Monday, March 12, 2007

The New Prisoners' Dilemma

"One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

This is how I remember the Pledge of Allegiance. Certainly not an accurate description of America in 2007.

Should have added: "who can afford it."

I was a child in 1954, and would bet today that many of you weren't even born when the words originally written as a patriotic oath became a public prayer.

How many of you remember what happened when you refused to stand?

Felt that way recently?

We are all created equal, but on a level that is unaccessible as long as we focus moment by moment on our attachment to what makes us different.

In the beginning was the Word, not words.

To paraphrase Comedian Richard Jeni: "Holy Wars are fought by groups killing each other to see who's got the better imaginary friend."

HALLIBURTON is moving to Dubai. Maybe their port deal will go through now.

The U.S. Attorney who busted Randy "DUKE" Cunningham has been fired. Maybe America's favorite "gomer" killer will be pardoned too.

Jerry Falwell cleared it all up: "THERE ARE NO BONES OF JESUS!"

American Idyll, American Idol, American idle. Our choice.

Your choice.

"Choose wisely..."


My Name is Michael Sterling, and I approved this page.


Blogger Hank said...

For those who can afford it....

Couldn't have said it better myself. (I met a Star Trek fan once who compared America to the Ferengi. I can't argue with that) Our nation has evolved by the process of economic selection into something far different from what was intended by the founding fathers. The soldiers, diplomats and farmers who brought forth this new nation have become lawyers, brokers and special interest groups. The decision to break with Britain in the 1700's was the result of coming to the conclusion that, in the end, it would be better for the people. How may of us think the government really has the interests of the people in mind anymore?

As I see it, the biggest unseen threat to our way of life is exponential law. One small change gets accepted over time, making it easier to accept another. Each new change taking less and less time to institute. This law applies to computer technology, medicine, politics, etc... Add special interest groups to the equation and, politically, the results are there in history for us to see. Clearly. Any government that has a political structure flexible enough to allow for such dramatic daily changes to interpretation of the national laws will eventually fail. Period. Either by war with another country (or many) or by civil war. By allowing special interest groups to influence the government itself, we have set up a series of events that will eventually create a dual class society. The rich and the poor. Without a middle class, no nation can survive the test of time. Some have tried, and made a good run at it for a few hundred years, but they all fall down in the tumult of revolt in the end. There is no country in history to have been found to be an exception to this rule.

Will we all see it happen? Someday, to be sure. But not right away. Before things spin out of control, the momentum has to have built up to the point that a loyally blind public simply can't avoid seeing their own plight. And, though there are rumblings here and there, we're not there yet (Historically, there have always been rumblings among the populace. No matter where in the world). I think we are only about half way to the end result. Things will start picking up speed though, and you all will notice the changes coming. The policies being set in stone today will be "upgraded" bit by bit. And, about four or five presidential terms in the future, will produce a leader that will truly make our current President look like a pussy cat. It is then that we the citizens will find ourselves under attack. Unless dramatic steps are taken to make definitive changes, I can't see it not happening.

March 14, 2007 at 12:46:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Candidate said...

What an optimist.

Had to take a couple of breaths while I read this for the third time.

My first thought is the reverse of the criticism aimed at "The Day After Tommorrow". That film caught flak not for what it said, but for the artistic license used to say it in a continuous storyline (one storm instead of many. Immediate vs protracted).

I agree with what you say, though I think the events we both see coming will occur much more quickly. Quick enough to urge individuals into epic actions not possible if the outcome is more than a President away.

Here is the post I was drafting when you shared your comment; a post as yet unfinished because when I went to save it as a draft last night, the actual post was deleted as it was saved, leaving only the title: "Ten Years After".


Ten years ago tonight, I was driving to San Francisco to see how I could help with Planetary Mysteries. On the radio were reports of strange lights over Phoenix. All during the Ides Of March.

I retraced the same route when headed for Ukiah, and a New Years Eve party that would usher in 2001. On the radio that night, was a brave DJ reading from; mentioning Kellogg, Brown & Root and a company named HALLIBURTON for what may have been the first time.

The Ides Of March are back, and what is tonight's headline?

Stanley Kubrick never had to see the real 2001, and I've spent years trying to keep Richard C. Hoagland from having some undeserved cosmic fit due to the way he's been treated for being the first to Think Different amongst his peers.

We have all been told lies, and there's been some whoppers lately.

In fact, during these Ides Of March, the liars I'm thinking about have moved past "Who, us?" into a "Whaddya gonna do about it?" reality.

Too late.

Maybe not, but things are sure heating up. As Richard used to say: "HOURS COUNT!"

Forgive the workaround, but I felt "like I owed it to someone."


I'll be back...


March 14, 2007 at 8:19:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Hank said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 15, 2007 at 11:00:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Hank said...

Too many typos in my reply, so I deleted it and am re-posting now... ;)

"I agree with what you say, though I think the events we both see coming will occur much more quickly. Quick enough to urge individuals into epic actions not possible if the outcome is more than a President away."

I think we both see things coming quickly, and I respect your call to fast action, rather than decades of "talking about it". As I said above, "Unless dramatic steps are taken to make definitive changes..." In politics, fast action would certainly qualify as a dramatic step.

I agree that the next term will be a cause for concern, based on the actions of his/her presidential predecessor. One can only hope that the next President has the abilty to reverse the direction this nation is heading. On almost every front. Foreign Policy, Domestic Policy, Special Interest Groups, Pork Barrel Spending, Ethical oversight of Governmental Health Agencies (such as Medical), Miltary Ethics, having plans and contractors in place BEFORE declaring war, the issue of back room deals regarding Japan's Yen and fair trade policies, the issue of Immigration (or Migration, as Mr. Bush said two days ago while in Mexico)...

If the current trend in government is allowed to continue, we could easily see the next President as an accessory to the fact when we look back fifteen to twenty years from now. Because exponential law dictates things pick up speed over an exponential rate, a complete breakdown will most likely not happen during the next term. Rather, and in a sideways manner agreeing with you, the next administration will probably modify the current trend (and make it seem it more palatable-while stripping us of our rights) and make reversal nearly impossible. So there absolutely is need to fix things now... There is need to make sweeping changes... There is need for common sense to be brought back to Capitol Hill. If this can be done, we may very well avert the impending disaster.

Historically, when a system of government get this corrupt, it takes 80-400 years for the actual downfall to occur. It all comes down to how fast the ball gets rolling and how much is taken from the citizens, in terms of rights. I think one could could reasonably argue that the government began on a path to corruption about 130 years ago. If you back to the Civil War and look at life just afterwards, you'll see things change from how they were just thirty years before. Compare that to the mid 20th century and you can actually see the escalation of corruption on a very clear scale. Now flash forward to now. No denying that the ball IS rolling. The question is... Can you quantify the injection of economic selection over the past 130 years or so, and actually see a solution that is possible to institute?

I'm reminded of a computer programmers dilemma...
Ghosts in the Machine...
Let's say you have program that your company has been using for decades... You use it and rely on it. Without it, your company would be lost. But there are bugs in the program.These bugs are causing things to malfunction (crash, freeze, not enter typed text... whatever). The cause may be a bit of code that once had a purpose, but over the course of endless updates to the software is no longer needed but still there. You get the picture... Now, you are a programmer hired to fix the problem. Do you...:
a) Try to find the bugs and delete them, possibly causing unforseen programming conflicts, errors, and crashes?
b) Keep in mind the current purpose of the software (what you have it for, and need it to do), and write a new program from scratch?

Either course has risks... What would YOU do?

March 15, 2007 at 11:08:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Candidate said...


A good example is the nightmare I've been going through the last couple three days. At one point, the entire iParty Blog disappeared. I had gone to the Yeager Response ("I've tried A! I've tried B! I've tried C!"), and was looking at being unable to post because of some browser issue or password discrepancy, until a Google page declaring major server errors popped up. At that point, no matter where the blame lay, I found a workaround to solve A) the immediate problem, B) something that works until the bigger problem is resolved, and C) posting comments to TITLE ONLY posts knowing that I should be able to fix everything at some later date. All three solve the immediate problem if only on an interim basis. At this point I'm settling for C (but not for long).

The insurgency adapts. The Bush Administration adapts. The society that adapts to everything utimately falls. Nietzsche wrote that "Freedom from" was not as important as "Freedom for". The current bumper sticker might read: "FREEDOM IS FREE/PROTECTION COSTS, and the President would probably say: "Is we adapting?"

Not "adapting to", but "adapting, why?"

I once tried to talk my significant Other into leaving LA for the unknown of Colorado, arguing that we could certainly solve whatever problems we ran into in one billing cycle. She ultimately couldn't talk herself into launching for Colorado Springs with Rocky Flats right over the hill.

She tried though.

In politics, the 4 year Presidential election is the billing cycle, but if a second term is guaranteed, someone is looking at eight years of power. Absolute power, if arguments against the President can be couched in terms of patriotism as opposed to performance, or better yet oversight and dissent can be seen as betraying troops in a time of war.

Wasn't there, but I understand the American Indians were able to make decisions about their Chiefs pretty quickly. Star Wars even showed us the power of a vote of NO CONFIDENCE. It's easy for the administration in power to rationalize not changing anything that might affect that power, which as we have now seen, only insures those who should be removed remain to the detriment of all who have changed their minds with the passage of time or the results of "sweeping changes". If someone were to sit back and realize that the American People could be misled for eight years; at the end of which, a secret goal would have been achieved; long before anyone caught on, they might try regardless of the damage done to those not in their inner circle.

As before, so today. Pay to live or live to pay.

Personally, I think some new Chiefs, even on an interim basis, would do less damage than letting things blunder forward like some half-starved Stegosaurus; completely unaware of the danger all around it, while the herd searches for the most meager of meals.

The welfare of the American People is not at the top of anyone's list except their own, and everyday the financial carnivores sneak closer as we continue to pay the futility bill.

Thanks again for your comments. You are too young to be saying things like: "One can only hope".

I think that the reality behind the myth of Pandora's Box is not that all the Evils of the World were unleashed on that day, but that Hope alone, was saved from being corrupted from the evil already in the World.

What do you think?


March 17, 2007 at 1:01:00 AM PDT  

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