It is time.

Mariner, for the sake of sanity, has stepped back from daily behavioral response to frightful, deliberately agitating news programs. Saner are selected on-line news sources, books and magazines. He is careful, as a citizen, to maintain his obligation to a national democracy; he is responsible to elect meaningful representatives to HIS government.

But mariner has begun to wonder. Is democracy becoming old fashioned? Is it the right philosophy of government for an era where international politics are growing more influential than national politics? Is the new global economy too expensive for a typical citizen to invest in and participate? Will each nation simply play the role of a labor union to reconcile humanistic virtues vis-à-vis international corporate politics? Will, in fact, super-sized corporations replace national governments? Who will govern the corporations?

As though to tease our brains, many of these questions already have emerging answers that seem to be pulling everyone into an age of supersizing – certainly causing stress on religion, secularism, humanism and the old fashioned descriptions of capitalism, socialism and communism. At the moment, without exception, the new frontier is fed and run by money.

Immediately important today is our concept of taxation. The rich have won the war on taxation: the richer one is, the less percentage tax they pay to the point of paying none; the same with corporations. It is the excessive wealth among a few that can launch a global plutocracy.

Ironically, the distrust between citizens has led to populism and identity politics, in effect dividing citizens one against the other while the rich unify their economic purposes.

If humans are to remain the significant influencer in human history, it may be that democracy is the last defense against authoritarian oligarchy. Democracy depends on an identity that evolves from human ethic while authoritarian oligarchy vacuums profit that denies human ethic. An excellent example is that Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have the finances to underwrite a useless trip into the solar system while billions of humans live stressed, inadequate lives.

In short, our defense is to unify, to become one human force that controls its ethical experience. It is not a time to destroy democratic election processes; it is not a time to quibble over a measly trillion (many individuals in the world could pay out a trillion by themselves). It is not time to pretend superiority by hiding behind race and other social issues. It is time to defend the very core of humanity.

Will someone tell the electorate?

Ancient Mariner

Skipping through the news

֎ A quote from Politico news:

“The Wall Street Journal recently revealed that Facebook treats users’ posts differently depending on their wealth, privilege and status. That and other findings based on internal Facebook documents indicate Facebook “presented different, contradictory versions of these policies in public and private. From a securities regulation standpoint, any big lie could potentially defraud investors and invite an investigation” by the Securities and Exchange Commission, per Jena Martin, a former SEC attorney and now law professor.”

‘nuff said. Big data needs regulation.

 

֎ Remember TPP? Congress failed to approve the treaty and Donald cut off political ties later. What was agreed by the other eleven nations became the ‘Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership’ (CPTPP). Today, China is attempting to join the agreement which, of course, would destroy the original purpose to control China’s influence in the Pacific Rim. CPTPP representatives are begging Joe Biden to hurry up and join the treaty. International supply chain treaties need an anchor economy that only two or three nations can provide.

 

֎ Mariner had a romantic image of Venezuela, once a wealthy member of OPEC, even though its governments traditionally have been faux democracies dominated by authoritarianism. Today Venezuela is under an abusive dictatorship which has led to seven straight years of excessive inflation. Ironically, gasoline is heavily rationed and very expensive. Having no transportation, few citizens can find work. The nation has 28 million citizens; 21 million live in extreme poverty.

Several South American nations are struggling economically. China has been investing heavily in these nations to become the key economic provider. Hah! Not America – South Americans aren’t Caucasian and they are immigrants.

Stupid America.

 

֎ Britney Spears at least has booted her father off the conservatorship. Let’s hope she can kill the remaining control held by a CPA firm. Conservatorship is one of those conditions mariner groups under ‘Matrix Management’, referring to the movie The Matrix and the control by intelligent machines over humans – using them only to generate electricity and feeding them a false reality. The street term is ‘bloodsucker’.

Anyone who finds themselves in a position of being the middleman between a person and the world cannot help but become a bloodsucker. This condition expresses itself across many social phenomena from stock fund managers to anti-abortion to domineering parents to sport coaches to abusive spouses. If there were not some benefit to the bloodsucker, they wouldn’t bother with the overhead.

Go Britney.

 

The reader may not hear from mariner with regularity during October. He and his wife are traveling the nation to catch up on the wellbeing of family and friends. Besides, the news needs a break from mariner’s effusive commentary.

Ancient Mariner

 

Immigration, Climate Change and Housing

These three subjects eventually will be at the center of political, economic and cultural life not only in the United States but around the world. ‘Eventually’ means in about ten to fifteen years from now.

Immigration. The current increase in immigration along the Gulf Coast and Mexico largely is Central Americans escaping brutal, terrorist-controlled nations. But recently it includes Haitians – a first of its kind wave due to global warming. Each year the number of immigrants easily could grow by a power of ten (10, 100, 1,000, etc.) as coastal areas around the world force inhabitants to relocate due to flooding and sea rise. In Bangladesh already 4 million people have been displaced. The coastline between Houston, Texas and Pensacola, Florida already has suffered extreme and prolonged weather conditions that are permanently displacing thousands of families. Austin, Texas, a city only on a river and away from the coast,  had to buy large acreages from the public to let the land return to a wild state that will protect shorelines.

In a few years American migrants will outnumber foreign immigrants. The current Congress and Administration tinker about trying to retain reelection leverage rather than facing a rapidly growing dilemma for which there is no plan, no allocated resources and no idea of a solution. The issue is so dire that mariner suspects eventually the Government will create an independent, apolitical commission to deal with the issue. Of the three topics in this post, Immigration/migration will be the most disruptive in the shortest amount of time.

Climate Change. It isn’t just flooding by rising seas and turbulent storms. Between 2040 and 2060 extreme temperatures will become commonplace in the South and Southwest, with some counties in Arizona experiencing temperatures above 95 degrees for half the year. The entire southeast sector of the United States will be too warm for current farm crops. This affects a significant part of the agricultural economy and in its own right will force thousands of farm workers and farm owners to migrate north – even into Canada.

Still, it is flooding along the coasts that will drive large migrations. As many as eleven major metropolitan areas in the U.S. will have to deal with total destruction or major Dutch-style dams and walls. The exact number is hard to project given all the variables but several estimates suggest that as many as 13 million Americans will be displaced in the next few decades.

Housing. Mariner remembers inflation during the 1970s. Housing costs rose by 17 percent; many entrepreneurs became millionaires just by buying and reselling their homes every six months. Climate change will induce a similar inflation in the cost of homes. Anyone can guess how bad inflation will be but it will be significant and disruptive. Even today there is inflation in housing cost because there aren’t enough homes due to the impact of Covid and the reorganization of large corporations.

Concern. Recent polls of the younger population indicate that climate change already is the number one concern. Second is lack of confidence in any U.S. government – which they blame as the cause of global warming. Mariner will cite only one of many telling clues that Congress has no idea how overwhelming global warming is: One Senator from a small coal mining state willfully prevents funding for climate change because he won’t be reelected by his coal mining electorate. Multiply this attitude by all the elected officials in this nation. Who to blame – the official’s greediness or the electorate’s ignorance?

Ancient Mariner

Changing the Sails

Mariner saw that the reconciliation bill in Congress is available for review and download. He was eager to scan through the document to have a sense of its direction. The first page of titles came on the computer screen. In small print it said the bill has 2,465 pages! Scanning this document would be like crossing the Atlantic Ocean one glass of water at a time. It is true that the reconciliation bill is a benchmark bill that if passed would shift the national philosophy in a direction that hasn’t been active since the early 1960s.

Despite the Vietnam War and the racial riots during the sixties, there was an air of emerging freedom and opportunity. This air of future happiness (it was called Camelot) faded quickly after JFK’s assassination in 1963 and died along with Bobby’s assassination in 1968. The 1968 election was as raucous as the 2020 election.

LBJ took over after the JFK assassination and pushed through the remaining key legislation (intended to build A Great Society) that in those days made exceptional progress for civil rights, tax cuts, Medicare and other liberal programs that haven’t been headline news until the current Presidency. When Lyndon did not run for a second term and diminished support for the Vietnam War, the war was doomed very much like Afghanistan today.

So the nation has come full circle. Shamefully, the nation has made little progress toward racial equality, has put back rich-friendly tax rates and now faces competition from the planet itself. Further, the third branch of government, the courts, is not the neutral arm it is supposed to be – despite Justice Breyer’s new book to the contrary[1]. The public trust of the courts has fallen into the 40 percent range. This is serious because the courts are the trusted ballast that prevents storm waves from coming over the gunnel and sinking the ship – something that destructive bias causes.

It is a hellish time, in the midst of a hurricane, to try to turn the sails toward a new image of nationhood. Mariner fears that the sails can’t be turned during the next several election cycles. The nation needs a new crew in Congress; the rudder of electoral representation is broken; the electorate is as clueless as the government at this point. In the midst of this hurricane is a tornado called climate change which will make current issues about immigration and housing seem like child’s play.

However, let’s hold onto hope that the electorate is tired of this crap and may surprise us in coming elections.

Ancient Mariner

[1] The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities.

Evangelical Similarities

At the top of the news these days is the social conflagration occurring in Afghanistan. Women are being shoved out of a male dominated, religiously-based power structure that will run the nation and its culture for the foreseeable future. Ironically, a similar situation exists in the United States where religious denominations suffer the same ‘divine male power’ syndrome.

The book that delves into this issue is ‘Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation’ by Kristin Kobes du Mez. The book documents ideas about masculinity in the white Evangelical church and its politics which, while not as violent or intrusive as the Taliban, are eerily similar. Kristin Du Mez said “Trump’s four years in the White House made painfully clear just how deep these divisions ran.” About a quarter of Americans describe themselves as evangelical protestants; that’s tens of millions of people according to polling by Pew Research Center. 14% are white evangelicals, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, and that evangelical population grew among white Americans during the Trump administration.

This is another fissure opening in this age of social change rife with computerization, racial upheaval, women’s rights, and an increasingly oligarchical economy. The ‘white Christian’ tag is present in other denominations as well.

Americans must admit that national legislation, whether Federal, state or local, still limits women’s rights and underplays male accountability to be fair and nonjudgmental. The fact that years of rape cases documented in police records have gone unprocessed is just one example. The fact that sexual abuse to women is as blatant and ignored as to tolerate gross abuse to an entire team of female Olympic gymnasts is just one example. The fact that a woman does not have the right to make decisions about her own body with respect to abortion is just one example. The fact that the rate of pay for the same job across the United States even in modern industries pays women 82 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Perhaps Americans should take note of the Taliban and cast the mote from their own nation.

Ancient Mariner

How are consumers in charge of global warming?

A few posts ago mariner wrote a post in response to an article that suggested “If everyone in the Nation would stop eating beef for one day each week, the Colorado River disappearance would be reversed.” The implication was that private citizens, as consumers, can have a more immediate effect on global warming than is possible through government and corporate politics, which are burdened with self-interest and ignorance.

The idea of consumer-managed reversal of the causes of global warming extends to other causes as well. If each citizen would not use air conditioning or heating for one day each week, carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by a notable percent. The same applies to automobiles, airplanes, buses and trains. Perhaps if everyone wore each day’s clothing two days instead of one thereby using less water for laundry, the amount of potable water in the world would stabilize.

These observations are relatively true and the impact would be significant. The fallacy is how does one ensure that 350 million citizens participate? Nevertheless, as an old trope says, ‘A dollar has 100 pennies.’ Even if a small percentage of citizens accept this responsibility, it helps.

In that recent post, mariner cast about looking for substitutes for beef one day per week. He thought Friday may be more acceptable because of various religious traditions of meatless Friday. He was dismayed that so many seafood options are suffering from overharvesting; one source cited that only ten percent of the world’s original large fish population exists today. Wild salmon and tiger shrimp have become a delicacy.

The vegans have the moral high ground with the meat issue. Still, mariner thinks our ancestors may not have made it without meat, if only carrion. Isn’t it true that the bone marrow, liver, heart and brains were the magic sources of protein that allowed today’s human brain to develop? . . . Maybe the vegans have a good point.

However, dealing with global warming is not a game. Around the world already weather and flooding have caused trillions of dollars in damage, wiped out family sustainability for billions, leaving not even a home or possessions. The rich nations have been able to hold their own in covering the obvious financial cost to the economy but certainly have no means to restore lives and families of those who suddenly have been wiped out.

The United States is in a cantankerous mood today. Irrelevant political conflict prevents the governments from performing with rationality in the face of a worldwide global crisis beyond any that humans have faced. In the US alone, millions will be forced to move away from disaster at a time when housing is inadequate, expensive and likely the economy may suffer accordingly, suffering a severe stagflation.

While wearing one’s clothing for two days is admirable, it is inadequate. Disaster will come anyway. The electorate’s job is not to stop beef or automobiles; its job is to elect rational individuals who will turn the politics around and start doing the representative job they are supposed to do.

Ancient Mariner

Removing Polarity

Mariner was challenged to describe how polarity could be overcome. He did imply a few things that need to be corrected but it is true that he did not address ‘how’. So here are a few examples; some already are ideas that have been discussed in the press and documentaries.

֎ About colleges. Already a ‘socialist’ issue in Congress is legislation that would abate or eliminate the cost of a student’s tuition. If college administrators were smart, they would know the swings in population and the races of that population are swinging away from the white, financially capable market served today. However it occurs, colleges will be forced to step back in line with inflation. And students haven’t been asked yet to pay their student athletes’ salaries.

Mariner and his father went to a high school that had a full community college on the top floor so this is not a new idea but it may become popular. Mariner is aware of several small liberal arts colleges that are considering mergers with other colleges, community colleges and even independent locations; examples include public libraries, large corporations, labor unions and other agencies that focus on special careers. One mariner is familiar with is agribusiness classes taught in state department of agriculture offices.

Another idea already being discussed is a student body selected not only by grades but balanced by appropriate representation based on where the students live – even to the extent of which neighborhood. Public schools already abuse representation selectively by using it to keep unwanted students out; the intent of the new college version is to assure representation from every quarter. This instantly would correct several issues:

֎ The implied failure of nonwhites because they have no college degree.

֎ Reduce by a significant amount the tendency for a person to say “I’m successful, you’re not.”

֎ Focused more on public schools, build curricula based on real-life interest and talent, e.g., shape classes around teams of students with a curriculum that includes dealing with life experiences along with the abstract subjects that are typical today. If nothing else, the student experiences what a team relationship is, thereby softening much of the identity conflict present today.

Mariner has been reading about Anabaptists. Each colony is such a tight team that no individual is paid for their labors and everyone receives support from all members. Admittedly, Anabaptists practice a communist economy that would not work in open markets but the United States could use a little ‘communisty’ accountability.

֎ Perhaps another old but good idea is to require that a police officer live on his beat and/or walk the beat. Mariner has made this suggestion before; the change in behavior of the policeman can only be positive. Not that cruisers would disappear but the beat cop would be the first contact for residents and for crime response. With a beat policeman on a response team, incidents like entering the wrong house and killing Breonna Taylor may not happen.

֎ As to reforming the government, mariner is quite positive that regular readers already know his attitude toward American governments. He will not pursue further abuse to his readers in this post.

Ancient Mariner

Polarity

Given the impressive article by David Brooks that has laid the issue of social conflict at the foot of the Democratic Party, there are several issues that lend themselves to why there is class conflict in the United States today. Colleges, for example, have increased tuition costs at a rate close to three times the inflation rate thereby assuring that individuals from lower income families cannot participate in the college requirement for entry into the ‘creative’ class.

Other examples are private schools and charter schools which cull students with talents that may not be academic in nature or even worse, may be racist or are denied attendance because of jurisdictional limitations. Last but not least, is the grading system in the U.S. which focuses on individual scoring but ignores group scoring. (Much of mariner’s work in his career required team-building before progress could be made). Education, it seems, is the defense mechanism to keep mainstream culture from joining the one class that feels it can claim success.

The reader may recall from an earlier post the Trump election victory map that showed 2,547 of America’s 3,056 counties voted Republican but the popular vote was the opposite, showing 81,268,924 for Biden versus 74,216,154 for Donald. Apparently, being successful means living in a city and having a non-agrarian career.

This post could run on and on about cultural structures that have caused conflict in the United States today. For example, one could dig into a sociological argument claiming that the nuclear family emerged because so many children moved from the countryside so they could be a ‘success’ in the city; one could say the image of success began with the GI bill in the 1950s; one could say that not resizing Congressional representation and political gerrymandering has caused a false representation of cultural ideology in government.

It’s all about polarity. Everything on the planet has polarity. Polarity works fine from atoms to stars but when one pole has a lot more of something than the other pole, that’s when sparks fly. If the United States wants to avoid sparks, it must balance social polarity.

Ancient Mariner

Sharia Law

Mariner was reading his daily mail this morning when he read an article about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. The new leader of the government encouraged women to join the new government – as long as they followed Sharia Law. This statement is far beyond anything Donald would say. No woman in her right mind would voluntarily support Sharia Law.

Comparatively, Sharia Law is a guidebook for Muslim judges to use when hearing cases brought before them. The cases are similar to cases brought before lower courts in the United States.

While other legal codes regulate public behavior, Sharia regulates public behavior, private behavior, and even private beliefs. Compared to other legal codes, the Sharia Law also prioritizes punishment over rehabilitation and favors corporal and capital punishments over incarceration. Of all legal systems in the world today, the Sharia law is the most intrusive and restrictive, especially against women.

Thanks primarily to Wikipedia and the billionbible website, below is a list of specific mandates included in Sharia Law:

  • Theft is punishable by amputation of the hands.
  • Criticizing or denying any part of the Quran is punishable by death.
  • Criticizing Muhammad or denying that he is a prophet is punishable by death.
  • Criticizing or denying Allah is punishable by death.
  • A Muslim who becomes a non-Muslim is punishable by death.
  • A non-Muslim who leads a Muslim away from Islam is punishable by death.
  • A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.
  • A woman or girl who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).
  • Testimonies of 4 male witnesses are required to prove rape of a female.
  • A woman or girl who alleges rape without producing 4 male witnesses is guilty of adultery.
  • A woman or girl found guilty of adultery is punishable by death.
  • A male convicted of rape can have his conviction dismissed by marrying his victim.
  • Muslim men have sexual rights to any woman/girl not wearing the Hijab.
  • A woman can have 1 husband, who can have up to 4 wives; Muhammad can have more.
  • A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.
  • Girls’ clitoris should be cut.
  • A man can beat his wife for insubordination.
  • A man can unilaterally divorce his wife; a wife needs her husband’s consent to divorce.
  • A divorced wife loses custody of all children over 6 years of age or when they exceed it.
  • A woman’s testimony in court, allowed in property cases, carries ½ the weight of a man’s.
  • A female heir inherits half of what a male heir inherits.
  • A woman cannot speak alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.
  • Meat to eat must come from animals that have been sacrificed to Allah.
  • Muslims should engage in Taqiyya (saying something that isn’t true but supports the Muslim position) and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.

There is a moderate wing of Muslims who have incorporated a modern ethical code into their beliefs but still generally accept the principles underlying the Sharia.

In nations which have Islam as national law, at a minimum the Sharia reaches across all nations ending in –stan [seven and Iran which should be a –stan except for a shift in dominant language at the time] .

Yet another new situation in these changing times.

Ancient Mariner

Living like bears

A recent article from Science Magazine reported on a study performed on the west coast of Canada that wanted to know why, over thousands of years there were distinct genetic differences between bears that existed in close proximity. The environment was rich in food and environmental support; bears did not travel much over thousands of years. The geography, in part, has many large islands.

What made the study intriguing was that when the human genome of several indigenous human tribes from the same area was examined, there were genes that appeared similar to those in the bears and, interestingly, in the same part of the genome.

The conclusion by the scientists is that we are closer to our environment than we may think. Over generations, our bodies adapt to the environment – not just globally but regionally!

The finding contributes to the observed quick differentiation between human races that did not intermingle for many thousands of years. The concept even applies to smaller regions where the Irish, Germanic and Spanish tribes lived, for example. What is most fascinating is that the genetic changes for bears, the Irish and racial differences are located in the same part of the genome. Mariner wonders whether there is racial prejudice among the different bear colonies.

Oh well, this is fascinating science but it no longer applies generally to humans. Humans invented ships, planes, cars, highways; intermingling is inevitable. Perhaps, however, class distinction over many generations still may be a cause for adaptation. This is not as presumptuous as it sounds. In the latest edition of The Atlantic, David Brooks wrote an article that suggests that very thing.

David wrote an excellent commentary about what has brought the United States to the circumstances found today. Largely, it is a separation of what is defined as ‘successful’ among the various classes of society. It turns out that assumptions about what defines successful living have a direct effect on the society as a whole. David says that today in the U.S. culturally, the only successful lifestyle is the meritocracy built on being educated, smart, inventive and contributing to society through some form of creativity. He calls it the ‘creative’ class and is largely represented by today’s Democratic Party and very wealthy Republicans.

Society in the U.S. suggests that those who work with their hands, do monotonous work and have no need to indulge in ‘smart’ stuff cannot by definition be successful. This has led to the many variations of class war that are present today. The national turmoil will increase because the creative class is too small to survive in politics – the only frontier where being smart is not an absolute virtue.

So look forward to attacks on big data, socialist issues, tax advantages, science in general and the ideological fantasy of freedom and success – as in guns, law enforcement, racism and any other issue – even to the extent of whether one ‘must’ participate in fighting the pandemic that is now playing out in more conservative states.

Why can’t a gun-toting stevedore be seen as successful as a computer programmer?

Ancient Mariner