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

Update on deals made with environment

Last year and early this Spring mariner wrote about some deals he made with indigenous wildlife in his yard. Indigenous means Creeping Charlie and moles, both known as pests.

The deal with Creeping Charlie is that mariner would let the weed be ground cover within the bounds of a long flower garden; The deal with moles is that they would eat Japanese Beetle larva.

These pacts have worked reasonably well, especially in the flower garden. The moles could die of obesity and still not control the beetles. Mariner must live with the fact that he has the only garden landscape in his area of town. All his neighbors have large garages and helicopter pads so the neighborhood’s beetles come to feast on flowers and apple trees. Further, all the neighbors like grass cut frequently so it looks like green dirt; mariner cuts one-third the length of the grass blade when it reaches six inches, ergo, mole bumps are not an issue.

Many gardeners are familiar with quackgrass. It infests lawns without notice but when it meets a flower garden, its long white roots sneak in about four inches deep. The only recourse is to dig up the roots, which disrupts the garden plants and is laborious. But there is good news! Mariner has discovered a chemical that will kill ONLY grass – garden plants be not afraid. The chemical is quite effective. Be sure not to spray it on grass you want to grow. In two or three days the grass turns brown and dies. His experience is that no ornamental plant was disturbed.

The product is: CLEANSE 2EC, active ingredient is clethodim.

Ancient Mariner

 

The Dark Side

֎ Mariner always suspected there was something wrong about the Holy Bible: A school district in Utah pulled the Bible from the school libraries because it had ‘vulgarity and violence’ in it. That explains why, in the name of Christ, European explorers felt free to murder American primitives and take their valuables.

֎ A Google-style database that holds the nation’s history of who voted when and where so that election administrators can track voters who moved or who had voted, has been attacked by one or two idiots on social media who claim the database was used to throw elections. Now several idiot states are calling for its demise. Meanwhile, Google marches on . . .

֎ Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signed into law legislation that orders the death penalty for individuals even looking like they may be gay. This is a low point in human breeding practices.

֎ A new social media company has joined ranks with Twitter, Tik-Tok and Facebook. Its name is ‘Nextdoor’. Nextdoor sets up in local neighborhoods and behaves like the New York Post: gossip makes good headlines. It interfered with a Seattle suburb’s elections when a liberal won the election. She has been heavily trashed by the electronic newspaper. A good example of “all the news that’s fit to print”.

֎ Not to share only bad news, good news is that mariner saw an eagle fly low across his yard the other day. Eagles are a natural predator of rabbits!

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

 

It’s the Culture

Ever so slowly, thinkers and writers, even in the news industry, have begun to ferret out the real battleground in today’s hectic lifestyle. It is a battle of tradition – the American image that has been bred into most Americans: John Wayne westerns, heroic lone cowboy stories, empire builders like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. It is a culture of champions who did it all alone, singular champions. The result is a culture where a citizen must be self-reliant, a champion of accomplishment, a Jason pursuing the golden fleece.

On the other hand, there is the culture of elitism, of intellect, of accomplishment within the sophisticated empire-building of American economics. Successful people are granted tenure, bonuses, and protected asset security.

What can a lone cowboy with a lariat do to deal with a twenty-story building?

Many irrelevant issues substitute for a direct attack, which, politically or militarily, cowboys would not win. Consequently, race, sex, education, work issues, and religious infighting are part of a multi-front attack on the culture of elitism. It is working because legislators are busy protecting their own elected position and the economic hoarders, who also dislike the smarty college elite, are underwriting the cowboy cause.

Given the lack of fairness and ignoring the concept of ‘one vote’, the cowboy attack has gained territory. The biggest weapon is gerrymandering. The second obvious attack is to manipulate the judicial system in its entirety.

But as in any war, the cost is heavy. The invasion of public school boards, backed by legislators, has collapsed the idea that a trained college graduate is responsible for curriculum.

Abortion has been irrationally trashed and weaponized. Mariner’s mother died because she could not get an abortion. In any medical issue, including prescriptions and vaccinations, it is the college-trained physician who should set policy.

Discretionary spending by elitist-controlled governments is attacked because the policies invade private life through health insurance, child care, Social Security, small business and elderly care among many more. The fiscal conservatives share the isolationist philosophy when it comes to ‘government invasion into private life’.

Any cultural standard set by the college-elite democrats is at risk, sometimes perhaps for irrational reasons. The elites, to be fair, have their own prejudices which don’t necessarily help matters, e.g., NIMBY.

Racism, a side battlefront, is exacerbated by the energies of the cowboy war; attacks on Chinese and Arabic races have increased, as well as joining in the battle against black history.

Unfortunately, the seven-word social philosophy uttered by Rodney King is not an option.

  • – –

Mariner is reminded of a metaphor: He used to belong to a weekly poker club comprised of old codgers. Actually, it was a social club but poker was the reason to gather. Those poker games were the worst poker mariner has ever played. The codgers had developed a pattern of options. For example, before a dealer dealt, he would announce, “deuces and the last card you’re dealt are wild.” Another gambit was borrowed from children’s games: “Pass the first and last cards to the right”.

Obviously, these poker players were not students of poker probabilities so they did everything they could to make the probabilities irrelevant. So it is with the cowboy war.

Now throw in Artificial Intelligence.

Ancient Mariner

Words

Language is a complex, embedded and demonstrative part of our consciousness. Language tells us who we are, what is important not only as a subject but what is important to our own reality. As an experiment, a set of words is listed below. On one side is MAGA words, on the other is WOKE words.

PAY                      SALARY

HOUSE                ASSET

PRIDE                  SUCCESS

SAVINGS             INVESTMENT

WORK                 OFFICE

REPAIR                REMODEL

BILLS                   BUDGET

RIGHTS               OPPORTUNITY

MORAL                PRAGMATIC

CLOTHES             WARDROBE

RUINED               INSURANCE

ANGRY                 OFFENDED

The list certainly isn’t a scientific analysis of the difference in expression but the fact that language is the expression of deeper feelings about self-identity, worthiness, and purpose in society is clear.

If one were to speculate on the differences in self-assurance between the MAGA and the WOKE, it might center on how long MAGA can continue to neutralize socially imposed feelings of inadequacy and unfairness. Roughly speaking, it began in the time of Ronald Reagan (1980s) but he is only the authority figure in a time of sudden change in American culture; The 80s are when the large generation of college graduates came into being thanks to the GI Bill of Rights, a surge in prosperity, and significant industrial automation.

The last forty years has seen a consolidation of privilege for what now are WOKE people through elimination of unions, suppressed wages during inflation, freeing corporations from guaranteeing retirement benefits, and governmental resistance to accommodating the isolated labor class via discretionary spending (health, social security, minimum wage, etc.).

So here we are today with a serious confrontation over ‘what America represents’.

What did you expect?

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

Life experience shapes voting preferences

We are most often concerned about the growing count of retiring boomers and millennials  and what that means for health Care, assisted living and viable income. We are concerned about the number of houses available for those in midlife. We are concerned about sidewalks crowded with the indigent homeless. Certainly, these are real, critical issues. But what is important to those of the younger generation just starting out on the adult path through life? Here’s an exegesis perspective drawn from AXIOS and other sources:

 

Fear of the future is mobilizing young Americans, who grew up in an age of mass shootings, to vote in near-record numbers, Axios’ Erica Pandey writes.

Last year’s midterms saw the second-highest turnout among voters under 30 (27%) in at least the past three decades, NPR notes.

Nearly half of Americans 18 to 29 say they’ve felt unsafe in the past month, according to a new poll from the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics.  This is a generation that feels besieged, says John Della Volpe, the institute’s polling director.

21% say they’ve felt unsafe at school. And 40% are concerned about being victims of gun violence or a mass shooting.

This critical voting bloc continues to tilt the scales in favor of Democratic candidates — whom young people overwhelmingly support. Young voters’ influence “enabled the Democrats to win almost every battleground statewide contest and increase their majority in the U.S. Senate,” Brookings Institution analysts write.

Younger voters are also quite worried about the state of the economy:

73% believe that homelessness could happen to anyone and 32% fear they could one day be homeless. That share rises to 43% and 39% among Hispanic and Black youth.

The boomers and the millennials and too many from the silent generation still are running the nation and its society. The oldsters should be glad to be old and to have finished Jason’s ‘Arc of the Hero’. But the oldsters should have guilt about the shape of society they have left for the youngsters.

As a preschooler, Mariner remembers the blackouts ordered by sirens and the prevalence of uniformed men everywhere. His grandmother volunteered for the Air Defense Command and tracked airplanes in flight. Lying in bed at night, he actually trembled until he could recognize that it was only a passing train instead of a German bomber. Over the years of his life, he has felt disdain for wars – not just prejudice but the idea of killing people for the hell of it. [the reader may recall the Jolly Roger cartoon from the previous post]

We mature types owe our children some headway in our emerging society – not Trump, not Biden, not McCarthy, not even Marjorie Taylor Greene – we owe our children.

How can we mow a path to civility through this morass of thistle-bearing society we have created?

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