Allvoices


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Monday, May 27, 2013

Invest the Money Where it Counts

         

                So institutions of higher education are experiencing huge surpluses in their budget, yet they cannot afford to give raises to their faculty, while programs and classes continue to get eliminated as a result of budget cuts.  This doesn’t make sense!  How can institutions afford enormous bonuses for their boards of trustees and administrators, yet cannot afford to pay professors, largely the ones responsible for developing the future of this nation?
                Across the country, there are many cases where college executives, both retiring and incoming, earn over six figures, while their faculty members barely make a living salary, many of whom have not had raises for many years.  Meanwhile, administrators are the ones that collect most of the profits while making decisions and policy, generally not in the best interest of the institution, and typically spend their time wining and dining with college contributors and benefactors.
                Are educational funds truly being invested towards the educational benefit of the students?  Are college administrators truly out to serve the educational needs of society by developing high quality graduates, or are they serving a rich influential board that has a narrow scope on what kinds of students the institution should produce and only serve a focused agenda (i.e., standardized assessment tools and products that some of its board members produce).
                Has the greed of capitalism set in our educational institutions so that a few can make a profit off our students?  After all, just look at the government charging 10.5% interest on student loans while only levying a .75% rate interest for major banks.  It’s almost as if Congress is making every attempt to privatize education and undermine the freedom of public education for the masses as well as affordable college for those who cannot afford to pursue the luxury of a four-year college degree or higher.  Or commonly known as, “The dumbing down of America.”
                Clearly, quality education in the United States is not a top priority.  Nor does it appear that the government is interested in developing high quality educated students at a minimum fare.  It seems that the government is only interested in developing a certain class of educated people in this society.  That is dangerous.  As it is, drop-out levels in high school and lower grade educational institutions are already high enough.  This is because, largely, society has not taken accountability for developing and participating in a highly developed educational system.  Rather, educational institutions are treated more like “childcare centers” for children of all ages.  Parents must be held equally accountable for the development of their offspring and companies must allow time for this to take place.  This is especially important for the future of companies in America if the United States expects to become a leader in the world once again.  However, the other factor that undermines the quality of our educational system is the government’s insatiable appetite for military spending.
                More money is invested in an over-bloated war machine that has consumed the Federal Government’s budget that takes away important investment funds for education, health care, and other social issues.  We could afford a higher quality educational system if military funding was put in its rightful place in society.  That is, the United States must transition from a mentality of serving as the world’s “police force,” to that of only having a military only for national defensive purposes.  Presently, our military services are used for offensive purposes.  The government gets it nose into the affairs of other countries far too often.  A military should only be used for peaceful and defensive purposes – to defend this country.  Too many times, we have used the military as a pre-emptive device and largely to promote a political agenda – not the will of the people.
                Another matter which interferes with a higher educational system is the dictatorship of an international banking cartel which dictates to the government how this country should invest and prioritize this spending.  These strings must be cut – especially, when they do not meet the needs of the people, but rather an elite few.
                If the government cannot change its spending priorities, then it is the responsibility of the people to ensure that the Congress changes its ways.  If elections to remove irresponsible leaders fail, then, a peaceful revolution to make governmental changes is in order through a new constitutional convention.  The present Constitution, however, works – only if people abide by the spirit of the document – not add anything special or subversive to the original framework if the original governing document.  The problem is, there is no accountability to upholding the Constitution nor are our leaders held to a binding rules of ethics.  Our leaders and government employees must be held accountable to the U. S. Constitution.  If they fail to do so, they should be removed immediately.  These representatives should be held accountable to the voters.
If we are to ensure that money allocated towards higher education is to be invested in our students and professors, classes, programs and not administrators, then a wholesale change in societal attitude is in order.  Our citizenry should no longer tolerate the greed that has crept into every crevasse of society, but must learn how to eradicate it and say, “No, we will no longer tolerate this behavior anymore.  We, the people, desire to build a higher quality educational system – not driven by test scores – but based on other more important factors.”
                The political war machine must finally be put in its proper perspective and priority in the budget.  If present government refuses to make these changes, then government changes are absolutely necessary.

                Only the ignorant will attempt to privatize education and maintain it only for the elites out of pure greed and stupidity.  The wise, however, will make education affordable and accessible to the dreamers and masses.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Here is my new book trailer to A Vision for Humanity -- Moving Mankind in the Right Direction. Presently available in e-book on Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook. But look for the release of the paperback edition later in the Summer of 2013. ()

Saturday, September 29, 2012

In Defense of the Occupy Movement (Revolution)


According to the history of the occupy movement on www.occupywallst.org:

“Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. #ows is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to fight back against the richest 1% of people that are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.

The Occupy movement continues to make its presence known.  It also continues to encounter skirmishes with local law enforcement agencies that continuously try to shut the movement down.  You can’t silence the voice of the people – particularly the 99% of the people of the United States of America.  Officers frequently arrest occupy protesters only to have their apprehensions overturned by the courts as being unconstitutional.  What disturbs me is the fact that law enforcement agencies are not out to protect protesters “freedom” as guaranteed by the United States Constitution to assemble peaceably.  It appears more like a move by city leaders, like in large corporations, to deny citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression also guaranteed by the First Amendment.  These demonstrators carry no weapons, but are treated like common criminals beaten with billysticks, mace, and pepper spray during peaceful demonstrations.

Yes, it may be an inconvenience for civic leaders to have these people residing on community property.  But one must remember, the lives of these individuals were inconvenienced by governments, banks, and corporations who displaced them by taking their jobs and exporting them to foreign countries, foreclosing on their homes and making a lot of the homeless, raising tuition on students while school administrators reap the luxury and benefits while cancelling programs and classes necessary for these students to graduate in a timely manner.  Yet, the federal government favors Wall Street by granting banks and corporations obscenely large bailouts in their distressful times, yet turning a blind eye to the average citizen.  Yet Congress still talks about extending tax favors for the rich while the national debt continues to rise on the backs of the middle and poverty classes.

Corporations are notorious for suppressing the freedom of speech and expression within their walls.  Individuals who speak out against corporate infractions, such as whistle-blowers, are often chastised and treated with impunity within these companies.  Occasionally, the Justice Department would step in to the defense of the witness -- but rarely.  Now that the Supreme Court has paved the way for corporations to act very much like “people,”  these companies are exerting their influence through law enforcement agencies to silence the 99% and their quest to voice their grievance and petition the government, also guaranteed by the First Amendment, by acting like the country is now, the “United States, Incorporated.”  What has happened to the basic principle of a government by the people and for the people?  Or should that say, by the real people, for the real people?  Or have we lost these rights when the Supreme Court sold the country out to Corporate America?

I agree whole-heartedly with the peaceful, strategic ways of the occupy movement.  But Congress should be forewarned that the people of America are crying – they’re not listening.  Such a movement can, like the rest of the world’s revolution, lead to a more aggressive approach if the voices of the people continue to be ignored and the government continues to service only the rich.  This could very well be the dawning of a brand new revolution to take our country back, reform and establish a new government that will be responsive to the people.  After all, the people are screaming for jobs and better health and financial security.  Yet Congress continues to work on other matters such as not passing a job bill or revamping Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid that are not in the best interest of the people.  In addition, Congressional leaders would much rather legislate women’s health issues rather than work on the more important issues at hand.  This is certainly not representing their constituents well.  It almost appears that Congressional leaders are fulfilling an agenda paid for by special interests and parties – not of their voters at large -- such as, disregarding the will of the American people in favor of following the agenda of a political party such as making the President a one-term leader.  How narrow-minded can a governing body get?  This is almost like the illustration where Caesar fiddled while Rome burned -- only in this case, the Congress kow-towed to the rich while the United States was flushed down the toilet.  And in light of the current economic condition, this might not be far off.

Where I wish the occupy movement will improve itself is becoming more organized in its operations.  What they need is a true leader in the likes of George Washington, Nelson Mandela, or José Marti.  But, the movement will also require total participation of the 99% -- a greater voice such as the demonstrations in Portugal and Spain during the weekend of September 29, 2012 in every city of this nation.  Not thousands, but millions must rise with a common voice to make our grievance known and to make this revolution a peaceful transition -- but then, a total removal of unresponsive, unaccountable leaders.  Leaders and law enforcement officers should be held accountable for the oaths they have taken to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.”  Any violation of this oath should be brought to justice including the removal of office or position.  Such a violation demonstrates that the individual cannot be trusted in the office or position he/she has been appointed or elected to serve.  Such protection of the U.S. Constitution also includes its amendments and freedoms guaranteed in the law of the land.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Oil Drilling in Whittier Hills?

The debate over drilling for oil in the Whittier Hills is getting nasty and rude. Opponents of the idea should be allowed their space to exercise their freedom of speech by publicly expressing their opinion and concerns with dignity and respect without belittling individuals. Politicians who must resort to name-calling do not demonstrate qualities of desirable professionalism and ethics. When the time comes when politicians shut the voice of the people out, then it’s time to clean-up government. After all, this is supposed to be a democracy, isn’t it? Politicians were sworn to protect and defend the Constitution. Who was the Constitution written for when the preamble of it states: “We the People…”

I highly support our City Council -- they are very dedicated to the City of Whittier. But more importantly, the freedom of speech of the people, either pro or con, guaranteed by the First Amendment must be defended. And, I must respect this above all else. Both sides must be granted a voice, equally and honorably.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bank of America Automatic Bill Pay System Flaw Double Debits Checking Account


A week ago, I attempted to pay my regular monthly bills in advance using the automatic bill pay system provided by my bank, Bank of America, which allows me to schedule payments via their website and provides a convenient way to avoid writing separate checks and placing them in the mail.  Anticipating my regular monthly disability deposit and considering that I would be hospitalized due to vocal cord surgery for the following two days, I used the system to schedule automatic bill payments in advance, knowing that there were insufficient funds at the time.

When I was completed entering all my payments for the pay schedule, I clicked on the “submit” button only to receive an error message indicating that the system could not process the requests and to try again later.  I assumed that the system was down for maintenance.  So I tried again later in the day only to encounter the same error message.  Okay, perhaps, I thought, it wasn’t permitting me to schedule payments in advance because there were insufficient funds in my account.  So I elected to defer the attempt until after the deposit was made and after I was discharged from the hospital, hopefully a day later.

Fortunately, the hospitalization was just an overnight stay.  I was released the next afternoon after a 24-hour observation period.  When I came home, I made another attempt to schedule bill payments using the same system, this time, I had success.  The system accepted my request and I was able to get a confirmation printout of the scheduled payments.  It did not allow me to do this on Monday.  Little did I realize that payments were actually queued in the system in the background without my knowledge for the day that it claimed was having problems processing my request.

When I checked the balance of one of the credit cards, I noted that there were two payments posted on July 22nd, and July 23rd consecutively.  I only authorized payment for July 23rd.

When I examined the checking account via the website, I discovered that the system made two payments for ten items totaling over $1,286.16.  The ten items were paid twice resulting in an overpayment of about $643.  These transactions practically cleaned out my checking account.  One set of payments were automatically made on July 22nd without my authorization or knowledge.  Then a second set of payments to the same companies were made the following scheduled day, July 23rd, as expected.

When I called customer support to get my money back, they were absolutely helpless.  They claimed there was nothing that they could do because the funds were already disbursed electronically.  How ironic, they could take your funds out within minutes, but in order to get your money back, it takes days, even weeks while these companies collect a profit off your money!

To add insult to injury, they said that I would have to contact each payee individually myself because of privacy protection laws.  I think this is pure laziness and poor customer service.  After all, it’s their programming blunder that caused this error in the first place.  Can’t they take responsibility for their own problems?  Where’s the accountability?  In my opinion, this is just nothing more than irresponsible employees trying to hide behind the “big white elephant.”

Corporations, especially banks, need to protect their customers’ accounts better.  Obviously, no one was monitoring these transactions.  Sure, they all blame it on the computer for causing these problems.  I blame it on humans for faulty programming and not managing the computers to begin with.  Pointing the fingers at computers is just a cloaking mechanism to hide poor quality of personnel and management.  If they are so quick to point fingers at computers for their errors and blunders, then customers should be concerned and have cause to quickly move their accounts elsewhere.

Consumers beware, check your bank accounts daily.  Your bank’s computer system could be debiting your accounts more than once.  Sad part about it, your bank wouldn’t even care to help get your money back.