As I watched the honored members of Congress, Supreme Court and the President’s cabinet file into the room, the question that demanded my attention was “This is the best our nation has to offer? These are the best and brightest?” The answer is clear: No, they are not. They are the cream of what has risen to the middle.
Listening to the President, I became mindful of some good news. They don’t need to be the best or the brightest. They only need to be willing and determined to make progress for *us* rather than themselves and those who have lined their pockets.
President Obama is a very gifted speaker; his speech was inspiring. Listening to him, I made a few notes, noted a few key points:
- He dared to call it “drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next.” That was courageous.
- Next, a point I had to disagree on. Our nation’s North Star is not JOBS. It is a greater Gross National Product; we need to be MAKING things here. THAT drives the jobs and prosperity.
- 3-D printing, this has come at me twice in a week, the second time by our President, so I’d say it’s very much worth investigating, learning about and shouldering up to this manufacturing process.
- Fact check: Our cars do NOT now go twice the distance on a gallon of gas. The 1980′s Geo Metro, powered by a 3-cylinder Suzuki engine, driven by a manual transmission, got 45-53 MPG — THIRTY YEARS AGO, Mr. President. We need to get back to basics in many ways, when it comes to transportation, Mr. President.And “aging infrastructure”? To be sure, we’re behind Europe and other civilized places, but our entire nation is yet in its infancy. Much of the infrastructure is simply too recent to be called “aging.” Europe has banisters still in use that are older than our entire country. What we need is modernization. That doesn’t mean repairing 70,000 bridges. It means rebuilding that infrastructure with modern means and tactics. Cars shouldn’t be waiting for trains to pass. Both should either travel together or above and below each other.
- It’s a noble aspiration, making quality pre-school available to every child in the U.S., but if the cost is $200 per week, it’s also obviously not obtainable. How about just improving what start they DO get, and maybe starting them sooner. Because this is just PART of why Europe’s young people are ahead of our own. Another key aspect is that Europeans don’t take time off of school every time the wind blows. Their dedicated job is to study, to LEARN. School isn’t just a daytime babysitter in Europe. LEARNING must be the goal. Then our high school students will catch up with Europe’s. But let’s set the goal higher. Let’s figure out how to surpass them.
- The President has repeatedly stated that the promise of America is that if one works hard, one can get ahead. No, sir, Mr. President. If one works SMART one gets ahead. No respect to the hard-working, but that doesn’t get one ahead. That just gets by. Fortune favors the bold… and the clever.
- A point I feel very strongly about: Tax credits are NOT money. What good do tax credits do a company if it has no profits, no money to be paying taxes ON? Saying “we’ll take less from you” doesn’t provide that small business with the funding needed to grow. So let’s lay off the empty rhetoric.
- Same thing with housing loans. The responsible home owners with good credit ratings? Rather, let’s take a good honest look at the credit rating SYSTEM that the banks are using. It isn’t designed to decide what a person can or will afford. It’s designed to frighten people into towing the mark set by the banks, into paying whatever they want to charge, whether that money is deserved or not. Fix the process, that aspect, the banking system, Mr. President. Rein them in, and rid us of the credit rating system as it is now. Most everyone who is actually out there in the world has credit RATING problems somewhere, even if they are credit-worthy. Then again, so long as tax credits are thought of as the same as money, it’s only to be expected that there will be confusion between who can pay and who will do so.
Those were the points of contention. On the whole, it was an inspiring speech, and the news was favorable. I’ll close with quotes from President Obama: ”We are CITIZENS”… and that means more than just a legal status. It’s what we are, it’s what we do… when we are at our best, being responsible for each other. And Congress wasn’t sent to Washington to be perfect. We sent them there to make progress, to do the best they can. Together, we and our representatives are now writing the next chapter of this nation’s tale, he said. Right you are, Mr. President. So, elected representatives, see to it that this is a glorious, triumphant chapter that sees ALL people empowered.
Thank you. Gawd bless these United States of America.
I leave you with this, from the other side of the world, so we remember that the United States is far from the only nation that matters, nor is it the only one with beauty we can learn from:
When I write about the critical hits being done to our planet’s ecology, people say “What can I do about it?” Or they think I’m being alarmist, fanatical. Or they just push it out of their minds and hope it will go away. What happens Over There somewhere is easy to ignore. Can you still ignore it when it’s happening in your very own home, in your very own children and grandchildren?
Two separate articles from two entirely different publications came out two days apart — from two different parts of the world. The Minnesota Public Radio website ran a story about girls’ breasts budding, universally accepted as the beginning of puberty, at a much younger age. Halfway around the world, Washington Post reported that the boy’s choir in Leipzig, Germany has to worry about essentially the same thing — that boys’ voices are changing earlier. Stefan Altner, manager of the St. Thomas Boys Choir reports that when he started working at the choir in 1993, most voices broke when boys were 14 or 15, but the average is now closer to 13.
The problems don’t start and stop with how long the boys can continue to sing in sweet soprano, nor with girls needing a training bra earlier. These girls are having other issues from it, physical and psychological burdens that can be quite serious medical concerns. The article noted that “development at an earlier age can lead to depression and eating disorders, as well as stress for their families and peers.”
This isn’t entirely a new phenomenon. In the mid 1700′s, boys’ voices changed between 17 and 18 there in Leipzig. When the stresses of the War of Austrian Succession began in 1740, the age “spiked,” and some began questioning diet and stress as causes back then.
Another related article from the New York Times tells the story of a little girl in Fort Collins, Colorado, who began growing pubic hair at six years old! The article goes on to point out that this is widespread. Rather than address the issue, though, doctors are simply revising their definition of “Normal.” Six year old girls have no business entering puberty. Ten year old girls have no business needing a bra. Wake up, people! Things are going VERY, VERY wrong!
I saw the first two separate articles and recognized the correlation. The causes are plain enough to see. What we’re eating, the meat and milk so full of growth hormones, combined with the stresses of the way we’ve let our lives go haywire, have taken their toll across the board, with people of all ages. So what will it take for us to recognize the pattern, see the writing on the wall and start DOING something about it?
What to do? Start with what you feed yourselves and your families. It wasn’t that long ago that we took raw food sources, fruits, vegetables and grains, and made food at home. Junk food has not been with us all that long. It wasn’t all that long ago that we ate healthy meals most of the time. In a time when fast food is neither quick nor inexpensive, it makes less and less sense to grab grub at the drive-through. Start there. Dump the fast and frozen foods. Then:
- Eat real food, made from raw ingredients at home.
- Switch to a largely vegetarian or vegan diet. There’s ample evidence to prove that meat is not essential, that we’re actually healthier without it.
- Push for organic and non-GMO food sources on your table.
- Stop using plastic that is not specifically sold as BPA-free. BPA is decidedly affecting us and our hormone levels.
- Start eating meals at home together, slowing down the pace, lowering the stress.
Human beings, like all creatures, have been evolving, changing to meet the needs of their environment, and occasionally improving, for a very long time. Such changes occur over countless generations; A couple hundred years is nowhere near long enough for evolution to make any significant genetic changes in a species or its races. External/nurture factors can do so. We’ve noted, for example, that people are growing up to be taller now than they were a hundred years ago, presumably owing to better nutrition. But that is not genetic evolution. Genetically speaking, we’re pretty much the same as we were in 1776. And yet humanity seems radically different.
There’s another sort of evolving, sociological transition, which can and does occur in just decades. For example, within the past 60 years, smoking tobacco has gone from being “cool” to being anathema in mainstream American culture. (Smoking continues to be far more acceptable and prevalent in health-conscious Europe. Go figure.) In that same timeframe, we’ve gone from treating black people as second class citizens, to electing a black man President. Gay people have gone from hiding in dark alleyways to being openly accepted in the U.S. military. Indeed, Bob Dylan, the times, they are a’changin’.
What’s next for us? Will it happen in the 2012 that is now upon us? What’s next for us is huge, enormous, monumental. But in this case, it’s not just a matter of a shift in perspective in any one society. This time, it is going to affect humanity all of mankind, on a planetary basis. How do I know? Because it has to. We have no choice. We will either evolve, or we will quite literally die.
At the most foundational level, mankind has long held the belief that his domination over the other the living beings on the planet is a God-given right. It is that mistaken concept which has brought the planet’s oceans from brimming over with abundance to a very real and imminent threat of total annihilation in just a little over a century. As of this date, humans have brought the oceans’ populations of fish down by NINETY PERCENT during that same past 100 years. Credible expert opinion gives the planet’s oceans just 40 more years before they are utterly void of life. Yet commercial fisheries continue to strip the ocean of her last remaining profits. It is an undisputed fact that if the oceans die, we die too. As of this date, March 14, 2012, it appears that the oceans would still be able to recover, if we were to halt our impacts immediately. Make no mistake, though. Our new-found superpowers are destroying this planet so rapidly that our species may not survive to see the dawn of the 22nd century. And so, you see, we literally have no choice. We MUST adapt, evolve socially, or we will die… and take out the rest of the planet with us as we commit suicide.
What can we do? What must we do? What must we change? What must we do differently? How do we stop this?
The answer is found in that one sublime difference of perspective. We must realize that our purpose, our job and responsibility is that of STEWARDSHIP, not dominion. We must recognize that the other living beings are not ours to do with as we please. We must evolve to know that our fellow Earthlings are not unclaimed chattel, whether domestically raised or wild. In doing so, in making that shift, that evolution, we will indeed become Homo Sapiens — the wise ones. Whether domestic or wild, the creatures exist for their own purposes, think their own thoughts. They are not ours to take from their families and natural environments, nor to imprison for our entertainment, nor to kill for food or profit.
What will we eat then? We will eat what we have eaten since the time before history began: Everything else. It is an inconvenient truth (for those who raise and sell animal flesh) that humans do not need animal flesh to survive, nor do we need it to be healthy. Quite the contrary, in nearly all cases, we are far better off without ingesting meat.
With 7 billion people on the planet today, and that number rising literally as you read this, we have no choice. Neither our species nor our planet can sustain the farming that is necessary to raise and feed the sheer volume of animals we are slaughtering for their flesh. Over ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND cattle are slaughtered each and every day in the U.S. alone, far more pigs, and exponentially more chickens (15,000 per minute) to support our unhealthy addiction to meat. The oceans are already depleted of fish. The Passenger Pigeon was hunted to extinction at the beginning of the last century, as we began our transition to superpower. We are out of options. We have no choice but to go vegan to survive.
What happens next? Already, vegetarian and vegan eaters are on a very fast rise. The evolution is under way. But will it happen fast enough? This is not hyperbole: The earth is on a headfirst dive towards annihilation, and nothing less is going to stop that stoop into the abyss. We must stand up against those who still see other living beings as something to kill, trap or enslave as they like.
Humans have grown so arrogant, so full of hubris, that we accept most any validation, no matter how vapid or erroneous the excuse, to justify continuing our selfish actions. Since that perspective is so toxic to us, we must eschew it entirely. No longer can the tortures and killings be ignored. We must stand up with a loud, clear voice and police ourselves, telling all who would kill or enslave fellow beings for any reason that their actions are reprehensible, archaic, superstitious, and will not be tolerated. No, it is neither acceptable nor sustainable to to feed grain to animals so that we can eat them. It is time to cut out the middle-man and eat the plants ourselves. THAT is sustainable.
It is also not okay to continue to breed ourselves as if we were a prey species. Seven billion people is already overpopulated. No matter how much we may value our own opinion of ourselves, few couples can justify replacing themselves. Since there is no World Order/Government, it is incumbent upon ourselves to have no more than one child. Not all people will observe this, which makes it all the more important that those of us who know better do everything we can to stave off the rising population. “Yes, but not in my back yard” is not an acceptable caveat. The solar panels, wind generators, tide generators, decreased reproduction and vegan eating are necessary, prescribed, and the duty of us all. We all must evolve to survive.
It would be easily to misunderstand the concept, to think that if we do so, the genes that survive will be those of the people who refused to evolve. This is a fallacy for the simple reason that those who refuse to evolve in their own back yard will be the first to starve to death, leaving the evolved humans free to return to a sane pattern of growth once the crisis is over. So, you see, the evolved humans are those who will survive. Thus the evolution of homo sapiens is the only thing that will allow for his survival. Those genes which cannot or will not do so most certainly will not survive.
Here is the timeline for our survival: First, we voluntarily limit ourselves to one well-raised child per couple per lifetime. Concurrently, we recognize the inherent right of all living beings to life and liberty, and embrace vegan eating. By this, the population slowly begins to decline, eventually returning to sustainable numbers. Meanwhile, factory farming of meat and commercial fishing are phased out by the lack of demand. This gives the planet the break needed to recover.
Many of the vegans will realize the satisfaction and better health found in a life which is connected to the earth, and begin all manner of growing organically, at home. Some will use window boxes as gardens. Some will build small hothouses. Others will turn to hydrophonics. Growing seasons will be extended. Wellness will be regained by those changes, while the medical technologies which sustained longer lives despite the chemical toxicity in our foods continues to advance. We can realistically expect lifespans and quality of life to improve as a result of these changes. Others will come to realize the values and promise of evolving as well, and soon much of the planet will evolve, 99th Monkey style. As we remove the pressures of pollution and harvest from nature, the planet will begin to recover. If we act now, the damage done by the past 100+ years of indifference towards our decadence will be reversed, and mankind will finally be able to welcome a new prosperity for the entire planet, finally acting as the stewards we should have been all along.
Does this sound like a religion? If it does, then so be it. There is no prescription for killing, torture or death within it. There are only life and prosperity, as we cherish all beings and take our true place alongside (not over) our fellow Earthlings.
The rift between “Liberals” and “Conservatives” grows wider and deeper every day. Here in the United States, these two train(wrecks) of thought seem to divide us as markedly as the differences between the North and the South ever did. So-called Conservatives blame everything on the “Liberals” (which loosely translates to “Anyone I don’t agree with or like.”) Then there’s pretty much everyone else, from one end of the spectrum to the other. The far left may seem too radical to the middle-of-the-road Democrats, but that’s still preferable to the hypocritical platitudes and restrictions that the Right Wing “Conservatives” espouse. And ne’er the twain shall meet.
I’ve had to part ways with people over the difference — people that I would otherwise have gotten along with. We get into it because they insult President Obama in some crude fashion. Or insist that gays shouldn’t have the right to Marriage because God said so. But when pressed for justification as to why this should be the case in a country with a secular government, they mutter something unintelligible and parrot another insulting, mindless barrage of regurgitated tripe about the many ways that two people of the same gender being legally married will most certainly destroy the nation. When it comes down to it, the beliefs of the Right Wing are nothing short of religion for them. Their particular brand of repression of all that is different is knee-jerk. Arguing against their positions is pointless because they can’t justify why they believe it. They can only firmly insist that they do, and that failing to observe their wisdom will end in horrible ills and make God cry.
What about civil war, though? When two sides are separated by irreconcilable differences, that’s the eventual result. Neither will be ruled by the other, yet in our two-party system, it’s either that or literally nothing, no progress. The more astute amongst us realize that both the Democrats and the Republicans are two sides of the same coin, but they seldom bother to think about why that is the case. It comes of compromise. They compromise so much, though, that they are no longer individual, distinct, or functional. Alternatively, they can butt heads and likewise get nothing accomplished. In either case, all that transpires is the maintaining of the status quo, and that is not enough, not acceptable to the average citizen on a long-term basis. People elect others in the hope that they will change things for the Better, (as defined by what they want to see different.) Both sides are unhappy with moderate actions… and that will eventually bring us further into apathy, or into a civil war.
Is there a way out? The introduction of a strong, viable 3rd party might help, but neither of the current parties is going to allow that. Why should they split the pie 3 ways, they think, when they only have to split it in half now? (Of course, the practical truth would be that, by political negotiations, 2/3 of the people would get something of what they want that way, as opposed to the stagnation happening now.)
What do you think? Do you think we can come together, or are we heading towards a civil war?
from → Social Issues
The U.S. Postal Service reports that it plans to eliminate 35,000 jobs this summer, while closing or consolidating 223 mail processing plants.
In the last quarter of 2011, the Postal Service lost $3.3 billion. That sounds like justification to cut back. But it’s not. MOST of that was from retirement and healthcare benefits owed to future retirees. The USPS claims it will lose $18 billion in 2015 if nothing is done. And averting such a loss is only prudent. The means of doing so, however, is vastly flawed. There’s no need to add 35,000 people to the unemployment lines. read more…
“Why can’t you just keep that to yourself?”
You mean the images, the truth about the horrible things we humans do to our fellow men and other living beings? Because those who perpetrate such atrocities depend upon their dirty deeds being kept secret.
Oh, you mean the Gay thing? Sexual orientation?
Because I shouldn’t have to. You don’t. Your photos of your family shouts out “I’m straight!” Your “Just let me check with my wife,” announces your sexual orientation. Your proud proclamation that your son or daughter has/is/did whatever, is you not keeping “it” to yourself. And you shouldn’t hide any of these truths of your life — nor should anyone else. At the end of the day, it’s not for you to have an opinion about anyone else’s life but your own.
To those of you who are still in the closet, and those who are but cover it up with “I’m not hiding who I am, I’m just not comfortable with public displays of affection” (PDAs):
The day will come, (and when it does is up to you,) when you are fed up with apologizing for who and what you are, done with hiding, and done with being a dirty secret. I will not put you down if you lack the strength to do so now. read more…
from → Social Issues
For several years now, I’ve been explaining that it’s the U.S. oil companies, not “supply and demand,” Foreign Oil, or any other flimsy fiction, causing gas prices to be so high. Just 4 years ago, (starting 3 months before the last time the nation went to the polls,) petrol plunged at the pumps. In northern New Mexico, the price of regular unleaded was down below $2.29 a gallon. Other places in the nation saw gas even lower than that. I wondered then how the oil baron president, G.W. Bush, managed to get the prices to drop so dramatically, in order to make his GOP party’s candidates look more electable. Slowly, they’ve been edging up since then. Senator Bernie Sanders (D, VT) wrote that it was at $5 a gallon in some places this past week. Here in S.Cal, we’re paying about $4 a gallon… and the simple truth is that it is the same gas we were buying 4 years ago for $2.29, last month for $3.35.
EDIT: As of 3/8/2012, just 3 weeks later, we’re now at $4.25-$4.50 per gallon in S. Cal. read more…
Ron Paul bills himself as a libertarian, and speaks loosely of libertarian philosophies. He may seem to some like a man who believes in individual liberty, smaller government, and the Constitution. In truth, that’s simply not the case. This is a point-by-point refutation which demonstrates that Ron Paul is actually a clever bigot who has no problem with the government telling people what to do with their bodies and lives.
One of Ron Paul’s most famous claims is that just about everything is a State’s Right. It’s surprising how many people don’t bother to follow that statement out to its logical conclusion. Dodging admitting to your personal biases and bigotry by calling it a State’s right is clever enough, but the dodge remains disingenuous, because read more…
from → Politics
Everything important that I’ve ever done, every adventure, romance or accomplishment, has started with a decision I hadn’t even realized I made until after I’d made it. When I committed to my partner for the first time, I didn’t even recognize I’d done so, or exactly WHEN I had done so, until years later. Going to Africa was the same way. It’s an indication of significance, then, that I just realized I’ve another unwitting decision.
I was in a Kroger store for the first time in several months, enjoying the familiarity and quality of their private label brands (after months of tolerating Stater Brothers’ mediocrity.) Picking up my favorites brought me to the frozen food section, where I found the Private Label German Chocolate Cake ice cream. The carton was scarfed up mindlessly and deftly added to the cart. It wasn’t until the next aisle that I realized what I’d done. I’m getting a bit ahead of the tale, though. Allow me to go back a bit. read more…
When T-Mobile promised 3G coverage at my cabin in 29 Palms, I was very pleased. I could use their services and ditch Sprint. But when the phone showed up, the service was 2G or slower. After a long annoying conversation with 3 levels of “technicians” they sent an email to their Engineers, with promises of an answer within 72 hours… an answer that never came.
When I phoned back, they said they would “escalate” the ticket, and call me back in another 72 hours. Meanwhile, I’m informed that a similar complaint was made in Sept. 2010, and the result was that there was “no budget” to fix the towers so they would provide the service advertised on the map. (Right, multi-billion dollar company, but no budget to provide what you advertise.) That was over a year ago, and they STILL haven’t modified the map to accurately reflect their coverage area, though they KNOW it doesn’t service my cabin in 3G. read more…
from → Call To Action