Candidate for Utah Federal Senator
7/9/12 Monday. On this page, I intend to be putting various thoughts on random topics that I've had during the day. I'm not religious about keeping a journal, but I hope to keep something of a running log here.
I admit to being a bit bent out of shape after reading an article by Paul Craig Roberts, which involved the liklihood of Obama using nuclear weapons. I was bent out of shape because this author is so insightful and does his homework so well. But then I remember the future is what we make it, and civilization is a reflection of our consciousness as a whole, and thus it does not have to be so. The late David Brower, Nobel Peace Prize Candidate, said the same thing when I interviewed him in the late seventies; and he was right. "If we don't change the course we are on, nuclear war will be inevitable. I believe we will change our course, however, because that fact will become so obvious to so many people that we will wake up at the last minute. But it is our habit of putting photo finishes on things that worries me." Or words very close to that. Our military industrial complex has become a cancer that is seriously eating us alive, with fifty-three cents on every tax dollar going into our war machine, and a corporate need to keep that machine going. Eisenhower warned of this long ago. We need new leadership to change this course immediately, and that thought keeps me moving forward on many days.
A short while ago I was playing catch with our dog, Daphne, or rather she was trying to play catch with me. I was not in the mood after a long day, but fortunately, Christine, my wife, picked up the slack. Daphne is such a pure spirit, a truly divine being, as are most dogs, and we should learn from them. Christine quotes Mark Twain on her blog on Open Salon: "Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, your dog would go in and you would stay out." How true! But we can keep on trying to be better as individuals. So many thngs in our lives are divine and priceless, yet we take them for granted and worry about problems we have created for ourselves.
It hasn't been much of a winter this year, which is not good for a skier. Nor is it good for farmers or people in general. But I think people are waking up to the reality of global warming, another topic we had better start rapidly dealing with, instead of just talking about. The answers are all there technically--I read of them every day, at places like sciencedaily.com. Not that it matters if we don't have the political will to enact them.
In the shop today one of my partners turned out to be working on the same lines of thought as I, regarding a motor mount for our airships. I feel good about that not just because we are on the same page, but because this guy is like Thomas Edison resurrected. Seriously, but I will not use names here without permission. He claims he had to learn to be creative because he grew up dirt poor on a farm, and if he or his brother wanted something they had to make it from scratch. I believe him. But I truly wish more kids had chances to use their hands and minds in relation to the physical world, and adults with the time and interest to help them.
7/10/12 Tuesday. Everywhere we see it: jobs disappearing, houses foreclosing, despair in the air, nutcases making the headlines. It is as if we are living in an insane asylum with no way out. Not exactly what we one day called “the American Dream.”
The problems are deeply structural, in the nature of our economic system, the inability of leaders to think in terms of a larger picture, in terms of redoing the fundamentals. I come back again to the ideas expressed in the book Sacred Economics, by Charles Eisenstein. Namely, that the economic system sits on a pedestal, removed from reality. Money has become an entity unto itself, a divine object to be worshipped at all costs. It cannot rot, decay, wear out, break down, grow obsolete, or otherwise lose value, as real things do. Indeed, it can only grow, by virtue of interest. Interest which comes ultimately from where? Thin air. And then people hoard it, keeping it out of circulation where it does no good.
It is no longer even coins or paper bills, so much as pixels on a computer, electrons floating about, somehow mystriously tied to names—such as mine or your own. I have long been and am continually intrigued by how this all works, out of sight, behind closed doors, run by a handful of individuals we rarely if ever get to know. Magic in the air, if ever there was any; but unfortunately, it is black magic for the vast majority of us. Small wonder economics is called “the dismal science.” If we were to start thinking in terms of the ideas outlined in Sacred Economics, I do believe we would gradually not only turn the economic picture around, but also develop a different understanding of money, how it is made and used, and, ultimately, applied to the betterment of humankind. But enough on this topic today.
Missed rollerblading today, by virtue of not getting out the door before nine, after which it is usually too hot. Tell me again that global warming is not a problem. Have you been watching the weather, across the states and around the world? How much more time will Nature give us to get our act together? Not much, I fear.
Laminated some new fabrics in the shop today. A remarkable ultralight nylon from Connecticut, glued to a polyester sprayed with a helium barrier coating on two sides. Most anxious to see how these materials work in unison. Potentially ultra-light, strong, puncture and tear resistant, stretch resistant, and helium proof, assuming things go right. Hard properties to get in one material, hence laminations. The solitude of a workshop can be a wonderful and peaceful place, dealing with the laws of nature and physics. Yes, those laws can create many headaches, but they are always consistent and make sense when you come to understand them. At least in the universe we find ourselves in, at the level we live on, as opposed to the quantum world.
Plums in the front lawn are doing great, juicy and sweet. Except now I have to get a ladder and go to work picking them. I do so marvel at the pioneers and those who live off the land anywhere. It’s hard to believe they were or are not more intelligent and creative overall than we are today.
Got a call from a local newspaper today, while standing in line in a local convenience store. Did an interview then and there, finishing while sitting in the car. Assuming they actually run it, I trust it will make for interesting reading. At least for me… can’t actually remember what I said, but it sounded halfway intelligent at the time.
Got an email from Texas, from a lady doing the illustration for the cover of a novel I plugged away at, for what seems like the last hundred years or so. Waiting for an editor in Indiana to get through this beloved beast, hoping she’ll find little to fix. Then on to Create Space and Kindle. It appears to me that publishers are still actively putting themselves out of business, continuing to shaft “little authors,” as they have done for the past few decades. Who knows where things will go next? Are writing and reading really dead? I like to think not, having spent half my life trying to help little kids learn to read. Answers in education are all out there, we just need to stop asking politicians what they are and send the critics into their local school or schools for a week or two. It would be good to see the National Education Association actually do half the things it professes to believe in. They might win me over if they did.
7/11/12 Wednesday. The date reminds me of a picture as to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, back when we were allegedly looking for him:
But enough on that. One of the things we do at dinnertime is ask what was the best part of each person’s day, or what were the three best parts of the day.
Here are mine for today, though there were many others: 1) When I took off the covers of our two bird cages this morning, Bonnie and Clyde, our canaries, immediately began singing to each other. Answers for the human race lie in Nature, and we should start paying much closer attention; 2) I opened the garage door, and there was a beautiful Alaskan Husky staring me in the face. After some chasing him around, I found his name tag and called the number on it. The owner was extremely grateful to get this gorgeous creature back, and for me, it was a favor played forward, from the time a lady found one of our dogs—in a church parking lot, where she had evidently gone “to get religion”!; 3) I got plane tickets today to see one of my oldest friends and then on to visit my Dad and new step-mom. As much as I hate energy intensive travel, I marvel at the fact that humans have never in history had travelling as easy as we have it today. We just need to replace airplanes with airships, as I am avidly working on.
Read many interesting articles today, as always. Need to check out some of these books, recommended by one of America’s best and most unsung heroes: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Ralph-Nader-Lists-11-Books-by-David-Swanson-120711-300.html
And one topic that we absolutely need to get focused on, asap, along with solving it: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/07/11-0
7/12/12 Thursday. From a Hallmark card, words I happen to like:
To those who see with loving eyes,
Life is beautiful;
To those who speak with tender voices,
Life is peaceful;
To those who help with gentle hands,
Life is full;
And to those who care with compassionate hearts,
Life is good beyond all measures.
Now to just remember and practice these words!
July 13, 2012. People don't like Dennis Kucinich. I often wonder if they've actually ever listened to him: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Commencement-Speech-Ameri-by-Dennis-Kucinich-120511-714.html
July 14, 2012. First time in days it was cool enough to rollerblade. So essential for mental health. Daphne loved it too. The Jordan River Parkway is about the best thing that Salt Lake City has done, at least for me.
Many roses making a comeback... beautiful indeed.
Watched a storm rolling in last evening with Christine and Erin, clouds of all shapes moving in all directions, fresh air smelled great, trees and garden came even more alive than they are. White plastic shopping bag did a crazy dance for what seemed like five minutes, soley for our entertainment, then landed in Erin's lap! One of my favorite pastimes, watching clouds.
Doing a toast for my friend who is turning 60 today in a short while; hopefully will return the favor for his speech at our wedding! He is officially a sexagenarian, which will certainly help. Still weird, toasting a 60 year old almost five years younger. Where did the time go? Where does the time go? I wonder if Judy Collins ever got an answer.
I was worried about mentioning the Higgs boson yesterday, under links, thinking it was "too much" for someone who doesn't keep up on science. Then last evening, my oldest friend who I suffered 12 years of school with and hadn't seen for about 40 years, till last winter, sent me a few articles from the Wall Street Journal (not my favorite paper, but with interesting pieces nonetheless). One article was on that very topic, titled, "Discovery May Help Tell Universe's Secrets"--as if to confirm that posting my philosophical question was not a bad idea.
July 15, 2012. Got out many questionaires today: League of Women Voters, Utah and National Education Association, Project Vote Smart. Planned Parenthood sits on my desk for tomorrow. The questions are for the most reasonable, but the view through single lenses simply won't get us off the shoals of disaster. Still, it is most delightful to see so many dedicated folks working for causes they believe in, and which are designed to help or at least relieve the misery of others.
From page 440, Sacred Economics, by Charles Eisenstein: "A corollary to the nonhoarding of gifts and to the social nature of their giving is that wealth in gift cultures tends to be publicly transparent. Everyone knows who has given what to whom, who has how much, who is hoarding, and who is generous. Translated into modern money dynamics, this suggests that all monetary holdings and transactions should be publicly transparent. With the advent of money, a new secrecy came to infect wealth that had been impossible before. When wealth was lands, sheep, and catttle, there was no hiding one's wealth, and therfore no shirking othe social expectations incumbent upon it. But money can be hoarded in the basement, buried in the ground, stashed away in numbered bank accounts, kept secret, kept private. To undo the negative effects of money eventually this characteristic of money must pass." Money must flow quite loosely and freely, and not be bottled up like water at a dam, or the whole idea of an economy becomes rapidly pointless.
It seems as if our government has things reversed in many ways: They can spy on us, know all about us, listen to our private phone calls, but we can't know what they're up to, even in general terms. Banking and spying are but two example. This situation needs prompt reversal, in both realms. The government also forgets, generally, that they--government employees, on up to the President--are supposed to work for us, not the other way around.
A fundamental question in politics, it seems to me, is who is going to behave like adults? Those folks appear all too far and few between, with everyone is out for themself. I do not oppose capitalism, but what I'd call laisse faire capitalism does not make much sense to me. I think it was summed up well in one single paragraph--page 208, Pleading Guilty, by Scott Turow (a great novel, btw):
"Rational self-interest is Carl's creed. He worships at the altar of the free market. The same way Freud thought everything was sex, Pagnucci believed all social interaction, no matter how complex, can be adjusted by finding a way to put a price on it. Urban housing. Education. We need competition and profit motive to make it all work. It is, I know, quite a theory. Let everybody struggle to get their bucket in the stream and then do what they like with the water they fish out. Some will make steam, some will take a drink, a few fellows or ladies will decide to take a bath. Entrepreneurship will flourish; people will be happy; we’ll get all this nifty indispensable stuff like balsamic vinegar and menthol cigarettes. But what kind of ethical social system takes as its fundamental precepts the words “I” “me” and “mine”? Our two-year olds start like that and we spend the next twenty years trying to teach them there’s more than that to life."
Trace back the evils of so much of what we see today, and the dots lead directly to the deregulation ushered in during the Reagan era. If there is a way around that concept, I certainly need help seeing it.
If you are looking down the barrel of a gun, you would need to have serious mental issues not to want to have your own gun, loaded and aimed back, ready to fire. And, of course, to fire it.
This reaction surely accounts for the rants I’ve read in numerous places, that we should, in general, be armed with guns, in accord with one absurdly loose interpretation of the Second Amendment of the Constitution--that document written before Gatling guns were even invented, at a time when the population of the U.S. was around four million, or close to 1/80th of what it is today.
Such a reaction is not unlike wanting to kill bare-handedly the assailant or rapist of your sister or your mother. I sure as hell am of this mindset myself.
More graphically, if attacked by a male mugger (it always seems to be a male, I note anecdotally), I would make a supreme effort to relocate his family jewels into his nostrils, or something at least equally unpleasant.
Which is precisely why society needs sensible rules. We can’t carry on anything called “civilization” without a set of guidelines to control our baser instincts.
I have been reasonably obsessed thinking about John Holmes, whose extraordinary, debased and deranged act shocked the country, and no doubt much of the world. More brilliant than most of us, coming from an “above normal” background, the man’s motive can only be speculated on, perhaps forever, given our government’s secrecy and routine deception of everyone on just about everything. While it would be wonderful for society to have more than speculation in developing an intelligent reaction, I would argue that even without hard facts on “the causation” of this event, certain “self-evident truths” come to any reasonable mind.
My earlier personal responses included: 1) Now is the time to buy stock in Netflix—no one will be going to the movies, with the idea ticking in the back of their head that some nutcase might waltz in and blow them away at any moment; 2) We have here a perfect argument for ending the death penalty, as we need to study this loonytune until we know every nook an cranny of his brain and genetics; 3) This may well have more effect on America than 9/11, because 9/11 was akin to another violent movie on tv; the Colorado shooting is something that could actually happen to anyone of us and is easy to visualize (as opposed to 9/11); 4) What kind of drugs was this guy on? 5) Was Holmes merely reflecting what he saw, in his relative intellectual brilliance, of all that is going on with America, in terms of how we treat people around the globe?
Of course I don’t know Holmes’ motive, assuming he actually had one, and I have serious doubts that any of us ever will.
But coming back to the view down the gun barrel: While this vantage point does grab one’s attention, a valid and warranted attention, it does not go nearly far enough. And without more, such a view can only be held in a narrow or closed mind, the deadliest mind of all.
Pulling back to a more removed and objective level, the kind we need for running society in a rational and civilized fashion, a thousand questions come to mind. I previously addressed the need to imprison and study this deranged individual. Understanding that, assuming we ever do, we can begin to think clearly about preventing such happenings in the future. By looking for those causes and taking preventive action—even if they call for an overhaul of society and evaluating our relation to ourselves and the rest of the world—we might have serious hope of changing the world we live in for the better.
Yet even without understanding Holmes in every gory detail, we should proceed objectively and without emotion to ask if more guns in a theatre wouldn’t simply increase the number of nutcases “packing heat” around us.
We should be asking if guns are even needed in urban areas, and what would happen if they were made illegal, with steep penalties for having them? What if they were, say, ten times more difficult to get than walking into a local store and freely purchasing whatever happens to be your weapon of choice?
We should ponder seriously if our military escapades overseas aren’t the perfect example of violence against innocent people, setting the stage for further events like the Aurora shooting.
We can and will of course wonder what we would do in a similar situation as that unsuspecting audience was in. Would we have the brains, time, or ability to do anything but eat more popcorn?
Pondering these questions leads me to this: We have been sent a warning shot over the bow of the U.S.S. America, dramatically clarifying that we have utterly and completely lost our moral compass, and have no bearings whatever, beyond perhaps dollar signs.
It is as if we know we are going for a ride on the ill-fated Titanic, with societal permission to take all the guns and ammunition that we want. Gold too, should we care to haul it aboard.
Happily thinking of yesteryear, and not five minutes into next, we will most likely continue business as usual. Nothing will change while we describe this astounding event in paralyzed, childish terms, with no alteration in our course of behavior. I am reminded of Einstein’s words, after witnessing the first atomic bomb blast: “Everything has changed but the way people think.”
We struggle and manage to put the shooting into market terms (my own first response, I presume borne out of shock), and ignore the insanity and inhumanity of it all. We grab for mindless solutions, with complete disregard for the fate of the ship we are all on, the U.S.S. America, a ship that has never before been in more dangerous waters.
August 8, 2012. I have been remiss in maintaining my journal. As Mark Twain noted, "Work is something you have to do." And so it is, even with a journal. However, all is not lost in this vein. For example, here is a quote about economics, which I posted as a link to an article on Opednews.com, regarding economics:
Thanks, Linh, for another excellent although
depressing analysis. It seems clearer and clearer that we need to nationalize banks and have the Federal Reserve run by highly competent individuals, with regular and tight government oversight (whilst cleaning up the the government itself and getting money out of politics). Note: I'm still sorting this one out. I believe in capitalism, but not the laizee faire brand.
October 7, 2012. Time flies and my slender excuse for not continuing to post here is simply lack of time. However, I encourage interested readers who've gotten this far to check www.opednews.com, where I regularly post comments, links, and articles. Very similar to things on this site, but of a somewhat broader nature. At the top of Opednews you'll see a search bar, where you can plug in any topic, such as my name, and find a trove of further ramblngs and topics I have found to be of relevance and interest. .