Wall Street Father Day Remanence

Driven out of the office by the extraordinary work pressure of downtown Manhattan, I was pleasantly surprised by a pleasant cool summer Friday afternoon. The ferries were leaving from Pier 11 or Wall Street, in regular sailings and awaited my departure to NJ, this evening. The Hudson River was full of traffic and the helicopters from the heliport were also busy, as the helicopters came and left, with their Wall street clients. I was reminded of the recent pair of the huge green machines, which had ferried our President and the PM of Australia; some time back for a historic joint outing, to the Intrepid Aircraft carrier. New York has always had a mercantile culture, from its early founding by the intrepid Dutch; who settled permanently on this great harbor, at the mouth of the mighty Hudson River.

I was at the old slip near the First Precinct Police Museum and walking on Water Street towards Wall Street. I passed Governor Lane and found myself at the intersection of Wall and Water and gazed at all the magnificent temples to commerce and finance, all around me. It is truly a great time to be living in this land and have the honor to live and work in one of the most vibrant cities on this planet. The big banks were back after Dodd Frank, much stronger than ever, recapitalized to a great extent, and far less dangerous for the public. Risky leverage and irrational exuberance had been largely controlled, as the PEs of Large corporations and Banks have improved since our Great Recession. A Large hearted President and government, had bailed out, numerous large private institutions; in Finance, Industry, and Insurance. Our deficits soared in the greatest expansion, of our nation’s balance sheet in history. Worried working class Americans voted for Trump in droves, hoping a new self-made capitalist; will finally turn the tide, in favor of the distressed middle class.

Nobody can deny that Wall Street will greatly participate in the remaking of America. A New New York Bridge is being built, after over 6 decades of use of the old bridge.  The Bayonne Bridge has been raised, to allow the new bigger container ships, and other giants, that can cross the enlarged Panama Canal, from across the Pacific, to sail right into Port Elizabeth. The port is expected to get even busier in the coming years, to feed the demands of the citizens, settled in the great valleys of the Hudson and the Empire and Garden States. New York City is poised for a recovery of mammoth proportions, if we just use the abundant resources of nature and manpower available in the United States of America. Wisdom is the need of the hour and public policy and private enterprise must work together, to bring about the digital age and the new economic revolution, based on better technology, logistics, communications and research..

As I stood in the middle of Wall Street I read the plaque posted for us residents and tourists. I was at a historic site I noticed. Between Water and Pearl Street a slave market flourished in this very place in the 18th century. Before all the other markets there was this slave market, that thrived and became the hub for the residents of New York, to traffic in humans. The population of the new colony under British rule was growing rapidly and they needed slaves from Africa, to tame this hostile land. Forests and land had to be cleared to make the new roads and homes for the colonialists and clear the fields for agriculture and animal rearing. In fact the wall that had to be constructed to protect the city was built by slave labor. This road along this wall came to be known as Wall Street and today is the symbol of American capitalism. 40% of New Yorkers owned slaves and almost a third of the working population, was represented by them, making New York the biggest slave owner at the time, in proportion to its population.

The Anglicans had come to supremacy in the town and the original Dutch houses, had to coexist with the new arrivals. The Anglicans needed a new Cathedral to pray to their Lord and Trinity Church was built using slave labor, to rise to the heavens. The small settlement continued to grow into a large town, at the tip of Manhattan, then known commonly as New Amsterdam. Without the slaves most of the progress in the growing city would not have been possible. It would take almost a century to finally abolish slavery and another century, to bury their contributions into history.  The construction growth and the agriculture boom that followed in the upper regions, would not have been possible without able bodied men and women from Western Africa toiling in the fields and homes. The slave market was eventually replaced by the growing trade in Grains, Meats and other commodities, which the rich land produced with the help of slave labor. The market, housed between Pine and Water Street became a center of commerce for New Yorkers. America was well on its way to prosperity built on the backs, of these forgotten people.

Today as I walk down Wall Street I see the great houses of the large Banks, Bank of New York and others from around the world, housed in the towers on both sides of the street. Trump’s major source of wealth is housed here in the Iconic tower at 937 feet the tallest at that time, built by the Manhattan Company which grew wealthy supplying water to the new city.  JP Morgan’s original office from where his house financed modern capitalism and governments, stands across from the Federal building, where George Washington became the first president of the new Republic. I walk past 1 Wall Street near which the first reputable journal of commerce was published, and lives on today as the Wall Street Journal. Modern journalist and accurate reporting for a new era of mass communication of financial health of companies was born here. The New York Stock Exchange stands in all its neo classical façade of Grecian columns rising to the heavens, and traders walk in and out, as machines have slowly taken on more of their roles, as market makers to the world.

The New York stock exchange has a sculpture of ‘Integrity Protecting the works of men’ carved on its face. Mercury the God of Commerce presides over toiling men and women on her left, representations of mining and agriculture and on her right, symbols of industry, science and invention, all sources of American prosperity. We owe a great gratitude to the men who worked so hard, to leave us a nation today, which continues to be the beacon on the hill for the rest of the world. On this father’s day I wandered the streets and took in the sights and paid my remembrances, to those who had come before me.

I cross Broadway and enter the quiet dignity of the Trinity church. I sit in the front pew and look at the hymnals and Holy Bible. I stare mesmerized at the stained glass windows depicting Jesus and his disciples. I close my eyes to meditate and am troubled by the thoughts, that if I could look through them, I will see the ghosts of the twin towers rising, even higher than this great church. I close my eyes and pray to “Our Father..” My thoughts rise up to the heavens for all the slaves, who helped to build this church and this great land. I think of the fathers who saw the advertisements, selling their daughters to slavery, and am deeply troubled. History may have forgotten them, but on this Father’s day, I say they were as much a founding father of this nation, as George Washington who owned them. The remains of Alexander Hamilton the father of modern Banking and Commerce and many other foundational breakthroughs, for our new nation, lies in these hallowed grounds.  While we remember George and Alexander in our history as founding fathers, let us also pray for the forgotten fathers of American black citizens, who died and are lost in unmarked graves of this great city.

Happy Father’s Day to everyone – the weary, the tired and the forgotten, and remember to be grateful and joyful for all that we have!

The longest day must have its close — the gloomiest night will wear on to a morning. An eternal, inexorable lapse of moments is ever hurrying the day of the evil to an eternal night, and the night of the just to an eternal day. -Harriet Beecher Stowe, abolitionist and novelist (14 Jun 1811-1896)

The coal story

India has come a long way since 1774 when John Sumner and Suetonius Grant Heatly of the East India Company first commenced commercial exploitation, in the Raniganj Coalfield along the Western bank of Damodar river in Bengal. Today India is the fourth largest coal producer in the world with Coal India Limited being the biggest company in the world, producing around 500 million tons of coal annually. The East India company rejected the coal and continued its dependence on British coal.

It is great to see that with the removal of corruption in the coal mining allocation sector, there is a potential windfall awaiting the consumers. Through the efficient selling off of the coal blocks, to gather immediate revenue, the government has set itself up to substantially reduce coal imports, and costs, in its energy sector. The new policies are bringing greater productivity and transparency. The introduction of modern mining methodology to the huge reserves of Indian coal, and its transportation and logistics, can be a huge boost to Industrial growth. It remains the cheapest form of energy, albeit, at an environmental cost. Carbon emissions will increase in thermal power plants, until less polluting green energy sources or gas from neighboring countries arrives via pipelines, to meet the need of a billion people.

In a surprising news Indian ‘Power consumers are likely to gain to the extent of Rs 69,310 crore (693 billion Rupees)  from the reduction in electricity tariff enabled by the auction of nine coal blocks to power sector firms so far,’ power ministry said in a statement today in the Economic Times. The Indian coal ministry also informed the production of raw coal in the country during April-November 2016-17 was 391 million tons as compared to 385 MT during the corresponding period of previous year, an overall growth of 1.6 per cent. “The coal ministry has given special focus to decrease coal imports. Government has saved about Rs 20,000 crore in the year 2015-16 and about Rs 4,844 crore in the first four months of the current year. The efforts on this front would lead to a further replacement of 15.37 MT of imported coal by March 2017,” the statement said.
On another note Rajiv Agarwal, Secretary at Indian Captive Power Producers Association (ICPPA) asked for rationalization of tariffs in the sector. He also said, assuming the government agreed to forego entire tax on coal, the cost of coal will reduce by 50 per cent and the corresponding electricity cost by 40 per cent. This will turn all the discoms profitable. “Prices can be reduced by further 50 per cent if CIL is able to bring its manpower costs to International norms. Power cost will further reduce if costly NTPCBSE 0.50 % purchase pacts are rationalized,” he said. The greatest threat to efficient and stable power and energy distribution in India lies in the hands of undercapitalized discoms who give away free power to large groups of constituents. Pay for use must be instituted as a fixed or metered approach and costs to all the consumers, and only the poorest should be subsidized.

India sits on the cusp of an energy revolution as it moves from chronic shortages, to a more stable policy after centuries of inefficiency. Enormous work still has to be done, but as far as I can see carbon energy will continue to grow for decades. Till ambitious plans for nuclear, solar, wind, biogas, hydro, tidal come to fruition, coal remains the king of a dirty heap. As the economic conditions improve, the government has to remove current subsidies to agriculture and other consumers, and come up with a rationalized tariff and subsidy policy, which maximizes revenue, and minimizes hardships for the poor. The coal and thermal energy sector is showing that the more India invests, the higher chances of increasing productivity and growth, in the short to medium term for its people.

Human contentments

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Contentment is a vexing question as I have not had anyone ask how much, is too much of it? There just appears to be a huge shortage of it, in the modern world. The accompanying painting depicts, what may today be an old man, with his iPad, and wine with a curious grandchild. Can only the old be content, or is it a trait, that can be inculcated into 5 year old monks, who have just entered an order. Buddha said contentment came from within, and we should not look outside for it. Yet our constant contact with the external universe, is unavoidable, and we have to confront our hostile environment, and still survive and prosper.

Marcus Aurelius wrote “Live with the gods. And he who does so constantly shows them that his soul is satisfied with what is assigned to them.” The concept of plenty and a world of cornucopia overflowing, is some people’s idea of contentment. Others believe that giving up everything external, is the way to contentment (the naked saint).  It is only when all our base needs in Maslow’s hierarchy are met, can we even strive for the next state, according to others. Yes the laughing young Tibetan monk has become so rare, and times have changed, as the world around us has changed. We have a belligerent China seeking its place on the world stage, or as Zhuang Zhong said to find its place in nature. We have a burning middle east, where war has displaced millions of refugees, needing humanitarian assistance for food, health and education. Countries in Africa and Asia are recovering from decades of misrule and economic backwardness. Contentment is slowly dying across our world, it seems.

For those who claim that money is the source of happiness and contentment, “There is also the concept of the diminishing marginal utility of income (DMUI), which is that money has no effect on happiness, once a certain income level has been reached, and which represents wealth and happiness as having a curvilinear relationship.” Veenhoven, Ruut (1991) stated in “Is Happiness Relative?” We have to move into a world of greater economic parity, where wealth is more broadly shared, to meet humanity’s basic needs. There is much mistaken talk of different races and religions to divide us. The last I looked there is only one human race and we are all in it together. Shared prosperity is the easiest way to increase contentment in our world, as greater wealth does not buy greater happiness

‘This is because happiness is really a state of in-and-out flow of one’s energy. Using or giving money is an expression of out-flowing of one’s life-state. Attempt to just hoard more and more in the belief that it brings more happiness can lead to the opposite result if only because the means – that is the pursuit of money for happiness – has unwittingly become the ends. (Wikipedia)’ There has to be a better way and that way was shown by the thinkers and philosophers over the centuries. I want to be that man sitting in that chair, with my communicator in hand, contemplating the state of our universe, as my body slowly turns the red wine, into me .Yet my true leisurely activity will be in playing with that grandchild and passing on all my wisdom, through her, into our future. Contentment is a state of being and having a healthy body helps.

Good and bad news

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The good news is that the US Gross domestic product, a broad measure of goods and services produced across the economy, expanded at an inflation- and seasonally adjusted 2.9% annual rate in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday. It is good that our economy is growing and credit goes to President Obama who brought us back from the brink of the Great Recession, into continued growth in employment and exports. Energy rich America is looking a lot stronger, and can afford to spend more on its infrastructure, to provide even more investments and employment.

The bad news is that Hillary Clinton’s supporters expect her to carry on progressive policies, for the US economy and trade.  She will push Federal policy makers to bring their long-term fiscal house in order, invest in infrastructure, and enact policies that make America a great place to do business. Hillary, May and Angela will make the new alliances, post Brexit and TPP. We can hope to return to a time, where higher productivity will also raise median incomes, and average salaries will rise higher. We could raise the living standards of the middle class tremendously, by just increasing hourly compensation, and steadily increasing productivity. In fact wages should grow faster than inflation for quite some time, as the economy continues to expand, driven by cheap energy.

We need to spend money to create an educated population, pools of skilled labor, have strong investments in infrastructure, and greatly increase basic R&D. To lead the emerging innovation economy, we need massive amounts of clean energy, computing power and technology. In the SMAC revolution, massive investments need to be made, and trillions to be gained from the new economy. Productivity as I describe it, is the art of making something out of nothing. It makes the middle class and the rich richer, while lifting up the poor. Electric cars, green energy, smart cities, eco living will all transform our future, at a faster rate than in recent years.

 

The relative stagnation in hourly compensation since the time of Carter is due to the new progressives, who took over from the greatest generation of leaders. American inequality has gone through the roof, in these years as the rich have just gotten richer. The top 1 % earned most of the income and the bottom 50% made a pittance in comparison. Wealth inequality grew tremendously in the past decades. Wide spread poverty in Asia, Africa and the Middle East is talked about, but the hidden poverty in America is growing. There are more people falling through the safety net, as the economy progresses and there is a resentment, that things are not as good as they appear. Clinton can reverse the “WELFARE STATE FOR THE 1%, by ending welfare for the poor, attitude,” which her husband glorified. Instead she has to spread the safety net, and start a virtuous self-sustaining period of rapid productivity and wage growth. The aim is more and better employment, and the solution is Infrastructure and alternate energy spending from the Government. The Private Sector will also expand on the back of a growing middle class as less income equality, means more demand for goods and services.

Business and government must combine their efforts to take steps to build a skilled workforce, ready to do tomorrow’s jobs. Massive R & D will, upgrade local suppliers, foster innovation and reinforce education. The productivity gains enable firms in the U.S. to win in the global market place, while also help in creating jobs, which lift living standards. The government and business need to work hand in hand, to more equitably distribute the fruits of productivity. We need to return to the policies which encouraged a more evenly distributed income, as seen in the chart from 1948 to 1973. Median wages and productivity rose together, to make the great middle class of US consumers, who in turn drive our economy forward.  In 2017 we will have a new president, a new vision and a growing GDP.

Happy Diwali and wishing a very prosperous and healthy year ahead, to everyone!

Artificial aristocracy is the greatest danger to modern times

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We have a great respect for the founding fathers of America and Thomas Jefferson not only doubled the size of America with the Louisiana Purchase but also was a genius in many other areas. His intellectual capabilities were second to none and having fought tyranny and repression he left us great words of wisdom on the dangers of an artificial aristocracy. In the current US elections we have some candidates who fall into this danger zone.

“There is also an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents… The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provisions should be made to prevent its ascendancy.” -Thomas Jefferson, third US president, architect, and author (13 Apr 1743-1826)

We have seen this in history time and again when leading scions of famous families come to lead nations and drive them to ruin. The misguided policies are often cheered by the populace without realizing the severe constraints they put on their own betterment. We have seen many examples where fame and wealth may give access to the corridors of power, but we have to remain ever vigilant against their corrupting influence. It is easy to be misled as all of us hunger for fame and wealth, or at the least identify internally with those who have fame and wealth. This can easily lead to misinterpretation of a person’s capabilities just because we often link wealth and fame to superior intellect and a sense of achievement.

I would include Mr. Donald Trump as a leading example of this artificial aristocracy in the current state of affairs. I seriously doubt his virtues and also question his talents towards public policy and ability to do serious government work. His statements have been mischievous and often cater to the lowest human aspirations of racial and moral superiority. I do not see any remedying qualities in his messages, or policies for the betterment of man. I see instead divisive policies, and cheap political gimmickry, to attract followers. For him to have risen so high so quickly is a testament to the gullibility of the innocent American public, who often accept people at face value.

It is only right for all of us to remove his ascendancy and seek out a better leader of the free world. After the second Bush years, who proved himself to be another example of an artificial aristocracy of modern time, we should have learnt our lessons well. We need leaders who will be ‘compassionate’ and not turn around on their own slogan and bomb the fifth largest army into oblivion and destabilize a whole region. We need builders and visionaries of the future and not aristocratic leaders fighting yesterday’s wars. Life is hard enough with global warming, species annihilation, energy, and health and economic challenges that we all face. We have to reach out to billions as fellow citizens of this mother earth. America should reach for the stars, and does not have to follow someone, who will build walls around us, and keep the world out.

My burning universe

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Opening my inner eye leads to the firm conclusion that there is knowledge deep in each one of us, where the universe burns; in an eternal flame. We are blind to this sacred power that resides in our inner most cores, and gives us what we call life, as we are too worn down by the care of the trivial events, which surround us. It is only in moments when we awake to the great reality, that suddenly the opaque glass of Maya is shattered, and we come face to face with our own reality. It then become important for us to act on what is real, and let go of the illusion that is transitory.
I enter the burning universe and come alive as now the cosmic fire does not burn me, or the solar winds dry me, and I am the consciousness that was and will be. Primordial sound and light do not bother me, as I dance in their vibrations, and the waves are mine to ride. Time has no meaning suddenly, as it slows and eons are in my grasp, and as I unfold my grasp, eons are passing in moments. There is no joy or happiness in this moment, as it just is, and I am awake to a new sense of the extraordinary, that is here and now. I blink and worlds disappear and I blink again and they reappear, as if born again. Reincarnation is real, but just slightly different from what I had imagined, it to be. It is a flowing river of time and space, where the water is the same, but I cannot touch the same water, once it has passed.
I burn and am not consumed, for I am part of this universe where nothing is lost forever, and it is as if the more I burn, the more I live. So I let my inner eye close, and come back to my existence, and see that nothing has really changed. I am who I was and I remain who I will be. The visions of the burning universe remain in my mind’s eye, but I cannot explain them to anyone. I decide not to speak to anyone about it, lest they think I have a secret mission. I sleep and perchance will dream of the spectacle, that is all around us and yet we do not see it. I realize that the reality in sleep may be better, than the reality of being awake.We are creatures of consciousness, and I wrap myself in its layers, and am content; yet my inside burns, in the eternal flame. As i drift off I see my eternal flame fighting with the forces of dark matter and black holes, and know that tomorrow life will continue from here.

Democratic Choice

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The demise of the middle class in the US and the rise of the 1% is the most disturbing trend of our age. The neoliberal takeover of the mainstream economic thought started with President Carter and continued with Reagan, Clinton, Bush and Obama. ‘The demise of welfare as we know it’, and the continued squeeze on social programs has pushed more people out of the lower middle class and the era of Franklin Roosevelt and Johnson is long gone. The top 1% share of income keeps rising and at over 22% it is nearing the highs of income inequality, reached just before the great depression. We are now at the edge of the abyss and the result of the next election may well decide our fate for the next age.
There is continued dissatisfaction amongst the youth, as this generation has only seen a congress at war with itself, and politicians not able to deliver on the promises they make, due to a divided house. The faith in democracy has eroded and participation in the process is fueled either by the extreme nationalistic dialog, portrayed by the likes of Cruz and mimicked by Trump on the Republican tea party right. The other side is the egalitarian socialism espoused by Sanders, who talks against income inequality, the need to reduce the risk from too big to fail financial institutions, universal health and free education. We as a society must decide which direction we want our future to go, as these are extreme choices; that we must face, to be true to ourselves.
The greatest gains in income and equality have historicaly been, when the system has been fair and not in favor of the wealthy elite and their protective power. It is only when leaders have stepped up and protected the poor, and made an even playing field, that the world has prospered and the middle class grown. This was borne out by the economic policies in the fifties and sixties in the US and I shudder to say the eighties and nineties in China when it becam glorious to be rich. The great prosperity was possible even when the top tax rate was near 90% under Eisenhower, and it is said that if Bernie’s policies are allowed to take root, we could have another great blossoming in America.
An analysis of his policies by one economist shows that median income could rise to 82,000 from less than 54,000 today while providing better education, healthcare and massive investment in infrastructure, by rebuilding this great nation. Poverty would be reduced dramatically to 6%, and the growth rate of GDP would grow at double the current projected rates to over 5% and the national budget would go from the current major deficits to major surpluses. If it sounds too good to be true then we just have to look back in history, when we had more enlightened leaders who cared. They were not elected by Super Pacs and the wealthy, but represented the ordinary people, who elected them. We cannot go to a National Right that demands it is more equal, but must proceed to a humanistic left that cares for true equality.
The age of the neoliberals is dying, and it is up to the youth and the poor to rise up and demand the new egalitarian socialism, which insists on more equality and growth. We need opportunity and the national wealth to be spent, on our infrastructure,education and health. The people need the economy to work for us and not for the ultra-wealthy and the capitalists alone. We live in a capitalistic society which has been usurped by power brokers, who no longer know how to grow the economy, and have encouraged grid lock, and politicians who will look the other way, while they pocket the rewards of our labor.
The vote in this election matters more than ever before, as either we will fall into the chasm of narrow parochial views, or rise on the waves of a shared prosperity. The choice is clear but the electorate is fooled by gerrymandering and deceptive advertising into a false sense of complacence. The revolution is here and nobody sees which way it will go, but all I can quote is, that ‘the times they are a changing’.

He who would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself. -Thomas Paine, philosopher and writer (9 Feb 1737-1809)

Trailbrazing and the Hope for change.

The U S Media is not quite sure what to do with Bernie Sanders in this election, just like they did not know what to do with Barak Obama in the election eight years ago. Last time the preposterous notion of an African American claiming the white house was hushed, sidelined by the thought of Hillary Clinton claiming her rightful claim on history. This time we have an aging socialist senator of an unhearalded state, who is fighting the good fight against wealth inequality, is for universal medical care and numerous other radical ideas on taxation, and wealth distribution.
Just as not enough people would vote for Barak as per the media barons eight years ago, now we see a similar trend with Trump grabbing the most media time, followed by Hillary and then the others candidates in the field. from both parties. Bernie is lucky if he gets 2-3% of the media time on a good day, and is largely ignored on the other days, hoping he will go away. His punditry is so old school and so extremely left leaning, that the conservatives will not acknowledge his presence or take him seriously. There has never been a greater divide between the leading candidates of the two parties in ideologies and plans for the future as exhibited in the debates of this election.
If we go by the most individual Americans donating to a candidate it was Obama over Hillary last time, and this time it seems it is Bernie taking the lead again on Clinton. The hope for change which Obama brought to this troubled land, after two of the longest wars in American history is well known. He rightly won the Peace prize as has been borne out from his steely resolve to limit US force, going instead for tangible results like the end of Bin Laden. Now we have another maverick trying to establish another revolution in America and bringing a different cry of change. The young are interested in his message and listening and joining him in large numbers.
We live in an idealist land, where no matter what our differences; we allow progressive thoughts, to be dreamed. We allow certain trailblazers in economic, social and scientific thought into our highest office occasionally. It is the democratic spirit for justice, peace and brotherhood where we must put the fate of humans as our highest concern. This is often achieved by some of the most unknown citizens, who rise from our hinterlands. These leaders speak with a deep conviction on issues that matter. Their wisdom lies in their idealistic understanding of the human spirit.
So as I look out at the snowstorm and am reeling from the volatility of our markets bracing for another cold winter, I wonder. Is Bernie really saying something I can accept on universal health care, income equality, education liberalization, parental leave, climate change, LGBT rights and campaign finance reform amongst other things?
The man who marched on Washington in his youth, has now come to the gates of power, demanding a change. Will we allow a Civil Rights and Civil Liberties leader the power to making policy decisions, which may affect our future generations? If a man who has devoted his life to public service is now saying, that he has a better way in government, do we have to believe him? Is it time for a change from the same old compromises, to a concerned citizen who talks about a revolution in ideas; as the old ones, are no longer working. As ‘America’ (thanks Garfunkel) we may have to march forward, in choosing a leader who is a non-conformist, may not be such a bad idea after all. Change is coming either way, and in these troubled times after hearing all the rhetoric from either side, I put my faith in Bernie. Sanders said in his Post interview, regarding the excitement his campaign is creating, “We have the capability to have a very good voter turnout. When we have a very good voter turnout, we retain the White House, we regain the Senate, we do well in the House, and we win statewide elections.”

“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood. The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific, and religious freedom have always been nonconformists. In any cause that concerns the progress of mankind, put your faith in the nonconformist!” -Martin Luther King, Jr., civil-rights leader (15 Jan 1929-1968)

Human treatment of the destitute and dependants

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New York State has been taking care of its mentally disturbed, and those who are physically dependent on substance abuse, for over 150 years. Today our needs for this fair treatment, have become even more desperate, as now a a single sickness can destitute a family. The income disparity has made a very few able to afford the best care in the world, while the poor end up in Jail, or other inner city situations, not supported by the State any more. It is a shame that the hospital complex, that grew up so boldly over a hundred years in N Y State, is now closed. The the original 400 acres that were planned so grandly to be a haven for its inmates, have gone to waste. Where the industry of the inmates grew gardens, and ample crops and livestock, today there is a chained fenced blocking off a large institute of limestone and brick.

A hundred years before my birth American Dr. J Edward Turner did research in Europe and on return to his New York, entreateds the State legislature to pass funding and finally,  “The United States Inebriate Asylum for the Reform of Poor and Destitute Inebriates” is chartered by the New York State Legislature. The institute a picture of true American largess is built in a stately Tudor castellated architecture style institute on 250 acres and is 320 feet wide and 82 feet deep made of solid stone and brick, to last a thousand years. The motto was “The object of the institution is to provide an asylum for the poor and destitute inebriate, where his physical and moral condition will be alike the care of the physician and philanthropist, and where his labor may be rendered productive and of service to his family. With the asylum will be connected Workshops to make the institution self sufficient and relieve prisons and almshouses.”

The institute under Dr. Turner provided large rooms with modern gas heat and running water all the ameneties know for a fine and healthy living over a century and a half ago. This temple to the destitute had many patients over the years and one was described in its violent ward as “ The patient used to call himself: “ZZZ Wafe Rainmaker Father Mother Simon Joseph Francis Carl”. He said he was the maker of Heaven and Earth. He sat in his chair in the hallway and shuffled all day. He sat all day in a chair and shuffled his feet back and forth and wore a considerable size depression in the wood” Those indentations into the wooden floor remain as a reminder to this day. It is an amazing fact of history that the good Doctor converted a tax on Liquor to fund such a pioneering institute, where the destitute were cared for in style and even treated..

In a testimony to his own treatment at the fine institute after a 100 sessions of shock treatment, first electro-convulsive, then metrazol, then insulin shock therapy William was pronounced cured. William upon his release went on to write “’The Mind in chains” Autobiography of a schizophrenic’. He published his memories in an autobiography, concluding to his readers: “So the dream which led me to the State Hospital still has possession of me, and where it will lead me only the future can reveal. I go forward in hope… my whole future is in your hands, at your mercy. I can only give my life, and you must make it or break it for me.”

In modern day such a frank discussion of a topic so dark, is not possible as a lot of the disturbed in today’s society, find no ready place to be fairly incarcerated, till they become productive members, of our human family again.  I am truly stunned at William’s words, and what he must have just survived, at the institute to modern treatment methods, of mind control. His hopes are the hope of all mankind, his whole future is at our mercy to offer his whole life, to be made, or broken, by our trust. Today young Williams would be found in a prison, or homeless, with no hope, or dream. Has our society become so divided, that common human consideration, has been lost, in the wealth, of those; who have and no longer, care. Callous modern life has forgotten the basic needs of a society to take care of its weakest and most vulnerable citizens.

Such a pure raw emotion of hope and mercy, and to talk of a future hope, which will lead him on, is pure heroics, of a superior man. I salute his thinking as often times, a dark shadow comes over my soul also, and I am lost in this world. I can well understand how important it is at such times, of brief hope; to find mercy and compassion, in this world. Else there is only the dark sub conscious that grips me, and drags me to places I have been, but never acknowledged, even to myself. These are experiences I bury so deep in my mind, which it is best, that they be left to disappear. And may the darkness, shroud them in its veil, to be forgotten; as the dream that possesses us, has to be left at the State Hospital. The dream as he says still possesses us, and so we must go on into our future, wishing for hope and Mercy, but our mind is now in chains.

Dr Turner showed the way that a caring person can provide a way to care for the destitute and we must learn from his example. Our best hope in the future will be on how well we treat our weakest members now, else it grows dark.and realizatioin is lost.

Political and moral choice

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Since 2009 the Federal deficit has gone down from $ 1.4 trillion to only $ 439 billion now, or just 2.5% of GDP. It represents a three quarters reduction from the Bush year’s uneconomic legacy. Are we really ready for a return to the same policies of the Republicans, where the talk is fiscal conservatism obtained by shutting down our government? We are currently in a slow steady growth and consumer sentiments are on the mend and our economy steadily strengthens day by day. We just need a shutdown to mar this sentiment, and all things will start to fall apart again. We need to talk about substantial issues that face our nation and not ideological buzzwords, which neither heal nor repair the weakest clinks, in our modern world.

Is it wrong to talk about income and wealth inequality where the privileged 1% control more than 90% of the economy? Is it wrong to talk about gun control when we are the number one country, in gun violence and deaths from guns? Is it wrong to talk about health care being affordable and available for all, in the richest nation on earth? Is it wrong to talk about discrimination when we have the highest incarceration rates for minorities for minor crimes? Is it wrong to talk about poor education causing inner city blight and lack of opportunity for our citizens? Is it wrong to talk about a woman’s right to choose? Is it wrong to talk about personal life choices without misunderstanding and mistrust being fanned by bigotry and hatred? Is it wrong to talk about providing good education in an era, where loans being fostered by exploitative for profit institutions, on the under-served have ballooned?

We have a nation that is falling apart at the seams in our infrastructure and we need to take action to repair these seams. Redistribution of income and spending to improve the human condition are at the core, of any civilized nation. The pursuit of happiness is an elusive goal, when it is marred by rose colored glasses that see only us and them. In a society where each one is for himself and the devil take the hindmost, is a society that cannot prosper. To bring sensible reform and to improve the plight of the poor and the under-served we need sensible policies. We need a government that works on the basic needs of providing security, education, health and equality.

It is time for true conservatives and liberals to sit across the table and discuss and debate the path ahead. Instead sound bites and talking heads will drive the debates away from these basics in the coming elections. The politics of the nation are now driven by forces of super pacs and hidden agendas and the plight of the common man is the last item on the list. The forces of the super-rich will drown out the needs of the many, as the two worlds are being torn apart. We need action now to stop this rape and pillaging of resources and make renewable and sustainable development our model. This planet is no longer husbanded by responsible citizens, but is exploited by the few, for material gain. We destroy more species every year that took nature billions of years to perfect. We only need to ask ourselves one simple question of what is use is this wealth, when all else around us will die?