The New Work Ethic

The only word to describe his history is the word bizarre

While Donald pretends to know what he is doing to stop the nuclear warhead plans in North Korea, he is working to provide nuclear warheads to Saudi Arabia where he and his son-in-law (and the New York Post) have financial interests. Nevertheless, someone nominated Donald for the Nobel Prize for Peace. If Donald could buy one, he’d have half a dozen by now – peace be damned.

– – – –

Alexander Hamilton?

[Atlantic] . . . If you want to understand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s bid to remake the economy to fight climate change, you need to read Hamilton. . . Former Treasury Secretary Hamilton (Jan 11, 1755 – Jul 12, 1804) called for policies that sound familiar to us today. Like Representative Ocasio-Cortez, he wanted massive federal spending on new infrastructure. Like Donald Trump, he believed that very high tariffs can nurture American manufacturing. And like Elizabeth Warren, he was willing to bend the Constitution to reform the financial system. . .

“Hamilton, in short, successfully used the power of the federal government to boost manufacturing, to pick winners and losers, and to shape the fate of the U.S. economy. He is the father of American industrial policy: the set of laws and regulations that say the federal government can guide economic growth without micromanaging it. And the Green New Deal, for all its socialist regalia, only makes sense in light of his capitalistic work.”[1]

–> Over most of the Nation’s history, manufacturing was the source of GDP. The North American continent was rich in every conceivable commodity from agricultural crops to steel. The corporate world earned its profits by engaging in manufacturing and innovations in manufacturing from plows to rocket ships. Over the decades, it was noticeable than everything from doilies to washing machines to automobiles left the US bound for other national economies. Since the Reagan Doctrine in the 1980’s, corporate profit has been made from investment first and only indirectly from manufacturing. Now, in an age when manufacturing salaries are a shadow of the past, when an age of investment oligarchs has emerged, and the Nation’s government follows money rather than statesmanship, it may be time to cancel the Reagan Doctrine and return to a manufacturing economy.

But the twenty-first century is not your grandfather’s world of manufacturing. If the fact that 195 nations signed the Paris Accord on Climate Change is anything to go by, there is a new market environment that will provide new demands, new products, and especially a new way in which the world must approach its global economies.

Al Gore years ago made a prediction: “When Americans understood what climate change would mean for their children and grandchildren,” the former vice president warned, “they will demand that whoever is running for office, whoever is elected to serve, will have to respond.”

The new manufacturing policy of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others is based on different things than dishwashers: What will the US economy have to generate and reinvent in order to relocate New York City, Miami, and New Orleans among dozens of other cities that will be swamped by rising oceans? How will manufacturing transfer from fossil fuels to other forms of energy? How imposing will the new climate be that American infrastructure must be retooled with new processes, new inventions and new economic methods for providing salaries and welfare during a time when big hurricanes are nothing compared to the damage of a two-foot rise of ocean front along the Atlantic Coast? How will international policy change as whole nations disappear beneath the waves? How will economies be restructured to survive as Artificial Intelligence arrives and changes the workplace?

Perhaps it is time to go back to the history books. What was important to the founding fathers that we have ignored in the last sixty years? How would Alexander have handled things? Is our current Congress capable of refocusing on a new future not run by investment but by, as the Amish would suggest, putting its shoulder to the wheel and solving new problems?

Whatshisname is a pain in the ass but it is Congress that must take action. Mariner is pleased by the new blood in Congress. Let’s pray the new mindset grows. Alexander would be proud.

Ancient Mariner

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/02/green-new-deal-economic-principles/582943/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=atlantic-daily-newsletter&utm_content=20190219&silverid-ref=NDkwMjIzMjA1Mjg2S0

Identity Crisis

 Taking a break from daily news, in the US at least, where Donald skillfully dominates the public message and the press runs after it like a kitten runs after a ball of yarn, mariner turns to the serious issue of identity politics. In 21 months the US will have another Presidential election. Making this election even more important is that of the 33 Senate seats subject to primaries and reelection, 22 of the 33 are held by Republicans. Will the left swing of Democrats add to the attitude shift that carried the House of Representatives? Will a new attitude change the McConnell Senate? Dare mariner say the Senate will be controlled by Democrats?

Not today. The Democratic Party (and recently the Republican Party) is a montage of special interests. This happens frequently in a party that refers to itself as the ‘umbrella’ party. This time, however, the montage is unusually organized and has heels dug in against any compromise to principles.

Special interest groups have had years to foment dissatisfaction about guns, election tampering, gerrymandering, elected officials owned by lobbyists, grotesque amounts of money thrown at campaigns by special interests; add in the familiar ones: race, jobs, wages, unfair taxation, health, and retirement. Every one of these issues has lain dormant for much longer than a decade. The Senate truly is a do-nothing Senate with a deaf ear to the voice of the electorate.

So the Congress is ripe for a shakeup. There is a threshold to overcome: Primaries aside, to elect a new party Senator the vote count for the contender must be higher than the vote count for the entrenched Republican Senator – an uphill battle in a red or purple State. Making the Senate more important than usual is the messiness of the campaign for the Presidency. Even discounting Donald running for a second term, whoever wins in 2020 will not be the central force of change. Donald has completely derailed the normalcy of Presidential power and the electorate will vote for a ‘safe’ replacement – someone like Biden or Romney – Schultz doesn’t have ‘it’ to overcome other candidates. Consequently, both houses of Congress will have more influence on national policy than usual.

If the Democrats are to make inroads in the Senate, the Party must bring together disparate groups like Me Too, Black Lives Matter, Right to Choice, homosexual rights, Medicare for All, Unions, environmentalists and several emerging Hispanic rights groups. Indeed a montage.

Unification of these identity politic groups is absolutely necessary to compete in the red states. Both Republicans and Democrats will lose middle–of-the-road voters to a safe President; these same voters likely will stay with incumbent Senators.

Ancient Mariner

 

Campaign News

[Politico] THE GOP’S LOYALTY TEST — It’s not just Democrats who may be going toe-to-toe with the president over the emergency declaration. Senate Republicans on Thursday were blindsided by Trump’s executive action plans, which they had privately and publicly urged the president not to use. Their big concern is that a future Democratic president could use executive action to enact gun control or climate change measures.

–> Do not be fooled by GOP resistance to Donald’s declaration of emergency. It’s not an issue of violating the spirit of Constitutional integrity; it’s what the democrats could do when Donald leaves. Gun control? Climate Change? Maybe even taxing wealth? God forbid.

– – – –

[538] 37.5 million views

An edited video of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez discussing campaign finance in a hearing with ethics experts has become the most viewed political video in the history of Twitter, with 37.5 million views. The video was posted by the left-leaning group NowThis. That’s the record as long as you don’t count the video of President Trump attacking a person with a CNN logo for a head — that video has 39.1 million views. [The Guardian]

–> Nothing more than news of the day. Ain’t cultural change fun?

– – – –

–> Howard Schultz, ex CEO of Starbucks Coffee is trying to run for President as an independent. He is wealthy enough to run on his own without much help from billionaire backers. His impact on the 2020 election may well be that of spoiler for both Democrats and Republicans. Howard reminds mariner of Ralph Nader who ran for President in 2000 as an independent candidate representing the Green Party. Most democratic leaders and pundits credit Ralph’s 2.74 % as just enough to give W. Bush the win over Al Gore.

The underlying reality is that Howard is not part of the New Bunch phenomenon nor can he claim to be buddies with the Reaganites. His campaign is based on his claim to be a centrist. This is similar to the offer Hillary Clinton made in her campaign: Vote for reasonableness – vote for the Establishment. For all intents and purposes she won the election but even in 2016 the electorate was in the mood to move on to a new government. Unfortunately, the Russians wanted Donald.

The pressure to refurbish the US Federal Republic is greater now. Donald’s competence and wonderful personality have helped shift the electorate away from Reagan capitalism toward left leaning solutions. The Democratic Party as a whole has absorbed this energy and elected a bunch of young, multiracial, multi-religious representatives who have shared in the political wave. Howard is not part of this movement and his centrist argument will – especially in 2020 – defeat the movement of both the recalcitrant GOP capitalists and the adventuresome socialists. And, like Nader, he will not win the election. The result will be a continued battle between far right and far left – unless Donald is still around which presents a whole different set of issues.

It’s too bad hubris is a primary requirement to run for President. Howard needs to find another interest for his retirement.

Ancient Mariner

Advocacy, a Home Activity

Today’s post is a reprint from June 14, 2015. Mariner rarely if ever has republished; a reader can always browse the categories. This post was the first in a twelve part series of posts about individual advocacy, how advocacy is an ingredient in a satisfying life and a means of bringing order to that life. He feels the subject of personal advocacy provides a healing salve for the turbulent times everyone experiences today. The series deals with the relationship between mankind and his environment, treatment of animals and pets, how he should eat, and what can a person do at home that promotes order and personal meaning.

– – – –

Standing in the Penumbra of Advocacy at Home

Penumbra is the word of the day. The mariner doubts it will be replaced by “get” or “got.” The general meaning is to stand in the shadow of something. More than just a shadow, it alludes to a shadow that doesn’t have an edge like a person’s shadow or the shadow of a building. An example may be an eclipse or, on a sunny day, standing beneath an altocumulus cloud – high enough that its shadow line is diffused by the time it reaches the ground.

The mariner will confess that penumbra is not one of his usual words. He doubts there are very few except scientists who need a word like penumbra. It is a word the mariner remembers from something he read long ago; it comes to mind whenever the word “eclipse” is mentioned.

It is the appropriate word for our thoughts about the Advocacy at Home (AH) series of posts. AH sets an advocated form of behavior; it sets standards for that behavior. AH is, in fact, a law book. It is a law book without an end.

There is no line between advocacy and no advocacy. We may have a lifestyle that involves low grade advocacy, that is, taking note of an issue and having an opinion, and then have something else catch our attention. We may have strong feelings about a subject, idea, or activity and may physically react in some way to counter the situation. But there always is advocacy; else, prejudice and accomplishment would not exist.

The mariner looks back at the brutality and stupidity of Homo sapiens referenced in AH. Humans are no different than any other animal except humans are capable of malice aforethought, destroying just to destroy, or destroying because it is easier than assuring optimum or fair conclusions. Defenders of this characteristic claim it is done in the name of progress – akin to Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest.’ Progress for whom? Perhaps not progress for humans. Malice aforethought is part genetic and part sociopathic.

Referenced in the post, Po Pouree, from letters to the editor in Scientific American, Robert E Marx responded to an article about why Neandertals became extinct (apologies for repetition of earlier posts):

“Kate Wong’s suppositions about what brought about Neandertals’ extinction in “Neandertal Minds” are contrary to the known history of anatomically modern Homo sapiens [that is, us]. Her assertions that Neandertals were just out competed and that the 1.5 to 2.1 percent Neandertal DNA within people outside of Africa is the result of occasional “dalliances” would be historically unlikely.

The most likely scenario would involve waves of immigrating anatomically modern humans taking over land and causing death by plunder and disease, as Europeans discovering the New World did. And it would be naïve to think that our Neandertal DNA was the result of consensual dalliances when rape went hand in hand with pillage of every other civilization.”

From Walt Kelly’s comic strip, Pogo, April 22, 1970.

Putting aside our treatment of other species, consider how we treat human beings – our own species.

John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834-1902). The historian and moralist, otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

The letter was written at the end of the Victorian era when the Edwardian era was emerging and which peaked during the years of 1901 – 1910, then slowly disappearing as the First World War drew near. That was a time very similar to the United States today: a very few were incredibly wealthy and the rest of Great Britain was in a crisis.

Is it true that if the reader or the mariner were given absolute power, we would be “bad men?” At the least, would we be immoral? Would our arrogance and indifference be obvious? Vladimir Putin has absolute power. Would he be less immoral if he had no power? Assume we had absolute power over one person. Would we abuse that person? Would we, in a twisted desire for absolute power be like Phillip Garrido, who kidnapped and kept Jaycee Dugard in a backyard shed for 18 years and had two children by her? Famous studies of power over another person show that, indeed, immoral if not violent behavior will occur.

What is it about power that is so destructive?

The oldest reference to rule by law was written by the reformist King Urukagina of city-state Lagash in Mesopotamia during the 24th century BC. It consisted of a list of rules that were generally beneficial to the very poor and the labor class. The rich were curtailed in their abuses by what the mariner calls “Clintonesque restraints,” that is, in exchange for paying silver to their laborers, one could have 1,500 sheep instead of 500. Good people die young – King Urukagina was overthrown seven years later by his neighbor city-state Urek.

The reader would think, after 4,600 years, humans would have mastered the three elements of ruling by law. The three elements are power, intervention of power, and individuals. If intervention or individuals weren’t present, who would need rule of law? Perhaps the less powerful would lust after those who may be more powerful. Intervention would become battles between powerful people and individuals would become a commodity like chickens. Isn’t that called the Dark Ages (500 – 1100 AD)?

The reason for this run around Robin Hood’s barn is to highlight the similarities between AH and rule by law. We must be firm, committed and assertive in our AH laws. It is the only way to fix our dysfunctional nation.

Earlier it was mentioned that there were three elements to rule by law: power, intervention of power, and individuals. The dysfunction in the US is that it is the powerful that write the rules for intervention of power. Individuals are out of the loop. So AH is a beginning. The more individuals that create their AH rule books and enforce them, the sooner individuals may take their place in the triumvirate known as rule of law.

– – – –

To read other parts of the advocacy series type ‘advocacy’ in the search box on the Home Page.

Ancient Mariner

As the World Turns so does American Culture

The city of Sandusky, Ohio, population 26,000, has swapped out Columbus Day for Election Day and declared it a paid holiday. Thus far, only 250 city employees are affected — “But we’re very hopeful that the message that it sends will be contagious,” the city manager said. [NPR]

-> Mariner notes in passing such a small adjustment to American culture. He remembers Columbus Day being a big deal which brought a few days of holiday spirit and even a few parades. On the other hand, democracy shows signs of rumbling from its grave, insisting voting is more important than Chris.

– – – –

OMAR IN HOT WATER — Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar is under fire for a recent tweet seen by some as anti-Semitic. The Minnesota Democrat, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, suggested Sunday night that Republican support for Israel is fueled by campaign donations from Jewish lobbying groups. While Omar has been repeatedly attacked by the GOP for her critical views toward Israel, her latest remarks earned rebukes from members of her own party. “Congresswoman Omar’s statements are deeply hurtful to Jews, including myself,” said freshman Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.). [Politico]

-> Three cheers for diversity. God bless the New Bunch (freshman Representatives). The Muslims have been on the spot for decades; now the Jews. Let’s throw in the Mormons, Roman Catholics, Evangelicals, Native Americans and while we’re at it, the Zen crowd, too. The schisms and protectionist behavior between these groups have lasted far too long. What is the common thread of humanity among them? As for Jewish politics, well, politics is politics; money is a religion, too.

– – – –

Few species live past the point they can produce offspring. Why do humans?

Anthropologists have had reasons to suspect that a mother’s help allowed their daughters to have more children. New research into 17th century genealogical records backs that up, showing that a grandmother who lived close by allowed a mother to start having kids sooner, reduced child mortality, and resulted on average in 1.75 more children. But another study found those benefits only existed if the grandmother was young enough to help out.[1] [NPR]

-> Monkeys around the world have known this all along. The role of family matriarch is an important role in simian colonies. Mariner makes note of this because it is another indicator that worldwide human reproduction is undergoing a change. Not because grandmothers are too old – well, maybe, as actuary tables creep into the 80’s – but for some reason every modern, industrialized nation is suffering from a lack of citizen replacement. A report from the United Nations says:

“Population ageing is poised to become one of the most significant social transformations of the twenty-first century, with implications for nearly all sectors of society, including labour and financial markets, the demand for goods and services, such as housing, transportation and social protection, as well as family structures and intergenerational ties.

“According to data from World Population Prospects: the 2017 Revision, the number of older persons — those aged 60 years or over — is expected to more than double by 2050 and to more than triple by 2100, rising from 962 million globally in 2017 to 2.1 billion in 2050 and 3.1 billion in 2100. Globally, population aged 60 or over is growing faster than all younger age groups.”

Mariner continues to stumble over bits of information that are related to an increasing ratio of senior citizens to younger ages. For example, the Calhoun studies with overpopulated mice showed that reproductive ability in the females failed as the mouse society began to crumble; the issue of excessive numbers of humans which disrupts the environmental balance of the planet is another area; continuous articles about the financial support for the elderly because of fewer taxes from younger generations, and even the collapse of day-to-day life in Japan.

Japanese childbearing is currently estimated to be nearly 35 % below replacement level. According United Nations Population Statistics estimates, these demographic trends will drive Japan’s total population down from 127 million to 114 million by 2030 – a level affecting economic stability.

Sex ratio at birth has declined significantly in Japan and in U.S. whites, but not for African Americans, for whom sex ratio remains significantly lower than that of whites. The male proportion of fetal death has increased overall in Japan and in the United States.

Here’s a note for Donald’s Base: If current trends continue, the population of the United States will rise to 438 million in 2050, from 296 million in 2005, and 82% of the increase will be due to immigrants arriving from 2005 to 2050 and their U.S.-born descendants, according to new projections developed by the Pew Research Center. Unfortunately, Japan will not benefit from immigration and faces critical economic issues by 2050.

– – – –

Guns in America, through the eyes of the next generation.

A year ago, a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Afterward, students at that school set off an unprecedented wave of youth activism for gun control — and eventually against it as well. NPR interviewed teens across the country to document their relationship with guns — including sport shooters, aspiring soldiers, gun control activists, those who’ve lost loved ones to gun violence and those who live with the threat of it every day.

What emerged were portraits of the budding political consciousness of the next generation, and of America’s complex relationship with firearms.[2] [NPR]

-> Mariner wishes the New Bunch well. They have their hands full – guns are a religion, too.

Ancient Mariner

 

[1] Read more at http://click.et.npr.org/?qs=3bb04c48d17980f1972efdceec6ec1537d4d4e3ab45bb9a862a531c7dfa237876a73f7abd948a02320f46b7955fd8fd6f61d69902f4ebf7a

[2] For more see: http://click.et.npr.org/?qs=3bb04c48d17980f1a39e73822fcf25413dd2313a7e25c0c3fd75f7abdfc31b2b11dcc11e26a733603b3af38b925bd27af45381a5576a42b6

New Thoughts

Who needs meditation and therapy?

Try open-brain surgery. Making a person laugh during awake open-brain surgery isn’t as simple as telling a really good joke. Instead, doctors went straight to the source: the brain, according to a report about the operation. To induce laughter, they stimulated a specific area in a long bundle of brain cell tails that run from the front of the brain to the back. The subsequent laughter helped calm the woman for the duration of the surgery.

“Immediately she had profound relief, she was happy, able to communicate and able to make jokes” said senior case report author Dr. Jon Willie, a neurosurgeon at Emory University School of Medicine. Willie was one of the surgeons who operated on the woman.

In fact, when the doctors tried this type of stimulation on two other patients with epilepsy (who had electrodes implanted in the brains for monitoring of their seizures but weren’t undergoing awake open-brain surgery), they found consistent results — stimulating this area of the brain caused a sense of well-being and relieved anxiety, Willie told Live Science.

– – – –

Rent in low income projects may include an apartment and a car

A new study finds that, over the past 50 years, owning a car has been among the most powerful economic advantages available to U.S. families. While that doesn’t mean everyone should start driving, it does lead the study’s authors to a policy prescription in cities built around the automobile: Treat vehicles like essential infrastructure, and subsidize them for low-income households. “We don’t want to try to balance our carbon emissions and budgets on the backs of the poor,” one researcher tells CityLab’s Laura Bliss. “All of these goals can be achieved if overall we drive less, even if we help some people drive more.”

That might not mean private ownership. Electric vehicle-sharing pilots like those seen in Los Angeles are one model. Longstanding efforts by nonprofits to distribute vehicle donations is another. [CityLab]

– – – –

Getting used to representative government may take time

Mariner wants to jump in on the noise about HR1 (stops gerrymandering), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow new Representatives (should behave like grownups), and the conservative (GOP) efforts to rebrand ‘socialism’ as a curse word.

Mariner described HR1 in a recent post. In mariner’s memory, perhaps all the way back to the ‘60s, no bill has ever spoken as truly to the wants of the American citizenry: stop gerrymandering; stop messing with voter registration; automatically register 18-year-olds on their birthday; expose big money lobbying. Immediately the GOP branded it a grab for Democratic Party power in Congress. Well, yes – if one believes in democracy and equality. . .

Three cheers for the new bunch. Three cheers for any Representative under 40, not white professional class, and not interested in the establishment way of running government. Three cheers for skin color; three cheers for diverse income and profession; three cheers for diverse religious perspectives; three cheers for dismissing the ‘grownup’s view of representative government.

It was the McCarthy era in the 40’s and 50’s that had a significant impact on the citizen’s awareness of political philosophy as a threatening deterrent to personal wellbeing. McCarthy successfully turned public opinion against socialism – until then an equal player in party politics. Politicians still have trouble mentioning the word – but not the new bunch.

In 1905 it was the Socialist party that pushed through Congress the idea of an 8-hour day and a forty-hour work week and opened the opportunity for union representation; Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a prominent American feminist and socialist who fought for the equality of women and advocated equal pay and financial competitiveness for women in a time when the women could not even vote.

During Joe McCarthy’s Red Scare of the 1950s, Harry Truman had stirred conservative outrage by arguing that the government had the authority to impose anti-lynching laws on the states and by proposing a national healthcare plan. But what really bugged the Republicans was that Truman, who had been expected to lose in 1948, had not just won the election but restored Democratic control of Congress. To counter this ominous electoral trend, conservative Republicans, led by Ohio Senator Robert Taft, announced in 1950 that their campaign slogan in that year’s Congressional elections would be “Liberty Against Socialism.” They then produced an addendum to their national platform, much of which was devoted to a McCarthyite rant charging that Truman’s Fair Deal “is dictated by a small but powerful group of persons who believe in socialism.”

From that point on in American history the historical contribution of socialist ideas like universal health and other human rights issues were erased from political consciousness.

Mariner is more comfortable with a house metaphor that describes political specialties; the specialties are political philosophies like democracy, equality, socialism, capitalism, even communism and monarchy. The point is none of them work well without a mix of all of them. The house metaphor:

One doesn’t use living room furniture in the kitchen; one doesn’t have Thanksgiving Dinner in the bathroom; one doesn’t put a basketball court in the bedroom, etc. Capitalism has its place but should not have all the power in government; socialism is needed to ensure equality among the unrepresented; even monarchy has a role(remember John Kennedy – the Royal Family?) And further, even Christianity should not be the only ethical view.

Ancient Mariner

Of Our Time

֎1/3 OF ITS GLACIERS

One-third or more of the Himalayan ice cap is “doomed to melt due to climate change,” according to a new report called The Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment. They’ll be gone by the year 2100, the report finds, affecting hundreds of millions of people who rely on the glaciers as “a critical water store.” [The Guardian]

[[One might ask what the real price of a barrel of crude oil is.]]

֎59 NEW EMOJI

The Unicode Consortium, which is in charge of such things, has announced 59 new emoji along with 171 new variations on existing emoji. The new ones include a deaf person, people in wheelchairs, people with probing canes, a mechanical arm and leg and service dogs. They also include an otter, a sloth, an orangutan, an ice cube, garlic, falafel and a ringed planet. [The Verge]

[[Verbs! Where are the verbs? And adjectives!! Farewell, art of nuance.]]

 ֎DONALD IS GOOD AT SOMETHING

President Donald is first in his class . . . of worst Presidents in the history of the United States. Still adding to his achievements, already he tops several websites documenting US Presidential history.

A few others courtesy of WorldAtlas:

James Buchanan, Jr., a Democrat, was the 15th President of the United States, and held this prestigious post from 1857 to 1861. President Buchanan not only failed to broker peace between a divided nation, but also ended up alienating members of both warring factions. Many still blame President Buchanan and his ineffective presidency for failing to prevent the outbreak of the Civil War, with some even referring to the devastating national conflict as “Buchanan’s War”.

Warren G. Harding. The 29th President of the US was Warren G. Harding, who held office from 1921 to 1923. After his death stories of corruption and scandal became rampant. Aside from his actual political policies Harding’s personal life was marred by tawdry revelations of his extramarital affairs with numerous women. In terms of issues related to governing the country, President Harding ran into trouble with his mishandling of the Teapot Dome oil reserves which also proved quite scandal-worthy for his administration.

Andrew Johnson. After Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Andrew Johnson was sworn in as the 17th head of state. Johnson, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, governed the country from 1865 to 1869. Due to a violation of the Tenure of Office Act, he was impeached in 1868. Acquitted by the Senate, however, Johnson was able to remain in office. President Johnson was unpopular for opposing measures, such as the Fourteenth Amendment, which were aimed at affording ex slaves with US citizenship.

Ulysses S. Grant. Republican Ulysses S. Grant who served as the head of state from 1869 to 1877. President Grant’s accomplishments during his two terms in office include overseeing the reconstruction in the southern states, dismantling the Confederacy, as well as supporting civil rights for black citizens. Perhaps the most significant cause of Grant’s downfall and reputation as a poor leader is due to the many allegations of corruption and financial misconduct which plagued his administration.

Herbert Hoover. Herbert Hoover served as the 31st President of the United States during the Great Depression, serving between 1929 and 1933. Hoover was criticized for being a poor communicator who many Americans perceived as cold and uncaring. Although the timing of his presidency was unenviable, his political policies were accused of actually worsening the Depression. Interestingly, Hoover had won in a landslide victory.

[[The majority of the worst Presidents are on the list because they bucked the founding principles of equality, justice by law, and criminal activity on the side along with philandering. Donald appears to be an appropriate nomination.]]

֎Finally, mariner wants to suggest that measuring wages versus inflation, the popular way for pundits to determine wage quality, is misleading. In ordinary times, these measurements would reflect reality. However, the flow of profit is so skewed to the super wealthy that inflation becomes irrelevant. The measure of wage quality should be measured against the Gross National Product (GDP) – a value in which the US working class does not participate. Wages versus inflation has been out of kilter since the 1980’s and has little meaning. Salaries are a built-in overhead. All profits, virtually 99%, and a factor of GDP, are kept by corporations and oligarchs.

Ancient Mariner

 

A New Experience

A day or two ago, mariner was watching Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. She mentioned that the democratic House of Representatives released their first bill traditionally called HR1. It had strange language in it that was clearly different. It said that, nationwide, gerrymandering would stop and redistricting would be controlled by impartial citizens; it said that election day is declared a holiday; it said that voters will be automatically registered; it forbade the purge of voter records, said that political action committees had to reveal their donors – all these changes applied to every state in the Union and the three branches of the Federal Government.

What happened? Had legislators found a conscience? Mariner could not believe his ears. When it reached the floor, a republican commented that the bill was nothing more than a power grab for the democrats. A democratic representative retorted, “You are right, it is a power grab – by the citizens!”

Amos scoffed. He said it had the same chance of passing as a snowball in hell. We shall see.

There is such commotion in our Federal Government: Everything Trump, identity politics splitting our nation apart, Putin and the Russians, Mueller, McConnell, climate change, unfair economy, and on and on. Behold, an honest, righteous HR1 begins its path through this mess. Care to offer odds?

Ancient Mariner

 

 

Subscriptions

Just a sampling from the many email subscriptions mariner receives. Perhaps one of them may provide new insight.

֎3-fold increase
If you’ve noticed something different happening these past 290 million years, it’s not just you — the rate of asteroids striking Earth and the moon have increased sharply, from once every 3 million years to once every 1 million years. Be careful out there. [The Guardian]

֎TOP LOBBYIST SPENDERS (FOURTH QUARTER ONLY)
National Association of Realtors: $19 million
U.S. Chamber of Commerce: $16 million
Open Society Policy Center: $10.9 million
U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform: $9.5 million
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: $6 million
Business Roundtable: $5.7 million
American Hospital Association: $5.5 million
Google: $4.9 million
American Medical Association: $4.7 million
Comcast: $3.9 million
Boeing: $3.9 million
NCTA — The Internet & Television Association: $3.8 million
Amazon: $3.7 million
CTIA: $3.6 million
National Association of Broadcasters: $3.3 million
AT&T: $3.3 million
Southern Company: $3.3 million
General Dynamics: $3.2 million
Altria: $3.2 million
ExxonMobil: $3.1 million

֎$100 million vs. $6 million
The federal government response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida was “faster and more generous” than its response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, according to new research out of the University of Michigan. “The variation in the responses was not commensurate with storm severity and need after landfall in the case of Puerto Rico compared with Texas and Florida,” the researchers wrote. Specifically, survivors in Texas and Florida received about $100 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds over a nine-day period; Maria survivors received about $6 million in that time. [CBS News]

֎There’s only about 10 years’ worth of helium left in Earth’s reserves, if humans don’t start changing their balloon-releasing behavior soon.[LiveScience]

֎Thousands of years ago, 50,000 acres of glacial ice crusted Venezuela’s peaks. By 1910, maps showed that these glaciers had shrunk to 2,500 acres. By 2008, fewer than 80 acres remained.[The Atlantic]

֎More than 70 percent of House members
The House of Representatives is, ostensibly, representative. I mean, it’s in the name. But its members tend to follow specific and elite career paths before joining the body. More than 70 percent of current House members, for example, were lawyers in private practice, businesspeople or medical professionals. As a result, the House is “much, much richer than the people it represents.” [The New York Times]

֎Senate Republicans have such little appetite for another dreaded shutdown that they may try to stop it from happening again, report Burgess, Bres and Sarah. Trump hasn’t ruled out closing down the government if Congress can’t reach a deal, which could spark an internal revolt in the GOP. “I did not love the shutdown. I wouldn’t think anybody would have another shutdown,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). [Politico]

Ancient Mariner

Mother Nature Continued

The last post recognized how much and how rapidly change is occurring in our global society. It introduced four key areas that drive society: economics, sociology, religion and psychology. The last post addressed economics and sociology. The background theme was that humans are bound to behave the way Mother Nature created them no matter how sophisticated the extra-human inventions and liberties therefrom may seem.

Economics is based on a leverage of group behavior and its rewards – not mathematically but as a group of H. sapiens participants. Lifestyle and the conveniences of electricity, combustion and modern chemistry draw Mother Nature’s primates away from the normal physical environment for which they were designed. Each and every new invention, including telecommunication advances, which draw the brain away as well, have created a society that will change overnight to adapt to the newest contrivance. Yet ties to primate limitations cause stress on the relationship between basic human characteristics and omnipotent domination by a non-primate world. Mother Nature is watching.

This post will present the last two areas that drive society: religion and psychology.

– – – –

Religion, stripped of specific theologies, doctrines and rituals, is how humans relate to a reality that is beyond their understanding and control. Mariner’s use of the term ‘Mother Nature’ is typical shorthand for the Universe and its parochial characteristics on Planet Earth. In a subtle way, if one wants to stabilize one’s psyche, the individual must feel in unison with the universe; one must be linked to the power that permits existence. Throughout time, H. sapiens has developed interpretations for being in accord with the universe. Various interpretations have evolved in history depending on when and where and why – hence different theologies, doctrines and rituals.

Today, religion is caught in the same rampant change as the rest of society. The advancement of science, universal knowledge, an awareness of global issues, and instant communication has altered the reasons for religion in daily life. A human has been elevated from parochial wisdom and ritual to a point where a world view is available – even the kind of world among billions of other worlds in the Universe. Theologies are struggling.

Joseph Campbell, a renowned anthropologist, used the term ‘myth,’ suggesting that the myths or understandings between humans and the powers of creation that developed from 6000BC to 1000AD are no longer de rigueur. Wars in the name of religion (if only in name) have existed almost continuously because religion is as important as any human endeavor; religious sanctity is discriminatory in its ethics and morals. Today, however, situation ethics, a term coined in the 1960’s, is prevailing as a general doctrine. The new God is not anthropomorphic, it is the Universe.

– – – –

Psychology incorporates terms like behavior, personality, maturity, compassion, fear, greed, self-awareness, emotions, and many other terms including those that describe emotional disorders like neurotic, schizophrenic, arrested development, etc. For the purposes of this post, its broadest interpretation is used: psychology is the response mechanism that reacts to sensory input.

Despite more obvious influence on behavior by modern technology (don’t get mariner started on smart phones), the true threat is the displacement of human, plain old H. sapiens control over its own behavior and priorities. To keep from prattling on, mariner offers the global, environmental conflict between MN, her primates and that of the non-human influence of devices made from electricity and chemistry which discount the environment and the behavior of species within that environment: the John Henry syndrome.

As mentioned in the previous post, mariner suggests that the global war for humanity is represented as a battle for control between governments (A version of control that focuses on primate need first) and corporations (a version of control that uses primates as objects of profit). Even simpler, it is a battle between money and human liberties based on MN’s creations. This conflict is of immense proportions, truly a global conflict over the future of life on the planet.

Today, this conflict, hidden beneath keyboard games and meaningless conveniences, is fully engaged. It is a battle between the corporations and the common life of normal H. sapiens – who owns the rights to human life?

Ancient Mariner