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Towards a “Damascus” Society

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Few political dog-whistles are as effective as invoking the word “socialism”  to smear political opponents. The mere mention crowns it with an exalted status as the premier gateway to communism.  However,  I suspect that more capitalists have become criminals than socialist societies have become communist.  Nevertheless, socialism is looming as the unqualified evil boogeyman of American political discourse.

Conversely, contrarians might say that capitalism is the seed of our societal and political problems. After all, it’s said that “money is the root of all evil.”  No one can deny that unchecked capitalism breeds greed, and greed breeds corruption, and corruption is the incubator of criminal behavior. Ah but no, common sense tells us that all societies, not just capitalist ones,  have criminals.  Common sense also tells us that we are dependent on each other to fulfill our most basic needs. Sorry folks, that’s socialism.

One has only to look at recent disasters to see that many could have been avoided with regular maintenance and service to systemic infrastructure. Unfortunately, while in most cases penny-pinching encourages quick profits, it eventually delivers catastrophic systemic failure. That’s capitalism gone amuck.  When an airline crashes, it’s often a maintenance issue.  When a bridge collapses, again it’s a maintenance issue.  When the power grid fails for the state of Texas, oh yeh, definitely a maintenance issue.

In our society it’s accepted that profits are privatized and losses are socialized. Think about that. You and I accept paying for all the bad decisions made by government and businesses seeking to cut corners.  The total yearly cost of all natural disasters in the United States far exceeds the deferred cost required for prevention.  At the root is climate change and climate deniers.  If we so deplore socialism, we need to change this would-be equation at the front end, not mop up after it.

Take for example the energy disaster in Texas.  Privateer capitalists managed the energy grid in such a way as to maximize short term profits by minimizing maintenance and eliminating contingency planning.  When failure overwhelmed the state, the Federal Government, the one so despised that Texas would have nothing to do with all its “Big Government” regulations, steps in with disaster relief to ameliorate the problem as best it can for the moment.  Additionally, other socially conscious organizations hasten to the rescue, mounting campaigns for donations to supply shivering Texans with food and water.  I doubt any Texans will be complaining about socialism as they take their handouts back to their water-soaked homes. 

Just as we need a viable two party system, we also need a co-mingling of solutions born of different political philosophies, like capitalism and socialism. 

A few years back I filmed the Iditarod race in Alaska and had the opportunity to interview the mushers and get an inside look at their dog teams.  I was surprised to learn that most teams were not the prototypical Huskies that we all imagine, but rather very ordinary short-haired mutts. Apparently the mixing of breeds imparts a quality of strength and resilience, creating the best dogs to undertake the grueling race in below zero weather. Also consider this… Damascus steel, prized for its strength is used in the creation of the very best knife blades.  It consists of multiple layers of iron and steel folded into one another.  It’s very costly but worth it.  Take a look at sterling silver.  It’s an amalgam of 92,5% fine silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper, increasing its malleability and resilience, thereby minimizing scratching.  And of course, the greatest example of this type of blending practice is the one we are living—America, the melting pot. It remains the core of our belief in America as a great nation. I could go on and on with other examples, but suffice it to say we need to embrace each other for the strengths we bring to a functioning and cooperative society.  We need be a Damascus society.

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Editorials

The Grinch That Stole Christmas

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Back in the mid 70’s as my wife and I were starting our photography business Wally Miller, a successful local businessman, invited us to his office to offer help in the form of business advice. He asked only that we bring a financial statement and of course we complied.  The business startup process was new to us and after two years we were still losing money, and there it was in plain sight on the financial statement.  Wally welcomed us warmly and after a few minutes of careful study of our financials offered this observation, “You have no bad debts.”

Naturally I took this as a compliment.  I was proud that we had no bad debts, but that is not what Wally meant.  He elaborated, “If you have no bad debts that means that your credit is too tight and that translates into lost business.” His meaning was clear.  To be successful, really successful, you have to accept reasonable losses.  It’s the very nature of business.  If you want 100% certainty there can be no risk and without risk there can be no profits.

There’s a lesson in this thinking for Joe “McFuqwad” Manchin, the tight-ass, penny-pinching Grinch ruining Christmas for every American under the cover of “fiscal responsibility.”  His staffers gave us a look into his rationale, revealing two of the real reasons behind Joe’s decision to be the big NO.

Apparently Manchin believes that giving money to the poor in the form of a child tax credit is unwise because in his view, many will spend the extra dollars on drugs.  Likewise he is opposed to paid leave, stating that people will just call in sick and then go off deer hunting.

Now let’s all agree that in a free society, there are good and bad actors.  No law can legislate what is in the hearts of men.  No law can dictate integrity or honor.  If that were the case, there would be no GOP, no Jim Jordan, no Ted Cruz, no Matt Gaetz, No Marjorie Taylor Green, no Lauren Boebert. You get my drift, but I digress.

Once you agree to recognize that the actions of individuals are beyond your control, you must the adjust your decisions and subsequent actions to affect the greatest good for the majority.  Charity benefits the worthy and unworthy alike, without discrimination.  To withhold benefits from the worthy because there will always be unworthy recipients is to succumb to the devil’s play, a game of reduction that punishes all for the few.

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The Hoodless Hoodie and No-Wax Floors

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It seems like the signs are everywhere.  Yesterday, as I potato-couched my way through a myriad of mindless “entertainment” produced by the corporate giants with their fingers on the pulse of the American viewing audience, already aware that content is determined in reaction to what their audience wants and will tolerate, my somnambular  trance was interrupted with an offering by Sketchers for a product they were touting as the “hoodless hoodie.” WHAT?  Don’t they know a garment without a hood is not a hoodie?  Or rather, do they fully expect that we, their mindless captive audience, on a brisk autumn day care not? What’s in a name?  Honestly, apparently everything.

It’s 101 marketing, plain and simple.  I was immediately harkened back to a period in time, perhaps it was the seventies, when no-wax floors were introduced. What immediately followed was a product offered as wax for no-wax floors.  What were they thinking?  Why would anyone purchase a no-wax floor only to buy another product to wax it with?  Are we really that gullible?

The resounding answer is yes.

Take the news, for example.  “News” is a label applied to a reactionary product that is fashioned to deliver a story that coincides with the beliefs of a specific viewing audience.  When stories were generated by the source it was called “spin”, but if generated by the media it is propaganda tailored to fit and sold to believers. In so doing, they did not create the audience, but captured it. It’s all about the “Benjamins.” Find the weak and gullible, herd them into a defined area and then sell them the goods they crave.  It’s too easy.  Just give it a good label.

Any news of a different persuasion is regarded as “fake news.”  Lacking accurate data, it is no more news than a hoodless garment is a hoodie, but the application of labels is the defining argument that separates us into “us” and “them.”  There is no more “We the people.”  It’s “our people” and “their people.”

Conservatism is one such label, but what does it mean?  On its most basic level it is a political philosophy that embraces traditionalism—civility and the rules of fair play, law and order, family values and above all, the Constitution.  It does not take a genius to deconstruct the actions of so-called conservatives to realize they are no more conservative than the violent mobs that support them.  They are that wax for a no-wax floor, an unnecessary and useless product sold to wax over and put a deeper gloss on what were otherwise solid principles to live and govern by. Witness the GOP reaction to the events of January 6th.

The greatest impediment to knowledge is a belief system.  Knowledge is the fuel of a democracy.  Governing by consensus lacking true knowledge is impossible.  Let’s recognize that gloss for what it is. It’s not the floor.  It’s the reflection.

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Editorials

Diabetes And Net Zero

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It might be helpful to consider global warming a self-inflicted planetary disease, much as we know type-2 diabetes to be a self-inflicted human disease.  Many human diseases are self-inflicted, most by way of poor diet or lack of exercise.  Type-2 diabetes is one such disease.  The prescription for type-2 diabetes is self-management, a change in diet to eliminate the source of the problem, high levels of blood sugars. But when a professional is consulted, perhaps their personal primary practitioner or an endocrinologist, medications will be prescribed for the patient to ameliorate the potential damage of continued neglect, prescriptions like Metformin, Glipizide, Januvia, Farxiga or Jardiance.

By Michael Caporale

 

Patients are dispensed to their own supervision for a period of time and then return a few months later to have their blood monitored for changes in  A1C.  The object of this exercise is to reduce A1C levels to a minimum of 7 and preferably below.

 

Human nature is predictable and easily understood.  Deprived of all the foods that comprise an exciting diet array for a healthy person, foods high in carbohydrates like potatoes or pasta, and deserts with high levels of sugar,  the diabetic soon begins slacking off and the A1C lab reading rises.  The doctor sees this and adds another prescription to the mix to bring the lab results back down to 7 or below but the patient sees this as a means to continue to violate the prescribed diet, while remaining at 7. Each added prescription allows the patient to eat larger portions of foods high in the toxin, sugar, while maintaining a passable A1C reading without change.  In this scenario, the doctor becomes the unwitting enabler. The patient is effectively maintaining an A1C reading of net zero, neither up or down from the previous reading.

 

The effect of each prescription allows for an offset, a change in diet for the worse, and no advancement is made in the management of the disease.  Rather it is stimulated to continue at full volume.

 

It works the same way for climate change, global warming.

 

In their current national broadcast ad, Cisco brags that they expect to achieve net-zero by 2040.  Oil giants Shell and BP are less optimistic and expect to achieve net-zero by 2050.  Not only is this too late, but it misleads the public to believe that net-zero is the goal, that net-zero is the way to mitigate the effects of climate change. It is not.  It is merely a deviant system that allows for pollution to the degree it is offset by clean air measures.  In other words, their current levels of pollution will continue for twenty or thirty years until they achieve net-zero, and from that point forward there will be no change.  Quite obviously, if understood in this way, any rational person can see that climate change will be allowed to worsen to the point of no return.

 

If the COP26 Summit (the 26th Conference Of the Parties) in Glasgow, Scotland beginning Sunday, October 31st, produces any results at all, look for the qualifying language of net-zero to be inserted.  It is the tell-tale sign that treaties and agreements are under the management of the polluters and not the people or the planet slowly dying at their hands.

 

 

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Mobilized TV

Mobilized TV on Free Speech TV  takes a deep look at our world, the consequences of human activity on our planet, and how we can reverse and prevent existing and future crises from occurring. Mobilized reveals life on our planet as a system of systems which all work together for the optimal health of the whole. The show delves into deep conversations with change-makers so people can clearly take concerted actions.

Produced by Steven Jay and hosted by Jeff Van Treese.

Mobilized’s TV series Mobilized TV  premieres on Free Speech TV on Friday, October 15, 2021. All episodes appear:

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Saturdays:  6:30 PM (Eastern USA/Canada)

Sundays:  8:30 AM Eastern (USA/Canada)

January 7, 8, 9, 2022

Leading Environmental Justice Attorney, Thomas Linzey of the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights is a leading force helping communities implement successful rights of nature laws. Find out how your community could take on big business to serve the health of all.

 

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