Tag Archives: protest

Our modern world in prophecy from long ago

A Description of Our Modern World From 2,700 Years Ago

by Pastor Paul J. Bern

To view this on my website, click here! 🙂

For my first posting of this new year I’m feeling God nudging me – well okay, I mean encouraging me – to compose another warning about the tumultuous times that are rapidly approaching. I always get attacked on the Web for these kinds of postings. Some compare it to yelling “fire!” in a movie theater, and I’ve been called worse than that, but I don’t care. This is the mission God has given me, this is what I am doing with my life, and I will let nothing stand in my way! I can’t – it’s critically important that I bring you all up to speed, spiritually speaking, about the events that are currently unfolding, and what the Bible has to say about it all.

What I’m going to write about today will be the first 9 verses out of the 4th chapter of the Book of Hosea in the Old Testament (that’s right between Daniel and Joel in the latter part of the O.T.). So let me quote the first 5 verses for everyone, and it reads as follows: “Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying. But let no man bring a charge, let no man accuse another, for your people are like those who bring a charge against a priest. You stumble day and night, and the prophets stumble with you.”

The Book of Hosea was written in the Northern Kingdom of Israel in the eighth century BC, during the reign of Jeroboam II (786-746 BC). Hosea (הושֵעַ) prophesied during a dark and melancholic era of Israel‘s history, the period of the Northern Kingdom’s decline and fall in the 8th century BCE. The apostasy of the people was rampant, having turned away from God in order to serve both the calves of Jeroboam and Baal, a Canaanite god. During Hosea’s lifetime, the kings of the Northern Kingdom, their aristocratic supporters, and the priests had led the people away from the Law of God, as given in the Pentateuch. Forsaking the worship of God, they worshiped other gods, especially Baal, the Canaanite storm god, and Asherah, a Canaanite fertility god. Other sins followed, including homicide, perjury, theft, and sexual sin. Hosea declares that unless they repent of these sins, God will allow their nation to be destroyed, and the people will be taken into captivity by Assyria, the greatest nation of the time. The prophecy of Hosea centers around God’s unending love towards a sinful Israel. In this text, God’s agony is expressed over the betrayal of Israel.

Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.” There are two schools of thought regarding this first verse. The first are the traditionalists, who believe that the warnings are only for the Jewish nation (“you Israelites”). The second school of thought, of which I am a part, extrapolates this first verse, and by extension the entire Old Testament, as being applicable to both Jew and Gentile alike, since the apostle Paul wrote that “salvation is first for the Jew, and then for the Gentile”. So even though this is from a relatively obscure book of the Old Testament, it is still just as applicable today as it was in the 8th century BCE when this was written.

There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God…”. Isn’t that our very situation today? We lack faithfulness towards God and other people to whom we owe faithfulness, such as our families, our bosses and co-workers. So many of us are living only for ourselves, oblivious to their surroundings and those they are supposed to interact with, and ultimately oblivious to God. And, to put it bluntly, there are too many who refuse to acknowledge God. Many of these people (but not all!) are set in their ways to the point that I have stopped talking to them. All I can do is warn them. But those who go on being atheists or agnostics, I will not stand in your way any longer, so please continue as you are. Or those individuals who worship Satan, well, you’re on the wrong track in life, but God can and will bring you back if you are both willing. That’s all I care to say about that for now.

There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.” Watch a Hollywood action movie and this is exactly what you see. There’s lots of cursing and killing, adultery and bloodshed, lying and stealing. Sadly, this is a reflection of American society in the early 21st century. The lyrics in much of popular music breaks all bounds. “Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying.” What does this look like to you? I’ll tell you all what this is, it’s the mysterious animal, fish and bird deaths that are occurring globally for seemingly no reason. Dead fish washing up on beaches by the tens of thousands, birds dropping out of the air literally out of the blue, and vanishing species like the polar bear, the honey bee, the elephant and many more – all these are the hallmarks of our generation, a generation where humankind’s rampant pollution of our environment is literally poisoning the earth to death. It’s all our fault!

The Bible says clearly in Genesis chapter 1, verse 28, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground’.” So it clearly states right here that God put us in charge of the earth, to properly conserve its resources and preserve all the life contained in the earth, and to manage it in a clean and orderly fashion. Well, we’ve trashed it instead! Even now as I write this, there is a sea of plastic bobbing up and down in the middle of the Pacific ocean that is literally the size of Texas! Our ground water has been polluted, the oceans have been poisoned, and the air contaminated. We have done this to ourselves, and even where we haven’t, this systemic poisoning has been done with our consent through our silence about the matter. It seems there have been too many people who are unwilling to stand up and fight the powers controlling our world. This too has to come to an end. Stand up and fight for your right to quality of life, because if you don’t we will lose it forever!

But let no man bring a charge, let no man accuse another…. You stumble day and night, and the prophets stumble with you.” This is why nothing is being done about the pollution of the earth and the trashing of our own environment. Those in charge in government aren’t governing, and the leaders in the churches aren’t leading. Everyone is wallowing in their own complacency – and sometimes outright laziness – as they cash their paychecks every week or month or whatever while doing only the bare minimum of work required. The leaders we have selected are no better than ourselves, and are often worse! It’s all our own fault, we did this to ourselves – so let’s not accuse one another, for we are all just as guilty – meaning we have all got some repenting to do. And now let me conclude this week’s message, starting at verse 6:

So I will destroy your mother – my people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I have rejected you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I will also ignore your children. The more the priests increased, the more they sinned against me; they exchanged their Glory for something disgraceful. They feed on the sins of my people and relish their wickedness. And it will be: Like people, like priests. I will punish both of them for their ways and repay them for their deeds.” (Hosea 4, verses 6-9)

I will destroy your mother? Is God going to kill all our moms because we’ve all been bad? “Your mother” refers to ‘mother earth’, our planet! The prophet Hosea was warning us that if we persist in destroying the earth, God may decide to lend us a helping hand, so to speak. That ‘helping hand’s’ name is World War Three, and that is what God is going to send us if we don’t straighten up and mend our ways. “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge”. Ignorance and complacency are not blissful, they are what happens when we choose to disconnect ourselves from the world around us and the people in it. Ignorance and complacency are the negative results of not wanting to know, or of not caring enough to want to help initiate change for the better. Ignorance and complacency are the status quo.

Because you have rejected knowledge, I have rejected you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I will also ignore your children.” Rejected knowledge? Just look at all the mumbo-jumbo that passes for school textbook curriculum these days! Look at all the runaway kids and the ones who get kidnapped and sold to sex traffickers. What about the ones addicted to video games, online porn, drugs and alcohol? The list goes on and on, and it’s up to us to straighten this mess out. It’s about a reboot of our leadership from the bottom up, starting with the parents in the home. “They feed on the sins of my people and relish their wickedness. And it will be: Like people, like priests. I will punish both of them for their ways and repay them for their deeds.” If America does not repent of her sins against God, of her adulteries, thefts, murders and other crimes against one another, God is going to destroy this land the same way he destroyed ancient Israel during the time of Hosea the prophet – by military conquest! So repent, all you people who are living sinfully as I have just described, or America will soon be no more. The land will still be here, I think, but the country will be gone forever. What a sad day that will be! We’re running out of time, people. Let’s all band together and begin doing wonderful and laudable things with our lives. Who knows? Maybe we can change God’s mind if we try hard enough. Until next time.

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The Kennedy Assassination

Here’s some previously unknown info about the Kennedy assassination in November 1963. It’s even crazier than I thought!

Left Hook by Dean Henderson

2006-alton-mo-22-homestead-winter-scene(Excerpted from Chapter 9: The Texas Oil Mafia: Big Oil & Their Bankers…)

Clint Murchison had meat packing interests in Haiti which were looked after by CIA agent George deMohrenschildt, a wealthy Russian oilman and, according to the FBI, a Nazi spy during WWII.

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Free excerpt from my nonfiction book, “Occupying America: We Shall Overcome”

DCIM100MEDIA

http://youtu.be/Z20l9ohORN4

What are these law enforcement folks protecting to begin with? The assets, infrastructure and personal privacy and security of the top 1%, that’s what! The problem with that is the top 1% regard everything in sight as theirs, as if all the people in the lower income brackets – the other 99% – didn’t deserve one stinking thing. In short, its all a game of acquiring the most stuff, the biggest collection of material goods of one kind or another, the fastest or most luxurious car, the most powerful truck and the biggest house. And for what? If one of us should die tomorrow, he or she can take absolutely none of it with them. As Rev. Billy Graham used to preach, “nobody ever saw a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer behind it”. It’s all temporary, left behind when we are dead and gone, as all of us eventually will be, including me. It’s what we leave behind that counts. Maybe we should ask ourselves – if you haven’t done so already – what kind of legacy do we want to leave? Not someone who did great things in the sight of others or who made a great fortune, but someone who took care of the needs of the people on a case by case basis. Not someone who is lauded with praise by men and women, but one who seeks the praise and approval of Almighty God as I and others like me do. I love giving some homeless guy a couple of dollars, paying an elderly widow’s electric bill to keep it from being turned off, donating a used computer to an inner city school kid who needs one, and never mind their skin color either. Performing volunteer work, giving generously to your church (it doesn’t have to be financial aid, there are many ways to help), sponsoring a hungry kid overseas, or adopting one here at home are the things people remember about us after we have passed, and so will God. We are to be leaving behind the things that people remember about us long after we are gone, and they must be positive things that build people up, not negative things that tear us down. We are to be contributors, being sure to give wherever possible and not living just to see how much we can earn, or even take. Takers are losers who leave holes in time.

What if we didn’t need money at all? What if we had an alternative way to buy things without using traditional cash, checks or plastic? What if we didn’t have to work at all, or maybe not nearly as much? Using profit as a mechanism for the control of liquid assets by and for the top 1% when the overwhelming majority of Americans have no access to those assets is obviously an economic barrier that keeps the remaining 99% of us in a bare subsistence mode that is clearly unethical and discriminatory and therefore illegal. Eliminating the need for money instantly wipes out poverty while putting the 99% in a favorable position to have all their basic needs met (never mind all the fancy BS stuff, just the basics of life). The replacement of money, and of the work that is necessary in order to earn it, are already being accomplished by computers and robots.

Technology has eliminated jobs across the board on an alarming scale – from secretarial positions to auto workers. The resulting crisis is compounded by our culture’s deep denial of the basic problem. I’m old enough to remember the ’60s and ’70s when so many pundits described the coming glories of the “cybernetic age.” Then computers would at last liberate us, they promised, from the drudgery of 9-5 jobs. Back then the worry was, what would we do with all that leisure time? Leisure time has proven frustratingly elusive. Instead, most of us are working harder than ever as our employing firms “downsize.” Alternatively, we’re pounding the pavement looking for non-existent jobs to replace those that have been “outsourced” to Asia somewhere. Additionally, so many of the “jobs” available to the more recently laid off labor force are extremely low-paying to a humiliating degree (such as the current and pathetic minimum wage of $7.25 hourly). In the end, they are nothing more than useless make-work projects that are not only completely unnecessary, but positively destructive. Things like weapons manufacturing, the military itself, the advertising industry and telemarketers, insurance companies, fast food, and (above all!) Wall Street jobs connected with financial speculation. None of these occupations are truly productive. And naming them as I have represents only the tip of the iceberg.

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It’s time for America to get a grip already!!

All Right Now, That’s Enough!!

by Rev. Paul J. Bern

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As I begin to compose this week’s message, I find myself shaking my head as I struggle to find a comfortable place to start. I saw video of a white cop shooting a black man to death for selling CD’s and resisting arrest. Yes I know, he was armed, but if you watch all the videos taken of the incident (which I admit are hard to look at), Alton Sterling’s gun came out of his pocket during the scuffle, but he did not attempt to shoot at either of the officers. Alton Sterling was executed. The video of Philando Castille getting shot to death when he reached for his wallet – not his gun – is even harder to watch. Hearing his fiancee’ plead with the police officer for her life, while asking the officer why he had just killed Mr. Castille in that calm, even voice of hers is truly unforgettable. That is one strong lady, and she has my heart-felt sympathy and especially my deepest respect.

Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there. This past Friday 5 cops who were just doing their jobs were shot to death in the line of duty, and seven more were wounded. As of this writing I think there are 3 still in the hospital, and I pray fervently for a speedy recovery for them all. Now – let me be clear. Was it a miscarriage of justice that Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castille wound up dead for what amounts to petty stuff? Yes, absolutely, and I predict that one or more of those police officers will end up facing charges for their mishandling of the incidents. But under NO circumstances did that justify setting up a clever little sniper’s nest down in Dallas the following day for the sole express purpose of picking off police officers in retaliation!! I am deeply, very deeply upset about the assassination of these cops and the wounding of seven more. This, my dear readers and social media followers, is not how Americans are to be settling their internal problems. I even saw a preposterous video posted on You-tube just last evening about people wanting to start a “race war”. Let me point something out to the people who want a “race war” in America: We’ve already been there, done that, and bought the stinkin’ T-shirt! It was called the American Civil War of 1861-1865, and there were 620,000 American soldiers and civilians killed in that conflict. Understand now – the population of the United states at the end of that war in 1865 was approximately 32 million, slightly less than one tenth of America’s population today. So if a second US civil war were to actually occur with the population being ten times greater than the first Civil War, then it is reasonable to conclude that the casualties from such a war would be ten times as much as the first, or 6.2 million people. Does anyone reading this seriously believe a 2nd US civil war in which 6.2 million Americans died would be good for our country?? If so, then go ahead and fight your damned-to-hell civil war, but consider this before you proceed. When all the killing and the carnage is finished, the perpetrators of this 2nd US civil war will be hunted down, rounded up, and sentenced to hang from the gallows. If there is none handy, Mr./Mrs./Ms. “race war” fighter, then we will build one immediately, just outside your jail cell. Then, maybe at long last, the rest of us can finally have some peace and quiet!

So what’s the root cause of all these shootings? Is it because we have too many guns, or is this problem due to lax gun laws, as some people say? There can be no question that the gun control laws currently in place could be strengthened, and that background checks could be strengthened as well. But the right to own hand guns and long guns is clearly defined in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, and the clear purpose of that particular amendment is to give the US populace a right to defend themselves against intruders for whatever reason, as well as to defend ourselves against the government, should things in Washington get out of control. And, when it comes to Washington being out of control, we’re already there. So gun violence is a symptom, but it’s not the problem. What about the police? Why are all these cops so trigger-happy? Is racism a part of it? This is unquestionably true, and racism – sad to say – remains deeply embedded in American culture. I also suspect there is some job frustration on the part of some police officers, but there is also a significant amount of racism as well.

So, we’ve touched on the cops shooting civilians and on civilians assassinating cops, plus we’ve touched on race. All three of these played a major part in the recent wave of shootings, but they are not the sole cause. The root cause of all the violence that has wracked America is – to sum it up – poisoning. Some of this systematic poisoning is spiritual in nature – such as all the distasteful shows on TV and at the movies, the super-violent video games, the subliminal messages contained in popular music as well as TV, and particularly all the pornography, which America seems to be flooded with. Other sources of this spiritual poisoning can be found in certain churches that preach false doctrines, such as the “prosperity gospel” and the “pre-tribulation rapture”. Although I’m not going to expound at length on any of these topics for now, I have done so in the past in some of my other postings dating back to 2011 or so.

So, we know that part of this ‘poisoning’, as I call it, is spiritual, but it’s equally important to know that the rest of this systemic poisoning is purely physical in nature. America has been fluoridating its water supply ever since the end of WW2. Consumption of fluoride was proven as far back as 50 years ago to be toxic to humans. Moreover, consumption of fluoride, even in small amounts such as toothpaste, has been proven to lower the IQ of any given human being by about 10 percentage points over the course of a 70-year human lifespan. So there we can see our water supply has been poisoned. Then there’s humankind’s air supply, which is bring polluted by “chem-trails” to humankind’s detriment. These “chem-trails” are being sprayed from ordinary jet aircraft, and they contain mainly aluminum particulates that are designed to block out the sun and slow global warming. Unfortunately for folks like you and I, these aluminum particulates are carcinogenic to humans, but the government keeps paying subcontractors to do this “dirty work” anyway. Last but not least are vaccines – all of them, which have been linked to autism, ADD, hyperactivity in children and other behavioral abnormalities, all of which have lasting effects into adulthood.

With these facts staring us in the face, is it any wonder that people everywhere are simply starting to snap? If I load a program on my computer that has a virus, won’t my PC workstation start acting crazy? The human brain is like a computer, but with a bio-electric-chemical compound interface. If we allow bad programming – violent TV and video games, pornography and the like – to get into our heads, or if we let our kids listen to all that junk on commercial radio, it won’t be long and those individuals are going to sustain heavy psychological damage. Everybody the world over has sustained serious physiological damage from environmental pollution, fluoridated water, lead and mercury poisoning, etc. Add to that the inescapable fact that people nearly everywhere are in a life-and-death struggle with their finances – unless, of course, you’re in the top 1% income bracket in America. Being under pressure from all sides financially, while imploding on the inside from a slow but systematic poisoning, leads to a personal meltdown! That’s why people everywhere are exploding with rage! And if you’re African-American, you are dealing with all of the above combined with being under a constant state of siege from the police. That is enough to drive anybody insane, even the very best of people and regardless of race!

Ladies and gentlemen, my dear readers whom I love so very much, the moment has arrived where we must come together collectively as a people and say, “no more”! Either we stop the violence or it will eventually consume us. But, in an effort to stop that from occurring, the government will undoubtedly step in at some point, “to restore order”. That, of course, will be the government’s brand of order – the New World Order. Let’s not go there, people, let’s not allow ourselves to be enslaved so we can have so-called “security”. There is no such thing as real security except in the loving arms of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Other than that, we take a risk just by getting out of bed each morning. A tree could fall on us and crush us while we’re in the bathroom, before we even make it out to the kitchen. We could step outside our door and get hit by a bolt of lightning, but we go anyway. As it is when we take charge of our lives and accept the risks involved, so it is when we have to physically step in and stop the violence, or when we stop others from doing so. It is up to each and every one of us to take responsibility and to take charge of our country, especially since those in charge are in power for all the wrong reasons. No wonder nothing significant ever gets done in Washington! It’s time to collectively tell everybody inside the ‘beltway’, “You’re fired”! It’s time for “we the people” to retake control of our country. If we can’t do this at the ballot box this fall, more drastic means will have to be employed. Do we want our country back, or do we want to be slaves? Time to go to ‘red alert’.

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These rigged elections are the last straw. Should we go on strike?

Should The American People Go On Strike?

By Rev. Paul J. Bern

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Osama bin Laden has been dead for about 4 years by now, maybe more. Meanwhile, ever greater numbers of our senior citizens are living into their 100’s. America evidently is having an obesity epidemic, while 50,000 children ages 5 and under die from starvation globally each year. Imagine your child, grandchild, niece or nephew, and then multiply that by 50,000, and you get an idea of the scope of the problem. There’s life and death, positive and negative, good and bad in all kinds of folks, circumstances and situations. One priest saves lepers, another abuses altar boys; one Nazi ran the ovens at Auschwitz while another hid the Jews, saving them from certain death (remember a movie called “Schindler’s List”?). And when we marvel at those contradictions we have a ready explanation. There’s good and bad everywhere, in all races, nations, and societies. We have yet to bridge our differences in race or culture or nationality or faith, but at least we can all agree on that simple truth while we continue to work on all the others.

We live in a ‘George Jetson’-like time of instant communication, jumbo jets, digital TV and all that goes with it, social media and even (thank God!) this blog, where I can pass on to everyone what God has put on my mind and heart in the hopes of helping someone, somewhere, somehow. Nations are beginning to blur; races, ethnicities and various nationalities are mixing, our globe has shrunk to an overheated marble, yet the world seems more fractured than ever. So much divides us. What unites us? Religion? It could, but having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ unites us all under his holy banner, meaning that Jesus, not religion, is the answer for me. The maximum number of plausible Gods is one (all you atheists may simply skip this sentence) as far as I’m concerned. Yet we’ve been waging wars for millennium over what to call Him and whether he wants his picture shown or not. But while religions can’t agree on God, they’re remarkably close when it comes to people. There is near universal agreement on what makes a good person.

Be kind to people, treat your neighbors well, be hospitable to strangers, love one another, live honestly, and a dozen other virtues seem to comprise some universal truth about humanity. And all societies agree on them. It’s as plain as daytime in the Bible. Humankind has been speaking those words since the first philosopher carved cuneiform into clay. We must have an instinctive sense of goodness instilled into us, because we are not born that way. We also agree on what makes a bad person: The murderer, the rapist, the traitor, the manipulator, the cheat, the bully, the taker, the liar, the thief. “Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all that is taught in the law and the prophets” (Matt. 6:12 NLT) We know who we are. We don’t like to hurt people. We try not to cheat, lie and steal and we’re ashamed of ourselves when life drives us to those ends because we have a conscience. We believe in peace on earth and goodwill towards men. And for ten thousand years we’ve let the bad people push us around and tell us what to do and to whom to do it. We’ve let them because they were bad enough to make us and we were too soft to stop them until they did terrible damage – until they simply had to be stopped, usually involuntarily.

Bad people are very hard to ignore. You can’t avoid a bad person if he or she happens to be your boss at work, for example. And that happens a lot, because bad people seem disproportionately to occupy corner offices. They’re the bosses, and they know how to play the cold-hearted, cynical game of office politics. That can be rough on you if you work with them (been there, done that). But bad people also know how to play the high-stakes game of national politics, and that’s rough on the entire population. Bad people hate, and they convince ordinary good people to hate the same things. Oh sure, there are always a few saints who rise above the evil that bad people do, and they usually die for it. We know about them posthumously from the Bible, starting with Jesus himself, and then with 11 of the 12 apostles, followed by the stoning of Steven in Acts chapters 6-7, plus part of chapter 8.

But those weren’t good people, they were great people, and we can’t count on them all the time because they don’t come along every day. But there are always plain old good people around, because there’s good and bad in all kinds. And so this is a call to arms for good people everywhere! We have to stop following the bad people immediately. Without us, bad people have little power, they’re merely annoying. Good people everywhere, I’m speaking to you even as you read this. We need to go on strike against the bad people! Let’s tell the bullies and haters to leave us alone, because we don’t want to have to kill any more of them. After all, that’s what it takes to stop one of them. Let’s laugh at their rigged economy and crooked government, reject their poisoning our environment and pumping up our kids with drugs they mostly don’t need, and refuse to be provoked by their aggression. Let’s tell them we won’t play their deadly games anymore; let’s tell them it’s over! We’re not sending our sons and daughters off to fight their wars anymore. We’re not going to tolerate any more FBI and CIA-instigated false flag terror attacks in our cities, such as what happened in Orlando last week (it turns out at least 4 or 5 of the Orlando shooting victims, up to as many as 10 or 12, were actually shot outside the club while the shooter was still inside. Hmmm…). Don’t forget, these are agent provocateurs for the same people that assassinated the Kennedy brothers and Rev. Dr. King. These are the same people who’ve been slowly poisoning us and our kids by fluoridating our nation’s water supply for the last 75 years. If the Dark Side, Satan and his forces of evil, will do this to our nation’s finest, what do you think they would do to you if you gave them the chance? Or if they took it upon themselves to come after you or your assets, such as a law enforcement or IRS operation? The average American stands a better than even chance of being killed by the police in such situations!

Maybe what we should do is give all these gun-toting, war-mongering (war mongrels?) maniacal psychopaths a large island or land mass somewhere so they can fight it out to their evil hearts’ content. Eventually they will all kill each other off, and die enjoying doing so. Let’s see, I’m thinking Siberia, Antarctica or maybe Greenland if it’s not too small. But you know, it would apply even there, that pet theory of mine, in this hypothetical land of the damned. Some evil SOB would do something nice for some other evil SOB, probably without even realizing it. Because there’s good and bad in all kinds of people. But when God made us he gave us all a free will – freedom to choose our own destinies. Why do I choose God when others don’t? Why do I place my complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ? Because, although I could just go my own way and take my own chances, although I could call my own shots and make my own way, I choose Christ. I’d rather believe in Jesus and take a chance on being wrong about it, then I would not believe and take a chance on being wrong about that. Because if I or any of us is wrong about that, if we refuse to believe only to discover our mistake later, there is redemption and salvation in the former choice, but neither in the latter. Please devote your week to thinking carefully about this ultimate choice we must make. Where we spend eternity after our physical lives end will surely depend upon it.

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If you can’t get any justice, make some of our own!

Social and Economic Justice and Progressive Christianity

by Rev. Paul J. Bern

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For this week’s message, I’m going to be doing a bit of a departure from my usual Jesus-following, peace-loving old hippie stuff that I usually write. It’s not that I’m losing my faith or deviating from it, it’s just that there’s something going on in my life that needs to be shared because this information is potentially beneficial to all who read this. First I wish to give credit where credit is due, and that is to my new friend Ms. Monica Ball, otherwise known as “Real Talk With Monica” on the radio, as well as You Tube and Facebook (@Monica_RealTalk). After meeting her at Atlanta’s Piedmont Park while I was promoting my books, it was she who suggested that I write about some things I am currently going through during a phone conversation a few days later. What in the world am I talking about here? Debt!! No, I’m not going to try and sell you a book about how to invest in real estate or so-called “precious metals” (as far as I’m concerned, the only truly precious thing that exists is the person and the deity of Jesus Christ). What I am going to write about are two things: How to sue your creditors, and how to legally replace a revoked drivers license. I’d better start at the beginning. I’m not trying to elicit sympathy from anyone, but I was recently the victim of an elaborate on-line check scheme that caused my one lone bank account to get emptied out. Poof, all my money was gone, end of story. In a way, this is an embarrassing thing to have to write about, but write I must so that no other nonprofits or individuals get victimized by this scheme.

It all started with what looked like a donation, the first I’d had in a long time. I can’t say how much it was, but the check was over $1,000.00. It was a cashier’s check drawn on a bank in Oklahoma. Before I deposited it, I verified it was OK, so everything seemed fine. Ordinarily I would have jumped in my car and scooted on down to the bank to deposit the check. But in my case I took the bus instead because I’m temporarily prevented from holding a drivers license, but through no fault of my own. I got a speeding ticket in Murphy, North Carolina back around 1994-95. I don’t remember exactly when but it was in the fall. I paid off the ticket a couple of weeks later and moved on. OK, now let’s fast forward to November 2008 – my Georgia driver’s license is expiring. So I dutifully go and wait in line to renew it only to find out my license is suspended. The reason I was given was – you guessed it – my old traffic ticket in North Carolina. Their computer showed the ticket was unpaid even though I had paid it off well over 20 years ago. Now I have law enforcement from both North Carolina and Georgia telling me it will cost me $550.00 altogether to get my license back. Unfortunately for me, I’m a disabled retiree, and my income is woefully insufficient to be able to pay these legalized extortionists. My drivers license is now revoked as a result, it’s been that way for nearly 8 years, and for now there doesn’t seem to be much I can do about it. So, I don’t sweat about it, and this is my life as it currently is. But, as the apostle Paul wrote in the New Testament of the Bible, “When I am the weakest, then God becomes that much stronger” (paraphrased). Now, hold that thought for a minute while I finish my short story about the D-word, debt.

I was going through a dry spell financially, so I welcomed that check. I went to the ATM at the downtown branch of the credit union I belong to the following morning and deposited the check. That was on a Saturday. The following Monday afternoon I was sitting at my computer working. I get a frantic email from the lady who sent the donation the previous Friday. She has been in a real bad auto accident, and her car is totaled. She has been injured, she wrote, but she will probably be OK “eventually”. But in the meantime, her purse with all her money and credit cards are in her wrecked car, and so is her medical insurance card. She wants to know if I can send her some of the money she donated back to her so she can pay a down payment on her hospital bill. I thought about it for a minute or so, and it seemed to be a reasonable request at the time, so I agreed, and I wired her the amount she asked for. This turned out to be a major mistake on my part. As you have guessed by now, the check eventually bounced, a process that took an entire week.

So the next thing I know, I’m on my way to a Fulton County government building here in Atlanta to get a copy of the police report, which I then brought to one of the branch managers at my credit union at that time in the hopes of recovering the rest of the money that was in my account. Instead, they want me to repay the money, but I explained that I was retired and on disability and so I had no way to repay the money. Once I saw that the credit union was going to come after me for the money, I opened another account at a different credit union and changed my direct deposit info. When it came time for my disability check to arrive early the following month, my old credit union withheld it. This, of course, left me with no money to pay rent or to buy groceries and medicine, an impossible situation if ever there was one. I would like to publicly thank the church where I attend and where I have the privilege of playing keyboards every Sunday, none other than the Prayer of Faith Church of God in Christ in West Side Atlanta for their invaluable assistance during this trying period in my life.

What ultimately happened within days is I ended up being forced to take out a loan from this same credit union so I could have money to live on. Even then, they still withheld my disability check and I only got a portion of the remaining balance in question. So I ended up being forced – coerced, actually – to take out a loan while having over half of the amount withheld for what amounted to fees and penalties. So, I am suing them this coming week. The paperwork is almost ready, all I’ve got to do is grab a bus downtown (I live about 1.5 miles from the Atlanta Falcons new stadium, so it’s a short ride) and go file the papers at the court house. You know, you can sue your creditors, it’s perfectly legal. Moreover, contrary to what these lawyers who advertise on TV are telling people, filing bankruptcy is NOT the only way out of a financially impossible situation. Find something in the loan agreements that is disputable. In my case, since I’m a disabled person, I can and will sue for discrimination as well as for exploitation of the disabled. In this case I am suing my former credit union, who capitalized on the fact that I was a crime victim without the resources to defend myself, and who pilfered my disability check without any due process whatsoever. Not only that, but I’m acting as my own attorney because:

[1] I can’t afford to hire an attorney, and

[2] I’ve done this before. I once sued Pay-pay in small claims court and won a settlement while acting as my own attorney. It’s not that difficult to do if you do your homework first.

Got a student loan you can’t repay? Sue the financial institution who made the loan and charge them with “predatory lending”. Ditto for any other loans you may have, including your mortgage, and that’s just one example. You can keep your creditors tied up in court for months, even longer, so you can give yourself some financial breathing room. Don’t worry about acting as your own attorney, your suit in Small Claims Court will most likely never go to trial anyway. It will be settled out of court, or through an arbitration process that is pretty simple and straightforward. Oh, and what about my drivers license? I’m having my name legally changed, and then I am going to get a new drivers license in that name (although I recommend getting a passport in that new name. I already looked it up, and it’s perfectly legal in all 50 states so long as you stop using your old name permanently. (Disclaimer: I strongly advise all who read this to do this legally to avoid any unwanted contact with law enforcement. Check your local laws before proceeding).

Social and economic injustice arises when the governmental and economic systems become rigged against the people and in favor of the wealthiest Americans, which has become the case today. I have openly and passionately stood against social and economic injustice in all its forms for the entire five years that I have been a Web minister and preacher. One of the ways I can do so is to write about different ways one can legally circumvent injustice in order to obtain justice. By posting this, I hope I helped somebody somewhere.

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Now that tax season is over, it’s time to end it

Now That Tax Season Is Over, It’s Time to End

the Immoral and Illegal Income Tax

by Rev. Paul J. Bern

Revolution-fists

With another federal income tax deadline having passed this past week, it is time for me to bring up the dubious nature of income taxation in America, and why I think it’s long past due for some serious change in the way we are taxed. Part of the reason for this is to correct the extreme imbalance of wealth and to speak out against the hoarding of cash and assets by the top 1% of the US population. Under no circumstances do I think this matter should be resolved by force, and I am aware that there are people – both Christian and secular – who think otherwise. There is certainly no way we are going to be able to correct this imbalance of wealth by going door-to-door in wealthy neighborhoods asking for money, although I can see where that could be a form of protest in and of itself. The rich and powerful are most certainly not going to surrender their filthy lucre voluntarily. What we will have to do is to legislate it while still remaining within the boundaries of the Constitution. The best way to accomplish this is by establishing an all-new tax system that is fair and equitable and which does not impose an excessive burden of payment on the backs of the lower 50% of wage earners in America, the ones who can afford it the least.

The origin of the income tax on individuals is generally cited as the passage of the 16th Amendment, passed by Congress on July 2, 1909, and ratified February 3, 1913; however, its history actually goes back even further. During the Civil War Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861 which included a tax on personal incomes to help pay war expenses. The tax was repealed ten years later. However, in 1894 Congress enacted a flat rate Federal income tax, which was ruled unconstitutional the following year by the U.S. Supreme Court because it was a direct tax not apportioned according to the population of each state. This was in reference to Article 1 and section 8 of the US Constitution, which gives Congress the right to levy taxes, but which also says, “… but all Duties, Imposes and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States”. The taxes our founding fathers had in mind had to do with imported goods and interstate commerce. It says nothing about an income tax. The 16th amendment, ratified in 1913, made an attempt at removing this objection by allowing the Federal government to tax the income of individuals without regard to the population of each State. The most efficient way America can accomplish this is by a national commerce tax, which is much more in the letter and spirit of the law as it was originally written than the current federal tax code. I realize this is not a new idea. It’s the way it’s applied that’s new.

The first step in this process will be to replace the income tax with a consumption tax and the second step will be to legislate an excess wealth tax, in order to be able to finance the needs of the military and the space program. The federal income tax for individuals, families and businesses will go the way of the Chevy Vega under this proposed new tax system. In its place will be a 9% Consumption Tax on all retail and Internet commerce. Why 9%, you ask? Because the average income tax paid by working Americans comes to about 18% of their gross income, so let’s cut it in half! Governments, nonprofits, groceries, utility bills and fuel should be the 5 main exceptions, that is, these should in my view remain untaxed. Repeal of the income tax will by extension include the abolition of the federal withholding tax that is currently deducted from our paychecks. From now on all this extra money will flow back into the pockets of the American workers and business people where it belongs. Add that to the fifteen dollar per hour minimum wage (‘low pay is not OK’), we find out that the net take-home pay for the overwhelming majority of American workers will be raised by at least one-fourth overnight! This is just one more reason for everybody reading this to stop and put it down and go participate in a public demonstration or protest of your choice, and start protesting for these fundamental human rights today! You can finish reading this when you get back home. That’s how urgent this has become! If you can’t find an ongoing protest anywhere, start one.

The federal income taxes for business and corporations will also be going away under this proposal. It’s common knowledge by now that many of these companies have moved their manufacturing overseas due to lower wages and taxes in the third world. But what if the business income tax were suddenly repealed in this country? What if Obamacare succeeds to the point of taking the burden of employee health insurance off the backs of businesses, something Obamacare has already begun to do whether one is in favor of it or not? When you combine these two factors then you have a great recipe for job creation. That is how we can bring back many of the jobs that were lost to outsourcing. And so I propose that a luxury tax that I will call the Excess Wealth Tax be put up for a popular vote. (How do we get it on the ballot? By making as much noise about it as we can until we get what we want!) The Excess Wealth Tax for individuals and families is that all earned income up to $1 million is tax free. Period, end of story. For individuals and households with a net income in excess of $1 million, they will be taxed at a 50% rate. So, let’s say a single taxpayer, or a family of four, has $101 million in income in any given year. Since the first $1 million is tax free, all that would be owed would be 50% of the remaining $100 million. So your hypothetical tax bill for that year would be $50 million. Uncle Sam keeps half, and we keep half. Besides, anybody who can’t live on an annual income of $51 million is spending way too much money on all the wrong stuff.

For businesses and corporations all earned income and net assets up to $300 million is tax free. There is a 33 and 1/3% tax levied on anything over that amount. So if we have a company or multinational corporation with gross sales of $1.5 billion in any given year, then that company would only pay tax on everything in excess of $300 million. So 33.3% of the remaining $1.2 billion would be $400 billion, and that would be their Excess Wealth Tax for that year. Uncle Sam gets a third, the enterprise keeps the rest. It’s so simple you won’t need an accountant any more (sorry, all you CPA’s). It will also mean that the capital gains, estate, the alternative minimum and self-employment taxes would all be going away for good. But so would itemized deductions. That should make business owners, entrepreneurs, and investors very enthusiastic about supporting this proposal.

Money from these tax payments would be used for public education, to fund higher learning for adults changing careers as well as for high school graduates going on to college (which would end student loans except for private colleges and universities), for military funding, and for funding for an ambitious and pioneering space program. What about the federal income tax? It needs to go the way of the dinosaurs! Taxation of our incomes is tantamount to limitation of our incomes! I could write that we should all organize a tax protest next winter, but unfortunately refusing to pay taxes as a form of protest has been criminalized, so I can’t condone that. Organizing on social media would be one way to reach out to a lot of people. But I thought I would get the conversation started by posting this. I first proposed this four years ago in my book, “The Middle and Working Class Manifesto”, and no one paid any attention. But with the waves of protest about police violence and unrealistically low wages ($7.25 an hour? What??), I ask you this question: How do we peacefully replace our entire tax code? By peaceful mass protests and demonstrations? Trying to coax Congress into passing this into law would be an exercise in futility, we need a better way than that. But if the system is dysfunctional – as the US tax code currently is – it must be replaced from the outside in, not the other way around as is our tradition. Tradition doesn’t work anymore. Time for us to get outside the box.

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I Want My Christmas Back!!

The True Spirit Of Christmas

by Rev. Paul J. Bern

good_deeds_R_smart

This week as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, I want to pause and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, and on how Christmas has been twisted and perverted by the dying economic system known as capitalism that we’re all stuck living under. Here in the 21st century, people all over the world are in a holiday feeding frenzy of buying ridiculous amounts of unneeded consumer goods. The only sure outcome of this is for every shopper to wind up even more deeply in debt than they were before Thanksgiving, and to be increasingly insolvent as well. Too many people have collectively forgotten the true reason for the season, the birth of Christ, and they have traded His sacred birth for the blind pursuit of material gain. Instead of worshiping the Son of God, people everywhere are worshiping the almighty dollar and all the goods that it can bring home with them. This is idolatry in its purest form, and as a minister of the Gospel I stand against it!

This rampant money-worshiping has been carried to such extremes over the years that it has carried people from all walks of life past the point of insolvency. As I write this, the average level of indebtedness for any given American is well in excess of 120% of their net worth. In other words, the majority of working Americans are bankrupt, a condition that continues to get worse as time marches on. Clearly this trek into the economic wasteland of bankruptcy is unsustainable. A full two-thirds of the US economy is powered by consumer spending. The true unemployment rate in this country stands at around 15% or more here at the end of 2015, because the government doesn’t count those who have given up looking for work as well as those who are working part-time when full-time employment is required. While all this is happening, the US government continues to spend $12 billion per week (see the Defense department or GAO websites) on overseas military excursions, which is similarly unsustainable. The bottom line here is that such obscene levels of spending, which is exacerbated by the Christmas shopping season, will eventually cause the American economy to implode on itself due to corruption from within and crushing debt levels from without. And this may well happen sooner rather than later, so be warned!

We call the day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday”. This ominous sounding moniker, which reminds me of the 1970’s Steely Dan song by the same name, is actually a forecast of good tidings, especially if one is a retailer. No matter how poorly retail sales have been throughout the year, the giant retailers whose CEO’s and top managers rake in millions and millions of dollars per year for themselves can count on Americans to put themselves, their families and other loved ones at risk by spending money that they don’t have on gifts that people don’t need. Consequently, the wealthy captains of retail can be certain that their profits will be in “the black” starting on the day after Thanksgiving through December 25.

Many Americans who call themselves Christians claim that they place themselves more deeply in debt starting on the day after Thanksgiving as a way to celebrate the birth of a very special Man. As with all religions, not all Christians practice their faith in the same manner. Not all Christians see the full month before the day on which this man was supposed to have been born as a time to fret over the equity with which they part with the money they borrow. Not all Christians use this time to become agitated, depressed and even angry because of the internal and external conflicts they suffer over the distribution of gifts purchased with borrowed money. However, the man, obviously the man that people today refer to as Jesus Christ, was an extremely special Man. This Man is so special that we began counting time once again based upon the year in which he was born. Therefore, many of those who call themselves “followers” or “Christians”, feel the need to become more reckless, not only with their financial standing, but with the Earth’s natural resources like the water we drink or the air we breathe. I have had a belly full of this worldwide consumer insanity! Moreover, this consumerism is consuming the consciousness of my fellow Americans as we lose our fiscal minds more and more each year!

It’s really not that important, however, to debate the historical narrative of the life and times of Jesus Christ. What’s important is that the part of the Word that’s dedicated to that life and time emphasizes what many would today call “democratic socialism” (see 2nd Corinth. 8: 13-15; Acts 2: 42-47 and Acts 4: 32-37). Although it’s written that, at times, Jesus Christ warned anyone who would listen that they’d better believe in his words and follow his lead and direction lest they spend eternity experiencing unimaginable torture, torment and agony, the bulk of the writing about Jesus Christ describes giving to those less fortunate, plus social and economic inclusion, and world peace. What a different outlook we would have if, every day, from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas, the goal for those with an overabundance was to search for those who don’t have any and, when they find them, give them what they need! Why, it would be just like the unconditional love and peace that Jesus Christ taught us about! You know, being more Christ-like, not hoarding money and goods for oneself, and putting the needs of others ahead of ourselves. That Jesus. The real deal.

What is the available alternative to this? Last year, two people were trampled to death on “Black Friday” as they callously stormed into the money changers’ temples. Refusing to participate in this annual orgy of consumption is much more in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ. But the ugly truth is that this behavior is in large part due to American culture, similar to gun ownership. America is the world’s top arms manufacturer. There are more guns in American homes than in all the other countries of the world combined. We as a people, as I’ve written in the past, have some serious soul-searching to do about what it is we really value. As you read just above, America has now become so violent that we can’t even go shopping on Black Friday anymore without risking accidental death! And, all this is happening within what is supposedly the greatest country in the world! Lately I’ve begun to wonder about that. Hey, I’m just one guy trying to turn the time of year that’s always fallaciously referred to as a time of “peace on earth and good will toward men” into entire years of “peace on earth and good will toward men.”

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Politically subversive, revolutionary reading at its very best!

occupy the world!

occupy the world!

Occupying America: We Shall Overcome” by Rev. Paul J. Bern. Rated 4.5 stars on Goodreads.com! Written in the style of an investigative reporter, this 290-page book is simply one of the most exhaustive, comprehensive books about the growing “Occupy Wall St.” and “We Are The 99%” movements written so far. It offers the clearest explanation to date about what these movements are trying to accomplish and what they stand for, and it vilifies the extreme economic hardship and what the author calls “enforced austerity” of millions of formerly middle class Americans. This is the definitive book on the state of American political dissent in the early 21st century, and it ends with a prediction of mass civil unrest in the US and other capitalist countries due to the extreme concentration of wealth in favor of the top 1%. Reduced to $8.95 with free shipping, tax deductible too! Get yours at www.pcmatl.org/books-and-donations, or from Create Space at http://www.createspace.com/5245426. You Tube http://youtu.be/Z20l9ohORN4 or get the e-book ($3.00) on Goodreads.com, Kindle and Nook.

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This was the week America discovered how bad its public schools have actually become

American Public Schools = Social Injustice:

High School Engineering Prodigy Suspended For Being Too Intelligent

by Rev. Paul J. Bern

fight_the_system

Social and economic injustice are my two pet peeves when it comes to life within these United States, and that’s exactly what has transpired this past week. On this past Monday, September 14th, Irving Texas high school student Ahmed Mohamed brought to school a clock that he was proud to have made on his own, and found himself arrested for what police initially – and falsely – said was a hoax bomb. But by mid-week, his face and name were splashed across traditional and social media, and he’d received thousands of tweets and Facebook posts of encouragement. President Barack Obama invited him to the White House and praised his love of science. Leaders at Reddit and Twitter offered him internships. Google executives said they were reserving Ahmed a spot at their weekend science fair and MIT asked him to visit the campus. The hash tags #IStandWithAhmed and #EngineersForAhmed have garnered hundreds of thousands of posts and tweets.

In an interview late Wednesday with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Ahmed said he was pulled out of class at MacArthur High School by his principal and five police officers and taken to a room where he was questioned for about an hour and a half. At one point he asked the adults if he could call his parents. “They told me ‘No, you can’t call your parents,'” Ahmed said. “‘You’re in the middle of an interrogation at the moment.’” They asked me a couple of times, ‘Is it a bomb?’ and I answered a couple of times, ‘It’s a clock.'” “I felt like I was a criminal,” the teenager said. “I felt like I was a terrorist. I felt like all the names I was called. Just because of my race and my religion,” he said, adding that when he walked into the room where he was questioned, an officer reclined in a chair and remarked, ‘That’s who I thought it was.’ I took it to mean he was pointing at me for what I am, my race,” the freshman explained. Mohamed, who immigrated to the United States from Sudan, and who is Muslim, believes that he was targeted because of his brown skin color and his religion. His father is still furious that the school didn’t contact him right away to tell him his son had been arrested. Instead, he first learned of what happened when police called him. His father told CNN he rushed to the station and saw his son surrounded by five police and he was handcuffed. The school later suspended Ahmed for three days, his father said. Mohamed said his son was at first embarrassed by what happened, but then was lifted and emboldened by the widespread support he has received. “I was scared at the moment, but now I feel really happy,” the young prodigy later told CNN. “I’m getting all this support from all over the world. And the support isn’t just for me but for everyone who has been through this. I will fight for you if you can’t stand up for yourself.”

Irving police had held onto the clock as evidence, but on Thursday, they told CNN that it’s ready for Ahmed to pick it up. Asked what his plans for the future are, he told GMA, “That clock was part of my future.” Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne defended the school district and police. “I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat,” she said in a statement. They all followed procedures, she said. A spokeswoman for the Irving Independent School District said that the way the teen’s experience has been described in media reports is “unbalanced.” She declined to explain why, citing the need to protect a student’s privacy, but said more details would be revealed if the family gives written permission to discuss the incident.

So what’s wrong with our schools? Why did this latest episode between student and faculty occur? I contend that all this is happening to our children by design in order to make sure that the majority of us are programmed to be workers of all different types, so that every need of our current capitalist economic system (not to mention the numerous personal needs of wealthy business owners and their lobbyists, plus corporate CEO’s and their immediate families) can be met. Clearly our school systems are being managed this way by design in order to perpetuate our current hierarchical and authoritarian management structures within both government and the workplace. What the elitists don’t tell you is what happens to those who don’t seem to fit into our glorified capitalist economic system. They usually wind up as prisoners, mental patients or homeless, although there are rare exceptions. They are those whose teachers and parents gave up on them, which eventually teaches these hapless individuals to give up on themselves. Many are those who are labeled as “learning disabled” (whatever that is), people demolished by our rigged capitalist system in a way that starts when these pitiful souls were still very young. These so-called “failing” students are sent to ruin by those in positions of power and authority who love to micro-manage people’s lives just for sport. Unable to cope with being labeled as poor students early on, and with no one to rescue them, they crawl through life, wrecked by warped senses of self-esteem that condemn them to failure, filled with rage, until many of them become institutionalized one way or another. And all this crap happens because some corporate bigwig somewhere was afraid they wouldn’t be able to make enough of a profit from them, and that is brutal mass exploitation by any definition. It’s a gross human rights violation! Instead, I think it’s far better to define ourselves as Americans by how we treat our least fortunate citizens. In that regard I would say we have some improving to do.

Our American public school system is so inferior that it requires total replacement with a digitized system of Internet-based computer learning to bring it up to 21st century speed. This issue is about nothing less than the fundamental right to unrestricted public education from the cradle to the gravestone at little or no cost. What are today’s children subjected to instead of quality education, you may ask? As I write this, on average an American child is neglected or abused every 36 seconds, born into poverty every 41 seconds, and born without health insurance every 59 seconds. These same children are killed by gunfire once every three hours, while yet another hungry, innocent baby is born to a new teenage mother every 60 seconds. Shall we pass judgment on these disadvantaged children as is often the case today, citing so-called “moral” reasons in order to limit their chances of success? Or will we write off these at-risk children as inferior, or as being “not worth the effort”, as is so popular among certain religious conservatives and other bigots? Before you answer any of these questions, let me introduce you to someone who knows what is wrong with education in America. In 1991, a gentleman by the name of John Taylor Gatto won the New York State Teacher of the Year award. His now-famous, even legendary response was to quit, terminating a 30-year career. In a guest column written later in the Wall Street Journal, Gatto said he “didn’t want to hurt kids anymore”. Let me quote briefly. “I’ve come slowly to understand what it is I really teach: a curriculum of confusion, class position, arbitrary justice, vulgarity, rudeness, disrespect for privacy, indifference to quality, and utter dependency. I’ve been teaching kids how to fit into a world I don’t want to live in. Just because your kids are being schooled doesn’t mean they’re being educated. Schooling is given or imposed, but an education is taken by the student. The child is 90 percent sovereign in it. The kid should be the director of his/her life.” Now that’s what I call radical!

“There’s a genius in every child”, Mr. Gatto continued, “but it hardly ever regrows once it’s stomped out. Schools turn out incomplete people, people that have to be connected to some other source of meaning because they can’t generate meaning from the inside. Schooling as it exists isn’t nearly the most efficient way if you want mental development, and it’s a catastrophe if you want moral development…The mass of kids learn, quite deliberately, to be bored. There’s a reason for that. The truth is that bored people detach from their minds and connect with their appetites. They’re desperately searching for something to put in their mouths, or to kiss, or to throw rocks at, or to kill. Bored people aren’t serious competition. They don’t gather together and form organizations to overthrow the leadership. They’re seeking some kind of solace and relief from their boredom, so they become the most dependable customers of all.” Is the school system, then, designed to produce formulaic, obedient, predictable, dumbed-down, conformist consumers and workers and, more nefariously, to discourage dissent? If this all sounds conspiratorial, turn to history. Here’s three samples of what was being written down about education over a hundred years ago:

The raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products, manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry”. Ellwood P. Cubberly, dean of school of education, Stanford University, 1905.

We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and to fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.” Woodrow Wilson, from an address to the New York City High School Teachers Association, January 9, 1909

Somewhere between the ages of 11 and 15, the average child begins to suffer from an intellectual atrophy, the paralysis of curiosity and the suspension of the power to observe. The trouble I should judge to lie with the schools.” Thomas Edison, circa 1900

Just why is it that we warehouse our children in cell-block-style classrooms five days a week for twelve years, force-feed them a standardized diet of what we think they need to learn, and move it all along with boredom, bells, and tests? Who came up with this system of forced confinement learning? Has it just devolved into easy daycare? No, in that case the school boards simply did away with recess so no one could accuse them of that. I understand kids learn things in school, they get to socialize, and get a needed break from their parents. But much of a child’s time in school is squandered, and worse, the process itself has some ill effects. Is school a waste, or even a theft, of childhood? What are the real skills that actually get us through life? Self-confidence, strong character, free and independent thought, autonomy, a passion for learning and enrichment – are these things being taught or stifled in school? The fact that we tell students what they need to learn rather than allowing them to direct their own study, doesn’t this derail a child’s natural ability to think for him or herself – one of the main skills necessary for survival? The American approach to education is so full of anomalies; horrible diet, too many prescribed drugs, and corporate penetration of the sacred learning environment, are three that I can think of. Kids are looked at as corporate targets. They’re being taught math with Hershey’s kisses and M&M’s. It’s in the textbooks! While there was absolutely no conspiracy to do this, there is a completely uninhibited sense of the mission of the school as virtually having nothing to do with education and a tremendous amount to do with the management of populations. The US public school system is not a repairable engine because it’s doing what it’s supposed to do. It is an engine of restraint and restriction and management. No one in authority wants to fix it because they think it’s working just fine.

Here’s what all this boils down to. If anyone were to release all the genius that is pent up in any human being, we’d have a hard time maintaining the current economic system. This terrifies the people in charge, from the White House on down, as well it should! So no, they don’t want to ‘fix’ schools! Consider standardized testing, for example. From school principals to parents to students, the most common complaint that I get about the US public education system from a human rights standpoint is regarding the emphasis on tests, like the Regents exams and Sat’s, which many believe only serve to reinforce the class system. Curricula are routinely shoved aside to focus on training students in rote memorization, how to take and do well on tests. It’s all data-driven. They don’t give a rat’s ass about individual needs! You or your kids must either pass these standardized tests or you don’t get your diplomas. It’s a corporate mentality. There’s no debate about it any more because they don’t allow it!!

In a report released by the US Department of Education in late September 2003, it was lamented that too few Americans were going to college. The report showed a huge gap between what students say they want, and what they actually do. When students enter high school, 91% say they plan to go to college, according to this federally funded report. But, by the time those same students are 19 years old, 30 out of every 100 who entered ninth grade have fallen behind or dropped out, and only 38 of the 70 who earned high school diplomas enroll in college. The United States, once first in the world in college participation leading to a bachelor’s degree, now ranks 11th. While the proportion of degree-seekers has stagnated in the US, other industrial nations, such as Canada, have invested more in their systems of higher education and vocational training. It is apparently no longer true that each succeeding generation of Americans will be better educated than the one that preceded it.

The real truth is that the needs of America’s job market are changing so rapidly that a system of continuous Internet-based education for America’s entire work force and their children, one whose curriculum can be edited at will, and one that can be accessed from any Internet connection, will be essential to maintaining and enhancing the standard of living for 21st century Americans. Going to college and getting a four year degree doesn’t work like it used to, mainly because the vocation that one may be training oneself to perform may be off-shored or right-sized to the third world for only pennies on the dollar within four years or less from today. On the other hand, various accredited courses dedicated to relatively short-term Internet-based vocational education where American workers and their children can get a new degree, diploma or professional certification in only months instead of years will be far more useful than the antiquated educational system that we are all currently stuck with. Workers and managers both need to have an ongoing and continuous national education system available to them at will, so that they may compete on a global scale for jobs in the global economy of the 21st century.

Liberal education being equally and unconditionally available to everyone causes all citizens to become peers and equals, with little or no social distinction between incomes, classes and occupations. Formal or vocational education that becomes equally available to all at nominal cost via the Internet eliminates social, class and economic barriers that have existed for centuries. Unconditional social and economic equality in the 21st century includes the death of hierarchy and bureaucracy as we have known them, with the added benefit of putting the final nail in the coffin of dictatorship. With every US citizen being able to obtain advanced education repeatedly and at will regardless of economic status, the need for close employee supervision and for tiered company management within large bureaucracies will fade into history. It will be a brave new world, that’s for sure!

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