Archive for October, 2009

IS AMERICAN MEDIA REALLY LEGITIMATE?

October 20, 2009

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that American media habitually fails to address issues at a fundamental core level that would actually serve to achieve legitimate reform? Instead, we are treated to a giant merry-go-round shell game of opposing pundit charades; both “sides” belittling and whining about the other and neither offering any coherent plan for actually achieving reform.

For example, amidst growing public outrage over corporate bailouts and other corrupt political shenanigans, why aren’t political pundits on either the so-called “liberal” or “conservative” side calling for a national cap on interest rates at a reasonable 5%? This would do far more to stimulate the economy, insure the long-term health of the banking industry and actually help the average citizen, than all of the trillions tossed down the historical sewer and all of the nonsensical cosmetic “reforms” offered up by both “sides” combined.

In the debate over universal verses private health care, why is there no discussion regarding the obvious immediate and long-term ramifications of contagious diseases? If conservative mothers actually knew how severely in danger their own children are, even if insured, we would have had universal health care long ago, like any reasonable and sane government today should and does provide.

Amidst much feigned “outrage” over political corruption, why is nobody on either side calling for a constitutional amendment banning all political contributions of any and every kind except by private individuals and, limiting individual donations to 1% of the median income? Given the historical track record of the Supreme Court siding with business interests against any and all legitimate political reform legislation, it should be obvious even to someone without fancy degrees attached to their name, that the only way to achieve true political reform is by constitutional amendment.

And, when obviously crooked and entirely corrupt leaders in White House and congressional halls decide to engage in foreign wars of aggression, obviously designed to consolidate political power and enhance corporate bottom lines, why is the American media in total lock-step mentality, found proudly “embedded” in flag-waving “patriotic” support of such atrocities? CBS featured the oft-maligned supposedly “liberal” Dan Rather embedded right on cue in real time during Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq, whispering in hushed, reverent tones, describing in detail how adept our military is at invading and bombing a completely out-gunned city full of civilians into “democratic” submission?

American media has long focused on the so-called “health” of the stock market as the leading indicator for whether our not the economy is doing well. This in spite of the well known historical facts that often during a prolonged bull market, the majority of Americans continue to lose economic ground. Whether or not the market is doing well in the short term Wall Street reality has little to zero bearing on the economic lot of the majority of American citizens.

Media would be informing us far better if it focused on rising energy, food and housing costs relative to the median wage and better yet, the minimum wage, as leading economic health indicators. What good is it to average Americans, if a few more billionaires are created, when less than zero percentage of growing market prosperity “trickles down” on the vast majority of our citizens?

What is the real agenda behind the carefully controlled piece-meal information dolled out by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal? Is CNN, Fox News and MSNBC giving us the information we really need? Why aren’t mainstream media outlets informing us correctly and adequately regarding various major issues of the 21st Century?

Is American media really legitimate, or is it just a big waste of everybody’s valuable time? Would we be better off burying our radios and televisions in our backyards, that is, those of us who still have a backyard to bury them in?

You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for above article

WHY ARE VETERANS HOMELESS IN AMERICA?

October 17, 2009

United States homeless veterans include a significant growing number from the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Many suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and severe sleep deprivation.  Often those who have never suffered from the inability to sleep are unaware of how great of a toll such a problem has, in preventing those who do from being able to function well enough to hold down a steady job.

Many veterans have lost their civilian jobs due to extended tours in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere and upon returning home, find it very difficult to support themselves and their families.  Many who are not currently homeless are in danger of becoming so, especially in growing economic hard times.

In 2006, approximately 196,000 veterans were homeless on any given night, up from an estimated 194,000 in 2005.  Estimates of the total number of homeless veterans in the United States currently exceed 500,000; this figure doesn’t include spouses and children, who may also be homeless or severely impoverished.

An additional half million more pay over 50% of their income to cover their rent or mortgage.  In the United States, 26% of the homeless population are veterans, while they represent only 11% of the adult population.  In Tennessee alone, there were approximately 2800 veterans homeless on any given night in 2006 and, numbers have steadily increased due to the worsening economy since then.

According to many social service providers, while lack of income, disabilities, physical sickness, mental health issues and substance abuse all contribute to homelessness, the primary reason veterans are homeless is the lack of affordable housing.  And, this problem keeps getting worse, rather than better.

Regardless of religious, political or other persuasion, there is no excuse for the citizens of the United States to allow even one veteran or one veteran’s spouse or child to be homeless.  Politicians who refuse to help them should be voted out of office and candidates who don’t place helping them at the top of their agenda should not be voted for in the first place, regardless of party or position on any other issue.

Americans who sit idly by and make no attempt to address and alleviate problems of poverty in general and the plight of homeless veterans and children in particular, demonstrate a severe lack of patriotism.  And, they display a severe lack of historical and moral understanding and absence of personal ethics, responsibility, respect and dignity.

Do Americans who ignore the plight of homeless veterans really support the troops?  Can we march in parades waving flags pretending to be patriotic while continuing to ignore our growing homeless population, regardless of the reasons why they are homeless?

What manner of nation claims to be the greatest nation on earth and to be a beacon for freedom and democracy to the rest of the world and yet, her citizens continue to look the other way while growing numbers of homeless veterans and children struggle in plain sight to somehow survive?

Why are there homeless veterans in America?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for the above article

SHOULD EVERY AMERICAN CARE IF EVERYONE HAS HEALTH CARE?

October 17, 2009

Some historians claim disease has wiped out more people than all wars combined.  Yet, in spite of the known historical record, Americans continue to ignore the inevitable consequences of contagious disease; consequences including significant preventable illness even for those with health coverage, large productivity losses and national leading to global plague.

Some plead we should care about the less fortunate while others pretend private care is preferable, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Today, U.S. citizens pay much more for coverage than citizens of any other nation, yet we are ranked 37th in health care quality and even lower in availability.

Several former Soviet block and Southeast Asian nations offer better coverage; even Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate.  Over 45 million U.S. residents have zero health care; at least 80 million more have highly inadequate coverage.  More and more citizens with expensive plans are being refused coverage for expensive problems.

Every week, more citizens lose employer-paid care and retirement benefits, including long-term coverage for less healthy retirement years.  Depending on provider, 10-30% of every dollar spent on private coverage goes to overhead not related to care, while less than 8% for government-sponsored Medicare does, even though Medicare helps the oldest and sickest among us.  Very plainly, private health care as we currently have, is not the solution.

Politicians on both sides of the political charade continue to pretend they care about America’s security, while continuing to ignore our immediate health care reality.  Whether or not we care about our neighbor is only part of a larger equation, because disease knows no boundaries.  Children of the poor can, have and will, infect children of the wealthy.  Medical facts clearly demonstrate that private coverage is no guarantee against contagious diseases.

In reality, less than 1% of U.S citizens can afford to pay for their own catastrophic needs.  All forms of private health insurance are “shared responsibility” programs,dependent on the majority of those covered to remain healthy, while majority pay-outs go to the sickest minority.

Yet, right-wing media pretends coverage is not a “shared responsibility”, that we should all take care of our own selves.  People who claim this have never faced $250,000 per year cancer treatments on a working class income.  And they clearly don’t understand their own immediate financial jeopardy if they were to lose coverage.  Or, what can and will happen to their own children, if their neighbor’s children remain uncovered.

Scientists claim our planet is overdue for a major disease epidemic, while history clearly dictates that all of our politics, education, science and weapons won’t protect us against the onslaught of disease.  And the media is clearly failing American citizens by not instructing us accordingly.

Is it fair to say that citizens who do not push for immediate affordable and adequate health coverage for all persons residing permanently or temporarily within our borders, are decidedly unpatriotic?  Is it fair to say they don’t even care about their own children?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for the above article

WHAT IS THE REAL RIGHT-WING AGENDA?

October 17, 2009

Right-wing extremists are the first to wave flags and pretend how much they believe in the Constitution and yet, they constantly whine and complain we can’t trust the government.  Apparently, they were asleep at the wheel during civics class, when the rest of us learned we the people are the government.

How many times must we endure Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh blather on and on about how we can’t trust our own selves, the government?  We can’t trust ourselves with tax dollars, we can’t trust ourselves with health care and we most certainly can’t trust us the government, to decide a convicted felon shouldn’t be armed to the teeth with every bazooka-type weapon imaginable.

Apparently, the so-called conservative “right” can’t even get our own Constitution right.  The idea of democracy isn’t to openly condemn ourselves by claiming we can’t trust the government.  Rather, the idea is to elect leaders to represent us and, to replace them when they instead, become right-wing corporate stooges and vote against our best interests.

Besides pretending to care about the unborn while totally screwing the already born, what the right-wing agenda really amounts to is, “we don’t believe in spending tax dollars to actually help taxpayers”. Rather, their goal is to use tax dollars for enhancing the bottom-line of the military industrial complex and otherwise, enriching corporations at the expense of us the taxpayers.

Any and every use of taxpayer dollars that will actually benefit taxpaying citizens is branded as “socialism” over and over again, the new all-purpose “red scare” bait-and-switch term of the 21st Century. The now entirely discredited Joe McCarthy appears “fair and balanced” alongside these Savage Nation and Coulter forty-five toting, hate-mongering meglomaniacs.

Education is supposedly high on the right-wing “safe issue” list, but conservative legislators consistently vote against increased spending for education.  Whatever they can’t eliminate because of political popularity, such as Medicare and Social Security, they try to “reform” into oblivion, creating huge funding black holes designed to funnel trillions of taxpayer dollars into big pharma and other deep corporate pockets.

Otherwise, the right-wing agenda is to convince average Joe Americans that all regulation of any kind is evil.  When in fact, wise regulation is what keeps tainted meat from ending up in all-American hamburgers, Joe American construction workers safe on their jobs and American Air Lines planes from falling out of American skies.

Wise regulation is the reason banks were relatively sound under Eisenhower.  While deregulation is obviously why they began their substantially crooked turn for the worse under Reagan, controlled by bloated greedy bastards of mass deception by the time Bush Junior was finished cutting a final slice out of the deregulation corporate mega-pie.

Is branding human beings “illegal” and blaming them for job losses and contagious diseases any different than what gave rise to Adolf Hitler and Auschwitz?  What is the real agenda of slave masters? What is the agenda of pure evil?

What is the real right-wing agenda?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for the above article

WHY IS BILL MAHER LYING TO AMERICANS? ~ Does Belief in God Really Cause War?

October 17, 2009

Unlike in the time of Thomas Jefferson, when “Creator”, “religion” and “church” represented three distinct ideas, “religion” today is a very loaded term.  It is entirely inaccurate, as Bill Maher and other atheists often do, to lump belief in God, organized religion and the evil that adherents of a particular religion engage in, together under a common term and then, to place the blame there for humanity’s problems.

For example, Jesus is very clearly not the founder of Christianity or anything remotely like it, nor is it any more fair to blame Jesus for what people do in his name, than it is to blame Copernicus and Isaac Newton for Hiroshima.  The same applies in varying degrees to Buddha, Confucius, Zarathustra and certain other so-called “founders” of various religions.  There is no greater critic of fundamentalist religion or religious hypocrisy in history than Jesus, nor is there any greater advocate for personal, local and global peace.

Like religion, science and education are historically intimately entwined with war and human oppression on a massive scale, tracing back from ever more effective designs for ancient war chariots, DaVinci’s war-machine inventions and, on up through the Manhattan Project, the modern-day military industrial complex and ever worse weapons of mass destruction.  The American, French, Russian and several other revolutions were fomented by so-called “enlightened” intellectuals.

It is correct to say religion is a tool often used to foment war and human oppression and, it’s just as fair to point out science and education are often used for the same purpose.  However, it is not accurate to pretend either one is a root “cause” of human aggression. Believers in God and scientists both often leave a positive legacy and, many of history’s most revered individuals demonstrated a profound personal belief in God.  Jesus correctly singled out religious hypocrisy, rather than belief in God, as having a significant negative societal impact.

Since the invention of printing, which helped break the societal stranglehold of organized religion, justification for war has more and more been shifted away from religious to other excuses.  In a so-called “post-Enlightenment Age”, wars are now often fought in the name of democracy, freedom, communism, socialism, anarchism and even human rights.  Those who blame belief in God for war, rather than placing the blame for war where it squarely belongs, on individual human beings making their own poor choices, are plainly liars.

According to Jesus and some New Testament authors and, according to ALL known scientific and historical evidence, the root cause of humanity’s problems is sin, causing individual human frustration, greed and aggression, resulting in negative choices being made by individual human beings.  Families, tribes, cities, states, nations, armies, religions, political parties, corporations, unions, educational institutions, professional scientists and all other “groupings” of human beings, are made up of individual people, each making their own individual choices.

It would be refreshing if modern educators and people like Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens could grow up just a little and, begin placing the blame for humanity’s problems where it belongs, squarely on our own self-contradicting shoulders. Perhaps then, a modern species in grave peril of losing it’s own commonly shared global habitat, could begin to have a little more unbiased and accurate understanding of where Jesus and the authors of the Bible are actually coming from.

Were the American, French, Russian and Chinese revolutions, WWI, WWII, Vietnam and Iraq, among hundreds of other wars from the 20th Century forward, caused more by belief in God, organized religion, intellectual idealism, nationalism or just plain old common human greed, as ALL wars can invariably be traced back to?  Does belief in God really cause war?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for the above article