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Trump 2016 Election: State Change now even more important

Relevance: 100%      Posted on: November 9, 2016

The harmless team was at The Roasting Company - doing our 2016 election mourning over good coffee. "Jesus, I'm depressed," Bill said. "There's no question I am," Jay said. "I even considered fully losing it early this morning." "Remember those last pages of State Change," I cautioned. "Those who are old and ready, and those who are considering checking out, can have an especially important set of opportunities. They can go way beyond distributing Ananda's Chocolates to our entire hit list - our 29 ideologues. Most were reelected." "You mean really take them out, don't you?" Jay asked. "Or at least make them undesirable for further service." "Why not? All they'll do in Congress is do more damage. They'll make many others suffer for their distorted ideologies." "We could just plant some illegal drugs on them," Bill suggested. "That might do it. Or do - or get done - some serious investigative reporting exposing their financial connections and other shenanigans." "Most of them - especially Gowdy and Chaffetz - love conspiracy theories and witch hunts. We could give them a taste of their own tactics - develop some paranoid fantasies in them." "I thought State Change would be somewhat obsolete after this election, because Hillary would make it, we'd likely take the Senate, the Supreme Court would be modernized, and the state would begin to change," I said. "So much for wishful thinking," Jay said. "There was a piece in The Guardian this morning, by Thomas Frank, ..." "The guy who wrote 'What's the Matter with Kansas', right?" Bill asked. "Yep, and he has a new one Listen Liberal; the piece in the paper is like Liberals put Trump in the White House." "Ouch." "Anyway, State Change is even more important and valuable now that Trump will soon be thrashing around in the White House," I said. "My Australian and Canadian friends are incredulous," Bill said. "I've started to add overseas audiences to my Tweet destinations now, because Europe is so concerned. A major Madrid paper, El Paix, had columns today titled The Crazy is in Charge of the Asylum - and another The Suicide of Democracy." "It's time to up the action," Bill said. "I think so," said Jay. "I'm ready for some serious activism." "Let's think this through and meet again right after Thanksgiving."    

Chapter 7: Supreme Court Justices

Relevance: 61%      Posted on: March 24, 2016

The Supreme Court is the final juror and arbiter of national policies and of the nations’ culture and behavior. harmless feels that a number of current Justices would benefit from a more empathetic and socially considerate perspective to their deliberations and decisions. Harmless wants to advise and ‘treat’ those needy Supreme Court Justices.   Homework.   The Supreme Court consists of nine justices, appointed for life:   Ginsburg, Ruth Bader:   appointed 1993 by Clinton;        now 83 years old; Jewish Scalia, Antonin:             appointed 1986 by Reagan;       recently deceased at age 79; Catholic Kennedy, Anthony:        appointed 1987 by Reagan;       now 79 years old; Catholic Breyer, Stephen:           appointed 1994 by Clinton;        now 77 years old; Jewish Thomas, Clarence:       appointed 1991 by Bush #1;       now 67 years old; Catholic Alito, Samuel:               appointed 2005 by Bush #2;       now 66 years old; Catholic Roberts, John Jr.:         appointed 2005 by Bush #2;       now 61 years old; Episcopalian Sotomayor, Sonia:        appointed 2009 by Obama;        now 61 years old; Catholic Kagan, Elena:               appointed 2010 by Obama;        now 56 years old; Jewish   harmless’ homework on and discussion of the Supreme Court occurred prior to Justice Scalia’s death in early 2016. As the harmless team and project progressed, the five conservative justices were actually ‘treated’ in late 2015, to perhaps affect the Court’s fall term.   The account that follows relates those deliberations and actions.   John Roberts has been Chief Justice for over ten years. He and Alito were appointed in 2005 by Bush #2. They, together with Scalia and Thomas - and to a slightly lesser extent - Kennedy, make up the Court’s conservative block. The others - Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan - and to a slightly lesser extent Ginsburg - make up the liberal wing of the Court. Kennedy and even Roberts are occasionally swing votes. This makes for a significant number of 5-4 decisions. Four of the five Catholics tend to vote very conservatively. Five of the justices were appointed by Republican presidents, four by Democrats. Their ideologies and decisions generally reflect those of the Presidents who appointed them.   Conservatives tend to like a literal interpretation of rules, regulations, laws - especially the Constitution and the Bible. They try to determine what the signers of the Constitution meant - what the words meant back in the late…

Chapter 6: Patient Priorities

Relevance: 32%      Posted on: March 24, 2016

harmless is now meeting in parks, on the U campus, or at Westminster College. We’re too far along in the project to risk too much general public awareness or curiosity. We don’t want coffee shop - ‘regulars’ listening in. Today we’re on the U campus at one of the picnic tables outside the cafeteria.       “I’ve been thinking about the challenge ahead - the logistics,” I confided. “It would be most effective if we could treat all of our highest priority patients at once, thereby helping initiate an empathy tipping point.”   “You mean like over a very short period of time, so their individual experiences are roughly coherent?” Jay asked.   “And in a supportive, non-threatening environment - during a comfortable time,” Bill added. “We know that set and setting are critical to a good experience - to effective therapy.”   “It should be during a time of good press access,” Jay continued. “Perhaps when they’re giving speeches, being questioned, being interviewed.”   “What about college and high school graduations?” asked Bill. “They’d be accessible on campuses and in their local districts. Many would be giving graduation speeches - talking about futures, opportunities, careers - perhaps in a more open, compassionate mental state than normally.”   “It seems more doable - and less threatening - than at Congressional committee meetings in DC,” Jay said.   “And those speeches, receptions, interviews are covered by the press - especially in local papers and via social media,” I added. “That should work.”   “Do they get press!” Jay said. “Michelle Obama was blasted by the ideologue media for her Tuskegee University commencement speech, for saying to the largely black audience ... people might make assumptions about who they think you are based on their limited notion of the world. The racist-leaning press didn’t like that.”   “A limited notion of the world is exactly the pathology we want to treat,” I said.   “Think we could get her to be an advisor - even an active participant?” Bill asked.   “We will need ongoing action after the initial application of harmless’ therapy,” I agreed. “And she’ll be unemployed in a less than a year,” continued Bill.   “Barack spoke at the Coast Guard Academy graduation and really focused on climate change, oceans, and coasts - and took on the deniers.” Jay said. “And while we’re on the news - why…

Chapter 1: Concerns and Beginnings

Relevance: 17%      Posted on: March 20, 2016

“Did he really say that?” he asked, looking at me. We just happened to be sitting next to each other, very interested in the speaker and his words.   “Yes, I think so.”   “Is that really what’s needed, risking arrest to simply be heard?”   The speaker reaffirmed his statement. “Not just arrest, but possibly physical danger.”   Tim and I self-introduced each other after the discussion. He was an economics undergraduate at the University of Utah (the U). I said I am a professor of engineering, soon to be retired, concerned about the planet. That was all.   Mike, a rural Utah legislator, is 20 years younger than me. We argued several times - at hearings related to the Legislature’s efforts to ‘outlaw’ CO2. “CO2 is a plant nutrient,” he said. “How can it possibly be harmful?” I was surprised to learn of his BA in botany or zoology - from UC-Berkeley.   Hans, a now emeritus professor of economics, organized a session on climate change at a national meeting at the U. Hans asked me to speak briefly at the session.   The issue is NOT Science. ... the issue is BELIEF. If you choose to Believe in something very strongly and you choose to adopt a position very strongly – no amount of science will change your Belief. It takes a private revelation … to really change .… We must understand that rationality is quite rare … We must identify those totally irrational legislators…and get rid of them.   That was the real beginning of my interest in ‘politics’ - and the evolution of State Change.     Tim went on to become bidder number 70, the man who protested George Bush’s last minute energy lease auction in late 2008. He ended up serving nearly two years in prison for ‘disrupting’ an auction which was later declared illegal by Obama’s new Secretary of the Interior. Tim served his time - and continues to be an exemplary and effective environmental and climate change activist. The film Bidder 70 documents some of the actions, events, and repercussions of that time.     I ran for U.S. Congress in 2012 - unaffiliated, no party, no hidden agendas, no dollars. A progressive idealist in the most conservative state in the country. I learned about campaigning, messaging, debates, discussions, and the lack of public and media interest - all summarized in…

Chapter 12: Outcomes and Tomorrow

Relevance: 15%      Posted on: March 24, 2016

Jay, Bill, and I traveled and worked during the holiday season and in January to make our many assigned deliveries. Peter completed his trips by early January and filled me in via phone. About six weeks later, the delivery phase of harmless finished with a meeting and discussion - at a new coffee shop near Bill’s home - in the Avenues. It was an unusually warm early spring day, so we sat outside, away from the other patrons. The Salt Lake Valley had had another terrible winter inversion season. We were pleased that today the air was clean and relatively warm.     “I’m very happy to be here,” Jay said. “There were times I thought they’d get me.”   “Me, too,” Bill agreed. “Some of those local Congressional office staffers are scary. It was hard to fake it without really taking them on.”   “You can thank the Kochs and their libertarian study fellowships and professorships for providing such well trained staffers,” I smiled.   “Brain-washed staffers,” Bill corrected.   “Reminds me of a quote in Dark Money,” I said. “Back in 2009, Mayer writes, Charles Koch gave nearly $150,000 to Brown University’s Political Theory Project - a freshman seminar taught by a John Tomasi. She quotes Tomasi: After a whole semester of Hayek, it’s hard to shake them off that perspective over the next four years.”   “Very effective brain-washing,” Bill added.   “I’m ready to take some notes - I need to hear your stories - for the book, of course. But for now, just a brief overview - brief summary.”   “Before they catch us, you mean, right?” Jay asked.   “I think we’re ok now. The riskiest time was during the delivery of Ananda’s potion. If they didn’t get us then, it’s unlikely they’ll get us now.”   “That’s not how I understand the statutes of limitations,” Jay said.   “By the way, Lucien tells me the traffic to anandaschocolates.com rose quickly as we hit the road and has continued to climb slowly.”   “I’ll bet they’re disappointed they can’t order some,” Bill said.   “So am I,” I said. “I wish we could continue to produce and give away our unique moksha.”   “Let’s do the numbers,” Jay said.   “Let’s hear about all of it .... this may take some time.”     We each reported on our state assignments, starting with Bill…

Chapter 11: Delivery and Treatment

Relevance: 15%      Posted on: March 24, 2016

“Let’s talk about Centennial Valley,” I said. “It needs to happen by mid-September or it’ll be too late for harmless. September 23 is father Fred’s birthday, I think.”   “I read it’s the 26th,” Bill said. “I’ve talked with the Manager of the U’s facilities in Lakeview. They have space available in September, which is nearly ideal for early school year events.”   “Terrific. I’ve been doing the homework on Bill Koch’s Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, especially on the science and environmental studies teachers and courses. I’ve made contact with several who are very interested. I’m now working on getting the idea to Bill Koch, perhaps via his wife or son. School starts in early September. Once we book the school - and hopefully Bill - then we can work on his brothers.”     Koch Industries’ Matador Cattle Company operates three ranches: Beaverhead near Yellowstone National Park in Montana, Spring Creek in the Flint Hills of Kansas, and Matador Ranch in Texas.  Beaverhead Ranch is located on more than a quarter million acres in Southwest Montana. It stretches along a 90-mile road from Dillon to the Idaho border then east to Yellowstone Park. It was acquired between 1941 and 1952 by Fred C. Koch and today totals nearly a half million acres of owned or leased land.   The U’s Taft-Nicholson Environmental Humanities Education Center (T-N Center) is located in Montana’s Centennial Valley, a 6,000 foot high and 60 mile wide wetlands east of the Continental Divide on the North slope of the Centennial Mountains, an East-West range. The Center is named for John and Melody Taft and their friends the Nicholsons.   The Valley includes the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, created in 1935 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, to provide habitat for the trumpeter swan, then facing extinction. The swans now thrive in the refuge.     “The Centennial Valley refuge is really beautiful,” Bill noted. “The majestic Centennial Mountains are on the South, forming part of the Idaho-Montana border.”   “Refuges have been in the news,” Jay said, “especially the Malheur one in SE Oregon, where God apparently sent Emmon Bundy to occupy it and throw out the Feds.”   “Did you see the cool Bagley cartoon on ‘I am doing God’s will’? Bill asked.   “Yes,” I said. “God not only sends Bundy, but also ISIS, Kony, Boka Haram,…

Chapter 2: From Eleusis to Revelation

Relevance: 14%      Posted on: March 20, 2016

“So how are you going to drug Stewart - in his Mormon coffee?” That’s Jay talking about Utah’s then new District 2 Congressman, Republican Chris Stewart. “Ryan couldn’t even begin to get him to think during his protest at a Stewart town meeting. The guy’s hopeless.” Ryan is young, gutsy, passionate. On his first day as a public school bus driver in Salt Lake City, he altered his route slightly so the students on board could see the large protest near the Federal Courthouse - a protest against the sentencing of Tim DeChristopher for ‘disrupting’ a Federal fossil fuel lease auction (see Bidder 70 for details). Ryan was fired from his new job the next day. “Stewart has been deprived of any intellectual puberty. He’s an anti-science ideologue, a far-right Republican - an arrogant denialist - and a Mitt Romney wannabe,” Jay said. Jay helped during my campaign against Stewart in 2012. Jay’s tall, thin, bearded - and emotional and even impulsive, like Ryan but some 40 years older. He has a deep, resonant voice - and is impatient for change. “But he is Mormon, meaning he believes in ‘agency’,” I said. “Maybe he can accept a ‘revelation’.” “The Revelation won’t come from his Church,” said Bill. “That is truly hopeless.” Bill (William) is a PhD plant ecologist - a good friend. We meet about weekly to talk and commiserate. He loves to read, ponder, discuss, but rarely acts. He almost never writes a letter or asks a question in public. We sometimes call him William - the Connector because he loves to bring different people together. Bill continued: “The Mormons just had their General Conference. Three of their Big Twelve died recently - they had three big slots to fill.” He was referring to Mormonism’s twice a year General Conference and to their ruling body, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The Quorum advises and reports to the First Presidency, a three man group reporting directly to Jesus Christ. “Yes,” Jay said. “And they filled them with old, Utah born, white guys. So much for recognizing diversity.” “Well, we didn’t expect a woman - but someone at least off-white would have been interesting,” Bill added. “Someone with some hope of receiving a revelation or two would have been helpful,” I said. “A little LSD might work - better, Ecstasy.” That was Peter - he’s been there, he knows. Peter’s…

Chapter 10: Plutocrats – and Others

Relevance: 7%      Posted on: March 24, 2016

The United States is the most plutocratic ‘democracy’ on the planet. We’re not even close to being second ranked. Some say that’s not so bad - that we were founded and organized as a plutocracy, of sorts. In order to vote, you had to own land and had to be a white male, and you were allowed to own African slaves. It was only much later that black men were allowed to vote, and even later women. We were founded as a republic - a representative ‘democracy’. Voters voted for representatives who would in turn write, pass, and implement laws and policy.   The founding fathers, by and large, were semi-wealthy, white men who owned significant land and other property, and were naturally inclined to favor a system of government that protected the financial interests of their own class. But they were also, generally, well educated, well read, and fairly intelligent. The historical musical Hamilton is helping to inform Americans of that intellectual heritage.   The word "democracy" does not appear in the US Constitution. The founding fathers were afraid of true democracy; they warned of the dangers of the tyranny of the majority if America adopted a truly democratic government. Hamilton claimed that ‘The people should have as little to do as may be about the Government.’   As the nation developed and evolved, our ‘democracy’ slowly became more inclusive. Blacks were finally allowed to vote, then women, then the 18 - 20 year olds, although the black vote was - and still is - thwarted and controlled by voter registration restrictions and barriers.   Although we are much more of an inclusive democracy today than at previous times in our history, we are also more financially unequal and distorted today than at any other time in our history - including the so-called ‘Gilded Age’. Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States provides a good background up to about ten years ago.  And since then, the situation keeps getting worse.   Jane Mayer’s Dark Money is one of the more recent treatments of plutocracy in America. The book is subtitled: The Hidden History of the Billionaires behind the rise of the Radical Right. The book was apparently stimulated by her 2010 New Yorker piece titled Covert Operations. The Kochs took issue with much of what she wrote. So she’s spent much of the last five years fleshing out…

Chapter 8: Presidential Candidates

Relevance: 6%      Posted on: March 24, 2016

Leading Presidential Candidates get an enormous amount of press. Major U.S. elections are a media spectacle, where hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on advertising. harmless feels that all the Republican candidates would benefit from a more empathetic and socially considerate perspective in their campaigns. Harmless wants to advise and ‘treat’ those needy candidates.   Homework.       “Let’s start with Bush, Rubio, and Cruz,” Bill offered. “They are likely to be in the news at least until the 2016 GOP Convention.”   “And one of them is likely to be the Republican nominee,” Jay said. “And each has an interesting wife and lives in a climate-impacted state.”   “And two of the three are not total nuts,” Bill noted.   “Two? You left Cruz out - the total nut?”   “Yep - together with Donald Trump and a dozen or so others.”   “Scott Walker is now out - so I don’t have to read his Unintimidated,” I said.   “The lack of money must have intimidated him,” Bill smiled. “The Kochs must have read the writing on the wall.”   “And let’s look at Rand Paul, too,” Jay said. “At least he’s consistent and interesting.”   “Business darlings Trump and Carly were in the lead - or was it Carson?”   “Business failings, you mean.”   “At least Carly is a woman. She’s struggled with breast cancer, and she lost a stepdaughter to drug addiction. Some of this is in her memoir Best Choices. There may be a hint of empathy there.”   “Hillary’s memoir is called Hard Choices,” Bill said.   “Carly may have trouble with the truth,” I said. “The Times’ Charles Blow quoted Josh Marshall as saying: ‘Fiorina has a habit of simply making things up’.”   “Which makes her a typical, main-stream GOP candidate,” Jay added.   “Sometimes you have to do that - make things up - to make sense of philosophy and medieval history,” I smiled.   “What?” Jay asked, annoyingly.   “Those are Carly’s undergraduate degrees from Stanford,” I said. “I was sort of joking.”   “Sort of,” Bill noted.   “Here’s a Carly quote,” Jay said: I feel empathy with every woman who is working really hard and giving it all they've got - and Hillary is.   “Fiorina claims to have empathy for Hillary - and perhaps vice versa. Some Fiorina empathy enhancement could prove helpful.”  …