What Brought The Republics to an End?

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Human groups, with their refined cultures, created the various Republics throughout history and have destroyed them over and over again. Now we all live in a global "Republic of Consumerism". For at least the last fifty years, a large number of us have become aware of what's going on all over the world. We are all members of a global socioeconomic system that is dementedly productive.

Caesar Augustus, the first emperor in the ancient Roman Empire

Caesar Augustus, the first emperor in the ancient Roman Empire

And yet, regardless of our progress we are as in control of our thoughts, ideas, and actions as we ever have been, which is to say, not very much in control at all.

Just give people the equivalent of a jar of peanut butter, a screen, and a beer and they won't care a thing about the topic discussed in the article below - their needs already having been generated and fulfilled by the propaganda of the day. 

The Death of the Republic

Posted on May 21, 2017

By Chris Hedges

The vast majority of the small fraction of humanity that thinks in similar terms or has even noticed the things discussed in Hedges' article are powerless to do anything but vent their disgust. This crippling powerlessness is not their fault, it's only natural.

Even the path to power is barely perceptible and equally as distracting. One rarely understands the society one is struggling to be a part of until it's too late. If one facilitates murder while never pulling the trigger, when precisely did they turn into a killer? Is a child's innocence and potential only predicted on the genes inherited from their grandparents and their equally improbable life experiences? It really does start with your grandparents, and who among us chose them? If we have any freedom at all we simply fit into what we've become and go from there.

We can not, I suppose, know what our will has begotten. If anyone is free to any extent they are wise and suffer from fewer delusions than most. It would be a tidy trick indeed if humanity evolved into a creature with free agency grounded in wise ethics. How much time would that take I wonder? And by our own lofty and hubristic standards of illusion, it seems highly unlikely our species will be around long enough to grow into wise apes. Disregarding the cultural miracle required for a critical mass of us to even want to achieve a state of being we might call wise. 

We seem to have a deadman's switch in our genes. Perhaps our genes aren't selfish enough or finely evolved enough to activate the information requiring wisdom as a trait for long term survival. Or maybe we just lack the discipline to turn it on and make those traits emerge; or maybe it’s just bad luck, our circumstances having not been right for such a trend.

It should be obvious to anyone with a decent education that we evolved in this unique environment and are dependent upon its special balance of complex interacting elements. We can survive in various extreme environments but the spectrum is narrow and nothing to be taken for granted. We may be able to change our environment for our benefit but we are also terrible at predicting the unintended consequences of doing so. We are literally flipping a switch now and the result could be darkness not light.

It makes me think that if God is truly loving, compassionate and merciful than our ability not to notice the hell our stupidity is creating until it's too late is truly a blessing.

Humanity is in control of its destiny in the sense that it's the first species we know of in 3.5 billion years of life on earth that has the ability to self-consciously determine its own demise through its own creations. And, we can reflect upon the habits that are ultimately going to kill us. Amazing! Dare I now utter the cliche: humanity has only been around for a brief blip in terms of geologic time, and yet, here we are reading words on a screen. And the brief blip we call, Human Civilization obviously contains within it destructive qualities that have only recently, in an even briefer blip we call the Industrial Revolution, given us the tools to destroy all life on earth. We are clever beasts - it's only natural that we are enamored with ourselves. 

In this world, bound by temporality, isn't our amazing creativity something to be proud of? Also, shouldn't we be proud of having the privilege of living during the end times; of having the amazing good luck of knowing exactly how we did ourselves in; of knowing the end of the story? We don't have to suffer through the process of contemplating the worries and aspirations of future generations or of fearing unknown horrors to come. We can get all of that for our diversion and pleasure on Netflix or at the Cinema. Our vicarious and virtual lives add value to the mundane expressions of love and euphoria inherent in being part and parcel of nature or simply of taking a quiet, solitary walk in the forest. We may soon disappear but our e-waste will remain in layers of sediment as a testimony to our pride and fortune.

During past mass extinction events, how can we know anything about the suffering of creatures who's habitat became unable to support their lives? Could they have known they were heading for extinction? What did the last Mastodon feel? Apparently, nature is not bound by ethical concerns. Nature obeys it's own mysterious rules. Isn't it ironic that we're the only species we know of in the universe that has the ability to understand some of the rules of nature and apply them in creative ways to control outcomes and produce things?

In 1973 Carl Sagan published “The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective”, and in it, he said this:

"Our Sun is a second- or third-generation star. All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff."

Contemplating that is the closest we are ever going to get to experiencing eternity without drugs or deep meditation. (Why does this bring to mind the mad photographer in the movie Apocalypse Now? It's absurd and I giggle.) 

When the last person dies there will be no more memories. Perhaps eternity is simply a universe where humanity doesn't exist. I might have said, nonexistence is eternity or eternity doesn't exist. 

I remember walking around India when I was young with a middle aged man I nicknamed, Rasta Punjab, (he liked Bob Marley) who asked me several times a day, "What is time?" When we finally split up to go our separate ways I asked him if I had ever had the right answer and he said, "I don't know but your answers were entertaining."

So what are we to do? Try taking a journey that makes you wiser and wiser with every experience, with every human interaction, and enjoy every moment of it. 

Every person since the emergence of our species has had but one life. Think of how lucky we are to live in these times where we have just begun to understand the universe and ourselves. There is so much yet to learn so get busy, nothing lasts forever.

Enjoy the end times of The Republic! Viva la revolucion! 


 

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Don't Be Fooled! Vet Your Information Sources Carefully.

Putin is really attacking us people. 

Putin is really attacking us people. 

The last election was unprecedented in America because of one main reason - Fake News. The Russians really did steal the election. 

It's an unfortunate fact that humans are easily fooled. I've written about this many times. I can't get enough of the subject. I yearn to trust my thought processes more. There is a vast cash of scientific literature on the subject from trusted sources and many popular books like Flim Flam, The Believing Brain, and Thinking Fast and Slow to name just a few.

It's generally understood that more progressive types get their information from a broader and more numerous supply of sources, while more conservative types tend to stick with a few outlets they feel comfortable with. Conservatives tend to believe that their books, historical documents, elected officials, and institutions have most of the answers while progressives might feel their current understanding of things is more provisional. I don't want to insult conservatives, these are uncontroversial findings. And it should be obvious that the spectrum of belief in any group covers a wide range. The point is there are many people in the world, whether conservative or liberal, that don't have the background knowledge to contemplate every event or subject from first principles - even if you were more or less able to do so you probably wouldn't have the time. We all follow shortcuts in our thought processes and if we're lucky we become aware of when our ideas or beliefs are flawed or wrong.

Which brings me to what I'd like to share with you today. One of my favorite politics podcasts is "Decode DC". The host, Jimmy Williams, has been working in politics for a long time and gives a fair hearing of a wide range of quests covering everything "DC". He's got a good sense of humor and brings a refreshing lightness to a subject that for many of us can be maddening. 

Clint Watts

Clint Watts

This week Clint Watts discusses how Russia is interfering with global democracy. These days with all the bad information on the Internet and Fake New being quoted all over the place it's easy to be confused and easy to feel like throwing up your hands and giving up on even trying to be well informed. But please, don't do that, that would be a big mistake. We need to inoculate ourselves from Fake News and bad information so that we can make good decisions about how to participate in our communities and what leaders to put our trust in. 

I hope you listen to this episode of Decode DC and continue learning how you can become immune to bad information. Best of luck.

Episode 190: Russia is using you to destroy democracy

Russians are using your own media echo chamber to undermine your confidence in democracy. So says Clint Watts, a former FBI agent who has studied

Dave Shaw April 20, 2017

Russians are using your own media echo chamber to undermine your confidence in democracy. So says Clint Watts, a former FBI agent who has studied the phenomenon and recently testified before Congress. We speak with him about why Russia hackers and trolls are doing this, and why they’ve been more successful spreading their messages on the right than on the left.

The issue has gained in importance, even this week, as Reuters reported details of how a Russian government think tank plotted to affect the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The goals were to encourage voters to support candidates who would be friendlier to Russia and to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. electoral system, according to the report.

While we are on the subject I thought you might also enjoy this:

David McRaney  April 3, 2017  Podcasts

YANSS 097 – What scam artists can teach us about the human brain

Why do nigerian scammers always say they are from nigeria?

Why do nigerian scammers always say they are from nigeria?

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Is Anybody Out There? The Search for Intelligence in the Universe

Jill Tarter who has long worked with SETI.

Jill Tarter who has long worked with SETI.

The title assumes that humans are intelligent and we are in the sense that we've been pretty good at developing advanced civilization, culture, and technology. We are exploring the solar system and the universe and so far as we know, we're the only species of intelligent life in the universe. Unfortunately, humanity might not have the cultural intelligence to control our technological development for much longer. Within all of our advancements, there are threats, the threat of war, nuclear war, environmental catastrophe, climate change, the diminishment of biodiversity and species extinction to name a few. 

Which brings me to why I'm posting today. I just listened to a conversation on Point of Inquiry podcast that covered areas of interest that characterize my world view almost completely. It covered what I have been thinking about for decades. 

Subjects covered include:

  • The search for extraterrestrial intelligence in the universe.
  • Developing a culture that thinks long term, instead of the usual what can I get tomorrow.
  • Human consciousness and artificial intelligence.
  • How we listen for extraterrestrial technology.
  • Cultural evolution.

I have often been frustrated when observing that issues we fought over one hundred years ago or fifty years ago are still with us today. It seems we are not learning from history. Our struggles stay with us generation after generation and only our tools change. 

I feel that if we could find a more efficient way for human culture to evolve - and let me use a metaphor here rather than spell out what I mean by human cultural evolution in several long winded paragraphs - we would eventually figure nature and ourselves out to such a degree that something like a Star Trek utopian, ever expanding and learning human culture could exist. 

And I wouldn't mind it at all if science became our new religion. Metaphorically speaking of course. Learning about how nature works is awesome. Learning about people, human culture, society, human thought processes and emotion - now that's a really complex puzzle and one worthy of solving through our innate curiosity and sense of adventure. 

Unfortunately, I'm sad that our incentives are so misaligned and twisted; that powerful business lobbies can be so destructive that we are forced to bear witness in our lifetime to things like the sixth extinction and rapid climate change. Realities that threaten the very existence of human civilization. 

It seems more urgent than ever for human cultures to put their many petty differences aside and come together to address these existential issues once and for all. 

Our global institutions have failed to achieve a truly global and peaceful world culture. They must be reengineered and made more effective as soon as possible. The people will have to make this happen. Many of our global governments are simply too short sighted to get the job done. And I hate to say this, but we take for granted the progress we've made at our peril.

I'm comfortable with my own mortality. I've lost a lot of friends and family over the years. But I would love it if I could feel before I die that the future of humanity seemed bright. 

We need to start living like we are members of the human species, an intelligent and loving species in this universe and not just members of cliques or nation states that are ready and willing to kill each other and everything on earth for a fleeting unit more of money and power. I don't want to die as pessimistic as George Orwell.

I hope you will listen to the full podcast. It's inspiring. 

April 24, 2017

Host: Josh Zepps last episode as host on Point of Inquiry.

Is Anybody Listening? Jill Tarter on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

 

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Elected Representatives Care More About Their Jobs Than Children

Click on the image below to read a harrowing article found on www.writical.com from a teacher who is at his wit's end.

It's up to us to make sure our representatives work hard to provide high-quality educational resources for our children. We have to tell our representatives and their sponsors that we won't accept anything but the best for our children. This kind of thing happens all over the world and must not be tolerated. 

Teachers are often regarded as a guide and mentor who show the way forward to the students in life. Please read what this heroic teacher is going through in Oklahoma, USA. 


Click on this image to read this teacher's heartfelt article. 

Click on this image to read this teacher's heartfelt article. 


 

 

 

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming

Another good book about human denial and illogical behavior. Please read it and share it with friends. Learn about how you think.

Why does knowing more mean believing—and doing—less? A prescription for change

Why does knowing more mean believing—and doing—less? A prescription for change

The more facts that pile up about global warming, the greater the resistance to them grows, making it harder to enact measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare communities for the inevitable change ahead.

It is a catch-22 that starts, says psychologist and economist Per Espen Stoknes, from an inadequate understanding of the way most humans think, act, and live in the world around them. With dozens of examples—from the private sector to government agencies—Stoknes shows how to retell the story of climate change and, at the same time, create positive, meaningful actions that can be supported even by deniers.

In What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming, Stoknes not only masterfully identifies the five main psychological barriers to climate action, but addresses them with five strategies for how to talk about global warming in a way that creates action and solutions, not further inaction and despair.

These strategies work with, rather than against, human nature. They are social, positive, and simple—making climate-friendly behaviors easy and convenient. They are also story-based, to help add meaning and create community, and include the use of signals, or indicators, to gauge feedback and be constantly responsive.

Whether you are working on the front lines of the climate issue, immersed in the science, trying to make policy or educate the public, or just an average person trying to make sense of the cognitive dissonance or grapple with frustration over this looming issue, What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming moves beyond the psychological barriers that block progress and opens new doorways to social and personal transformation.

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

"We Are Nature Protecting Itself"

Standing Rock is but one battle in a long war.

"We are nature protecting itself." Knowing that there are millions of people around the world who understand the profound and sacred meaning of that statement helps heal my sinking spirits.

I'm reposting an article in full from a journalist and activist I became familiar with through the RT Comedy talk show, Redacted Tonight. Lee Camp often does his best work when he connects with and interviews people like Alnoor Ladha the Executive Director of The Rules.

There are men and women in this world who want to do more than fit in. Somehow, deep in their hearts and minds, they see the just and good potential of individual human beings and can imagine a future that is truly better than today. Hurrah! 

I pray that I find the strength and the faith to nurture my belief in human goodness. 


Published on Wednesday, March 08, 2017 by Common Dreams

Memory, Fire and Hope: Five Lessons from Standing Rock

The North Dakota camp may have been evicted but the movement hasn’t lost. Here are five lessons activists around the world can learn from the water protectors.

by Alnoor Ladha

"The ongoing struggle will not go down in the flames at Oceti Sakowin," writes Ladha. (Photo: Stephen Yang/Getty Images)

"The ongoing struggle will not go down in the flames at Oceti Sakowin," writes Ladha. (Photo: Stephen Yang/Getty Images)

"The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting." —Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Last week, on February 22, 2017, water protectors at the Oceti Sakowin camp, the primary camp of Standing Rock, were evicted by the Army Corps of Engineers in a military style takeover. A peaceful resistance that began with a sacred fire lit on April 1, 2016, ended in a blaze as some of the protectors, in a final act of defiance, set some of the camp’s structures on fire.

"The neoliberal capitalist system has failed the majority of humanity and a new world is emerging."

The millions of people around the world who have stood in solidarity and empathy with Standing Rock now stand in disbelief and grief, but the forced closure of the encampment is simply the latest chapter in a violent, 500-year-old history of colonization against the First Nations. It is also the latest chapter in the battle between an extractive capitalist model and the possibility of a post-capitalist world.

Of course, the ongoing struggle will not go down in the flames at Oceti Sakowin. We should take this opportunity to remember the enduring lessons of this movement, and prepare ourselves for what is to come next.

1. There is a global convergence of movements

When I visited Standing Rock in October 2016, it struck me that this was the most diverse political gathering I’d ever seen. Over 300 North American tribes had came together for the first time in history. Standing alongside them were over 100 Indigenous communities from all over the globe. A contingent from the Sami people, the Indigenous peoples of Scandinavia, had traversed the Atlantic to show their support the day I arrived. They were joined by black bloc anarchists, New Age spiritualists, traditional environmentalists, union organizers and ordinary Americans who have never attended a protest.

The media has characterized Standing Rock as a one-off protest against a pipeline in North Dakota. But the reality is that the various movements from around the world including the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, the Pink Tide in Latin America, the landless people’s movement from India, the anti-austerity movement in Europe, the global Occupy movement, and the countless "awakenings" spreading across the African continent are uniting as expressions of the same impulse: a belief that the neoliberal capitalist system has failed the majority of humanity and a new world is emerging.

2. A more holistic activism is emerging

With its sacred fire, daily prayers and water ceremonies, Standing Rock has helped to reanimate the sacred aspect of activism. We are seeing a shift from resistance to resistance and renewal simultaneously. Progressive movements which once internalized the Neitzchean dictum that "God is dead" are now evolving their positions. As the anarchist philosopher Hakim Bey states: "As Capital triumphs over the Social as against all spiritualities, spirituality itself finds itself realigned with revolution."There is a shift to embracing a more holistic activism that transcends traditional Cartesian duality and calls upon greater forces. Cedric Goodhouse, an elder at Standing Rock put it simply, saying: "We are governed by prayer."

"The particular ways in which Standing Rock embodied non-violent direct action has given many activists a new faith in the possibility of a more sacred activism."

The particular ways in which Standing Rock embodied non-violent direct action has given many activists a new faith in the possibility of a more sacred activism. I stood with dozens of water protectors when they prayed on water in front of Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) engineers while they were laying down oil pipeline. The very act of seeing Indigenous elders praying on water said more about the implications of an extractive pipeline than any linear argument. They dropped their tools not only because they wanted to avoid confrontation, but because somehow they understood they were on the wrong side of the moral calculus.

The author Charles Eisenstein reminds us of a powerful insight about sacred activism that has been embodied in Standing Rock: "We need to confront an unjust, ecocidal system. Each time we do we will receive an invitation to give in to the dark side and hate 'the deplorables.' We must not shy away from those confrontations. Instead, we can engage them empowered by the inner mantra that my friend Pancho Ramos-Stierle uses in confrontations with his jailers: 'Brother, your soul is too beautiful to be doing this work.' If we can stare hate in the face and never waver from that knowledge, we will access inexhaustible tools of creative engagement, and hold a compelling invitation to the haters to fulfill their beauty."

3. Occupation of space is a critical tactic

Even before Occupy there has been a renaissance in the political understanding of the value of place and space. The battlegrounds between the corporate/state nexus and people’s movements are physical realms: the places where resources are being extracted, water is being polluted and capitalist interests are expanding through what Marxist geographer, David Harvey, calls “accumulation by dispossession.”

The occupation of space creates a physical spectacle that forces the corporate media to tell the stories it would otherwise like to ignore. It creates networks of solidarity and deep relationships that span beyond the time and space of the occupation. It creates inter-generational transfers-of-knowledge, both politically and spiritually. It weaves the connective tissue for the continued resistance against corporate (and other imperialist) power.

Standing Rock will be remembered by the thousands of activists who braved blizzards to sleep in tipis, who cooked food together in the communal kitchens, and celebrated in song and ceremony with tribal elders around the sacred fire. As the activist Reverend Billy Talen recently stated: "Zuccotti Park and the stretch of sidewalk in front of the Ferguson police department and the meadow near the Sacred Stone… these three places are lived in. Here is where activists cared for each other and shared food, clothing and medicine. The force that upsets entrenched power the most is this compassionate living, this community in plain sight."

4. We are Nature protecting itself

Part of the on-going colonial legacy of North America is a battle between the mute materialism of capitalism that seeks to dominate nature and the symbiotic approach of Indigenous thought that sees Nature as alive, and sees human beings as playing a central role in the evolution and stewardship of the broader whole. It is this very worldview that rationalists derisively call “animist” and that continues to confound the utility maximization ideals of modern thought.

Indigenous lands are increasingly going to be a battleground not only for resource extraction, but ideology itself. Although Indigenous peoples represent about 4% of the world’s population they live on and protect 22% of the Earth’s surface. Critically, the land inhabited by Indigenous peoples holds the remaining 80% of the planet’s biodiversity.

"The idea that we are not protestors, but protectors of the sacred is a central theme that resonates throughout the world."

It is no coincidence that ETP moved away from its early proposal to have the DAPL project cross the Missouri river just north of Bismarck, a primarily white city, to the Standing Rock area inhabited by the Sioux tribe.

During COP 21 in Paris, Indigenous youth groups carried banners that read: "We are Nature protecting itself." The idea that we are not protestors, but protectors of the sacred is a central theme that resonates throughout the world.

In a powerful article on the Sacred Stone blog, the camp’s founder Ladonna Bravebull Allard said: "This movement is not just about a pipeline. We are not fighting for a reroute, or a better process in the white man’s courts. We are fighting for our rights as the Indigenous peoples of this land; we are fighting for our liberation, and the liberation of Unci Maka, Mother Earth. We want every last oil and gas pipe removed from her body. We want healing. We want clean water. We want to determine our own future."

These ideals are not just Indigenous ideals; they are ideals linked with our very survival as a species. In a world of catastrophic climate change, protecting the sacred must be the mantra of all activists and concerned citizens.

5. There is a common antagonist

Although the various social movements around the world are portrayed as separate incidents that are particular to their local context, there is a growing awareness among movements themselves that we are uniting against the same antagonist: the deadly logic of late-stage capitalism.

Whether one is fighting for land rights in India or tax justice in Kenya or to stop a pipeline in the US, the ‘enemy’ is the same: a cannibalistic global economy that requires perpetual extraction, violence, oppression, in the service of GDP growth, which in turn, benefits a tiny elite at the expense of the world’s majority.

"The sacred fire at Standing Rock may now be smoldering but it’s reverberations are only beginning to be felt."

There is a Algonquin word, wetiko, that refers to a cannibalistic spirit that consumes the heart of man. It was a common term used when the First Nations of North America initially interacted with the Western European colonialists. The spirit of wetiko, like many memetic thought-forms, has mutated and evolved, and has now become the animating force of the global capitalist system. We are not just fighting a pipeline; we are fighting the wetiko spirit that has taken hold of our planet like invisible architecture.

What Standing Rock achieved so beautifully was to provide this broader context, to ladder up a local struggle for clean water to the struggle against the forces of wetiko itself. Wetiko is inherently anti-life. And what we are all fighting for is a new system that recognizes our interdependence with the Earth and with each other, and that allows our highest selves to flourish.

The sacred fire at Standing Rock may now be smoldering but it’s reverberations are only beginning to be felt. As Julian Brave NoiseCat poignantly states in his reflections on the impact of this historical movement: "They have lit a fire on the prairie in the heart of America as a symbol of their resistance, a movement that stands for something that is undoubtedly right: water that sustains life, and land that gave birth to people."

This is the enduring power of Standing Rock. It has created inextinguishable hope, activated our historical memory and created new forms of power by the profound act of starting a global movement from a single sacred fire. The fires of Standing Rock are illuminating the transition that lies ahead and the new society that is emerging from its ashes.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Alnoor Ladha is the Executive Director of The Rules, a global network of activists, organizers, designers, coders, writers, and researchers dedicated to changing the rules that create inequality and climate change. He is also a board member of Greenpeace International USA.


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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Why Does Life Form?

This is fascinating stuff. If you take the time to read the following PDF you won't regret it. 

Statistical physics of self-replication Jeremy L. England

For a lighter treatment of the theory have a look at this article:

A New Physics Theory of Life

In my opinion, this is a much more exciting theory of life than an ancient creation myth.

Enjoy!

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Brutish Better Angels

betterangels.jpg

There's no reason to believe that human-caused climate change and mass extinction will be mitigated by us anytime soon. We are quickly headed towards the failsafe line. My educated guess is that we are headed towards hard times. Science, engineering, and technology keep advancing to the point where all the things we take for granted in those domains have become black boxes to the vast majority of us. We use them but we remain ignorant of how they work.

Culture, society, human consciousness, the climate, as with so many systems, are extremely complex, hard to model and understand, much less predict or control. Most of us are simply not equipped to grapple with the complex systems surrounding us. We evolved to tell stories, to be hyper-social so we could cooperate, survive in tribes and compete with other groups successfully. Hence, we remain vulnerable to con men, marketers, propagandists and despots.

Despite all the wonderful things we have achieved and our amazing success as the apex species on earth, we are woefully unprepared to deal with the torrent of difficult challenges confronting us.

One's emotional reaction to today's reality can be controlled only insofar as one is capable of understanding what we're facing. Few people have the background knowledge across multiple domains of interest to have access to true freedom of thought. And those of us who can think can't necessarily act productively on what we know. We simply don't have the power, the resources or the network needed to be an effective actor. We can only do our small part and perhaps feel a little bit better about ourselves.

I've decided to try to have as much fun as I can during the rest of my life and make a greater effort to be a better friend. That's really all I can do. When the real suffering begins I can only hope that there will still be compassionate people in the world. I also hope the suffering won’t last too long this time.

Get ready for it.

Welcome back, Thomas Hobbes.

"Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short."

The numbers may support Steven Pinker's "Better Angels" but the future may be more Hobbesian that we'd like.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

To The Brain-Dead Zombie Citizens of the United States

trump-football.jpg

Isn't it ironic that when humanity finally was able to harness and expand its brain power through the processes of scientific inquiry it wound up being tantamount to giving a machine gun to a chimpanzee? All of this great, plodding progress culminating, during the End-Times, with giving the "football" to a fool; and we don't have to look too far back in history to know how that turns out. 

I have a question: Should "S.B." consolidate control over devolving Republicans, during the next eight years, how many lives will be lost? (Republicans: sycophants who are defined by their pernicious, pathological fear that they may somehow anger someone in the monied class)

Will it be at the scale of the Iraq/Afghanistan debacle, or closer to WWII on steroids? Will we live to see a nuke dropped on a mega-city?

I know, I know, climate change will be the great equalizer in thirty years or so, but I'm concerned about the next eight to ten years.

Liberals are too nuanced and considerate to fight hard enough to stop a bloodbath, and they are equally enamored with money and power; they can hardly claim moral authority. They can wax lovingly about the relative goodness of their particular ideas, spouting wise phrases like: 'Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.' (A more naked copout has never been formed.) But they are too busy looking at their reflection in the lake to draw a dagger and get busy. They don't have the warrior gene. They are weak.

The conservatives — generously characterized by Jonathan Height and other evidence-based groupies of the myth of progress — have no qualms about killing. Their ideology is more important than human life, or any life form on earth for that matter. (Libtards kill with the poison of self-righteousness while Conservatives kill with shiny toys that go boom — they whack off to shock and awe.)

Go ahead, take a guess. How many will be murdered over the next ten years for money’s sake?

When the journalists are cowed and under control; when all that matters is propaganda; when the coolies are completely commoditized; when everything is financialized; when ancient wars are rebooted; when regulations designed to save lives are totally gutted; when the tax breaks for the rich kick in and the Federal government dies from lack of cash and management expertise (I mean, when professional, competent bureaucrats no longer exist) when the power vacuum is finally filled with hate; when there are no resources left to allow “45” to keep his fantastical promises; when the whole system breaks down; when the technocratic kleptocrats are totally in control and gleefully embarking on their vain quest for immortality; when the "trash class" starts finally dying off vacating lebensraum so the venal monsters of industry can strut and fret about their Romanesque stage freely, singing, free at last, free at last, while pompously signaling their diseased ego driven toxic ideas like feral cats in heat, squealing, crying out in painful desire — relief only coming from hunting, killing, eating and fucking; when the people have submitted fully and surrendered and acquiesced to their premature demise; when the robots and sex dolls serve the last surviving earth eating ogres — in six years when the cascading feedback loops are wreaking vengeance and wrathfully doing God's work; when no one is left to count the dead or find the mass graves; when humanities only hope for remembrance is if an Alien archeologist finds the evidence of the Anthropocene buried under layers of future dead life forms; when the carbon in humans under the weight and pressure of millions of years of refuse becomes oil; when all of this comes to pass, can you imagine you would be able to say that you were proud of having been a human being?

We are monkeys with machine guns spewing cluster bombs, dancing around, giggling and waiting to see where the random shards of shrapnel strike.

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

The Demons and Their Milieu Will Pass

K I S S I N G

K I S S I N G

Number 45 is the leader of Boundless Hubris. Boundless Hubris is not a country, it's a system and a culture. Boundless Hubris is all most of us know or will ever know. BH is our normal, banal milieu.

Progress can only be viewed through a historical perspective. Progress is quite literally in the past. The future is a self-serving fantasy. The present oscillates between struggle, sublime dream state or nightmare.

Incubus

Incubus

Number 45 is the incubus/succubus within all of us that reveals the truth about BH. We can only transcend BH though awareness, truth and the process of expanding our knowledge. Through the processes that reveal facets of truth and knowledge we can experience something close to freedom. We can experience a break from the incubus/succubus and from BH.

succubus

succubus

Most of us will die before trying.

Embark on your spiritual (define that as you will) and intellectual journey now. Make an effort not to be hyper-social. Don't wedge yourself in.

Break free.

Boundless Hubris will be the banal milieu until humanity falls out of existence. Evolution will not make us humble. We are the species - Homohubris.

Embark now, start training now, this fleeting moment is your only chance!

An infinite number of starting places.

An infinite number of starting places.

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

An Unofficial Manifesto

Below is a statement that clearly articulates why we wish to resist the policies of the current U.S. administration and clearly articulates our values.

If you side with us, copy and paste the message below into your social media status. Let us know who you are. We have to let people know we will not let our world degenerate into chaos. 

We invite all of you to clearly articulate your values. If you disagree with us we invite you to clearly articulate your values and share them. Perhaps we can find some areas that are in common. If so, we may be able to narrow the divide that so afflicts our culture today.

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We make no apologies to any or all of my FB friends for this. We know some are tired of political postings and rants. But apart from non-committal posts of recipes, meals, flowers, dogs, seashells, balloons, pictures, cats, drama, humor, our own art, and even beautiful expressions of spiritual beliefs, FB is (until it gets taken away) a vehicle to express our outrage at how far our country has currently fallen on the humanitarian scale.

To us, FB is a useful vehicle for our passion and activism. The fevered Ego currently occupying our White House, his power hungry cronies taking positions of authority in his Cabinet and administration, and the majority of Republicans in Congress are a real and active threat to us, our way of life, and all the people we love. And unless you are worth billions of dollars, they are a threat to you and your life, too. So we will Resist and we will be part of the resistance, and proud of it. If you can join in or hang with it, fine. But we refuse to "play nice" in the face of what these people are doing. Our country's well-being demands that we stand and resist.

Some people are saying that we should give #45 a chance, that we should "work together" with him because he won the election and he is "everyone's president." This is our response:

  • We will not say #45's name.
  • We will not forget how badly he and so many others treated former President Barack Obama for 8 years...
  • We will not "work together" to privatize Medicare, cut Social Security and Medicaid.
  • We will not "work together" to build a wall.
  • We will not "work together" to persecute Muslims.
  • We will not "work together" to shut out refugees from countries where we destabilized their governments, so that we could have something more agreeable to our oligarchy.
  • We will not "work together" to lower taxes on the 1%.
  • We will not "work together" to increase taxes on the middle class and poor.
  • We will not "work together" to help #45 use the Presidency to line his pockets and those of his cronies.
  • We will not "work together" to weaken and demolish environmental protection.
  • We will not "work together" to sell American lands, especially National Parks, to companies which then despoil those lands.
  • We will not "work together" to enable the killing in any way of whole species of animals just because they are predators, or inconvenient for a few, or because some people want to get their thrills killing them.
  • We will not "work together" to remove civil rights from anyone.
  • We will not "work together" to waste trillions more on our military when we already have the strongest in the world.
  • We will not "work together" to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive.
  • We will not "work together" to slash funding for education.
  • We will not "work together" to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.
  • We will not "work together" to allow torture and "black op" prison sites.
  • We will not "work together" to "take their oil."
  • We will not "work together" to get rid of common sense regulations on guns.
  • We will not "work together" to eliminate the minimum wage.
  • We will not "work together" to support so-called "Right To Work" laws, or undermine, weaken or destroy Unions in any way.
  • We will not "work together" to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that #45 and his supporters are wrong on the facts.
  • We will not "work together" to allow men to make choices about a woman's own body, or to restrict health care for women.
  • We will not "work together" to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons.
  • We will not "work together" to put even more "big money" into politics.
  • We will not "work together" to violate the Geneva Convention.
  • We will not "work together" to give the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred.
  • We will not "work together" to deny health care to people who need it.
  • We will not "work together" to increase the profits of the insurance companies.
  • We will not "work together" to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of an alleged or actual "pre-existing condition."
  • We will not "work together" to increase voter suppression.
  • We will not "work together" to normalize tyranny.
  • We will not “work together” to eliminate or reduce ethical oversite at any level of government.
  • We will not "work together" with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators who murder their opposition.
  • We will not "work together" with #45 because I will not allow one man to feed upon the fears of the populace, blaming minorities for their condition or their inability to thrive.
  • We will stand for honesty, love, respect for all living beings, and for the compassion and humanity that is the center of Life itself.
  • We will use our voice and our hands, to reach out to the uninformed, and to anyone who will LISTEN and recognize what's really so dangerous about #45, his friends and the Big Lie they spin to the world:
  • That "winning", "being great again", "rich" or even "beautiful" is anything more than nothing when others are sacrificed to glorify its existence.

This is the line, we are drawing.

PS: If you agree, please copy and re-post (we understand this results in larger numbers of people seeing a post), and if you can, sign your name below ours.

Consider this an opportunity to make a declaration of commitment, in becoming part of The Resistance.

Signed by:

Patricia Rollins Trosclair

Andrea Dora Zysk

George Georgakis

John Christopher

John Bowles

Patrick St.Louis

Carla Patrick

Darnell Bender

Vickie Davis

JMichael Carter

Janice Frazier-Scott

Rev. ELaura James Reid

Jeanette Bouknight

Rev. Dollie Howell Pankey

Gerald Butler

Carolyn McDougle

Vaughn Chatman

Adrienne Brown

Gary Trousdale

Steven E Gordon

Isis Nocturne

Debi Murray

Maureen O. Betita

Mona Enderli

Fernie James Tamblin

Myrna Dodgion

Alan Locklear

Tom Wilmore

Jackie Evans

Donna Endres

Lora Fountain

Roberta Gregory

Heather A Mayhew

Stevo Wehr

Nathan Stivers

Jen RaLee

Joan Holden

Leigh Lutz

Deborah Kirkpatrick

Linda Levy

Tom Rue

Nancy Hoffmann-Allison

Beejay McCabe

Michael James Myers

Edward T. Spire

Rupert Chapman

Dawn R. Dunbar

Robin Wilson

Monique Boutot

Laura Brown 💪🏼

Susan Aptaker

Steve Katz

Bonnie Wolk

Risa Guttman-Kornwitz

Angela Gora

Butch Norman

Sharon Tolman

Sue Zislis

Maurice Hirsch

Satch Dobrey

Jim Krapf

Don Starwalt

Deb Johansen

Daniel Anderson

Tim Roda

Helen o Leary

Kyle Staver

Sharon Club

Don Kimes

Scott Bennett

Richard J Simmons

Robert G. English

Eileen Donovan

Liam Fitzpatrick

Gerardine Clark

Debra Russell

Seth Avant

Rick Avant

Pat Little

Sharon Bebout Carr

Ann Meehan

Alex Ash

Steven Cleghorn

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Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

My Perfect Country

Imagine a Perfect Country

The importance of this exercise should not be underestimated.

We live in a world where we can see all of our flaws with extreme resolution. It can be hard for us to remember that human culture evolves via the process of refining inherited ideals. The following BBC Culture Documentary should not be missed.

My Perfect Country

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Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Immunize Yourself Against Lies - Think, Research and Verify.

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***This is a knife in the head stuff people! Don't be a Zombie! If you want some form of freedom and human agency; if you want to imagine that humanity has a future, understand what this person is explaining to you. Don't get fooled.

[Copying from a friend with permission. Please copy and paste rather than share.]

"If you are puzzled by the bizarre "press conference" put on by the White House press secretary this evening (angrily claiming that Trump's inauguration had the largest audience in history, accusing them of faking photos and lying about attendance), let me help explain it.
This spectacle served three purposes:
1. Establishing a norm with the press: they will be told things that are obviously wrong and they will have no opportunity to ask questions. That way, they will be grateful if they get anything more at any press conference. This is the PR equivalent of "negging," the odious pick-up practice of a particular kind of horrible man (e.g., Donald Trump).
2. Increasing the separation between Trump's base (1/3 of the population) from everybody else (the remaining 2/3). By being told something that is obviously wrong—that there is no evidence for and all evidence against, that anybody with eyes can see is wrong—they are forced to pick whether they are going to believe Trump or their lying eyes. The gamble here—likely to pay off—is that they will believe Trump. This means that they will regard media outlets that report the truth as "fake news" (because otherwise they'd be forced to confront their cognitive dissonance.)
3. Creating a sense of uncertainty about whether facts are knowable, among a certain chunk of the population (which is a taking a page from the Kremlin, for whom this is their preferred disinformation tactic). A third of the population will say "clearly the White House is lying," a third will say "if Trump says it, it must be true," and the remaining third will say "gosh, I guess this is unknowable." The idea isn't to convince these people of untrue things, it's to fatigue them so that they will stay out of the political process entirely, regarding the truth as just too difficult to determine.
This is laying important groundwork for the months ahead. If Trump's White House is willing to lie about something as obviously, unquestionably fake as this, just imagine what else they'll lie about. In particular, things that the public cannot possibly verify the truth of. It's gonna get real bad."
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Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Step Up and Change The System or Prepare for BIG Changes in Lifestyle.

This mini documentary sums up our current situation and probable future very well. Anyone interested in a soft landing when global economic growth breaks down would do well to heed this warning. 

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Read This Report, Understand It and Share It.

The Emissions Gap Report 2016

A UNEP Synthesis Report

In line with previous reports, the objective of the 2016 Emissions Gap Report is to provide an up-to-date scientific assessment of the global progress towards the emissions reductions required to be on track to meet the long-term goal of the UNFCCC. In particular, this year the report emphasizes
the implications of the Paris Agreement’s strengthened goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for immediate and longer-term mitigation action.

Download this report and read it. If you don't understand it, seek help; find someone who can help you understand what it means. Get together with friends and family and talk about its ramifications. After that, share it with people and ask them to do the same. 

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We are focused on the wrong things. We need to maintain the balance and integrity of our natural environment well into the future if we are going to survive long term. If you care about future generations you need to care about climate change and the complete global socio-economic paradigm. 

Syrian Refugee Camp

Syrian Refugee Camp

We need a completely new set of values.

Perhaps The Venus Project is a bit too much for most people to imagine but we must do something. As long as making money is the prime mover of people we are headed for extinction. Monetary incentives must be only one small aspect of what moves us. 

If we are resigned to seeing the last generation of humanity then let's live out our final days as a species enjoying life and loving each other. 

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Unfortunately, in addition to multiple lines of evidence for human caused climate change and our all too slow reaction to the facts, we will soon have a U.S. Cabinet hostile to environmental protection and full of intransigent climate change deniers.

We'll have to see how things play out but it won't take much pussy footing to screw humanity right into an early extinction. And the road to oblivion will not be a comfortable one. For those of you who can't live without your creature comforts, I suggest you read Albert Camus on your next vacation.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/camus/  

Why go to Mars when we are unable to keep Earth viable for life as we know it?

Why go to Mars when we are unable to keep Earth viable for life as we know it?

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

The Tools of State Repression

CHRIS HEDGES

CHRIS HEDGES

Some of us believe that incremental progress is natural and good. We think we can always do better and that if something is not right we can improve it, reinvent it, reengineer it, fix it or get rid of it.

Other's may be so dedicated to the way things are that they will risk everything to preserve it.

The world's cultures are always involved in a struggle between these values and everything in between. 

What is unforgivable is when we put blinders on and refuse to understand these conflicts because we are just too lazy. 

I believe we can learn from everyone, especially our enemies. If we listen to thinkers who spend most of their time sincerely investigating complex issues it's almost our duty to listen to them and to try to understand their perspectives. If we don't we are willfully ignoring someone who is dedicated to making humanity better. This we do at our peril.

Think of all the mythical heroes and real heroes who were murdered by fanatics or the State. Isn't it even more tragic that many people have never even heard of them? Think of three such figures now. Wouldn't you like to share their thoughts, ideas, and feelings with other people? 

Share the genius and argue to discover, not to injure. 

This is a talk worth listening to. We are indeed fortunate to have such easy access to intelligent people who care about humanity and life on earth. 

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Thus Saith The Lord

1. Stop thinking of me as anything less than the voice of undeniable and inescapable reality.

2. Stop thinking of ‘revelation’ or ‘divine instruction’ without including evidence.

3. Stop thinking of Genesis, or your creation story, apart from the history of the universe.

4. Stop thinking of theology apart from ecology: the interdisciplinary study of my nature.

5. Stop defining and measuring ‘progress’ in short-term, human-centered ways.

6. Stop allowing the free or subsidized polluting of the commons.

7. Stop using renewable resources faster than they can be replenished.

8. Stop using non-renewable resources in ways that harm or rob future generations.

9. Stop exploring for coal, oil, and natural gas—keep most of it in the ground.

10. Stop prioritizing the wants of the wealthy over the needs of the poor.

***Click on the link below and meet the reality preacher. And remember, when you argue with reality, you lose.


Standing for the Future

Three Live, Multimedia Presentations for Individual Study and/or Group Discussion Grounded in: "Reality's Rules: Ten Commandments to Avoid Extinction and Redeem Humanity"

What's Inevitable?  ♦  What's Inspiring?  ♦  What's Most Important?

Michael Dowd Essay

Evidential Medicine for Our Collective Soul What’s Inevitable? What’s Redemptive?


 

 

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Bamboozled Again

OK, sorry folks, it's my turn, let's put this puppy to bed once and for all.

I have thought since the turn of the century that for things to evolve positively for people we'll have to radically reform the global socio-economic system. To do this we need active, highly educated polities and constituencies in countries right across the world.

It would be nice if we didn’t have any pressing, existential threats to worry about.

Let’s say all nuclear weapons had been dismantled and it was really easy to ensure that no country would build any ever again. Let’s imagine that the world had wonderful technologies that ensured we never had to worry about climate change and that the climate would continue in perfect, life-enhancing stasis for another twelve thousand years. And let’s imagine that inequality wasn’t a problem at all and value was trickling up and down to everyone; everyone had food, shelter, clothing, healthcare and an absolutely, astounding quality education from preschool through graduate school. What does this sound like? A post-scarcity utopia perhaps? Well, lots of futurists, technologists and engineers believe this is inevitable. If we have enough time we can solve all of our problems, together as a benevolent and intelligent species in the universe. It sounds like I’m a Trekkie right? I do like Star Trek more than Star Wars that's for sure. I love the idea that we wouldn’t interfere with alien civilizations unless they really threaten us. Wouldn’t it be nice if all countries around the world had that as their prime directive?

For a long time, candidates have been “change candidates”. If you run on a platform of change it seems to grab a lot of people’s interest. Fear is also a potent message to put out there when you are a change candidate, it ups the ante and creates a higher sense of urgency. “If you don’t elect me there will be hell to pay people!” President-Elect Trump was a master of that during his campaign. And many people across the United States seemed compelled to vote for him for just those reasons. 

But from my point of view, especially in 2016, it’s clear to me that nothing has changed since the 1970s when Neoliberalism triumphed over progress and global corporatism took over. And then came the financialization of the Global Economy... As an old propagandist, I understand that when you have the resources you can sell, pardon my language, shit to the sewer. You can coerce, manipulate, and control masses of people so easily that it’s practically a joke. Go and listen to recordings of ENRON employees. When you realize how easy people are conned it’s easy to get giddy with megalomania. “Man, we played those people like a fiddle! Whoopee, aren’t we smart!” 

When Marshall McLuhan wrote, “The Medium is the Message” he had no idea we’d all be carrying supercomputers in our pockets and in charge of our own media empires curating content for our bubbled-in-social-networks twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Our new President-Elect talks about getting his information from Facebook. How can we have valid common priors when we get most of our info from social networks? With so much bad information sloshing around in our heads how can we ever be good at predicting outcomes?

I know a lot of people are mad at Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight because his interpretation of the polls was wrong. But if I may, please go and read the section in his book, “The Signal and The Noise” about poker players and bone up on the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Basically, a vast majority of us way overestimate how good we are at things. We think we’re great poker players until we're broke and addicted to painkillers

I know, I sound like a broken record and believe me, it’s not fun anymore. 

Below I'd like to share perspectives on the presidential election from a few intellectuals who I admire. These people are not best friends by any stretch of the imagination, they have intensely differing views and they focus on different things. It would be boring if we all agreed. I really appreciate the opportunity to learn from all kinds of people, especially people who have put a lot of time and hard work into forming their sincere and highly considered views. Sometimes we call these kinds of people experts and I like experts.

(I don't need to worry too much about epistemic humility - I'm too simple minded.) 

If you’ll allow me before I turn you over to the really smart influencers, here’s my take on President-Elect Donald J. Trump.

He’s an attention grubbing egomaniac who’s primarily concerned with himself. He’s happy when he’s in the limelight and people are showing him the respect and admiration he thinks is his birthright. He’s a spoiled, childish, senior citizen with a lot of money. He doesn’t really want to govern; governing is complex and really hard work and it’s much more fun playing a big shot when you don’t have to work very hard. To put it another way, he's used to being a real estate developer and a reality T.V. star, he's comfortable in those roles, but how will he feel doing things he really doesn't like doing? Will he just go AWOL? "Sorry people, I'm not politically correct, I do things my way, just try to keep up."  

If he's lazy, like perhaps, George W. Bush most probably was, he's going to have to find people who will do most of the work for him. What really worries me is who are those people going to be?

Most of the things he said during his campaign he probably didn’t mean. He played on our fear and hatred. He told his audience what they were desperate to hear. No one has any idea what he’s going to do as President of the most powerful Empire the world has ever known. He’s a psychological black box. 

I can’t help but wonder what his fans are going to do when they realize that nothing is going to change much at all. I wonder what his Alt-Right fans do when they realize that he's not going to bring about a new White European utopia. What will the really violent, extremist maniacs do when they are betrayed? It scares me to contemplate it. 

Trump is a player and he wants to be a player president and if you voted for him he’s played you. 

I’m not going to regurgitate what you already know from all the news outlets. We will all be captive witnesses to the Trump Whitehouse shenanigans for at least the next four years and I think I can confidently predict that nothing will change for the better. We will still have nukes, climate change will continue unabated, terrorism isn’t going anywhere, inequality will widen, multi-national corporations will rule the world, we will all talk about the commercials that play during the Super Bowl and fight like hell to signal our status to our communities through our amazing taste in consumer goods. 

Get ready for the darker side of the status quo. The Status Quo is dead, long live the Status Quo.

Now we’re watching how fast the media and big business falls in line with this new, odd coalition of narrow-minded science deniers. Obama fell in line with big biz and now big biz will fall in line with Trump and his people. 

Faith and hope are qualities of being that most of us find very hard to give up. Most of us are going to be reaching out for that silver lining. We're all hoping he's really just a nice guy who threw shit at us for eighteen months just to see if it would get him elected. He didn't really mean it. Now we get to see the real President Donald J. Trump - Angel Trump - our charming savior, the fun and entertaining guy that inspires us with his wealth and success.

We must all hope that the art of the flimflam won’t do too much damage.

It's amazing how easy it is for us to almost feel sorry for the con man. Trump is a cynical huckster, an old player who isn’t going to change, there will be no sudden rebirth. He’s our tough guy feeding our insatiable desire for revenge, feeding on our greed, feeding on our conservative sense of absolute justice. 

The sad fact is that we are all going to have to learn to live with this shallow playboy as our president for at least the next four years, and that’s the best case scenario. Will the Trump presidency be a disaster? We all just have to wait and see. 

But never mind, we know how to suck it up and get through the next period of same-same. We’ve all lived through two terms of Bush (a good old boy) and two terms of Obama (an uppity smart-ass lawyer and social activist). Life goes on.  It's business as usual. We are so accustomed to going along that it’s hardly a surprise that an outlier like Trump could become President of the United States of America. Trump is the black swan that we all should have seen coming. 

Americans in today's culture are exceptionally good at idolizing wealthy people. We no longer look up to intellectual plumbers who provide for their family and do good works through their civic organizations. You've got to have bling baby, you need to signal you've got bank. It's almost impossible to find a person who has the courage to piss off money these days. Money is free speech now, money is the highest form of personhood. I swear if Jesus is a poor man in American today we'll never know he walks among us. God wants you to be rich, don't you know. The second coming is going to be a super rich man who shares our values and engenders biblical levels of fear, hatred, and revenge, and offers us our only way out. And he’s going to do this with the charm of a reality T.V. star because he alone can fix it. 

Things will never change for people who have already given up. And for those of you for whom Donald is your savior, that familiar feeling of helplessness will return once it sinks in that Donald is just another rich guy. Perhaps the only consolation is that at least he's a simple minded rich guy, not a smart ass like so many elite wealthy people seem to be. He's not politically correct. He tells it like it is. At least Donald doesn't tell us what to do. He's a deft fear monger and simplistic storyteller. He's the original K.I.S.S. practitioner. 

And he’s tough too. He’s the kind of bully who punches you in the stomach after lunch and the very next day tells you that he really respects your taste in leather jackets. You blush and feel special because the mean bastard seems to care about you a little for a moment. He's both a good cop and a bad cop. How amazing is that? What talent!

He's the perfect bait and switch man. And what might be a good distraction for us moving forward, something for us to focus on besides the fact that our system doesn’t work in the Twenty-First Century? What, a war you say? We’re already primed for it. The establishment, Trump's establishment, your establishment knows this all too well. The make-work military industrial economy must be fed with endless conflict; that’s just good for shareholders. (I’m not being cheeky.) The intelligentsia can just sit back and dictate the writing on the wall and state their claim to common sense via the saddest sentence I know, "I told you so.”

The climate deniers have won a great victory in America which means life on earth loses. We will enjoy our entertainments and allow inequality to widen, we'll watch the sixth extinction on National Geographic channel, nuclear proliferation will begin again, more people will become addicted to opioids and our veterans will continue to kill themselves. Our new leaders care only for themselves, just like the old ones did. 

Of course, there are lots of people in our world who care about important issues that affect all of us, it just doesn’t matter. Money rules the world, and if you don’t have it, you don't matter.  

As for myself, I’ll work on developing an epicurean, stoical way of developing a more profound sense of apathy. This alone will make me more popular, this I can tell you, folks. Social critics are no fun at all. Let’s laugh, drink, eat and play while the empire burns. I’m a baby boomer so I’ve had it easy. I’ve lived roughly 30 years without the internet and 30 years with the internet. We all live happily in our echo chambers. I don’t think an evidence-based government is possible anymore. The hustlers are in control, perhaps they always have been and always will be. 

OK, that was painful, let's start our journey with the fabled, brilliant comedy icon, John Oliver. And remember, "THIS IS NOT NORMAL" and "FUCK 2016"!

Hehehe, hahaha - that was funny. 

Hehehe, hahaha - that was funny. 

Now let's pivot to Sam Harris. I'm interested in his views on Islamist extremists and his take on the psychology of our President-Elect and the people who surround him.

If that didn't make you concerned enough about our future let's move on to our favorite revolutionary, Chris Hedges. I know, I know it's from RT and that's Russian, but you know, Russia isn't a communist country anymore, it's a White Nationalist country with a powerful, charismatic dictator in charge. Now you feel more at home, right?

Let's look at things from an economic POV with Professor Richard D. Wolff. Oh no, he writes about Marx! Have you read Adam Smith or Max Weber? No you say? Then don't worry about Marx. 

For those of you would prefer a more controversial, libertarian point-of-view I give you Charles Murray. This is less about Trump and more about politics today and why we are like we are.

And let's not forget my old standby, Noam Chomsky. He tells it like it is and he criticizes the government but he lacks the ability to say those few, most important words, "America right or wrong."

Love or hate their progressive asses, this post wouldn't be complete without a take from The Young Turks.

Let's also hear what the ever-so-popular (in progressive circles) David Pakman thinks about moving to Canada. Although, really man, no one's going to move to a swing-state just to vote. They want jobs and security. But he's right; don't bail folks. 

Let's go back to some fun stuff and watch Bernie Sanders on The Late Show with that ever charming and sensitive comedian, Stephen Colbert.

Now, smirk, let's get snarky and rub it in your faces with one of my favorite barbed wits, Lee Camp. I'm feel'in campy.

These are just a small smattering of perspectives on the potential disaster we know as President-Elect Donald J. Trump. He will surround himself with the usual suspects and we will continue on, as we have since the 1970s. The winners will, as ever, be multi-national corporations and their cronies. 

There are those who wish that little Steven Cleghorn could be just a little more optimistic and have a bit of faith in The Donald and his lovely, talented family. I'm sorry friends, I just don't have faith in them, none at all. I still feel we are headed in the wrong direction. I can't explain to you the complexities of the kind of world I'd like to see and I wouldn't ask you to bother to spend one calorie of intellectual energy trying to understand my position. I only have faith in you, in my friends who do care and are making an effort; and, I have faith in my friends that are just getting on with it, taking care of themselves and other people while sharing the love. 

And this I will never do, I will NEVER apologize for Trump and the way he behaved during his campaign. He is a jerk and a fool and I just don't like him. I never will. He's put us through a lot and unleashed a torrent of hatred; and, he's made it fashionable to be stupid and heroic to be anti-intellectual. I will never forgive him for that. I can only feel sorry for us and for life on earth. 

The only thing I can say to my "right" leaning friends is that I feel you too, believe me, this I can tell ya with a straight face.

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BBC Documentary Podcast, HOW TO WIN A U.S. ELECTION.

I can't help it, life is just so funny. 

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.