Changing the Name of Easter?

With one chocolate manufacturer reported to have considered removing the word ‘Easter’ from its chocolate eggs, the question arises once again: is Easter any longer a Christian festival? With recent surveys finding that about 52 percent of the adult population of the United Kingdom has no religious affiliation, and another 8 percent profess a non-Christian faith, Easter now has actual religious significance for only a minority. The major driving force behind the celebration of Easter, as well as Christmas and all other annual holidays, is the market economy, with commercial enterprises seeking ways to exploit every opportunity to boost sales. Whatever its name, it seems likely that the spring holiday will endure as long as there is profit to be made.

It could be Easter, as well as to a lesser extent Christmas, that has contributed to the decline in belief in Christianity. In the light of modern scientific knowledge, the events that are related in the scriptures exceed the bounds of credibility. There is no historical record of them outside of the New Testament. The contemporary historians, Josephus and Philo, who wrote about John the Baptist, Pontius Pilate and other biblical figures, made no mention of Jesus.

It is not hard to see why fewer and fewer people can base their belief on the biblical stories of Christmas and Easter, but the festivals are kept alive by commerce and people’s love of holidays. The calendar dates of these holidays are derived from pre-Christian festivals of great antiquity, and it is likely they are now established as permanent features of human life. Christianity would be more attractive to modern minds if both festivals were abandoned to secular interests.

The solid core of Christianity is the call to love our neighbours and even our enemies. No more elevating message can be imagined. If this were practised globally, there would be peace and happiness for all. Bereft of its superstitions, the religion of love could have universal appeal. Christianity may be in decline, but its central theme thrives ever more strongly in countries with post-Christian societies. The love of humanity is now expressed more than ever before, both collectively and individually. Its manifestations include free universal health care and welfare benefits for the disadvantaged, a plethora of voluntary and charitable activities, and overseas aid to poorer countries. As for Easter, only the name remains, and a chocolate egg by any other name would taste as sweet!

When Does It Become Too Hard to Forgive?

We, as Christians, are familiar with the words of Jesus: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” These are words contained in the ‘Our Father,’ the ‘Lord’s Prayer,’ which most of us learned as small children.

But how realistic is it to expect one to forgive those who indiscriminately murder your parents, a family member, or a friend? And is it possible to forgive a person or persons who walk into a church or a school building and assassinate huge numbers of students and/or adults? How can a monstrous individual who burns a child with cigarettes be forgiven? Or an evil man deliberately placing a crying baby in her toy chest with a hair dryer until the crying stops and she’s dead? How is it possible to forgive those people?

For me, forgiveness doesn’t come easy even in the most innocuous circumstances, and where inhumane, incomprehensible criminal acts have been committed, no, never can I forgive! But there are people who do forgive those who’ve committed heinous crimes, and there are people who do “love thy neighbor as thyself.” It is my opinion that anyone who can stand up and say with honesty and sincerity, “I forgive you” can only do so by the grace, the strength, the moral power and substance that comes from God alone.

A baby-faced twenty-one year old who allegedly shoots and kills nine innocent individuals who are praying together in a church is not crazy; he didn’t just ‘lose it,’ or ‘go berserk.’ He is a hater, a bigot, an egotist, a misanthrope, a detestable individual without scruples, morals, principles, character or honor.

The question is how does such conduct become part of a man or a woman who was once a cooing, laughing, crying, burping, whining, screeching, adorable baby? He or she was not born to become a monster, a person filled with hate, bitterness, anger, resentment, and malice. So when did it happen; how did it happen?

I have no answers, but of this I’m sure: hatred and bigotry are learned behaviors; humans are not born that way.

How wonderful that there are people who are strong enough to forgive. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

13 Reasons Why You Should Never Get A Job

I like the number 13, and I’m a key believer of making your own luck, so I’m going to force my number 13 liking on you; as we talk about…

13 reasons you should never get a job!

In today’s society it is certainly the norm that everyone should have a vocation. A job in which you jump into after education, maybe move between a few different places, gain a few promotions, pay into your pension, then retire at the grand old age of 80 (I say 80 because I suspect the retirement age will be up there by time it’s time for me to hang up my working shoes). Now to me, the idea of having a job and ploughing through the day working for someone else has always seemed a bit… weird? Perhaps it was my disdain for any sort of authority or being a control freak, but the idea of going to work for 60 odd years filled me with dread.

Increasingly younger people are questioning this mundane and embedded piece of our society. Whilst those of an older ilk may label these people lazy or juvenile, it definitely makes sense that in a perfect utopian society, jobs would simply not exist.

I will add here; if you have had the joy of being in a job that you have always wanted to do and it fills you with so much joy, then this probably isn’t for you. After all, it probably doesn’t feel like a job.

Similarly, I am well aware everyone needs money. For now anyway…

What I am going to argue is that the idea of having a job is plain wrong. In the age we live in, society can and should evolve past the point of jobs. Of course if jobs didn’t exist, and we found our incomes through other methods certain people and corporations would be screwed. I say these are the people are the way of change, and more than likely have already convinced you that there simply isn’t any other choice.

The thing is, why can’t we MAKE a choice? You-tubers for example, film themselves doing something they love, and they get paid for it over and over again.

Whilst this can’t be directly related to things like food production, is it so far fetched that a system is possible in which everyone can spend their time being productive doing things that they want to do. That way everyone can contribute to society, rather than contributing to the capitalist machine that frankly drains everyone of creativity and motivation.

But I digress! Let’s move on with the 13 reasons you should never get a job!

You are trading time for money

Exactly that. How many of you get paid hourly, or even annually for a set amount of hours? Time is a resource that we will never ever get back, and currently the system of jobs means we are trading our valuable finite amount of hours doing something we don’t want to do, for money. Wouldn’t it make so much more sense to invest your time providing value, then getting paid time and time again?

Imagine putting in hard work creating something amazing and then going out to dinner. Going to bed. Watching TV… all whilst getting paid for it. This is how royalties work for singers, writers, painters and so forth. It’s exactly what happens when your favourite You-tuber uploads a video. It’s exactly what happens when people update a website with a witty, clever, and altogether brilliant article that you just need to share with all your friends and comment on. In all seriousness, it’s true. Anything in this world that has any value can be sold. And normally people pay time and time again, after you initially put the time and effort in.

That may not work for all of life’s activities, but it does beg the question as to why we are so content trading our time to do some shitty boring task for some money (and get severely unpaid whilst doing it).

Similarly, do you think your 9 hours of work relates to 9 hours of value created for your company? No way. What you do in one day of work could create value to last a week. Or even a year. That £100 you earned yesterday for 9 hours of work may feel great right now, but think about the £1000’s it could earn your boss over the next week, whilst he does NOTHING.

2. You only get paid when you are working

As mentioned above, you only get your wage slip if you march your little butt to work and put in the hours. Sure you might get a few days holiday and sick days, but you know you can’t just chill for a few days. You can’t go travelling or go on holiday. You can’t spend too much precious time with your family, because you won’t get paid.

The system is already in place and millions of people get paid when they are doing nothing. It’s called passive income and we’ll talk about it another time.

But (as above) YouTubers, singers, writers, are already exploiting a system where they create the value, and they can get paid when they are sitting at home doing nothing. Wouldn’t it make far more sense to get paid for the value you create and how much it helps people in the future, rather than just getting that cash for working for an hour?

3. It’s a waste of a life!

Having a job is a waste of a life. Through some scientific miracle where the chances of occurring in the 0.0000000000000000000000000% life exists, and out of all the potential things that could have come to life, you are one of them. You could even have been one in a billion when you were conceived. Yeah that’s right, you are one in a billion.

You have an average life expectancy of around 80, if you manage to avoid serious illnesses and accidents that could strike at any moment. In fact, even tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. And, you’re going to spend the next 60 years working almost every single day, doing some trivial task that sucks the life out of you. You aren’t going exploring, you aren’t saving the world, you aren’t playing in a field of puppies, you aren’t surfing, you aren’t painting, you aren’t living. Think about how much time you have wasted at work. In fact, think about how much time you have wasted… whilst at work!

Think of what you could have learned in the time you spent at work last year.

I know I’m asking you to think of a lot, and that in itself is dangerous, but keep at it.

My point is, when you are at the end of your life; you will look back and find that a large chunk of it was took up doing something you didn’t want to do, and didn’t add any real benefit to anyone.

4. You’re a slave

Fact of the day (and Google it if you don’t believe me), the origin of the word “boss” is the Dutch word: “baas”. The original translation of the word baas from Dutch is “master”. So go back to work and make your master happy, slave.

Okay, so the origin of a word doesn’t make you a slave granted, but think about what other liberties are taken away from you. Are you given a set time and duration in which you can eat? Do you have to turn up at a certain time or you’ll get told off? Are you one of the poor sods who has to ask to go to the toilet, or have their toilet breaks timed… ? You get to pick what clothes you wear right? And you can have your hair how you want? No?

How would your slave master react if you got a new tattoo? Or that piercing that you’ve already wanted?

Another point in line with this, is the size of the rules and restrictions that found in employee manuals nowadays. There are set regulations for pretty much everything at work now. This rigidity in routine and system kills creativity. It is good however in creating an obedient and effective cog that keeps spinning the corporate machine…

5. Do you like getting ripped off to make other people rich?

The simple fact is that however much money you earn at work, is no where near the amount you earn your boss and company. You can be sure that your wages incorporate the money that your boss needs to pay to keep the lights on, to pay the rent on the building, to pay all of the business’ taxes. That’s before you take into account how much of your “wage” you generously donate to your government. Then the business needs to make your they are earning something from you, so they can be profitable of course.

There are just way too many mouths to feed when it comes to having a job. You are being ripped off every step of the way.

6. It’s unsafe

A lot of people think that working for yourself or freelancing is dangerous. There simply is no guarantee that you will earn enough money. That’s very true. But having a job is even more dangerous and unstable.

If you are creating the value yourself and have passive income, you aren’t limited to doing the same thing every day. For arguments sake, you could have 5 income streams. A writer could write tens of books and have an income stream from each one. OH NO, one book didn’t sell! The income from the other 9 will cover it.

What happens though when your company hits a rough patch and doesn’t need you? The plug is pulled and you find that safe and reliable job has now vanished.

As mentioned right at the time, this is about control. When you have a job, you are not in control of your destiny. Someone can pull the plug whenever. And what if you aren’t happy with the amount you are earning now and want more? Can you work harder and get more? Of course not, you would need to beg your master for a pay rise…

7. No freedom

Perhaps obvious from previous points, but you have no freedom when you are working for someone else. You are contractually obliged to do certain things or they will sue your butt. You have about as much freedom as a dog. You turn up on time, you do are you are told, you get told off if you don’t, then you get your treat at the end of it. Good boy.

8. Limited social life

Some of your best friends may be from work, and if they are, please don’t be offended!

The point is, your social life is dictated around your job. You spend most of your time with the people who happen to work at the same place, so unlucky if they are dicks. Secondly, when you aren’t at work, you will avoid all those people who work different hours, or different days. The love of your life might be working nights when you’re on 9-5.

9. It makes you sad!

Working makes people sad! If you are stuck in a job that you don’t well and truly love (again if you do, well actually you probably aren’t reading anyway so… ) odds are you feel sad. You probably find it hard to sleep Sunday night because of the anxiety of going to spend the next 5 days being bored doing something you don’t want to do.

Depression is one of the biggest problems with our society today. It’s something I will write about soon, but in short; we are not doing anywhere near enough. And the increasing amounts of people suffering suggest that life itself is just more rubbish and stressful. People are far too sad. There is plenty to find happiness in the world, however the system we all live by means that all the joy and excitement is sucked out of us as it slowly and surely turns us into sad efficient robots.

10. You’re another cog in the machine

The capitalist world we live in is one that has encapsulated the modern day way of life. So much so that jobs are becoming more and more trivial and creating less and less value for our world; at the expense of more and more money for the big corporations and big bosses. As a little worker bee, trained and whipped into domestication; taught to follow the rules and turn up on time, trade your finite hours for a little treat, you are just another cog in the machine. Big businesses need people willing to work for nothing (as in no real value), and they exploit them through underpaid wages. They benefit from the hard fought hours doing your job, just so you can go home and switch on your big TV that you don’t need, or so you can go and buy things you simply do not need – all so you have to go back to work and earn that cash back!

11. The 6 year version of you would hate you

Perhaps one of the strongest reasons not to get a job, or at least, not get a job that is truly soul destroying and rubbish – is that the 6 year old version of you would hate you. 6 year old’s don’t get jobs, and why should they? They haven’t been exposed to all of the bullshit brainwashing that society has to offer. 6 year old’s are innocent. They like to play and they like to have fun. If you think back at what you wanted to be when you were 6 chances are there will be no correlation between what you do now, and what the 6 year old you wanted to do.

Why? We’re continuously told as youngsters that any idea we have won’t work. Won’t work, or “no sweet heart that isn’t a real job, how about a tax collector?”. So dreams are crushed at such a young age because kids aren’t given the freedom to truly seek out a life for themselves. If a kid wants to be a magician when they are younger 9 out of 10 parents would tell them it simply doesn’t pay, and pushes them to do maths or something the kid just doesn’t like. The result is bad grades, stressed kids, and the same bad attitude handed to them so they can stop their kids dreams.

What would the 6 year old you think of what you do now? Would they be happy and pleased at what their life as become, or would they not get it? Would they look at you and just think you were another boring adult who sold out their dreams?

12. SO BORING

I honestly don’t see that I have to expand this point… Jobs are boring. If you are currently in a job that you don’t love, chances are you find it boring. Even the fun jobs are boring, if its not what you want to do.

13. Idiots. Idiots everywhere!

Last but not least you have to cope with the idiots.

There will always be idiots in the world, and I am sure you have met quite a few of them. The strange phenomenon is, these idiots seem to excel in the work place. So much so, they tend to always be the people in charge or above you in the pecking order!

There is very little worse than being extremely competent at your job that you hate doing, and someone who has half the brains is in a higher position and is in control of you. Worst still when they feel the need to belittle you or tell you how to do a task that they simply can’t do.

Unfortunately it’s the way of the world!

Let’s conclude!

I want to finish off by saying, if you do have a job you love, or aiming for a job that you love and can make a difference – I salute you.

Ultimately there is a job for everyone and if you are lucky enough to have found that and worked hard enough to achieve it then fair play.

The problem lies in that far too many people are not in jobs that are suited to them. They are in jobs for the money and thus the constraints around what dictates what is and isn’t a job, means that they are stressed and depressed.

Society should have a place for every single person to get on and do what they enjoy doing. So much so that with everyone in their place and growing, society itself grows. With everyone happy and contributing the system would be hell of a lot more efficient.

I also don’t buy the argument that there are some jobs people will always have to be. There is a wide variety of people with an even wider variety of things they enjoy doing. There must be a system where every need we have as a society is fulfilled by someone who enjoys doing it. And for all them really bad jobs… robots 😉

There is ways to earn money for yourself without a job and to earn money even whilst you are sleeping. This is how society should be, and thus getting a job is just stupid.

What do you think? Do you think we will ever get to a place in our society where jobs become defunct and everyone can spend their time being creative and contributing? Or are you a cog who thinks jobs are necessary and always will be?

The Jewish Fight With History Is Like the Plight of People Everywhere

God made a covenant with Abraham, promising him land for his seed after 400 years, Genesis 15:13,18. When their time was up, God freed a million slaves from the strongest nation on earth and took Israel to the Promised Land, but not without giving them the greatest document of self-government, the law.

A favorite author said, “There is not a negative in the law of God.” This is because of the motive of love. Because I delivered you from the whip and bondage, because you love Me, you will have no other gods. And it’s not just about God. He didn’t want us lying, stealing, killing or committing adultery. People who do those things are not truly happy. If we live in harmony with His law, we can be healthy and happy.

Because of God’s great law, the Jews have done well in spite of much affliction and persecution which has come partly because they did not always honor the law or the God who gave it as Moses warned in his final words of Deuteronomy. So He scattered them among the nations (Jer 31:10) so that others would learn of Him through faithful witnesses like Daniel, Esther or Nehemiah.

But like the eyes that can betray the presence of a camouflaged tiger, there are details in the Hebrew Scripture that most people shrug off. It leaves them at odds with history as they fight for survival.

We see it in Abraham’s prophecy when he was tested, “God will provide Himself a sacrifice.” Gen 22:8.
We see its details in the sacrificial system of Moses-an innocent lamb without blemish was used.

We see it in Isaiah 53 where a Lamb would be wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our sins. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes, we are healed (and want to live better and not continue the sins that caused His death for us.)

Daniel 9 even gives the time of the Messiah (“anointed”) as 69 weeks of years from a Persian king, Artaxerxes, whose decree in 457 BC allowed the Jews freedom to return and built Jerusalem, Dan 9:25.

That timing fit perfectly the announcement of another Jewish prophet, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. He was calling attention to Yahshua, a Hebrew name that means salvation and health. He spent time healing and preaching to bring health and salvation. [Jesus is a poor translation; there were no “J’s” in Hebrew nor Greek.] Yahshua means Yah (abbreviation) saves.

The Jewish fight with history is the fight of all who fail to see that His life fulfilled dozens of Messianic prophecies, starting with Genesis 3:15. The details of His crucifixion in Psalm 22:16-18 were written centuries before the Romans invented this form of torture. Micah 5:2 foretold He would be born in Bethlehem (a word that means “house of bread”) and He later said, I am the bread of life. Jn 6:35.

He loves Jewish people as He loves all people, “red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight.” Actually, we are all varying shades of brown and alike on the inside. Heeding His words would have saved millions of Jews in 70 AD, but Jewish leaders (like most political leaders) think God is on their side exclusively.

Heeding Christ’s warning would spare millions again. He warned of an “abomination” that the disciples understood as military, and when the Roman army came, they fled and were spared the siege. A better understanding of His words would apply them to what’s impending, because the signs for Jerusalem are also signs for the end of the world, Matt 24:2,3.

The wording in Mark 13:14 is helpful. “When you see the abomination (military) standing where it ought not.” Military ought not to be in the US. We are supposed to have a free land. To see military convoys and armored tanks transported by trains is a warning of impending trouble. Readiness to flee the cities may affect the destiny of those who claim that Christ is Lord (which means they do what He says).

Waiting until it’s undeniable means great loss, for those who did so, were not to go down to get anything out of their house, Matt 24:17.

History is His story, and history repeats worse for those who aren’t looking for its lessons.

The Brewing Global Economic Storm

A two front economic assault is gestating simultaneously in Europe and Asia that threatens to plunge the world into another severe recession or even worse. Once thought of as quasi-indomitable institutions like the European Union and Chinese Communist Party, these institutions are now shaking in their collective designer boots with respect to losing significant credibility and in the long run possibly even more. Greece’s economic downfall is unfolding like a 21st century Greek tragedy and China’s stock market plunge is creating disturbing fissures in the world economic model.

Direct government intervention by China by pumping in billions of dollars to prop up stock prices along with other aggressive administrative tactics may be too little, too late. Though only 10% of Chinese invest in stocks (Chinese prefer hard assets like real estate and gold) vs. 50% of Americans, the Chinese market’s credibility may be seriously damaged.

The genuinely horrifying aspect is that as an autocratic country China can intervene directly and unilaterally in the markets. Yet despite their valiant efforts they may not be able to staunch the hemorrhaging. Adding fuel to the bonfire is the huge shadow market brimming with exotic financial instruments that only a handful of experts understand, a market that has no oversight and can legally bypass regulatory laws. And unlike the thousands of experts in stocks, bonds and commodities, no one knows the impact of these exotic financial instruments when they are under extreme pressure.

Should the crisis worsen dramatically, would China feel compelled to sell, even liquidate their foreign reserves or even US treasury holdings, to prop up its markets and prevent civil unrest? Such a decision would result in a significant blow to its carefully cultivated domestic and world prestige and confirm an economic situation that much worse than officially reported. Certainly China is desperately to find a face saving way out of this morass.

The Chinese government’s priority is to maintain control and credibility while preventing civil unrest. Nonetheless, the Chinese Communist Party is not monolithic and additional economic pressure can create fissures within the leadership threatening to weaken, even destabilize the Communist Party itself. For conspiracy theorists, it’s possible that this plunge could have been cleverly engineered by powerful opponents within the Communist Party to weaken control – legal enablers that created and approved loose regulations allowing conditions for this stock market bubble to froth up and spillover. Any de facto coup would result in the emergence of a so-called savior from a different faction within the ranks of the Communist Party.

Additionally, China is politically cornered because it’s a home-grown disaster which makes it difficult to convince its citizenry that this crisis a western engineered conspiracy. In Europe Greece can conveniently play the victim and blame powerful members of the EU as neo-colonialists within Europe.

For China, with respect to foreign policy this crisis could have a resultant pullback on overseas development endeavors and will ironically pursue an aggressive retrenchment and a doubling-down militarily on their Near Abroad defenses.

This developing crisis is déjà vu from 2008 when an economic hurricane was approaching the US. This time a typhoon is approaching China in 2015. The root causes may be different yet an unrelenting economic downfall will have a similar psychological impact. The world’s central banks are out of ‘bullets’ to protect their respective country’s economies and may be forced to bring a knife to a gunfight.

Institutional collapse of this magnitude or severe weakening always unleashes a Pandora’s box of even nastier scenarios and unpalatable choices including economic volatility, civil instability and the inevitable spillover into economic and political areas not directly affected by this chaos. In other words this will have far-reaching implications and everyone gets pulled into this whirlpool. There is no safe high ground.

Any temporary fixes will be just that, temporary, because there have not been any institutional structural changes since 2008 to minimize a future crisis. No one can print enough money fast enough to paper over the cracks and prevent an impending train wreck. As we enter unknown territory, the unspoken disturbing question with respect to whether the standard “flight to safety” financial instruments like U.S. treasuries, the historic financial lifeboats, can offer protective shelter. But this time it may not a question of having enough lifeboats, rather if there will be any lifeboats at all.

The Chinese government is still a novice concerning the risks and perils of the free market. China is like someone with a fat wallet at a casino. They can read up on case studies all they want, yet it’s altogether another matter of flailing hopelessly about in the turbulent undertow.

There are many lessons to be learned and experienced in a free market with its inevitable hard landings and crashes that are sometimes just as vicious as military battles regardless how much cash you have to support prices. The free market is like trying to control the weather. Even the best engineered structures will not protect an economic behemoth against financial typhoons.

The Voice Of The People

It is not too strange today to think that our very own elected officials fail time and time again to do the work that the public in which they are sworn to do considering all the bills that would make a difference in the lives of so many people never made it outside the halls of Congress. Too often state and Federal legislatures have ignored or withheld passage of bills that the majority of citizens support. It is not only their own constituents either that support passage of a particular piece of legislation. But, all across the country we have seen mass public support for a specific bill only to have our elected officials refuse to acknowledge that support.

In Florida for instance, when the medical marijuana bill was introduced where over 60% of Floridians supported legalization of medical marijuana the state legislature turned their backs on the public and voted it down. That is after they already knew that over 60% of the public approved legalizing medical marijuana. Just think of the tax revenue, like Colorado. Needless to say the state legislature of Florida continues to be ignoring the majority of the public’s concerns.

Just this past November Senator Warren introduced legislation to offset the misdirected way the cost of living increase to Social Security is calculated with her Save the Benefits Act. This bill specifies that each eligible Social Security beneficiary will receive over $550 in a one time payment plan to cover the cost of living increase if that increase was calculated fairly. As of December 30th right before this new year over 75% of Americans support passage of this Save the Benefits Act. Of that 75% over 96% of seniors support and actually need that increase to cover their day to day expenses.

It has been for quite some time now that the audacity of Republicans in congress is more evident today for their overwhelming reluctance and even a down right refusal to allow the Save the Benefits Act to pass. It is just like their refusal to acknowledge Global Warming and Climate Change when there is more than enough scientific evidence to support that our fossil fuel industries are it’s prime cause. It should come to everyone’s attention that when there is an overwhelming support for any piece of legislation whether it is for Social Security, medical marijuana or climate change and the legislature refuses to pass legislation in favor of that support proves once again that our democratic process has been compromised.

These are serious issues that need an urgency to resolve. The longer our elected officials continue to ignore the rule of democracy and resort to a self perpetuated cause where money flows to power that power is then corrupt. What we have today is not a represented government of the people and for the people but a government bought and paid for by the all powerful few. A self serving bureaucracy drowning out the voice of the people.

Then again, perhaps the American public have only themselves to blame for the inefficiency of government. Even though there is mass support for a piece of legislation but that support won’t turn into realization unless it is followed through with action to ensure it’s passage. When indifference and apathy out weigh resourcefulness and resolve as we have seen even when there is an actual consensus that a bill has merit it is no wonder then that legislators continue to ignore the voting public.

Politics and Voting

Recently I began pondering the matter of politics which brought me to the subject of voting, particularly in Federal Elections. I puzzled over whether voting should be considered a “right” or a “privilege,” and came to no definitive conclusion. Can’t it be both?

I believe voting (in politics) is a flawed, imperfect system, though a necessary component of any democracy. It’s not always conducted fairly, aboveboard with honorable intentions. There is often corruption, and dishonest and deceptive means devised to favor one politician or another, or perhaps some odd-ball proposition or proposal.

There have been a number of changes over the years, but there are two major ones with which I’m familiar, and that I consider to be most important. These achievements were a long time coming, but finally happened in the form of amendments: 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870, gave Blacks (men only) the right to vote, and the 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, gave women the right to vote.

Even though the 15th Amendment looked great on paper, it didn’t work out so well. Southern Democrats, resentful, bitter, and hostile, because of losing the Civil War and their slave labor, deliberately enacted a poll tax and other measures that denied African-Americans their voting rights after all.

Poll Tax was a fee to be paid when registering to vote, and it occurred mostly in former Confederate States. The practice did not officially end until 1964 with the 24th Amendment to the Constitution.

Another voter registration procedure was a ‘literacy test’ which was much more complex than just being able to write your name, and read a simple sentence or two. It was just more insults directed at African-Americans. It was a hateful, vindictive way of showing Blacks that Southerners were still in charge. Since the majority of Blacks were poor and illiterate, they couldn’t pay the poll tax, nor could they pass the literacy test. In reality then, the 15th Amendment did little or nothing to ensure their voting rights.

The ‘Radical Republicans’ from the end of the Civil War through the period of Reconstruction (mid 1870s), worked doggedly to gain civil rights for Blacks. They succeeded in securing some rights for the “freedmen,” but were constantly faced with opposition.

Republicans even passed the “Civil Rights Act of 1875” which was intended to eliminate discrimination against Black citizens. It stated that they should be treated as equals under the law, and could sue in the Federal Courts if such laws were violated.

Unfortunately, the Civil Rights Act of 1875, like the “Right to Vote” Amendment of 1870, did not achieve its goals. Democrats had gained even more political power and control, and made certain that the Civil Rights legislation could not be enforced. They imposed rules and regulations that made filing lawsuits practically impossible. And of course there was an ongoing need for the lawsuits; discrimination was rampant. But Blacks were very poor, worked hard for little money, and lawsuits required both time and money which they could not afford. With the many restrictions placed on every aspect of Black lives, any progress made had now been lost, along with the new voting rights.

In the early 1800s more people (white males) began to vote, but property ownership was a prerequisite. A few states did allow non-property owners to vote, though in most instances poor people (including whites) were ineligible because of the requirements. It was 1856 before all white males in every state were allowed to vote, regardless of property ownership.

From information obtained, I found that about six percent of white males voted at the time of George Washington’s presidency. A much larger number began voting after the War of 1812, and even a greater increase in the late 1820s. Often, those who voted were not only property owners, but wealthy as well. That, of course, would likely indicate that they had the interest of their community at heart, which would present a favorable requisite.

Women began struggling for their voting rights in the early 1800s, but did not achieve that milestone until the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which was ratified in 1920. For years women lectured, lobbied, petitioned, and marched in protest. A few were more drastic in their tactics, even resorting to hunger strikes. And they were treated badly by their male opponents, sometimes physically abused, and even jailed.

As a citizen of the United States, I’m grateful for the freedom I have that allows me to vote. But not all U.S. citizens are allowed to do so; that applies to residents of U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam. (I believe that’s meant for federal elections only). Citizens who are felons cannot vote, nor can non-citizen immigrants. I’m sure efforts have been under way for many years, and continue in that effort to try and eliminate those restrictions. I’m sure, too, that there’s a push for online voting, but can there ever be sufficient security measures for such a prodigious task? Sounds impossible to me, but somehow, someway, it probably will happen.

5 Tips for Better Waste Management Choices

If you have a load of waste that needs to be disposed of then you’ve come to the right place. Cleaning up can take days and be costly and convoluted if you don’t know what to expect from the removal process. Here, we take a look at the things that you will need to know before you get your waste disposed of efficiently and cost-effectively.

Our top five waste management tips before getting around the experts are:

1. Examine the contents of your waste carefully

You will need to examine what’s in your waste collection carefully. Take note of any larger items, liquids and chemicals. Each of these must be disposed of in a different manner so you’ll need to outline this with your waste removal service before they come to pick up your contents.

2. Estimate your waste load

Waste is mainly measured by weight. This means heavier items will cost more to dispose of than lighter items. Where possible, estimate the weight of your load, or list the heavy items. The same may also be true with the amount of cubic metres of waste that you have – estimate again your cubic meterage. The larger your load, the more it may be to dispose of.

3. Check your access routes to your waste

If your waste is in a tough to get to spot then you will need to express this with your provider. If workers are required to manually transport the waste to a more accessible spot then you need to let the company know in advance. If waste is located in a difficult to access spot consider moving it with a wheelbarrow first, or outlining to the company the means that will be needed to move it.

4. Bundle or bag up as much of your waste as you can

To make the job easier for the removalists, bundle up your waste into lots. Put like and like materials together and make each lot easy to remove. We recommend using tough bags and string for smaller materials. Larger materials do not need to be bundled together – they can be picked up as is.

5. Outline your availabilities for pickup

If you run a tight schedule then you may not have time to sit around waiting for your waste disposal person to show up. Make sure that you indicate what times you will be available so that no one is left waiting around. Some companies only run during specific hours so you’ll need to find this out in advance.

Make sure you’re prepared before the waste removalists come. Following these five tips will help for a smooth transaction when the handover occurs – saving both you and the company a lot of headaches.

Deal With the Electronic Waste Like a Boss

What is electronic waste and why should you care about it?

Electronic waste is the result mostly of the fast-developing technology which makes the previous one (usually 3-5 years old) completely unusable. Therefore we buy what’s considered as “the new thing on the market” and the old piece of technology gets carelessly thrown away. Usually at a landfill.

Who cares you would ask? The nature does, especially the soil, in which toxic emissions from the e-waste soak and pollute everything else as a chain reaction, mostly the water that we drink. Now, after I probably managed to convince you how serious the issue with the e-waste is, let’s see how we can do something about it.

Don’t buy whatever you see.

Electronic gadgets are getting more tempting every day due to its constantly increasing usability. However, the fact is you don’t really need anything more than a PC and a smart phone nowadays. Having this gives you the opportunity to do whatever may be required from you. Buying more means you’re going to dispose of more electronics which will pollute the environment really hard when multiplied by a few billion.

Donate or give away your old electronics

Buying a new mouse or keyboard just because you get sick of the old one, or because you’re a devoted gamer who is perfectionist in terms of having top quality electronics doesn’t mean the old appliances should be disposed. If they are still working the best thing is to donate them to an institution or to individuals who can’t afford it. They’ll really appreciate it and it’s highly possible to receive a huge satisfaction from helping someone in need.

Do this if you are a Chinese

The Chinese government along with the biggest player in the IT field there – Baidu (the most popular Chinese search engine) established a partnership so they can deal easily with e-waste. 1.3 billion appliances are being disposed there per year and if that is not controlled effectively the country will have to take serious damage from it. What they did was to develop an application called Baidu recycle 2.0 (current version). Using it will allow you to take a photo of the e-waste at your home and upload it instantly. Afterwards you receive a message from a waste removal company that comes at your house and pays you to get rid of your waste.

Educate yourself

No matter what kind of waste is on your way you have to be prepare for it. Read about this subject and try to be as informed as possible because this affects your life significantly. Learn more about electronic waste management and always be convinced that you are familiar with the additional information about it. Spread the knowledge you gained from this article to your friends and family and make them think about this because in the future this is one of the biggest challenges the Earth is going to face.

If you are not a Chinese make sure to leave the electronic rubbish collection to the professionals from the rubbish removal services. Companies like this one will undoubtedly make you forget about the e-waste at your home. Wherever you may leave there are similar services that have experience and won’t disappoint you.

When to Help And When Not To

We all want to help others. Well, most of us anyway. Altruism is often said to be a quality that has evolved in us in order to live together as a society. But when we want to help others, when are we truly being helpful and when are we making things worse?

For example, say you are going out on a social occasion with a friend. If before the occasion, your friend tries on an outfit which does not suit them, and they ask you what you think, what do you say? Most of us would diplomatically refrain from saying comments like “It makes you look too fat” or “It makes you look too thin” or “You look horrible in that”. Then again, if we want to help the friend, most of us might say something like “How about the grey top instead, I think it would be nicer with those trousers” or “Why don’t you try on the black dress there?”.

If a friend is physically or mentally challenged in some way, it is good to consider how they might feel if we said something that challenged them too much. For example, John may love running and wants his friend Greg to join him in a long run, but Greg has a damaged knee and has ben told by the physiotherapist to avoid running. It is not fair for John to keep saying to Greg that it is all mind over matter, and that Greg should run anyway. Greg is doing his best to look after his health and take responsibility for it. John can ask Greg if he is OK to cycle, and maybe they can go cycling together instead. Just because running makes John feel good does not mean he has to impose it on Greg.

The same happens sometimes with people who are starting to learn a therapy. Even a medical student can make the mistake of mis-diagnosing someone and making them appointments with a list of specialists, because the would-be doctor is too eager to help. This is totally wrong, because the medical student is not allowed to diagnose as yet, and with good reason. Just because a friend of theirs says something in passing about how they feel does not mean giving the friend a diagnosis and sending them to various specialists. They can instead ask if the friend wanted an opinion based on the limited knowledge the medical student has to date. Then if the friend says yes, then maybe the would-be doctor can stress that they are not as yet qualified and therefore this is just a friendly opinion, but maybe they can ask their doctor if they have a particular condition. If the friend says no, it is best to respect their wishes.

And of course, mothers and fathers are all too often eager to help their children in the way they know best. But it may not be best for the child. For example, I have met many a struggling entrepreneur who was limited by their parents’ repeated statements that being self-employed is the road to ruin and financial disaster. Words of advice, no matter how loving or well-meant, can be very damaging.

I can give many more examples, but I guess you get the picture. It is good to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and ask “How would I feel if I were this person and heard this advice?”. After all, if we really want to help, we should help the other person, not our own ego, conscience, or our own feelings. It is not always easy. We all err sometimes. When we do, we can forgive ourselves, apologize where appropriate, and learn from the experience. It is good to care anyway, and I am sure you are reading this because you care.