OGEECHEE ECONOMIC FORUM HOUR

Minutes of the Ogeechee Economic Forum Hour, September 21, 2019

As announced the forum took place at the Eagle Creek Brewing Company at ten o’clock before the pub opened for its normal business hours at eleven, per the invitation to the public posted below. Three participants attended, A, B, and C. Near the end of the hour C suggested that next time the forum start at eleven o’clock so the participants could order something to eat and drink during the forum. This will happen at the next meeting, the third Saturday of October, at eleven o’clock instead of the usual ten o’clock hour of the forum, at Eagle Creek.

The Classroom De-Gamer™ selected B as the Leader of the Day. B said he thought the major economic and political problem right now is the increasing polarization between extremists on the right and left caused by economic inequality and frustration that seems to be causing increasing violence and fascist attitudes and actions around Spaceship Earth. He said he had no idea what alternative for change would be best, being convinced everything that could be done has been tried at one time or another, such as higher or lower taxes, voting for different politicians, more government regulation, civil wars, world wars, regime changes, monarchies, republics, democracy, socialism, communism, fascist dictatorships, religious revivals, and what have you. He said he recommended hoping for a better day and the accidental or inevitable evolution of new and better economic, political, and social systems through synergistic learning, similar to what is recommended in the article “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc.” posted in a page on the Effective Learning Report masthead at the top of this page labeled Spaceship Earth, Inc.

The participants then discussed on a free-flow basis the ramifications of the Spaceship Earth, Inc. article, which would more or less entail turning the Earthian economic system over to Artificial Intelligence programming and supercomputers. The discussion touched on authoritarianism and democracy and their relations to mathematics. Mathematics is inherently authoritarian, being provably-true based on deductive logic, almost the antithesis of democracy which is based on inductive logic and analogical reasoning, at best producing non-provably-true consensual answers that are generally satisfactory for most humans in groups, organizations, and systems. Regarding which is best, computers or democracy, consider what you would rather have landing an airliner you are riding on that is flying at night at thirty thousand feet with cloudy and rainy weather below, the plane’s computer system or the pilot and co-pilot who are looking out their windows?

The discussion at one point considered whether more and better teaching of mathematics might help solve the Earthian economic and political problem, since it would make human Earthians more inclined to lay down their swords and follow the dictates of AI programming and supercomputers regarding how to produce and distribute the necessities of life for all human Earthians. How to improve the teaching of mathematics was discussed. C suggested one reason why many humans do not do well in mathematics is because of the way math is often taught, with math teachers “preaching math instead of teaching math.” According to B there is nothing worse than a NIGYSOB-playing math teacher, NIGYSOB (Now I’ve Got You, You SOB) being a psychological Game inherently insecure and angry human Earthians play to get “one up”, looking for chances to catch people making mistakes and doing misdeeds, attempting to prove they are superior. While it would be nice if more humans learned not to play NIGYSOB in families, groups, organizations, and systems, it is essential that NIGYSOB players do not take control of nations through democratic elections.

C suggested more people do not attend the Ogeechee Economic Forum Hour because of perceived incompetency and lack of psychological permission to attend, being concerned that participation in the forum would somehow lessen their security and positions in other groups, which if so is a shame since a major purpose of the Ogeechee Economic Forum is to foster feelings of social and psychological equality, an I’m OK—You’re OK life position.

End of minutes of the September 21, 2019 Ogeechee Economic Forum Hour.

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

by Richard John Stapleton

The Ogeechee Economic Forum Hour as usual will be open for discussion this coming third Saturday of the month, September 21, 10-11 a.m.

This Saturday however we will meet at the Eagle Creek Brewing Company. 

Franklin Dismuke, entrepreneur, owner, and CEO of Eagle Creek Brewing Company, a graduate of the Georgia Southern Parker College of Business, agreed to make his pub space available to us free of charge from 10-11 Saturday morning.

Invite your friends who are also invited and drop by Eagle Creek Brewing Company at 106 Savannah Avenue in Statesboro at ten a.m. this coming Saturday, September 21, for fifty minutes of stimulating economic and political discussion. We’ll have more room and better parking than we had at my office. We’ll stop the discussion by 10:50 to straighten up the tables and chairs so the Eagle Creek Brewing Company pub can open for their normal business hours at 11:00. 

No food or drinks will be available during the forum hour, 10-11. Bring your own cup of coffee if you want one for the forum. You can buy whatever you might want off the Eagle Creek menu at eleven o’clock.

The main purpose of the Ogeechee Economic Forum is to provide an equal opportunity for responsible citizens to test their economic and political ideas in a public group about what to do about economic and political problems. If you don’t know a good answer for a problem maybe someone else in the group will.  Hopefully the process will make us all better citizens.

The process features a Classroom De-Gamer™ with group members sitting in a circle. A spinner attached to the De-Gamer will select the leader who will create the agenda by answering three questions, whatever pops into mind, about what s/he thinks is the most significant economic and political problem right now.

What is the problem?

What are the alternatives? 

What do you recommend?

Rarely will the De-Gamer select a leader who knows right answers for general economic and political problems, since there are no “right” answers for real economic and political problems, or at least there are no provably-true right answers.  

Once something is codified in a rule or law it is true that the rule or law entails such and such, and if one knows what is in the rule or law then s/he knows a “right” answer; but it’s difficult to prove that it was “right” that the rule or law should have been codified in the first place, or as it was. It’s even more difficult to prove, even with hindsight, that economic and political decisions were “right”.

Anyone can respond to what the De-Gamer-selected leader said with what s/he thinks are better answers, on a first-come first-serve basis, after the De-Gamer-selected leader stops talking. 

One spin of the De-Gamer most of the time generates about one hour of back and forth discussion about numerous related problems. If the discussion runs out of steam before the hour is up we can spin the De-Gamer again, or quit for the day.

The purpose of the discussion is to learn and educate, not to indoctrinate, by co-constructing answers. About the best you can hope for in most groups, organizations, and systems is to co-construct consensual answers that are good enough to satisfy most people affected by them. Or at least it seems to me this proposition is generally “right”. 

The Ogeechee Economic Forum is non-partisan.

The “Spinner” makes sure all participants (including me the moderator) have an equal shot at being the Leader of the Hour. If the spinner points me out I will present and answer the three questions just like any other participant would. Once the De-Gamer-selected leader breaks the ice it’s free flow from then on. Anyone can become the leader of the moment by diving in the discussion first. There’s no holding up of hands to get permission to talk to the whole group. No one can be interrupted once s/he starts talking to the whole group, assuming s/he does not talk too long. If someone talks too long I will clang my cowbell to give someone else a chance. There are no side conversations. All talking must be to the whole group. Anyone can get up and leave at any time if s/he has any sort of personal problem.  

A major purpose of the group is to create democracy, not autocracy.

Another purpose is to learn how to avoid playing 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, and I’M ONLY TRYING TO HELP YOU.

A major purpose is to learn how to create win-win economic and political outcomes rather than win-lose outcomes.

For more information about the De-Gaming process and facts and evidence it works go here:

http://www.effectivelearning.net/de-gaming-and-saving-democracy.html

Lastly, another purpose of the forum is to learn how to have fun while coping with serious problems.

Believe it or not, in most sessions this Game-free process generates a full hour of interesting, stimulating, informative, and satisfying experience for all participants, and the time passes quickly.

After the forum hour’s over Saturday I recommend recognizing the contributions of Coach Erk Russell, who named a drainage ditch running through Statesboro, that bordered his football practice field, Eagle Creek, who won three national championships during his tenure at Georgia Southern University, who stopped by my office one day and told me he appreciated what I was teaching some of his football players.

Coach Russell’s spirit is still with us and the Eagles almost beat Minnesota last Saturday, in one helluva football game.

In the interests of full disclosure, I always wanted to be the quarterback of the team, as I documented at 

http://www.effectivelearning.net/rjs-academic-vita.html.  

According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal in 1954 I was probably the youngest and smallest Class A high school starting quarterback in the US.

I think I could do a better job quarterbacking the US than Donald Trump, if only a great football coach, such as Joe Moring, my high school coach in 1954, or Erk Russell in 1985, or some sort of national presidential De-Gamer, could send me in the game and put Trump on the bench.

It also seems to me most reasonably bright US adult citizens with decent educations could do a better job quarterbacking the US than Trump. I read yesterday that his approval rating is now thirty-eight percent.

Come to the Ogeechee Economic Forum Hour this Saturday to participate in some Saturday Morning armchair economic and political quarterbacking.   Armchair quarterbacking about the economy and politics is more relevant and satisfying than armchair quarterbacking about football games.  There’ll be plenty of time to watch and talk about football over the rest of the weekend. 

Please share this invitation with your friends who are also invited.

One more time,

Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA, Moderator

— 

WHAT LAW: WHO BREACHED? – US – IRAN – AND THE WEST

By Courtenay Barnett

It is said that maybe Iran was behind a recent attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.

The Iranian Government denies that any attack was launched from Iranian territory.

Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the attack; other accusations have been made, inclusive of, but not limited to, a possible launch from Iraqi territory without any complicity from the Government of Iraq.

In an adumbrated way, that is the essence of the problem; yet, there has not been, so far, any historical context placed on the issue.

Saudi Arabia has indeed been the source of much bombing and killing in Yemen in a war killing many Yemeni civilians now with loss of life estimated to be in the region of seventy thousand people. No doubt, from a Houthi perspective there would be much motive, willingness and perceived justifiable cause to attack Saudi Arabia. However, the US has primarily shone the spotlight on Iran – so let’s start there.

Historical and legal facts

Between 1917 and 1919 Iran suffered a great famine claiming some eighth to ten million lives. How did it happen? Simply stated, there was a British presence in Persia (subsequently changing the country’s name to Iran in 1935) and a commandeering of food from Persia for the feeding of British troops during World War 1. Britain invaded Persia in 1916 and thereafter confiscated the country’s harvests, one reason Iranians, to this day, look suspiciously at Britain in particular and the West in general.

In 1953 Iran had a freely and fairly elected democratic leader in the personage of Mohammad Mosaddegh. The CIA overthrew Mosaddegh in a CIA staged coup in 1953 ( the first of its kind post World War 11 with many to follow thereafter for the installation of leaders supportive of US policies). The issue concerned the nationalisation of Iranian oil interests ( i.e. with compensation to be paid) as was tested and upheld as lawful under international law by the then World Court. However, yet again, Anglo-American interests saw it fit to impose their will on Iran. By reference to the 1953 coup one can trace and note the seeds for the 1979 Iranian revolution having been sown by way of the installation of a leader who was more supported by the West than being credible with his own people.

The US also backed the Iraqi war against Iran of 1980-1988.

There is a resolution in the Untied Nations numbered UN Resolution 2231. By way of Article 25 of the UN Charter and as lucidly as can be stated:-

“Article 25. “The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.”

There was an extensive process of negotiations with a number of powerful Western countries, inclusive of the US, and also Russia and China and Iran agreed to comply with terms under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ( JCPOA). The UN Security Council unanimously had approved that plan. That Resolution 2231 ended other Resolutions on other Iranian nuclear issues and became binding upon Iran, as duly and legally agreed under international law per UN Charter Article 25. The International Atomic Agency as well as the EU was involved in monitoring the agreement. Up to the point of a unilateral withdrawal from the JCOPA, under the Trump Presidency, Iran had been found to be in compliance. Since there is an extant UN Resolution in place that had not been violated by Iran, then the unilateral withdrawal by the US quite clearly is in violation of international law. So, as of 2018 President Trump unilaterally pronounced:-

In his January 2018 speech on the JCPOA.  President Trump said, “the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal.” and he went on and said “will withdraw from the deal immediately” unless the JCPOA is renegotiated.

By contrast to the US withdrawal, it is quite evident and logical that if Iran had violated the terms of the JCPOA, then the international community would logically have concluded that UN Resolution 2231 had been breached. Thus, unilateral action by the US ought not to be judged by the same standards of International Law, by which Iran is judged?

Yet, legalities for some who think it prudent to abide by the Rule of Law both domestically and internationally is one level of rationality; US foreign policy, however, works on another level of power. There are specific procedures within the UN system intended to apply to all nations and thus such nations are governed by the rules for any  withdrawal from international agreements falling within the purview of the UN. Yes – “apply to all nations” – but, in this as in other acts of international unilateralism and/or aggression – not to the US.

Let us stop there and think for a moment.

Breaches and non-compliance

Was there any material breach of the JCPOA by Iran?

Which country complied with the JCPOA?

Which country unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA?

Which country has shown disregard for UN Resolution 2231 and the procedures applicable thereto?

Conclusion

Four simple questions; four easy answers.

So who is/was lawful; and – which country is a law unto itself?

The questions, it appear, shall be answered primarily in the arena of realpolitik more so than in a civilized dispute resolution, Tribunal, Court or International agency. Sad, but true. However, do consider that Iran is not Iraq and Iran is definitely not the Iran of 1953.

That is the lawless world in which we live!

________________________________________

* 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