Freedom of Speech?

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.–George Washington

I am greatly saddened and somewhat embarrassed of late to read the news with how heavy-handed the authorities have gotten with protesters, who are simply attempted to enjoy their right of “freedom of Speech” which seems to have gone the way of all things that once made our nation great.  In America last year and even again today when we sit comfortably in our living rooms and watch our TV at the huge protests taking place in Egypt, Libya, Syria the commentary that is largely heard by most is: “good for them, they are standing up for their rights!”  Then once the authorities of these countries crack down on the protesters the reaction is, “oh how terrible, too bad they are in such a suppressed country, they need a change of government!” People do you even hear yourselves?

The fact is, there are serious problems with government in our country, serious corruption that begs to be addressed, and must be addressed.  Problems with the way things have been structured to protect those responsible for the economic debacle and it is not being addressed, it is only being applied an occasional band-aid to keep them afloat.  If the issues for which the occupy movement were to be seriously addressed, and something studied to correct the problem, I am sure that everyone would just go home and back to school or even back to work (when there are finally jobs to go to) without hitting them with batons, spraying them with pepper spray and using tear gas.

Freedom of speech yes, as long as it goes along with the status quo you can say all that you want, but if you take to the streets with your “freedom” and are met with violence, then what difference is there between Cairo and New York?  Things get hazy! Yes, I am free to write this article, that is fantastic, and chances are those who don’t agree with me will just let me know.  I am hopefully going to be able to go outside of my door and not get arrested or clobbered, but how on God’s earth are we going to see change if the government continues to ignore, and do nothing about the serious problems that a rather large number of the population are not happy with?

I am not thrilled to see protests, I do not necessarily enjoy having disruptions in the streets, dirty parks and all that these gatherings cause!  But I also do not agree with how the so-called solution to the problem is being administered.  I do not agree with the hypocrisy of certain individuals who are so upset at the protesters and calling for something to be done to “get them off the streets”!  These are the same ones that cheered on the protesters in Cairo to take down Mubarak (and they are the same ones that supported him for years!) These are the same ones that supported the invasion of Iraq, the killing of Saddam Husein and they are the very same ones that placed him in power to begin with!

In the constitution it states “freedom and justice for ALL” not for those who are privileged, nor only for those who own banks, nor only for those who are in government!  Would you rather we be lead to the slaughter like sheep?  I say, address the issues NOW, initiate the needed changes NOW, stop skirting the issues, placing ridiculous band-aids on the banking industry and beating and spraying your citizens!  What say you?

Hardships and How They Help Us

“He who knows no hardships will know no hardihood. He who faces no calamity will need no courage. Mysterious though it is, the characteristics in human nature which we love best grow in a soil with a strong mixture of troubles.”–Henry Emmerson Fosdick

Going through a difficult time is never easy!  We are not particularly thrilled when we are in the middle of hard times, and often are filled with feelings of resentment towards the situation, circumstances, others who are involved and then God usually tends to get blamed for far more than His share in our process of poor choices.  Going through these times seems to last forever as time tends to come to a stand still. You know the saying that “time flies when you’re having fun“, but then there is the flip side, it tends to stand still when we are battling with something.

But there is a positive side to all of this and believe it or not, you tend to gain so much more after having passed through tough times than if you were to continue sailing through everything without adversity.  We tend to take for granted what comes easily, and will appreciate much more the things that we have to fight for.  There is no victory without a battle, there is no triumph without a trial, there are no roses without thorns, to gain beauty you often have to suffer a bit.

I was just thinking of a tough project I had gone through not too long ago where we were trying to set up a youth center to train young people for volunteer work.  We received a large property with an old style farm-house on it that lacked heating and some of the more basic necessities. It was given for our use for a very low price because we had agreed to fix it up in exchange for a long-term contract for our work.  Not having a great financial backing we had to approach different businesses to ask for their help in the way of donating the needed supplies.  The work on it was huge and we were for the most part new at this type of work, but with time we were given a lot of help by experts to do the more technical jobs.  The house had, no heating, well water that needed a purification system since it came from an impure source, and the walls and windows had to be redone.

We went on with this work for 4 years, 3 of those 4 years we had no heating as this was the most difficult item to get help with.  Thank God the first winter was very mild, but that did not last all that long.  The area where this farmhouse was is known for its humidity and when winter set in, almost every day there was a thick fog that took half the day to dissipate.  Each year that went by was becoming more and more difficult to face, and the situation became a bit depressing, to say the least, as the cold would reach deep down into the bone! We finally got the heating working and then our time was up for this particular project.

You might think, how can there be anything positive come from torturing yourself for these 3 years?  Well, I’ll tell you that , since this time after having spent most of my living years in the comfort of a warm house and environment, today, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for heat, clean water to drink from the tap and a comfortable place to lay my head.  Even the seemingly simple and “normal” things of life can be taken for granted and overlooked, until you have had to experience a time without the things that today you just take for granted!

My parents, as those of many others who have gone through a World War, and the Great Depression learned through those times to appreciate the value of everything they ever had.  We grew up with most of what we needed and even wanted!  Today, however we are faced with a serious economic situation that is surely going to help us to grow to be wiser, more saving, more thankful tomorrow, once things finally start turning around.  There is so much that you can learn through adversity and times of trial and tribulation that whilst in the midst of it all can cause you great despair.  In the meanwhile, hold on tight, don’t lose hope …ever, once the roller coaster comes to a halt and you finally get down, you will feel a bit wobbly for a  little while , but once you find you footing, you will be strengthened more grateful that it is over with and that you are still alive to face the next adventure!

Have you had it rough and learned from difficulty? I really do like it when you comment!

United We Stand Divided We Fall

“In this decisive hour of our national history, union means life and division means death“.–Bao Dai (Vietnamese Statesman)

On the topic of the current Occupy Wall Street movement and along the lines of the 99% vs. 1%, I wanted to expound on the topic that I had begun the other day.  In particular I would like to share one important point and that is, I do not seek to find fault in either the Democrats, or the Republicans, in one President or the other, but rather I would like to highlight corrupt politics in general.  Today’s partisan environment has been one of the main culprits along with what I have already shared about greed and gain and this has been a problem on each side of the aisle.  As I touched on in a previous post entitled “The Pot and The Kettle are Both Black“.

I brought out previously the fact that  particular interest groups have been in control of the economy now spanning each and every administration from the time De-regulation had begun as a practice.  These folk have been appointed and not elected by “we the people”. These are the ones who tend to capitalize on the growing economical demise that the 99% face, and therefore are not so interested in finding a fast solution.  They are also the ones that tend to control who gets elected, if they will be re-elected, and what the general foreign policy will be as long as it will go along with their continued financial gain.  In the end, they have been buying your Government, bringing corruption through lobbying and offering their support in exchange of continued bad financial practices.

In war, psychology is used to in order to steer public sentiment to either support or stand against the opposition.  In politics it works much the same. In every war there will be an attempt to sow division amongst a population in order to help topple a regime, or a Government that the aggressive nation is trying to defeat.  Just after the tragedy of 9/11 there was naturally a tremendous amount of emotion and hatred stirred up against the enemy heralding a much-needed unity within our country. Not only because it lacked unity within the States, but the Government also needed that unity in order to get a stamp of approval to make the necessary moves in order to go to war against “the enemy”.  The only problem was, who was the enemy? Al Queda claimed responsibility, but was not a nation and so it became tough to find out just where Al Queda was.

Well, we knew that it’s leader was hiding out in the mountainous area of Afghanistan, and we didn’t really like the Taliban either, so it made perfect sense to invade Afghanistan and get rid of the Taliban.  But, then things got a bit foggy when news started being disseminated that there were “arms of mass destruction” in Iraq, so a campaign was made that we needed to intervene on Iraq, depose of that awful dictator Saddam Hussein (who previously was placed in power with the help of the USA). But this all went forward thanks to the fact that we were able to capitalize on the spirit of unity at the time.

In order to win any warfare, any election, any game, anything at all you must have unity! And one way to beat the enemy is to create as much confusion as possible within their ranks to cause a spirit of disunity.  Once this is accomplished, the victory is almost certain! Today, as in 2001 we need to have unity.  Today the enemy is not a terrorist group, a nation, a certain political party!  Today our enemy is the current economical problem that we all face and the only solution to win the war is to recognize who the enemy is, and then to unite and fight!

As long as everyone is trying to blame a certain person, party or group we will never win the war! It is time now to expose the real enemy, unite and agree to stop the leaks, the greed, the agenda of who is really draining the system, taking advantage of the chaos that has arisen through partisanship and childlike bickering and squabbling, and roll up our sleeves and eradicate the real problem! Corruption in general in our politics for personal financial and or political gain! Whosoever is seeking, at the hurt of the nation and it’s unity, and is trying to gain for themselves is the enemy, division is a tool of the enemy, don’t be a part of it!  United we will stand as a nation, divided we will become a second-rate, weak and broke nation!  You choose!

I spoke my peace, what thinks you?

My Take on 99% Vs. 1%

Well, there is so much in the news today about the 99%ers and the #Occupy Wall Street so I thought I would add my 2 cents on the subject.  It is a fact and has been for quite some time that the middle class is growing more and more a thing of the past and has almost become extinct.  It has actually amazed me at how long it has taken the general population to stand up and say something, but then again as long as there is some food on the table and some form of entertainment, the masses will remain distracted. How sad.

One simple fact that I am not sure if the 1%ers realize is, once there is no longer a middle class, who is going to be able to even afford to buy anything anymore which is the only way that anyone can be on top in the first place?  I am in no way shape or form in favor of communism and socialism, in fact, although China is a “communist” government they are more capitalist than the capitalist and have been going in that direction since Deng Xiao Ping.  Communism simply does not work, in that, the great majority of people will never be motivated enough to produce unless they are gaining greater benefits from their labor for themselves.  The ridiculously scary thing about the current economic climate is, as it stands today, what the 1%ers are doing is they are forcing the masses into a socialist mindset because the American dream is disappearing!

I am all for capitalist gain, earn your fair share, but when it  comes to the point at which it begins hurting the overall economy, penalizing the rest of the population pushing them to extremes such as we have today where a large number of people are unable to find work due to the continual failing of middle size businesses, then that is like shooting ourselves in the foot. This all started back with the deregulation era when Reagan was president which seemed so great at the time and was heralded as genius and dubbed “Reaganomics”. Unfortunately, the same group of financiers are still steering the ship!  We talk about how bad dictatorships are, but then by allowing this type of economy to go on unregulated, before you know it we are creating a dictatorship of our own, not through violent means, but through voluntarily giving up our financial independents by wrecking the overall economy!

I don’t really like civil unrest, protests and mudslinging, and the blame game scenario of today.  However, I do feel that change must come and come soon, otherwise the 1%ers will have no kingdom left to rule over and the 99%ers will all be on street without home or food!  And not all of the wealthy are to blame either, there are so many of them who are wonderful and have gained their honest share.  Wealth is good, wealth is what you deserve when you have worked hard for it, made sacrifices to build your dream, but when it then becomes greed  to the hurt of your neighbors, community and nation then it is no longer a continuation of the “American dream”, it can only become an American nightmare!

Those are my thoughts for what they  are worth!  What are yours?

Who Wins a War?–Nobody!

I have a scheme for stopping war. It’s this – no nation is allowed to enter a war till they have paid for the last one. –Will Rogers

There is a lot of talk of late, and understandably so, about the world economic crisis, political instability in the Arab world, and of course the ongoing threat of terrorism.  The economic situation in the United States has not been so serious since the days of the “Great Depression”, and sad to say, instead of getting better it seems to be growing worse. First  started with the blame game, the “who dunnit”, we found out where it originated, slapped a few hands of the greedy guys on Wall street, and handed the helm back into their hands to carry on as they had been doing! But hey, they own the White House so there is not much you can say!..Or is there?

But one of the culprits that has not been touched on all that much as being an economical drain, is the military budget, which has grown in disproportional levels thanks to our “war on terrorism” and military presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and the many other serious situations that have developed in a number of Arab nations.  This money drain is a significant sum of money that the American tax payers are paying to foot the bill for playing “policeman” to the world!  Here is the estimate of total spending requested for 2012 taken from Wikipedia: 1030-1415 trillion dollars!  Wow, if we could cut back on even half of that, we may even be able to balance the budget!

The United States and allies after WWII did a great favor for both Japan and Germany.  General McArthur helped draw up a new constitution for Japan which did not allow them to create an army of aggression but rather one limited to self-defense.  Germany was split into two different nations, one occupied by the communists and the other by NATO, thus Germany was not so militarily active besides protecting themselves from the threat they posed each other.  Since that time, both nations began to prosper and had become financial powers in their own right.

Granted defense is necessary, and in the case of counter-terrorism, America needs to be prepared, but to go beyond borders and to police the world, continually pouring trillions of dollar into wars, money that we do not have, is totally superfluous in my opinion and a great waste. So in the end, who wins a war? I believe that in a war, everyone loses.  Lives are lost, money is wasted, and not all that much is changed, in fact more people are getting stressed and the hate and anger level is on the rise, not decline which only heightens security concerns!

Now lets take a look around you, China who has a rather large military budget, has not used their military to invade or participate in the international policing, has been prospering! Not only, did you know that they are slowly buying the United States and that without firing a shot are economically taking over?  If things continue as they are now going, China is set to become the worlds greatest super power!

You may not agree, or maybe you do, let me know down below.