Tag Archives: Politics

Do You Get Mad, Indifferent, or Take Action?

Picket Sign

When you learn about injustices that occur on a daily basis, do you get mad, indifferent, or take action?

When you hear about another mass shooting, do you get mad, indifferent, or take action?

When you see someone do something politically incorrect, do you get mad, indifferent, or take action?

When you watch a video about a traffic stop gone bad, do you get mad, indifferent, or take action?

When you know someone is being taken advantage of, do you get mad, indifferent, or take action?

Getting mad is easy. In today’s cell phone driven society, people are recording life. We see a lot more things happening. We see more injustices unfold right before our eyes. A natural result is we finds thing to get outraged about, sometimes on a daily basis. Some of these things make us mad, but not mad enough to do anything. Sure we might comment on a post, or complain a little to a “listening” ear, but our “anger” does not elicit a response that will provide a solution or remedy.  We just don’t care enough to take action.

See: police misconduct

This leads to a feeling of being indifferent when certain things happen. Again, we are not moved to care enough to take action. Indifference sets in when we see or hear about the same injustice time and time again until it becomes normal. It no longer shocks, angers, or moves us in any way. We simply accept it. It gets worse when we justify injustice. We say things like: “that’s the way things are” or “he /she always does things like that”.  We rationalize things and dismiss them as if they are routine. Our indifference shows and remains until things change.

See: mass shootings

Taking action is the hard part. What things get you so upset that you must take action? I am sure the list starts with people we care about. Let some injustice fall upon a loved one. We will respond. But will we take action when something unfair happens to a total stranger? How about those times when we see something on social media? Shouldn’t we be moved to action then? I think we know why to take action: injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. We have to learn when to take action and how to effect change. Then, we will make a difference when injustices occur.

See: Trump protests

I will leave you with this. When you see injustice, regardless of what it is and who it is against, do you get mad, indifferent, or take action? I suggest you figure out what gets you mad and take action. I also suggest you figure out what makes you indifferent change it into action. In both cases, you make a conscious decision o get involved. When more people get involved, more injustice gets eliminated.

It’s your move. Will You Get Mad, Indifferent, or Take Action?

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I am Trumped Out

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Marker at the entrance of the now defunct Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, NJ

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of Donald Trump. I am tired of his Presidency. I am tired of his antics. I am tired of his tweets. I am tired of his lies and falsehoods. I am tired of his misrepresentations. I am tired of his insults. I am tired of his bullying. I am tired of his family. I am tired of his enablers. I am tired of his supporters. I am tired of those stupid red MAGA hats. I am tired of him period.

I am Trumped out.

I hope he leaves office soon. I believe anyone would be better as President than Donald Trump. I’d take Mike Pence for a few years. I’d take George W. Bush again if it was possible. I’d take Mitt Romney. Honestly, I would take any Republican over Trump, and that includes Mitch McConnell (but not by much). There are plenty of Republicans who would be better at this than Donald Trump. At least they would be more Presidential. Mr. Trump does not have a Presidential bone in his body. It shows every day.

I am Trumped out.

I am convinced that he is the worst President in my lifetime. Since I was barely born when Richard Nixon was run out of office, I will not include him. You don’t have to be a Presidential historian to figure it out. Just think about the political climate we had in recent years. Think about our relationships with our friends and allies around the world. Think about our dealings with our enemies and hostile governments around the world. Hell think about how we debated our politics. All these things have taken a turn for the worse with Donald Trump at the helm.

I am Trumped out.

Trump is worse than Gerald Ford, the man who pardoned Nixon and his criminal activity. He is worse than Jimmy Carter, the man who let the hostages sit in Iran. Trump is worse than Ronald Reagan, the man who sold arms to Iran to fund Nicaragua. He is worse than George H. Bush, the man who promised “no new taxes” and then raised taxes. Trump is worse than Bill Clinton, the man who lied about his Oval Office escapades. He is worse than George W. Bush, the man who never found a single weapon of mass destruction in Iraq. Trump is worse than Barack Obama, the man who let an embassy fall in Benghazi. Even at their worst moments, each of the last seven Presidents are better than Donald Trump.

I am Trumped out.

I am ready to turn the page on this farce of a Presidency. Let the history books and historians who write them retell you what you already know. In the words of Donald Trump, his Presidency is “a disaster.” He, his handlers, supporters, and a few loyal republicans, are the only ones who will not acknowledge he is failing “bigly.” He “hires the best people”, only to see them investigated and charged. He knows more things than everyone but calls the Bible book “Two Corinthians.” He wanted to deny aid to Puerto Rico, in part because “it’s surrounded by water, big water.”

I am Trumped out.

If you agree with me that’s great. If you don’t that’s great too. We can agree to agree or agree to disagree. But I am tired of Donald Trump. I am tired of the uncertainty his Presidency has delivered. I am tired of the revolving door of people who work, and then leave the White House. I am tired of his ability to appoint Supreme Court and lower court judges (which will impact our country for the next 30 years). I am tired of Melania Trump being dragged through this nightmare. I am tired of him blaming Obama, the Bushes, Hillary Clinton, Robert Mueller, and anyone else but himself. And finally, I am tired of his stupid freakin’ border wall.

I am Trumped out.

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary can get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

 

Join Gary A. McAbee on social media!

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garymcabee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wakeupandriseup

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McAbeeGary

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/garymotivation/

 

Voting: Vote Suppression 101

No Vote

Voting: Vote Suppression 101

 

I consider denying voting privileges one of the great disqualifiers. Disqualifiers are things that are taken away from people to prevent them for being active participants in our society. Denying the right to voter meant to disqualify millions of people. It is a way to silence opposing viewpoints, deny the rights of others, and prevent some people from contributing to our system of government. We know there is one political party who actively seeks to deny people from exercising their right to vote. The question for me is very simple: why?

We have heard the main “reason” stopping, or at least scrutinizing the right to vote for some people. Illegal voting is the claim thrown about by those who want tighter voting restrictions. However, study after study has shown that illegal voting is rare in our country. Yet stopping “widespread” illegal voting is a winning argument for those who want to disqualify others by preventing them from voting. It is a scare tactic. It is fear-mongering. It is wrong, and it must be stopped.

What are the ways that voting is being suppressed in our country? The following list contains several ways votes are being suppressed, voters are being intimidated, and votes are being challenged…

  1. Gerrymandering: also known as drawing and redrawing of political maps that represent voting blocs. As maps are drawn, they focus of the demographics of a given area which tells and predicts voting patterns and trends. Winning districts is equal to having additional representatives in government. If you can draw political maps that favor your party winning more districts, then that party will have more representation. One political party has a habit of gerrymandering and fight against efforts to fix poorly drawn political maps.

 

  1. Limiting early voting: reducing the days in which people can vote in advance of an election. Early voting, especially on weekends, is convenient for those who work abnormal schedules or multiple jobs. People like this may have a hard time getting to the polls on election day. They are also more likely to be poor, minority, and older voters. Early voting gives these voters options. One political party has a habit of limiting early voting, especially in areas where there are poorer, minority, and elderly voters.

 

  1. Closing polling places: reducing the amounts of polling places where people can exercise their right to vote. The amount of polling places should be based on the number of eligible voters in each area. Simply put, areas with more voters need more polling places. It should be based on a mathematical formula, maybe one polling place per 10,00 eligible voters. This would cut down on waiting times on election day too. One political party has a habit of trying to close polling places, especially in densely populated areas where there are poorer, minority, and elderly voters.

 

  1. Stripping voter rolls: or removing names from the voter rolls based on technicalities that the voter may not know exist. Eligible voters are being purging from voting rolls due to issues like incorrect addresses, spelling issues, and even hyphenated names. All these issues can, and should be allowed to be, corrected on voting day. However, in some places voters are also being removed from voting rolls for not voting in previous elections. This is more difficult to fix on election day. One political party has a habit of striping voters off voting rolls while the voters are unaware it is happening to them.

 

  1. Challenging voter Identification: having the correct voting identification can be a challenge. Not everyone possesses a driver’s license, so a non-driver state identification should be usable. Students, especially those from out-of-state, would not possess either identification, so their student identification should be acceptable. Elderly people may not have any of these forms of identification, so a list of acceptable forms of identification should be drafted from them (similar to forms of identification needed to complete I-9 forms for employment). One political party has a habit of challenging all of this and making it difficult for anyone who votes that does not possess a driver’s license.

 

  1. Registering to vote: should be allowed up to and including election day. A country whose economy is based on computers and programming should be able to have a universal system to record and add eligible voters regardless of when they register. We have some states that has strict cut-off dates from registering to vote. Then we have others that somehow find a way to allow same-day registration and voting on election day. There is an astonishing lack of consistency attached to voter registration that affects, local, state, and national elections. One political party has a habit of pushing for limiting the times for new registrations by eligible voters.

 

  1. Restoring voting rights: anyone who has had their voting rights have been taken away should have the ability to have their rights restored. This includes people improperly removed from voting rolls. It also includes former felons, who have paid their debt to society by fulfilling a sentence issued by a judge or court proceeding. Once their sentence is complete, then their voting rights should be restored. Again, people who fall into this category are more likely to be poorer and minorities. Once political party has a habit of blocking restoring voting rights to those purged from voting rolls and to those who served time in prison due to crime.

 

  1. Political advertisements and robocalls: are tactics used to suppress the vote by providing false information or intimidation. Political advertisements are misleading and can make voters think twice about heading to the polls. Some ads have said things like criminal background checks, warrants, and child-support payments will be checked at polling places. None of these things are true. Robocalls, or recorded phone calls, often give misleading information like wrong dates and times to go vote. One political party has a habit of spreading falsities about the voting experience both at the polls and through ad and robocalls.

 

  1. Integrity of voting machines and counting: voting machines should be as secures as ATM machines. For some strange reason, we are not concerned when we stick a card in an ATM and it has a record of our monetary transactions. The same should be true for voting. We have voting machines that change votes. We have voting machines that do not list all the candidates or list them in different orders than sample ballots distributed to voters. We have issues with counting during every election cycle, which forces recounts and additional confusion. Again, it is astonishing that we do not have a standard voting machine or technology used nationwide. Instead, each state, and in most instances, each community has their own way of voting and recording votes. One political party has a habit of blocking upgrades to our voting machines and technology that would secure the integrity of voting.

 

  1. Secretary of State: is the elected official responsible for voting in their state, Of course, the Secretary of State belongs to a political party. Their decisions about each of the previous 9 voting issues raised here can be supported or rejected by the Secretary of State. It is amazing to me that a person n this capacity would be more wiling to find ways to discourage people from voting rather than encourage and find ways more people can vote. Yet disqualifying and discouraging people from voting happens time and time again in states across the country. These efforts are often spearheaded by the Secretaries of State in numerous states. One political party has the habit of having Secretaries of State who look to limit voting rules and regulations, often to the detriment of poorer, minority, elderly, and student voters.

 

I have laid out an extensive case that points to one fact: someone or some group, some politician, or politicians, and some elements of our voting system, are meant to disqualify and prevent some of our citizens from voting. Historically, this narrative fits with the history of voting rights in the United States. First, voting rights were only given to white males who owned land. This disqualified everyone else. Then it was given to other white males. This disqualified everyone else. Then it was given to women. This disqualified everyone else. Then it was given to minorities and all remaining citizens. This qualified everyone to vote.

However, tactics like those presented here were slowly, yet steadily implemented to take away the right to vote for many people. Isn’t it interesting that these tactics are more likely to negatively affect the people who were disqualified from voting the most: poorer, minority, and elderly voters. Add to that younger, student voters who are more likely to vote for one political party over another. The reasoning behind all of this is clear to me. Voting is a way to consolidate and keep political power that favors one group of people over others. Any disruption of this “system” is met with opposition in the form of preventing people from voting to change the “system”.

I put the blame for this directly on the political party who has a habit of making it harder from people to vote: the modern Republican party and those responsible for its leadership. They are fully aware of the demographic shift that is occurring in our country. In 30-50 years, they and their followers will become the minority in this country. This means there will be far less people who will vote for them and their conservative ideology. To defend against this, they use tactics to disqualify people from voting. Simultaneously they are using their elected officials, especially judges, to enact and enforce laws that will ensure their way of life and political “system” will continue to thrive and survive long after they are no longer the majority in our country. This is despicable, and it must be met with vigilance. We can’t allow people to be disqualified from voting.

Voting: Vote Suppression 101

 

 

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary can get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

 

Join Gary A. McAbee on social media!

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garymcabee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wakeupandriseup

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McAbeeGary

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/garymotivation/

 

 

 

Hiding the Truth from Americans: I Wonder Why “They” Took Civics Out of the Curriculum

For those of you who don’t know, civics is the study of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and the study of government and how it works (Dictionary.com). In our formal education, it is rare that students take a course in civics. Instead, they learn only sparse bits and pieces of information pertaining to how government works. This slice of education is usually buried in US History textbooks and only mentioned as it relates to certain episodes in our history. In other words, our students are not taught how our government works. They are not taught how politics work. They are not taught how laws are created. They are not taught civics.

Why should we learn civics?

Do you know how a bill becomes a law? Do you know who appoints federal judges? Do you know who your local representative in Congress is? If you don’t know the answers to these questions then you probably should learn civics, or at least engage in the political process. A civics course would have helped with the answers to these questions, while providing a basis for understanding the political discourse in our country. I know a lot of people will say this doesn’t interest them. That’s fine, but regardless of your interest level, politics and decisions made by our elected officials affects our everyday life.

If we had a better understanding of civics…

  • more people would vote in local, state and national elections
  • more people would demand action from our elected officials
  • more people would influence policy on a local level
  • more people would run for office

If civics affects our daily lives, then why did they take civics out of the classroom?

question mark

I do not necessarily believe in sweeping conspiracy theories, but I do believe in a slow, steady progress toward taking things away that are deemed unimportant or outdated. Civics is nether unimportant or outdated. So why have civics classes disappeared from our curriculum? I firmly believe civics is no longer taught in our schools because a certain percentage of the population must be kept in the dark about certain things. Another way of saying it is some people need to be uneducated. Uneducated people can be trained, molded, and pushed in a specific direction. They do not have the will or ability to resist.

As it relates the government and civics, many people do not know the basics of government and how it should work. Therefore (if) they vote they do so without having enough knowledge to make an educated decision about the people and policies that shape our cities, states, and nation. They do not even know the importance of their individual vote. They do not know their local politicians. They do not know local laws and statutes. On top of that, they do not have the will or ability to learn.

So here we are in 2018. The good news is a lot more people are waking up and learning more about politics and our elected officials. All of a sudden, people are aware of the President’s duty to appoint Justices to the Supreme Court. Those Justices interpret the legality of laws and can, in effect, overturn them if they are deemed unconstitutional. Don’t forget that these Justices have lifetime appointments, so their decisions could affect policy for 50 years!

Now we must take things a step further. Either we demand that our students are taught civics in schools again, or become interested enough to learn on our own. Without a few civics lessons, we will continue to see a slow, but steady growth of people unaware of the workings of our government and our elected officials. We will have more people unaware of how laws are created and passed. We will have more people unaware of who their representatives are. We will have more people unaware of how government and politics affect their daily lives.

I Wonder Why “They” Took Civics Out of the Curriculum? Is it to hide the truth?

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary is able to get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

Join me on social media!

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garymcabee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wakeupandriseup

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McAbeeGary

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/garymotivation/

Separating Families: Your Indifference Speaks Volumes… History Repeats Itself

The plight of immigrant children on the US-Mexico border who are taken from their parents is a national tragedy and a disgrace. The greatest nation on earth should be able to deal with this situation in a more humane way. We, as Americans, believe we have higher standards, morals, and decency as a people than the other nations of the world. Therefore, the American system of government and our law-making abilities should be able to provide relief for this situation in this time of need. The Pledge of Allegiance still stands for one nation, under God, with for liberty, and justice for all. Yet, none of the ideals just mentioned are any help to people who are trying to get to our country to see if America is what it claims to be.

Recently, our current political climate has been referred to Germany as Nazi rule overtook the country. While this could be accurate, we have even better examples of events in our history that mirror today’s treatment of immigrants (or in some cases American citizens). In each of these events, it was a lack of empathy by some Americans that led to and allowed the mistreatment of other people. It was a lack of will to speak up against the mistreatment of other people. It was a spirit of indifference that helped cause the mistreatment of other people.

Today, if you are not aware of the plight of people and their children who are trying to enter the United States, I am accusing you of having a spirit of indifference. Today, if you are not moved in any way by the reports and pictures of children separated from their parents, I am accusing you of having a lack of empathy. Today, if you are not speaking up against these acts, I am accusing you of having a lack of compassion. I know you are well within your rights to be unconcerned about this issue. Who am I to tell you to care? If you are aware of the situation, yet unmoved by the unfolding events on our southern border I question your humanity.

The Constitution of United States of America was ratified in 1787. Yet the words of the Constitution did not apply to many people who were in the country. Slavery existed in southern states for 80 years. During that time, many Americans were outraged by the practice, showed compassion and empathy for slaves, and fought for their freedom. Many people did not because they profited from slavery. Others simply accepted the “Peculiar Institution”. Some people tolerated slavery as long as it stayed in the South. Fast forward to today. The people who turned a blind eye to slavery are the same people who turn a blind eye to the US-Mexico refugee crisis today.

Handbill Warning of Fugitive Slave Laws

 

Your indifference speaks volumes… history repeats itself.

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 allowed the United Stated Government to forcibly remove Native Americans who lived in certain areas. Their removal would allow American settlers to have their land. As a result, American Indians who resided in many areas for hundreds of years, were relocated to some of the most desolate and useless land on the American continent. They were powerless, and they called their forced journey the “Trail of Tears” due to the hardships and deaths they experienced along the way. Fast forward to today. The people who turned a blind eye to Indian Removal are the same people who turn a blind eye to the US-Mexico refugee crisis today.

Trail of tears

Your indifference speaks volumes… history repeats itself.

The Japanese Internment occurred during World War II, in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. American citizens who were of Japanese origin were forcibly put in internment camps against their will. This was to protect our country from Japanese spies who may perform act against our country. We were at war with Japan, so extra precautions were required. However, many citizens loyal to the United States were captured. Of course, they provisions were minimal and barely enough to keep them alive. Once again, many people disagreed with the practice of internment. However, others wanted revenge against Japan, and used Japanese Americans as pawns to get their revenge. Fast forward to today. The people who turned a blind eye to The Japanese Internment are the same people who turn a blind eye to the US-Mexico refugee crisis today.

japanese-internment-1-728

Your indifference speaks volumes… history repeats itself.

After the practice of separating children from their parents on the US-Mexico border is ended, it will be recorded by history. It will end, because eventually the will and spirit of America and its people will win. Eventually our decency as a nation and our application of justice overrules injustice. Eventually our moral compass and character overpowers our tendency to temporarily lose sight of our creed. Eventually the American ideal of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness overcomes the stains on our nation’s history like slavery, the Indian Removal, The Japanese Internment, and the US-Mexico refugee crisis.

Maybe this time, we as a people will use this recorded history to prevent the next situation like this. But then again, maybe we will not. After all, we did not learn after the lessons taught by slavery in America. We did not learn after the lessons taught by Indian removal in America. We did not learn after the lessons taught by the Japanese Internment. I hope we do learn from the lessons taught by the US-Mexico border crisis. On a personal level, your personal history will record your decisions as this crisis, and others to come, affect our nation and world. What is your opinion about the refugee crisis? What is your stance? What did you do about it? What did you learn?

Your indifference speaks volumes… history repeats itself.

 

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary is able to get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.
Join me on social media!
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garymcabee
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wakeupandriseup
Twitter: https://twitter.com/McAbeeGary
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/garymotivation/

Look at Atlantic City: It’s Like Taking Another Look at Donald Trump

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Sign at entrance to Trump Taj Mahal Atlantic City, NJ (photo taken December 19, 2017)

 

 

 

 

 

Look at Atlantic City: It’s Like Taking Another Look at Donald Trump 

 

Atlantic City, NJ is a beloved place. It is a small beach town on the Atlantic Ocean, known for years as America’s Favorite Playground. Thanks to my family’s migration there in the 1930s, I had first-hand knowledge of the magic and charm once held by this city. I spent parts of several summers there in the 1970s, and it was quite a treat to take the 100-mile drive south to get away from the hustle and bustle of the New York City metropolitan area. I was not alone. Many people felt the same, and every weekend they doubled Atlantic City’s population. It was a great place to visit.

In the mid-1970s, the idea to recreate Atlantic City started to gain steam. Up to this point, America’s Favorite Playground was primarily dependent on tourism derived from its world-famous beach and boardwalk. The city could attract even more tourists for a different reason: casino gambling. Atlantic City could become the Las Vegas of the east, and casino gambling could supplement, if not someday surpass, family fun on the beach and boardwalk. The plan seemed like a winner, although many residents of the city did not agree.

If you knew Atlantic City, you could easily figure out it did not have the infrastructure to sustain its residents, regular tourists, and casino gamblers. The city itself is only 18 square miles, and navigating the city streets was challenging enough during the regular tourism season. Casino gambling would make the tourism season last 365 days a year. Yet those who knew the city’s urban issues and slow decline saw this as the shot in the arm Atlantic City needed. They were right. They were also wrong. It was widely believed the casinos, and the revenue they brought in would revitalize the city’s economy and “trickle-down” to the neighborhoods and citizens who called Atlantic City home. It would also bring jobs, another boost to the local economy.

In 1978, the first casino opened. Soon others followed, and Atlantic City changed forever. For a while it was Las Vegas east. It was glitz and glam. It was show time. It was the new mecca of the east coast. Atlantic City was hot! However, those who lived there, who saw the continuing decline of the infrastructure of the city saw a different picture. The tourism dollars the casino industry brought never “trickled down” to the residents of Atlantic City. As a result, they reaped minimal benefits of having casinos operate blocks away from their slowly decaying city. In fact, you could almost draw a line between the haves and have nots of Atlantic City (Pacific Avenue).

So what does this have to do with President Trump?

Trump is the epitome of the outsiders who saw Atlantic City as a gold mine. For quite some time he was a major player and the face of Atlantic City and its casino gambling scene. It was an opportunity to get in, and make a lot of money. He took advantage of it. It was also an opportunity to transform a struggling city. He did not take advantage of it.

In fact, he was one of many who sought to push aside those whose lives and property did not fit into his plans to make Atlantic City great again. I know because of my grandmother. She lived in a senior citizen complex in Atlantic City during the rise of the casinos. She talked about friends and other seniors who were afraid their properties would be seized to make room for yet another casino. One such property was (modern-day) Best of Life Park. This was a building that sat adjacent to Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal casino. There were several attempts to buy the property and other attempts to seize it through eminent domain (or taking property from owners and offering compensation).

A compromise was reached and the residents got to keep their property. It was painted white to match the behemoth casino that stood behind it. However, the fight for the property wasn’t over yet. The Taj Mahal, already known for the amount of fixtures and lights it would have, seemed to get a little extra decoration on its east side. Brighter, more frequently flashing, multicolored light bulbs adorned the east side of the property. Of course, this was directly of Best of Life Park. I wonder if it was a way to “force” the residents to give up their property? By the way, Trump also lost another eminent domain flap with resident in a different area of the city who refused to sell her property.

So over the years Trump opened several casinos: Taj Mahal, Trump’s World Fair (former Playboy casino), Trump Castle (which became Trump Marina), and Trump Plaza. One by one, these majestic Trump properties closed. Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed “biggest player in Atlantic City” managed to mismanage five casinos. Now Trump deserves plenty of credit for employing thousands of people while these properties thrived. But he also deserves plenty of blame for un-employing thousands of people when these properties folded. His last stand, the Taj Mahal closed abruptly, leaving many stakeholders and employees left out in the cold.

I know it is all about business. I also know Donald Trump knows more about business than I ever will. Those are facts. However, take into account how Donald Trump summarily dismisses his time in Atlantic City: “Atlantic City fueled a lot of growth for me,” Mr. Trump said in an interview in May, summing up his 25-year history here. “The money I took out of there was incredible.” Analyze those two statements, and you will find two of the biggest criticisms of our current President.

“Atlantic City fueled a lot of growth for me,” Translation: it was all for his benefit.

“The money I took out of there was incredible.” Translation: I made money and got out.

Once again, this is how a lot of business is conducted. People get in to make a profit, then exit when the profits are no longer there. I understand. Yet, in my opinion, the man who should be the leader of the free world should not have anything like this on his resume. He should not be a person who got in, and then got out while the getting was still good. Especially when he left behind so many broken promises, along with a trail of contractors, employees, and businesses who never received the compensation they earned. He never should have left Atlantic City worse than it was before he got there. After all, he was the “biggest player in Atlantic City.”

Recently I laid to rest my mother in the same Atlantic City church where I laid to rest my grandmother. Both of them loved Atlantic City. For me, it is still home away from home. When I drove up and down the streets of the city I was deeply saddened. Many of the areas where Trump casinos stood are barren and desolate, or haunted by what used to be. Trump’s World’s Fair was demolished years ago. The Trump Plaza is an empty shell that blights numerous Atlantic City streets. Trump’s Castle (Marina) is now the Golden Nugget. And the kicker… the lettering on the side of his Taj Mahal was being lowered ON THE SAME DAY (December 19, 2017) I sat in the Best of Life parking lot to take the following photographs.

Decay 2

Removing the “J” from the Trump Taj Mahal

Decay 3

Best of Life Apartments (front) with Trump Taj Mahal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decay 4

Former entrance to Trump Taj Mahal (with Best of Life Park on left) 

 

Just in case you have not figured it out, this is personal. For the sake of the American people and our great nation, I hope Donald Trump does not do for America what he did for Atlantic City. For me, Atlantic City is like taking another look at Donald Trump. I don’t like the view, but at least “Atlantic City fueled a lot of growth for (him) and “the money (he) took out of there was incredible.”

 

Reference:

Buettner, C. & Bagli, C. (2016). How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic

City Casinos, but Still Earned Millions. New York Times. Retrieved from

     https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html

Wake Up! The Stock Market Impacts Wage Increases… and You!

stockmarket

Recently, the stock market suffered two of the largest one day drops in history. Even if you are not heavily invested in the market, it does affect you. Before we dive in, we need to give a short explanation of how the stock market works. NOTE: There are numerous factors to consider too lengthy to list here. Therefore, this is brief overview of the market in very general terms…

Companies offer stocks (individual parts of the company) that can be bought by investors. The money from stock purchases is used to run companies. Investors buy stocks at a certain price that is determined by numerous factors. As these factors change, so does the value (price) of each stock. Investors make money by buying stocks as a lower price, and selling them when they are at a higher price.

To prevent massive selloffs as stock values increase, dividends (money the company pays out to investors as its stock’s value increases) and stock splits are offered to shareholders. So shareholders want companies to make profits so stocks values rise, dividends rise, and they make more money on their investments. Any factor that prohibits or slows this “process” is hostile to a shareholder and could result in a selloff of stocks. This is how the stock market decreases.

Now that we have this understanding, I want to draw your attention to some key points in an article about the recent stock market drops 

“The historic Dow Jones drop that occurred on Monday was in part a reaction to Friday’s jobs report, which showed stronger wage growth than at any point since 2009.”

What does this mean?

The stock market reacts negatively to higher wages earned by employees. The latest monthly jobs report included data that showed a wage increase. While this is great and welcomed news for employees, it is not great news for the companies they work for. The obvious reason is the companies are paying out more to employees, so their costs of doing business go up. If not leveraged correctly, a company loses money when it increases wages for its employees. So how does this affect the stock market? Read the next key point…

“As companies sink more money into wages, there’s less left for shareholders.”

What does this mean?

Shareholders, otherwise known as people who have invested money in a company, expect to make money off their investment. They don’t want to a little money. They want to make a lot of money! This means their interest (making money) is in direct conflict with your interest (higher wages as an employee). It is crystal clear: as companies sink more money into wages, there’s less (money to make off their investments) left for shareholders. Who wins this battle? Shareholders, who are necessary because of the money they invest in a company, or wage earners, who are necessary because of the work they do for a company.

“Wage growth also contributes to concerns about inflation — another drag on corporate profits and the expectation thereof, which is what motivates the stock market.”

What does this mean?

Wage growth contributes to concerns about inflation (a rise in the overall cost of living due to a rise in the cost of goods and services). Higher wages mean a company has to recover losses due to paying higher wages. An easy way to do this is to raise prices of their goods and services. This leads to inflation (notice the expression “another drag on corporate profits”). If higher prices result in fewer sales, corporate profits take a hit here, in addition to the hit taken from paying employees higher wages. These two losses mean less money for shareholders, which will lower the stock market if they decide to sell their stocks.

Now that we have a better understanding of the stock market, one must think about a few things and ask a couple questions:

  • If you do not buy stocks, or have the “disposable income” to do so, why not?
  • Who does the company you work for value more: you as their employee or their shareholders?
  • Who is not in favor of wages rising for employees, because it could negatively affect the stock market?
  • Who benefits most when the stock market rises?
  • Who tries to get out of the stock market when it starts to decline?
  • Who is more likely to own large amounts of stock: a poor/middle class person or an upper class/ wealthy person?
  •  Why are economics, finance, and the stock market not taught more in public grade and high schools where public education is free?

Please understand this issue is all about color. The color I am referring to is not white or black. The color is green (money). When we realize green controls everything AND it “trumps” all other colors, we will understand this has nothing to do with most issues that divide us. It has nothing to do with race, greed, skin color, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. The stock market only deals with money. For those heavily invested in the market, anything that causes values to increase is good. On the flip side, anything that causes value to go down is not good. Unfortunately, this includes higher wages for working people.

Wake Up! The stock market impacts wage increases… and you!

 

Reference

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-claims-stock-market-is-rigged-against-him-3cee051d4736/