Dividends and stock appreciation by kevin murray

According to worldbank.org, the total market capitalization of all United States stocks as of 2018 was over $30.4 trillion, in which the overall GDP of the entire United States at the conclusion of 2018 was according to the stlouisfed.org, just under $21 trillion.  The stock market of the United States, though regulated, is an open market, in which those that wish to purchase or sell stocks do so, typically utilizing a brokerage firm, in which the price of the equities so being bought is determined by the free hand of the marketplace.  That is to say, though pundits might indicate all the supposed rational reasons why a stock is going either up or down, in regards to earnings, revenue, dividend yield, future projections, the overall economy, the prevailing interest rate of the Federal reserve, GDP numbers, inflation expectations, and so on, the bottom line is that the price of individual equities at any given point, is what the market will bear.


Whether the stock market is rational is debatable, of which, all things being equal, if the stock market really was totally rational 100 percent of the time, then most days, in which particular equities had no salient news to report, the stock of those companies would be quiescent, but in actuality, stocks move up and down by some percentage, usually within a small range, each and every day that the market is open.  Further, for each stock traded, there must be a seller to go along with the buyer, of which, logic tells us, that both sides must feel that they are getting a fair bargain, or else no trade would take place; yet, in the scheme of things, it would appear that one party probably comes out better than the other, because no doubt, each party feels that they have been on the right side of the trade.


Additionally, when it comes to stock prices, there is an ingrain prejudice for the prices of equities to rise, as the higher a given stock price is, the more profit on paper, buyers of that stock obtain; in addition to the fact that many companies have stock options that only come "into the money" when the stock rises over a period of time, as well as compensation for senior executives are often built around the appreciation of the stock price. So then, the major players in the stock market, including the market makers and brokerage firms, desire for the price to rise, and in general, through also the effects of inflation, equity prices in America over the last hundred years, have certainly risen.


There are many stocks that offer a dividend payment attached to their stock, of which those dividend payments are periodically paid out to stockholders of record, during the year.  At the present time, as reported by multpl.com, the S&P 500 yield in aggregate is under 2 percent, whereas back in 1979 it was 5.24 percent, and in 1950, it was an astonishing 7.44 percent.  The fundamental difference between dividends and stock appreciation is that dividends are absolutely real in the sense that real money from the company's profits are distributed to the stockholders; whereas stock appreciation is something that is not only never guaranteed but can be rather fickle, for a given stock can lose 15 or 20 percent, or even more in one day.  Therefore, those that place their faith that the stock price of a given stock will ever go upward or even remain stable day-by-day, have failed to perceive the difference between cash in hand, as compared to cash on paper, in which, they are clearly not the same thing.

Understanding crime by kevin murray

America does do a very commendable job of keeping track of all sorts of statistics and from those statistics is able often to see patterns and therefore to solve puzzles.  When it comes to crime, the conversation of such, often seems to clearly miscomprehend those numbers, so that reciting how many crimes there are per 100,000 people, or the murder rate in a given city, as proof positive, that things are either improving or getting worse, is fundamentally looking at crime through the wrong lens.


In point of fact, most crime, that is not white collar crime, is often localized, and it is localized because criminals typically ply their trade in areas of the city that they congregate in and are intimately familiar with.  So then, in a given city, crime is never going to be uniform from one community to the next but rather we see that some communities have a very high proportion of crime in comparison to their population base, whereas other parts of the community have virtually no crime, whatsoever.  The reason that this is so, is myriad, of which relevant attributes of crime or the lack thereof, comes down to the income level of that particular area, the schools, the parks, the family structure, the educational level, the density of population, the age of population, and so on and so forth.  In other words, for instance, an area of the community in which all the homes are very nice, single family homes, that necessitate a good amount of wealth to own one, in which, these homes are surrounded by no high-density apartments and in addition, have the accouterments of good shopping stores as well as other good infrastructure nearby, aren't going to have much crime, for the very people that live and congregate there, do not have the conditions that would nurture, criminality.  On the other hand, areas of high density in conjunction with low income, as well as dilapidated homes, and poor infrastructure are going to often suffer more than fair share of crime, because the conditions of that community, pretty much creates crime.


That is to say, the lack of capital, the lack of good infrastructure, the lack of good schools, the lack of good family structure, the lack of education, and the lack of opportunity, poses a clear and present danger to the not only the safety but the overall demeanor and temperature of a given community.  The reason that this is so, is that crime, while it may have many fathers, fundamentally originates from people that are impoverished in the sense of their lack of opportunity, hope, and money.  Those that have little or nothing, and further do not have a lot of constructive things that are available for them to do, are going to be susceptible to criminal activities.


All of this means, that most crime and criminal activities are within the communities that are impoverished to begin with, and while law and order resources devoted to eradicating such crime in those neighborhoods may indeed find much success in prosecuting that criminal element, it will not in and of itself, eliminate criminality, until such time as the conditions that create crime, are ameliorated fundamentally.  While there are all sorts of pundits that demand that people own up to the responsibility for their bad actions, those pundits doing the talking, don't often come from milieus that are hopeless, let alone, forsaken.   


The bottom line is that to find crime and to find the criminals behind that crime is easy.  To reduce and to eliminate crime is the difficult task, and it is not something that simply comes down to "just say no," but rather is dependent upon all the people of this great nation living within a construct in which each of them truly has a good home, a living wage, fair and equal justice applied to all, and a good helping hand for all those in need.  America has the capital to do exactly that, but has made a conscious choice not to do so.  The crime, it suffers from, is clearly the result of a system that fundamentally fails to live up to the tenets of justice, egalitarianism, fairness, hope, and opportunity.  


That then is the true crime.

To tell the truth by kevin murray

We read in Holy Scripture: "… for this reason I have come into the world, that I should testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice," (John 18: 37).  Further to the point, in our justice system, we are obligated to “to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”  In all this, it is clear that telling the truth is of upmost importance and thereby forms the bedrock of good civil society.  The reason that truth, and that truth being the whole truth is so important, is that each of us, through our actions and our words, day-by-day, are either part and parcel of that whole truth, and thereby are agents of honesty and integrity, or we are instead working at odds against that truth.


Intuitively we recognize that it is extremely difficult to legitimately complain or to get upset over anyone that is fully speaking the truth, even if that truth is damaging to our self, because truth, in and of itself, in all circumstances, is the highest standard that anyone can be held to; and though, we can unfairly justify our anger directed against someone that has spoken the truth in a manner in which we see that person as a "snitch" or a "rat", it is, ultimately, a futile complaint, for that which is true justifiably supersedes our own preference to be not exposed to the consequences of that truth, when such is an inconvenience for us.


The most basic reason why most everyone does not speak the truth at all times, and therefore ends up lying to others as well as to themselves, is almost always based upon protecting their own self, as well as their own reputation, and further to the point, demonstrates an unwillingness to face the consequences of that truth being told at that time.  The bottom line is that people lie, tell falsehoods and stories because they do not want to be shamed or to be humiliated in front of others and especially do not want to be punished for it.


Those that tell the whole truth, even under the most extreme of conditions, and even under the knowledge that the truth told at the here and now, will subsequently have, meaningful and negative consequences for them, are absolutely courageous for doing so.  On the other hand, all those that lie are basically cowards, whereas, all those that tell the truth are basically brave; for the former are often able to avoid punishment or even detection of such lies, so thereby they suffer no ill consequences for having done so; whereas the latter are those that having told the truth may suffer directly for having done so.


The more that one lies, the easier it is to continue in those lies, especially when no one else is apparently cognizant of it.  So too the more that one tells the whole truth, the easier it is to continue to tell that truth, for those that are truthful, are cognizant that who and what they really are, as represented by what they say and do, is absolutely relevant and meaningful.


It would seem by the way that the world operates, that all those that selectively lie in a manner in which the perception by others is that they are truthful and honest, would seem to effectively be a successful, though somewhat compromised position to live by.  What is missing from the equation, however, is that all those that have told the truth in the here and now, and perhaps have suffered from time-to-time for having done so -- clearly have paid the toll in their life by having testified to that truth; whereas all those that have taken on the guise of integrity but are not, have not yet paid their toll, and past due tolls always cost more, and sometimes they do cost a lot more.

Whatever happened to the revolution of 1776? by kevin murray

Not every revolution is successful, and further to the point, not every revolution is true to its cause for that revolution.  A case in point is that the revolutionary document that the colony representatives signed their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to was the Declaration of Independence.  That Declaration had the upmost relevancy back in 1776, and should still have the upmost relevancy for all of us, today.


The problem with this country today is that it does not truly honor that Declaration of Independence.  To wit, in that Declaration, we read: "He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies…" and further:  "He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power."  America has not had a congressional declared war since World War II, yet it is always at what is for all intents and purposes: war; or it is taking war to such amorphous beings as "global terrorism", in which, the United States doesn't just have a standing army, but rather has a massive global military footprint as well as a truly gargantuan military budget, of which its "defense" expenditure is more than half of its discretionary federal budget, and subsequently represents in total as reported by nationalpriorities.org, "37 percent of the total…" military expenditures worldwide, of which the United States population is not even 5% of the world, at large.  Further, it doesn't seem to matter who the Chief Executive in the White House is, or the makeup of the legislature, for the military and its unelected leaders, seemingly gets its way, every single time, thereby making the technology-industrial-military complex effectively superior to civil power.


Our Declaration broke our bonds from hereditary aristocracy, yet, today, America has developed its own unique aristocracy, established by not only the incredible power and wealth of today's everlasting transnational corporations, but also in particular with dynasties such as the Bush family, the Walton family, the Koch family, the Rockefeller family, the Kennedy family, and the Mars family.  These corporations and families are able to not just maintain their power and influence generation by generation but often continue to augment it, because the money and assets that they control and own are not effectively taxed, thereby leaving these dynasties with even more money and even more power.


Further, the whole purpose of establishing our independence from Great Britain was to establish a government of, for, and by the people, under the consent of those people and for the benefit of the people.  Instead, as time has gone by, this government has morphed into being a power unto itself, answerable only to those that control it, and primarily for the benefit of those select and privileged few, and always at the expense of the many.  Rather than being transparent and answerable to the people, today's government is opaque, secretive, and oppressive, for it primarily sees the people only as entities that should be obedient to the government, and fully compliant thereby to the government's decrees.


The iron hand of British aristocracy at the expense of its loyal subjects; in addition to the heavy boots of oppression and unjust taxation against its American colonies, led to the revolution of those subjects, of which, the abiding objective of that revolution was to see that each citizen of this new government, would be an equal member of it, with a voice, with freedom, and with the liberty to pursue happiness as those people so saw fit.  Today, that dream is effectively in shatters, for this government and its agents are the new aristocracy, signifying that the new boss is so much the same as the old boss.

Quid pro quo capitalism by kevin murray

America wishes to believe that it is the epitome of capitalism at its best.  This, unfortunately, is not true, for in many respects capitalism in an era in which Federal, State, and local governments have an enormous amount of power, resources, as well as the almighty dollar at their beck and call --in addition to the "revolving door" of private enterprise personnel interchangeably taking on the reins of governmental rules and regulation, has transformed capitalism into a construct in which, it is much more about those that wish to transact business and be successful in it, are connected at the hip with those that are an integral part of the actual playing field that business is regulated and conducted in.


This really means that governmental agencies rather than representing the people as a whole, and thereby creating and implementing rules and regulations meant for the benefit of those people, have actually circumvented their duties to often work instead on behalf of the desires of private enterprise to the exclusion of fairness and duty.  In other words, the business world knows the value of getting along and going along with governmental agencies and has evolved into doing just that. In addition, governmental agencies understand the value of getting along and going along with private enterprise, for they know that as these enterprises are benefited, economic doors of opportunity open for them, to take personal advantage of.


This thus means that more than ever we live in a quid pro quo capitalistic world, in which governmental agencies bestows favors onto specific corporations, whether that be land grants, taxation rules, labor regulations, or just about anything of value, in return of which government receives inside information as well as the implicit recognition that these corporations now owe specific favors to their government, of which, when that government comes calling, as they will, these corporations will willingly reply.


As a matter of course in a quid pro quo capitalistic society, this thus means, that the big corporations will continue to swallow up the small and innovative corporations, so that these big corporations can not only consolidate their power and increase their market share as well as their profitability, but just as importantly, be that one stop source for the government to turn to, when the government requires "patriotic" help and thereupon calls upon them.  For the government, their calling card is ever that these corporations are loyal and obedient to the needs and dictates of that government, for governmental beneficence and cooperation is understood to be, conditional, and those corporations that do not comprehend such, will suffer greatly for their lack of foresight.


For many people, the fact that the government and private enterprise often work hand-in-glove sounds not only efficient, but appropriate, but this misses the forest for the trees, for when the government and private enterprise meld into one, this thus means that the people, are no longer sovereign and thereby masters of a government that is by and for the people, but rather that the government in conjunction with these large corporations, that have joined together, are permitted to extract from the people all that they can get,  for that is the only value that they see in them.

The real reason why there is so much violence in America by kevin murray

In advanced nations, America is the most violent of them all, of which, no doubt, because the availability of firearms is so prevalent and the usage of these lethal and damaging guns are so frequent, the end result is much more violence, then other comparable countries that have strict or stricter gun control laws.  This would seem to indicate that stricter gun laws in America would clearly help to reduce violence in America, which no doubt would be true, but even with these laws successfully applied, America would still be the outlier of comparable countries in violence, for some very basic reasons, as discussed below.


What is absolutely relevant to violence, is the inequality of society within America, in which, Americans readily are aware that there are some people, that have incredible wealth and the material assets and accouterments that go with that, and then there are those others that have absolutely nothing.  Further to the point, those that have nothing, see visualize proof, through media of all types, that some of the most successful are, in fact, of the same race or social milieu as they are, which can serve as either a conceivable inspiration for them or as a searing indictment.   This, thus means, that those that have nothing, often feel a great deal of shame and humiliation for being nothing, and intuitively know that based on their limited skill set, and the dead-end neighborhood that they live at, that their chance of ever successfully exiting the futility of the situation is well-nigh zero.  So then, for those have nothing, and literally have nothing to therefore lose, they are going to be susceptible to desiring to make their mark in a manner in which they will receive some sort of respect and acknowledgment that they are a true force to be reckoned with.


Again, this humiliation and shame, comes about from the recognition that the circumstances that these people live and congregate in, are pretty much hopeless, and thereby the only way to receive some necessary respect from one's peers is to achieve it through the type of action that somehow commands respect, which often comes down not to random acts of kindness, but rather purposeful acts of targeted violence, that demonstrates determined resolve to get things done in a manner in which it will be properly recognized by others of importance, as righteous.


In truth, the people that are most prone to violence are the one and same as those that we judge in a manner, rightly or wrongly, as of being of little value or worth.  Further to the point, we do not value and we do respect those that are ill educated, socially maladapted, impoverished, lazy, and shiftless, of which, the most fundamental reason why there are so many in America that are lacking good and proper attributes, comes down to the fact that we have segregated certain portions of our population from the mainstream, and provided these people with little or nary of what they need to become something of value, and then express surprise or are dismayed at the violence so displayed in these neighborhoods, when they strike out in their cry of desperation in the only manner that they know that at least will get some sort of response from a country that has turned all so cold.

Incarceration and non-compensated involuntary servitude by kevin murray

According to cnn.com, "…nearly 2.2 million adults were held in America's prisons and jails at the end of 2016," of which a portion of those so locked up are subject to being coerced or compelled into providing labor services either directly within that prison or jail, or to be outsourced to certain companies or government agencies so as to perform uncompensated or extremely low paying compensated jobs.  To a certain extent, those incarcerated, with little or nothing to do of substance, are amendable to performing such work duties, but to do so, for no pay or extremely low pay as well as having to deal with possibly hazardous working conditions, should be seen for what it is, outright exploitation of labor for the benefit of those so employing these incarcerated people.


While critics might so indicate, that prisoners should not be compensated at the prevailing labor rate as well as they should not be subject to the rules and regulations that Federal and State laws so dictate, because these people owe a debt to society for having been duly convicted, this presupposes that the very nature of being incarcerated  means that certain laws in regards to worker safety, compensation, and work conditions, somehow do not apply to those that are in a current status of being incarcerated.  If this be so, then it would mean that for any municipality or its equivalency, that when labor is short or budgets are tight, such as, for example, in harvesting season, that it would be pro-active and well-nigh prudent for the policing forces of that municipality to arrest and to convict as many people as is possible, for dubious crimes such as vagrancy or criminal mischief, so as to build up a convict labor force that could thereby be exploited as cheap and ready labor.


The thing about incarcerated laborers as opposed to all those that are not compelled or coerced into working, is that incarcerated laborers are prone to being overworked and to suffer to a degree that others would not readily tolerate, because those others have the willful capacity to walk away, whereas incarcerated laborers do not. Further, the overall health of an incarcerated laborer and even the long term endurance of an incarcerated laborer are of little concern to the employer of such, because these convicts represent something that is merely seen as temporary help, and thereby of no compelling concern to those "employing" them.  This so means that incarcerated laborers, in which appropriate labor and workplace rules and regulations do not apply, or are not effectively applied for them, are not only susceptible to being exploited -- but are exploited by those so employing them, because the ramifications of something going wrong or of being adjudged not appropriate, whatever it may be, is often negligible, whereas the upside of the usage of free or nearly free labor is quite good.


Those that are incarcerated have it bad enough already that they should not thereby be seen as a labor resource to be exploited, nor should they be placed within working conditions that circumvent a safe and appropriate working environment.  To the extent that the government or private enterprise wishes to employ incarcerated laborers, such should be an option, but only should be done in good compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as other applicable legislation.

The superrich run roughshod over the many by kevin murray

America is the richest nation in the world, yet, even the most cursory of looks, indicates that the wealth so held, shows a quite dramatic difference in the huge amounts of disparity achieved, between the haves and have-nots.  It perhaps would be one thing if the superrich achieved what they have, through the fairest of means, but the reality is that, this often isn't so, for the superrich are gifted at tilting contracts, laws, rules and regulations to its favor.  Nevertheless, there are means to rectify such, by, for instance, taxing the superrich at a much higher progressive tax rate; and yet another way is to put a cap on what the superrich are able to possess and grow, by the implementation of laws that even out the playing field in a manner in which those that have garnered huge advantages, whether fair or foul, or precluded from adding even more to it, so that through divestment, or the breaking up of consortiums or entities those that have become too powerful and too dominant are sedated.


Still, it might be asked, how is that the superrich, a distinct minority, are able to become superrich in the first place?  The most straightforward answer to this question is the understanding that those that are privy to inside and specific actionable information about others; whether these others are individuals, companies, government entities, or organizations, are often able to harvest that information to their benefit.  Further to the point, for individuals, for instance, most everyone has some sort of value in the sense that they have worked and earned money and therefore has assets, or alternatively there are those others that are the beneficiaries of some sort of government benefits of which how and where those benefits in aggregate are thereby utilized have definite value.   Additionally, there are those, specifically the youth that though they have little material worth as of the present, are susceptible to being molded in a manner that their future value can be successfully manipulated and exploited.


So that, the superrich sees the third most populous nation in the world, as well as a nation with a reach that is truly global, as a real opportunity to make money; especially when such a country implicitly encourages and allows personal information of great detail and accuracy such as school records, personal income and assets, family background, detailed demographics, and social media of all types to be available, in one form or another, for well placed organizations and people.  This so indicates that all those that possess actionable and accurate information of the many, are in the catbird seat of being able to monetize that knowledge and information in a manner in which those organizations and certain privy people are going to make a lot of money, especially when there are very few that possess and have thoroughly analyzed and cogitated such information.


It is really as simple as this, when some specific entity, knows everything about a given individual, of what activates and interests that individual, and this is multiplied by those millions of individuals, then these given entities do indeed have the treasure map that will lead them to that endless pot of gold, and by virtue of having that wealth of found money, they will be able to utilize such to protect as well as to augment their interests, at the expense of the people as a whole, who essentially have had their most precious resources extracted from them.

Money should mainly be seen as a facilitator of trade by kevin murray

A lot of people value their monetary worth by the amount of dollars or its equivalency that they have as assets.  While, this does make for easy comparisons when people compared their assets in a dollar denomination; this is probably not the best way to actually measure true wealth, for in an era in which the dollar is backed by nothing, and is therefore a fiat currency, this so means that dollars in and of themselves, have worth only to the extent that they are valued by those exchanging their labor or goods for them; and should those that utilize dollars as a medium of exchange, lose their faith in the stability and/or the value of those dollars, such could be catastrophic for all those that have placed their faith in physical or electronic dollars, above all.


In fact, since the United States decoupled gold from the dollar bill in 1971, the value of those 1971 dollars have depreciated to such a large extent, that a single dollar bill of 1971 would need to have grown to about $6.20 in today's money in order to have maintained its purchasing value over that period of time.  This so proves the point that any of those that buried their dollars in a treasure chest in their backyard, and then recover such in the present day, would find to their dismay that those dollars have definitely not appreciated in value, but rather have depreciated considerably in value.


All of the above basically means, that those that store dollars and do not invest such, or do not buy anything with those extra dollars, or do not receive interest payments on those dollars, have in their hands, something that will consistently depreciate in value over time, which is the cardinal opposite of something that has stable or appreciating value to it.  This so signifies, that to look upon money as denominated in dollars as being a stable or as an appreciating asset is a mistake, for dollars clearly are depreciating, therefore the object of the exercise for those that have an inventory of dollars must be to find a medium to exchange those dollars into something that is stable or appreciating, for the mere long term holding of them, is ultimately a losers' game.


Further, it is important to emphasize that dollars should more correctly be seen as a medium of exchange and as a facilitator of trade, of which, by having dollars serve this purpose, it makes it far easier to receive one's payment for labor, to buy goods, and to conduct trade of all types in a straightforward and reliable manner.  To the extent that people use dollars as a facilitator of trade, and of doing business of all types, then the usage of this slowly depreciating currency, is probably just fine, because of its universality and convenience for all parties involved.


However, it cannot be emphasized enough, that dollars fundamentally have no intrinsic value for they are relatively easy to make as well as to print, and further that today's issued dollars are not backed up at the present time by any tangible goods; so that, astute people recognize that dollars are really a means to facilitate the trading of goods and labor, and thereby they make it their point to invest money so earned and to spend those dollars in a manner in which they receive something of value in return, and are prudent enough to know that today's money is fiat paper, and paper does not hold up well over the ravages of time.

Impulse and negative outlooks by kevin murray

For mature and well balanced adults, when given a choice between some sort of immediate gratification, such as $10 today, as compared to $20 in one week; or a favorite snack right now, as compared to two of the same snack in thirty minutes, the determination of that choice is for those type of people, rather straightforward, for they clearly see the benefits of utilizing time to their advantage.  On the other hand, those that are lacking in good impulse control as well as those that within their mindset are suffering from a negative emotion such as sadness, or regret, or depression, are often going to give in to the immediate gratification, not necessarily because they truly believe that such is the better choice, but rather because it brings to them, an immediate reward, which they believe will make them feel better, right now.


So then, though one can give plenty of credit to those that are able to weigh different choices and values in a manner in which their decision makes logical sense and is overall beneficial for them -- as in all those that delay taking a certain portion of their salary today, in order to place instead some portion of their salary into a retirement account; it is important to recognize that one of the salient reasons why two people that appear to have similar circumstances, do come to diametrically different decisions, lies not only within their impulsiveness in general, but also within their mindset and viewpoint.


That is to say, those that are impulsive as well as those that consistently choose immediate gratification, aren't necessarily that way because they lack self-control, though they might, but rather it has a lot to do with their psyche and their outlook at that particular juncture in life.  For all those that have little or nothing, and are additionally use to having promises by others that they respect and look up to, broken, again and again, are also going to be the type of people that when given a choice between the proverbial "bird in the hand" as compared to "two in the bush" -- will have within their life experience a firm basis for the logical reasoning of the superiority of taking what they can take right now, as opposed to a promise of more that may well be broken.


All of the above really means that how our mind is wired most definitely affects our susceptibility to offers and temptations brought to our attention.  This is the reason why two people can watch the same commercial in which one person is completely tuned out, whereas another will be enticed by it.  In point of fact, a lot of advertising tries to appeal to the impulsive nature of our psyche, and especially focuses in on those that have vulnerabilities in which the advertisement pretty much is offering something in the here and now that will make things all better, which overrides the common sense of the person, which often intuitively recognizes that what is being promised today, seems really too good to be true, though they wish to believe that it is not.


It so follows that when it comes to self-control, those that have stable and secure lives are often going to have far more self-control, than those that come from dysfunctional families and stressful situations.    This signifies that where we come from in our personal situation, affects far more of who and what we are, than is often recognized, for often where our psyche is at, makes a substantial difference in the subsequent reasoning thereby made.

Entrenched poverty by kevin murray

The United States is the third most populous nation in the world, and though it has plenty of land, the most entrenched poverty is located primarily within the core of the segregated inner city of which those denizens are essentially isolated from society at large in the sense that they often lack ready access to good housing, safe neighborhoods, good schools, safe parks, good employment opportunities and so on and so forth.  In point of fact, those that live in areas of which there is no good employment within a short commuting distance, as well as lacking ready access to good healthcare, while also suffering from substandard schools; subject its residents to being stuck within their dire circumstances, and these citizens are especially vulnerable to being perpetually caught within a cycle of poverty that they are never able to successfully generate the escape velocity to ever move out from.


America does not have an abundance of jobs that pay a living wage to begin with, and certainly has even less of those jobs available for people that lack the proper means to even be able to consistently arrive at work at the proper time without having to go through endless hurdles; in addition to many of these same people often being, ill educated, while also lacking in the intricacy of the knowledge of appropriate social niceties.  Quite frankly, most employers, though they may talk about how they will hire people without experience, only mean that in the general sense of people that appear to be fundamentally bushy-tailed and really ready to work, and thereby to gainfully take on the responsibilities of such.


In many cases when it comes to employment, those that suffer from entrenched poverty are at a great disadvantage, for employers are often seeking only those that have a reliable means of transportation to get to work, of which, those without access to an automobile are reduced to public transportation which may or may not be viable for them, or have to lean on other means of transportation, which may or may not be cost effective or always available.  Additionally, many employers need a ready means to communicate with their employees, which basically necessitates good and reliable internet access as well as a cell phone, which those that are impoverished may not have.  So too, when it comes to employers, those potential employees that are illiterate or ill educated, are going to often be left behind, because employers often do not have the patience or extra money to deal with employees that aren't functionally literate.


Additionally, many jobs that people locate don't come directly from help wanted ads, but rather come through networking with other people, and those that are especially impoverished and isolated within their own milieu, often have not developed the social capital that provides them with that desired and effective networking option.  So then, those living within the ghettos of entrenched urban poverty, are for all practical purposes, functionally ignored by governmental institutions as well as private enterprise, for these people are perceived to be of little utility or value, and are further harmed by their often clear unpreparedness of being able to step  up and to be of profitable service.  This thus signifies that those that suffer from entrenched poverty are isolated from society at large, and are marginalized to such an extent that they cease to exist in the eyes of those that have the power to effect positive change for them.

Finding the living God by kevin murray

There is a multitude of ways to discover and to take in the word of God, for instance, through one's Bible, through Church or Bible study, through the listening of sermons, or through the reading of sermons, through intuition, and through mediation, and pretty much through any medium that can be imagined.  All of this is necessary, for to merely hear the word of God, but to not take in the word of God, so that God's word is a living and breathing part of one's actuation in life, is ultimately to not be fully immersed in the word, and those that are merely lukewarm, have not discovered the true nourishing word that satisfies completely.


Because each one of us is different the pathway to our finding the living God, is going to be different for each of us, so that, though there may be many paths that can be taken, the ultimate destination from those paths is always going to be the same for all.  So then, in order to stay focus on the prize of all prizes, the most important concept to fully grasp is that God is our ever present and living Being, of which this is absolutely relevant, for our God is eternally omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.  Therefore, it is our ever present desire that our mentors, as well as our forthright sojourners are of material aid in assisting us in finding the living God.


It is important to note that there is little point in reading scripture in a manner that seems to stipulate "that was then, but this is now," as if the sermons, metaphors, and words of wisdom, meant something back then, but has little relevancy to this modern day age.  That, unfortunately, is the hubris of the present age, where there are those that somehow don't believe that previous civilizations from two millennium ago could possibly have relevancy, today; but yet we read in Holy Scripture that "…there is no new thing under the sun,"(Ecclesiastes 1: 9).  Which, is just another way of saying that the essence of and the troubles of mankind are not new.


The only water that fully refreshes the body is water that is not stagnant, but is instead a running, flowing, and living water; so then, the only God that will fully satisfy us, is one that is alive.  It is up to each one of us, to understand that surface knowledge of surface things is never going to get us very far in life; but rather, we must put ourselves into the position to wake up in a "cold sweat" to the full comprehension that there is nothing of more value, than the whole Truth, and that our soul will not rest until we find such.


In order to do exactly that, recognize that God speaks to us each and every day, if only we would really try to find and to thereby listen to that quiet, still voice that ever calls to us; for God loses sight of no one and nobody, and God will never rest, no matter how long it seemingly takes, for each one of His sheep, to return back to the fold that has left His good pasture.  Make it your point, and delay not, to find the one and only living God, for all else, no matter how bright it might shine, or how sparkling it glitters, are mere counterfeits to that which completes us.

The importance of good morals and ethics in society by kevin murray

One might think that the most important subject matter to get across to children in school, involves the basics of mathematics, reading, and writing.  While, no doubt, mastery of these subjects are of immense importance for all, the bottom line is that those that are educated, or non-educated for that matter, need to also be taught and to take to heart, without exception, the importance of as well as the value of good ethics and sound morals.  That is to say, a society that brings up its children in a manner in which their moral compass is suspect and their personal ethics correlate wholly with their selfishness, is not going to be a good and safe society, but rather will devolve into being a dog-eat-dog construct.


It is always far better to address morals and ethics, when a child is young, for good habits developed at a young age, create a sound basis for good behavior.  While, it is true, that it is never too late for change for the better, it is a truism that the more ingrained bad habits and bad behaviors are, the more difficult it is to extricate people from the mindset trap that has been so created. 


It is wise to remember that when children are born that their environment and their upbringing impresses upon their psyche, and such can either be of benefit to that child in its good development, or can be in conflict or of harm to the innate goodness of children; so that  in absence of good role models, or sound familial structure, children need to know not only what is right and what is wrong, but the reasoning behind such, as well as taking into their being the comprehension as to why good morals and sound ethics makes for a good and better society, as well as for a better and more secure life.


After all, if stealing, cheating, and lying are all occurring in the here and now of a child's development, of which, there is nobody or no one to help explain why this is not appropriate behavior which is being perpetrated from various adults as well as other children; in which, it seems that in many instances, the perpetrators of these bad things often are not being caught or made to own up to their misbehavior, then nothing but confusion and uncertainty is going to enter into the mind of a given child.  For, the bottom line is that though we do have police and a multitude of laws, it is in a very large sense, up to people themselves to be the ultimate person responsible for their own behavior, good or bad, and to thereby to keep their own house in order.


Everyone should know the difference between right and wrong, and further, the need to have developed within themselves the discipline to not allow impulsive and bad acts to override their common sense, a good moral compass, and good behavior.  Additionally, our free will, is our responsibility to own up to, so that we need as much as possible, from good familial relationships, good schools, good friends, as well as mentors, the abiding knowledge that good morals and sound ethics properly applied will serve as our good restraint upon our bad actions, for if we do not learn to appropriately restrain ourselves, then the state apparatus or outside elements will surely do so.

Locking up the wrong people for the wrong reasons by kevin murray

According to Wikipedia.org, the United States incarceration rate is 655 peoples per 100,000, of which the prison population in America is estimated to be 2,121,600.  In comparison, Japan, a country of 126.8 million peoples, has a total of 51,805 as their prison population, with an incarceration rate of just 41 peoples per 100,000.  This would seem to indicate that Japan is a much more civilized and a much more just country than America is, and that probably is a fair conclusion to draw.


There isn't any country in the world that has more power and more aggregate wealth than America, yet, America demonstrates by its exceedingly high crime rate that there must be something fundamentally wrong with this picture.  That fundamental wrong is that America is quite clearly a very unequal society, in which while having an incredible amount of wealth, way too much of that wealth, is held in the hands of the very, very few; and in addition, America has an embarrassingly high amount of poverty, often concentrated in low opportunity zones, as well as those impoverished people often suffering from ill education.


The very people that America specializes in incarcerating are their most impoverished citizens, who suffer from a lack of good employment opportunity, thwarted dreams, discrimination, and living within an infrastructure which provides them with very little of real substance.  Not too surprisingly, people that live on the wrong side of the railroad tracks, clearly do suffer from the stress of never being able to get ahead, along with having the innate knowledge that the game is most definitely fixed against them, of which, the justice system that they must contend with, is unequal, unsympathetic, and uncaring; thereby making them easy targets for the policing arm of this country to prey upon, for they do not have the resources to put up any sort of fight, and if they do fight back, they often suffer an ever more debilitating fate.


All this signifies that America, has for decades, concentrated far too much of its resources on incarcerating people for the basic crime of living in low income areas, that lack any ready means for a good and living wage; and punishing those trying to make some money, in an environment, that does not afford them a true and fair opportunity to make money, any other way than the means that they so often pursue.


Yet, all the crime that occurs in America, never goes away, no matter how many are arrested, processed, and incarcerated, because as long as there is a such a significant subsection of Americans that are exploited, abused, segregated, targeted, and discriminated against -- the crimes to be found and to thereby be charged against these unfortunate people, will never run dry.


So then, what America refuses to do is to take and to make a thorough investigation of all those that are exploiting the poor, as well as to examine thoroughly all those that create and are the beneficiaries of the conditions that make for the poor, of which, these people are seldom arrested or incarcerated.  Yet, if America was to concentrate fully its immense justice and political resources upon all those that are so clever in taking unfair advantage of their fellow citizens, as well as to level the playing field, so that all would have an equal chance at the table of prosperity, then its crime rate would surely come down, for the real criminals are specifically those that steal the lives, happiness, and freedom of their fellow citizens, for their own profit and selfishness.   

The federal government should borrow money directly from its citizens by kevin murray

It is quite unfortunate that because of its name, that the Federal Reserve Bank, is considered by many to be the national bank of the United States, but it most surely is not.  In fact, the Federal Reserve Bank, is made up of banking consortiums, such as Citigroup and Chase, and is a separate and independent banking consortium, which is not part of the federal government.  However, our coin of the realm comes from this Federal Reserve Bank, in which the dollars so used, are designated as Federal Reserve notes.


As might be expected, anytime that anybody borrows money from a bank, that entity is going to have to pay something for the privilege of that money so borrowed, of which, the United States,  as reported by thebalance.com, is estimated to be expending $479 billion on its national debt for the fiscal year 2020.  That is to say that $479 billion is paid from this government to the consortiums that are the member banks of the Federal Reserve Bank.


A far better idea, is for the United States, itself, to get its funding, not from the Federal Reserve Bank, but rather from the people that populate this country, and to do so, directly, by putting forth bond issuances or similar to the people, that will thereby create the "greenbacks" to use as the legal currency in this country.  In point of fact, this issuance of currency directly generated by the government might not even necessitate interest payments, whatsoever, depending upon the structure of that money creation.


For instance, crypto currencies, which are so prevalent today, are backed by absolutely nothing, but are accepted as a form of currency because such is anonymous, prevalent, electronic, reliable, and serves as a means to make transactions from one party to another.  In fact, as estimated by cointelegraph.com, the market capitalization of all crypto currencies is approximately $213.7 billion, in which, crypto currencies only came into existence in 2009.  This so signifies, that people are quite willing to use other forms of currency other than our current Federal Reserve notes, in which that currency pays to the user, no interest, and those currencies are backed by absolutely nothing.


Additionally, greenbacks as issued directly by the United States government could in theory, be backed by some sort of combination of assets that are already owned by this government, such as land, mineral rights, commodities, gold, silver, oil, natural gas, buildings, and various other material assets owned by our national government which are estimated to be worth many trillions of dollars.


There isn't any good reason why this government has to beg, hat in hand, to banking consortiums, as well as to provide the exclusive usage of the coin of the realm to the Federal Reserve Bank.  The act of 1913, that created the Federal Reserve Bank, can and should be rescinded, and replaced by the United States government utilizing its own assets to create the sound basis of its own greenbacks, and to do such in a manner in which, this government interacts directly with its people; in which, time and time again, the good people of this great country, have demonstrated their patriotism by investing their faith and their good labor into the coin of the realm, as not only an act of civic duty, but as their expression that this last great hope of mankind, deserves no less.

501(c) (6) nonprofits and the need for transparency by kevin murray

Not all nonprofits are built the same, though the cursory belief is that anything that is designated as a nonprofit sounds like a community good, because it is believed that those that are involved in a nonprofit ostensibly must be doing so for the greater good. However, not all that glitters is gold and not all nonprofits are actually good, in fact, some of them are a real menace to democracy and fairness.


In point of fact, though the 501(c) (6) is a nonprofit, it is per new IRS regulations, in many cases, not subject to the reporting of their donor names and addresses, which was formerly done through IRS Form 990.  Of course, when it comes to the tax code, the IRS, and lawyers, it is never as clear as a new regulation may make it out to be, but the bottom line is that when a 501(c) (6) is able to successfully hide the names of its donors, and the amounts of those donations that these organizations have so received, and subsequently are able to utilize such in political contests, amendments, and propositions in which the money so being donated to those things, is coming not from a given individual, specifically named, nor limited to a specific dollar amount, but have come from a 501(c) (6) nonprofit, instead, than that money so utilized is clearly a form of "dark money".


Further to the point, money influences all sorts of things, and those with the most money are on the inside track of successfully putting through their agenda as compared to those others, that are monetarily outgunned.  Additionally, many 501(c) (6) nonprofits have innocuous names, along with the fact that they are designated as nonprofits, which allows these organizations to take on the aura of being a concerned institution, merely performing their civic duty as they see it, and as authorized by law.


The only possible way to even out the playing field is for all 501(c) (6) nonprofits that are contributing funds to elections, amendments, and propositions, to have publically disclosed in real time, the actual names of those that are donating these funds, visible for the public perusal.  Additionally, those nonprofits that pretend to be one thing when in actuality they are something else, should have their nonprofit status revoked, and should be effectively dissolved.


When it comes to influence in politics, amendments, and propositions, the amount of money put into play makes an important and material difference to the results so rendered, and when that money is influencing greatly the result of local and civic events, of which that money is not local to the community, though the nonprofit so created is; that seems to be wholly unfair to the community at large.


In all fairness, community concerns, that are taken up for a vote or debate, should be limited to those that are part and parcel of that community, of which each person eligible to vote, should have that one vote; whereas nonprofits that have taken on the guise of being part of that community, but are funded by those agents which clearly are not, have no legitimate place in the public and fully disclosed square.

Credit card interest rates need a Federal mandated cap by kevin murray

In all likelihood, usury has probably been around in one form or another, ever since mankind determined that the present value of money is not the same as the future value of that money -- and further that those that need a loan, in order to make it worthwhile for the person or entity so loaning the money, should receive something more in return for the risk and the period of time that the money is so being loaned.


In America, the banks seemingly hand out credit cards almost like candy, so that virtually every adult has received a solicitation for a credit card and subsequently has received a credit card on their person.  Unfortunately, the financial intelligence of the American consumer varies considerably, in which some of those consumers are quite cognizant and perceptive when it comes to credit cards, interest rates, penalties and so forth, and then there are those others that seemingly are clueless.


Not too surprisingly, financial institutions love those that really don't understand what they are signing up for, nor properly understand their obligations when it comes to their interest rate, penalties, due dates, and minimum payback requirements, for these consumers can be, and often are the most profitable consumers for these financial institutions to have.  Incredibly, while it might seem unfathomable, we find that in the 21st century that this modern and advanced nation, has some States of its Union, that for all intents and purposes, that do not have usury caps on the interest rate that their credit cards are issued upon.  Again, it bears repeating, that States such as South Dakota, do not limit the interest rate that credit card banking companies can charge their consumers, and that non-limitation has nothing to do with whether that person utilizing that credit card actually lives in South Dakota, but, rather the only thing that materially matters is that the banking institution must have its credit card charter operations located within that State.


In an era in which new car loans, are consummated at less than 5% for those of good credit, and mortgage rates for homes are around 4% for those of good credit, it seems to be a total outrage that some credit card companies are able to charge interest at 25% or even higher on credit card balances.  To say that this is a very easy way for financial institutions to make money would be an understatement, for as reported by fool.com, in 2016, it is estimated that credit card companies made $63.4 billion in interest income, alone.


For many traditional loans, the amount of the interest rate so charged, is based upon the "prime rate", which is typically defined as the interest rate charged to the bank's best customers, and stands currently at 5%.  The prime rate, is not fixed, and is essentially tied to the current Federal Fund Rate plus 3%; thereby signifying that the prime rate adjusts to the most current economic conditions, and because it does so adjust, allows those banking institutions to still make a reasonable profit.  In regards, to credit card issuance, this Federal government should pass a law, mandating that credit card interest rates be maxed out at the prime rate plus 8%.   This is more than fair to the banking institutions that will still be the ones that will first determine if they desire to issue a credit card in the first place, as well as being fair to the consumer, who is susceptible to paying way too much for credit so being issued, simply because no reasonable interest rate cap has been put into place.

Putting those little trivialities into the right perspective by kevin murray

A lot of people get upset about things that really shouldn't upset them all that much, but nevertheless, even when they realize that their perspective is a bit skewed, they still get all worked up and agitated about relatively small and annoying things.  For instance, some people really get offended if they don't receive a hearty "good morning" or a wave or an acknowledge from another, when they say "good morning" to them; or they get bent out of shape when they perceive that someone has purposely cut them off on the road, or when someone doesn't appear to be listening to every word that they speak with careful and attuned attention, or when they feel that they are being ignored or marginalized, or basically they get upset when they are not feeling appreciated.


All of these various things can bother people, of which, some of these people, have a great difficulty in letting go of their various annoyances and trivialities that aren't really worth holding on to, to begin with.  Because so many people aren't able to get themselves consistently into an appropriate perspective, it sometimes requires a life changing or life rattling event for people to see things far more clearly.  For instance, a good friend that we have been having a feud with, suddenly has a catastrophic event happen to them, such as losing their only means of employment, or having their house being severely damaged via a ruinous flood; in which such an event such as those, is often going to allow us to largely let go of our past gripes with them, in order to best deal with this real crisis of real import. 


So too, perhaps we have been having difficulties with our children or friends, in which we feel that they are as usual, not really listening to us, or paying us their proper mind, which annoys us to no end.  Then when we go in to see our medical doctor, complaining of some annoying pain, only to find out after a very thorough diagnosis, that we have regrettably some sort of life threatening cancer; which changes not only our perspective in the here and now, but also our perspective about those others that had seem so damn annoying, to us.


That is to say, many people have all sorts of complaints each and every day, of which some of these complaints may have some sort of merit, and some of these complaints may indeed be justified to a certain degree; but what we shouldn't do is let life's little trivialities and annoyances to morph into something that they are not, when in the scheme of things, it just isn't that big of a deal.


After all, it shouldn't take a major crisis for a family to come back together, though, to give credit -- there are some families that can't come back together, even when there is a major crisis.  While there is something to be said about constructive criticism and the voicing of complaints; there is something also that must be said about those that accept people as they are, and thereupon make it their point to provide them with their unconditional love -- which is the best love of them all. 


Try not to make the mistake of waiting until some sort of disaster happens in your life or happens to a good and dear friend, to express that love that you truly have for them, for sometimes because of petty grievances and stubbornness, it really does come too late.

The insanity of prescription drugs in America by kevin murray

As reported by statista.com, "The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that prescription drug expenditure in the United States came to some 333 billion U.S. dollars in 2017."  To put this absolutely staggering sum of monies into perspective, statista.com, estimates that in 1960, a total of only 2.7 billion dollars was spent on prescription drugs, and in 1980, that total was just 12 billion dollars.  Further, as reported by statista.com, the United States, "… spent 17.9 percent of its gross domestic product on health care in 2017," as compared to only 5 percent in 1960, and just 8.9 percent in 1980.


This staggering increase in prescription drugs expenditures along with the corresponding massive increase in the percentage of monies spent on health care within America's gross domestic product, is quite clearly a crisis on a number of levels.  It must be said, it would be one thing if all this prescription drug usage in America was somehow miraculously resolving health issues and problems in America, but the fact of the matter is, that the United States is an exceedingly unhealthy nation in comparison to other western nations, therefore signifying that all of this prescription drug usage isn't actually being of real material benefit.  Additionally, no other western nation spends a higher percentage of its gross domestic product on health care; yet, the end result signifies that America's health is worse in aggregate than those other western nations. 


When it comes to health care in America, there are fundamental flaws with the orthodoxy as practiced in America, which somehow believes that the more prescription drugs that are prescribed and thereby are utilized by patients, the better off those patients will be.  This presupposes the fallacy that prescription drugs, in and of themselves, somehow are able to make people healthier, but the results clearly prove the very opposite.  What America fails to admit via its insane amount of prescription pills so prescribed, is that the whole physical body as well as its psyche is more complex than the medical profession wishes to recognize, and that therefore to believe that there somehow is a pill that will resolve, correct, and ameliorate every  illness so diagnosed is a false premise.


In point of fact, the foods that people eat, the exercises that people participate in, the stress levels that people deal with, as well as the living conditions and income of people are all salient factors in the overall health of a given person.  This thus means that to believe that for every problem the solution is some sort of prescription medicine is knowingly false.  No doubt, prescription drugs can be and have been of benefit for certain patients and specific illnesses, but they are not now, nor should they ever have been, considered to be something more than a conceivable aid for people experiencing some sort of health issue.


Further to the point, not every illness or discomfort, necessitates a prescription drug; for the body as a whole, is remarkable in being able to repair and heal itself, given enough time, rest, adjustment, cleanliness, and care.  Additionally, the fact that the prescription drug business is a for-profit business, greatly lends itself for those companies to have a material need to increase their sales, as well as to protect and/or to augment their pricing structure for the benefit of growing the profits of that corporate pharmaceutical industry. If, this country, through its government and its people, will not stop and make a thorough and comprehensive review of what exactly is going on and how much this has gone horribly wrong, then this will literally become a country drowning in prescription drugs, to the overall detriment to the health and financial well being of its population as a whole.

Prosecuting the prosecutors by kevin murray

The structure of justice in America, clearly favors the prosecutorial side at the expense of those accused of criminal activities, as well as hindering the defense attorneys of those so accused.   The reason that this is so, is because the prosecutor, in many cases, has taken on in fit, form, and function the mantle of not searching for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and thereby doing honor to that truth; but rather has replaced such with a deep abiding desire, to rack up victories, by prosecutorial actions that result in convictions, rightly or wrongly.  That is to say, many prosecutors are all about winning convictions, and seldom about performing their sworn duty that justice, above all, is served.


In point of fact, the prosecutor has an absolute obligation to provide to the defense all material exculpatory evidence, but when the mindset of that given prosecutor is convictions, above all else, then prosecutors are going to structure what is provided to the defense in a manner, that obfuscates or ignores such, to the detriment of justice and fairness.  Additionally, many prosecutors are wholly unfair in the charges made against defendants as well as the plea bargains so offered, especially for all those that are indigent, and without council or with council that are overburdened by case overload.


While one could appeal to the better angels of these prosecutors and thereby hope to see some sort of material change in their behavior, that probably isn't going to work, for prosecutors hold so much power and are so enthralled to that power, that such power has thoroughly taken control of their psyche. Rather, the only real way to catch a thief is for experienced attorneys, to oversee prosecutorial activities in a manner in which, this oversight committee would have the absolute right to investigate thoroughly questionable prosecutorial actions.


At the present time, each State has a State Bar Association, of which the current responsibilities of that Bar include the regulation and disciple of attorneys, in which within that Association, an offshoot could be created of retired attorneys, specifically structured in a manner to investigate suspected prosecutorial mismanagement.  Further to the point, such an Association should be constructed in which the people would have representation within that Association, so that combined, the people along with retired and experienced attorneys, would have the right to investigate thoroughly suspected prosecutorial material errors for misconduct, and to hold those prosecutors, accountable to such charges.


If such an Association was created, and created with some real bite to it, that in and of itself, would certainly impress upon even those most recalcitrant prosecutors, that their days of being the only sheriff in town, with no one and nobody to hold them accountable, effectively being over.  In other words, prosecutors operate today under the belief that there is no one and nobody that can stand up to them, so that the most egregious prosecutorial errors, mismanagement, and deliberate prejudice are permitted as a matter of course.  Prosecutors are able to conduct their business in that manner, mainly because so much of what they are doing is successfully hidden from public investigation or scrutiny of any kind; in which, when prosecutors are aware, that they are subject to a meaningful review from a superior body, with appropriate penalties so imposed, they very well might change the way that they conduct themselves to align much better with the principles of good law, fairly applied.