Life is but a Dream

What’s it all about, Alfie?        Ted Folkert

Life is but a dream we are singing
A simple line in a song’s beginning
A meaning worth a thousand words
As meaningful as were ever heard

Lessons learned can come too late
A fact deserving no debate
Warning us of a rash decision
Made without consideration

Alfie learned it, as the story goes
Much too late to resolve his woes
But we can profit by his demise
If we are more gracious and wise

With thoughts of others in our choices
We can resist the distracting voices
While keeping life’s treasures in mind
Those with whom we spend our time

Maybe that’s what it’s is all about
As Alfie would now agree, no doubt
By thinking only of self-pleasures
Dismissing life’s lasting treasures

Human Progress

 Human Progress

Ted Folkert – March 2021

An Ugly Footprint

The human impact, as compared to the impact of all other forms of life, has made the world smaller. Through our superior intelligence, our inventiveness, our technological advances, and our incessant pursuit of pleasure and comfort, we have expanded our dominant ownership and control of the necessities of life.

In the process we have inadvertently, created an efficient channel for distribution of disease worldwide. With the ease and affordability of human interaction – the result of mankind’s ability to contribute to technological disasters which threaten humanity while pursuing pleasure, without any sense of responsibility to preserve the basic needs to sustain life, we have incessantly consumed the essential elements for life at a rate which, as our scientists tell us, exceeds the speed of their replenishment. Simultaneously, we have created climatic conditions which, if uncorrected, it is said, will ultimately end human life and perhaps all life here on Planet Earth.

This can’t simply be considered a comvenient population control technique any more than warfare could be considered such. But, like warfare, it certainly provides that function. And, like warfare, the victims are chosen somewhat based upon power and wealth, both as nations and as individuals.

Holding the Bag

By such inconsiderate actions, are we leaving future generations holding the bag?

I recall a first encounter with the term “holding the bag” as a young Boy Scout at the age of twelve or so. In the Boy Scout troop it was a practice of the older Boy Scouts to initiate the younger ones by taking them out in the dark of the night on their first overnight camping trip for a “snipe hunt.” A snipe hunt consisted of carrying a bag out into a weedy field and trying to catch the snipes, whatever they were, as the older scouts supposedly rustled them up and ran them toward those holding the bags. Of course, there were no snipes. It really was just a way of initiating the newcomers by scaring them out of their wits with various pranks and eventually just leaving them there in the dark of night holding their bags.

With this analogy in mind, are we adults who have occupied this lovely planet for the last few hundred years or so leaving the younger generation and future earth inhabitants “holding the bag.” Has our mindless over-consumption and destruction of the life-sustaining resources which have been so plentiful here for centuries caused the troubling signs of depletion at a rate which is unsustainable for human salvation? These life-sustaining elements of which we speak include oxygen, fresh water, moderate temperatures, plentiful food supplies, and other human necessities, just to mention a few.

We all thought the availability of such resources would never show signs of depletion beyond our ability and that of the planet to restore them forever. We seem to have always ignored or been unaware of the fact that it took billions of years for the Earth to produce these basic elements which sustain human life. We have been warned by the scientific community for decades about an unsustainable depletion but we thought these were either unsupportable opinions or that, since we were so smart, that we would discover our way around any such inconvenience. So, apparently, we just ignored it. That is what we mindless consumers of pleasure throughout the world, especially in America, have done.

We always thought global warming was a good thing because it would make available more beach weather, more lovely spring-like days with mild and comfortable temperatures. We jumped in our cars and took long drives just for pleasure, not just for necessary trips to work or to restore provisions, but for a pastime, for sight-seeing, for escape from boredom. We circled the globe on planes for personal pleasure or to increase our income to compete for lifestyle, recognition, success, and fortune.

We bought cars at an amazing rate for the last century, expanding vehicle ownership by geometric proportions, every car spewing toxic fumes into our lovely atmosphere, expanding family automobile ownership from no vehicles or one vehicle to two or more vehicles for every household in the nation. And worldwide expansion of automobile ownership, even in developing countries, of course exacerbated the problem in geometric proportions.

There are now, after a century or so of invention, manufacture, and distribution, billions of automobiles on the roads of the entire planet at any given time. There are thousands of planes encircling the planet at any given time, probably at least 3,000 up there as this is being written, no matter when it was written. There are billions of homes throughout the planet which are being heated and cooled for the personal comfort and survival of eight billion inhabitants. There are thousands of factories around the globe burning fossil fuels to manufacture and distribute goods and services for these eight billion of us.

We reduced the probability of demise from vehicle fumes somewhat by regulating tailpipe emissions a few decades ago, but we reduced the positive impact of such measures by putting more vehicles on the street and at a continually expanding rate. We had lots of excuses to keep us from acknowledging that we were destroying the planet. These were easy to accept and they provided enough personal solace to encourage us to go on living the lies which we swallowed so readily and ignoring the reality of our actions so irresponsibly.

Unfortunately, those of us either writing or reading this book won’t be around to help future generations deal with this debacle or suffer the damage we have done. History tells us that it took millions of years for humanity to develop from other life forms and become the dominant force on Earth. It now seems obvious that it will take far less time to end humanity. At our present pace we could complete it in a century or two – human progress in reverse. It is very clever in the way we have reduced the time required for annihilation of life by geometric proportions compared to the time it took to create it. Can we call that human progress?

It is kind of like Severn Suziki, at age 12, a Canadian girl, stated in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro as she was speaking to those generations of people much older than her: “You teach us not to fight with others, to work things out, to respect others, to clean up our mess, to share – not to be greedy. Then why do you do the things you tell us not to do? You say you love us, but I challenge you. Please make your actions reflect your words.” – A child talking common sense to grownups – a reverse order of intelligence.

These comments were made 30 years ago. How much have we accepted as reality, how much have we learned, how much have we changed our destructive habits, how much have we altered our lifestyles to improve the chances of human survival? Well, unfortunately, not much, if any. And, unfortunately again, if we had attempted to take positive actions and curtail our lifestyles it would likely have been fruitless anyway. It comes down to the same old questions: Who goes first, who complies, who finds justifiable reasons why they can’t or won’t comply, which elected officials will step up and give us the bad news and force us to comply? These are rhetorical questions. How do we provide food, shelter, clothing, education, and entertainment for 8 billion people? We already know the answers – we and all of our elected officials feel compelled to expand everything – population, wealth, resources – you name it. Curtailing our activities and reducing our lifestyles is adverse to the mindset and ambition of all of us, our officials included.

Well, let me be the first to agree to offer to alter my way of life for the benefit of mankind. I will give up my car – as soon as everyone else does. And, unfortunately again, this will be the universal response of all us Americans as well as those of the other developed countries of the world. Instead of stepping forward, we will just tell the younger generation what they must do to save the planet – and we do it while we are driving thousands of miles for a pleasure trip – because we worked hard and we think we deserve it.

And the most pitiful part is that we know what we are doing to the planet but in spite of all this we are apparently willing to leave it uninhabitable for future generations of humans. We will leave them “holding the bag” in a hopeless and fruitless snipe hunt, a hunt for something that doesn’t exist.

Is acknowledging this considered unnecessary remorse? Perhaps, but only unnecessary because it probably won’t change our habits or practices or unwillingness to accept our guilt and culpability for originating and propelling the potential, or, as our scientists tell us, the inevitable path to destruction of human habitability of Planet Earth, our so-called “blue planet,” which we see as a “green planet,” but which is becoming a “brown planet” as we expand civilization and enjoy ourselves.

Think about it!

Climate Change Unchallenged

Climate Change Unchallenged

Ted Folkert – February 5, 2021

We know it is coming but we choose to ignore it. We leave protective measures and actions to future generations, although time is critical and future actions may be too late to save the planet for human habitation.

Such an ultimate demise for humanity has been publicly discussed for decades, at least since 1972, almost 50 years ago, with publication of a book published by MIT scientists: “Limits of Growth”. Their data was well-founded and supported by irrefutable facts about climate cycles and the impact of human exploitation.

These early warnings have been reaffirmed by scientists to the world population of we human exploiters, but with little avail. Perilous conditions continue to worsen and to prove the reality of the early warnings.

We have taken steps such as automobile emissions. Yet, we continue to leave any more meaningful resolution of the predicted demise to future generations.

This subject was addressed on January 31, 2021 by an article in the Los Angeles Times by Christopher Ketcham and Jeff Gibbs.: “The Coming Collapse.”

The subject was also recently discussed at length in a book published by me: “Aces & Eights – Gambling on Climate Change,” available form Outskirts Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. This book wrestles with the problem and the actions taken or ignored, leaving population control as a partial resolution.

This is not a refreshing topic but it is the most crucial topic for humanity. If we don’t take heed and start preserving Earth’s precious resources now we are simply leaving future generations with nowhere to turn, nowhere to go, and nowhere to hide – all as a result of our comfort and pleasure-seeking with total disregard for the dilemma we are leaving for those who follow.

Think about it!!

 

Biden’s Challenge – The Distribution of Income

Biden’s Challenge – The Distribution of Income

January 30, 2021 – Ted Folkert

A return to civility – a return to normalcy – a return to a government of, by, and for the people – this is the early indication of the role of the Joseph R. Biden administration. He must surely be the right one for the job along with Kamala Harris who, like Biden, has an impeccable political career of integrity and dedication of duty.

A big, perhaps the biggest, challenge for repairing the damage left by the bungling of the oval office over last four years, is addressing the distribution of income. Such an endeavor could never have occurred under the idiotic tyrant we just escaped from.

Distribution of Income, that economic category which everyone competes for in some way – seems much more important for a healthy economy than is acknowledged by those who make the rules that we live by in the financial world. It seems to be exemplified by painful reality in times like this. Now that the entire planet is forced to deal with this devastating disease – which is beginning to cripple economies in the financially healthy countries as well as those which are struggling for economic survival for their populous – the economic trends are beginning to show distress, even in the financially healthy countries, such as ours.

Current trends are proving to become increasingly more unfavorable for the working-class as opposed to the leisure-class who survive on inherited wealth, investments, or fixed income. And what are the chances that this apparent trend will convince the rich and powerful who control our government to take the right steps to allow the working-class to prosper somewhat from the increasing stress on livelihoods for the lower and middle income segments of society?

It is no secret that putting more income into the pockets of the workers has a positive effect of the economy for everyone. That is Economics 101. It doesn’t take a financial wizard to figure that one out and it doesn’t take a genius to propose methods to create such a positive action. What it takes is convincing those who control government to follow the textbook processes for instilling such measures while continuing to placate the rich and powerful of the necessity – those who are capable of controlling campaign funding due to our campaign funding laws. Those in power very cleverly convinced the voters to support their control of the purse strings decades ago and have successfully maintained such measures through the campaign funding which they enabled.

Changing the system to be more favorable for the working-class can be considered to be like a team of local players taking on a professional sports team. What are their chances of victory?

The only obvious way of changing the distribution of income for the better would have to be through taxation. Unless the working-class have more income and a larger share of it available for discretionary spending there can be no increased demand for nonessential goods and services. The only way to achieve such a condition would require the wealthy to pay a larger share of the services provided by government, such as healthcare, education, transportation, communication, diplomacy, defense, welfare, and all the other services provided by government.

How do people become wealthy? Well, as they say in jest, the easiest way would be careful selection of the proper parents, but of course we don’t get any choice there. Methods beyond that would require participation successfully in some endeavor which can command a more exorbitant profit margin than an ordinary source of employment income, such as wages, salary, or profits from a small business or fee based representation. And, unfortunately, we don’t get much opportunity there. The methods are unlimited but the chance of inordinate success is very unlikely.

If this analysis of the situation is correct as implied then the only method of altering the distribution to level the playing field and improve the economy for everyone will be to enable legislation of a more favorable system of taxation. Of course, this brings the rich and powerful, those who control the electoral process, out in mass with enormous funding of political organizations constructed to placate any effort by those who endeavor to improve the system. So what we have is a system designed by the creators of such which, instead of robbing the rich to pay the poor, as they imply, robs the poor to pay the rich. It is also designed to enable the rich and powerful to retain an inordinate portion of the income they realize for their favorable situations, which robs the government of the funds necessary to provide a more stable economy for all of the more than 300 million of us in this country.

This situation can only be changed at the ballot box by voters who refuse to be influenced by the diversionary tactics of the rich and powerful in their quest to maintain their “absolute control of every living soul,” as Leonard Cohen sang to us. He also sang to us in his song: “The Anthem” that “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” We need to let the light in and see the future impact of the oppressive distribution of income and take the steps necessary to elect those who will help us let the light in.

Early indications are that President Joe Biden is the one to lead that charge. He is already “letting the light in.” He is doing everything in plain sight and with unquestionable integrity and foresight for the benefit of us all. We need to do our part and elect government representatives who will help him with repairing the abusive damage done by the previous abusive administration of the last four years.

Leonard Cohen also sang to us: “Democracy is Coming to the USA.” With the Biden-Harris administration it looks like Cohen’s prediction may now be possible.

Think about it!

Snared – Hook, Line and Sinker!

Snared – Hook, Line and Sinker!

Ted Folkert – January 27, 2021

In his recent article, Thomas Friedman exemplifies the big lie which consumes all of our brilliant (so they think) financial prognosticators – the hook, line and sinker of the financial markets, the stock and bond markets, not a good place for the novice investor to wander.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/26/opinion/us-capitalism-socialism.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Who among us own stocks and bonds? Not you and I. We either lack available funds to invest or have been burned in the market because it is owned and manipulated by the rich and powerful and the investment gurus who enjoy a lavish lifestyle by pleasing the rich and powerful. The stock market is not a comfortable place in which those of us with retirement funds should invest.

And “invest” is not the right word here. It is a trap, a sink hole, which snares us like wild game wandering around the forest looking for food and then become prey for the vultures hiding nearby.

Friedman quotes Rochir Sharma of Morgan Stanley Investment Management: “America’s richest 10 percent, who own more than 80 percent of U.S. stocks, have seen their wealth more than triple in 30 years, while the bottom 50 percent, relying on their day jobs in real markets to survive, had zero gains.”

This is a message that many of us have meekly mentioned for decades, particularly this last decade. It needs to be broadcast with a megaphone and it needs to receive some major attention from our new administration. But more particularly it needs to be broadcast by our so-called news media, which unfortunately is all owned by the rich and powerful who also own all the gold and who also will bury the message so that their wealth will not be in danger of being heavily and appropriately taxed for the benefit of all of society.

It is difficult to imagine what a billionaire will do with more wealth. Should he or she buy more homes, more cars, more planes, more toys, more vacation properties, and more gold jewelry? What would they do with more wealth?

Well, as we must acknowledge, it is about keeping score – the one who dies with the most wealth wins.  The sad and ridiculous part of this process is that the rich and powerful not only were unable to enjoy life any more than those without wealth, they deprived many hard-working individuals from the ability to provide a more reliable financial future for their loved ones.

Like a wise one said recently: “the rich get richer and the poor remain poor.” That is the way it has been manipulated by those in power and that is the way they stay in power.

But, like they probably say to each other: “who cares.”

For more support of this argument read: “Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief by Ted Folkert” which is available on Outskirts Press:  https://outskirtspress.com/RICHMANPOORMANBEGGARMANTHIEF.

 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Ted Folkert – January 18, 2021

We all know who Dr. MLK, Jr. was.

But we should all remember what he was, what he tried to do and who he became in his short life – his brave quest for nonviolent social change. John Lewis, another hero of the quest for equality of opportunity, who we lost recently, and many other brave anti-racism marchers walked proudly across the Pettis Bridge with MLK, Jr. in 1965 into their expected beating by white racists, a beating for expressing their desire to be “free at last” of slavery. This came to be called “Bloody Sunday.”

And then in 1968 Dr. King was murdered by an assassin, obviously hired by some of the rich who felt threatened by Dr. King’s message.

Dr. King and his followers made some progress during their lives but racism still persists today in this country. It will continue to exist in the form of inequality, uncompensated labor, and obstacles to financial success for the blacks in this country until we tax the 800 billionaires by half of their wealth, which amounts to 3 trillion dollars or more, and use these trillions of dollars to pay reparations to the millions of black descendants of the enslaved, those who were and still are denied equality of opportunity in this country.

No one becomes a billionaire on a level playing field. No, they all found a way to garner or extort wealth by “taking more than they give” like the line in the song “Alfie,” – “… should we take more than we give, Alfie?” All the billionaires must realize that they can never spend all their wealth. They must pay it back to those upon whose backs they amassed such fortunes. This isn’t a complicated mathematical equation. It is simple arithmetic, third grade arithmetic.

The wealthy have garnered massive wealth far beyond their contributions to society and they did it on the backs of the workers who were denied their share of the rewards of the free-enterprise system which we seem to cherish. However, it still isn’t free enterprise. It is enterprise owned, operated, and controlled by these billionaires who were clever enough to elect and convince those who control government to enact the laws which enable them to earn abusive profits on the necessities of life which we all must have for survival – an electoral system bought and paid for by a Supreme Court decision called Citizens United, which should be called Billionaires United.

This is what we remember that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was about. This is the movement we should all connect with if we want to support equality of opportunity, that principle which is mandatory for survival of humanity here on Planet Earth.

Josh Hawley, anarchist

Missouri voters could do well by recalling Josh Hawley as a US Senator. He defies our constitutional democracy and is merely looking for fame and fortune at the expense of the working class of our society who rely on democratic principles for survival.

Electoral Sour Grapes

Electoral Sour Grapes

Ted Folkert – January 5, 2021

We used to have two vibrant political parties, both of which held majority positions in local, state, and federal governments. Neither party was dominant for any extended period of time as voters vacillated from one to the other as good times and tough times prevailed. And as such a change in political power took place the lesser party worked harder to gain more control over the way we are governed. That is the definition of politics. That is what makes democracy work, not perfectly, but better than other forms of government such as monarchy or plutocracy.

Such a system has always been considered a healthy diversion of political ideals and has been accepted as a normal sequence of events. It has served to temper extremes from liberalism or conservatism, a much preferred system than one with numerous political ideals, or one with scattered voter segments too numerous to support a sensible system for a sharing of political power.

But now, in a time of the voters preferring a more liberal government, one which leans more heavily toward support of all the people, particularly those who suffer from joblessness or lack of income sufficient to support themselves in a reasonable fashion, we have a Republican Party which cannot accept the desires of the majority and choose to contest the decision of the voters to elect a president of the United States and, because they are not victorious, declare massive voter fraud, voter fraud without any evidence whatsoever. This is a dangerous decision by disgruntled politicos and a dangerous trend for the salvation of a strong and vibrant political system in a sharing of ideals in a democratic electoral process.

The experts tell us this won’t change to results of the elections but it certainly is a drastic diversion from a majority rule system which has prevailed for hundreds of years and is a dangerous trend for the future of a viable democratic system of government. We can only hope that these sore losers, such as Josh Hawley of Missouri, can swallow their pride and resist the urge to get their name in the headlines, and back off of a movement which could serve to render their political positions toothless in the future. This entire sour-grapes movement will be labeled as such and label those leading this movement to gain political recognition with an undemocratic display of losers remorse as extremists lacking common democratic principles.

If those who consider themselves losers wish to instill change they should do what political parties have always done, work harder to change to minds of the voters in upcoming electoral processes. That is what we call democracy.

Think about it!

The only new year’s resolution that matters right now

The only new year’s resolution that matters right now

Ted Folkert – January 1, 2021

Goodbye, 2020 – What a year to remember. A year of painful challenges from Covid19 and the universal negative impact it has had on our health, our lives, our economy, and our way of life.

And welcome, 2021, a year of hope in overcoming this pandemic disease, this killer disease, this highly contagious disease, and all of its devastating impacts on our health, our livelihoods, and our lives.

But changing the number from 2020 to 2021 is not going to change anything unless we all comply in every way possible with the steps necessary to overcome this pandemic challenge to human life. We must stay away from each other at all times possible. We must follow the advice of Dr. Fauci and the other experts on pandemic diseases by social distancing, wearing masks at all time when in any form of contact with others outside our households, getting vaccinated as soon as possible to protect ourselves and prevent transmission of the virus to others, washing our hands frequently and getting tested when there is any indication of infection.

This is not a time for showing our perceived toughness or fearlessness. Such childishness only endangers us and everyone around us, perhaps those who we most cherish as family members, friends and associates.

Do it for your family members. Do it for your co-workers. Do it for your classmates. Do it for you recreational associates. Do it for your neighbors. Do it for those who you appreciate more than anyone else. Do it for yourself. Do it for humanity. All of the above are under threat of this disease and it will only be eliminated as a threat to humanity through everyone’s cooperation.

Happy, 2021.

 

Coronavirus

Pfizer says they can produce 50 million doses of the vaccine next year. That immunizes 25 million people. We have 330 million at least. They say we need 70% immunity. That would be about 250 million. So 50 million doses will immunize about 10% of us. We need more manufacturers of more vaccines and we direly need mask wearing and social distancing. This is a threat to the life of every American, young or old. Compliance has never been more important in our lifetimes.

We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both. Louis Brandeis