Water is Water; Is it Not?

I tasted water from a well i once visited and fell deeply in love with it. The water was clear, it tasted very good, and it was just the right temperature. One day that well ran dry, and i was forced to wonder the desert in search of water. I finally stumbled upon a well. It was full of water, but the water didn’t seem as clear, it didn’t have the same taste as the last well, and it was a bit warm, but it did the job.water-1

One day, during my travels, I passed by the location of the first well I had camped at, and behold, the rains had helped refill the well, and a taste ensured that the water was the same. But there was something different this time; I couldn’t draw water as I initially had. Now, this well had a dispenser that would only allow for so much water to come out. I wound up staying at that well, hoping the water would flow as it once did, because I could see the clear crisp water as I gazed down into the well.

Do you believe me to be foolish for abandoning a full well with no regulation, for a well that was full, but would only allow me to access just enough water to stop me from dying of heat stroke? i-heart-waterHave a great day, and don’t forget today’s question to ponder; before you leave your well for one that appears to be better, ask yourself, “Am I leaving ample for only a sample?” Signing off, but never offline! ~ Geno Stanley

A Letter to Trump: Divestment vs. Investment

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Dear Mr. Trump,

Chicago is a global city, and if anyone knows that, it would most certainly be you; a man who owns prime real estate in one of the world’s most appealing locations for tourists, and business professionals. There is an elephant in the room though; there has been a stark contrast in the divestment versus investment when assessing the micro economies that clearly exist within this city. That could very well be a bit of the brush that was ignited when your campaign was disrupted in this very city. No apologies are in line for the actions of my brothers and sisters of this struggle that you can never understand; you can only learn to empathize with the plight of African descendants within this country. Though I don’t hold all the same values, and thought processes of my fellow activists, I do stand in solidarity with their dedication to fight injustice with proportionate force. With that said, I do believe in your claim to have an agenda to bring America into its full potential of being the greatest nation, not only on the planet, but the greatest nation that we can become. Enough small talk, as I’m sure you have a lot of work to do; Chicago’s Public School system is a bridge built on sand, and that sand is Rahm Emmanuel, City Counsel, Barbara Byrd-Bennet, our long-standing clergymen with political affiliation, and the perspective of the American people that this problem is isolated, or unable to be corrected.

In 2013, my elected officials closed a record breaking 48 schools at one time; the largest scale school closing ever in U.S. history. The decision to devastate 12,000 elementary school students was blamed on a $1 Billion deficit brought on by decades of misappropriated funds, and a scandal that placed an interesting criminal light on our prior mayor. We understand how a deficit could call for the need to bring expenses lower than income, but what we don’t comprehend is why every social and economic experiment in this country has to be conducted at the expense of the quality of life of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens; minorities specifically, and moderate-low to very-low income families. If you’re inquiring as to why I’m crying over spilled milk; well, because that now spoiled milk is being force fed to us as yogurt, and it smells bad.kids1

In May of this year, the city began a quest to acquire an old post office location, and they proposed plans to transform that location into a new middle school. The project in total will cost $55 Million, and $11 Million in Tax Increment Funding (TIF) has been allocated to this project, that will benefit families within close proximity to the southern outskirts of the downtown area; an area comprised of mostly middle income families, and high income families that were able to survive the gentrification efforts pushed following the demolition of Chicago’s public housing project buildings (i.e. Cabrini Green Housing Projects). This is a concern of the African American community, because we have continually been forced to watch the spoils of us being robbed, being redistributed to those who didn’t need the resources in the first place.kids4

Contrary to popular belief, the African American community has no desire to continue to exist as a welfare community; one dependent upon foreign businesses and investors. We have no desire to dwell on where blame for our economic enslavement should be placed; we are clear on how we got to this position, but more importantly aware and ready to take the steps to bring us out of our social and economic incarceration. We understand that you have no authority to intervene in locally approved plans for development, but we do have a request.

Please redirect 30% of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and ecenomic development dollars to grassroots organizations and small businesses within their respective communities, the very organizations and businesses that create the micro-economic changes that “We the People” desire to see.

We would like to see a national effort to redirect CRA and economic development monies into a community controlled mechanism. Our community is in dire need of small business investment plan that acknowledges the disparities in capital, credit, and collateral that has been created by a long-existing system of oppression (relative barriers of entry into business). What we are really requesting is a small business startup and stimulus package that will help create healthy and self-sustainable communities; a major and bold push towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

 

 

Works Cited

City of Chicago: Tax Increment Financing . (2016, September 14). Retrieved December 23, 2016, from City of Chicago: https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/provdrs/tif/news/2016/july/tif-proposed-for-new-south-loop-elementary-school.html

Jr., J. P. (2015, January 22). Study looks at aftermath of Chicago school closings in 2013. Chicago Tribune.

Marisa de la Torre, M. F. (2015). Schools Closings in Chicago: Understanding Familie’s Choices and Constraints for New School Enrollment . Chicago: University of Chicago.

Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, J. C. (2013, May 23). CPS approves largest school closure in Chicago’s history. Chicago Tribune.

 

 

The American 1%: Social Class Divide on Crack

Who Rules the United States?

The United States of America is supposed to be, by design, a representative democracy, but who really runs the United States? Two perspectives that hypothesize on who runs the United States is the functionalist and conflict perspectives.

 

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WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 12: U.S. President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), delivers his State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol February 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. Facing a divided Congress, Obama focused his speech on new initiatives designed to stimulate the U.S. economy. (Photo by Charles Dharapak-Pool/Getty Images)

Crucial to this question, is a sound understanding of the fundamental reasoning that make up both perspectives; the demand and supply of authority. Also key, is an understanding of citizenship, democracy, and capitalism. Lastly, it is imperative to have a strong grasp on the U.S. Political Infrastructure, and how all these factors are waged into the arguments of the functionalist and conflict perspectives. The first step in this inquisition is to come to an agreed definition of authority, which is the common goal of any government; the monopoly over power and the use of violence.

 

Authority and You!

Authority, is the extension of power by one group, or government, over the larger population of people within a defined territory. Functionalists view states, or governments, as having arisen from the necessity of social groups, to protect the masses of people from anarchy, which is unrestrained disorder and crime. Conflict theorists would agree that an unrestrained government is detrimental, but they differ in that they believe the current government to be functioning in a way that doesn’t contribute to the welfare and longevity of its citizens. There are three types of authority that societies recognize: traditional authority, rational-legal authority, and charismatic authority. Traditional authority is the type of authority that is extended over a social group by way of culture and customs. Rational-legal authority is a type of authority that is recognized by the people as legitimate due to its establishment in the laws of the land. Charismatic authority is the type of power offered to individuals based on their outstanding traits, which prompt others to follow them. This brings us to the question of the natural forces that bring people within a defined territory together; citizenship.

Citizenship: Consented Violence

Citizenship is the concept that birth (residence or naturalization), is the basis upon which individuals are afforded basic rights. This is one of the great benefits of this country; this is the idolized land of opportunity. The place where anyone can become Steve Jobs. The part of the story they leave out is that during that struggle for opportunity, you will face unfathomable obstacles, and if you are a woman or a person of color, you will encounter far more pressing odds on your pursuit to the American dream. Poverty and social class divisions do exist in this country, which brings us to the concept of universal citizenship, which addresses discrimination with its emphasis on everyone having the same basic rights. Now, let’s focus in on the guiding principles of this country. Before we dive more into the country’s political infrastructure, let’s get an understanding of capitalism, and how it plays a role in our country’s social makeup.

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Capitalism: The American Nightmare

Capitalism, is the concept around which the private ownership of the means of production, and the desire and pursuit of profit controls the supply and demand of economic markets. There are two types of capitalism that currently exist in societies: lassiez-faire capitalism, and welfare capitalism. Laissez-faire capitalism is unrestrained by government, and is commonly called hands-off capitalism. Welfare capitalism is a form of capitalism where government encourages the private ownership of land, but regulates capitalism to ensure the welfare of the masses of the nation’s population. Conflict theorists coined the name power elite, to refer to the 1% of Americans, made up of the super-rich, heads of military, top legislators, but most importantly, the heads of this country’s top corporations. They say that it is this small group of individuals who make the decisions that control the major functioning of the United States of America. This brings us to how both the functionalists and conflict perspectives view capitalism, as it relates to the U.S. political infrastructure.

The U.S. Political Infrastructure

The infrastructure of the United States political system is bipartisan, with several smaller roadways that we will collectively refer to as third parties. Minus the presence of these almost non-existent third parties, the U.S. political system is dominated by democrats and republicans. Democrats are associated publicly with advocating for the welfare of the masses of the population. Republicans are associated publicly with advocating for the interest of the wealthy. The supposed common denominator is that both parties adopt the philosophy of free education, a strong military, and the freedom of religion, speech, and assembly of the American people. Functionalists view this system of representative democracy, fused with the safe guard of this system’s checks and balances system, as sufficient and effective, as it grew directly from the need of the people to have a government. They also see capitalism as necessary, as both parties of this country’s bipartisan arrangement view capitalism as essential to the welfare of our economy. Conflict theorist, on the reverse, sees the influence of capitalism on policy, as an illegitimate form of control (coercion) of the people by corporations; the power elite, or ruling class. This power elite is comprised of the super-rich 1% of Americans, who head the country’s top corporations, are top ranking military officials, and are our country’s most influential elected officials. The conflict perspective also provides an analysis on the hierarchy of the power elite group. The three groups are not equal in power, but because all three segments of the group view capitalism as crucial to American economy, corporations wield more power in this group makeup.

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In Context: Functionalist and Conflict Perspectives

There are two perspectives on who rules the United States of America; the functionalist and conflict perspectives. Authority is the extension of power over the people, fused with the exclusive monopoly on the use of violence. Key to answering this question, is the gaining of understanding around both the functionalist and conflict theories. Also important, is the understanding of authority, capitalism, and democracy. Lastly, you must have a sound understanding of capitalism, and how it is perceived to fit into the scheme of the United Stets political infrastructure. No one perspective covers each point that I believe is important and accurate, and no one party can represent all the ideals of every constituent, but understanding who makes the decisions in this country is key to understanding how to change the decisions that are being made to cause latent dysfunctions in our economy. Signing off, but never offline!

Written by: Eugene Stanley

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United Nations Arriving in Chicago: Africans Charge Genocide-Encampment Project of Tents

Media Advisory – For Immediate Release                         Contact: Kham Howard

January 23, 2016                                                                   Phone: 773.520.0369

 

As U.N. Arrives in Chicago, Encampment Project of Tents Rises to Welcome Officials

And to Announce that “Africans Charge Genocide” in America

 

Encampment Project Will Be in Place during U.N. Visit

in Solidarity with Projects in All Cities Visited by United Nations

 

What:         With the United Nations fact-finding mission about 24 hours away, The Encampment Project is coming to Chicago, endorsed by the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA).  This campaign is an important step in the direction of the diplomatic encirclement of the U.S. in its genocidal treatment of African people.  Chicagoans of African descent will also testify before the U.N. on this genocidal treatment.

Who:          National Coalition of Blacks for Reparation in America endorses the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement’s (InPDUM) Encampment Project.  People of African descent and other organizations from around the country, and around the world, have been invited to set up tents.  

Why:          Almost everyone is aware of the string of murders of African people by the police. Walter Scott in South Carolina, Eric Garner in New York, Sandra Bland in Texas, Freddie Gray in Maryland, Laquan McDonald and Rekia Boyd in Illinois, Oscar Grant III in California, Mike Brown and Cary Ball in Missouri, 7 year old Aiyana Jones in Michigan, 12 year old Tamir Rice in Ohio, and just on Saturday, January 16, 2016, Palm Beach County Florida Sheriff’s deputies murdered a 19 year old African named Henry Thomas Bennett in Belle Glade, Florida.  KilledByPolice.net reports that 3,087 Americans were killed by the police between 2013 and 2015 (in 3 years), many being young Black men.  Tuskegee University’s Records and Research Division reports that 3,446 Negros were lynched between 1882 and 1968 (in 82 years) by the Ku Klux Klan.  Africans Charge Genocide!!!

 

Where:       Chicago State University

9500 South at St. Lawrence 

                    Chicago, Illinois

 

When:        Saturday, January 23, 2016 at 2:30 pm (Photo opportunities) 

 

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Waiting On Justice Is Like Waiting For A Unicorn To Come Change Your Life

On December 15, 2015, I attended a public hearing at City Hall in Chicago, along with several of my colleagues, with the purpose of allowing the Fraternal Order of Police president (FOP- Dean Angelo), an Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) representative, and the Chicago Police Superintendent (acting- First Deputy John Escalante), to speak about their handling of the death of Laquan McDonald. They also spoke on their inability, or lack of desire to fix the terrorist practices, and ill dealings within the Chicago Police Department. City Council members seemed to all have wanted to get their paws on FOP President, Dean Angelo. Cook County state’s attorney Anita Alvarez, and current Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel, decided it’d be best to cower from the bubbling ridicule and resentment of the citizens of Chicago.

Black Lives Matter, Global Africa, Chicago, Police Brutality, Chiraq, Chi Town, Police, CPD, Anita Alvarez, Rahm Emmanuel, Corruption, Laquan McDonald

I sat astounded as I listened to testimony on how the City of Chicago had paid out over $500 Million in settlement money, stemming from complaints on police brutality over the last decade. I was even more confused when I listened to the response from Dean Angelo. He seemed to not care that tax payers were footing the bill for grotesque police misconduct; a half a billion dollar bill at that. When asked by an alderman if he would object to settlements for cases of police brutality being paid out of pension funds, the FOP president declared that he would most certainly be opposed to that idea even being considered. He was also asked if he would object to a tax being imposed on all officers to help mitigate the city’s settlement expenses, and he went down as not being opposed to negotiating that as a possibility.

During what can be described as a blatant slap in the face of the families of those horrifically martyred by Chicago police officers, FOP president Dean Angelo told the audience that no matter what the officer has done, he will defend that officer legally, and work diligently to ensure that the officer doesn’t accrue lost time from work. If the FOP has the primary concern of legal defense for officers, then them being involved in every aspect of officer’s profession is a conflict of interest. I believe the FOP should work as a union, and cover the cost for 3rd party legal teams to defend officers in cases of alleged police brutality. According to Dean, public attention should be concerned with the PTSD the police officer’s suffer after these events. While explaining examples of these cases of PTSD, he mentioned instances that all included officers having to respond to an accident where they saw dead children, and a few instances of adult bodies being discovered. What he didn’t mention was cases where vicious savages with badges murder innocent people, then have a hard time sleeping at night.

When asked about the frequency of use of deadly force in African American neighborhoods, the FOP president told aldermen that CPD only has 760 tasers to share amongst the department. He also testified that only 1 in 5 Chicago police officers are certified to use tasers. What are the rules of engagement, and the rules to the use of deadly force for the CPD? Is deadly force the only option when a police officer interprets that a situation is beginning to escalate? This is a clear depiction of the police state’s value on black life. Injustice seeps from the pores of an organization that is controlled and manipulated by power drunk public officials.

Next, an alderman asked Dean Angelo why he didn’t fire Van Dyke sooner. He replied, once again, that his only priority in any complaint of police misconduct, is defending the officer, and ensuring that he doesn’t incur any lost time on the job. The alderman then asked him if there were any procedures in place that could’ve had ex-officer Van Dyke terminated immediately. He then disclosed that there is a procedure in place, which shocked everyone and caused disapproval by Black Lives Matter protesters observing the address. According to him, IPRA could’ve recommended that the officer be fired. The process would’ve taken 30 days after the Board of Police approved the recommendation. This raises more suspicion about all parties involved in this case.

Chicago is bubbling close to full blown revolution, and there are more people politically involved than ever before in history. Police brutality and terror plague black communities all over the country. Consistent protests have dealt a great blow to business in downtown Chicago since the release of the tape showing the murder of Laquan McDonald. Protesters are calling upon elected officials to take immediate action at resolving this issue of brutality and terror in the Chicago Police Department. They are also calling for the immediate resignation of Rahm Emmanuel, and Anita Alvarez. Why are there only 760 tasers, but over 8,000 officers? Why are good officers afraid to speak out against misconduct by their peers? Should periodic training and certification be beefed up for all officers? The point is to figure out what we can do to totally reform a policing system that is rooted in racist beginnings. Whatever is decided upon as the course of action, it needs to happen NOW, and citizens are demanding that we be involved in decision making processes from now on. Signing off, but never offline!

By: Eugene “Geno” Stanley