Monday, May 18, 2015

The Consequence of Suppression: A Stronger Police Force does not Equal Less Crime

The other day I watched the movie Chappie. There was one scene that really caught my attention.

The city (and the premise of the movie) was based on the fact that the crime rate in this South African city was outrageous… 300 murders were happening everyday, people were being robbed, many civilians and policemen were being harmed, and the police force in place was not sufficient to handle the situation.

So then robots are created as part of the law enforcement department. Less causalities on the police side, as well as crime rates were dramatically going down.

*Spoiler Alert*
Then, mid-way through the movie- the robot police force gets hacked and a firewall gets put in, which basically stops them from working. The city is left without the robotic defense and all of a sudden, in one moment of this becoming common knowledge in the city – there is an uproar and the people take to the streets; riots ensue, there is burning of buildings, and stores, and homes. There is one scene shot from the sky as if in a helicopter, showing the drama happening in the downtown area, and it’s just like mad men finally set loose that have been caged for years. The destruction is over the top.

And this is what caught my attention. The consequence of suppression.

The crime in the city was suppressed through a robotic police force. There was no understanding of WHY people were acting the way they were or what causes it was stemming from. It was just simply accepted that as ‘human nature’ and attempted to force control and suppression onto the city and the people as a way of dealing with the situation.

And what happens when that control and suppression is removed? That which was attempted to be put down, smothered, in fact was slowing building, and getting bigger, and accumulating to the point where there is this so over the top acting out of dysfunctional behavior. The crime becomes much worse after the robot police fail to work, than before they were ever implemented.

And what does this reveal? 

Suppression or attempting to force control onto a situation such as high crime in a city does not work, as it does not sort/root out the REAL PROBLEM.

Which is also embedded throughout the whole move.


The lack of Money causes crime.

People commit crimes for money.

The desire for Money cause one to rob each other, to murder each other, to steal and abuse each other. 

All for the money.

Now, after seeing this, that this is what happens when one suppresses a problem, the solution seemed clear.

How about instead of creating a robotic police force, such as the scenario in the movie to be a solution to more and more crime, or a more military-like police force that enforces it’s mechanical hand onto the people - creating fear to control... one give the people the proper financial support to take care of their basic needs. 

Have a look - what would you be willing to do to ensure your own survival? Can you really condemn those that are stealing, lying, and cheating for more money so they can have a place to stay for the night, or to provide themselves something to eat? Have you put yourself in their shoes? What options are available?

Living Income.

A dignified living income, where if one finds themselves in a financial hard time, or in between jobs, or in a place where robbery or even murder come up as a potential option to make it through another day, they instead have the safety net of a living income. That is preventing crime as being an option for survival, as well as dealing with the REAL problem that cause crime and abuse in this world in the first place.

Lack of Money and Desire for Money leads to greed.

In greed, there is no compassion, empathy, or standing in the shoes of another. There is only self-interest and the drive for survival.

Investigate a Living Income by the Equal Life Foundation, as the Real Solution to the Crimes of Life happening daily. We don't need robots. We don't need stronger police forces. We don't need to attempt to control and suppress the problems manifesting daily at an exponential rate. We need to love and give to each other as we would love and give to ourselves. 

Let's stop suppressing, and trying to control ourselves and each other - let's root out the real problems and begin to address and heal the real issues we ALL face. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Redemption and the Right to a Living Income

For anyone who thinks and believes that those that are unemployed, receiving assistance from the state or federal government, or living on the streets are lazy and no good, feeding off the system, I suggest you watch the HBO documentary, Redemption.

Here we watch people all over the streets of New York collecting bottles and cans as a way to survive. To them this is their full time job, walking block after block, day after day, going through trash that sits on the corner to collect all and any bottles or cans that can be recycled. Why do they do this? Because for each bottle or can, they can receive five cents. This seems hardly anything to be working so dam hard for, yet they are doing it. They are doing it with their children because they cannot afford childcare, and because they are extra hands to help out, they are doing it without sleeping, they are doing it to afford to live in a one bedroom apartment with seven other people. They are doing it because money matters in the fight for survival and is the only option available to them.

Before you assume to think these are people who put themselves in this situation, as if they deserved it,
think again and watch the documentary. These are people with degrees, who have worked for such companies as Microsoft, who worked at the World Trade Center, who fought in wars for 'our freedom', who cannot survive on the social security they receive alone.

These are people who are doing what they can to survive, because the harsh reality is that if you make one wrong move, you too can be put out on the street without a helping hand. And you will then see what it's really like to live for your survival. Money gives us a buffer, we do not see the extent to the consequence our system of life on Earth creates - because we did not pull the shorter stick.

Anyone who suggest that someone does not deserve a living income, a dignified life with the resource required to survive, simply because they are not working the job we define as 'acceptable' - put yourself in the shoes of another. What would you do to survive. Is your right to food, shelter, hot water, clean clothing more valid then someone who isn't working, or not doing a job we classify as normal? Would you be willing to walk the streets of New York, digging through trash bags in front of fine dining establishment, simply to ensure you can buy yourself a sandwich for the day? What does shame have to do with anything when it comes to survival?

I suggest anyone that has such a judgment on those that are down and out and willing to do ANYTHING to make a few bucks, to watch this documentary, to put yourself in their shoes, and to then ask the question, why are Human Rights not a RIGHT given to all, unquestionably?

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed proposed by the Equal Life Foundation. The core principle is that all humans have unalienable rights to life - that means food, water, shelter, clothing, education. These cannot and should not be denied to anyone, whether you are not able to find a job, in between jobs, victim of layoffs, whatever - that no matter your situation, YOU have the right to a dignified life, and that you are not FORCED to sift through the rubbish of other humans to collect your income.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mothers and a Living Income - Giving as We have Received

Today I watched the documentary called 'Paycheck to Paycheck,' about a single mother, my age, with three children. She lives in the South, works as a Certified Nursing Assistant, separated from her husband of almost 10 years, and gets a working wage of $9.49 an hour.

I was shocked to see the hourly wage of this woman, because from my perspective, her work is something that takes more education than I currently have, and yet I still make more an hour than her. And from my perspective, her work is much more valuable. She is caring for the elderly in a nursing home; feeding them, changing their bed sheets, changing their catheters, and most importantly, spending time with them when no one else does. She provides care in an environment that is the last place these elderly will end up, while when she is not working, she is caring for children and their environment; the first place these children are exposed to.

So she is directly dealing with the next generation, while simultaneously giving as much comfort she can while the previous generation slowly leaves.

And she is giving not even $10.00 an hour of compensation to support herself, and her three children.

This documentary exemplifies the major problem we have, not only in this country, but around the world. The people that have first hand control of forming and shaping our future, our children, are not being properly supported or valued in any way whatsoever. No one could possibly expect to live comfortably on $10 an hour, let alone raising three other humans on that wage.

This is a prime example of why a living income is an absolute necessity in our world, and a basic human right. The women who carry, birth and raise the children, the future of humanity, are not giving the proper support necessary that is required. She should have any and all resources available to ensure she is in a prime position - mentally and physically - to do the job she has in front of her, which is to create a space and environment that supports the potential of all children. Instead, with her working wage, she must live as an example that tells her children that life is hard, life is a struggle, you are not valued for the work you do, and ultimately you are alone to suffer the consequence of a system created and sustained by All of society.

No mother should be expected to work if children are brought into the picture, all mothers should have the CHOICE to not work, and still be giving a LIVING wage - don't you think it would be of more value for the children, and so society as a whole, to have a full-time caretaker there who is not stretched so thin to the point where panic attacks keep them from working, where stress of making it to the next pay day is not distracting them from being able to provide the best care for the children; where a mother is not put into a position where she must tell her children to wait just a minute when they say they are hungry, simply because she needs a moment to sit down and breathe. Where she does not have to sacrifice her health and well being just because there is only enough to give more to her children.

Women, mothers specifically, is one group of people that would benefit form a Living Income, and from my perspective, should be an absolute basic right. The fact that this mother of three must work for $9.49 an hour to support herself and her family, without any support or assistance from the system in which she is working for, goes to show the lack of care we actually have for what we are bringing into this life, let alone the life that is already here.

A Living Income, proposed by the Equal Life Foundation, is a simple step we can take in rectifying this situation - where in giving a living wage to our Mothers we are living the statement of gratitude, and giving to THEM what they have given to US, which is Life. I would think this would be the first priority for anyone wanting to change our social and economic systems - to ensure that our Mothers and so our Children are being given the financial support required to flourish in this World - able to stand on a foundation that allows the true potential of all beings to be harnessed and to expand, after all - the children today are the people tomorrow that will be the ones assisting us when it's our time to leave this world.

Investigate the Equal Life Foundation and the Living Income.

Friday, September 19, 2014

After Extreme Weather, Living Income Stands

Today I read an article about a small town in Northern California that was devastated by the continuous wild fires raging in the West. So many houses were burned to the ground. In the video, a woman says many are left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

I thought of the various weather conditions throughout the world that leave so many in a position of helplessness, where every belonging is destroyed. I thought of this small town that does not have a booming economy to stabilize such a scenario, where many people's livelihoods rest on the employment that perhaps is no longer standing.

Another person is the video said the town was already an "economically depressed area" and now so many more would be out of work.

Imagine if that was you, and the very means in which you depended on for your survival was put to a halt and you no longer had that choice - you cannot work. When employment becomes the dependent for one to survive, what happens when one lose their job? Or when they are forced into unemployment due to unexpected weather conditions? Here is where a safety net is required - a foundation anyone in such a position can fall back on.

The Living Income Guaranteed, proposed by the Equal Life Foundation, is such a system that would ensure any victims to have to face such harsh conditions of extreme weather, that leave their area devastated and struggling to re-build their economy, the ability to move forward with the least likely burden. Imagine you are okay to do what is necessary to be done to ensure you re-build not only your life and the life of your family and friends, but also your community without having the added pressure and stress of not working, and the current consequence of such a position, to add to the list of things to be done.

No one should have to fear not working, especially when it is something out of one's own hands, as the consequence of not working is not making money. And we know what happens when one does not make money. And so since yours, mine, and everyone's survival is dependent on the money we have, all have the right to have access to this resource. Whether you are in between jobs, in an area hit by extreme weather, or simply unable to find work at the moment, all are entitled to the condition that provides a basic living ability; a right to have access to your basic HUMAN RIGHTS. No one should have to be without, and no one should have to fear going without. It is our duty as a society, as humanity, to ensure all are cared for in the times when it's needed most - because within that is the principle of 'do unto another as you would have done unto yourself'. That is a principle in which the Living Income in built upon and with it's assistance and support, we would see a drastic change in our views of such calamities. Extreme weather would no longer be seen as something that is too difficult to come back from - as the political, social and economic structure would be in place for anyone to be able to stand from. It is the foundation which is required, and is absolutely viable to create, to ensure that together we can face whatever situations may come upon us, whether that is the weather or not - we have the resources and means to ensure no one is left alone or without the support to re-build and re-create in a way that is dignified.

Investigate Equal Life Foundation and the Proposal of a Living Income as the safety net necessary for when unexpected weather or conditions exist. We are more than capable of ensuring no one is felt fearful of the future and 'what to do next' - because we have the means and the finances to ensure everyone the opportunity to stand up on their own to feet and start moving forward, creating and building again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Where does your Sugar come From?

I just watched part one of "Big Sugar," a documentary by Brian McKenna.

The modern day slave story of the sugar plantation workers of the biggest sugar-producing companies in the world, which is an American company. The extreme difference of realities for the sugar plantation workers and the owner of the company is astounding.

On one hand you have the owner living in Florida, being driven around in a luxury automobile, living in one of the most expensive places in the state, eating at fine dining restaurants, throwing extravagant charity events for the rich and famous and when asked about the workers of his company, denying the conditions for life of the workers on the plantation that are sustaining his company, his profits and thus his lifestyle.

On the other hand you have the labor of the men forced to take work on one side of an island that, once promised a better life through the opportunity of employment, their passports are taken away and thus are stuck, working for the plantation and stateless. They are monitored by 'sheriffs' and tear up any gardens in the area and so cannot grow their own vegetables, they are charged by the owners of the company they work for, for their source of groceries from a small shop in the village, which is twice as much as it is in the city. They go into the fields every morning without food and at the end of the day, up to 16 people must eat from the same pot.

For every ounce of sugar in your cookies, brownies, birthday cakes, dairy, meat and anything else we throw sugar into – the existence of slavery continues. In a land that thought it abolished slavery over 150 years ago – still an American company serves up its product by virtue of the slaves it employs, while the consumer is none the wiser.

This is the reality in which we live – where what we buy and consume exists on a shelf in the super market that we do not consider comes from a long process that once began by a human being forgoing their basic human rights to simply make it through another day.

Have we ever considered following the trail to see what gives us our sugar high? Does the history in which the sugar industry has developed interest us whatsoever? Or have we so sufficiently been sedated by our buzz from sucrose, that we do not care to question, investigate, rip open even the reality of how our world exists - where our products come from and who currently must suffer to sustain the lifestyles of the rich and the few.

In this documentary – the owner of the American company suggest that one cannot compare the living standards of those on the island of Hispaniola (Dominic Republic and Haiti) to that of American standards – that they have done enough simply by providing jobs for the workers that would otherwise be unemployed.

Here we must realize that to simply work is not a solution or even a privilege in which the company owner is providing – it is a human right for all to be able to work as that is currently the means in which one makes the money to survive and the ability to survive is a basic human right - access to sufficient food, water and shelter. And then of course – for one to have a job that is not in alignment with standards that ALL persons would be willing to accept and allow themselves to work in, then it is not sufficient in supporting the dignity all people have a right to in their working conditions.

It is not enough for us to give a person a job. It is our responsibility and duty to ensure that job does not cause unnecessary harm or prevention of one being able to practically sustain their life and the life of their family. For every one ton of sugar cane that ONE MAN cuts a day they receive the equivalent of $2 US dollars a day. Does this seem like a fair wage for you? Is this a living wage? Is this a practical wage that honors the real work of the physical labor of the human being in which ALL products and service move in our reality? Have we misplaced the value in which we create what we offer to consumers? How is it the owner of the company reaps the most benefit in terms of quality of life when the men doing the physical, hard labor day in and day out see the bare minimum of what they sow? This is in reverse and one of the core problems we have on earth wherein we are not equally valuing or even placing the actual value that we measure with money in the hands of those that are doing the actual work – the actual labor. Human labor is the greatest resource we have and here, in this documentary, we have a clear example of how it is being exploited and used to enslave many while enriching a few. 

Investigate the Equal Life Foundation and the proposal for a Living Income Guaranteed where all are sufficiently supported and honored with their basic human rights - where they have the ability to provide themselves with food, water, shelter, education, health care - all things one would like for themselves and would be living a standard less than what is best for them without such things. 

Investigate your world, educate yourself about what you consume. Become part of a solution and no longer be blind to how we have come to accept and allow as the design of our world -  let us be the ones to re-design it into what is best for all. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Is your Hourly Wage actually Less than What you Thought?

Currently in the United States, the Federal Minimum Wage is set at $7.25 an hour. A state is able to set the wage higher or lower, however, if the state minimum wage is set lower than the federal wage, than automatically the state's minimum wage is the federal wage. If the state decides to raise their minimum wage to be more than that of the federal minimum wage, than the higher of the two rates is applied.

Now an interesting thing - whatever your hourly rate is, is not actually what you are being paid.

Let's look at a practical example:

Say you are working in a position that pays minimum wage, which was reported to be about 4.7% of the working class in 2012. Doing the basic math, we can see that if you were to work 40 hours in one week, at $7.25 an hour, your gross pay would be $290 (40 x 7.25). Usually pay periods are every two weeks, so calculating the pay check to be expected for one pay period would be - keeping up with the 40 hour work week - you would gross $580 (290 x 2).

So that is a 'standard' paycheck for working 80 hours in one pay period. Yet here, you are not actually bringing home the 'minimum wage' set by the law as the federal requirement. The reason being, there are taxes that are then taken out for various purposes. Mainly, in the US, we have the OASDI and HI taxes which are the Social Security and Medicare taxes, sitting at 6.2% for OASDI and 1.45% for HI (Medicare).

So let's now remove these taxes from your taxable wages, which is what we calculated above, the $580.

The amount taken out for OASDI would be $35.96 (580 x 6.2%), and the amount taken out for Medicare would be $8.41 (580 x 1.45%). So taking into account these taxes that are being removed from your paycheck (35.96 + 8.41= $44.37), you would receive a total of $535.63 (580 - 44.37).

Once the taxes are removed and you are given your paycheck, the total hourly wage you are ACTUALLY "making", or is for you to support your life, is now at $6.69 an hour (535.63/80 hours). What this means is that after all is said and done, you are making lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which is apparently set as a standard to ensure a minimum wage for all workers in the US. Yet we can clearly see here that we are not actually making that amount - we are making 56 cents less than that amount. One might say that is nothing to gripe about, yet it all adds up.

Now I'm not saying that we should not have to pay taxes or that 'taxes are the bad guys, and do away with taxes', what is clear here is that the Minimum Wage should be set as a rate that takes into account the taxes that are being paid. The Minimum Wage should be set at a rate in which, once the taxes have been removed, equals that of the Federal Minimum Wage, definitely not lower. I say definitely because it does not make any sense, why set a MINIMUM amount when one is actually making LESS than the MINIMUM amount?

We already know that the current minimum wage of $7.25 for an individual working full time, does not cut it in terms of actually supporting one financially, and then we see now that we are making even less than that. The point of the Minimum wage would to be to ensure that a minimum amount is guaranteed for ALL workers to ensure their ability to provide themselves the access to ALL Human Rights - food, shelter, water, education, health care, etc. The Minimum Wage is currently providing the most minimal standard of living and cuts people off from accessing a more dignified, comfortable life. No one should have to work more than 40 hours a week to survive, if they choose not to. No one should have to work more than one job to ensure they are making more than the hourly minimum wage rate. No one should have to be forced into positions where they are stuck, doing what they can, just in order to put food on their table and a roof over their head. This should all be guaranteed, because it is a human right.

No one should have part of their less than effective income be removed to then pay in to support others. It's not "Give and Get Less," it's "Give and you shall Receive." And so as we give, we should receive - a balance economy that is effective in supporting everyone - that is truly an advanced society; one that functions in harmony.

So the point I wanted to make here is simply that we are fooling ourselves in thinking the current minimum wage is doing it's job effectively, when we can see in the numbers above that the actual minimum wage is not the real minimum wage that goes to those that are working the hours.

Why not give a wage in which takes into account these other costs and yet still allows one a decent wage to live.

I will go more into various other perspective in regards to Minimum Wage in blogs to come. In the meantime - investigate the Living Income Guaranteed proposed by the Equal Life Foundation that recognizes the fact that we have lost sight of how to ensure a healthy and thriving population, which in turns provides a healthy and thriving economy. It realizes that a Living Income becomes more effective than a Minimum Wage and should be set to ensure a standard of Living that is Best for Everyone, because in the end, that is our Basic Human Rights.

Investigate, Question, Find Solutions... Till next time.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Living Income for Difficult Times

Imagine yourself a young parent, with a child less than a year old. Your partner faces inner demons that drive them to abuse substances that create them to no longer be a supportive role in this child's life. They lie, cheat and steal for their addiction and you are put into a situation to make a choice. Stay or leave - what is best for the child?

You decide to leave and seek refuge with your family. They offer you a temporary  place to stay while you fight for rights to your child to ensure you are the one responsible for the child's well being and that until the other parent has proven to support themselves through the addiction and stable enough to support the child, you are the sole custodian.

Meanwhile you must continue to work. You are now a single parent, paying legal fees to ensure the child stays in the safety of your home, you cannot count on family for child care, as they are already given you a place to stay. You have to work so you have to pay for someone to care for the child while you work.

All the while, facing the internal struggles of what this situation is showing you - is there any hope for the future? How can you provide for the child alone? What is the main point within all of this... money. Money is the one thing that will ensure a stable process of finding you and your child a place to call home and your ability to pay for legal services and child care. You must also remember to provide food and clothing for yourself and your child, as well as transportation cost for all the required traveling. You are pushed into a situation where you are not free to move about and make the rational decisions that are currently necessary of you, as you are also faced with the emotional turmoil of losing your partner to addiction, while attempting to remain focused on the child's best interest.

What do you do? What do you do in a world where you are not given the proper support to walk through this transition period? You must not only focus on the child and their well being, and your stability in a living environment, and that you are the one responsible, legally, for the child, you must also ensure you have the Money to pay for this all, within also ensuring your own sanity in this whole thing.

Imagine now if there was a Living Income Guarantee that allowed you the financial support to do what you needed to do in order to get your life aligned to the best possible situation for you and your child. You would be given the resources you needed for child care, food, shelter and transportation. You would not have to worry about work and the time away from making sure all these other things are in place, as you are given the support to do that without having to work. It is a bridge of support, a temporary relief from any added stress so that you can handle and take care of what is necessary to get through a difficult time, without having to worry about where the money is coming from - it's here for you. Because as a human, you have a right to your basic human rights and the rights of your child. You have a right to take care of priorities without having to worry about the time you must put in to work to ensure you have the Money that, without it, wouldn't give you the opportunity to walk through this time in your life with as much ease as possible.

Why is this not a guarantee for all? Why does our money system say it doesn't matter what happens, if you don't work, you cannot survive, because you need money to buy your life. Why do we not unconditionally care and support each other to do what is necessary to take care of ourselves, our children and our family? Why do we not honor each other with that ability - the ability which is our birth right?

This is another situation that many have and are facing where a Living Income Guarantee would support. You are given the money necessary to take care of your basic needs of survival to walk the process to ensure everyone is stable and cared for. You do not have to work to make money through this stage, unless you see you are able. You can take the time you need to get support for your partner. The opportunity that opens up for the one individual is beyond what we have at the moment, not to mention the self-care available as the time for oneself to work through any internal conflict or struggles that happen in such a situation.

Our economic system should not put more stress on an individual, it should in fact be a life-support system that allows one the ability to live - isn't that what we strive for in our technological, social and economic claim of advancement - a better standard of living for all? If all are not having access to such a point, then we have failed in our "advancement" - we have only then re-designed the same pattern where some are kept in dire situations of worry, stress and fear, while others are ensured their life and living is comfortable and so any unexpected events, such as the one above, does not become a burden and an experience of hopelessness. We have come too far along in our history to have not yet learned that when all individuals in a society are supported to exist in a state of well being, which is supported through ensuring all their basic rights as a human, than you have a healthy society as a whole. It is a disservice to ourselves as a whole in not making sure money is used to support All life, through all situations and events, and not used as a weapon to keep people trapped, in fear and without hope.

Stand in the Shoes of Another, Imagine who you would be and what would best support you. Ensure that you could trade the lives of anyone on Earth and still live in dignity - Investigate the Living Income Guarantee, proposed by the Equal Life Foundation. Stand up for those that are not in a position to do so.