No One is talking about the Economy

2016 Presidential Election

It’s been a long, long campaign. Odd that neither party has a candidate who lifts the spirit of voters – with the exception of the hard core base for each candidate. For them, what their candidate says can do no wrong. It is a campaign without policy – especially economic policy. One candidate is full of character assassination; the other is full of detailed objectives not bound by policy. In each case, we’ll have to discover policy after one is elected President.

The press, too, has done a poor job. We should be used to it; they have done a bad job since Murrow, Huntley and Brinkley were news anchors. Unfortunately, the on-the-ground news journalists really would like to do a better job but they are constrained by bosses who want only news that brings viewer share. Not only should big money be removed from the politicians, it should be removed from news rooms as well.

Many voters the mariner has spoken with have placed their hopes on the Congressional races. It will take nothing short of collusion between voters to replace a decadent and bought Congress with a modern, statesmanlike one.

Lack of economic plans for the next ten years and beyond.

Neither Donald nor Hillary has had a sit-down with the American voter to discuss the realities of US economics. To quote economist Robert Gordon[1]:

“Even if innovation were to continue into the future at the rate of the two decades before 2007, the U.S. faces six headwinds that are in the process of dragging long-term growth to half or less of the 1.9 percent annual rate experienced between 1860 and 2007. These include demography, education, inequality, globalization, energy/environment, and the overhang of consumer and government debt. A provocative “exercise in subtraction” suggests that future growth in consumption per capita for the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution could fall below 0.5 percent per year for an extended period of decades.”

In a past post, the mariner took a thread of thought from Gordon’s paper published in August 2012, Is U.S. Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds. Gordon’s logic is a central pillar in the mariner’s economic perspectives. The topic in the post was whether rapid product versions were actually growth. In a recent interview on PBS’ News Hour, Robert touched on this thread, covering his entire presumption about future growth – the six headwinds.

Given the nation’s current state of affairs – especially an election offering a rich narcissist or a richer establishmentarian, Gordon’s concern about restoring an historically robust economy is real. To paraphrase Gordon, We invented cars – no more horse manure to clean in the streets; we invented electricity – no more drudgery for housewives and services; we invented air conditioning and heat – no more coal to shovel or sweaty homes; we invented airplanes – transforming travel; we invented Interstates – now everyone can travel coast to coast; we invented radio and computers and speed of light communication. What is the next “new” phenomenon that will change the world and provide huge numbers of jobs for generations?

This requirement for a new direction in the daily life of 300 million Americans is a stiff requirement. Already, the US has reported that ‘there are no more jobs.’ Unions are driven out of existence, salaries continue to drop precariously as a percentage of GDP, and oligarchy is entrenched in the American culture. Rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, from potholes to fiber optics, will not be a permanent reprieve.

Gregory Clark[2], an economist as well, challenges Gordon’s view by suggesting a computerized future is the new economic force. The mariner agrees with Gordon: Already we have invented computers; Gordon sees computers as a dividing force in economics – making the rich richer and the other 99% poorer.

Well, Donald and Hillary, what say ye?

[1] Robert Gordon is a renowned economist who has published many books and papers challenging many economic assumptions. Liberal in thought but conservative in assumptions, he is a leader in predicting future economic conditions.

[2] Gregory Clark, a professor of economics and department chair until 2013 at the University of California, Davis is most well known for his theory of economic history related to the change in behaviors that enabled the Industrial Revolution, discussed in his book, A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World.

A Farewell to Alms discusses the divide between rich and poor nations that came about as a result of the Industrial Revolution in terms of the evolution of particular behaviors originating in Britain. Prior to 1790, Clark asserts, man faced a Malthusian trap: new technology enabled greater productivity and more food, but was quickly gobbled up by higher populations. In Britain, however, as disease continually killed off poorer members of society, their positions in society were taken over by the sons of the wealthy, who were less violent, more literate, and more productive. This process of “downward social mobility” eventually enabled Britain to attain a rate of productivity that allowed it to break out of the Malthusian trap.

Ancient Mariner

Shifting Gears for the Future

Should the reader look forward to see future progress that will knock out extinction – do not look backward for a measure of speed. The reader will be disappointed.

Media news filled additional air time in Charlotte by going down the street to the State Capitol where the Confederate war flag is displayed. Now, all the republican candidates for President can say, “Not my problem,” save two: one who ran last time, Romney, and Jeb somebody. The mariner will not join the fray; it is covered nonstop on 24-hour news stations. There must be some usable information once in a while.

What the mariner finds important is the fact that racism is still a large and unresolved stigma in the American culture and what that means about the speed with which we will take steps to avoid extinction. Consider the following speed:

  • Twenty slaves were the first to arrive on US soil at Jamestown, Virginia on August 20, 1619.
  • In 1641, Massachusetts was the first state to legalize slavery.
  • In 1705, Virginia passes legislation that slaves are real estate.
  • In 1787, it was a better than usual year, relatively speaking. The Northwest Ordinance forbids slavery, except as criminal punishment, in the Northwest Territory (later Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin). Residents of the territory are required to return fugitive slaves. Also in 1787, states (including South Carolina) began putting tariffs on interstate and international slave trade; a few ban trading slaves altogether.
  • In 1788, the newly ratified US Constitution claims that each slave is 3/5 of a person – but only for tax purposes.
  • In 1819, Virginia outlaws the education of slaves and, with North Carolina, removes restraints on interstate trading of slaves.
  • The decade of the 1850’s was not good for slaves. Many states rescinded earlier trade limitations, new laws providing the right to be a free African American were rescinded, and finally, in 1857, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Dred Scott case by denying citizenship to all slaves, ex-slaves, and descendants of slaves and denies Congress the right to prohibit slavery in the territories.
  • In 1861, South Carolina secedes from the Union, followed by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina also secede. It is the beginning of the Civil War.
  • In 1862, Lincoln signs several acts that, more or less, allow slaves and free African Americans to participate in the Civil War and, indirectly, though no one said so, the 3/5 person law became dysfunctional even if it was still is a part of the Constitution.
  • In 1863, Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • In 1869, Tennessee passes legislation to create an all white government that opposes racial equality. Many states follow.
  • In 2015, the Confederate War Flag still flies at the Capitol of South Carolina and requires the heinous murder of nine religious African Americans in a hallmark African American church to request that the flag be removed. There is reticence by republicans across the board.
    • The mariner interjects for a moment to point out that it has been 244 years since the first slave arrived, a terrible civil war has transpired, the economic culture of slavery still persisted not through ownership but through outright abuse and tyranny. Any freed slave is fortunate to receive a salary other than a shack without utilities. In 244 years, how has the US culture changed? Virtually not at all; Tennessee’s idea in 1869 for all white government persists to this day. African American voting in government is gerrymandered against quite intensely. While legislation may have shifted a little, the American culture still does not include the African American as an equal citizen with equal rights.
    • In the future, even greater incursions into corporate American power and the consumer culture will be necessary to slow the clock of the sixth extinction. Beyond that, not only is extinction civil war, it is global war. Extinction includes Putin, ISIL, China and its allies, suppressed Africa. Even more troublesome, the United States itself, long a leader in creating the sixth extinction.

The mariner pursued the history of the African American experience as a model that depicts how difficult it is to alter large social, economic and political behavior that has been deeply ingrained for hundreds of years. The African American’s historical plight has become the plight of all mankind. The US has not made much progress with racism. Regarding extinction, is this to be expected for the next 244 years?

Ancient Mariner


Some readers of the mariner’s blog are discomforted by the negative tone that often creeps into the mariner’s posts. He admits that sometimes he does not need to share his dissatisfaction with every day nuisances like rabbits and Midwest weather. Grant him the excuse of personal therapy.

Some readers feel the mariner is simply depressed. This is too bad because the reader shoots the messenger and discounts the information. The truth is that the mariner is depressed by the content of his posts – as the reader should be as well. Nevertheless, the mariner has an ethic about the quality of information and the important, though sometimes abstract, revelations put forward.

He knows he is more the skeptic than the poet. The mariner chooses to comport himself with the likes of Gandhi, King, Amos, Joshua, Geronimo and Jane Fonda. Something is grotesquely wrong with the United States today. Every one of us lives defensively – not noticeably day-to-day for most of us but we huddle under the shrub like my friend the rabbit, hoping no predator will pounce on us.

In this post, rather than go on and on about the details of this grotesqueness, the mariner will list topics followed by the primary issue and how it may affect us rabbits. He asks the reader to bookmark these mentally so the reader will notice activity in the news that is related to these topics. In later posts, perhaps he will expand the detail as he did with the bribe money paid to greedy Congressmen by corporations to fast track the TPP. (Incidentally, he just mentioned the primary predators of us rabbits: government and corporations.)


Private money in government. This topic has more snakes than Medusa. At the top, legislation must be enacted that prevents financial contributions from any private source and limits campaign financing to the governments holding elections. We are affected by money in government because it displaces democracy. Adding insult to injury, the Supreme Court recently declared money as speech. Therefore, it’s not one person one vote; it’s one dollar one vote.

Gerrymandering. Mandatory to resolution of redistricting abuse is to remove this function from political influence primarily by removing elected officials and party leaders from the process. The size and population of a district is intended to be based entirely on census data and equal distribution among the districts. There is a new issue that threatens one person one vote: The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that would determine district population only by registered voters, not the census. Since the Court threw out the Civil Rights Act supervision of election procedures, thirteen states have been purging voter rolls without verification – eliminating many who have been voting for years but are the wrong race, too poor or disruptive to local politics, e.g., college students. Adding this new interpretation will enable gerrymanderers to ignore whole neighborhoods as if they didn’t exist. Gerrymandering is the root cause for needing the term “silent majority.”

Voting. Updating the way we vote is long overdue. We should consider Australia’s model. Voting is mandatory; if a voter fails to vote, he/she is fined. Further, votes should be cast by a mailed ballot. Internet voting opens a completely different set of problems and would be even easier to manipulate (Your vote is supposed to be secret for several reasons; does the reader think Google will respect your privacy? New ads will appear on your computer obviously based on the way you voted.) Mandatory, mailed voting will help with the gerrymandering topic.


The topics listed above must be repaired before we can expect any changes to the way corporations treat employees, the environment, and international business practices. On the government side, the topics must be repaired before there will be citizen-centric policy for entitlements, infrastructure, military objectives, developing new markets using modern technical solutions, and economic policy – just to name a few. Topics that will have the most profound impact are listed below.


Environment. Deceptively, addressing the environment will have a profound effect on every topic on this list. Briefly, many dramatic disasters will be avoided along the coasts, destructive weather, and across all the species of life; reset the domestic economy with new jobs, new policies affecting the oil and gas industry versus other energy sources – creating new areas of industry and development; a massive upgrade of the infrastructure to require less energy and less costly materials, including a resurgence in shipping via rail – a rail that will be based on new, more efficient technologies; all this only skims the surface of what solving the environment issue will generate.

Government control of natural resources. Today, corporations invade, misuse or destroy many kinds of resources from oil spills to backfilling sensitive estuaries to grazing cattle for free on protected land. The issue of control could be seen as a subset of the environment topic. However, government control of natural resources has a strong element of economic policy that is more to the point. It will have a much greater impact on corporate behavior. For example, how livestock is raised, what chemicals are allowed on any natural resource from golf courses to chickens to fish farms. Good examples in today’s food production are the issues of labeling and artificial additives. Holding up the Keystone pipeline because of ancillary US cost, political interference, tax revenue, and a host of local objections related to the disruption of local businesses is another example. If US governments, Federal, State and Local, had more influence and were backed by citizen-centric political power instead of corporate payoffs, the use and development of natural resources would be fair, improve production and be rational.

International control of multinational corporations. This is a scary topic for the mariner. As corporations move into the international markets made possible by computerization and telecommunication, they are moving into an area void of regulations, national law, and human rights. The multinational corporations will create a faux “government” presence that nations will have great difficulty controlling. An EXCELLENT example is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Generally, it grants freedoms to corporations to operate in several nations as they see fit; they can ignore work related regulations because the multinational corporation is not under the jurisdiction of any one nation or, as the mariner suspects the TPP is written, all the nations collectively. They can move profit around to avoid taxes (that already happens often). The structure of international agreements, as they are written now, almost guarantee a culture of skimming, bribes and payoffs. Never forget the purpose of any corporation: profit, profit, profit, and no liability.

US tax structure. Taxes are the tool with which government has the ability to execute its functions. Today, as everyone knows, the tax code has more holes than a screen door. Most of the holes, similar to the TPP payoff, are inserted by interests who own the Congressmen, or Governors, or state legislators. The tax code, along with suppressed payroll practices since 1985, has created the imbalance of personal worth such that 90% of the population does not share in GDP profits. All the profits go to the 10% who own 37% of the country’s stock market shares. Fixing taxes will take lots of time and wheeling and dealing. It won’t begin until the current antagonistic atmosphere surrounding elected officials is normalized.

Don’t be depressed. The mariner feels better already!

Ancient Mariner

Wheat, Rice and Corn

Wheat, rice and corn are considered the three food sources that enabled humans to develop as a species, to establish advanced cultures, and to begin economic relationships. Wheat has been identified as a primary food source for Asia, Europe and the Middle East as long as 12,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians became renowned bakers.

Rice was and is the mainstay food product that sustained the Far East and India since 4500 BC. In the Western Hemisphere, maize, an ancestor of corn, was a primary food source and a major trade item since prehistoric times.

Each of these starchy grains provided protein and carbohydrates that enabled our ancestors to live healthier lives and enabled surpluses to be traded, establishing early economic relationships long before anyone had an idea about starting a nation or hassling with trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Today, however, wheat is bad for one’s health. Corn in all its forms is bad for one’s health. Rice is bad for one’s health.

What happened? Have humans fooled themselves for thousands of years that these grass seeds were good for them?

The mariner is chary about dieticians and food standards. Dieticians have more in common with the weatherman then they may think. Folks like to point at overweight people, people with diabetes or intestinal issues and celiac simply to say we eat too much.

Many say supplements are necessary; others say supplements do nothing but pass expensive urine. Don’t eat red meat. Hasn’t the mariner been taught all his life that the protein from red meat is what allowed the prehistoric human brain to grow?

Now we must be vegetarians and vegans – huge rabbits. Rabbits don’t live very long. Ever try to eat a BLT without the bread? If we want to live longer, we could go to sea and eat what sea turtles eat. The record life span for a sea turtle is 152 years. There is speculation that people who eat sea turtles live longer.

New science completely obfuscates what we should eat. It is de rigueur to point to genetic causes, e.g., “Your family history is prone to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, peanut allergies, etc.” Some years ago, the mariner’s doctor suggested he did not process Magnesium very well and he should take a supplement. According to dieticians, halibut, mackerel, boiled spinach, bran breakfast cereal, and almonds are the richest sources of Magnesium. This seems an acceptable diet until one is told the amounts one would have to eat to meet minimum daily requirements. That’s another conundrum: minimum daily requirements. What happens to the mariner if he misses the minimum daily requirement for vitamin K? Is there a remedy?

Recently, anthropologists have sought out isolated societies where everyone lives to ages approaching 100 and beyond. Places like islands, northern Russia, and mountain cultures. There are no vitamin pills so a shortage of vitamin K can’t be too bad.

To be serious for a moment, the anthropologists agree on two points: If one’s ancestors, especially from both maternal and paternal histories, lived a long time, chances are he or she will live a long time, too. Secondly, if one lives in a stable culture without strife (unlike starting wars and crooked banks) and one has a legitimate purpose in the society well into one’s 80’s and 90’s, this reduces the stress on one’s sense of self. Scientists would translate this phenomenon into less production of oxidants, less anxiety and depression, and, of course, the advantage of one’s DNA bred under constrained circumstances.

Another theory about stretching one’s healthy life is that, as a species, our Paleolithic genetic structure suggests that we should be healthy and vigorous, no matter what we eat, until that time we call ‘midlife crisis’. From that point on, staying healthy becomes more and more difficult. The mariner muses that were there no medical industry, the death rate would jump in one’s forties and most would not see the age of 65. There are always a few who live to ripe old ages but statistically, they would be a rarity.

Forgetting all the snake oil salesmen and fitness narcissists, there seems to be something more important to our health than what we may eat. Given we are bound to our ancestral influences, and given age is an undeniable influence, it seems that the most influential element on our health is, for lack of a better word, “happiness”. We do not live in happy times. Our income is not secure; our role in life is not secure; prejudice abounds against each of us. The future is more unknown and threatening to our society than ever before. There is pressure on each of us to win or be tossed aside.

But that’s another post. The mariner is going back to the kitchen to finish his pancakes with berries and whipped cream – a bit of happiness.

Ancient Mariner

Are we all Americans?

The mariner is writing a lesson book. It talks about the change and stress brought on Christians and the Christian doctrine as societies around the world leave behind the predictable life that existed before 1980.

Most of us don’t see society change as we live our daily lives. Yet, moving about each day, we are encased in an invisible atmosphere that shapes our reality, our attitude, our finances, our family values, our jobs, even how long we live.

True, there were significant issues like the Korean and Vietnam wars, gas shortages and the 60’s generation that burned bras, draft cards and loosened the taboos that governed sexual behavior. But the attitude was still solidly American. Changes to society occurred in an orderly, generational way. In the seventies, America went into space, the Beatles broke up, MASH started, Roe v. Wade passed, Richard Nixon resigned, Microsoft was founded, the Tangshan earthquake killed 250,000 people, Elvis was found dead, first test tube baby was born, and Mother Teresa won the Nobel Prize for peace.

The changes of the seventies were part of a positive upswing in our culture. But it would be the last nationally unified era. The 1980’s began a swing toward less unity in the country. No one could say “We are all Americans” with the innocence that existed in the time after the Big War.

Assassinations were attempted on the Pope and Ronald Reagan. AIDS was identified and the American culture ostracized homosexuals. Reagan announced his military Star Wars program. The US Embassy in Beirut was bombed. Indira Gandhi was assassinated. A hole in the Ozone layer was discovered. Rock Hudson died of AIDS. The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior was sunk. Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded. US bombed Libya. New York Stock Exchange suffered Black Monday. The World Wide Web was invented.

By the 1990’s it was obvious that the middle class was squeezed out of the new profits generated by big corporations. By 2000, generational change had disappeared. The world was changing too fast. Telephone and Internet technologies had merged, providing new ways to learn, shop, communicate, receive medical treatment, even order groceries delivered to the door. Watch a movie, watch the news (world-wide and instantaneous), watch your house, and play endless games electronically. What Americans did with their time shifted dramatically. To a great extent, individuals became more isolated as the need for family routine in daily life dwindled.

Socially, the gap between generations became a canyon. If one was over 65 in 2000, they were not Americans anymore. They were seniors. If one wanted an abortion, they were a criminal, not an American. National banking practices created a nation of credit card debt. Slowly an oligarchy was emerging. No one was an American; they were rich or poor. Those who depended on welfare and unemployment were beggars and lazy – certainly not Americans.

The Christian ethic has taken a severe beating since 1980. Capitalism is the national religion. One hopes that Christ’s ethic can emerge like the phoenix to play a role in a culture that is increasingly shallow. The Earth is in trouble and capitalism makes it worse and further cannot fix the Earth’s plight. It is time for everyone to pay back to the planet for our indiscretions – without the need to make a profit. It is also the time to revive the spirit of the song, “We are the World” (1985)

Ancient Mariner

Economic Warming

The mariner has been posting www.iowa-mariner for a couple of years. If you are a regular reader, you know he sees impending chaos on all sides. The mariner will follow in the footsteps of his favorite prophet Amos (a country fellow who raised sheep and had fleas) and the prophet’s fictional counterpart, Chicken Little.

The storm clouds are visible on the horizon and bad economic weather is predicted by conservatives and liberals alike. When the solution from each side is redundant, that in itself suggests chaos.

The mariner has read books by two expert authors each of whom starts from a different premise and arrives at similar conclusions.

The first book, The Colder War by Marin Katusa, (John Wiley and Sons, 2015) follows along the line of economic prophets who fear the Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC) alliance and the use of non-US dollars in world trade. Katusa predicts a slow demise for the US because of its seventeen trillion dollars in bond debt and, more importantly, because BRIC production of fossil fuels easily will dominate the US Petrodollar market. What will happen slowly (Katusa uses the decline of the British pound over thirty short years, finally yielding to the American dollar at the end of the Second World War) is that holders of US treasury notes will cash them and buy rubles, reals, yuán or some worldwide derivative based on BRIC dominance. In simple terms, this means the US is headed for at least 15% inflation of the dollar and will lose the float advantage of using US dollars around the world.

Katusa spends a lot of his book on Vladimir Putin’s plans to encompass the entire Euro-Asian land mass in a “Common Economic Space.” In other words, replace the US dollar-supported euro, the oil-rich something-stan countries, the Middle East, Asia and most of Africa into a giant free trade zone – all without using US dollars.

Katusa suggests the following remedies – which he doesn’t guarantee will be successful:

  • “Stop runaway government spending. If the growth in government debt is held below the growth rate of the economy, the dollar’s ability to withstand attack will strengthen mightily.
  • Stop accepting everyone’s invitation to participate in everyone’s conflict.
  • Stop everything – especially tax rules and handouts.
  • Stop allowing superstition-based regulation to interfere with the development of domestic energy resources.”

For each of us, Matusa suggests:

  • “Trade some of your dollars for gold and silver and don’t store it in a bank.
  • Open an account with a non-US bank to make it easier to obtain cash in foreign currencies.”

Obviously, Marin Katusa is a fiscal conservative. His underlying strategy does not include economic transition away from fossil fuels but rather suggests ways to put sandbags around the US economy. His perspective can’t be totally faulted; he is one of the world’s top fossil fuel negotiators.

 Now on to the second book, This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein (Simon and Shuster, 2014). As prolific a writer and advocate as Katusa, Klein challenges the fossil fuel profit model. She suggests the greedy pursuit of oil-based economies will collapse under the hidden costs of global warming, costs related to health, fragility of depending on one economic resource, and the profound shift of weather patterns that will impact most temperate zone nations dependent on crops – the northerly ones like Canada and Russia will have improved crop opportunity while those in lower latitudes like the US and Southern Europe will have more extreme weather conditions, frequent droughts and flooding.

Similar to Matusa’s book, Klein spends the first third of her book identifying the antagonist: not Putin but the conservatives who deny global warming. The following quotes set the tone for the entire book, which is heavily footnoted:

“And for many conservatives, particularly religious ones, the challenge goes deeper still, threatening not just faith in [capital] markets but core cultural narratives about what humans are doing here on Earth. Are we masters, here to subdue and dominate, or are we one species among many, at the mercy of [geophysical] powers more complex and unpredictable than even our most powerful computers can model?”

The author cited a statement from Yale’s Cultural Cognition Project:

“The Yale researchers explain that people with strong egalitarian and communitarian worldviews (marked by an inclination toward collective action and social justice, concern about inequality and suspicion of corporate power) overwhelmingly accept scientific consensus on climate change. Conversely, those with strong hierarchical and individualistic worldviews (marked by opposition to government assistance for the poor, strong support for industry, and a belief that we all get pretty much what we deserve) overwhelmingly reject the scientific consensus.”

Klein then moves her focus to the disastrous liaisons between “environmental” organizations and corporate partnerships. Many examples are cited not only in the United States but in virtually every country including the United Nations Environment Program. One example involved the Nature Conservancy (NC), the largest and richest environmental organization in the world and 2,303 acres along Galveston Bay in Texas. The acreage was donated to the NC by ExxonMobil in 1995.

This acreage was important to environmentalists because it was the last habitat for the Attwater Prairie Chicken. The bird population, estimated at over one million before the twentieth century, due to oil exploration had dropped to threatened extinction by 1965. The Nature Conservancy proclaimed recovery of the Attwater Prairie Chicken as its highest priority. Four years later the NC drilled its own oil well in an area that would have direct consequences on critical habitat. When this oil well was discovered by NC members, it attracted national press coverage. NC said they could drill without hurting the bird population.

By 2003 only sixteen birds remained. Still, when the first well ran dry, the NC drilled a second well. In 2012, the Attwater Prairie Chicken was extinct.

The Nature Conservancy had succumbed to the desire to make millions of dollars to be used in behalf of worldwide conservancy. Klein’s point is that the NC had good motives but capitalist solutions do not solve a global problem. In fact, capitalism accelerates climate change.

Klein makes this point across several similar examples. In every case, capitalist solutions failed. Cultures are so bound to profit as a solution for everything that global issues like carbon emission are a distant second and have no chance to transition to non-fossil fuel. Global warming is caused by fossil fuel profit. Any progress must be collective in nature and further must reduce the petro economy to a scant size of what it is today. In the US, petrodollars keep the wealthy growing wealthier and allow the US government to borrow 46% against its gross domestic product.

Benevolent billionaires offer little hope for a genuine shift in economic culture. Among others mentioned by Klein are Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson and T. Boone Pickens. In every case, these billionaires advocate solutions that will benefit their corporate investment in alternative solutions. Again, these endorsements use a capitalist model as a solution – first, there must be profit.

Global issues like carbon emissions and warming oceans are not part of any profit model. The expense must be covered but not by opportunistic means. This is a new phenomenon in economics: profit is not part of the financial model. Global warming is neither a national issue nor a GDP issue nor a profit versus loss corporate issue. It is pure overhead that must be dealt with collectively by 7 billion humans in 196 countries.

It is this very kind of solution, fraught with corporate restraint, government regulation and spending, and suppression of the largest profit sector in the world that frightens capitalists and advocates of individual freedom.

In the mariner’s opinion, Klein’s book roars like a lion until the part where solutions are offered. Klein cites a growing number of blockades where the local people literally stood in the way of fossil fuel operations. The author feels that growing civil interference will continue to have more influence with those who must deal with the overhead of fossil fuel extraction. An example to watch is the Keystone XL pipeline intending to move sand tar oil from Alberta to Texas. There have been several protests along the path of that pipeline; Obama does not support it. We will see how much influence blockading will affect a republican congress.

Naomi Klein is not an economist. Unlike Matusa, she does not provide financial detail about the impending crisis. Still, one can image what will happen to corporate profit and national GDP if the petrodollar is greatly diminished. On this point – the tremendous shift in priorities as well as economic models – Matusa and Klein agree: financial instability is something everyone will face in this century.

Finally, Klein cites a truism:

“It is often said that Mother Nature bats last, and this has been poignantly the case for some men who were most possessed by the ambition of conquering her.”

 Did someone mention that the sky is falling?

Ancient Mariner

Using Oneness in Family Life



Husband and Wife. Marriage starts as a state of togetherness – togetherness and the discovery of a new relationship that intertwines the psychological uniqueness of each person into singularity. Togetherness seems very much like oneness but it is not. Togetherness has an element of self gratification. The period of togetherness can last from months to years depending on personality compatibility but a time will come when sharing emerges and togetherness fades. Sharing is the time when each person is able to identify permanent differences between themselves and their partner. Unlike togetherness, sharing implies a responsibility to empathize more clearly who the other person is, their wants, needs, and overall character.

The marriage shifts to personal and greater realities, which requires that each partner (if oneness is an objective) use empathy and compassion to reconcile their realities. This does not imply that love has left the relationship; there still is an emotional bond and a permanent respect for each other.

Still, the fact is that there are two separate persons at the base of the marriage. Each personality is different and has different empathetic and compassionate abilities. Each person forms agendas to express their personal objectives in life. Conflicts are inevitable and oneness skills defined earlier must become part of the reconciliation. As in any situation of personal and greater reality, the rule says your reality is always the least important. This assumption provides space for empathetic sharing and will lead to a compassionate solution for each partner. At times, easier said than done.

Gradually, issues that actually are extraneous fall away over the years and skilled marriage partners are able to mitigate most conflicts under the umbrella of empathy and compassion – oneness. One must not simply yield their reality for the sake of avoidance or compliance. This is false compassion. Reconcilement is required.

Not to understate togetherness, which always is present to some extent, but oneness becomes the primary objective for satisfaction in married life.

Children. Parents have a genetic desire to care for their children. Unfortunately, how to parent is not in school curricula. Many parents – make certain you understand that parenting dysfunction is not class, culture, or wealth specific – have children for myriad reasons that have nothing to do with wanting to share love and oneness. The list of reasons is virtually endless but a few examples are provided: the genetic motivation to procreate; accidental result of sex; reinforce the sense of self worth; cultural influence from definition of ‘family’; keeping up with friends who have children; extend the family name to the next generation, etc. Every example is based on fulfillment of self importance.

Many people who become parents should not be parents. In the context of oneness, they are incapable, for whatever reason, to recognize the relationship as a personal and greater situation. Therefore empathy and compassion are distorted, unevenly applied or can’t exist in the first place. Were it not for the resiliency of children to adapt to all but the most egregious maltreatment, cultural civility would have its limits.

The rules for oneness are more important when raising children because in a subconscious way children learn the parenting style and will reflect it as they grow older. There are frequent television commercials about paper towels or household cleaners. In these commercials, the parent is cleaning a mess made by a child who has neither sympathy, nor empathy, nor responsibility for the mess that was made. Nevertheless, the mother smiles and reassures the child with a hug while cleaning the mess. The objective is to sell towels or cleaner by showing cleaning is so easy there is no need to be frustrated or act out against the child. The author has wondered on many occasions whether the advertisement agencies know they teach oneness. Other cleaner commercials show the parent engaging in the creativity of drawing on the walls, throwing food, or dropping things down the toilet. One must acquire understanding if only by watching cleaner commercials.

Raising children who have passed puberty and are under twenty-five is another complexity. Within these children, the buds of awareness are present that show sympathy, empathy and compassion are present but the judgment when and how to use them must be learned during those youthful years. Indeed, large mistakes may be made like marrying before they understand the complexity of marriage, choosing to ignore the responsibility for actions that will assure a better and less troublesome life, choosing improper sets of friends that will be harmful in the long run, etc.

A parent cannot clean immature decisions with paper towels. The parent is on their own, sans cleaners, to practice oneness. It is often hard because the parent can see the error of the child’s ways and agonizes in their behalf. Nevertheless, the ability to understand personal and greater realities enables the parent to have more influence than otherwise may be available.

Forgiveness plays a large role in performing oneness with children.

The exercise: Essentially, this is the same exercise posed earlier in the section about which personal or which greater reality:  You know that you have difficulty relating to your child because of your opinion of the child’s behavior. Common phrases used by a parent are, “As long as you live in this house, you live by my rules!” or “you’re grounded!” or “You can’t go out until you clean your room and do your homework”! Imagine the child without letting your opinion affect you. Try to raise empathy. What are the good characteristics of the child? What reality does the child perceive that is different from yours? Can you define a personal and greater reality? What would you do instead of each quote above?

Ancient Mariner

Oneness VIII – Person Driven Oneness

Using a person to avoid isms

Using a person to heal abuses

In the post Oneness VII, the behavior required to define reality and fairness was documented. This post follows with two more circumstances that require Oneness skills

Using a person to avoid isms.  An ism is an entrenched position. The position comes complete with doctrine, ritual and predetermined cause. As in the section about using a person to define reality, you are the first brick. Within you is a library of opinions, prejudices, habits, and preferences. Every one of your isms is a blocking agent that cuts off the ability to reconcile personal and greater situations. Everyone has a cache of isms ready to deliver on a second’s notice. Still, we know some individuals who are better listeners than others. Perhaps they are not strident in nature or don’t carry their opinions like chips on the shoulder. Many of these better listeners are willing to accept your isms without conflict. In this situation, is their acquiescence a reconcilement between your personal reality and their greater reality? No. Whatever distance existed between the two of you still remains. The other person was being polite but there was no reconcilement as far as that person is concerned. It will be obvious that oneness did not occur.

Entrenched isms come from all classes, all races, all religious believers, all those who condemn the nonworking, all those who are elitist, all those who disregard others in favor of money, all those who suffer from greed and avarice. You are among them. It will be hard for you to set aside your isms to forge a new reconciliation based on compassion – perhaps the hardest task among person driven oneness.

Oneness is simple to define and difficult to acquire: the other person(s) is received simply as the person they are; their reality is more important.

Using a person to heal abuses.  Abuse is a distorted version of an ism. The added dimension is mental and physical damage caused by someone who has vindictive attitudes and likely has suffered abuse as well. Oneness is a matter of practicality based more on repair of a situation than comparing personal and greater realities. The process is similar to the first exercise where a person is used to define reality except that in this situation, immediate intervention and problem solving are priorities. Compassion will rise when it can but oneness in the case of abuse requires a return to stability where compassion may be retrievable under better circumstances. Imagine your role as one similar to an empathetic triage physician.

Abuse may be a long standing situation, for example, debilitating poorness where a person does not have enough to eat or have proper clothing. Abuse often is unseen by friends and associates and your sense of empathy must be keen. Examples are spousal abuse and abuse to minors. Similar again to the first exercise, you must take a moment to determine the proper intervention that will repair abuse without letting further abuse occur – perhaps even to you.

The question: People driven solutions require empathy and compassion to achieve oneness. There are personal behaviors that do not achieve oneness but only achieve propriety. What is the difference between propriety and oneness? What are signs that oneness has occurred?

Ancient Mariner


Oneness Dictionary

Oneness (Definitions)

The mariner has had a number of questions about the use of various words, their context and meaning. Presenting a broad philosophy about how to live better by making better decisions is sometimes heavy reading. What remains to be released is lighter reading. The mariner wants to make sure that key words in the philosophy of oneness are understood before we move on.

What follows is a list of frequently used words and the mariner’s intended use of those words.


ANOTHER’S REALITY A reality or situation that is observed in others. Their realties are accommodated in one’s decisions.
COMPASSION Empathetic awareness of another’s distress and a desire to act in a way to alleviate that distress.
EMPATHY The experience of emotional understanding, shared feeling, and understanding the thoughts of another.
ETHIC A set of moral principles or values that guide behavior.
ONENESS A sense of comfort, satisfaction, and achievement shared between one’s own reality and that of another’s reality. Oneness requires that a decision to resolve an issue is based on the greatest good for all persons involved and further, is a decision that is not driven by personal objectives.
PERSONAL REALITY One’s own reality. Oneness requires that one must focus on an external (greater) reality rather than one’s own. One’s reality is always the lesser reality.
PERSON-BASED DECISION Decisions that are made based on human quality of life as the most important factor. NOT decisions that prioritize assets, profits, or any possession above human quality of life.
REALITY The sum of all circumstances that exist in one’s life at any given moment; the sum of self awareness both internally and externally. Basically, everything that has brought you to the present moment.
SITUATION Similar to reality except a situation is limited to a specific set of circumstances or issues that require a decision.


It is hoped that this short list of specialized words will help. Future posts about Oneness will be laden with practical applications.

Ancient Mariner


Self Serving Utterances

Today’s topic is doublespeak. Doublespeak is designed not only to confuse or fool others but one’s self as well. For example, it is common for an individual to speak of themselves as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” This phrase feels comforting; one feels that one is up-to-date on the political tone of the times. Actually the phrase is an oxymoron. One need only say, “Put your money where your mouth is” and the fallacy reveals itself. A fiscal conservative foremost will defend the need for fiscal worth and likely will not trade that for social responsibility.

Another form of doublespeak is “do as I say, not as I do.” There are many examples. An example from the left this time, an advocate of animal rights will decry the practices of sow birthing cages and beef veal pens while enjoying their pork or veal cutlet. From the right, one advocates freedom of religion but denies that freedom to anyone who may not support their perception of religious practice.

Then there is the doublespeak professional – the politician. The late night talk shows, including FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC, Comedy Central and MSNBC, had a field day with candidate policy positions before a primary and afterward. The republicans had to win the primary within extremely gerrymandered districts where the tea party held sway. If they won their primary, the candidate shifted their remarks toward the center to garner as many remaining votes as possible.

The same tactic revealed itself in politicians who decried President Obama’s policies while supporting the same legislation under President Bush. One exception is the proposed immigration reform by both Presidents that was not accepted by Congress in either administration.

The last form of doublespeak today is false advocacy. The most virulent form is the negative campaign advertisement. A candidate espouses an implied but unexplained position on policy by talking about an opponent’s errant ways. Debating in this way permits the candidate to do whatever he wants without defending his or her own policy declarations.

False advocacy is used by the individual citizen in daily conversation when the individual disagrees with another individual but will not express that disagreement. Instead, at best, a statement of faint praise is offered but clearly there is no intention of supporting the other individual. The second individual must be keen on body language to know the person does not mean what they say and is in opposition.

It is no wonder one is encouraged not to speak of politics or religion. One of the mariner’s longstanding friends is a staunch conservative. The friend knows the mariner is, well, all over the place. We never speak of fiscal or social issues which is a shame; the utterances would be self serving but even more destructive to a good friendship. It was in the post “Oneness IV” where the mariner suggested that the reader pick one of the people you know that you have difficulty relating to because of your opinion of that person. Imagine that person without letting your opinion affect you. This takes a lot of practice. You know you are doing the right thing if you can feel a growing empathy. This is an exercise coined in the phrase “walk a mile in his shoes.” What are the good characteristics that you noticed?

As a parting thought, the advocacy for freedom of religion seemed to be a “do as I say, not as I do” form of doublespeak. Does the same apply to “one person, one vote?” Is the US indeed a democracy?

Ancient Mariner