֎Scientific American printed an issue that introduces the reader to new advances related to humans. For example, a Japanese scientist has successfully raised mice using skin cells that were reengineered to be egg cells. Mixed with normal mouse sperm, healthy mice were born. In the near future Japanese scientists hope to resolve human egg cell issues with this technology.

The overall genetic technology related to this feat is the discovery that any cell can be turned into any other type cell by turning on certain genes and turning off others.

֎On the other end of the spectrum is creating faux humans from robots. Scientists fully expect to create robots with compassion, common sense, and reasoning identical to humans who may possess the same attributes. Today, scientists are experimenting with robots (AKA androids) that learn the same way children learn; already the sex toy industry is close to matching the Stepford Wives and Stepford Men as well.

֎Today, scientists can capture brain images. Whatever image is occurring in the brain can be captured and reproduced by a special machine connected to the scalp. Scientists proved the principle by showing a volunteer a picture of a face. The machine captured the same face from brain activity.

֎The Atlantic has an article questioning how the World will feed the middle class in the future (as soon as 2050). The common attitude is “science and technology will improve crops.” In fact, scientists have discovered that the biggest issue is affluence. As populations become successful, consumption increases algebraically compared to increases in population – the expected 25% increase in global population by 2050 will require a 100% increase in food production. On the negative side, fertilizers, insecticides and genetically modified organisms (GMO) have an increasingly destructive effect on the environment. In other words, farmers can’t produce much more than they do today. Further, many scientists have taken the position that arable land is too crowded, overused and, in fact, should be reduced to sustain a healthy ecology.

֎From “A flip in Earth’s magnetic field may be brewing. And if it is, an electromagnetic blob deep under southern Africa is likely to be ground zero for the change.

New research using clays burned in cleansing rituals by Iron Age farmers finds that over the past 1,500 years, an electromagnetic anomaly in the Southern Hemisphere has waxed and waned, with the magnetic field in the region weakening and strengthening. This weirdness may presage a gradual reversal in the magnetic field, so that magnetic north moves to the South Pole and vice versa. (A flip-flop of this sort last occurred 780,000 years ago.)”

Besides sending geese and whales in odd directions, the real issue is radiation from the Sun. The Earth’s magnetic field deflects most of the radiation but during a flip of the poles, the magnetic field will be very weak and for a short time, will not exist. Unblocked solar radiation would be deadly to living things on Earth.

֎Global warming is all the rage right now but the planet has other patterns that may be interesting. Major ice ages last for about 100,000 years with a gap of about 10,000 years in between. It has been 12,000 years since the last ice age; are we heading toward another ice age in the next few centuries? What obscures predictions is man-made global warming, which has raised global temperatures in a century or two that otherwise would take a few thousand years.

The primary cause of major ice ages is the influence of Jupiter and Saturn. In certain configurations of their orbits, they tilt the Earth just a tiny bit – altering the declination of the Earth about 2°. Other causes include wavering radiation from the Sun.


The mariner is truly perplexed that governments accept solutions to the issue of too many guns by agreeing with Donald, Florida legislators and the gun lobby that more guns are needed – in spite of a large majority of citizens disagreeing. Is there any better evidence that a democratic republic is a farce? Maybe things will be better when androids take over.

Ancient Mariner


On Being Lost

Have you ever been lost? It’s a sense that one has lost touch with the perimeter or edge that provides definition to a person’s situation. One feels adrift and even afraid because there is no meaningful ‘here’ or ‘there;’ there is no ‘over there.’ It is then that we realize how important it is to know where we’ve been, where we’re going, and where we are relative to our start and finish.

This sensation of being lost can be induced in many different situations. For example, trying to solve a puzzle with too many variables like the ones that offer “Jane is 4 years old; John is 12 years old and their brother is 20 years younger than Aunt Joy who is six years younger than their mother. . .” Another example is the experience that college freshmen have when trying to identify one’s proper role in a completely unknown environment. Sometimes the unknowns are so vast and complex, we don’t realize we’re lost!

That brings us to today’s example of being lost. Who is lost? The entire world of people is lost. The world’s cultures are eroding like sand blown by the desert wind. Mariner can provide indicators that suggest we don’t know where we are or where we’re going in the future:

֎ Authoritarian governments are increasing while democratic countries are decreasing. The imbalance has accelerated since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The latest example is China which voted only a day or two ago to grant President Xi Jinping the status of President for Life. Even old standbys like Turkey, Greece, and the Balkan nations are struggling and show signs of increasing authoritarianism. The map shows where authoritarianism has emerged (the orange and yellow states – apologies for the blurred image).

Since the early 1500’s the bluer nations have ruled the world. It is likely that blue rule will fade in the 2000’s. In its third iteration since the 1940’s, China has grown up economically and has improved culturally. It is so huge in national presence that it is likely to dominate world economy and culture much as the United States has since the 1800’s.

Typically, authoritarianism evolves in nations with failed economies or oligarchical cultures. In the case of China, a nation with an average ten percent growth for decades, it will become authoritarian. The question with China is whether one man’s vision will comprehend change well enough to sustain global leadership as the world changes dramatically over the next 50 years. While authoritarian governments can take charge of confusion more quickly than messy democracies, their weakness is the inability to manage cultural change.

֎ If authoritarianism is at one end of the spectrum, the United States (and the less influential Nordic States) is at the other end. Unfortunately, the founding fathers wanted a nation ruled by the people – no monarchy here – but also wanted government to control the economy and the military. Hence, a democratic republic; something like a duckbilled platypus. While touting democracy as the guiding force, the republic side has dominated society and is no better at managing culture than authoritarianism (current studies show that over time the voting public has influenced one percent of legislation while moneyed sources have influenced ninety-nine percent, which explains the growing problem of oligarchy and corporatism in the US since the 1850’s). It is the case with any government philosophy that a hot, expanding economy forgives many sins but the US economy isn’t ‘hot’ anymore.

The US culture has become ragged without good social leadership. As the 1990’s rolled into the 2000’s, fringe conservatism and shifting liberalism crumbled national unity. Further, every country in the world is exposed to lightning-speed changes in culture because of the Internet and Artificial Intelligence. Who knew the morning coffee-klatch would meet on Facebook?

Global economics is changing as well. Old natural resources, old technologies and old political liaisons are up in the air at the moment and do not fit the new world economy in a technology-led world.

֎ Technology has been a puzzle piece for decades. Remember when a generation quietly passed on as it handed the torch to the next generation? Now folks have to live through the next generation as well and maybe the one after that. Never mind that joblessness, financial security, really old parents and feelings of uselessness are left to you to manage. Does that obnoxious voice box in the living room (Alexa or Google Assistant) look like its growing arms and legs? Even today, it knows you’re pregnant before you do; be careful if it starts to rearrange your investments and insurance – it knows when it’s your time to go. If you thought your spouse nags all the time, wait until the voice box follows you around giving you advice about everything and, dangerously, not telling you things you should know. Further, lawyers beware; there are legal bots online that can provide legal services for any need a client may have including the forms to process the issue.

֎ The environment, the puzzle piece still run by the planet whether we acknowledge that or not, already has plans to change the weather, coastlines, atmosphere, food resources and the diversity of nature itself. Did you know that when the last great ice age melted it created the Great Lakes? The water level of the oceans rose 300 feet. Today, if you live on the seashore, a long term mortgage may not be a good idea. You may want to sell soon – just ask folks who live in Bali, Miami or New Orleans.

So – if Jane is 4 years old, China is the new global power, your great-great grandparents live in the basement, you meet for coffee on Facebook, your job is gone or your boss is a nagging robot, giraffes and tigers are gone, the ocean creeps under the door twice each day, where are we going?

Ancient Mariner

One is the Magic Number

Mariner has been pondering what magic word will lead to a successful campaign for candidates in November 2008. What came to mind quite intuitively is the refrain from John Lennon’s song Imagine:

 You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one

 The song is a spiritual appeal for everyone around the world to diminish the importance of worldly possessions and the abuses of imbalance and separation and make the most important issue oneness – even above religious and economic interests. Being one is the supreme value of existence.

Imagine is a lovely, romantic song both lyrically and musically. However, in the practical world of US politics there is no oneness. No oneness of nation; no oneness of culture; no oneness of citizenry; no oneness of economy; no oneness of responsibility; no oneness of sharing a common life together. The spoken phrase “I am an American” was almost surreal in the twentieth Century but since has begun to plummet rapidly in value.

There is no single definition that covers all US citizens. The population is a collection of splintered priorities every one of which is more important than national identity. We can no longer say, quite literally, “One nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” We can’t even claim to be a nation under ‘God’ – an implication that there is one supreme spirit, however defined. Abortion, race, sexuality, fundamentalism, Islam among many other issues are more important than the holistic virtues of associating with a supreme being.

The unfairness and violence alluded to in ‘Imagine’ runs rampant in the American culture. The absence of oneness and unity in many sectors of life are why we have a virtual antichrist as President. It is why we have dysfunctional governments across the nation. It is why other nations are looking elsewhere for leadership. It is why Putin can so easily disrupt our democratic ideals. In sailor terms, the boat has no ballast – any wave can topple the boat.

The cure to our ailments, nationally and internationally, is to restore the ballast we had in the last century. Oneness. Unity. Togetherness. Cultural responsibility. One is the magic word. If a candidate can engage the electorate in the joy of oneness, that candidate will win by a landslide. It isn’t “Make America Great Again,” it is “Make America One Again.”

Ancient Mariner


The Apocalypse is Nigh

Mariner often has touted the joy of being married to a professional librarian, serious poet, and bibliophile of the first order. Yet again, reading through the many books by her bedside, his wife came across this amazing likeness in C.S. Lewis’s book, “The Problem of Pain”, published in 1940. The quote below is found in the chapter on hell:

“. . . . Picture to yourself a man who has risen to wealth or power by a continued course of treachery and cruelty, by exploiting for purely selfish ends the noble motions of his victims, laughing the while at their simplicity; who, having thus attained success, uses it for the gratification of lust and hatred and finally parts with the last rag of honor among thieves by betraying his own accomplices and jeering at their last moments of bewildered disillusionment. Suppose further, that he does all this, not (as we like to imagine) tormented by remorse or even misgiving, but eating like a schoolboy and sleeping like a healthy infant – a jolly ruddy-cheeked man, without a care in the world, unshakably confident to the very end that he alone has found the answer to the riddle of life, that God and man are fools whom he has got the better of, that his way of life is utterly successful, satisfactory, unassailable. . . .

“. . . . Even mercy can hardly wish to such a man his eternal, contented continuance in such ghastly illusion.”

– – – –

In Apostle Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, he describes the antichrist:

“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned.” [Thessalonians 2]

Is who we think we’re talking about the antichrist? Is his base the nonbelievers deceived by his message? He is eager to use nuclear war. Is the Apocalypse nigh?

“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the Earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The Sun shall be turned into darkness,  and the Moon into blood, before the coming great and awesome Day of the Lord, and it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the Name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Joel 2:30-32)

Ancient Mariner

Immigration is not a one-thought issue

The growing proportion of older adults throughout Europe, many parts of Asia (particularly Japan, South Korea and China) and North America are outpacing the population of young people. This gray population explosion is due, in part, to extended longevity, but also due to dramatic declines in fertility – the number of children per female. Fertility rates in many nations are well below the necessary level of 2.1 children per female to simply maintain the population. For example, Australia and Brazil share a fertility rate of 1.7 children per female, China has dropped to 1.6, Japan and Germany are at 1.4, and even the relatively young United States is at 1.87. In short, the world’s most industrialized nations as well as many of the planet’s developing economies are witnessing an unprecedented drop in the number of children. While fewer children presents a number of social questions such as the availability of a robust workforce and general economic growth – the birth dearth also portends a troubling future of caring for an aging society.[1]

Mariner has come across a number of websites and magazine articles that have raised the issue of imbalanced demographics. It is proven and certainly true across the industrialized world. Which leads to mariner’s puzzlement as to why the United States – especially Congress and the President – seem so determined to prevent immigration. The truth is the US needs young people even if they aren’t white Christians. The President brags about the unemployment rate being low; this is due to two phenomena: (1) good jobs are disappearing and workers are taking jobs at a fraction of their former salary, which removes them from the unemployment number (2) the US is running out of workers.

The American workforce is in a downward spiral. Many politicians tout retraining the US workforce but no plan and no funding are available. Further, the public education system has been financially starved for generations and requires immense intellectual and financial improvement to even be able to address the issue.

Perhaps some time in the future under the guidance of a different President and a different Congress, we may properly address the issue of immigration, job readiness, and education.

Today’s Congress is too busy garnering personal wealth. Today’s President is incompetent.

Ancient Mariner


The Arrested Donald and other Important Matters

Mariner has been overwhelmed by the presence of Donald in a twenty-first century Presidency. Mariner hasn’t said much this past year other than a few asides in the midst of other topics. It has become blatantly obvious as Donald’s term runs past a year in office, that Donald has two dysfunctional attributes: Donald is a victim of arrested development. Donald has developed a narcissistic personality.

Mariner isn’t sure what causes arrested development, whether its nature or nurture or both. (Some breeds of dogs are deliberately bred not to ever mature) In any case, its mariner’s opinion that Donald stopped developing around the age of eight. An eight year old is familiar with few policies other than loyalty and deflecting blame. If those readers who are parents can think back to when their child was eight years old, the child’s vocabulary and sentence structure, the simplistic view of behavior, the inappropriate bravado, the shortsighted reasoning, the dependence on fantasy, one will realize Donald is an eight year old.

It is unfortunate that Donald was raised in an intensely strict family. From birth his behavior was irregular; flaunting his prowess by bullying, challenging rules of behavior and, like his father, using belittlement as a weapon, Donald was a problem child from birth. At thirteen, Donald was expelled from his family by the father, sending Donald to a military school where discipline was harsh.

The father was obsessed with winning. If a child didn’t win, the child was belittled. How does a small child survive in this destructive situation? Become narcissistic. Regardless of reality, regardless of the father’s derision, regardless of growing difficulty in social situations, Donald saw himself as a successful child and always a winner. Being narcissistic, Donald easily can assume that Donald and winning is the same thing. He truly believes in his own mind that bad news and lack of performance are the fault of someone else – fantasy is a handy tool provided by being eight years old. Defaming and belittling others is a defense mechanism typical of an eight year old.

The simplistic ethical structure of an eight year old combined with the absence of empathy in narcissism, yields one Donald Trump. Donald has been and will continue to be destructive. It is difficult to imagine Donald’s motivations for his behavior. His motivations are far simpler than normal adults would imagine; pundits, journalists and the press in general fall into this trap: overthinking Donald. Donald’s ‘loyalty’ to Russia and all that entails, likely is based on the simple idea that his election may be overturned if it is proven that Russia hacked the election. Otherwise, following the money and uncovering shady business deals reveals Donald’s normal environment – he is a member of the oligarchy run from Russia preying on most of the old USSR. Donald wants the sanctions lifted for the same reason Putin does – sleazy profits.

– – – –

Nevertheless and regardless and to any length – Donald will cause damage to the intellectual force of the United States. But Donald is not the real danger. The real danger is Congress – and by default the Republican Party. Due process, mediation of any kind, civic mindedness – all have disappeared even before Donald came on the scene. Adding Donald to the selfish whims of the GOP has exposed the party for the self-righteous, money-driven, and fragmented entity it has become. Several of mariner’s more thoughtful resources have gone so far as to call for dissolving Congress, holding a special election for every seat in both houses. An article in The Atlantic makes an uncharacteristic plea to the electorate: do not vote for a republican!

A sound, public minded Republican Party would have squeezed Donald out of election politics when he provoked birtherism. Racism always has been an Achilles heel for republicans but using racist remarks on the campaign trail is not helpful in winning a majority of voters. Additionally, a struggling right wing of the party has been able to bring the Republican-held House to a standstill. With audacity, Congressional leaders (Republican) turn to the democrats seeking votes for legislation antithetical to democrats.

Who can fix Russian intervention in US elections? Congress.

Who can fix gerrymandering? Congress.

Who can eliminate cash-driven elections? Congress.

Who can remove lobbyist control of legislation? Congress.

Who can assist transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy? Congress.

Who can regulate banks and Wall Street to play fair? Congress.

Who can mediate international politics? Congress.

Well, perhaps not.

Ancient Mariner



Today’s post is all reference section. It is composed of three distinct areas of interest: Gerrymandering, Philip K. Dick, fiction writer, and successfully cloned monkeys.

– – – –


It is excellent news that Nate Silver, mariner’s preferred statistician and odds maker at, is sponsoring a detailed look at gerrymandering. His staff has launched a project called “The Gerrymandering Project.” It made its first splash today and is, in typical 538 style, loaded with insight and detail that is free of political nuance. For example, it states that there are many ways to skin a rabbit when it comes to new thoughts about how to fix gerrymandering. The ‘Project’ looks at six models:

To maximize the number of usually Democratic districts

To maximize the number of usually Republican districts

To make the partisan breakdown of states’ House seats proportional to the electorate

To promote highly competitive elections

To maximize the number of districts in which one minority group makes up the majority of the voting-age population in the district (what we’ll refer to as a majority-minority district)

To be compact while splitting as few counties as possible

If ever, ever, ever mariner wished his readers would click on a link, this is the one: . Load this website in your favorites.


Philip K. Dick

Our overall attitude about life is blended with many current events that defy definition. Philip Kindred Dick was an American science fiction writer who wrote during the psychological turmoil of the sixties – the Age of Aquarius. Dick explored philosophical, social, and political themes in his novels with plots dominated by monopolistic corporations, alternative universes, authoritarian governments, and altered states of consciousness. His work reflected his personal interest in metaphysics and theology, and often drew upon his life experiences in addressing the nature of reality, identity, drug abuse, schizophrenia, and transcendental experiences. Dick is chronicled in an article in the Boston Review, a literary magazine online and on Facebook. An excerpt is reproduced below:

“Standard utopias and standard dystopias are each perfect after their own particular fashion. We live somewhere queasier—a world in which technology is developing in ways that make it increasingly hard to distinguish human beings from artificial things. The world that the Internet and social media have created is less a system than an ecology, a proliferation of unexpected niches, and entities created and adapted to exploit them in deceptive ways.

Vast commercial architectures are being colonized by quasi-autonomous parasites. Scammers have built algorithms to write fake books from scratch to sell on Amazon, compiling and modifying text from other books and online sources such as Wikipedia, to fool buyers or to take advantage of loopholes in Amazon’s compensation structure. Much of the world’s financial system is made out of bots—automated systems designed to continually probe markets for fleeting arbitrage opportunities. Less sophisticated programs plague online commerce systems such as eBay and Amazon, occasionally with extraordinary consequences, as when two warring bots bid the price of a biology book up to $23,698,655.93 (plus $3.99 shipping).

In other words, we live in Philip K. Dick’s future, not George Orwell’s or Aldous Huxley’s.”


China has cloned Long-Tailed Macaques – a fellow primate. Let’s jump right to hyper speed paranoia. Artificial Intelligence will control society; now, computers, if they need a human, can make their own! How long will it be before naturally bred Homo sapiens will be extinct? Get a job in 2085? Hah! The NFL needn’t worry about dementia; just clone another left tackle! will offer spouses made to order from a catalogue. Forget those antique mechanical Stepford Wives; get the real thing at Macy’s!

Like we don’t have enough change already.

The cloning is in the news right now. Most major newspapers cover the event. Try online at

Ancient Mariner


Whence Compromise?

Below is a ‘two feet on the ground’ quote from the National Public Radio (NPR) website:

“….Democrats call them “American dreamers,” Republicans call them “illegal immigrants.” Democrats say they should be allowed legal status. Republicans say no, they are here illegally and need to go — or their status should be part of a larger immigration overhaul that limits and controls future immigration.

Who Will Carry The Blame For The Shutdown? Maybe No One.

Both sides say they have the American people with them as they struggle to end the government shutdown, and both are right — in a way.

Polls show at least three Americans in four agree the DACA population should have legal status to stay. But a clear majority of Americans also think it was not worth shutting the government down over DACA. That’s true too, and the shutdown is the issue of the moment, right?

Truth be told, neither party is ever in touch with all the American people, or even most of them. They are in touch with the people who voted for them or gave them money (or both) — or who are most likely to do so going forward.

They may say they hear America singing, but they are really only listening to their own section of the choir….”[1]

If we stand back far enough, we notice that the Federal Government is not capable of compromise; there is no dominance by a common-sense political center. From the end of WW II until about 1986, citizens were accustomed to common sense governance when the likes of Fulbright, Byrd, Kennedy, Baker, Humphrey, Dole, Biden, Rockefeller, Daschle, Bradley, Chaffee, LBJ, Dirksen and other moderates controlled the Senate. Deals were pragmatic, in the interest of the citizen majority, and (we may miss this more than anything) a half-hour breakfast between party leaders guaranteed a civic minded bill. It may be important to mention that until Nixon in 1968, Reagan in 1980 and Trump in 2016, Presidents were not demagogues.

Civic minded. Is that what is missing? It is true that an elected body reflects its electorate; are we not civic minded? We are not. We are cleaved by color, wealth, environment, entitlement, guns, religion, drugs, economy, war and basic human value. There is no common cause; there is no way to walk a straight line through all these differences – there is no common definition of America. It is no wonder other nations have begun to look askance at our leadership.

Today, as mariner writes this post, the Senate backed away from civic minded legislation. Both parties chose to salvage their party interests rather than step forward to a compromise that would move anything forward except a continuation of samo-samo: duck reality for another three weeks. The democrats caved rather than stand for moral principle; the republicans caved to the fringe right (Steve Miller) rather than stand for moral principle.

– – – –

Like changes in weather caused by global warming, government suffers increasing incompetency as it is overwhelmed by fragmented factions that do not represent the pragmatic center of our nation. Who is to draw the straight line across a fragmented populace? It is, of course, the citizens.

Start with state governments by eliminating gerrymandering. Political parties, as today’s news suggests, are not centrist in nature. The party comes first and any neutral process is challenged to serve the party’s best interest. Redistricting is severely abused by parties to control specific interests regardless of generic public interest. As a first step in restoring control of our democracy back to the electorate, and having the electorate at large decide what civil mindedness means, make redistricting an apolitical process.

Remove monetary influence from campaigns and from Congressional rules for appointment to important positions, which currently go to members who can raise the most party contributions to go along with length of membership. Monetary privilege will be difficult to stop. Like the proverbial snake, its head must be cut off. Eliminate political action committees; eliminate private donations from outside the district; require promotional advertising to be funded locally. In other words, force the candidate to come to the people, not to the special interests. This will stop corporate privilege in legislative processes and make citizens the more important influence.

Make voting tax deductible. As the leading democracy in the world, we are 27th in terms of voter turnout; only 47% of eligible voters voted in the Trump/Clinton election. Further, allow dropping voters from the roles if they didn’t vote in the two most recent sequential Presidential elections. Further, in addition to in person voting, permit 30-day early voting, voting by mail, email, and links to election sites.

Require civics education in high schools; require election overviews in community colleges; mandate universal holiday for all Federal and State elections. Prohibit campaign promotional sources outside the district.

Slowly, special interests have eliminated the common voter. If the voters want civic minded government, they must assure that their involvement in elections is the dominant influence.

Perhaps a strong moderate legislative process can return…

Ancient Mariner


[1] For full article, see:

Our Life of Constant Upheaval

Many historians and political writers have identified the Bernie Sanders movement, the Donald trump movement, and the tea party movement, among many lesser movements, as populist movements. This is not a new phenomenon in US history. In fact, populist rebellions have emerged regularly since the founding of the nation.

Mariner has written many posts addressing populism. There are a few common issues that are present in all populist movements: Most common is the belief that ordinary citizens should have authority over the elitist class; the cause is common to many uprisings – Bernie, for example, is a rerun of the 1890’s uprising that protested the existence of an elitist class and income inequality. Donald Trump sounds exactly like the ‘Know-Nothing’ rebellion – in more ways than one. The rebellion was due to immigration and threats of job security.

In the 1880’s corporations were charging excessive fees to farmers and other labor level citizens (an issue that has a familiar ring in today’s world where corporations are excessively hoarding wealth at the cost of salaries in general) a situation that led to the creation of the ‘People’s Party.’ William Jennings Bryan led this movement through three presidential campaigns and is famous for the quote, “You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”

It is obvious that populist uprisings occur when significant change to the culture is necessary. It is also true that at the voting booth, populists always lose – almost always.

– – – –

Standing to the side of history and watching populism not as a process but what the impact is on about a fourth of the population, the disruption to stable daily life is not pleasant. To willingly suffer insecurity, a growing doubt about the future and a willingness to physically challenge authority with little rationality suggests maltreatment by the core society that gives them personal definition. Why does this happen? Why does society drift away from fairness and the psychology of teamsmanship?

Many will surmise that it is the innate nature of Homo sapiens to be competitive and possessive – two characteristics that improve security and survival. This suggests that mitigating these behaviors is why humans created governments. There are only three philosophies of government that can pretend to mitigate base behavior: socialism, communism and democracy. There are many cultural variations, of course, but why hasn’t the world mastered any of these philosophies?

Perhaps we never will. But the current conflict of change includes populism, capitalism, democratic authority, displacement by artificial intelligence, environmental constraint and a world population wavering on dysfunctionality. Governments will not reconcile this massive change by next Christmas.

What is new in context is that an informed and personally responsible electorate must take charge. Not the familiar party-driven, lobby-funded, class-defined society thus far. Not the faux citizenry of Robespierre. It will take management by collective population to stabilize government inadequacy. Unfortunately, we who are alive today will not see success in our lifetimes. Nevertheless, continuous improvement toward that day rides on you. Vote wisely.

Ancient Mariner

Only So Much is Tolerable

Like millions of folks, mariner is a fan of the late shows on television: Trevor Noah, Brian Williams, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Myers, James Corden, Carson Daly, even the weather channel and CBS Overnight News if mariner is still awake.

One show mariner doesn’t watch much anymore is Stephen Colbert. His opening remarks are just too much over the top. This evening, Colbert trashed the North Koreans with full blown character assassination misrepresenting the quite legitimate skating pair that may come to the Olympics. This intense character assassination occurs in every show. Mariner is no friend of Donald but making fun of Donald in a uselessly destructive way does not help the audience understand reality. Not even Fox News goes to the lengths of Colbert. Mariner agrees with Anna Faris, star of the sitcom Mom, who told Colbert in a Late Show interview that she would not date him because he was a narcissist. Strong judgment perhaps but in mariner’s view, Colbert is not entertaining.

– – – –

On to legitimate news, two issues are rising in Congressional dialogue: The critically important fact that Russia is meddling in US elections – under reported by the media who are entranced with the Donald show. Donald, of course, still pretends that nothing is wrong. Surely this attitude alone leads to criminal neglect by the office of President and, to spread neglect, the Congress is so wrapped up in the survival of their careers that the validity of our election system does not matter as long as they are reelected. On the horizon is the Supreme Court hearing two cases about gerrymandering – keep an ear.

The second is the raping of policy and regulations that protect citizenry from big money abuses. The issues are slow to rise in the news cycle but the 2018 election will focus on the destabilization caused by Donald’s cabinet.

Mariner is in a sour mood. Best he ends it here.

Ancient Mariner