THE EARTHIAN FORUM — 16

THE EARTHIAN FORUM, Number Sixteen, Effective Learning Publications, https://www.effectivelearning.net/effective-learning-publications.html 32 East Main Street, Statesboro, Georgia, USA, May 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. Relevant articles written and published by writers in Internet posts in the last month or so on ecological, economic, social, psychological, political, religious, and military states of affairs around Spaceship Earth are linked immediately following the introductory essay, Or So It Seems to Me Right now.

OR SO IT SEEMS TO ME RIGHT NOW

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

It seems to me psychological Games have always been a major determinant of Earthian economic and political behavior, and a Game transactional analysts call NIGYSOB has been the most significant and pervasive psychological Game in business, economics, and politics.

If you’re thinking here I go again with more of that TA crap, looking at the world through a TA lens, I guess I have to admit guilt. I got hooked on TA back in the 1970s and have used it ever since. If you can’t stand TA just skip my rambling here and scroll down to the Sources section. You’re sure to find some articles there you will enjoy that are free of TA terms and concepts, however well TA jargon might help you understand what is really going on in the articles and videos.

NIGYSOB (Now I’ve Got You, You S.O.B.) entails players trying to reign supreme over others, to triumph over others, to become “one-up”, to be superior, to beat, to win, etc. NIGYSOB players are motivated by anger that they feel justified in releasing because of perceived social and psychological actions and manipulations on the part of Persecutors that might cause them to become loser Victims, causing them to feel their social and psychological standing and security are threatened.

All psychological Games include two sets of transactions being conducted simultaneously between the Game players, a spoken overt social set, and an ulterior covert unspoken psychological set, with three basic roles, Persecutor, Rescuer, and Victim being acted out by the players, involving three basic ego states used by the players, Parent, Adult, and Child, with switches of transactional vectors between various combinations of the Ego States, as the players also switch around from Persecutor, Rescuer, and Victim on a “Drama Triangle”.

I don’t have space here to get into lengthy detailed explanations or definitions of the above terms. If interested in learning more about them read my book Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning that is listed on the Effective Learning Publications page on the masthead of this blog at the top of this page.

Suffice it to say NIGYSOB Game-playing underlies all conflicts, competitions, and wars among nations and corporations internationally. You might think nations and international corporations fighting constantly among themselves do not really hate their competitors, but it seems to me anger is a major factor when serious fighting breaks out. Leaders try to engender fear and anger among their followers before the first outbursts of fighting to psyche up the followers. You might think a war is not an ego trip for the leaders. You might think instead the leaders are simply doing their perceived ethical duty to preserve the safety and security of their followers, to Rescue Victims and Persecute bad guys. This might be true at the overt spoken social level; but the unspoken psychological truth is another matter. All wars are ego trips, with leaders trying to triumph over other leaders, wanting to become one-up top dogs.

This raises the question of whether it’s possible for a large organization such as a large financial, manufacturing, or communications corporation; or a Federal Reserve System; a FBI, CIA, or Pentagon; or a US government, to be fully OK?

Probably not, for long.

You can build a case competitions among political parties in presidential elections more than anything else are NIGYSOB Games, with leaders saying they want to improve the plight of Victim citizens, increase their relative share of national and international income, provide them with better and cheaper health care, and the like; but here too the contest is largely an ego trip for the leaders who are more interested in being the top dog one-up winner than anything else. It becomes an ego trip for followers as well as the leaders foment fear and anger among them to beat the bad guy Persecutors and run them out of office. If their party wins the followers also feel “one-up” because their party ideology won, regardless of nothing being done to improve their economic and social conditions.

Entrepreneurs may say their major motivation is to create a new business that will improve the lives of customers, but creating a successful, powerful business is also largely an ego trip, especially if the entrepreneur is able to take in much more money than others. The money may be important for what it can buy, but the major satisfaction a big pile of money generates is the ego satisfaction and recognition a winner gets because of being able to take in a much larger share of money than others, producing a bigger and better balance sheet to show off, proof one has won the business Game called BALANCE SHEET.

The capitalistic economic system is based on NIGYSOB-playing. It’s what makes the world go round. It makes everyone richer, the defenders of capitalism say, because it motivates people to work harder and longer and more efficiently than they would if they did not have to compete and do battle with others to make a living. Even the losers under capitalism get richer than they would under socialism, many imply, because they assume capitalistic countries are able to capture much larger GNPs (Gross National Products) than socialistic and communistic countries. Nations sometimes think they can win in international competition by NIGYSOBing other countries using sanctions and wars.

Capitalism does indeed make some NIGYSOB players richer, those who wipe out their competitors and those who exploit and dispose of their employees to get cheaper ones in impoverished countries; but, of about 7.6 billion humans now aboard Spaceship Earth under capitalism, most will never get ahead, and a billion or so or will stay dirt poor the rest of their natural lives, however long or short, if global warming and climate change, or nuclear bombs, do not render the Earthian human species extinct in the meantime.  

I was a good football and basketball player back in my junior high, high school, and college years. I found it incredibly satisfying calling plays and running the team in a real game before cheering ecstatic fans on a football field, especially when you’re winning, in total control of the team on offense, as was the case when I was in the eighth grade, when we won every game, eleven out of eleven. I don’t recall feeling serious anger caused by my football and basketball opponents but I seriously wanted to beat them, badly.

I read a post on my Facebook newsfeed a few days ago featuring Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics basketball superstar, back in 1980 or so, reminiscing about the intense anger he and his teammates felt when they played the Los Angeles Lakers. He said the anger was real and serious. Maybe you have to be a little angry to be a superstar basketball player.

Ten or so years ago Joe Moring, who coached me three years in junior high and high school football and basketball back in the 1950s, telephoned me out of the blue. In the conversation, the first one we had had since the Texas state basketball playoffs in 1960, he told me “You may have been the ‘most coachable’ player I ever had.” This was quite a “stroke” coming from a superstar athlete and coach like Joe Moring, a stroke being what we transactional analysts call a “unit of recognition”, which can be positive or negative. It never occurred to me back in the day that my success in sports may have been partially due to repressed anger released in an underlying second-degree NIGYSOB psychological Game.

Capitalism may be a poor kind of economic system, but it’s better than the alternatives, some say. Just take a look at what has happened to people in socialistic and communistic countries, they say.

Maybe so, maybe no.

As a certified transactional analyst with professional experience dealing with psychological Games in organizations, it seems to me under capitalism people are forced to play psychological Games to vie for a greater share of the whole pie generated by organizations, including not only money but recognition, structure, and stimulation, to satisfy their ego needs.    

There are basically two kinds of scripts people have to act out in organizations to keep their jobs or get promoted: psychological scripts and social scripts.  

Psychological Scripts are programmed into children by virtue of being constantly exposed to and dependent on their parents before the age of eight. Almost as if by osmosis parents psychologically script their children not to feel, think, and do certain things in various ways and degrees, largely non-verbally by how they respond to a child, by how they get mad, glad, sad, or scared, or not, when the child does something or when various things happen in the environment. Psychological scripts are automatically “introjected” into the personalities of children during early childhood, and most children wind up pretty much like their parents, with the same accents, and the same kinds of feeling, thinking, doing, saying, and living patterns. Transactional analysts call these basic “don’t” requirements injunctions.

There are some generic “do” script messages called counter-injunctions such as brush your teeth, study hard, make something of yourself, work hard, etc. that are socially overt and spoken, but they are not as significant or powerful over a lifetime as psychological script injunctions.

Injunctions and counter-injunctions wind up creating a life script that includes a life positions. There are four basic TA life positions: I am OK and You are OK, I am OK and you are Not OK, I’m Not OK and You are OK, and I am Not OK and You are Not OK; and there are three basic TA life outcomes: Winner, Loser, and Non-Winner.

There is no way under capitalism for all people to be fully OK economic and political winners, making the I’m OK—You’re OK life position impossible. The bottom line is that most people are what they are because of family scripts, not economic conditions, and can only respond in adult life in certain ways because of their life scripts that cause the life positions and outcomes. Some people are more flexible and adaptable than others, but most people in order to make a living and achieve some satisfaction in life have to find a slot, niche, and level in an organization in which their life script is considered congruent, regardless of whether the economy is booming, flat, or imploding. In this sense the type of economic system is largely irrelevant.

Social scripts include the sum total of do’s and don’t’s required for a person to be successful dealing with others in a particular job or role in any organization to make a living. These scripts include the algorithmic steps required to do the specific job you are paid to do and required words and phrases to say to others and how to respond to people around you, up, across, and down the organizational chain of command, including playing the psychological Games people around you like to play.

Social restaurant scripts for greeters, servers, and customers require more conformity than most, requiring these words to get the show started in most restaurants: “How many?”, “Two”, or “Four”, or whatever number in the party; and “Right this way please”.

All organizations have generic and peculiar social scripts for all participants requiring certain words and phrases that have to be memorized and used. Almost nobody can be her or his true self most of the time making a living in an organization. Most employees have to act out scripts created by the organization. Organizations such as Disney World are the most scripted of all. Employees there are required to wear costumes and “go on stage” after they clock in for work, pretending while on the job to be characters like Donald Duck, Mickey or Minnie Mouse, or some fairy tale character like Snow White, or a dwarf, dealing with customers, parroting memorized lines. While all employees in all organizations have to pretend to some extent they are something they are not to keep their jobs, it’s not this extreme in most organizations.

Most people who get fired for cause in organizations are fired because of psychological scripts thought to be inappropriate in an organizational culture, and for being unwilling or unable to act out social scripts, not for not being able to perform the required algorithmic steps of the job.

A problem under capitalism is that the easiest way for upper managers to do a good job increasing the profit of the corporation is by eliminating jobs, regardless of how well their employees are acting out their required scripts and doing the algorithmic therbligs of their jobs. Therbligs are the smallest units of doing something your job requires, such as moving something from Point A to B or making some sort of calculation. Therblig is a made-up word using various letters of Gilbreath, the surname of two of the founders of so-called scientific management in the US.

Psychological Games are a way of getting stimulation, recognition, and structure as one goes about one’s business of surviving and making a living. Basically they involve trying to gain certain satisfactions dealing with others, such as by making yourself or someone else feel comfortable or by causing a loss of some sort for others, or by making a fool of someone. Psychological Games entail people discounting problems, opportunities, and people, and the significance of someone or something. All psychological Games entail players acting out one of three roles on a Drama Triangle: Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer.

Common psychological script injunction are Don’t Be Excellent and Don’t Be Important, among about fourteen kinds of Don’t feel, think, and do injunctions generally recognized by transactional analysts, widely transmitted in family scripting. I have covered them in detail in my books Business Voyages and Born to Learn , easily found on the Internet. Why would any parent tell a child not to be excellent or important? Well, no rational parent would socially. They do it psychologically largely outside of conscious Adult ego state awareness mainly because they too did not have psychological permission to be excellent or important when they were children. People play psychological Games by “cathecting”, or turning on, all three of their ego states, including their Parent and Child ego states to create and maintain stimulation, recognition, and structure similar to what they experienced earlier in life, and in most cases they are not aware of what they are doing.

While all managers say they want excellent important employees many of them don’t want them to be too excellent or important, otherwise they might have to pay them more money, or one of them might take over his or her job as manager or supervisor, pushing him or her out the door.

I have described and explained the dynamics and significance of ego states, psychological Games, and scripts in my books, as they were first described and explained in a large gush of books and papers written by Eric Berne, MD (the originator of transactional analysis), and others, published since the 1960s that are still in print and offered for sale on the Internet. The International Transactional Analysis Association has published an excellent collection of refereed scholarly articles on transactional analysis quarterly in the Transactional Analysis Journal since the early 1970s. I studied and trained in transactional analysis at the Southeast Institute at Chapel Hill, North Carolina during 1975-1978, passing written and oral comprehensive exams on transactional analysis in 1978 administered by the ITAA.

Two major purposes of TA are to help people become more authentic and script free so as to gain more satisfaction from life in general and to see social and psychological scripts for what they are in organizations to help people learn how to adapt and flex to them to make a living.

Sorry about the digression into TA, but it was necessary to explain my major point in this article, which is, political races are rife with psychological Games producing psychological satisfactions for all stakeholders—vested interests, candidates, and voters.

Why vote in the first place? The best Adult ego state reason would be to take social satisfaction in helping select the best leader for an organization or group to achieve rational goals and objectives for everyone. Lesser Parent and Child reasons would be to create satisfying psychological Game payoffs for yourself and to secure psychological structure, recognition, and stimulation similar to what you experienced with your parents, friends, and others in your early life, and in adolescence, that supported the psychological, social, economic, religious, political, and moral states of affairs of organizations such as your family, school, church, political party, or nation.

Once psychologically scripted most people do not rebel over a lifetime. Red states stay red and blue states stay blue, regardless of the logical Adult ego state reasoning of idealistic OK presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders, a hard-headed intellectual more interested in changing the whole system to optimize the functioning of the whole system to benefit everyone, rather than play psychological Games with people.

I remember a TV interviewer in 2000 asking an attractive woman who ran a bar and grill why she intended to vote for Bush II. “Cuz he’s a good-lookin’ man” was her quick response.

There are several psychological Games people play in political races; but it seems to me dealing with presidential races on the Internet and elsewhere, listening to comments people make on my Facebook news feed timeline and elsewhere, most politicians play to some degree a psychological Game called Rapo by transactional analysts, since one of the surest ways to get votes in our narcissistic USian culture is to be considered good lookin’.

There are three degrees of psychological Games: First Degree Games are basically compliments, insults, discounts, jokes, and body language displays designed to build up or tear down someone’s self-esteem, or gain or lose some sort of psychological advantage; Second Degree Games entail more serious discounts and payoffs, threatening someone, firing someone, getting divorced, etc.; Third Degree Games are sometimes called tissue-tearing Games with payoffs such as getting into physical fights, going to war, winding up in a morgue, etc.

A Rapo Game starts by someone psychologically promising some sort of satisfaction to someone for responding to her or his sexual attractiveness. There are various social and psychological transactions that can bring this about, social transactions being spoken and overt, psychological transactions being unspoken and covert. The payoff for a Rapo player is not a real sexual liaison but making a fool of a mark or sucker who will be punished or humiliated in some way if he or she responds to the psychological sexual messages. Not all psychological Games entail sexual messaging but a lot of them do. All psychological Games involve a con artist of some degree taking advantage of the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of a mark or suckers, promising things the Game starter has no intentions of delivering. Most of the promises of first-degree Games are insignificant and inconsequential. These Games are ubiquitous and most people play them at various times. Sometimes they have to to survive in organizations.

Psychological Games and scripts are what make folk tales and fairy tales (such as Cinderella, Jack & Jill, Humpty Dumpty, Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel) interesting and dramatic.

Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Bush II, Obama, Hillary, Trump, and Biden won some big races largely because of being successful psychological Game players, having physical and psychological characteristics that enabled them to transmit non-verbal psychological messages to voters that they would deliver to them psychological and social satisfactions if they voted for them, somehow providing them with various sorts of desired or fantasied psychological stimulation, structures, and recognition. Whether these politicians produced for their voters the psychological and social satisfactions the voters sought would be difficult to prove, just as it would be difficult for these voters to prove voting for these politicians actually produced the economic satisfactions they socially sought. Any president during the last forty years would have a difficult time proving he produced significant tangible economic benefits for middle and lower income people, regardless of how much psychological and social satisfaction he produced for them.

Seems to me Earthian 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 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 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 focus primarily on ideal states to be achieved in the future; extreme authoritarian nihilists would be focused primarily on the here and now, caring little 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. Idealistic builders of 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.

I agree with most transactional analysts that Earthian humans are scripted to be what they are 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

Don’t Be Important

Don’t Be Close

Don’t Belong

Don’t Be Well (or sane)

Don’t 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 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. 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. So 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” 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. 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 the sub-conscious minds of humans. 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, 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, the way one structures time (learning how to spend more time in different ways), spending more or less time withdrawing in their heads, pastiming (shooting the bull) with others, performing rituals, working, playing psychological Games, or enjoying intimacy with others.

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 acting as if 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  https://www.itaaworld.org/  to create better discussion groups and democratic 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, making it possible for all Earthian humans to develop and I’m OK—You’re OK life position. 

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.   

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. They waste a lot of 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.

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 that others need to know. Whether lying by omission is more or less harmful than lying by commission, telling people things you know are falsehoods bu 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. Political parties, the US government, and Mainstream media lie by omission about what is going on with alacrity, in many cases socially presenting true facts but omitting analysis about why they happened or what could have been done better.

TO RESPOND:

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, 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  .

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SOURCES:

May 12, 2020

John Whitehead—”With every passing day, we’re being moved further down the road towards a totalitarian society characterized by government censorship, violence, corruption, hypocrisy and intolerance, all packaged for our supposed benefit in the Orwellian doublespeak of national security, tolerance and so-called “government speech.”

“Technofascism: Digital Book burning in a totalitarian age,” by John Whitehead, INTREPED REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29859.

May 11

Yep

“We Honor What We Value – Entertainers Over Saviors,“ by Ralph Nader, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/05/08/we-honor-what-we-value-entertainers-over-saviors/?fbclid=IwAR0gekjpvOMLOE1Gj-DP1QAzSlMTWr-epIP79spuE7p9AFJjZGR1pAUyWJc/.

May 11

This post presents new information regarding the problem of US slavery.

“Without Slavery, Would The U.S. Be The Leading Economic Power?,” by Edward E. Baptist, NHPR.ORG,  https://www.nhpr.org/post/without-slavery-would-us-be-leading-economic-power?fbclid=IwAR2xmEMpa_7BGfv821QDSU3tdNZYzSkyULP6dFEQCXbVbT4kTBcUW-K6eZo#stream/0.

May 11

Very sad it’s come to this, a summary of a life of good legal, literary, and social activist work lived by my long time friend Wm Cox from our days back at Wolfforth, Texas in the 1940s and 59s.

“This is Not a Reality Show. This is Reality!,” by William John Cox, WILLIAM JOHN COX.COM, https://williamjohncox.com/?fbclid=IwAR200qww9drFzmGI7PtvaRONsPUt4eq08YmNRdv8rBJLDu1BZstwGwR6AM0.

May 10

Say it aint so Joe

“The Coming Collapse,” by Chris Hedges, TRUTH-DIG.ORG, https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-coming-collapse/.

May 10

Yuk

“American Shopping Malls Resemble Ghost Towns After Reopening,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/health/american-shopping-malls-resemble-ghost-towns-after-reopening?fbclid=IwAR0QoaMQPvoAnm_UkHQ155XoRQHuzWD-A62bwztMyyNng2teqs4uiDpw-Qk.

May 10

Seems plausible

“One Bank Explains Why QE No Longer Stimulates The Economy And Only Leads To Higher Stock Prices,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/one-bank-explains-why-qe-no-longer-stimulates-economy-and-only-leads-higher-stock-prices?fbclid=IwAR35EpjQgU1iCNLOTBfUSvNZ_9rRvxpjWBrVa7sDKx3MlxgK01ZuflrXie8.

May 10

Never would have thought it but it seems more and more likely.

“Dear World Leaders: 1984 Was Not Supposed To Be An Instruction Manual,” by Luke Eastwood, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/what-if-crisis-one-without-end-george-orwells-perpetual-war?fbclid=IwAR20zsneMQ6ANJSWDy5Etpjmn8e1vPsu_Jfwbl1vbbBHupmHDzkmn8p5Eus.

May 9

Another great article by Paul Street

“Live and Let Die,” by Paul Street, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/05/08/live-and-let-die/?fbclid=IwAR05E5ODZGk8KjcFACTzEvgSsWIonB29c3ADso_B9rC1FOQc3I0xSoplVXQ.

May 8

Hell of a note, Nothin’ much to do but walk to the bathroom to take a leak or shave or brush teeth or do some other chores around the house, or mow the grass driving your riding lawnmower, sometimes mowing the same grass more than once to kill more time, significantly increasing lawn mower noise in the neighborhood.

“A Tragic Record: For the First Time Ever, More than Half Of The US Population is Not Working,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/tragic-record-first-time-ever-more-half-us-population-not-working?fbclid=IwAR0sXJwN90no-bOoQiUOCnF2Y1bORkr70iQ-QaC4LjniOM0qkNAtlIZOJlU.

May 7

Of course. Mail-in voting makes it harder to suppress voting. Why should anything be fair anymore? It’s unfair not to let Repugs suppress votes.

“Republicans Oppose Mail-In Voting Because They’re Scared of Losing,” by  William Rivers Pitt, TRUTHOUT.ORG, https://truthout.org/articles/republicans-oppose-mail-in-voting-because-theyre-scared-of-losing/?utm_campaign=Truthout+Share+Buttons&fbclid=IwAR1esMa5BbIGIo-GY3yr0GYS1zsQsplZ2V9lnXHIq8QGeeVA20erL9n8PY4.

May 7

Very sad

“Shot dead for ‘looking like a burglar’: New video stirs anger, calls for justice over killing of  black man in Georgia,” TRTWORLD, YOUTUBE, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coLXSfVCBAk&fbclid=IwAR1dM0qdqmIOr9zfgkqJLNn-JRdQx4wsCpkOF2IyHthAmuehAYf6ZI2ft3s.

May 7

Say it aint so Joe

“The temple of self-gratification,” by Jason Hirtheir, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29849.

May 6

Right. Lying is ok for the DNC. The case was dismissed for lack of standing.

“DNC: We rigged primaries. So What?,” by Alicia Power, WMD.COM, https://www.wnd.com/2017/05/dnc-we-rigged-primaries-so-what/?fbclid=IwAR3TOxg6xFVfnnbqeJPDJaXcAWQuLHTnT0brogpqL4JMPwG445JkEuModvk.

May 6

It’s mind boggling to think a poor excuse for a human being like this gets to define reality all the time for millions or billions of people around Spaceship Earth based on his impulses that are subject to change at any time because deluded befuddled voters in an election voted for him as president of the US, about twenty-five percent of eligible voters of the country, a country sheltering about five percent of the Earthian human population.

“Trump says corona virus crisis ‘worse than Pearl Hzrbor’ or 9/11,” AFP, NEWS.YAHOO.COM, https://news.yahoo.com/trump-says-coronavirus-crisis-worse-pearl-harbor-9-183744178.html?soc_src=hl-viewer&soc_trk=fb.

May 6

Here is an article I recently wrote and published in the ELR.

“Why Large Powerful Political Parties Are Evil,” by Richard John Stapleton, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT, by Richard John Stapleton, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/2019/10/?fbclid=IwAR0raPYsP4j-vc03y1x1BTzHc0F3JCziTwrMZUlqqp4TimXiyhLdlaKqHHI.

May 5

Unexpected development. Hope he creams Biden in this election just for the hell of it.

“A federal judge just ordered New York election officials to restore Bernie Sanders  to the presidential primary ballot,”  by Grace Panette, BUSINESS INSIDER, https://www.businessinsider.com/judge-orders-bernie-sanders-to-be-restored-ny-primary-ballot-2020-5?fbclid=IwAR3VSg3xkQtMfw6r0QGJKIIBRHBTzSDcn_QdK_zR5wdIDkMK-uBmLTYtgJg.

May 5

“I thought most Dem voters would rebel against their overlords in the Dem Party and choose Bernie; but they didn’t: they went along with their masters, or naturally agreed because of their life scripts.

What mainly counted were the unexpressed silent ulterior psychological messages they saw and imagined. It seems to me most Dem voters do not have psychological permission to vote in their own best economic interests.

“Why Dem Voters Chose Joe Biden,” by Richard John Stapleton, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/why-dem-voters-chose-joe-biden/?fbclid=IwAR0GtGc0cNkSqsoGkN6rsFeVow-2om1LQgq0t5PCOuYs8nOpQSHbSHnfg3A.

May 4

More than anything else Trump’s win in the 2016 Repug primaries shows the disrespect and contempt Repug voters had for all the other Repug candidates in the primary race. Now in 2020, unfortunately US voters are faced with another lesser evil situation, Trump or Biden, thanks to Dem voters choosing Biden rather than Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Dem primary race. Chomsky’s logic still stands, but is it worth it, letting the DNC establishment get away with their rigging, hijacking, and contempt for democracy, truth, and justice once again to preserve their personal perks and privileges at the expense of middle and lower income US citizens, however much middle and lower income voters are to blame for Trump and Biden being the two lesser evils this time around, because dammit they voted for them in primary elections, not having the sense to vote in their own interests. There are few innocent players in this process. The basic decision of the 2020 US presidential election does not entail choosing the lesser evil candidate but the lesser evil ideology of the Repug and Dem parties. In terms of truth, fairness, and justice as i see it that would entail voting Dem, and let the devil take the hindmost. Dem politicians these days are not any better in general than Repugs when it comes to doing what they say they will do for the good of the country, both Dems and Repugs being employees of the deep state. But what Dems say in general, however unlikely it is they will do it, is better than what Repugs say they will do; and that’s what US voters are stuck with, voting for what an evil political party says it will do, not for what it will do. As the late great Jackie Gleason would say, “How sweet it is.”

“Noam Chomsky, lesser evilism, and democracy,” by Michael K. Smith, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29806.

May 4

Another great analysis and vision by Ellen Brown, the smartest and most honest money and banking expert out there.

“Crushing the States, Saving the Banks: the Fed’s Generous New Rules,” by Ellen Brown, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/05/04/crushing-the-states-saving-the-banks-the-feds-generous-new-rules/?fbclid=IwAR2-9clf1IQWndIvQ_pImn0hsTBK7zQSsgr-Sy7H9v3jJ0_m-1H7bsY9JnY.

May 4

So much for the labor movement in the US.

“Lingg’s Autobiography: An Overlooked Haymarket Confession?,” COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/05/04/linggs-autobiography-an-overlooked-haymarket-confession/?fbclid=IwAR0RyESMvDTa__Jz_uSGinC1OZkl9tt2Hl48_MjiDxGzZBGssFgPtdbPWBs.

May 4

Depressing

“The Anatomy of a Failing University,:” by David Schultz, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/05/04/the-anatomy-of-a-failing-university/?fbclid=IwAR0TZw4QgQCGdanXaXs8x9axwhVCHhAREcq7rI0_eFtd43rHvCgddddlnEY.

May 4

Pathetic

“The Pentagon Continues to Profit at Taxpayers’ Expense During Pandemic,” by Mandy Smithberger, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/the-pentagon-continues-to-profit-at-taxpayers-expense-during-pandemic/?utm_campaign=Truthout+Share+Buttons&fbclid=IwAR3Wov55SKtlQvihQDDRoC8jR2u4dT9uZu8YrJCjhPj0a75duJOxJNH04ZE.

May 2

Cant the fed govmint do nothin’ right

“The Small Business Loan Racket,” by Eve Ottenberg, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/05/01/the-small-business-loan-racket/?fbclid=IwAR1O-IcJJGrt8LUnacLU9ecyv_bsRgsSFpTSQBXiiXF0lLANoPpzRktNzMg.

May 2

Yes

“Head of Postal Union Says Mailed Ballots Are Best Way to Secure 2020 Election,” by Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/video/head-of-postal-union-says-mailed-ballots-are-best-way-to-secure-2020-election/?utm_campaign=Truthout+Share+Buttons&fbclid=IwAR17UfIC3Zx7GjL_Br5jB3fwwfTkZAi7vbfRGpaXxDnTrIwPYI4sywwwzAQ/.

May 1

Yes

“The out-of-pocket cost of Coronavirus treatment: Canada, $0; US, up to $74,310: We need Medicare for All,” Bernie Sanders, https://www.facebook.com/berniesanders/photos/a.324119347643076/3032623940125923/?type=3&theater.

May 1

Necessary lies some would say.

“If Trump is a Pthological Liar, What Type of Liar is Biden?,” Bruce E. Levine, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/05/01/if-trump-is-a-pathological-liar-what-type-of-liar-is-biden/?fbclid=IwAR3fEsX926ckodghpab4aK4QuzyaBpcpf-tEojlUI-W3ENG6xTpNIBj0h6U.

May 1

This article by Courtenay Barnett presents a cogent analysis of evolved economic issues, problems, and approaches faced and taken by the US and what to do about them now, Richard John Stapleton, Editor & Publisher

“A Crisis Within Capitalism,” by Courtenay Barnett, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/a-crisis-within-capitalism/.

May 1

Bill Blain tells it like it is: capitalism is dying, not caused by middle and lower class workers attacking their upper class bosses and betters but by the upper class destroying capitalism by undermining processes that make capitalism work, such as free competition and survival of the fittest. Now it’s not the fittest businesses that survive, but those big enough and politically active enough to extract favors and handouts from governments and central banks to rescue them from their greed, incompetence, and malfeasance, supposedly necessary for the survival of all species of fauna and flora aboard Spaceship Earth..

“Blain’s Morning Porridge (1) May Day 2020: Boeing – Mars Wins,” by Bill Blain, BLAIN’S MORNING PORRIDGE, https://morningporridge.com/the-morning-porridge/f/blains-morning-porridge-1-may-day-2020-boeing—marx-wins#disqus_thread/.

April 30

Is the US a failed state under Trump and was it before? Here is Noam Chomsky at his best delivering one of the best overviews of US politics I have read. As bad as the current predicament is, Chomsky advocates voting for Biden, however banal, corrupt, dysfunctional, and mediocre he is, because “Left doctrine,” is better that “Right doctrine”, which disgusts me, but which I must admit might be the best thing to do in this case, Based on Chomsky’s analysis here, which it seems to me in effect asserts humans en masse are too stupid to understand the facts of actual cases, so as to vote for the right policies and actions, humans have little choice but to vote for the supposed best dogmas and doctrines, which is a major cause of Earthian human misery and fallure in my opinion.

“Chomsky: COVID-19 Has Exposed the US Under Trump as a ‘Failed State’,” C. J. Polychroniou, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/chomsky-covid-19-has-exposed-the-us-under-trump-as-a-failed-state/?utm_campaign=Truthout+Share+Buttons&fbclid=IwAR3VJmeQwHReQ_pRdZ3cVYUKrRVM6l3vFY3bWwGMYUucH0TWeEJGEgMXlP0.

April 30

Very sad

“Las Vegas Transforms Casino Into Food Bank As Working Poor Line Up for Miles,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/health/las-vegas-transforms-casino-food-bank-working-poor-line-miles?fbclid=IwAR03yG2pnUcXSc3P7bDpRQibgMVwKAHlZ-tE6SpYBCut0K7611Ix78-GpsY.

April 20

Uncharted Blue Sky

“$6.66 Trillion: At least our satanic overlords have a sense of humor,” Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/666-trillion?fbclid=IwAR3UgVKF0tAr_JfQYEnjhEfoJu893k1fm8EGxSSrsMl5Dh5-DfXEwd9k94Q.

April 30

Just updated our wobsite making some changes to the UniDesk™ page, improving my philosophy on reading and learning.

“Educational Website for Teachers & Adults, Statesboro, GA,” EFFECTIVE LEARNING.NET, https://www.effectivelearning.net/?fbclid=IwAR0iSE95WtNU7GKG0rwxw4k-J5ig6VEPYp_kXSdNPZ_SJfrFe81WMq4eGJU.

April 29

The height of his inanity

“As for Trump’s own intelligence, he paraded his IQ in front of a national television audience last week when he incoherently suggested exposing Covid-19 patients to disinfectants or strong light: “Suppose that we hit the body with tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light? Then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in one minute. Is there a way we can do something like that by infection inside, or almost a cleaning? It would be interesting to check that.” The manufacturer for Lysol, a disinfectant spray and cleaning product, immediately issued a warning against Trump’s medical bulletin.” Melvin Goodman

“Trump Takes His War on Intelligence to a New Level,” by Melvin Goodman, COUNTERUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/29/trump-takes-his-war-on-intelligence-to-a-new-level/?fbclid=IwAR36NOmt7vtUDJ8ro8_tdZwM7IygX_GfbSIobe5dZ2uCfTMHYwI2u3yAfvs.

April 27

The best Chris Hedges video yet.

“American Anomie,” Chris Hedges, YOUTUBE.COM, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HV0cS1TGve4&fbclid=IwAR0YEXSFWaj9AXOaQhb6gaEI8c9OETbDvb9JSSbJgH_BQ5ErYesgIdULTOk.

April 27

Generally agree

“Jill Stein: Why 5% for the Green Party is a win for America,” CNBC.COM, https://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/27/why-5-for-the-green-party-is-a-win-for-america-jill-stein-commentary.html?fbclid=IwAR3rSYMGbTw904iPTroXEN2lfboF21o0kLNtdHC7Irii8kuGtAWBvJo1gT8.

April 26

Say it aint so Joe

“Smithfield and Our Troubled Future,” by Louis Proyect, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/24/smithfield-and-our-troubled-future/?fbclid=IwAR29eaycJCsv6q0cw8gC_ePJRNkIzx0dHdbjuZpzAfvsWs5o4coR4vDKYxU.

April 26

About right

“Capitalism on Life Support…Time for a Cure,” Staff Editorial, STRATEGIC-CULTURE.ORG, https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/04/24/capitalism-on-life-support-time-for-a-cure/?fbclid=IwAR38GYjwRl5BU0EPde-q7LP1E5uhOHFAlpbiKhJQ82-vMw-sr7zi2XjVRPI.

April 26

Worth a look and listen

“How Bernie & Squad Actually Support Corporate State,” by Chris Hedges, YOUTUBE.COM, https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/04/24/capitalism-on-life-support-time-for-a-cure/?fbclid=IwAR38GYjwRl5BU0EPde-q7LP1E5uhOHFAlpbiKhJQ82-vMw-sr7zi2XjVRPI.

April 25

“I WANT YOU TO STOP THINKING: The Reussians and the Chinese Are Your Enemy,” by Caitlin Johnstone, MEDIUM, https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/the-russians-and-the-chinese-are-your-enemy-b07f7b961408.

April 23

Right

“Coronavirus Crisis Makes Clear Pentagon Should Get No More Money This Year for Its ‘Wasteful War Machine’: 60+ Groups,” by Andrea germanos, COMMON DREAMS, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/04/22/coronavirus-crisis-makes-clear-pentagon-should-get-no-more-money-year-its-wasteful?fbclid=IwAR0uOzagXdCNK3ttTMrt4hTJ12UR_Ch0T8mpqTNl2GdHlIZ6KOQ6FJ_8Ei0.

April 23

This is the best entrepreneurial and business policy article and video presentation I have heard and seen lately. It’s basically what i have been saying since 2000 or so, before I retired from teaching entrepreneurship and business policy in a business school in 2005. For more on entrepreneurship according to me read my book Business Voyages, easily found on the Internet.

Be sure to look and listen to the embedded video interview of Chamath Palinhapitiya, an entrepreneur who really knows his stuff and practices what he preaches.

“Round 2: Chamath Explains Why Corporate America is ‘Incompetent’ & Fed Stimulus is ‘Dangerous’ in Epic Interview,”  article and video interview of Chamath Palinhapitiya conducted by CNBC, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/chamath-slams-incompetent-executives-buying-back-stock-debt-explains-why-what-fed?fbclid=IwAR0BsO4SXnntxYYsDsBBWIGKO0rS50WZ-b3zPNQvNbS4YqCvUkBG_ScnlDU.

April 20

Well thought out and presented article by Ellen Brown, one of the best money and banking experts around

“A Universal B asic Income is Essential and Will Work,” by Ellen Brown, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/20/a-universal-basic-income-is-essential-and-will-work/?fbclid=IwAR0-AXS59nCTb3dOmzgfOfoOoFH_UoUpGy8AWE5CXXtUvMePNdDYJt38fko.

April 19

“This is a real solution to a real problem. But with the One Percent in charge of the problem, we are not going to get a real solution. We are going to get more money used to push up prices of financial assets and paper over unsustainable debt and a dying economy with an artificially-inflated stock market.

“The elite have failed us too many times. It is time to dethrone them.”

Paul Craig Roberts

“Are we brewing a new feudalism?,”  by Paul Craig Roberts, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29680.

April 19

Agree

“Postal carriers are essential workers. They need a stimulus too,” by Sarah Anderson, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29682.

April 19

About sums it up.

“Bernie’s Political Funderal,” by Kathleen Wallace, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/17/bernies-political-funeral-2/?fbclid=IwAR3hVDmHcLl7xOqDChlUTg5b6A64Fyb2-MxLqbT66HVCfAYoMkQho5S1CTo.

April 19

If capitalism is the best economic system I would have to see what the worst one would have done.

“Covid-19 Was a Triger, But Capitalism Caused the Economic Crash, by Richard D. Wolff, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/covid-19-was-a-trigger-but-capitalism-caused-the-economic-crash/?utm_campaign=Truthout+Share+Buttons&fbclid=IwAR15RVhejnGCnGjAtAN7pn2OP3gOoF79cKddezJYHA9Qp0FAvkk0ewa53AE.

April 18

Losing the US postal system would be an irreplaceable loss. The post office is one of the things that really did make America great.

“Postal Workers Union Leader Warns the USPS Could Be Dead in Three Months,” by Hamilton Nolan, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/postal-workers-union-leader-warns-the-usps-could-be-dead-in-three-months/?utm_campaign=Truthout+Share+Buttons&fbclid=IwAR1e4kuMVIc9m9-jSc7LSwL96ENIw0DqfCCQg3WBHpoGjlAUJ1lShSC-UM8.

April 18

Essentially correct. All Earthians are suffering from “the fallacy of composition” that explains why what is good for a part is not necessarily good for a whole system. Not only does corporations pursuing their own interests not work in the best interests of the US as a whole in many cases, the US pursuing its own interests does not work in the best interests of Spaceship Earth, which explains why Spaceship Earth as a whole is collapsing.

“How CEOs are ruining America,” by Robert Reich, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29643.

April 18

Cooperate or perish

“Gorbachev: World Must Come Together After COVID or ‘Rish Sliding into chaos,”  by Mikhail Gorbachev, op-ed via TIME.com, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/gorbachev-world-must-come-together-after-covid-or-risk-sliding-chaos?fbclid=IwAR0dgdpbxhdgY0XELqSfAUDYcr5Y2695UUrf2t6wiYIey4dZ6NJGhVOf4Ks.

April 14

The greatest show on Earth today is USian repug and dem politics and the biggest suckers on Earth are lower and middle income voters who do not vote in their own best interests.

“Barnum, always quick to capitalize on his audience’s skepticism—“to turn all doubts into hard cash,” as he put it—brought the two men together on stage. To his surprise, this only deepened the audience’s suspicion. The more he tried to convince customers of their error, he wrote, “the more they winked and looked wise, and said, ‘It’s pretty well done, but you can’t take me in.’” He had trained his audiences in the art of the humbug too well. “It is very amusing,” Barnum concludes, to see how easily people “deceive themselves by being too incredulous.

“Wilson notes this episode only in passing, but to an American reader in 2020, it barks from the page. The great danger to democracy today comes not from marks slow to spot a humbug but from a public made cynical to the point of believing that everything, and everyone, is a humbug, especially the humorless class of credentialed experts whom Barnum took such joy in ridiculing. In the end, though, it’s a distinction without a difference. Too credulous or too incredulous—you’re a sucker either way.” Nathaniel Rich

“American Humbug: On P.T. Barnum’s genius salesmanship,” by Nathaniel Rich, based on a book Barnue: An American Life, by Robert, Wilson, THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS,  https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2020/04/23/pt-barnum-american-humbug/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NYR+Barnum+olives+authoritarians+running+alone&utm_content=NYR+Barnum+olives+authoritarians+running+alone+CID_804187a113ad10a013f0776428901939&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_term=fake+news&fbclid=IwAR2qvlGUlZT2QY3yEx2N-UGvnJCmXwLXUdhN4RYHscCMTJ_sGpCZtuigMOA.

April 16

The biggest ripoff in US history caused by Repug middle and lower income suckers who voted for humbug Repug politicians who lowered the highest tax rate from some eighty percent to nothing in some cases for large corporations.

“Taxes Paid By Billionaires Decreased 79 Percent Since 1980, as Percentage of Their Wealth,” by Bob Lord and Chuck Collins, COUNTERPUNCH,  https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/16/taxes-paid-by-billionaires-decreased-79-percent-since-1980-as-percentage-of-their-wealth/?fbclid=IwAR16j_nQmpwNuLI4C_ftnKDIJA8qg1c5FUl8tWiTj7yhDQw3z5H4Uz3sD3A.

April 15

Say it aint so Joe

“The Indigenous Genocide We Refuse to Acknowledge,” by Eric Anderson Scott, MEDIUM, https://medium.com/bigger-picture/the-indigenous-genocide-we-refuse-to-acknowledge-ae3a210a27f9.

April 15

Another nail in the coffin

“Abrupt Ecosystem Collapse,” by Robert Hunziker, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/15/abrupt-ecosystem-collapse/?fbclid=IwAR373b-6zAjbnA4nNhml_ndaQIDGgol5ye-s3m3m-VYu2wML-IXpjZdm-nM.

April 15

Here’s why Bernie dropped out.

“John Prine and Bernie Sanders: Honoring Two Men Just Brought Down by the Coronavirus Pandemic,” by Dave Lindorff, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/14/john-prine-and-bernie-sanders-honoring-two-men-just-brought-down-by-the-coronavirus-pandemic/?fbclid=IwAR0EXDxHCMrUNvdn08qBIQ_cRt5SmIKjQ03_sEg3BsXyXtsHHwQ4AVU6-cg.

April 13

Hell of a note. The coronavirus is so dangerous the UN has called for a complete ceasefire in all wars being fought around Spaceship Earth.

“UN ceasefire defines war as a non-essential activity,” by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J S Davies, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29635.

April 13

Well said by William Rivers Pitt.

“Minimum-Wage Workers Are Dying to Keep Everyone Else Alive. They Deserve More,” by William Rivers Pitt, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/minimum-wage-workers-are-dying-to-keep-everyone-else-alive-they-deserve-more/?utm_campaign=Truthout+Share+Buttons&fbclid=IwAR3sBi0E94Cr5rzaxOoIQWCxvvcHgCnBGwlCD4qUElQohL7tbokbz2kURjA.

April 13

Brave lady tells the truth as she sees it, Caitlin Johnstone. Agree with her with one reservaton: The propaganda was not only provided by current media but by the sum total of propaganda inundating voters from birth, from parents, churches, religions, schools, and friends that wired them to believe and vote as they do.  

“This Absolute Busshit Would Not Be Possible Without Propaganda,” by Caitlin Johnstone, MEDIUM, https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/this-absolute-bullshit-would-not-be-possible-without-propaganda-f60383880d71.

April 12

All all i can say is that Google works for me with factual information for my questions, but there is a good point. There is no end of manipulation and corruption that could exist if Google wanted to go full evil to extract monies from greedy and hungry humans.

The most astounding thing about this article to me was the picture of a Google building, I assume its home office, solid blue, strange color of blue, with a curved wall. You ought to click on this just to see their building, if for no other reason. The Google founders are now among the world’s richest men, so I guess they can afford any kind of building they want.

“Google Becomes Evil: The Technoskeptic,” by Tom Valovic, THE TECHNOSKEPTIC, https://thetechnoskeptic.com/google-evil/?fbclid=IwAR3p361snzkTiG4oBK5mMuFHw5oFUg_EqDHfA9iBtPPQT59_v4oZD7CBCkA.

April 10

More unethical and treacherous US behavior.

“Freedom Rider: Standing with Venezuela and Iran,”  by Margaret Kimberley, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29602.

April 10

Excellent facts, data, and analysis on where we are now after Covid-19 changed and threatened Spaceship Earth even more.

“Chomsky and Pollin: To Heal from COVID-19, W Must Imagine a Different World,” by C. J. Polychroniou, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/chomsky-and-pollin-to-heal-from-covid-19-we-must-imagine-a-different-world/?utm_campaign=Truthout+Share+Buttons&fbclid=IwAR2D_ejfSFGbofkmIWE6_teMoFLr32b4HwIdbt9C7lLCITxj3pi-cN6uJx0.

April 0

Unfortunately some good points here.

“Richard Wolff and Harriet Fraad on Capitalism’s Effects on Mental Health,” UTUBE VIEDO, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG5nUG-oVPs.

April 8

Say it aint so Joe

“An American Horror Story: Rabobank On The Recession of 2020, by Philip Marey, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/economics/american-horror-story-rabobank-recession-2020?fbclid=IwAR3HxDxDga6h2yPPV5E5_VZPb6IeSJjr3wMEOkPrB99oiDZ18Yg5zLgtKzY.

April 9

If true, ethical rational free enterprise business as we hav e known it is over.

“Free Markets Are Dead: Fed to Start Buying Junk Bonds, High Yield ETFs,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/free-markets-are-dead-fed-start-buying-junk-bonds-junk-etfs?fbclid=IwAR0w53z1pYPYBgJ274ppBUhYGYtX7N2KaGg1ehSF6s_-t6O5UoFwIN8_GoA.

April 9

Seems germane

“The New Normal: Cascading and Multilayered Crises,”  by Vincent Emanuele, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/09/the-new-normal-cascading-and-multilayered-crises/?fbclid=IwAR2jp30eBJUG6Kr72XF-9KLrq4gphf5FhMkinetm0AoR3TGkvI2NVaQ6rpQ.

April 7

Excellent discussion

“Live: Mehdi Hasan and Naomi Kleoin on Coroavirus Capitalism,” THEINTERCEPT.COM,  https://theintercept.com/2020/04/06/live-mehdi-hasan-naomi-klein-coronavirus-capitalism/?fbclid=IwAR2cpTk0oBDUfiU9X0XX9GyFaWa41HTr2jqZMjzwW0Z_56PxYYoA1cMvRUs.

April 7

Pathetic things have gotten this bad for the newspaper business, and for a lot of other small businesses. I started out in life after graduating from college the first time as a newspaper man in my home town, Wolfforth, Texas, starting and publishing for two years the Wolfforth-Frenship Gazette. I made a little money at it, about thirty dollars a week, and that, with selling a few fire and casualty insurance policies and houses and handling mortgage loans through what I called Rick Stapleton Agency I made a living; but I sold out and went back to graduate school, never losing my enjoyment of writing things that might make a positive difference for humanity, however grandiose that notion might be. I just read on Facebook a notice by DeWayne Grice in his Internet publication about the passing of Senator Jack Hill, possibly caused by Covid-19, whom I have known since 1990. Jack Hill was a good friend and an irreplaceable Georgia state senator for our district. We live in dark times, made sadder by Senator Hill’s passing.

“”’Media Extinction Event’: Print Newspapers Face COVID-19 Dealth-Knell,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/economics/already-declining-print-news-facing-coronavirus-death-knell-ad-revenue-dries?fbclid=IwAR35OlKKbo9VAuwSwq-RBJv9NbvVmpQAKrO3OocIe7OZsG3ZBr_cCnsRJ-Q.

April 6

Can you imagine not only being attacked by covid-19 but by Trump unleashing USian sanctions on you?

“Donald Trump, Capitalism, and Letting Them Die,” by W. T. Whitney, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/06/donald-trump-capitalism-and-letting-them-die/?fbclid=IwAR2rTU6P0DOpfzHtWGgoyP3KuDmkmcwVHxoJb2B_iOxp9XkU2dkpgisE_0E.

April 6

Jack Hill has passed. He was an exemplary politician and human being and a good friend of mine for thirty years. He will be sorely missed, impossible to replace.

“Georgia State Senator Jack Hill has Died,” by DeWayne Grice, GRICECONNECT.COM, https://griceconnect.com/2020/04/06/georgia-state-senator-jack-hill-has-died/?fbclid=IwAR2dF3oqmNIdoQ6-iBVJBib_uAF9my4Kx3psX3oHTnxYXHHwGtF5wjftb6w.

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

Thanks for reading…

Best wishes,

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

A CRISIS WITHIN CAPITALISM

By COURTENAY BARNETT

Purpose

It is intended to argue here that the world is on the cusp of significant changes post-Covid-19.

From whence did the crisis come?

This question and how I choose to answer it comes from the tuition I received and the thought processes instilled in me at University to assess a question such as the one posed.

The question is one about economics.

So, how I was taught lets one glean from where I am coming. Forget about the BS ( as in a degree from a University – for now that equals ‘bullshit’) – and likewise – Bsc. equals – ‘bullshit confirmed’. I say that to indicate  –  I do not seek to impose any argument from authority – but rather wish to have an intelligent and hopefully informed discourse on issues of immediate importance.

What then of the thought processes? Well:-

Karl Marx: This school of economic thought is concerned with an analysis of capitalism and it focuses on the inherent crisis in capitalism brought on by surplus production and surplus value and the concomitant impact on class struggle. That is as succinctly as I can explain what Marxian economics concerns itself with.

John Maynard Keynes: Faced with the crisis of the ‘Great Depression’ Keynes focused on the government’s role in stimulating and increasing consumer demand to increase economic growth. His theory came to be known as Keynesian economics.

Milton Friedman: Friedman was focused on the money supply and money steadily being increased ( i.e. printed) as a stimulant in itself for  an economy. His school of thought in the ‘Chicago School’ is known as monetarism.

My view

I diverge from Marx on his outer fringes and do not embrace any form of ultimate Utopianism; I see the sense in deficit spending of a Keynesian type to restore economic growth; and at the bottom of the list I remain sceptical about Friedman’s monetary concepts. I do believe in fiscal prudence, control over the fiscal budget – so as not to run up uncontrolled deficits. I also think at core that something tangible has to sustain an economy by way of the precious metal ( a gold backed currency) and tangible goods and services being produced and provided. That is me ( my economic outlook in a few sentences).

The American economy

Post World War 11 it is America and her economy, which are pivotal to the world economy. The US dollar is the world’s reserve currency ( taking over from the British pound sterling in the post war era) and the US, via the Bretton Woods agreement  shaped the major institutions for the financial governance of the world, such as the International Monetary Fund and  the World Bank.

The foregoing are the basics presently in play.

Crisis

With the pandemic of Covid-19 some will argue that this is the root of the current economic crisis. I see the challenge differently. Covid-19 opened up fissures in the world economic system that would have remained fissures to be opened with or without Covid-19. The virus just served as the specific trigger this time round.

Roots of the crisis

There are several points of economic dislocations moving out from the US economy into the rest of the world:-

  • 1970s export of manufacturing industries to China.
  • 1980s movement away from the Glass-Steagall Act.
  • Continuing financial deregulation under subsequent US Presidents from Reagan onwards.
  • The 2000 dot com bubble burst.
  • The 2008 sub-prime mortgage crisis but re-financed flotation without implementation of corrective structural measures.
  • The 2020 crisis was predicted and anticipated by some economists. It was already anticipated to be far worse than the 2008 crash for the measures, which should have been implanted in 2008, were left unaddressed and the process of deregulation continued thus producing the same results as before. Only this time round, much worse and more severe.

Alternatives

The printing of money is not a solution but rather a Band-Aid being placed over a running sore. The use of the term ‘stimulus’ is misplaced; there is significant reduction in production in the means of production – there is a forcing into non-production and once the Covid-19 situation is resolved then there is also a need for addressing the wider structural economic problem.

Failure of job creation coupled with the grants of money to the financial classes is not a solution – it is a recipe for significant disaster.

Production of shale oil is not a solution to America’s oil dependent economy – but – a measure which is unlikely to remain economically competitive on a global scale over time. Hence the belligerence directed at oil rich states such as Iraq, Libya, Syria and Venezuela to mention a few.

More variables can be mentioned, but for the sake of brevity let us stop there for now. So, if the alternatives so far relied upon are not economic cures – what then are likely solutions?

Solution – or – US policies run amock?

Milton Friedman: Since Friedman at core in his monetarist theory was focused on price stability while using the money supply to accomplish his objective; even he would not ( I suspect) have advised or condoned the levels of money supply increase the US has embarked upon. He would have immediately realised that the current levels of money supply increase will be seriously inflationary.

John Maynard Keynes: My guess is that Keynes would have supported a stimulus package, but not the sort that the Trump administration has implemented. Keynes, based upon his central theory, would have wanted to boost consumer demand by placing the injected additional money in the hands of those who would directly impact the economy in the manner he envisioned along with significant government funded public works programmes; not in the hands of CEOs to engage in stock buy-backs and retirement package golden parachutes etc. as has happened since the 2008 crisis.

Karl Marx: This is the easy one. Marx would simply have referred to his thesis ‘Das Kapital’ and said, “Yes, there is a crisis in capitalism: yet another one.”

My position and recommendation is an addressing of the long-term structural economic problem;  thus a significant reduction in the vast waste of resources on military expenditures and the global pursuit of militarism and war by the US. I do not state my position of a need for reduction in militarism and the global arms trade and respect for the Rule of International Law as ideas that are trite.

Management of the crisis

In times of trouble there is need for intelligent and principled leadership. This currently is missing in the Trump administration  – and with a few quick examples I can indicate precisely how opportunistic short-term politically motivated responses disengage from the prospect of lasting and viable long-term solutions.

Maybe three examples might convey more than a small measure of absurdity writ large in world affairs, but at the very least shall serve a useful illustrative purpose:-

1. If the US significantly reduced and redirected its profligate military expenditure then just maybe, there would be ample medical supplies, available funds for adequate and reasonable payment of health care providers and resources in abundance for infrastructure rebuilding and job creation in America.​ Already, the working population, in large numbers, is living pay cheque to pay cheque and the value of the US dollar has over the past two decades depreciated with no commensurate increases in wages to compensate for the lost purchasing power. An ‘opportunity cost’ being borne by the US working population while the military-industrial complex finds its raison d’être in the pursuit of ‘endless wars’ and forever existent bogeyman of ‘external threats’ against the security of the nation.

2. Consider the contradictory lunacy of Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, when he wants Iran to abide by her international obligations. Yes – which international obligations? The ones which the US ( by reference to the Iran deal which the Obama administration had brokered along with strong European partners and to which Iran had agreed and was abiding by). For enforcement assurance and to ensure compliance, there were UN inspectors in place for verifiability who had consistently confirmed Iran’s compliance  ( sounds a bit like the sanctions regime imposed upon Iraq when Saddam Hussein was in power and the UN inspectors had accurately confirmed that Iraq did not have any WMDs). But – didn’t President Trump unilaterally withdraw from that very accord with Iran? So, if one were to be logical then let’s reason:-​

i) UN Resolution 2231 relates to the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran.​

ii) In May 2018 the US unilaterally abandoned that accord.​

iii) So Trump declares the Treaty non-existent; Pompeo with his application of US foreign policy logic

      then demands that Iran abide by the very international obligations which the US has treated as non-

      existent, having unilaterally abandoned the agreement.​

3. The US chides Iran for launching what the US defines as ‘ a military satellite’.  Iran denies that and

     states that it has acted lawfully within the confines of international law: it states that the satellite is

     for permissible observatory purposes. However, here is the irony, for the US position on Iran comes a

     short time after President Trump ordered establishment of a new US  Space Force which will advance

     the process of  weaponising space – which US action is in direct contravention of the international

     treaty forbidding such development. ​So, does the US itself even abide by its own international legal

     obligations ( see: The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which the US ratified  and which bans weapons of

      mass destruction (WMDs) being placed in outer space). What then of the US revitalisation of ‘Star

      Wars’ – is that in compliance with international law?

Of course, when diplomacy fails then the von Claueswitz’s dictate that – war is diplomacy by other means – would ultimately be resorted to – if that were feasible, given Iran’s access to and control over the Straits of Hormuz.​

And the world, of course, is run by rational leaders. Indeed!​

If extreme circumstances do not force the ‘glorious revolution’ then the intermediate Keynesian path seems the way for the US, if sensibly applied. Maybe, with that opportunity foregone since 2008, the US might just be heading along a path of compelled structural change within its capitalist society.

Conclusion

The combined medical and economic challenges facing the world are met in the US by ineptitude on the part of the Trump administration. Deficiencies in analytical capacity (e.g. statistical reference to sick people entering hospitals is not the same as comprehensive testing of the population), less than logical application of viable policies and absence of prudent interaction with the nations of the world are accompanied by expressions of buffoonery (e.g.  per. President Trump: we must try doses of  disinfectant as a treatment for Covid-19: Clorox bleach?). And there is no indicator in sight that the ineptitude and illogicality is likely to end any time soon.

If the US wants to survive and to provide for her people then there would have to be a focus on reducing the deficit (intrinsically tied in to a reduction in militarism); not printing more and more fiat money in abundance and in millions/trillions misdirected to many who need it least; use of a form of Keynesian FDR economic solutions coupled with – one more time for emphasis – yes – a significant reduction in the over-expenditures of the military-industrial complex and an end to these global regime change wars.

Let me stop – before I now start believing in my own Utopian ( non-existent) world.

Those are my brief thoughts being shared with one and all.  

______________________________________

* 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, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. He lives and works in the Caribbean.

WHY DEM VOTERS CHOSE JOE BIDEN

By RICHARD JOHN STAPLETON

I thought Bernard Sanders would handily win in the 2020 Democratic primary race since Hillary barely defeated him in 2016 and no other candidate in the 2020 primary race was as formidable as Hillary.

Sanders is a visionary with time-tested policies and ideas for curing fundamental USian economic and social problems, with intellectual honesty, integrity, determination, and good ethics demonstrated throughout his public life, dedicated to generally doing the right thing. He’s not perfect but relatively close for a politician, notwithstanding his helping to secure a pork barrel F-35 fighter plane base to help the economy near Burlington, Vermont, creating horrendous noise, as these poorly-designed incredibly expensive new US Air Force planes zoom through the air, disturbing the peace of mind of citizens for miles around.

Sanders’s votes and advocated policies for the US on social issues in my opinion however are about as good as you can get, Medicare for All, free tuition for college, forgiveness of student debt, maintaining Social Security, reforming the banking and financial system, cutting military spending, creating infrastructure jobs in the domestic economy, and, perhaps of greatest significance, stating in public debates he would fight global warming and climate change from day one after being elected and sworn in. He was the only Dem candidate with enough intellectual honesty and guts to make a major issue of fighting global warming and climate change.

And best of all he’s not bought and paid for. He was the only candidate in the 2020 presidential race who did not accept campaign donations from large corporations and was therefore free to work in the interests of middle and lower income people.

Had he been elected president of the US if he could have gotten just one-tenth of his plans accomplished he would have done more for middle and lower income people than any president since Franklin Roosevelt.

Bernie came across in the primary debates with vim and vigor expressing his plans in clear straightforward easy to understand language, almost never missing a beat with his flow of words and sentences formed with correct grammar, his mind sharp as a tack.

Joe Biden, the so-called winner of the Dem primary race, is almost a polar opposite, a man with little or no plans or ideas of his own for curing anything, a long-time Dem politician who will bend with any political wind that is good for him, a supporter of the establishment, not the common man or woman, a bought and paid for lobbyist-type politician for the defense industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the credit card industry. Sanders confronted him with a direct question in the last Dem primary debate in full public view of millions about whether or not he said five times during his career in Washington that he would cut Social Security. He merely looked down with his head bent, made no direct response to the question, and took off on another tangent with another rambling jumble of words and sentences. He has had frequent memory lapses during his primary campaign and in debates that indicate he is suffering from dementia or some sort of neurological disorder, as countless people have pointed out on the Internet and elsewhere. He also has some sort of character or personality disorder, having been charged by numerous women with groping.

The voting started off about like I thought it would for the 2020 Dem primaries. Everything was fine for Sanders in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. I thought he was headed for an easy win. But along came South Carolina and Super Tuesday and then Sanders got drubbed in the Deep South.

I was surprised and dismayed by those results, having thought Sanders would win in almost all states. I thought ordinary people everywhere had seen enough facts and reasoning in the primary debates to cause them to vote for Sanders.

It was obvious to me in the Dem primary debates that the Democratic National Party establishment  had  somehow convinced CNN to tout Biden as the “frontrunner” despite polls clearly showing he was not even close to being the winner of the debates in the eyes of USian citizens at large watching the debates. In fact according to polls about the debates I saw Biden was not even close to being the best, usually ranking no better than fourth, with a much smaller percentage of the overall count than Sanders.

But when Biden also won in Illinois, Michigan, and Washington, it dawned on me how wrong I had been. The social messages in the debates were like water running off a duck’s back for millions of Dem voters, and most of the respondents of polls I saw must not have been ordinary Dems. The silent majority discounted the significance of what they saw and heard. The social words and reasoning they should have heard counted for little.  

I thought most Dem voters would rebel against their overlords in the Dem Party and choose Bernie; but they did not: they went along with their masters, or naturally agreed.

What mainly counted were the unexpressed silent ulterior psychological messages they saw and imagined. It seems to me most Dem voters do not have psychological permission to vote in their own best economic interests.

I thought Trump defeated Hillary in the 2016 general election because of her legal troubles over several decades; her excitement and satisfaction displayed on TV discussing the killing of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya; her warmongering tendencies as Secretary of State; her judgment problems causing her to decide to install a computer server in her home to do State Department, or whatever, work; and her taking speech money from big banks for promising to support their interests rather than those of the common people.

Regardless, I thought Hillary would easily defeat Trump. She was intellectually superior, better educated, and better qualified for the job.

But in her case too unspoken psychological ulterior messages did her in in the 2016 general election. Millions of voters discounted her abilities and experience and chose a lesser man for psychological reasons, thanks to the abominable Electoral College cut in stone in the US Constitution, after she won the popular vote by three million votes.

A similar thing happened to Al Gore running against Bush II in 2000. Gore was intellectually superior and more experienced than Bush II, another clownish bumbling dissolute sort of human being, largely devoid of plans, goals, and ideals for the US or anything else as a whole; but yet he too won, thanks to psychological messages causing millions of voters to discount reality and choose a lesser candidate, in a basic tie in the vote for the job of US president, given the job by a right wing 5-4 Supreme Court decision about counting chads on ballots in Florida.

It seems being the brightest and best has become a liability in USian presidential politics since about 1980, starting with a movie star president, Ronald Reagan. Barack Obama in 2008 appeared to be an exception to the rule, narrowly defeating Hillary in the Dem primaries, before he won the general election against the heroic but bumbling old man John McCain and the nitwitted but sexy Sarah Palin; and then Obama caved in to the military industrial establishment and Wall Street banksters, doing their bidding after being sworn in as president.     

While I thought Hillary should have handily beaten Trump in the 2016 general election, her 2016 primary race against Sanders in my opinion should have been closer than Sander’s 2020 primary race against Biden, with Sanders the winner, since Sanders has a better record relative to Biden than he had relative to Hillary in 2016. But, alas, Sanders was defeated by Biden in the 2020 Dem popular primary vote by a wider margin than he was by Hillary in 2016.

So how exactly did this happen? Is it because Hillary is female and Biden is male and most voters prefer males as presidents in a patriarchal USian culture?

Or is it what The Preacher in Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible said, “The race is not to the swift.”

Or is it what George Carlin blurted out in one of his Broadway Shows, “Stupid people vote for stupid people. It’s as simple as that.”

An organizational theory known as the Peter Principle sheds some light on the question. This theory developed by Laurence J. Peter suggests that competent people because of doing an outstanding job at one level eventually get promoted one level too high, to a level requiring skills and abilities greater than they possess relative to what they should know; so incompetent people sooner or later populate most levels of hierarchical organizations. The theory asserts that competent people rise in organizations but their rising counter-intuitively and ironically eventually causes poor performance in the organization as a whole.

Another organizational theory, irreverently called the Inverse Peter Principle, avers that only the incompetent rise, because truly superior performers are so knowledgeable, skilled, and productive at their current level that the organization cannot afford to promote them. So the higher up you go in an organization the less knowledge and analytical and creative skill supposedly superior superiors have relative to what they should know, finally reaching a level, as you ascend up organizational chain of command ladders, like Jack climbing his fairy tale beanstalk, where you encounter someone at the top level like Donald J. Trump, who barely reads, who does not do any kind of competitive analytical or creative work, but who can bullshit, pop off “decisions”, bellow orders, and hire and fire people at will, and somehow survive in the organization, so long as he has a majority of electoral votes or owns a majority of the voting stock. Thus, based on this line of reasoning, almost anyone should be competent enough to be president of the US, the highest-up job of all up Jack’s beanstalk in USian culture, since real competence as most people think of it is almost irrelevant at that level, where the main “skill” is having the right and power to hire and fire people, where the big cheese rarely has proof a major decision he makes is “right”, with most operating decisions at his level for good or ill having been made by underlings afraid of losing their jobs. This organization theory proposes that only incompetent people rise, and this too causes organizations to become incompetent as a whole.  

This raises the question of whether there can ever be a truly competent large organization, such as a large corporation, a Pentagon, or a US government? Probably not, for long.

As a certified transactional analyst with professional experience dealing with psychological Games in organizations, I think the best explanation for why so many less knowledgeable and lesser-skilled and accomplished people are often promoted in organizations rather than better qualified people is that such decisions are determined by human scripts and psychological Games, that all organizational stakeholders play to vie for a greater share of the whole pie generated by organizations, including not only money but recognition, structure, and stimulation, to satisfy their ego needs.    

There are basically two kinds of scripts people have to act out in organizations to keep their jobs or get promoted: psychological scripts and social scripts.  

Psychological Scripts are programmed into children by virtue of being constantly exposed to and dependent on their parents before the age of eight. Almost as if by osmosis parents psychologically script their children not to feel, think, and do certain things in various ways and degrees, largely non-verbally by how they respond to a child, by how they get mad, glad, sad, or scared, or not, when the child does something or when various things happen in the environment. Psychological scripts are automatically “introjected” into the personalities of children during early childhood, and most children wind up pretty much like their parents, with the same accents, and the same kinds of feeling, thinking, doing, saying, and living patterns. Transactional analysts call these basic “don’t” requirements injunctions.

There are some generic “do” script messages called counter-injunctions such as brush your teeth, study hard, make something of yourself, work hard, etc. that are socially overt and spoken, but they are not as significant or powerful over a lifetime as psychological script injunctions.

Injunctions and counter-injunctions wind up creating a life script that includes a life position for people. There are four basic TA life positions: I am OK and You are OK, I am OK and you are Not OK, I’m Not OK and You are OK, and I am Not OK and You are Not OK; and there are three basic TA life outcomes: Winner, Loser, and Non-Winner.

The bottom line is that most people are what they are and can only respond in adult life in certain ways because of their life scripts that cause the life positions and outcomes. Some people are more flexible and adaptable than others, but most people in order to make a living and achieve some satisfaction in life have to find a slot, niche, and level in an organization in which their life script is considered congruent.

Social scripts include the sum total of do’s and don’t’s required for a person to be successful dealing with others in a particular job or role in any organization to make a living. These scripts include the algorithmic steps required to do the specific job you are paid to do and required words and phrases to say to others and how to respond to people around you, up, across, and down the organizational chain of command, including playing the psychological Games people around you like to play.

Restaurant scripts for greeters, servers, and customers require more conformity than most, requiring these words to get the show started: “How many?”; “Two”, or “Four”, or whatever number in the party; and “Right this way please”.

All organizations have generic and peculiar social scripts for all participants requiring certain words and phrases that have to be memorized and used. Almost nobody can be her or his true self most of the time making a living in an organization. Most employees have to act out scripts created by the organizaton. Organizations such as DisneyWorld are the most scripted of all. Employees there are required to wear costumes and “go on stage” after they clock in for work, pretending while on the job to be characters like Donald Duck or some fairy tale person dealing with customers, parroting memorized lines.

Most people who get fired for cause in organizations are fired because of psychological scripts thought to be inappropriate in an organizational culture, and for being unwilling to act out social scripts, not for not being able to perform the required algorithmic steps of the job.

Psychological Games are a way of getting stimulation, recognition, and structure as one goes about one’s business of surviving and making a living. Basically they involve trying to gain certain satisfactions dealing with others, such as by making yourself or someone else feel comfortable or by causing a loss of some sort for others, or by making a fool of someone. Psychological Games entail people discounting problems, opportunities, and people, and the significance of someone or something. All psychological Games entail players acting out one of three roles on a Drama Triangle: Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer.

Common psychological script injunction are Don’t Be Excellent and Don’t Be Important, among about fourteen kinds of Don’t feel, think, and do injunctions generally recognized by transactional analysts, widely transmitted in family scripting. I have covered them in detail in my books Business Voyages and Born to Learn , easily found on the Internet. Why would any parent tell a child not to be excellent or important? Well, no rational parent would socially. They do it psychologically largely outside of conscious Adult ego state awareness mainly because they too did not have psychological permission to be excellent or important when they were children. People play psychological Games by “cathecting”, or turning on, all three of their ego states, including their Parent and Child ego states to create and maintain stimulation, recognition, and structure similar to what they experienced earlier in life, and in most cases they are not aware of what they are doing.

I have described and explained the dynamics and significance of ego states, psychological Games, and scripts in my books, as they were first described and explained in a large gush of books and papers written by Eric Berne, MD (the originator of transactional analysis), and others, published since the 1960s that are still in print and offered for sale on the Internet. The International Transactional Analysis Association has published an excellent collection of refereed scholarly articles on transactional analysis quarterly in the Transactional Analysis Journal since the early 1970s. I studied and trained in transactional analysis at the Southeast Institute at Chapel Hill, North Carolina during 1975-1978, passing written and oral comprehensive exams on transactional analysis in 1978 administered by the ITAA.

Two major purposes of TA are to help people become more authentic and script free so as to gain more satisfaction from life in general and to see social scripts for what they are in organizations to help people learn how to adapt and flex to them to make a living.

Sorry about the digression into TA, but it was necessary to explain my major point in this article, which is, political races are rife with psychological Games producing psychological satisfactions for all stakeholders—vested interests, candidates, and voters.

Why vote in the first place? Well, the best Adult ego state reason would be to take social satisfaction in helping select the best leader for an organization or group to achieve rational goals and objectives for everyone. Lesser Parent and Child reasons would be to create satisfying psychological Game payoffs for yourself and to secure psychological structure, recognition, and stimulation similar to what you experienced with your parents, friends, and others in your early life, and in adolescence, that supported the psychological, social, economic, religious, political, and moral states of affairs of organizations such as your family, school, church, and political party.

Once psychologically scripted most people do not rebel over a lifetime. Red states stay red and blue states stay blue, regardless of the logical Adult ego state reasoning of idealistic super-OK presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders, a hard-headed intellectual more interested in changing the whole system to optimize the functioning of the whole system to benefit everyone, rather than play psychological Games with people.

I remember a TV interviewer in 2000 asking an attractive woman who ran a bar and grill why she intended to vote for Bush II. “Cuz he’s a good-lookin’ man” was her quick response.

There are several psychological Games people play in political races; but it seems to me dealing with presidential races on the Internet and elsewhere, listening to comments people make on my Facebook news feed timeline and elsewhere, most politicians play to some degree a psychological Game called Rapo by transactional analysts, since one of the surest ways to get votes in our narcissistic USian culture is to be considered good lookin’.

There are three degrees of psychological Games: First Degree Games are basically compliments, insults, discounts, jokes, and body language displays designed to build up or tear down someone’s self-esteem, or gain or lose some sort of psychological advantage; Second Degree Games entail more serious discounts and payoffs, threatening someone, firing someone, getting divorced, etc.; Third Degree Games are sometimes called tissue-tearing Games with payoffs such as getting into physical fights, going to war, winding up in a morgue, etc.

A Rapo Game starts by someone psychologically promising some sort of satisfaction to someone for responding to her or his sexual attractiveness. There are various social and psychological transactions that can bring this about, social transactions being spoken and overt, psychological transactions being unspoken and covert. The payoff for a Rapo player is not a real sexual liaison but making a fool of a mark or sucker who will be punished or humiliated in some way if he or she responds to the psychological sexual messages. Not all psychological Games entail sexual messaging but a lot of them do. All psychological Games involve a con artist of some degree taking advantage of the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of a mark or suckers, promising things the Game starter has no intentions of delivering. Most of the promises of first-degree Games are insignificant and inconsequential. These Games are ubiquitous and most people play them at various times. Sometimes they have to to survive in organizations. It’s no secret that one of the best ways to be a successful Rapo player is to be considered good lookin’.

Psychological Games and scripts are what make folk tales and fairy tales (such as Cinderella, Jack & Jill, Humpty Dumpty, Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel) interesting and dramatic.

Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Bush II, Obama, Hillary, Trump, and Biden won some big races largely because of being successful psychological Game players, having physical and psychological characteristics that enabled them to transmit non-verbal psychological messages to voters that they would deliver to them psychological and social satisfactions if they voted for them, somehow providing them with various sorts of desired or fantasied psychological stimulation, structures, and recognition. Whether these politicians did indeed produce for their voters the psychological and social satisfactions the voters sought would be difficult to prove, just as it would be difficult for these voters to prove voting for these politicians actually produced the economic satisfactions they socially sought. Any president during the last forty years would have a difficult time proving he produced significant tangible economic benefits for middle and lower income people, regardless of how much psychological and social satisfaction he produced for them.

Unfortunately, once again a dissolute mediocre good-ole-boy party-line-loyal Dem politician, Joe Biden, who has told the establishment that nothing will change if he is elected, has defeated the well-qualified highly-intelligent visionary man with plans Bernard Sanders, who could have caused significant economic changes for the better for middle and lower income people had he been elected in the 2020 Dem primary race and in the 2020 general presidential election.

How did this happen? Well, it seems to me the short answer is that Biden is the better psychological Game-player in the eyes of a majority of Dem voters, by virtue of physical and psychological characteristics he inevitably and accidentally inherited having nothing to do with being able to do a good job as president of the US.

The Biden campaign lately has been posting cameo pictures on my Facebook news feed timeline showing Biden and his attractive younger blonde second wife and his stately oversized German Shepard dog, leisurely sitting in wicker chairs on their large high-ceiling front porch with white columns, with Biden flashing his perfect white teeth. Another frequent post is of Biden just standing there in an open space, possibly an airport, apparently looking at something in the distance in his nice blue suit and tie as he adjusts his sunglasses (one of his favorite objects for photo opportunities, to channel Ronald Reagan), sort of like a corporate honcho might look who has just taken over something and has just arrived at the airport in his private jet, ready for action. His gleaming perfect white teeth, one can’t keep from noticing, make me wonder if he had his teeth capped just for the 2020 election, to draw attention away from his almost-bald head. It seems unlikely to me that he would have natural teeth at his age that look better than those of aging USian TV game show hosts.

Don’t laugh. Cosmetic procedures like this work in USian presidential politics. If Trump hadn’t fixed his hair and face as he did he wouldn’t have had a prayer running against a good lookin’ woman like Hillary. How many red-blooded USian women would vote for a bleached-out almost bald old fart like Trump really is? Ronald Reagan couldn’t have gotten elected if he hadn’t dyed his hair. Bush II spent more time pumping iron in the White House than he did reading reports and thinking about world problems. Not one of these presidents ever wrote and published anything of any general intellectual significance. James Garner said Ronald Reagan never had an original thought and someone had to tell him what to do and say when he was president of an actor’s guild in Hollywood. Trump now spends most of his time in the White House fixing his hair and face, eating junk food, and watching Fox so-called News, CNN, MSNBC, and other infotainment media, occasionally bullshitting with his hired and not yet fired lackeys.

Almost certainly this same sort of unproductive time structuring pattern will be true in the case of Joe Biden if he can defeat his even more dissolute and incompetent competitor, Don Trump, in the USian 2020 presidential election, assuming the DNC does not completely destroy sham USian democracy by setting aside the decision of a majority of Dem voters in their 2020 primary by autocratically installing, as has been widely suggested on the Internet, the telegenic and articulate Governor Cuomo, which is probably unlikely, since the real reason why DNC insiders and the USian Deep State like Joe Biden so much is that they know they can trust him to do what they say, because he cannot do anything but that; so they can spend US taxpayer money and Federal Reserve System funny money on themselves without compunction, however much this harms the long-run interests of Dem middle and lower income voters, as well as all USian lower and middle income citizens.  

At the end of the day, as it were, in the 2020 Dem primary election, Joe Biden’s unfortunate successful political victory over Bernard Sanders is largely due to him and his campaign, consciously or unconsciously, playing with voters first-degree psychological Games, including a Game called Big Bad Wolf, that garnered them millions of votes from downtrodden psychological Victims looking for a psychological Rescuer playing their time-honored psychological Games since childhood, including a Big Bad Wolf complementary Game— Little Red Riding Hood.

It’s not so much that stupid people vote for stupid people, as George Carlin said; the underlying problem is that people with Don’t Be Important and Don’t Be Excellent script injunctions vote for politicians with the same sorts of psychological script injunctions. Why is that? It makes them feel more comfortable and secure since they psychologically feel and think they can trust people like they are to take care of them, better than excellent politicians would.

They could be right about their psychological needs, however wrong they are about their social and economic needs. Will they ever learn that they were played for suckers as Victims in a psychological Game?

It’s not that mediocre or below performers in organizations and life are necessarily less intelligent than excellent performers. In many cases they wind up where they are because of script injunctions such as Don’t Be Important and Don’t Be Excellent that cause them not to do what it takes to achieve excellence in their studies, careers, and lives.

I know of what I speak. I was a C student in grade, junior, and high school despite scoring three or four grades ahead of myself in all subjects in the eighth grade on so-called “achievement tests” administered by the county. I made mostly B’s in undergraduate school, a little better than mediocre. I had trouble figuring out what to do for a living after I graduated from college the first time. I got accepted by two law schools, SMU and the University of Texas, but never went. I tried working in family businesses but couldn’t get along with my father. I started some small businesses of my own but got bored with it. I interviewed with large corporations and learned I was getting turned down because of scoring too high on certain parts of aptitude tests. I decided I had some sort of learning block, so I consulted a psychiatrist, Jerome Smith, MD, at Lubbock, Texas.

After some psychotherapy I wound up graduating with almost all A’s and no C’s in a doctoral program at Texas Tech. I can tell you it’s not easy to learn how to violate psychological script injunctions automatically transferred to you by parents psychologically telling you to be like they are if you psychologically bought into their script injunctions as a kid. And the hell of it is it all happens by accident.  

As Earthian biological, psychological, social, economic, and political life goes on, for how much longer nobody really knows, with humans suffering from and threatened by Covid-19, collapsing USian and Earthian economic systems, nuclear war, and human-caused global warming and climate change, confined and isolated for nobody knows how long in their houses and apartments, if they have one, quarantined ….

In the immortal words of the Great One, Jackie Gleason, winding up one of his episodes on his TV show “The Honeymooners” way back in the 1950s and 1960s, back in the days when we had some really good adult comedy programs to watch on USian TV,

“How sweet it is.”

Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA is an emeritus professor of entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and business policy, and is a certified transactional analyst. He is a founder and owner of Effective Learning Company as shown at the top of this page on the masthead of this blog.

THE GROUP—TO SAVE SPACESHIP EARTH—EPISODE THREE

THE GROUP—TO SAVE SPACESHIP EARTH

INTERNET EPISODE THREE

The Group: To Save Spaceship Earth is a novel work in progress. While settings, plots, theories, objects, and narratives in this novel may be loosely analogous to some actual events on Earth that have happened in various places around Spaceship Earth, the names, actions, and attributions of characters cast herein are 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 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:

Internet Episode 1, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-group-to-save-spaceship-earth-part-1/.   

Internet Episode 2, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-group-to-save-spaceship-earth-episode-2/,

SESSION TWO

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

DECEMBER 2019

Rout—“OK, ladies and gentlemen, let’s get down to business.  Whoever The Truther hit last spins it next.  By the way, there is one more rule.  If The Truther stops between two of you and it’s not obvious which one is closest to the line of fire The Truther will be spun again.”

       No one recalled immediately who had been hit last, looking around at one another with questioning looks. Finally someone said, “I think it was that lady over there.”

Julia—“Yes, come to think of it, I think it was me,” so she got up and walked to the center of the room and gave The Truther a spin.

       The Truther rooster crowed and selected Stuart, a college student.

Stuart—“As I understand it we are supposed to bring up some sort of problem and then give what we think is the best alternative for solving the problem, is that right?”

Rout—“Yep, that’s it.”

       Stuart—“Well, I’ll tell you what’s the biggest problem for most college students. It’s college loans that most of us are taking out to go to school to major in something knowing there may not be a job after we graduate, especially a job in the field we majored in.  Most of us are having to work part time to get by, if we can find a part-time job.  You don’t have time to study and you don’t have free time.  It gets to you after a while.  As far as alternatives are concerned, one would be to drop out of school and go to work full time if you could find a full-time job, but what would that lead to?  Everybody knows you can make more money in the long run if you have a college degree.  What would I recommend?  Tough it out and stay in college and hope for the best, I guess.”

       After two minutes elapsed with no one saying anything, Rout told the group he hoped they did not repeat the silent spells of the previous session, that it was their job as individuals to dive in the discussion as soon as the selected leader finished his or her spiel.  He said the time would pass faster if they cooperated.  Again, he said, there could be no holding up of hands.  Just dive in on a first come, first serve basis.  He told them to “just come out with it,” and remember you don’t have to be “right” all the time.  He said it’s almost impossible for anyone to know “right” answers for economic, political, social, and psychological problems.  But he said they should try to be right, saying what they really thought was right, and that it was far better to be honestly wrong than to be dishonestly right, that is saying something irrelevant to please someone for some sort of favor in return.

Barbara—“Well, I’ll say something about this, since I have a daughter in college and I know something firsthand about the predicament this young man is in.  My husband and I have three children, two still in in high school.  My husband earns a good salary but we still have trouble making ends meet.  Every penny we take in is budgeted.  We are not able to save anything and we often have to dip into what meager savings we have to make ends meet. 

       “We help our daughter all we can but she too must rely on student loans.  She’s an English major.  She says she wants to be a writer, but she could teach after she graduates.  We wish her well of course, but we wish she had majored in something more practical.  One thing we have learned is you can’t tell your children what to major in in college.  And here we are with two other children who want to go to college.  I agree with this young man, Stuart, the best thing is to do whatever you can to finish your degree, and deal with the debt as best you can later on.  That is you, isn’t it, Stuart?  That seems to be you according to the seating chart.”

Stuart—“Yes, for sure that’s me, all right, and who are you?  I can’t tell by looking at the chart.”

B—“I’m Barbara.  I sit between Albert and Ron, according to the chart.”

S—“Oh, yeah, I see you now on the chart.  Thanks for your comment.”

Rout—“The more names you get to know the easier it gets to know where people are coming from.  All of you surely know by now my name and the names of the people on each side of you in the circle.  All you have to do to identify someone is count the number of chairs between that person and me on the chart, assuming you are all sitting where you are supposed to be sitting, between the same two people you were sitting between when we established the seating chart in the first session.  Count the number of people between you and me on the chart and make sure you are in the right seat for the afternoon session, if you are not right with the process now. 

       “Since the seating chart was randomly established by going around the room giving one’s name at the start of the first session, this counting spaces process is necessary to make sure you are sitting where you should be so everyone can get to know your name.  As we progress from session to session your group imagoes will become clearer and more accurate as members are differentiated, that is you will learn to see them more as they really are instead of the way you assume they are now.  A group imago is a mental image one carries around in his or her head of what a group is like and how it should be run based on past experience, which most of the time is distorted when one joins a new group.  The more you interact with a new group the more you see the group members for what they really are, not only knowing their names but knowing something about their ego states, scripts, transactional patterns, time structuring patterns, pastimes, Games, and so on.

       “All of you made it back for the December session here in San Diego.  So far we have had no drop-outs.  I’m certain some of you will have to miss a session sooner or later for one reason or another.  If that happens make sure you leave a vacant chair where the absent person would have sat.  That way everyone can still calibrate who everyone is by looking at the chart and would know who is absent.  If someone permanently drops out or is removed we’ll make and issue new charts showing there is one less chair in the room.

       “If you are not familiar with transactional analysis terms such as ego states, scripts, Games, and the like you might want to read Born to Learn:  A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning to learn something about them as they can be applied in learning situations such as this one.You can find a copy of this book by simply typing the title into Google. I recommend you use some of your five thousand per month fee to buy some relevant books.”

Sam—“Before we spin The Truther again I would like to make a comment about the problem of student loans and the problems college graduates are having finding jobs. 

       “I’m a writer and social activist and I read several Internet and print journals dealing with economics and politics, including education problems, and I read recently there are more problems in higher education than student loans and jobs for graduates.  During the last ten or so years colleges and universities have been forced to cut costs and increase tuition to survive.  Students pay more for tuition and professors are paid less to teach.  A much higher percentage of college teachers are now adjunct faculty paid starvation wages with little or job security.  Many are so afraid of losing their jobs they have lowered their standards so as to produce higher grades for students who are learning less.  At the same time colleges have increased the number of fields of study attempting to prepare students for jobs, some of which are very narrow or vocational, and worth little in the job market.  About the only ones coming out ahead in the past ten or so years have been the administrators and coaches. There are now more of them relative to professors and they are paid more. While fewer high school students can now afford to attend college, a higher percentage of students are resorting to student loans with relatively high interest rates, which are profitable for lenders. Some economists are now saying we have an educational bubble, which could burst like the housing bubble of 2008, if more and more students do not repay their loans, in which case student loan rates will increase even more. College enrollments, like housing construction after 2007, could plummet, causing untold problems for college and university budgets.  It’s not a pretty picture.  Assuming this is true, it may be colleges and universities are in about the same position as college and university students, having little alternative but to keep on doing what they have been and hope for a better day.  Like many organizations these days they are caught in a Catch-22 situation .

       “What would I recommend?  Just keep it up as long as possible I guess.  Seems like more and more people are being put in this position.  More and more businesses, governments and everything else for that matter.  All “Earthians” I suppose.”

Rupert—“No doubt about it, the hope for a better day strategy is the number one strategy around the world.  As a banker, I can tell you that’s what most people are using right now.  They come in to our bank and want to borrow money to keep on doing what they have been doing when they can’t pay back the loans they have now.  Very few have viable options for doing anything else.  A lot of people accuse us bankers of not lending money to people who need it and hoarding money the government gave us after the 2008 meltdown.  Well, it may look that way, but that’s not the way it is.  We would be more than happy to loan out all the money we have at decent interest—if we thought borrowers could pay it back. 

       “The housing bubble came about because bankers loaned money to people who could not pay it back, when the loans were sellable to other suckers up the chain, bankers could take a profit on the bad loans and get them off their books, by packaging them and selling them to others. You can’t do that anymore. Bleeding heart liberals in Congress put pressure on Bush I, Clinton and Bush II to create rules so unqualified borrowers, called subprime borrowers, disadvantaged people, could buy houses so they authorized Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy up securitized bad loans, leaving banks with some profit for bonuses for their executives and leaving the loss with the government and US taxpayers after 2007.  

       “Up to 2010 banks could do the same with guaranteed student loans, billions of dollars of which are still unpaid on the books, with decent interest, around 6 percent.  The government quit this program in 2010; now they make direct loans to students, still at relatively good interest of around 6 percent.  About 70 percent of college students have student loans when they graduate.  The average loan is about $30,000, which is not too bad if the student can get a decent job after graduating, about like paying off a car loan.  On the other hand, I heard about some young man who borrowed about $100,000 staying in school long enough to get a doctor’s degree and he couldn’t find a job once he got the degree.  That would be like paying off a starter house you could not live in.  Nobody knows how many of these millions of student loans will ever be paid back.”

Stuart—“Well, I can tell you I intend to pay mine back.  I guess I was one of the lucky ones.  My parents have helped me some.  I have been able to find some part-time jobs and I only owe the government about ten thousand dollars.  I’ll graduate in a year with a degree in electrical engineering, so I ought to be able to get a job; and if I get to keep on coming to this monthly meeting paying me five thousand dollars per meeting just for showing up I’ll pay off my student loan and have some savings in the bank before I graduate.”

Horatio—“You don’t have to have a college degree to get ahead, if you’re willing to work hard and take a chance.  I started out in 1990 flat broke with no college education and no debt working construction.  I learned carpentry, plumbing and electrical on the job and became a contractor, building houses and apartments, owning apartments and renting them out.  I had to borrow a lot of money from banks but I had a good credit rating and I always paid it back.  I worked 14-hour days seven days a week, almost never taking a vacation.  I now own a couple of convenience stores, a couple of restaurant franchises, and rental property all over town.  I don’t think all this government help is necessary for college kids or anybody else.  If the government would just get off our backs and leave us alone we would all be better off.”

Ellen—“With all due respect, sir, I think you’re wrong.  I graduated from college over a year ago with an accounting degree, supposedly one of the best degrees there is for getting a job, with over a 3.5 g.p.a., and I still have not found a job.  I have interviewed over 20 firms, with no offers.  I am beginning to think I am overqualified.  Seems all they want are people who know how to save people money by lowering their taxes. 

       “And about half my friends graduating when I did do not have jobs, and most of the others do not have good jobs in their fields, many just take part-time jobs to get by.  The problem is there are not enough jobs out there.  I heard recently in Washington, DC they opened up a new WalMart with 600 job openings and over 60,000 people applied for them.  That’s one out of one hundred who got accepted at a WalMart, applying for low wage jobs that will not make you a living.  That ought to tell you something.  No matter how hard and long you are willing to work if there are no jobs you are out of luck.”

       Horatio—“I sympathize, my dear, but you are young and beautiful and you have your whole life before you, enough time to get whatever you want.  All you have to do is be patient, and good things will happen for you.”

       Ellen—“That’s easy for you to say.  You probably have no idea what it’s like to go around from interview to interview and get rejected time after time, by people who don’t seem to like their jobs but who are afraid of losing them, knowing there are millions of people in the US out there looking for work, nine million I believe it is.  It’s depressing not being able to find a job, but it’s also depressing knowing you probably would not like the jobs you are getting turned down for.”

       Horatio—“You’re probably right about that.  When I started out with no college education I did not interview that many people.  I took the first job I was offered, in construction, about the only job I ever interviewed for, and I stuck with it till I went out on my own.  But I still say you will find a job sooner or later with your education and accounting skills, and all unemployed people if they are willing to apply themselves and build what they now call skill sets can also find jobs.”

       Luke—“Do you pray?  Have you asked the Lord to help you in your hour of need.  Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.”

       Ellen—“To tell you the truth, no, I have not done that.  If I thought it would do any good, I would do it, but I have never seen anything like that happen for anyone I have known.  If Jesus cared about unemployed people, and if he had the power to do something about it, why hasn’t he already done something about it?  Or is it he wants to force the unemployed to beg him for his help in some sort of prayer?”

       Luke—“The Lord works in mysterious ways.  I will pray for you.”

       Ellen—“Gee, thanks.”

       With that things got quiet again.  About seventy percent of the members agreed with Ellen; about fifteen percent agreed with Luke.  Several thought Luke lacked empathy

       Rout—“Several of you have been engaging in unlawful covert communicating, smirking, grimacing, chuckling, sighing, jerking your heads and necks around, and what have you, letting possible co-underminers and agitators around you know of your surprise, dismay, disapproval or approval.  This process is not like the US Congress or a high school class.  Agitators and underminers will not be tolerated.  Cliques will not be allowed to spontaneously form in this group. If you are not interested in or disagree with the speakers and the proceedings in this process that is your business, but you must keep it to yourself unless you socially communicate such decisions, reactions, feelings, opinions, etc. to the whole group. 

       “It’s ok to daydream to tune out speakers and the proceedings provided you look straight ahead or down at an angle so as not to create distractions around the room, thereby luring your neighbors into joining agitating undermining psychological cliques. 

       “It’s ok to say whatever you want in this group, provided it is not obscene, threatening, or slanderous, so long as it is socially said to the whole group at once; but you cannot say anything unless you say it to the whole group. 

       “Those engaging in unlawful covert psychological communicating today were recorded on tape.  Your fines for today’s infractions will be deducted from your next monthly bank deposit.

       “Ok, let’s break for lunch.”

Just when it seemed the group might have settled in for a spell of normalcy Rout once again destroyed any peace of mind the group might have achieved by telling them certain ones would be fined for covert communicating.  The members again left the room in disgust and dismay wondering what to do about Rout and whether to put up with his rules and procedures.  Several members decided to have lunch with one another.  At least they could clique together outside the group and covert communicate all they wanted to.

Maria—“I was beginning to think Dr. Logger might have some human decency in his soul after all, but then he says he will fine us for merely looking at one another and sighing.  Why I have never heard of such a thing.  It’s atrocious.  Something has got to be done about this.”

Nancy—“But what can we do?  He is probably a total jerk.  I can’t believe he’s got a doctor’s degree.  I just don’t think a professional that cared about people would carry on like he does.  How old would you say he is?”

Ellie—“Probably about seventy I would say.  Old enough to know better than to say and do what he does.  I’m a teacher and I can tell you the man is abusive.  He’s not caring.   He has no regard whatsoever for our feelings.  If I were to do what he does in my classroom I would have parents complaining to my principal in a heartbeat.  And I can tell you parents would be out to get him.  The very idea, telling grown men and women they can’t even laugh or smile when they feel like it.  I’m probably one of the people he was talking about fining for smirking.  You bet I smirked, and I had a right to smirk at some of the idiotic comments that were made in there today.  And the attitudes!  Can you believe how that old man talked to that poor girl?”

Helen—“I agree Dr. Logger is off the charts for arrogance, but, being a nurse, I can tell you most doctors are arrogant.  They all start out idealistic after getting out of medical school, driving a Toyota to work, and that sort of thing, and treating nurses with respect.  But the older they get the more arrogant they get, talking down to people and driving Cadillac’s to work.  I’ve seen it happen over and over, and there’s nothing you can do about it, except quit your job.”

Maria—“I work with doctors myself as a social worker, but I don’t think most of them are like Rout Logger.  Besides that he’s not a real doctor.  He does not have an MD degree.  He has a PhD in management science, whatever that is.  Most real doctors show some respect for their patients and are decent human beings.  This jerk seems sociopathic, devoid of empathy for others.  And this system of his violates basic human rights.  He’s abusive, that’s what he is, and his whole system is abusive.  He thinks he can force you to do things, even force you to talk or not talk, fining you for things.  But the worst part is the system he uses to spy on us and control us.  Can you imagine taping and filming everything people do in that group?  Why it’s about as bad as the US government spying on people collecting emails, telephone calls, and what have you using the surveillance systems of the FBI, CIA, and the NSA, as Edward Snowden pointed out.  In his room you have no freedom whatsoever.  You can’t even use body language to express your feelings.  I think this should be against the law, the real law, the law of the land, not the law of this maniac.”

Nancy—“I would quit right now if I could afford to.  But I can’t.  I don’t make that much money as a hairdresser, and I have a young daughter to look after.”

Maria—“You’re a single mother?”

Nancy—“Yes.  And it’s not easy to make ends meet, especially when the work slacks off.  I’ve had to rely on food stamps at times.”

Helen—“I know of what you speak.  My husband has been out of work for over a year now, and we have three children.”

Ellie—“A lot of people are going through hard times now.”

Maria—“I know that, but we still can’t let this monster get away with his atrocious behavior.  We’ve got to do something.”

Ellie—“I hate to say it, but I don’t think there is much we can do about it except grin and bear it for a while, or quit the group.  Maybe he’ll lighten up or something.  If you go to the police and report him, if he is breaking the law, the money will dry up.  They have already paid me ten thousand dollars in two months.  I don’t want to give this up.”

Nancy—“Me neither.”

Maria—“I for one don’t intend to take this lying down.”

Helen—“Well, good luck.  But sometimes you have to let it go, give it up, whatever, and just get along as best you can.”

Back in the meeting room.

Rout—“Have any of you written any poems about the process so far you would like to share?  If you have type them into your computer now and email them to the group.”

       A few members said they had composed a poem about the group process but could not remember it now.  Rout told them they should remember their poems when they happened in their minds.  Several members had trouble finding the power button on their laptop and some had problems opening the email program to type in their poem in the email message block.  Rout told them how to do it and told the group it was ok to show members needing help on your right or left in the circle what to hit on the computer if you knew how to hit something and your neighbor needed your help.

       Everyone learned how to write a poem in the email message block and send it to the group after the initial discombobulation with the computers subsided.  Many of them began to type something into their emails.  Most were happy they were being allowed to play with their computer for a while, having been given some respite from the threat of having to talk if The Truther landed on them.

       After allowing them about thirty minutes to write something, Rout said, “OK, that’s about enough.  Now email your poem to the group.  All you have to do is hit the send button.  The email program already has everybody addressed.  There’s no need to worry about typing anything in the subject line. 

       “All right, it appears everyone who wants to has now sent in a poem.  So now open the email message in your inbox.  You will see the poems everyone just sent.  Read the poems and select the best one in your opinion.  If a few minutes I’ll tell you to vote for the best one.  Once all the votes are in we will recognize the poem receiving the most votes.

After about twenty minutes elapsed,

Rout—“OK, let’s vote.  Just type the name of the best poem in your opinion on your email window and send it in.” 

Rout—“The poem receiving the most votes was composed by Clarence.  Here it is.”

“Unbelievable”

We knew not

What we got

In for

Signing up,

For what this is,

A fiendish trap

Filled with crap,

To warp our minds,

With all kinds

Of tricks and taunts,

Lured from familiar haunts,

Paying us with dope,

With little hope,

Wages five grand a shot,

Which is not so hot.

Rout—“Any questions or comments.  Hearing none, OK, whoever got hit last spin The Truther and let’s move on.”

It landed on Napoleon.

Napoleon—“I can tell you nobody ever accused me of being a poet or knowing anything about poetry, but Clarence’s poem seems OK to me, a good report on our situation.  What are we supposed to do here, anyway, Doctor Logger?  Do you want us to go through your three steps, or what?

Rout—“Include the three steps in your response.”

Napoleon—“The problem is this outfit lacks a clear mission, there’s no chain of command, no assignment of duties, no esprit de corps, and no leadership.  It short it’s a disaster.  There’s only one alternative.  I recommend disbanding the outfit and sending the troops home. How’s that?”

       Another silence ensued.  The members sat there looking straight ahead, apparently waiting for Rout to say something.  After 20 minutes elapsed Maria erupted, leaning forward in her chair, clearly angry, looking directly at Rout:

       Maria—“I think you are trying to drive us all crazy.  You are responsible for this group but you don’t act responsibly.  You abdicate your responsibility as the group leader.  You just leave us hanging.  No structure.  No guidelines. No information.  No support.  Look, I’m a social worker.  I have a MSW, a masters of social work, and I know a thing or two about groups and group dynamics.  I have had courses and workshops in it and I know the first thing a leader is supposed to do is provide psychological protection and safety for all group members.  You are not protecting anyone.  If anything you are exposing everyone by stripping them of their psychological defenses.  What sort of training do you have in group dynamics?”

Rout—“I have had courses and workshops in organizational behavior, group dynamics, psychotherapy, gestalt therapy, neurolinguistic programming and transactional analysis, with over 35 years’ experience teaching and applying techniques from these fields in formal university courses in classrooms and by conducting workshops and consulting programs in small businesses and in large corporations.  Here is an email containing a copy of my vita.  I assure you I am not trying to drive you crazy.  Quite to the contrary, I am trying to drive you sane.   While we are at it, how about the whole group taking a look at my vita.  You will see it in your email inbox.”

Maria—“But what has any of this got to do with the poem?  I thought we were discussing the poem. You know as well as I do the poem was talking about you, so I am talking about the poem.  Everybody here thinks you are some kind of lunatic or fiend.  The poem used the word fiendish, clearly related to you and your behavior in this group.”

Rout—“Of course it does, but so what?  Anyone who has had experience working with organizations and groups knows the formal leader of the group, if he is to be effective, must be capable of enforcing basic rules for the group, and, ideally, the leader will have experience and training exceeding that of the members, and, implicitly if a group is to produce results, that is, productive changes, the leader must know and introduce things considered new and different by the members, which always causes some insecurity and fear in members initially, before they learn how to assimilate and accommodate the new learning.  If the process is effective members in this group will learn something they do not already know, thereby developing better imagoes and personality adaptations as well as more comprehension of states of affairs, thereby becoming more confident, functional, and productive than they were initially.  In the meantime, as anyone who knows anything about organizational life knows, the formal designated leader rules the roost, and it’s my way or the highway regarding fundamental rules and laws.  Once again, if you are unwilling or unable to adapt and flex to my group imago and personality, there’s the door.

       “A group imago by the way is the image someone carries around in her or his head about the way a group or organization should be run.  Both you and Napoleon have group imago conflicts dealing with my group imago.  Since I am the designated leader it’s your job to adapt and flex to me, not the other way around.  Like it or not, students cannot teach the teacher.  This is not a military outfit or a social welfare system.  No one in this group is on welfare and none of you need the protection and commands of a social worker or a drill sargeant.

       “Are there any more questions or comments about the poem? If not, let’s get back to work.

       “But first I want everyone in the group to take a look at my vita that lists my education, training, and experience.  It should convince you I am well-qualified to run this group process.”

After about five minutes,

Rout—“OK, let’s move out.  Napoleon, spin The Truther.”

Adam—“Before we do, Rout, could I make a comment or two about your vita?

Rout—“Ok.”

Adam—“On the whole your vita is an impressive list of accomplishments and it does show you have had relevant education, training, and experience in fields relevant to what we are attempting to do here.  But it seems to me it is not as impressive as most people might think.  Seems to me you are basically an academic and I suppose it’s normal for us academics to list what we have published, including articles and books we have written in our fields, which is fine, but are most of them serious achievements? Most of us merely preach to our own choirs. Here you preaching to people from a lot of different choirs.  I noticed you have published in the Transactional Analysis Journal, which is refereed journal for the TA field, but most of your articles, published in other fields, such as economics and management, have not been in Class A journals.  Also many of your articles were published in Proceedings papers of conferences, which have high acceptance rates, many of which are little more than the equivalent of term papers written by undergraduates, mostly busy work, not read by anyone but the author, the editor, and conference discussants.  While you are successful in your field you are probably not as successful as most people in this room might think you are based on this vita, not being academics and not having seen academic vitas before. Most resumes used in the real world for job applicants do not include jobs completed. They just list the education, job titles, dates of employment, and so forth of the applicant, usually one or two pages long.  Your vita is about twenty pages long, implying you have accomplished a great deal relative to people in non-academic fields.  If a building contractor were to list every house he ever built he too would have a long resume.”

Rout—“You’re right on, Adam, good point.  Maybe it would be a good idea for you to share your academic vita in economics to give the group some perspective on this issue.  You can download it from a memory stick at our next meeting and share it with the group.  On the other hand, I think my overall idea here, that my education, training, and experience should have equipped me to do a better job of deciding what to do here than people not having my education, training, and experience, is valid.”

The Truther selected Hal as the new leader.

Hal—“I must say, this Truther does keep your energy level up and your adrenalin flowing.  You have no idea what is gonna happen next.

       “As to problems, as I think we mentioned in passing during the first session in Louisville, the problem is there are so many darn problems in the world today it’s hard to single one out as the problem you should talk about or try to do something about first.  As Bubba pointed out the first time he got hit it’s hard to know what is the most relevant problem in the whole damn world.  I think most people most of the time visiting with friends or whatever more or less ignore the world’s problems.  I think you actually get looked down on if you bring up a serious problem at dinner, or lunch, or wherever, as if you have broken an ethical rule, so most people have little experience talking about serious problems with groups.  As an attorney I talk with clients about serious problems all the time, damn relevant to their lives, such as not getting screwed in a divorce or land deal or something, but it’s not talking about serious problems affecting the whole world.

       “So a relevant problem for most of us in this group is that we have had very little experience talking about the world’s problems in a serious way with anyone.  Hopefully Rout here can teach us something about how to do this.  But I think he said one of the reasons they decided to set this group up in the first place is that such groups do not naturally happen in the real world.

       “Ok, that’s an aside.  Here goes at talking about the most relevant problem in the whole damn world, right now, taking a wild-assed guess…. 

       “And the problem is—drumroll please—evolution itself.  I happen not to believe in free will.  I think all effects have causes, even effects such as human feelings, thoughts, beliefs, decisions, wants, and actions.  You think you are causing yourself to think and feel and decide as you are now in reaction to what I am saying using free will?  Wrong.  I am causing you to feel, think and decide as you are by what I am saying.  And what has transpired in this group process has caused me to say what I am saying now.  That’s not free will. 

       “True enough, what you are now feeling, thinking and deciding depends on previous facts, theories, beliefs and decisions that came to be recorded in your brain, but I caused you to think about it by what I just said. 

       “And what I have said was caused by what you have said in this group, and by Rout’s rules and procedures, especially his Truther, which required and gave me permission to say something, anything, that resulted in what I said.

       “This not only happened to me, it happens to everyone everywhere.  What you feel, think, say and do depends on causes in your environment, what you are exposed to, and previous recordings in the brain.

       “It not only happens to you but to every man jack, woman and child alive on the planet.  Therefore no one is responsible for what is now going on around the world.  Everybody is just like you and me in the way they are caused.

       “You think you just spontaneously-like feel, think, etc. whatever you feel, think, etc. whenever something happens?  That you just poof as if by magic cause your reactions to happen out of thin air when something happens in your zone of consciousness? 

       “How can a non-caused cause happen?  Think about it.  Nothing causing you to feel or think in your brain what you feel or think?

       “I don’t think it can happen.”

“’Just a minute here Hal!,’ Luke bellowed.

“You are talking heresy. There is nothing in your brain but you and your Lord, who watches over you at all times, who knows your every feeling, thought, and act even before you do.  Nothing is causing you to do anything but you.  You have free will.  The Scriptures are very clear about that.  Almost nothing is more sacred than free will, which our most merciful Lord God bequeathed to us.  As much as Adam and Eve disappointed Him there in the Garden, he never gave up on us, and he is ever hoping that all His children shall repent and worship Him in His heavenly home.”

Rout—“Let it be known Luke is out of order and shall be fined for interrupting the previous speaker.  Let Hal, the previous speaker continue until such time as he decides to stop of his own free will, or until such time as something inside his own head causes him to stop talking.”

Hal—“Well, I guess I was a little long-winded getting to my major point, which is, since I think everything has been caused by evolution, everything that happens is inevitable, or depending on your perspective, accidental, and all species on earth are victims of circumstance.  But I also believe if all people try to figure out answers for problems and tell others what those answers are this could cause things to get better on Earth. Unfortunately there are so few humans doing this sort of thing there is little chance humans alive now can change major causes of things, and the human species is doomed. I’m talking about poverty and income inequality, global warming, and that sort of thing, since most humans will just continue on the evolutionary trajectory fate caused for them through infinite cause-effect chains.

       “Therefore the most relevant problem right now on Earth is there is nothing causing right answers to happen for problems such as the population bomb, global warming, environmental pollution, and climate change.  The human race is checkmated as it were. 

       “I must say, I admire Rout and his people for setting up this group and causing us to at least think about and discuss relevant problems threatening all species on Earth.

       “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak my piece.”

Luke—“You, sir, have had your say.  Now it’s my turn.  If there is no free will there is no right and wrong, no sin, no righteousness, no virtue, no real reason to live, nothing to live for of any significance.  Can you imagine what the world would be like if there was no free will?  Why men would live like savages or beasts, satisfying their baser urges and lusts at every whim, murdering without a pang of conscience, since guilt would not exist. 

       “How especially can you as a lawyer not believe in free will?  The entire legal system is based on free will, otherwise how could you ever convict anyone of anything, hold them responsible for their crimes, and send them to prison, to pay for their crimes?”

Hal—“I beg to differ Luke.  You don’t have to have free will to have a legal system.  If anything we have a legal system because free will does not exist.  If we had free will we would have almost no crime, since most people are intelligent enough to know they ought not to commit felonies and serious crimes, especially since they know you will go to jail if convicted of committing them.    

       “No, we have legal systems, purely and simply, to cause people not to commit crimes, which it does, within limits.  Most people have been caused to know they will be punished if they violate laws, and they are aware of most of the criminal laws that can get them sent to jail.  Most of the unknown laws are business laws that result in fines and other punishments where ignorance of the law is no excuse, which is why you need to hire a lawyer. 

       “People who knowingly violate criminal laws do not decide using spontaneous free will to violate the law; a belief, a previous decision, an idea, something, already caused to be recorded in their brains causes them to irrationally react as they do at the time the crime is committed.

       “And something in the environment at the time the crime is committed, an enticement, a threat, an insult, whatever, is the main cause of the act, previous beliefs, ideas, and so forth previously caused to be recorded in the individual’s brain not being sufficiently strong to stop the individual from committing the crime.

       “But for sure a pure spontaneous act of free will did not cause the crime to be committed.

       “The bottom line is it does not matter what the cause of someone committing a crime is; if convicted you go to jail anyway, and this causes less crime to be committed than would otherwise be the case.”

Luke—“If that were true then nobody should be sent to jail, since it’s not their fault if they do not have free will.  That would be unfair.”

Hal—“You’re right it’s not their fault they did what they did, but, unfortunately mankind has learned over millennia that lawbreakers have to be punished to prevent crime, crime being defined as breaking laws.

       “Speaking of unfairness, how fair is it for your God to sentence one of his so-called children to an eternity of torment in hell for breaking his laws or commandments or not living up to his expectations?  Seems to me that’s irrationally harsh, especially when in most cases the miscreant was never arrested or punished at the time of infractions, or even warned he or she had better not do it again?

       “You are a retired minister, aren’t you?”

Luke—“Yes, I am, but my God is a God of love, who sent his only Son Jesus Christ to save sinners, who called men to save other men from hell, which was a merciful act, since God gave men free will and knowledge of right and wrong.  I shall pray for you.”

Hal—“Go right ahead but I personally have not seen one whit of evidence that praying ever caused one single event to happen on Earth that would not have happened anyway.  Something caused them to pray for sake of praying, which produced certain kinds of feelings, which could in some way cause certain behavioral changes, resulting in something, less crime perhaps. But it has nothing to do with free will.”

Ellie then jumped in the fray.

Ellie—“Whether we have free will or not, we teachers are not allowed to discuss religion like this in our classes.  We have something known in this country as separation of church and state, and I think we ought to keep religion out of this group and process, or whatever it is.”

Hal—“I hate to say it, Ellie, but I am afraid this is a symptom of the most relevant problem in this country.  If you can’t even talk about what you think is most relevant what chance is there we shall develop a fair and sane society.  If everyone is afraid to speak out about what is most relevant, what is threatening the future of the country, if they cannot even say what they think ought to be done instead of what is being done by politicians and the government, what chance do we have?

       “There is no doubt religion, or religious beliefs, is one of the worst problems in the world today.  It’s causing us not to deal with real problems threatening our existence.”

Ellie—“How can you say religion is the problem when the whole purpose of religion is to help people cope with the problems of the world?  Religion is here to help people, not make matters worse.”

Julia—“Religion never helped me none.  I could care less about it.  I never talk about it and nobody I know ever does neither.  I do my job and collect my money and I try to be a good person.  Religion as far as I am concerned does not exist.  It always did seem like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo to me.  Never could read the bible.  Never did understand any of it. I work hard and I built my business up to where I make a living, and that’s about all I have time to think about.  I ain’t gonna waste my time thinking about no religion.  I can tell you that.”

Another silence ensued.  After about fifteen minutes Rout caught Hal’s eye and looked at The Truther.

Hal got up from his chair, walked to the center of the room, and twirled The Truther. The rooster crowed and Bob got selected as the leader of the moment.

Bob—“Wow, it is hard to figure out what to say when that thing lands on you with the rooster crowing.  I agree the worst problem when you get hit is figuring out what to say about any problem, there are so many of them.  How are you supposed to know which is the most relevant problem economically, socially, and politically?

       “In some ways my job as a physician is easy compared to this.  When I sit down with a patient in most cases it’s easy to diagnose the problem.  The patient knows what it is because something is hurting.  There’s real pain or symptoms easily locatable around the body.  Here’s there’s nobody sitting in front of you and there’s pain everywhere, caused by ignorance, poverty, evolution, genetics, institutions, whatever.

       “No matter what you say you’re apt to make a fool of yourself.  On the other hand, nobody can prove you’re wrong. 

       “In my profession if you’re wrong about what to do, especially if you do something wrong and the patient dies, it’s obvious you made a mistake and you might get sued, in which case you had better be able to convince a jury you were not negligent. 

       “Here you can run your mouth all you want with little fear of punishment, as if running your mouth is doing something.  I suppose it is, since it requires you to think some, and figure out what to say if The Truther picks you out. But any pain you might experience as a consequence, such as saying dumb things and making a fool of yourself, is not like the kind of pain I deal with in a doctor’s office.

       “So, to tell you the truth, I do not know what to say.  I was always taught growing up there are two things you should not talk about in public:  religion and politics.  And I took this to heart.  I almost never talked about such things, and still don’t, especially with patients.  Like Julia here I pretty much stuck to the straight and narrow growing up, doing whatever it took to learn math and science and make straight A’s in college and get through medical school. And it never got much better after medical school. About all most doctor’s do is work, spending almost all their time in their offices and hospitals, maybe taking off now and then to go fishing.

       “So for sure, I am no expert on religion.  I have no idea whether it would be better for us to talk about religion in here or not.  I’m sure there are arguments both ways.

       “I do agree with Hal, though, that religion is now a problem worldwide.  All you have to do is watch the evening news now and then to see the horrible effects religion is now having in the Middle East.  You have got religious fanatics over there killing one another because of religion, Sunnis versus Shites, this sort of thing.

       “Thank god we have never had anything like that in this country.  On the other hand, look back in history, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust, and what have you.   No doubt about it, religion has caused a lot of violence and hatred.

       “Religion is causing about half of our political problems in this country, causing voters to be polarized, Evangelicals vs. Anglicans, or whatever, causing politicians to be polarized in Washington, making it difficult to pass budget bills, making it difficult to pass a jobs bill, and so on.

       “But would I recommend we spend a lot of time in here discussing religion, or trying for figure out how to change it, or trying to create new ways of worshipping or dealing with religion?  I don’t think so.  The probability of us coming up with anything that would change anything in this regard is low indeed, even if you used the Internet. 

       “Religion has probably been one of the most discussed and argued about subjects in human history, and no one has ever proved anything.  The probability of any of us saying anything in this group about religion that has not already been said is near zero.  It’s also impossible to prove anything about religion is wrong, such as whether hell or heaven exist, since no one has ever come back with proof.  You can’t prove or disprove anything about religion.

       “So, I guess I would say that even though religion is one of the most relevant problems in the world today, we might as well go on to something else, since there is little or nothing we can do about it one way or another.

       “Therefore I recommend we move on to another subject.”

Luke—“The Lord works in mysterious ways and He never said religion was provable.  You have got to believe and accept His word on faith, and the word of our Holy Savior passed down to us in Holy Scripture.  In the Day of judgment the wheat shall be separated from the chaff, and the faithful shall receive their reward.  Amen and glory halleluiah.”

Steve—“The problem is we are losing our values in this country.  We all know our values are the most important thing.”

Martin—“I teach religious studies in a college and I can tell you you cannot teach values and religious beliefs to students in a state school as if you know the way the truth and the light.  All you can do is teach the histories of various religions as best you can, based on the few facts that are known, such as when the religions probably started, something about the supposed founders, and so on.  I am a strong believer in the separation of church and state, such as we have here in the United States, at least for now, since evangelicals do everything they can to get rid of it legally.  Americans have argued about religion from the beginning and some tried to force religion on Americans through the constitution, which did not happen.  There has been much religious strife and controversy, but largely thanks to our constitution we have never had religious wars or persecutions, such as they have in the Middle East, Shites vs. Sunnis, or religious wars and violence such as have occurred in France, Spain, and Ireland, Catholics vs Protestants, and whatnot.

       “Most of our founders were deists, meaning they did not believe an anthropomorphic god exists, especially a vengeful, jealous or rewarding god, a human-like god, who looked like a human being, who could create a man and woman in his image in seven days.  Deists believe God is some sort of intelligence permeating the whole universe who set things up with physical laws and processes and did no more, letting evolution take its natural course.

       “I think we should leave it at that and let everyone in this group and everywhere else believe whatever they want, and move on to something else, as Bob recommended.”

Joe—“I ain’t much on ‘goin to church.  My folks never went to church and such and I don’t either. Couldn’t afford fancy clothes for Sunday church goin’. I never sent my kids to church.  But I believe in Jesus and the Fourth of July and them things that made this country great.  I fought in Vietnam and I would do it all over again to protect my country.  I taught my kids that and they believe it.  They work hard like I do and they got pride in themselves and what they believe.  Can’t nobody take that away from us.  God bless America and the American flag.”

Julia—“I’m with you Joe.  My folks was so poor we couldn’t afford to go to church. Didn’t have decent clothes and such to wear.  Rich folks in church would look down on us.  But we had an old Bible in the house and sometimes we said the blessin’ before we ate.  Folks like us needed a savior and Jesus filled the bill.  Made you feel good to think that somebody really cared about you, and you was a’goin’ to heaven after you died.”

Martin—“Yes, of course, that has been the major appeal of Christianity, and most religions, throughout human history, and I would not want to take that solace away from anyone. 

       “But as you pointed out, Julia, and as Joe alluded to, Christianity in the US has often made the poor feel worse socially and psychologically because of not being acceptable in the first churches of the town or city.  In some areas church services provided about the only venue in which the well to do could wear their new suits and ties and frilly dresses.

       “I suppose we’ll have to defer to Dr. Logger about how much we should talk about religion in his “process.”  What do you think about this, Dr. Logger?”

Rout—“This is not my process.  I am paid to be here and coordinate the process, but I do not own it. On the other hand, I am entitled to speak my opinion in here just like you are. I think religion has always been a problem and is still part and parcel of major problems around the world. On the other hand, I do not think religion is the major cause of wars. The main cause is most people not having enough and some people having too much. Religion evolved just like everything else. Homo sapiens have been on Earth about one million years. Organized religions only started evolving about five thousand years ago, the religions of Egypt and Assyria being the first, then Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, plus many others at different times.

       “Ever hear of the religion of Bill?  I read about this in the Smithsonian magazine and it really happened.  An American pilot during World War II crash-landed on a remote isolated island in the Pacific.  The isolated natives there thought he was a god since he crash landed in an airplane.  Bill taught them a few helpful things on the island before he finally got discovered by civilized people and was taken back to his country. After he left, a male native declared himself the high priest of the Bill religion, indoctrinating children in it as soon as they could to Bill’s beliefs and teachings.  A major teaching was that Bill would come back some day to save them again.  The priest built a church and conducted regular services and the worshippers of Bill participated in various rituals.  Bill did indeed come back one day on vacation and his worshippers fell at his feet in awe.

       “I suspect most religions got started more or less this way, except nobody crashed landed in an airplane. The bigger, richer and more powerful the country and rulers the greater the number of priests and preachers and the bigger and more elaborate the temples, cathedrals and mosques.  Some religions entailed erecting pyramids and large stone statues, as in Egypt, Druid Ireland, Mexico and the Galapagos Islands.

       “Unfortunately we could spend several months or years discussing religion without creating or discovering useful recommendations or new rituals, so I suppose we should move on.”

After slowing marching to the center of the room with his head bowed, Bob reverently twirled The Truther, and the rooster crowed again.

Dan—“I’m an insurance man and a good Methodist, not an expert on religion by any means, but I would like to say something about it.  For several years now I have been reading stuff on Facebook, and in the last year or so I have seen a couple of posts that made me think.  The first one had to do with the writing of the New Testament.  In this post someone said the Christian bible was actually written by professional writers commissioned by a Roman emperor, Constantine, in the third century after Christ.  According to this story the emperor was worried about the Roman Empire falling apart and he thought if someone wrote a good book on religion he could use it to help hold his empire together, you know, make the population meek and humble, feel guilty for their personal sins, make them more obedient to him, that sort of thing..  The bible quotes Jesus Christ saying people should render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s, which would have made believers pay their Roman taxes and that sort of thing.

       “According to this story the writers of the bible took stories that had been handed down for centuries about several religions that had saviors born of virgins that rose from the dead, and so forth, and wrote the bible, making it seem the bible and chapters in it had been written by people who knew and worked with Jesus.  Now I have no idea whether any of this was true, but it always did seem strange to me there was nothing written about Jesus by his so-called disciples during their lifetimes preserved on any sort of writing material, such as clay tablets, parchment or whatever.  Also the stories in the bible about Jesus do not agree on certain supposed facts, such as whether Jesus was actually born in a manger.

       “The second thing about religion on Facebook that astounded me is that a few years back this strange monument got erected at Elberton, Georgia with religious carvings on it and instructions for a new religion.  The monument was made from huge granite slabs positioned together with a top slab, kind of like those giant stones at Stonehenge.  In this new religion they recommended reducing the human population to five hundred million people and keeping it at that level forever.  Whoever these people were they believed five hundred million people was all Earth could sustain living in harmony with all other species.

       “Now, how you could ever get the human population back to five hundred million would be a major problem, without dropping an atomic bomb or something.  What is the human population now?  About 7 billion isn’t it?

       “At any rate, I recommend that a new religion be commissioned like the Roman emperor did along the lines of the carvings on this strange monument in Elberton, Georgia, with a required belief that women can only have one child each.  That would cause the human population to peacefully shrink back to five hundred million people in a century or so.”

Tony—“I hear crap like that all the time tending bar.  People talk about religion a lot after they’ve had a few drinks.  I’ve heard both of these stories.  I doubt either one is true, just more made up bullshit.”

Dan—“I know for a fact the story about the monument is true.  You can drive out in the country near Elberton and see it for yourself.  As to the story about the Roman emperor I’m pretty sure you can find sources about it on the Internet.  How about it, Rout, could we look this up on the Internet?”

Rout—“OK, why not.  It’s about time we tried out our Google search system.  Take a look, everyone.  See if you can find proof this Roman emperor actually paid writers to write the Christian bible.”

The group members then began to fiddle with their computers, turning them on, trying to find Google, preparing to make the search.

After giving them a few minutes to read some sources Rout wanted to move on—“That’s about enough time for that.  Dan, how about giving the Truther a twirl?”

It landed on Ron—“I drive trucks.  Religion was always above me.  Never understood it, for sure never studied it.  Always believed in Jesus though.

       “What do you want me to say about this?  I asked Google if a Roman emperor hired people to write the bible and got about 15 million sources of information.  Reading through some of them I saw several mentions of this Roman guy.  I don’t suppose that proves he did it, does it?

       “I have no idea what to recommend about this.”

Luke—“Thank you Ron, for your simple faith, and your testimonial.  May God bless you.

       “I also saw millions of possible sources about this subject, proving how important it is.  I don’t think any of them will change the truth of the matter, that Jesus is lord, and will save you from the fires of hell, if you will but let him.  Amen.”

Maria—“This is nonsense.  You can’t prove anything with the Internet.  Half of it is made up or lies.  Fake news.  Religion is a matter of faith, pure and simple, and you can only know the truth in your own heart.”

Rout—“I also saw millions of possible sources, but it seems Constantine had something to do with the writing of one version of the bible in the 3rd century after Christ. 

       “We could spend hours talking about nothing but this.  How many of you think based on our first Internet search that it is true Constantine influenced the writing of the Christian bible in the 3rd century?  Let’s see a show of hands?”

Almost all members held up their hands.

Rout—“OK, let’s move on.”

END OF INTERNET EPISODE THREE

TO BE CONTINUED

WHY DEMS ARE CHOOSING BIDEN—A TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS OF USIAN POLITICS

By RICHARD JOHN STAPLETON

I thought Bernard Sanders would handily win in the 2020 Democratic primary race since Hillary barely defeated him in 2016 and no other candidate in the 2020 primary race was as formidable as Hillary.

Sanders is a visionary with time-tested policies and ideas for curing fundamental USian economic and social problems, with intellectual honesty, integrity, determination, and good ethics demonstrated throughout his public life, dedicated to generally doing the right thing. He’s not perfect but relatively close for a politician, notwithstanding his helping to secure a pork barrel F-35 fighter plane base to help the economy near Burlington, Vermont, creating horrendous noise, as these poorly-designed incredibly expensive new US Air Force planes zoom through the air, disturbing the peace of mind of citizens for miles around.

Sanders’s votes and policies in Washington on social issues in my opinion however are about as good as you can get, Medicare for All, free tuition for college, forgiveness of student debt, maintaining Social Security, reforming the banking and financial system, cutting military spending, creating infrastructure jobs in the domestic economy, and, perhaps of greatest significance, stating in public debates he would fight global warming and climate change from day one after being elected and sworn in. He was the only Dem candidate with enough intellectual honesty and guts to make a major issue of fighting global warming and climate change.

And best of all he’s not bought and paid for. He’s the only candidate in the 2020 presidential race who has not accepted campaign donations from large corporations and is therefore free to work in the interests of middle and lower income people.

If elected if he can get just one-tenth of his plans accomplished he will have done more for middle and lower income people than any president since Franklin Roosevelt. Unfortunately while he still has some chance of winning, right now, it appears these if’s are mighty big ones.

Bernie came across in the primary debates with vim and vigor expressing his plans in clear straightforward easy to understand language, almost never missing a beat with his flow of words and sentences formed with correct grammar, his mind sharp as a tack.

Joe Biden is almost a polar opposite, a man with little or no plans or ideas for curing anything, a long-time Dem politician who will bend with any political wind that is good for him, a supporter of the establishment, not the common man or woman, a bought and paid for lobbyist-type politician for the defense industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the credit card industry. He was confronted by Sanders with a direct question in the last Dem primary debate in full public view of millions about whether or not he said five times during his career in Washington that he would cut Social Security. He merely looked down with his head bent, made no direct response to the question, and took off on another tangent with another rambling jumble of words and sentences. He has had frequent memory lapses during his primary campaign and in debates that indicate he is suffering from dementia or some sort of neurological disorder, as countless people have pointed out on the Internet and elsewhere. He also has some sort of character or personality disorder, having been charged by numerous women with groping.

The voting started off about like I thought it would for the 2020 Dem primaries. Everything was fine for Sanders in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. I thought he was headed for an easy win. But along came South Carolina and Super Tuesday and then Sanders got drubbed in the Deep South.

I was surprised and dismayed by those results, having thought Sanders would win in almost all states. I thought ordinary people everywhere had seen enough facts and reasoning in the primary debates to cause them to vote for Sanders.

But when Biden also won in Illinois, Michigan, and Washington, it dawned on me how wrong I had been. The social messages in the debates were like water running off a duck’s back for millions of people. The silent majority discounted the significance of what they saw and heard. The social words and reasoning they should have heard counted for little.  

What mainly counted were the unexpressed silent ulterior psychological messages they saw and imagined. Unfortunately, it seems to me most Dem voters do not know how to vote in their own best interests.

I thought Trump defeated Hillary in the 2016 general election because of her legal troubles over several decades; her excitement and satisfaction displayed on TV discussing the killing of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya; her warmongering tendencies as Secretary of State; her judgment problems causing her to decide to install a computer server in her home to do State Department, or whatever, work; and her taking speech money from big banks for promising to support their interests rather than those of the common people.

Regardless, I thought Hillary would easily defeat Trump. She was intellectually superior, better educated, and better qualified for the job.

But in her case too unspoken psychological ulterior messages did her in. A lot of voters discounted her abilities and experience and chose a lesser man for psychological reasons.

The same thing happened to Al Gore running against Bush II in 2000. Gore was intellectually superior and more experienced than Bush II, another clownish bumbling dissolute sort of human being, largely devoid of plans, goals, and ideals for the US or anything else as a whole; but yet he too won, thanks to psychological messages causing millions of voters to discount reality and choose a lesser candidate for the job of US president.

It seems being the brightest and best has become a liability in USian presidential politics since about 1980, starting with a movie star president, Ronald Reagan. Barack Obama in 2008 appeared to be an exception to the rule, narrowly defeating Hillary in the Dem primaries, before he caved in to the military industrial establishment and Wall Street banksters, doing their bidding after being sworn in.     

While I thought Hillary should have handily beaten Trump in the 2016 general election, her 2016 primary race against Sanders in my opinion should have been closer than Sander’s 2020 primary race against Biden, with Sanders the winner, since Sanders has a better record relative to Biden than he had relative to Hillary in 2016. But, alas, it appears Sanders is now (March 24, 2020) being defeated by Biden by a wider margin than he was by Hillary in 2016.

Based on this line of reasoning, it should have been easier for Sanders to defeat Biden in 2020 than it was for him to almost defeat Hillary in 2016, in a close race, which I thought had been rigged by the Democratic National Committee in favor of Hillary.

So why is Biden defeating Sanders by a wider margin in the 2020 Dem popular vote primaries up to now than Hillary beat Sanders in the 2016 primary popular vote? Is it because Hillary is female and Biden is male?

Or is it what The Preacher in Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible said, “The race is not to the swift.”

Or is it what George Carlin blurted out in one of his Broadway Shows, “Stupid people vote for stupid people. It’s as simple as that.”

An organizational theory known as the Peter Principle also sheds some light on the problem. This concept developed by Laurence J. Peter suggests that competent people because of doing an outstanding job at one level eventually get promoted one level too high, to a level requiring skills and abilities greater than they possess relative to what they should know; so incompetent people sooner or later populate most levels of hierarchical organizations. This is the competent-people-rise organizational theory, which counter-intuitively eventually causes organizational dysfunctions.

Another organizational theory, irreverently called the Inverse Peter Principle, avers that only the incompetent rise, because truly superior performers are so knowledgeable, skilled, and productive at their current level that the organization cannot afford to promote them. So the higher up you go in an organization the less knowledge and analytical and creative skill supposedly superior superiors have relative to what they should know, finally reaching a level, as you ascend up organizational chain of command ladders, like Jack climbing his beanstalk in his fairy tale, where you encounter someone at the top level like Donald J. Trump, who barely reads, who does not do any kind of competitive analytical or creative work, but who can bullshit, pop off “decisions”, bellow orders, and hire and fire people at will, and somehow survive in the organization, so long as he has a majority of electoral votes or owns a majority of the voting stock. Thus, based on this line of reasoning, almost anyone should be competent enough to be president of the US, the highest-up job of all up Jack’s beanstalk in USian culture, since real competence as most people think of it is almost irrelevant at that level, where the main “skill” is having the right and power to hire and fire people, where the big cheese rarely has proof a major decision he makes is “right”, with most operating decisions at his level for good or ill having been made by underlings.  

As a certified transactional analyst with professional experience dealing with psychological Games in organizations, I think the best explanation for why so many less knowledgeable and lesser-skilled and accomplished people are often promoted in organizations rather than better qualified people is that such decisions are determined by human scripts and psychological Games, that all organizational stakeholders play to vie for a greater share of the whole pie generated by organizations, including not only money but recognition, structure, and stimulation, to satisfy their ego needs.    

There are basically two kinds of scripts people have to act out in organizations to keep their jobs or get promoted: psychological scripts and social scripts.  

Psychological Scripts are programmed into children by virtue of being constantly exposed to and dependent on their parents before the age of eight. Almost as if by osmosis parents psychologically script their children not to feel, think, and do certain things in various ways and degrees, largely non-verbally by how they respond to a child, by how they get mad, sad, glad, or scared, or not, when the child does something or when various things happen in the environment. Psychological scripts are automatically “introjected” into the personalities of children during early childhood, and most children wind up pretty much like their parents, with the same accents, and the same kind of of feeling, thinking, doing, saying, and overall living. Transactional analysts call these basic “don’t” requirements injunctions.

There are some generic “do” script messages called counter-injunctions such as brush your teeth, study hard, make something of yourself, work hard, etc. that are socially overt and spoken, but they are not as significant or powerful over a lifetime as psychological script injunctions.

Injunctions and counter-injunctions wind up creating a life plan for people. The bottom line here is that most people are what they are and can only respond in adult life in certain ways because of their life scripts. Some people are more flexible and adaptable than others, but most people in order to make a living and achieve some satisfaction in life have to find a slot, niche, and level in an organization in which their life script is considered congruent.

Social scripts include the sum total of do’s and don’t’s required for a person to be successful dealing with others in a particular job or role in any organization to make a living. These scripts include the algorithmic steps required to do the specific job you are paid to do and required words and phrases to say to others and how to respond to people around you, up, across, and down the organizational chain of command, including playing the psychological Games people around you like to play. Restaurant scripts for greeters, servers, and customers are more standardized than the social scripts of most organizations, most requiring these words, “How many?”; “Two”, or “Four”, or whatever number in the party; and “Right this way please”, to get the show started; but all organizations have generic and peculiar social scripts for all participants that have to be learned and used. Almost nobody can be their true selves most of the time making a living in an organization. They have to act out the scripts required. Organizations such as DisneyWorld are the most scripted of all. Employees “go on stage” after they clock in for work, pretending while on the job to be characters like Donald Duck or some fairy tale character, saying mainly memorized lines.

Most people who get fired for cause in organizations are fired because of psychological scripts thought to be inappropriate in an organizational culture, and for being unwilling to act out social scripts, not for not being able to perform the required algorithmic steps of the job.

Psychological Games are a way of getting stimulation, recognition, and structure as one goes about one’s business of surviving and making a living. Basically they involve trying to gain certain satisfactions dealing with others, such as by making yourself or someone else feel comfortable or by causing a loss of some sort for others, or by making a fool of someone. Psychological Games entail people discounting problems, opportunities, and people, and the significance of someone or something.

Common psychological script injunction are Don’t Be Excellent and Don’t Be Important, among about fourteen kinds of Don’t feel, think, and do injunctions generally recognized by transactional analysts, widely transmitted in family scripting. I have covered them in detail in my books Business Voyages and Born to Learn , easily found on the Internet. Why would any parent tell a child not to be excellent or important? Well, no rational parent would socially. They do it psychologically largely outside of conscious Adult ego state awareness mainly because they too did not have psychological permission to be excellent or important when they were children. People play psychological Games by “cathecting” , or turning on, all three of their ego states, including their Parent and Child ego states to create and maintain stimulation, recognition, and structure similar to what they experienced earlier in life, and in most cases they are not aware of what they are doing.

I have described and explained the dynamics and significance of ego states, psychological Games, and scripts in my books, as they were first described and explained in a large gush of books and papers written by Eric Berne, MD (the originator of transactional analysis), and others, published since the 1960s that are still in print and offered for sale on the Internet. An excellent collection of refereed scholarly articles on transactional analysis have been published quarterly in the Transactional Analysis Journal since the early 1970s by the International Transactional Analysis Association. I studied and trained in transactional analysis at the Southeast Institute at Chapel Hill, North Carolina during 1975-1978, passing written and oral comprehensive exams on transactional analysis in 1978 administered by the ITAA.

Two major purposes of TA are to help people become more authentic and script free so as to gain more satisfaction from life in general and to see social scripts for what they are in organizations to help people learn how to adapt and flex to them to make a living.

Political races are rife with psychological Games producing psychological satisfactions for voters. Why vote in the first place? Well, the best Adult ego state reason would be to take social satisfaction in helping select the best leader for an organization or group to achieve rational goals and objectives for everyone. Lesser Parent and Child reasons would be to create satisfying psychological Game payoffs for yourself and to secure psychological structure, recognition, and stimulation similar to what you experienced with your parents, friends, and others in your early life, and in adolescence, that supported the psychological, social, economic, religious, political, and moral states of affairs of organizations such as your family, school, church, and political party. Once psychologically scripted most people do not rebel over a lifetime. Red states stay red and blue states stay blue.

I remember distinctly a TV interviewer in 2000 asking an attractive woman who ran a bar and grill why she intended to vote for Bush II. “Cuz he’s a good-lookin’ man” was her quick response.

There are several psychological Games people play in political races; but it seems to me based on my experience dealing with presidential races on the Internet and elsewhere, listening to comments people make on my Facebook news feed timeline and elsewhere, most politicians play to some degree a psychological Game called Rapo by transactional analysts, since one of the surest ways to get votes in our narcissistic USian culture is to be considered good lookin’.

There are three degrees of psychological Games: First Degree Games are basically compliments, insults, discounts, jokes, and body language displays designed to build up or tear down someone’s self-esteem, or gain or lose some sort of psychological advantage; Second Degree  Games entail more serious discounts and payoffs, threatening someone, firing someone, getting divorced, etc.; Third Degree Games are sometimes called tissue-tearing Games with payoffs such as getting into physical fights, going to war, winding up in a morgue, etc.

A Rapo Game starts by someone psychologically promising some sort of satisfaction to someone for responding to her or his sexual attractiveness. There are various social and psychological transactions that can bring this about, social transactions being spoken and overt, psychological transactions being unspoken and covert. The payoff for a Rapo player is not a real sexual liaison but making a fool of a mark or sucker who will be punished or humiliated in some way if he or she responds to the psychological sexual messages. Not all psychological Games entail sexual messaging but a lot of them do. All psychological Games involve a con artist of some degree taking advantage of the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of a mark or suckers, promising things the Game starter has no intentions of delivering. Most of the promises of first-degree Games are insignificant and inconsequential.  These Games are ubiquitous and most people play them at various times. Sometimes they have to to survive in organizations. It’s no secret that one of the best ways to be a successful Rapo player is to be considered good lookin’.

Psychological Games and scripts are what make folk tales and fairy tales (such as Cinderella, Jack & Jill, Humpty Dumpty, Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel) interesting and dramatic.

Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Bush II, Obama and Trump won largely because of being successful psychological Game players, having physical and psychological characteristics that enabled them to transmit non-verbal psychological messages to citizens that they would deliver to them psychological and social satisfactions if they voted for them, somehow providing them with various sorts of desired or fantasied psychological stimulation, structures, and recognition. Whether these politicians did indeed produce for their voters the psychological and social satisfactions the voters sought would be difficult to prove, just as it would be difficult for these voters to prove voting for these politicians actually produced the economic satisfactions they socially promised. It seems to me any president during the last forty years would have a difficult time proving he produced significant tangible economic benefits for middle and lower income people, regardless of how much psychological and social satisfaction he produced for his voters.

Unfortunately, it now appears all but certain that the hum-drum, good-ole-boy, dissolute, party-line-loyal Dem politician Joe Biden, who has told the establishment that nothing will change if he is elected, will defeat the well-qualified highly-intelligent visionary man with plans Bernard Sanders, who might cause significant economic changes for the better for middle and lower income people if elected in the 2020 Dem primary race and in the 2020 general presidential election.

Why is this? Well, it seems to me the short answer is that Biden is the better psychological Game-player in the eyes of a majority of Dem voters, by virtue of physical and psychological characteristics he inevitably and accidentally inherited having nothing to do with being able to do a good job as president for we the people.

The Biden campaign lately has been posting cameo pictures on my Facebook news feed timeline showing Biden and his attractive younger blonde second wife and his stately oversized German Shepard dog, leisurely sitting in wicker chairs on their large high-ceiling front porch with white columns, with Biden flashing his perfect white teeth. Another frequent post is of Biden just standing there in an open space, possibly an airport, apparently looking at something in the distance in his nice blue suit and tie as he adjusts his sunglasses (one of his favorite objects for photo opportunities, to channel Ronald Reagan), sort of like a corporate honcho might look who has just taken over something and has just arrived at the airport in his private jet, ready for action. His gleaming perfect white teeth, one can’t keep from noticing, make me wonder if he had his teeth capped just for the 2020 election, to draw attention away from his almost-bald head. It seems unlikely to me that he would have natural teeth at his age that look better than those of aging TV game show hosts.

Don’t laugh. Cosmetic procedures like this work in USian presidential politics. If Trump hadn’t fixed his hair and face as he did he wouldn’t have had a prayer running against a good lookin’ woman like Hillary. How many red-blooded USian women would vote for a bleached-out almost bald old fart like Trump really is? Ronald Reagan couldn’t have gotten elected if he hadn’t dyed his hair. Bush II spent more time pumping iron in the White House than he did reading reports and thinking about world problems. Not one of these presidents ever wrote and published anything of any general intellectual significance. James Garner said Ronald Reagan never had an original thought and someone had to tell him what to do and say when he was president of an actor’s guild in Hollywood. Trump now spends most of his time in the White House fixing his hair and face, eating junk food, and watching Fox so-called News, CNN, MSNBC, and other infotainment media, occasionally bullshitting with his hired and not yet fired lackeys.

Almost certainly this same sort of unproductive time structuring pattern will be true in the case of Joe Biden if he is elected president. Come to think of it, that’s probably why DNC insiders and the USian Deep State like him so much, so they can get away with anything they want, spending US taxpayer money and Federal Reserve System funny money without compunction.  

Near the end of the day, as it were, in the 2020 Dem primaries, it seems to me Joe Biden’s unfortunate successful political victory so far over Bernard Sanders is largely due to him and his campaign, consciously or unconsciously, playing a first-degree psychological Rapo Game, Big Bad Wolf, that may wind up garnering them millions of votes from downtrodden psychological Victims looking for a psychological Rescuer playing their time-honored psychological Games since childhood, including a Big Bad Wolf complementary Game— Little Red Riding Hood.

It’s not so much that stupid people vote for stupid people, as George Carlin said; the underlying problem in political elections is that people with Don’t Be Excellent script injunctions vote for politicians with the same sort of psychological script injunctions. Why is that? It makes them feel more comfortable and secure since they psychologically feel and think they can trust people like they are to take care of them, better than excellent politicians would, just like C students prefer other C students in high school popularity contests.

It’s not that C performers are necessarily less intelligent than A performers. In some cases they make the grades they make because of script injunctions such as Don’t Be Important and Don’t Be Excellent that cause them not to do what it takes to achieve excellence in their studies, careers and lives.

I know of what I speak. I was a C student in grade, junior, and high school despite scoring three or four grades ahead of myself in all subjects in the eighth grade on so-called “achievement tests” administered by the county.  I made mostly B’s in undergraduate school, a little better than mediocre. I had trouble figuring out what to do for a living after I graduated from college the first time. I got accepted by two law schools, SMU and the University of Texas, but never went. I tried working in family businesses but couldn’t get along with my father. I started some small businesses of my own but got bored with it. I interviewed with large corporations and learned I was getting turned down because of scoring too high on certain parts of aptitude tests. I decided I had some sort of learning block, so I consulted a psychiatrist, Jerome Smith, MD, at Lubbock, Texas.

After some psychotherapy I wound up graduating with mostly A’s and no C’s in a doctoral program at Texas Tech. I can tell you it’s not easy to learn how to violate psychological script injunctions automatically transferred to you by parents psychologically telling you to be like they are if you psychologically bought into their script injunctions as a kid. And the hell of it is it all happens by accident.  

 

As Earthian biological, psychological, social, economic, and political life goes on, for how much longer nobody really knows, with humans suffering from and threatened by Covid-19, collapsing USian and Earthian economic systems, nuclear war, and human-caused global warming and climate change, confined and isolated for nobody knows how long in their houses and apartments, if they have one, quarantined ….

In the immortal words of the Great One, Jackie Gleason, winding up one of his episodes on his TV show “The Honeymooners” way back in the 1950s and 1960s, back in the days when we had some really good adult comedy programs to watch on USian TV,

“How sweet it is.”

Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA is an emeritus professor of entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and business policy, and is a certified transactional analyst. He is a founder and owner of Effective Learning Company as shown at the top of this page on the masthead of this blog.

CRASH – VIRUS – CRISIS

By COURTENAY BARNETT


History repeating itself in 2020 and as the song asks – when will they ever learn?


The 1929 crash


Until 1929 the US stock market had been buoyant for an extended period. There came a juncture where stock values did not relate true value and were significantly overpriced. Some ordinary people who did not have complete cash to purchase stocks bought into the market on ‘margins’ ( i.e. they paid for a part of the stock value and borrowed from banks to pay for the remaining value). 


The stock market crashed; people ran to the banks to withdraw their money; many bank officials had invested money on the stock market and so could not repay the cash; and so there were runs on the banks and massive bank failures. 


There was the great depression; no jobs and the American economy was adversely impacted for many years after the crash.


All history.


So, what did the U.S. Federal Government do to address the problem?


Solutions


There were regulatory (i.e. via legislation) and governmental ( via expenditures) solutions applied. 


A core piece of legislation of 1933 was the The Glass-Steagall Act ( a banking Act). It separated commercial banking from investment banking and established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation whose purpose was to insure banks. 


Then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the government expenditure side implemented his ‘new deal’. It invested government money in works programmes and large scale construction; basically, a central government scheme was used to put the ordinary people in the U.S. back to work.
So they learned – or did they learn from the solutions deployed?

Removal of The Glass-Steagall Act


In roughly two phases, under the Presidency of Ronald Reagan and then under the Clinton Presidency the Glass-Steagall Act  was removed. Clinton’s repeal was effected in 1999.


So when the protective legislation for the financial system which regulates institutions and protects  the risk of loss for people who deposit money in banks is removed – what is likely to happen?


The 2008 crash


Let valueless trading and ‘fake mortgages’ take place and derivatives thrive and then? So, the house of cards came crashing down in 2008. 


What I found absolutely astounding under the Obama Presidency was his response. Since it was not the shareholders or legitimate investors at fault but those who governed and those  motivated by greed, who had produced financial investment packages that were doomed to fail – who were primarily at fault – shouldn’t they be regulated and punished? But, who got the bail-out and benefited from ‘quantitative easing’ ( i.e. printing more money)? The C.E.Os. and Wall Street folks who caused the crash in the first case. 


To my astonishment, my  economic mind simply could not fathom then the sense in that. The U.S. government paid the Wall Street folks and went further and printed money. Thus, the impact has to be that the ordinary shareholders lose and the Wall Street folks remain rich and get richer, while the deficit increases ( i.e. it  is taxpayers money used to fund the bailout). 
What then happens with that kind of solution being used?


2020 – what next


I may be wrong on this – but I will hazard a guess. 


While the Corona virus is a global pandemic medical reality, it is not the virus in and of itself which is the real underlying economic problem – but the virus is a trigger which serves to expose and confound and exacerbate already underlying macro-economic and financial fault lines. 


How this crisis is addressed?


Well – when will they ever learn?

________________________________________

* 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 has published several articles in the Effective Learning Report. He lives and works in the Caribbean.

Playing “Chicken” with US Democratic National Committee Owners

By RICHARD JOHN STAPLETON

It’s sad that USian and Earthian states of affairs have evolved to where they are today.

I have always been a passive politician and citizen, doing nothing more than stating my opinions and voting. I never marched, never incited any sort of violence, never ran for a political office; but I was never confronted with a reality such as we now face:

Both political parties are oligarchies.


Both Republican and Democratic politicians operate the US government as pseudo-employees of the elite rich and large corporations who have paid them to do their bidding.


We the people are almost irrelevant.

Yet, I have some hope the DNC will recognize Bernie Sanders as the rightful leader of we the people, if he receives more popular votes than any other politician in the 2020 DNC primary race.

If so the US can progress along the right (and rightful) path.


At seventy-nine years of age I probably won’t change. I most likely won’t march and I won’t incite or commit violence if Sanders is robbed of his rightful place in USian and Earthian history by DNC superdelegates; but I can’t keep from thinking there will be hell to pay one way or another if the DNC and the RNC do not allow quasi-real democracy to work in the 2020 US presidential election.

Full democracy has never existed in a US presidential election, since the authors of the US Constitution saw fit to insert the odious Electoral College in the voting procedures, giving individuals the power to override the popular national vote in close races. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done about that now, and Bernie Sanders could wind up like Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, winning the popular vote in the national election but deprived of the office of president by the Electoral College, assuming he wins the DNC primary popular vote, and the DNC pseudo-Electoral College allows him to run in the general election.

How great it is, this democracy of the US!

DNC superdelegates have the power to negate a Sanders popular vote victory in the primaries according to arbitrary rules insider DNC establishment members approved among themselves, that a judge has ruled legal.


That ruling is not a DNC in-house Electoral College enshrined in constitutional law. Far from it. It runs counter to common sense notions of fairness and justice; it smacks of corruption; and it will not mollify the anger of Bernie Sanders’s workers and financial contributors, who were led to believe their work, money, and votes would count—and Sanders would be the Democratic nominee—if  he won the most votes in the primary elections.


Or have I missed something? Did the DNC insider establishment make this clear at the outset?


Did DNC establishment insiders tell Sanders’s supporters something like this:

“Yes, you people can vote in our primary race for anyone you want to, but your votes won’t count if you vote for a candidate that wins that will not work with DNC establishment insiders to satisfy their personal financial and egotistical wants and needs, and the personal financial and egotistical wants and needs of their elite rich and corporate employers.”

Are DNC establishment insiders worried about this? Of course they are. Their livelihoods are at stake, as are the livelihoods of most Repub and Dem politicians, their paid employees, and the locust swarm of lobbyists in Washington, given that Bernie Sanders promises to help the lower ninety percent instead of the upper ten percent.

The poor will be with you always? Well, maybe not always, but a long time, if Trump or a DNC insider gets elected in 2020.

Let it be known that Bernie Sanders is not a real socialist. He does not advocate nationalizing all US industries, just the healthcare industry, which should be managed as a natural monopoly, as I have pointed out in my article, “Why Healthcare Should be Managed as a Natural Monopoly,”at https://blog.effectivelearning.net/why-healthcare-should-be-managed-as-a-natural-monopoly-2/.

Sanders is a social democrat, a reincarnated Roosevelt New Dealer bent on enhancing social programs, not tearing them down, which is necessary to prevent the US from sliding deeper into fascism, which the Deep State and the RNC and DNC establishments seem to have in mind.

The 2020 presidential race is more than a contest between two pseudo-different political parties; it’s a contest between different kinds of humans who have been scripted from birth to feel, think, and behave as they do. I disagree with the common sense notion that people can easily choose nihilism or democracy using free will. Most people are indoctrinated and programmed by their parents and others before they are eight years old with psychological injunctions to feel, think, and behave somewhere on a continuum between extreme democratic idealism and extreme authoritarian nihilism; and it’s difficult to change this indoctrination and programming even if individuals are aware of being programmed and make concentrated efforts to change the programming. The programming is deeply embedded and ingrained in their subconscious minds.

It seems to me humans are polarized emotionally and intellectually between two general extreme categories that might be best described as democratic idealists and authoritarian nihilists, with most humans being clustered closer to the middle of the continuum.

All democratic idealists in the US are not necessarily members of the Democratic Party; and all authoritarian nihilists are not necessarily members of the Republican Party. You can have wolves in sheep’s clothing in either party going against the grain of the programming of most party members, aka trolls or traitors, in the eyes of true believers.

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 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 and 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, in early childhood by injunctions that are psychologically transmitted from the child ego states of parents to the child ego states of their offspring, largely outside of conscious awareness.

Changing dysfunctional scripting, feeling, and behaving is not easy; but it can happen if humans after they learn how to read accept new messages powerful enough to cause them to override the early psychological script injunctions.

See my column “Or So It Seems to Me Right Now” introducing the latest issue of The Earthian Forum, Number Fifteen, at https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-earthian-forum-15/ for more information on the democratic idealism…authoritarian nihilism continuum, including its causes and effects, which I constructed and published in the Effective Learning Report.

The political situation now reminds me of what went on at recess when I was a pupil in a small rural grade school on the South Plains of Texas.

There were about one hundred or so kids from several grades milling about on the playground, about half male and half female. We had as I recall two recesses of about thirty minutes each, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, unsupervised by teachers or the principal, several grades together doing whatever they wanted to running wild with whomever they wanted to of whatever age. Younger smaller boys had to watch out for older and bigger boys. The unstructured process or melee was like a form of gang warfare, at least among the boys. I don’t remember what the girls did since I never played with them. It behooved the smallest and youngest boys to choose their friends wisely.

Nobody to my knowledge ever got seriously hurt but there were always Games going on, and fights happened. I got involved in a couple that drew blood. Never lost a fight. Law of the jungle basically. Apparently the teachers and principal thought this was good training for adult life.

In recent years I have come to feel and think at times that I am now living again in a process similar to those recesses in grade school. International relations now seem like a form of gang warfare, with mafia don-wannabe presidents and prime ministers like Donald Trump and their cronies mucking around Spaceship Earth playgrounds Persecuting, Rescuing, and Victimizing others playing Games.

But it’s far worse now than it was in my grade school playground days in Texas since one cannot escape big brother watching everyone with electronic surveillance. I have no idea whether I am actually being watched electronically, but I could be; and, as Craig Murray, George Galloway and others in their videos point out here at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/53041.htm?fbclid=IwAR2QJf0HIhpAP2WmpmvW8cb43TculjtnefoLOkNFcGGcjkdr3upVw6DaBwI , serious effective truth tellers exposing or maybe just discussing the crimes of governments on the Internet can wind up getting disappeared, rendered, tortured, extradited, incarcerated, or murdered.

Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are dramatic and egregious cases showing humanity run amok persecuting truth tellers. Processes of persecution inflicted on them have become extended sadistic and gruesome ordeals watched by Earthian humans around Spaceship Earth, processes that have probably caused billions of mere humans around Earth to feel smaller, weaker, and less significant than ever.

US and UK governments are degenerating not progressing, as they get exposed more and more as the thuggish gangs they are in many cases. Mainstream media talking heads and their watchers and hearers generally seem certain Assange and Manning are guilty of heinous crimes, appearing devoid of empathy for them, and oblivious to the significance of the truth of the matter, namely that Assange and Manning were serious ethical truth tellers doing the right thing for humanity as a whole.

It seems most readers, watchers, and hearers of this sadistic ordeal feel and think Assange and Manning made the US government look bad; so they should pay, big time. They seem to feel and think big brother governments can watch anyone committing crimes using electronic surveillance and tell the whole world about it; but anyone watching big brother commit crimes with electronic surveillance has to lie by omission about it: they can’t tell anyone outside the gang about it. As is the case with Assange they can be cornered, isolated, and harassed without trial for ten years and then (possibly? probably?) get sent to prison for life if they go to trial. What’s good for the gander is a crime for the goose in hypocrit nations.

The 2020 presidential election may be the most significant US election yet. If Bernie wins USian and Earthian states of affairs can improve; if Trump wins the US can wind up a full-blown fascist dictatorship run by extreme nihilists cut from the same cloth as Hitler and Stalin.

Most USian voters won’t accept the fact their governments have committed egregious crimes against humanity since the beginning of the US as a nation. Whether the US has been worse in this regard through time than other major nations is another matter.

Regardless, all Earthian humans around Spaceship Earth have got to learn how to use more nurturing parent and adult ego state energy to seriously work together to combat global warming and nuclear bombs to survive. Life on Earth has been hell for most humans for a long time, and those days must end.

No one around Spaceship Earth can be fully OK unless everyone is OK, and nobody can be OK if global warming or nuclear bombs render humans extinct, annihilated, so it behooves humans to work with and for everyone, not just a chosen few.

Here’s a way Bernie supporters can maximize their power in the short run to prevent unfair treatment of Bernie and themselves by DNC insiders and playground bullies in the event Bernie does not win 1,990 delegates, despite receiving more votes than anyone else in the primary popular vote. To make sure Bernie is not screwed out of the popular vote nomination by superdelegates in second round voting at the DNC Convention July 13 in Milwaukee, Bernie supporters should let potentially-unfair Dems know now they will not vote for a Blue nominee other than Bernie in the general election against Trump, if they unfairly screw Bernie out of the nomination using superdelegates.

If the DNC obstinately screws Bernie and his supporters they will then be guilty of causing Trump to win by choosing the greater evil— by choosing their insider DNC vested-interest favorite regardless of the fact Bernie fairly won the popular vote.

The problem boils down to a high stakes “Chicken” Game, such as those played on playgrounds by nihilist kids back in my time during grade school recesses.


Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA, Founder & Director, FreeFairProgressParty of Spaceship Earth, at https://www.effectivelearning.net/freefairprogressparty.html, March 3, 2020.

TRUTH, LIES AND REALITY

By COURTENAY BARNETT

“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

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.

Economy

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.

Politics

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. 

Conclusion 

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?

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* 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 — 15

THE EARTHIAN FORUM, Number Fifteen, Effective Learning Publications, https://www.effectivelearning.net/effective-learning-publications.html 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.

“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

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

Don’t Be Important

Don’t Be Close

Don’t Belong


Don’t Be Well (or sane)

Don’t 
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 (https://www.itaaworld.org/) 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.  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  at 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 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.”   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.   

RECENT RELEVANT READING:

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  https://www.effectivelearning.net/ogeechee-economic-forum.html. please 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, 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

SOURCES:

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, https://www.zerohedge.com/economics/china-disintegrating-steel-demand-property-sales-traffic-all-approaching-zero?fbclid=IwAR0qI9-hnSqAJCn-MzB1EnBqT1ScQKMcK975O6oAGS6xGCTJlMsNdm_tBrQ.  

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, https://www.zerohedge.com/health/its-coming-cdc-director-warns-coronavirus-become-widespread-throughout-united-states?fbclid=IwAR2TAjZhSIW_fWeoYNFt8Liitx3Fcsa5azZXuFikXjPpDJS4day7I4La7e4.

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, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/13/coronavirus-latest-updates-china-hubei.html?__source=sharebar|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, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-group-to-save-spaceship-earth-episode-2/?fbclid=IwAR1v0oTQx-rWkSY7lxB5mbi4Endmmw_BQbKWB-RpV8Gt_g4HT23QyYHWm7U

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, https://off-guardian.org/2020/02/09/the-usas-doll-house-a-vast-tapestry-of-lies-and-illusions/?fbclid=IwAR3DD-_HrX3WUohWbAq–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, https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/2020-is-going-to-get-much-crazier-prioritize-your-mental-health-7334d7ca38a0.

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, https://onezero.medium.com/alien-nations-why-life-on-other-planets-will-resemble-ours-15fb4ede6fe7.

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, https://eand.co/is-bernie-americas-gorbachev-9a5340e9bf16.

February 9

Say it aint so Joe

“NATO and the impeachment Trial,” by Gary Leupp, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/02/04/nato-and-the-impeachment-trial/?fbclid=IwAR07zCd964JyK5I2iLEXrk6wWb6pWGqHdOnQcCpWduCq3XZiid_RtipjpFg.

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, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/02/07/the-game-is-rigged/?fbclid=IwAR3B_58rlDKRy9GXk0DA-7UDGYbCZSinNM6zjOhWLet7yUEw3Y1sI0vyT2I.

February 7

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

“Slapstick Suicide,” by James Kunstler, KUNSTLER.COM, https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/slapstick-suicide/?fbclid=IwAR1xfWVY79KiCcQKWFO8HSZPQmNbKRtPBBFJHRYYguvsIpvXjm-ZHPx25E4#.Xj4SVlpJxxs.facebook.

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, https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/the-myth-of-incompetence-dnc-scandals-are-a-feature-not-a-bug-4f264352d4f7.

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, https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/here-it-one-bank-finally-explains-how-feds-balance-sheet-expansion-pushes-stocks-higher?fbclid=IwAR3fRbuWNgaxKnDgjZbCJ163cJ1gbzcB0nr7qTl_0YaNLQWc0M7STJeLU2o.

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, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29226.

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, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/02/05/how-the-world-ends-a-story/?fbclid=IwAR2FADncPvuhhK3TuIIco2ZSnGTIkFnwVYMwc5rcCzyWvudRInryRWtrFAg.

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, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/02/06/trumps-imaginary-world-maduros-real-world/?fbclid=IwAR0tGgi3hC6CVNwW3ff7h6nf_hWEJ3W5sOI64CnbV22xydsYkOf363FO_s0.

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, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/02/06/trumps-red-meat-sotu-speech-us-political-crisis-now-deepens/?fbclid=IwAR1vNjESOez6iKbyRz0ZHiHcQ6C-PPVN9p4b_cfE7r_UQw2F8PgIufegDOI.

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, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-group-to-save-spaceship-earth-part-1/?fbclid=IwAR1BEyo6CzpaaqpM_2YWsMeJC8i_boPpYJU990E8_qxNehtcl9UlT5kapiE.

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, https://evergreenreview.com/read/anti-fascist-practice-and-impossible-non-violence?fbclid=IwAR0nbqntElL5O4gsp2qEf_Ma8gbDcY0pugOlvqb6haDv0Hi55U82UTQnQrE.

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, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29207.

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, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29213.

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, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29223.

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, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/02/04/nato-and-the-impeachment-trial/?fbclid=IwAR1BoZyXiTkcmLWqGvEgYZIQGl-sBq6sTpTWBSRRc5_wAdS-3buRAv-OdvE.

February 5

Some interesting wisdom here

“Sedition or Sedationd?: Liberalism and Neuroses,” by Kim C. Domenico, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/02/04/sedition-or-sedation-liberalism-and-neuroses/?fbclid=IwAR1ATfmvp-uNE4yl6Mcu1SyEa4ezImMa90EJHmOdTIFD2KsDDfDBy9xV74U.

February 5

Agree

“We Liver in a Disintegrating World,” by Patrick Cockburn, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/02/04/we-live-in-a-disintegrating-world/?fbclid=IwAR02W9wxaQ8CNtbRCg8NyK7l8JwMKMj_AwZGMPClpsnwyUv5oI7yURf09l4.

February 5

Say it aint so Joe

“Explosives used on 9/11 say commissioners,” by Craig McKee, COMMON GROUND, https://commonground.ca/explosives-used-on-9-11-say-commissioners/?fbclid=IwAR3ywseu-vYr0YdtLCCxFGTavZMlKWe3CbA4YsqIefs0ai3SBEntyMGjt-o.

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, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/nancy-pelosi-trump-speech-rip-reaction_n_5e3a3f12c5b670682953ab4c?utm_source=politics_fb&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=hp_fb_pages&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013&section=politics&fbclid=IwAR3Llm3TNLLD5So6iZia4X9VC8YpyLMUZV6IBHWlY8S_FebyUp-OPwl_N8c.

February 4

Serious problem

“Re-Contextualizing Fascism,” by Peter Harrison, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/02/04/re-contextualizing-fascism/?fbclid=IwAR3DLSyXjpqOURof6qkLdkVA-VF2NT0USuPZVG2xkUin5BnMGc0npSRxAj8.

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, https://truthout.org/articles/the-iowa-caucus-has-choked-itself-to-death-at-last/?utm_source=sharebuttons&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=mashshare&fbclid=IwAR1FKAWaUGn1dgrcGd6PVn1aKC8vcrqcYSJjJEYcOP8ZWaTQdrOucihQ43o.

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, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/03/iowa-caucus-2020-election-110600?fbclid=IwAR0qmMc6Ijfluj2GmFHXi9Eh8XKTqNDl93qskUFod80DJ4IqYEa6OakQEVY.

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, https://eand.co/why-american-collapse-is-a-warning-to-the-world-810a15a7eeb.

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, https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2020/02/03/zerohedges-twitter-account-is-permanently-banished/?fbclid=IwAR1wSqUVhJSrr3QGpyL5VPQgnnCQLSHNla80Nn7_XZBeiZHCBgqD8F3A5RA.

February 3

Have they no shame

“The Bernie Blackout is Real, and These Screenshots Prove it,” by Nolan Higdon and Mickey Huff, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/the-bernie-blackout-is-real-and-these-screenshots-prove-it/?utm_source=sharebuttons&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=mashshare&fbclid=IwAR3MFdM_gLKVqESrzDVFr1pyltjLw48wqiM-5LrqSbW-5iao2wUXGI6Luak.

February 3

Surprise

“Right-Wing Business Billionaires Launch Attack on Bernie Sanders, by Alex Kotch, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/right-wing-business-billionaires-launch-attack-on-bernie-sanders/?utm_source=sharebuttons&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=mashshare&fbclid=IwAR1JUOUp0LuykSwSph6EkYhsnNTexG_0MNjln2y9IeAwTxoIGPyw_pK2te0.

February 12

Say it aint so Joe

“The Super Bowl is a Grift Of Epic Proportions,” by Dave Zirin via THE NATION, Zerohedge, https://www.zerohedge.com/personal-finance/super-bowl-grift-epic-proportions?fbclid=IwAR1DCqDmx2QhY3J-GR2PWHGvevDUgKAnzO5KUsn3Pym0k1cO3fNxsZbUi44.

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, https://jonathanturley.org/2020/02/01/the-supers-are-back-dnc-members-planning-move-to-block-sanders-again/?fbclid=IwAR1r9hRlcaChL3k-CYfZCaNjm4KofOLtTefqYeegBUKex8gByL7RCV1Lu_s.

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, https://www.yesmagazine.org/democracy/2020/01/30/socialism-understanding/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=YTW_20200131&utm_content=YTW_20200131+CID_9ee99f1f3d058106441a8ae595752cac&utm_source=CM&utm_term=10+things+you+should+know+about+socialism&fbclid=IwAR02BKNZXu8NA-yeivBCtpOHk7YnikAp8_SS7bDRxBUjirDvTFGOFEazccM.

February 1

The height of insanity

“US military prepares for war with Russia: Report,” PRESSTV, https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/01/31/617566/US-military-prepares-for-war-with-Russia:-Report?fbclid=IwAR2S2kkZU74t9Ru-bXf_bR89lV1gdbqfe2bha3BeJG-hvlLePk-tISIlKeE.

February 1

A heavily redacted smoking gun

“The FBI Has Been Lying About Seth Rich,” by Craig Murray, CRAIGMURRAY.ORG, https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/01/the-fbi-has-been-lying-about-seth-rich/?fbclid=IwAR0za8zscZYP9D_4X9vGj8BUeZo9EqRQ7r2rTxqUBbkATZC97OuqKLeTw8k.

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, https://www.zerohedge.com/political/no-blank-check-war-house-votes-bar-unapproved-strikes-iran?fbclid=IwAR3JKOvnF49McJUjCjs5wY3qNrclxegEEYHdU6jXYTYT5ZwXdhttw88ENBE.

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, https://truthout.org/articles/influence-of-wall-street-donors-has-exploded-in-decade-since-citizens-united/?utm_source=sharebuttons&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=mashshare&fbclid=IwAR2XjDdSJhBXQpAPOO-ThEs-Fee6dZM6DpJ7Z1oh5aINPI4vWnm3I7v6LHY.

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, https://truthout.org/articles/10-years-after-his-passing-howard-zinn-remains-a-threat-to-the-status-quo/?utm_source=sharebuttons&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=mashshare&fbclid=IwAR3gm37VYAQNUR2t80VUN16xyTJUW57HmOJ0sPZKryeA59atGJ19IW3z6O8.

January 29

So it seems

“Hegemon USA doesn’t negotiate, it demands,” by Eric Zuesse, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29159?fbclid=IwAR2dZtIrT6y8M9Qj6gWlQ4XvF0AfZ1CFeokbeG0BvmR-TYXaaCAqoiofLu4.

January 29

Scary

“War on dissent by the US and West threatens speech, media and academic freedoms,” by Stephen Landman, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29151.

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, http://thesaker.is/why-the-new-silk-roads-are-a-threat-to-us-bloc/?fbclid=IwAR2CdBCv-wYsCIJsAnxpcxu5tLCcDllWlVVDiXbOoXqF2wE2QY-jrj1MY-k.

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 https://www.effectivelearning.net/spaceship-earth–inc..html.

“We need a new economic model or the planet will burn, Prince Charles warns,” by Mark Thompson and Max Foster, CNN BUSINESS, https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/22/business/prince-charles-climate-davos/index.html?utm_source=fbbusiness&utm_content=2020-01-26T06%3A01%3A05&utm_term=link&utm_medium=social&fbclid=IwAR1rzLSjYbkVwJqndguG9v1SPpG78BicraGHYhe57YkFEw78IoDF9NiCNn8.

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, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/27/the-better-moral-creed/?fbclid=IwAR22qppf1-ZGxH-ovLgAp-uFerNFKyLuobnCq2eA191NnQvIkzO27wkdwHM.

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, https://truthout.org/video/government-is-now-a-protection-racket-for-the-1/?utm_source=sharebuttons&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=mashshare&fbclid=IwAR1efl6gHy6uZ_Qag_ez4MHTN4D_w6lrtlEqAtljBrRv7X11DbMKzxwNisM.

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 https://mindkind.info/ website, or along with all my books is available at the williamjohncox.com 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.
~wm


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, https://mindkind.info/?fbclid=IwAR1K5DUWs6bF0xeyu8e_4QFpGzgBgsUSx4NS0gcS4jt4Px-quEVopriPKz0.

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, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqxY3p4O094&fbclid=IwAR1ksns2HHpv-vY0OhcLfmrglIUx9R37d1iq8Z8gpzA_wFIwrI0WGgR6iiE.

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, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29128.

January 25

Hope it’s not a hoax

“Scientists in Britain May Have Just ‘Acidentally’ Found A Cure for Cancer,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/health/scientists-britain-may-have-just-accidentally-found-cure-cancer?fbclid=IwAR3UNY_LApHaTgWo3h4b4k-iZOTICxsbAP2m7Os99S_d4Us1PIM2eV0wP8Q.

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, https://www.truthdig.com/videos/chris-hedges-democrats-have-no-moral-authority-on-impeachment/?fbclid=IwAR0NXEVwO4UB0-6zLE0AMnuqZTMD4BWa8R-o4NncnCqRaTZ4CRubsjVDp3s.

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, https://eand.co/what-happens-when-people-find-out-capitalism-was-a-lie-78137aca7072.

January 24

A small favor

“Assange moved out of solitary in UK prison,” THE CANBERRA TIMES, https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6597815/assange-moved-out-of-solitary-in-uk-prison/?cs=14232&fbclid=IwAR2a_M0MLgwRtTauJuTGD3ifag-UeuVbdVvUFoZOfRPjOUdhwIUXqm-50-E.

January 24

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

“A Letter From Iowa,” by Paul Street, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/24/a-letter-from-iowa/?fbclid=IwAR17CGNG7JRX4E20Yuq9mYvXC8_I5hrda7WismyrlraCuZbCNfQ2ZLrd45o.

January 24

Great article by Caitlin Johnstone

“How to be a mentally sovereign human,” by Caitlin Johnstone, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/29112.

January 23

Yes, wage peace

“Ten Best Messages for Waging Peace,” by Richard Moser, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/23/ten-best-messages-for-waging-peace/?fbclid=IwAR2dNkZ8iTmNTnB4B_2z5PqUP_AyDjWqGI3mUltGL6iudUYbrsDvx1h0tJE.

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, https://summit.news/2020/01/22/feminist-author-calls-on-germans-to-stop-having-babies-to-save-the-planet/?fbclid=IwAR1zxykc8z2KzonsmeMSImZHwK9F7x7m02TO0nZvHQk3eFRev-l6D3ob8Zk.

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, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-real-causes-of-the-us-forever-wars/?fbclid=IwAR0ECpjbTm7dfyVq1mC1nbR0ndmxJxG5Ut1IjmJJ-zLs-715zXBQnVDIsqY.

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, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/06/america-escalates-its-democratic-oil-war-in-the-near-east/?fbclid=IwAR0pvikShfrewhM_dgXc_thOwTm8WdO8Ghu_3rWKojMu2sqHESBim5D_0_8.

January 22

A prescient article

“Oil, conflict and the future of global energy supplies,” by Courtenay Barnett, GLOBAL RESEARCH, https://www.globalresearch.ca/oil-conflict-and-the-future-of-global-energy-supplies/1781.

January 20

How serious is this?

“The Rumbling Methane Enigma,” by Robert Hunziker, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/17/the-rumbling-methane-enigma/?fbclid=IwAR3Oxr1NxMqvcdxeaxf_U3OhzPkv7iXYvXMhwy6GIQBEzErWv7JZja4JNIA.

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, https://www.newsweek.com/cnn-debate-blatantly-targeted-bernie-sanders-anti-establishment-opinion-1482620?fbclid=IwAR060eTrvZOoqGv4Xqs0brdSpiJ4Jsqu8O-2e76JI7xZ6zBlzeDPoc_Fu1k.

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, https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/newspolitics/us-health-system-costs-four-times-more-to-run-than-canadas-single-payer-system/ar-BBYK8o9?fbclid=IwAR2LX-5L_kEgtB7woHidjzmXxd4gRuWuWAx0oxq27SLovbkinBXWMkv23xo.

January 12

Yuk

“Mega Droughts Engulf Countries,” by Robert Hunziker, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/10/mega-droughts-engulf-countries/?fbclid=IwAR0LWBd_18x7qynCSiswrYwQ-yioOrFbtdbReCIb3qrpFY3K_YvAfoy5Nus.

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 rjstapleton@bulloch.net 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, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-group-to-save-spaceship-earth-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?”

Rout—“No.”

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.