Voice of the People
How Can We Untangle This Mess?
By Thomas Emmon Pisano
With there being so much in the world that needs addressing, here is an essay on the state of our global society this March 2009 as seen by me and those with whom I have discussed the situation. Our planet is in the grip of something overwhelming and dangerous, but still the media makes it all sound like everything is just fine. There is much to be considered and things are not all right, and it is time to realize that we have danced around the problems long enough and it is now time to face the snarling truth. That there should be a hidden cause and a difference between what people say and what they think and do is ridiculous. However, that seems to be the case when it comes to politics. We have seen the manifestation of the 'perfect storm' so to speak, when it comes to our new President Obama, he is trying to bring about a change no matter how much it costs. If you should really know, I am praying that this money does not wind up in the hands of those who misappropriated the funds from the last great American money grab, under G. W. Bush's administration. The world is teetering on the edge financially, so I asked a friend of mine. "Trillions upon trillions of dollars have been spent by our federal government over the last eight years, where did that money go? Who has it? It had to go somewhere; it didn't evaporate off the face of the earth. I know that there must be very wealthy people out there some place just living it up on our nation's misspent wealth." On another front, we see Kim Jung Il rattling his sabers, you would think a man who has everything this world has to offer, would know how to use his free time better. It just seems like a gigantic waste building bombs and weapons of mass destruction when there is so much hunger all about. I think he wants to destroy instead of create. If the people in the North were friends to the people in the south, there would be a great exchange of wealth between the two peoples. Consequently, there would be a great cultural growth in that country as a whole, both would prosper. However, for this to happen some things will have to change concerning the 'strong-man' in the north, he needs to start thinking of the big picture, the Korean people. My plea for peace between Israel and Palestine seems to be falling on deaf ears. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth has left both sides decimated and full of fear, doubt, and overwhelming resentment. How can they go on like this, swatting back and forth? The fear and the loathing must be unbearable for the people who must worry everyday about their homes and their children. The face of war is never sane but this war is stupid and senseless. To the Palestinian people, the Israeli people are not going anywhere; they are going to endure, no matter what happens, that's what history has shown us. And, to the Israeli people, Palestine is not going to give in to the pushing your people have levied against them. Give up those unrealistic notions that your enemies are going to disappear, that will not happen, you must learn to live with one another, or the whole world will continue to suffer. As if it couldn't get any worse, more of our banks are failing at an alarming rate in the United States and we are just to sit back and say that this is due to a mean recession. I don't see it; I see more of the same 'business as usual', stealing, fraud, the slick and the smart dipping into the money that we as tax payers are throwing into this money pit of a recession. They are calling it a stimulus package; not at all, this is a 'golden opportunity' for 'those in the know' to glean more of the money our government is foolishly throwing at our ailing economy. On a further note, I have been listening to this new buzzword coined by our government: Transparency, what an awful word. It is another way of getting around the truth and avoiding the issue. What would that issue be, you ask. Accountability – accountability – accountability is the issue and the task that our government should be undertaking with a fervor. Where are the ledgers and the bookkeepers? Because without this much needed accountability we are subject to the same old waste and oversight, without much hope for a change. While the financially privy few line their pockets, with ill-gotten money (acquired through legal loopholes) the rest of the country is left wondering to where all those billions have vanished. The canker of corruption has settled upon America's government. Back to the Middle East, the Iranian government has decided, in its infinite wisdom, to build a nuclear weapon, according to recent news accounts. Are these people insane? Building weapons of mass destruction is always a bad idea, besides actions like this are counterproductive, dangerous, and always have serious consequences. What is motivating the Iranian government to travel down this foolhardy path? Hatred is the mover of the Iranian government. Genocide and destruction is the goal of this kind of weapon. People with these motives cannot be allowed to produce weapons like atomic bombs; they are not mentally or emotionally stable enough to be responsible for these destructive devices. This brings me to another topic in need of airing; America's prison system. I have been following an ongoing case in Hickman County, Tennessee. A man was arrested in July 2007 for an assault with a knife on his live-in girl friend and her teenaged daughter. The man, lets call him Joe, has been sitting in the Hickman County jail awaiting some legal action for nearly two years. The court system cries poor, claims it is over worked, and lacks public defenders; they claim they cannot keep a lawyer on staff to defend those who are in need of representation. Meanwhile, they starve the prisoners nutritionally, forcing them to buy from an over priced commissary. This is a commissary, which doesn't keep accurate records concerning its prisoner billing. The prisoners, who could be waiting indefinitely for any kind of legal action, are made to pay for their own prescription medications, medical and psychiatric help while waiting for the wheels of Tennessee's justice system to grind ever so slowly forward. Once Hickman County discovers that family and friends will pay for these necessary services, the court system drags its feet further milking the family for all they are worth. It seems and smells of racket. There are many such violations of the prisoner's human rights in the Hickman County system; such as the loss of mail and mailed in prisoner property like underwear and undershirts, vitamins, toiletries, medication, books, and money. You can see how all this begins to look suspicious after a while. Still… One year and eight months has passed and there has been no trial date set for the man we will call Joe. Does this look like fair and speedy justice according to our constitution? I wonder, but I am sure the state of Tennessee has found some legal loopholes that allow them to treat their prisoners unfairly. Unhealthy conditions, poor diet, no sunshine for almost two years, and we have not mentioned the psychological abuse this confinement has on people who are living in a situation of doubt and fear, when they are not convicted of a crime, they are in limbo. Not even the A.C.L.U. will look into this problem; you would think that this would be right up their alley. If there had been a quick and speedy trial, Joe would now be serving his time and settled into the routine of prison life. The actions in Hickman County only go to reflect the mind-set of the country on these municipal levels; people loose some of their civil rights when they are arrested and accused of a crime. Citizens also loose their hard-earned money dealing with the American legal system. Unless a person is of some consequence and has the means and money to afford a good attorney, they will rot in jail indefinitely. There is nothing the poor and indigent can do but endure the tedium of a legal system that is all but blind to justice. There is so much more trouble in the world, but to tell you the truth these worldly woes wear me down and make me want to write about more pleasant things, but then that would be burying my head in the sand. I cannot ignore the world's wounds and we must try to save the world a little at a time. Let me leave you with this one thing, lately, the world has become a very dishonest, petty, and a wary place to live. One of our most valuable tools, the computer, is riddled with life threatening perils. We cannot let down our guard for an instant; we must keep our eyes on the road. I suppose we must now be ever vigilant and not allow ourselves to be distracted by the frivolous.
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Mr. Thomas Emmon Pisano, an electronics-engineer-turned professional writer, serves as US correspondent for The Seoul Times. A New Jersey native he has lived in California. He has started his writing career in 2003 and has authored four books including “No Murder Too Small” and Big Crimes Small Miracles.”