I seem to not be motivated to do much today

I seem to not be motivated to do much today, so far. I think some of it is due to the discouragement from watching the Obama forum with the House-Senate yesterday, realizing that there are so many influential opponents who seem to be displaying hypnotically conditioned direction and tribalistic unity against an opponent, instead of people who are working for all Americans. And I doubt the hypnotically conditioned fanatic "Republicans" there are even aware of what was done to them, or seek to know why it was done. Really worried re America and indeed the whole world if they get control of America's military direction again. I think the world is aware of the danger too. And, the whole "health" debate seems to me to be barking up the wrong tree, in the first place, if they are actually trying to improve health at much lower cost; it seems just a debate on how to deal with "insurance" costs. It is as sticky a mess as was created by upsetting the Iraq-Iran power balance, a pandoras box of powerful vested interests rather mindlessly and fanatically fighting, generally stuck in the fear-and-greed mode. That mode is sprinkled around in our country too and so we also are part of the problem instead of the solution. When dealing with powerful people like that, even providing them a potential solution will just get ignored, so why bother struggling to find a solution, it seems to me this morning. Is America only just like a couple of football teams bashing it out in the cheering stadium? The funding of the world of science is also controlled by such folks, thus their effect even has been too strongly guiding the path of science.

We probably would not have even gone to the Moon or even into space at all, if it had not been for the football-like-conflict of Russia vs America, fearing the other would put weapons aimed at them on the Moon. Even now we ignore the tremendous resources in nearby space, catering only to the petty business whims which necessarily need to get quick profit to survive, and they block public awareness of the technologies that could have solved many of our energy and environmental problems we are increasingly enduring. I of course in part refer to the potential utilization of my "space escalator carousel" "KESTS to GEO" type space access means to enable abundant 24/7 "clean" energy from solar power satellites construction and maintenance in GEO, and solar powered total recycling plants, all enabled by very inexpensive, large scale capacity, solar electric powered continuous transportation from the ground up to GEO and back. But no, we have instead been obsessed with playing our business-political power games of fear and greed, stuck in conventional rockets and LEO satellites instead of taking rational responsibility for our fate and the tied fate of others around us.

Why has this happened, I wonder. I think I had held people in far too high esteem, too. Not that I don't seem to sabotage my own self too, at times; maybe the same phenomenon is happening to all the others too. Would that account for all the mess, I wonder.

The "health insurance" squabble, for example; which is deadlocked even on that part of the problem of how to provide far better health for Americans at far lower cost; all the folks whose livelihood depends on all those sick people for their income of course not wanting to lose their job nor investment income from that sickness pool. Also I was amused - or aghast - at the frequent assertion made in the forum that America has the best health care system in the world, ignoring the efficacy data and the statistics. Maybe they were afraid of saying anything otherwise which would not be in favor when they eventually go under the "medical" knife, becoming merely another malpractice suit or even ignored and forgotten, a scary thought even to a powerful lawmaker.

Medicine and healing needs to return to the goal of continuing health and full functionality for all, instead of being an arena of power and wealth; but how to get there from here, I don't know at this point. Where did we go wrong, and how to get back on track? Efficacy might be a primary key, along with the full unbiased enabling of such efficacy determinations - along with having broader purer motivations, of course.

P. S. In retrospect, I think that Rorschach (of Ink Blot fame) rides again - and its all over the place.

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The winds of Mars, and the dust storms that aren't anymore

Something has been puzzling me for a long time, and once again the puzzle got reawakened a bit, when reading the article "Bouncing sands explain Mars' rippled surface - Study finds dunes and ridges can form without much wind"

I was working as a contract electronic technician at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory back in 1972-73, working in the Space Sciences building next to the Von Karman Auditorium. The first pictures were coming in from the earlier Mariner Mars '69 spacecraft freshly arriving in orbit around Mars, and sending back the first pictures it was taking. Typical photos were occasionally printed on plain orange colored paper along with some scientific info, and placed as handouts for employees to pick up if interested. The first photo on such a sheet of paper showed a planet blurred out, all except for the very peak of Olympus Mons, the highest volcanic mountain on the planet. All else was just a blur, a spherical blurry ball in space.

It was announced that Carl Sagan was going to give a talk in the Von Karman Auditorium, so I took a break and wandered next door and took a seat.

Carl Sagan got on stage and began to talk, telling about the spacecraft that had just gone into orbit around Mars, MM '69, taking photos and radioing them back to here. And what they saw was a dust storm seven miles high driven by 200 mph winds, incredibly cold down there.

Carl, in his entertaining way, went on to relate that when he was a boy, he was fascinated by reading Edgar Rice Burroughs' "John Carter of Mars" science fiction novels, where the hero would just meditate and suddenly be transported to Mars where his earth gravity conditioned muscles were far superior to the people living there and he was ever winning spectacular battles with those folks of Mars. So, as that boy, Carl would sometimes go out into the night and look up at the speck that was the red planet, and meditate as hard as he could, but no matter how hard he tried, he never could get transported to Mars.

And now, he continued, finding a Mars with 200 mph winds driving a seven mile high dust storm covering the planet, extremely cold and only thin carbon dioxide for an atmosphere, he was sure glad that the meditation did not work!

As the weeks went by, there at JPL, the photos that MM'69 was sending back continued to show a planet totally covered by a raging dust storm blotting out just about everything. It took a long time before more of Olympus Mons became visible, then slowly other high altitude features started showing up. Seems like it took months for the surface details to become visible.

In the 37 years since then, I have maintained a casual interest in the photos that have come back from Mars, from orbit and from on the ground. Nice, sharp photos, only limited by the capability of the cameras and optics. No dust storms.

No mention of even a teeny dust storm since then.

A few small brief twisters were photographed at one time. Some dust reported collecting on solar panels, with not enough breeze to blow the dust off sometimes.

Prior to MM'69's arrival at Mars, there had been lots of observations of Mars via earth-based telescopes, with detail enough to provide imagination for the astronomer Lowell to draw networks of canals thought to be used for irrigation on Mars. So a blurred out planet was not evident way back, either.

Where have the huge dust storms been, since the one that coincided with our first arrival to get a good look at Mars, hiding it for a long time? It is nice that they are gone, of course. But something ... just seems a bit odd about it all, to me.

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A rant re jobs, corporations and the economic situation

A friend suggested that I post part of a email response I made, in a blog. So the following is that response I made. The prior discussion can be inferred from the context, I think.


The loss of the American middle class, as you pointed out, in my opinion is partly due to manipulations of some of the powers-that-be who are crazed to want to control lots of things, a horde of mini-dictator-wannabes that form the radical right wing of the country. The job loss due to outsourcing of middle class jobs points out two things, one is the high wages needed to cover expenses primarily of housing costs, costs which have been vastly inflated by the real estate easy money folks who have long been increasing the cost of buying a home far greater than the value added to the home. Thus the cost of living had to increase far beyond the value added to the economy, by untold trillions of dollars. The bubble had to break sometime; I don't know if it was deliberate or just lots of people who could not see the big picture effects of the "free money" from the increasing housing costs without corresponding value added; probably a mix of the two.

The other major factor (in my opinion, again) is that we Americans have lost the do-it-yourself mode and thus have lost versatility and fall-back self-reliance. Thus utterly dependent on somebody giving us a job so we have income to pay for things. And those "somebodys" tend to be professional employers who again want to gain maximum profit for least value added, and one way to do that is to lower wages and pocket the difference, smart business people they think. And the educational system has unfortunately not adapted to fill in to make graduates adequately resilient - plus the emphasis is to "get a degree" instead of learn the knowledge and skills; the degree guarantees them superiority in the job market is said. It does, but those getting those jobs are puppets of the employers, who in turn do not have adequate responsibility for the American economy re where they fit into it - they are just responsible for maximum profit to give to their salaries and to investors, instead. As things fall apart, people look to point the finger of blame somewhere and avoid whatever part they themselves play in it.

Furthermore, the right-wingers have taken a military-type organizational mode of utter obedience top down and have taken a stance intending to bring down the Obama administration; as it is said, "a house divided cannot stand." So that makes the situation worse; they intend to bring down the country until they can take it over again, and then those unified employers will have all the working class at their mercy as little more than slaves from then on.

They had already worked in that direction for decades; I saw it from the inside. Innovation was systematically strangled at the grass-roots level by blocking it in the employees, by the misuse of the "employment agreement" which workers need to sign in the technical fields, which give all rights to any ideas the employee has, given freely to the employer who has no use for the ideas but sits on them not developing them, thus all ideas are dead, and the working class learns it is not useful to be innovative, and the urge to practice innovation dies out. Thus the expected American innovative ability that Obama expects to pitch in to save the country in his administration, has been systematically stomped out by the corporate system.

The "employment agreement" implies that the employee is out to steal the employer's ideas, but the real thing it does is let the employers steal the employees ideas, clever. Even back in the 1980s it was made unlawful for employers to demand ownership of employees ideas other than those related to job duties; but I was told that I would have to fight in court to make it effective, and of course the employee does not have the legal resources to fight the big corporation legal machine and surely would lose their job etc and to gamble on an idea to bail them out if jobless just is not a viable option in the vast majority of cases. Thus we have basically lost that "Yankee Ingenuity" that gave the country its huge boost in the earlier part of the last century.

And now we are mired in the results: we don't have the practiced ability to innovatively solve problems on our own, and we wait for the corporations to give us jobs to survive; but the corporations want total control before they will cooperate, and that means they have to take back the White House before they will cooperate. Meanwhile things are falling apart. As you noted.


Why the excess unemployment and economic problems now

There have been some emails floating around that suggest to me several things, related to American jobs. Some of the connections are from way back; others recent. So here is an attempt to describe the jobs situation as I have perceived it.

Unemployment is the not having of a job. It is said that unemployment in America stands at 10%. Although I never got fired from a job, I did go through several RIF's and company failures, that put me into unemployment status. And it is very difficult. I tended to be loyal to an employer, despite some indications I was not being paid as much as the others, etc. Thus I was not one who was always looking for a better higher paying job elsewhere, and thus ready to jump during a RIF. I was out desperately trying to find a job, any kind of job by anyone who would hire me.

That is just what situation some employers like to have: people applying for jobs who are desperate, and will take a job at far below appropriate pay and do a job that is harder than a job should be; it all makes for more money in the company and that translates to promotions and bonuses for the managers, good stuff.

Applying for a job, one has to list all other jobs done, when and for whom, doing what, and often for how much money. This enables all the employers to pass around info about former employees to prospective employers of those former employees; and that info is not subject to verification nor refereeing. It thus makes for lots of control over job seekers. Political attitudes are not too hard to determine and thus is most likely part of what gets passed around, especially by groups that use lots of gossip "information" about people to control opinions of other people. "Blackballing" is an old term for this kind of thing in a very crude form. There is no way for the working class person to clean up that record passed around among managers of companies who hire people. Which includes most employers.

The Republicans, as it looks to me nowadays and to a significant extent in past decades at least, too often use jobs to gain political loyalty of their employees. There is no clause for anti-discrimination because of political attitude or affiliation, so this is not even illegal. A working man with family to support cannot afford to lose his job status; the forces to get political alignment with the right wing are thus often tied to having an income, to lots of young married folks with children, especially, they dare not take chances of getting blacklisted because of being a Democrat. In fact, it seems likely that this simple mechanism is all that keeps the Republican viable in a voter system that includes everybody; there just are not enough managers and business owners to have any majority whatsoever. But big business, when united behind a political party so as to get big contracts if their party gets voted in, and thus wealth for those companies and greater power in general, could be a powerful political force, and it seems to me the Republican party uses it nowadays lots more than the Democrats.

It was not long after Obama got voted in, that I noticed that there seemed to be a huge number of companies that started sitting on their hands re hiring, and were letting people go too. Was it due to the economy downturn, or was it sometimes deliberate shoving an economic downturn, I wonder. And I also wonder what the ratio of Republican workers vs Democrat workers got booted out of jobs; things like that are apparent to the workers even if not openly discussed. Lots of pressure on those who still have jobs to root for the Republicans, perhaps running scared. There many indications that Republicans are deliberately blocking job creation among other critical path items for America's recovery, clearly with intent to bring Obama and the Democrats down. (I'm old enough to remember the Mcarthy witch hunts that wracked America long ago, seeking those who were not helping America wholeheartedly or seemed so; it was Republican activity back then; if the parties were reversed in power now, it seems there would be some heavy-handed checking in on those who were deliberately dragging their feet re America's economic recovery.)

And that brings up another significant difference. Democrats in general consider all Americans as Americans, whether Democrat or Republican or whatever. But Republicans seem to consider only Republicans are Americans. It is an "our team vs their team, may the best team win and grab all the goodies" kind of thing to them. There are some Democrats that way too, and probably without that extra boost Obama would not be in office, since much of the campaigning process seems to be team fighting stuff, instead of issues to help America prosper. But the Republicans are far better at the iron grip on its members to go to war against the rest of America so as they can win big; America still is the major world power including militarily, and that is a tempting prize, for those with a craving to rule forcefully.

Another thing that brings up, is that the Republicans have frequently been accusing the Obama administration of doing the very things that the Republicans were doing the previous 8 years, consistently aiming at. And the grass root Republicans parrot those accusations vehemently, apparently forgetting what was going on in the previous 8 years. (Possibly that need to show loyalty to the bosses that are controlling the employers; don't dare look like not joining in the fight against the enemy. Enemy = the Democrats.) The "cutting Grandma off" accusation aimed at the Obama administration seems one of the most flagrant uses of this trick; the previous administration was attempting to dismantle the Social Security Retirement system that provides for "Grandma" for example.

A foundation stone of the Right wing extremist view seems to be that "Left Wing Socialist" ways, is the claim that people who are not being driven by stick and carrot will just sit and do nothing, and won't work to be productive; this brings down the country, they say. This attitude that the carrot & stick's necessity is most popular to those who see themselves as wielders of those carrots and sticks, those who are managers and owners. (Investors probably don't care, just want that money rolling in no matter how it was gotten.) The believability of the necessity of the carrot&stick forcing people to work, probably is from something deep inside themselves, would like to instead go on their wealthy Caribbean cruises etc year around instead of once or twice a year; and project that laziness on the hordes of working class under them, and thus it seems plausible. (There are other psychological factors involved, too, such as urges to bully others through a hierarchy of bullies, dressed in suit and ties and Roberts Rules, yet still driven by bully mentality; among men it gets them more women, and among women an urge to carefully bully often gets a bigger piece of the pie.) And most likely those who have been enduring nose to the grindstone and shoulder to the plow as driven by the stick and lured by the carrot on and on for a long time pushed to exhaustion, indeed will most likely flop down and do nothing if the carrot and stick were to suddenly cease, I would think. But only for awhile.

A recent study actually investigated the phenomenon, and found interesting results that make sense to me, involving our intrinsic need for Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.

It seems more likely that the "gotta force those workers to not be lazy, to get work outta them" philosophy is founded in something else.

I think that generally people, once out of the survival mode, need stimulation to enjoy life, in my opinion; and jobs could be designed to provide some of that stimulation. But bullies are not likely to think of those ways, much better understanding the abusive controlling upsmanship of wielding the carrot&stick; bullies most likely have a genetic component, but also have been abused themselves and learned to abuse that way.

More generally the situation looks uncomfortably like the folks who drove the previous eight years are sweating out the fears of what they would have done to the Democrats if it had been Democrats in those years and it was the GOP turn now instead of Obama's. I can imagine the headlines, raging about those who had been attempting to "do in Grandma" by eliminating the social security retirement fallback for older folks, and getting the country into the lucrative war mode in two obviously unwinnable wars on the far side of the planet that destabilized the middle east and an enormous drag on the American economy, and bringing on Big Brother, all excused by the curiously perfectly timed "9/11" romp. From the time of Clinton's leaving office with the country living well and making big payments on the nationsl debt, look what incredible mess was done in eight years. The Right Wing Extremist would probably be having vigilante lynchings etc; and so they fear turnabout might happen if they let up on the pressure to get things to fall so they can take over more thoroughly again. In fact, it probably really scares them; and fingering their "patriot" AK-47 stashes would give a sense of survival.

Sure, grist for whodunnits. But the change would be hard to ignore if people were not kept in the fear mode - a mode that only happened in those 8 years, note. How else would an Orwellian "1984" have been allowed to get its fingers into every aspect of American personal and business life"? Here in America, once land of the free and home of the brave?

Much of it is a fear of corrupt greedy bosses taking over, I think. But is privateering's dispersal of power going to prevent that? Often-faceless corporate bosses can't even be voted out of power by their hordes of working class. And corporations guided only by the "bottom line" dollar amount for investor's is hardly the same guidance of providing the needs of the American people. Sure, if there is a dictator somehow weaseled into top office, one who has urges to rule the world, and has arranged a top-down organization to prevent being ousted, Americans would be in deep trouble. Probably no one wants that, except for those of bully mentality; and they only want it if they are able to climb up the associated ranks of control over others. Thus perhaps the thing to watch is for the formation of such bully hierarchies that have expanding fingers into the political system and are going for the presidency or equivalent group. "If the shoe fits, wear it" is not a saying meant for Cinderella, it is for a more general means of deciding what are ongoing realities.

We Americans have a lot of accomplishments available to be done. We have increasing means to be aware of the bigger picture, the lateral items to our focus of immediate endeavors. Humanity has become far to big to consider itself an endless hunter-gatherer endlessly predatory on the world's resources; along with the depositing of our junk behind us for Mother Nature to clean up after us and recycle. That mode ought to have ended when the industrial age started; nature just cannot deal with much of the kinds of stuff we make and ultimately discard. Becoming aware of what we as aggregate are doing to our world, is an important first step in the direction of becoming responsible for what we are doing. If and when we can tie the corporate "bottom line" directly into that bigger responsibility overall, then maybe corporate overseeing of those functions could be wise. So far, I have not heard anything - including from the right-wing-extremists - suggesting that progress is being made to re-create corporate structure so it fits into the bigger picture of this finite world. And that is the eye-opener here, to me.



Glad to read that former President Bill Clinton is feeling fine

Glad to read that former President Bill Clinton is feeling fine after the recent artery medical stuff. I think he is one of the great people of my lifetime, and that will be shown clearly in the future, when all the political mud throwing and business-driven dirty work has all turned into compost, that the real stuff of life will shine through and show that Bill Clinton was one of the finest greats of America, leading our country into prosperity and even nicely paying off the national debt. Despite enduring grief that would have broken lesser men, over and over again, he made the wise guidance decisions that led America surprisingly very well. Of course, the woman behind the throne is always a major factor in a great leader; and life mostly without her must be another terrible strain on him nowadays. His worldwide travels and projects since leaving office continue to show his fine character.

Perhaps, looking back, the future will also discover something about the Bill Clinton era, that the opposition to him and his programs inadvertently displayed the weaknesses that humanity must learn to recognize and take responsibility for, lest it continue to sap the strength of our nation.

(And with luck, someone will teach Bill Clinton the EFT meridian point tapping technique, to help him deal with some of the current stress, too.)



And now John Murtha

Another in a long chain of "unfortunate events" in the conventional health care system. There are untold fortunes tied up in maintaining the existing health care industry & its compadre health insurance industry. So if you are a Democratic congressperson or Senator, it looks to me like you better stay out of the clutches of the conventional health care system, while the health care system is being attempted to get reformed a little bit in the current "healthcare" legislative efforts. Kennedy; now Murtha. Died of complications from gall bladder surgery? This is a common safe procedure. But of course, can be opportunity for any number of unfortunate complications, well known to exist but little excuse to have happen. And that "alternative" wellbeing protocols might have made any surgery unnecessary, is just another frustration to me. The guidance of industrial science R&D solely to maximize the bottom line is not at all the same as the guidance for optimum American health or wellbeing of any sort; it is just for more money for the comprehension-blind investors.

I too have been outspoken a bit too much on the corrupt healthcare system in this country. But silence is cowardice; even though sometimes discretion is better than valor. Sometimes, silence is just too frustrating.

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