How Much Longer?

How Much Longer?

Ted Folkert – June 11, 2020

When will the lynching’s end?
George Floyd was lynched.
It’s been 400 years, so far.
How much longer?

When will equal rights be implemented?
It’s been 400 years, so far.
How much longer?

When will those denied be compensated?
It’s been their peril for 400 years, so far.
How much longer?

When will the reparations begin?
It’s been 400 years, so far.
How much longer?

I’m not black, brown, red, or yellow,
No, I’m white.
Whites are not unaware.
But being aware isn’t enough.
It’s has been 400 years, so far.
How much longer?

Our fearless leaders have been aware.
But being aware isn’t enough.
What have they done?
It’s been 400 years, so far.
How much longer?

Sam Cooke sang us “Change is Gonna Come.”
We sang “Change is Gonna Come.”
We passed the Civil Rights Act.
We passed the Equal Rights Amendment.
We elected a black president.
When will civil rights be implemented?
When will equal rights be implemented?
It’s been 400 years, so far.
How much longer?

We allowed control by the rich and powerful.
They control without paying their fair share.
Their money can now elect those they prefer.
And that is what we got, those they prefer.
It’s been 400 years, so far.
How much longer?

When is “Change Gonna Come?”
When will there be civil rights?
When will there be equal rights?
When will the lynching’s stop?
It’s been 400 years, so far.
How much longer?

British Description of Trump

Words of Jason Miciak, British author, March 8. 2020, quoted from Political Flare

 Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.

For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed. So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.

Oh, and the old boy was just getting worked up.

After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.

God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.

Smiling all the way to the bank!

Smiling all the way to the bank!

Ted Folkert – February 26, 2020

If you should perhaps be concerned about the welfare of the business merger and acquisition market, that market whereby the big companies acquire each other with the excess capital they have garnered by bilking the general public with excessive profits, you can rest assured that they are alive and quite healthy.

During 2019, as reported by Mergers and Acquisitions magazine, there were more than 200 acquisitions with values of between $650 million and $1 billion dollars each. They apparently ran out of space and failed to report the much larger number of deals less than $650 million each.

It has been reported that there were more than 12,000 merger and acquisition deals in the 2019 fiscal year. So, the market is healthy with lots of excess cash lying around. We need not wonder where all that excess cash came from. We know the answer. All of us consumers contributed to this excess with high consumer goods prices, high housing costs, high education costs, high healthcare costs and wages that have not kept pace with inflation.

The inflation we are talking about is the mandatory increase in earnings that all corporate executives are required to demonstrate each year to justify their enormous salaries. It is a continuous spiral in which the wage earners are not allowed to participate.

MLK, Jr. – Comments of Tom Steyer

This isn’t the America Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for.

For too many Americans, racial justice, economic equality, livable wages, fair working conditions, and a secure future with opportunities for growth and prosperity are still out of reach. More than 50 years after his death, we’re still fighting for these same things. They are key drivers on this campaign, guiding our policies and vision for our nation. This isn’t a fight we can just give up on.

We honor the contributions of Dr. King — a leader who forever changed our history by calling for the recognition of African-American civil rights, equality and equity — by embodying his values of service and sacrifice today, and every day. African Americans built this nation and shaped our values without receiving any gratitude or recompense. So it’s on all of us — but especially those who continue to benefit from whiteness and privilege in society — to get out and give back.

Interplanetary Travel

Interplanetary Travel

Ego Control

Ted Folkert – January 9, 2020

If you have any plans to travel around the universe soon you may want to consider some facts about distances and travel times.

Considering the vastness of the universe can be overwhelming and mind-boggling. And it can be humbling.

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is said to be 100,000 light-years across, with an estimated 400 billion stars in it. 100,000 light-years would be 1,500,000,000,000,000,000 miles across. At the speed of our fastest spacecraft it would take 2 billion years to cross our galaxy.

The Andromeda galaxy, is said to be 2.5 million light-years away from Earth, and has one trillion stars. It would take 2.8 billion years to cross this galaxy and perhaps 50 billion years to reach it.

The IC1101 galaxy is said to be 1.2 billion light-years away from Earth and has 100 trillion stars, 50 times the size of the Milky Way, and would take 100 billon years to cross and perhaps more than a trillion years to reach it.

How our scientists figured all this out seems beyond conception for the unscientific mind, but this is what at least one of them tells us is the consensus of the cosmologists.

Realization of our importance in the universe as a country or a planet should provide some realization of the individual value of any one of the 8 billion of us on this tiny planet – providing ego control for all, even those with incurable narcissism.

Bon Voyage!

Voluntary Climate Action – Who wants to go first?

Voluntary Climate Action – Who wants to go first?

A rhetorical question – of course, no one does.

Ted Folkert – December 16, 2019

Climate change – the warming of the planet, the warming of the oceans, the irreversible threat to life as we know it, is real and progressing. The efforts to control or reduce it have not proven to be significantly successful and are being shirked in favor of pleasure, wealth and prosperity throughout the world. Talk is cheap, actions are insufficient, and solutions are expensive and uncomfortable.

We, the people of Planet Earth, ignore it as we explode everything we can find incessantly, be it a bomb for testing or as a display of power, or a gun for hunting or killing each other, or fireworks for celebration purposes. We ignore it as we drive thousands of miles per year to and from work, or for pleasure, or for unnecessary travel – burning life-threatening fossil fuels and exhausting the remains of such into the atmosphere which enables life on Planet Earth.

An example of no-one-wants-to-go-first is the fact that Russia continues to embrace fossil fuels despite concerns about global warming, as was pointed in the article “The Kremlin Shrugs at Climate Change” in Bloomberg Businessweek December 9, 2019.

“On September 20, 2019 the coordinated climate demonstrations swept to globe – 300,000 peoples rallied at City Hall in New York, 270,000 at Berlin’s Reichstag, 90,000 in Sydney, Australia. In Russia only a few dozen assembled near Red Square.”

They either didn’t get the message, simply don’t care or chose to deny their populace the facts about the demise which we face as a planet for the sake of preserving whatever semblance of a vibrant economy which prevails there. Russia is increasingly promoting fossil fuel discovery and production, choosing the burning of carbon and emitting it into the atmosphere over doing what scientific discovery tells us must be done to preserve human habitability on Planet Earth. The obvious reason – Russia is said to receive half of government revenue from taxes on carbon fuels. Again, money talks.

There is much discussion of the dangers and suggestions of necessary corrective measures for this fatalistic debacle. The consensus continues to be that Earth’s inhabitants must reduce carbon emissions significantly immediately. Some believe that the “too-late date” is fast approaching or has already passed.

But, as we declare Russia to be the selfish culprit, we should look in the mirror at our own behavior. The fact is that our president and our big oil companies are doing everything they can to exploit the rewards of carbon exploitation and ignoring the danger, as well. And who among us is forgoing pleasure and abundant lifestyle for the sake of planetary salvation? Everyone who is complying, please raise your hand.

It becomes more obvious every day that we need to listen to the voices, not only of our brilliant scientists, but of educated protesters, as well, even the voice of 16-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden, who sounds more like an educated scientist than a mere school student. She is concerned for the plight of the planet which we plan to leave to her and her colleagues due to our unwillingness to sacrifice progress and pleasure for planetary survival.

The voluminous literature regarding possible voluntary actions to placate this crucial problem is readily available and increasingly advertised. However, the unfortunate fact which is not much discussed is that “voluntary” is not going to work. Voluntary simply means other people, not me, not you – just other people.

The only action which will make a significant difference will be mandatory compliance with corrective measures, such as reduction in automobile usage, reduction of the size or our homes, reduction of the comforts of our lifestyles, reduction in travel, reduction in food waste, reduction, reduction, and more reduction. It will only happen by limiting availability of such activities and significantly increasing the cost of such. It would mean increasing the cost of gasoline by a dollar a gallon every year and making public transportation free and readily available everywhere on the planet. It will mean more working from home instead of driving for an hour each way to and from work. It will mean increasing the cost of air travel worldwide through taxation. It will mean increasing the cost of environment-damaging activities beyond the financial reach of most of us.

All of the possible positive actions which we can render are going to be more expensive and less pleasant.

Let’s face it. Voluntary compliance simply won’t work. It won’t work because of self-interest. It won’t work because of finger-pointing from all directions. It won’t work because many other countries will expect to bring their populous along with economic progress comparable to the more economically developed countries. It won’t work because there will be no standards of conduct to which everyone will agree and adhere. There simply is no other way. Everything else is just empty conversation – worthless suggestions which will be too little and too late.

We need immediate action and we need mandatory action – just in case that the “too-late-date” is still in the future.

Think about it!

Think About This

Think About This

Ted Folkert – October 16, 2019

Just so you know, the owners of the gold in the business world are alive and well.

The Middle-Market Merger and Acquisition market lists 140 deals, each with purchase values of between $100 million and $1 billion in July 2019. These are companies buying each other. Don’t bother totaling up that equation, the total number is enormous. If we take the average of $500 million times 140, we get $70 billion. And if we project that number to 15 months, it exceeds $1 trillion. Which means that those who own the wealth are healthy and prosperous, they are doing just fine.

These figures are not meant to be verifiable for accuracy. But they are only a real-time example of the fact that a lot of companies have accumulated enormous excess capital which they don’t need. This may be due to their cutting-edge technology or an unwavering demand for their products and services, or it could be due to exemplary expertise in marketing, however, one could question the validity of their profit motives and the integrity of their manipulation of the general public by demanding unconscionable margins of profit just because they can.

We could have a discussion of book-length about the methods which have enabled the facilitation of such profits, such as barriers of entry, monopolization, patents, copyrights, and unlimited extensions of patents, but we know about all that. The discussion we need to have is, how do we change this potential demise of the free-enterprise system to bring the market for goods and services back in line with reasonable profit margins which keep money in the pockets of those who make these markets possible.

I am sure that all the companies in the country can justify their profit margins and declare with fervor that their pricing is fair and equitable. But one thing is apparent even for the non-economic thinkers, excess profit doesn’t just fall out of the air, it doesn’t just suddenly show up on the financial statements, it isn’t fictitious. No, it is real profits earned in excess of what should be considered reasonable, otherwise the amount wouldn’t be exploding their bank accounts to the point of constantly seeking acquisitions of other companies.

We have stretched the working-class of our society about as far as can be feasibly possible by changing society from one wage-earner per household to two or more. We have forced the working class to extend their credit to the point of no return and no way out. We have increased the cost of everything in relation to previous valuations, not only for non-essentials such as recreation but to include educating our children.

The working-class wage-earners are now stretched so thin financially that with the slightest recession we could be facing economic disaster. This has been discussed at length by many of our great economic authors such as Thomas Piketty, Robert Reich, Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman, Tom Metcalf, Simon Kennedy, Peter Coy, George Monbiot, Thomas Sowell and many others. But it seems their writings fall on deaf ears when it comes to those who we have chosen to make the rules that we live by. Those who either don’t read, don’t listen, or are owned lock, stock, and barrel by the rich and powerful who finance their campaigns for elective office.

If the dreaded demise of economic disaster becomes a reality, those who have enabled the profiteers to operate without restraint will run and hide while pointing fingers at everyone else.

Election time is just around corner.

Think About This!

Living in Sin, Without Remorse

Living in Sin, Without Remorse

Ted Folkert, September 11, 2019

Associated Press correspondent, Lisa Mascaro’s recent article: Congress Marks 400th Anniversary of Slaves Arriving in US, discusses a much discussed and little resolved discriminatory period in our history.

She quotes Senator Nancy Pelosi as saying “We must tell the unvarnished truth,” and in the commemoration of Emancipation Hall: “…gave the world this beacon of hope.”

And she quotes Representative Kevin McCarthy as calling slavery “many shameful moments” in the country.”

And she quoted Senator Mitch McConnell as saying that in many ways it is our “original sin.”

And she states that Representative Karen Bass, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, called on colleagues to examine and embrace all parts of the nation’s history, and who stated “We are so fortunate to live in this amazing country with our incredible history,” Bass said. “All of our history is what makes this country a great country,” she said, and encourages all Americans to contribute to the “fight to build a more perfect union.”

Blah, blah, blah!

Similar statements have probably been cited by a long list of our leaders or would-be leaders over the last few centuries, comments which are probably well-meaning and well-expected. Such acknowledgements and apologies are certainly necessary and have been plentiful, at least in the last few decades, but how can they possibly placate and provide belated equality of opportunity for descendants of those who were dreadfully discriminated against for the last 400 hundred years. I say 400 years because the inequality of opportunity still exists in numerous ways for the descendants of slaves.

How about reparations for the descendants of the depressed people who can be verified as legitimate descendants of slaves? Not token reparations, but reparations adequate to compensate them for the combined deficiencies in education and opportunities which have evolved from one generation to the next over these 400 years.

When we hear serious suggestions such as this, we will know that this discriminatory activity is fully acknowledged and resolved to the largest extent possible.

We can’t make it right for those who are no longer around, but we can at least attempt to bring their descendants up to speed with society today.

Your Money of Your Life

Your Money of Your Life

Ted Folkert

August 21, 2019

Some who are my age may remember the Jack Benny Show in the early days of television. Part of his stage image was as a tightwad or skinflint. On one of his shows he posed as an individual confronted by a robber with a gun who stated: “your money or your life.” Benny hesitated in replying, so the robber repeated: “I said your money or your life,” to which Benny said: “I’m thinking about it.”

As we deal with life’s everyday issues, the myriad of daily concerns, such as – health, jobs, family, living conditions, religion, safety, retirement, recreation, etc., etc. – it is easy to lose sight of the big picture, the future of the planet for supporting human habitation. In fact, such a concern rarely occupies a large portion of mind-consumption for most of us, and naturally so. The reason being that it is long range compared to our other daily concerns and perhaps because we feel we can do little to placate such a travesty as individuals anyway.

It’s kind of like “your money of your life,” and it’s kind of like, “I’m thinking about it”.

Our climate scientists who focus on the impacts on the air and the ocean which are created by weather conditions concern themselves with the big picture, the projected lifespan of the necessary conditions to support human habitation of Planet Earth.

The big question is whether there is anyway of lessening such a travesty caused by global warming and how soon we may realize any life-threatening impacts from this festering and fatalistic reality.

One of the evidentiary measures that our scientists follow in analyzing, projecting, and predicting an ultimate demise for humankind is glacial ice melting, which is seen as troubling of late, particularly over the last few decades.

Seth Gorenstein of the Associated Press has published an article “Earth’s future being written in fast melting Greenland.” He follows the tracking of conditions by David Holland, New York University air and ocean scientist.

Some facts they share with us:

“Summer this year is hitting Greenland hard with record-shattering heat and extreme melt. By the end of the summer, about 440 billion tons of ice – maybe more – will have melted or calved off Greenland’s giant ice sheet, scientists estimate. That’s enough water to flood Pennsylvania or the country of Greece about a foot deep.”

“In just the five days from July 31 to Aug. 3, more than 58 billion tons melted from the surface. That’s over 40 billion tons more than the average for this time of year. And that 58 billion tons doesn’t even count the huge calving events or the warm water eating away at the glaciers from below, which may be a huge factor.”

“Helheim, one of Greenland’s fastest-retreating glaciers, has shrunk about 6 miles since scientists came here in 2005.”

“Summit Station, a research camp nearly 2 miles high and far north, warmed to above freezing twice this year for a record total of 16.5 hours. Before this year, that station was above zero for only 6.5 hours in 2012, once in 1889, also in the Middle Ages.”

“This year is coming near but not quite passing the extreme summer of 2012 – Greenland’s worst year in modern history for melting, scientists report.”

“A NASA satellite found that Greenland’s ice sheet lost about 255 billion metric tons of ice a year between 2003 and 2016, with the loss rate generally getting worse over that period. Nearly all of the 28 Greenland glaciers that Danish climate scientist Ruth Mottram measured are retreating, especially Helheim.”

“It takes a really long time to grow an ice sheet, thousands and thousands of years, but they can be broken up or destroyed quite rapidly,” Holland said.”’

“Greenland particularly takes notice today since our ignorant and arrogant president decided that we should buy Greenland even though it isn’t for sale. He must see personal financial benefits in such an acquisition. Otherwise. It wouldn’t interest him whatsoever. And then he calls a Danish spokesperson rude for refusing his ridiculous indication of interest.”

“The Danish spokesperson didn’t even say: “I’m thinking about it.”’

No Where to go. No Where to Hide.

No Where to go. No Where to Hide.

Ted Folkert – August 5, 2019

We can’t describe it because we haven’t lived it. We read about it. We see it on the tube. But we haven’t lived it. We haven’t walked for hundreds of miles with our loved ones in tow, carrying whatever few personal items we can carry. We haven’t stood in line for hours and days waiting for our turn to beg for a chance for food, shelter, clothing, employment, education, healthcare, community, and all the other necessities and elements of human life. We haven’t felt so desperate for basic survival that we would consider such uncertainty, such discomfort, such pain and suffering. We can talk about it and think we understand it, but we haven’t lived it. We have no realization of the empty feeling that must occupy the minds of these thousands of would-be immigrants. We have no sympathy or feeling of responsibility in making room for those who have no comfortable life, no assurance of decent living standards, no hope for survival and opportunity for their children and other loved ones.

What evil thoughts must control the mindset of anyone who would just open fire and murder these helpless people seeking refuge? What evil thoughts must control the mindset of someone to open fire and murder innocent people because of the color of their skin or their status in life? How do they get so overwhelmed with the idea that there is a threat imposed upon those of us who have all these basic standards of living?

The reasons that drive these asylum seekers come under the heading of what I call the big three – helplessness, hopelessness, and despair. One of these conditions would be more than most of us could endure, but all three at once is what these desperate people must endure. They are not thieves, murderers, and rapists as our president declares. They are not seeking asylum so they can steal, rob, plunder, murder, or rape. They are just hungry, scared, and seeking a life worth living for themselves and their loved ones.

And our president, whose name I hate to mention, encourages racism, encourages violence against immigrants, uses any means available to deter or eliminate immigration. And his family members were immigrants, as were mine, and as were all our family members. We are a country of immigrants seeking a better life. It seems we have a responsibility to accept as many as possible instead of turning them away at the border without even the effort to determine if they are worthy of entry into our country.

As Pete Buttigieg stated recently, our president has some culpability and responsibility for these disastrous actions against asylum seekers. The frequency has increased significantly due to his careless banter which instills criminal acts on the part of his brain-washed supporters.

And now, as a result of our unprotective policies and the blasphemous statements of our pathetic president, and with the support of the right-wing conservatives who follow his protectionist traits and actions through their vociferous and misguided messages, he incites violence on the part of, mostly-young, misguided, ignorant, and/or mentally deranged provocateurs to murder and maim innocent people in mass-murder episodes, making all of us feel it unsafe to go anywhere. These sad events used to come about per decade – then, per year – then, per month – and now we get them daily – and, why? In just recent years we have had disasters at Charleston, San Diego, Pittsburg, Las Vegas, El Paso, and Dayton. It seems unsafe to go to a mall or to any entertainment venue. Any mother or father must be afraid for their children to leave the house. What a way to live – and primarily due to an ignorant, self-absorbed, narcissistic, uneducated, misguided, misinformed, racist president, a president who was elected, although he did not receive more votes in favor of his election than against. And, therein lies our undemocratic system.

The widespread dissemination of erroneous information is obvious to most of us as the biggest culprit of these sad episodes, but an even bigger culprit is guns, guns, and more guns – pistols, rifles, assault rifles, shot guns, and automatic weapons – weapons with multiple rounds and devices to enable rapid fire with one pull of the trigger. We are the only country in the world with more guns than people. We are the only country with weapons of mass destruction available for anyone to buy regardless of intent or mental condition. They can be bought online legally. Why does anyone need a gun with rapid fire, with a magazine holding dozens of rounds of ammunition? Obvious answer – to kill people. Automatic weapons are not made for hunting. They are made for killing people.

And, why do our laws render us unprotected from the harm of deranged or angry people? The answer is obvious – the National Rifle Association – the NRA. They buy many of our politicians who, although they will deny it to their death, are available to the highest bidder. And that highest bidder is the NRA, which organization is funded by most of the avid gun owners in America. Most of their members are game hunters who join because they feel associated with the gun mindset. The NRA is funded, not only by the hunting community, but to a large scale by the gun and ammunition manufacturers, who also provide campaign finance for our legislators. So, how can we expect protection from harm when we are outbid by those who make and distribute the weapons which fall into the hands of those who wish to harm us?

Now, there is an oxymoron for you.

Apparently, our craving for murderous weapons must have been exacerbated by the wild-west movies we watched all our lives from childhood on up. These gunslingers are portrayed as heroic, brave, good guys and bad guys. They are made out to be heroic and admired by all the viewers. As kids we walked around with our toy six guns on our belts. Apparently, this trend continues for some deranged people among us. We see it now every time we go to the movies or turn on the TV. We see explosions, guns firing – bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. Single shots are no longer satisfactory, we need rapid fire and huge explosions, otherwise it doesn’t trip our trigger. We see people being killed with every type of weapon imaginable and for every cause imaginable – the bad guys getting killed and sometimes the good guys getting killed. If we don’t see enough gunfire and murder, we feel the urge to switch to another channel.

How do we stop this?

Well, we can’t.

But what we can do is start stopping it. We can ban assault weapons and make them unlawful to buy or to own. We can require all owners of such to turn them in and be reimbursed for the cost. We can require stringent background checks prior to gun sales. We can ban the sale of guns by anyone except authorized dealers who must comply with stringent rules enacted and who face loss of authorization to sell upon any violation of the law.

Other methods which could alleviate such episodes could include more concern for those who seem bullied, outcast, emotionally upset, or expressing tendencies to harm others. This would require family cooperation and neighborhood cooperation, as well as observance and acknowledgement by educational administrators who may have awareness of such mental states.

We must deal with the big three – helplessness, hopelessness, and despair. These conditions can occur with the bad guys, but they can also exist with those who need a helping hand, the immigrants. These conditions are not uncommon, and they are recognizable and treatable. They should be acknowledged for the benefit of the afflicted and for the benefit of any possible victim from the results of unmanageable frustration.

And if you don’t buy all this hyperbole, I’ll meet you at the OK corral and we can just shoot it out.

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