Politics

Jay Dancing Bear
See my  blogspot-blog for some new ideas
blog.myspace.com/jaydancingbear for some older but still valid ideas
POLITICS 

My politics are very simple.

I don’t mind if some people  have more than other people,
as long as everyone has enough,
especially enough time,
and
nature is honored,
humans are honored, 
animals are honored 

Ultimately politics is an expression of a society’s spiritual consciousness; the openness of it’s heart, the clarity of it’s thinking, and the values, beliefs and assumptions that the society holds.

All the laws, legal systems, tax codes, economic systems, everything, are the expression of the spiritual consciousness, the psyche, and the values, beliefs and assumptions of a society.

Are there higher laws which control material reality, or is it all just what we can touch, smell and taste? Are people material beings, or are we, as Wayne Dyer says, spiritual beings having a material experience?

What do we need to be happy?
Why are we alive?
Are our lives at the mercy of forces beyond our control, or is society a co-creation of all of us, the result of our collective choices? How important are our individual choices? Do we have choices?
Is the universe basically a safe and loving place, or a hostile environment?

Is there enough or not enough abundance in the world for everyone to have a decent material existence. Is the world like a sporting event, in which for one person to win the other must lose, or is it like a trade agreement, which if skillfully done benefits everyone?

Is it “every man for himself” a/ka “dog eat dog” a/k/a competition or is it “we’re all in this together” a/k/a “the human family”. What are our boundaries of compassion=who/what is it ok to treat badly/exploit. Is it OK to profit by somebody else’s suffering?

Do people have to do or be something, (smart enough, ambitious enough, whatever), to deserve having a decent material life. Should we let them starve, because they don’t deserve to eat, or should we feed them, no matter how badly they’ve fucked up?

Are there bad people, or are bad actions the result of woundedness and ignorance. Do criminals get punished or rehabilitated?

Do we believe in dominating or dialoguing and cooperating with others? Is it winner take all, or proportional representation?

Can one person win if another loses, speaking in spiritual terms?
Do we care about others, including animals? What are the boundaries of our caring? Ourselves, family, group, race, nation? Where do we emotionally draw the line?
What are our beliefs and relationship to nature? Is the earth and it’s ecosystem just a commodity for our profit, or do we value them for their own sake?  Do we have any responsibilities to the earth?

Every action has both direct and indirect effects and consequences.
Are we aware of the consequences of our actions, both direct and indirect, how our lives and lifestyles has effects all over the world, and perhaps beyond? Do we take responsibility for the consequences of our actions, and do we live in a way which creates health, rather than suffering?
To quote Mahatma Gandhi, our life is our message.
In my opinion,
the single biggest issue of our time is
the way that we, as individuals and as a society,
are committing ecological suicide-murder.

We need to shift
from Independence to interdependence
from disposable to Sustainable
from competition to cooperation 
because that is how the web of life will survive and thrive
concern for others must become a primary human value and
this must be expressed in our politics and government policies

My politics are very simple.

I don’t mind if some people  have more than other people,
as long as everyone has enough,
especially enough time,
and
nature is honored,
humans are honored, 
animals are honored 

My ideal world would be one in which people are free to express who they really are, and people take care of each other  

Introduction

There is an old saying, “opinions are like assholes, everybody has one”. As you can see, I have many (opinions). Many people have articulated the following ideas much better than I have: still, for some reason, I feel the need to write them here. Please forgive me.

How you view and feel about the politics will depend very much on whether you have spiritual and metaphysical beliefs, and what those beliefs are.

Are there higher laws which control material reality, or is it all just what we can touch, smell and taste? Are people material beings, or are we, as Wayne Dyer says, spiritual beings having a material experience?

For example, I believe in reincarnation. I see the world as a one room schoolhouse, with souls of all ages. The physical body may be 8 or 80, but who knows how old the soul is. This is a good reason for treating children with respect.

I see stupidities and cruelties as indicators of spiritual immaturity, although I don’t yet understand why spiritual children seem to have the power to hurt others. Also, my belief in reincarnation affects my attitude towards the death penalty and prison, because if the person is not reformed, when they are reborn, with a new name and face, they will just commit fresh crimes. 

In Games Theory the rules of the game determine the outcome. If we want socially responsible, environmentally friendly, human friendly business and government policies, then the rule that says business can make a profit without worrying about social consequences has to change, the tax laws have to change, the rules governing election financing have to change, and more.

Politics, American politics. Left and Right, progressive and conservative, angry and scared too much of the time. It seems there is a great divide. Is there?

Let’s talk postulates for a minute. Every action has direct and indirect consequences. The world is holistic, everything and everybody affects each other. Foreign policy has domestic consequences, domestic policy has foreign consequences. The price of housing and health care effects wages, etc, etc.

I think that if people let go of their ideological positions, left and right, dialogued with each other, really examined the details of what’s going on, then there would be a lot more agreement than disagreement. If people would listen and talk with those they disagreed with, just with the goal of reaching some agreement on what the facts are, without jumping ahead to what to do about it, we’d get along.

The thing which keeps this from happening is fear, fear of losing your job, fear of:  well, you could write this as well as I could. The funny thing is, no matter how much money people have, often they still harbor fears over money.

I believe that if people really felt it was safe to have a just and loving society they would. I guess I’m saying that human nature is basically good, and that may be the central political fact, as fear is the central political flaw.

I believe that at their core people are good and want to live in harmony with themselves, other people, and nature. I see problems as a result of bad actions due to fear, not bad people.

Keeping a spiritual perspective, remembering that the material world as we see it is not all that there is, is the key to harmonious politics and having some peace. As Wayne Dyer says, remember that we are spiritual beings having a material experience, rather than material beings occasionally having a spiritual experience.

It is very difficult to keep this perspective in a world where there is torture, rape, murder, exploitation, and so much suffering, most of it avoidable, much of it caused by the ignorance, indifference, and sometimes even deliberate action of humans, especially those with money and power. It is difficult to keep compassion for all beings, even the torturers, difficult to avoid blaming and shaming, pointing fingers, but if we truly want peace in the world and peace in ourselves this is the only way. I say this not from idealism, but because this is the most efficient and practical way of attaining peace.

One person said “never let anyone drag you so low that you hate them”. A master said, “Forgive them lord, for they know not what they do”. As an ordinary human being I find this the toughest assignment of all.

People who cause pain to others are acting out of their own pain, even though this may be difficult to see, especially in the case of psychic pain such as a sense of emptiness and a loss of connection to self, spirit, other people and nature.

Keeping an open heart towards all is the fundamental key to politics. This doesn’t mean we should be passive and accept wrongdoing. On the contrary, it means we have a responsibility to do everything in our power to create a better world, but we must act for the benefit of all, even the wrongdoers.

I believe that we are all connected and that our actions affect many other beings. I believe that what we put out comes back to us, and that if we put poisons in the world we will get poisoned.

Here in America this especially applies to the things we buy. Every dollar we spend sets in motion a long string of consequences, which eventually effect us in many ways.

What do we really need to be happy? My answer is love and health; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, including food, shelter, all other material necessities, a few luxuries, and a healthy environment, both physical and social; meaningful work, a feeling that you are making a positive difference in people’s lives; time to do the activities important to us, and to participate in civic society.

Many people pursue acquisition of material objects because they believe those items will make them happy, but more and more stuff does not make one happy. People know this intuitively, but still get caught up in a losing game. At some point one has to rethink the basic assumptions of one’s life, in particular what one needs to be happy and healthy. For example, which is more basic, a health plan or a healthy lifestyle. What can replace good food, clean air and water, exercise and rest, time spent with friends?

LINKS TO TOPICS

The rules of the game determine the outcome The cycle of consumption
Animals in America
A Brief American Primer
Are Corporations inherently criminal
CEO Pay
Rich and Poor
Who Owns America
Voting
CHILDREN IN AMERICA
Economic Freedom
Rent
Homelessness
Political consequences
Illegal Immigration
Transportation-Cars-bicycles-pedestrians
Social Consequences
Drug Laws and Political Repression
Summation

the rules of the game determine the outcome
In games theory the rules of the game determine the outcome. All the problems of the world; starvation, torture, environmental degradation, wars, etc., are results of the system, the game, the main rule of which is money=power without responsibility!
even the poorest person, when they spend money, affects others in myriads of ways; the web of life is so intricate.

Speaking in terms of America, the main rules of the game are:

Corporate Personhood=a license for crime
The lack of laws which state business has a responsibility to be socially responsible, i.e. don’t pollute, pay a living wage, don’t sell toxic products, etc. In some cases the laws appear to be on the books, but are more honored in the breach, rather than the observance.
Nature=a commodity for profit
People (especially poor people)=a commodity for profit. Wars and prisons are very profitable for somebody.

Money buys elections
Winner take all elections
The main instrument of fixing the game is
the tax laws, which are so intricate, convoluted and subtle, and which contain the whole framework of the transfer of wealth and power from the poor and middle class to the super-rich elite.
    There are many well intentioned people and groups, working on many issues, to make the world a better place, to stop the Iraq war, to save the rainforest, etc. It’s great that people are acting, and what is needed is a deep, holistic vision of the root of the problems, a united front of all the millions of people and organizations, protests and marches with the goal of changing the rules of the game, that say end corporate personhood, hold business executives and boards of directors personally responsible for Bhopal, Exxon Valdez, Nigerian military killing of villagers, and all the rest. Send them to jail, seize their personal assets for reparations. Until there is personal accountability for the losses to people caused by selfish business decisions, change will be slow in coming.

 If we really want to change the world, to create a healthy, sustainable, just civiliztion, to prevent the rape of the land, the poisoning and impoverishing of the people, we need to change the rules of the game, because these problems are the logical consequences of the system as it stands. Change the rules to create a game where everyone wins.

The cycle of consumption

Every material item we buy is composed of

raw materials
which are transported
which are then transformed into a finished product
Packaged
transported
sold
until finally they turn into waste which must be disposed of
At every step of the process there are environmental, political and social effects, on people, animals, air, water, land, plants. In many cases what is good for the economy is a disaster for the environment, which ultimately means a disaster for people, although it may take some time to realize.

The environmental effects consist of:

destruction of land and resources in the extraction of the raw materials
pollution caused by the processes involved in production
Packaging, much of it excessive, and the whole cycle of pollution it engenders
pollution from the energy involved in transportation, including the cycle engendered by the production of the vehicles used in the transportation
Pollution caused by the energy needed to operate the stores, etc. where products are sold
and more pollution from the disposal of the product after it turns into junk 
consumption = environmental destruction
GNP (Gross national product)=GSP (Gross sickness production).

Many people worry about keeping their jobs, but right now the planet is swimming in toxins. How clean is your air and water. How many toxins are in your food? Would you rather lose your job or get cancer? As difficult as it may be think about, would it be preferable to have economic difficulties and have to worry about paying the rent and feeding your children, or have to watch your children suffer from some illness caused by poisons in the environment, or perhaps suffer some sort of floods or other environmental disaster.The question is not whether we can afford to deal with environmental problems, but whether we can afford not to.

Animals in America
When one thinks at all about the amount of cruelty that the animals we eat and use for research go through, it is sickening. For example, CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) are concentration camps for animals that make the Nazis look like amateurs. Animal tests are conducted wantonly. In certain instances there is a case to be made for a very few, humane tests (i’m not saying they should test, but one can see the logic in certain instances). However, so much of the testing done is unnecessary, redundant, repetitive, just plain horribly cruel for no reason.

Our modern life is built on oceans of animal suffering. All our hands are covered in the blood of  tortured animals. We swim in pools of blood. We would never treat our pets that way, but as long as it happens to some animal we never see, well, out of sight, out of mind. We can be a wonderful person to the people and animals we meet, yet to people and animals we may never meet, we can be the source of horrible cruelty and suffering as a result of what we eat, buy, wear, drive. We take so much for granted.

If we eat meat, we are paying other people to be cruel to animals.Whatever we consume, we are often paying people to pollute and exploit. We may never meet the people and animals we affect, but that doesn’t make their suffering any less real.

Rather than writing endless details, I invite the reader to pick any object near at hand and think of all the beings and actions it contains and implies.

Think of any people who have been called animals, and think of how they were treated.  I wrote a song called

HITLER

Hitler slaughtered the jews, his actions were monstrous
he put them in ovens and pulled out their teeth
and one thing we do, that hitler never did
raise them to kill them, and eat them for beef

hitler’s actions were monstrous, oh yes that’s true
and what about all the things that we do
to all the animals, we eat and use
and all of that pain, all comes back to you

all of those souls, all of that suffering
crying for help, where is relief
one thing we do, hitler never did
raise them to kill them and eat them for beef

hitler took six million lives
and how many pigs are waiting to die
to turn into bacon, to sausage, and ham
baked in an oven and fried in a pan

baked in an oven, fried in a pan
baby cows into veal, baby sheep into lamb
cows into beef, pigs into ham
baked in an oven, fried in a pan

copyright 2008 JDB

On being a Vegetarian

I believe that the evidence of our bodies is that we are built to be vegetarians.
Fingers-suitable for ripping out a throat, or picking a strawberry?
Teeth-better for ripping out a throat, or eating an apple?
Intestines-carnivores have relatively short intestines for their body size, herbivores long. our intestines are much closer to herbivore.

When i got the name dancing bear, in 1988, i had been a vegetarian for 7 years and i had a lot of attitudes about it. being given a native name got me thinking, because the Native Americans ate meat and still do. Also, i’ve know people who were vegetarians for 18 years and started eating small amounts of meat. When i asked them why, they said they felt their bodies needed it, and i have to respect that.

What i decided was that, to me, how the animal lived is the most important thing. I’m not happy with the idea of killing, but there’s a big difference between:
a) an animal living a free life, killed with respect and appreciation, by people who only take what they need, and
b) concentration camps for animals (yes, that’s really what they’re called, CAFO concentrated animal feeding operation), where animals are systematically tortured (that’s what it amounts to), cruelly butchered, chickens can’t even peck.
supplying people buying non descript red packages, that has no resemblance to an animal, so nobody has to feel bad.
see Diet for a New America, by john robbins

It just feels wrong.

So i say this. If you want to keep Elsie the cow in your backyard, then one day cut her throat, and hack her into little bits, go ahead.
If you feel you must eat meat, how much do you need, a big steak, or more like chicken chow mein, with little bits, and always try to buy from an animal that was treated decently during it’s life and killed as painlessly as possible.

I believe that people do take on the consciousness of what we eat, and i believe that the cause of much of the suffering people experience is the energy of the animals they ate. 

Ultimately, it all comes back to us

A Brief American Primer

The followings simple facts tell you the score:

Election day is held on a workday, and is not a national holiday.
This by itself tells you the score right away.
There is a two tier tax system. If you work for a paycheck, the government takes it’s money from each paycheck. If you have a business, buy and sell stocks, or do anything other than work for a paycheck, it’s an honor system.
Employers pay as little as possible, landlords charge as much as possible.
Business has no legal responsibility to be socially responsible. They do what is best for the business, even if it is socially destructive.
Businesses are allowed to be listed as citizens of other countries to avoid paying American taxes.
The tax laws allow the wealthy and corporations to take tax deductions for many and various expenses, for example business lunches. Workers are not allowed to do this.
Corporate personhood means that a corporation has all the privileges of a human being, but nobody will go to jail when they commit crimes.
It takes a lot of money to get elected. Elections are winner take all, rather than proportional representation, so usually the most money gets all the marbles.
Are Corporations inherently criminal?

CORPORATE PERSONHOOD IS A LICENSE FOR CRIME
There is no physical, tangible being called a corporation. “corporation” is a legal fiction created to allow people to engage in business, without risk of losing their personal wealth. It was not intended to protect criminals from legal consequences for their crimes, but that is what is going on, because when a “corporation” commits a crime, there is nobody to lock up.

Corporations, meaning the executives, can sell dangerous drugs which their own scientists have warned them about, pollute the environment, cheat people out of their retirements, hire armed thugs to suppress people in other countries, Nigeria, for example, Exxon Valdez, Bhopal, Enron, the list goes on and on, and there is nobody to go to jail, even though the “corporation” might get fined, which they will promptly take off their taxes. How about a law that says fines are not tax deductible, or better, that executives are personally responsible for crimes knowingly ordered by them, which includes criminal negligence. And how about a maximum wage law, that says nobody at a business can make more than 10 times the lowest wage. You can make as much as you want, just be fair and share the wealth, don’t just keep it all for yourself, which is what is happening today. Workers get fired, executives get bonuses.

Personal responsibility is the cornerstone of every system of morality known to man. The reason we so many problems with corporations, is that nobody is held responsible. Let’s change that.End Corporate personhood now.
Corporate personhood=privilege without accountability !

http://www.c4cr.org

Section 1. Duty to Safeguard the Public Interest. It shall be the responsibility of the directors to manage the corporation in a manner that does not cause damage to the environment, violate human rights, adversely affect the public health or safety, damage the welfare of the communities in which the corporation operates, or violate the dignity of the corporation’s employees.

As long as the primary goal of business is to make profits, without regard to the consequences for society, business will tend to be anti-social, especially big business, where the decision makers are far removed from the consequences of their decisions.

I don’t think that the people who own or work for big corporations are inherently evil. They’re just people, some more conscious, some less conscious. Actually, many of them are highly talented individuals, and if they turned their talents towards solving the problems of society they could do inestimable good, so I don’t agree with those who just want to label and alienate businesspeople. I’ll go even further and say that my opinion is that there are a lot of people in corporations who would happily go green, if the rules allowed them.

It seems to be a tendency of human nature that if there is no fear of consequences people act badly.

One reads in the paper that some corporation was prosecuted and fined for various violations, but the people who gave and carried out the orders are not affected. They draw their salaries, get their bonuses, and walk away with golden parachutes when the corporation has trouble.

The fact that individuals in a corporation are not personally liable for crimes is a primary cause of corporate violence against society and the environment. This goes against every principle of personal responsibility and is an invitation to abuse.

The original reason for the creation of the legal entity known as a corporation was to provide financial protection for individuals doing business. Unfortunately, the way things have worked out they are also protected from criminal liability.

Endangering public health, concealment of hazards to public health, pollution of rivers and groundwater, destruction of nature, bribery, and a variety of other criminal activities are protected under the current system of corporate charters. I strongly believe that this immunity from prosecution should be ended and replaced with what is the basis of every ethical system known, which is that people are accountable for their actions.

I suggest holding every individual working for or directing corporations, including any stockholder with over 5% of the stock, fully legally responsible for criminal behavior, while retaining financial protections in the case of business failure.

Along with prosecuting the corporation, file charges against the vice presidents and underlings who polluted and then covered it up, or whatever the crime was. Prosecute Bill Jones and Joe Smith, along with  the X Corporation. Put them in jail the same as we do private citizens who commit crimes, if that is what they are doing, since in an impersonal, bloodless way, they have often done great violence against individuals and society.

Many of the same people who believe strongly in police and prisons think that business should be allowed to police itself. Corporations are just a bunch of people, so to me this idea doesn’t make too much sense.

Who are the corporations-Who ultimately owns the corporations, the stocks? Probably a small group of rich families, probably the same people who owned the country a hundred years ago. It’s still an aristocracy, just with more levels of subterfuge.

Corporate personhood=rights without accountability for crime! there is a move to do something about this. Go towww.c4cr.org

CEO Pay

Here in America CEOs are paid astonishing amounts of money. The rationale is that this is necessary to motivate and attract the best people.

If the CEOs make more, the workers must be paid less. Doesn’t that mean that they will do a less good job, and after all, workers are essential.

Every human has 24 hours in a day. I can understand a CEO thinking he’s worth more than a janitor. Five times more, ten times more, even, maybe, 20 times more, but that’s it. When the ratio of pay of the highest and lowest paid employees is 500-1 or even 1000-1, that destroys society and de-motivates workers.

American business is undermining itself.

Rich and Poor

In my opinion people are people. If all the rich people and all the poor people swapped places, I don’t think that very much would change. The biggest issue is compassion for others, being able to feel what their lives are like from inside their skin, rather than objectifying them as a “rich” person or a “homeless” person.

Who Owns America?

We hear a lot about corporations and investors, but who owns the corporations. Is a large percentage of the wealth concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of super rich families, mostly descendants of old money, whose individual members may only have a few billion dollars each but who as a family may be worth hundreds of billions, and as a group of perhaps 1000 families may own  the nation? Are corporations just a front for the rich who own them, so that they have no accountability or responsibility?

Voting
You vote with every penny you spend for the type of world you want to live in.

It is very easy to criticize the government, President, corporations and the whole political and economic system. In America elections are held every few years and often the only choice is between the lesser of two evils, the Corporate (Republican) Party or the Corporate Lite (Democratic) Party. This is the surface appearance.

However, the real votes are counted every day, at the cash register. We can vote organic, humane, environmentally friendly, worker friendly, etc., or we can vote for exploitation and planetary poisoning. Sometimes the choices are limited, but in America, more often than not, we do have a chance to vote our principles with the way we spend our money and yes, it may cost more money.

Corporations get their power from their cash flow, which is supplied by their customers. If we didn’t provide the money corporations could not buy politicians and laws all around the world, including the USA.

Ultimately, the people have the power. Buy less, be choosy about who you give your money to, and you change the world. You vote with every penny you spend for the type of world you want to live in. Choose wisely.

CHILDREN IN AMERICA

If you do the math of how much time there is in a day, how much time both men and women in today’s America work, including commute time, and  then add in the time spent for daily tasks, it becomes very clear that

there simply isn’t enough time in a modern American life to give a child the time and attention s/he deserves,

and probably not even enough to keep a meaningful relationship going with a mate, let alone friends and personal time.

It is unfair to bring a child into the world when you are basically going to leave them alone,  just as soon as you can get back to work. For many parents it is a struggle just to keep food on the table and a roof over the head, and in today’s world children are expensive, which means more time devoted to earning money, which means less time for the child, and the child suffers, not through ill intent, but because of structural problems.

Structurally the system is set up to tear you down, not support you. I include social, political, economic, and personal value systems, among others.

“It takes a whole village to raise a child”. An old, true saying. In agricultural societies families worked together: those days are gone, as is what is euphemistically called “extended family”, which is really just a normal family, in contrast to today’s  insufficient mini-family. Who will be there to watch, instruct and spend time with the child? If daycare and school, why bother having a child?

Children need both a mother and a father to raise them, and the father’s role is more than just absent provider, he is needed to be there. In industrial, technological societies, first the father and now the mother go to   work out of the home, away from each other and the children. The time math just doesn’t add up. Children are basically being left to raise themselves, so why be surprised at societal breakdown.

So, what’s the answer?

Personal responsibility for having values that create a society where people don’t have to work, work, work. This very much includes the value of working to live, instead of living to work, which means not tying your primary self esteem generator to your job, which means you just might be able to work less. Controlling your urge to spend money on inessentials frees up time and money for your child.

There are plenty of legal and tax law changes which can affect housing, health care and others problem, but taking personal responsibility for your health, (eating right, exercise, sleep, relaxation, not smoking, etc.,  including a healthy environment), is essential, so that lifestyle illnesses such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, etc., disappear.

However, until things change a lot, having a child in this modern American society is battling very long odds.

I think the only realistic chance for the child to get the time and attention it needs and deserves is if you have an extended family, either by blood, or else a group of friends who want to make the long term commitment.

These folks have to have time available themselves, and maybe even be willing to help support the child financially, and course you have to be willing to accept the time and money and not have problems, because you feel inadequate, because you feel you should be able to do it all yourself. The pool has to be large enough so that when any given individual moves, or becomes unavailable, the child will still have enough “aunts” or “uncles”  there for them.

Economic Freedom

How to create a sufficient income in a healthy, meaningful way is the big challenge, which most people are afraid to face. In a society where most jobs take 50 hours a week (including commute), 50 weeks a year and you know they really don’t give a shit about you (in most cases), well, if you want a life this is the challenge you have to deal with.

Think about the different parts of a life. The time you need to spend with yourself. The time you need to spend with family and friends. The time you need to participate in civic society, for example educating yourself about the issues of the day. When I do that math, it gives me about 20 hours a week for meaningful work that actually benefits people.

In american mythology employers are heroes and employees should be grateful for their jobs. In short, if you work for someone else the implication is that you are a loser who needs someone else to provide a job for you. The tax laws bear this out. What this means in practice, is that you are far, far better off being self employed, working for yourself, writing your own schedule, answering to yourself and your own integrity.  

Simplify, simplify, simplify. How much do you need to be happy and healthy? Whole apartment or shared housing. Car or bicycle. How many pairs of shoes, T shirts, CDs, televisions, and all the rest do you need to own.
How efficiently do you use your resources. Does twenty bucks go a long way, or is it gone quickly. Do you eat out or cook
What resources (money) are available to you
What skills do you have? Could you learn more fairly easily.  
It’s difficult but true that no matter how good your skill level, at whatever you do, much will depend on your marketing skills. The logic goes like this: to control your own time you have to work for yourself. To do this you must have a skill and also the skill of marketing. Plenty of other people have done it, you can too.
Rent

I think it is a good thing to have rental properties available, after all, not everyone wants to own a home, people move, etc. The question is, how well does the system, as currently practiced, balance the needs of landlords and tenants. Is the system weighted in favor of landlords, tenants, or is does parity exist? What is a fair division of rights and responsibilities. How much is a fair return on investment, and how much is gouging. In addition, let’s distinguish between small landlords, who perhaps have moved and are renting out their old house, or some similar situation, and large companies for whom this is just a business.

There are many good landlords who offer decent housing, at fair rent, maintain the property, make needed repairs, and do not drastically increase rents or evict tenants so that they can raise the rent. Landlords such as these are loved and respected by tenants.

There are also tenants from hell who trash the place, don’t pay rent, disturb the neighbors, and take forever to evict. Every landlord fears these people, and I am sorry to say that these are often the lowest income people, the ones who most need a cheap rent and good landlord.

The main issue is structural. Given an average tenant and average landlord, is the system win-win, win-lose, or lose-lose?

The very word landLORD comes down from feudal times, and in many ways the rules of the game are quite similar.
1) A person with money, the landLORD, makes the down payment on a house. Then the tenants rent money pays off the mortgage and buys the building for the land LORD. Is this a form of wealth transfer from poorer to wealthier, exploitation, workers supporting owners, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer?
2) Poorer people buying houses for richer people so the richer people can then rent the house back to them Then the rich person borrows using the one house to buy another and repeats the process all over again.

The landlord gets a) the equity in the house
b) the increase in the value of the property ( sometimes it goes down but most of the time property values increase)
c) the right to raise the rent as much as the market will bear, as often as desired, as much as desired. In many areas it is common for the rent to be far more than the mortgage
d) tax breaks, especially depreciation allowance, which can have the effect of encouraging sale of the building when the depreciation allowance runs out so that a new owner can start the cycle of depreciation allowance all over again
e) full control over selling the property, including the right to sell at any time and evict the tenants
    The tenant gets

a) no security
b) no equity, equity which the tenant’s rent has created. Is it fair that the tenant pays rent year after year and gets no equity, while the landlord makes one down payment and afterwards receives all the equity?
c) no tax breaks,
d) Often the tenant is paying rent equal to or greater than the mortgage on a house they could afford to own if they could afford the down payment, but with high rents they’ll never get a chance to save that much money, and of course banks only lend to people who don’t need the money..

This is truly a feudal relationship.

There are certainly some risks involved in being a land lord, but on the whole the system is rigged so that landlord risks are minimized and tenant risks maximized.

The question arises, don’t landlords have the right to do whatever they want with their property, after all, it is theirs legally, even if their tenants’ rent money bought it for them?
And if housing wasn’t profitable enough, would there be enough of it? There is a saying that morality cannot be legislated, and messy as the word is, morality is really what is needed in this situation. If fairness and compassion were more common no laws or programs would be needed.

There are a lot of ideas and programs out there, but most of them are done on such a small scale that it’s just a drop in the bucket, and of course if housing prices were made lower through government intervention private interests would scream, even though society as whole and even business interests would benefit, since business needs workers and workers need homes.

Is it desirable to pass laws, for instance rent control, or perhaps a law giving tenants equity as a percentage of the amount of mortgage they have paid, either on a specific home, or in aggregate as an equity account similar to social security. Perhaps a law restricting rent to a certain percentage of mortgage payments, while indemnifying landlords against losses caused by tenant misdeeds? More government loans for down payments, at little or no interest, with restrictions on the right to sell and forgiveness of debt for long term owner occupancy.

Does the present system prevent lower income people from accumulating enough money for a down payment on a home of their own because all their money is sucked up by high rents? Does society benefit more from citizens owning or renting?

My opinions are obvious. What do you think?
Homelessness

1) Burnt out vets, mostly Vietnam veterans, often with severe drug and emotional problems,
2) Mentally ill people, who, bad as the streets are, may be better off there than in some of the institutions they came from, not including violent cases who society needs to be protected from
3) Hoboes, drifters and other freebooters who prefer physical tribulations and social stigma to a life of wage slavery
4) Regular folks who have fallen or been pushed into the street by high rents, loss of job, medical problems and other personal disasters. People who want to be regular members of society but don’t make enough money.

Let’s be honest and admit that many of the have-nots of our society do not make good use of resources and do not know how to manage money wisely In addition a lot of homeless people have deep emotional and psychic damage and need a lot more than just a roof and a meal, but at least that’s a start. . For these people giving them money is useless. Paying their rent directly to the landlord and giving them credits at supermarkets is the way to go.

Is it society’s responsibility to save these people from their own weaknesses and incompetence? I think it’s not good for anybody to have miserable, desperate, unhappy people on the streets and really, there but for grace go you or me.

Housing has become a major source of profit through buying and selling. Unfortunately this raises prices and makes homes and rents unaffordable for lower income workers.
At the same time as people are homeless there are many wealthy people who own many homes in different cities so that they have a place to stay whenever they’re in town. Housing has become like money. Some people have much more than they need, some not enough.

It is not a case of bad rich people and good poor people. The question is, what is the result of a system which treats housing as just another commodity for investors to buy and sell, regardless of the havoc wreaked on society. Rising rents and housing prices have made many people’s economic life like a treadmill, with no way to get ahead and it takes constant work just to keep up.

Should laws be passed which discourage the buying and selling of housing for profit and ownership of multiple properties for personal use? For example, a 50% tax on profits made from the sale of any home owned less than 10 years, with an exemption for one house, i.e. someone living in their own home could sell one time every 3 years in order to allow personal change of address.
Or, for example, taxing homes which are not the owners’ primary residence and are not rentals, at a rate triple the regular property tax, with an exemption for one additional vacation or retirement home. Does the principle of eminent domain extend to making it difficult for people to own more than two houses for personal use.

There are actually many homes already built. They’re called garages and a lot of them could be easily fixed up and rented out, but then of course there would be a lot of homeless cars on the street, and to be honest a lot of currently homeless people would not make good tenants.

Partial Solutions
1) Supervised group homes with counseling and treatment for the vets, addicts and mentally ill (different places for each group, not all mixed together.
2) Food stamps and soup kitchens for the hoboes. (Beer stamps might be more appreciated). Church missions to sleep in.
3) Rent subsidies, medical care and food stamps for the working poor

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

If American businesses were willing to pay American workers American wages, and if the businesses were strongly penalized for hiring illegals, the problem would be solved, because if they couldn’t get a job, why would people sneak into the country.

I’ve had someone I was asking about a job tell me they could get a mexican for $5/hr, and still I have absolutely no blame for people trying to improve their lives.

It consistently amazes me that people blame the illegal workers, rather than the illegal employers who cause the problem.

Transportation
Cars-bicycles-pedestrians

There are basically three modes of transportation:
1) Motor vehicles
2) Bicycles, skateboards, roller skates, and the like
3) Pedestrians
yet so many places only provide roads, no sidewalks or bike lanes.
My speculation is that this is because the people in cars have more money.

Political consequences

In brief, business wishes to keep costs low, both of resources and labor, including not having to pay the costs of toxic spills and other environmental consequences. Many of the resources and factories are in poor countries where corrupt governments torture and murder their people, especially rural indigenous populations, with the help of financial, military and political support from the US government and multi national corporations. Much of the poverty, starvation, strife and chaos in the world is aided and abetted by the current corporate ethical system, which profits a wealthy few at the expense of many poor people. There is an abundance of evidence in the public record to support this

Social Consequences

A society where things have become the primary concern of many people and relationships suffer. A world of haves and have nots.

There is a saying “what if they gave a war and nobody came”. What if there was an advertising campaign and nobody bought.

When people who do have alternatives are willing to whore themselves out to a job they care nothing for, but which pays well, they tend to spend very freely, which raises housing and all other prices and makes it more difficult for those trying to live frugally. When people who do have a choice are willing to commute an hour and a half each way to go to work, roads clog up, housing prices rise and the fabric of society deteriorates.

How much democracy can there be when people have no time to investigate public issues and have to rely on sound bites in the corporate media?

Drug Laws and Political Repression
Putting people in jail for drugs is a crime
Legalize and control

Nancy Reagan said just say no to drugs, but there’s not much to say yes to. Drugs are mostly an escape and a sedation of pain. Middle class people use drugs for pleasure and an escape from unsatisfactory, humdrum consciousness and the spiritual emptiness of American life. Poor people use drugs to sedate themselves from the pain of a society that treats them like toilet paper.

In my opinion, drugs are strong medicine, too strong for most people, and are best used in a sacramental way in particular settings, such as the native american church use of peyote. No way do I want to see strongly addicting drugs like heroin and crack made freely available. An epidemic of addiction would follow. On the other hand, I believe in freedom, and prison is a lot worse than drugs. I propose the following system;

license drugs like we license motor vehicles.
Distinguish between different classes of drugs and how addicting they are.
let any adult buy pot.
For stronger drugs one would have to attend a series of classes, like speeding ticket classes, where one would hear and meet former and current junkies telling you how fucked up it is. If after 3 or 4 weeks of hearing how people have messed up their lives you still want to do it, you could then be issued a prescription to be filled at a few well chosen and controlled pharmacies.

We are constantly bombarded with ads for medicinal drugs, but drugs for pleasure are considered bad in this workaholic, calvinist society.

The latest War on Drugs was started during the cultural and political turmoil of the 60’s. It is my belief that it was intended to stifle political dissidence at a time when people were taking to the streets in opposition to the government Since so many leftists, poor people and minorities had a lifestyle which included drugs, fear of jail would cause them to keep a low profile and stay in their place, not demonstrate or otherwise express their political views. Most of the people in federal prison are there for drug offenses, a warning for those thinking of exercising the right of free speech.

The campaign to promote the war on drugs has been handled in much the same way as Hitler convinced the German people that Jews were the cause of Germany’s problems. He used a technique called the Big Lie, which is the idea that if you repeat something often enough and loud enough people will start to believe it. This is also called brainwashing. Here in America the lie is that people who do drugs are criminals and deserve to be punished, and so the American people condone the imprisonment in brutal conditions of people who are innocent of any real crime, while at the same time corporate criminals rape the country with impunity.

The argument is made that drugs cause crime. By that logic we should lock up auto drivers because they might get in an accident. The percentage of drug users committing crimes and drivers getting into accidents is probably about the same, and if drugs weren’t illegal they would be cheaper, which would reduce crime. Legalize and control. Let soft drugs such as pot be easily available, as liquor is, and require a license which involves classes on the dangers of addiction for harder drugs.

Drugs are for the most part a waste of time, an escape, but don’t people have the right to live their own lives? 18 year olds are encouraged to join the military. That’s dangerous, but we don’t question their right to risk their lives that way.

Do we question what it is in society or in their own lives that people feel the need to escape from? In the 1920s liquor Prohibition helped create the mafia through bootlegging profits because what is illegal becomes expensive. In the same way criminal syndicates today are dependent on drug sales and many would fall apart if drugs were legalized.

Locking up people for drugs is a crime which destroys lives and society. It is basically an instrument of political repression, and a blot on the soul of America. On the other hand, locking people up is very profitable for the businesses supplying the prisons, the prison-industrial complex, it is sometimes called. Some businesses even have contracts to run prisons. The more inmates, the more profits.

Putting people in jail for drugs is a crime
Legalize and control

Summation

It’s up to you what kind of world you want to live in.

The simple, everyday decisions we make, when multiplied by millions and billions of people, have tremendous consequences.

Your life is your message. Are the effects of your thoughts, words and deeds kind or unkind? Do they create joy or suffering?

In particular, every dollar you spend, every product you consume has environmental and political consequences for people, animals and the environment all over the world.

To a large extent the less you consume the better the world. The things which will really benefit you, health and good relationships, are more about how you spend your time, rather than the things you buy.

Time is your greatest asset.
Spend it wisely.

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See my blogspot-blog  for some new ideas
blog.myspace.com/jaydancingbear for some older but still valid ideas

One thought on “Politics

  1. I don’t need to tell you how similar our beliefs are and I am hopeful millions of us share these ideas. Your presentation was cogent, easy to follow, and asked the pertinent questions each individual must/needs ask themselves, and their society! You are a fine writer, Mr. Dancing Bear. I would love to talk to you sometime in person. Sincerely, Jennifer Trump (aka Jeffreys Raynolds), Ocean Park, WA

    Like

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