The Essence of Politics

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Detroit’s Budget Woes Need Fixing Now

The City of Detroit’s budget woes is not anything new but it is a part of a long history of budgetary problems that the city has been putting off for years. Detroit’s budget woes are the result of procrastination to cut the city’s spending in previous years as well as a result of the city’s leadership and stakeholders not willing to right a government that needed to be righted. What caused Detroit's financial mess should be the question but all are at fault. There is enough blame to go around for every including politicians, unions, business leaders, suburban knights and us the residents. We are all to blame for the current conditions of Detroit but the blame game won’t solve the budgetary problems we have now.

Detroit's current financial situation developed over years and nearly two decades. Late audits, credit rating and spending taxes are all actions and activities that have added to the current crisis. As early as 2005, the city has been chronically months behind in submitting its required annual financial audits to the state. Each time the city misses a deadline, the state withholds millions of dollars in revenue sharing payments. Without this money, the city has been forced to borrow to cover immediate expenditures. The late audits also affect the city's credit rating, which makes borrowing more expensive. In January, Standard & Poor's downgraded the city's rating to junk-bond status. It said it dropped the city's ratings from BBB and BBB- to BB for two kinds of debt because the city had failed to meet promises to eliminate its deficit and turn in its annual audit on time, because of the local economy and because of perceived instability in the city with multiple mayoral elections this year. Later that month, Moody's and Fitch's Ratings lowered the city's rating to junk-bond as well. Then the Free Press reported in July that the city has been collecting property tax dollars on behalf of Detroit Public Schools, the Detroit Public Library and several county-wide entities and using those dollars to pay current city expenses. The city then reimburses those taxing entities when it gets the cash to do so. Financial experts say such practice is a sign that the city is on the financial brink.

So with Detroit on brink of financial ruin as the budget balloons and some fear the city can't stay afloat. Detroit has fallen so far into debt that the only way out is through bankruptcy or mass layoffs, according to a former city auditor who is familiar with the city's financial structure. Mayor Dave Bing is trying to plug a $60-million to $80-million cash shortfall and deal with a ballooning $300-million deficit. He is being hampered, though, with falling revenue from property and income taxes and state revenue sharing. "I don't see the city getting out of this financial mess short of a bankruptcy," said Joe Harris, a former auditor general who was chief financial officer in late 2008 and early 2009. Bing took the first step last week in addressing the cash crunch by laying off 205 workers, but Harris calls the move a stopgap. The city is bleeding at least $5 million a month, Harris said. Adding to the cash woes, on Monday the state will again withhold about $1 million in revenue sharing because the city is late with its required audit.

"An $80-million cash flow shortfall sounds terrible," said Jan Lazar, a municipal finance and management consultant, "but it doesn't mean the city can't manage it." On July 1, Detroit began its fiscal year with less than $20 million in the bank -- not even enough of a surplus to pay the roughly 13,000 employees who cost the city $50 million a month in salaries and benefits. Now, as the budget continues to balloon -- Detroit Mayor Dave Bing estimates at least a $300-million accumulated deficit and a $60-million to $80-million immediate cash shortfall -- there's concern that the city will not be able to limp its way through the end of the year. Bing has warned that the city could run out of cash by October and that at least 1,000 workers must be laid off if bankruptcy or an emergency financial manager is to be avoided. Experts say the city must prioritize its bills and pay the most important ones first. Missing a bond payment would be the worst move because it would make borrowing much harder and more expensive, said Jan Lazar, a municipal finance and management consultant with Lansing-based Mercer Group.

"Missing payroll is the next-to-worst thing," said Lazar, who assisted with management of Highland Park when the city was under an emergency financial manager. "You can't lay people off by not paying them today. They are going to file a grievance and they are going to win, and then you'll end up paying them for not going to work, with interest." Detroit borrowed $85 million in tax anticipation notes last month to add some cushion to the city coffers, said Joe Harris, a former city auditor general who served as the city's chief financial officer in late 2008 and early 2009. That money likely will help the city get through the fall, but must be repaid within a year. "I think the mayor is right, and the city is probably in good shape through October," said Harris, who helped craft this year's budget. "The question is can they get through December." Come Monday, Detroit again will miss out on money it desperately needs. The state is already withholding $13.2 million in revenue sharing -- $12 million from April and $1.2 million from June -- because the city's 2008 fiscal year audit report is eight months late. Terry Stanton, Department of Treasury spokesman, said the city on Monday likely will miss out on about $1 million for its August revenue sharing payment because the audits are still outstanding.

The Bing administration officials laid off 205 workers last week, netting a savings of about $10 million. Harris said the move was a good first step and agrees with Bing's assessment that at least 1,000 workers must lose their jobs. Harris explains it this way: The city worker with the lowest seniority would be the first to go, according to most union contracts. Those workers average between $30,000 and $50,000 in salary; add in benefits and the city is spending about $80,000 per year to pay one employee. With the city facing about an $80-million shortfall this year, that's 1,000 employees on the chopping block. "There's only one way out of this mess, and that's layoffs," Harris said. "The unions have steadfastly said, 'We will not accept concessions.' The public needs to understand that the mayor has no alternative but to do layoffs." Harris said it's a difficult and disadvantaged time for Bing, who is running for re-election in November, to pull the trigger on the necessary job reductions, but if he doesn't, the city will be bankrupt.

Charles Beckham, Bing's chief administrative officer, said the city subsidizes about $80 million annually to run the Detroit Department of Transportation -- something no other major city does. The city spends most of its money in four departments, according to the 2009-10 budget: Police, Fire, Transportation and the Department of Public Works. This year's price tag for all four: nearly $950 million. Bing already has experienced the public outcry that came when he tried to eliminate some bus services, and likely would face similar opposition if he cut garbage pickup or public safety services. "What's important to one person may not be important to another," Beckham told the City Council last week. "These are not easy solutions. ... There's only so much money." Union leaders, though, are pushing back. "You can't lay us off and then privatize the work," said Leamon Wilson, chairman of the presidents of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees locals, which represent city employees, including transportation workers. "He's doing it with an attitude and not giving a damn," Wilson said of Bing. Lazar said one way the city can raise cash is to sell some of its empty property and underused assets. Such talk has surfaced in regards to the future of the lighting department. But, Lazar cautioned that any effort to sell the city's water department would be a horrible idea. "Then you not only lose control of your water system, but you eventually lose control of your water rates," she said.

Detroit's structural deficit has many causes, but revenue from several key sources, including income and property taxes, was in a tailspin even before last year's economic collapse. The numbers are startling: Property tax revenue peaked in 2004 at $254 million but decreased by $13 million by 2007. It's expected to fall much more in the next two years as foreclosures drive down property values. City income tax revenue peaked in 2003 at more than $311 million. By 2007, it had fallen $33 million, and it's expected that the state's rising unemployment rate will make the 2008 and 2009 figures even worse. In 2003, the city received $319 million in state shared revenue. By 2007, that had fallen more than $47 million, to $272 million. One bright spot in the city's budget in recent years has been casino tax revenue, which grew steadily from 2003 through 2007. In addition to the wagering tax, the city also collects other fees from the casinos.

That revenue peaked in 2007 at more than $179 million, according to city financial reports. The 2008 figures aren't yet available, but state figures on casino revenue show the casino business slowed last year as the economy cooled. The wagering portion of the revenue collected by the state in 2008 was down $36 million from 2007, according to the state Gaming Control Board. Harris said the city lived high-on-the-hog for the past 10 years thanks to casino revenue, even as health care benefits were rising and income tax revenue was disappearing. Now casino revenues can no longer offset those costs. "The mayor has absolutely no control over some of the decisions that were made by his predecessors," Harris said. "But he doesn't have time to rethink how the city is run. He's going to run out of money before he has time to implement any efficiencies."

Still the blame game in Detroit is emerging as the city faces perhaps it biggest budgetary problem to date. Critics blast Bing for passing blame in Detroit's financial mess. An opinion piece by Mayor David Bing blasting council members, union leadership and even residents on key issues facing the city was met with sharp criticism Sunday. Bing's commentary, which ran on the opinion page of Sunday's Detroit News, carried the headline "Detroit must redefine leadership." Bing said a combination of the city's broadening financial crisis -- and elected officials refusal to deal with it in the past -- has pushed him to make unpopular decisions, such as cutting services and employee layoffs. Bing accused officials of failing to "clean up the mess" and said the "time for pseudo leadership has passed. He noted Detroit is faced with "one of the worst financial, educational and social crises of the past century," far beyond recent scandals.

"I find it interesting that he (Bing) criticizes a council that after 100 days in office, he won't even sit down with and talk about what our challenges are and how to overcome them," said Detroit City councilman Kwame Kenyatta. "And some of the decisions he has made seem to be lockstep with the very legacy of mis-leadership he is criticizing. He didn't veto the budget when he came in and we asked him then if there were any changes to make before it was approved. We knew there might be areas where funding would be problematic but approved it. "The council decides to defund an office of administrative hearing and he turns around and refunds it. He fires a police chief with excellent credentials and goes and hires a sheriff and pays him even more money."

He also criticized Bing for hiring administrators long associated with previous administrations, including Chief Financial Officer Norm White and Chief Administrative Officer Charlie Beckham, both of whom worked for former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. "Anyone coming in as mayor in Detroit right now is going to have to make these same decisions. And all of them are going to be tough." Gary Amezquita, a city radio maintenance technician for 22 years who was notified he was being laid off last week, said he believes Bing is talking tough because "he is scared of not being re-elected." "I think he's a big union buster and he's trying to scare the unions into taking big (contract) concessions," said Amezquita, a member of AFSME Local No. 1023. "There has been funny stuff, corruption going on in city for years yet now they are trying to lay it off on the workers? It's not fair."

It is clear that both leadership and common sense is needed in these tough times in Detroit. Layoffs must happen but not always to the least of us when the most of us are getting paid grade “A” top dollar for services that aren’t even delivered great. Anyone who conducts business in the city of Detroit knows that city services at times is average at best on a good day but on any other day, it is terrible for all. Detroit’s budget woes need fixing but a practical yet realist approach needs to be. All the scare tactics need to stop and all the finger pointing needs to end because no one wins in this fight. In fact, our city’s books can’t be balanced until we bring in a batch of people who have no ties to previous administrations that will do what it is necessary to keep the city of Detroit afloat and not just their own city jobs. Detroit needs a dose of reality but that goes for our city’s leadership as well as unions but most of all us the residents.

What we are seeing in this city is a long history of procrastination when it comes righting our government? For years, our city’s leadership has lacked common sense when it comes to addressing our budgetary issues as well as our public safety, education and other city services. Now that we are faced with the fact problems over and over again, it is clear that our budgetary woes won’t be solved unless we accept the fact that we can’t continue to pay top dollar to city employees those unionized and non-unionized. We can’t continue to pay our elected officials top dollar or provide them with city perks such as vehicles, gas refills and other things. We can’t continue to do that if we are to be a stronger and viable as well as inclusive city for all residents. Detroit can’t continue to see our tax base crumble while our city services get worse and worse, all the way the lack of real common sense leadership is nowhere to be found.

Detroit doesn’t need the status quo when it comes to leadership but it needs people who care, people who understand and people who are willing to call the city home while working to solve the city’s nagging problems. Detroit has faced these budgetary problems before and it seems as if for far too long, no matter who is the mayor, they are unwilling to make decisions that are in the best interest of us the residents of Detroit. With Detroit’s unemployment being the highest it has ever been since 1970, it is all the more reason why the city needs real life solutions that will make the city solvent not just in the short term but in the long term as well. Detroit needs to privatize certain city services but at the same time, Detroit must try to recruit young innovative talent form within the city to rebuild a new and better Detroit. Detroit needs young leaders who are willing to work for a little less than $100,000 that many of the mayoral appointees are getting but are willing to work toward improving the city in order to create a city that is inclusive of all races and ethnicities. Detroit must fix its budgetary problems now and it must fix it with being real about what is plaguing this city. Detroit needs action now and it needs all sides involved in this debate to understand the issues and face reality when solving these problems.

Mayor Dave Bing can’t continue to blame everyone else for what the city is facing because he is now mayor so he needs to lead the way but by blaming everyone else for the city’s problems and not place any of the blame on himself, is just ill-willed and ill advised. Mayor Bing, this is your city now and that is why, to show us the residents of Detroit real leadership, you must first begin by sitting down to talk with city council on your own, not sending political operatives or staffers. Lastly Bing needs to show us the residents he cares and feels our pain by downgrading his security detail and give back his company car and using his own car or take the bus to work and around the city like many of Detroiters do. In fact all city leaders and workers should do that especially if they are using city vehicles to get around. If we are all Detroit than everyone needs to chip in fix the budget so many perks and freebies as well as luxuries need to be given back in order to help fix the city’s budget. There is no sense of entitlement anymore as Mayor Bing said so he as well as other city leaders and employees need to give back the cars, free gas perks and other incentives that are paid for by us the residents.

Detroit’s budget must get fixed now and it must get fixed with everyone except for us the residents sacrificing because we have sacrificed too much already and have not gotten anything for our sacrifice except for terrible services and a growing unemployment base right along with city sprawl.

Additional Facts: Possible remedies
Detroit's financial options remain limited, experts say. Two options are bankruptcy with a receiver being in charge, and having the state appoint an emergency financial manager.

Option 1--Emergency financial manager:
 Appointed by the governor.
 Acts under state law.
 Tasked with resolving financial emergency.
 Can renegotiate labor contracts, but not abrogate them.
 Can, with state approval, file bankruptcy for the city.

Option 2--Bankruptcy:
 A judge typically appoints a receiver who:
 Acts under federal bankruptcy law.
 Is tasked with preserving property in a bankruptcy.
 Can, with court approval, abrogate contracts.

Source: Michigan Department of Treasury

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Jay-Z - History

(Jay-Z - History)Jay-Z - History with Lyrics

LYRICS : [Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
(Gimme a lighter)
Victory (Lighters up) is finally ours
(Lighters up)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 1: Jay-Z]
In search of victory, she keeps eluding me
If only we could be together momentarily
We can make love and make history
Why won't you visit me? until she visit me
I'll be stuck with her sister, her name is defeat
She gives me agony, so much agony
She brings me so much pain, so much misery
Like missing your last shot and falling to your knees
As the crowd screams for the other team
I practice so hard for this moment, victory don't leave
I know what this means, I'm stuck in this routine
Whole new different day, same old thing
All I got is dreams, nobody else can see
Nobody else believes, nobody else but me
Where are you victory? I need you desperately
Not just for the moment, to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History (yeah), so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 2: Jay-Z]
So now I'm flirting with death, hustling like a G
While victory wasn't watching took chances repeatedly
As a teenage boy before acne, before I got proactiv I couldn't face she
I just threw on my hoodie and headed to the street
That's where I met success, we'd live together shortly
Now success is like lust, she's good to the touch
She's good for the moment but she's never enough
Everybody's had her, she's nothing like V
But success is all I got unfortunately
But I'm burning down the block hoppin' in and out of V
But something tells me that there's much more to see
Before I get killed because I can't get robbed
So before me success and death ménage
I gotta get lost, I gotta find V
We gotta be together to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
(Lighters. Up.)
And the battle's finally won
(Lighter. Up.)
Victory is finally ours
(Lighters. Up.)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 3: Jay-Z]
Now victory is mine, it tastes so sweet
She's my trophy wife, you're coming with me
We'll have a baby who stutters repeatedly
We'll name him history, he'll repeat after me
He's my legacy, son of my hard work
Future of my past, he'll explain who I be
Rank me amongst the greats, either 1, 2, or 3
If I ain't number one then I failed you victory
Ain't in it for the fame that dies within weeks
Ain't in it for the money, can't take it when you leave
I wanna be remembered long after you grieve
Long after I'm gone, long after I breathe
I leave all I am in the hands of history
That's my last will and testimony
This is much more than a song, it's a baby shower
I've been waiting for this hour, history you ours

[Chorus: Cee-lo (2x)]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

Man in the Mirror--By Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

I'm gonna make a change,
for once im my life
It's gonna feel real good,
gonna make a diference
Gonna make it right...

As I, turn up the collar on
my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets,
with not enought to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard,a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It's time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they're not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody's broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see
'Cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways - ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that..
(Take a look at yourself and then make that..)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror - Oh yeah!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you wanna make the world a better place)

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cook

It's been a long time coming but a change is surely going to come in America and the World! I am the Future of America and the World and that is the message that each of us must carry with us each and every day that we wake up on Earth! I am the Future! You are the Future! We are the Future of America and the World! That is way every election is important--primaries, special elections and general! So vote every year and hold our politicians accountable. Hold our political officials accountable by writing them, calling them and making sure they attend meetings that we the people have. "The Time for Change is not Now but Right Now!"

"EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary" should be our anthem and should be our creed as we make the positive differences in America and the world that so many people beg for and hungry for year after year! A Change is Gonna Come, A Change is Gonna Come, that's what we must say as we say "God grants us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, Courge to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference" each morning before we go about the task of making a positive change in America and the world a reality.

Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen

“When will people realize that we are Americans first and foremost, not Democrats or Liberals, not Republicans or Conservatives, not Independents or moderates. We are Americans. Stop putting a political party above America and stop putting any politican above America. America succeeds because of us the people holding our government responsible no matter the political party because the main two political parties are to blame for the condition America is in."—Hodari P.T. Brown

America with its flaws and all is a country I am proud to have been born in. America is not perfect but my love for it is perfect. That’s why all Americans must realize that we are all Americans. In fact we are Americans first and foremost. We are not Democrats or Republicans. We are Americans.

We are not Muslims, Christians or Jews. We are Americans. Too many times we recognize our differences with others rather than appreciating our similarities which are, we are Americans. We are Americans first and foremost, no matter if we were born here or moved here legally. We are all Americans, here in this country to make not only our lives better but the lives of other Americans better so future Americans can enjoy the rights and freedoms that make us all Americans.

We are all Americans. We are one party united under God. We are Americans and this is the only political party that matters. We are Americans and this is our country so let’s make sure that we make America better than how we found it so future Americans can live prosperous and joyous lives. We are Americans and must not ever forget that.

America will prosper as long we make sure we are doing our part to make it prosper and that means we can’t put any political party or politician above America. Long live America forever and long live America’s service to the world. Together, America and the world will prosper for future generations to enjoy America and the world we live in.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

This video of the ' Negro National Anthem' was originally screened at the historic African-American Church Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC on January 18th, 2009. Many of the esteemed individuals featured in this video in attendance and we presented with the ' Keepers of the Flame' award for the monumental contributions to social justice.

This version of the song was performed by the Grace Baptist Church Cathedral Choir, conducted by Derrick James. The video was produced and donated by Ascender Communications, LLC ( at the request of The Balm In Gilead, Inc.

If I Was President--Wyclef Jean

If I was President that is the people's anthem. We all have ideas of what we can do as President and through this website, we will fulfill our deam as a people!

Somethings Gotta Give--Big Boi ft Mary J Blige

Somethings Gotta Give people and it begins today for all us to make sure that something is us. We the people are sick and tired of suffering. Where is our piece of the Dream that so many people dead for so that we all could see today. This is our time people to change America and the world so that the Next Generation has a better future than the past we inherited.

This is our call to service. This isn't about one political candidate or one political figure. This is about us as people coming together to finally leave up to our potential and achieving the great feats that those before us have achieved. This is our moment to lead our nation and our world to greater heights.

Somethings gotta give people and it starts with us the people making it happen. We have to improve our education system in America. We have to rid the world of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We have to go to the streets and lift a hand to another in order to decrease poverty in this world. We have to take a stand today and make sure that the future of America and the world is brighter than it has ever been.

Somethings Gotta Give and that is why we must "Remember Each One, Reach One and Teach One so America's future and the World's future continues to prosper."

John Legend - "If You're Out There"

If you're out there than you need to get started in helping to change America and the world. The world and America won't change until you get involved in making the changes you want to see in this world. If you're out there, than you must know that tomorrow started now and today started yesterday so you are behind in helping to the change. If you are tired of hatred, racism, poverty, war, and violence than the time to change it is now. If you want universal health care, world peace, democracy for every nation, equal rights, and happiness for all than you must get involved now to help the save world.

You must believe in the change that you want to see and you must act on making that change a reality. If you're out there than say it aloud and show the rest of America and the world that you're out here to make a real positive change in the communities we stay in. If you're out there than get involved now. I'm calling every women and men to join me as we take back our country right here, right now. If you're out there than the future started yersterday and we are already late so we have lots of work to do but I know we can do it together as one.


Yes We Can accomplish anything that we set out to do! We don't need charismatic or inspirational leaders to believe in ourselves and to take responsiblity for our own faith, we just need each other. Yes We Can build a new America and a new world if each of us would take action now to make the changes that we want to see in the world. Yes We Can control government by holding our political officials accountable for their actions by calling them out when they don't pass legislation that supports the common good of all man and by voting in every election to ensure that we have people representing the people locally, state wide, nationally and in the world.

Yes We Can be great! Yes We Can be what we want to be! Yes We Can be glorious in not only America but the world! Yes We can put action behind our worlds and change the world starting right here, right now! Yes We Can as Republicans, Democrats and Independents become one as we freely think about our fellow men and women and make decisions that will be in the best interest of all people and not one single group.

Yes We Can be the change that we want to see in the world! Yes We Can show the world that the youth are ready to lead! Yes We Can put our egos, our social economic statuses, our religions, our educational statuses and our skin color to the side for the better good of the world! Yes We Can be Greater than we have ever been and help others be Greater than they have ever be!

YES WE CAN and YES WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS IN ALL THAT WE DO! YES WE CAN, no matter what others may say, we will be glorious! YES WE WILL and YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!

YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN is what will be sung from every mountaintop, every riverbank, every household, every school yard, every factory, every sporting event, every college campus and even every place you can imagine in the world is where YES WE CAN, will be said and heard!


Keep On Pushing - Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions

Wake Up People! No matter who is elected to any public office, we have to “Keep On Pushing” as a people to make sure they don’t leave us in a worst state than what they inherited. We as a people have to “Keep On Pushing” to make a difference in the lives of others. We have to have an “EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary” attitude as we continue to push our agenda that we the people deserve and want better. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change in a positive way that will benefit all Americans no matter their age, their religion or skin color. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will improve our education system, improve our military, improve our national security, improve our healthcare system and improve our economy. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will leave America’s future in a better than how we found it and that will leave the world’s future in a better state than we imagined we could live it. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to make life better for our neighborhoods, our families and even our quote on quote enemies. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to inspire, to uplift and to guide those who need help spiritually, physically and mentally. We have to “Keep On Pushing ” so that our lives, our future generation’s lives and the lives of those who came before us does not die in vein.

“Keep on Pushing”

A War For Your Soul

A War For Your Soul-regular version from Erisai Films on Vimeo.

The moment has come for us as a nation of people to finally wake up and realize that our destiny and fate in society has rests on our shoulders. We cannot allow the forces of evil and darkness to drain us out. We have to continue to overcome all odds in order to make the future of our nation better and the future of future generations of Americans better. We have to continue to pray to our Lord and we have to continue to uplift each other in prayer as well as take action against those things that are trying to destroy us. We have to stand up once and for all and be the future that we want to be. Now is our time and we shall do together by any means necessary.

This video was created to inspire young African-Americans not to fall prey to some of the problems they face in society. The use of the voice "Master of Darkness" represents evil, which is where the blame of all problems should be placed, and not on any one group of people. This video should not to be used to divide people (Black & White), there are images of heroes that are white in this video, and there are images of Black & White coming together with the words of Dr. King in the background. Some of the images from the past can be unsettling, but they are used to show all Americans how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. This film is being strategically placed in school systems, churches and youth orgs around the country, in hope of helping a lost generation of kids that we as Americans have forgotten. As fellow Americans we must continue to love each other, and take that love and spread it to the rest of the world. **THIS VIDEO IS NOT FOR SALE & I AM NOT ACCEPTING DONATIONS FOR THE FILM, I ONLY WANT THE MESSAGE TO REACH AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT ANY HIDDEN POLITICAL OR FINANCIAL AGENDA.

Sitting On the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding

"The time for sitting is over! The time for action is now! The time for hope without action is hopeless! The time for change without a positive attitude is a change that we can't believe in! We need change that is positive of helping all people! Our time for action is now, our time for hope is now, our time for change is now and our time to believe that we can do whatever we set our minds to is not now but right now!"


The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming;
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
'Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight and the gloom of the grave;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land,
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just.
And this be our motto— "In God is our trust; "
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Black President

Our Time is not now but Right Now! Our Time has finally come to change the world not now but Right Now! If you don't believe that we can change the world than watch as we do it by changing your mind into believing in us and what we can do! This is OUR TIME RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!


We got to FIGHT THE POWER! We can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch injustices take place. We can no longer sit by and allow our right to vote to become unexercised. We must FIGHT THE POWER for our past, present and future! We can no longer allow our rights to be oppressed and our voice to become drained by the powers at be. We must FIGHT THE POWER and show that we have a lot to say that needs to be heard by the mainstream media. We must FIGHT THE POWER and live up to our potential as dynamic, unbelievable and phenomenal people.

We must not believe the hype but we must become the hype. We are not Harriett Tubman, Marcus Garvey, MLK, Malcolm X, Booker T. Washington, Carter G. Woodson, W.E.B. DuBois, the Black Panther Party, SNCC, or any other activists but we are the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunties, and relatives of those who came before us to pave the way for us to FIGHT THE POWER! We are not next Generation of leaders who will not be honored and praised until they die but that’s the fight we accept. We are not fighting the power for glory or fame but we are fighting the power for just causes that most men and women will not understand until years or decades later.

We are fighting for our sisters and brothers in Darfur, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, China and Mexico. We are speaking for those who are poor and have no food or water. We are fighting for those who are sick and dying. We are fighting for universal healthcare across the world and human rights for all people. We are fighting for rich and poor! We must FIGHT THE POWER no matter how hard and tough the road may be. We must FIGHT THE POWER for a better today and an even greater tomorrow!



“People Get Ready” our time is coming! We have come too far to turn back now. Our train is coming and it is coming in waves. “People Get Ready”, we don’t need a ticket but we need faith and the Lord will help guide us as we take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” our moment is now and we are ready to see the change we want in America and the world. All we got to do is have faith, hope and prosperity. “People Get Ready” to face your fears. “People Get Ready” to face your demons and the challenges of yesterday because today and tomorrow we will conquer & be victorious. “People Get Ready” a change is coming and our actions will make sure that change is a real positive change that lasts forever.

“People Get Ready” because we have had enough of just talking but now is our time to show action. “People Get Ready” to take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” to take back our communities and to make our streets safer and schools better. “People Get Ready” to make all our dreams come true. “People Get Ready” to see a better present for everyone and a better future for future generations. “People Get Ready” to live up to your potential and to help others live up to their own potential. “People Get Ready” to move past hatred, bigotry, racism and sexism. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the dreams of those who came before us and those who will come after us.

“People Get Ready” as we make our actions speak louder than our words. “People Get Ready” to make words mean something again as we put action to back up our rhetoric. “People Get Ready” as we embark on a new journey that will re-write America’s history as well as the world’s history. “People Get Ready” as we make the lives of others better and the lives of future generations better. “People Get Ready” because all we need is faith, hope and action to make this world a better place. “People Get Ready” to make a difference. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the American dream. “People Get Ready" to live out the American Dream as our founding fathers wanted us to live it. “People Get Ready” because our time is now, our moment is now and our moment in time to change America & the world is not now but right now. “People Get Ready” because a change is coming!

(Let me tell you now)
People get ready, there's a train comin'
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin'
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord

People get ready, for a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There's hope for all among those loved the most

There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner
Who would hurt all man kind just to save his own (believe me now)
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there's no hiding place against the kingdoms throne

[Alicia & Lyfe]
So people get ready there's a train coming
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels humming,
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord


God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood

Lee Greenwood-god bless the U.S.A