Everyone will be safer, including cops

Image for post
Image for post
(Photo by Thomas Def on Unsplash)

In 2020, police killed over 1,000 Americans, possibly as many as two thousand. According to mappingpoliceviolence.org, 28% of the victims have been African-Americans — who make up only 13% of the population — but people of all kinds die too often in police encounters.

This rate of police gun violence is more than ten times that of any European country. Fear between police and citizens makes our streets meaner, harsher places for everyone, including the police themselves.

After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the Black Lives Matter movement put out the slogan ‘Defund the Police.’ While far too much funding indeed goes to law enforcement, the slogan was widely misinterpreted as ‘Abolish the Police,’ which made the idea a nonstarter in most communities and violently resisted by police departments. …


Like Health care, UBI, free college, climate healing, and COVID relief

money falling from the sky into waiting hands
money falling from the sky into waiting hands
Image: via diem25.org

When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) demanded that Congress pay people to stay home during Corona virus shutdowns, Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina, tweeted:

“AOC, Are you suggesting you want to pay people to stay home from the money you take by defunding the police? Or was that for the student debts you wanted to pay off, the Green New Deal or Medicare for All? #WhereIsTheMoney”

Where is the money? What about the deficit? What about inflation? Conservatives always ask those questions to dismiss demands for needed programs like COVID relief pay, universal basic income (UBI,) free public college, and Medicare for all. …


A germ’s eye view of a dysfunctional society

Image for post
Image for post
Food banks are booming during the pandemic (Photo by Joel Muniz)

Coronavirus is having a grand old time, exploiting areas where American society is divided and disorganized, problems that have been damaging us for years but went largely ignored. Now, with the pandemic shining light on these dysfunctions, we may have a chance to address them. Here are seven problem areas that prevent our controlling COVID-19, while creating suffering every day.

1. A disorganized government split into federal, state, and local levels, all divided by partisanship, corrupted by lobbyists, not valuing competence

While some Asian countries brought the pandemic under control in a couple of months, as reported by John Power in the South China Morning Post, the U.S., …


We’ll never deal with COVID-19

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash mufid.web.id

My friend Gladys takes care of her 94-year old mother Sylvia, who has Alzheimer’s. Gladys tries to keep mother up with the world and so was telling her about COVID-19. Sylvia said, “I want that.” Thinking she had misunderstood, Gladys replied, “Oh, no, Ma, it’s a terrible disease that kills old people.” And Sylvia said, “Take me to where they have it.”

Sylvia’s request may sound demented or depressed to you, but it would have seemed normal in previous generations. Back then, pneumonia was called “the old person’s friend.” Before antibiotics and medical supports for breathing, like oxygen and respirators, pneumonia in old people had a death rate of 30–40% or more. …


Limit and divide us

Image for post
Image for post
Image Martin Woortman instagram.com/martfoto1

Have you wondered why different people: white and Black, liberal and conservative, American Christians and Middle Eastern Muslims, see the world so differently? It’s because we’re not seeing the same world at all. Each of us sees reality through a series of boxes, made of stories we inherited from our ancestors, have learned since birth, and have had reinforced every day by society and the media.

If we stay inside our boxes, we suffer in two ways. We can’t see the world as it really is, so we keep being hurt by it, and we miss its beauty. Second, everyone else in other boxes seems wrong and dangerous. This separation makes us easy to manipulate and is the source of much of our social conflict. …


It could save your life

Image for post
Image for post
Image: Iva Rajovic instagram.com/eklektikum

Do you ever feel like some unseen force is blocking you? Self-help books, therapists or coaches might help you find a different way forward, but wait! Maybe the world wants you to do something else. That happened to the prophet Balaam, and we can still learn from his 3000-year old story.

Like all Bible stories, Balaam’s is best read as poetry, not as literal truth. You don’t have to believe in God to learn from it. Like other spiritual wisdom, Balaam has several layers of meaning that will speak to us at different stages of our lives. …


How the rich keep getting richer

Image for post
Image for post
(Image/drjennifernewman.com)

Rich people love to tell us about the dangers of giving people money for nothing. If people don’t work for everything they get, they become lazy. Giving them something without work corrupts their morals.

Somehow, that advice only applies to working people. Rich people make nearly all their money without working. A capitalist folk saying goes, “Your money should work for you; you shouldn’t work for your money.” A DuckDuckGo search for that phrase brings up pages of web sites teaching people who already have money how to get more.

Senator Mitt Romney of Utah famously alleged that 47% of Americans are “takers,” wanting to be supported by the “makers” like him who create the wealth. This claim helped lose Romney the 2012 presidential election to Barack Obama, when videotape of his talk was leaked to the media. People pointed out that, as CEO of the Bain Capital investment firm, Romney had bought up healthy companies and sold off their assets to pay dividends to Bain customers, a process described in a book by Josh Kosman called The Buyout of America: How Private Equity Is Destroying Jobs and Killing the American Economy.


Outweigh the benefits

Image for post
Image for post
Image Dragos Gontariu www.instagram.com/dragosgontariu/

The lockdown that we have done in the world towards the COVID-19 pandemic is the worst assault on the working class in half a century.” Martin Kulldorff PhD

Since March, we have seen the COVID-19 shutdowns cutting back people’s lives, sinking folks into poverty and desperation. Whether or not these steps are necessary, here are some groups being ground down by these supposed public health measures.

Children

With schools in San Francisco going virtual, my partner Aisha and I have been helping neighbor children with distance learning. (See Zoom School is Like Regular School, Only Worse.) We have observed children cut off from playmates, crying, depressed. …


How elitism cripples the Left

Image for post
Image for post
(Elites in London Image: Ed Jackson georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu)

I used to wonder why conservatives and Republicans called middle-class liberals “elites.” They were usually referring to academics and entertainers, maybe Hollywood celebs, not to people with real power. If professors and actors are ‘elite,’ what do you call billionaires and heads of corporations who actually run the world?

Well, last month, I learned firsthand where conservatives’ anger at the people they call elites comes from. I found myself on the incorrect side of a wedge issue, and I got slammed by my online friends in just the ways I’ve seen liberals and “progressives” slam white Trump supporters. Now I can see one reason the Left/Right divide keeps widening, even while the 0.1% …


And one really good answer

Image for post
Image for post
(Image via diem25.org)

Universal Basic Income (UBI) sounds like a great idea in a time of mass unemployment. Though it will not come close to solving our economic, social, and environmental problems, it is a start. UBI might be a necessary stopgap to keep people and the economy alive while we make deeper changes toward a healthier world.

There is still a lot of confusion about how UBI would work. Here are some valid questions about UBI, with some possible answers (and one great one) from experts like Andrew Yang and the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN):

1. Is UBI an addition to food stamps, social security, Medicare, and welfare programs — or a replacement for them?

According to 2020 presidential candidate Yang, social security and social security disability (SSDI) would be in addition to UBI. …

About

David Spero Rn

Writer, fighter, lover, friend, listener. Based in San Francisco. Write about Health, Economics, Spirit, Psychology, Politics

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store