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The Ancient Secret to Thriving in Any Environment

The Daily Reckoning - 23 September 2014 - 4:47am

“The wise man confines his operations to his own concerns, having his attention fixed on his own particular thread of the universal web.”

We’ve mentioned Marcus Aurelius once before in our digital leaves.

Regarded as one of the greatest texts on philosophy, his Meditations is chock-full of timeless wisdom. We find ourselves returning to it at least a couple times a year.

Author Ryan Holiday describes it best: It’s “the definitive text on self-discipline, personal ethics, humility, self-actualization and strength.”

If you haven’t read it, check out Gregory Hays’ translation. Try not to be profoundly changed by it.

By taking full responsibility for your own life, Aurelius explains, you’ll make the maximum possible contribution to the greater good of the universe.

“Does the sun,” he asks, “think to do the rain’s work?”

On top of being awesome…

Meditations is widely considered to be one of the greatest texts on Stoic philosophy.

The modern-day thinker especially can benefit from Stoicism’s perception: It emerged out of a present-day familiarity…

Chaos.

While Athenian city-states were crumbling before Greece’s eyes, it was a way of coping with the constant upheaval.

Over time, Stoicism refined itself into a way to master chaos… and even to thrive in it.

It became a stalwart counter to the idea that chaos meant the end of the world. In fact, chaos was only the beginning… a way for nature to clear out the old and bring in the new.

So profound were its ideas, Stoicism has influenced the likes of Shakespeare, Frederick the Great, Adam Smith, JD Salinger, Tom Wolfe, and… some would even say… modern-day libertarianism.

And the sound still rings, calling to those with ears to hear it.

In contrast to Plato and Aristotle’s aristocratic airs, who mostly regarded the populace as swine to be shepherded… or a dangerous crowd to be tricked and enslaved…

Zeno of Citium, Stoicism’s beloved founder, spoke to the rich and poor as one, teaching that society was less functional when split into classes.

Anyone who wants to become wise, wealthy, and happy, he taught, should have the opportunity to do so.

And to find that wisdom, wealth and happiness?

“Stoicism,” says Zeno’s Wiki page, “laid great emphasis on goodness and peace of mind gained from living a life of Virtue in accordance with Nature.”

In his The Economy of Mind, written in 1982, Warren Brookes seizes the spirit of Stoicism in one passage…

“The natural ecosystem is so… remarkably interrelated that even the best-intentioned efforts to regulate this environment… invariably bring about reactions and distortions throughout the system. While these accommodations are frequently painful and difficult, they are usually better in their long-term result, because nature tends to preserve, protect, and strengthen its own creation.”

The Stoics taught that the world itself achieves a balance. And a natural balance always results in something better than a forced “solution” could bring.

It has a similar scent, no?

In light of current events, the Stoics crossed our minds…

A five minute peruse of the headlines won’t betray the truth: We suffer no shortage of impending chaos.

Geopolitical dynamite with short wicks in Iraq… Syria… Ukraine… Libya… (And smaller, but no less erratic flames in others)…

The constant pounding threat of cyber-attacks, cyber-terrorism (that could knock out essential services anywhere), cyber-espionage (someone could be watching you right now), cyber-warfare, and malevolent cyber-crimes.

No matter what corner of the earth you’re rubbing your chin from, we’re all tethered enough to be screwed.

And, let’s not forget: The looming fallout from yet another economic collapse.

Just one flick of the fingernail could send the house of cards toppling to the unkempt lawn below.

And we’re not just talking about the Western countries. No matter what corner of the earth you’re rubbing your chin from, we’re all tethered enough to be screwed.

“China, believe it or not,” our HQ leader Addison Wiggin says, “is in more of a credit bubble than the United States.”

And, he says, a collapse in China is just one of many potential catalysts.

Addison has uncovered three of the most likely possibilities to trigger a global financial landslide worse than 2008. (Side note… To ensure you’re able to gain access to Addison’s full assessment of what’s to come, sign up for Laissez Faire Today, for FREE, right here.)

The world is topsy turvy. The plates are wobbly… and losing more and more balance by the day.

As individuals, you and I can’t do much about these things. They’re well beyond our control.

The first step to sanity is recognizing this simple fact.

All we can do is be aware of these dangers. And, like the Stoics would suggest, have our attention fixed on our own “particular thread of the universal web.”

All we can do is work to achieve that which we can contribute to ourselves, while avoiding being pulled by the world’s ubiquitous drama.

So, today’s questions…

Questions of the day:

What constructive action can you take to enhance your own life?

Is there something weighing you down that you have no control over? Can you accept it as such and simply shift your focus?

Email us your answer, if you wish, here: Chris@lfb.org

Whatever your answers, think about what the unintended results could bring: Often, they will mean enhancing others’ lives along the way.

Call us blessed…

We’re surrounded by illuminated minds here in our Baltimore HQ. And, each one, in one form or another, has devoted his or her life to enhancing the lives of others.

When cast together, they can help provide us with actionable solutions and sharp knowledge to master nearly all our modern-day challenges.

Over time, you’ll get to know them all. Stay tuned.

Regards,

Chris Campbell
for The Daily Reckoning

Ed. Note: The themes in Chris’ FREE e-letter, Laissez Faire Today, center around three things: Freedom, self-reliance, and action. That means current subscribers to Laissez Faire Today receive daily tips, tricks, and insider secrets on how to live their best possible life — and unabashedly share their uniqueness with the world. And now you can join them, absolutely FREE. Don’t miss a single episode. Sign up today, right here.

Categories: Economics

Paul Krugman’s Errors and Omissions

Energy Bulletin - 23 September 2014 - 4:24am

In a New York Times op-ed published September 18 titled “Errors and Emissions,” economist-columnist Paul Krugman took a swipe at my organization, Post Carbon Institute, lumping us together with the Koch brothers as purveyors of “climate despair.” But not only does Krugman misrepresent our position, he himself is guilty of 5 errors and 3 omissions.

Categories: Peak oil news

How Wall Street Strategists are Trading the Current Market

The Daily Reckoning - 23 September 2014 - 3:30am

Were you stuck in line waiting for a new iPhone Friday? Perhaps you were waiting around for the big Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) IPO instead?

Either way, you missed the biggest event of the day.

That’s right — stocks hit brand-new highs Friday. Again…

“Think about that for a second,” muses our own trading guru Jonas Elmerraji. “Theoretically, October 2007 was the worst time to buy stocks — it was the market peak right before the 2008 market crash. But if you put your entire net worth into the S&P 500 right at the top, you’d actually be sitting on 30% gains just by holding on until today.”

However, I’d like to think your timing wasn’t that terrible. After all, you don’t just throw all of your money at the market once or twice per decade, do you?

So if you tried to sneak some cash back into the market in 2009, you’d know the S&P is up 195% since its March 2009 bottom. And even if you waited until 2010, 2011, or even 2012 to put you money back to work in stocks, you’d be enjoying considerable gains…

“And it would be equally crazy not to think about whether this market is overbought right now,” Jonas interjects. “More importantly, the answer could save your portfolio from the next crash.”

So how the heck can you figure out if the market is ripe for a nasty fall?

To try and answer this question, let’s take a look and see what the big funds are doing…

“It might surprise you to hear that stock buying hasn’t driven this post-2008 rally,” Jonas explains. “Participation among both retail and institutional investors has been at record lows in recent years. And big firms are still advising folks to stay out of stocks overall.”

“This chart shows the average stock allocations recommended by Wall Street strategists at firms like Bank of America, UBS, Oppenheimer, and HSBC,” Jonas continues. “It’s a good barometer for how heavily funds are invested in stocks. As you can see, that blue line has been in decline for more than a decade. Put another way, Wall Street is telling funds to hold a lower percentage of their portfolios in stocks than they did when everyone was panicking in 2009…

“It’s not just the pros — many of the individual investors who sold their stocks during the financial crisis still haven’t bought them again either. Just look at Fidelity Investments, one of the biggest mutual fund companies in the world — it’s historically been thought of as an ‘equity shop’, meaning that most of the money it manages is in stocks. Back at the start of 2007, 67% of the firm’s assets were invested in stocks, and its biggest mutual fund was the stock-focused Contrafund. But today, only 47% of the firm’s assets are invested in stocks — its biggest fund is now a cash management fund.”

However, Jonas notes that while there are certainly few buyers, there are even fewer sellers.

“The S&P may be above 2,000 again,” Jonas concludes. “But there’s no question that stocks are actually under-owned right now.”’

Regards,

Greg Guenthner
for The Daily Reckoning

Ed. Note: Regardless of what the market is doing, there will always be a place for you to invest your money and watch it grow. Greg Guenthner relays this kind of information every single morning, right around the opening bell, in his FREE Rude Awakening e-letter. In each issue, readers are given a quick and dirty rundown of the markets, including 5 specific numbers to watch, 3 chances to discover real actionable profit opportunities and the most important trends you need to be following right now. Don’t miss another issue or recommendation. Sign up for The Rude Awakening, for FREE, right here.

Categories: Economics

Green Transformations Need a People-Focused Politics - Institute of Development Studies

Transition Towns in the media - 23 September 2014 - 3:11am

Green Transformations Need a People-Focused Politics
Institute of Development Studies
Citizen-led alternative economies and mobilisations around them include low-carbon Transition Towns which began in the UK and have now extended into a worldwide movement. Community practices that create and develop sustainable agricultural and ...

Categories: TT news

The Market Ticker - Oh Yes, Those Medical Guys Shouldn't All Go To Prison

The Market Ticker - 23 September 2014 - 1:49am

Riiiight.

The practice increases revenue for physicians and other health care workers at a time when insurers are cutting down reimbursement for many services. The surprise charges can be especially significant because, as in Mr. Drier’s case, they may involve out-of-network providers who bill 20 to 40 times the usual local rates and often collect the full amount, or a substantial portion.

20 to 40 times the usual and customary local rates?

Who authorized that?  Nobody!

So what is it when you're basically flat on your ass unable to consent and someone rams you for 20 times the usual price?

How is that not a violation -- a felony violation at that -- of general consumer protection statutes, and that's being kind?

“This has gotten really bad, and it’s wrong,” said James J. Donelon, the Republican insurance commissioner of Louisiana. “But when you try to address it as a policy maker, you run into a hornet’s nest of financial interests.”

How about this?  We start locking people up for this crap and take their Porsche and Mansion and sell it off, along with their yacht and vacation home?

"But they're doctors!" will be the refrain.  No, they're thieves and extortionists, and they, along with everyone that enables this crap, from the hospital administrators on down, ought to be in prison with them.

You want to know why you need "medical insurance"?  That's the reason.  This is a manufactured racket that were there to be any sort of abiding of the law would not exist.  There is an entire industry that only exists because of these ripoffs and the amount of money involved is immense; over $2 trillion a year is spent on medical care and a huge part of it is stolen or extorted through these schemes.

Patricia Kaufman’s bills after a recent back operation at a Long Island hospital were rife with such charges, said her husband, Alan, who spent days sorting them out. Two plastic surgeons billed more than $250,000 to sew up the incision, a task done by a resident during previous operations for Ms. Kaufman’s chronic neurological condition.

$250,000 to sew someone up?  Really?

How does anyone make the argument that this entire system isn't an extortion racket from top to bottom when the listed sort of prices in this article show up?  $115,000 for a $6,000 procedure?  $18,000 for $700 worth of work?

“You can cut fees, but institutions find ways” to make the money back, he said. “There’s been a mushrooming industry of mandatory consultants for services that neither doctors nor patients want.”

C'mon folks -- that sort of thing is organized and by any reasonable definition it's Racketeering.

This isn't something to "push back" against, it's something to prosecute and throw all of these assholes in prison, hitting them with both the statutory maximum fines and treble damages, starting with the hospital administrators and physicians doing it.

ALL OF THEM.

Categories: Economics

The Market Ticker - Oh Yes, Those Medical Guys Shouldn't All Go To Prison

The Market Ticker - 23 September 2014 - 1:49am

Riiiight.

The practice increases revenue for physicians and other health care workers at a time when insurers are cutting down reimbursement for many services. The surprise charges can be especially significant because, as in Mr. Drier’s case, they may involve out-of-network providers who bill 20 to 40 times the usual local rates and often collect the full amount, or a substantial portion.

20 to 40 times the usual and customary local rates?

Who authorized that?  Nobody!

So what is it when you're basically flat on your ass unable to consent and someone rams you for 20 times the usual price?

How is that not a violation -- a felony violation at that -- of general consumer protection statutes, and that's being kind?

“This has gotten really bad, and it’s wrong,” said James J. Donelon, the Republican insurance commissioner of Louisiana. “But when you try to address it as a policy maker, you run into a hornet’s nest of financial interests.”

How about this?  We start locking people up for this crap and take their Porsche and Mansion and sell it off, along with their yacht and vacation home?

"But they're doctors!" will be the refrain.  No, they're thieves and extortionists, and they, along with everyone that enables this crap, from the hospital administrators on down, ought to be in prison with them.

You want to know why you need "medical insurance"?  That's the reason.  This is a manufactured racket that were there to be any sort of abiding of the law would not exist.  There is an entire industry that only exists because of these ripoffs and the amount of money involved is immense; over $2 trillion a year is spent on medical care and a huge part of it is stolen or extorted through these schemes.

Patricia Kaufman’s bills after a recent back operation at a Long Island hospital were rife with such charges, said her husband, Alan, who spent days sorting them out. Two plastic surgeons billed more than $250,000 to sew up the incision, a task done by a resident during previous operations for Ms. Kaufman’s chronic neurological condition.

$250,000 to sew someone up?  Really?

How does anyone make the argument that this entire system isn't an extortion racket from top to bottom when the listed sort of prices in this article show up?  $115,000 for a $6,000 procedure?  $18,000 for $700 worth of work?

“You can cut fees, but institutions find ways” to make the money back, he said. “There’s been a mushrooming industry of mandatory consultants for services that neither doctors nor patients want.”

C'mon folks -- that sort of thing is organized and by any reasonable definition it's Racketeering.

This isn't something to "push back" against, it's something to prosecute and throw all of these assholes in prison, hitting them with both the statutory maximum fines and treble damages, starting with the hospital administrators and physicians doing it.

ALL OF THEM.

Categories: Economics

A Land Under Waves

Energy Bulletin - 23 September 2014 - 1:45am

Why does a man who knows about global warming and rising sea levels live by a saltwater canal where his back yard ends twenty inches above the water? Because the location is too beautiful to give up. And because I don’t know if the canal will rise to the doorstep during my lifetime...

Categories: Peak oil news

Defining the Simple Life

Energy Bulletin - 23 September 2014 - 1:40am

The simple life is almost as hard to define as it is to live.

Categories: Peak oil news

Kostakis & Bauwens: Network Society and Future Scenarios for a Collaborative Economy

Energy Bulletin - 23 September 2014 - 1:30am

Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Kostakis have just published a new book that offers a rich, sophisticated critique of our current brand of capitalism, and looks to current trends in digital collaboration to propose the outlines of the next, network-based economy and society.

Categories: Peak oil news

Peak Oil Review - Sept 22

Energy Bulletin - 23 September 2014 - 1:26am

A weekly update, including: - Oil and the global economy -The Middle East and North Africa -Russia -Quote of the Week -The Briefs

Categories: Peak oil news

Low Oil Prices: Sign of a Debt Bubble Collapse, Leading to the End of Oil Supply

Energy Bulletin - 23 September 2014 - 12:04am

Oil and other commodity prices have recently been dropping. Is this good news, or bad?

Categories: Peak oil news

The Market Ticker - Oh, Your Private Sexual Proclivities? Not So Much

The Market Ticker - 22 September 2014 - 11:15pm

So what you do behind closed doors between consenting adults is your business, right? 

Not if you go to Clemson, it appears.

Clemson University is requiring students to reveal how many times they’ve had sex in the past month and with how many partners.

In screenshots obtained exclusively byCampus Reform, the South Carolina university is asking students invasive and personal questions about their drinking habits and sex life as part of what they’ve billed as an online Title IX training course.

“How many times have you had sex (including oral) in the last 3 months?” asks one question.

Really?

Further, completion of the "online class" is required and persons taking it are required to sign in with their student ID numbers.

And as if that's not enough an outside organization -- a third party -- is running it.

And if that's not enough refusal to complete it is considered a violation of the student code of conduct: Failure to comply with Official Request.

Well here's my answer to anyone who thinks this sort of crap should pass unanswered with any less retaliation than a firing of everyone involved and forfeiture of all privileges attached, including retirement benefits.

Categories: Economics

The Market Ticker - Oh, Your Private Sexual Proclivities? Not So Much

The Market Ticker - 22 September 2014 - 11:15pm

So what you do behind closed doors between consenting adults is your business, right? 

Not if you go to Clemson, it appears.

Clemson University is requiring students to reveal how many times they’ve had sex in the past month and with how many partners.

In screenshots obtained exclusively byCampus Reform, the South Carolina university is asking students invasive and personal questions about their drinking habits and sex life as part of what they’ve billed as an online Title IX training course.

“How many times have you had sex (including oral) in the last 3 months?” asks one question.

Really?

Further, completion of the "online class" is required and persons taking it are required to sign in with their student ID numbers.

And as if that's not enough an outside organization -- a third party -- is running it.

And if that's not enough refusal to complete it is considered a violation of the student code of conduct: Failure to comply with Official Request.

Well here's my answer to anyone who thinks this sort of crap should pass unanswered with any less retaliation than a firing of everyone involved and forfeiture of all privileges attached, including retirement benefits.

Categories: Economics

A Fig in Minnesota!!

Energy Bulletin - 22 September 2014 - 11:09pm

f you find yourself in a climate like mine, know that it is not completely impossible to enjoy this exotic fruit, you just have to work a lot harder to realize a harvest.

Categories: Peak oil news

Richard Louv on living "nature-rich" lives

Transition Culture - 22 September 2014 - 6:25pm

Richard Louv is a journalist and author of a number of books, most famously Last Child in the Woods, first published in 2005.  His most recent book is The Nature Principle.  Last Child in the Woods coined the term 'Nature Deficit Disorder' to describe the impacts that isolation from nature could be seen to be having on a generation of children.  He is also a founder of the Children and Nature Network.  When I spoke to him, I started by asking how Nature Deficit Disorder manifests more widely in society. 

Many of the kids I interviewed for Last Child in the Woods are adults now. One of the things we know from the research is that almost all environmentalists, conservationists, whatever we want to call ourselves, had some transcendent experiences in nature when we were kids, where we felt close to nature and had a personal relationship with nature. What happens if that ends?

What happens if most experience becomes virtual, disconnected from the natural world? Who will be the future stewards of the earth? It is true that there will always be environmentalists and there will always be conservationists, but if we’re not careful, environmentalists and others who care about the future of nature will carry nature in their briefcases, not in their hearts. That’s a very different relationship and I don’t think it is sustainable. That’s one impact.

The other impacts are extensions of what we know about the effect of the natural world on children. Throughout our lives we have chances to grow, we have chances to grow new neural pathways. We have chances to be healthier psychologically and physically. We have challenges to our cognition or potential cognitive improvement. We of course have to make a living. We raise our families. We have to decide how best to be happy or pursue happiness.

In every one of those areas, the emerging research – and it’s only emerging fairly recently, in the last 12-15 years – whether it’s kids or adults, this research shows that having more nature in our lives can contribute positively. Particularly in the area of mental health. There seems to be more research on mental health than there is on physical health, although physical health is starting to catch up.

There’s some good research being done in the UK - the University of Essex is doing great stuff.  Some of it looks at people on treadmills in gyms and compares how they do to another group of people who are expending the exact same number of calories but they’re doing it outside in green exercise, hiking or gardening. In both cases, the same number of calories is burnt. For the people who are on treadmills in gyms, their blood pressure gets better, their psychological wellbeing improves.

But people who burn the same number of calories in green exercise, outdoors, in more natural settings get even better. We really don’t understand why that’s true. This is a terribly under-researched arena. It’s almost an academic scandal that only recently have researchers in the academic world really looked seriously at how exposure to the natural world shapes our development both physically and mentally, and that includes our cognitive development too.

I took my kids on holiday a couple of weeks ago down to Cornwall, further down in the South West here. One evening I took them for a walk down a lane and we saw glow worms in the hedge which was the first time they’d ever seen glow worms, and I think possibly the first time I had since I was a child and my parents took me out one evening to go and see glow worms in the hedge. It was a very magical moment, a very magical experience. I wonder what your sense is of what happens to us when we have experiences like that? Why do they matter so much? What do they do to us?

Rachel Carson wrote about the “sense of wonder” in a book of the same name. She understood this early on. First there is the genetic component of that. E.O. Wilson at Harvard talks about his “biophilia” hypothesis, that we are hard wired as a species to have an affiliation with the rest of nature. Studies have been done about the images that human beings are most attracted to. This work has been done in all kinds of cultures, all kinds of settings; among people who have never spent much time in nature as well as those living fully in the natural world.

What they find is that the images that human beings are most attracted to are images of nature, and of those images, images of landscapes. The number one image that humans are attracted to are images of the savannah. And where are we from? That doesn’t prove that there’s a genetic link or a genetic connection to that past, but it certainly illustrates the conversation. This is part of who we are.

One 11 year old girl I interviewed said – this was in my own grade school, back in Kansas City – this little girl I’d been told to listen to in particular by the teacher there - she called this little girl her “little poet”. This was one of the few schools, by the way, where I found the kids were still going out in the woods in any kind of number at all.

I asked them “what do you see when you’re in the woods?”As a kid I may have talked about Cowboys and Indians, these kids talked about National Geographic. That’s what they projected into the woods. They talked about space, Star Wars. But this one little girl stood up and she said “when I’m in the woods, I feel that I am in my mother’s shoes. I had a special place. It was a little dug out hole underneath a big tree in the woods and I kept my blanket down there. I would go down there and lie on my blanket and look up through the leaves and branches, and I would think of my poems”. She said “one day I went down there and my tree had been cut down and my blanket was gone, and my special place no longer existed”. And she said “when they cut down my tree, they cut down part of me”.

I don’t think the little poet was speaking metaphorically. She was speaking correctly and realistically. If E.O. Wilson is right and this emerging research about this impact on our health and our development is correct, then literally this is part of us. This is one of the reasons why I’ve argued for some time – I did in The Nature Principle, I did in a piece for Orion magazine several years ago where I argued that this should be a human right, to have a positive connection to nature.

September of last year, the IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, with some input from several sources including the Children and Nature Network passed a resolution, saying in fact that children have a human right to a positive connection to the natural world and to a healthy environment. That’s a big step.

What does a healthy relationship with technology look like? I noticed that you have been doing a few media appearances over the summer with the question about surely kids should be outdoors rather than sitting inside playing on their XBoxes all day. What does a healthy relationship with technology look like?

Both in Last Child but particularly in The Nature Principle, I try to make very clear that I’m not anti-tech. You and I are talking via Skype right now. It’s hard to by anti-tech while we’re talking on Skype! I’m not. For a long time I was an early adopter, but now I think I’m a late arrival, I’m falling behind. In The Nature Principle I talk about something called ‘the hybrid mind’.

The best way to describe that is I met a fellow who trains people how to become pilots of cruise ships. We need a few good pilots of cruise ships, apparently. He said he gets two kinds of student. One kind grew up mainly on couches, playing video games, watching television and in front of computers. He said that that kind of student has a great talent and great ability that I need on my ships. That kind of student is really good at the electronics and I have a lot of electronics on my ships.

He said the other kind of student grew up mainly outside. Maybe they were in an agricultural community, maybe they just did a lot of camping and hiking. But he said that that kind of student who grew up mainly outdoors also has a great talent that I need. That kind of student actually knows were the ship is. He wasn’t being facetious or funny – I laughed because I thought it was pretty funny, but he was being serious. He said their senses are more attuned to literally where the ship is in space as it’s moving, and he needs that kind of talent too, obviously.

He said his ideal student would be someone who has both sets of abilities. Both the set that comes from electronics, but also he needs that other balancing set of senses that are developed more in the natural world. That to him would be an ideal student. In The Nature Principle, I call that ‘the hybrid mind’.

I gave a speech in Boston recently. It’s an annual conference called Learning and the Brain, and it’s a very big conference put together by MIT and I believe Harvard and others. It’s heavily focused on technology. I presented this idea about the hybrid mind there. One reason was that the educators there had a sense of relief that I was not accepting the idea that we need to flood our schools with more technology. There’s quite a lot there already.

There is a big economic force for more technology in our schools to essentially immerse kids in technology. That economic force knows exactly what kind of future school it wants. The good news is that testing as we know it will disappear. To me, the not so good news is that we won’t need that kind of testing any more because the machines will be watching kids all the time. Every keystroke, everything they do. That economic force would like schools to be filled with video games, literally, as teaching tools.

None of that has very much to do with going outdoors and having cognitive improvement from what nature gives us. There’s a lot of research on that that really shows significant improvements in test scores and so forth from taking your class outside into nature. So I don’t accept that as the future.

That doesn’t mean I’m anti-tech though. Technology will be there whether we like it or not and some of that is great for education. But the point being, if we focused on the hybrid mind as one of the goals of education, then we would get the best of both worlds.

The technology people in the audience came up to me afterwards and they too were relieved that I’d said that because I didn’t attach technology as evil. That’s not the issue. Being a Luddite is not the goal. Having a sense of balance is the goal. In our schools, for instance, I think that for every dollar we spend on the virtual we should spend another dollar on the real. If we do that, we’ll be ok.

Is it your sense that our separation from nature is one of the key things that’s at the heart of ecological crisis that we face?

Yes.  Perhaps I should add, a way to look at technology that I do in The Nature Principle is that the more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need. It’s a kind of equation that we need to apply to, I think, every area of our lives. Our lives are going to get more technological. But we can increase the amount of nature around us.

One of those ways is through conservation, through conserving what nature we have left. I know that the definition of nature can be tricky. I won’t even go into that unless you want me to, but conservation is essential if we’re going to have that sense of balance with technology. It’s essential for many other reasons obviously, for biological reasons, for health reasons and so forth.

But in The Nature Principle, I make the argument that conservation is no longer enough. Now we need to create nature. That’s a different way of looking at environmentalism, I think. By that I mean different kinds of cities. I mean bringing back butterfly and bird migration routes by replanting our yards in native species. Even in the densest urban neighbourhoods, green roofs that can bring back the migratory routes of native species. We can enrich our lives in that way. But if we’re only trying to conserve what we have left, I think that over time, if that’s all we do that’s a losing game.

If we, in addition to conserving every square inch of wilderness that we still have, we begin to create nature where we live, work, learn and play in new ways, that’s a different kind of future and I think it’s the route that the Transition towns are taking. You would be able to talk better to that than I can, of course.

With Transition groups now around the world working at that community level, what would your advice be to them on how to bring the insights from what you do into the work that they’re doing?

I don’t want to presume to tell anyone how to do that, because the Transition movement is so far ahead of so many other efforts around the world that I wouldn’t presume to give a prescription to it or to tell it it could do better. It’s doing great things and I write about it with admiration in The Nature Principle. I think there is an overarching issue that environmentalism in general has ignored often. Not always. I don’t think all environmentalism necessarily, and I don’t think this applies to the Transition movement.

I’ve become increasingly concerned over time about how we talk about the future. Firstly to our kids, but also to ourselves. I’ve become convinced that most Americans – and I think this would be true of most people in the UK and most people in the so-called developed world and perhaps beyond that, any place where there is fast-growing urbanisation and the Western media has permeated – I think most people carry around images of the far future that look a lot like Blade Runner or Mad Max or I guess The Hunger Games.

At least there are a few trees in The Hunger Games. In the United States at least, and I bet this is true of the UK, the number one fiction genre for young adults is called ‘dystopic fiction’. It’s about a post-apocalyptic world. It’s about a world that not even vampires are having a good time in. My feeling is that there’s nothing wrong with dystopic literature. In fact, there’s everything right. 1984 was a good warning.

But what happens when our narrative about the future, our internal subconscious images that we carry around all the time become dystopic, become predominantly post-apocalyptic? I’m talking predominantly about a subconscious view of the future and the far future. Not next week or the year after, but where are we headed.

I spend a lot of time with students these days, and some students at De Paul University took me to lunch. They wanted to talk to me about their future. These were all environmental studies students. They were already committed to the environment. One of them said that he tried to join some of the local chapters of some of the big environmental organisations and he said it didn’t work out for him.

He said “for one thing, they all look like you Mr Louv”,  I said “oh thanks a lot!”  In other word he was saying they all look old. In fact, one of the largest environmental organisations in the world – and I won’t name it as I don’t like embarrassing them – their average membership age I believe is 78 and their average new member is 74.  The old members get together and they haze the new members.

That has been true for some time of the major environmental organisations. They’re like newspapers. Newspaper readers have got older and older. The big environmental organisations are worried about that. They’re worried that they’re going to age out. That’s because of two reasons.

One is that they haven’t, until recently, – and they’re doing a lot now – they haven’t done much to reach out to young people. The second reason had to do with what a young woman at that table told me. This student told me, and she’s a very hip young woman. I know that because she had tattoos.

She said “I’m 20 years old. All my life I’ve been told it’s too late”. I thought about that for a minute and then I said “20 years, that’s about the window. That’s about right”. That’s the window that the news media (I was involved with the news media for a long time) and western entertainment media, but also to an extent environmentalism itself, that’s the message that’s been getting through. That it’s too late.

Yes, other messages come through, but I’m talking about the one that settles deeply in people’s psyche. If I’m right, and most people are carrying around those dominant images of the far future as being post-apocalyptic, that is maybe a larger barrier than even climate change. You can’t do much about climate change unless you have the idea that the future can actually be not just adequate but better.

I use the word sustainable, but I think that word has limitations. To most Americans, at least, the word conjures up energy efficiency and that’s it. It’s turned into a technical term. It describes survival, getting by, breaking even. Rightly or wrongly, and I know there are broader definitions and it started out more broadly than that, at least among Americans, that’s how most people interpret that word. I think if that is our goal, we won’t get to sustainability. We won’t get even close to energy efficiency if that’s our goal. We have to set the bar much higher in order to get even to that goal.

That’s why increasingly, rather than talking about sustainability or sustainable cities, I talk about “nature-rich cities”. Nature-rich schools. Nature-rich towns. Nature-rich workplaces. A nature-rich civilisation. The idea that nature brings us wealth, in the deepest sense. It brings us out of our loneliness as a species. Yes, it brings energy efficiency if we do it correctly but it brings an enrichment to our lives that we get in no other way. When we begin to see the far future that way, then we begin to see not just energy efficient cities but nature rich cities.

We see the city like a garden. Simply a city that is beautiful. We bring the idea of beauty back into it when we begin to see those images of the future.

Martin Luther King said and demonstrated in many ways that any culture, any movement will fail if it cannot paint a picture of a world that people will want to go to. I think we’ve been failing at painting that picture. The Transition movement is, I believe, one of the few bright spots where images are being painted, not just of a ‘sustainable’ energy efficient future, but a beautiful future, a wonderful future, a better future than what we have now. If we can’t have that goal, we won’t get to the goal of energy efficiency or survival. 

The above is an edited version of our conversation.  You can hear that in full, or download it, below: 

Categories: TT news

Welcome to the 21st Century

Energy Bulletin - 22 September 2014 - 9:00am

This is the time for our species to “turn 21”: to transition from adolescence to responsible adulthood as citizens of the planet, before we destroy our own future.

Categories: Peak oil news

The Market Ticker - Ah, They're Waking Up

The Market Ticker - 22 September 2014 - 5:50am

Gee, who would have thought....

Never before have I felt so naked.

Now more than ever, I wish I was armed.

And I’m not alone.

Any and all home-grown Islamic terrorism should be able, if need be, to be met by a well-armed civilian militia. The United Kingdom has had two beheadings of members of the public in the last two years, with neither police nor civilians able to prevent it. It has prohibitive gun laws.

With news of the ISIS plot to randomly abduct members of the Australian public and behead them, Australian sentiment on guns is dramatically shifting.

Yeah, I know, it's WorldNet Trash, otherwise known as WND.

But the point stands.  ISIS thinks it should behead people in other nations.  Like Australia.  Like the UK, where two people were beheaded in public and that very same public was unable to stop it as nobody among the civilian population had a gun.

Have you wondered why that clowncar group called ISIS hasn't tried something like that here?

I'll tell you why -- there are millions of people in this country that, were ISIS adherents to attempt beheading someone in public, would fill them full of lead without a bit of remorse.

The Second Amendment is all about making attempts at tyranny and terrorism unprofitable enough that the people who would try it get second thoughts.  That very process applies to the common street thug, the ISIS jackass and a potentially-terroristic government itself.

All are comprised of people who have no respect for the law or common decency.  They speak only one language -- violence, and they respect only one language -- the ability to meet their violence with equal or superior violence.

The shark does not bite man at will because it is not certain that you, who are of good size, have no teeth of equal power.  Of course we do not, but were the shark to be certain of this it would eat us with impunity any time we went in the water.  Nobody could swim in the ocean without being turned into chum; if you doubt this go take a chopper or airplane ride at low altitude over a beach sometime.  There are usually numerous sharks within tens of feet if not closer to people swimming in the water, yet they do not bite said swimmers.

Likewise there are predators of the two-legged variety all over the world.  These are individuals and groups of individuals who in some cases don ski masks and dark clothing, in others they don magical costumes of various colors and in still other cases they simply operate brazenly in the open.

These predatory individuals and groups are no more stupid than the shark is.  Just as the shark does not bite in the general case on purpose, that is, when it bites it does so due to an error in identification (e.g. you look like a seal, which the shark knows has no defensive weapons of substance when you're on a surfboard and the shark is below you) the two-legged predators are not interested in initiating a fight they believe they may lose.

So ISIS plots to saw the heads off people in Australia, because the general public has no guns -- and certainly none in public where they would be of use in such a situation.  Crazy Muzzies did cut the heads off two people in the UK for the same reason.

Why do we have a Second Amendment and why must all Americans demand that the actual words in that Amendment be honored, with an immediate and full removal of all alleged "laws" that are in conflict with it?

For the precise reason that there are predatory animals walking on two legs, and they understand exactly one language when it comes to deterring their behavior -- the ability and willingness to meet their initiation of violence with an equally-violent defensive response at that precise moment in time.

Welcome to the real world, Australia.

As for those on the other side of the debate here in America, who would call me a "crazy teabagger" or some other slur, I will simply point out that when your head is about to be sawed off by a Muzzy nutball it will be too late to change your mind about whether I, as a law-abiding citizen who by happenstance is close enough to stop that act, should be legally able to carry the only device known to mankind that will allow me to drill said jackass right between the eyes at the moment of your gravest extreme need.

Categories: Economics

The Market Ticker - Ah, They're Waking Up

The Market Ticker - 22 September 2014 - 5:50am

Gee, who would have thought....

Never before have I felt so naked.

Now more than ever, I wish I was armed.

And I’m not alone.

Any and all home-grown Islamic terrorism should be able, if need be, to be met by a well-armed civilian militia. The United Kingdom has had two beheadings of members of the public in the last two years, with neither police nor civilians able to prevent it. It has prohibitive gun laws.

With news of the ISIS plot to randomly abduct members of the Australian public and behead them, Australian sentiment on guns is dramatically shifting.

Yeah, I know, it's WorldNet Trash, otherwise known as WND.

But the point stands.  ISIS thinks it should behead people in other nations.  Like Australia.  Like the UK, where two people were beheaded in public and that very same public was unable to stop it as nobody among the civilian population had a gun.

Have you wondered why that clowncar group called ISIS hasn't tried something like that here?

I'll tell you why -- there are millions of people in this country that, were ISIS adherents to attempt beheading someone in public, would fill them full of lead without a bit of remorse.

The Second Amendment is all about making attempts at tyranny and terrorism unprofitable enough that the people who would try it get second thoughts.  That very process applies to the common street thug, the ISIS jackass and a potentially-terroristic government itself.

All are comprised of people who have no respect for the law or common decency.  They speak only one language -- violence, and they respect only one language -- the ability to meet their violence with equal or superior violence.

The shark does not bite man at will because it is not certain that you, who are of good size, have no teeth of equal power.  Of course we do not, but were the shark to be certain of this it would eat us with impunity any time we went in the water.  Nobody could swim in the ocean without being turned into chum; if you doubt this go take a chopper or airplane ride at low altitude over a beach sometime.  There are usually numerous sharks within tens of feet if not closer to people swimming in the water, yet they do not bite said swimmers.

Likewise there are predators of the two-legged variety all over the world.  These are individuals and groups of individuals who in some cases don ski masks and dark clothing, in others they don magical costumes of various colors and in still other cases they simply operate brazenly in the open.

These predatory individuals and groups are no more stupid than the shark is.  Just as the shark does not bite in the general case on purpose, that is, when it bites it does so due to an error in identification (e.g. you look like a seal, which the shark knows has no defensive weapons of substance when you're on a surfboard and the shark is below you) the two-legged predators are not interested in initiating a fight they believe they may lose.

So ISIS plots to saw the heads off people in Australia, because the general public has no guns -- and certainly none in public where they would be of use in such a situation.  Crazy Muzzies did cut the heads off two people in the UK for the same reason.

Why do we have a Second Amendment and why must all Americans demand that the actual words in that Amendment be honored, with an immediate and full removal of all alleged "laws" that are in conflict with it?

For the precise reason that there are predatory animals walking on two legs, and they understand exactly one language when it comes to deterring their behavior -- the ability and willingness to meet their initiation of violence with an equally-violent defensive response at that precise moment in time.

Welcome to the real world, Australia.

As for those on the other side of the debate here in America, who would call me a "crazy teabagger" or some other slur, I will simply point out that when your head is about to be sawed off by a Muzzy nutball it will be too late to change your mind about whether I, as a law-abiding citizen who by happenstance is close enough to stop that act, should be legally able to carry the only device known to mankind that will allow me to drill said jackass right between the eyes at the moment of your gravest extreme need.

Categories: Economics

The Market Ticker - The Craziness Of A ConCon

The Market Ticker - 22 September 2014 - 3:19am

I keep getting asked about this and people keep advocating it, so let's talk about it.

The issue is a Constitutional Convention, with the expressed intent being to return the United States to its Constitutional Roots.

Sounds like a good idea, yes?

Well, it quite arguably is, if you'd like to see the government return to its Constitutional boundaries.

The problem is that this "remedy" isn't a remedy and if it comes to pass what you want won't happen.  

I know this for a fact and, if you think about it, so do you.

I know what you're going to say: How can you be so sure?

It's simple: There is nothing wrong with the Constitution as it sits now.  The problem is that it's not followed.

Let's just take one example: The Fourth Amendment

It reads:

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

It does not say:

a) Except when a police officer wants to stop and frisk you.

b) Except when the government thinks you might be a terrorist.

c) Except when someone else has your "papers" because you had to let them have same as an essential part of buying a service from them (e.g. your cell phone "tower" records.)

d) Except when you're driving while black.

e) Except when you're driving anywhere, at all, and the government thinks you might have drug money in the car but has no probable cause to believe so.

And on and on and on.

It says shall not be violated, and it further mandates that a warrant may only issue predicated on probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation (not the unsworn word of an unnamed "confidential informant" nor can a dog "swear an oath") and that the particular place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized must be named.  That latter requirement is there so the cops can't go on fishing expeditions.

Let's try another one:

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

It does not say:

a) Except for guns that fire more than one bullet with a single pull of the trigger, unless they were made before a certain date and you pay a license fee.

b) Except for guns that have more than some number of rounds of ammunition in the magazine.

c) Except for guns that have some undesirable physical characteristic, such as looking scary, rifles or shotguns with a barrel shorter than some dimension, or similar.

d) Except for guns that fire a projectile larger than (X), or having characteristics of (X) (e.g. armor-piercing ammo, etc)

e) Except for guns that have been made quieter by the addition of a sound-suppressing device, unless you pay a license fee for same and the local sheriff thinks you're nice.

f) Except if you don't have a permit to (buy|carry openly|carry concealed) or otherwise "bear" same.

g) Except if you'd like to buy and take it with you right now (e.g. "waiting period" laws.)

h) Except for rocket launchers.

i) Except for surface-to-air missiles.

j) Except for nuclear arms.

Now wait a second, you say!  Those last three are bullcrap in private hands!

Maybe.  But if so there is a way to make them unlawful within the Constitution -- pass an Amendment.  Absent that, ownership of any of the above and the carrying of any of the above, without any sort of permit, is lawful.

Unwise?  Maybe.  And immaterial.  It's lawful and any law that says otherwise is unconstitutional.

Don't even get me started on the Tenth Amendment.

I further challenge you to find anywhere in the Constitution where the United States Supreme Court, or any court for that matter, is empowered to re-write or as they like to say, interpret the plain language of said Constitution.  

This is the sum total of what is said on same in The Constitution:

Section 1.
The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

Section 2.
The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;--to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;--to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;--to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;--to controversies between two or more states;--between a state and citizens of another state;--between citizens of different states;--between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.

So where in there do you find there the power to rip up and rewrite said Constitution?

It's not there, and it never was.

Where there is legitimate debate over statutory construction let's have it, and let's have it there in the Supreme Court.  But there is no debate of legitimacy over construction of the 2nd or 4th Amendments.  There are excuses for adding clauses that never existed and still don't, but they're flatly unlawful irrespective of who pronounces otherwise.  Those who claim that technology or other changes in life have made the world a different place have a means to address their concern: Pass an Amendment.

Instead what has happened in the "real world" we live in is that the government will find some thing they wish to do.  They know it's unconstitutional but they do it anyway.  Someone sues, after 5 or 10 years it makes its way to the Supreme Court and the government has in the meantime done its level best to stack the court with judges that will rule as it wishes.  There is no law if the courts simply ignore what's in front of them, as occurred with Obamacare where the majority opinion ruled that a statute that was explicitly constructed not to be a tax was in fact a tax but the imposition of such a direct tax is barred from the Federal Government except in proportion to population.  In other words you can be (directly) taxed but not in a different amount than someone else.  This is why the 16th Amendment was necessary; to lay a tax on someone's work in proportion to what they made was unconstitutional.

All of this game-playing in the judiciary rests on the thinnest of foundation; so-called judicial comity and stare decisis.  That is, the premise that once a decision is made even if blatantly unconstitutional, it is thereafter the foundation of everything that follows and reciprocity and recognition is owed against that (blatantly unlawful) decision.

You can't fix this with a ConCon or with "more Amendments" because they are subject to the same "interpretation" as has been all of the previous; the only solution is to unwind the previous violence done to the Constitution and then, if appropriate, pass Amendments that further constrain the rights protected by and powers delegated therein.

Those who argue otherwise are fools, and those who refuse to take up the underlying issue and address it head-on are playing with you and are attempting to get you to expend your resources on a false premise to thereby consume your efforts rather than solving the problem.

You can interest me in a ConCon when the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendments are enforced as written -- not one second before.

The right place to enforce this is in fact the States.  If the States will not do so, then the people have to decide whether we are 50 states or factually one state with 50 names.

You choose but don't blow smoke up my ass with this garbage about a "ConCon" fixing anything because it won't.

Categories: Economics

The Market Ticker - The Craziness Of A ConCon

The Market Ticker - 22 September 2014 - 3:19am

I keep getting asked about this and people keep advocating it, so let's talk about it.

The issue is a Constitutional Convention, with the expressed intent being to return the United States to its Constitutional Roots.

Sounds like a good idea, yes?

Well, it quite arguably is, if you'd like to see the government return to its Constitutional boundaries.

The problem is that this "remedy" isn't a remedy and if it comes to pass what you want won't happen.  

I know this for a fact and, if you think about it, so do you.

I know what you're going to say: How can you be so sure?

It's simple: There is nothing wrong with the Constitution as it sits now.  The problem is that it's not followed.

Let's just take one example: The Fourth Amendment

It reads:

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

It does not say:

a) Except when a police officer wants to stop and frisk you.

b) Except when the government thinks you might be a terrorist.

c) Except when someone else has your "papers" because you had to let them have same as an essential part of buying a service from them (e.g. your cell phone "tower" records.)

d) Except when you're driving while black.

e) Except when you're driving anywhere, at all, and the government thinks you might have drug money in the car but has no probable cause to believe so.

And on and on and on.

It says shall not be violated, and it further mandates that a warrant may only issue predicated on probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation (not the unsworn word of an unnamed "confidential informant" nor can a dog "swear an oath") and that the particular place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized must be named.  That latter requirement is there so the cops can't go on fishing expeditions.

Let's try another one:

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

It does not say:

a) Except for guns that fire more than one bullet with a single pull of the trigger, unless they were made before a certain date and you pay a license fee.

b) Except for guns that have more than some number of rounds of ammunition in the magazine.

c) Except for guns that have some undesirable physical characteristic, such as looking scary, rifles or shotguns with a barrel shorter than some dimension, or similar.

d) Except for guns that fire a projectile larger than (X), or having characteristics of (X) (e.g. armor-piercing ammo, etc)

e) Except for guns that have been made quieter by the addition of a sound-suppressing device, unless you pay a license fee for same and the local sheriff thinks you're nice.

f) Except if you don't have a permit to (buy|carry openly|carry concealed) or otherwise "bear" same.

g) Except if you'd like to buy and take it with you right now (e.g. "waiting period" laws.)

h) Except for rocket launchers.

i) Except for surface-to-air missiles.

j) Except for nuclear arms.

Now wait a second, you say!  Those last three are bullcrap in private hands!

Maybe.  But if so there is a way to make them unlawful within the Constitution -- pass an Amendment.  Absent that, ownership of any of the above and the carrying of any of the above, without any sort of permit, is lawful.

Unwise?  Maybe.  And immaterial.  It's lawful and any law that says otherwise is unconstitutional.

Don't even get me started on the Tenth Amendment.

I further challenge you to find anywhere in the Constitution where the United States Supreme Court, or any court for that matter, is empowered to re-write or as they like to say, interpret the plain language of said Constitution.  

This is the sum total of what is said on same in The Constitution:

Section 1.
The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

Section 2.
The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;--to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;--to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;--to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;--to controversies between two or more states;--between a state and citizens of another state;--between citizens of different states;--between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.

So where in there do you find there the power to rip up and rewrite said Constitution?

It's not there, and it never was.

Where there is legitimate debate over statutory construction let's have it, and let's have it there in the Supreme Court.  But there is no debate of legitimacy over construction of the 2nd or 4th Amendments.  There are excuses for adding clauses that never existed and still don't, but they're flatly unlawful irrespective of who pronounces otherwise.  Those who claim that technology or other changes in life have made the world a different place have a means to address their concern: Pass an Amendment.

Instead what has happened in the "real world" we live in is that the government will find some thing they wish to do.  They know it's unconstitutional but they do it anyway.  Someone sues, after 5 or 10 years it makes its way to the Supreme Court and the government has in the meantime done its level best to stack the court with judges that will rule as it wishes.  There is no law if the courts simply ignore what's in front of them, as occurred with Obamacare where the majority opinion ruled that a statute that was explicitly constructed not to be a tax was in fact a tax but the imposition of such a direct tax is barred from the Federal Government except in proportion to population.  In other words you can be (directly) taxed but not in a different amount than someone else.  This is why the 16th Amendment was necessary; to lay a tax on someone's work in proportion to what they made was unconstitutional.

All of this game-playing in the judiciary rests on the thinnest of foundation; so-called judicial comity and stare decisis.  That is, the premise that once a decision is made even if blatantly unconstitutional, it is thereafter the foundation of everything that follows and reciprocity and recognition is owed against that (blatantly unlawful) decision.

You can't fix this with a ConCon or with "more Amendments" because they are subject to the same "interpretation" as has been all of the previous; the only solution is to unwind the previous violence done to the Constitution and then, if appropriate, pass Amendments that further constrain the rights protected by and powers delegated therein.

Those who argue otherwise are fools, and those who refuse to take up the underlying issue and address it head-on are playing with you and are attempting to get you to expend your resources on a false premise to thereby consume your efforts rather than solving the problem.

You can interest me in a ConCon when the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendments are enforced as written -- not one second before.

The right place to enforce this is in fact the States.  If the States will not do so, then the people have to decide whether we are 50 states or factually one state with 50 names.

You choose but don't blow smoke up my ass with this garbage about a "ConCon" fixing anything because it won't.

Categories: Economics
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