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Years ago, a blind ol' geezer, Grandpa Christiansen, living alone on M-94, just south of Stoney Cut, north of Manistique, Mi., once paraphrased the following verse, while I visited him during a service call. Relative to the context of our conversation, we both understood the poem's meaning, though we were barely acquainted with each other, and were from different planets.
"So, naturalists observe, a flea
Hath smaller fleas on him that prey
And these hath smaller fleas to bite 'em
And so proceed ad infinitum"
From Jonathan Swift's "A Rhapsody"
Where's the Wealth? A View of Slavery, Economics, Justice, and Fleas dominate: to be in control slave: Someone entirely dominated by some influence or person theft: The act of taking something from someone unlawfully, or without permission fraud: Intentional deception intended to gain an advantage Stealing a product of someone's life, by any means, is to make the victim of theft a slave for that period of the victim's life required for the victim to make, barter, purchase, or earn the product stolen. If we are all God's creatures, then, to those that know it's God's will that they be enslaved, and that it's God's will that their slavers be forgiven, I suggest they perform serious penance by turning the other cheek and soliciting more victimization of themselves. Hopefully, that penance will attract those victimizers eying my wrinkled cheeks, and, at the same time, warn other God fearing folk to stop spreading the word that encourages more of the same. Furthermore, I suggest that unrepentant mystics read no further, as nothing I have to say or consider has any magical connection to any mythical or supernatural diety or character. It's all about evolution, our ancestors, me, and those with whom I share the planet. The following article is prompted by my substantiated personal perception and conclusion that humans, as a general rule, are no more "good" than what each individual perceives to be in their best interest to survive, achieve particular goals, enjoy life, and avoid the consequences of violating various organizational rules. It took many years for me to conclude, from experience, that which I had understood in a vague intellectual manner, from my youth. The inherent "goodness" of the human species is fiction peddled by con artists, for the sole purpose of convincing the ignorant and stupid that the deliberate victimization of others is isolated and bizarre behaviour; not an inherent behaviour of the human species, evident, too often, in our everyday choices and decisions. The logical suspicions of potential victims are denied, disarmed, or rendered impotent, by many forms of deceit, practiced by various amoral, immoral, and ambitious, "authority figures", with little concern for the lawful and ethical due process requirements of business and government in a civilized representative democracy. Many, if not most, of those influential predators, with no credentials of meritorious, academic, or professional value regarding well established rules of ethical and lawful conduct, victimize others under the guise of one with the acknowledged responsibility to the contrary. The record of my perception and substantiation for this article is recorded, to a great extent, in other articles on this web site. Those articles concern the microcosm of competitive people, forces, and influences in the City of Manistique and Schoolcraft County, Michigan, that I witnessed or documented from the early 1980's. That record formed the basis of this articulated reasoning concerning my perception of that which I was only barely aware of, at an intellectual level, earlier in my life, because I chose to ignore or avoid its impact on my daily life, as much as possible. I have few regrets in my life, given the lot dealt me, but... had I been taught to value my youthful perception of the world, uncolored by the various, disparate, and patently false claims of those that had the responsibility to know better, and teach me accordingly, my life would be vastly different than it is now. My main personal regret, regarding a personal failure, is that I did not seek the answer to the "no credit" question, on an 11th grade final high school history test, "Who is John Galt?". It was not until 1968, when I was at Da Nang, Vietnam, that I received a copy of Galt's life, and during the years following, I became familiar with associated writings concerning epistemology. It was then that I first understood that most everyone else could be "wrong", for very well articulated "real" reasons, and my inability to see that which doesn't exist was not my failure; and I owed few apologies for that which I did see and understand. From then to now, peer reviewed research has confirmed what I first came to understand, in a rudimentary manner, two lifetimes ago. It is my understanding that each individual in the world is different from every other, physically and intellectually, to one degree or another. Those differences, due to genetic and environmental variable influences, effect each individual's perception, knowledge, and comprehension of their environment. That variable understanding of the world, determines, to a great degree, the choices that each individual makes throughout their life regarding that which they consider is necessary to survive, prosper, and be "happy". Without considering arcane science, research, and theories, there are universal phenomena and concepts that almost everyone understands in an almost identical manner, such as gravity, and 1 plus 1. Regarding other phenomena and concepts, such as a round Earth, or a chair, understanding varies, markedly. Some folk know the Earth is an irregular flat surface, and, depending on context, a "chair" might be a chunk of ice, a rock, a log, or pig, or grandma's rocker. So it goes for every individual of the human species. Given differences in perception, if two people enter into a conversation concerning a chair, and one person is talking about a pig, and the other, grandma's rocker, it is highly unlikely that any meaningful communication will take place between the two, if there is no attempt to consider the mutual differences in perception, and understanding. So it goes in Manistique, and the rest of the world. My awareness of differences in individual perception is nothing new. It is portrayed in a poem I read, understood, and enjoyed, as a child in England. I never forgot what it meant. See The Blind Men and the Elephant, written by American poet John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) who based this poem on a fable that was told in India many years earlier, long before modern science and research studied the workings of the human mind. It was six men of Hindustan To learning much inclined, Who went to see the Elephant (Though all of them were blind) That each by observation Might satisfy the mind. The first approached the Elephant And happening to fall Against his broad and sturdy side At once began to bawl: "Bless me, it seems the Elephant Is very like a wall". The second, feeling of his tusk, Cried, "Ho! What have we here So very round and smooth and sharp? To me 'tis mighty clear This wonder of an Elephant Is very like a spear". The third approached the animal, And happening to take The squirming trunk within his hands, Then boldly up and spake: "I see," quoth he, "the Elephant Is very like a snake." The Fourth reached out an eager hand, And felt about the knee. "What most this wondrous beast is like Is mighty plain," quoth he; "'Tis clear enough the Elephant Is very like a tree!" The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said: "E'en the blindest man Can tell what this resembles most; Deny the fact who can, This marvel of an Elephant Is very like a fan!" The Sixth no sooner had begun About the beast to grope, Than, seizing on the swinging tail That fell within his scope, "I see," quoth he, "the Elephant Is very like a rope!" And so these men of Hindustan Disputed loud and long, Each in his own opinion Exceeding stiff and strong, Though each was partly in the right And all were in the wrong. So oft in theologic wars, The disputants, I ween, Rail on in utter ignorance Of what each other mean, And prate about an Elephant Not one of them has seen! Individual differences exist in varying degrees, regardless of how much they may be ignored, or denied, to the detriment of collective goals, worldwide. Contrary to the wishful thinking of those that tried to brain-wash me, through my primary and secondary education, all individuals are not "created" equal. For similar reasons, all indigenous geographic populations are not "created" equal, regardless of how "politically incorrect" that perspective may be. What can be stated, as a true generality, is that the effects of an almost infinite possible combination of actual genetic and environmental variables, results in individuals, and populations, of all races and geographic areas, outstanding in certain characteristics required to survive, breed and maintain a healthy population consistent with the demands of the particular environment in which the evolutionary process takes place. The well established concepts of evolution and natural selection, that I learned and understood as a high school student, are, with few minor exceptions, as valid today as they were when Darwin and Wallace first articulated them, and all attempts to convince me otherwise, by the witch-doctors of the world, have failed. Consistent with Darwin's and Wallace's observations, reasoning, and conclusions, I learned that most human endeavours are consistent with the implicit premise that the strong have the natural imperative and right to dominate and exploit the weak. That right is limited to whatever degree that an organization, or other individuals, tolerate any particular predatory behaviour. It is my personal opinion, based upon my personal experiences and understanding, and at times, misunderstanding, that the degree of society's tolerance of predatory behaviour has injured, severely, the ethical philosophical backbone of this nation's government, economy, and society. There are objective reasons and an historical record, Dorothy, that substantiate my misanthropic perception of humanity, and dystopian view of the future, regardless of whether, or not, you understand my perspective. The title of this article represents nothing new. Folks such as Karl Marx and John Kenneth Galbraith, and others labelled as "communists" or "socialists" of various stripes, have criticized the ills of democracy, laissez-faire capitalism, and free will, since the premises underlying such concepts were articulated, clearly. Economists such as Adam Smith to Milton Friedman, and other proponents of "free markets", criticized the ills of government regulation of business affairs, based upon the premise that the long term rational self-interests of those in business would limit destructive excesses, and promote a dynamic economy that would benefit everyone. The articulate and influential philosopher-author, Ayn Rand, incorporated most aspects of a civilized, intelligent, and rational life in her objectivism philosophy, but it too is held hostage to the effects of the generally predictable, yet infinitely variable, predatory opportunistic human nature. She, and so many others, failed or refused to consider the extent to which that evolved and pervasive human nature influences so much human behavior. As a general rule, most people do not act in their rational self-interest when that interest extends beyond the requirements of understanding the immediate and basic requirements of survival, and enjoying their chosen recreational interests. They either fail to perceive or understand more complex issues of cause and effect, or choose to ignore that which they do understand, because it is in their perceived short term self-interest to do so. In a complex technological world, many adults refuse to admit that they "don't know", and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I learned that, to many "Yoopers", "ignorant" was an epithet, equivalent to "stupid", "idiotic", "deplorable"... I have seldom been as surprised by an idiom as I was when I heard the exclamation, "That's ignorant!", in the context that the action of an ignorant person made the person despicable for a consequence of being unaware of some specific part of an immense quantity of collective human knowledge. For many reasons, including avoidance of a "despicable" and subjective "ignorant" label, many ignorant folk will readily accept the plausible reasoning of others, consistent with their perceived personal self-interest. It is far easier, acceptable, and expected, that most individuals, to avoid "wasting" that part of their life to determine what is true, or not, claim someone else's reasoning as acceptable, or as their own, consistent with being an individual member of a society built upon shared knowledge. It is a requirement of a competitive collective of specialized individuals, that most are ignorant of many other specialized skills and knowledge required for others to be productive in their areas of expertise; be those other specializations creative or destructive in nature or effect. It is a direct consequence of the creation of productive collectives of specialized individuals, with varied degrees of intelligence, knowledge, and skills, that most individuals will be ignorant of most knowledge, and, consequentially, be vulnerable, more or less, to those that choose to hone and use their specialized skills and knowledge for predatory purposes. To admit one's ignorance is to admit a weakness that can be considered or corrected, if necessary; or ignored, and allow others greater opportunity to victimize. Ignorance unrecognized, ignored, or denied, makes it easier to be deceived, manipulated, and victimized by others. Most individuals do not have an awareness of all that may be injurious to their well-being, or have the time and intellectual resources to determine all that may be dangerous. Therefore most folk will mask their ignorance, as a protective measure, with a deception of choice, be it of their own creation, or that of others with the goal of victimizing the ignorant, and those that choose to deny that which is. The consequences of the admirable libertarian philosophies that formed the basis of American independence from Britain, have an historical dark side, up to and including the current world-wide mess. In the U.S., it is political suicide to address root causes because they represent the ignored or denied atavist in everyone that is at odds with pervasive influential religious mythology, and other superstitious beliefs. The "dark side" consequences are the direct result of human nature manifest in the inherited survival behaviour of one individual's opportunity to profit at the expense of the environment, including other individuals, to whatever degree society permits, or advocates. Consider the historical effects of unbridled human nature, some of it witnessed by me, recorded in my lifetime, in black and white and technicolor, along with the personal written, printed, and recorded words of victims and victimizers, along with the debris and bones that still exist. I have no doubts about the "milk of human kindness"* when victimizers are allowed to hold sway. With no historical perspective whatsoever, those that deny the obvious are belied, today, by journalists and news sources of professional integrity, around the world. *From Shakespeare's Macbeth, 1623: "Yet doe I feare thy Nature, It is too full o' th' Milke of humane kindnesse." Evolutionary pressures molded human nature, over eons, to that which favored the survival of individuals, families, and small groups of foraging predators. Regardless of the desire to foster the civilized behaviour required to reap the benefits of specialized labor, and collective efforts, no degree of enlightened self-interest, or superstitious dogma, has changed basic human nature, one iota; and within the context of the foreseeable and predictable future, it is doubtful that it ever will; wishful thinking, or not. Specific human behaviours may be modified with a set of enforced rules, but rules of civilized behaviour without enforcement means that opportunistic predators rule to whatever degree the rules of civilized behaviour may be avoided, or unenforced; thereby encouraging further human predation. Many species of ants and bees evolved as species that require innate focused collective effort to survive. Each individual has a DNA defined purpose in the collective organization, that guarantees the success of the collective in a relatively favorable steady-state environment. The human species evolved with no such individual purpose in any collective effort outside of those required for food, shelter and procreation at the most primitive levels, in a variety of environments, not too far removed from the current requirements of some of our great ape relatives. Unlike humans, individual ants and bees, in their respective collectives, cannot make choices, based upon their individual perspective, that will injure the collective. The primitive individual choices of ants and bees may result in the individual's destruction, but will be of little to no consequence to other individuals of the collective. Individual humans can, and do, make conscious intellectual choices that impact the overall health and survival of the minor and major collectives of which they are part. Unlike other forms of Earthly life, individuals of the human species have the ability and option to choose whether their basic nature will prevail, or not. Outside of various forms of slavery, most civilized human collective efforts result from mutually agreeable individual choices to achieve common goals. Assuming that a collective goal is rational, achievable, and sustainable for the period of time considered, that common goal is doomed when sufficient individual influential choices are made that result in consequences that neutralize the collective goal oriented efforts of others. Unlike the primitive choices of individual ants and bees, that have little to no effect on the predefined goal of the collective effort, in today's human collectives, relatively few people can, and do, make choices that destroy or appropriate the individual and collective gains of others. Not only do humans choose to prey on other species, and the Earth, they prey on each other as simply and obvious as an individual armed robber, or in the most subtle, devious, and more effective ways of an organization of political or business con artists that hunts with words, a prey of varying intelligence and knowledge. Some of the "magic bullets" used by proponents of various forms of predation, to promote their well being and silence or kill criticism of their particular variety of predation, are variations of the following: "Instead of engaging in destructive criticism, why don't you do something constructive to change the status quo?" or, "Nothing prevents you from gaining the "good life", as I do." "The business at hand is the consequence of mutual agreeable choices, based upon free will." "It's God's will." "It's the will of the people." The litany of excuses to justify an individual's form of predatory behaviour is as varied as the forms of predation available. As I cannot change human nature, and ruling predators have no interest in enforcing laws against predation, short of slaying most of the human race, I have few civilized choices beyond becoming a predator, or silent victim. As I choose to be neither, local predators label me a "Citizen Against Virtually Everything", while the silent victims consider me "wacko". Sucks to be me... Beyond the obvious self-interests of a thief, it matters not to those specialized human predators that most folks choose, or are forced by environmental pressures, to develop the specific skills and knowledge required to create wealth, rather than take it for little to no value. It matters not to predators that their existence depends on their choice to develop skills, and acquire knowledge, to exploit "human resources", no different from others that might exploit "natural resources" such as wildlife, or coal, or wood, or metallic ore,... to achieve a desired goal. Beyond the impact upon their personal gain, it matters not to predators what impact they have upon their victims' quality of life. It matters not to predators that, given the Bell curve of human intelligence and other abilities, in a specialized, complex, production driven world, most folk do not have the time, or the ability, to master and use all the world's knowledge to protect themselves from those that specialize in various forms of simple and sophisticated predation. Most individuals, in a civilized society, find it more necessary to engage in creative efforts to support themselves and their families, instead of learning how to catch, kill, cage, or train predators. Others' necessity to create should not encourage increased predation if the creators of wealth pay specialized sworn professionals to control or eliminate human predators. It doesn't take a mental giant to understand that the relationship between those that create wealth and those elected or employed to protect wealth and its creators is seriously broken. Too often, the protectors are paid to sanction, or become predators. There is a reason why that famous quote rings true with so many, " The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." Too often, the arguments from human predators, and their supporters, is based upon their claim that all have the same choices. They claim that if one individual exploits a weakness in another, for gain, the party that gains the most in a "voluntary" transaction should not be singled out to be denied the product of their efforts, because "It's the victim's fault!" for being too greedy, or stupid, or ignorant, or careless, or hungry, or lusty, or poor, or... There is no limit to the reasons for one person to screw another, be they next door, or oceans away. In a civilized society, there is a huge difference between understanding and articulating a clear perception of an obvious problem, and having a socially acceptable, politically correct solution to offer; it is the difference between goals, perception, chosen specializations of knowledge, skills, and professions. In most cases of predation, though it may take time to become evident, it is a no-brainer to recognize, and bash in the head of a predator. The obvious solution is no longer a civilized response to uncivilized behaviour, because too many individuals have chosen to be part of, and sanction, too much uncivilized behaviour, for too long, too close to home. It doesn't take a genius to understand that, given the simple historical view of justice, there would be far fewer predators. If someone takes your created wealth that helps you to ensure your survival and thereby endangers your health and life, then, if you catch them, enslave them to pay back with interest that which they stole, or break their fingers, hand, or head - whatever is most effective to heal, to whatever degree possible, those injured by the thief, and whatever is most effective in discouraging repeat predation or similar offenses by others. Regarding my perception of the burgeoning international mess, as a general rule, major white collar criminals walk, with all their body parts intact and healthy, too often with much of their loot, and, too often, with reputations as pillars of government, society and business, touted by whatever organizations they supported with the products of other peoples' lives. Not so for "blue collar" predators. It is as if theft with words is an admirable career, while theft with a gun is a reprehensible vocation. From my perspective, the solution to all problem predators is not trying to understand them, or warehousing them, or finding constructive career options for them, or supporting them, or educating them, or training them, or all the irrational options practiced to convert predators of choice to "desirable and productive members of society". My "wacko" solution for the prevention of victimization is something like this: Educate everyone, from an early age, how to think in a logical, rational, and objective manner. Educate everyone, from an early age, that there is no such thing as magical, or real, supreme beings that condone or forgives any victimization. Educate everyone, from an early age, concerning the true nature of our species. Educate everyone, from an early age, concerning a rational and substantiated set of rules for civilized behaviour in a social collective. Educate everyone, from an early age, concerning the basic requirements of a sustainable civilized society. Educate everyone, from an early age, that nothing in the world is secure, or free, or without consequences, including any and all choices to violate established rules of civilized behaviour. Educate everyone about the meaning of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." in the context of a civilized productive society of specialized individuals. Then, enforce the rules of civilized behaviour to hold all violators fully accountable, in a manner that discourages similar behaviour and ensures no one profits from one person victimizing another - and ensure that society is not burdened with supporting predators after the nature of the predation has been identified, and the predators caught. Here are a few punitive proposals for those that care not to coddle and encourage major predators of wealth. For those that choose to enslave others by stealing the product of their victims' labor by fraudulent means: For serious predators, strip them of all assets, exile them to some "Shoot on sight!" guarded, fenced-in barren armpit of the world, like central Australia, or the Sahara desert, or an area of the American West, with no survival infrastructure and no resources to pillage, and let them survive together, or not. Victimization in excess of a given "amount" and significantly less than a life's production, deserves a bar code tattooed on a predator's forehead, plus whatever compensation is possible to the victim(s), within the shortest immediate period of a captured predator's likely remaining lifetime. For those that victimize close to, or in excess of one victim's lifetime income, that want an alternative to exile, then whatever compensation is possible within an immediate short period of time, including confiscation of any and all assets that have been financed in any way by the theft or fraud, regardless of in whose name they may be, plus, a public painful death after which the body parts are sold for patient use or research. The sale price of a specific criminal's body parts are used to compensate the specific criminal's victim(s) of any form of major unlawful enslavement. If nothing else, in many cases, some significant degree of compensation to the victim is possible by killing a major predator in a public, painful, and cost efficient manner, and selling the body parts. Needless to say my constructive and reasoned suggestions are considered as "wacko and bizarre" by those motivated by superstitious mythology, popular psychology, cultural "norms", wishful thinking, or various forms of guilt due to their association with various forms of predatory behaviour. To those that consider major destructive predatory behavior deserves a humane and painless punishment, I suggest public execution by guillotine. Personally, I figured out that a free and painless pass to oblivion would not discourage me, if I chose to be a predator. The thought of doing time in the Schoolcraft County jail, or having my nails ripped out, or being sodomized by Bubba, every night, for the rest of my life, does. We all gotta die, and, most likely, it will not be in a painless and humane manner. Just like taxes, the application of law should apply to all legal entities, blue or white collar, no exceptions. It makes no difference to the victims why they are victimized, by whom, or how; the damage is the same and so it should be for the victimizers. An eye for an eye, a dollar for a dollar, life for life, to whatever degree that can be realized in a civilized context without trying to avoid treating worse than animals those that choose to prey worse than animals. Needless to say, there are a number of community predators, whose choices result in deliberate or consequential victimization, about whose lingering deaths, or painful ill fortune, I would rejoice. Those that take and play with other peoples' money have the responsibility to understand that, in effect, they play with other peoples' lives, and, consequently, should meet their moral, ethical, and fiduciary responsibilities - or suffer the consequences. Slavery, major or minor, deliberate or otherwise, public or private, condoned or not, is serious business for which there should be serious penalties for those that take or squander, with impunity, the equivalent of other peoples' lives. As far as I am concerned, all form of behaviour, based upon the free association of individuals, should be permissible, as long as there are no victims, deliberate or consequential. Beyond the requirement of taxes, and the degree of slavery required to produce the tax wealth that finances the required "infrastructure" of a civilized society, those that wish to impose their will upon others are nothing more than predatory victimizers that have chosen to represent their best interests as the arbiters of others' choices. To me, those folk are better off dead that wish to impose their will upon me, based upon the premise that I exist for their well being, outside of the historic, well established laws of a government that is designed to exist for the individual, rather than the converse. Instead of more victim blood, more predator blood would have prevented many past and current problems. Instead of more victim blood, more blood from today's predators would discourage predation, tomorrow. One thing is sure, with insufficient consequences few predators change their behaviour. Directly related to my thoughtful, articulated perspective, is the obvious consequences of predation on the national economy. Decades of millions of predators striving for and living the "good life", earned by no tangible value added to existing wealth, fostered by the goal of avoiding the consequences of previous predatory economic decisions, has broken a Humpty Dumpty economy in a fashion that will not be pieced together, as it once was. No one can take, gamble, destroy, speculate, squander, move, or invest offshore, the equity of the national economy, and recreate it again, in today's world, with little more than wishful thinking and the power of the press to print worthless currency. No one can indebt future generations without some of those indentured servants taking offense to being sold into slavery, for the benefit of "retirees" and other speculators of third party lives. Most buying and selling, on commodity and stock markets around the world, is little more than speculative gambling for the purpose of gaining the tangible wealth produced by the lives of others, with little to no value added to the product or process by which it is created. A significant part of the current and speculated future productive value of those that create today, or are yet to be born, is used to feed the human predator in everyone that wishes to enslave another to live the good life today, at the expense of others' lives, tomorrow. By purchasing, or "investing" in a piece of another's productive life, without their permission, an individual can own the products of that piece of life without the responsibilities of have to house, feed, or tend to the needs of that purchased piece of some else's life. When all the pieces are added together, anyone can buy as many slaves as they can afford, without having to look into the faces of their captives, and with no necessity to consider the welfare of the lives purchased. Commodity futures markets take value from the speculated value of a product of those that produce, while stock markets take value from the speculated value of the productive infrastructure created by productive lives. The value taken from both markets feeds those that buy the equivalent pieces of others' lives, and the broker infrastructure, both of which add no value to the product brokered, at the expense of those that actually produce tangible wealth. Gone are the days when "leaders" of this nation dominated, controlled, or molded, with impunity, the economic and military structure of most the world, to the benefit of their political sponsors. It will be interesting to watch my neighbors being molded as our "leaders" pursue a more aggressive predatory agenda, at home, to compensate for their losses in the U.S. and abroad. It is a characteristic of exploitative human nature to compensate for the loss of one resource, with another, to maintain the quality of life an individual has become accustomed to, or to which they aspire. Regarding the national economy, without appropriating the wealth of, and enslaving the population of those against whom we fight, waging war does nothing but consume and destroy wealth. That destroyed wealth is replaced with the worthless currency printed and placed into circulation to "pay" for that which is destroyed, and those individuals employed to destroy. Governments, through their elected and appointed officials, and employees, do little more than consume and redistribute the wealth of those that actually produce it. They are then paid with currency and benefits that are little more than enforced liens against the value of the tangible wealth created by the productive entities of society. They add no value to the economy; they drain it, "necessarily", or not. Corporations are not the predatory, greedy, mindless, tax-evading brutes portrayed by those that seek convenient scapegoats for the nation's woes. Corporations are nothing more than legal entity servants to the goals, plans, whims, efforts, dreams, and machinations, of the executives, boards of directors, and other individuals that control, work for, or "invest" in corporations. In addition to the significant productive and tax evasion merits, corporations allow individuals to prey upon others without incurring legal consequences. The predatory behaviour of corporations reflects the predatory desires of the individuals that control, direct, work for, and patronize them. From my unvarnished perspective, the nation is no longer a power unto itself, in either a military, economic, or educational sense. The real cost of waging most recent wars in the far corners of the world is huge. Other than satisfying the alleged interests of those that promote and support such savage atavistic nonsense, no real gains are achieved, at incredible cost to those productive sectors of society that actually create the wealth for others to destroy. Needless to say, the cynical perspective of the United Sates, held by many folk around the world, is earned by the costs, pain, death and misery that we visit upon those in whose backyards we, or our proxies, choose to teach others the "errors" of their ways. National military service, based upon the draft and the rational national necessity to project motivated and effective defensive military power in a predatory world, has been replaced with a voluntary, mercenary, military force, at exorbitant cost to the "private sector", beholden to no anti-war interest. It is designed not to serve and protect, but is paid to follow the orders of elected officials, that pursue the wishes of others, to mold the world in whatever fantasy-image-of-the-day is held in greatest favor. Pacific rim and European nations make it obvious that the U.S. is not the sole economic powerhouse of the world, but has become more of a customer and client state of others, squandering existing equity as fast as possible to maintain the illusion of the "good life", earned. From an educational perspective, many other countries of the world promote significantly better educational programs that emphasize that which is required by productive collectives of individuals with specialized knowledge and skills. The successful related technologies of computers and the Internet has created a more level playing field, allowing the transfer of knowledge and intellectual tools to the disenfranchised around the world, providing the means for many of the able, motivated, and hungry, to illustrate their perspective of the meaning of "equality" and "opportunity" to the Western World. In retrospect, the effect of the printing press to disseminate knowledge took centuries. Newer technology does the same at the speed of light. Like it, or not, the concept of "equality of opportunity" has changed the world in a manner that Martin Luther, George Bush, and their acolytes, could not imagine, control, or respond to in a manner consistent with the long term goals they tried to impose upon others. Our historic and basic form of government, the best working for responsible civilized individuals, has been corrupted to a serious and obvious degree. I, and others with some understanding that there is a crippling political pandemic, voted for a presidential candidate that could offer little more than some stated recognition of, and promises to change, predatory policies that encouraged that which has become ingrained and destructive at all levels of government, and the unsustainable "American Fantasy" way of life that so many seek. The rest of the world may not be equal to the U.S. in certain areas of expertise and production, but in many others important to human daily life, they excel. A variety of countries have the knowledge, technical expertise, industrial and educational infrastructure, and able, hungry, and motivated populations to compete with the U.S. In some cases, like the U.S., they have sufficient military and economic influence to help "persuade" natural resource rich countries to grant them favorable business terms. Consequently, others can compete with the U.S. in many economic endeavours, at levels of pay and benefits that make American union officials, workers, corporate executives, military leaders, bankers, pension fund managers, health industry executives, and government bureaucrats sweat blood during a continuous nightmare. You may rest assured that nations and workers around the world have no intent to fund the U.S. public infrastructure, health care system, or various "entitlement" schemes, and you can be confident that the "leaders" of this nation understand what they condoned, and the consequences due. When I was a child, I knew that wealth did not exist for the taking, and I knew and understood the terrors of rampant inflation, from little more than collecting foreign postage stamps. Those with a far better formal education than mine, well tutored in the fine arts of deception, are not near as ignorant as they would have their victims believe. Hopefully, sooner than later, the general population will understand that enslaving current and future populations to provide others the promise of a secure good life, present and future, employed and retired, tax paid or otherwise, is nothing more than the empty parasitic claim of a confidence game designed to victimize that sector of the society that actually produces wealth. Slavery is what it is, regardless of the label given. There is nothing in the real world that is secure, beyond the continuous false claims of a class of thief that profits by the claimed ability to provide security to everyone, at acceptable cost to everyone else. Those claims reflect the basic survival nature of an opportunistic predator-forager to strive for that which provides the greatest survival benefit for the minimal expenditure of effort; as in "something for nothing". A major goal of a confidence criminal is to convince the mark to reach for an unearned gain, thereby trapping the victim in the mutually understood consequences, shame, and guilt of a predatory decision. Those well learned in the knowledge and skills of manipulating the confidence of others, sell public and private confidence games to the rest of humanity, securing their well being with the shame and guilt of their clients, at the untold cost of others' blood and misery. Regardless of claims to the contrary, most, if not all, "secure" income streams, are based upon the enforced claims of some to the productive lives of others, without the explicit permission and full understanding of those that actually produce the wealth that others claim. Exploitation of others, by slavery, explicit or otherwise, has been, and will be, to one degree or another, the predator-forager hallmark of human behaviour. Government "Ponzi Schemes" guarantee nothing; based upon the fiction of a constantly expanding economy, they promise to pay in the future, those that buy into the scams, today. Subsequently, others are indentured, before birth, to provide the good life for others, tomorrow. Wimpey's great line, "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger, today." is how empty words are tendered as security for wealth solicited by government, business, and individual confidence artists of all types. Unless human parasites and predators are rendered impotent to take value from the creative and productive work of others, those interested in creating and maintaining a relatively stable economy will be hard pressed to convince folks at home, and abroad, to invest in, rather than gamble with the U.S. economy. Few folks are anxious to help America and finance its crumbling infrastructure, social security, retirement and health care plans, and other baggage of profligate living dependant upon the explicit requirement of taking from some to give to others within the context of "whatever the market will bear". As I understood, for several decades, America's "good times", at the expense of the rest of the world, was history in the making. It took a lot less time to loot and squander the equity of the national economy, than it took to create. As I understand, today, it will take more blood than I want to see to raise Ol' Humpty in my lifetime, or the longer life time of many others; if it is possible. As much as I am a supporter of Obama, he cannot put the same Humpty back on the wall, broken or intact. He is not the head of a totalitarian government that controls the world. He can encourage the further destruction of the economy, and public infrastructure, with the same lame "Hands off!" rhetoric of the Bush League. He can further more predation by violating laws, and encouraging or allowing others to violate law, and refuse to enforce laws designed to hold thieves accountable. He can encourage the further printing of worthless currency, backed by worthless paper promises, to restore the equity of that already plundered. He can reward multi-national businesses, with U.S. public money, to continue their thriftless business models. He can promote further national debt to be paid off by those yet to be conceived. He can foster the declining status-quo of those holding today's inflated currency, crippled, significantly, by the devalued wealth equity plundered, or moved off-shore. He can spur other domestic businesses to move off-shore to escape the public tax burden of public infrastructure, military, courts, police, and other bags of tax financed goods, services, and promises. He can further a protectionist national economic policy that cannot undo history. He can help reduce the common productive individual of the world to little more than an expedient means to the ends of those that choose to own and master others, a piece at a time, or in the whole. He can continue America's de-facto obsession with creating world-wide enemies by waging or supporting wars, within or against other nations, not for irrefutable self-defence reasons against an identified enemy, but for predatory national, political, economic, religious, and social beliefs and agendas, the same as or different from ours. He could promote an equitable national and global economy, taxable in a simple and equitable manner, designed in a manner to hold liable, in a merciless and objective manner, all those involved with necessary tax slavery, and the voluntary business of managing the product of other peoples' lives. He could sanction the conversion of various contracted and unsustainable business and government "Blue Sky" liabilities such as "social security", "retirement plans", and health care "benefits", that cannot be met in today's global competitive economy. Those that promoted free unregulated markets encouraged destruction of the economy by those who, in practice, acted according to basic human nature. Those pillars of government, business, and society pursued their "earned" right as specialized dominating predators, to victimize the politically weaker and less influential productive members of society, that actually created the wealth the predators consumed. Beyond an open mind to peer reviewed research theories, my view of the world, from a small child, was influenced minimally, or not at all, by the baggage of political, religious, or societal claims concerning that which does not exist, beyond the desires of individual or collective imaginations. Today, I still see the world as it is, from my niche in the environment, and, as through most of my life, I still fail to see the "Emperor's New Clothes"* when they do not exist. Sucks to be a "square peg". If and when Obama tries, consistently, to curb current predation, I will recognize his garments as something new; befitting one who is not an educated and articulate variation of his predecessor, the illiterate atavist of a hyena that led a pack of like minded predators. *"The Emperor's New Clothes" circa 1837 - a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen concerning an emperor who hired two con artists to create a new suit of clothes for him. Thieves are thieves. Predators are what they are, and wolves in sheeps' clothing are still wolves. Beyond the fully disclosed requirements to levy taxes for essential public infrastructure and government services, such as police, courts, armed forces, and public education, there is no civilized rational reason or excuse, for anything other than the voluntary, conscious, fully informed, and understood choice of one individual to share their wealth with another, for any and all reasons, within the context that there are no victims, deliberate or consequential. From my perspective, anyone cavalier with other folks' money, well-being, health and lives, should be held accountable, in a like manner. If I, as a dumb Limey immigrant, knows the difference between ethical business and blatant theft and fraud, you may rest assured that those taking others to the cleaners, or worse, know what they are doing, when they do it. Thieves, con-artists, gamblers, and other human predators, professional and amateur, have been part of human history for millenia, and, with few exceptions, no human predator can cop a true plea of ignorance or accident. For those that still fail to get the message, we, and future generations, reap what we sow, and it takes no crystal ball, or messenger from anyone's god, for any healthy individual to understand that the product of one individual's labor does not sanction an arbitrary claim to it by another, during the life of or prior to the victim's birth. Theft by gun or words, today or tomorrow, enslaves in different ways, and as long as societies sanction theft with words, and-or enforce such theft with the powers of the police, military, and the courts, slavery will be more pervasive today and tomorrow, than it ever was. In the U.S.A., you get what you choose, at the polls. When you choose a deceiver or thief, or someone that supports theft or deceit, you choose a slaver against whom you are virtually helpless, because you choose to sanction their behaviour with your ballot. Too often, the power of thieves and deceivers to enslave, injure, or destroy their victims, comes with the explicit or implicit approval of the victim, ignorant or not. A successful con artist always seeks the approval of a victim, before slicing and dicing, because there is power derived from the victim's complicit guilt, used to control the victim's behaviour. Who will argue, with integrity and significant complicit guilt, against that which they asked for, or approved, or were forced to participate in? I have met little more than a handful of individuals in my life who acknowledged evil and refused to approve it or remain silent, in spite of their faults, failures, or complicit guilt for a myriad reasons. The vocal or silent sanction of their victims, based upon complicit guilt, empowers and preserves confidence artists around the world, including those practicing in Manistique and Schoolcraft County. The meaning of the following old saws never made any logical sense to me, as a child. Today, I understand why they are so important to the survival of victimizers of all types: "Let him without sin cast the first stone" "Judge not, that ye be not judged." "The pot has no right to call the kettle black." "Those in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks." Regardless of their original context, these, and similar homilies, are used by many to coerce a victim's approval of a predator's behaviour based upon the false premise that a victim deserves to be victimized due to their de facto guilt, and subsequent shame for being human, therefore imperfect, because they participated in some form of victimizing behavior at some time in their life. The similar old maxim "See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil." is commonly used to describe someone who chooses to ignore the unethical or immoral quality of that which they know of, or are involved with. The consequences of sanctioning evil, by default silence, gives license to those that practice evil in the name of the public or private "good", for which the individual victims pay with their lives in various ways, from an unnoticed piece at a time; to an instant bloody mess. Edmund Burke once penned, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." My observations, throughout my life, have confirmed to me that most good folk say or do nothing, regardless of what the Marine Corps would have you believe. Those same observations led me to the conclusion that most victims choose to be helpless against the perpetrators of the "long con", in which leaders of political parties, the armed forces, corporate entities, and religion, excel. It is understandable, and expected by con artists, that most individuals find it more necessary, or desirable, to concentrate on the immediate necessities of some form of a productive life, rather than trying to understand the human nature that motivates others. Consequently, they are easy pickings for those that specialize in various forms of fraud and theft. Living a life as a productive member of society marks the person as a target for all forms of theft sanctioned by the silence of a majority of past and present victims, and their victimizers. Why is there irrational guilt and shame that silences and paralyzes most "good men", victimized or not? Ask your local witch doctor, theologist, or any other confidence professional that subscribes to any form of the mystical mantra, "It's the will of God.", including the variation of, "It's the will of Darwin and Wallace." So what about fleas? Insect or human, as parasites living on the life blood of the host, they annoy, maim, or kill, depending on the general health of the host, regardless of whether the host realizes it is another creature's meal, as a volunteer for the main course. As Ol' Man Christiansen said, "The big fleas eat the little fleas, and the little fleas eat the smaller fleas." Regardless of Swift's poetic license, human's are not the equivalent of choiceless and brainless fleas. With relatively few exceptions, in this country, an individual chooses to be, or not to be, a flea. For those that might care for Hollywood art as a mirror of the seamy profession of business and government confidence games, from petty crooks to the President of the U.S.A., I suggest watching, and thinking about, the following five movies. "The Grifters", David Mamet's "House of Cards" and "The Spanish Prisoner", "Wall Street", and "All the President's Men". 03/28/09 Early yesterday afternoon, while waiting for my wife to purchase a few items at a local grocery store, I received my weekly inoculation against rightwingitis by listening to less than five minutes of a vitriol spewing "Neal Boortz Show" on Manistique's right wing propaganda radio station, WPIQ. The commentator labelled President Obama as a Marxist who was responsible for the current economic mess and who's spending policies, (that President Bush initiated), were leading the nation to inevitable destruction. (Note - 05/06/09 Today I received another inoculation against rightwingitis, under the same circumstances as above. This time I noted the name of the show, "The Neal Boortz Show". When I got home, I viewed the web site for the show, and found that "Boortz"'s demagoguery claims to represent Libertarian values! Whether it does, or not, my general sympathy for the Libertarian point of view has taken a serious hit.) Today, after a restless night that I attribute to Ol' Geezer pains, and dream voices considering the merits of, and goals, of the rhetoric I heard yesterday, I am prompted to articulate a related perspective regarding cause and effect relationships concerning the "necessity" of an expensive upgrade of Manistique's drinking water treatment facility, and the "necessity" of the federal government to print worthless currency to purchase worthless "toxic" investment assets. The purchase of worthless assets, with no serious attempt to hold accountable those individuals whose predatory decisions created them, rewards the failures of those with the lawful, fiduciary, ethical, and moral responsibility to nurture the products of others' lives. The Manistique city government's and administration's decision to force Manistique residents to purchase a water plant upgrade, with almost no due process, and with no serious consideration of that which caused the necessity of the upgrade, or the lawful responsibilities of those related to the cause, rewards the failures of those with the lawful, fiduciary, ethical, and moral responsibility to nurture the products of others' lives. Regarding the rhetoric of right wing demagogues, used to incite the emotions of ignorant "rednecks", north and south of the Mason-Dixon line, I remember that Marxist leaders, with Marxist enforcers, took care of the business of Marxist justice, with the least cost to the proletariat, by appropriating the assets of, and a single bullet to the back of the head of those "predatory capitalist pigs", Left or Right, that preyed upon the ignorant working class; or libeled and slandered state leaders. A right wing demagogue might rate a public execution by firing squad, assuming the state was willing to waste a few more cartridges to emphasize a public message. With the recorded historical perspective that I choose to consider, I fail to see the invisible Marxist garb that too many "conservatives" claim is Obama's raiment. From my perspective, a society that promoted objective and ruthless civilized justice, to punish those that prey upon others, and discourage such behavior by those considering predation, would reduce to a relatively insignificant level that which ails most "civilized" societies. Given the infinite manifestations of the predator-forager nature of the human species, and the current political climate, it is unlikely there will ever be sufficient motivation, or support for, any serious attempt to curb that which rewards so many, with so much, with so little risk of equitable punishment. The atavists' guarded natural right to victimize the ignorant, weak, or stupid, formed the basis for much of the dynamic history of this country, and still does. No doubt, if and when most folk realize they are little more than the means to the ends of others, and the quality of life, for most, has been reduced to little more than feudal existence, then it is possible that cracking the skulls of professional predators and incompetents will become a little more acceptable, assuming that the means to crack skulls are still available. I watched, with genuine disgust, a major network morning news program, a few days ago, during which a male and female "reporter" expressed their revulsion of those responsible for expressing violent hatred towards those AIG insurance executives, (and their families) that took public tax "bailout" money as bonuses for their failures to manage, in a candid and ethical manner, the investments of other people's lives! It was as if the "talking heads" were considering the threatened violence in a vacuum of context. The editorializing "reporters'" showed no recognition of the equivalent of AIG enslaving unknown thousands, if not millions of lives, by taking the products of those lives by means of fraud or incompetence. The "reporters" never considered the possibility that there might be sufficient reasons, to the victims and their supporters, for justly deserved violent retribution as an alternative to rewarding the victimizers with "tax paid bonuses" that represented the equivalent remnants of the victimized investors' lives. As I learned, early in life, if dire consequences are insufficient, or unlikely, no one changes uncivilized or undesirable behavior they perceive, for whatever reason, real or imaginary, to be to their best interest. Even inevitable prison, pain, maiming, or death, does not deter those bent upon the destruction of others, or themselves. Rewarding predators, supporting predators, or forgiving predators, in a civilized society, does nothing but foster predation. Rewarding incompetents, supporting incompetents, or forgiving incompetents, in a civilized society, does nothing but foster incompetence. To the victims of predatory behavior, the pain and cost is the same, regardless of the reasons, be the predation deliberate or the consequence of incompetence, or ignorance, or stupidity, or any other reason consequential to the conscious choices of others. During the course of a conversation, recently, someone recited the following to me, "Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Then they asked why I am so confrontational, and a glutton for punishment, when all I had to do was zip my lip. My answer was, "The quote is the mantra of every coward who chooses to let predators rule, by default." Normally, I respond to similar inquiries with, "I am not inclined to let the bastards win by default."
Peter C. Markham - Manistique.org