Monday, April 06, 2015

It's Only Time!

Does anyone know of any major civilization that still exists? We should consider this since our country is now paramount. Major powers such as Great Britain, the Third Reich, Royal France, Italian cities, Rome, Greece, Imperial China and even three-thousand years of Egyptian preeminence ended. How can anyone think that our superiority might last? No, the question is only when it will end?

This eventuality would be prudent for us, but also our government to recognize. Not by being pessimistic, but by acting positively, by doing that which will maintain some level of importance to forestall any decline. Contrary, our government is doing everything to hasten the downfall.

One of the first changes needed is for all Americans to stop over-consuming. Americans, collectively as a country, have been buying more than the United States has been selling, since 1977. Since that year, our country has had a negative balance of international payments. We have ceded much of what we want to other countries by having them make what we most desire. As to over-consumption, how many homes today have multiple automobiles, television and computers? Almost all were made outside the U.S. Our country has been buying on credit, thus our negative balance of payments. Individuals add credit card debt. Consequently the U.S. has run up the biggest debt the world has ever known. On January 7, 2004, the International Monetary Fund stated that the United States' financial problems are a major threat to world economies. Some day those who sell us will demand real money, not our failing dollar.

In addition, we continue to over-consume oil. Americans buy gasoline at one of the cheapest prices in the entire world, even with the current inflated prices. Consequently, Americans have bigger cars which consume more fuel; we are producing less and less of that fuel. No other country has cars the size of those we drive. Producing more oil will only mask the fact that what oil exists will never meet the growth of our expanding demand. We even refuse to utilize other sources of energy, such as windmills in many areas, as many western European countries employ. The U.S. even stopped building atomic power plants. Using windmills and other reproducible sources of energy would reduce our need for foreign oil.

Another major problem is in armaments. Republican, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about the armament industry taking over the U.S. Wake up, it has. On hundreds of acres we have mothballed of the best airplanes in the world. Yet, we go on building better planes, better than what? Why? Does anyone really expect Russia or China to mount an attack such as the Third Reich did in Europe? Can anyone conceive of any country invading our shores, especially when no other country has any kind of navy as Japan had at Pearl Harbor? Examine what the allied powers needed to invade across the English Channel on D-day. A missile or another 9/11 attack does not bring down the country.

Why do we need more aircraft carriers, submarines or giant field cannons? Establishing military bases around the world only bates attacks on them and what purpose do the bases serve? Where will the upkeep money come from? Who appointed the United States policeman of the world? History shows that attackers must invade a country to overcome the enemy, as we did in Iraq. How can any other country invade us or do more than local damage? Our military would not keep from obliterating the attacking country. The world accepted the balance of power theory for hundreds of years. That theory worked against the USSR for decades. Why not now? Think about North Korea today. If it attacked the U.S. with a few missiles, what would be left of that country after just a few days? Does anyone really think that people in North Korea are crazy enough to risk their own lives? Yet, we continually increase our defense budgets. This keeps the only industry that actually manufactures anything, the armaments, going in the USA; but, at what a cost? This overproduction results from listening to the constant repetition from politicians and the media that it is only through armaments that we obtain security. Realize instead that having strong armies encourages their use, mostly to show Americans our advanced technologies. Therefore, we start wars to utilize this equipment; otherwise that stuff would just be sitting around getting old. What a cost in U.S. soldiers' lives! Realize that no country in the world, as the U.S., has been in so many wars since World War II, not even the USSR.

Politicians have convinced most Americans that taxes are evil. God forbid that any politician would dare to suggest that taxes should be raised. That person is politically dead. But look at it another way. If taxes are bad, then lowering them is good. Lowering them more is even better. Follow that line of thinking along; having no taxes is ideal. But realize that any government with little or no money equates to anarchy. Why did ancient civilizations establish governments? People realized that they needed governments to provide desired services that people could not obtain on their own. Safety, as well as law and order were tops on that list, followed by safe rights-of-ways. As civilizations developed, other services became mandatory. There was defense, sanitation, communal water and fire protection. Later advances were schooling, libraries, hospitals and even aid to the disadvantaged. The majority of people were willing to pay for these services. It would throw us back into the dark ages of being uncivilized to deny these services.

But the excuse for lowering taxes is to have governments cut back on unnecessary waste. But that is a platitude; for what may be your waste, is someone else's need. Republicans are now in complete control of the Federal government, yet creating the biggest federal deficits ever. They passed a governmental funding bill which contains the most pork ever in their self-serving bloated budget. Yet, the Republicans are in the forefront of wanting to lower taxes. Isn't this duplicitous? Billions of dollars have been spent on such things as electric transmission facilities in Iraq, yet not one penny has been spent on our own. We are building schools there, but not here. What will actually happen? Our grandchildren will have to pick up the tab for this real waste, the pork and the money to Iraq. But congress has also canceled or materially reduced the death tax; so the wealthy will be able to leave their entire wealth to their grandchildren. Why should they care about the bloated interest on a bloated national debt? Their grandchildren will have the wherewithal to carry it with the reduced tax rates that were recently enacted for them. If that type of shenanigans doesn't bring down a civilization, it sure adds fuel to a fire.

It should be pointed out that the wealthy are the most in need of good government of all groups of people. Who will be the first to suffer if lawlessness occurs or a foreign power takes over? It will be the wealthy who are first attacked. Examine all revolutions and discover that it was the palaces, grand homes and similar structures that were first attacked by revolutionaries. Study ordinary lawlessness. Where do you expect robbers, break-in artists, etc. to go? But more important, the wealthy did not make their wealth in a backward country. It is the United States with its laws and its services that allow the wealthy to get wealthy. Industries and businesses, whether in direct selling or services, need customers to thrive. Escaping the tax burden means others must pick up the loads. Those people in the middle and poor classes could afford to be better customers of the companies the wealthy own, if the wealthy took less advantage of the other classes. This would increase business and profits. Paying taxes has to be seen as and is directly equivalent to buying those expensive seats at football or baseball games. That money goes to support the players who are performing for the crowd. Tax money goes to support the customers who buy the products or services.

But our current government forgets its friends. The administration has alienated almost every country by negating treaties and having an excessive number of wars that almost all people in the world disdain. Since World War II, the U.S. has had wars in North Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and two in Iraq. Yet Bush goes around claiming that we are a peace loving nation. But surprisingly, he went around proclaiming himself the WAR PRESIDENT after 9/11! Our biggest problem, which our media avoids, is how most Moslems hate us for our single-minded support of Israel, whether that country is right or wrong. Supporting Israel when it is right is bad enough to the Moslems, but blindly supporting Israel when it is wrong raises anger in most people of the world. But a country like the U.S., that forgets its friends, soon finds out that friends are needed for events that can't be conceived of today. History shows that powers that alienated friends lost their position when former friends' deserted them. Ancient Athens was the first and prime example; it lost to Sparta mostly because Athens' friends deserted.

The current government uses propaganda upon all Americans. Don't think for one minute that we in the United Sates are immune to distorted propaganda! Almost all the world sees our actions in Iraq or with Israel totally different than we have been programmed by our media reports. Our government plays politics and uses the bully pulpit to distort facts. It has been officially accused of paying to get out misinformation. It certainly destroys the country's moral fabric to have a relatively nationwide distortion of events and facts. When the end of our superiority does come, no one will understand why.

Who can ignore how our government ignores the poor and the homeless? Look at New Orleans. The children of our poor shouldn't be so ignored. Top this with the way our government ignores the health care problems that almost everyone in the country faces, no matter what their ages, while Congress, our surrogates, has one of the best coverages possible, at our expense. Contrast this with what most developed countries do; they provide health coverage for almost all citizens. If these healthcare problems do not eventually bring down our civilization, I guess I am wrong in my whole concept. Congress even ignores the baby boomers who will soon become eligible for Social Security. The approximate one-trillion dollars worth of government bonds that the Social Security Administration holds will have to be redeemed. Where will the U.S. government find those dollars with the present government now deeply in the red? That obligation can't be ignored, but Congress does!

Our present government gave very big tax breaks to the wealthy. The U.S. now has the largest spread between the wealthy and the middle class and poor of all countries throughout the history of the world. How can any supposedly democratic government allow this to happen? Simply, our government is not democratic. No one will tolerate such a spread, so what better reason for the end to come?

The present government has starved important agencies, while relaxing many others. The IRS is the most important agency being starved; that agency raises all the money our government takes in. It would reduce the government's deficit big time if it could collect all legitimate income. Remember that money will mostly come from the wealthy. The IRS has had its budget seriously reduced for that reason. Drug enforcement, policing of food quality, environmental quality control have also been reduced. Public lands and forests are being given away with regulations reduced. These actions diminish the attitudes and respect for the government by most Americans. Our national parks were once the envy of the world. They are now reduced to deteriorating facilities, open to any off-road motorized vehicle to run amuck.

At one point, the major problem of employment was the relocation of blue-collar jobs to locations overseas. Now white-collar jobs are also being moved out. Employees once making $150,000 are being replaced overseas with people doing the same work at $20,000. These former high-paid employees have taken lower-paying jobs, at a great loss to family lifestyles, which confuses the statisticians. The records don't report these conditions. Our unemployment numbers don't even consider former hard-working individuals who have stopped looking for employment. However, everyone takes pleasure in seeing the unemployment numbers reduced. Those people in government, the Federal Reserve and Wall Street should all experience these income level reverses themselves. Let them all be forced into lower-paying jobs that they would be overqualified for, but been required to take in order to survive; statistics would then look differently.

Today, our government is mired in what we all conceive as terrorism. But we are slowly surrendering our precious liberties to counteract these potential acts of terrorists. Terrorists are still continually winning even when doing nothing. Travel within our country and from abroad has become more difficult. Just great for business! We are fingerprinting the world, performing searches at unbelievable places, hardening in almost every government building, especially in Washington - all at huge costs. Each self-protection reaction is a victory for our enemy. Think about this; the cost of all those concrete barricades along the curbs in Washington could feed most of the poor and homeless. But these actions of protection subconsciously weaken the moral fabric of everyone in our country. We are now living as the English did under the German blitz during 1939-40. The English took it knowing that it might end someday. What does our future hold, where is the end and how do our children see all of this security? If we possess the brain power to send vehicles to Mars, one would think that some better way of national security could be conceived. Something that isn't so omnipresent. If it is not a downer now, what then is?

The biggest problem may be the detritions of our educational system. The National Academies reports that our educational systems are falling far below even the smaller countries of the world. The majority of students pursuing advanced degrees across the world, no longer come to the United States. It has been reported that most students going for advanced degrees now go to China. Maybe the U.S. should accept the inevitable and resign our supremacy now. Let China take all the heat. It is only time anyway!
Chester P. Soling

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Why New Yorkers Rub People The Wrong Way

Before I explore the various reasons as to why New Yorkers sometimes have a unique gift for rubbing people the wrong way, let me first tell you how great the City of New York is. You might say that I am biased as I am from the Big Apple, but that's not why I believe this city is the greatest city of all. As a New Yorker, however, born and raised in East Harlem, I am entitled to my opinion. Still, since first impressions are important, I insist on giving everyone the respect that they deserve.

New York City is quite unique. As they say, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. If you can't, you'll be leaving with your tail between your legs. New York has certainly earned a reputation as one of the world's most fascinating cities. The Big Apple isn't simply the commercial epicenter of the United States, it is the heart of American advertising, and the fashion, publishing, and broadcasting mecca of the world. It is the American melting pot of industry, commerce, immigration, and even religion. In short, it is America personified. That is why so many people visit and move here each year, to partake of its diversity, its immense culture and the wonders of the creativity of the human spirit that it displays.

As for the inhabitants of this enormous metropolis, 8,175,133 people according to the 2010 census, we have two groups. First there are the native New Yorkers such as myself who have strong emotional attachments to our roots. Next we have those who flock to New York, those who have gravitated to the brightest lights of the biggest city. They move to New York for many reasons, mainly because it's the best place in the world to seek the American Dream.

We must be fair in our evaluation of this great city, however. Certainly New York City is fantastic, but there are always drawbacks to living in any metropolis. New York's arteries are slowly calcifying with a dangerous blockage caused by too many people, and when the blood pressure rises, tempers and hostilities flare. New Yorkers, largely due to the aggravation of overpopulation, can be testy. As the city becomes progressively more crowded, tensions, nerves and even outright hostilities will continue to thrive. Since this is a tough city to live in, New Yorkers tend to possess a certain mental toughness. This attitude comes across as being obnoxious and rude. New Yorkers are therefore believed to have a crummy attitude, considered anti-social.

Face it, living in the Big Apple can be tough. As with any city, there are problems. Social animosities occur, there are political issues and financial meltdowns to deal with, there's crime, overcrowding, living standards, and many other daily problems. True New Yorkers accept these bumps in the road as par for the course. They adapt. They survive and thrive amidst a deluge of ongoing contingencies. That doesn't mean, of course, we don't gripe about these problems and many others.

Not only are we labeled as chronic complainers with attitudes, we're also considered out-spoken, bossy, arrogant, talkative or worse, impatient. But wouldn't you have an attitude if you tried to find an empty taxi day after day to no avail? Or a parking space? How about a simple seat on the subway? Does anyone like being crushed in the train next to someone who hasn't bathed for a week simply trying to get home from work? Doesn't that warrant a disparaging remark or two?

Sure, I've been ridiculed for my "Noo Yawk' accent. Maybe I do say "Fugheddaboudit! I ain't saying nuttin," or "Gedoutahea, yer pudding me on!" So! Wherever we go, we New Yorkers will always stand out. For good or ill, we are different, and that's what makes us so great.

Nonetheless, to categorize all New Yorkers as rude is an unfair misrepresentation. There has to be a polite New Yorker out there somewhere, right? Just kidding. Considering what we deal with on a daily basis and the sense of humor we have cultivated to cope with these daily hardships, we're extremely polite. What other city could have handled 9/11 with such courage, unity and grace?

So the next time you run into a so-called obnoxious, loud-mouthed New Yorker, remember 9/11. Maybe you'll find some respect for who New Yorkers really are.

With 13 years of research experience, History in all its manifestations is Miriam B. Medina's passion, and she loves nothing more than sharing what she learns with everyone. So be sure to check it out at, a one-stop resource center for writers, journalists, historians, teachers and students.