Examining Existence

The planet is embroiled in many confrontations. It has its own issues regarding its tendency to grow warmer and warmer; something Earth has been doing since the last ice age over twenty thousand years ago. Further, hominids have pitched in for the last 12,000 years, putting Earth on something akin to Cocaine. More on that later.

Earth, given its proximity to the Sun and carrying its own moon around, permits a certain pattern of life to exist. Hominids call it environment, ecosystem, life, nature, laws of physics and quantum mechanics. For the planet, though, the patterns of life are very much trial and error; Earth is indifferent to any intellectual perception that there is meaning to this randomness. Every evolutionary change is totally arbitrary.

This randomness is a characteristic of the entire universe, its stars, planets, moons and any order of nature that may exist in or among celestial reality. Consequently, all modifications to life are indifferent and may enhance an environment or may damage that environment. For example, recently an asteroid collided with the Earth in Mexico destroying ninety percent of life on the planet. On other occasions, volcanoes and earthquakes have stressed the environment to the point of having to start most of evolution over again. On the other hand, the assimilation of oceans of water placed on the planet allowed a supportive, temperate climate to emerge. Life was free to effortlessly experiment and has created a highly diversified environment.

The ethical premise of the universe and Earth is “what happens is what happens.” This applies to evolution in its entirety. In general, what keeps evolution going and surviving is, if mariner may borrow a politicized phrase, a quid pro quo arrangement between a species and its environment. A species takes from the environment to survive but also in the final analysis gives something back to the ecosystem. Overall there is a balance between species and environment.

If evolution is to be sustained, there is a need for predators. Many species in ignorance will over indulge their environment and breed to the point that nature becomes imbalanced; consider the cougar versus white tailed deer or the Peregrine falcon versus pigeons.

There is an exception: parasites. Parasites will consume an entire ecosystem even to the point it becomes fatal for the parasite. In the bacteria-virus world, parasites are common: the black plague, measles, sexually transmitted disease, ebola, etc. In the mammalian age, there are hominids.

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The ‘what happens is what happens’ phenomenon in this case is intelligence. Hominids are subject to the same quid pro quo as other mammals but after a while, intelligence learned how to break that deal between nature and the species. And by the time Homo sapiens sapiens evolved, brutalizing nature was an art form. Humans had become parasites of the planet’s environment. No aspect of nature was protected. Mining, chemical farming, destruction of large ecosystems like the Brazilian rain forest, and the extinction of 83 percent of the world’s species is de rigeuer. Atmospheric pollution took a back seat to profit – a classic parasitic move.

Elizabeth Kolbert, author of ‘The Sixth Extinction’, believes that Homo will bring about the global extinction of the mammalian age. Species are driven to extinction by simple but thorough intrusions into sensitive biospheres. A blatant example of parasitic behavior is to open the world’s largest surface mine and the largest oil drilling operation in Alaska – thereby wiping out the salmon that must use the same rivers to populate. As the reader reads this post, profiteering (AKA parasitic behavior) has moved to the bottom of the Earth’s oceans in search of new profits.

Mariner believes that the imminent recession in the world economy, the inability of governments around the world to find an ethical compass, and the disregard of individual citizens to take responsibility for the state of the planet, all may lead to a great collapse made more punitive by a planet on cocaine. How Homo and Earth’s creatures will recover is open to question.

If nothing else, vote to sustain the future, not to repair the past.

Ancient Mariner


The Vagaries of Dying

Mother Earth (AKA God, Yahweh, etc.) has arranged that all life forms procreate then die. It could not be otherwise because the planet would be quite crowded, resources would be unstable and there would be no room. So, all humans will die. Dying is painful, inopportune, and generally unpleasant. But dead is different. Being dead is like a long, deep nap in the afternoon. Time passes by unnoticed; there are no challenges, fears or inadequacies; no achievement is required. Just rest – even rest passes by unnoticed.

There are many kinds of death, each unique to its existence. For example automobiles die; there are graveyards for automobiles. Buildings die by decaying. On the other hand, buildings can be razed, too. Even Pando, the oldest living tree in the world at 80,000 years plus, will die perhaps by the hand of Mother Nature herself.

Species also die but not necessarily in the same time frame. Consider the opossum: Its origins date to the end of the dinosaurs but the lifestyle of each opossum is the same today as it was 65.5 million years ago. On the other hand, humans have ended the existence of 83% of all mammals and half of plants since the dawn of civilization. And to the point: humans, given their frailties, are willing to end their own species as well. Did Mother Nature make a mistake in the blueprints or is it humans who are supposed to enforce change by erasing estuaries, unbalancing rain forests, wiping out critical biomes or setting up an end to the mammalian age – even at the cost of their own demise?

Unlike the opossum, humans will not let stability remain. Human society changes as often as the weather. If society doesn’t change fast enough, humans invoke wars; if status quo even pauses for a moment, human science and technology trashes it for something new. Alas, society the world around is in the midst of social wars and societal collapse brought about by technical advancement. Not just one advancement but by 400 years of advancement bumping into the next one and the next one until change has become constant for 200 years.

For humans, change and conflict are two sides of the same coin. The old social standard must die – usually along generational timelines – except for the rare exception, e.g., the conservative Amish. Nothing is allowed permanency: slavery, economics, Frank Sinatra replaced by Elvis, replaced by Beetles, replaced by Wu-tang Clan, replaced by Nosebleed. Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite replaced by FOX, MSNBC and CNN.

The New Deal followed by Reaganism followed by corporatism, and on and on. Cultural life, anguish and death are continuous.

Mariner grows tired of it all. Even the prophet Amos went home at the end. The slashing and killing of a democratic society is not pleasant to witness or to live through. It isn’t just Donald, the TV version. It is plutocracy, authoritarianism, artificial intelligence, retail communism, and international solvency all at once. No citizen knows what the world will look like in the age of generation Z. Then there’s global warming. Even Mother Nature is pitching in.

It’s time for a nap.

Ancient Mariner


For the Reader’s Information

A new study from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found a small one percent decrease in American retail drug prices in 2018 — the first decline in more than 40 years — but a significant jump in the cost per person for private health insurance. The study, which was published in the journal Health Affairs, says that last year health care spending overall grew by 4.6 percent to a total of $3.6 trillion, or an average of $11,172 per person. If citizens felt like they were spending more on out-of-pocket fees such as insurance deductibles and co-payments in 2018, those also increased last year by 2.8 percent, they were.

As a marker, US inflation grew by 1.8 percent in the twelve months ending in October 2019.

As suggested above, health care cost grew by 4.6 percent; additional cost per person for individuals grew at 2.8 percent.

Housing and rents grew by 2.39 percent.

Food inflation rose by 2.1 percent.

Note that the inflation rate of the above three items, representing many more similar conditions in other sectors, are all higher than the overall inflation rate of 1.8 percent. This relationship means that key ingredients in the life of a US citizen are becoming more expensive faster than the US average overall.

As far as income goes, hourly labor wages rose 1.2 percent, .6 percent lower than inflation.

On the other hand the New York Stock Exchange DOW grew by 20.25 percent.

In a phrase, the rich are still getting richer and the rest of the citizens are still getting poorer. The crisis is not being mitigated in any way by the federal government. Donald has exacerbated the impact by cutting back government services that help those in need. Mariner is critical that news outlets only show the low unemployment figure. In fact, the ratio between having a job and having fair wages to go with it is widening in a negative direction even while family living rises faster than inflation.

Historically speaking, these statistical relationships are moving rapidly. The ‘middle class bubble’, already broken by Donald’s rust belt base in the last election, faces another adjustment, likely more severe as housing, food, insurance, health services and lifestyle participation rise too quickly for the average citizen to keep up. It is the state of these inflation relationships that lead many economists to predict a serious recession in the near future.

These circumstances are not folly. Europe is ahead of the US by a few years. The result is Brexit, French populism, Spanish succession, and Mediterranean conflicts all the way to Turkey.

In South America, where governments are weaker and in several nations, dictatorships, it is no longer a recession, it is a collapse of an entire economy.

Take note: the 2020 election is a serious election that may set the future much better or much worse. It is more than Donald; it is taxes; it is guaranteed health services; it may even be a government stipend to every citizen to stem the increasing disparity; it is tax reform not unlike FDR invoked.

And there isn’t much time. Several economic thinkers set the crisis year around 2030.

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[DAILY KOS] We’ve got a message outside her Des Moines office today to make sure Iowans know that by “changes” Ernst means huge cuts to earned benefits!

Sen. @joniernst (R-IA) says that “A lot of changes need to be made” to Social Security “behind closed doors.”

Get rid of Reaganomics, turn the Senate Democratic.

Ancient Mariner

Racism is like a flavor in society’s cake . . .

. . . But it doesn’t taste good.

֎ [VOX] As of 2016, the median wealth for black families in America was $17,600, while the median wealth for white families was $171,000.

One of the biggest factors driving these disparities is housing. A home is the most valuable thing many people will own. And buying a nicer home in a nicer neighborhood has always been the easiest way to climb up the socioeconomic ladder. But that option hasn’t always been available to everyone, especially black families.

The story of housing discrimination in America is complicated and rooted in a long history of racist policies stretching back to slavery. Well into the 20th century, the government systematically discriminated against black homeowners through a process known as “redlining,” which constrained who could get decent mortgages for good homes and where those homes could be built.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, a professor of African American studies at Princeton, wrote a book called Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership.

Salaries have remained flat for forty years while inflation has risen by 225.37%. Donald’s attack on food stamp programs displays his disregard for human value. Even food stamps cannot compensate for the disparity of constrained increases in salary. More than inflation, it is racism itself. The spirit of capitalism is in all the nation’s activities: racism, housing, salary, legislation and taxes. African Americans are not allowed to participate freely.

֎ [Washington Post] 5.1 times higher rate of incarceration

There are signs that racial and ethnic disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system are declining, but in 2016, black people were still incarcerated at a rate 5.1 times higher than white people. That’s one of the findings in the first major report from the independent, bipartisan Council on Criminal Justice, which looked at the populations in U.S. prisons and jails, as well as individuals on parole and probation, between 2000 and 2016. It’s worth noting that in 2000 the rate at which black people were incarcerated was much higher at 8.3 times the rate white people were imprisoned. [Washington Post]

Racism remains the great sin of American Culture. Since its inception the US has been proud of itself for having equal rights and the freedom to achieve as well as one can. Except for African Americans. Although always present, typically white supremacy emerges in the citizenry during times of unrest and fear as one of the major identity movements.

Many years ago mariner had a contract with a deep Dixie state to examine new demands for computer support for a county sheriff’s department. He put together a knowledgeable team of four bright systems analysts: two whites, one woman and one black. The woman was deemed a whore because she was a divorcee traveling with men; the black was not allowed to make his presentations. Mariner filed a quick conclusion to meet obligations and cut the trip short. Racial prejudice, particularly in Dixie, is as strong as it ever was. It is true that migrations from other parts of the nation are beginning to lighten the deep red hue but that is only in the larger cities that have a college-oriented job market. The rural areas are as racially primitive as ever.

In urban areas, including the South, the last twenty years have shown visible changes in American society. The entertainment industry especially has made an effort to include all races in its productions; television advertisement has actors of several races in a large portion of its commercials. It is obvious that around the nation citizens aged 35 and younger have greatly reduced the exclusionary behavior of older generations.

While the Federal Government may make the most aggressive moves to integration, it is at the state level that legislators will be reticent and pass blocking regulations. In the south, voting is a good example. Dixie makes it as hard as possible for African Americans to vote.

– – – –

Speaking of state legislation, there is an extremely conservative organization called ALEC that has targeted state elections and local legislation to make it harder for the states ( and the Federal Government) to enact centrist and liberal policies. ALEC is well organized and funded comfortably by the Koch brothers and many other wealthy, far right corporations and individuals. Just as McConnell and Trump have elected 150+ conservative judges (many not even experienced trial lawyers) in order to have court cases lean toward conservative opinions, so too is ALEC playing the states to load legislatures with conservative legislators.

This activity, if at all successful, will make it easier for federal elections to be overturned by the Electoral College. This is another example of misrepresentation of the populations in rural counties and states. Enough conservative county voting officials can submit conservative members to the Electoral College while not having the popular vote. Only eleven states have passed legislation that says the popular vote mandates their position in the Electoral College.

Ancient Mariner


Comebacks for 12/1

A few comments were made by readers generally suggesting that the dissection of Republican versus Democrat into a list of separate issues still amounted to Republican versus Democrat.

֎ While it is true that the headings consistently were presented as republican first and democrat second, the variables that delineate the issues are not based on party. Each item requires very different amounts of time to be resolved, requires different modifications to government process, cultural modifications, cost, changes to the Constitution, disruption for business and taxation and even a public change in attitude and ethos. This is not a list that can easily be bundled into a party platform. Each party, given the entire list, could possibly break into different camps of acceptance; remember the Freedom Caucus, the libertarian wing of the Republican Party?

֎ South America? Where did that come from? Two variables dominate international coalitions: economic opportunity and geography. Both variables are in play at the same time. A visible example of both is China’s Belt and Road vision that unites every nation in Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Still, China sees many opportunities for economic development in Canada, Mexico, South America and the Pacific Rim – including Australia.

Might the US take advantage of geography in a similar manner? Does the reader remember there is a ‘Belt and Road’ that already exists in the Americas called the ‘Pan American Highway’ that runs from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego at the bottom of South America? This is not to suggest the US forget about economic markets and longtime allies; but geography cannot be ignored. What would be the strength of the US economy if Canada and Mexico were more dependent on China?

Shortsightedly, just yesterday Donald added punishing tariffs on Argentina and Brazil, two countries struggling economically. Donald isn’t shrewd enough to think of these tactics on his own; let’s start a conspiracy theory that Putin told him to do this. Oh well, South America can always turn to Russia for salvation. Remember that Putin sent a military unit and two nuclear bombers to Venezuela to protect dictator Nicolas Maduro and recently confirmed that he is willing to send more troops to the South American country to support the regime.

Didn’t the US learn its lesson with Cuba? Apparently not.

Mariner finds it entertaining that China’s Belt and Road is identical to the Interstate highway program approved by the Eisenhower administration (1953-61) and will have the same effect of merging interstate commerce.

֎ Two items, Restrictive doctrine v humanism and Public myth v existential pragmatism, are more in the hands of the public. These items are based on cultural standards set almost completely by social ethic.

Simply, the restrictive doctrine issue deals with the church’s application of religious ethics – having virtually nothing to do with political parties although there is a struggle keeping church and state apart. Not so simply, changes to cultural (as opposed to legislative) beliefs, i.e., guns, racism, work ethic, social accountability, and other myths that resist unification of a national identity, are very much a matter of reeducation and public willingness to subsume mythical influence into one-for-all ethics.

֎ Although this item isn’t part of the list, it is worth noting:

In September, Tennessee State Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield, BS, Lipscomb U.) declared that he wanted to eliminate higher education (presumably only for women, because of abortion) which would “end a liberal breeding ground” and save America. [DAILY KOS]

Thanks for reading.

Ancient Mariner

No, it isn’t just Republican versus Democrat

Mariner began to realize that there are many political battlefronts occurring simultaneously none of which can be melded easily into other battlefronts. In fact, righting the ship of state may be more like herding cats than the public expected. Below mariner lists some conflicts that require more than two hands to untangle.

Corporatism v democratic socialism

This conflict centers on the apparent corporate freedom to do whatever it wants to do and to turn as much profit as possible without accountability for social conditions or national unity. A complicated issue is that data tech corporations are introducing commercialized authoritarianism largely because antitrust laws have not been enforced.

Libertarian government v public accountability government

This conflict engages those who believe less government is better government – to the extent that social viability (AKA discretionary funding) is unacceptable versus those who believe in a government that is responsible for public wellbeing. One obvious confrontation is health services.

Capitalism v government oversight

A struggle over who manages the economy, taxes, monetary legislation, price regulation, inflation, antitrust and similar fiscal privileges; focused more on wealth and investment than on business practices. Two critical issues are part of this confrontation: housing and the Green New Deal.

Restrictive doctrine v humanism

This battle involves morality issues like abortion, LGBTQ and church versus state. Freedom of religion, even though clearly stated in the Constitution, remains constricted for faiths other than Christianity; within Christianity the battle is about interpretation of traditional doctrine versus current culture.

Political expediency v scientific expediency

This issue pits politicians against scientists. The most important issue is the conflict between the fossil fuel industry and global warming, which is made more disruptive because it also affects most of the economic/social issues cited above. This category seeps into areas like vaccination, abortion, environment, pollution of the land and water and ideological issues similar to how to feed 11 billion humans and preserving the planet’s supply of fresh potable water.

Public myth v existential pragmatism

Primarily this is the battle over fake news. Not just fake news on the airwaves and social media, which is significant, but common class prejudices about standards for justice, work ethic, racism, and about conspiracy theory amid several rootless assumptions. A major public myth is the common misinterpretation of the Second Amendment (gun rights) – proving not to be pragmatic in today’s society. Racist immigration policy is another issue that seems not to be pragmatic.

Isolationist v internationalist

This conflict has been severely damaged by Donald for no reason. The twenty-first century will have a widespread restructuring of international coalitions; China is emerging as the new powerhouse economy; NATO and other mid-1900 alliances are showing their age. An example of how internationalism is important is to note how critical it is for the US to represent political and economic security both for North and for South America – where China already is attempting to play that role while the Donald immigration doctrine is abusing Central and South American citizens.

Plutocracy v democracy

The battlefront in this section is how the government functions as an institution. Related issues deal with voting rights, gerrymandering, money in politics, entrenched lobbying, term limits, balanced congressional representation in the Senate, etc.

Add to all these battlefronts regional differences, population density, cost of living differences and classic prejudice between social classes.

So much to do with a citizen’s vote.

Ancient Mariner



The Democratic Candidates

It likely that Buttigieg will not stay near the top as states with diverse ethnicity have their say in primaries. Iowa, New Hampshire and perhaps Nevada (Latino but not many African Americans) are not particularly diverse. North Carolina, however, has a significant African American population. As of today in North Carolina, Buttigieg ranks fourth among democratic candidates with only 6 percent. Buttigieg’s perception is that blacks need black but middle class examples for their economic and educational circumstances to improve, implying that blacks are their own deterrent rather than implying a larger societal issue.

Similarly, the progressive candidates will lose what seem to be strong positions at the top of the list as the primary season swings across the hinterland. There democrats are centrist first, liberal second; only west coast states and some large cities will aggressively support progressive candidates.

The bottom of the list, referred to by many as special interest candidates, women, rookies and recognition junkies, likely will stay at the bottom. The two billionaires (Steyer and Bloomberg) are a small threat to finally be able to buy the Federal Government just as mariner may be able to buy a 2014 Toyota.

This leaves Joe. The legacy of the campaigns with Obama still resonates with African Americans. The hinterland is more comfortable with Biden’s centrist history and style. Many polls show Biden with leading numbers as a second choice candidate. His speaking foibles will not be enough to push him out of the competition. Finally, as a compromise candidate among the many tribes of democrats – after all what really counts is defeating Donald – Joe will be the man.

The electorate may respond somewhat to Joe and many Hillary holdouts may return to the fold, perhaps just enough to make the Electoral College insignificant.

After the candidates’ display of talent, intellectuality and cognizance of the new world everyone faces, mariner feels greedy and wants to keep all of them around. With luck, those in the Senate will stay in the Senate, others will make excellent Cabinet Secretaries, and some will become Governors. Joe’s job will be to make peace between parties then lead the charge to win majority in the Senate in 2024.

Ancient Mariner


A Nasty Crossbreed: Communism and Capitalism

Communism – a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned (Think Donald’s base, oligarchs, government and the proletariat in disarray; think data gathering corporations that know everything – even about each of us and that information is used to make billions of dollars without a penny owed directly to “the public.”)

Capitalism – an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. (Think corporatism and actually owning the government as well thereby eliminating government altogether).

The crossbreed is the worst of both ideologies: The public at large owns nothing, not even houses, automobiles or privacy. The end result is controlled classism with a socialistic flavor, citizens having no real say in anything, and continuous class war.

What follows are examples of crossbreeding.

֎ [NEWSY] The internet has revolutionized how donors behave. People now give more frequently and in smaller amounts than ever before. But every time you donate online, there’s a processing cost. A Newsy analysis, published in partnership with Politico, found that the small donor revolution has also helped direct millions of dollars to the middlemen that process donations. While it’s a matter of cents on the dollar, those pennies can add up fast. And in recent years, as small-dollar donations have ramped up, credit card processing costs have exploded.

Banks and data tech companies want in on everything and at the moment are getting what they want. Just today mariner received a ‘gift’ from Dish Network. The gift is a TV remote paired with Google’s voice recognition software. It won’t be installed. As to charitable donations online being skimmed by banks, mariner enjoys even more than usual covering that cost by writing a check to the charity and posting the donation through the Postal Service, with a wry smile while he does it.

Put in context the National Rifle Association (NRA), the fossil fuel industry, the government (owned by corporations), mega corporations like Amazon, Walmart, Google, Microsoft, AT&T, and other independent, do as they like multifunction, multinational corporations, and one realizes the citizenry has nothing to do or say about the US economy, its scruples or its original ‘freedom and justice for all’ myth.

Does the ‘public’ own anything? Does the ‘public’ share in GDP profits? Does the election process have any significant contribution?

Aside from citizens with enough excess resources to invest in capitalist ventures (Wall Street) or actually have enough assets to own a house not compromised by bank oversight, the citizenry is on a path to controlled communist social structures and little or no opportunity to share profit with capitalist corporations.

This is indeed a difficult circumstance for the general public. What makes the situation even worse is that the crossbreed feels no obligation to compensate for the global warming situation, environmental health, free medical support or anything else ‘free’ from the corporate-owned government, or the impact of automated intelligence (AI).

On the good side, it was an unusually warm, sunny day; mariner worked in his garden.

Ancient Mariner


Job Security

Job Security

Nationally job security will be an existential crisis in just a few years. For elected officials, especially republicans, the crisis starts now with state primary campaigns for the 2020 election. Donald has about 40% of the national vote and much more in red and purple states. Talk about bribery! Donald holds the Republican Party hostage by keeping his base actively charged as a key group in republican primaries. In short, the republican candidates will perform gross, irrational and un-American behavior to secure Donald’s base during primaries in an effort to sustain their lucrative, elected careers.

Something is wrong. Elected officials are supposed to be subject to citizen discard as history moves on. As of this moment, there are 79 members of Congress that have been in office for at least 20 years, and there are 16 members of Congress that have been in office for at least 30 years.

There are identifiable reasons for an elected official to consider their election a career for life. First, of course, is the combination of money and power; a nice job if one can keep it even though in reality the home district continually evolves culturally, fiscally and industrially. The second reason is the role of lobbying, which would rather keep subservient (AKA bought) representatives in place. The third reason is that being a member of Congress provides prestige and access to higher social class experiences and a fat benefits package to boot – a nice life.

What has happened over time is that the spirit of representing one’s own people has disappeared as a purpose for being an elected official. While Donald et al are damaging the US on a daily basis, it should be relatively easy to deny a second term for one individual in government. But that would not change a decrepit and outmoded government that is useless in the roiling twenty-first century.

What must change generally is the age of elected officials in Congress. There is a notable difference in the House of Representatives as younger candidates are beginning to win elections. Alas, the Senate, with its six year term, remains a calcified legislative body. It is the remnants of Reagan economics dating back to the 1980s, a policy that has fed the separation of wealthy versus poor.

Mitch McConnell, the republican, the longest-serving U.S. senator for Kentucky in history, and the longest-serving Republican U.S. Senate Leader in history, and 77 years old, has done his best to make the Judicial Branch as conservative as possible – not to mention his total, absolute stonewall of dozens of important House bills that gather dust in his office – legislation relevant to the twenty-first century.

But the Judicial Branch must enforce legislation passed by Congress, which may be a way of neutralizing Mitch’s efforts – if Congress can, in fact, pass cogent legislation. The whole point is the US Senate must lose its republican majority. No easy task since the lightly populated districts across America are aware that their undue dominance in politics will disappear if Congress becomes truly representative of appropriate amounts of population.

The Constitutional changes to help repair imbalanced representation will be to eliminate the Electoral College, remove gerrymandering, add term limits and reapportion the Senate based on population. However, these are constitutional battles that must be fought by Congress and the Judicial Branch. The job of voters is to elect modern, of the moment citizens who understand these changes must occur if the US will survive the twenty-first century – nay, even the next ten years!

The job voters have, and that includes every party, every independent and every economic class, is to vote out the irrelevant Reagan republicans that still hold the Senate in their grasp. Even more important than Donald, is to make the Senate democratic.

Ancient Mariner


Global Warming – WW II technology returns to the present

35 Olympic swimming pools of radioactive matter

The legacy of the U.S.’s Cold War-era atomic testing program is still affecting the Marshall Islands at the Runit Dome, which holds more than 3.1 million cubic feet of U.S.-produced radioactive soil and debris, as well as lethal amounts of plutonium. An investigation between the Los Angeles Times and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism reports that the dome is now at significant risk of collapsing from the effects of climate change. American officials have declined to help address the problem, but the news report says the U.S. government withheld important information about the contents of Runit and its weapons testing program, including the fact that 130 tons of soil from atomic testing grounds was shipped from Nevada to the Marshall Islands in 1958. [Los Angeles Times]

There is enough radiation in the Runit Dome to end all life in a large area of the Pacific Ocean around the Marshall Islands and beyond. This catastrophe raises a general issue about island nations threatened by global warming: Carteret Islands, Kiribati Islands, The Maldives, Seychelles, Torres Strait Islands, Tegua, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Micronesia and Palau. The problem with these islands isn’t radiation, its people. 1,241,560 of them.

Although not an island, Bangladesh, located in South Asia, experiences floods that cover about a quarter of the country every year. Climate change is making the floods worse for 156 million people.

And it isn’t only people on islands . . .

Ancient Mariner