US Courts and the Decline of American Society

Injustice I

 

(The following is an amended post in response to a blog on Divorce, Child Custody and Alimony)

The family law system in the United States is broken no matter which way you look at it. There is too much corruption, too much arrogance – on the part of both judges and lawyers, and it doesn’t seem like there is much incentive to fix it which I suppose is due to the amount of money that is generated by the system. It is very self-serving to say the least. I am not sure if there has ever been a study on exactly how much is generated by the family law system but I am sure that it is astronomical. The entire system needs to be placed under a microscope and overhauled. This will be difficult because most politicians seem reluctant to get involve in this issue perhaps because their previous occupations have been as lawyers. To say that a conflict of interest exist would be an understatement.

One significant thing that does need to occur in my opinion, is to eliminate the extreme familiarity that seems to be prevalent within the

Justice III

Unfortunate but true

system between certain judges and lawyers. If you find an attorney that is very “familiar” with a certain judge, you can expect that you will, for the most part, obtain very favourable rulings. In a system where justice is supposed to be blind, this is absolutely deplorable.

Secondly, there does seem to be a need for re-education with respect to gender perception in the courts. In the 21st century where equal gender rights are at the fore of most discussions, it is mind-boggling that courts still rule in favour of women a majority amount of the time. There can never be true equality as long as this remains true.

Lastly, the issue of who has the most money to spend is also a significant factor that should not be apart of the family law equation or any court proceedings in my opinion. Especially when the discussion surrounds what is in the best interests of the child, the fact that one can still “buy” the law is also deplorable. It diminishes the whole notion of justice. In a nation where we taut Justice and Liberty as a mantra, to have the type of corruption and miscarriages of this sort experienced within the courts makes us a laughing stock to the rest of the world. By the way the courts are managed, especially the family court system, we might as well be a third world nation.

This corruption exceeds the immediate realm of the family affected. It impacts society as a whole. If you have children that are being torn apart by the court system, and to a large degree by the parents involved, the psychological impact on society is felt through their angst, disillusion with family life and feelings of abandonment by one or both of the parents. It is easy to see how some will take out their anger on the society around them perhaps by becoming disturbed enough to commit some heinous crime; abuse alcohol or drugs; or be recruited by destructive internal or external influences. It could take the form of involving themselves in unhealthy relationships of all sorts themselves resulting in a very broken culture and country. In any case, the impact is quite pronounced on any society both in the short and long term. This is not by any means what occurs in every case but I believe that it occurs often enough that “monsters” to our society are being created at an alarming rate. The term “monsters” refers to that which we fear, torments us, or creates havoc and destruction.

I feel that in order to significantly change our society for the better, an imperative step must be to reform the court system especially with respect to the family courts. There should be great attention given to this issue as well as discussions and mass demonstrations in support of change to the current state of the court system. We have to first get angry and then act to ensure that true, genuine, and equitable changes are made. Otherwise we will continue to experience a society in decline at its base level. We won’t have to concern ourselves with external forces trying to destroy the nation as we seem to be doing a damn good job of it ourselves. All our enemies need do is sit back and wait for our inevitable fall, no action required!  In the immortal words of Cassius from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “The fault is not in our stars but in ourselves”.

For the foundation of any society is in its people, its families and most importantly, its children.  We are all responsible for developing and maintaining these important resources to ensure a prosperous and healthy future.  One significant way to achieve this is by maintaining an honest and just judicial system that will endeavour to administer justice both equitably and without prejudice.

(Reference blog, “What Monster Have You Created?”)Justice IV

Adiuva me verterem figuram mundi  Thoth II

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Holiday Season Musings

Thinking II

As I sit down to compose another blog, I find that I am beside myself with worry and concern, as I am sure most of you are, with regard to the state of current affairs and the direction that this world is headed.   As we near this commercialised season where we are wished a Merry Christmas; shop until we inevitably drop searching for that special deal for ourselves and others and nonchalantly stress peace and good will, it’s hard to buy into an idealised fantasy of the season with all the pretentiousness, selfishness, hate, violence and death. How can anyone truly be optimistic considering the recent violent events in France, the US, and the Middle East? You can basically pick any location across the globe and look on with fear and horror  at what is transpiring.

It’s quite ironic, or perhaps just sad, that we primarily call for peace on earth, good will towards others and shop for baubles when violence, conflict and war is the order of the day.  The world has become more polarised  by ideological differences and we seem to become more desensitised to the resulting violence as we casually focus more on arguing or debating who’s right and who’s wrong with respect to etiology.  I use the term “etiology” because what we are facing seems like a disease of man-kind.  We face this disease of hatred and violence by foolishly polarising ourselves and then assigning blame to the symptoms instead of Thinking IVintelligently finding the root cause. The resulting choices that we make  are based on misguided assumptions and rooted in fear and personal ambition. This then inevitably leads to the making of more monsters spreading more diseases.

I would like to believe that the glass is half full rather than half empty regarding the destiny of the human species but that is exceptionally difficult to do.  Considering how self-absorbed we are individually and the degree to which our societies and governments have increasingly become more and more self-serving guided by the will of the few instead of the needs of the many, it is quite easy to take a pessimistic view on the fate of humanity.  This pains me deeply to ponder as it should anyone of conscience, compassion and intelligence.

I don’t want to mislead you into thinking that I have the cure for what ails us. I don’t believe that any one person does.  At the cost of repeating myself, I do believe that we need to alter the course that we find ourselves on by altering our perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. We need to see clearly through the smoke and mirrors that we have been bombarded with.  I have never been one of late to revel in the commercial Christmas season. I believe that the best gift you can give to someone comes from within and not from an expensive department store. Without trying to sound maudlin or too pretentious, the greatest gift one can Thinking IIIreceive is your time, understanding, compassion, wisdom, and love.  I know that many around this world have been affected by violence, hatred and despair either directly or indirectly. We need to help as a community or individually and reject the selfish, self-serving mentality that seems to be omnipresent.

Below I have included a video link to one of my favourite songs. To me it’s about utilising sympathy and empathy for another.  I hope that you will enjoy it also and give sincere thought for the well-being of others as well as who you really are as an individual and what type of world you want to live in and pass on.

Digital Age Disconnection

Technology VI

As I am out an about traveling today, I have logged a few observations with respect Technology IIto this digital/techno age we find ourselves immersed in and the decline of human interaction.  It is quite odd to note the sheer number of social animals mesmerised by their toys instead of engaged in interaction with one another. Especially in a setting which is conducive to collective gathering and chatter, the preference is to consult with ones personal companion – i.e. mobile phone, laptop or other so-called “smart” gadget to occupy their idle time and dull their senses.

Technology VI was also quite amazed by the fact that the private mobile phone is not-so private as we would like it to be. Just recall how often you have been privy to a private, personal and often uncomfortable conversation by a number of individuals in a rather public place – such as an airport, movie theatre or a train station. If you should ever find yourself in a very populated location whether it be in one of the aforementioned or any busy thoroughfare, take 10 to 20 minutes and make note of exactly how many social animals you note on their personal mobile phones.  My count, in a populated and busy shopping area in one European city came to 100 in roughly 25 minutes. I would not be shocked if you could surpass that number.

It wasn’t so long ago when these items were just novelty and human interaction meant talking to one another or taking the time to chat with someone you were not very familiar with.  That took courage by today’s standards. Something that seems to be in drastic decline today.  I mean how much courage can it take to live on the internet communicating with others in a sterile manner without having to subject yourself to the frightening aspect of having to speak face to face.  And if you have some unpleasant news to convey such as your displeasure with someone or Technology VIIperhaps to end a relationship, why not send an email or better yet a quick text – “It’s been nice spending time with you the last couple of weeks but I think I need some me time now. Perhaps we’ll meet up some other time. :)”  Have any of you been the victim of one of these courageous communicates or perhaps aware of someone who has?

Technology VIII

It seems as though our lives are becoming so sterile and that society is on this unyielding spiral downward as technology becomes more intrusive in our lives.  The most disturbing aspect of that statement is that we are happily riding the train to that very destruction.  I have stated before that it is great to connect with someone over vast distances that we would not otherwise be able to stay in close contact with. However, when does the use of devices for that purpose become excessive? To what degree do we remove the human element from our lives?  How much of ourselves must we sacrifice for the sake of innovation and technology? The next time you find yourself alone in a populated location with nothing to do don’t be Technology IXso quick to pull out your laptop or reach for that mobile companion with its mind-numbing apps. Take out a book or even a magazine and read it or better yet take the time to get to know someone around you. You may be pleasantly surprised and your social skills can only benefit from the experience.

Rant Over!

 

 

Wisdom I

Adiuva me verterem figuram mundi  Thoth II

 

 

Before My Journey’s End

Falling I

Descending helplessly through air so still

Grasping for branch, vine, or twig

Often in desperation, sometimes without care

To hold, be held, and validated in existence

For nothing can prevent the eventuality that awaits

But prior to that surcease of pain and sorrow, the companion of my seasons

I want to breathe the air divinely

I want to pause to observe the flutter of humming birds wings

I want to view the Transit of Venus across the sun

I want to leave sign and symbol of my diminishing descent from which there is no return

Hear me great hand that designs both fortune and fate

I want to live! I want to live!

If only for a fleeting moment before my journey’s end

Wisdom I

 

Adiuva me verterem figuram mundi  Thoth II

An Unwanted Sight

Unwanted Sight II

I See, I See!

I wander aimlessly in a world of dreams unfulfilled

Truth, hope and faith have been replaced with apathy, despair and ignorance

The shadows that hide within the confines of the light consumes the integrity and justice of promises long since vanquished

I See, I See!

How eagerly the herd adapts to life in the darkness

No courage inhabits their souls, no wisdom to enlighten their minds, no angels walk among them and no God to save them!

Only death and the pain of the departed to serve as their faithful companion

I See, I See!

I should have remained asleep, blissfully in a dream with my eyes closed

Concealed comfortably within the confines of the fold

Wisdom I

How Do You Face Life’s Challenges?

Here is a story conveyed to me some time ago. I have been reflecting on it a great deal recently and I sincerely hope that it will be of benefit to you as difficulties arise in your life.

Challenges IIIOn a migratory journey down south, a bird decided to leave his flock believing that he could reach their intended destination quicker. While in flight through a cold winter spell his wings became stiff and started to ice over.  He noticed a peaceful patch of land near a farmhouse and decided to land to de-ice his wings.  Shortly after landing in the field, a very large and somewhat unimpressive cow wandered over.  She asked the bird what was he doing to which he sarcastically replied, “I am trying to thaw my feathers so that I can continue on my journey south. Why else would I be here in winter?”  He went on to convey to the curious cow that he should have never left his flock because he has done nothing but waste time especially speaking with her.  The cow, with very little expression, told him that she understood not bothered at all by his sarcasm. She then turned around and proceeded to drop a large amount of “dung” on top of him then walked away very casually.  The bird was both shocked and angry.  The odorous, hot manure dumped Challenge IVon him was an awful thing to do he lamented.  What a worthless, miserable old cow to do such a thing. The emotion consumed him as he now had to clean the smelly dung from his wings.

Shortly there after, a cat wandered over to him. He stated to the bird that he had observed everything that had transpired.  He also stated that it was an incredibly mean-spirited thing for the cow to do. The bird agreed and expressed how much difficult the cow had made life for him.  The cat then offered his assistance in cleaning the dung off of him. He stated that he could lick that off of him in no time at all and he would be free to be on his way.  The bird accepted the cat’s assistance with very little thought at all. He felt that he had wasted enough time in that field and could not stop thinking about the choice he had made with respect to leaving the flock.  The cat promptly kept to his word and cleaned every bit of the manure from Challenges Ihis wings. The bird was elated, and could not thank him enough.  He then prepared to take flight again to get back on his journey. It was in that moment the cat displayed all of his teeth dripping with saliva. He grabbed hold of the bird and swallowed him whole.

You may have heard of this fable before or some variation there of.   I am sure that the meaning of it is quite clear to you.

  1. Everyone who dumps on you is not necessarily your enemy or are hurting you
  2. Everyone who helps you is not necessarily your friend

For me, it was quite profound as it helped me to see life in a different light.  The problems that I had in my life were not necessarily a bad thing. Like the ice on the bird’s wings they provided the means for me to learn from and grow wiser.  Also everyone who has made my life difficult or I believed made my life difficult, whether intentionally or not, had actually provided me with an opportunity to learn, grow stronger and mature.  Much like the bird, we don’t recognise the benefits of something done to us (or for us) because of the stench or pain associated with it.  Conversely, everyone (or everything) that seemed great and beautiful that wanted to make my life easier wasn’t necessarily helping me. “All that glitters is not gold” as they say.  Wisdom and knowledge are derived from our struggles and our ability to accept “what is” and move on from it.  Looking back and regretting the choices we have made can be an exercise in futility and a waste of much needed energy.

We may lose faith, stumble and fall from the overwhelming weight of our situations at times but we must continue on. Success and happy endings are never guaranteed but the journey itself is what’s important and how we conduct ourselves along the way.  As for the problems we face?  There will always be problems but in difficult times I try to reflect on the words of Shakespeare’s Hamlet – “There is nothing neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so”.   How you view an event is what determines the reality of it to you. I realise that these are merely words and can seem useless to someone who is “walking through fire” so to speak. But in them one may find hope and faith.  For without either of these we truly are doomed and we condemn the world around us as well.

I wish everyone good health, strength to overcome difficult challenges and the wisdom to grow and learn from them.

Same Old Song Different Musician

Election 2016 III

In the United States we are gearing up for another election.  Once again it is time for the two-party system to place their candidates on show to fight it out amongst one another before engaging in a competition for what they perceive as the ultimate prize – the presidency of the United States.  Don’t be concerned if you’re not familiar with the process or various candidates on display because no matter who or which party wins, you can expect the same old song to be played by a different musician or should that be the same old show by a different magician.

Election 2016 IVWe begin the election process with a certain optimism and enthusiasm believing in someone who will do things differently or bring about social cohesion and an integrity to their office and the country only to find ourselves disappointed again and again.  And if by some miracle there was such an individual of conscience, courage, conviction and integrity to bring back a sense of justice and cohesion to the nation as president or other elected official, you can believe that they wouldn’t last long in that job. You can’t understand why there is so much pessimism on my part?  Well, with history as a teacher; the lack of engagement by individuals in the country; prevalent corruption at nearly every level of government; and the ever strengthening evolution of special interest groups and institutions, believe me that it’s not that difficult to understand.

Election 2016 VIIIt has been some time since the citizens of the United States have been made to feel that they truly matter or have felt collectively and socially engaged about what is taking place both at home and abroad.  Please understand that this is not another rant about the government or politicians because it isn’t. We as citizens must assume our fair share of responsibility with regard to what has been taking place over the past several decades.  We buy into the “dog and pony show” hook line and sinker instead of educating ourselves on the significant issues that affects us and what’s in our best interests not just as individuals but as a society or nation.  That in-turn allows the best entertainer to come along and promise much but deliver very little where it really matters which in-turn results in disappointment, apathy, flawed officials, government and policies that seem to be self serving or highly ineffectual.

Regardless of where you find yourself on the political spectrum, allowing yourself to be dazzled by empty or superficial promises and sweet words to your ears will always result in disappointment or worse!  Why does this perpetual and destructive cycle continue?  I believe that we allow our emotions to be tapped at the expense of our logical reasoning capabilities.  So the important factor then becomes whether or not the candidate embodies certain identifiable characteristics that we can relate to (race, gender, religion, etc.) or how our buttons are pushed on certain hot topic issues such as immigration, abortion, gun control, and so on.  Regardless of which party you identify with, you just need to hear those right words spoken with just the right tone at the right time to be sold. And the politicians, sensing the blood in the water like a great white shark, will take full advantage.

The election process is one that hinges on individual self-absorption instead of one contingent on what is best for the nation collectively whether that benefits  our personal desires and circumstances or not.  When was the last time you observed an elected official acting contrary to his/her own personal interests or that of their constituents to do what is right and just for all concerned?  I believe you would have a difficult time answering that one because typically we act in a way that will consistently benefit our own ideal interests.  This is true no matter what the issue is, who you are or what country you live in. So then how can we not expect to experience the same old disappoint as well as the same old conflicts over and over again? I believe we can accomplish this by setting aside our selfish desires and taking a more altruistic stance.

Election 2016 VIIICurrently in the US one of the hot button issues is gun control. After several mass shootings the interest is in controlling the ease in which one can purchase a weapon. At least that is the stance taken on the liberal left while the conservative right resists further controls perhaps spurred on by the National Riffle Association (NRA).  Instead of taking an objective look at the incidents, the knee jerk reaction is to enact legislation that will quickly satisfy emotional needs for a solution and perhaps gain some political capital as well in the process.  Very few that I have observed, in my opinion, have cared about investigating the actual root cause – “why are there so many emotionally and mentally disturbed individuals in this country?”  For those that are saddled with deep emotional and mental issues and want to kill a large number of people, I believe that they will find a way regardless of whether or not they can obtain a legal fire arm. To be fair guns are a significantly easy way to carry out mass destruction. Enacting legislation to make it more difficult to obtain them may reduce the violence that has occurred but where Election 2016 IXthere is a will there is a way regardless of whether you have legal access to a gun or not.  I am of the opinion that our current society is producing these types of individuals be it due to the environment, social/government actions (or inaction) or some other factors. I am not advocating for one side or the other in this debate but merely pointing out that we tend to take the emotionally easy way out in finding a solution instead of diligently searching for a root cause. This in turn results in a superficial quick-fix to satisfy the masses and which then perpetuates the same old reactions to the problems that we face.

Election 2016 XAnother challenging issue is of course illegal immigration. No matter where you stand on this issue you can bet that there is a politician or official waiting to pounce to garner attention and votes by suggesting a course of action that will satisfy their core-base of supporters or to acquire new followers even it is the wrong action to take.  Obviously this is a very complex and emotional issue but again the knee-jerk reaction is to do what will serve selfish personal interests instead of what will be legally and morally in the best interests of the nation as a whole balancing that with the individual needs of those affected.  There are other issues that ignite very emotional responses such as funding Planned Parenthood Clinics; abuse of power by local and government agencies; same-sex marriage; personal civil liberties; mounting personal debt and the shrinking middle class not to mention the international issues concerning ISIS, Syria, Iran, Russia, ad nauseam. Once again you can rely on the fact that the course of action taken (or inaction) will be based on what’s in the best political/personal interests of those making the decisions spurred on by the desires or wishes of their constituency rather than what is the right and just course of action to take with the best interests of “all” in mind.

Now the intention of this post is not to take sides on an issue one way or another but to point out that the apathy, corruption, and unethical practices will continue in government and our society as a whole because we allow it to.  We either influence  OUR representatives, political party, candidates etc. by our emotional reactions, attachments and relationships into initiating some ill-action or allow the aforementioned to do that which will be personally and politically beneficial for them by our lack of attention or engagement.  Indeed we either want personal satisfaction regardless of best interests or we simply don’t care because it has no bearing on our personal lives.

As alluded to in past posts, what is needed is thoughtful, unbiased engagement on our part.  We have to want and desire that which will benefit us all and not what will personally satisfy our own needs and interests.  Sometimes our interests and needs will not conflict with what we desire or with what must be done. When there is a conflict, we have to implore wisdom and realise that selfishness and a lack of understanding on our part will continue to result in a degradation of our society and our lives to a point of no return. That is if we haven’t gotten to that point already. Effective change begins with each one of us reflecting honestly upon ourselves.  We need to place our desires and expectations in proper perspective and ensure that they are just and compatible with the needs of the society in which we live.  We then need to charge those elective officials with carrying out that which is in the best interests of the nation as a whole and vigilantly hold them accountable. Only then can we expect a new type of politician to emerge. One that is actually focused on the significant issues at hand without prejudice and that knows he/she is serving a wise and informed constituency that respects honesty, integrity and expects results from their civil servants and not the same old song.

Duality Of Life Not Realised

Duality II

I dream dreams and numerous possibilities emerge of realities yet to manifest

I awake to a world of concrete shape and form rooted in pain, fear and despair

I think thoughts of alternative probabilities which have not materialised

and I ask myself……”Why?”

 

Wisdom I

How Many Languages Do You Speak?

languages IIHow many languages do you speak? A lot more than you realise I am willing to wager. Language, according to one  definition is a method of communication between individuals, groups and societies which can be verbal, nonverbal or written. It can consist of structured words and sentences, expressions, sounds, numbers or even pictographs to name but a few. Whatever the form language takes, to be effective it must be understood mutually by both sender and receiver.  Therein lies the problem that most of us experience when trying to relate our thoughts, ideas and feelings to one another.

Language has evolved much over the span of human existence from the cave paintings and drawings of early man to the cuneiform characters of Mesopotamia and Persia; from the ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs to the evolution of Greek and Roman forms of communication and on to our modern languages in all of its many forms and dialects.  Lets not fail to mention the evolution of computer language. Yes that’s right, even machines have their own way of communicating with each other as well as with us.

Most of us are fortunate if we can effectively use our native tongue correctly to properly communicate with one another in our own society wherever that may be. To understand and speak a second language places you in a unique category among the worlds population. Beyond that, well you are in an upper echelon of communicating with others and probably just showing off.  But I would like to submit to you more food for thought.  For those of us that are in the one language category take heart. I am going to propose to you that your language skills are increased seven fold without you realising it and they are constantly evolving. You may thank me later if you wish.

Beyond the traditional languages out there such as English, French, German, Spanish etc. are the non-traditional ones that we usually don’t consider. They are based in factors such as our gender, race, religion, age and environment to name but a few. That’s right, each one of the aforementioned serves as a specific language that we all uniquely speak and everyone of those factors combine with others forming the basis of our communication ability. So for instance, a 19 year old, Hispanic, Catholic male from the Southern California region of the United States will speak a different language and have different frames of references than a 40 year old Caucasian Protestant female from New York even though both may understand and speak the English language perfectly.  The same is applicable to any group or subgroup from any country or society.  If you factor in other peculiar aspects such as our political affiliations, educational background, personal experiences, whether you are liberal or conservative and so on an so forth, you can clearly appreciate the unique language that every human being speaks.  Conversely, all of those unique factors contributing to our language skills are also what makes our ability to communicate effectively with one another that much more difficult regardless of what formal language or languages we speak.

language - Babel IRecall the Christian biblical story of Babel and the confusion experienced when all of the workers began speaking different languages foiling their attempt to erect a tower to heaven? Well think of how that confusion is magnified exponentially based on the specific characteristics mentioned earlier.  Yes we speak many languages but, in my opinion, find it difficult to comprehend or appreciate the unique language of others when attempting to communicate our thoughts and ideas. So the next time you engage someone in a conversation appreciate the fact that both of you are multilingual with very different perspectives and endeavour to understand and respect each others distinctive point of view.