Saturday, December 3, 2016

Phelim McAleer the Perpetual Victim

For some odd reason my old nemesis Phelim McAleer has put me on his mass email list. Therefore, all of the propaganda sent out by McAleer and his gang comes directly to me. This is a small price to pay for giving him a Texas butt whippin in a debate a couple of years ago. He actually stalked me for a while, however, for the most part he has avoided and doesn't respond to me in any way since the debate. I saw something recently out of Phelim that humored me. He was claiming to have been under assault and held against his will at the Standing Rock protest in North Dakota. He goes on and on about how he feared for his life and how brave his film crew was. However, the actual video he used as an example shows nothing of the sort. He was asked to leave, but was never threatened or assaulted.  Playing the victim is nothing new for Phelim, he has that role down. Here's a link to the video where he "feared for his life", you can make up your own mind as to how much risk he was in-

The folks from Standing Rock responded to his allegations here-

Keep in mind that those in the camp have been shot at with rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannons and concussion grenades – poor Phelim.

Although, he put me in his film Fracknation, he did this without ever speaking to me, this of course was intentional. Therefore, the first time we actually met was in New York for the premier of Gasland 2. Well, met may be a little bit of a stretch. I did actually introduce myself to him, but he did not want to talk to me, our main interactions was when him and his hideous wife were screaming obscenities and me and my family while we getting our photos taken on the red carpet. He made such an ass of himself that didn't even make into see the premier. After the premier we had to be escorted by security to keep him and his henchmen from attacking us. Finally, after another Gasland 2 showing, he was chasing us down and pushing and shoving several of the people with us until someone asked us him to leave, he bumped into us again and then called the cops on himself. Hmmm, that sounds like what happened at Standing Rock.

I wrote about some of my interactions with Phelim here-

I spoke on video about some of my interactions with Phelim here-

What happened at Standing Rock was nothing new for Phelim, he has and always will be looking for an angle to play the victim.  Personally I think he has some undiagnosed mental issues, and probably needs medication or therapy.  However, his ego is way too big to admit that he’s nuts.  I was surprised to learn that he is only a few years older than me.  When you see him in person, he looks like death warmed over.  They threw a little makeup on him for the debate and frankly it looked like the work of a mortician. 

Just remember the next time that Phelim is feeling victimized for his great work, that he’s nuts and needs help, but in no way is he a victim.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Controlling the Media

There has been a recent disturbing trend of journalists being prosecuted for performing journalism.  These most recent arrest of journalist happened during pipeline protests in North Dakota.  Two journalist covering two separate protests were arrested and charged with very serious crimes.  Whether you agree with the protests or not, the arresting of journalists for doing journalism is a very scary prospect, that none of us should support.

This is something you would expect to hear about in countries ruled by a dictator, not America. Manipulating the media message is nothing new. When Hitler assumed power in Germany, one of the first things that he did was to take control of the media.  When you hang a threat of a felony conviction with potentially 45 years in prison for doing journalism, that is meant to send a message.  If you report something that we don't like, then we'll ruin your life, and perhaps put you in prison.  One of requirements for a free society is to have freedom of the press.  Even if you don't agree with what's being reported, you'll lose your freedoms when we take away what free press we have left.

Fortunately, one of the journalists has been cleared of any wrong doing; however, journalist Deia Schlosberg is still being charged for felony crimes.   She is a very close friend of a very close friend, and I for one stand with her in this battle to preserve the Constitution and freedom of the press.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr.

16 April 1963

My Dear Fellow Clergymen:

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.

But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation.

Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham's economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants--for example, to remove the stores' humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: "Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?" "Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?" We decided to schedule our direct action program for the Easter season, realizing that except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic-withdrawal program would be the by product of direct action, we felt that this would be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.

Then it occurred to us that Birmingham's mayoral election was coming up in March, and we speedily decided to postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that the Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene "Bull" Connor, had piled up enough votes to be in the run off, we decided again to postpone action until the day after the run off so that the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. Like many others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated, and to this end we endured postponement after postponement. Having aided in this community need, we felt that our direct action program could be delayed no longer.

You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: "Why didn't you give the new city administration time to act?" The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern.

Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.
Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn't this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn't this like condemning Jesus because his unique God consciousness and never ceasing devotion to God's will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and a sense of "somebodiness" that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad's Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro's frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible "devil."

I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the "do nothingism" of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as "rabble rousers" and "outside agitators" those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies--a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: "Get rid of your discontent." Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . ." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some -such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle--have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as "dirty nigger-lovers." Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful "action" antidotes to combat the disease of segregation. Let me take note of my other major disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a nonsegregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.

But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.

When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.

In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.

I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: "Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother." In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern." And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.

I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?"

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. Before closing I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping "order" and "preventing violence." I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department.

It is true that the police have exercised a degree of discipline in handling the demonstrators. In this sense they have conducted themselves rather "nonviolently" in public. But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation. Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. Perhaps Mr. Connor and his policemen have been rather nonviolent in public, as was Chief Pritchett in Albany, Georgia, but they have used the moral means of nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of racial injustice. As T. S. Eliot has said: "The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."

I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: "My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest." They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience' sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?

If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil-rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Published in:

King, Martin Luther Jr. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Distorting the Message

We recently had a very impactful vote on the Aubrey City Council.  This pertained to amending a previous development agreement on the Regatta development, located off of FM 2931.  There are multiple tentacles of this agreement, and there really is not a simple answer, but I will do my best to explain what actually took place and why.  However, to be clear, this vote only effected one minor section of the agreement.

Over the past several years, instead of using a fraction of common sense, Aubrey leadership has had a "take over the world" mentality.  They have been convinced that they would soon be the next Frisco, TX.  However, many people moving to Aubrey are coming from Frisco, TX, wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle.  The Aubrey leadership, never took this into account, and were more driven by their egos and legacies, and of course, they never asked the people of Aubrey what they wanted.

There were several development agreements signed with multiple developers around the Aubrey area.  As part of all of these agreements, the developer was forced to decertify the Certificates of Convenience and Necessity (CCN), of Mustang Water.  The CCN could most easily as described as the territory where the service provider has exclusive rights to provide water/waste water services.

Aubrey has reached out and annexed a large development off of FM 1385, some 8 miles from the city center.  The legality of this annexation could certainly be questioned, because of the distance from the city, it not being contiguous with the rest of the city's corporate limits.  Currently this development is an island of the city of Aubrey, which technically shouldn't happen.

This development was literally across the street from a Mustang water tower, which they had invested millions of dollars in.  Unfortunately, without ever contacting Mustang, this developer was forced to decertify from the Mustang CCN, and turn the CCN over to Aubrey.  The city never made any contact with Mustang during this process or tried work out a win-win solution.  

This winner take all approach, was essentially a declaration of war on Mustang, and a huge waste of tax payer money, because another water tower would literally be built across the street from the Mustang tower.  There was no negotiating with Mustang on the matter and there was input accepted.  This was accomplished under our previous mayor for the most-part.

Our current mayor wrote in a local publication that Aubrey was preparing to provide water service to all 42 square miles of our ETJ, sending a clear message that Aubrey was in fact looking to take over much more of Mustang's CCN.  For this reason Mustang took preventative measure to make it more difficult for their CCN to be impacted, and thus protecting it's massive investments.  Therefore, Aubrey will not be taking any more of Mustang's CCN without spending way more money than we could ever afford, and likely losing even if we did spend the money.

It is disappointing that we have gotten to this point, as I knew that Mustang would be taking these preventative measures to protect their investments.  Therefore, I suggested that we work closer with Mustang, and not continue the combative relationship with them.  However, the smartest people in the room, (who now are proven to be fools), would have none of that talk.  I was ridiculed by my peers for telling them exactly what was going to happen, which history has proven to be correct.  

During this same timeframe there was several concerned members of the Aubrey ETJ that were concerned about the legality of the Aubrey Subdivision Ordinance.  Therefore, they planned a meeting to get more organized as a group, when Mayor Janet Meyers attempted to force her way into the meeting, she was politely asked to leave; myself and councilman Chris Huber were invited guests to this meeting.  Her response to this was to immediately submit a letter to a local blog news site, and then go to my neighbors crying big girl tears, saying that I was making everyone hate her.  Not sure why she can't see that if anyone hates her, it's her policies that's causing it, not me.

The development agreement for the Regatta development also had the clause that required decertification from the Mustang CCN.  However, under the new scenario, the developer would likely have to go to Federal Court to even attempt this.  The proposition of going to Federal Court could easily cost the developer a million dollars, and probably more costly, it could take years to work through the court process, which would not allow the developer to take advantage of the current growth coming to this area.  However, our mayor and staff was pushing for us to force the developer to do just.

Fortunately for the people of Aubrey, there were some adults in the room that night to prevent this foolishness.  Unfortunately, after the council overwhelmingly voted to support amending the development agreement preventing costly lawsuit, we were criticized by our mayor and/or her husband on a local community website.  For saving the city a potential lawsuit, and not holding a developer hostage, we were criticized by the person who is supposed to the leader of this community.

The mayor of a town is comparable to the CEO of company, the CEO of Aubrey, TX is piling on unnecessary debt, trying her damnedest to get us sued, and encouraging holding developers hostage.  Frankly, the responses from Mayor Janet Meyers whenever she feels a little pressure, shows some mental unstableness.  If she's not currently on medication, she may need to look into it, because she is definitely not rational in some instances.

Another comment on this site also alluded that this vote would somehow raise taxes.  This statement shows the level of ignorance and misinformation that is being spread.  The fact of the matter is that we should have never passed the 5.5 million dollar bond package.  While it was not broadly discussed during the discussion of this foolish expenditure, the main reason that the bond package was so big, was with the intention of serving water to the Regatta development.  However, the majority of council would not be confused with facts, and therefore this unneeded expenditure passed.  This unnecessary bond package may cause a need for taxes to go up in the future.

It is unfortunate that there is such a high level of ignorance and that the people of this community believe what they've been told without first checking the source.  It is also unfortunate that the elected officials, will blatantly mislead and lie to the citizens that trust them.  I encourage all citizens to trust but verify with their officials.  I understand for the most-part local elected officials are volunteers, but that does not relieve them from the responsibilities of their office, or the oath they took.  


Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Principled Vote

Shortly after taking office for my second go-around as an elected official I voted “no” on a subject that was overwhelmingly supported by the other members of council. After the meeting a local reporter asked me if we could expect more "principled" votes.  I took the question to mean whether or not I vote no on something that I felt was morally or ethically wrong if there was some ancillary benefit to it. My answer was of course, "yes" you can absolutely expect more principled votes from me in the future. Frankly, too many elected officials hide behind the "do what's best" for blah blah blah mentality when they're voting on issues. 

First let’s define principle - a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.

After being in office for a year or so, I was publicly criticized by one of my peers in the local paper for voting on principles. This council member went on to say that he wanted to do what's best for Aubrey. He was using the "do what's best for Aubrey" defense for his non-principled votes. Of course if there was one council member who preaches his principles to get elected, it would be this guy. Under the "do what’s best" theory, it doesn't matter if what you vote for is illegal, unethical, or immoral, as long as it's "what's best" for something, it's ok to vote for it. This council member proudly exclaimed that he didn't vote on principles, all I have to say to that is, he said it, I didn't. 

The problem with officials who follow this philosophy is that there is no consistency in how they vote. It is much easier for their votes to be manipulated by someone who can make an argument that the city would benefit in some manner if their principles are a moving target. For the most part all small towns have some financial limitations, and often the draw of a potential increase in the revenue for the city coffers will make even those who started with principles to change their positions if they do not firmly vote with moral compass. However, in these instances the entirety of the project needs to be thought about, not just the money. There still is no such thing as a free lunch, if a small town gets a sudden windfall of money in the city coffers, there are usually consequences or responsibilities that the city will have to deal with.

One example in this part of Texas was the rise and fall of the Barnett Shale. When the gas money came roaring in, all the cities we spending like there was no tomorrow. However, overnight the gas price plummeted, and so did the revenue for the effected cities and they went from more cash than they could spend to huge deficits, literally overnight.  This led to large increases in taxes and cuts in services, and a big mess to clean up.  Trying to get an official at any level to see the future downside of anything, is difficult at best. They tend to look at things like this through rose colored glasses, and turn the common sense switch to the “off” position when potential downsides are presented. They have their minds made up and won't be confused with facts.  If you stand by a set of principles, then dreams of fortune and fame doesn’t play into your vote. 

To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage, or of principle. Confucius

Another thing that I see especially at the local level is voting on emotion, not principles.  Whether or not someone supported a certain person in the last election, has a direct impact on whether they will get a friendly reception at city hall.  That permit they want, may be influenced by whose sign was in their yard during the last election.  For those who can’t separate their personal life from city business, they have a broken moral compass and should not be serving in any elected position.  However, this is a vicious cycle, in which people know that there will be repercussions if they speak out against a candidate, and therefore they stay quiet and in most instances don’t even vote.  They get disgusted with the process and simple give up.  In cases like this, there is zero principles involved, and it happens all the time. 

As they say, you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.    If your officials don’t have some moral compass that they live and vote by, maybe it’s time for a change.  However, we need to pay more attention to how our officials act, and less about what they say.    It is our responsibility in a republic to not only vote, but to hold our public officials accountable to the principles they claim to have. If they do not vote on principles, then we must throw their butts out of office.  Perhaps we should think about our own principles and vote for people who share them.   

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost. John Quincy Adams

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Another Update on Jeff Perry, Mayor Pro Tem, Aubrey TX

As I closed my last blog post related to Jeff Perry, Mayor Pro Tem Aubrey, TX, I indicated that he dishes things out, but can't take them. I also stated that I have done nothing to Jeff that he has not done to others, in reality he has actually done much worse to others. Jeff has made a desperate plea on social media complaining about me contacting his boss, and accused me of trying to get him fired. This has caused some to show Jeff sympathy on this issue.

As I explained in the previous posting, I have evidence to show that Jeff was storing information about me on his work computer. I am not trying to get Jeff fired, me contacting his employer is because he is a public official using his work computer to store items pertaining to me. I have every legal right to this information. As a public official, if Jeff is willing to jeopardize his employer by doing things related to his position on Aubrey City Council, that's on Jeff. Therefore, I have every right to ask for this information from Jeff's employer. If this impacts Jeff's career, that's Jeff doing, not mine. 

Jeff on the other hand has a history of going to the employers of political adversaries or others that have information that may negatively impact his political standing in the community and has truly tried to get others fired from their jobs. I was reminded of this after the last blog post. While Jeff has accused me of trying to get him fired, he has actually demanded the firing of those who opposed him.

During the last election, which admittedly was a messy one, Jeff went to the employer of his opponent and demanded that she be fired. His opponent disclosed this intimidation in a letter to the editor in the local paper during the election. Jeff's opponent was a cashier at the local grocery store and apparently mentioned to people that she was running for council. Therefore, Jeff and or some of his political henchman went to the manager of the store and demanded she be fired. I also have reason to believe that Jeff has threatened a local newspaper that was considering running an article that would put a negative light on him. 

In summary, the reason that I requested the information from his work computer has everything to do with his position on Aubrey City Council, and nothing to do with me trying to get him fired. And contrary to Jeff's believes, this is nothing personal. I informed his boss of what he was doing and, and asked for documents that pertained to me. Jeff on the other hand openly demanded at least one person be fired for opposing him, and possibly another. So it is pretty disappointing that Jeff would dramatize for sympathy my contacting his employer for information that I have a legal right to. Perhaps he should look in the mirror to figure out why this is happening. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Update on Jeff Perry, Mayor Pro Tem Aubrey, TX

For the last several months, I have noticed that Jeff Perry frequently visits my blog while he is supposed to be performing his duties as a Collin County Juvenile Probation Officer in McKinney, TX. This has happened so much that I labeled the IP address from Jeff’s work to easily identify when he visited this site. This was prior to the latest blogpost I published concerning Jeff's behavior. Perhaps, I should be glad to have adoring fans that would rather read my blog that do their work.  However, surfing the internet is not what he’s being paid to do. 

After the latest blogpost, Jeff was visiting my site several times a day while he was at work. However, it appears that he was saving items to a desktop folder, affectionately labeled "tillmancrap". This actually gave me quite a chuckle. However, it also disappoints me that he is doing all of this, when he is supposed to be helping children. When he is getting paid and using equipment owned by the taxpayers of Collin County. 

I am doubtful that Jeff understands that when he performs functions related to his position as an Aubrey City Councilman, it doesn't matter what computer he is using, it now becomes a matter of public record, and thus subject to the Public Information Act. So whether he is using a personal device or his work computer, or something provided by the city, it is all subject to the Public Information Act if it pertains to city business. 

It shocks me that there is such a lack of transparency in government, but local government especially.  People want to get the prestige and benefits or serving in a public position, but want nothing to do with the accountability side of the equation.  Some do not understand that being in a “public position” means that you work for the public, whether you get paid or not.  Unfortunately, on many occasions they win these battles because of the difficulty of fighting, or they don’t fully understand the process. So for example, a city will deny providing public information, and even if the public has a right to the information, but you may have to file an expensive lawsuit to get it.  However, in cases like Jeff’s, where I have clear evidence that the documents exist, he would have to provide it if I pushed the matter.  If he failed to provide public records or destroyed records that we could prove existed, we might get a fresh mugshot of him.  Not sure what Jeff’s boss might do if the Attorney General’s office gave them a call wanting this information.  Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, I suspect that Jeff is ignorant to all of this. 

When I was in DISH, every email I sent was requested through public information requests. I did not fight this, and I figured it was the public’s right to have this information.  Some of the messages that I provided through these public information requests was used against me, but oh well, I signed up for it.  It got to a point that every email I sent, I went ahead and printed and added to pile for the next request.  I gave up everything, probably things I didn’t have to, but no one can say that I was not transparent.  I certainly would never jeopardize my employer by doing city business on a work computer.  However, some don’t see it that way, they would prefer to live like roaches in secrecy. 

Another aspect of challenging big oil and gas, is that everything about my life was made public.  They hired people to do extensive research on me.  You can now find anything you want about me with a simple google search.  However, I am somewhat boring, I pay my bills, never been arrested, and am faithful to my wife; so there’s not much dirt there.  I have made mistakes, and I hope that I’ve owned them and learned from them.  So for the most part, anything that one might criticize me for, I will accept responsibility for it or be proud of the stand that I took. 

Based and the fact that Jeff was spending a significant amount of time on my blog and saving files pertaining to me on his work computer, I felt that this should be addressed with his employer, which also happens to be a public entity, and also subject to some of the provisions of the Public Information Act, although most of the information Jeff would deal with are court records.  A file pertaining to me on Jeff’s work computer is absolutely not a court record, and I’m certain a judge would confirm this if needed.    Therefore, I sent a letter along with evidence that Jeff was in fact storing information pertaining to me on his work computer.

You can see what I sent here: 

I am really not interested in putting Jeff’s supervisors through a messy situation.  However, I will be speaking with my attorney on this matter to see which direction would be the easiest resolution for everyone involved.

You might be thinking, that I am being kind of hard on Jeff, and that is exactly he’d like for you to think.  He does play a good victim, but I would encourage you to not jump to conclusions.  First of all, Jeff is a public official and I assure you that he is not the person you think he is.  As harsh as I have been in this matter, I have done nothing to Jeff that he has not done to others and he knows this.  It is fine when Jeff does these things to others, but it crosses the line when it is done to him; he dishes it out, but can’t take it.  I am sure he will continue to deny these things, but nothing I have said is false.  If it is, please notify me and I will remove anything proven to be false.  Jeff must remember he is a public officials and whether he likes it or not, people have a right to know who he really is.