Posts Tagged ‘antiwar’

CAN WE AFFORD TO HOUSE THE HOMELESS?

January 11, 2014

It may sound callous and indifferent to say it would save taxpayers significantly to house the homeless. But we apparently live in a nation of many callous and indifferent people, who seem to think it’s in their own best interest to simply ignore the homeless.

Based on actual calculations by the state of Utah of how much it costs to arrest and jail the homeless and provide emergency room services, the average cost per homeless person to the taxpayers of Utah is over $16,500 per year. Utah has discovered housing the homeless instead, including the cost of providing a social worker, costs the taxpayers about $11,000 annually, a savings to the taxpayer of over $5500 per homeless individual.

Unlike many cities continuing to pour taxpayer dollars down the drain arresting, jailing and re-arresting the homeless, Utah has since 2005 began offering those without shelter an apartment and, the entire state is on pace to eliminate homelessness by 2015. While housing the homeless for no cost might not be the best idea, most certainly housing them for one-third of their income, regardless of what it is, would save taxpaying citizens significantly.

Not included in the above calculations, are many other additional not so obvious costs to taxpayers when cities refuse to provide affordable housing. Perhaps most importantly and least understood by American citizens in general, it is a well-established historical fact that pandemics and plagues typically arise among the poorest sections within large urban areas, where adequate shelter, nutrition and medical care is most lacking.

Scientists for several years have been warning that major plague is long overdue and could erupt at any time here in the 21st Century. Disease knows no economic or other boundaries and can quickly spread in all directions upward and outward. It isn’t an exaggeration at all to say that failing to provide adequate shelter, nutrition and medical care for everyone within our borders, is simply begging for national and global disaster to erupt. No one is safe from contagious diseases, regardless of how wealthy or insulated we may be, nor are any of our own children.

Many millions of federal, state, county and city tax dollars are spent in various ways on social outreach services and similar programs that would not be spent if there was no homeless population. And, many billions more are spent by private charities, where much of this is donated by taxpaying citizens. The total cost of private donations combined with various taxpayer funded social outreach programs, significantly adds to the cost of not housing the homeless.

With all costs included, it is at least 50% less expensive to house a homeless person, charging them one-third of their income, than to not house the same homeless person. American cities could begin buying up vacant homes and other structures and start housing the homeless, which would have the added benefit of reducing crime, stabilizing and driving up property values in distressed neighborhoods. Can we afford NOT to house the homeless? You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

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ARE PEOPLE REALLY SINNERS?

July 17, 2010

Why would someone who doesn’t believe in sin carry an anti-war, anti-pollution or pro-peace sign?  If war and other human oppression is just part of a larger “natural selection” process, why do such people consider themselves more righteous than many other people?  If there is no evil, why is it considered morally “wrong” to harm and morally “right” to help our neighbor? 

Why are Rosa Parks and Albert Schweitzer considered morally superior to Bonnie Parker and Adolf Hitler?  Why would all four arise in the same “advanced” modern species? Why is it called “justice” when people imprison other people?  Who gets to decide and, why? 

If babies are born moral and pure, why do we need to be taught how to morally behave?  Why is there a concept of “hatred”?  If we change the word “sin” to “social maladjustment” or “seething mass within”, does it lessen the pain and suffering people inflict on other people?  Does changing terminology change the reality of what men and women do? 

Why do we lie to each other?  Why are there laws against murder, theft and false witness?  Why are there university ethics classes?  Why don’t we automatically love our neighbor as ourselves?  Why did we crucify our greatest moral teacher?  Why do human oppression and civil rights movements exist?  Why is there a song entitled “We Shall Overcome”?  What is it we are trying to overcome? 

If people are born morally “blank” with no predisposition towards evil, as Freud assumed, why are we so self-destructive?  Why do we eat and drink what we believe is harmful?  Why do we abuse both ourselves and other people, often in the face of severe social rejection, lengthy incarceration and even execution?  Why is there a “Nobel Peace Prize”?  Why are adults rewarded for behaving like we believe we all should behave? 

Why is it so difficult to teach children to be what our conscience dictates as “good”, while they are what we consider “bad” quite easily on their own, without any parental reward and, often in spite of repeated punishment?  If it’s against human rights to murder, steal and lie, why do we do so?  If this is not against our reproductive survival, why are Jesus and Gandhi considered exceptional people? 

After thousands of years of education to the contrary, why do even our most educated people continue to add to the pile of global mass pollution, bilk the common masses with complicated financial schemes and, continue to create horrific weapons, even after the horrific evidence of the Great Depression and WWII?  Why didn’t an “Age of Enlightenment” result in peace on earth, instead of even worse wars?

According to modern science and the Bible, our underlying motivations are deceptive and often different than we perceive in our own conscious awareness.  Is it true we “all have sinned” and fall short of moral perfection?  Are people really sinners? 

You decide.

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FIXING AMERICA IN 500 WORDS OR LESS: a free online book with interactive songs and videos

March 2, 2010

LINK HERE TO READ BOOK

LINK HERE TO READ BOOK

WHAT IF YOU WERE IN CHARGE?

March 2, 2010

It is much easier to criticize political leaders than to truly have a better idea.   Regardless of political party or agenda, what would you do if you were in charge, to help regain public confidence in our long since vanished, dream of a democratic process?

Since a political leader should know what he or she is talking about without referring to notes, would you announce there will be no teleprompter allowed when you make speeches and hold press conferences?   Would you declare every speech you give will be drafted by you personally?

Would you take questions from press conference reporters impartially by drawing numbers from a hat, regardless of how recognizable their name is or what media they represent?

Would you hold publicly televised townhall events monthly in different cities, where ten members of the public with no press or organizational credentials, were selected by lot and allowed to ask direct unscreened questions?   Would you answer them while the cameras roll without cue cards and if necessary, conduct research and include anything not answered at the next event?

Would you clearly detail your current agenda for the nation at these townhall meetings, demonstrating that regardless of political fallout, there will be no secrecy, vagueness or uncertainty about the specific goals of your administration?

Would you cancel White House social events, annual Christmas and New Year festivities, elite “black-tie” gatherings and similar, until every American willing and able to work has a job that pays enough to afford basic necessities?   Would you promise you and your staff won’t eat better food on the taxpayer’s dime than average working-class families can afford?  Would you forbid your staff to fly on corporate jets and indulge in dinners, events and vacations paid for by someone else?

Although you could not control what members of Congress chose to do, would you put public pressure on all congressional leaders to set the same standards for themselves and their staff?

Would you prevent all lobbyists from being allowed access to either you or your staff, other than those representing individual taxpayers with specific individual needs not related to corporate interests?   Would you especially put intense and unrelenting public pressure on all Congressional leaders to do the same?

Would you require members of your cabinet to hold at least two scholarly degrees in their area of expertise, while insuring none of them are former lobbyists or, a member or former member of any financial institution?

To remain impartial, would you refuse to appear on media programs primarily devoted to politics and rather if invited, appear on popular shows like Oprah, Leno and Letterman, where you could freely communicate to the American people your concerns and goals, without being rudely interrupted by talking-point pundits with a private agenda not in the best interests of our nation?

Would you insist that neither you nor any member of your staff earn a wage higher than the median American wage?

If you were in charge, what would you do?   You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

WAS HURRICANE KATRINA GOD’S JUDGMENT?

December 28, 2009

One would assume that if Pat Robertson and John Hagee are correct about Hurricane Katrina being God’s judgment on the liberal folks of New Orleans, then it logically follows that recent extensive tornado damage in the conservative rural South and, extending into Hagee’s own home turf of Texas, represents the Creator’s wrath against pro-war, right-wing religious conservatives.

A recent infestation of zillions of ants in the greater Houston area sounds a whole lot like biblical plagues to me, but who am I, an untrained common layman, to argue?  However, what about the recent invasion of tiny frogs in Bakersfield?  What does the Creator have against Merle Haggard?

And logically following, since citizens of Pat Robertson’s red state of Virginia recently voted in record numbers for “godless” liberals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the home of Robertson’s onward Christian soldiers of fortune must be high on the Creator’s retribution list.

It becomes a rather selective and dangerous path to tread down when those claiming to represent Jesus, while promoting the opposite of what he actually said and did, determine within their own self-righteous minds, to point the fickle finger of judgment at others.  Perhaps there is a good reason why Jesus taught to “judge not, that you be not judged”.

If weather is a fair and reliable barometer of God’s judgment, then one must consider recent earthquakes in China and Iran, not to mention the great 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and resultant Tsunami.  And, one could go on and on, about recent horrific fires worsened by severe winds in California, drought in several farm belt states and unusually severe winters in the Northeast.

If one truly believes the New Testament record, as Robertson and Hagee claim to do, then according to what Jesus actually said, God will judge the United States and every other nation by whether or not we help the sick and poor.  And according to the prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament, God destroyed Sodom because she did not help her sick and poor.

Logically one would assume then, that the most patriotic thing for Pat Robertson, John Hagee and the rest of us to do, would be to stop pointing a finger of judgment at everyone else and instead, start using our energy and excess financial resources to help the less fortunate among us.

Come to think of it, perhaps Robertson and Hagee have a point.  Just why wouldn’t our Creator be angry with a nation that is responsible for the deaths of over a million Iraqi civilians and the maiming of millions more, while it’s citizens back home continue to ignore homeless seniors, veterans and children, vote for leaders who oppose universal healthcare, allow imprisonment without trial and torture and, purchase SUV’s in the face of looming oil shortages and a global warming crises?

Maybe we have been weighed in the great divided red-blue state historical balances and found more than a little severely wanting.  Was Hurricane Katrina God’s judgment on New Orleans?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article