On Predator Capitalists and Decent People

I do not believe in God,
But I do believe in good.
To be kind and compassionate,
I believe we all should.

Predator Capitalists,
Prey on the misery of others.
They exploit circumstances,
And take advantage of our global brothers.

These vultures and vermin,
Are always on the take.
From New Orleans to New Guinea,
Another dollar they want to make.

To hell with Predator Capitalists,
I’ve nothing more to say.
Except to ask this question:
How can decent people look the other way?

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Damn The Socialists!

Damn the Socialists!
Damn them all to Hell!!
Those thieves of personal rights,
On behalf of the common welfare!!

Vile vermin!
Bleeding hearts with no spine!!
They would deny a man the right,
To exploit the services of human kind!!

How dare the Liberal scum,
Deny me the right to claim as mine!
The air, the land, and the profits,
And to pocket the most as mine!!

How dare the pinko commies,
Claim that profits are for the common good!
When I could invest the profits for my personal benefit,
As every good businessman should!!

How dare these bleeding hearts,
Deny a self made man the right to keep for himself!
The profits from the labor of others,
Who are mere minions and laboring elves!!

How dare those pinko Libs,
Be more concerned with poverty.
Than with legislation which functions,
To provide even more for me!!!

Damn the Socialists!
Damn them all to Hell!!
Those thieves of personal rights,
On behalf of the common welfare!!

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

On Humanity and The Fundamentals of Socialism

I maintain that most people are actually socialists and simply do not realize such to be the case. The reason being, I believe most people are decent deep down inside.

You ask a person: “Do you believe that every person has a natural right to food, water, shelter, and medical care in time of need?”; then if their answer is “yes”; then that person believes in the fundamental principles of socialism. You ask a person: “Do you believe every person has the right to exploit the circumstances of other people for their own personal profit; even if people, especially children, suffer in the process?”; then if their answer is “no”; then that person does NOT believe in the fundamental principles of Capitalism.

I repeat: I believe that most people are socialists and do not realize it, because I believe most people are decent deep down inside.

Paranoia in a Double Standard

In the Summer of 2014,
Two Las Vegas cops were executed.
By two anti Government White Supremacists,
The story was soon thereafter muted.

In the Winter of 2014,
Two New York cops were killed by a disturbed black man.
The story went global.
There is still paranoia throughout the land.

I tell you the truth people.
It’s as plain as black and white.
There is a double standard among us,
I tell you folks: It just ain’t right.

Dave Henderson

An Ode To The Odious

The women of Gaza weep;
O’er babies mutilated by bombs.
Sent special delivery,
From the chosen children of God.

A Missouri woman weeps,
The bullet riddled body of her son.
Lies uncovered on the street for hours.
While the Police cover up (AKA: “Report”) is done.

A War Criminal smiles in the comforts,
Of his mansion down in Texas.
Knowing damn well he will never be accountable;
Regardless of what the facts is.

Some people on paid vacation,
Other people demonstrate.
The wheels of injustice succeed,
There will be no court date.

Christmas bells are ringing,
Lip service to God one can hear.
The suffering of foreigners and black folk,
Will not hinder our Holiday Cheer.

Self righteous hypocrites on Sunday,
Sing, pray, and listen to a sermon.
Indifferent to the suffering of the afflicted,
Then justify scum and vermin.

The stench of social injustice.
The indifference of hypocrites.
The filth of society’s sins,
Smell of sewage and piles of

On Offensive Mascots

As of late, the topic of “offensive mascots” in sports has resurfaced, specifically with reference to the Washington Redskins. Although this topic oftentimes circulates, there seems to be very little action taken towards changing the name of questionable mascots. Yet the controversy abounds, as evidenced by the recent Native American demonstration outside the nationally televised Dallas-Washington Monday night football game in Texas.

Invariably, (and predictably) people tend to opine quite passionately on each side of this issue when the topic arises. The arguments vary from allusions to tradition and history by those who wish to maintain the “status quo”, to accusations of bigotry and racism by those who are calling for changes to be made. The “maintain status quo” crowd claims the groups calling for mascot name changes are being overly sensitive. The “make name changes” crowd claims that those who cling to questionable mascots are being insensitive.

Who is right?
Who is wrong?

Let us consider the perspective of “the maintain status quo” crowd.

I can well recall my perspective when I first became aware that there even was an issue relative to team mascots. I thought the whole debate was simply ridiculous. I had grown up a baseball fan, and in particularly was taken with Hank Aaron, the great Atlanta Braves slugger who eventually broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record. As Hammerin’ Hank neared the record, the role of the longtime Braves’ mascot Chief Noc-A-Homa took on a more than significant meaning to baseball fans of the early ‘70s. In fact, during the period of time en route to Aaron’s eventual overtaking of The Babe on the All Time Home Run list, Chief Noc-A-Homa was perhaps the best known and most beloved of all baseball mascots.

I had likewise attended Texas Rangers baseball games in my home community of DFW, and more than once I had the opportunity to watch them compete against the Cleveland Indians. It never occurred to me when I saw the Chief Wahoo caricature on the opposition’s caps that such was somehow insensitive or offensive. I merely wanted my Rangers to beat the visiting Cleveland club. The image of the Native American with the silly looking grin on his face was of no concern to me one way or the other.

Such is the perspective of the unaffected and the historically biased with regards to racial insensitivity. Unfortunately, such is the perspective of conditioned ignorance which can lead to selective insensitivity.

I myself unwittingly maintained a historic bias with regards to racially insensitive mascots and logos.

My historical bias was of course that of a sports fan. My perspective was to view mascots such as Atlanta’s Chief Noc-A-Homa and Cleveland’s Chief Wahoo as merely an aspect of the sports fan experience. I never would have thought to associate Chief Noc-A-Homa’s Tee Pee in the stands as making fun of or insensitive towards the Native American people. Nor would I have thought of the silly grin on Chief Wahoo’s face as somehow disrespectful towards or demeaning of Native American persons. But the reason for my clueless perspective was that I was viewing such through the prism of a sports fan with no depth of thought as to unintended effect.

But my thinking on the matter was likewise clouded by yet another historical bias. For my historical bias as to offensive mascots was not only that of a sports fan, but likewise my historical bias was that of being the product of a less racially sensitive time than even now.

Granted, the ‘60s and ‘70s (my school years) were times of growth, maturity, and progress with reference to race relations. Yet, those were likewise times of awkwardness, frustration, and insensitivity towards minorities as caucasians and minorities alike adjusted to the concept of social equality. Now in some ways these were mere “growing pains”, yet there was an undercurrent of a more problematic nature which made the transition uncomfortable and in some cases unbearable for minorities in general. There were doubtless positive strides made towards social equality, but looking back I think we were more slow to be SENSITIVE to the feelings of minorities in the process than we likely realized. Frankly, there was a sense of condescension as minorities were allowed to “come on board” so to speak, that left an impression that we caucasians were doing some sort of favor for African Americans and others by accepting them onto the same side of the street, into the same public schools, and yes; even into the same public restrooms. Consequently, there was undoubtedly an intensified frustration for minorities who were being “allowed” into a mainstream public, when that public included restaurants with names like Sambos and where influential city personnel and public officials had lawn ornaments of little black boys with white hats and silly grins.

The transition of race relations in the ‘60s and ‘70s was frankly slow and tedious, and our thinking was unfortunately still clouded by an assumed superiority and a sometimes unintentional yet nonetheless ever hurtful insensitivity to people who had been subjugated and separated for no fault of their own save the ignorance and arrogance of our own forefathers.

But that was then, and this is now.

Frankly, the times of unintentional insensitivity are times of the past. As lame as the excuses were then, there simply are no longer viable excuses for vile conduct. We caucasians have had plenty of time to finally grow up and get over our assumed superiority over the minorities of our society.

It is time that we stop telling others what is and is not offensive, and time for us to LISTEN to others as they ENLIGHTEN US as to the realities of insensitivity and inappropriateness.

It is time for us to accept that ours is not to assume that we know what is and is not acceptable, and time for us to LISTEN to others as they ENLIGHTEN US as to what is and what is not appropriate.

I am convinced that the burden of responsibility is upon society to listen to AND to defer as a matter of respect to minorities with reference to any and all mascots that they deem offensive, and make the necessary adjustments post haste. If that means that the name Redskins needs to go the way of the name of Sambo’s, then so be it. If that means Chief Wahoo needs to go the way of racist lawn ornaments then so be it. If that even means that mascots such as Chiefs (my favorite NFL team as it were), Braves, and Warriors need to go by the wayside as well, then so be it.

The responsibility is not for minorities to “grow up by giving in” to the will of the caucasian driven society, but rather the time is come for society to be sensitive to and willingly defer to the feelings of all people.

The place is not society’s to dictate to minorities what should and should not be offensive to them. Rather the time has come for society to be sensitive towards the feelings of all people and acquiesce to those who request change as a matter of respect for their heritage and their culture.

Frankly, the time has come for a culture which claims to be founded upon Christian values to practice what their principles preach. It is time to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”.

It is time to stop hiding behind lame excuses of pure intent, and time to make respectful changes necessary to demonstrate pure intent.

It is time to be sensitive towards the feelings of others.

It is time to actually care about the effect that our social actions have on others.

It is time for our society to grow up and do the right thing.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

We Are Our Own Salvation

The older I get, the more intrigued I am by our Universe.  And I suppose that which intrigues me most of all is that the Universe is everywhere.  The Universe is literally:  EVERYWHERE!!

I am furthermore humbled by our lack of knowledge regarding the Universe.  I realize that humanity has made great strides towards learning what is “out there”, but the simple fact is that we do not have a clue as to the extent of that of which we remain ignorant regarding the Universe.

We simply have no clue how little we know because we just do not know  how much there is which is either yet undiscovered or forever not to be discovered.  Fascinating!

All we really know is that our Universe is ever expanding at a continuously accelerating rate.  Since it appears to be expanding in a curve, then one of two occurrences will inevitably end its existence as it is now:

1.  The Universe will expand to the extent that it rips apart, or

2.  The Universe will turn back in on its self, resulting in who knows what (another great expansion, thereby resulting in yet another Universe?  No one knows for certain)

Regardless, the Universe is on an unavoidable trek to an inevitable end, and no one can or ever will be able to do anything to prevent that reality.

Furthermore, I am but a seemingly immeasurable speck within this massive ever expanding mass known as the Universe.  I am nothing.  Well, not quite, but so close as to be nothing in terms of the measure of all things.  In the grand scope of all reality, I am simply an insignificant coincidence to an expansion which will either rip me apart or collapse upon me should I happen to be living when the great expansion comes to its inevitable end.

Frankly, the great expansion which is our Universe is completely indifferent to my well being.

That said, it occurs to me that we of humanity are the only known species in the entire Universe with our degree of concern for the well being of ourselves and sensitivity and compassion for others.  (Note, I make this statement within the context of an already admitted ignorance as to other species and/or other universes that may possibly exist… “out there”!  My statement is thus asserted strictly within the context of that aspect of the Universe that we are aware of)

This is not to say that other sentient beings are not concerned with their own well being.  Indeed all beings are.  And this is not to say that other sentient beings do not have an instinctive concern for the well being of other such beings, in particularly their own offspring.  (Indeed, a mama cow or a mama bear can teach us much about natural filial concern!!)

However, it does seemingly appear that we of humanity may have an even more so refined sense of compassion and concern for the welfare of other beings.  That being the case, then there is a natural responsibility to care the welfare of others, because if we don’t do it, it simply will not get done.

There is no evidence of any celestial mastermind either driving this expanse, or overseeing its day to day operation.  Hence, there is no mystical helper to take care of matters that we choose to just ignore.

So if we choose to implement social systems that leave people in the streets, homeless, hungry, and without healthcare, we need not expect some celestial savior to swoop down and make it all better.

And if we choose to poison our environment with fracking, or ignore the effects of climate change, we need not look for some divine intervention to make it all better.

We are on our own.

As scary as it may sound, we of humanity are our own salvation, or there simply is no salvation.

In the words of Vonnegut:

” we are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is”

I truly do not know whether helping each other through this unexplainable circumstance known as life is the purpose for existence, or whether there simply is no purpose for our existence.

All I know is that in the light of our existence within an ever expanding Universe which evidences itself day and in and day out to be completely indifferent to our well being one way or the other; we can choose to do whatever we can to save our planet and alleviate undue and unnecessary suffering in the process.

Or not.

Either way, the Universe continues to expand on the way to its inevitable end and leaves us to our own doings.

We are our own salvation.  Or there is no salvation.

Bonnie and Clyde: The Story Behind the Story

This Friday marks the 80th Anniversary of one of the most infamous of all executions ever carried out by Texas authorities. This particular execution did not take place on Texas soil, nor by way of seemingly conventional means.  For it was May 23, 1934 at a few minutes after 9 AM, that six gunmen ambushed and viciously shot to death a young couple who were driving down a lonely two lane road in Louisiana.  The first shot took part of the young man’s head off.  As he was the driver, the car went off the road.  When the young lady, who was the passenger screamed, the gunmen proceeded to fill the young couple with bullets.  The events so described are in my judgment among the most vile and vicious of deeds related to the account of BONNIE AND CLYDE…….

Most folk have heard of “Bonnie and Clyde”; mainly due to the 1967 film which told the story of their vicious and bloody two year crime spree which lead to the deaths of more than a dozen, and which terrorized the Southwest to the degree of hysteria.  Clyde Chestnut Barrow and Bonnie Elizabeth Parker are among the most famous of all Dallas-ites.  The story of their crime spree being so widely known, I would like to briefly address “The Story Behind The Story”, for as is so oftentimes the case with hardened criminals:  There is most definitely “a story behind the story”….

By no means do I wish to glorify or justify the deeds of this young Dallas couple.  Clyde Barrow, the leader of “The Barrow Gang”, was a hardened criminal and a cold blooded killer.  The role of Bonnie Parker in the violent deeds of the gang is oftentimes exaggerated to the point of femdom style glorification.  Her role was depicted thusly mainly due to pictures of her clowning around with a cigar in her mouth which were printed in most of the nation’s newspapers during the heat of the pursuit of local peace officers who were desperately attempting to capture the true killer of the group, her lover, Clyde Barrow.  Although Ms Parker will likely forever be characterized in folklore as a cigar smoking, gun toting murderess,  the truth is she may very well have shot no one.

As to Clyde Barrow himself, his life of crime reads like so many others who choose such a path:  1)  He was the product of extreme poverty, and 2)  He was hardened by prison life.

When Clyde Barrow’s family moved to West Dallas (no longer exists as an entity as such, incorporated by Dallas in 1954. Basically lies between west Dallas and the city of Irving), they were so poor they had no place to live.  Clyde’s father, like many other tenant farmers, was starving along with his family due to drought and famine.  The Barrow’s were so poor that upon their arrival to “the city” they lived out of his wagon under the Trinity River viaduct.  When Mr Barrow bought the family a tent, that was a social upgrade, for they then became citizens of “Tent City” which was a crowded dwelling place of the many homeless who migrated to West Dallas during the 1920’s….

One of Clyde’s first encounters with the law was when he was arrested as a teenager for stealing turkeys.  One is lead to wonder:  Why steal turkeys?  One is lead to speculate that perhaps he stole because he was hungry.  Why was young Clyde Barrow hungry?  And that brings us back to “the story behind the story”:  Clyde Barrow was the product of extreme poverty.  Yet poverty was but the beginning of the social demise of Clyde Barrow….

His deeds as a petty thief eventually lead to prison.  It was while in prison that Clyde Barrow became a hardened criminal.  Clyde Barrow was a small young man, and his size and youth made him vulnerable to the extremely violent class within prison.  Clyde was repeatedly sexually violated by one particular prisoner.  Receiving no help from the authorities, Clyde took matters into his own hands, and at an opportune time,he beat his assailant to death.  This was a major step in Clyde Barrow’s social decline.  There were several prisoners who later attested to the fact that his prison experiences hardened Clyde into a cold blooded killer.  So bad were his experiences in prison, that Clyde actually chopped off part of his own foot in hopes of receiving a medical release!

Clyde Barrow, hardened criminal and cold blooded killer was a victim of society and the penal system.  Society all too oftentimes turns its back on the poor and the uneducated.  Clyde Barrow was poor and uneducated.   The Penal System all too oftentimes only serves to harden young offenders who are incarcerated within, Clyde Barrow being a specific case in point.

I have no answers to the social conditions which lead Clyde Barrow to his murderous crime spree.  I have no justification for the terrible deeds of Clyde Barrow.  But even now, some 80 years after the cold blooded murder of Clyde Chestnut Barrow and Bonnie Elizabeth Parker at the hands of “Peace Officers”, I simply ask this question:

Could society be at least partly to blame for the Clyde Barrows of the world?:

Sometimes I wonder,

What sort of fellow,

Might have been,

The infamous Clyde Barrow.

If as a very young boy;

He would not have lived under the Trinity River viaduct;

On account of the fact;

That at dirt farming; his poor daddy just could not make a buck.

Yeah I wonder what thoughts ran thru young Clyde’s mind;

As at night he may very well have been starin’;

From his family’s “home” in the old Tent City;

At the lights of Dallas as they were a glarin’.

Yeah I cant help but wonder;

If things would not have differed for the likes of Bonnie and Clyde;

If instead of growin’ up poor in old West Dallas;

They had grown up in a home with plenty to provide.

Would the death wish that characterized this dynamic duo;

Have developed within Bonnie and Clyde;

Would they have met such a violent end;

On that Louisiana ride;

If society could have seen fit;

To provide for the likes of Bonnie and Clyde?

And sometimes I wonder;

As I see the poor on the streets of Dallas;

If I am seeing a Bonnie or a Clyde in the making;

Who will bear against society a similar malice.

Yeah, as I see the poor on the streets of Dallas;

I cannot but these very thoughts ponder;

Yeah, as I see the poor on the streets of Dallas;

I cannot but think about Dallas’ own Clyde Barrow.

(Note:  I count myself very lucky to have been raised in the comforts of a nice home in Carrollton; a suburb of North Dallas with clean streets and good schools.  It was a great place to grow up and develop into early manhood when I did so in the 1970’s.  I actually consider myself damn lucky when I consider the environment that young Clyde Barrow grew up in just a few miles South and about 50 years earlier….)

We Americans

We Americans are an interesting lot.

 

We took our philosophy from the Greeks.

We took our myths from the Hebrews.

We took our slaves from Africa.

We took our land from the Native Americans and Mexicans.

 

Our infrastructure was built muchly by immigrant labor.

Our agrarian proceeds were reaped muchly by slave labor.

 

And today many fear being enslaved by immigrant presence.

 

Perhaps the most original thing about we Americans would be our self perceived status as the most superior of all societies.

 
Indeed, we Americans are an interesting lot.

A Choice to Make

The distinction between me and the indifferent Universe in which I exist is quite simply this:

The Universe is indifferent to the suffering of others by its nature.  The Universe quite frankly has no choice in the matter, for the Universe by its nature, lacks the capacity to care about anyone or anything.

I, on the other hand, have a choice in the matter.

Hence, when I am indifferent to the suffering of others, my indifference and lack of sensitivity is a matter of personal choice.

The choice as to whether to care or not is mine to make.

If I am indifferent to the suffering of others, and insensitive to their plight, I have no one to blame but myself.