Realism versus Pessimism

Many people who hear me talk about the problems of this world and my home country, America, probably come away with the view that I am a pessimist.  I’ll admit that in some ways they are right, but not for the fact of what I say, but more for the fact that I have too much faith in the corruptibility and blindness of my fellow-man.  I am not talking of specific people, who can still achieve great heights of good, but of human society, which is a melting pot of all the aspects of human nature.  I believe that all the whoa-es of this country and world stem from our own inability to face our problems for what they are instead of what select people turn them into.

I come from a family background where a lot of things happened but they were kept hidden, not talked about, or directly dealt with because of the desire to keep up appearances.  I include myself as part of this problem since I to learned to hide myself behind what people expected instead of what I meant.  Only in my later decades did I learn the true costs of living a manufactured reality as opposed to facing the issues as they are.  The true cost is losing a part of yourself.

Needless to say, I am more sensitive to what people say and what they actually do.  By no means am I a master of history; however, I keep an open mind and constantly assess the promises of dogma against the reality they created.  For those that are long time readers of this blog, you are used to my method of looking at the rhetoric and taking my experiences or historical understandings to show how unrealistic the rhetoric is.

For those who are not used to the way I look at things, one example that always comes to mind is the Catholic Church.  I find it hard to believe millions of people continue following the doctrines laid down by the Vatican when they still have not dealt with pedophile Priests in a responsible manner.  How could a Church that talks about the sanctity of marriage and the wrongness of the Gay lifestyle do so little when reports of Priests harming children reached their ears?  How could they just pass the problem along in the name of saving face?  How could they persecute the victims for speaking out and not the Priests for committing the crimes? Finally, how can Catholics still have faith in a church that has done nothing, a church that does not own up to what they allowed to happen, and a church that says, trust what we say and you will be saved, yet allows Priests to commit such sins and still be part of the Church?

The Rhetoric is that the Catholic Church is your path to redemption, just keep supporting us and we will tell you all the evil things to avoid so you can enter heaven.  Don’t pay any attention to the fact that we know what evil things to avoid by allowing some of our members and leaders to commit them.  What the faithful Catholic’s who do not demand accountability of their church don’t understand is that they are equally culpable.  Ignoring evil for convenience sake is evil in and of its self.  This to me is realism.  Yes, there are a lot of factors involved; however, if you keep sweeping it under the rug instead of dealing with it, eventually your rug is sitting on a mound of dirt and your room is impassable.  I believe the problem can be fixed if people face the problem.  Pessimism means that I don’t believe the problem is fixable.

So I am a realist in what I try to express to you and why I think the way I do.  I am also a pessimist, because after looking at human history and hearing the same Rhetoric again and again, I have little faith in our ability to face the problems?  The banking mess of 2008 occurred for the same reasons as the Great Depression, the S&L Bailout, and all the Stock Bubbles of recent years, but we keep trusting these people when they say it won’t happen again.  Bones.

Music Documentaries

I thought it would be nice to share with you some great music documentaries I have watched that made me an even deeper fan of the artists in the films.  First off, Muscle Shoals, which I just recently watched.  The film tells the story behind the recording studios in Muscle Shoals Alabama and their influence on the world and the many surprising artist who started their careers their.  It is filled with deep emotion and perseverance.

Next, Standing in the Shadow of Motown, which tells the story of the musicians behind most of the hits that came out of Detroit.   The history lesson is priceless and the renditions of many hit songs with different singers his handled very well.  Third, The Promise:  The Making of a Darkness on the Edge of Town, a documentary about Bruce Springsteen’s struggle to follow-up his hit album Born to Run.  The sheer about of music he created for this one album was amazing.

Finally, The True History of the Traveling Wilburys, a look at how George Harrison brought the likes of Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, and Jeff Lynn together to make an album.  Each of these artists had success on their own but enjoyed working with others in the industry to create new sounds.  All of these videos give a glimpse of the creative effort that goes behind the iconic music we listen to and remember year after year.  In addition, they share some insights into the people who speak to our innermost hearts and the personal histories that made them able to do so.  If you have a chance, I highly recommend each and everyone of these documentaries.

Ending Net Neutrality would be the equivalent of Sauron winning the War of the Rings

Face it folks, we are in a fight for our lives.  Will we continue to let them separate us from any chance of a fair and balanced playing field or will we slink into a corner like a whipped dog and let them create a two standard internet?  An internet where the have’s get all the best service and the have-nots’ get the scrapes.  Class warfare at its finest.

This is the reality our form of Capitalism leads us to.  In pursuit of the all mighty dollar, nothing must stand in the way, not even God.  When you have an economic system where the people who profit the most can write the laws, is it no wonder that the laws help them to profit more.  We have already seen the results in the Banking industry where the banks basically run the Federal Reserve, which sets the policy that they follow.  Surprise, they mess up and we get stuck with the bill.  Also, isn’t it a conflict of interest for former bankers to run the Federal Reserve since they set policy for the banks.

Our health care is no better.  Health Insurance companies are nothing short of monopolies with large conflicts of interest.  Does it frighten anyone else but me that insurance companies are buying hospitals and healthcare systems.  Oh, they will say it is to help drive costs down, but I only see them going up.  The out of control costs of healthcare are creating yet another two-tier class system between those with the money to be healthy and those that don’t.  Dick Cheney can get all the heart healthcare he needs without sacrificing his home and family.  Can you?

Education is even worse than healthcare.  How long will it be before only the wealthy can go to college or even have a high school education?  We are already at a point where I question the worth of a College education.  For the cost of a college education (student loan debt) do graduates actually make enough in salary improvement that there is a net gain?  Will they spend the rest of their lives paying for the education that was to make their life better.

And now they want to do the same with the internet and I can guarantee we will open Pandora’s box if we let them have their way.  Public and private interests are increasingly dependent on the internet to function.  If providers can create tiered service, companies that want to provide better services will have to pay more and as a result charge more, which will limit the people they can sell to.  What happens when all music and video entertainment goes completely to streaming?  Will those that can afford the better service be the only ones that can enjoy music or movies?

What happens to companies that are dependent on internet sales to make a profit?  Will they have to pony up more money for a reliable connection in order to conduct their business?   If they do pony up, will they charge more or sacrifice profit?   How will the inability of large segments of America to afford the service level needed to access these businesses affect the company’s ability to make sales and maintain profitability?  What happens to a company that gets into a dispute with a provider over the cost of the providers service?  Will they be pushed down to a lower level of service with delays and errors that strangle the company to death?  We already had a taste of that with Netflix.

What about companies dependent on quick, efficient, and accurate transfers of large amounts of data to run their businesses.  Will Internet Providers be allowed to hold their life blood hostage to gain more profit?  In the end, who will bear the brunt of such power plays, the companies or the consumers?  Companies stay alive by making sure their costs are not more that the price they sell their product for; thus, if they pay more they have to charge more.  It is that simple.

Of course the proponents of this legislation will tell you that such things will not occur and if they do, they will only be minor aberrations.  Again, I draw your attention to Netflix and also, the cell phone services that had to pay fines for throttling customers data rates.  History shows that they will indeed misuse the power given them by the destruction of Net Neutrality.  Hell, Net Neutrality barely keeps them in check now.

In the end will America be for all Americans or will we continue down the path we are walking where only those with the money get to enjoy life?   Will history show that a once great people sold their children into economic slavery for the sake of profit?  Profit they never really shared in.  That is the path we have been on ever since the Federal Reserve was created.  We chose short cuts to wealth, which we are only now seeing the terrible cost of.   Will the end of Net Neutrality just be one more shortcut to quick wealth for the few at the cost of the many?  You decide.  Will Sauron cover the earth in an all consuming darkness or will Frodo destroy the one ring?


P.S. Note the number of tags I have made for this posts and think on how many are affected by access to the internet.  Then think of all the other things I have missed.