Stuck on Stupid

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. As I looked at the image on social media showing how the separation of children from their parents is deeply rooted in America’s dark past, the caption and image served as a vivid reminder of the past wounds and suffering of African Americans “before” we were Blacks, Negroes, Colored or any other descriptive adjectives placed upon us by the ruling class. The caption above the image, “Forcibly separating parents from children has a history, it is our history” certainly rings true as “Zero Tolerance” is being pursed by our current president and his administration. The sign posted on the auction block reads “Negroes For Sale At Auction This Day At 1 o’clock.” But I didn’t stop there as I thought about how America separated and tried to annihilate  the indigenous inhabitants of this land before “Columbus” discovered America. I thought about the “Trail of Tears” and how the native inhabitants suffered back then and even now. But I didn’t stop there, as I recalled how America treated our Japanese Americans brothers and sisters and their children and forced them into concentration camps. But there exist no need to chronicle America’s past sins as the aftermath is constantly before us even today. Its has been said that those who do not learn from the errors of their past are doomed to repeat it.

God has a special place in his heart for “widows, orphans and strangers.” Israel was reminded to “never forget” how they were delivered with a Mighty Hand out of Egypt and how to treat the “widows, orphans and the strangers.” And whenever Israel forgot this lesson God was quick to take them to the wood shed for a little corrective chastisement. The Oracle of God’s WORD were first given and shared to His chosen people so they knew what was required by God–“…and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:8 KJV. As our president talks about “Two Corinthians” and our Attorney General mis-quotes the Bible we all should remember what is required of us from God’s WORD as we head toward the wood shed. We should also remember that ” …God is Not mocked: whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7.

MLK’S DREAM or AMERICA’S NIGHTMARE

“Segregation today, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever”. It has been more than four decades since Alabama Governor George Wallace shouted out the above infamous words in 1963 as he stood behind the backdrop of Alabama University, denying access for two black student to the segregated university. Some eight months later, also in 1963,  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., using the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. as a backdrop gave his I Have A Dream Speech. Governor Wallace, fanning the fire of racism, wanted America to stay the course and resist effort to usher in a new day of racial equality, fighting the Brown vs. Board of Education decision and the federal government.. King wanted to drown out racism and demanded that” judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” Amos 5:24. As America and the world commemorated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death, one can’t help but wonder has King’s dream become America’s nightmare?

A little more than four weeks before King’s death, The Kerner Report, also known as the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorder, issued it report. which highlighted without corrective measures, the nation would continue on its path toward becoming “two societies–one black, one white–separate and unequal.” The report, commission by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 after four consecutive years of “long hot summers” stated that white American institutions basically “created” and “maintained” the ghetto. King dedicated his life in challenging three evils, the evil of racism, militarism and poverty. President Johnson, also knew something about poverty, hence his “Great Society” and his war on poverty. But it was the Vietnam War which changed his focus from bread and butter issues to the prevailing issues of bombs and bullets. Regarding racism, then Senator Lyndon Johnson once said during his 1960 campaign in Tennessee,” If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.” A Time for Choosing , February 29, 2016 Post). Our current president is well aware of the politics of division.

The last decade, from 2008 to 2018 has been and continues to been exciting ,exemplary, and an enlighten experience. You might be black or white, Democrat or Republican, rich or poor, it has been and continues to be one roller coaster ride of highs and lows, mountain top experiences followed by valley views. From #Black Lives Matter,  #MeToo, and #Never Again, America appears to be at a fork in the road, one directions marked, Martin Luther King’s Dream and the other road marked An American Nightmare. In the words of Dr. King, “we have some difficult days up ahead,”but an ever loud chorus has begun to sing… black, brown, red, yellow and white , all who are precious in God’s sight. May the voices of Emma Gonzales, Jaclyn Corin, Yolanda Renee, the granddaughter of Martin Luther King, Jr and countless others continue to warn America that #Enough is Enough.”  

President Trump, “A Useful Idiot”

Somewhere I remember a sermon that spoke of “Adam’s Rib, Satan’s Fib and Women’s Lib”. The sermon focus on the very first lie every recorded in, Genesis 3:4-5 as Satan lies to Eve while Adam, is privy to the conversation but refuses to challenge the lie. Later I recall a statement saying how a “Lie can go half way around the world before the truth gets to the front door”, hence these few words regarding our Liar in Chief, the real “Apprentice” who now occupies the White House, President Donald J. Trump.

Author, Jeffrey Toobin’s article in The New Yorker Magazine’s February 26, 2018 issue entitled, The Miss Universe Connection, documents Trump’s Miss Universe Pageant held in Moscow in November 2013. As “Trumpmania” continues to grow and enters our psyche 24 hours a day seven days per week, there appears to be a resounding truth that Donald J. Trump was identified as “A Useful Idiot” by Russia’s President Putin years before his decent down the escalators at Trump Tower and his ascent to the White House. Reportedly Trump tweeted on June 18, 2013 “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow–if so, will he become my new best friend?’ The tweet allegedly was made after Trump announced that Moscow was the chosen site for his Pageant in 2013. Toobin’s article cites names and places that frequently arise when one has been diagnosis with having Trumpmania, but here I will focuse on several letter “A” names, like Aras Agalarov, a Russian real-estate developer and his son, Emin Agalarov, a Russian rapper, whose publicist was Rob Goldstone from Great Britian. Goldstone reportedly was one of the architects who help set up the Trump Tower Meeting in June 2016,to deliver the oppositional “bad stuff” on Hillary Clinton. Then there connections to “Azerbaijan.” I have been fascinated about this country located in the South Caucasus Region of Eurasia at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.The capital is Baku and the current president is  Ilham Aliyev who recently appointed his “wife” as vice-president. Any one with Trumpmania will recognize this as the place where a Trump Tower was being built in the middle of “nowhere.” The political players appeared deeply enmeshed with money laundering as one player received a “duffle bag” of cash. Candidate Donald Trump terminated his involvement in this project late in December 2016 but it is doubtful that the great “deal maker” loss money on this endeavor, an endeavor that his daughter, Ivanka Trump, once spearheaded.

And then there the “other” Adams family, one Cindy Adams and her husband, Joey Adams. Toobin document Cindy Adams’ influence with the Miss Universe Oganization back in the late nineteen-sixties. He explains how ownership of the Miss Universe Organization had passed to a lingerie company called Kayser-Roth where Cindy Adams was an assistant in the company. Her husband, Joey was a comedian and the Adams apparently struck up a friendship with Roy Cohn, a New York Lawyer who was a friend to then Senator Joseph McCarthy. Back then Cohn inform the Adams that “one day” Trump would own New York and reportedly Cindy Adams dismissed the comment at a dinner attended by Trump. Later in 1971. Toobin cites how Cindy Adams arranged for Miss Universe contestants to walk down Seventh Avenue as a publicity stunt and the soon to become “The Donald” accompanied one of the beauty contestant from a “Who-Knows-Where Country?” Trump later purchase the Miss Universe Pageant in 1996.

“The Teflon Don” ran the Miss Universe Pageant like he is currently running the country as president. He decided the winners and losers of the contestant, basically the winner being from the country where he was attempting to makes “some deals” like Venezuela. There appears to be a level of truth to him going back stage and “inspecting” the contestant because he was the wizard behind the curtain. The judges were just another prop and Donald Trump made all the final decision. In the words of Mitt Romney, it was a “con” job to the max. There exist little doubt that Donald Trump love “beautiful women” until there beauty begins to fade and like everything else when you are no longer useful to him or for him, he discards you like trash. Can you see him attending a meeting about a potential Trump Tower in Moscow with “two beautiful Russian women” locked in step on each arm?. And it is not a stretch of the imagination that Putin just may have photos and probable videos of the Trump dating back before Trump became a presidential candidate in a “un-compromising position”. Putin reportedly did not attend the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow. Toobin writes how it was reported that Putin sent a “note” and a little decorative box to Trump. As one who have a severe case of narcissism and “Obamanitis” (everything and anything wrong is Obama’s fault) I can’t wait to learn what the “note” said or what was inside of the little box. The answers should be coming to a theater near you soon as the saga of the man who became President of the United States with less than 100,000 votes from three States continues.

Trump’s Tar Baby

The bumper sticker read, “elect a clown, expect a circus.” It is hard for this writer to refer to #45 as President, but it is what it is. After having eight years of a “mountain top experience” with President Obama, we the people, at least 65% or more, now find ourselves experiencing” views from the valley”. This is not to say that it was all peaches and cream with President Barack Obama, as I disagreed with a lot of his policies. The election of President Obama was America at its best. The election of Trump is well on its way of going down the annals of time as being America at its worse. There exist so much material on #45 that editorials, “breaking news events,” and any other imaginal form of print or video could be done on the hour every day. Trump, like the “baby” in the White House now finds himself following after all the “President’s Men” who once occupied this most sacred ground before him.

From day one in the White House, #45 have made every attempt to “undo” anything that former President Obama did in office. “Tar baby” my wife and a political junkie yells out every time #45 finds himself in a “sticky situations. Remember repeal and replace Obamacare on day one. The more #45 tries to dismantle this legislation the more he becomes more entangled and entrapped in his failing efforts. The same could be said for his executives orders dealing with the “Muslim Ban” or “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Like a dark shadow, everywhere #45 goes, everything he attempts to do, the former first African American President’s shadow hoovers over his strange, straight blond hair. The more Trump wiggles, the deeper he sinks in his own political quagmire that he has set in motion. Now the term “tar baby” does have a derogatory sting to Afro Americans as I reviewed the TIME article of August 01, 2006 by Ta-Nehisi Paul Coates, titled, Why “Tar Baby” is Such a Sticky Phrase. One may agree or disagree on the phrase “tar baby” as  being insensitive, controversial or racist in nature but most people will agree that #45 have found himself going from “one sticky situation to another.” Less than one year in the White House it is,Obama 6, Trump,0 ) as Trump continue to counter punch to his and our own hurt.

In a prior post entitled, A Tiger Named Trump, date Aug.31, 2016, I quoted JFK, “those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside. “President Donald Trump (yes I said it) is neither a Democrat, nor a Republican. He is a Trump and his party is “Trumpism.” As Americans and the world watches as #45 fumble in his effort to meet the needs of over 3 million Americans in Puerto Rico the President tweets about the NFL and make reference to “those people” as SOB’s who need to be fired. In his shadow is President Obama and how he handle Hurricane Sandy compared to #45’s handling of Hurricane Maria. Welcome to the real, live, “Apprentice” show featuring $45 as he attempts to free himself from the sticky situation of Russia as Putin’s engineered election of Trump comes more into focus. President Trump is indeed the “First Baby” in the White House who is both the commander and the tweeter in chief.

Special Note. I introduce to you, Mr. Larry Spencer, the graphic artist of the above cartoon and will be sharing his work with you as time permits. Together again Larry !!!

 

Why We Are Broke

A Jewish Proverb states that “a man who does not teach his son to work, teaches him to steal”. Generally speaking, if a father was a carpenter, his son or at least one of his sons would be taught the skills of carpentry. A wise father may expose his skills to all of his sons and or daughters, but the father will know which child has the DNA makeup to take the spark set a fire in his heart and eventually set the entire world a blaze. After time and space allowed our paths to meet, I couldn’t help but ask myself the question, “Is this why we are broke?’ Carlos T.Vinson, the owner and proprietor of Seven Signs Masonry answers the above question with a resounding “yes.”

Carlos T. Vinson

One could not help but notice the yellow scaffolds at the two story brick business and apartment complex located on one of the city’s main thoroughfares. Like Moses and the burning bush, I drove bye on a regular basis to observed the activity occurring at this site. The scorching heat and humidity of June summer days limited my observations as this tall slender frame of a man would be busy tuck pointing during the coolness of the morning and be gone shortly after noon. You could tell he was working grid by grid as the scaffolds would move gradually until the section of the gridded area had been tuck pointed and eventually the wall was completed. Time takes its toll on everything and a beautiful brick home may end up falling down one brick at a time if the structure is not properly maintained, hence the need for tuck pointing. Tuck pointing is a way of using two contrasting colors of mortar in the mortar joints of brickwork, one color matching he bricks themselves to give an artificial impression that very fine joints have been made. I had already experienced being “ripped off” financially by a previous contractor so this time I was doing my due diligence research before I spent one red cent. After several weeks of observations had passed, I stopped by and made inquiries on the possibility of having my home tuck pointed, or at least the front of the house as this skilled labor intensive work can be very expensive. After being greeted with a firm hand shake Mr. Vinson identified himself as a professional, a master in his craft of masonry work.. He explained how his father, the late Bishop Edward L. Vinson, Sr, had a trowel in his hand before the age of ten and he was now fifty years of age. “I have been doing this for more than 40 years.” Vinson explained. He quickly gave me his business card and let it be known that he had an “A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau” which was proudly noted on his business card that also highlighted him being a 3rd Generation Brick Mason. “This is how I make a living.” replied Vinson.

Less than three weeks after our hand shake, Mr. Vinson placed me in rotation for his demanding craft and started giving the house a  “facial makeover” as he meticulously used his grinder to remove old mortar and made preparations to leave his signature mark upon this one hundred year-old residence.. “I only get dirty once,” stated Vinson, as somehow, like “superman” he changes his work attire and covers himself almost entirely projecting a” Lawrence of Arabia” effect.  I would later learned that part of his work attire and dress down included “long sleeves” shirts that like his business card ,tout that he has “The Best Hands in the Business” on the back of the shirt as well as “ELV Sr. 1929-2016.” The “ELV” initials represent Mr. Vinson’s father, his mentor and teacher of his craft. The senior Vinson, left a legacy behind for his surviving two sons, eight daughters, and host of grand and great grandchildren that included but not limited to his entrepreneurial abilities.  Bishop Vinson at one time owned and operated six dry cleaners, a part owner of a thriving downtown business, own and operated a laundromat as well as a corner store called E and D Market. To summarized that he was a contractor, businessman and community leader would only be scratching the surface of his life endeavors. The old adage, “like father like son,” appears to be a good exit here. The junior Vinson proudly displays his father’s initials and impact upon his life each and every day as he lives and works. “They call me Coach V,” proclaim the man with the “Best Hand in the Business.” He tells how he coaches basketball to the younger generation in the St. Louis Metro Area and proudly shows the championship trophies, rings and past players who he has invested time and energy in.

Vinson is hoping that he can take his grandson within the next four or five years, when he turns ten and begin to teach him the craft that was taught to him by his father. But like other master craftsmen in such professions as carpentry, plumbing, photography, electrical work ( and others), seldom does one fine a young mentee who is willing to “work” and “learn” from the master. As my mentor, James A. Finley  ( read prior post, dated 12/11/16,  From Shake and Bake to the Super Bowl) was told by his mentor, “the hardest problem is finding another one of YOU.”  This is one more reason  Why We Are Broke? 

The Heart of The Problem

Murder and mayhem. Death and destruction. The twin evils of our day that robs hope from the heart and continue to blind our eyes to what we see and deafen our ears to what we hear. The twin evils that tear away the very fabric of our lives regardless of race, religion or region. The stories are the same. The pain and horror is real. The results are predictable, unending suffering in the cities, hillsides or urban and rural communities. The heart of the problem, indeed is the problem of the heart. The sound of gun shots have become unwelcome music to our ears. If you hear the “pop, pop, pop” that means you have survived another day and you pick up your pace and keep it moving. If the sounds are in the night or before the crack of dawn and awaken you from your sleep, you are thankful that the bullets did not come through the walls and strike you or your love ones while asleep. The yellow crime tape, the numerous evidence markers placed where bullet shells are left scattered about. Another life. erased from the anal of time as the newscasters report, “no suspects, no witness.” Be it one, five or ten years later, too many times the homicide goes unsolved and it becomes just “another” statistic. The quite reframe keeps playing in our mind, “no peace, no justice.” Black Lies Matter tends to “Trump” (pun is intended) the truth, as No lives matter, be it in Monsul, Iraq, Chi-Raq, East. St. Louis, Flint, Los Angels, and on.

The eye sores are everywhere. No block is spared as whole houses, half-a -house, houses with no windows or doors and trash scattered all about gives testimony where hope unborn has died.. The news report a body of a child has just been found in an abandon garage. We are later informed that the body is of a young 8-year girl as the body, wrap in blankets had been there for more than two years. Bodies are found in weeded fields, in abandon building, unboarded-up houses, trunks of cars or in the many safe secured homes in gated communities. Make shift memorials are seen throughout the communities, as teddy bears, balloons and ribbons wrap around utility poles inform you of the most recent homicide. Crosses with the victim’s picture have become the instant cemeteries where speeding vehicle driven not by suicide bombers, but someone who don’t give a damn about their own life let alone their innocent victim’s life. Your learn quickly, when darkness set in, you better be in the confines of your home.

The cloud of impeachment hovers over our new president. The U. S. Senate is secretly considering legislation to drive the final nail in the coffin of Obamacare. Russia’s Putin is celebrating his victory as the drum beat of discord, mistrust and cynicism grows louder and louder. Meanwhile the 99 percent continue to have too many problems with little to no solutions. One thing is for certain. The solutions offered in the past are not working. The water is still unfit to drink in Flint, Michigan. Veterans continue to be homeless and without medical care. Unemployment and underemployment have become the new normal. The domestic terrorism (Black on black crime) continues to be a national crisis with no  solutions in sight. There is the Band on Mexican, the Band on Muslims, and there has always been the Band on Black and Poor Americans.

But there are some solutions that have not been tried. As our military advisors and our allies help take back Mosul, Iraq one house at a time, maybe we should employ the same tactic to our devastated communities. After all, that’s how we lost them, one house, one block and one community at a time. As our homicide victims become younger and younger, sooner or later, we must conclude that the solutions to our many problems will not come from outside sources, but from within our weary souls. We indeed have a communication problem. We have yet to communicate that we are tired of being the victims of broken lives, wounded hearts and no peace, no justice. We are “tired” but we are not “sick and tired.” Like Fannie Lou Hammer, until we  “get sick and tired of being sick and tired”, the pop, pop, pop, the devastation and despair  will continue.

Trumpism Being Trumped

“Rich people who don’t read are a**holes and poor people who don’t read are f**ked!”….Sherman Alexie

Donald J. Trump has been our president, without releasing his taxes, for more than 100 days, whether you like it or not. President Trump has brought a level of excitement and resentment to our national consciousness that is impossible to avoid. As president, he has dominated not only the daily news cycle of the United States but the entire world, and there exist little doubt that he is enjoying every moment. The rise of Donald J. Trump can easily be traced back to 1987 with the success of his book, The Art of the Deal, reportedly written by Trump and “ghostwriter”, Tony Schwartz. This best selling book that spent forty-eight weeks on The New York Times best-seller list, eventually gave rise to the television show, The Apprentice, in 2004.

While waiting in the doctor’s office I ran across the July 25, 2016 edition of The New Yorker. Before I knew it I was drawn toward this portrait of the backside of Donald Trump and the story written by Jane Mayer called Trump’s Boswell Speaks .Schwartz reportedly came up with the title, The Art of the Deal but was quoted as saying if he wrote the book today he would call it “The Sociopath.” Schwartz takes credit for writing The Art of the Deal and the former head for Random House, Howard Kaminsky,  the publisher of the book, confirms Schwartz’s claim stating that “Trump never wrote a postcard for us”. Once Schwartz was informed that Trump was running for president, he revealed how the real and true Donald J. Trump was a stark difference from the Trump depicted in The Art of the Deal. Schwartz appeared on all of the major television and cable outlets long before Trump’s ascension to the White House and basically took credit for being the “Dr. Frankenstein” that created Trump.

As America waits on our 45th president to “pivot”, to start acting “more presidential” and dignified as president of the free world, it is becoming  obvious with every passing day that “Trump is Trump” and not only will he not change but it is possible he is unable to changed. Before Trump’s decision to run for president, America “knew” he had the propensity to lie and distort the truth. As he rode the “Birther Train” from Trump Tower to the White House, we are still waiting on his “investigators to return from Hawaii with the goods on former president Barack Obama. Schwartz  stated that “Lying is second nature” for Trump. America has witness this fact for ourselves over the past 20 months as many of the lies that Trump has espoused continue to go round and round as the print and mass media goes from one rabbit hold to another chasing down what apparently is a lie. It has been said that a “lie has wings but no legs” so it just flies and flies unable to land. I prefer Dr. Martin Luther Kings assessment of lying lips, “Truth crushed to the earth, shall rise again”.

President Trump has a penchant for “gold” and several golden nuggets were gleaned from The New Yorker article as observed by Schwartz, who basically had to become a “fly on the wall” in his efforts to produce The Art of the Deal: Trump’s is pathologically impulsive and self -centered; Trump views everyone as a scummy loser, liar, or you are the greatest; Trumps has no attention span; his lack of a vocabulary and not liking to read; and the list goes on and on. Many of the traits “we”((at home and abroad) have observed and can confirm the above character traits and many more. Schwartz’s statement about “lying is second nature” for Trumps goes on to say that Trump “has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at a given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true”.

D. Watkins, the author of The Beast Side, subtitle, Living and Dying While Black in America. called Trump a “hustler.” Watkins reported that his former lifestyle as a “hustler” coming up in Baltimore, Maryland gave him the insight to know a hustler when he saw one. Watkins introduced me to Sherman Alexie who is quoted (with some clean- up) at the beginning of this article. To date President Donald J. Trump has managed to keep America in the “dark” as it relates to his taxes and his domestic and foreign agenda for this country and maybe even the world. The Washington Post quote on it Website is most appropriate, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”