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29 Jan

Ralph Nader and Me

By Walter

“What was that? A serious prediction of things to come, or an outburst of wishful thinking? Was it a thoughtful proposal of a realistic plan of action, or a misguided fantasy that defies common sense?” – The Coming Global Coalescence, Afterword

“This book is not a novel. Nor is it nonfiction. In the literary world, it might be described as ‘a practical utopia.’ I call it a fictional vision that could become a new reality. Some known and not-well-known people appear in fictional roles. I invite your imaginative engagement.” – Only the super-rich can save us! – by Ralph Nader, Author’s Note

Ralph and I are both visionaries but with different approaches to the challenge of turning our visions into reality. Thus far, both of us have failed. We both have an idea of how to change and improve the world but our visions depend on the involvement of other people. We can’t do it ourselves. Ralph (I use his first name, not out of any disrespect, but because I’m three years his senior) set out his vision in a 500-page book called Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us Now! I did it in a 70-page book called The Coming Global Coalescence.

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26 Jan

The Financial Times Examines Capitalism’s Crisis – Part Two

By Walter | 1 comment


“Imagine a violent solar flare that washes over our planet with a powerful electromagnetic cloud and, in a nanosecond, wipes clean all computer records: checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, tax bills, loans, mortgages, pension funds, contracts, investments, insurance polices. All gone. Wiped out in the blink of an eye. Because of the financial meltdown, we are fast approaching just such a moment, when all those numbers in all those computers will be as meaningless as a Statement of Account from Bernie Madoff.” – The Coming Global Coalescence, page 3, print edition.

Whenever I’m in a bookstore and I spot a book with a title that sparks my curiosity, I have found it most useful to turn to the end of the book and read the last few paragraphs when the author wraps up the whole story and lays it in your lap for you to ponder. In that spirit, here are the final paragraphs of each of the remaining articles in the Capitalism in Crisis series.

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25 Jan

The Financial Times Examines Capitalism’s Crisis – Part One

By Walter

“Money is not a force of nature. It is a concept, an idea, a figment of the human imagination. And it is real only to the extent that we allow it to rule our lives and our relationships with one another.” — The Coming Global Coalescence, page 4, print edition

Inasmuch as the global financial system is dependent upon the universal acceptance of the concept of money and the rules by which it is utilized to control the real economy, it is more than passing strange that the preeminent global financial newspaper, the Financial Times, would run a series of articles under the title CAPITALISM IN CRISIS. Note the missing question mark. In other words, the series will not be about whether capitalism is in crisis: CAPITALISM IN CRISIS? No, it will be about the fact of capitalism’s crisis.

The practice of capitalism — or more properly, moneyism — requires that the practitioners have confidence that they understand how capitalism works and that it will keep functioning reliably and predictably. Therefore, if the FT was willing to acknowledge that capitalism is in a crisis, despite the danger that doing so could erode that confidence, one must assume that the objective of the series was to examine the crisis, explain it, and offer a cure, thereby bolstering confidence.

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21 Jan

Gingrich Takes South Carolina

By Walter

“Presently, the overwhelming majority of the earth’s population is too consumed with their everyday struggles to give much thought to the political and economic forces that are the primary determinants of the quality of their daily existence. It is not surprising, therefore, that they are, by and large, grossly and tragically uninformed and misinformed. Most of what is widely and publicly communicated — such as advertising campaigns, political discourse, financial advice, and religious doctrine — is deliberately manipulative and misleading. … However, out of the jangle of conflicting opinions and theories, facts and fancies, lies and deceptions, it is inevitable that truth will emerge. The truth cannot be forever suppressed, and in this age of the democratization of communication, the light is growing brighter and brighter. In the end, everything will be revealed.” — The Coming Global  Coalescence, page 40, print edition.

What are we to make of the news that South Carolinians have overwhelmingly chosen Newt Gingrich to become the Republican nominee to run for the highest office in the land? Why have they picked him from among the four seriously flawed candidates still standing following earlier contests in Iowa and New Hampshire? It is revealing that, when a CNN reporter interviewed a roomful of voters who were originally undecided, many favored Gingrich after viewing his performance at the most recent debate which persuaded them that “he could win the election.” And what was it about his performance that persuaded them?

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20 Jan

The (R)evolutionary Potential of the Internet

By Walter

“While the planet’s nervous system pulsates with waves of information, including reports of wars, scientific discoveries, political conflicts, economic dislocations, and environmental disasters, its organizing capacity (with 5 billion mobile phones and 2 billion Internet connections) sits quietly on standby, waiting to spring into action, to spread the word and to coordinate a unified response upon the inevitable arrival of that long-awaited ‘idea whose time has come.'” — The Coming Global Coalescence, page 43, print edition.

This week we got a hint of that potential. When the Internet community finally understood the threat to its freedom embodied in the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) making its way through the House of Representatives and a similar Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) under consideration in the Senate, the speed and the strength of the reaction was breathtaking.

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19 Jan

The Internet Is Now Beyond Control

By Walter

“The unintended consequence of making [the Internet] available to the masses is that it grants to individuals the unprecedented ability to organize themselves. The dilemma for the authorities is that the roots and branches of the Internet have become so intertwined into every aspect of the social infrastructure that, unlike a newspaper or television station, it is now impossible to limit the Internet’s empowerment of the masses without at the same time diminishing the communication system they themselves can no longer live without.” — The Coming Global Coalescence, page 42, print edition.

“When the powerful world of old media mobilized to win passage of an online antipiracy bill, it marshaled the reliable giants of K Street – the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Recording Industry Association of America and, of course, the motion picture lobby, with its new chairman, former Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat and an insider’s insider. Yet on Wednesday this formidable old guard was forced to make way for the new as Web powerhouses backed by Internet activists rallied opposition to the legislation through Internet blackouts and cascading criticism, sending an unmistakable message to lawmakers grappling with new media issues: Don’t mess with the Internet.” — New York Times, Jan. 19, front page.

If one needed any further evidence that it has become dangerous to try to “mess with the Internet,” it was revealed during the final debate of the four remaining candidates vying for the nomination of the Republican party in the coming election for president.

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18 Jan

How Goes the War on Marijuana?

By Walter

In the last 15 years there were more than 10 million arrests in the United States for marijuana possession, with an additional million for trafficking. In 1995, the total for possession was 503,000; in 2010, the number had grown to 750,000. In New York City alone, the annual rate has been approximately 50,000, although a softening of the policy has resulted in a 15% decrease over the past year. What do those increasing arrest statistics say about the success or failure of the “War on Drugs”? In 2007, 14.4 million Americans, or 5.8 percent, said they were regular users of marijuana; three years later the number jumped to 17.4 million, or 6.9 percent. Undoubtedly the growing acceptance of its use for medical purposes has played a part in these increased numbers, and it is likely that the trend will continue, particularly since the US Attorney General, Eric Holder, has announced that the Federal Government will no longer challenge states that have defied federal statutes in their approval of marijuana’s medical use. Where will this end? We might look to our more liberal neighbors to the north for a clue.

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February 2018
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