Debra Smith


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How can America get out of this mess?

The world needs America to function and what is MORE - we want you to work.

Your own Brene Brown has already told us all how it is done
and believe me we ALL needed to learn this lesson.

I want to hear your story, your input and your ideas or your reactions, please.

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    Aug 29 2012: I am 56, my parents are 80; we had a family conference last week regarding a dishonest financier who took advantage of my parent's belief that all finance companies and banks are to be trusted. Reading this blog reminded me of facts that my Father taught me, when I was a teenager. My Father told me to choose the way of life that allowed me to sleep at night, free of worry and doubt.
    There are Americans who have educated themselves, stay abreast of the latest news, and make decisions based on reliable research, and also have maintained their personal integrity and honesty.
    At the other end of the spectrum, there are Americans who achieved all of the above, and yet, are dishonest, craven, and have zero integrity. Those at this end of the spectrum enjoy the fact that their wealth is earned by dishonest means; taking from people who work hard and expect others to treat them fairly. Making insulting remarks, making judgements that are unfounded, beating others over the head with diatribes, these are the people who make decisions for our businesses, our government, and sometimes, they participate in blogs.
    The answer is simple, do business only with those who have integrity, buy locally, vote for those candidates who adhere to the same values as yourself. That is our responsibility; that is our duty as Americans, or Canadians, or any country where it's people are privileged enough to have the right to vote. Everyone on this planet should have the right to choose who manages their government; is this not why our soldiers fight and die? Sometimes our judgements and decisions result in poor results; do we then quit? No, we try another tactic and hopefully, learn along the way.~ moonstroller's wife.
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      Aug 29 2012: John, (or John's wife?), there is great wisdom in so much of what you say here. People who keep an open mind, apply themselves to learning, and maintain their integrity can make a difference when they work together with others like them. There will be plenty of mistakes along the way, and I don't know that we won't continue to worry about what we haven't managed to fix yet, but maintaining the sort of personal standards you describe provides a sense of wholeness and consistency of practice and purpose throughout the journey. Your idea of staying clear also of what some people call "crazymakers" is a great way of maintaining the high energy it takes for whatever our projects are to make the world better.
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        Aug 29 2012: That's my gal. Her ancestors are Creek Indians. They once ruled the land we call Georgia. They were invaded by the Cherokee Indians who stole their land and killed their people. Many people think that the Cherokee Indians were the original natives to this region but they weren't.

        A friend of mine has a sign over his private room which says, "Before the white man came to this country, there was no debt, no taxes, women did all the work. White man thought he could improve on this system. " He's a self made millionaire and a Navaho Indian.

        It reminds me of something said by Desmond Tutu; "When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said "Let us pray." We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land. "

        America is a place where (what some call) minorities can become the leader of this nation. I believe we have a lot in common with South Africa where such a thing is also possible. How many European nations have promoted such things? Has this happened in Canada?

        Some say China will be the next super power to replace America. Personally, I think it will be Africa. There is much energy for change happening in that continent and Africans are extremely smart and, for the most part, a very loving and emphatic people.
  • Aug 28 2012: it is simple, the policy of exporting labour to cheap markets (india, china, etc) needs to be stopped, or at least have humanitarian policies put in place so that companies who do this sort of work have to pay in order to educate, give medical aid, and give them decent hours and wages there. Encourage the manufacturing jobs to come back
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      Aug 28 2012: Good thinkiing and I am sure that many many people in your country have splendid ideas.

      The tradesmen usually are the most practical for solving corporate problems. The guys who do the work KNOW the solutions. ALWAYS.
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        Aug 29 2012: Depends on if their work is corrupt or honest. Most are self-serving and profit oriented, which is not a bad thing in and of itself. On the large scale I can agree with you.
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    Aug 29 2012: A woman I admire once said that an idea worth spreading is:

    "Speaking to others - and listening- as though they have dignity, worth and ideas worth considering is a good start towards not only world peace but towards personal growth." ~author unknown.
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    Aug 29 2012: On the whole, I disagree with Debra Smith's insults to our nation. I see no other nation on this planet trying to take over our job as a super power. Most democratic nations are content to allow America to provide the military hardware and people ware to police this planet, within the guidelines of the United Nations. We do our best.

    The job is open to any other nation that might want to step up to the plate and give us some respite. Many nations, Canada included, are able to keep their defense spending down, only because we choose to apply our resources to the job. They get the benefits and our children die and our poor do without healthcare. When you tally up the numbers, it is American kids who are dying the most. The facts speak for themselves.

    Like the old guy said, "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing."

    Canada needs to come out of the bleachers and get in the game.
  • Aug 29 2012: America was founded on genocide. It was not discovered, it was stolen. After the mass murder of millions of native peoples, they went to far away lands and stole other races of people to build the country with free labor.
    These facts always seem to be left out of the discussion. People of color know that America may be be the best Country, but have no misconceptions about the foundation and roots of the country.
    Our old rulers have been replaced by corporate rulers that drive business to relocate jobs for cheap labor, leaving little if any hope to climb the economic ladder.
    I truly and honestly believe that we are on a downslide that we will never fully recover. Quality of life continues to go down for the poor and what is left of the middle class. I feel like the ruling class are now acting like scavengers who are picking off of the bones of what is left. Sorry to bring everyone down, but it's the reality that I know in my own life.
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      • Aug 29 2012: Thanks for the link. As a person with native roots, I know about the damage that has been done to native peoples all over the country and the world. My father's Abenaki roots are from Canada and New England. There are almost no traces of true culture left other than those who seek it out through historical research. My father's family assimilated and didn't discuss our heritage out of fear and shame. It was only after meeting relatives that wanted to talk about who we are, did I discover the true roots of my father's family. I was amazed to see the analogy of the "taking the best meat". I thought it was close to my analogy of scavengers picking the bones of what is left. I really feel that way and there is a deep sadness within cultures that have been colonized and broken apart. It lies beneath the surface and can be seen in the faces of the defeated people.
        The bottom line is that when push comes to shove, the government will take what they want. I have never had any misconceptions about that. It's hard to buy into the notion of the American Dream without remembering that while it's nice to dream, we have to remember the real past and how it affects us in the real present.
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      Aug 29 2012: Having watched Debra's link below it all sounds too familiar from an Australian point of view. We are trying to "fix" it I think. Ilook across the "ditch" to New Zeland for inspiration. They seem to have managed to come out the other side without genocide or civil war. It is one of the things I admire in my Kiwi neighbors.
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        Aug 29 2012: Canada has the same British heritage and shame with 14 or more separate Indian Nations.
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    Aug 28 2012: All Americans should be sent to live in another country for a year. Then they might realise that saying "America is the greatest country in the world" over and over doesn't make it true. Then you wouldn't have to be the world police you could let some one else do that. You wouldn't have to artificially prop up your economy so you can marvel at how you are the biggest economy in the world. You could let China become the biggest economy without regret. Relax America it's OK to come second!
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        Aug 29 2012: That was great!
        I wonder how Foxnews covered that.
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      Aug 29 2012: America is still the best because we've got all of you stuck here with us : p

      Our policy, government, military, etc... suck... but we still got mad flava.
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        Aug 29 2012: What did I tell you? Beware ticking off or outthinkiing the Randians or the WOOOWOOO Enlightened ones for they will call in the Chamberlains to vanquish you by the letter of the rules but not by the SPIRIT which is indomitable.

        Who is making a mess now?

        Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS (18 March 1869 – 9 November 1940) was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his APPEASEMENT foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Germany. When Adolf Hitler continued his aggression by invading Poland, Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939, and Chamberlain led Britain through the first eight months of the Second World War.
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      Aug 29 2012: America has the largest military budget on the planet with more bases in more countries than any other nation. Our children spend loads of time in these other countries, mixing and examining the different cultures and ideas these countries support.

      When American soldiers first entered Somolia, it was an errend of humanity. They were shot at and some killed, even though they had orders not to fire back. Of course that effort failed and the troops were withdrawn.

      Many people see Americans as men and women in a uniform with a weapon slung over their shoulder. They are only kids who had a childhood and were raised to respect their freedom and taught that they had a responsibility to share that ideal of freedom with the rest of the world. They take this seriously and are like any other kid in any other country, they are affected by their interactions with other people.

      We have a good idea of what other cultures think and feel. We study them in school and our parents talk about their experiences overseas.

      We spend a lot of time overseas because there is no other nation wanting to take on the job of keeping the peace. Sometimes keeping the peace is a simple matter of posturing and sword rattling. When the world becomes a more peaceful place. We will be among the first to melt our swords into plow shears.

      If Canada wants to pony up and increase their military presence in the world, we will be more than thankful for their participation. That goes for any other democratic nation in the world.
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    Aug 28 2012: Debra, After watching the talks you posted I can now respond. To be honest I did not know what mess the Americans were in now. Now I know that we are emotionally bankrupt and morally deficient.

    First I want to complement the rest of the world. This appears to be a American problem from the title. I thought this was a human fraility in the talks.

    So "the world needs America to function AND we need you to work" and by doing that the woes of the world will disappear. If, as a nation, we face our shame and become vulnerable the Euro will rebound and Greece will regain the lacking fiscal structure.

    Deb, just a thought here ... would this lesson be just as effective in .... oh say .... Canada.

    I just read your first entry and you want to apply this to corporations not individuals. Do corporations have souls that can make these changes. Corporations have a profit mentality; a public face; and high class lawyers to prevent loss through corporate errors.

    Politicians (ever year) promise transparency. Every year we say yea and vote for that. It will never happen. The same for corporations it is not in either ones best interest to be open.

    On the other hand I think it is great for those of us who want to improve ourselves to do so. I try to be a what you see is what you get type of person with little or no hidden agendas. Frankly I often fail.

    Debra, I am you friend, but I cannot see either the government or corporations being open and honest. If it happens I will grovel and beg your forgivness.

    All the best. Bob.
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      Aug 28 2012: Bob you know that I adore you but you have highlighted the kind of thinking that is KILLING your nation.
      You just slapped away one of the few hands with the courage to reach out to you. You may be the big dog but you are injured and YOU ARE IN ONE HELL OF A MESS

      We may also be in messes but we are rooting for you NOT denying our own condition. We are offering you help in our distress and your conditioned RUDENESS responds this way. You notice I am NOT running away - sadly because I am kind of used to it from living in a border city.

      Your snarky sacrasm is not lost on us- just old hat.

      REspectfully perhaps you have forgotten that corporations are made up of individuals and all it takes is for a FEW to stand up for what is RIGHT- actually right not just right for their pocket book. So I reject that part of the above - outright.

      Whose fault is it that no transparency materializes? You think your wife would sit idly by if your decided "to step out" Well - there is the simple, clear HUMAN relational precident for stopping that behaviour! Faithfulness, Divorce or no more nookie honey!

      Of course you CANNOT see it BOB! IT BELONGS to and comes from 'the other' and if it had been seen before- in any real and clear way - it would have already been done.

      Love ya buddy but you are missing the program. JUST Fire it up, Bob! It is life and death.


      BTW- Oh Canada is listening as is the rest of the world so please do not worry that the ideas will not get around. We are all just gutted by your fish hooks and realize that most ideas have to be vetted in the USA before they are allowed to operate in our own countries.

      For a bright and good man you are so culturally insensitive and typically American, Bob. If you will notice I did try to make Canada real to you - and all you see is bragging and that is psychololgicallly so that you can dismiss the real lessons - that we a tiny nation have sacrificed for you and yours and you NEVER even thanks.
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        Aug 28 2012: Hate to be the bearer of bad news Debra... but what's killing America, is the fact that people keep giving a corrupt an incompetent government their money... What made America special, was that we used to refuse to do that.

        Working together does not need to be accomplished through force of government. Government force should only be used for protecting people from violence.
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          Aug 28 2012: Well if you have the answer, David why is it not working?
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        Aug 28 2012: Deb transparency does not exist in corporations and governments because it would be counter to their goals. Do you believe for a minute that if Obama came out and said that Obamacare will close hospitals, is to big for the government to handle, and by putting it on the state it will most likely bankrupt them, and yes there are death panels involved and your taxes will go up ... but there will be clinic available for you ... but all members of congress and the executive branch are exempt from this silly program and want real health care. ... that would be in his interest. Do you think that a corporation is going to jump up and say we did it and are willing to compensate ... heck no. The stockholders would run like hell and the profit margine would go straight down and most likely the corporation would shut its doors.

        Is it good for individuals sure. As in most things that are good. Those who do it are not the ones that need to be reached .... the ones who really need it are not interested.

        To reject something outright is to not give give it an opportunity. See a eye doctor. It may help you to SEE another point of view.

        Always your friend ... but disagrees with your view on this one. Bob.
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          Aug 28 2012: YOU did read the part about passing laws based on the work of the South African freedom panels, BOB?

          Please check out recent corporate handling of major crises, like TACO Bell and even Jet Blue and the snow storm fiasco that had people with video phones sitting on tarmacs for 8 hours.

          Of course corporations are NOT transparent but the big problem is that they know that they can FORCE loyalty through intimidation. That only happens when a people love today's pay more than they love each other or their country.

          You again highlight your own pathetic bias. READ 'Deadly spin" for GODS sake and stop already with this crap.

          Even here an American owned Insurance company just sent me a letter telling me that they are cutting my benefit- my income- in half (even though I paid an exhorbitant cost every month for seven years and I got out of a coma 8 months ago)
          - because they think I might be able to get that money from the government and they will rake it back!
          PLEASE= insurance companies as the good guys is a tough sell to me!
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          Aug 28 2012: If you are a corporation that does business by lies and deceit, I beg you...close your doors. I don't want what you're selling.

          Mr. Winner, please don't give into cynicism. Recognize the ruse and challenge it. Demand truth and give truth and live by it. Encourage everyone to give personal integrity a chance. You and I alone can't bring about change by we are not alone.

          If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.
          Ray Bradbury
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          Aug 28 2012: Too bad vultures cannot read.
          As usual crummy and opportunistic.
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        Aug 28 2012: How about... Insurance is snake oil, and no one should ever buy it?

        If you pay in enough, to pay for your services, then there is no point in paying a profit margin to a corporation. If overall people are not paying enough to cover their insurance, the system would go bankrupt. The entire concept of insurance, like that of security, is fantasy... and that is why governments and corporations love to sell it to you.

        If we had a public option what Obama did would have done some good... Since we don't Obama's plan is the one bailing out the insurance companies, and subsidizing them with tax dollars.

        You may say, "Well, what about major surgeries like the one I had?" Imagine instead of giving 300 dollars to an insurance company, or paying it in taxes for universal insurance, you put it in a health savings account... By magic, at the age when you needed the major surgery, you would have already had more than enough to cover it. For those that did not charity, can chip in. For those who don't save, and don't warrant charity... Que sera, sera.

        Companies in America do not force loyalty with intimidation... If they're doing that in your country, kick them out.

        As to why my solutions aren't working... No one with power would dare try any of them... They all reduce the power of authority figures. No working person will follow my model anymore, because the working poor are entertained, and feel no need to change the status quo. Also... Everyone, outside the US... Seem to think government is on their side... You convinced us... Congratulations : p
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          Aug 28 2012: David, do you think the working poor truly feel no need for change in the status quo, or do you think it is more like how you describe your own situation, that you don't think your ideas could really go anywhere because no one would want to try them, for whatever reason?
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          Aug 28 2012: Mandatory through my employer.
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        Aug 28 2012: "people love today's pay more that they love each other or their country", That is sob stuff. I worked everyday for my family. That money puts food on the table, a roof over the head, and clothes on the back. I submit that you cannot force loyality. You can make rules and expect a fair days work for a fair days pay. That does not involve loyality. Those are terms of agreement. Either side if dissatisfied can end the contract under terms in the employment contract.

        A common clause in almost every contract with insurance is that if you have "other" insurance available that it will be billed prior to submitting the residual amount to "our" company. They are not good guys ... never claimed to be. They are looking at the profit line. Back to square one.

        Airlines have lawyers that put somewhere on your ticket, not responsible for acts of God, circumstances beyond our control, best judgement, and under the authority and as directed by the FAA. That a plane sat on the runway for 8 hours is pure stupid ... however the pilot is under the direct orders of the tower and the air controllers. Pilots cannot do things on their own. They however, can make requests. I would have directed my anger to the FAA and the local controllers.

        I have read deadly Spin and the truth is in the eye of the beholder. One can listen and learn or plow through with brute force and disregard logic and fact.

        Some love the union. They have ruined my property, shot at my home with children inside, and threatened my family with physical harm and/or death. They love .... I hate. This appears to be the case with you and I. We have a different perspective. And as always we will agree to disagree. I look forward to making up and doing it all over again.

        With respect (even though your wrong) Bob.
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        Aug 28 2012: Also... The big secret is... Everyone would rather do customer service, than actual labor... so democracy combined with government currency manipulation to give people what they want, is turning us all into a nation of servants. Robots do our labor. Yay! We're getting exactly what we want...

        Also, I'm 29 and a bit harsh, if you haven't noticed : p
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          Aug 28 2012: Your 29 .... not a sheeple ... and aware of events. Age is not the biggest factor in knowing that you have been hit on the head and realize your wallet is missing. However it may have a direct impact on your recovery time.

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        Aug 28 2012: I don't understand why you slammed my post even when I sided with your position. I was simply replying to Bob's cynical take on the question. If you are cynical, to me itls like you've given up trying to make things better for yourself. I know this from my own personal experience. When someone takes a cynical view he/she will unwittingly dismiss the points on every good idea.

        If I said something that didn't resonate with you, I'm sorry it was not my intent. The brainy quote was a humouous stab at cynicism.

        Great thread by the way.
  • Aug 28 2012: America has forgotten who America is
    We have forgotten why America was founded
    Why we were here in the first place.

    "We believe that all men are created equal"

    It means we have the right live free from fear
    It means we have the right to live free of oppression
    It means we are free to pursue what makes us happy.

    For generations after our country's founding, They all have sacrificed and risked to imagine, invent and advance this great experiment.
    They all invested in this nation, because they believed in it.

    Those came before us have given us. It is something extremely valuable; something to protect and nurture.

    All the inventors in their laboratories, the creatives who imagined and the visionaries who guided the way: Alexander Bells, the Benjamin Franklins, the Henry Fords, the Thomas Edisons, the Orville and Wilbur Wrights, the Abraham Lincolns, the John F. Kennedies, the Ralph Waldo Emersons, the Walt Disneys, the Walter Cronkites, the Thomas Jeffersons, and all the others whose names history did not record.

    Enough pointing fingers and enough blaming others for our situation. It is not about government's responsibility or a corporation's responsibility or Republicans or Democrats. It is OUR responsibility - we the people.
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      Aug 28 2012: America may have forgotten but that is the beauty of first hand documents and Frank Cappra movies. YOU can ALL remember and be proud again. Why not?

      These point are good but not the most important:

      "For generations after our country's founding, They all have sacrificed and risked to imagine, invent and advance this great experiment."
      They all invested in this nation, because they believed in it.

      The most important ones right now are simple. What are you persoanlly willing to sacrifice of your own insistant vision to get the train back on track? What about stopping thinking it is THEY and knowing it is US?

      What about putting each other as people and lives first. Some of your TV shows are demonstrating the way with people building houses. Even your past presidents are working with Habitat for Humanity. Weild a hammer. Rebuild the burned out homes like my friend Conservative Bob does (even with 8 kids- conservative? I only have 5!) Other generation DIED now it is time for all of you to LIVE -not some plastic life propped up with the steroids of other people's pain but the good natural life that comes of your own labours. LIVE!
      • Aug 28 2012: I stole these words from Simon Sinek and did left out the US part

        Those who came before us, all those who made this nation great, took responsibility to do something. Now it's our turn.
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          Aug 28 2012: HURRAH!
          Yes, Steven and I know and you know that it CAN be done!
      • Aug 28 2012: We can start by the work people do.

        Statistic say 90% Americans dont like their job

        Why people dont like their job? Is it because the work they love to do is payed less?

        Or it is the people they work for are @sses.

        But only few people know why they do it.
        Only few people are fulfilled by the work they do end of the day.

        Yes we need to put food on the table .......Yes to support the family
        But that is not the reason why people love what they do
        They are not doing it for the pay check.

        They wake up from bed because they love it.
        They work for blood, sweat, and tears for the things they love to do.
        They love to do it everyday.
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      Aug 28 2012: Alexander Bell was Scottish. Just sayin.
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        Aug 29 2012: Not much I disagree with you on Peter but he was born in Scotland and his home is well preserved - the place he invented the telephone - is in BRANTFORD Ontario,Canada. Come and visit and I will personally take you there for a tour.
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    Aug 28 2012: Strike. Tariff. Stop shopping at corprations, and start investing in local economies. Eliminate the two party system. Return to original copyright length. Stop subsidizing corn and oil. Move out of the cities, and return to a more agrarian and real economy, which can provide the world with the valuable, and cheap product, of food. Sell the mojave national preserve to solar small business investors. Re open mines in California. Have health insurance pay for electronic cigarettes. Buy electric motorcycles. Make motorcycle, and car licenses one and the same. Use the military as a training and labor force which builds our roads, and backs our currency by mining using green technology... Legallize hemp. Legallize gay. Non profitize narcotics... Or... If you want the simple answer, economics wise, which won't help any of our social issues...

    Triple NASA's budget and send people to Mars.
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      Aug 28 2012: YOU have clearly been thinking about this!

      I think this might be the new definition of patriotism - To love your country so much that you are willing to fight with your own gifts in your own way for its highest best outcome.

      **ADDition: It has to be a work in progress with hits and misses if you choose the idea route because that is the way ideas are = sometimes right on and sometimes off the mark.
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        Aug 28 2012: I hope you get what you seek and that those with input or questions will feel safe putting those forward.
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          Aug 28 2012: Thank you, Me too.

          Isn't that the most facinating thought though, Fritzie, that people in AMERICA the land of the free and of the brave - would be AFRAID to put forward ideas !

          OMG! How startling!

          Thank GOD that all those people who died for your country did not put their own welfare in this moment first so that all their progeny could enjoy this mess.
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          Aug 28 2012: (Quote): Isn't that the most facinating thought though, Fritzie, that people in AMERICA the land of the free and of the brave - would be AFRAID to put forward ideas !

          Debra, I sure hope you don't take this reply the wrong way. Hoestly! Because I do value your inputs in all the discussions I have had with you. goes.

          As an American, I AM hesitant (afraid?) to attempt to post opposing views to your posts sometimes. Why?

          You "lump" us all together more often than not. You appear to not treat us with the respect deserving of an individual. "One bad American = All Americans are bad = America as a whole sucks!"

          You have some very valid concerns about SOME of my fellow Americans. We have SOME politicians who have not served with integrity in performing their duties. We have SOME business leaders who have been identified as being unscrupulous in the running of their businesses/corporations, etc. And if I looked hard enough, I'm sure I could identify SOME people in ANY discipline that exits in America who could be tagged as "bad guys".

          But YOUR country any different? Have you NO people in your country who have been identified as misusing their "power" or "position"?

          I refuse to insinuate "The Country of Canada" is a "failure" in any way JUST BECAUSE of the actions of SOME of it's citizens.

          Why can't you do that for MY country? It comes across to me (at least) as an insinuation that SLOELY because I am an American, I AM, as an INDIVIDUAL, being hammered by you.

          Respectfully submitted. No animosity intended towards you at all. Just trying to get you to reconsider your "labeling" tendancies sometimes.

          (In retrospect, DID scare me to make this post. Which is a shame considering the type of community it is posted in).
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          Aug 29 2012: @Rick, thanks for your bravery in facing intimidating old me.
          Please allow me to remove a few misconceptions. In a two thousand character limit it is not possible to separate and distinguish among 350 million people I respect the intellect and self representation of your people. It seems to me those who are rapacious, creepy, vicious, opportunitistic persons among you should know who they are or you all as their friends if you are really friends should tell them. This is more serious than bad breathe or dandruff but there is no corporate sponsor to do that work= it is the work of friends and now you have left it up to distant friends like me to do the dirty work. OK I know how to roll up my sleeves.

          I agree that it is SOME but why do the rest of you allow that some to do their dirty business in our countries? Did you know that there are American companies around the world which cannot keep production running for a single day when the companies of other nations goes on uninterputed? YEAH, that is because the nationals hate AMERICAN companies for raping their countries but want to do business and when they can deal with another nation ??they do because they are constructive and helpful.

          If my concerns are sooooooooo valid why is there NEVER acknowledgment or apology? Just denial and excuses. Like we deserved it.

          You expect the world to coddle your corruption about Iraq?

          You act like we are talking about me noticing you have a booboo and I am impolite. The world is not ignorant of your plight. You act as though I am sticking my finger in an open wound - addressing a problem that is gangenous is important for the life of the whole body

          I take absolutely no animosity from this. I know it is a shock to your system to realize that your butt is hanging out and that someone noticed.

          I make NO APOLOGIES whatsoever if you or anyone else is afraid of my intellect or candor. TED edits me so that I do not step over the line, or on the line or near the line.
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          Aug 29 2012: (Quote): "...those who are rapacious, creepy, vicious, opportunitistic persons among you..."

          Well, I guess that about describes my area of disagreement about "labeling". Regardless if the perceived problems we disagree about are dandruff or the survival of the world.
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          Aug 29 2012: What do you want to call those who murder 150.000 and counting in Iraq, who magnify their weath and almost bring down the world economy, who set policies that contravene the laws of our nations and threaten the jobs of those nationals that they insist enforce those illegal policies? Sweethearts?

          If you do not see that this is serious you have never seen what happens to the brains of those who are TORTURED by presidential order or otherwise. It is amazing that they continue to live. But do not tell the truth to an American - that is too bad for words! EVIL.
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        Aug 28 2012: I don't think the matter of feeling comfortable putting forward ideas in discourse always has to do with the country. People (of whatever country) don't necessarily feel like putting forward ideas or asking questions if they expect someone else, regardless of country, to pounce on them for it.

        In terms of discussion here, not everyone is an American and I expect most people are just reading and carefully considering the ideas other people put forward without regard to countries they may live in or come from.

        I think for most people, TED means discourse about ideas rather than teams aligned by countries. I hope so.
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          Aug 28 2012: I think most working poor people in America, and the world, believe that the government is tool that can help them solve their problems... It is not. The government is a tool for applying violent force to dissent. That is the only thing a government has the power to do. This is almost never in the interest of the poor, or the economy in general. If you don't need to force it on people, why not start a charity, instead of a government program?

          I also believe that the senate and electoral college are designed to distribute power to small rural communities, specifically because without constant communication with different perspectives, and the outside world... people in these communities are very easy to manipulate.

          Thus, no one intelligent, who lives in a city, will ever have any real power in this country... We are constantly kept in the dark ages by people who don't like people, and avoid cities for a reason. Meanwhile these "conservative" areas, are where the government spends all its money.

          California and New York just can't wait to give their money to the government to help poor people... They just forget, that people in California and New York, almost never qualify as poor, so really they are exporting their tax money, to the very people destroying their government, and they couldn't feel more noble.

          So, basically... No, it's not just my perspective. We trust the government now, and the government is intentionally stalling portable solar concentration technology, intentionally subsidizing corn syrup making us fat, lazy and docile, intentionally subsidizing oil, more than they tax it, so green technology never has a chance... and intentionally supporting Monsanto in numerous lawsuits against farmers, which basically forced the farmers into poverty.

          The American people have no interest in solving their problems... there is good television on.
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          Aug 29 2012: @Fritzie, you might have a tiny bit of credibility with me on this if you were not intensionallly hiding your own gender. I have NO obligation to support that when I feel that one has NO sense of the higher purpose of truth in such a life and death matter. So, are you honestly suggesting it is another crazy, creepy inalienable right or duty to quash new ideas that might enable change?
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        Aug 28 2012: I am a little confused here, but I think everyone benefits from exchange of ideas and asking questions and most people aren't thinking in terms of teams or winning or who is an American and who isn't or what anyone elses education is.

        People just want to talk and ask each other questions!

        I don't think David was at all offended that I would ask about the safety of motorcycles. He knew I was trying to understand his proposal.

        There is no stacked deck.
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          Aug 28 2012: NO, the post you are referring to was deleted before i could even get back to you. So what do you think now?

          On a fragile thread on a controversial topic, just in a business meeting or in academia it is justified to ask that ideas have a chance to live before they are killed. We might need to see their progeny. Do as you please, Fritzie, but in the rest of the world what is good for the group or the community is nothing that we are ashamed to support. You have the idea that every person's thought should be some hot house flower while we all have lived the reality that you nurture in its stage and expose the adults of the species to all that can be thrown at it intellectually so it survives- but maybe that is a level of rigour that you do not wish to participate at? I can see the others who want their view point coddled here too but pacifists do not get to shut up the soldiers who died for a cause in my world nor do Randians get to forward an amoral agenda on my watch nor are all impulses equal.

          It is not shocking that there is a price for telling an unpopular truth. It just does not make those who suppress it all that admirable.
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        Aug 29 2012: I am not at all hiding my gender. My profile has always said, since my first day here, that I am the mother of three children. Those who check profiles surely know this. Those who don't likely don't care. And my thumbnail is a cute puppy.

        I simply do not correct people who call me Mr. or Sir, because I think my gender is entirely irrelevant and the mistake does no one any harm.
        The mistake people make is only because of my name, which is my proper name rather than a nickname.
        For the same reason, I get snail mail advertisements to Mr.
        In your thread about contributions to TED Conversations, the most mentioned name of someone people admired was Colleen, who from her name and thumbnail is female.

        I am also partial to keeping to the subject at hand rather than sharing personal data online, but I know people have a range of preferences in that area. I respect the choices people make in that regard as well and think we all probably should. I think people are entitled to privacy of person as well as to security from personal attacks.
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      Aug 28 2012: I have been following each of your recommendations out in my head, David, and am stuck on where two of them were going.

      One is the reopening of mines in California. What is the line of thought here?

      The other is the motorcycle one. Is the idea that this would get everyone off the road who could not pass a test to ride a motorcycle and therefore wouldn't be able to get a license to drive a car either?
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        Aug 28 2012: By re opening mines in California we would create some good blue collar jobs alongside our tech industry which would help middle class people feel they have a future. Also, if it was done responsibly, ie green mining, using California energy laws... We would have to invent new technology... and, in my mind... We would. If some of California's best technology nerds were working on green mining technology, we'd be able to sell it to the world in a few years, in my humble opinion. The best example of this would be using concentrated solar energy to drill.

        The reason motorcycle and car licenses should be unified, is because motorcycles are more efficient than cars, but no one learns how to ride them... It's not hard, and we can design safer bikes with roll cages and gyroscopic stabillization, but the fact that no one has motorcycle licenses makes it almost impossible for society to upgrade.

        If you have a long commute, alone, to work, you should not be driving a car, it's incredibly energy wasteful.

        Also, adults shouldn't be forced to upgrade. Drivers ed for young people should.
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          Aug 28 2012: Thanks for the explanation. I understand carpooling and public transit are more energy-sensible than solo driving. I am not confident, though, of the safety of motorcycles, particularly in mixed traffic and inclement conditions. (No, I don't know how to ride a motorcycle but I have been hurt in an accident as a passenger on one).
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          Aug 28 2012: @Fritzie = I am hoping for a white board session here. As my father always says-
          "It takes a genius to come up with an idea and only a tinkerer to improve upon it."

          Not all ideas are created equal but for an entire generation it seems that we have specialized in knocking them down until it has become an art form. They are at minimum an act of generousity.

          I just want people and ideas to LIVE their natural life spans- and i am glad i will survive being 56 because my grandmother never got the chance.
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        Aug 28 2012: Short response

        Long response
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          Aug 28 2012: Just watched the short one- HOW FABULOUS! and my training makes me scared to DEATH of motorcycles.

          OMG! You addressed so many things by attaching these two here.
          I have always thought of you as Thoreau and now you will forever be Thoreautoo to me.

          America is the PHOENIX and this is the fire! You probably hate to sing BUT I love the one you are singing for America,

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          Aug 28 2012: Thanks for posting these, David, and for understanding my interest in your vision.
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      Aug 28 2012: So, David, are you saying that no, you are not alone in believing city dwellers' ideas would never have a chance to advance, or are you saying that most city dwellers don't realize this or do not care as long as there is television?

      My other area of confusion is the idea that California and New York don't have poor people. A quick fact check suggests that last year 6.1 million people in California had family incomes below the federal poverty line. I did not check for New York.
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        Aug 28 2012: I will explain... Government programs are a form of social welfare. They provide middle class jobs by the millions throughout America... However, they don't provide jobs in California, New York, Detroit, or anywhere else liberals are in charge... It sounds rediculous... but I will cite proof.

        For every dollar in taxes California, New York, Illinois, Washington, New Jersey, Nevada, and Conneticut pay, the government spends one dollar and forty cents, in America. In other words, we tax forty cents less than we spend, so for every dollar we pay, we also take on forty cents of debt... For that, one would expect we get a lot of federal spending...

        California, the most populous state in the union gets 78 cents in federal spending for its dollar in tax, and 40 cents in debt. Washington gets 88 cents. New York 79 cents, New Jersey 61 cents, Illinois 75 cents...

        You know who gets over 2 dollars in federal spending for every one dollar of tax they pay? New Mexico, and Mississipi. Virginia, Dakoda, Alabama, Kentucky, all get over a dollar fifty in federal spending for their tax dollar, and 40 cents of debt.

        Places where liberals live, should hate the federal government.
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          Aug 28 2012: Interesting. Is the "bonus" for infrastructure? Or for what?

          (I hope we are not getting too far afield of the thrust of the thread, but I want to make sure I see your picture. And I hope you don't mind the questions)
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        Aug 28 2012: No, I love talking about stuff like this actually. I write more aggressively than I feel. 30% of it goes to military spending. Most military bases, and training facilities are in the south, save the big port bases. Healthcare costs in rural areas are much higher, because few doctors want to live there. Because of this, and travel cost, more of the working poor are on medicare in the south.

        Obesity, is much worse in the south, again adding to medicare cost. There are private hospitals and universities in cities... Rural communities have one government sponsored school or hospital every 50 miles or so. Oil, corn, and soybean subsidies go straight to the south.

        Roads and infrastructure, also known as bridges to nowhere, are built every year, while California's roads are in utter disrepair, and we have no public transport. Finally... Pork. For all the Republican talk about pork... In order to get a representative from the south to sign anything, the federal government has to spend money honoring somone or holding some event in honor of the state. Meanwhile they constantly complain about government waste, "Don't throw me in the Briar patch!"
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          Aug 28 2012: Very useful info about expenditures, David. I thought you wouldn't mind filling me in:)
          Whereabouts in California are you without public transportation? I spent many years in Berkeley and sometimes commuting into San Francisco, and we had good public transportation there (or I would have been in deep, deep trouble).
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        Aug 28 2012: Good point... I'm just North of Los Angeles. We should have a train to SF and Vegas, but we do not. Also, the trains in LA in general are a mess. The buses where I live aren't quite as bad, but in general it's just all hodge podge and thrown together : (

        Also, just to be clear, I don't have anything against people who live in the south, just that we spend all our money there, and then they say "Screw the Gov' ment". Meanwhile we talk about how we have to help poor people in the inner city... So "Get government involved"... and we send our money straight to the south.

        Also, I'm for tariffs not as a form of protectionism, or xenophobia... I think other countries should tariff us again, I think everyone should incentivize local growth.
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          Aug 28 2012: I totally understood, David, that you have nothing against people depending on where they live. Totally.
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          Aug 29 2012: David, let me also add, though this is more to another of your posts, that I am not convinced that commited urban dwellers cannot make a difference. I know we can. I think we have to think about where our best opportunities are in the areas that grab our hearts most and push on those with all the energy we can muster. This has always been my approach.
          It helps to combine effort with other thoughtful and constructive people commited to the same problems.
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        Aug 29 2012: The problem isn't that we can't do it... It's that no one wants to, and as long as the world keeps having faith in our fiat currency... We don't have to... Hence both major parties proposing 0 pieces of progressive legislation and everyone still voting for them. Also, again every time you convince the federal government to start a new program, you spend 1.40 plus interest... You get 88 cents... and Mississipi gets 2.05. Then unemployment is lower in Mississipi, and they can run on how Republicans are good for the economy.

        The only solutions are to eliminate the senate, and the electoral college. Otherwise a homogenious city dwelling democracy, will out innovate us... It's not so bad, we're already like number 8... We can fall to number 11... It's just a shame the whole worlds going to follow our lead.
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          Aug 29 2012: For me, this is the fruit of the expansive white board approach to discussion - you allow an argument and thought process to ripen. If new ideas are encouraged, they round themselves out and we all learn more than anyone could have imagined.

          It works especially when a person is presenting a new idea- it does not work very well in a staid environment where people take the same old tried and untrue methods.
  • Aug 29 2012: We who are in America need it to function also. When we start putting the poorest of us first and profit last then can we start functioning .
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    Aug 29 2012: I do not know why it will not allow it but I have repeatedly tried to enter her talks in the box above in the proper spot and each time they paste in but are not there when I check the final product after I press submit.
    Thanks so much for this opportunity to again share a life altering talk:

    BTW Brene Brown decribes herself by her family motto: LOCK AND load.
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      Aug 29 2012: One of the neat attributes of the internet is that you can control the flow of comments to make yourself look better. Politicians do this all the time. The news media are champions at it.

      They do it here at TED.
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    Aug 29 2012: Just exactly what are we talking about in this conversation. I admit, I'm confused.
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      Aug 29 2012: We know John, it must be hard to live that way but to live that way and insist others do as well?
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        Aug 29 2012: Too cryptic for me. Enjoy your conversation. Later.
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        Aug 29 2012: I'm not sure what you mean Debra. Could you be less cryptic? :)
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    Aug 29 2012: I say we Americans should embrace our shame and venerability as a nation and give the whole lot over to the Canadians and let them have a go at it.

    It will give us time to reflect and discover the true love we lost somewhere in the sixties.

    Besides, they are the ones with the tar sand and natural gas, they can afford it. Let them spend some of that profit on policing the world. I'm sure they are more than capable of such a task.
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      Aug 29 2012: Snidely Whiplash the APE!

      GOD do you ever get tired of talking about what you know nothing about? You have the AUDACITY to call us COWARDS again as WOOOWOOO enlightened one??

      We have done more than 10% of it ourselves as a nation 1/10th your size,
      List of Canadian peacekeeping missions

      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Canada’s role in the development and participation in peacekeeping during the 20th and 21st centuries has played a major role in turning Canada into a prominent nation throughout the world. Canada's commitment to multilateralism has been closely related to peacekeeping efforts.[1] Canadian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lester B. Pearson is considered to be the father of modern United Nations Peacekeeping.[2] [3] Prior to Canada’s role in the Suez Canal Crisis, Canada was viewed by many as insignificant in issues of the world’s traditional powers. Canada’s successful role in the conflict gave Canada credibility and established it as a nation fighting for the common good of all the world’s nations and not just their allies.[4] Since 1995, however, Canadian direct participation in United Nations peacekeeping efforts has greatly declined.[5] That number decreased largely because Canada began to direct its participation to UN-sanctioned military operations through NATO, rather than directly to the UN.[6] In July 2006, for instance, Canada ranked 51st on the list of UN peacekeepers, contributing 130 peacekeepers out of a total UN deployment of over 70,000.[7] Were in November of 1990 Canada had 1,002 troops out of a total UN deployment of 10,304
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        Aug 29 2012: "...
        Since 1995, however, Canadian direct participation in United Nations peacekeeping efforts has greatly declined.

        In July 2006, for instance, Canada ranked 51st on the list of UN peacekeepers, contributing 130 peacekeepers out of a total UN deployment of over 70,000

        Were in November of 1990 Canada had 1,002 troops out of a total UN deployment of 10,304

        ..." ~ wikipedia according to Debra Smith.
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        Aug 29 2012: I'm not sure if this was directed at me Debra but, I served with some Canadian soldiers n Vietnam, a brave bunch of gutsy fellows they were.

        In the wikipedia you pasted above. It states, in the last part of the statement:

        "...4] Since 1995, however, Canadian direct participation in United Nations peacekeeping efforts has greatly declined.[5] That number decreased largely because Canada began to direct its participation to UN-sanctioned military operations through NATO, rather than directly to the UN.[6] In July 2006, for instance, Canada ranked 51st on the list of UN peacekeepers, contributing 130 peacekeepers out of a total UN deployment of over 70,000.[7] Were in November of 1990 Canada had 1,002 troops out of a total UN deployment of 10,304..." ~wikipedia posted by Debra Smith.

        I'm not sure if you noticed this or not.
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    Aug 29 2012: I'm sure it has been said - it is not just America in "this mess".
    However, the world still looks to the USA for leadership, so I suppose there might be some motivation in that.

    Dividing things into localities produces only local vision, and only local solutions.

    And therin lies the answer:
    Nations had stability that depended on their borders, but religion broke those borders. Religion had stability dependent on the teaching of their prophets, but profits suplanted the prophets.
    Corporations had stability dependant on the market, but the internet is dissolving the market.

    4 great powers are at war - the nation-state, the Church, the corporation and the internet.

    And yet, all remains local. All borders and definitios give way to wider "locality". They fight in desperation as their bubbles rupture and blame each other.

    Step back - way back in time, look. What is this "mess".

    If we are to be the farmer, the ultimate parasite harvesting all we see, we must not kill the host.

    We have closed the system around ourselves - made ourselves "local" but the universe will not stand still and all walls will fall.

    In the open system that is our universe, energy and dynamics continue cycling and renewing, toxic and destructive concentrations dissipate.
    Within a closed system, the critical parameters become subject to exponential concentration - ultimately burning-out all that remains in the closed system.

    The "mess" has been going on for 10,000 years.
    The practice of closing the ground into a thing called "property" in which we could harvest our host gave us advantage, but we forgot to allow the Earth to participate .. keeping it all in for ourselves.

    We made the closure of our world into a god and placed him above the truth.
    We turned our method against each other - closing our fellows into bondage and slavery and worshiped the slavemasters as demigods - aspiring to be like them and forgetting that there is only one farmer and many sheep, and to be harvested is to lose
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      Aug 29 2012: We are circling the bowl and you want to tell us we are all in a mess? YIKES!
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        Aug 29 2012: THis mess is not new.
        THe parameters used to close a system are the things that go exponential and burn-out.
        Look at everyone getting so excited and happy about the exponetial growth in various parts of our world - technology, wealth, population, GDP, consumption.
        And for each of these growts is a corresponding spike outside of the boundaries of our enclosures.
        All these things will burn-out at the point of critical tollerence - most of which we don't know, but an exponent gets there very sudenly, no matter how great the tollerence is.
        Babylon saw this mess, Egypt saw this mess, Rome saw this mess, they all saw this mess - and now we are seeing it too.
        Our nations, our religions, our corporations and the internet(probably) will all burn-out as the wider locality of the universe exerts itself. Our farms will become dust-bowls.
        The mess is necessary and unstoppable.
        The real question is - assuming any survive, how shall they avoid making the same mistake?
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          Aug 29 2012: You know Mitch, sometime in the future, a million years from now, someone, it could be from your gene pool, will say: "...This mess is not new."
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          Aug 29 2012: I know where you're coming from Mitch... but, honestly... I think you're still going to be saying the exact same thing in 15 years : p
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        Aug 29 2012: @John M,

        If it's a human, odds are that will not be what they say.
        In Babylon, Egypt, Rome etc, there was latent tollerance in the system to absorb their messes and the repercussions of their sudden collapse. The systematic closure formed by farming and money-based economy was local - one could always find anoher patch of ground to clear.
        The same dynamic is still at work, but there are no new patches of ground to clear, the locality is suddenly global as far as our planet is concerned. So all the complimentary exponential spikes surrounding the enclosure we call "civilisation" will collapse - with nowhere to absorb the shock wave.

        Those in the future, presuming they are human, and presuming they carry my genome will be saying - "we owe so much to those who quietly left the closed systems - we honour those who were crushed by the fall of the leviathan."

        The only hope of any human individual right now is to stop participating in systems closures such as property, money and slavery. Not all will get through, but I am working to ensure that there are enough by showing those with ears and eyes that there was never any need to close our systems - to participate in the whole, survive as you can, but honour your world - be in it and not apart.
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    Gail .

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    Aug 28 2012: As Brene Brown is an unknown in American culture, it would help if you posted related links. I watched one of her Ted talks, but am not sure what lesson you refer to.

    EDIT: Oops. Just read further down where you posted them. Will look at now.
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    Aug 28 2012:

    I put this talk in the heading twice but here it is again - IT IS CRUCIAL!

    bRENE bROWN ADMITS that she is not bullet proof or perfect but she is perfectly wonderful in her wisdom.

    Here is another related talk:

    An actor finds her 'otherness'
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      Gail .

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      Aug 28 2012: OK, I've spent an hour watching videos, and still don't understand how they relate to your question. Could you try to articulate it differently? Perhaps with specifics or contexts? Thanks
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        Aug 28 2012: Surely,I hope that they did transmit the ones I had in mind.

        I think the key, especially after my MBA courses in crisis managment which indicate that denial of truth in a corporate crisis is the very worst course, something that seems so logical when you have closed ranks in a crisis. Vulnerability and honesty which were part of your nation's character but seems antithetical to the American persona now, but I deeply and profoundly HOPE NOT- because it WORKS.
        If corporate execs can say "yep, there is a problem and we screwed up" - it goes so far. When many people know about it by witnessing it and others jump on a bandwagon to magnify what is certainly truth - the only path- the right path is to acknowledge.
        You do not give excuses - that is the domain of shame but admitting guilt is what is required -a sincere I am sorry - maybe you will need to precede it with some laws based on South Aftica's forgiveness tribunals but there even racial genocide was healable with the right attitude. The world, however distinguishes between excuses and reasons.

        I hope I am making sense. Ask any questions you like. I will answer from my heart and tell you when I do not know.
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          Gail .

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          Aug 28 2012: Well, you hit the nail on the head when you said that vulnerability and honesty are not part of the American culture now. But I must say that vulnerability has never been. THAT is antithetical to America's history. And honesty has a pretty spotty record as well. The average american valued honesty at this country's inception, but those who inhabit government (and prevent honest citizens from doing so) have never valued honesty, and there is a plethora of documentary evidence to prove that.

          Words like "be vulnerable" mean nothing tangible to Americans. They need specifics to process ideas. Here are some:

          1. Return to a constitutional form of government and get rid of British Common Law
          2. Get rid of the economic model that was created for the purpose of establishing a race of poor people, and that is sustained by war, crime, violence, poverty, illness, dishonesty, and a political system that pits Americans against Americans
          3. Establish a moneyless culture based on mutual cooperation and trust

          these will necessarily involve our bringing home our troops, stop bullying the world, end the dangerous black market. It will stop the senseless plundering of our resources, including potable water and arable soil, etc.. It will bring $$ equality back to the US - that all studies show is the cause of ALL our social ills.

          Pot has the ability to help people open their minds to a greater reality (self). Perhaps not for all, but it certainly worked for me.

          Government should release its proof that meditation will help people be healthier, happier, and live more meaningful lives.

          The american people are a downtrodden people living under a despotic plutarchy, but they call their misery freedom, which leaves them confused & in great fear & despair.

          Americans R not properly educated (intentionally) to understand how things happened so cant fix until that's fixed. US doesn't need humility as much as it needs education - the real kind. the honest kind.
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        Aug 28 2012:

        Americans are people first. Honesty, mercy, justice and a sense of the meaning of freedom is part of most of us all around the world.
        I think I hear the humming already. It is coming from my south.