"If men were angels, no government would be necessary" James Madison by kevin murray

The above quotation is absolutely true, so that, as much as we might complain about governments and their inefficiencies and errors, in the greater scheme of things, governments are necessary in order to be of assistance to the people as a whole.  The best government is not only wise, just, egalitarian, and fair; but also is a government that must be of the people, for the people, and by the people, for governments are instituted amongst the consent of those so governed to be of a blessing and of a benefit to those people.

 

Because governments are necessary for the appropriate governing of the people, it is important that those so being governed, are able to have a government that is responsive to their grievances, concerns, and needs; as well as being a government that is not above the people, or acts in a manner that is not accountable to the people, but rather is a government which is open, honest, and transparent to all.  For, any good government, that is not forthcoming as to what it is actually doing as well as what it is contemplating, more than likely means that it has taken upon itself, powers not vested in it.

 

The type of government that is most respected and most appropriate for the people is a government that applies its laws and governance, fairly and equally to all; of which, special favoritism towards the few, and discriminatory laws against the many, cannot ever be part and parcel of good government.  To the extent that governments are fair-minded to all, while taking into consideration mitigating and individual circumstances, than such a government as that is utilizing good discernment and wisdom.  On the other hand, all governments which are inconsistent, arbitrary, and discriminatory, especially in a manner in which certain segments of the population have no voice, whereas other privileged segments essentially represent the only voice that matters, are not fair-minded governments.

 

It is a given that human beings are not angels, and when those that are not angels are placed or appointed into the power of being the authorized representatives of the people, in which, those representatives do not behave in a manner consistent with good and fair governance -- and further, effectively ignore or supersede the Constitutional law and good governance of their community or country, than those representatives have aggrandized unto themselves as well as to the beneficiaries of their actions: unauthorized power.

 

Such unauthorized power is the bane of all good governments, and the only effective remedy for the abusive use of power, is for the people to have the means to negate such, either by the governmental structure so in place, which nullifies such, by, for instance, the separation of those governmental powers, so that not any one power of that government is strong enough to dictate its policies, without any constraints; or by the effective withdrawal of the people's consent of that government, so that a new and appropriate government with its representatives thereby takes its place.

 

Good governments are created by the consent of those so governed as a means to benefit the people as a whole, and to the extent that government does so, the people will be served; whereas bad governments are those governments good intentioned or not, that answer not to the people, while also exploiting those selfsame people for the benefit of those that run and are the beneficiaries of that government as practiced, and have circumvented the need for consent from the people that they ostensibly serve.

America's new slavery by kevin murray

In theory, the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, along with the Union defeating the Southern rebels, and in addition to the 13th-15th Constitutional Amendments, secured forever, freedom and full citizenship for those previously enslaved.  Of course, as always in America, there is the law as written, and there is the reality of the law, as practiced.  Still, credit must be given where credit is due, and in significant ways, it can be said, that slavery, at least in the form of chattel slavery, does not presently exist in the United States.

 

However, the fact of the matter is that the power structure of America is a very small subset of the population, of which this small elite of people, are forever afraid that their power and their control could somehow be wrested from them, and most especially are cognizant that since America has such a high percentage of those that own absolutely nothing, with little or no opportunity to become something, that they therefore recognize that those people could at a some point, create real and systemic domestic insurrection, which could thereby possibly upend the power structure of the elite.

 

This means, in consequence, that the elite have merely borrowed from the past, of what worked so well for the South, of which, had it not been for the hubris of the South, in deliberately provoking war with the North, slavery might even be the law of this land, today.  For the South successfully demonstrated, that a small percentage of plantation owners, few in number, could control a massive amount of slaves, as well as ruling the power structure of their communities, by being the force behind the policing factions, the justice department, and by the copious use of violence by their adherents profitably kept their slaves in their place.

 

Fast forward, to today's world, and recognize, that the people that are incarcerated and convicted of felonies, are most often, those that are the most indigent, ill-educated, and oppressed; in which such convictions are almost always accomplished without the alleged perpetrator even having their day in court, for seldom are felons actually convicted by a jury of their peers, but rather conviction after conviction is accomplished by "plea bargaining" in which the person so making the plea, is completely out of their element, and susceptible to every bit of pressure to do so, and have not the tools to effectively do any other.

 

Once a given person is convicted as a felon, irrespective of how long they have been incarcerated for, they are essentially stripped forever of their first-class citizenship rights, which has been replaced instead with something that doesn't even approach even second-class status, and is most appropriately seen as being designated as something less than fully human, and rightly seen as a new form of slavery.  For, felons, have all sorts of rights taken away from them, such as no longer being eligible to vote or to be on a jury, or to work except in the most menial and dead-end jobs, or be eligible for a passport, or to be eligible for student loans or for public housing or for supplemental nutritional assistance or for various other State and Governmental programs and benefits.  While it may be true, that some of these things are still available for felons, such are often amended or reduced to such an extent, that a given felon has little or no hope of ever being a fully functional, autonomous and free human being, again. 

 

All of the above basically means that in America, while the slavery of old is no longer legal, the workaround is as simple as getting an intended target convicted as a felon, and thereupon that person becomes, for all intents and purposes, enslaved for life.

Big lies and little lies by kevin murray

Most people don't want to readily admit that they do personally lie, mainly because admitting to such, basically reflects poorly upon them.  After all, being a liar is essentially admitting that for whatever reason, good or not, mitigated excuse or not, a person has deliberately told a falsehood, in which, the most obvious reason why this is done, is in order to protect oneself from potential scorn or reprimand, as well as doing so in order to make oneself look better than one actually is.

 

Lying has an awful lot to do with people, simply not wanting to face the consequences of either what they have done, or who and what they really are.  Additionally, because lying seems in many instances to be effective, in the sense that the other party does not seem to be aware of the falsehood; it thereupon reinforces itself in the liar's mind that this is indeed an effective tool to be utilized, especially when other avenues appear to be far less inviting.

 

The other thing about lying is that there are definite material degrees of lying, in which "little white lies" are considered to be socially acceptable by most people; whereas a constructed lie which has catastrophic consequences, usually for someone else to suffer from, of which this lie greatly impacts their life for the worse, is considered to be a lie of real ethical import, as well as a lie that once set in motion, is not something that can ever successfully be taken back, for the deed has been done, forevermore.

 

So too, it is always discomforting, when someone close to you, lies to someone else about something that is relatively small, knowing that you are quite aware that what they just said is indeed a lie.  While some people, might just say, that it was, after all, just a little lie, of no real meaning; that is probably not the right way to think about it.  Far better is to think that if someone is willing to lie about something so small, and feel not a tinge of regret or shame, than probably that so signifies that they will obviously lie about something of real importance, for those that construct little lies, are invariably those that tell rather large lies, as well.

 

In point of fact, in virtually anything involving deception, such as stealing or cheating, whether large or small, it does not really matter, that person should be seen as a thief or as a cheat, no matter the size of the action, or excuses so made.  For, the line drawn in the sand is absolutely distinct, and that line stipulates that on this side, for instance, there will be no lies, and the other side, there is.  So that, there is, never, some sort of neutral territory between the two, thereby considered to be neither lying nor truth telling, but something in-between. That is to say, there aren't any small liars, just as there aren't any small thieves, and there aren't any small cheats for each is cut out of the very same cloth.  The bottom line is that you are either one or the other, for a house divided will not stand.

Real progress and real wisdom by kevin murray

Orthodox mankind wants so badly for its constituents to believe that the progress of mankind is linear in its development, of life ever improving, and of mankind ever evolving.  It thus follows from this kind of reasoning that the mankind of today is far superior to mankind of yesterday, and that the mankind of tomorrow will be even more advanced.  Such thinking as that is absolute rubbish, for the progress of mankind has never been linear, but rather has its inevitable ebbs and flows, and to therefore believe that mankind has never been as brilliant and as superior as mankind is today, is a falsehood; for it conveniently casts aside any and all evidence that mankind has previously been quite knowledgeable and wise before and instead dismisses all ancient civilizations as grossly inferior.

 

While there is something to be said and to be appreciated about mankind's great progress in its recent mastery of this world, through its technological, medicinal and industrial advances, of which, such has brought forth to a significant swath of mankind, previously unknown luxuries and pleasures; to say that this therefore means that mankind has never been wiser or smarter or more industrious then every before, is fallacious.  In point of fact, extreme poverty exists at an exceedingly high level, even though mankind has the means to provide the resources as well as the governance to eliminate such.  Additionally, mankind has suffered through eons of war, of which, this too, has not even been close to being eradicated, even with such organizations as the United Nations, which apparently is proof positive that the world's nations aren't so united.  So too, mankind has proven it is the master of its domain, but environment disasters and continuing environmental troubles indicates that mankind still has a lot to learn as well as to comprehend.

 

All of the above is the counterpoint to those that pay endless homage to mankind's supposed brilliance.  In short, it must be recognized that those that believe so strongly that the mankind of today supersedes, hands down, all that has come before, typically display also the unmitigated gall and gumption to thereupon believe that mankind's wisdom has never collectively been higher.  This is a great fallacy, for knowledge is not wisdom, and if it can be said that never have so many known so much; it does not necessarily follow that never have so many been so wise, because not one of mankind's historic troubles in regards to war, famine, and pestilence has been fully and successfully resolved, proving that modern mankind in the scheme of things, thinks too highly of themselves, and do not fairly evaluate who and what they really are.

 

In truth, the real progress of mankind is not measured by the tools and toys it so produces, but by the great virtue and impressive wisdom that it so imparts and utilizes.  Today's mankind is in so many ways, absolutely petty, petulant, and perpetually problematic in the way that our society deals with one another, which is why all the troubles that have historically waylaid mankind, are still so prevalent, today.  This is indicative that the hubris of today will be the destruction of tomorrow; for when virtue is discarded as an unnecessary anachronism, and knowledge thereby trumps wisdom, the end result can only be catastrophic.

Fiat currency by kevin murray

In 1971, the United States through President Nixon, officially decoupled its Federal Reserve Note (aka USA dollar) from gold, and therefore made its currency, a fiat currency.  In short, a fiat currency is any currency which is back by nothing, other than the confidence and faith that entities that utilize such believe that it has worth.  Further to the point, all fiat currencies will over time, trend towards becoming of less and less value in what they are able to purchase, for it is well known, that "bad money drives out good," which is why you do not see anybody utilizing coins that contain silver such as United States quarter coinage made previous to 1965, which were 90 percent silver, being used for their stated value of twenty-five cents, but are instead are no longer circulated because their meltdown value is over $3.00.

 

To drive home further the point of the weakness of fiat currency, recognized that as reported by census.gov, the median price of a new home sold in the United States in August of 1971, was $25,300; and additionally as reported by davemanual.com, the nominal median household income for 1971 was just $7,626.  If those numbers seems astonishingly low, recognize that inflation is an insidious thing that erodes the value of fiat currency over a period of time. So that, such proves the point, that fiat currencies do not maintain their value, because fundamentally fiat currencies are merely transaction devices to more easily pay, procure and to execute business and personal affairs.

 

There are many that decry the absurdity of backing currency with gold or silver, though, in truth, this has been done for millenniums. Still, it is important to note that fiat currencies that are backed by nothing, other than specious words such as the full faith and confidence of the government are always intrinsically unsound.  In a modern world, though, there isn't any reason why currencies can't be back by other things of value such as land, oil, coal, natural gas, and so on and so forth.  The main problem with these other sorts of commodities is that they lack the ease of being physically transferrable and hence would necessitate almost always, some sort of physical or electronic scrip being passed back and forth, while also being susceptible to manipulations of all sorts.  Still, to have a currency backed by a basket of commodities would invariably help to stabilize that currency.

 

The fact that the United States dollar has become worth less and less over time, creates a scenario in which savers and investors have to find avenues of investment and saving vehicles that help to alleviate or that will exceed the value of what their currency has depreciated to.  This so indicates, that for the most part, even widows and orphans, must take on some sort of risk, for to merely sit on their dollars, is a losing game, of which all of this risk, is yet another factor in the instability of the dollar, and further increases the volatility of the value of the dollar as well as threatening its continued existence as a quasi-reliable fiat currency.

 

In short, all fiat currency is a confidence game, of which, all confidence games come to an end, when the deception is fully and completely exposed.

Discernment and privacy by kevin murray

In the social media age as well as in the age in which seemingly everything that we do, can be recorded, analyzed, evaluated, and saved; this so signifies that never has it been easier for friends and family, or private enterprise, or governmental agencies to know an awful lot about our habits, patterns, actions, and behaviors.  The bottom line is that in a society in which every social media posting is available for any "friend" to see, copy and view; as well as people's smart phones, effectively being a very detailed diary of every location that one travels to on a given day, that never have so many provided so much information to those that definitely do not have their best interests in mind.

 

For instance, when it comes to private enterprise and all the information that they siphon up from smart phones, internet activities, credit card activity, social friends and networks, including likes so posted; is that this information is really being evaluated not necessarily as a means to control or to compromise a given individual, but primarily is done so in order to specifically market to a given individual, as a way and means to increase business and profit.  After all, the reason that these social media sites and apps are free, aren't because they are created as some sort of public good; but rather are created as a means to monetize individuals for companies that are permitted to access them.

 

However, when it comes to government agencies, their motivation behind the accumulation of reams upon reams of information and data on individuals is to not only to monitor individuals but also to mold individuals in ways that are favorable to those that control that government.  After all, people are creatures of habits, as well as often having established patterns, in which those that know these things are best able to then utilize that information for their benefit, as well as manipulation.

 

In this modern area, we live within a construct in which entities that we do not control, and primarily do not have our best interests in mind, know us in a manner in which, what we believe to be of our private concern, is often, actually knowable and actionable information.  This thus means, that unlike a good friend or family member, that knows us, and in a mature way, utilizes their discernment and discretion to be of benefit to us; we are caught instead, almost unawares by private enterprise as well as by governmental institutions that are able to discern who and what we really are, for their benefit and for their exploitation of us.

 

To live a life in a fishbowl is a massive error, for unless those that look in upon that fishbowl are actually there to be of aid and of help to us, then we have provided to those intrusive entities, everything that they need to take advantage of us, to our own detriment.  It is vital to understand that the only people deserving of truly knowing us are only those that are our true friends as well as good family members, for these people have our best interests in mind, and further are able to discern what is necessary to do in order to improve us so we are better able to accomplish meaningful and good things.    Therefore, recognize that we should not willingly abandon our own watchtower, but instead be forever vigilant.

Motivation, aspiration, and parental involvement by kevin murray

When it comes to schools and the education that is received by the children that attend those schools, there are a multitude of factors that are relevant to the success or non-success of those students. For instance, the quality of the school and the teachers of that school, are absolutely of import, for if the teachers and the curriculum are not up to standard, it is hard to produce students that are going to excel.  So too, while there are many children that are self-motivated and diligent, having an environment that encourages and augments such motivations and diligence most definitely is of aid; as well as having a safety net in place for those students that lose their focus, to thereupon have available for them, one-on-one counseling that helps in keeping them on course and engaged.  Additionally, parents that are truly involved in regards to their child's education, are going to as a matter of course, make sure to provide their children with all the educational materials that are necessary, such as extra help as in tutoring, as well as positive feedback, in order to help keep their children on task and focused on the greater goal; which is the creation of good learning habits now, in their formative years, that will do them well in getting into the appropriate higher educational institutions and thereby obtaining the necessary accouterments for a very good opportunity of employment success.

 

The bottom line is that quite obviously, not every job is a good and fulfilling job, and the key to having a better opportunity towards that good job, comes more easily from those that have demonstrated through their educational achievements that they have the right stuff.  All those children that are backed up by parents that take an active concern in the progress of their education, as well as having teachers and a curriculum that challenge and make students think and therefore learn; in addition to those students that actually study and apply themselves diligently are going to have -- far more often than not, success in obtaining not only their educational goals, but also their career goals.

 

As for all those other students, that do not have the same sort of advantages or structure, it goes almost without saying, that the less that parents are positively involved with their children in regards to their education, and the less that teachers and curriculum are up-to-speed, and the less children do to apply themselves to thinking and to learning, the far bigger handicap that they will have, in accomplishing their educational goals, as well as fulfilling their potential in the greater scheme of things.  It is an extremely hard challenge for any child with a great mind -- to live within a construct in which their family is dysfunctional as well as low income, along with living in a non-desirable part of town, while also going to a school that hardly bothers to educate any of the students, but serves more as a glorified place of babysitting, if even that.

 

From good schools you can expect good students, and from involved parents you can expect better achievements from their children; whereas all those children that have various economic, discriminatory, and dysfunctional disadvantages are basically reduced to the hope that within their domain, there is the sanctuary of a really good school, that challenges them and thereby gets the best out of them, for without that, in conjunction with their own good efforts and concentration, they will surely be left way, way behind.

Solitary imprisonment should only be utilized, sparingly by kevin murray

America certainly knows how to build prisons.  It should, mainly because it incarcerates inmates at embarrassingly high levels and seems to delight in treating fellow human beings as something akin to a beast of burden, or worse.  The prison experience for all those involved is almost always dehumanizing, because the purposeful construction and conduct within America's incarceration facilities are done typically in a manner of not only of an "us v. them" mentality, but also pretty much conducted in a manner in which the best inmate is always going to be the compliant inmate, and none other.

 

Not too surprisingly, for those that are incarcerated, rightly or wrongly, and are invariably not profitably engaged in worthwhile activities, they are going to come up against situations in which a fellow inmate or inmates are perceived to be behaving in an inappropriate fashion, and subsequently is considered to be of danger to others or to their own self, or both.  Because there are a limited amount of guards within a facility, the go-to solution, is often to separate the alleged troublemaker(s) from the inmate population at large, allegedly for the protection of that inmate(s), and often done as a form of punishment.

 

That punishment for recalcitrant inmates is solitary confinement, in which social contact with any other inmate is drastically reduced to a bare minimum, and with the exception of a brief break here and there, those inmates in solitary confinement are truly and literally confined within a very narrow space for typically twenty-three hours of each day, with nothing really to do.  The fact that some inmates suffer solitary confinement from time-to-time, might be okay, if solitary confinement was somewhat similar to the "timeout" that a child is given at home or within a school system, of which that child's isolation is relatively brief and to the point.  However, solitary confinement in prison facilities, don't typically last for part of a day, or even days, or even weeks, but instead, can be and is quite often for months or even years.

 

The fact that somehow it is legal to incarcerate certain individuals via the cruel and inhumane treatment of being solitarily confined, while doing so for long or seemingly endless periods of time, reflects poorly on American jurisprudence as well as the rules and regulations of what is permitted in incarceration facilities.  The bottom line is that solitary imprisonment, first and foremost, should be done only as necessary for the protection of those working within the facility, as well as the inmates so incarcerated, and the inmate so designated as deserving of solitary confinement.  That said, solitary confinement, should only be done for a very short period of time, such as a maximum of seventy-two hours, before that inmate is entitled to be released from solitary confinement, or to at least having a hearing in front of some neutral party.

 

It is absolute insanity, to confine anyone for lengthy periods of time in solitary confinement, and somehow believe, that by doing so, that person will be better off for it.  Further to the point, if our incarceration facilities are unable to keep order in their facilities without having to incarcerate into solitary confinement, certain inmates for lengthy periods of time, then however are those inmates that have suffered from such long periods of isolation, going to be able to function in an open and free society when they are eventually released? 

 

The bottom line is if you want inmates to fail, or if your desire is to see a high rate of recidivism, then definitely treat human beings as animals of little worth, and especially isolate indefinitely, those that appear most troubling, and in return, you will do your part in helping to fully raise Cain.

Towards a true quantum leap in transportation by kevin murray

Pages and pages have been written about driverless vehicles, as if this is the quantum leap forward in transportation, but when you whittle it down to the core, driverless vehicles or self-automated driving vehicles, are not set to accomplish much of anything of real material progress; because firstly there is a gargantuan  amount of added capital required in aggregate to equip these vehicles with the ability to safely navigate the roadways, and secondly these vehicles are fundamentally the same as they were, in the sense of still needing some sort of fuel, as in oil or electricity to transport themselves from here to there, as well as needing some sort of wheels in order to ride the road. 

 

The point is that transportation with wheels utilizing an axle predate the time of Christ, with basically the only real changes being that the roads nowadays are smoother and more prevalent, and the horse has been replaced by the horseless carriage.  In fact, the car today is not all that much different in its fundamental purpose and structure than the Model T was back when Henry Ford was the instigator and the leader of manufacturing vehicles at a price-point, which eventually led to cars becoming ubiquitous around the world.

 

If the smartest people in the world truly believe that driverless vehicles are the wave of the future, they aren't all that smart, because the quantum leap forward can only come from transportation that is deliberately envisioned and structured in a way in which wheels, and therefore the friction that wheels create upon a road is completely eradicated.  One way, to do so, is to look at what Japan has accomplished with its maglev train, which uses electromagnets, to produce levitation upon the train, and hence that train is able to travel at, as reported by phys.org, "…at speeds over 310 mph." 

 

There was a time when to cross the oceans and the seas, necessitated travel by ship or by boat, of which this still does occur, but such has being superseded at a fair price, by travelers that are all about getting to the destination sooner, as compared to later, and hence do so via airplane.  So too, vehicles with wheels is a form of transportation that has its advantages as well as its disadvantages, but to believe that eliminating drivers, or providing drivers with the option of self-driving, will somehow make for a giant leap forward for mankind and society, is misguided and mistaken.

 

Rather, it is high time to recognize that true progress can only come about from those that are outside the massive industry as it is, and hence are not limited by that industry and are thereby clearly thinking freely outside of the box. The future of ground transportation in this world, does not involve wheels, but rather involves levitation, done through an electromagnetic field or similar, and the sooner that governments or institutions with very big pockets recognize this, the sooner mankind will benefit from a form of transportation, which will take us out of our current Luddite thinking, and into a bright and brave new world.

"Law and Order" is just another insidious form of racism and discrimination by kevin murray

The very people that cry the loudest for law and order are always those that either already hold all the power, or are the lackeys to those that hold that power, and there is no in-between.   In point of fact, when your position is secure within society, the efforts of many of those people will over time transfer seamlessly to being devoted to simply wanting to keep all that they have, and in consequence they will often spend a considerable amount of their resources to see that exactly this is accomplished. 

 

The law and order mindset comes into play, because in order to better and more safely protect property and assets it most definitely helps to have the police force, that is the "order", in conjunction with the application of justice, that is the "law" structured in a way that those judicial decisions made, as well as those police actions taken, are always done in conformance with protecting those institutions that are already well established, and wish to remain that way.

 

So then, though the law and order is really meant as a protection racket for the most powerful and elite, it helps to have a significant portion of the general public on board, as it never is a good position for the very, very few, to appear to be reaping all the benefits, especially at the expense, of the greater public, at large.  This so signifies, that law and order is typically structured in a manner in which the silent majority, so to speak, are led to believe that there is a very thin line between anarchy, revolution, chaos, and rioting, all overcoming good civilization, and that line is held in place only by those brave men and women wearing blue, and upheld by those good justices in black.

 

The reality though is that today's law and order is really just the evolution of the still respected southern way of life, in which, in order to keep down the mass of the population, which is far more numerous, and often suffers from a fair degree of frustration and need; that it is critical to have both the firepower as well as the personnel to take care of business in a manner in which those that dare to stand against law and order, will most definitely regret it.  That is the main reason why the biggest proponents of law and order, believe that no quarter can ever be given to those that threaten the status quo, and further it is the prevailing reason why meaningful change in this country is a long, arduous, and perhaps futile one, because those in power have the money, the law, and the order all on their side.

 

Remember this always, while it may be so, that the law and the order may sometimes be progressive, that is only because such is necessary from time-to-time, in order to keep the public at large, at bay. The reality is that no western nation comes close to even approaching the amount of people incarcerated in America, of which, those of color, and those that are poor, are almost exclusively targeted, for none in power, see the utility or value of those particular people, and having no value, they must be summarily dismissed from society.

 

So it can be said, back in the day the owner of the plantation had his overseer do the whipping of his slaves; nowadays, the powers to be aren't so obvious and aren't so physically brutal, believing it makes for better form, to have the order find the malcontents, and then have the law, put them away.  So it was back then, so it is today.

The non-independence of Latin America by kevin murray

The present countries that are part of Latin America were formerly under the dominion of the European powers of Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, and France.  However, as the United States began to increase its might, it made it known to the European powers, through its Monroe doctrine -- that it would not broker European meddling in the affairs of Latin America, for Latin America to the United States, was considered to be solely in the domain of the United States.  To a very large extent, the United States got exactly what it wanted, for all the Latin American countries, ultimately became sovereign essentially during the 19th Century, and therefore as independent nations were no longer beholden to European powers.

 

However, though these Latin American countries were successful in throwing off the chains of European oppression, they were to a very large extent, susceptible to a new master, which not too surprisingly, was and is the United States of America.  The United States, while it has claimed some foreign territories as its own, such as Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin islands; has nevertheless, in most instances, preferred to be involved with Latin American countries in a way that is not so explicit, yet, still has massive repercussions for those countries, involved.

 

To wit, these Latin American countries have both natural resources as well as industries that those that are the ostensible leaders or power brokers of those nations, wish to see be successful and productive; of which, the United States, has the expertise to help provide and to accelerate that success; but often the fruits of that success are structured in a manner in which specifically the applicable United States institutions benefit, as well as the elite few of those Latin American countries -- whereas the mass of the population, does not.  When the best expertise and most modern equipment to extract natural resources of a given Latin American country is readily available from the United States, than such when provided to those Latin American countries, invariably comes with strings and contracts that are attached, that are usually quite favorable to those American consortiums that provide that equipment for the extraction of those natural resources.  Further to the point, countries that have natural resources as well as other practical assets are most definitely in need of capital in order to build both the infrastructure as well as to create the necessary means to export goods and other materials, in which that capital often comes from western nations, of which, the terms and conditions of those contractual obligations are structured in a manner in which those Latin American countries which become indebted, typically are not ever able to develop the necessary means to successfully pay off that debt, and further seemingly inevitably negotiate from a position of weakness, against those that have all or most of the cards.

 

While the governments of the Latin American countries are independent by Constitutional law, most of them are in one way or another materially and structurally indebted to the United States of America, and further, those that are Latin America's industry and political leaders are usually quite content to work closely with the United States of America, because it is personally beneficial for them to do so.  The United States of America is an empire, and as in most empires, those countries that are in close proximity to the United States of America, are also those countries that most often dance to the tune that the United States of America desires to play.

Civil disobedience and the American Revolution by kevin murray

A very strong argument could be made, and should be made, that when the representatives of the colonies got together and affixed their signatures upon the Declaration of Independence; of which they pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, to express to the world at large, the salient reasons for the breaking of their political bonds with Great Britain, that those causes so expressed, were an obvious form of civil disobedience.  That is to say, the Declaration of Independence by those colonies, was the defining act of the civil disobedience that led directly to the ultimate creation of this free republic, which the United States of America, so represents.

 

This indicates that civil disobedience is part and parcel of being an American, and that therefore every citizen within America, has an absolute duty to disobey and/or to protest those laws that are not in harmony with that Declaration of Independence, in conjunction with the highest law of this law, which is its written Constitution.  In point of fact, if the citizens of this great nation, will not show their mettle when their civil rights and freedoms are being taken or siphoned away from them by state apparatus or wrongful court decisions, then those citizens do not deserve those rights or those freedoms, for nothing in this world, is static, and everything of value in this world, comes at a real cost and concerted effort.

 

The problem that any government has, especially a national government that has been in existence for well over two hundred years, is that, the powers to be of that government and by those representatives, often lose sight of exactly their purpose of being; of which, that purpose is fundamentally to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, with the abiding consent of those people.  This so indicates that a government that favors the few at the expense of the many; or that is unjust in the application of the law being equally applied, is primarily a government of those that it favors or are well placed, which is quite obviously counter to it being of good purpose and of benefit for the people, as a whole.

 

All governments must be held accountable for what they do and for what they accomplish, and the less transparent and forthcoming that governments are about what they are really doing, the less the people are being served, for those governments that are not open books, are undoubtedly up to no good, despite whatever words or reasons are expressed to assure the public that they need not worry.

 

The duty of any good citizen is to hold that government that was created to serve them, accountable, for all that they do with the powers so vested in that governance.  To the extent that the government serves well the people, the greater that nation and the security of the people will be; and to the extent that government is inimical to their governing documents and to the people, then the people will be the ones to suffer for it, for the failure of their representatives and of their government to properly do right by them.  It must be said, and it should be said that all those that express civil disobedience are on the vanguard of what the American Revolution was all about, and they are truly the good conscience of their nation, for which it was founded upon.

Being disadvantaged is quite obviously a real disadvantage by kevin murray

America likes to pride itself as being an egalitarian society, of which if it really was, than there would not nearly be the wide chasm of disparities that we see in regards to income, education, wealth, crime, neighborhoods, and just about anything of real merit within this country.  What exacerbates the problem of ever achieving true equality of income and opportunity within America is the fact that how a given child starts off in their life, makes a profound material difference in that outcome of their life.  That is to say, those that are born within families that do not own a home, that are single-income, have someone blood related that is currently or has been incarcerated, live within neighborhoods that are classified as low-income and crime infested, and go to schools, that aren't worthy of even being classified as a school of education, do not, in many cases, fare well in life in regards to positive or meaningful achievements.

 

Certain pundits are fond of stating that America is the land of opportunity, and that those that pull themselves up by their bootstraps are the very ones that go from the outhouse to the penthouse.  Sure, there are always going to be situations in which good people are able to somehow overcome incredible disadvantages; but, alas, in a significantly high percentage of those cases, those people that were able to overcome such, were able to do so by having within their structure the good force of a great soul within their milieu, that provided them with the stability, encouragement and the wherewithal to stride forward and to become something of consequence, despite being surrounded by a turbulent sea of trouble.

 

The bottom line is that those that are born disadvantaged are in a seemingly hopeless situation, for when a child's potential is effectively snuffed out before they have even entered a school of learning -- their potential to be someone of merit, is severely damaged.  Further to the point, all those children that are living in disadvantaged circumstances, rely to a very large degree, on those institutions that are independent of their immediate environment, such as schools, social clubs, and medical care; so that, if those schools, for instance, are far below par in educating those students, then each year, those children will as a consequence fall further and further behind their peers in other communities, so that the end result is that these children will be unprepared for anything other than substandard lives of reduced opportunity and listless hope.

 

Those that are born in impoverished circumstances, of which, everything that surrounds and is part of them, is of very little worth, are, within a very short matter of time, at risk of becoming part and parcel of the very same, sinkhole.  In truth, every child born into disadvantage circumstances is at risk, from their very first breath, and the only possible way to materially improve their circumstances of success, besides their own good efforts as well as the value of having good people actively involved with them, is for institutions such as governments and charities to actively make it their point, to do all that is possible to see that these children are given a fair chance to succeed, which means equal access to all institutions and programs that are of quality and of merit, without limitation or restriction.

True apportionment representation by kevin murray

The United States Congress and the members of it, is determined by the rules of the Constitution, in conjunction with judicial decisions applicable to such, of which the current interpretation basically comes down to the apportionment of the representatives of that Congress, being the census count of all citizens and non-citizens, as well as all armed forces personnel and federal civilian employees that are currently stationed outside the United States, but are able to be allocated to a specific home State.  Some people believe that by counting non-citizens into the population of a given State, that those States that have an abundance of non-citizens, which are by definition, denied the enfranchisement of the vote, does not make a whole lot of sense; for after all, why should they be favored with representation?  Further to the point and probably of even more relevance, there are those that are citizens of the United States, but have had their voting rights, disenfranchised, for whatever reason, which are also counted for the apportionment of Congressional seats, even though they are unable to vote. 

 

All of the above, basically comes down to a rather big divide, which is that currently, anyone that lives within a given State, is counted for purposes of the apportionment of Congressional seats, citizens and non-citizens alike; with no differentiation between those that are enfranchised to vote or disenfranchised.  Not too surprisingly, those States, that have an abundance of non-citizens within their State borders, such as California, in particular, get more seats in the House of Congress, as opposed to a State, such as Pennsylvania, which gets less; because more of the residents of Pennsylvania, actually are citizens, as compared to the great abundance of non-citizen immigrants in California.  On the other hand, a strong argument could be made, that the apportionment of Congressional seats, should not be done by the population within a State of citizens and non-citizens, including disenfranchised voters, but rather would more fairly be done by counting only those that are enfranchised to vote, since these are the very people that actually select their Congressional representative at the polling booth.

 

If, the amount of representatives in each respective State, was actually done by the amount of those registered to vote within those States, as compared to the national population of citizens and non-citizens throughout the United States, and then apportioned, mathematically to each one of those States -- what would happen in all likelihood, is that the States in general, would be much more motivated to see that their citizens within their respective States, were registered to vote, and further that those that have been disenfranchised from voting, would probably find that their State would be far more accommodating towards permitting them to re-qualify to vote.

 

Of course, some critics of this plan, might rightly complain that such would disenfranchise the value and impact of all those that are under the voting age of eighteen; though this would be true, it could somewhat be mitigated by each State tabulating their enfranchised voters every two years, which matches the Congressional elections which are always biennial, thereupon providing an updated enfranchised voting roll for each one of those States.  After all, the apportionment of the Congressional representatives of each State should reflect, the proportional amount per State, of those that are enfranchised to vote, for these are the very people that are the arbiters of who represents the people, and the people should be only those that are enfranchised to vote, no more and no less.

The complete failure of America's criminal justice program by kevin murray

America is the industry leader in so many notable categories, that such a country as this, which believes that it is the greatest nation in the world, should feel deep shame that such a high percentage of its citizens are either incarcerated or on some sort of parole or probation or monitoring.  In fact, as bbc.co.uk reports the United States prison population rate of 724 per 100,000 citizens, is substantially higher than any other western nation, nearly five times higher than England/Wales which is at a rate of just 148 per 100,000.  It would be one thing if all this incarceration and imprisonment, combined with our criminal justice system was the very basis for some sort of peaceful paradise, producing a land without civil discord and equal justice for all, but America is a country that still has crime rates that are substantially higher in virtually any crime category of meaning vs. other western nations despite its high incarceration rates.  This is demonstrative proof that the criminal justice system in America is not only broken, but is fundamentally and deeply flawed.

 

For whatever reason, America believes that the most appropriate way to deal with inappropriate behavior, inconvenient behavior, undesirable behavior, and actions that have been deemed to be criminal, is to incarcerate its own population at a very high rate.  This doesn't work, and is never going to work, because if this was working, we would see that by the virtue of how many that currently are locked up, and in consideration that America has locked up so many of its population for so long, that therefore the balance of this country, if incarceration was actually performing a good and valued duty, would be free of crime and conflict, which it is not. 

 

All of the above, means that the criminal justice system in the United States, is quite clearly, not a system that has much of anything to do with fair justice and penitence, but everything to do instead with deliberately discriminating against certain segments of society; typically those that are ill educated, impoverished, and non-white, and believing that by taking these people off of the streets, so that they are no longer visible, that therefore the societal problem that creates all of these criminals, would thereupon be resolved, but it most definitely has not been.

 

To change America's criminal justice system overnight, is well-nigh impossible, however, real changes could be made, if America had the courage and desire to actually do so.  The first change that should be implemented posthaste, is to eliminate once and for all, all mandatory minimum sentences in the stroke of a judicial decision, that stipulates that this is a violation of the Eight Amendment, because such is both cruel and unusual, for the supposition that each person somehow should be categorized within an unbending box, of not taking into account fully all pertinent and actionable information, and thereby predetermining that all categorized as such, are always subject to a specified minimum amount of incarceration.  The second change that could readily be implemented immediately, is the recognition that the vast majority of criminals are not violent and are not a clear and present danger to their community, and that therefore should be released via some form of electronic monitoring or similar, that allows them the opportunity to thereby continue with their employment, or schooling, and/or family duties, without undue and unnecessary mandatory interruption.

 

Enough time has been spent living in the amoral world of "law and order" as exercised in the United States of America.  This has not work, so that, those that believe that somehow future history will be diametrically different from the past, are condemned to see it repeated, ad nauseam; and such continued failure of its justice system in a country of the vast resources and wealth of America, is demonstrative proof that America is no beacon of liberty, but instead would be more fairly represented by having in its hands the whip of the slave master.

The only union that really matters by kevin murray

Human beings are social creatures, living within societies that encourage our interplay one with another, in all that we are and do.  Our relationships are part and parcel of what makes life worth living, and are valued, for the satisfaction and importance that they bring to our lives.  Yet, at the same time, that we value our relationships, the downside of those same relationships, is found in the destructiveness of relationships gone sour, in which such negativity hurts all parties involved and is not conducive towards bring forth good health and harmony.  This does not mean, that we should not seek out relationships, and certainly does not mean that we should not care about resolving and binding back together broken relationships, but rather that this is an object lesson in learning that when our desires are thwarted, or when we don't feel appreciated, that such has ramifications, that can easily lead towards damaged and weakened lives.

 

Who amongst us, does not yearn for a friend that is always our friend, no matter the circumstances, no matter the words spoken, no matter the conditions, and no matter our status, in which that friend is wholly there, and does not permit or allow anything to break the bonds of that friendship, come what may? That type of friend, is the ideal friend, who knows us for what we really are, and does not judge us, or hold grudges against us, but understands us in a way of accepting us as we are in that moment, and knows that we are never as bad as we might appear, or perhaps not as good as it might seem.

 

Our most valued relationships are always going to be with those that understand us at a level in which snap judgments are never rendered, and further are the type of people that support us as a friend, especially in those situations in which we have lost our way; for they are still able to see us as we are in essence, and in a way that reads us correctly, and does not ever err. 

 

All of this is what we deeply desire in our relationships, especially in consideration that seldom are we able to fully reciprocate in kind; yet, somehow, this friend, does not devalue our friendship for our faults and errors, but values us all the same.  A friend and a relationship such as that, is invaluable, and obviously quite difficult to find and to have; yet, all of us, without exception, are innately born with that friendship, available to us, if only we would avail ourselves of it.

 

While we should value our friendships and our relationships with our fellow sojourners here on earth, it has to be recognized, that the most important friendship and the most important relationship that we can ever make is with our Maker, and none else.  For it is only with our Creator, that every aspect of a great and lasting relationship, without end, can be achieved; for God alone, is the epitome of perfection, and God alone, has every positive characteristic that we deeply desire to be united with.  

 

Therefore, take the time and have the resolve to find that which will end all searches, as well as that which will end all sorrows, for until we re-unite with God, wholly, we will not find the lasting peace and perfection that we have always longed and yearned for.

Too early to be colorblind by kevin murray

There are plenty of people, that pride themselves on being colorblind and hence of being totally fair and nondiscriminatory with others, and therefore concluding that they are, in fact, good and fair-minded people.  The problem with that type of thought process is never about remembering and living to Dr. Martin Luther King's belief and dream that we will have a country "…where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."  But, rather the issue is that we must and need to acknowledge that not only are we individuals with different characteristics as well as different backgrounds, but our differences, and especially our relevant historical differences, are absolutely germane to the reality of this country, as it is, and therefore our eyes need to be wide open.

 

That is to say, being colorblind, especially when that colorblindness comes forth from the historically favored race of America, as well as all those that are privileged to the extent, that they need not concern themselves with seeing color, or creed, or much of anything, is that all of this is rather self-serving; even when such a belief is held entirely sincerely.  What really matters is that all those that are truly concerned about their brother's welfare, must see color, as well as seeing all those other relevant things and attributes that are applicable about their brothers and sisters. 

 

The color of a person's skin matters, as does their religion, as does their background, as does their neighborhood, as does so many other different things and attributes, because these things are not only relevant from a historical basis, as in, some people were enslaved because of the color of their skin, but because each of these things are still quite relevant today.  This thus means that this country and its institutions have an absolute obligation to ameliorate and to correct the conditions that have left those that were formerly enslaved in this country and are still discriminated against, as well as so many others that have been unfairly oppressed, because it is the right and the correct thing to do.

 

Therefore, to be colorblind in a society in which those that have been historically oppressed and are today, still oppressed in so many ways, is a blatant "cop out" of what this society owes to those very people.  The whole point of acts such as the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, as well as Affirmative Action laws is the recognition by this national government, that is has historically been unfair to so many of its people, and further that this national government has not lived up to its Declaration of Independence, nor to its Constitutional law, and therefore has a dedicated obligation to do so, and thereby to make a meaningful positive impact for those that have been and are now still being oppressed.

 

Those that do not wish to keep score of society's winners and society's losers are the very same people that most desire to be colorblind.  In America, statistics upon statistics are recorded in every conceivable category of meaning, and when such a time as those statistics show clearly and unequivocally that all peoples in this great nation are being provided with fair opportunity; proven by the fact that color, creed, sex, or inborn status, no longer are the prevailing determinates of success, then it can be said that this country has succeeded to its principles. And only then it can be said, that America truly is colorblind, for now the people see clearly, for formerly having been blind.

Reasonable searches in the era of the police body camera by kevin murray

Although it is true that not every police officer has a body camera, more and more police officers do, of which, having a body camera works for the protection and integrity of all parties involved in regards to interactions with those police officers.  Because police officers have a lot of authority to stop and frisk individuals in public places, as well as to stop individuals while driving on public roads, or to investigate people, even at their place of residency; it is of great concern  that police officers when it comes to probable cause, or a reasonable suspicion, or exigent circumstances, that those same officers should first be required by law to indicate why they are about to do what they are about to do as disclosed to that body camera, as opposed to fulfilling such requirements, after the fact.

 

That is to say, body cameras, allow police officers to demonstrate and to record in action their specific intent, when pulling somebody over for a traffic violation, for instance, or when stopping a citizen in the public streets for a search, or when requesting entry into a given residence of a citizen, and so on and so forth.    So that, with a body camera, it is quite clear to begin with, for what reason or reasons, the given citizen has been pulled over, or stopped, or questioned, and that subject to that specific reason or reasons, the police officer should, per the 4th Amendment of our Constitution, be limited to searching or conducting questions that only are relevant to the pertinent issue(s) at hand, and therefore, nothing beyond such.  So that, the effect, is that with a body camera, police officers would no longer be able to conduct their own "fishing expeditions" when it comes to suspects, and thereupon no longer be able to fill our police reports in such a manner that the alleged original suspicions of the officer, just happens to coordinate well with the evidence so acquired.

 

Further to the point, since all of these interactions between police officers and suspects is done upon probable cause or the suspicion of specific criminal activity, with the possible exception of truly exigent circumstances, a report card of each police officer shall be duly recorded, in which a reasonable score for a given police officer working from their experience as an officer of the law, of being in good conformance with the meaning of probable cause, would be a hit rate at a minimum of seventy-five percent of the time.  In other words, a given police officer, suspecting criminal activity, would first air their suspicions to the body camera, and so when in aggregate they are correct seventy-five percent of the time or greater in their specific criminal suspicions, this would be considered to be performing their job in a correct and competent manner.  All those, on the other hand, scoring at less than seventy-five percent, would be considered to be conducting their searches in an arbitrary and unfair manner, of which, those given percentages would be absolutely relevant for all alleged suspects that are arrested from such and therefore subject to thereupon having that evidence suppressed or invalidated, by a court of law.

 

After all, most police officers are quite fond of stating that they are well experienced in recognizing the aura of criminal activity and therefore knowing probable cause; now, however, the truth of such will be borne out by the correlation of police suspicions as recorded by their body cameras matched up against those probable causes, thoroughly reviewed.

The true meaning of our Civil War by kevin murray

The union of the thirteen colonies was declared through its unanimous Declaration of Independence in 1776.  That Declaration of Independence stated these immortal words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.…"  At the time that those words were written in conjunction with the sacred honor of those so signing this Declaration, slavery was a legal institution throughout America.  Yet, those in slavery were quite obviously denied their unalienable rights, of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Additionally, legitimate governments are instituted amongst mankind, deriving their just powers form the consent of those so governed; of which, any part of the people that are precluded from providing their voluntary consent to that government, and further are precluded from enjoying the fair fruits of their labor, and are precluded from the power of the vote, and of legitimate protest, as well as being precluded from all the reasonable means of self-sufficiency, have unfairly had wrested away from them, their freedom and their liberty.

 

This great Civil War fought between those that setup a counterfeit government, built upon the corrupt foundation, that some men had the inborn right to enslave some other men, was opposed by that national government, that recognized the self-evident truth that all men are created equal, and that therefore that government, of the people, by the people, and for the people had a hallowed obligation to defend, to uphold, and to propagate that very proposition for all the citizens of this nation, in order for that nation, to become the beacon of liberty, freedom, and fair opportunity for all.

 

The very purpose of the United States being and becoming the United States, was to see that each of the tenets of that Declaration of Independence, which was the raison d'être for that righteousness revolution became fulfilled in that government so created, by the consent and by the will of those so governed.  This country, which speaks so often of being a country blessed by God, needed that Civil War, in order to demonstrate in living principle that the United States of America, was a nation indeed, united under God, with the spiritual principles that God so represents, of justice, liberty, and fairness for all and unfairness, injustice, and enslavement for none.

 

Further to the most important point, there is little to be commended for the Northern side to have won the war, on behalf of all the peoples of this great nation, if in effect, this country does not live up to its Declaration of Independence.  That is to say, the devotion of all those that gave their last dying breath to that Union of States, as well as to all those that were integral parts of the bravery and resolve of the cause to re-unite the States, must therefore, in order for their blood and their ideals to not have been borne in vain, see that this United States becomes that beacon of light of what it was founded upon; which is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, brought forth to all peoples -- rightly seen as equally available,  in order to form a more perfect union of those people, for the betterment of those people, by those people, and for the world, at large.

Once you have it, you never willingly give it back by kevin murray

America, prides itself on being a country that purports to demonstrate in principle, how beneficial that its capitalistic system is, and further what an egalitarian society that we live in; as opposed to those other nations, in which those that are born into money, have it, generation after generation; and/or that those that are born into power, have that, generation after generation.

 

In point of fact, America today is clearly a country of the very rich, by the very rich, and for the very rich, and the situation is getting worse, year by year.  In fact, as reported by Bloomberg.com, "…the top 0.1% of taxpayers—about 170,000 families in a country of 330 million people—control 20% of American wealth."  This fact doesn't not necessarily signify the corruption of our capitalistic system, but it sure the heck seems to indicate that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that capitalism and our tax system are exercised in this country; for somehow, the concentration of that wealth at the very top, keeps getting concentrated more and more, year by year, all at the expense of the good people of this great nation, as a whole.

 

In point of fact, the very basis of wealth concentration in America comes down to firstly being able to obtain or to earn or to inherit the money, and the second part of the equation is being able to hold onto that wealth, generation after generation, which means never having to suffer the ill effects of confiscatory taxation or similar of that wealth. 

 

What most citizens of this country seemingly fail to recognize, is that wealth concentration is always a two-step process, of which the first is the obtainment of that money, and the second is the retention of that money as well as typically the continual growth of that money, for money makes money, literally; for the growth of lots of money once obtained, often comes down to the investing of it, and has little or nothing to do with the laboring for it.

 

The bottom line is that those that are wealthy, are in many cases, obsessed with maintaining that wealth that has been established, so that, in acknowledgement that money and especially lots of money has influence, are well prone to utilize that money to buy tax favoritism, political favoritism, business favoritism, and just about any favoritism that can be bought.  All of this is done for the expressed purpose to not give up and to not give ground of the fortunes so created, which is why the most valuable estates are able to circumvent onerous taxation, and which is why foundations are created so that laws can therefore be enacted specifically to favor powerful interests in which those interests that are the true beneficiaries of such are often well hidden through those foundations.

 

Those that are super wealthy, are more than willing to spend some of their wealth, in order to maintain and to keep such wealth, and do so time and time again; which is why America, despite its founding principles from its inception, being anathema to dynastic wealth, is now a country that protects and augments dynastic wealth, to the destruction of its middle class, and the continual suppression of its embarrassingly large lower class.

 

The superrich will not give up what it already has, which is that wealth, and when the government of this great nation accedes and actively augments the superrich's wealth and their ability to keep it, generation after generation, then the superrich will just keep seizing a bigger and bigger piece of the wealth of America for themselves.