The Arab world is changing, how will the US oligarchy handle it?

Democratic movements are trying to change the power structure and the shape of government in the Arab world.

Will the US do the right thing and support these movements for change or, instead, will the US continue to back the dictatorships as it has in past and continues to do in the present? As in 1953 in Guatemala when the US opposed Arbenz and Iran when the US opposed Mossadeq and supported the Shah’s dictatorship, as in Chile in 1973 when the US opposed Allende and supported the dictator Pinochet, as in Vietnam, as in the 1980s when the US supported the brutal regime in Salvador, as in the past when the US supportedf Suharto in Indonesia against the popular revolution in East Timor and the US support of Marcos or the US support of the Somoza family in Nicaragua?

As illustrated in Oliver Stone’s new film, South of the Border, democratic change is occurring in South America in spite of past US support for dictators. Hugo Chavez, Eban Morales, and many other new leaders are doing the bidding of the people, not of the corporate oligarchy. It’s called socialism or a variant of socialism. And that is a dirty word in the US were democracy equals Capitalism even though Capitalism has nothing to do with democracy per se and, in fact, modern corporations are like little dictatorial fifedoms now backed by the Supreme Court as being citizens where it is one dollar one vote instead of one person one vote.

The tumult in the Arab world is a good thing. The call for change is being made by the educated middle classes not under control of fundamentalists. It will be interesting to watch how the US reacts especially since many calls for change will be by people who are not afraid to be called socialists. Will the US react, as in the past, by supporting the status quo and the dictators in order to protect “our oil” and the interests of our wealthy plutocrats?

How to remember how to spell therefore vs therefor

If you’re like me, you forget if therefore has the letter e at the end.

Yes, it does. But the word therefor without the e also exists. Therefor is an ancient word that simply means “for” or “for that purpose”. Its current use is mostly in legal documents.

So it’s easy to remember that when it means for, it ends in for.

Therefore, when you mean therefore, end it in fore.

Society ignores the mentally ill. Everyone suffers.

As the shooting of Gabriell Giffords in Tuscon shows, a mentally disturbed person who is left to fall between the cracks can end up going totally insane and in some cases harm other people. Futhermore, the afflicted person also suffers from the mental illness since their thinking becomes tortured by obsessions, fears, and delusions. They are left untreated. They suffer. And sometimes society suffers.

In the case of Jared Loughner, his mental illness was evident to many yet that mental illness was given the right to rule his mind and degenerate. An article in the Washington Post, January 9, 2011, by David A. Fahrenthold, Sari Horwitz and Amy Gardner illustrates this point. According to that article, Loughner was attending classes at Tucson’s Pima Community College. School administrators ignored warnings of his fellow students and his teachers that his behavior was threatening. According the article, the administrators were reported to have said, “He hasn’t taken any action to hurt anyone. He hasn’t provoked anybody. He hasn’t brought any weapons to class…. We’ll just wait until he takes that next step.”.

But what can a school do? Should school administrators reject a student just because he manifests quirky behavior or some fellow student makes a complaint? To answer that question, we needto realize the the issue is much larger than what happens in schools. Consider the case of the Virginia Tech Massacre in 2007 . Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people, had been diagnosed with mental illness long before enrolling at Virginia Tech. Yet, due to federal privacy laws, Virginia Tech was not informed of Seung-Hui Cho’s diagnosis at the time he enrolled!

On a daily basis, in Los Angeles, police officers do not detain or transport mentally ill people to a hosptial even when they have been reported to be making threats unless they are deemed “a danger to themselves or others or severely disabled”. The bar for arresting disturbed people or for placing them in treatment is very high. Often, after being reported to police, a mentally ill person who was harassing someone will simply be taken to some other part of town and dropped off. Or taken to an emergency room where they will be given some pills then turned loose.

It goes from bad to absurd. Some scientologists have been known to try to convince mentally ill people to not take antipsychotic medicine.

In my opinion, when a mentally ill person has gotten to the the point they are delusional and making threats, there needs to be a fair judicial process, with due process, that requires the afflicted person to take medication, involuntarily if necessary. That may sound harsh. But, in fact, it is more humane than letting the mental illness dominate the life of the afflicted person and people the afflicted person comes in contact with on a daily basis.