Slacktivism needs a Cure

The picture above was taken of me back in October of 2017, addressing the city council of Nashville in regards to gentrification and lack of jobs. Law makers hung onto my words very carefully as I approached the stand to make my testimony heard.

I have had many instances like this in my life. In fact, I have even managed to get a corrupt politician fired for fraud, county clerk John Arriola, who was extorting citizens out of their money. I stood outside of his office with a sign stating, “Arrest Arriola!”. The local news covered my story. Eventually I reached out to prosecutors who brought him to court and forced his resignation.

I’ve worked with “Home-street Home Ministries to feed the homeless in my community and sent letters to CSX, a local train yard where the homeless were sleeping, asking CSX to allow them to set up camp there so long as they do not cause harm.

(Working with members of Home Street Home Ministries) 

I had the pleasure of speaking with Ben Wizner, in regards to Edward Snowden’s possible return to the United States. We discuss strategies to minimize the police state and to operate safely online without arousing unwanted attention.

(Ben Wizner and myself at a Convention on protecting Civil Liberties)

I submitted a 54 page report to the United Nations, detailing the need for international family law reform and recognition of discrimination against the Male-Gender in certain areas of our socio-economic systems.  Part of the report was published in my manuscript available at Amazon.com, see ” Global Human Trafficking In The Family Law Courts.” 

(Me giving a copy of my UN report to Tennessee law maker, Antonio Parkinson at a Town-hall meeting who eventually got a law passed reducing interest amounts on owed back child-support)

I’ve submitted several reports the International Drug Scheduling Convention, held annually, regarding the legalization of Marijuana and protection of CBD products.  The report can found on this website under the “Reports sections”.

I could go on and on with things that I have been involved in regarding social and legal reforms. This article is not designed to “toot my own horn”.  It is to display the difference between “slacktivism” and “activism”.

Slacktivists spend alot of time tweeting, making Facebook memes, and engaging in hours of online debates with their 50 or so followers. The “like”, “share”, and engage in online “flame-wars”, whereas at the end of the day, they can lay in their beds and say, “I fought for freedom today!”.

It truly is a “slacker” approach.  Behind a computer screen, one’s bravery increases quite a bit. The solution to everything is, “It’s the government’s fault”,  or “Religion made him do it”.  Slacktivists are really great at complaining and raising awareness for an issue, but they don’t really “do” anything.

Don’t get me wrong, I think using technology as a way to raise awareness is great! Create your Facebook fan page, make youtube videos, continue to use media platforms to reach an audience, but you must also combine it with REAL physical actions.  According to “slacktivists”, Martin Luther King Jr didn’t need to go to jail or protest to win equal rights for his people, if he had Facebook back then, he could have just made a “meme” about Jim Crow laws and the problem would have been solved! (insert sarcasm here).

I understand that many of us work a full-time job, some of us even work two jobs while trying to operate a “side-hussle”, but it’s no excuse, many events are held on nights or weekends, or you could occasionally take a day off., write a letter, invent something, do something! Continue to like, share, and post your opinions online to raise awareness, but, make conscious efforts to take physical actions towards your activism. Additionally, come up with practical solutions to the problems you care about. Simply saying, “Taxation is Theft”, or “End Climate Change now”, may raise a discussion, but it doesn’t present any real solutions to the problems you are raising.

A Libertarian might say, “Taxation is Theft”, but what plans does he have towards making taxation unnecessary?  Is he going to invent a new technology that replaces police forces, is he going to start his own road building service? Is he going to run for office and pass a new law that lowers or eliminates taxes? —probably not, he will probably just continue to post memes about how “messed up” , the government is while offering no real “positive” solutions on how to actually fix it or replace it with something else.

Getting angry about a problem is a normal reaction. However, the next phase is to seek out viable solutions to that problem.  You can scream out, “End Climate Change”, or “Taxation is Theft” until the cows come home, but it doesn’t really do anything. Even if you get people to agree with you, eventually, they are going to want a solution from you. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, these people never shared, liked, or posted anything on Facebook, yet they changed the world permanently with their actions!

In conclusion, we must combine the new age with the traditional. Use your technology to expand your ideas in order to reach a larger audience, but be prepared to back up your ideas with progressive physical action and demonstrable solutions.

Like, share, and comment on this article—- Then get your butts out there and do something about the issues you care about!

  • Randell Stroud
  • Nalini-Global 2018

Randell Stroud is certified in Paralegal Generalism, Bankrtupcy law, and international law. He is a strong advocate for family law reform, tax reform, marijuana reform, legal administration reform, foreign policy reform, and anti-poverty measures. 

 

Atlanta “ends” Cash Bail requirements

(Activists celebrate the passing of a new law that exempts bail requirements on certain misdemeanor offenses.)

 

On Tuesday, February 6th, 2017, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, signed an ordinance Tuesday that eliminates the Municipal Court’s cash bond requirement for certain low-level offenders who otherwise would be forced to sit in jail due to being unable to afford a bond.

The Atlanta Mayor stated, “…It makes no fiscal sense to hold someone in jail over a $500 bond”.

According to the many reports, after six hours of public comment and debate Monday afternoon, the City Council approved the ordinance 13-0. The bail bond industry itself appeared to be the main opponent of this law during public comments. However, citizens largely supported this effort. Sure, the bail-bonds industry may lose a little money, alas, families will be safe from the racketeering system that our legal system has become!

Like in all matters of the law, we have to strike a balance between liberty and security; Protecting the logical rights of men and their properties, while not creating monopolies that only the wealthy and the governments themselves can understand or afford to participate in. That’s the problem with our current legal system. The legal system is a glorified socialized “gun” that we use to point at one another in a “civilized” courtroom. However, it doesn’t make society any fairer or safer when that shared use of force can only be afforded by certain groups of people. Namely, the extremely poor who can claim to be “indigent” , or the extremely rich who can afford the best lawyers or to pay off judges. It is the middle-class who has no remedy. They don’t qualify for low-income exceptions, and they cannot afford a legal team of their own. Where do they go?

The legal industry and the for profit prison system, nicknamed the “Prison Industrial Complex”by many, benefits the state departments, judges, prison investors, bail bondsmen, lawyers, and police officers looking to keep their quota numbers up. However, this sort of “for profit” legal system creates another hurdle for the poor looking to get a leg-up.

Public urination, driving on a suspended license, an unpaid traffic ticket, simple possession of marijuana, — these are not charges synonymous with dangerous criminals who may flee the country or state, they are merely “infractional” petty offenders. To hold these people on a bond, who probably can’t afford the bail money, will sit in jail over such infractions whereas they are likely to lose their jobs and further slip into the cycle of legal penalties which facilitates poverty and loss of family ties.

The system doesn’t seem to care. As long as they are pulling in revenue for the system, lawmakers appear oblivious to long-term impacts on low-income families looking to escape poverty. According to statisticbrain.comthe average police officer in the USA pulls in about $300,000 per year in revenue from citations. That’s about $6,232,000,000 per year nationally! That’s a lot of revenue for infractions that could largely be forgiven, warned, or overlooked.  If I receive a seat-belt ticket, and am forced to pay the state $50, how does that solve any problems? If I cannot afford the ticket, my license will be suspended, taking away my ability to get to and from work, further forcing my family into the bellows of poverty. If I get caught driving on a suspended license, I go jail.

Holding a prisoner isn’t cheap either. It costs taxpayers about $31,000 per year to feed, clothe, and house an inmate.  That’s about $85 per day, much more than the cost of your average citation. But, the prison investors, bail bondsmen, law makers, government workers and attorneys who make money mitigating these issues don’t care about tax-payers or at risk families. They care about profit margins and expanding department budgets!

Some may say, “Just follow the law and it won’t be a problem!”.  We must ask ourselves, why does the United States have the largest prison population in the world? Over 70% of our inmates are non-violent! It’s a money scheme! It costs $500 to legally operate a lemonade stand in America! The average American commits three misdemeanors and a felony per day without even realizing it! Literally every inch of American life has a statute or code attached to it! If the legal system can’t get you for running a red-light, maybe they can get you for being a “public nuisance” or for the bumper on your car being one inch lower than what statute allows. The more laws we create, the more criminals we create by default! It is an inadvertent consequence stemming from good intentions; or perhaps it is all designed purposely to be this way? Or perhaps, the truth is somewhere in the middle?

Regardless, this reform effort that the city of Atlanta has made, thanks to so many passionate advocates and leaders like Atlanta based attorney Gerald A. Griggs, who championed this effort, is a welcomed change! It is so rare for attorneys and politicians to come together on behalf of the poor. When these instances happen, they deserve all of our applause and credit.! I salute Mayor Lance-Bottoms and all of those who fought for the repealment of such archaic bail practices.

Sure, if a man is wanted for malicious battery,murder, rape, robbery, or grand theft auto, it makes sense to put a bail requirement on him/her. Alas, those who are subject to a bail requirement for petty offenses are merely pieces of evidence proving what a corrupt system we have. This new change in the law is an excellent move and I pray that all cities follow suit!  This may seem like a small victory, but in reality, it can potentially turn into a huge wave of momentum in terms of criminal law reform.

Please send your special thanks to:

Gerald A. Griggs,

https://www.geraldagriggs.com/

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

https://www.atlantaga.gov/government/mayor-s-office/meet-the-mayor

 

—And all other activists who assisted in this effort!

 

-Randell Stroud

Nalini-Global

2018

 

student loans are killing Americans

 

The United States government is about $20 trillion dollars in debt currently. The number is consistently climbing. With the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, financial institutions are more volitale than ever.

For many college graduates, student loans can feel like a financial death sentence. Child support, Taxes, Alimony, and Student loans are generally unforgivable in bankruptcy cases. So, what is a graduate to do if they cannot find a great paying job with their degree?

The good news is that there are well known options like “deferment” of payments and income based payment plans. However, many fail to realize that there are numerous grants and applications that can be used to lower your payments even further or have part of your balance forgiven.

Those who work in public service are the best candidates to have part of their loans removed. Teachers, lawyers, public defenders, and those who make less than 10K a year have a plethora of options for relief.  You can also challenge the accrediting merits of a school in order to have your loan forgiven.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Forgiveness from an income-driven plan
Federal Perkins Loan cancellation
Loan forgiveness for teachers
Loan forgiveness for nurses
Loan repayment assistance for doctors and other health care professionals
Loan repayment assistance for lawyers 
Additional student loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs)
Military student loan forgiveness and assistance
Student loan discharge for special circumstances

If you need help processing your application or advice upon qualifications, feel free to set up a consultation with me by donating $30 on our support page .//naliniglobal.wordpress.com/support/

After you complete that step, shoot me an e-mail at naliniglobal@yahoo.com so that we may schedule a consult!

In liberty,

Nalini-Global

Filipino President, Duterte, receives criticisms over “Drug War”

Since taking office in June of 2016, President Duterte, has been a strong proponent of increasing sanctions against drug users and sellers, and by “sanctions”, I mean death.  While many countries such as Denmark, treat drug issues primarily as a medical concern rather than a criminal one, the Filipino president appears to have reversed this European precedent.

The 45 years long war on drugs in the United States, is also a very controversial topic that mirrors many of the same criticisms. Whereas the United States boasts the largest prison population on the planet, primarily caused by harsh drug laws, the Philippines is going a step further by using death as a means of punishment instead of incarceration or rehabilitation programs. On the surface, it may seem to be a swift strategy of “no tolerance” against the destructive nature of drug manufacturing. However, just like in any “war”, innocent casualties will also become a factor. The government has said over 3,800 were killed in legitimate anti-illegal drug operations. Human rights groups peg the number of deaths at over 13,000, but the administration has dismissed this figure as overblown.

Duterte recently scaled back his drug war, tapping the smaller Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the lead government body to enforce the campaign and relegating the police force to a supporting role.  This resulted in the Philippine National Police to terminate its controversial house-to-house anti-drug campaign “Oplan Tokhang” (knock and plead).

These “door step” trials can sometimes result in “trigger happy” officers firing on innocent people, house pets, or minor children, such as in the case of  17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, who was dragged past a basketball court into a dead-end screaming, “Please can I go home. I have school tomorrow”. He was given a gun and told to run, whereas he was essentially killed by a firing squad. A perfectly staged killing set up by public servants against their own citizens.

Just as in all forms of law enforcement, there must be a balance between deterrence through punishment and a gentle hand of compassion in order to change the law, repeal the law, or rehabilitate the offender. A society ran on fear will never flourish just as in the days of Feudal Japan or the Monarchy of Britain that ruled over the American Colonists.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said world leaders should raise concern about Duterte’s war on drugs, which has seen thousands dead, mostly from the urban poor.

“Surely someone from among the 20 world leaders at these summits can confront Duterte about his horrific and unprecedented ‘drug war’ killings,” Brad Adams, HRW Asia Director, said in a statement.

The President’s son, Paolo Duterte, 42, appeared last month before a senate inquiry to deny accusations made by an opposition lawmaker that he was a member of a Chinese triad gang who helped smuggle in a huge shipment of crystal methamphetamine from China.

President Duterte pledged to protect police officers should they decide to murder his son if the allegations are indeed found to be true, in a speech made to the public. President Duterte claims that the law is not exempt for anyone under his Drug War parameters, including himself or family members.

Protesters soon rallied afterwards holding signs saying, “Stop the killings!”, “No rule by Martial Law”.  Many of the protesters grew up in the era of the Marcos family who ruled over the Philippines for years using Martial Law tactics that involved extra-judicial killings and suppression of free-speech alongside the ban of private gun ownership.

Duterte responded to the protesters by saying, “I would be happy to slaughter the 3 million drug addicts in this country”, whereas he went on to describe any children killed in the drug war as “collateral damage”.  Leaders in the Catholic church, the country’s dominant religion, have also spoken out against these harsh tactics used in this drug war.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, denounced the drug killings at another mass on Thursday, saying Catholics must do more than lighting candles for the dead and helping orphans. “Stand up. To keep quiet in the face of evil is a sin,” he said.

President Duterte is still in the early stages of his presidency. It isn’t too late for him to turn things around and have a change of heart. Like many great leaders, good intentions often pave the way to hell. While few doubt that the president doesn’t means well in his effort to solve the drug use problem in the Philippines, few agree that instituting a civil war against your own people in order to solve that problem can be a viable remedy.

We pray that world leaders will discuss alternative methods of curbing drug use in the Philippines with Duterte during upcoming conferences. Perhaps, such conversations will also influence American leaders who have also refused to adopt a more European approach towards solving drug use problems with medical solutions rather than criminal solutions. Currently the United States is spending over $51 billion dollars a year on drug enforcement measurements. A figure that many argue could be funneled into more productive rehabilitation programs. We can only pray that Duterte and other leaders who use similar tactics will be paying attention to the words of protestors and human rights organizations in the coming months leading up to a new election cycle.

 

Nalini-Global

2017

Randell Stroud

Custody Battle ends in Tragedy

For many, becoming a parent is a milestone. A moment when a human being realizes he has the power to shape another life into a beautiful creation. However, this was not the case of Richard Anderson of Orange County, California.

It was a cold November morning when Richard Anderson heard a knock on his apartment door.  His girlfriend asks, “Go see who it is”.  Anderson answers the door as he wipes the crust from his sleepy eyes.  Upon opening the door, he sees a familiar woman. Vanessa Crawford, his former girlfriend that he broke up with 3 years prior. He has a small boy with her. Crawford exclaims, “This is your son, let’s be a family again…”

Anderson goes into a panic and slams the door. His girlfriend, Jasmine, shouts, “who is it honey?”  Anderson nervously yells back, “It was the paperboy…”

3 days later, Anderson receives an e-mail from his ex-lover from 3 years ago.

“Richard, I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you. We had a bad breakup, and I always wanted kids, you didn’t. I must have forgotten to take my birth control pills. I always wanted a child, so I was happy. My older brother has been supporting me, but, he recently kicked me out. I know I cheated on you before, but, that was a mistake. If you get back together with me, I promise not to take you to court. We can work this out!”

Anderson ignored the e-mail. He could feel his stomach beginning to cramp. What is he to do? Is this child even his?

1 month later, Mr.Anderson receives a letter in the mail from the Orange county Juvenile court house, stating that he was being subpoenaed to submit to a DNA test. Should he not comply, he would be arrested. Anderson arrives one month later to submit his DNA test. The result showed that he was indeed the father.  A subsequent child support/custody hearing would be set 30 days later.

Anderson decided it was time to come clean to his girlfriend about the child. Devastated at the news, she decides to break up with him. Now Anderson lives alone in his apartment, with all household bills laying upon his shoulders. Anderson became very depressed, but, he had a decent job, he could manage. He made 25K per year in salary. He worked as an office manager for a Construction company while moonlighting as a law student. His dream was to become a lawyer or a politician.

Soon, his court date arrived.  Anderson and his ex lover, Vannessa, approach the stand. Anderson is without a lawyer, since the courts do not provide them in civil cases. Vanessa is being represented, for free, by the state government. Vanessa explains all of her expenses towards the child. The judge’s assistance looks over both the mother and father’s income through their pay-stubs and tax returns.

The assistant plugs the numbers into an arbitrary computer program that calculates income and expenses such as daycare, after school programs, ect…

The assistant comes back with two pieces of paper. One for the mother and the father. The paper states that the father will be ordered to pay $645 per month in child support.

The mother then raises her hand, “what about all those months I raised him before we went to court?”

The assistant does more calculations. Five minutes later, she comes back with a new piece of paper stating that the father was being ordered to pay $8,459. in retroactive support, going back to the time of the child’s birth. an extra $5 per month would be paid towards those arrears with interest accruing at 12% per year.

The father lashes out, “I didn’t even know he existed? How could I have supported him?”   The mother’s attorney responds, “That’s neither here nor there now.”

The father then asks about whether he will be able to see his child. The mother says she will allow the father to see the child 4 days per month, supervised. The judge agreed that this was acceptable. The judge advises the father, “If you want joint or full custody, you need to hire an attorney and fight for it. You are also barred from leaving the state without court permission.  Case adjourned!”

Anderson is later fired from his job because the court date required him to miss work. He didn’t have any vacation time. Luckily, Anderson finds another job very quickly making about $10 per hour.

A few weeks later, Anderson noticed that his usual $400 per week check was now only $250. The Child Support Garnishment had now begun.  He then receives a text message from the mother who now has her own apartment. Apparently, her wealthier older brother was back in her good graces and was also funneling her money.

“It’s almost 7:30. If you don’t get over here at 7:30, you’re not seeing him. That’s the time we agreed on.” , the mother yells to Anderson.

Anderson rushes through his after work traffic to get to her apartment. He barely makes it. The mother opens the door, “You were almost late”.  Anderson attempts to play with his son and even snap a few selfies together while the mother uses the restroom. He whispers into the boy’s ear, “I’m sorry I put you in this crazy world son. I love you so much. I’m so sorry you got trapped in this situation.”

The mother exits the restroom. “What were you saying to him?” The father says, ‘Nothing”. The mother responds, “Don’t brainwash my son! If you aren’t going to move in and be a family with us, you can stay out of our lives. What is it going to be? Stay with us, or pay child support?”  Mr.Anderson, not being able to afford his apartment, decides to break the lease, and get back together with his ex as an attempt to salvage the situation.  Vanessa, his child’s mother, constantly makes demands over Mr.Anderson. Ridiculing him in front of the child, and making threats such as, “If you don’t do what I say, I’ll report you to the child support office.”  Mr.Anderson reaches out to his father, who is excited to be a grandad, but is worried about the situation. He tries to appease the mother by buying her a car so that he too can be a part of his grandson’s life.

For weeks, Mr.Anderson and his father do their best to be a good father/grandfather towards the boy. The mother makes constant demands towards them both. Asking for gifts, favors, and other errands be ran for her.  After about a month, Mr.Anderson can no longer take it. The constant fighting, arguing, jealously, he suddenly remembers why he left her 3 years ago.  Mr. Anderson contemplates moving in his father, however, he has a new fiance and she isn’t looking for any roommates.

Grudgingly, Anderson decides to move back home with his mother who had divorced his father 15 years prior.  Mr.Anderson’s mother herself exhibits similar qualities that his ex-lover has.  Many negative emotions and demanding attitudes. However, because of the child support payments, he cannot afford to go anywhere else. He agrees to pay his mother $100 per week rent to stay in his old childhood room.

In the meantime, Mr.Anderson takes law courses in his free-time and is looking for a higher paying job.  He still has a dream to one day become a lawyer or perhaps even just a highly respect clerk. Months go by, and Anderson has not seen his son or heard from the mother. She has blocked all communication and threatened to put restraining orders on any of Mr.Anderson’s family members who attempt to come near the small boy.

Essentially, the boy has been completely alienated from his father’s side of the family. Friends and family encourage Anderson to take her back to court, yet, none offer any help for legal fees.

Anderson struggles for the next year. Working, saving, studying, trying to better himself. He even manages to get a new girlfriend. Yet, it only lasts a few weeks once she discovers he is broke from his legal dilemma and is a 28 year old man still living at home.  Just days after this break up happens, he receives a letter in the mail.  A notice from the Child Support Enforcement Agency.

:Due to your arrears being over $7,000 dollars, according to federal law. Your passport is now revoked. We will also be intercepting your tax refunds and reporting this debt to the credit bureau which will negatively impact your credit score. 

Mr.Anderson tries to argue back in writing stating that the amount was from retroactive support, and he was making $5 payments towards it. The agency didn’t care….

Anderson finally finds a new job 1 year later making 32K per year. The monthly child support of $650 per month is still a challenge, but atleast he able to save a little more money now.  Anderson later discovers shortly after getting his new job that the courts automatically notify the mother of this change, thus giving her the chance to modify for an increase. The mother hasn’t been in contact with Anderson for over a year and has been getting her money, so Anderson isn’t too worried about it.

Weeks later, Anderson makes another discovery.  The mother’s brother, who she has living with her, is wanted by the FBI for molesting several underage women. Anderson becomes very distraught and notifies Child Protective Services. They respond by saying that, “Unless the child himself is being abused, with evidence, there is nothing we can do. He is abusing other people, not the child himself.”

After a quick google search, Anderson discovers that the mother is parading the boy around on Youtube making funny parody videos, profiting off the boy’s image, showing off expensive luxury items, most likely purchased with Child Support money.

Anderson becomes very agitated.  He reaches out to the mother by e-mail, letting her know that he is aware of these developments and seeks to sue her in court for custody. She responds by saying:

“If you try to fight for custody, I’ll raise your child support. I know you have a new job making more money now. My chances of winning modification of support are much higher than you taking a child away from his mother. I’ll gladly fight you in court as much as you like. Good luck paying child support and lawyer fees! haha 🙂 … ” 

Anderson knew she was correct. Even if he did manage to secure some type of visitation or custody, she would financially drain him even more and/or involve herself in his life even more, ruining relationships along the way and increasing his stress.

Ultimately, the hatred for this vile woman was more powerful than his love for a son that he only got to see on a handful of occasions.  Anderson was tired. He remembered what it felt like as a boy being estranged from his own father, and the brainwashing that his own mother attempted upon him.

Anderson decided to move on. He was going to strike out on his own and attempt to find his own apartment. Start over again. There was one problem. His credit was ruined due to the child support. No landlord would accept him, even though he had cash on hand to give. He had saved up $3,000 to get himself a place, but no one would lend or rent to him due to his credit score being so bad.

Anderson gets into his car to drive to the next apartment complex to inquire, but the engine doesn’t start. The crankshaft is broken. It will cost him $1,200 to repair. He returns home to his mother’s house, who now has a new alcoholic boyfriend. He witnesses the man slap his mother. Anderson attacks the man, finding himself in yet another court battle. The charges are dismissed.

Anderson vows to never live with his mother again, who he secretly resents for destroying his own father in a nasty divorce 15 years prior.  Anderson bounces around from friend to friend, family member to family member, looking for a place to call home. After a few weeks, every arrangement begins to become tense, forcing him to constantly move and seek survival while attempting to save every penny he can.

All the while, Anderson is seeking higher paying jobs. A few interviews here and there, but nothing so far. Eventually, a job out of state calls him, stating they are willing to pay him a salary of 50K per year.  Anderson jumps for joy, however, if he takes the job, he will have to get it court approved or he will be held in contempt, and his child support is likely to increase two fold. Negating the prospect all together. Anderson deliberates for weeks, until one day, the employer calls him to let him know the job was given to someone else.

With no one to turn to. Anderson is confused and drained. Emotionally. Spiritually, Physically. And financially. He feels as if every choice he makes has some sort of pitfall at the end of it. He feels stuck ,trapped, and enslaved.  He begins drinking regularly to cope with the constant thoughts going through his mind. “One more medicated peaceful moment…” he whispers to himself as he drinks his 4th glass of red wine whereas he slowly falls into a drunken sleep.

The next morning, he gets a call from his mother. “You got mail at my house. They are suspending your driver’s license because of your arrears. I guess because of the retroactive support….”

Anderson calls the Child Support Office to once again explain that he is not in arrears. He pays on time every week. The amount is simply caused by retroactive support during months he was unaware of the child’s existence. The child support office agrees to reinstate his license, but warns him that every 6 months they will send him a letter reminding him to pay off the back support that is accruing with 12% interest each year.

Anderson replies, “Yes, I am well aware of the extortion process!” , and hangs up..

It took the offices 6 weeks to reinstate his license. In the meantime, he had to drive to and work in constant fear that he would be pulled over and arrested for having a suspended driver’s license.

Weeks later, Anderson goes into his office. Tired and stressed as usual. A co-worker walks in and places 12 files on his desk and says, “We need these processed by the end of the day and you’re on reception duty today also. Don’t let these phones ring more than twice before answering”.  Anderson nods.

Anderson walks to the bathroom and begins to feel a little lightheaded. He faints and hits his head. He wakes up in the hospital. The doctor states that he is suffering from bradycardia. A heart condition that is making his heart beat too slowly. They want to implant him with a pacemaker. Anderson refuses and walks out of the hospital, still in his gown. The nurse stops him and says, “State law says that because you lost consciousness, you are not allowed to drive for 6 months.” Anderson keeps walking and gets into his car and drives to an old church he frequented as a boy.

As he sit on its steps, praying, sobbing, crying out to god, he says, “Am I to be a slave for the rest of my life? Am I just a battery for everyone else?” He sees a playground across the street. He takes off his belt and attempts to hang himself from the swingset, crying uncontrollably, wishing for the pain to go away. He ties the belt tightly around his neck, and suspends himself from the playground swingset. The belt breaks after a few seconds.

Anderson lays on the ground, with a purple face, gasping for air.

It was at that moment that Anderson knew. He knew that he wanted to live. He wanted to be in love. To have a wife. To have another child with a woman he actually loved. To stay alive long enough to atleast tell his son the truth. To maybe even teach him to be the man he was supposed to be.  Anderson was no longer just at war with the mother of his child, the authorities, and the bill collectors…..Anderson was now at war with himself.

Anderson returns to work the next day to discover that he has been put on a warning list. If he misses one more day of work due to court or illness, he will be fired.

Anderson looks at his desk. Stacks of applicants looking to obtain credit with his employer, a credit company. Most of the applicants he noticed are in a similar situation as him. He hears the same stories everyday, and has to explain why these people are denied for credit applications.

Anderson takes a swig of the Brandy he hides in his desk at work. He loosens his tie, looks up at the ceiling and says….

“Everyone says men are pigs, but no body complains about bringing home the bacon.”

Anderson looks down at his phone.

It’s a notification from his Facebook account.

His ex-girlfriend who had left him almost two years ago, Jasmine, she is now having a baby of her own with her new husband.

Anderson begins to tear up, and says, “That should have been me.”

Anderson leaves his job without clocking out.

His co-workers ask him where he is going. He doesn’t answer.

He gets into his car and speeds down the interstate going the wrong way.

Anderson is determined to kill himself.

He crashes into a car going 120 MPH.

He dies upon impact. The other car has two named victims.

A woman and her son.

The same woman he had a child with, and the same son that he called his own.

He had unknowingly collided with his former lover and son. All three, now deceased.

Because of what?

When a mother and father fight…

When the sun and the moon argue,

there will be nothing but tidal waves and earthquakes.

And the children of the sun and the moon will bear the weight of this destruction.

CBS- ACTION NEWS

 

2017

Nalini-Global

Randell Stroud

*Fictional story written to illustrate a parable.

 

 

Samantha Power, Former UN Ambassador, was in Nashville last night to offer insights into her career. A former critic of the US government turned insider, who once rallied against US foreign policy who is now in great favor of American exceptionalism. Her career was quite fascinating, whereas she offered many inspiring words of making the best out of your life.

Throughout the speech, I noticed that she discussed China quite a bit. Weary of the fact that China was now the largest consumer of concrete in the world showcasing China’s economic growth while the US has steadily been shifting back its involvement into international affairs via the Trump administration.

Mrs. Power preached the idea that the US is the only country qualified to take the horns of world leadership in reference to protecting human rights. She cited many statistics displaying how the US has supported human rights in areas of accepting refugees, LGBTs people, and “humanitarian war” efforts.

While she did make some strong arguments, I do feel that she left out some key points. Namely, the UN, which was largely created by the United States, issues human rights reports on other member states, whereas no other member states issue human rights reports on American abuses, —Except for China. China is the only country brave enough to issue a human rights report on the Americans. China points out that the United States has record breaking gun-violence statistics, crippling povery, expensive health-care, police brutality, NSA spy programs, and it even mentions the Flint,Michigan water crisis and the lack of response by the US government.

Senator John Kerry stated, “Anyone who reads that report is unpatriotic”.  Chinese officials accuse the American government of “The pot calling the kettle black.”

While I do believe that the United States has a much better reputation at protecting human rights than China, I do applaud China for having the courage to hold our government to  the same standards.  Currently, the UN  security council consists of the United States, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and China. The United States is privileged to veto power that the other permanent security council members do not have.

It was an interesting speech given by Mrs.Power. Her tenure reminded me of my own journey. I was once a very staunch critic of my government, however, after spending some time working inside the courts and dealing with local politicians, I realized that the American system did have some unique beauties to it that other nations do not have. Yet, it is important to maintain a certain level of “devil’s advocacy” in order to stick to the principles of truth.

When we remove our allegiances to man-made flags and religions, the truth that we are all inhabitants of this celestial orb known as “Earth”, becomes ever so apparent.

 

Thank you Mrs. Power for visiting the Langford Auditorium here in Nashville. Your personal stories of struggles, success, and occasional moments of humor, certainly gave everyone a new perspective on their own personal development.

 

What do you guys think? Does the USA have too strong an influence in the United Nations, or is the USA the only country equipped to handle a leadership role?

 

-Nalini-Global

-2017

RANDELL STROUD

Samantha Power lectures at Vanderbilt

Tennessee Civil Asset Forfeiture Challenged by Nalini-Global

On 10/17/2017 , the Metro Nashville Council, held a meeting on resolution RS2017-920- Shared Equitable Program 

This bill proposed that assets seized during police activities that are to later be sold would be divided up between local police departments and the federal DEA.  On the surface, it would appear that this bill is simply creating a working relationship between the local police and the DEA in order to help rid our communities of illegal drug peddling.

However, anyone who is educated on the activities of the DEA, who frequently engage in unconstitutional marijuana raids in states that have legalized the plant and are also known to engage in shady business practices such as entrapment operations. The pink elephant is not the collusion between state and federal governments, but rather the act of civil asset forfeiture, the practice of taking the property of merely “suspected” criminals, whereas those items are later sold at-profit in benefit of the government.

While I don’t support drug use, I do believe the issue should be treated medically, not criminally, and furthermore, the government should not be a beneficiary to such activities . To deem something “illegal”, and then to profit from such illegal activities seems to be more patronizing than benevolent.

The bill was ultimately deffered to be re-voted upon at a later date.  A small victory, albeit for how long can we curb these practices in Tennessee and elsewhere?

Read my statement to the Metro Council here:  (Click here)

  • Nalini-Global 2017

Is hate-speech considered Free-Speech?

 

On October 28th, 2017, a rally will be held in Shelbyville,Tn. The rally is called, “White Lives Matter” lead by a group of White Nationalists. An event that I want no part of. Being a Tennessean myself, I know the history of my state very well. Tennessee,Georgia, and Alabama are cradles for The Ku Klux Klan, a group that has very much weakened in the last 50 years, yet, some racial sentiments from their heyday still live on in rural areas.

While the south has progressed quite a bit over the last few decades, there are still remnant of racial tensions.  After several incidents involving white police officers killing unarmed black citizens, a group known as “Black Lives Matter”, has began to emerge. The decentralized group plans to counter protest the rally in Shelbyville. The rise of white nationalism has grown since the election of Donald Trump who espouses populist ideals.  Black Lives Matter groups want to bring awareness around minorities who are targeted by police, treated unfairly in the justice system, and other problems that go ignored in their communities.

The “White Lives Matter” activists claim that police officers killing white citizens are being ignored in the media, and the constant accusations of racism against them (i.e. playing the race card), and their disdain for “Political Correctness”, is why they are speaking out. White Lives Matter claim that they are tired of being “scapegoats” for media induced race wars.

These statements do not sound extremely controversial. However, among these groups exists a more sinister wing.  The same can be said of the Black Lives Matter movement. In both movements, we see disturbing trends. On the far right, we have Neo-Nazis, skinheads, and the KKK. On the far left, we have Antifa, Black Separatists, and Neo-Anarchists. On both ends of the spectrum, violence, bigotry,  and hateful comments are often dispersed.  Extreme opinions on both the left and the right are resulting in 1960s styled race-wars. It is truly sad to see.

Accusations of “hate-speech” have been numerous in recent years. With the rise of legalized gay marriage, transgender activism, and race riots, the label of “hate speech” is often seen in the media.  Many even advocate that “hate-speech” should be illegal. Protesters on the left can be seen holding signs saying, “Hate-speech is not Free-Speech”. 

Hate-Speech, as commonly defined, is any sort of slur or comment that demeans someone based on their race, religion, gender, or nationality.  But, is hate-speech considered free-speech?”

Yes and no.

Under the Constitution of the United States,  citizens are guaranteed the right to express grievances. There is no stipulations in the constitution as to what those grievances may be. In many instances, grievances are not always agreed upon. My grievance may be to support abortion, whereas another may consider it offensive, thus deeming it as “hate-speech”, since, in the mind of a pro-lifer, I would be advocating for something offensive to their religion.

The gray area of what is “hate speech” is very hazy. Free-Speech has been suppressed many times in American history. The Smith Act of 1940 , made it illegal for American citizens to openly support Communism or Socialism publicly during both World Wars, yet many people today support those policies without fear.

However, generally, as I understand how liberty and freedom works, is quite simple.

A man or woman has the right to say and/or believe whatever they want so long as their words are not encouraging criminal acts such as murder, theft, or vandalism.  From a civil standpoint, this would also include libel and slander.  Under the Civil Rights Act, this also expands into the work-place applicable to employers hiring employees without considering their race, gender, or religion.

If your words are not encouraging violence, libel, slander, or mayhem, then the Constitution supports your right to say whatever you desire, no matter how ridiculous it may be. If a man were standing on a public sidewalk holding a sign that said, “I hate White people”. Would I be offended? yes! Would I be upset? Yes. Would I organize a counter-protest? Very likely.  Would I ask that his action be made illegal? No.

In some situations, the ability to say controversial things sparks debate, communication, and growth.  The 1st amendment of the Constitution was not designed so that we may talk about the weather, it was designed so that people could say very controversial things outside of the norm of society without fear of suppression.

It is a very slippery slope. In fact, under the Patriot Act and the NDAA , free speech is suppressed. Under these laws, anyone who supports terrorism, even verbally, can be detained without a trial and/or placed on a watchlist effectively having their passports revoked.  It sounds good in theory, until you realize that it is very ambiguous. Let’s say I post on Facebook, “I hate paying taxes!”.  Under the Patriot Act, some controller from a far away office could legally monitor that comment and place me on a watchlist saying that I am advocating “anti-government” rhetoric.  It seems far fetched, but it is actually happening and has happened to many people.

Soon, our political leaders will be able to silence anyone so long as they use buzzwords like: Terrorism. Racist. Homophobic. Islamphobe. Bigot.  We see it all the time in politics. When Barack Obama was president, I was often called “racist” anytime I criticized him, even though my criticisms were always towards his policies and not his race, the accuser didn’t care, because my skin did not match theirs. On the flip side, when I criticize President Trump, the far-right accuses me of being an undercover “Antifa” member or a “liberal”.  Some could argue that such accusations could be illegal under “libel” and “slander”, since these are attacks on my personal character/reputation. General comments made towards society and public officials are absolutely protected under the 1st amendment.

I am non-partisan and I am not easily offended, so, I let those comments roll off my shoulders, however, the point is made…

Do we truly live in a society that is only able to criticize those who look exactly like us? I may catch a lot of flack for saying this, but, I believe that a man or woman should legally be allowed to utter any comment that does not command a criminal or libelous act. If they are general comments made and they do not instruct murder,theft,vandalism,libel, or slander, then the person/group should either be left alone, or, if you disagree, you should peacefully counter-protest that individual or group.

If a protester is advocating for murder or destruction, the protester should not be counter-protested, but rather, you should call the police and have them thrown in jail because they are guilty of conspiracy.  If a Neo-Nazi shouts into the streets, “I am going to kill all black people.”  This is not free-speech. He is openly expressing his intent to murder anyone who has black skin. The police should be called.  However, if that same Neo-Nazi exclaims, “We shouldn’t allow foreigners to immigrate into the US”,  his words are extremely unintelligent, but they are not illegal.

The fact that the Neo-Nazi is even allowed to say this will spark a debate. Debates are very necessary for human evolution. The only way we can remove stupidity is to allow for stupidity to rear its ugly head so that we may publicly shame it.

Free-Speech is often confused with “popular speech”.  Just because a speaker isn’t saying something that is widely accepted, doesn’t automatically mean that he/she should be locked in jail, castrated, or charged with a felony.

Are racists idiots? Yes

Should we fear all Muslims? No

Should we care whether or not Gay people get married? No, that’s their business.

Should we assume that anyone who doesn’t agree with us is racist? No

These are my opinions, but many may disagree. And they should have the right to. 

In the words of a great philosopher….

 “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – Evelyn Beatrice Hall

 

On October 28th, 2017,  Black Lives Matter will counter protest the “White Lives Matter” rally in shelbyville.  The Constitution says that both groups are allow to commence in their activities. Both groups are legally protected.  If violence, vandalism, libel, or slander is used during these rallies by either side, then you can expect arrests to be made. The judge will not care if you are a Liberal, Conservative, or whatever. If you do the crime you must do the time.

If the judge or jury issues what is perceived as an unfair verdict, the public has every right to protest, boycott, counter-sue the state, and/or express their grievances towards that also.

It’s time we get back to the basics and read a little “Common Sense.”

I’m sure Benjamin Franklin would agree.

Nalini-Global

2017

Randell Stroud

Where is the International Day of The Boy?

Today the United Nations declared that October 11th, would now be considered “International Day of The Girl”, bringing awareness to the fact that 1 in 4 girls world-wide will become married before the age of 14.  Girls are also more likely to end up as sex trafficking slaves than boys are. Girls are also subject to genital mutilation in developing countries like Sudan, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia.

As these girls turn into women, 1 in 4 of them will end up in an abusive relationship.  Being a girl/woman, in human society is rife with challenges that should never be ignored or marginalized. However, as a gender studies enthusiast, I noticed that there is no international day of the “boy”. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. According to studies, “Fathers Day” generates 1/4 of the income from sales as compared to “Mothers Day”.  If Fathers are being ignored in their importance, then why not their sons too? Makes sense….

We must recognize that boys/men face unique challenges that girls/women do not. For example,  According to “Child-soldier.org”,  in the last 10 years, over two million child soldiers ranging from the ages of 4-15 years old, have been killed in combat. In places where child soldiers are used, more than 95% of the time, the soldiers will be boys. In fact, the military draft, including the United States, only targets men. In most countries, women are not required to sign up for conscription.

As far as genital mutilation is concerned, over 70% of newborn male babies are circumcised. A process that is not medically necessary and causes extreme pain and disfigurement to the male reproductive organs.  The foreskin that is removed contains thousands of nerve-endings, once removed, many pleasure sensing nerves and self-cleaning organisms are removed in the process. After the operation is complete, the hospitals keep the foreskins and use them for other medical procedures. Essentially, they are harvesting free organs, mainly because this sort of mutilation is socially acceptable. However, when we discuss “Female Circumcisions”, then suddenly it becomes a human rights issue.

Boys who will later turn in men are subject to many shocking statistics. Men live up to 3-5 years less than women. Men are 3 times more likely to commit suicide. Twice as likely to file for Bankruptcy due to societies demands on them to be “bread-winners”, and 1 in 7 men will end up in a relationship with an abusive woman. While many governments sponsor domestic violence shelters for women, none exist for the male counter-parts.

Men who fight for legal custody of their children will only win 7% of the time, and only after spending upwards to $30K on lawyer fees. Men are often alienated from their children in family law courts. While the courts have created agencies that enforce child-support and tend to favor custody towards women, the struggles of fathers and having enforced access to their children and/or receiving financial assistance from the government is almost unheard of; hence why there is a Child Support Enforcement Agency but there is no Child Visitation Enforcement Agency. This alienation not only causes severe depression in fathers who are alienated from their sons, but also for the children being alienated. Men are almost always the targets in cases where one parent is alienating the child from the other parent because custody is rarely granted to men to begin with. Boys who grow up with fathers are much more likely to end up as criminals,sexual deviants, and/or less successful in their jobs.

Men’s contributions are also ignored in the professional field.

Men are also more likely to take on higher-paying but also higher-risk jobs such as demolitions, military, law enforcement, construction, high-rise window cleaners, public sanitation, and oil-rig operators. Jobs that come with many health-risks. While women do exist in these fields, their numbers are very low.

Girls face unique challenges, especially in sexually charged situations. Girls also face workplace discrimination because employers fear that once they become mothers, they will not devote time to their work, thus they sometimes avoid hiring them. Is this fair? Absolutely not! In no way, shape, or form am I marginalizing the struggles that girls and women face. They are real!

But, have we gotten so focused on developing the rights of girls and women that boys and men have been chopped down in the process? This is why Nalini-Global prefers the term of “Universal Human Rights” instead of women’s rights, men’s rights, immigrants rights, ect…

The bottom line is, “HUMANS” have rights! If we are only capable of fighting for the rights of those people who look and feel as we do, then we inadvertently become discriminatory ourselves. For the misogynists who claims that “women should get back in the kitchen”, and for the misandry Feminists who calm that “Men are nothing more than sperm donors to us.” , are both proponents of extremism.

Instead of having a Women’s Rights March or a “Men’s Rights March”, why not have a “Gender Equality” march that addresses the grievances of both men and women? Because there is a bias! It is easy to fight for the rights of those who look like us. But, if we truly believe in equality, we must also ask that our sisters support their brothers, and our brothers support their sisters.

Should we celebrate mothers, girls, and women in general for the contributions that they give to our society and to our homes? Absolutely!

Should we celebrate fathers, boys, and men in general for the contributions that they give to our society and to our homes? Absolutely!

I don’t want to live in a gender neutral society. There are differences between men and women. We are not biologically equal. Both sexes contain physical and mental advantages and disadvantages. Let us start by celebrating the things that make women and men unique, and start talking about the things that negatively impact women and men.  We may be separate in our biology, but in our spirits, and our claim to human rights, we are absolutely equal!

So to our boys who will someday become men…

Thank you for being strong, masculine, and determined. We celebrate your masculinity and we fathers will also love and support you. We will help you become strong leaders, loyal husbands, hard workers, and diligent advocates for social change. Keep up the good work.

Nalini-Global

2017

-Randell D Stroud

Dedicated to Eli Ross Sayson.

Gentrification is a losing battle: “Read Niccolo Machiavelli”

Oct/3/2017;

As I approached the 6th district courthouse in Nashville,Tn,  on Oct.3rd, 2017, around 6pm, there was a group of Native Americans protesting outside the building, chanting,

“Columbus Day is Murder Day. Today is Indigenous People’s Day!”

A local Native American, Albert Bender, lead the group. We briefly spoke about the DCS and CPS epidemic of kidnapping native children from reservations, displacing them in white homes, thus, erasing their culture.  After a few minutes of chit-chat, we went inside the court building in an attempt to attend the Councilman’s chambers for their General Assembly Hearings. Mr.Bender wanted to adopt a resolution on the agenda to change, “Columbus Day” to formally be known as, “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”.  He was barred from entry alongside his large group of followers.

The GA was mainly focusing on gentrification issues and building permits. For years, many  wealthy New Yorkers and Californians have been moving to Nashville.  Development has been booming! Businesses, restaurants, apartment skyrises,— all popping up like a virus! Multiplying by the day.

In many respects, this development has been amazing for the city. However, many of the locals are aggravated by the development due to increased traffic and rising costs of living from property tax hikes caused by development. Many activists charged the councilmen, stating that the economy was bad, they needed jobs, but also feared that development and rising costs were forcing them out of their homes. Their once affordable apartments were now un-affordable. Many locals were being forced to move to surrounding areas like Antioch and Murfreesboro. Places that were less populated and had higher rates of poverty and crime.

Growing up on the east side of Nashville, my heart really went out for those people. Many of the housing projects had been bulldozed, and dozens of families were displaced and forced to move to more affordable areas. Many of those families had lived in the area all their lives.  I grew up , lower-middle class, not rich, not struggling, but definitely on a budget!

In my younger years, I would have certainly been on board with the protests. However, after reading Niccolo Machiavelli’s , “The Prince” , running for office in 2012, and having gone through the challenges of adult life, — I had realized it was a fruitless war.

I addressed the GA law-makers, whereas I shamed both protesters and law makers.  I shamed the protesters, who were against the new hotels being built due to “increased traffic”, while they simultaneously cried out that their weren’t enough jobs. I shamed the congress by exposing the fact that, they weren’t really listening, they were just passing bills and merely acting as if the people’s voices mattered. It was nothing more than a “dog and pony show” as I called it.

I reminded my audience that, Nashville looked like New York City 50 years ago. However, with population increases and development, it is a consequence of “political realism”.  If you cannot adapt to development, you will be forced to move out. It sounded harsh (and it was), but it is the reality and will always be the reality. Big business and money will always overshadow the plight of the poor and minorities.

It wasn’t what everyone wanted to hear, but it was the truth.

“Politics are fake”,  …… “Adapt or Die.” 

This is my view towards gentrification. And I am no hypocrite! I myself am also being forced out of Nashville due to not being able to afford the rising costs of rent. It is sad, but I cannot argue with political realism. I will pack my bags and see where I can thrive. This is the nature of our human existence.

Most of my activism focuses on reform, realism with a hint of idealism, and communication. However, when it comes to gentrification, there is no way around it. When wealthy individuals invade a small city, they will take it over, and the local government will salivate at the money to be made. The poor will be given transitional housing, and small acts of assistance, only to be slowly phased out. It has always been this way and it always will be. Cities crash and cities boom. Currently, Nashville is booming! If you aren’t a doctor, lawyer, business tycoon, or trust fund kid, then you probably aren’t feeling too confident living in metropolitan Nashville at the moment.

While my speech didn’t offer any “real” solutions, it did cause a silence amongst the crowd coupled with a bit of introspection. My words cut deep. The protesters knew that their plight was futile, and the politicians knew that this entire “hearing” on gentrification was nothing more than a formality.  I even encouraged some of the citizens to move to Missouri at one point in my speech. (I’m sure the councilman leader didn’t like those words!)

I wasn’t expecting to give a speech that day. It was impromptu, and I was little nervous, but I felt that it had to be said, thus, I took to the stand. After my words were completed, I said, “Thank you”, and simply walked off.

You could cut the tension in the room with a knife!

There were looks of disappointment on the faces of the protesters… as if I had revealed that Santa wasn’t real!

There were looks of cynical laughter on the faces of the politicians, as if I had belittled their power based in front of the public or as if I was just a peon.

Regardless, the truth was spoken!

In 20 years, Nashville will become a major city like Chicago or Manhattan, or the boom will stop, Nashville will crash and return to its former small city charm, whereas an influx of the lower-income brackets of society will return to their former homes.

As long as big business and big government remain friends, gentrification is here to stay.

-Randell Stroud

2017

Naliniglobal