THE GROUP: To Save Spaceship Earth — Part 1

The Group: To Save Spaceship Earth is a work in progress. While settings, plots, theories, objects, and narratives in this novel may be loosely analogous to the same that have happened in various realities around Spaceship Earth, the names, actions, and attributions of characters cast herein are purely fictional. All parts of this novel will be published in the Effective Learning Report at various intervals on the internet, subject to revision at any time, hopefully culminating in a final print edition offered for sale to the public.

Copyright 2020 by Effective Learning Publications. All rights reserved. No part of this novel may be copied or printed on paper without permission. Share on the internet as you wish.

By RICHARD JOHN STAPLETON

Hank thought it was junk mail.  Why would anyone want to pay him five thousand dollars a month to participate in some sort of discussion group?

       He deleted the message thinking it was a scam—but the messages kept coming.  

       He emailed the sender and told him to take him off the list and threatened to notify the police, but the sender assured him by return email the offer was real, and to prove it a bank account had been set up in his name with an initial deposit of one hundred dollars, which he could verify and access with a username and password, which turned out to be true. Hank withdrew fifty dollars from the account using an ATM machine. 

       He thought he must be insane to even dream about getting involved with a screwball idea like this.  There was no telling what kind of outfit was behind it, and there had to be a catch somewhere; most likely it was a scam. Why would anyone pay him to show up at a hotel and talk with people?  How had they found him?  What did they know about him?    

       He wound up emailing the anonymous sender telling him or her there was an account in his name and he had withdrawn fifty dollars.  He asked the sender to send him the name and address of the organization responsible for this.  He said he wanted proof the offer was legal.

       He received an email informing him the group financing the project was ethical and legal, registered as a non-profit organization in the name of Spaceship Earth, Anonymous, and ethics was  one of their major concerns. The ultimate objectives of the project included fostering free, fair, ethical, legal and progressive human behavior around Spaceship Earth that would contribute to the survival of as many plant and animal species as possible, including homo sapiens, and there was no question about the legality of the project.  The email said Henry should attend the first meeting of the group and discuss these issues with people at the meeting, the first meeting having been scheduled in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday of the coming November. 

       The e-mailer said his name was Dr. Rout Logger.  All meetings would be held in hotels in different cities the first Saturday of each month until such time as the sponsors decided to terminate the program.  The sponsors were all citizens of Spaceship Earth concerned about preserving life for all Earthians, which included all species of fauna and flora aboard Spaceship Earth.  All participants would be paid five thousand dollars per Saturday meeting, deposited monthly in their bank accounts established by the program administrators.  Participants would be responsible for arranging their own transportation to the meetings and food and lodging, to be paid from their monthly fee.  They could stay and eat wherever they chose in the various cities.

       Logger wrote in the email that group members would meet in formal sessions in designated, secure meeting rooms, which would be protected by a private security service.  Group sessions would be conducted from nine a.m. to noon and from two p.m. to five p.m. on the first Saturday of each month.  If Henry replied to this email agreeing to attend the November meeting, five thousand dollars would be deposited in his bank account.  On Mondays following Saturday meetings attended another five thousand would be deposited in his account for the next meeting.  It was permissible to miss a monthly meeting for compelling reasons, but after missing a monthly meeting no additional deposits would be made until after attendance at the next meeting.  The city and hotel selected for the next month would be announced in emails sent the Monday following the last meeting. 

       Participants could discuss whatever they wanted to discuss. Logger said each session would be started by randomly selecting the group leader, who would answer three questions: 

What is the Problem? 

What are the Alternatives?

What do you Recommend?

       The meetings were to be conducted in rooms large enough to accommodate forty participants, who would use their first names in the group, aliases being permissible. There would be no breaks during the three-hour sessions but participants would be excused for legitimate calls of nature.  No eating or drinking would occur during the sessions.  There would be no physical touching or sexual innuendoes or flirtations during group meetings.

       The group members had been selected according to various criteria and considerations attempting to form an inclusive group reflecting beliefs, ideas, and behaviors held and enacted by various groups in society as a whole.

       All sessions would be audio and video-recorded. Some of the information collected would eventually be published in reports making recommendations for sustaining all Earthians, made available to all humans around Spaceship Earth.

       It bothered Hank that this guy would not snail mail him any printed documentation for the meetings and program, but he decided to go to one meeting and see what was going on.  What were the chances you might get shot, tortured, kidnapped or something?  Pretty slim he thought.  If you got paid five thousand dollars for doing nothing but talk it was worth taking a chance.  But where did this Earthian crap come from?

SESSION ONE

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

September 2019

The conference room was a large square room furnished with comfortable leather armchairs arranged in a circle that left enough space between the circle and the walls for someone to walk around the outside perimeter of the circle of chairs. Each chair was furnished with a movable desk and a laptop computer. The desk could be adjusted to suit the preferences of each participant.

       A black, red, and yellow copper rooster about three feet tall was perched atop a two-foot cubic mahogany box in the center of the room. An iron rod about three feet long with a pointed triangular arrow head on one end and copper feathers on the other end was attached to the rooster. A system of ball-bearings beneath the rooster’s feet attached to the box made it easy for someone to spin or twirl the rooster and the pointed arrow. The rooster was battery-powered and programmed to throw its head back and crow each time it stopped spinning, after someone had twirled it by hand.

       About twenty people were already there.  Henry sat in the nearest empty chair, making eye contact with two or three people nearby.  It was ten minutes before nine o’clock.

       The armchairs had almost filled up by nine o’clock, at which time Rout Logger briskly walked into the room, carrying a large leather briefcase, seating himself in one of the empty armchairs, all of which were identical. 

       “Good morning folks.  I’m Rout Logger.  It’s good to see you.  I’m glad you could make it.  Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of one another in these meetings for a good while.  Thanks for being here.  I see a few members are not here yet, but we’ll get started anyway.  Please make sure you are on time from now on.  It’s rude, disrespectful, and disruptive for anyone to come in late. 

       “I think most of you generally understand the purpose of the meetings, the times for the meetings and so forth.  You were all sent the same emails introducing the process.  Here’s the procedure we’ll be using in the sessions.  We want the discussions to be honest, full and frank.  We’ll start every discussion by spinning that rooster out there in the center of the room, called The Truther.  I’ll spin it the first time myself to kick off the process; from then on whoever got pointed out last spins it next.  The purpose of spinning The Truther is to randomly select the leader of the discussion, insuring each member has an equal chance to be the leader of every session, excluding the person making the spin.  If The Truther stops on me I’ll be the leader myself, just as any of you would if it landed on you.  We want to foster equality among members and response-able, efficient, effective, intelligent, critical and creative feeling, thinking and behaving in the group.  Although I am the formal leader of the group I have as much right as anyone else to be the designated leader of the moment if The Truther selects me under the fully democratic laws of this process.

       “I originated the idea for this project and secured the funding.  Most of the donors are wealthy individuals but some are middle class. The donors will remain anonymous, but I can tell you they have donated funds for this project based on their hope the process might contribute to improving the quality of life, and chances of survival, of all species of fauna and flora around Spaceship Earth, especially homo sapiens

       “The donors are convinced if Earthian homo sapiens do not make significant changes in their feeling, thinking, believing and behaving dire consequences will result, possibly resulting in their extinction as a species during this century.  If it can be demonstrated that this process worked in this group hopefully similar groups will be established around Spaceship Earth.  Each of you is being paid the same for your attendance and participation, five thousand dollars for each monthly session in which you participate.  Do the math.  Since there are forty of you in the group this amounts to almost two and one half million dollars per year for group member compensation, about three million per year for total expenses, counting my salary, logistics, room reservations, administration and security, and what have you.      

       “I have degrees in economics, organizational behavior, and management science, plus post-doctoral training in social and psychological disciplines, including a certification in transactional analysis.  I have forty years’ experience in entrepreneurship, university teaching and research, and management consulting, dealing with organizational analysis and policy formulation, manpower motivation and productivity, and organizational development, for a variety of organizations and groups.

       “My job here is not to impart information per se but to facilitate the creation of new comprehension of the Earthian plight to generate recommendations for changes.  Everything you say in these group discussions will be recorded and videotaped and any information generated may be used in a summary report for improving Earthian states of affairs.  You will be able to access anything I have said or anything any one of you has said in these meetings using your computer in the meeting room, but you may not copy, save, forward, or share the information.  None of you will be personally identified in the report.  Anything you say, however, may be quoted in the report, attributed to the first name you choose to use in the group.  The report may be published anywhere around Spaceship Earth.  This process won’t work if two or more of you use the same first name.  As we go around the room, if someone has already announced your desired first name, use a first name no one has already announced; aliases are fine.

       “OK, let’s go around the room, proceeding clockwise, with this gentleman to my immediate left.  Just give the name you want to be known by in the group and say something about what you do.”

       “Hello everyone, I’m John.  I’m a systems engineer and programmer.”

       “My name is Wendel.  I’m a farmer.”

       “I’m Ellie, a teacher.”

       “I’m Helen. I’m a nurse.”

       “Hi, I go by Hal.  I’m an attorney.”

       “My friends call me Joan.  I’m a supervisor with an insurance company.”

       “Bud.  I’m a mechanical engineer.”

       “My name is Maria, a social worker.”

       “Bob.  I’m a physician.”

       “Sam. Writer and social activist.”

       “Napoleon.  Retired military.”

       “Margaret.  I work for the government.”

       “Luke.  Evangelical minister.”

       “George. Politician, state senator.”

       “Julia.  I run a cleaning service.”

       “Hank.  I own my own business.  Construction.”

       “Bubba.  I’m a farmer.”

       “Bill. Educator.”

       “Tony. A bartender.”

       “Mikhail. An accountant.”

       “Judy.  Housewife and mother.”

       “Matilda. Librarian.”

       “Joe, the plumber.”

       “Harrison.  Corporate CEO.”

       “Stuart. college student.”

       “Dick.  US representative.”

       “Nancy. I own my own beauty shop.”

       “Rupert.  I’m a banker.”

       “Clarence.  Lawyer.”

       “Albert.  University professor.  Physics.”

       “Barbara.  I’m a housewife.”

       “Ron.  Truck driver.”

       “Marshall.  Weatherman.”

       “Jimmy.  Labor union organizer.”

       “Steve.  I work in our family manufacturing business.”

       “Marian. Elementary teacher.”

       “Horatio.  I own some small businesses.”

       “Martin.  University professor, religious studies.”

       “Trudy.  I’m a psychotherapist.”

       “Dan.  I’m an insurance agent.”

       “Adam.  Economics professor.”

       “Socrates.  University professor, philosophy.”

       “Ellen.  I just graduated from college. Accounting major.  Looking for a job.  Can’t believe I was given five thousand dollars to attend this six-hour seminar.”

       “Andy.  I’m a cop.”

       “Noam.  I’m a social activist.”

Rout Logger got up, walked to the center of the room, and gave The Truther its first twirl.

As The Truther arrow spun round and round, winding down, Logger said, “If it stops on you, just tell us what you think is the problem, what are the alternatives, and what you recommend.”

       Bubba jerked upright in his chair as if he had been shot through the heart as The Truther stopped spinning, pointing right at him, as the rooster raucously crowed, letting everyone know it was time to wake up and get to work.  Glaring at Rout with incredulity, fear, and consternation, Bubba said, “You mean you want me to tell these people about some problem?  What do you mean, a problem?  What problem?”

Rout—“Whatever you think the most relevant problem is right now.”

Bubba—“You mean what I think the most relevant problem in the whole damn world is?”

R—“Basically, yes.”

B—“How would I know?”

R—“If you did know, what would it be?  What is the first thing that comes to mind?”

B—“Well, I guess, jobs.”

R—“Why is that a problem?”

B—“Why, hell, any fool knows it’s a problem when you have people goin’ hungry, folks can’t find jobs.”

R—“Good, that’s a start.  What are the alternatives?”

B—“I don’t have the foggiest idea.”

R—“Yes, you do.”

B—“Well, I guess we could make sure people can find work or somethin’.”

R—“How would you do that?”

B—“Beats the hell out of me.”

R—“No recommendations at all?”

B—“Nope.”

       Rout thanked Bubba for starting the process and told the group once a discussion had been opened and the Truther-selected leader stopped talking the group would then discuss what had been said on a free-flow basis until the problems and issues brought up by the randomly-selected leader had been exhausted of relevant points, relevant points being relevant in the opinion of group members.  He said one of the major tasks in these discussions was to identify relevant points from the mass of possible points, most of which were irrelevant.  Once the relevant points were separated from the irrelevant the task became to see how the relevant points related to one another so as to comprehend the problem well enough to make recommendations having a decent probability of producing beneficial outcomes if implemented.

       He told them when the randomly-selected leader finished his or her opening remarks others should then jump in the fray on a first-come first-serve basis, meaning the first person to speak up then had the floor until s/he said what was on her or his mind about the problem, the alternatives, and the recommendations.  He said quite naturally disagreements will result, and arguing about various points is a vital and necessary part of the process, necessary to separate irrelevant focal point entities from the relevant.  He said it was the responsibility of every group member to attempt to correct and educate all group members about points or focal point entities they advocated or those considered wrong said by others, trying to set dissenters and antagonists and the group straight in the process.  He said unlearning what was wrong was as important as learning what was right.  He said this was the only way to separate the irrelevant from the relevant.

       On the other hand, Logger told them in most cases economic, political, social, and psychological problems did not have “right” answers that could be proved right, and therefore the best that could be hoped for in most cases would be for humans to develop consensual answers that would produce sustainability and satisfaction for all species around Spaceship Earth.  

       He said the process was roughly analogous to the naturally-occurring process aboard Spaceship Earth causing the evolution of ideas and practices over time, causing beliefs, policies and practices to happen that were somehow acceptable in past short runs to various groups and organizations but which might now be obsolete and irrelevant.   In this process in this room, however, everyone had an equal opportunity to correct obsolete or irrelevant beliefs, policies and practices anyone in the group might be carrying around in his or her head, caused by the spinning of The Truther, and the fully democratic laws of the process, however improbable it was anyone could change someone else’s mind with one rebuttal.

       Logger said they weren’t searching for absolute truth here, which could not be found, or which could not be proved true to ordinary people if found; but rather they should be able to generate workable propositions having decent probabilities of being considered true in the minds of most humans that would cause salutary outcomes.  The best they could hope for was to find the truest of the relatively true, irrespective of absolute truth.

       Rout said there was one law for this process that must not be violated except in the case of emergencies:  No one could talk when someone else was talking to the whole group, and talking to the whole group is the only kind of talking allowed. 

Rout—“There can be no gossiping, commenting, or communicating of any sort—verbally or non-verbally—with members sitting to your right or left in the circle when someone is talking to the whole group.  There can be no rolling of eyes, smirking, frowning, gritting of teeth, or any other non-verbal psychological communication gesture when someone is talking to the whole group.  There can be no actions, social or psychological, intended to alter or influence what speakers are saying as they say it, or cause them to stop saying what they are saying, as they say it.  On the other hand, you may confront them socially with counter-arguments by saying whatever you wish in an Adult manner as soon as they finish saying their piece, assuming no other member beats you to the punch by commencing to talk before you can, in an attempt to change their minds or behavior. 

       “After the current Truther-selected leader stops saying what s/he is saying, the first person to dive into the conversation then owns the floor until she or he decides to stop talking, her/his speech also being protected as was the speaking of the previous speaker; and so it goes for the duration of the process. Anyone can become the leader of the moment by simply diving into the process first after the previous speaker shuts up.  

       “If I decide to spin The Truther to select another leader, there can be no communicating of any sort, socially or psychologically, before, while, or after The Truther is spinning, except by the member randomly selected as leader by The Truther. 

       “The overriding law here is there can be no communicating of any sort when the process is in session except when talking to the whole group or to a specific person in response to something the person had said to the whole group, which must be said in such a way the entire group can hear everything being said.  But as soon as the person owning the floor finishes talking it’s first-come first-serve, with the first person to start talking now owning the floor until s/he finishes communicating. 

       “In other words, there can be no covert, ulterior psychological communication, side deals, subversive power alliances, psychological threats, bullying or quid pro quo cronyism throughout the process at any time, however long the process shall be conducted, perhaps months, perhaps years, depending on what happens. Everything must be overt and above board with all cards played face up on the table, which can be checked using your laptop computer. We’ll have more to say about how to do that later. 

       “There can be no holding up of hands to get permission to talk.  You must compete will all members as an equal on a first-come first-serve basis by diving in first as soon as the person speaking stops. 

       “Some of you will naturally acquire larger market shares than others as the process unfolds in the free market of the communication process.  Peer ratings will be used from time to time to give everyone feedback regarding his/her market share.  Different market shares will naturally happen due to some of you having training and knowledge especially relevant to various focal point entities that will emerge, some of you are just naturally better communicators than others, some of you have more functional personalities than others, some of you are just naturally more intelligent and creative than others, some of you are better than others making analogous comparisons, seeing interrelations among focal point entities, and being able to comprehend whole systems.

       “Buckminster Fuller asserted in his book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth that humans should comprehend whole systems, not just the parts, and the way to do this is by separating irrelevant observations from relevant focal point entities, and then comprehend how the relevant focal point entities relate to one another, where the more relevant entities there are in a system the greater the comprehension required and  produced. Buckminster Fuller, by the way, invented the appellations Spaceship Earth and Earthian, and this program would not have happened had he not written and published his book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth in 1969.

       “Fuller defined Comprehension as a mathematical function of the number of relevant focal point entities identified in a system, where Comprehension = N2-N/2, where N equals the number of relevant focal point entities in the system under consideration. 

       “You will improve your Comprehension abilities through practice over time in this process.  On the other hand, not all market shares will be equal.  Each of you will have an equal opportunity to earn and accrue strokes for identifying relevant focal point entities and explaining how they interrelate, but as in any fully democratic free enterprise system qualities such as ambition, courage, hard work, determination, risk-taking, and ability to endure failure are relevant determinants in many cases.  Some of you shall accumulate higher stroke incomes and develop larger stroke bank accounts than others.  On the other hand, all of you will be paid the same in money terms, five thousand dollars per monthly session.  Since all of you inherited your abilities, knowledge, and skills by accident you are not to be blamed, praised, or monetarily rewarded for merely possessing relatively different abilities, knowledge bases, and skills. 

       “If you have a low market share don’t worry about it; as with all eventualities it just accidentally or inevitably happened, given that free will probably does not exist and all events have causes, including events such as feelings, thoughts, wishes, decisions, desires, goals and wants happening in human brains, resulting from infinitely regressive unbroken cause-effect chains going back to the beginning of time, assuming there was a beginning of time.

       “Although a major objective of the process is to cause the creation of beliefs, propositions, policies, and practices that will make Earthian life fairer, more satisfying, and more sustainable, there is no way to make the prior acquisition of knowledge, skills, and ability in the group equal and fair among members.  We all have our own genes, scripts, formal educations, karmas and dharmas that we inherited.  There is very little you or I or anyone can do right now about the particular cause-effect sequences that caused our brains to be programmed from birth as they are.  If I were to try to make the process fair by attempting to manipulate equal market shares and stroke incomes for each of you, by requiring you to hold up hands to get my permission to speak, or by going around the room in sequence to make sure everyone has the same airtime, the creative potential of the process would be significantly diminished.

  “On the other hand, a major purpose of this process is to cause over time the natural inevitable and accidental cause-effect chain causing you to be who and what you are right now to be changed in such a way as to cause you to accept consensual answers caused to be developed in this process that will cause all species aboard Spaceship Earth to experience satisfying and sustainable lives. 

       “That’s a tall order I know; but basically that’s what we are up to, however probable or improbable it is it will be achieved.       

       “One develops market share by selling ideas to the group about the problem or opportunity under consideration, that become relevant focal point entities.  Selling an idea means others think you are right.  Trying to sell irrelevant ideas will not produce sales and market shares or cause you to receive a large number of high quality positive strokes.  On the other hand, you will receive and aggregate more strokes by trying to sell relevant observations than by not trying.  The only way you can know whether your observations are relevant is by trying to sell them. 

       “W.C. Fields, the comedian, was incorrect, at least for purposes of this process, when he said, ‘Tis far better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.’ 

       “It’s possible The Truther will never select you as a leader in this process, thereby never guaranteeing you strokes, either positive or negative.  If this happens to you you have to volunteer observations, ideas, and the like to get some strokes, competing with all group members after members owning the floor finish saying whatever they want to say.

       “A stroke is a unit of recognition.  Most homo sapiens have a strong need to be recognized for their achievements, and receiving positive strokes for achieving relevant goals are among their greatest satisfactions.  Satisfaction is the most common human goal. Unfortunately some forms of satisfaction may result in deleterious outcomes and should be suppressed or outlawed, such as those craved by pedophiles, narcissists, sadists, fascists, and the like; although, for whatever it’s worth, they too are not to be blamed or praised for accidentally inheriting their particular cause-effect chain that caused them to be what they are and gain satisfaction from what turns them on, socially-unacceptable it may be.  

       “On the other hand, if you are selected by The Truther and you refuse to answer the three reality questions you will be fined the first time it happens; and if it happens several times after being selected by The Truther, you will be banished from the group.  This law is necessary to make democracy happen in any group or organization. 

       “The bottom line is that it’s OK to be wrong by saying something; but it’s not OK to say nothing, if The Truther selects you.  Everyone knows something, however irrelevant it might be. It’s OK to be honestly wrong in this group. It’s Not OK, however, to be dishonestly wrong.

       “After experiencing the process for a session or two, persons violating process laws will be fined and perhaps required to leave the room for one hour at the instant of infraction, and if this does not result in causing the individual not to violate group laws s/he will be permanently banished. 

       “It takes some time for some people to get used to these laws, having never had an opportunity to function as an equal response-able member of a truly free and fair democratic process. Most group processes are contaminated by stroke-hungry greedy power-hoggers who control most of the airtime and strokes for themselves, forcing most members into stroke-deprived positions by psychologically forcing to remain silent while adapting to and obeying irrelevant time-wasting rituals and pastimes; but after experiencing fully democratic processes most people can overcome their prior undemocratic programming and will appreciate being caused to lead when selected by The Truther; and they will find it satisfying when they succeed in inserting themselves in the process after the person owning the floor stops, thereby earning strokes, with no holding up of hands to get psychological permission and protection, thereby learning not to play psychological Games, i.e., not being forced to act out Persecutor, Rescuer, and Victim roles. We will hear more about Game-playing, Persecutors, Rescuers, and Victims later.

“In transactional analysis terms, this democratic Game-free process encourages the cathecting of Nurturing Parent, Adult, and Free Child ego states rather than Critical Parent, Adult, and Adapted Child ego states. If you are not familiar with transactional analysis terms I suggest you do some homework and learn them. You can find several excelllent TA books on transactional analysis on the internet by simply punching transactional analysis into Google. An excellent TA book for purposes of this program is titled Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning.

       “Another reason it’s against the law in this group to hold up your hand to force someone to rescue you or to force others to give you the floor because it’s a deleterious use of power, not only reinforcing your weaknesses but debilitating the group by causing the group to lose relevance, effectiveness and efficiency.  In this group you are all empowered adults, and you must assert your opinions whenever you get a legal chance, whether to selfishly garner strokes for yourself or to help others learn based on feelings of social responsibility.  This process has no gatekeepers tasked to Rescue, Persecute, or Victimize others, and no one can make a fool of anyone.  While the express purpose of this group is to help save Earthians aboard Spaceship Earth the process is not a psychological Game, since all relevant transactions are over social transactions. Psychological Games entail two sets of transactions, one overt, the other ulterior and covert.

       “In this group all members are equally OK existentially by virtue of having been caused to be as they are by the above-mentioned cause-effect chains.

       “There are other laws of the process, such as no libeling, slandering, or cursing.  Any slanderous allegation about any person, including public figures such as politicians, celebrities, and prominent citizens, must be backed up by facts and evidence if challenged.  Unfounded malicious libelous defamatory allegations spread by word of mouth in scurrilous ways are outlawed in this process.  All forms of communication designed to foster bigotry, hatred, and irrationality, or prejudicial discrimination are outlawed.”

Logger’s long monologue bored, rattled, confused, and irritated some of the group members, making them wonder whether they could put up with Rout’s arrogant peremptory attitudes and demeanor for one meeting, much less any number of them.  Everyone in the group had by now realized they had never experienced a group like this. 

       Most of the members sat looking at the floor in front of them, with several thinking Logger was a hypocrite, preaching democracy while telling them what to do and think like a fascist dictator, talking down to them.   

       Logger matched and paced the demeanors, facial expressions and postures of the group members, also saying nothing, attempting to out-passive them, to force someone to respond to the issues Bubba had led the group to think about and discuss, or what he had just said.

Maria— exasperated, finally blurted out,  “This is unbelievable.  You come in here and start laying down rules and laws like we are a bunch of criminals or school children. You have not furnished us any written documentation for anything, no agenda, no syllabus, no handouts, no background reading of any sort, no worksheets, and then start talking to us like we have no rights.  No one can learn like this.” 

Rout—“I’m sorry you feel that way Maria.  You are free to leave at any time if you seriously disagree, but the laws of the course are what they are.  They are necessary to insure our discussions will be full, free, fair, frank, democratic, and effective, and democratic.  They insure respect, dignity, and equality for all group members.  You are being well paid for your time and work.  As of now each group member has received a five thousand dollar payment for today’s work.  You may resign from the process at any time and you may retain whatever payments you have received up to that point as the process unfolds.  The laws of the process, however, are not subject to democratic argument, and they won’t change.  This group will not operate like the US Congress.  One of the paradoxes of democracy is that you have to have dictatorial fair rules and laws laid down by ethical lawgivers in order for democracy to function efficiently and effectively.  There are of course many forms of democracy, but here we will use the form of democracy deemed most efficient and effective by me and the process donors, who are paying you for your time, attention and participation.”

       This comment escalated the shock and dismay in the group.   

       Several more minutes elapsed with no one saying anything.  Most members sat stone-faced glaring straight ahead and not making eye contact with anyone.   

       Finally someone said something. 

Harrison—“Now see here, Rout, this is no way to run a meeting.  You’ve got to take charge and follow an agenda.  You’ve got to call on the most qualified people to talk about things.  You can’t just point out people to say things by a damn spinner or let just anybody say whatever he wants to, which by the way is a damn insult to my intelligence.  What do you think we are, a bunch of kids playing Spin the Bottle?  You’ve got to assign the problem to your best staff people so they can make a power point presentation to fill everybody in.  This is ridiculous!  Especially sitting in a circle like this.  You need to have your people set up in chairs in neat rows and columns.  You’re supposed to be the leader, out front, taking charge.  You can’t avoid your leadership responsibility by spinning an arrow to make people talk, not calling on people, not even allowing people to hold up their hands, while you sit around twiddling your thumbs just like everybody else.  You’re trying to make people say something whether they want to or not, no matter how unprepared or unqualified they might be.”

Rout—“Harrison, you have got a lot to learn here.  For starters, you are not the boss here.  In a pure democracy anyone can speak up and say what they think, and has a responsibility to do so.  I’ll grant you using The Truther to select people to start discussions does not occur in most democratic processes but the founders of this particular democracy decided after weighing the advantages and disadvantages it is best to randomly select leaders to start discussions, to insure every member has an equal chance to be the leader of the discussion, otherwise certain members will cow others into submission and control the agenda so as to achieve their selfish nefarious ends at the expense of others. 

       “For whatever it’s worth, randomly selecting people in a democracy is not a new idea.  The ancient Greeks used it to select leaders as early as the Sixth Century BCE. The process is called sortition.

       “Most people who rise through the ranks in large fascist corporations do so by adapting and flexing to and doing the bidding of authoritarian bosses to survive.  Otherwise, they can be fired at the drop of a hat by a supervisor for any reason.  They have no concept of what it is to function in a democracy with real rights of membership under a rule of law.  They are psychologically enslaved to a boss.  Large corporations are fascist dictatorships, pure and simple.  The main thing that counts in a corporation is pretending to agree with and pleasing your boss, living up to his expectations, commonly called ass-kissing and brown-nosing, not thinking for yourself. 

       “This group for sure is not like a contemporary large corporation, an authoritarian fascist dictatorship antithetical to democracy, where all are enslaved to a boss right above their level, who has the right and power to fire subordinates for any reason, and nobody has a right to freely speak her or his mind about anything, even if they hold up their hands.  I know many of you in this group are opposed to the idea of democratic Game-free discussion processes using Adult—Adult transactions, but if you stick with this program long enough you may learn to respect true democracy.

       “I am talking about transactional analysis psychological Games here.  A Game-free discussion process is one in which there are no Persecutors, Rescuers, and Victims.  We’ll be hearing more about this as we progress in our meetings.  Adult—Adult transactions happen when members of the group have their Adult ego states cathected, as opposed to their Parent and Child ego states. The Truther cathects, or turns on, Adult ego states.  Most transactions in large corporations are Parent—Child transactions at every level of the chain of command, the boss cathects a Parent ego state and subordinates are forced to cathect Adapted Child ego states and essentially say yes sir, and do as they are told. We will learn more about this as we go along. In most businesses, especially large corporations, bosses use their Parent ego states and employees are supposed to use their Child ego states.”

Harrison—“You mean you think you can teach me to respect your idea of democracy.”

Rout—“Yes, if you stick with the program long enough.”

Harrison—“Well, I’ll assure you, that’s a mighty big if.  I run a business and for sure I do not need your five thousand a month.  I can walk out of here at any time.  I make over twenty times that much per month already.  I came to this meeting out of curiosity more than anything else, and I think I have about learned enough.  This is a lunatic fantasy of some sort.  And furthermore, my friend, you are badly out of line.  I will not tolerate your insulting attitude.” 

Rout—“I’m sorry you feel that way about it, Harrison.  Thank you for your candor.  There’s the door, if you want to leave now.  It’s my way or the highway here, as far as these democratic process rules and laws go.  There’s one thing I agree with you corporate bosses about, my way or the highway, at least regarding democratic process rules and laws needing to be obeyed to preserve real democracy, and I assure you my way is the highway here.”

It got very quiet in the room, and after about another ten minutes elapsed with nobody saying anything, Rout decided to move on.  He told the group most discussions normally lasted about one hour after The Truther was spun, since after about one hour discussants generally got bored with the point or problem under discussion.  He said they had barely scratched the surface of a good discussion of the issue Bubba raised, namely whether the economy was the biggest problem in the world, and if so, what to do about it.  He told them since they were a neophyte group he would ask Bubba to spin The Truther to select a new leader so they could move on.  He repeated the rule for spinning The Truther: The last person selected will spin The Truther next.

       Bubba demonstrated his disgust and contempt for the whole proceeding by slowly swaggering toward The Truther in the center of the room, where he twirled The Truther in a dramatic fashion, creating psychological signals that caused several group members to reverberate signals that caused some members to make scurrilous comments to nearby members, as the cock crowed again when the arrow came to rest. 

       Rout then reached down and pulled a cowbell from his briefcase, which he vigorously shook, creating a loud clanging sound that quickly jerked the group members to attention.

Rout—“Several of you are violating the no gossiping law.  Do not do this again, or punishments provided under the law will be administered.”      

Hal—“I thought you said the no-gossiping law only applied when someone else was talking.”

Rout—“No, it applies during the entire three hours of a session, including time members are spinning The Truther.”

The Truther selected Trudy as the new leader.  She wanted to know if she was supposed to comment about what Bubba had said or bring up a new topic.  Rout said he didn’t care, that she should do whatever she thought most appropriate, since she was now the group leader.  She then said she agreed the economy was a serious problem but it was so general that she did not have much to say about it.  She said she thought civil rights were equally important, and women were entitled to equal pay for equal work and should be free to choose abortions.  This produced about thirty minutes of discussion with several members saying what they thought.  When the discussion ran out of steam Trudy twirled the arrow and selected a new leader.  The next leader, Margaret, mechanically defined a problem, listed two alternatives, and perfunctorily gave a recommendation.  This produced a new silent spell.  Rout thought more should be said about the issue Margaret brought up so he refrained from ordering a new Truther twirl.  About two hours of the first morning session had by then elapsed. 

       Nobody said anything for forty-five minutes, up to about noon, so Rout told them they were on their own until two o’clock. He told them to enjoy their lunch and report back promptly at two o’clock for the afternoon three-hour session.  He told them coming into any session late without a valid excuse was also against the law, and violators would be prosecuted.  Rout told them violating this law, or any of the process laws, could result in a fine that would reduce their monthly compensation and could cause their permanent banishment from the group.

       Rout said there was one additional law he probably should alert them to at this juncture.  Stonewalling is illegal.  He said if it appeared to him that certain members were deliberately not saying things to psychologically collude with other members to passive-aggressively undermine and sabotage the process they would be fined or banished.  He said he realized some people just naturally talked more than others and some members would naturally speak up more than others, but passive-aggressive stonewalling, lying by omission, deliberately not saying things attempting to cause others not to say anything to undermine the effectiveness of the process, was illegal.  He said lying was also illegal—both lying by commission, by telling deliberate falsehoods, and lying by omission, deliberately withholding relevant thoughts, ideas, and information to play Games.

       Most members by then were shocked, disoriented, upset, or infuriated, but no one said anything as they left the hotel. Outside they scattered like a covey of flushed quail, a loose analogy, assuming you have ever seen a covey of flushed quail take off.  Unfortunately wild quail had been almost rendered extinct in the last fifty years by agricultural herbicides and pesticides developed and sold by large corporations and applied by farmers, so almost nobody would ever again see a covey of wild quail flushed.

Bubba and Henry headed down a sidewalk in the same direction.

Bubba—“Can you believe that shit?”

Henry—“Hell no!  This takes the cake.  Who does that asshole think he is?”

B—“Hey, why don’t we find us a bar somewhere and have a beer.”

H—“Good idea.”

B—“By the way, my name’s Bubba.  What’s yours?”

H—“Hank.” 

B—“Glad to meet you, Hank.”

After taking his first swig of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, Bubba popped a question.

B—“How much longer you gonna stick with this crap?”

H—“I don’t know. I thought it was crazy from the git-go.  We still don’t know who’s payin’ for this or what they’re up to.  This has got to a scam of some sort.” 

B—“Or a bunch of liberals, nuts, communists or something.  One thing’s for sure, though, they’ve got more money than sense.”

H—“Yeah, the money’s real.  At least so far.  That’s what got me.  I couldn’t believe it when $50 popped out of that ATM machine.  Did they deposit $100 in a bank account for you like they did me to sucker you into this thing?”

B—“Yeah, that’s what got me too.  And then after I told them I would come to one meeting they put a fucking five thousand dollars in the account.  I don’t know what they woulda done if I hadn’t showed up, which I thought about.  But then I got to thinkin’ if them damn fools put five thousand G’s in my account once they might do it again, for one day’s work, or whatever you want to call what this crap.”

H—“That’s pretty much my story.  Reckon how long they’ll keep it up?”

B—“Don’t know, but, irregardless of now obnoxious that Logger asshole is, I’ll probably stick with it a while longer, so long as they keep a’handin’ out the money.”

H—“Me too more than likely.  I’ve got too many bills piled up to turn it down.  Wonder what that rich sombitch who said he makes twenty times more a month than they are paying him is gonna do?  Reckon he’ll drop out?”

B—“I’ll bet he don’t.  But he shore did get pissed off didn’t he.”

Over sandwiches and another beer their conversation continued.

Bubba—“I don’t know what’s worse, having to sit for three hours without a break, or puttin’ up with that smartass’s attitude, or that damn spinner. Calls it a truther, for god’s sake.  Can you believe that shit?  Spinnin’ that damn thing to make people talk?  Hell, it’s a damn insult.  That is a nice lookin’ rooster though I must admit.  Makes a nice crowin’ sound. Sounds like my rooster back home.”

H—“You’ve got that right, but the asshole just sittin’ there sayin’ nothin’ is even worse.  Can you imagine him just sittin’ there for damn near an hour with nobody sayin’ nothin’?  With everybody just setten’ there not knowing whether to shit or go blind—and there’s some smart people in there, one guy’s a doctor—and nobody sayin’ nothin’.  God amighty.”

B—“I know.  It’s like the asshole is paying us to waste our time to put up with him, or maybe he just wants to make fools out of us or somethin’.  It’s damn weird, I’ll tell you that.”

H—“I wonder what he’ll come up with next—bring out a bullwhip or chains or something.  He’s already got a cowbell.  I tell you what, Bubba.  I think I’m gonna go back to my hotel room and call my wife and maybe take a nap.  We’ve got over an hour before we have to show back up.”

B—“Good idea.  Enjoyed talking with you.”

H—“Yeah, me too.  Well, see you back at the torture chamber.”

Most of the group members went their separate ways as soon as they got out of the hotel, having no desire to talk with anyone, feeling drained, confused and angry.  Most found a deli, pub or restaurant a few blocks from the hotel and ate by themselves.  On the other hand, two other small groups congregated here and there.  Most of them had about the same sentiments as Bubba and Henry regarding Dr. Rout Logger.  No one had anything good to say about him, considering him arrogant, unfeeling and dictatorial.  Maria said he was dehumanizing.  She said he said he believed in democracy but acted like a fascist, making up rules right off the top of his head whenever he felt like it, like an absolute dictator. 

       Almost all participants thought about dropping out, but concluded they would be paid rather well for six hours of misery, bullshitting, discussing or whatever you wanted to call this.  A few knew they could not attend all the monthly meetings even if they wanted to because of previous commitments; but they were curious to learn what would come of this.  Some thought they could eventually turn Rout Logger around and teach him how to act like a decent human being.

       About half the members wondered what to do with the two hours, which was more than enough time for lunch.  Most of them staying in nearby hotels went back to their rooms to collect their thoughts and refresh themselves, some taking naps; others read, checked their emails and made telephone calls.  Some sat in the lobby of the hotel where the meeting was held and read until two o’clock.  A few went shopping.  Some took walks. 

       Several members thought about asking Rout to cut the time for the lunch break to one hour so they could get off work an hour earlier.  This would give them more time to catch earlier flights home after the meeting, as some had decided to do, not staying in a hotel Friday or Saturday night, having arranged early and late flights before and after the Saturday meeting, to save a little money and have more time with their families at home, while others wanted to stay in a hotel to give them more time away from their families.  A few brought their spouses along with them; two members brought spouses and children along for the trip, since they had never been to Louisville, Kentucky. 

End of Part One. To be continued.

THE REAL CAUSES OF THE US FOREVER WARS

By RICHARD JOHN STAPLETON, PhD, CTA

This essay is based on two well researched, documented, and reasoned articles—one authored by Effective Learning Report correspondent Courtenay Barnett, published in 2005 in the Global Research internet journal, entitled “Oil, Conflict and the Future of Global Energy Supplies,” that hit the nail right on the head with respect to what the US was/is up to with its forever wars started in 2003 by Bush II. Read this article at https://www.globalresearch.ca/oil-conflict-and-the-future-of-global-energy-supplies/1781.

The second article was written by Michael Hudson, recently published in the Counterpunch internet journal, entitled “America Escalates its ‘Democratic’ Oil War in the Near East.” Read this article at https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/06/america-escalates-its-democratic-oil-war-in-the-near-east/?fbclid=IwAR3SgZQOuEu1b4OObFxTQwqLRidNZPMy2NpEgwcLz53eYaJ7fkbG9Sm1Q1Y.

One supposedly Adult reason for starting the forever wars – to protect the US oil supply – may have been relevant to some extent in 2003; but, in light of new information about global warming, this reason was/is irrelevant, since peak oil arguments about scarce oil supplies have been rendered obsolete by global warming, since all the oil already discovered still in the ground cannot be pumped out and burned if human Earthians expect to survive global warming, assuming the opinions of hundreds of scientists and millions of others are correct regarding the seriousness of global warming. There is a consensus that humans don’t have much time (probably less than twenty years) to convert to green energy to stave off an ecological catastrophe.

US governments started and persisted with the forever wars for oil, and they should be stopped; but as both articles referenced here also point out, there were/are deeper realities involved in the whole Game. As Barnett pointed out in 2005 there is an even more ominous and relevant reason why the US fights its forever wars: to preserve the reserve status of the American dollar in global trade. Michael Hudson has written extensively about the importance of preserving the American dollar with US foreign policy in recent years.

If oil is not traded in US dollars globally, causing balance of payments dollar surpluses for countries that export more than they import to and from the US, especially exporters such as China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia, the US system used globally for financing and supplying its 800 military bases outside the US (that cause huge yearly balance of payments deficits for the US, since food, energy, and other local purchases for those American bases are counted as US imports) could collapse.

If those surplus trade dollars are not recycled back into the US treasury to buy treasury bonds the market for US treasury bonds will shrink, which will probably force the US treasury to significantly raise interest rates to sell more bonds to private investors to finance the US budget deficit (largely caused by the 800 military bases overseas), which would dramatically increase the interest payments on the entire US government debt, now some twenty-two trillion dollars. These higher interest rates would probably cause a massive stock, bond, and housing bubble burst, and an economic collapse.

The forever wars are more for controlling oil and gas pipelines and making sure other countries use the American dollar trading oil internationally than they are for spreading and protecting freedom, democracy, and the like globally. In reality the US has no serious Earthian military threats at this time, other than the remote chance of a lone nut pushing a nuclear button somewhere. Barnett shows where the pipelines are in Central Asia and how they cause US military activity in the region and both he and Hudson explain why the US government and its military do not want to get out of the region now.

While there was/is Adult logic buttressing US military policy in the Middle East to protect the US oil supply in 2003, one can now build a case that protecting the oil supply alone does not justify keeping US military forces in the region, since there is little chance the US cannot buy and import enough oil at world market prices to make up for any shortfalls in US domestic oil production required to power existing production and consumption systems in the US until new green systems can be produced and implemented.

Protecting the reserve status of the American dollar, on the other hand, is another matter. The amoral cold-blooded neocon and neolib decision makers in the US White House, Pentagon, CIA, and State Department can build their usual case that the US military should stay in Central Asia forever, so as to be able to quickly destroy governments who would replace the American dollar as the international trade reserve currency with their own currencies around Spaceship Earth.

A solution would be to shut down all the 800 US bases scattered around Spaceship Earth and bring all US military and civilian employees now living in them (in the equivalent of an outsourced US socialistic pseudo-state) back to the US, which would eliminate the need to protect the reserve status of the American dollar and just about eliminate the US domestic budget deficit, assuming the well-disciplined well-trained US socialistic military and civilian employees now housed and working outside the US were reemployed back home in the free enterprise dog-eat-dog capitalistic domestic US economy.

If you ever thought all US government employees (military and civilian) living in those 800 US bases scattered around Spaceship Earth were plain ole patriotic simple-minded good guys out to keep Americans in the US safe and free and to help unfortunate undeveloped impoverished people in countries outside the US forget it. They are primarily there to create good deals and make money for the US deep state, as our current USian Repuglican dear leader truthfully bloviates in tweets and public outbursts.

Richard John Stapleton is a Certified Transactional Analyst, Educator, and the Writer, Editor & Publisher of the Effective Learning Report, January 23, 2020, https://www.effectivelearning.net/rjs-academic-vita.html

THE EARTHIAN FORUM — 14

THE EARTHIAN FORUM, Number Fourteen, Effective Learning Publications, 32 East Main Street, Statesboro, Georgia, USA, January 10, 2020

THE EARTHIAN FORUM is a digest of articles containing facts, perspectives, theories, models, analyses, and recommendations concerned about existential states of affairs affecting all species of fauna and flora around Spaceship Earth. Recent articles written and published by writers in Internet posts on ecological, economic, social, psychological, political, religious, and military states of affairs around Spaceship Earth are linked below as sources.

“ASK LESS WHAT YOUR NATION CAN DO FOR YOU—ASK MORE WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR SPACESHIP EARTH”

OR SO IT SEEMS TO ME RIGHT NOW

By RICHARD JOHN STAPLETON, PhD, CTA, Editor & Publisher

“More light and light it grows, more dark and dark our woes.”

The amoral and impulsive dear leader of the US Don Trump, having the power vested in him by virtue of having been elected president of the US by about twenty-five percent of US eligible voters in the presidential election in 2016, in the last few days assassinated the most revered general in Iran, thereby creating the possibility of causing another major war and the destruction of another nation in the Middle East, that could, if such a war happens, set off a larger war, possibly World War III, this time pitting the US and whatever nations there might be that would side with it against Iran, Russia, Syria, China and whatever nations there might be that would side with them.

William Shakespeare wrote the opening line for this essay quoted above in 1594 in his play Romeo and Juliet about two young “star-crossd” lovers who couldn’t marry because of having been unfortunate enough to have been born in two families that did not get along, so they drank hemlock hoping to consummate their love in a better world after death. The line in the play occurred after a cock crowed thrice in the early hours of their last day aboard Spaceship Earth.

How does this resemble the plight of Earthian humans today? Well, for one thing, we’re again faced with the immediate threat of another disastrous war that will result in widespread death and destruction similar to, but probably worse, than what happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.

Will the Clint Eastwood-like US military add another notch to the notches already carved on the weapons it used to shoot bad guys in the Middle East and North Africa in the last few years?

Our plight in the US and Iran is vaguely similar to the plight of Romeo and Juliet since our national families—the US and Iran—are now supposed to hate each other so much that we cannot live with one other in peace and tranquillity. And ending frustrated and hopeless lives with war is about as sad as drinking hemlock.

I taught an Iranian graduate student in a US business school in the days shortly after Islamists in Iran deposed the US puppet Shah of Iran in 1979. She came by my office just before she was to go back to Iran after graduating.

We talked about an hour, covering economic and political issues in Iran and the US, centering on her going back to Iran, discussing what her opportunities might be after graduating.

One of the points she made in the conversation I remember concerned her feelings in regard to Jews in Israel. She said they presented themselves in advertising in the region as innocent and peaceful white doves while depicting Arabs as ugly black crows. She said most Jews in Israel weren’t real semites, many being blue-eyed blondes whose ancestors had intermarried with Europeans.

She wasn’t keen on going back to Iran to live under sharia law and the strictures of the mullahs, having to cover her beautiful body from head to toe in public, but she said she was duty bound to do it, having been born a Persian princess.

As she was leaving she gave me one of the best strokes I ever received. She said she wanted me to know that I was the best teacher she had ever had—ever.

Could I have a hug I responded? “Oh, sure” she said.

And it was a great hug, one of the best I ever had.

I lived in Adana, Turkiye three months in 1982, in southeast Turkiye, not far from the Syrian border, teaching systems management in a master’s degree program for US air force personnel at Incirlik Air Base. I lived in downtown Adana on the seventh floor of an apartment building surrounded by Turks. I got to know quite a few Turks there and at the base, which was ten or so miles outside Adana. All the Turks I knew were respectful, friendly people, seemingly relatively happy and satisfied with their lives. Religion was never a problem.

Many people have had someone say to them at some point in their lives that all people are basically good people if you really get to know them as people. I believe that. Unfortunately we can’t really get to know people in many cases because of what we have been taught to believe. Despite everyone having been caused to be what they are, not being responsible for what they are, most people are considered to be Not OK in some ways by others, which is unfair and unfortunate.

True, we are all born OK, but soon after opening our eyes in the light of day we get contaminated with messages of various sorts about who we are and what we should feel, think, and do with respect to ourselves and others.

Unfortunately most people are psychologically scripted after birth to be Not OK with respect to themselves and others in some psychological, social, religious, cultural, and political ways by parents, teachers, politicians, police people, military people, preachers, priests, rabbis, mullahs, and other people who have jobs and roles that entail using primarily adapted child and critical parent ego state energy to control and shape people. 

Our dear leader in the US Don Trump using primarily his impulsive irrational witch parent in his child ego state would now have us believe that all Iranians are Not OK, so Not OK that the US is justified in destroying their infrastructure and their cultural monuments and treasures, and their lives, if they seriously retaliate against him for assassinating their revered General Soleimani.

And that’s where we stand now, waiting to see what happens. I have read the Iranians have shot some rockets into a US base in retaliation, with no reported casualties, and an airliner bound for Canada from Iran has been shot down in Iran with casualties.

At first I thought Trump had finally really lost it, assassinating Soleimani, losing what was left of his small and capricious mind, going off the deep end; but, alas, it’s worse than that.

According to Michael Hudson, maybe the best economist now aboard Spaceship Earth, Trump did have an adult ego state rationale for doing what he did, as Hudson explains in detail in the first Source article linked below in this issue of The Earthian Forum.

According to Hudson, the US Pentagon, using its adult ego state and the same cold-blooded logic devoid of nurturing parent energy they have been using in the Middle East and North Africa since 2003, gave Trump the idea to assassinate Soleimani as an option, to “draw a line in the sand” to send a clear psychological message to the adult ego states of leaders of Iran, Russia, Syria, and other nations that the US military will indeed destroy Iran as it did other nations in recent years who threatened US policies if Iranian leaders seriously threaten and undermine US economic and political policies necessary to maintain the dominant role of the US dollar in international oil trading and the time-tested system of cash flows now in place in international trade required to fund the US budget deficit, that includes supplying and funding 800 US military bases outside the US scattered around Spaceship Earth.

Yes, as Shakespeare wrote in 1594:  “More light and light it grows, more dark and dark our woes.”

An assumption of transactional analysis is that humans can learn to “see what is really going on” with themselves and others as they transact with one another socially and psychologically living their daily lives so as to increase their chances of living satisfying lives, regardless of how not-OK their economic, social, psychological, and political worlds might be.

According to transactional analysis theory there are three naturally occurring generic life outcomes caused for humans:  winner, loser, and non-winner— caused by inherited physical characteristics and “messages” one is exposed to throughout life—and by the early decisions offspring irrationally and rationally make about the messages that become determinants of emotional, intellectual, and behavioral responses throughout life.

Whether one inherits a winner, loser, or non-winner script is determined by naturally-occurring inevitable cause-effect chains one is accidentally exposed to. Some transactional analysts assume proportions of winner, loser, and non-winner scripts in the human population remain relatively constant from one generation to another.

A purpose of TA is to help individuals and groups insert new causes into natural cause-effect chains so as to increase the probabilities and proportions of winner outcomes in the populace.

Using adult ego states to consciously construct winner scripts requires hard work but it can happen if people somehow acquire new script messages powerful enough to control frustrating, debilitating, or harmartic script messages recorded in their sub-conscious minds. TA can provide people basic concepts and tools for attempting such a thing, perhaps requiring learning to use different ego states and transactional patterns and learning how to communicate in more effective ways psychologically and socially.

Most people seem to think if only Earthian humans could solve their economic, political, and religious troubles then everything would be wonderful for everyone. Not so, some people would not be satisfied and successful living in paradise because of non-winner and harmartic script messages indelibly recorded in their sub-conscious minds before they were eight years old. In order for everyone to live satisfying and successful lives humans would have to solve not only economic, political, religious, and social problems, but also psychological problems.

Changing a loser script may entail changing the way one structures time, learning how to spend time in different ways, spending more or less time withdrawing in their heads, pastiming (shooting the bull) with others, performing rituals, working, or playing psychological Games.

The Prayer of Serenity goes something like this:  Lord give me the intelligence and strength to change what needs changing, and the wisdom to know what I can and cannot change, knowing full well that some suffering, losing, and grieving is inevitable.

Using TA in some cases can help people become more serene, by enabling them to see more clearly what is going on to make salutary changes, or by learning to accept one’s script and focus on finding a niche in which it fits. On the other hand, a basic problem or question is whether serenity is possible in today’s world, beset by global warming and climate change and by escalating tensions and agitations among organizations and groups around Earth.

TA never promised anyone any rose gardens, or eternal bliss in heaven, but it does advertise that it can help individuals, groups, and organizations become more ok, ok not only in terms of achieving goals but more ok transacting with others so as to live with more dignity, satisfaction, peace, and tranquility, based on Adult mutually agreed to contracts.

No one could blame you if you believe in tuning out TA and blogs such as this one. Maybe the best strategy is to tune out the world as much as you can, burrowing up in your burrow as much as possible, reading no newspapers and not watching television, with no Internet. The problem however if you do that is boredom. Most humans have an innate need for stimulation, achievement, and recognition.

Regardless of what sort of cognitive structures humans might use, TA or whatever, sooner or later they have to take action, and this entails defining problems, delineating alternatives, making recommendations, choosing things, trying new things, trial and error, over and over, till something works. 

1—What is the problem?

2—What are the alternatives?

3—What do you recommend?

We live in precarious times that probably encourage people to play AIN’T IT AWFUL more now than  in the past, a psychological Game in which Game players collect strokes for complaining about the evils and troubles of world, positioning themselves as Victims of obsolete economic, religious, and political systems and policies manipulated and exploited by greedy self-interested power-mad sociopathic oligarchs and leaders and their corrupt bought and paid for lackeys, especially lobbyists and politicians, however true that might be in reality.

By the same token, it will do no good for humans 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 called GREENHOUSE by transactional analysts, in which players are rewarded with plastic strokes for making nonsensical positive cheerful upbeat comments about the environment and political, economic, social, and psychological states of affairs, regardless of how bleak they are in reality.

It seems to me the most dangerous psychological Game played politically right now is IF IT WEREN’T FOR YOU, involving polarized individuals, groups, and organizations who experience increasing insecurity and hopelessness causing them to blame others and find scapegoats for their plights, escalating their anger as they transmit threats from their angry Parent and Child ego states to the Parent and Child ego states of others, sometimes attacking others verbally and physically for their perceived misdeeds and beliefs. Some of the threats include the threat of international and civil war. Trump is doing a good job of playing IF IT WEREN’T FOR YOU with Iran right now, and one can build a case about all he does is play psychological Games.

IF IT WEREN’T FOR YOU entails aggrieved humans psychologically believing that opposing warring or competing parties maliciously and arbitrarily decided using free will to commit the harmful or heinous actions and deeds they are accused of committing, instead of realizing the others were caused by circumstances and script messages to do what they did just like the aggrieved aggressive people were. Getting rid of the other will not solve problems caused by poor scripting caused by inadequate families, inadequate educational systems, inadequate religions, inadequate economic systems, and inadequate political systems.

For more information regarding the use of Transactional Analysis check out the website for the International Transactional Analysis Association at https://www.itaaworld.org/ . To learn about ego states, Games, strokes, and life scrips and to learn a guaranteed system for creating Game-free discussions and political processes read my book Born to Learn:  A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning.  https://www.amazon.com/Born-Learn-Transactional-Analysis-Learning/dp/0692584331 

For more information on how to co-construct better organizations and economic systems using TA read my book   Business Voyages:  Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata, and Tools for Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds   https://www.amazon.com/Business-Voyages-Schemata-Discovering-Co-Constructing/dp/1413480810

See my article “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc,”  https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-evolution-of-spaceship-earth-inc/   for some management science ideas on how human Earthians might eventually co-construct an economic system that is viable and satisfying for everyone aboard Spaceship Earth.  This entails human Earthians never doing work that machines can do better, and delegating the day-to-day management of systems for scheduling, producing, and distributing the necessities of life to artificial intelligence programs and supercomputers.

This can be done using linear programming based on the general algorithmic matrix algebra form

Max CjXj, s.t. AijXj ≤, =, or ≥ Bi

as explained in “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc.”   https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-evolution-of-spaceship-earth-inc/  

Flying aboard an airliner about to land at night moving at four hundred miles an hour at thirty thousand feet with cloudy and rainy weather below, which would you rather have landing the plane, the plane’s computer system or the pilot and co-pilot looking out their windows with their hands clutching their steering wheels?

For details regarding my transactional analysis and management science qualifications see my RJS Academic Vita at https://www.effectivelearning.net/rjs-academic-vita.html.   

TO RESPOND:

As usual this month’s THE EARTHIAN FORUM  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 FORUM.  

Some Game playing goes on in the articles, i.e., a writer is psychologically persecuting, rescuing, or victimizing someone, but it seems to me the writers are generally trying to paint accurate pictures of what is really going on economically, socially, psychologically, and politically. Unfortunately it seems to me one can build a case that politicians spend most of their time playing psychological Games.

It’s not easy, impossible some say, to separate relevant from irrelevant focal points in order to comprehend global cases, systems, and processes, while being inundated with fake news and true facts of states of affairs generated daily around Spaceship Earth, made public on the Internet, and elsewhere, to see what’s really going on, using primarily inductive and analogical reasoning, based on probability, not deductive logic. Almost never can anyone prove with deductive logic that a general proposition about economic, social, psychological, or political states affairs is absolutely true. About the best humans can hope for is to develop consensual answers that are generally acceptable and true based on probability.

It’s better to be honestly wrong than dishonestly wrong, that is, telling someone something is true because you really do not know what is true than to tell someone something is true when you know for a fact it is not true.

It seems to me most lying is lying by omission, people not telling people things they know are true. Whether lying by omission is more or less harmful than lying by commission, telling people things you know are falsehoods and dispensing fake news, is debatable, as is proving whether it’s getting easier or harder for most people to know what’s true and what’s not.

If you have ideas on how to democratically discuss in Game-free ways economic and political problems and opportunities in something like the Ogeechee Economic Forum at  https://www.effectivelearning.net/ogeechee-economic-forum.html go to our RESPONSES page and let us know about them at  https://www.effectivelearning.net/responses.html .

Feel free to respond with comments about any of the SOURCES listed below using the RESPONSES post on this blog masthead at the top of this page; but please refrain from making ad hominem attacks. Criticize any of the facts, data, evidence, reasoning, theories, and conclusions in any of the articles; but refrain from slandering the characteristics of the authors to illogically try to prove their arguments and conclusions are wrong and yours are right.

I have no desire to sell subscriptions or advertising or solicit donations for THE EARTHIAN FORUM, but I would like to sell more books. If you feel you’ve gained value from THE EARTHIAN FORUM and would like to reciprocate go to our Effective Learning Publications page and purchase one or more copies of my books at   https://www.effectivelearning.net/effective-learning-publications.html  .

Best wishes, RJS

SOURCES:

January 10, 2020

Here is an excerpt from Michael Hudson’s article linked below explaining in my opinion the major reason why Trump assassinated Soleimani. It’s a sad and grisly tale with no good guys and no happy ending in sight.

“Finally, what can U.S. anti-war opponents do to resist the neocon attempt to destroy any part of the world that resists U.S. neoliberal autocracy? This has been the most disappointing response over the weekend. They are flailing. It has not been helpful for Warren, Buttigieg and others to accuse Trump of acting rashly without thinking through the consequences of his actions. That approach shies away from recognizing that his action did indeed have a rationale—do draw a line in the sand, to say that yes, America WILL go to war, will fight Iran, will do anything at all to defend its control of Near Eastern oil and to dictate OPEC central bank policy, to defend its ISIS legions as if any opposition to this policy is an attack on the United States itself.

“I can understand the emotional response or yet new calls for impeachment of Donald Trump. But that is an obvious non-starter, partly because it has been so obviously a partisan move by the Democratic Party. More important is the false and self-serving accusation that President Trump has overstepped his constitutional limit by committing an act of war against Iran by assassinating Soleimani.

“Congress endorsed Trump’s assassination and is fully as guilty as he is for having approved the Pentagon’s budget with the Senate’s removal of the amendment to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that Bernie Sanders, Tom Udall and Ro Khanna inserted an amendment in the House of Representatives version, explicitly not authorizing the Pentagon to wage war against Iran or assassinate its officials. When this budget was sent to the Senate, the White House and Pentagon (a.k.a. the military-industrial complex and neoconservatives) removed that constraint. That was a red flag announcing that the Pentagon and White House did indeed intend to wage war against Iran and/or assassinate its officials. Congress lacked the courage to argue this point at the forefront of public discussion.

“Behind all this is the Saudi-inspired 9/11 act taking away Congress’s sole power to wage war – its 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, pulled out of the drawer ostensibly against Al Qaeda but actually the first step in America’s long support of the very group that was responsible for 9/11, the Saudi airplane hijackers.

“The question is, how to get the world’s politicians – U.S., European and Asians – to see how America’s all-or-nothing policy is threatening new waves of war, refugees, disruption of the oil trade in the Strait of Hormuz, and ultimately global warming and neoliberal dollarization imposed on all countries. It is a sign of how little power exists in the United Nations that no countries are calling for a new Nurenberg-style war crimes trial, no threat to withdraw from NATO or even to avoid holding reserves in the form of money lent to the U.S. Treasury to fund America’s military budget.”

Read this article for the full context and explanation.

“America Escalates Its ‘Democratic’ Oil War in the Near East,” by Michael Hudson, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/06/america-escalates-its-democratic-oil-war-in-the-near-east/?fbclid=IwAR1yRxgvyECTcDldUdp3OVp2Mlv93bjt7VuyjkxKtJ4bmiMFtTpfKOjW2W8.

January 10  

Where is the evidence?

“Trump: Iranians Sought “To Blow UP Our Embassy” So We Took Out Soleimani,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/trump-we-took-out-soleimani-because-iranians-looking-blow-our-embassy?fbclid=IwAR1rrJwQCNkKPhgDCkqJzLdlCI_7-RChxTlD2Z-07lwKSgjeg3bR1oH_GNw.

January 9

Slurred speech and sniffing or not, drug addled or not, Trump’s so-called speech was simple-minded, disingenuous, and inflammatory. Listen to some of it here for yourself. For one thing the US under Obama did not give Iran 150 billion dollars. What it did was release 150 billion dollars of Iran’s money the US had seized and frozen as a so-called “sanction”. The US has crippled Iran’s economy with all manner of such sanctions, telling other countries not to buy Iranian oil and such, and threatening to retaliate against them with sanctions if they did, and what have you. It’s impossible for the average US citizen including me to know exactly what the US has done in Iran and elsewhere with sanctions, or know with certainty what the effects of the sanctions have been, but it’s a safe bet that US sanctions have caused serious economic harm in Iran and elsewhere, destabilizing economies and causing hardships (such as hunger and disease) for innocent men, women, and children, trying to force governments to toe the line with USian policies, trying to bully and cow them into submission. One thing’s for sure, you can’t believe what this pathetic human being says about almost anything.

“Nation Demands to Know What Trump Is Takng after Slurred Speech,” by Jason Miciak, PolitiZoom, DAILY SOUND AND FURY, https://dailysoundandfury.com/nation-demands-to-know-what-trump-is-taking-after-slurred-speech/?fbclid=IwAR0QZ5j9q5VEBN1WDWk47mI8reQZG6uqWkkQL56gTr8H_oc9hYG558idj2w.

January 7

Here is how the US govt works at the highest levels. After you leave government service you get paid for the favors you did for large corporations you were supposed to regulate when you were in office, via quid pro quo board of director payments, consultancy fees, speaking fees, etc. Here is a typical case, involving a not so bright but successful politician, the former Trumpian energy secretary, and former Texas governor, repuglican Rick Perry, a male equivalent of Sarah Palin and the Trumpian education secretary, Betsy DeVos.

“Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry Rejoins Board of Dakota Access Owner,” by Sharon Kelly, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/former-energy-secretary-rick-perry-rejoins-board-of-dakota-access-owner/?utm_source=sharebuttons&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=mashshare&fbclid=IwAR2orPeOuUb2zog5WNC9bWz3Sh3a0J671OlP7orT_W8wLM9_4GOBecywmHc.

January 7

Well, most of them don’t

“Naturally The Common People Don’t Want War,” by Brian McCully, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

January 7

Here is a short explanation of the Spanish Civil War. Some of the same impulses that caused it are reemerging today. Nazis, republicans, nationalists, monarchists, anarchists, communists, dictators, and democrats, they are all still here. Some say the Spanish Civil War was a microcosm that morphed into WWII. Will the horrors of all out nuclear war prevent current international conflicts from morphing into WWIII?

“Spanish Civil War,” Resource Library, National Geographic Society, https://www.nationalgeographic.org/thisday/jul18/spanish-civil-war/?fbclid=IwAR2PeIYtHZnpYuAN85iHNwqTxsLO0goT7ZKxEopQa5S3ZOxJ5CsaNseihnU#.XhS21WMkoFw.facebook.

January 7

Will harvesting the assets of Aramco in Saudi Arabia cause the end of the world? This writer thinks it will. In a nutshell he thinks Aramco, the Saudi Oil Company that recently went public selling one trillion dollars in stock making it the most valuable corporation by market value not only in the world now but in history, owning about one third of all oil still in the ground around Spaceship Earth, will destroy Earthian life if all the oil they now own still in the ground is pumped out, sold, and burned.

“Why the End of the World is the Most Valuable Thing in the World, According to Capitalism. Wait, What?” by Umair Haque, EUDIAMONIA, https://eand.co/why-the-end-of-the-world-is-the-most-valuable-thing-in-the-world-according-to-capitalism-b7d47ebccbc9.

January 6

Scary

“Fifth Pentagon official announces resignation within a week,” by Karen Graham, DIGITAL JOURNAL, http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/politics/fifth-pentagon-official-announces-resignation-within-a-week/article/563823?fbclid=IwAR0Jl4qOJJXxC4TEkzcYoIG2kANcTlptMo00YWDH-ucDX2AQRtNGUPtiMWg#.XhP-OuoO4ZF.facebook.

January 6

One of my favorites

“WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US,” by Bill Brissette, FACEBOOK, https://www.facebook.com/richard.stapleton.397.

January 6

It does seem the balance of Earthian military power has shifted, even though one can build a case it’s merely a busy work Game, since several countries have the power to destroy Earthian human life already with nukes, making no holds barred war obsolete, barring a madman pushing a nuke button somewhere.

“Some Thoughts On The Current State Of The U.S. Military,” by Paul Gilbert, TMIN, http://themostimportantnews.com/archives/some-thoughts-on-the-current-state-of-the-u-s-military?fbclid=IwAR0sbo6p8yn19a8zqbQ-84b2wjq4-gQ1d-8KmBMkPHb8NYJJv2Rm2inqMcM.

January 6

Just read the first two paragraphs of this. Unbelievable. To think a real world power government such as the US govt could say we are getting out of a country after seventeen years and then an hour or so later say “‘whoop’s, no, we’re not, we just made a ‘mistake’.”

What else will this incompetent fool US administration come up with? This is off the chart managerial incompetence.

“’Honest mistake’ sets off alarm about US troops in Iraq,” by Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns, ASSOCIATED PRESS, https://apnews.com/e384b6e3d230b63d3f69092ef53b5bd9?fbclid=IwAR0yrDUWjhChZgG0oWuYllX-PPBDalt5KMOp76MYBoxa2y-fo-1P4Oxx_9c.

January 5

Mainstream media do not publish fake news, lying by commission (if they can help it), thereby protecting themselves from lawsuits; but they lie by omission with alacrity.

“Two huge suppressed news reports in a 3-day period reveal corrupt U.S. & allied mainstream press,” by Eric Zuesse, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/28878.

January 6

Interesting take on things from Bangladesh

“Toxic Asia,” by Iftekhar Sayeed, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/28931.

January 6

A well researched, well written, and well reasoned article about serious problems with no simple answers

“The True Cause of the Opioid Epidemic,” by Olga Khazan, THE ATLANTIC, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/01/what-caused-opioid-epidemic/604330/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=share&fbclid=IwAR3-EPQVj2noCdHdRvajOGiq9kqhXuUr1TapxOQwL_fgdp0Qg6lo-jOrF6w.

January 5

Not only GDP numbers but unemployment percentages fail to paint an accurate picture of what is going on economically. They paint a seriously rosy picture.

“Kill GDP to Help Save the Planet,” by Robert Hunziker, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/02/kill-gdp-to-help-save-the-planet/?fbclid=IwAR3JScPSvariVQY7Vf_nmJXpuzep4C3vpY4WFd8Pm8VCPOZdrpvEjFIlDeU.

January 5

News to me

“Our Nazis: the Gehlen Org,” by Gaither Stewart, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/02/our-nazis-the-gehlen-org/?fbclid=IwAR2zhnBPzC2_BJDP5SRfDwiuSOpT0aq8CaI3mK8Fn8ppzH1bIEHPz07fo-Q.

January 5

Interesting

“Bad Planet,” by John Davis, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/02/bad-planet/?fbclid=IwAR373mdR9U6BsH-NrGKV0V7Q_ZgnGWeXBAxA5cuoLn8nInU0F8x8d7WTUhQ.

January 5

Hope he’s not right

“A Grim New Definition of Generation X,” COUNTERPUNCH, by Ted Rail, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/03/a-grim-new-definition-of-generation-x/?fbclid=IwAR06j6JXvwS2XVZPUPEVugny25OxLwnGKwCw7xDt5nYC2a5U5qhxcdygmLE.

January 5

Brave and good kids

“Work of Necessity, Work of Choice,” by Carolyn Coe, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/03/work-of-necessity-work-of-choice/?fbclid=IwAR37WQAAKu3d1Nz-ouuMvKoI6LxW9s3hJVgWwYhB2eG13ksoswW4b9iONYk.

January 5

Afraid Hornberger is right

“A Limited-Government Republic versus a National Security State,” by Jacob G. Hornberger, THE FUTURE OF FREEDOM FOUNDATION, https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/a-limited-government-republic-versus-a-national-security-state/?fbclid=IwAR3btI3Tffchus2cbyezZqItRVGtzwxbJvko57B4a9_Gw7o7QPJsTNAFAWg.

January 5

Goes without saying

“Sanders introduces measure to block funding for Iran strikes,” by Andrew Blake, THE WASHINGTON TIMES, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/jan/4/progressives-seek-to-block-funding-military-action/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork&fbclid=IwAR2oe0lVb2Obntb927cmJa0ZHQP3w1IEFMkuh990MGjRVCd1_Go87WoDdOA.

January 5

Hard to comprehend

“24 people dead 500 million animals dead 8,000 kaolas dead Over 5.5 million hectares burned (the size of Belgium),” PAKKE AUSTRALIA WALE, https://www.pakkeoz.com/2020/01/24-people-dead-500-million-animals-dead.html?m=1&fbclid=IwAR0wC9WDz9GV5JxHWviory6O95qUps38obyaZFrlpAoP6zdSVGek49t4ic0.

January 5

Who knows? He might get away with it without setting off WWWIII, if his body guards are good enough protecting him. I would not recommend Trump taking any announced trips to specific locations near Iran anytime soon.

“Iran ‘offers $80 million bounty for Donald Trump’s head’ after death of general,” by Milo Boyd, MSN NEWS, https://www.msn.com/en-ie/news/other/iran-offers-2480million-bounty-for-donald-trumps-head-after-death-of-general/ar-BBYDj63?fbclid=IwAR04J1rnKduVB8gXsJgOEXCf6Dz4VoJU8uPsjPT6O0Xa6Znmam3YopQl2g8.

January 5

More than a little truth here

“Corbyn’s defeat shows that Western democracy is built on lies and contradictions,” by Danny Haiphong, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/28884.

January 5

Proves you can change your mind

“Impeachment derangement or how I learned to stop hating and love Trump,” by Douglas Valentine, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/28884.

January 5

Smart lady wrote this. Hope she’s right.

“The key to the environmental crisis is beneath our feet,” by Ellen Brown, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/28903.

January 5

Pathetic

“An Eyewitness to the Horrors of the US ‘Forever Wars’ Speaks Out,” by Kathy Kelly, National Catholic Reporter, TROUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/an-eyewitness-to-the-horrors-of-the-us-forever-wars-speaks-out/?utm_source=sharebuttons&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=mashshare&fbclid=IwAR27NHq3QXmjLUMLAGT8LGLR4l7hCW1qfl_1UzG4guYZwMEETChsR6onrkw.

January 4

Bullshit article by a bullshit writer. Thinks low birth rates are an existential threat. Low birth rates are a good thing. Let them roll. Low birth rates will eventually make it easy to produce enough necessities of life for all living Earthian humans without destroying all Earthian species burning fossil fuels to create energy. On the other hand, human caused climate change, a massive global economic collapse, or nuclear bombs could bring Earthian human affairs to a screeching halt. These are real existential threats.

“Our Real Existential Crisis — Extinction,” by Patrick J. Buchanan, PATRICK J. BUCHANAN OFFICIAL WEBSITE, https://buchanan.org/blog/our-real-existential-crisis-extinction-137964?fbclid=IwAR0mUL9TMu4U0VxAcP1xL65xAnu9N0NBDCWgnM9nn9Jav0MmsESdjELeVAQ.

January 4

All made possible by computers and computer software. Analogous to what happened in Russia when they gave up communism. Bureaucrats and cronies got control of the spoils and they just got richer and richer, becoming oligarchs. Controlling software in companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Oracle, and what have you around Spaceship Earth is like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie controlling oil fields and steel mills. What is needed is de-privatization, that is to say, nationalization, or internationalization, to spread the wealth among all humans.

“Privatization is resurrecting feudalism,” by Paul Craig Roberts, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/28914.

January 4

More than you wanted to know about the environment

“World Gone Wrong: an Environmental Diary of 2019,” by Jeffrey St. Clair, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/03/world-gone-wrong-an-environmental-diary-of-2019/?fbclid=IwAR2neOOCrdD_3c3qazMpcxjUrYYxHwhCKralihutqUCl-6GH5PpjuIaT3kA.

January 4

Surely they are just playing dumb trying to match and pace their presumably dumber voters. If not heaven help us.

“The Democratic Party’s Campaign to Re-Elect Trump,” by Paul Street, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/03/the-democratic-partys-campaign-to-re-elect-president-trump/?fbclid=IwAR1ROn28NeiYQN-h390G4EhfJe7ZmhG-GnAmGbE8NfLiXSviNFSwz52qjMQ.

January 4

Got a long way to go

“’Shit-Life Syndrome,’ Trump Voters, and Clueless Dems,” by Bruce E. Levine, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/03/shit-life-syndrome-trump-voters-and-clueless-dems/?fbclid=IwAR049JZd-_6UuQSkH3gk5iMDiGFk6u1WXQdzHoKndAy410euvU5DEdyhh78.

January 3

Here is the litmus test for proving if you are really for peace. Are you for the greater good for the greater number?

“’Right Now is the Moment to Decide If You Are Pro-Peace or Not’: Ocasio-Cortez Joins Progressive Chorus Against War,” by Eoin Higgins, staff writer, COMMON DREAMS, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/03/right-now-moment-decide-if-you-are-pro-peace-or-not-ocasio-cortez-joins-progressive?fbclid=IwAR1XK1e6dPr7egvo0orlq-6bpZNaPdYBB554PgOtJjAZSe7JflxeNwwzcz4.

January 3

BE sure and click on this to see more pictures and quotes.

“War is a Racket,” by Smedley Butler, US Marine Corps Major General, FACEBOOK, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/03/right-now-moment-decide-if-you-are-pro-peace-or-not-ocasio-cortez-joins-progressive?fbclid=IwAR1XK1e6dPr7egvo0orlq-6bpZNaPdYBB554PgOtJjAZSe7JflxeNwwzcz4.

December 28

After several afterthoughts and updates the last article I wrote, edited, and published in the Effective Learning Report and posted on Facebook yesterday now shows in this version more clearly why Earthian humans need to repent and discontinue their organizational sins to save themselves from global warming and climate change.

“A Strategy for Actually Draining the Political Swamp of Spaceship Earth,” by Richard John Stapleton, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/a-strategy-for-actually-draining-the-political-swamp-of-spaceship-earth/?fbclid=IwAR3Y46rtVKw-EvoKOZ5kaY8OFwk_4vFAG5_bQm-_KNLExqZ0D88QWLRo4yM.

December 28

Try it. You might like it.

“Stop Believing in Free Will to Cause Peace Aboard Spaceship Earth,” by Richard John Stapleton, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/stop-believing-in-free-will-to-cause-peace-aboard-spaceship-earth/?fbclid=IwAR2Yo1nzTIvSbMmfG-eyy8NUVz7QrzxSGhV5_H-vudmlQa-Omn7e3DPf7iY.

December 27

Will it make any difference? Surely the US will have enough time to shoot off enough nukes to destroy Russia before this new system can hit the US, assuring MAD (mutually assured destruction) as usual if Russia pulls the trigger first, leaving all-out no holds barred serious war as obsolete as it is now barring human extinction. Unfortunately this would leave in place the small busy work type wars with no end we have now to keep the deep state employment going. On the other hand the US will probably try to copy the new Russian technology to restore the same balance of terror MAD system that existed before the Russians came up with this new faster missile system.

“New Russian weapon can travel 27 times the speed of sound,” by Vladimir ISAchenkov, ASSOCIATED PRESS, https://apnews.com/597e7f2b20b21af959e4c6983b255c37?fbclid=IwAR23WtWaqwcAGLvSfr2nCvvMC9FHDw5PSQPtxjTkmsM4Z_bULi4fHmbl4Yk.

December 26

Here is a story I co-wrote, edited, and published

“A True End of Year Holiday Story That Just Happened on the Internet,” between Courtenay Barnett and Richard John Stapleton, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/a-true-end-of-year-holiday-story-that-happened-on-the-internet/?fbclid=IwAR1glKqgD0WOBIrsPV7aemEXVRktJ30xmZRfxWJ8zX3Y3butBK2Os-9kMwo.

December 26

This psychological Game reminds me of the cartoon I saw somewhere showing a sheep dog and a wolf amiably chatting with one another punching a time clock to start another workday as usual pretending to threaten and protect the sheep blissfully grazing in the valley below. This psychological Game, sometimes referred to as the “Forever War”, is a busy work charade designed to maintain employment and profits for deep state personnel and corporations around Spaceship Earth and to maintain the international banking and balance of payments system and the strength of the US dollar that makes it possible for the US to manage its budget deficits and international trade deficits year after year.  

An important point is that not only are the leaders of the US playing this Game, so too are the leaders of Russia, China, Syria, Iran, and numerous others, maybe all national leaders, who enjoy being the TOP DOG in their countries with all the spoils they can muster appertaining thereto. Unfortunately these Games keep the mass of Earthian humans living in poverty and misery while a minuscule minority at the top get richer year by year at an exponential rate. 

If you haven’t already read it, be sure and read Michael Hudson’s illluminating article listed at the top/beginning of this list of Sources for this issue of The Earthian Forum to really understand what is going on here.

“Impeachment is a Distraction: Heavily Scripted Vote Demonstrates That Democracy Really is Dead,” by Philip Giraldi, STRATEGIC-CULTURE, https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/12/26/impeachment-is-a-distraction-heavily-scripted-vote-demonstrates-that-democracy-really-is-dead/?fbclid=IwAR2FqosGwwZNrAFIAYncmL6ychHxmGYQeeGGMKR_vK-z_9khFRZuQVtDofY.

December 25

Say it aint so joe

“CO2 and Climate Change, Old and New,” by Manual Garcia, Jr., COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/12/23/co2-and-climate-change-old-and-new/?fbclid=IwAR2d0MtA3CA7WVIE6wwypZu3wAtmlWz00h2j2KNIhUOyJEmeZF18kVkm0eg.

December 25

Most horrifying is the way this tipping point has been inexorably developing for decades. The burning of the Amazon has been in the news for a long tine and nothing has done anything about it.

“The Amazon at a Tipping Point,” by Robert Hunziker, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/12/24/the-amazon-at-a-tipping-point/?fbclid=IwAR0ZQ-y1T_qrvQy2dZ9GIOU8n3pATWjmNrhOo2yrqp5Hp8eiUlMze7PDZYM.

December 25

The best article on the subject i have read

Is this the relevant point? “Yet, a European-style proportional representational voting system would have put a rainbow coalition led by Labour into power, giving the Tories just 288 seats.”

Pathetic haw things have gotten twisted around to protect and promote the boorish as leaders in the US and in the UK

“The Dream is Over: How Boris Johnson Won the UK Election,” by T.J. Coles, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/12/24/the-dream-is-over-how-boris-johnson-won-the-uk-election/?fbclid=IwAR1-0xtgm4Uu9v9fcgCamHdHCZCyuagsCQhZxLeyOcNdB9luPT-DWgjpHOY.

December 23

Afraid he’s right

“More Fascist Nonsense from a Disgraced President,” by Paul Street, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/12/20/more-fascist-nonsense-from-a-disgraced-president/?fbclid=IwAR3_ivvE4oeEvhwGHGP8nV5dp9ZrgAkQGjMB_I70ruJqREkUd61iHXMMoMk.

December 23

A short article with a powerful opinion. Been ‘sayin the same myself for about twenty years.

“Nobel prize-winning economist debunks right-wing economics,” by Kian Maalekanian, NORTH, https://north99.org/2019/10/30/nobel-prize-winning-economist-debunks-rightwing-economics/?utm_content=buffer166ce&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook_north99&utm_campaign=buffer&fbclid=IwAR0e-wPy9DjCTNVbDpU-NAgNs1zmJ7cyW3QoLQMhCC4izJK6Zh04Qg1pWHE.

December 22

They are good to eat you know. If there are now too many wild hogs up North, then Yankees need more hunters. A friend of mine had a brother-in-law here in Georgia who liked to hunt wild hogs, who cooked up one of them I ate some of. Tasted pretty good. Pretty much like regular hog meat.

“Feral Pigs Roam the South. Now Even Northern States Aren’t Safe,” by Jim Robbins, THE NEW YORK TIMES, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/16/science/feral-pigs-canada-texas.html?fbclid=IwAR2xN0qBHWSyH2mv8-ZqPwW3–__DuAN2_tEwWKFjPcRD8MsAfA_JJWa1UY.

December 22

Not broken up, nationalized. Needs to be run like the US Postal Service.

“One of Amazon’s first employees says the company should be broken up,” by Jason Del Ray, VOX, https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/12/20/21031694/amazon-employee-break-up-paul-barton-davis-marketplace-sellers?fbclid=IwAR1RXe4JND0CrYavdzj1YasVH2BRmXAb9Wky5tzdHiwgwOYypT3jmlq6IvY.

December 20

Yes, he’s guilty as sin, but has he committed high crimes seriously threatening the nation?

“Is Trump Guilty? An International Lawyer’s Perspective,” by Courtenay Barnett, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/is-trump-guilty-an-international-lawyers-perspective/?fbclid=IwAR02_SZsLImn7dKrmb1rzOKHK1PeIO5XOt_-muYX0BKBjdWRBiz4CG0J-jY.

December 20

First time I have heard an economist mention aggregate demand in some time. I used to write about it myself. The Nobel economist cited above has an idea designed to increase aggregate demand. Raise the taxes of the rich and large corporations. Hard to believe he won a Nobel Prize for it. It’s pretty much common sense: the best way to increase aggregate demand is to put more money in the pockets of consumers who will spend the money on consumer goods, and the best way to do this is to raise the tax rates of the rich and the large corporations back to where they were before 1980, before Reagan unleashed voodoo economics and Repuglicans became Keynesians by lowering the taxes of the rich and large corporations and increasing budget deficits, which they said don’t matter, leading the US down the primrose path to perdition it is on now, and then spend the increased tax revenue on infrastructure jobs, hiring the dispossessed at middle class wages. Voila.

“Neoliberal economics destroyed the economy and the middle class,” by Paul Craig Roberts, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/28870.

December 19

Now here’s some news for you. Apparently they have decided sin matters after all.

“Evangelical magazine Christianity Today: Trump must go,” by Elana Schor, Associated Press, https://news.yahoo.com/evangelical-magazine-christianity-today-trump-011557667.html?soc_src=hl-viewer&soc_trk=fb.

December 19

So it seems

“The News Churn Memory Hole: How the MSM Lies Even When Telling the Truth,” by Caitlin Johnstone, MEDIUM, https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/the-news-churn-memory-hole-how-the-msm-lies-even-when-telling-the-truth-3662de102ff2.

December 18

Telling. Anyone should know the stock market is pumped up by Federal Reserve funny money. How long can the Fed keep it up? If the US is being Japanized seems to me this sort of thing can continue for several more years.

“FedEx CEO: ‘The Stock Market is Very Bullish, But The Industrial Economy Doesn’t Reflect Any Growth At All Worldwide,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/fedex-ceo-stock-market-very-bullish-industrial-economy-doesnt-reflect-any-growth-all?fbclid=IwAR1MP124h37exn3Zc6-aZnGz-j61OKaZEy1LHMsh0t-6nuCH2PUd-PHBbXQ.

December 18

Are Americans and Brits in the same boat economically and politically?

I just published a new article in the Effective Learning Report by Courtenay Barnett from the Turks and Caicos Islands entitled “The British Election – 2019.”

“The British Election – 2019,” by Courtenay Barnett, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-british-election-2019/?fbclid=IwAR3Xb6p2aUhVnacYaDoiyl5HRTqliX-tHqlR8F-Q5dwEhTQE-V1HYykS7IE.

December 16

More great reporting by Paul Street. What next?

“The Woman-Hater-in-Chief,” by Paul Street, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/12/16/the-woman-hater-in-chief/?fbclid=IwAR0KK3Rr1Z8_NIQq9RW3HVDYVoLMJXb_WxEcDvf5V5C-enM-AEr8bm-vGjs.

December 15

Why not do it?

“The Stubborn Persistence of the Military-Industrial State,” by William D. Hartung, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/the-stubborn-persistence-of-the-military-industrial-state/?utm_source=sharebuttons&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=mashshare&fbclid=IwAR1d8GKYR9wmI03p0IK76wmcAubuGWknT5AwBDCzV81WP-4I36UoIwm1wUM.

December 16

Yes, but can you make it happen? See my attempt at creating real democracy with the Ogeechee Economic Forum described in a post on the masthead of this blog above on this page. Having conducted the forum once a month about a year I have never had more than five participants show up. According to one of the participants most people are afraid to participate in face-to-face political discussions because most of their bosses don’t want them discussing politics at work or in public, even on their own time.

“For Real Democracy, We Need Political Participation at All Levels of Public Life,” by Eve Olney, Roar Magazine, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/for-real-democracy-we-need-political-participation-at-all-levels-of-public-life/?utm_source=sharebuttons&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=mashshare&fbclid=IwAR2X5cQwiLjE8-j89V_BNRcECxNCaeZOFS3VUaOuQtOQ5xCTtQwWVIOdXIs.

December 15

I consider myself a Progressive and I for sure am not trying to coax anyone back into a corporate party. Quite to the contrary, I would like to coax voters back into a truly democratic party independent of the corrupt and rigged DNC and RNC National Committees.

“Intentionally or Not, Progressives Are Coaxing Us Back Into a Corporate Party,” by Chris Morrill, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/intentionally-or-not-progressives-are-coaxing-us-back-into-a-corporate-party/?utm_source=sharebuttons&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=mashshare&fbclid=IwAR0x70maJsIOnw–H1Ha5K3s3BPsHSW3cAm0GMRzWVZyhp5s_vzGWM1RI4c.

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Richard John Stapleton, Certified Transactional Analyst, Educator, Writer, Editor & Publisher