Samantha Power lectures at Vanderbilt

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

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

Child Support Enforcement Agency, “We don’t care if you see your child.”

September 23,2017-

On September 23rd, 2017,  Memphis Legislator , Antonio Parkinson, held a “Block Party For Peace” event featuring a Townhall meeting with the Child Support Enforcement Agency. Onlookers had the chance to address concerns with the agency and lawmakers directly. In attendance was, Kenya Rahmaan, founder of the child-support reform organization known as the “Child Support Hustle”, with radioshow host, Marcus Echols, on deck. The CSEA sparred with Rahmaan and Echols regarding Child Support Issues. After an intense debate, a moderator opened the floor to the audience.

(Marcus Echols, Kenya Rahmaan, and Randell Stroud of Nalini-Global)

I had the chance to approach the stand and ask several questions. I asked the following questions…

“If homosexual couples divorce, there is no man vs woman scenario. The courts are forced to look at the situation equally as far as custody goes. Why can we not treat heterosexual divorces with the same eye?”

“Why don’t fathers receive representation and case workers to assist them? Under Civil law, we are not entitled to representation, however, with so many criminal sanctions being threatened, why not make an exception?”

“Why is there a child support enforcement agency but no Child Visitation enforcement Agency?”

The CSEA responded by saying that they are a “IV-D” federally funded agency, whereas custody issues  were not important to them. The representative from the CSEA said, “I know this sounds bad but, child support has no bearing on custody issues..we are a IV-D Agency”

(see video above)

What is Title IVD of the Social Security Act? The law states that, for ever dollar received in child support, the federal government agrees to pay the state with a matched amount in the form of a grant. More or less— They are making money from child support! Thus there is no incentive for shared parenting without child support being needed.

I tried to follow up with more questions but was quickly  ushered away.

Afterward, I had an opportunity to speak with Rep.Parkinson. I handed him a copy of my shadow report, “Global Human Trafficking in the Family Law Courts.”  

(Stroud and Rep.Parkinson) 

Mr.Parkinson did his best to remain neutral, but did agree that reform was needed. In fact, Mr.Parkinson himself sponsored a bill just last year that reduced retroactive support from indefinitely to 5 years.  A major step at reducing criminal arrearages for new child support cases.

Our dream is to eventually see a norm of default 50/50 custody. There should be no presumption that women are more qualified to be custodial parents based solely on gender.  Default 50/50 custody with no order of child support, unless otherwise warranted, should be the standard.

Regardless of where you stand, nearly everyone can agree that the family law system is in need of a serious update!

Stay tuned!

-Randell D Stroud

Nalini-Global 2017