Dear beloved we are gathered once more at the altar of the Almighty truth.
Today’s sermon is entitled ‘Lessons from my mother’. It concerns the building of character and the importance of personality development as each of us mature and advance through life. The list is not intended to be exhaustive but hopefully is instructive. These were the lessons I learned from my mother ( long since deceased but still lovingly recalled):-
One should tell the truth and not lie.
There should be room for compassion, in one’s thoughts and deeds.
There should be understanding on several levels. One such is for an understanding of our human differences as to our different human features; the tolerance of different cultures and religions. In short we should not be ‘racists’.
By extension of cultural and religious tolerance we should not be xenophobic.
We should show humanitarian decency and not mock others less fortunate than ourselves in life and show understanding about poverty, need and uninvited suffering which either our fellow human beings are born into or which at some uninvited point in life befalls them.
In our professional work and/or business life we should be honest.
Our language should be modest, tempered and balanced and restrained to give consideration to and for the person(s) we are addressing and the situation(s) in which we speak.
In our success, if we are so fortunate, we should be humble and modest, and should not be braggadocios.
In our failures we should be willing to accept our shortfalls and/or failings giving rise to same and be instructed by our mistakes. We should always accept personal responsibility when it is our action to be blamed and not seek to transfer blame to the blameless other(s).
One should have a sense of humour and be able to laugh at one’s self when stupid mistakes are made.
These are ten injunctions to help guide one through life by application of sound, sensible thoughts and proper and appropriate actions. Those who are Christian know of the Ten Commandments. But, these are ten injunctions learnt from my mother via her words as well as her conduct and consequential examples taught to me throughout her life, which are intended both for the ‘churched’ and the ‘unchurched’ alike; in other words, I believe that my mother’s lessons can usefully be applied by all of humanity.
And, then I thought, whether there is one human being dead or alive who represents the epitome and opposite of my mother’s lessons.
I reflected from my early childhood through to school and higher education and business and professional life. So far no such person.
Then, I thought about friends and associates in Africa, Asia, South America and Europe. No such person.
Then I reflected on Canada and there was still no such person who came to mind.
I went as far as historical figures and contemporary leaders and I began getting a bit closer.
Finally, I reflected on the United States of America and there I found the perfect match. The thought then sprang to mind, that if I could ask but one question, it would be this:-
“ Please Mrs. Trump, when you were raising your son, Donald, could you kindly share with us – what lessons did you actually teach him?”
* COURTENAY BARNETT is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, has been arrested for defending his views, has been subjected to death threats, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. He lives and works in the Caribbean.
By Richard John Stapleton,
PhD, CTA, Editor & Publisher
It’s not as easy as you might think for someone like me to write this monthly column. You might have noticed I tweaked the title some in this issue, changing today to right now. I did this because I more and more write what I think right now, not what I thought I might write two weeks ago, or last week, or six hours ago. This is happening because of changes in the way my brain works. It no longer stores and retrieves words and thoughts as well as it used to. It used to be I could write something in my head and retrieve it pretty much word for word whenever I wanted to, or thought about it. Not so anymore.
Anymore I more or less just write what pops into my head as I write, sometimes recalling sentences and paragraphs I have previously written in my head or vague semblances of them, but sometimes not. In a way, this makes writing more interesting, not knowing what will pop up in your working memory on your brain’s computer desktop from your subconscious memory files, to be typed into your real computer, visible on its screen right in front of your eyes.
I remember during the last month since the publication of The Earthian — 6 that most of my thoughts about what to write in this issue have not been upbeat and cheerful. How could they be given the facts, events, and reading matter I expose myself to?
One can build a case it’s
better not to expose yourself to such things if you want to be happy, that it’s
better to be blissfully ignorant of what is really going on than to try to
understand it. So far I have not agreed
with this argument.
But the problem of what to try to understand remains. It’s not too difficult to understand what is going on in small systems, say relations between two people; but it’s more difficult by several orders of magnitude to understand what is going on within larger systems, say a government; and it’s almost impossible to understand what is going on among national governments around Spaceship Earth, largely because they often hide relevant things they do, especially unlawful things, as classified state secrets, as they try to dominate and take advantage of their enemies and competitors.
Unfortunately, it seems more and more I am primarily interested in understanding what is going on within and among governments, however difficult it is to achieve such a thing, however great the probability is reading about such things will result in unhappy thoughts being created in my brain, however well my brain still works relative to the way it used to.
Your brain is just another biological organism, you know, that weakens as you age just like the muscles in your arms and legs if you live long enough.
My mother came down with a case of dementia or Alzheimer’s a few years before she died at ninety-two. She and my grandmother on my father’s side were the only ones of my parents and grandparents to suffer such a fate, so far as I know. One never knows I suppose what will happen in his or her particular case in old age. According to an article published by the Alzheimer’s Association, ten percent of all people over the age of sixty-five will suffer from Alzheimer’s dementia, two-thirds of whom will be women, and one in three will die from the disease. My mother was one of them.
One can consult professionals on how to ward off or reduce the effects of senility, Alzheimers, and the like, adding one more regimen to those s/he already has accumulated warding off other biological threats such as diabetes and heart disease. It seems to me right now that doing so may or may not be worth it for me.
What good is life if you have to constantly worry about something that might kill you, wasting your remaining time and energy worrying about extending life rather than enjoying it right now? As one of King Henry VIII’s wives put it shortly before he had her head lopped off in the Tower of London, “Fie on life.”
My blessed Grandmother, Darlie Brown Walker Coston, who always said, and apparently really believed, that “Everything always turns out for the best,” who was never sick a day in her life to my knowledge, who never went to a doctor for anything except to get a set of false teeth, told my mother shortly before she died at ninety-four: “If I had known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
She really said that, a
cliché she remembered word for word, just before she died. At the rate I’m going, having survived
seventy-eight years aboard Spaceship Earth, if I make it to ninety-four, like
Moma did, sixteen more years, I’ll be happy if I can remember things half as
well as she did then.
OK, so much for the merely
personal, as Albert Einstein called it.
What is really going on around Spaceship Earth?
For whatever it’s worth, here
is what I “think” is going on.
It’s depressing for a long-time patriotic US citizen like me to learn that the US government has not been especially ethical or productive conducting its national and international affairs since its inception, while also learning in the process that all other nations are also pretty much the same way, looking out only for number one, with the stronger mercilessly taking advantage of, sometimes murdering, the weaker, sometimes violating international laws and treaties with impunity to advance their own interests.
It seems to me throughout history leaders and owners of nations (kings, queens, emperors, the elite rich, presidents, priests, etc.) evolved that fostered the development of grandiose stories to be believed by followers to create group cohesion, thereby creating organizations with hierarchies of master-servant relationships, including large numbers of subordinates (prime ministers, lords, serfs, knaves, slaves, vice presidents, CEOs, employees, generals, sargeants, workers, etc.), who obeyed their beliefs, sayings, and commands, who fought wars and economically competed with other rulers and owners to acquire more power and wealth, not only for themselves but for their hereditary descendants, in the process forgetting about necessary moral and ethical principles, such as doing unto others as you would have others do unto you, and not doing things that if done by everyone would result in harm for everyone.
It seems once the human race got off on the wrong foot onto the wrong path in international unfairness thousands of years ago it stayed that way; and humans learned to live with unfairness, often considering unfairness and unethical behavior as natural and normal, even learning to enjoy it in some cases, doing unethical things to others before others did it to them, considering it smart, successful, winning, even heroic behavior, rationalizing unethical actions by asserting that anyone else would have done the same thing, and therefore it was OK, especially given the dire straits most humans always faced, always wanting and needing more wealth and power.
I descended from ancestors who immigrated into what is now the US from Europe, for various reasons, as I documented in “A Synopsis of my Family Background.” Most of them came to America to escape poverty and religious strife in Europe, but some came to increase their social status, power, and wealth. They started migrating to Virginia before the American Revolution in the 1700s, and according to Ancestry.com my gene pool is composed of genes similar to those of humans now living in Ireland (about twenty percent); Scotland, Wales, and England (about fifty percent); France, Holland, and Belgium (about twenty percent); Spain, Italy, and Greece (about five percent); Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland (about five percent); and Turkey, Armenia, Georgia and Russia (about two percent).
My ancestors in what is now the US were mainly farmers and ranchers generally producing families of six to ten offspring per family, but some were teachers, professors, preachers, generals, lawyers, doctors, and entrepreneurs. They were freedom lovers. I am not aware of any ancestors down the branches of my family tree that did the bidding of a boss in an authoritarian non-military organization to make a living.
There was never enough land where they were to support all their children and grandchildren when they grew up, so some offspring in most generations had to migrate to the western frontier of their recently conquered country to acquire enough cheap undeveloped land to make a living as independent Calvinist patriarchal landowners. My ancestors on the North American continent created two main paths on their westward journey across what is now the US, winding up were I grew up, some migrating from Virginia to North Carolina to Tennessee to Texas, with most of the rest migrating from Virginia to South Carolina to Georgia to Alabama to Mississippi to Texas, generally staying in each state for a generation or so before someone in the family had to move farther west to pioneer new territory to act out their family scripts.
Yes, some of them owned slaves and some were Indian fighters, not something to be proud of. Like humans in general since time immemorial they did what they had to do to survive in their environments, given the requirements of their family scripts. In my opinion not enough attention has been paid to the significance of family scripting as a determinant of human behavior. For more on this read my book Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning. In most cases script messages are automatically introjected into the brain cells of humans before the age of eight and they largely determine what humans learn and do afterwards, significantly influencing the outcomes of not only human individuals, but nations, and Spaceship Earth.
It seems to me right now that what is going on now is pretty much the same as what has been going on for a long time. All species of flora and fauna are doing what they can to survive. Some are successful; some are not. I just asked Google how many species become extinct aboard Spaceship Earth every year? And here’s an answer: “According to the UN Environment Programme, the Earth is in the midst of a mass extinction of life. Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the “natural” or “background” rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago,” HuffPost, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/17/un-environment-programme-_n_684562.html
the math. What is 175 species becoming
extinct every day times 352 days per year?
That’s 61,600 species becoming extinct every year. How long at that rate would it take for all
Earthian species to become extinct?
It seems to me right now that homo sapiens are largely responsible for this state of affairs. They became so successful that they developed mechanized production systems requiring the use of fossil fuels to generate sufficient energy to produce prodigious supplies of food, clothing, shelter, and medicine and other necessities of life so a burgeoning population of humans could stay alive for a normal lifespan of, according to one famous religious book, threescore and ten years, with many of us now living even longer than that, requiring more energy and production of goods and services per life than people who lived back when that religious book was written.
Many people think homo sapiens breeding as many children as possible and maximizing life spans is a good policy because it causes economic growth by creating customers and workers for the capitalist economic system, enabling the owners of capital to get richer and richer, with no work, as the poor who work get poorer.
It seems to me right now that a solution to the Earthian plight entails homo sapiens of all socio-economic classes willingly and peacefully significantly reducing their numbers aboard Spaceship Earth by holding birth rates below natural death rates for several generations.
Capitalism is often considered a “natural” economic system having always been used by humans to survive, by selfishly looking out for number one, number one being you, your family, your group, your country, your government, your religion, your nation, your race, your sex, your gender. It seemed, say for four or five thousand years, that capitalism really might be the best system, maybe optimal, enabling humans to survive about as well as you might expect under the circumstances, leading up to today, enabling about 7.5 billion humans to stay alive for relatively long life spans in various degrees of comfort and satisfaction, irrespective of the hundreds of other less intelligent species that became extinct during that time, who could not compete with the burgeoning population of homo sapiens, caused by excessive fecundity.
But, now, alas, capitalism seems not only sub-optimal but inequitable: It has enabled about one percent of Earth’s human population to gain ownership control of about half the wealth on Earth, enabling them to live lifestyles replete with almost unlimited options to enjoy luxurious goods and activities, including having almost unlimited options for travel, entailing the consumption of abnormally large quantities of energy, say more than one hundred times as much per year per person as the least fortunate; while billions of humans aboard Spaceship Earth are food insecure, malnourished, poorly clothed, poorly housed, poorly educated, and poorly socialized, with little or no opportunities for travel, living cheek by jowl in cramped quarters, or on the streets, while millions prematurely die every year of starvation, disease, and other causes stemming from wars, sanctions, and other tactics used by powerful nations to insure that Earth’s resources are accessible for large corporations, the elite rich, and a majority of humans living in rich countries.
One nation on Earth, the US, has accidentally become so powerful through time looking out for number one that it can now manipulate and control most other nations for its own selfish benefit, in the process invading, dropping bombs, and enforcing sanctions to cripple and undermine various nations competing for Earth’s scarce resources, especially oil. How much longer it can keep this up remains to be seen, especially considering the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground to combat global warming.
And to top it all off it seems to me right now that burning fossil fuel necessary to power the Earthian production and transportation system necessary to partially satisfy the needs of 7.5 billion humans has caused global warming and climate change and might render homo sapiens itself extinct within fifty or so years, thereby sending homo sapiens off to a cosmic happy hunting ground to join the millions of other extinct Earthian species already there.
An existential question it seems to me is can the capitalist system be changed to thwart this outcome?
Human migration is now on the mental radars of most humans around Spaceship Earth, and much has been researched, written, taught, and published about human migration problems in academia. One of the pioneers in the migration academic field is Kurt Lewin, who published Principles of Topological Psychology (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1936). Lewin pointed out human migration happens because of push and pull forces, or vectors, propelling and compelling people to move from one country to another. Few would move from their country of origin if the place enabled them to get their natural human needs met, physical needs for food, clothing, and shelter, and social needs for safety, love, acceptance, belonging, and self-actualization.
A relevant consideration is what causes push factors to become so powerful that they cause people to migrate? A simple answer is that support systems in a country were purposely collapsed by the wars, intrigues, and machinations of imperialistic nations to acquire cheap resources in the country. Other causes include overly fecund natives producing more offspring than the natural resources of their countries can support, while other causes include the greed and callousness of upper class leaders who hog most of the resources for themselves.
Unfortunately, human migration problems around Spaceship Earth have increased in recent decades because of the US’s overt military destruction of regimes and governments in the Middle East and North Africa and its covert clandestine destabilizing of Latin American regimes and governments, often replacing socialist governments with right-wing dictators and fascist regimes who terrorize their own people, causing them to flee, causing them to flood European countries and the US, or at least try to. Whether Trump’s wall or anything else can keep them out of the US remains to be seen.
Trump in magisterial fascist dictator fashion has now recognized an illegal fascist coup leader in Venezuela as the leader of the country, thereby subverting democracy in Venezuela and undermining/hopefully deposing its democratically elected leader. If the upper class fascist pretender does take over Venezuela massive migrations of lower class indigenous and mixed race humans from Venezuela will happen, far exceeding what is now happening, to a large degree caused by sanctions the US has imposed on Venezuela to gain control of its oil supply and to keep the white upper class in power.
Who were the prime allowers of unauthorized immigrants into the US? Clinton, and Bush II. According to an article by the Pew Research Center, unauthorized immigrants in the US increased from 3.5 million in 1990 to 12.2 million in 2006, the Clinton and Bush II years, and then declined to 10.7 million by 2016, during the Obama years. Most of the buildup was from Mexico with more Mexicans in recent years returning to Mexico than entering the US. Most of the migration pressure now is from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
At the same time, conditions have become so agitated and uncertain in some so-called developed not-yet-collapsed countries that some fairly well off humans born there would like to migrate to other countries to escape local conditions in their countries which they perceive to be more onerous and oppressive than those in other countries, to escape high taxes and social unrest (in some cases caused by having to live cheek by jowl with recent immigrants who will not assimilate), feeling and thinking the grass might be greener in several places on the other side of the fence in other rich developed countries.
If dire predictions about climate change come true, including developments such as the melting of the polar ice caps causing the salt water portion of Spaceship Earth’s surface to rise several feet, millions, if not a billion or so, humans, of all socio-economic classes, living in coastal plains, will be dislocated, creating mass migrations larger and more disastrous than any heretofore experienced or imagined on Earth.
To solve the Earthian environmental problem a case can be made that the status levels of agricultural lifestyles should be higher than those of bankers sitting in offices atop skyscrapers in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, Hong Kong, Moscow, Brasilia, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, Riyadh, Tel Aviv, or Ottawa, or generals sitting in the US Pentagon and in equivalent command posts in other countries, or top leaders sitting in the US White House and in equivalent houses in other countries.
Humans need to get back to small farms and organic farming operated by independent entrepreneurs.
Some writers have reported that some billionaires are now building themselves underground bunkers that will enable them to survive a nuclear holocaust, with others reporting various humans, rich and poor, have fantasized about migrating to and colonizing other planets, much like the Europeans did in the Americas, which, it seems to me right now, is a foolish pipe dream, there being no escape for humans now living aboard Spaceship Earth.
I included and quoted original research data I acquired by questionnaires as well as published academic secondary research and literature in my study of migration in my doctoral dissertation. The management science idea I explained in “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc” for ultimately solving the Earthian migration problem, published in 2015, happened to me in 1969 when I was writing my dissertation, and is affixed to the dissertation in an appendix.
You can download a free copy of my dissertation, titled “An Analysis of Rural Manpower Migration Patterns in the South Plains Region of Texas” from Texas Tech University.
It will do little good to play AIN’T IT AWFUL, a psychological Game identified and labeled by transactional analysts, to stroke humans for being innocent helpless Victims of obsolete economic, religious, and political systems manipulated and exploited by rapacious sociopathic Persecutor oligarchs and leaders and their corrupt bought and paid for lackey politicians for selfish gain, however true that might be in reality.
On the other hand, it will do no good for Earthians to stick their heads in the sand to passively pretend everything is just hunky-dory and swell, with everything coming up roses for everyone, living in small imaginary Candide-like best of all possible worlds, playing a psychological Game labeled GREENHOUSE by transactional analysts, in which players are rewarded with plastic strokes for making nonsensical positive comments about the environment and their lives.
Regardless of the causes of the Earthian plight, it seems to me individual humans should assume responsibility and take action for conserving energy as best they can in their daily lives to reduce greenhouse gases; but especially they should select politicians who will create economic and political policies and actions to correct environmental and social problems on a mass scale.
An existential question right now is whether humans can learn how to look after everyone, not merely number one, to prevent the extinction of the human species.
In the last six months I have tried to set up a De-Gaming Democracy group as explained in my article, “De-Gaming and Saving Democracy,” here in Statesboro, Georgia, USA, where I live, hoping to engage citizens of various persuasions, whether red, blue, green, or any other color, in discussions of relevant economic and political problems and opportunities to develop consensual realistic approaches to the environmental problems we face, in what I call the Ogeechee Economic Forum meeting the third Saturday of each month, with little success. So far four participants have shown up. It appears most people are not interested in, or are afraid of, transacting in a Game-free Adult way in public dealing with environmental, economic, and political problems and opportunities. Hopefully interest in this forum will pick up. It seems to me right now that humans all around Spaceship Earth should get busy in Game-free groups right now developing consensual answers for problems threatening their existence as a species.
See my article “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc. for some management science ideas on how Earthians might eventually co-construct an economic and political system that is viable and satisfying for everyone.
As usual this month’s THE EARTHIAN links
and cites as SOURCES recent articles written and published by clear deep-thinking
hard-hitting independent writers in various Internet publications on ecological,
economic, social, political, religious, and military affairs around Spaceship
Earth. I generally agree with these
writers about what is most relevant about Spaceship Earth states of affairs,
but each of them brought up facts, analyses, conclusions, ideas, or
perspectives that were new to me when I read them during the last thirty days
or so, thereby teaching me something, which is why I included them in this
issue of THE EARTHIAN.
It’s not easy, impossible some say, to separate relevant from irrelevant focal points to see what’s really going on while being inundated and bombarded with the incredible volume of noise (aka fake news) and facts of states of affairs now generated daily around Spaceship Earth.
If you have ideas on how to democratically discuss in Game-free ways environmental, economic, and political problems and opportunities in something like the Ogeechee Economic Forum go to my RESPONSES page and let me know about them.
Very sad. I interviewed at Youngstown State Univ in 1981 for a chair of entrepreneurship position in the business school. It looked like apocalypse now in downtown Youngstown. There were tall buildings vacant with plywood nailed over their windows. A faculty member in his office pointed out to me through his window the steelmills shut down in the Mahoning valley that he said used to be lit up at night like Christmas trees, but were dark at night now. The business school and university liked my credentials and we talked. I told them it seemed to me they were looking for some sort of superman in the form of an entrepreneurship professor that would fly around in his cape in the valley to make everything right. I knew I was not up to the job. As a former economic history instructor at Texas Tech I was aware of how things had evolved in Youngstown. There were rivers and canals to bring iron ore down from Minnesota and coal from Kentucky and West Virginia in the early days giving the region a competitive edge making iron and steel, prime ingredients for cars, tractors, and trucks powered by the newfangled internal combustion engines that evolved about 1900. But the competitive edge was largely gone by 1981. Youngstown State did not find a magical superman entrepreneurship chair person to turn the negative trend around. And for sure Trump can’t either, wearing a cape or not. What will turn it around? Nothing. Spaceship Earth has got to co-construct a new system to accommodate all Earthians, including humans living in the rust belt of the US.
I remember this case well. a sad story. As a retired university professor I can tell you grading students is not an easy thing to do. In this case teachers were changing answers to fairly hard standardized test questions. But what happens if you do not use standardized tests? Teachers can dumb the questions down they use for grades to not only make their students look better but themselves, leading to a phenomenon known as grade inflation. Here is a research article I published in 2001, titled “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations: A Study of Correlations Between Instructor Excellence, Study Production, Learning Production, and Expected Grades ,” dealing with grade inflation, published in the Journal of Management Education, in which I presented a new metric for teacher evaluations I invented, a Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity, or CITP. “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations,” has since been cited in sixty-eight refereed journal articles in several disciplines concerned with grade inflation and teacher evaluation issues.
Interesting article. Assumes free will, which is questionable. Unfortunately most of reality cannot be fitted to a Procrustean bed of facts capable of being decided by deductive logic. We are at the mercy of ideas that just pop into our conscious minds at various times caused by various causes. One can build a case that only trivial decisions can be solved by facts and deductive logic, that most important decisions such as the type of person to marry, what to do for a living, and who will be there when we die are sub-consciously decided by scripts, life plans gradually created in the brains of humans as they live. For more details about human scripts read my book Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning.
Rather than reason to the correct alternative most people reason to the first available alternative that will enable them to act out their life scripts.
Yeah, right, rah rah
rah, Maybe so, maybe no. I too “believe” in empiricism, that is
knowing the facts of states of affairs as best you can before jumping to a
conclusion, never allowing, if you can help it, simplistic beliefs, dogmas,
doctrines, procedures, etc. to determine your decisions; but so what. Will
empiricism, as much as you can make it happen (since almost no one has access
to all the relevant facts in a relevant situation), make things turn out better
than would otherwise have been the case? Maybe so, maybe no. Hume was right
about one thing: human reasoning, at least up to now, is limited, especially
when it comes to solving real world problems. Just look at the insane state of
affairs now rampant in the US with Trump as its elected president.
If true how long will the Fed and other central banks keep it up? How long can they keep it up? Forever? If so does that mean the market will never crash again? Pundits such as this one wind up saying the next crash will be ugly, if and when it happens. What a world. It’s almost like we’re all financially dependent on a random number generator in the head of the Fed chairman, Powell.
Yes, econ 101 is a
good course. Everybody should take it. But would it soak in? Unfortunately most
people are more interested in doing what they have to do in their personal
environments to survive rather than learn the truth, no matter how crazy it is.
A must watch and listen to video featuring a twelve year old Swedish girl lecturing the UN on the problems of global warming and the environment and what to do about it. The video has already had over seven million views. An amazingly effective speech telling it like it is.
Great article by Ellen Brown, the most sensible money and banking expert I am aware of. Her basic idea is very simple: We need a national bank owned by the people that can issue its own money to foster the interests of the people as a sovereign nation. Since 1912 or so the US has been in the clutches of the Federal Reserve System, owned by private banks, that issues money that has to be paid back. A national bank could issue money for the government that would not have to be paid back. Brown and Michael Hudson, maybe the world’s best economist, both assert MMT, Modern Monetary Theory, will not result in Venezuela like inflation since the US can issue its own money, even using the Federal Reserve. Better to do it with a national bank owned by the people, but the Federal Reserve is better than what Germany or Venezuela had and have. As Brown points out about what causes hyperinflation, whether in Weimar Germany before WWII or Venezuela now is problems with the exchange rate, a country having to convert its money into the money of foreigners to pay off foreign debts, import food, or buy or service whatever foreign goods or obligations they have to have. That won’t happen to the US because foreigners have to accept dollars, at least for now, because the US dollar is the global currency most countries have to use to pay their bills internationally, being the only fiat faith-based currency most humans trust.
Best article I have read on why Medicare For All or a single payer system
would be better by far for most US citizens than what we have now. Unfortunately
those who would not become better off because of it make a lot of money in the
healthcare industry, including health insurance companies, drug companies, and
hospital companies, enough money to buy the votes of politicians to make sure
we the people never get it.
Hard to believe he would have psychological permission to do
this. End the drug war now. Put these creeps out of business. Legalize,
control, and tax all drugs like booze and cigarettes. Al Capone was an altar
boy compared to these monsters.
Replace Maduro with Guaido to get rid of socialism in Venezuela? Better think again. Socialism might help keep Venezuelans in Venezuela rather than joining the flock from Central America already heading for the US looking for jobs. How many Cuban immigrants have you heard about lately?
Could not agree more. Here’s what we need, Game-free
economic and political discussion groups: Ogeechee Economic Forum Hour at
Stapleton Learning Company. Open for business the
third Saturday of the month, 10-11 a.m.
Learn how to feel better about economics and politics through Game-Free
discussion by learning how not to play psychological Games such as BALANCE
SHEET, AIN’T IT AWFUL, GREENHOUSE, MINE’S BETTER, NIGYSOB, KICK ME, POOR ME, IF
IT WEREN’T FOR YOU, LET’S YOU AND THEM FIGHT, DO ME SOMETHING, I’M ONLY TRYING
TO HELP YOU, and GEE, YOU’RE WONDERFUL PROFESSOR.
This is one thing I agree with Trump about. I never did understand why the US foreign policy establishment thinks the US needs to undermine, sanction, or destroy other countries, be they capitalist, socialist, religious dictatorships, fascist, or whatever, to control their oil supplies to favor the US. These countries are so poor they would have to sell their oil on the world market, and if capitalism is as good as oligarchs say it is, poor countries selling their oil on the world market would naturally drive through free competition the world price of oil down to a rational and fair price. Is it the US foreign policy establishment really does not care about a rational and fair price; is it they want to militarily force an abnormally low unfair price for US oil companies?
Is there nothing governments can do to stop this? These invasive robots and call center talking heads are seriously reducing human peace and tranquility. In addition to being disingenuous and insulting they are causing agitations, frustrations, disruptions, and productivity losses in millions of cases per day. We need a national call center disconnection agency to deal with this. I get called on average about eight times per day by these mechanical creeps.
The problem is somewhat analogous to the enclosure movements in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England in the 17th – 19th centuries in which callous landowning aristocrats forced people from their dwellings and small plots of ground on what had been for centuries land in common by simply telling them to get out, backed up and enforced by the laws and police power of the state, so they could raise sheep and do more profitable agricultural things on “their” land, which had been given to their ancestors in the past by conquering kings, fueling massive migrations to the New World, to mainly what became the US and Canada in North America; except today in Central America people that were habituated to tending land in small plots have been forced off the land so a callous elite class legally owning corporate shares of stock could take over their economy using global business procedures and modern technologies, and there is no more cheap undeveloped land for them to take from North Americans in the US should they be able to migrate there. In most cases, should these Central Americans get in the US, they will take over low status, low paid, arduous, onerous jobs that most US citizens do not want to do and will live in high density residential areas. They were dislodged from their agricultural ancestral sinecures by capitalistic global trends and practices set loose aboard Spaceship Earth starting around 1970, practices such as oligarchs sending high wage jobs in rich countries to poor countries, where they became low wage jobs, setting in motion a lowering of real wages and quality of life for most people in most countries, while enriching the rich in most countries, at least in monetary terms. Given the threats and risks of global warming and climate change and financial manipulations it seems the quality of life for all classes has declined since 1970.
Who said. I sure as hell want the idea. We were doing pretty well in the US before Reagan and company lowered the top tax rate from seventy percent or so to thirty percent or so in 1980. Sure, we had some stagflation, but that was nothing compared to what we have now, inequality to the max, with the rich getting richer every year, and the poor getting poorer, with increasing social unrest. That’s when all hell broke loose, in 1980. The corporations started sending manufacturing jobs to low wage countries (pure greed), the federal debt tripled, Bush II in 2001 following Reagan’s precedent cut taxes for the elite rich even more (political payoffs), and here we are now with nouveau corporate riche like like Schultz trying to take control of the whole country. You’ve now got to be a billionaire to even think about becoming president, unless you’re a Repug or Demo apparatchik, or a socialist promising free money and pie in the sky for the hopeless; but would socialism be worse than what we have now? Fascism. Probably not. h
“Echoing what Jerome Powell first realized in March 2013, Wouter Sturkenboom, Northern Trust Asset Management’s Amsterdam-based chief investment strategist for Europe and Asia said that the Fed is ‘at the mercy of the markets’ and ‘that’s why we have re-instigated a risk position’ across stocks in the U.S. and emerging markets at the expense of investment-grade bonds. Naturally, the firm which oversees $1.1 trillion in total assets, sees clear sailing for the rally for now.” Taken from the below article.
Here is the crux of the article:
“What Might Have Been?
“And now that I’ve left you with a completely bad taste in your mouth, let
me bring up another small forgotten memory, one that might qualify — in an
alternate universe of memories at least — as utopian, rather than dystopian.
I’m thinking about “the peace dividend.” You don’t remember it? Well, that’s
not surprising. But after the Soviet Union disappeared in 1991 (something
official Washington hadn’t faintly expected and initially greeted in a kind of
stunned silence), it briefly seemed as if the great-power struggles that had
preoccupied history since perhaps the fifteenth century were finally over. The
US was the lone superpower left on planet Earth. Enemies were beyond scarce. A
judgment of some sort had been rendered and, for a brief moment, even in
Washington, people began talking about that most miraculous of things: a peace
“The staggering sums that had gone into the Pentagon and the rest of the
national security state in the Cold War years were visibly no longer necessary.
So it was time to bring it all — billions and billions of dollars that had long
been invested in the militarization of our American world — home. There was,
after all, nothing left to build up military power against and so that money
could now be put into what wouldn’t for another decade be called “the
“In fact, though modest cuts were made in US forces and military spending
in those years, they would prove to be anything but a dividend and would soon
enough simply evaporate in the face of the military-industrial complex and, of
course, that “axis of evil.”
“In the years that followed, the very idea of a peace dividend, even the
phrase itself, would simply vanish. Still, just for a moment, in a country
whose infrastructure is now crumbling, whose teachers are underpaid, whose
health care system is under siege, it was possible to dream about a world in
which the bleeding wounds of the planet might begin to be staunched. Imagine
that and think about what the future might have been.”
Excerpted from the bottom of the following article.
Population aboard spaceship earth will continue to grow putting more stress on the ecosystem causing more global warming if these sorts of restrictions on population control become law around Spaceship Earth.
Why should anti-birth control and abortion people care how
many births other people prevent?
Is it they think eliminating birth control pills and abortions will get them brownie points with their father god for a better seat in heaven who has an insatiable need for more children to live with him in his heaven above even if humans having children without limit on earth will ultimately cause them to live in misery down here on Earth, maybe causing them to become extinct?
Yes, the Earthian debt increase since 1971 mainly benefited large corporations and the elite rich; but we the people can take some satisfaction that even large corporations and the financial elite did not get as much better off as most people think. What good is larger numbers in their bank and investment accounts if they can’t buy anything they need with them, having no real needs to satisfy, having already bought everything they need, especially considering that when a true global financial collapse occurs half or more of the numbers in their accounts may vanish? Numbers in computerized bank accounts and financial accounts called money do no social good if they cannot be converted into something real before they vanish in depressions, and real things such as houses and land require property taxes to be paid, however much their values too have vanished. About the only satisfaction to be gained from seeing financial numbers in financial accounts get larger year after year (called “making money”) after you get really rich is to win a psychological Game transactional analysts call BALANCE SHEET, wherein winners (like Warrren Buffett, who said money has absolutely no utility for him) simply accrue larger numbers in their financial accounts than losers year after year (as if playing bridge, Warren Buffet’s favorite pastime), and find this satisfying. Regardless, in general large corporations and the elite rich would rather see their numbers called money get larger in their bank and investment accounts doing them no real good than to transfer a significant percentage to the poor who could get a lot of good from increasing numbers in their bank accounts, by using them to buy needed goods and services right now, before a significant percentage of the numbers in the bank and investment accounts of the elite rich vanish in the next global financial collapse.
Unfortunately humans having very real unsatisfied needs, especially those now living on less than 5.5 dollars per day, were also not made much better off by the debt that grew at faster rates after the US Nixon administration eliminated the gold standard for global banks in 1971, rates of debt increase that increased even more after the US Bush II administration during 2001-2008 popularized the notion that digital government deficits and debt recorded in computers don’t matter. Note that this debt increase was caused primarily by supposedly conservative Republican politicians in the US (it’s a farce to say they are real financial conservatives, considering they have been much more profligate than Democrats since 1980), and the current Republican US president (another farce) is hastening the rate of debt increase even more. The budget deficit in the US in fiscal year 2019 will exceed one trillion dollars and will be financed by selling US treasury notes and bills to domestic and foreign citizens, government agencies, and central banks, especially the US Federal Reserve System, which can purchase its treasury bills with funny money it creates by simply punching more digits into its computers and calling the resulting numbers money, of which there is no theoretical limit. Central banks around Spaceship Earth have also learned how to do this, which explains how Global Debt can now be as high as the equivalent of 244 trillion US dollars.
It’s unclear when capitalism started, possibly as soon as humans aboard Spaceship Earth learned enough to trade among themselves using some sort of money, sea shells, special rocks, wampum, maybe gold nuggets; but whenever that was by then humans had learned to selfishly look out for their own interests and those of humans closest to them as individuals. When hoarding of food and other goods started was a major milestone in capitalistic evolution; when ownership of land and buildings started was another; when cultivating crops and manufacturing started were others.
But the milestone that really got the capitalistic process going probably occurred around 1850 with the development of the steam engine, that enabled humans to move matter around and do work by boiling water to produce steam power, that entailed burning wood and coal, that soon led by 1900 or so to the widespread burning of oil to power internal (or infernal) combustion engines; and away capitalism went, to humans driving cars, trucks, and tractors; to generating and transmitting electricity and flying airplanes; to where we are today, dealing with global warming and climate change, that threatens human survival.
Experts now say if significant reductions in the production of carbon dioxide and methane released into the Earthian atmosphere as a byproduct of burning fossil fuels are not made within ten years irreparable harm will be done to all Earthian species, including homo sapiens.
It’s possible capitalism will evolve new technologies, structures,
institutions, policies, practices, procedures, customs, and laws necessary to
enable the human species to continue indefinitely aboard Spaceship Earth; but
Just for the fun of it, play like you are a virtual Spaceship Earth, Inc. stockholder, owning one imaginary share of virtual stock, which I hereby figuratively grant you, along with all humans around Spaceship Earth, giving you equal theoretical power to make decisions about how to manage Spaceship Earth, Inc. Tell other stockholders what you think the problems and opportunities are, what the alternatives are, and what you think should be done to make for smoother sailing for everyone aboard.
feel free to write what you think pro or con about anything I or any of the
authors cited above have written in this issue of The Earthian.
Say whatever you want to say in response to the facts, analysis, conclusions, perspectives, etc. offered by the writers, pro or con, but please no ad hominem attacks, i.e., don’t try to prove you are right in your argument by illogically slandering or demeaning the personal characteristics, beliefs, behaviors, or integrity of the person you are arguing against.
Don’t worry about being “right”. Just come out with what you think is the truth of the matter. Nobody knows the full truth about economic and political affairs, and everybody knows something of value for a Game-free discussion of environmental, economic, and political problems and opportunities.
I have no desire to sell subscriptions or solicit donations for THE EARTHIAN, but I would like to sell more books. If you feel you’ve gained some value from THE EARTHIAN and would like to reciprocate go to our Effective Learning Publications page, the Internet, or any brick and mortar bookstore and purchase one or more of my books.
Feel free to forward, share, print, reprint, copy or otherwise disseminate this issue of The Earthian any way you see fit.
Good day my beloved and welcome once more to the altar of the almighty truth.
Ah! – please, please – no standing ovation – no cheering. Not at this hallowed site. This is not a football game nor is it the American Congress. Please be seated – thank you.
The recent news cycle in America has featured the ‘Blackface’ issue concerning the Governor of the state of Virginia. As this sermon unfolds – and it shall be a long one today – the totality of Virginia’s immediate problems in its political leadership reads more like a soap opera than does it seem to reflect actual events occurring. A good place to start is at the beginning.
So, what is ‘Blackface’?
The idea behind Blackface, in relation to its comedic intent, is that persons of African descent, are such that they represent the epitome of stupidity, laxness, shiftlessness and insobriety. African-Americans were elevated to comedic prominence by a White man named Thomas Dartmouth Rice (1808-1860). He would place black shoe polish on his face to ascend to the high degrees that his stage character would be at his best. His most famous and popular character, where he, Dartmouth, portrayed the ‘Blackface’ character both in the US and in England, was a stereotype stage figure named “Jim Crow”. A buffoon, a dunce, an ignoramus – and all those wonderful things that all Blacks are and would want their children to grow up to be. Dartmouth, to the amusement of fully entertained White audiences, expressed and explained the true nature of the African -American. “Explained”, for many a Caucasian at the time would not have met nor interacted with a person of colour of direct African descent post-emancipation of slavery – and so they were both informed and entertained by this stage figure’s “explanation”. The term “Jim Crow” became synonymous with the segregation of African-Americans. That is the background.
Now, we fast forward to the Governor of the State of Virginia in 2019 A.D. to one Ralph Northam, a White man who found comfort and pride in his blackfacing. He, in his college days thought that blackfacing with two prominent figures posted in his college yearbook as a ‘Blackface’ character standing next to a hooded member of the Ku Klux Klan ( that all White humanitarian group) was – oh – so funny and was suitable as a picture for his college yearbook. He was found out and then he first profusely apologised. The next day he denied that it was him. He, at a press conference, even thought that having said that he also blackfaced for Michael Jackson was willing do his own little performance with Jackson’s famous ‘Moon walk dance’ moves. His wife thought better of it and reigned him in before he could get ‘on stage’ so to speak.
Are we serious here?
Based on the facts – Governor Northam could never have been. But – I am sure that I am speaking from the altar of the Almighty truth – so I definitely am quite unequivocal in my outright condemnation of Northam and people of his ilk and what they then, as now, represent. I even have gone as far as condemning President Trump for comparable sentiments ( see: below – the article ‘President Trump and past and present cognitive dissonance’). So, if in the largest all Africa online publication, I have so spoken, why then should I not be equally serious when I am speaking of Northam?
But, let me be fair, backtrack to the Caribbean, to Jamaica where I was born, then forward to England where I studied, and cross over to the US for just some quick personal examples of deeply engrained ‘racial attitudes’ then conclude today’s sermon.
My view is that in the Caribbean, when the Europeans were in colonial control there was institutionalised racism. Post-independence, I would say that there still is ‘shadism’. What do I mean?
Slave society in the Caribbean, in economic terms, on the global stage practised the world’s first form of industrialised production. It mass produced mainly sugar cane and cotton by way of utilising in the millions ( both in monetary and in human terms) the physical machinery accompanied by the ‘human manchinery’ of slaves, Africans. And so in the English form of colonial plantation society the slaves, in point of law were actually designated as ‘res’ – things – not people – but – property to be bought and sold with no consideration for separation from loved ones, family, nor having any rights to develop and maintain normal human bonds. For, in point of English law, as the famous ( infamous?) case of the Zong, the jettisoned slaves were treated by His Lordship, the then Chief Justice of England, Lord Mansfield, as property as one might an animal- and – as he so said:-
“… case of slaves was the same as if horses had been thrown overboard,”
In fact, based on Lord Mansfield’s designation – some 132 “horses” – not human beings, were thrown overboard.
That is where White European sentiments and historically shaped attitudes are coming from.
More specifically, in the Caribbean/Jamaica, post-independence, the plantation society populations had had their attitudes towards ‘race’ historically shaped for them. Whites at the top – owners, overseers and any European riff-raff or vagabonds who happened upon the soil of the West Indies ( you were automatically White and privileged). Next, the offspring of the raped slave women – the Browns (Mulattos) the next step down. Last – the broad base of the majority – the Blacks at the bottom of Caribbean societies. A truly colour coded society of socio-economic demarcations. That is what happened and relating thereto is how Caribbean attitudes on ‘race’ came into being – thus my turn of phrase ‘shadism’ versus overt ‘racism’.
So to my mind, when, as in the current US case, the good Governor is so misunderstood in his conduct, it is to be much ado about nothing, for nothing should so offend the “Negroes” as like animals they are (or should be) devoid of feelings. What about my feelings? Well let me share five racial experiences. Four from England and one from the US.
At age sixteen, my father sent me to England to obtain my matriculation subjects, under the English educational system – then called “Advanced level subjects” – or “A levels” for short. I needed two to enter the Inns of Court and then could proceed to my English Bar examination to become a Barrister (what the Americans call a trial lawyer).
Approaching examination time the college student counsellor, Mr. Gill, a man from the north of England, who had lived and worked in then Apartheid South Africa, did his counselling with me and it went like this, his blond hair and his blue eyes and his pipe being puffed:-
“So laddy, what are you going to do after exams?”
“ I want to be a lawyer, but I think that I want to go to university first”
“Which one do you have in mind?”
“ London University Sir”
“Oh, its very hard to get into London; maybe you should try …” and he proceeded to rattle off a list of ‘no-name’ second to third tier universities.
I listened but did not respond.
At the time I only needed two good passes and London would consider my application. To make sure of my place I sat and obtained four A levels. My thoughts ( never uttered) were thereafter – well fuck you Mr. Gill.
And on to my attendance at a concert in the ‘West End’ ( i.e. London’s equivalent of Broadway) with my then Jamaican girlfriend. I took her to see the African-American soul singer, Lou Rawls.
As these shows go there will be minor pre main show performances.
The curtain was pulled back and there was a man sitting at a piano with a gorilla mask on. He started to play the keys and then began singing the famous Ray Charles song, ‘Take these chains from my heart’ while pulling from his pocket a long chain with a big red heart at the end.
Laugh – it was supposed to be funny, the ‘monkey man’ singing that famous song.
A voice in an America accent blurted out from two rows behind us, “That is disgusting; if this were the States, this could never happen”.
I looked over my shoulder and saw a blond girl who said it sitting next to her blond female friend discussing how outraged and disgusted they were.
Well sweeties, it was the 1970s when I attended London University; the 1980s when Governor Northam went to his college; and it is the year 2019 and he still wanted to do a ‘Blackface’ Michael Jackson for his audience – the people of the US and more particularly the State of Virginia.
So, post- graduate London University and now Law School, still during the days when Apartheid South Africa existed.
Adrienne, was her name, a fellow post-grad student who said to me while we discussed the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of Apartheid South Africa:-
“ Courtenay, you do not understand, the Africans are stupid”.
“Well Adrienne, I am of African descent so I guess I am stupid?”
“I don’t mean you, I mean the Africans in South Africa.”
So, if we reflect on this for a moment – with the then White racist regime spending on average some eight times as much on the education of every White child versus the state expenditure on any Black child – duh – huh?
In effect South Africa constituted an explicit form of ‘racial capitalism’ and Adrienne’s whiteness made her a primary beneficiary. She simply did not comprehend that fact and as with attitudes towards ‘race’ across the ‘white world’ many people still do not comprehend the historical sources of contemporary socio-economic disparities. There has been a colonial process wherein conquest after invasion, led to expropriation of both resources and identity in the Caribbean and similarly elsewhere on the planet.
Law School revelations and learnings did not end there. Now we get to the Dean’s husband, Mr. Jack Phillips, a lecturer in Trust Law and the student advisor. Kathryn Cronyn, an Australian, a bit older than the rest of us, who was in her late twenties and had completed her doctorate came over to a cafeteria table where I was sitting with fellow students and said:-
“ Do you know what Jack Phillips just said to me; Kate why do you worry about them so much and they have only just come down from the trees?”
Well – this ‘monkey’ decided that he would not share any more of the peanuts he had to get from each of us to be a lecturer in the law school; some were on scholarship, others on partial state grant, others paid for by their parents. However received it was our attendance and our ‘peanuts’ that kept him in a job.
So, we called an urgent student meeting which seemed to be a mini-UN. A vote was called and by a majority of one – the vote ended as 18 to 19 and the 19 decision vote ( mine included) ousted him from the Law School and “ta..ta..Jack Phillips and no more peanuts either”.
I am big, I am grown, I am a lawyer, I am earning and I am earning well. So well from an offshore insurance owner who my law firm represented and I had earned some substantial legal fees – not – mere ‘monkey money’ and my US client convinced me to bank and invest in the US in the bank he used in Coral Gables, Miami. I took his advice and he set up some paperwork and my money was wired into account.
The Bank Manager had never met me, but obviously saw some substantial money and a message came to me that when next in Miami, I should come in and meet him. So said, so done, and it was a morning meeting and I was on time. He was in a back room; there was an opaque glass divider for the cubicle where the secretary sat, and in the front were chairs for visitors/attendees to the Manager’s office. There I sat on time all alone and well dressed in a business suit when his secretary looked out and saw me:-
“Mr. Barnett is not here yet Sir.”
About fifteen minutes later with two White males now present she looks out and this time comes out. She goes to the nearest White male:-
“Are you Mr. Barnett?”
Then to the next.
“Are you Mr. Barnett?”
She retreats and her voice is heard, “Mr. Barnett is still not here yet Sir.”
About five minutes later she comes out and – having watched and played the game of assumptions long enough – I simply stood and said, “I am Mr. Barnett”. Says a lot.
Too much money; wrong colour.
I conclude from my years as a youngster until now, with such that I have experienced and/or learned from my tutors, my lecturers and Professors and life itself in its entirety, that a largely victor’s history has been false fed.
The current world does not go as far back as Egypt and beyond, if one listened only to that ‘white narrative’. It starts with Greece and Rome and it advances without any Caribbean labour, as in Haiti having had at the time of its slave revolution contributed and constituted fully 40% of the wealth of France. The industrial revolution in England bears no reference in terms of capital accumulation to the slave labour and its produce exported to Britain to build universities, cathedrals, factories, libraries, schools etc. while the slaves languished in poverty. Oh no! It was Lord Mansfield who set the Black, James Somerset, free. But, only him, Somerset alone, a case specific decision, so that his fellow slaves in the West Indies could continue to labour on to generate more riches for Britain. And so all the accomplishments, the capital accumulation of which Dr. Eric Williams so brilliantly analysed in his tome, ‘Capitalism and slavery’, is to be historically disjoined as irrelevant ‘fake news’ ( in modern Trumpian terminology) and never be acknowledged as the actual monetary umbilical chord linking the development of Western European societies to the slave plantations of the Caribbean. So upset were the British with Dr. Williams revelation, that not one publisher could be found ( not one in Britain from extreme conservative to liberal and even radical left publishers) would embrace at that time, the truth and let it be told and widely known. Dr. Williams had to take the product of his Oxford University doctoral thesis to the US to get it published and he taught there as a Professor for about a decade until he returned to the Caribbean to become the first Prime Minister of independent Trinidad and Tobago.
In our contemporary world the White men, descended from Europe, have been the victors and continue to write and expound victor’s histories and accounts. It is only they who can craft any accurate account of history and thus to them our understanding is beholden. Someone thus wrote this:-
“Using the modern-day weapons of capitalism and war-time technology they have dismissed diasporic Blacks, Indigenous New Worlders, women and the monoliths of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Entire dynasties were eradicated. The number of genders was winnowed down to about one and a half.”
I prefer to be the pleasant dissident who speaks of, writes of, experiences his own personal history and understands with open eyes the place, the history, the destiny of my people – then extrapolate therefrom, as did the White men before me, to an epistemological place I designate accurately and truthfully as my own. For, if I did not so do, I would become an apologist for people such as Mr. Gill or Jack Phillips or Adrienne or even for Governor Northam. That is my choice, my place to stand with human dignity intact, my point of departure from the White man’s history. I am aware of race discrimination but can think well beyond that about climate change, nuclear arms, manufactured wars (e.g. war in Iraq or subterfuge in Venezuela for their oil) and many other global issues. For as the famous biologist Edward O. Wilson so eloquently stated:-
“Humanity today is like a walking dreamer, caught between the fantasies of sleep and the chaos of the real world. The mind seeks but cannot find the precise place and hour. We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology. We thrash about. We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence, and a danger to ourselves and to the rest of life.”
And, all said and done, my place on the planet does have room for not just me, for the Asians, the Africans, the White man, and all other life forms, but I do not see as the White man sees ‘others’ – for ‘they’ too are my people; it is as if at my mental best I am one with ‘them’, yet psychologically not one of ‘them’, viewed through my telescope looking back at history and thinking from the past and envisioning a more promising future.
Governor Northam and your associates and people of that ilk – do take advice from a good lawyer and may you one day be redeemed – but only after demitting office and then rejecting racist fantasies. The real world of the UK, the US and the entire planet needs to move on to a better place.
* COURTENAY BARNETT is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, has been arrested for defending his views, has been subjected to death threats, and has argued public interest and human rights cases.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered today at the altar of the almighty truth to consider a very serious matter. It is the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the potential annihilation of our species. More particularly, the focus is on the conduct of the United States of America and Russia.
Context and a quick grasp of the motivating factors for production of these weapons can be gleaned by listening to President Eisenhower’s warning from the 1960s and then considering the stark clarity of the words of George Kennan ( he was the US architect of the ‘Cold War’).
“Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”
― George F. Kennan
Interesting to note that the foregoing does not comprise, my thoughts or ideas or opinions – but rather the reality as expressed by highly placed US leaders.
The idea and objective of International Law is to provide a framework and set of international rules for nations and persons to conduct international relations by abiding by same ( The rule of International Law). The UN Charter and Treaties are just two demonstrable examples of International Law’ s intention as to how it is intended to work. It is not a perfect system, but without it ( or something close to it in place) – then what is the option for intended civilized and peaceful dispute resolution – brute force – or – war?
Thus, post World War 11, not only the United Nations, but a series of Laws and Treaties, such as the Geneva Conventions, set out to establish the legal new architecture for the world. In the specific context of nuclear weapons the following can be noted:-
The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty or ABMT) was signed in 1972 between the US and the then Soviet Union. The terms of the Treaty permitted each side to be limited to two ABM complexes – and – each complex was further limited to 100 anti-ballistic missiles.
In 2002 the US already had destabilised the nuclear balance when they decided to get out of the ABM Treaty. In 2002, and when you look at a map, the United States was putting missile defense bases all around Eurasia, creating a feeling of encirclement in Russia and China.
The US ideology was to put sovereignty above international law, and they wanted to have a totally free hand to keep their supremacy in the world as long as possible, and these Treaties were constraining them.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty ( INF Treaty) collapsed; it had been established between the then Soviet Union and the US at a time when Gorbochov and Reagan were leaders of their respective countries. The broad objective, as with the 1972 Treaty, was arms-control. The INF Treaty sought to eliminate all land-based ballistic and cruise missiles and the launchers for such missiles.
Citing Russian non-compliance as the reason for withdrawal, on the 20th October 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing.
It is not hard to discern the pattern of attempted rationalisation, by way of blaming deviation and/or violations to justify withdrawal. Yet, withdrawal defeats the long-term objective of an intended symmetrical containment under International Treaties.
It is also not hard to discern from the withdrawals, that one nation is seeking superiority and dominance; by placing emphasis on its “exceptionalism” in preference for assertive sovereignty over co-operative submission to International Law.
The waste of global resources and corresponding stupidity should also be noted. That approach places us ( all human beings on planet earth) at risk.
What logical, rational – or – in any way sensible route is it for a nation to squander so much resources on building these nuclear weapons; when – it is known by both sides that direct use, the US against Russia or vice versa is guaranteed Mutually Assured Destruction ( MAD)?
On the 2nd February, 2019 President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was also suspending the INF Treaty.
AMEN – AND INDEED IF THERE WAS EVER SUCH A WAR, THEN MANY OF US READIND THIS – WOULD BE SAYING OUR FINAL – AMEN!
So, endeth my sermon for today.
Courtenay Barnett is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, has been arrested for defending his views, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. He lives and works in the Caribbean.