2017-05-02 08:45 am

Carbon Dioxide Conundrum


A savant from Sweden by name of Arrhenius
About CO2 made no guesses erroneous.
In eighteen hundred ninety-six he found
How temperature ranges could be bound.

That fascinating Swedish reference
Will challenge mankind’s climate preference:
To warm the globe and grow more crops
Or chill it till the temperature drops.

Before the human proliferation
Earth did its own obliteration
With hot and cold and wet and dry
To see what critters would live and die.

Can our bright scientific thinkers
Like Svante who with gases tinkers
Re-engineer the planet’s stasis
To be life’s permanent oasis?

Evolution copes with change erratic
While comfort craves conditions static.
Yet all that holds our species here
Is this flimsy layer of atmosphere.

The comfort seekers don’t deny
That change is happening. They rely
On automatic fixes that don’t require
They change any habit or desire.

And should the surface flood or freeze,
Its innards burst and boil its seas,
And space detritus come raining in,
Will our smarter minds learn how to win?

It would be a pity, don’t you think,
For humans to vanish in a blink
When a million years of patient gain
Produced nature’s triumph, the reasoning brain?

And if we can’t manage to stay alive,
At least the microbes will survive
In thermal vents and glacier bands,
In bogs and swamps and desert sands,

Midst noxious fumes, in airless caves,
On gale-force winds and battering waves.
Microorganisms will prevail.
Will they rebuild us? There hangs the tale.

-- Kate Jones
2017-05-01 03:28 pm

An Easter message

The mind-paralyzing stranglehold of the Christian Easter narrative pushed me to compose the following:


Yearning for Immortality

For beliefs in myths, in wishful thinking’s realm,
That one assumèd resurrection every death will overwhelm,
We posit one omnipotence that hears the chosens’ plea
And orders them to kill all those who will not bend their knee.

What algorithm of the mind drives protoplasm’s striving,
Inventing thoughts and tools for physical surviving?
What flaw within the program makes room for murderous powers?
No rescue from above will come; the task is only ours.

We are not sheep, nor herds nor flocks, nor inadvertent sinners.
Upon the Universe’s spinning wheel, collaborators will be winners.

-- Kate Jones, 2017
2017-05-01 03:16 pm

A note about the Ayn Rand Webcomic

Originally posted on Thursday, October 17, 2013

A 66-page, typo-riddled webcomic by Darryl Cunningham purports to tell the life story of Ayn Rand, controversial author of The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, and the philosophy of Objectivism. The book most unnerving and most misunderstood by most readers is The Virtue of Selfishness, which has put a huge barrier between her thinking and the popular ethos.

Although Rand died in 1982, her books have continued to have increasing sales; and the social dynamics she described and warned of in her novels are prophetically coming to pass. She has attracted millions of admirers among thinkers, and even more millions of detractors and haters whose oxen she gored. Darryl's little cartoon serial ranks among the latter. Reading it inspired me to write up this response, posted to his page on October 17, 2013:


Ayn Rand's favorite poem was Rudyard Kipling's "If", read at her funeral. One couplet in particular applies to Darryl Cunningham's comic opus and most of the derogatory critiques of her work:

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools...

So, Darryl, your soap opera treatment of the messenger's personality and relationships is yet another way to overshadow and discredit the validity of the message, whether that was your intention or not. At least you are provoking interest and conversation on this controversial lady and her insights.

Ayn Rand's fundamental principle was, in fact, the paramount value of the individual. And that is simply a restatement of the founding principles enshrined in the U.S. Constitution: "that all men are ... endowed with ... certain unalienable rights ... life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Why is Rand's advocacy of these values so repugnant to you and to other Rand bashers? It always comes down to who has what and how groups gang up to raid the resources of the earth and what other individuals have produced. I hope one day humanity can rise above the predator/prey paradigm.

Rand was ferociously opposed to the notion and practice of exploiting some individuals for the sake of others; i.e., "redistribution of wealth" is just another name for armed robbery. It is tantamount to three lions and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.

Undiluted and unpolluted capitalism is the form of social contract where individuals get to choose what to do with their time and property. Rational self-interest will then lead to individuals interacting with each other for mutual benefit, through division of labor, voluntary exchange, and intelligent investment. That freedom encourages innovation and progress—individuals "taking first steps down new roads" that ultimately are of benefit to all.

Those ideas are also the underpinnings of the Libertarian movement, which is a backlash to galloping socialist ideas that have bankrupted the U.S. and every country in which socialism gets the upper hand. For the record, though, Rand had disavowed the Libertarians when Peter Schwartz wrote an article she published condemning their alleged lack of philosophical principles.

Ironically, Libertarians today are the most faithful to both the Constitution and to individualist ethics.

The so-called capitalism we see practiced in the U.S. today is as remote from the "ideal" Rand defined as you can get. It has a corrupt government making favorable laws, regulations and bail-outs for their cronies in industry and the military-industrial complex; it has government promoting wars to enrich their arms manufacturers and gain access to other countries' resources; it has government building up a horrendous security apparatus that peels away the citizens' rights to privacy, property, free speech, association, assembly, and life and liberty; it justifies attacking other countries and murdering their populations on spurious pretexts.

That is not capitalism. That is the most pernicious form of gang warfare, and we the people are made to support it and the endless atrocities done in our name. Our substance is wasted, and we are bled through taxes and debt, reduced work opportunities, and increased deaths and mutilations of our soldiers in senseless wars. We are forced into grand socialist schemes like mandatory insurance and welfare entitlements that deprive generations of our people of their independence and their dignity.

Ayn Rand foresaw these developments 60 years ago. The truth she spoke is immutable, no matter whom she slept with. Think about the message, not the messenger. Your life, liberty and happiness depend on it.
2017-05-01 03:08 pm

"Text-enhance" link invasion

Originally posted on Friday, February 24, 2012

The newest wrinkle in online depredation is something called "Text-enhance", a euphemism for attaching links to innocent-looking words on pages you are reading, including even your very own webpage. If you click on one of those links, an ad or survey pops up which ultimately turns into a phishing expedition for your cell phone number.

After a few of these happened to me in February 2012, I visited the Text Enhance website to see what they are up to. What a bunch of newspeak. Turns out, you have to opt out of their already planted cookie that let them invade your computer without your knowledge, rather than opt in. Even if you opt out, once you clean out your cookies they can have at you all over again, and you need to revisit each time to opt out again. In a fit of indignation, I emailed them the following:

Hello, "Text-enhancers",

I am outraged that your links appear in my own website, spontaneously, evidently selecting certain keywords to which to attach a survey message. Clicking innocently on such a link brings in a voice and overrides my viewing of the webpage. This is unacceptable!

Calling this "creating a meaningful relationship between advertisers and consumers" is like saying that rape is building a meaningful relationship between rapist and victim.

Your offering a blocking cookie that has to be renewed after every cookie clean-up is also unacceptable. You should not be able to place a link without my opting IN first.

I am most outraged that these invasions are in my own sacrosanct code. Yes, I know it does not embed itself into the HTML code itself, but it looks to viewers as though I had intended to put it there. That's like expecting me to hold down the victims while you rape them.

You are trespassing on my website and my time. This is a frontal attack, and unless you stop it immediately, we will get the wrath of the entire Internet down upon you. We stopped SOPA and PIPA. Do you think we can't swat your mosquito bites?

The messages that have invaded my viewing so far have been surveys that fish for cell phone numbers by offering "gifts". Walmart seems to be the biggest "sponsor", unless they are also having their identity stolen for this scam.

What is most objectionable is that links with double underlines at least provide a warning that there is an ad lurking behind them. The text-enhance links I am complaining about don't look different from the normal ones in my texts. They hide, camouflaged from the viewer, ready to snag the unwary.

No one wants you. You are creating resentful relationships between viewers and any alleged advertisers. This hare-brained scheme has to stop. Close up shop before others do it for you. There must be a better career for you clever hackers.

-- Kate Jones


Of course, I have received no answer back. I can only wonder how long they will continue in business. So watch for any unexpected links during your Web travels and beware of clicking on them.
2017-05-01 02:43 pm

"What are you thankful for?"

Originally posted on Sunday, May 8, 2011

In November 2010, I received an email from Bill Miller of the Friends of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, asking that question. On November 25, I posted the reply below. Unsurprisingly, they did not publish it.


I'm thankful that I can still feel outrage at how our politicians have betrayed our trust, our principles and our future. Our incessant preemptive wars are a disease, and non-stop destruction of lives and resources is fatal to the economic health of our country and the world. We need commerce — free trade — among nations, not coercion, control and connivance. We need individual freedom to work and to choose how we spend our earnings, not to be forced to subsidize causes we don't approve of.

I'm thankful that I can see these truths and continue to protest against government incursions into our freedoms, and against government expropriation of our property. The bureaucracy has become a vampire on the lives and energies of the people. And the collusion between government and certain businesses is a recipe for continuing disaster, a continuing draining of the people and a distortion of their values. Where does the Chamber of Commerce stand on this issue?

I am grateful for my clear and free thinking, and for my ability to pity all those religious folk whose minds and emotions are held captive by myths, superstitions and fanaticisms of all stripes. Their religious infighting leads to horrible deaths, ceaseless enmity, and abandonment of the principle of love they claim as their prime directive. Their abandonment of Reason makes them create all the harm in the world.

I am thankful for the intelligence of the human race that has developed science, technology, tools, and a growing understanding of the laws of physics that help us find true answers to the problems of survival and attaining a healthy, peaceful, productive society.
2017-05-01 02:31 pm

The $5 panhandler

Originally posted on Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I just received a "personal" email from President Obama. Here's what it said:

Kate --

If it were easy to do the big, meaningful things we believe will make our country better—if it were quick—someone would have done those things long before any of us showed up.

We've chosen to do something hard.

You know that our victories so far have been hard won: taking the difficult steps necessary to put our economy back on track, reforming Wall Street excess despite an army of lobbyists against us, and making health care more affordable and accessible despite well-organized opposition by those who profit from the status quo.

You also know we have not yet done everything we set out to do—not nearly.

But that's a reason to work harder, not to let up. That's why we're building this campaign now. And you have to take ownership of it.

So I will be direct: Can you step up and make a donation of $5 to get us started?

As I've spoken with supporters who are helping get this campaign started, I've met folks who are frustrated by the pace of change.

I understand that. But we knew this wouldn't be easy. The kind of change we're working for never comes easily.

Now is the time to begin again, and build the campaign that will shape our country's future.

Thank you,



Such a masterful piece of motivational tripe I could not swallow. This was my response:

Barack (and "campaign helpers"),

To make the country better, a handbook of easy ways to do it was given to us by the Founders—the Constitution—well before "we" showed up to ruin it.
You and your predecessors have, like a slippery slope, drifted from that wisdom and brought our nation to disgrace and disaster. It will get harder and harder to restore it. And you have chosen to do, not something hard, but something evil.

You have been led astray from the decent values you professed to believe in during your first campaign. You have gone farther to the dark side even than George W. Bush, whose crimes against humanity will one day be punished.

You lack the courage to admit how wrong we have become, and to take the first brave step towards making restitution to the world. America cannot be the bully to the world, to sow hatred, anger and resistance in one nation after another, and expect to survive. Our moral principles have become terminally diseased if we pursue a course of force and fraud under phony sanctimonious slogans of "humanitarian" goals.

You cannot help other countries by destroying them. If you want America to rule the world, that is a formula for global genocide. The only way to eliminate opposition is for you to kill off all those who resist. And since others want to live, too, they will continue to resist. And they have every right to do so.

Labeling people who oppose your tyrannical predations as "terrorists" only seeks to cover the fact that America has become the biggest terrorist of them all. And I won't take ownership of that.

Even if you change and repent right now, it will take generations for America to gain forgiveness and to win back the esteem and admiration we once had as the land of freedom, honor, decency, and respect for individual human rights.

You want $5 to help your new campaign? Your administration has wasted trillions of dollars of Americans' substance and future. There is no $5 available to throw into your pot to allow you to continue on this devastating course. No matter how clever the emotional manipulation and marketing of your slogans, we're not buying it anymore.

If, with one nod of your head, you can send off a killer team to execute bin Laden, you could change course with one command. It is not a big and difficult task to say, "Enough, this is not the way to go, this is not what America is about." No more violence, no more preemptive wars, no more taking sides in foreign civil wars, no matter what lobbyists scream and wave money, no matter what special interests get cut off from the trough. You cannot recover a nation's economy with only the arms manufacturers thriving. You cannot recover a nation's morale and self-respect by pumping them up emotionally with kill statistics. Enough!

Make a real change. You can do it with one nod of your head, one short declaration. Let me see actual results: apologize for our war crimes, get our troops out of every foreign country, close Guantanamo, pull back the growing police state on U.S. soil, restoring our civil liberties, and then I'll consider sending you some money.

-- Kate Jones
2017-05-01 02:11 pm

The "right" to clean water—Blog Action Day 2010

Originally posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

As part of Change.org's Blog Action Day, which for 2010 addresses the subject of clean water, here are my thoughts:


It's an unconditional human need, but it's not an unconditional human right. Not since the days of small populations and nomadic tribes were humans free to wander up to any water source and partake of its clean, clear flow. The earth provided, and all were able to use it.

As populations grew and settlements expanded, more and more demands were made on the streams, rivulets, creeks, and rivers. People always built near water for easy access to this life-sustaining substance. They learned to use it for irrigation, navigation, cleaning, and harnessing its power.

More people produced more waste, and the water, believed to be a universal cleanser, began to fill with ever more pollutants and contaminants, long before early populations even understood the meaning of those concepts. They soon did understand that activities upstream could send troubled waters downstream to their own water supply. Battles ensued over water rights and access to the best sources. Not poisoning or dirtying wells was an early lesson learned. The folk belief that running water unconditionally cleans itself led to accelerating pollution and abuses.

There is the fairytale of the wolf, drinking from a creek upstream from a lamb, accusing the lamb of sullying his water, as a pretext to attack the lamb. The writer clearly understood the wiliness of predators, animal and human.

India's Ganges, its waters held sacred, gradually grew to a total sewer, while the inhabitants continue to drink it, bathe in it, defecate in it, and consign their dead bodies to it. Old ideas die hard.

To claim that all have a "right" to clean water is to demand that some people take action and invest time, money and energy to provide this water to all claimants. That is a formula for slavery. Those with the knowledge to manage water have a right to be paid for this service. Since no one can "own" all the water of the earth, and water flows downhill from a pure source, it behooves all of us to change our habits and infrastructure and prevent water contamination. That will require finding alternate means to process waste, to dispose of it and recycle it.

We can learn from nature how to develop symbiotic systems. And we need to learn that not everything nature does is good for us. For example, we live on a water planet, and we need drinking water. Why does nature wash more and more salt into the oceans? What is salt good for? Yes, we need some in our bodies and our food, but not in our water. Human intelligence needs to find a means to build efficient technology to turn ocean waters back into fresh, clean water. The desalination industry is our future. Now to find a good use for all that salt by-product.

In brief: everyone has the right to work to obtain what he or she needs to live, including water. No one has the right to demand that someone else provide it for them.

Doing productive work and exchanging it with others for what they have produced is the only just and lasting social relationship of intelligent beings. Let us solve our problems without resorting to force and servitude inflicted by government intervention. Let's clean up our planet, our home, and be good custodians of its life-nurturing processes. Let's put our resources there, not throw them away on wars and sabotage.
2017-05-01 02:03 pm

Protect Constitutionally protected individual rights

Originally posted on Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Change.org in January 2010 launched the 2010 "Ideas for Change in America" competition, and I just submitted an idea you might like to support. No money, just your vote. The title of the idea is "Protect Constitutionally guaranteed individual rights."

To vote for my idea, all you have to do is click on the link below and you can vote in less than 20 seconds.

The top 10 voted ideas will be presented at an event in Washington, DC, to relevant members of the Obama Administration, and then promoted to Change.org's full community of more than 1 million people. So we could have a real impact with this radical idea about unalienable rights.

Here's the text of my proposal. If you agree, please click on the link and vote. Thanks for your help!
All the changes and programs being promoted and passed into law aim only to help certain groups and to spend ever more government money, which is either taxed or borrowed. Both come out of the people's substance, Socialism in action. I propose that every bill before Congress be first measured against our Constitutionally guaranteed individual rights, to make sure that it does not abrogate individuals' life, liberty and pursuit of happiness (i.e., property). You may have to set up a special Congressional committee or get advice from the Supreme Court. But the first question to ask is, "Will this harm any individual?" And if the answer is Yes, cease and desist from pursuing such legislation.
2017-05-01 01:52 pm

Water Protection and Reinvestment Trust Fund

Originally posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010

Barack Obama's minions in cyberspace work through Change.Org and offer weekly updates and causes to respond to. On February 11, 2010, the topic was the Water Protection and Reinvestment Trust Fund. This was my reply:

No! It is not up to government actions to step in here. The principle to establish is to let private companies in each community be responsible and to stop befouling our nest and our life support. The growth of bottled water, and the cost of that as a routine part of life, is moving us farther from what we would like to take for granted, namely that tap water is plentiful and safe and economical, like the clean springs and streams we have in our racial memories. Bottled water is only a stop gap that could become an excuse for letting our bodies of water continue to be polluted. But at least it is a means to secure safe drinking water through private effort.

Many households are still on well water and septic systems, and that needs to be watched carefully lest the sewage seep deep enough to pollute the groundwater the well pumps from. We need to find a way to recycle sewage so that nature itself reuses and purifies it, and so that it serves as a nutrient for plant life, rather than flushing it into the rivers and oceans. Our technology can find a way to establish a natural balance threatened by increasing population.

It is a false assumption that private companies do not have the public interest as a priority. Without the public they would have no business and no income. It is by pleasing the public and supplying what people need that the companies become successful. How else can they make money? Making money is not evil. It is the reward for good work done. It is the company's paycheck for value produced. If there were not productive private enterprises, there would be nothing for government to tax to pay themselves and their allegedly important social programs.

Further, we should encourage private investment in better husbanding of fresh-water supplies, such as major snow and ice run-offs. Rather than letting clean water run into the salty oceans, build aqueducts and pipelines to move the annual melts to regions that need it, as has been done for centuries in the desert regions of Persia.

Explore trading water for oil. We have disgraced ourselves in the eyes of the world by destroying the water processing infrastructure of Iraq, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths from polluted water supplies. Did Americans even know this was being done in their name?? As an American, I object profoundly to such crimes against humanity carried out by our government without our knowledge and consent.

Count me as a No vote against government control of our water management, and count me as a No against our wars in foreign lands. I am dismayed that Obama has broken his promises to end the wars. I feel thoroughly betrayed. So much for Change!
2017-05-01 01:25 pm

Blog Action Day 09: Climate Change

Originally posted October 15, 2009

Today over 7000 bloggers are participating in Blog Action Day by posting comments on a subject of global significance to humanity: Climate Change. The unfortunate acronym of BAD notwithstanding, it's a good idea for reflection and consciousness raising.

For millions of years human life has clung precariously to our tiny marble in the sky, from barest subsistence living off the land like all the other animals, to learning in minuscule increments to adapt to existing and varying temperatures and availability of water and food and shelter.

From caves to make-shift hovels to skyscrapers; from rivers to aqueducts and aquifers and reservoirs; from foraging to agriculture; and from hunting/fishing to animal husbandry, mankind learned to put a widening safety margin between survival and flourishing.

Through the creation of language to communicate and preserve the fragile knowledge, our understanding of the natural laws at work on our planet broadened. We learned to harness energies from many sources—earth, wind, fire, and water and raw muscle power—and change the face of the land forever.
With levers and pulleys we built monumental structures. With fire from wood, coal, oil, we extended our territorial reach from icefields to scorching deserts as our nomadic ancestors explored the globe from pole to pole, not dissuaded by the vast distances of sea and land.

Through brutal conquest and pillage they took what they needed, whether natural resources or the achievements of other populations. Constant battles between population groupings both obtained and destroyed resources, material and human, in escalating numbers. Treating foreign peoples as no more than dehumanized resources to rob, kill and expropriate, the conquering hordes took land and lives with equal impunity, even unto the present day. The mutual destruction and enslavement of conquered populations, whether for free labor or extracted tribute, became entrenched into our very genes as protocols to benefit our own kind, and continues yet, allowing limited and differentiated development of societies and civilizations.

It was the discovery of electricity that gave mankind its greatest boon in advancing beyond the marauder stage, in only the last 200 years, a mere blink of an eye on the historic scale. It allowed the building of infrastructure, the unfolding of ever ascending scientific and technological marvels, from refrigeration to a national power grid and the Internet, from rural to urban habitats, from local to interplanetary transport, and, sadly, ever more sophisticated armaments with which to continue the ingrained habits of war and conquest.

To a great extent such cultural climates were molded by the planet's own conditions of climatic changes, the natural cycles of freezing and melting as its great source of received energy, the Sun, went through its own cycles of increased and decreased output.

Relatively long spells of weather within tolerable margins allowed humanity to settle into patterns of tribal, racial and national groupings and the expectation of stable conditions within the changing seasons.

There is a tendency to expect the accustomed to remain unchanged as the given, the taken-for-granted, a right. With seemingly free energy, assured food supplies, comfortable lodgings, mankind's complacency settled in for the long run. Our ability to temper, and to tamper with, natural environments lulled our communal memories of a harsher time into oblivion. Our dependence grew on an ever narrower margin of variable conditions of temperature and humidity, within which lay our ideal comfort zone for food supplies and ever-rising living standards.

As our populations expanded exponentially, the impact on our global life support system began to make itself felt. The historic process of "befouling our nest" showed its consequences in the water, earth and air. Like heedless children, mankind had proceeded on its course of expansion and exploitation until it crossed the threshold where the planet's natural processes of self-cleansing and maintaining a human-friendly equilibrium became overwhelmed.

Now we are engaged in seeking to heal our planet by reducing our habits of polluting and altering our energy use to cleaner methods. But like careless children who don't understand the chains of causality with which they play, we will meddle with nature's processes at our peril. Like petulant children throwing tantrums when deprived of what they had come to consider their rights and privileges, we urge each other to rush headlong into putative cures whose hoped-for remedial effects will have consequences we cannot predict.

Whether only we have caused global warming or cooling with our puny activities is far from certain. Solar activities that flood us with heat waves, or their absence, have far more effect on the state of our planet and our sister planets than our vehicle emissions.

Earth's life forms evolved through far more dramatic changes in soil and atmosphere all those millions of years ago. For every substance there is a customer, and we and the plants have come to a symbiotic relationship of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide. If we befoul the air and decimate plant life beyond the plants' ability to restore, we endanger ourselves.

Our big brains need a certain minimum level of oxygen for full functioning. Air quality has degraded, especially around massive population concentrations. How has that affected our cognitive and physiological performance?

Early man as well as modern man destroyed huge swathes of forest for fire and timber, yet good wood grows far more slowly than the rate of harvesting. Forest management is a rather recent development, and not practiced everywhere. Shortsighted gain sacrifices long-term survival. Moments of truth appear only on the edge of disaster.

It is eye-opening to realize and remember that human survival everywhere depends on the quality of a few inches of topsoil. The soil in which the rainforests flourished has already given its all. It is not naturally rich for other crops. It requires massive infusions of chemical fertilizers, a self-defeating notion, and removal of trees makes the soil subject to erosion, like the horrible dustbowls of the Great Depression. Ignorance and shortsightedness will bring accelerating disasters.

More plants could easily handle our carbon emissions. It is, after all, one of the planet's most prevalent and most necessary components. The more important point is that we are polluting our life support system. We've understood the harm of forced inhalation of cigarette smoke and banned it from public areas. We have the geological evidence of the devastation caused by volcanic eruptions. We are well on our way to developing vehicles that run on cleaner energy. Necessity is the mother of innovation, and urgency begets solutions.

The quick, easy, dirty energy we have been obtaining from fossil fuels—coal, oil—has not only run its course in pushing us forward to far-spread suburban settlements and exploded commuting distances, but has brought us to the threshold of exhausted supplies. Scarcity has triggered the age-old response of appropriation by force.

To get control of dwindling oil supplies, America is at war with an escalating number of countries beneath whose soil lies the coveted resource. By a demented logic, America justifies wasting irreplaceable amounts of its wealth and lives to attack Middle Eastern countries, gashing unhealable wounds into its relationships with those other cultures and reversing centuries of diplomatic evolution. America is resorting to the same aggressive, imperialist practices she freed herself from in the name of enlightened principles of freedom from tyranny two and a half centuries ago. Not only has America betrayed its founding ideals, but has with every bomb and bullet dimmed its own reputation in the world.

The true pollution and environmental damage we've done is not to the physical environment but to the cultural/conceptual one. The fragile veneer of civilization and human values has cracked, much as the crust of the earth cracks from subterranean eruptions. The climate change we need to repair is not whether the globe's comfort zone of temperature oscillates a few more degrees than before, but the cultural climate of humans at war rather than in non-predatory cooperation.

The true enemy is neither our fellow man in other countries nor the planet's climate. The true enemy is in ourselves and our diseased ideas of rationalized mayhem and mass murder. And if we ever, in our most idealistic moments, hope to convert less humanistic governments to our model of democracy, we would fare far better by example, inspiring emulation, rather than by forcible regime change that is not an organic or spontaneous outgrowth from the indigenous cultures.

The climate change we need is not in the "carbon footprint" or tampering with the laws of nature, but in the mental/emotional climate of military boot imprints on the soil and throats of other nations. Our entire orientation of the metaphoric "wars" on terror (isolated incidents by individuals, not attacks by nation states), drugs, poverty, hunger, ignorance, or any cause du jour, is a travesty of truth-distortion and a ploy for social engineering that ineluctably leads to abrogation of individual rights by a ruling class. We become the tyrants we profess to deplore.

Climate change in the planet's physical rhythms is actually a good thing, stimulating inventiveness and letting humanity emerge into a sustainable modus vivendi and elevated consciousness. We need to be reminded that change is what brought us step by step to the evolved creatures we are now, coping by adapting to new conditions. The planet may well serve us better when dry areas become wet again, and cold regions become more hospitable.

We need to remember especially that America is primarily a land of immigrants, people who were willing to be uprooted and go where life was more promising, and where a great mixing bowl of diverse peoples learned to live together and thrive together in a new land. We need to be reminded that constructive, not destructive, practices and mutually respectful, not mutually destructive, relations are the solution to both the outer and the inner climate.

We must outgrow the predatory habits that served us as animals. They are the source of monstrous evils committed in the name of power, resources, religion, economics, security, national interest, or any other current buzzword we hold up as pretexts. These malevolent justifications pollute our spiritual climate and pervert our value system. Worse, they poison the whole world's meme pool, its storehouse of ideas and wisdom.

Let's change the climate of warmongering and remove the provocations for enmity. Obama should not be continuing an illegal war in Iraq and spreading its conflagration into adjoining lands. Congress needs to take back its duties to authorize wars and exercise its right to withdraw funds from illegal operations.
The American people need to reconcile their religious values (especially "Thou shalt not kill"; "thou shalt not steal"; "thou shalt not covet"; and "thou shalt not bear false witness [lie]") with their actions in the world. They need to learn to evaluate more critically and resist more intelligently the temptations by their "leaders" for vengeful wars against imaginary enemies.

The American people need to hold their representatives' feet to the fire of truth and not get swept up by the hysteria of false patriotism. Invest our resources in enterprises that build a less befouling infrastructure and we will accomplish both: a cleaner climate and a peaceful world.
2017-05-01 01:08 pm

Great minds and their messages

Originally posted on Thursday, December 4, 2008

Here are three sites that generously are offering for free the presentations by the most brilliant, amazing, and passionate individuals, on topics of great importance to humanity and the world, in the present and the future. Originally attending in person cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Now they are available online for free. See them all and be prepared to be astonished, elated, informed, delighted, challenged.

• Chris Anderson's TED TALKS bring together once a year in California a remarkable group of people, all tops in their fields. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. Thousands of talks are now online. Awesome does not begin to describe them. http://www.ted.com/tedtalks/

• Mark Hurst's Good Experience Live (GEL) is held annually in New York, with live, interactive events that emphasize providing participants a good experience in the arts, science, commerce. Exciting speakers and urban happenings make this a unique series of experiences, and you can now partake retroactively of several seasons for free online. If you can, attend in person next year. http://www.gelconference.com/

• Jacob Hornberger's Future of Freedom Foundation brings together once a year the greatest thinkers and speakers on Libertarianism, and the talks are now collected and available here for all who value our country's founding principles, individual rights and liberty. "Restoring the Republic: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties." Join the dialogue, understand the issues. http://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/articles/
2017-05-01 11:04 am

Tell Barack Obama your vision for America

Originally posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2008:

Here is an enlightened invitation from Barack Obama for us all to tell him our vision:

An American Moment: Your Vision
Start right now. Share your vision for what America can be, where President-Elect Obama should lead this country. Where should we start together?

Here's what I posted on their website, http://change.gov/page/s/yourvision at 10:30PM, November 12, 2008:

Dear Barack Obama,
I was delighted to see you win the election, with your hope-building words and declaration of change. We do need change, and you have the moment now to change the whole world for humanity's betterment. This is the moment you can seize and turn everything around. Disown the Bush doctrine and all his actions. The world awaits a cleaning up.

I propose that as Commander in Chief, you immediately turn our armies of war into armies of peace. Turn the weapons into plowshares now. All our troops in Iraq and elsewhere can be put to work rebuilding what Bush destroyed. Iraq's homes, buildings and infrastructure desperately need repair and reconstruction. Put our guys to work clearing, cleaning and building. They'll come home with far fewer cases of mental illness. Offer the Iraqis all the support for building they need, and are willing to accept. If they don't want us to do it, pull the troops out.

And change all the uniforms from battle gear to uniforms in hopeful or healing colors, say blue, such as doctors and nurses wear. No more killing. Put everyone to work. You can do it. We can do it. Just have the courage to denounce and renounce your predecessor's deeds. Apologize to the whole world for what he did, and assure the world that a change has come.

You'll be amazed how other countries will flock to support and help in this rebuilding plan, where they only reluctantly went along with Bush's calls for personnel who kill.

We can never bring back the dead, but their blood is on Bush's hands, not yours. Don't let the establishment drag you into their morass. You don't have to join the dark side of that force. Be our shining hero who makes the difference.

Your name will live in history as the one who brought peace to the world. Call for volunteers to go and help rebuild. You'll get many! They voted for you because they believe you can end the war, not just in Iraq but everywhere that American bullyism has spread death and destruction. Close all the bases, close Guantanamo, close down the torture and unconstitutional treatment of human beings. This is true patriotism, for love of our country and its true founding principles which Bush has betrayed.

The hellish mess Bush has put us into is not what the Constitution says is the President's job. His first duty is to uphold the Constitution. Bush and his henchmen have assassinated it. I urge you to have the courage now, at this crossroads of history, to declare peace and to stand up for doing the right thing.

Doing the right thing always leads to a better future. Certainly the housing industry will gain from so much construction to be done. Making the new peace uniforms will help the garment business. You'll create many, many jobs.

I, as an American, horrified by what the Bush administration was doing allegedly in our name and in our "interest", wept at the waste of lives and resources. A trillion-dollar war and no end in sight -- $700 billion wasted on the wrong people -- the downward spiral of our impoverishment at home and globally -- was it worth it? How much false pride can a country indulge before the fall?

Please be the change, make the change. Whatever it costs will be an asset, its value will increase. We, who were silent and helpless before the Bush juggernaut, or even approved, have to pay the dues. I will give zero for swords, but as much as possible for plowshares. The time has come, dear Barack, and our hearts and minds are with you, to take that brave step to redeeming America's reputation and rekindling Americans' love and respect for their country. Win the hearts and minds of other countries, and neither shall they make war any more.

We stand with you in this historic moment. Please let it be your first act in office: declare peace, and turn our warriors into an army of peace. Please finish the job Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began. Yes, you can. Yes, we will. This is the moment.

Fervently, -- Kate Jones
2017-05-01 10:59 am

Ideas are the gameboard of the mind.

Originally posted on Thursday, May 5, 2005.

The theme of this journal is "Ideas are the gameboard of the mind." Here is a place for trying out ideas, seeing how they play within the rules our minds may have put in place.

1) Are the rules inborn?
2) Do we arrive into the world with a toolkit full of how-to's and do-not's?
3) Is there an operating system implanted with our DNA that pulls in more and more files and tries to organize them coherently?
4) Do our ideas of right and wrong come with the kit, or do circumstances of existence and the influence of our environment program them in?
5) Are we capable of deleting bad files and reprogramming ourselves?
6) Is learning a kind of downloading and installing of plug-ins?
7) Is the ability to introspect learned or self-discovered?
8) How does the mind differentiate between knowledge and belief?
9) Between certainty and speculation?
10) Between the real and the simulated?
11) Can we look inside and check our source code to know why we hold certain values?
12) How did we come to accept rules taught to us by parents, teachers, adults, authorities?
13) How do some humans become authorities over other humans?
14) Is our herd or tribal conditioning so strong that we accept rulers and submit to rules not of our making?

Scientists are making great progress in studying the physical structure of the brain, how neurons communicate, how thoughts literally flare up, how patterns are reinforced or allowed to atrophy.

15) At the quantum level, what is a thought?
16) How are concepts built up from their component elementary perceptions and sensory data?
17) How do emotions emerge and evolve?
18) Is there a parallel between the cognitive and the emotive?
19) Do emotions arise in reaction to encounters between what we want and what the environment provides?

Enough questions for now. These are the areas and ideas we will play with.

Oh, one more thing. We proceed from the premise that there is an objective reality "out there". It is the final measuring stick, the table on which our gameboard sits. Let's not ever forget it. ||| Your turn.