This nanny state owes us by kevin murray

When we are born into this world, our parents take care of us, and they also know everything about us; in regards to our likes and dislikes, our habits, our tastes, our fears, and our preferences.  A good parent cares about its child, because that child is not only their responsibility to take care of, but also because that child is their own flesh and blood.  Additionally, while good parenting is very important for the proper upbringing of children, it doesn't ever really stopped, because our parents care so much about us, that they are more than willing to contribute to our good welfare, in things large and small, no matter our age, because to them, we will always be their children.

 

In today's world, the overreaching nanny state has actually morphed into something that wants to compete and to essentially replace our parents.  For this government, in its many agencies knows everything about us, even those things, that we have forgotten about, or that time has dulled our recollection of, but this government, sees all and knows all, and further to the point, is able to hold over on its population by the power of that knowledge.

 

Our government, uniquely identifies us, far beyond a mere name that we were born with, but with our own individual number, but not just one number, as in our Social Security number, but also our driver's license number, our passport number, and any other numbers that are associated specifically with just one individual.  Our government knows our educational achievements, it knows our grade point average, it knows where we went to school, all the various places that we have lived, as well as our employment history, our health history, our marriage history, our income, our assets, our banking and brokerage accounts and pretty much everything of relevancy.

 

Our government knows if we have student loans, knows who and where we donate our charitable monies to, knows our phone number, knows our email address, knows our sex, our height, our weight, our race, our religion, and has pictures of us in its database.  Further, through the power and/or coercion of government, all of our social media posts, and who we communicate with, including the length of time, date, and format, are all contained within the governmental database, along with any arrest records, or court cases that have been transacted in our lives.

 

The bottom line is our government truly knows everything about us.  Some might say that means they own us, and that does seem to be the case for some people; but what this government really should admit to is that it actually owes us, because of fact that they know us as well as or even better than our parents, therefore this signifies that as any good parent does, it is now the government's duty to take care of us, having essentially replaced our parents.

 

That is to say, all of this information that the government has on us, in order for it to have a good purpose behind it, should be and must be, to benefit the people of this country; for just to collect, collate, and analyze all of this reams of information, just to be nosey, is purposeless.    This means that this government needs to hold up to its end of the bargain, for to know everything about us and then not to do right by us, is to vacate the sacred responsibility that governmental omniscience has become obligated to; so then, this government owes us, and owes us, big time.

Private prison guards, salary, and corruption by kevin murray

According to prisonlegalnews.org, "One in four private prison guards makes less than $26,091 annually," and further, "…employees of private prison companies earned roughly $6,000 to $9,000 less than their public counterparts."  What this essentially means is that private sector incarceration facilities pay their prison guards less money and are provided with less material benefits than comparably based public incarceration institutions, which quite obviously is one of those factors that permits for-profit incarceration facilities to achieve a higher gross margin and to turn the necessary profit.

 

The fundamental thing about prisons is that the people that are incarcerated there are afforded "free" room and board, but are imprisoned, and therefore are subject to the vicissitudes of prison discipline and prison laws, both written and unwritten.  So that, while very few people envy those that are imprisoned, the fact that those imprisoned do have food, water, exercise and entertainment facilities, library and/or education facilities, and a place to sleep, can be a source of displeasure for those that are their guards, especially when those prison guards perceive that the money that they earn in their work, barely allows them to keep their heads above water, and may not be really enough to keep them out of crushing debt, themselves.

 

This thus means that in any situation in which one party has sway and supervision over another party, in which those supervisors are underpaid, underappreciated, and are vulnerable to some real degree of physical harm and danger themselves; that they will be sorely tempted to look or to consider seriously augmenting their income so as to make their life appreciably better, especially when they believe, rightly or wrongly, that they deserve to have that extra benefit.   

 

So then, while prisoners often lack ready cash, those that are on the outside, that are their family, friends, and associates, do have access to ready cash or its equivalency, in which the cost of product going into the prison, is always going to have a very hefty markup.  Since, for the most part, nobody watches the watchers, but instead prisons are setup to watch the inmates as well as visitors of those inmates, the easiest and most common way to get contraband into a prison and to effectively ignore such contraband being there, is to utilize the best tool to do so, which are those underpaid and underappreciated prison guards.

 

The result is pretty intuitive, in which, those that are paid too little but are working a legitimate "square" job, in which they are struggling to live a life of any sort of quality, will find themselves understanding that since they have the authority over their captive audience, this thus allows them to make extra money, of which, those incarcerated, already understand the nature of the game, so that, they don't mind the price of doing business; so that, each side benefits from it.  So too, the private enterprise incarceration complex, really doesn't mind either, because rather than having to pay a living wage to their employees, they will instead allow that short gap of wages to be paid instead by those that are incarcerated, in one form or another.

 

This signifies that the contraband that comes into prison facilities, primarily comes in via corrupt prison guards, of which, nobody will readily admit to such, but those that are part of the business, know such is true.

The case for war must be made by Congress, not the Executive branch by kevin murray

The United States Constitution states, “The Congress shall have Power . . . To declare War…"  However, recent history has shown that this clause for all intents and purposes is null and void, because the wars that America has had against Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, were all wars that were not authorized, declared, nor approved by Congress. On the other hand, on December 7, 1941, a day that will live on in infamy, in which Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan; on the very next day, FDR went in front of Congress to ask for a declaration of war, which was thereupon authorized by that Congress that same day.  This so signifies, that if the President is willing to ask for a declaration of war, that the Congress, the only branch of government authorized to declare war, will vote upon it.

 

The main reasons why Presidents no longer bother going to Congress to get a war authorization, is that the President, first and foremost, recognizes that the President, based on recent history doesn't actually need to get authorization, despite what the Constitution stipulates, and further, that the President will not be held accountable for having not done so; and additionally, the President is just one person, and therefore the technology-military-industrial complex obviously prefers to just have to convince or coerce one person to make war, rather than to be involved in an actual debate with the representatives of the people, that may or may not be so eager to authorized a formal Congressional declaration of war.

 

The unfortunate thing is that when a Constitutional republic devolves into an Imperial Presidency, then that country is functionally not adhering to its own Constitution, so that the voice of the people is effectively negated.  Further, wars are the very thing that the people should have their say upon, for it is their blood, their money, their safety, and their reputation that is put at stake, in which, no President, on the say-so of that President, should be able to simply declare war without such being reasonably debated and vetted by the people's Congressional representatives.

 

The Declaration of Independence states that "…a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes…" for that independence, and the Declaration of Independence, then proceeds to do that very thing; along with the salient fact that the Declaration of Independence is signed by at least one representative of all of the thirteen colonies at the time of its declaration.  The reason that this is so important is that the signatories to that Declaration pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to that document.

 

This so signifies, that any war declaration made by the Presidency without the expressed authorization by Congress, is contrary to the highest law of this land, which is the Constitution, and that circumventing such is inimical to that Constitution.  The declaration of war is one of those decisions, that has major and significant consequences, so that, it should be accorded the type of respect that permits the members of Congress to debate the merits of, and should be done in a manner in which the people are an integral part of such decisions, for when war comes, it is the people's blood and the people's children that will do the fighting, the killing, and the dying.

Dividends, stocks, and capital gains by kevin murray

The stock market is very big business, in which barrons.com states, that the United States stock market capitalization is worth about $30 trillion.  That market capitalization equates to the value of the shares of stock of all publically held companies at their current share price.  For many investors, there is a belief that the current price of a given stock multiplied by the number of shares held represents a financial asset which would be the basic equivalency as if that money was held in a bank or in any sort of cash instrument, but this belief is most definitely, a fallacy.

 

One thing that investors have a strong tendency to forgot, perhaps based upon all the financial articles written and pundit words spoken, is that the stock price of any given stock, is what the market will bear at that time and moment, of which, there is a general belief that the price of that stock, is somehow correlated to fundamentals such as earnings per share, growth rate, future projections, sales, and so on and so forth.  To a certain extent, there is truth in that, but to a large extent, the price of any given stock at any given time really amounts to speculation and is a zero-sum game, for every stock traded has a seller as well as a buyer, and each of those investors, believes that they are on the right side of that trade.

 

Dividends, on the other hand, are payments made from the publically held company to the holders of that stock, typically done at scheduled times throughout the year, such as quarterly, in which real cash leaves the company paying that dividend and goes into the hands of the owners of those shares. This payment is a payment that once made cannot be taken back, so that, for long term investors in a given stock, they could easily have received over the years more money in dividends accumulated then the actual price of the stock when they first purchased it.  This also represents a payment from the profits of that corporation which is the only guaranteed return on investment that an investor will ever get.

 

For most people, especially when the market is going up, most of the money gained from their investments, actually comes from the price of that stock investment going up, which should be seen for what it is, a profitable gain on paper.  Additionally, while there may be many good reasons why a given stock goes up, in regards to earnings, sales, and growth rate, primarily, the price of the stock goes up because other investors or speculators believe that the shares are worth buying at an increasingly higher price point. This means, in a nutshell that all gains that investors make, with the exception of dividends paid out, come from other investors that are willing to pay a higher price for the shares then what was paid by the previous investor, no matter the time period. 

 

So then, capital gains, occur only when additional investors believe that the underlying price of the stock deserves to be higher than what it once was, whether or not the fundamentals of that stock or the conditions of the economy support such, and further to the point, capital gains come exclusively from other investors, and should and when other investors lose confidence in such a belief, stock prices collapse, sometimes very rapidly.

"We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people" by kevin murray

One of America's greatest generals, Eisenhower, would later become a two-term President, stated in 1953, the above quote, as well as, "We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat," in a speech generally known as the "Chance for Peace" speech.  Now, more than sixty-five years later, it would appear that America has determined that it will not be known as a rich land of peace and prosperity for all, but rather as a warrior nation, always prepared to do battle against enemies real and mostly imagined.

 

America's military budget for 2019 is $716 billion, of which the second largest military budget in the world is China as reported by the International Institute of Strategic Studies which is at $168 billion, with our long-time cold war nemesis Russia at a mere $63 billion, and countries such as Germany at $46 billion.  The thing is all of that money being spent and having been spent on the national defense of this nation, is indicative of a nation that must, in order to keep justifying such obscene and outsized expenditures, flex its muscles throughout the world, in addition to the salient fact that such a nation has an abiding interest in finding trouble, throughout the world, even though America will not find trouble on its own borders or really won't find trouble anywhere with anyone at anytime, for there is not a single country or a combination of countries that is contemplating or would contemplate attacking America via military means.  

 

Further to the point, all of these billions upon billions of dollars, are for the most part, being spent in the wrong-headed belief that rather than this government with all of its material resources making it their principal to actually take care of seeing that all of the denizens of this great nation, are afforded good housing, good education, fair opportunity, and good jobs; instead find that these good people are suffering in a construct in which a substantial amount of the people in this country live in substandard housing, are ill-educated,  and often are harassed and treated with contempt, for the basic "crime" of being poor.

 

The military budget of the United States is so gargantuan, that to reduce such a budget by 50% immediately, would still dwarf all other individual western nations and their respective military budgets, and would not impact the ability of the United States to defend itself, one iota.  Of course, such a drastic change would have material impact upon the structure of our defense, contracts of that defense, personnel of that defense, and might itself lead to a military coup within America, for the technology-military-industrial complex that holds the power of America and its institutions in its mighty hands, would not readily relinquish such.  Still, to continue to give ground year after year, to the technology-military-industrial complex is weakening this nation to the point that its national debt is over $22 trillion, with millions upon millions of Americans that live under conditions that are not becoming of the world's richest nation, nor would any of this be indicative of a country that claims to be a beacon of freedom, liberty, and fair opportunity for all.

 

The Congress of the United States, has the power to reduce this defense budget, of which, even an annual reduction of just 4%, 5%, or 6%, would indicate that this Congress has the courage to truly represent the people, and further that it recognizes, like Eisenhower, that expenditures on military armaments of all types, steals from the present, and tears away the good hopes of our future.

Overseas manufacturing benefits almost exclusively the owners by kevin murray

If it is to believe, that nothing is more important than profit in this capitalistic society, then it sure the heck makes a  whole lot of sense to want to outsource manufacturing and as much as the process of mass manufacturing of any given product, overseas.  The reason that this is so, is because America has not been a frontier country for a very long time, but is instead a mature nation, with a vibrant, though nervous, middle class; it has a strong rule of law, as well as pertinent rules, regulations, and a democratic process that gives the voice to the people as well as to more than one party.  All of those things combined in America, means that labor costs are significantly higher than in developing countries, as well as because of our regulations and environmental laws the cost of doing business in America is also going to be much higher.

 

This means, quite obviously, that manufacturers know for a certainty, that in an era in which overseas shipping has never been more efficient and reliable, and in an era in which the marketplace is truly global, that there are advantages in having finished goods in areas of the globe other than in America; in addition to the salient fact that this is a competitive world marketplace, indicating clearly that to sit on one's laurels and to simply keep everything domestic is often going to be a decision that will have negative consequences for the profitability and the growth of a given company.

 

So too, when the mindset of an American-based manufacturing company, is solely based on profit, then those manufacturing companies are going to look upon overseas cheap labor, as well as the often very lax rules and regulations for safety, the environment, as well as labor, as something too enticing not to readily take advantage of.  Additionally, because often the employees overseas are not direct employees of the domestic manufacturer, as well as the facilities and equipment overseas being also not owned by that manufacturer, but instead all of this has typically been outsourced to a foreign manufacturer under a contract which absolves the domestic manufacturer from any sort of retribution or lawsuits, then the pathway to outsourcing is often quite clear.

 

After all, the very successful antebellum South was built upon slave labor, and whereas today's overseas' labor does gets paid, the cost of that labor in comparison to the domestic cost of that equivalent labor, is a relatively small subset, so that having secured that cheap labor as well as having secured a competent outsourced manufacturing facility to manufacture those products, means that the most valuable executives of that domestic manufacturing company, are the ones that are going to overwhelmingly benefit from that beneficial cost structure. 

 

This essentially means that the manufacturers that formerly used to principally build and do everything within the borders of America, of which the labor class of America was able to thereupon get a seat at the table of this economic system, through hard fought battles, laws, and unions, have in so many cases, become irrelevant; because rather than paying the going domestic rate, manufacturers and those that control the capital of this country, are able to reap far greater harvests, instead, by cheap global labor that enriches, almost exclusively, just them.

The need to truly understand the Great Pyramid by kevin murray

People, the world over, love to make lists of all sorts of things, of which one of those lists, are the seven wonders of the ancient world.  On that list there is only one monument that still stands today, and to a large extent, stands as it was, with the exception of the removal of the highly polished limestone that once covered over these immense blocks of carved limestone that make that pyramid, so that, it can be said, the Great Pyramid, has not fundamentally changed in 4,500 years.

 

While there are all sorts of theories as to how the Great Pyramid was built, who the Great Pyramid was built for, and why the Great Pyramid was built; the thing that so many people, including experts seem to miss is the salient fact that the Great Pyramid still actually stands, and not only still stands, but was also the highest manmade structure created for around 4,000 years.  Those facts, alone, should pique the ears of all those that really want to understand the Great Pyramid.

 

Mankind wants to believe that it has evolved in a linear fashion over thousands of years, and because of that theory, it then reads history in a manner that will only accept that those born 4,500 years ago, were quite obviously inferior to modern man in regards to science, literacy, knowledge, tools, and just about anything else of merit.  Yet, if this was an absolute truth, where is modern mankind's Great Pyramid that will stand the test of time for 4,500 years?

 

While one can rightly marvel at the sheer great engineering and audacity of the Great Pyramid, to then concoct simplistic and idiotic theories that this Great Pyramid was built though slave labor, or hand labor, or simple hand tools, is to also believe that mankind's successful lunar landing, originated from some little kid's backyard.  Something as sophisticated and as amazing as the Great Pyramid deserves to be respected for what it is, rather than to conjure up stereotypes of shirtless slaves manifesting such a pyramid through an intricate play of pulleys and gears.

 

For instance, as reported by newscientist.com, "The tombs are aligned north-south with an accuracy of up to 0.05 degrees."  Also, as reported by quora.com, "The Great Pyramid location 29.9792 N is exactly the same as speed of light 299, 792 km/sec."  Facts such as these, are consistent with the belief that the knowledge and ability to create such a lasting and meaningful edifice could only have come from a civilization that was far more advanced than is generally recognized, and further that Egypt 4,500 years ago, must have, in some important areas that modern mankind does not yet comprehend, been superior in that knowledge in some very meaningful ways.  That is to say, knowledge is not linear, for mankind can advance as well as regress, and therefore the object lesson of the Great Pyramid is to respect first and foremost, the civilization that created it, along with having the openness to truly want to understand how they were able to create not only this Great Pyramid, but pyramids of this sort, in Egypt as well as other areas of the globe.

 

The fact that the remnants of great and advanced civilizations are all around us, should be a lesson recognized, and one of especial merit for all those that have the ready ability to rein nuclear annihilation with the push of a button; for even the mightiest do fall, and if we will not learn correctly from history, especially when insisting that it be what it is not, we are doom to continue to repeat errors until such time that we not only understand our lessons well, but apply those lessons forthrightly for the benefit and the greater good of mankind.

Segregation and ghettos by kevin murray

America has national policies that in theory are supposed to fully integrate society, as well as to provide fair opportunity to all Americans, irrespective of national origin, race, sex, religion, or color.  Since a lot of this legislation was passed in the 1960s, one would have a tendency to believe that society has thereby gotten a lot more integrated and would be displaying far more equality then it was previously, and further that discrimination of all types, would be reaching new lows.

 

To a certain degree, opportunities have never been better for those that are not white, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant, for there are more non-whites in positions of influence and power, then ever before.  On the other hand, a huge swath of the offspring of all those that were segregated in ghettos and without property, essentially generations ago, are often in the very same conditions that their forefathers were in, with absolutely no real progress having been made to ameliorate such, and no realistic pathway that this ever will change.

 

The white people that have historically been in power, and have an undue influence upon governmental and economic policies, are for the most part, the same types of people that have been there for generations in the fit, form, and function of what they do to perpetuate the conditions that permits them to maintain and to expand their powers.  That power, demands to have an abundance of poor, disadvantaged, and ill-educated people, so as to successfully exploit them for the profitability of those that are the property owners, the factory owners, the banking owners, and the like, that have a need to keep the impoverished down so as to continue to enrich their own selves by the exploitation of them.

 

That is to say, there is still a fundamental need of the rich propertied class, that demands an abundance of non-property people, so as to clean the houses of, landscape the gardens of, as well as to wash the floors of their company buildings, in addition to taking care of the offspring of those privileged rich people, along with utilizing those same people to sell to them, drugs legal or illegal, that will distort their minds, and thereby help to keep them somewhat pacified despite the reality of their situation.  Additionally, the segregated poor provides an abundant opportunity for financial institutions to exploit the ignorance of those that are clueless about how to handle their money, so as to keep those people perpetually in their place; and finally, all this to be policed in a manner that treats those so segregated as if they are barbarians to be punished and controlled by the display and usage of ruthless force.

 

America wants the poor and disadvantaged to be segregated into the ghettos that virtually every big city has, in order to keep them separated and thereby non-integrated from the nice folks, that wish to pretend that these people either don't exist, or certainly don't exist in any meaningful numbers.  So that, whenever civil disturbances occur, they always occur within those segregated communities, damaging further those communities, and thereby sending those communities even more into hopelessness and despair, because they have been forsaken by governmental fiat, and placed into ghettos, for the sole purpose, to serve or to be used for the benefit by those that are their masters.

Towards the replacement of traffic tickets by kevin murray

As reported by motorists.org, it is estimated, "…that somewhere between 25 and 50 million traffic tickets are issued each year. Assuming an average ticket cost of $150.00, the total up front profit from tickets ranges from 3.75 to 7.5 billion dollars."  So most definitely, traffic tickets are a very big business, as well as the fact that a significant amount of traffic tickets also have the consequence of increasing the driver's insurance premium.  So that traffic tickets for anyone, receiving such, can really be a budget breaker, and is in actuality for some people, a trigger point, for becoming indebted to the issuer of the traffic ticket to the extent, that with late penalties, fees, and possible license suspension, this all combined results in very negative consequences, all stemming from one traffic ticket, of which, so many of these traffic tickets issued have gone up in price substantially over recent years.

 

The fact that traffic tickets are often used as the necessary means to make or meet budgets for various municipal services, such as police officers, the judicial system, city services, and the like, necessitates a policy of police officers having to essentially write a certain amount of tickets each and every day while they are on patrol, and consequently, not too surprisingly, the interest of those officers becomes finding targets to ticket, irrespective of how dangerous or not, a particular driver actually is.  Additionally, the fact that so many people are stopped each day, in which, idrivesafely.com, states, "Speeding is the most common moving violation in the country, with approximately 100,000 drivers receiving speeding tickets per day,"  essentially means that thousands upon thousands of drivers are subject to being dealt with by a police officer that carries handcuffs, a lethal weapon, and pretty much has the capability to detain or arrest a given driver, apparently based on that officer's perception of the circumstances of the situation.  

 

In the general scheme of things, pulling over cars for minor and arbitrarily defined traffic violations, and thereupon ticketing those drivers, seems like a waste of what a good officer of the law should actually be concentrating their resources and their time upon.  That is to say, people that are driving erratically, or in a manner that a reasonable person would interpret as being dangerous, is something that would seem worthwhile to pull that vehicle over for; whereas generic stuff, such as speeding slightly over the speed limit or not coming to a full and complete stop, is in almost all cases, not worth stopping and ticketing the driver of that vehicle.

 

Of course, when it comes to revenue, no municipality wants to give it up, but the answer to that dilemma would be to start charging drivers of vehicles a fee or tax for the miles driven on their car each year; as well as a higher fee or tax rate for those vehicles that are heavier and also for those vehicles that are more expensive.  Obviously, the heavier a vehicle, the more wear and tear that they put on the roads, as well as the more miles driven, the more that driver has used the roads, and for those that buy expensive cars, an appropriate back tax should be imposed on those that can readily afford to pay more.  Now, it could be argued, that the current fuel tax already adequately addresses these things, but it doesn't address the fact that traffic tickets are in so many ways, a regressive form of taxation, that impacts negatively the poor and disadvantage the most, in which, a usage tax would be a more equitable means to receive revenue and to be more fair about it.

The type of warning that we really need by kevin murray

All sorts of products come with warnings, such as cigarettes, machine equipment, pharmaceutical drugs, and so and so forth; of which, those warnings are for the benefit of the consumer or the user of the product.  Since warnings are considered to be something of real value in life, it would seem that America needs to make it their point to have a pertinent and specific warning attached to each of its public school institutions, especially for all those failing institutions.

 

That is to say, students as well as parents, should actually know, the percentage of students that graduate, the percentage of truants, the percentage of assaults, the percentage of those passing standardized tests at a level that would just about guarantee their college admission, as well as really everything of relevancy in regards to a particular school.  Parents and students should know objectively what a given school is about and not only that they should be able to compare apples to apples from one school to another in the surrounding communities.

 

Those schools that do not meet the minimum standards of what a good school represents, should thereby be mandated to have a warning attached to that school, so that, students and parents would know, that the probable "education" that will be received there will be substandard. Further to the point, there should be additional warnings indicating the incarceration rate, the salary rate, and quality of life, as projected from detailed studies of those that have not earned a high school diploma, or a collegiate graduate degree, or are pretty much functionally illiterate, so that parents and students can see the material difference between those that obtain a good education and those that do not.

 

All of these warnings of schools that are substandard should not only be prominently posted in various conspicuous places throughout the school, but should also be part and parcel of all city or county council school board meetings.  The whole purpose of all this would be to impress upon the students that attend these substandard schools, as well as the parents that care about their children, that they should not only be quite cognizant about the perils of a bad school system, but, more importantly, that all of this should embolden them to demand more from the community and country that they are a part of.

 

In fact, since bad education has material effects that hurt this nation, a national policy should thereby be created, that directly deals with the current substandard schools, in a proactive manner that makes it a very high priority for this to be remediated; so that, no student, should ever have to attend a school that has proven itself unworthy of being reasonably considered to be a valued educational facility. 

 

The whole purpose of warnings is basically to prevent the wrong usage of a given product, as well as to give fair notice of the danger of a given product.  The public school systems of America have a duty to not only provide warnings to their students as well as to their parents, but further they have an absolute obligation to see that these poor school systems are rectified so that the bad education of students and the inferior educational systems that so many are stuck with, are replaced by national acceptable standards, so that all children are given a fair opportunity to actually receive a quality education.

Southern wealth and war by kevin murray

Upon the election of Abraham Lincoln, the South did not waste a moment, in deciding that because it had not been victorious at the ballot box that they would make it their point to assert themselves as free, independent, and sovereign States, in the hopes that the rest of the union of States, would simply allow them to either become their own confederacy of States and thereby to leave the union, peacefully, or would after arms have been taken up and blood spilled, begrudgingly allow the confederacy to  leave in recognition, that civil war between the industrial North and the plantation South, really wasn't necessary, as these were two distinctly separate nations, best left severed, then united.

 

The South, though, in their haste and hurry to leave the union of the States, did not clearly think their actions out and when the first shots of what was to become the Civil War came from the Southern side, the South was to find to their dismay, that the North did not believe that those that have lost a fair democratic election through the ballot box had the right to make war against the democratically elected leaders of this nation, and so, the Civil War, was fought, until one side, the South, was defeated.

 

This war, itself, was primarily fought by the South, not in actuality to defend its honor or to assert their State's rights, but rather at the instigation of the richest Americans, residing in the South, in order to protect their very highly valued property (slaves).  We find that as reported by theatlantic.com, "…by 1860, there were more millionaires (slaveholders all) living in the lower Mississippi Valley than anywhere else in the United States. In the same year, the nearly 4 million American slaves were worth some $3.5 billion, making them the largest single financial asset in the entire U.S. economy, worth more than all manufacturing and railroads combined."

 

All of the above, signifies that those richest Americans living in the South, and deriving their income from their plantations, of which the masses of those laboring upon those plantations, were typically held in bondage, did not wish to entertain even the possibility of having that wealth impacted by a newly elected President as well as legislators, that clearly did not favor the institution of slavery.  This meant, that the wealth of the South, held in the hands of the very few, as well as the political powers of the South, held or controlled by those very same hands, were intent to see that by all means necessary, they would defend their property and instigate war now, in hopes of becoming their own independent and sovereign nation, in the recognition that the South's economic system and wealth as currently structured, could not and would not be able to maintain its status, without the continuation of the slave system which was the foundation of that wealth.

 

This thus signified, that the Civil war was not started by the general uprising of the common people of the South, but instead, such was clearly started by the plotting and deliberation of those wealthy and powerful entities of the South, that would not sacrifice their wealth, and therefore would rather die or have the people that depended upon them for their employment and livelihood to die in their place in order to defend their valued institution, of slavery, which was the basis of their wealth.   This meant that the Southern desire to fight in the Civil War, that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands, as well as the wasted resources of millions upon millions of dollars, was a fight by the very richest of the South, to protect as well as to hopefully augment their wealth, because money meant more to them than liberty, justice, or respecting their country, the United States.

Experience and mistakes by kevin murray

Each of us makes mistakes, in which, if we are honest, we make mistakes each and every day.  That is part and parcel of the human experience in which mistakes are at best, part of the learning experience in order to become better humans, and at worse, thoughtlessly done and thereby the cause of harm to ourselves as well as to others.

 

The wrong way of looking at mistakes is to make up our minds, to do less, to be less, and to simply avoid all things that might make us prone to mistakes, as if, in the scheme of things, as well as in the skeins of time, those that in aggregate make less mistakes overall are considered to be of higher merit.  That isn't the way that it works, for in actuality, those that produced more things of positive worth, and positive achievement, despite their mistakes in getting there, are always going to be closer to where they need to be, rather than those that risk not and therefore do not, for fear of making a mistake.

 

While there are those fatal mistakes, of which, in the heat of the moment, a tragic event unfolds, so that in consequence of, there is a heavy price to pay; for the most part, though, the whole point of living is to challenge oneself to be the best person that one can be, and in order to do that, there are invariably going to be false steps, wrong moves, and other mistakes made, which are all part of the process of gaining both the knowledge as well as the experience to be a better and more evolved person, overall. 

 

In the arena of life, everyone makes mistakes and fails at various things, at one time or another.  The people with real purpose and determination in life are the ones that dust themselves off and get back to the business of accomplishing things of real merit, and are able to thereby absorb their mistakes in such a manner, that they are able to do more and go further, for having that knowledge and experience, garnered from what appeared to have been a mistake.  On the other hand, there are those people that suffer from the same mistake made time and time again, somehow, not being able to figure out, that repeated offenses are the very type of mistakes that need to be constructively resolved, and therefore to keep making those same types of mistakes, is the type of bad experience, that unfortunately has become ingrained upon that person, making it therefore even harder to extricate oneself from.

 

For the most part, there is no shame in making a mistake, and never when that mistake is thereby used as the foundation to improve oneself and society as a whole.  However, all those making mistakes, but do not or will not learn from them, or don't comprehend that it even is a mistake, are stuck in a wasteful cycle, of which they will not learn what needs to not only be learned, but must positively be dealt with in a constructive manner, for wrongs and mistakes, must eventually be righted.

Us v. them in the same society by kevin murray

America wants to believe and claims to live to its principle, that all are created equal, and all are entitled to equal justice under the law without favoritism.  Further to the point, America in so many ways is a great experiment, of allowing and permitting into this country, so many different nationalities as well as so many different faiths, under the belief, that the love of country and of what it represents will unite these disparate elements.  It is a grand and a very noble experiment.

 

So first things first, one must give a lot of credit to America, in even attempting to be that human melting pot, of which, one is hard pressed to name any other country, that has done so much for so many, and provided real opportunity for those that are not white, Protestant, and Anglo-Saxon in heritage.  However, America has also made the sacred promise to not discriminate against race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability, but in so many ways, America has not even come close to living that in action, for America most definitely discriminates in ways small and large against those very things, and in particular, especially discriminates against those that are poor and disadvantaged.  This intractable problem is further exacerbated by the fact that America is clearly divided between those that have and those that have not, of which those that have not, are often those that have not had even a scintilla of real opportunity and of real assistance to have a fair shot and a fair opportunity for success and prosperity.

 

Not too surprisingly, in a country in which a minority of people has an awful lot, and a significant underclass of people has just awful lives as well as awful living conditions, in which the middle class is stuck between these two worlds and often has enough trouble of their own just to maintain their status, there is always going to be significant civil unrest or undercurrents of that unrest.  That civil unrest, could readily be ameliorated, if the government and its people would meaningfully address the issues of poverty, lack of opportunity, lack of good education, and lack of justice in those communities that are suffering from these ills, rather than doing the very opposite of such, which is to as much as possible, shut those that are poor and disadvantaged, down.

 

So then, rather than spend the billions to help those that need and deserve to be helped, this country in its public policies and its implementations, fundamentally has determined that it would rather spend those billions on dividing this country into two opposing camps, of which, the camp with all the money and all the property and all the power, either incarcerates or exploits those that have little or nothing, for the benefit of that ruling class.  To do such, effectively makes this nation disunited, for an objective look at the who, what, and why of the American incarceration policy, for example, demonstrates that America imprisons or discriminates primarily against those people whose only real crime, most of the time, is one of being impoverished and of lacking any realistic means to escape from such.

 

America is unequal in every single definition of that word, and that inequality has material consequences.  It is the reason why so many, feel so unsafe, and it is also the reason why so many feel so discriminated against; and as long as America stays disunited, this country will be a far more foreboding place to be, rather than being and representing the last best hope of mankind.

Inequality in societies, injustice, and unfairness by kevin murray

America is a very unequal society in the sense of monetary assets, education, healthcare, opportunity, justice, and just about anything that anyone can think of that is part and parcel of the American experience.  Defenders of America might simply respond that this is the nature of the beast of capitalism, and that because America is first and foremost a capitalistic society, it has created untold wealth, that would not have been created at such an extent under other governmental systems.  To a degree, that seems like a reasonable response, but the problem that America has is not necessarily capitalism, per se, but the fact that in practice, the capitalism in America, today, is far too often crony and special privileges capitalism, and this clearly aids and abets the inequality that we see in American society.

 

That said, one of the ways to reduce inequality in America in regards to the excessive net worth of some people and corporations, as well as in regards to opportunity, is for the government to specifically work on the side of those that are currently or historically have been disadvantaged so that they will actually have the means to have a seat at the table of prosperity, of which, rules and regulations, taxes, and laws are the very tools to accomplish this. 

 

So then, when a given corporation or a given individual earns a lot of money, the government has a responsibility to tax those monies earned in a way that some of that wealth is spread amongst the people as well as amongst programs to better the people as a whole.  After all, there isn't anything wrong with those working hard to earn the money, enjoying the fruits of their labors, whatsoever; as long as they fairly return the opportunity for others to do the same.

 

Unfortunately, in America, too often the game is if not literally fixed, heavily biased towards certain groups of people, and certain institutions.  That is to say, those that go to schools of low quality, as well as living in dilapidated and crime-ridden neighborhoods, are so severely disadvantaged at birth, that their chance of real opportunity is severely limited, of which, the very point of good governance in the wealthiest nation of the world, is to ameliorate this situation, as soon as possible, for it is wholly unfair, to expect something out of people that have nothing, and have not the proper tools to become something.

 

So too, the American incarceration institution is fundamentally broken, of which, those that are poor and disadvantaged, with no opportunity, and no future, are far too often locked up, for basically being denizens in the wrong neighborhood and having little of real value to do.  Whereas, certain corporations, that have misappropriated billions of dollars from the people, such as in the banking crisis of 2007-2008, are not only "too big to fail", but don't have to suffer the indignity of having any of their high corporate officers  even being arrested, let alone, convicted of their real crimes against the people of this country.

 

Societies such as America, which are so unequal in virtually every category of any worth of consideration, are in practice, never going to be fair or just societies for the people, and the clear evidence of this is right in front of us.  The only possible way to correct this is for this government to make it their point to level the playing field, for without the power, moral suasion, and force of government applied, it most definitely will not correct itself on its own.

Ask this: Who do you answer to? by kevin murray

There are all sorts of questions that individuals should want to know the answer to, of which, some of the most important questions aren't answered because they aren't ever asked.  Additionally, some good questions that are asked, aren't answered to the real point of that question, or have an answer stated that isn't really suitable, or aren't thoroughly thought through.  One of the questions that each person needs to ask, is who do they answer to?  Of course, a simple answer might say that they answer to their boss, or to certain family members, or to their own self, of which, each of these may hold some light to the answer, but they don't actually answer the question with real thoroughness.

 

In the scheme of things, life at its core, involves a hierarchy of people that answer to us and that we, in turn, answer to; of which, those that we answer to and those that answer to us, will change depending upon our age, our wisdom, and our position in life.   So then, it can be said that we answer to different people, at different times, depending upon the particular situation.  However, while that appears to be the immediate answer, that is not the full answer, because ultimately, even those that we answer to, must answer to a higher power; as well as those those receiving answers from us, recognize implicitly that we too must answer to a higher power.

 

In a strange way, perhaps that higher power is our own self, so that ultimately we are responsible for all that we say and do, so that our highest duty is to do right by our conscience; and to the degree that we answer to others, is only to the degree that does not violate that conscience, when so answering to their needs.  That does make sense, and is consistent with being true to our own self, but still, good conscience or not, it doesn't seem quite right that we are our own judge and jury, because even the best of us, are incapable of being completely fair minded, just, and objective in regards to the things that we do.  This thus, presupposes that there must be a higher power, beyond space and time, that is omnipresent, omnipotent, just, good, and immutable, of which, therefore it is then our highest duty to answer to that power, which is commonly known as God.

 

Again, the question must be asked: who do your answer to?  And that question, must be answer to its logical conclusion.  If, it is believed that we answer only to our self, then it so logically follows that each individual should be sovereign within their own domain, of which, this would imply that each of us is our own sort of god, of which, when we look around at the failures and injustices of society, this seems to be the actual mindset of so many.  Then there are others, perhaps more humble and respectful, which believe that they should answer to the governmental powers, or their family or things of that sort, but each of these entities are known to be fallible, so this cannot be correct.   Finally, there are those that understand, that each of us, must answer to the very same Source of it all, our Creator, and therefore by knowing this, they recognize that we are all equally created and are all children of the very same God, and thereby implicitly understand our commonality and therefore make it their mission to truly live the credo that all must answer to the very same One.

Corporate power, monopolies, and freedom by kevin murray

Currently, the five stocks that have the largest market capitalization in the world, are all relatively young companies, of which each of them is also in the hi-tech industry, which are: Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet (Google), Facebook, and Amazon.  These companies do not answer to the people, at least, they do not answer to the people in a democratic manner, for the people do not vote upon these companies through the ballot box, and therefore the people do not have representatives of their interests to legislate upon with these companies on the most pertinent issues, for these companies are above the democratic process, for they are corporate, and non-governmental.

 

This thus means, in essence, that is what is good for these companies, is not something that the people have a direct voice to respond to, for this is corporate power, and not governmental power, and corporate power does not answer directly to the people.  Further to the point, each of these companies represents either a monopoly within their main business, or has established so much power and influence, that they are fundamentally monopolistic in their business throughout America.

 

The problem with any entity that has an enormous amount of monetary capital is that money buys influence as well as money also unduly affects public policy, because money channeled in the right places at the right time, rules the roost.  So too, corporations that have an excess amount of monetary capital, as well as being a monopoly are going to in almost all cases, make it their point, to control everything that they can and need to control, in order to drive forth additional profits, additional growth, and to exploit those that feel compelled to have to utilize their product in each of their monopolistic environments.

 

So then, what essentially occurs is that concentrated power, essentially overturns and eradicates democratic power, and replaces such with whatever that monopolistic entity deems to be of most beneficence for that corporation, often at the expense of the people.  In fact, the people may not be cognizant of just how much they have sacrificed to these monopolistic powers, because they are beholden to the products that they have, so that these products are considered to be a necessity in their lives, and may in fact, in order for the people to stay current or relevant, actually be a necessity in function.

 

The appropriate answer to monopolistic power is either for the government to impose itself and therefore to regulate these monopolistic powers, akin to what the government does for utilities; or as an alternative the government must break up these dangerous concentrations of power, through the usage of antitrust laws so that monopoly power is eradicated and replaced with smaller and independent companies, that actually compete against one another.

 

The capitalistic system in regards to these five hi-tech behemoths is absolutely broken.  Because it is broken, each of these companies has been allowed to expand dramatically its power, its influence, and its footprint in a way that they are each a clear and present danger to our democracy.  What is good for these companies and their massive profits is almost certainly not good for the people, and most definitely not good for our democracy.  If this government will not rein in monopolistic corporations by vigorous and effective regulation or by meaningful antitrust activity, then our rulers and legislatures will not be those that have been democratically elected but rather will be instead, hi-tech barons, and we will be their dutiful serfs.

Purchasing power and income inequality by kevin murray

America is the richest nation in the world, which would presuppose that being the richest nation in the world, that all of its people, almost without exception, would have fair access to a quality education, quality healthcare, quality food, quality income, and a quality life.  After all, the International Monetary Fund shows that the United States gross domestic product (at purchasing power parity) per capita was at $62,608 in 2018, of which, it would seem that would be a sufficient amount of money to live a good life.  Yet, though the per capita income is quite good, there is though, a monstrous disparity between those that have an incredible amount of almost unfathomable wealth, as compared to a massive underclass that are basically worth absolutely nothing in the wealth category, and often live lives of inferior quality in every conceivable way.

 

This wealth disparity creates all sorts of problems, of which, one of the most salient problems is the fact that those that have all the money in the world are not really consumers of products in the common meaning of the word, but essentially savers of money and to some degree investors of that money.  On the other hand, those that are economically disadvantaged and therefore lack ready access to cash, have a strong interest in consuming as much as they reasonably can of all of the basic things that most humans have a need for, such as food, clothing, entertainment, gasoline, health, and education, but because they lack money they are therefore either going to have go without, or will have to budget accordingly with the limited resources that they do have, or go into debt to try to get what they need and desire.

 

Any country that sees fit to have the wealth created by the denizens of that country, essentially over-concentrated into the hands of the top 1% of the people within that country, is a country that not only will have a constant source of civil unrest, but will not be able to grow the economy of that nation at the pace which it should be at, because the coin of the realm is money, and those that have none of it, can procure little or nothing, and therefore will not be able to spend money on the necessities of life; and those that have nothing but money, aren't going to consume in aggregate all that much, because their bellies are already full with the very best that money can buy in the first place, and will thereby save the excess.

 

Every citizen within this nation deserves to make a true living wage, whether by the wages so received, and/or with the assistance of governmental programs that subsidize those citizens, so that each citizen therefore has a fair chance to actually have enough income to have some sort of meaningful purchasing power to procure the items that they have a desire to purchase.  The continual economic malaise that this country suffers from is fundamentally because of the massive income inequality that this country has, of which, the commonsense solution to this conundrum is for those that have little or nothing to actually have a seat at the table of prosperity, in which, they will for a certainty, have a hearty appetite.

The tragedy is not death but those that compromise their values to live by kevin murray

The death of someone close to us, especially when it is unexpected, or of those that are great in the things that they have accomplished, or of great comfort to us, is considered to be by most people a sort of tragedy, which, it can very well be.  But, all that live, without exception in this world, must die, for that is the nature of physicality, of which, none, can escape.  So then, to not be cognizant that all must meet their Maker, is to fail to recognize that life in this world, is fleeting, and the sooner that we understand that the only thing that truly lives on from our lives, is the things that we have done and accomplished for others, as well as the wisdom that we have imparted to friend and foe alike, the sooner than that we realize that a life worth living is a life lived with purpose and integrity of the highest order.

 

Fear is one of those things, that far too often prevents people of sound mind, of getting around to doing the very things that they really should be doing, but they are reluctant to do, because they fear failure, or they fear ridicule, or they fear risk, or they fear losing something of importance, and well as having the fear of facing death.  Those that compromise the most vital and crucial beliefs in their life, so as to find safety, rather than to face, for example, physical harm, so that they then therefore pretend to be something that they really are not, are walking a very dangerous line, for though such may even be sensible, under certain conditions and certain contingencies, often this is the go-to excuse, and to not stand up when a given person must stand up, is to have traded something of moral value for something that is temporal and transient.  So too, those that compromise their values so as to earn more money, or to keep their status, or to stay within a given clique, have traded their integrity for something that has no real, lasting, or meaningful value, and have not the right to claim to be the good of what they had represented themselves to be, when they surely are not.

 

Additionally, there are those that wrongly believe that there is nothing worse than death, but though it may appear that death can be cheated, or delayed, it can never be avoided; and all those that will stop at nothing to better their own personal situation, at the expense of others, even others of the upmost importance, have traded their good, ethical values for a rather bad bargain, for justice cannot ever be cheated, though it may be delayed. 

 

Those that have the courage to face their adversaries and to stand strong as well as to battle against their adversities are people of real integrity, recognizing the truth that we are what we actually do, especially in those trying situations, that truly define who and what we really are.  Good people die each and every day, of which, those good people deserve our honor and respect; as opposed to those that have repeatedly failed their tests in the most crucial of times, so as to save themselves, never seeming to recognize that having compromised themselves so often, that their tragedy has only just begun.

Incarceration and medical experiments by kevin murray

According to pewresearch.org, it's estimated that there were "… 2,162,400 inmates who were in prison or jail at the end of 2016."  Obviously, with numbers such as that, it is tempting for Federal, State, and local jurisdictions to want to take advantage of the sheer numbers of those incarcerated, for the greater benefit of those not so incarcerated.  This signifies that one of the tempting things to do, when human beings are behind bars, is to desire to perform various medical experiments upon them, since as a captive audience, it is therefore quite tempting to see the prison population as a desirable base of people to medically experiment upon, especially since, those that are incarcerated, are often viewed by those that are not, as being somewhat expendable, in addition to the fact, that many believe those incarcerated should at a minimum try to provide some sort of benefit or greater good to those that are not.

 

The thing about medical experiments is that the nature of the experiment itself, pretty much defines its morality or immorality of such an act.  That is to say, if a prisoner is suffering from some sort of cancer, and there is a new drug that is supposed to be or could be beneficial for that particular form of cancer, and the incarcerated person is fully informed of the side effects of such and the salient fact that the drug or procedure is in the experimental stage, then such medical treatment is probably morally fine, if the information so provided is valid and fully disclosed.  If, on the other hand, prisoners are subject to medical procedures in which their consent has never been given, or have been tricked into ingesting substances that could be harmful to them, under the misdirection of medical personnel that have not informed those that are incarcerated that they are being deliberately utilized as "guinea pigs" or similar, then this is clearly wrong.

 

That said, when it comes to freely consenting to medical experimentation, it is fundamentally important to recognize that those that are incarcerated and give consent, or not under the same trials and tribulations as those that are free to be about their business, in the natural world of non-incarceration.  That is to say, those are truly free and clearly give their consent or not to medical experiments, have, in most instances, freely chosen to do or to not do so, though even these people may have been coerced, in one form or another, to give such consent.  On the other hand, the over two million peoples that are incarcerated are living within an environment of which they do not control or even have a voice within that environment, so then, whether enticed or threatened, it is not inconceivable to believe that those that are subject to the arbitrary and punitive rules within a prison, which includes food restrictions, exercise restrictions, and solitary confinement, along with all the other extrajudicial punishments permitted and conducted, away from those monitoring such, that any incarcerated person can actually truly give their free consent to medical experimentation, for they may be reasonably fearful that real punishment, retaliation, or denials will be their fate, if they do not.

 

So then, as much as the medical and pharmaceutical professions may strongly desire to see the prison population as being the perfect population of people to experiment upon,  since their professional reputation is hardly at stake, this is a form of cruel and unusual punishment of those so incarcerated; and no medical experimentation upon prisoners, can and should ever be conducted, unless such prisoner is already suffering from a specific medical problem in which that individual prisoner assents to such experimentation of a relevant peer reviewed procedure.

Violent crime in America by kevin murray

Most people are quite aware that America is perceived as a violent nation, in which, such violence crime has been defined by the FBI as having four components: murder, forcible rape, forcible robbery, and aggravated assault.  As reported by worldatlas.com, on a per capita homicide rate, four United States cities are listed in the top 50 highest homicide rates in the world, of which, not a single European city, nor a single Asian city, makes that ignoble list.  The bottom line is that the United States, is the outlier, in regards to violent crime, when compared against its European heritage, and this is especially appalling in consideration of the wealth that this nation has and represents.

 

The fact that there is so much violent crime in America, and that such crime appears to be intractable, is fundamentally a misconception.  While there are all sorts of ideas on how to combat this endemic amount of violent crime, such as by mandating far stricter rules and laws in regards to guns, and thereby a far higher degree of gun control, as well as more draconian incarceration for those that insist upon committing violent crime, that isn't necessarily the best way to successfully tackle the problem, because fundamentally the problem with violent crime in America, is that the conditions of inequality of opportunity and inequality of life, are the precursors of so much violent crime in America.

 

The reason that this is so, is because those that do not have a future, and have lost their realistic hope of ever succeeding in America, or of being treated fairly and of being considered of value in America, are going to strike out in ways that are inimical to American values, because frustrated people are often going to air out their grievances in ways that allow them to strike back at the injustices that they deal with on a day-to-day basis, so that those that are accorded no respect and no consideration, will often try to achieve some respect and some consideration, by trying to regain their honor and worth through violent crime.

 

Those that believe that being tough on violent crime, will eradicate violent crime are wrong.  Rather, the gross inequalities of America, the obvious unfairness of America, and the deliberate harassment and discrimination against those that are poor, disadvantaged, ill-educated, poorly housed, and of color, are the very things that perpetuate this violent criminal cycle that defines America. 

 

In order to truly reduce violent crime, it isn't enough to enact tough gun laws, or to take guns off of the streets, though that does help; but rather America must make it their point to begin to truly implement what was promised to those that are the least and most vulnerable amongst us, when the "Great Society"  was envisioned and enacted in the mid 1960s, of which the very point and principle of this great society was to eliminate poverty, improve public education, provide economic opportunity, and to eradicate racial discrimination. 

 

The amount of violent crime in America has a lot to do with hopelessness, moral ambiguity, frustration, and disrespect of those that have little or nothing, of which the foundational cure for such lies in a country that makes it their point to help those in need, as well as to be fair and just in all that it does, and demonstrates this in its actions, day-by-day.