Sunday, December 03, 2017

Steady Decay in Retrograde America

With the American government currently in the hands of a mentally deranged and unstable president, who appears to be a pathological liar and narcissist bordering on psychosis, and a Republican Congress determined to propel this remarkably diverse country backwards to a time when the affluent controlled all aspects of ordinary life, there is a darkness that is beginning to permeate the nation’s future.

Within such a government, wealth, power and profit subsume all other considerations including the health of the nation and the well-being of its people.  This myopic view is so extreme that even the prospects of unabetted Climate Change will not compel them to action – it seems that that the primacy of profit supersedes any concern about the health and quality of the natural environment upon which all of humanity depends.

The reins of political power currently in the hands of predominantly white males – much akin to, “the old boys’ network” -  are inexorably pushing the nation to a state in which any remnants of the social safety net would be effectively dismantled.  The rationale for such a political ideology is that without imposing draconian constraints, the nation will plummet into economic chaos. in spite of the fact that their policies and affiliations are ever-increasing the gross inequities that exist regarding the distribution of wealth.  Such behavior makes such an argument pointedly spurious.

In fact, beneath the nearly transparent veneer of economic and moral certitude, lies a philosophy that enfolds racism, white supremacy, and is surprisingly devoid of compassion with a blatant disregard for social and economic justice.

If this path that the nation is presently on is not altered by massive public involvement in the political process and the full use of our collective democratic rights and responsibility to fashion our own future, that future may, indeed, be a grim one.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

American Federal Government 2017

Since the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, an era has begun that could very well lead to the final phase of the “corporatization” of the American government and way of life.  If we are not vigilant, we could witness the effective demise of our democratic political system.  The United State government was supposed to be a government “of the people, by the people, for the people,” as so eloquently stated in President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (Nov. 19, 1863).  That goal began to erode soon after the new nation declared its independence from British rule (July 4, 1776).  The failure to live up to this commitment was made apparent when slavery was allowed to continue unabated suggesting that it wasn’t a government for all the people.  Despite this grievous inconsistency, the desire to honor this commitment to its people has heretofore remained in place and a great deal of progress has been made especially within the area of civil rights.

There are a number of built in safeguards that were instituted as specified in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to help ensure that this overriding purpose is fulfilled.  These include ensuring that members of Congress are chosen by the people to fulfill their wishes, a well-established system of law, and a system of checks and balances established to protect and serve the public good. 

Over the life of the nation, agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, were established through law in response to deleterious conditions that were the direct result of corporate overreach, negligence and malfeasance.  However, these agencies have been systematically corrupted by those interests that would directly profit from their loss of empowerment.

Lobbyists from powerful corporate interest groups have effectively subverted the will of the people by using monetary incentives in the form of unfettered campaign contributions to steer legislation and direct administrative policies that favor these interests often at the expense of the health and safety of the nation’s people.  The current government is particularly onerous; since, the President and his Cabinet have acted repeatedly to enact policies that subvert the common good.  In literally every department, leaders have been chosen whose goal is to undermine the very authority of the agencies that they are in charge of.  Their one guiding principle seems to be the unfettered pursuit of profit and the further enrichment of the powerful regardless of the actual and real cost to the nation and its future.  In fact, I believe that the current administration is probably the most toxic and woefully ignorant government in the history of the United States.

It is my contention that this kind of government will be short-lived; for, the simple reason that there are far too many smart people who recognize the difference between enlightened, well-reasoned and balanced government and the profound idiocy of the present leadership.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Human World in Disarray

As the number of human beings populating planet earth continues to grow resulting in greater pressure placed upon the resources necessary to sustain twenty-first century human existence; as the climate of the earth is changing and deteriorating as a direct result of human activity and as human wealth continues to be concentrated in the hands of a very few of the world’s people, acts of irrational and crazed violence are growing at an alarming rate.

Living in the so-called, “developed world,” we have become accustomed to expect that life will provide us with a wide range of comforts and ever-expanding opportunities for enjoyment and fulfillment that is far in excess of the expectations of billions of our fellow humans. 

Primarily due to the time and place of birth, vast numbers of our species are subjected to a life of constant turmoil, violence and hardship denied access to the essentials that we naturally take for granted.  Within the limited boundaries of such an existence lies a trying and shortened existence. 

The peoples of the developed world choose to remain oblivious to the price their affluence is exacting upon those less fortunate by siphoning both wealth and resources from much of world.  Ironically, the most telling example of this is the fact that in order to sustain the lifestyle we have grown accustomed to we are producing an over-abundance of greenhouse gases that will ultimately negatively impact the entire human population regardless of place of origin or economic status.

Unfortunately, and tragically, all of this extreme suffering is unnecessary.  Life is a fleeting experience and one that should be cherished and appreciated.  Nonetheless it is all too often squandered in the myopic pursuit of self-interest at the expense of the common good.  We could live in a peaceful and harmonious world if only we could regard everyone as our equals and deserving of meaningful and fulfilling existence.  After all, there is certainly an abundance of intelligence, resourcefulness, creativity, ingenuity and skill within the human community to confront and overcome the problems that we all face as human beings on this most remarkable planet.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Regarding the Notion of White Supremacy

The current president of the United States is remarkably transparent in his affiliation with white supremacists and the enshrinement of the “ideals” of this movement.  It is this worldview that a disturbing number of Americans actually embrace and also explains the irrational and blinding hatred that so many felt towards the presidency of Barack Obama.

The movement embodied in white supremacy is particularly dangerous for it gives license and justification for true believers to indulge in violent acts of aggression when confronted by the reality of the absurdity of this worldview.  Beneath the self-righteous fa├žade of those who profess unwavering adherence to the white supremacist dogma lies a strong and compelling inner sense of inadequacy and personal failure.  This movement constantly reassures them that their personal plight can be blamed on the encroachment of inherently “inferior” non-whites into their lives.  They are, therefore, not to be held personally accountable for their choices.

History has repeatedly demonstrated that white supremacy, as embodied in fascism, is remarkably self-destructive on account of the preeminent loss of reason and the its tendency towards exceedingly violent behavior.  The fact that a significant number of individuals have aligned themselves with this ideology should be a cause of grave concern; for it is a path that necessarily leads to social chaos and disruption that stymies human progress.

If we truly wish to encourage the causes of peace and human harmony as a people, we need to wholeheartedly reject white supremacy in all of its manifestations.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

The Mindless Pursuit of Wealth

There is a particular mindset within the cultural framework of the United States that equates success with the accumulation of wealth.  This perspective is entirely congruent with the central role that profit plays within the economic system – the driving force of capitalism is, after all, capital accumulation.

The behavioral implication of this worldview is a mindless preoccupation with amassing wealth with devastating consequences for the larger human community; for, it is essentially a rigged game – capital generally flows to those who are already affluent from those with the greatest need. 

The proof of this contention can readily be found in the national statistics.  These statistics clearly point to a social order in which
  • An inordinate amount of the total wealth in the county is held by individuals and families that represent a minuscule subset of the entire population
  • Twenty to twenty-five percent of the nation’s children live in poverty
  • Tens of millions remain at serious risk of having either inadequate or a complete absence of access to reasonable and appropriate health care
  • A growing population of homeless throughout America’s major cities and rural areas
  • An ever-growing problem relating to nutrition with many families including women, children and the elderly facing hunger on a daily basis.

The reality as described above that exists for so many is a necessary consequence of the mindless pursuit of wealth and is completely unnecessary. – this nation has more than adequate resources that can be effectively directed at these systemic issues.  It is human compassion that is lacking and the will to effectively correct the corrupt imbalances that foster the extent of this suffering.

Ironically, the mindless pursuit of wealth rarely leads to a successful life; for, the personal price that is paid for this “achievement” is far too costly.  As sentient life forms on this wondrous planet, our lives are transient and when we finally depart from the living we take nothing with us.  Hopefully, the legacy we leave behind adds something of substance and intrinsic value to those who will follow.

Friday, July 21, 2017

To the Now

It is this moment,
this fleeting.
this ephemeral
bit of rushing time.

That is it,

On its way
among the relics and
graveyard of the past
to be contemplated in some
future nowness or
simply forgotten.

I live in the moment,
by the second,
not subject to conjecture,
immune to elaborate planning or

Future time
may not be mine,
these molecular bits
could be finally heading
to the realm
where Chaos abides,
my ultimate destiny.

It is this moment,
this glancing tribute
to existence,
to certainty,
the rest is speculation.

Why the Prevalent Disbelief in Climate Science?

Given the exhaustive scientific study and analysis of the hard data that incontrovertibly supports the relationship between human activity and climate change, the question that remains is, “What is the source of the skepticism that seems to surround this unmistakable reality – a sentiment that is especially widespread within the United States?”

One can postulate that there exists a pervasive mistrust in science among a considerable portion of the general population   This is true to some extent, but I believe there is another and more profound reason for this apparent resistance to the truth.

It is my contention that this puzzling denial is a result of the loss of the communal acceptance of the fundamental importance of the Commons in American life.  The Commons is represented by those necessities, commodities and services that are essential for the maintenance and sustenance of human life such as availability of clean drinkable water, clean air, descent shelter, access to health care, availability of adequate nutrition and a healthy and sustainable natural environment.  The Commons can only be maintained if the individuals that comprise the community are dedicated to its continued support and maintenance.  It is one of the fundamental roles of government and government policy to preserve and maintain the Commons.  In a truly democratic society where government functions “by and for the people,” if the will of the people is to allow government to abrogate that fundamental role that is a troubling development; for, it imperils the very future viability of the social order.

Human life in modern culture operates within an economic milieu that is essentially devoid of compassion in which all aspects of life are of value to the degree that profit can be made and all things are reduced to the uncompromising competitiveness of the marketplace.  As a direct consequence of this system based primarily upon capital and its perpetual accumulation, the well-being of the individual supersedes all other considerations, and individuals are taught to evaluate their own success based upon personal material acquisition.

As a consequence, what is lost is an appreciation of the value of community effort for the purpose of promoting and sustaining the well-being of all members of society i.e. the Commons.  A societal philosophy that elevates the individual above all else inevitably endangers the very nature of community life.

Furthermore, the exaggerated focus on the individual that overshadows all other considerations, obscures the essential reality that all members of the human race are rightful members of the human family and worthy of the same respect, compassion, care and concern that we gladly extend to our own immediate families. 

Solutions to the widespread issues of poverty, hunger, disease, political turmoil, conflict and the ineluctable degradation of the natural environment require reasoned cooperation and collective action on the part of all nations.

Seeing reality through the myopic lens of the individual and individual needs in a material culture that has an ever-diminishing connection to the natural world, inevitably leads to a dismissal of importance of the Commons as well as a rejection of the inherent reality of climate change. In fact, the future viability of the species rests squarely in the hands of humanity.

The apparent skepticism of the reality of climate change has its origins in an unwillingness to accept this responsibility and make the appropriate changes in communal behavior to maintain the future vitality of the entire species.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Definitive Choice

The current administration under the aegis of a President, whose rantings describe an apparently emotionally juvenile and disturbed personality, has helped magnify the real politic of the US government.  Elected officials are supposed to be servants of all the people.  It has become abundantly clear that they serve the affluent and corporate class above all else.  How else does one explain the hideous ill-conceived legislation that is currently being considered and held up as a true health care reform bill that would certainly devastate so many millions of our citizens, especially the most vulnerable.  How else would one explain the fact that the Supreme Court has codified the rampant and excessive ability of the wealthy to have unlimited access to politicians through campaign contributions and has effectively equated money with free speech.  How else would you explain a leadership that refuses to accept the expert advice from the scientific and professional communities that conflict with the entrenched fossil fuels industries that currently hold inordinate sway in determining national policy.  This underlying reality has naturally led to a corrupt government that responds primarily to the needs and interests of the powerful.  It has become acutely apparent that this is a disastrous way to “run a country” as diverse, necessarily complex and multi-faceted as our own.

The American people have been led to crossroads where a definitive choice is now available to us.  Either we listen to reason, pay attention to reality, i.e. data, respect intelligence and balanced judgment, demand true equality and representation in government and make sound and informed choices at the polls; or, we continue on the current path to inevitable disaster.

We do not possess the commodity of unlimited time to be a country we can actually be proud of and that will apply its wondrous resources and human capital to fashion a country that sets its sights towards the greater good for everyone rather than remain in the emotionally-charged region of the lower brain.