We Don’t Need No Education

Are higher learning institutions providing mind-broadening education, or propaganda for foreign governments? Amidst the cheating scandals where the rich and famous get their kids into the best higher-learning institutions, and all the talk of forgiving student debt by the presidential candidates, maybe we need to …

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The Death of Truth in the Afternoon

Each afternoon during the impeachment trial, I was reminded of the fragility of truth. Forget “General Hospital,” the Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump, as some of the networks titled it (as if he wasn’t president), was must-see TV almost every afternoon. Each side had …

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You Say You’ll Change the Constitution

A good constitution is a foundation that may be added to minimally, but should not be radically altered for expediency, lest our Democratic Republic cease to exist. With the impeachment of the president in full swing, I have never heard so much “love” for the …

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A Tragic Loss Within the Transgender Community

More senseless violence against the transgender community results in the murder of a beloved activist. Image Julie Berman (Pride Toronto / Facebook) A few months ago, when writing about violence against the transgender community, I had noted that, by October 2019, there had been 18 …

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For the Children

Children in the foster care system are in dire straits.

One of the hidden consequences of the opioid crisis is the increasing number of parents who are becoming addicted, necessitating the removal of their children from their care. These children go into foster care, right? Maybe under normal circumstances, but these are not normal circumstances. The foster care systems in many states across the country are overloaded and have no room for these children, whose only “crime” is happening to have a parent or parents who cannot care for them due to their addiction issues.

As surprising as it may seem, these children, at best case, are instead funneled into emergency shelters, or hotels (we’re not talking the Ritz here). At worst case, they are shipped to out of state institutions, or, most shockingly, placed in juvenile detention centers, and, in some cases, youth prisons. Remember, these children, have done nothing wrong, committed no crimes, or gotten into any trouble that would normally land one in such a facility.

In one example, a child spent time in a detention center, housed with accused rapists and even murderers, sleeping on concrete floors, being forced to attend group therapy sessions for teens accused of rape. Again, he had not done anything wrong, nor was he in the center because he had been accused of rape. To, me this situation is outrageous.

We have known for decades the harmful effects of children growing up in, or spending significant time housed in congregate care (group homes, institutions, residential treatment facilities). Pre-World War Two, they were called orphanages, and these facilities were largely shut down after the war because of their negative impacts on a child’s development and chances for success.

As the foster care system is decentralized, it is hard to get a handle on exact numbers, but when we do, they reveal a devastatingly high number of children not receiving adequate treatment and care in the foster system. Some of the data is coming to light through lawsuits filed on behalf of the children by the non-profit organization, A Better Childhood. In one such case, filed in West Virginia, the foster care system is so overloaded that an estimated seventy-one percent of children, ages 12-17, are housed in congregate care institutions.

This would seem much more of a crisis than who the president has tweeted about on any given day, yet the press pays only passing coverage to issues like this in their constant obsession with taking down Trump. Where are speeches from the Hollywood elites at their sanctimonious self-congratulatory award shows? I guess they are too busy buying their children’s future successes to bother learning how real children live and struggle every day.

In addition, we also need to look ourselves in the mirror, myself included, and ask, are we doing everything we can, in a constructive and collaborative way, to address the crisis in the overloaded foster care system? We certainly cannot count on the paralyzed ever-fighting politicians to solve anything, without us demanding action.

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R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

It’s time to follow some advice from Aretha Franklin. Back in 1967, the legendary artist, Aretha Franklin, released her version of what would become one of her signature songs, Respect. It is interesting how the same song, performed by two great artists can have such …

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Most of the People

How does a famous quote from Abraham Lincoln stand up today?

Most historians, and people in general, love good old Abraham Lincoln, what with ending slavery and saving the Union and all. But years before then, he was still becoming known for his debating skills (against Stephen A. Douglas) and for some insightful and memorable sayings. One of those, of course, was the following – “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Great words indeed, no doubt about it. In fact, it apparently was an instant hit even back then, being adopted by companies to use in ads to sell stuff and the like. And, what about today? You would certainly think, that with today’s hyper “connectedness” and mass “technology,” it would be hard to fool any of the people any of the time.

First, let’s look at ‘fooling some of the people all the time,’ you know, probably the ones in “fly-over country” where nobody goes to college and they are all “Trump zombies.” That doesn’t quite fit though, because the only reason they settled on Trump in 2016, is because they were no longer fooled by the Democratic Party, the party that took them for granted and assumed that they owned their votes.

Maybe it’s the people who buy in to everything they see on social media propagated by the Russians? Could be, but there certainly wouldn’t be false information distributed by the elite and all-knowing tech companies via mystery algorithms, would there?

Next, we have ‘fooling all of the people some of the time.’ What would there be in today’s world that could be fooling everyone? Given the fractured nature of the country, it would be hard to put a finger on any one falsehood that could unify us all in a single incident of grand stupidity. It’s not for lack of trying though and could be possible. You see, I think the common-sense portions of our brains grow smaller as technology dependence replaces thoughtfulness. Evolution indeed!

Now for the grand finale of ‘but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’ That would be true if the ruling elite had not figured out a sneaky angle for at least fooling most of the people all the time. It works like this: they make sure, over time, that there are only two dominant and opposing political parties. Next, they ensure that each party’s respective members “know” that all the ills of the world are due to the other party.

As Maxwell Smart might say, “Ah yes, the old divide and conquer trick.” Brilliant. If you have two dominant camps, each needs only to fool their own camp (some of the people) all the time, and the sum of the two equals fooling most of the people all the time, simply with different falsehoods. Fortunately, for the moment anyway, I can say ‘most,’ because there are still a few independent thinkers hanging in there!

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Merry Christmas America

Well, it doesn’t look like either party is interested in giving the country any peace and harmony this holiday season. Democrats are impeaching the President regardless of whether it’s good for the country, Republicans are defending the President, regardless of whether it’s good for the …

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