Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

Revolution

October 29, 2013
head of diseased Kenyan child in Kibera Slums

Diseased Kenyan child in Kibera slums, Nairobi

You are born into this world without anything and you leave this world when you die, without anything. So what makes you think that you can own this world, that you can own the environment, that you can own skill and knowledge, that you can keep it from us, sell it to us at piece meal and make us dependent on you? What and who gives you that right?

You have developed a system of voting with your rules, not ours. You say that we have the right to vote so we can change our leaders who make your rules, not ours. And we have to wait for change, which once again comes in piece meal.

But the environment and our children cannot wait. While you make us wait to change your rules, our environment is being poisoned by your rules and our children are diseased and dying.

So if we are to survive in this society created by humans, we must take back what should have never been theirs and create an equal, open and transparent society for all. Without that the world will continue to be for the privileged and the few and injustice will continue to reign in our society because it is controlled by the few.

Copyright © 2013 Jorge Luis Carbajosa

Miriam Carey Shot Near The U.S. Capitol

October 4, 2013

Although it is true that we live in a time of potential terrorist attacks and armed lunatics who shoot innocent people for dumb reasons, no matter what your opinion is of what happened yesterday, the fact is that our police forces shot a single unarmed mother in front of her toddler.

Did the police not see that there was a child inside the car? How much of a threat was this woman? The press reports that she “flattened barricades” but were any of the police officers there in real fatal danger at any given time? There are no doubt a lot of unanswered questions.

The police once again acted by shooting first and asking questions later. We live in a society that condones and justifies armed violence. It’s all for the fatherland, isn’t? Our armed security personnel and soldiers overseas are unquestionably nothing but heroes….allegedly working without pay that day, going beyond the call of duty….but killing a demented woman in front of her little girl nonetheless.

It is at times like this that it sickens me to live in the U.S. and I fear for my two boys. God help us all.

Copyright © 2013 Jorge Luis Carbajosa

Hope

October 2, 2013

Unlike corporations and countries, humans can have hope for the future. Corporations and countries, unfortunately, are more concerned about the stupid societies they have created. The sooner we get rid of countries and change our societies to be more reflective of human and environmental needs, the better.

Copyright © 2013 Jorge Luis Carbajosa

Driving is NOT a privilege

July 2, 2013

Once again yesterday I heard someone in our legal system make the statement and argument that “driving is a privilege.”  It was an immigration judge.  And whenever I hear someone make a statement or point their finger, I try to ask myself if the opposite is true. Many times I am surprised that it is.

First, I’d like to say that I find it appalling that the secretary of state in Illinois and our legal system has come to the conclusion that driving is a privilege for drivers. It is apparently based on a legal decision made by the courts that driving instead of being a right is a privilege.  The courts have the right to make whatever statement they want since we do live in supposedly a free country but I personally believe driving is actually neither a right nor a privilege, it is a necessity and a responsibility.

And if you really think about it, the privilege is the government’s not ours. They have the privilege to regulate, control and facilitate our driving.

So please, judge, state attorney, city attorney, secretary of state, explain to me how driving is a privilege. Who purchased my car? Who pays for the gas? Who pays for the insurance? Who pays for the maintenance? Who pays for the children’s car-seats? Who drives my children to daycare? Who buys medication for my children late at night? How do the children go to their after-school sport activities? Who pays for the tolls? Who pays for our highways and bridges? How do I get to work? Who pays for the police, the sheriffs, the courts, etc? Driving is not even a privilege in European cities or in New York city, where public transportation is excellent and where arguably, one can live without a car. In those places driving could be called a luxury, but like here in Chicago, driving is also a responsibility and a necessity but never a privilege. The statement “driving privileges” must be changed immediately by our government to “driving responsibilities.”

In the U.S. most of us don’t have a choice around buying a car. Our public transportation is simply not good enough and in most cases, it is basically impossible to survive without a vehicle. Our government has set up our infrastructure and our lives so that people can buy cars and pay for car services conveniently. There are really few alternatives, if any, for those that cannot afford a car or choose to live without one. Our government clearly has given privileges to gas and car companies but not to the common people. Paying for a car, gas and services involving vehicles is always a struggle.

So in short, as things stand today, I ask our government to refrain from stating that our necessity to drive is a “privilege.” It is your privilege that we do drive, not ours, because you live, exist and gain from our driving, not the other way around.

 Copyright © 2013 Jorge Luis Carbajosa

Chicago Beach Picnic

July 1, 2013

I moved to Chicago in 1994 and I went to my first picnic barbecue yesterday along the beach front on Foster. I was surprised at the size of the area there available for barbecues. It’s huge.

Some of the people I went with had asked me to purchase some beer, which I did. Now, I don’t drink so when I got there I just brought it with me and walked nonchalantly to the area where my friends were. I was soon told to hide it because drinking is not allowed at the beach and/or park. Why did they ask me to bring it in the first place? But it is absurd that people are not allowed to drink alcohol. Why not? In the European countries I have lived in drinking in public spaces is not so restricted as in the U.S.

Another thing I noticed is the lack of trash receptacles. There was also no encouragement to discard food waste right on the park itself. This would be the ideal thing to do instead of mixing it with plastic and putting it in a plastic bag.

There were some recycling receptacles but the lack of trash receptacles had a lot of people filling those up with regular garbage.

We left at dusk and there was trash everywhere.

Copyright 2013 Jorge Luis Carbajosa

Environmental Impact Number or Environmental Impact Unit

March 14, 2013

And what is it? Well it should be a number given to everything that is for sale and it would determine the impact it has on the environment.

For instance, think about a cereal box. The cereal box has several components:  The box, the bag the cereal comes in and the cereal itself.

To calculate the EIU or Environmental Impact Unit, we would have to see how the cereal box was made and how it impacted the environment. What impact on the environment did the box, the bag and the cereal have before it landed on your grocery shelf and what impact will the cereal box create on the environment once you’ve disposed of it. What happens to the bag that contains the cereal and the box itself whether they get recycled or not? What happens to the cereal in the event that it is eaten or not eaten, environmentally speaking.

A box of cereal at a store would have it’s price, say $3.00 and the EIU. So the cost would be $3.00 + x EIUs.

It is time that we consumers start demanding what impact our purchases have on the environment and what is it that we own and hold in our hands when we purchase or buy something. It is time to become responsible for our ownership, and hold companies accountable for what they produce. We need to assign a EIU to every product that is for sale. Only then will consumers have a more comprehensible idea of it’s real cost, not it’s partial human determined cost.

I encourage everyone to start a conversation on how to best calculate a formula for this EIU. For example:

EIU = Time to manufacture + Energy Consumption + Time to degrade back into the environment + Toxicity level for other beings + Mortality level for other beings

Copyright © 2013 Jorge Luis Carbajosa

Unemployment

February 7, 2013

If you think about it, there was probably a time in human existence when unemployment did not exist.

A society that makes individuals dependent on itself, instead of a society of individuals in which society is secondary to their survival will inevitably have unemployment.

In essence, your knowledge has become a commodity. Something that you have paid for to then be granted a job in a society that governs you. It is an unfortunate model of existence.

Copyright © 2013 Jorge Luis Carbajosa

Another day

February 7, 2013

So I wake up to another day. I know it will be a day where there is little I can do to help our environment against our human practices that are not ecological.

It will be another day of lack of knowledge that is kept from us by corporations and our government. One which we know the government is making decisions concerning our environment that we, the common people, have no control over.

It will be a day in which I am still very dependent of society to survive instead of one where I would be able to depend on myself and the knowledge I possess to survive. It will not be a day where society is secondary to my survival.

Copyright © 2013 Jorge Luis Carbajosa

All Firearms Are Discharged By The Devil

December 17, 2012

There’s a Spanish proverb which says Las armas las carga el diablo which is also known as las armas son del diablo. It is a proverb that would be good for the American conscience to think about and be aware of at this time of tragedy, and it means that the devil is the one who discharges all firearms. So it doesn’t matter who carries or owns a firearm, ultimately it is the devil who will fire it.

The NRA and all gun supporters can make all the arguments in favor of weapons they want, but in the Spanish world we know this proverb to be true, and not necessarily in the sense that there is a devil out there who will indeed control any weapon you happen to be carrying, but in the sense that humans don’t quite realize what it means to take someone’s life, and how powerless we are over weapons that discharge themselves accidentally and have done so in too many tragic instances. It is for a reason, after all, that that the Fifth Commandment says “Thou shall not kill.”

Everyone knows that the kind of massacre that recently occurred in Connecticut, rarely, if ever, happens in Europe, where guns are basically banned almost everywhere. And ask yourself the following question: What business do you have owning an assault weapon, or a hand gun? If you really are so much into guns, I would not oppose that you own a hunting rifle, and that is all. Think about this: Do you want to carry a firearm? Sure, bring a rifle. I really have no problem with that and I don’t say it sarcastically because I will be able to see at a distance that you have one. And let’s see how well you can conceal a hunting rifle. I think police and security guards will agree.

I don’t want my children to grow up in a country where civilians have relatively easy access to firearms that are not hunting rifles or alike. I’m not a gun expert, but I think you understand what I am saying. I don’t like the idea that my 3 and 8 year old are not safe in this society. I don’t want my sons’ lives to be taken from them tragically by a fool. I don’t want my children to be raised in vain and to have their lives vanish because of someone’s lunacy.

The press now talks about a possible new ban on assault weapons. Well anyone can tell you  it will have to be much more than that. I’ve already expressed what I think of hand guns. Making elementary schools hire security guards could help (and possibly even decrease unemployment). But like a lawyer friend of mine pointed out there must also be firm liability laws to make gun ownership extremely expensive and to make manufacturing companies liable for their products.

Until then, or until something is changed in our society, what happened in Sandy Hook will not be of much surprise to any of us who live in this country. We will simply continue to hope that it doesn’t ever happen in our school district, or in the malls we go to.

Copyright © 2012 Jorge Luis Carbajosa

Owning the environment

October 4, 2012

If you can own a piece of land and if the government can own what is underneath it, like the oil, and the water in an aquifer, then why can’t I own the air above your land?

The answer to environmentalism is in the courts. Environmentalists must appropriate the environment and beat corporations and our government in their own game. Imagine oil companies had to pay for all the chemicals they dump into our environment. Just how cost effective would petrol be then?

Copyright © 2012 Jorge Luis Carbajosa