Archive for the ‘News and politics’ Category

Trump Victory & American Loss

November 12, 2016
melania_-_copie_2

Melania Trump poses for British GQ magazine fifteen years before becoming the First Lady.

President Elect Donald J. Trump’s wife Melania will inherit the title of First Lady when he takes the oath of office in January, 2017.  Unless you have been hiding under a rock, by now you realize that Donald J. Trump will be the next president of the United States of America.

Trump has been on record making racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic statements that struck a chord with the American electorate.  Trump also campaigned on promises to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, increase military power, end universal healthcare, limit funding to United Nations initiatives, and to rescind US participation the Paris Accord that focuses on global warming.  Despite facing pending criminal charges that alleged that Donald Trump raped and sexually assaulted a child, he has continued to the highest office in the land.  (The rape charges were officially dropped days before the election on November 4 according to the Jeff Zarranandia of Snopes.)  The president elect has no prior government experience but he has vowed that he is the person that can make America great again.

Election Protests Washington

Protesters against President Elect Trump are pictured in Seattle, Washington. Foreign press like The Indian Express focused on the breadth of the protests in America.  [Source Associated Press via The Indian Express]

Some United States citizens feel a profound sense of loss due to the election of Donald Trump.

Many Americans are already protesting the Trump ascension.  Most notably a movement using the moniker Yes California along with the hashtag #CalExit is organizing to separate Western states from the rest of the United States.  Demonstrations have been held in cities throughout the entire United States in the days following the election results and it is a situation worth monitoring further because the world has taken notice.

The policy changes recommended by President Elect Donald Trump have far reaching effects.  The United States of America has technically been at war for 223 out of the 240 years of existence and the use of the military depends upon the moral authority of the presidency, and congress to act.  Trump has advocated a more aggressive use of the military that has been ruled illegal or unconstitutional along with beginning new armed conflicts in new countries.  The opinions held by citizens of other countries is trending downwards and confidence in the proper use of the United States military power has also significantly eroded around the world.  The destruction of life and property is also very unpopular to begin with, but it is even more detested when the results can be seen on the nightly news.

The motives for using force are eventually rendered naked in the age of information and even more subtle shifts are studied in great detail.  The Paris Accord is an agreement fostered by the United Nations that officially went into force on November 4 as published on their website.  Environmental concerns over global warming have caused responsible industrialized nations to limit their own production of harmful gasses for the good of everyone on the planet. Donald Trump doesn’t believe that human activity can cause climate change and has expressed a desire for the United States to back out of the obligation during his campaign.  While he might be unsuccessful in his initial desire, this sort of stance reveals that President Trump would be reluctant to continue to doggedly pursue solutions to a shared, pressing problem.

A novice politician without any experience in government beat out seasoned lifers on a grueling campaign trail but citizens of the world are now questioning American integrity for electing such a polarizing figure.  The new direction that a Trump presidency would proceed in is likely to be viewed as reflecting the views of the American populous even though he failed to win the majority of votes.  Instead of informing would-be constitutional scholars on the Electoral College system that the United States is a republic, perhaps we should all examine Trump?

Even a perceived deficiency in character in the President of the United States can significantly alter reality for voters at home in America and foreigners abroad.  It is dangerous for the United States to endure such a loss and in turn, it puts the entire world in peril.

[Featured Photo from The New York Post files]

EpiPen Monopoly Attack on Children

August 24, 2016
Epinephreine Structure

The generic epinephrine is less than $1 per dose.

Despite significant profit growth the world’s leading manufacturer of a lifesaving delivery system for anaphylactic shock has continued to raise prices.  EpiPen is a popular epinephrine auto-injectable that can potentially avert fatal allergic reactions in sufferers during emergencies.

According to the Mylan website, the multinational distributor of EpiPen, the driving factor behind a whopping $650 million gain was attributed to the strong sales of their lifesaving allergy drug.  The average retail price has climbed to over $600 per kit for buyers without insurance on TrueMedCost.com while Mylan has recorded a gross profit of over $2 billion during the second and third quarters of 2016 according to a press release.  One kit includes two, 0.3 mg doses of epinephrine and a special injector while the generic compound sells for a meager $10 per mg.  Syringes are sold separately and it can be cumbersome to use generic epinephrine without special training.

The mobility of the EpiPen has made it particularly attractive to allergy patients that might struggle to deliver an immediate and exact dosage, but recent price hikes have revealed agonizingly few alternatives to the product.  CVS is a leading retailer of EpiPen in the United States and divulged that cheaper generic drugs lagged far behind the leading brand in sales through their site.  (The data also shows that the majority of consumers are under the age of twenty.)  Mylan has leveraged this advantageous market position to a devastating effect that has sent shockwaves throughout the pharmaceutical industry and even drawn the ire of politicians around the world.

Talk of yet another pharmaceutical monopoly will likely reverberate within the chambers of the United States Congress.  Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) made a public inquiry to Mylan CEO Heather Branch on August 22, 2016 regarding the uptick in EpiPen costs for Medicare recipients.  Most of the public remember the debacle of former CEO Martin Shkreli smugly and frequently invoking his Fifth Amendment rights when questioned by the House of Representatives in February of this year.

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Mr. Martin Shkreli doesn’t appear to feel remorse at a Congressional Hearing in February.

Mr. Shkreli is still infamous in an internet meme as Pharma Bro for suddenly raising the price of a rarely effective treatment for life threatening diseases like malaria and AIDS.   Senator Grassley could be onto a trend.

If it feels like big drug companies have a knack for putting pressure on the most dependent and vulnerable, you aren’t alone.  Congress enacted laws to amend the Public Health Service Act in 2013 to increase access to epinephrine in schools due to concerns over American children.  Despite that fact one of the easiest delivery methods of the active compound is proprietary, and Mylan still hasn’t given their best customers much relief.  $100 coupons are offered as a manufacturer rebate for people getting pinched but individuals that might use the shots frequently are very worried.  In a world where allergies are increasing in number and severity, price hikes can have consequences that hit all of us suddenly.  The sensation is rooted in the belief that corporations like Mylan might be too focused on their investors at the expense of the little people.

5-star guard Markelle Fultz commits to Washington

August 25, 2015

5-star guard Markelle Fultz commits to Washington.

You already knew this but that Markelle Fultz kid is a pretty good basketball player.  #DeMatha #Stags #Basketball #Recruiting #News

So Much for a Tranquil Summer

July 30, 2015

“You either build or you destroy, so what you waitin’ on?”  Jay Electronica from the Victory Mixtape

It is way too late to say this sort of thing is getting out of hand.  We are headed into a new phase now.  I’m labeling it as a purposeful revealing of intentions, of sorts.  The United States of America is finally willing to let the world see her for what she really is: an overtly racist nation. Thanks to the real racist powers that be in America that have managed to display an even more graphic disregard for non-white life we are seeing yet another eventful summer of institutional racist oppression involving an array of international media.

It is getting hard to keep up, but here are some of the recent headlines in the good old United (police) States of America.  (I have been meaning to tell you how it looks from way over here in a distant land but I already know that it looks the same wherever you are.)

  • On the night of June 17th a twenty-one-year-old apartheid sympathizer shot and killed state senator Clementa Pickney, Cythia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson while attending a bible study with them at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  [Individual]
  • Two days later on June 19th Samuel Dubose was executed by a University of Cincinnati police officer after being unnecessarily detained for not displaying his front license plate in Ohio. [Group: police]
  • Sandra Bland, a member of the Movement for Black Lives, was pulled-over for her failure to signal a lane change on July 10th by a Texas state trooper in Waller County that quickly escalated into her arrest and she was found dead in her jail cell on July 13th.  [System: justice]
  • On July 14th Rexdale Henry, a Choctaw Native American activist, was also found dead in a jail cell under mysterious circumstances after being arrested for an unpaid fine and held over the weekend from July 9th in Neshoba County, Mississippi.  [System: justice]

With stuff like this happening all the time it is hard to tell if it is making writing careers or breaking them.  This writing business is beyond excruciatingly painful.  I was recently engaged in an intellectual, social media conversation about an article by Jonathan McWhorter that compared the strong antiracist sentiments of the Movement for Black Lives to a religion.  McWhorter basically extols that the good white people that are likely to be drawn into the very specific cause of Black Lives Matter in the United States of America will be ultimately shackled by guilt and result in some failed policy.  I argued amongst some of my white friends that McWhorter unwisely called out Ta-Nehisi Coates as a pied piper of sorts for white liberalism along with other points in the article that I found problematic.

The notion that people standing against racism are somehow infectiously following the most recent beautiful music of morality is serene but if that were the case Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King could have succeeded long ago.   Individuals, groups, and systems claim the lives of minorities in the United States with increasing clarity and at an alarming rate therefore the struggle against that phenomenon has refined itself.  The correct diagnosis of the sickness in America and the preponderance of evidence has led two separate white minorities to the realization that they might not have started the fire or put the kettle on the stove, but they would either like to completely avert or accelerate the seemingly inevitable boiling over.  Black lives indeed matter and the urgency implies that time is running out on anybody still mulling it over.  Most smart people can see this choice has to be made now, for deliberation is also making a clear statement.

The Movement for Black Lives that has propelled organizations like We Charge Genocide and writers like Coates appears to have just a little more self-determination rather than just relying solely on some white people, however.  This movement wasn’t quelled by the removal of some flag or defined by the people that have already lost their lives during the long and winding course but there have always been drum majors serving as prominent beacons keeping up with the times.  (I thank God every day for those willing to get out there and do the heavy lifting because I have a strong feeling that I know where all this is going.)  Black Lives Matter can exist totally beyond white validation and beyond the grasp of those attempting to stop it while still somehow, reaching those groups whether eloquently or crudely.  The real shining stars are the throngs of real patriots marching in step for the most basic of human rights in America: the right to live.  Ta-Nehisi Coates is deserving of his accolades, too –even if he is moving to France with his family in the pursuit of happiness.  Coates has a new book out dedicated to his son and he was compared to another expatriate, James Baldwin, who issued wise words about oppression to his nephew by literary great Toni Morrison, but you already know I’m going to let them tell it.

More Than One Way to Take a Life: Anthony Ray Hinton Edition

April 22, 2015

I guess you can file this under there is more than one way that white people can rob you of your life.  They want to use fancy words like the justice system and due process and miscarriages of justice and the like, but make no mistake that this is racist oppression.  An all white jury sent Anthony Ray Hinton, a black man, to death row for murders despite flimsy evidence and then refused to let him go.

Whether the black people swing from trees every time or not is a non-issue when you have the justice system in your pocket.  Anthony Ray Hinton was poor and black and they took over thirty years from him.  Should we blame the state of Alabama?  I think that cases like this illustrate that it is a problem bigger than the individual states.  The United States of America has a history of racist oppression and this happened in 1985.

The video is heartbreaking but still worth a look if you can stomach it.  Democracy Now and Amy Goodman do a pretty good job of showing why if you are black and poor, white people can take your life with little consequences.   Stay awake.  Sure Anthony Ray Hinton was eventually exonerated after serving 30 years, but it was obvious to many people that he never committed these crimes way back in 1985.  White people have been coming for black lives in the United States since this country was founded and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of slowing down.

Consider the prison system, the for-profit prison system, as conspirators in modern-day lynchings.  Again, go back and read Michelle Alexander’s book.

The PEA: The Earth & Her Rich Targets

March 28, 2015

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Admiral in the Peoples Earth Army. As far as I know, the organization isn’t real. Nothing to see here.

The Peoples Earth Army can’t be real, can it?  Disconnected radicals moving towards a common higher purpose doesn’t seem possible in the world today.  However the nature of the war dictated an invisible strategy.

Earth is the most profitable planet in the universe.  The product that the earth produces is life.  As far as we know, the earth is the only source of this invaluable (life) commodity and production is slipping.  The majority of people that ever lived have never had a hand in the destruction of the earth, but a few have had an extraordinary effect.

All life is immensely important when you consider how limited this commodity is against the vastness of the universe.  Most people that inhabit the earth today are poor and they don’t own anything of real appreciable value other than their own lives.  When the majority of people pass on from this world their measured impact on the earth is negligible –although we hate to admit it.

So the evidence points to a very small group of people that wield an enormous amount of clout and influence over the masses crossing multiple generations.  Someone must have said that there were only thirteen families in the world controlling 99% of the financial wealth in our relatively young fiduciary history.  Then another anonymous person pointed out that we are headed towards a global totalitarian society because this is the only way that the very few can control the majority of the resources on this planet.  Logical thinking reveals that these people cannot be trusted.

The unprecedented level of control sought by the very few will eventually be seen as the reason why all life has suffered on earth and become the impetus for an unapologetic world war.  Those rich targets shouldn’t be afforded any trials or declarations but the collective coalition of responsible people inhabiting earth instinctively knows that they have to be eliminated.  If the planet is going to survive, those few people having a direct hand in the destruction of earth have to die soon.

Next, the people that monetize life and profiteer from the earth’s resources need to be identified.  (They live in unusual comfort and pass-on their accumulations to their heirs.  Some have elaborate establishments that even bear their names.  Others have names that left indelible marks throughout history.)  All of them have a vested interest in the majority of people remaining oblivious to their scheming.

Some of these people are selling water.  They don’t want you to know that the water they are selling is yours.

They want to tell you about their business acumen and how they produced the container.

You might consider killing those people, too.

Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Jeremey Lake, John Crawford, Tamir Rice et al.

December 11, 2014

The United States of America has a history of racism and violence against people of color.

The United States of America does not like to acknowledge these abhorrent actions as a matter of principle and as a result, it can lead to terrific miscarriages of justice.  Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Jeremey Lake, John Crawford and Tamir Rice are just the latest names to add to an ever growing list of individuals that will probably never get justice because of the color of their skin.

It is a terrible shame that the United States has not been able to mature properly enough to void or nullify the systematic racism and violence against people of color, that started so humbly against other savages.  Truth be told, the United States hasn’t even made a sustained genuine attempt at even slowing down a genocidal policy that it has clung to since infancy.  I am discounting the notion of the period known as Reconstruction and the entire Civil Rights movement on the basis that the right to live, outright, trumps any other social or political gain.

Look no further than the Native American if you would like to see how this scenario plays out if left unchecked.

Yes, I’m talking about straight up killing.  In the United States police -and even Florida neighborhood watchmen, are killing unarmed black people with perceived impunity.  Perhaps the murderer of Jeremey Lake will receive some measure of punishment but I believe it is because Officer Shannon Kepler was too egregious and he failed the plausible deniability test -which is really saying something in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  However, wherever possible, it seems that the United States has a knack for alleviating the pressure on those accused of heinous crimes against people of color.

Perception is reality.  Now all of those people of color are dead.  All of the grand juries and smear campaigns against the deceased are now regular tactics that distract from the bottom line; this also helps in collectively and willfully ignoring the racism that perpetuates the violence.  (This is the same root cause that people of color have been obligated to protest against or otherwise cope with, when encountering so called “white people.”  Much more on that later.) The net result is loss of life and that becomes the starting point from which the United States begins to entertain the idea that it must deal with racist and violent past in order to truly become civilized.

The Guardian coverage on Eric Garner was something that told me that the United States might not ever get to that point.  I mean, you can kill a black man on video with your bare hands in New York now and it might not ever make it to trial.  You can shoot an unarmed black man six times in Ferguson for jaywalking from your car and not worry about working again because you can live off of the interview money.

A twelve-year-old playing with a BB gun in the park was killed by police in Cleveland but he should have known better already.  The world already found out that police can still shoot black people shopping in Ohio because they happened to pick up one of the toy guns in the store.  There is just too much murder of unarmed people of color by police to really believe that the United States of America has any interest in that type of civility.  What else can be gleaned from history or either from recent events?

While I acknowledge that we are talking about a worldwide problem of racism that has spanned many generations, the United States of America has some serious work to do right now.

Read: The New Jim Crow, & Get Back To Me

October 22, 2014

Have we all been totally honest about the historical, global, insidious oppression of African peoples?

What of this notion that the worst of said insidious oppression of African peoples happened many years ago and can’t be accounted for to determine the true legacy or value of its effects? 

Recently there has been a lot of talk in the news about justice for African-Americans in the United States of America, due to events like the police killing of an unarmed teenager Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th of this year.  While racism appears to be a worldwide problem, the United States of America seems to be leading the world in denying that racism is applicable in the normal operation and function of modern power brokerages, today. 

This recent news video about the coverage of the shooting of Mike Brown shows that America has a problem confronting problems of race.  There were many articles written on the subject of Ferguson but this piece was emblematic of regular people scratching their heads as to how the U.S. government always seems complicit in the systematic destruction of the black race.

Say it with me kids: institutional racism.  Michelle Alexander author of The New Jim CrowLawyer and author Michelle Alexander went to extremely great lengths in her book, The New Jim Crow, published in 2010 to explain how prisons in the United States are creating a caste system that is disproportionately hurting black people there. 

Over at The Atlantic writer Tanehisi Coates has created an online book club of sorts that is discussing intricate details about this important book, chapter by chapter.  I don’t think that I have the patience to do that, but I do intend to discuss the book further on this website.

Hopefully, I sent you off on a good start.

Teetering Down the Path Towards Destruction

October 14, 2014

I try to keep things light here on the internet, believe it or not, but it is finally time to own up to the fact that the world isn’t doing too well.

The most recent negative news came from the 2014 Living Planet Report published by the WWF.  The data cited in that respected document points to a 50% decline in known vertebrate species, worldwide, over the last forty years.

That is a terribly sobering number for me because I happen to be forty years of age.  The destruction of the planet seems to be increasing at an alarming rate.  The limited resources exploited by human beings are becoming ever scarce and the already unequal divisions of such resources will likely evolve into something even worse than unfair.

All the while a deadly contagion threatens the world with mass infection or, at least, hysteria.  The world-leading United States of America has been fighting a war in one form or another since 2001 and folks of a certain race there continue to foster a nasty habit of killing other races.  Global warming presents immediate sustainability issues but has hardly emerged into an actionable discovery due to disagreements on policies.  All of these facts seem to be ingredients in the recipe of the decimation of mankind but I can’t really call when this cake truly gets baked.

Of course there is some science that helps to make up our current situation but there is a lot that isn’t as readily predictable.  Rather than resign myself to being completely helpless, I have decided to use this blog and others to speak up about the deplorable conditions.  In addition to posting short essays and disseminating important information I will be more vigilant in my contributions to mainstream media and to the world.  My diligence is now guided by the belief that good people have a responsibility to do something.  We must all take care to guard humanity and to ensure that future generations can exist on this planet.

Let me be explicit: I am nobody special.  I am not particularly educated in these subjects and I can boast of no unique qualifications to discuss all or any of them.  I am not the best writer and there are plenty of people paid to do that already from reputable establishments.  As a matter of fact, I would venture to say that I am extremely unremarkable as evidenced by my current lack of gainful employment –of any kind, for over a year.  Add homelessness to the litany of breaks that haven’t gone my way recently and my invisibility is complete.  This is a Hail Mary because everything that I have seen thus far tells me that it is time for drastic measures.

We might already be past the tipping point and teetering down the path towards destruction but maybe, somehow, I could be of service?

Tinkerbell’s Return: No More Kook

August 12, 2013

Tinkerbell’s Return: No More Kook

Kookboxx Surfboards is over.

Yeah, let that sink in for a little while.

This was us back in Virginia Beach when he started this whole Duct Tape Invitational thing with VANS.

Dandini & Joel

This was us back in Virginia Beach when he started this whole Duct Tape Invitational thing with VANS.

Kookboxx finished. I could get into the whole story on here right now, but I’m not.

I just got off the phone with Mama Denise and she really broke it down, but there are some lingering issues that need to clear before the whole story gets out.  All you need to know right now is that the boys aren’t really doing Kookboxx anymore. I spoke with Joel earlier this morning so I knew that he was serious.  I was honestly in a state of shock when he told me, but after he explained it made perfect sense.  Sometimes you just have to move on and make a better way.  It doesn’t always make sense to dwell on the past when you already have momentum and you can keep on pushing. I’m not wearing anymore t-shirts, even though the logo was fresh.

As a matter of fact, this is the last time that I will use the Kookboxx name in a sentence.  I can’t now, anyway…  I’m rocking with the best.  You are still rocking with the best.

So yeah, kids.  That’s how it just went down.