Iceland Unemployment Drops to 2% – Policies To Rebuild the USA

Unlike other countries, Iceland did the right thing for their people.  And now they’re reaping the rewards.

Many other countries?   Not so much.

Still in thrall to the banksters (banks have been allowed to grow even larger than they were before they crashed the global economy in 2008)  millions of people in the US are hungry, homeless, and desperate.   Sadly, “too big to fail” has quickly become “too powerful to prosecute” in the USA.

Here’s a great post about Iceland’s smart decision and how it helped their people avoid the misery imposed by the bankster class upon the rest of us. Iceland continues to show by example what can be done, and despite a complete media black-out on their progressive changes, people all over the globe are cheering.

However, imagine this: class warfare won’t work if we disable the weapon: Inequality.  Greed and avarice are mental disorders, not traits of good human beings.   We need to stand up to those intent upon extracting wealth at the expense of our planet, our wildlife, and our people.  It takes courage, but every day people are making changes and taking action.  We see small steps happening right now, in communities all over the planet.  Even on a state level:North Dakota is the only state showing a surplus today, because they have created a state owned bank. (see #8 below)

Of course, we’d like to see our societies get healthy NOW.  I remind myself that it does take time to slow down a rushing train…even when that train is headed for the precipice of misery, ecological destruction, and possible extinction.

A fabulous article by Sarah Van Gelder of YES magazine outlines 8 policies that could be taken to help human beings in the US right now.  Here they are, excerpted from the article:

1. House the homeless.

While some cities are criminalizing homelessness, the state of Utah has chosen a simple and compassionate approach: giving people homes. With a roof over their heads, people can take on substance abuse, recover from domestic violence, look for work or attend school. There are no strings attached. These residents are not required to be sober or to get help, although they are encouraged to do so. The result: a 78 percent reduction in homelessness, and the state expects to have ended homelessness by 2015.

2. A debt-free college education.

A college degree should not require decades of indebtedness. The average student debt now sits at just under $30,000. Oregon has found a good solution. By a unanimous vote, the legislature adopted a plan call “Pay it Forward, Pay it Back,” which creates a special fund that will allow students to attend state universities tuition-free. In exchange, they will pay 3 percent of their salaries for up to 24 years after graduation. This plan lowers the barriers for anyone who is willing to work hard for an education.

3. Medicare for all.

President Obama’s Affordable Care Act was designed to allow insurance companies to continue profiting from our health care system. The result is a system bogged down in bureaucracy, with multiple plans offering benefits and expenses at different levels and a complex system of subsidies designed to make private insurance affordable.

The upshot? We’ll still be spending a major portion of our health care dollars on overhead and profits (estimates range up to 30 percent), making medical care less affordable for us as patients and as taxpayers. Medicare, on the other hand, provides health coverage for about 3 percent overhead. The state of Vermont is among the states looking at adopting a plan like Canada’s, in which everyone receives coverage similar to Medicare. Relieving us of the cost burden of a bureaucratic health coverage system could do a lot to relieve poverty.

4. End the war on drugs.

The United States imprisons its people at the highest rate in the world; more than 2 million Americans are now behind bars. This is devastating to impoverished families and communities, especially communities of color. And it costs taxpayerson average over $30,000 per year per inmate—much of which goes to a private prison system that lobbies for tougher prison terms to keep their facilities full.

Even years after their release, many formerly imprisoned adults are unable to get jobs or receive public services, and many aren’t allowed to vote. Ending the failed “War on Drugs” in favor of substance abuse treatment would save taxpayers billions and allow vulnerable families and communities to heal. Washington and Colorado have taken an important first step in this direction by legalizing (and taxing) marijuana.

5. Guarantee everyone a basic income.

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama celebrated the drop in unemployment rates. The truth is that there simply aren’t enough jobs for those who would like them; 10.4 million remain unemployed and an additional 10.2 million have temporarily given up looking or work part time because they can’t find full-time jobs. There were on average 2.7 unemployed people for every job opening, as of November.

Instead of punishing these people, or the disabled, or those raising children or caring for elders, we could simply guarantee everyone a basic income. Many countries in Europe do this. A guaranteed minimum income could simplify safety net programs while making sure no one is destitute. And, since everyone would have money to spend, it would maintain a stable customer base for businesses.

6. Invest in averting more climate emergencies.

Extreme weather is now costing the world $1.2 trillion a year, according to The Guardian. Climate change threatens the southwest with drought, coastal regions with flooding, vast areas of the west with wildfires, and the Midwest with tornedoes. Cities around the country may face extreme heat, and even the extreme cold experienced by much of the country in January is likely a function ofdisruptions in the jet stream caused by a warming Arctic region.

These changes are happening with only 0.8 degrees of warming over pre-industrial levels, but much more is on the way. Instead of the “all-of-the-above” energy strategy President Obama promoted in his State of the Union address, we need to invest in an all-out effort to convert to a climate-friendly economy.

Doing so would not only help avert even greater climate-related disasters, it would employ Americans in jobs located here at home. And the spin-off benefits would include cleaner air, more resilient and up-to-date infrastructure, and efficient public transportation.

7. Scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

…And other trade deals that favor transnational corporations over American workers and local businesses. The TPP is being negotiated in secret but leaked documents suggest it would trump local and national food safety laws, clean air and water standards, land use regulations, and other laws that protect our way of life. Buy America and buy local policies could be outlawed, as could regulations to avert another Wall Street meltdown, leaving our economies vulnerable.

And, just like with NAFTA, jobs and wages could take a big hit from the TPP. According to the Economic Policy Institute, NAFTA resulted in a net loss of 1 million jobs from 1994 to 2006. And, according to a recent report by Public Citizen, workers without college degrees (who make up 63 percent of the work force) saw a loss of about 12 percent of their earnings as a result of NAFTA, even when the savings from cheaper imported goods are factored in.

We don’t need trade deals that favor transnational corporations over the rest of us, and Vernon County, Wisc., is among the local jurisdictions that don’t mind saying so.

8. Establish ­­­state banks that invest in us, not Wall Street.

The state of North Dakota set up a public bank in 1919 to hold the state’s deposits and to be the source of credit for state investments. Profits from the bank go back into the state treasury—not to Wall Street.

The result? North Dakota is the only state that has consistently enjoyed a budget surplus, even during the recent recession, and has very low rates of unemployment (its reserves of oil are not the only reason). The bank also partners with community banks, which are in the best position to make loans to local businesses, keeping borrowing costs low in communities throughout the state. It’s a great model that builds our wealth and the prosperity of our locally rooted business sector, instead of the profits of Wall Street banks.

After years of working with this Congress, it’s understandable that the ambitions President Obama spoke to in his State of the Union address are so much lower than when he was elected.

But to achieve real, sustainable prosperity, we need to take on the underlying causes of economic insecurity. That means standing up to the corporations pressing for the TPP and continued lax regulation of Wall Street. And it means confronting head-on what may be the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced—the climate crisis.

To build a sustainable society that works for everyone, bold solutions are what we need. Fortunately, many of the solutions described here are already being pioneered by wise state and local leaders. Their courage and vision are worth emulating.

Living and Evolving in Interesting Times

There is an ancient blessing, “may you live in uninteresting times”. The obvious meaning being that peace and happiness do not make for the kinds of adventures that become the great myths, songs, and stories of the ages. Quiet and happy lives with their small dramas do not make the history books.

And we DO live in interesting times.

The dominant culture into which we were born, is dying. The economic, social, ecological and political systems that were part of the narrative of our reality are now revealed to be clearly unsustainable.

And as much as we may want to ignore this change, it is happening all around us.  Now. More

Bradley Manning, Whistleblower. What would YOU do?

Here’s a question:  If you saw and heard what Bradley Manning did, what would YOU do?

Let’s say that as a naive young person, you actually believed the BS about the military fighting to “preserve our freedoms” and “keep us safe”.  And let’s say that you also believed that the military would, in exchange for your service, provide you with education that would insure your future career opportunities.  Let’s further imagine that you believed that the military was actually about stopping “bad guys” rather than indiscriminately killing innocent civilians.  Yes, that’s a lot of false memes to believe, but just for a moment, lets pretend that you believed these things, and so you enlisted. More

Post Election… The (R)Evolution Continues

For today — and for every day of our lives, the (r)evolution continues.  The US Presidential election is over,  We have installed a centrist democrat technocrat for another term, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief that basic human rights will not be completely eliminated in America.  But  corporate polluters, banksters, and every other organization of unconsciousness — have not gone away in the least bit – this is NOT the time to rest easy…It is time to continue to be love in action.

Every aspect of our society that is showing signs of disease is suffering from one problem: a lack of LOVE.

Consciousness is the answer.  For those who think that this is too “simple” an answer, consider this..

A conscious person would never knowingly do the following:

  • dump oil into our oceans
  • slash social safety nets for the poor, the unemployed, the elderly, and the sick
  • willfully outsource jobs just to line their own pockets
  • mindlessly destroy the rainforest, the “lungs’ of the planet
  • cause unprecidented wildlife extinctions
  • destroy forests and wildlife
  • write laws that discriminate against specific groups of people
  • invade other countries for corporate gain
  • fight against education and justice
  • create an industrial food system based upon toxic pesticides and untested GMOs
  • fund efforts to keep the citizens unaware of all the above
  • knowingly support of any of the above More

Real Change Comes From Within

Real change always begins within.  It begins with becoming Awake.

And becoming Awake begins with Wonder.

For a little perspective…  We are here…

That tiny blue speck is home to countless beautiful species, and each individual within each species is unique.

More

Animal Bill of Rights – Our Extended Family

It has been my experience thus far in life that the more self-aware we become, the more aware we are of impact on others. An unconscious person steps on your toes and doesn’t notice… while an aware person picks up the slightest expression that crosses your face.

Consciousness creates connection through increased awareness and compassion.  The web expands.


And sooner or later, we realize that our increased sensitivity and compassion towards others, also includes those “others” outside of our own species.

More

I’m Green, I Love Jill Stein and Yet I’m Voting Dem

If any political party could represent my views, it would be the Green Party.   I admire Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, and I would be proud to have them as President and Vice President.  The Green New Deal is a progressive, ethical, visionary platform.   In fact, I visited isidewith.com recently just for fun, and discovered – no surprise – I’m just a point short of 100% Green Party.  And Jill Stein  is intelligent, passionate, and brimming with integrity — the kind of person you won’t see in corporatist politicians.

As I write this Ms Stein has just been released from jail.  She was arrested for taking food to activists at a protest of the deadly Keystone Pipeline.  She walks her talk.  (Some pundits have claimed that going to jail makes her “not a serious candidate”.  I suppose these pundits never heard of Nelson Mandala.)

But when I asked around, I confirmed my suspicion  that  in the US, outside of green/left circles, Green candidates are still largely unknown.  Stein doesn’t even have the promotion that Nadar did in 2000, so there’s no way the Green candidates are going to get even 2.7% of the national vote that Nadar did.  The corporatocracy definitely does NOT want progressive ideals to be offered to the American people.

Knowing that a Green or any other third party candidate won’t get elected on November 6th, I ask myself, “which of the two major parties is more likely to take a step towards addressing climate change?”  The answer is obvious.  The one that accepts SCIENCE – not the one who believes that dinosaurs took a joyride on Noah’s ark . More

We Are Unstoppable; Another World Is Possible (Sandy Edition)

Climate Change is finally back in the US discussion after being belittled by the know-nothings on the reich and ignored by both major candidates on the campaign trail.  Finally, finally US political ads are appearing that focus upon climate change.  And remembering this storm, preparing for the next, will perhaps keep Americans from being lulled back into denial by corporate mouthpieces.  Perhaps we’re finally ready to get serious about clean energy and restoring the damage we’ve inflicted.  Time to wake up America. Nap time’s over and the Climate Deniers’ 15 minutes are up.

But there’s another thing happening on the East Coast after Sandy…something that often happens to human beings when disaster strikes.  Compassion.  Humanity.  Love.

Over 8.5 million people lost power; as of this writing power has been restored to all but about 1.5 million people.  But that’s a LOT of homes, apartments and businesses still in the dark and cold.  Up to 40,000 people may be left homeless.  In situations like this, tempers fray, and looting can be expected.  But unexpected acts of community and generosity are everywhere.

Feeding people on the street

Where people were hungry, other people shared their  food — for free.  Restaurants, community groups, and individuals pitched in to share what they had with others.  Makeshift food serving areas spontaneously sprang up on city streets.

Occupy Sandy , which began Wednesday as an amorphous effort by members of Occupy Wall Street, the environmental group  350.org, and a host of community groups to offer relief to devastated areas of the city, had taken a very definite form over the last 72 hours.  Bases like Jacobi church were created to bring people together and concentrate efforts, while satellite locations were established in areas crippled by the hurricane, in Far Rockaway and in Staten Island. Both types of hubs had been wildly successful at collecting and distributing aid and mobilizing volunteers, and now the links between them were being strengthened.  More

Why Does The US Vote on The 2nd Tuesday of November? – backstory

Why does the United States vote on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November?  Seems somewhat convoluted, doesn’t it.  And, really, it does it make sense?  Many people simply can’t get to the polls on weekdays.  Why not switch voting to a weekend?

Actually, many people have pushed for a change to weekend voting, but the change has always been opposed, especially by those who feel they benefit by low voter turnout.

Even though America’s voter turnout is among the lowest in mature democracies and more than a quarter of people who do not vote claim they are too busy, efforts to move elections to weekends have failed.

The Tuesday after the first Monday in November was set as presidential election day in 1845. -BBC

Did you ever wonder why voting day is always on a Tuesday…or why we vote in November? More

Greetings Fellow Earthlings: This is Our Home

“You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.” ~Alan Watts

The monotheistic belief of being alien to this world, placed here by a vengeful god, has wreaked a terrible devestation upon us all.  After the followers of this belief conquered the earth-based spirituality of our ancestors, it became dominant, with horrific consequences that are finally becoming global.  

The belief that we are “outsiders”, and not a part of this planet has lead modern humankind to  feel isolated and hostile, compelled to “conquer” nature,  fouling the air, soil, and water.  In remembering that we are indeed Earthlings, and all beings are our family, comes the realization that we are – and have always been  – HOME.

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