On The Road To Dystopia?

I know that sounds like a 1950s movie starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope (I know…..I am an old fart)….

But this time it is the direction that the country could travel if this pandemic destroys what society we have….I have tried to point these things out before the pandemic grab the nation and the globe….https://lobotero.com/2012/01/05/road-to-dystopia/  and https://lobotero.com/2019/06/05/dystopia/

We could go into some Orwellian diatribe but that would be just a waste of time….let’s talk about the stuff happening now that we have Covid-19.

I asked the question days ago…..https://gulfsouthfreepress.wordpress.com/2020/04/16/will-this-lead-to-social-dysfunction/

Do we just roll over and learn to live in this Orwellian nightmare that is in the process of developing?

When I wrote about dystopia in 2012 I was not expecting the future to arrive this soon…..

In retrospect, it’s no surprise that, after the election of Donald Trump in 2016, dystopian fiction enjoyed a spike in popularity. However, novels like George Orwell’s 1984 and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which soared on Amazon, would prove more horror stories than roadmaps. Like so many ominous sounds from a dark basement, they provided good scares but didn’t foreshadow the actual Trumpian future.

Of course, it didn’t take an Orwell or an Atwood to extrapolate from the statements of candidate Trump to the policies of President Trump — and such projections bore little resemblance to the worlds of Big Brother or an all-powerful patriarchy. Many Americans quickly began bracing themselves for something quite different: less totalitarian than total chaos. There would likely be unmitigated corruption, new wars, and massive tax cuts for the wealthy, along with an unprecedented reduction in government services and the further concentration of power in the executive branch. And it was a given that there would be boastfully incoherent presidential addresses, as well as mockery from officials in countries that had only recently been our closest allies. A Trumpian dystopia would be a Frankenstein monster constructed of the worst parts of previous administrations with plenty of ugly invective and narcissistic preening thrown in for bad measure.


Is it possible that this pandemic could replace what we know as the “nation state”?  But with what?

Before COVID-19, there were three trends occurring in the world that challenged the Westphalian notion of nation-states with complete sovereignty over citizens within their borders. The Westphalian ideal is the pattern of nation-states, with a rule of law defined by geographical borders, that emerged out of the Thirty Years War in Europe and replaced a patchwork quilt of overlapping medieval loyalties with more solid blocks of unitary rule under the rule of a sovereign.

Pre-COVID, the three accelerating trends that challenged this Westphalian notion of nation-states were:

  • the Internet and increasing transnational digitalization;
  • increasing global commerce;
  • and global flow of humans, plants, animals, and infectious diseases

Now in the turbulent COVID-19 era, these trends are being challenged and it is unclear if the post-COVID era will strengthen the idea of Westphalian nations states or result in some completely new way of organizing.

Pandemic may replace the nation-state: But with what?

Just a few thoughts on the outcome after the pandemic goes by the wayside……

Does anyone have a thought or two on what this disease will bring?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Covid-19 And Civil Rights

There have been many institutions in our society that have been altered by the Covid-19…..including our civil liberties. We have had a lot of back and forth about this virus but the one subject that has been a bit silent is that of civil liberties…..and now it comes to light on IST…….

Philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote, “Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of great fear.” The United States is now in the grip of such a fear. It is prostrating before authoritarians in government who have waited for such a moment and now relish in ordering us indoors.

In loudly applauding the authoritarian shutdown orders of American governments, many seem to be conflating at least a few separate sets of issues that relate to different areas of expertise.

The first area of expertise is the epidemiology of COVID-19. It entails questions of the virus’s contagiousness and deadliness. There are questions on which there are very significant disagreements (with important policy implications) and, importantly, very poor data.


This paper states that the biggest threat to our civil liberties during the pandemic is ICE….

The editorial board of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, recently insisted in an editorial amid the coronavirus pandemic that “the biggest present threat to public safety” is ICE agents. The editorial board cited a request made by ICE for 45,000 N95 masks to protect themselves while continuing to enforce the U.S. borders during the coronavirus pandemic. The board cites Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s statement it will “continue daily enforcement operations to make criminal and civil arrests, prioritizing individuals who threaten our national security and public safety.” “We would argue that the biggest present threat to public safety would be ICE agents, not undocumented immigrants,” the board responded.


The secret police will be available when DC gets its spike of Covid-19 infestations…..did I say “secret police”? Yes I did.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser yesterday ordered a one-month extension of the state of emergency, as cases in the region grow at a rapid pace. Federal officials in the nation’s capital expect a New York-like epidemic in the District, Maryland and Virginia, one that could potentially cripple the government. “No one wants to talk evacuation, especially when there’s nowhere to go,” says a senior military officer working on continuity of government planning; he requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on the record. But a little-known military task force charged with evacuating Washington has already been activated, a task force charged with the most sensitive government mission of “securing” Washington in the face of attackers, foreign and domestic—and if necessary, moving White House and other key government offices to alternate locations.


Other institutions are under attack….voting comes readily to mind….and I have the feeling it will not stop there.

Any thoughts?

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“lego ergo scribo”

Will This Lead To Social Dysfunction?

The pandemic is causing a lot of things to occur at one time….food shortages, supplies shortages,  confusion and hysteria….but how will all these pressures effect the country?

I recently got a piece by the Geopolitical Futures…and I would like to pass it on to my readers…..

A few weeks ago, I laid out a model for thinking about the coronavirus crisis. I argued that there were four structures operating: medical, economic, social and military, with the political structure attempting to coordinate all four while managing its own disorder. This is an American model, but it maps to other nations reasonably well.

To this point, the medical structure has defined the basic framework. Having no vaccine to prevent the virus, nor proven medications for alleviating symptoms (I stay out of the chloroquine debate, lacking any right to an opinion), the only medical option was a social one: social distancing. Put differently, where quarantines were meant to create barriers to those who were ill with a disease, this was extended to everyone. In its most extreme form, this meant shelter in place: Stay home with your family and don’t venture out. Even the more moderate forms, such as putting six feet between yourself and others, were fairly radical.

The medical solution created an economic crisis. Many cannot go to work. Shopping, eating out and other activities are limited. Unemployment soared, supply chains are strained, demand for goods and services has fallen. The political structure crafted strategies for mitigating the crisis, cushioning unemployment and preventing business failures with stimulus packages and so on. The amount of money committed is about 10 percent of U.S. gross national product, with the assurance that more will be committed. It is not clear that these economic events will cause economic failure, but it is clear that they will cause distortions in the economy on the order of the infusions. The economy will not function as it has before, and the distortion will not rapidly end.

The social consequences are perhaps even more profound. At its core, the social is the family. The functioning of the family assumed that children would go to school, one or both parents would go to work, and all would have periods of being alone, or being in other places with other people. On the broadest level, the social is our mingling with strangers, from going to the movies, to standing in line and chatting, to discussing the purchase of a computer with a salesman. There are a billion kinds of social interactions, and each has its rituals. We know how to find a seat in a movie, and how to excuse ourselves as we pass by those already seated. We know how to appear amiable and unthreatening when standing in line. We understand the rituals when buying a computer, the carefully crafted pretense of knowing what you are talking about.

Human beings mediate their relations with other people through rituals — sometimes called manners and sometimes having no name at all. We know the rituals in our home. We know what will make mom and dad sad, we know how to come to dinner, and we know when we may disappear into our rooms to chat online. When we look at social organization, the family, dysfunctional or robust, is the most intense experience we have, and that experience is filled with safety valves, ritualized opportunities to be free of the family. This may be school, work, parties, whatever.

If social distancing and the economic crisis will have a social impact, it will be sensed first in the most delicate seismograph humans have: the home. Nowhere are the stresses so intense and continuous, nowhere are the safety valves so essential and rigidly prescribed. So when the medical structure requires that families dramatically alter their behavior, and the economic system generates such fear and uncertainty, the pressures are first felt in the family. Outside the family the pressures can be diffused, but now the family is the only sphere there is, and it becomes the sum of all fears, a place whose releases have been closed down.

Human beings mediate their relations with other people through rituals — sometimes called manners and sometimes having no name at all. We know the rituals in our home. We know what will make mom and dad sad, we know how to come to dinner, and we know when we may disappear into our rooms to chat online. When we look at social organization, the family, dysfunctional or robust, is the most intense experience we have, and that experience is filled with safety valves, ritualized opportunities to be free of the family. This may be school, work, parties, whatever.

If social distancing and the economic crisis will have a social impact, it will be sensed first in the most delicate seismograph humans have: the home. Nowhere are the stresses so intense and continuous, nowhere are the safety valves so essential and rigidly prescribed. So when the medical structure requires that families dramatically alter their behavior, and the economic system generates such fear and uncertainty, the pressures are first felt in the family. Outside the family the pressures can be diffused, but now the family is the only sphere there is, and it becomes the sum of all fears, a place whose releases have been closed down.

Family violence, normally man against woman, secondarily either against children, is a constant reality. Individuals who are psychologically dysfunctional, and families that are fractured, cause a constant and predictable level of family violence. When violence surges globally, it is unlikely that the numbers are being cooked, and unlikely that the violence is coincidental. There are two forces at work. First, homes and apartments are frequently built with the expectation that a substantial amount of time will be spent outside. They are not designed for constant occupation by all. The pressure of 24-hour intimacy coupled with a situation that has no clear endpoint can create tension between even the most loving families. And many families are not particularly loving. These are the ones that explode first, most without violence, all with a high degree of rancor that can’t be escaped. In some cases both parents are home without work. The parents must finally face each other, along with their unruly children. The family explodes inside of walls from which there is no escape. Family violence is not the norm. It is simply the first statistically collectible indicator. Many or most families will accommodate with love. But some won’t.

When I look at the pressure on our essential rituals, I note that Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that no one should shake hands now or ever again. It is common for male friends to hug. In Europe, when I greet a woman, I know I must kiss near the cheek but not quite on it. I always forget how many times — whether one or both sides, or even three times — I must kiss in each country. When I was young, a date ended in a kiss. When I was older, it could, with luck, end in more.

Are all these rituals of our life, along with all other rituals of touching that I don’t at the moment remember, to be abolished along with the handshake? The job of the medical community is to protect our health and life. But health is not simply a matter of medicine. It is also a matter of enormously complex and individual rituals. Last week, Jews celebrated Passover, remembering how God freed them from slavery. On Sunday, Christians celebrated Easter. These are communal celebrations of families and congregants who speak, touch and hug.

We are in an enormously difficult position. We cannot accept the death of fellow human beings who might be saved. We also cannot readily live with the restraints required to minimize those deaths. And we must calculate the suffering and death caused by economic depressions — a very real event.

The obvious solution is medical — a medicine that will not require quarantine and will allow us to go back to work. Given the virulence of the virus, the problem is that even lifting the social distancing might allow a return of its spread. I suspect we could take a risk with a poorly proven drug more than we can endure the limited lives we lead. But that is a suspicion. The point is that family violence has surged and it has surged because of the measures we must take to prevent the spread of disease. The rise in family violence is real but not decisive. The other social breakdowns will happen as the economy fails and our lives become crippled. Then choices will have to be made. Perhaps Fauci and his colleagues will find a cure we can live with. I wish them all the best in their quest.

So with all that said….do you see a dysfunctioning of our society?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Can A Pandemic Save The USA?

This pandemic is running through this country like crap through a goose…..will it have an effect on the governing of the nation?

I had cover this a bit on In Saner Thought…….https://lobotero.com/2020/04/09/can-a-virus-save-a-struggling-nation/

Personally, I think it can change the system for the better….but that will depend on the citizens and their collective memories.

Several articles have covered this question as well…..

A big question about the coronavirus pandemic is how much change it will leave in its wake. Are we in the midst of a massive, potentially revolutionary transformation of society? Or are we experiencing an intense shock that will change our society in the short term but leave it fundamentally intact?

Economic historian Walter Scheidel explored the former category — revolutionary transformations — in his influential 2017 book, The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century. In that book, Scheidel identifies four classes of events — lethal pandemics, major wars, state failures, and revolutions — that reshape societies by flattening economic inequalities. Each of these events, in their own way, levels the playing field and paves the way for a new order.


AS it is now….millions unemployed and millions without any income….millions in hospitals that will owe billions for their care…..and then millions that seem to just not care and do all the wrong things……

The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is devastating the lives, cultures, mass psychologies, and economies of countries around the world. Here, I will not reproduce the damages it has inflicted in various countries. The news media are overflowing with such information. In this article, I will briefly outline the developing politico-economic effects, crises, and consequences of this pandemic.

Fazal Rahman, Ph.D.
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Originally published on imperialismandthethirdworld, Apr. 7, 2020

The US government is being magnanimous…..giving each person 1200 dollars….and corporation millions or billions…..people are being given crumbs for their support of this country and corporations are given billions because of their greed.

Once again the government shows who is important.

The people should now have NO illusions to what type of government we have and who are the important members of that nation.

Be Smart!

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“lego ergo scribo”

Space Mining

The US now has a new Space Force…..and now it may be in the process of mining the Moon for minerals and resources…..but to me that is a violation of a treaty the US signed in 1967.

I am one of the few bloggers that is paying attention to this development…I realize that there is so much more happening in the world these days….but nonetheless this could be a new problem forming for our policies.

I have been writing about the violations since Obama started signing acts that would be in conflict with the 1967 treaty…..

My posts will give the reader as much background as possible to explain why I say it is a violation……please read….

Space Law

Space Law–Part 2

What made me think of all this again was the signing of a Trump Executive Order (EO)…….

President Trump issued an executive order Monday urging the US to mine the moon, and possibly other celestial bodies, for minerals, the Guardian reports. “Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space,” says the order, which notes that the US did not sign the 1979 moon treaty that said space activities should conform to international law. The US does not consider space a “global commons,” the order says, meaning the US should be able to drill there without needing an international treaty.

The order says that if international law is used to try to stop the US from removing parts of the moon or, possibly, Mars and other celestial bodies should that become possible, the country will object. “As America prepares to return humans to the moon and journey on to Mars, this executive order establishes US policy toward the recovery and use of space resources, such as water and certain minerals, in order to encourage the commercial development of space,” says the deputy assistant to the president and executive secretary of the US National Space Council, per Space.com.

Now for those that do not have any idea about this Moon Treaty of 1979…..I can help with that…..

The Moon Agreement was considered and elaborated by the Legal Subcommittee from 1972 to 1979. The Agreement was adopted by the General Assembly in 1979 in resolution 34/68. It was not until June 1984, however, that the fifth country, Austria, ratified the Agreement, allowing it to enter into force in July 1984. The Agreement reaffirms and elaborates on many of the provisions of the Outer Space Treaty as applied to the Moon and other celestial bodies, providing that those bodies should be used exclusively for peaceful purposes, that their environments should not be disrupted, that the United Nations should be informed of the location and purpose of any station established on those bodies. In addition, the Agreement provides that the Moon and its natural resources are the common heritage of mankind and that an international regime should be established to govern the exploitation of such resources when such exploitation is about to become feasible.

The 1979 Moon Agreement

Then there is the original treaty of 1967……

The Treaty was opened for signature by the three depository Governments (the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America) in January 1967, and it entered into force in October 1967. The Outer Space Treaty provides the basic framework on international space law, including the following principles:

  • the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind;
  • outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States;
  • outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means;
  • States shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner;
  • the Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes;
  • astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind;
  • States shall be responsible for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities;
  • States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects; and
  • States shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and the main principles of Space Law


Space was intended to be help in “common” and all benefits of space were to be shared with the world.

So far greed has taken hold of a noble idea and a noble treaty.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Poverty Is A Disease

I know most everybody wants to believe the hype of the American Dream…..the old “work hard and get ahead”…..well that is a thought from yesteryear……it has NO reality in the 21st century…..

A personal from 12 years ago…..https://lobotero.com/why-poverty/

We are the generation that gets to witness the end of the American Dream.  The numbers that you are about to see tell a story.  They tell a story of a once mighty economy that is dying.  For decades, the rest of the planet has regarded the United States as “the land of opportunity” where almost anyone can be successful if they are willing to work hard.  And when I was growing up, it seemed like almost everyone was living the American Dream.  I lived on a “middle class” street and I went to a school where it seemed like almost everyone was middle class.  When I was in high school, it was very rare to ever hear of a parent that was unemployed, and virtually every family that I knew had a comfortable home and more than one nice vehicle.  But now that has all changed.  The “American Dream” has been transformed into a very twisted game of musical chairs.  With each passing year, more people are falling out of the middle class, and most of the rest of us are scrambling really hard to keep our own places.  Something has gone horribly wrong, and yet Americans are very deeply divided when it comes to finding answers to our problems.  We love to point fingers and argue with one another, and meanwhile things just continue to get even worse.  The following are 22 numbers that are very strong evidence of the death of the American Dream… http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/the-death-of-the-american-dream-in-22-numbers


Thanx to these dismal numbers the truth is that the Middle Class is disappearing…….

Everyone loves the middle class. Everyone claims to be middle-class—some to put a gloss on their sketchy escutcheons, others to dodge chastisement for their awkward riches. But in fact both the socioeconomic reality and the concept of the middle class have been turned on their heads and, at the same time, trivialized into a mere lifestyle choice.

Economically, the middle classes were once proprietors, self-employed owners of property and their own labor. Morally, they were the equivalent of “solid citizens”: decent, hard-working, law-abiding, temperate, proper, staid, virtuous, and—well, moral. The qualifications for being middle class have gotten a whole lot looser, to say the least.

What Middle Class?

Poverty is on the rise yet again……but what is poverty? I wrote a post many years ago that explains why poverty……https://lobotero.com/why-poverty/

Think about it!

The average annual income is less than $50,000….that works out to about $900 a week……ever tried living on that?

Recently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their report on the Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers. Using information from the fourth fiscal quarter of 2018, the BLS claims that in that quarter, the median income for a full-time wage or salary worker on a weekly basis was $900. For a 40-hour work week, this translates to a yearly income of approximately $46,800. This is a 5% increase on the previous year.

When seasonal adjustments (holidays, severe weather, etc.) are taken into account by the BLS, the median weekly earnings are $897, or about $46,644 per year.

These are very general numbers. After all, according to the BLS for this quarter there were 115.9 million full-time wage and salary workers in the U.S.

. https://www.thestreet.com/personal-finance/average-income-in-us-14852178

The truth is that poverty is expanding it is like the spread of a disease……and as such should be treated like a disease and work on a cure for the expansion……

None of it feels like enough. I feel as though I am wired for a permanent state of fight or flight, waiting for the other shoe to drop, or the metaphorical week when I don’t eat. I’ve chosen not to have children, partly because—despite any success—I still don’t feel I have a safety net. I have a huge minimum checking account balance in mind before I would ever consider having children. If you knew me personally, you might get glimpses of stress, self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. And you might hear about Tennessee.


I feel that we need to return to the 1960s and the War on Poverty ideal…..we fight all sorts of problems in the world and poverty is one that could solve some of the other pressing problems…..there is a cure……we just have to want to cure the disease of poverty.

Contrary to myths propagated by many critics, the War on Poverty was not narrowly focused on “expanding welfare.” “No doles,” stipulated President Johnson, and his legislative initiatives included aid to schools and universities, new job training programs, public housing initiatives, new Medicare health coverage for the elderly and Medicaid coverage for the poor, and other programs that have endured, such as Head Start, Job Corps, and Community Health Centers.

The War on Poverty’s pivotal assault on racial discrimination often goes unmentioned. In addition to persuading Congress to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the Johnson administration used the federal purse to desegregate schools, hospitals, community boards, and neighborhood programs. As new grants flowed, threats to withhold funding made

Nor should the War on Poverty be discussed only in the past tense. It is still being fought today. Although the original coordinating agency, the Office of Economic Opportunity, was disbanded in the early 1970s, many programs are still funded under new names in other agencies.


I stand by my assertion that Poverty is a disease and as such should be treated thusly.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

That Imperial Presidency

The vote is in……and the possibility of an Imperial Presidency is near complete.

An Imperial Presidency?

Yes, a U.S. presidency that is characterized by greater power than the Constitution allows.

Over the course of the 20th century, the presidency gradually supplanted Congress as the center of federal power. Presidential authority increased, presidential staffs grew in size, and the executive branch gradually acquired a dominant relationship over Congress.

Beginning with Theodore Roosevelt, the president, and not Congress, established the nation’s legislative agenda. Increasingly, Congress ceded its budget-making authority to the president. Presidents even found a way to make agreements with foreign nations without congressional approval. After World War II, presidents substituted executive agreements for treaties requiring approval of the Senate. Even more important, presidents gained the power to take military action, despite the fact that Congress is the sole branch of government empowered by the Constitution to declare war.

No president went further than Richard Nixon in concentrating powers in the presidency. He refused to spend funds that Congress had appropriated; he claimed executive privilege against disclosure of information on administration decisions; he refused to allow key decision makers to be questioned before congressional committees; he reorganized the executive branch and broadened the authority of new cabinet positions without congressional approval.

That is until there was a President Trump who has stepped on and wiped his feet on the idea of a Constitution.

The fear of the Founding Fathers has finally been realized.

Because they wanted a broad definition of their thoughts they allowed the Imperial Presidency to become a reality.

I am now waiting for the destruction of the 1st and 4th Amendments……….

The 1st and 4th Amendments have long been bugaboos to conservatives, and if any Amendments should be repealed, those are the two on top the far-right’s wish list.

The 1st Amendment, of course, grants free speech and allows no law establishing religion. Little galls the Far Right more unfettered speech that doesn’t follow the Daily Memo, but even more, the dream of getting the heathen to finally accept Jesus Christ as the one and only God of America, and truly make the United States a Christian Nation could be close at hand.

The 4th Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizures. Sure, conservatives got part of that dropped when the Bush Administration eliminated warrants before wiretapping, and allowing the government to search emails. But imagine not having to read anyone their Miranda Rights. Oh, how much easier life would be.

The Imperial Presidency now has been voted on by the Senate….that is anything that the president does is legal and above the law unless he/she does it on camera.

Just want to remind conservs that there will be a president from that other party and it will be possible for them to do all that this president has done…there is a precedent for the legality of the Imperial President.

There is NO price that will be paid for this….regardless what the media wants you to believe…..

The presidency has been changed….and not for the better.

Closing note–this was written before the Covid-19 outbreak and some of the points are a bit moot…..but the thought is there and needs to be considered.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”