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Talk about a paralyzed Congress. The Executive branch is about as bad with less reason to be. The most important element of the Dodd-Frank legislation, the Volker Rule, is stuck on its way to implementation with less reason than Congress has for being polarized. Less than 40% of the bill has been implemented. The Volker Rule would bar banks from using their own funds when trading securities. It is true that no one knows for sure whether Dodd-Frank will prevent another melt-down, but unless we get on with implementing it, we will never know. There is a huge but obvious problem. Each of five agencies is involved in writing the implementation policies. And each has a veto! To make matters worse, there is a lot of overlap in the duties of several agencies. Three other elements of Dodd-Frank face the same hurdles.

The Volker Rule is important because it is the lead provision for limiting the risk banks can pose to tax-payers. With more than 60% of the legislation still to go, it is high time Obama built a few fires under the feet of the regulators. For starters, he could begin proceedings toward streamlining the Executive branch of government. He considered doing just that back in 2009, but abandoned the idea, apparently to avoid a pervasive turf war among the many prima donnas. He needs to think again.
Mind control has been practiced for eons. Even before that, other species did it. We know that for they still do. But there is a new dimension, or rather an avenue by which to achieve it: The search engine. Neither Google nor Yahoo are suspected of such misbehavior, but as Evan Leatherwood points out in the 9 May 2013 issue of The Nation , it could happen. What is scary about the research we have done is that each of us has that exact propensity for having our minds controlled by others, or our controlling theirs. It has happened before. Radio, TV, and now Search Engines all have the potential for mind control. Although Eric Schmidt, Serge Brin, and Larry Page of Google recognize the possibility that Google has such power even though they are apparently not attempting to actually do so, they have nevertheless acknowledged in the past that they can.

Others, notably Robert Epstein, a research psychologist, Michael Fischer of Yale, and Frank Pasquale of Seton Hall believe search engines can sway public opinion, and alter election results to the Left or Right! Each of these personages comes from a different quarter.
Updated 25 Aug 2012

No, this is not a Bill Clinton or “should do” page. There is another more-dangerous form of sensual politics, one that potentially can grab any of us that needs airing—but first a bit of background. It endangers our very democracy.

Just as the earliest animals began to evolve through selection of the most-fit individuals, so also animal groups and, ultimately, society itself evolves. To understand how life and and all that came about, it is helpful to not only understand the three DNA domains of life, Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya, but the several lower orders of life classification: Phylum, Class. Order, Family, Tribe, Genus and species. Each level recognizes ever finer distinctions. Ability to move, locomotion, in other words, is just one example. Sensing light, sound, touch and odors each evolved in their own times. Neural systems accomplished the five systems gradually over time. Eventually, evolution added memory and higher thought processes such intuitive insights, that may be unconscious, and logic at the conscious level. Ultimately, a Great ape employed these latter to become the dominant species on earth.
There are some problems:

Where is their manifesto?
Are there no demands?
Who is in charge of this peaceful movement? Where is Mandella? Ghandi?

There are no short answers.

Is there anything here held in common with similar protests elsewhere in the world?

We think there is; though their targets may differ greatly, each was enabled by the Internet and its many denizens who specialize in human-to-human contacts.
Our take is that the growth of science and technology has several more multiples to run before new discoveries get beyond economic reach or encounter their natural limits, if such exists.

How often in history has an American President become a prophet?

Alan Greenspan confessed he did not know what happened when the housing bubble burst. Paul Volcker did. Why the difference between these two otherwise distinguished chairmen of the Federal Reserve? Greenspan presided over two bubbles; Volcker merely observed. One learned something; the other didn’t. That matters hugely, for the future of our country in its response to terrorism is at stake.
Monetary units seem to be a necessary part of the human existence. Monetary units are otherwise known as capital, a concept a bit different from government style. Governments of all styles employ monetary units. How could Wall-Street banker barter a hair cut from his barber? How could the Boeing company barter a 787 Dreamliner with Indonesia Airlines? Money seems necessary to modern life. But what exactly does money represent? Is not money the medium of exchange between the other two forms of capital, human services and items of substance, again independent of political persuasion or style of government? Money is universal. So what? Read on.

The saying goes: "If it worked for grandpa, it will work for me."

True enough--for most of the existence of our species--150 millennia or so. Some five to ten millennia ago, hunter gatherers began flocking together, as survival likely demanded. That adaptation was not so much natural as it was learned. And that adaptation led to an ever-quickening of discovery arising from natural curiosity combined with logical thinking that could imagine a better, more-secure world. Of necessity, security rested on defensive barriers and offensive arms. Technology was born. Invention begat inventions [plural] on an ever quickening pace in accord with what we now call an exponential law [of progress].

Does always mean always (ie. justice)? To those of us learning the pledge of allegiance by rote, always means always. The trouble is, in real societies justice does not naturally work that way. A few local societies, like the Amish and Quakers in southeastern Pennsylvania, USA, do. Unfortunately they are the very rare exceptions, not the rule. This page looks into the basis for one of the greatest equalizers ever developed for use in the justice system. When used properly, DNA, is an equalizer, for each of us, except identical twins sports a unique genome. it has freed literally hundreds of individuals wrongly convicted of crimes. That happens when a perpetrator leaves traces of him/herself at the crime scene or on a victim that does not match the person wrongly convicted of the crime on heresay, circumstantial evidence, or out of simple mistake.

The Conservative/Liberal divide seems to be an inherent feature of human nature. At least there are too many parallels to support another hypothesis. Moreover, the great divide between the right and left is mirrored within each party. Finally, we see the phenomenon within each of us as a template for the whole.

Ebb as in ebb and flow, is what is now happening in Afghanistan. The tide may be out, but it won't stop any tsunami that awaits.

If you are a foreigner occupying some one else's homeland, it does not pay to fund your opposition. Yet that is exactly what we are doing. Fool's Game? Reality might be worse--the US government is not a fool, at least not now. Maybe it was during the great denial of the Bush Junior era, for they started the practice, or rather renewed it from the ash can of history. To a degree it worked in Iraq, for it narrowed the divide between the Sunni and Shias and reduced al Qa'ida considerably. Sunni/Shia cooperation is Iraq's future. But Afghanistan is different. Secular, tribal, and religious forces are all in it for themselves with corruption the cornerstone of a society still caught up in feudal times. Extortion and bribery allow supplies to go through. On the national scale, it becomes blackmail in effect when leaders of a well-meaning peoples, American and European, payoff to avoid their bungling being exposed.

AIG came into being unregulated.

What happened?

The big shots took care of themselves first. After all, they had a license to do so.

Do know anyone who could refuse such temptation?

Barrels of money went into the the big shot's already-deep pockets. Those barrels of money disappeared from society's bank accounts.

Which side of these barrels are you on?

Isaac Newton discovered that every action requires a reaction in the world of physics. In politics it is similar, even in our later times. A well intentioned legislation may have its intended effect, but it may also have unexpected and unwanted side effects that are more injurious than the new benefit. Wise legislators therefore are careful to at least balance the controls.

Our current financial crisis is a case in point. Controls on the banking system, beginning with Nixon were gradually eliminated through the Clinton Administration. What little was left, Bush totally ignored. Such was his misguided faith that a free market system is the be all and end all of economics.
The deed is done. There is some stimulus--and a lot of pork that essentially will go to waste. Don't look for a rescue just yet. The basic systemic and structural problems still remain. Until these are addressed and cured, Americans and world citizens alike will remain skeptical. Obama is not alone in shouldering blame, Congress arguably deserves even more, since their responsibility is to initiate legislation. There will be some jobs created, but what about the rivers of credit that our modern economy thirsts for and needs so badly? Unlike a desert mirage that fools a thirsty man's eyes, this package fools no one. For it is indeed a mirage.
The Pakistani Parliament recently passed a resolution critical to the "war on terror." It passed unanimously without dissent after a fierce debate. This resolution recommended Dialogue begin with the Taliban and al Qa'ida.
For most of his tenure as Secretary of Treasury, Henry Paulson reassured us that our financial system was basically healthy.

Indictment One: He was wrong, consistently wrong. Make that compulsively wrong if you like. Only after the meltdown gathered enough steam to hit all the financial pages did he act. His proposed bail-out, much of which Congress bought, saved the scoundrels who brought on the crisis, not the people on the street. He was more than too-little too-late. His proposal leads to two further indictments.
Meet Chuck Hagel, Republican Senator from Nebraska.

Quotes from Connie Bruck, The Odd Man Out: The New Yorker, 3 Nov 2008

Hagel is a realistic Republican--in the mold of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Goldwater in that he looks for and sees reality. Hagel also has the guts to state facts as such and call them for what they really are.
Congress still has a ton of work to do to retrieve a viable economy. So far, we have employed Band-Aids where major surgery is required. Although the nerves of the bankers have been soothed, the same is not true on the street. What the bankers have received is a ton of cash. How they use it is up to them. Their instincts are to circle the wagons and keep credit tight to limit any further exposure. Their further instincts are to grow their institutions to the point they become too large to fail. In fact, that has already happened. Nine already out-sized banks could soon become four or so under the present bailout. And money will remain tight. So unless there is a fundamental regime change in Washington, the recession and bear market will be much longer than usual with only a dim light at the end of the tunnel.
Both McCain and Obama have a coterie of advisers. Each candidate has vowed change from the highly politicized Bush Administration. But we searched in vain for McCain's scientific advisers. Evidently he has none of significance! We did find one reference: Nature, 25 Sept 2008, that lists five individuals as "McCain's main science and technology advisers, James Woolsley, James Schlesinger, Robert McFarlane, Carly Fiorina, and Meg Whitman." All are respectable individuals, but where is the scientist? In contrast, Obama advisers are many and their roots in science are deep. For him, science means science; for McCain, science means politics.
Editorial 19 Oct 2008

Since we are not economists, the following relies on some economists we can believe in. They are not hard to find; they rest mainly in academia and foundations with links to the media. Paul Krugman, 2008 Nobel winner in economics, is one example. We also reference commentators with experience in the issues.

In 2006, Nouriel Roubini, Professor of economics at New York University, sounded an alarm at an International Fund Meeting that the US was facing a severe housing crash, soaring oil prices, declining consumer prices, and defaults on mortgages. He forecast trillions of dollars could evaporate. And so it came to pass. And for that reason, we think his advice on any fix is rather better than that of any politician. Yet his advice was not sought by the Administration or the Congress according to the Washington Spectator, 15 Oct 2008. There are some 200 in academia alone, including Roubini.

On The Issues has informed information on the presidential candidates. It is a great place to start, especially for individual histories. What follows are some issues of importance to peace. Either of these candidates towers above the current incumbent on some or most issues. One towers much higher than the other.

John Mc Cain | Barack Obama

13 February 2008; Updated 28 Feb 2008 calls the Democratic primary for Barack Obama. Although there is life left in the Clinton campaign, Obama has generated real momentum since Super Tuesday, and now leads the absolute delegate count. What Clinton has is a struggling team. She is favored to win several more contests, but only in New Hampshire did she do better than expected. Except for New Hampshire, Obama has exceeded expectations. Obama's speeches electrify. Hers sound a bit too establishment to reflect the real Hillary.

Clinton is a good person, smart and able, but what comes though is bland if not muddy. To recover, she has to project the new and the daring. We wonder if she has the personality to do it. We will applaud if she does.

President William McKinley went to war and liberated Cuba; he declared: "[We share] singular ties with Cuba." Is it time to revisit those ties? We think so. Our embargo is so popular that when Cuba appealed to the UN in 2006 to drop the embargo, the US lost the vote by 194 to 4. Other nations now trade freely with Cuba. If you think that makes us look like an arrogant bully, that is true. If you think we look like laughing stock, that is also true.

Dictate, motivate, or what? That is the question when founding a new enterprise anywhere in the world. New enterprises become part of the culture. It is therefore important how they contribute to that culture. In the US, big business is too authoritarian to produce a net effect of fostering peace among world societies. This page illustrates why that is so and outlines methods proven to be better.

Some people never give up, and the Neocons are proving that adage. Not only do they have Rudy Giuliani already in tow, they now have an advocate in the body of Fred Thompson. Thompson is a Neocon at heart. His actions support their agenda, so he might as well be a card carrying Neocon.

Updated: 26 Nov 2007

If a policy fails, most reasonable people trash it later if not sooner. Not so Giuliani.

From the Guardian Weekly, 11 Nov 2007:

Giuliani is a dangerous man.
George Bush with brains.
Dick Cheney with better aim.
Consider yourself warned.

Mythology, by various definitions, is:

  • A collection of traditional stories by authors unknown purported to explain natural phenomena. A legend. Religious rites.
  • Any fictitious story.
  • Any imaginary person or thing spoken of as though existing.

The line between myth and modern propaganda is fine indeed. In the latter, the authors are known; the subject is of immediate interest. While myths may spring from imaginative and well-meaning attempts to explain nature, propaganda arises from outright deceit with society suffering the brunt of ulterior motives.

What does this topic have to do with Terror? Well, along with state and church, corporations in the West at least have played strong roles in the humiliation of the Middle East. Corporations and industry have, moreover, dumped more greenhouse gases into the biosphere than any other sector of human endeavor, hastening the day when expanding population runs out of room in the face of vanishing resources. This eventuality may already be driving terrorism to greater heights.

The world's greatest democracy, built by immigrants and refugees of all stripes; President Bush has now signed a bill to build a wall to keep them out!!

    "Mexico has pledged to challenge the fence at the United Nations and on Wednesday presented a declaration against the policy to the Organisation of American States, supported by 27 other Latin American and Caribbean nations but opposed by the US." BBC News