MORAL WATCH: INDICATORS Part IX
35 INDICATORS of America’s Moral Condition
This work focuses on 35 Indicators to show that direction in which our Nation is heading. The follow meter rating is for the purpose of following trends. Scale is each Moral Indicator (MI) is based on .1 to .9 with higher numbers indicating a worst condition – all multiplied by 3.176
It has been estimated that the United States of America has been at war (including Indian wars/conflicts) for over 90% of its existence. The budgetary cost of war for the US from 2001 to 2016 was $4.8 trillion according to a Brown University’s Watson Institute report. It includes $1.8 trillion by 2017, $548 billion for Homeland Security, Interest on borrowing for wars $453 billion, a trillion in future veterans’ medical bills and a trillion in current DOD base budget and veterans spending.
Since 1990, at least 34 new countries have been created. The USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) was created in 1922 from the Russian Empire, after WWI and the Bolshevik Revolution (1917; Lenin). It was dissolved December 1991, and became about 15 post-Soviet Union states. Several, such as the Ukraine, declared independence immediately. Even so, Russia or the Russian Federation remains the largest country in the world.
For more see: WAR and VIOLENCE examination
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The unemployment rate declined to 4.6 percent in November, and total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 178,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains occurred in professional and business services and in health care. In November, the unemployment rate decreased by 0.3 percentage point to 4.6 percent, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 387,000 to 7.4 million. Both measures had shown little movement, on net, from August 2015 through October 2016.”
According to Forbes.com, in 2014 the real unemployment rate was 12.6%, almost 3 times the government’s numbers. Forbes wrote, “While reporting a low, declining unemployment number may comfort people, we can’t ignore the millions of workers feeling the pain of the real unemployment number rising from 12.4% to 12.6% last month.”
“Marginally attached” describes individuals not currently in the labor force who wanted and were available for work. The official unemployment numbers exclude them, because they did not look for work in the 4 weeks preceding the unemployment survey. In July 2014 there were 2.2 million people in this category, which was more than the population of North and South Dakota and Vermont.
Although, the U.S. unemployment rate for end of 2016 was stated at 5%; and the U-6 ‘real rate’ was about 10%, it should be noted that millions of Americans have taken lower paying jobs without choice. And without government intervention the child poverty rate would nearly double from 18% to 33%. The poverty rate in America has been between 13% and 15% during the last three years (2014-2016).
Student Loans: .87
According to studentloanhero.com, American college graduates may have put the right foot forward with their education, but they are off to a rough start where personal ambitions are concerned. Student Loan Hero’s 2015 Student Loan Burden Report revealed that one in seven Americans have delayed marriage due to student loan debt, which does not forecast a promising romantic future.
College-educated Americans with student loans are giving up more than just “I dos” as a result of debt from their education. Key highlights from the report include:
- 44% of have postponed traveling the world
- More than one in three (41%) have postponed buying a house or apartment
- One in four (25%) have had to postpone moving out of their parents’ homes
- One in nine have delayed their plans to move to New York, one in 11 to Los Angeles and one in five to another major city
- 47 percent of Americans have put off purchasing a car
- One in five Americans have put off running their own business
- Another one in five have been unable to work in their field of study
Seven in 10 seniors (68%) who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2015 had student loan debt, with an average of $30,100 per borrower. This represents a 4% increase from the average debt of 2014 graduates.
Americans owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44 million borrowers. In fact, the average Class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt, up six percent from last year.
Student loan debt has soared from $260 billion in 2004 to $1.2 trillion in 2014; average debt jumped from $18,650 to $33,000; and the number of people over 60 with student loan debt tripled to 2.1 million.
Music, Book and Movie Censorship: .88
In 1896 movies came to America; that year Thomas Edison’s ‘The Kiss’ was criticized as a threat to morality. In 1907, Chicago enacted the first movie censorship law in the U.S. Other cities quickly followed. In 1909, the National Board of Censorship, backed by Christian minsters and priests, was created. In 1914, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), which protested movies as early as 1906, began to lobby the government for regulation of films. They stated that films were ‘addictive’ and often immoral; and that they glorified violence and crime. In 1914, an author was indicted under federal obscenity laws for their book.
In 1915, in Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio, the Supreme Court found that movies are not protected by the First Amendment. In 1915, the movie Birth of a Nation was banned due to racial content and inciting riots in several states. In 1918, the Sedition Act made it illegal for Americans to criticize the U.S. government, flag or Constitution.
In 1922, the MPPDA was formed, which became the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). In 1930 the MPPDA created a Code to Maintain Social and Community Values in… Motion Pictures. In 1934, the Catholic Legion of Decency was formed. In 1934, Random House won in appeals court to overturn the lower court ruling that Ulysses was obscene.
In 1946, in Hannegan v. Esquire the Supreme Court ruled that Esquire Magazine was not obscene and could be distributed through the mail. In 1952 the Supreme Court strike down a ban on the film ‘The Miracle;’ which had been found to be ‘sacrilegious.’ More over the Supreme Court held that ‘motion pictures are a significant medium for the communication of ideas’ and entitled to First Amendment protection in great part.
In 1956 the MPAA loosened its prohibitions on drug use, abortion, prostitution and abortion in movies. It still did not allow blasphemy against the Lord God. In 1957, in Roth vs. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that sexually explicit content is protected by the First Amendment unless it lacks ‘redeeming social importance.’ In 1959, the portrayal of adultery was ruled not obscene.
In 1961, in Times Film Corp. v. Chicago, the Supreme Court ruled that police did not have the right to review movies before screening. In 1963 comedian Lenny Bruce was repeated arrested for obscenity and blasphemy. In 1966, the MPAA created the category ‘SMA’ – Suggested for Mature Audiences.
In 1966, a movie with nudity was released without the MPAA seal. In 1968, the MPAA put forth ratings: G for General Audiences, M for Mature Audiences, R for 16 and above and X. In 1969, the Supreme Court held that the expressions against the flag were protected under the Constitution. In 1969, an X-rated film received an Oscar for Best Picture.
In 1972, in Miller v. California, the Supreme Court defined obscenity as based in part on community standards. In 1978, in FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, the Supreme Court upheld that George Carlin’s ‘seven dirty words’ monologue was indecent. In the 1970s and 1980s X rated movies began to be called pornography.
In 1988, in Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, the Supreme Court ruled that student editors and journalist could be censored by school officials. In 1990, X rating was replaced by NC-17 to distinguish from pornography.
In 1996, in Reno vs. ACLU, the Supreme Court held that online speech is protected just as any other printed material. In 2009, a Britney Spears’ single was censored and later retitled. The FCC is the primary regulator of music censorship.
Recently the Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment protects ‘indecent’ pornography, but not ‘obscene’ pornography. Note in Louisiana gambling is illegal, but not gaming – including gambling games. 1996, the Congress passed the Communications Decency Act to come against internet pornography, and the Supreme Court struck down the law.
Note, even ancient Rome and Greece had censorship laws. And in America, you cannot yell ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater or public space that could cause panic and physical danger. But we have come to a place in U.S. history where basically any language can be spouted and sold in music and print media; and any language and nudity can be recorded and sold in video or movie media. Simply state a rating and go forth without real regulation to who will later see it.