Archives For Spouting Off

Things that I have an opinion on; and I have a lot of those :)

Walking The Plank…

March 25, 2015

2015-03-06_08-02-31

 

I dread to think about how our totally politicized Supreme Court is going to rule on the latest attack on affordable healthcare for almost ten million of us.  Will they essentially make those folks walk the plank as Steve Sack shows in this editorial cartoon. It is widely known that most of the yahoos on the court vote primarily on their political alignment. The law and original intent just doesn’t seem to mean much to them.

 

Military SpendingI also see where the Republicans have recently come out with their budget proposals for the coming year. Take a look at that very little orange slice of the current budget pie to the right. That shows our current food stamp allocations. It seems that tiny slice is where they want to do the severest cuts. Part of their budget is to increase the dark blue area even more! They don’t think it is big enough yet.  Please tell me how anyone can actually believe that they are serious about their budget proposal when they take the elephant in the room off the table for cuts???

Why does it seem that we are living in an upside-down world right now???

 

Doing Something About It….

February 19, 2015

2015-01-15_11-41-11Why is one bandwidth-hungry town building its own 1Gbps fiber network for its citizens when AT&T already offers them 6Mbps DSL? That’s the question AT&T would like to ask city leaders in Chanute, Kansas, a small town of roughly 9,000 people that is petitioning the state to allow it to offer greater access to the high-speed fiber network that it built to support town utility operations.

SOURCE:  AT&T wants to know why a town is building a 1Gbps network when it already offers 6Mbps DSL.

Starting this post I will admit that I spent a very large chunk of my time in the corporate world with AT&T. They currently provide me with a pension that helps enable me to live happy, wild, and free in my retirement years. I certainly am thankful to them for that. But that doesn’t mean I can’t criticize them where criticism is necessary.

AT&T, like most monolith corporations, is mainly about picking the lower hanging fruit to maximize their profits. If there ever was, and I think there was, a time when what is good for the public was any significant part of the decision making it has long passed. When AT&T was a regulated monopoly they lived the concept of “universal service” which meant that everyone has a right to the same quality of telecommunication service. So, even though it was not as profitable AT&T was obligated to provide service to smaller communities.  Of course when deregulation occurred during the Reagan years universal service fell by the wayside.

Getting back to the point here AT&T is introducing 1 Gps fiberoptic service in their most lucrative markets while at the same time doing very little to help other areas where improving the infrastructure might bite into profits.  This is probably the case for the particular quote above.

6 Mpbs was a few years ago considered a blazing speed but not so much today. Streaming video and other such services coming on line demand more and more speed and bandwidth. Without some government regulations we are quickly approaching a have/have not condition for access to information in the country.

I personally am stuck with a 1 – 2.5 Mpbs line that comes and goes several times on a daily basis. That means they are currently introducting speeds one-thousand time faster than they provide me. That is because I am near the limit on the distance from the AT&T central office for their copper wire network. Everyone north of me and in the rest of the county in general is limited to a 0.056 Mpbs speed and that is now unusable for almost any kind of internet action.

So, when I read the article above I thought “good for you Chanute, Kansas”. If the FCC won’t require AT&T and others like them to provide workable Internet connects then they should be able to bypass the current infrastructure and build their own. That idea doesn’t help me, or my neighbors to the north, much as we are the third poorest county in Indiana and barely have the money to patch any potholes let along string some fiberoptic lines in our area. Sadly this is just another case of the “have vs the have-not” which is quickly becoming the norm in the American Aristocracy…

Republican proponents insisted the new legislation would reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses and spur creation of new jobs.

SOURCE:  Houses passes bill easing rules regulating Wall Street – Yahoo News.

RegulationsI think every one of those GOPers in this new congress need to have the words above tattooed on their foreheads. Ok more realistically written on a Post-It note and stuck on the foreheads. I’m sure that mantra is going to be their reason for every bill they pass in the coming two years as it has been for the last couple of decades. But as usual there is a big difference between rationalization and reality.

It’s funny that when they are in power Wall Street almost always does worse than when the Dems are there. When Mr. Bush came into office the stock market was at 11,000 when he left eight years later it was at 8,000 mainly due to GOP decisions made while he was in office. Then came Mr. Obama and the stock market went from 8,000 to almost double that in six years. I don’t know when the 1%ers who control more wealth than the rest of us combined are going to realize that the GOP are just not that good for them.

The “Regulatory burdens” that this new GOP majority want to eliminate are what was put in place to reign in the worst capitalistic greed. It doesn’t seem to concern these yahoos that the lack of regulatory burdens is what caused the near complete collapse of our entire economy just six short years ago.  To me, and I hope many of you, regulatory burdens are the necessary rules for living in a people centered democracy but yes I do realize that we have become much less people centered in this new century. I pray that we can turn that around.

Eliminating taxes and therefore government is the goal of much of Republican’s action. They seem to do a good job of listening to their rich donors but not so much in listening to those who elected them.  I know I have spent a lot of words here hitting on the GOP majority now in congress but that doesn’t mean that I think the other party did much better. All those yahoos need to learn some basic lessons about representing us. A democracy is about all the people not just about those who finance the political campaigns. They are there to do the people’s business not to blindly follow whatever their leadership or even more so the monied interests tells them to do. It is a shame that one of the first things they wanted to do as the new majority was to give more power to those who almost put us down. But maybe even more shameful was the second thing and that was to start whittling down Social Security. Shame on all of them for that mentality… and shame on us for not taking them to task for not doing the people’s business….

2014-12-13_09-44-02This is terrorism’s sick genius. Terrorists invite us — seduce us — to share their Manichaean worldview, to respond to savagery with savagery, to join them in madness. “Make us safe!” Americans demanded. And so our elected leaders launched two wars, saw WMD where there were none, launched surveillance programs with virtually no limits, and embraced “enhanced interrogation.” As justification, the White House and the CIA joined Machiavelli, Marx, and Stalin in insisting that the end justifies the means. Lots of individuals bear responsibility for the horrors detailed in the Senate committee’s torture report. But if we are honest, that journey to the Dark Side was a collective failure — and sobering evidence of how fragile our principles really are.

SOURCE: How we went to the Dark Side – The Week.

These are very powerful words from William Falk over at The Week. Powerful words that I adamantly agree with!  Being a Star Wars fan I thoroughly appreciate the title of the article. It  seems as a country we have gone the route of Darth Vader instead of Luke Skywalker and our abject fear is the primary motivator. A fear that seems to drive so much in current-day America. A fear that is driving us away from long-held principles of morality.

Our obsession with fear is exactly what the terrorists want. They can spend a few bucks and maybe a martyr or two to force us to spend billions in order to keep an event from happening again. Our fear illogically causes us do things we know in our hearts is not what America is, or at least was.

The very idea of Guantanamo Bay Detention facility is against so many principles of our American system and yet it has survived two presidents and more than a decade of legislative bodies.  The logic goes that the people held there are terrorists and not American citizens so that is OK and since Guantanamo is not really American soil so we don’t have to live by our principles there.  But that does little to ameliorate the fact that we are ignoring our basic moral standards in the process. Our abject fear allow us to keep prisoners there without any charges or proof.  We simply fear them and that is enough. It has been found that many of the people have been held there  for over ten years were innocent of any of the accusations against them. Yeah some of them are bad guys but does that justify our imprisoning others who are not?

I realize that these events since 9/11 are not the first time we have allowed our fears to obliterate our principles but the magnitude of the reaction I believe is at the head of the class.  Those who study recent history ( I realize that “recent” is a relative term) know that we imprisoned  over 100,000 of our citizens simply because of the color or their skin and the slant of their eyes. They looked like the enemy and so they were to be feared. Japanese Americans suffered because of that fear.  And this was not the first time we let our fear overcome our principles.

This is not the first time we have moved to the dark side but it is probably our darkest episode. I just pray at eventually we will move back into the benevolent “force” that until recently has guided us so well…

Beam Me Up Scottie….

December 3, 2014

2014-11-26_09-08-20Ferguson has been dominating the news lately. Especially after the grand jury decisions. This post is not going to be about that except to say that needlessly taking another life is as tragic as all those lives lost previous to that young man. I thoroughly support a police officers right to defend himself and that is what the grand jury decided.  The way to defend himself is the matter of this post.

The point is that there should be a logical alternative to using lethal force against someone who you feel threatened by. That is especially true for our police officers who keep us safe. Reaching for a lethal weapon should be the last alternative, not the first one.

It seems that since the first episode of Star Trek was shown more than forty years ago we have come pretty far toward actually implementing many of the technological advances dreamed up in the series.  No, we haven’t got a teleporter yet, that’s the one I am waiting for, but we have accomplished much in other technological advances. One thing that is totally doable today but is being held back by an obsession is the phaser. You know the one that Kirk almost always said to set on stun.

Since we seem to have appointed ourselves as the policemen of the world we should be inventing new technology toward doing that job right. Why do we need to kill someone who may be threatening physical abuse on us? Whey is it necessary to take a life in order to preserve our own? I kind of think the total reason for it comes from our obsession with guns. If we found killing another person was as tragic as surely God does we would leave our weapons on stun and only use the kill setting for imminent death situations.

No police officer, or anyone else for that matter should have to decide within a split second to take another life when there are logical alternatives available. If we were able to disable someone attacking us without extinguishing another living soul I”m sure most of us would take that option. A taser is a good starting point but is just not that accurate and must be used close up. How about a laser guided wireless taser? We can laser guide our bombs so why not a temporary disabling beam?  I know the NRA would fight it as taking away our constitutional right to a “real” gun but isn’t it about time we told them where to stuff all their opinions. We have needlessly killed enough young men, especially it seems those of color….

Beam me up Scottie, or at least put our weapons on stun…..

 

I would like to believe that we are all accountable for our actions. We should all learn that actions have consequences. It is something every father should teach every son and every mother teach every daughter. But there are also things in life that tell us otherwise.

Some of us Christians have the idea that since we are just miserable sinners God does not hold us accountable for their actions. We therefore believe that God doesn’t really mind whether we do what he says because he knows we are so weak and pitiful and therefore expects nothing from us, including accountability.

Some of us say our actions are a result of their genes. Our ancestors were less than honorable so we are too. 

Some of us say we are the way we are because our parents mistreated us or did not teach us how to live a fruitful and accountable life.  They gave us bad examples of how to be.

To ALL those ideas I say poppycock!!

God did not put us on this earth to be “poor miserable people”. She put us here to love Her and to love each other and that certainly includes being accountable for our actions. I have come to believe that the primary purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to teach us how to live our lives in a Godly manner. Yes, I admit that we don’t do a very good job of that and haven’t since our creation but that is not because God wants it that way. Jesus Christ came to earth to clearly tell us that and to show us a better way. It is sad to me to see so many Christians who discount that fact in favor of saying we are not accountable for our actions or maybe more appropriately inaction.

Sure we all have different life experiences that affect our current situations. For me it was an extreme narcissist mother who thought primarily of herself. Little including her own children mattered as much to her as her own personal circumstances. Even though my exposure to her was somewhat  limited due to her abandoning me at the age of nine, it had a definite affect on me and that was to go to the other end of the spectrum with my self image. So our parents might have not given us much to go on things about life but it is nothing that can’t be overcome within ourselves.

We are all accountable for our actions, or at least we should be…..