Saturday, January 23, 2016

Not this day

Go ask Alice
is it obvious
downloading and waiting to load
historical hysterical
wary and awkward with none more
wheres the line
the horizon hidden by clouds and darkness
wild resistance but unknown why
a catalyst or a realization of reduction, less options
to walk alone, to walk no where and to sit without purpose
to be used  and to use 
to cry behind an empty smile
to fain excitement for pathetic
disabled, loss of worth, loss of courage

a fiction and hallow words echo in chamber
click, look and amazed

to expose and to be exposed
tired and worn, a crisis
consequence of horror and memory of pain
Bridges burned and smoldering ashes in the field
tight and constricting with no more facades
resignation and resolve

I am the cause and I am the reason and I don't know why
Go ask the rabbit running down the hole again

exposed my fear and my desire 
response of uncertainty and unsure, ambiguous signs
what is the purpose what is the reason what was the cause
life and gods
imagine and perspective traps

thought I could share but not today
thought I could live but not today
thought I could sing but not today
thought I could feel but not today

a path to no where with no one and of no grace
alone, empty cup of coffee and hurtful chest
pills for what
to be involved but the scaffold is falling
logic flow and portion low

I have done what I could and built more with hope
the hope is false and then taken
why wait 

a decision considered, a decision made, a decision a guess really

no more distraction, no more expectation, no more interruption
no more need, no more obstacle, no more worry, no more care
no more

walk away and feel free 
learn and be peace
cry no more and wait no more for you have been released …
be comforted in that yours have found a way gone
an end, a restart for you
a sleep and rest for your work, 

feed your head

I will take your pain with me

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Issues of 2016: An Abstract and Framework

Here is a list of what I consider high priority issues for the United States and its future.  I can expand on any of these, but I am releasing this summary edition for vetting and current discussion in the current presidential campaign season.  As a moderate,  there is some conservative and liberal thoughts in the mix, but these 14 points will be how I base my vote going forward.

1. Economic security (Taxes). This has many parts with the first being to put more money in more hands rather than the fewer.  Fairer taxes are a way to level the economics, but even more they help the middle class be strong because taxes can help to divert costs away from struggling families, like education and health care when they are applied correctly. Tax code should be simpler for all.  Taxes should include capital and security investments so that people cannot hide their duties from society so that "CEOs" wind up paying less percentage income tax than their workers. 

Further, the argument against taxing the wealthy more is weak also because the United States is doing major innovation and growth when those parts of society were much more taxed than they are today.  The wealthy are better when the middle class is getting bigger and better because more people can buy things with more “discretionary income”. The wealthy do not have to worry about necessities and costs because they have a discretionary income that the middle and especially lower classes do not have. Yet, when the middle and lower classes can spend money on more than just essentials, the whole society raises standards. In the reverse where money is concentrated to the few or when there is not enough, the economy slows down and people lose jobs. Taxes provide necessary funds for good schools, roads, security and incentives to build/repair infrastructure. When these essentials are not costs to individual family budgets, then those same people can buy other items and they have the education to grow if they so choose. 

2. Budget Deficits. Economic security requires proper budget management and discipline. The government can also encourage responsible use of money throughout the society by being more diligent of its own budgets. Remove unnecessary expenses from the government.  We do not need to keep funding expensive military engagements, we do not need to fund other country governments (we can help their citizens rather than the politicians), and we need more responsible use of Medicare, Medicaid and social security funds. If we mean to fund social insurance, then we must get better at managing these costs. Curb disability payments and provide incentives for people to get off the government payrolls.  End unnecessary farm and corporate subsidies to let the market reveal the worth of these services instead of the government.  

3. Personal responsibility. Personal responsibility may be more of an issue of culture than politics, but the “bully pulpit” of the White House can help influence this idea in ways that will benefit our future.  We need to reward people that move out of government dependence (including disability, welfare, food stamps) by offering real incentives to leave and stay out of those programs. Limits have to be placed on government dependence in order for it to be a “safety net” rather than a way of life for people. People that are working observe people that do nothing while getting government hand outs while the workers may get barely a thankful smile from a boss. Ignorance of law, or in-fact-laziness, on the part of people in this society should not be rewarded, and those that actually do work should not have to stand idly by while laziness is rewarded. If the United States values good work and ethical behavior, then reward that effort. 

4. Health Care. Health care costs still double every few years while inflation has remained relatively insignificant. Health care is the only industry that has been able to command quadruple increase in rates over inflation without much health care improvement for the masses. People still have to wait for weeks and in lines for a mere couple minutes of doctor time to be pushed back out the door along with “take these pills for the rest of your life (never mind the side effects)” without so much as “thanks for visiting.”  The health care system is getting better thanks to the ACA, but there is much more that can be done to make it more understandable to the public and goal-oriented to reduce the overall cost of health care. 

Further, health care should reward those (patients and providers) that work to minimize the costs via good and preventative lifestyle choices (exercise, proper eating, and non-sedentary living). 

5. Education. Education is critical to the future of the country.  Without proper education for all citizens, we miss out on the opportunity for the next generations to excel beyond us.  Are we so selfish in our interest that we would not leave a legacy of ambition, learning and resourcefulness to the next generations of Americans.  For too long, we have ate our fill of prosperity and forgot how that prosperity came to us.  We have a great nation today because we invested in education and libraries decades ago. We will have even better nation tomorrow if we continue that investment. If we want a better tomorrow, we have to focus public money on newer schools and colleges rather than newer arenas and stadiums. 

6. Military security. Another part of economic security is physical security. Remove the threat of ISIS and all other foreign influences upon American security.  Actually the problem is not ISIS or anyone half a world away. The real problem is our dependency upon the energy and oil supply they are near.  We need to remove our dependency upon oil reserves of the Middle East and then ISIS/Syria/Islamic threats against America will no longer have teeth.  We do not need to be there and other countries are doing fine without ruffling feathers there.  The more we shoot bombs, missiles, and guns at any Arab (or other foreign power), the more the cities of that part of the world will learn the U.S. is not really compassionate but instead “shoot first ask nothing later” policy.  Sometimes all the bully wants is attention, and we have been providing plenty of legitimacy and attention to these. South Korea, China and Japan should handle their neighbor North Korea. Further, if China, North Korea, or other power wishes to do something, they know they can captivate our attention and resources to be directed at supposed “terrorists” while they (the China or other power) go about doing what they really want to do because our attention is not where it is needed. Countries can patrol their own neighborhoods instead of us footing the cost. 

Again, the issue with foreign policy is unnecessary dependency upon unstable energy supply lines which ultimately impacts our economic security.  We can and should spur growth and innovation in the area of technology, energy production, and energy conservation.  If our country can understand how to build systems to send people to the moon, we can learn to harvest the best energy and resources in the solar system (not just Earth). The country that learns this capacity will be above and beyond all others in this globe. We cannot do this task if we stay mired in current energy dependencies and fund the high cost of military engagements. We cannot encourage the youth to look beyond today without an expansive effort to rethink and to soar to new heights (think of the Apollo or space shuttle projects) to captivate imaginative minds to spur science and engineering growth). 

7. Environment. The future of our country also is what we leave to our future generations in our environment.  If we use all of supplies today, we leave nothing for the future except empty promises. The ideals of Theodore Roosevelt have importance to this and the future set of generations to keep the natural beauty of our country as much as possible without the destruction of capital industry. It is a lesson also imparted by the Native Americans to us about what we leave for future generations. We can continue the growth of economy, but we have to be conscious of savings for future use. So the lesson is not just for beauty of national parks but heeding the Native American lessons because environmental protection is also a lesson of personal responsibility to save for the future. If use up everything today, we leave nothing for tomorrow.

8. Immigration. Immigration is keeping America strong and vibrant. Immigration provides people to this country from around this world where we (internally) have not increased our own population numbers via births.  Let our generation teach the immigrants of why America is so prestigious so that they can also teach the future immigrants.  Allow our borders to be open for lawful and abiding people.  For those that have escaped to America in refuge, let us not refuse them but be compassionate to them. For those that attempt to harm America while traveling under the guise of refuge, let them find the hospitality of our prisons. For those that have come here without regard to law, they have to be penalized for their lawlessness and excused only if they pay the penalties. Such lawlessness cannot be awarded with the sanctity of American citizenship without recognition of the awful work which they, the ‘illegal immigrants’, have circumvented. Others have had to pay and to endure to become Americans and amnesty is not fair to those people Illegal immigrants may become citizens when and if they pay the penalty of circumventing the law.

9. Religion. Remove religious fundamentalism from politics. Understand religion has an important part in public and private life, but government should not tell us what religion to believe, how to believe or if we should. An essential tenet of the 1st amendment is the right of citizens be free of government required or taught religion. This is also a bit of basic respect for each other’s individual thoughts and right to think because we come from different backgrounds. Remember that religion may provide good qualities in people, and it may also be used as an excuse for bad behavior or outright disrespect.  

10. Libertarian. Remove government from the lives of people as much as possible. Government is not the answer to democracy because government is only an arbiter and referee (e.g. the courts, fire, public needs, civil equity). Civil service can be respectful and further the good of public needs, but let us consider whether government should be engaged in some services that private firms (NGO or capital firms might do better). Government, by itself, does not create or build but instead provides the rules, standards, and enforcement for people to work and play in the marketplace/field fairly. Government of the Republic should not be in business of managing aspects of people’s lives, pensions or companies, and government cannot do business without unduly interfering with that fairness principle and this may include some current public welfare services. 

11. Worker rights. Both public and private work have their share of workers with poor ethics or just plain selfishness. Civil service may be viewed as a calling but like any other business or group, no calling can be an entitlement that is immune from scrutiny. Churches, government agencies, nonprofits, hospitals and such have to reveal their donors so that their organization purpose is clear.  Employment, via labor union agreements, must ensure that quality is a product of the labor as a continuous improvement effort otherwise the tax money is literally being wasted on disservices.  

Companies are not the only ones that can have an opinion because workers also have rights to express and organize. No company and no government can take those rights away. Workers have the right to organize and to help influence public discourse just like companies have the right to manage their needs. As part of personal responsibility, workers that organize should not be automatically given exception or preference to hire, promotion or even employee retention. Nostalgia for precedence (“the way we do things around here”) is not conducive to adaptability, to making needed changes or even to recognizing a need for change. When people understand the consequences of their actions or inertia, they then can also understand the reward of providing real value. 

12. Campaign season. Shorten the campaign season into a few months. We spend billions on television, radio, print and Internet for lost cause campaigns. Why couldn't some of that money be spent on public works instead public campaigning. By the time November has come around, the American public has been over inundated for over two years in empty promises with many current legislators not doing their paid jobs. 

13. Marijuana . Finally, guns and weed need to have proper respect in public.  I have written on this topic before. Marijuana is not as big of a threat to America any more than gambling and alcohol.  If our society means to accept the costs and problems of alcohol, tobacco and gambling, then rejection of these other intoxicants are hypocritical. Current legal intoxicants combined take a huge amounts of money, health and security away from people with an interest to encourage more by legal companies. Why wouldn’t we allow for people to find intoxication via smoking a joint or companies to make money selling these?

14. Guns. People have the right to build, to own and to carry a gun, and those that choose to do this also carry the responsibility of that choice.  We also know that more weapons available means more access and more ways to kill regardless of the responsibility taken. People without regard to public good can gain access to weapons just as easy as a “law-abiding” person interested in protecting the home. As long as criminals can gain access to these weapons, “law-abiding” people and law officers should also have access to protect themselves. Yet, there is personal responsibility of having or building a weapon (whether for ill or protection) and people have to realize the awful cost of taking the life from someone is part of that responsibility.  We know that mentally impacted people and felons should be limited access to the weapons, but who decides who is aware enough of that responsibility and when. Background checks can slow the flow of weapons, but people can and will circumvent the system if they want to gain or to sell a weapon without regard to any formal check.   

As a martial artist, one never reveals a weapon they are not prepared to use with deadly force. People that do not understand the awful task and responsibility of carrying deadly weapons should not carry them. Brazen display can expect brazen attitudes against such since display of weapons has and always will be a threatening affront to personal and public security. The reaction is to raise the stakes until, and including when, people end up dead. We return and devolve into “old-west” where civility is only at the grace of gun-totting hips, and people waving guns can expect to be targets of guns. Can people have conversations without resorting to violent action or the need for a gun? This can be impacted by our leadership being quick to guns (via the military) or if they are interested in civil conversation.