Posts Tagged ‘War’

WHERE IS THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM?

May 26, 2014

Today, there is a lot of talk about the wonders of science and technology, with little mention of any downside. The same science used to create medicine and jumbo jets has also resulted in nuclear and bio weapons and, has left our planet polluted possibly beyond repair. A science that produced the world wide web and remote controlled devices, has created an alternate reality where people interact face-to-face, less and less.

Modern technology is making us more introverted, self-engaged and lost within our own “virtual” existence. This can be dangerous on many levels, creating a social environment with less and less love and feeling for each other. It seems like American society is becoming less and less friendly; a society where everybody talks and nobody listens.

I was raised in working-class neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area, where the majority of families were supported by a single wage-earner’s income. Yet I never once heard of a child without access to health, dental and optical care. Out of 3800 mostly working class students in my high school, I never heard of a single one who was either hungry or homeless.

The term “homeless” was essentially off the public radar in Southern California until after I graduated from high school in 1968. I don’t recall this word being mentioned in any media or in any conversation during my entire childhood. “Poverty” referred to people living on Indian reservations, in Appalachia, Central and South America and especially Africa. There was virtually no conception of poverty within our own blue-collar environment.

As children, we interacted with a large group of other kids outside for hours nearly every day. We often played after dark and in local parks without parental supervision or fear of abduction. We learned to interact with each other on a face-to-face peer basis and experienced a healthy childhood reality.

Kids today often spend a lot of time alone or with one or two close friends, interacting with computers, movies, television, computer games, texting and talking on cellphones. Rather than interacting in real life situations, our children are growing up in a virtual world of digital unreality.

Many studies indicate obesity, suicide, attention deficit disorder and other serious problems are on the rise. Every year brings more media reports of growing school and public space violence. Our nation is artificially divided by a profit-driven media into “red” and “blue” sides, even though the vast majority of us share common complaints about corrupt leaders and concerns of our children’s future.

Today, many Americans working two or more jobs don’t earn nearly enough to provide what working-class citizens once took for granted. Meanwhile, American cities are “dealing” with growing poverty by arresting and criminalizing the poor. Apparently, we incarcerate a greater percentage of our population than any other nation on earth.

Albert Einstein reportedly said: “It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.” “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?” Where is the great American dream?

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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.

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SHOULD WE BOYCOTT WALMART & EXXON-MOBILE?

January 11, 2014

There are sometimes well-meaning but misguided efforts pushed by various organized groups to protest high fuel prices, encouraging consumers to not purchase gasoline on a specific date. It is highly unlikely such token resistance will result in positive change.

Refusing to purchase gasoline for a day or, just not purchasing from Walmart for a weekend, is ineffective and a waste of valuable organizing time and energy. It will require significant economic threat to reform the greedy corporations currently holding a corrupt stranglehold on the American political and economic reality.

A much more effective way to protest is for consumers to target boycott Exxon-Mobil and Walmart, agreeing to purchase only from their competitors. American citizens could force significant reforms, just by agreeing not to purchase from the two worst economic enslaving human rights debasing offenders.

Anyone can protest and complain. It is quite another thing to act wisely to actually correct what is wrong. If American consumers had already united using wise activism, as demonstrated by Mohandas Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez, we could long ago have corrected several of our worst 21st Century problems.

Attempting to boycott every offending corporation on a widespread basis is an obviously impossible task. However, if consumers would join together and agree to permanently boycott just Exxon-Mobil and Walmart, until such time as they engage in reasonable human rights, environmental friendly and other fair and just practices, major reform in America could easily and peacefully be achieved.

That is all it would take. Target boycotting of salt by Gandhi in India resulted in substantial positive gains for poor people who were in effect, slaves of the British Empire. Target boycotting of city buses in Montgomery eventually resulted in a Southern president signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And, target boycotting in California by Cesar Chavez resulted in substantial wage and other improvements for migrant farm workers. 

Target boycotting not only serves to reform the targeted industry or company, it also serves notice on all other companies that if they fail to treat workers and consumers fairly, they will be next. There is no reason for violence here in the 21st Century, in order to achieve substantial positive human and civil rights gains. We the people hold the power of the consumer purse. As such, we have the power to bring greedy corporations and their corrupt political pawns to their nefarious knees, without firing a single shot.

Until Americans stop voting for corporate stooges, stop listening to divisive political and religious pundits and, start practicing wise united activism on a large scale, we will likely continue to march down a freedomless road to historical oblivion. It doesn’t take much courage to complain about what is wrong. It requires bravery and perhaps a little personal sacrifice, to stand up for actually fixing America.

Where are great leaders of heroism and sacrifice, like Gandhi, Parks, King and Chavez, when we need them the most? Should we boycott Walmart and Exxon-Mobil? You Decide. 

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DOES SCIENCE REALLY KNOW WHAT IS TRUE?

November 26, 2013

Less than 600 years ago, the vast majority of scientists believed the sun goes around the earth.  Even after both Copernicus and Galileo died, many scientists still insisted the old Ptolemaic model was correct.  If we examine the evidence with any fairness at all, what humans call “science” has a historical track record of constantly changing it’s mind regarding even the most fundamental of concepts.

According to historian Will Durant, medical research was set back several decades because scientists refused to accept basic evidence for human blood circulation.  Until very recently in historical terms, most scientists believed disease spontaneously arises.  Two decades into the 20th Century, the majority still believed in an eternal static universe containing a single Milky Way galaxy.

Since the mapping of the human genome and other recent evidence, today there are major revisions taking place in biology, astronomy, physics, quantum mechanics and virtually every other field imaginable.  Many if not most scientists today believe life existed prior to the earth itself.

Emerging theory among various astrobiologists goes something like this:  What causes life came out of the big bang, is refined in stars, is constantly re-seeded from supernovas and other cosmic events, finds it way around accretion disks of newly formed stars and from there, ends up on innumerable planets and space-rock debris.

Then, as conditions allow within newly formed solar systems, life probably arises on untold zillions of planets, most likely in many exotic forms unknown to us.  At least one scientist has proposed exotic forms of life may hover on giant gas planets, needing no solid surface to survive.

Additionally, many geneticists have begun to openly challenge fundamental natural selection theory, contending that reproductive survival is only one of several reasons why living forms change.  How to define “species” is still debated; the term itself is a human construct, part of an invented system artificially classifying life according to our very limited view and understanding of a much larger cosmic process.

The modern evidence is overwhelming that all of life is created to adapt and change within an ever changing grand design Cosmic reality, very far over our collective heads.  And, though what we define as “species” arise and die out, life itself marches on, in spite of great cataclysmic events here on earth and, much larger and far more destructive events within a space/time continuum called “universe”.

On the other hand, today there is zero evidence life ever has or ever will “evolve”, in the sense life somehow magically self-designed from scratch.  According to the Encyclopedia Britannica article “Evolution”, modern science doesn’t know how, when, where or why life first arose on earth, or what form it took.  Life adapts and changes in reaction to ever-changing universal environments and, that is all.

For all we know, life may have existed prior to the universe we live in.  And, life may continue to exist forever and ever, long after our current universe passes away.  Does science really know what is true?  You decide.

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DO AMERICANS REALLY BELIEVE IN THE CONSTITUTION?

October 13, 2013

Many politicians and other Americans claim to believe in the Constitution of the United States. But, do they really believe in the Constitution or, are they only hiding behind pseudo-patriotic rhetoric while in reality promoting a selfish anti-American agenda?

The Preamble to the Constitution definitively addresses the intent and purpose of the document. Thus, in order to interpret the Constitution correctly, we must first and foremost consider what the Preamble states:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. . .”

The first thing we learn from the Preamble is that “we the people” are the government. Not surprisingly, Americans who claim to stand for “smaller” government generally back an agenda that appeases a minority and is harmful to the majority of we the people.

The second thing we learn is the Constitution’s authors didn’t believe they were creating a perfect government. Rather, they wanted it to be “more perfect”, better than previous governments. Far too many Americans oppose wise policies because they aren’t perfect, which policies created by imperfect people never will be.

The next purpose stated in the Preamble is to “establish justice”. Many Americans support unjust policies that are against the human and civil rights of minority, working class, poor and other citizens. Many support policies denying American workers and others the right to freely organize and demonstrate against injustice.

The fourth purpose the Preamble states is to “insure domestic Tranquility”. The word “gun” doesn’t appear anywhere in the Constitution. Is it insuring domestic tranquility to allow every Tom, Dick and Harriet to own as many “Arms” as they wish, which today include machine guns, tanks, biological weapons and nuclear bombs?

Next we find “to provide for the common defense”. Defense is just one of several stated purposes of the Constitution, yet many politicians and other Americans today act as if this is the only purpose of government, ignoring the rest of what the document clearly states.

The Preamble then says to “promote the general Welfare”. Yet many Americans oppose universal health care, affordable housing, job programs, infrastructure rebuilding and many other things clearly needed for the general welfare of ourselves and future generations.

Don’t Americans realize that people without adequate nutrition, shelter and health care more easily become ill and spread contagious diseases? Don’t we realize children without a strong educational and moral foundation become our society’s burdens of tomorrow? Don’t we realize unjust policies indiscriminately harm everyone, including ourselves and our own children?

The Preamble says the purpose of the Constitution is to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”. Why do so many Americans oppose environmental and other legislation desperately needed to secure the blessings of liberty for our ourselves, our children and our children’s children?

Do Americans really believe in the Constitution? You Decide.

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