All posts by JD

I am an author, artist, journalist, activist, and most importantly, I am an Individual, with my own voice, my own will and my own ideas.

Simple Pleasures

It was another Friday evening, and the work week had come to a close.  There we sat with twenty-six dollars cash between us, and a burning hunger for a change from the usual ritual. Turn on the television and spend an hour or so surfing to find a movie we both liked and making a snack, then either playing an online game, watching the news or just calling it a night early.

Then the idea hit!  Let’s hop in the van and head on down to the cheap seat theater.  The 2.00 shows were on all evening. What a bargain, and we wouldn’t have to crack out the debit cards.  God knows that’s for bills in this all so insecure economy right now.  We found a movie we had heard about and decided we would see it.  Out the door we went to watch a movie freshly released on DVD to watch on the big screen.

Over the winding street and through Knob Town, northbound on Noland Road we go.  There we were, in the half abandoned and pothole ridden parking lot of Noland Fashion Square.  The dimly lit sign above the old Movie house read Cinema 6 with a big yellow sign “Cash Only” on the door.  In the back of my mind I thought, oh my, what I wouldn’t give for a nice seat at any AMC about now. But we had driven this far there was no turning back.

Little did I know the experience I was about to have. From the moment we walked in the door, it was like I had just stepped back in time 30 plus years, and this was going to be a night, different than many others, and one that I will cherish forever.

Just inside the main door was an old ticket booth, now closed, so we went in the second doors to head for the counter and pay for our movie tickets.  I felt the magic of the memories of times past.  The smell was that of a musty older theater I remembered from the past.  Below me was the floor covered in old gaudy print carpeting that had been shampooed too many times, and bore stains of movie goers’ ventures and spills over decades in time.  The walls, just as I recalled three decades ago, old posters tacked to one or two, and a few arcade games along one of them, while the other was lined with a few old park benches outside the rest rooms.

We headed to the man standing behind a counter that had an old ticket dispenser built in, wearing regular clothes and a smile.  Not rushed and curt like the usual modern theater booths where they hide behind a glass window and you have to try and yell into a little round metal vented talk hole.  We told him the movie we wished to see, paid four dollars and we received the tickets that were just like the ones we used to get in the movie houses in the 80’s.  Truly I felt like I really had just stepped back in time, and was reliving my youth.  What a smile it brought to my face to feel that young and alive again!

We grabbed our gallon popcorn large beverage and nachos and headed to the specific viewing theater to watch our movie, fumbling with our arms full of the goodies we would consume. Which by the way; was only twelve dollars and twenty-five cents and a great bargain in this economy.  We searched for our seats amongst the many rows of seating I haven’t seen in any theater in ages.  I laughed to myself wondering should I have brought hand sanitizer with me.  We found our spot amongst the many old, tattered and stained seats, got settled and prepared for the previews.   I was still thinking that I may need a sanitization shower when I get home. The floors under the seats were covered with old popcorn, cups, straws, napkins, food remnants and candy wrappers from the viewers of the previous showings, and I chuckled, remembering my very first theater visit contained the same experience and sights so many years ago.

Amongst the hint of mildew and stale popcorn on the floor I sat back and enjoyed the movie and had the time of my life.  Then aftrwards while riding home, I thought to myself once again,  how many other people I know could enjoy such a simple pleasure as much as I did?  Have so many of us let go of our past and who we were or where we came from, and been caugt up in the modern fancier things, that we would rather pay almost 4 times what I spent just to see a movie at the newer cinemas?  What about taking a trip back in time, when we were all young, energetic near broke, no one to impress, and just looking for a good time on a Friday night?

I for one, will never forget, and never turn down another moment to step back in time, enjoy the simplest of things in life, because all too quickly the fancier things we possess or partake in, can all be lost within moments.

  Life is full of hidden treasures

When one truly knows where to look.

There is no map to guide you there

No directions found in a book.

The treasures are not bought or sold

Or based upon ones wealth.

They’re not set upon our stature,

Our personality or our health.

We can find them in the smallest places

Or in the vastest of the lands.

We find them where there is laughter and love

And the sharing of outstretched hands.

The greatest riches we hold in life

Are the memories we share.

With friends and family throughout our lives,

No monetary substance could compare.

© COPYRIGHT PROTECTED United Press International, any use or photocopying of this must be done only with the written consent of the author

©Copyright protected 2013: JD, NWU Local 1981

©United Press International,   ©International Association of Press Photographers and Journalists   Press ID # 1007490467

My Pledge and Your Challenge

This week I have taken a pledge.  It is not a pledge of silence, deprivation or chastity.  It is a “Take no More Crap” pledge.  I will not stand by silently and watch the federal government trample on the Constitution of the United States.  I will not allow my basic rights and freedoms be hampered by laws that are unjust, unsanctioned and criminal.  So while the majority of America sits on their couches, all nice and comfy, watching CNN, FOX or MSNBC and complaining about what is taking place around them.  I am taking action, because someone has to.  Then I will have a right to complain, because I did my part to prevent the injustice. So as you read this, in its entirety, think of what you will pledge to do.  What stand will you take?

It is in my nature to be oppositional and those that know me know this well, but now is the time to be more defiant, while we still are afforded the right to speak our mind, and take action. I am quite confident that will be the next right we will lose, since we already have censorship in the media as it is. That being said, censorship of individual opinion shall soon follow.

I shall be perceived as being perhaps the most anti-oppression individual in the community.  I will not compromise my beliefs, values or moral stance for an alleged governing body. I shall not walk silently and carry a big stick when taking on the enemy.  Instead I shall travel open minded, speaking out, letting my voice be heard, armed with a tazer of “knowledge”, ready to zap reality into the journalistic world.

  • I pledge to never stand by silently while anyone is being oppressed, ridiculed, punished, scrutinized or censored for one’s own personal words or ideals.  Individuality and opinion defines who we are.  Everyone has a voice, whether we agree or not, based on fact we should never be marginalized.  I will speak up twice as loudly in opposition to anyone who refuses someone the right to be heard.  Even if my voice is ignored or ridiculed, it shall one way or another be heard.  The First Amendment of the Bill of rights states that Congress shall make no laws abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.  However they do violate this law often via methods that are abhorrent and vindictive.  A good example of this is seen when a journalist speaks out against the government, they find themselves on a terrorist watch list for voicing an opposition to a socialist regime of pigs with their own self suiting agenda.  Or an American Soldier, who would make a comment about his dislike for the actions of the president, soon finds himself discharged for some fallacy, because they had a negative connotation.  Hence that right to free speech is violated.

It is often said that one of the rights protected by the 1st Amendment is the freedom of expression. But “expression” is not used in the amendment at all. This term is a term of art, for three of the freedoms that are explicitly protected: speech, petition, and assembly. While the use of “freedom of expression” is ubiquitous in this area of 1st Amendment study, it is important to note exactly what “freedom of expression” refers to.  The Constitution does protect the freedom of speech of every citizen, and even of non-citizens — but only from restriction by the Congress (and, by virtue of the 14th Amendment, by state legislatures, too). The same restrictions that apply to the government do not apply to private persons, employers, or establishments. For another example, the government could not prohibit the sale of any newspaper lest it breech the freedom of the press. No newsstand, however, must carry every paper against its owners’ wishes.

  • I pledge to never criticize an individual for their belief system or method of faith or worship, unless it hampers the basic rights and freedoms and is forced upon another through coercion.  It is fine to practice religion if that is one’s choosing, without violence, abuse and mind control.   Our personal faith comes from within, and whether we choose to gather with like-minded believers or practice on our own, that is just what it is, our OWN choice.  My personal belief is that spirituality is in all of us and we do not need four walls for the devil and hypocrisy to corner us, and force conformity, in the name of unity.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  Except for one notable instance, the reference to any God or Lord, ever appears in the Constitution, neither the original nor in any of the Amendments. The notable exception is found in the Signatory section, where the date is written thusly: “Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven”. The use of the word “Lord” here is not a religious reference, however. This was a common way of expressing the date, in both religious and secular contexts. This lack of any these words does not mean that the writers of the Constitution were not spiritual people, any more than the use of the word Lord means that they were. What this lack of these words is ex-positive of is not a love for or disdain for religion, but the feeling that the new government should not involve itself in matters of religion.

  • I pledge to fully exercise my 2nd Amendment right to as an individual secure to keep and bear arms,  and I will not tolerate that right being infringed.  The 2nd Amendment, starting in the latter half of the 20th century, became an object of much debate. Concerned with rising violence in society and the role firearms play in that violence, gun control advocates began to read the 2nd Amendment one way. On the other side, firearm enthusiasts saw the attacks on gun ownership as attacks on freedom, and defended their interpretation of the 2nd Amendment just as fiercely. If the authors of the 2nd Amendment could have foreseen the debate, they might have phrased the amendment differently, because much of the debate has been centered around the way the amendment is phrased.

Is the amendment one that was created to ensure the continuation and flourishing of the state militias as a means of defense, or was it created to ensure an individual’s right to own a firearm?

Despite the rhetoric on both sides of the issue, the answer to both questions is most likely, “Yes.” The attitude of Americans toward the military was much different in the 1790’s than it is today. Standing armies were mistrusted, as they had been used as tools of oppression by the monarchs of Europe for centuries. In the war for independence, there had been a regular army, but much of the fighting had been done by the state militias, under the command of local officers. Aside from the war, self ownership is needed because attacks by scrupulous individuals with harmful intent in mind are relatively common. I cherish my right to own my weapon and defend my property and my rights because it is just that, a right.  The criminals are always armed, so why shall we not take the same stance and self preserve what is ours?    What I feel is wrong is the regulation of this via monies given to local organizations as law, forcing us to register and pay for this right.

This amendment was meant to ensure that individuals have the absolute right to own firearms; the second is that the amendment was meant to ensure that States could form, arm, and maintain their own militias. Either way, it is a bar to federal action only, because the 2nd Amendment has not been incorporated by the Supreme Court to apply to the states. This means that within its own constitution, a state may be as restrictive or non-restrictive as it wishes to be in the regulation of firearms; likewise, private rules and regulations may prohibit or encourage firearms. For example, if a housing association wishes to bar any firearm from being held within its borders, it is free to do so.  I do not agree with, nor partake of local home owner’s association to allow this infringement.

We have freedom of speech in the United States, but you are not truly free to say whatever you wish. You cannot incite violence without consequence; you cannot libel someone without consequence; you cannot shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater without consequence. Why cannot gun ownership by similarly regulated without violating the Constitution? Of course, prosecution for speech violations only take place after the fact, and regulation of gun ownership is necessarily different — it is a “prior restraint,” a condition rarely allowed in speech restrictions, but necessary in gun restrictions.

The trick is finding that balance between freedom and reasonable regulation, between unreasonable unfettered ownership and unreasonable prior restraint. Gun ownership is indeed a right — but it is also a grand responsibility. With responsibility comes the interests of society to ensure that guns are used safely and are used by those with proper training. If we can agree on this simple premise, it should not be too difficult to work out the details and find a proper compromise.

  •  I pledge to have zero tolerance for overbearing governmental regulation that infringes on my personal right stated in the Constitution. I shall fight with every breath against wrong doing by federal, state and local law enforcement, committing crimes against myself and others in the name of “Justice”.  I will not tolerate the misuse of laws for a hidden agenda through the use of falsely stated reasoning or falsely obtained warrants for search and seizure, or abuse of power tactics used by local law enforcement officials.  The fourth amendment states that it is ‘The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”  Yet the judicial system and its governing bodies falsify information frequently and receive no reprimand when they do so.  I have fallen victim to this recently, only to have my home damaged, personal belongings pilfered through and electronic equipment seized under false pretenses.  All based on an alleged “location” of an “alleged law violator” who did not reside with me.  It was known and expressed but disregarded as I was yanked from my residence by multiple persons bearing weapons pointed at me, as I was physically abused and accosted, and via emotional duress forced to acknowledge the culprits, we not libel for my state of injury.  When all was said and done, my belongings were returned, some damaged, and not a single apology by the sanctioned mafia who imposed such actions upon me.  Stay silent and do nothing?  Ohh contraire!  I am pursuing retribution and exposure of this vigilantism.
  • I pledge to fight a defective system that restricts my rights, via wrongful punishment for evoking these rights.  By supporting a defective government, even just a little, I would then be suborning my own beliefs.  The government knows damn good and well what it’s doing wrong and what is going on and we sit idly by allowing them to become the largest downfall of our nation.  No one tries to deny it.  Yet they ignore it.  Everyone who votes for federal politicians has some responsibility for those misgivings he presents.  Everyone who votes for local and state politicians has responsibility for the heinous offenses against humanity committed by the police in those jurisdictions.  The current Statism imposed upon us is incomprehensibly evil, and cannot and must not be tolerated.   So think closely on how you vote, if you bother to at all.  The votes are counted based on a majority by delegates and super delegates and not the count of the individual, choose wisely who you support and read BOTH sides of every issue.  An unwise choice is an uninformed choice based on labeling of political party verses humanitarian stance, rights and value.

We need to be idealists.  If we don’t have that, we have nothing, and we are no better than the statists and politicians who ruin our country.

  •  I pledge to always and forever hold true to my ideals of not initiating force or coercion, and to always resists in kind attempts to initiate force and coercion upon me or anyone else whom I am responsible for the defense of, and furthermore, to resist in kind attempts to initiate force and coercion upon those who are unable to do so themselves.  The 13th amendment abolished slavery in stating, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States”.  But then what is considered a crime?  Some victimless crimes, receive punishment, thus creating a form of slavery within itself.  By enforcing unjust laws for which one is punished, and sentencing them to serve time in a penal institution is creating a form of slavery to the state or jurisdiction enforcing this unjust law.  Many laws need revision or elimination.  As an individual, I shall fight alongside like minded individuals in pursuit of the removal of unjust laws that enforce victimless crimes.   A good example of an unjust law is our traffic cameras that repeatedly take pictures of individuals at traffic stops NOT breaking any laws.  The cameras were intended to be triggered when one violates a traffic law, but it has been exposed in multiple media formats to NOT be the case.  The cameras are repeatedly taking pictures regardless of what the driver is doing, to include abiding by the traffic laws.  I sat last week at a light and had my picture taken repeatedly, and thought to myself, “If I flash the camera, will I get a ticket for indecent exposure?”  Technically since how would the government know if they are allegedly only taking captions of traffic violators?  Think about it next time your at a traffic stop with a camera, what is it capturing you doing in your own vehicle that is not a violation?

Now some may find this to be acceptable conduct, but is it?  Our vehicle is our personal property, and we are responsible for its content as we are also our homes.  Would we tolerate governing bodies to, at will, come into our homes and photograph its contents or individuals in it?  I think not!  Statistics have shown that the majority of traffic violations are not decreased by these cameras intended to stop them nor do they pose any relative benefit should one be committed that is not observed by a physical witness present should one occur.  When pulled over for a traffic violation are we not usually asked permission for our vehicles to be searched (that is if the officer follows the law)?  Then why do we allow them to unjustly take pictures of us at traffic lights exposing our private goings on inside our vehicles, if not unlawful?

  • I pledge to fight over or under taxation based on ones status financially.  The 16th Amendment states, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”  Tax breaks and tax incentives for the wealthy to secure political gain is bullshit plain and simple!  Earned income credit is just as much bullshit also.  People choose their family size the minute they take the risk, lie down with the opposite sex for procreation, and bring a new life into the world.  Taxation should not be based on the census of quantity of household. If one cannot afford their taxes, get a second job or stop overpopulating beyond their means of support. It should be based on the amount earned and taxed accordingly and evenly across the board on everyone without the adjustments and freebies.  A flat tax would be appropriate and eliminate the favors imposed by politicians and government.  Each and every hard working individual should be equally taxed, whether they earn a menial salary or are raking in millions annually.  When the Amendment was written it clearly stated taxation was not to be any regard to census or enumeration, so why do we repeatedly allow tax breaks to those who do NOT need them?

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”  That is our Preamble to our Constitution folks!

So do you pledge to defend your Constitution and Constitutional Rights?  Or will you continue to sit silently and complain when the United States of America becomes the Un-unified State of Disaster?

©Copyright protected 2011: JD, NWU Local 1981

©United Press International,   ©International Association of Press Photographers and Journalists   Press ID # 1007490467