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Everyone probably knows what “white privilege” is all about.  A sort of advantage that all Caucasian people have over darker skinned people, at least in the United States.  Most of us don’t even realize that we are treated differently by police, service people, school admissions or job interviews but we ARE.

I live in Utah which was founded by Mormons and still today is home to about 62% Mormons.  Many of my good friends are Mormons and I have great respect for them.  Generally they are honest, hard working, decent folks who treat everyone with respect.  Note that I did not say they treat everyone equally because they don’t.  They gravitate to other Mormons and they secretly believe that Mormons are superior when it comes to their moral values.  Even I, a non Mormon, tend to  unwittingly favor Mormon’s in housing, jobs and relationships that require high moral standards.

When non-Mormons apply for a job in the private sector or the public sector they are unintentionally discriminated against.  Mormon job applicants, for example, always include their mission period on their resume or job application.  It’s a tip off to the usually Mormon human resources director that they are a better applicant.  Difficulty getting a job in Southern Utah by a non-Mormon is well known.

If a doctor or dentist moves to the area from New York or Southern California who is not Mormon he or she will have a nearly impossible task in establishing themselves.  Mormon’s prefer to be doctored by other Mormons.  It’s like belonging to an exclusive club.

The network of Mormon bishop’s throughout society is instrumental in obtaining  social services for Mormon’s only.  Charity for non-Mormons is non-existent.  In a sense it explains the conservative attitude of Utah in general; they look after their own so why should they be taxed or be required to participate in programs that benefit non-Mormons.  After all they are required to pay 10% of their income to the church so you can understand an unwillingness to be taxed further so non-Mormons don’t have to be homeless or have medical care.  Still, the  Mormons you meet are helpful, generous, thoughtful and honest.

Most Mormon kids go off on a two year missionary project when they graduate from high school.  They experience home away from home in a disciplined  atmosphere that is frequently challenging.  It is understandable that for the rest of their lives they will have great respect for anyone who has done a mission.  This fosters the attitude that Mormons are “better”.

What I am trying to say here is that Mormons have flaws.  Mormons are not “gods chosen” unless you ignore the chosen “Hindus”, Catholics,  Jews, Methodists, etc. etc.  I am suggesting that human resource offices use caution when it comes to evaluating everyone for employment and not to let their religion influence their choices.  Especially when it comes to public jobs with the county, state, city or federal government.  A careful examination of the county employment records should show the same ratio of Mormon and non-Mormon employees as the county population (usually around 60%).  In many cases I am afraid that simply isn’t the case and the reason is simple……Mormon privilege.  The natural tendency to hire someone like you because you know their values.

That’s what I think anyway.

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Vote Utah

WARNING:  Be Prepared to Be Bored Reading The Following

 

Here in Utah and in some other states we have this really dumb ass system of who runs for office.  Instead of just having each party throw up five of their most promising prospects and allowing for five independent prospects followed by an election to decide which one gets the office by getting the most votes we have this really stupid caucus system.   Some states have a primary system; about the same thing.

Dixie Sign

Now I admit to being an uneducated hillbilly from the Ozarks but I really can not understand this process  in selecting candidates for office if the goal is to get the best guy for the job.

It seems to me like it is one guy putting ten pigs in a pen while everyone stands around the pen with a stick poking the pigs to see which one promises  the most  bacon.  For lack of a better word we will call these folks “Republicans”.  Eventually one of  these pigs is going to be the Republicans choice to run for a certain office, perhaps Senator.  There are quite a lot of pigs in the Senate.

Pig

Next door there is another  guy who has rounded up ten donkeys in a pen and everyone stands around poking them with a stick to see which one promises to  be the hardest worker .  Lets call these guys “Democrats”.  Sooner or later one of these jackasses is going to be chosen to represent the Democrats choice to face off against the Republican  pig for  office.  If he wins he will join numerous other jackasses in the Senate.

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Just down the road there is a guy who has  a sheep, a fox, a monkey and a rat in a pen.  Now and then someone wonders by and pokes at one of them with a stick but with all of the confusion no one can figure out what they are promising.  We will call these guys “Independents”.  Sooner or later the fox eats the sheep leaving only a monkey and a rat running for the office against the pig and the jackass.  Neither have a chance of winning the Senate election even though there are numerous monkeys and rats in the Senate already.

Once the pig, jackass, monkey and rat are presented to  the general public it becomes obvious that only the pig and the jackass have sufficient backing (money) to win so the contest comes down to the two of them even though they all appear on the November ballot.

In  Utah, the pig is always the darling of the Mormon church so almost no one else has a chance.  We have what you might call a church state.  Whoever the church wants they generally get.  Kind of like being in a cage with a 400 pound gorilla and only one banana.

When it comes to  voter registration Utah has a pretty good system.  When you get your driver’s license, you can choose to be registered immediately.  That’s good for people who drive.  People who don’t drive have to get some other government issued ID to present at the voting booth  or bye-bye to  you.    It  seems to me that if you can be assigned a social security number at birth why not be assigned a voter registration ID at the same time?  While we are at it, why not just have one damned ID card for everything.  One punch for voter registration, one punch for driver privileges, one punch for military service;  it may sound like Nazi Germany but we are already so far down that road that it doesn’t matter any more.

Every single person in the state who is registered to vote should receive a ballot in the mail in a timely fashion to research the issues and then be allowed to mail that ballot or return it to a polling station.  You don’t have time to do any research in the polling booth.  Other states do it and it’s better for the voter and better for the vote counters who don’t have to do all of the counting in one day.

My grandpa used to say “a guy who doesn’t vote ought to be horse whipped” because he is not patriotic.  I would be satisfied with a modest fine for everyone who doesn’t vote but I know that there will be so many objections cooked up as to why not that I won’t even discuss it further.  Just get your lazy asses out there and vote!

With any luck at all we will see a renewed interest in young voters just out of high school voting in this next election.  I certainly hope so.  They are the future!  They need to help decide issues now.  For too long the country has been run by old  men who have sent young men off to war for usually very dubious reasons.  It is time for a change.

That’s what I think anyway,

 

In the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s everyone was excited about the future of computers, robots and electronics.  The idea was that people doing hard dirty jobs in manufacturing and elsewhere would be relieved of that work by robots and the people would be able to spend more time at home with their families, take vacations and travel.  Life was going to be much easier for everyone and was going to be great.

I don’t suppose a lot of thought went into exactly how those replaced people were going to be able to afford to have more time off, vacations, etc. but presumably a person replaced by a robot would just keep getting the same salary that the robot was now performing.  Naïve I suppose but it seemed like it would work something like that.  It did, in fact, work like that except the people getting the money that the robot produced was the owners and stockholders of the corporation who became rich.

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The person replaced by the robot was pushed down the ladder a rung or two into a much lower paying job in the service industry like fast food, grocery stores and big box chain stores.  As time went by the fast food industry, grocery stores and big box stores realized that they too could install their own robots in the form of “self-check out” or “order kiosks”.  That pushed workers even further down the ladder and opened the door to the relatively new idea that two part time workers were much cheaper to employ than one full time employee since part time employees didn’t have to be paid any benefits.  Even the government jumped onto this part time work scheme.  While fantastic for the corporate owners of the businesses the employee was shoved further and further down with fewer and fewer benefits.  Eventually it wasn’t possible for one person to make a living let alone support a family.

As a country we are currently on the cusp of disaster the likes of which have not been seen since the French Revolution.  Millions of poor people struggling to look after their families while a handful of people have all of the money and resources.  So what is the answer?

A drastic reduction in population would help; fewer people chasing fewer jobs but that isn’t likely to happen because the corporations and government need “growth” and growth comes from more and more consumers.  The more obvious answer is a guaranteed minimum wage for everyone including the unemployed.  Now before you start shouting “communist” or “socialist” or “liberal” hear me out.

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Since the automation has transferred massive amounts of resources to a handful of wealthy individuals and corporations those resources need to be transferred back to the individuals who were displaced by the automation that produces those resources.  In other words in today’s dollars it takes about $50,000 per year for an individual to live reasonably comfortably after they pay for housing, transportation, food and healthcare.  When you file your income tax form and your income is only $25,000 you would receive a credit back for $25,000.  Imagine what all of that influx is going to do for the economy when people start spending on needed goods.

Where is that money going to come from that is credited back to low wage earners?  By equal taxation of wealthy individuals and large corporations, of course.  It only makes sense.  They reaped the benefit of the automation that displaced millions of people from their jobs.

I can hear the anguished cries now.  “Wealth transfer”, “giveaways”, “free money”, “socialism” all to which I say BS.  The wealthy and corporations stole the jobs from the working public in the first place.  If they want the benefits they need to reimburse those who they stole the benefits from.  I am aware that the “American Way” is the Wild West way of the self-made person, the person who doesn’t take anything for nothing.  The person who will sleep under a bridge with his family so Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos and others can have private jets, huge estates and excess beyond imagination.

Greed money bag

It’s time.  That’s what I think anyway.

Viva Mexico

You know, I hear a lot about Mexico and Mexicans of late.  There seems to be a coordinated effort by the current government to malign Mexicans as criminals and rapists.  This effort has encouraged a lot of ill-informed misfits to attack both verbally and physically those who sometimes aren’t even Mexicans but simply anyone speaking Spanish.  Regrettably I don’t hear a lot of people, even Mexicans, who stand up and speak out in their behalf with the possible exception of Vicente Fox.

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I have lived in Mexico, traveled in Mexico both on business and as a tourist and I regularly travel across the border to shop and to get dental work done at about 1/4 of the cost of dental services in the United States.  Where I live in the United States I have a family of Mexican heritage living next door.

Of course there are criminals in Mexico.  There are criminals in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.  It doesn’t make the entire country unsafe or ridden with crime.  There are in fact many, many Americans who live in Mexico and there are whole American enclaves there, just like there are Mexican enclaves here.

It is time we all grew up and acknowledge the real character and value of our Southern neighbor.  A neighbor that we have been at peace with for many years.  A neighbor that the United States literally stole about half the territory of the country that we currently know as Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and California.  There were Mexicans living in those territories along with Native Americans long before the Europeans from the Eastern U.S. pushed west ward in search of land and gold.

We need to ask ourselves; how many countries has Mexico invaded, bombed, threatened or politically interfered with in the past 100 years?  How many Americans in Mexico have been rounded up and deported?  How many billions does the Mexican government spend on military waste?  How  many walls has Mexico threatened to build to keep American’s out?

The fact is that Mexico is a welcoming place populated with friendly, outgoing and generally happy people just trying to get by and take care of their families like we are.  Indeed, the character, honesty, decency and courtesy of Mexicans certainly is enviable considering what is happening in the United States now.

US-Mexico

Sure, they want jobs and a number of multi-national corporations have set up plants there because their wages are lower.  Jobs always flow toward lower wages.  It isn’t the fault of the citizenry nor the government there.  Without those jobs there is more incentive to  try to go to a country where jobs are more plentiful and the pay is better.  That’s not the fault of Mexicans.  It is in part because of the lower wages that the United States benefits tremendously from agricultural workers brought in from Mexico.  Without them we would all be hungry because Americans will NOT do the work and there are some jobs that machines can not do.

So let’s get off their backs!  Lets start treating all Mexicans and Spanish speakers with dignity and respect and give them a chance to prove themselves to us before condemning them.  Lets make it easier for seasonal workers to get the proper permits to work here.   Lets develop a system where we know who is here, why and when they are leaving.  Lets make a law that says that anyone who hires anyone who is here illegally and can not produce the proper identification to be arrested, fined and penalized severely.  In many respects, the danger of unregulated visitors to the country is surely not Mexico but more likely Russian, Chinese and other spies pretending to be visitors.

Until the Mexican Air Force bombs Los Angeles because they decide that there are chemical weapons being made there, let’s get our heads out of our asses and become better neighbors to our friends both North and South of our borders.

That’s what I think  anyway.

Old People Know Things

Many Have Lived Almost 100 Years and Seen Many Changes

I know that there is a certain age group between about 35 and 50 who have grown up in a world of consumption for consumptions sake and may I suggest even greed.  They have fretted over their status, the value of their possessions, how to acquire more possessions and in securing their children’s future status.  They have passed that lifestyle along to their children in most cases.

We have for the most part not been good stewards of the earth since about 1950 when the world population began to explode bringing with it more consumers of goods, more people wanting more and better possessions.  Unfortunately all of this consumption is killing the very earth that supports our and our grandchildren’s existence.  I am not going to argue the environmentalist cause here except to say that it is proven by scientists and observable to old people in their 80’s and 90’s; just ask them about changes in the earth since they were children.  Especially the ever growing population and its demands.  The continuous paving over of productive farm land to provide for this growing population.

 

Big multi-national companies have no concern about the environment or about the fate of people a hundred years from now when the basic necessities of life will be in peril.  They only have concern for their and their stockholders profits.  They are not, as often mentioned, “people”.  What puzzles me is their lack in ingenuity with perhaps a few exceptions like Tesla, etc.  They are addicted to growth because it produces greater profits.

Governments from local to federal are hooked on the same line as the big corporations.  Profit to keep their cities, states and country ever growing.  Profit to pay for all of the services that mid-lifers think they can’t live without.  Profit to pay for ever increasing numbers of government employees and to provide more services.  Profit to underwrite the POWER of various government officials from bottom to top.

Here in little old St. George, Utah one has to ask why we need eight or ten (or more) golf courses.  They produce nothing useful.  They are simply playgrounds for wealthy people with time on their hands and who are seeking the “status” of GOLF!  They suck up water that in the near future will be in short supply.  People who work all day and come home at night to take care of their family’s needs don’t have time to “hit the links”.  Couldn’t we just have a couple?  BUT the city and county make money off these water wasting fields both in permits and in their own operations.

The city and county almost madly issue building permits by the hundreds or even thousands.  They get big fees for the permits and the everlasting property taxes continue to fill the city and county coffers.  What does the average schmuck living on South Main Street get?  Nothing.  He or she gets to pay for the upkeep of the streets, gas lines, water lines, electric lines and transportation services to the new areas.  He will be asked to pay for a new pipeline from Lake Powell or Lake Michigan when the water is running low.  He gets to pay for the widening of Bluff Street and other streets to accommodate all of the extra people.  These building permits should be much more carefully scrutinized than they are.

Areas where the city and county regulators could make valuable contributions would be to require ALL new homes built to be self-sufficient electrically by mandating the use of solar panels or solar shingles.  Why don’t they?  Yeah, it adds a few thousand dollars over the 30 year life of the loan but look at the value.  Do you suppose that the city doesn’t require environmentally sound systems because they operate the utility?

What about mandating carports in all major shopping areas.  Shopping centers, major grocery stores, hardware stores and the like.  Carports with solar panel covered roofs would offset the cost of the carports and provide additional electricity to the businesses.  Additionally carports would cool the hundreds of square miles of blacktop parking lots that release a substantial amount of heat back into the atmosphere.  And who of us would not prefer to park under a carport where our vehicles wouldn’t be baking in the sum while we shop and even if it is raining wouldn’t you prefer to walk under cover?  There is almost no downside to it except for the initial cost.

Look around St. George.  How many houses to you see with solar panels?  Doesn’t that seem odd in a place where the sun shines almost every day of the year?  There should be some incentive to get people to retrofit solar on their homes for producing electricity, heating water, etc.  Take a trip to Arizona or California and you will see a substantial increase in the use of solar.  Is our electricity too cheap or is it just that it is a city operated utility?

The decisions of our city and county officials will have a very long lasting effect on all us and our children and their children.  We have to carefully make decisions that will benefit those who live here now and in the future.  It is called foresight.  Growth, isn’t always a good thing.  Quality of life is important.  Living where the environment is pleasant is important.  I would like to see some serious steps toward getting real experts to evaluate our little valley before it becomes little Detroit.  That’s what I think anyway!

Guns

I am not sure where the attraction for guns by men originated.  Maybe it’s in the DNA. Somewhere back in the stone age days when men were the hunters and the women were child bearers.  I tried to examine my own motivations over the past 60 or more years.  I have owned many weapons, both sport and hunting.  Perhaps by examining my own history I will find a hint as to the current attitudes and even more importantly the future attitudes toward guns.

I no longer have any “modern” guns.  I have an old 410 shotgun, an even older 9 shooter revolver and a tiny little 22 pistol.  None of them really serve any purpose except the little 22 gives me some comfort when I am stomping around in the desert.  I doubt that it would kill a rattlesnake unless I hit it with a perfect shot and even that is unlikely because the snake would just slither away unless I practically stepped right on it.  Nevertheless I imagine all kinds of scenarios like falling into a ravine and having to attract attention with a few shots or scaring away a mountain lion or bear with the noise.  Anyway, my first cartridge is always a blank so it’s noise first before injuring myself, someone or something else.  All pretty unrealistic examples.

Beretta

Like most young boys going back at least to the beginning of the 19th century I had a fondness for the beauty, the design, manufacture and power of a double barrel 20 gage shotgun with a fine hickory stock that had been rubbed with linseed oil for years until it shone like glass.  Ours was purchased from the Sears catalog and dropped off at our farm by the post man.

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In the autumn laying in wait for huge flocks of Canadian geese passing overhead was a test of both patience and skill.  If you lucked out and hit one the family had a nice feast.  There were so many of them that sometimes the sky was almost filled with them.  I learned to shoot, clean and respect the power of that old gun.  It wasn’t a toy.

Our family also had a 22 rifle, also from Sears and an over and under 22/410 which was both a rifle and shotgun combined.  The 22/410 was a fine gun for a boy because he could shoot at birds with the 410 and at rabbits with the 22.  There was an abundance of animals that served as meals for a hungry family, especially during the depression years.

410

In later years we graduated to a 30.06 rifle for deer hunting.  Deer was an important meat source for poor people who had no real cash for food.  I can recall lying in the rocks and brush on a cold misty dawn waiting for a herd of deer silently stealing along the ridge line.  Steadily, slowly squeezing the trigger while keeping the old peep sight just on  the nose of one of the bigger bucks.  Our 30.06 held three or four cartridges and you loaded them one at a time by pulling the bolt back and feeding a new one into the chamber.  You knew that one shot was all you had because they would all disappear into the brush at the first sound so it didn’t matter how many cartridges that you had.

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After growing up and joining the Marine Corps I discovered another use for weapons.  Killing people.  In a war situation it was kill or be killed, of course, so the Browning Automatic Rifle that was assigned to me was a comfort to me and to my whole squad. When I first shot it my instructor inserted a 30 round clip and told me to just squeeze off three to five cartridges at a time.  I carefully flicked my finger thinking that perhaps I had only shot two or three cartridges.  Actually I had fired off the entire 30 round clip.  It spewed out deadly fire with great accuracy.

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As the years slipped away I noticed that the herds of deer and other animals that had been abundant  in my childhood began to disappear.  I noticed that the massive v-shaped armada of Canadian geese dwindled to the point where it was a rare event to see a few or hear their honk in the night sky.  Not so many other people seemed to notice and hunters kept up their relentless demand to shoot what little there was left.  Today it brings a tear to your eye when you realize that most of the great herds of wildlife are gone and probably never to return.

So I ask myself, what is a gun really for today?  Certainly high-powered automatic and semi-automatic guns have no connection whatever with hunting.  What kind of low-life bum would hunt a little deer with a weapon that spewed out lead at the rate of my old BAR.  What kind of person needs a 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol for self-defense?  What target shooter needs to explode the target with the first shot?

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Society has gone mad with guns.  They have been pumped up by gun and ammunition manufacturers for the sole purpose of corporate profit.  Many of us have been convinced that there is a monster just around the corner that can only be defeated with some unimaginable force.  Unfortunately these weapons are now being turned against us and our children.  We have become the hunted.  We are the ones living in fear and scampering away at the first sound of gunfire.

It’s no one’s right to carry any dangerous item that is capable of killing people without it having the same rules of other dangerous things.  Like cars and airplanes, guns should be licensed, inspected and insured.  Their owners should have to pass tests and be licensed specifically for the type of gun that they carry.

What about the second amendment?  Anyone who wants to join a legal organized militia like the National Guard should be allowed to carry whatever weapons that militia is authorized to use.  Otherwise it is a ruse.  When the founders of our country wrote the constitution it was meant to be a flexible document.  They never anticipated that there would ever be such destructive weaponry in the hands of citizens all over the country.

As difficult as it is to recall these terrible weapons.  As much resistance as we shall have from the gun and ammunition manufacturers.  As much as lobbyists pay off politicians to keep the status quo.  We must prevail in returning our nation to common sense rule or we will all go down into anarchy.

That’s what I think anyway.

Unwanted

BABY hollis unwanted 1

This child, born in 1961 was not wanted.  Not by the mother, a prostitute and not by his father an alcoholic.  The mother already had one son from a previous liaison who was two years old at the time.  Abortions were unheard of in those days so the mother gave birth to the child and took him to her apartment home in the city.  At the age of two he and his four year old brother were left locked in the mothers car in front of various bars where she went to pick up customers.

While locked in the car along the busy street derelicts, homeless people, alcoholics and drug addicts pressed their toothless faces against the car window to see the boys.  No doubt the impact of this terror for two young children was immense.  Eventually their mother would show up with her “date” for the night, both drunk, and they would drive home.  The boys slept on the couch in the one bedroom apartment while their mother and her friend occupied the bedroom.  Sometimes there were arguments and fights and the boys would hide behind the couch.

Eventually the boys became too much of a burden for their mother.  They were not wanted.  One day she told them to pack all of their meager belongings into plastic bags because she was taking them to visit their grandmother.  The boys and their mother drove to the suburbs where their grandmother and grandfather lived.  As they pulled up in front of the house, the mother got out of the car and told the boys to get their belongings.  They were met on the front porch by a stern appearing old lady and an even gruffer old man.

After a short exchange of words between the childrens mother and her mother she walked to the car and left.  There were no hugs, no explanations, no good bye’s.  She was just gone.

Now in the home of two older strangers the boys clung to each other for comfort.  The two old people were stern and not very pleasant to be around nevertheless they set about looking after the boys as best as they could.

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Time slipped by.  The boys grew older and went to school.  They had no contact with their mother.  The grandfather became fond of the youngest boy and used to take him along to the barber shop and other shopping trips.  The boy looked forward to the outings in particular because he would always get a treat of a Butterfinger candy bar before coming home.  The old man rarely spoke but he held the little boys hand tightly as they walked along the street.

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One day the old man died of cancer.  The young boy was in the hospital to visit with him during the last few hours of his life.  No words were spoken between the two.  The little boy put his hand on his grandfathers hand and the old man closed his eyes.

After the funeral the grandmother took the two boys back to their home and spoke to them about how they would have to do their best to help out around the house because she would have to get a job and work to support them all.  The grandmother spoke very matter-of-factly with little emotion.  There were no hugs. No tears.

The boys went to school.  They played with outer kids in the woods nearby their home.  They did all of the things that young boys do who do not have the support of a mother and father.  You couldn’t say they were happy.  On the other hand you couldn’t say that they perceived themselves as unhappy.  They were just were.  They enjoyed being boys and having fun at school.

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When the youngest boy was about thirteen or fourteen his grandmother sat down at the dinner table and announced that she was ill.  She had cancer and likely would not be with them for too much longer.  She had made tentative arrangements for the boys to stay with an aunt during her treatment.  Once more the boys were to be abandoned.

The older boy was just barely old enough to join the Army, which he did.  The youngest boy stayed with his grandmother until she was taken to the hospital where she died while he sat next to her bed.  No one wanted the boy, least of all his aunt who had her own children to raise.  The boy decided to go off in search of his mother, surely she would want him.  He knew that she still lived in the city a few miles away.  He thought that surely she would allow him to live with her since he had no-one else.

After some searching around the lower part of the town he eventually located his mother.  She was not in the least pleased to see him and at first wanted nothing to do with him.  The boy convinced her that he could live on her couch and earn enough money to care for himself and to pay her some of his earnings.  It worked for a short time but eventually the mother told him to go, she didn’t want him.

The boy started wondering the streets near the bars where his mother hung out.  He met other unwanted, despirate kids living in the streets.  From them he learned how to get by.  How to get money.  How to put a cardboard box over a grate in the alley and stay warm in the winter.  He was a runner for drug dealers; after all no one suspected a child to be dealing drugs.  He stole food from the local shops.  He shared what he had with other street people.  Soon he was using some of the drugs that he was delivering.

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Inevitably came the police, courts, street crime and jail.

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Shortly after being released from two years in prison the boy started having vision problems and went to a free clinic to see what the matter could be.

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It was a brain tumor.

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The brain tumor was removed and follow up treatment was successful enough that the doctors told him he might live for ten years or so before the tumor might return.

Perhaps recalling his grandmother and grandfather and being beside their bed when they died the boy decided that with a little help from others he could turn his life around.  He got married and had three children.  He loved them with his whole being.  He struggled to make them proud of him.

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He completed an education.

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He got a job.

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He started his own business.

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He traveled to far away places.

He died in my arms.  He was thirty-five years old.  He was wanted, after all, by me and his family.

Badge of Shame — MY TURN!

Here is what I propose to give to various politicians who have raked in money from the NRA and won’t vote to get rid of military weapons. Here is a link to download the badge and it is free to modify, add names, etc. as you see fit. Citizens of The United States […]

via Badge of Shame — MY TURN!

Here is what I propose to give to various politicians who have raked in money from the NRA and won’t vote to get rid of military weapons.  Here is a link to download the badge and it is free to modify, add names, etc. as you see fit.

 

 

Citizens of The United States of America

We Americans go about our everyday lives just trying to keep a roof over our heads, feed our kids and hopefully have a little family time together.  Since the 1950’s we have gone from a one bread-winner family to a two breadwinner family frequently with both members working more than one job.  Why? Is there anything we can do about it?

The “why” part is both complicated and simple.  It has crept up on us like slime mold, aided and abetted by a political system that has not kept up with the needs of the country.  Where once patriotism propelled our leaders now it is greed which propels them.

Suite and Tie

Corporation Control 

First we have to get over the idea that there are any large businesses in the United States that are “American”.  They aren’t.  They are all big corporations, mostly with headquarters overseas but bearing old American names.  The stockholders/owners of these corporations are banks, insurance companies, investment companies and billionaires from all over the world.  Most American’s have no stock or financial interest in these corporations and get very little benefit from them.  In fact, the majority of U.S. citizens would be better off with complete collapse of the stock market.  The market is primarily a casino where the rich and corporations make bets on fictitious values of each others stocks.  These corporations operate on the simple premise that in order to give their share holders big profits they must manufacture goods in the most poverty-stricken areas of the planet and sell the goods at huge profit to the more affluent parts of the globe.  There is no loyalty whatever to any government or people, only to the executives and stock holders.

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Without any protections from the multi-national corporations the wages are systematically driven down across the globe so that people everywhere work harder and harder for less and less while the stockholders make more and more.  That’s why people in the United States work two jobs just to afford basic necessities.  

It’s not China’s fault or Bangladesh’s fault or Nicaragua’s fault.  It is the fault of the corporate ceo’s who go to a relatively impoverished country and purchase goods for ten cents that they then turn around and sell to a wealthier country for ten dollars thereby delivering to their shareholders the difference.

Pick up one item in your home.  Where is it made?  At what cost?

So I have a package of Nabisco Oreo cookies here on my shelf.  (because I am a sweets junkie) I paid about three dollars for them.  Nabisco is an old American name, right?  Oreo cookies have been made and sold in the United States since the early 1900’s.  It almost seems patriotic to buy the Nabisco brand.  WRONG!  Nabisco is owned by the Mondelez International group.  The Mondelez group owns dozens of other companies; Cadbury, Trident, Triscuit, Ritz, etc.  Mondelez are headquartered in Chicago and had a net income of $1.6 billion in 2016 from hundreds of world-wide operations.  Their stock today is about $43/share.

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Made in Mexico

My  bag of Oreo’s were made in Mexico where the average wage is about $5.00 per day or what an American is paid per hour.  The Mexican bag is on the grocers shelf right next to the American made products so the buyer hardly knows what they are buying .  So the Mexican bag cost Mondelez about $.05 to make and the American bag cost about $.40.  When that difference is added up by billions of sales the corporation makes MUCH more profit-making the goods in Mexico especially since there is no tariff on goods entering the United States.  This is how the corporation delivers huge profits to its share holders, the banks, insurance companies, brokers and billionaires.

Don’t misunderstand me, I love Mexico and Mexicans in general and if Mondelez paid the Mexican workers the same as they pay the American workers I would be ok with it.  When they cheat poor Mexicans so they can deliver huge profits to their stockholders is where I have a problem.

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The “what can we do about it” as ordinary working American’s is simple but difficult.  Simple because all we have to do is just stop buying anything sold by a large multi-national corporation (which is about all of them) and start buying only locally produced items sold by locally owned stores.

You can’t buy from Wal-Mart International Corporation because EVERYthing that they sell is bought cheap and sold high and the profits delivered directly to their billionaire shareholders.

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Political Candidate Purchasers

You can’t buy from Target or Home Depot or Lowes for the same reason.  Even American made goods sold at these stores produce a profit for their international investors, not American citizens or our country.

You can buy American made goods at your local hardware store.  You can buy American made clothing at the locally owned clothing store.  You can buy American produced food products from the local farmers markets.  It is not as easy and convenient but if we are going to make a dent in the International Corporations owning our democracy we have to do it.

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Good Old Local Hardware Store

The international corporations are buying our politicians and destroying our democracy.  They must be dealt with either through legislation or boycott.

Do your home work.  Don’t buy from the big box stores.  Don’t buy from any company listed on the stock exchanges because their profits go to the banks, insurance companies and billionaires.  Can you do it?  Our democracy depends on it.  Do your best.

That’s what I think anyway.