A Gathering Storm

A Gathering Storm

Baxstage Pass: Episode 14 (edited)

   Welcome again to the back stage of the greatest show ever made, our lives. I would like to begin this “Baxstage Pass” by thanking all of the men and women who have served. Today is Memorial Day and we must always remember those who paid and are paying for our freedom. Some may not agree with our government when our friends and family are and were sent into harm’s way. But without their sacrifice, what freedoms we have left would likely not exist. Those who protest, blog, post, turn their backs, spit in the faces and call out offensive lines to our soldiers with impunity could not do so had those men and women not followed orders.

Having said that, I want to talk about a feeling I had today. I was standing outside after hours of painting in the heat and I noticed that I could feel rain coming. I checked my nifty weather app and sure enough, rain was on the way. I wonder how many of you feel the same about another kind of storm that is inevitably headed your way, no matter where you live.

The United States, likely the world, is on the precipice of something. I am forever hopeful it will be greatness, but I feel a responsibility to open a discussion so that we may be educated in the event it is not. We citizens face real problems in our immediate future and have allowed many more problems to be created for our children. I believe it is our duty to hold our government and those in power accountable for their actions, preserving freedom for our future.

There has been a lot of coverage over the police violence taking place this year. I feel that the accessibility of technology has allowed us to hold those tasked to serve and protect accountable for their actions. Many officers welcome the idea of technology such as body cameras; others regard it as an impediment. I think that many people must understand that officers have do things that seem wrong to the average citizen due to the criminal element they face every day. Police officers are necessary because criminals exist. What some fail to realize is the fact that officers are human. Problems arise when criminals wear badges. Problems also arise when people make mistakes. Whether a person made a bad judgement call or they abuse their power, people tend to judge the group as a whole. The President signed the “Blue Alert” bill last week that will create a system similar to the Amber Alert that will send out an alert for a suspect who has injured or threatened an officer. While this can be beneficial, it comes close to trampling our rights in many ways and holds the potential for abuse.

I considered talking about some of the many problems that are happening such as violence in Ferguson or the death of Mr. Garner in New York for today’s broadcast. But I want to address an underlying issue that I see as the real danger, division. I can spout off statistics, believe me I have many here, about the race ratio of citizens and how that is portrayed in the media or I could discuss the way minorities are portrayed in Hollywood and how that affects the mentality of the average US citizen. These are real issues but what is at the heart of most all our problems is poverty and income inequality.

There is a narrative being pushed by the media as to how race is at the heart of our problems. Rutgers University Professor Brittney Cooper published an article on Salon.com titled, “White America’s scary delusion: Why its sense of black humanity is so skewed,” Cooper denounces the “ignorance and lack of empathy” of “white folks”. I doubt any of us would argue that racism exists and likely always will. The ramifications of discrimination will be felt for a long time. How can we begin to promote an age of equality when we refuse to highlight the majority who simply do not care what color you are? Why are there no stories of those who do not promote racism and push the narrative of peaceful coexistence? A wound cannot heal if you continually open the scab.

My point is that if we continue to divide ourselves along age old problems, we fail to see problems that are forming in our current time. The gap between the wealthy and the rest of us is growing more rapidly than ever before. I would argue that not since the French Revolution have we seen such a dramatic separation. How many people do you know who work all day and come home tired? They eat, spend a little time with the family and then go to bed so they can do it again tomorrow. So much of our lives are spent trying to provide an adequate life for ourselves and our families, we lack any real leisure time or time to research the sources of the stories we hear on the news. This is where the problems arise. Racism is a problem. But so is the theft of our money by those who believe themselves to be above our class level.

President Obama was, and is, in a unique position to help stop division and promote equality. Rather than dwell on those who discriminate, why has he not done more to highlight those of us who do not? Why is there not more accountability placed on those who exploit all citizens who are working class? These are the true criminals. Obama stated that, “America works when everyone feels as if they are being treated fairly.” I would argue that it actually works best when we ARE being treated fairly, not when we feel that way. Classism is a far bigger problem as poverty affects far more of us on average. We were robbed of our retirements and homes in 2008 and those that did the taking, were bailed out. Where was our bail out? Our government showed us that we matter far less than those who steal from us and our children. Were we “treated fairly” as our economy was allegedly protected but not one damn penny was given to any of those poor minorities or supposedly middle class who lost everything because of criminal banking practices. Why the hell weren’t other banks allowed to rise up and take the place of those corrupt swine?

Five global banks just proved that we have no power over the rich. Five banks pled guilty over interest rate rigging and foreign exchange manipulation which made them felons. All five banks were granted waivers from the SEC and have continued onto business as usual, minus around 5.6 billion dollars. Now you see why you are not the same as these groups of people. Had any one of us committed any of these same acts we would be behind bars with no question of our guilt.

I don’t want anyone to believe that racism and discrimination are not real problems in our world that must be combated. What I do want is for people to realize that division is what keeps our eyes on each other and not on those behind the curtain. There are plenty of declassified documents that show how governments have used false flag events to direct our rage towards whichever direction they see fit. While I cannot say what will happen in the future, I can point out issues that divide us and keep our attention away from core problems in our world. I felt the rain coming today and I feel a storm coming soon. We must keep the discussion alive and fight the idea that we can be so easily divided. As long as you will listen, we will save a seat for you here…in the Front Row.


Baxstage Pass:Episode 12

Baxtage Pass: Episode 12 (Edited)

Let’s take a look at the world through the media we view on our electronic devices. Many people view television news casts as a valid source of information. When a tragic or disastrous event strikes, many of us turn to a TV station that annoys us the least for information. Some of us click on a post that somebody decided to add to their feed. There are many viewers and readers that enjoy watching news programming or reading on the web in an effort to become more informed as well. Whichever media outlet we choose, they all differ in many ways.

When we take away factors such as network and parent company ownership, party affiliation or media personality, what’s left is what type of guests are on and what stories are pushed. I would venture a guess and say that many of you out there do not agree with many views on what issues are important when it comes to what is aired on the television or plastered on web pages and social media sites. Turn on any of the 24-hour news stations and you will watch around three hours of actual content that is recycled and replayed throughout the entire day. Look to the web and you will see much of the same plastered on your favorite mainstream sites.

I would ask you, to ask yourself, if there is enough actual news to justify a network dedicated to broadcasting it 24 hours a day. If there are plenty of stories, then I question what happens to all of the “other” stories that are absent from these mainstream sources like some drunkard parent. Is it possible that what stories we do see are what those in charge of said networks want you to see?

The stories that do garner that precious air time are often written in very specific ways based on research and psychology to elicit a preferred response. Think about the words you hear and how that changes how you see and feel about these stories. For instance, do you believe in affirmative action? How about racial preference? The same idea with two different terms has a very charged feeling when said a certain way.

Let’s look at an issue that has been recently brought up, vaccinations. The requirement to vaccinate children is mandated if you want your child to attend….well, anything. While it is important to keep your child safe, there is a very real misrepresentation of the dangers involved. While the benefit may very well outweigh the risks involved with routine vaccinations, we rarely hear about those children who suffer from those rare issues.The media has termed those who keep their children from being vaccinated “Anti-Vaccers.” This is most often shown to be those who are against the flu vaccine but also deal with those shots that children receive for things like mumps and rubella commonly referred to as the MMR shot.

A court case in Italy, against the Glaxo Smith Kline Corporation, found that the companies Infatrix Hexa shot had in fact caused at least one child to develop autism due to the mercury and aluminum contained within the vaccine. The company has released a 1271 page document (available online) that shows at least five documented cases of autism as well as at least 36 related deaths. It is worthy of note that in the U.S. a family may not sue the manufacturer of a vaccine because of a 1986 federal law establishing a “vaccine court” where claims must be filed. One of the ruling judges stated that congress passed the law because the resulting law suits were “Threating the stability of the nation’s vaccine program.” Think about the money involved in a national program that all students and various professions must adhere to.

We are regularly being warned about an impending attack by ISIS. The media is now at this moment telling us that there are allegedly thousands of ISIS cells in the U.S. who are active on social media. “Homegrown Terror” has become a new buzzword dished out regularly along with our evening news and tainting our dinner conversations. FBI director James Comey stated that he knows “there are more Elton Simpsons out there.” This statement is referring to the recent attack in Texas that has been compared to, but is dissimilar in many ways, the Charlie Hebdo incident that took place on January 7th in France. This Texas contest has many people up in arms over free speech versus provocative speech. What I would ask you to think about is the timing of this incident.

One of those less reported stories is that of the Patriot Act and its sundown clauses. (At the time of this writing there was little coverage).This important because it deals with every American. Without too much in depth analysis, the portion of the act up for renewal deals with the NSA, with help from the FBI, and their power to collect phone records. I have said before that members of our government who wrote portions of the Project for the New American Century (PFTNAC) stated that a new Pearl Harbor would be the only way the American people would accept the Patriot Act. I address this again because we all need to come to terms with the idea that there are those within our own government who seek to control the citizens of the United States. Our own White House’s President’s Review Board said “the information contributed to terrorist investigations by the use of section 215 telephony meta-data was not-essential to preventing attacks.” Further, we must all accept that people are killed over meta-data. The former director of both the CIA and the NSA Michael Hayden openly said, “WE KILL PEOPLE BASED ON META-DATA.”

I don’t know which theories are true and which ones are not. I do know that many people believe that President Kennedy was killed because of things that he said. Kennedy spoke for generations of people like us when he said,

“For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy, that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence, on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system that has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations…”

We have been gifted with the narrative of Lee Harvey Oswald despite findings of our own government in a final report by the House Select Committee of Assassinations, in 1979, who said,

“The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The committee is unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.”

   Whatever you believe about the world is your own summation of what you have read, heard,felt and seen. Most have been taught some form of the quote by Edgar Allen Poe, “Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear” as we grow up. Somehow by the time we enter the workforce, grinding out our lives through those dull hours in servitude, we forget. We forget to remember that government and especially big business have an agenda. I would remind you all as you take off your shoes and settle in to that well deserved easy chair or spot on the couch that our media is constructed in a way that urges us to buy and consume. Understand that many organizations and people have ulterior motives. Realize that work can blind us from seeing connections or even caring about them because we are just too damn tired. Know that we the people hold the ultimate power until we give it away freely.

The possibility that our government will take our rights is always present. What is more likely is that we will give them away, piece by piece, because of fear and indifference. You must be willing to think about our world and keep your mind open to the possibility that not everything is always as it seems or portrayed. There are no versions of the truth. For as long as you will listen, we will always have a seat saved for you, here in the Front Row.