Vox Populi, Vox Dei by kevin murray

Vox Populi, Vox Dei is Latin for "the voice of the people is the voice of God."  A motto such as this, one might think, should be the motto of the United States, or what was then known as the colonies, for within its Declaration of Independence, we are told that "...all men are created equal," in which each person is endowed with certain unalienable rights, and that to secure those rights, governments are instituted amongst mankind, deriving their just powers from the consent of those so governed.  These are the essential words of that Declaration of Independence; yet, the current government that rules this land, for all practical purposes is for a certainty not the voice of the people, and therefore is not the voice of God.

 

The error within the government that we currently have, reverts back to its failure to understand that first of all, we are all created equally by the hand of God; which presupposes to all those governments that existed at the time of the inception of this country and many that so exist today, that rather than the misguided belief in the divine right of Kings, the colonies believed that its power should be a dispersed power fairly and equally applied throughout its population, so that fairness, equality, and egalitarianism would reign throughout its land.  Additionally, the colonies believed it was wrong that any people should be controlled by one hand that ruled them all; all being done, without the colonies being provided with any legislative representation, or any consent by those people.

 

Further, the colonies believed that the power to tax was a form of control and coercion upon the population as a whole, in which, in absence of the people's influence upon the nature and extent of such taxation, that taxation was not legitimate; and therefore the most appropriate measure to oppose or to protest such taxation was to do so in a forthright way, subject even to arrest or civil warfare.  The people of the colonies, at that time, believed that their voice should be heard and further, they believed this so thoroughly, that they were willing to risk their very lives, their livelihood, and their honor to fight for the right to be a free and independent country, subject only to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

 

While the revolution of the colonies was successful in the sense that they threw off the chains of British governance and domination, through their grit and determination, in which, the colonies were able to thereby be united into one body politic, the follow-through into today's America, would seem to indicate that the governance of this country is most definitely not the voice of the people but rather is in so many ways and forms, actually the voice of the very few and the very privileged, of which those that rule the people today, behave in a manner that demonstrates that this government cares not for the voice of the people.

 

All this is to the shame of what America could and should actually be, for when the people's voice is silenced, and replaced instead with a bastardization of what America was founded upon, then our unalienable rights have been torn asunder from us, and so too, the true voice of God has been dismissed and replaced with tyranny, instead.

Free higher education by kevin murray

It wasn't that long ago, when free public education for Americans, became universal; for as America transitioned from an agricultural economy and rural existence into an industrial and scientific economy with large concentrations of people in cities, it was recognized that it was important to develop our children in a manner that they could and would become an integral part of the growth of that economy, as well as being literate in the sense of being able to perform at least at a minimal level, the good ability to read, write, and to do arithmetic.

 

The current "free" public education is primarily paid through State budgets, often in conjunction with property taxes, as well as other taxes paid into the State, and with some financial contributions from the Federal government.  However, once 12th grade is completed, in most States and communities, any further education is the responsibility of the student that pursues that higher education.  Some of those students receive scholarships, or grants, or subsidies of one kind or another in which their cost for collegiate education becomes for them, quite affordable.  Then, there are a multitude of students that have to take out loans, either partially, or fully to fund their education, in which those loans are the responsibility of that student to pay back.

 

The fundamental problem with student loans, is not only the sheer dollar amount of student loans, of which according to studentloanhero.com, there is a current total of "$1.56 trillion in total U.S. student loan debt," but also, the trajectory rate of those student loans, which despite living in an era of low inflation, as well as educational breakthroughs such as technology and the internet -- which would seem to be something that would reduce costs, they have instead, skyrocketed.  This means that those graduating from college, as well as those that have attended college but have never gotten around to graduating, are in very many cases, leaving college with not only a negative net worth, but an expense which can be for many, quite burdensome. 

 

While there are a few States as well as communities, which offer some sort of collegiate education which is free, or nearly free, and may also have some contingencies attached with that education, they are in aggregate, the minority.  So then, in an time in which this country has indicated that they need more and more students to graduate in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields, as well as the general complaint that so many students do not graduate with job-ready skills that match today's economy and world, than this Federal government, should make it a point to come up with an agenda that would provide these High School graduates with at least, a pathway towards free higher education.

 

One straightforward way to provide collegiate courses would be to utilize the internet more to teach classes, in which the scaling of those classes should be far more economical than brick and mortar schools.  Additionally, another way would be to provide a quid pro quo, between students and their government, by educating those students for free with a corresponding commitment by those graduates that they will thereupon serve in the government, for a period of time as a civil service obligation to their government. Finally, the biggest and richest corporations in the world are located in America, of which, a tax addressed specifically against those companies, could be structured in a manner in which by subsidizing the education of higher education students, such a tax would be paid in full.

 

The bottom line is that if this country truly believes that good higher education is necessary for the growth and progress of this great nation, than the least this government should do, is to provide a viable option that allows motivated students to achieve that education without having to pay directly for it.

Incarceration city by kevin murray

According to prisonpolicy.org, there are "6.7 million people under correctional control, which includes not only incarceration but also probation and parole."  To put this in perspective, the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas, metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of 6.7 million peoples, which is the equivalency of everyone in America that is currently under correctional control; signifying the staggering amount of people that are either incarcerated, or on parole or probation, in America.

 

It might be one thing if the huge amount of all those that are compelled to be an unfortunate affiliate of the correctional control system was actually consistent with the amounts of those people that are part of the correctional control system of other Western nations; but America is a distinct outlier, which signifies that as in so many things, America doesn't believe that it needs to learn a thing from any other country's jurisprudence correctional and punishment systems, which thereby means, quite obviously, that the correctional control system within America is not going to get appreciably smaller anytime soon.

 

Because America is the richest nation that the world has ever known, of which, despite having an embarrassingly high amount of peoples that are impoverished, ill-educated, incarcerated, and disadvantaged; yet, has proven that it can still excel economically, it somehow doesn't seem to recognize that by ignoring the huge amount of peoples that are part of the correctional control system and basically pretending that they don't really exist, does not make for a stronger nation, but demonstrates its weakness.

 

America has a population of 327.2 million peoples and to thereby have a little over 2% of those people that are either incarcerated, on probation, or on parole, demonstrates in principle that the American jurisprudence system as currently structured and operated, does not know how to conceptualize a solution to how to best address behaviors and actions that are considered to be crimes, and thereby apparently worthy of being part of the correctional control system.  First off, it goes almost without saying, that to propose that the best solution to address crime or what is perceived to be crime, is to lock away so many citizens behind bars, or to process citizens in a manner that they are seemingly forever branded and treated as something less than a citizen, is disgraceful. Rather, a country, especially a country that claims to be the bastion of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, needs to live in principle these very words.

 

This so signifies that the sooner that America admits to the complete and utter failure of its criminal justice system, the better this country will be.  In point of fact, if America made its abiding principle, that rather than taking the easy road, and thereby putting behind bars those that are troublesome, bad, and impulsive, they would instead address the very issues that create this bad brew, then America, would have far less crime.  That is to say, crime is typically committed by those that feel that they have no future, no hope and lack the tools to address such; whereas, those that believe that they have a fair future and fair hope are willing to put forth a fair effort to become something.  Therefore, crime occurs from those that primarily have been locked out from the necessary accouterments of opportunity, and it is high time to replace such with the key to the liberating golden door of a fresh start.

The drug war and selective enforcement by kevin murray

America has all sorts of laws against unauthorized drug possession, against drug usage, and against drug sales, of which, certain drugs are listed unto the restricted federal schedule, in which, those drugs are thereupon categorized into their particular degree of harm to those that use them, in conjunction with their degree of abuse or addiction perceived, per drug.  Whether those drugs are properly categorized is subject to debate; nevertheless, the penalties for those that have possession or usage or sale of these drugs are coordinated with the partition of these drugs per that schedule.

 

The FBI's uniform crime report for 2017, states that there were 1.63 million arrests for drug law violations, of which just over 1.4 million, were just for drug possession.  This means that approximately 85% of the drug arrests performed in this country had nothing to do with the illegal distribution of drugs, or the actual usage of the illegal drugs, or even the manufacture of illegal drugs, but actually occurred for the simple possession of those drugs.  Further to the point, in order to be arrested for the possession of drugs, means, in most cases, that the person so being arrested was stopped in the street, such as in "stop and frisk"; or stopped while driving their vehicle, for whatever reason, dubious or not; or were found to have illicit drugs inside their place of abode.  In all of these cases, the person that has been arrested for drug possession, has been arrested basically because they are not secure in their persons, as per their Fourth Amendment rights, but have had that security breached, by law enforcement, rightly or wrongly.

 

Additionally, according to drugabuse.gov, "in 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older—9.4 percent of the population—had used an illicit drug in the past month."  So that it can be said, that when there are an unfathomable amount of people using an illicit drug on a monthly basis; whereas the arrests for the entire year of all illicit drug violations, is only 1.63 million, than quite obviously, a valid argument could be made that the law enforcing arm of the state, could easily arrest far more people than it already does, but clearly does not. The apparent reason why this is so, is that though law enforcement officers are very adept at arresting people during traffic stops, citizen stops, and via the visiting of citizens at home, they also are evidently very selective in those that they do so arrest, noticeably preferring to arrest those that are marginalized, impoverished, ill-educated, and poor.

 

In other words, law enforcement deliberately does not concentrate upon those that are engaging in illegal drug usage and possession at, for instance, our higher institutions of learning, nor does law enforcement concentrate on arresting for illicit drug possession those that live or congregate in very nice areas, or things of this sort; though illicit drug possession and usage, is rather common throughout all segments of America, but rather, law enforcement is quite cognizant of the fact that arresting the wrong people, has negative consequences for all those in that industry.  That is to say, the laws so written for illicit drug usage, are broad enough, to arrest far more than the 1.63 million arrests yearly, but are selectively enforced primarily upon those that are the underclass of America; as well as being held as a valued weapon in the state's arsenal to be deployed against all those that are considered to be annoyances or enemies of the state, now or in the future.

The end of freedom and the replacement with state-sanctioned control by kevin murray

There are plenty of people, perhaps good people, or perhaps obedient people, or perhaps law and order people that believe that it really is okay for the government or its agencies to monitor everything that a given person is doing, because only those that are criminals or enemies of the state have anything to hide.  At best, one could call these people, misguided; at worse, dupes of the system, or those that lack the ready capacity to think thoroughly or cogently, for each of these people, are fundamentally wrong, and are anathema to what this country was founded upon.

 

This country was founded upon freedom, and states within its Declaration of Independence, which is the seminal document of America, that our most fundamental and unalienable rights do not come to us from the state, but rather they come to us by our Creator, and therefore all those that are American, have the right to freedom of thought, to liberty, to a free conscience, and the right to be about their business, without untoward interference from the state; especially in consideration that the state in order to be legitimate, receives its just powers from the consent of the informed governed.

 

We now live within a construct in which the state, to a very large extent, has aggrandized more and more power unto itself, under the guise that such power and intrusiveness is necessary in order to provide good welfare, safety, and security.  In this era of technology in which the eyes and ears of the government has never been more invasive than mankind has ever known, in which the recording of such, is no longer limited to people's memories or human witnesses, but is done seamlessly with technological tools that have the capability and capacity to record, store, and to collate everything, in which all that is done is saved, seemingly forever; the people are in great danger of losing their liberty from that which purports to protect and to support them.

 

For instance, in one's everyday driving, most people adjust their driving habits and their concentration upon the road, when they spot a police car that is traveling next to them or behind them, for they do not want to go through the process of receiving a traffic ticket or possibly worse.  So too, phone calls, emails, conversations, text messages, and social media posts, are going to always be impacted, when those that are utilizing those things, are cognizant that all these various ways of communicating are being constantly monitored and recorded by governmental agencies or their assigned agents.

 

That is to say, those that are being watched and monitored all of the time in everything that they do or say, mundane or not, by state-sanctioned agents, in which, wrong behavior is punishable in some form or manner, or has possible negative repercussions in the present or future, then those people will have a very strong inclination to modify their behavior in a manner in which they are in conformance with desired governmental dictates, to the exclusion of what they really are or really want to do or be.

 

This so means that ubiquitous and intrusive governmental monitoring of its own citizens, is primarily done as a means to control, discipline, manage, restrict, and to regulate what this government will permit as authorized behavior; and therefore all those that are outside of that state-sanctioned norm, will be dealt with in a manner that will either neutralize them or will eliminate them.

Violence as a disease by kevin murray

There are all sorts of common diseases, recognized as detrimental to the health of a person, such as cancer, diabetes, tuberculosis, and a host of other well known diseases.  So too, alcoholism is considered to be a disease by esteemed authorities, which perhaps because of this designation as a disease, makes it easier to address.  This would seem to then imply, in an era in which America suffers from a great deal of violence, and of a much higher violent incident rate than other similar countries, in which punishment and incarceration seem to have not made any significant inroads in the reduction of that violence; that violence in order to be successfully addressed, should be looked upon as a disease, for the sake of, at a minimum, to come up with solutions, not currently considered.

 

That is to say, rather than placing all the blame on a given person that is violent and then punishing that person, perhaps it would make a lot more sense to look at the symptoms of what creates the basis of those people that have a preponderance in being violent.  After all, the simple crime and punishment model that the United States presently uses does not work, because the systemic amount of violence in this country is not going away, so that, those that believe somehow, more punishment will  resolve what has not been resolved, are stubbornly stuck in a mindset that will not ameliorate this issue.

 

The very first thing, that America needs to recognize, is that with the exception of those that suffer from some sort of sociopathic condition, is that there must be a cause or a series of causes, that creates the conditions that leads to violence.  In other words, violence typically does not precipitate itself, but rather is typically a reaction to something that has triggered that response in the person that is violent. Further, that trigger usually isn't going to be something that just has spontaneously occurred, but rather has causes, often of a long standing background, that are salient to that violent action occurring; such as, but not limited to: social embarrassment, disrespect, dysfunctional family background, low self-esteem, loss of hope, immaturity, selfishness, ill education, peer pressure, substance abuse, lack of opportunity, prejudice, injustice, and a dead-end life.

 

So that, it is fair to say that those that are frustrated with their lives and with their living conditions, especially in consideration that others have so much more as propagated through mass and social media, will feel not only envious of others and of their success, but when this is combined with their feeling of hopelessness and despair, will thereby create a cauldron of a potentially violent reaction.  This signifies that the disease of violence has relevant roots in the fact that those that are denied fair opportunity and fair success, will more readily demonstrate that frustration by being violent, especially when their perception is that their situation is well-nigh hopeless.

 

It would appear then that violence is often a disease of poverty combined with frustration, compounded by the fact that America prides itself on being egalitarian, just, and fair; whereas for a significant amount of Americans, America more realistically really represents discrimination, injustice, and inequality.  So then, until such time as America becomes a fairer and more of an equal opportunity country, the disease of violence will continue to be intractable.

Half of loaf and the desire for more by kevin murray

America has what appears to be a permanent underclass, of which, such is a rather huge embarrassment for this is within the richest nation the world has ever known.  So too, this underclass appears to prove the point that capitalism, is not now, and never has been, the best economic system, for a rising tide does not appear to lift all boats, but in fact, appears to keep some people perpetually in a state of near drowning.

 

Beginning with the "New Deal" as perpetuated with FDR in the 1930s, and the Great Society along with voting rights brought forth in the 1960s, America's governing body has tried to provide for its population the semblance of a minimum standard of living conditions so as to be of aid and help to all those that are indigent, old, or crippled in mind or body. Yet, despite all that has been done, virtually every major city in America, has an uncomfortably large underclass of people that are ill-educated, impoverished, of poor health and mind, that are typically unproductive, and suffer from the effects of high crime, incarceration, dilapidated housing and infrastructure, and an overall quality of life that is sorely lacking.

 

To actually fix such an intractable problem takes not only a lot of money as well as sustained commitment, but also requires systemic change at the grassroots level, because in order to relieve the underclass from all the problems now besetting them, then that current poor infrastructure and the lack of so many necessary things must be thoroughly and completely replaced with lasting and meaningful change.

 

If, such was accomplished in America, one might think, that this would therefore become the template of the model modern state.  Perhaps it would, but what many people have a hard time comprehending is that if, for instance, this country should pass a bill mandating a minimum wage of $15/hour, along with guaranteeing some sort of employment for every adult, such would initially undoubtedly be of a great boon for those that have suffered for so long.  However, the very fact, that those that have been left behind, and marginalized, would now appear to have a seat at the table of the great American prosperity, would provide those people with real hope, and for the very first time, a realistic belief that all those other things desired and needed, such as: good public education, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, and fair justice, would also be theirs to be had.

 

That is to say, if those that have had nothing, were to finally have half of something, they would surely not be satisfied with just half, because the very fact that after all this time, they have received and achieved something of real substance, would prove the point that they would now surely be wrong in settling for just half, when in fact, the edifice still stands, indicating that they truly would have ready access to the whole thing. 

 

This signifies the paradox of a situation in which if those of the underclass, were to receive something of real substance, that materially improved their outlook and lives, they would not ever, simply accept this new order as being good enough, but would rather soon storm the gates of exclusion, knowing that just beyond that barrier, would lie everything else that would make their lives even better.

Respect, honor, and violence by kevin murray

America is a violent nation, of which such violence is especially lethal, because of the high prevalence of weapons such as guns, which are quite potent in their killing effectiveness.  Because so many Americans have fairly easy access to guns, this means that those having a quick temper or are prone to violence or to retribution or to intimidation or to revenge, have a ready weapon that can harm and kill other people in the blink of an eye. 

 

So then, one of the main problems with why there is so much violence in America is the fact that Americans have a preponderance of weapons that are violent in their effect upon humans, and the person utilizing that violent weapon has made a decision, thoughtless or not, of which the result has a very lasting effect.  So too, America in many ways, is a country in which so many of those that feel that they have been disrespected or have had their personal space or personal territory violated, will react in a manner in which to retrieve that respect or honor, they will strike violently at the person that has violated them.

 

It then can be said, that the sheer quantity of these instruments of violence in the hands of so many that have not the maturity to look at other alternatives before the use of them, is one of the most salient reasons of why there is so much violence.  Additionally, it doesn't help that so many believe that the use of guns is an appropriate response to having been violated, or disrespected, or having their honor impugned, in which one of the reasons why firearms are preferred is the person using it, recognizes that the physical distance between them and the person that they are shooting at, is great enough, that the person with the firearm is realistically in little danger of harm from the other, and therefore can extract "fair" retribution without any real risk of retaliation, at least, at that particular moment.

 

The fact that America has been so violent for so long, would further indicate that America has done a poor job in addressing the construct of how to appropriately respond to being dishonored or humiliated; for, quite obviously it is seldom appropriate to kill somebody, in response.  What has occurred, regrettably, is that much more violence is prevalent in lower socio-economic areas, probably because those people have already lost hope as well as their good dignity, and are therefore more prone to respond to being insulted in a manner that involves some violence, simply because of their joint feeling of hopelessness and despair.

 

Those that live within conditions in which they are ill educated, and are from dysfunctional families, in which fair opportunity and a pathway to mainstream success is basically precluded to them -- will often feel humiliated in their person, for their lack of success. This, thus means, that these people are going to be ready to fight at provocations that a more mature, a more reasoned, and a more successful person, might well brush off; and thereby do often strike back at those that have offended them, in the belief that the respect that they do desperately desire, will come only from the destructive bullets shot at another from their gun.

Idolatry by kevin murray

Should we be worried about Idolatry?  For we read in Holy Scripture, "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourselves an idol…"  (Exodus 20: 3-4).   The simple answer for most people is that of course they do not have any idols before God, for they do not worship golden calves, or Baal, or so on and so forth.  However, a more careful and nuanced understanding about this admonition in regards to idols and specifically in regards to this commandment involves the recognition that we must not make things that are lesser than our one true God, some sort of god; because far too many people are inclined to do exactly that, and that in itself is a form of idol worship.

 

For instance, those that worship the creation of some of the wonders of the world, such as seeing the great natural beauty that this earth can and does represent, to the exclusion of a belief in God, is putting what has been created by the hand of God, above the creator of it.  So too, those that are taking their work, no matter how noble or important such work represents, as the be all and end all of their existence, are seeing that labor as being of more importance than the recognition of the fact, that it is our God, that is the ultimate provider.  Then there are those that see their family as being the highest possible priority in their life, and as wonderful as having a loving and close family is, it is a mistake and a failure not to recognize that we are all children, of the very same God.

 

In all of these areas, the mistake that has been made is to take what is lesser than God, and treat such as something that is greater or of more value than God, and therefore in its way, this is a form of idolatry.  Further to the point, to put those things that are lesser than God, above God, invariably will lead to disappointment and heartbreak, because that which is not God, and therefore is not omniscient, nor omnipotent, nor immutable, nor eternal, is placing our faith in something that can never be of full satisfaction for us.

 

While there isn't anything wrong, and in fact there is a lot that is right, with seeing the beauty in this world, or laboring hard and diligently, and being good to one's family, to fail to recognize that to stop just there, is to stop before comprehending that the true objective of life is to find oneself in harmony with the Creator of all that ever is and ever will be.   After all, the point of all this great and wonderful creation, as well as the freedom of our mind, is to thereby freely desire to find and thereby to know who the Creator of it all, actually is.  For to settle for that which is less then what is the Truth, is to accept half truths as truth, and thereby to live lives of disappointment and heartbreak, for that which is less than God, or is not even part of God, is, by definition, going to lead invariably to disappointment and defeat.

 

Therefore, do not accept idols as the substitute for God, no matter how alluring or tempting that they may be, for that will inevitably lead to regret and sorrow; whereas, that which is God, is truly the end of all sorrows and the full restoration of that which was lost.

That old fashion fire and brimstone by kevin murray

America is a religious nation, of which, unlike some European countries, in which their beautiful religious edifices mainly seem to serve as places of destination for tourists, America's religious institutions are actually utilized for their congregants and most definitely has relevancy to a significant swath of Americans.  That said, the days when those that went into a religious service in which, the preacher preached some sort of version of fire and brimstone, in order to light a fire underneath the devotees  to encourage such to examine their lives and thereby to repent of their sins, appears to be in quite a steep decline.  Rather, many that minister today are much more about forgiveness, happiness, and prosperity, while correspondingly being far less about accountability, humility, and atonement.

 

To a large extent, one significant reason why so many preachers no longer breath fire and brimstone from the pulpit, has a lot to do with people, overall, not being willing to readily accept that message, and since congregants are free to move from religious institution to religious institution, or even to stop worshipping, altogether, those that preach, in order to have a congregation to preach to, have had to adjust to the "new normal".  Further to the point, many people are stressed out enough already, have enough problems to deal with, and are struggling in so many ways, that they will not tolerate their place of sanctuary being an institution that applies even more weight upon their shoulders.

 

Yet, one of the most salient reasons to go worship in public in the first place, is to hear what should be heard, and for the church to take the position, that its main job is instead to make their congregants simply feel better about themselves, or to preach prosperity, or happiness, is the sort of soft message which doesn't challenge people and, quite frankly, fails to have those worshippers actually face their sins.  There isn't anything necessarily wrong with making people feel better about themselves, or expressing the sentiment of the value of having reasonable material aspirations, as well as emphasizing the importance of pursuing your own happiness; but to ignore the fact that life consists of keeping score of what people do or don't do, and consequences thereof, and that it all really matters, is to ignore that the decisions made in life have real and lasting meaning.

 

In consideration that people do need a place of sanctuary, and an opportunity too for that sanctuary to provide them with some degree of comfort and substance, it probably wouldn't be right that every sermon be one of fire and brimstone, but that doesn't mean that none of those sermons shouldn't address and challenge people about their sins, selfishness, and mistakes; for a good preacher has the duty as well as the sacred obligation to be an agent of good, and that means seeing that which is sin as sin, and further that a good and faithful servant, in order to be a good and faithful servant, must not only repent of their sins, but that they must also do good in their actions and activities.

 

There is always that real need for fire and brimstone, for the world itself, proves that mankind, alone, far too often, is inhumane to one another, so that, it can be said, that in order for change to occur, first must be the acknowledgment of the error, then the repentance, followed thereupon with the knowledge and understanding of what is right and good, and finally the follow through in action.  For if that is not done, then this world will continue to be, what it so often has been for so many, a hell on earth.

The importance of good housing by kevin murray

This government provides a social safety net for healthcare, income subsidies through various welfare and earned income programs, food stamps, as well as public housing and housing vouchers.  As much progress that has been made to date, more progress needs to be made in all of these things, in which it must be noted that having a safe and secure place to be housed is of supreme merit.

 

The first basic way that this government takes care of low-income people and their housing needs is to provide them with a subsidy in which a portion of their income goes to the owner of the house or apartment, and the balance of the market rate of that rent is paid through a governmental voucher or subsidy to the owner of that dwelling through what is commonly known as the Section 8 program.  The advantage of this program is that this allows citizens to utilize housing and apartments that have already been built by private money and consortiums, and therefore the government need not build its own.

 

The second basic way that this government takes care of low-income people and their housing needs is for the government, national or state, to build housing projects for their residents to live in, and thereby this provides those citizens with a place to stay which charges them market rents that have taken into account the income of the residents and thereby requires from them an appropriate portion of that income in rent.

 

On paper, these programs would seem to be the programs necessary to assure that each citizen is provided with a reasonable basic standard of good, clean, and safe housing.  In effect, though, the waiting list for those desiring Section 8 housing, is incredibly long, in addition to the salient fact that Section 8 housing is concentrated most heavily in poorer and disadvantaged neighborhoods, and is almost unheard of in higher end neighborhoods.  As regards to public housing, the major flaw within this program is that the concentration of those that are impoverished and of low-income in the same general area makes for all the disadvantages of being in a low-income area, in the lack of good services, good paying jobs, good educational facilities, and basically good and safe infrastructure.

 

The fact that this government spends billions upon billions for housing for its citizenry is well intentioned, but to effectively segregate these people into low-income and dangerous communities as part and parcel of receiving such a subsidy is most unfortunate.  Additionally, the Section 8 voucher program in which it is not uncommon to literally wait years for a voucher to become effective would indicate the systemic flaws within that program.

 

The mistake that this government fundamentally makes within these housing programs is not to apparently recognize that concentrating together those that suffer from low-income and often ill education, will often mean the more hopeless that current generation as well as future generations will become.  Rather, it should be an integral part of these programs to successfully integrate lower-income people into good areas of communities, in a manner in which their assimilation will truly help to lift them out of their impoverished circumstances, thereby making this country both stronger and better; along with demonstrating that those that are given a good and fair opportunity are often worthy of that belief in their inherent abilities.

Senior citizens and augmented wages by kevin murray

According to kff.org, "In 2016, half of all people on Medicare had income less than $26,200 per person."  Additionally, kff.org, states, "More than 7 million people ages 65 and older had incomes below poverty in 2017, based on the Supplemental Poverty Measure."  The sheer numbers of senior citizens, that are struggling should be cause for concern, and is a meaningful reason why so many senior citizens have returned to the work force, as they are basically unable to make ends meet.

 

The United States government has an obligation to lend more of a resolute helping hand to all those senior citizens that have incomes below the supplemental poverty level.  One good way to address this dilemma is to provide those senior citizens with supplemental wages for all those senior citizens that are still working in the labor force, or are considering doing so.

 

In an era in which low wage jobs are plentiful, senior citizens should be entitled to something more than a minimum wage, especially in consideration that they are in the twilight period of their lives.  One way to augment all those senior citizens that are making less than $15/hour is for the government to make up the difference between their hourly wages so that the net effect is that each senior citizen through the governmental augmentation of their labor wage ends up making at least $15/hour.  That is to say, a senior citizen being paid $8/hour at their job should be entitled to an augmented stipend from the government for an additional $7/hour, thereby providing these senior citizens with a living wage of $15/hour.  This payment, should not be structured such as the Earned Income Credit (EIC), of which eligible taxpayers receive a lump sum from the government, come tax time, but rather it needs to be something that is structured in a manner, in which the hourly wage shortfall is made up to that senior citizen, monthly; so that they are thereby better able to meet their expenses on a current basis, and further this thus helps alleviate them from suffering the ill effects of being constantly impoverished.

 

If the whole point of pensions, social security, Medicare, and 401K plans are essentially to make it so that those that are senior citizens have the basics of a good and not impoverished life; then it is the responsibility of this government to take care of those senior citizens in a manner in which those that are still laboring are doing so, not towards an endless futility of constantly struggling to keep their heads above water, but rather in a manner in which the government becomes a meaningful aid to those senior citizens so that they need not have to unduly struggle.

 

While there are undoubtedly many reasons why senior citizens still work, certainly one of the most germane reasons is that they need money; and when the wages of their work are not enough to provide them with an actual living wage, then the government, as it does with so many other welfare programs, needs to step up and to take care of those that have grown old in their service to their country, and at a minimum, do its part to help those that have helped to make America so great.

The deliberate segregation of poverty by kevin murray

A healthy society is fully integrated, of which, such a fully integrated society, consists of peoples of all difference races, incomes, education, and religious faith.  The reason that this is so important is when all people of a truly integrated community are able to actually see the great variety of human people as they really are; they are thereby better able to appreciate and to relate to other people, in the conscious recognition that we are all part of the same equal creation. Further to the point, in a nation that considers itself to be generous and caring, it is vital to interrelate with other citizens that are not doing well; as well as those that are impoverished or in bad health, which thereby encourages those that have money, or time, or purpose, to utilize their resources to do more on behalf of those that have less.  After all, those that are successful or caring, in order to be more considerate of others will do so more readily when they are fully engaged by what they see right in front of their faces, such as: inequality, impoverishment, and material lack.

 

Unfortunately, many communities and societies are segregated in the most meaningful part of this term, but having those that are prosperous, successful, educated, and well-to-do, living almost exclusively in neighborhoods filled with those same sorts of people, of which their children go to good schools, and have abundantly available within their community, good parks, good recreational and good educational facilities, a good infrastructure, and an overall safe environment.  When people that are successful live within a construct in which everything looks quite rosy to them, despite the fact that poverty, bad crime, violence, and impoverishment is literally just a couple miles away from their home environment, they are consequently not viscerally aware of such, and thereby have a strong tendency to dismiss such from their minds.

 

Another very bad problem with poverty being segregated from mainstream society is that the infrastructure of poverty is fundamentally different than the infrastructure of a nice community or a prosperous community.  For instance, in impoverished areas, often there are no good paying and thereby no living wage jobs to be obtained within that community; so too, there are frequently no safe or good parks, nor is there often any good educational facilities or libraries, and further the safety of the community is typically very suspect, with very high crime rates, and abundant violence; for these communities suffer greatly from a debilitating crisis, in which those that have no future, no hope, no opportunity, and are ill-educated, often express themselves in destructive ways, that ultimately hurts themselves as well as those within that infrastructure.

 

This means that those that are impoverished, are fighting a two-front war, in which the first war is their struggle with their own personal poverty, and the second war is suffering all the disadvantages and ills of living within a community that has no accouterments of success or an infrastructure that will fairly help them to successfully escape from such, even when they put forth a mighty effort to do so.  This signifies that the most direct way to alleviate poverty within communities is to constructively rectify the infrastructure of failure and lack that runs riot within these communities; and further, to assimilate more of the poor into more prosperous communities, so that those disadvantage people are provided with a fair opportunity to make something of their lives.

Arrests, inventories, and quotas by kevin murray

There all sorts of laws, reforms to those laws, and then there are those unwritten laws.  It has been said that America doesn't have any legal ticket quotas or arrests quotas, but the reality of the situation is that police departments most definitely have both ticket and arrest quotas, though they aren't designated as such.  For instance, traffic tickets and citations bring in revenue, which is designated to the State, county, city, and locality, in which the budgets that have been created are based upon anticipated revenues from those tickets and citations. Further, when it comes to arrests, the whole infrastructure of jails, lawyers, probation/parole offices, and courts are dependent upon having an ample supply of arrestees to process, fine, incarcerate, and also to utilize for no-labor cost community service.  In addition, some communities have signed contracts with private prison facilities, which mandates a certain occupancy rate of inmates, in which any shortage to that percentage, the State or county responsible for that contract, are held accountable and therefore must pay the private prison facility a penalty for having not provided enough prisoners or arrestees.

 

Additionally, police officers in the field have an obligation to fill out at a minimum a contact list, of what that particular officer has been doing and accomplishing on a given shift.  So that, an officer that consistently produces little or no arrests is going to have an issue with their responsible supervisor, because a very common metric in the efficiency of any officer is the arrests accomplished on a given shift, and to come up short again and again, represents a red flag.  This signifies that officers that do not meet their explicit or implicit arrest quota, are going to be made well aware of it, because they are now cognizant of the truism that an officer that is not making arrests is not doing their job.  Therefore, once an officer becomes aware of what is expected of them, they are almost for a certainty going to produce the arrest numbers so needed.

 

So then, when it comes to arrests, police officers, aren't necessarily going to want to go to the trouble of finding real crime and real trouble, but instead have a strong tendency to want to spend their time arresting the types of people that have little money, few assets, no connections, and meager resources to fight the criminal justice system.  The very purpose of doing this, is because if police officers spent their resources on arresting those in white-collar industries, and harassing citizens that live and work in very nice neighborhoods and spend their money at very nice venues, then those people, collectively, would not put up with such targeted harassment, and would thereupon do everything in their power to stop such; because the purpose of the police for those people is to protect and to serve them, not to harass, intimidate, and to arrest them, for they collectively have political, legislative, and by implication, judicial power, and will most definitely utilize such, by all means, necessary.

 

Instead, the police recognize that the easiest people to arrest are those that have no power, and therefore make for easy targets, thereby pleasing their police superiors as well as keeping well oiled the machine of arrest, judicial processing, incarceration, and post-incarceration monitoring, all combining together to produce the filling of that machine with product, and poor people are the inventory that need to be utilized on a continual basis for that machine, and therefore quota must be met, and the poor and powerless are that abundant resource to be mined again and again for that very purpose.

Too big to fail, and too big to jail by kevin murray

The 2007-2009 financial crisis, will according to Bloomberg.com, "… cost the average American $70,000 in lifetime income," and further according to finance.yahoo.com, "the financial and economic crisis cost Americans $12.8 trillion."  This was not the first banking crisis in America, in which the most recent one preceding the 2007-2009 financial catastrophe was in the 1980s, in which, according to billmoyer.com, that "savings and loan debacle was one-seventieth the size of the current crisis, both in terms of losses and the amount of fraud."  Further, the justice department prosecuted and brought charges against many of this malefactors, of which "… this produced over 1,000 felony convictions."  On the other hand the 2007-2009 financial crisis, according to money.cnn.com, "There have been 35 bankers sentenced to prison…"

 

To put this in perspective, the savings and loans crisis that was one-seventieth the size of the 2007 - 2009 crisis, produced convictions of over 1,000 felons, whereas the 2007 - 2009 financial debacle has produced just 35 bankers sentenced to prison.  This signifies in a real sense, that America, which prides itself on being considered the epitome of capitalism, free enterprise, egalitarianism, and with justice applied equally to all; is, in reality, the bastion of favoritism, inequality, cronyism, and clearly favors the elite few at the expense of the people as a whole.

 

No industrial or western nation, incarcerates more people and at a higher percentage than America, but when it comes to crime and punishment, the reality of the situation is, that America imprisons for very lengthy periods of time, those that are impoverished, poor, and ill educated; of which, on the other hand those that are rich, well dressed, connected, and exploiters, are treated with kid gloves.  Further to the point, all the banks that were bailed out, and all the instigators and perpetrators of this financial crisis of 2007 - 2009, which were never even charged with a crime, let alone a financial crime, are indicative that the rules of the road are clear; if you are part of the elite that are intertwined with the right politicians, justice department bigwigs, lobbyists, and corporations, than you need not ever worry of suffering the indignity of being at personal risk of anything at any time.  The net result is non-prosecutorial action, despite the fact that the people of this great country suffered the ill effects of a deep recession and thousands of dollars siphoned from their pockets.

 

As they say, the proof is in the eating of the pudding, and quite frankly, a decade after this devastating financial debacle of 2007 - 2009, the richest of the rich, have gotten so much richer, the poor have gotten poorer, and the middle class as well as this current generation, and generations yet unborn, are stuck having to carry the load of this massive $22 trillion national debt.

 

The whole point of learning a lesson well is to recognize the errors of such debacles and to thereby take the necessary steps as well as to create the necessary means to preclude such in the future.  So too, these financial disasters always have perpetrators that are the masterminds and creators of that disaster, and those perpetrators should and must be brought to justice.  That justice must be swift, sure, and with appropriate firm punishment so meted out.  When none of that is done, this signifies, that the financial game in America is hopelessly corrupt and is quite obviously interlaced wholly into the highest levels of American governance; so that, those that effectively are above the law, are the law, and all others are subject to their whims and dictates.

What represents a moral act? by kevin murray

There are a lot of people that feel that if their actions, or even their intentions, are questionable or not, doesn't matter so much, as long as the end result is beneficial for those others that are part of that act; signifying their belief in the apparent truth that the good ends justify the means of any sort.  Unfortunately, civilizations and relationships have been built upon this false premise, for to believe that it's fundamentally right to do something that is foundationally immoral, as long as the end result is good, permits far too many people as well as civilizations the excuse that nothing is wrong, if the end result appears to be right.

 

In point of fact, to lie, to trick, and to coerce someone in a manner in which the objective is through this deception to get that other person to confess the truth, is an immoral act, even if the truth does come to light.  It is immoral, because a deliberate act of deception is wrong, and a wrong in and of itself is still wrong, despite the supposed good intentions behind it.  That is to say, if the quest is for the truth from a given person, there are legitimate ways to get to that truth, and if such truth does not come to fruition from that person, than in those circumstances, the truth must be discerned, or set aside.

 

A moral act, in all circumstances must be a good act; so that, if an act is bad, it cannot and is not ever a moral act. Further, a moral act is not just a good act on its surface, though that is foundationally part of a moral act, but a moral act must also be in order to be moral, be done for the right reason as well as in the right way.  These means that a moral act consists in the synchrony of it being a good act, for the right reason, and done in the right way.

 

The reason why a correct moral act, contains these three elements, is for example, there are people that are selective about telling the truth, but, when the purposes so satisfy them, they testify to that truth, but the reason behind doing so, could be so as to get someone else in trouble, or to create embarrassment for that person, of which by "telling the truth," they are able to hide behind this wall, as being the justification of what they have done.  But what they have really done is to start with an element of a moral act, but they have done so for the wrong reason, and in the wrong way.

 

It isn't good enough to be telling the truth, when inside that person knows that they are disclosing the truth for purposes unbecoming.  Instead, before we communicate with others, and perform acts throughout our day, we should understand the purpose behind such, and if that purpose isn't right, or isn't performed in the right way and for the right reason, then it isn't going to be a good moral act.  In order for a moral act to be good, it must be for the right reason, and done in the right way, and all those that adhere to such, are performing moral acts of real goodness, and having done so, are good, themselves.

Courage and telling the truth by kevin murray

We are told by our parents, and by our society of the importance of telling the truth; and not just any truth, but the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  How many people actually consistently tell the truth in such a manner, and do so, always, is in all probability, incredibly low.  Further to the point, most people have absolutely no problem with telling the whole truth, when they know for a certainty that by doing so they will be in no danger to themselves, whatsoever.   Then there are others that will struggle with telling the whole truth, when they know that by doing so, such truth, will get someone that they like or admire in trouble, and do not wish to create harm for that person, or to be perceived as being a "rat" for having confessed to the truth of the matter.  Then there are those other cases, in which the whole truth, has personal consequences, of which by admitting to the whole truth, this will create personal harm and damage, in which, many people have a strong unwillingness to make a case against their own self.

 

The very thing about truth, is that, if telling the whole truth, is only something that is done when a given person knows it will bring no harm to themselves or to people that they admire or are friendly to, then the entire edifice of truthfulness comes crashing down, for if the whole truth, only exists, when it is convenient for a given situation, then the whole truth will not be shown the light of day, in all situations, and especially in those cases, when it most especially matters.  Additionally, the ethical purpose of the whole truth in the first place is for others, to actually hear or to have known the whole truth, for in order for there to be any real hope that good justice, fairly applied is actually going to be generated, the whole truth has to be out in the open.  Instead, because so often, the whole truth is not available, explicitly or implicitly, then the justice so applied, is at best, educated guess work; all because, it is a known certainty that the whole truth has not been divulged or is not obtainable.

 

Any person that claims that they are a responsible person cannot possibly be telling the truth to that characteristic, if they are unwilling to be forthcoming and expressive of the whole truth, whether such is convenient, or not, for them.The thing about telling the whole truth is that such is not like a light switch, so as to be turned on only when convenient for a given situation and thereby turned off or ignored when it is not.Those that actually tell the whole truth in all circumstances, are by definition, people of the upmost integrity; and further, they are courageous, by that truth telling; for everything that happens has consequences, and the telling of the truth, is one of those things that can result in personal punishment, personal shame, and personal disgrace or the same to others.However, those that are willing to face the music, are also those that having learnt from their mistakes, are gifted therefore at discarding falseness and error; whereas all those that do not do so, will still face the music, but, in a dimension and time of which, the whole truth and nothing but the truth will be told, and surely then they will thereby reap what they have sowed.

"…every warship launched … signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed…" by kevin murray

Five-star general and two-term President, Dwight Eisenhower, stated the above quote in 1953, which signified fundamentally the problem with spending hundreds of billions upon hundreds of billions of dollars on becoming far and away the military power of the world.  Unfortunately, these prescient words have been effectively ignored and set aside, as the United States, has spent and continues to spend inordinate amounts of dollars year after year, feeding its insatiable technology-military-industrial complex. 

 

Those monies spent specifically for the technology-military-industrial complex are monies that could have and should have been spent to help alleviate and to ameliorate the suffering that millions upon millions of Americans have had to unnecessarily endure each and every day in order to survive.  In point of fact, the great wealth of this nation should not be disproportionally spent on munitions which are fundamentally designed to kill and to destroy; but should quite obviously be spent instead on creating the infrastructure that would provide each American with good healthcare, good nutrition, good schools, and is conducive towards the support of families, neighborhoods, and communities.

 

America, is a very fortunate nation, for it is on very good terms with its contiguous neighbors and is in no danger from any country within close proximity of America; and while pundits can point out that intercontinental missiles can be launched against America, and call to mind all sorts of hobgoblins and dire scenarios, the fact of the matter is, that America is under no imminent or even contemplated attack from any nation or series of nations.

 

What needs to be fully recognized is that all the monies that are misallocated by the government of this country and in particular monies specifically utilized and designated for the Defense budget of this nation, above what this nation actually needs to defend itself, are contrary to the purpose of this great nation, and the liberty that it so represents.  Further to the point, money is a limited resource, so that those nations that do not budget their monies appropriately have done a grand disservice to their people.

 

The first obligation of any good nation is to take care of its own people in a manner in which each person within that country has adequate resource to healthcare, food, clothing, housing, childcare, and employment.  Further, each person of that country should be provided with a good education, fair opportunity, and the liberty to be about their business.  All of these are the mark of a truly great nation, especially in consideration that this is the richest nation that the world has ever known, of which, done correctly, America and its principles, would thereby be true to its Declaration of Independence, that all are created equal and all are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

 

All those within America, that are hungry, cold, incapacitated, unemployed, and devoid of good education as well as fair opportunity, reflect the reality of a country that wishes instead to devote its abundant resources on the wages of death, destruction and war; as opposed to sowing the seeds of creating the last best hope of mankind and becoming that illuminating beacon of bright light for all.

When the government knows everything about you, then you will always be guilty of something by kevin murray

There are plenty of people that believe in the usefulness of the government or its agents, having cameras, listening devices, and the ability to know everyone's' movements, activities, and communications; in which this information is seen as being an obvious benefit in reducing crime and defending the homeland.  This may be true, and for all those that lead lives that conform to the state as it is -- such to them, surely makes a whole lot of sense.

 

On the other hand, the highest law of this land is the Constitution, of which the Fourth Amendment to that Constitution, stipulates that: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."  The reason that this Fourth Amendment is so important in the era in which the government, corporations, and their agents are basically able to collect, collate, analyze, and know so much pertinent as well as actionable information about so many is that if the justice department of this state, permits such information to be acted upon by that state, then for all intents and purposes, the Fourth Amendment has been eviscerated, and replaced instead with a government that permits the actionable use of what is essentially, general warrants against all that the state so desires to intimidate, arrest, inconvenience, and incarcerate.

 

What so many people can't seem to visualize is that in a country in which there is no single entity or department that knows thoroughly all of its laws, because there are so many of those laws, and so many interpretations as well as contradictions of those same laws, than virtually anyone at anytime, is undoubtedly, violating or has violated some sort of statutory law at some point.  This means, that when the government and its agents vacuum in all of the data about a particular person, and/or specifically targets a particular person, then that person, is almost always going to be in a very vulnerable state, because given enough time and with enough data about somebody that actually is doing something other than laying in their own bed, all day, they will indubitably dig up something of interest.

 

So, we currently live within a construct, in which, those that are connected with the right people or are of no danger to the system, are safe; though, should they ever consider becoming a turncoat, or somehow lose favor with the ruling elite, than they too are susceptible of being found guilty of some crime.  As for the majority of the population, which is apolitical in nature, their lives are lives of normalcy, with the exception being that since the government knows everything about them, they can be found guilty of some crime at the convenience of the state, and therefore must always remain apolitical, quiescent, and seemingly content.  Finally, as for all those that are suspected of being disloyal to the state, their conviction is a mere formality, for the evidence of their crimes are clearly and unequivocally documented through the reams upon reams of data that has been extensively collated and studied for this very reason, for when the government knows everything about you, your guilt is predetermined and inevitable.

The return of military rule by kevin murray

There are nearly two hundred countries in the world that have all sorts of governments to rule their people, from monarchies, to dictatorships, to republics, to democracies, and all types of governance reflecting in principle, that same sort of thing.  But, that said, the reality is that despite what a Constitution might say, or the form of government that a given country claims to represent, more times than not, the actual power behind the throne, so to speak, is held in a very few hands, and typically those hands are either the military directly, or indirectly.

 

A case in point is America, in which most people would consider America to be a country that is considered to be democratic, though by statue it is actually a Constitutional Republic.   In fact, America likes to point out with pride that this is the country with the oldest written Constitution amongst all nations, and its Constitution is the highest law of the land which is the governing document of this great nation. 

 

However, as might be expected, over time, America has changed, so that, though there are three recognized branches of government, which are the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial, what doesn't seem to get mentioned so much is how gargantuan the military is in America, in which the 2019 Defense budget for America is $716 billion, despite the fact that America's last Congressional declared war was for WW II.   To put into perspective how much $716 billion is, recognize that the only other country that spends even $100 billion on its Defense budget is China at $178 billion, and China has a population that is more than 1 billion greater than America.

 

The true test as to whether America is actually devolving into military rule really comes down to whether or not any politician could ever be elected, or any legislature could ever enact, a draconian budget cut of 50% to the defense budget to take effect, in the next fiscal year.  To keep this in perspective, a 50% drop in America's defense budget would still provide America with a defense budget twice that of China's, and would be about the same size as it was in 2002, all at a time in which America is not involved in any world war, and is realistically in imminent danger from no country.

 

While there have been a few legislature representatives or even Presidential candidates that have railed against the technology-military-industrial complex, none of these have ever made any headway against such, and probably none of these into the foreseeable future, ever will.   This would indicate that the businesses, technology corporations, and the military, itself, are combined into a conglomerate that is so powerful and so influential, that they effectively are in charge of our foreign policies, and the budget so created is a budget preapproved by these entities.

 

So then, while America is loathe to admit to it, it is effectively run at its highest level by that technology-military-industrial complex, of which, as long as none of these three branches of this Constitutional government, does anything to negatively impact them, than all will be well; whereas, if instead, the people or any of those three branches should attempt to seriously rein in the budget and the influence of the technology-military-industrial complex, Americans will find that to their dismay that this is in reality, a country already under military rule.