A hunter shot at a flock of geese
That flew within his reach.
Two were stopped in their rapid flight
And fell on the sandy beach.
The male bird lay at the water’s edge
And just before he died,
He faintly called to his wounded mate
And she dragged herself to his wounded side.
She bent her head and crooned to him
In a way distressed and wild,
Caressing her one and only mate
As a mother would a child.
Then covering him with her broken wing
And gasping with failing breath,
She laid her head against his breast.
A feeble honk --- then death.
This story is true though crudely told
I was the man in this case.
I stood knee-deep in the snow and cold
And the hot tears burned my face.
I buried the birds in the sand where they lay.
Wrapped in my hunting coat,
And I threw my gun and belt in the bay
When I crossed the open boat.
Hunters will call me a right poor sport
And scoff at the thing I did.
But that day something broke in my heart,
And shoot again? God forbid!
- Truman P. Reitmeyer -
A hunter shot at a flock of geese
The poem which begins this page is entitled Remorse. Sometimes it takes emotion to express what words cannot.
Paul's dad had an experience in his life similiar to the author of that poem. He was a hunter till one day he was given a dog named Loyd George. His dad became friends with that poodle and soon put up his shotgun and never shot another bird. He gave all his guns away. His relationship with Loyd George helped him learn reverence for animal life.
Indigenous Americans offered a prayer when they found it necessary to take the life of an animal for food and/or clothing as if to reverence the soul of the animal and to express regret to the author of life for the necessity.
Hunting for food is understandable. The source of meat is animals that have been killed. Even in hunting for food there there are ethical rules - attacking an animal with an AK-47 is slaughter not sport. The soul of a human who would take the life of an animal merely for sport is coarse, cruel and base.
Pretend the entire population of the planet earth has been proportinately shrunk to one hundred individuals.........
Asians Europeans Africans
Entire Western Hemisphere
All Other Races
Own 59% of World's Wealth!
And are all from U.S.A.
Live in good housing
Live in Substandard Housing
Have a College Education!
Suffer from Malnutrition
Own a Computer
Unable to read!
Broad new studies suggest that the world has made extraordinary progress in slashing poverty in recent decades,
Research suggests that the pace of economic progress has been rapid and sustained for decades, built on the foundations of relative political stability, rising trade, and economic liberalization in the postwar era.
One study, published In September 2002 by the Institute for International Economics in Washington, finds that the proportion of the 6.1 billion people in the world who live on $1 a day or less shrank from 63 percent in 1950 to 35 percent in 1980 and 12 percent in 1999 (adjusted for inflation).
Here is a depressing thought: We use the term MILLIONS when we talk about the population in the United States; but when we speak of those people in the world who live on less than $1.00 per day, we use the word BILLIONS.
Economists agree that poverty has plunged in key nations such as
India and especially China, thanks to slowing population growth as well as economic freedom.
…and often are:
Make no mistake about it, routinely prescribed medicines can sometimes kill you. 100,000 Americans die each year as a direct result of the medicines they take. [This exceeds the number killed annually in auto accidents & accidents of any kind combined.] These side effects account for 115,000 visits to Physicians and hospitalization for 85,000 people.
What can individuals do? Ask your Physician to start dosages at low levels, where appropriate, and slowly increase dosage until they become effective. Divide the dose. Take two half doses twice per day. Many medicines are effective at lower than customarily prescribed levels such as blood pressure drugs, Cholesterol lowering drugs, and pain killers. Read very carefully the information sheet that accompanies your medicine.
You have a certain responsibility in this regard. You cannot just say to your Physician: "Please Doctor don't perscribe a medicine that will kill me."
Some problems are easy to formulate but not so easy to solve. Take the relationship between the size of our planet and the size of our human population.
We had 1 billion people on the planet in 1800 A.D. Less than 200 years later in 1997 we have about 6 billion people. If the present rate of population growth continues we will have doubled to about12 billion people in 2044, which is less than 50 years away. Yet the size of our planet will remain the same. Exponential population growth and no increase in planet size. In addition our population pressures are crowding out too many rain forrests and too many species.
You can see the problem:
What you can do to help:
And...think about what happened today [and happens every day] because of population pressures:
In his first-day-of-office order George W. Bush cut off U.S. aid to any human service or foreign government agency that provides abortions, lobbies to make them legal, or tries to make legal abortion safer. This appeals to and appeases the pro-life forces that helped Bush achieve the presidency. It has devastating consequences for all life on the planet. It hastens the day when reproductive choice will be removed from the options of individuals. Overpopulation, whatever the source, endangers our freedoms and opportunities.
For weeks after the awful terrorist attack against the United States at the World Trade Center, we the people had been expressing our sympathy and support for the survivors. This is appropriate. The attack was inexcusable. The guilty must be punished. Terrorism must be eliminated.
But after that time was it not appropriate to do something that NOBODY in the media seemed to want to touch? Should we not have asked the question: "Why do they hate us?" Must we not ask the culture out of which the terrorists have risen that very question. Is our fear of asking this question, in reality, the third rail of politics? Are we afraid to deal with the answers? If we do not face these questions will terrorism NOT continue unabated?
The terrorists have the most extreme reasons for hating us; some of these are the loathings found in right wing religious fanaticism - they can be as silly as the fact that we allow our women to expose their ankles. Nevertheless these extremists take their clues from their society at large - they are an extension of it. They hate along with their society.
The vast Arabian people hate us because we have plopped a STATE smack down in the middle of their land. That state has expelled the non-Jewish Semites, indigenous there, from their homes. The United States has supported this state in all her actions both right and wrong, moral and immoral.
Now it is true that our ancestors did much the same thing in our taking over the land of our Native Americans, killing them, breaking treaties with them, and reducing their populations to reservations where we cheated them again. This was self-excused because they were savages. And it was a long time ago. It took us ages to admit then accept our guilt.
The Palestinians are alive today and very, very angry. They have not obtained suitable redress of grievance; they see Apache helicopters, marked USA, firing weapons into their territories; but they have tools and friends that our Native Americans did not. At one time the USA could work her arrogant will with impunity. But the natives of these foreign lands have oil and money.
It seems almost unbelievable to me that the very people who were kicked out of their homes by Hitler and forced to move to ghettos would allow their state to do the same things to others.
In my memory, the vote in the United Nations has been, on a few occasions, the entire world against Israel, with the USA abstaining. As I think back over these dim memories, I now ask myself, independent of the specific issue, how often is the whole world wrong. Canada? Great Britain? Spain? Australia? China? Russia? France? Italy? All of them?
We can criticize England when she is wrong. We can criticize most countries when they are wrong. Why cannot one criticize Israel when she is wrong without being called anti-Jewish? Our uncritical support of this country when right or when wrong has created most of our problems with the Arab world.
Before World War II we had good relations with the Arabian People. Since then, especially during the cold war, our country has seen fit to make alliance with any nation as long as they were anti Soviet. Many of the Afghans were given training by the US in skills that could become very suitable for terroristic activities. We wanted Russia to have her Vietnam. Then too, the Shaw of Iran, the puppet we installed, ran a torture chamber to impose his will.
We need to hear young Arabs on our TV tell us why they hate us. Do you think we will ever see that? Why even Americans are afraid to discuss the real reasons. Are the networks afraid of their Jewish viewers? Of their fellow Jewish employees? Shareholders? Do they really think a Jewish American would want to see anyone kicked out of his/her home? Do they really think Jewish Americans have fragile egos or would support any country right or wrong?
At one time, the Vice President of the US was spat upon as he visited South America. Too many South Americans hated us. President Kennedy couldn't get through a speech at a University south of the border without constant jeers. He then asked the question: "Why do they hate us?" He listened and the ‘Alliance For Progress’ turned much of that hatred around. He didn't conclude: "Well - they just don't like our values."
Hatred can be turned around! First we must admit our complicity in the cause of that hatred. Then we must expect our leaders to deal with the problem. We never will turn our politicians around until we stop being afraid to discuss the subject.
Here is a problem that has been solved. Or has it?
During my grandfather Morgan's time his work day was from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Assume he had a half hour for lunch, I calculate a work week of 61 hours.
According to the History Cable Channel, when prisons were first established in New York, the guards were assigned a work week of 12 hours per day seven days per week. [That is a double 40 hour per week job.] To take a day off they were required to find someone to substitute for them.
Thanks to our congress, the Labor Unions, and the voters, the 40 hour week became adopted as the standard. But what will happen as the power of unions diminishes, we are in competition with a world labor force, people tend to have a multitude of part time jobs, and the congress is more conservative in attitude?
In my opinion the two competing Economic theories of our times have serious tradeoffs when applied in the real world.
The Socialist model promotes a single orthodoxy of opinion because all real power is confined to one institution, the state. The Capitalist model promotes many freedoms, especially freedom of speech, because power is broken up and shared by many powerful interests, in most cases the Corporations. To an alarming degree in this model, because of the similarity of needs, philosophies, and working concerns [including the desire to control and acquire more wealth] these corporate power centers conflict with the well-being of the society at large. In other words, because of their wealth, they can not only buy politicians but more adequately publicize their opinions in the mass media.
Fortunately, in our country, although our system is primarily Capitalistic, we have in actuality a Mixed Economic System:
The current use of part time labor by Corporations circumvents those very labor laws especially in today’s global economy when all worker salaries to some degree feel the pressure of international wage levels. While world trade is perhaps inexorable, yet it presents real dangers to the wage earners. We must never allow the size of our pie to shrink nor to go only to the few. Eternal vigilance is always the price of liberty!
The May 7, 2001 issue of The Nation contains an excellent article on this sublect entitled:Journalism and Democracy by Bill Moyers
Bill tells us that his worldview was shaped by Theodore Roosevelt who got it right about power in America. It was Roosevelt's thesis that the central fact of his era was that economic power had become so centralized and dominant that it could chew up democracy and spit it out.
The power of corporations, Roosevelt believed had to be balanced in the interest of the general public lest America would undergo a class war which the rich would win it.
We see this today do we not? Are not big money, big business, and big oil again the undisputed overlords of politics and government?
The supreme court seems to equate money with free speech. The Congress and the judiciary are both bribed to reflect their interests. The power over the courts is more subtle. One gives money to a University to give free seminars at resorts were all accomodations paid for Judges to receive indoctrination, even on cases before their bench, on views favorable to big business as opposed, for example, to the environment. This is an insidious but seeming legal sort of bribery.
We used to have scores of refineries for gasoline. There are so few today that casual and subtle collusion can generate the scarcity that drives up prices. When is the last time that our supreme court trust busted or said no to a megamerger? Where are our interests protected?
I believe in Big Government! Government must be a big power block to balance the corporate interests who seek wealth at everyone elses expense.But the average citizen must wake up and find mechanisms such as publicallly financed elections, to keep our legislators from being bought.
In the United States, most of our news on TV, which unfortunately is the source of most news for the great unwashed, is increasingly becoming tabloid news. In the competitive market more people tune into ‘news’ about who is killing whom, and what the sex life of the president of the United States might be, and details about highway accidents, or break-ins in your neighborhood. Precious little time is spent on legislative concerns, the control of disease, international affairs, the loss of individual privacy, perils of biological and chemical warfare, and the like.
Fortunately there is a source for in-depth news. That, along with commercial free programming, often of an artistic or educational nature, unavailable on networks surviving in the ratings game. That medium known as The Public Broadcasting System [and NPR, National Public Radio] is sustained by voluntary contributions and taxes from the general public which currently equal $1.12 per person. Everyone is ultimatetly served, because as Thomas Jefferson said: "Public government without public Education is a prelude to a farce or a tragedy."
Most non-third world nations also heavily support the arts, assuming that culture is a very valuable, ennobling, and beneficial concern of human kind. Our nation spends a mere sixty-four cents per person per year. Even that pittance is begrudged by budget cutters who assume that somehow too much is spent by government.
Prohibition was a failure in the USA because:
With today's drug war we have the same problems:
In July of 2002, New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (R) commuted the sentence of Maryann Gomez-Velasquez. She was sentenced to 25 ˝ years in prison because she was addicted to Tylenol with Codeine and forged pain medication prescriptions to feed her addiction.
“Twenty-five and a half years is an inordinately long sentence for a non-violent, victimless crime,” Governor Johnson said. By comparison, in New Mexico a person who kills someone while driving under the influence of alcohol receives an average sentence of 11 ˝ years, and the average sentences for rape and 2nd degree murder are approximately 26 and 21 years respectively. Governor Johnson said, “Our drug laws have become so irrational that we actually hand out harsher penalties for forging Tylenol with codeine prescriptions than we do for killing people.”
The United States sure knows how to treat a medical problem!!!
Let me tell you that I, for one, like roads and bridges, and protection from terrorism, and a pension in my old age, and research for the cure of disease and all the myriad of services provided by government and I am willing to pay for them.
I have a friend, now a citizen of the USA, persecuted for his religion, and most of his family killed, who tells me: "If you don’t want income taxes then go to my old country where we don't have any basic and reasonable government services. See how you enjoy life then. I find it a privelege to pay my taxes"
As I would sit in bumper to bumper traffic just attempting to drive to work oh how I wished that just the moneys allocated for highways by congress had been spent.
In the Dallas Fort Worth area a number of years ago we had a fast moving tollway from Fort Worth to Dallas. When the agency had earned enough money to pay for the construction, they asked: Should we end the tolls [60 cents per trip] or should we use continued tolls to build a Dallas to Fort Worth route several miles to the south of the current toll way? The public responded: "End the tools" In retrospect, I think that those who sit daily in bumper to bumper traffic would be delighted to avoid this hassle for 60 cents. We really want governmental services we just don't want to pay for them. Too often we are willing to shoot ourselves in the foot.
I have often thought that the prison system in our country must have been designed by a madman. It doesn’t make sense to me either in conception or in the results it produces. To start with it would seem to me that if a prisoner on parole is not to associate with felons then a prisoner while in prison should not associate with felons. From everything I have read, prisons in addition to providing the best opportunity to associate with criminals, serve as schools in criminality, by the other convicts, who often become role models for prisoners. Again from everything I have read, the sociality of prison life is such that the prisoners become socially in charge of the system, and produce the worst kind of value systems, behavior, fear, and brutality.
Considering the environment produced it does not surprise me that the outcomes are also reprehensible; precious few are adequately trained for gainful employment upon release to society. The chief export of our prisons are individuals with enhanced skills in criminality, socialized well to fit in well with the worst elements of society and most of all filled with rage.
Instead of our enormously expensive prisons, hiring legions of people to ‘guard’ prisoners; cooks to prepare cafeteria style meals; laundries to clean their clothes, air conditioners to cool the tight quarters, we should build our prisons out in those western states where the weather is moderate and the land is remote and open. I suggest that a prisoner be given a small hut in a fenced-in field, isolated from other prisoners. He would have a small stove to cook his own food and heat his hut. He could have a little land to grow some vegetables. Their would be no need for air-conditioning; he could wash is own clothes. A hoop an a basketball could provide aerobic exercise. The place would need few guards. The prisoner could at least learn self reliance, have an environment free of brutality and fear. As for visitors I would suggest wholesome volunteers from the community a couple hours per week. When such systems are large enough, economies of scale, would allow for each inmate to have a TV set that would only pick up the prison channels -broadcasting wholesome and educational materials; some programs would teach trades suitable for future employment. Perhaps economies of scale would allow for computers. There is nothing that interactive computer systems can’t teach. [Think of how much you have learned in the past five minutes.] I see precious little prison reform on the horizon - such a pity because we will be the ones to suffer!
I can note that a couple of Universities are doing something of value on the crime front:
1) The Center on Civil Justice has been created by the University of Chicago Law School. They are going to study how civil law really works in the daily crush of America's courtrooms. They are going to focus on on fundamental questions about how law affects everyday life.
2) Northwestern University Law School, on a weekend in mid November 1998, sponsored a three-day conference on wrongful convictions and the death penalty. The intent of the conference was to educate Americans about the frequency with which innocent people are condemned to die in this country. With DNA testing, we have been finding out how frequent wrongful convictions have been made. Many of the 74 people who have been freed from Death Row since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 attended.
Many people labor under the misimpression that the system works, that innocent people can never get caught up in its web. The reality is that all too often totally innocent folks are not only convicted but also are sentenced to die. Hopefully, the outcome has provided ways to make the criminal justice system more accurate, and has suggested reforms that states can implement to reduce wrongful executions.
The United States is the only non third world nation who retains capital punishment. I myself approve of capital punishment on moral grounds - I think when a human being murders another human being, that individual has forfeited his/her right to life in a civilized society. I also disapprove on practical grounds - we make too many mistakes in executing the wrong person.
Now you have had my two cent tour on our criminal justice system. I think criminal justice is a good name for it. [accent on the criminal] Think about it.
A United States Congressman suggested that had the Ten Commandments been posted in Columbine High School (some time ago, when it was in the news), the massacre might not have happened.
A few questions to ask whenever it is suggested that the ten commandments be posted in any public building:
Lets examine the commandment on graven images. [This statement is definitely in that body of text known as the Ten Commandments but you will not see it in the sanitized versions seen commonly printed in Catechisms.]
Here it is: [Both copies of it!]
So, if one were to post a Biblical version of the "Ten Commandments" in a High School, does that mean we just post them and forget about them? Or should we do what they say? Should we remove from said public buildings all of their graven images? I take it this would include not only portraits of people, but representations of stuff, so that we would in fact have quite an architectural as well as artistic revolution...