Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Modern Technology, A Blessing or Curse for the Youth of This Modern Age

Children today are rather keen and determined about their media gadgets. Two weeks ago, I introduced my Anisa Joseph - Amma Tacheampong to Gummy Bear. Now her older brother, Kwesi, who is now 10 years old introduced me to Gummy Bear. This was several years ago, maybe he was about 4 or 5 years old. At that time he was confined to the computer. He did not have his own cell phone and sat for hours watching Gummy bear playlist I made for him on YouTube. Now, forward to 5-6 years later and cell phones have become small computers that can connect through wifi to the internet, whether it makes calls or not. So, instead of throwing your cell phone away, it can become an alternate computer. But who guessed it would create such a ruckus with the little ones who not only know how to watch it, but know how to manipulate the touch screen, navigate to the movies they want on Netflix, or YouTube and stare at that tiny screen for hours upon hours.

This is exactly what my granddaughter does. She has our discarded cell phones and uses them to surf the net for movies she wishes to watch. And I wouldn't be honest if I didn't mention that she will throw a tantrum if you don't give her a phone. She does understand that the phone dies when the charge is all gone, she also has come to understand that she can only use her phone, not anyone else's. That was a tough one, cause we had to learn that too. If you put it in her hands just to show her something, she will NOT LET YOU TAKE IT BACK!

Fortunately, she rarely watches movies that are not suitable for her to watch, she has her own account on Netflix and knows exactly how to access it in order to watch the movies that are for children her age.

I don't get a chance to post all the movies and pics and stories I have of her, but I had to stop whatever I was doing and post this one. SMDH........ LIttle people know their way around this technology better than most people over 40. They are growing up with this technology and leaving the old stuff behind.

Anisa doesn't know how to use a standard mouse, but she certainly knows how to use her little finger on a touch screen to navigate her way around the internet. I don't know, part of me is really really worried about this, and another part of me is amazed at how smart she is. She will be having her 3rd birthday June 11, 2014.


Anisa and her gadgets. She is proficient at using the Kindle and her Cell phone to navigate the Netflix videos and Youtube videos. She knows how to click on the app that she wants to work with. From the photo gallery; to watching videos of herself, to playing music, especially the silly ringtones; to Netflix account that has videos for her, and she knows how to go to Youtube and click on videos she would like to watch.

She does this for hours until the charge goes on the kindle or phone. Fortunately she has been watching appropriate videos. And BTW, she loves Dora!!!

Anyway, I am not sure if she is going to be quite vain or not. All I know is that I was in my 40's before I saw a video of myself and it was weird watching myself. She watches videos of herself from age 5 months to now, she will be 3 years old, June 11, 2014

The jury is still out on this one for me. Mainly because of how much time I spend on my computer and interacting with social media. My granddaughter is 3 years old, she has been using cell phone since she was a little younger than 2years of age, maybe younger. 

I am amazed at her abilities. Everyone around her has a gadget. Her older brother would use the Kindle and she would mimic his way of using it. He didn't really have to show her, she would watch him. He would find games and movies on the Kindle and she did it too. 

She will be 3 years old come June 11. She is still intrigued by nature and her surroundings, and will play in the yard for hours, but her older brother, well, he would rather play with his gadgets. We shall see if the gadgets will totally consume her as she gets older. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ole Nelllie Bit the Dust

Who is Ole Nellie, you may ask. Well, she is part of a family of Nellie's. In fact, once we have gotten all that we can get out of her, she is replaced with a new Nellie. But she is never called New Nellie, as that has absolutely no catchy ring to it. So now my once New Nellie, named ole Nellie has gone to the Great Car Heaven in the Sky. I feel very sad about that right now.

My first Nellie was a 1976 Toyota Corolla. I never really learned to drive by someone teaching me, I learned by watching other folks drive. A few years after college I was ready and passed my test with a minor error, I leaned to the side when I made the turn. The lady didn't know I was a low rider, but she let me pass.

First car came from GMC, paid off and good credit rating to boot. She was just what we needed, for our family of 5 at the time. Everybody was little, and we didn't have a bulky car-seat taking up room in those days. Unfortunately, she died for lack of lubrication over many, many months. Engine locked up and that was it!!

Found a New Nellie, a little while later. Great car for growing children and friends children too. We only had one issue with this one, the hatch had a tendency to not catch. So we would slam it extra hard till we broke it and then would have to repair it, especially after we lost a kiddie out the back door. Hairy scary times. I was speechless, how could I explain to the little boy's mom, that he fell out the back of the car into oncoming traffic. The Angels saved him so he could live and continue to drive his family up the wall, but that's another story.  This Nellie had engine trouble early on. Had a great mechanic in the Northeast who did all he could, several times to bring her back to life. But she ultimately left us for the Great Car Heaven in the Sky but not after we got good use out of her!!

Now, here I vaguely remember another Nellie. But she was very, very short lived. Her engine caught on fire one day, and that was that. Another one bit the dust and went to the Great Car Heaven in the Sky.
Every Nellie was a gift in some way or other. They got me out of tight squeezes and provided a great service that I am still grateful for to this day. Whenever they broke down, there was always a car Angel around to help me out with a carload of children they were certainly heaven sent.

Then Came the Greatest Nellie Of Them All!!!
Why do I say that? Well, for a number of reasons, four reasons to be exact. My 4 younguns who were terribly embarrassed to rid in this New Nellie. Puuuulease!!! They simply did not realize that this New Ole Nellie was a Cadillac! I mean, power steering, disk breaks, power windows, air conditioning, seats that did all kinds of stuff. Who cared if she was once a cab??!! And for $50 and a title, who could beat that, especially since we had been walking and taking the bus everywhere. No one understands what it feels like to have the stares of well meaning folk pitying me as I would climb on the bus with 4 little people going in four different directions. The youngest did not like sitting next to anyone, the second oldest was always falling asleep and had to be awakened at least 20 minutes before we got off. The second daughter loved to wear her clothes and shoes on backwards.... um, before it was a style and the oldest one, well he was quite helpful, but he was just a little tike himself. I had 4 children in 6 years. Yay, me!!!! So imagine the adventure we went on whenever we boarded an inner train or bus.
To me this car was a Godsend... To my young'uns, quite the contrary. They were mortified, they were embarrassed, they hated that car!!! The jeers they got from neighboring children yelling "Taxi"!!! Jeez, children can be cruel, but that car was awesome, little did they realize they were riding in style in an expensive gift car, painted like a taxi.

And right around the corner, was a wonderful mechanic who did all he could to keep her on the road. I think that is why I am writing this blog post. I have certainly been blessed with cars right at the right time when they were most needed and when there was a wonderful mechanic not to far away. I'm talking about a mechanic that didn't see a woman coming and decide to take advantage. I am talking about a mechanic who saw this woman coming with a carload of children and did all he could to keep me on the road with them.

Well as the story goes, Ole Nellie died and she stayed dead for 10 years. Imagine, ten years without a vehicle!! Living in the inner city did make it a bit easier, but I rode my bike and homeschooled during this time. We walked to wherever we had to go or took the bus, and again, they were a bit older, but not much different and certainly quite noisey. Nothing like the chatter of stairsteps, enjoying each others company or not!

It took Ole Nellie 10 whole years to re-incarnate. I would question myself as to why I was back on foot. Did I offend the Great Car Heaven God in the Sky by the way I treated his servant? Did I drive his servant into the ground, so now it was my turn to take another look and be more circumspect about how I would be treating Nellie, when she incarnated again?? I don't know if I ever figured that out. Nevertheless, another gift came, and Ole Nellie re-incarnated as a Ford Station Wagon. It was once used as a cab but I dared not to tell my children. By now the boys were gone and only the girls remained. New/Ole Nellie was a blessing as well. Someone I knew had her and sold her to me for cheap. She only last 2 years but I was grateful to have her for that long. She blew a hose in her engine and caught on fire that would have cost more than she was worth to fix. I think I had her towed away, or sold her for parts but I don't remember. Something about trauma and how it affects your memory.

But this time Nellie decided to come back a little faster this time around. She manifested as a 1988 Toyota Corona Station Wagon. And guess what, I paid $1 for her and the registrations fees. Long story short, she had been sitting there waiting for her other owner who moved away and never came back to get her. She was a gift from the Gods cause surely, I really needed a car so I could get to some of VOA events without having to spend money on rentals. Ha, I spent so much money on rentals I could have bought at least three luxury cars.

But of course the VOA folks love luxury, and preferred to ride in the new cars instead of my Ole Nellie, so many times we would pack them in the rental and I would take Nellie, we had an unbelievable bond, we did!!!! True story..

New/Ole Nellie lasted for about 2 or 3 years.. Again, I had a great mechanic who did all he could to keep her on the road. She was old and tired and while she was willing to get me from point "A" to point "B", she didn't feel like it all the time. So sometime we would leave her for another traveling option cause she was a bit finicky. But still a wonderful companion that I totally appreciated, especially for only $1!!!!!

She carried our VOA instruments and one day, someone decided to break into the car and take them out. Now that was the funniest ever. We could barely figure out why anyone would go through the trouble of stealing a bunch of African drums, agogo bells and shekeres that they could not sell on the black market. Ha, we could barely sell them on the open market. And if folks didn't know how to use them or play them, then what??

We later found out that they took them to a thrift/boutique store who gladly took them off their hands, cause she knew what they were. Ironically, most folks aren't gonna buy drums off the street peddler anyways. I mean really!!! And what would they do with this thing?

Well, it was late January, and after the news outlets were informed by my enraged daughter that we had been robbed, they all flocked to my door questioning us over and over again about this event. It had become a "Black History Month" Story that everyone wanted to tell. Strange indeed.
For an entire week, our lives belonged to the media, they were in our hair for 7 days straight. We had TV cameras in our faces, we were on the radio and we had a serious 15 minutes of fame, that brought folks out of the woodwork to donate drums and instruments to us, along with money to buy more stuff!! It was incredible!! The outpouring of love from the community was overwhelming and we went on tour with all new instruments but at least we had some!!!!! Even a Jewish Agency called us up and offered to raise money for us to get new instruments! Now imagine that!!!!!

I must say, that every single Nellie brought a wonderful experience with her. She did her part and made up for the parts she couldn't do. Like she didn't have an alarm so she was able to be robbed, but she got her picture took by NBC news and ended up in the paper and that made headlines. She smiled and I was so thankful for all her help!!!

And for a little bit of Poetic Justice, in May, a temporary office assistant arrived to work in the office. When I told her about the Event she said: "Oh was that your stuff?? My brother tried to sell it on the corner to some Africans who were walking by and they said they didn't want it." That was absolutely too funny. There she was working in the office of the person whose car her brother broke into and stole the contents. Which were partially found by the way.

Then Ole Nellie got the call.. It was a small call, a short call at first, a little kink here and another kink there, but she held off. She did not break down in some dark deserted place where I was in danger. And the few times she did break down, the Car Angel was right there to pull her through. Wonders...!! But she was old and tired. She had sat too long and it was a little harder for her to completely revive herself for the long journeys and traveling back and forth that I needed her to do. But she did give me a good trade in and with that she was reborn into my current New/Ole Nellie.
Ole Nellie
The current New/Ole Nellie had only been in my possession for approximately 11 of the 12 weeks she was under factory warranty, she decided to break down in NY city! Needless to say, I was dumbfounded, I barely had her and she was breaking down?? Of course the Car Angels showed up and tried all they could to figure out her problem but to no avail. She had to be towed. I had two choices, tow her to Philly, or get her fixed in NY. Triple A's mechanic claimed to have fixed her, and after borrowing $300 from my godmother and driving home two days later, she cut off again.

I took her back to where I bought her just within the warrantee time and they fixed her, free of charge. They fixed her so good she never had a serious problem again!!!! It was a clogged up engine. Turns out these Toyota Sienna's 2000, were known for that problem. She did me good for 10 years folks!!!!! TEN WHOLE YEARS!! I swear by Toyota's they are really good cars. The only weather Nellie didn't like was rainy weather, she always started right up. Even now.

Again I had a wonderful mechanic, in fact I used the same mechanic I had till I moved to Darby, and would you believe it, another wonderful mechanic was one block away from my house. He was marvelous and did not overcharge me at all!!! I would refer him to anyone who needs a good mechanic.

Even now, she cuts on, but she leaked all her transmission fluid out and she won't go. Now I not only need the Car Angel, but I need another Car Angel who wishes to gift me with a new car, or a New/Ole Nellie.

I ain't mad at her, not one bit, she kicked it out, really hard for me. We have many, many shared memories. The journeys we took with her were each adventures in their own way. She was the most awesome of all the Nellie's that preceded her, in respect to her endurance and functionality. She road as far north as Wisconsin and as far south as Florida. She has only the dents I put in her, her tires are in good shape and she has a few quirks but other than that, she was a darned good car!!! She also hauled around the VOA paraphernalia and with good measure.

But I get the feeling this is it for her. She won't go. 
Last August, I moved to New Jersey.
I am happy about my move. And didn't think that I would move here of all places, and not have a vehicle. I am sure there is a lesson in here somewhere, but when it came down to making the choice between getting the car fixed and paying my rent... well, I guess you could say I did the thing that makes most sense. I paid the rent.

Meanwhile, Ole Nellie is collecting dust from not having moved in over 2 weeks. About the same amount of time I have been a bonafide NJ-ite. 

I feel some kinda way about all this.... just not sure what way that is right now.

I guess I am writing this for several reasons
1. to pay homage to parts of my life that I may have taken for granted.
2. to have a memorial for Ole Nellie
3. to ask the Universe to let her re-incarnate in the magical way she has done over and over again
4. and to thank her and wish her well.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Truth About the Nevada Rancher's Standoff? Really??

Here's the irony, the little part that most of these reporters on this situation are grossly overlooking. The "lands" that supposedly belong to the ranchers belonged to the Indigenous people before the European came and decided to take it over. In taking it over with the belief that they could and had the authority to do so, the whole of North and South America was "captured". Now these people whose Ancestors did it to the Natives are crying out about how unfairly they are being treated. I always say, "When the shoe is on the other foot, it's a tight squeeze."

This government and its agents are doing exactly what they have been doing since they first came here. They feel they have the right to claim any land, anywhere they so desire and for any reason. Remember, the first settlements were in the Eastern Region of North America, then they decided to "Go West". I am almost certain that that land which the Bundy ranch is on did not originally belong to anyone named "Bundy"! And to compare being there since 1870's or so to being there for thousands upon thousands of years is a small fry of an argument to a government that not only feels it can claim land in its jurisdiction, but it can claim territory and it's people's way of life, all over the world.

How many of these same ranchers and citizen militias fought in the wars overseas? How many of them voted for war against a contrived enemy? How many of them hold prejudices and biases against "Immigrants"?

Federal Land Per State
My point is, if you support a government that oppresses others, steals from others, lies to others and creates chaos with others, what makes you think that that same government is not going to perpetuate that same abuse upon you? Your Ancestors laid down this government, this constitution, these laws...... exclusive of the Indigenous people, the Africans and women. You blatantly support your governments actions in creating a "Constitution" that was derived with these inherent exclusions. And now, you want that same government to treat "you" differently. Is this collective cognitive dissonance or is it ignorance or is it the idea that because your Ancestors did it to others, you believe that the fine print reads that you are exempt???

This is my major departure from this video and this reporter. It is as if he, Stefan, lives in the twilight zone, or on another planet or other reality. He seems grossly unable to connect these dots, that is, this land does not belong to the US government, State government, or city government. It was inhabited by a people who were brutally displaced and pushed into reservations so that invaders can take it over, settle on it, and claim that their family has been there for 2 centuries! I am sure that the few remaining tribes left in the area find this quite comical and a form of "chickens coming home to roost."

I don't know the land rights laws that are implied in the Constitution of the US or the State Constitution of Nevada, but what I do know is that everything is in Divine order and what goes around comes around. Humanity has this thing about owning land and its resources, they have been fighting wars over it since the beginning. What does that say about human beings? They are territorial, insecure, fearful beings who feel threatened by another territorial, insecure, fearful being. Rather than negotiating amicably, they would rather fight! Some are so bold to take their "flag" to another celestial body and plant it as if to claim that territory as well. In fact, they sell stars and plots of land on the Moon. Really??? This situation is simply a tiny pimple on the mound of a much bigger problem. Man's disconnection from Source and therefore its disconnection from everything around him including the Sun, Moon, Stars and this here, Planet Earth.

Indian Reservations Map of Nevada, pdf 

Nevada Tribal Lands, Maps, Air Quality Analysis | Pacific ...

Nevada Tribes - Nevada Indian Territory

Battle Mountain Band
35 Mountain View Drive #138-13
Battle Mountain
NV 89820-
(775) 635-2004
Fax: 635-8016
Carson Colony
2900 S. Curry St.
Carson City, NV 89704
(775) 883-6459
Fax: (775) 883-6467
Dresslerville Colony of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California
1585 Watasheamu
Gardnerville, NV 89460
(775) 265-5645
Duck Valley Reservation - Nevada & Idaho Shoshone-Paiute Tribes
P.O. Box 219
Nevada 89832
(208) 759-3100
Fax: (208) 759-3940
Duckwater Shoshone Tribe of the Duckwater Reservation
101 1st Street,
(775) 863-0227 ‎
Elko Band of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians
525 Sunset Street
Elko, NV 89801
(775) 738-9251
Ely Shoshone Tribe
16 Shoshone Circle
NV 89301-
(775) 289-3013
Fax: 289-3156
Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe
Phone: (775) 423-6075
Fax: (775) 423-5202
Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe
Post Office Box 457
NV 89421-
(775) 532-8259
Fax: 532-8263
Goshute Tribe
White Pine County, Nevada
Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada
680 Greenbrae Dr., Suite 280
Sparks, NV 89431
Phone: (775) 355-0600 Ext. 130
Fax: (775) 355-0648
Las Vegas Paiute Tribe
1 Paiute Drive
Las Vegas
NV 89106-
(702) 386-3926
Fax: 383-4019
Lovelock Paiute Tribe
Box 878
NV 89419-
(775) 273-7861
Fax:(702) 273-7861
Moapa Paiute Band of the Moapa Indian Reservation
Post Office Box 56
NV 89025-0340
(775) 865-2787
Fax: 865-2875
Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe
Post Office Box 256
NV 89424-7401
(775) 574-1000
FAX: 574-1008
Reno-Sparks Indian Colony
98 Colony Road
NV 89502-
(775) 329-2936
Fax: 329-8710
Shoshone Paiute Business Council
P.O. Box 219
NV 89832-
South Fork Band of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians
Post Box B-13
NV 89829-
(775) 744-4223
Fax: 738-0569
Stewart Colony
5258 Snyder Ave.
Nevada 89701
(775) 883-7767
Fax: 887-3531
Summit Lake Paiute Tribe
510 Melarkey #11, Suite 207
NV 89445-
(775) 623-5151
Fax: 623-0558
Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians (4 Bands)
525 Sunset Street
NV 89801-
(775) 738-9251
Fax: 738-2345
Walker River Paiute Tribe
Post Office Box 220
NV 89427-
(775) 773-2306
Fax: 773-2585
Washoe Tribal Council
919 Highway 395 South
NV 89410- (775) 883-1446
Fax: 265-6240
Wells Band of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians
P.O. Box 809
NV 89835-
(775) 752-3045
Fax: 752-0569
Winnemucca Colony
420 Pardde
CA 96130-
(916) 257-7093
Fax: 887-3531
Woodsfords Colony
96 Washoe Blvd.
CA 96120
(916) 694-2170
Yerington Paiute Tribe Colony and Campbell Ranch
171 Cambell Lane
NV 89447-
(775) 463-3301
Fax: 463-2416
Yomba Shoshone Tribe
HC 61 Box 6275
NV 89310-
(775) 964-2448
Fax: 962-2443 

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I'm confused, can anyone help me? — RT Op-Edge

I'm confused, can anyone help me? — RT Op-Edge

I'm confused, can anyone help me?

An anti-government protester waves a flag in front of the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine April 14, 2014. (Reuters / Shamil Zhumatov)
An anti-government protester waves a flag in front of the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine April 14, 2014. (Reuters / Shamil Zhumatov)
I'm confused. A few weeks ago wewere told in the West that people occupying government buildings in
Ukraine was a very good thing. These people, we were told by our political leaders and elite media commentators, were 'pro-democracy protestors'.

The US government warned the Ukrainian authorities against using force against these 'pro-democracy protestors' even if, according to the pictures we saw, some of them were neo-Nazis who were throwing Molotov cocktails and other things at the police and smashing up statues and setting fire to buildings.

Now, just a few weeks later, we're told that people occupying government buildings in Ukraine are not 'pro-democracy protestors' but 'terrorists' or 'militants'.

Why was the occupation of government buildings in Ukraine a very good thing in January, but it is a very bad thing in April? Why was the use of force by the authorities against protestors completely unacceptable in January, but acceptable now? I repeat: I'm confused. Can anyone help me?

Pro-Russian activists gather outside the secret service building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on April 14, 2014. (AFP Photo / Dimitar Dilkoff)
Pro-Russian activists gather outside the secret service building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on April 14, 2014. (AFP Photo / DimitarDilkoff)
The anti-government protestors in Ukraine during the winter received visits from several prominent Western politicians, including US Senator John McCain, and Victoria Nuland, from the US State Department, who handed out cookies. But there have been very large anti-government protests in many Western European countries in recent weeks, which have received no such support, either from such figures or from elite Western media commentators. Nor have protestors received free cookies from officials at the US State Department.

Surely if they were so keen on anti-government street protests in Europe, and regarded them as the truest form of 'democracy', McCain and Nuland would also be showing solidarity with street protestors in Madrid, Rome, Athens and Paris? I'm confused. Can anyone help me?

A thousand people gather in front of fences blocking the street leading to the Spain's parliament (Las Cortes) during an anti-government demonstration in Madrid (AFP Photo / Javier Soriano)
A thousand people gather in front of fences blocking the street leading to the Spain's parliament (Las Cortes) during an anti-government demonstration in Madrid (AFP Photo / Javier Soriano)A few weeks ago I saw an interview with the US Secretary of StateJohn Kerry who said, “You just don't invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests.” But Iseem to recall the US doing just that on more than one occasionin the past 20 years or so.

Have I misremembered the 'Iraq has WMDs claim'? Was I dreaming back in 2002 and early 2003 when politicians and neocon pundits came on TV every day to tell us plebs that we had to go to war with Iraq because of the threat posed by Saddam's deadly arsenal? Why is having a democratic vote in Crimea on whether to rejoin Russia deemed worse than the brutal, murderous invasion of Iraq – an invasion which has led to the deaths of up to 1 million people? I'm confused. Can anyone help me?

AFP Photo / Pool / Mario Tama
AFP Photo / Pool / Mario TamaWe were also told by very serious-looking Western politicians and
media 'experts' that the Crimea referendum wasn't valid because it was held under “military occupation.” But I've just been watching coverage of elections in Afghanistan, held under military occupation, which have been hailed by leading western figures, such as NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen as a “historic moment for Afghanistan” and a great success for “democracy.” Why is the Crimean vote dismissed, but the Afghanistan vote celebrated? I'm confused. Can anyone help me?

An Afghan policeman keeps watch as Afghan voters line up to vote at a local polling station in Ghazni on April 5, 2014. (AFP Photo / Rahmatullah Alizadah)

An Afghan policeman keeps watch as Afghan voters line up to vote at a local polling station in Ghazni on April 5, 2014. (AFP Photo /Rahmatullah Alizadah)
Syria too is rather baffling. We were and are told that radical Islamic terror groups pose the greatest threat to our peace, security and our 'way of life' in the West. That Al-Qaeda and other such groups need to be destroyed: that we needed to have a relentless 'War on Terror' against them. Yet in Syria, our leaders have been siding with such radical groups in their war against a secular government which respects the rights of religious minorities, including Christians.

When the bombs of Al-Qaeda or their affiliates go off in Syria and innocent people are killed there is no condemnation from our leaders: their only condemnation has been of the secular Syrian government which is fighting radical Islamists and which our leaders and elite media commentators are desperate to have toppled. I'm confused. Can anyone help me?

AFP Photo / Amr Radwan Al-Homsi

AFP Photo / Amr Radwan Al-Homsi
Then there's gay rights. We are told that Russia is a very bad and backward country because it has passed a law against promoting homosexuality to minors. Yet our leaders who boycotted the Winter Olympics in Sochi because of this law visit Gulf
states where homosexuals can be imprisoned or even executed, and warmly embrace the rulers there, making no mention of the issue of gay rights.

Surely the imprisonment or execution of gay people is far worse than a law which forbids promotion of homosexuality to minors? Why, if they are genuinely concerned about gay rights, do our leaders attack Russia and not countries that imprison or execute gay people? I'm confused. Can anyone help me?

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)
We are told in lots of newspaper articles that the Hungarian ultra-nationalist party Jobbik is very bad and that its rise is a cause of great concern, even though it is not even in the government, or likely to be. But neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists
do hold positions in the new government of Ukraine, which our leaders in the West enthusiastically support and neo-Nazis and the far-right played a key role in the overthrow of Ukraine's democratically elected government in February, a ‘revolution’ cheered on by the West. Why are ultra-nationalists and far-right groups unacceptable in Hungary but very acceptable in Ukraine? I'm confused. Can anyone help me?

Chairman of the far-right parliamentary JOBBIK (Better) party Gabor Vona (C) reacts for the result of the parliamentary election with his party members at Budapest Congress Center in Budapest on April 6, 2014. (AFP Photo / Peter Kohalmi)
Chairman of the far-right parliamentary JOBBIK (Better) party Gabor Vona (C) reacts for the result of the parliamentary election with his party
members at Budapest Congress Center in Budapest on April 6, 2014. (AFP Photo / Peter Kohalmi)
We are told that Russia is an aggressive,  imperialist power and that NATO's concerns are about opposing the Russian ‘threat’. But I looked at the map the other day and while I could see lots of countries close to (and bordering) Russia that were members of NATO, the US-led military alliance
whose members have bombed and attacked many countries in the last 15 years, I could not see any countries close to America that were part of a Russian-military alliance, or any Russian military
bases or missiles situated in foreign countries bordering or close to the US. Yet Russia, we are told, is the ‘aggressive one’. I'm confused. Can anyone help me?

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. His award winning blog can be found at Follow him on Twitter

Published time: April 15, 2014 10:06

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Citizen Slave of New Jersey

Today I took a trip to the NJ MVC (NJ Motor Vehicle Commision). After 8 months the pressure was on to conform to the rules of the land, or be without the convenience of paying more dues to it! My car has been acting weird and she really sounded weird today, but she got me there.

When I stepped outside, all I could do was shake my head at the big giant X that stretched across the entire sky. I had no time to dally with the sky phenomenon today so I quickly got into my car and turned on my GPS and headed towards Runnemede, NJ.

The panic I felt the few days before going there was immeasurable. They have a 6 point checklist of things you need to prove you are who you are and that you belong here on this planet. And if you don't they will flatly send you home and tell you try it again. Fortunately, I was able to gather all that I needed and a little some for good measure. My goal, to get a photo ID. I was under the impression that I would have to take the NJ driving test so I opted for the ID card.

The "citizen slave" receptionist told me I had just what I needed and asked me,
"Are you sure you want to surrender your PA driver's license?" The word surrender" sounded so ominous.
"Surrender?" I asked, "you mean I have to give it up in order to get a NJ ID card?"
"Of course," he respond candidly, "You cannot have several ID cards."
(Like lady, what do you think this is?? Do you work for the CIA? Or some other top brass official organization, cause they the only ones allowed to have more than one ID card. In fact, some of them have several and depending on the occasion they will flash them for you, but you little comely "citizen slave" is only allowed one.)
I am stumped, now what do I do.
"You can just get a NJ driver's license and that will be sufficient."
"But how will I go about doing that? Do I have to take the driver's lesson over again?"
"Oh no!" he responded as if he were just so happy to tell me that the slaves that come to his state need only surrender their other slave master's jurisdiction and they are welcomed with open arms.
"You can do that today. You can get your NJ driver's license today." He smiled so nicely at me. It almost tricked me into feeling relieved. He actually believes in his slave master and that his slave master is one of the nicest slave masters around.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see in a picture frame, hanging on the wall behind him, the smiling face of Governor Chris Christie, whose face seemed to smile even broader now that he has been exonerated from that NJ BridgeGate Scandal. Even as I was leaving, the little happy "citizen slave" receptionist, went out of his way to bid me a fond farewell.

Standing in the MVC in Runnemede, NJ, I watched as "citizens slaves" renewed their vehicle registrations, their driver's license, and get new ones. I watched "citizen slaves" pay $46.50 for vehicle registrations, $24.00 for ID cards, and $34.00 to transfer your license from another state to NJ.

I watched "citizen slaves" line up for their numbers and ID cards and had flashbacks of South Africa, when you could travel no where without an ID card. I watched the little old lady receptionist "citizen slave", check the paperwork of other "citizen slaves" to make sure it was all there according to the law.

One "citizen slave" was so distraught, he wanted to register a vehicle in his name, a vehicle that belonged to a deceased or long gone relative. In his haste he started erasing the name of this relative on the registration document and then quickly caught himself before he erased everything. But, to his chagrin, he had altered the document which made in inadmissible. He was completely outdone, as he begged the other "citizen slave" to allow his document to pass. She flatly refused, fearful of her job being jeopardized as he begged and pleaded. She demanded that he get another document and get the person whose name is on it to get a new one.
"But he's dead!" he cried.
"Dead?' she responded.
"Well, he's missing, he's gone, I don't know where he is. We can't find him!" he responded frantically. "Is there anything you can do?"
"No, you need another document, you altered this one, we cannot take it." She responds definitively..
"But isn't there anything I can do?" the poor little "citizen slave" begged.
"Well, you can declare the car abandoned. Then you can take ownership of it." Crestfallen, the "citizen slave", walked away as I wondered why and how we are so anxious to add another chain to our ankles.

After several months, I finally am standing in this line to tell the world, I am no longer a "citizen slave" of Pennsylvania, but have transferred my slave owner to New Jersey. Then it was my turn, after standing in the wrong line for over an hour, I step up, to become a "citizen slave" of New Jersey. 

The little old "citizen slave" representatives busily worked away in their pastel blues and spring yellows. The younger "citizen slave" customer servant agent had perched on her desk a picture of her fiancé, totally clad in dressed army uniform. And as she faded away for a minute, creating a soft pause between herself and her paperwork, I wondered if that "citizen slave" representative was wondering if she would ever see her "citizen slave" soldier again.

Then she called my number, 67. Her diamond ring sparkled on her finger as she thumbed through my paperwork. She takes a soft break, and I traveled with her wondering how he is doing and will she ever see her fiancé again, and if she does, what kind of physical and mental condition will he be in. She was kind and courteous and most likely looking forward to getting out of there in contrast to her senior "citizen slaves" who appeared quite competent, white haired, deep glasses busily typing the information into the MVC standard software on their computers. I wondered how long they had been there. Was it Nepotism or genuine qualifications that had them there long past retirement age.

It's lunch time and the "citizen slaves" lined up, one by one, almost two by two.

The young "citizen slave" customer servant agent looked at my head wrap and said,
"Um, it's part of your religion, right?"
I nodded, she never looked up, and said,
"Right, it's your religion, it's okay" in a moving-right-along tone.

Then I felt compelled to tell her how outraged I was when they questioned me when I got my PA license renewed for 2014. I had been wearing my headwrap for these many years, which I politely did not state, and showed her my other license and passport with my headwrap and now they want me to take it off??!! She chuckled at my story, admitting that they would never take anyone of their "citizen slaves" through that as long as it's their religion!! Again, the citizen slaves are not allowed to wear any head wear unless it's for religious reasons. Though they are aware that some just want to wear the headwrap to cover their messed up hair. I can understand covering messed up hair, but I only thought that, avoiding the look I would have gotten if I changed my story. But seriously, many of us who wear headwraps ain't wrapping up a new do, that's for sure.

Then SNAP!!!!!!!

I questioned myself, wondering why didn't  I feel jubilant!! What's up with that? It's finally done, I have all I need for anything, anywhere to prove I am a registered "citizen slave". I can use this card to open a bank account, register to vote, get a passport update, show proof of address all over the place. I am in like Flint! but somehow I just don't feel like happy days are here again. Where's Pharrell Williams when you need him?

And then on the mechanical side of life, Ole Nellie, my car is acting up. She is leaking transmission fluid and had to be towed home after the ordeal at the NJ MVC. But Ole Nellie, she is a blessing, she came to a complete stop after several others, near home base, and quietly allowed herself to be drawn onto the tow truck and moved through the streets of NJ to my front door. I wondered if she felt my own conflicting feelings and since she had trouble with her transmission fluid leaking, I wondered if she was manifesting my own reticence to transition from PA Law to NJ Law.

I guess I am writing this to get a grip on how I feel about this. The irony of it all, is that as hard as you may attempt to get off the grid, consuming only a very little, at some point, you have to prove to somebody that you have the right to be here. How is it that human beings have to prove that they belong on the land they were born on?

Watching people have a glimpse, a tiny glimpse of "mission accomplished" as their paperwork past the acid test, and then slowly as they made their way to the door, you could hear the rattle of the prison guard keys and the slam of the prison gate, as each person knew, this was temporary, until that next date when they would have to stand in that line, once more, or else!!

Many of them have no idea of how they turned themselves in to the "citizen slave" master's prison guards. They do not realize that by registering themselves, their property, their lives; at any point, at any time a law can be enacted to take them, their property, their lives away. The story of their life and survival on this prison planet is at the forefront of their minds. And if they register to vote, bequeath an organ, pay their taxes, they will be free. Free to live in America, the so called "greatest" country in the world. So the truth that they/we are walking around in a prison without bars is incomprehensible to most of those folks I saw today. They pride themselves in being good "citizen slaves", doing their civic duty and staying within the extent of the law. And since it ain't gonna change any time soon, I too stood in the line, felt that momentary sense of freedom and walked out, with my badge, my imprint, my chip, my picture and my acceptance into the "citizen slave" state of NJ.

I guess, I am feeling a little mournful. A deja vu of my ancestors who were transported to a new slave master, after they had just gotten used to the ways and wiles of the old one. Delving into the unknown can be a bit scary... then you pull yourself together and realize, it ain't unknown, it's the  
same slave master, just a different slave state.

So, I won't just promise my poet friend I met in the line that I will come out and engage with him and his art; but I will go, because quiet as it's kept, it is through our creativity that we can transcend slavery on this prison planet or at least find some joy.

It was interesting as I was surrendering myself to the banking system as a self employed "citizen slave", the "citizen slave" Bank rep, chose to identify my Performing Arts rather than my Mental Health Profession as my main source of income. Ha! Could that be a sign, a signal, a message, that he inadvertently gave me? We are all in this boat together, at least pursue your Cultural Performing Arts to get that fleeting sense, "yeah, we live on a prison planet, but we can find some freedom through the arts." He whimsically mused as he told me about his singing days and desire to go back to them.

I am grateful, I am blessed, I am honored to have the knowledge I have about this world, I would not give it back for any reason at all. It just felt like I had stepped into the twilight zone today, standing in the NJ MVC line adding another nail in the coffin of "citizen slavery".

It's over, it's done, I am now a bonafide member of the human slave population of NJ. And what a cute little colorful chipped license they gave me. New address, new face, new license, but for some reason, it didn't feel joyful, not at all.