Monday, February 27, 2017

Out Of The Hood





And, still some took me in from the streets and fed me and gave me a place to rest, when my own just left me there sitting, not only for days, but for years. I don't want to give you the "victim of circumstance" routine, but there are people who are victims.

I do consider I am largely a product of my decisions, but just as one man cannot lift himself up without the aid of others, neither does one man usually fall down all on his own, unless he's drunk and can't walk.

I probably should not post this, but I'm going to anyway, because I've spent the better part of ten years in poverty. And, though I am not totally sympathetic to all of the impoverished, even having lived it, I am also not a fool especially when it comes to the black experience. It has been said, it's good to have a social safety net, but people are stuck in it. And, I would say, everybody can't be a rock star.

I call it McMansion Capitalism, to distinguish it from a better form where greed is not a great capitalist trait, like bullsh*t seems to be as well. Then, I think to myself it's always been this way. So, I lose my zeal for change, leaving me at this point I just re-read after five years, but I don't know where it comes from.  Only since I've clicked through a link the reminder post has vanished.

It was an entire paragraph on how kings have lamented through time over their rise to power only to find themselves wanting neither poverty nor riches, but to live somewhere in the middle. I don't know what book it came from, but I never read it. It was just the opening statement that caught my attention because it encapsulates my feelings, never having been a king, or truly impoverished; I mean truly impoverished.

Knowing full well that trickle down economics is a myth, we have all agreed on the right and the left to the welfare state, because if true trickle down were to live on it's own without those who pick up the slack in churches and through welfare benefits, our poor would look a lot more like those in starving Ethiopia than they do here.

The real issue involved with black on black crimes, as this piece alludes to, are drugs, which provoke the killings in many cases. Or, has always been the case, killing over a woman, or jealously. I know I'm being one sided in talking about males, but I think the statistics support what I'm saying. The same is true in the modern white community. Crack, and Meth and Ice are turning people of all colors into monsters.

I would never advocate getting rid of beer.  I love beer, but alcoholism is bad enough.  It's particularly bad because it doesn't even make you want to do anything. At least a crack head might want to work, but after they become so hooked that becomes and impossibility. So, the real problem is in substance abuse, and the money that is made from it because there doesn't seem to be any upward mobility. Especially for black folk, that has always been the case.

These days, where I'm from, it seems like the best you can do is $9 per hour for anybody, whatever color. That's a bit of an exaggeration because some make better money than that, but by and large you're lucky if you even get $9 per hour. Basically, prices have far outpaced wages, but that was true before I was born. I remember having a conversation with my grandmother about this very issue when she was telling me what the price of a home was when she was young, and how much money she made.

Prices have far outpaced wages, and that's when the bubble bursts and somebody like Donald Trump is elected by telling everyone he's going to give back what his greed has already taken away, all while blaming it on somebody else, like Mexicans, or brown people in general. Unfortunately, this is also when things can turn to violence and before weaponry had far outpaced the weaponry of the common man, we would have already had a revolution by now. Instead, we get riots and violence in the streets because a violent revolution is not even a a viable option.  Any fool can see that.  We require a revolution of the minds.

So, since we cannot promise everybody they'll grow out of the hood, or out of poverty, then the best we can do is to attack these drugs that are truly turning people into monsters. It's not about raising the minimum wage. It's about healing people, and this is a battle for the soul. Is religion the answer? We have enough religion to make a dyslexic believer in dog sick. But, for those who are affected by this the most, the people who live in the "hoods" we've gotta stop the drugs, which means not make everybody think they need a mansion, and not to Make America Great Again, but to Make America Grateful Again.

We have spent years trying to motivate people by making them feel like losers, one of Trump's favorite words. Our society in general takes pleasure in the misfortune of others. Talk about systemics! But, this truly starts with an attitude of gratitude for what we have here in America. Not only is the leadership ungrateful, but so are the people and we all live like kings.

I'm not saying there aren't problems, but everybody can't be rock star. This mentality is what needs to end. Sure, it's good to dream but how about some realistic goals. Even at $9 per hour, you can afford to get a place of your own. You might not have any money for drugs, but you can pay rent. You might not be able to afford a car, but you can afford bus fare, or a bike. Heck, I'm doing it and I used to make nearly a hundred thousand a year, and that wasn't enough either. It never is unless you have some sense of gratitude that governs your life, and even your desires. We don't need any more religion, but I thank my God I was born in America, even though I've been living on the streets.  I'm not on the streets anymore, and I'm very grateful for that, especially when one particular person had enough faith in me to give me a lift.

I also know it's hard to find work, especially if you feel shunned, but this is when a village has to come together. Turn off the tv, and do what you can to make the world a better place. I'm not saying you should go hug your neighborhood crack dealer today, but that's the first thing we need to be worried with. Whatever it takes to get rid of these kinds of substances it needs to be done. People literally die before your very eyes as you witness their teeth fall out of their mouths and their skin turn to blisters, and sores. And, they're willing to beg, borrow and steal for it, not to mention kill, and it doesn't matter what color they are.

This might stimulate debate, but our issues in this country largely stem from psychological mismanagement of the masses. See, it covers both sides of the coin.

The homeless in Athens, represent less than half of half of one percent of the population. Chew on that for a minute, and yes, I don't think anybody should be homeless, but frontiersmen lived outside for years. Some people simply choose to do it. It has been an uphill battle for me. I grew up largely in the country, but it was at the country club. I am not frontiersman, and I have no desire to live in a tent. That's why I never pitched one, and probably why I got locked up as much as I did because I was an urban dweller. What I also never did is give up, and you will never see me sitting on that bridge across the street from the shelter in the morning, or the afternoon, or at night. That's a matter of personal dignity.
 

I might not ever have a mansion, but I don't care! I just don't ever want to be poor and in America that's a state of mind, which means being born somewhere else than here because I don't see it the same way as others. We can agree on the lack of upward mobility, but as long as there are kings, or wealthy people we will have classes, and I just don't see money going away.

It's not so bad here, and I am grateful to have survived street life, and to have lived it in Athens instead of Chicago, or New York. I know there's a difference, but I've spoken with people from those areas and they have soup kitchens too. It's just they have a lot more street people. I just still believe that so much of it has to do with attitude, and we have created an attitude of greed at the bottom and the top. How do you fix that? Sure would be nice to have a magic wand with that question, but this truly is a matter of the heart and soul.

Certainly, it starts in the schools, and I DO NOT support religion in schools, but the same character building that religion offers can be offered in such a way as to have a positive effect. You just have to frame it in such a way to make people see they gotta stay on their lily pads. And, right now we've got them hopping all over the place.  One more thing... Boot Camp for every eighteen year old might be the greatest mandate ever.  Since we're into mandating some things people have to buy, let's mandate some discipline and breed some manners.

Mahalo

Friday, February 3, 2017

Jesus



I have just started trying to answer that question in the last ten years. It always perplexed me. How can a bunch of church people who drive shiny new cars, and hoard all the cash hang a picture of a guy on their wall wearing a robe and a beard, while wearing suits and ties. Quite honestly, from the conservative perspective, I think it serves as a reminder for them of what they could consider to be a terrorist.

Christ threatened the establishment. He was against greed, but he was not a socialist. Just read the parable of the talents and it is clear he was a capitalist, comparing the kingdom of heaven and entry to those who manage their resources well. Two men grew their "talents", while one man buried his in the ground. The one, was dismissed for a form of irresponsibility, and really a form of hoarding, if you think about it, but on the lower side of the equation.

But, the powers that were, still are today. So, they crucified him as the governing elite went through the crowd asking for another person to be released from jail even though Pontius Pilot declared him innocent... before having him crucified. These sales people for the establishment swayed public opinion and Jesus lost. The other part of the story included something called the resurrection, but for the sake of this post and understanding modern American Christianity, it has truly become centered around "stuff", and a way of life dangled before others as something to aspire toward, but seldom achieved by most. It is largely generational, and almost predetermined.

But, you have to be careful with that because as I've recognized from my journey on the streets our poor in America are hardly poor compared to others around the world. We have plenty of poor minded people, but nobody lies in the dirt, hoping for a cup of rice at the end of the day, unless s/he is a moron.

From the Liberal perspective, as I understand it, Christ is also viewed as a rebel, an agent for change, but Liberals are often socialists, which to me does not match up with the teachings of Christ. If anything, in my opinion, he was a capitalist, with compassion and modesty. He was not, as I call it, a Mansion Capitalist. In fact, by his own words, grossly misinterpreted in English from the original Greek, and Latin root, he is translated as saying, 'In my father's house there are many mansions', in English. But, the Greek and Latin words translated as "mansions", even today do not mean some monstrosity of a house. It means dwelling place, or basically a home.

Not very long ago, American families lived in multi-generational homes they kept for lifetimes. We didn't have this trade up until you get the castle mentality, and carry a mortgage forever too. It did not exist, because America was a much more modest country. You can see the change in the comedy scene as well. Comedy used to be "clean", except for literary techniques like innuendo. Today, we have almost obligatory blatant fart, penis, vagina & masturbation jokes from some of the top comedians. Call me a prude. I don't really care. That's why I don't rush to grab the mic, because the audiences seem to love that stuff these days.

In the last 100 years the face of this nation has changed. I don't know that the governing elite have changed all that much. Greed has always existed, but it has permeated our society from the top down.

So, while there are rich Liberals, many I've known tend to be less materialistic people. That's not to say there aren't modest conservatives. It's also not to say your wealth shouldn't be guarded and protected. You would be a fool to give your money away in the name of building homes for the homeless without requiring their work investment. Otherwise, many, if not most will just piss all over it. I've live among them for the past decade. I've gotten quite an education, but I have not gotten a bleeding heart.

Yes, we need welfare and soup kitchens, and I believe in taking care of the poor as Christ taught, but not in the form of simple handouts, and much more in the form of nourishment... that being nourishment of the soul. To a very large degree you have the truly impoverished walking around like zombies, often ill mannered, and very ill equipped to compete in today's job market. We need welfare, as a matter of American dignity, but we also need welfare reform. It is an abused system where people get checks and still choose to live outside so they can buy drugs. It's a fact.

So, put a bandage on that bleeding heart if you have one. As Americans we have a responsibility to try and lift people up, or at least we should. The "Get A Job" mentality is just as wrong as the "I Feel Sorry For You", mentality. Yet, our two political camps exacerbate these mindsets into overlooking the true solutions.

Education is key, but you have an entire generation of people say from 40 to 60 who had computers thrown out there but without any orientation for them to be used effectively. Talk to someone over 40 and try to get them to text message you. All too often, they will say they don't know how, or they don't do that as if it's somehow profane. 40 might not be the best age example, but you know what I'm saying. We have people who should be equipped with certain technological skills, and should be in the workforce that don't know how to use a word processor, spreadsheets, or presentation programs. I know business owners to this day who still don't even advertise online.

We also have lost the agricultural jobs to a large degree leaving many people who if you did teach them computer skills still stranded because there are only so many video games you can develop, but the earth is always there to be worked. We just use machines to work it instead. It's a trying time no doubt.

What are we supposed to do with all these people who don't work? I think everyone should be required to work if the get benefits. It adds character. I'm not saying cut benefits. Maintain the benefits and let them climb out of public housing. Supplement their less than sufficient incomes of minimum wage by continuing the benefits, but at least require work. There are way too many people wandering around every day just trying to get effed up, and they don't even try to make a better life for themselves. They'd rather walk around and ask people for cigarettes and spare change than work for $7 and hour, because they have been conditioned to that by our "social safety" net.

Just recently the state of Georgia has required food stamps recipients to work if they are of a certain age and able. There isn't anything wrong with that, and I can't believe I even suggested someone might think there is something wrong with that by making that statement, but it is and should have already been a requirement. You can find a job of some kind. You might not make a 100k a year from it, but at least it will instill a work ethic. When I first visited the soup kitchen I stood outside with a guy who tole me point blank, "Why should I go find a job? They already "give" me this much a month." That's wrong, and it's also NOT SOCIALISM because even SOCIALISM requires work. It's WELFARE. There is a big difference, but does everybody really deserve and equal share.

Socialism stifles creativity, overlooks the individual, and spreads the bounty evenly... IF IT EVEN EXISTED. It doesn't. Neither does Laissez-Faire economics. We have a balanced system. It just needs a few tweeks, but if you're an American you MUST believe in the individual. If you have a great idea to make the world better in some way, then you should be rewarded. If you just sit around and live off the crumbs that don't leave you lying around in the dirt like a starving Ethiopian, then so be it, but you shouldn't get a check if you're not even willing to flip burgers.

So, I know I went on a rant, but I have pretty much concluded that both Conservatives and Liberals today view Jesus as a sort of hippie, and I don't see him that way from what I've read. Everyone wore robes and sandals back then, even soldiers. The clothing has changed and that's why I liked what Pope Francis did with the modernized depiction of Jesus wearing blues jeans and sneakers. We get stuck in images in our minds that come from a book that doesn't even have any pictures. One thing is for sure, I don't think he was a hippie, but he was of the people, Oh Son of Man! It is debatable what that phrase really means, but I think we still use it today, but we have shortened it to a simple "Man".

Man, oh man, oh man, man please, can we just stop the greed?

...

Greed at the bottom, greed at the top
Suits and ties, suits and ties not
Greed at the bottom, greed at the top
Walk down the street, you see it everywhere
People sittin' on the corners asking you to share
People sittin' in mansions want another over there
People on the corners with government checks, from the
People in the mansions the one percent UP
People sittin' on the corners after free lunch
Sayin' gimme, gimme, gimme, just one of your bucks
Lunch might be free, but the crack is not
Greed at the bottom, greed at the top
People in the mansions say get your own
Let the crumbs fall straight... straight to the ground
The ground where people sleep because the shelter is full
The ground with the side walks meant for us all
The ground with the homeless and citizens
The ground where the homeless miss the trash bin
Greed at the bottom, greed at the top
It's a two way street, like it or not
One way says another, and another says not
Greed at the bottom, greed at the top
It's a two way street, with one lane blocked
Greed at the bottom, greed at the top
Suits and ties, suits and ties not
Where's my mansion, some of us ask
Where's my golden shower in the forecast
Where are my women, and where is my bed
Mansion capitalism, at its best
Greed at the bottom, greed at the top
People want more and won't ever stop

...

Sorry, I got on a roll and couldn't stop! It's like greed on this keyboard, but if that's my greed, then why not?

RESIST GREED

Read 1st World Problems:

http://gabenewmanblahgs.blogspot.com/2016/11/1st-world-problems.html



February 13, 2017
Jesus Journal Entry


After being perplexed by this most recent election, and after seeing a post from a "Christian" friend of mine asking whether or not Los Angeles would be destroyed if the Oroville Dam burst, I had this reply.  By the time I finished writing this, her post had been removed, but I thought it was of value.  I am going to start to call this BLAHG section my "Jesus Journal" since I have spent so much of my life affected by my exposure to Christianity in America where for the longest time I couldn't make it match up with scripture, but that is when you learn the true meaning of grace!  Grace is not something that matches up to our failures like punishment.  It is undeserved, unmerited favor instead of the punishment we deserve.

...

Will Los Angeles be destroyed if the Oroville Dam bursts?

I have said some things, hopefully without hate, that seem like plausible conclusions, such as Trump won't make it four years, either by impeachment, assassination, or heart attack; but what I would rather say, call it a prayer, is for the minds of the governing elite to be "renewed".

He has brought out the "ugly" in everyone, which I believe is his aim. He is a troublemaker, from the Department of Piss People Off playing the oldest game known to man and people still want to play it. The name of the game is BS, and hyperbole. Those who come from the Department of Peace can see right through this. These are the only two kinds of people there really are in the entire world.

I have had many dealings with people from the DOPPO in my life. It is where I learned to "turn the other cheek", so to speak, because they do not cause any physical harm. Their torment is by psychological means. They enjoy nothing more than to agitate, and it comes from across the political spectrum. I have met feminists who so often have underlying anger issues, for what may, or may not be for valid reasons. I have met conservatives, who "hate" anything they deem to be from the left, even though they cannot identify particular reasons to hate a certain position other than the fact it isn't their own.

The first problem is in thinking we can identify ourselves with the "truth" from one party or the other. From the left, an emphasis on the environment which should be equally endearing to those on the right, falls way down the list of concerns, below abortion, and the economy, when we don't have any life, or economy without the environment.

But, this is the game we play. The saying says, don't hate the player, hate the game. The beauty of America comes in it's anonymity to definition. We have only a vague reference to God in our two most cherished documents, no clear theocratic description, and that is by intention. So, if we don't like the game we play as it changes over time, we can play a new game. We have that right, and freedom, and it is built by consensus. However, it is only supported when our elected representatives truly represent that consensus.

It is plainly evident among the voting public we are nearly equally divided within just a couple of percentage points, while 1/3 of our nation doesn't even bother to vote. So, two-thirds of us are playing the game from the right or the left, while 1/3 do not participate. What does that say? This 1/3 don't start bloody revolutions, or massacres. So, for the most part, they must be content living their lives not placing any value in the political system. Some of this 1/3 of the population are educated and intelligent people, and some of them are not, but either way, they don't see any reason to vote. Life must be good, or at least good enough. It brings new meaning to the saying, "It doesn't get any better than this", or it's "As good as it gets!" as Jack Nicholson reminded us, in a movie about people with psychiatric disorders.

This life can be a living hell, or a living piece of paradise depending on your attitude, and barring any felonious crimes against you. While I can agree with you that Hollywood often promotes licentiousness, they also offer up many things of value that beg people to think. Such is life. The earth is not evil, and nor are guns. The people who occupy the earth, and possess the guns are not simply evil, but certainly have the capacity for evil, and the capacity for good. Even if someone is an atheist, they generally believe in a code written into human beings for good.

This can bring us to a point of theological nature. If you've read anything I've written you should know I'm a believer, but this is not a Christian nation by definition even since our foundation. That means as Christians, it is our job to operate without the "promotion", or "prohibition" of the government. Jesus will NOT be elected as president. He doesn't need that title of men.

He is a king that "rains" on his people and therefore projects himself through them, from way up high on the mountain top, his heel will rest upon his enemies as they will be made into instruments of servitude, as footstools. The service will be in true love, absent of BS, or hyperbole. That's the new game straight outta New Jerusalem existing beyond walls, and borders and in the hearts and hands of believers everywhere, one nation under God, made of many colors.

So, I'll leave the question to you.  Will Los Angeles be destroyed if the Oroville Dam bursts?



Peace to you.