Tag Archives: usa

What if We (the USA) Left Everyone Else Alone?

Note: Remember, this is just an out loud brainstorm. I’m eager to engage in discussion, but please don’t come on too strong as this isn’t a statement of beliefs I hold strongly, just a “What if?” to make me think a little more.

USA FlagWith approval rates low and mumbles of impeachment here and there, there’s few people in support of the current President and maybe even fewer in support of the war. The main face of the USA that people around the globe see is either Bush on a TV somewhere or a military person stationed in their country. We have more military around the globe then many other countries combined.
On top of that, our benevolence in foreign aid mostly goes to buying military weapons for our allies, and the little that goes to actual humanitarian work doesn’t outweigh the illegitimate debt we require back from the same countries we are giving aid to.

So, I wonder, what if we just quit? In economics class I once heard the term “lifeboat” economics to describe the idea of us not helping other countries, that if we did help them our lifeboat would sink, so instead we just need to look out for our own, and keep our lifeboat to ourselves. I wonder sometimes, if that would be so bad.

What if all of our military worldwide, packed up and moved back to the states? What if any Multinational Corporation that did business in the USA had to move it’s factories (sweatshops) back into the borders? What if we gave up on holding illegitimate debt over the heads of third world countries? What if we stopped our environmental hazards and dumping on the rest of the world? What if we stopped giving aid and sending PeaceCorps volunteers?

Would the rest of the world survive without us? Would it all go up in flames and anarchy? I’ve wondered about it recently, and I’m currently leaning toward ‘the world is going to be okay.’ I’m starting to think we do more harm then good with our superpower and privilege. We definitely do some good, and for those out there doing good in the world on behalf of the USA, I don’t mean to take away from your work.

What do you think? Would the rest of the world survive without Washington’s watchful eye and strong hand to hold things together? Do they need us?

Severe Poverty in the USA

So, in the richest, most powerful country in the world, Severe Poverty is at an all time high. Does anyone else find this terribly disturbing?

From Miami CBS:

The McClatchy Company – owners of the Miami Herald – a CBS4 news partner – went through an analysis of 2005 census figures, the latest available, and found that nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty.

A family of four, with two children and an annual income of less than $9,903 — half the federal poverty line — was considered severely poor in 2005. So were individuals who made less than $5,080 a year.

Oh, and “US Corporate Profits At Highest Levels, Too.”

read more.

Free The Slaves: Today, Not History

Slavery is not legal anywhere but happens Everywhere. Today, there are nearly 27 million slaves in the world, more then at any other time in history.

Months ago I read a National Geographic magazine that had a large article, complete with photographs, about modern day slavery that exist in our world. 27 million people in slavery and this article wasn’t even the cover feature, that was reserved for the Zebras.
Mindy had the foresight to cut the pictures out of the magazine and post them on the walls of our bathroom where we would see them often and not be able to put out of our mind the reality of injustice our neighbors face.

Even in the United States, there are an estimated 10,000 enslaved workers here. If you have five minutes, watch this short video from Dr. Kevin Bales about Slavery in the United States

The ending as you can see has an important lesson on the role of each of us in knowing and loving our neighbors. Responding to the injustices that we see right around us, and intentionally placing ourselves in a way that we will know and be aware of those injustices when they occur.

Check out Free The Slaves and Get Involved.

Isn’t There Something Wrong with This?

Zach sent me this video the other day, which we both found very disturbing.

I understand the police reasoning is maybe, possibly, within the law, but it is laws that should be questioned then. These folks had homes until the police destroyed them. Can you imagine being homeless in a country like this? So much wealth and resources and yet, for one reason or another, you can’t make ends meet. Now your just trying to survive on the streets and the police, supposedly there to protect citizens, are destroying your homes, kicking you out of places you’ve found rest and safety in, and leaving you to wander.

Does this bother anyone else?

Commuter USA: what our lives are becoming.

I ran across this article while looking at something else on Newsweek and some of the statistics and stories shocked me. “The Long and Grinding Road” is all about the great rise in commuting that has been happening in our country, even while gas prices go up.

As we’re pushed to the edge of civilization by runaway home prices and a longing for wide-open spaces, the daily rat race is turning into a marathon. “Extreme commuters” who travel more than 90 minutes to work, one way, are the fastest-growing group of commuters, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

They give some other reasons behind the rise in commuting, but more shocking then that was all the acknowledgements of how taxing and harmful the long commutes are:

Robert Putnam, author of “Bowling Alone,” found that every 10 minutes added to your commute decreases by 10 percent the time you dedicate to your family and community.

The result of all these drivers behaving badly: more crashes. A federal study released last week found that 80 percent of crashes are caused by “driver inattention,” up from a previous estimate of 25 percent.

The longer the commute, the more likely the commuter will suffer bouts of road rage, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and ulcers, says Dr. John H. Casada, a specialist in road stress. And Georgia Tech researchers found that every 30 minutes spent driving increases your risk of becoming obese by 3 percent.

Drivers today eat an average of 32 meals a year in their car, according to the researcher NPD Group. And one in four restaurant meals is now ordered from the car.

And then they go into all the new advances that fast food, car manufacturers and others are making to appeal to your commuting needs.
I took the brief survey Newsweek has about my commute and found the over all results surprising. 50% of the people surveyed spend over $40 a week on commuting cost. 65% of those surveyed commute over 15 miles (I think that’s one way) and spend over 30 minutes in their car. I guess I spend about the same amount of time on my bike, so maybe I’ve got to watch out for some of these things too.