Military Industrial Stupidity Complex



This picture and quote is from Sploid Magazine

“We’re not preparing to fight the aliens. This isn’t a scene from Independence Day 2. It’s just a throwback photo of 25—yes, twenty five—Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk black stealth fighter jets celebrating its 25th anniversary back in 2006. What a beautifully intimidating celebration of power it was.

According to The Aviationist, the jets flew over Heritage Park at Holloman Air Force Base. Code One Magazine recently put up the photo taken by Denny Lombard for Lockheed Martin on its Facebook page.”

Then I wondered…

How much this display of airpower cost? Exactly what does a stealth bomber go for these days? So I turned to everyone’s favorite information resource, Wikipedia. Wikipedia reveals the cost of the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk to be a cool $112 million dollars average cost, not including weapons payload or fuel costs…

Role Stealth attack aircraft[1]
National origin United States
Manufacturer Lockheed Corporation
First flight 18 June 1981
Introduction October 1983[1]
Retired 22 April 2008[2]
Primary user United States Air Force
Number built 64 (5 YF-117As, 59 F-117As)
Unit cost US$42.6 million (flyaway cost)
US$111.2 million (average cost)[3]
Developed from Lockheed Have Blue

[3] Aronstein and Piccirillo 1997, p. 267.

From the same Wikipedia article we see this nice picture of some OTHER F-117A Nighthawks on the ground in 1983 give or take…

F-117A aircraft from the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Virginia, prior to being deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield.

What you are seeing is an average of $27 billion dollars flying overhead. Another $27 billion or so sitting on the ground, and let’s just overlook research and development costs (I could probably find it, but it would certainly be VERY expensive and not necessary for you to get my point.)

Gets your patriotism fires burning, doesn’t it?

Now let’s merge this with another news article and see if your patriotism is still stoked…

From the Atlantic Magazine 2014 – Here’s Exactly How Much the Government Would Have to Spend to Make Public College Tuition-Free:

“A mere $62.6 billion dollars!
According to new 
Department of Education data, that’s how much tuition public colleges collected from undergraduates in 2012 across the entire United States. And I’m not being facetious with the word mere, either. The New America Foundation says that the federal government spent a whole $69 billion in 2013 on its hodgepodge of financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants for low-income students, tax breaks, work study funding. And that doesn’t even include loans. 

If we were we scrapping our current system and starting from scratch, Washington could make public college tuition free with the money it sets aside its scattershot attempts to make college affordable today.”

Update—Friday Jan. 3, 3:45 PM: Just to clarify, because some readers have asked, making tuition free in 2012 would have required $62.6 billion on top of what state and local governments already spend subsidizing public colleges, as well as some of the federal spending that doesn’t go towards financial aid. Again, you can find a detailed breakdown of how our colleges are funded in theDepartment of Education’s data.

For anybody interested in reading more about the idea of making public college tuition free, and the vast array of economic considerations that would entail, here’s a lengthy piece I wrote last year.

Update—Friday Jan. 3, 4:31 PM: One more update to answer another good question I’ve received. Technically, you could say the additional cost of making college tuition free would be even cheaper than $62.6 billion. How come? Because most Pell Grant money is already spent at public colleges. In 2011 – 2012, state school students received $21.8 billion in grants. So, if you subtract that from the total needed to completely eliminate tuition, it the sum would be closer to $40 billion. (Apologies for not teasing that point out earlier. I’d noted it in a previous article and didn’t think to repeat it.)

So what have we learned?

For the cost of 50 stealth bombers, we could send every American who wanted it to college for no expense to the student! Imagine what we could do with the rest of the military industrial complex’s expense budget…Remember, these bombers aren’t the only thing the military produces.

Still feeling patriotic or just kind of dirty…


Introspection: It should be what’s for dinner


“We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Change: The only universal constant

We want everyone else to change but we refuse. We think we are perfect just the way we are. But that is not always as true as we might believe.

We are the sum of our experiences, good and bad. Often our bad experiences define us far more than our good ones. We enjoy the good ones but rarely learn from them. We hate the bad ones, but their effect on how we think cannot be overlooked. So often much of what we are is the result of our reaction to life, not always life itself.

I challenge you to consider your imperfect life.

Of course it is imperfect, you are living in it. But I challenge you to spend an hour a day deconstructing your perceptions of reality. Who gave them to you? Who taught you to think the way you do?

Was it your mother, father, schoolteachers, your first bully or your hundredth? Was your worldview shaped by a pastor, a priest, or a religious tome you never told anyone you read and believed deep in your heart but never spoke its name aloud?

Truth be told, and this is a hard one. It is rare to find a thinking person who engages in original thought.

Why? Because we have been programmed from birth with the perceptions of all the people who teach us and expand our consciousness. To be mindful of your own thinking is one of the first things modern culture removes from us. Introspection becomes a Dark Art, a form of magic, performed and practiced by academics, mystics, sages, and motivational speakers.

We are taught to not listen to intuition, not to trust our gut, taught to listen to authority because it knows what’s best for you. We are taught to fear risk and hate change. This makes us obedient, pliant and non-complaining. We accept whatever is presented to us, no matter how abhorrent it might really be if you gave it a thought.

Declare Independence

That’s the rub. If you gave it a thought. If you did you might notice:

– A hour television show is only 40 minutes long with the rest of the time spent in commercials, meaning you could have up to 40 commercials inflicted on your subconscious during this time.

– If you were to watch the 11 hours most Americans are reputed to, you could end up having 440 commercials using up your mental real estate. Couldn’t you be thinking of something else?

– Your entire life consists of authority figures polarizing your worldview for or against a particular perspective.

This is an invisible thing. You have to look for it to realize how often its done. You have come to accept this perspective and built your mental filters around it. It comes in many names: patriotism, racism, sexism, homophobia, Republican, Democrat, geek, jock, Liberal, Conservative, atheist, believer and so on. Now that I mention it you can probably find your words you use to filter and alter your perspective to suit it.

Let me challenge you to find the only duality that matters.

Life and Death.

You are born and will live until you die. Everything else is both optional and largely irrelevant.

It will not make you or break you to accept any of the labels or dualities thrust upon you by your parents, your schools, your religions, your friends, or your political parties.

So why do we do it?

  • Because we don’t know any better.
  • Because our parents can’t see the future so they give you what they were given.
  • Because society wants us to have a certain perspective to better utilize our services.
  • Because the economic model wants us to purchase enough goods to sustain it.
  • Because our government wants us to believe whatever it is doing, it is right.
  • Because our species wants to survive, by any means necessary.

Because for the most part we spend the bulk of our lives asleep. Not literally, but figuratively. It is easier to go along to get along. It is easier to comply than to resist.

The system knows this. It counts on this. I challenge you to consider the next time you are about to do anything. I challenge you to decide you are going along because you want to, or because you have been conditioned to.

Why even consider this? You are happy the way you are. You think to yourself: “Introspection is only likely to cause me pain if I discover after looking at my life deeply and fully that I’m an asshole. How can that be a good thing to learn? I like my Confederate flag. I love my gas-guzzling SUV. I really do hate those Mexicans. I am certain of it. No one makes me do it. I have always done it.”

But that is exactly why you need to consider it. Are you doing these things because you want to or because that was what you were taught?

  • Were you told your Confederate flag was a sign of Southern Pride and has no other meaning than that? Are you aware some people might take offense? Are you aware why?
  • Do you know any Mexicans? Have you broken bread with them, talked with them, walked with them, seen any aspect of their lives, know anything about Mexico or its history? Considered any aspect of their lives beside what you learned from the worst pundits on television?
  • You don’t believe in climate change. But you do believe in the cost of your food going up. Why is that happening? Because food is not growing like it used to. Farms are not producing due to longer and hotter summers, longer droughts, random flash-flooding, longer storm seasons. You don’t have to believe in climate change. Be aware it may be happening anyway regardless of your belief.

The whole point of this exercise is to challenge what you believe to be true. Perhaps to make you aware your perspective is not the only one. To help you come to understand what we know about the universe is far less than what we don’t.

If you have a problem with that idea, go to your library. Look around at all of the books you haven’t read. Then ask yourself, if each of those books holds a single perspective about the universe from the person who wrote it, how much of the world is it possible for me to know anything about?

If you come to the conclusion, you probably don’t know anything at all, then you have arrived at the right place.

What now?

An acceptance of not knowing enough is only the beginning to introspection. It can help you learn new things about the world you took for granted. It can also free you from addictions, bad habits, health challenges brought on by living poorly. Phrases like “food deserts”, “obese yet malnourished”, “digital divide” “economic disparity” can come to have new meaning because you are open to learning about people other than yourself.


On the other hand, you can stay closed to the world, keep your limited perspective and change nothing. If you’re rich, you really don’t have to worry about it. You can pay your way through life, sparing not a thought for anyone who has less than you; less money, less opportunity, less education, an overall lessened quality of life is something they have to deal with, not you.

And you are right. But you are also only half a human being, living half of an unexamined life. Blindingly wandering through life wondering why you have fewer friends, less meaningful relationships, derive less overall happiness from life. This too is the price of an unexamined life.

Why tell you any of this at all? You’ve been getting by all this time without knowing any of it.

Because people will always have expectations of you. And those expectations are built around their preconceived notions, family-derived algorithms of right and wrong, socially-derived algorithms about how to treat you, how to pay you, whether to expose you to toxic materials in their quest for wealth and power. And make no mistake, someone is/has/will be doing this to you in the future.

The only duality you have to contend with is Life and Death. Everything else is a choice. Recognize other people want to make choices for you. Only when you know yourself using introspection, meditation, self-examination, whatever you want to call it, will you be able to recognize the correct response to deal with the situation.

Every event, every day, every moment can be a moment that promotes change in your life. Being aware makes you conscious of those choices and those moments and gives you a chance to consider something you do, before you do it, instead of simply reacting to life using the programming, the conditioning, you haven’t even looked at over the course of your life.

Until now.

Be aware or not. It’s still your choice. The choice can be yours, or decided for you by someone else.

Be radical. Think about your life before you do something. Being aware of the choice may be more uplifting than you have ever considered.

Four Seasons

What do you do to nourish your muse?

My Muse - parsakoira

A bit of consistency is best for a muse and her subject. So I try to start my day at the same time, as early as she can kick me out of bed. If time permits, something to break the fast of the night’s repose, healthy if possible, fruit, cereal or dare I admit to it, the candy of meats, bacon. If I am really lucky, my wife makes one of those banana/fruit/flaxseed/protein powder drinks she loves. When I am unlucky, the recipe includes kale (ugh).

A brisk regimen of blood flowing cardiovascular activity to increase the muse’s serotonin levels boosting creativity. For exercise to truly benefit a muse, it need be a regular thing, a long term gift to both you and your muse. A healthy muse is a wealthy muse. My muse admits to not enjoying regular exercise.

I admit my muse did once have a caffeine habit as the wicked drug can force open the doors of creativity, but the cost was a nervous eye twitch that was quite unbecoming to everyone who knew us. We have now dropped to one cup, in the morning after our exercise and breakfast.

But for a muse to truly be creatively inspiring more than just exercise is needed. A muse thrives on experiences, the more diverse, the better. A muse does not thrive sitting at home watching the telly. No, if anything the telly saps a muse of creativity, exposing it to the idea the blandishments of modern media are to be the accepted form all creativity must take; be safe, be friendly, be predictable, be violent, be dangerous, ensure a happy ending when all is said and done.

As if life were so predictable.

Go outside, meet your neighbors, ride mass transit, yes, mass transit, for a wealth of stories await you if you can simply look, listen, imagine and believe. Driving is a solitary prison disconnecting you from stories not introducing you to them. Jump from a plane, ride a cross continental train, ride a ship, do all of these things, so you might experience the world from a perspective different than yours.

See the night sky at sea. Be amazed at all the stars you didn’t know were there. Introduce yourself to the Milky Way. It will speak back to you. Plummet to the ground at 32 feet per second, per second, feel you heart rise into your mouth, know fear. Makes your writing about it more real. Go to a play. Feel language in a way you don’t normally use. Let it roll over you, through you. This feeds your muse like nothing else.

A muse secretly craves facts, despite their artistic bent. My muse reads over my shoulder marveling at the same things I do, often finding ways of using things I read in a fashion I hadn’t thought of. Technically, that’s her job. Reading the news, reading the tabloids (not too often) reading the crackpots (so many interesting theories its hard sometimes to remember they are crackpots).

Most of all, read the classics. Yes, some are SO dull. My muse falls asleep when I read some of them. But they are not for her anyway. They are for me. Jack London reminds me to connect to nature. HP Lovecraft connects me to fear. Edgar Allen Poe connects me to the monstrosity of the human condition. Machiavelli connects me to the intellectual craft of human manipulation. You may never use any of these. But it helps as a writer, to know how far human beings have come, will go, and have gone if you want to write about characters you or anyone else will give a damn about.

Most of all, engage your muse in fun. This mean getting away from writing and having a good time. Muses need fun to unleash their creativity by connecting ideas from all of your experiences, your reading, your writing, your life, your loves, your beliefs and most importantly your connection to the Universe where ideas abound, awaiting you and your muse to reach into that realm of Logos, that place of perfection and find your stories aborning.

Your muse and you are one, inseparable; to follow your muse, you must first lead her to your inspirations.

What do you do to nourish your muse? © Thaddeus Howze 2012. All Rights Reserved

Painting: My Muse, © Deviant ARTist: parsakoira

The Death of Diversity (in Comics)

Found an article near and dear to me by a writer named Dara Naraghi, who is both a writer and lover of the comic genre. After reading his article I knew I would have to share it again since it touched on issues of diversity in the DC Universe, a subject I have written on several times in the past, Superhero Diversity and Where are the powerful Black Superheroes, but bears sharing again. So without further ado, please welcome Dara Naraghi.

First, a bit of background for those of you who don’t follow superhero comics: a couple of weeks ago, DC Comic published Aquaman #7, written by Geoff Johns, one of the most prominent and popular writers in the superhero genre, and Chief Creative Officer at DC Comics. In it, he introduced a brand new superheroine to the DC universe by the name of Kahina the Seer.

Kahina the Seer, art by Joe Prado

On page 1 of the comic, we see her running for her life from Aquaman’s mortal enemy, Black Manta. She puts up a good fight, but by page 7, she is defeated.

Page 7, art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado

On page 8, we find out that she’s Iranian.

Page 8, art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado

And yes, she’s also killed off.

What follows is an open letter to Geoff Johns, adapted and slightly reworked from a similar note I sent to the book’s editor, Pat McCallum.

Dear Mr. Johns,

After reading Aquaman #7, I felt the need to share my thoughts on a topic close to my heart. To that end, allow me to very briefly share my background with you: I’m an Iranian-American writer, a lifelong fan of the medium of comics, and a big fan of the DC characters. I have over 10 years of published works to my credit, from self-published stories to comics and graphic novels from Dark Horse, Image, IDW, and DC Comics. My DC Comics contribution was a Spectre story set in Tehran, Iran, for the DC Universe Holiday Special 2010 #1, edited by Mike Carlin.

Needless to say, when I saw that a new superheroine introduced in Aquaman #7 was an Iranian woman, I was very excited. As far as I know, the only other Iranian character in the (pre-52) DCU was the villain Rustam (who, ironically, was named after the most famous and popular HERO from Iranian literature). So you can imagine my frustration and extreme disappointment when this new hero, Kahina, was summarily killed a mere 8 pages after being introduced!

Please understand, this is not one of those “DC Comics is racist/xenophobic” essays that you’ve undoubtedly encountered countless times in the recent past. I’ve been happy with, and supportive of, DC’s attempt at diversifying their universe with a sizable number of comics starring minority and female characters in the “New 52″ relaunch of books. But I just don’t understand the logic behind creating a new minority hero – one from a country and culture that’s often misrepresented in today’s media as “evil” – only to have her killed upon her first appearance. What purpose did her death serve, other than being a mere plot point?

In doing so, you deprived your readership of a character utterly unique by virtue of her ethnic background, a character different than the thousands of others in the DC universe. Imagine the new storytelling venues opened up to you and other DC writers, had this character been allowed to continue her adventures in your fictional universe. With Iran in the news cycle as of late, here was a chance to add an element of verisimilitude to DC Comics, and start something bold and unconventional.

I’m not asking that DC Comics create a plethora of Iranian characters, or that they should only be portrayed as heroes, or even that once created, they should never be killed. I understand narrative needs, primary characters and supporting ones, emotional beats and motivation. But when there are absolutely NO characters of a certain ethnic or cultural background in your stories, to casually kill off the ONLY example of one, after a mere 8 pages, seems very counterproductive to me. It’s a disservice to your audience, a step back in your strides towards diversity, and just reinforces the negative stereotypes about the stunted development of superhero comics.

I know that because of my background, I’m much closer to this situation than the majority of your readers, but I don’t feel that invalidates my thoughts on the matter. Embracing multiculturalism not only offers a wealth of new storytelling possibilities, but it also distinguishes them from the hundreds of other alternatives in the marketplace, and opens them up to a wider marketplace.

I hope that you will consider my thought on this topic in the spirit that they were written: not to condemn, but hopefully to illuminate.

Dara Naraghi

After reading his letter, I was moved to respond and my response is an emotional one (emotional by my standards, your mileage may vary). If you find his letter moves you, you can leave a response at his blog. Trolls need not apply. We already know what you think.

Dara Naraghi,

I support your letter, plan to send it to everyone I know and ask them to say the same thing that you did. I was a long term fan of DC Comics (over 40 years buying them) and had intended to raise my son reading them, hoping to inspire him the same way they once inspired me to write. I am a science fiction and fantasy writer and think about our relationships to each other both racially (since race is just a concept used to oppress diverse groups I tend to ignore it) and culturally, since culture is more significant and often based around geography, it has a bit more relevance. The death of this character while seemingly insignificant to the writer could have major significance to a reader, like you, who identified with the character and felt painfully both the idea that she did not exist before now (and should have) and now does not exist again (seconds after she gave you hope of a new day dawning where her culture might be acknowledged as anything other than a bad thing).

I am a Black Man in America and no longer have the benefit of the illusion of parity in this culture. I know I will never see it. But I live for the day when I am not asking for anything that White writers and by proxy White superheroes don’t get by being White. I would like the same chance to develop as a person, with the expectation of being heard, of being considered a person with feelings, not a statistic to be killed when a convenient death is required.

There was no need to create Kahina the Seer if the only goal was to kill her. There was no reason to make her a person of color if your goal was to kill her. All that says to people of color (at the subconsciously level) is you matter less than the story I am telling, less than my promotion of stereotypes and mindsets of “White Superiority” and that in the end, you, as a “Person of Color or Culture Outside My Own”, don’t matter. Please don’t bother writing responses refuting this, all of you trolls who will read this. I will not be affected one way or the other. I am now beyond that. I wrote this letter for Mr. Dara Naraghi who expressed his concerns eloquently and should know despite the piss-poor support he has received in the comments of his letter, that he was heard by someone who understood his pain.

You would think with things in the US being as racially charged as they are in the last months (if you read this at a later date, today was the same day Mr. Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder of Trayvon Martin, but was unable to be arrested since he had been let go by the police department the same day as the alleged murder took place back in February 2012) and anyone publishing anything might consider what a statement this particular event in their books might take.

On the other hand, one of the benefits of White Privilege is never having to acknowledge anyone else’s culture but your own. And when you discount other cultures, you are right to do so, because only your ideals, your dreams, your people’s right to exist in all forms of media, matter. Everyone else is an extra on your stage to be discarded at will. So, as poignant and significant as your letter might be, I suspect it will fall upon deaf ears, used to hearing only how wonderful it is to be White in America and responsible to no one but themselves.

I salute you, Dara Naraghi. Anything you write, I will find and support. It is rare to be a person of conscience in an age of conceit and vanity.

If you have been insulted by what I’ve said, examine yourself. If you hate me because I speak the truth as I see it, know this: If you hate me because I am Black, know that I did not choose it, especially knowing how much this culture hates Black men, I would have chosen to be something, anything else.

But, and this is the more important point, I did not choose to be what I am, hating me is a choice YOU made. Continuing to hate me and people like me, is a choice you perpetuate. The true stigma in this is yours, not mine. I could not choose. You could. You chose poorly. You chose to vilify your fellow man about a thing he could not change. You perpetuate your hatred in your media, though you will not call it that. “I’m just telling my story,” is how you rationalize it. And that sir, is history. “His Story.”

Freedom versus Society: Does being free mean I get to ignore everyone else?

M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, our nearest galactic neighbor boasting over one TRILLION stars!

A well-known writer named Steven Barnes posed a thought this morning in which he asked:

I’ve seen a number of posts recently with people complaining about “losing our freedoms.” All right, I’d like to understand exactly what is meant by this, and would like anyone who thinks this is happening to tell me exactly when in American history they believe there was more freedom overall for the average person in this country.

The responses to this question were often interesting and insightful and while I do not advocate Facebook as a way of life, if you are interested, you can follow the thread here.

Initially, the question seemed easy to answer but the longer I thought about it, the more I realized how complex the question actually is. So I thought to answer it with a short and direct answer. The more I wrote the more I realized the question didn’t have an easy answer. So I gave up and started again, this time in an effort to challenge the status quo and answer the question in the way few will be willing to acknowledge.

Freedom and Society are inversely proportional. The more Freedom you claim, the less likely you are to want to be involved with Society because thinking about other people (Society) means you have to limit your Freedom and the exercises thereof.

I do not believe there has ever been a time that we have had more freedoms than we do now. Yes, everyone can name some erosion that has taken place in their lifetime, but I look at a picture wider than any individual and consider that Freedom is a summation of everyone’s abilities to enjoy the same rights, liberties and expectations of happiness. Not just the options the elite and well to do have to offer but the ability of any individual to harness their natural talents, strengths and gifts for the betterment of themselves and to the improvement of our mutual society.

In America, while some of us have been free, to paraphrase: freedom was relative; some of us were more free than others.

In my opinion, Freedom and Society are inversely proportional. If you want the benefits of living in society, some freedoms seem to have to give way to means of working and living together in close quarters.

Freedom, the ability to say you live without rules or guidelines imposed by others is still yours. You have the option to leave America and go someplace else. You have the option to maintain your aplomb and understand that you freedom stops in front of my nose. As soon as your Freedom infringes on mine, you stop being free. That is the nature of a Society, where the sum of the parts creates the potential to do things greater than any single Free individual with the understanding that the rules we create benefit us proportionally for the Freedom we willingly surrender.

When that formula of Freedom surrendered for Society becomes imbalanced (NDAA, indentured servitude or slavery, TSA, undeclared wars, untoward military spending, financial imbalances and class warfare, to name a few) we begin to sense our sacrifice of Freedom is not proportional to the benefits we are expecting and that is the vague unease many of us are feeling. Our freedoms are being bartered away (or stolen, or bought depending on your occupation and where you stand in the social food chain) and replaced with artificial constructs in place of either Freedom or Society. This new un-balancing agent is partially the engine of commerce run amok, without an understanding that every result of Society owes its existence to Society. And when our economic responsibilities to Society at large fails, Society and Freedom both suffer, replacing them with a Tyranny and control of Society for economic purposes, rather than for the improvement of society or the escalation of true Freedoms.

If you chafe today, it is because you are getting an artificial substitute for Freedom. It looks like Freedom: You have 300 channels (but nothing you want to watch), you have eat 60 different varieties of potato chips (but can’t afford decent medical care) you have genetically engineered food keeping our bread baskets full, (but the FDA has no power to actually regulate or check if that food is safe for you to eat). You have the option for the finest education in the world (as long as you can afford it or are willing to carry the debt for decades, paying twice what you owe.) And even the well to do secretly chafe under this false freedom because while they can afford the creature comforts denied to 99.99999% of humanity, all they have to give up IS THEIR HUMANITY.

Our Society is no better off. The Greater Good or the Common Good, the idea we are here for each other, we support each other, that we are Americans and citizens of a nation, in theory if not in fact, prides itself on being an icon to the modern world. That image has been tarnished in our quest for resources to consume, to prop up an economy built on the manufacture (and ultimately the use) of weapons of mass destruction (and these days, lesser and more targeted destruction, using drones or other smart weaponry). Our foreign policy consists of bombing people back to the Stone Age, absconding with their resources or using banks or other financial chicanery to control the wealth (or debt) of foreign nations.

We can no longer come together politically, over even the simplest of ideas. Better schools, more healthcare for everyone, less processed sugar in our processed foods, the merits of birth control or the excesses of Viagra, regulation or deregulation. Everyone gets upset when you talk about regulation or deregulation. I don’t. Simplest way to be sure, if an industry needs more regulation is if an industry goes from profitable to obscene, its time for regulation, if it goes from profitable to questionable, perhaps we should consider releasing a few regulations to determine if that industry is still viable, so if you look at oil companies who are obscenely, ubiquitously, and most egregiously wealthy, nearly beyond that of any other industries, for them to receive tax cuts, tax benefit beyond those any other company should get and to give them SUBSIDIES as well, is a sign of an industry who not only has forgotten the Greater Good, but tap dances on the bones of the poor creature long after its been dead.

The list of crimes against the institution of Society is long, with our last century racking up a body count that could rival a Rambo movie. How long must those of us without wealth, without the recourse to lobby and purchase the political votes we need to make our concerns known, endure this Tyranny of the wealthy, which would have been as abhorrent to our founding fathers (okay, I am Black, so they are not MY founding fathers, my ancestors were enslaved during that time) as it has become to almost everyone today?

We live in an age where we have the technology to peer into the heavens to discover our alone-ness in a sea of galaxies. The Milky Way, that band of light you can see if you still live someplace without air pollution (if not, there is always the internet) shows a part of our galaxy, not even the whole thing and it fills the heavens. The part we can see is a few million stars, our galaxy is blessed with an estimate of 100 to 300 BILLION stars. We now know, thanks to the engineering marvel that is Hubble, created by a tiny group of people who could put aside their backstabbing long enough to further all of Humanity, to discover our universe is filled with at least 100 BILLION galaxies, each as vast as our own (or in some cases far more vast than our own; one such galaxy is thought to have one trillion stars all by itself).

Stars in numbers so vast we only hear about them in national budgets, we fail to remember the most important number when you look at the cosmological scene.


That is how many Earths we have. That is how many planets we have to live on, live with, struggle over, SHARE with each other and all of the diverse life forms who live on it as well. We continue to fail to remember, humanity, each other, is all we have. Earth is all we have. Our societies had better learn to get along because, THIS planet, right now, with our frail bodies, choking under the pollution of our production of things we do not need, to increase the wealth of those who have more than enough, is going to turn our questions of Freedom versus Society into a much easier debate; whether we, as a species will SURVIVE or NOT.