Friday, May 4, 2012

Choose two.

The World is a mess, and that does include of course The USA. I refer to virtually ALL areas from Financial, Political, Daily Life, Environment, Weather, Business, Education, Religion, Media, Food, you name it.

However if I had to pick two, I think they would be The Environment and The Income Gap. Wow, they are pretty diverse area's of concern aren't they?

Let's try to make this post short. obviously it could be a thousand pages long and still only scratch the surface of our problems - almost all of which are man made.

But to start with The Environment. This is degrading so fast, and accelerating, that I see almost no hope of it surviving too much longer. Of course without our Environment to support us we too will be gone. Certainly a way of life that is anything like what we know now as a way of life. I see virtually no attempt to save it from any of the areas that I mentioned at the beginning of this blog. The attack on our Environment is especially egregious here in the USA, even more so than the Republican attack on women. Ooops, sorry, where did that come from? But is our "attack" on the Environment really an attack, or is it more a case of ignorance and neglect? We prefer not to know. Perhaps that is why we are not educating our children in this area? Or, it sometimes seems, in ANY area! We simply don't want them to know. Is that because we are trying to protect them from knowing what is happening to their habitat or because we are afraid that they will find out and stop us!

The survival of the Finacial world requires continual expansion. This is a complete antitheses to the requirements of the natural world In search of ways to expand areas where we can live, food we can eat, places we can exploit, we have converted millions of acres of forest and wilderness area to food production, polluting it with, fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides. In meat production we have degraded the lives of innumerable animals beyond belief. Even such monsters as Hitler and Stalin would be revolted if they could see the sickening way we treat the animals we use for food.

 (Watch "Food Inc", and I will be surprised if you would be able to bring yourselves to eat mass produced meat ever again!)

We have overfished the oceans to the point of wiping out most fish. We drag huge nets across the bottom of the Oceans and across the Coral Reefs, killing anything and everything. Keeping the few things we can eat and throwing the rest back, dead. And then we pollute it. Our land based food chains flush their deadly debris in to the poor oceans - fertilizers, weedkillers, insecticides, animal wastes by the billions of tons, nitrogen - which we sucked out of the air that we breate, to make fertilizer, and which then is dumped into the oceans creating huge aquatic dead zones off of our coasts.

It is hard to believe that we don't know this. How can we not know? I suppose the polluters - Big Business, Big Agriculture, Big Oil don't want us to know. But the fact is that WE don't want to know. Our right to ? ? ? - you name it, supercedes all else.

The human race is now 7 Billion strong. Hundreds of time larger in weight than any other large species that has ever been on this Earth. Talking of Species, we have already destroyed Tens of Thousands of Species! Yes ten of thousands of complete species have been made extinct by our actions! And fully 20% to 25 % of those remaining are endangered. And Homo Sapiens - that's us - has only been on Earth for one ten thousandth of its history. The Earth is around 4 to 5 billion years old, we have been here for maybe 500 thousand years - just one ten thousandth of Earths life and in that short time we have brought her to her knees. Actually it is far, far worse than that, probably 99% of that destruction was done in the last 1,000 years, and most of that in the last 100 years. No, Earth, as we know her, cannot possibly survive another 100 years of Homo Sapiens at the rate that we are killing off the animals and the plants.

There is a possibility, I suppose that we could survive without the other animals and plants that we used to share Earth with. We could live in huge apartment blocks and grow food in tanks. Pink Slime?

Or we could go out into Space and find new planets, to destroy? Or is it possible that we could learn from our mistakes here and live WITH the new Environments?

No, I agree, of course we won't.

Oh, oh I almost forgot the second item on my list of two! Income Inequality. Who can doubt that this is a problem? A quick review - 1% of the US population own more than 50% of it's wealth! That leaves the other 99% to share to other 50%!

How is this for a way to put it. There are 100 people trapped in a room with no food. A pizza is found. They "share" it. One person (The 1%) gets HALF of the pizza. The other 99 people get to share the other half amongst them ! ! ! Seems unfair to me.

Another way, the average American pays 30% of his earnings in taxes. The top 2% of earners in the US pay an average of 16%! Take someone like Mitt Romney for example, his income last year was 21 million dollars, he paid 12.8% in taxes. Remember now, the average American pays 30% in taxes! Warren Buffet, paid 14.8% last year. (At least he knows he pays too little! And he gives large amounts to charity. In fact he gave half of his fortune to the Bill Gates Foundation, which finds ways to make a difference by using the money to help the less fortunate.) But Romney wants to CUT taxes to the richest Americans even more! They already pay at half the rate you and I pay, and he wants to cut it even more! There are CEO's of large companies that collect "pay" of 20, 30 even 50 million dollars a year! One CEO had pay of $378 Million last year. Several were close to $100 Million. There were Bankers who made salaries of around $50 Million! Some banks have hundreds of executives or partners, each one of which can receive bonuses in the Millions of dollars! These are the people who are so greedy that they were prepared to destroy not only the US economy but the Worlds economy for their own evil, greedy ends. Reducing millions to poverty, ruin, and suicide so that THEY could have more millions of dollars in one year than anyone can earn or use in a lifetime.

During the Presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, the top tax rate was 90%. That meant that any income OVER a certain amount, I'm not sure what it was - maybe a million a year - was taxed at 90%. At that time we still had plenty of very rich people, we also had full employment and almost no National Debt. Gradually over the years the top tax rate has been dropped lower and lower. As it dropped, the National Debt rose (Reagan alone Quadrupled the National Debt) that is because there was not enough collected in taxes to pay for the expenses of the country - a very simple basic fact.

You can see and understand that in your own life. If you earn $50,000 a year, you can only spend $50,000 a year, unless you want to get into big trouble. How about if you earned $50,000 a year and spent $80,000 a year? How long could you keep that up do you suppose? That is what the USA is doing, and has been doing, for a long time - ever since Clinton left office, and also before he came into office. Yes, 40% of everyting we spend, we borrow. And yet politicians want to cut taxes! Does that make sense? They say we need to pay less in taxes - especially the rich - that will help to cut down the National Debt, and help to solve the problems with our economy. Please explain that to me.

Let's go back to our example of the family earning $50,000 a year (And spending $80,000) They decide that they can solve their problem by cutting their income! (The same as the politicians who want to cut taxes, which is the income of the US, to solve our spending and debt problems.) So he cuts his hours to 30 hours a week instead of 50 and his income to $30,000. Surprise, surprise, it doesnt solve his problem - he now has to borrow even more! He is worse off.

I could have told him that. So could anyone with a teeny tiny bit of common sense.

Another fact, a surprising one this, is that as taxes go down, unemployment goes up! It is a fact, look at graphs that show taxes going down and you will see that unemployment goes up. I know, I know it doesn't make sense. But it is so.

Taxes at this time are at the lowest that they have been for over 60 years! And unemployment is at its highest in 60 years! (In fact taxes in the US are the lowest of ANY civilized country in the WORLD!) Is it any surprise that we have problems when we don't even collect enough tax to pay for our expenses. And politicians are calling for even lower taxes! (Don't forget, we are already at the lowest tax rate ever!) It is so easy to keep saying we are taxed too high, politicians say, "If You vote me into office I will cut your taxes!". If I said "We are not taxed highly enough, vote me in and I will raise your taxes." who do you suppose would be voted in?

It is an impossible situation.

The rich completely control Congress, and therefore the country. We have the most corrupt Congress in the Whole World, in my opinion. Sure there is corruption in every country, but there they meet in coffee houses or in dark alleys, money changes hands and votes are changed. But here in the US we have taken corruption to a new level. Here, Congress has made it LEGAL! It is called Lobbyists, they are allowed to bribe Congressmen. The Health Industry spends $1 Million A DAY Bribing Congress, or Lobbying if you prefer. (A Rose by any other name is still a Rose - and this one STINKS!) And that is just The Health Industry, then there are all the others pushing and shoving to hand over their money, their trips on private jets to private islands, home additions, etc, etc. Big Oil, Big Business, Big Agriculture, Big Banks, and all the others that can't hand money to Congress fast enough! Legally!

You and I don't stand a chance against such unmitigated greed, we can't hand over millions of dollars, so we are out in the cold. And somehow the Politicians are so persuasive that the majority of the people seem to think all this is perfectly fine. Do they think perhaps that one day they too will be rich and not have to pay taxes? How naive can you be? THEY will never let that happen! Where was I? Oh yes the Income Gap - is too big, in case you didn't get my drift. David.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Where have all the fish gone?

First I have to tell you that The Lake is as beautiful as ever. When I wake up every morning and look at that lovely lake I find it hard to believe my good fortune, not only am I married to the most beautiful woman in the world but I live next to this wonder of nature. However there is a change, and that change involves the wildlife. Normally The Lake is teaming with wildlife. At times I have seen 50 or more Cormorants fishing here. In the early spring this year there was a small batch of them - about 13, I counted them - that stayed for a few days. Since then I have spotted the odd one swimming around. The Osprey were so numerous at times that I worried (I always have to have something to worry about!) that they would remove ALL the fish here! But this year I have only seen one Osprey, and that only every few days, and even he - she? - hovers, but does not dive. I have yet to see a catch by an Osprey this year. Usually one can stop and watch for just a short time and see as many as 4 or 5 or 6 Osprey all fishing at once. One of them is hovering and diving at any time and every couple of dives seemed to produce a fish. This year nothing. Early in the year, much earlier than usual, the yellow perch and the white perch were here. I know because I was catching them. Now no fish at all. I can't even catch a lowly Sunfish. What has happened?