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#TLFT: Charm City Blues_THROUGH THE LENS OF A PASSERBY
Maybe it’s the ironic temporariness of the many neglected pre-1900, ultra-slim row houses in blocks of its blighted neighborhoods. The ones that sit just off the sidewalk and squirt back like markings on a ruler with no space between. The sad duskiness of certain connected pavements and facades that makes one want to pick up an entire area, truck it to the harbor and wash it in the Basin. A shadow of gray that drags on, parallel to 'normal life'. Refuse items resting in open ghetto lots and alleyways as if sanitation department believes it belongs to someone who's coming back to get it. The blue lit oppressor-cameras on most street corners in the hood, gleaming dull, like sparse Christmas lights on a drying tree. A randomness with which things appear scraggly pieced together over time. Broken walls that seem to want to tell me that “Here, once, stood something – meaningful – or not – but it was here – and this is what is left”; sprouting defiant weeds proudly from their cracks. Aimless youths who spring from subjects of the crack epidemic and its epic mourning period . Being in the mostly beautiful city of Baltimore always makes me cognizant of the old elephant in the room; its name is not Charm.
As situations unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri over the police killing of Michael Brown in summer of 2014, I thought of Baltimore, and how much more combustible it could be. My mind flashed back to images of its idle youth scaling the mighty walls of its NFL football stadium, for the hell of it. Not like the raving destructions of college students after winning or losing a big game. With the youth in Baltimore, it is resentment -- a symbolic reaction to being the heart and the wart of a system and a city that doesn't care if they care; a system that locks them out. I thought about that seething underbelly, froth with restless undereducated young people in a region that is rich with prestigious colleges and universities. Our future, climbing on top of itself beneath the lid of a pressure cooker like desperate crabs in hot water, as we boil them and label them thugs.
I lived in a Baltimore suburb recently, for years and there are similarities with the nearby District of Columbia; like subtle reminders that lurk just below the Mason-Dixon Line. Or the way it seems like the haves are trying not to rub luxury in the faces of the have-nots, while often coexisting in the same air space. I understand the history wrapped up in these places. This is not a full indictment on the city of Baltimore. At least, not of its underclass who call these neighborhoods home. I know these people well and I love them dearly. Such places are my melting pots. This is not a typical knee-jerk reaction to what’s in the news. It is a sentiment I carry; what I’ve always told people when they ask me “How is Baltimore?”
It is the 'lesser' parts of town and what it takes to survive there, that tells me what a city is all about. I don’t know if Freddie Gray’s death at the hands of young police on bicycles and paddy wagon operators who shake and roll the dice with Black people’s lives, will spark the dawn that soaps dusky #Bemore. Stranger things have happened.
Huey P. Long Legendary
Governor (1928- '32) Senator (1932 - 1935) state of Louisiana.
Defender of the 96% Charismatic Champion of wealth redistribution from the filthy rich to common folk. Created the Share Our Wealth program in 1934 with the motto:
"Every Man a King", Nicknamed:
'The Kingfish' assassinated September 1935 as he prepared to challenge Franklin D. Roosevelt for USA Presidency.
Obama's Syrian Destiny
(Published: August, 2013)
Threads of time, knitted into a thick Persian gelim... Decades of worldwide events, deposit us into this moment and Barack Obama's own mind is split, on a matter that may very well decide the fate of this planet. To strike, or not to strike. He knows he must state publicly, that Syrian headman Bashir al-Assad, needs to have his bell rung. Someone must cripple Assad's ability to wield a free military wand; especially if that wand occasionally points at chemical weapons ...against civilians no less! But Obama also knows that most people in his United States, is weary of its military action, especially in the Arab region. Many Americans are as divided as their President, wondering about the endless possibilities after a military strike against Syrian targets. What will be the ultimate response from Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, eventually Israel and the like? Doing the 'right' thing, especially when only France appears to have your back, could develop into an international disaster.
There is the message that needs to be sent about the use of chemical / nuclear weapons, and how the sane world will or will not tolerate it.
There is the question of who? shall be the world police. Many voices from inside the USA insist, iT ought not be that enforcer, for it sets itself up as the Sheriff who must be shot; and in this case, there seem to be no Deputies. The United Kingdom (Britain) is opting out on this one. Britain's Parliament is still licking wounds from Tony Blair's wingman role to George W. Bush in the whole Iraq war saga. If the USA can count on ANYBODY to ride shotgun, especially when the fight is in the Middle-East region, it is the British government. But the English has forced me to start another sentence with the word 'but' and use a comma before the word 'because', because they said: fuck tha! you on ur own, 'merica.
There is that recent history of Iraq and Afghanistan, and where the current US president had staked out position on these mega-military dramas. Terms have evolved between his appearing on the big stage, and now. His responsibilities are far different. It is not as easy to draw a straight line between his ethics, and his decision. As the cartoon image (upper left) indicates, the Periwinkle Line has gotten quite Squiggly. He can't be the guy who turned a blind eye to the atrocity of children being poison-gas to death while calling for his help. He can't be the guy who starts World War III by trying to help.
There is the real possibility of the US Congress voting No on any strike against Syrian regime targets, at this point in time; despite the commitment to strike, that Obama has already made, verbally. There is his credibility (which is very important, for many reasons we might get into some other time) that could crumple, depending on how things unfold.
There is the 'Arab Spring', and how that seems to be turning into the unpredictable realizations of a process that was always destined to be, well, ..f-ck-d up.
Pictures of anti-government rebels executing Syrian regime soldiers and dumping them in pre-dug holes, counter images of people suffering from Assad's poison gas attacks. This does not help the call for action, from those who believe there must be external intervention. In fact, it solidifies the argument that; the content of all the characters involved in the current Syrian civil war, is pregnant with unknowns. The Good-Guys have not been distinguished from the Bad-Guys.
There is the United Nations (UN), and itS credibility, after pleading the fifth, much like England, albeit for less dignified reasons. The UN and NATO are hand-tied because Russia, for example, wants to leave Bashir al-Assad alone to gas children to death, at will. So these worldwide organizations will not get the necessary votes to sanction effective group intervention to do something about the world's latest rogue madman who considers an entire nation, his domain, to rip apart at will.
There is the Arab League -- Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the like. What will they do if events escalate? What about the effect on civil unrest and turmoil in an unstable and important Egypt, that is currently mired in anarchy. The tangents, yes, they are a many.
Right now though, there is Barack Obama, who basically opposes war, unless danger is eminent at home. How far is he willing to go? Is he prepared to defy the U.S. Congress if it votes no on the issue? What will US cruise missiles actually strike, in Syria? Wouldn't the Syrian regime have targets stashed among civilians? Will there be majority unmanned drone strikes? Will U.S. action extend existing conflicts, and/or lead to new ones? Will Assad double-down on the fight and use chemical weapons again?
Perhaps, this is an opportunity for the world to learn, how to surgically strike and disable a despot like Asssad's capability to kill people via unspeakable methods (not that method measures the worth of life). With the technology developed, the intelligence provided by a post 911 dragnet, and the forethought of a General Barack, a result could be achieved, which kills 0 to few civilians and set off the avalanche that unseats Assad. The international agreement, to not tolerate chemical warfare has been around for a long time, relatively speaking, but there is no "how to" guide on record.
He wishes he could remind Americans that the "how to" guide that has changed, is how to fight war, the way he reminded Mitt Romney in a debate; "..we also have fewer horses and bayonets..".To remind the world that the USA probably won't need boots on the ground, even if the situation escalates after a missile strike at Syrian targets, is to remind the world that America thinks it can crush you from a distance, without getting actual hands dirty; without risk of strike(s) against its homeland. This.. could foster more anti-USA fervor ..more hate, for the "great satan".
Here is Obama (with Rwandan genocide still fresh on his mind), who's already said he'll strike; but then, he's waiting to hear what Congress thinks first. Here is Obama, who mentioned War almost 40 times in his Nobel PEACE Prize acceptance speech. Standing among us, as the man of the moment; the mysterious man of the moment; maybe isn't such a mystery at all. Even doves, draw a line somewhere.
#TLFTtoo long for twitter : Arabian Clusterfuck
Crisis of Confidence Part VIII
February 2013: President Obama's call for a $9/hr federal minimum wage is a bargaining pitch. $1.75 jump from the current $7.25 is pipedream-ish, considering the challenge it is bound to get from those arguing against a hike. He may settle for $8/hr for now. After a year, when the sky hasn't fallen as a result of $8/hr federal minimum wage, Obama can, to some degree, point to economic improvements resulting from the 75 cents bump and argue for another bump. This gives him the platform and pattern to propose even a third bump before the end of his second term and depart the Whitehouse with federal minimum wage around ten dollars, which I think he will be satisfied with, all things considered. This would then prompt individual states and municipalities that keep local minimum wage above the federal base, to raise in accordance.
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| #TLFTtoo long for twitter : Hollywood is as much to blame for the rise in gun violence in America as anything else. A showing of batman at a Colorado movie theatre brought that fruit home to bare. Cavalier violence in cinematic art has always fueled our appreciation for and glorification of said violence, as well as appeal to the 'monkey see, monkey do' aspect of human nature. The acceptance of quick-killing as a method of conflict resolution or mass killing as a method of 'blowing off steam' becoming commonplace in the real world, paves a path that gun peddlers travel along, as they deliver us to evil.
We know that the vast majority of perpetrators of random mass murders in America's urban and suburban communities are young. We know that there is a frightening spike in mass murders, primarily via gun. The spike is in direct correlation with the spike in violent video game culture. This is not a coincidence. Movies inherently and the influence of movies on video games, drives the delivery mechanism that enhances young minds' ability and propensity to drift toward acting out the violent extreme. This is how our youth are being assisted in delivering mass violence; from visualization to execution.
If 'gun control' (which anybody who's OK with the term 'birth control' should be OK with) isn't going anywhere because this is afterall the land of 'live free and die hard', then we need other approaches besides blaming mental health and trying to find evidence after the fact that our killers should have been certified as crazy. Guns have been around for a long time. So has mental illness. Certainly, guns are different now, and these differences contribute to the extent of the carnage, but we already clarified that restricting ownership is a dog that wont hunt. Since we can't seem to control unnecessary manufacturing or inadequate tracking of guns, maybe it is time to embrace the 'guns don't kill people, people do' concept more, as a society and focus on the trends in popular culture that bring out Mr. Hyde in some of us.
It is the youth among us who will have real affect against this epidemic--eventually and young people's approach (according to a recent report published by Center for American Progress) is to attack the problem as a cultural one as well as a material one. Maybe it is time to consider negotiating with American movie makers to get them to reverse trend and tone down the guns and explosives, instead of exporting the glorified violence to European movie making and the like. Time to put stronger restrictions on marketed video game content with regard to vulgarity and violence. "Rated M for mature" just isn't cutting it anymore.
|Crisis of Confidence
Excerpts from original series published in the heat of the crisis
(September, 2008) ...While watching the Olympics I saw an AIG commercial in which they boasted of its size, power and ability to make my life more financially secure. Later that evening, while on a midnight snack run, I stopped to get some $4 per gallon gas. I must have missed the AIG guy standing next to the pump offering me some of his money.
...result of a hands off, Laissez-Faire, no regulation, free market system. This may be the proof in the pudding; the verdict, on what ultimately happen when this old, eagerly professed and defended philosophy is applied to an economy as vast as what the United States' has become.
The test period has run its course on trickle-down economics and the result is rolling in right before our eyes. Our current troubled economy is the rebellious teenage version of "Reaganomics". We let it continue and we will eventually have a bearded monster sitting on our lap
The pyramid scheme on Wall Street simply amounts to fraud in too many instances. Instead of going to jail for deceptive business practices in new, innovative, unprecedented ways, criminals are getting bankrolled by the very people they have taken advantage of.
...When Wall Street firms and their investors are making record profits like oil companis, they are never interested in sharing the wealth and even lobby for adjustments to tax laws in an effort to keep more of the wealth. However, when the investments go south the burden is shared with all tax payers, even those who have no direct stake and earn no immediate profits from the financial marketplace. The big players know the risks when they play. The insurance companies and mega lenders knew they were playing with fire with the sub-prime/back-loaded mortgages, the loans without collateral, no down payment, insuring entities which have not proven true long term value... Their eyes were wide shut and their conscience shut tight.
The fat, greedy, cry-baby America we had become needed a dose of reality, not Ritalin. America needed a spanking, not a time-out. >>> read more