Effective Learning Digest—October 2017

So It Seems To Me

By Richard John Stapleton

Dire things could have happened in October. The stock market could have crashed. Trump could have started a nuclear war with North Korea. They did not happen, yet. What did happen was another hurricane almost destroying Puerto Rico. What could have happened was getting rid of the Affordable Care Act. That did not happen either. What could have also happened was Congress approving anther large tax cut for corporations and the elite rich, aka tax reform. So far that has not happened either. What has happened, apparently, is approval for a large increase for the military budget, and increased US military activity around Earth, including Africa. Unfortunately we had another mass murder in Las Vegas, the worst one yet in terms of people killed.

The stock market can still crash at any time, and a deficit increasing disaster for a federal budget can still be passed. On the other hand, there are no signs of major positive things happening, such as Congress creating a single payer health care system or increasing the taxes of corporations and the elite rich to help fund a massive infrastructure program to help the unemployed and underemployed that would decrease income and wealth inequality. There are no signs anything will be done anytime soon to deal with the general dysfunctionality of the US government caused by corporations legally being considered citizens with free speech like people and election rules that cause the government to be run for oligarchs rather than we the people.

In sum October it seems to me was a rather do-nothing month for the US as a whole economically and politically, mostly talk and little do, including endless chatter about whether Trump and the Democrats colluded with the Russians during the 2016 election. Much of the so-called news in mainstream media was gossip and chatter about Trump, Mueller, and Hillary, rather than reporting of real news. There was much talk about collusions, with no definition of what the term collusion in this context actually meant. Regardless of what it meant, there was much lying about who did it for what reasons, especially with the “Russians”, whoever they were.

Following are some posts happening in Internet media during October I considered relevant.

 

October 31, 2017

The Dumbing Down of Free Speech

I (Richard) have noticed the silencing of free speech lately dining with friends in homes, restaurants, and the country club. It seems to me I used to be able to express my views regarding economic and political issues after dinner over drinks with a group of female and male friends and their friends in interesting and stimulating conversations without having to worry about upsetting someone. In the last year or so I have noticed more and more non-verbal messages from supposed friends, apparently worried about my offending their friends, or themselves, to keep my mouth shut about economics and politics; and here lately I have been involved in two angry episodes at the table caused by such conversations. The net effect is that such conversations are being dumbed down it seems to me. More and more in order to get along you have to act like you are participating in a Sunday school class or in a summer camp talking only in obedient respectful adapted child transactions about irrelevant topics. If you withdraw from such groups and only converse with your own kind to avoid the dumbing-down and the frustration you will wind up only talking to your own kind of people about topics you and they consider relevant economically and politically, which will, if everybody does the same thing, insure further alienation and enmity among polarized groups with no chance of developing peaceful workable economic and political consensuses in society as a whole using all ego states and transactional patterns in honest dialectical discussions. More and more it seems to me freely talking about economic and political problems and issues among adults in ordinary society is becoming socially unacceptable. I wonder how much longer we will be able to do it on Facebook?

Unfortunately it may be since many of my friends and I are getting older, seventy and up, part of the above problem could be a function of aging. Is it the older people get the less relevant and adult their conversations become?

Regardless, the following well-worth-a-read article by Emily Ekins provides good research and statistical evidence shedding light regarding the issue of free speech.

SOURCE: “The State of Free Speech and Tolerance in America: Attitudes about Free Speech, Campus Speech, Religious Liberty, and Tolerance of Political Expression,” by Emily Ekins, Survey Reports, CATO INSTITUTE, at https://www.cato.org/survey-reports/state-free-speech-tolerance-america.

 

October 31

Ever notice how white the skin around Trump’s eyes is. I have noticed it in several pictures. Apparently he has to shield his eyes when he has his skin tanned orange in some sort of tanning process, trying to look younger than his seventy years.

SOURCE: “Trump’s Approval Rating Drops to Lowest Level Yet in new NBC News/WSJ Poll,” MSN News at https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump%E2%80%99s-approval-rating-drops-to-lowest-level-yet-in-new-nbc-news-wsj-poll/ar-AAucIu0?li=BBnb7Kz.

 

October 31

Here is my platform for my own political party.

SOURCE: FreeFairProgressParty at http://www.effectivelearning.net/freefairprogressparty.html.

 

October 31

I just ran across this tonight, the Jimmy Dore Show, a truly progressive show that gets to the real truth in the news.

SOURCE: The Jimmy Dore Show at https://www.youtube.com/user/TYTComedy.

 

October 31

Join the revolution.

SOURCE: “We Live in Revolutionary Times,” by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg, at https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2017/10/31/we-live-in-revolutionary-times/.

 

October 31

A sad lament.

SOURCE: “Requiem for the Promised Land,” by Emanuel E. Garcia, MD, INTREPIDREPORT.COM, at http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/22525.

 

October 31

Say it aint so Joe. Trump as witness, policeman, judge, and jury is executing more civilians using drones than Obama.

SOURCE: “Trump is Killing Record Numbers of Civilians,” by Marjorie Cohn, TRUTH-OUT.ORG at http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/42426-trump-is-killing-record-numbers-of-civilians.

 

October 30

Here’s an excellent article with some excellent analysis. It’s absurd to think we could shoot down all ICBMs that would be shot at us in a real nuclear war. Therefore it’s absurd to threaten North Korea or any other nation with nuclear war, or produce any more ICBMs and nuclear bombs. Negotiation is the only hope, as this article points out.

SOURCE: “Mutual assured destruction,” by Philip M. Giraldi, INTREPIDREPORT.COM, at http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/22522.

 

October 30

I (Richard) interviewed at Youngstown State Univ in 1982 for an entrepreneurship chair position. The situation was not good. A business professor pointed out to me through a window in his office steel mills in the distance that had been shut down. He told me when he went to his office at night thirty years earlier the whole valley was ablaze with lights in the mills. It had become dark at night across the valley by the time of my visit. I told them they were looking for a professor like superman who would fly around the valley in his cape magically turning all that around. Instead of going to Youngstown State in Ohio I went to Europe for a year and taught with Troy State Univ on US Air Force Nato bases in Turkey, Greece, Holland, Germany, and Italy. I came back to the States after my year in Europe was up and stayed at Georgia Southern Univ where I started in 1970 for the rest of my career. No, the economic calamity in Youngstown and elsewhere in the US Rust Belt was not engineered by self-interested elites. It happened inevitably because of competitive evolutionary forces in global capitalist markets. The net result was worse for US workers than it had to be because of inappropriate responses by US government economic regulators. Self-interested corporate CEOs reacted to the situation to protect their interests and the interests of their stockholders. Unfortunately less was done to protect the interests of their workers.

Here’s an article about the aftermath in Youngstown today.

SOURCE: “Decline and fall: how American society unraveled,” by George Packer, THEGUARDIAN.COM, at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/19/decline-fall-american-society-unravelled?CMP=share_btn_fb.

 

October 30

Do we really want to know the truth about 9/11?

According to this meme/video/study the third building to fall at the WTC that was not hit by an airliner did not fall because of fires started by the explosions of the first two buildings at the WTC that were supposedly hit by airliners. I (Richard) have been convinced beyond a reasonable doubt by various and sundry evidence shared on the Internet that the US government’s story about what happened on 9/11 does not make sense.

SOURCE: “New Study Supports World Trade Centre 7 Fell by Controlled Demolition,” a meme/study/video added by Collective Evolution shared to my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397. For more information see http://bit.ly/2wiEXwP.

 

October 30

Trump impulsively said at first that Puerto Rico’s debt would have to be written off, but as usual he has crawfished away from the statement. How they can possibly pay off their government debt is beyond me. At any rate here is an article about who owns a big chunk of the debt.

SOURCE: “Who Owns Puerto Rico’s Debt, Exactly? We’ve Tracked Down 10 of the Biggest Vulture Firms: Financial firms are still fighting to get billions out of the bankrupt island as it tries to rebuild,” by Joel Cintron Arbasetti and Caria Minet, Alex V. Hernandez and Jessica Stites, Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, In These Times, at https://www.alternet.org/economy/who-owns-puerto-ricos-debt-exactly-weve-tracked-down-10-biggest-vulture-firms.

 

October 29

Do we really want to know the truth about JFK? What would happen if we knew for sure covert operators in the CIA and the FBI shot JFK? Maybe we should be careful what we wish for?

SOURCE: “This and That Vol 3 – Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire,” by Cognitive Dissonance, ZEROHEDGE.COM at http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-29/and-vol-3-%E2%80%93-where-there%E2%80%99s-smoke-there%E2%80%99s-fire.

 

October 29

Violence is a waste of time and energy

Rather than rationally deal with the root causes of their problems, many humans vilify, demonize, scapegoat, and tear the tissue of their real or imagined antagonists.

What Earth needs now is unlearning and new learning. Humans need to learn how to get their needs met without playing psychological Games and resorting to violence, as in wars and acts of so-called terrorism, which might be called desperation, insanity, grandiosity, suicide, homicide, vengeance, or other things.

Violence rarely solves anything. It just kicks the can further down the road, where the problem rears its ugly head again, perhaps with increasingly painful consequences.

As Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King demonstrated, non-violent action can produce real change.

Born to Learn contains ideas and techniques for producing peaceful change.

Posted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397 October 29, 2017

SOURCE: Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning, by Richard John Stapleton, a review by Kirkus Reviews at https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/richard-john-stapleton/born-to-learn/.

 

October 29

Finland supposedly has the best school system on Earth. Look at what they are now doing below.

SOURCE: “Finland Will Become The First Country In The World To Get Rid of All School Subjects,” Staff Contributor, at ENLIGHTENED-CONSCIOUSNESS.COM, at http://www.enlightened-consciousness.com/finland-will-become-the-first-country-in-the-world-to-get-rid-of-all-school-subjects/.

 

October 29

Now here is another innovative educational approach.

SOURCE: “Mom Explains Why Her 7 ‘Feral’ Kids Have No Rules and Don’t Even Have To Attend School,” by Ileana Paules-Bronet, LITTLETHINGS.COM, at https://www.littlethings.com/rawnsley-feral-kids/?utm_medium=Facebook_Shared.

 

October 29

Here is the best pie chart I have seen showing how discretionary money is spent in the federal budget.

SOURCE: “Look closely at this chart of federal spending: Somewhere within the tiny orange sliver at the bottom is the food stamp program that Republicans blame for our budget deficit,” a meme shared to my Facebook page October 29, 2017 at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397. Originally posted on the Internet by The Other 98%, October 24, 2015, at https://www.facebook.com/TheOther98/?hc_ref=ARSfCr9ZRgsPwGxpop0uOi0Ltk8f7eyrgt-_Rn-2cFywsrAWVxXoaC70YZD68TazN8I&fref=nf&pnref=story.

 

October 29

Here’s a pie chart showing the US spends as much on its military activities as the next eight largest military spending nations spend combined.

SOURCE: Facebook meme by Robert Reich on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

 

October 27

Here’s a tale told by a highly-intelligent Earthian who lived on the moon for several years after he got back down to Earth.

SOURCE: “1968, Intelligent Life and the Lunar Landing,” by Courtenay Barnett, Effective Learning Report, at http://blog.effectivelearning.net/1968-intelligent-life-and-the-lunar-landing/.

 

October 27

And here’s another tale about a secret conference in outer space attended for two weeks by Earthians interested in observing and learning about business on Earth.

SOURCE: “Business Skylab Conference,” by Richard John Stapleton, Effective Learning Report, at http://blog.effectivelearning.net/business-skylab-conference/.

 

October 26

Here’s something about what the US military is up to in Africa.

SOURCE: “What’s going on in Niger?,” by Stephen Lendman, INTREPIDREPORT.COM, at http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/22496.

 

October 26

Here’s how Trump really won.

SOURCE: “Pew finds increasing percentage of Americans disagree with religion: US political implications,” by Eric Zuesse, INTREPIDREPORT.COM, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/22498.

 

October 26

A hard-hitting writer John Steppling tells it like is. How ruling class control has increasingly debilitated US Culture.

SOURCE: “The Simulacra Democracy,” by John Steppling, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/26/the-simulacra-democracy/.

 

October 26

As suspected the FBI and CIA did not come clean and release all the files, and probably never will.

SOURCE: “Here’s where you can download the JFK files released by the National Archives,” by Charles Scudder, Staff Writer, DallasNews.com, at https://www.dallasnews.com/jfk/jfk/2017/10/26/can-download-jfk-files-released-national-archives.

 

October 25

The implications of robots and AI seem clear to me: more and more robots and AI algorithms will be written, programmed, produced, and used, which will eventually eliminate the need for humans to do drudge work for corporate bosses, bosses who do no real work as most people think of work. In order for humans to have incomes, they will have to own corporate stock themselves and everyone will have to function like corporate bosses do now, who read reports and sit around BSing and interacting with their colleagues, creating ideas and making decisions.

To see how this can be accomplished, read my article “Toward the Creation of Spaceship Earth Incorporated,” easily found at http://blog.effectivelearning.net/2016/12/.

Richard John Stapleton, Editor & Publisher, Effective Learning Report, 32 East Main Street, Statesboro, Georgia, www.effectivelearning.net, October 25, 2017

SOURCE: “Robots aren’t taking our jobs, corporations are: They’re creating a robot economy with inexpensive machines that don’t demand wages or health care,” by Jim Hightower, INTREPIDREPORT.COM, at http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/22475.

 

October 25

If only it were as easy to do as the author implies.

SOURCE: “How to end crony capitalism,” by Robert Reich, INTREPIDREPORT.COM, at http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/22478.

 

October 25

Once again Paul Craig Roberts tells it like he sees it.

SOURCE: “The American Left: RIP,” by Paul Craig Roberts, PaulCraigRoberts.org, at https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/10/23/american-left-rip/.

 

October 25

Not funny at all.

SOURCE: “As Trump ‘hysterics’ continue, US moves to put nuclear B-52s on 24-hour alert,” by Jake Johnson, INTREPIDREPORT.COM, at http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/22483.

 

October 25

Surely it’s not this bad, is it?

SOURCE: “Sex, scholars and the syphilitic superpower,” by Matthew Maavak, INTREPIDREPORT.COM, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/22487.

 

October 25

Say it aint so Joe

SOURCE: “CIA in Afghanistan: Operation Phoenix Redux?”, by Matthew Hoh, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/24/cia-in-afghanistan-operation-phoenix-redux/.

 

October 25

Say it aint so Joe

SOURCE: “The FBI’s Forgotten Criminal History,” by James Bovard, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/24/the-fbis-forgotten-criminal-history/.

 

October 24

Say it aint so Joe.

SOURCE: “The American War,” by Nancy Kurshan, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/24/the-american-war/.

 

August 18, 2015

Say it aint so Joe.

SOURCE: “Jimmy Carter’s Blood-Drenched Legacy,” by Matt Peppe, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/18/jimmy-carters-blood-drenched-legacy/.

 

October 24

Shame! Shame!

Pence just broke a tie in the senate that will repeal a rule that will make it difficult for consumers to receive fair treatment from banks when disputes arise.

SOURCE: “Pence breaks tie as Senate votes to repeal banking rule,” The Associated Press, USA Today, at https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/24/senate-repeal-rule-consumers-bank-credit-card-companies/797510001/.

 

October 24

Amazing. Hooray for Senator Flake. Great speech, great decision. If only all sitting senators and representatives, and Trump would do the same thing.

SOURCE: Watch Jeff Flake’s Full Senate Floor Speech Announcing His Retirement, NBCNEWS.COM, at https://www.nbcnews.com/video/watch-jeff-flake-s-full-senate-floor-speech-announcing-his-retirement-1080469059837.

 

October 24

More wise words from Noam Chomsky.

SOURCE: “Chomsky: Trump is a Distraction, Used by the Deep State to ‘Systematically Destroy America,” by Jay Syrmopoulos, the Free Thought Project, Waking Times, at http://wakingtimesmedia.com/chomsky-trump-distraction-used-deep-state-systematically-destroy-america/.

 

October 24

And then run as an Independent for president in 2020?

SOURCE: “Bernie betrays Democrats, announces reelection run as an independent,” by Matthew Rozsa, SALON.COM, at https://www.salon.com/2017/10/24/sanders-betrays-democrats-announces-reelection-run-as-an-independent/#.We_1kf0q2Hp.facebook.

 

October 24

This post shows how vicious, mean, and crazy polarized identity politics can get.

SOURCE: “Bitch, get out!!,” by Missy Comley Beattie, INTREPIDREPORT.COM, at http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/22454.

 

October 24

Say it aint so Joe.

SOURCE: “Western silence as 20,000 neo-Nazis march in Ukraine,” by Thomas C. Mountain, INTREPIDREPORT.COM, at http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/22462.

 

October 24

Yes, his words do just make you feel so great, nice, and safe.

SOURCE: “Capturing the wisdom and the beauty of Donald J. Trump in just one statement escaping from his charming mouth,” by William Blum, INTREPIDREPORT.COM, at http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/22473.

 

October 23

Say it aint so Joe.

SOURCE: “Raqqa bombing was ‘barbaric’ – Russia,” by Catherine Hardy, EURONEWS.COM, at http://www.euronews.com/2017/10/22/raqqa-bombing-was-barbaric—russia.

 

October 22

Assuming Trump is not lying about releasing the JFK papers Thursday, October 26, maybe we will finally know for sure what happened. I (Richard) have been convinced beyond a reasonable doubt for several years that a conspiracy was involved. It seems to me this documentary proves beyond a reasonable doubt there was more than one bullet and a conspiracy did it.

SOURCE: “We know now who killed JFK,” Mark Wassberg, editor, YOUTUBE.COM, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFliddXBRi8&utm_content=bufferd26d3&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer.

 

October 22

Speaks for itself.

SOURCE: “Fifty-One GOP Senators Just Voted to Cut $1.5 Trillion From Medicare and Medicaid to Give Super-Rich and Corporations a Tax Cut,” by Jon Queally, Common Dreams Report, in TRUTH-OUT.ORG, at http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/42323-51-gop-senators-just-voted-to-cut-1-5-trillion-from-medicare-and-medicaid-to-give-super-rich-and-corporations-a-tax-cut.

 

October 22

Excellent sad but true article. What can be done about it?

SOURCE: “Humanity is Being Split into Two Groups: The Privileged and the Billions Who Face Plunder, Trauma and Suffering,” by Vijay Prashad, ALTERNET.ORG, at https://www.alternet.org/division-humanity-war-and-famine#.WezNLUZbC1Y.facebook.

 

October 22

Strong words by one of Earth’s most respected economists, and former finance minister of Greece.

SOURCE: “Capitalism is ending because it has made itself obsolete,” by Yannis Varoufakis, INDEPENDENT.CO.UK, at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/yannis-varoufakis-capitalism-ending-obsolete-former-greek-finance-minister-artificial-intelligence-a8006826.html.

 

October 20

How economics works, by Michael Hudson, the greatest economist alive.

SOURCE: “Socialism, Land and Banking: 2017 compared to 1917,” by Michael Hudson, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/20/socialism-land-and-banking-2017-compared-to-1917/.

 

October 20

Say it aint so Joe.

SOURCE: “Scientists just said we’re on the verge of ‘ecological Armageddon’,” by Tom Embury-Dennis, INDEPENDENT.CO.UK, at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/flying-insects-numbers-drop-ecological-armageddon-75-per-cent-plummet-a8008406.html.

 

October 20

Sad and scary stuff here, no matter which evil you voted for. According to this article impeaching Trump for doing what Nixon did may result in the greatest evil of all, a breakdown of the rule of law and the destruction of the US economy, creating chaos and suffering worse than anything US citizens have ever experienced. US citizens and their so-called representatives in Washington are playing a very dangerous Game of chicken. It’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t: If trump did commit treason by law he should be impeached; on the other hand, if he is impeached, however lawfully, there is danger his supporters will ignore the rule of law and destroy society. Which would be the lesser evil in this case, not impeaching trump and ignoring the rule of law, or impeaching him and causing his supporters to ignore the rule of law and destroy society?

SOURCE: “If Trump is Impeached, it Might Be the End of America,” by Isaac Simpson, MEDIUM.COM, at https://medium.com/@IsaacSimpson/if-trump-is-impeached-it-might-be-the-end-of-america-b7a2243399b7.

 

October 19

Say it aint so Joe.

SOURCE: “Napalm Sticks to Kids,” by Mike Hastie, COUNERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/18/napalm-sticks-to-kids/

 

October 18

Interesting discussion about mental health, making good grades, making it in corporations, winning under capitalism, and other considerations.

SOURCE: “Mental Health and Neoliberalism: An Interview with William Davies,” by Jon Bailes, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/18/mental-health-and-neoliberalism-an-interview-with-william-davies/

 

October 18

Here’s Richard Wolff again with one of his best economic updates, dealing with one of the most troubling questions of our time: What causes people like Paddock in Las Vegas to do their seemingly incomprehensible deeds?

SOURCE: “Economic Update: Economics, Psychology and Mass Murder,” by Richard Wolff, TRUTH-OUT.ORG, at http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/42175-economic-update-economics-psychology-and-mass-murders.

 

October 18

Say it aint so Joe.

SOURCE: “3 Horrendous U.S. Mass Shootings Far Worse than Vegas,” by Rachel Blevins, the Free Thought Project, ALTERNET.ORG, at https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/3-horrendous-us-mass-shootings-far-worse-vegas#.WdjamCm7jBY.facebook.

 

October 18

What they call “tax reform” in Washington is just another way to enrich the rich even more. Have a gander at how much the elite will save in estate taxes. Here’s what Trump and his cronies would save in estate taxes: Trump, 4 billion; the waltons, 50 billion; the kochs, 38 billion; the adelsons, 12 billion; Wilbur ross, 996 million; betsy devos, 596 million; linda mcmahon, 516 million; steven mnuchin, 190 million; rex tillerson, 136 million; elaine chao, 15 million; ben carson, 5 million; tom price 4.4 million

SOURCE: “Trump’s Plan to Repeal the Estate Tax: A Massive Break for His Cabinet & Billionaires,” a Facebook Meme by Maryscott O’Connor at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

 

October 18

Say it aint so Joe. One of the most devastating hard-hitting economic and political articles I have read. Well worth a read.

SOURCE: “The End of Empire,” by Chris Hedges, TRUTHDIG.COM, at https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-end-of-empire/.

 

October 18

This article raises a very relevant point. Why do we need a central bank owned by banks?

SOURCE: “How the Elite Dominate The World – Part 2: 99.9% of The World Live In a Country With a Central Bank,” by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse blog, ZEROHEDGE.COM, at http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-17/how-elite-dominate-world-%E2%80%93-part-2-999-world-live-country-central-bank.

 

October 18

One of the best students I ever had was a graduate student from Iran. She taught me that most Iranians are good people.

SOURCE: “The Real Destabilizer in the Middle East is Not Iran But Trump,” by Patrick Cockburn, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/17/the-real-destabilizer-in-the-middle-east-in-not-iran-but-trump/.

 

October 17

How rich bad guys wearing white hats have worked against the interests of middle and working class ranchers, taking over more and more land and water rights to make their ranches and herds bigger and bigger, and maybe run the whole territory.

SOURCE: “Out of Control: A Brief History of Neoliberal Deregulation in the USA,” by T.J. Coles, Clairview Books, Book Excerpt, published in TRUTH-OUT.ORG, at http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/42278-out-of-control-a-brief-history-of-neoliberal-deregulation-in-the-usa.

 

October 17

Repealing the estate tax is one of the most absurd and egregious anti-social ideas floated in recent decades.

SOURCE: Video created by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, includes various speakers explaining what the estate tax is and why it should not be abolished for the elite rich. Posted to my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

 

October 16

And on and on it goes. Those bought and paid for Repubs never give up trying to pay back their paymasters.

SOURCE: “’Robin Hood in Reverse’: Sanders Blasts GOP Budget Ahead of Key Senate Vote,” by Jake Johnston, Common Dreams, Report, TRUTH-OUT.ORG, at http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/42271-robin-hood-in-reverse-sanders-blasts-gop-budget-ahead-of-key-senate-vote.

 

October 15

Possibly the biggest rip-off in the US today.

SOURCE: “Pharmaceuticals Can be a License to Print Money,” by Pete Dolack, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/13/pharmaceuticals-can-be-a-license-to-print-money/.

 

October 15

A great article by a great financial expert, Ellen Brown. This should be required for all US citizens so they can understand how the money and banking system really works. Written in plain English anyone can understand. Ideas in the article can be applied to bankrupt US cities as well as Puerto Rico. In truth almost anything can be bailed out by the US govt and the Federal Reserve System. All they have to do is punch digits into computers and call the resulting numbers money and use it to buy non-performing loans and bonds, such as those in Puerto Rico. Why should only irresponsible banksters in too-big-to-fail banks get bailed out? Trump blurted out during his visit the Puerto Rican bonds would have to be written off. As usual he did not know what he was talking about, or he was just spouting off as usual trying to please his irresponsible poorly informed obtuse voters using the mundane vernacular they prefer.

SOURCE: “How to Wipe Out Puerto Rico’s Debt Without Hurting Bondholders,” by Ellen Brown, TRUTH-OUT.ORG, at http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/42254-how-to-wipe-out-puerto-rico-s-debt-without-hurting-bondholders.

 

October 14

A lot of smart money people are saying we are due another stock market crash.

SOURCE: “Personal Recollections From The Crash of 1987: There Was No ‘Smart Money’ That Day,” by Dana Lyons, LYONSSHAREPRO.COM, at https://lyonssharepro.com/2017/10/personal-recollections-of-the-crash-of-1987/.

 

October 14

The US Federal Reserve System is largely responsible for the so-called recovery since the Crash of 2008. They caused the large banks to recover and the stock market to rise to about where it was in 2008 by giving the US govt new money created from thin air to loan the failed too-big-to-fail banks in New York City, General Motors, AIG, and others and by purchasing non-performing loans and debts of the banks to be held on the balance sheet by the Federal Reserve System, known as quantitative easing, and by lowering interest rates to near zero, which enabled corporations to borrow money to buy back their own stock, causing the stock market to rise, while central banks also bought some stock in the stock market, causing it to reach its bubble overvalued heights today. All of this is known as financialization, making an economy look good by issuing and purchasing debt, rather than causing more goods and services to be produced. This last so-called recovery has been a real recovery for the elite rich, who had their bond and stock wealth protected and increased, but it did little good for the average middle and working class citizen, who is no better off now than he or she was ten or more years ago.

SOURCE: “The Endgame of Financialization: Stealth Nationalization,” by Charles Hugh Smith, OF TWO MINDS.COM, at http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-endgame-of-financialization-stealth.html.

 

October 14

For some reason I decided to come clean about the education I accidentally received by virtue of having been inevitably born in my family.

SOURCE: “A Synopsis of my Educational Background,” by Richard John Stapleton, Effective Learning Report, at http://blog.effectivelearning.net/a-synopsis-of-my-educational-background/.

 

October 13

Here are some ways Republican politicians have significantly damaged the US economy and political system. There are many ways Democratic politicians in Washington have too, but two wrongs do not make a right.

SOURCE: “How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich,” by Tim Dickinson, ROLLINGSTONE.COM, at http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-the-gop-became-the-party-of-the-rich-20111109.

 

October 12

Boy, do we ever need another Jimmy Carter in office now.

SOURCE: “Putin, Jimmy Carter, Trump and Mattis on North Korea,” by Stephen Lendman, INTREPIDREPORT.COM, at http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/22367.

 

October 12

Speaks for itself.

SOURCE: “The Scale of Pentagon Waste Boggles the Mind, But Congress Keeps Giving them More,” by Harry Blain, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/12/the-scale-of-pentagon-waste-boggles-the-mind-but-congress-keeps-giving-them-more/.

 

October 12

This same thing happened to one of my friends in a doctoral program back in the 1960s. The fellow who challenged my friend to an IQ test apparently thinking this would prove who was right on a particular argument dropped out of the doctoral program and was never heard from again. Your IQ score on an IQ test has little or nothing to do with how much you really know about what is really going on regarding a particular problem, and what should be done about it.

SOURCE: “Trump Challenges Tillerson to IQ Test After Secretary of State Calls Him a ‘Moron’”, by Travis Gettys/Raw Story, ALTERNET.ORG, at https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/trump-challenges-tillerson-iq-test-after-secretary-state-calls-him-moron#.Wd0PGn0_iFo.facebook.

 

October 6

Say it aint so Joe. Bad politicians and the loss of public trust. A great elucidation by Chris Martenson

SOURCE: “Betrayal!: The pervasive & defining crime of our age” by Chris Martenson, PEAKPROSPERITY.COM, at https://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/113319/betrayal.

 

October 8

Join the FreeFairProgressParty at no cost.

SOURCE: “FreeFairProgressParty,” by Richard John Stapleton, Effective Learning Company, at http://www.effectivelearning.net/freefairprogressparty.html.

 

October 8

Say it aint so Joe, if you can read this. One thing is for sure about Trump: He is an absolute disaster for the environment.

SOURCE: “Trump: Anomaly in Continuity,” by Andrew Levine, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/06/trump-anomaly-in-continuity/.

 

October 7

Man made hell on Earth. A synopsis of the evolution of current human affairs.

SOURCE: “Psych Ward,” by John Davis, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/06/psych-ward/.

 

October 7

Anybody but me getting tired of hearing about Trump’s or Hillary’s “collusions” with the “Russians” during the 2016 presidential election in mainstream yak-yakking media. Hell, they don’t even know what collusion means in this context or even what they are lying about.

SOURCE: “Behind the Matador’s Cape,” by Paul Street, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/06/behind-the-matadors-cape/.

 

October 7

Here’s an excellent picture showing how the National Rifle Association controls the gun laws.

SOURCE: Facebook meme, showing congressmen lined up at the NRA Pay Window getting bags of loot handed out by the president of the NRA on a floor splattered with blood avoiding signs that say Caution: Wet Floor, as their NRA paymaster tells one of them to “Watch your step as you leave, Congressman—we’d hate to see someone get hurt!” at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

 

October 6

Just for the Fun of It

The biggest lie was calling FICA, Federal Insurance Contributions Act, payments “payroll taxes” in the first place. For years they were called FICA deductions on payroll stubs, being honest about the matter. They were never “taxes”; they were and are “investments” for the social security of all US citizens. Seriously cut them and for sure you will destroy the Social Security System. The day Social Security goes down the tube is the day the US becomes a third world country. Some of the rich will win their psychological Balance Sheet Games by destroying the security of all US citizens and the quality of life of the country as a whole by mindlessly trying to reduce their taxes to get more money to win a Balance Sheet psychological Game with their friends and associates, piling up more and more money without limit, already having several times more money than they can ever spend on real needs, trying to satisfy their insatiable ego hungers. Why do you think people like Trump keeping trying to make more and more money? It’s just for the fun of it, or to stave off boredom and depression, or to prove you’re a big man, or that you are “superior”. For sure you are not doing it for anyone but yourself.

SOURCE: “Middle-Class Trojan Horse: Trump’s tax plan will destroy your Social Security benefits,” by proudlib, THEPROUDLIBERAL.ORG at http://theproudliberal.org/middle-class-trojan-horse-trumps-tax-plan-will-destroy-your-social-security-benefits/.

 

October 6

Here’s another outstanding Facebook picture pointing out a profound truth.

SOURCE: Facebook meme at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397, posted by Jodi Neumark, showing a photograph of H.L. Mencken, and a prediction he made in the Baltimore Evening Sun on July 26, 1920:

Subject: A prediction, 97 years ago

“As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.”

 

October 6

Japan has almost no shooting deaths per year because of forbidding their citizens to own guns.

SOURCE: “How Japan Has Virtually Eliminated Shooting Deaths,” by May Fisher, THEATLANTIC.COM, at https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/a-land-without-guns-how-japan-has-virtually-eliminated-shooting-deaths/260189/.

 

October 6

Our great leader in his wisdom says he will decertify the Iran nuclear agreement, countermanding all of his National Security experts. Surely he is not this dumb. Or is it like Bush II his god is now telling him to do things.

SOURCE: “Trump Just Overruled His National Security Advisers, Takes U.S. On Dangerous New Path,” by news.groupspeak, NEWS.GROUPSPEAK.COM, at http://news.groopspeak.com/trump-just-overruled-his-national-security-advisers-takes-u-s-on-dangerous-new-path/.

 

October 6

Here’s to Bernie Sanders, the only senator not taking money from big pharmaceutical corporations, and the only senator willing to sponsor a bill for a single payer, Medicare-for-all-type national health insurance system.

SOURCE: “Why healthcare should be managed as a natural monopoly,” by Richard John Stapleton, BLOG.EFFECTIVELEARNING.NET, at http://blog.effectivelearning.net/why-healthcare-should-be-managed-as-a-natural-monopoly-2/.

 

October 6

Most US senators, Democratic and Republican, have been bought off by insurance industry contributions.

SOURCE: Facebook meme created and posted by Cindy Barnes McDougal at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

Here is Cindy’s comment attached to her chart of bribe amounts received by various senators:

“So I really want you to look at these “contributions”, aka bribes, for a moment. First, these are the bribes these Senators have accepted just from the health insurance industry. Doesn’t include big pharma, medical supply and other relative groups. Take a look. Secondly, these totals do not include the bribes some, most or all received this week! My friend and Bernie Bridge warrior in Chicago, Veronica Wolski, made a good point this morning when she called Senator Durbin’s office. She told him that her little family could live nicely on some of these totals. I’ll go a step further and say that some could help one of you with college tuition. Maybe pay for that new car you need. Or the wedding for your daughter. Or a down payment on your first new home. Or that business you always wanted. Get mad. You should get mad. When these politicians take bribe money as a payoff to keep healthcare the way it is, then they have put a price tag on your health! You should get mad. Mad enough to fight for your right to universal single payer healthcare. Any American who likes paying high premiums and high deductibles WHILE your state representative accepts this kind of money is nuts. Stop settling. Stop be grateful for the crumbs from the table. Stop believing this is the way it should be. Get mad! Get damn mad and fight back! Call your Senators and tell them Medicare For All! Give them notice: The days of them making a buck off your healthcare are over! P.S. To my Florida friends – look at the amount of bribes Senator Nelson has accepted. How does that make you feel about him?? I could live quite nicely on his bribe money.”

 

October 6

Here is Cicero speaking from his grave.

SOURCE: A Facebook meme created and posted by Detong Choyin at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

A Two Thousand Year Old Warning about Trump:

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. For the traitor appears not a traitor—He speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation—he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city—he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared.”

Cicero, Roman Statesman, 42 BC

 

October 6

Here is how much money some of the fat cats in the Senate received feeding at the Big Pharma and insurance industry troughs.

Orrin Hatch, $471.560; Mitch McConnell, 433,400; Rob Portman, 382,100; Patrick Toomey, 354,616; Lamar Alexander, 228,100; John Cornyn, 180,000; Cory Gardner 151,850; John Barrasso, 149,750; Mike Enzi, 146,600; John Thune, 123,400; Mike Lee, 66,759; Ted Cruz, 58,895; Tom Cotton, 28,941.

SOURCE: Facebook meme created and posted by Milan Pokorny at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

Here is Milan’s comment:

“Remember the 13 alt-right senators who tried to take away America’s healthcare behind closed doors? This is how much money they accepted from insurance companies and Big Pharma. If you want them all voted out of office, comment yes and share!”

 

October 6

If only we could get the forty six percent non-voters to vote for a truly ok progressive candidate. Here is the turnout rate in the 2016 presidential election, showing how a progressive party running someone like Bernie Sanders could win in 2020:

46.9% DIDN’T VOTE; 25.6% VOTED FOR CLINTON; 25.5% VOTED FOR TRUMP; 1.7% VOTED FOR JOHNSON

SOURCE: Facebook meme created and posted by Join the Coffee Party Movement at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

Here is the comment by Join the Coffee Party Movement:

“And this is why we can’t have nice things.”

 

October 6

Here’s how our ceo-in-chief deals with money. Spend it like there is no tomorrow. And cut taxes. “Business” might boom a bit in the short run because of this stimulus, but the US house of cards will become more and more flimsy, as corporations and the elite rich plunder anything they can get their hands on. Instead of a $19 trillion federal debt, we will soon have a $38 trillion federal debt, if we last that long as a country. Why is it the elite rich want another tax cut? They have many times more money now than they can ever spend. The answer: they are playing a psychological Game. The name of the Game is Balance Sheet. The objective is to pile up more net worth than anyone else, to become the richest man or woman in the world. The payoff of the Game is a feeling of superiority and being one-up.  This Game is a cognate of the TA Game NIGYSOB, Now I’ve Got You, You SOB.

Warren Buffet has said that money has absolutely no utility for him. He keeps piling it up just for the fun of it, and to satisfy his ego needs, as he does playing the game of bridge, which he plays after he goes home at night to his modest Omaha, Nebraska house after a hard day’s work playing Balance Sheet at his office, while drinking his favorite drink, CocaCola, fetched by his second wife as he plays bridge on the Internet.  Quite likely he is a high-functioning obsessive-compulsive personality type on the autistic spectrum, as are most people in some ways.

Most people are obsessed with and compelled to act out over and over the routines, scripts, activities, pastimes, social games, and psychological Games of their unique lives, depending on how they were programmed genetically and socially throughout their existence, from the womb on.  The life process produces all sorts of outcomes for individuals.  Some become filthy rich like Warren Buffett, Donald Trump, and thousands of others.  On the other hand, millions more become poor as church mice.  Nobody ever said human life was fair.

SOURCE: “Trump and the Great Betrayal – Daily Reckoning”, by Bill Bonner, DAILYRECKONING.COM, at https://dailyreckoning.com/trump-great-debt-betrayal/.

 

October 6

Another telling article by John Whitehead.

SOURCE: “Mass shootings: The military-entertainment complex’s culture of violence turns deadly,“ by John Whitehead, INTREPIDREPORT.COM at http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/22311.

 

October 5

Another well reasoned and written article by Ellen Brown.

SOURCE: “How to Fund a Universal Basic Income Without Increasing Taxes or Inflation,” by Ellen Brown, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/05/how-to-fund-a-universal-basic-income-without-increasing-taxes-or-inflation/.

 

October 4

An eloquent speech by Oliver Stone at the 2017 Writer’s Guild Awards celebration.

SOURCE: A video created and posted by Truth Inside of You at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

Includes a picture of Oliver Stone at a lectern with this comment: “The Most Honest 3 Minutes in TV History, that you can be critical of your government and your society. This is the most HONEST words you’ll ever watch. Listen to what Mr. Oliver Stone has to say.” Click to watch at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

 

October 3

Great essay by Ishmael Reed.

SOURCE: “Black Athletes and the Mother Thing,” by Ishmael Reed, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/03/black-athletes-and-the-mother-thing/.

 

October 3

Say it aint so Joe.

SOURCE: “Death in a Dead Land,” by Richard Eskow, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/03/death-in-a-dead-land//.

 

October 3

Great essay by Jason Hirthler exposing what lies behind Kaepernick’s brave action.

SOURCE: “Kaepernick, Patriotism, and the Perversion of Protest,” by Jason Hirthler COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/03/kaepernick-patriotism-and-the-perversion-of-protest/.

 

October 3

Yes, just what we need, a new “people’s party.” Here’s what is going on in the world, by Noam Chomsky, Earth’s best informed human.

SOURCE: “Trump’s Quest to Enrich the Richest: An Interview with Noam Chomsky,” by David Barsamian, TomDispatch|Interview, TRUTH-OUT.ORG at http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/42136-trump-s-quest-to-enrich-the-masters-of-mankind-an-interview-with-noam-chomsky.

 

October 3

Hooray for humans around Earth; boo to UN delegates voting against humans, including our disingenuous new photogenic UN ambassador appointed by Trump.

SOURCE: “US joins Saudi Arabia and Iraq in voting against UN resolution condemning the death penalty for gay sex,” by Tom Embury-Dennis, INDEPENDENT.CO.UK, at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-gay-sex-death-penalty-un-same-sex-relations-human-rights-council-saudi-arabia-iraq-nikki-haley-a7980981.html.

 

October 3

A very sad story.

SOURCE: “Great Hunger,” by Kathy Kelly, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, at https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/02/great-hunger/.

 

October 2

If you listen to this video you will hear this fellow ask the question why should the top four hundred richest taxpayers, who have enough cash to fill shoeboxes reaching to the sky, receive a tax cut? The answer: they shouldn’t. Why will they get one anyway? It’s simple: because the elite rich will give politicians a significant percentage of their loot if they vote them a tax cut. They know how to be generous with their friends to get even richer. They are not penny-wise and pound foolish or they would not have gotten filthy rich in the first place.

SOURCE: “The real meaning of tax reform: The super rich vs. everyone else,” a new video created and posted by MSNBC, at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

Here is their introductory comment about the video: “Tax expert David Cay Johnston demonstrates how the Republican plan for so-called “tax reform” would exacerbate inequality.” View the video at https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

 

October 2

If President Carter is right, Trump and our government are insane to treat North Korea as they do and put humanity at increased risk of a nuclear war.

SOURCE: “ ‘I Know What North Korea Wants’ – President Carter Warns ‘US Oligarchy Refuses To do It’,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE.COM, at http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-13/i-know-what-north-korea-wants-president-carter-warns-us-oligarchy-refuses-do-it.

 

Feel free to share, post, forward, copy, reprint, or otherwise disseminate this post any way you see fit. If you would like a free subscription to the Effective Learning Digest email me at rjstapleton@bulloch.net and I will put you on the emailing list. I do this just for the fun of it and to give something back to society in my retirement years at age seventy-seven, living with more pleasure than I deserve in my remaining days on Earth on the proceeds of a generous defined benefit pension and Social Security, not yet incapacitated by dementia or Alzheimer’s, or any other disease.

Richard John Stapleton, Editor & Publisher, Effective Learning Digest, 32 East Main Street, Statesboro, Georgia, USA, www.effectivelearning.net.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1968, Intelligent Life and the Lunar Landing

by Courtenay Barnett

It was 1968.

I had been sent to a Catholic High School and had a number of Jesuits from the Boston area of the US as teachers. One striking contrast between the older and the younger ones, as a general rule, was that the older Jesuits saw the sun shining on most everything that US foreign policy represented, inclusive of the Vietnam war being embraced as a necessity to stop the spread of Communism. The younger Jesuits were far less sanguine and told/taught us totally different lessons about the US use of napalm and agent orange and educated us on the horrors of war. That was the time that was.

About then I heard of a planned space trip destined for the moon. So surreptitiously in 1969 I journeyed to the Kennedy Space Centre and slipped on to Apollo 11 (unbeknown to anyone but some select family members and some close friends). I promised myself to remain in contact and fortuitously was able to access a duplicate communications system on board, obviously placed as a back-up in the eventuality of a failure of the main devices.

When we landed Neil hopped off first and Buzz followed while I stealthily exited via a hatch. At first I thought of returning with the flight, but with the communication device and the opportunity to explore the Moon I decided to remain with the firm knowledge that what man had accomplished mankind would repeat and I could eventually on a Russian or Chinese or even some other American flight return to Earth at a later date.

As the years wore on I kept asking if warfare had ended on Earth and each time the same negative response came in reply. “Why do you keep asking?” my brother eventually inquired.

“Well, ever since man landed on the moon it seemed obvious to me that not only the astronauts’ minds, but those of every other sentient being on planet Earth would have come then to the stark realisation that we are actually all ‘earthlings’ and homo sapiens living on one planet. So, with that knowledge, I assumed that the lunar landing would have jolted all the inhabitants of the green and blue planet into immediately accepting that it made far more sense to bond together as one, and weigh the prospects of invading Martians or any other alien species likely to threaten us earthlings, than expend energies fighting each other.”

Sadly, all the news I received from 1968 until anno domini 2017 has been about repeated belligerence and armed conflicts between nations and groups on Earth. We, as a species, despite the lunar landing simply never learnt anything by way of aspirations for tranquility and actualising the liberating feeling of freedom from war. Finally, after all these years, I have had to accept that not in my lifetime will there be a realisation of quietude in the human condition on Earth. Having enjoyed these several years here on the Moon, I am now planning my return to planet earth to face the unpleasant discords which constitute earthly existence.

Now that I am safely back on terra firma, on the planet of my birth, there has been opportunity to reassess the human condition. This I do, so my fellow humans inform me, with the most advanced intellect possessed among all the vertebrates and invertebrates. Yet, in reflecting on this assertion, I note that other species kill for food to eat; we kill for sport, assertion of manhood and various other reasons amounting to the infliction of gratuitous violence on our fellow beings. The numbers who do this is reflected amongst many humans and is accompanied by the technological capabilities to deliver death and destruction ranging from hand held guns all the way up to nuclear bombs which can assure annihilation of us as a species. Incredible, when you think of it, that we are so smart that we actually have developed weapons that can assure the ending of our existence as a species. So sophisticated we are that the world’s most advanced nation, the United States of America, has a special Amendment in its Constitution making it a lawful right to bear arms. Therefore, as of legal right the weapons used for the various types of killing just mentioned has been elevated to a position of jurisprudential significance that assures that when a decision is made to launch an attack of mass murder it remains a legal right to obtain the necessary weaponry so to attack. Of course, we are also cultivated significantly above other mammals, vertebrates and lesser animals that after the event we have the cognitive superiority to call the attack a crime. We then uphold the attacker’s  (if he is still alive)  right to another Constitutional safeguard of a trial before his peers. Then, if convicted, the death sentence or multiple life sentences might be the legal penalty. We, of course, are logical in all our doings. A single life sentence is insufficient, for when one is completed there still remain 49 others as a justified measure for the severity of the crime of gunning down 50 faultless human beings who just happened to get in the way of the bullets that the shooter, exercising his Constitutional right, had decided to discharge. Now, the weapons of mass destruction takes our intellectual superiority to totally astounding heights in full confirmation that unlike horses or donkeys ours is par excellence – the crème de la crème above all other known cognitive capacities. We have reached a stage where, again, America can destroy human existence many times over. Thus, rationally, if the level has been reached (which it long since has) of having in hand the weapons capability to destroy human life in its totality one time over, then the added ten or twenty fold that all nuclear weapons combined can now accomplish seems then equally as logical as the multiple life sentences imposed on the mass shooter, as increasing numbers of nuclear weapons keep being produced. The only difference is that nations now possess the capacity with WMDs that a single mass shooter could only dream of having desired to destroy not just some, but all of humankind.  Indeed, far exceeding a paltry 50 after so many rounds fired. Believe it or not, I have just described what we actually are doing as a species which calls ourselves intelligent with intelligence on a higher plane than all other species inhabiting planet Earth.

Truth be told, since we landed on the moon we seem to think that there are other planets that we can live on so we search for something which sustains life as we know it here on Earth. Not surprisingly so, for as we head towards self-inflicted annihilation as a species, those of us having the material wherewithal already have an exit ticket to Mars and are already booked knowing what is pending.

Towards that destructive end we have the excuse to ravage this planet, keep cutting down trees, expand our population, poison the rivers and the seas and destroy the ozone layer. Practise blowing up each other doesn’t really matter much any more; besides, it keeps the rich in power and the wealth where others can’t get to it.

The dream of establishing a colony somewhere ‘Out There’ where people like you or I aren’t allowed on it is the great dream of a new paradise pending and is the professed long term goal.

This all sounds a bit bleak; but since 1968 predicting the place we are in now would have been called bleak too.

And all accomplished with the use and application of a superior intellect. Don’t forget that. Just think about it.

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.

Business Skylab Conference

By Richard John Stapleton

(Editor’s Note: This fictional business case invented and written by me was first published in Managing Creatively: Action Learning in Action by University Press of America in 1976; it was reprinted in The Entrepreneur: Concepts and Cases on Creativity in Business by University Press of America in 1985; and it was reprinted again in Business Voyages: Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata, and Tools for Discovering and Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds by Effective Learning Publications in 2008 and 2012.

(This case was prepared as a basis for group discussion, not to serve as an example of right or wrong business behavior. 

(Feel free to forward, share, reprint, or otherwise disseminate this post any way you see fit.)

A secret conference was held in the secret Earth Sciences Skylab in 1974 for the purpose of studying business phenomena on Earth. The Carter Foundation for Higher Education funded the conference as a follow-up to the 1958 Gosden and Harper reports on the quality of business education.

The 1958 Gosden and Harper research was funded by the Carter Foundation to assess the quality of education provided by Schools of Business in United States colleges and universities. The 1958 reports criticized business schools for being too descriptive in nature, for not emphasizing scientific research methodologies, and for generally fostering a low level of academic achievement. The reports accused the business schools of merely reporting what business was doing and not developing new innovations for improving business.

During the 1960’s the study of business became heavily endowed with mathematical and behavioral concepts from the fields of mathematics and social science. Concepts and techniques from the fields of engineering and computer science were also applied to business phenomena and problems in business schools during the period. Many courses in business schools were taught by PhD’s in psychology, sociology, mathematics, and statistics and, in many instances, there were only small differences in teaching methodologies and contents of courses taught in Schools of Business and courses taught in Schools of Arts and Sciences. In some instances, actual business phenomena were completely left out of business courses. During the 1970’s many business scholars and businessmen began to wonder if business courses had not become overly theoretical and too neglectful of actual business phenomena. Many business courses had been structured using courses in mathematics or sociology or psychology or industrial engineering as models. The teaching/learning methodologies of laboratory sciences, such as botany and zoology, had not been generally used as models because of the difficulty of placing business phenomena under microscopes for observation. This difficulty was overcome, however, with the completion of the Skylab Observatory.

The Skylab Observatory

The Skylab observatory is a satellite that was secretly placed in orbit around Earth in 1971. Work on the observatory was completed in late 1972. The observatory is large enough to accommodate groups of up to twenty people for as long as two weeks. From the Skylab Observatory it is possible for groups of humans to observe humans, business and military practices, and general events on Earth in varying degrees of detail using a specially developed telescope, technically a macroscope, which has not only X-ray power, i.e., the capability to see through roofs of buildings and filing cabinets, but also the power to transmit and receive sound between the satellite and any human at any discrete point on Earth, via laser beams which travel along light waves from the macroscope to points of concern on Earth. The Skylab is available for research by various scientific and research groups from Earth for the purpose of improving the quality of life on Earth. The US government provided funding for the construction of the satellite. Operating expenses for the satellite are provided through revenues received from various groups that lease and use the satellite. The Carter Foundation provided funds for the secret business study in 1973 or 1974.

Professors, managers, accountants, salesmen, and promising business students were selected for the membership of the 1973 or 1974 business Skylab conference by a select panel. The members of the conference represented a cross section of cultural, regional, economic, sexual, and ethnic backgrounds.

Quarters on the Skylab were not spacious but were comfortable. The quality of food served by the Skylab food services staff was excellent, and the Skylab was well stocked with beverages of all types. Retro-rockets were attached to bags of garbage and waste for disposal. The rockets slowed the disgorged bags so that they re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and were incinerated.

Study sessions began at 8:00 a.m., US CST, and continued until noon. The sessions resumed at 1:00 p.m. and continued until 5:00 p.m. Cocktails were served at 6:00 p.m. and dinner was served at 8:00 p.m. The conference members usually chatted over drinks or coffee or read until 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. and retired shortly thereafter.

Structuring the Conference

There was considerable discussion regarding how the conference sessions should be structured. Some members argued that someone should take charge of the group and be responsible for pointing out relevant aspects or points. Others argued that since they were all adults, and most were professionals, that they should discuss aspects and points on a democratic basis with each member’s opinion being weighted equally. There was also considerable discussion as to what was relevant for study. The Skylab technological breakthrough made it possible for the group to study firsthand almost any business phenomenon on Earth. Since it was obviously not possible to study all phenomena on Earth during the two-week period of the conference, what should they select to study, of all the phenomena at their disposal? Naturally, the interests of the group varied according to past experience, ability, and skill; therefore, what should be selected depended upon who would do the selecting.

It was finally decided that the group would try to devote equal time to phenomena in the business functions of production, marketing, finance, control, transportation, and service. A number of organizations and humans in each of the functional areas were selected for observation. The process used was very unstructured.

The Skylab macroscope could be focused so as to observe the whole of a continent, a nation, a state, a county, or a human, or data, depending on the level of desired generality or specificity. Sounds, or dialogues, could also be tuned in or out at will. Needless to say, the scientific and technological principles upon which the Skylab macroscope were based were incomprehensible and, by and large, uninteresting to the conference members. They were only concerned with using the giant microscope, and, as they used it, they felt much the same awe, elation, and euphoria they felt when they got their first bicycle, or computer. The conference members came to refer to the microscope adjusting device as “the zoomer”, and would blurt out “zoom the zoomer in there a little closer,” and “zoom up the zoomer a little bit.”

Some of the professors in the group hoped to use the Skylab macroscope to, at long last, and once and for all, develop “a general theory of business” and make business a “science.” Observing business phenomena through the macroscope as botanists and zoologists observed biological specimens under microscopes on Earth, and classifying and categorizing phenomena by shape, size, type, function, etc. was one objective; the primary objective, however, at least in the minds of the least skeptical, was to develop a general principle which could explain, in advance, the outcomes of business specimens and phenomena.

Purpose of the Conference

No unanimous consensus was reached regarding the purpose of the conference, whether it was for the purpose of developing general theory, merely observing phenomena, developing technical skills, or developing insight or awareness. Each member seemed to have his own truth on this question. The group finally decided that only a few individuals should control the zoomer and select for the group appropriate phenomena and levels of generality or specificity.

It was decided that relatively small social groupings and levels of business activity would be observed because of the time factor. It was also decided, once phenomena were zoomed into focus, that each member of the group had the right to interpret the data according to his own lights and offer opinions, analyses, suggestions, prognoses, etc. to the group as he chose. Disagreement existed on this point. Many felt, since some of the group members were older and wiser than other members, the younger and less experienced members should ask for permission to talk up and that, for the most part, the younger members should listen to what the older and wiser members had to say. Some of the older and wiser members agreed with some of the younger members that the best way to learn is by taking action and suffering the consequences, and that, since independently talking in groups and trying to influence the group is a form of taking action, and since no drastic harm would result from errors, the younger members should have the same right to try to influence the group as the older members. Various members felt that the more correct views would ultimately dominate anyway, regardless of who initiated the view. Views that were badly off the beam, it was generally felt, if the discussions were open, full, and frank, would be shot down. So an open communication process was used, although some members did complain that the process was unprofessional and unfair.

Results of the Conference

In the process of living together and engaging in detailed discussions while viewing phenomena intensively and extensively, most of the members began to feel or sense changes taking place in the way they saw the world. Seeing different phenomena and hearing different opinions regarding phenomena changed their perceptions. A general discussion regarding the results and significance of the conference was conducted on the last day of the conference. Much of that discussion is presented below. The letters of the alphabet are used to identify various conference members, the majority of whom preferred to remain anonymous.

Professor J, an assistant professor of accounting from a private college in the Northwest:

I must say, I have enjoyed this conference. This Skylab is a real technological miracle. The food was great. And I must say I owe the select panel a real note of thanks for selecting me to be a member. However, I must say that I do not think the conference did much good. What have I learned? I think we should have spent more time going over specific points. We should have stuck to each point until everybody understood it before going on the next one. And you should use tests to prove that everyone understands your points before you move on.

Professor D, an associate professor of marketing from a state college in Northern California:

What? If we had taken the time to take tests, we couldn’t have seen half as many phenomena? And what points should we have been tested on? I can’t say that any of them stuck out enough to be important enough to take a test on.

Mr. R, the chief executive officer of a major corporation:

What do you think we ought to do in industry? Give our employees a test ever so often to see if they deserve a raise or a promotion?

Professor J:


No, but I know in accounting you can’t do it like that. I remember one time when I was teaching a course using a Harvard casebook in accounting. I finally threw the damn cases away, and then I taught them some accounting.

Mr. R:

We’d be in a hell of a shape in industry if all our people knew was some accounting.

Dean C, from a School of Business in a small western university:

Gentlemen, please, this is not going to get us anywhere. We all know that accounting is a very valuable tool for use in business; we also know it takes more than that in business.

Professor J:

Just look at the starting salaries of accounting majors. Why we’ve had girls making $40,000 a year in two to three years after graduation. What are the marketing majors, management majors, and finance majors going to do when they get out? They’re not going to start out as managers. You’ve got to learn to do something specific. You’ve got to be willing to work.

Professor L, an associate professor of management from the Northeast:

Do all accounting majors start out with high salaries? What percentage of accounting majors actually stay in accounting after they graduate? It’s so boring and tedious many people get out of it. How creative is accounting? These are questions that concern me.

Mr. Z, a business student from Oregon:

My god, is the relevant question today, after we have been up here for two weeks, and after having been funded and given access to the most sophisticated learning equipment available, the relative rank of salary offers of different business majors? I think not. The relevant question is what have we learned!

The student’s comment somewhat set the group aback and a short silence ensued. Shortly, Professor W, one of the more distinguished and experienced of the professors, began to slowly and deliberately speak. As he spoke, his eyes seemed to turn inward, as if seeing phenomena inside his own head.

Gentlemen, I have been watching these phenomena down on Earth very carefully from the first day. I have not spoken up very much in the discussions. I have been listening and giving the rest of you a chance to get involved and express yourselves. I am now convinced, based on my observations and statistical tests, that I have a theory, a tentative, beginning theory, at the very least, which will put us on the sure road to the development of a science of business, which so many of us have so diligently and so fervently studied, researched and lobbied for so long. As we observed the business specimens down on Earth through this magnificent macroscope, I observed, and, I think, clearly observed, except for the smog over Los Angeles, the quintessential relationship.

Professor W then fell silent, and the group shuffled in their seats and whispered and smirked to one another. Professor W then continued in his slow, deliberate, ponderous tone, still seeming to be observing something inside his own head.

Professor W:

Gentlemen, I don’t know whether any of you noticed it, but what the business phenomena on Earth were doing . . . were organizing themselves in…in systems . . . for the purpose of surviving!

With that, Professor W opened his eyes and looked intently at various members of the group. Most of the group looked around. Finally, Professor T, an assistant professor recently graduated from a doctoral program from a university in the Midwest, spoke up.

Professor T:

What you are talking about, Professor W, is the systems concept. The system concept has been around for a long time, and it’s all well and good. But what good is it going to do a businessman to know humans organize themselves in systems for purposes of survival?

Mr. B. the owner of a chain of restaurants in the Midwest:

I don’t think it would do me a damn bit of good. Hell, it’s common sense anyway.

Professor W:

But it won’t be, Mr. B., if I can prove it statistically. I am convinced I can use multiple regression coupled with forty-degree-rotated analysis of variance in three-dimension space so as to establish, without question, a ninety-five percent confidence level. Also, I am sure my work will add to the existing store of knowledge and be supported by the prior work of Blatz, Johnson, Preen, Garber, Lammon, and Templeton. Not to mention the work of such pioneers as Halpert, McMellon, Constellona, and, of course, the original, Holmitz.

Mr. X, one of Professor W’s graduate students:

I am familiar with the work of Johnson, Preen, and Constellona, and I agree with you, Professor W. Your work will be a major contribution.

Mr. B:

Who gives a damn? What I am interested in is something I can use to improve my profits, provide more benefits for my employees, and provide better service to my customers. You don’t have to tell me I want to survive. Using all those statistics may be okay to prove your points, but I can’t see what good it does.

Mr. D, a young engineer, rapidly moving up the ranks of a heavily technologized company in a heavily technologized industry:

I don’t use advanced statistics or mathematics in my work, although I do have a heavy math and stat background. To me, the value of advanced statistics and math lies in the fact it is rigorous and trains you to think logically.

Mr. R, the manager of a large wholesale hardware company in the Northeast:

I had some math and statistics in college, and I barely passed the courses. It was hard. I never use anything more mathematically sophisticated in my work now than simple tabulations of numbers. I add, subtract, multiply, and divide and that’s about it. Frankly, I think it was okay that I took math and stat in college, but I don’t think it is doing me any particular good now. I don’t think my mind became one bit more logical because of taking the courses. Furthermore, I am not even sure you need a logical mind to succeed in business. I think this is true of all managers, even college administrators.

Mr. X: the student:

Chester I. Barnard also said that.

Mr. R:

Who on Earth, or in heaven’s name, is Chester I. Bernard?

Mr. X:

You mean you never even heard of Chester I. Barnard! Why he wrote Functions of the Executive. And besides that he was president of the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company. He’s one of the most brilliant managers in history. I can’t believe you haven’t heard of Chester I. Barnard!!

Mr. R:

Why should I have heard of him? The woods are full of brilliant managers. I think William T. Stevens, the President of the New Oakers Feed and Seed Company, is one of the most brilliant managers in history. Have you ever heard of William T. Stevens, Mr. X?

Mr. X:

How could I have heard of some non-entity like William T. Stevens? Professor Graham never mentioned him in my history of management course. And I know he wasn’t mentioned because I take good notes, and I’ve got a photographic mind. I’ve got a 3.66 grade point average.

Dean C:

Gentlemen, we’re getting off the track again. Here it is the last day of our extra-terrestrial learning experience, and what do we talk about? Accounting salaries and who said what. It seems to me there must be something more than this that we have gained from our course here in outer space.

Professor P, a professor of finance from a state college in the Southwest.

It seems to me I have gained a great deal from the conference in terms of increased awareness and knowledge of business phenomena. By virtue of observing these phenomena through the macroscope, I believe I understand the business environment better and will be more comfortable in it when we get back down to Earth. I feel I got more out of the learning experience than I would have gotten out of it had we disconnected the zoomer and spent our time solely listening to, reading, and memorizing published literature or working algorithmic puzzles estranged from actual business phenomena.

Professor J:

All we did was look at stuff through that so-called zoomer and talk, and most of the time what was talked about was pure BS. You’ve got to make specific points. I always cover specific points in my classes. You learn generalities by studying specifics. You can’t just let anybody talk up whenever she wants to.

Mr. R:

But don’t you think we studied specific phenomena through the macroscope? I don’t see how we could have been any more specific about what we saw.

Professor J:

It’s not the same. We have not developed any “generally accepted business principles,” like we have in accounting.

Mr. R.:

I wonder how generally accepted your accounting principles are. Seems I read about some CPA firm being sued here lately because of being unclear on what to do. If your principles are so generally accepted, why do these suits happen?

Professor J:

We’ve got an accounting standards board working on that. We’ve got five men we’ve paying over $50,000 a year each to, just to improve our standards.

Mr. B:

Your standards must be in pretty bad shape if it is going to cost you that much to fix them up. For $10,000 I can hire a consulting firm to set standards throughout my whole chain, using time and motion study.

Professor J:

We’re not talking about the same kind of standards.

Professor Y, a full professor of financial management from a prestigious university in a large Midwestern city:

In my opinion, the behavior that is being exhibited here today is unprofessional. The real test of worthwhile knowledge is whether hypothesized generalizations can be tested and proved correct, through rigorous, deductive means. This is true in all science. In this sense, then, it would seem to be relatively straightforward that the proper course upon which we should proceed is first to identify the significant variables from the full range of variables which are manifest which must then be related, one to another, in such a way as to form a mechanism for reaching policies which are germane to the realities which confront us. To this end, and only to this end, I suggest that much more time and energy must be devoted to not only identifying the significant variables but also to isolating those points of connection and intersection which illuminate true cause-effect meaning for the discernment and application of the truly enlightened, professional mind.

Mr. L, Professor Y’s protégé, and one of the brightest graduate students at Professor Y’s university:

I agree with you, Professor Y. Not only have you just enunciated the shelf principle discovered by Howard but you have integrated it with the latest work of Means and Proctor. If you can now reconcile with your present synthesis the work of Lester, you will have extended the frontier. I am sure of it.

Professor P:

Haven’t you read any of Karl Popper’s work? I suggest you read Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies. I am convinced Popper is right when he says that the foundation of all science is the inductive method and not the deductive method. You observe phenomena in all fields and you establish generalizations based on your observations. According to Popper, and I agree with him, you cannot prove such generalizations to be true. All you can do is prove them to be false. If, after some period of trying to prove them false, you are unable to prove them false, then the generalizations are still not proved true. All they are are unfalsified generalizations. Most of what we have that commonly passes for general truth, scientific or otherwise, is not truth, but, in effect, unfalsified opinion, which hopefully was developed from observing concrete phenomena.

Mr. R:

I can buy that. One good thing about this approach is that we did get to see real phenomena through the macroscope. Whatever opinions I now have regarding similar phenomena are, at least, based on observing concrete phenomena. It seems to me that is better than hearing about, or reading about, things second hand.

Professor L:

It seems to me what we may be saying is that we are choosing the lesser of evils. What we have accomplished with the Business Skylab is not necessarily the best, but it may have fewer drawbacks than other alternatives, e.g., math problems or literature absorption unapplied to actual business phenomena.

Dean D:

Now I don’t think you can say that! Mathematics is rigorous and their study challenges the logical and intellectual powers of the student. This has primary value, regardless of business phenomena. As for literature, what do you propose? That we re-discover the truths that are already in the literature every generation. That would be a tremendous waste of time.

Professor P:

But there is no truth in the literature, at least not absolute truth. What passes for truth should be continually challenged by the actual facts confronting various generations.

Dean D:

What do you mean by that?

Professor P:

I mean if we, students, simply accept what is recorded in the literature as truth we will not continue to grow.

Dean D:

What do you mean grow?

Professor P:

I mean become larger in all sorts of ways—skills, awarenesses, improved abilities to relate to others, more appreciation of beauty, more comprehension of large, complex, even philosophical problems. To grow requires an open mind.

Professor D, an associate professor of business education from Utah:

I’m not too competent in philosophy, but one thing seems plainly clear to me after looking at all those business specimens through the macroscope: there are precious few general business principles. Most of the specimens simply made up their particular principles as they went along. Assuming we did develop some scientific business principles, how could we force the specimens to use them?

The discussion continued in the above spirit for the rest of the day without any definite resolutions being agreed upon or adopted by the professionals and non-professionals present. All of the conference members, professionals and non-professionals, filled out teacher evaluation forms at the end of the day. The conference coordinator was very pleased that the conference was rated as a 4.7398 conference. The maximum score possible is 5.000 and the average is 3.4251. Thus the conference was highly successful.

The next day, most of the Business Skylab Conference members were happy to be boarding the space shuttle for the trip back down to Earth. On the other hand, two professors, one dean, one of the business people, and two of the graduate students regretted having to go back down to Earth so soon.

Some of the conference members felt uneasy back down on Earth from time to time when they looked up at the sky.

Richard John Stapleton, Editor & Publisher, Effective Learning Report, http://blog.effectivelearning.net/, 32 East Main Street, Statesboro, Georgia, October 27, 2017

A Synopsis of My Educational Background

by Richard John Stapleton

A great-grandfather of mine many times removed, the Reverend Doctor James Maury, a French Huguenot, taught four American presidents, Washington (a distant relative down the branches of my family tree), Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, in a boarding school in Virginia.

A distant cousin, Matthew Fontaine Maury, was a West Point graduate, a commodore in the Civil War, fighting for the South, who published a book still in print, Physical Geography of the Seas. He was a founder of Virginia Tech, retiring as a professor of physics at Virginia Military Academy. Another distant cousin Dabney Herndon Maury, also a West Point graduate, a general in the Civil War fighting for the South, published a book titled, Recollections of a Southerner in the Mexican, Indian, and Civil Wars.

My great great grandfather Thomas Sanford Gathright, a Confederate draft dodger who opposed the South’s seceding from the Union, was the first president of Texas A & M University, recommended for his post by Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America.

My father’s uncle, Richard Gathright Maury, was a prominent lawyer in his time, the youngest district attorney in Harris County history, the county in which Houston just got flooded, who once served papers in person on a golf course in New York to John D. Rockefeller, indicting him and his Standard Oil Trust for violating Texas anti-trust laws, whose gravesite in Center, Texas, replete with a statue, is now a designated historical site recognized by the Texas Historical Society. As near as I can tell Richard Gathright Maury never went to school at all. Based on genealogical records produced for me by Frank Parker, a real estate developer and investor and a hobby genealogist, here in Statesboro, he was home schooled on a plantation in Mississippi and read law with a law firm to pass the bar exam.

His father, my great grandfather, Matthew Henry Maury, attended the University of Mississippi two years and was later killed by an African on a plantation in Mississippi, probably a freed slave, or the son of one.

My grandfather, Elbert Harry Coston, a Methodist minister, the son of Isom Alexander Coston, who was blind, according to my grandmother, Darlie Brown Walker Coston, whose father David Montgomery Walker was a cotton farmer and a wagon manufacturer, “never did a day’s work in his life. All he ever did was sit up on the front porch with his brothers and read.”

She said most of the work on the Coston farm near Palestine, Texas was done by Africans, freed slaves apparently, managed by her mother-in-law, Mattie Elizabeth Allen Coston, born on a ranch in Texas in 1854, shortly after Texas stopped pretending to be a nation and joined the Union as a mere state.

My mother told me in her last days in Willow Pond here in Statesboro that her grandfather Isom would swat each of his five boys on the rear one time with a razor strop when they came in for supper, telling them he didn’t know what they had done wrong that day but he knew they had been up to somethin’.  She also said somebody had to read the whole newspaper to him every day.

My Coston grandfather took a few courses at East Texas State College before he became an ordained minister, becoming a minister according to my hard-working father so he wouldn’t ever have to work at all.

I lived with Moma and Snazzy, my maternal grandparents, for two years while I was working on my doctorate. My aunt Ted, Edna Mae Coston Thompson, at one point had Snazzy examined by a psychiatrist, thinking he was going insane. The psychiatrist said quite to the contrary he had the highest IQ of any man his age he had ever examined. This confirmed my judgment. Snazzy always seemed to understand anything. He had a personal library he had collected through the years containing a thousand or more books.

My mother Ida Belle Coston Stapleton took a few business courses at a Draughn’s Business College somewhere after she got out of high school. She told me shortly before she died here in Statesboro, at age 92, that she never made less than an A in school.

My father Richard Gathright Maury Stapleton took some courses in agronomy at Texas Tech before he dropped out to become a successful entrepreneur, having never taken a single business course or read a single business book, or a book of any kind after I was born, to my knowledge, except maybe an arcane treatise or two on Free Masonry, to become a third degree Scottish Rite Mason, as I understand it. He saw to it I became a DeMolay in high school but I never had any interest in that sort of thing.

All he ever read was the local newspaper, farm magazines, and the US News & World Report. He put me to work in his enterprises when I was eight years old.

I made mostly C’s in grade, junior, and high school, but did better in college. I was according to the Lubbock Avalanche Journal probably the youngest and smallest Class A high school starting quarterback in the US in 1953, at age thirteen, weighing 110 pounds, standing five feet three inches tall. I played basketball on an athletic scholarship at Hardin-Simmons University two years before transferring to Texas Tech College (now university).

I had a 3.0 in economics in undergraduate school but did better in the doctoral program, graduating with a 3.67 grade point average in a program that included all business disciplines in which A’s were not easy to come by. One of my classmates who became the dean of a business school graduated with a 3.0.

Despite scoring 840 on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), at a time when 1000 was about average, Texas Tech accepted me provisionally into their doctoral program and gave me a part-time instructor position in economics that paid $3000 per academic year, enough for me to pay my way through the doctoral program and write my dissertation in three years.

The Office of Manpower Evaluation and Research of the US Department of Labor awarded me a $6500 grant to write my dissertation, An Analysis of Rural Manpower Migration Patterns in the South Plains Region of Texas.

Frank Parker traced all four of my grandparents back to Virginia before the American Revolutionary War, in which several ancestors fought. Their descendants, many of whom were cotton farmers, spread out from Virginia migrating into South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and New Mexico before winding up in the cotton country of Northwest Texas where I grew up.

I was working at a full time job in a Litton Industries electronics plant as a production control expediter and dispatcher and publishing my weekly newspaper the Wolfforth-Frenship Gazette when I took the GRE, having stayed up most of the night before the exam putting out the paper. I fell asleep several times taking the exam, not thinking it was important, just something I had to do to get into graduate school, filling in the remaining blanks for the various timed sections without reading the questions. I saw the exam proctor, the head of the psychology department at Texas Tech at the time, staring at me in amazement when I woke up from one of those naps.

Considering the GRE computerized grading system took off more points for questions answered wrong than for those left blank, I was lucky to have scored as high as 840.

I was hired at the associate professor rank after finishing my doctorate, skipping the assistant rank, at the University of Southwestern Louisiana after completing my doctorate in business administration, management science major, economics minor, at Texas Tech, becoming a full professor at age thirty-six at Georgia Southern College (now university), where I was the senior professor of the business school for about fifteen years, carrying the mace as the senior professor of the university for the spring graduation ceremony the year I retired in 2005.

I was the highest paid professor in the business school and maybe the second-highest-paid faculty member at Georgia Southern in 1970, behind Jim Oliver, in biology, maybe third after Fielding Russell, in English, when I started at age thirty, hired by President Pope Duncan.

My son, Jonathan Walker Stapleton, was the Star Student for our Congressional District in Georgia in 1990, scoring 1520 on the SAT back in the days when 1600 was the maximum score. He maxed the math part of the GRE when he finished his undergraduate degree at Rice University in Houston, Texas in 1994, almost maxing the verbal part.

He now invents and makes things in his home workshop and teaches physics and Earth sciences in a high school near Burlington, Vermont.  Hunting and fishing and organic gardening in his spare time, in a beautiful environment, he is a smart son indeed.

He is the inventor and designer of Reptangles™, a plastic educational toy comprising twenty-four parts that snap together and pull apart to assemble into more than one hundred mathematically identifiable geometric shapes and symmetrical configurations, manufactured in China, licensed to, marketed, and distributed around Earth by the Fat Brain Toy Company, which was demonstrated on ABC’s Good Morning America. 

Jonathan is married to Renee Doney Stapleton, MD, PhD, who teaches, researches, and practices pulmonary medicine at the University of Vermont. They have three children, Walker, Emmerson, and Orion, each of whom is learning well in and out of school.

According to Frank Parker’s data, one of my great great grandfathers William Anthony Stapleton, according to the 1850 US Census, was a farmer in Dale County, Alabama, owning twenty-one slaves.  According to a first cousin, Stephen Carter, who got involved with genealogy, this great great grandfather made several trips to England, for reasons unknown, apparently doing business of some sort.  According to Frank Parker, William Anthony Stapleton was relatively wealthy, since slaves at the time according to Frank were worth about $100,000 each in today’s money.  According to Stephen Carter, who had his Stapleton mother’s DNA line searched using Ancestry.com, the Stapletons and Maurys in our family tree were descended from English, Irish, Scottish, and French nobility.

Here is a passage from my book Business Voyages, a family business bible, first published by me in 2011, pages 47-50. Read all about it free at https://www.amazon.com/Business-Voyages-Schemata-Discovering-Co-Constructing/dp/1413480810.

“In October 2009 I told and showed my friend Frank Parker a genealogist here in Statesboro, Georgia I had recently found proof on the Internet my grandmother Katharine Gathright Maury was related to Matthew Fontaine Maury, that one of her Maury ancestors taught four American presidents in Virginia, and she was descended from French Huguenots and the Randolphs of Virginia, starting with a family tree furnished me about 1985 by Mary Stapleton, wife of my uncle Matthew Henry Stapleton, that traced our Stapleton/ Maury line back four generations to James Woodville Maury and William Anthony Stapleton in 1850, that I used with Horace Randoph’s Updated Database at www.randolpharchives.org that traced Katharine Gathright Maury back to Abraham Maury in Virginia in 1758 that traced Abraham Maury through the Randolph line back to 17th century England, that I used with Some Descendants of Jean de la Fontaine in Bob Juch’s Kin Including 61,000 People at www.juch. org that traced the Maury line from Abraham Maury back to James Fontaine born in Barnstaple, Devonshire, England in 1686 to Guy de la Fontaine, Lord of Seville, born in 1400 in France and to Jean de la Fontaine born in 1375 in France.

“Frank then offered to use his computerized genealogical system to check out several people down my family tree. Among much else, he found Dick’s grandfather Matthew Henry Maury, age 25, in the 1880 US census living on a plantation in Kemper County, Mississippi with his wife Virginia John Gathright Maury, age 24, and children including Dick’s mother Katharine, infant, and her brother Richard, age 3, in one household and Dick’s great grandfather James Woodville Maury, age 59, living in another unusual household including his wife, Rachel Harris Maury, age 53, and a servant Milby, age 31, and her five young children, all named Maury. Included in another household on the plantation was Sarah Maury, age 55, listed as a mother and farmer, presumably the mother of Milby. Listed in another household was Aaron Maury, age 45, listed as a farmer, presumably the husband of Milby. Dick’s Maury grandfather and his great grandfather and their wives and children were listed as white and the rest of the Maurys on the census page were listed as black.

“Frank also found in the 1850 US census before the Civil War that Dick’s great grandfather William Anthony Stapleton was a farmer in Dale County, Alabama, owning twenty-one slaves. This family history was kept secret from Dick or he kept it secret from me. I would never have known about it had it not been for the Internet and Frank Parker’s genealogical skills in 2009. The slave owning was something not to be proud of and perhaps it should have been kept secret. I sometimes thought as a child Dick was a slave driver; now I know where he got the proclivity. If you Google Richard John Stapleton on the Internet you can find several Stapleton barons, lords and sirs that lived in England and Ireland through the centuries after 1215 and our Stapleton line could be descended from lesser sons of some of these families who migrated to America in search of their own lands and fortunes. An unanswered question is Ludowic Stapleton, father of William Anthony Stapleton, who may have immigrated to the US from Ireland or England.

“Life on the American frontier for most of my more recent ancestors as they fanned out in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, or Texas was far from easy, secure, squeaky clean or pleasant much of the time. Many of them did not live long, and they were beset with all manner of problems on their farms, plantations and ranches—economic recessions and depressions, diseases of all sorts, psychological problems, hail, drought, sandstorms, hoof and mouth disease, slavery, the Civil War and much else. Dick thought his grandfather Matthew Henry Maury was killed by an African-American farm worker on a Mississippi plantation after the Civil War because Matthew insulted or made some sort of sexual advance toward the worker’s wife and he thought his mother was afterwards reared by her Gathright grandmother. He also said his Maury ancestors were either great or crazy. While his grandfather may or may not have been killed for this reason, his mother was not reared by her Gathright grandmother, at least not completely, although Dick did know something about what he was talking about. According to the 1900 US Census, Dick’s grandmother formerly Virginia John Gathright Maury now listed as age 40 had remarried Thornton Walters born in Illinois and was living in Brazoria, Texas in a reconstituted family consisting of 10 children, six named Maury including Dick’s mother Katharine now age 21 and four children named Walters ranging in age from 9 to 23. According to the 1910 US Census Virginia John Gathright Maury Walters, widowed, now age 50 was back in Lauderdale County, Mississippi listed as a patient in some sort of hospital or nursing home that included 24 other patients, all unrelated females ranging in age from 18 to 66.

“On Ida’s side of the family her favorite grandmother Mattie Elizabeth Allen Coston born in Texas about 1854 according to the 1870 US Census was living in a reconstituted family headed by John Doak married to Catharine Doak, presumably Mattie’s mother, including six children, four named Doak and two named Allen, Mattie and Robert. According to Ida at 90 years of age not many years ago at Willow Pond here in Statesboro, Georgia, Mattie “traveled all over” and had a good time at a ripe old age after her one and only Coston husband died of natural causes in East Texas.

“While some of Ida’s ancestors were intelligent, relatively well educated and successful professionally none to my knowledge equaled the intellectual achievements of some of Dick’s Maury ancestors. Quite possibly our Maury ancestor making the most significant contribution in American history was the Reverend Doctor James Maury who taught four American presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe, all instrumental in creating the US Constitution. The Reverend Doctor Maury taught classics, manners and morals, mathematics, literature, history, and geography in what was considered the best boarding school in Albemarle County,Virginia, attended by Thomas Jefferson who lived with the Reverend Maury and his family two years as a child (Wikipedia.org).”

I heard rumors of this growing up as a child, but I had no factual knowledge of it.  In general in our family talking about ancestors was taboo.  It was as if my parents had no knowledge of anyone in their families back past their parents.  I always thought they had something to hide, which I suppose they did, slavery.  They seemed shamed by their family history, either ashamed of what their ancestors did, or ashamed their social positions in their societies was generally lower than the social positions their ancestors had in their societies, having been declassed by the Civil War, with good riddance, in my opinion.

I did not have a happy childhood.  It was as if my parents did not believe in having fun.  All they did was work and keep a stiff upper lip.  Children were supposed to be seen and not heard, but admired for their perfect manners and looks in the presence of company.  There were all sorts of conflicts in the family.  My mother detested her mother-in-law for bragging about her “blue-blooded ancestors.”  My father thought everybody but him was lazy and worthless and he looked down his nose at them for this, including me.  I learned to take care of myself, entertain myself inside my own head with my own auditory and visual constructions, and play football and basketball.  We had relatively few I’m OK—You’re OK transactions at home or at work and very few positive strokes.  I cannot remember being hugged by either of my parents as a child.  Such was the social and psychological education and training they had received from their parents and grandparents through the generations.

One of the major conclusions of my book  Born to Learn is that everything that happens happens by accident, as the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein pointed out in his book of propositions, Prototractatus, and therefore no one is to blame or praise for what happens.

One might think with a background like mine I ought to be rounded up and summarily shot for the sins of my ancestors; but I don’t think it was my fault.  I did not make up the rules for how human affairs happen on Earth.  They happen gradually and inexorably from generation to generation according to script messages passed to children from parents using all ego states, socially and psychologically, like runners passing a baton in a track race.

Read Born to Learn for more detail about ego states and script messages.

Feel free to share this article any way you see fit.

Richard John Stapleton, Editor & Publisher, Effective Learning Report, www.effectivelearning.net

Effective Learning Report Updates—September 2017

THE HUMAN CONDITION

By Richard John Stapleton, Editor & Publisher

The world has always been a screwed-up place. And there has never been enough food, furs, spears, game, land, water, fish, timber, shoes, shotguns, rifles, fishing tackle, plows, cotton, houses, horses, cattle, clothes, cars, tractors, oil, gasoline, electricity, video games, computers, cell phones, helicopters, Humvees, SUVs, pickups, nuclear weapons, medicine and other goods to go around.

There are now some six billion people aboard Spaceship Earth and probably one billion people go to bed hungry every night. Millions of people exist on the brink of starvation every year. The starvation hellhole in 2004 is the Darfur region of Sudan, as usual in Africa, where one million people may die of genocidal ethnic cleansing, starvation, and disease. Only about one billion of us aboard Spaceship Earth are in generally good shape, in the United States, Western Europe, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Iceland, Australia and in a few other places. Among the two hundred or so countries on Earth one finds various levels of affluence and poverty, happiness and misery, freedom and slavery—the poorer the country in general the greater the gap between a rich elite few and masses of poor. In general the poorer the country the more corrupt the government.
 As bad as things are now, they are probably better than they ever were. Average incomes in recent years have increased worldwide. Although a few countries have become worse off, many of the poorest countries are now less poor than they were. Even so, it is not easy to live on $500 per year, a common income for people in some countries of Africa, South America, and Asia. Compare that with a $30,000 or so median yearly income for employed people in rich countries.

It’s no wonder that have-nots are continuing their struggle against the haves worldwide. Numerous rebel groups, communist and otherwise, led by warlords and leaders by various names now roam about in South America, Africa, and Asia raping, pillaging, and skirmishing with right-wing paramilitary groups and other military coalitions; intellectually and morally bankrupt dirt-poor communist North Korea playing with nuclear fire may be the biggest threat at present to humanity; and rapidly-developing communist China with its new variety of capitalism is significantly increasing its production, driving up the prices of raw materials worldwide. Educated information technology workers in poor countries are now able to do computer and information services work, thanks to the Internet, sitting at their computer screens in their poor countries, out-competing similar workers in rich countries without ever leaving home, all part of a new phenomenon known as “outsourcing”.

As bad as environmental pollution and global warming are now, caused by burning crude oil and coal, imagine what would happen if all poor countries were to develop the production, transportation, and consumption systems now used by rich countries and were to produce the same output per capita.

Politicians have increasingly polarized voters in the US in the last twenty-five years in their quest for personal political power. In general Republicans want to lower taxes for the rich, increase military might, and promote their religious beliefs; in general Democrats want to restore the taxes of the rich and insure Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other social programs. The last two US presidential elections, in which voters were almost exactly divided between Republicans and Democrats, serve as evidence for this assertion.

There are now ominous signs in the US that atavistic forces lurking apparently in all humanity such as religious fanaticism and intolerance, military fatalism, ideological magical thinking, racism, sexism, ageism, and disrespect for facts and reason are spreading. Almost every day one can read in newspapers about politicians attempting to enact laws promoting religious belief that will enable religious groups to secure tax money to further their religious agendas. Articles appear almost daily in newspapers about the loss of individual freedom in America and the imposing of increasingly authoritarian measures such as denying due legal process to suspected terrorists and prisoners. Although terrorism is a threat to some people in developed nations, and strong police and military measures are required to deal with terrorists, in the face of such threats we must not allow the darker power-hungry, irrational and fatalistic side of human nature to destroy the blessings of freedom that millions of Americans have worked and fought so hard to achieve in the last 250 years.

In the past few years I have had more and more students in my classes with political agendas who seem to think facts are irrelevant and that political propaganda is truth. Apparently they have been taught by authority figures in their lives that they have a right to disseminate their personal dogma and propaganda as truth and others have no right to contest them or point out the deleterious consequences of such thinking and behavior. I am sure Hitler’s empowered brown- shirted youths felt much the same. Just today a page-one story in our local newspaper is about an attempt by a legislator in a midwestern state to pass legislation to force professors to allow students to promote “conservative” dogma in college classrooms without being challenged by the teacher even, apparently, if the dogma is completely out of context. I think this sort of thing is worse than absurd; it is abhorrent.

What this move amounts to in transactional analysis terms is an attempt to legitimize by law a Parent ego state contamination of the Adult ego state functioning of the educational process. The move entails an attempt to legally enfranchise an I’m OK—You’re Not OK life position based on political propaganda, dogma, and doctrine in classrooms. Good teaching entails teachers establishing an I’m OK—You’re OK life position among themselves and all students in the classroom, based on an honest attempt using the Adult ego state to discover and teach the truth of the matter based on a rigorous study of facts and evidence.

It seems obvious to me the purpose of teaching in classrooms is to teach truth—verifiable truth supported by facts, observation, and reason. Labeling professors as liberal or conservative is an insult to real professors. This assumes professors teach dogma and propaganda and ignore truth based on fact and reason. As far as I am concerned any professor who tells his or her students she or he is liberal or conservative and teaches propaganda, dogma, or doctrine conforming to a political party line in a classroom as actual truth is not qualified to be a professor.

Although I abhor labeling people as liberal or conservative, it seems to me “conservatives” are winning the political language game in the United States because the word conservative resonates better than liberal with people en masse. Liberal makes a good smear word whereas conservative does not. The word conservative connotes morality, virtue, hard work, persistence, generally virtuous things; whereas the word liberal connotes immorality, laziness, loose morals, loose standards, generally weak sentiments and behaviors.

This past year for the first time in my teaching career I was labeled a liberal by a colleague who tells his students he is a conservative and proud of it. Although I do not think this colleague meant serious harm, his move was a form of attack in the overall context in which the transaction occurred. While the episode was disconcerting, what is more disturbing is to think that more and more people are being subjected to such moves in the US as a whole. I am no more a liberal than the colleague is a fascist, although it seems to me some so-called conservatives advocate behaviors that are fascist in nature. In addition to conservative vs. liberal, the political language game is also about fascism vs. democracy, rational vs. irrational, knowledgeable vs. dogmatic, fair vs. unfair, freedom vs. repression, smart vs. dumb, hopeful vs. fatalistic, courageous vs. cowardly, weak vs. strong, independent vs. dependent and other linguistic bifurcations. There are all sorts of labels one can put on people to put them down. Given the way our culture in the US has evolved in the last twenty-five years, any citizen can be attacked in a war of words on any day. A young chancellor of the University System of Georgia with a PhD in classical literature upon resigning his post a few years ago said Georgia was experiencing “a rising tide of anti-intellectualism.” Hopefully right, not might, shall win in the long run.

SOURCE: A Passage from Business Voyages, by Richard John Stapleton, written in 2004, first published in 2008, pages 580-583  

 

September 29, 2017

September has not been a good month in my opinion. Bad things are coming to a head. Our clownish seventy-year-old reality show billionaire president who inherited his money who never worked a day in his life at a real job for a real boss has been playing a potentially lethal psychological NIGYSOB Game with an infantilized thirty-three-year-old tryant in North Korea who inherited a whole nation who also never worked at a real job in his life for a boss. The name of the Game, well known in transactional analysis circles, is Now I’ve Got You, You S.O.B. The purpose of the Game is to vent your feelings of anger and frustration. The payoff, if you win, is feeling superior and one-up.

It’s one thing for people to play this Game backed up with the usual means of power and punishment in organizations such as those in which most of us live and survive—verbal insults and threats, paddles, fisticuffs, the power to give or not give someone a pay raise, the power to fire someone, the power to sue someone in court, the power to shoot someone with a gun, the power to put someone in jail.

Unfortunately, Trump and his North Korean dictator Game adversary, whom Trump calls the Rocket Man, who calls Trump the Dotard, are backed up with armies, navies, air forces, and nuclear bombs that could destroy humanity if their Game escalates to its highest degree.

According to President Jimmy Carter quoted in an article in the Intrepid Report, “Trump fails to understand North Korea existential fears,” by Wayne Madsen, this Game with North Korea could be terminated if the US would promise with a new treaty they would not harm North Korea so long as North Korea does not harm any other nation.

Seems to me if this is right the US would have to be insane not to sign such a treaty. But, unfortunately neither Jimmy Carter nor I is now president of the US. Why has this insanity and absurdity with North Korea happened? Has our military-industrial-intelligence-corporate complex agitated for it to justify military spending in the US budget to enrich and empower their vested interests even more? Has Trump done it just to play psychological Games attempting to satisfy his gargantuan and apparently insatiable ego needs? Has he done it to distract attention from problems and concerns such as hurricane relief, football players kneeling when the national anthem is played to protest against racism, his personal problems with his congressional investigation, his lawsuits, the US military involvement in the Middle East, the federal budget deficit, rising income inequality and dissatisfaction, his business dealings, and any of the thousands of details such gestalts entail?

SOURCE: “Trump fails to understand North Korea existential fears,” by Wayne Madsen, published in the Intrepid Report

 

September 29

Here is a brave analysis with sound conclusions, but what is the probability it could ever happen?

SOURCE: “Leftists and rightists agree: abolish the CIA,” by Roger Copple, published in the Intrepid Report.

 

September 28

Here is a video posted on my Facebook page titled “Have You Ever Thought America Has Become One Big Jerry Springer Show,” created by So That’s the Buzz.

No, I had not thought that exactly but I have thought similar things. Come to think of it though, calling America a Jerry Springer Show is a pretty good analogy. Facebook itself is somewhat of a Jerry Springer Show in which all sorts of people from any walk of life can speak their minds, however deranged and disordered they might be. Is it educational to expose your mind to this diversity of nonsense?

Who would have ever thought the US would ever have a president like Donald Trump—a spoiled rich kid, with at least six bankruptcies and thirteen or more business failures to his credit, five children by three different wives, a supporter of neo-Nazis, a racist, a misogynist, a bully, a tweeter who may never have read a whole book who probably never wrote and published anything by himself requiring more than a few paragraphs, a high-functioning narcissistic who requires constant approval, voted into office primarily by white Christians, who still approve of his lifestyle and behavior, which is contrary to what their bible says is right? While there were rumors on Facebook he snorted some cocaine during his campaign, according to Facebook posts, he does not smoke tobacco or drink alcohol, two good things some people might say about him. And so far on Facebook I have seen only one rumor about his having had some sort of sexual fling with one of his employees in the White House.

Regardless, it does seem Trump has turned the White House into a Jerry Springer Show of sorts with on-stage characters expressing mundane off-the-wall ideas. His family members, cronies, and appointees sometimes look like characters in a TV soap opera.

SOURCE: “Have You Ever Thought America Has Become One Big Jerry Springer Show,” a video created by So That’s the Buzz, posted on Facebook.

 

September 28

Violence is a waste of time and energy

Rather than rationally deal with the root causes of their problems, fears, and frustrations, many humans vilify, demonize, scapegoat, and tear the tissue of enemies.

What Earth needs now is unlearning and new learning. Humans need to learn how to get their needs met without playing Games and resorting to violence, as in wars and acts of terrorism such as occurred last week on the campus at the University of Virginia.

Violence rarely solves anything. It just kicks the can further down the road, where the problem rears its ugly head again.

As Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King demonstrated, non-violent action can produce real change.

Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning is full of ideas for producing peaceable change.

 

September 27, 2017

Here’s how our CEO in Chief Trump deals with money. Spend it like there is no tomorrow, and cut taxes. “Business” might boom a bit in the short run because of this stimulus if he can make it happen, but the US financial house of cards will become more and more flimsy, as corporations and the elite rich plunder anything they can get their hands on. Instead of a $19 trillion federal debt, we will soon have a $38 trillion federal debt, if the Trumpster gets what he says he wants for a US budget.

SOURCE: “Trump and the Great Debt Betrayal,” by Bill Bonner, published in the Daily Reckoning blog.

 

September 27

It’s worse than I ever thought it would be. I wonder how many of his voters have any conception of what Trump is really doing in the White House? Most of them probably think all he does is threaten leaders in foreign countries and bluster about football players not standing up for the national anthem, or saying white supremacists and neo-Nazis are good people, or crowing about how many people show up when he deigns to observe hurricane disaster results.

This article would open their eyes if they were to read it.

SOURCE: “The White House as Donald Trump’s New Casino,” by Nomi Prins, published in The Daily Reckoning.

 

September 27

As the rich continue to get richer….

SOURCE: “The growing danger of dynastic wealth,” by Robert Reich, published in the Intrepid Report

 

September 27, 2017

Say it aint so Joe….

SOURCE: “I Just Know I’ll be Rich Someday,” John Giarratana, published in CounterPunch

 

September 27

Many sorries for these people.  At least Trump finally waived the Jones Act and real help can be provided by the US.

SOURCE: “’This Bankrupt Island’: Debt and Disaster in Puerto Rico,” by Maria Del Pilar Blanco, published in CounterPunch

 

September 27

Say it aint so Joe.

SOURCE: “The Preacher and Vietnam: When Billy Graham Urged Nixon to Kill One Million People,” by Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn, published in CounterPunch.

 

September 27

Here’s another great article by John Whitehead, a constitutional lawyer. In a free society patriotism is not mandatory. Going down on one knee when the national anthem is being played is legal under the constitution of the US. This is a form of non-verbal speech guaranteed by the constitution. People arguing football players do not have a right to do this are wrong. The real problem here is that most people have been brainwashed into believing all people have to be obedient to all symbols of national authority, believing they are deprived of their constitutional rights when they are paid to do a job by someone else, becoming de facto slaves, especially when working for the military, or, apparently, when they are paid to play football. This whole hullabaloo is a symptom of the increasing militarization of the US, implying more and more people have been brainwashed into believing they have to obey all authoritarian commands and messages, regardless of their guaranteed constitutional rights.

SOURCE: “Patriots and Protesters Should Take a Knee for the Constitution,” by John W. Whitehead, published in CounterPunch.

 

September 27

This is about a fellow named Roger Goodale, who, according to a Facebook post, is the commissioner of the National Football League, a so-called non-profit organization, who was paid a salary of $44.2 million dollars in 2012. This does seem to be a bit much for a salary for a non-profit organization. Think there might be just a little something wrong here?

SOURCE: Facebook post by Edward Devine, September 7, 2016.

 

September 27

Why did Hatch and McConnell get so much more than the others?

Remember the 13 alt-right senators who tried to take away America’s healthcare behind closed doors? This is how much money they accepted from insurance companies and Big Pharma.

SOURCE: Facebook post by Milan Pokorny, September 22.

 

September 26

There are Large Parts of America Being Left Behind…including us. “It is fair to wonder whether a recovery that excludes tens of millions of Americans and thousands of communities deserves to be called a recovery at all…”

SOURCE:  “There are Large Parts of America Being Left Behind”, by Tyler Durden, published in ZeroHedge

 

September 25

Here’s to Bernie Sanders. Hope it somehow works in our moribund society.

SOURCE: “Why healthcare should be managed as a natural monopoly,” by Richard John Stapleton, Effective Learning Report

 

September 24

Say it aint so Joe.

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. For the traitor appears not a traitor—He speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation—he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city—he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared.”

Cicero, Roman Statesman, 42 BC, speaking from his grave.

SOURCE: Facebook post by Detong Choyin, September 23

 

September 23

How to get that 46.9 percent voting for a truly progressive candidate is the problem.

And this is why we can’t have nice things.

2016 presidential election turnout rate: 46.9 percent didn’t vote, 25.6 percent voted for Clinton, 25.5 percent voted for Trump, and 1.7 percent voted for Johnson.

SOURCE: Posted on Facebook by Join the Coffee Party Movement.

 

September 22

Here’s a particularly cogent economic update by Richard Wolff.

SOURCE: Audio podcast, “Economic Update: Capitalism, Revolution and Socialism,” published in Truth-Out.

 

September 21

Last night, the Senate overwhelmingly approved an $80 billion annual increase in military spending. Trump had asked for just $48 billion…

As shown here, the US makes thirty-six percent of all military expenditures around Earth, including some two hundred countries, more than the next eight largest nations spend combined.

Why is this?

SOURCE: Posted on Facebook by Robert Reich

 

September 21

Capitalism won’t be killed by communism. Capitalism will be killed by low-wage workers who can’t buy products, aka lack of aggregate demand.

SOURCE: Visual meme posted on Facebook by Matt Matsuoka

 

September 16

More corruption in our government. This should not be happening.

Insurance industry contributions to Democratic Senators. Of thirty-five listed, Bernie Sanders was the only one not receiving anything.

SOURCE: Posted on Facebook by Cindy Barnes McDougal  

 

September 15

It was way worse than I thought it was then when I saw it on TV in the waiting room of the Volvo dealership in Savannah, Ga. I thought it strange at the time that a young woman would walk in the room and tell us with certainty, “Osama Bin Laden!” I had never heard of him at the time.

Hunter S. Thompson’s 9/11 Essay is Still Chillingly Accurate 16 Years Later.

When terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 no one knew exactly what the future would hold.

SOURCE: “Hunter S. Thompson’s 9/11 Essay is Still Chillingly Accurate 16 Years Later,” by David Moye, published in HuffPost, Sept. 11, 2017

 

September 15

McDonald’s prices go up regardless of wages.

Big Mac cost in 2009, $3.57; Federal Minimum Wage, $7.25

Big Mac cost in 2017, $5.30; Federal Minimum Wage, $7.25

Wages don’t matter.

Fight for $15 per hour.

SOURCE: Meme posted by Fight for $15

 

September 14

Why We Need Medicare for All

Well said by Bernie Sanders.

This is a pivotal moment in American history. Do we, as a nation, join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee comprehensive health care for all?

SOURCE: “Why We Need Medicare for All,” by Sen. Bernard Sanders, published in CounterPunch

 

September 14

Look closely at this chart of federal spending. Somewhere within the tiny orange sliver at the bottom is the food stamp program that Republicans blame for our budget deficit.

SOURCE: Meme posted on Facebook by The Other 98% 

 

September 13

Declaring peace would be a dangerous thing. Some thoughts and facts on war in this article by David Swanson. Well worth a read.

SOURCE: “How Outlawing War Changed the World in 1928,” by David Swanson, published in CounterPunch

 

September 13

Do we really know what we’re doing?

One of the major differences between working and middle to upper-class parents, when it comes to their children’s education, and specifically how to best maximize…

SOURCE: “Beyond the Class Ceiling: Education and Upward Social Mobility,” by Pascal Blackfoot, published in CounterPunch

 

September 12

Premature disappearance is a terrible thing.

Remembering the disappeared. Of the 2,753 victims of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, no physical trace has been found for 1,112 of them. Thus for 40…

SOURCE: “Remembering the Disappeared,” by Ariel Dorfman, published in CounterPunch

 

September 11

Say it aint so Joe.

The US War on Terror has resulted in over 1 million deaths.

SOURCE: “9/11: The Beginning of the End of the US Empire Project,” by Dahr Jamail, published in Truthout

 

September 7

Is North Korea and the US now analogous to Cuba and the US then and is Kim and Trump analogous to Khrushchev and Kennedy? Here is an excellent article pointing out gruesome realities of the relationship with North Korea. We know Trump is not analogous to Kennedy, and we know Kim is not analogous to Khrushchev. Nuclear bombs did not fall from the sky on the US then; will they fall from the sky on the US now?

Cold War strategists led by such men as Henry Kissinger, Thomas Schelling and Bernard Brodie believed that ultimately relationships among nations were…

SOURCE: “America on the Brink of Nuclear War: What Should We Do?”, by William R. Polk, published in CounterPunch

 

September 6

All this is doing is turning machines into what humans used to be. Humans cannot compete with these digitized machines. The only hope is to turn these machines into the equivalent of human machines and promote former human machines into the elite stockholder manager class of corporations, to live off the work of the robot machines like the elite live off the work of human machines now.

A computer scientist at Rice University says that accountants, lawyers and even construction are about to find their work changing substantially, if not entirely taken…

SOURCE: “The rise of robots taking human jobs will be ‘painful and enduring’,” by Moshe Y. Vardi, published in the Daily Mail,

 

September 5

David Stockman in my opinion does an admirable job explaining the Federal tax situation. On the other hand, he is being disingenuous regarding what he calls a payroll tax, calling it the major problem for middle and lower income citizens. What he calls a payroll tax of fifteen percent is really FICA deductions for Social Security, absolutely necessary to prevent the destruction of the Social Security system, an investment, not a tax. Pundits, especially good ones like Stockton, calling FICA deductions payroll taxes is a dangerous thing. The day when Social Security goes down the tube is the day the US becomes a Third World country.

Former Reagan White House cabinet official, David Stockman levels that Donald Trump’s tax plan is destined for complete failure…

SOURCE: “The Donald’s Seinfeld Tax Plan—A Big Show About Nothing,” by David Stockman, published in the Daily Reckoning

 

September 5

Here is a good general overview of climate change around Earth. The author asserts human activity caused it. I say it makes little difference who or what caused it. The relevant point is that climate change is creating hell around Earth, and we better hope we humans did cause it, because if we did then we can theoretically make changes to uncause it; otherwise, if nature caused it, and the trend continues for several decades, humans are toast, since there is nothing we can do about it.

We are in the age of climate-caused humanitarian crises.

SOURCE: “Greenland is Burning: Wildfires and Floods Surge Worldwide,” by Dahr Jamail, published in Truth-Out.

 

September 5, 2017

Here’s something to think about.

Countries ranked by prosperity: Norway, Socialist; Switzerland, Socialist; New Zealand, Socialist; Denmark, Socialist; Canada, Socialist; Sweden, Socialist; Australia, Socialist Welfare; Finland, Socialist; Netherlands, Socialist; United States, number ten

SOURCE: Meme post on Facebook by Patricia Dowling    

 

September 4

A sad Labor Day indeed.

SOURCE: “Trump’s Labor Day,” by Robert Reich, posted in the Intrepid Report

 

September 4

Let’s hope not.

SOURCE: “The American military empire: Is Trump its would-be emperor?, “ by Dr. Rodrique Tremblay, posted in the Intrepid Report

 

September 3

Here’s another great audio discourse by Richard Wolff, discussing the financial crises in 1929 and 2008.

SOURCE: “Economic Update: A Tale of Two Crises,” by Richard Wolff, posted in Truth-Out

Further Thoughts on Politics

by Richard John Stapleton

In my immediately preceding Effective Learning Report post I published an article I wrote titled “An Inspiring Educational Meeting in the Country Club near Statesboro, Georgia” in which I said I am an Independent politically and have primarily voted for Republicans in local and state elections, but only one time did I vote for a Republican in a presidential election in my life, voting for Bob Dole in the 1966 Clinton-Bob Dole election. This statement is generally true, on the face of it. However, I had the thought today it could be misleading and I wish I had phrased it differently.

It is true I have primarily voted for Republicans in local elections because I knew them personally or someone I knew knew them as good and honorable people who would do the right thing in office and they just happened to be Republicans. I have always voted for Republican State Senator Jack Hill because I knew him personally and knew he was a good politician. I am not sure now however after giving the matter more thought that this would be “primarily voting for Republicans in local and state elections,” especially considering whether US senator and representative races would be considered local and state elections or national elections, since these politicians vote for federal legislation.

I have maybe never voted for Republicans in US Senator or Representative races because I disagree with the policies of the Republican Party on macro-economic and political issues, particularly regarding taxation, government regulation of business and the environment, healthcare, education, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and military spending, and it seems to me almost all politicians vote their party line once they get seated in the US Congress, however good and honorable they might have been back home.

After giving the matter more thought, I have probably voted for more Democrats than Republicans taking all elections I have voted in into account.

Regardless, I think both the Republican and the Democratic Parties in Washington have poorly performed in recent decades, and we need a new third party, a truly progressive party to insure the perpetuation of the human species. Here are some policies for such a party I invented, posted on our Effective Learning Company website, the FreeFairProgressParty, at http://www.effectivelearning.net/freefairprogressparty.html.

An Inspiring Educational Meeting in the Country Club near Statesboro, Georgia

By Richard John Stapleton

Debbye and I attended a meeting Saturday afternoon September 16 hosted for Dr. Sid Chapman by Bill Herring, president of the local Democratic Party, at the Forrest Heights Country Club in Statesboro, Georgia. My wife Debbye is the star mathematics tutor in our Stapleton Learning Company small business in downtown Statesboro, located in the Parker Real Estate Building right across the street from the Emma Kelly Theater.

Dr. Chapman is campaigning for the Georgia State School Superintendent position. He spent about two hours telling about twenty of us in the meeting about his background, policy positions, and recent experiences, and answering questions we had in an open discussion. For more detail about Sid’s background click here.

He told us he had recently returned from a trip to Finland where he observed first hand the best public school system around Earth, easily verified by a Google search.

According to Dr. Chapman, Finland has the best school system around Earth because of the value Finns place on education as a society. In Finland teaching is a more prestigious profession than medicine. He said it’s harder to get certified as a teacher in Finland than it is to get certified as a medical doctor. Teachers are highly respected in their communities and they interact with local citizens and their children to decide locally what and how to teach. Schools are locally controlled and there is little or no teaching to the test or anything like the No Child Left Behind scheme, hatched by the disingenuous anti-intellectual Bush II administration in the US, which was inflicted on public schools throughout the US.

Sid is a high school dropout who got a GED and later a doctor’s degree who is now president of the Georgia Association of Educators, with some thirty thousand members, according to one of the attendees. He said he has taught in public schools almost all social studies subjects, including economics, which was my undergraduate major. He obviously has outstanding interpersonal and administrative skills as evidenced by his success as president of the GAE. He is also a part-time Methodist minister. I told him and the group my granddaddy was a Methodist preacher. I am now a friend of the Statesboro Unitarian Universal Fellowship. Several members of that fellowship were in attendance at the meeting.

Dr. Chapman advocates decreasing the use of high stakes testing, fully funding public education, equity for all students, not using public taxes to fund private schools, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics), Vocational and Technical Education, fostering creative and critical thinking and communication skills, improving incentives to recruit and retain quality teachers and educators, and protecting the current teacher retirement system.

Having no experience teaching in grade, junior, or high school, there is no way I could know for sure what it’s like to work day in and day out as a public school teacher or administrator. Regardless, based on what I learned last Saturday, I agree with Dr. Chapman’s policies and ideas on how to do public education, and I wish him success with his campaign. Having no knowledge about his competitors in the race, it seems to me he will be tough man to beat in the state school superintendent’s race and Georgia would be fortunate to have him as its school superintendent.

I learned how little I knew about Georgia public school education associations in the meeting. I had no knowledge of PAGE, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, which has about ninety thousand members in Georgia, about three times as many members as the GAE, the Georgia Association of Educators, the Georgia affiliate of the NEA, the National Educational Association, according to one of the attendees, who told me this after the meeting was over. I have little understanding of the differences in these two education organizations. I presume both of them exist to support grade, junior, and high school students and teachers, while having differences in philosophies and policies. As I scanned the PAGE homepage on the Internet, a link devoted to Teacher Evaluations jumped out at me, rubber-banding me back to some of my experiences as a teacher dealing with faculty evaluations.

I understand very well the intricacies and problems of daily life as a college teacher and administrator, having done it for forty years, as my RJS Academic Vita page on our Effective Learning Company website shows. I know very well what it’s like to be subjected to problems of faculty evaluations for merit raises, tenure, and promotion. I got so fed up with the faculty evaluation system used for decades in the business school at Georgia Southern that I cajoled the administrator of our department in the late 1990s to supply me with departmental student evaluation data for one semester for a statistical analysis, agreed to by all departmental faculty, for research purposes only. A colleague Gene Murkison and I used the data to produce, write, and publish an article, “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations: A Study of Correlations Between Instructor Excellence, Study Production, Learning Production, and Expected Grades,” in the Journal of Management Education, in 2001, that has now been cited as a reference in sixty-five refereed professional journals in several disciplines. To verify these citations click here to see the results of this Google search.

I presented in this article a new metric for teacher productivity I invented, which I think public schools could use, what I called a Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity (the CITP), that requires not only taking into consideration the opinions of students regarding how good they thought the teacher was as a teacher but how much the teacher motivated them to study, how much they thought they learned in the course, and what they thought about the grade they expected to receive in the course given how much they had studied for and learned in the course. I have no idea how much the CITP has been used in higher education around Earth since 2001 but I know it has been used and is still being read by serious educators and educational researchers writing refereed journal articles for raises, tenure, and promotions.

Good teachers are just like good producers in any line of work. They want to be recognized and rewarded commensurately to what they produce. In order to fairly reward teachers you have to have some means of estimating how much they have produced relative to their peers. What is it teachers are paid to produce? Learning. How do you measure learning? Is learning memorizing right answers for multiple choice and true false questions? How about learning how to think about what is relevant and right in a situation? How about learning how to be a better human being? How about asking students how much they have learned in the course relative to how much they normally learn in courses?

The CITP averages ranks for learning production, study production, instructor excellence scores, and expected grades. Expected grades are important because teachers in some cases can dumb down their test questions to raise their expected grades to raise their instructor excellence scores and their learning production scores, as we proved in our Optimizing Fairness paper. To make things fair you have to inversely weight expected grades in the rank averaging process to get the final CITP. It gets complicated but it can be done. Read the article to get the whole picture by clicking here.

I used this research to convince Georgia Southern in 2000 to add study production, learning production, and expected grades questions to the student evaluation form used campus-wide. Things got a little better for me after that when faculty evaluation time rolled around every year. I normally ranked in the lower twenty-five percent of the faculty for teaching in our department when only instructor excellence was ranked. Using the CITP I ranked in the upper twenty-five percent. I was a productive teacher; not a popular teacher, and my grades weren’t inflated, and our research proved it. My assigned grades averaged about 2.4 per class on a 4-point scale, about the lowest in our department, according to Pick-A-Prof.com, a website maintained by some enterprising students at the University of Texas. I read an article the other day on the Internet stating that in most colleges today forty or so percent of students in most classes make A’s. It seems to me it’s possible that now and then teachers might have that many truly excellent students in a class, but not most of the time.

I have a case titled Games Educators Play posted on our Effective Learning Company website showing some of the problems and issues involved in producing and administering educational offerings in a university business school.

Since retiring at Georgia Southern in 2005 I have published two books, Business Voyages: Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata, and Tools for Discovering and Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds, and Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning through my independent publishing house Effective Learning Publications. Both of these books draw upon my training and experience using transactional analysis, a new psychiatric discipline invented by Eric Berne, MD and his protégés in the 1960s. Both books show my experience using what I called a Classroom De-Gamer™ to randomly select students in class to discuss assigned reading for the day, and present data showing the process caused students to study and learn more than they otherwise would have because of the Classroom De-Gamer reducing psychological Game-playing in the classroom. When students are selected by the De-Gamer to respond to classroom challenges all ego states in students feel and know they are not being picked on or rewarded as a Victim by a Persecutor or Rescuer teacher. Born to Learn shows how alternative teaching methods, classroom layouts, and testing methods affect the productivity and overall “OKness” of teachers and students.

I first published Born to Learn in 1979, titled at the time De-Gaming Teaching and Learning, which I reedited and retitled adding a new summary chapter in 2016. I received a good Kirkus Review for Born to Learn in 2016. The book will be included in a special edition of the Kirkus Magazine for book industry professionals in November 2017 in a section called “Twenty 2016 Indie Books Worth Reading.”

In the interests of full disclosure, I am not a Democrat. I am an Independent, as Bill Herring told the group Saturday. Regardless, I have voted for almost nothing but Democratic presidents throughout my life, mostly voting for Republicans for state and local offices in recent decades. I voted for Bob Dole, the only Republican presidential candidate I ever voted for, instead of Clinton in Clinton’s second election. I was too young to vote for Eisenhower. In my opinion John F. Kennedy was by far the most intellectually honest president of my lifetime, and look at what happened to him. The intellectual honesty of presidents has generally declined since Kennedy’s assassination, Jimmy Carter being an exception, a breath of fresh air after Nixon. I voted for Jill Stein of the Green Party in the 2016 presidential election, not because I thought she had a chance of winning, but because I agreed with her policies, and I thought she was intellectually honest, playing relatively few psychological Games.

Come to think of it, intellectual honesty seems to have declined in most places through the years in the US.

Here is a new synopsis of my educational history, written by me today at age seventy-six, inspired by the meeting on education last Saturday at the country club.

A great-grandfather of mine many times removed, the Reverend Doctor James Maury, a French Huguenot, taught four American presidents, Washington (a distant relative down the branches of my family tree), Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, in a boarding school in Virginia. A distant cousin, Matthew Fontaine Maury, was a West Point graduate, a commodore in the Civil War, fighting for the South, who published a book still in print, Physical Geography of the Seas. He was a founder of Virginia Tech, retiring as a professor of physics at Virginia Military Academy. Another distant cousin Dabney Herndon Maury, also a West Point graduate, a general in the Civil War fighting for the South, published a book titled, Recollections of a Southerner in the Mexican, Indian, and Civil Wars. My great great grandfather Thomas Sanford Gathright, a Confederate draft dodger who opposed the South’s seceding from the Union, was the first president of Texas A & M University, recommended for his post by Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America. My father’s uncle, Richard Gathright Maury, was a prominent lawyer in his time, the youngest district attorney in Harris County history, the county in which Houston just got flooded, who once served papers in person on a golf course in New York to John D. Rockefeller, indicting him and his Standard Oil Trust for violating Texas anti-trust laws, whose gravesite in Center, Texas, replete with a statue, is now a designated historical site recognized by the Texas Historical Society. As near as I can tell Richard Gathright Maury never went to school at all. Based on genealogical records produced for me by Frank Parker, a real estate developer and investor and a hobby genealogist, here in Statesboro, he was home schooled on a plantation in Mississippi and read law with a law firm to pass the bar exam. His father, my great grandfather, Matthew Henry Maury, attended the University of Mississippi two years and was later killed by an African on a plantation in Mississippi, probably a freed slave, or the son of one. My grandfather, Elbert Harry Coston, a Methodist minister, the son of Isom Alexander Coston, who was blind, according to my grandmother, Darlie Brown Walker Coston, whose father David Montgomery Walker was a cotton farmer and a wagon manufacturer, “never did a day’s work in his life. All he ever did was sit up on the front porch with his brothers and read.” She said most of the work on the Coston farm near Palestine, Texas was done by Africans, freed slaves apparently, managed by her mother-in-law, Mattie Elizabeth Allen Coston, born on a ranch in Texas in 1845, the year Texas stopped pretending to be a nation and joined the Union as a mere state.  My mother told me in her last days in Willow Pond here in Statesboro that her grandfather Isom would swat each of his five boys on the rear one time with a razor strop when they came in for supper, telling them he didn’t know what they had done wrong that day but he knew they had been up to somethin’.  She also said somebody had to read the whole newspaper to him every day.  My Coston grandfather took a few courses at East Texas State College before he became an ordained minister, becoming a minister according to my hard-working father so he wouldn’t ever have to work at all. I lived with Moma and Snazzy for two years while I was working on my doctorate. My aunt Ted, Edna Mae Coston Thompson, at one point had Snazzy examined by a psychiatrist, apparently thinking he was going insane. The psychiatrist said quite to the contrary he had the highest IQ of any man his age he had ever examined. This confirmed my judgment. Snazzy always seemed to understand anything. He had a personal library he had collected through the years containing a thousand or more books. My mother Ida Belle Coston Stapleton took a few business courses at a Draughn’s Business College somewhere after she got out of high school. She told me shortly before she died here in Statesboro, at age 92, that she never made less than an A in school. My father Richard Gathright Maury Stapleton took some courses in agronomy at Texas Tech before he dropped out to become a successful entrepreneur, having never taken a single business course or read a single business book, or a book of any kind after I was born, to my knowledge, except maybe an arcane treatise or two on Free Masonry, to become a third degree Scottish Rite Mason, as I understand it. He saw to it I became a DeMolay in high school but I never had any interest in that sort of thing. All he ever read was the local newspaper, farm magazines, and the US News & World Report. He put me to work in his enterprises when I was eight years old. I made mostly C’s in grade, junior, and high school, but did better in college. I was according to the Lubbock Avalanche Journal probably the youngest and smallest Class A high school starting quarterback in the US in 1953, at age thirteen, weighing 110 pounds, standing five feet three inches tall. I played basketball on an athletic scholarship at Hardin-Simmons University two years before transferring to Texas Tech College (now university). I had a 3.0 in economics in undergraduate school but did better in the doctoral program, graduating with a 3.67 grade point average in a program that included all business disciplines in which A’s were not easy to come by. One of my classmates who became the dean of a business school graduated with a 3.0. Despite scoring 840 on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), at a time when 1000 was about average, Texas Tech accepted me provisionally into their doctoral program and gave me a part-time instructorship in economics that paid $3000 per academic year, enough for me to pay my way through the doctoral program and write my dissertation in three years. The Office of Manpower Evaluation and Research of the US Department of Labor awarded me a $6500 grant to write my dissertation, An Analysis of Rural Manpower Migration Patterns in the South Plains Region of Texas. Frank Parker traced all four of my grandparents back to Virginia before the American Revolutionary War, in which several ancestors fought. Their descendants, most of whom were cotton farmers, spread out from Virginia migrating into South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi before winding up in the cotton country of Northwest Texas where I grew up. I was working at a full time job in a Litton Industries electronics plant as a production control expediter and dispatcher and publishing my weekly newspaper the Wolfforth-Frenship Gazette when I took the GRE, having stayed up most of the night before the exam putting out the paper. I fell asleep several times taking the exam, not thinking it was important, just something I had to do to get into graduate school, filling in the remaining blanks for the various timed sections without reading the questions. I saw the exam proctor, the head of the psychology department at Texas Tech at the time, staring at me in amazement one time when I woke up from one of these naps. Considering the GRE computerized grading system took off more points for questions answered wrong than for those left blank, I was lucky to have scored as high as 840. I was hired at the associate professor rank, skipping the assistant rank, at the University of Southwestern Louisiana after finishing my doctorate in business administration, management science major, economics minor, at Texas Tech, becoming a full professor at age thirty-six at Georgia Southern College (now university), where I was the senior professor of the business school for about fifteen years, carrying the mace as the senior professor of the university for the spring graduation ceremony the year I retired in 2005. I was the highest paid professor in the business school and maybe the second-highest-paid faculty member at Georgia Southern, behind Jim Oliver, maybe third after Fielding Russell, when I started at age thirty, hired by President Pope Duncan in 1970. My son, Jonathan Walker Stapleton, was the Star Student for our Congressional District in Georgia in 1990, scoring 1520 on the SAT back in the days when 1600 was the maximum score. He maxed the math part of the GRE when he finished his undergraduate degree at Rice University in Houston, Texas in 1994, almost maxing the verbal part. He now invents and makes things in his home workshop and teaches physics and Earth sciences in a high school near Burlington, Vermont.  Hunting and fishing and organic gardening in his spare time, in a beautiful environment, he is a smart son indeed. He is the inventor and designer of Reptangles™, a plastic educational toy comprising twenty-four parts that snap together and pull apart to assemble into more than one hundred mathematically identifiable geometric shapes and symmetrical configurations, manufactured in China, licensed to, marketed, and distributed around Earth by the Fat Brain Toy Company, which was demonstrated on ABC’s Good Morning America.  Jonathan is married to Renee Doney Stapleton, MD, PhD, who teaches, researches, and practices pulmonary medicine at the University of Vermont. They have three children, Walker, Emmerson, and Orion, each of whom is learning well in and out of school. One of the major conclusions of  Born to Learn is that everything that happens happens by accident, as the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein pointed out in his book of propositions, Prototractatus, and therefore no one is to blame or praise for what happens.

Please feel free to share, forward, repost, reprint, copy, link, or otherwise disseminate this article any way you see fit.

Richard John Stapleton, Editor and Publisher, Effective Learning Report, 32 East Main Street, Statesboro, Georgia, USA

 

 

 

President Trump and past and present cognitive dissonance (with Postscript)

by Courtenay Barnett

Personal recollections

As a student in London, I occasionally marched and protested against that which I thought was unjust or simply wrong. Racism in general and Apartheid in particular in South Africa provided cause to venture into the streets of London. On one occasion in the East End of London, there was a National Front (NF) march (the equivalent in the 1970s of the neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the US today). The NF was permitted to march along the street. The anti-racist protesters stood behind barriers and there was the usual chanting and howling of slogans and counter-slogans for or against the cause. That occasion comes back to mind because a police officer on the street-side of the barrier, with obvious bitterness and contempt, without any disturbance or civil disobedience on my part, just looked me straight in the face and yelled “Black Bastard”. Guess he found himself on the right side of the fence on that occasion. Standing in Trafalgar Square or opposite South Africa House was itself a just and righteous cause being advocated for, I thought then, and think so all the more now.

With a background such as mine, it then comes as no great surprise that I have more than a casual interest in the recent events of neo-Nazi, KKK and White supremacist marches in Charlottesville, Virginia, as shown at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1Uao75uM2k.

To hear “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil” chanted these several years later after the Allied forces defeated the Nazis in World War II, brings a different sort of recollection to mind, such as images of Auschwitz and “sieg heil” chants before and after Crystal night ( Kristallnacht).

And

A neo-Nazi driving into a group of anti-racist protesters brings back the recollection of the racist police officer in London shouting as he did; but, the conduct of the Nazi attacker in Virginia was at a lethally different level compared to the mild racist outburst I had experienced.  See  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jGgYM2_Zdk

Historical context

Long before the Allied forces joined to defeat fascism, there had been struggles for equality in America. Most notably there was the American Civil War. The Northern states did not thrive on nor did they need chattel slavery as a means of enriching themselves. The South did. Robert E. Lee was the leader of a Southern insurrection to separate from the broader America to preserve the chattel slavery system. So, the statue symbolises that ‘culture’, those attitudes and values and the racism which slavery was* ( see: Postscript).

The forces that defeated Adolph Hitler and his Nazi cohorts had prevented additional egregious wrongs from being inflicted as horrors unto other human beings visited upon humanity by the Third Reich. The Jews in particular paid a heavy price. Hitler was literally trying to exterminate all of European Jews. The newsreels and the barbarous deeds are there for those serious enough, relative to that history, to take an interest, and might then understand what the implications and logical outgrowth of these modern day Nazi ideas imply: see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43ZtfL3xqSU.

The response of President Trump to Nazi supporters

When you listen to all this:-

 

 

Watch Live: Trump Delivers Infrastructure Statement in NYC | NBC News

www.youtube.com.

President Trump delivers a statement from Trump Tower after signing an executive order on the environmental review and permitting process for infrastructure. You can be left in no uncertain terms that Donald Trump is:  An apologist for racists; and

1.When one argues that some ‘very fine people’ were at the rallies led by the neo-Nazis and the KKK then the question has to be asked:-

Was it by mere coincidence that these ‘very fine people’ simply arrived and were in the company of neo-Nazis and the KKK without themselves either being neo-Nazis and KKK members or at the very least sympathisers of same?

  1. The illogicality of supporting these racist groups arises in this way for Donald Trump:-

When your former wife is a Jew(ess) and your son-in-law is a Jew then there are some serious contradictions arising here with your apologetic embrace of these groups – isn’t there? If one were to trace being a Jew on the matrilineal or the patrilineal lineage Trump faces a logical conundrum for resolution. The neo-Nazis and the KKK are avowed haters of Jews. Therefore, without knowing them as people, there would be automatic hatred and potentially violence directed at Trump’s former wife and his son-in-law for no other reason than that of those persons’ ethnicity/religious identity. Further, Trump’s family, be that former wife, son-in-law, son, and by blood extension his grandchildren are all the subjects of derision and hatred from the groups Trump finds himself shamelessly defending. Thus, he purports to be embracing the ‘very fine people’ who simply turned up in the company of neo-Nazis and KKK and White Nationalists – but are not themselves to be deemed the disseminators or sympathisers of hatred directed to certain ‘lesser breeds’. Really now?

Attempts at rationalization

 The purpose of comparisons is to equate. Such equation can be used as a means of illustrating or amplifying a point which a person is seeking to make. I am being generous here, because I want to lead into Donald Trump’s rationalisations on the basis of both the historical references and the contemporary implications of support for White supremacist ideas.

Trump has expressed his concern that the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee may logically lead to the rejection of persons such as George Washington or Thomas Jefferson, on the basis that they were slave owners and thus their memory might, by comparison with Lee, be deemed unworthy of national recognition. Trump’s point is, by parity of reasoning, that there is something worthy in Lee’s main conduct and contributions. Therefore, like George Washington or Jefferson, both flawed men, there is a real and imminent danger of damaging the national heritage of America (see: postscript).

It seems to me that there is a marked contrast between founding a nation built on high ideals and an innovative and promising form of governance, versus the raw defence in a war for the prolonging of chattel slavery. But, President Trump might not appreciate nor concede the false equivalence that he constructed and posited to bolster his argument in support of the neo-Nazis, the KKK and the White supremacists.

Historical memory, itself, should call for more than a cautionary pause when shouts of “sieg heil” being accompanied by “hail Trump” and an embrace from the former leader of the KKK, David Duke, become the root and substance of – acceptance by the supremacists – versus – an unequivocal rejection from the President. While President Trump has opted for an acceptance of those shouts, he is being distanced by all the heads of the military and leaders in industry. A sad indictment against an even sadder, pathetic and pitiful President who finds it impossible to distance and condemn the equation of himself to Adolph Hitler – so – heil Trump: see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVrb4CvOLmk.

Cognitive dissonance

How does a man whose close and immediate family are designated by neo-Nazis as filth and the dregs of humanity – then fail to condemn, without equivocation or excuses, such racism?

Trump is either ignorant of history, or is so enarmoured by the idea of White supremacy, that he fails to comprehend that the ideas enacted under Adolph Hitler being regurgitated in the US in 2017 by persons who see him as President of the United States of America and being equivalently praiseworthy as Adolph Hitler is an affront and not a compliment. So –again – then, “Heil Trump!”

Putting the history on the European continent to the side for a moment, then considering the experiences in America of Native Americans and the involuntarily imported population placed to labour on plantations, within a more narrow and specifically American historical context, is an actual march from domination, enslavement, ostracism, and slowly, inexorably – an advancement to full citizenship (however reluctantly so conferred). That version of American history which states that the indigenous populations before the Mayflower and the slaves and the Mexicans and in fact all the non-Whites do have quite distinct histories that fit within the patchwork that ultimately makes the fabric of American society is an honest point of historical view. It is a historical point of view which acknowledges and accommodates and embraces a more expansive appreciation (understanding if you like) of the menagerie which ultimately became America. But, President Trump seems wholly unable to either appreciate or understand that in a diverse society the humanity of all, and not just the humanity of a privileged few, will need to be accepted if that society is to function and flourish. It is this point which the Generals in unison stated to America when they had collectively confirmed a rejection of racism. This, if President Trump cared to notice, mirrored the same somber realisation by the top CEOs that this was the time to split from that which was bereft, coming from Trump, and ultimately was deemed bad for business in America or the wider world. The Generals and the CEOs got that point. They understood that Trump had descended into absurdity in his defending the Nazis – or – even the neo-Nazis, if any fine distinction is to be drawn. For that was what Trump was doing and sensible leaders had no desire to descend to or be associated with the ridiculous place Trump had positioned himself at. They understood incongruity well before rebuffs and rejections descended upon the institutions or businesses that they were leaders of.

Stated as succinctly as one can – Trump’s conduct, expressions and positions on race-relations are all dissonant. Cognitively dissonant.

Conclusion

In being an apologist for Nazism, President Trump, like the KKK members, is displaying a fundamental historical misunderstanding about the genealogy of America.

In mentioning Thomas Jefferson to support a line of political reasoning for sustenance of a status quo of discriminatory privilege, Trump has not taken time to think and question the social forces which serve to retard or advance people within the American nation. He could have started instead with knowing and acknowledging a very human fact of Jefferson having a long-standing intimate relationship with and children by, his Black Mistress, Sally Hemmings. It is telling that after DNA analysis served to confirm the paternity of Hemmings’ children then in January 2000, the conclusion was accepted by the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, that such historical reality might not invite alternative Presidential positionings than with Nazism. Donald Trump, if only he read a bit, might arrive finally at a point of understanding as to the demographics of America and the historical realities which led to that demographic reality.

President Trump, if he cared to, might read the book entitled, ‘Slaves in the family’ by Edward Ball. It tells the true story of a White American born in Savannah, Georgia, tracing his lineage. He commences with Elias Ball, who in 1698 migrated from England and became a very large plantation owner, acquiring some twenty plantations. Elias, like Jefferson, had offspring with slaves. Over three hundred years slaves and slave masters lived side by side in America. The Ball slave descendants along a blood-line was what Elias’ descendant was documenting. A history previously ignored but very much a part of American historical reality. The figure the book arrived at of ‘Black Ball descendants’ ( so to speak) was in the region of 75,000 to 100,000 in 1998 at the time of the book’s first publication. The interactions between the Cherokee nation and Europeans tells of similar genealogical inheritances. Quite frankly, such stories within America run all the way up from Key West in the South to Alaska in the North. That realisation, that reality, that America which does exist is the one President Trump might be better focused on governing with justice and inclusion, than either apologizing for or embracing ( implicitly or expressly) the Aryan myth within Nazism.

President Trump’s style of governance and his incessant ill-advised tweeting has projected him into national and international consciousness as the ‘divider in chief’ rather than the unifier that the American Presidential office invites him to be.

President Trump, I honestly believe, has not read, he has not researched, he has not attempted to understand. He does not understand at all the miscegenations within America; he does not understand the diversity of America; he does not understand a multiplicity of different social policy and foreign policy issues which at the core of his role in office as President he is required to. He does not care about detail and in being so disposed he avoids fundamental facts, which if he were cognizant of, might not lead him to the incongruous positions he places himself in. Racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance and bigotry are the hallmarks of Trumpism, for that is the base he has chosen to pander to. Will such an approach help to heal and unite a diverse nation? Well – being a handmaiden ( master if you prefer) of division, alienation of great parts of American society and distancing from the world which Trump gives cause for resentments – then leads where? To a place in Trump’s mind which is well on the way to making America ‘great again’ with his special brand of leadership. A leadership which is increasingly dissonant and disconnected. When Trump’s expressions, his mind’s delivery of his oftentimes unedited thoughts are examined then therein one finds the cognitive deficit accompanied by consequential dissonance.

 

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.

 

Postscript: The national heritage of America is Native-American, Euro-American, African-American, Mexican-American and that of many other Americans who have a history and heritage within the United States of America. With that in mind, quite seriously, I propose a rejection of Nazism and an embrace of the higher ideals which the American nation, at its best, represents. The formula is simple.

Robert E. Lee represents an embrace of the ‘culture’ of slavery, discrimination and domination.

Frederick Douglass as an outstanding orator and abolitionist represents the ‘culture’ of human dignity in the face of adversity, the embrace of freedom, the struggle for justice, in marked contrast to what Robert E. Lee stood for.

Thus, since Robert E. Lee’s statue is down and the high ideals upon which America should stand have yet fully to be replaced, then, a suggested understanding as to the depth of economic, cultural and historical contributions to the American nation which the African-Americans over several generations have made, might now begin in earnest to be acknowledged. So, America thus can leave Robert E. Lee’s page of the American history book, without forgetting what was written on it, and turn to a new and auspicious day in American history. That day will be ushered in when the statue of Frederick Douglass replaces the one of Robert E. Lee, removed but not forgotten. History thus shall not be forgotten, but symbols can replace to march on to a more hopeful and propitious day in America.

Racist Games in a Venomous Culture

by Richard John Stapleton

Some US white supremacists according to Facebook posts are finding out with DNA tests they have some African genes, and some African Americans are finding out with DNA tests they have European genes. I think this is a good thing, showing how people from around Earth are genetically related. Maybe everyone ought to take a DNA test to combat racism and morbid narcissism.

One morning in 1959 in the athletic dorm at Hardin-Simmons University, a Baptist university of 1,900 students, at Abilene, Texas, without a single black student at the time, a blue-eyed straight-haired blonde football player on a full scholarship looked askance at me, a brown-eyed wavy-haired basketball player on a full scholarship, in his mirror, as we happened to be shaving next to one another in the dorm shower room, standing with several other athletes who were also shaving, or brushing teeth, combing hair, and so on, facing a wall equipped with ten or so mirrors and lavatories; and for no apparent reason, he said, “You must be part Indian, meskin, nigger, or somethin.”

It stung, but what could I do? Try to knock his teeth out with a sucker punch?

There was some truth in what he said. I did look different from most white people, and for sure there was a major difference in our reflections in the mirrors we were looking into.

A lady friend in Italy in 1983 told me I did not “look” American, that I looked European.

I have been subjected in the US to five other racist Games similar to the football player’s in various contexts played by white males and two similar Games played by white females, three of the Games having been started by colleagues at Georgia Southern University during 1970-2005. I ignored the psychological message in these Games that I was inferior and not entitled to the dignity and respect I had, not escalating the Games with retaliatory social level transactions, acting as if I did not understand the psychological level message, knowing there was no way I could win given the social settings in which the Games happened.

Why do people play psychological Games?  They do it trying to get their human needs met for structure, recognition, and stimulus.  Discounting someone in a Game makes some people feel better about their physical appearance and their emotional, mental, and behavioral abilities and achievements.  Psychological Games force Victims to recognize and pay attention to the initiating social level Persecuting Game players who see themselves psychologically as Victims, who find the action Games generate stimulating.  Psychological Games alleviate boredom, tedium, insecurity, and feelings of inferiority.

While most people play Games to some degree, losers start most of them.  This goes for US citizens getting violent now in tissue-tearing street demonstrations, and US presidents starting tissue-tearing wars against weak governments and their subjects in the Middle East in the last sixteen or so years.

I took an ancestry.com DNA test about three years ago and found out ninety-eight percent of my genes are similar to those of Europeans and two percent are similar to those of Western Asians in the Caucasus.

Racist Games in the US, the so-called melting pot of Earth, since the first so-called white man set foot on North American soil, have demeaned, devalued, insulted, exploited, harmed, and scarred—emotionally, mentally, socially, and physically—people of various red, brown, black, and yellow skin tones more frequently and in harder degrees than they have so-called white people of various skin tones; but no human on the North American continent has fully escaped their poison and virulence one way or the other in this venomous culture.

The United States could be the most Game-infested nation on Earth, having escalated its Game-playing after the election of Donald Trump as president, an expert Game-player, and a high-functioning narcissistic, who refuses to socially recognize and condemn the grievous harm racial Games cause individuals and groups.  He seems to think US citizens have a constitutional right to play racial psychological Games.

It’s inhumane to demean, devalue, discount, insult, or physically harm people because of the genes they accidentally or inevitably inherited.

It’s insane to hate people because of the genes they accidentally or inevitably inherited.

For more on psychological Games, read my book, Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human at Learning.

Feel free to forward, email, reprint, post, or otherwise disseminate this article any way you see fit.

To see what I “looked” like in 2005 click on my name below.

Richard John Stapleton

Effective Learning Report Updates—August 2017

August 21, 2017

Did you watch and hear the speech Trump read from a teleprompter on TV tonight to captive soldiers in his physical audience at a military base and to many millions of people like you and me in our houses, after the eclipse got obliterated with clouds a few hours earlier?

Do you know why he did it?  I don’t.  My wife watching TV in her room asked me what I thought of Trump’s speech, and when I turned on my TV set he was already into his text reading from his teleprompter in front of those soldiers.  How do they do that?   Does that teleprompter screen, that we cannot see, hang down from the ceiling somehow so he can read it?  It looked like he had the words someone else wrote memorized.

Who knows what he was really trying to say?  It seems Afghanistan has suddenly become more of a problem, as has Pakistan, and maybe nuclear-armed India for not helping more to contain nuclear-armed Pakistan.  Maybe the major point of the talk was to let us know he is getting tougher as a commander in chief.  While our military are heroes for their efforts in Afghanistan, after fifteen years, they still have not won the war, which may have been the fault of previous US commanders in chief who did not have the sense to let them win by killing the Taliban and ISIS, instead of pretending to build nations, as Trump said he decided to do.

At any rate, after telling us to to get elected he was going to stop wasting money on losing deals fighting wars, he blithely said he has now decided things are different now that he is sitting in the Oval Office and he needs to get tougher and therefore he is turning the military loose to do whatever it takes to win the war in Afghanistan, as if Afghanistan is the only place on Earth the US military is stationed.  What about the other one hundred or more countries in which the US has military personnel stationed?

He also made comments to the effect the efforts of our military heroes abroad should not be undone by unruly civilians inside the US fighting among themselves on college campuses over trivial matters such as their ideological right and left wing beliefs, as if giving a talk on prime time TV about setting the military loose to do whatever it took to win in Afghanistan would cure the problem of unlawful warriors fighting one another inside the US.

I’m sure there was more to it than this, but these are my main thoughts about it at this time, about an hour after I saw and listened to it on TV.

I don’t know about you, but this did not make me feel better about what is going on.  If Trump’s intent was to soothe the fears and insecurities of people at home and abroad about the state of affairs of the US he failed based based on my reaction.

 

August 16, 2017

This is a time of abnormally high anxiety for most people around Earth caused by continuing agitations between humans believing in and advocating right wing and left wing ideologies, dogmas, doctrines, policies, and behaviors, especially now in the US, brought to a head in recent days by President Donald Trump of the US refusing to seriously criticize right wing demonstrators at the University of Virginia who chanted neo-Nazi and white supremacy slogans in a clash with left wing demonstrators brought about by the tearing down of statues erected to glorify and commemorate Southern heroes and leaders during the US Civil War.

Unfortunately this increasing agitation between the left and right of the political spectrum is not confined to the United States. Similar agitations exist in European countries, exacerbated in recent years by growing awareness of growing income inequalities brought about by pernicious processes at work in the global economy. Rather than deal with the root causes of this problem, systemic problems of the capitalistic economic system, numerous groups are promoting racism, ideologies, nationalism, and what has been called identity politics. Rather than deal with root causes of economic inequalities billions of humans have got it in their heads that hating and fighting humans identified as members of other groups, such as conservatives, liberals, socialists, communists, capitalists, imperialists, globalists, whites, blacks, Jews, Muslims, Christians, and immigrants, will magically solve their problems—which is a symptom of madness.

See “Americans are Rapidly Descending into Madness,” by Michael Krieger, posted August 16, 2017 in his blog, Liberty Blitzkreig, for more perspective, at

https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2017/08/16/americans-are-rapidly-descending-into-madness/.

 

August 16, 2017

For more on the root causes of Earthian economic problems, read “Putting an End to the Rent Economy,” by Michael Hudson, according to many readers the greatest economist alive, author of Killing the Host and Junk Economics, in an interview conducted by Vlado Plaga, published in the German magazine FAIRECONOMY September 2016, posted August 16, 2017 in COUNTERPUNCH, at

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/16/putting-an-end-to-the-rent-economy/.

 

August 16, 2017

Here is a comprehensive analysis of one of the most troubling new developments of our times, ideologically-caused physical violence, by Henry Giroux, a world class writer and thinker, “Trump’s Neo-Nazis and the Rise of Illiberal Democracy,” posted in Truth-out, at

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41617-neo-nazis-in-charlottesville-and-the-rise-of-illiberal-democracy.

 

August 16, 2017

Oswald said he was a patsy, and most likely he was not lying. This is a detailed and factual article with new information about what really happened to JFK. Unfortunately it does not prove who did it, but it comes close.

See “New Files Confirm the JFK Investigation Was Controlled by the CIA—Not ‘Botched’ as Some Pretended,” by Jefferson Morley, posted in AlterNet August 11, 2017, at

http://www.alternet.org/media/new-files-confirm-jfk-investigation-wasnt-botched-it-was-controlled-top-cia-officials#.WZUNUGsfY08.facebook.

 

August 15, 2017

Here is a video presentation about the opioid crisis in the US, a symptom of systemic problems with the capitalist economic system, showing in graphic terms what it’s like in one of the hardest hit areas, Baltimore, in the US, posted in ZeroHedge, by Tyler Durden, at

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-15/inside-opioid-crisis-youre-not-allowed-see.

 

August 15, 2017

This article “Conspiracy or Chaos” by Jim Quinn, originally posted in the Burning Platform blog, also posted August 14 by Tyler Durden in his ZeroHedge blog where I read it, makes cogent points about the nature of conspiracy theories, one of the most unspecific of all terms, and a widely-used buzzphrase.

What is a conspiracy? Like beauty it depends on the eye of the beholder. In my view it means to conspire against someone or something. Many people label almost any explanation that is not to their liking, especially something that puts them in a bad light, as a conspiracy theory.

Most conspiracies are not theories. Real ones are actions taken with malice aforethought. Conspiracies are ubiquitous. Millions of businesses conspire against their competitors every day. All national governments conspire against other nations. Jealous teenagers conspire against other teenagers for popularity. Preachers and religions conspire against others for followers, money, churches, mosques, and temples.

Did someone conspire against JFK? You bet. Is global warming a conspiracy? No.

Jim Quinn seems to think conspiracy theories in some cases are defense mechanisms. People like conspiracy theories because they make them feel better and more secure. It’s comforting to think bad things happened because someone conspired to make it happen, something that might be corrected. Many people would like to believe the world is in such sorry shape now because the rich have conspired against the poor, or unbelievers have conspired against believers and their god, and so on.

Quinn thinks it’s scarier for people to think nobody deliberately conspired against them to make their bad things happen than to think it just happened, like shit happening, as the saying goes. If nobody conspired to make bad things happen then they happened by accident and no one is to blame or praise, including gods.

Read all about it in Quinn’s article, “Conspiracy or Chaos,” at

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-14/conspiracy-or-chaos.

 

August 14, 2017

This article points out with facts and data a sobering reality about the global Earthian economic system: GDP (Gross Domestic Product) still floats on oil, and global gross production is sinking. In recent years with lower oil prices, the GDPs of oil producing countries have sunk more than others, and emerging undeveloped country GDPs have risen more than most. Ergo, GDPs of different countries are largely determined by the price of oil in a win-lose relationship. The higher the price of oil the higher the GDPs of the oil producers and the lower the GDPs of poor non-oil producers; and conversely the lower the price of oil the more producers suffer while the poor get a little better off.

Here is an excellent presentation and analysis explaining the process by Gail Tverberg, posted August 14, 2017, in Our Finite World blog, “World GDP in current US dollars seems to have peaked; this is a problem.”

https://ourfiniteworld.com/2017/08/14/world-gdp-in-current-us-dollars-seems-to-have-peaked-this-is-a-problem/.

I first read the article in Tyler Durden’s blog, ZeroHedge.

 

August 14, 2017

Here is a relevant article about the stock market by David Stockman, first published in his Contra Corner blog, “After 100 Months of Buying the Dips—Peak Crazy,” also posted in the Daily Reckoning blog at https://dailyreckoning.com/100-months-buying-dips-peak-crazy/, where I read it.

I remember David Stockman from when he was Ronald Reagan’s budget director in 1980. I admired his honesty and straightforwardness then and still do. He was one of the early advocates of Reagan’s “supply-side” economics, based on the notion that cutting taxes for the rich will produce more revenue for the government, and create economic growth on Main Street, caused by the tax cuts producing more investment that results in more profit to be taxed, more than offsetting the revenue-reducing effect of the tax rate reductions, based on the so-called Laffer curve.

As the Reagan repubs got into the process of administering their policies, Stockman realized the federal budget would not balance if the government simultaneously increased military expenses by astronomical percentages, despite the tax cuts. Stockman forthrightly pointed this out to Reagan, and he got fired for it; and the Reagan administration turned out to be the most un-conservative profligate administration fiscally in US history, adding twice as much debt to the total US debt as all other presidential administrations cumulated in US history, tripling the total debt from $1 trillion to $3 trillon in eight years, 1981-1988.

Stockman, a former US Congressman, went on to Wall Street where he spent the rest of his career. He now spends his time writing books and articles and publishing his ContraCorner blog about financial matters. In his book The Great Deformation, Stockman asserts central banking systems have deformed stock markets and other financial markets globally through misguided policies after the crash of 2008, by creating trillions of dollars worth of keystroke digital money with no backing used to buy toxic non-performing debt to save banks and banksters, and governments, making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

In the article recommended here Stockman asserts the US economy is in worse shape now than it was before the 2008 crash, primarily caused by the quantitative easing and low interest rate policies of the US Federal Reserve board that have artificially inflated and deformed financial markets. He says most of recent price increases in US stock markets have been caused by dip-buying (buying stocks when their daily market prices decline) executed by algorithmic robots owned and operated by hedge funds, but it won’t work much longer. He thinks the US stock market is in a major bubble that will pop soon.

https://dailyreckoning.com/100-months-buying-dips-peak-crazy/.

 

August 14, 2017

Violence is a waste of time and energy

Rather than rationally deal with the root causes of their problems, humans often discount, devalue, vilify, and tear the tissue of scapegoat enemies. This has been going on since time immemorial as humans played psychological Games that escalated in hardness from minor fool-making jokes and kidding to insults to tissue-tearing violence to genocidal wars, trying to get their human needs for structure, recognition, and stimulus met.

Rather than play Games to get their basic needs for structure, recognition, and stimulus met, in ascending order of stroke intensity, humans can withdraw from others or interact and engage with others in pastimes, rituals, activities (especially work activities), or intimacy.

What Earth needs now is human unlearning and new learning. Humans need to learn how to get their needs met without playing Games and resorting to violence, as in wars and acts of terrorism such as occurred last week on the campus at the University of Virginia.

Violence rarely solves anything. It just kicks the can further down the road, where the problem rears its ugly head again.

As Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King demonstrated, non-violent action can produce real change.

Here’s a book on how not to waste time playing Games.

Posted on Facebook, by me.

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/richard-john-stapleton/born-to-learn/.

 

August 10, 2017

What does the US power structure get out of this deal, what Trump calls a deal, a deal that requires threatening North Korea, China, and Russia, and fighting terrorists and destroying weak nations in the Middle East? It gets enemies necessary to justify US military expenses, which are about half of all discretionary spending in the US federal budget, about six hundred billion dollars per year, more than the total military spending of the next seven highest military spending nations on Earth combined, causing US politicians to cut corners with healthcare for US civilians.

“Watch: Former US Presidential Candidate Jill Stein Defends North Korea and Russia Instead of America,” by David Badash, posted in the New Civil Rights Movement blog, July 31, 2017.

http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/watch_former_us_presidential_candidate_jill_stein_defends_north_korea_russia_and_china_instead_of_america.

 

August 10, 2017

Here is an egregious breach of the US Constitution by US congress people to get personal campaign money from the Israel lobby.

“These are the tyrants in government who co-sponsored a bill to make it a crime to boycott or criticize Israel. This is tyranny,” posted by Patricia Dowling, August 8, 2017, on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

 

July 22, 2017

How to Manage Spaceship Earth

By Richard John Stapleton

The other day I happened to click on a link on the Intrepid Report and lo and behold up popped the articles I had published in the Intrepid Report since 2012, thirty-two in all. It was interesting just to read the titles, some of which I had forgotten. I thought you might be interested in taking a look at this.

I have been accused of being a liberal since getting into this writing business after retiring from business teaching at Georgia Southern in 2005. Looking through the titles of my Intrepid Report articles I can see why someone might think that. But I still don’t think I am a liberal, or a conservative. I am just expressing my humble opinion about how to manage problems and issues.

I appreciate very much Bev Conover, the editor of the Intrepid Report, including me in her selection of writers, which includes some well known names, such as Bill Moyers, Ralph Nader, Robert Reich, Douglas Valentine, Paul Craig Roberts, William John Cox, and others.

Regardless, here it is, a free book of essays written by an unknown upstart writer, namely me, titled by me today How to Manage Spaceship Earth.

http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/author/richard-john-stapleton.