“T’was a strange time when, Men were boys – and – boys were women; The professed strong were weak, And the weak were increasingly hopelessly weak.”

Charles Dodgson was a mathematician, an author and a writer of nonsense verses. He wrote a world famous book. His nom de plume was Lewis Carroll. He was the author of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. 

I surmise that if he were asked to pen a few words in some sort of verse about the most striking features of the twenty-first century, if he were alive, he would do far better than I ever could and would produce something both amusing and profound – to be read and discerned on different levels of understanding. 

Strange time indeed. For what we are told is not reality. It is some sort of distorted presentation of the world, as if we were, like Alice, ambulating through a make-believe world of pretensions in wonderland bolstered by fantastic fiction. A few broad brush examples from our world might suffice.


America? I start there. Why?

America, in the first quarter of the twenty-first century, is the world’s wealthiest and militarily most powerful country in the world. Additionally, America controls and pulls the strings of the global financial system. Thus, all of us on planet Earth, whether directly or indirectly, are impacted in our daily lives by the decision-making  processes made by the United States of America which holds and controls the world’s reserve currency. 

T’was a strange time...

How so?

Well two Presidents spring to mind as being  manly, so they proclaimed – strong, decisive and patriotically all American.

The first is George Bush Jr. Manly?

It seems to me strikingly paradoxical that a man who draft dodged finds himself professing his full support to fabricate reasons for a  war he simply was too cowardly to face in his time when he could have gone to battle. The result? Over one million Iraqis dead for reason of lies told and an unnecessary war based on that falsehood? But who will ever answer or be brought to justice for Bush’s illegal war?

So now we have Donald Trump. Sorry, we have the Great President Donald Trump who has vowed to make America great again. Later on we will examine some of his great expectations and the reality he faces. 

There – rather here, we have another draft dodger, who adores the military which  he had  wimped away from ever enlisting in –  and perish the thought of actually fighting like a man. But, give him his due, he seems not to want to start any new wars ( at least so he says) and he wants to be isolationist and bring the troops home ( so he says).

Well, for one clear example of the conundrum who is Donald Trump – one must ask a question. So the Iranian, General Solemani, is assassinated and the Iranians retaliate against US bases in Iraq. And Trump – well – he wants peace – but it  seems a rather odd way to seek it by unilaterally withdrawing from the US/Iranian nuclear deal then killing one of Iran’s top Generals. So  with such aggression – what does Trump really want? I suspect he likes ( loves?) power and would sooner remain transactional until his first term ends. He is not in the least transformative as his rhetoric on the economy, foreign policy,  unilateralism and his self-centered impulsive conduct might otherwise convince us of.

Like Humpty Dumpty, Donald Trump is a master at giving  special meaning to his words and deeds, for as was said by Humpty:-“When I use a word“, Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

And one would actually have to go “Through the looking glass” before at all coming any where close to understanding what Donald Trump actually means when he speaks; and quickly so too before he does yet another volte face. Such is the world – dominated by the US – within which we live.

The strong being weak

One could write both an economic and political treatise on how the US under Donald Trump is acting in the world. A few examples will suffice.


A simple question. The economic history of the modern world reminds of what factors led to the Great Depression. In two thousand the US experienced the dot com crash. In two thousand and eight there was the stock market crash. In the latter instance it must by now be obvious that by relying on fiat imaginaries marketed for sale – then at some stage the fake derivatives and zero mortgage bubble  had to collapse.

But, as the famous song asks, “When will they ever learn.” So to the question – is it possible to keep buoying up a consumer based economy by printing US dollars in the trillions while simultaneously increasing the national debt in the trillions? Simple question – simple answer – the model is unworkable and shall collapse.

To my mind the question is not whether or not it will – it is merely a question of when.


Add to the US economic problem as stated above – the fact of America’s professed love for and global promotion of “democracy” around the world.

Hard and complex question. When the US has the Congress bought and paid for by the lobbyists, the military-industrial complex, the defence contractors, the pharmaceutical companies and the disproportionate influence of Israel upon US domestic politics – can one seriously term the US a representative and fully functioning democracy, of the people, by the people and for the people?

A serious question posed to a contradictory two-party system.

The Democrats do not question foreign interventions and willingly embrace the military-industrial complex – just like the Republicans. In the 2020 State of the Union speech there was ostensibly and quite dramatically noticeable friction between Pelosi and Trump when he refused to shake her hand and she tore up his speech for the US and the world to see. However, when it came on to America’s appointed Venezuelan President in the personage of Juan Guido, both parties gave a standing ovation. So, I guess that while the US taps phone lines, accesses internet communications, manipulates other countries’ domestic politics, and much worse, all the way to extra-judicial killings and torture in such a place as Guantanamo etc. etc. etc, it really is a case of – do as we say – not as we do. 


But, just like Alice, one has to question:-“When I used to read fairy tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one!”  Indeed, when I read about global events and listen to the official statements emanating from the US – I do seriously and honestly ponder  whether or not the US President is not within a fairy tale and right smack in the middle of it when:-

  1. Changing the party in power does not and never has fundamentally changed policies; especially US foreign policy. It is a bit of a fairy tale to think that by the US electorate voting for Tweedle Dum over Tweedle Dee that fundamental change is on the horizon.
  2. How does a country not cut spending or raise taxes while running a multi-trillion dollar deficit and hope in any realistic way, outside of living in a fairy tale world, not realise that the economic system in such a scenario is destined to crash far more significantly than in 2000 or 2008? AND –  when future recipients of benefits such as Medicare and Social Security are going to need somewhere in the order of US$88 trillion to keep the programmes adequately funded – how is this to be accomplished and what viable economic model does the Trump Presidency propose?
  3.  When preemptive wars and ‘regime change’ ( e.g. the devastation inflicted on Iraq; the destruction of Libya; and the lost war in Syria) become the order of the day – then – does not international law go out the window and the rule of the jungle for the mightiest not replace the rule of law?
  4. When the US Constitution is shelved and Executive authority takes precedence and there is no Congressional accountability and/or effective oversight – then what democracy?
  5. When domestic inflation is impacting the purchasing power of the US dollar and billionaires are given tax breaks and are also seeking, such as the Democrat multi- billionaire, Michael Bloomberg, to be the next US President after billionaire Trump – where are the people’s representatives?
  6.  When President Trump gives orders to deploy mini-nukes – is this not an invitation to Russia and China to do the same and then start all over again another arms race?

Call the foregoing – the harsh half-dozen truths to be grappled with here and now – if not in the immediate future. 

As Trump himself professed, ” Our country is being run by incompetent people” – and indeed since Lewis Carroll penned ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – no truer words have been so ironically spoken.

Indeed, a financialised economy is not a viable economy – for one cannot put something on nothing and expect it to be sustained – it will collapse. 

That is the truth – the reality-  and this is all – no fairy tale, for we all are in the middle of it.

POSTSCRIPT: Courtenay had shared his article with his girlfriend, who happens to be an American. She had asked him about solutions for the problems he had outlined in his article. We share below, his answer to his girlfriend ( and to us):- 

America is overspending and increasing the deficit to totally unsustainable levels. That is the central problem – so that needs to be addressed:

If It is the leadership which governs and directs policy; so change the leadership and by extension change the policy of printing more and more money which increases the deficit; yet how?

A. The attempt by the US to ensure global hegemony for herself, is at the heart of the matter. Some 800 military bases around the world is unnecessary in this era of nuclear weapons. All the bases in the world cannot repel the impact of nuclear weapons. Bring troops home and close bases which will improve the deficit position.

B. Return to the START treaty of 1972 and related agreements for non-proliferation and that will deescalate the mounting expansion afoot. Also, beside protecting the peace – such a move will permit budget expenditures to be redeployed in far more productive ways for the benefit of the American people.

C. Seriously face the reality of the declining US dollar and devise a strategy for its viability going forward which may mean:-

i) Restructuring the IMF for a move to a basket of currencies so that China and Russia become greater participants in a world where roles are shared and so too the strengthening of the world’s reserve currency; failing which it will continue to decline and then ultimately be replaced.

 ii) Avoid more trade wars – return to the WTO – and seek negotiated agreements for countries’ mutual benefit; a win-win formula versus a choice of the Trump doctrine of win-lose.

iii) Address not the illusion of a strong US economy, but the facts of:

– the permanent loss of manufacturing jobs in some areas.

– the need for reduced military expenditure and increased investments in domestic infrastructure, R & D, retraining for the jobs market, and overall implement a sort of comprehensive modern-day FDR-type ‘New Deal’.

iv) Comprehend at the highest economic levels, amongst the industrialised nations the US has a highly regressive taxation system; big corporations have to be made to pay a fair and reasonable rate of taxation into the public US coffers. Fundamental services, a quality education for all, retraining and retooling cannot otherwise be funded except by printing more money which will lose value over time for that the currency cannot be backed only by thin air ( no gold backing and reduced global market shares while widening the deficit  – a recipe for disaster).

But who am I to speak – a foolish dreamer?


* COURTENAY BARNETT is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, has been arrested for defending his views, has been subjected to death threats, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. He lives and works in the Caribbean.


THE EARTHIAN FORUM, Number Fifteen, Effective Learning Publications, 32 East Main Street, Statesboro, Georgia, USA, February 15, 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 relevant 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.

RECENT RELEVANT READING source articles are posted and updated immediately following the introductory comment by the editor.



By Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA, Editor & Publisher

I have decided humans are polarized intellectually between two general extreme categories that might be best described as democratic idealists and authoritarian nihilists, with most humans being clustered near the middle of the continuum.

Democratic idealists are not necessarily members of the Democratic Party in the US; and all authoritarian nihilists are not necessarily members of the Republican Party.

A democratic idealist in my view is someone who visualizes new states of affairs that might make an unsatisfying situation more efficient, effective, just, and satisfying through consultation, collaboration, and cooperation with others.

Authoritarian nihilists in my view are dissatisfied with states of affairs as they are but who do not visualize changing them by creating new states of affairs through democratic processes such as consultation, collaboration, and cooperation, believing instead that strong leaders in positions of authority should simply make existing systems and processes work better for them by out-competing or destroying others.

Most so-called liberals and progressives would be included in the democratic idealist category and most so-called conservatives would be included in the authoritarian nihilist category.

An extreme democratic idealist would care less than most about the here and now and would focus primarily on ideal states to be achieved in the future; extreme authoritarian nihilists would be primarily focused on the here and now, caring less than most about achieving better imaginary states of being in the future.

Abraham Lincoln once remarked there are two kinds of people who never amount to much in life: those who cannot do what they are told, and those who cannot do anything but what they are told. People who can only create imaginary air castles often have a hard time making a go of things in life; and people with no goals and imagination are pretty much stuck where they are, if they’re lucky. Probably most successful people lie somewhere in between the two extremes of idealism and nihilism.  

Extreme democratic idealists are worry warts; extreme authoritarian nihilists just don’t give a rip about anything in the future.

I agree with most transactional analysts that Earthian humans are scripted to be what they are (whether idealist, nihilist, or whatever) emotionally, intellectually, and behaviorally in early childhood by injunctions that are psychologically transmitted from the child ego states of parents to the child ego states of their offspring.

According to Robert Goulding, MD and Mary Goulding, MSW, quoted in my book Business Voyages, page 160, there are about fourteen injunctions widely transmitted in family scripting:

Don’t Be

Don’t Be You (the sex you are)

Don’t Be A Child

Don’t Grow

Don’t Make It


Don’t Be Important

Don’t Be Close

Don’t Belong

Don’t Be Well (or sane)

Think About X (forbidden subject)

Don’t Think What You Think, Think What I Think

Don’t Feel

Don’t Feel X, Mad, Sad, Glad, Scared, etc.

Don’t Feel What You Feel, Feel What I Feel (Goulding & Goulding, 1976).

These injunctions are transmitted primarily psychologically, meaning they are not overtly spoken. Rarely would a parent socially tell a child what one of the above injunctions requires. They are transmitted non-verbally largely outside of conscious awareness primarily by the ego states parents display in response to what a child naturally feels, thinks, and does. On the other hand, children are scripted by the ego states they observe parents using when parents feel, think, and do things in response to various stimuli. Children psychologically “introject” in living color the ego states of parents, including the accents, mannerisms, facial expressions, tone of voice, and behaviors of parents as if by osmosis, as parents and children deal with life events. To introject is to take in or absorb the personality and behavioral characteristics of another. Children more or less replicate their parents, and the replications become hard-wired in their brains for life in most cases.

For good or ill, the scripting process may determine not only the personality and behavioral characteristics of a child but also his/her life position and role in life. 

That includes determining whether a child becomes a democratic idealist or an authoritarian nihilist.

And the scripting process also determines which political parties win in any culture.

Ergo, the fate of Spaceship Earth depends on changing the scripting of Earthian humans, which entails a process of change that includes not only changing economic and political systems, but also psychological and social systems.

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 satisfactory 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” —script and otherwise—one is exposed to throughout life—and by the early decisions offspring 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 that cause the “messages” and the “decisions” to happen. Some transactional analysts assume proportions of winner, loser, and non-winner scripts in the 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.

Changing a loser script to a winner script requires hard work but it can happen if a person somehow acquires new script messages powerful enough to control frustrating, debilitating, or harmartic script messages recorded in his/her sub-conscious mind. TA can provide people basic concepts and tools for attempting to make such changes, 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, military, and religious troubles then everything would be wonderful for everyone. Not so, many people would not be happy and successful living in paradise because of script messages indelibly recorded in their sub-conscious minds before they were eight years old. In order for everyone to live happily and successfully 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 ego states one uses and the way one structures her or his time—learning how to spend more or less time in different ways, spending more or less time withdrawing in their heads, pastiming (shooting the bull) with others, performing rituals, working in activities, playing psychological Games, or engaging in intimacy.

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 probably 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 competing and warring organizations and groups (including nations) around Earth.

TA never promised anyone any rose gardens, or eternal bliss in heaven, but it does indicate on its website ( 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, serenity, and tranquility, based on Adult mutually-agreed-to social 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, structure, and recognition.

Regardless of what sort of cognitive structures Earthian 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, attempting to manage their lives and their personal affairs and social, psychological, economic, political, and military states of affairs around Spaceship Earth. 

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 and talking 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 Persecutor oligarchs and leaders and their corrupt bought and paid for lackeys, especially lobbyists and politicians, however true that might be in reality, often inviting Rescuers to play another psychological Game known as LET’S YOU AND HIM, HER, OR THEM FIGHT.

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 playing IF IT WEREN’T FOR YOU with Iran and Venezuela right now, and one can build a case he spends almost all his time playing psychological Games with political adversaries, supporters, and others.

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 such as poor educational systems, poor family scripts, poor religions, and poor economic policies and systems.

For more information regarding the use of Transactional Analysis to create better time structuring patterns and democratic processes read my book Born to Learn:  A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning. 

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  at .

See my article “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc,”   for some management science ideas on how Earthian humans might eventually co-construct an economic system that is viable and satisfying for everyone aboard Spaceship Earth.  This entails Earthian humans 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.”  

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   


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.  

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 one can build a case that all politicians spend most of their time playing psychological Games, mostly wasting their time pastiming (bullshitting), engaging in rituals (shuffling paper, filling out unnecessary forms, attending useless meetings, and the like), and playing psychological Games. Almost everything done in so-called foreign policy is a psychological Game, and everyone knows very little real work ever gets done in Congress anymore.

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 relatively true based on probability.

It’s better to be honestly wrong than dishonestly wrong. In other words, it’s worse to tell someone something you know is false than it is to tell someone something that is false that you really thought was true.

It seems to me most lying is lying by omission, people not telling people things they know are true that others need to know. Whether lying by omission is more or less harmful than lying by commission is debatable, and it’s getting harder for most people to know what’s true and what’s not. Politicians, political parties, the US government, and mainstream media do more lying by omission than they do by commission. On the other hand, Trump is a world-class liar by commission and omission. Obama mainly lied by omission.

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 please go to our RESPONSES page and let us know about them at .

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, 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 please go to the Effective Learning Publications page on the masthead above and purchase one or more books.

Best wishes, RJS


February 15, 2020

If this is real it seems to me it will have economic consequences around Spaceship Earth, could bring on a global recession and shortages of various products.

“China is Disintegrating: Steel Demand, Property Sales, Traffic All Approaching Zero,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE,  

February 14

More bad news

“’It’s Coming: CDC Director Warns Coronavirus to Become Widespread Throughout United States, ‘Probably Beyond 2020,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE,

February 13

Here’s an update on the coronavirus

“Coronavirus live updates: China’s Hubel reports 14,840 new cases, 242 additional deaths,” by Weizhen Tan, CNBC,|facebook&par=sharebar&fbclid=IwAR3bTvJRjFRXMrpgdLAHCZkxIbblqFr3u63PY9V1jQxbaQP5ylrLrPOUIRQ.

February 12

Here’s a new publishing adventure featuring Rout Logger in a fictional serial novel, the second episode, which links with the first one, if you want to start at the beginning.

“The Group: To Save Spaceship Earth—Episode 2,” featuring Rout Logger, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT,

February 12

Here’s a well researched and written article that I hope isn’t true about US theories about what really caused the JFK, MLK, RFK and other abominations of US history. Who wants to think the CIA and other agents of the US government have done what they are alleged to have done in this regard? Whether it’s true is one of the biggest questions of US history. Unfortunately so far no one has been able to prove it’s true or not true. If lone nut Oswald did the JFK killing by himself he was one of the most powerful individuals in human history, since he changed the course of USian history. The quality of life of the US has been going downhill ever since JFK was killed in 1963. If it is true the CIA and others did it it would be nice if it were proved true so USians could get on with a serious grieving process dealing with the psychological loss they would suffer caused by knowing how amoral their government has been so as to bring about a more moral government.

“The USA’s Doll House: A Vast Tapestry of Lies and Illusions,” by Edward Curtin, OFF-GUARDIAN,–xDqwgt-Ccuci0VsnPW3_y_Hi3W1AwyyzaUrpcU.

February 10

Could not agree more

“2020 is Going To Get Much Crazier. Prioritize Your Mental Health,” by Caitlin Johnstone, MEDIUM,

February 10

Great article. Maybe the best I have read regarding the possibilities of life on other planets and what it might be like, and what might happen to life there, including rational considerations of what might happen to life aboard Spaceship Earth. Several excellent science-based articles are referenced and linked in this article discussing global warming and climate change from a cosmic perspective. Must reading for intelligent Earthian humans.

“Alien Nations: Why Life on Other Planets Will Resemble Ours,” by Steve LeVine, ONE ZERO MEDIUM,

February 10

Perish the thought, but author Haque may be right here. Afraid he is.

“What Soviet Collapse Has to Say about American Collapse,” by Omar Haque, EUDOMONIA,

February 9

Say it aint so Joe

“NATO and the impeachment Trial,” by Gary Leupp, COUNTERPUNCH,

February 9

Here it is folks, the real truth about the Dems and the Repugs, by Paul Street, the greatest writer alive.

“The Game is Rigged,” by Paul Street, COUNTERPUNCH,

February 7

So it may be. James Kunstler tells it like he constructs it.

“Slapstick Suicide,” by James Kunstler, KUNSTLER.COM,

February 7

As I have said many times, it’s corruption, and this lady, Caitlin Johnstone really nails it with hard data from Iowa. the DNC elite just don’t give a rip about improving things for the majority of we the people. They only care about preserving their own positions and perks within the DNC establishment..

“I keep seeing the word “incompetence” thrown around. “Gosh these Democratic Party leaders are so incompetent!”, they say. “How can anyone be so bad at their job?”

“Well, they are not bad at their job. They are very, very good at their job. It’s just that their job isn’t what most people assume it is.

“Their job is not to win elections and garner public support, their job is to ensure the perpetuation of the status quo which rewards them so handsomely for their malignant behavior. Toward this end they are not incompetent at all. They know exactly what they’re doing, and they’re doing it well.” Caitlin Johnstone

“The Myth Of Incompetence: DNC Scandals Are A Feature, Not A Bug,” by Caitlin Johnstone, MEDIUM,

February 6

Not easy to understand

“Here it is: One Bank Finally Explains How The Fed’s Balance Sheet Expansion Pushes Stocks Higher,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE,

February 6

I wonder if anyone has actually counted the number of lies Trump told in his speech. Here’s Robert Reich’s reaction to some of his biggest lies about the economy. May I mention his Space Force as another lie he brought up in his speech. Unfortunately it’s not a lie about something existing, since he has created such a thing, the dumbest, most wasteful, most dangerous thing he has done yet. Yet it’s a lie the Space Force is a good and worthwhile thing. It’s not only dangerous and wasteful, It’s stupid and juvenile, another paranoid authoritarian agency similar to Bush II’s unnecessary and wasteful Homeland Security agency.

“The real State of the Union,” by Robert Reich, INTREPID REPORT,

February 6

Let’s hope it does not come to this, an unhappy story with an unhappy ending; but it is an interesting piece of fiction.

“How the World Ends: a Story,” by John Stanton, COUNTERUNCH,

February 6

While Trump did not technically lie about this, by a long shot he did not tell the full truth. If you ask Google—is Maduro the elected president of Venezuela?—you will find he was elected president in 2018. Unfortunately the political situation in Venezuela is complicated by legal and political actions taken after the death of Chavez that make it difficult to discern the truth of the matter. Several US vassal nations support Trump’s view that Maduro is not the legitimate leader of Venezuela. This article was written by a Maduro-supporting Venezeulan expat living in Canada who asserts a majority of people now living in Venezuela support Maduro, considering him a hero and Guaido a thief. Unfortunately this is one of those situations where no one can prove they’re right. On the other hand, if you have enough power you can simply tell people what the right answer is; and Trump, being the dictator he is, enjoys making up right answers; and his repug senators and his repug voters enjoy memorizing them, as if holy writ, to preserve the status quo of their positions.

“Trump’s Imaginary World, Maduro’s Real World,” by Maria Paez Victor, COUNTERPUNCH,

February 6

Lies, lies, and more lies about reality in the speech, yet Trump continues to win the political propaganda Game between authoritarian nihilists and democratic idealists. It was a dark night for Spaceship Earth and human Earthians. This author, Jack Rasmus, tells it about like it was.

“Trump’s ‘Red Meat’ SOTU Speech: US Political Crisis Now Deepens,” by Jack Rasmus, COUNERPUNCH,

February 6

Here is a new publishing adventure by Effective Learning Publications, a serial novel, a work in progress, featuring Rout Logger. Richard John Stapleton, Writer, Editor, & Publisher

“The Group: To Save Spaceship Earth—Part 1,” featuring Rout Logger, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT,

February 6

A serious thoughtful article on how to deal or not to deal with neo-Nazis, a problem either way.

“Anti-Fascist Practice and Impossible Non-Violence,” by Natasha Lennard, “EVERGREEN,

February 6

Ralph Nader ought to be running the US government.

“It should be easy to defeat Trump, but corporate Democrats look ready and willing to blow it,” by Ralph Nader, INTREPID REPORT,

February 5

Another good window on US foreign policy

“How Obama’s Mid-East policy led to Nazi rebirth in today’s Germany,” by Eric Zuesse, INTREPID REPORT,

February 5

Nuclear power produced by nuclear fission is safe, we have been told over and over again by employees in the nuclear power industry; and it may be, assuming there are no accidents, and if a way can be found to store nuclear waste. But is it worth the risk? Does anyone know? Most likely not.

“An appalling act of industrial vandalism: Japanese officials do PR for plan to dump Fukushima water into ocean,” by Andrea Germanos, INTREPID REPORT,

February 5

Best article i have read lately on USian foreign policy. Both Dems and Repugs are trying to convince we the people of the US Russia is a serious enemy to cement their funding internally in the US from their deep state sugar daddies to satisfy their never-ending insatiable lust for power and money, playing the psychological Game Top Dog trying to make their lives seem meaningful.

“NATO and the Impeachment Trial,” by Gary Leupp, COUNTERPUNCH,

February 5

Some interesting wisdom here

“Sedition or Sedationd?: Liberalism and Neuroses,” by Kim C. Domenico, COUNTERPUNCH,

February 5


“We Liver in a Disintegrating World,” by Patrick Cockburn, COUNTERPUNCH,

February 5

Say it aint so Joe

“Explosives used on 9/11 say commissioners,” by Craig McKee, COMMON GROUND,

February 5

Lies, lies, almost nothing but lies in the speech, a few trivial facts here and there. It was a pathetic disgusting spectacle. Serious regard for truth was absent, exemplified by the fake news clapping of the Repug senators no matter what Trump said. Intellectual honesty and respect for truth was irrelevant among them.

“Twitter Users Hail ‘Queen’ Pelosi For Ripping Up Trump’s ‘Garbage’ Speech,” by Ed Mazza, HUFFPOST,

February 4

Serious problem

“Re-Contextualizing Fascism,” by Peter Harrison, COUNTERPUNCH,

February 4

About says it all. Well said. Unbelievable incompetence for sure and possible fraud.

“The Iowa Caucus Has Choked Itself to Death at Last,” by William Rivers Pitt, TRUTHOUT,

February 4

Possibly done to deny Bernie his moment of glory in his probably-won victory speech. This is not a conspiracy theory, merely a theory. I assure you I am not part of any conspiracy regarding the facts of this case, the incredible DNC trainwreck in Iowa. It’s also my opinion the abomination happened because the dim Dems were trying to sabotage Sanders; and the last time i checked, any USian citizen is allowed to have opinions. On the other hand, I suppose anyone who supports any political candidate could be labeled a conspiracist, conspiring against other candidates s/he deems inferior to his/her choice. In this sense I plead guilty to legally conspiring against all Dem candidates still in the race except Bernie, who it seems to me the corrupt DNC is again sabotaging; and, yes, it is my opinion (not a conspiracy theory) that the DNC establishment is crooked as a barrel of snakes, as they also demonstrated in the 2016 primaries.

“’it’s a total meltdown’: Confusion seizes Iowa as officials struggle to report results,” by Natasha Korecki, Alex Thompson, and David Siders, POLITICO,

February 4

Maybe a bit cavalier and overly certain, but generally correct. What the US needs to do is restore its social democratic immune system to ward off the morbid consequences of unfettered capitalism, especially authoritarianism and fascism.

“Why American Collapse is a Warning to the World,” by Umar Haque, EUDAMONIA,

February 4

Strongly agree. Zerohedge should not have been banned from Twitter for life. I read Zerohedge most days. It has some of the best content out there on economics and politics, albeit posting a few conspiracy theories, aka fictional theories, now and then. But so what, a little creative writing won’t hurt anyone. As to Zerohedge posting fake news, one can build a case all news about economics and politics is fake in the sense that the true causes and consequences of the matter cannot be proved true. Making up facts and posting them as if they are real is indeed lying by commission, and should be punished. Assuming Zerohedge habitually did this (which i have not observed) the facts of the misdemeanor(s) should be proved and posted and appropriate punishment should be meted out; but lifetime banishment is extreme. How about banning a few mainstream media for lying by omission—not telling the public about things they need to know (often falsely labeled conspiracy theories) to protect the guilty rich and powerful, or the US government?

“Zerohedge’s Twitter Account is  Permanently Banished,” by Michael Krieger, LIBERTY BLITZREIG,

February 3

Have they no shame

“The Bernie Blackout is Real, and These Screenshots Prove it,” by Nolan Higdon and Mickey Huff, TRUTHOUT,

February 3


“Right-Wing Business Billionaires Launch Attack on Bernie Sanders, by Alex Kotch, TRUTHOUT,

February 12

Say it aint so Joe

“The Super Bowl is a Grift Of Epic Proportions,” by Dave Zirin via THE NATION, Zerohedge,

February 1

Why so? Because Bernie is for we the people, not for large corporations and the elite rich, and the DNC political hacks, who kiss up to the supers, aka the dishonest DNC bought and paid for super delegates.

“The Supers Are Back: DNC Members Planning Move to Block Sanders…Again,” by Jonathan Turley, JONATHANTURLEY.ORG,

February 1

Another thing socialism means is that the people run the country, not large corporations and the elite rich for profit. While any military is basically a fascist top-down controlled system, the US military is also one of the best socialistic meritocracies you can find, doing its duty every day, totally funded by tax and borrowed US government dollars, having almost eliminated racism in its ranks, having no democratic processes or expressed profit making objectives. I don’t think you could argue our socialistic military has failed as an organization.

“Analysis: 10 Things You Should Know About Socialism,” by Richard D. Wolff, YES MAGAZINE,

February 1

The height of insanity

“US military prepares for war with Russia: Report,” PRESSTV,

February 1

A heavily redacted smoking gun

“The FBI Has Been Lying About Seth Rich,” by Craig Murray, CRAIGMURRAY.ORG,

January 31

What are the chances they will stick with their guns on this?

“’No Blank Check For War’: House Votes To Bar Trump Military Action on Iran,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE,

January 29  

Here’s the details of the bribery process that is ruining the US.

“Influence of Wall Street Donors Has Exploded in Decade Since ‘Citizens United’.” By Tatyana Monnay, TRUTHOUT,

January 29  

No doubt about it, Howard Zinn had a large impact during his time aboard Spaceship Earth; but unfortunately democratic idealists have been losing the ultimate Game with authoritarian nihilists for decades.

“10 Years After His Passing, Howard Zinn remains a Threat to the Status Quo,” by Anthony Arnove, TRUTHOUT,

January 29

So it seems

“Hegemon USA doesn’t negotiate, it demands,” by Eric Zuesse, INTREPID REPORT,

January 29


“War on dissent by the US and West threatens speech, media and academic freedoms,” by Stephen Landman, INTREPID REPORT,

January 28 

Could be a major strategic issue before long.

“Why the New Silk Roads are a ‘threat’ to US bloc,” by Pepe Escobar, THE SAKER,

January 27 

Yes, but does he have a plan? I have one. See my Spaceship Earth, Inc. essay posted on the masthead of my blog at–inc..html.

“We need a new economic model or the planet will burn, Prince Charles warns,” by Mark Thompson and Max Foster, CNN BUSINESS,

January 27

“Theocracy is a form of government that draws its authority from religion. Advocating for Judeo-Christian moral standards in favor of reason and our Constitution, as attorney general Barr does when he claims that those standards are “God’s instruction manual for the best running man and human society,” is, in essence advocating theocracy. That is at odds with the first amendment of the Constitution he has sworn to uphold. And to see where that might lead us, we need only look at the theocratic regimes in the Middle East. To address the problems of today, like global warming and wealth inequality, it will be far better for USian citizens to emulate the founding fathers and understand that the solutions are not in the Bible, but rather in the minds of intelligent well-informed citizens.” Topper

“The Better Moral Creed,” by Bob Topper, COUNTERPUNCH,

January 27

Sad shape we’re in, no doubt about that.

“Bill Moyers: Government is Now a Protection Racket for the 1%,” by Michael Winship and Bill Moyers, MOYERS AND COMPANY,

January 27

Here is some good and relevant reading authored by my long time friend William John Cox. Wm and I played on the same high school football team at Frenship High School at Wolfforth, Texas in 1954. Wm is pictured on the first row at far right in our Frenship High School team picture for 1954 shown in the Photos section on the left side of this Facebook page.

Well Folks,

It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, but I’ve been busy writing. It seems the older I get, the worse things seem to be getting, and as the decade of my 70s nears its end, my greatest worry is the mess we’re leaving for our children and grandchildren to clean up, and my grave fear is that they will fail, and our humanity will become extinct within the lifetimes of some who are living today.
Starting the first of December, and writing each day from early in the mornings, I just completed and published the fifth and last of The Gift of Mind Series of papers organized as little books. The Choices of Mind: Extinction or Evolution? will also be the last such task these tired old hands will ever undertake, but it was undoubtedly the most important. Choices incorporates my previous work and focuses it on the most critical issues we are confronting today.
Please take a minute to consider the following description of The Choices of Mind, and if you can, please forward to all your contacts. Paperback and eBook copies are available from Amazon, but Choices which serves as my digital autobiography and the first four of The Gift of Mind Series can be downloaded for free at the website, or along with all my books is available at the website,
Forgive me for imposing on all we’ve ever shared, but the reality of extreme crisis is all too real, and what I fear most is doing nothing to protect our children and their future, while waiting for someone else to do what must be done if we are to survive.
Thanks for sharing my message, and as always, you have
My Best Wishes for these very interesting times in which we find ourselves.

Dedicated to and written for the young people of the world, The Choices of Mind: Extinction or Evolution? is a handbook for human survival of the menacing dangers of global warming, casino economics, corrupt governments, endless wars, and intolerance that threaten near-term human extinction within the life times of those living today.
The Choices of Mind is written as a trial brief by public interest lawyer, William John Cox, who prosecuted Holocaust deniers and published the suppressed Dead Sea Scrolls. The book is organized into crimes—“The Extinction Papers” (the bad news) and remedies—“The Evolution Papers (the good news).
The Extinction Papers presents indicting evidence of the multiple threats to humanity resulting from crimes committed against the environment; a casino economy addicted to gambling; governments that are corrupt and unrepresentative; corporate militarization and its endless wars, and intolerance, an inherited, latent disease of Mankind.
The Evolution Papers prescribes a series of remedies flowing from an awareness of mind. By unleashing the evolutionary and exponential power of tolerance through compassion, collaboration, concentration, compromise, and cooperation, our collective minds will have the power to resolve these deadly threats, and to ensure our grandchildren have the chance to achieve their destiny and to visit places far beyond our imagination or present comprehension.

“Mindkind,” by William John Cox, MINDKINDINFO,

January 26

Here are some Christians making up conspiracy theories.

“Top Christian Academic Professor says Muslims didn’t do 9/11,” U-Tube Video, THE DEAN SHOW,

January 25

Here is a fearless truth teller if ever there was one. This guy may be wrong, but if he is, he is honestly wrong. He is not trying to manipulate you for personal gain, in my opinion.

“Deadly distractions: Laying the groundwork for the next civil war,” by John W. Whitehead, INTREPID REPORT,

January 25

Hope it’s not a hoax

“Scientists in Britain May Have Just ‘Acidentally’ Found A Cure for Cancer,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE,

January 25

Nothing but a bunch of party line-voting greedy careerists in both parties.

“Chris Hedges: Democrats Have No Moral Authority on Impeachment,” by Chris Hedges, TRUTHDIG,

January 25

Capitalism makes most poor people believe they are entitled aristocrats just temporarily out of funds.

“What Happens When People Find Out Capitalism Was a Lie? Or, the Age of Disintegration,” by Umar Haque, EUDAIMONIA,

January 24

A small favor

“Assange moved out of solitary in UK prison,” THE CANBERRA TIMES,

January 24

Another great article by Paul Street, detailing the insanity of our times.

“A Letter From Iowa,” by Paul Street, COUNTERPUNCH,

January 24

Great article by Caitlin Johnstone

“How to be a mentally sovereign human,” by Caitlin Johnstone, INTREPID REPORT,

January 23

Yes, wage peace

“Ten Best Messages for Waging Peace,” by Richard Moser, COUNTERPUNCH,

January 23

One per woman sounds about right for several generations to shrink the Earthian human population back to a sustainable level.

“Feminist Author Calls on Germans to Stop Having Babies to Save the Planet,” by Paul Joseph Watson, SUMMIT NEWS,

January 23

Got to keep the US dollar the global reserve currency.

“The Real Causes of the US Forever Wars,” by Richard John Stapleton, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT,

January 23

Why Trump Killed Soleimani

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,

January 22

A prescient article

“Oil, conflict and the future of global energy supplies,” by Courtenay Barnett, GLOBAL RESEARCH,

January 20

How serious is this?

“The Rumbling Methane Enigma,” by Robert Hunziker, COUNTERPUNCH,

January 18

The best hope for we the people is to go full blast for Bernie as Dem presidential nominee. Then go after the fifty percent of US eligible voters who have not voted for president. Convince enough of them to vote for democratic socialist Sanders, for higher taxes for the elite rich and large corporations, who will hopefully raise taxes back to what existed in the US before 1980, while attacking global warming full on. This is more likely to attract enough voters in 2020 to beat Trump than a pedestrian ethically-challenged politician like Biden. Sanders is the only viable Dem candidate with original ideas and real determination to do what he says he thinks should be done, which is also what i think should be done. On the other hand, I am not a Bernie buster. If he does not get the nomination more than likely I will vote for whoever is nominated by the Dems.

“CNN debate blatantly targeted Bernie Sanders and the anti-establishment,” by Jim Naureckas and Julie Hollar, NEWSWEEK,

January 18

Because the US healthcare system is a for-profit system

“US health system costs four times more to run than Canada;s single-payer system,” by Melissa Healy, MSN NEWS,

January 12


“Mega Droughts Engulf Countries,” by Robert Hunziker, COUNTERPUNCH,

Feel free to forward, share, post, print, or otherwise circulate The Earthian Forum any way you see fit.  

FOR A FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO THE EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT AND THE EARTHIAN FORUM: Email and punch subscription into the subject line.     

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

THE GROUP: To Save Spaceship Earth—Episode 2

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 episodes 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 Richard John Stapleton, 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.

If you want to refresh yourself about what happened in earlier episodes, go to the following website addresses:

Part 1,   

Rout—“Good afternoon, folks.  I hope you enjoyed your lunch.  Some of you probably think I should have told you in advance what would happen in the meeting, and I should have passed out a detailed list of do’s and don’ts, or a lengthy detailed printed set of instructions, perhaps passing out something like a syllabus for a college course, explaining in detail all the process procedures, rules, laws, requirements, and so forth in advance.

       “The problem is I don’t know everything that will happen as we progress through this process, yet I know I have to provide some structure.  Any process has to have a few procedures, rules and laws to achieve a satisfactory level of efficiency and effectiveness.  I’m sure I will invent a few more as time goes by, as they occur to me.  Most likely if you stay with the program long enough you’ll conclude the process is efficient and effective.  Everything I said this morning was audio and video recorded and you can access it with your computer in this room before or after a session starts, if you forget something you want to remember. I have an assistant who can help you pull it up on your computer if you need help.

       “Some people would call me a facilitator, but I am more than that.  I do some teaching, but I am more a co-learner than anything else.  Most of the problems we will be discussing do not have provably-true “right” answers.  The best answers are those that have the highest probabilities of producing salutary outcomes.  This process is similar to some university business school case method courses, which entail analyzing and discussing facts, not memorizing theories, dogmas or doctrines, or talking about rumors, lies and conspiracy theories; but instead of discussing researched printed paper cases in a casebook, our case is what is going on now around Spaceship Earth itself.

       “On the other hand, you may talk about your personal feelings and thoughts regarding the facts of Spaceship Earth in these sessions, as a client might in a group therapy session.  We are interested in what you feel, think, know, believe, advocate, and recommend regarding factual problems threatening Spaceship Earth.

       “You have now been furnished at your work station a seating chart showing the name and location of every member in the room, a UniDesk™, and a laptop computer. 

       “The laptop computers will be booted up during all sessions from now on.  You can adjust the UniDesk™ to position your computer to the height and angle that optimizes your comfort and efficiency using the computer as you sit in your chair.  The desk was invented and trademarked by a former professor who used a process similar to ours in his classes.  The particular model used here was custom manufactured to fit our layout and chairs.

       “A UniDesk™, an Apple laptop computer and a seating chart will be in place for your use in all subsequent sessions, as will one of the chairs in this room which will be moved from the hotel and city of the last meeting to the new hotel and city for the next meeting.

       “We will use the laptops to check out facts on the Internet when we have disagreements or a lack of factual knowledge among group members regarding a particular problem or opportunity.  When a legitimate question or dispute exists about facts the entire group will do an Internet search for relevant facts.  The default browser is Google because it is widely used and generally effective, and because I am used to it.  Once someone becomes convinced she or he has found relevant facts he or she will email the website address to the group.  Special email addresses have been arranged for every citizen in the group for use during group sessions.  It is against the law to email anything to persons, groups or organizations other than members of this group using these computers, and such emails have been blocked. You can only send content to the whole group in the meeting room at once. Again there will be no side conversations during group sessions, including computer email conversations.  “The Group” email addresses have been permanently affixed to the address bar on your email page.  All you have to do is hit the “send” button one time to email the whole group.  We use the same rule for email communication as for face-to-face communication:  No gossiping of any sort is allowed during group sessions, by tongue or computer.  Anything said must be said to the group as a whole.  We will not use this Google/email process often, but we will use it when disputes arise about facts in discussions and when I decide you need information from various Internet sites.  I will tell you when to use your computer during sessions.

       “I have also given some thought to using the laptops occasionally to give you an opportunity to publish your own writing to the group.  I’m not sure how this will work but it seems to me it might be helpful to set aside thirty or so minutes now and then for writing, posting and reading, to add variety to the discussion process.  If there are any poets among you this will give you an opportunity to express your feelings and thoughts about what has been going on the group process in writing.  All poems must relate to what has been discussed or experienced in the group process.  This would entail stopping the discussion and giving each of you a few minutes, perhaps up to thirty minutes, time to compose something.  Should you wish to post your writing to the group, you would save your writing in a Word document and email it to the all group members as an attachment, which would be opened on all laptops for reading and comments.  This would give you an opportunity to express feelings and thoughts in writing in language not possible to express orally in the discussion.

       “If you write something at home you want to publish to the whole group or forward something you have found on the Internet at home you will have to transfer it to your group computer using a memory stick, and you will have to get my permission to do so. All you have to do is tell the whole group during a session what you want to transmit and I will decide if it’s appropriate within the context of what we have been discussing.

       “While we are on the subject of laptops, you will notice—why not open up your laptop right now and turn it on?—the power button is a small circle on the upper left corner of your computer—there are only three icons at the lower edge of your screen, an Internet browser icon, an email icon, and a word processing icon, which are all we need for this process.  If you hit the browser icon a Google Internet search slot, as well as other browser options, will appear at the upper right of your screen.  When we do Internet searches to find facts, all you have to do is type your questions regarding the problem in the Google slot and hit the return key to find the addresses of Internet sites with information relative to the problem.  If you find a site with relevant facts, copy the address and paste it into an email—all emails are pre-addressed to all group members, and only group members, which are the only addresses you can use as recipients. After it appears to me you have had sufficient time to find relevant addresses, I will notify you to send the site addresses you consider relevant to the group, which all of you will do simultaneously, which will result in each of you receiving a list of sites sent by all group members.  I will give you a few minutes to visit and peruse some of the sites and digest the information.  We will then discuss the information using our normal discussion process with leaders selected by The Truther.  This should result in a factual discussion of the problem.

       “Regarding the poetry, during these sessions, should I decide to do this, I will give you a few minutes to write and save your poem to a Word document, after which time I will tell you to attach your poem to an email and send it to the group.  Everyone in the group shall then receive a list of all poems written and sent by the members.  We will then discuss one or a few poems using our normal discussion process by twirling The Truther to select the poems to be discussed.  It’s ok for you not to post any of your poems by the way.  It’s ok for none of you to post any, for that matter, should I decide to actually do this, the purpose of the exercise being to give you an opportunity to abstract in a philosophical artful way your experience in the group and get feedback.  All poems posted must relate to experiences shared by the group.  All posted poems will be saved and some of them might be posted in the Spaceship Earth Group book published around Earth based on the discussions and proceedings of the group at the termination of this program.

       “During the morning session I heard some cellphones go off.  This is also against the law.  All cellphones must be turned off during all sessions.  And for sure it is against the law to play on your laptop computer for your own entertainment during a session, searching for irrelevant information on Google, such as information for your personal business.   At no time are you to do anything with your computer unless I tell you to, and I must authorize all questions you are to find facts for with a Google search.  You many suggest questions and fact searches to the group, but I must ok the computer search.  We cannot waste the time of the group with frivolous irrelevant computer searches just for the fun of it. 

       “Don’t get caught with you hands on your computer except during authorized times.  If you do you can be fined or expelled.

       “You may not remove a computer from the discussion room for any reason.  Our support personnel will pack up all computers, UniDesks™, seating charts and chairs after and have them ready for your use at the city and hotel of the next monthly meeting.  Do not write or doodle on the seating charts.  The computers are not personalized, so do not save any sort of personal messages, notes, etc. on them.  The relevant thing is the discussion, the entire content of which is being saved through the audio/visual recording system.

       “On the other hand, the web addresses and facts of all Internet sites used for Internet facts found and accepted by this group as relevant in its discussions shall be saved.

       “Make sure you are sitting between the two members the seating chart says you are sitting between in sessions for a good while, so all group members can learn your name to be linked to your face and what you say. After the group has had time to learn the names of all participants I will from time to time require everyone to move to a different chair, maximizing the distance between themselves and the two people they are now sitting between, to eliminate any psychological collusion and alliances that may develop between group members.

       “You are not to remove a seating chart from the room for any reason. 

       “Although it’s not my job to teach you, I decided during lunch to share more background with you.  I know most of you are wondering why you were selected and where the money is coming from.  You were selected from a large pool using computers and the Internet, based on information available through Internet surveillance systems, much like the USian government uses now to surveil the entire USian population.  The sponsors know a good bit about you.  You represent a cross-sample of the culture, from various socio-economic and educational levels, representing various professions, occupations, vocations, religions, political parties, racial backgrounds, and sexual identities.  About one-fourth of you are registered Republicans and about one-fourth are registered Democrats.  The rest of you are Independents, Greens, Libertarians, Progressives, Tea Partiers, and some other things too insignificant to mention. Almost fifty percent of you are non-voters in USian national elections. All major religions are represented among you, as are non-theists. All of you are at least reasonably bright. 

       “As you know, this process could cost a considerable amount of money if it continues for a long time, especially if it expands into other countries.  Monthly expenses for this group currently are about $260,000, over three million dollars a year.  Where is the money coming from?  It’s coming from anonymous donors who pledged varying amounts, some large, some small.  Why did they do it?  These people are seriously worried about Spaceship Earth, a planet supplied with oxygen and various gases and elements necessary for sustaining plant and animal life by natural physical and ecological processes in a closed system hurtling through infinite airless time and space in concert with gadzillions of other inter-galactic and inter-universal objects.  The sponsors think serious changes must be made to stop and avert extinction processes and events caused by global warming and the possibility of nuclear war, caused by greed and lust for power among humans, causing income inequalities, poverty, racial hatred, class hatred, religious hatred, nationalism, ethnic hatred, cultural hatred, overpopulation, resource depletions, and poorly regulated economic systems such as capitalism, fascism, communism, and socialism. 

       “The donors think homo sapiens on Earth will not change their economic and political systems unless they learn new ways of feeling, thinking, believing, communicating and behaving, and they do not think mainstream media, schools, colleges, universities, churches or governments can produce this kind of learning.  They want to see if this process can cause you to learn what might save Spaceship Earth.  They know you would not pay to receive this sort of education, so they want to see if you will assimilate and accommodate this sort of learning if they pay you to do it.  The whole thing’s an experiment. 

       “The donors do not think human Earthians will voluntarily learn new feelings, thoughts, beliefs, dogmas, doctrines, and behaviors on their own, especially if they have to pay for it.  They want to know if human Earthians can be paid to learn what is necessary to save Spaceship Earth.  You are their first class of guinea pigs.  If it works they intend to roll the program out to other countries, as extensively as possible, depending on how many more donors they can find to fund programs.  If what you feel, think, say, do and learn in this program produces salutary results it could help save Spaceship Earth by creating this sort of learning process in groups around Earth.

       “At present about sixty-five thousand Earthian species become extinct every year, and millions have already become extinct.  Our job is to hopefully come up with something that will help prevent the human  species on Earth from joining all the other extinct Earthian species in a theoretical cosmic happy hunting ground.  An Earthian is a member of any species of fauna or flora now alive on Earth. 

       “The appellation Spaceship Earth, by the way, was invented by Buckminster Fuller back in the 1960s.  For background you might want to read his book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth.  Fuller also invented the word Earthian

       “There were some programs similar to this back in the 1960s and 70s that people paid to attend, but they mostly died out as the culture changed after 1980, after the Ronald Reagan USian presidency turned back the clock in the US, not quite as much as the Taliban turned back their clock in Afghanistan, but a serious antediluvian regression occurred nevertheless, pitting authoritarian nihilists against democratic idealists, and the nihilists basically won.  Fewer and fewer US citizens would pay for bottom-up personal growth, encounter group, brainstorming, and pop psychology programs after 1980, largely caused by anti-intellectual top down messages and requirements produced by the regressive culture.  More and more poorly informed fearful citizens were brainwashed with conservative right wing ideologies and fantasies, increasingly eschewing facts, logical reasoning, social and psychological innovations, and scientific discoveries. 

       “We are paying citizens to participate in our progressive discussion process, which is devoid of doctrines, dogmas and rituals, focusing instead on relevant factual problems and opportunities, hopefully generating workable consensual strategies that will help sustain Earthian life indefinitely.

       “Any questions?”

Bill—“I gotta ask.  Why did you choose these Apple Macintosh laptops?”

Rout—“Because I have been using a Mac since they first came out in 1984, and I still think they are the easiest to use.”

Bill—“I beg to disagree, and I teach computer science.”

Rout—“You’re entitled to your opinion.”

Maria—“During lunch some of us decided it would be better if the lunch hour was only one hour long so we might get out off work earlier so we might catch a plane back home on Saturday, to attend mass, or church, or whatever on Sunday morning, to have more time with our families.  Would this be permissible?”


Hal, the last person selected by the Truther, got up from his chair and did his duty, spinning The Truther one more time, after Rout caught his eye and diverted its gaze to the center of the room.

       The Truther selected Adam and the rooster crowed. 

Adam—“This is the most insane seminar I can imagine, but I guess I might as well try to say something relevant.  The biggest problem is there are so many problems it is almost absurd to waste time talking about any one of them.  Most people do not want to hear or talk about real problems.  They’re zombies numbed and dumbed down by irrelevant crap since childhood.  Somehow most kids learn how to read, write and do simple arithmetic in grade school, but not much else.  I was talking about this with my wife a few days ago, telling her I could not remember learning a darn thing in grade school in any class.  I could remember playing with some blocks as if they were musical instruments in a music class and filling out some sort of work sheets in another, but that is about it.  I can’t remember a single discussion about anything in any class.  Relevance was irrelevant.  Most of the time the teacher just seemed to sit behind her desk and stare at us.  I do remember one teacher teaching us how to eat soup using pencils as simulated spoons and her coming up behind me and showing me how to do it holding my arm and telling me to dip into the soup from the inside out and raise the spoon straight up to make sure it doesn’t spill.

           “But, I swear that is about all I can remember learning in a grade school class.  Somehow I learned how to read, write, and do arithmetic during those years, but I cannot remember learning any of it class.  I remember looking at a few books with colored pictures about Jack and Jane doing things in simple declarative sentences that were supposed to help us learn how to read.  High school was not much better, but there were two courses in which I actually remember learning something, plane geometry and physics.  And I did learn a few lines of one or two of Robert Burns’ poems in a literature course, and a few lines of a poem called Invictus.

           “If you take the average person today, even many college graduates, all they care about is watching movies and television, especially soap operas and sports, and playing video games.  Rarely is there any serious discussion of economic and political problems.  As I said they’re zombies.  And they vote, if they vote, that is, for zombie politicians who tell people platitudes, fantasies and dogma they want people to hear.  God forbid a politician would talk about or seriously analyze facts about real problems.

       “So the biggest problem is ignorant and stupid voters.  I recently saw George Carlin on TV telling his audience, ‘Stupid people vote for stupid politicians; it’s as simple as that!’

           “How you would ever educate enough voters to cause them to vote for intelligent, wise politicians who would vote to raise the taxes of large corporations and the elite rich, create infrastructure jobs to create jobs for the middle class, and scale down the US military-industrial complex?

           “But that’s what needs to be done, among many other things, such as doing things to reduce the threats of global warming and nuclear war.  It’s depressing as hell.  What are the chances any of this will happen any time soon?  Probably about zero.  So here we sit waiting for some catastrophe to happen, as most people just blithely tend to the details of their daily lives as if there were no threats at all, some looking as if they are actually happy.  Ignorance is bliss I guess.”

Dick—“Come on now.  You know that’s not right.  I’m a politician and I know I talk about relevant matters with my constituents. You are lucky enough to live in this great land of ours and yet you complain.  America is the greatest place on Earth, blessed by God with the greatest values on the face of the earth.  If we stick to our beliefs and values the Lord will guide and protect us.  If we continue to love Him in His tender mercy he will see us through and welcome us into his heavenly home.  Have you accepted Jesus into your heart?  If not, as a true American I say unto you it is time you got right with God, before it’s too late.”

Adam—“I can’t believe right off the bat in this lunatic seminar I get confronted by a moral moron.  All I did was speak the truth as I see it and I immediately get preached to. If god protects everyone how did we get in the mess we are in now. Must be a very incompetent god. You people are living in a dream world. You don’t want to be confused by facts or logic.  All that count are your so-called values.  If God is going to take care of everything when is he going to start?  Why did he allow things to get as messed up as they are in the first place if he takes care of things?  I have never seen one shred of evidence with my two eyes that any sort of god has ever done anything on Earth, regardless of what people believe or do, or say, or pray.”

Dick—“Well, I can see you need some praying for my friend; but don’t you ever call me a moral moron again.  I won’t put up with it.  You have insulted me and my religion, which is against the laws of this group.  What about it Rout?  Tell this liberal creep he can’t insult me or anyone else in this group because of their religious beliefs.”

Rout—“Well, I’m not sure Adam was seriously insulting you using the term moral moron.  I think he was making the point that people in general who ignore facts because of their ideologies are morons, which sounds ok with me, a bit pejorative perhaps, but not necessarily a direct insult for purposes of this program. I’m not sure that would rise to the level of a law-breaking insult in this program. On the other hand you just called him a liberal creep, which some people would consider insulting. ”

Dick—“Anyone who criticizes my religion, my beliefs and my values insults me.  I will not tolerate this.”

Rout—“You don’t have to.  Anyone can drop out of this group at any time. There’s the door.  But if you’re making a threat, that is against the rules. By the way, I suppose I should reemphasize to the group that we have security people available if we need them to enforce rules or protect the group from violence.”

Dick was angry and confused, shocked by Rout’s response.  He decided Adam must be a damned atheist.  He considered getting up and walking out right now but he remembered the five thousand dollar monthly fee, which he needed.  He wondered how many people in the group were like this asshole, Adam.  Adam’s reactions were similar to Dick’s in some respects.  Did he want to put up with this?  Yes, at least for now, because the money was too good to turn down.  Adam was pleasantly surprised by Rout’s reaction to Dick’s comments; but he wondered where were the security people? Were they somehow observing and listening to the group?  Most of the group members had similar feelings, reservations, and questions stimulated by this new alert about the security system, which made most of them feel less secure.  They felt trapped by what had looked like some easy money.

Looking out the window of the plane on the way home, Sam, like most members, wondered what he had gotten himself in for.  He thought the project sounded interesting and was impressed in some ways by what he had seen and heard.  He was impressed by the UniDesks™, the laptop computers, and the seating charts, which made it easy to link names and faces, and the overall efficiency of the process. And the chairs were comfortable.  In some ways, he liked the way Rout had laid down the law.  Although he thought Rout had been a bit harsh and impolite with a few of the group members, he thought he had generally been fair and impartial.  He thought using a Truther to randomly select leaders was a novel idea and was surprised by the dynamics it caused in the group, especially the rooster crowing.  It did seem to cause them to talk in a more adult way in more depth and detail than normally happens in conversations.  And The Truther did seem to engender equality. It appeared those with domineering and manipulative personalities would not be able to take over psychologically or otherwise.

       Sam had never seen a group composed of people from backgrounds as different as those in the group.  It was clear some of the people in the group were wealthy and others were poor; some were highly educated and some were not.  There were several shades of skin color, ranging from almost black to almost white.  It would be interesting to see what would happen in the group, making different people talk with one another like equals, but he had little confidence anything significant would happen.  What could they produce or learn bullshitting like this that most people did not already know?  He could not believe charitable donors would spend this kind of money on this sort of thing.

       On the other hand, if only the country as a whole could operate like this, he thought, there would at least be a chance people could work out some of their problems face-to-face.  One of the problems with the way things work now is that people are congregated into their particular groups and cliques, such as churches and football teams based on their wealth, skills, and beliefs, doing the same things day after day week after week, talking with the same people about the same things over and over.  A group like this might cause people to at least think about new things.

       Sam had been worried about the state of the world for some time.  He had been depressed about the possibilities of global warming.  People were now talking more and more about human extinction.  Can you believe that?  The human species becoming extinct within decades.  Yet most people just keep on going as if nothing is wrong, feeling, thinking and doing pretty much like they always had.  Just a normal temporary change in the weather they think and then things will get just hunky dory again.  How this group could solve this problem is something else, but at least they might talk about it, and this might at least cause them to vote for politicians who might vote for things that might help stave off extinction.  Or is it already too late?

       On the other hand, Sam was already in his seventies, and he knew he would not be around much longer.  He knew he would soon be extinct regardless of what happens to all species.  And sometimes he wondered if he cared what happened to him personally.  He had by now learned enough about old age to know it’s not fun, prostate cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, skin cancer, arthritis, allergies, having to worry about falling and breaking a hip, no, not fun at all.  But there were still a few satisfactions.  He still loved his wife and beautiful scenery, birds, trees, streams, sunset views.  He enjoyed good food and a bottle of red wine.  He took satisfaction from making money in the stock market, however punishing it is to think about his real estate holdings some of which are now probably unsellable, without taking a beating selling them. And it wasn’t pleasant knowing another economic recession similar to 2007-08 might wipe out half the market value of his investments.

       He knew he would do what he could to live as long as he could, however much of a drain he became to the healthcare system, finally wasting away in a nursing home if he lived that long.  On the other hand, he thought one good strong heart attack any time would be the best way to go.  He had written his will as fairly as he could and he was ready to go when his lights went out, so why not hang out once a month with this lunatic discussion process, just for a lark?   

End of Episode 2. To be continued.