Defining Progress

Defining Progressby Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.

Defining Progress – What Is Progress? What Does It Mean??

“Don’t stick a knife in my back 8 inches, pull it out to 4 inches and tell me we’re making progress.” ~Malcom-X

When defining progress, it is important to realize progress is relative to something or some state that already exists. It is thus defined by where you are or what you have and where you want to be or where you want to get. If you ask me to tear down a building and hand me a sledgehammer and a crowbar, I can make progress on your project. Depending on the size of the building and whether or not I have any assistance, it might take me quite awhile… or, it might prove impossible.

I could not bring down a skyscraper with just a crowbar and a sledgehammer. That’s not going to happen. If you gave me a bulldozer I could probably make quick work of a house, but a skyscraper? Not going to happen. Although, I could certainly get to work on the project and day after day you could say, “I was making progress.”

If I were worth say, $8 billion dollars, and you were the trustee over my estate, charged with releasing money as needed, you could give me a couple of million dollars a year and with compound interest, I would die before ever actually acquiring my full $8 billion. You could argue that $2 million a year was nothing to sneeze at and call that “progress.” However, if my goal is to take over my complete estate, I may asymptotically approach that goal, but I’ll never reach that goal. All along the way it might be said that “I was making progress towards achieving my goal.”

Understanding An Asymptote

An asymptote is a line that continually approaches a given curve but does not meet it at any finite distance. It will forever approach the curve – destination – but never touch or reach it. When we talk about progress in the struggle for the civil rights of Black people in these United States, we’re looking at an asymptotic relationship.

Slavery is no longer economically viable. Free the Slaves. Progress. But what did that actually mean? Yes, suddenly we had a large population of African-Americans who were no longer enslaved, but whom had none of the wealth of this nation they were so vital a part of its building. “Give them all 40 acres and a mule.” First understand that very few freed Slaves actually received 40 acres and a mule… but let’s say they did. They had no money to buy seed. If they had seed, they needed implements to clear the land and till the soil. What exactly were they supposed to eat or live on until their first harvest? Were they making progress? that certainly was the argument. The question is, “progress towards what?”

Remember, progress is relative. They were making progress away from their previous state, but what were they moving towards? The only goal they could be moving towards in this country is full equality under the law as defined by our Constitution. It is 2015 now. Slavery ended in 1865 with the passage of the 13th Amendment. It’s been 150 years now and we’re still making progress.

Your True Intentions Are Showing

 If I owe you $5,000 dollars I can do one of several things. I can write you a check and clear my debt. I can pay you in cash, get a receipt and clear my debt. If I don’t have the full amount, I can offer to make payments – progress – if you will accept that. Whether or not you accept anything less than payment in full, depends entirely on your assessment of what I am capable of paying you.

If you owe your bank $5,000 and your balloon payment comes due, the bank will simply take it out of your account. Why? Because they know you have it. The payment is due. It now becomes their money. What about other types of debts?

Defining Progress - Governor's GazeboThis actually happened to one of my brothers-in-law years ago. He was driving down a street and noticed this beautiful gazebo sitting on this park like lawn. There was a stately mansion in the distance but as there were several parks in the area, he and his wife figured it was a park, pulled over and took their picnic basket and set up in the gazebo to enjoy an impromptu picnic on a nice summer’s day.

They were surprised when shortly into their meal a golf cart pulled up and two men in dark suits got out. Come to find out, they had picked the Governor’s mansion to have a picnic. Security was cordial and allowed them to finish. They could have made them leave immediately. When you’re trespassing on someone else’s property, you owe them your immediate removal. The security detail after determining they were no threat allowed them to make progress in leaving. “We’ll give you 45 minutes to finish but this is private property… be advised.

If you live next door to me and you throw a party and some of your guest are blocking my driveway or park on my lawn. Depending on my mood or what projects I’m engaging in, I might tolerate it for just that one occasion. I do try to be a good neighbor. However, it happens again, I’m going to speak with you about it. If it happens after I speak with you about it. I’m going to make an adjustment in my thinking and conclude you’re doing it intentionally. At this point I’m calling the police and a towing company. Why? Because your true intentions are showing.

When Black people are denied their voting rights, their neighborhoods do not receive the same funding as white neighborhoods, their schools are under funded, their roads are not repaired, predatory policing tactics are employed against them, your true intentions are showing.

We see these intentions in Fortune 500 companies. Certainly they all employ minorities… in their lower levels. However, as one moves up their corporate chain, minorities rapidly begin to disappear. In fact, females begin to become scarce as you approach the top levels. Rather than promote a minority or a female from within their corporation, they will go and hire a white male from outside the corporation, put them over the people who’ve been there and actually have a much better understanding of the business. This is neither accident nor coincidence. This is strategy. The people from within the corporation have worked with and formed relationships with the people on and below their level. They feel a responsibility and a sensitivity to these people who’ve helped them achieve their success. The people brought in from the outside only have an allegiance to the people at the top who brought them in.

We’re No Longer Interested In Just Progress

When President Barack Obama was elected, many people marvelled and patted themselves on their backs and pointed to all the progress we’ve made and how far we’ve come. Of course on the very night of his inauguration, a group of racist Republicans was meeting to decide that no matter what he tried to do, they would block him at each and every turn. Some would call this treason! At the time President Obama took office, we were in the middle of not one but two wars. Our economy was in free fall. Major banks were failing, our housing market had collapsed, our automotive industries were teetering on bankruptcy and the President the American People had elected to fix all this mess… They were conspiring to thwart and oppose at every opportunity.

Do Black people now have the right to vote? Technically yes. However, Republican controlled districts have been busily closing polling places in areas where African Americans vote, requiring new and unnecessary identification – a poll tax – to target poor and minority voters. For instance, Texas won’t recognize a Student ID but they will accept a gun permit.

Let’s look at what all is involved in getting a gun permit. Since I happen to own one in the State of Indiana, you’ve got to first go and get two money orders. One made out to the State Police and one made out to your local police department. You then have to go and get fingerprinted. Struck me as odd since my local police department did it all over again once I got down there. You have to fill out the application form on-line which of course requires a computer and Internet access. I suppose you could go to your public library and use their computers. All in all, I had to go to 3 different places to assemble the documentation I needed. My total cost since I opted for a lifetime permit – going through this process, once is enough –  was around $130.00 not including my gas, time and parking. Of course implicit in this is that you actually own a firearm.

How many poor people have that amount of money or time to spend? How many even own handguns? Accepting a gun permit is facilitating a certain segment of the population in voting while trying to exclude another segment. If you don’t own a car, why would you need a driver’s license? Not to mention, driver’s licenses are not free! Okay, so they will give you a free State ID for voting. However, to get that ID you must first assemble all the other documentation they require and get to a License Branch. Of course if you don’t own a car, that too becomes problematic. This is a strategy plain and simple. Telling me I have the right to vote is not progress when you then turn around and make it difficult if not impossible for me to fulfill my franchise.

If you’ve got my 40 acres and a mule, don’t give me an acre, rent me my mule and tell me to take it slow. I want it NOW! There’s no debate, no discussion and no negotiations needed… just do it!

No Unarmed Person Of Any Race Should Ever Die Being Arrested Or In Police Custody

This is a very simple proposition. We train them, give them vehicles, radios and technology. If they cannot arrest an unarmed civilian without murdering him or her or causing serious bodily harm, they should be fired immediately. No debate. No negotiation. No taking it slow. Right now… no, make that yesterday!

Ask yourself why cities will pay out multiplied millions in “wrongful death” suits and keep these Cops on the force? Cities will pay out multiplied millions in overtime pay to control a population inflamed by the murder of an unarmed Black 18 year old and still keep the murdering Cop on their payroll. If you owned a restaurant and the dishwasher broke over $100 dollars worth of your plates, you’d fire him. Yet these cities are willing to keep and pay Cops who’ve cost them multiplied millions of dollars. Why?

Freddie Gray

Defining Progress - Freddie Gray Arrest RecordI won’t say that Baltimore went up in flames, because in reality very few buildings were burned. The damage and unrest were actually limited to a relatively small portion of the city. The question nobody has asked as of yet, is “Why Did Freddie Run???” No, think about this for a moment. Think critically. I’m sure by now you’ve seen Freddie’s arrest record. What? Close to 20 felony arrests? Freddie was only 25 years old. Since juvenile records are sealed, we must assume that these felony arrests came after he reached the age of 18.

Any one of those felony arrests, had they got a conviction would have had him in jail or prison for at least 3 years. Any 3 felony convictions would have qualified him as a habitual offender and put him away for 30 years. He would not have been on the street walking around. He would have been in prison.

Next point. Did you notice that there were no outstanding warrants for Freddie Gray? It was not a case of “oh damn! It’s the ‘Po Po.'” They specifically said, “eye contact” was made and he ran. Ask yourself why. It is not like he’d never been arrested before. He knew he was clean, no warrants, so why run? Was something else going on?

Who Needs The Mafia When You’ve Got Cops?

Here in Indianapolis, the Cops control the drug trade and flow on our streets. I’m not making this up to cast disparaging remarks on my city. This is common knowledge on the streets. We’ve had numerous Cops arrested and sent to prison over narcotics.

Some years ago – back in the 80’s – there was a scandal involving at least 3 local police officers, speeding back from Detroit. They were doing well in excess of 100 mph in their personal cars. I believe a couple were driving a Porche and one was driving a Ferrari. Now I don’t know what they pay Cops up in Baltimore, but here in the “People’s Republic of Indiana,” Cops don’t make enough money to own those types of cars unless they married extremely well, or they’re dirty as hell! When they were pulled over by law enforcement for speeding, they flashed their badges, received “professional courtesy” and kept going. Several of the Cops who stopped them felt something just wasn’t quite right and reported them. It made the news. There were the normal noises about an investigation, and the story just sort of faded away. I figure it was a drug run.

I personally know of people who were small time drug dealers who were approached by the police to work for them and when they refused, they wound up dead. Execution style. I reported this to a homicide detective investigating one such murder and he dropped his head, nodded, indicated he knew about it and said that it was out of his hands and that Internal Affairs was looking into it. Well, they’ve been looking into it for over 15 years now evidently with no success. It is easy to overlook what you don’t want to find.

I remember the scene in the movie the “Untouchables,” where Sean Connery’s character is telling Elliot Ness, played by Kevin Costner, “everybody knows where the booze is. The question is how far are you prepared to go to stop it?”

What needs to be done isn’t easy. You cannot debate, negotiate or sneak up on it and tell yourself you’re making “progress.” Power is never ceded without force. Accepting the illusion of “progress” has now risen to the point of delusion. Everybody knows what needs to be done. If I walk into a convenience store and take a box of “Cigarillos,” that’s considered a justification for my murder. If a Banker loots the pensions, retirement plans of hundreds of millions of our Citizen, they don’t even worry about going to prison.

If a battered wife fires a warning shot into her own ceiling to stop her abusive husband, she faces over 20 years in prison. If two Cops murder a 12 year old boy in a park they’re not even charged. So, what are you prepared to do? How long will you settle for being told you’re making progress?

Monkey Dust – Blinded By Racism

Monkey Dust - Blinded By Racism HeaderBy Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.


Mythical powder thrown into the air to obfuscate, confuse and blind one’s adversaries thus allowing retreat and or an easy escape.

Buckle up. For some this may be a bumpy ride. Without a doubt, the election of Barak Obama has brought the subject of race relations to the front pages like we haven’t seen since the days of Dr. Martin Luther King.

While the true state of race relations is nothing new to people of color, what has happened is, white people have suddenly been forced to face a reality they’d convinced themselves no longer existed. The shock of discovering they were wrong has thrown many into a tailspin.

Monkey Dust Blinded by Racism - Paula Deen

Longing for the “Good Ol’ Days.

We’ve had Paula Deen reminiscing about the “Good Ol’ Days” and wanting to have an antebellum wedding served by Black people dressed as Slaves. No shame in her game. She actually made these statements during an interview with a reporter. Imagine the outrage if she’d said she wanted to have a Holocaust themed wedding served by Jews dressed in stripped pajamas with the guests dressed as Nazi officers.

Monkey Dust Blinded by Racism - Phil Robertson

Multi-millionaire posing as a backwoods hick.

Then there’s Phil – Duck Dynasty – Robertson. He knows Black people were happy before Civil Rights. How does he know this? Because he’s “white trash” and he was with the Black people hoeing fields and picking cotton. He heard some sing and saw some laughing. This for him was proof that Black people were happy before Civil Rights. Evidently, we’ve all stopped singing and laughing. Did you catch what Phil Robertson implied? It probably snuck right past you.

Phil Robertson equated being “white trash” – his words – with being equal to Black people. Thus, normal white people – whatever that means – are by definition above Black people… but “white trash?” “White trash,” presumably poor white people who are living the “hard scrabble life,” these white people are equal to Black people. Put another way, any white person who associates with Black people is by Robertson’s definition, “white trash.” Are you with me now?

How Monkey Dust Works

Enter one Cliven Bundy. This fool has been free loading off the taxpayers for over 20 years by grazing his cattle on federal land without paying the range fees other ranchers have been paying. Thus far he’s racked up over $1.1 million dollars in range fees which he refuses to pay.

Monkey Dust Blinded by Racism - Cliven Bundy

If this fool had a working brain cell, it would die of loneliness.

Not only is he grazing his cattle on federal land, the land in question has been set aside as a preserve for an endangered tortoise. So, we have a deadbeat tax evader who is trespassing on federal land who has been getting something for nothing for the past 20 years. It would seem cut and dried. Throw his ass in jail, take his property, sell it and recoup what he owes the American people. Isn’t this the treatment you’d expect if you did the same thing?

Out of the blue, Cliven Bundy decides to tell us “what he knows about the Negro.” What the Hell??? Where’d that come from? What have Black people got to do with his issues? He launches into a diatribe about Black people on welfare. Here’s a fellow that for the last 20 years has been living on welfare to the tune of $1.1 million dollars. The moment he threw “Monkey Dust” into the air, we all forgot about the real issues – his crimes – and focused on racism. Since there are significantly more white people on welfare, than any other race, it would have been more instructive for him to tell us all about white people.

Monkey Dust - Blinded by Racism - WelfareThe Curious Case Of Donald Sterling.

One of the most Kafkaesque things I’ve ever witnessed is the curious case of ex-Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. Here is an 80 year old white man who believes himself to be Jewish – more on this later – who is having an affair with a 31 year old woman of Black and Latino ethnicity. What could possibly go wrong with this? This is fertile ground for all kinds of problems without ever injecting race. Oh, it gets better!

Monkey Dust Blinded by Racism - Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling and his Black/Latina mistress.

Sterling is caught on tape – a lot of confusion here because it seems he was aware he was being taped – telling her that he doesn’t want her seen in public with Black people. It is perfectly fine by him for her to take them to bed… just don’t be seen in public with them. You know? I never did that whole drug thing in my youth, but I suspect a hit of LSD might help make sense of this. When reality gets twisted, often the only way to understand it, is to get just as twisted yourself.

What? It’s alright for Sterling to be seen in public with Black people… Hell! He’s dating one! Yet, he doesn’t want the same Black woman he’s dating to be seen with other Black people or bring them to his Clipper games. No, I think it’s going to take something even more mind altering than LSD to make sense of this.

The irony is that he calls himself Jewish and like many, has no idea that true Hebrews are Black.


Race is such a convoluted topic because there really is no factual definition of race or ethnicity. We started by identifying one another by geography. Wherever you were born is what you were. How you looked had nothing to do with it. This is why when you ask white people about their heritage you get a mathematics equation with geography thrown in. I’m 1/4th Welsh, 2/5ths German on my mother’s side and 3/8ths Italian. What the Hell does that mean? Stand them beside a Black person and ask them the same question and they’re likely to simply say, “I’m white.”

Did you know, prior to the African Slave Trade, your race was determined by your father? If your father was Greek and your mother was Chinese, you were Greek. Didn’t matter what you looked like. Teresa Heinz Kerry is African. Charlize Theron is African. Both women were born in Africa. When you point to so called “white people” born in Africa, suddenly it becomes all about skin color.

Evolution And Racism

There really is only one race of man on this planet. It’s the human race. Skin color is determined by geographical location. Populations found closer to the equator are darker. Dark skin is an evolutionary adaptation to protect us from solar radiation. If you took a white population and transplanted them to a location close to the equator, without intermarrying with other people living in that area. Within 16 generations or less, they’d all be Black. Think about that for a moment. Unless you’re naive enough to believe that geography somehow confers some sort of superiority upon a person, this entire race business is just a matrix of control to keep certain people wealthy and in power.

Monkey Dust Blinded by Racism - Skin Color Map

Your skin color is determined by how close to the equator your ancestors lived.

The worst part of racism? We are squandering the only real resource on this planet which is the human mind. The mind which held the secrets to immortality might have been born into a body in Sub-Saharan Africa. The mind which held the key to faster than light travel may have been born into a body in the Sudan. Because we have devalued these people, we may have doomed the human race to extinction. Racism… what a silly method of self-destruction.

Christianity And Modern Black Enslavement III

Christianity and Modern Black Enslavement Headerby Benjamin T. Moore, Jr

The Information Vacuum

Children And The Bible

Indoctrination begins at an early age

In an information vacuum, the injection of any piece of data or information is seized on and subsequently becomes the basis or foundation upon which all subsequent data is judged. Those raised in Christian homes are introduced to the Bible and it’s concepts at an early age. At a time when one is not only too young to ask questions, but doesn’t even know which questions to ask, these concepts are imposed on the blank slate of a defenseless mind.

It is often easier for a parent to apply God as a cause than actually give a comprehensive explanation to the questions of a child. For example, I have a grandson whom when he was very young wanted to know the secrets of the universe. He wanted to know the answer to everything and he would ask me questions incessantly. In an effort to gain some peace and quiet I would often have to impose a moratorium on his questions. Usually 10 minutes or so. He would watch the clock until the moment his 10 minutes were up and begin again.

I don’t know if I did myself any good because he probably used his time to think of even more questions to ask. When dealing with children I always try to be mindful that my interaction with them will be a part of the foundation they use to build on for the rest of their lives. Thus, I do not talk down to them. I do not lie to them. If they ask me a question, I will give them the most accurate and comprehensive answer I am capable of. I tend to treat them as though they are miniature adults.

Why The Sky Is Blue

Why is the sky blue Papa?

On one fine day, my grandson was in rare form and I was on auto-pilot answering his questions while I cleaned the kitchen. My oldest son was sitting at the table working on some college level homework and evidently was monitoring our exchange. My grandson asked, “Papa, why is the sky blue?” Without giving it a second thought, I launched into an explanation covering the chemical composition of our atmosphere and how certain gases absorbed various frequencies of light. This of course necessitated an explanation of the electromagnetic spectrum. I finished, drawing everything together by saying that the red frequencies of light were absorbed by the various gases, nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and the blue frequencies were allowed through thus giving us the impression that the sky is blue.

I continued cleaning the kitchen until I noticed the deafening silence. I turned to look at my grandson – he was about 6 at the time – he was staring at me with his mouth open and a totally confused look on his face. My oldest son was doubled over with his shoulders shaking trying valiantly to conceal the fact that the was cracking up with laughter. It was then I realized my mistake. At which point I told my grandson, “the sky is blue because that’s the way God made it.”

A smile of understanding broke across his face and all was good. It was a simple answer that he could understand and it satisfied him on that question. This happens all the time. God is used at the ultimate explanation for everything and in particular anything we do not understand. In an information vacuum, the first piece of information we are given becomes the basis or foundation for which all other data is judged.

Racism In The Media

When it comes to our society, segregation of the races has been practiced from the beginning and although there are cracks beginning to appear in the bulwarks, we still tend to enclave based on our ethnicity. Thus, white people don’t know a lot about black people, don’t know a lot about Hispanic or Asian people.

Charlie From Mr. Magoo

Racist indoctrination through the use of sterotypes

The media through movies, radio and television programming floods this information vacuum with often stereotypical portrayals of the various races. Some of these stereotypes are delivered in cartoons when children are extremely impressionable. Consider the Character of “Charlie” in the old “Mr. Magoo” cartoons. You have a totally stereotypical depiction of a Chinese man.

Antonio Fargas as Huggy Bear

Antonio Fargas as Huggy Bear

Sitcoms are another source of stereotyping. When you have no reality to base things on, what you see depicted on television becomes your reality. While you’re laughing at Jimmy Walker’s portrayal of “J.J.” what are you being taught about Black people and the Black lifestyle? Remember the old Starsky and Hutch serial dramas from the 70’s and 80’s? What was the only Black character with a recurring role? He was a pimp. Now if you went to school with Black people, worked around Black people or even attended Church with Black people, you would have had some actual experiences to balance these depictions. However, in our society, this is often not the case.

All Black people cannot dance. I’m one! All Black people are not good at playing basketball. I’m going to have to admit to being in this group as well. I competed in Track and Field and was a member of the Chess Club in school. Although I cannot dance, I’m a fairly accomplished Jazz musician; Saxophone. The point is, there is as much variation between individuals in the Black race as there are in any other race. Images and depictions do matter.

Christianity And Modern Black Enslavement

Image of Jesus

Even in Church, the white man is watching your every move.

When we apply this imagery and iconography to the religion of Christianity, the effects can be profoundly detrimental. No matter how we couch the theology, the subliminal subtext remains that:

  • The white man is your God.
  • You are hopelessly lost without the white man.
  • You must look to the white man for your salvation.

Until the iconography is corrected and the imagery restored to what it was in the beginning, so long as Black people continue to embrace Christianity, it will be difficult if not impossible for them to achieve self-determination. Yes, there may be a Black preacher in the pulpit, but there’s a larger than life white Jesus looking over his shoulder.

Part I and Part II

Christianity And Modern Black Enslavement (Part II)

Christianity and Modern Black Enslavement Headerby Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.

Christianity And Modern Black Enslavement

When we speak of Christianity and Modern Black Enslavement, we’re not so much talking about the enslavement of the body so much as the mind. If nothing else, Black people are people of faith! In some very real ways, this has worked to their detriment. When you look at the actuarial tables, you will notice that Black people here in the United States, have a lifespan significantly shorter than that of White people on average. Why? Ironically, the age at which one receives Social Security seems to be linked to the average lifespan of the Black male. As the lifespan of the Black male has increased, so too has the age at which one can begin receiving Social Security. Of course – tongue firmly pressed in cheek – that is merely a coincidence.

Actuarial Tables

Notice that based on statistics, a Black Male living an average lifespan will only get a couple of years of his Social Security.

African-American Health Care

When we finally do go to the doctor, our condition is much worse than if we’d gone when we first developed symptoms.

One of the things that must be considered is the teachings within the Black Church that encouraged Black people to trust Jesus and to pray for their health and healing. Going to a doctor was almost seen as a lack of faith. Of course if you don’t have medical insurance because you cannot afford it, trusting Jesus becomes your only viable alternative. When Black people do go to the doctor, often the problem has become so advanced that the treatment options are limited and extremely expensive. Thus our mortality rate. I have several relatives who were born at home with the aid of a midwife. Not because there were no hospitals readily available, but because that was our culture at that time.

You can have a perfectly healthy home delivery. However, what happens if there are complications? What if the child has some sort of issue? I have a son who would not be alive today had it not been for the attention and skill of the hospital and the attending physician.

Black Student

It is easy to slip through the cracks.

The effects of Christianity and Modern Black Enslavement are also manifested in the Black culture’s approach to education and employment. Faith and belief supersede preparation and performance. If you’re not getting your lesson in school, pray and ask God for help. I have no problem with prayer, but the reality is, a tutor or an after school session with your instructor will probably do you more good.

Christian Iconography And The Work Place

Earliest Depictions Of Virgin And Child

If the earliest depictions of Jesus and the Apostles showed African looking people, why was it necessary to change them?

The earliest depictions of Jesus and the Apostles all showed extremely dark men. Many wore “Afros.” So how did we arrive at this blond haired, blue eyed, white skinned Jesus? According to the stories, this was by design. None other than Michael Angelo was commissioned to paint the image of Jesus that is still widely used today. You say but it doesn’t matter what color Jesus is? Oh, but it obviously did matter. If it didn’t, Michael Angelo would not have been paid to do it.

Jesus entering Jerusalem

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem

Let’s examine the ethnicity of Jesus and the real Hebrews/Jews. First of all, the only Europeans in the area at that time were the Greeks and the Romans. Jesus was neither Greek nor Roman so he clearly wasn’t what anyone could mistake for white. In the Gospel account of Herod seeking to kill him, Joseph takes Jesus and his family and flees into Egypt. The Egyptians were predominately African except for those who had mixed with the Greeks. If I were trying to hide from an assassin, the RNC Convention wouldn’t really be my first choice. I would be pretty easy to spot. You would want to blend into a crowd that looked a lot like you.

Black Jesus Wearing A Hoodie

If Jesus were walking down the street at night wearing a hoodie…

The facts are that if Jesus were walking down the street today, dressed as we are, he would find it extremely difficult to hail a cab. He probably would have cause to be concerned when passing a policeman. Wearing a “hoodie?” Definitely out of the question! So why do we have this white skinned, blond haired, blue eyed Jesus today? Because It is much easier to worship a God who looks like you look. If God is white and you’re white, you’re much more related to God than someone who is not white.

Looks Like Jesus?

If when you close your eyes and picture Jesus, the image you’re seeing looks like your boss… or a co-worker, you’re at a disadvantage.

Now think about this from the Black perspective. If you have been programmed in your mind to believe that Jesus looks like a white man, how then can you deal from a position of equality with your boss, the police or your school teacher? They look like your God. Close your eyes and picture Jesus. What do you see? Whom does your “Lord and Saviour” look like? Lord and Saviour or Lord and Slaver?

One thing that must be asked, had the original iconography not been supplanted with the Europeanized versions, how would that have affected the way Europeans interacted with and treated Africans? Would the African Slave Trade ever occurred? Prior to every atrocity the victims of that atrocity are first dehumanized, then demonized.

WWII anti-Jewish Propaganda

Before Auschwitz, Dachau, Chelmno, Jasenovac, the Jewish people first had to be demonized.

We saw this in graphic form during WWII. Government propaganda departments produced posters, cartoons and movies designed to dehumanize and demonize the “enemy” to gin up public support for their war efforts. Jews in Germany were depicted as money grubbing, bestial, rats and described as being parasites, feeding on German society. We know how that turned out.

Over here, the Japanese were done the same way. They were depicted as slant eyed, slope forehead, fang toothed, nearly simian beasts. They were depicted as creatures of nightmares. The added problem here in the United States was, we had naturalized and American born, Japanese citizens who had been living here for years. The racial hatred engendered didn’t just apply to the Japanese soldiers we were fighting. It crossed over to the Japanese Americans living and working right alongside us.

Anti-Japanese Propaganda Poster From WWII

Like Germany did to the Jews, we also demonized the Japanese.

The results? Many Japanese citizens were rounded up and placed in concentration camps just like the German Jews in Nazi Germany were. The difference? We called ours, “Internment Camps.” It might well have gone the same way for the Japanese here as it did for the Jews in Germany. Let us not kid ourselves into believing that human nature is somehow improved based on geographical location.

The only thing that prevented a Japanese Holocaust right here in the United States was, our form of government – thankfully – spreads power between 3 branches. In Germany, Hitler’s word was law. Even so, we dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan – which were unnecessary – wiping out soft civilian targets. This met the definition of a war crime. Perhaps this has something to do with why we never signed on to the Geneva Convention?

Iconography And The Enslavement Of Black People

Birth Of A Nation PosterThe depiction of Black people historically and currently has been used to foster and maintain a policy of degradation and oppression. The 1915 film “The Birth Of A Nation” by D.W. Griffith is an excellent example of this. The film is based loosely on “The Clansman” which was a propaganda piece for the Ku Klux Klan. It is a silent film which shows two families, one from the North and the other from the South, going through the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Birth Of A Nation Statehouse Scene

Eating chicken and trimming their toe nails in the Statehouse… Really???

In this film Black people – usually played by white people in “black face” – are shown taking advantage of white women. They’re is a scene showing newly elected Black congressmen, eating chicken and trimming their toe nails in the House Chambers, with their feet up on the desks. They’re showed preventing white people from voting. Ironically, they’re shown treating white people in the same ways white people treated Black Slaves. I don’t need to tell you that this film scared white people to death. It probably did more to set the tone for Black and White relations from it’s release until today than anything else. Iconography and depictions do matter. They shape not only the perceptions of the public, but the victims as well.

I See Scary Black People

I see scary Black People. From Birth Of A Nation

To Be Continued In Part III

Christianity And Modern Black Enslavement

Christianity and Modern Black Enslavement Headerby Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.

A Brief Glimpse Inside A Black Church

Black Church Service

Black Church Service

If you’ve ever attended a “Black Church,” you know that in almost every service they set aside a portion for what is called “testimony service.” For those of you that don’t know, this is a specially set aside portion of the service where members in the congregation, rise to their feet and wait to be recognized by whomever is leading the service. When recognized they relate something they believe God has done for them over the past week, or at least, since the last time they had the opportunity to “testify.”

There are some who have developed what may only be described as a “Testimony Template.” It goes something like this:

“First giving praise and honor to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the head of my life…” What follows next is their “testimony.” It might be how they were sick, prayed and got better, or how they didn’t have the money to pay a bill that was due and almost miraculously they acquired the money. It could be about some problem they were having on their job, you name it. I’ve even heard of broken washing machines that miraculously began to work again. The testimony ends with some version of the following: “I ask the Saints to pray my strength in the Lord, I started with Jesus and I am determined to go through!”

Personally I always wondered, with all the starving children in the world, and with Jesus being recorded as expressing a great deal of concern for little children, why Jesus would be fixing washing machines and paying bills while children were starving and dying from disease and malnutrition? But that’s just me.

If we were to break down the formula for the “Testimony Template,” you have the supplication, you could call it the flattery part. This is where in almost medieval terms, the “Patents of Nobility” are recited for Jesus. “Lord and Saviour,” “head of my life” are terms that exalt Jesus while abasing the person giving the testimony. You will also hear these in prayers often given by preachers in what I call “The Grand Eloquent Introduction.” There is almost a competitive spirit as each one tries to out do the other in the art of flattering God. Here’s an example of how one such prayer might begin:

Black Preacher Praying

Yet another “Grand Eloquent Introduction.”

“Oh most gracious and heavenly Father, the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. Thou who spoke creation into existence, thou who stands outside of time yet reached into time to make manifest thy majesty. Oh God, heavenly father, master of the infinities, thou who stretched forth thy hand and caused life to spring forth…” 

This can go on for as long as the preacher can keep the polysyllabic superlatives flowing. You will notice that much use is made of the “King James English.” I suppose God appreciates that archaic lilt when being addressed. Of course I would be extremely surprised and more than a little disappointed to think that God could be moved by human flattery.

Jesus Whipping The Money Changers

Regardless of the context, a whip in Jesus hand is powerful iconography.

Indeed what we have is the anthropomorphising of God. We assume that God will be moved by the flattering compliments that work on our fellow human beings. Hidden deep in this process is the implicit separation between Man and God. God is placed a top a rocket of archaic prose and flung high into the outermost reaches of deep Space, while Man is diminished to the lowest most abject recesses of the Earth. The Gulf is truly staggering. God is the Master and Man will forever be the Slave, to be used and disposed of as God sees fit.

The irony for those who subscribe to the Christian faith is, this is exactly the opposite of the message of Jesus. When you distil the message of Jesus and his stated mission down to it’s bare essence. Jesus came to bring “atonement”  – At-One-Ment – between God and mankind. Yet, in almost any Christian church around the world, you will hear time and again how wretched and worthless human beings are and how majestic God is. Within the Black Church over and over again, you will hear Black people referring to Jesus as their “Master.”

If we want to put this phenomenon in the best light possible, we could chalk it up to cultural ignorance. Indeed, in the Gospels Jesus is frequently referred to as “Master.” However, in the context of that culture and time period, “Master” meant “Teacher.” It did not infer the relative relationship between a slave and a slave owner. Given the history of the African Slave Trade in the Americas, while many Black Christians may know this intellectually, viscerally there is over 430 years of psychological “baggage” that makes it difficult to separate the term’s connotative meaning from it’s denotative meaning.

The Devil

The Devil attends Church quite regularly.

Thus, when they accept Christ as their “Lord and Master” they are psychologically embracing a slave mentality that makes them ripe for exploitation. How so? I can truthfully say during my 30 year church period, not once did Jesus ever show up physically or manifest in the flesh… met the Devil quite a few times, but Jesus? No. Jesus was always there invisibly and by proxy. The proxy for Jesus is the Pastor who claims to be delivering “the Word of God” or in essence, speaking for Jesus. By extension the Pastor then becomes the “Master.”

Paula White's Rolls Royce

Televangelist Paula White’s Rolls Royce in front of her Italian home

This earthly, human master doesn’t want them to pick cotton or plant fields, but he/she does want money. Lots of money! “Blessed Assurance” has become Blessed Insurance and the premiums on that policy are high! Tithes – 10% of your gross, some churches require a copy of your W-2 – offerings, “give as unto the Lord.” “Give until it hurts.” “Building fund” contributions. I know of some churches who collected building fund donations and never built anything for over 20 years.

Creflo Dollar's Private Jet

Pastor Creflo Dollar’s Private Jet

Let us not forget, “Pastor’s appreciation” contributions. Most Black churches once a year hold a week long fund raiser to commemorate their Pastor coming to their church and there is always an extremely large cash gift for their pastor. This is on top of his weekly salary and whatever other costs the church covers. Often this includes his house or a portion of his mortgage payment, his car and whatever else he negotiated when he took the job. As I heard one Pastor say, “I’m in God’s business and God’s business is booming!” For him, I’m sure it is.

Is Christianity Good For Black People?

Pope Nicholas V

Pope Nicholas V

Given that the African Slave Trade was initiated and blessed by the Catholic Church, the easy answer would have to be a resounding NO! In 1452 Pope Nicholas V issued his “Papal Bull” known as “The Dum Diversas.” This document gave permission to the kings of Spain and Portugal to go into Africa, seize the land, the possessions of and the people themselves and reduce them to perpetual slavery. For the first time in human history, chattel slavery was being practiced. It was being practiced against Africans and in the Americas.

Slaves In Chains

Definitely Not Good For Black People

Let me expand on chattel slavery. Prior to Pope Nicholas’ Papal Bull, slavery had been practiced at various times by various peoples throughout history. However, Slaves had rights and slavery wasn’t permanent. You could not be born a slave. Under Chattel slavery, the Slave was no different than livestock. Slavery was permanent and if you had children – intentionally or otherwise – your children would be born slaves. Think about that for a moment. There is a direct parallel with the Christian doctrine of being born into sin and being literally born into slavery. Getting African Slaves to make this connection required no psychological conditioning. They were living it.

Underwater Sculpture honoring Slaves who were thrown overboard.

Underwater Sculpture honoring Slaves who were thrown overboard.

During the 430 plus years the African Slave Trade was active in the Americas, by conservative estimates we lost over 100 million Africans during the “Middle Passages” alone. The “Middle Passage” was the period from point of capture to the auction block. This doesn’t include the multiplied 100’s of millions of African Slaves who actually made it to the auction block to live out the remainder of their lives in degradation and misery.

Those more astute are probably saying, “but we never had that many African Slaves in these United States!” You’re right! The United States or what became the United States, only received about 4% of the African Slaves. The rest went to the Caribbean Islands, Brazil and other places in South America. The numbers of Africans removed from Africa is simply staggering. We look at Africa today and marvel at how primitive and under developed certain sections are. Think about what the world’s population was back in 1452. If you had taken a similar number of people out of Europe, what might Europe look like today?

If the ancestor of the person who invented the telephone, radio, automobile, computer, rocket engines had died, would those things have been invented? The world would be a much different place than it is today. What might Africans have invented had they been left alone? They built the Pyramids, something we cannot duplicate today even with our modern technology. What knowledge was lost?

Christianity and Modern Black Enslavement Continues in Part II

Did Slavery Benefit Black People?

by Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.

Did Slavery actually benefit Black People? This silly narrative resurfaces from time to time, promoted by racist white people whom ironically enough, never seem to say this in the presence of Black people unless they’ve got security and strength in numbers close at hand. Presupposing this notion indicates not only an ingrained sociopathic racism, it reveals a paucity of historical knowledge and American history in particular. One might just as easily – in the spirit of a free exchange of ideas of course – ask if the Jewish Holocaust benefited the Jews? After all, they got the “Nation of Israel” out of the deal?

A beginning is a very delicate time… well, not really!

As with most atrocities in human history, this one too began with religion… the Catholic Church in particular.

“We grant you [Kings of Spain and Portugal] by these present documents, with our Apostolic Authority, full and free permission to invade, search out, capture, and subjugate the Saracens and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be, as well as their kingdoms, duchies, counties, principalities, and other property […] and to reduce their persons into perpetual slavery.” __Papal Bull from Pope Nicholas V in 1452 known as the Dum Diversas

What the “Dum Diversas” did was usher in a new type of slavery. A type of slavery which had never before been seen in recorded human history. Chattel Slavery. Prior to this, Slaves had rights, they could own property, they could acquire skills or a trade, they knew the date of their release because slavery was not in perpetuity. They could even buy their freedom early if they were talented.

Under the aegis of the “Dum Diversas” once enslaved you were a slave for the rest of your life. You could never again own property. If you were born to parents who were enslaved, you were a slave merely by accident of birth. You were born without a future. Did slavery benefit Black people? Do you think being born into Slavery was a benefit?

One of the attendant myths is that most of the Slaves were sold to the slave traders by other Africans. Did any of this happen? To be sure, it did happen on occasion. However, when you look at the sheer numbers, it becomes immediately clear that the percentage of Slaves captured in battle and sold by other Africans becomes insignificant.

The enslavement of Africans was a booming business. As with all businesses, records were maintained. Profit and loss statements. From capture to being sold at auction was called “The Middle Passage.” During the 400+ years that Slavery was practiced in the Americas, by conservative estimates, over 100 million Africans lost their lives. These were Africans who never made it to the auction blocks to live out the rest of their lives under the misery and degradation of Slavery. Africans were considered expendable and replaceable.

Where the Slaves Went

The other thing to understand is, what became The “United States of America,” received no more than 4% of the Slaves. The bulk of the Slaves went to South America, the West Indies and a few went to Europe. The lions share of the Slaves went to the West Indies. Why? In a word, “Rum.” Slaves were brought in to work the sugar cane plantations. The sugar was used to make Rum. The Rum was sold back in Europe and in the United States. The drug of choice was alcohol in the form of Rum and just as with Cocaine today, the cost in human misery was staggering. Did Slavery benefit Black people? A lot of white people certainly got rich selling the Rum.

The Rum-Slave-Triangle

It was quite common for the slaves working the island sugar cane plantations to simply be worked literally to death. As far as they were concerned, they had an endless supply. No doubt it was the excessively harsh conditions that lead to the Slave revolts and uprisings that eventually led to the liberation which never occurred here. The Slaves in the islands had no choice. They were dead either way.

Slavery in these United States

Haitian Revolution – the beginning of the end of Slavery in the Caribbean

Had it not been for the Haitian Revolution, the Louisiana Purchase never would have happened. France needed the money to put down the Slaves who’d had enough in Haiti. Thus Napoleon made a deal with Jefferson which amounted to a little less than 3 cents an acre. The Louisiana Purchase solidified what was then only the seed of a notion. It was a concept that came to be known as “Manifest Destiny.”

Slaves clearing land for infrastructure expansion

Ask yourself, how did a budding set of colonies, leap forward, catch and surpass the much more mature and established industries of Europe? The simple answer is all the free labor provided by Slaves. The largest cost when it comes to expansion is in building your infrastructure. Your next concern is logistics. How do you supply “civilization” to those people who expand into newly opened territories? They will need food to get started, they will need axe heads, shovels, plows, saws, nails, hammers and a host of other things we rarely consider and take for granted.

Slaves with their children picking cotton.

The only reason the South was so ready to secede from the Union was, because they made heavy use of slave labor. They could always undercut European prices on quality textiles. Because of fear and the mechanisms of oppression and control, Slaves were denied access to educational opportunities. Thus, it was more difficult to make full use of them in the industrialized Northern States. The products of industry created in the North could not compete price wise with the older more mature industrial production in Europe.

10,000 Confederate bodies stretch into the distance. They’d rather die than work their own fields.

People forget that the entire reason for the Civil War had to do with trade tariffs. In order to protect the fledgling manufacturing industries from the predatory trade practices of Europe, the Government of the United States placed tariffs on incoming European industrial products. This levelled the playing field for American manufacturers. Europe in kind did the same thing which affected the price on textiles they were importing from our Southern States. Quite naturally this cut into the profit margins – which were already way out of line due to free labor – of the plantation owners and they went through the roof.

Picketts Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg

The reason they voted to secede was because they believed that they could then negotiate their old profit margins by claiming to no longer be part of these United States. The North disputed and that disagreement led to the Civil War. As the war went on and the body count rose, it became apparent to Abraham Lincoln and others, that the South could continue to fight – logistics – so long as they had a free labor source at home tending their fields, growing their crops and producing the goods and services they needed for their war efforts.

If you actually read the “Emancipation Proclamation,” you will note that it only applied to the Slaves in the rebellious Southern States. If you were a Slave in the North, it did not apply to you. Thus the notion that Abraham Lincoln freed the Slaves is specious on it’s face. His “Proclamation” applied to States he did not control.

Did Slavery Benefit Black People?

The stacking of human beings as though they were cargo.

One of the common arguments of racist is to compare the standard of living and the lifestyle of African Americans with people in various nations on the African continent. To be sure there is a remarkable difference. However, we need to examine some facts. In 1492 the entire European population was estimated to be at 60 million. Compare this figure to the 100 million Africans who lost their lives during the 400+ years the Atlantic Slave Trade was in business. There were more Africans murdered – never made it into enslavement – than the entire population of Europe. When you add to this slaughter, the number of Africans who actually were sold into Slavery, what we’re really talking about is an African genocide. This was the largest holocaust in recorded human history.

There is really only one true resource on this planet. It is the “Human Resource.” All the solutions to all our problems ultimately come from the human mind. They are applied through human ingenuity. Every white person who has ever lived in these United States, traces their ancestry back to Europe. You no doubt are familiar with the old time machine paradox? “Could you go back in time and murdered your grandfather before he met your grandmother?” The point acknowledges that if your grandparents never got together, you wouldn’t exist.

African children in poverty. Yet some white people say that slavery benefited Black people?

Keep this concept in mind when you’re looking at the African Holocaust. There were entire branches of the human family that were extinguished. Some of those minds that were aborted generations before they had the opportunity to be born, may have held the cure to death and ageing. They may have held the solution to a faster than light drive which would make interstellar and intergalactic exploration possible. They may have invented new forms of abundant, efficient clean energy. These marvels are not to be… or if they come may come too late.

Ever hear of “The Real McCoy?” His inventions were so good there were knock-offs.

Even with the racial discrimination that Black people – descendants of Africa – have faced here in America, their contributions have helped to make American society the society we enjoy today.

A few inventions by Black Inventors:

  • air conditioning unit Frederick M. Jones July 12, 1949
  • almanac Benjamin Banneker Approx 1791
  • auto cut-off switch Granville T. Woods January 1, 1839
  • auto fishing device G. Cook May 30, 1899
  • automatic gear shift Richard Spikes February 28, 1932
  • baby buggy W.H. Richardson June 18, 1899
  • bicycle frame L.R. Johnson October 10, 1899
  • biscuit cutter A.P. Ashbourne November 30, 1875
  • blood plasma bag Charles Drew Approx. 1945
  • cellular phone Henry T. Sampson July 6, 1971
  • chamber commode T. Elkins January 3, 1897
  • clothes dryer G. T. Sampson June 6, 1862
  • curtain rod S. R. Scratton November 30, 1889
  • curtain rod support William S. Grant August 4, 1896
  • door knob O. Dorsey December 10, 1878
  • door stop O. Dorsey December 10, 1878
  • dust pan Lawrence P. Ray August 3, 1897
  • egg beater Willie Johnson February 5, 1884
  • electric lampbulb Lewis Latimer March 21, 1882
  • elevator Alexander Miles October 11, 1867
  • eye protector P. Johnson November 2, 1880
  • fire escape ladder J. W. Winters May 7, 1878
  • fire extinguisher T. Marshall October 26, 1872
  • folding bed L. C. Bailey July 18, 1899
  • folding chair Brody & Surgwar June 11, 1889
  • fountain pen W. B. Purvis January 7, 1890
  • furniture caster O. A. Fisher 1878
  • gas mask Garrett Morgan October 13, 1914
  • golf tee T. Grant December 12, 1899
  • guitar Robert F. Flemming, Jr. March 3, 1886
  • hair brush Lydia O. Newman November 15, 18–
  • hand stamp Walter B. Purvis February 27 1883
  • horse shoe J. Ricks March 30, 1885
  • ice cream scooper A. L. Cralle February 2, 1897
  • improv. sugar making Norbet Rillieux December 10, 1846
  • insect-destroyer gun A. C. Richard February 28, 1899
  • ironing board Sarah Boone December 30, 1887
  • key chain F. J. Loudin January 9, 1894
  • lantern Michael C. Harvey August 19, 1884
  • lawn mower L. A. Burr May 19, 1889
  • lawn sprinkler J. W. Smith May 4, 1897
  • lemon squeezer J. Thomas White December 8, 1893
  • lock W. A. Martin July 23, 18–
  • lubricating cup Ellijah McCoy November 15, 1895
  • lunch pail James Robinson 1887
  • mail box Paul L. Downing October 27, 1891
  • mop Thomas W. Stewart June 11, 1893
  • motor Frederick M. Jones June 27, 1939
  • peanut butter George Washington Carver 1896
  • pencil sharpener J. L. Love November 23, 1897
  • phone transmitter Granville T. Woods December 2, 1884
  • record player arm Joseph H. Dickenson January 8, 1819
  • refrigerator J. Standard June 14, 1891
  • riding saddles W. D. Davis October 6, 1895
  • rolling pin John W. Reed 1864
  • shampoo headrest C. O. Bailiff October 11, 1898
  • spark plug Edmond Berger February 2, 1839
  • stethoscope Imhotep Ancient Egypt
  • stove T. A. Carrington July 25, 1876
  • straightening comb Madam C. J. Walker Approx 1905
  • street sweeper Charles B. Brooks March 17, 1890
  • thermostat control Frederick M. Jones February 23, 1960
  • traffic light Garrett Morgan November 20, 1923
  • tricycle M. A. Cherry May 6, 1886
  • tricycle M. A. Cherry May 6, 1886

Did Slavery benefit Black people? It sure benefited white people.  The above list is but a few of the many things invented by Black people that we use every day. You probably are using something invented by a Black person right now. The typewriter for instance is what we call a “foundational invention.” Without the typewriter you wouldn’t have a computer keyboard. The typewriter had to come first.

What if there had been a European Holocaust?

The further back you prune a branch, the more leaves you remove from the tree. All those secondary and tertiary branches that split off, and the branches that split off from them are removed the closer to the trunk you make your cut.

1912 Ford Model T

If an ancestor of Henry Ford had died or Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, they would not exist. Imagine what the world would look like today. If an ancestor of the Wright brothers had been killed, would we have Jet airliners today? Think of some of the people who invented vaccines, or made earth changing discoveries, if their ancestors had been swept up and murdered, what

iPhone 5

would the world look like today?

When you look at Africa, you’re looking at a continent that was plundered of it’s most precious of all resources, the human resource. The things that Africans may have created and invented that would have benefited the entire planet have now been lost to racist greed and the capitalism of human bondage. We are paying for this today whether you realize it or not. I have listed but a few of the contributions that the descendants of Africa have made to Western Civilization… if we can call it that. Even so, imagine what contributions they might have made had they been treated equally, and had access to the same educational opportunities as their white counterparts. A mind is truly a terrible thing to waste. Remember this when some racist fool deigns to open his mouth and spew hate speech with a smile. The answer to the question is, “No, Slavery did not benefit Black people. It benefited white people and in the process may have mortally wounded humanity.”

Nu Jack Slavery – The Prison Industrial Complex

Capitalist no longer recruit and pay their labor force… They have them arrested!

“Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value!” __Joe Biden

Years ago I was told how to cook a frog. I’ve never eaten one, however I filed that information away with all the other trivia neatly catalogued in my head. The trick is you do not toss a frog into boiling water. It seems that frogs take objection to this and will hop right out of the pot. The trick is you put the frog into cold water and slowly turn up the heat. The frog swims contentedly until it’s too late and he’s cooked.

It seems this method also works on us humans. I am amused by those people who have boosted gun sales and thus the profits of the firearms industry to record levels. “It’s coming!” “Any day now!” “I can feel it, you’d better get ready!” They’re stocking up on guns and ammunition. Some are storing food and water all preparing for the apocalypse they see just over their horizon. “President Obama is coming for our guns!” The facts are, under President Obama you now have more “2nd Amendment” protections than under any other President in recent history. President Obama is the first President whom I’ve heard state in public and on the record that he believed the 2nd Amendment applied to the individual and not a State militia. Under President Obama you may now go armed in our National Parks. You probably missed that one didn’t you?

Predator Drone in action

The United States government is not in the least worried about it’s citizenry being armed. Ask the Taliban. Ask the rebels in Afghanistan. Unless you’re packing something that can shoot down a “Predator Drone,” you and your group are not a threat. My advice? Don’t pick a fight where there isn’t any. Whatever you may think about the government, it is here to protect you and provide for the common welfare.

Know Your Enemy

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles…” Sun Tzu (Art of War)

The problem is not our government but the corporate interests who’ve been busy buying it. When they asked Benjamin Franklin what they’d arrived at as he was leaving “Independence Hall” at the close of the “Constitutional Convention,” his reply was, “a Republic if you can keep it.” I cannot help but wonder if old Ben might not have seen this coming? Someone said that a Democracy will only last as long as it takes the people to realize they can vote themselves money out of the public treasury. Having a Republic guards against that. Yet, there are techniques to pick the lock on the treasury vault under a Republic. Buy off the Representatives and the heads of the various branches of government. Corporations have been doing just that for all their worth!

Jack Abramoff

If you do not like a law, which is easier? Mounting a campaign and stirring up public sentiment to get that law changed? Or, identifying key legislators and buying them off? I’m sure we already know the answer.

Time for a quick refresher course on our philosophy of government. Man is endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights. I’m sure you’ve heard that somewhere before. We do not have a King claiming divine right of rule. Thus, each citizen gives up a portion of their power and grants our government some of our God given rights to rule over us. This is where the power of Government stems from. It comes from you, me, us individuals granting to our Government a portion of our power to use that power for the betterment of our society. This is why we say we have a government, “for the people, of the people and by the people.” That is how it is supposed to work in theory.

Corporations have been busy subverting this for nearly as long as they’ve been around. One such example is our Prison Industrial Complex. The following 5 minute video highlights an extremely disturbing trend.

When a person violates our laws, the offence is considered to be against all of us collectively. Depending on the crime or infraction, it can also be against individuals. When they are punished we the people are collectively punishing them.

This poses a sticky question. When our prison system becomes a for-profit industry, hasn’t the doctrine of the collective will of the people been violated? A State run prison is an instrument of the people. If you escape it, you’re subverting the collective will. However, should you escape a corporate prison, it seems to me that is something quite a bit different.

The Forgotten Men

Privatizing prisons has become an extremely profitable international industry. With the down turn in our economy, bottom feeders have found a booming business. America’s largest private incarceration corporation – Corrections Corporation of America – has made an offer to the States. They will buy up their cash strapped penitentiaries and run them at a cost savings. There is however one catch. The States must guarantee a 90% occupancy. Think about this for a moment. How do you guarantee a 90% occupancy? What would you do if you found yourself falling short?

Are you feeling the temperature rise? Perhaps your swimming pool has merely become a hot tub? Nothing to worry about. Kick back and relax. What this does is create a monetary incentive for police officers to make more arrests, even in speculative circumstances. It creates incentives for corruption, the planting of evidence, the manufacturing of charges. It creates a bias in the court for judges to not only find you guilty, but to give you the longest sentence possible under the law. No leniency for first time offenders. Is this what we want?

The adage of, “well, you shouldn’t have done it in the first place,” really needs to be examined. Most cases do not go to trial. They’re settled by “plea agreement.” Yes, I understand you saying in the comfort of your Den, sitting at your computer, “well, I’d never take a plea.” Trouble is, when they come after you, they can make that plea look awfully appealing. Let’s say you were driving home one night through a construction zone. There are a lot of those around these days. I’m sure you’ve seen the signs that give out the increased penalties and fines in these zones.

Back Room Deals. Public Consequences

Let’s further say, they ended construction in a zone near your home but hadn’t gotten around to taking those signs down. Where I live there are quite a few deer. So, one night on your way home, “Bambi” jumps out. Reflexively you swerve to avoid the deer and clip a car in the on-coming lane. It spins out and someone is severely injured. The deer goes on about it’s merry way. You are the only one who saw the deer. The police estimate your speed at being 10 miles over the speed limit and they arrest you and file charges. Why? They’ve got a cash incentive. The prosecutor and the judge also have a cash incentive. The prosecutor tells your attorney he’s going for the 8 year maximum. Personal injury in a construction zone. They’ll offer you a 4 year plea deal. Do 4, get a day for a day and you’ll be out in 2 years. How’s it sounding now? Do you roll the dice? If you lose you’ll be in for 8 years. The judge also has an incentive to find you guilty.

Your wife or husband? They want you back as soon as possible. You’ve just lost your job. They’re not going to hold it while you’re in prison. Your attorney is not working for free. Or did you go with a Public Defender? You never thought it would come to this but here you are.


Nu Jack Slavery

How exactly does a private firm run a prison at a cost savings? They view the inmates as a labor force. You would be surprised at how many of the goods and services you use are provided by prison labor. Telemarketing is now done at some prisons. Think about that the next time you buy something over the phone. You may have just given your credit card information to a prison inmate. Corporations simply love it because if their product can be assembled by prisoners, they don’t have to pay minimum wage or supply benefits. Their profit margin increases. Corrections Corporation of America gets their cut and profits are made off of the injustice of destroying innocent lives. Nowhere but in America!

Smell something cooking? Might be you! We are silly enough to actually pay what we call “Legislators” to do nothing but pass laws. More and more laws are going on the books. You cannot make it through your day without breaking numerous laws. Most are obscure and unknown but should they want to get you, those laws exists as tools for them to use.

The drug war will go on even though off the record, everybody knows the solution is decriminalization. If you decriminalized drugs and took the money out of them, the drug industry would dry up within a couple of months. The violence would stop and society would be a much safer place. If everybody knows this, why then does it continue? Because the State also profits off of the drug war. Most of the people in prison are non-violent offenders. The perfect employees for the Prison Industrial Complex.