Monday, November 24, 2014

Business As Usual

In driving through the nearest town this past week, I couldn't help but notice the vacant storefronts and for sale signs.  The appearance of "business as usual" is still present, but the reality is a much different perspective.  I remember watching the town near the first homestead, die under the DREAM initiative, and now, a six year history here with a gradual slow decline of this smaller town.  The first town is struggling so much, the Chinese buffets and Mexican restaurants are closing.  The square appears to be at about half capacity for businesses, with many of them being offices rather than retail.  I've spoken with men who began their businesses forty or more years ago, and they resignedly shake their head as they tell me, their hopes of children inheriting their business are simply gone.  When they retire, the business will simply be sold or shuttered.  These men did, however; provide well for their families and employment in the community at one time, but there is no longer a future for local, independent family owned business in America.

The change has been so gradual, we apparently didn't realize what was actually happening.  As a very small child, I remember the downtowns were thriving.  My grandma referred to the main retail business street as "The Avenue."  I was still a child when the malls were built.  I didn't notice at the time, we stopped going to The Avenue as much, and since we lived in the country, our small town "down town" became just a pit stop for odds and ends.  Major shopping was done in the city . . . at the mall.  I'm not really much of a shopper, so I failed to realize the malls were declining until we were shopping for rings at the beginning of this new millenium.  So many places in the mall were vacant, and there were recliners in the middle for the walkers to gather and take a break!  It then dawned upon me that mini-malls had become the convenient trend for stylish retail, and Wal-Mart Supercenters for economical shopping.

In relocation through the summer of 2005, I spent a quite a bit of time on the road, seeing a great deal of road construction.  In all the highway construction, looming in the background were shuttered malls and dormant businesses.  So many businesses were already gone, so many buildings standing vacant, while the plan seemed to already be in place, to divert access to the businesses that were left.  Independence was foundational in the building of America, or so we've been told.  As the years have continued many local independents did not withstand the great recession, which I have termed "the great repression."  These independent business people didn't receive any bailouts.  As the news has reported recovery, I simply do not see it.  Of course, there were jobs created for a time, such as more highway construction and signs, but the only promise that appears to have been created to be lasting is the loss of independent business on the American landscape.

While this economic collapse has been gradual and seemingly isolated, it has spread and continues to spread.  Detroit didn't come back.  Ohio's unemployment rate is still staggering.  The statistics are terribly skewed when it comes to those actively seeking employment and those who have simply given up and sought assistance or taken early retirement.  There are ads everywhere to apply for disability.  Our nation isn't building business and this country is not making products.

The primary employers in this country are government, health care, and Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart has replaced General Motors as a primary employer.  I was married to a General Motors employee several years ago and I remember our standard of living.  Wal-Mart does not offer that same opportunity to the majority of it's employees.  There is much busy-ness and great chasing, but a drive down main street USA gives clear indication the American standard is far from business as usual.

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.  prophecy of Holy Scripture  


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Defining Prejudice

Prejudice can be observed in our politics, in our justice system, in our individual choices and comments.  Prejudice is not simply a "black and white" issue and it certainly isn't a one way street.   Sadly, it is defined so fluidly, there really is no place to begin or end.  Prejudice is simply a matter of what has been taught to the human heart.  When it comes to race, we know babies see color, but simply do not care.  Skin tone is not what young children base their perspective upon, until they are taught to.  Babies do not care what color their caretaker is, as long as they are kept comfortable and feel safe.  Children in groups, just enjoy playing.  Fun is not determined by color, but by activity and social interaction.  The atmosphere of the culture in which a child spends their formative years determines their views of the world around them, with only one of those factors being race.

While so many parents are leaving the raising of their children to the system, "stranger danger" is taught very early.  Statistically, more children are abused by someone they know and trust, but fear of strangers becomes imbedded.  In many cases, the term stranger becomes further defined as "anyone different."  Different can then be racial, cultural, religious, political, or even geographical . . . I'm not suggesting we embrace every difference, and I certainly do not advocate the politically correct concept of "coexist" with the unity that is suggested by the UN and the Vatican.  Differences should be recognized and in many cases, there is cause for alarm.  The alarm, however; should not be based on skin tone, but rather ideology.  Sadly, our political and judicial system are leading much of our society to divide and most of the sheople are following.

As a rule, I like folks of all colors and background, but I draw the line at arrogance and bigotry, which comes in all colors.  I simply do not enjoy people who think too highly of themselves and I really prefer to avoid those who put others down.  I don't like name calling and have a particular pet peeve about folks who change a name or term slightly to make fun of someone.   It's big in talk radio and I find it very annoying, but based upon the popularity, must openly admit, it is apparently my personal problem, so I deal with it.  We can't make everyone accommodate and work around our personal quirks.  Yet it seems, the various minorities do that.  Our society continues to become more fractured as each special interest group desperately seeks a way to be a slighted minority or a humble grassroots movement.

A frightening issue is looming in my home state.  The prejudice is so extreme, it exceeds the desire for truth. The issue is no longer about right or wrong, or community, but simply the "them vs. us" ideology.  Sadly, two of the biggest issues our country now faces, are factors in the situation in Ferguson.  There is much distrust between the citizens and law enforcement.  To intensify that problem, the officer is white and the suspect black.  To that already shaky situation, add Al Sharpton and three White House officials.  It's as if, anarchy is the goal!  If the officer had been black, or the suspect, white, it wouldn't have even made the headlines outside the local area.  That can be verified in the fact that a non white officer shot a young unarmed white man within days of the incident in Ferguson, resulting in very different responses.  A white man was shot by a non-white police officer in Utah, but no one is crying for charges to be filed.

If the leadership and talking heads can continue to keep us divided and fearful, prejudice will increase.  Blacks hating whites is just as racist, as white bigotry.  It's time we the people stop fighting amongst ourselves and take exception with those who are feeding the fear and sowing the strife.  I've already made the joke after listening to so many democratic voices play the race card when some disagrees with the policies of the current administration.  "When the "other party" nominates a candidate of color in this next presidential campaign, they'll be holding the race card!  What will Oprah say when the "old white people" who haven't died, vote for someone like Ben Carson or Alan West?

In all the problems facing America, it seems like skin tone should be way down on the list.  I'm tired of the black and white issue, while the rainbow has been stolen by an agenda seeking to devour our children.  I'm tired of the pretend persecution of a manufactured war over a holiday, when real persecution is already taking place and heading our way.  I'm also extremely tired of the red conservatives vs. blue liberals, when it's incredibly obvious party politicians of both sides are working toward the same end:  control!  Reverse racism and political prejudice are simply choreographed to keep the people divided and ultimately enslaved!

. . . for YHWH seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but YHWH looketh on the heart.  History of Holy Scripture



Sunday, November 09, 2014

And the Beat Goes On . . .

I think I understand and recognize a pattern, here.  When a president is elected, the first four years are spent, claiming to be cleaning up the last guy's mess.  If he is convincing enough, or the economy is good enough or the anger at "them," whoever "they" are, is strong enough, he is elected to a second term.

The second term seems to amount to two years of a choreographed effort by politicians and media to firmly divide the people for the midterm election, usually with some sort of major issue.  Sadly, in this administration it was the death of four Americans in Libya.  This one was particularly horrible as usually, the scandals don't involve the loss of life.  So the first two years of the second term amount to two years of "frustration" waiting for the midterm election to change majority with a scandal, that the media can really sink their teeth into.  Think Watergate, Iran Contra, or Monica . . .  Bush 43 has his own paragraph.

Then the midterm election through the president's second term guarantees lameduck and gridlock, with everyone talking about working together . . . "talking" being the operative.  When the president is in his second term, the rumbles of the next presidential campaign begin the the day after the midterm.  Presidential campaigns now last nearly 2 years.  Since it's gridlock, half of the Senate can be on the campaign trail . . . If I remember correctly, 10 Senators were running in the primaries in '07 - '08.

As for the second term of Bush 43.  He had so much going on most of the time, that he didn't really need a specific scandal, and it wasn't until after the midterm election of his second term that most of America realized the economic calamity that was already occurring.  With the war in Iraq still so new, re-election in 2004, especially against Kerry or Edwards seemed pretty simple.  The democrats simply had no worthy opponent against Bush in '04.  Six years of controversy still brought about the usual midterm party majority switch, lameduck, and gridlock.  Then for real hope and change to be ushered in, we had economic collapse with loss in housing values and the auto industry . . .

The last two presidential campaigns have seemed quite orchestrated.  The republicans chose, both times, to run a candidate that their own party had rejected in an earlier primary.  John McCain lost to G.W. in 2000 and Romney lost to John McCain in 2008.  The intention to give Obama no competition was obvious.  While Obama is changing the landscape of America from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the business background is undoubtedly changing with the other party in the private sector.  The elected officials are just doing what the highest bidder tells them to do.

When it's said and done, the pattern has been pretty much the same in over 50 years of American politics, and very consistent in the last 20 some.  I'm not suggesting that everyone should stop voting, I'm just saying I see no real change of direction, regardless of the vote.  Rearrange the deck chairs on the sinking ship while hoping a new captain will magically change the fact the ship is taking on water and sinking, doesn't seem to be working.  Unlike sea captains, America's politically elite don't go down with the ship.

. . . and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.  Torah of Holy Scripture

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Weighing the Evidence

Kaci Hickox is certainly receiving her 15 minutes of fame, isn't she!  I didn't realize I could have any less respect for America's political health care system, but as it turns out, I do.  In watching her interview, I can honestly say, I wouldn't want her to take care of my dog.  I was completely unimpressed by her statement.  The idea of going to another continent to take care of people sounds like such an heroic humanitarian effort, and for many, I'm sure it is.  I don't understand though, if she's truly the heroic humanitarian that she is presented to be, why would a three week vacation with reading material, wifi, and menu options be so horrible?  I don't place nurses high on my trust list, anyway; but this truly should shake the faith of many.  I know there are many well intentioned caregivers in the system, but I also know there are many in health care for the money and control.

Health care can hold any patient for several reasons, remove children from their parent's custody, and ruin lives based upon subjective whims and unquestioned authority.  There are already in place enough state health care regulation to keep the average John Q. Public against his will, for general observation.  HIPAA laws prevent family and friends from gaining information, so realistically a person could be held and that information not released.  I'd also include a Scriptural reference from Matthew 10, in which some of us may actually face quarantine or being held, and family will jump right in to support the captivity.  Be aware of the facts of your state and whom you trust with your information.  Be it health care worker, law enforcement, or family, we need to know whom we can trust, and whom we cannot.  Most of us won't have the political power Kacy Hickox has enjoyed.  When it comes to the powers that be, whether it's police, health care, or lawyers, "they" do take care of "their own."

I've referred to this nurse as irresponsible, selfish, and agreed with a number of negative comments that have been made regarding her refusal to be quarantined for 21 days after caring for ebola patients.  Through her "press conference" someone mentioned that her roommate in West Africa has been diagnosed with ebola, to which she said that was errant information and she didn't want to take the focus off of her, I mean, "the court's decision."  Even NASA astronauts enter a time of seclusion after reentering and landing.  Obviously there is a vast difference in discipline and integrity between astronauts and health care workers, but I digress . . .

Perhaps this nurse doesn't need quarantine or seclusion.  I truly hope she is not sick.  Perhaps this nurse, as an employee or agent of the CDC, knows she doesn't have ebola because she knows exactly how this deadly disease is contracted.  The cynic in me has surfaced though, and I'm truly wondering if she's really been anywhere taking care of anyone.  This could be a great false flag!

. . . and be sure your sin will find you out.  Torah of Holy Scripture

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