The danger of excessive global debt by kevin murray

According to Institute of International Finance, iif.com, "The global debt-to-GDP ratio exceeded 318 percent in the third quarter of last year (2018)." This debt is made up of governmental debt, non-financial corporate debt, household debt, and financial sector debt, of which, the debt-to-GDP ratio at 318 percent is only slightly below the previous record of 320 percent as recorded in the third quarter of 2016. 

 

The most basic thing to recognize about debt is that debt is created by those borrowing money; of which, that money so borrowed plus the interest associated with that loan as well as any assorted penalties are due to the loaner of that money, all of which, must ultimately be paid back.  At least, that is the general theory of debt and the payback of debt, but in many respects, there are probably trillions of dollars of debt, that will for all intents and purposes, never be paid back.  Further, there are trillions of dollars of debt, that will continued to be rescheduled, reconfigured, and rearranged, till time itself ends, because the debtor functionally cannot really pay back the debt, and the originator of that loan, functionally cannot afford to recognize that debt as being lost.

 

So too, for all those that contemplate if and when, interest rates will normalize to the rates that the cost of loaning money has historically been pegged at in the modern era, are certainly beginning to recognize that those interest rates will probably not normalize anytime soon, because those that are indebted can't even pay back their loans at these historic low interest rates, because they cannot in aggregate realistically service those loans.

 

Additionally, the fact that companies that borrow money, have to pay that money back and service that debt, or at least service as much of that debt as they can in order to appear current, signifies that some portion of the monies that might have been allocated for equipment, infrastructure, or labor has to instead be utilized to pay back the loaner of that money.  This would indicate that the more debt that is taken on in total, the slower pace the global GDP growth will be, not only because the accumulated debt has to be paid back in some scheduled way, but because the sheer size of the debt so generated is dwarfing the amount of GDP created from all that money so loaned.

 

The global financial system is able to maintain its stability, not so much because it is stable, but rather because any meaningful instability of the current global financial system, could and probably would result in a global financial catastrophe.  Yet, there does not appear to be any viable solution to the phenomenal debt overhang that poses as something akin to the sword of Damocles, even though all of the major players are cognizant that something constructive needs to be done.  For the time being, the players keep playing, and the dancers keep dancing, but there is going to come a time when the music will stop and the chairs will be short, of which, there will still be some winners, but there will also be a whole lot of losers, and for a certainty there will be plenty of blood on the global streets.

Satan and deception by kevin murray

All things being equal, Satan, also known as the adversary or the great enemy of goodness, is delighted in all those that do not believe in God, or believe in a God that has flaws, faults, and limits, or believe in a God which fundamentally fails to recognize God as being omniscience, omnipotence and forever, eternal.  Basically, the more unbelief in God and the more unbelief in the goodness of God held by mankind, the more delighted that Satan is.  So too, Satan does not want human minds to be conflicted as to what they really are, which are souls created by God, but rather wants them to see themselves instead as being limited to just this material experience, and ideally without knowledge or belief that they have a spirit or soul, and therefore to believe that this material life is therefore their only existence.

 

In point of fact, Satan knows all about God, recognizes the unconquerable power of God, but knows very well that God is patient, loving, and kind, in which, even misguided souls such as Satan have their place; for without darkness to contrast with Light, or evil to contend with good, then the drama that tests and challenges mankind on earth, would basically have no real substance.  After all, no test can really be conducted against the character of a given individual, unless there are real choices and real consequences of that test, so Satan plays the part of representing that there are indeed other options other than just surrendering oneself to God.

 

Yet, it is important to note that the battles here on earth most definitely have consequences, of which, those consequences are ultimately paid by those individuals that fail their tests, for each individual is ultimately responsible for their own volition so exercised.  This means, for everybody here on earth, that those that are ignorant of the truth, suffer for it; and those that deliberately walk away from truth, also suffer for it; whereas all those that know the truth but deliberately misled others, suffer most of all, for themselves as well as for having done their neighbor wrong.

 

In all of this deception, Satan delights, for Satan holds absolutely not a whit of power in Truth, for Truth is the ultimate power, which is, unconquerable.  This means, that Satan must operate in the shadows, in the doubts, in the character flaws and mistakes, that humans are so prone to make, and by working on those human foibles, Satan can have loads of fun at the expense of those so tricked or fooled.  Of even more satisfaction to Satan, though, are all those that after receiving a little taste of doing wrong, or doing evil, or lying, or deception, become enraptured by it, and therefore on their own, with nary any prodding by Satan, perform acts on an even bolder scale, of disruption, hate, and intolerance, making for a more miserable life for so many.

 

Satan wants as many as possible to forget that they are actually souls created by God, seeing themselves instead as just material beings, subject to material laws, of ill health, lack, finiteness, and death; knowing that those that live lives without good purpose and meaning, are functionally lost, and susceptible to all sorts of wicked enticements which amuses Satan to no end, at the expense of all those, that have been deceived by that great deceiver. 

To flee or not by kevin murray

Before there were modern weapons, or various other weapons of war which allowed a person to target and to therefore harm or to even kill a moving target from a distance, then running away and fleeing from a situation in which one's position was no longer considered to be tenable, was a reasonable thing to act upon.  For basically, to outrun an opponent, or to flee from a negative or a dangerous situation, or maneuver through fields or forests in a manner that someone else would have a very difficult time in tracking an individual, was a viable as well as a sensible way to live to fight another day.

 

So too, fleeing had its place also as a way to get back to the home base and to thereby inform the community or the troops, that there was danger on its way, and therefore to allow that community or soldiers to better prepare and to better defend against such an intrusion.  All of this makes sense, and certainly in warfare it was common for reconnaissance to be practiced as well as intelligence gathering to be conducted so as to best prepare strategies and to have foreknowledge, in which those doing such reconnaissance, did so, recognizing that the objective was never to engage with the enemy, but to collect information and then essentially flee back to safe territory.

 

In today's world, each side has a multitude of weapons that have the ability to kill or to harm others from a distance.  Additionally, in many combat situations, ultimately one side overcomes the other, and when the side that is being vanquished, recognizes such, then a decision must be reached by those combatants as to what is the best avenue for them to take, of which, within those choices, one can retreat, or flee, either in a planned maneuver or chaotically. 

 

It may come as a surprise to some, but when one side is no longer fighting, or is sporadically returning fire, the other side, cognizant that the danger to them has been reduced considerably will in most cases, increase their fire power and will chase down their opponents, not so much because they have a blood-thirst to do so, though, they might; but rather, because like a bully that knows that their opponent has not the means or the size to fight effectively back, these soldiers recognize that when they are no longer in mortal danger, that to follow their orders from their commanding officer to engage the enemy is now a lot easier to adhere to.

 

In point of fact, those that turn their back and flee, are inviting targets for any soldier or anybody in policing authority, to shoot at, because when the rules of engagement have already been clearly set, then fulfilling them when the situation so fully favors the pursuer over the pursued, is something that the pursuer is going to do; because at the end of the day, almost all soldiers and policing authorities are an integral part of a chain of command, and when that command allows them to shoot to kill, often both their accuracy and shots so fired are far more active when they face little or no endangerment to themselves.

"Condemn the fault and not the actor of it?" by kevin murray

From Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, Angelo responds: Condemn the fault and not the actor of it? Of which, the meaning of this is that it doesn't make any logical or legal sense to Angelo, that a fault be condemned without also the actor of the fault suffering the appropriate legal punishment for having committed such.  So then, his argument is that faults or crimes, have actors of those things, and it is those actors that must suffer the consequences of their bad actions.

 

This seems to be a reasonable position to take and in fact jurisprudence throughout much of the world, punishes those that commit crimes, based on the crime so committed, of which, the perpetrators that enacted those crimes are the ones that suffer for having committed crimes.  Yet, centuries of crime and punishment, has not eliminated crime, and progressive countries such as the United States, which helped to introduce to the world the modern penitentiary system, must surely realize that penitentiaries have been a near complete failure, especially in consideration that such was created under the aegis that those convicted of crimes, would be incarcerated and through those controlled circumstances of being away from the vice and temptations of the world, would subsequently develop a good conscience and take to heart moral lessons of merit, to reform those that had erred.  That, for the most part, has not occurred.

 

In point of fact, those crimes worthy of condemnation, have actors that apparently cannot escape the personal condemnation of having committed those crimes, of which those actors, in many instances, are condemned not just for a period of time, or for the period of their incarceration, but rather, for all intents and purposes, condemned forever, by virtue of the fact that their opportunities, circumstances, and quality of life, is forever negatively tainted.

 

This would so indicate that for real comprehensive change to occur that the fault that each given individual commits should more often be looked at in a manner that separates the bad deeds, from the actor of those deeds.  For instance, there is not a single person that is without fault, yet, some suffer greatly for their faults, whereas others are forgiven of their faults.  This, in itself, is hardly fair, and especially unfair is when similar faults are treated in radically different ways, depending upon the influence of a given individual, the power of a given individual, the legal representative of a given individual, the policing arm of the state in its interaction with a given individual, and the law as interpreted by a judge in regards to a given individual.

 

That is to say, some faults are not condemned at all, depending upon the actor of it, whereas other faults are condemned for a certainty, because of the actor of it.  This would surely indicate that when the jurisprudence of a country determines whether a crime has been committed not by looking at the crime, itself, but rather by making a determination solely based on the actor of it, then it has missed the forest for the trees.    So that, fair to say, the resources of a nation should be spent more on alleviating the conditions, mindset, and ignorance that leads to crime, as opposed to dealing with such in an uneven manner, after the fault has already been committed.

Your health and your faith by kevin murray

Most everyone at one time or another, have suffered from some illness to the degree, that the person so suffering have felt not only that weakness and vulnerability deep inside of them, but also have often felt discouraged and even forsaken by that sickness, and only will feel themselves again, when they are back in good health.  This so indicates that good health is very important for virtually everyone, and why so many will try all sorts of things, and seek out all sorts of people, even those that are not medically trained to receive the healing to their physical body that they so desperately desire.

 

The one thing that so many people seem especially reluctant to try, though, is to actually go directly to the Great Healer, which is our God, of which that reluctance probably stems from those people lacking the appropriate faith and apparent recognition that they are truly children of God.  That is to say, for those that are believers in God, they must implicitly recognize that God does not subdivide people into lesser and greater children, but sees all of His children as being equally worthy of His love and therefore all that God has, is theirs, for the asking. 

 

Of course, this does not mean that western medicine does not have its place, for it surely does; and to ignore or to walk away from prudent medicinal actions, because one believes that God solves, cures, and saves all, is almost always a monumental mistake, especially for all those of great ego that pretend that such is faith, whereas such bluster masks as faith, but is not.

 

What is important to note, is that those that have the faith to believe that a gifted healer can heal them, should recognize that such a gifted healer could only have such legitimate power unless such came from a power above them that they draw upon, which is God.  So then, it behooves those that are faithful, to believe that they are quite capable themselves of being healed, if they are able to overcome their unbelief to believe that nothing is impossible for those that have the faith that moves mountains, and thereupon call onto the Greatest Resource of them all. 

 

The problem though, for many, is impatience, so that those people, will often rail against God or whoever comes to mind, when they are not healed, instantly; or they do not receive this, or they do not receive that, as if God is the problem, whereas, God is always the solution to any problem.  The fault lies not in God, but in our own self, as well as often a misunderstanding of the circumstances that seem to hinder our selves, or the misreading of the perceptions that come into our mind. 

 

When it comes to our body, we are the master of it, for the body does not have its own mind; instead there is one mind that controls both body and soul.   Therefore, let us see our physical body as being under our command at all times, and never forget that salient fact, for our body owes absolute obedience to us and none else, and those that faithfully believe this, are the masters of their health.

Whatever happened to the yellow pages? by kevin murray

Those that are of the youngest generation, probably have never heard of the yellow pages, and those of the oldest generation, may conceivably even still use the yellow pages, whereas those of middle age, are well familiar with the yellow pages, but haven't used such in years, and even may still have a copy of the yellow pages somewhere around their home.

 

First, the yellow pages, for the uninitiated, is a written physical phone directory, concentrating on businesses, and broken down into various categories, so that for those, that wanted to find an electrician or a plumber or a house cleaner, the yellow pages, would have listings for not only all those types of businesses, but some of those businesses, would actually have taken out advertisements within the yellow pages to help make their particular business stand out.  This directory was back in the day, provided free of charge to all homes and periodically updated every year, with the calendar year, prominently displayed on the front of the directory, to encourage its customers to put away the old directory, and start using the most current one.

 

It may be a surprise to some people, that the yellow pages, has not gone completely out of business, although its business model has changed, in which the physical directory has been essentially replaced with an online directory, available through the website yp.com.  How widely used this website is, and how valuable this website is as compared to sites such as angieslist.com, or homeadvisor.com, or simply typing in what a given person is looking for into the Google search engine is uncertain, but the yellow pages exists online with its own website.

 

The yellow pages could not have ever existed as a going concern without the advertising revenue that it received from those businesses that took out ads within the yellow pages, or posted within the yellow pages, of which, those monies previously earmarked for advertising are now typically spent on sites such as groupon.com, or utilized via community websites in neighborhoods of interest, or spent on Google AdWords, or even billboards, or Facebook, as well as any other means that businesses feel will be effective in getting their name known to those that they are selling their services to.

 

The previous advantage of one-stop shopping which the yellow pages offered, has been replaced with the need to utilize the internet in a way in which those businesses are able to effectively reach their customer base so as to have the opportunity to do business with those prospective customers, of which, new tricks of the trade are necessary, as compared to the old tricks previously used on the yellow pages in which many a business, put in front of their name, for example, aaaplumber, so as to be the first in the alphabetical list of plumbers that a given person would see when looking for a plumber, in the recognition, that being at the top of any list, is almost always an advantage.

 

It must be said, that the format of the yellow pages, actually translates well online, but the issue that the yellow pages has online is obviously becoming that go-to choice of patrons that would utilize their directory, as well as having businesses deciding to sign up and pay to be on the online yellow pages, for without enough eyeballs and businesses doing so, then today's yellow pages, for all intents and purposes, is irrelevant.

Stop-and-frisk and the Constitution by kevin murray

The fourth Amendment to the Constitution does an effective job of preventing this country from turning into a literal police state, by virtue of the fact that the people have the right to be secure in their own persons.  One might think, that the right to be secure in their own person would also apply within the public arena, but when the policing arm of the state are allowed to stop-and-frisk people at will, then the people are most definitely not secure in their person.

 

The famous Supreme Court decision in regards to Terry v. Ohio, was decided in 1968, of which the case involved whether or not a police officer was entitled to make a determination based upon their experience as to whether a given situation warranted the police officer's discretion to stop and search citizens, simply based on the fact that those citizens looked suspicious to the police officer.  The Supreme Court decision, decided that indeed, police officers were allowed to do just that,  and therefore it so follows, that stop-and-frisk, is judicially considered legal, just as long as such stopping and frisking is not done via simplistic racial profiling or used as a policing tool of harassment.

 

Of course, the thing about the law, and the interpretations of the law, is that certain laws in many respects are not fixed, and that such laws may, in fact, evolve over time, for better or for worse.  When any government, makes it a point, that the policing arm of that state can stop-and-frisk citizens, at will, then the people as a whole, have lost something of significance, to get, at best, in theory, a safer society.  Of course, there are many people that will sacrifice certain freedoms for safety, as well as there being certain privileged people that will theoretically sacrifice some of their precious freedoms, for safety, when in actuality those privileged people know for a certainty, that they and their kind will never suffer the indignity of actually sacrificing much of anything.  So then, what has really occurred in principle is that there are laws that are deliberately made and applied specifically against the disenfranchised, but only accidently applied against the franchised.

 

When the sovereignty of a given individual, depends upon whether they were born into favorable circumstances, or of a favored class, or are well positioned in society, whereas all others, must deal with laws that make them subject to the indignity as well as to the danger of being stopped-and-frisked at the will of the authorities then you clearly do not have a law that is equally applied to all but you have instead a law that is used as an excuse for the state to always have the upper hand and to be able to perpetually have their boot upon the people's neck.

 

In point of fact, the very structure of stop-and-frisk in its inception and implementation, is prejudicial against those that do not have the resources or the wherewithal to travel the public streets, other than typically by walking, and the authorities know that the structure of America is a structure that allows it impunity to treat those that appear to be of a non-protected class in a manner in which, those that do not demonstrate appropriate respect and appropriate deference  to the policing arm of the state, will place themselves into the position of being, at best, inconvenienced, and at worse, subject to maltreatment and/or incarceration, if their obedience to those state authorities is not promptly demonstrated in action.

Not even one, left behind by kevin murray

No western nation incarcerates more individuals than the United States of America, and as reported by marketplace.org, according to the: "Vera Institute of Justice, incarceration costs an average of more than $31,000 per inmate, per year, nationwide."  Additionally, since this is the United States of America, our prisoners have rights, of which amongst these rights are those rights as contained within our Constitution, which means that prisoners shall not be inflicted with "cruel and unusual punishments," as well as having the right to petition the courts for redress of grievances.  In short, prisoners have a safe place to rest their heads, are fed and clothed, while often having entertainment and physical exercise facilities, as well as receiving free medical attention, of which, the only rights that prisoners consistently sacrifice are their right to privacy, their obligation to obedience, as well as the salient fact that they are imprisoned. 

 

All of this is what America does for its prisoners.  On the other hand, as reported by voanews.com, "A report by the U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights finds 40 million people in the United States live in poverty, 18.5 million live in extreme poverty and more than 5 million live in conditions of absolute poverty."  While pundits disagree vociferously on the definition of poverty, extreme poverty, and absolute poverty, as well as therefore the numbers of those falling into those categories, there isn't any doubt that there are a substantial number of Americans that are living in conditions of extreme poverty, of substandard housing, of substandard schools, of substandard food, and of substandard healthcare, in this, the richest and mightiest nation that the world has ever known.

 

The fact that America apparently cares more about treating its prisoners humanely than those that are non-lawbreaking citizens, who suffer the ill and debilitating effects of extreme poverty is a disgrace to this great nation, for those that are born into extreme poverty and then are not given the chance to attend quality schools, and to be housed and fed in a humane and decent manner are having precluded to them, by virtue of that poverty, the fair opportunity to make something good of themselves in this society.

 

If, somehow this country has $31,000 per inmate to spend upon those inmates and the infrastructure of imprisoning inmates, then it surely has the resources to spend an equal amount of money, if not more, on each and every citizen of this country to have the very things that those that run this government, have in abundance and overabundance.  The fact that the safety net of America is a mirage, is a disgrace to this nation, and needs to be dealt with, forthrightly.  In 1964, President Johnson, gave the seminal speech of his life, in which as part of that speech, he said, "Our aim is not only to relieve the symptom of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it."  Those that heard that speech and believed in that speech, most have been bitterly disappointed, for over fifty years later, the symptom, cure, and prevention of poverty has not yet happened, and poverty appears no closer to being eradicated in today's America then it was back in 1964.

 

Too often, America treats those that are impoverished and in poverty as if poverty is a crime, with the exception being that criminals that have actually harmed people and have stolen goods are fundamentally treated better, than those whose only crime is to be born poor or to live in circumstances in which they are poor.  There are many ways to judge a given country, and certainly one of the best ways is how that country deals with those that were born into nothing and have nothing, but could become something.  Take the trouble and the time to see the hidden and impoverished America and its poorest citizens, and recognize that they have deliberately been left behind, because those that run this nation see them not as people deserving of respect and human rights but rather as trash, to be casually discarded and forgotten about, as if they never existed.

Nobody listens to me by kevin murray

Good communication is a vital part of any successful personal relationship, as well as being of immense value in business dealings.  Yet, many people complain each and every day, that the other party is not listening well to what they are saying, or not really paying attention to what they are saying, or simply don't seem to be listening at all.

 

One of the main problems with listening is the impatience displayed by the other party, in their rush to say, whatever that it is that they really want to say, without taking fully into account what the other person has said.  So too, many people go through the motions of listening to the other person, but in reality, only feed back to them trite phrases, so that they can impart what they feel to be of much more importance.

 

Additionally, there is a tendency during any sort of communication, for one party, or even both parties, to believe fully that what they have to say trumps whatever the other person has to say, because that person feels that they are smarter, more knowledgeable, or more important, so that, it would behoove the other party to just be quiet for a little bit, and for them to listen to the other person, so that they could learn.

 

The main reason that so many people believe that they are not being listening to, is actually because, more times than not, the other person is not actually listening to them, but rather just waiting for a pause in the words or a lull in the action so that they can say their part.  Another reason why so many people are convinced that they are not being listened to is that the other person has not reacted in a manner that would indicate that they have actually heard and comprehended what has been said.

 

One way to get around all of this non-listening is for the person that is supposed to be listening, to actually sum up, what the other person has said, before they go on to say their own part, and then for the person that has been talking, to confirm that this summation is accurate.  At least, by doing that, there is a general agreement that the other party has listened.  It is, though, one thing to listen to another person and actually understand what they are saying, and quite another thing to listen and then do what the other person desires that the listener should do, because the former involves just listening, whereas the later involves a commitment by the listener on behalf of the one that has been speaking, of which, the listener should carefully consider whether doing whatever it is, that they actually are in adherence with it.

 

That is to say, for those that say that nobody listens to them, because those that hear them talk, do not ultimately do anything different, after that talk, does not necessarily mean that they have not listened, but probably means, instead, that they do not wish to be obedient or in conformance to what the talker desires to be done, because they do not agree with it; but to confirm that this is so, the listener should acknowledge that they have heard what has been spoken and then indicate why they are not in agreement with it.  That way, rather than that speaker saying nobody listens to them a more appropriate response would be that nobody obeys them, as these things are quite diametrically different. 

 

So then, if you really want people to listen to what you are saying, pay more attention to what other people are saying, and acknowledge such so that it is clear in their mind that you have heard what they have spoken; and then when you speak, request that they show you the same consideration that you have previously shown them.

Low, low interest rates are not an unmitigated good by kevin murray

Ever since the financial crisis, the United States has tried to normalize its interest rates, of which, the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates significantly below the previous rates implemented over the last two generations; so that, since 2008 at the height of the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve dropped its interest rates to unprecedented historic lows, and it was not until December of 2015, in which it slowly began increasing rates, but as of March 2019, the Federal Reserve has effectively stopped raising interest rates in which the Federal Reserve has stated publically that it intends to keep the Federal funds rate at the current 2-1/2 percent, in the absence of any untoward economic and inflation factors that would necessitate movement of that Federal funds rate in either direction.

 

For all those that borrow money, the fact that the cost of borrowing money is so low, is quite beneficial, for as they say, a dollar saved, is the same as a dollar earned.  On the other hand, for those that are savers of money, and hence have historically received interest bearing payments through money market funds, certificates of deposit, and in general, the loaning out of money, this last decade has precluded those people and institutions from earning any real return on their money, and subsequently has meant that those people and institutions in order to make money from their monetary assets have had to look at other instruments of investment, in which, those instruments are almost always going to involve significantly more risk.

 

Additionally, for institutions, the cost of money, is a significant factor in the taking on of additional debt, so that, companies that are even of the highest credit rating, are tempted when interest rates are incredibly low, to borrow money, not so much because they need it for the expansion of their business, but rather because many of these corporations, in order to get around corporate federal tax codes, find it beneficial to do so.  Additionally, companies borrow money at exceedingly low rates in order to leverage up and to buy other corporations, or for dividend payments, and so forth.

 

The problem though for today's banks that issue out loans is that because the amount of interest that they are receiving on those loans are historically much cheaper than in previous generations, those banks in order to maintain or to increase their profits, must make up for the lack of "spread"  and yield on those loans with volume, instead.  Unfortunately, though, at the end of the day, there are only so many truly credit worthy corporations out there and then there is a steady drop off in quality of loan worthiness.  The end result of having all of these historically low interest rates, is that, the balance sheets in aggregate of these corporations, because of their borrowing, have increased substantially, and if and when, those balances sheets in aggregate, are not able to keep those loans current or to pay back those loans at all, then another sort of financial crisis will occur, from the accumulation of essentially bad loans that will never be paid back.

 

So then, with artificially low interest rates, we find that rather than the money being borrowed in which the economy as a whole benefits, instead, the economy benefits somewhat, but far too much of that money is misallocated, into overleveraged balance sheets, in which, the stability of the financial system rests upon a foundation of low interest rates, forever; and should the day come when interest rates are truly normalized, those that are indebted, will not be able to service that debt, leading to another financial crisis of epic proportions.

Undeclared War by kevin murray

The Constitution grants the power to Congress to declare war in which the last time that such a declaration of war was granted by Congress was in 1942, in which, the Senate unanimously approved a declaration of war against Rumania.  Since, that time, no war declaration has been issued from Congress, yet America has been involved in wars that have cost the lives of thousands upon thousands of soldiers as well as civilians, in Korea, in Vietnam, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and so on, ad infinitum.

 

It would be a mistake, though, to believe that it only has been since 1942, that the imperial Presidency has ignored Congress in its wartime activities, incursions, invasions, and engagements, for almost since the inception of the United States, this nation has been involved in undeclared wars against countries such as France, in 1798-1802, Colombia/Panama in 1903, and the Philippines in 1899-1913.

 

All of this basically signifies that America is an imperial power, so then, logically it so follows that it is not truly a representative government, because it does not consult upon some of its most vital decisions with those that represent the people, but rather that this imperial power behaves in the same sort of manner as governments that are essentially autocratic in format, and/or are enthralled to the military-industrial-technology complex of those respective countries.

 

Whether or not, America should have undeclared wars in the sense of  responding to an international urgency, crisis, or justification, is debatable on a case by case basis, but what really isn't debatable is the apparent power that the Presidency has to simply declare war upon whomever that Presidency wants to declare war against, without consulting with the constituency of this country, so that, in fit, form, and function this is neither a democracy or a republic, and it most certainly is not a country of the people, for the people, and by the people, but rather the people do not have an effective voice on matters that are of the utmost concern.

 

When any government in its actual functioning, circumvents its own Constitution, through Executive Orders, and twists and turns clear definitions of what war is or is not, so as to make it appear that the President has the right to engage in what is for all practical purposes actually war with other countries, incursions of all sorts, and the search and destruction for terrorists all over the globe, then such a government as that, is a government unto itself, and further those representatives that make up the legislative branch of that government have a voice that is effectively silenced or is irrelevant for all those that do not support these undeclared war efforts.

 

What is good for the military-industrial-technology complex is often not going to be good for this country, for wars are the type of thing, that have real consequences, of which, many of those consequences are not for the betterment of mankind, but rather serve to be something akin to "blood for oil," or "blood for strategic locations," as well as "blood for profit."What makes America great is not killing foreign people or the collateral damage of all those civilians killed, injured, and turned into unwanted refuges throughout the world; but rather what makes America great is being that beacon of freedom and liberty, as well as providing a fair shot at the pursuit of happiness, especially for all those that are the wretched refuse of life, yearning for something transcendent and priceless in its value

Re-thinking home and away in league ties by kevin murray

In European football, also known in the States as European soccer, there are numerous tournaments, in which the biggest tournament is the Champions League, and just below that is the Europa League tournament.   As might be imagined, there are all sorts of rules and regulations regarding the seeding of those teams, in addition to all sorts of contingencies addressed.  In the group stage, as well as the round of sixteen, quarter finals, and semi-finals, each of these fixtures features a pair of games being played home and away.  Additionally, each of these respective tournaments also has regulations in regards to the structure of those home and away games, in which, for instance, in the round of sixteen, the higher seeded team, which is the winner of their respective group, plays the first game of their leg of the tie on the road, and then the second game of the leg of the tie at home.  The feeling of those that structured this system, is that the higher seeded team would typically want to play the second leg at home, of which, by doing so, they would have the advantage of being in front of their home fans, and hence, even if entering into the second leg of the tie, having lost the first game on the road, for instance, they would have the wherewithal and support to overcome such a deficit at home.

 

While most pundits and managers believe that this is exactly the way it should be, it would seem that to add a little extra drama, as well as gamesmanship to the whole tournament format, would entail that whenever there is a situation in which the rule makers have developed a regulation in which their intent is to favor the group winner, or the higher seed, and  so forth, they should also write into those rule books an opportunity for that team to have the option, if so desired, to reverse the fixture, so that rather than playing the first leg on the road, they could instead opt to play the first leg at home.  While one might wonder, why any team would do this, the bottom line is that the manager of that team, should know or have a strong belief as to whether playing at home first, would be a material advantage in getting the positive result, so desired, and some teams may well determine that to "put the sword" to their opponent in the first leg, so as to basically make the return leg a non-event might well be an appealing option to them.

 

A rule such as this, would be fairly easy to implement, and further, in order to be fair to all parties, basically the winner of the group stage, or the higher seed, as the case may be, would be permitted the option of flipping the fixture order, of which, this option would have to be exercised within 48 hours of the announcement of the tournament fixture pairings.  This would therefore give the winner of the group stage, or higher seed, enough time to make a determination as to whether they favor such a change or not.  In any event, pundits, sports writers, and sports shows, really don't have enough material to commentate upon without repeating themselves ad nauseam, so that, in general, by adding this little twist, this would add some additional air time and speculation to the discussion of upcoming fixtures and strategy, and provide a wealth of opportunity for second guessing, all of which, would be good for the game.

The Facebook deception by kevin murray

Although Facebook recently changed their mission statement, their previous mission statement in their ascent to the pinnacle of social media power was: β€œTo give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”  In fact, Facebook has never given people the power, rather, it provides more power instead to governments and institutions that are able to manipulate, organize, and analyze all the information that people have posted on their Facebook accounts, so that people rather than being empowered are actually putting themselves into the position in which governments and outside agencies know everything about them, and that information, properly correlated, is an awesome from of power as well as control.  When it comes to sharing, there is real sharing voluntarily made between people that have similar mindsets, are friends, or associates, or family members, as well as valued others, of which such sharing often times, allows these people to become closer to each other, though not always; for some forms of sharing, can be divisive or misunderstood or misinterpreted or just not be appropriate.  In addition, the sharing of personal information with people that are not friends but have taken on the guise of being a friend, or jealous ex-friends with an ax to grind, or people of nefarious intent, are not the people that personal information should be shared with, but Facebook is an environment that permits this rather readily to happen.  To make the world more open, necessitates that governments and institutions are more transparent and open in all that they do, so that the people have a better understanding and comprehension of what is really going on, and to the extent that Facebook aids and abets such, this is a very good thing; but if such a government and institutions are not fundamentally open or transparent, then when one side, that is, the people provide a wealth of information, but the other side, does not, signifies that rather than such being seen as open, it would be best be seen as one side being able to siphon real information of value, from another, without giving up much in return.  To the degree that Facebook helps the world be more connected, and therefore allows people to better understand that we have things and attributes in common, in recognition that we are all citizens of the same world, so much the better, but to the degree that Facebook encourages people to be more divisive and cliquish in their behavior and outlook, the less connected that world is.

 

Facebook likes to say nice and wonderful things about how valuable and important that social media is, but Facebook itself, does not disclose the fact that its market capitalization and all of its wealth fundamentally is because they have reams and reams of very personalized data from all of its users, created by those users, and that data has a value that is apparently worth billions upon billions of dollars.  If Facebook was truly a social media site then what Facebook would do would simply be the conduit to allow seamless connections between people that desire to connect with each other on Facebook, and would not make it their place to collect very personal data on each of its users, and whether they own up it or not, or utilize semantics, or doublespeak, essentially sell such access to that data to the highest bidders.

The strange phenomena of people walking their bicycles by kevin murray

As reported by top10hell.com, there are about 100,000,000 bicycles in America, for a per capita amount of 32.2%, which is actually a fairly high percentage.  However, on average, "In the USA only 0.9% of all trips are made by bike," which is a rather low percentage, and basically means that in most cities and towns, bicycles really aren't used that much at all, which may explain, the rather puzzling phenomena of people that instead of riding their bicycle are actually walking their bicycle, instead.

 

It would be one thing, if the people, walking their bicycles, were up against a steep hill, and simply didn't have the knowhow or strength to climb such, or if the bicycle was in need of a repair that precluded the rider of such from actually riding it, but in reality, most of the people walking their bikes, seem to be doing so, out of volition, as compared to out of necessity.  While there are all sorts of rules and regulations in regards to bike riding in regards to dealing with wearing a helmet, or whether or not one is permitted on a certain road, or permitted to ride on a sidewalk, and so on and so forth, it seems rather strange, that those that are walking their bikes, if they are so cognizant of the rules and regulations, have not adjusted their route to take into account, such.

 

Rather, it would appear that those that walk their bikes seem to be, more or less, people that aren't natural bike riders, and simply don't have the confidence to ride their bike on public roads and hence because of their fear of getting run over, have decided to dismount from their bike and to therefore walk it.  To a lesser extent, some of those people, are not in good shape so that rather than exercise via bike riding, they prefer to walk, though, truth be told, it is actually easier to slowly ride a bike, then to walk with a bike.

 

All of the above, would signify that those that sell bikes, have perhaps an obligation to see that the bike so being sold is the right fit and function for the person so buying it, along with perhaps offering bicycle training tips for those that have purchased a bike, as it would appear that a meaningful amount of people, seem somehow to be intimidated about actually getting onto a bike and riding it, and while there are dangers involved in riding a bicycle on any road that includes motorcycles, cars, and trucks, that type of danger can often be mitigated by strategizing the best way to take a given route, rather than simply shrinking away from doing much of anything.

 

The whole purpose of having a bicycle is to actually ride it, and the best way to learn how to ride a bike, is to get on a bike and take it for a ride, of which the more time spent on a bike the more confident the rider will be in knowing how a bike operates and how to handle it.  Those that are content to walk their bikes are the very same people that, if they had the capital to purchase a premium high-performance car, would ultimately be too afraid to actually really drive it.

There will never be another drug like aspirin, again by kevin murray

Before there was big pharmaceutical companies, in order to get relief from pain or other ailments, people would utilize natural elements as provided by nature, and as administered and prescribed by those that were experienced and knowledgeable enough to deal with those elements, for better or for worse.  No doubt, throughout time, the world has always had its share of charlatans, pushing concoctions that had no value, but there were also those sincere seekers that found true ingredients that worked to mitigate pain, and, for example, discovered that salicylate-rich plants such as willow, had consistently demonstrated in principle that it had fever reducing properties, pain reducing properties, and inflammation reducing properties as part of the benefits of the correct utilization of its willow bark.

 

Eventually, as medicine modernized, and as chemists learned more about the properties of nature, the invention and the synthesis of what is commonly known as aspirin was invented, of which the important value of aspirin, was almost immediately recognized for its aforementioned pain and inflammation reducing properties, as well as being of benefit for those susceptible to heart attacks, or high blood pressure, or arthritis, amongst many other conditions, of which aspirin is an invaluable asset.  The fact that aspirin is both available over the counter and is available in packages of 100 or more in 325 mg dosages, of which the price is less than one penny per dosage, is remarkable.

 

While there are specific medicines and pharmaceutical drugs for specific diseases and ailments, there is no drug that is in whole, as comprehensive, reliable, universal, and valued as aspirin, of which, the cost of aspirin is so cheap for the consumer, that aspirin is the go-to drug of choice, for those that are needing to mitigate pain as well as those that require a reliable blood thinner, for our blood needs to flow freely so as to keep the body properly oxygenated as well as to provide nutrients throughout the body in order to maintain good health.

 

The size of today's pharmaceutical companies is simply gargantuan, in which, as reported by statista.com, in 2016, the pharmaceutical companies based in the United States, had annual sales of $446 billion, and these companies make in a typical year, billions upon billions of dollars in profit; which is especially unpalatable since the profits that pharmaceuticals make is, when distilled down to its essence, derived from making obscene amounts of money from people that are ill and need medicine in order to maintain their health.  It is a disgrace that pharmaceutical companies are for-profit rather than being structured as non-profit corporations and therefore providing a true social good for society.

 

So then, aspirin, if instead of being invented over 100 years ago in Germany, had instead been invented within the last generation or so, of which the sheer power, breadth and effectiveness of aspirin, which provides real benefits for so many different ailments and illnesses, would have undoubtedly made it the blockbuster of blockbuster drugs, and hence, would have been the most profitable drug ever in the history of the pharmaceutical industry.  This would have meant that billions upon billions of dollars would have been siphoned away from hard working individuals into the hands of the pharmaceutical industry, of which that industry would state, that all of this was necessary in order to properly keep funding their research and development, as well as the tribute that those that are ill owe to those that aid them, in perpetuity.

Science and God belief are not at odds by kevin murray

There are many people that have bought into the narrative that somehow scientific research and scientists in general, are not now, and can never be, God believers.  That is to say, that scientists, are discovers of facts, and do not deal with myths.  Yet, science itself, comes fundamentally from the belief that the world is knowable, and that therefore the world is not random, but it is instead a world of order, of discoverable patterns, with specific laws, and because the world is order, mankind has a duty to understand it as it ultimately is.

 

God is not a being that is tangible to the naked eye, but then again, there are many forces that are not visible to us, such as gravity, as well as subatomic particles, as in electrons or protons.   Additionally, the more in which scientists are able to learn about the world, and in particular to learn about  the human species, the more that scientists are able to recognize what an incredibly marvelous, unfathomably sophisticated and a wonderful work of art that human beings are.  For instance, as reported by quora.com, for the average human being there are "… almost 7*1027 atoms (that's a 7 followed by 27 zeros!)."

 

That is to say, the more in which scientists delve into discovering how things work and how intricate and amazing are their structure, the more that those scientists are appreciative of the complexity and brilliance of such creation.  So then, it follows that when rational beings accept as their premise for the research that they conduct that they live within a construct that is measurable, ordered, and intelligible (for without these very attributes, than science and scientific thought would have no solid foundation to stand upon, so that, lacking such, there would be little of worth to discover or to build upon), signifies, that this world must be and is rational and not random and without purpose.

 

It stands to reason that in a rational world, which allows itself to be discovered through the viewing and contemplating upon such, can only come from a rational universe, of which, such a universe must have been created by a rational First Source, better known as God, for it cannot have simply been created out of nothing, for nothing creates nothing.  This would signify that though many scientists may have little or no belief in organized religion as presented by society, because so many of those organized religions are seen as being dogmatic and narrow minded, while also lacking in rigor of thought; these scientists are, on the other hand, quite cognizant, that what they are discovering and learning about is both magnificent and marvelous, for the more that scientists learn, the more amazed that they are in their comprehension and astonishment of what they are uncovering.

 

There are those that believe that the only god worthy of contemplation is the god of reason, but to believe such, is actually to believe in God, for the reasoning that comes forth to the human mind, as well as the reasoning that allows mankind to understand itself and the world better, can only come about from a world in which there are immutable laws, and behind the curtain of that world of reason, is God.  Today's scientist has faith that what they are revealing has merit and value, and those that have faith are in so many words, God believers.

Misunderstanding karma by kevin murray

Karma, in general, is the belief, that wrong actions created in the here and now, have consequences, not only later in this life, but in our future lives to come, so that, those that believe that they can "get over" on others, find that in the infinite justice and fairness of God, that God cannot be mocked, nor can God ever be fooled, though mankind fools itself and others, seemingly all of the time, but our karma is the great equalizer.

 

They say that a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and indeed it can be, for those that have a general comprehension of karma, can take such, and manipulate it in a way, in which they then believe that those that are suffering now, are suffering solely because that is their place to suffer, for them having done wrong in previous lives, that therefore, there isn't any brotherly duty to help others in their suffering.  While, conceivably this could even be true in a particular case, it does not absolve somebody else that in seeing something that is wrong or destructive, and knowing that they could be of assistance, deciding that they will not do a thing to ameliorate or help such, since they wrongly believe that fate tells us all that there is to tell.  Further, those that look upon karma in the wrong way, are the very same people that seemingly are unable to get beyond an "eye for an eye" philosophy, of which, this misreads karma completely, for karma is not about making things even, but rather it is about overcoming previous errors, by making different decisions, and thereupon doing right.

 

The whole point of karma is the understanding that in life, for every action, there is an appropriate reaction, and when those actions as well as reactions are wrong, then the only appropriate way to overcome that negativity, is to respond with positivity along with actions and reactions that are beneficial and constructive, rather than those being selfish and destructive.  After all, the only way to test the sincerity and character of any given person, is to actually test that person in real world situations, of which, some of those tests indeed are going to be incredibly challenging, but it is in the overcoming of these tests, that bad karma is discharged, so that, while few may welcome some of those difficult challenges that they must face, it is in the overcoming of such, that real progress is made.

 

The fact that we are here, incarnated on this planet, bespeaks for virtually everyone that we have vital tasks to attend to, of which, those that listen to that still, small voice, are slow to anger, fair in their treatment of others, and are diligent about doing the right thing, as best and as consistent as they can, are the very people, that are creating good karma, and good so created, is good for everyone.  This world and the people in it, good or bad, are a true reflection of the state of mind, of mankind.  Those that in the moments of pure clarity see who and what they really are, and thereupon are determined to do and to be better, will have taken the most important step of liberating themselves from the bad karma that entwines them, into being that which they were created to be, but have lost sight of, which is in the knowing that they are truly the rightful heirs of God.

The value of kindness by kevin murray

The positive change that we would like to see in the world as well as in our relationships is not the type of change that can instantly occurred, for wrong behaviors, and wrong actions, especially those of long standing, cannot be simply overturned in the blink of an eye.  So too, all those that feel overwhelmed that the little that they do, or the little that they accomplish, couldn't possible change a thing, devalue themselves too much, and should know, that every act of kindness and that every act done with love, are the very basis for real positive change to inexorably occur.

 

The fact of the matter is that our actions and our behaviors, no matter how small apparently is the scale, has an impact upon our neighbors, as well as upon our friends and family, and for the society that we integrate with.  This means that every time that we are simply kind to another, and when we use words of goodwill and demonstrate brotherly concern to another, than we truly are doing our part to make the world better for us being here. 

 

Successful lives and successful relationships are fundamentally structured upon little acts of kindness and rightness, in which, these acts, step-by-step, make for more harmony and for better living, for the right words and the right actions given on behalf of another, can have incredible positive rippling affects for the betterment of society.  That is to say, what we do and how we interact with others, makes a real difference, for every action performed, has a reaction, so that, those that are patient, caring, and forgiving, more times than not, are helping to make relationships and society better.

 

To be unkind or dismissive to another, is a very easy thing to do, for destruction and negativity, seldom requires any forethought, whereas to hold one's  tongue, as well as to speak and to do the right thing especially in critical and stressful situations, has real consequences, and thereby requires a skill-set of maturity, wisdom, humility, and empathy.  

 

So many people have been in a volatile situation in which the right words, fitly spoken, have defused such, so that, heightened emotions subsequently are able to calm down; whereas the wrong words and wrong actions, so done, have escalated things further, exacerbating such.  But even when a given situation does go off the rails, this does not signify that we should be unkind to one another, for kindness is seldom the wrong action to take, for each one of us, whether on the surface, or deep inside, carries some hurt, as well as disappointment and fear, of which, knowing that someone else really cares, provides that hopefulness, comfort, and strength to keep on carrying on.

 

Each day, each one of us, decides how we will conduct ourselves in our interactions with others, of which, few of us will always make the correct decisions, so then, in recognition that each of us, makes errors and mistakes, the least that we should do, is to practice kindness and consideration with others, for when we are wrong and mistaken, we so appreciate those that are considerate and kind to us, because by doing so, we feel better, for knowing that we are fairly valued by others.

Surrender in the heat of the battle by kevin murray

Whether it is during an act of war, or whether it is done through a prolong fight or through a high speed chase, when one person or one soldier or one perpetrator surrenders to another person, or soldier, or policeman, such surrender does not always result in the party so surrendering being safely escorted to a place of confinement, but rather can end instead with that person that has offered to surrendered, being killed, or essentially executed.

 

Not too surprisingly, firefights, chases, and conflict of all sorts, increases the stress levels within a given body, which for most people means the increase of adrenaline within that body, culminating with that corresponding adrenaline rush, and those that are pumped up with adrenaline coursing through their veins, are often at odds at being able to subsequently easily calm down, even when a given stressful situation has materially changed.  This means that when one party surrenders in defeat that the victorious party does not necessarily readily become magnanimous but rather can see such as an opportunity to finish the job that they were prepared to do when the fight so began.

 

So that, while a person in good control of their faculties, would normally not kill another person in cold blood, someone that feels aggrieved or has seen their fellow soldiers or friends die, or have been under fire or in mortal danger, often does not, upon the surrender of their enemy, simply return to being a reasonable and rational human being.  Additionally, if the enemy does not look like the other person, but rather appears instead to be something other than a full human to the other person, or essentially that person has been demonized, than the mercy that the surrendering person might reasonably expect, is going to be difficult to bring to fruition.

 

Those that surrender typically do so, when they know that continuing to fight or resisting within the fight, is futile, because they are outnumbered or because they are out armed, and rightly believe that their only good option is to surrender to the other party.  The problem with such surrender, especially when it is done in the heat of the battle, is that the other side, has not yet had the chance or opportunity to dial down their rage, or to neutralize their killing mindset, or simply do not care to do so at that time, and well might feel that they must kill in order to bring completion to the job at hand.

 

The fact of the matter is that with the exception of psychopaths and sociopaths, killing other human beings is not the natural order of things, so that, in order to accomplish such a deed, this requires a mindset that often looks upon the other person as something less than human, and therefore the surrender of something that is less than human, still allows the one with the power to have the superior position of apparently being able to justly kill that which has aggrieved them, because they are literally at that time and place, their judge, juror, and executioner.  So that, those that surrender in the heat of the battle, while deserving of mercy, do not necessarily receive that, because those that are human, have forgotten that they are, and have morphed into, instead, for a period of time, a killing machine.

The starting gate by kevin murray

Every single one of us was created equally by our Creator, and there are no exceptions to this rule, for all are exactly of the same spiritual substance.  However, in this material experience, quite obviously, there are those that are born into poverty with often handicaps of all sorts, as compared to those that are born into wealth with often privileges of all sorts.  This does mean that the starting gate for people in this world is going to vary considerably depending upon the circumstances of their birth, the society that they live in, as well as the environment that they are involved with.  Still, to be fatalistic about circumstances negates the importance, impact, and vitality that each person has to make a difference not only in their own life but in the lives of others.

 

In sporting events, those games are played in a manner in which one team will win and one team will lose, of which, too many people have a tendency to see life as being something akin to winners and losers, without taking into consideration, where people started from, the advantages and disadvantages of the circumstances involved, the luck factor, as well as the pluck factor that each person brings to the table of opportunity and decisions.  This means that the starting gate for individuals is going to vary widely depending upon the situations that people face in their lives, so to expect those that start at a considerable distance back from privileged others, along with having to deal with all sorts of impediments to overcome is not appropriately seeing the world for what it really is.

 

The most important thing in life for individuals is almost never about winning, but rather, the most important thing is doing the best that a given individual can do, as well as striving to help make this world a better place for having been born into it.  So often, those that do well and make a positive impact are not the ones that simply "go with the flow" but rather are the ones that swim vigorously against the strong currents of oppression, prejudice, evil, abuse, and persecution.  The things that make a given person great are not so much the awards and accolades that people receive from respected peers and institutions, though those have their place, but rather come from the obstacles that a driven individual has willingly faced, and thereby have over a considerable period of time and effort, successfully overcome.  This then, makes the person, for in order for a hero to actually be a hero, that person most overcome something of real substance, that challenges them to the core, which often involves risk, and requires concentrated effort, perseverance, and the dogged determination to overcome; for easy victories, are for those too timid to try for more; whereas hard fought victories are for those that will not settle for less then what they believe must be achieved.

 

People spend far too much time comparing themselves to the Joneses, whereas what they should actually be doing, is tackling forthrightly the obstacles standing right in front of them, for it is in the overcoming of those obstacles, that new trails are blazed, and thereby the true character of that person, genuinely exposed.