Saturday, September 29, 2007
A couple years ago, she was arrested for driving without a license and no proof of insurance, two offenses she readily admitted to me. Apparently, a short time before she was to appear in court, she lost her apartment (no details on why) and was preoccupied with trying to establish a new residency. She forgot about her court appearance and, naturally, a bench warrant was issued for her.
Within a few days, she was arrested at one of the homeless shelters in Denver and her children were taken into the foster-care system. The system tried to place the children with their fathers (two children, two different dads), but one placement did not work out well when the father proved to be abusive and neglectful. That child was put back into the foster-care system and awaits a non-familial placement. Fortunately the other child fared much better. His dad took the situation seriously and is working hard to care for his son. Guess which father gets the blue ribbon of the day.
The mother served her time (in jail since she didn't show up for court) for her rather minor crimes and returned to the community. The problem got worse when the foster-care/social worker stated she could not get her kids back until she re-established her housing and employment situation, something that for someone who is homeless can take months, if not years.
Such demands and expectations, though seeming reasonable on first glance, can be a virtual life sentence for the kid, sentencing him or her to spend the rest of their childhood lost in the system. Statistically, to say this is a less than ideal situation would be an understatement.
Keeping any mother or father from their children because they are homeless is an insult to our community. Any of us could end up homeless for one reason or another. To label someone as unfit to be a parent because they lost a job or had a disaster occur that cost them their home is adding insult to injury.
It is high time we come up with realistic solutions to situations like this. The system as it stands is doing far more harm than good.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
The sovereign being is burdened with a servitude that crushes him, and the condition of free men is deliberate servility.
Someone yesterday asked me why I am putting so much time into this blog and into House Wyldstar instead of getting a real job. It is an interesting question, especially when you ask yourself what a real job is.
I have had many real jobs in the past: warehouse order puller, cashier, fast food worker, shipping clerk, market researcher, typist (yes, there are male typists), furniture mover, carpet cleaner, and general laborer. In essence, I was a wage slave, working hard just to make someone else rich. I feel like the men waiting for Godot.
Let us not waste our time in idle discourse!
Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed. But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late!
But that is not the question. Why are we here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come.
Personally, I am tired of waiting.
When I was a kid, our government and big business talked about developing alternate fuels and energy in response to the oil crisis of the mid to late 70s. They are just now getting around to it thirty years later.
Denver has been talking about a comprehensive light rail system since about that time too. To date we have essentially two rails, the Chatfield/Downtown and the Parker/Downtown. We are still waiting for the Golden/Downtown, the DIA/Downtown, the Boulder/Downtown, and the Northglenn/Downtown lines to be done. Only one of them has even seen the design board.
We have been talking for decades about eliminating poverty, both in the United States and abroad. Children still go to bed hungry, even in the most developed nations. Tens of thousands are without a place to call home. Millions don't even have basic health insurance or services.
We talk about justice, yet we look the other way when our neighbors are arrested and convicted for crimes they never committed, especially if they are different in some way. And even when their punishment is over, we ostracize them until they are dead and buried.
We landed on the moon four decades ago and haven't been back in three decades, much less taken the time to establish a moonbase or lunar mining operations.
We made our first pieces of transparent alumina (aluminum oxide) five years ago, yet industrial applications haven't even made it to the drawing board yet. Not only is it transparent, but it is, according to the developers, three times stronger than steel! Imagine the possibilities!
House Wyldstar seeks to empower marginalized citizens. What better way than by large-scale economic and environmental development? By pushing forward with the developing technologies we can not only bolster our own economy, but help less-developed nations incorporate them from the beginning, saving them from many of the mistakes the developed nations have made in the past.
Taking the moral high-road on this, we can make economic slavery a thing of the past, once and for all. After that, the only ones wearing a ''collar'' will be the clergy and those who practice voluntary servitude. We cannot afford to wait for big business or the government to do it for us. We must do it ourselves.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
We worry about what a child will be tomorrow, yet we forget that he or she is someone today.
Undoubtedly, you have noticed I use historic quotes frequently.
Through such quotes we can learn from our ancestors and founding fathers the wisdom of the ages. Through such quotes we can learn the original intent of those who wrote our Constitution and laws and they should be applied to the operation of our government and our society.
This understanding has led me to be an advocate for reducing the control and influence of our Federal government and for strengthening the sovereignty and self-sufficiency of our states and individual communities.
Our founding fathers feared a Federal government that held too much power, such as ours does now. The more centralized the power, they believed, the more easily it would be to corrupt and usurp governing authority from the will of the people.
This is further corrupted by activist judges who create new laws by judicial edict from the bench. Laws that were never approved of by Congress or the People of the United States and that have frequently proved disastrous to our society. Judges are supposed to enforce the laws as we, the people, have had instituted and to potentially punish those who violate these laws. Our laws provide not only what constitutes an offense, but what punishments are appropriate and even exceptional defenses to such violations that might mitigate the offense.
Now, granted the judges have to take action on occasion when a new or existing law is recognized as violating our Constitutional rights, but such decisions are always supposed to be in favor of protecting the rights of each and every citizen.
Too frequently these days our judges are bending to the pressures of political correctness and handing down decisions not based in law, but based in personal opinion and bias. Instead of true justice and equality under the law, they are showing favoritism and allowing Constitutional injustices to stand as law. They strike down the death-penalty as cruel and unusual punishment, for example, yet see nothing wrong with sentencing a man to serve two or more life sentences behind bars.
Is it any less cruel to keep a man imprisoned for the rest of his natural life, never to see his children grow up or even have a chance at emerging into a world he no longer knows? Is it any less cruel than silencing by intimidation an imprisoned man who continues to profess his innocence and dares to use media contacts or the Internet to plead his case before the public or to beg the courts to rehear his case because of new found evidence that may prove his innocence? Is the death penalty any more cruel than the cruelty of death the victims of the crimes experienced?
In giving unjust decisions that bend to radical factions of our society, judges violate their oath of office which has always included a statement of them swearing to uphold the United States Constitution and to protect the rights of all citizens under it.
Legislative corruption has led to laws in many jurisdictions protecting prosecutors and law enforcement agents from legal actions for the crimes of malicious prosecution, wrongful arrest, and false imprisonment. Judicial corruption has led to court decisions upholding these protections. These two trends, in particular, have undermined the basic rights of every citizen by making them more susceptible to wrongful arrest, detainment, and court involvement and leaving them no rights to seek remedy for the damage caused to their reputations, the loss of their jobs, and the economy devastation upon their lives.
What scares the hell out of me is these are some of the same conditions that Soviet citizens found themselves in during the Communist regime and that German citizens found themselves in under Adolf Hitler. Couple this with the liberal agenda of disarming American citizens and we have the recipe for the future enslavement of the United States.
Let's learn from history before we become a lesson for future generations.
Sometimes one man with courage is a majority.
Talking with people yesterday on the buses about House Wyldstar and the Social Policy Center blog, I was asked if I really think my efforts will make a difference.
In truth, I do not know. My late aunt once told me that the true purpose of a warrior is not victory or conquest, but to struggle against adversity so that the people might survive. It is the struggle that is important. If man never attempts to prove himself worthy and to preserve the rights, liberties and freedom for himself and others, he condemns himself and those around him to mediocrity and slavery.
Until recently, I have lived a life of mediocrity as a common wage slave, travelling through time without a cause, a career, or discernible direction. But no longer.
Over the years I have experienced many things; mental illness, disability, imprisonment, homelessness, poverty, discrimination - they have all become a part of me, an epiphany if you will ... and given me an unexpected direction to my life. I can no longer sit by the sidelines and watch as our society slowly crumbles. I can no longer turn a blind eye to those I once thought beneath my attentions. I can no longer remain silent as our nation forgets the price of true liberty.
Will I make a difference? Perhaps, if I can educate people about the issues and needs of our society, get them to see and talk about what can be done to address them, and (if I am lucky) to inspire them to action. Some say this makes me a politician. Personally, I hate that title because of the social ineptitude associated with it today. I would rather think that it makes me a teacher. Perhaps one of the most important kind of teachers; one that gets his students to honestly and intelligently think for themselves.
Please understand, I do not pretend to be an expert on anything. I am an ordinary citizen. But I try to open my mind to see how each issue is linked to the others and how these interrelated issues affect each other. You can blame my world history teacher in high school, Mrs. Rowland, for that. She taught me to never look at an event or situation as isolated, but to look around it at the environment and the previous events that led up to the event or situation. By doing so, one gains more insight into the event or situation and can more readily see or design a response to it.
Can a single man make a difference?
With courage and an open mind, eager to find solutions to our problems, I believe he can.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
What is it? The idea that if our governments (any level, take your pick) are showing a surplus at any given time, it should be given back to the tax payers immediately.
Seven years ago, when Clinton left office, our federal government was showing a financial surplus on its annual budget. It was a surplus that, I my opinion, should have gone to paying off some of our national debt.
Instead, the republicans swiftly realigned our budget to put us back on course for national bankruptcy in the near future. The surplus that should have paid off some of our national debt was instead given away as a tax cut that only helped the richest members of our society.
Why is this a problem, you ask? Simple. When our nation goes bankrupt in the next few years, the richest members of our society will simply hide in their gated- and armed guard-protected communities to ride out its aftermath. This leaves, guess who, outside to clean up the mess they have caused by their profiteering and outright greed.
The rich try to make it look like they are concerned for the welfare of the homeless, disabled, etc, etc. Yet percentage-wise, they give the least amount of income to programs to address the social needs of these populations. The same can be said for the government itself, which spends most of its money to guarantee that you and I will remain loyal little wage slaves, oblivious to the impending disaster, until it is too late.
This is the same thing that the Roman empire did during its last days. Back then they held daily circuses and gave away bread in a bid to convince the people that nothing was wrong. It worked. At least it did until Rome was burned by barbarian hordes. By then, of course, it was too late.
Is it too late for the United States? Only time will tell for certain, but I don't think we should wait to find out.
A student was tasered for allegedly getting out of hand during a question and answer session with candidate John Kerry. According to reports, the student supposedly used profanity during a series of questions that led the session moderators (read censors here) to cut off his mike and to have police remove the student.
This was, to put it lightly, poorly handled.
First, if the student was in the middle of a question when his time ran out, he should have been allowed to finish it and Mr Kerry given time to answer it before the student was asked to step aside. This would have been respectful of the student as both an adult and a human being.
Second, there are a lot better ways of handling a young man than tasering him. Those things have been known to trigger heart attacks and neurological damage and should be outlawed for everyone, including the police. Might need to list pepper spray in this too, one shot of that stuff would put me in the hospital with total asthmatic shutdown.
Third, seeing the obvious overkill in this situation, John Kerry, self-proclaimed defender of our civil liberties, should have been all over the police officers and officials about this incident and the sorry way it was handled. Guess I won't be voting for him after all.
Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.
Monday, September 17, 2007
To signify this day, I offer the following quotes about government, and in the spirit of the original intent of the United States and House Wyldstar's association mission, I shall leave you to consider their meaning for yourself.
The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government.
It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.
The citizen can bring our political and governmental institutions back to life, make them responsive and accountable, and keep them honest. No one else can.
A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned -- this is the sum of good government.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Recently our news headlines burned into our memory the story of a tuberculosis patient who travelled by plane to Europe, exposing dozens of people to what was thought to be a deadly, drug-resistant form of tuberculosis. The public screamed about the irresponsibility of this act and rightly so. But let me remind you that another deadly disease is being spread without notice - AIDS/HIV.
Twenty years ago the existence of this disease became public knowledge, thought at the time to be only a homosexual community problem. Over the years, it quickly spread into the heterosexual community via the bisexual and drug-users community. It is a disease that can take a decade or more to blossom to its full lethal potential, once someone is infected.
Unlike the flu or common cold, the ways this illness is spread relates directly to human actions-blood transfusion (now rare) or body fluid exposure, the use of injected drugs with unsterilized equipment, and sexual contact. Years ago, outbreaks of infectious diseases were met with prompt public and governmental action. In many cases, it still is.
But when it comes to AIDS/HIV, our response has been dismal. Out of fear of stigmatizing individuals who are exposed, usually because of unsafe conduct on their part, we respond to the diagnosis as if it were nothing more serious than a common cold.
This lack of prompt, appropriate response has allowed this disease to get completely out of hand. It is currently estimated that 40 million people worldwide have this disease and many of them do not know it!!!
When this disease was first identified, our officials followed procedure and began tracking down those who might have been cross-infected by exposure to the diagnosed patient. Privacy advocates screamed about this saying it violated the patient's right to privacy, completely ignoring the right of those exposed to a deadly disease to know about it and perhaps prevent them from exposing others unwittingly.
This change in policy has hamstrung our efforts to get control over this disease for the past twenty years, leading to ten or twenty times as many people being exposed and sentenced to death.
Understand, I am a strong supporter for the right to privacy. However, when the right to privacy endangers the lives of others, that is where the right to privacy ends.
This is especially important when we consider the prospects of a pandemic outbreak.
With the "bird" flu showing signs of nearing the avian/human infection crossing, we should be strengthening our disease monitoring, treatment, and reporting. This reporting cannot be just to state and federal authorities. It must include anyone who may have been exposed to the disease in question so that they can seek treatment or change their activities to limit or eliminate exposing others.
We held this position regarding Mr Tuberculosis. We already have plans to hold this position when faced with a global pandemic. We should and must take this position regarding our response to AIDS/HIV as well.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
While in a chatroom earlier today, the participants started asking each other where they stood politically ... conservative or liberal. They all agreed that they could not categorize me in either of those.
This is simple to understand. I am neither fully. The closest political parties to whom I can be compared are the Natural Law Party and the Libertarians. I am very conservative when it comes to the role of government in our lives, feeling that the government should return to a state of original intent defined in the U.S. Constitution. At the same time, I am very liberal when it comes to the rights of individuals living their lives in peace (ie without interference from the government or majority of our society) and have equal opportunity when it comes to participation in our society, be that political, economic, or socially.
Unlike ''liberals'' who think this can only come under the authority and control of government (which contributes to our growing, unconstitutional government agencies), I feel these goals can be created by the citizens of the United States and other countries independently of government. For true change to come about within a society, one must first educate the people about why the proposed change is better than maintaining the status quo. And as Benjamin Franklin said, "this is not the work of a single day."
Our problems arise when liberal organizations and foundations fund litigation (lawsuits) to force social change down the throats of mainstream society, or when activist politicians pass ill-conceived laws to curry the favor of the social majority regardless of the negative impacts of such change or legislation.
The over-all impact of the liberal agenda in the United States has, to date, been a dissertation in how to destroy a country. The liberal activism of our politicians and foundations have lead to the near-disaster of the welfare programs, so-called education reforms, and out of control political correctness in our country.
Most liberals have been secretive about their agenda, but on occassion one of them slips up and says something that gives them away. Consider the following quotes and their sources. See if you can pick out which are liberals.
What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms
Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.
One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offense to keep arms.
Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, 1840
The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.
Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.
Every Communist must grasp the truth, 'Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.'
I do not believe in people owning guns. Guns should be owned only by police and military. I am going to do everything I can to disarm this state.
When only cops have guns, its called a 'police state'
For the record, I am not a gun-toting, card-carrying member of the NRA or any other such organization. Personally, I do not even own a gun and have never liked firing them, even when I was in the military twenty years ago. However, if provoked by invaders or our own government becoming oppressive to the rights of myself or my community, that could easily change.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I am not talking about our bumbling national security guards and intelligence agencies. I am talking about you and I as Americans.
We as Americans can no longer take for granted that we are safe at home. The foreign terrorists effectively confirmed that. But I wonder, are we any safer now?
The USA Patriot Act was passed shortly after the attack, on the premise that it would make us safer in the United States, but has it?
It is slowly coming to light just how far the USA Patriot Act has damaged civil and constitutional rights in the United States. Three years ago a federal judge ruled the portion forbidding giving expert advice and assistance to groups designated as international terrorist organizations unconstitutional, ruling it impermissibly vague and violating the First and Fifth Amendments of the United States Constitution.
Other provisions should also be declared unconstitutional.
One provision is the so-called 'sneak and peek' or 'delayed notification' searches of American households. Under this provision, government officials may enter your home or business without a search warrant and take anything they 'think' might incriminate you. All you know is you come home or enter your business later and find the place broken into and stuff missing. For weeks, months or even years you may think you were simply robbed. This was supposedly changed in the Patriot Act reauthorization recently to require the government to give you notice within 30 days, but with the opportunity for two 30-day extensions with the showing of good cause.
Another provision requires bookstores and libraries to make your viewing habits available to them upon request (ie without a court warrant) and forbids them from telling you the information was accessed. The reauthorization supposedly removed the automatic application of the gag order.
Under provisions of the USA Patriot Act, peace activists, social change advocates, members of the American Islamic society and even political opponents of sitting officials have found themselves denied the right to travel by commercial airliner because they have been included in the federal 'no-fly' list.
I am reminded of an old warning:
Have we forfeited the essential liberty of ourselves and our children? Only time will tell, I just pray we do not find out too late.
Anyone care for a yellow star or black triangle?
Thursday, September 6, 2007
The problem is, our domestic honey bees are our primary pollinator of crops and fruits. Less or no bees means a stark reduction in crop production worldwide. This at a time when our production levels are already under threat from drought and desertification effects from global warming.
This scarily reminds me of the warning in the Book of Revelations (last book of the Christian Bible for those who are non-Christian readers) where it tells of extraordinary prices for food stocks in the future.
This does not bode well for anyone on Earth. The less we can rely on our food stocks, the greater the chance for internal and international turmoil as more and more of our population goes hungry.
Fundamentally, this is a serious national security issue! And it is a condition that has been building for a long time. As we become increasingly dependent on limited areas of our country to provide the bulk of our food stock, any loss of production in those areas ripple through our entire economy. Case in point, the price of oranges and orange juice over the past few months, caused by the devastating hurricanes in Florida two years ago that damaged most of the crop producing trees.
I am not the only one noticing this potentially devastating pattern. Infoshop News has an article on the subject at the moment (http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20070901185325837).
The question is, what can we do about it?
First, we need research to learn what is killing off our bee populations and other pollinators. If we are doing it ourselves with toxins or something, we need to know so we can stop it. If the treat to them is biological, we must find a cure, quickly.
Second, we need to diversify our crops. The true number of food crops worldwide number in the hundreds, if not thousands, yet we rely on about 30 or 40 for the bulk of our diet. Organizations like Seeds of Diversity (Canada - http://www.seeds.ca/en.php) need to be encouraged and learned from. We constantly talk about cultural diversity when we need to be more interested in maintaining genetic diversity in our plants, animals, and food stocks.
Third, we need to decentralize our crop production. Currently several areas of the country are under biological quarantine which prevents crops being trucked into, out of, or through those areas. Each community across the nation once had crop farms surrounding them and providing them with food. Over the years, these have either been sold to make way for urban sprawl development or purchased and consolidated by the mega-agricultural corporations. This decentralized food supply needs to be re-established as soon as possible with urban sprawl encroachment slowed, if not stopped altogether.
These changes will not be easy and without a doubt will be resisted by the mega-agricultural corporations, but if we are going to maintain a sustainable, thriving society, it must be done, and soon.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
May you live in interesting times.
Until six years ago, I never really understood that curse. We are approaching the sixth anniversary of the day that changed America, forever.
I finally had a chance to see the movie "World Trade Center" and could not keep back the tears remembering that day.
I was helping my niece, Jasmine, get ready for school that morning. The morning cartoons she was watching as she ate her breakfast were interrupted by the news of the first plane hitting the towers. Moments after they went live, the second plane hit, sending flames and debris into the morning sky over New York City. My niece looked confused and turned.
"Uncle James, what happened?"
All I could do, in the shocked state I was in at the time, was say that something very bad had just happened. To this day, I still do not know how to adequately explain to a child about that day.
Looking back in my mind while watching the movie, I wonder if we as a nation have learned anything. I, for one, have taken many lessons from this horrible, historic event.
First, Americans are capable of so much more than we are doing now for each other. During the events of September 11th, 2001, people rallied together to help dig survivors out of the wreckage, heal those who were wounded, donate much needed blood, and comfort those who lost loved ones in this unforgivable attack.
Second, it made me realize that we as Americans can never take our safety and freedom for granted. It is something that must be fought for and protected with our very lives if our children are to know what it is.
Third, it made me realize that we must continue the struggle against oppression and fascism which is still very much alive in our world. Where there are men and forces that would work to harm and intimidate mankind into slavish obedience to any philosophy or religious dogma, we must be ready to oppose it with deadly resolve.
The attack against the World Trade Center was an act of war, undeclared and cowardly, no different than another attack that happened over 60 years ago. Perhaps you have heard of a place called Pearl Harbor? If not, ask your grandparents.
During the Civil War, there were almost 500,000 deaths. During the First World War, over 100,000. During the Second World War, over 400,000. During the Korean Conflict (America's forgotten war), over 50,000. During Vietnam, over 90,000. During the Gulf War, a mere 2,000.
Now in Iraq and Afghanistan, so many in our nation are screaming over the deaths of just over 3,000 over the past three years. Have we forgotten how many have died before to secure and encourage freedom around the world?
Don't get me wrong. I hate war. I wish we as a race could come up with better ways to handle our conflicts. It is unfortunate that the tree of freedom must still be watered with the blood of brave warriors. I agree with Eve Mirriam when she spoke of one day having a child who would ask her "What was war?" But as John Stewart Mill said:
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
We as Americans must remember these words, least we loose our resolve to maintain the freedoms that we have so richly enjoyed. If we do, our children's futures will be poorer for it. Personally, I struggle not for myself, but for my niece and my nephews. I hope that one day they can take their children to a museum where our guns, bombs and machines of war will be displayed the same way that instruments of torture and archaic weapons are now. I hope they look upon them with startled amazement that such devices could ever have been used. I pray they look up at their parents and ask.
What was war?