Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA, Editor & Publisher
I’ve decided to change the name of the Effective Learning Digest to The Earthian, to project a clearer message regarding purposes I intend to pursue publishing this Internet blog given the time on Earth I have left at age seventy-seven.
It seems to me the name Effective Learning Digest more or less implies you should learn new things just for the hell of it to maybe make yourself feel good or be a little more able to deal with problems and opportunities in your own daily life.
I have used the word Earthian for many years, since encountering it back in the 1970s in Buckminster Fuller’s great little book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, one of the most satisfying books I have read. Apparently Fuller invented the word Earthian, and the appellation Spaceship Earth, implying Earth is something that has to be maintained by humans monitoring regular interdependent scientific processes in the infinity of airless time and space, by keeping trees and other plants emitting oxygen that humans breathe, humans that emit carbon dioxide that plants ingest, to make more oxygen in perpetual motion closed systems. Such production systems have to be kept in synchronous interdependent regularities, requiring not cutting down and burning up too many trees, and not putting too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere burning fossil fuels, otherwise serious trouble can happen, as most humans should know given what they have been exposed to in various media about global warming.
What is an Earthian? The term applies mostly to humans aboard Spaceship Earth, aka planet Earth; but it includes more than humans: The word Earthian covers all individual members of all species of fauna and flora living aboard Spaceship Earth.
A major purpose of The Earthian is to encourage learning that might help preserve all forms of life aboard Spaceship Earth in any country or political entity, for sure not just right wing or left wing political humans living in the United States, or in any other country.
I can’t keep from thinking there is a resemblance between President Trump in the White House and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, especially since his performance discussing tariffs at the last G7 meeting in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada June 8-9, the 44th such meeting, where he pissed off every good ally of the US with his rude crude boorish off-the-wall comments and threats. Seems about the only international friends he has left are Kim Jong Un, Netanyahu, and the new King of Saudi Arabia. There is no way to predict what he might say or do at any given moment.
Not long ago Trump blurted out in a cabinet meeting in his White House, “Where are my tariffs? Get me some tariffs,” like an impetuous king demanding some sort of favorite food or candy, and by golly his underlings got him some tariffs, apparently a lot of them, enough to set off a trade war. Another US president who liked tariffs was Herbert Hoover before the Great Depression started, who also raised interest rates. The US Federal Reserve is now raising interest rates. Let’s hope the Mad Hatter does not bring on another great depression with his impetuous demands. The Great Recession of 2008 we are now supposedly out of was bad enough.
According to mainstream media the US economy is now in fabulous shape, thanks to the Mad Hatter, with unemployment, counting only unemployed people looking for jobs, of only 3.8 percent and economic growth of about four percent, with about two percent inflation. Unfortunately counting all people of working age not in the work force, counting unemployed people who have given up on finding a job, no longer looking for a job, unemployment in the US is about twenty percent, and the four percent economic growth number counts a lot of jobs that do not pay a living wage and a lot of jobs that do not produce anything real, such as the reported profit increases of too big to fail banks, apartment rents, gambling profits, and what have you; and inflation may be as high as ten percent when you count price increases in drugs and medicine, education, food, and other things.
Hopefully the Mad Hatter and his buddy Mad Dog Mattis in the White House will not impulsively decide one day the way to get the US out of its depression and make it great again is to start World War III, since WWII worked for getting the US out of the Great Depression started in the Republican Hoover administration in 1929 with a trade war because during the Democratic Roosevelt administration in the 1940s WWII created lots of new real jobs in factories making tanks, airplanes, bombs and such in massive quantities, and because the US had relatively little debt at the time.
There is no telling what will happen if Trump starts WWIII with the US down its Alice in Wonderland financial rabbit hole, with over 21 trillion dollars in debt already piled up, most of it coming from real money, not funny money created out of thin air by simply punching digits in computers at the Federal Reserve and calling the resulting numbers money, which is used to “buy” US treasury bonds creating spending money for the US federal government to pay its worldwide standing army, navy, air force, and its military hardware manufacturers — and its obligation to the US Social Security Trust Fund for money it borrowed from the SS Trust Fund, over three trillion dollars, SS surpluses generated through decades caused by SS cash inflows paid by citizens making their FICA payments for their social insurance system exceeding outflows remitted to SS insurance beneficiaries. Unfortunately SS cash outflows to beneficiaries now exceed inflows from FICA contributions, but it will take a long time for the federal government to pay back with yearly payments what it owes US citizens who produced the SS surplus with FICA payments deducted from their paychecks, paying back what the SS Trust Fund loaned the federal government, which was thought necessary by politicians to balance the federal government’s total cash inflows (composed of real money tax receipts, borrowed real money, and borrowed funny money from the Fed) and cash outflows (mainly military cash needs and social security Trust Fund loan payments).
In the short run there is no danger the federal government cannot balance its budget: if worst comes to worse it can just keep on having the Fed punch more funny money digits into its computers and use the resulting numbers to buy more treasury bonds from the federal government, presto, producing money in treasury accounts for the US to pay for its standing worldwide military machine, and what have you, manna from heaven you might say. Unfortunately if the US keeps making funny money for too long, making too much of the stuff, eventually interest payments on the debt will become absurdly large and the debt itself will become absurdly large, so large that hyperinflation will ignite in the economy at large, causing financial hell on Earth.
What’s the chance the US would default on or repudiate its debt in WWIII? Pretty high I would say. What sort of chaos, anguish, and suffering would that cause for citizens with savings and pension plans? Would all intangible assets, including so-called money, become worthless? It’s happened before in collapsed countries.
And then there’s the suffering, tragedy, and chaos of the millions of people dislocated, killed and crippled—and the property and cultural treasures reduced to rubble—in countries in which soldiers invaded and on which bombs dropped, likely including people living in the US the next time around.
According to the US Congressional Budget Office the federal budget deficit was $600 billion during the first half of 2018. Forget about Trump’s tax cuts eliminating the deficit through trickle-down voodoo economics, like he said they would. Cutting the corporate tax rate from thirty percent to twenty percent will cause the rate of increase in the federal debt to increase, not go away, like he said it would. It will enrich the rich and make things tougher for everyone else.
This sort of risky and precarious financial behavior is not confined to the US and its Federal Reserve System. The central banks of China, Japan, the European Union, and England are essentially doing the same thing. Thus Spaceship Earth is awash in debt that will never be paid back, and central bankers, like Odysseus lost at sea, are attempting to sail a course between two siren-calling monsters: the Charybdis of runaway inflation and the Scylla of extreme morbid deflation, attempting to give their populations hope and some additional prosperity by creating enough funny money to cause some economic growth without igniting hyperinflation, while at the same time not failing to create enough funny money to prevent extreme illiquidity, morbid deflation, maximum unemployment, and a maximum collapse of aggregate demand, causing the worst of depressions, under capitalism.
As I point out in “Toward the Creation of Spaceship Earth Incorporated,” the long run solution in my opinion entails getting Earthians off the treadmill of pursuing constant economic growth that ruins the ecology of Spaceship Earth by reducing the human population through peaceful attrition, natural human deaths exceeding natural births, causing more prosperity and economic security for individuals by dividing a shrinking global economic pie by an Earthian human population that shrinks even more, thereby causing natural Spaceship Earth ecological processes to improve enough to eliminate the possible fatal consequences of global warming. It’s better to do it via natural peaceful attrition than World War III.
Economic, religious, military, and political affairs aboard Spaceship Earth seem to be worsening, especially now in Yemen, the most poignant hellhole on Earth at present; and here we are stuck with this Mad Hatter-like president only caring about himself and his right wing voters, most of whom having no idea what is really going on, wildly stirring the global political pot any way he can to get personal attention, while the US aids and abets the Saudi attack on the helpless Yemenis.
As usual in the Effective Learning Digest, now named The Earthian, this month’s issue links and cites recent articles written and published by clear deep thinking hard hitting independent writers in various Internet publications on current ecological, economic, and political affairs around Spaceship Earth. I included an article, not the clearest and deepest in this issue by any stretch, I recently wrote and published in the Effective Learning Report titled “De-Gaming And Saving Democracy,” in which I point out democracy is waning in the Western World and capitalism has failed to satisfy a majority of citizens. I proposed in the article a democratic way to rejuvenate democracy. The upshot of the article is that the fate of Spaceship Earth depends on people like you. We need your help. Read the article and set up a De-Gaming Democracy group in your community.
This The Earthian issue includes an interesting article by Effective Learning Report colleague Courtenay Barnett titled “Defaming the World’s Fastest Human,” and an article by a new ELR colleague Joyce Wilson titled “Something to do in the summertime.”
June 15, 2018
Here is my latest article in the Effective Learning Report.
Repug administrations have tried to ruin just about everything for we the people, and this is the next step. Do what you can to make sure the House of Reps goes along with the Senate and overrules the corrupt bums in the Trump admin on net neutrality.
Here are some videos created by my longtime friend William John Cox. Wm says he is getting tired of writing books and articles and just wants to talk about what is on his mind in the morning. Well worth a listen.
Here is another relevant article by ELR colleague Courtenay Barnett on his efforts to instantiate Free Child Caribbean ego state energy and culture into his Critical Parent London culture during the 1970s.
Has the NFL also outlawed Tebow’s kind of kneeling on the field?
Kaepernick had a good cause but one unfortunately outlawed by the NFL because it hurt its bottom profit line.
Consequently Kaepernick has been persecuted, and he can no longer find a job playing pro football, despite his considerable competitive skills as a quarterback, having been blacklisted by owners of teams in the NFL.
What was the big deal in the first place about his kneeling instead of standing for the national anthem?
Kaepernick courageously refused to pretend to cathect his Adapted Child ego state in a ritual designed to force obedience to and reverence for the militaristic powers of the US.
Here is an egregious example of the media letting us know in the last few days that over four thousand people died in Puerto Rico in the last hurricane there, September 20, 2017, not less than one hundred as we were told up until the last few days. How is it news like this can be suppressed this long? To quote that intellectual paragon Bush II, the stupidist president of US history, this was a heckuva job investigating and reporting (ie, ignoring and suppressing) by media reporters and publishers for eight months, no doubt as instructed by the current lying US federal administration.
A fine kettle of fish. Here we have this beautiful military as Madelyn Albright called it, the most powerful military force in history to protect and expand the US empire, and yet it cannot win any wars. The Romans used to just crucify large numbers of people and leave them alive, their cries and moans audible for all to hear, nailed hanging on crosses on roads leading into towns to cow local populations into submission; but nothing the US military does now with all its airplanes and bombs cannot cow any enemy into submission. Somebody started the war on terror by knocking down the World Trade Towers supposedly with hijacked airplanes that cost about four hundred thousand dollars, but the US military after spending some five to seven trillion dollars cannot end it. Absurdity of absurdities.
A sad commentary on human nature and life, replete with tragedies, and joys, indiscriminately distributed among the lot, inevitably and accidentally caused, a tale of human lives prematurely ended en masse.
Wish it weren’t so, but it probably is, sad, inevitable, stupid. The human world has always been an unfair screwed-up place, and things are coming to a head. How long it will take for the collapse to happen is another matter. Nobody knows.
Well said. No, it’s about a lot more than guns, primarily males who fell through the cracks developmentally caused by not being able to learn how to relate to people in general caused by the social environments in which they accidentally or inevitably had to live as children.
… and all those one tenth of one percent richest people earned all their money by doing honest hard work with their minds and hands, don’t you know, and there’s no reason for them to give you any of it, especially by paying higher tax rates than poor people … and now it’s time to go seepy-seep, and put your pretty little head on your pillow, and don’t you worry about a thing …
What connection does Donald Trump have with Br’er Rabbit in Joel Harris’s Uncle Remus folktale about a rabbit that tricked a fox into throwing him in a briar patch?
Trump said he really didn’t want to be president. Running for president was just another Game he was playing to get structure, recognition, and stimulation, and to make more money. He thought the free publicity he would receive from complicit mainstream media running for president would more than pay for whatever he had to pay in his own money to run, causing the sales of his various “brands” to increase—selling and renting hotel rooms, rounds of golf, apartments, condos, office space, retail space, steaks, wine, beauty pageants, reality TV shows, college courses, books, casino gambling, and what have you.
Br’er Rabbit got caught in a tar pit and got so much tar stuck to him that he couldn’t run fast enough to escape a fox that caught him and wanted to eat him for supper. Knowing his situation was dire the rabbit pleaded with the fox to do whatever he wanted to do with him, “except please do not throw me in that briar patch over yonder.” After listening to several alternative punishments suggested by the rabbit other than throwing him in the briar patch the fox decided throwing the rabbit in the briar patch might be an interesting thing to do, so he threw the rabbit in the briar patch just to see what would happen. The rabbit licked the tar off him in the briar patch and escaped, making a fool of the fox. Adding insult to injury, Br’er Rabbit taunted the fox as he merrily ran away, letting him know he had been born and raised in a briar patch.
Not only did Trump say he didn’t want to win the presidency, he said he didn’t think he had a chance of winning; and reports are he and his wife were initially distraught when he did win, even shedding tears, crocodile tears perhaps. Unfortunately for Trump, assuming this story is true, he over-estimated his Republican opponents in the primaries; and after he won the Repub nomination, a smart rich hedge fund fox, Robert Mercer, decided he wanted to see what would happen if Trump won the general election, so he shelled out big money and helped craft a winning strategy for his campaign, thereby throwing Trump in the briar patch.
“Winning” the general election showed reverse psychology can work assuming Trump really did want to be president; or his original plan and scheme failed, if he truly did not want to be president of the US. Regardless, he is now burrowed up in a political briar patch in the White House, having been thrown in there by oligarchs and his voters. It remains to be seen whether Trump can escape his briar patch to merrily live happily ever after, as the rabbit presumably did in Uncle Remus’s folktale.
Although Trump appeared shocked and dismayed at first because of winning the general election, after giving his “victory” more thought, the story goes, he decided it must have been a good thing for him to win or it would not have happened, proving he really was special, so he decided to get on with the job in a manly forthright way, switching on the Drama Triangle from the Victim position to the Rescuer position.
Trump would have looked foolish indeed if, after winning the general election, he had said something like, “Look, guys, I was just kiddin’ about wantin’ to be president. I just ran for the fun of it. I was just foolin’ around. I’m not gonna do it. You gotta find somebody else.”
In any case, alas, it now appears Trump must have decided he likes being president for some reason, since he has hired a campaign manager for the 2020 election, implying he wants to “win” a second term.
Trump’s story about his election experience and Uncle Remus’s story about a rabbit thrown in a briar patch are not fully analogous, but there are some interesting parallels, one of the most salient being that neither the rabbit nor Trump could be believed about not wanting to be thrown in the briar patch.
Some Red State evangelical religious folks said after he won the election they thought Trump was chosen through some sort of divine intervention, and decided he would help them promote their religious brands. The current Catholic Pope who is fine with Trump recently blurted out to a reporter in a private conversation that hell does not exist, which the reporter reported in a mainstream medium, which was quickly denied by lawyers in the Vatican who know the Catholic religion needs hell to sell their brand of religion to sinners. What better promoter of sinning and possibly going to hell could evangelicals and Catholics find than Donald Trump as president to promote their brands?
President Jimmy Carter, by far the least sinful of US presidents of my lifetime, who was not very popular with a lot of religious folks in Red States when he left office after one term, recently appeared on a late night mainstream TV show hosted by Stephen Colbert where he said he was praying for Trump and he hoped he would do a good job.
It’s hard to know what doing a good job is as a US president. Most people probably consider doing a good job as a US president to be taking actions and working for and signing rules, legislation, and laws that will make them better off at someone else’s expense, which is not exactly Christian-like. On the other hand, US presidents are supposed to entertain people and make them feel good about themselves, which is why most US presidents have movie-star looks with good teeth and nice smiles, and can memorize humorous lines in speeches, or at least read lines from teleprompters with effective emotional body language. Probably the more sinful presidents are the more entertaining they are for most viewers. Who wants a boring president who is only concerned about justice, reality, fairness, productivity, paying bills on time, and that sort of thing? That would be worse than having a boring teacher in school.
A good leader of a good organization according to organizational behavior educators such as I is a person that causes an organization to do what the sign on the door says, whether it says building houses, growing food, selling clothes, educating people, curing the sick, enforcing laws, creating good laws, or protecting people from miscreants and criminals. Organizations can either do the work they were supposed to do or play Games, that is engage in entropic activities that waste the potential productive energy of the organization for doing what the sign on the door says they’re supposed to do. The US government has been wasting an incredible amount of time, energy, and money playing Games since Trump got elected, probably more than most administrations, dealing with scandals, investigations, making paybacks to supporters, stupid wars (Trump’s words), and budgets.
According to sayings among members of the International Transactional Analysis Association back in the 1970’s there are five deadly organizational sins—money, power, righteousness, smarts, and sex. This may sound a bit counter-intuitive since all these things but sex are required for an organization to succeed in external markets; but if any of the sins are applied in excess internally by participants they will sub-optimal organizational performance. If all organizational participants care about is their personal money received from the organization, they will not focus as well as they might on the organization doing what the sign on the door says. If all participants care about is their personal power in the organization, the organization will be less successful than it otherwise would have been. If all organizational participants are concerned about is proving how smart they are the organization will not be as successful as it would have been. If all participants care about is proving how right their ideologies are the organization will not be as successful as it would have been. And if all organizational participants care about is proving how sexually functional they are obviously the organization will be less successful than it would have been, in competition with other organizations.
To maximize organization performance good leaders cause internal participants to focus on doing what the sign on the organization’s door says it is supposed to do, rather than play their individual Games.
In this light, all organizations are somewhat sinful, but some are worse than others. The US government is unquestionably a world leader in light of the five deadly organizational sins, which are often considered job requirements for participants, especially presidents and their close advisers.
There is no way a president of the US can please everyone. According to recent surveys, despite his past sins coming home to haunt him, e.g., Stormy Daniel, or perhaps because of them, Trump is now pleasing from thirty to fifty percent of the US electorate, possibly the most sinful segment of the population.
Unfortunately, sins, as most preachers, priests, and people commonly consider sinning—adultery, lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, and the like—are now job requirements for a president of the US, with the possible exception of adultery. Presidents have to lie by keeping state secrets secret; they have to murder by ordering drone strikes and bombings; they have to steal from other countries by erecting tariffs against them and sometimes bombing them to steal their resources. Loving his neighboring countries as he loves his own would be considered insane and traitorous in a US president.
Trump may have been better qualified for being president than most past presidents were, with one possible deficiency. I have yet to read an article in any supposed information medium alleging Trump had someone whacked or rubbed out by a mafia-style hit man to cover up his sins and crimes, which is not the case with Lyndon Johnson, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. But, Trump is fully qualified to legally steal for the US as evidenced by his bankruptcies he has bragged about, enabling him to walk away with bundles of cash in his bank account, with creditors left holding an empty bag. He is also very good at legally stealing by avoiding taxes, and not paying his bills, which he said proves he’s smart, maybe even a stable genius. For sure he has not loved his neighbor as himself, being a firm believer in always putting himself first. Stuff like adultery is chump change to him. He has said most people are too moral to make any money.
Most people would readily agree a good US president should want to make the US money at the expense of other nations. This is almost guaranteed with Trump, since he can make money for his Trump Organization as he enriches the US.
I think Trump is probably one of the most experienced and skillful psychological Game players we have had as a US president. Psychological Games have various outcomes in which people win and lose, not merely money, but self-esteem, power, and high positions. Born with money, high self-esteem, and a high social position in his environment, Trump does not know what it is not to have these things. How much money he has actually made with his own intelligence after the fortune he inherited is adjusted for inflation is debatable, since he refuses to publish financial statements or tax returns; but, to his credit, he has not yet lost it all. Evidently his supporters think he is a real winner, financially, and presumably in other ways.
No doubt about it, Trump is a good NIGYSOB player, Now I’ve Got You, You SOB, a one-upmanship Game. He knows how to get in one-up positions relative to people around him, I’m OK—You’re Not (or less) OK, having had much experience playing the Game all his life. As he has demonstrated in the White House, all a person in his position has to do to win a NIGYSOB Game is fire anyone who will not at least pretend they think he is superior. People like Rex Tillerson, no matter how superior they may actually be as managers, almost never can call a boss like Trump a f*****g moron and get a way with it. Trump has by now fired several people close to him who were unwilling or unable to act as if he is superior. Robert Mueller and his congressional inquisition team may be Trump’s only remaining serious antagonist. Whether Trump NIGYSOBs Mueller before Mueller decides to indict him or not remains to be seen.
Psychological Game-players act out Rescuer, Persecutor, and Victim roles. Trump was elected as a Rescuer of his supporters and as a Persecutor of their scapegoat Victims, emigrants primarily, necessitating constructing a Great Wall between the US and Mexico to keep illegal immigrants out, but also including of course Trump’s supporters’ heinous Persecutor internal antagonists and scapegoats—those abominable liberals—plus all foreign countries who would dare compete economically against the morally pristine always-right US, playing the most common political psychological Game of all, If It Weren’t for You, in which people assert everything about the US would be just hunky dory if only it weren’t for Demos or Repubs, or that idiot Trump in the White House, or Obama, or whoever, or Iran, or Russia, or North Korea, or China, or whatever.
Unfortunately the US has never been fully OK and has steadily become less OK for decades regardless of who was President or which party was in power, although I must say it does seem to me the Repubs during their terms caused the US to become less OK at a faster rate than the Demos.
To his credit or discredit, Trump has tried to get that wall constructed for his voters, however foolhardy it might be. He has also tried to please his voters in the Rust Belt by starting a trade war for them, however insane it might be for everyone else. He has also repaid his rich donors by signing a new tax cut bill and the largest military budget increase in history. Yesterday he decided to send the military down to the US southern border to keep Central Americans out of the US, who were marching through Mexico in caravans with intentions to enter the US, since he had not been able to get his wall built in time to stop them.
Where he is having the most trouble Making America Great Again is dealing with the US military. During his presidential campaign he promised to Rescue peace lovers, by getting the US out of stupid wars (Trump’s words), the worst sort of briar patch to be thrown into, by stopping fighting unnecessary wars against nations not posing a military threat to the security of the US, unlike what he said Crooked Hillary would do, as seemed likely to me. In the interests of full disclosure I voted for Jill Stein of the Green Party.
After getting elected Trump promptly forgot about that promised reduction in military activity after getting confronted face to face by the deep state, the US military-industrial-intelligence protection racket, the largest Game-playing Persecutor and Rescuer on Earth, that needs wars to keep its cash flow flowing and meet its payroll, that not only starts wars but destroys nations because they posed an economic threat to the US. Shortly after the confrontation Trump began Tweeting messages from the Persecutor Game role to various possible external enemies, threatening to wipe them off the face of the Earth so to speak if they did not do what he said, since he was commander in chief of the most powerful fighting force on Earth and he would not put up with any s**t from any foreign country.
But here lately he seems to have changed his Tweeting tune about using the US military to enforce his will, switching from Persecutor to Rescuer on the Drama Triangle in a few cases. He has now apparently become a buddy of Kim Jung-un of North Korea, having planned a trip to go see him; he has maintained his friendship with Vladimir Putin of Russia; and, all of a sudden, a few days ago, he Tweeted that the US will be getting out of Syria very soon, ISIS or no ISIS.
Let’s You and Them Fight is a common psychological Game played by people who like to start fights for others to fight but who do not like to fight them up close and personal themselves, including most US presidents, politicians, and military planners and plotters. Such Games are played to alleviate boredom, and to gain money and power; and Trump is probably pretty good at it, having played Let’s You and Them Fight most of his life within his Trump Organization dealing with departmental conflicts, and externally doing battle with competing organizations to steal and protect business and market share.
Psychological Games vary in terms of hardness. First degree Games involve mainly insults, tricks, discounts, threats, and humiliations, such as those used by Br’er Rabbit; second degree Games involve shouting, yelling, threatening, and serious insults; third degree Games, sometimes called tissue-tearing Games, entail consequences such as going broke, or getting fired, divorced, sued, or being put in a jail, hospital or morgue. All psychological Games entail deceiving, belittling, or “discounting” the worth and right to exist of the opponent, or “mark”.
By various accounts first and second degree Games are omnipresent in the Trump White House. On the other hand, it’s possible Trump can’t abide third degree tissue-tearing Let’s You and Them Fight Games that entail killing masses of people and causing widespread wanton destruction of property and treasure in foreign countries. Let’s hope so. It seems he is attracted to and enjoys pretty people and buildings more than most people, especially big tall pretty ones with his name on them, so he might be less inclined to destroy buildings and people with bombs in foreign countries than most presidents.
Disagreeing with what President Jimmy Carter told Stephen Colbert, I don’t think praying for Trump will do any good, since most people Trump’s age are set in their ways. It seems to me we the people are currently at the mercy of his life script and the scripts of people he hires and doesn’t fire that he personally communicates with making decisions. On the bright side, it does seem to me there is some evidence his life script is not as anti-social as it appeared to be when he first came on stage as a possible new dear leader of the US.
The briar patch Trump is now burrowed up in is probably stickier and thornier than he ever dreamed it would be. I don’t know how he stands it, just knowing about the possible consequences of decisions and actions coming across his desk every day, especially knowing more than anyone else what the US deep state is doing to people all around Spaceship Earth. The last time a US president seriously played Games with the deep state, John F. Kennedy, he got assassinated in a third degree NIGYSOB Game, involving covert operators in the deep state. Barack Obama said he didn’t want to wind up like John F. Kennedy. He cooperated with the deep state, and he merrily vacated the White House briar patch after eight years unscathed.
Who knows what sort of tar pit Trump fell into doing business before he got thrown into his White House briar patch. Most people would never think of Donald John Trump as a psychological Victim, but in some ways he is, like most of us. Most likely he won’t seriously try to reduce the cash inflows and power of the deep state, having already given them the biggest military spending increase in history, as his protection racket payment; but it seems to me there is some chance he might reduce military attacks as the so-called commander in chief of the military more than most presidents, letting the chips fall where they may, at least trying to do the right thing for most people in some ways—trying to do some of what he said he wanted to do when he was running for office—get the US out of stupid wars, create new infrastructure at home, and rationally interact with other countries around Spaceship Earth. He could even decide to become a martyr, at age seventy-plus, if necessary script messages were automatically absorbed into his life script before he was eight years old, that are now stored somewhere in his brain cells, that might get cathected.
What’s the probability this might happen? I have no idea, but it’s not very high. Regardless, we can always hope for the best.
Please forward, share, publish, print, reprint, or otherwise disseminate this article any way you see fit. Richard John Stapleton, Editor & Publisher, Effective Learning Report, 32 East Main Street, Statesboro, Georgia, USA, www.effectivelearning.net.
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This blog contains thoughts and opinions written as articles by me as they happen from time to time, and essays and articles written by other authors, published in various intrepid Internet journals, and elsewhere, primarily attempting to paint a generally accurate picture of the true state of affairs around Earth and what should be done to increase the satisfaction of human beings individually and in groups around Earth. Opinions in this blog are not political in the sense they were created to further the aims, interests, beliefs, dogmas, and doctrines of a particular political party, or any other type of group or organization. I am not a member of an established political party, but I am a member of a few organizations, including the International Transactional Analysis Association, the United States, and Spaceship Earth.
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The purpose of the Effective Learning Report is not to cover current events. The purpose is simply to provide insight into how the world works and what might be done to improve things.
I have supported and voted for particular political candidates in the US because I thought the person was the best available person for the job, not because he or she was a member of a political party. I supported and voted for Barack Obama but I did not support or vote for Hillary Clinton. I supported Bernie Sanders until Sanders dropped out of the 2016 race. I wound up supporting and voting for Jill Stein of the Green Party in the US 2016 presidential race.
Opinions written and published in this blog are the opinions of me alone, and do not reflect the opinions of clients or visitors at Effective Learning Company, especially my wife’s mathematics tutorees. While I let my wife know my opinions from time to time face-to-face, I make no effort to coerce or cajole her into adopting them, having long since learned such efforts are futile. I rarely discuss my opinions in this blog face-to-face with anyone at Effective Learning Company. As a professor teaching business policy, ethics, and entrepreneurship in a business school, political opinions were sometimes discussed in my classes as issues and students made recommendations, as I did, but no recommendations were ever taught as truth to be memorized for any sort of test.
My attitude, believing it’s educational for people to hear, and read, alternative opinions, is “if the shoe fits wear it.” If not, believe whatever you want to believe.
This issue was covered more comprehensively in my book Business Voyages: Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata, and Tools for Discovering and Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds. See “Inside the Book” Business Voyages by Richard John Stapleton free at Amazon.com to see the table of contents and some of the writing.
Unfortunately in today’s Internet Facebook world many members of political parties regard people expressing opinions contrary to their party and personal propaganda, dogma, doctrine, lies, and opinions to be what they call “trolls”. A troll is someone who infiltrates the psychological, intellectual, or physical boundaries of a group or organization, such as a group of Democrats or Republicans, with the mission of changing the minds of members to further the aims and purposes of a competing group or organization.
While I am not a troll, I consider contrary honest opinions people are randomly exposed to to be good for them, and for all people and groups aboard Spaceship Earth, since it causes everyone to learn something. We need more dialogical dialectic discussions, preferably face-to-face, however challenging, that might cause all of us to learn something.
Otherwise, we are all living in a war zone with no hope of lasting peace.
The trick is to learn how to do this in a civilized manner. Read my book Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning for more detail on how to communicate and learn in groups with dialogical dialectical discussion. For more information about the book click on the Effective Learning Publications option at the top of this blog page in the left column.
Comments, criticisms, and recommendations from readers are welcome. Please write your comments, criticisms, or recommendations in the block below articles on this page, or email me at email@example.com.
In order to write comments, etc. on this page, you have to make sure you have popped the article up at the top of the right column of this page by clicking on the article title or a Read on option to energize the linking options. If you came to the page from Facebook or some other link the linking options are automatically visible and ready to go. While this page is relatively user friendly it forces people using it to become programmed robots to some degree in some ways, as does all computer technology used for any purpose.
There are, alas, always tradeoffs, and no free lunches, in any entrepreneurial venture. In order to read free articles from this page, you have to conform to a computer algorithm, paying a price by giving up some autonomy and human dignity. In some ways we increase our freedom and satisfaction by using computers; but in other ways we lose freedom and satisfaction by using computers. As in all ventures we come out ahead only if we gain more than we lose. I sometimes wonder if humanity is actually getting better off because of developing and using computer technology, especially when talking with a robot on the telephone trying to get something straightened out, such as a problem with a medical bill or an insurance payment.
HOW TO EVALUATE THE PRODUCTIVITY OF TEACHERS AND LEARNERS
Check out our article, “Optimizing the fairness of student evaluations: A study of correlations between instructor excellence, study production, learning production, and effective grades,” by Stapleton & Murkison, published in 2001 in the Journal of Management Education, by the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society, using Sage Publications. This article presents a new metric I invented, the CITP, the Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity, which has now been cited in sixty-one refereed professional journal articles in several disciplines, from physics to psychology.
Here is a pdf copy of the article “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations: A Study of Correlations Between Instructor Excellence, Study Production, Learning Production and Expected Grades.”
Published in 2001 by the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society in the Journal of Management Education, this article by Stapleton & Murkison has now been cited in 61 refereed professional journal articles, providing insights into how to evaluate teaching and learning in schools, colleges, and universities, showing how difficult it is to fairly evaluate teaching and learning and why relative expected grades questions should always be included on student evaluation forms to provide a modicum of fairness.
To verify the 61 citations just punch Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations into Google and read the sources.
Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations gets to the heart of intractable problems of the teaching profession, the most serious of which is probably teacher evaluations. How can you or a teacher know how well a teacher is doing his/her job? What sort of criteria can you use for making this judgment? Certainly the purpose of teaching is to cause learning to occur in students, but how do you measure this? What kind of learning? How much learning? How much learning relative to what? What percentage of a prescribed content or syllabus a teacher causes students to memorize? Or how much learning a teacher produces in students relative to how much peer teachers produce? In other words are you attempting to measure absolute learning or relative learning?
Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations presents a unique Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity (CITP), one of the most sophisticated metrics of teaching productivity yet developed in the teacher evaluation literature.
Here is my Chain of Ego States diagram, first published in an article titled “The Chain of Ego States” in the Transactional Analysis Journal, vol. 8, no. 3 (Stapleton, 1978).
According to Eric Berne, MD, the euhemerous of transactional analysis, success equals adaptability plus flexibility. What humans have to adapt and flex to are human group imagos and personalities in chains of ego states.
According to Silvia Baba Neal, a certified transactional analyst in the UK, Berne defined a group imago as, “Any mental picture, conscious, pre-conscious or unconscious of what a group is or should be like.”
This definition covers a lot of ground. What is a mental picture, whether conscious, pre-conscious, or unconscious? What is a group for that matter? A mental picture of a group would depend on how a person visualizes things in his or her brain which would be a function of several variables, genetic brain architecture and neurological hardwiring, and also subjective messages exposed to in life plus any decisions made about the messages. Would the picture include colors or would it be purely black and white? Would it be accompanied with audio recordings as in some sort of documentary?
Regardless, it seems to me it is fair to say that all people have fantasies, ideas, and pictures in their brains of what groups are, what they are like, and what they should be like, based on previous experience. Berne published a book titled Structure and Dynamics of Organizations and Groups in which he discussed not only groups but organizations, that is, groups of groups.
So much for group imagos that have to be adapted to if you want to succeed. What about personalities that have to be flexed to?
They are the personalities of the people in the groups and organizations you have to work with. What is a personality? Well, it’s the way people come across to you and others. How many adjectives can you think of to describe someone’s personality? Cheerful? Gloomy? Stingy? Generous? Loving? Warm? Cold? Withdrawn? Engaging? Rejecting? Accepting? Conscientious? Selfish? Introverted? Extroverted? Trustworthy? Untrustworthy?
Most likely if you really thought about it you could come up with a hundred or more adjectives to describe the personalities of individual humans.
Eric Berne was a great believer in using Occam’s Razor when writing, getting to the heart of the matter in the most efficient way, using the fewest words that will get your ideas across, so he comprised all adjectives one might use to describe a human personality into three general concepts: Parent, Adult, and Child ego states. In other words, does someone have a Parent, Adult, or Child personality or persona? Or, in a particular moment is someone coming across as parent-like, child-like, or adult-like?
In transactional analysis (TA) terms flexing to someone’s personality entails trying to satisfy the person by coming across as parent-like, adult-like, or child-like to get along with the person in a congruent harmonious way.
To get along you have to go along, not only adapting to the group imagos of fellow humans but flexing to their personalities, in groups and organizations. Transactional analysis gives you concepts and techniques for discerning where you and others are coming from so as to consciously decide how to maximize your chances of success in organizational situations.
What is success? It’s a matter of achieving your goals and objectives. If you want to feel, think, or do something and you do it you’re successful. Unfortunately what you want to feel, think, or do may not be what someone else wants you to feel, think, or do, which entails frustration, compromise, not being true to yourself, if you want to remain a member in good standing with the individual, group, or organization. The problem is particularly touchy if someone else happens to be your parent in a family or your boss in an authoritarian organization, such as a religion, corporation, military unit, or government. In such cases you have to fake it and pretend you agree if you do not, if you want to get along and go along.
The first group humans become a member of in most cases is a family, composed of a mother and a father, such as Number 1 in the Chain of Ego States diagram above, with various and sundry other kinds of groups and organizations to be encountered later in life with which one becomes a member, friends, churches, schools, universities, clubs, gangs, fraternities, businesses, corporations, military units, governments, a planet.
Ego states are states of being including thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, feelings, gestures, body language, and other signals determining how humans come across with others in communication episodes, whether parent-like, adult-like, or child-like. Humans switch ego states depending on who they are communicating with and what sort of circumstances they are in, whether they are working, socializing, teaching, training, sitting in a classroom or church, or having fun with friends, hopefully using the ego state most appropriate in the situation. Humans transmit messages from ego states in themselves to ego states in others in various combinations, Parent-Parent, Child-Child, Child-Adult, Adult-Parent, or whatever combination. The diagram above applies to situations in which there is some sort of authoritarian organization involved, such as parents dealing with children, or bosses dealing with subordinates in various organizations. Child-Child ego state script messages are known as injunctions, since they forbid feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of various sorts.
Script messages are transmitted socially and psychologically, social messages being represented in the Chain of Ego States diagram by solid lines and psychological messages being represented by dotted lines. Social messages are verbalized overt auditory messages; psychological messages are covert non-spoken ulterior messages transmitted by body language, emotional states, and after the fact positive or negative stroking as people react to situations and feel and do certain things.
Scripts in families are created automatically when parents transmit various messages to their children from various ego states socially and psychologically, in and out of awareness. Scripts are life plans generally decided before the age of eight by offspring based on script messages transmitted to them by their parents. Since parents by and large transmit the same script messages that were transmitted to them before they were eight years old script messages in families can remain intact for many generations. According to transactional analysts script decisions made before the age of eight have lasting effects, determining three general life outcomes: winner, loser, and non-winner. These decisions can be redecided and updated later in life but it’s not easy for most people.
Psychological Child-Child ego state script injunctions are what cause the most trouble for humans in their lives, causing them to inappropriately adapt and flex in various circumstances . Script injunctions are often currently inappropriate and ineffective because ancestors had to adapt and flex to harsh inhospitable environments that no longer exist. While their script feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and messages may have been life saving for themselves in their time they may be detrimental and frustrating for their descendants in the here and now. The problem is most people do not have psychological permission to not obey their Injunctions, which means they cannot adapt and flex appropriately in some organizational situations even if they want to based on their own Adult decision making.
Opposing, or opposite, script messages transmitted by parents can put a child in a Not-OK bind throughout childhood and adolescence, assuming a divorce has not already occurred, causing considerable trouble within a family, since the child cannot please both parents, which can put both parents in Not-OK positions vis-a-vis each other if the child makes a decision about which parent is right, creating Not-OKness in the family system as a whole.
What many humans need is psychological permission to violate and ignore their own psychological outdated obsolete family Child ego state script message Injunctions, not only to increase their own OKness, but the OKness of all living members of the family system. Violating your script injunctions is easier said than done once they become hardwired into your feeling, thinking, and behavioral system, i.e., your life script. Psychotherapy provided by potent psychotherapists is sometimes necessary for individuals to give them psychological permission to disobey one or more injunctions in order to be successful.
I became a certified transactional analyst, a CTA, after passing written and oral comprehensive exams administered by the International Transactional Analysis Association in 1978, after undergoing three years of intensive once a month training, all day Saturday and half of Sunday, at the Southeast Institute at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, working with scores of TA psychotherapists, teachers, and trainers, mainly from around the US, and I still haven’t gotten rid of some injunctions I would like to, which is not uncommon. Eric Berne himself had a Don’t be Close injunction that he never got rid of, despite having a very high IQ, or maybe because of it, dying single after three marriages at age sixty. Living in your head most of your time at home writing best selling books as Berne did is not the best way to maximize your chances of a successful marriage, however rich you get from millions of copies of books sold, as he did. Sometimes you just have to live with your injunctions. Despite them you be successful in some ways if you can find people, groups, and organizations that have scripts compatible with yours.
I have covered ego states and scripts in my books Business Voyagesand Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning, listing common Parent ego state script messages and Child ego state injunctions. All parents do not transmit the same script messages creating considerable variety among family scripts and outcomes. Certain life scripts conveniently fit certain roles, jobs, professions, careers, and what have you more than others, providing fresh compatible recruits for open slots generation after generation, assuming the economy does not dramatically change. Unfortunately in recent years in the US the offshoring of high wage blue collar jobs to foreign low wage countries and the use of more and more automation has rendered many family scripts obsolete.
Here are some chain of ego states organizational script messages I observed working in organizations and groups as a professor and consultant taken from a passage on pages 187-188 from Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning, first published in 1978:
PARENT CHAIN OF COMMAND MESSAGES: Be productive. Work hard. Make money. Be strong. Hurry up. Be firm. Be slow. Be pompous. Be polite. Be serious and reverent. Be silly and irreverent. Walk fast. Use emphatic hand gestures. Make small talk. Don’t violate the chain of command. Go through channels. Be attractive. Be unattractive. Be short. Be tall. Look harried. Please me. Be perfect. Make the organization look good. Use innocuous, euphemistic words. Take your glasses off, and point with them. Wear a pinstriped suit. Dress nicely. Drive a Buick Electra. Play golf. Drink scotch. Cross your legs nonchalantly. Stroll coolly. Have another beer. Have some wine. Don’t wear a tie or dress nicely. Go bowling with the guys/gals. Ride a bicycle. Get a Toyota. Be a nice gal/guy. Act/be old/young.
ADULT CHAIN OF COMMAND MESSAGES: Hiring costs are $100; firing costs are $97. We need one thousand more units a month to keep up with the present sales rate. Enrollment increased/decreased X percent. X percent of our students /trainees report back that our teaching/training was beneficial to them. X percent of our students think they learn valuable, relevant learning in our classes/courses/programs. X percent of our customers rate our products or services as excellent, good, average, poor, or unsatisfactory.
CHILD CHAIN OF COMMAND MESSAGES: Don’t think. Don’t feel. Don’t be powerful. Don’t feel what you feel, feel what I want you to feel. Don’t be close. Don’t be you, be what I attribute you to be. Don’t belong. Don’t be well or sane. Don’t be sexual. Don’t be intelligent. Don’t be imaginative. Don’t make it. Don’t feel glad. Don’t learn. Don’t achieve. Don’t grow up. Don’t be energetic and confident. Don’t be spontaneous.
Some of the above script messages are easy to adapt and flex to and some are not. Most firings in organizations come about, not because of technical Adult incompetence, but because subordinates are unwilling or unable to adapt and flex to ego states and script messages flowing on the organization’s chain of command using their Adapted Child ego states, caused by messages rightly or wrongly put there over time mostly unconsciously by the organization’s leaders to gain the group imago and personality satisfactions they thought best and craved, however just and fair they were.
Witness the hirings and firings of immediate subordinates of the current Number 1 leader of the US government, Donald John Trump. One has to wonder about the script messages his parents transmitted to him. It seems to me most people could not successfully adapt and flex to them, and it seems to me most of the people who voted for him did so out of a Rebel Child ego state, caring less about the real truth of anything.
It seems to me Donald Trump operates out of a Free Child ego state about ninety percent of the time, coming from a life position of I’m OK, My voters are OK, but everyone else is Less OK or Not OK, and I am going to make the world pay, living in a fantasy world in which he feels and thinks anything he imagines or says is possible, as if he had been scripted before age eight in a family with almost no Parent or Adult script messages. It seems to me this is possible for someone with aloof wealthy parents growing up in New York City parented primarily by nannies who are afraid of losing their relatively well paying jobs, who assiduously cater to the whims of their charges, doing everything they can to please them.
It’s not that easy for most humans to take care of Number 1 in life much less look out for everyone; but given global warming and economic and political problems around Spaceship Earth one can build a case humans should at least give the idea of looking out for everyone some thought. The capitalist economic system based on the premise that always looking out for Number 1 is always the best ethical policy no longer works for most people.
Are there now more unsuccessful people than successful people aboard Spaceship Earth? Based on incomes and wealth alone so it would seem. If so, what should be done? One idea is to get as many humans as possible from all OK positions involved in bottom-up Game-free discussion groups to think about and discuss what humans might do to increase the success of everyone and to increase the survival chances of the human species threatened by global warming and nuclear war.
To cope with problems and threats such as global warming, nuclear weapons, poverty, and income inequality, it seems to me a sensible doable strategy would be for humans to get together to discuss script messages using their Adult, Nurturing Parent, Free Child, and Rebel Child ego states to develop consensual ideas to be used by all humans aboard Spaceship Earth to adapt and flex with political parties and nations. A serious problem around Earth is separating relevant focal points from irrelevant noise in order to comprehend what is really going on, best accomplished in Game-free script-free group discussions.
It will do little good to play AIN’T IT AWFUL, a psychological Game identified and labeled by transactional analysts to stroke humans for being innocent helpless Victims of obsolete economic, religious, and political systems manipulated and exploited by rapacious sociopathic Persecutor oligarchs and leaders and their corrupt bought and paid for lackey politicians for selfish gain, however true that might be in reality.
On the other hand, it
will do no good for Earthians to stick their heads in the sand to passively
pretend everything is just hunky-dory and swell, with everything coming up
roses for everyone, living in small imaginary Candide-like best of all possible
worlds, playing a psychological Game labeled GREENHOUSE by transactional
analysts, in which players are rewarded with plastic strokes for making
nonsensical positive comments about the environment and their lives.
Regardless of the causes
of the Earthian plight, it seems to me individual humans should assume
responsibility and take action for conserving energy as best they can in their
daily lives to reduce greenhouse gases; but especially they should select
politicians who will create economic and political policies and actions to
correct environmental and social problems on a mass scale.
An existential question
right now is whether humans can learn how to look after everyone, not merely
number one, to prevent the extinction of the human species.
In the last six months I have tried to set up a De-Gaming Democracy group as explained in my article, “De-Gaming and Saving Democracy,” here in Statesboro, Georgia, USA, where I live, hoping to engage citizens of various persuasions, whether red, blue, green, or any other color, in discussions of relevant economic and political problems and opportunities to develop consensual realistic approaches to the environmental problems we face, in what I call the Ogeechee Economic Forum Hour meeting the third Saturday of each month, with little success. So far four participants have shown up. It appears most people are not interested in, or are afraid of, transacting in Game-free script-free Adult ways in public dealing with environmental, economic, and political problems and opportunities. Hopefully interest in this forum will pick up. It seems to me right now that humans all around Spaceship Earth should get busy in Game-free script-free groups right now developing consensual answers for problems threatening their existence as a species.
See my article “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc. for some management science ideas on how Earthians might eventually co-construct an economic and political system that is viable and satisfying for everyone.
One can build a case that humans are not only born to learn but born to live in groups and organizations, the first group exposed to being a family, with additional groups and organizations being joined throughout lives, with the major requirement for newborn humans being to successfully adapt and flex to their family script messages and ego states as they exist, primarily using their Adapted Child ego states; but it seems to me the time has now come for grown-up humans to change existing planetary script messages and ego states used to manage the most comprehensive organization on earth, the United Nations, using their Adult, Nurturing Parent, Free Child, and Rebel Child ego states, to cause all nations united with each other to create an organization similar to what I have visualized in my planetary group imago, what I have called Spaceship Earth, Inc.
Please forward, share, copy, print, or reprint this article any way you see fit. We welcome your comments, but please no ad hominem attacks. Just go to our RESPONSES page at the top of this page and let us know what you think. Don’t worry about being “right”. Just come out with it. Nobody knows what the right answers are for problems such as these in this article. Most likely there are no “right” answers for these problems, and the best humans can hope for is to develop consensual answers, right or wrong, that enable them to muddle through as they have been since time immemorial for more centuries. Unfortunately those answers cannot be the same ones humans have been using to manage Earthian states of affairs in recent centuries, especially in the last six decades, since it now appears that those answers could cause the extinction of the human species in the not too distant future.
Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA, Editor & Publisher, Effective Learning Report and The Earthian.
Dear beloved we are gathered once more at the altar of the Almightytruth. The sermon for today reflects on a few aspects of world affairs.
In the official global narrative it is said that the United Kingdom and the United States of America are bastions of freedom, rights, justice and democracy. These two countries are also projected and portrayed as respecters and upholders of the rule of international law. Really?
In the immediate post World War 11 period the United Nations was established as a global institution for the peaceful resolution of international disputes and issues affecting the nation states of the world.
Within that UN system exists the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
In 2003, contrary to Article 2 of the UN Charter, the then US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, lied to the UN Security Council that there were Weapons of Mass Destruction ( WMDs) in Iraq; upon that fictitious basis the US accompanied by the UK illegally attacked Iraq, causing the deaths of over one million Iraqis.
In 2011 Libya was the most prosperous state on the continent of Africa. By measures of overall prosperity no African country was close. The measures of GNP per capita, levels of infant mortality and standard indicia for objectively measuring a country’s socio-economic status and global ranking confirmed that observation. Additionally, Libya did not owe at the time of the attack on the Libyan state any external international debt. The US and the UK illegally bombed and succeeded in destroying Libya to reduce the country to the status of a poverty stricken ‘failed state’ burgeoning terrorists.
In 1973, there was a democratically elected government in Chile and the US enabled the overthrow of its elected leader, Salvador Allende.
In 2019, the US, as it had sought to do in Syria, is trying to supplant the Venezuelan government and implant a ‘regime change’ supplicant willing to do the bidding for the US in Venezuela.
That is the world in which we live, and as wars, interventions, and intelligence services events unfold around the world, this all happens within the midst of a global arms bazaar.
Just recently, as of 25th February, 2019, I read a Judgment/’Opinion’ ( i.e. there is a technical legal difference between one and the other – and the UK government shall contend that it is an ‘Opinion’ that was delivered by the ICJ and as such is not binding ) : “LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE SEPARATION OF THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO FROM MAURITIUS IN 1965” the Opinion is entitled. The ICJ ruled by a majority of 13 to 1 ( of the total 15 judges sitting in the permanent ICJ for a 9 year term) that having regard to international law, the process of decolonization of Mauritius was not lawfully completed when that country acceded to independence in 1968, following the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius. In consequence the UK has no colonial authority over the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean. The one dissenting Judge on the main point was US Judge Donoghue.
In a more technical legal sense the issues went deeper as to whether the Court would be effectively deciding on a bilateral dispute between states over territorial sovereignty. Judges Tomka and Donoghue were in agreement on that point contrary to the majority decision. The main legal question framed by Mauritius was however one of ‘decolonization’ as follows:-
“Was the process of decolonization of Mauritius lawfully completed when Mauritius was granted independence in 1968, following the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius and having regard to international law, including obligations reflected in General Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, 2066 (XX) of 16 December 1965, 2232 (XXI) of 20 December 1966 and 2357 (XXII) of 19 December 1967?”; A bit of history is necessary to comprehend the depth of injustice inflicted upon the Chagossian people by way of the combined efforts of the US and UK.
In the 1960s, at a time when some 1,500 people were living as families inhabiting the Islands, with homes, villages, schools, cemeteries and communities in situ, the US noted that the largest island within the group of the Chagos Islands, Diego Garcia, was of military strategic importance for the US. Britain controlled the islands as a colonial territory, and the US made a deal with the UK. At a discounted price and in exchange for a Polaris nuclear submarine the UK agreed to permit the islands to be militarily used by the US. The US made one stipulation; that the islands would be depopulated.
The UK rounded up all the islanders, depopulated the islands, then dumped them first in the Seychelles Islands, and there imprisoned them, and then further removed them all and abandoned them in Mauritius.
The Chagos islanders first made efforts in the domestic courts in England, seeking justice.
The UK High Court in 2000, ruled that the depopulating of the islands was illegal. By route of the Royal Prerogative, then Prime Minister Tony Blair, bypassed both Parliament and the Court’s Judgment to ensure that the islanders could not return to their homeland. Blair was effecting superimposition of political contrivance and convenience over established law.
In 2008 the matter returned to court on appeal by the UK government and the English court at the highest level, the Supreme Court, demonstrated what Professor J.A.G. Griffiths of the London School of Economics had termed, ‘the politics of the judiciary’ and ruled in favour of the UK government. Yet the legal issue did not end there.
Domestic law is subsumed under International Law, and it is expected that the rulings of domestic courts should be congruent with legal standards existing under International Law. So, the matter ended in the ICJ at the Hague and the Chagossian people had their further day in court and won, being found legally entitled to return to their homeland.
The UK had fought strenuously to restrain and jurisdictionally restrict the ICJ from proceeding to exercise any jurisdiction and thus not give its legal opinion. Here is how the ICJ ruled on that aspect of the case:-
“88. The Court therefore concludes that the opinion has been requested on the matter of decolonization which is of particular concern to the United Nations. The issues raised by the request are located in the broader frame of reference of decolonization, including the General Assembly’s role therein, from which those issues are inseparable (Western Sahara, Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. Reports 1975, p. 26, para. 38; Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. Reports 2004 (I), p. 159, para. 50).
89. Moreover, the Court observes that there may be differences of views on legal questions in advisory proceedings (Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia (South West Africa) notwithstanding Security Council Resolution 276 (1970), Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. Reports 1971, p. 24, para. 34). However, the fact that the Court may have to pronounce on legal issues on which divergent views have been expressed by Mauritius and the United Kingdom does not mean that, by replying to the request, the Court is dealing with a bilateral dispute.
90. In these circumstances, the Court does not consider that to give the opinion requested would have the effect of circumventing the principle of consent by a State to the judicial settlement of its dispute with another State. The Court therefore cannot, in the exercise of its discretion, decline to give the opinion on that ground.
91. In light of the foregoing, the Court concludes that there are no compelling reasons for it to decline to give the opinion requested by the General Assembly.”
Even US Judge Donoghue voted with the unanimous majority on this aspect of the case concerning jurisdiction. Yes, she did dissent on the main point of the case. It is therefore expected that the government of the UK will honour the decision; ‘expected’. The nature of such an international decision is that it is treated as advisory. Some legal scholars have argued that the Court needs always instead to examine critically why the request had been made and what the effect of giving an opinion will be. It seems that the ICJ in this decision headed in that general direction. For, the member states of the UN are expected to act in accordance with findings of that authority as a duty imposed by the UN itself. At paragraph 182 of the ICJ’s ruling stated:-
“182. In response to Question (b) of the General Assembly, relating to the consequences under international law that arise from the continued administration by the United Kingdom of the Chagos Archipelago, the Court concludes that the United Kingdom has an obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible, and that all Member States must co-operate with the United Nations to complete the decolonization of Mauritius.” My emphasis “ … that all Member States must co-operate with the United Nations to complete the decolonization of Mauritius.”
Also, learned Judges of the ICJ, might I respectfully add that standards of ‘good governance’ in countries such as the UK and US would suggest the need for such compliance.
One might even go further, myself a mere student of international law, observing, quite factually, that the language deployed in international law, references ‘civilized nations’; indeed – invading, bombing, kidnapping, and capturing territories would appear more the conduct of criminals who consistently ignore well established law than the lawful conduct of ‘civilized nations’.
It can further be noted that WikiLeaks published a US Embassy diplomatic cable from 2009. It stated, “Establishing a marine reserve might indeed, as the FCO’s [Colin] Roberts stated, be the most effective long-term way to prevent any of the Chagos Islands’ former inhabitants or descendants from resettling.”
The people of the Chagos Islands had remained as a possession of Britain and those people therefore were a British responsibility throughout their entire ordeal. However, the ICJ judgment/opinion also found that at the time of the expulsions to Mauritius, Mauritius had been unlawfully coerced to give to Britain, its territory of the Chagos Islands. As the court said:-
“…this detachment was not based on the free and genuine expression of the will of the people concerned.” ( ICJ)
Seems that legally, there is more than a little returning to be done.
Some of us in the congregation of humanity understand the good sense of standing with this Altar’s message of the importance of remaining within the flock of the rule of international law; others outside ( who I still invite in to this beloved ‘civilized’ congregation of all humanity) embrace ‘Empire’, ‘exceptionalism’ and ‘exclusivity’ – while we the faithful, the humane, the peace loving – reject those options.
One more easily might summarise the entire case from a simple and balanced perspective of a human being invoking the meme: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. How would the entire population of Wiltshire feel if they were kidnapped and placed in a strange land? A ‘little bit mistreated’ I suspect. Should it therefore be construed as permissible, humane or somehow legal for Britain to be permitted to kidnap and depopulate for the sake of its profiteering in the Chagos Islands? Thus, with legal reason, the ICJ Judges in the majority concluded at paragraph 178 of the Opinion:-
“Accordingly, the United Kingdom is under an obligation to bring an end to its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible, thereby enabling Mauritius to complete the decolonization of its territory in a manner consistent with the right of peoples to self-determination.”
To my mind, the British Government’s conduct in the Chagos Islands was, quite literally, criminal. Calculatedly criminal conduct as is evident. The UK did not just ignore economic justice; social justice; racial justice; but conjoined those injustices with violations of the right to family life and the right to self-determination and more. It simply acted as a law unto itself, having abused state power and not even post-judgment in 2019 is accepting and/or understanding that by reading between the lines of the decision, the ICJ is indicating all those violations. Respecters of ‘The Rule of Law’?
Having carefully read the ‘Opinion’ I can only conclude that the Court and the Judges sitting there did the best that they could do to obtain and deliver justice. For, in the final analysis, it cannot be expected that more be delivered in this case, such as it was structured; the Judges could only have merely done what they clearly stated as that which honest government should otherwise never have done. The Judges themselves cannot be asked further to do the jobs of politicians, who ultimately are left to honour and implement the Court’s decision.
* COURTENAY BARNETT is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, has been arrested for defending his views, has been subjected to death threats, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. He lives and works in the Caribbean.
Dear beloved we are gathered once more at the altar of the Almighty truth.
Today’s sermon is entitled ‘Lessons from my mother’. It concerns the building of character and the importance of personality development as each of us mature and advance through life. The list is not intended to be exhaustive but hopefully is instructive. These were the lessons I learned from my mother ( long since deceased but still lovingly recalled):-
One should tell the truth and not lie.
There should be room for compassion, in one’s thoughts and deeds.
There should be understanding on several levels. One such is for an understanding of our human differences as to our different human features; the tolerance of different cultures and religions. In short we should not be ‘racists’.
By extension of cultural and religious tolerance we should not be xenophobic.
We should show humanitarian decency and not mock others less fortunate than ourselves in life and show understanding about poverty, need and uninvited suffering which either our fellow human beings are born into or which at some uninvited point in life befalls them.
In our professional work and/or business life we should be honest.
Our language should be modest, tempered and balanced and restrained to give consideration to and for the person(s) we are addressing and the situation(s) in which we speak.
In our success, if we are so fortunate, we should be humble and modest, and should not be braggadocios.
In our failures we should be willing to accept our shortfalls and/or failings giving rise to same and be instructed by our mistakes. We should always accept personal responsibility when it is our action to be blamed and not seek to transfer blame to the blameless other(s).
One should have a sense of humour and be able to laugh at one’s self when stupid mistakes are made.
These are ten injunctions to help guide one through life by application of sound, sensible thoughts and proper and appropriate actions. Those who are Christian know of the Ten Commandments. But, these are ten injunctions learnt from my mother via her words as well as her conduct and consequential examples taught to me throughout her life, which are intended both for the ‘churched’ and the ‘unchurched’ alike; in other words, I believe that my mother’s lessons can usefully be applied by all of humanity.
And, then I thought, whether there is one human being dead or alive who represents the epitome and opposite of my mother’s lessons.
I reflected from my early childhood through to school and higher education and business and professional life. So far no such person.
Then, I thought about friends and associates in Africa, Asia, South America and Europe. No such person.
Then I reflected on Canada and there was still no such person who came to mind.
I went as far as historical figures and contemporary leaders and I began getting a bit closer.
Finally, I reflected on the United States of America and there I found the perfect match. The thought then sprang to mind, that if I could ask but one question, it would be this:-
“ Please Mrs. Trump, when you were raising your son, Donald, could you kindly share with us – what lessons did you actually teach him?”
* COURTENAY BARNETT is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, has been arrested for defending his views, has been subjected to death threats, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. He lives and works in the Caribbean.
By Richard John Stapleton,
PhD, CTA, Editor & Publisher
It’s not as easy as you might think for someone like me to write this monthly column. You might have noticed I tweaked the title some in this issue, changing today to right now. I did this because I more and more write what I think right now, not what I thought I might write two weeks ago, or last week, or six hours ago. This is happening because of changes in the way my brain works. It no longer stores and retrieves words and thoughts as well as it used to. It used to be I could write something in my head and retrieve it pretty much word for word whenever I wanted to, or thought about it. Not so anymore.
Anymore I more or less just write what pops into my head as I write, sometimes recalling sentences and paragraphs I have previously written in my head or vague semblances of them, but sometimes not. In a way, this makes writing more interesting, not knowing what will pop up in your working memory on your brain’s computer desktop from your subconscious memory files, to be typed into your real computer, visible on its screen right in front of your eyes.
I remember during the last month since the publication of The Earthian — 6 that most of my thoughts about what to write in this issue have not been upbeat and cheerful. How could they be given the facts, events, and reading matter I expose myself to?
One can build a case it’s
better not to expose yourself to such things if you want to be happy, that it’s
better to be blissfully ignorant of what is really going on than to try to
understand it. So far I have not agreed
with this argument.
But the problem of what to try to understand remains. It’s not too difficult to understand what is going on in small systems, say relations between two people; but it’s more difficult by several orders of magnitude to understand what is going on within larger systems, say a government; and it’s almost impossible to understand what is going on among national governments around Spaceship Earth, largely because they often hide relevant things they do, especially unlawful things, as classified state secrets, as they try to dominate and take advantage of their enemies and competitors.
Unfortunately, it seems more and more I am primarily interested in understanding what is going on within and among governments, however difficult it is to achieve such a thing, however great the probability is reading about such things will result in unhappy thoughts being created in my brain, however well my brain still works relative to the way it used to.
Your brain is just another biological organism, you know, that weakens as you age just like the muscles in your arms and legs if you live long enough.
My mother came down with a case of dementia or Alzheimer’s a few years before she died at ninety-two. She and my grandmother on my father’s side were the only ones of my parents and grandparents to suffer such a fate, so far as I know. One never knows I suppose what will happen in his or her particular case in old age. According to an article published by the Alzheimer’s Association, ten percent of all people over the age of sixty-five will suffer from Alzheimer’s dementia, two-thirds of whom will be women, and one in three will die from the disease. My mother was one of them.
One can consult professionals on how to ward off or reduce the effects of senility, Alzheimers, and the like, adding one more regimen to those s/he already has accumulated warding off other biological threats such as diabetes and heart disease. It seems to me right now that doing so may or may not be worth it for me.
What good is life if you have to constantly worry about something that might kill you, wasting your remaining time and energy worrying about extending life rather than enjoying it right now? As one of King Henry VIII’s wives put it shortly before he had her head lopped off in the Tower of London, “Fie on life.”
My blessed Grandmother, Darlie Brown Walker Coston, who always said, and apparently really believed, that “Everything always turns out for the best,” who was never sick a day in her life to my knowledge, who never went to a doctor for anything except to get a set of false teeth, told my mother shortly before she died at ninety-four: “If I had known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
She really said that, a
cliché she remembered word for word, just before she died. At the rate I’m going, having survived
seventy-eight years aboard Spaceship Earth, if I make it to ninety-four, like
Moma did, sixteen more years, I’ll be happy if I can remember things half as
well as she did then.
OK, so much for the merely
personal, as Albert Einstein called it.
What is really going on around Spaceship Earth?
For whatever it’s worth, here
is what I “think” is going on.
It’s depressing for a long-time patriotic US citizen like me to learn that the US government has not been especially ethical or productive conducting its national and international affairs since its inception, while also learning in the process that all other nations are also pretty much the same way, looking out only for number one, with the stronger mercilessly taking advantage of, sometimes murdering, the weaker, sometimes violating international laws and treaties with impunity to advance their own interests.
It seems to me throughout history leaders and owners of nations (kings, queens, emperors, the elite rich, presidents, priests, etc.) evolved that fostered the development of grandiose stories to be believed by followers to create group cohesion, thereby creating organizations with hierarchies of master-servant relationships, including large numbers of subordinates (prime ministers, lords, serfs, knaves, slaves, vice presidents, CEOs, employees, generals, sargeants, workers, etc.), who obeyed their beliefs, sayings, and commands, who fought wars and economically competed with other rulers and owners to acquire more power and wealth, not only for themselves but for their hereditary descendants, in the process forgetting about necessary moral and ethical principles, such as doing unto others as you would have others do unto you, and not doing things that if done by everyone would result in harm for everyone.
It seems once the human race got off on the wrong foot onto the wrong path in international unfairness thousands of years ago it stayed that way; and humans learned to live with unfairness, often considering unfairness and unethical behavior as natural and normal, even learning to enjoy it in some cases, doing unethical things to others before others did it to them, considering it smart, successful, winning, even heroic behavior, rationalizing unethical actions by asserting that anyone else would have done the same thing, and therefore it was OK, especially given the dire straits most humans always faced, always wanting and needing more wealth and power.
I descended from ancestors who immigrated into what is now the US from Europe, for various reasons, as I documented in “A Synopsis of my Family Background.” Most of them came to America to escape poverty and religious strife in Europe, but some came to increase their social status, power, and wealth. They started migrating to Virginia before the American Revolution in the 1700s, and according to Ancestry.com my gene pool is composed of genes similar to those of humans now living in Ireland (about twenty percent); Scotland, Wales, and England (about fifty percent); France, Holland, and Belgium (about twenty percent); Spain, Italy, and Greece (about five percent); Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland (about five percent); and Turkey, Armenia, Georgia and Russia (about two percent).
My ancestors in what is now the US were mainly farmers and ranchers generally producing families of six to ten offspring per family, but some were teachers, professors, preachers, generals, lawyers, doctors, and entrepreneurs. They were freedom lovers. I am not aware of any ancestors down the branches of my family tree that did the bidding of a boss in an authoritarian non-military organization to make a living.
There was never enough land where they were to support all their children and grandchildren when they grew up, so some offspring in most generations had to migrate to the western frontier of their recently conquered country to acquire enough cheap undeveloped land to make a living as independent Calvinist patriarchal landowners. My ancestors on the North American continent created two main paths on their westward journey across what is now the US, winding up were I grew up, some migrating from Virginia to North Carolina to Tennessee to Texas, with most of the rest migrating from Virginia to South Carolina to Georgia to Alabama to Mississippi to Texas, generally staying in each state for a generation or so before someone in the family had to move farther west to pioneer new territory to act out their family scripts.
Yes, some of them owned slaves and some were Indian fighters, not something to be proud of. Like humans in general since time immemorial they did what they had to do to survive in their environments, given the requirements of their family scripts. In my opinion not enough attention has been paid to the significance of family scripting as a determinant of human behavior. For more on this read my book Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning. In most cases script messages are automatically introjected into the brain cells of humans before the age of eight and they largely determine what humans learn and do afterwards, significantly influencing the outcomes of not only human individuals, but nations, and Spaceship Earth.
It seems to me right now that what is going on now is pretty much the same as what has been going on for a long time. All species of flora and fauna are doing what they can to survive. Some are successful; some are not. I just asked Google how many species become extinct aboard Spaceship Earth every year? And here’s an answer: “According to the UN Environment Programme, the Earth is in the midst of a mass extinction of life. Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the “natural” or “background” rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago,” HuffPost, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/17/un-environment-programme-_n_684562.html
the math. What is 175 species becoming
extinct every day times 352 days per year?
That’s 61,600 species becoming extinct every year. How long at that rate would it take for all
Earthian species to become extinct?
It seems to me right now that homo sapiens are largely responsible for this state of affairs. They became so successful that they developed mechanized production systems requiring the use of fossil fuels to generate sufficient energy to produce prodigious supplies of food, clothing, shelter, and medicine and other necessities of life so a burgeoning population of humans could stay alive for a normal lifespan of, according to one famous religious book, threescore and ten years, with many of us now living even longer than that, requiring more energy and production of goods and services per life than people who lived back when that religious book was written.
Many people think homo sapiens breeding as many children as possible and maximizing life spans is a good policy because it causes economic growth by creating customers and workers for the capitalist economic system, enabling the owners of capital to get richer and richer, with no work, as the poor who work get poorer.
It seems to me right now that a solution to the Earthian plight entails homo sapiens of all socio-economic classes willingly and peacefully significantly reducing their numbers aboard Spaceship Earth by holding birth rates below natural death rates for several generations.
Capitalism is often considered a “natural” economic system having always been used by humans to survive, by selfishly looking out for number one, number one being you, your family, your group, your country, your government, your religion, your nation, your race, your sex, your gender. It seemed, say for four or five thousand years, that capitalism really might be the best system, maybe optimal, enabling humans to survive about as well as you might expect under the circumstances, leading up to today, enabling about 7.5 billion humans to stay alive for relatively long life spans in various degrees of comfort and satisfaction, irrespective of the hundreds of other less intelligent species that became extinct during that time, who could not compete with the burgeoning population of homo sapiens, caused by excessive fecundity.
But, now, alas, capitalism seems not only sub-optimal but inequitable: It has enabled about one percent of Earth’s human population to gain ownership control of about half the wealth on Earth, enabling them to live lifestyles replete with almost unlimited options to enjoy luxurious goods and activities, including having almost unlimited options for travel, entailing the consumption of abnormally large quantities of energy, say more than one hundred times as much per year per person as the least fortunate; while billions of humans aboard Spaceship Earth are food insecure, malnourished, poorly clothed, poorly housed, poorly educated, and poorly socialized, with little or no opportunities for travel, living cheek by jowl in cramped quarters, or on the streets, while millions prematurely die every year of starvation, disease, and other causes stemming from wars, sanctions, and other tactics used by powerful nations to insure that Earth’s resources are accessible for large corporations, the elite rich, and a majority of humans living in rich countries.
One nation on Earth, the US, has accidentally become so powerful through time looking out for number one that it can now manipulate and control most other nations for its own selfish benefit, in the process invading, dropping bombs, and enforcing sanctions to cripple and undermine various nations competing for Earth’s scarce resources, especially oil. How much longer it can keep this up remains to be seen, especially considering the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground to combat global warming.
And to top it all off it seems to me right now that burning fossil fuel necessary to power the Earthian production and transportation system necessary to partially satisfy the needs of 7.5 billion humans has caused global warming and climate change and might render homo sapiens itself extinct within fifty or so years, thereby sending homo sapiens off to a cosmic happy hunting ground to join the millions of other extinct Earthian species already there.
An existential question it seems to me is can the capitalist system be changed to thwart this outcome?
Human migration is now on the mental radars of most humans around Spaceship Earth, and much has been researched, written, taught, and published about human migration problems in academia. One of the pioneers in the migration academic field is Kurt Lewin, who published Principles of Topological Psychology (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1936). Lewin pointed out human migration happens because of push and pull forces, or vectors, propelling and compelling people to move from one country to another. Few would move from their country of origin if the place enabled them to get their natural human needs met, physical needs for food, clothing, and shelter, and social needs for safety, love, acceptance, belonging, and self-actualization.
A relevant consideration is what causes push factors to become so powerful that they cause people to migrate? A simple answer is that support systems in a country were purposely collapsed by the wars, intrigues, and machinations of imperialistic nations to acquire cheap resources in the country. Other causes include overly fecund natives producing more offspring than the natural resources of their countries can support, while other causes include the greed and callousness of upper class leaders who hog most of the resources for themselves.
Unfortunately, human migration problems around Spaceship Earth have increased in recent decades because of the US’s overt military destruction of regimes and governments in the Middle East and North Africa and its covert clandestine destabilizing of Latin American regimes and governments, often replacing socialist governments with right-wing dictators and fascist regimes who terrorize their own people, causing them to flee, causing them to flood European countries and the US, or at least try to. Whether Trump’s wall or anything else can keep them out of the US remains to be seen.
Trump in magisterial fascist dictator fashion has now recognized an illegal fascist coup leader in Venezuela as the leader of the country, thereby subverting democracy in Venezuela and undermining/hopefully deposing its democratically elected leader. If the upper class fascist pretender does take over Venezuela massive migrations of lower class indigenous and mixed race humans from Venezuela will happen, far exceeding what is now happening, to a large degree caused by sanctions the US has imposed on Venezuela to gain control of its oil supply and to keep the white upper class in power.
Who were the prime allowers of unauthorized immigrants into the US? Clinton, and Bush II. According to an article by the Pew Research Center, unauthorized immigrants in the US increased from 3.5 million in 1990 to 12.2 million in 2006, the Clinton and Bush II years, and then declined to 10.7 million by 2016, during the Obama years. Most of the buildup was from Mexico with more Mexicans in recent years returning to Mexico than entering the US. Most of the migration pressure now is from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
At the same time, conditions have become so agitated and uncertain in some so-called developed not-yet-collapsed countries that some fairly well off humans born there would like to migrate to other countries to escape local conditions in their countries which they perceive to be more onerous and oppressive than those in other countries, to escape high taxes and social unrest (in some cases caused by having to live cheek by jowl with recent immigrants who will not assimilate), feeling and thinking the grass might be greener in several places on the other side of the fence in other rich developed countries.
If dire predictions about climate change come true, including developments such as the melting of the polar ice caps causing the salt water portion of Spaceship Earth’s surface to rise several feet, millions, if not a billion or so, humans, of all socio-economic classes, living in coastal plains, will be dislocated, creating mass migrations larger and more disastrous than any heretofore experienced or imagined on Earth.
To solve the Earthian environmental problem a case can be made that the status levels of agricultural lifestyles should be higher than those of bankers sitting in offices atop skyscrapers in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, Hong Kong, Moscow, Brasilia, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, Riyadh, Tel Aviv, or Ottawa, or generals sitting in the US Pentagon and in equivalent command posts in other countries, or top leaders sitting in the US White House and in equivalent houses in other countries.
Humans need to get back to small farms and organic farming operated by independent entrepreneurs.
Some writers have reported that some billionaires are now building themselves underground bunkers that will enable them to survive a nuclear holocaust, with others reporting various humans, rich and poor, have fantasized about migrating to and colonizing other planets, much like the Europeans did in the Americas, which, it seems to me right now, is a foolish pipe dream, there being no escape for humans now living aboard Spaceship Earth.
I included and quoted original research data I acquired by questionnaires as well as published academic secondary research and literature in my study of migration in my doctoral dissertation. The management science idea I explained in “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc” for ultimately solving the Earthian migration problem, published in 2015, happened to me in 1969 when I was writing my dissertation, and is affixed to the dissertation in an appendix.
You can download a free copy of my dissertation, titled “An Analysis of Rural Manpower Migration Patterns in the South Plains Region of Texas” from Texas Tech University.
It will do little good to play AIN’T IT AWFUL, a psychological Game identified and labeled by transactional analysts, to stroke humans for being innocent helpless Victims of obsolete economic, religious, and political systems manipulated and exploited by rapacious sociopathic Persecutor oligarchs and leaders and their corrupt bought and paid for lackey politicians for selfish gain, however true that might be in reality.
On the other hand, it will do no good for Earthians to stick their heads in the sand to passively pretend everything is just hunky-dory and swell, with everything coming up roses for everyone, living in small imaginary Candide-like best of all possible worlds, playing a psychological Game labeled GREENHOUSE by transactional analysts, in which players are rewarded with plastic strokes for making nonsensical positive comments about the environment and their lives.
Regardless of the causes of the Earthian plight, it seems to me individual humans should assume responsibility and take action for conserving energy as best they can in their daily lives to reduce greenhouse gases; but especially they should select politicians who will create economic and political policies and actions to correct environmental and social problems on a mass scale.
An existential question right now is whether humans can learn how to look after everyone, not merely number one, to prevent the extinction of the human species.
In the last six months I have tried to set up a De-Gaming Democracy group as explained in my article, “De-Gaming and Saving Democracy,” here in Statesboro, Georgia, USA, where I live, hoping to engage citizens of various persuasions, whether red, blue, green, or any other color, in discussions of relevant economic and political problems and opportunities to develop consensual realistic approaches to the environmental problems we face, in what I call the Ogeechee Economic Forum meeting the third Saturday of each month, with little success. So far four participants have shown up. It appears most people are not interested in, or are afraid of, transacting in a Game-free Adult way in public dealing with environmental, economic, and political problems and opportunities. Hopefully interest in this forum will pick up. It seems to me right now that humans all around Spaceship Earth should get busy in Game-free groups right now developing consensual answers for problems threatening their existence as a species.
See my article “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc. for some management science ideas on how Earthians might eventually co-construct an economic and political system that is viable and satisfying for everyone.
As usual this month’s THE EARTHIAN links
and cites as SOURCES recent articles written and published by clear deep-thinking
hard-hitting independent writers in various Internet publications on ecological,
economic, social, political, religious, and military affairs around Spaceship
Earth. I generally agree with these
writers about what is most relevant about Spaceship Earth states of affairs,
but each of them brought up facts, analyses, conclusions, ideas, or
perspectives that were new to me when I read them during the last thirty days
or so, thereby teaching me something, which is why I included them in this
issue of THE EARTHIAN.
It’s not easy, impossible some say, to separate relevant from irrelevant focal points to see what’s really going on while being inundated and bombarded with the incredible volume of noise (aka fake news) and facts of states of affairs now generated daily around Spaceship Earth.
If you have ideas on how to democratically discuss in Game-free ways environmental, economic, and political problems and opportunities in something like the Ogeechee Economic Forum go to my RESPONSES page and let me know about them.
Very sad. I interviewed at Youngstown State Univ in 1981 for a chair of entrepreneurship position in the business school. It looked like apocalypse now in downtown Youngstown. There were tall buildings vacant with plywood nailed over their windows. A faculty member in his office pointed out to me through his window the steelmills shut down in the Mahoning valley that he said used to be lit up at night like Christmas trees, but were dark at night now. The business school and university liked my credentials and we talked. I told them it seemed to me they were looking for some sort of superman in the form of an entrepreneurship professor that would fly around in his cape in the valley to make everything right. I knew I was not up to the job. As a former economic history instructor at Texas Tech I was aware of how things had evolved in Youngstown. There were rivers and canals to bring iron ore down from Minnesota and coal from Kentucky and West Virginia in the early days giving the region a competitive edge making iron and steel, prime ingredients for cars, tractors, and trucks powered by the newfangled internal combustion engines that evolved about 1900. But the competitive edge was largely gone by 1981. Youngstown State did not find a magical superman entrepreneurship chair person to turn the negative trend around. And for sure Trump can’t either, wearing a cape or not. What will turn it around? Nothing. Spaceship Earth has got to co-construct a new system to accommodate all Earthians, including humans living in the rust belt of the US.
I remember this case well. a sad story. As a retired university professor I can tell you grading students is not an easy thing to do. In this case teachers were changing answers to fairly hard standardized test questions. But what happens if you do not use standardized tests? Teachers can dumb the questions down they use for grades to not only make their students look better but themselves, leading to a phenomenon known as grade inflation. Here is a research article I published in 2001, titled “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations: A Study of Correlations Between Instructor Excellence, Study Production, Learning Production, and Expected Grades ,” dealing with grade inflation, published in the Journal of Management Education, in which I presented a new metric for teacher evaluations I invented, a Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity, or CITP. “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations,” has since been cited in sixty-eight refereed journal articles in several disciplines concerned with grade inflation and teacher evaluation issues.
Interesting article. Assumes free will, which is questionable. Unfortunately most of reality cannot be fitted to a Procrustean bed of facts capable of being decided by deductive logic. We are at the mercy of ideas that just pop into our conscious minds at various times caused by various causes. One can build a case that only trivial decisions can be solved by facts and deductive logic, that most important decisions such as the type of person to marry, what to do for a living, and who will be there when we die are sub-consciously decided by scripts, life plans gradually created in the brains of humans as they live. For more details about human scripts read my book Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning.
Rather than reason to the correct alternative most people reason to the first available alternative that will enable them to act out their life scripts.
Yeah, right, rah rah
rah, Maybe so, maybe no. I too “believe” in empiricism, that is
knowing the facts of states of affairs as best you can before jumping to a
conclusion, never allowing, if you can help it, simplistic beliefs, dogmas,
doctrines, procedures, etc. to determine your decisions; but so what. Will
empiricism, as much as you can make it happen (since almost no one has access
to all the relevant facts in a relevant situation), make things turn out better
than would otherwise have been the case? Maybe so, maybe no. Hume was right
about one thing: human reasoning, at least up to now, is limited, especially
when it comes to solving real world problems. Just look at the insane state of
affairs now rampant in the US with Trump as its elected president.
If true how long will the Fed and other central banks keep it up? How long can they keep it up? Forever? If so does that mean the market will never crash again? Pundits such as this one wind up saying the next crash will be ugly, if and when it happens. What a world. It’s almost like we’re all financially dependent on a random number generator in the head of the Fed chairman, Powell.
Yes, econ 101 is a
good course. Everybody should take it. But would it soak in? Unfortunately most
people are more interested in doing what they have to do in their personal
environments to survive rather than learn the truth, no matter how crazy it is.
A must watch and listen to video featuring a twelve year old Swedish girl lecturing the UN on the problems of global warming and the environment and what to do about it. The video has already had over seven million views. An amazingly effective speech telling it like it is.
Great article by Ellen Brown, the most sensible money and banking expert I am aware of. Her basic idea is very simple: We need a national bank owned by the people that can issue its own money to foster the interests of the people as a sovereign nation. Since 1912 or so the US has been in the clutches of the Federal Reserve System, owned by private banks, that issues money that has to be paid back. A national bank could issue money for the government that would not have to be paid back. Brown and Michael Hudson, maybe the world’s best economist, both assert MMT, Modern Monetary Theory, will not result in Venezuela like inflation since the US can issue its own money, even using the Federal Reserve. Better to do it with a national bank owned by the people, but the Federal Reserve is better than what Germany or Venezuela had and have. As Brown points out about what causes hyperinflation, whether in Weimar Germany before WWII or Venezuela now is problems with the exchange rate, a country having to convert its money into the money of foreigners to pay off foreign debts, import food, or buy or service whatever foreign goods or obligations they have to have. That won’t happen to the US because foreigners have to accept dollars, at least for now, because the US dollar is the global currency most countries have to use to pay their bills internationally, being the only fiat faith-based currency most humans trust.
Best article I have read on why Medicare For All or a single payer system
would be better by far for most US citizens than what we have now. Unfortunately
those who would not become better off because of it make a lot of money in the
healthcare industry, including health insurance companies, drug companies, and
hospital companies, enough money to buy the votes of politicians to make sure
we the people never get it.
Hard to believe he would have psychological permission to do
this. End the drug war now. Put these creeps out of business. Legalize,
control, and tax all drugs like booze and cigarettes. Al Capone was an altar
boy compared to these monsters.
Replace Maduro with Guaido to get rid of socialism in Venezuela? Better think again. Socialism might help keep Venezuelans in Venezuela rather than joining the flock from Central America already heading for the US looking for jobs. How many Cuban immigrants have you heard about lately?
Could not agree more. Here’s what we need, Game-free
economic and political discussion groups: Ogeechee Economic Forum Hour at
Stapleton Learning Company. Open for business the
third Saturday of the month, 10-11 a.m.
Learn how to feel better about economics and politics through Game-Free
discussion by learning how not to play psychological Games such as BALANCE
SHEET, AIN’T IT AWFUL, GREENHOUSE, MINE’S BETTER, NIGYSOB, KICK ME, POOR ME, IF
IT WEREN’T FOR YOU, LET’S YOU AND THEM FIGHT, DO ME SOMETHING, I’M ONLY TRYING
TO HELP YOU, and GEE, YOU’RE WONDERFUL PROFESSOR.
This is one thing I agree with Trump about. I never did understand why the US foreign policy establishment thinks the US needs to undermine, sanction, or destroy other countries, be they capitalist, socialist, religious dictatorships, fascist, or whatever, to control their oil supplies to favor the US. These countries are so poor they would have to sell their oil on the world market, and if capitalism is as good as oligarchs say it is, poor countries selling their oil on the world market would naturally drive through free competition the world price of oil down to a rational and fair price. Is it the US foreign policy establishment really does not care about a rational and fair price; is it they want to militarily force an abnormally low unfair price for US oil companies?
Is there nothing governments can do to stop this? These invasive robots and call center talking heads are seriously reducing human peace and tranquility. In addition to being disingenuous and insulting they are causing agitations, frustrations, disruptions, and productivity losses in millions of cases per day. We need a national call center disconnection agency to deal with this. I get called on average about eight times per day by these mechanical creeps.
The problem is somewhat analogous to the enclosure movements in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England in the 17th – 19th centuries in which callous landowning aristocrats forced people from their dwellings and small plots of ground on what had been for centuries land in common by simply telling them to get out, backed up and enforced by the laws and police power of the state, so they could raise sheep and do more profitable agricultural things on “their” land, which had been given to their ancestors in the past by conquering kings, fueling massive migrations to the New World, to mainly what became the US and Canada in North America; except today in Central America people that were habituated to tending land in small plots have been forced off the land so a callous elite class legally owning corporate shares of stock could take over their economy using global business procedures and modern technologies, and there is no more cheap undeveloped land for them to take from North Americans in the US should they be able to migrate there. In most cases, should these Central Americans get in the US, they will take over low status, low paid, arduous, onerous jobs that most US citizens do not want to do and will live in high density residential areas. They were dislodged from their agricultural ancestral sinecures by capitalistic global trends and practices set loose aboard Spaceship Earth starting around 1970, practices such as oligarchs sending high wage jobs in rich countries to poor countries, where they became low wage jobs, setting in motion a lowering of real wages and quality of life for most people in most countries, while enriching the rich in most countries, at least in monetary terms. Given the threats and risks of global warming and climate change and financial manipulations it seems the quality of life for all classes has declined since 1970.
Who said. I sure as hell want the idea. We were doing pretty well in the US before Reagan and company lowered the top tax rate from seventy percent or so to thirty percent or so in 1980. Sure, we had some stagflation, but that was nothing compared to what we have now, inequality to the max, with the rich getting richer every year, and the poor getting poorer, with increasing social unrest. That’s when all hell broke loose, in 1980. The corporations started sending manufacturing jobs to low wage countries (pure greed), the federal debt tripled, Bush II in 2001 following Reagan’s precedent cut taxes for the elite rich even more (political payoffs), and here we are now with nouveau corporate riche like like Schultz trying to take control of the whole country. You’ve now got to be a billionaire to even think about becoming president, unless you’re a Repug or Demo apparatchik, or a socialist promising free money and pie in the sky for the hopeless; but would socialism be worse than what we have now? Fascism. Probably not. h
“Echoing what Jerome Powell first realized in March 2013, Wouter Sturkenboom, Northern Trust Asset Management’s Amsterdam-based chief investment strategist for Europe and Asia said that the Fed is ‘at the mercy of the markets’ and ‘that’s why we have re-instigated a risk position’ across stocks in the U.S. and emerging markets at the expense of investment-grade bonds. Naturally, the firm which oversees $1.1 trillion in total assets, sees clear sailing for the rally for now.” Taken from the below article.
Here is the crux of the article:
“What Might Have Been?
“And now that I’ve left you with a completely bad taste in your mouth, let
me bring up another small forgotten memory, one that might qualify — in an
alternate universe of memories at least — as utopian, rather than dystopian.
I’m thinking about “the peace dividend.” You don’t remember it? Well, that’s
not surprising. But after the Soviet Union disappeared in 1991 (something
official Washington hadn’t faintly expected and initially greeted in a kind of
stunned silence), it briefly seemed as if the great-power struggles that had
preoccupied history since perhaps the fifteenth century were finally over. The
US was the lone superpower left on planet Earth. Enemies were beyond scarce. A
judgment of some sort had been rendered and, for a brief moment, even in
Washington, people began talking about that most miraculous of things: a peace
“The staggering sums that had gone into the Pentagon and the rest of the
national security state in the Cold War years were visibly no longer necessary.
So it was time to bring it all — billions and billions of dollars that had long
been invested in the militarization of our American world — home. There was,
after all, nothing left to build up military power against and so that money
could now be put into what wouldn’t for another decade be called “the
“In fact, though modest cuts were made in US forces and military spending
in those years, they would prove to be anything but a dividend and would soon
enough simply evaporate in the face of the military-industrial complex and, of
course, that “axis of evil.”
“In the years that followed, the very idea of a peace dividend, even the
phrase itself, would simply vanish. Still, just for a moment, in a country
whose infrastructure is now crumbling, whose teachers are underpaid, whose
health care system is under siege, it was possible to dream about a world in
which the bleeding wounds of the planet might begin to be staunched. Imagine
that and think about what the future might have been.”
Excerpted from the bottom of the following article.
Population aboard spaceship earth will continue to grow putting more stress on the ecosystem causing more global warming if these sorts of restrictions on population control become law around Spaceship Earth.
Why should anti-birth control and abortion people care how
many births other people prevent?
Is it they think eliminating birth control pills and abortions will get them brownie points with their father god for a better seat in heaven who has an insatiable need for more children to live with him in his heaven above even if humans having children without limit on earth will ultimately cause them to live in misery down here on Earth, maybe causing them to become extinct?
Yes, the Earthian debt increase since 1971 mainly benefited large corporations and the elite rich; but we the people can take some satisfaction that even large corporations and the financial elite did not get as much better off as most people think. What good is larger numbers in their bank and investment accounts if they can’t buy anything they need with them, having no real needs to satisfy, having already bought everything they need, especially considering that when a true global financial collapse occurs half or more of the numbers in their accounts may vanish? Numbers in computerized bank accounts and financial accounts called money do no social good if they cannot be converted into something real before they vanish in depressions, and real things such as houses and land require property taxes to be paid, however much their values too have vanished. About the only satisfaction to be gained from seeing financial numbers in financial accounts get larger year after year (called “making money”) after you get really rich is to win a psychological Game transactional analysts call BALANCE SHEET, wherein winners (like Warrren Buffett, who said money has absolutely no utility for him) simply accrue larger numbers in their financial accounts than losers year after year (as if playing bridge, Warren Buffet’s favorite pastime), and find this satisfying. Regardless, in general large corporations and the elite rich would rather see their numbers called money get larger in their bank and investment accounts doing them no real good than to transfer a significant percentage to the poor who could get a lot of good from increasing numbers in their bank accounts, by using them to buy needed goods and services right now, before a significant percentage of the numbers in the bank and investment accounts of the elite rich vanish in the next global financial collapse.
Unfortunately humans having very real unsatisfied needs, especially those now living on less than 5.5 dollars per day, were also not made much better off by the debt that grew at faster rates after the US Nixon administration eliminated the gold standard for global banks in 1971, rates of debt increase that increased even more after the US Bush II administration during 2001-2008 popularized the notion that digital government deficits and debt recorded in computers don’t matter. Note that this debt increase was caused primarily by supposedly conservative Republican politicians in the US (it’s a farce to say they are real financial conservatives, considering they have been much more profligate than Democrats since 1980), and the current Republican US president (another farce) is hastening the rate of debt increase even more. The budget deficit in the US in fiscal year 2019 will exceed one trillion dollars and will be financed by selling US treasury notes and bills to domestic and foreign citizens, government agencies, and central banks, especially the US Federal Reserve System, which can purchase its treasury bills with funny money it creates by simply punching more digits into its computers and calling the resulting numbers money, of which there is no theoretical limit. Central banks around Spaceship Earth have also learned how to do this, which explains how Global Debt can now be as high as the equivalent of 244 trillion US dollars.
It’s unclear when capitalism started, possibly as soon as humans aboard Spaceship Earth learned enough to trade among themselves using some sort of money, sea shells, special rocks, wampum, maybe gold nuggets; but whenever that was by then humans had learned to selfishly look out for their own interests and those of humans closest to them as individuals. When hoarding of food and other goods started was a major milestone in capitalistic evolution; when ownership of land and buildings started was another; when cultivating crops and manufacturing started were others.
But the milestone that really got the capitalistic process going probably occurred around 1850 with the development of the steam engine, that enabled humans to move matter around and do work by boiling water to produce steam power, that entailed burning wood and coal, that soon led by 1900 or so to the widespread burning of oil to power internal (or infernal) combustion engines; and away capitalism went, to humans driving cars, trucks, and tractors; to generating and transmitting electricity and flying airplanes; to where we are today, dealing with global warming and climate change, that threatens human survival.
Experts now say if significant reductions in the production of carbon dioxide and methane released into the Earthian atmosphere as a byproduct of burning fossil fuels are not made within ten years irreparable harm will be done to all Earthian species, including homo sapiens.
It’s possible capitalism will evolve new technologies, structures,
institutions, policies, practices, procedures, customs, and laws necessary to
enable the human species to continue indefinitely aboard Spaceship Earth; but
Just for the fun of it, play like you are a virtual Spaceship Earth, Inc. stockholder, owning one imaginary share of virtual stock, which I hereby figuratively grant you, along with all humans around Spaceship Earth, giving you equal theoretical power to make decisions about how to manage Spaceship Earth, Inc. Tell other stockholders what you think the problems and opportunities are, what the alternatives are, and what you think should be done to make for smoother sailing for everyone aboard.
feel free to write what you think pro or con about anything I or any of the
authors cited above have written in this issue of The Earthian.
Say whatever you want to say in response to the facts, analysis, conclusions, perspectives, etc. offered by the writers, pro or con, but please no ad hominem attacks, i.e., don’t try to prove you are right in your argument by illogically slandering or demeaning the personal characteristics, beliefs, behaviors, or integrity of the person you are arguing against.
Don’t worry about being “right”. Just come out with what you think is the truth of the matter. Nobody knows the full truth about economic and political affairs, and everybody knows something of value for a Game-free discussion of environmental, economic, and political problems and opportunities.
I have no desire to sell subscriptions or solicit donations for THE EARTHIAN, but I would like to sell more books. If you feel you’ve gained some value from THE EARTHIAN and would like to reciprocate go to our Effective Learning Publications page, the Internet, or any brick and mortar bookstore and purchase one or more of my books.
Feel free to forward, share, print, reprint, copy or otherwise disseminate this issue of The Earthian any way you see fit.
Good day my beloved and welcome once more to the altar of the almighty truth.
Ah! – please, please – no standing ovation – no cheering. Not at this hallowed site. This is not a football game nor is it the American Congress. Please be seated – thank you.
The recent news cycle in America has featured the ‘Blackface’ issue concerning the Governor of the state of Virginia. As this sermon unfolds – and it shall be a long one today – the totality of Virginia’s immediate problems in its political leadership reads more like a soap opera than does it seem to reflect actual events occurring. A good place to start is at the beginning.
So, what is ‘Blackface’?
The idea behind Blackface, in relation to its comedic intent, is that persons of African descent, are such that they represent the epitome of stupidity, laxness, shiftlessness and insobriety. African-Americans were elevated to comedic prominence by a White man named Thomas Dartmouth Rice (1808-1860). He would place black shoe polish on his face to ascend to the high degrees that his stage character would be at his best. His most famous and popular character, where he, Dartmouth, portrayed the ‘Blackface’ character both in the US and in England, was a stereotype stage figure named “Jim Crow”. A buffoon, a dunce, an ignoramus – and all those wonderful things that all Blacks are and would want their children to grow up to be. Dartmouth, to the amusement of fully entertained White audiences, expressed and explained the true nature of the African -American. “Explained”, for many a Caucasian at the time would not have met nor interacted with a person of colour of direct African descent post-emancipation of slavery – and so they were both informed and entertained by this stage figure’s “explanation”. The term “Jim Crow” became synonymous with the segregation of African-Americans. That is the background.
Now, we fast forward to the Governor of the State of Virginia in 2019 A.D. to one Ralph Northam, a White man who found comfort and pride in his blackfacing. He, in his college days thought that blackfacing with two prominent figures posted in his college yearbook as a ‘Blackface’ character standing next to a hooded member of the Ku Klux Klan ( that all White humanitarian group) was – oh – so funny and was suitable as a picture for his college yearbook. He was found out and then he first profusely apologised. The next day he denied that it was him. He, at a press conference, even thought that having said that he also blackfaced for Michael Jackson was willing do his own little performance with Jackson’s famous ‘Moon walk dance’ moves. His wife thought better of it and reigned him in before he could get ‘on stage’ so to speak.
Are we serious here?
Based on the facts – Governor Northam could never have been. But – I am sure that I am speaking from the altar of the Almighty truth – so I definitely am quite unequivocal in my outright condemnation of Northam and people of his ilk and what they then, as now, represent. I even have gone as far as condemning President Trump for comparable sentiments ( see: below – the article ‘President Trump and past and present cognitive dissonance’). So, if in the largest all Africa online publication, I have so spoken, why then should I not be equally serious when I am speaking of Northam?
But, let me be fair, backtrack to the Caribbean, to Jamaica where I was born, then forward to England where I studied, and cross over to the US for just some quick personal examples of deeply engrained ‘racial attitudes’ then conclude today’s sermon.
My view is that in the Caribbean, when the Europeans were in colonial control there was institutionalised racism. Post-independence, I would say that there still is ‘shadism’. What do I mean?
Slave society in the Caribbean, in economic terms, on the global stage practised the world’s first form of industrialised production. It mass produced mainly sugar cane and cotton by way of utilising in the millions ( both in monetary and in human terms) the physical machinery accompanied by the ‘human manchinery’ of slaves, Africans. And so in the English form of colonial plantation society the slaves, in point of law were actually designated as ‘res’ – things – not people – but – property to be bought and sold with no consideration for separation from loved ones, family, nor having any rights to develop and maintain normal human bonds. For, in point of English law, as the famous ( infamous?) case of the Zong, the jettisoned slaves were treated by His Lordship, the then Chief Justice of England, Lord Mansfield, as property as one might an animal- and – as he so said:-
“… case of slaves was the same as if horses had been thrown overboard,”
In fact, based on Lord Mansfield’s designation – some 132 “horses” – not human beings, were thrown overboard.
That is where White European sentiments and historically shaped attitudes are coming from.
More specifically, in the Caribbean/Jamaica, post-independence, the plantation society populations had had their attitudes towards ‘race’ historically shaped for them. Whites at the top – owners, overseers and any European riff-raff or vagabonds who happened upon the soil of the West Indies ( you were automatically White and privileged). Next, the offspring of the raped slave women – the Browns (Mulattos) the next step down. Last – the broad base of the majority – the Blacks at the bottom of Caribbean societies. A truly colour coded society of socio-economic demarcations. That is what happened and relating thereto is how Caribbean attitudes on ‘race’ came into being – thus my turn of phrase ‘shadism’ versus overt ‘racism’.
So to my mind, when, as in the current US case, the good Governor is so misunderstood in his conduct, it is to be much ado about nothing, for nothing should so offend the “Negroes” as like animals they are (or should be) devoid of feelings. What about my feelings? Well let me share five racial experiences. Four from England and one from the US.
At age sixteen, my father sent me to England to obtain my matriculation subjects, under the English educational system – then called “Advanced level subjects” – or “A levels” for short. I needed two to enter the Inns of Court and then could proceed to my English Bar examination to become a Barrister (what the Americans call a trial lawyer).
Approaching examination time the college student counsellor, Mr. Gill, a man from the north of England, who had lived and worked in then Apartheid South Africa, did his counselling with me and it went like this, his blond hair and his blue eyes and his pipe being puffed:-
“So laddy, what are you going to do after exams?”
“ I want to be a lawyer, but I think that I want to go to university first”
“Which one do you have in mind?”
“ London University Sir”
“Oh, its very hard to get into London; maybe you should try …” and he proceeded to rattle off a list of ‘no-name’ second to third tier universities.
I listened but did not respond.
At the time I only needed two good passes and London would consider my application. To make sure of my place I sat and obtained four A levels. My thoughts ( never uttered) were thereafter – well fuck you Mr. Gill.
And on to my attendance at a concert in the ‘West End’ ( i.e. London’s equivalent of Broadway) with my then Jamaican girlfriend. I took her to see the African-American soul singer, Lou Rawls.
As these shows go there will be minor pre main show performances.
The curtain was pulled back and there was a man sitting at a piano with a gorilla mask on. He started to play the keys and then began singing the famous Ray Charles song, ‘Take these chains from my heart’ while pulling from his pocket a long chain with a big red heart at the end.
Laugh – it was supposed to be funny, the ‘monkey man’ singing that famous song.
A voice in an America accent blurted out from two rows behind us, “That is disgusting; if this were the States, this could never happen”.
I looked over my shoulder and saw a blond girl who said it sitting next to her blond female friend discussing how outraged and disgusted they were.
Well sweeties, it was the 1970s when I attended London University; the 1980s when Governor Northam went to his college; and it is the year 2019 and he still wanted to do a ‘Blackface’ Michael Jackson for his audience – the people of the US and more particularly the State of Virginia.
So, post- graduate London University and now Law School, still during the days when Apartheid South Africa existed.
Adrienne, was her name, a fellow post-grad student who said to me while we discussed the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of Apartheid South Africa:-
“ Courtenay, you do not understand, the Africans are stupid”.
“Well Adrienne, I am of African descent so I guess I am stupid?”
“I don’t mean you, I mean the Africans in South Africa.”
So, if we reflect on this for a moment – with the then White racist regime spending on average some eight times as much on the education of every White child versus the state expenditure on any Black child – duh – huh?
In effect South Africa constituted an explicit form of ‘racial capitalism’ and Adrienne’s whiteness made her a primary beneficiary. She simply did not comprehend that fact and as with attitudes towards ‘race’ across the ‘white world’ many people still do not comprehend the historical sources of contemporary socio-economic disparities. There has been a colonial process wherein conquest after invasion, led to expropriation of both resources and identity in the Caribbean and similarly elsewhere on the planet.
Law School revelations and learnings did not end there. Now we get to the Dean’s husband, Mr. Jack Phillips, a lecturer in Trust Law and the student advisor. Kathryn Cronyn, an Australian, a bit older than the rest of us, who was in her late twenties and had completed her doctorate came over to a cafeteria table where I was sitting with fellow students and said:-
“ Do you know what Jack Phillips just said to me; Kate why do you worry about them so much and they have only just come down from the trees?”
Well – this ‘monkey’ decided that he would not share any more of the peanuts he had to get from each of us to be a lecturer in the law school; some were on scholarship, others on partial state grant, others paid for by their parents. However received it was our attendance and our ‘peanuts’ that kept him in a job.
So, we called an urgent student meeting which seemed to be a mini-UN. A vote was called and by a majority of one – the vote ended as 18 to 19 and the 19 decision vote ( mine included) ousted him from the Law School and “ta..ta..Jack Phillips and no more peanuts either”.
I am big, I am grown, I am a lawyer, I am earning and I am earning well. So well from an offshore insurance owner who my law firm represented and I had earned some substantial legal fees – not – mere ‘monkey money’ and my US client convinced me to bank and invest in the US in the bank he used in Coral Gables, Miami. I took his advice and he set up some paperwork and my money was wired into account.
The Bank Manager had never met me, but obviously saw some substantial money and a message came to me that when next in Miami, I should come in and meet him. So said, so done, and it was a morning meeting and I was on time. He was in a back room; there was an opaque glass divider for the cubicle where the secretary sat, and in the front were chairs for visitors/attendees to the Manager’s office. There I sat on time all alone and well dressed in a business suit when his secretary looked out and saw me:-
“Mr. Barnett is not here yet Sir.”
About fifteen minutes later with two White males now present she looks out and this time comes out. She goes to the nearest White male:-
“Are you Mr. Barnett?”
Then to the next.
“Are you Mr. Barnett?”
She retreats and her voice is heard, “Mr. Barnett is still not here yet Sir.”
About five minutes later she comes out and – having watched and played the game of assumptions long enough – I simply stood and said, “I am Mr. Barnett”. Says a lot.
Too much money; wrong colour.
I conclude from my years as a youngster until now, with such that I have experienced and/or learned from my tutors, my lecturers and Professors and life itself in its entirety, that a largely victor’s history has been false fed.
The current world does not go as far back as Egypt and beyond, if one listened only to that ‘white narrative’. It starts with Greece and Rome and it advances without any Caribbean labour, as in Haiti having had at the time of its slave revolution contributed and constituted fully 40% of the wealth of France. The industrial revolution in England bears no reference in terms of capital accumulation to the slave labour and its produce exported to Britain to build universities, cathedrals, factories, libraries, schools etc. while the slaves languished in poverty. Oh no! It was Lord Mansfield who set the Black, James Somerset, free. But, only him, Somerset alone, a case specific decision, so that his fellow slaves in the West Indies could continue to labour on to generate more riches for Britain. And so all the accomplishments, the capital accumulation of which Dr. Eric Williams so brilliantly analysed in his tome, ‘Capitalism and slavery’, is to be historically disjoined as irrelevant ‘fake news’ ( in modern Trumpian terminology) and never be acknowledged as the actual monetary umbilical chord linking the development of Western European societies to the slave plantations of the Caribbean. So upset were the British with Dr. Williams revelation, that not one publisher could be found ( not one in Britain from extreme conservative to liberal and even radical left publishers) would embrace at that time, the truth and let it be told and widely known. Dr. Williams had to take the product of his Oxford University doctoral thesis to the US to get it published and he taught there as a Professor for about a decade until he returned to the Caribbean to become the first Prime Minister of independent Trinidad and Tobago.
In our contemporary world the White men, descended from Europe, have been the victors and continue to write and expound victor’s histories and accounts. It is only they who can craft any accurate account of history and thus to them our understanding is beholden. Someone thus wrote this:-
“Using the modern-day weapons of capitalism and war-time technology they have dismissed diasporic Blacks, Indigenous New Worlders, women and the monoliths of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Entire dynasties were eradicated. The number of genders was winnowed down to about one and a half.”
I prefer to be the pleasant dissident who speaks of, writes of, experiences his own personal history and understands with open eyes the place, the history, the destiny of my people – then extrapolate therefrom, as did the White men before me, to an epistemological place I designate accurately and truthfully as my own. For, if I did not so do, I would become an apologist for people such as Mr. Gill or Jack Phillips or Adrienne or even for Governor Northam. That is my choice, my place to stand with human dignity intact, my point of departure from the White man’s history. I am aware of race discrimination but can think well beyond that about climate change, nuclear arms, manufactured wars (e.g. war in Iraq or subterfuge in Venezuela for their oil) and many other global issues. For as the famous biologist Edward O. Wilson so eloquently stated:-
“Humanity today is like a walking dreamer, caught between the fantasies of sleep and the chaos of the real world. The mind seeks but cannot find the precise place and hour. We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology. We thrash about. We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence, and a danger to ourselves and to the rest of life.”
And, all said and done, my place on the planet does have room for not just me, for the Asians, the Africans, the White man, and all other life forms, but I do not see as the White man sees ‘others’ – for ‘they’ too are my people; it is as if at my mental best I am one with ‘them’, yet psychologically not one of ‘them’, viewed through my telescope looking back at history and thinking from the past and envisioning a more promising future.
Governor Northam and your associates and people of that ilk – do take advice from a good lawyer and may you one day be redeemed – but only after demitting office and then rejecting racist fantasies. The real world of the UK, the US and the entire planet needs to move on to a better place.
* COURTENAY BARNETT is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, has been arrested for defending his views, has been subjected to death threats, and has argued public interest and human rights cases.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered today at the altar of the almighty truth to consider a very serious matter. It is the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the potential annihilation of our species. More particularly, the focus is on the conduct of the United States of America and Russia.
Context and a quick grasp of the motivating factors for production of these weapons can be gleaned by listening to President Eisenhower’s warning from the 1960s and then considering the stark clarity of the words of George Kennan ( he was the US architect of the ‘Cold War’).
“Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”
― George F. Kennan
Interesting to note that the foregoing does not comprise, my thoughts or ideas or opinions – but rather the reality as expressed by highly placed US leaders.
The idea and objective of International Law is to provide a framework and set of international rules for nations and persons to conduct international relations by abiding by same ( The rule of International Law). The UN Charter and Treaties are just two demonstrable examples of International Law’ s intention as to how it is intended to work. It is not a perfect system, but without it ( or something close to it in place) – then what is the option for intended civilized and peaceful dispute resolution – brute force – or – war?
Thus, post World War 11, not only the United Nations, but a series of Laws and Treaties, such as the Geneva Conventions, set out to establish the legal new architecture for the world. In the specific context of nuclear weapons the following can be noted:-
The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty or ABMT) was signed in 1972 between the US and the then Soviet Union. The terms of the Treaty permitted each side to be limited to two ABM complexes – and – each complex was further limited to 100 anti-ballistic missiles.
In 2002 the US already had destabilised the nuclear balance when they decided to get out of the ABM Treaty. In 2002, and when you look at a map, the United States was putting missile defense bases all around Eurasia, creating a feeling of encirclement in Russia and China.
The US ideology was to put sovereignty above international law, and they wanted to have a totally free hand to keep their supremacy in the world as long as possible, and these Treaties were constraining them.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty ( INF Treaty) collapsed; it had been established between the then Soviet Union and the US at a time when Gorbochov and Reagan were leaders of their respective countries. The broad objective, as with the 1972 Treaty, was arms-control. The INF Treaty sought to eliminate all land-based ballistic and cruise missiles and the launchers for such missiles.
Citing Russian non-compliance as the reason for withdrawal, on the 20th October 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing.
It is not hard to discern the pattern of attempted rationalisation, by way of blaming deviation and/or violations to justify withdrawal. Yet, withdrawal defeats the long-term objective of an intended symmetrical containment under International Treaties.
It is also not hard to discern from the withdrawals, that one nation is seeking superiority and dominance; by placing emphasis on its “exceptionalism” in preference for assertive sovereignty over co-operative submission to International Law.
The waste of global resources and corresponding stupidity should also be noted. That approach places us ( all human beings on planet earth) at risk.
What logical, rational – or – in any way sensible route is it for a nation to squander so much resources on building these nuclear weapons; when – it is known by both sides that direct use, the US against Russia or vice versa is guaranteed Mutually Assured Destruction ( MAD)?
On the 2nd February, 2019 President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was also suspending the INF Treaty.
AMEN – AND INDEED IF THERE WAS EVER SUCH A WAR, THEN MANY OF US READIND THIS – WOULD BE SAYING OUR FINAL – AMEN!
So, endeth my sermon for today.
Courtenay Barnett is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, has been arrested for defending his views, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. He lives and works in the Caribbean.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered once more at the place of the holy truth, to preach yet again about truth, rights and justice. The sermon today asks the question:-
What are friends for?
Many in the congregation may think that this is a simple inquiry regarding likes and dislikes – loyalty or disloyalty. To some extent that is correct, but the actual dynamics of friendships or lack of friendships or waning friendships or abuse of friendships is what we shall weigh and consider from the pulpit today.
May I use a personal example to get to the topic of concern – Venezuela/Jamaica relations are very much on my mind. The personal example shall lead to the broader and more important issue of political friendships on a global scale.
During my time at London University there were some eight Caribbean fellow students. We ranged from Black British of Caribbean parentage to latter day migrants’ children to British born to persons such as myself who had been shipped off to get an education. We bonded in that we realised that we were the so-called ‘minority’ and not necessarily with overt disapproval of our presence we were nevertheless colourfully noticeable, be this by dint of our complexion or the lively personalities of some of us. Not to say that the Anglo-Saxons had disavowed our right to be there, for we accepted them as friends to the extent that such friendships were invited and/or welcomed. So, within this demographic sub-group of said Caribbean students there was a person, like myself, who had sights ultimately set on a career in the business and professional world. The majority of the others went on to earn doctorate degrees, become a professor or lecturer in a university or in one way or another remained directly affixed to academia. Note that I have chosen not to call this person’s name. Some, like myself and this “friend” ended up back in the Caribbean – while others remained in Britain.
Thus, a young lawyer and a migrant from Jamaica to the Turks and Caicos Islands ( where I built my career), I would frequently visit Jamaica and spend time with my beloved ( now deceased) mother. On a Sunday my habit was to drive and visit friends and have discourse, meet their families and wish them the best for their futures. The kind of things friends normally do with true friends. Upon returning to my Mom’s home she asked this particular Sunday, “ So Courtenay, who did you visit today?” I was not in a pleasant mood for reason of something I had experienced and I shared it with her.
I drove to this “friend’s” home up to the security gate and sought entry to visit “X”. The security guard rang up and I replied, “Tell him Courtenay, he will know who.”
Word came back, “He is in the bathroom.”
I replied, “Tell him I will wait.”
Another message came back, “He says he won’t be out for another twenty minutes”.
Well, kiss mi neck back and another part of mi anatomy thereafter. Mi kiss mi teeth, tun mi vehicle and proceeded to visit true friends.
My mother understood fully my feelings, for she had visited me in London at my flat, helped cook food for my party guests, met friends ( including this “friend”) and remembered all, and did inquire at times how “X” or “Y”, as the individual may be, was getting on in life. She was like that; she meant people well and had genuine concern for human welfare. Her reply came to me in a memorable one liner, “Courtenay di higher monkey climb, di more ‘im backside expose”, and we proceeded to discuss more pleasant things and persons. I have not exchanged words with “X” since then, chalked him up as shallow and opportunistic, and have elected to walk through life on the other side of the road with true friends instead.
Dearly beloved, we must reflect in this fleeting passage of time we call “life” and ask ourselves, “ what are friends for?” For, it is sagaciously said, “a friend in need is a friend indeed.” If I were in need when I sought to visit “X”, be assured, he was confirming – I am fine and rich and mighty; do not come knocking; I am fine; I don’t care how you are; I have neither time nor care nor concern for your piddling friendship for there are more important persons in life for me to engage. Yes – I heard and understood your message loud and clear.
Let us therefore reflect and now turn our minds to the really big question regarding Venezuela and Jamaica’s friendship with our said Latin American neighbour. I shall do so, not with any sense of grievance and/or resentment as I felt about my assumed personal friendship – but – by reference to standards of international law and global political values.
The post World War 11 era has seen several Latin American coups and dictatorships installed – and many of them were either supported by, approved of, or directly engineered by the United States of America.
Following the 1953 CIA led coup in Iran, the next one was in Guatemala to assist the preservation of the Dulles brothers’ interest in that country to the advantage of Chiquita bananas and to the manifest disadvantage of the Guatemalan people in this notable example which gave its literal name to the now well known phrase – ‘banana republic’.
The facts do reveal that be it the military in Argentina or in Brazil or in Chile under Pinochet, the patterns have only changed to the extent that elections take place and the question for the US is not one of real concern for preservation of democracy ( recall the US support for the short lived coup against Chavez and the overnight reversal when the OAS renounced the action of the military) – but for support of the supplicants who can support US foreign policy. This brief background serves well to address the current Venezuelan crisis with facts and direct questions:
A. Did a paper ballot validate the electronic votes in Venezuela?
B. Why when Macron in France was voted in with the same turnout at 48% as was Maduro voted in with is there an assumption that there is not a broad ( even as so declined) base of support for the elected government?
C. Why evidentially and in point of law are the Venezuelan elections fraudulent?
If there were European Union election observers, it would be interesting to read their assessment and analysis and conclusions about the Venezuelan elections. But, those are issues of the internal affairs of Venezuela, which interestingly, while I can discern same as being vital and important in getting to the truth regarding the ultimate question of legitimacy of an elected government ( leaving aside for the moment the paramount legal issue of ‘sovereignty’) – there is no such valid questioning and provisions of analysis which directly provide verifiable answers in the mainstream Western media.
My long-term observation is that the US has consistently embraced regimes across the world doomed to failure while threatening reformist and/or revolutionary governments which make the promise of betterment for their people more difficult to achieve in practical terms. Likewise, Britain and the other European powers reflect this same pattern of opposition, be that in Rhodesia or then Apartheid South Africa.
In the 1980s when Reagan was the US President, he had this to say about then President Mobutu of then Zaire and his ‘Kleptocracy’ – now Congo:-
Reagan, astonishingly, described the dictator Mobutu: “A voice of good sense and good will.”
Not in the least surprising for Mobutu Sese Seko, as a leader acceptable to both Belgium and Western multinational interests, was installed as President and dictator in 1965, when the democratically elected Patrice Lumumba proved objectionable. It was the Belgians and the CIA that had worked jointly and murdered Patrice Lumumba, a man who at the independence ceremony openly critcised the Belgians for their exploitation of the Congo. In 1956 the Congo had its first university graduate. Between 1908 and 1960, when the Congo became politically independent, there were a mere 17 university graduates from the already decimated Congolese population of some 13.5 million. Belgium was offended by the truth as spoken by Lumumba – and the CIA quite helpfully installed a compliant and plundering leader to continue the looting of the Congo (likely the world’s richest territory with its oil, uranium, minerals, gold and diamonds). That is the truth; that is the established historical pattern. Belgium subsequently acknowledged its wrongdoing and apologised to Lumumba’s children.
I was a student in the 1970s in London when I noted that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was working actively to prolog Apartheid’s racism in South Africa, which she found desirable and acceptable. Not surprisingly, it was no other than her husband, Denis Thatcher, who had substantial investments in Apartheid South Africa at the time.
All the above to give context. And now back to Latin America and Venezuela.
China now happens to be the world’s most dynamic economy. President Trump finds himself continuing to embrace failed and losing strategies. He is embracing Bolsonoro’s Brazil while confronting China, in a manner reminiscent of the ‘opium wars’ when the European powers unilaterally dictated to the minions and lesser breeds across the world.
What are Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro and President Trump trying to achieve? They both want to reverse nearly a century of state directed economic growth. They both believe that privatization of the entire – or – most as possible of the public sector, including the strategic finance, banking, minerals, infrastructure, transport, energy and manufacturing sectors – or – so much of it as politically they can in their respective countries force to take effect – is the path to greatness. In Brazil, priority is now given to the sellout to foreign multi-national corporations. Interestingly, previous authoritarian civilian and military regimes both had protected nationalized Brazilian firms as part of tripartite alliances which included foreign, state and domestic private enterprises. I use this example to contrast what had happened under Chavez in Venezuela, for he had significantly reversed foreign ownership and consequentially also reduced the net capital outflows from Venezuela while simultaneously raising living standards – which – now, admittedly for reasons both domestic and international are under serious threat of reductions, if not ultimate reversals. That is the truth; those are the realities being faced by the Latin American and more particularly, for purposes of this sermon, the Venezuelan people.
Venezuela and Jamaica
One does not need to be a student of international law to accept and recognise that Venezuela is a sovereign nation.
Jamaica, for its part, as a small state should be able to exercise its sovereignty in its best interest to command respect, trust towards finding avenues of constructive and beneficial of co-operation in and with the international community.
Have we done so in response to Venezuela?
At a time when oil prices were souring on the global market, and when small oil dependent Caribbean nations, such as Jamaica, saw their entire economic future facing dire consequences once required to purchase oil at those prices – what happened? Under the Pertocaribe deal, it was Venezuela which came to the rescue of the Jamaican economy, and on generous terms of payment for extended periods of payment made oil affordable for the Jamaican consumer. What Jamaica received was in excess of US$3.2 billion in deferred debt.
Venezuela paid Jamaica an equity cheque of US$63 million.
It was Venezuela via the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica ( Petrojam) in 2006 agreed with Jamaica to a 49/51% ownership between Venezuela and Jamaica where the long-term objective was towards having the facility move from hydro-skimming to catalytic cracking technology – all to the advantage of Jamaica. Application of that technology would make the petroleum product more aligned to the energy-consumption patterns of Jamaica.
Venezuela bought back Jamaica’s debt at 50 cents on the dollar where some US$3billion is accepted as satisfied for a mere US$1.5 billion.
Venezuela, way beyond the few facts stated above, has been a friend to Jamaica for a very long time.
So, what does our foreign minister do to this friend?
What does the Jamaican government do to this friend?
Recall the loving relationship between Presidents Mobuto and Reagan and note that genuine concern which Prime Minister Thatcher had for democracy in South Africa. Care? Concern? For those people?
First I ask, whether Jamaica’s Foreign Minister asked the questions I did above. Then if she did, did she bring her findings to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the Jamaican people before rushing to judgment on the recent Venezuelan elections? At the very least, if a friend is flawed or coming up short, then as a true friend, would one not engage, discuss and then make an informed decision? International law recognises the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of all nation states, one to the other around the globe. If, for a small nation state, there were findings that a big power did interfere in the internal affairs of a middle range or small state’s domestic affairs, should not enlightened self-interest give pause for concern and questioning? Well, our foreign minister voted not to recognise the elected government of Venezuela.
Moreover, there are moves afoot to effect a hostile take over ( buy out – more like “sell-out”) of the Venezuelan held shares in Petrocaribe.
Are all these moves by the Jamaican Government, principled, enlightened, right, justice, fair, loyal – or demonstrating any of the attributes of true friendship?
As with my long lost once assumed “friend” – I raise these questions, for as a student I was proud of Jamaica’s stand against Apartheid, from the colonial days when then NW. Manley ( small as Jamaica is) took a stance of non-importation of South African produce through to the respectful relationship under both political parties in respect for and response to Nelson Mandela and the ANC. If Usain Bolt earned his respect on the international stage by virtue of sterling and consistent performances on the international track; then Jamaica did too earn its respect for sterling performances in joining with the global forces standing up for justice – as distinct from being supportive of – oppression.
Jamaica finds herself having to service debt, while education, health care and provision of other vital social necessities go wanting. Thus, did the Venezuelan government’s direct assistance in reducing the debt burden while assisting in securing energy security not serve well Jamaica’s long term economic and social developmental prospects?
Tell me – for I am truly concerned – my friend was not a friend. Does Jamaica show herself acting comparatively much the same as my “friend”?
Is that what friends are for?
And so endeth my sermon for today.
Courtenay Barnett is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, has been arrested for defending his views, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. He lives and works in the Caribbean.
There remains fulsome talk and writing around Spaceship Earth about the consequences of global warming and climate change, the consensus among experts being that if significant reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane do not occur in the next ten years there is going to be hell to pay by humans alive after that. There seems to be increasing awareness and conviction among ordinary humans that something has gone wrong with local weather patterns.
It will do little good to play AIN’T IT AWFUL, a psychological Game identified and labeled by transactional analysts , to stroke humans for being passive Victims of obsolete economic, religious, and political systems manipulated and exploited by rapacious sociopathic Persecutor oligarchs and leaders and their corrupt bought and paid for lackey politicians for selfish gain, however true that might be in reality.
On the other hand, it will do no good for Earthians to stick their heads in the sand or passively pretend everything is just hunky-dory and swell, with everything coming up roses for everyone, living in small imaginary Candide-like best of all possible worlds, playing a psychological Game labeled GREENHOUSE by transactional analysts, in which players are rewarded with plastic strokes for making nonsensical positive comments about the environment and their lives.
Regardless of the causes of the Earthian plight, it seems to me individual humans should assume responsibility and take action for conserving energy as best they can in their daily lives to reduce greenhouse gases; but more importantly they should select politicians who will create economic and political policies and actions to correct environmental and social problems on a mass scale.
In the past four months I have endeavored to set up a De-Gaming Democracy grouphere in Statesboro, hoping to engage citizens of various persuasions in discussions of relevant economic and political problems and opportunities, in what I call the Ogeechee Economic Forum meeting the third Saturday of each month. It appears most people have little interest in, or are insecure about, transacting in Game-free Adult ways in public dealing with economic and political problems and opportunities. Hopefully interest in this forum will pick up during the new year, 2019.
For more information regarding the nature, purposes, and uses of Transactional Analysis click here.
See my article “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc,” for some management science ideas on how Earthians might eventually co-construct an economic and political system that is viable and satisfying for everyone.
Human migration is now on the mental radars of most humans around Spaceship Earth. Migration problems in the US have caused a shutdown of the US government. The elected president of the US is now holding the government hostage by refusing to sign a new federal budget if Congress does not appropriate him funds to build a wall across the southern border of the US to keep humans from Latin America from migrating into the US.
Much has been researched, written, taught, and published about human migration problems in academia. One of the pioneers in the migration academic field is Kurt Lewin, who wrote Principles of Topological Psychology (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1936). Lewin pointed out human migration happens because of push and pull forces, or vectors, propelling and compelling people to move from one country to another. Few would move from their country of origin if the place enabled them to get their natural human needs met, physical needs for food, clothing, and shelter, and social needs for safety, love, acceptance, belonging, and self-actualization.
It seems to me almost all emigrants emigrate because their countries of origin fail to enable their subjects or citizens to get their legitimate human needs met, and that includes Europeans emigrating to the US.
Unfortunately, as I pointed out in “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc.,” moving farther west to escape problems at home is no longer an option for most humans.
I wrote about some of my ancestors who immigrated into what is now the US in “A Synopsis of my Family Background.” My ancestral gene pool started migrating to Virginia before the US Revolution in the 1700s, and according to Ancestry.com it’s composed of genes similar to those of humans now living in Ireland (about twenty percent); Scotland, Wales, and England (about fifty percent); France, Holland, and Belgium (about twenty percent); Spain, Italy, and Greece (about five percent); Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland (about five percent); and Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, and Russia (about two percent).
My ancestors in what is now the US were mainly farmers and ranchers generally producing families of six to ten offspring per family. Thus there was never enough land where they were to support all their children and grandchildren when they grew up, so some offspring in most generations had to migrate to the western frontier of their recently conquered and expanding country to acquire enough cheap undeveloped land to make a living as independent Calvinist patriarchal landowners. My ancestors on this continent created two main paths on their westward journey across what is now the US, some migrating from Virginia to North Carolina to Tennessee to Texas, with most of the rest migrating from Virginia to South Carolina to Georgia to Alabama to Mississippi to Texas, generally staying in each state for a generation or so before someone in the family had to move farther west to pioneer new territory to act out the family script. I cover in more detail the causes and consequences of family scripts in Born to Learn. Yes, some of my ancestors owned slaves and some were Indian fighters, not something to be proud of.
I was born November 3, 1940 at Corpus Christi, Texas where my father worked as a carpenter at a Naval Base at the outset of World War II. My parents soon moved back to Northwest Texas near Lubbock to be near their relatives who were cotton farmers. My father, Richard Gathright Maury Stapleton, soon acquired a cotton farm himself, which he sold after about two years, later starting a lumber yard and hardware store selling lumber and hardware to cotton farmers surrounding the town of Wolfforth, where I grew up and lived to age twenty-four. He and my mother, Ida Belle Coston Stapleton, a preacher’s daughter, had two children, my brother, James Clay Stapleton, three years younger than I, and me.
My father volunteered for the Seabees after he sold his farm and worked in Okinawa during World War II on construction projects. He returned to Wolfforth after the war and became a businessman.
His father, Sidney Clay Stapleton, had migrated as far west as New Mexico, owning a ten thousand acre ranch near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, “The Old Bear Ranch,” with a Spear-X brand, which he sold during the Great Depression. He then moved himself, his wife, his two daughters, and his four sons back east to Oklahoma, where he moved to be near a brother who owned a Chevrolet dealership in Lone Wolf, Oklahoma.
My Stapleton grandfather was born on a cotton plantation in Mississippi, where he taught school for a while, from whence he migrated to Jasper, Texas, where he managed a sawmill, where my father, the next to youngest of six children, was born. My grandfather and his family later migrated to New Mexico where he bought a ranch with some Mississippi plantation money he and his wife inherited, where they lived and ran their ranch for ten or so years. His wife Catharine Gathright Maury Stapleton served as a midwife in those years, sometimes being gone from home weeks at a time helping birth babies.
My father graduated from high school at Carnegie, Oklahoma at age twenty, having had to drop out of school at fifteen to help support his family because of the depression. The Great Depression declassed his father from patriarchal landowner status to itinerant carpenter status, managing his crew of four sons building barns, houses, corrals, loading chutes, and what-have-you in the wide-open spaces of Oklahoma and Northwest Texas. I remember him saying, “A rolling stone gathers no moss.” My father said he changed schools five times before he finally graduated from high school.
Those days are over, not only in the US but also around Spaceship Earth. There is no cheap undeveloped agricultural land left for migrants to take over and develop. Humans migrating now are generally so desperate that they will do jobs that most natives won’t do, hard, poorly paid, low status work. They are pushed out of their countries of origin because of collapsed economic, political, and social systems, being generally willing to migrate anywhere that is better than where they are.
A relevant consideration is what caused the economic, political, and social systems of their countries of origin to collapse? A simple answer is that their support systems were purposely collapsed by the wars, intrigues, sanctions, and machinations of imperialistic nations to acquire cheap resources in their countries, primarily oil. Other causes include natives producing more children than the natural resources of their countries can support. Other causes include the greed and callousness of top leaders of their countries who hog most of the resources for themselves.
Unfortunately, human migration problems around Spaceship Earth have increased in recent decades because of the US’s overt military destruction of regimes and governments in the Middle East and North Africa and its covert clandestine destabilization of Latin American regimes and governments, sometimes replacing socialist governments with right-wing dictators and fascist regimes who terrorize their own people, causing them to flee, causing them to flood European countries and the US, or at least try to. Whether Trump’s wall or anything else can keep them out of the US remains to be seen.
Who were the prime allowers of unauthorized immigrants into the US? Clinton and Bush II. According to the Pew Research Center unauthorized immigrants into the US increased from 3.5 million in 1990 to 8.6 million in 2000, the Clinton years, and from 8.6 to 12.2 million during 2001 to 2007, the Bush II years, and then declined to 10.7 million by 2016, during the Obama years. According to the Center for Migration Studiesthere are now ten to eleven million unauthorized immigrants living in the US.
At the same time, conditions have become so agitated and uncertain in some so-called developed not-yet-collapsed countries that some fairly well off humans born there would like to migrate to other countries to escape local conditions in their countries, which they perceive to be more onerous and oppressive than those in other countries, to escape high taxes and social unrest (in some cases caused by having to live cheek by jowl with recent immigrants who will not assimilate), feeling and thinking the grass might be greener in several places on the other side of the fence.
Some people now claim the US has become a third world country because of poverty, inequality, debt, and dysfunction and corruption in all branches of the US government, largely caused by corporate private money being used to bribe lawmakers, presidents, and bureaucrats to pass and create rules and laws to advance the interests of corporate oligarchs and the elite rich rather than we the people.
I studied migration problems writing my doctoral dissertation, “An Analysis of Rural Manpower Migration Patterns in the South Plains Region of Texas,” at Texas Tech University, which was supported by a $6500 grant from the Office of Manpower Policy, Evaluation, and Research of the US Department of Labor in 1969. Young people at the time were migrating out of the South Plains of Texas for the same reasons their parents and grandparents had migrated in: It had become hard for children born in farm families to make a living growing cotton when they grew up where they grew up. Most Northwest Texas rural high school graduates around where I grew up were migrating to Dallas and Ft. Worth for the same reasons humans today all around Spaceship Earth are migrating from rural areas to urban areas, primarily because that’s where the money is. I used t-tests to determine whether rural out-migrants from Northwest Texas got better off than those that hung around.
Moving from rural to urban areas won’t work if everybody does it. All around Spaceship Earth Earthians need humans to stay where they are to farm small organic farms. To solve the Earthian environmental problem a case can be made that the status levels of agricultural lifestyles should be higher than those of bankers sitting in offices atop skyscrapers in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, Hong Kong, Moscow, Brasilia, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, or Ottawa, or generals sitting in the US Pentagon and in equivalent command posts in other countries, or top leaders sitting in the US White House and in equivalent houses in other countries.
I included and quoted original research data I acquired by questionnaires as well as published academic secondary research and literature in my study of migration. The management science idea I explained in “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc.”for ultimately solving the Earthian migration problem, published in 2015, happened to me in 1969 when I was writing my dissertation, and is affixed to the dissertation as an appendix.
You can download a free copy of “An Analysis of Rural Manpower Migration Patterns in the South Plains Region of Texas” from Texas Tech University.
As usual this month’s THE EARTHIAN links and cites as SOURCES recent articles written and published by clear deep-thinking hard-hitting independent writers in various Internet publications on ecological, economic, social, political, religious, and military affairs around Spaceship Earth. I generally agreed with these writers about what is most relevant about Spaceship Earth states of affairs, but each of them brought up facts, analyses, conclusions, ideas, or perspectives that were new to me when I read them during the last thirty days or so, thereby teaching me something, which is why I included them in THE EARTHIAN.
It’s not easy, impossible some say, to separate relevant from irrelevant focal points to see what’s really going on while being inundated with the incredible volume of noise, facts, and information generated daily around Spaceship Earth and disseminated by various media.
If you have ideas on how to democratically discuss in Game-free ways economic and political problems and opportunities in something like the Ogeechee Economic Forum please go to my RESPONSES page and let me know about them.
I have no desire to sell subscriptions or advertising or solicit donations for THE EARTHIAN, but I would like to sell more books. If you feel you’ve gained value from this newsletter and would like to reciprocate go to the Effective Learning Publications page and purchase one or more books.
Having lived in Turkey three months in 1982 teaching in a management science program with Troy State University at Incirlik Air Base near Adana I learned something about Turkish culture and the Kurdish issue. This was a touchy problem then and little has changed in the meantime. Trump wants to get out of Syria. The US deep state including the military does not. What will give?
Telling and chilling. Seems as though the Euro has not been so hot. Maybe there’s more to it than paper money. Maybe such things such as number of mouths to be fed and resources to produce things to satisfy those mouths have something to do with it.
This is a long winded but plausible explanation of how capitalist economies work. I agree everything operates according to cause-effect chains, but whether it’s possible for mere mortals to track, much less predict, their progressions in economic states of affairs is another matter.
Copple’s overview of how the US got where it is today and where we need to go is one of the best analyses of what the problems and opportunities are and what should be done that I have read in some time. A must read for any concerned conscientious citizen.
William John Cox and I started our lives on Earth living in or near Wolfforth, Texas, in Northwest Texas in the 1940s, ten miles southwest of Lubbock in the Texas Panhandle. We were both descended from cotton farmers living in the Deep South going back to the American Revolution and spent our early lives living on and around cotton farms in the same vicinity. Wm had a tougher time of it than I did, becoming orphaned when he was ten years old. He moved away in high school and we never saw one another again in person, having renewed our friendship on the Internet about ten years ago. He became an officer for the Los Angeles Police Department who wrote the police manual for the LAPD, a distinguished lawyer who defended a Jewish holocaust survivor in a case he won that was made into the movie, Never Again, and a prolific author, writing several books on government, politics, science, mathematics, and philosophy. He now serves as a public interest attorney, having once run for president of the US. He recently formulated a new strategy to improve the US government, his Declaration of Non-Candidacy:
“I, William John Cox, do hereby declare that I will not be a candidate for President of the United States in the 2020 election; however, should a majority of American voters write in my name, Wm Cox, on their ballot, sufficient to carry the Electoral College, I would be honored to administer the executive affairs of the nation, to the best of my abilities, for at least one term, under two conditions.
“That, between now and the election, the Women of America select from among themselves, a Vice President to preside over the legislative portfolio in Congress and in the States, an Assistant President to preside over the domestic portfolio, and an Assistant President to preside over the international portfolio.
“That, the Women immediately commence organization of a shadow government to publish policy papers and to identify highly qualified leaders, so as to be prepared to take control of the government on January 20, 2021, and to competently manage the government thereafter. My limited role would be to coordinate administrative policy, necessarily retaining the defense, justice, and intelligence portfolios to ensure justice and to sustain peace.
“I have already written and published on a wide variety of relevant subjects, all of which is freely available, and there is probably little I could add, in addition, at this time, that would make a difference. So, for now it is up to the Women of America, who are increasingly alarmed about the colossal corruption that is destroying our government, to take charge of our future.
“There are six hundred and eighty-eight days until the election—time enough to make a difference.”
I have read several of Wm’s books and have found them original, fact-based, insightful, well thought out, and well written. He is also a self-taught mathematician and physicist and this book, Mind, has been commended by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the American astrophysicist, author, and science communicator.
If you want to respond with comments or a review of this book, go to our RESPONSES page and say what you want to say. Just click on the link below to read a complimentary copy of the book. Here is a YouTube link to a reading and video scroll of Mind by the author.
Just for the fun of it, play like you are a virtual Spaceship Earth, Inc. stockholder, owning one imaginary share of virtual stock, which I hereby figuratively grant you, along with all humans around Earth, giving you equal theoretical power to contribute to decisions about how to manage Spaceship Earth, Inc. Tell other stockholders what you think the problems and opportunities are, what the alternatives are, and what you think should be done to make for smoother sailing for everyone.
Also feel free to write what you think pro or con about anything I or any of the authors cited above have written in this issue of The Earthian.
Say whatever you want to say in response to the facts, analysis, conclusions, perspectives, etc. offered by the writers, pro or con, but please no ad hominem attacks, i.e., don’t try to prove you are right in your argument by illogically slandering or demeaning the personal characteristics, beliefs, behaviors, or integrity of the person you are arguing against.
To write what you think about anything relative to the management of Spaceship Earth, Inc. go to the Effective Learning Company RESPONSES page and just come out with it. Don’t worry about being “right.” No one knows it all and everyone knows something worth something to someone. Just say what you truly feel and think about an issue you consider relevant.
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Learning doesn’t come in one set format. As Friendship Circle points out, “some children learn most effectively through the arts.” The arts make academic subjects more accessible to children with learning disabilities, promote the development of social skills and self-esteem, and reduce stress and anxiety so children with special needs are able to focus. The result is a higher academic achievement and stronger social skills for differently-abled kids.
Arts education needn’t be limited to childhood tinkering. A childhood foundation in the arts can lead to a fulfilling career in adulthood. Just look at the many successful artists, musicians, and actors with learning disabilities — Daniel Radcliffe, Chuck Close, Woody Harrelson, and Justin Timberlake are among the famous names who struggled with learning disabilities in school.
Unfortunately, as schools increasingly focus on academic instruction, kids have fewer and fewer opportunities to engage in the arts at school. As a result, it’s up to parents to provide their children with ample access to arts education.
Ideas for Arts Education at Home
Preschool and Elementary School
Arts and crafts are an excellent way for parents to introduce children to the arts at home. From an early age, kids can take simple materials and transform them into imaginative creations. Arts and crafts stimulate a child’s creativity and problem-solving skills, and they’re a fun way for families to spend quality time together. Angie’s List suggests a bunch of crafts that are perfect for kids ranging from toddlers to middle schoolers. These are some of the standouts:
Make paper bag puppets: Animal puppets made out of paper bags are simple, but they delight preschoolers who not only get to design the puppets but also invent stories to share with their attentive audience — whether that’s you or a gallery of stuffed animals!
Create clay-dough animals: Clay dough is ridiculously easy to make at home and provides endless entertainment. Instruct kids to mold animals to hone their fine motor skills or ask them to use their imagination to invent a new kind of creature!
Design DIY bedroom decorations: Crafts with a purpose appeal to kids in the later elementary school years. Arm your child with supplies to make their own bedroom decorations, like blinged-out picture frames, faux flowers, beaded curtains, and more.
Middle and High School
As tots mature into adolescents and teens, they’re ready for higher-level arts instruction. The following ideas are perfect for older students:
Recreate famous paintings: Challenge your teen to recreate famous pieces of art like Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” Magritte’s “The Son of Man,” or Picasso’s “Three Musicians.” Instead of using paint, have kids recreate the works with a different medium entirely. Your kids will get an art history lesson and an exercise in creative problem-solving!
Write a screenplay: Tweens and teens might not be impressed by puppet shows, but they still love a good story. Gather a group of kids to write a screenplay and put on a performance for a live audience. From writing the script to building the set, this activity is full of interesting creative and educational challenges.
Build DIY musical instruments: From homemade banjos to xylophones made of driftwood, the sky’s the limit when it comes to DIY musical instruments. A2Z Homeschool has links and resources to get kids started on their musical journey.
Also, don’t limit yourself to activities at home! Community theaters, arts-based summer camps, and arts and crafts lessons at the public library are all wonderful ways for differently-abled children to get involved in the arts.
No matter their ability, engagement in the arts is incredibly rewarding for children. However, for kids with learning disabilities who struggle in traditional academia — both in performance and confidence — the arts are an invaluable resource. When kids have a place they can learn, do, and grow without limitations, both ability and confidence soar.
by Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA, Editor & Publisher
This is the first time I have posted an advertisement for selling a newsletter, but this advertisement contains some hard truths, told in an effective fashion by a fearless storyteller, David Stockman, who was the US budget director under Ronald Reagan and is sometimes called the father of Reaganomics. While I think Stockman has cut some of the truth here, I admire his courage in telling it like it is in most cases in this article using blunt no-nonsense language. What he does not spell out enough here in my opinion is that Reagan “voodoo” economics, so-described by Bush I, was a dismal failure.
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