illustration: connected buckets


When America began to connect to third world nations for the purpose of trade, our $18/hour society was no match for China’s $.25/hour society, and our money began to drain outwards toward China.




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Is Big-Box Retail bad for the economy and free-market capitalism?


Over the past 25 years America has seen a transformation of our retail infrastructure go from mom-and-pop stores to big box stores.

Speaking for myself, I love the convenience of big box. And certainly the retail evolution that has led us to the big box model is understandable.

But that may not be the point, but instead, possibly, that the big box retail infrastructure represents:

  • a condensation of wealth that is prohibitive of a healthy economy where wealth is distributed to millions of moms and pops,
  • a destruction of a competitive labor pool, where good workers can bargain with their employers for better wages, or else go work for their employer’s competitor,
  • a destruction of a competitive goods and services environment where vendors and manufacturers are plentiful, each competing to access retailers supply chains.

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To illustrate these problems, imagine a small town with hardware stores. Back in the old days, there were probably 10 hardware stores, each with a different owner.

EXAMPLE 1 – imagine one of these hardware stores, such as Mayberry Hardware. The owner wants to sell wrenches. If there are thousands of different hardware stores around the country, then each owner will probably have slightly different wishes for what kind of wrenches they want to sell, and thus there will inevitably be dozens and dozens of wrench manufacturers around the country developing slight variations of the common wrench.

But if there is only one hardware company in the country (with thousands of stores), and that one hardware company chooses AmeriWrenches as its brand to sell at all of its stores, then the dozens and dozens of other wrench manufacturers will be unable to survive, and will go out of business. And all of its employees will have no choice but to go work at AmeriWrenches.


EXAMPLE 2 – imagine a worker, Little Joe, working at Bubba’s Hardware Store. Imagine that Little Joe is an amazing worker: he knows all the tools, all the construction projects around town, all the customers, all the vendors in the industry, all the tool manufacturers in the industry. But Bubba hasn’t given him a raise in 2 years. Little Joe requests a raise. Bubba refuses. But if there are lots of other hardware stores, Little Joe can go to one of them, such as Steve’s Hardware, and say, “Listen, Mr. Steve, I am great; if it weren’t for me, Bubba would go out of business; but he doesn’t pay me enough … hire me and I can bring my expertise to benefit your store.” In this scenario, we see that employees are in a natural, free market environment, using the principles of ‘competition’ to improve their own value.

However, if there is only one hardware store company in town that owns 10 individual stores around town, then Little Joe is not able to bargain on his own for better wages.

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It should be noted that these same problems occur when one national bank swallows up thousands of local banks, or when one large insurance company swallows up thousands of local insurance companies.




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Are Weapon-Certification programs the solution


Are Weapon-Certification programs the solution that should make both sides happy:

  • they would enable weapon ownership for the respectful and law-abiding people … republicans smile
  • they would prevent weapon ownership for the reckless and unqualified people … democrats smile.

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How would a Weapon Certification Program work?

Suppose you want a pistol for home protection, a Level 1 Certification would probably be the appropriate certificate. It might require A) 10hours of classroom training, B) 10 hours of supervised firing range training, and C) bi-annual renewals.

Suppose you want a pistol for CWP, a higher level of certification would surely be required, such as, say, Level 4. And this certification would probably require a higher level of maturity, a higher level of skill, and a higher level of in-action experience.

And in theory, there can even be a Certification Program for military-grade weapons, say, maybe, Level 7 Certification.

Anyone caught without the appropriate Certification for their particular weapon will at least temporarily lose their weapon, and have up to 6 months, say, to complete an appropriate Certification Program to get their weapon back.

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What is interesting about Certification, is you can be certified without being “registered” … which a lot of the Tyranny-paranoids are concerned about.

Here is a funny, but poignant, example of how you could be certified for something, but NOT registered: I can very easily train you for 2 weeks on Vulgar-Burping, then give you the Certification to prove you are qualified, but never submit it to any national database of burpers; I, the Certifier, only keep a record in my file cabinet. Now, at some time later in the future, when you are in a McDonalds burping vulgarly, and then you get accosted, you can show the cops your Vulgar-Burping Certificate, and they will say ‘ok’ to you … your Certification is all you need.

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Here’s a little bit more about the Weapon’s Certification idea:

  • the Certification programs could be run by the NRA,
  • but the NRA would be liable to the people through our judicial system (civil and maybe even criminal).

So, suppose the NRA is the Certifying agency, and suppose that over the years they slowly relax their Certification Programs standards, certifying basically anyone and everyone. Then Bad Guys start exploiting the lax certification programs and begin mass murdering, the NRA would be liable in the courts to lawsuits from victim’s families. We all tout our judicial system as being the greatest in the world, so can’t we trust it to handle this particular aspect?

This judicial liability would keep the NRA in balance between:

  • their desire to sell guns at k-mart, and
  • civil people’s desire to have a sane experiences when they venture outside.

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Share with your friends if you feel these ideas have merit.



The C’s accuse me of being an A

There seem to be 3 different arguments in regards to the gun issue:

A – get rid of all guns (I have never actually heard anyone say this)
B – regulate guns (the ‘how to’ is up for debate)
C – sell guns like bubble gum: anytime, anywhere, anybody

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The C’s are accusing everybody else of being an A.

would you accept Constitutional Rape

Here is a thought experiment …

We probably all agree that the bill of rights (as well as a good bit of the constitution) is supposed to embody the idea of ensuring the protection of people’s natural will (as opposed to suppression). I suppose most Americans will agree with this.

Here is another example of natural will: my natural reproductive drive.

So imagine if the bill of rights included an amendment to protect my right to fulfill my natural reproductive drive … would you support it?

In the hands of ‘common sense’ this clause might work without disrupting a civil society. But as soon as someone starts twisting that clause, interpreting it to suit their own agenda, you could effectively end up with constitutional-rape.

The 2nd amendment has similarly been twisted.

Re-defining the term Gun Control

Comprehensive Training & Certification for gun ownership.

  • If you simply want a pistol for home protection, you need a Level 1 training/certificate;
  • If you want to hunt with a shotgun, you need Level 4 (or whatever);
  • If you want to operate an assault weapon for sportsmanship, you need Level 7 (or whatever);
  • If you want to carry a concealed weapon, you need Level 2 (would include in-action training);
  • etc.

CTC should make both liberals and conservatives happy:
– the liberals want a sensible, civil society;
– the conservatives want guns, and they say responsible gun owners are safe.

CTC legislation would create many jobs in the firearms training sector; and it would weed out a large percentage of irresponsible people, as well as incompetent people.

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Further Reading
Level 1 training would be geared toward the most fundamental of gun claims: protecting the home. Included in Level 1 firearms training should be psych evaluations and proper training about storing the gun in the home. Level 1 might require 3 months of weekly sessions. Trainers would be certified by the NRA, but liable to civil and criminal courts for failure to uphold high standards (now you have a check & balance between the NRA’s desire to spread guns, and the public’s desire to have safe, qualified gun owners). Level 1 would probably only cover low-shot hand guns, which are appropriate for home protection.

A concealed weapons permit would require Level 2 training, specifically some type of Action-based Training (something that probably only military, police, and the most hardcore gun sportsmen ever get). The Ab-T portion of CTC Level 2 would demand probably 30 hours, maybe much more.

Why should CWP holders be required to satisfy Level 2‘s Ab-T requirement … because a CWP holder is implicitly saying, “I am taking my gun into the public, where all the action is, and if there is trouble I’m going to pull my weapon out into the public space with the intent to pull the trigger.” With that being said, I believe that CWP holder should have to prove that he/she can handle the action: people running, screaming, shots already being fired from some undetermined direction, maybe darkness, wounded on the ground. Level 2 would probably also only cover low-shot hand guns.

For hunters they would need a Level 3 certificate. For sportsmen, a Level 4 certificate. Etc.

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What do you think about the idea of Comprehensive Training & Certification for gun ownership?

The NRA inhibits meaningful discussion … day 3 of 26

If someone like me says, “gun regulation should be discussed”, some NRA person will respond, “you’re not american, you’re against freedom, you’re stupid, you think hugging criminals will work.” So to avoid being yelled at by my family and friends I, like millions of other people, just keep quiet! Consequently, our country has not had a real democratic discussion about guns and the 2nd Amendment.

Healthy discussions usually produce good answers. The NRA culture should not be afraid of the discussion if they believe that their approach is the right approach.

healthy discussions lead to good things

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There are 5 potential reasons for guns:
#1 – the Foreign Invaders argument – guns for militia members for protecting the homeland.
#2 – the Tyrannical Government argument – guns for a populace to thwart tyranny.
#3 – the Self-Defense argument – guns for individuals protecting themselves against each other.
#4 – the I Need Meat argument – guns for individuals that hunt.
#5 – the It’s Nice and Shiny argument – guns for sportsmen and collectors.
(Maybe there are more, but this is a start.)

We should discuss all 5, independently, from both a constitution-era point of view and from a modern-era point of view.

From a CONSTITUTION-era point of view:
#1is what is ‘written’ in the 2nd Amendment.
#1 & #2were both contextually relevant in 18th c., and both were discussed.
#3was neither relevant nor discussed in 18th c.
#4was relevant but not discussed in 18th c.
#5was neither relevant nor discussed in 18th c.

From a MODERN-era point of view:
#1we do not need anymore (our military is solid).
#2we have other mechanisms to prevent tyrannical governments.
#3fair enough, but only if we thoroughly analyze our entire society to understand why we have so many criminals in the first place, because possibly they are a byproduct of some sickness in our society, and maybe they are fixable … maybe.
#4fair enough, but only with the right comprehensive training.
#5fair enough, but only with the right comprehensive training.

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Gun Ownership Only With Qualified Training
Any reasonable person should be ok being required to be trained to own a weapon.

Basic gun ownership would require Level 1 training.
Level 1 training would be geared toward the most fundamental of gun claims: protecting the home.
Included in Level 1 firearms training should be psych evaluations and proper training about storing the gun in the home.
Level 1 might require 3 months of weekly sessions. Trainers would be certified by the NRA, but liable to civil and criminal courts for failure to uphold high standards (now you have a check & balance between the NRA’s desire to spread guns, and the public’s desire to have safe, qualified gun owners).

Level 1 would probably only cover low-shot hand guns, which are appropriate for home protection.

A Concealed Weapons Permit would require Level 2 training, specifically some type of Action-based Training (something that probably only military, police, and the most hardcore gun sportsmen ever get). Ab-T would last probably 20 hours, I don’t know, maybe 100.

Why should CWP owners be required to satisfy Level 2 requirements … because a CWP holder is implicitly saying, “I am taking my gun into the public, where all the action is, and if there is trouble I’m going to pull my weapon out into the public space with the intent to pull the trigger.” Therefore that person should have to prove that he/she can handle that action: people running, screaming, shots already being fired from some undetermined direction.

Level 2 would probably also only cover low-shot hand guns.

For hunters they would need a Level 3 certificate. For sportsmen, a Level 4 certificate. Etc.

What do you think about the idea of appropriate training for weapons permits?

Republicans want their trees … and they want them now !

The Republican position in the oil discussion has got me thinking: republicans are only seeing one point of view, and they want it adhered to now.

There are many trees in the forest. Ignoring the many for the benefit of a single is a form of falsity. And if your one particular tree happens to causes damage to the others, then, well, you become liable yourself for your approach.

Furthermore, and more complicating, you must consider each and all trees over the long-term. Defending your tree today (or denying someone else’s today) without understanding the projected behavior of those trees is potentially dangerous to the forest as a whole even generations from now. Consider a tree that may eventually grow to overshadow all the rest, killing them off.

But this has made me wonder if Republicans deal with all of their issues with a similar stance: single point-of-view focus, and only respective to the immediate term?

The relationship between the Federalist Papers and the Constitution


Over the last couple of years the Federalist Papers have been referenced by armchair politicians (and Supreme Court Judges) in their efforts to justify certain political agendas.

It is important to know that the Federalist Papers are NOT:
– the Constitution, nor
– an amendment to the Constitution, nor
– a supplement to the Constitution.

But rather the Federalist Papers were Topics of Debate (essays published in newspapers in the late 1780’s) during the development of the Constitution . And as they were topics of debate, some of the points from those essays were agreed to ( by the other Constitutional Convention participants and the debating public), but other points were disapproved.

If you find something in the Federalist Papers, that happens to not be in the Constitution, there is a reason for it: it was disapproved by the collective of the Constitution authors … in other words, they specifically don’t want it in the Constitution. … it was voted out!

However, if you insist on quoting certain parts of the Federalist Papers to justify your political agenda, then be sure to also quote these things as well:

  • Federalist No. 2: “the people must cede to (the government) some of their natural rights”
  • Federalist No. 84: “… bills of rights … are not only unnecessary … but would even be dangerous.”

Recklessly quoting these is misleading, and not understanding that these papers were debate points is where you may be going wrong.



It took Reagan 5-1/2 years to get unemployment under control

It took Reagan 5-1/2 years to get unemployment under control.

He began with about a 7.5% unemployment (seasonably adjusted), and 4 years later it was roughly the same, but only after a huge spike. Then it was about level for another 1.5 years, and finally it starting coming down.

Most of what the republicans say is true … but there’s a twist

Here’s the thing: most of what the Republicans say is true.

The problem is that usually:
– their truths are not the only truths (on many political and social issues multiple sides of the coin can land face up simultaneously),
– their truths are often only true if other important considerations are not considered.

If you are a Republican repeating the Republican mantra, you are Wrong, even though most everything you say is true.

Upstate South Carolina to be annexed back to Catawba Indians

A re-patriation effort has begun on behalf of the Catawba Indians by the United Nations. The Catawba Indians ceded their land in 1840 to South Carolina in a contested treaty that has never been validated by the United States.

The UN proposes the new territory to become the newest internationally recognized independent state and to be called Catawbistan. The tentative plan currently has the support of the UN Security Council. The re-claimed territory will return nearly all of the Catawba’s original national land back to the Catawba tribe.

most of the original Catawba territory will be recognized by the UN as Catawbistan

The UN has suggested a 10-year plan for removing the current residents of Upstate South Carolina, many of whom have been residing and farming their upstate lands for many generations. The lower-state cities of Aiken and Columbia, SC are expected to be the primary beneficiaries of the population move, estimated at roughly 2,000,000 persons.

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This ‘news post’ is of course a fiction, a metaphor. For me, personally, I have struggled for a long time to understand the Israeli/Palestinian issue, and maybe, more importantly, how that issue affects muslims in the middle east – why they act so crazy.

This metaphor helps me to understand.

In this metaphor the Catawbas represent the Jews, who were relocated into their traditional homeland by the international community.

And the Upstate South Carolinians represent the Palestinians, who were forced to leave their homes.

And Americans, in general, who sympathize with the removed South Carolinians, represent the muslims throughout the middle east.

Pretend it’s Jan. 2009

Pretend it’s Jan. 2009 … what would you choose?

  • A – Great Depression.
  • B – Great Debt.
  • C – Great Fix.

Sure, everybody will say ‘C’. But think … what does it take to actually accomplish ‘C’? And here is an even more important question: how many years will a Great Fix take?

Suppose that in January 2009, our government was functioning like an efficient machine, both parties working together, and immediately it began working on a solution that required 3-5 years to accomplish. 3-5 years I said, because there would not be a way to fix our problems any quicker. Complete domestic and foreign policy changes were needed. So until those 3-5 years (or maybe even 7-10 years) were completed, what should the government have done? Should it have stranded people (that would equate to a Great Depression)?

A Solution to the Gay Marriage Question

In America our fundamental spousal construct is the marriage. The problem is that marriage is a religious concept, not a civil concept. And because our Civil State has adopted a Religious Ceremony as its fundamental spousal construct, other spousal-wannabe’s are running into walls.

The solution: remove Marriage as the fundamental spousal construct, and replace it with the Civil Union.

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This opens the door for many types of Civil Unions.

As it turns out, Marriage is a type of a Civil Union, so its ceremony will remain in tact, and unaffected by the civil union debate taking place in our democracy. The churches own Marriage: it is theirs.

Other possible types of Civil Unions:

  • the Las Vegas Elvis Civil Union
  • the bungee jumping Civil Union
  • the captain-of-a-ship Civil Union
  • the gay Civil Union
  • the human-mannequin Civil Union

… all of which are questionable in light of the religious doctrines that created marriage.

But in the hands of county-by-county democracy, who knows.

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Natural Roles in the Natural World, but in the Artificial World?

In the natural world, such as the jungle, the societal roles of children and adults are pretty natural: hunting (…for the children: learning to hunt), gathering berries and crushing them (…for the children: learning), building leaf-covered huts, etc. These tasks are at some core level in us instinctive.

On the other hand, in the artificial world, such as the suburban commercial district, roles are not so naturally instinctive: filing the blue copies in the executive file cabinet, and forwarding the pink copies to the inventory controller.

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None of us really have a choice about being born. We come out and immediately we are told that we have obligations. Well, that’s life. But the question is: what types of obligations can be expected of us? The key word is ‘expected’. It is certainly fair to say that mega-complex obligations are wanted of us.

Fair enough: society wants of me to build rockets using new physics that I invented while simultaneously investing in high-yield bonds … but can society expect that of me … expect?? After all, there is good reason to believe that my high-end multi-tasking in the industrialized marketplace is not natural, not instinctive, but rather the product of my upbringing, a specialized training, if you will, begun by my parents, and fostered by the schools that they put me in.

In my opinion society can only expect of me what is natural with respect to natural human instincts. Anything more is a bonus. And of course society can strive to foster the higher competency, but can not expect it of me.

Capitalism has many positive offerings, but it is a competition. And in a competition there will be losers.

To Have Guns, Freedom, and Safety Too

I’m a fan of qualified training. Any legitimate person should be ok being required to be trained … I would be fine with it.

healthy discussions lead to good things


Trainers would be certified by the NRA, but liable to civil and criminal courts for failure to uphold the appropriate standards set by legislatures as wanted by the voters. This is important because it establishes a check & balance between:

  • the NRA’s desire to spread guns, and
  • the public’s desire to have safe, qualified, responsible gun owners.


Basic gun ownership would require Level 1 training. Level 1 training would be geared toward the most fundamental of gun claims: protecting the home.

Included in Level 1 firearms training should be psychological evaluations and proper training about periphery issues such as storing the gun in the home. Level 1 might require 3 months of weekly sessions.


Concealed Weapons Permits (CWP) would require a higher level of training, specifically some type of Action-based Training, something that probably only military, police, and high end gun sportsmen ever get. Action-based Training might last another 1-3 months.

I feel this way about CWP because a CWP holder is implicitly saying, “I am taking my gun into the public, where all the action’s at, and if there’s action I’m going to pull my loaded weapon out into the public space with the intent to pull the trigger.” Therefore that person should have to prove that he/she can handle that action.

The NRA inhibits meaningful discussion

I am not sure what the right answer is about gun possession. What I do know is that anyone who attempts to discuss the issue will more than likely be reprimanded by either a family member, co-worker, etc. Consequently, our country has not had a real democratic discussion about guns and the 2nd Amendment.

Healthy discussions usually produce good answers. The NRA culture should not be afraid of the discussion if they believe that their approach is the right approach.

healthy discussions lead to good things

There are 5 potential reasons for guns:
#1 – the Foreign Invaders argument – militias for the sake of protecting the homeland.
#2 – the Tyrannical Government argument – collective citizenship to prevent tyrant governments.
#3 – the Self-Defense argument – individuals protecting themselves against each other.
#4 – the I Want Meat argument – individuals that hunt.
#5 – the It’s Nice and Shiny argument – individual sportsmen and collectors.

Maybe there are more, but this is a start.

We should discuss them each, independent of one another:
from a CONSTITUTION-era POINT OF VIEW
#1 – is what is ‘written’ in the 2nd.
#1 & #2 – were both contextually relevant in 18th c., and both were discussed.
#3 – was neither relevant nor discussed in 18th c.
#4 – was relevant but not discussed in 18th c.
#5 – was neither relevant nor discussed in 18th c.

from a MODERN-era POINT OF VIEW
#1 – we do not need anymore (our military is solid).
#2 – we have other mechanisms to prevent tyrannical governments.
#3 – fair enough, but only if we thoroughly analyze our entire society to understand why we have so many criminals in the first place, because possibly they are a byproduct of some sickness in our society, and maybe they are fixable … maybe.
#4 – fair enough, but only with the right comprehensive training.
#5 – fair enough, but only with the right comprehensive training.

America: too many laws ?

In America there does not seem to be a Check-and-Balance Relationship between the people and our laws that our legislators create:

  • 1 – we elect legislators,
  • 2 – they create laws,
  • 3 – then what?

Some might say ‘just don’t re-elect the lawmakers’, which is a fair enough idea. But look closely and I believe that you will possibly see that Non-Re-Election does not erase the laws created! And it is highly unlikely that a new candidate will overturn laws.

It seems to me that it would be a good idea if we could have a means to filter through the laws, to determine the ones that we do like and the ones that we do not like.

For instance, juries could evaluate the legitimacy of laws. Juries are fantastic structures within our country where regular people are brought together to interact closely, personally with the laws that our elected officials have created, and to participate in the implementation of those laws.

Imagine if after a common trial has completed the jury could be called for another task: to discuss one law, chosen at random, to determine its validity from a common person’s point of view.

If the jury determines that they like the law then the law should remain in effect. If they do not approve of the law then they should overturn the particular law. If they do not understand the law because of its complexity, then they would leave it alone.

Over the course of many decades, average people would become more sophisticated with regards to laws, and would gain the intelligence needed to better determine good laws from bad.
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It should be mentioned that currently we do have the function of ‘jury nullification’.

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The BB-LiA’s awesome 1-2-3 punch

The BB-LiA had a problem: it didn’t have what it wanted.

1So in the 80’s it developed the notion of Trickle-Down Economics, which made a lot of sense to armchair economists.
2In the 90’s it pushed for free-trade agreements, opening the door to cheap labor opportunities.
3And then it hired Rush Limbaugh and FOX News to control the conservatives and divert blame to the democrats.

Now the BB-LiA is happy … it stands for the Big Business Lobby in America.