Monday, May 30, 2016

Black Folks Started Memorial (Decoration) Day

Cold Harbor

From The Ramparts
                                               Junious Ricardo Stanton
                              Black Folks Started Memorial (Decoration) Day

“On this date in 1865, former Black slaves started Memorial Day in America.

            As with almost every aspect of our experiences in this country, our contributions, genius and humanity have been ignored, suppressed and denigrated. Today is Decoration Day renamed Memorial Day in 1971when it was made a federal holiday.  Decoration Day is the day Americans honor the sacrifices of fallen heroes and servicemen and women. Today is not to be confused with Veterans Day which is a day set aside on November 11th to honor the living soldiers from America’s numerous wars.
What is not known is Africans in bondage were the first to acknowledge the service of Union soldiers who had been held captive in a makeshift prison in Charleston South Carolina. According to Yale Professor David W Blight who is white who came across some documentation about this when he was doing research for his book Race and Reunion about the War Between the States and its aftermath. According to Blight, before the war formally ended Africans in bondage reinterred the remains of 257 fallen Union prisoners of war who died in captivity and buried in a mass grave inside the prison camp and gave them a ceremonial burial. They later held a huge parade in their honor on May 1, 1865.
            The back story to this event is that the Confederate Army converted a Charleston South Carolina race track named the Washington Race Track and Jockey Club into an open air makeshift prison camp to hold captured Union soldiers. Conditions there were extremely poor and many of the captives died from disease and wounds. By the spring of 1865 Charleston had been abandoned by whites because the city was in ruins. The first shots of the war began on April 12, 1861 when Confederate batteries fired on the Union fortress in Fort Sumter located in the Charleston’s harbor. That bombardment was the beginning of the War Between the States (there is no such things as a “civil war”).    
            The Africans in bondage and their free compatriots in Charleston South Carolina viewed the war as a vehicle for their freedom and supported the Union efforts. Another little known fact is Africans in America fought on both sides of the war. Over 189,000 African men served in the Union army and navy while about 3,000 - 6,000 Blacks fought for the Confederacy which only allowed Black enlistment near the end of the war because their cause was failing so miserably.
            The Blacks in Charleston knew about the conditions in the prison camp. Even before the formal end of the conflict, they were determined to give the Union soldiers a proper ceremonial burial. They dug up the bodies and reinterred them giving them a ritualistic burial. It took them two weeks to reinter the remains.  Later working with the white missionaries and teachers they planned and executed a parade to honor the Union soldiers. The event was even covered by Northern newspapers like the New York Tribune. Over 10,000 people attended the parade, they placed flowers on the new graves and according to eye witnesses the Blacks constructed an enclosure and an entrance arch that declared “Martyrs of the Race Course”.
            Professor David W. Blight stated that this was the first Decoration Day May 1, 1865. Keep in mind the activities and this event by Africans had no bearing on the creation of an actual ceremonial holiday to decorate and place flowers on the graves of soldiers who fought in the War Between the States. This was done by Black people to demonstrate their appreciation for the Union soldiers who fought in a war they (the Africans) felt was a vehicle for their liberation, regardless of the reasons and rationale of the whites on the North or the South for the war.  
            Speaking of rationale for wars, we must free our minds of the propaganda and indoctrination by the ruling classes for all the wars they’ve created, caused and used the innocent and gullible masses to fight. The fact of the matter is, the only war this country ever fought that was purely in defense of its territory or independence was the War of 1812. Every other war, police action, intervention or covert operation was based upon greed and the desire for territorial expansion, geo-strategic hegemony, control of resources and markets or empire. Remember this when you are placing flowers on the graves of your deceased loved ones, or mindlessly gorging yourselves with food and drink on this “national holiday”.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Rush To Judgement

From The Ramparts
Junious Ricardo Stanton
Rush To Judgment

            Anyone who remembers the events of September 11, 2001 also remembers several hours after the three buildings came down (when inexplicably only two were struck by airplanes!) the US mind control apparatus said Osama bin-Laden and his al-Qaeda organization were responsible for the attacks.  Keep in mind the CIA Director had informed President George W Bu$h of an immanent attack weeks prior and Bu$h did nothing to prevent it. Then hours afterwards we were informed who the culprits were. How, since no investigation had been conducted? In fact the US government immediately shipped the debris from all three buildings to China so there could be no forensic investigation!? The names and identities of the "high-jackers" the media said did it were incorrect. Most were still alive and not the people the US government said they were. In fact a few of them sued the US for defamation and won.
             In reality there was no investigation done whatsoever. The US simply said bin-Laden did it and that was that!  If ever there was a rush to judgment that was it. To augment and solidify the government's preposterous claims about Muslim fanatics who had no training flying huge airliners bum rushing cockpits, commandeering planes, maneuvering turns and dives skilled pilots could not do in those aircraft a 9-11 Commission was finally convened that was severely underfunded that had no subpoena powers to rubber stamp the government's sham narrative.
            September 11th set the precedent for a rush to judgment and set the tone and tenor for subsequent government policy that just coincidentally gave the Neo Cons  and the  Project for a New American Century cabal the "Pearl Harbor like incident" they coveted to accelerate the nation's drift towards total fascism, perpetual global warfare and imperialist plunder.
            9-11 also set the precedent of using live military and civilian first responder drills as a cover for false flag operations. Since then: the London subway bombings on July 7 2004, Sandy Hook December 14, 2012, the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, the San Bernardino and the Paris Charlie Hebdo shootings all occurred while drills were going on nearby. There is a pattern here we need to take it into consideration especially since these incidents were used to frighten us,  curtail "freedoms" "civil rights" and subject us to additional invasions of privacy under the guise of keeping us safe.
            Hours after the Egypt Air 804 crash we were told it was a terrorist attack despite no evidence whatsoever to support that claim. The black box had not been recovered, no debris has been examined, no satellite footage, radar or recorded radio messages have been reviewed, nothing. Yet the prevailing message in the corporate media is this was a terrorist attack. How can they be so sure?  
            Beware another rush to judgment that will be used to boost the military industrial complex war machine, escalate the deep state global surveillance systems and push us further into a war posture. Egypt Air 804 is already being used by the establishment political class to counter Donald Trump and to a limited degree Bernie Sanders, neither of whom are staunch warmongers like Hillary Clinton. Trump takes an almost isolationist position or at least a non-intervention position on foreign policy which is not what the warmongers in New York, Washington, London and Brussels want. So whether Egypt Air 804 turns out to be due to mechanical failure, an accidental military shoot down or a terrorist attack we are being programmed and brainwashed to think terrorism whether it actually is or not.


Monday, May 16, 2016

We're Facing a Psycho-Spiritual Crisis


                                                From The Ramparts
                                                Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                       We're Facing A Psycho-Spiritual Crisis          

            "Western consumer culture is creating a psycho-spiritual crisis that leaves us disoriented and bereft of purpose. How can we treat our sick culture and make ourselves well?"  John F. Shumaker The Demoralized Mind

            Many Westerners are coming to the inescapable conclusion their culture is creating a psychological malaise that is metastasizing throughout the society, stifling empathy, enthusiasm and any sense of meaning, purpose or real fulfillment in our lives. We find ourselves like laboratory mice or hamsters on the proverbial treadmill going nowhere fast, depleting our energy and finances with nothing to show for it but tons of planned obsolescence stuff and suffocating debt.  
            There was even a mindset propagated in the 80's and 90's that said the measure of one's worth was the material things one possessed at life's end. They said "greed is good" which fueled consumerism, materialism and a dog eat dog winner take all mindset. The angst many feel today is a direct result of falling for the okey-doke of the "American Dream" which for far too many is really a nightmare.
            If the measure of your being, your self-worth and success are based upon the amount of gizmos and gadgets you have, what happens if you lose them, they become obsolete or you can no longer afford them? Many Americans were devastated by the 2007-08 economic downturn. Millions still have not rebounded from the economic implosion brought on by the reckless and fraudulent activities of the big banks, lending institutions, insurance companies in collusion with government. Many folks owe more on their homes than they are  presently worth, while millions have lost their homes and fancy cars to foreclosure and repossession.
             Wealth inequality, homelessness, depression and despair hang over this country like a thick fog and many are succumbing to alcohol and opiate addiction as a way of numbing their misery and frustration. Opiate prescriptions are at an all time high in America and the suicide rate is the highest it has been in thirty years!
               Many thinkers, philosophers and reformers have warned that America is heading in the wrong direction, is lost and about to plummet into an abyss of  maladaptive, self-destructive responses to culturally and politically induced socio-economic circumstances. Social engineering is real, social programming and mind control are real. The US government has been working on them for decades.  Do some research on the CIA's MK ULTRA, Operation MONARCH and other mind control programs and then look into what is going on at the Pentagon at its Department of Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It will blow your mind. It's science fiction mad scientist type stuff on the real! Then ask yourself what is the impact of six conglomerates controlling almost everything we see on TV, the movies, streaming, books, magazines and newspapers? Is this representative of free and open markets or is it more in line with monopoly consolidation?
             But this is nothing new. American history is fraught with moral contradictions, blatant discrepancies between their professed creed and their actual deeds.  How do you talk about "life liberty and the pursuit of happiness" while aggressively engaged in policies and programs of genocide, extermination, slavery and dehumanization?
            These facts about America are undeniable and yet the ruling class has never, ever really attempted to remedy or reconcile those policies. In fact they are still negatively impacting the lives of people of color, Native Americans, African-Americans and others today! The only difference between now and back in the day is, the Black Codes, Slave Codes, and government sanctioned segregation are no longer on the books. However the consciousness and practices that created them still exist and remain in effect because the ruling class who created and uphold the cultures' institutions and systems have not purged themselves of that mindset and values.
            Africans in America have long attempted to change the situation by urging America's leaders to repent, galvanize and organize to alter the trajectory of this nation's immoral and inhumane policies. The continuing consequences of the sins of the "founding fathers" are still being visited upon successive generations as the ruling class attempts to keep their criminogenic culture (a system, situation or place causing or likely to cause criminal behavior) in tact and expand its reach on a global level..
            The European settlers arriving in this hemisphere came not as scientific explorers, seekers of freedom or with a plan to establish a new way of governing but as pillaging soldiers of fortune looking for bounty and booty to expropriate.  Their history of genocide, slavery and crimes against humanity have never been reconciled, avenged or punished. A cloud of depravity hangs over America blotting out the sunlight of morality, justice and true civilization. Until this cloud dissipates America will never free itself of its consciousness of exploitation, plunder, greed and war.
            David Walker the son of a slave father and "free" mother was born in 1785 in North Carolina. Walker's father died before he was born. Walker was a passionate foe of the institution of slavery.  He eventually fled North Carolina and moved to Boston. He taught himself to read and write. In his fiery Appeal To The Slaves of the United States of America written and published in 1829, Walker shocked the world when he denounced the cruelty and barbarity of the whites in his treatise. Writing about their history and character he said, , "But we will leave the whites or Europeans as heathens and take a view of them as christians in which capacity we see them as cruel, if not more so then ever. In fact take them as a body, they are ten times more cruel, avaricious and unmerciful than ever they were; for while they were heathens they were bad enough it is true, but it is positively a fact that there were not so audacious as to go and take vessel loads of men, women and children and in cold blood and through devilishness, throw them into the sea, and murder them in all kinds of ways. While they were heathens, they were too ignorant for such barbarity. But being christians, enlightened and sensible, they are completely prepared for such hellish cruelties. Now suppose God were to give them more sense, what would they do? If it were not possible would they not dethrone Jehovah and seat themselves upon his throne?" David Walker's Appeal Article 1.
            Walker's 1829 Appeal like the 1804 Haitian Revolution and Nat Turner's rebellion in 1831 sent tidal waves of fear and dread amongst the slave holding South because Walker encouraged Blacks to use violence to secure their freedom. When Walker's  book was smuggled to the South it caused quite a stir. So much so, a bounty of one thousand dollars was placed on Walker's head if killed and ten thousand if captured alive. Walker died shortly after he published his work but it made a powerful impact on the whole country.
             Would that we had men and women like David Walker and Ida B Wells Barnett who spoke truth to power and challenged the evil and wickedness of their day now. Would we be as comatose and apathetic as we are today if we had champions like them fighting on our behalf? What will it take to rouse us from our stupor and stiffen our backs to challenge our oppression?
            The ruling class has more weapons at its disposal today than ever before. In 1830 they primarily used fear, the Christian religion with its narration about the bogus curse of Ham, a shame and guilt based theology, violence and torture to get the masses to submit to Catholic and Protestant dogma and control. Today they have a pervasive technological network that manufactures a reality that dumbs us down, disorients and discombobulates us, they poison us with GMO Frankenfoods, pump us with pharmaceutical and illicit drugs to numb our minds and push us towards stultifying addiction.
            All this is designed to reduce resistance to their nefarious global agenda. As a result America faces a psycho-spiritual crisis of enormous proportions. The push back against the political candidates sponsored by the ruling class is not based upon moral indignation or a desire to transcend and transform ourselves and society. The current so called "political revolution" is not based upon spiritual enlightenment. Rather, it is based upon frustration because the materialistic consumer gravy train is no longer running and white folks feel betrayed. They are angry and anxious.
             Black people are rudderless and lost. We have no real strategies to save ourselves other than foolishly coupling our hopes to a Democratic Party that has sold us out time and again. Neither political party has our best interests at heart we have to realize this and act accordingly.
            What can we do to improve  ourselves and our situation? We can come together, unify and develop a survival infrastructure, an information sharing infrastructure and action plans. We have to build values producing institutions: create and support our own schools, develop our own pedagogical theories and practices, expand economic networks and capital formation groups. Most importantly we must formulate a cosmology to substitute for the decadent Western values of  selfish alienation, materialism, war and predation.
            We can do this. We already have the model, traditional African values and cosmology.  We already have the concept, model and action of Sankofa, going back to retrieve that which is good, bringing it forward and adapting it to present realities.  We were the first humans to do all this. We have done it many times in the past in our history, we can begin now to create a brighter future for ourselves and our children.


Monday, May 09, 2016

Stop Whining Take Action


                                                   From The Ramparts
                                                Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                                Stop Whining, Take Action

            "Suffering then is not something that happens to us in such a way that we have no control over it. Suffering is not something that we must endure in order to be worthwhile. In fact, it is our own controllable reaction to experiences which determines how those experiences will affect us. Man's responses to his experiences are based on his view of those experiences. If a painful experience is viewed as a step in his inevitable suffering plight, he passively submits to the pain and expenses it in all the intensity of its agony.  If the same painful experience is viewed as an obstacle for man's mastery, man actively confronts the pain and seeks to overcome it. If he accepts the pain as the natural signal of a need for some type of change of either a physical or metaphysical form, then the person knows that something must and can be done." Dr Naim Akbar The Community of Self  page 59.

            No one escapes the vicissitudes of life, the pain and suffering, the peaks and valleys of life the things William Shakespeare called "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." No one is immune or exempt from experiences that knock the wind out of us, that throw us for a loop or knock us down. There is no avoidance or escape from what some call failure because failure  is part of the success process. Life is such that each one of us must experience setbacks, obstacles, defeats and disappointment to go along with and counter balance the successes, triumphs, exhilarations and joys of living.
            I tell folks the only people with no problems we know of, are in the cemetery. Problems, challenges, setbacks  and disappointment are all part of the life experience. We cannot evade them. So if you are going through something be glad, be thankful; it means you are still alive. Life is such that challenges are an integral aspect of our existence.
            So if this is true and it is, then we should not be overly concerned about problems. We have to see beyond the obstacles, challenges and pain and focus on our goals, focus on our dreams and aspirations and how we can bring them into being, how we can manifest them on this plane. I am not suggesting we ignore problems. We must acknowledge them but don't become overwhelmed or use our imagination to awfulize the challenge, problem or situation by blowing it our of proportion and making it seem worse than it really is.
            They say within every problem lies the seed of its resolution. So we need to look at the problem not as an end or a roadblock but as a bridge to where we want to go be or do. Many of our problems we bring on ourselves or we contribute to. Challenges are a way for us to look at ourselves, take inventory of our strengths, talents and goals and decide whether we want to give up and give out or do we find a way or make a way out of no way.
            We come from creative people, genii who mapped and charted the stars,  were the first to navigate rivers and oceans,  the first to drain swamps, irrigate land, built pyramids that modern man still doesn't know how they did it. Our ancestors solved problems of survival and asked the profoundest questions about human existence and came to some deep conclusions. Western philosophy is based loosely on what our ancestors discovered.
            Our African ancestors were the first philosophers, the first metaphysicians, their knowledge and discoveries laid the foundation for all science, philosophy and ethics. This creativity, this intuition, this awesomeness is in our DNA. We just have to remember, meaning to rejoin ourselves with this ancient wisdom and potential. The same DIVINITY and INFINITE INTELLIGENCE that was available to our ancestors is accessible to us right here right now! We just have to tap into it. We have to know and realize we can tap into it at any time at any place and it will come to us and offer ways to overcome, endure and transcend any situation.
            Our ancestors who were brought to these shores were faced with horrific challenges, degradation and unfathomable abuse. But they found ways to overcome and stand tall. When  you are having difficulties get centered and calm your breathing, then allow the peace within you to take over. Peace and sobriety are our real essence. Remember you have the power to define your situation, you can use your imagination to see a different you, a different response to whatever you are going through. Do not try to tell INFINITE INTELLIGENCE how to resolve your situation, listen to the still small voice within you and trust it has your best interests even if what you hear seems impractical. Learn to think beyond your own mental limitations, to expand what you think is possible. The UNIVERSE is on our side, we are part of it and it is part of us so it wants the best for us at all times.
            As I said problems are opportunities for us to see what we are made of, how resourceful, resilient and awesome we really are. Many of these issues we've brought on ourselves due to foolishness, our egos run amuck or the inevitable consequences of faulty thinking and actions. We have to learn to take ownership for our flawed thinking, recognize this is our responsibility and work to alter those thoughts and decisions that took us down the slippery slope.
            You are not being punished by your idea of god or your theology. Some of this is the result of our own erroneous thoughts and actions. Some things are beyond our control, the only response is to control yourself by reframing how you perceive and react to what is going on. While we may not have any control over the situation we can control how we respond, how we react, how and what we think about it. We have power and agency in all situations whether we can change the situation or not.
            I once saw a bumper sticker that read, "Help Stamp Out Global Whining". I chuckled when I saw it but actually there is a message in it. We have the ability to choose whether we whine about our lives, our circumstances and situations or we man and woman up and respond in a mature fashion. We can choose to give up, wallow in self-pity and helplessness or we can choose to solve or resolve the challenges in our  lives.
            If the situation is chronic we can make or find a way to make it bearable without resorting to negative thoughts, maladaptive behaviors or harmful addictions. We can transcend our challenges in a healthy manner, be in it but not of it; not allow it to get the best of us. Someone once said, "Circumstances don't make a person, they reveal him or her."  Your are  not defined by your troubles. You are greater than anything that is bothering you.  Stop whining and choose to be resilient. Look at the situation, determine to figure out how to resolve the issues, be persistent and patient until you achieve your breakthrough.


Monday, May 02, 2016

What's Up With That?

From The Ramparts
      Junious Ricardo Stanton
      What's Up With That?

                        We live in an era where the masses are programmed to be stupid. Stupidity has nothing to do with innate intelligence. Stupid comes from the root word stupor meaning to be in a daze, unconscious, a state of extreme apathy. This aptly describes much of the American public. Yes we can get hyped for sports, or to revel and party but for serious things, where our future, our safety and a sense of vision for ourselves and this planet are concerned we are not up to snuff. My mother used to tell me "God gave you a brain don't let anyone make you stupid."
                        The ruling class, the shot callers and decision makers are definitely trying to make us stupid. Are we so out of it, so comatose and apathetic we will quietly acquiesce and go along with their plans to dumb us down even further? The ruling elites have no respect for the masses. They call us the rabble, useless eaters and worse. And their puppets in politics, the mass media, and business follow their cue and treat us with no respect. They go to great lengths to insult our intelligence in furtherance of the elite's nefarious New World Order agenda. 
                        For instance, you don't have to be a nuclear physicist or current events wizard to realize the Ted Cruz campaign really thinks the American public or at least the people in the Republican Party are totally stupid. Cruz is a guy who is universally reviled by his colleagues and peers in the US Senate aka the Good Ol' White Boy network, Cruz is losing so badly to Donald Trump in the primaries he has been mathematically eliminated from gaining the nomination on the first ballot. Yet he announced his pick for  his Vice President running mate?! What is he smoking? He picked Carly Fiorina a former competitor who was not a major vote getter, who has major baggage in the corporate world because as CEO she ran Hewlett Packard into the ground.
                        Yet the mainstream media gave him a pass, dutifully reported it and didn't mention the fact Cruz is losing so badly his only real hope to continue after his shellacking and horrid third place finish two weeks ago is to win the Indiana primary just to stay relevant and afloat. What's up with that?

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                        A report just released shows suicides in the US have spiked to a thirty year high.  The study researched and examined data from 2009-2014. In 2014 suicide rates for middle aged white men are up. Seven out of every ten suicides are by white men. In the US military suicides are a major problem. For the past seven years suicides by US service personnel have continued to rise.  Interestingly while suicide rates for white men were up suicide rates for white females across all demographics were up.  But the figures for female veterans is on the rise also! US females who served in the armed forces suicide rate is six times higher than other women in the US!
                        But there is good news. According to the data, suicide rates dropped for Black men. That's a good thing!  At last a negative category we are the lowest in instead of leading it. The report didn't say why this trend is happening but I'll take it. My question is why aren't Black folks asking and chronicling what's happening in the lives of Black men that gives us hope and a reason to live so we can keep this trend going, improve on the will to live, persevere and  thrive? Isn't something like this important enough to look into and share with our people?  We could be onto something big and great here, why aren't we following up on this? What's up with that?

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                        I don't want this to appear sexist or anything but things must be really be getting bad for the US military. A few months ago top US Army and Marine brass testified before the US Senate and they actually stated the time has come for women to register for military service! The US military has already moved to open all combat jobs and units to women. This means it is possible in the not too distant future that your sister, your aunt, your female high school and college schoolmates will be subject to a military draft and have to serve in  combat! Is the US Empire that desperate for cannon fodder that they would force all US females to register for the draft when they turn eighteen? How do you feel about that? Is this what the feminists meant when they burned their bras
for equality? 
                        Some countries like Israel require their women to serve in the military. Is the American Empire so overstretched or desperate it needs women in combat units, andare they planning to bring back a military draft any time soon? If so why? I just read an article saying the US Congress Armed Forces Committee just voted to require women to register for a military draft.
                        This is real. It means things are changing for women in the US, as America goes all war all the time, women will be called upon to keep the Empire going! Where is the outrage and resistance to this? Why doesn't the US have a serious anti-Empire, anti-War/ pro-Peace movement? What's up with that?

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                        I started off saying the ruling elites' are consciously programming us to be apathetic, unconscious, to live in a zombie like state (notice how many TV shows and movies are  about Zombies and the walking dead), I strongly suspect much of this is the result of massive drugging of society by the pharmaceutical industry, doctors, self-medication and addiction.
                        Today heroin addiction is skyrocketing in this country. The profile of a modern US heroin addict is a twenty something white suburban female who uses heroin because it is way cheaper than the opiates she originally got strung out on. The heroin epidemic is so widespread and rampant in the US, white folks are dying from heroin overdoses in droves.
                        Notice now white politicians are calling for mental health intervention and treatment instead of  jail? This is because it is their sons and daughters who are getting strung out on heroin. White folks overdosing on heroin and opiates is so bad for many counties and municipalities have provided their police officers with Naloxone the antidote for heroin and opiate overdoes. Why didn't they do that when heroin addiction was mainly a ghetto phenomenon? What's up with that?
                        US doctors are prescribing more and more opiates to adults and even more psychotropic drugs for children some as young as two years old who have be "diagnosed" with hyperactivity, attention deficit and other "disorders". Why are so many Black boys
"diagnosed" with these conditions? What's up with that?
                        The reality is drugs like Ritalin and Adderall are neurotoxic on the brains of children. The Pharmaceutical industry spends far more money on marketing than they do on research and safety of their products. The US Food and Drug Administration which is supposed to regulate the industry and protect us turns a blind eye to this reality and approves these drugs without much if any oversight. What's up with that?!
                        I suspect most of the suicides and shooting sprees in the US were directly or indirectly linked to drug abuse or more correctly prescription abuse, the profit motive of the big pharmaceutical companies and the doctors who prescribe them. Are was so apathetic and unconscious we can't see this? What's up with that?


Monday, April 25, 2016

Choose Life

From The Ramparts
Junious Ricardo Stanton
Choose Life

WASHINGTON — "Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, a federal data analysis has found, with increases in every age group except older adults. The rise was particularly steep for women. It was also substantial among middle-aged Americans, sending a signal of deep anguish from a group whose suicide rates had been stable or falling since the 1950s. The suicide rate for middle-aged women, ages 45 to 64, jumped by 63 percent over the period of the study, while it rose by 43 percent for men in that age range, the sharpest increase for males of any age. The overall suicide rate rose by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, which released the study Friday."

            A recent study by the US government found suicide rates have skyrocketed in the US at an alarming rate. In the civilian population suicide rates are rising across all demographics except for Black men and people over 75. You can read an article about it at
            Suicide rates among US military personnel are also on the rise. Figures now indicate active duty and veteran suicides are not linked to deployment or battle trauma. "The latest study, which analyzed records of 3.9 million military personnel who served from 2001 to 2007, did find that troops who left the military within four years, especially under less-than-honorable conditions, were at much higher risk of suicide than those who continued to serve. The prevalence of suicide was not even across branches. The Army and Marine Corps, which bore the brunt of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, had rates about 25 percent higher than those of the Air Force and Navy. But within those branches, rates between those who deployed and those who did not were nearly the same."
            What does this say about America as a nation? What does this reveal about the psyche of  Americans that so many are taking their own lives? Are these suicide linked to economic conditions? Are they a result of a moral malaise and degeneracy or the glaring cognitive disconnect between what America professes to be and the stark reality of life in this country?
            Suicide is an act of desperation, an act of hopelessness, helplessness and feeling overwhelmed by the vicissitudes of life, what Shakespeare called the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Psychologists and social support workers say the top reasons people attempt or commit suicide are: chronic depression, their cries for help and attention go unrecognized, frustration or despair about their life conditions, addiction, negative thoughts, economic downturn and impulsive behavior that has unintended consequences.
            Life is unpredictable. No one escapes the challenges, the valley experiences, conflicts and uncertainties of life. We all experience them at some point or points in our lives, no one is exempt. I tell people, the only people with no problems that we are aware of are in the cemetery. Challenges and obstacle are part of this thing we call life.
             If you have problems of any kind, be thankful, it means you are alive. To be alive means we have agency we have power and we can choose how we respond to situations and circumstances. We just have to face them head on and decide the best way to deal with them.
            Many of our problems we bring on ourselves through misunderstanding, misguided ego, not being in control of our thoughts, feelings and actions. Most of our problems are the result of choices we made or didn't make. We zigged when we should have zagged. We didn't listen to the still small voice we all have that told us to go here, not to trust that person or to launch out and follow our dream.
             Some things we consider problems are actually tests, drawn and placed strategically in our lives to teach us valuable lessons about ourselves, to provide opportunities and situations to bring out our latent talents, skills and genius. There is a saying, "circumstances don't create or make a person, they reveal him (or her)." The circumstances of our lives reveal a lot about us and our inner make up. There is always a message in the mess and a lesson in the loss. We have to stop the pity party and try to discern the message and the lessons.
            Suicide is a choice. People choose to end their lives or they choose to try to get attention by attempting suicide. Often our thoughts are muddled, incoherent or based on faulty assessments and data. Things aren't always as they appear. We don't see the blessing or benefit in the situation and we take the wrong attitude or action. We too often have a pessimistic outlook and we fail to grasp miracles and unexplained good fortune happen every day.
            As Africans we have faced horrendous challenges, horrific obstacles and difficulties. What lessons can we learn from these experiences? Which ones have we brought on ourselves, what can these experiences teach us about ourselves? We have experienced horrific violence, unfathomable heartache, suffering and disappointment but through it all we have endured albeit in a wounded way. We have triumphed against overwhelming and outrageous odds. In the midst of oppression we have been extraordinarily creative, we have demonstrated to the world our resilience, fortitude and gumption. We did so in the midst of unimaginable turmoil, insanity and psychopathy.
            Yet we are still here. We are still going strong! The suicide study stated the suicide rate for Black men has gone down! That is great news. What does that say about us as a people?! How can we build on this? Could the message in the mess be that we are an awesome people? Could the lesson in our horrific losses be that we are more than capable of overcoming?
            What if we told each other this and showed love for each other? What if we learned and internalized the lessons? What if we changed our negative, stultifying externally imposed self-image to a self-image of winners in every aspect of life not just sports?! What if we defined ourselves as triumphant doers achievers and genii?! What if we recognized our inner greatness and linkage to the DIVINE in everything?! Would our health be better?
            Would we express our genius in ways currently unimagined? How would we manifest our talents, gifts and skills if we had that kind of consciousness?  Would we stop making everyone else rich and empower and enrich ourselves? if so how? Can you see this in your mind's eye. If so we can make it real. If so we can make it happen. But to make it happen we have to first choose life, we have to choose to live on the highest levels possible. Choose life today my Brothers and Sistahs.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Things Aren't Much Different Today Than They Were In 1787


                                                From The Ramparts
                                                 Junious Ricardo Stanton
                   Things Aren't Much Different Today Than They Were In 1787

            "In short, Beard said, the rich must, in their own interest, either control the government directly or control the laws by which government operates. Beard applied this general idea to the Constitution, by studying the economic backgrounds and political ideas of the fifty-five men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 to draw up the Constitution. He found that a majority of them were lawyers by profession, that most of them were men of wealth, in land, slaves, manufacturing, or shipping, that half of them had money loaned out at interest, and that forty of the fifty-five held government bonds, according to the records of the Treasury Department. Thus, Beard found that most of the makers of the Constitution had some direct economic interest in establishing a strong federal government: the manufacturers needed protective tariffs; the moneylenders wanted to stop the use of paper money to pay off debts; the land speculators wanted protection as they invaded Indian lands; slave owners needed federal security against slave revolts and runaways; bondholders wanted a government able to raise money by nationwide taxation, to pay off those bonds... Four groups, Beard noted, were not represented in the Constitutional Convention: slaves, indentured servants, women, men without property. And so the Constitution did not reflect the interests of those groups". A People's History of the United States 1492-Present by Howard Zinn page 83

            Watching politicians, corporate leaders, the military, media talking heads lie, flip-flop, prevaricate, double speak and obfuscate the issues of the day, we might think this is a new phenomenon. Not so. In the US the politicians, educators, media and religious leaders have always lied, always sought to dupe the masses whom they look down upon and have always done whatever they thought they could get away with including murder to get what they wanted. America's political environment as seen in the current election cycle is demonstrating to the world just how disingenuous, corrupt and rigged the political process is and how candidates easily fall in line and acquiesce to the immorality and sleaze built into and endemic to the system.
            Today two candidates stand in stark contrast to the business as usual okey-doke of the two major political parties. Bernie Sanders an avowed socialist who for years ran as an independent recently joined the Democratic Party to facilitate his run for the presidency. Sanders realized running as an independent or third party candidate would not be feasible because the American political system is a closed and rigid two party system that constructs formidable barriers to third party candidates. It takes more money for an independent or splinter party candidate to get on the ballot, often they have to go to court (which costs money) to even get on the ballot; or they are forced to go to court to fight challenges to their petitions for eligibility to run. Sanders chose to run as a Democrat but made the wide scale inequality and corruption of the US economic system and rigged election process the central theme of his campaign.
            Unlike the Republicans who started off with sixteen announced candidates  for the presidency, Sanders only had three other people running against him. One of them, Hillary Clinton was considered the lock to get the nomination due to her insider status as a globalist and advocate of neoliberal economic policies that benefit the one per cent crowd. Sanders has long railed against the trade policies Clinton supported but now tries to distance herself from! While a US Senator he has consistently spoken out against and warned about the increasing income and wealth disparity metastasizing throughout this country. Sanders has fashioned his presidential campaign message centering on this issue. For the most part, Sanders unlike most politicians has remained focused and unwavering on that part of his campaign while including issues such as justice system, campaign and election reform as part of his call for a "revolution" in US politics.
            Using the word revolution has not endeared Sanders to the ruling class which is why the corporate media takes every opportunity to paint him as a wild eyed radical.  Sander's opponent has been forced due to the huge crowds he draws, his unconventional message and his rising momentum during the recent primaries to obfuscate her corporatist voting record, flip-flop her previous positions and pretend she is a populous, that she is concerned about poor people.
             When Hillary Clinton was confronted by the Black Lives Matter movement about mass incarceration she was forced to try to defend the indefensible, using the term "super predators" when she pushed for and supported her husband's 1994 Crime Bill. Clinton's bill was the legislation that augmented Nixon's 1971 and Reagan's 1980 War on drugs bills which created the mass incarceration of Black and Brown people. Clinton's bill especially fueled the rise of  Wall Street stock market traded private prisons and the prison industrial complex Michelle Alexander calls the "New Jim Crow".
             Clinton has attempted to use Barack Obama as her shield to deflect Sander's charge she took hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign and foundation funds from corporations and special interests groups by saying Obama took money from them too but did not concede anything to them; typical politician lies. Looking at the facts and you can see for yourself at Barack Obama took far more money from lawyers, the investment industry, universities and real estate than he did from small individual contributors (only 6%).
            When you look at Obama's priorities and actions ,or lack thereof, you can connect the dots yourself. For example in 2007-2008 Obama took $ 1,205,736 from the investment industry (Wall Street, insurance, hedge funds etc). Is that why the Obama administration prosecuted not one Wall Street firm, not one bond rating company, not one hedge fund, not one insurance company or why no one from those industries went to jail for blowing up the global economy?! Yet he supported and pushed for supposed "affordable health care legislation" that was written in whole by the insurance company trade association!  These are the facts whether you want to accept them or not.
            This is the very thing Bernie Sanders and to a limited degree Donald Trump are talking about, the nexus between big money and government policy; how the big wigs control what happens that always accrues to their benefit.
            This nexus goes back to the founding of this country. A White Anglo Saxon Protestant ruling elite created the constitutional government and societal institutions then used them to perpetuate and strengthen their wealth, position and power to the detriment and exclusion of the masses. Over the years with the influx of new ethnic groups who subsequently built their own economic power bases and used them to infiltrate the political process the WASPs no longer exclusively dominate the socio-economic and political landscape. African-Americans for the  most part are still outlanders not having been able to penetrate the ruling elite other than as lackeys and sycophants of the system like Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Eric Holder and Barack Obama.
            The one thing that has remained constant is: the poor and working class hold no check or influence in public, national or international policy. "Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. In English: the wealthy few move policy, while the average American has little power. The two professors came to this conclusion after reviewing answers to 1,779 survey questions asked between 1981 and 2002 on public policy issues. They broke the responses down by income level, and then determined how often certain income levels and organised interest groups saw their policy preferences enacted. "A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favour) is adopted only about 18% of the time," they write, "while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favour) is adopted about 45% of the time." On the other hand: When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it. They conclude: Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened." Study: US is an oligarchy not a democracy.
            If you are reading this and saying tell me something I don't already know, then my question to you is what are you doing in light of this reality? I ask this because in the past there were countless rebellions, riots, strikes, shut downs and other forms of resistance to ruling class exploitation and control from colonial times to the modern era, Beacon's Rebellion 1676, Shay's Rebellion 1786, Nat Turner 1831, the Homestead Pa. Steel Strike in 1892, the Minnesota Food Riots of 1932,  the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, Deacons for Justice and Defense in the 1960's, the Occupy Wall Street Movement of  2011, the Bundy standoff  of 2016 to cite just a few.
             The question is what are you/we going to do about the present situation? Are you one of the millions who doesn't vote or even keep up with current events? Are you a reformer seeking to bring about true justice and inclusivity in a corrupt divided society? Are you seeking to enter headlong into the burning and collapsing house that is modern America? Or are you trying to figure out how to survive the immanent collapse and build a morally viable and humane community of like minded people who know we can do and be better?