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The WMail Newsletter
Volume VI   [Year 2005]   Part 1

Issue #50 January: "Globalization"
Issue #51 March: "The Three Economies"
Issue #52 May: "Route 66 & T.M.L.P."

Issues #53-55

Volume I   [Year 2000]
Issues #1-5

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

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

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

Volume V   [Year 2004]
Issues #39-41 • Issues #42-44 • Issues #45-47 • Issues #48-49

Volume VII   [Year 2006]
Issues #56-58 • Issues #59-61 • Issues #62-64 • Issues #65-66

Volume VIII   [Year 2007]
Issues #67-69 • Issues #70-72

Issue #50: "Globalization"
[January 2005]

>+<    G.E. Nordell, editor    >+<


"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."
Plato [428?-327? B.C.E.]  {Thanks, Karl}

"The torture of prisoners has stained the American character, and the naming
of [Alberto] Gonzales as Attorney General has made that stain indelible."
— Mary G. Nocella of Wayne, New Jersey (in Letters Dept. of Time Magazine, Feb 2005]

"So many Americans build their lives around pursuing pleasure. It turns out that engagement
and meaning are much more important components of happiness."
— Dr. Martin Seligman

"I have nothing but contempt for those who say that no new taxes are necessary."
— California Governor Edmund G. 'Pat' Brown [1905-96]

"Subverting democratic governance requires neither an army nor particular genius, but simply
the concentration of power into the hands of too many true believers."
— Edward Lazarus

"Art is good when it springs from necessity."
— Neal Cassady [1926-68]

"Happiness makes up in height what it lacks in length."
Robert Frost [1874-1963]

"Mental illness takes so many forms."
— Jamie Harrison

"If only we'd stop trying to be happy we'd have a pretty good time."
Edith Wharton [1862-1937]

"Martinis taste like John Coltrane sounds."
Robert B. Parker [1932-2010]

"Faith, as defined in the year 2004 in America, is freedom from doubt,
freedom from science, freedom from reality."
— Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times

"[America is] a dead broke nation at war with all but three or four countries in the world,
and three of those don't count."
gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson [1937-2005]

"Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what is going on without bothering anybody
with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends."
Joseph Campbell [1904-87]

"No one ever erected a statue to a music critic."
— Jean Sibelius [1865-1957]

"When you feel in your gut what you are and then dynamically pursue it - don't back down
and don't give up - then you're going to mystify a lot of folks."
— Bob Dylan

"The growth of populations has in no way increased the amount [of art], it has merely increased
the adeptness with which substitutes can be produced and packaged."
Raymond Chandler [1888-1959]

"You are a little soul carrying around a corpse."
— Epictetus [c.55 CE – c.135 CE]

"The world is too big for effective governance."
— Emily Bazelon

"When in doubt, do the courageous thing."
— Jan Smuts [1870-1950]

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
— Mahatma Gandhi [1869-1948]


        Globalization is neither good nor bad. In contrast, global warming is bad (anti-survival), reactionary politics is bad (anti-freedom), and SP*AM email is bad (the use of force).
        Canals and steamboats opened up river valleys, then railroads opened up the interior of North America. Telegraph and telephone and wireless technologies opened up communication to greater distances. Container shipping is one of the most important innovations of the XXth Century – load a new container and it might travel a million miles between six continents before returning to its original base.
        Globalization is just fine because it is a natural progression of commerce, from the farm to the city or town, to nation states and to planet-wide commerce.

        Globalization of commerce benefits all – in theory. Chinese farmers have new markets for their rice and sorghum, American films sell on PAL videos & DVDs around the world, and Starbucks buys half the coffee crop in Africa.
        New standards have appeared to manage this commerce – I.S.O. maintains & enforces many such standards, the U.S./Canada & PAL televideo standards work just fine, and Windows can be downloaded in a score of languages, etc.
        The internet itself is global. (Maybe bigger: Do the astronauts in space have access to Google?) The reach of the internet is anywhere there is a telephone system, and if that is difficult you can log in over cable or via satellite. A blogger in Paris reaches readers immediately in every country on the planet, and on all the ships at sea. Soldiers in Iraq – on either side – can get emails in an instant, including digital photos of a newborn child before he/she has even left the operating room.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        So why is there any need for discussion of globalization? Where is the controversy on the matter?
        Well, first of all, there is the usual reaction to anything new. If it is innovative, the promoted benefits are suspect, seen as a source of problems. But those perceived problems are not caused BY globalization: What happens is that the Culture-Structure contaminates globalization (and all else) with intentional dis-empowerment.
        Nothing wrong with creating jobs overseas, that is potentially Capitalism. The big problem is that the global manipulations by the Oligarchy result in slave labor under reprehensible conditions – dangerous & unhealthy work environments, anti-union policies, and government apathy. The Oligarchy reaps their profits from workers who will never be able to afford the product made from their labor.
        Organized crime has become global: The Cali Cartel delivers to local drug lords, the Russian Mafia operates in New York City, and Al Qaeda ships their videos for broadcast on Al Jazeera and around the globe. Terrorism itself now disregards national boundaries.

        What must happen is the globalization of the principles of democracy and empowerment. But America has so little Freedom left that there is none to export. The election charade in Iraq will result in any number of outcomes: the predictable ones are unlikely, and the likely ones cannot be predicted. (My guess: another Dubya-sourced farce.)

        Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that "Until all are free, none are free." Let's globalize THAT!

        This revolution that is a-building begins in America. We, here, must develop skills of Reason and apply them to our Individual Lives, our everyday interactions. Then (and concurrently) we must export what we have done in empowering ourselves. Not fantasies of freedom, as in Dubya's inauguration speech, but the real thing. If America magically installs a government process based on Reason (Objectivism) and the rest of the world remains in subjugation, then we have only reverted to a state like the Cold War of the XXth Century – America against totalitarianism.
        Right now the neo-conservative factions in America seem to be winning in their quest to implement totalitarianism here. So the first order of business must be restoration of Constitution-based Freedom in America. Once that is accomplished, we can and will export.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Or maybe principles of globalization can forward the Revolution more directly. The U.S. fostered automobile manufacturing in Japan and Korea, now they are doing better than Detroit, whose auto-makers are now largely owned by or merged with Europeans anyway. The same may work for the globalization of Empowerment. Build a 'factory of Reason' in underdeveloped countries or small municipalities and their success will provide competition to the tyrants of the Oligarchy. Think Galt's Gulch, but without the secrecy and camouflage.
        This ezine has readers across the planet, including three on the tiny Isle of Man. A spark of Empowerment, a Stand For Empowerment could set Freedom ablaze anywhere.
        The free market can indeed prevail – the first step is to construct one! Economic freedom leads to opportunity; opportunity leads to thought (less time spent on survival); and Reasoned Thought is the only route to progress.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        I've not been able to nail down who first said "Think globally and act locally." And I remember one letter to the editor from a blockhead who missed the point: "The only way anyone CAN act is locally." Duh! The concept has been used and mis-used a lot, and comes with a certain amount of baggage.
        But the reach of the Oligarchy is now global. Daimler-Benz owns Chrysler. Every major book publisher in America is foreign-owned. Sony owns Columbia & TriStar & now M.G.M., and the Australian pommie Murdoch and his Fox conglomerate steadily lowers the threshold for bad taste. I still cannot figure out who owns Texaco – one petrol/gas card says Shell-Texaco, but my Chevron card bill says Texaco-Chevron. (At least I know that Shell is Dutch.)
        The Oligarchy gets whatever they want because they are ACTING globally. They close a factory in Nebraska and open a slave-labor operation in Myanmar, ship the products in Panamanian-flag ships to Europe and use the profits to pay bribes in Africa. The Oligarchy is beholden to no laws, they make their own, and they dictate policy to nation states.

        Meanwhile, most of you are not even acting locally. Who is your Congress-person? (Or similar official in whatever system of representation exists in your country.) Did you vote for or against Dubya, or did you and those around you cop out and avoid all responsibility in the matter of your future? Do you buy imported goods at Wal-Mart and complain that your town or state is losing jobs? [News item last month: California lost 25,000 net jobs in 2004 – and no mention was made of the replacement of higher-level positions with menial labor openings in that counting.]

        Globalization is a natural function of progress, to be used for expansion of benefits to all on the planet. Both economic improvement and political: a free people will thrive and practice free trade with other free people.
        It is unconscionable for America to expect respect on the world scene while our elected officials make sweetheart deals with despots, while we invade oil-producing countries based on bare-faced lies, while we ignore genocide and epidemic disease because there is no profit in halting the horror, and while we pollute all seven continents and all seven seas.
        The N.I.M.B.Y. principle – 'not in my back yard' – must apply to the entire planet. Cleaning up the Chesapeake is not an accomplishment if the solution includes dumping toxic chemicals in Haiti. Exporting Starbucks and McDonald's franchises is not an accomplishment if it is based on clear-cutting forests to raise cattle in Brasil or to build slave-labor plantations in Sumatra.
        If it is a bad idea in Colorado, then it is a bad idea in Tanzania or Irkutsk.
        (I have long thought that the solution to disposal of nuclear waste is to bury it under the mansions of the executives who created it and profited from it: They keep telling us how very ‘safe’ it is, so we'll put it underneath their kids' bedrooms.)

        Globalization is the evolutionary force that makes the entire planet YOUR back yard, not just the playground of the Versailles-clone jet-set Oligarchy. Paris Hilton will never sweat thru her clothes behind a fast-food grill for days on end at minimum wage with no benefits, and why should anybody else? The jobs disappear and there are less options and one third of Americans live below the official poverty line.
        A globalized economy can yet bring the lifestyle offered by the defunct American Dream – stable employment, good health, free time, making a difference as an Individual – to every single human on this planet.
        But first it has to be done where you are.

        Empowerment begins with the Individual; the Individual generates Empowerment by giving it away to others.
        I cannot legitimately rephrase Rev. King's phrase to "Until all are empowered, none are empowered" because that is just not true. I like this though: "Until you empower your Self, nobody else will be empowered; once you empower your Self, then others around the globe have a chance."

        The job of prisoners-of-war, as in "Stalag 13" and "The Great Escape" and Jean Renoir's "Grand Illusion", was to escape their captors and return to active service to their country.
        That too is YOUR job: Escape from indentured servitude under the Oligarchy and man the barricades in the planet-wide class wars against tyranny and for Empowerment.

        Until the Revolution is global, none are free.

[copyright 2005 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

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

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

==>  Find other great email newsletters & ezines at the Cumuli Ezine Finder:

==>  Good info on actively thwarting SP*AM, at Outblaze Ltd.

==>  Dubya's new proposed budget would DOUBLE co-payments by all Veterans for each prescription,
        and in some cases require a $250 annual fee.

==>  A chance for Denver and Colorado Objectivists to get together:
        A chance for Portland, Oregon Objectivists to get together:
        { Google Groups redesigned itself; then group defunct due to inactivity }

N E X T   M O N T H: 'The Three Economies'

I N   M A R C H: 'Theory Z'

Issue #51: "The Three Economies"
[March 2005]

>+<    G.E. Nordell, editor    >+<


"Love is a subjective condition in which the welfare and happiness of another person are essential to one's own happiness."
Robert A. Heinlein [1907-88]

"The optimist proclaims that this is the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears that this is true."
— James Branch Cabell [1879-1958]

"When in doubt, tell the truth."
Mark Twain [1835-1910]

"Patriotism is so often a disguise that the genuine article is always surprising."
— Edmund S. Morgan

"Most talk journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read."
— Frank Zappa [1940-93]

"Possession of a closed mind is an act of treason against humanity."
G.E. Nordell

"I consider [work in politics] one of the most fruitful exercises of the human mind."
James A. Michener [1907-97]

"It is loneliness that makes the loudest noise."
Eric Hoffer [1902-83]

O'Toole's Commentary: "Murphy was an optimist."

"In nature, there are no rewards or punishment, only consequences."
— Robert G. Ingersoll [1833-99]

"Do not put off until tomorrow what can be enjoyed today."
— Josh Billings [1818-85]

"If you're not in love with what you're doing, don't do it; find what you love."
Ray Bradbury [1920-2012]

"God is a snob. He (or She) refuses to talk to existentialists."
G.E. Nordell

"The thing that truly sets people apart from other animals is not their thought process,
but their ability to congratulate themselves for having one."
— Brooke McEldowney

"You get what you pay for."
— Arbuckle Coffee slogan circa 1900

"Stop spending dollar time on penny jobs."
— Mary Kay Ash [1918-2001], founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

"Let us move on, and step out boldly, though it be into the night, and we can scarcely see the way."
— Charles B. Newcomb

"Under the new Republican lie factory [our country is becoming] an inter-national pariah
and a government of the crooked, by the crooked and for the crooked."
— Jon K. Williams of Santa Barbara, California

"Men have become tools of their tools."
Henry David Thoreau [1817-62]

"Religions are merely the explanations of primitives for phenomena beyond their ability to comprehend,
codified and passed on thru generations, and defended as ordained absolutes of behavior."
— Henry Miller of San Fernando Valley Mensa

"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."
— Benjamin Franklin [1706-90]

— Dan Rather (at end of his last CBS Evening News broadcast)

T h e    T h r e e    E c o n o m i e s

        The readers of this ezine, being online & mostly living in North America & Europe or parts of Australasia, are deeply embedded in the Virtual Economy. Some white-collar and most blue-collar workers operate in both the Virtual Economy and the Cash Economy. Examples of the Barter Economy include hippie communes, folks in Alaska, and the entire Third World.

        These distinctions are important to everyone because history is nothing but change – usually unexpected and often calamitous – and reliance on the permanent stability of any economic system is absurd, as is the expectation that economic forces won't toss YOU around like a paper cup in the surf.
        Unemployment in the U.S. remains at ten percent, prices continue to skyrocket – soon a gallon of gasoline/petrol will cost as much as coffee at Starbucks – and wages steadily go down while benefits disappear overnight.

        Readers engaged in developing their Working Mind should prepare for the inevitable Bad News that inept politicians & government careerists imagine can be avoided by irrational policies & empty promises and by their commitment to ignorance & hypocrisy. Some bubble is going to burst – History likes to play that way – and the only question is who will survive. The developing Working Mind may be able to reduce harm from such inevitable events as war, pestilence, famine and economic collapse, but only if personal corrective actions are taken.

        An economy based on consumerism (not productivity) cannot survive the realities of economics. The Great Depression that began in 1929 was caused by reliance on credit-based ('on margin') profit-taking on the stock market. The only difference today is that the entire economy is based on credit margins & profit-taking, measured by the pumped-up stock market. Sudden collapse due to the stupidity of George Dubya, possibly after replacement of Alan Greenspan with someone even worse for America, will come as no surprise to anyone who is paying attention to news media not owned by the Oligarchy.
        The collapse might be avoidable, but Dubya won't implement any such solution. In fact, one of my buddies has suggested that economic collapse is the intention of Dubya's economic policies.

        The U.S. economic bubble will indeed burst, as Ayn Rand foretold in "Atlas Shrugged". Maybe worse.Will you be prepared? Or will you be standing naked and dumbfounded in the path of the economic tsunami when it occurs.
        The following three economic distinctions are followed by strongly recommended personal actions & practices for readers who are engaged in further development of their Working Mind. These alterations in behavior will reduce the impact of such historic events.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Each charge card these days has a magnetic strip that talks to its bank, which talks to all the credit bureaus and back to the charge card company. Your employer transmits payroll data on schedule to state and federal agencies and to the bank, which may then send electronic direct deposit into your checking account. Stock brokers take orders by email or in-house software: one click and somebody makes a profit, the broker gets a fee – AND somebody else incurs a loss. State & local departments provide online services, even taking payments for parking tickets, auto license renewals, and property taxes online.
        All this happens electronically, with nothing actually on paper, and without any physical transport of goods. Some members of the Upper Class may not actually touch specie – coins & bills – for days or weeks at a time. Business expenses are paid for by credit or debit card, dinner at the club requires only a signature on a chit (gratuity included), groceries are delivered to the house 'on account', and payment is reconciled electronically as well.
        And the bulk of these transactions are credit-based. Members of the Upper Class do not keep their millions and billions in a savings account, earning a mere one-quarter percent interest. Bills of the Upper Class become due, and at the last minute funds are moved INTO the checking account and then sent as payment.
        The credit cards of the Middle Class are predictably maxxed-out, and even for prudent consumers the loss of a single paycheck will wreak personal economic havoc: the 'money' moving around at the speed of light across international boundaries does not exist.
        In the old days (not so very long ago), if the records at a bank were lost, survivors & creditors could at least go to the vault and see the paper and gold and coins to be counted and divvied up, once somebody figured out the details.
        The Virtual economy is a pretense, a house of cards based on promises and nothing else. The Virtual Economy has no physical component.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        The Elite (in economic terms) are constituted by the Oligarchy – the 1% of the population who own 60% of everything – and by the Upper Class – the 20% who now own 83% of everything. These figures are for the U.S.A., yet other countries are little different, no matter the official economic system. (Russia & China are quasi-socialist: the economic Elite have never NOT existed there.)
        The Elite are quite pleased to have you feed their empty Virtual Economy: any activity within the Virtual Economy makes a profit for the Elite.

        But the cushion of such lop-sided wealth is just that: a cushion, and not a guarantee. The gap between the nature of economics and the pretenses of the consumer-driven, credit-based Virtual Economy is an abyss, one filled with the hot air of belief that any economist has a clue what will happen tomorrow or next week, much less after more of Dubya's willful economic malfeasance.
        When the economy next crashes, the Elite may feel a jolt. But even if the worst happens – something worse than Republican President Hoover's Great Depression – the massive wealth of the Elite will let them down gently. They won't like it, but giving up some shiny new toy (priced equal to a year's pay on minimum wage) is not as hard to take as standing in the line at a soup kitchen in a pouring rain day after day after day.

        Regular folks, including the Middle Class – who lost 60% of their equity since 1980 to the rapacious Elite/Oligarchy – will be stripped of the merest access to the Virtual Economy. Employers will fold, more factories will close, jobs will disappear, credit cards will be cancelled and demand made for immediate payment – and hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose everything. (This inevitability is likely the cause of the G.O.P.'s recent disabling of personal bankruptcy protection: bye-bye primary residence, hello living in your car.)
        As in The Great Depression of the 1930s, there will be no commerce from which the Oligarchy can spoon off the cream, nowhere for small businesses to seek temporary capital, no safety net to prevent tumbling down the Ladder of Success.
        Millions of shocked individuals will say 'Ouch' (and worse) and look around and find nowhere to turn. The Elite will beef up security around their gated communities (the moat around their fiefdoms). New dustbowl 'Okies' in suits by Prada & Armani will have nowhere to migrate to. Instead of blowing away the topsoil, the winds of change will be blowing across acres of empty parking lots in every city across America. The malls will be silent, the checkout lines will be short, and customer service numbers will reach disconnected phone lines.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        The Cash Economy is tactile, and operates human to human. The Fed-haters have a (weak) point that greenbacks are supported only by a government promise, manipulated by Greenspan and the M1 and the M2 and all that financial horse-pucky. But the exchange of cash for services or goods is a discreet event, that enables both [all] parties to experience satisfaction and-or completion.
        My recent auto trip from Los Angeles to Chicago & back [see next issue of WMail] included every variation of the Virtual & Cash Economies – even including interference from the ChoicePoint databanks security debacle. Reaching for my wallet and extracting folding money to pay for a meal, receiving change in return, patting my tummy and expressing thanks for the grub – all this was human interaction: both the owner-proprietor-employee behind the counter and myself were left with no economic concerns. The simple cash transaction was complete.
        In contrast, paying by credit card left everything incomplete, especially when credit card processing was not real-time online. The business person was left with uncertainty (of my card's validity) as well as with the expectation of paperwork and hassles: the bank subtracts their 3% to 5% fee out of every transaction, then holds payment of the principal for weeks, making a significant profit from the 'float', while I am left with expectation of interest charges of as much as 25% A.P.R. on my next credit card statement.

        The Virtual Economy involves unseen databanks and snooty executives in air-conditioned office towers and whirring computers subtracting automatic levies to the Oligarchy. The Cash Economy takes place in person, face-to-face, and your pleasure [or not] is communicated directly to the seller. [This is where Paleo-Capitalism operates; see WMail Issue #40 – http://www.working-minds.com/WMessay40.htm ]

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Few readers of this ezine participate in any version of the Barter Economy, which is direct trade of services or goods for equivalent value in some other labor or commodity. Perhaps some students pay rent or tuition by trading labor, some hobbyists deliver backyard crops in trade for non-specie rewards – such venues exist in 'modern' societies, though they are rare.
        But in the Third World, barter is life. Labor provides crops or craftwork, which is traded for an equivalent. Small villages far from 'civilization' remain co-ops, where all labor is divided and sustenance (as well as defense and healthcare) are assigned and allotted according to tradition. Representational 'money' is absent within the Barter Economy, even with the outside world: aborigines still trade baskets or pelts or medicinal bark for a shiny new steel knife or machete.
        This Barter Economy is foreign to most readers, and we have no skills for participation in it. A cataclysmic economic collapse will leave programmers and advertising execs and pro athletes with no means to survive inside a Barter Economy. The idea is simply too scary to contemplate. You do not want to go there.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        The primary recommendation regarding the Three Economies defined above is to get OUT of the Virtual Economy. The looming economic collapse will wreak havoc in varying degrees on every human on the planet – except 'uncivilized' aboriginal tribes embedded in Barter Economics.
        Such collapse, whether restricted to isolated countries or a contagion spread across every hectare of the globe, will reach you for certain. The only question is how well-prepared you might be for the economic devastation to yourself and your neighbors, and whether you can hang on without dying of starvation in a cardboard hovel up against an empty skyscraper.
        Staying an active member of the Virtual Economy has you beholden to the Oligarchy for survival, and failure to continue the charade will get you stripped of all resources and banished to the Barter Economy.

        So pay off all your credit cards and other debt. Buy only if you have cash in hand.
        Make double payments on your car and don't shop for a new one until the old one breaks. Then make double payments on your mortgage.
        Keep an active checking account – but when things start going bad and you still have a paycheck, ask for cash. Keep one credit card for true emergencies – flat tire, emergency room, burst plumbing, etc. – but keep it paid off each month.

        You can cash your paycheck where you buy groceries – no fee is charged.
        Walk inside at the gas station and pay cash for each fillup. (And definitely find and patronize the cheapest pump price in your area.)
        Go to the movies at the 'early bird' show and skip the $5 popcorn: carry in a granola bar in your pocket or purse.
        Shift your small business to the Cash Economy and pay very close attention to both payables and receivables. (Many large & small companies offer a discount for immediate – i.e. cash – payment.)
        Teach your kids that they have no need for the hot! fad-product of the moment.

        As an example of making such changes, my move to New Mexico is designed so that the end result of the sale of my trailer-home in California and the purchase of a new home south of Albuquerque will leave me with full equity in the new house – NO mortgage for the villainous banks to foreclose on, no monthly payments to feed the Oligarchy. I have paid ahead on the three domain names that I own, and will pay for my new DSL-or-dialup ISP for a year in advance (glad for the slight discount). My Chevy Blazer is paid in full, all I need concern myself with there is insurance and license fees for New Mexico.

        When the U.S. economy collapses, I will manage better than my neighbors still clinging to the lies of the media and the government, for they will be confronted with any number of emergencies: typically loss of job, followed by repossession of the car, and foreclosure on the house. You had better hope your relationship with your parents is bright & shiny, for you may have no alternative but to move back home, and the grandkids could make the situation entirely too confining.

        Do not think that it can't happen. Do not think that it won't happen. History is replete with cycles of economic piracy, burst bubbles, and widespread economic devastation.
        Get ready. Get strong. Spread the warning.

[copyright 2005 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

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

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

==>  Healthcare fees set at $230 per year for 2.4 million U.S. Military Veterans

==>  "Over the next 75 years, Bush's tax cuts will cost $11 trillion dollars – about triple the projected Social
        Security shortfall over the same time period."
        ~~ Center on Budget & Policy Priorities [ http://www.CBPP.org ] as quoted in the Los Angeles Times March 2005

==>  "[America's] trade practices are weighing down the dollar. The decline in its value has already been substantial,
        but is nevertheless likely to continue."
        ~~ Warren E. Buffett (in the Berkshire Hathaway annual report for 2004)

==>  If you are or know anybody under 25 years of age, then you ought to worry about Rangel-Hollings and the plan
        for mandatory draft of both males & females: see http://www.draftresistance.org for latest info

N E X T   M O N T H: 'Route 66'

I N   M A Y: 'Theory Z'

Issue #52: "Route 66 & T.M.L.P."
[May 2005]

>+<    G.E. Nordell, editor    >+<

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

==>  "Inflation outpaces the rise in salaries for the first time in 14 years"
        — subhead on Los Angeles Times front page 11 April 2005

==>  "U.S. Trade Deficit Hits Record High"
        — Los Angeles Times Business Section headline 13 April 2005

==>  Dubya Lied Dept.: After cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans, President Bush increased Federal
        spending by 33% during his first term, which has greatly inflated the National Debt. The stupidity continues.

==>  "This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy."
        — U.S. Representative Christopher Shays [GOP-CT] in the New York Times on 23 March 2005)
        See also http://www.theocracywatch.org

==>  Find other great email newsletters & ezines at the Cumuli Ezine Finder:

==>  Slogan of the Month: “The American voter is in the driver’s seat. Run over a Republican.”
        {This has been a public service announcement.}

My detective novel "Backlot Requiem" was published by
iUniverse in March.

When a long-buried body is discovered at National Pictures Studios, private investigator Rick Walker is called in to identify it. His investigation leads to a thirty-year-old murder case, a dying film director and his wild daughters, a legendary film star of the Silent Era, local gangsters, and a very discreet love affair.

"Backlot Requiem" novel by G.E. Nordell   iUniverse 9x6 hardcover [3/2005] for $22.95 at Amazon
iUniverse 9x6 pb [3/2005] for $12.95 at Amazon
also for sale at Amazon Canada, U.K., France, Germany & Japan and at Barnes & Noble
... plus a deal is now in the works for publication in Croatia.
click here for excerpt
and more on the Rick Walker, P.I. detective novels website

R O U T E    6 6    &    T . M . L . P .

        This is not a postcard about my February road trip to Chicago and back, nor an essay on 'What I Did on My Winter Vacation'. Besides having a great time, there are a few observations worth passing on, sort of a partial 'State of the Union' report.
        I loaded my Chevy Blazer on Sunday with books. I left Los Angeles on Monday, staying that night in Globe, Arizona. After dropping the books off at my storage unit in New Mexico, I continued to Santa Rosa, New Mexico for the night. Wednesday took me to Claremore, Oklahoma (east of Tulsa), Thursday night was spent in Springfield, Illinois, and I arrived at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago's Loop District on time for the Landmark Education Team Management & Leadership Program [T.M.L.P.] National Weekend conference.
        I left Chicago Sunday and stayed in the Kankakee, Illinois area; Monday night was at my brother's farm outside Joplin, Missouri; Tuesday night west of Amarillo, Texas; Wednesday night in 'B-town' New Mexico (where I am buying a house); Thursday night west of Phoenix, Arizona, and arrival home in Los Angeles Friday after lunch. Twelve days of real vacation – no phone, no internet, no mail, no L.A Times – for a total of 4788 miles, getting 20 mpg overall.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        The first thing that I noticed on the trip was the rampant lawlessness. I'm used to bad drivers in L.A. – keep going thru the yellow light or get rear-ended – but the interstate highways are something else. Someday I will find or make a bumper sticker that says "I do not apologize for obeying the speed limit". Whenever I found myself drifting more than 5 mph over the posted speed limit, I would slow down. Gaining speed on a downhill section was corrected by gravity while going up the next hill, or I'd just ease up on the gas pedal.
        But in every state that I crossed, there would be some jerk wanting to pass me, at or above the posted speed limit and very often they would tailgate me, trying to bully me out of their way – speed limit be damned, safety be damned. When the speed limit was 75 mph, I did not like creeping up to 80 mph, and cars of all types were passing me at 90 mph or more. And weaving in and out at 90 mph is so very dangerous, and having the rare jerk truck driver ten feet off my rear bumper was scary every time.

        Off the road, I learned a few more things about lawlessness in America. Oklahoma City is now the crystal meth capitol of America. There are billboards and even a public service radio spot there about classes or meetings to teach citizens how to detect meth labs 'in your neighborhood'. (Besides the danger from the felonious meth crowd, there is the danger of explosions and the danger of permanent chemical contamination.)
        And Tulsa, Oklahoma has a major counterfeit money problem. How I found this out is that when I paid for a sandwich at an Arby's beside the freeway, the kid behind the counter held my $5 bill up to the light. I asked if Tulsa had a 'funny money' problem, just kidding around, and the kid and a customer waiting for his order were glad to explain the situation. Know that the traditional counterfeiter usually made fake $20 & $50 bills: smaller bills cost too much to make, and larger bills were (and are) subject to tighter scrutiny – very few readers, for example, carry $100 bills on a regular basis.
        But now the counterfeiting rings are quite confident of success in passing $5 bills and making their criminal profit. The customer at Arby's said that he managed several nightclubs and he took a $50 bill out of his wallet and showed that it had no metal strip on the left nor the watermark on the right (observed against the overhead light) BUT it had passed the pen test: I saw the still-gold test mark.
        Imagine what life is like there if you have to examine every $5 bill and larger all day long, every day, both behind the counter and as a customer – if you accept a bogus bill, then you might as well light it afire. The cost of this waste of time is enormous, and the cost to the local psychology is serious: Who can you trust? When will you get bit (again)? How much will you lose?
        The other point with these two observations is that reading this will be the first that you have heard of any such problems, right?

        On my return pass thru Tucson, I read the local newspaper. Among the local issues is their nearness to the U.S.-Mexico border – this was at the time the border vigilantes were setting up their protest across 20-some miles of frontier. The news reports included a term not in use in California: instead of 'illegal immigrants', the folks in Tucson refer to anyone crossing the border illegally as 'illegal entrants'. The term speaks to the local attitude, something like 'they get in, but the mistake is easily corrected'. In California, the attitude of many (but not all) is to welcome illegals as 'immigrants' who deserve all the rights of citizens, until that pesky paperwork can be straightened out. In Arizona, an 'illegal entrant' is clearly a criminal (with which I agree).

* *          * *          * *          * *

        There was a shift that occurred at the beginning of my return trip. Driving to New Mexico (outbound), I intended taking a different route – I do like to explore – but because of flash flood warnings, I ended up going thru Lordsburg to Deming to Hatch, as on my previous (first) trip to New Mexico. I pulled off of I-40 or I-44 a few times to see the towns on old Route 66, which has great appeal for me. [See http://www.genordell.com/rickwalkerPI/route66.htm and http://www.genordell.com/stores/spirit/route66.htm – the second Rick Walker mystery novel takes place along California's portion of Route 66.]
        Each town or gas stop along the former Route 66 is more or less successful in surviving replacement by the interstate highway system and is variably successful at benefiting from the resurgence of interest in historic designation of sections of the 'Mother Road', the 'Main Street of America'.
        That was to be expected. As was the natural speed limit of 60 mph (sometimes posted as a maximum of 55 mph) on the two-lane or even four-lane sections. The Route 66 road itself causes you to amble along at 60 mph or less: those times were slower, the pressure to speed much less than in modern times. (The design of the interstate actually pulls you faster and faster.)

        Then, after Chicago, once my return route re-connected with I-44 in Missouri and Oklahoma, I began to get a sense of belonging, or perhaps ownership. I've lived almost my entire life in California (minus 5 years in Las Vegas, Nevada), but on that journey to Chicago I found a real sense that I have BEEN to America, that all of America is part of me – and not just the six states that I visited on this vacation-jaunt.
        Impressions include the variations in the landscape. While most of my route was flat this trip, the terrain covered different colors of soil, many types of rock, unknown trees & bushes, and especially the roads. The interstate thru Oklahoma is tough to navigate, the turnpikes have no personality, and too bad if you're hungry or low on gas/petrol when you get on one, no food or gas may be visible for hours. Roads in Missouri, in contrast, have great signs, while towns in Illinois and Oklahoma have only one sign per intersection.

        Almost all the people that I met were quite friendly, even if I might have been displaying tired and-or grumpy. The only unfriendly innkeepers were at the Days Inn at Buckeye, Arizona (which cost too much and had terrible tap water).
        Several things about money became noticeable: One was that I saw not one 50-cent piece on the entire 12-day trip.
        When I paid cash for a meal or lodgings or gas, there was often a literal sigh of relief. Not sure why in every case, but the most obvious guess is the absence of the 3% or higher fee charged by the credit card companies, and the weeks of delay before the business receives the actual funds.
        And thirdly, there was often another noticeable relief when I said that I had exact change. At home, I unburden my wallet of excessive coins, but on the road I did not, so the coin pocket often got real full unless I actually paid out coin. Holding out a paper bill was a relief to many, and the statement that I had exact change was a further pleasure to the employee or proprietor, now and then even producing a smile.
        Grist for anyone needing an unusual topic for a sociology or economics thesis, perhaps.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        It was almost impossible to engage in political discussion directly, having to cover so much ground each day, although I invited quite a few innkeepers or wait-people to join The Revolution.
        Radio itself is a different experience out on the road. The accents and the formats are ever-changing – can't say 'ever-changing choice', because in some places the choice is meager talent and bad reception. I even listened to the all-day farm report from a Kansas station, which needs doing only once.
        I listened to Rush Limbaugh call in from Afghanistan, he having a great time telling the troops that liberals do not support them – a typical outright lie. I listened to Bill O'Reilly and then to Al Franken report on O'Reilly's most recent lies – Bill was never 'in combat', he was not an astronaut, but his listeners have no skepticism, they are believing sheep without critical faculties. And I listened to some guy for half an hour who never identified himself and had soon-tiring applause & boo-moan soundbites – I was glad when the signal faded out. Ann Coulter is almost pretty, but her soul is a black-hole of deceit.
        I was confused about the status of Air America – http://www.AirAmericaRadio.com – especially based on remarks from right-wing radio. The Al Franken segment that I heard on the trip was from December, I think, but the Randi Rhodes segment was same-day. Since the trip, I have found that Air America has a new outlet in Los Angeles – http://www.progressivetalk1150.com [AM 1150] – and that the network is growing rapidly all over the country.

        There were several non-political news-talk stations here and there, on health or investments. But the show that I was most impressed with was Ed Schultz, based in Fargo, North Dakota. My own experience as a disk jockey (in Las Vegas, Nevada) compels me to want him to hire a voice or speech coach, but the content was entirely palatable. The right-wing talk-show hosts are irrational at best, and what I've heard of Air America often comes across as shrill and reactive, but Schultz talks issues and not sides. Probably can't call him a centrist American, the views I heard qualify as very left of Dubya; but the impression that I got was of a reasoned approach, and an inclusive attitude, where the term 'all-American' is apt. Schultz speaks less from 'for or against' and more from 'we all have problems that need work', and it makes sense that his solutions are leftish (since so much of America's problems are caused by the neo-cons giving their allegiance to the Oligarchy and not to the people of America).

* *          * *          * *          * *

        On the return to New Mexico, I arrived about 2 p.m. from Amarillo TX, and stopped at a realtor that I had found earlier on the internet. Spent an hour there, got printout of five houses for sale, went to the best-looking choice, and decided to make an offer. Bank repo, so 'as is' condition and tough to finance (but do-able). That house got snapped up in a week, so I took another trip and looked all over B-town and neighboring L-town, put in a bid and the escrow is to close at the end of May.
        The primary selling point is (per the old rule) location. The house I am buying is four miles from B-town's Main Street, across the Rio Grande River, atop a windswept mesa, on a quarter acre in a sparsely-populated subdivision. Facing north I can see a two-lane highway; west is the river and a mountain 40 miles away; eastward is the hump of the mesa and the forested Manzanos Mountains, which are part of the Isleta Indian Reservation. Sky in all directions, fresh air, coyotes and rabbits and deer. My only nighttime visit there was cloudy, but I expect to see stars from my back yard, and am looking forward to the annual Perseides meteor showers as well. Add a couple trees and it will be perfect.

        What is reportable is the ease with which this got done. Possibly to do with the space created by the T.M.L.P. Chicago Weekend (and a similar road trip to the T.M.L.P. Denver Weekend in May), but more likely based on my many years of Landmark Education training. On the day of the actual offer, I met my real estate guy at Noon and we drove around and I made my choice and we faxed the offer at four o'clock.
        On my last visit, I actually laughed when I parked in 'my driveway'. The seller had already posted a 'Sold' sign.
        Some paperwork still to be processed, but my 'ownership' of the house is already true in the Landmark sense, as in my 'ownership' of B-town as my intended destination and towing a loaded U-Haul trailer to a state that I had never been to. How ownership has showed up since then is in thinking about small changes, like yard plants and alarms and stepping-stone paths. Then at breakfast on the last day of my Chicago trip, halfway between Phoenix and the California border, I was noting the decor at Tonopah Joe's Truckstop & Cafe, seeing that the mini-blinds there are exactly what I want to handle the window/sun situation for the house, AND also that aesthetics require getting curtains like they had, which I believe are called 'cafe curtains'.
        No dithering. No mulling. Cut to the chase. Within 24 hours of stepping inside the realtor's office and meeting my agent Stoney, I was making a list of tasks to accomplish after which I will be living on a mesa overlooking the Rio Grande Valley with coyotes to howl lullabies for me.

        Good trip. Work to do. People to meet. Books to sell. The future includes the practice of enrollment and of capitalism and of revolution.

[copyright 2005 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

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


"Where the Oligarchy is in power, the First Amendment is null and void in the workplace."
G.E. Nordell

"Believing in George Bush is so ludicrous that believing in God seems almost rational."
— Anne Lamott

"The only progress lies in learning to be wrong all alone."
Albert Camus [1913-60]

"There is no path to peace: peace is the way."
— Mahatma Gandhi [1869-1948]

"Always be a poet, even in prose."
— Baudelaire [1821-67]

"The conventional view of inventors is [that] they're good at solving problems. It's really finding problems."
— Evan I. Schwartz

"Art is the work that is play."
— Linda Sexson

"The god [that] you worship is the god [that] you deserve."
Joseph Campbell [1904-87]

"Stand back! I'm an eagle."
— American saying

"Marriage is a handshake deal."
G.E. Nordell

"Los Angeles is fast-paced. We kind of live in the future. We tear things down quickly."
— historian Doyce B. Nunis, Jr.

"Middle age is that point in life when you realize [that] patience is a weapon."
— columnist Chris Erskine

"I just want you to know that when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."
George Dubya Bush, 18 June 2002

"We're dangerously close to becoming an entire nation of Howard Hugheses."
— Muffy Mead-Ferro

"My advice to young writers is to stop looking for advice from old writers."
Charles Bukowski [1920-94]

"Something significant has been lost."
— Tom Russell

"When the chips are down and life hangs in the balance, someone has to be responsible."
— cowboy poet & columnist Baxter Black

"Free speech is a danger to the neo-con fascists, which is why they suppress it.
Our best weapon is to speak freely and loudly and often."
G.E. Nordell


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