Monday, June 15, 2009

IT'S TIME TO MAKE THE THIRD MILLENNIUM FELLOWSHIP ACTIVE IN IRAN

More than HALF of the population of Iran is the Millennial Generation, and it's time we begin assisting their efforts. See the video posted on the first page of this site at the bottom:

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/dear_cnn_please_check_twitter_for_news_about_iran.php

Okay, members and followers, it's time to give us your opinion, because we will immediately be viewed as an ideological enemy by the present regime.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Tale of Two Depressions

This post is being re-printed by permission, per the following:

Dear Michael,

This is ok, please cite www.VoxEU.org <
http://www.VoxEU.org > as the

original source and include the line 'Reproduced with permission'.

Best wishes
Anil


Anil Shamdasani

Publications Manager

CEPR



A Tale of Two Depressions

Barry Eichengreen Kevin H. O’Rourke
4 June 2009

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Comment Republish

This is an update of the authors' 6 April 2009 column comparing today's global crisis to the Great Depression. World industrial production, trade, and stock markets are diving faster now than during 1929-30. Fortunately, the policy response to date is much better. The update shows that trade and stock markets have shown some improvement without reversing the overall conclusion -- today's crisis is at least as bad as the Great Depression.

Editor’s note: The 6 April 2009 Vox column by Barry Eichengreen and Kevin O’Rourke shattered all Vox readership records, with 30,000 views in less than 48 hours and over 100,000 within the week. The authors will update the charts as new data emerges; this updated column is the first, presenting monthly data up to April 2009. (The updates and much more will eventually appear in a paper the authors are writing a paper for Economic Policy.)

New findings:

* World industrial production continues to track closely the 1930s fall, with no clear signs of ‘green shoots’.
* World stock markets have rebounded a bit since March, and world trade has stabilised, but these are still following paths far below the ones they followed in the Great Depression.
* There are new charts for individual nations’ industrial output. The big-4 EU nations divide north-south; today’s German and British industrial output are closely tracking their rate of fall in the 1930s, while Italy and France are doing much worse.
* The North Americans (US & Canada) continue to see their industrial output fall approximately in line with what happened in the 1929 crisis, with no clear signs of a turn around.
* Japan’s industrial output in February was 25 percentage points lower than at the equivalent stage in the Great Depression. There was however a sharp rebound in March.

The facts for Chile, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Sweden are displayed below; note the rebound in Eastern Europe.

Updated Figure 1. World Industrial Output, Now vs Then (updated)

Updated Figure 2. World Stock Markets, Now vs Then (updated)

Updated Figure 3. The Volume of World Trade, Now vs Then (updated)

Updated Figure 4. Central Bank Discount Rates, Now vs Then (7 country average)

New Figure 5. Industrial output, four big Europeans, then and now

New Figure 6. Industrial output, four Non-Europeans, then and now.

New Figure 7: Industrial output, four small Europeans, then and now.

Start of original column (published 6 April 2009)

The parallels between the Great Depression of the 1930s and our current Great Recession have been widely remarked upon. Paul Krugman has compared the fall in US industrial production from its mid-1929 and late-2007 peaks, showing that it has been milder this time. On this basis he refers to the current situation, with characteristic black humour, as only “half a Great Depression.” The “Four Bad Bears” graph comparing the Dow in 1929-30 and S&P 500 in 2008-9 has similarly had wide circulation (Short 2009). It shows the US stock market since late 2007 falling just about as fast as in 1929-30.
Comparing the Great Depression to now for the world, not just the US

This and most other commentary contrasting the two episodes compares America then and now. This, however, is a misleading picture. The Great Depression was a global phenomenon. Even if it originated, in some sense, in the US, it was transmitted internationally by trade flows, capital flows and commodity prices. That said, different countries were affected differently. The US is not representative of their experiences.

Our Great Recession is every bit as global, earlier hopes for decoupling in Asia and Europe notwithstanding. Increasingly there is awareness that events have taken an even uglier turn outside the US, with even larger falls in manufacturing production, exports and equity prices.

In fact, when we look globally, as in Figure 1, the decline in industrial production in the last nine months has been at least as severe as in the nine months following the 1929 peak. (All graphs in this column track behaviour after the peaks in world industrial production, which occurred in June 1929 and April 2008.) Here, then, is a first illustration of how the global picture provides a very different and, indeed, more disturbing perspective than the US case considered by Krugman, which as noted earlier shows a smaller decline in manufacturing production now than then.

Figure 1. World Industrial Output, Now vs Then

Source: Eichengreen and O’Rourke (2009) and IMF.

Similarly, while the fall in US stock market has tracked 1929, global stock markets are falling even faster now than in the Great Depression (Figure 2). Again this is contrary to the impression left by those who, basing their comparison on the US market alone, suggest that the current crash is no more serious than that of 1929-30.

Figure 2. World Stock Markets, Now vs Then

Source: Global Financial Database.

Another area where we are “surpassing” our forbearers is in destroying trade. World trade is falling much faster now than in 1929-30 (Figure 3). This is highly alarming given the prominence attached in the historical literature to trade destruction as a factor compounding the Great Depression.

Figure 3. The Volume of World Trade, Now vs Then

Sources: League of Nations Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, http://www.cpb.nl/eng/research/sector2/data/trademonitor.html
It’s a Depression alright

To sum up, globally we are tracking or doing even worse than the Great Depression, whether the metric is industrial production, exports or equity valuations. Focusing on the US causes one to minimise this alarming fact. The “Great Recession” label may turn out to be too optimistic. This is a Depression-sized event.

That said, we are only one year into the current crisis, whereas after 1929 the world economy continued to shrink for three successive years. What matters now is that policy makers arrest the decline. We therefore turn to the policy response.
Policy responses: Then and now

Figure 4 shows a GDP-weighted average of central bank discount rates for 7 countries. As can be seen, in both crises there was a lag of five or six months before discount rates responded to the passing of the peak, although in the present crisis rates have been cut more rapidly and from a lower level. There is more at work here than simply the difference between George Harrison and Ben Bernanke. The central bank response has differed globally.

Figure 4. Central Bank Discount Rates, Now vs Then (7 country average)

Source: Bernanke and Mihov (2000); Bank of England, ECB, Bank of Japan, St. Louis Fed, National Bank of Poland, Sveriges Riksbank.

Figure 5 shows money supply for a GDP-weighted average of 19 countries accounting for more than half of world GDP in 2004. Clearly, monetary expansion was more rapid in the run-up to the 2008 crisis than during 1925-29, which is a reminder that the stage-setting events were not the same in the two cases. Moreover, the global money supply continued to grow rapidly in 2008, unlike in 1929 when it levelled off and then underwent a catastrophic decline.

Figure 5. Money Supplies, 19 Countries, Now vs Then

Source: Bordo et al. (2001), IMF International Financial Statistics, OECD Monthly Economic Indicators.

Figure 6 is the analogous picture for fiscal policy, in this case for 24 countries. The interwar measure is the fiscal surplus as a percentage of GDP. The current data include the IMF’s World Economic Outlook Update forecasts for 2009 and 2010. As can be seen, fiscal deficits expanded after 1929 but only modestly. Clearly, willingness to run deficits today is considerably greater.

Figure 6. Government Budget Surpluses, Now vs Then

Source: Bordo et al. (2001), IMF World Economic Outlook, January 2009.
Conclusion

To summarise: the world is currently undergoing an economic shock every bit as big as the Great Depression shock of 1929-30. Looking just at the US leads one to overlook how alarming the current situation is even in comparison with 1929-30.

The good news, of course, is that the policy response is very different. The question now is whether that policy response will work. For the answer, stay tuned for our next column.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

RESOLUTION FOR CONGRESS TO CONVENE A CONVENTION TO PROPOSE AMENDMENTS CONSTITUTING A BILL OF FEDERALISM AND REPARATION

This post is a response to an article posted on Forbes, entitled, "A Bill Of Federalism," by Randy E. Barnett, "A detailed proposal to redress the imbalance between state and federal power."

It was in John Wilson's Recommended reading, which he regularly sends to me. I'm glad John suggested it, because I think it's a great idea, although I have added a few needed changes. To view the proposed "BILL OF FEDERALISM" as written BEFORE my changes, go to the following link:

http://www.forbes.com/2009/05/20/bill-of-federalism-constitution-states-supreme-court-opinions-contributors-randy-barnett_2.html

My version of the bill is as follows:

Whereas the Declaration of Independence states "All men are created equal (a right granted by and under God) and Article One of the constitution states, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States"; and

Whereas the United States has violated the rights of men and the congress conspired to define black slaves as fractions of a man, a fraction of one being less than one, and thus unequal, thereby exceeding the legislative powers granted by God and in the constitution, thereby usurping the powers that are “reserved to God," not the Congress or the leaders raised up by God to form a great nation, as the Declaration of Independence affirms the rights “retained by God," which King George disparaged, and

Whereas the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the United States could not confiscate the lands and possessions of the Cherokee Indian natives without their consent and lawful compensation, and President Andrew Jackson violated the Constitution by defying the Supreme Court, to which the Cherokee had lawfully and constitutionally appealed, and forced the Cherokee nation to walk on foot from Georgia to Oklahoma, during which 25% of the innocent Cherokee died and were buried in shallow graves along the way because the president of these United States ignored or misinterpreted the meaning of “ALL men are created equal by God," and because the Congress by its failure to impeach him for crimes against humanity upholding this usurpation, became equally guilty;

To restore a proper balance between the powers of God, and the self-serving, cowardly, politically motivated and inept Congress of the United States, including those of the several states who violated the rights of Black men, women, and children, and Indian men, women, and children, and to prevent the denial or disparagement of the rights retained by the people, granted by God, not subject to racial or religious prejudice, bigotry and vile hypocrisy of the U.S. Congress and those of the several states whose geographic boundaries include the lands taken by violation of lawful treaties with the Indian nations, the legislature of the State of ________ hereby resolves:

First, that Congress shall call a convention, consisting of delegates from the several States selected by procedures established by their respective legislatures, for the purpose of proposing the following articles be added as separate amendments to the Constitution of the United States, each of which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when separately ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States; and

Second, that any previous memorial for a convention under Article V of the Constitution of the United States by this legislature is hereby repealed and without effect; and

Third, that copies of this memorial shall be sent to the secretary of state and presiding officers of both houses of the legislatures of each of the several states in the union, the clerk of the United States house of representatives, the secretary of the United States senate, and to each member of the ________ congressional delegation; and

Fourth, that this memorial for a convention is conditioned on the memorials of two-thirds of the legislatures of the several states proposing the exact same language contained in some or all of the following articles, and is to remain in effect unless repealed by resolution of this legislature prior to the memorials of two-thirds of the states being reported to Congress:

Article [of Amendment 1] -- [Restrictions on Tax Powers of Congress ]

Section 1. Congress shall make no law laying or collecting taxes upon incomes, gifts, or estates, or upon aggregate consumption or expenditures of any member of a former Indian Nation as all territory of these United States was seized by violation of lawful treaties with said Indian Nations, or taxes upon incomes, gifts, or estates, or upon aggregate consumption or expenditures of any former citizen of an African nation from whom citizens were unwillingly taken from their families and sold into slavery in any of the several states, or upon any of their descendants, pure or of mixed race, any one of whose progenitors was an Indian or a black; but Congress shall have power to levy a uniform tax on the sale of goods or services;

Section 2. Any imposition of or increase in a tax, duty, impost or excise shall require the approval of three-fifths of the House of Representatives and three-fifths of the Senate, and shall separately be presented to the president of the United States, but shall not apply to any descendant of Indian or black heritage or any descendants thereof.

Section 3. This article shall be effective five years from the date of its ratification, at which time the 16th Article of amendment is repealed, and at which time all taxes ever collected from any person of Indian or Black heritage shall be retroactively returned with interest, either to them or their descendants. If the person from whom the taxes were paid is not extant, all such sums, which must be fairly and honestly calculated or estimated, shall be paid into a national fund providing a free University-level education of any Indian or Black person's choosing, during which they shall be freed from labor and provided with tutors without cost to ensure their graduation from said institutions in the field of their choosing.

Article [of Amendment 2] -- [Limits of Commerce Power]

The power of Congress to make all laws which are necessary and proper to regulate commerce among the several states, or with foreign nations, shall not be construed to include the power to regulate, usurp, or steal without compensation any property activity that is or was formerly confined within a single Indian nation's boundaries or present state regardless of its effects outside the state or the opinions of the several religious sects who would interfere in the personal decisions of those within such boundaries, including their own state, whether it employs instrumentalities therefrom, or whether its regulation or prohibition is part of a comprehensive regulatory or religious scheme; but Congress shall have power to regulate harmful emissions between one state and another, and to define and provide for punishment of offenses constituting acts of war or violent insurrection against the United States, and to order payment of reparations in lieu of the return of all lands obtained by Indian nation treaty violations.

Article [of Amendment 3] -- [Unfunded Mandates and Conditions on Spending]

Congress shall not impose upon a State, or political subdivision thereof, any obligation or duty to make expenditures unless such expenditures shall be fully reimbursed by the United States; nor shall Congress place any condition on the expenditure or receipt of appropriated funds requiring a State, or political subdivision thereof, to enact a law or regulation restricting the liberties of its citizens.

Article [of Amendment 4] -- [No Abuse of the Treaty Power]

No treaty or other international agreement may enlarge the legislative power of Congress granted by this Constitution under God, nor govern except by legislation any activity that is confined within the United States. By definition of this amendment, reparations shall be paid to the descendants of those slaves whose labor was forced by an evil, nation-defiling mandate, attributed to God (!), when the slaves were not abducted from Egypt or Ethiopia, inhabited by the cursed descendants of Cush, but from the innocent descendants of un-cursed sons of Ham, living in West Africa, and whose slave labor was thus falsely justified and thus, falsely presumed justified by God, and was not fully reimbursed, so that slave holders could enjoy license and ease and benefit financially and sexually (without even the benefit of knee-pads!) from such unfunded mandates of slavery and crimes against humanity; May God then forgive this nation for the blood on its hands, including the transgressions of the slave holders President Lincoln allowed to continue as the same in those areas that supported his attempts to preserve the Union, the states who at any time supported slavery, the Congress which nodded at the evil definition of a man with black skin as only a fraction of a man and an Indian as having no rights at all but expulsion from his land, a subject of genocide if he resisted or attempted to continue possess that which was his according to treaty and inalienable rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness granted by God, and not subject to change by King George, President Jackson, or any concurring or complicit Congress, and their nations as sources of plunder and unlawful expansion of these United States.

Article [of Amendment 5] -- [Freedom of Political Speech and Press]

The freedom of speech and press includes any contribution to political campaigns or to candidates for public office; and shall be construed to extend equally to any medium of communication however scarce.

Article [of Amendment 6] -- [Power of States to Check Federal Power]

Upon the identically worded resolutions of the legislatures of three quarters of the states, any law or regulation of the United States, identified with specificity, is thereby rescinded.

This shall, by example, include the return of all lands confiscated from the Klamath Indians of Oregon by the errant use of the power to declare it a national park, thereby confiscating the water rights of Oregon farmers and rendering their farms unproductive and of little value. Congress shall enact payment of damages to all such farmers and their families to reimburse them for the hardships and displacements they suffered as a result of such unlawful federal confiscation.

Article [of Amendment 7] -- [Term Limits for Congress]

Section 1. No person who has served as a Senator for more than nine years, or as a Representative for more than eleven years, shall be eligible for election or appointment to the Senate or the House of Representatives respectively, excluding any time served prior to the enactment of this Article.

Section 2. If during the terms defined in Section 1, any Senator is found guilty of corruption, all retirement and other benefits to which he may be normally entitled following his term(s) is herein rescinded. This shall also be applicable to any Senator or Representative of state legislatures ratifying this amendment.

Article [of Amendment 8] -- [Balanced Budget Line Item Veto]

Section 1. The budget of the United States shall be deemed unbalanced whenever the total amount of the public debt of the United States at the close of any fiscal year is greater than the total amount of such debt at the close of the preceding fiscal year.

Section 2. Whenever the budget of the United States is unbalanced, the President may, during the next annual session of Congress, separately approve, reduce or disapprove any monetary amounts in any legislation that appropriates or authorizes the appropriation of any money drawn from the Treasury, other than money for the operation of the Congress and judiciary of the United States, or necessary for payment of the reparations previously described. If such presidential power is hampered by the total of only those expenditures herein enumerated, the shortage shall be drawn entirely from the Defense budget to a maximum of 65%. The importance of campaign contributions from Defense interests shall not be taken into consideration.

Section 3. Any legislation that the President approves with changes pursuant to the second section of this Article shall become law as modified. The President shall return with objections those portions of the legislation containing reduced or disapproved monetary amounts to the House where such legislation originated, which may then, in the manner prescribed in the seventh section of the first Article of this Constitution, separately reconsider each reduced or disapproved monetary amount.

Section 4. The Congress shall have power to implement this Article by appropriate legislation; and this Article shall take effect on the first day of the next annual session of Congress following its ratification, and shall have equal effect upon the budget procedures of those states ratifying it.

Article [of Amendment 9] -- [The Rights Retained by the People]

Section 1. All persons are equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights which they retain when forming any government, amongst which are the enjoying, defending and preserving of their life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting real and personal property, making binding contracts of their choosing, and pursuing their happiness and safety. It is this fundamental assertion, which justifies the existence of these United States, which requires the reparations herein described, lest this nation be brought to an end by the wrath of the same God to which it appealed for existence and whose existence it attributes to that same God.

Section 2. The due process of law shall be construed to provide the opportunity to introduce evidence or otherwise show that a law, regulation or order is an infringement of such rights of any citizen or legal resident of the United States or individual impacted in any way by the actions thereof, and the party defending the challenged law, regulation, or order shall have the burden of establishing the basis in law and fact of its conformity with this Constitution.

Article [of Amendment 10] -- [Neither Foreign Law nor American Judges May Alter the Meaning of Constitution]

The words and phrases of this Constitution shall be interpreted according to their meaning at the time of their enactment, which meaning shall remain the same until changed pursuant to Article V; nor shall such meaning be altered by reference to the law of nations or the laws of other nations.

This concludes the modifications, but as Barrett thought it proper to return to the founding principles of this nation, I have modified it as Kicks Iron, the Sioux Indian Chief pictured as the logo of this site, might have, and as Kicks Iron, a CHEROKEE Indian and critical character in my novel, JIHAD, definitely would have. If you have read this post, you should also go to "my links" at the top of the side column which takes you to JIHAD, and read the portion free for reading there.

Please feel free to comment on this post.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

EDUCATION FOR ALL AND COST FOR FEW IS THE DOOR TO MANKIND'S FUTURE

The title of this article may at first appear a bit overdone, but is actually a pitiful understatement. As one who has taught high school and been involved in the educational system from kindergarten through graduate studies, especially aware of how education has affected my personal growth, development, and my belief system, I have continually pondered this topic for many decades; pointedly, my thinking has evolved most markedly since early 1999. The last decade has led me to conclusions I would have previously envisioned as highly unlikely at best.

Anyone and everyone will acknowledge the importance of education, yet the commonality comes to an abrupt halt at that point. And I mean, ABRUPT! One would think the solution to most of the problems faced by individuals, families, social groups, nations and the entire planet is obviously more education. Not a little more; not a pat on the back to a priest, minister, or anthropologist who sets up a school in some remote corner of the Dark Continent and teaches a few children some of the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. All such feats are laudable, but they are like a Sumerian tablet found with a single indentation made by a stylus. What is needed is a vastly enlarged Peace Corp with adequate funding and technological support, not the occasional far-flung project. Droves of young Americans, as well as older Americans, would happily participate.

When I say, Education, I refer to a full-scale, in-depth, broad-spectrum, university level program, followed by a very focused graduate degree, or interdisciplinary program.

Anything less is, to be blunt, "pissing into the wind," and will accomplish little of meaning for the true advancement of America, let alone mankind. How can such an assertion be made? Let's consider a single, quite elementary, example, credit cards (and installment credit, generally), and see how it relates to the subject of this discussion.

In light of the recent collapse of of the credit card industry due to the appalling debt generated by Americans using them, subjected to Draconian interest rates, this calamity could have been almost entirely prevented if the same individuals had been educated beginning early, very early, in the basic principles of finance and accounting. If you know of such fundamental courses required of every student in a single elementary school in the entire nation, please tell me in the comment box at the bottom of this post. I don't.

If you know of a single one in a single Junior High school, tell me. I don't.

If you know of a single one in a single High school, tell me. I don't.

I'm not talking about electives, but at least one basic course required for advancement of EVERY student. Period.

Dare I extend this farther? If you know of a single junior college, college, or university, tell me. I DON'T!

Is it because parents want their children to gradate ignorant of such a basic requirement for economic survival, let alone prosperity? No! Is it because they want each of their children to end up in the ranks of the millions of bankruptcies in economic landslides like the current one? No!

Is it because educators could care less if their students know enough math and finance to survive economically? Some, perhaps, but for the vast majority, No!

Then what is it? What is the REAL reason?

There may be those I regard as fools who would argue that there isn't room in the required curriculum to place such a course. Rubbish! It should be required by law, and to hell with the Lender lobbyists who would violently oppose it! There may be those who would argue that it is a matter of personal choice. Rubbish! Would they argue the same for reading, for writing, for arithmetic? If so, they need to find employment as a ditch-digger, not in the educational system.

When at Brigham Young University many years ago, I was studying Egyptian hieroglyphs, and I had a good friend, Jim, who had great difficulty learning Old Kingdom Egyptian glyphs, the easiest of all to learn, far easier than the later hieratic script. I told him it was very easy-so easy that his wife and 8-yr-old son could learn it. He scoffed, so I challenged him and we agreed to a test that weekend. I would attempt to teach glyphs to his son, Jimmy, and wife, Sonia. In the interim, I prepared 3x5 cards with the English word on one side and the same in Egyptian glyphs on the other-flash cards.

When the appointed hour arrived, we gathered around their kitchen table, and I began the experiment. Not only did Sonia, but little Jimmy especially, have no difficulty in a single four-hour session memorizing fifty words, but they were also able to correctly construct sentences in Old Kingdom Egyptian. During the last hour, Jim became so enthused, he virtually assumed instruction!

What is my point?

If eight-year-old Jimmy could learn so much in so few hours, then equally rigorous material should be part of a very early education, about the Head Start program age, when children are most eager to learn, and fear nothing, including mathematics and finance. To enable the parents of disadvantaged children to escape welfare, the mothers could be employed in such a dramatically revised program, and a multitude of elementary education teachers could find sustainable employment. The hours of such a revised and extended program would not be the few of the current Head Start program, but from early morning until late at night, with shifts coordinated to enable the single parent to work, knowing that not only were their children learning, but attended to as necessary by mothers until they got off work at their job, whatever it was and whatever hours it required.

So why does such a program not exist? Almost no one, unless they are seriously inept in both thinking and vision, would argue that the children were too young to learn. I know for a fact they are not. Any Home Schooler knows that a child can effectively comprehend material quite complex from the point their grasp of language is sufficient to understand what is being taught. This point has been repeatedly and totally demonstrated and is unarguable.

So again, WHY NOT?

We now arrive at the ABRUPT halt I referenced early on, and I mean, ABRUPT. And remember, this is a single, simple example among dozens, perhaps hundreds. So from whence commeth the present paralysis?

Again, among dozens of reasons, I will cite one easy to comprehend example.

In 1994, my wife and I moved our family of eight children to Puerto Rico, where we remained through the year 2000. Although we Home-schooled, it was our wish that our children have the advantage of exposure to a different culture, a great advantage for any child, for they learn that, in large part, thinking and attitudes are principally provincial in nature. It would also generate the necessity for rapid assimilation of a new language, Spanish, which Home School could not produce quickly. English, or at least a significant comprehension of the language, is widely spoken in Puerto Rico. My eldest son, Rodney, in his senior year had friends who spoke English fluently and essentially without accent. Yet others of my children often had to correct their “English” teacher (English is required to be taught in the schools) not only in vocabulary, but often in simple grammar. The government of Puerto Rico during six of the six and a half years we lived there was the Statehood party, under Governor Rosello, who headed the U.S. Council of Governors and was widely respected. He brought more progress to Puerto Rico in six years than others in the prior twenty, and certainly the decade since the Commonwealth party assumed control after the U.S. Navy, who insisted on using half of the tourist island of Vieques as a bombing range (!) accidentally killed some Puerto Ricans, a horror story for another post.

It was proposed that Puerto Rico attract native English teachers from the U.S. to enable English to more adequately and correctly be taught. Here is where ABRUPT kicked in. The teacher's union in Puerto Rico caused such an outrage that the program was blocked.

THIS is the missing piece, very telling, which exposes why our educational system in its present form is doomed. Utterly doomed. It has NOTHING to do with the children victimized, which is criminal, but EVERYTHING to do with why we face the crippling dilemma we do, and from which, frankly, there may be no escape. Arnold Schwartzenegger, to his chagrin, encountered something very similar in California, though his object was very different indeed from mine.

Personal interest is the killer. I taught high school Journalism and Art during the 2001-2002 school year in Little Rock, Arkansas, participating in the state program to reduce the critical shortage of teachers by certifying professionals from other fields as teachers.

New Jersey has recently introduced a similar visionary program. See the following link:

http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/tre54l2w1-us-financial-traders-teachers/

However, as the recession under the first Bush was taking firm hold, notwithstanding the No Child Left Behind program of the second Bush, which the schools mostly sought to evade where possible, the school district faced a choice: They were already short many teachers, but had to choose between cutting jobs at the district (the bureaucracy), or actually terminating teachers, which one would think unthinkable. Not only did they terminate the eight of us in the state program; they terminated 36 teachers total to preserve the bureaucratic jobs. Sound familiar?

So disgusted were some of the finest, most dedicated, and longest-term career teachers, working beyond their eligible retirement year, that they retired immediately, leaving the kids in an even worse state. They knew that the already over-sized classes would have to be enlarged even more, making good education even more difficult.

Note that the above examples are in the United States, which should be the most capable nation on earth of a high-quality education with a very different No Child Left Behind emphasis. Yet, during recent decades we have fallen far behind many European and Asian nations who have grasped fully the arguments I am asserting, and from which an ever-increasing number of PhD-level scientific professionals is being drawn. They get it. WE DON'T!

Moreover, all above is merely the tip of a vast iceberg approaching at an exponentially accelerating rate. Why? If you have the slightest doubt, see the video, Did You Know, on the Internet, at the following link, if you have not already. The dimensions of that iceberg and why I use the expression, “exponentially accelerating,” will become immediately clear within three minutes!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpEnFwiqdx8&feature=related

Not only can we afford not to act. It may already be too late. The reason for this assertion is that the U.S. is entering a severe Demographic Winter. If this term is unfamiliar to you, see the video at the following link:

http://www.demographicwinter.com/index.html

My hope is that those readers who care, and I mean, REALLY care, about the survival of the family, let alone America as we think we know it, and the future as we think we know it, but utterly do not, will become actively involved in the beneficial preservation of both.

The following is for those who went to both of the links given above, and who give a hoot. If you are not among them, or personal interest renders you useless to everyone but yourself, here is where you should go somewhere else.

For those of you still with me, there are a few things that could, if properly and fully implemented, prevent a virtual economic and social collapse of America, as well as other members of the family of nations. Science is exponentially progressing, and will continue to do so. Information is exponentially increasing, and will continue to do so. The Millennial generation, those between 18 and 29, are extremely technological, extremely well-connected, and extremely optimistic, as well as extremely progressive. Their parents will likely not be the generation to stem and manipulate what lies ahead, but they will. The only question is, who among them will most benefit? It will be those of their online-connected nations who recognize the absolute preeminence and power of education. Those nations willing to entirely scrap the current institutions as necessary, and build a fully informed, visionary educational future for their people are the ones who will most benefit. With so few births in the United States, the myth of the population bomb now exploded, here are some key things America could and must do, and which I think the Millennial generation, now voting overwhelmingly progressive and overwhelmingly Democrat, have the voting power to demand:

1)At the conclusion of the Spanish-American war, began and conducted because we wanted a coaling station for our ships in Asia, Spain was forced to cede control of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and most other U.S. "commonwealth” nations. The birth rate in many of these exceeds the collapsing birth rate in the United States. Every boy, and I mean, EVERY boy, and every girl, and I mean EVERY girl, in those nations should be made immediately eligible for a totally free, graduate-level education from kindergarten to the finest university available. We have NO time, and NO children to spare. A young, Philippine man or woman earning about $3 U.S./day has little chance of accomplishing this against such an enormous economic hurdle, especially with an unofficial employment rate exceeding 25%.

2)Every black child, and I mean, EVERY black child, boy or girl, should receive the same.

3)Every American Indian, and I mean, EVERY boy or girl, should receive the same.

4)Every other child, and I mean, EVERY other boy or girl in the United States, should receive the same. We have NO time, and NO children to waste.

5)The border bridges separating us from Mexico, rather than being fortified, should become Friendship Bridges like those of the Southern Cone. I have been there. I know the difference. Latin Americans, including Mexicans believe in the family. They believe in having children. Not an average of scarcely one, but several. They should not only be admitted once security checked, but should receive the same education while the money is readily available, which it is.

These are the steps which can preserve our population and slow Demographic Winter. Will they taken? Almost certainly not, unless the Millennial generation forces it at the polls. To understand just who they are, how they think, and how they interact and connect, see the following video:

http://www.google.com/url?q=http://video.google.com/videoplay%3Fdocid%3D4452990960749739542&source=video&vgc=rss&usg=AFQjCNFDMNqZdao7oFCigI-hu0QTYjJ1pg

Why do I mostly rely upon them, rather than those of older generations?

At once, it will be offered that this is a financial impossibility! While on the surface, it may at first appear so, it is not. The money is easily available from the Defense budget, which exceeds by a multiple of five to ten the maximum amount which can be arguably required to maintain our defense. Ours exceeds the combined total of all other nations in the world by an Alice in Wonderland margin, and people with sound mind and common sense have been persuaded that we actually need it! It is not a product of real defense needs, but an amalgamation of the military-industrial complex and political hunger for campaign contributions, which, if not reversed, will hasten a kind of economic and social collapse of America.

This is not prescient on my part, but perhaps uncommon sense. Once the Social Security excess is consumed by the Baby Boomers outside the starting gate of age 62, and the rapidly expanding interest on U.S. national debt reach the fulcrum, which could be as close as 10-15 years hence, it will become bitterly evident that we squandered our last nest egg. At that point, blame and chaos will force change, but not the change we might have most benefited from.

If we fail to act and act quickly, abandoning time-worn, petty social, political, and economic ideas for the sake of our children's future as well as our own, the following are some results many of you will not only live to see, but may have to endure at your peril, and far more, your children's peril, the Millennial generation, if you give a damn about them:

1)The United States and most Western nations will change dramatically in both population mix and social structure. The same will experience accelerating economic shrinkage, followed by virtual economic collapse. Blame will be rampant, needless wars may result, further draining what economic reserve remains.

2)India and China will rise as the next economic and scientific superpowers, accompanied by a large number of smaller but wiser nations than we, replacing the U.S. as we replaced England; like her, we have transitioned from the greatest lender nation on earth to the greatest debtor nation on earth. It is unalterable and inevitable if we continue to squabble down the present path. Like all great nations of history, including Rome, we will gradually fade into relevant obscurity compared to those nations which act. All of the great and wonder programs we might have funded, including the ability to do so, will pass to those nations, where they will be exponentially increasing in number and scope beyond anything currently imaginable.

Let's change our focus a bit. Millennium 2000 aside, which is ten times too little to affect change as dramatic as that needed, there are still nations like many in Africa, whose populations could be included in the programs I outlined above, and must, if we consider the future on the scale of mankind, not just the western world or the U.S. Although there are a great many worldwide who have the vision to make such an educational program as effective and well-funded as the United Nations programs to provide food and medical supplies to the enormous refugee populations, their hands are tied by prejudice and political strife among many nations.

This is very unfortunate. I know there are those in some quarters who hope to see such "doom" on the horizon, thinking it proves their savior is about to whisk them from the brink and set things aright. Other groups in other times thought the same, but those currently caught up in such a mystical mire will learn that we must save ourselves, not rely on some greater power to do it for us. We haven't been around that long, mere millions of years, a second of universal time. We have shown astonishing capacity for gradual and unlimited growth. We have also shown astonishing capacity for prejudice, hatred, slaughter, television war, and contempt for everything and everyone different from ourselves. Hopefully, enough enlightened now exist in the face of so much science and technology to seize the day, not hide from it.

It has been said that “Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread,” and there is the ancient proverb, “He that hath great knowledge hath great sorrow.” I'm sure there were many "optimists" around when Rome faced the same dilemma we now face. The wealthy thought themselves immune. They simply left the others to themselves and fled to remote locations. The lovely villas they built can still be seen on remote islands, but there are no Romans living there. I'm quite certain there will be many cabins and virtual fortresses built in the woods if things go really badly, but a later generation of archaeologists will find them empty. Another Dark Age is not the answer. Theocracy is not the answer. Becoming a police state is not the answer. They all move in the opposite direction from opportunity.

The only truly safe are those with the education to follow the need for their special skills and training. They will move where the action is. They are part of a connected, global community, Internet-based, not trapped within provincial boxes. If you love your children, see that they get the best education possible. If you “love thy neighbor as thyself,” bury politics and social prejudice and see that their children do too. If you're not sure just who your “neighbor” is, he is “the least among you,” whether next door, next town, next country, or next hemisphere.

There is no such thing as human dross, except perhaps those who cannot grasp these basic concepts. We can not only survive what looms ahead, but prevent and profit from it, but we must make sweeping social, economic, and political changes if we are to do so to the fullest.

I have mentioned elsewhere that the ancient Chinese glyph for CRISIS translates into English as, roughly, "Opportunity riding the dangerous wind." This is one of those times when it is clearly true. If we cannot rise as a people to that level, then at a minimum, we must begin or continue personal and community action and strive to see it taken nationally, not just in our church, not just in our community, then internationally, regardless of how stacked against us the deck may appear to be, and the powers that be have a killick around our neck as a nation.

It might be correct arguably that the impending consequences will be all that could ever have brought them down, and it will if we cannot.

Please feel free to comment on this article.

Friday, May 22, 2009

RESPONSE TO DICK CHENEY'S SPEECH TO THE AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE

When I first began reading the former vice president's speech given at the American Enterprise Institute, posted prior to its delivery, I tended to generally agree with what seemed to be the thrust of his comments. However, farther in, I realized that six months of reflection after the Republicans were ousted from all political authority by an outraged country, he has learned nothing. At this point, I doubt he could. He is too set in his mentality, imprisoned within strictures of concept that permit no confrontation of his actions or beliefs.

To be brief, here are just a few of the most revealing of his comments; with the metaphors stripped away, they reveal an enormity of information, twisted patriotism, contempt for others, and much more:

“Another term out there that slipped into the discussion is the notion that American interrogation practices were a “recruitment tool” for the enemy. On this theory, by the tough questioning of killers, we have supposedly fallen short of our own values. This recruitment-tool theory has become something of a mantra lately, including from the President himself. And after a familiar fashion, it excuses the violent and blames America for the evil that others do. It’s another version of that same old refrain from the Left, 'We brought it on ourselves.'”

Fair enough on the surface, but what is Cheney really saying here? It resolves to two related assertions: The “recruitment tool” theory,

1)excuses the violent and blames America for the evil that others do.

2)It’s another version of that same old refrain from the Left, 'We brought it on ourselves.'”

The first point, stated as fact, is half fact and half fallacious. Neither O'bama or those like myself excuse the guilty. One night some years ago, while visiting relatives in Mabelvale, Arkansas, my brother and I were in front of my mother's home having a conversation when, suddenly, we heard a woman scream as though she were being murdered. Heinke road is sparsely populated and poorly lit at night. We couldn't see her or her presumed assailant, but we immediately began running as fast as we could in the direction of the scream, which continued as we ran. We had no weapons. Perhaps he did, but it wasn't a consideration. Our response was automatic, gutteral, and reflexive. Had he a gun, we could have been injured or killed, but certainly not before attempting to stop him-we would have killed him if necessary. It turned out that she was walking along the road in our direction and screaming at her husband who was driving along beside her after a violent altercation, trying to get her to get back into the car.

Upon reflection, NOT reflexion, we realized the woman was extremely intoxicated, seemed far more violent than her husband, and may indeed have been responsible for the altercation.

Thus it is with Cheney vs. O'bama. The Bush administration's post-911 policies were reflexive. Cheney would have us believe they were reflective, but it is obvious to most they were not. Virtually the entire congress-BOTH parties-initially approved of the “Patriot Act” and, although admittedly misled and lied to, the war against Iraq. All of these actions, including rounding up Arab nationals, the associated racial and human rights violations, and spying on Americans were clearly reflexive. They led to a host of actions: violations of the constitution, failure of Habeas Corpus, the slaughter of more Iraqi women and children than Hussein, accompanied by the complete decimation of the nation's infrastructure which we will never rebuild (that was just a promise to help us feel better about ourselves, but on the order of a treaty with the American Indians, not ONE of which we ever honored), destabilization of the Middle East with the probable outcome of an Iraq that is an Islamic Iranian Ally, the loss of some of the most valuable archaeological collections in the world, because our soldiers were instructed to run for the oil wells, not protect the museums from looting; etc., etc., etc.

O'bama, and everyone else since, now has the luxury of reflection. Because his hands are too dirty, and his self-interests in promoting the war became known to all and forced his removal, Cheney can take no other course than rationalization and self-justification

The second point, “. . . that same old refrain from the Left, 'We brought it on ourselves'” differs in that it has less to do with promoting policies to enrich himself and his friends, and more to do with a general contempt for others if they are perceived as different or less fortunate, particularly those of other religions and other countries. This places him on the ebbing side of a great, historical division occurring in America thought. To what do I refer?

In response to the question, “Are you prejudiced against Blacks?” I asked my mother some years ago, she responded, “Of course not!” Yet, only days after, upon learning that my girlfriend at the time was black and that we were about to live together, she responded, “If you stay with that woman, I will have nothing more to do with you!” Not prejudiced?

But less than a year later, when Ann insisted that I call and offer to visit mom and cook a meal for her that weekend (my friends and relatives love my cooking, especially my BBQ), she accepted. She had time to reflect. She received Ann openly, though I could tell she was watching and evaluating her very closely.

It has been a custom for many years, when possible, to have Christmas at my parent's home, though since 1994 when dad died, it was just mom's home. Christmas came not long after the day Ann and I had visited mom the first time. I was chosen to hand out the presents that year. I noticed as I was getting them from beneath the tree one by one and calling out the names, mom had left and gone to her room, later returning and inconspicuously placing another present in the limbs of the Spruce. There were presents for everyone, including from Ann to mom. Then, at the end, knowing it was there, I took the one from the back limbs of the tree. It was from mom to Ann. It was two small, ceramic angels, with which Ann was delighted. What Ann didn't know was that mom had told me a long time before, showing me those angels she had received as a gift, that they were her favorite possessions among so many. Mom wept at Ann's joy. Later, when I revealed all to Ann, we cried together.

Love is a wonderful thing, the greatest expression of the potential of mankind as a species. Hatred, prejudice, especially racial and religious, are deadly, and entirely unworthy of those who believe themselves to be good. Although we have the dreadful capacity to wink at the unthinkable, there comes a time when we cannot face ourselves if we really ARE good. Those whose love is not a lie know that an American life is no more valuable or sacred than that of any other country, regardless of how poor their family, what they have been raised from the innocence of childhood to believe, the economic system under which they live, or the color of their skin. The sweeping change in government and current deep reflection upon just who we are as Americans is a clear demonstration that most of us have not lost our ethical compass as human beings. There are and, barring much-needed and inevitable fundamental changes in our monetary system, political system, social system, and religious systems if we are to survive as a nation and as a species, probably always will be the petty, the hateful, the prideful, the condescending, the theocratic, the aristocratic, the holier-than-thou, those who hate the motes in the eyes of others but are incapable of seeing the beams in their own. But for a time at least, the good have prevailed, and many on the ebbing side of history are now switching to the flowing side. I cannot number how many who hoped O'bama would lose because he was black more than because he was a Democrat have told me how much they have come to respect him (some though with the tongue-in-cheek comment, "well, he's only half black").

We're still on Cheney's point 2 above, but let's add some flesh before continuing:

“It is much closer to the truth that terrorists hate this country precisely because of the values we profess and seek to live by, not by some alleged failure to do so. Nor are terrorists or those who see them as victims exactly the best judges of America’s moral standards, one way or the other. . . . terrorists may lack much, but they have never lacked for grievances against the United States. Our belief in freedom of speech and religion … our belief in equal rights for women … our support for Israel … our cultural and political influence in the world – these are the true sources of resentment, all mixed in with the lies and conspiracy theories of the radical clerics. These recruitment tools were in vigorous use throughout the 1990s, and they were sufficient to motivate the 19 recruits who boarded those planes on September 11th, 2001.

This comment is more loaded than a double-barreled shotgun. For starters, most of the 19 he cavalierly refers to were NOT from Iraq, but Saudi Arabia. But we needed their oil, and they had previously bailed Bush out of a serious business failure. How could we possibly attack them? Notice that his comment also adds some sub-points to point 2. He claims that terrorists hate us because of our beliefs in freedom of religion, women's rights, human rights (tongue-in-cheek on my part for adding that one in view of the Patriot Act), and freedom generally.

This is such a farce that a sixth grader could see it. Our two large neighbors immediately north and immediately south, believe in the same. Canada and Mexico are both much easier targets than we, yet we see no 9/11s occurring there. Ever wonder why? Because they aren't running around the world toppling regimes, exploiting resources, and using every diplomatic guise imaginable to benefit at the expense of others. Our CIA has not only toppled even democratically-elected governments, we replace them with dictators! Forty years of Somoza is a classical example. When the CIA toppled the democratically-elected president of Iran, whose primary policy was to rebuild and modernize the infrastructure of Iran, we replaced him with the Shah, who immediately signed over 40% of Iran's oil to the United States. To reward him for his plot, the CIA official responsible was made the new president of “GULF” Oil. It's called the Persian Gulf for a reason, the bombing of the USS Cole aside; what would Cheney do to someone who occupied the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of New Orleans and presumed hegemony over us? DUH!

Canada and Mexico don't do these kinds of things.

Many years ago, now, when I was entirely like Cheney in virtually every respect, I was troubled by a show on TV which covered the Canadian program in El Salvador during the war, where they showed them teaching El Salvadoran women that it was wrong to smash the testicles of Nicaraguan prisoners between two bricks. I don't need to point out that a man as honorable and “good” as I believed Reagan to be, for whom I certainly voted, could do the illegal Iran-Contra arms deal in order to fund a continuation of that war and the atrocities and thousands of innocent deaths it generated.

Is it any wonder that worldwide, I have encountered from Asia to the Southern Cone, from Egypt to Spain, and throughout this hemisphere people who love Americans and emulate our culture, yet hate our government? They don't hate it because it's a democracy. But during the last twenty years, more and more have reached the conclusion that you cannot completely sever the American from the American government, because we voted them into power and cannot assume complete innocence for their actions in our name. They ARE in our name. Yes, we love cheap oil, but if we knew what that actually required, most would turn away. Oil tycoons, no. “Good” Americans, yes.

The historical tide has turned, because in spite of enormous effort to keep the average American ignorant or somehow believing that “patriotism” and 3000 innocent American lives are important, while tens of thousands of innocent lives of “collateral damage” and the hopes and dreams of foreign families are of no consequence, have failed utterly; primarily because of the Internet. We owe Gore for that one, not just general awareness of global warming.

More and more, Americans, often in spite of themselves, are encountering an abundance of information long withheld or unable to conveniently obtain. In the face of such information, the “good” cannot continue believing they are if they do not alter their opinion and their vote. We just saw that happen. It's not a free pass for Democrats. Once the economic and international crises generated by the Bush Republicans are passed (if EVER-I won't even go there; that's a subject for another post), they will be evaluated based upon those policies unique to themselves which were not forced by the previous administration, but which they chose to pursue.

There is little hope for Cheney and others of his ilk, but there still is hope for America, especially the younger generation. Unfortunately, because of the Iraq debacle, and remember BOTH parties okayed it, which means you and I did by proxy, our children will have to deal with the big one, which is certain to come. Too many little boys have watched their fathers, their mothers, their siblings, their relatives, their friends KILLED. They know were they were innocent. America who killed them may have called the lad's mother, father, sister, brother, friend, etc. “collateral damage.” He called them “mommy, daddy, brother, sister, friend, aunt, uncle, etc. “

There was a reason ancient kings always killed all the sons of a deposed “enemy.” “THE GODFATHER” movies portray why. He will not always be a helpless little boy. One day, he will be a man. He now lives for that day, and he will have only one purpose in life for which he willing to trade his own: detonating a nuclear weapon in the country which destroyed those he loved. He IS innocent. We ARE guilty. The atrocity HAS been done. Only the most extraordinary changes in American policy and practice, including what that army of little fatherless or motherless boys will accept as true reparation, if such is even possible MIGHT change his mind.

The only thing that will (possibly) prevent or forestall a nuclear attack on America will be a pax americana, but I fear that, like the Romans, American civilization is too young to have learned the futility of war. The pax romana (Roman Peace) which lasted 600 years was a long time coming. If not, what I portray in my novel, JIHAD, will surely come to pass. You can read a good chunk of it for free by going to the following link:

http://michaelhobbysjihad.blogspot.com/

You can read it for free in its entirety as it is being serialized chapter by chapter on Triond. Or you can purchase it.

Feel free to comment on this post.

This video shows how Cheney's mentality differs from O'bama's:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VqXDiqe-xY&feature=player_embedded

Saturday, April 25, 2009

AMERICA'S FUTURE IN SPACE COLONIZATION AND DEMOGRAPHIC WINTER

by Michael M. Hobby

NASA has prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the implementation of the Constellation Program. The Constellation Program encompasses NASA's initial efforts to extend the human presence throughout the Solar System. Major elements of the Constellation Program are currently focused on providing the capability to transport humans and cargo to the moon, in support of lunar exploration missions, and to the International Space Station (ISS), while future efforts would support missions to Mars and beyond.

The Constellation Programmatic EIS has been developed in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and discusses the purpose and need for the development of systems needed to support these missions. See the following link for more information on the Constellation Programmatic and Environmental features either underway or completed.

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/on_demand_video.html?param=http://anon.nasa-global.edgesuite.net/anon.nasa-global/ccvideos/cuip-purdue.asx&_id=undefined&_title=undefined&_tnimage=test.gif

Note the following from that link,

"'You do have to have an imagination," Howard says. By planning to stay on the moon, we're doing something that has never been done before. Yes, the laws of physics come into play and there are things you would love to see that just aren't physically possible, but we do need to be creative.'

His passion and imagination for spacecraft design began at an early age. A surprise to him at the time, his mother was actually delighted when she discovered he had etched the design of a spacecraft control station on the wall of his closet with a key when he was about eight years old. Howard kept his imagination churning and ended up where he belongs, designing life on the moon.

Howard believes, The sky is not the limit. The sky is where we begin.'

NASA’s Constellation Program isn’t just about building the next generation spacecraft, but launching explorers that will help us learn more about our world.
Discover the faces behind the hardware that will send humans to the moon and beyond."

We are in the development phase of an ever-expanding attempt to colonize space, both to insure mankind's survival and to increase our presence in and knowledge of the universe (and ourselves). These goals are among others necessary BEFORE we encounter intelligent species from other solar systems within our galaxy and beyond. For an example of how this might be plausibly undertaken, see the developing chapters of my newest novel, BACKUP FIVE [Hobby, Michael M., (2008-200?), http//:www.geoarchaeology.blogspot.com].

We know, for instance, that black holes can be self-regulating, such as GRS 1915. See NASA video link:

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/on_demand_video.html?param=/mov/322422main_g1915_zoom_sm_web.mov&_id=187822&_title=Erratic%20Black%20Hole%20CanRegulate%20Itself&_tnimage=322179main_grs1915_2panel_100.jpg ).

This makes astrophysical calculations possible, such as those demonstrated as far back as the Voyager program. The accuracy was so exact, that it was equivalent to firing a rifle in New York and hitting a Bulls eye in Los Angeles. However, until we have developed the understanding and technology for a Slip-stream spacecraft able to pass without danger through the Zero-Point Field (ZPF), we will be unable to test theoretical use of black holes either to “bend” or transcend the time-space continuum or acquire the data requisite for test missions.

This danger is not limited merely to space dust and potential debris belonging to as yet undetected species. As if that weren't enough, it will almost certainly require intelligent capability to alter course to avoid (IE, go around) passing through supernova which will appear and be exploding in virtual real time by the thousands, perhaps millions, whose light will not reach earth for tens or hundreds of thousands of years, but which at slipstream speeds will be instantaneous. Considerations such as these pose enormous challenges to inevitable technological development.
The supernova pictured was photographed by the Chandra in xray wavelength. It is within earth time the youngest supernova visible, only 140 years old, and thus we see it beginning to expand. At ZPF velocities, geometric multiples of the speed of light, it would appear and fully expand in microseconds.

It has been argued that the human species has not yet attained the level of progress which would ENTITLE it to survive, and that if it should, it is given that we will eventually destroy ourselves. We already have the technology to do so. However, lying in the path of an oncoming train will not stop it. One must move out of its path. An enormous percentage of religions believe, even portend, that such attempts are invalid, as soon the "end of the world" will be upon us.

While a minority consider this a mythical and implausible concept other than by an extinction event, it must still be confronted by thinking groups and individuals. My personal feeling is that governments will not only continue, but must significantly expand, programs to escape the event horizon of the next extinction event. Although this might seem inconceivably difficult to some, there are innumerable citizens and many countries around the globe, who will continue their increasing involvement in and funding of present efforts, already of historic proportions. It cannot be escaped, so much groundwork remains to be accomplished. Initial development and testing of technological components are already well within our capability.

I cannot overemphasize the geometric growth of present and as yet unenvisioned specializations required and occurring both in science and in Applied Science and Engineering Technology. To achieve these vital goals, particularly for the U.S. if Americans are sincere and even marginally serious in their desire even to achieve, far less preserve, high rank among nations they errantly regard as backward. We are rapidly falling behind for the most obvious of reasons. Education must begin in Head Start-age programs and strongly emphasize mathematics and science at the age virtually all students are most adept, teachable, and fascinated. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND, in this sense = AMERICA NOT LEFT BEHIND.

We have NO children to spare.

This requires dramatic changes in both the number and academic strength of teachers in pre and post secondary education, and perhaps equally important, abandonment or fundamental revision of our Rio Grande border immigration policies and attitudes which, left unchecked, virtually assure walling ourselves in.

This also extends to millions of commonwealth children of citizens too afflicted by poverty and social handicap to fill this need in numbers of any significances. It also includes millions of children of citizens of closely tied nations such as the Philippines for the same reasons. The latter two potential reservoirs of students are immense. The importance of these considerations cannot be overstressed. Time is growly short-VERY short-for America in this regard. We fail to obfuscate policies and attitudes at national peril.

We must also remember that it is merely the false shadow of these issues, which many fear and view as crises, rather than opportunities, especially with regard to illegal or unchecked immigration. The Chinese glyph for “Crisis” translates roughly into English as Opportunity riding the dangerous wind. We must have political representatives and leaders wise enough to see the opportunity hidden within the crisis," and courageous enough not to cast it in pejoratives or in terms of class warfare.

To accommodate the apparent costs of a dramatic change of attitude and policy, we likewise need to re-focus, at a minimum, 50% of expenditures for defense into education and social programs designed to lift our nation to the level where scientific and technological leadership approaches reality, rather than the Pipe dream it currently, albeit regrettably, has become. This assertion will immediately generate an outcry from defense hawks, but allow me to give it some perspective. When I was still in my teens, I was virulently anti-communist and formed the first chapter of the largely Republican Young Americans For Freedom in Arkansas. I happened to see a program sponsored by the Young Democrats which addressed defense expenditures by our country. They had a poster board on the wall showing a horizontal bar graph of expenditures by the the U.S. at the top, and all of our "├źnemies"in descending amount of expense in billions of dollars beneath. The strange thing was that the U.S. "bar" was only partially visible, because it was a black roll of some material. To emphasize the point being made, the roll was unrolled. To my astonishment even in my frame of mind at the time, when fully unrolled, it extended off the poster board and around all four walls of the entire room! Regardless of the party in power, because the military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned the nation about in the '50s is a primary source of campaign contributions, all congresses not only approve military budgets, but unfailing appropriate MORE than the budget to ensure garnering of campaign contributions to ensure their continuing position in the Washington aristocracy. If we remain crippled by policies so errant and juvenile as these, which are far less important aspects of our national image and illusionary global hegemony, our continuing descent in science and technology leadership is assured. Will we (ever) be able to surmount inertia? The looming Social Security obligation of the Baby Boomers is upon us and will not subside until after 2050. Discretionary spending will vanish over the next few decades unless we rethink our priorities.

Students acquiring degrees in all rigorous fields of science and technology will not be among those who ponder their financial future. The momentum of this exponential growth is by nature unstoppable and the financial rewards guaranteed; especially if the erosion of the Middle class continues and we become a nation of a relatively small High Class elite, and an increasingly disadvantaged poor underclass majority. America's small population is distinct compared to more populous nations, from whom professionals will be otherwise be increasingly drawn. This problem is enormously exacerbated by Demographic Winter with which, sadly, most of our population is entirely unfamiliar.

This is one of many starkly obvious reasons why mankind must divert its energy from unproductive, budget-bleeding, nationalistic competition for hegemony and resource control and form a committed and efficient United Nations which can coordinate scientific and social programs at the international level. The programmatic structure and agencies are in place, but broadly speaking, need increased efficiency audits focused on both goal achievement, accountability, transparency, and elimination of corruption. Much progress toward these ends has been achieved in recent years, but much remains to be done. To this end, nationalistic expenditures must be re-channeled to the international arena. This process has also begun, but will not be fully possible until misguided patriotic and prejudicial religious and social sentiments can be successfully addressed and reversed (or eliminated). There are significant segments of our society that are likely incapable of recognizing this necessity and are thus on a path destined for increasing frustration and loss of voice in the future course of the nation. There are just too many goals which cannot be achieved by individual nations unilaterally. We must work together as a species, rather than a collective of special interests both nationally and internationally.

IF YOUR ARITICLE IS THE MORMON POSITION OF HOW GAY PERSONS ORIGINATE, CONSIDER THIS

Comment submitted to :

www.ldsphilosopher.com on March 20, 2009:www.ldsphilosopher.com/2009/03/19/metaphors-that-confuse-the-same-sex-attraction-debate/

Recommended reading by John Wilson in his Sixteen Small Stones of the same date

Jeffrey,

Your comments and the conclusions you draw, that "gay" behavior is "learned" are both interesting and informative. Not being gay myself, I cannot evaluate them as effectively as a gay person might.

Your discussion evidences that you are well aware that cultural contexts and implications of thought and observation, including how we perceive (or believe) those thoughts, leads to potential errors of metaphor as well as in our language. You have also identified one of the threads which can then affect (wrongly or deflected) the actual perception, were it viewed outside such contexts.

Great job! Prescient, because it then implies unarguably that one feels "compelled" (good choice of metaphor) by those contexts, which might be loosely referred to as their "social," even "belief," system, not to be confused with religious belief necessarily, although it certainly may manifest aspects of one for a given individual, and can become or act upon resulting behaviors as elements or reflections of it. This is about as succinctly as it could be put, and should clarify to a degree for your readers the importance of reflection upon conclusions of perception and language as an important "intermission," if you will, before permitting them to be incorporated into perceptions or beliefs which might then impel one to unnecessary and incorrect metaphors of thought and speech, followed in course by unnecessary conclusions or actual behaviors. All very well put.

Have you attempted to try this on yourself as a check on the entire concept of the thread you so eloquently discuss? I use this technique as a self-check, and find it very helpful. I'll create an example here, designed specifically for you, to which you will respond with the same process you describe. Note each element according to your model, and record the sequence of thought and resulting metaphors which comprise the "effluent" resulting from them. Here goes:

A "gay" or "homosexual" behavior and self-perception can arise within or be triggered by, social, religious, psychological, and other contexts and influences, such as association. This "class" of same sex "attraction," Thayne and Richardson have elucidated well. This class of attraction, as it might be called, may be unnecessary, as it may be "driven" by a mistaken metaphor related to the processes they describe.
The question then arises, "Are all incidents of "gay" self-perception and behavior thus generated?"

Obviously not, nor do they make such a fallacious and presumptive claim. A careful reading of how they have constructed their remarks and conclusions evidences strictures specifically incorporated into the arguments themselves. So let us assume, based upon their arguments, that there is another "class" of gay individuals (which they neither assert, nor attempt to imply, exists or does not exist) whose self-perception and behaviors stem from a different ethos. What might that be?
I will create and state, as though it were generally known and accepted (or believed), an explanation of "why" this other "class" exists, beginning with a familiar, reported account which itself may be metaphorical, if only in the manner originally related. Like Thayne and Richardson, I am neither asserting nor implying that the event did or did not occur. However, its metaphorical "aspects" are obvious in light of their arguments. See how many you can identify as you read it. For brevity, I will merely paraphrase it. Here goes:

One Sunday, following the sermon, a rural pastor was standing at the entrance to the chapel, meeting and shaking the hands of those in attendance as they left, as is customary. He noticed a five-year-old lingering nearby, who seemed to be troubled, as though she wanted something more than the handshakes and greetings being offered. After the line had trailed off, making eye contact with her again, she followed his cue and approached.

"How are you this morning, little girl?" She replied that she had a favor to ask.

"Well, of course. What can I do for you?"

"I'm worried about my husband and my sons. I haven't seen them since I died in the car accident five years ago, and I want you to go by and check on them. They're not far from here."

Given a child's imagination, the pastor wasn't necessarily surprised, but in an attempt to perhaps ascertain the source this child's perceived memory, he asked where they lived.

"Will you write this down?" she asked.

Without manifesting the least doubt or surprise, he agreeably removed a pen and note pad from his coat pocket. She then told him the name of a nearby town, the street address, and the names of her "husband" and "sons," which he dutifully recorded.

"Why don't you just ask your parents to take you by," he asked.

"I asked them, but they just ignore me and say I'm imagining it. They don't believe me. But you are a preacher, so I knew you could ask God, and then you would."

"Well, I'll see what I can find out." he reassured her.

Thanking him and for the first time, smiling happily, she left and joined her parents, who had been waiting by the car, unaware of the nature of their discussion.
The pastor pondered what had just transpired. He resisted his initial urge just to relate the matter to her parents. During the week, as he sat preparing the next week's sermon, he became curious as to the source of the town name, the street address, and the names she had given him so matter-of-factly. At length, as the town was so near, he decided to drive by and see who actually lived there. Perhaps the visit would provide some bit of information which might help lead to a better understanding of why this little girl, clearly troubled, had approached him with her "concerns."

He drove to the adjacent town, located the street without difficulty, and discovered there was such an actual address. He knocked on the door of the house, feeling awkward and thinking of how to approach conversation with whoever might open it. Momentarily, a woman answered the door.

"Excuse me," he said politely, "I'm probably at the wrong house, but I'm trying to find Robert _______."

"No, you're at the right house, but he's at work right now. Can I help you?"

"I'm the pastor of ______ church in ______. I wanted to speak with him, and see how he and boys were doing." he said, mentioning the boys names.

"We already have a church here in town. But he's fine and so are the boys; they're at school."

"Are you his new wife?"

"Yes. My name's ______."

"I wondered if he had remarried since the accident." He felt he was really out on a limb now.

"We were married last year. He and the boys were devastated when they lost _____. It was so sudden and unexpected. Especially the boys. But we're all very happy now. Would you like me to call him?"

"No, I happened to be here, and I thought I'd drop by."

They exchanged parting pleasantries, and the pastor drove back to the church, somewhat overwhelmed.

The next Sunday, the little girl repeated the previous Sunday's behavior, waiting patiently until most others had left. He was relieved, considering how she might have reacted if he had not followed up on his promise to her. He then related to her that her "husband" and "sons" were fine, that he had remarried, and they were all doing well. She manifested intense, genuine relief, then asked,

"Who did he marry?" He told her the woman's name and that they had been married less than a year, but were very happy.

"I'm so glad it was her. She's my friend, and such a sweet person."

She thanked him almost as an adult might, given the same "circumstances" and walked away. From that time forth, she never mentioned the affair, and seemed to have entirely forgotten it.

This account or story is rich in metaphor at many levels. Like Thayne, I am neither suggesting, nor implying, that it actually occurred, or that it did not, or that it is true or not true. How it is received depends upon the "orientation" and "cultural" contexts, among others, of the reader. I have related it only to provide a context, which could also be considered metaphorical, for what now follows:

The, let us use the metaphor, "veil," drawn between the child's last life and the one she was currently living was obviously too "thin," another metaphor. Due to its "thinness," significant "bleed-over," another metaphor, of memory of her past life into this life occurred. Once the issue of greatest importance, the abrupt termination of that previous life which she expected to live, and the resulting trauma, grief, and concern for those most-loved, yet left alone, had been alleviated, all memory of it vanished, for the veil was then fully drawn.

Within the context of "pretending" or "accepting" that the account is accurate in its essential elements (depending upon one's "orientation"), the above conclusion is both plausible and rather obvious. Now, let us extend the implications posed beyond this single child to a broader context, specifically, the other "class" of gays whose self-perception and behavior did not arise in the manner defined by Thayne and Richardson. Let us use metaphorical "scissors" to separate those whose self-perception and behavior are "learned" from those whose self-perception and resulting behaviors stem from "memory." Clearly, they represent a different "class." Where am I going with this?

To sharpen our focus, let us discuss those who are not members of either "class" of gays, but adhere to a belief in "past lives," sometimes referred to, incorrectly some maintain, as "reincarnation." Reincarnation can imply (or impose upon) the simple belief in past lives that we have all lived before criteria (karma) that may not, some believe, influence subsequent lives. That limitation aside, it is commonly held by both groups that we may have been a woman in the life preceding this one, in which we are a man, and that we may have been a man in the preceding life, but emerge as a woman in this one. While we need not assert, nor adhere to, any element of the examples given, or the implications posed, if in either case, the "veil" is thin, for reasons we will not attempt to address (they are irrelevant to the present comment), what self-perceptions and "behaviors" might result?

Your thoughts?

Sincerely, Michael Hobby
Michael M. Hobby – A condensed version of “About Me” - 4/1-09


1-I am a Homo sapiens sapiens with four sons (Rodney Nephi, Burnie Teancum, Jacob Moroni, and Michael Helaman) and four daughters (Chastity Marie, Faith Abish, Esperanza Alene, and Mercedes Mariana)

2-I am not perfect; I am highly evolved

3-I am a scientist with an interdisciplinary education and perspective. I am a geoarchaeologist (BA:Latin American Studies-emphasis Archaeology, BS: Geology, MS: Hydrogeology, PhD s in progress: Geoarchaeology and Environmental Science

4-I am a writer

5-I am a contractor

6-I have taught High School Journalism and Art

7-I am a certified Marine Technologist

8-I am spiritual, but adhere to no organized religion. Within this context, I believe that healthy friendships and family relationships should be governed by the following quote: "I hope, brother Lyman, that our religious opinions will never be a barrier between us as brethren. On my part, it never will while I am possessed of my natural intellect." - Oliver Cowdery, letter to his brother, Lyman, January 13, 1834)

9-I am a Scorpio

10-I am an inventor with 3 U.S. Patents; 2 in biotechnology and one in heavy metal extraction chemistry

11-I love to cook and enjoy virtually all kinds of food

12-I am a photographer

13-I am an entrepreneur

14-I am an explorer, adventurer, and discoverer

15-I am widely traveled in every state but Alaska, in all but two countries in the Western Hemisphere, Egypt, Nubia, and Spain in the Eastern Hemisphere. I hope to add West Africa to that list

16-I read and conduct research dynamically and unhesitatingly alter my belief system accordingly

17-I believe that whatever has been throughout history, or is presently labeled "heretical," “unorthodox,” "lunatic fringe," and similar pejoratives, is likely to be closer to the "truth" than what has been or is currently considered "orthodox" or "consensus." These, I consider mental and spiritual leg irons

18-I believe a man (or woman) is neither bound by, nor obligated to, what one has been taught or has taught, has espoused, asserted, believed, or advocated from birth up in the past (unless he is a fool), but rather by and to what he espouses, asserts, believes or advocates in present time

19-I am a Democrat and a humanist, because I care about others, including the disadvantaged, socially estranged or ostracized, and the less fortunate. (I strongly recommend that you watch: http//www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1Uk-DwUvJw as a self-check if you claim to care about others)

20-I hate hypocrisy

21-I distrust consensus

22-I despise Theocracy, Inquisition, and Authoritarianism

23-I pity the self-righteous, the lazy, and the willingly ignorant

24-I detest the pompous, the dogmatic, the judgmental, and all others who do not understand the meaning of the word, "mote"

25-I believe the words: loyalty, fidelity, and trust have meanings

26-I am widely read (always with a dictionary at hand); a FEW of my favorite titles are, Pale Blue Dot, The Secret Life of Plants, Journeys Out of the Body, The Sirius Mystery, On Writing, The Field, The Biology of Belief, 1421, 1491, Pale Ink, Beyond the Andes, The Lost Book of Enki, The Ashes of Waco, The Expanding Earth, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, The Island of Seven Cities, Scars of Evolution, Suddenly Psychic, Forbidden Archaeology, Early Life, Rediscovering the History of Lost America, The Elements of Style, The Elements of Grammar, Mystery Writer's Handbook, A New Earth, and Fiction titles too numerous to list; I am never without a library

27-I am an art collector and thrive upon art and music (and yes, own an iPod Nano)

28-I love aesthetics

29-I love watching ice-skating, Washington Journal, football, action, western, adventure, mystery, romance, drama, discovery, and educational programs-and movies

30-Some of my favorite series are Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, Heroes, and Lost, among others

31-I believe there are more hours in the day than generally admitted

32-I seldom miss appointments and am almost never late

33-I hate boredom, and thus have lapses into PC video games (and yes, own a QOSMIO Gaming laptop)

34-If I have questions about the most current technology, I ask my children first

35-I am a visionary and a romantic
www.nakedcapitalism.com forum post:

The ramifications of the massive, recent write downs has also been massive, and extends well beyond our borders. The perhaps far greater ramifications of what I think has been correctly predicted as inescapable even with valiant government efforts to at least slow them, may be yet to come.
One of those, which I really wish some of you with far-reaching vision would address and at least attempt to enumerate (even broadly) is those affecting the enormous and rapidly expanding segment of we on SS who either have lost, or failed to prepare for adequately, any significant cushion.
I realize the thrust of your site is not directed to this sector, but the current milieu has far-reaching impacts which are growing. Some of these are unarguably crises, but to coin a familiar phrase, are also "opportunity riding the dangerous wind."
To focus my opening remarks, let me address one in particular, an opportunity I am seizing. Born in 1946, I am on the leading edge of a massive wave of Baby Boomers utterly unprepared for a depression if, and this IF is enormous, we are retiring in the United States.
One aspect for which your site IS properly oriented is the impact of the U.S. decline upon neighboring and distant economies. I recently bookmarked on UTube a short video entitled, "Did you Know" which shocked even me, who thought I did. It makes obvious the accuracy of some of the posts on your site and those to which it is linked. I recommend it to anyone who hasn't viewed it as two stunning minutes. It wasn't lost on me, and I doubt it will be lost on anyone else who watches it. Although it doesn't specifically address the additional long-term pressure of demographic winter on U.S. decline, which I have been pondering since becoming aware of the concept, it indirectly buttresses it.
Let's take Mexico as a perfect example, the opportunity I am seizing: Even at the 10:1 exchange rate, it was possible for an American on SS to enjoy an upper middle-class lifestyle. With a nest egg, it translated well into an upper-class. At the current 15:1 (and growing) exchange rate, which only defines the impact of the first part of the collapse of the banking and housing sectors, the dispiriting, ascending unemployment rate, which is far from the crest, etc., etc., the hundreds of thousands (and rapidly expanding number) of quasi and fully retired American expats in Mexico have shifted into the upper class with SS alone! Along the U.S.-Mexico border, the exchange rate makes little difference; it remains essentially a dollar-based economy and will persist as such. Within the interior, however, where we Americans are concentrated, exists an entirely different world.
The brilliant foresight of the Mexican government in removing the classic restraints affecting retirement of Americans there has dramatically changed the picture. The new, annually renewable visa eliminates the semi-annual trip to the border; the residency visa (Type 2) enables one to bring all of their belongings across the border duty-free (where your possessions are is always where your home really is). Full access to Mexico's modern health care system, elimination of restrictions upon where a foreigner can outrightly own property, including such determinants as owning controlling equity in business enterprises, especially entrepreneurial, has established de facto citizenship with the single limitation of the right to vote. Mexico sees the Baby Boomers coming, and they have thrown the door wide open. I should note that the door was wide open BEFORE the first phase of financial collapse bordering on depression had even begun! A massive and expanding transfer of U.S. wealth to Mexico is in the offing.
As a geoarchaeologist very familiar with every region of Mexico, culture-shock vanished long ago. For those mortified at the thought of enjoying their retirement outside our borders, the number and depth of incidents of (known) corruption at all levels of U.S. politics and government is only the opening salvo, and is, or should be, a powerful salve. As an expat retiree quickly learns, the feared language barrier is essentially a myth. Not only is English widely spoken or understood, Americans have tended to concentrate in the most desirable areas, which inevitably morph them into quasi-American communities. It's what we do anywhere we go.
My comments barely scrape the surface. As attractive as expat life now looms, the next half of the collapse (let's hope it can be limited to that) will balloon this opportunity even more. For those who generally follow your site and who generally still have something of a nest egg, that opportunity is vast indeed.
We'll see if I'm correct in my portrayal. I'll keep you posted following my arrival in Oaxaca on April 6th. I am creating a forum on my website, GEOARCHAEOLOGY, specifically for this purpose. Expect postings to that forum beginning in earnest around mid-year. Your thoughts? Sincerely, Michael M. Hobby