The Essence of Politics

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Perspective: The War on Our Youth: Food & Soda Taxes

As the healthcare debate goes on, it seems as if one thing that is being debated is the notion of taxing soda and certain foods that cause obesity to many Americans but particularly our youth. So cities, towns and states have discussed taxing junking foods and soda but now it seems as if our nation’s Congress feels this is a good idea in order to prevent obesity from continuing to get out of control. However I believe that the key to dealing with obesity is for us as Americans to “Think Smart. Be Smart. Act Smart.” Now, more than ever, Americans must think smarter and act smarter. Especially when it comes to improving health care in America, an admirable goal I support. But I also know we can't tax our way to healthier lifestyles, and we need to make that clear to our members of Congress. After all, we all do have an obligation to our children - and to ourselves - to promote healthy lifestyles through balanced diets and exercise.

However an document entitled “Taxing Sins: Are Excise Taxes Efficient?” by Katelyn Christ and Richard Williams (Download Document ) says, “Policy makers and the public have become increasingly concerned about the dramatic growth in obesity that has taken place in the United States over the last several decades. While the public claims to be concerned about the issue, obesity rates continue to increase. People seem content to wait for a magic pill that will correct the problem. While science has so far failed in its attempts to invent that pill, policy makers think they have found it. It's called excise taxes.

Still Most economists, particularly those in public finance, find it preferable to raise revenue by taxing a broad base at a low rate in order to maximize the amount of revenue while reducing the distortions to the economy. The opposite of a broad-based tax is an excise tax, a tax levied on particular goods. Historically, governments have used soft drink excise taxes, which have existed since at least 1920, primarily to generate revenue. Today, however, states and localities increasingly view the taxation of soft drinks as a social tool—a way to curb rising obesity rates.

Policies that tax sweetened soft drink for the purposes of reducing obesity and, in some cases, raising funds to advance this goal seek the same economic legitimacy as past attempts to tax “sin products” like tobacco, alcohol, and firearms. Not surprisingly, though, this tax raises efficiency concerns similar to those taxes. Taxes on sweetened soft drinks do not necessarily advance the overall public interest, may be regressive in nature, and hardly ever work as intended.

Still there are five myths that we all need to can about soda taxes. Katherine Mangu Ward wrote the article “5 Myths We Need to Can About Soda Taxes” in Sunday’s Washington Post and she begins by saying, “Like bears to honey or zombies to brains, politicians find something irresistible about soda taxes. President Obama recently told Men's Health magazine that he thinks a "sin tax" on soda is "an idea that we should be exploring." San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom moved to impose a fee on stores for selling sugary drinks, only to admit that his plan was probably illegal. In December, New York Gov. David Paterson proposed an 18 percent tax on full-sugar soda to help cover a budget shortfall. After a public outcry, he claimed he was just raising awareness about childhood obesity. But he was also rehashing the same old myths about how taxing soda will save us all”

So with that said, below are five myths we need to can about soda taxes:

1. Sin taxes are for our own good.
The basic idea sounds reasonable enough. Why not have the government nudge citizens along the path to righteousness by making bad choices more expensive? But even the most avid proponents of sin taxes concede that none of the nickel-and-dime proposals on the table is large enough to discourage soda drinking. And they're not really intended to. Soda taxes, like most sin taxes, aren't primarily designed to reduce consumption -- they're designed to raise revenue. Tap water is already virtually free. Adding a few cents in tax to a $1.29 soda bottle isn't going to send cost-conscious Coke-guzzlers swarming to the nearest water fountain. Forty states currently take a bite out of sales of soda or junk food -- if anyone's addicted to soda, its state legislatures. In the Men's Health interview, Obama focused on childhood obesity. But the Senate Finance Committee's
interest in soda taxes at a hearing this spring wasn't about keeping American spawn slim; health-care reformers were salivating over the projected $24 billion in revenue that a 3-cent tax would generate over the next four years.

2. Soda is causing the obesity epidemic.
It's true that, on the whole, fat people drink more soda than skinny people. They also consume more calories overall and exercise less. So soda does help people pack on the pounds. But so does absolutely everything everyone eats. No news story about soda is complete without the scolding phrase "empty calories," yet soda consumption per capita has
remained steady over the past two decades as obesity numbers have continued to rise. Weight gain is a function of calories in minus calories out. A food calorie is 4.2 kilojoules of energy, whether it comes from a bottle of orange juice, a latte or an ice-cold Coke. Cola calories are not uniquely "empty." They are not bleak, hollow shells of calories, staging tiny productions of "Waiting for Godot" in your love handles. A calorie is a calorie.

3. Soda taxes help everyone.
Even advocates of soda taxes admit that the costs will be borne disproportionately by the poor, who spend a larger percentage of their income on soda than other groups. Nonetheless, politicians continue the long tradition of taxing the wazoo out of a can of Coke while leaving upscale beverages and luxury foods sin-tax-free. Eight ounces of Naked's Mighty Mango juice ($3.79 a bottle at Whole Foods) contains slightly more sugar than the same serving of cola, while diet soft drinks have the same calorie count as water. But nationwide, fancy juices and venti mocha Frappuccinos remain almost completely untouched by sin surcharges, while a bodega bottle of Sprite brings down the wrath of the taxman. It's the silly, sugary equivalent of the distinction between the harsh sentencing guidelines for people caught with crack vs. the lenient sentencing for possessors of cocaine, its high-class cousin.

4. High-fructose corn syrup is extremely hazardous to your health.
It's the stuff that makes soda sticky sweet -- and the reason many justify a soda tax. Florida state Rep. Juan Zapata called it the "crack of sweeteners" and tried to ban it in schools in 2006. At the popular blog
Slashfood, it's known as "the devil's additive." High-fructose corn syrup has been treated as the fall guy for America's obesity problem. But the hazards of cheap corn sweetener are the stuff of pseudo-scientific legend. New York University nutritionist Marion Nestle, a major proponent of soda taxes, has said of corn syrup: "It's basically no different from table sugar. . . . The body can't tell them apart." Even the head of the self-proclaimed "food police" has denounced high-fructose fear-mongering. Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest tore into a 2004 scientific research report that kicked off anti-corn-syrup hysteria, saying, "The authors of this paper misunderstood chemistry, draw erroneous conclusions and have done a disservice to the public in generating this controversy."

5. Obesity is driving health-care costs up. A soda tax is just a user fee.
Should we consider soda taxes an advance payment for all those diabetes tests and emergency room visits down the road -- not to mention the cost of buying the inevitably necessary super-size MRI machines? A group of academics, state health commissioners and others take exactly that line in the pages of the
New England Journal of Medicine this month, writing, "Escalating health care costs and the rising burden of diseases related to poor diet create an urgent need for solutions, thus justifying government's right to recoup costs." But there is a dangerous precedent at the root of this argument: that government can and should tax any behavior that hurts the budget's bottom line. That logic sends us down a strange road. It's just a slouch, sink and a slump to taxing remote controls, thus encouraging the fat and lazy to get a little exercise by standing up to change the channel.

All kinds of private decisions -- good and bad -- affect government spending. That doesn't give politicians the right to use taxes to push people around. However what would be wise for politicians is to start looking to tell our youth to make smart choices by installing nutrition education in our youth at early ages and throughout their education endeavors so they can know the importance of healthy eating. Teaching our kids how to eat a variety of foods and beverages in moderation is essential to developing skills for a lifetime. That is why I support efforts to provide nutrition education in schools. School Beverage Guidelines Childhood obesity is a serious and complex problem that requires comprehensive solutions. That is why the beverage industry is stepping up to do its part. In 2006, America’s leading beverage companies teamed with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (a joint initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association) to develop School Beverage Guidelines as part of a broader effort to teach children the importance of a balanced diet and exercise.

Through the guidelines, the beverage industry committed to changing the beverage mix in schools across America by removing full-calorie sodas from all schools, while capping calories and reducing portion sizes on other lower-calorie and nutritious beverage options. After just two years of a three-year implementation, the guidelines are delivering results. At the start of the current school year, nearly 80 percent of America’s schools under contract were in compliance with the School Beverage Guidelines – exceeding the agreed-upon goal of 75 percent after two years. And calories from beverages in schools have been cut by 58 percent during that same time.

The School Beverage Guidelines provide the following beverages:
Elementary School
--Bottled water
--Up to 8 ounce servings of milk and 100% juice
--Fat-free or low-fat regular and flavored milk and nutritionally equivalent (perUSDA) milk alternatives with up to 150 calories/ 8 ounces
--100% juice with no added sweeteners, up to 120 calories / 8 ounces, and with at least 10% of the recommended daily value for three or more vitamins and minerals

Middle School
--Same as elementary school, except juice and milk may be sold in 10 ounce servings
--As a practical matter, if middle school and high school students have shared access to areas on a common campus or in common buildings, then the school community has the option to adopt the high school standard

High School
--Bottled water
--No- or low-calorie beverages with up to 10 calories / 8 ounces
--Up to 12 ounce servings of milk, 100% juice and certain other drinks
--Fat-free or low-fat regular and flavored milk and nutritionally equivalent (perUSDA) milk alternatives with up to 150 calories / 8 ounces
--100% juice with no added sweeteners, up to 120 calories / 8 ounces, and with at least 10% of the recommended daily value for three or more vitamins and minerals
--Other drinks with no more than 66 calories / 8 ounces
--At least 50% of non-milk beverages must be water and no- or low-calorie options

Time of Day
--All beverages sold on school grounds during the regular and extended school day.
--The extended school day includes before and after school activities like clubs, yearbook, band, student government, drama and childcare/latchkey programs.
--These guidelines do not apply to school-related events where parents and other adults are part of an audience or are selling beverages as boosters during intermission, as well as immediately before or after an event. Examples of these events include school plays and band concerts.

Now I am willing to support physical activity legislation and initiatives are needed more so than simply taxing Americans and youth. Balancing calories consumed with calories burned through physical activity is critical to losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight for all consumers, especially children. While nutrition education addresses the “calories in” part of the equation. we also must address the “calories out” part. That is why I support legislation and initiatives that promote physical activity for our kids.

The FIT Kids Act, The Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act – or the FIT Kids Act – promotes the need to make physical education in schools a greater priority. It amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to require annual state and local educational agency report cards to include specified information on school health and physical education programs. Other objectives include: the promotion of healthy, active lifestyles by students within ESEA grant programs that support school counseling, smaller learning communities, community learning centers and parental involvement in their childrens’ education; and revising the professional development program for teachers and principals to include training for physical and health education teachers, and training on improving students’ health habits and participation in physical activities. It also directs the Secretary of Education to contract with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for a study that: (1) assesses the affect health and physical education have on students’ ability to learn; and (2) makes recommendations for improving, and measuring improvements to, their health and physical education in schools.

Then there is PE4Life, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring active, healthy living by advancing the development of quality, daily physical education programs for all children. The organization’s approach to physical education is that it should be offered daily to all children; be available to all students, not just those that are athletically inclined; provide a wide variety of sports and fitness activities; assess students on their personal progress toward fitness and physical activity goals; regularly incorporate technology; and extend beyond the walls of the school gymnasium to form community and business partnerships.

I also support The Partnership for Play Every Day. This nationwide, action-oriented partnership is made up of a diverse group of premier organizations from the public, non-profit and private sectors. It is convened by the YMCA, the National Recreation and Park Association and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. However with all these initiatives there needs to be responsible marketing to our youth when it comes to soda and junk food similar to what has taken place in regards to cigarettes. So here the ICBA Global Guidelines on Marketing to Children: The beverage industry has long recognized the positive role it can play in promoting healthy lifestyles for all ages. This commitment extends to responsible marketing practices, especially when it comes to children. In 2008, the International Council of Beverages Association (ICBA) adopted global guidelines on marketing to children. Through adopting the ICBA Global Guidelines on Marketing to Children, the beverage industry can further protect the role of parents, ensuring a collaborative effort to help teach children around the world how to make more informed choices.

These guidelines (, which are supported by the American Beverage Association, set a standard whereby beverage companies voluntarily agree to eliminate the advertising and marketing of a wide range of beverages, to any audience that is comprised predominantly of children under 12. This policy includes paid media outlets such as TV, radio, print, Internet, phone messaging and cinema (including product placement). These guidelines were developed within the framework of a wider food and drinks industry commitment to collaborate with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other stakeholders to help implement the 2004 WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. They are the first, sector-specific step in a broader movement that will include a variety of initiatives and a large number of food and beverage partners.

Therefore, our youth and America need education not taxation in order to deal with obesity and to create healthier lives. Discriminatory and punitive taxes on soda and juice drinks do not teach our children to have a healthy lifestyle, and have no meaningful impact on child obesity or public health. They just further burden working families already struggling in this trying economy. Even the science shows that education, not taxation, is the key to reducing obesity and improving public health. Learn more about why increased taxes are not the solution.

Below various research regarding taxing food and soda as well as obesity in this nation that prove that education is needed more so than taxes:
Why a Soda Tax is the Wrong Tax Policy
“Taxing Sins: Are Excise Taxes Efficient?”Mercatus on Policy 2009Link:
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University (GMU) applies scholarly research to problems facing policy-makers. In this paper, Richard Williams, managing director of GMU’s regulatory studies program and government accountability project, along with Katelyn Christ, examine why excise taxes fail to be efficient and effective public policy. Together, they found that any impact of a soft drink tax would be trivial because soft drink consumption is a relatively small part of the diet for overweight people. Their findings also support that it would be a regressive tax, whereby the burden would likely fall disproportionately on the poor. Importantly, the paper also states that, while consumers have little control over these funds, governments may not spend the increased revenues from such taxes on the intended social purpose.

Calories are Calories “Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates.” Sacks et al.New England Journal of Medicine; February 2009
This study funded by the National Institutes of Health reaffirms that, regardless of the source, calories are calories when it comes to losing weight.

Soft Drinks Are Not Unique Contributors to Obesity
“Lack of findings for the association between obesity risk and usual sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in adults – A primary analysis of databases of CSFII-1989-1991, CSFII-1994-1998, NHANES III, and combined NHANES 19999-2002.” Sun S and Empie M. Food and Chemical Toxicology; 2007
This study looked at the relationship between obesity risk and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) along with multiple lifestyle factors and found that those who frequently consumed SSB (primarily HFCS-sweetened beverages) did not have a higher obesity risk than those who consumed them less frequently.
“Sugar-sweetened beverages and body mass index in children and adolescents: a meta-analysis1-4.” Forshee et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 2008
This review article looked at 12 studies to assess the role of consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) in weight gain among children and adolescents and found that the association between SSBs and body mass index was near zero based on the current body of scientific evidence.

“The role of beverage consumption, physical activity, sedentary behavior and demographics on body mass index of adolescents.” Forshee et al. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition; 2004
This study used government data, NHANES 1988-1994, to examine the relative importance of demographics, beverage consumption, physical activity and sedentary behavior for maintaining a healthy body weight. The authors found that regular physical activity was linked to lower BMI among teens whereas sedentary behavior was linked to higher BMI. Consumption of regular carbonated soft drinks had no impact on teens’ BMI; thus, to reduce obesity rates, policies should “revitalize physical activity and physical education programs for all students/not just student athletes/and educational efforts that discourage sedentary behavior will be far more successful in combating overweight than an undue focus on beverage consumption.

“Physical Inactivity and Obesity: A Vicious Circle.” Pietiläine et al. Obesity; 2008
This study showed that physical activity in adolescence strongly and independently predicts total (and especially) abdominal obesity in young adulthood. Thus, physical activity should be seriously recommended for obesity prevention in the young.

“Comparison of overweight and obesity prevalence in school-aged youthfrom 34 countries and their relationships with physical activity and dietary patterns.” Janssen et al. Obesity Reviews; 2005
This review compared estimates of the prevalence of overweight among school-aged youth in 34 countries and examined associations between overweight and selected dietary and physical activity patterns. Within most countries, physical activity levels were lower and TV viewing times were higher in overweight compared with normal weight youth. Overweight status was not associated with the intake of fruits, vegetables, and soft drinks or time spent on the computer. In conclusion, the adolescent obesity epidemic is a global issue. Increasing physical activity participation and decreasing television viewing should be the focus of strategies aimed at preventing and treating overweight and obesity in youth.

“Associations of Various Family Characteristics and Time Use With Children’s Body Mass Index.” Forshee et al. Journal of Community Health Nursing; 2009
This study looked at various family characteristics and time use on the BMI of boys and girls aged 5-18 and found that the strongest predictor of overweight was the BMI of the head of the household. The findings suggest that a family-oriented approach to prevent and treat childhood and adolescent overweight is required.

So if we are to have a healthy economy in this nation than our nation’s politicians need to understand that American families and small businesses are struggling to survive in the current economy which is why certain food prices such as milk are at its lowest prices in years. So the proposed national tax on soda and juice drinks will have a negative impact on American families struggling in this economy. This is a regressive tax that would unnecessarily burden hard-working Americans. And it would do irreparable harm to an industry whose economic reach extends to literally every community in America, directly providing 220,000 good-paying jobs with health benefits and a direct economic impact of $136.4 billion.

Now for those who think I am just saying this because I don’t want to pay higher taxes for soda than I should let everyone know that I don’t drink soda unless it is Tahitian Treat. If I do drink a soda product than I am really thirsty and that’s all that I see to drink but for the last 10 years, I have not drunk soda outside of Tahitian Treat on a regular basis. Nonetheless even when I drink my Tahitian Treat I drink at least 3 bottles of water as well. Therefore as I watched the show the Doctors on Tuesday on ABC, I saw the 4 doctors discuss higher taxes on fattening foods and soda and they even advocate for taxing soda and foods. However what the female doctor said is that most of the healthier foods in stores cost more and the fatter foods are cheaper for most consumers to buy.

The reality is that taxing foods and soda will not create healthier living. Our youth need more education about how to eat healthier and our nation’s politicians need to look at ways to create cheaper healthier foods for us as Americans to buy so that our youth can eat healthier. Most of the fruits and vegetables that we as Americans buy are not always fresh and if we buy can or frozen goods, they are not always good either. Therefore our youth today do need to eat healthier but taxing unhealthy foods will not decrease consumption just look at how cigarettes and alcohol have been taxed to death but their consumption is constantly growing with each generation almost. So taxing sins does not decrease consumption but whether finding a way to make healthier foods cheaper for Americans would be a great way to encourage healthier living because if healthier foods are cheaper than fatty foods than I am willing to bet that our youth will buy it more so than the fatty foods. This is something I can support rather than increased national taxation.


Americans Against Food Taxes—

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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