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The WMail Newsletter
Volume V   [Year 2004]   Part 1

Issue #39 January: "The 100-Year Exercise"
Issue #40 February: "Paleo-Capitalism"
Issue #41 March: "Playa Vista"

Issues #42-44 • Issues #45-47 • Issues #48-49


Volume I   [Year 2000]
Issues #1-5

Volume II   [Year 2001]
Issues #6-8 • Issues #9-11 • Issues #12-14 • Issues #15-18

Volume III   [Year 2002]
Issues #19-21 • Issues #22-24 • Issues #25-27 • Issues #28-30

Volume IV   [Year 2003]
Issues #31-33 • Issues #34-35 • Issues #36-38

Volume VI   [Year 2005]
Issues #50 & beyond

Issue #39: "The 100-Year Exercise"
[January 2004]


>+<    G.E. Nordell, editor    >+<

=============
Q U O T E S
=============

"Fiction is damn near the only way to tell the truth in America."
— K.C. Constantine

"Practice random acts of kindness, and senseless acts of beauty."
— Anne Herbert

"Ideas – even good ideas – are a dime per hundred; it is action that matters."
— G.E. Nordell

"Anybody can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple."
— jazz musician Charles Mingus [1922-79]

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate,
tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people's minds."
— Samuel Adams [1722-1803]

"Simplicity is the deciding factor in the aesthetic equation."
— Raymond Loewy [1893-1986]

"When it becomes clear [that] no one else shares your level of
passion, you are where you belong."
— Rolex ad 2003

"Don't be bitter."
— John Fante [1909-83]

"Sometimes words are the longest things there are."
— Dow Mossman

"If you're lonely while you're alone, you're in bad company."
— Jean-Paul Sartre [1905-80]

"It's not enough to be right."
— Chris Bittler

"[Organized religion] is the most successful con game ever put over
on the human race. You'd think we'd have seen thru it in a quarter
of a million years or so, but most people never seem to."
— Dell Shannon {pen name of Elizabeth Linington [1921-88]}

"The Mainstream is polluted."
— Howard Zinn [1922-2010]

"Most of the feeling we call religious, most of the mystical outcrying which is
one of the prized and used and desired reactions of our species, is really the
understanding and the attempt to say that man is related to the whole thing."
— John Steinbeck [1902-68] {from "Sea of Cortez", 1941}

"There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to
warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke."
— Vincent van Gogh [1853-90]

"I actually think [George W.] Bush is the greatest threat to life on this planet."
— Ken Livingston, Mayor of the City of London, U.K.

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T h e    1 0 0 - Y E A R    E X E R C I S E
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        One minor event that had a major impact on my historical perspective took place on a visit 40 years ago to Grandmother B's house in Pasadena. I found a dictionary dated 1903 and perused it. I was amazed upon finding that there was no entry for airplane, nor for the alternate spelling aeroplane. The concept did not exist at the time – it was an eye opener to me.
        And here we are now celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Wright Brothers's first flight at Kitty Hawk.

LOOKING BACK 100 YEARS
        Back in 1903, the automobile was a rich man's toy, with only several hundred – all hand-crafted – in use in America. The hand-crank wall telephone was state-of-the-art technology. Nikola Tesla was still inventing the radio. [Nope, not Marconi, Tesla: U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1943 – what you learned in school was a lie.]
        There were no anti-biotic medicines: aspirin was brand new (1897) and penecillin was discovered in 1928 and sulfa drugs were invented in the 1930's.
        The year 1903 included the invention of the ice cream cone.
        The flickering short films that were common in 1903 were exhibited in cast-iron 'nickelodeon' machines in American cities big and small. It was in 1903 that the first two-reel narrative film was exhibited – "The Great Train Robbery", a Western by Edwin S. Porter – thus launching the movie industry.
        (Go back another 100 years to 1803, and you have a U.S. population of 4 million in our 17 states, and Lewis & Clark making preparations for their 'Corps of Discovery' expedition across the uncharted buffalo-covered Louisiana Territory.)

LOOKING FORWARD FROM BACK THEN
        The First World War was not called that at the time: How could they know about Hitler and Dunkirk and Auschwitz and Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima & Nagasaki? The common term was "The War to End All Wars". The common belief at the time was that victory over the Huns in November 1918 had eliminated armed aggression between nations once and forever.
        Having solved that problem, it became time to party hearty – the Jazz Age, flappers, bathtub gin, oop-oop-a-doop! But The Great Depression was the supreme party-pooper, followed by the rise of war-mongers in Germany & Japan. And the Great War, the one that had 'ended all wars', had to be renamed World War One, because the world had blundered into World War Two.

        The Fifties are intriguing for the Space Race. Science fiction had its heyday, Ray Bradbury wrote best-sellers, and the launch of Russia's Sputnik satellite in 1957 caught America with its technological pants down. Science was the hot ticket. Magazine covers displayed projections of a science-induced future: individual air-cars alleviating ground-level traffic jams, houses that talked, and free solar electricity spurring a Cultural Renaissance For All. Health care would keep everybody alive for 100 years. Dick Tracy wore a wrist radio and travelled to the moon in his comic strip; bored with earthly delights, we too would soon vacation in colonies on the moon.
        All smoke and fantasy. You carry an irksome cell phone, but none of the other paraphernalia have been delivered to the marketplace. We are, in fact, generally worse off than the 'Gray Flannel Man' Fifties, for the minimum wage is worth 25% less and under steady attack, less people have health care, and we are on the brink of another Great Depression – gonna have to name them Great Depression I and Great Depression II.
        Job security today is non-existent, society is increasingly unstable, and that is just in America. Around the world, Muslim fanatics are on the rise, civil & religious wars drag on and on in a dozen countries, scary despots are working on nuclear weapons arsenals, and fascist regimes hold fast in Australia, Indonesia, and former Soviet lands. We'll probably soon have to dust off the designation for World War III.

LOOKING BACK FROM HERE
        The myopia of Western society – the Culture-Structure – is severe. Nothing existed before television, registered U.S. voters cannot name the Four Freedoms or five out of the ten Amend- ments of the Bill of Rights. The average young person in America cannot tell you who Calvin Coolidge was, or Charles Lindberg or Amelia Earhart or Will Rogers, much less Nikola Tesla [1856-1943] (who incidentally single-handedly invented radio, radar, microwaves {as in your ovens}, lasers, robotics, and alternating current electric power – among his 700 patents).
        We think of the 'horse and buggy days' of 1903 as soooo backward: They were such fools, so primitive, not Modern like us. But a Working Mind will be able to grasp that the year 1903 A.D. was its own state-of-the-art – for 1903.

        It is supremely arrogant for us all, for the Culture-Structure, to suppose that cell phones and guerrilla wars and over-priced healthcare and MTV are the culmination, the end-product of evolution. The Culture-Structure takes that precise stance and teaches the masses to believe it as Truth: that WE all – whether Republican, Democrat, Socialist, or Tory, whether Muslim, Jew, or hutu tribesman, whether businessperson of Asia or Europe or Africa or a tiny island, whether red, white, yellow, black, brown or Green – that WE deserve to reap unearned benefits and pleasure ourselves here and now, WE deserve to cash in our chips and consume ALL the resources of the planet merely because the planet is inhabited by US, ourselves, that WE deserve it ALL, and we want it NOW!
        Arrogant. Supremely arrogant. And suicidal.

LOOKING FORWARD FROM HERE
        Standing on any factual variant about the Current State of the Planet, there is NO probability that Mankind will survive two more generations. The ecosystems across all seven continents are polluted, the oceans are dying, and the world economy is artificially propped up by the very consumerism that is destroying the Planet.
        John Kennedy proposed putting an American on the moon, which was done in July 1969 – and the last such mission was – when? We conquer one disease – polio, smallpox – and two more pop up – SARS, westnile virus, AIDS, 'mad cow'. And starvation by hunger ebbs and flows but never goes away.
        High school graduates can not name a dozen U.S. Presidents (much less more than two vice presidents), yet they can name all the Spice Girls and can repeat dialogue verbatim from "Matrix" and "Lord of the Ring" and "The Simpsons".
        A Teutonic troglodite weight-lifter is now the elected Governor of the State of California, and the Democratic presidential candidates for 2004 squabble like kindergarteners who didn't get their nap, while George Dubya's pals are chopping down National Forests and further polluting the Arctic and our rivers to make throw-away containers for CDs containing 'music' created by millionaire misogynistic armed thugs.
        Project that into the future...

WE NEED A FUTURE
        There is no designed future out there for us to work on together, no equivalent to the Space Race of John Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, or F.D.R.'s New Deal. We are rats fighting over a finite amount of garbage, in a societal and personal frenzy to survive, with no purpose in mind.
        War, pestilence, hunger and stupidity we have in abundance. We no longer look to any Dream to give us guidance, to live into. The future from here is an unavoidable nightmare.

        This is why the signature block on my various email accounts contains the statement "Reason is the only frontier left". We've been to the moon's surface and back; we found the HMS Titanic in situ; we have images of quarks and evidence of black holes a million light years away – all those frontiers are opened and teeming with activity to no purpose.

        Looking back at us from 100 years out, the ultra-Modern society that may exist in the year 2104 A.D will think us primitive fools, forgetting that we of today (2004 A.D.) are indeed state-of-the-art – for 2004.
        A hundred years from now, in your future, if Mankind is not extinct, and is thus able to read about us in the history books, then that will be so only because latent skills in Reason were expanded and practiced and taught in the schools, because Reason supplanted religious fantasy as our compass, because enough Individuals somehow developed a Working Mind and lived from Reason in the face of and in opposition to the mindless hordes of human rats gnawing voraciously, chewing away at whatever is (today) left of 'Civilization'.
        With Reason as a minority practice, there may evolve a new species – Homo cogitus – who survive the chaos of the coming Dark Ages. There may be two classes of survivors, as in H.G. Wells's "Time Machine": the elite, priviliged 'eloi' and a cave-dwelling race of slaves.
        With Reason as a widespread practice, Mankind and Civilization might yet survive – even possibly reversing global warming, even possibly taking the revolutionary actions necessary to wrestle hegemony away from the Oligarchy, even possibly Fulfilling Mankind's Potential.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Pick your nightmare or pick your Dream for Mankind. With Reason, Mankind can survive the next 100 years, and may even thrive, if we get our brains to work as designed, and if we put our backs into the effort.
        Reason must be invoked and it must be practiced. Reason must be generated as a Central Value for all civilized societies, and Reason must be brought to bear on all of the ills produced by and for the Culture-Structure as it now exists.

        If you do not Stand For Reason, there will be no White Knight to rescue you or your children & grandchildren from the terrible fate that you create for them.

[copyright 2004 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

For an essay on the Four Freedoms, see the WMail July 2002 issue: "Injustice For All"

Each issue of WMail is posted on the Working Minds website; quotations are posted alphabetically by author.


N E W S    &    L I N K S    o f    I N T E R E S T

==>  "A 2002 study by the National Academy of Sciences found that in U.S. waters,
        [bottom] trawling had damaged about 231,000 square miles of ocean bottom,
        an area greater than California."
        == Joshua Reichert, director of Oceana [ www.oceana.org ]

==>  The 2003 tax cuts will save 88% of U.S. taxpayers an average of $4 in 2006,
        the rest of the benefits go to the wealthiest 12%.
        == per Harper's Index Oct 2003
 

N E X T   M O N T H: "Capitalism"

I N   M A R C H: "Playa Vista"

Issue #40: "Capitalism"
[February 2004]


>+<    G.E. Nordell, editor    >+<

=============
Q U O T E S
=============

"It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives."
— Samuel Johnson [1709-84]

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."
— Albert Einstein [1879-1955]

"Americans love junk. It's not the junk that bothers me, it's the love."
— George Santayana [1863-1952]

"If we want a better world, we will have to be a better people."
— Philip Wylie [1902-71], in 1942

"The [Bush] administration is trying to create reality, not deal with it."
— John Newhouse

"I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than
the past – I think the past was not predictable when it started."
— U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld  [DoD press briefing 3 April 2003]

"Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret
for the things we did not do that is inconsolable."
— Sydney J. Harris [1917-86]

"The American penal system functions essentially as a social septic
tank, and ... nothing more lofty should be expected of it."
— Carl Hiaasen

"Thorns have roses."
— old saying

"Labor is the source of all wealth."
— G.E. Nordell

"The space within becomes the reality."
— Frank Lloyd Wright [1867-1959]

"[George W.] Bush combines at the highest levels the qualities of
plutocrat and philistine."
— Harold Meyerson

"The only difference between a madman and me is that I am not a madman."
— Salvador Dali [1904-89]

"We cannot make ... progress without raising the wrath of the guardians of the status quo."
— John Kerry [ http://www.JohnKerry.com/ ]

"It's about time we admit [that] the Mexican border is now somewhere near Oregon."
— Steve Lopez, L.A. Times (2004)

"The sense of meaning [in life] is much more difficult to acquire than material possessions."
— Gregg Easterbrook

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P A L E O - C A P I T A L I S M
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        Ayn Rand's non-fiction book "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" spells out her assertion that actual Capitalism has never been practiced in any country, along with what needs to happen to finally implement it. That book – which includes essays by Nathaniel Branden and Alan Greenspan (today's chairman of the Federal Reserve System) – was published in 1967. The situation has not improved in nearly 40 years; in fact, the mixed economic system of America is on the brink of collapse.
        Entire industries – the lifeblood of a productive economy – are being moved overseas; most Americans are effectively indentured servants or serfs; the Oligarchy runs every facet of the Culture-Structure; illegal immigration is a growth industry; all but a handful of states have legalized gambling (a non-productive economic drain); and union membership and power are steadily shrinking.
        Prices are raised merely to inflate the Stock Market Casino [see WMail ezine December 2001 Issue #18] while wages are lowered, factories closed, and millions of jobs disappear – over two million net jobs are lost since George Dubya became President.
        The anti-capitalism of the Communists is defunct, yet the replacement there is not Capitalism but anarchy and economic tyranny.

        Why has no country or culture practiced Capitalism? What then IS the system of economic practices that you always thought was Capitalism? What can an Individual do to promote Capitalist economics?

* *          * *          * *          * *

        My Webster's defines Capitalism as: "a system under which the production and distribution of goods are privately managed" and also as "free enterprise". The latter is defined as "a doctrine or type of economy under which private business is allowed to operate with minimal government control."
        Still think the U.S.A. is a Capitalist free enterprise?
        Yeah, right!: No FCC or SEC or FDA or EPA or IRS or DEA. No Department of Labor, no Workers Comp, no 401K or ESOP regulations. And more recently we have the NAFTA tariffs and the EEU and don't forget the WMF and the New World Order (whoever they are). And very importantly, the threats to Individual Liberty written into the Patriot Acts, both I
and II.
        "Free enterprise"? Hah!
        Capitalism is incompatible with greed. Capitalism is incompatible with economic slavery. Capitalism is incompatible with massively lowered Quality of Life.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        I re-read "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" for this essay, and the odd thing about that book is that Ayn Rand never defines Capitalism per se. Mostly the collection of essays by her and a few others are about the bad, bad things done in the name of Capitalism to the American businessman under the then-as-now extant "mixed economy" (with some reference to economies elsewhere).
        This omission provides an opening for me to write down what I see Capitalism is by definition and design, and also to spell out the Working Minds viewpoint. [Readers who have the Objectivism CD or other searchable Rand files are invited to locate & report any such definition to me by email.]

        In Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy, she repeatedly states that Reason gives man the right to exist, and that the pursuit of one's own survival and happiness as an Individual is a corollary right. Without the existence and practice of that right, we are simply slaves.
        That then gives every Individual the right for free [uncoerced] trade for his/her labors – whether physical labor or service work or office work, or management of employees, or the creation of intellectual property (art, literature, gadgets, entertainment). In a Capitalist economy, market controls by government are reduced to the barest minimum, and the open and unregulated marketplace determines the dollar value of each career field or product or idea.
        In a free marketplace, efficient producers and workers will see increased value and demand, while inefficient or shoddy producers and workers will find less and less demand.

THE LIVING WAGE
        Capitalism operates quite differently for workers and for management and for entrepreneurs.
        In Objectivism (philosophy) and in Capitalism (economics), the worker has the natural right to his/her Life (survival); he/she has a right to free trade for his/her labor (the means to survival); and those two rights lead to a third right: a right to a Living Wage. For how can a worker have the Objectivist right to a Life UNLESS he/she can work the legislated 40-hour work week and actually make a living, with the hope of making a better living thru hard work, training, thrift, and persistance.
        (This is absolutely NOT the Collectivist's anti-Reason false right to a living, which concept transfers wealth generated by the workers to non-producing looters.)

        The right to a Living Wage does not exist in America today, and is not likely to be instituted short of revolution. Almost 30% of households in America today struggle along on two jobs to make ends (barely) meet, which is very Dickensian. Either both parents work or one parent works multiple full or part-time jobs, or a single parent works multiple jobs, and all have next to no benefits. In all such cases, the children are without supervision, except by the deluge of mind-numbing input that they get from the Oligarchy-owned media.
        What happened to the free-time evenings and weekends of the past? The Oligarchy took it away by force.
        As an arbitrary interim figure, I say that any job paying less than $10 per hour is not a Living Wage. In fact, such payment is indentured servitude, economic slavery, the only escape from which is death or madness or political upheaval – the 'R' word, revolution.

        I likewise previously defined the arbitrary interim Benchmark figure for executives – if the U.S. President, the 'Leader of the Free World', is paid only half a million dollars (including estimated perks) per year, then how can any executive, any other person on the planet claim to be worth hundreds, even thousands of times the present 'worth' of their able and hard-working employees?
        These executives' only justification is greed.

        The entrepreneur [Webster: one who undertakes to organize and manage a business or enterprise] is one who sets up a one-person shop or organizes a company to deliver a product or service, especially something of his/her own invention. Within limits (see below), the entrepreneur is entitled to the wealth produced by his/her efforts as entrepreneur. But the executives in any such company deserve no more than the Benchmark figure. Same for artists and entertainers as for entrepreneurs – let the marketplace prevail.

        The implementation of reasoned limits on greed are long overdue, but unless the Oligarchy is deposed, we can expect another Great Depression or even a return to the anarchic Dark Ages. Indeed, George Dubya has already screwed up seriously (perhaps intentionally) in that he is now the first U.S. President since Herbert Hoover who will leave office having created a JOB DEFICIT. Irreparable damage has been done to the economy, and it is so enormous that only extreme progressive economic programs – which Dubya will prevent – can reverse the economic statistics, and thus Dubya cannot produce an effected solution any time before the November election.
        "It's the job deficit, stupid!"
        The only reason that George W. Bush may not be replaced for his misfeasance in office is that the U.S. public is at best ill-informed and ignorant, and the bulk of them are suckers for the lies and manipulation beamed 24/7 at their unfocused eyeballs by the Culture-Structure.
        (George Dubya took your job away, do not trade that insult for your vote!)

* *          * *          * *          * *

        The key problem in any realignment of the economic system is that the extant economy is based on the False (dis-empowering) Values of the Oligarchy. The entire present economy is based on Profit At All Cost – the Holy Bottom Line. (Any economic Value other than Profit or Greed is automatically revolutionary – it violates the status quo.)
        Jobs are moved to Asia not because the workers are more efficient or better trained but because the economic slavery in those countries allocates only pennies per day per worker.
        Executives here and overseas earn unconscionable multiples of what their non-salaried employees receive, merely so the execs can brag about their abuse of power and strut around showing off their skills at conspicuous consumption. The Oligarchy operates no differently than any medieval fiefdom, using force of ownership – of the serfs, of the factories and farms – and the force of their wealth – the Oligarchy controls the media, which deliver disinformation sprinkled with Pavlovian admonitions to buy! buy! buy! – and the Oligarchy controls the government in every jurisdiction – from the lowly bureaucrat to George Dubya and Congress and the Supremes.

PALEO-CAPITALISM
        True Capitalism is based on ownership of the Self, and the trade of one's labor for wealth – money, services, goods – and on entrepreneurship, the non-salaried world of the marketplace.
        I searched the internet for a useful name to encompass the 'real' practice of Capitalism, and one of the terms that showed up was 'neo-capitalism', but those results included some quite-loony websites that have co-opted the term (i.e. advocating the elimination of money, f'godsakes!). So that term is useless.
        I suggest that the term 'Paleo-Capitalism' will work for the present. [Paleo is Greek for 'ancient, early, primitive, archaic', used here to denote 'old', in the sense of original, as in Capitalism as originally intended.]

        Before the Industrial Revolution, virtually everyone was an entrepreneur. The farmer grew his crops, the freighter hauled them to market, the wholesaler sold to the retailer, who in turn sold to the end consumer, the innkeeper or housewife. The herdsman raised his sheep or cattle or poultry, sold the meat and hides to the wholesalers, who sold them to tradesmen, who transformed the raw materials into finished product – cuts of meat or shoes or harness – who again sold to the end consumer. The woodcutter, the weaver, the tailor, the horse trader, the lumberman, the cabinetmaker – each took raw materials and plied their trade and produced saleable goods.
        Society also maintained a government, the church provided for its clergy, and colleges taught academics to teach others. Bankers, soldiers, artists, entertainers, and thieves all worked their chosen trade directly.
        The development of factories, however, required only unskilled, brute labor – to run the machines built to produce goods on a massive scale, at great efficiency, and thus at reduced cost. The result was very soon exploitation: as machines replaced tradesmen, the displaced masses had to compete for jobs in the factories.
        Greed took hold of the factory owners, and Charles Dickens and others documented the terrible conditions of the powerless working classes: child labor, dangerous and unhealthy working environments – total disregard for the humanity of the actual producers of wealth, the workers.

        The original intention and design of Capitalism (aside from labor), however, is that when an entrepreneur (inventor, artist, manufacturer) gets an idea for a new product or service, he sets up a business plan for others to invest in. Venture capitalists and I.P.O.s [initial public offerings] and basic bank loans amount to the same thing: investment of capital in an enterprise.
        The new business is built up, markets developed, and products or services enter the marketplace.
        If the new company fails, the investors lose capital and the entrepreneur suffers loss of his capital (if any) plus the loss of his/her reputation. Risk is always an option in a free economy.
        But if the new company makes a profit, then the profits are used to repay the investors – NOT to extract dividends in perpetuity to the investor class, the Oligarchy. The profitable company – in Paleo-Capitalism – buys treasury shares from the investors, with further profits directed to the original owners/entrepreneurs, and preferably to employees as both wage increases and participation in an ESOP [employee stock ownership program] – as an incentive beneficial to both employees and management.
        All the while, profits up to 15% of net revenue are not taxed thru the corporation, period. But any excess profits are supposed to be used (at first) to purchase treasury shares. Once the company is a stand-alone corporate entity, profits are kept below the 15% limit either by reducing wholesale/retail prices or by investment in expansion or new products – even investment in other new ventures.
        The original investors and the privately-held company now each have funds available for investing in further new business ventures.

        The other element of Paleo-Capitalism is that of the free market for labor. Employees, whether unionized or not, are able to earn a Living Wage, are encouraged to be efficient (increase profits), and their payoff for a good or excellent job is not cash stripped from the economy (as is currently handed to the Oligarchy), but by an increase in equity thru the ESOP and-or retirement funds and-or participation in a solid (non-Casino) stock market.
        Management salary compensation is addressed from two different directions in Paleo-Capitalism. The Working Minds Benchmark figure of $500,000 per year is plenty for any family. And the reduction in pressure from elimination of daily worship of the Holy Bottom Line lets the executives' families participate together as family. During the economic adjustment period (implementation of Paleo-Capitalism), all income above the Benchmark figure will be taxed big-time, with NO loopholes. The middle and lower classes – all citizens below $100,000 per year income – will pay much lower tax rates than the 20% of the population who now own 83% of everything in America. Consumer debt and indentured servitude will thus disappear.

        The new design of the economic and tax systems will be such that the upper tiers will pay a 'fair share' of the operating expenses of government equal to their ownership of property [see WMail ezine April 2001 Issue #9]. The Oligarchy in the U.S. of A. – who own 50% or more of everything – will pay a minimum of 50% of the Federal budget; they will not like it, but too damn bad. The upper class who own 83% of everything will be charged for 83% of the Federal budget.
        The taxation on excess net profits (above 15%) and on excess management compensation (exceeding the Benchmark) will be used to pay off the staggering National Debt [see News Section below].
        The incentive of Paleo-Capitalism will be to reduce extraction of unearned wealth and to reduce management compensation, to build an economy based on efficient production and equitable reward to participants. Such a redefinition of the economic system as Paleo-Capitalism eventually will calm down the overheated stock market, thus stabilizing day-to-day economics and eliminating inflation, by converting the stock market from a casino-style greed-based design to the original purpose of Capitalism, which is the rotation of capital from one profitable investment to new investment ventures.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        The Oligarchy will be unhappy at having their rule by divine right challenged. Cutting off their extortion money means that they will have to give up their yachts and their 100-acre residences in multiple states and their vain adornments that each cost the equivalent of many city or county budgets.
        We do not need the approval of the Oligarchy or the aristocratic upper classes, nor was any such permission sought by the Forefathers who took on the might of the British Empire, at great personal and public risk. A new revolution might perhaps result in armed conflict, even civil war in the U.S., but the First U.S. Revolution occurred before Gandhi and others proved the effectiveness of passive resistance and civil disobedience. Revolution is inevitable, the only other option is our present economic slavery.

        The people of the U.S.A. have the unalienable right to take back responsibility for control and management of the American economic system.
        The start is to regain control of your own economic system: Sell your stocks and pay off all your debts. Make double payments on your mortgage and automobile. Purchase toys only if you have cash in hand. If you are struggling to make the rent with very little expenditure, then you are underpaid (below a Living Wage) and should connect with a labor union – or start one. Get a degree and change careers. Demand a raise or promotion, and if your employer does not reward your efficiency and productivity, find a job somewhere else.
        As long as the Oligarchy controls the economy and the government, and you and others blindly obey the injunction to buy! buy! buy! to keep the economy going thru increase of your personal and public debt – well, that makes you an indentured servant.
        The only thing, I say, that Marx and Engels got right is that "You have nothing to lose but your chains".

==>  http://www.federalreserve.gov/

==>  Issue #9: "Reason-Based Taxation"
        Issue #14: "The Best Investment - Labor"
        Issue #18: "The Stock Market Casino"

        Capitalism Page at Maison d'Κtre Philosophy Bookstore

[copyright 2004 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

NOTE: This essay garnered an invitation to speak on the subject
at U.C.L.A. Anderson School of Management in October 2004.

Each issue of WMail is posted on the Working Minds website; quotations are posted alphabetically by author.


N E W S    &    L I N K S    o f    I N T E R E S T

==>  MANIFESTO: I have added a new entry in the Rule of Law section,
        "Trial attorneys are not exempt from perjury charges: they must be sworn in
        by the court – at least between the opening and closing speeches –
        to promote the actual practice of Truth and Justice."
        http://www.working-minds.com/manifesto.htm [now in eight languages]

==>  As I warned back in WMail Issue #33 [June 2003], the military draft is again
        looming, this time including women: The Rangel/Hollings Bill [identical S.89 &
        HR.163] are now before both houses of Congress. Read the text of Senate Bill 89
        here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:s.00089:
        [Thanks, Aaron: http://www.russoforpresidentnow.com]

==>  For the first time in history, the world has as many fat people as starving people, and
        no country is as fat as the U.S.A. [per U.C.L.A. professor Roderic Gorney, 2004]

==>  David Corn's "The Lies of George W. Bush" website & book

==>  Our annual lookup of how much extortion money the Oligarchy has gotten
        since George Dubya became President:
        U.S. National Debt as-of 1/20/2004 = $7,006,834,072,435.49
        U.S. National Debt as-of 1/19/2001 = $5,727,776,738,304.64
        !! difference of $1,279,057,334,130.85 or up by 22.3%

==>  IRAQI GAS: Street price for gasoline/petrol in Baghdad was $1.65 per gallon in
        January; Halliburton charged U.S. soldiers $2.50 per gallon. Therefore, VP Cheney
        & his cronies are guilty of war profiteering, an impeachable offense surely.

==>  A different look at the U.S. Oligarchy & the other economic classes:
        The Upper Class [top 20% in income] owns 83% of the country.
        The Bottom 40% owns only 1%.
        Leaving the Middle Class [40% of the population] with only 16%.
 

N E X T   M O N T H: "Playa Vista"

I N   A P R I L: "The Oligarchy"
I N   M A Y: The Swimsuit Issue

Issue #41: "Playa Vista"
[March 2004]


>+<    G.E. Nordell, editor    >+<

=============
Q U O T E S
=============

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."
— E.E. Cummings [1894-1962]

"Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation."
— Henry Kissinger

"Most people do not read. If they read, they do not understand.
And those who understand forget."
— Henri de Montherlant [1895-1972]

The Great Law of Sociology: "Some people do, and some people don't."

"There are known knowns. These are things [that] we know we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say,
there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things [that]
we don't know we don't know."
— U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld (2003)

"Cover-ups are not as common in human history as screw-ups."
— Andrew Sullivan, Time Magazine

"Who controls the present controls the past. Who controls the past controls the future."
— George Orwell [1903-50], in his 1949 novel "1984"

"Sea species are disappearing even faster than land dwellers."
— columnist L.M. Boyd [1927-2007], in 2004

"All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it."
— Samuel Butler [1835-1902]

"Beware the National Debt: It is a rising tide that sinks all boats."
— G.E. Nordell

"How do you ask a [soldier] to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
— John Kerry, in 1971

"We need to tighten the rules. So how about a 12th Commandment
that says 'Thou shalt not cheat'?"
— G.E. Nordell

"I probably won't run for anything again, so I can tell the truth now."
— former U.S. Sen. Robert Dole (2004)

"A man more right than his neighbors contitutes a majority of one."
— George Santayana [1863-1952]

"The Bush Administration's 2005 budget is a masterpiece of disengenuous blame-shifting,
dishonest budgeting, and irresponsible governing."
— Washington Post editorial (February 2004)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
"P L A Y A    V I S T A        o r
W H Y    T H I N G S    D O    N O T    W O R K"

----------------------------------------------------------------------------


        Back in the Fall of 1996, I read an article in the paper that suggested that the owners of the old Hughes Aircraft plant and land (just outside Culver City in West Los Angeles) might tear down the original buildings, including offices & the huge hangar where the 'Spruce Goose' airplane was built. I was then working on my series of Rick Walker noir detective novels – http://www.rickwalkerPI.com – and Book #4 was to be a plot where billionaire Howard Hughes hires my detective hero in 1957, the year Howard went into hiding.
        So I called Maguire Thomas Partners and asked, as an author, if I could visit the buildings. They assured me that the buildings were not planned for demolition – too historic, very rentable – but that I was welcome to come take a look.
        I arrived for my appointment wearing boots and a red flannel shirt and carrying a notebook, very much conveying the persona of a writer. They had me sign a waiver, in case I fell in a hole or some such, and introduced me to my escort, a security guard named Jerry.
        Jerry showed me around the main buildings – the giant hangars, the airport's arch-roof cargo hangar, the commissary building (where Howard had an apartment), engineering offices in Building 2 – and then Jerry unlocked Building 1, which was kept ready for the occasional film shoot, with working electricity and water. (Bldg. 2 was then decrepit – roof damage, pigeon droppings – and Bldg. 3 was off-limits, under lease to an artist as a studio.)
        So we walked thru every room of Bldg. 1, seeing how things were organized, the huge silver map of the world in the conference room, and then the upstairs kitchen & offices, and finally Howard's office in the southwest corner – the location of which will be a plot point in the "Ballad of The Tall Man" novel. Jerry and I chatted for at least an hour, there in Howard's office, swapping security stories and tales of Culver City history, and at one point Jerry complained that he had to work on Sunday because no one else was willing to cover the weekends, or were not acceptable to the owners. So I said, "Heck, I'm unemployed, get them to hire me." I had already established my bona fides with tales of my two years as a security guard at Universal Studios, and emphasized that my California Guard Card was current.
        A couple weeks later, I was the weekend security guard for Maguire Thomas Playa Vista, taking responsibility for all of Playa Vista's 1200 acres. It was wonderful: I was by myself all day, driving a 4-wheel-drive pickup truck and wearing boots (lots of brush and mud), and civilization was very far away. The other days I worked various other posts for That Security Company.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        I did not know that I was going to be involved in a perfect example of Why Things Do Not Work.
        There turned out to be three main factions involved (with a fourth added later): the owners, Maguire Thomas Partners [M.T.P.], which later morphed into Playa Vista Capital LLC; the Friends of the Ballona Wetlands, who truly care about the ecosystem and nature and the flora & fauna; and The Protesters, who had as their life's mission stopping any commercial redevelopment of the Playa Vista land holdings.
        The land consisted of the old airport area & buildings, the West Bluffs across Lincoln Blvd., the wetlands proper near the beach, an area inside Marina del Rey with capped oil wells, and two parcels north of Ballona Creek that contained a Little League ballfield and a place where local trespassers walked their dogs and hiked.
        I got into the job right away, learning the gates and roads and people. Before long, I set the all-time record by running off 54 trespassers on the last Sunday of 1996 – little knowing how much trouble my Daily Log report would cause.

        The folks at the M.T.P. office were nice enough, but there was an element of snobbism – guards should be seen and not heard. Jerry, however, spent a lot of his days (now Monday thru Friday) sucking up to the office people. What I didn't know was that he was also bad-mouthing the new guy – me. It became apparent much later that Jerry would catch maybe a dozen trespassers each week and my thoroughness made him look bad. So rather than getting his butt out in the field and enforcing the perimeter, he chose to do damage to me (and to That Security Company, his employer) with gossip.

        The Friends of the Ballona Wetlands [F.B.W.] people had negotiated a deal a decade before with M.T.P. that ensured the restoration of the sensitive wetlands proper, basically about 90 acres west of Lincoln Blvd. and south of Ballona Creek. Included in the deal was $12 million in escrow to be used to clean up and replant the ecosystem and construct a visitor center – funded in perpetuity.
        Good people all, especially Mary, a tireless septuagenarian who hauled water in buckets, restored native plants, removed wind-blown trash, etc. She and others gave tours to school kids, Scout groups and such, often instructing the kids while having them go to work and tear out nasty (non-native) ice plant and then replant the area with native grasses and seedlings. Several times a year they would haul out a half-high 40-foot dumpster of damage-causing plants.

        The Protestors, on the other hand, used (and still do) all kinds of confrontational and underhanded and illegal strategies to prevent the start of construction by M.T.P. They filed frivolous lawsuits that delayed matters so long that repair of the wetlands ecosystem became seriously questionable – the funds in escrow were contingent on start of construction of Phase I. The Protestors buried spurious artifacts and sued under the Native American Artifacts Act. I personally caught a professed member of the central Protestors group sneaking into the property carrying a camera and a dead opossum! – his obvious intention to manufacture evidence of some sort was thwarted by my diligence. The spray-painted grafitti and the chopping up of the garden hoses is also laid to their doing.
        The Protestors held press conferences at the bus stop at Lincoln and Jefferson, and handed out flyers to commuters on Friday afternoons, demanding that M.T.P. turn the land over to them. What was never reported in the press was that each Monday after such demonstrations, the contract landscape laborers had to pick up after the 'do-gooders', always filling several big trash bags with garbage strewn by the Protestors.

        This went on for about 1½ years. Then the permits & financing all got approved and the owners, now reorganized as Playa Vista Capital [P.V.C.], brought in the big earth movers and Cat-9 bulldozers – at the old airport site, which was never a wetland – so security was tightened. Jerry worked 8am to 8pm and I worked 8pm to 8am for the several weeks that it took to bring in additional qualified guards.
        Meanwhile, the Protestors were planning eco-terrorism. I was disappointed because the called-in bomb threats happened on my night off, as did the bullet holes in the earth mover windows. But on the nights I worked, I was spending my evenings patrolling the 1200 acres and after midnight I parked among the million-dollar earth moving equipment (all lined up nose-to-tail for security) and listened to Art Bell on the radio (to stay awake) and then turned on my flashlight and wrote another chapter of the Working Minds philosophy book that sources this ezine and website. (I wrote the 600-page book in ten months, taking every opportunity, such as when on a very quiet post.)

        But the new management at P.V.C. decided to put the contract for security up for bid, partly because the new conditions would call for additional services: gate guards and 24-hour patrol for the thousands of condominiums expected to be on the market shortly, for one thing. The owner of That Security Company refused to bid low, and so that October of 1998, I handed the keys and documentation to the new security company, on the dot at Midnight.

        Then things started to make sense. Jerry stormed into the P.V.C. offices and ranted about them doing him dirt, giving the contract away. Then he published a letter in the beach-area Argonaut newspaper saying how wrong the owners were and that for the last several years he had acted on behalf of the Protestors, that he had 'prayed about the matter', and that God essentially told him to spy on his employers.
        Thus it became clear to all why Jerry never caught trespassers, how the Protestors knew my days off ('all clear on Thursday'), and that was how the Protestors got the new main gate phone number for the bomb threats. Later on, I asked the owner of That Security Company why Jerry was still working for our company. His reply was that Jerry had a First Amendment Right to send in such a letter. Apparently, conflict of interest and industrial espionage were okay, and the fact that on next go-round on bids for a Playa Vista security contract, That Security Company was locked out of contention by Jerry's shenanigans.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Anything like situations in your life? Sound like the daily news in your town or Washington, DC? Crimes committed by the Protestors covered up by their mole guard Jerry; the whole matter swept under the rug by my employer and by the owners, and never any confrontation on the matter with the Protestors.
        No one is responsible. Except Mary and Ruth and the F.B.W., dragging trash and weeds out of the swamp so that the dwindling habitat for endangered species that travel the California fly-ways is preserved for future generations. Yes, there are heroes like the Friends of the Ballona Wetlands, but they are as rare as a pearl in a bed of oysters.
        The majority of Mankind – the weasels, the back-stabbers, the Oligarchy, the religionists, the bureaucrats & politicians, the tabloid journalists (of every medium) – are not worth the powder it would take to blow them up.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        The current status at Playa Vista is that the Freshwater Marsh is restored, work proceeds on the major wetlands area, and permits are approved for start of Phase II, the commercial/- office sector. The two parcels north of Ballona Creek were bought in December by the State.
        The existing condos and apartments look like anywhere in Orange County, even including the failure to address pedestrian needs – the maids & employees will have to trudge an extra mile from the bus stop each day to get to their jobs.
        Recent construction digging beneath the Loyola University bluffs turned up a Native American burial site, which brought in the fourth faction, the local Tongva-Gabrielino Tribe. The official site-manager wants major and costly handling of his ancestors' bones, while another faction within the tribe is very vocal that he has no standing – just another mess added to the original.

        The Protestors will of course claim all victory, even the sale of the two parcels to the State (driven by economics, not by protests), but in reality the Protestors are self-aggrandizing, publicity-seeking eco-terrorists. They will not be found pulling weeds or picking up trash (not even their own) for the benefit of the ecosystem.
        That work falls to the unsung heroes of the deal. Not the developers, not the lying eco-terrorists, not the passive Tribal Americans, but the hard-working sun-burnt and wind-burnt folks of the Friends of the Ballona Wetlands and the Ballona Wetlands Foundation.

        Map this onto your local factions. They are there. The Developers, who simply want to 'pave Paradise' and make a buck or two. The God-driven reactionaries, who see no problem in lying, spying, bombing & terrorism-by-frivolous-lawsuit to achieve their dubious mission. The unsung workers who actually produce progress for Mankind and protect the Holy Biosphere. The politicians and bureaucrats who switch sides based on who pays the most. The N.I.M.B.Y. locals who close the gates after they get inside Paradise. The blindered journalists who 'see no evil' where facts prove otherwise. And the general public, who just don't give a darn about their future.

        Why do things not work on this planet? The Culture-Structure is designed so that Things Do Not Work! The only solution is replacement of ignorance & superstition with Reason. Develop a Working Mind, and Mankind may just have a chance for survival. Leave things as they are and the same madness (as above) will prevail. Do nothing and you deserve what you get.

* *          * *          * *          * *

a poem written inside Playa Vista [1996]:  http://www.genordell.com/writings/coffeebreak.htm

Friends of the Ballona Wetlands:   http://www.ballonafriends.org/
The Ballona Wetlands Foundation:   http://www.ballona-wetlands.org/
Playa Vista official website:   http://www.playavista.com/

[copyright 2004 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

Each issue of WMail is posted on the Working Minds website; quotations are posted alphabetically by author.


N E W S    &    L I N K S    o f    I N T E R E S T

==>  Don't forget TO FORGET to file your income tax returns.
        [For new readers, see WMail #21 March 2002 'Tax Revolt'
        http://www.working-minds.com/WM2002a.htm#21 ]

==>  "The [Bush] administration is well on its way to being the first since Herbert
        Hoover's to preside over an overall loss of jobs during its complete term in office."
         — Graydon Carter, Editor's Letter in Jan 2004 Vanity Fair Magazine

==>  "The Republican Party [parades] God thru town like a circus elephant, shouting
        loudly that it is for Him that they are attempting to unite America in a great crusade for
        family values." — Al Martinez, Los Angeles Times (2004)


APRIL IS TELEVISION TURNOFF MONTH
        [For new readers, see WMail #8 March 2001 'Is Television Necessary?'
        http://www.working-minds.com/WM2001a.htm#8]

"There are too many people in the world who believe everything they see on television."
— Michael Connelly

"I think [the Fox Network] has been indisputably a force for evil in the world."
— Harry Shearer

"Nothing could be worse than turning 40, 50 or 60 years old with nothing
but TV viewing and work as your legacy."
— unknown

==>  National TV-Turnoff Week is April 19-25 this year [10th Annual]
        
http://www.tvturnoff.org/

==>  AdBusters TV Turnoff Campaign
        http://www.adbusters.org/testing/psycho/tvturnoff/index.html

==>  "Our Media Not Theirs" by McChesney & Nichols


N E X T   M O N T H: "The Oligarchy"

I N   F E B R U A R Y: The Swimsuit Issue


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Philosophy of Empowerment" by visiting the WM website ebooks page at
http://www.working-minds.com/ebooks.htm
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GENordell [at] Working-Minds.com — just put "FreePrvwEdition" in the Subject field, and specify your choice of Adobe Acrobat PDF file or Microsoft Reader LIT file or M/S Word DOC file.

==>  Visit and-or bookmark the Working Minds website:
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==>  Participate in these philosophical webrings:
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