About Me

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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

Welcome to my Opinion Pages

Thanks for stopping by and reading some of my thoughts. I hope you will find an enjoyable adventure here on my pages.



The articles are only my opinion and are never meant to hurt anyone nor to downgrade any other person's ideas or opinions.



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Friday, September 30, 2011

Forgiveness

On Friday 9/30/2011 I heard a news report on the radio that a 13 year old girl in Pakistan had misspelled the word "Mohammad"  on a paper.  The Teacher of the class lost it emotionally and almost had an emotional break-down.  The school made a big deal of the girl's spelling mistake and when word got out, over fifty religious Muslim leaders called for the girl's arrest and for her to be charged with blasphemy; which carries a sentence of death.  The incident caused the girl and her family to go into hiding for fear of their lives.
Perhaps it is just the consequence of a life-time of Western culture and socialization of living in a Democracy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that has established my thinking, but does this sound a bit too harsh a punishment for misspelling a word?  I know there is a vast difference between the theology of Islam and Christianity, just as there was a difference between Isaac and Ishmael.  The subsequent feud between those two brothers has likely created more hatred and bloodshed than any other feud in history.  All the same, if the peoples from those two brothers could examine themselves deeply enough to reach to the core of their basic humanity, I would hope that they would find some level of commonality.  If nothing else, I would hope that commonality would be forgiveness.
If the God of Abraham could find it within His heart to find a way to provide forgiveness to His crowning creation, I suspect that somewhere deep within the deoxyribonucleic acid shared by human nature there is a glimmer of hope for finding a shred of forgiveness for each other.  If this 13 year old girl could be the object of that micro step toward forgiveness from a tradition so deeply rooted in reactionary hatred, it might be the first step onto a path that would lead to healing for humanity.
I will pray for that balm of forgiveness and a glimmer of a new day.
Jim Killebrew

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stimulus growth myth


Government stimulus:  The government does not produce a product or service that generates income.  Money comes to the government by confiscation of that money by the government through laws and regulations imposed on those who work for incomes.  This is usually referred to as income tax, corporate tax, user tax, property tax, or some other kind of tax imposed on the individual with an income.  A portion of each individual's income is handed over to the government even before the individual is paid.  This is the information printed on the individual's check stub that is labeled income tax, FICA, Medicare, State income tax, and in some cases city or county taxes.  If the individual tries to hide or prevent the government from taking the income from the individual, the individual is punished with fines or imprisonment. 
Once the government has possession of the individual's income the representatives of the government freely spend the money as they see fit.  They oftentimes spend the money on special interest groups that directly or indirectly benefit the public official who has the authority to spend the money.  Special projects in public official's districts are funded as an aid to help the public official be re-elected to the office or position numerous times in order to keep the power of managing the money confiscated from the individuals with income.
When the government officials decide to use a portion of the money confiscated from individuals for "infrastructure jobs" or other special projects, those jobs usually do not produce further income.  They are never sustaining nor self-sufficient to the point of reducing the need for more public money.  Moreover, the stimulus money for specific jobs usually require an oversight structure that pays individuals to supervise, manage, administrate, direct or otherwise act as a form of Chief Executive Officer of the funding stream.  For each dollar of the stimulus money used to stimulate spending through the application of some sort of infrastructure job, a significant percentage of each dollar is used for the oversight structure.
When the stimulus money is used to pay for services in the federal, state or local community, it automatically becomes a job that cannot be sustained unless the money from the stimulus source is continued indefinitely.  When the stimulus money runs out there is generally no mechanism in place that will carry the job forward in the future.  Therefore, the person holding that job will usually be laid off and will join the ranks of the unemployed again.
When the government wants or needs more money it simply takes more money from each individual wage earner.  Taxes are raised and a greater percentage of the individual's wages are confiscated.  It is done in hundreds of ways.  Products or services that people want are identified and the government levies a new tax on that product or service.  In addition to the individual's income or wage being taxed, the government taxes the money the individual has left.  The government does that by requiring businesses to collect taxes like sales tax charged on each item of product or service they sell and turn that tax money over to the government. 
Businesses usually cannot afford to absorb the higher taxes the government imposes on their products or services, so the amount of tax the government imposes on those products or services is added to the cost of those products or services.  Then when the individual purchases those products or services the business charges the cost of the product or service and the tax.  The business keeps the earnings of the service or product to replace the purchased product or service, and then surrenders the taxes collected for the government over to the government.  Therefore, the government, through laws and regulations has forced each business in the United States to serve as a tax collector for the government.
The government officials have developed a windfall profit scheme for themselves.  Through the enactment of laws that have the authority to put citizens in prison for many years, they can extract as much money as they want from the average citizen who works for a salary.  They can, and do, tax almost everything that exists.  All people pay taxes to the government.  Each person who works to make a salary pays first right off the top of their check by the use of "payroll deductions."  The portion the government believes is their "fair share" of the individual's salary is taken even before the individual is issued their check.  If the individual does not have enough taken out and falls short of what the government has decided as their "fair share" at the end of the year the employee makes it up by paying more lump sum taxes.  If the payroll deduction number has been too low in the government's opinion, the individual must pay a fine to the government for not deducting enough.  If the individual overpays by having more deducted throughout the year and it requires a "refund" at the end of the year, the government will also fine the individual for causing them to have to issue a refund.
In summary, the federal government is comprised of the President, Congress and the Supreme Court.  There are 535 members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives.  The Congress makes the laws and the President signs them into law.  The Supreme Court judges if they are consistent with the United States Constitution.  Those few people make up the entirety of the law-making process.  They are responsible for the thousands of taxes and the spending of the individual's tax money.
Government stimulus does not really work that well since the money is taken from individuals who earn a living by working and making a salary.  By taking money from the workers and giving, or redistributing, it to others who do not work to make a salary only tends to de-motivate the workers and at the same time kill the incentive to work in the individuals who do not have jobs.  This pattern has been seen in most of the socialistic societies throughout the world. 
Since the government only has money that was taken from individuals who are wage earners, there has to be a limit on what is spent.  As the government spends more and more of the individual's earned wages, there is a slow-down in the economy since the government does not produce any product that is renewable and sustaining.  The government does not build wealth; it only spends confiscated wages earned by others.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Arguments


Did you ever listen to a husband and wife argue, even fight?  What about a brother and sister, or two friends, perhaps a girlfriend with her boyfriend?  If you listen to enough couples over a long enough period of time you will discover that a pattern emerges.
The conversation starts with low tones, just an exchange of thoughts verbalized by each party in their own words.  There are glances, smiles, frowns, looks of puzzlement, surprise or joy.  Then it happens:  a word spoken or an opinion is given; it falls on ears that register disagreement and a flag goes up to prepare for the onslaught of further disagreements.  A counterstatement is spoken by another person, then another; the other counters and voices begin to become strained.  Visceral reactions are charged and emotions begin to explode; the fight stance begins its countdown.
In very short order one party begins to raise the decibel level with charges and countercharges and finally, both parties are shouting at each other.  At that point the argument accelerates to the level of an all-out fight.  Accusations are tossed back and forth, charges are continued, language may begin to deteriorate from civil diction to rancorous profanity and name-calling.  Then suddenly either the man or woman turns from the fight and takes flight leaving slammed doors in the wake.  The person retreats from the room or perhaps leaves entirely; sometimes for hours or even days. 
What follows may be the slow-burn process of thinking things over, telling someone else about the fight, trying to elicit supporters for a favored side by trashing not only the position of the other side, but the person on the other side as well.  Many, of course, simply bury the dreadful feelings received in the fight and let them fester until callousness or hate consumes the person and all hope of reconciliation is gone.
 One theory is postulated that blames ethnocentrism.  Defined in Wikipedia, "Ethnocentrism is the tendency to believe that one's ethnic or cultural group is centrally important, and that all other groups are measured in relation to one's own. The ethnocentric individual will judge other groups relative to his or her own particular ethnic group or culture, especially with concern to language, behavior, customs, and religion. These ethnic distinctions and sub-divisions serve to define each ethnicity's unique cultural identity.[1]"  What may be true for ethnicity may also be true for personal, relational situations as well.
Mistakenly we charge various misadventures between peoples as racism, when in fact there is only one race:  the Human Race.  Within the human race are various ethnic groups that form cultures that develop behaviors, customs and religions.  We look at those differences and sometimes feel uncomfortable with those differences and sometimes treat those differences with personal hostility.  It is not that we are racist; it is that we are ethnocentric because we pre-judge our own behavior as being "right", while we view the other ethnic behavior as being "wrong".  The problem is that we all do it to each other.
Individuals make the same mistake.  In a relationship we act the same way; we tenaciously hold to our own positions as being "right" and the other positions as being "wrong."  My way of doing things is the "best" way to do them.  If not "my way" it's the "highway" for you.  Yet intellectually in most other instances we agree there are many perceptions to the same incident or situation.  In relationships, however, we become rigid and unmoving when challenged in our own preconceptions.  Most people are "comfortable" within their own "comfort zone."  To try to move them out of that zone is to cause them to exert effort to move; but they usually want to remain right where they are to maintain their personal position.


Really, when we think about it, it is simply a form of self-love.  We look through our own eyes and selfishly believe the world revolves around us and any change that needs to be made must be made by others.  Even the person who is constantly trying to "change society for the better" is only trying to change it to match their own perception of how it ought to be; and usually that being a match to their own likes and dislikes. 

We are warned repeatedly in the Scriptures not to think of ourselves so highly to the point of disregarding others:
"For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith."  (Romans 12:3)




These are admonitions that would help us to get along with each other in our close relationships as well as in our cultural diversity.  In the modern vernacular we just need to "chill out."  We need to logically think of all possible facets to any question or situation.  Look at the other position and see how it fits into our own world.  If we can live with it, we need to think about adapting to it.
Surely in the world there will be positions on politics and religion.  We may never be able to fully "adapt" to positions that are personally untenable within our own belief structure.  But surely with personal issues like buying a gas range vs. an electric range, or painting an object blue vs. indigo is something that logic and negotiation can be used to avoid an argument.
For Christians, however, there is a greater authority and a more direct mandate to avoid personal degradation of character and personality.  We are mandated to "get along" and work out our differences since our "commonality" with one another resides in our being in Christ.  Just review the writings of the Apostle Paul in Colossians:            
Colossians 3
Exhortations to Seek the Things Above
"3:1 Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 3:2 Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, 3:3 for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 3:4 When Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with him. 3:5 So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion [think of this as lust], evil desire, and greed which is idolatry. 3:6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. 3:7 You also lived your lives in this way at one time, when you used to live among them. 3:8 But now, put off all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouth. 3:9 Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices 3:10 and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it. 3:11 Here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all."
Exhortation to Unity and Love
"3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 3:13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others. 3:14 And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond. 3:15 Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful. 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God. 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Finally, the Apostle James gives us the path to True Wisdom:
"Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom brings. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth. Such  wisdom does not come  from above but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical.  And the fruit that consists of righteousness  is planted in peace among  those who make peace."  (James 3:13-18)
 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

911 remembered


911 is remembered by most people in the United States as a vivid memory.   It was a day that we inhaled with a gasp and held our breath at the sights we saw, the feelings we felt and the numbness that prevailed. 
It was a day that brought destruction from those whose hearts and minds had long since closed to lifting humanity; but rather sought to stand on their tip-toes to selfishly bring the world's attention to themselves. 
It was a day of destruction and loss of innocent life with actions from evil men who sought to ignite a flame of hate across the nation and around the world.
It was a day that terrorists from the far corners lifted their arms with rifles and blasted the air with their hate-filled celebration of murder and the intentional suicidal, homicidal actions of their fellow terrorists.
But it was also a day that seared into the hearts and minds of Americans and other freedom-loving individuals everywhere a sense of resolve that evil cannot be victorious over good.
It has been remembered as a day when thousands of first responders ran toward burning buildings to save as many as possible.
It has been remembered as a day when thousands, if not millions, of prayers went up to the God of the Universe to provide strength, comfort and even justice as the events played out through the day.
It has been remembered as a time when thousands of family, friends, neighbors, and even a nation stood in solidarity against the evil perpetrated with presumed impunity, as they began the fight to eradicate the arrogance of evil being thunderously shouted from caves and remote places around the world.
It has been remembered as a time for healing, resurgence, re-building and standing strong against the chorus of evil emanating from the radical infestation of misfits who captured peaceful peoples and held them hostage with radical views and shouts of hatred.
It has been remembered as a time of innocence before the day, but a time of rapid maturity of waging war against terrorism in the years that followed.
For sure we are more cautious; and yet continue to be a uniquely open society.  Even with more stringent security, our boarders continue to remain surprisingly porous.  Our values for human freedom remain strong, our reliance on each other remains intact; and our Spiritual quest to look beyond ourselves to become more than we can be is unfettered.
Finally, we have remained committed to being the beacon on the hill for the rest of the world to see; the sounding board of freedom for all to hear; the example of unity and society of laws for other cultures to feel; and the continued peaceful transfer of power from leader to leader as the blueprint for all other nations to follow.  On that day evil meant to dissolve our resolve by mass destruction and murder; but instead, we have become stronger, smarter, mightier, more resolved to move onward, upward and forward to demonstrate to the world that as a nation, under God, we will be sustained to grow toward greater freedom, more tolerance to diversity, and steadfastly anchored in our faith in our God to buttress "We the People."