Lawful Seizure: Your Fortune Under Arrest

On July 19, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions through the Justice Department reinstated the right to seize cash and property from citizen suspected of a crime. Eric Holder had barred state and local police from using the federal law to seize cash and property without criminal charges or warrants. Since 2008, police agencies had seizures of cash and property worth $3 billion. For example one year in upstate New York the police seized $8.5 million in cash and property without having to prove a crime was committed. People will argue this law has been in place for years and the wide spread usage of the law took place after 9/11 under the premise to circumvent terrorism. When looking at the citizen affected by this law only a small percentage had anything to do with terrorism or suspected of terrorism. My concern is with the increase on police shooting and misconduct how the reinstatement of this law will affect the black community.

We all know laws disproportionately affect the minority community, recently the world has been viewing how police have been assaulting and killing black people impunity. As a result of these killings and no justice for the victims more people are becoming self-aware and we as a people are starting to band together and try to make a change. There is push by people like Angela Rye and Killer Mike to bank black along with the efforts of Boyce Watkins for black people to become entrepreneurs. If a vast majority of black people follow their lead and become entrepreneurs and use black banks this will have a huge impact on the economy. This impact will result in independence, wealth, and power; the examples of Tulsa, Oklahoma (Black Wall Street) and Rosewood are illustrations of how they respond to our independence and wealth. In the state of Oklahoma, it was reported that two-thirds of asset seizure of cash and properties were from minorities. The police department’s states this is an effective tool in the war against drugs but no charges are brought and many of the people are law abiding citizens. Many of the people have fought for the return of their property or cash but as you can tell by the numbers most people do not win. During their fight for the return of their property people have lost their businesses and homes.

When I look at the track records of this administration and the climate they have created in America I am fearful that this law will be used to further subjugate the black community. We as people are going to have to be careful, do not carry large sums of cash. I know being careful will not change anything if you are being targeted by the police but what other option are there.

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Social Media: Who Controls the Narrative?

Is social media changing the narrative? Through social media, we are able to witness everything from some of the greatest achievements in a person life, to what they are eating, to a horrible act of violence being committed. Like everything in life, there are good things that come and there are bad things that come. I will admit social media is used to display some of the most heinous crimes such as rape, torture, and murder. For these reasons, there is a fraction of the public calling for the end of live streaming through social media outlets. I fully understand why the victims and the family of the victims do not want these acts broadcast around the world. But social media gives us the news unfiltered and by providing information unfiltered this is changing the narrative.

For years the only way for us to receive news was through our local newspaper or news television network. These mediums controlled the narrative, they decided what news was worthy, how we would receive the news and when we would receive the news. Basically, we may not receive valuable information if someone else decided it was not valuable.

I understand all the arguments for limiting or controlling the information being disseminated. Safia Samee Ali of NBC News wrote an article about this topic, in the article the writer discusses who may be responsible for stopping live-streaming or is someone responsible. John C. Dvorak wrote an article for PC Magazine where he suggests that live-streaming should end immediately. I have an opposite position than John Dvorak I believe social media and live streaming has worked to black people’s advantage.

My opinion is that live-streaming and social media has benefited the black community in one specific way, it has allowed the world to see many of the things that are happening to our community. The world has been able to see the murders of Eric Garner, Philando Castiel, Walter Scott, and Terence Crutcher just to name a few. I know we have not received justice in the court of law for these murders but the country can no longer hide these tragedies from the rest of the world. Just imagine if these incidents were not caught on video, most people would not about these things, black people included. Viewing these tragedies have caused an awaking in the black community. People are starting to realize that Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Black Panther Party and others work has not been completed. The news media would not have reported these occurrences, they had no choice because the video was circulating around social media. I reside in New York without social media I probably would have never known about Philando Castiel’s murder. In witnessing these incidents I am now able to give my sons visuals of things that I have always warned them about, they understand now how to proceed with caution when interacting with the police. Social media has helped some people get their charges dismissed because their arrest was caught on video and released on social media. The police lies were exposed forcing the courts to remove charges. If the video is live-streamed the police cannot erase the video before the world has a chance to see it.

My fear is the government will find a way to get rid of the live-streaming and/or make these videos inadmissible. I have two reasons for this fear, one the videos are allowing people to win their case and even when the police are acquitted of these murders the families are still able to win lawsuits against the police department or municipal governing body. The second reason is the United States likes have the reputation of being the moral leader of the world. These videos are showing the rest of the world that the United States is allowing their citizens to be killed without

Where is Our New Black Wall Street

By now most of the people have heard of Black Wall Street but those of you who have not.  Black Wall Street was the name of a small suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma named Greenwood. Greenwood existed in the early 1900’s it was community comprised of black people. The Town of Greenwood had 100s of businesses, including 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores, two movie theaters, a hospital, a bank, post office, libraries, schools, law offices, private airplanes and a transportation system. During this time the dollar would circulate anywhere from 36 to 100 times before leaving the community. This was a prominent community until 1921, when white people and the city official bombed, burned the city down and murder most of the residents. I mention this because it has been almost 100 years since Black Wall Street, so where is the new Black Wall Street? Why hasn’t there been another Black Wall Street? Where there ever be another Black Wall Street?

With the state of the country today I believe another Black Wall Street is needed. The rash of the police killing of black men, women, and children. The mass incarceration, the miseducation and the resurgence of racism it is time we start really working on re-creating several Black Wall Street towns. There are several black leaders and educators who have been talking about this for years such as Dr. Claud Anderson. I think it is overdue that we rally behind them and make an effort to implement a plan to re-create the Black Wall Street model.

I know there will be a fraction of people who will seek to destroy these communities but we will be able to have our own police force. With our own police, the killings of black people by people who are sworn to protect the public would decrease. After solidifying the police force we can start to build a small army to protect us from outside interference.

Black people may be a small part of the population but our spending dollars have a huge impact on the country. Keeping our spending dollars within our communities will have a huge impact on the country, the company that we do business with outside of our communities will become dependent on our money and therefore they will play role in protecting us from outside forces.

As far as locations there are several Ghost Towns for sale, Ghost Towns are small towns that may have been abandoned and the state has put them up for sale. There are enough wealthy Black people to help fund this project and many of them will help because they will realize they are dependent on us for them to keep generating income.

We have almost everything we need to create the next Black Wall Street, we have the leadership, the finances, the manpower and the capability. The only thing missing is the mindset that we can achieve this goal. And maybe it is not having that mindset that led me to the question “Where is Our New Black Wall Street”?

 

The Fears of a Father

The other day my 17-year-old asked me to teach him how to drive, of course, I said yes I will teach you. I started to think about how this is one of the father-son bonding moments. You know those moments like teaching him to play a sport or having that first talk about girls. Teaching him how to drive would be a memory that lasts forever, we would laugh at his mistakes and rejoice when he finally get the hang of it. These are the times in life when you enjoy being a parent when it just you and your son having a good time joking and laughing with one another. I went to his room and told him to go online and start studying the driver’s manual so he can go get his permit as soon as possible. After he gets the permit we can start his driving lessons.

A few days later my son came to me again and said he has finished reading the driver’s manual and he is ready to take the test. I said are you sure you are ready he said I am more than ready. I told him good we will go next week to the Department of Motor Vehicles so he can take the test. A couple of hours after this conversation my son returns, he asks me “ Dad after I pass the driver’s test, graduate from High School and starts College can you buy me a car?” I said, of course, we can get you a used car for when you go away to college. My son hug, thank me and left the room.

As soon as my son left the room a chill came over my body and my mind instantly went to Philando Castile. A fear came over me that I have never felt before I did not want my son to learn how to drive anymore. A moment that is supposed to be one of the best moments between a father and his son was taken away from me. My dream of reliving the time spent teaching my son how to drive car may not be that enjoyable to me anymore because I will always fear for his safety.

I know everyone will say you cannot let that stop you from living your life and enjoying special moments with your child. I know I will enjoy teaching him how to drive and we will have special memories from these times but there will be that fear lingering in the background. Other parents have the fear of the children getting into car accidents but as black parents, we have the additional fear of him encountering the wrong policer officer while driving. I am not going to let him know about my fears but I know I will not be able to sleep at night when he gets his car.

The “N” Word is Back in the News

Recently in the news, the “N” word has gained the spotlight again. Someone painted the “N” word on the fence of LeBron James home and Bill Maher chose to use the word during his weekly show on HBO. I know I am writing this some time after all the hype around these situations but I wanted to wait to see if the impact of these two high profile celebrities being involved with the use of this word would change anything.

The word being painted on LeBron James’ home is horrible but the thing that I found more reprehensive was the comments from black people about the situation. In particular Jason Whitlock, Mr. Whitlock stated because LeBron is rich and famous LeBron does not experience racism like other people of color. For me the fact that anyone experiences it is the problem, and for LeBron James to experience it sends a strong message. The message is no matter how rich, famous or how many fans you have there are people who will view you as less than them. How do you tell a child that no matter what he or she accomplish in life they will be looked down on by a group of people. I have read somewhere that Yvette Carnell has agreed with Jason Whitlock in part, I admit I have not seen her video yet regarding this topic. The reason I have not watch the video is because I have respect for Yvette but from what I heard I disagree with her on this issue. I heard Yvette believes LeBron should have addressed other issue regarding the plight of black people earlier. I offer this instead of condemning a man for not being awoke before congratulate him for waking up now. No one has the right to measure the pain that LeBron has felt from having this word written on his property.

The Bill Maher situation was difficult for me because I am a faithful viewer of his show, I am not agree with his position on all topics but I generally like his show. Bill Maher tried to make a joke and as a comedian he should be allowed a certain amount of latitude, that’s what I hear from some people but on the use of the “N” word I disagree. Someone mentioned there are terms associated with other groups that people will dare not say in a public forum, so why so comfortable saying the “N” word? I watch the show after he said the word on HBO, there are two things I took away from the show regarding his use of the word. One, I agreed with Ice Cube so what if black people use the word other races cannot under any circumstances use the word. Two, the atmosphere seemed like we are supposed to be grateful that Bill Maher apologized. He apologized because people were upset that he used the word, he did not apologize because he used the word. If just a few people complained about his use of the word would he have apologized?

I stated previously I wanted to see if these situations would improve race relation or have a positive impact, just as I thought nothing positive came from these situations. In a way, the person who painted the word on LeBron James fence has won because the conversion about the issue has created a further divide between us. People are discussing that the fact he is rich racism does not impact him the same way instead of rallying on his side.

Has the Black Community contributed to racism? I ask this question because this question came up during a radio show I was watching the Zo What Morning Show. At first, I thought this was a strange concept but after really thinking about it and hearing some of the points that illustrate that Black community may be active participants.

Throughout America’s history, we have witnessed structural racism such as slavery, Jim Crow, and redlining just name a few. These were put in place by the government or by large institutions that have influence. These systems were put in place to subjugate the black community and keep us from evolving or surpassing our white counter parts, this ensures the other race would have an unfair advantage over black people. Throughout history, people fought and won to get rid of these laws and practices that hindered black people. These laws are now gone so why are black people still at a disadvantage? People will point to the miseducation, the influence of drugs in our communities, and the prison pipeline, but all of these things we as a community can control. We can decide to educate our children by creating our own school curriculum, we can force drugs out of our communities and police our citizens. White people cannot stop us from doing these things, so who is stopping us from elevating us and help to put an end to racism. The answer maybe we are in our own way.

Black people contribute to racism and help keep black people subjugated by thinking or acting as what the other races provide are better than what a black person provides. Antonio Moore of Tone Talks constantly talks about how the black dollar does not stay in the black community. The black dollars stays in the black community for six hours compared to the Asian community where the dollar stays in the Asian community for 28 days.  Is the reason the black dollar leaves the community so fast because black people think other race’s products are better. You always hear black business over charge, the service is not as good or the product is as not as good. Most of the times you will have to pay more at a black owned store because we do not have access to the products at a lower price. If we pay a little more this will give the owner more negotiating power to have his cost reduced because the supplier will see that the owner can purchase more product for resale. This will affect the quality of service and product.

Another area where I have personally experienced racism by one of my own is the work place. There are black people that will hold other black people back from advancing in the work place. These people believe that black people should not make more money or should not become managers, they believe they are the exception. I had a black manager who once she was being fired said she was told to get rid of all the black employees and she did so was is she being fired. I was not fired because I saw what was going on and never gave them a reason to fire me. I also watch a black manager promote people with less knowledge and a poor work ethic over black employees who deserved the promotion.

So after thinking about it, I realized racism is on auto-pilot, white people do not have to put laws in place there are black people who will practice racism on their behalf. This leads to my next question how do we get black people to stop discriminating against their own? And if cannot stop them what do we do with them?

The Presumption of Guilt: Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby name has resurfaced in the news again because his trial will start in the immediate future. In the case of Bill Cosby, it appears that most of the public has presumed the Mr. Cosby is guilty of these accusations. There have been over 50 women who have claimed that Mr. Cosby has sexually assaulted them or he has done something inappropriate. The number of women alone makes people believe that he is guilty, people make statements such as all the women cannot be lying. I am not saying that Bill Cosby is innocent but let’s not presume he is guilty either.

Mr. Cosby recently inferred that this witch hunt is racially motivated, I would have to agree I do not believe that if he were white, people would pursue him so vigorously. The media also plays a large part in the presumption of Mr. Cosby’s guilt. The media constantly reports there have been over 50 women who have made accusations against Mr. Cosby but what the media fails to disclose the over a third of the accusers have been shown to have provided false information regarding Mr. Cosby. Some of the women have an ax to grind because they are former lovers who he no longer wants to be in a relationship with. One of the women has made similar claims against another celebrity and was represented by the same lawyer in both cases. In the first case, it was proven the woman lied.

One other thing that bothers me with the entire Bill Cosby situation is Hannibal Burress. Hannibal Burress is the comedian who talked about the rape allegations during his comedy routine. My concern is that we have all heard about the rape allegations before Hannibal include it in his routine, so why when this in mention by an obscure comic the allegations become a trending topic and all these women come out of the woodwork. It is not like Hannibal had a huge following that people had to take notice, most people probably never heard of Hannibal Burress before the Cosby situation. And Hannibal careers has taken off since his routine became known. My question is did someone decide to utilize another black comedian to bring down an icon black comedian.

I know many of the black community are not too fond of Mr. Cosby for the negative remarks he has made about the black community in the past. Things such as the pound cake speech and claiming that too many black men beat their wives. I agree there are several instances where Mr. Cosby has miss-stepped but I would like to believe he thought he was trying to uplift the community. But maybe I wrong.

My point is let’s not presume someone is guilty because the media only presents evidence pointing towards guilt. The problem is we are so quick to abandon a member of our community without investigating on your own and then make a decision on the position you choose to hold. Other races or groups do not do this, we see this every day a cop kills a black person and the first thing the department says we will not take further action until the investigation is complete. I am not saying Bill Cosby is innocent all I am saying is take no further action until your investigation is complete. The presumption of guilt is a hard mountain to come down from.

Is The Willie Lynch Syndrome on Auto Pilot?

Is the Willie Lynch Syndrome on auto pilot? Willie Lynch was a British slave owner in the West Indies, who gave a speech in 1712 outlining how to control one’s, slaves. Lynch’s method of controlling slave was to pit the slaves against each other such as old versus young, male versus female, light skinned versus dark skinned. Lynch believed if his method was implemented properly a slave master would be able to control his slaves for 300 years.

Now, I know we all are aware that this problem still exists today but my concern is that I have noticed that the problem exists amongst the conscious community. I thought I would not witness this behavior amongst people that I considered conscious or self-aware, but I may be wrong.

There were a couple of recent incidents the occurred that made me ask myself is the Willie Lynch Syndrome on auto pilot? One incident that occurred was the black feminist protest against the movie Birth of a Nation. In my opinion, the movie was a pivotal movie for several reasons, the story of Nat Turner is about a slave who rises up against slavery and kills a large number of our oppressors. The other reason this was a pivotal movie, had the movie had overwhelming box office success other movies would be made about other black heroes during this era or other eras in American history. The Black feminist may have single handily destroyed the success of the movie because the movies creator Nate Parker had been acquitted of rape several years ago. I do not understand why protest the movie because a man was found not guilty of a crime and you never protested any of the other movies he was a part of. Even if you do not like the man you do not have to destroy a movie that told an important story. Just imagine had this movie been successful all the other movies Hollywood would have been willing to make. This would have allowed our children to see people like them performing heroic feats that did not involve sports. The children would learn how to stand up to our enemies.

The second incident involves the Big Baller Brand, Big Baller Brand is an athletic clothing line owned and operated by LaVar Ball. If you have not heard of the LaVar Ball he is the father of three sons who are excellent basketball players. The oldest son will be a top-five pick in the upcoming NBA draft and his two other sons will be attending UCLA in the future on basketball scholarships. Big Baller Brand recently released a basketball shoe for the price of $495. Everyone has offered their opinion about the shoe and the cost of the shoe, to my surprise, was the negative comments coming from people who I assume are conscious individuals. Ball considers himself a black business owner, people were commenting that he is taking advantage of the black community by charging so much for the shoe and that he has a white wife. First, no one inquired about how much it cost him to make the shoe and maybe that has an effect on the price. Secondly, I do not know about the city or town you reside in but my city I see black people with $1500 Moncler Jackets, $2000 Balmain jeans and it seems like everyone has something Gucci or Louis Vuitton. I do not hear masses of black people speaking out about the prices of these items and why they are being marketed to black people. Thirdly, LaVar having a white wife does not discount him from being a black business owner. I am not defending the price of the shoe I just saying why speak out loudly against one of us and talk softly about them.

I am not as worldly as some other people but I do not hear or see other “minority” ethnic groups speak out publicly against their own people. I do not see Asians on social media degrading other Asians or on television trying to steer people away from another Asian’s movie. If a black person is doing something to harm the black community or put the black community in a negative light, by all means, call them out. But if the person is trying to advance him or herself without causing harm to the black community do not take your grievances to social media. If it is something that you feel needs to be addressed do it quietly, amongst ourselves the rest of the world does not need to see Willie Lynch Syndrome on auto pilot.

 

 

Do Not Believe Your Lying Eyes

Do not believe your lying eyes is what we are basically being told by the American judicial system. Members of the Black community for years have not trust the judicial system or the police and this mistrust is based on experience. I believe that many members started to believe that we may receive some justice when the atrocities that were being committed against were being caught on video. These crimes being caught on video has not provided the justice that we seek.

Cases such as Eleanor Bumpurs, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, and Patrick Dorismond we were told that these victims attack the police or were behaving in a threating manner. There were no videos and the victims were dead so we could not hear their description of the events. The people and the courts had to rely on the testimony of the police involved and forensic evidence that is collect and analyzed by the same police department. There was a case in New York City in 1994 where a white undercover cop shot a black undercover cop in the back three times, the white cop was given five years on probation for this act. Recently, there have been several cases where a video of the incident exists. The videos allow us to witness moments of these murders.

Having these crimes on video has meant nothing as far as justice being served, in many cases, the police officers are not indicted. It is rare that a prosecutor do not get an indictment in case but for some reason, it is rare that police get indicted in these cases. The government will tell the people the video does not tell the whole story, and the video may not tell the whole. The question that needs to ask who is tell the rest of the story and is that person telling the truth? We watched Tamir Rice being gunned down on video, what part of the video where there may be more to the story. A child playing in the park with a toy gun, he was never afforded the time to adhere to any commands the police might have given. Never mind that in his state it is not illegal to have a firearm in public. Eric Garner being choked by a police officer, never mind the officer is using an illegal choke hold which contributed to Mr. Garner’s death. The latest injustice is the Alton Sterling case, the two officers have been cleared. Two use of force experts stated the officer’s techniques were not good but they did not use excessive force. Sterling was shot six times. This not excessive force and do not believe your lying eyes.

Let’s take a closer look at the Alton Sterling video because the government says the video does not give a complete picture of the event. This is my interpretation of the video, so people may disagree and if so please inform me of my errors. My understanding the police officers approached Mr. Sterling because the received a call he was brandishing a firearm. First, it is not illegal to carry a firearm in the state of Louisiana. Secondly, why would an officer get close enough to get into a physical altercation with a person they believe is armed and may be a threat. Now police training experts state that when approaching someone who’s either holding a gun or indicating that they have one, police are trained to first take cover at a safe distance and create a barrier between themselves and the other person. This usually means ducking behind the police cruiser or a building. These officers did not do this. Thirdly, the officers yell gun as if he is surprised Sterling has a gun. Why are you yelling gun in this manner if the sole purpose of you interaction with Mr. Sterling is based on him having a gun? Finally, Sterling is shot three times but because he is still alive and moving he is shot three more times. This is not considered excessive force if so this means the goal is to make sure the person is dead not no longer a threat but dead. Remember the gun was still in Mr. Sterling pocket the entire time.

Ironically, it has now been 25 years since the Rodney King verdict, King’s police beating were captured on video and the cops were not found guilty of any crimes. 25 years later we are still being told do not believe your lying eyes.

 

The Functionality of Racism in America

What is the functionality of racism in America? Who benefits from racism in America? Why isn’t everyone working to end racism? Many believe this country was built on racism, if not for slavery would America have been able to build wealth. Slavery ended in 1865 so why hasn’t racism dissipated over these past hundred plus years? In my point of view and some others, racism is as strong as ever in America. In fact, one could argue that racism has increased worldwide since the end of slavery in America. Now there are some who will say that Black Americans are better off today than in the past, but this may all be imaginary. Black America’s wealth percentage has not increased compared to other ethnic groups. Racism may not be as overt as in the past but racism still exist, which begs the question why does racism still exist?

In my opinion, racism has an important functionality in America and that is why racism still exists and may forever exist in America. In my opinion, racism is being used as a tool to mask classism. Past empires practiced classism and this philosophy contributed to the downfall of these empires because the number of lower class citizens outnumbered the number of upper-class citizens. In the classism system, the lower class citizens can easily overpower the upper class. Knowing that this issue has existed throughout history there must be a system in place that will keep the lower class citizens fighting amongst each other. If the lower class citizens are fighting against each other they will not be able to unite and overthrow the upper-class citizen, hence the system of racism.

This theory about the functionality of racism in America came to me several years ago while watching the election coverage on MSNBC. The MSNBC report was interviewing people from a rural town in Mississippi, one of the gentlemen the report spoke with was an older white man, I remember the report stating that the older man’s annual income was around $12,000. The report went through a number of political issues and tried to explain to the older gentleman that it would benefit him and his family financially to support a Democrat. The reported explained that many of the items on the Democrat agenda, if passed, would have a direct impact on him and they would benefit him. The older white stated he would never vote for a democrat because all the democrats want to do is help Black and Hispanic people. The older gentleman stated he was fine with his financial situation as long as the government did not provide anything to minorities. I took two things from this news piece, one the older gentlemen felt that even though he is considered poor, being white made him better than Blacks and Hispanics. The second thing was that he is willing to do without to ensure that Blacks and Hispanics do not benefit in any way. I thought to myself that white privilege is enough and if so racism will not go away.

There are small incidents throughout American history where we see racism mask classism. In 1920’s New York; Italian immigrants, Irish immigrants, and Black lived in many of the same neighborhoods. Gang violence was high during these times because poverty was prevalent, the gangs started to prey upon the upper class. The New York officials knew the city could not sustain with so many people at the poverty level, so the officials started putting the Irish immigrants into the police force and the Italian immigrants into the fire department. This left the Black New Yorkers without any outlets and the Irish to enforce the laws. This created a middle class which meant mostly Blacks were lower class and his protected the upper class because the number of lower class citizens had decreased and the now middle-class citizen were in charge of protecting the upper class.

Martin Luther King’s assassination, when speaking with my son about MLK’s assassination he assumed the MLK was in Memphis fighting for civil rights. I explained that MLK was there in support of the sanitation workers strike. The sanitation workers were striking for better working conditions and salary. One has to ask himself was MLK assassinated because of his work in the civil right movement or because MLK’s focus started leaning towards more economic fairness for all people.

For a moment let us imagine America without racism. Without racism would citizens be upset with the huge wealth gap in America? Would the older man I mentioned earlier be so excepting of his financial situation? America’s love to complain and blame others for the country’s problems, without racism who would they blame? Would the lower class and middle class rise up against the upper class?  If my theory is correct we may never get rid of racism because America is controlled by the upper class and the last thing the upper class will allow to happen is to lose control of the country. Racism may not just have a functionality in America, racism may be the engine which keeps America on the path that is on.

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The purpose of our site to acquire and disseminate information that may be pertinent to our community. We would also like to spark dialogue that may alter opinion or provide a different perspective. The authors of each blog post are also here to learn from the community, we do not claim to more have knowledge about any subject. We simply want to be the highway for valuable information.

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