of this posting, they were removing the flags from all toy cars being  produced. Not one time did that flag enter into the show as a symbol of racism. We all knew the show was based on two good “ole”  die hard southern boys having fun, who cared about the flag. That flag is everywhere, or I should say “was” everywhere, but now some people want to distance themselves from it because of what happened in SouthCarolina, including Wal-Mart who is based in Arkansas. What is going to really make people tune in to this controversy is to hear what the presidential candidates have to say about getting rid of the flag. This could make or break a candidate in the southern states, and even Hillary is not immune to judgments because after all, Governor Bill Clinton celebrated the flag while governor of Arkansas. If you stood for the Confederate flag your whole life, and suddenly shift to the other side to gain popularity votes, in the eyes of the voters you just turned to cellophane meaning they can see clear through you. That would be insulting voter intelligence and while the GOP elephant seems to always forget, the voters won’t.

As an African-American, I am well aware of what some say the flag stands for,  but to me it depends on the persons reason for displaying it. If it is to honor ancestors who died in a war that divided this country, it was still a war and I have no problem with that. But if you take this flag and use it to justify hatred and racism, you are doing a discredit to those who have long since died and been  buried along with Lee’s sword. It is said that the meaning of any flag is best discerned “in the words of those who bore it.” There are a hell of a lot more things we can be doing to have better race relations in this country but it requires going a lot further than banning a solitary flag.



Will The Killing Ever Stop?

Is there anything left to say when 9 African-American lives are lost in Charleston, South Carolina while worshipping in one of the oldest and most iconic churches in this country, the Emanuel AME, {African Methodist Episcopal} Church.  Dylann Storm Roof decided he was going to make his contribution to ethnic cleansing, and thus armed with his brand new .45 caliber pistol that his father got him for his birthday, he entered the church, sat for an hour in a Bible study class, and at the end of the class, started executing African-Americans.  He told one woman that he was going to let her live so that she could tell everyone what she witnessed. Mr. Roof is now in custody and the long and tedious task of trying to determine why he did such a thing begins. He claims that the African-Americans are taking over the country and have to be stopped and his aim was to start a race riot. It seems as though this was a definite hate crime and it makes you wonder is anywhere safe from these individuals? Why are these types of crimes now bubbling to the top in these times of poverty and hopelessness?  Some see no future for this country unless we get rid of the free-loaders in the social programs who to them the majority are African-American. They are seen as a burden on this country’s resources with their demands for entitlements such as welfare, early social security, and jobs and all at the expense of those who are well off, how dare they. So in the minds of some mentally challenged individuals, extermination IS an option sorry to say.

It seems as though the only persons able to get ready to use firearms are those with mental problems who have been left on the sidelines without any means for proper medical care thanks to social program cuts implemented by the, need I say it, Republicans. They can’t get the proper medical attention because there aren’t enough institutions for inpatient care, but the gun lobbyist will make sure that while they’re waiting, their rights to get a firearm is protected at all cost. The Republican Party cut 40 billion dollars from the food stamp program and they are looking at cutting even more. What about the poor who have no food? Do these people even care that the “American people”, as they are quite fond of saying, are eating out of garbage cans. Remember this, every time a Republican talks about saving the planet for the children, they are talking about “their” children. Their next generation of one percenters to keep a foot on the throats of the poor and the reins pulled tight on the middle class. It should be clear to even the dumbest person that the GOP is on a mission to make this country their own personal playground in which the unfortunate are kept in line and trained not to make waves or they will suffer even more cuts. How does all this relate to the mass murder of African-Americans in the church? It’s the fact that the Republicans have done a pretty good job of brainwashing people into believing that everything is Obama’s fault, to put it mildly and that blatent disrespect of the president has “trickled down”  into the hands of some in the old south.

For the Republicans, it was a slap in their faces when poor people along with a few “true” Democrats voted a black man into the White House, and for that, the poor are now forced to make bricks without straw. No minimum wage hikes, no job programs, no affordable housing, and the GOP’s determination to gut the Affordable Health Care Act affectionately known as “Obamacare.” If by chance the law is overturned, and I for one don’t see that happening, imagine the millions who would lose their healthcare instantly. Sick children and the elderly with pre-existing conditions would have their lives shortened because the Republicans want to spite Mr. Obama. They try to disguise it with talk of unconstitutionality but we all no the real reason behind their dog determination to repeal the healthcare law don’t we? And to cover all the bases, they have enlisted the help of the bought and paid for Supreme Court to see if the subsidies granted the poor and middle class to help them pay for their healthcare premiums is legal. If people are getting needed treatments, why would you interfere with that if you were so concerned about the American people, again, we know why.

This is a true battle of good versus evil but to better understand it look at it as rich versus poor and unless we make a change, we will always be poor, because change requires the voice of the people. If we do not get out and vote, we will lose this battle, and if we do, we can only blame ourselves for letting this country fall into the hands of the almighty rich and the bigots. As for the governor of South Carolina wanting to take down the Confederate flag from the grounds of the statehouse, I say let it stay. That flag may have stood for a lot of things but it was held in the hands of men who fought and died for what they believed in and that makes them honorable gentlemen of the south. They may have lost the war but they are heroes in the hearts of generations and it is their legacy and no one misguided individual should be able to strip that away from them.

Rachel Dolezal, Should It Matter That She’s White?

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Photo courtesy of democracynow.org

It seems like everyday something new comes to light  and it’s gotten to the point that we are not surprised about anything in the news anymore. Now comes the tale of Rachel Dolezal, the president of the local chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. in Spokane, Washington who turns out to be a caucassion women disguised as an African-American. And now she has come under attack not only from the organization that she dedicated her life to, but her own family also. She resigned her position when the questions got too tough to answer but did say recently that she identified as “black”. And now the speculations are running wild as to why she would choose to do such a thing?  My question is, was her position a position that required her to be black, and second, what qualifications did she have to become president?

I know it’s the N.A.A.C.P., the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, but does it require that you be African-American to be a member of the board? True, she might have went about it the wrong way, but I see no bad intentions on her part. She feels her calling is to help African-Americans, and when she tried to do that by applying at the exclusively black Morehouse College, for a position in which she was denied, she felt it was because she was white. So she filed a lawsuit claiming discrimintion only to lose. My facts may be slightly off, since there will be twist and turns in this saga for quite some time, and new information will be changing daily. Does she have an identity crisis, only her hairdresser knows for sure, but she must have been doing her job well enough for her to become president. of her local chapter. Should her skin color change that? If African-Americans or anybody else for that matter thinks it does, then you are complaining about something “you’ve” been  crying about for a hundred years. Does a well qualified person become less qualified because of skin color?

Everybody is saying that they hope she gets the help she needs. Why, because she identifies as being black instead of white? Can’t we say the same thing about Bruce Jenner who decided that he identified as a woman. Do we not preach about the right to choose? Knowing all the drama and dispair African-Americans go through everyday, for someone to feel they belong on that ship of sorrows and is willing to go so far as to change their apperance so that they can belong is a person who’s very passionate about their cause. Would she have become president of her local chapter if her skills and education was the same but came out truthfully  as a white woman?

Prince Moses had heard that he was born a Hebrew slave, and after finding out that he was placed on the Nile River by his Hebrew mother to save his life he went down to the mud pits to observe “his” people doing the mud dance, stirring the mud in which to make bricks. He shed his golden armour and the jewled collar around his neck and the sandles on his feet and went into the pit of mud to do the dance with them. While he was raised in wealth, when it got right down to it, his heart was with the slaves. It does not matter what color your skin is or how you were raised, what matters is where your heart is, and I believe Rachel was where she wanted to be but knew she couldn’t get there being white. What a switch.

 

The Comming Of The Next Ice Age

The Ice Age, a time when the planet goes into a deep freeze and the only thing moving briskly are glaciers. According to glacier comotologist the frozen land masses were on a constant move, carving out canyons and grinding down mountains and shaping the landscape. About 10,000 years ago was the last recorded Ice Age and mathematicians estimate that there is and has been an Ice Age every 15,000 years of Earths existence with a 10,000 year warming period in between each period. If you do the simple math, you will see we are rapidly approaching the end of the warming cycle. The Ice Age doesn’t mean the end of life, it just means a drastic change in life. It will mean also that giant glaciers will once again be on the move And with the top speed of a glacier being 150 feet a year, by the time the next warming period takes over, glaciers will have traveled a considerable distance and the landscape once again will be changed. The ridges you see in the Grand Canyons were carved out by moving glaciers and are more than 1 mile deep and after the next deep freeze may be deeper yet.

The Earth has been here for 4.4 billion years and in the early stages of its formation the land masses were constantly crashing into one another, and the force of those collisions forced an estimated 50 million tons of rock and dirt to form the continents and mountains that during the Ice Ages, were then sculptured and shaped by the passing glaciers. The Swiss Alps were said to have been carved out by a moving glacier and it was so disturbing to the Alpine Pheasants that they had priest perform exorcisms on the glaciers believing they were possessed. It was during these times it was said that the Vikings in Greenland turned from Pagan to Christianity as times were very harsh for the Vikings people when the seas froze completely over and a lot of lives were lost due to starvation You can just about say that the formation of glaciers in what was relatively warm parts of the Earth was sort of a reverse global warming in effect.

We who are living now will not be here to see the next Ice Age, and it even seems strange to be speaking of such an occurrence with the term “global warming” being heard everywhere. But I have noticed that for those of us who live in the northern parts of the United States, the winter months seem to be getting a little more colder than usual but in the south, they are getting just a little more toastier, go figure. With the clock ticking down to the next global deep freeze you have to wonder, with the way things are going now, will there even be anybody left on the planet in 5,000 years.?

The Crash Of Germanwings 9525; A Co-Pilot Melts Down

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Everyday around the world people board airplanes, and we have become so accustomed to arriving safely that we give no thought to crashing. We are constantly told that flying is safer than driving and the statistics seem to collaborate those claims. When there is a crash, it usually turns out to be a mechanical failure of some sort. Rare is the plane crash where the pilot just flies into a mountain committing mass murder, but such an event happened March 24th , 2015 when Germanwings flight 9525, piloted by Andreas Lubitz slammed into the French Alps killing all 150 on board. As it turns out, Mr. Lubitz was a mentally disturbed young man with demons that finally took hold of his sanity at which time the only way he saw to stop the pain was to implement his own self destruct program.

Suicides are nothing new in the world, but certain suicides demand answers to the questions such as why someone would choose to kill innocent people in the process of killing themselves? There should never, ever be a problem in your life to make you feel like ending it all, but of course I haven’t had the privilege, or the curse of being chased by demons so I really have no idea what goes on in the mind of someone who’s in mental pain and anguish. When applying for a license, German pilots have to fill out a questionnaire in which they must give full details of any existing psychological or psychiatric problems. The form also has a space for the prospective pilot to sign giving Germany’s Federal Aviation Office access to all medical records. But while Mr. Lubitz’s mental medical history was hard to follow, there was nothing in the preliminary investigation to justify raising a red flag.

While the authorities try to determine an exact motive for Mr.Lubitz’s rash decision, many believe that there was some sort of tragic development in his life that subsequently pushed him over the edge. Was Germanwings negligent when they allowed Mr. Lubitz to fly with an incomplete background evaluation? Did they give due consideration to his sketchy medical history? When a person has a job where the lives of innocent people are put at risk it would be prudent to check all health issues thoroughly. We as a traveling public put our faith in the person at the controls of whatever vehicle we’re in and we hope that the person who put that person at the controls did his job. Whenever we trust our lives to someone else, we are, for all intensive purposes, taking a leap of faith.

As with any tragedy where there’s a body count, there’s always a new rule implemented to try to keep this sort of thing from happening again and the new rule at Germanwings is that there will always be 2 people in the cockpit at all times. This is because when the captain left the cockpit, Mr. Lubitz, who was the co-pilot, locked him out. Now when a pilot leaves the cockpit, a flight attendant must take his or her place. Will this incident cause us to give extra thought to who is flying the aircraft? Not hardly, and you know why, we are self programmed to believe “it can’t happen to me.” We must do more to address the issues of mental illness in the world because far too often the mentally ill are left on an island to fend for themselves. They are reluctant to confide in anyone so their symptoms often go undetected, and if they happen to be in a safety sensitive occupation, it could be deadly for a lot of unsuspecting citizens.

Roller Coasters; Our Quest for Thrills And Bravery

Photo of Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Colossus courtesy of ocregister.com

 

The world of the roller coaster enthusiast may come to life during the summer months but the research to find the biggest and the fastest coaster begins long before the long-johns are put away. There are groups of these thrill seeking junkies that go online during the winter months to find out when an amusement park will be launching their latest creation. Who knows what LaMarcus Adna Thompson had in mind when he applied for a patent for his wooden monstrosity back in 1885, but he envisioned an entertainment venue that would send riders on a seemingly perilous journey of insane speeds and drop-offs in a wooden car defining the thin line between fun and fatality. But believe it or not, the Russians claim to be the fathers of this marvel of the amusement parks which they say is similar to the earlier days of the Russian Mountain sled trains. The Russian Mountains were specially constructed hills made of ice, and while there was no loops, it did travel up and down through the mountains, around steep curves, and along the edges of cliffs providing the riders of that time a thrill a minute. Incidentally, the Russian term for roller coaster is “amerikanskiye gorki” or American Mountains.

Understanding what makes some people gravitate to danger for the thrill of it all is a question scholars have given up on a long time ago. We all agree that life is precious, but yet there are some of us who thrive for that rapid heartbeat, or that adrenaline buzz. Where is that sense of self preservation, well it’s still there, but it’s been blended and mixed with a feeling of invincibility. Courage is a strange thing and it’s viewed in different ways. Is a person who will not ride a roller coaster out of fear considered a coward? What about the person who will not fly in an airplane? John Madden of NFL fame refused to fly, and he was a big man, but yet he would not get on board an airplane. I really don’t think that there is a true coward, it just boils down to some people are afraid of “kicking the bucket” too soon. That doesn’t make them cowards, it just means that they’re not trying to rush things by making unwise decisions or by taking risky chances. Is getting on board a roller coaster that travels at 80 miles per hour, powered by gravity a good thing? Millions of us say yes and pay money to do it over and over for the thrill. Would those eight people that died on the Amtrak train have paid money and boarded the train if they knew it would be traveling around a 50 miles per hour curve at 106 miles per hour just for the thrill? I don’t think so, but all too often, it’s the unexpected thrill that kills you.

It is a normal thing to be afraid to die and for the people you hear that say they’re not afraid, well let’s just say that they approach the subject with a firm understanding of their mortality, and a whole lot of faith. When you get up in the morning you have no idea if it will be the last sunrise you’ll ever see, but you don’t worry about it, you go on. Adrenaline rushes are addicting, and this natural drug of choice takes us to the edge of the cliff without letting us fall off, we hope. There are different stages of these rushes and some are more intense than others, and your level of courage and enjoyment may not require anything more than an intense ride on a top thrill coaster.
DLTPONCHO33

The Content Of American Politics

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Image courtesy of Wikimediacommons

America may be the home of the brave and land of the free, but it’s also home to what some see as the beginning of a revolution. Police killing unarmed citizens, armed citizens killing police officers, violent protest, people trying to live on meager wages paid to them by giant money making corporations who baulk at paying a living wage which means everyday the number of homeless families continues to grow by leaps and bounds. With the upcoming 2016 elections right around the corner, and every Republican candidate saying he or she is the right choice to bring this country back to its glory days if given the chance, one would think that we have the chance to elect a real winner out of the increasingly growing field of want-to-bees, sweet right? Truth is, nobody has heard any kind of future plans for the country from these truly noblemen as far as jobs, or embracing renewable energy sources, or for tackling climate change. The reason, they’re having too much fun Obama and Hillary bashing for self righteous points.

Once upon a time in this country, the wishes of the voters meant something, but over time the political process has morphed into something “else”. While there has always been money in politics, it has now taken over politics. The Supreme Court basically said that “money talks” in its ruling last year, and we all know that money corrupts and to mix the two, politicians and money, in the same hopper, it allows elections to become a commodity to be basically bought by the highest bidder which smacks democracy right in the face. This country faces some terrible days ahead, and I for one want somebody at the helm of this vessel that will keep it afloat and stand up for the poor, the hungry, the disabled, and those who are discouraged. I hear a lot of talk coming from the Republican campgrounds about bringing back the American dream and saving the country for “their” children. But what about the rest of the children who not now or ever will have the chance to have everything handed down to them on a silver platter like some people simply because their parents lost hope. We must also draw a line in the sand to save “our” children.

The Republican version of the way the American dream should be for those struggling doesn’t include raising the minimum wage. As Republican Speaker John Boehner put it, “I’d kill myself before I’d raise the minimum wage. To raise the minimum wage would put a hardship on American Corporations.” Excuse me while I get a hankie. Another part of that Republican version of the American dream does include cutting food stamps for the poor by $40 billion dollars, but increasing the defense budget by $70 billion dollars. And while Obamacare did not have the most stellar coming out party, it has proven to be a God-send to over 10 million people who now can at least get affordable healthcare which includes treatment for pre-existing conditions, a valuable benefit. But crushing the Affordable Healthcare Act is at the top of the GOP campaign agenda. As of right now we are waiting for the United States Supreme Court to decide if the subsidies the poor get to offset the cost of healthcare premiums is legal. On the other side of the sword is the talk of healthcare corporations raising the premiums by 50%.  Another reason that there are so many Republican candidates in this presidential race is the simple fact that they can’t afford to let the election be won by another “undesirable”, so they are stacking the deck with that come one come all mentality. If Barack Obama can be president, anybody can.

Now it may sound like I’m one sided, but truth is, logic dictates that one makes a choice based on common sense. General George S. Patton once said, “Americans love a winner, and will not tolerate a loser.” After eight years of George W. Bush, the country saw two wars started based on fables, out of control spending leading to a blooming national debt, a city of thousands left homeless, hungry, drowning, and dying after hurricane Katrina, and the loss of almost three thousand innocent lives in New York. A clear definition of loser yet the GOP claims that G.W. didn’t get enough positive credits for his accomplishments. Invading another country due to a “vision” of weapons of mass destruction is not an accomplishment, but I’d be willing to give George W. Bush all the credit for that. Whether you thought Obama was a winner or a loser during his term as president it‘s too late to matter now. But in 2016 I think we’re going to see a radical changing of the guard with history being made. Watch out for the falling glass.