Pick your worries

There must be dozens of worries from which to choose. Perhaps start with some of the big ones: A failing democracy, the collapse of religion, war with China, Trump becomes President, Social Security gets chopped, housing for normal Americans gets worse, Health industry collapses, public schools can’t educate anymore.

Mariner opts for the war with Mother Earth – global warming/climate change. The time is approaching when all the other worries will disappear because of extreme disruption to global economics, agriculture, viable living zones and human migration on a scale that has never been experienced. Governments will not be able to pay for wars, although groups of rebels around the world will cause as much destruction. Plutocracy will worsen then collapse as The US runs short on funding.

ProPublica, a much awarded and exceptional news company, published a report titled, “Climate Crisis Is on Track to Push One-Third of Humanity Out of Its Most Livable Environment”. One paragraph is presented below:

“The notion of a climate niche is based on work the researchers first published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2020, which established that for the past 6,000 years humans have gravitated toward a narrow range of temperatures and precipitation levels that supported agriculture and, later, economic growth. That study warned that warming would make those conditions elusive for growing segments of humankind and found that while just 1% of the earth’s surface is now intolerably hot, nearly 20% could be by 2070.”

 Add to that thought rising oceans wiping out the viability of dozens of nations, even making large areas of land become flooded or submerged. Current tax structures will be changed dramatically as the United States begins to feel social and economic pressures that remind us of World War II America. In the 1930s and 40s, the tax philosophy was to tax the rich so the poor would not have to underwrite government expenses. FDR, for example, put a 100 percent tax on income over $25,000 (about $500,000 today).

One wonders whether the new facemask telephones will matter even though they are one step closer to Matrix reality. The world’s environment is up in arms and that will dictate our pleasures. Can Alexa and Siri keep up?

Ancient Mariner

The worst tragedy

To start the subject of the post, here is a cartoon from The Week:

Referencing a recent post, the cowboy culture, one of independent success and individual respect, in their battle against benign neglect by the college-elite, has provoked an attack against freedom (and the necessity) of education.

It is a tragedy because education, knowledge, familiar awareness, social judgment, and all the other nuances of education and freedom of information are not relevant to the central issue. The central issue is mistreatment of the labor classes by government and a society that has grown sophisticated and complex. Today’s college-elite don’t ride a single horse; they ride a wave of investment and the wind of the Internet.

Mariner recently had his garage roof replaced. It was finished in one very hot day by five laborers. Their persistence and craftsmanship were remarkable. Sweating and tired, they had accomplished something a significant percentage of college-elites could not possibly have accomplished. Yet, their profession is discounted and society does not grant them social achievement or notable financial benefits. They are treated as a pseudo servant class similar to the workers on Downton Abbey.

There are remedies. But a lot is in the hands of all three branches of federal and state government.

A relatively easy repair would be to reinstate the legislation that required corporations to guarantee full retirement – a deliberate target of Reaganites in the last century. Also in the last century, right to work laws were imposed deliberately to abolish unions.

Fortunately, educators are making a move toward labor-style education beyond high school – not through conscientiousness, mind you, economics is forcing the change.

A bit more sophisticated is to reintroduce labor to community boards and agencies so that labor has a voice at the street level. This was a function of labor unions back in the day.

The last repair is visibly represented in another The Week cartoon:

The seemingly irrational objection by MAGA labor to discretionary spending, which helps the unwealthy, is that the government is not providing a viable economic structure – the rich continue to grow richer and the poor continue to grow poorer.

One simple example is the resistance government has to raising the minimum wage (childcare and many other family economic issues would disappear).

Mariner feels this may be the most difficult obstruction to repair. Philosophically, the United States does not have unlimited access to resources; capitalism works best when everyone can have a share of benefits. Given the disruption of global warming, an emerging redefinition of what a nation is, the excessive over-population of the planet, international corporate control of supply chains, etc., capitalism must make room for socialism – a most difficult task for a nation created as a capitalist dreamland.

Ancient Mariner

 

Emerging Theocracy – or maybe Nazism?

From NPR – the whole article at

https://www.npr.org/2023/05/04/1173274834/book-bans-library-funding-missouri-texas-ashcroft?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20230504&utm_term=8367890&utm_campaign=best-of-npr&utm_id=39748169&orgid=445&utm_att1=

is horrifying not just for public libraries but for American democracy as well. One quote to show temperament:

“One of the board members said, ‘Well, what about this book? It’s about underage drinking, and underage drinking is illegal, so why would we have this book in the library?’ ” Dawe recalls. “And my question would be, ‘Where does that end? And what are you doing next? Where does this end?’ ”

U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, a Republican from Louisiana, has a thought on that.

Higgins recently tweeted about the future of public libraries, saying libraries have become “grooming centers” and that he wants to change the “whole public library paradigm” and help get funding for “beautiful, church-owned public-access libraries.”

The topic makes mariner feel unwell. He will leave this issue in the reader’s hands.

Ancient Mariner

As we roll to 2024

Mariner knows he puts out a lot of negative stuff (if he ever hears of a positive stuff, he’ll headline it). However, this paragraph below from 538, a respected pollster and sports oddsmaker, represents an assignment to each and every democrat and independent individual:

“Today, FiveThirtyEight is launching our national polling average for the 2024 Republican presidential primary. It shows former President Donald Trump receiving 49.3 percent of the national vote and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (who has not officially entered the race) receiving 26.2 percent. Former Vice President Mike Pence, another potential candidate, is at 5.8 percent, while declared candidate and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is at 4.3 percent.”

The assignment is this. Participate in local politics; put up a sign; make sure your friends and neighbors know your political position; donate (only) to your preferred local candidate; and, of course, attend the party’s local caucus and vote on election day!! (Congress is important, too – just beating on it doesn’t do any good; ever heard of beating a dead horse? Let’s elect a new young one!)

These are not normal times. In fact, they are a bit scary for every human around the world, not just democrats. 2024 is unique and the future 25 years will role out heavily influenced by the 2024 election.

Perhaps we should get 88 year-old Chuck Grassly (R-IA) and 80 year-old Joe Biden to run against each other in 2024. Then there would be only one theme: “Make America Eden Again”.

Just to prove the pudding, here’s some positive stuff from Science Magazine:

“A novel cancer vaccine tailored to genetic changes in a person’s tumor is showing promise in the clinic. In a study of about 150 people who had surgery for melanoma, a type of skin cancer, those given a personalized vaccine along with an immunotherapy drug were more likely to remain free of cancer 18 months later than patients who did not receive the vaccine.”

Ancient mariner

The REAL Election Results

Printed by Politico

Here are your Lobbying Disclosure Act revenue rankings for the first quarter of 2023.

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck: $15.8 million (versus $15.6 million in Q4 2022 and $15.4 million in Q1 2022)

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: $13.4 million (versus $14.1 million in Q4 2022 and $13 million in Q1 2022)

Holland & Knight: $10.8 million (versus $11.1 million in Q4 2022 and $10.1 million in Q1 2022)

BGR Group: $10.2 million (versus $10.1 million in Q4 2022 and $9.6 million in Q1 2022)

Cornerstone Government Affairs: $9.8 million (versus $9.5 million in Q4 2022 and $9.2 million in Q1 2022)

Invariant: $9.7 million (versus $9.9 million in Q4 2022 and $9.2 million in Q1 2022)

Thorn Run Partners: $6.5 million (versus $6.7 million in Q4 2022 and $6.4 million in Q1 2022)

Capitol Counsel: $6.3 million (versus $6.5 million in Q4 2022 and $6 million in Q1 2022)

Mehlman Consulting: $6.3 million (versus $6.4 million in Q4 2022 and $6.4 million in Q1 2022)

Forbes Tate Partners: $6.1 million (versus $6.2 million in Q4 2022 and $6.1 million in Q1 2022)

Squire Patton Boggs: $6 million (versus $6.1 million in Q4 2022 and $7.2 million in Q1 2022)

Crossroads Strategies: $5.9 million (versus $6 million in Q4 2022 and $5.8 million in Q1 2022)

Tiber Creek Group: $5.8 million (versus $6.3 million in Q4 2022 and $6.3 million in Q1 2022)

K&L Gates: $5.5 million (versus $5.3 million in Q4 2022 and $5.2 million in Q1 2022)

Cassidy & Associates: $5.4 million (versus $5.6 million in Q4 2022 and $5.5 million in Q1 2022)

Subject Matter: $4.8 million (versus $4.8 million in Q4 2022 and $4.9 million in Q1 2022)

Van Scoyoc Associates: $4.8 million (versus $6 million in Q4 2022 and $4.5 million in Q1 2022)

Alpine Group: $4.6 million (versus $4.7 million in Q4 2022 and $4.2 million in Q1 2022)

Ballard Partners: $4.5 million (versus $4.3 million in Q4 2022 and $4.4 million in Q1 2022)

Monument Advocacy: $3.9 million (versus $3.6 million in Q4 2022 and $3.3 million in Q1 2022)

 

OTHER NOTABLE FIRMS:

 

— Fierce Government Relations: $3.2 million (versus $3.2 million in Q4 2022 and $3.2 million in Q1 2022)

 

— Venable: $3 million (versus $2.9 million in Q4 2022 and $2.4 million in Q1 2022)

 

— Kountoupes Denham Carr & Reid: $2.9 million (versus $3 million in Q4 2022 and $2,820,000 million in Q1 2022)

 

— Venn Strategies: $2.8 million (versus $2.6 million in Q4 2022 and $2.8 million in Q1 2022)

 

— Vogel Group: $2.6 million (versus $2.7 million in Q4 2022 and $2.2 million in Q1 2022)

 

— Miller Strategies: $2.9 million* (versus $2.5 million* in Q4 2022 and $2 million* in Q1 2022)

 

*Estimated based on Senate disclosure filings. All other numbers have been verified by the firms.

 

TOP SPENDERS:

 

Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A.: $18.7 million (versus $21 million in Q4 2022 and $18.7 million in Q1 2022)

National Association Of Realtors: $13.3 million (versus $25.3 million in Q4 2022 and $12.1 million in Q1 2022)

Pharmaceutical Research And Manufacturers Of America: $8 million (versus $6.6 million in Q4 2022 and $8.1 million in Q1 2022)

CVS Health (and subsidiaries): $7 million (versus $3.8 million in Q4 2022 and $3.7million in Q1 2022)

American Medical Association: $6.7 million (versus $5.1 million in Q4 2022 and $6.5 million in Q1 2022)

American Hospital Association: $5.6 million (versus $7 million in Q4 2022 and $5.4 million in Q1 2022)

The Cigna Group and subsidiaries (formerly Cigna Corporation and subsidiaries): $5.2 million (versus $1 million in Q4 2022 and $3.6 million in Q1 2022)

General Motors Company: $5.1 million (versus $1.8 million in Q4 2022 and $4.7 million in Q1 2022)

The Business Roundtable, Inc.: $4.8 million (versus $5.3 million in Q4 2022 and $4.8 million in Q1 2022)

America’s Health Insurance Plans, Inc. (AHIP): $4.7 million (versus $2.5 million in Q4 2022 and $4.7 million in Q1 2022)

Amazon.Com Services LLC: $4.6 million (versus $4.8 million in Q4 2022 and $5 million in Q1 2022)

Pfizer Inc.: $4.6 million (versus $3.1 million in Q4 2022 and $3.8 million in Q1 2022)

Meta Platforms, Inc. and various subsidiaries: $4.6 million (versus $3.7 million in Q4 2022 and $5.4 million in Q1 2022)

CTIA-The Wireless Association: $4.5 million (versus $4.5 million in Q4 2022 and $3.7 million in Q1 2022)

Northrop Grumman Corporation: $4.3 million (versus $2.1 million in Q4 2022 and $4.4 million in Q1 2022)

AARP: $3.9 million (versus $4.2 million in Q4 2022 and $3.5 million in Q1 2022)

Boeing Company: $3.8 million (versus $4 million in Q4 2022 and $2.7 million in Q1 2022)

UPS (United Parcel Service): $3.7 million (versus $1.4 million in Q4 2022 and $4.3 million in Q1 2022)

Edison Electric Institute: $3.6 million (versus $2 million in Q4 2022 and $2.8 million in Q1 2022)

Elevance Health, Inc.: $3.6 million (versus $1.3 million in Q4 2022 and $2.1million in Q1 2022)

 

BIGGEST CONTRACTS:

 

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck: Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc. ($1.4 million)

Tributary LLP: HR Policy Association ($990,000)

Covington & Burling: Qualcomm Incorporated ($790,000)

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: Gila River Indian Community ($760,000)

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: Partnership to Address Global Emissions, Inc. ($640,000)

Ballard Partners: Renewable Energy Aggregators, Inc. ($630,000)

Squire Patton Boggs: Wau Holland Stiftung ($600,000)

Sidley Austin: Illumina, Inc. ($550,000)

Covington & Burling: Apple Inc. ($540,000)

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) ($410,000)

 

What plutocracy?

Ancient Mariner

New signs

Bottom up power: [Politico] “The country’s 900 or so rural electric cooperatives serve remote rural customers and are member-driven, -owned and -controlled. Their nonprofit status has made it hard to make investments in low-carbon energy; unlike investor-owned utilities, they can’t go into debt or sell shares to pay for a solar farm. But getting them off of fossil fuels is essential to meeting climate goals.

Already five co-ops have either left or announced they will leave a major G&T (generation and transmission) called Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which covers parts of four Western states.”

This tendency is happening in Europe as well. Despite all the ‘effort’ to stop using fossil fuel, oil companies are making record profits. Even Biden is allowing a new oil-drilling operation in Alaska – talk about plutocracy!

Mariner often writes about collective cultures. Collectivism includes concepts like extended families, local government, local cooperatives, community rules for equality of life, etc. To one degree or another, terms for collectives include cooperative, clan, communist, commune, tribe and many other terms denoting a localized group. The image below captures the general spirit:

Just being a small group does not automatically grant goodness. There are many small groups bent on anything but sharing and survival of all – NIMBY is one of countless examples that demonstrate the conflict between collectivism and the imposing needs of a much larger population.

Having learned from many sources over many years, mariner knows Homo sapiens is a tribal species, along with most of its primate ancestors. In past posts, he has cited authors who said things like “The maximum number of individuals that can be familiar to a human is 150”, “The further a person gets from a direct relationship with the environment, the more abusive the relationship becomes” and recently, “I’m first if its fair for everyone”.

When he studies the development of western nations, and the unimaginable wealth that suddenly appeared on the American continents, mariner is reminded of a group of hoodlums during a riot who break into a store and steal all its goods. Such tactics work for the hoodlums if there is plenty to go around. Western Capitalism is the fastest way to reorganize wealth.

Today, however, there is not enough to go around. Capitalism has an idiosyncrasy that doesn’t work anymore: Grow or die.

Because the West has achieved such wonders and accomplishments – especially when the achievements provide convenience, collective terminology is not popular and its advantages often are discounted. It is this resistance that makes it good news to mariner that there is a breakaway of self-owned electric companies from large conglomerates. There are other appropriate concepts of management that will work better in these challenging times. Bigger may not be better.

There are many more sociological points of interest but mariner can become boring.

Ancient Mariner

The Big Picture

Like the scene on the battlefront in a war, there is much smoke, flying debris, destruction and conflict, but the scene is a battle for the ethos of the United States. Mariner decided to get above the commotion by sitting on one of 8,000 satellites in low Earth orbit and looking down at the fray.

Battles for ethos occur, on average, every 41 years. Unfortunately, every change in ethos included a military war.[1] The nation has begun another battle for ethos, launched by the election of Donald Trump.

Ethos is a word that describes the innate spirit and purpose of an institution; in this case the institution is the United States. Ethos is an attitude carried by every citizen without conscious awareness yet it shapes the self-perception of what every citizen believes is a national role in society, morality and among other nations.

The political energy required to shift a national ethos is immense. It takes time, economic transition, generational adaptation, international acceptance and a period of stability. Even so, there are citizens who continue to oppose change for many reasons, e.g., racism and, currently, Reaganomics. In each transition of ethos there are always progressives and conservatives but a third issue is necessary – usually requiring cultural adaptation. Today, it is the global pressure on the role of a nation where technology ignores boundaries and global warming threatens global economics.

When will military war occur? It seems there is a point where the old ways want no more change and like the way things are whereas new behaviors, economic opportunity and moral stress want to move on.

Will war emerge in Taiwan and the Pacific Rim?

Will extended war erupt in Europe versus Russia?

Is it possible that war could erupt in the U.S. between populated states and Dixie all over again – a war fought in the Constitution?

Could it be an economic war between plutocracy and democracy?

Sitting on this satellite, mariner perceives one thing: It is far from over.

Ancient Mariner

[1]

Independence 1812, the third issue was becoming an independent nation.

Civil 1861, the third issue was recognizing civil rights for African Americans, but the war actually was over the complete dismantling of the Dixie economy.

WW1 1914, the third issue was a shift in the role of nations; nations had international responsibilities not constricted by oceans or continents; economies adapted to international trade that was not colonialism.

Vietnam 1975, the third issue is frequently called the ‘useless’ war; it seemed useless in that the liberal era of American politics was rapidly disappearing. By 1980 President Reagan launched a conservative economy that has lasted until current times. Now, forty years later, Trump and the invasion of the capital suggests the economy may shift.

2016, a war has yet to erupt but likely will. At no time in American history has the nation faced so many change factors affecting the nation’s ethos.

Population

For the last few days mariner has been poking about in information about global population. As a general introduction to the subject, below is a clip from the New Statesman, a British web magazine:

“Japan’s prime minister Kishida Fumio warned last week that the country’s demographic crisis was approaching a tipping point. “Our nation is on the cusp of whether it can maintain its societal functions,” Kishida told the Japanese parliament on 23 January. “It is now or never when it comes to policies regarding births and child-rearing – it is an issue that simply cannot wait any longer.”

This is not an overstatement. Japan already has one of the world’s oldest populations (second only to the city-state of Monaco), and it is ageing rapidly. In 2022, the number of births fell below 800,000 for the first time since records began (in 1899), eight years earlier than the government had predicted. This compares to more than 2 million births per year during the baby boom of the 1970s. Life expectancy has also increased. This means that almost a third of the population – 30 per cent – is now aged 65 or above according to the World Bank, raising the cost of social security programmes, such as pensions and medical care, while the proportion of The working-age people who pay into these programmes is shrinking.”

This perspective pretty much describes the situation for virtually every developed nation. In the United States, the U.S. Census Bureau released estimates showing the nation’s 65-and-older population has grown rapidly since 2010, driven by the aging of Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964. The 65-and-older population has increased by over a third during the last decade.

Couple that with Japan’s other concern about fewer workers to support discretionary funding for things like retirement, Social Security and health care, and the U.S. clearly is on the same path as Japan.

Mariner’s interest in global population began as just a curiosity but the elephant in the room forces a serious fear about the United States comparable even to the devastation of global warming.

The elephant is the ultra-conservative movement in the U.S. Their focus is to reduce taxes, attack Social Security and stop immigration – the big three associated with the subject of population. Does the electorate prefer stupid, self-centered legislators? Consider George Santos, Marjorie Taylor Greene et al. Is the atmosphere in legislative chambers filled with debilitating drugs?

One day, Alfie, the government will represent the best interests of the nation, but not soon.

Ancient Mariner

It is over.

The battle to sustain individuality and Homo sapiens authenticity has been won by AI. Watch the following clip then read on:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s11k0yAA8ZQ

Already AI is good enough to write novels, essays, legal briefs and singlehandedly manage most trades on the stock exchange. The ability for anyone to write any style of entertainment is just one database away.

With the invention of the gene splitter Crispr, AI will be able to pool all human variations into a massive database so parents can pick any child they want. Who wants a Donald Trump lookalike? How about triplets that are the Kingston Trio?

But then AI will perceive that it is much simpler to have one version of humans; just think how efficient that would be for politics, medicine, and one would need only one football team.

Perhaps it will be less expensive if humans had no need to travel.

Welcome to Matrix.

Goodbye.

Ancient Mariner

Food for thought

The agricultural industry is entering an increasingly rapid pace of change. It was only yesterday (and today) that farmers were encouraged to use no-plow techniques for large crop fields. Basically, the intent is to let indigenous plants provide a cover crop so that (a) good soil will not continue to blow away or wash away (b) the indigenous plants will provide better chemistry and require less commercial plant food in the soil and (c) the indigenous plants would retain CO2 in the soil. Changing farming practices is very difficult for farmers.

There are other practices that are changing. A small number of commercially large farms have decided to pursue zero fossil fuel in their operation. Manure, crop waste solar power and chemical conversions are used to produce electricity, feed and fertilizer.

These and other similar efficiency-based crop practices are an excellent effort but the circumstances surrounding a human population approaching 8 billion by 2030 and little land left to increase agricultural production has taken farming in a different direction.

Everyone has heard of hydroponic gardening (grown in water without soil) but aggressive corporations are taking hydroponics to extreme levels. Soil and vast acreages have a small role to play in large quantity production. Combined with the use of solar and wind energy, these farms have no season – they are year-round.

 

Add to the plant operation the quandary of what to do about cows. Long a joke, it is a fact that through flatulence and digestion, cows produce 40 percent of atmospheric methane. Cows generate methane in two main ways: through their digestion and through their waste. Cows are part of a group of animals called ruminants. Ruminants have stomachs with four distinct chambers. Sheep, goats, and giraffes also are ruminants. Even on television there are ads suggesting that everyone fight climate change by not eating beef.

The other side of cow economics is provided by Mother Nature. She is causing drought and water shortage in the primary wheat-growing regions of the southwest. Cows et al eat wheat – and a lot of water!

There are critics who say “Why eat the cow? Eat the grass the cow would eat.” As mariner mentioned in an earlier post: Perhaps anchovies, scrapple and spam may become popular again.

Ancient Mariner