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Monday, June 30, 2008

Essay #77: In The Middle Are The Sheeple

          The Paretto Principle states that “For many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes”, which is valid in many realms. Versions include “Twenty percent of any group do 80% of the work”, and “Twenty percent of customers (or sales force) produce 80% of business activity.”
          However, in modern times, the numbers have shifted.

* *          * *          * *          * *

          The American Revolution of 1775 to 1783 was not a popular war. The active revolutionary colonists on one side were about 25% of the population; the Tories on the other side wanted King George to prevail. The sheeple in the middle tried to avoid engagement with either side: they had crops to raise and kine to tend and commodities were scarce and whale oil for their lamps cost too darn much. They would rather just be left alone.

          In politics, one side is progressive, which means to work for the betterment of all. On the other side are the regressives and the repressives. Each side is roughly one quarter, and the fifty percent in the middle are the sheeple.
          The sheeple do whatever they are told to do, by advertising or by community pressure, and generally have a tough life, one with too much work to do and never enough time.

          The warmongers are on one side. Warmongers start wars because that is their reason for existence. On the other side are the peacemakers; their work is to stop wars. The sheeple in the middle take the brunt of military carnage, including cannon-fodder funerals in the heartland and in the barrio.

          The top fourth of taxpayers own 90% of everything. The bottom quarter – non-taxpayers all – own nothing. The Middle Class 40% below the Wealthy Class are losing net worth, working harder and are paid with a shrunken dollar, while their benefits disappear like mountaintops in West Virginia.

          Religious fanatics are on one side, and individuals who value Reason are on the other. The sheeple in the middle live in a soap opera of their own making.

          Dogmatists are on one side, those who believe in and obey some magical system. But the situation is worsened because they also require that everybody obey their brand of subservience. The other side are free spirits, exercising Free Will, high on the Maslow Pyramid, acting for the good of all, based in their basic trust of the goodness in themselves (if not of the opposing dogmatists).
          The sheeple in the middle careen from false solution to false solution, hoping for rest or respite, and seldom see marvelous happenings as their future. They struggle to survive, never having the sense that they are ‘over the hump’, and end their lives having missed out on just about everything.

* *          * *          * *          * *

          The progressives are too nice for their own good, thinking that if they just try a little harder, they can tip the balance of the Class War in favor of a better life. But the sheeple are in the middle, a mass of unconscious prey to the machinations of the regressive side.
          The sheeple surrender control to whoever makes them afraid, which is the regressive side – the fascists, the fundamentalists, the racists, the fearmongers of all stripes, and their propaganda networks bombarding young and old 24/7 with hate, fear, and sleaze.
          The regressives know well and use the moves of Machiavelli, the tactics of Hitler and Goebbels, and the recent strategies of Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, and Karl ‘T*rdblossom’ Rove.

          The future of America, and the World, will be determined by whether the sheeple are blinded by fear for fear’s sake, or whether some new paradigm can be instilled in the culture, wherein the meek sheeple actually find a backbone and stand up to the machinery designed to make them afraid.

          Whoever is making you afraid, for whatever purpose or agenda, the fact that they want to make you afraid, that they work hard to make you afraid, should instead make you angry.
          Very angry.

* *          * *          * *          * *

          The Paretto Principle has its uses, but does not apply to grand scheme-y things such as the Perpetual Class War, nor the Battle Between Good and Evil.

          The Principle of Two Quarters is officially stated thus:
“In any conflict, the side that is for progress is about 25% of the population; the side that opposes progress is about 25% of the population; and in the middle are the sheeple.”

Copyright 2008 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June Quotations

"Nothing lives long, only the earth and mountains."
== White Antelope, chief of the Cheyenne

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
== Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25)

"The best relationship is one where your love for each other exceeds your need for each other."
== Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

"The future belongs to those who are passionate and work hard."
== Sen. Paul Wellstone [1944-2002] of Minnesota

"Sit down, and put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it."
== Colette [1873-1954]

"If you want something, hold out an empty hand. If you want a poem, find a blank page."
== beat poet Philip Whalen [1923-2002]

"[T]he accumulation of wealth cannot be justified as the chief end of existence ... So long as wealth is made the means and not the end, we need not greatly fear it."
== Calvin Coolidge [1872-1933]

"In America, to look a couple of years younger than you actually are is not only an achievement for which you are to be congratulated, it is patriotic."
== Cynthia Propper Seton

"I don't mind living in a man's world as long as I can be a woman in it."
== Marilyn Monroe [1926-62]

"Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued."
== Socrates [469 B.C.E.–399 B.C.E.]

"Adventure is worthwhile in itself."
== Amelia Earhart [1897-1937]

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go."
== T.S. Eliot [1888-1965]

"When you're going thru hell, keep going."
== Sir Winston Churchill [1874-1965]

"Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go."
== William Feather

"You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough."
== boxer Joe Louis [1914-81]

"The energy of the mind is the essence of life."
== Aristotle [384-322 B.C.E.]

"In the modern U.S. of A., grease is a condiment."
== G.E. Nordell

"Hedge funds are the sophisticated way to lose money, as opposed to the more mundane way[s]."
== Robert Hurley, of Stoddard Management

{many other such quotations are posted
on the Working Minds website}

Friday, June 06, 2008

Essay #76: “How To Survive The Coming Depression”

The economic situation in the United States is so bad right now that even the Democratic Party (i.e. President Barack Obama) may not be able to pull us out from under the $12 trillion National Debt run up by the Reagan-Bush and by the Bush 43 administrations.

None of us, nor all of us working together, can prevent dire consequnces from their tripling of the price of gas/petrol at the pump, by increasing the price of crude oil by 400% per barrel, nor from the impact of fuel prices on food and other necessities.

But there are steps that an Individual can take that will ease the inevitable economic pain, and perhaps soften the long-term effect on your children and grandchildren.

* *          * *          * *          * *

1) Start now! – The longer that you wait, the stronger the negative impact on you and on your family.

2) Get out of the Virtual Economy – Pay off your credit cards. Park all but three of them, carrying for emergencies the three charging the least interest.

3) Spend only in the Cash Economy – If you don’t have the cash, then don’t buy (whatever).

4) Explore the Barter Economy – See whether you have some skill or asset that can be traded, or even sold face-to-face for cash.

5) Investments – If you own any stocks or mutual funds, grad¬ually sell off the higher-risk (non-equity) holdings and purchase gold and silver: the metal itself, not any futures products (too risky).

6) Debt – Make double payments on the mortgage on your home. If you have any mortgaged investment property, sell it for what you can get, and use the proceeds to pay down your home mortgage.

7) Transportation – Make double payments on your automobile/s, and give up plans to buy a new vehicle until the current one wears out, or you have the cash to make such a purchase.

8) Emergency Planning – Get ready for spot shortages in elec¬tricity, oil & gas (petrol, heating oil, natural gas). Stock up on supplies like we did for the Y2K fiasco.

9) Balance? – If you have any cash left over (each month), pay off debt and-or stock your pantry.

10) Hug your children. Leave generous tips. Hug your children. Let the other driver go first. Hug your family. Watch the sunset (or sunrise) with someone that you love.

11) And be not afraid.

Copyright 2008 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

Thursday, June 05, 2008

June News Factoids

A report came out May 2 that the No Child Left Behind program has NOT improved reading scores in any state, with many states losing ground.

In the past 12 months ... corn is up 70%, sugar is up 72%, and the all-important price of crude oil is up by an astounding 102%.
== Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D. (Money & Markets Newsletter, May 2008)

"[Our] Army is starting to unravel. Our Air Force is starting to come apart. The Navy is the smallest since pre-World War Two."
== Gen. Barry McCaffrey [USArmy retired] in Senate testimony, April 2008

Godzilla has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Several economists have pointed out on Air America/NovaM radio shows that the pump price of gas/petrol is NOT going down. So plan accordingly.

The Pope recently issued a list of new official sins, which include road rage, genetic engineeering, and excessive wealth. But he forgot one: Having more than 15 items in the Express Checkout lane.

On a recent road trip, it soon became obvious that long-distance truckers are taking steps in reaction to the rise in price of diesel fuel, now close to $5 a gallon. Word got out that most trucks are designed for best fuel efficiency at 65 MPH -- so that is the speed of most big-rig trucks on the Interstate. Only a few truckers were at or above the speed limit, but the ones I saw seemed to be connected to oil drilling and refining. Most passenger vehicles are keeping to 70 MPH, politely maneuvering around the slower trucks, with maybe 10% of drivers going faster, the folks that were in a hurry (or self-important).

The drop in King salmon 'yields' from California's Sacramento River from 2002 to 2008 is estimated at 92%.
== Time Magazine

So far this year, these new pages have been added or split off or started on my bookstore websites:

pages about movie people
Woody Allen
Agent 007 James Bond
Sergei M. Eisenstein
Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Pierre Melville
cowboy star Tom Mix
Satyajit Ray
King Vidor

pages about American authors & artists
William Faulkner
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Arthur Miller
Georgia O'Keeffe
Eugene O'Neill
Robert Louis Stevenson
Gore Vidal
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

plus topic pages for
Simultaneous Bilingual Film Production
Beatnik Film Festival
Culver City Online Film Festival
Hispanic-American Cinema
Cinema Pioneers
Current Directors & Actors
Roadside Americana