Posts Tagged ‘Poverty’

ARE AMERICANS WELL-EDUCATED?

January 11, 2014

Albert and Agnes attended the same American Elementary School in Anytown, USA. From the first day, they were both taught to study hard and get good grades, so they could receive a scholarship, attend college and earn more money.

They weren’t taught to treat other people like they wanted to be treated, a theory long censored from American classrooms. Nor were they taught education should be focused on learning what is true so we can be free, rather than being focused on money, another theory long forbidden in American schools.

Albert’s wealthy parents had paid for him to attend a private preschool. He now attended public school because his father believed it was good for him to associate with “regular” children. Agnes’ parents were poor and poorly educated and thus, she was already far behind a learning curve Albert easily adapted to without hardly trying.

Though rarely paying much attention, Albert received mostly A’s throughout his American school experience. Several times he was caught dealing drugs and was twice accused of treating Agnes inappropriately. But his wealthy family hired an expensive lawyer, who convinced a friendly judge to keep his record clean.

Agnes tried hard to learn, but her grades remained poor and she fell behind a year after Albert forced an unanticipated pregnancy. Albert was taught from an early age he was smarter and better than most of his peers. Constantly applauded for superior intelligence, he became president of his high school science club and won two state spelling bee championships.

Agnes was ridiculed by other students for being the plainest, poorest and mentally slowest student in class. Her teachers told her parents she meant well while insinuating she wasn’t exactly born to achieve intellectual greatness.

Albert went on to graduate from an expensive American college and an even more expensive graduate school. He was hired by the American government to design advanced weaponry, lived in an expensive American home and drove several expensive American cars. He joined the Mensa Society and helped design an IQ test excluding any notion of intelligence in relation to helping other people.

Agnes went to work in a garment factory, where she helped organize a sweat shop union and consequently, lost her job. She tried to read the Bible but reading wasn’t her best subject and, her strange archaic English translation was difficult to understand and relate to. Nevertheless, soon she moved to one of the poorest slums in India and founded a mission without any money or religious organizational backing.

Agnes remained very poor throughout her life but, by an incredible twist of fate, she eventually became one of the most famous people in the world. Rock stars and presidents waited in line to meet her. Because of her example, missions to help the poor were established all over the globe.

Agnes ultimately helped raise billions of dollars to aid the sick and poor and, will long remain an international inspiration for generations to come. Are Americans well-educated? You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

Music Video relating to this article

Advertisements

IS MUSIC CITY BECOMING THE MEANEST CITY IN AMERICA?

October 13, 2013

In July and August of 2013, I interviewed thirty-five homeless and formerly homeless individuals in Nashville, Tennessee. Virtually all of them say they have been harassed, cited and arrested multiple times for trespassing, sometimes while waiting for a bus, sometimes when standing near a bench where others were sitting and often when not acting any differently than other non-homeless persons in their immediate vicinity, who were not arrested.

At taxpayer expense, our morally bankrupt city leaders have removed some public benches the homeless used to sit on and otherwise, have installed new benches with bars in the middle so they can’t lie down. The homeless say there are no public restrooms for them to use, virtually no drinking fountains and there is literally no where for them to sit, walk or go to the bathroom without fear of being arrested and carted off to jail for trespassing. Most say they have been jailed two or more days multiple times and fined significant amounts for the ‘crime’ of being poor.

The homeless say some Nashville police officers try to be fair, while others are deliberately mean to them, going out of their way to constantly harass, cite and/or arrest them for trespassing, obstruction of a passageway and doing other things that tourists and the non-poor are not arrested for. A man who had only been homeless for two days told me he had already been harassed twice by the police when asking passers by for directions to the mission.

Many say they have been arrested for public intoxication when they were sober and carrying no alcohol or drugs. Several claim the police routinely search their belongings without probable cause, frequently kick them out of public parks and many say their tents, backpacks and other belongings have been confiscated or destroyed by authorities.

The homeless situation in Nashville is far worse than city leaders pretend. Most of the thirty-five I interviewed said they have been homeless over a year in the Nashville area; several said they have been homeless more than seven years. One day walking only a few short blocks from the downtown bus terminal to Church Street and then back, I interviewed thirteen people who said they were homeless, while many others passed by who appeared to be.

When tourist and other events are scheduled, the homeless say police conduct general sweeps of the downtown area, arresting groups of people for appearing to be poor. A homeless man on crutches said he was arrested for trespassing for walking across a store parking lot diagonally instead of going around the long way on the sidewalk. Several said they have been harassed and sometimes cited when selling a homeless newspaper.

One man told me he was arrested for obstruction while sitting on a downtown step because one of his shoes was touching a public sidewalk. A formerly homeless woman said she has witnessed numerous homeless individuals arrested for trespassing while walking in public alleyways and on other public taxpayer-funded property. She said the police rarely volunteer their name or badge number and some become angry when asked. Several say their shoes and other belongings have been stolen at the mission and some say they have been physically harmed.

Some told me they have been arrested even when not homeless at the time, just because they appeared to be poor. Several homeless veterans told me the police show them no respect for being veterans and harass them just as badly as the rest. We as taxpaying citizens of conscience should stand united and immediately demand that our city leaders cease and desist using our tax dollars to harass, cite and arrest people for the ‘crime’ of being poor.

We expect police officers to protect us from real criminals who murder, rape and steal, rather than to waste their time and our tax dollars harassing, citing and arresting citizens because they are poor. Does the mayor’s office and city council vainly imagine they can get away with such ongoing violations of basic human and civil rights, morality and common decency, without God in heaven and the rest of us noticing?

It is less expensive to house the homeless than for cities to repeatedly arrest and run them through legal and service systems, better for business and, much less of a public safety and health risk and expense when the basic needs of everyone are met. Music City’s lack of affordable housing, lack of basic common health sense and common decency to even provide public restrooms and ongoing harassment of the poor, is an open American shame. It was reported last year alone, over thirty citizens died in the Nashville area because they were homeless, including one who froze to death on a downtown church’s steps. And, that is over thirty American citizens too many.

May all citizens of the United States who fear God unite together and demand that our cities begin immediately constructing enough affordable housing and in the meantime, demand that our immoral leaders provide portable toilets so citizens don’t have to live in fear of being arrested for doing what nature requires of us all. Let’s demand that our cities immediately begin construction of facilities where the homeless can shower, be connected to job opportunities, health, food, shelter and other valuable services and freely congregate, without constant fear of physical harm, harassment, citation and arrest.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

Music Video relating to this article

DID THE DEMOCRATS REFORM HEALTH CARE?

November 9, 2010

Congressional Democrats, since the election of President Obama, have passed cosmetic legislation that will likely hurt more than help the majority of Americans, while greatly enhancing the bottom-line of banking, oil and health corporations.  Like their Republican partners in crime, they are allowing citizens to become more and more economically enslaved.   For example, government sources announced not long after so-called health care “reform” passed, that projected costs for health care will nearly double by 2020.

Many Americans fail to understand that when employers pay for health care, we are in reality, paying for it ourselves.  Employer cost for benefits is included in the “price at the pump” reality for all goods and services.  And because the cost is ultimately borne by us, there is in reality no such thing as employer provided benefits.

If a manufacturer, trucking company and retail chain provide benefits for their employees, consumers purchasing the manufactured products delivered by the trucking company and sold by the retail chain, pay for the cost of these benefits. This includes the factory workers, truck drivers and store clerks who receive benefits, when they purchase goods and services themselves.

When an employer doesn’t provide health coverage, as is the case for most working class and poor citizens, then it greatly disproportionately effects them.  Not only are they forced to pay for their own coverage or do without, they also end up paying for the health benefits of employees who do have coverage, in the form of higher consumer prices.  Instead, if health care was paid for through federal taxation, citizens would pay for it based on their tax bracket and ability to pay.

The reality now is, upper-middle class and wealthier Americans typically enjoy premium health coverage paid for by their employers. Meanwhile, all American consumers end up paying for “Cadillac-plan” provided expensive high fashion eye-wear, cosmetic surgery and braces on children’s teeth.  And, poor Americans suffering from cancer and diabetes often have no coverage at all. EVERYBODY pays while only a few receive premium coverage.

When Republicans talk about supporting “small” business, what their agenda is really helping, is very large private businesses and publicly traded corporations that gain significantly from tax reductions. Average wage-earners lose far more in service cutbacks than they ever gain by tax reductions.  And, when Democrats talk about “reform”, it invariably results in the same thing, such as the projected rise in health care costs we all have to pay for.

Legislation backed by both parties severely hurts small business and the average American citizen and, the direction both parties are pursuing will ultimately enslave the masses beyond pre-20th Century industrial reality.  And, it will eliminate any semblance of legitimate business, while driving more and more people into financial ruin.

Did the Democrats really reform health care?  Is the Republican agenda any better?  As long as politicians are allowed to be bought and sold by wealthy interests, does it even really matter which party is in power?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

Music Video relating to this article

DOES BELIEF IN GOD CAUSE WAR AND OTHER HUMAN OPPRESSION?

April 20, 2010

Is it really accurate, as some intellectuals claim today, to blame belief in God as the cause of war and other human oppression?  Is this any more correct than blaming science and education?  Isn’t it more honest to instead, blame people who mis-use technology and belief in God for their own nefarious purposes?

Obviously, someone can aim the fickle finger of fate at war waged in the name of religion.  But, even before the invention of the wheel leading to ever-improved knife, spear, bow and chariot design, human science and education has been intricately entwined with waging war. Military applications have long been interlaced with government-funded science, education and modern space exploration.

Consider the Manhattan Project, nuclear missiles and space-ray weapons.  And, the rise of oppressive imperialism alongside industrial age invention; the American, French, Russian and Chinese revolutions; WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.  Incalculable human oppression has been aided by science and technology and, waged in the name of nationalism, democracy, capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism, anarchism and other intellectual idealism and often, just plain old fashioned human greed and lust for gold.

Arguably because of their belief in God, billions of people have helped the sick, poor and oppressed masses throughout the ages.  Consider names like Isaiah, Socrates, Jesus, Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and, celebrities like Danny Thomas, Jerry Lewis and Martin Sheen.  Consider the Union Rescue Mission and LA Mission on Skid Row in Los Angeles.  Throughout the European “dark” and Middle Ages, many individuals, including some popes, established public hospitals, housing and bread lines.

Consider modern electricity, medicine, surgery, global travel, computer technology and other marvels of a 21st Century age of science and wonder.  And to be fair, weigh this in the historical balances against WMDs, global mass pollution, depletion of fisheries, rain and other forests, fresh water pollution, mountains of garbage and cesspools of toxic waste left in the wake of the “Age of Enlightenment”.

Why is oppression waged in the name of Christianity, Islam and other religions any worse than that waged in the name of manifest destiny, communism and fascism?  Is human oppression a result of sincere belief in God?  Or, is it rather, a result of human beings wrongly using the sincere beliefs of others for their own devious purposes?

Isn’t it more likely that we all contribute to the negative downside of human history, whenever we fail to treat other people as we ourselves, wish to be treated?  Isn’t it more accurate, as Jesus pointed out and as Freud, Jung and modern behavioral science agree, to blame the “seething mass” of irrationality and frustration buried deep within individual human beings, as being the real cause of our problems?

If we are going to rationally and fairly blame something as being the “cause” of our problems, maybe it’s wise to first take a good look in the mirror.  Does belief in God cause human oppression?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

IS OBAMA SMARTER THAN BUSH?

November 5, 2009

According to George W. Bush, we are fighting in Iraq to “secure the peace” and, to “secure freedom and democracy”.  Is there any historical or other rational reason to believe this?  If war can secure peace then why, after 10,000 years of war, isn’t there peace on earth by now?

War didn’t begin with the American Revolution, nor did it end there; many soldiers who fought against the British rose up in “Shay’s Rebellion” against wealthy colonists who were taking their land and throwing them into debtors prison.  Soon after, another war against the British erupted.

Then came the Mexican-American War, Civil War, Spanish-American War and War in the Philippines.  And then, the so-called “war to end all wars”, WWI, soon followed by WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War and now, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Spaced among this long sad bloody list of war after war after war, were several slave uprisings, a long drawn-out war against Native populations and many smaller wars and battles.  There have also been many “uprisings” within the U.S. population, including mob murder of African-Americans, Irish, Jews, Mormons, Chinese, Latinos, adult and even, child workers on strike.

Yet today, after all this bloodshed, we find ourselves at war, yet again.  In spite of the overwhelming historical evidence, a morally bankrupt American population remains quick on the trigger and very slow to understand, that war will never “secure the peace”.  Is President Obama acting any wiser than Bush by continuing to stay the course in Iraq and increase troop levels in Afghanistan?

Some people claim Gandhi was wrong because he ended up a martyr.  Yet, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and a great many others claim to have been inspired by him.  Did Gandhi lose in the great historical war between pro and anti-human rights forces, the only war that really matters?

According to Jesus, the solution to war is to put down our swords.  A small child can easily grasp this crystal clear logic of Jesus, yet we find people today pretending to follow him, who still promote war as the solution to somehow secure the peace.  The life of Jesus has inspired millions of people to promote peace and goodwill.  Thus, he won a far, far, far greater victory than all of the military generals in history combined.

It is entirely logical, that if I promote peace and goodwill, I will help humanity and leave a positive legacy for others to emulate.  It is likewise, entirely logical that if I promote war as a solution, I will hurt humanity and extend the trail of tears for others to emulate.

We as individuals have little choice what our leaders or other people do.  However, we each have a personal choice to make, to either stand up for peace and goodwill or, to bow to peer pressure and promote war and other violence.

It takes courage to stand up against one’s own society, which is why Isaiah and Jesus continue to be revered by millions.  It takes only a victim of societal pressure to promote war.  It is mature to promote peace and goodwill; it is childish, historically and patently absurd to promote anything else.

Is Obama any smarter than Bush?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article