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Let’s Really Clean the Barn October 29, 2015

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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Outgoing Speaker John Boehner gave a parting gift to his partner President Obama steaming on the floor of the House with the comment that he wanted to “Clean the barn.”  What he did instead was add to the barn litter he is leaving behind.  His Omnibus Budget Bill aptly entitled the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 that funds the government for the rest of President Obama’s term continues the surrender by Congress of the only leverage they have over a runaway executive: the power of the purse.

This deal was presented and opposed at the same time by the Republican leadership in a good cop bad cop routine by the outgoing speaker and the incoming, Paul Ryan.  While Boehner extolled the budget deal before voting for it Ryan said it “stinks” before voting for it.  With this deal the Republicans have now gone back on every promise they have made in the last seven years to win control of Congress, and what we end up with is another cop sold out to the Outfit.

If John Boehner really wanted to clean the barn he would have taken 434 other perpetually re-elected shills with him.  This pack of hacks is totally sold out to K Street.  No matter which side of the aisle they are on they are so bust feathering their own post political nests and advancing the agendas of special interests they have no time for the people who elect them.

They have violated the Pledge to America which the Boehner Republicans issued to win the House.  They pledged to work to stop Obama, reform Congress and listen to the voice of the American people.  They promised that the text of all bills would be published online a minimum of 72 hours before a vote.   They said they would no longer allow the business of the people to be hidden and passed without even reading.  This budget deal breaks that pledge.

This is a complex bill that is over 140 pages filled with goodies for everyone.  It was obviously under construction for quite some time yet it was sprung with only 48 hours for review.  After two wave elections where the conservative base came out in force and gave the Republicans control of both the House and the Senate we can now definitively say, “It’s business as usual in the Land of Oz.”

The Republicans following their seemingly suicidal DNA keep nominating the next Rhino in line then they are surprised when the conservative base and the right leaning independents stay home.   Perhaps 2016 will be different.  Perhaps one of the challengers will catch lightening in a bottle and make it through the maze of primaries to the nomination.  Perhaps Carson, Trump, Cruz, or Rand will somehow elbow all the establishment stalking horses out of the way and grab the golden ring.  If the GOP was wise enough to do that they might stand a chance against the stacked deck of Hillary – Media – imported voters and win.

Of course if by some miracle someone one who was actually dedicated to breaking the stranglehold the twin headed governing party has on Washington did make it to the Whitehouse they would then be faced with the prospect of sailing into battle with the entrenched GOP leadership on the Hill.

Boehner may be gone but Ryan will carry the torch.  Just look at his courageous pledge that there will be no Comprehensive Immigration Reform until 2017.  WOW!  Isn’t that just what people want to hear?  He is going to wait until 2017 to give amnesty to tens of millions, issue millions more H2-B visas so low wage foreigners have an easier time competing with our sons and daughters, and formalize the collapse of our borders.

Reid may be gone but McConnell will bar the door to restraining a rogue president with the power of the purse as he promises “No more government shutdowns.”  And if all else fails no matter who is elected the government bureaucracy will grind on just as before churning out regulations with the force of law and doing the actual ruling and enforcement of the coming totalitarian welfare state.

So what are we to do?

There is a classic bumper sticker that shows up in every election cycle, “Don’t Re-elect anyone.”  I know there are a few representatives and a few senators who are not sold out to K Street and the special interests.  If you happen to be served by one of these they are probably worth retaining.  However no one should vote for someone because they “Bring the bacon home.”  We need people who will put the Federal Government on a diet and let the bacon stay at home with the people who actually raised the hog.

The mood of the country certainly seems to be “Throw the rascals out!”  However, so many just vote for the party of their parents. They vote for the party that is part of their cultural or family tradition without ever thinking about who they are voting for or what they will do once they are elected or re-elected again and again.

Einstein is given the credit for a quote that almost everyone knows, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

This quote sums up the voting strategy of the majority of Americans.  Over and over we send the same people back and then wonder why nothing changes.  If we want change we have got to return to citizen legislators and reject the professional political class that has a hammerlock on power.

If the mood of the country prevails I think I could win any race by changing my name to “None of the Above.”  If it doesn’t prevail, if the Oligarchs and their re-elected lackeys somehow manage to manufacture another victory, I believe many people will despair of ever making a change through the current rigged electoral process.  Seeing this disillusionment in the future inspired me to write The Constitution Failed in 2010.

When I first presented this book at book signings and in conferences many people would accost me.  Some even yelled in my face, “How dare you say that the Constitution has failed.”  I received threats and attacks from all quarters.  Today when I do book signings and have this book on my table people look at it and say, “You know that’s right.”

I have never contended that the Constitution has always been a failure.  Obviously it created the space for personal freedom, individual liberty, and economic opportunity to build the greatest nation in History.  However, if the main purpose was to secure to its posterity the blessing of a limited government and today we have a federal leviathan that crushes descent and smothers freedom at the moment how can we say it is a success?

Let us hope that the bell of freedom will once again ring throughout our land that the awakened and aware citizens will rise up in their righteous indignation and throw the rascals out.  Let us hope that change will finally come and we the people will once again wrest control of our government from those who have traded our heritage for an entitlement driven welfare state.

When all the dust has settled, when all the shouting is over let’s hope we don’t find ourselves singing the final lamenting line from that old Who song about revolution, “Meet the new Boss.  Same as the old Boss.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic October 22, 2015

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Last week I offered five simple solutions that could turn this ship around.

First, jettison the Empire to save the Republic

Second, declare our energy independence.

Third, end the de facto amnesty.

Fourth, end the centrally planned welfare state.

Fifth, grow the economy instead of the bureaucracy to bring back prosperity, opportunity, and hope.

Does anyone realistically think the two headed leviathan in Washington will implement any of them?  No matter who is elected the bureaucracy will maintain full speed ahead into the iceberg of collapse.  In other words these fixes may be easy to propose however they are impossible to implement given the current toxic climate in Chicago on the Potomac.

Look at the Planned Parenthood scandal for an example of how degraded our society has become.  Secretly produced videos clearly show Planned Parenthood leaders laughing and joking about harvesting the organs of babies and selling them for profit.  The supporters of Planned Parenthood respond by saying that the videos are heavily edited.  Then we learn they were edited to take out things like taking trips to the bathroom and ordering food and that forensic experts overwhelmingly find them authentic.  The advocates of abortion on demand do not dispute what is said they dispute the manner in which the information was obtained.

Progressives will argue for the personhood of chimpanzees because their DNA is a 99% match to human.  Yet they deny the personhood of babies in the womb that are a 100% match.  These types of dichotomies and absurdities among our ruling class remind one that hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

Look at the current presidential demolition derby.

The Republicans clearly favor people who are not traditional Republicans.  After looking over their establishment, mainline Republicans and the rank and file members of the Party are asking isn’t there someone else?  I believe if Someone Else was on the Ballot in the coming primaries they could well win.  As it is, since they must choose from people actually on the ballot after dismissing him as a reality star the betting is beginning to move towards a Trump win.  Mr. Trump is a big man with big ideas, unfortunately most of these will need big government to accomplish and the hope for a return to limited government recedes a little further from the realm of possibility with big government advocates on both sides.

On the Democrat side we are witnessing the Clinton restoration and America is heading for a sequel to the Golden Nineties when character didn’t matter and White House interns were fair game.  Hillary, after her original courageous testimony concerning Benghazi summed it up in “At this point what does it matter?” continues doing her Whitewater stonewalling routine to the applause of her devotees.

The handwriting is on the wall and we may have truly reached the tipping point where whoever wins the Democrat primaries wins the election.  Eighteen States have voted Democrat in six consecutive elections with 242 electoral votes.  University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato said the hurdle for Republicans doesn’t look any better if you count the underlying votes by citizens, not just the electoral results.  “Democrats have also won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential contests,” Sabato said. “The demographic shifts heading to mid-century are all pro-Democratic.”

Add to this that the illegal migration invaders are being dispersed to red states combined with court ordered motor-voter status and what is coming is a tsunami of undocumented democrats to turn the red states blue.  We are nearing a mirror image of Chicago where the Republicans often don’t even bother to run a candidate for mayor because they have a hard time finding sacrificial lambs.

They have elections in China.  Everyone eighteen years or older can vote.  They get the chance to choose between a communist and another communist. This adds up to an election in name only or a distinction without a difference.

In America today we get to choose between one of two members of the twin headed party of power.  Whoever wins the government grows and more power is concentrated in Washington.  Clinton, Bush, Trump, or Sanders whoever wins the bureaucracy continues to wield extra-constitutional power and the Founders dream of a limited government grows dimmer.

Seeing what is happening to our American heritage is like waking up one day and realizing that eventually all of your prized possessions and all of your memories will end up in a land fill.

This all reminds me that a pessimist is what an optimist calls a realist.

Sounds depressing doesn’t it?  In the world we have little hope for change.  We are on an express to national suicide and the fix is in.  This is why I have written my latest book, Political Action Follows Political Philosophy.  This book was written because I believe once liberty is extinguished it may be generations before the light of freedom will again burn bright.  I wrote this book to be a seed for future generations so they will know what happened to the American experiment and provide the philosophical foundations for the rebirth of limited government, personal freedom, and economic opportunity.

Because, the vast majority of human action reflects the thoughts, beliefs, and feelings of the actor.  There have always been and there will always be those whose actions are erratic or divorced from reality.  The actions of this small minority are best ascribed to pathology not philosophy.  For the rest of us, we think therefore we are.  What we think about today we act upon tomorrow.

The Dispatches from the History of the Future contained in this book convey the basic political philosophy which I believe will one day re-inspire our nation to stride upon the stage of History with another round of liberating political action.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

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Simple Suggestions Sound Serious October 15, 2015

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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What is Occam’s Razor?

According to the physicists at the University of California, Riverside Occam’s (or Ockham’s) razor is a principle attributed to the 14th century logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham.  Ockham was the village in the English county of Surrey where he was born.

The principle states that “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.”

Many scientists have adopted or reinvented Occam’s Razor, as in Leibniz’s “identity of observables” and Isaac Newton stated the rule: “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.”

The most useful statement of the principle for scientists is “when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better.”

This is the one that is generally used on the wall-to-wall news shows which so often describe our world for those who are information junkies and current event addicts so this is the one I will go with today.

Our ruling Elites try to convince us that America’s problems are too complex for we mere mortal taxpayers to understand.  They want us to allow them and their acolyte bureaucracy to decide everything behind a veil and then hand down their infallible decrees on stone tablets from Olympus on the Potomac.

This arcane process raises the question, “If the running of our government is too complex for us to understand how can we expect low information voters to choose who is best to do when we cannot even know what or how needs to be done?”  If this is truly the case than we have reached the limit of the American experiment, and government of the people by the people and for the people does not work.

As the Historian of the Future, as someone who has spent more than fifty five years studying and thinking about History, Political Science and current events I believe this seeming conundrum is an illusion.  I believe we should apply Occam’s Razor to what remains of our social contract to preserve what is left of our heritage.

Here are what I believe to be simple solutions to the threads the Lilliputians are using to bind the American Gulliver to an express to oblivion.

First, jettison the Empire to save the Republic.  Currently the United States has armed forces in over 130 countries.  We’re committed to defend most of these countries against aggression.  Where were these allies on 9-11?  Where were they in Afghanistan?   Why do we have treaties binding us to go to war to defend those who refuse to support us when we’re attacked?  If these policies are counter-productive are there any alternatives?

Close the foreign bases and bring our troops home.  Station them on the border to protect us from the on-going invasion of illegal immigrants who’re overloading our systems.  If we need to project American power use the carrier battle-groups designed for that purpose.  Protect America and rebuild our infrastructure.  When asked what to do with the American Military after World War I Will Rogers said, “Get ’em all home, add to their number, add to their training, then just sit tight with a great feeling of security and just read about foreign wars. That’s the best thing in the world to do with them.”  Jettison the Empire to save the Republic!

Second, declare our energy independence.  Did any President ever have an energy policy which effectively dealt with the problems of oil production and supply?  Did it work?

Reagan said, “The best answer, while conservation is worthy in itself, is to try to make us independent of outside sources to the greatest extent possible for our energy.”

Ronald Reagan also said, “Our national energy plan should not be a rigid set of production and conservation goals dictated by Government. Our primary objective is simply for our citizens to have enough energy, and it is up to them to decide how much energy that is, and in what form and manner it will reach them. When the free market is permitted to work the way it should, millions of individual choices and judgments will produce the proper balance of supply and demand our economy needs. ”

As soon as he became president, Ronald Reagan ended the price controls on domestic oil first imposed by Richard Nixon; these controls had contributed to both the 1973 Oil Crisis and the 1979 Energy Crisis. Almost immediately the price of oil fell, and during the 1980s America didn’t experience the gasoline lines and fuel shortages of the 1970s.  In addition, the removal of price controls ignited a boom in domestic drilling which arrested America’s slide into energy dependence.

As to the energy questions:  How do we end our dependence on foreign oil?  How can we achieve the energy independence which every President since Nixon has said is a matter of national security?  Using Reagan’s approach as a guide stop wringing our hands and moaning about our situation, stand up like our ancestors and boldly declare our Energy Independence!  In practical terms we should: take the shackles off our domestic oil industry, build new refineries, develop better distribution of natural gas, expand the use of nuclear, wind, solar and every conceivable form of energy, and drill baby drill!

Third, end the de facto amnesty. Our President has made no secret of what his end game is.  Remember him with Joe the plumber?  Mr. Obama wants to spread the wealth around.  He is perhaps not an avowed socialist however based on everything he does; he is effectively one.  Yet he has won two elections one way or another and he is coordinating the end game of the Cloward-Piven Strategy.   This is not a conspiracy…it’s a strategy to bankrupt America by overburdening the system….and it breaks my heart that as America dozed on the couch watching the game these Progressives have turned the American dream into a nightmare.

Now the Southern border has been all but erased by pre-arranged catastrophes.  What does America’s Community Organizer in Chief do in response to these manufactured assaults by the children’s crusade and others?  He unilaterally grants amnesty through executive edict to millions if not tens of millions while holding the door open for millions more.

Does the GOP move to block these unconstitutional acts of national suicide? Do they mount a national campaign to harness the vast majority of citizens who want to save America for Americans?  No, the congressional Republican leaders let everyone know they are for amnesty too.

How can they not know that amnesty for millions of undocumented democrats is suicide for the GOP?  Call it executive action.  Call it comprehensive immigration reform.  Call it anything you want.  Amnesty under any other name is amnesty and amnesty with open borders is a siren call to the tens of millions who haven’t already come to come now.  Our leaders are actually working on a plan to merge the United States with Canada and Mexico into a new super state of North America.  Our children and grandchildren will grow up in a third world hellhole that was once the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Close the borders or we give away our country.

Fourth, end the centrally planned welfare state.  The most insidious result that central-planning and the overabundance of government control that it requires is not the maladjustments that it inevitably creates in the economy.  It is not the crony capitalism and bureaucratic nepotism that it always fosters.  It is not the smothering blanket of nanny-state regulations that strangle creativity.  It is not even the tendency to one-party rule even when camouflaged behind a two party system that is in reality two heads of the same bird of prey.  It is not a system which may actually contain only two parties if you believe there is the government party and the country party.

No none of these missteps on the way to an illusionary utopia are the most insidious result of any system no matter what it is called that is some variation on the socialist theme of “From each according to their ability and to each according to their need.” Instead the most insidious result of the effort by some to control all is a change in the character of the people.

When government regulation becomes an all-embracing web of minutia that requires lawyers, accountants, and other translators of government-speak to comprehend, when safety-nets become hammocks, and when the do-gooders believe that they know what is best for everyone reaches a tipping point people begin to expect others to do for them what they used to do for themselves.  A nation of self-reliant, go-getters can be changed into a sea of slugs on the dole constantly crying and voting for more.

The descendants of the pilgrims and the pioneers are content to wait for their government check and their food stamps as long as there is a game on their flat screen and minutes left on their Obama phone.  Militant apathy has ossified the sinews of a once great people.  So many people don’t care about anything beyond their creature comforts, the most basic of which are guaranteed, that the will to succeed has been squashed.

Cut the strings of the hammock and people will learn to stand on their own two feet again.

And though the list is much longer, the last entry for today is one last simple solution for what we are told is a complex problem.  Grow the economy instead of the bureaucracy to bring back prosperity, opportunity, and hope.

Business is like water. It follows the path of least resistance.  A fact which should birth shame in the hearts of all Americans is that for the last decade American Businesses have been in a mad rush for the door.  They’ve left America, once the epitome of free enterprise, choosing instead to establish them in Communist China.  Today Federal red tape and taxes are strangling American free enterprise.

Innovation is like lightning. It comes in a flash, burns white hot, and is impossible to bottle.  When free enterprise is stifled by government interference in the marketplace the incentive to develop and produce are stunted.  Americans have always been the can-do people.  We’ve always been the leaders in invention and innovation.  Our entrepreneurs have traditionally led the world in new patents and processes.  Back in 2011 many sources predicted China would take the lead in high tech patents applied for and new industrial processes pioneered and now they do.  It takes thinking outside the box to find the new and provide the best.  In America today the Federal Government has set to work making the box stronger, to weaving a mesh of regulations and taxes, and turning the box into a cage.

This isn’t rocket science.  We aren’t trying to figure out the orbit perimeters of a sling-shot around the moon to reach Saturn.  This is Political Science and Economics: the arcane arts of who gets what, when, and how.

If we want manufacturing and innovation to grow reduce taxes to the lowest in the world and take the steel boot of regulation off the throat of free enterprise and watch our manufacturing base and our industrial output soar.  If you want more jobs stop stifling small business with uncertainty and watch the unemployment rate fall.  If we want more consumer spending instead of the next round of bail-outs and stimulus pay-offs to campaign contributors give the American people a one year federal tax holiday and watch consumer activity go through the roof.  In other words grow the economy not the bureaucracy.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

More Wars for Peace Will Not Bring Peace October 8, 2015

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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When Hamid Karzai, the man we installed and the leader of a land that is a nation in name only was the president of Afghanistan he accused the United States of colluding with the Taliban to keep the war going. According to his spokesman, “The people of Afghanistan ask NATO to define the purpose and aim of the so-called war on terror… (They) consider this war as aimless and unwise to continue.”  Even our so-called allies believe there are ulterior motives behind our foreign policy.  Yet most Americans swallow it whole.

I am a supporter of our troops.  I believe they are patriots and America’s best.  It is not the bravery or skill of our troops that I question; it is the imperial foreign policy which sends them as sacrifices on the altar of political ambition that I question.  The cruel calculations of political elites using our service men and women as pawns on their partisan game board are shameful. One shocking example of this was transparently obvious when President Obama announced a surge in troops at the same time he announced the exit strategy for leaving the country.  What could be more counterproductive than telling an asymmetrical partisan enemy that if they hang on long enough we leave and you win? Now, after fourteen years of blood, sweat, and tears we’re leaving, and they’re going to win.

Look at Iraq.  We went to war to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction which even President Bush eventually admitted were never there.  We went to war because our leaders intimated that Iraq had a hand in the sneak attacks of 9-11 based on a rumored meeting between an Iraqi agent and Mohamed Atta another claim that has since been repudiated.  Did we go to war to correct the partial victory we gained in Gulf War I under George I as claimed by some former Cabinet members?  Did we go to war as George II later claimed to make the Mideast safe for democracy?  Whatever the reason for invading Iraq, a nation we supported for years, a nation which had not and was not planning to attack us, what did we accomplish and what do we have now that we are gone?  We are faced with the Islamic State and Iran has a satellite.

What about Afghanistan?  After the sneak attacks on 9-11 we had every legal and moral right to attack the nation that harbored and protected Al-Qaeda.  However, to keep faith with the Constitution a declaration of war should have been obtained.  Our armed forces waged a brilliant campaign that dismantled the Taliban regime in short order.  Then instead of saying, if it happens again we will come back again, and leaving we have stayed for ten plus years squandering hundreds of billions building a nation for people who don’t see themselves as a nation.  They are a collection of tribes grouped together by the necessities of international politics surrounded by a porous border and a history of ungovernable conflict.

Does anyone doubt that after we leave Kabul the Taliban will return?  Does anyone doubt that the training and weapons that we have given to our Afghan allies which are turned against us on a regular basis will form the bedrock of future Taliban strength?  Does anyone doubt that as soon as we are gone Karzai and other Afghan patriots of his ilk will be leaving with 747s full of American tax dollars?

The Constitution gives Congress the exclusive right to declare war.  This limitation on the prerogative of our chief executive to commit America to war without the consent of the citizens was considered one of the most important strengths of the document.  The founders of our nation came from a society in which autocratic kings had often plunged their nations into wars based on their own desires, whims, and political machinations.  Those who wrote the Constitution to be the framework for a new type of nation determined that we should never go to war unless it was the expression of the people through their elected representatives.

There hasn’t been a declared war since World War II, and yet our sons and daughters have fought and died in countless battles around the world.  With the war in Afghanistan set to end next year the Neocons and Progressives are beating the war drums daily for intervention in Syria and war with Iran, and even push for war with Russia.  Remember WWII?  That was basically the whole world against the fascist powers of Germany, Italy and Japan.  What is being offered here is a world war with us against everyone else.

Look at the debacles this aggressive policy is inserting into American History.  The prime example is the disaster in Benghazi.  I believe once the truth is known it was the CIA implementing the Obama Administration’s on-going policy of supporting Islamic Radicals supplying weapons to the Syrian rebels to overthrow another Arab dictator as we had just recently accomplished in Libya.  I contend that the Mission in Benghazi and its satellite CIA Safe-House were in reality a conduit for transferring untraceable weapons from the captured Libyan arsenal through Turkey to the rebels.  So when it comes to Syria we have instigated and supported this war for years.  Now we are pouring money down rat holes training soldiers who melt into the enemy weapons in hand at the first opportunity.  And even this isn’t enough.  The Neocons want us to play the proxy army for the Sunni against the Shia in their long war of religious fratricide.

The same goes for Iran.  There has been a shadow war raging for years between Israel and Iran with American support.  This shadow war consists of assassinations of nuclear scientists, bombing nuclear facilities and uploading computer viruses into computers used to control the cyclotrons used to enrich uranium on the part of the allies.  The response has been attacks against Israeli citizens around the world and even a bombing attempt in Washington D.C.

This was not enough.  America led the world in imposing draconian sanctions against Iran.  Sanctions which if imposed on us would be consider acts of war.  Once again this is not enough.  Now the Obama administration has concluded a deal with Iran that takes a step back from war.  The billions of dollars that we are supposedly giving Iran are in reality Iranian dollars we have been holding up around the world due to the sanctions.  Our own intelligence agencies continue to insist there is no evidence that Iran is even trying to build a bomb and yet the Neocons are working day and night to get us to deliver some shock and awe all over Iran all in the name of peace.

Iran has not attacked another country in the memory of anyone who is alive today.  Or in the lives of the ancestors going back hundreds of years.  America’s intelligence agencies unanimously tell us, Congress, and the Administration that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.  Iran is a signer of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, and as a part of that treaty it is guaranteed the right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes.  I know none of this will endear me to my more doctrinaire readers.  The truth often does not fit into the insulated scenarios of ideology, which according to the law of paradigm thinking means that anything that does not fit is wrong.  I am prepared to be wrong to get this right.

As part of the big push to get us into another war we are told that with regard to Iran “Containment is off the table.”  Usually soon after we are told “All options are on the table” war is on the table.  Why is containment off the table?  It worked during the Cold War when we faced off with an enemy many times larger with thousands of nuclear weapons on delivery systems aimed at our cities.  Why won’t it work against a nation that at this point has no nuclear weapons?

Why is it acceptable for North Korea to have nuclear weapons but not Iran?  Does anyone think the Ayatollahs are crazier than the new boy dictator of the Kim dynasty?  There is no doubt that the United States military has the ability to destroy Iran’s conventional defensive and offensive resources within a short time.  It is obvious we could, “Bomb them back to the stone age” as the saying goes.  However that wouldn’t necessarily mean that some of the stones thrown later in the contest might not hurt.  Iran has an unknown asymmetrical war capability.

It is believed that their allies in Gaza and Lebanon would immediately attack Israel.  The Iranians would also do all they could to interrupt the supply of the oil upon which we continue to allow ourselves to rely.  They would attempt to attack the oil fields of their neighbors, to close the Straits of Hormuz, attack nearby American bases, and possibly stir up rebellions in Sunni ruled countries with either sizable Shiite minorities or in some cases majorities.  We might even face terrorist attacks here in the Homeland.  This war would not be a cake walk.  The military and economic consequences would be immediate and they would be dire.

However, as dire as these consequences would be these are not potentially the most troubling. War opens the door for domestic changes that would not be possible during normal times.  While we have been and are engaged in a multi-generational seemingly endless series of wars this war might be different.  While all our other wars have been fought over there the civilian population continued to live as if Americans were not in harm’s way even though our sons and daughters were.  In other words we managed to have both guns and butter, war overseas and peace at home.  In the case of a war with Iran we might face a situation that could bring the war home to America in multiple ways.

Economically gas could skyrocket causing dislocation in our fragile economy.  On the military front terror sleeper cells could be activated in America or terrorists could come in through our porous southern border, or we could import them ourselves through refugee relocation.  Both the economic impact and terrorist activities would open the door for drastic government action which could well negatively impact our lives.  Rights are often curtailed in times of emergency.   The cost of war is often seen in the growth of government power and the loss of freedom at home.

Our worldwide military presence is not keeping us safe and in many ways it is provocative.  Peace and equitable trade with all is the course recommended by our founders.  It was the foreign policy of every administration until McKinley and the default position until FDR.  Let us return to our traditions and reject these endless wars for peace.  Let us quit supporting other economies with our foreign bases.  Let us end the many entangling agreements that bind us to fight for others who should instead fight for themselves.  It is time for patriots to see that more wars for peace will not bring us peace.  What we need is real peace not a phony peace at home and endless war abroad.

With real peace we could perhaps deal with the domestic issues that are tearing us apart and driving us into bankruptcy.  Every patriot should recognize the danger new fronts in our never-ending war will have on our current battle to maintain personal liberty, individual freedom, and economic opportunity here at home.  Consequently patriots should do everything in their power to stop the stampede to war.  Stand up for real peace and not for more wars for a peace that never comes.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

Communicators Phasers Replicators Cloaking Device Impulse Drive and the Borg October 1, 2015

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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In many ways I have always been a dystopian believing that the inevitable rise of a future technology enhanced totalitarian state will regiment and control a society that is as dehumanizing and as unpleasant as possible.  I was influenced by early and repeated readings of such works as 1984, The Brave New World, A Clockwork Orange, and the Iron Heel.  I was also influenced by the History of the Twentieth Century and the steady erosion of freedom in America that marks the evolution of the Progressive agenda.  In spite of all that I also believe that technology has the potential to change the game and deliver us to an unexpected future.

Back in 2005 there appeared a two-hour television documentary, commissioned by Discovery Channel Canada and co-produced for History Channel in the United States and Channel Five in the United Kingdom., How William Shatner Changed the World.  In this well-done and very interesting film William Shatner presents a light-hearted look at how the “Star Trek” TV series has influenced and inspired today’s technologies including: cell phones, medical imaging, computers and software, SETI, MP3 players and iPods, virtual reality, and spaceship propulsion.

Ever since, I have been recommending that people watch this as a way to inform them of how much science fiction is becoming science fact.  Several recent announcements have spurred me to devote this week’s column to a more public pronouncement about where technology is leading us.

Think about the Star Trek franchise where  there was the original Star Trek, then the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, the movies, and even an animated series.  For decades these imaginative shows have tantalized us about a future where humanity has left the death cage of a world that has been repeatedly almost wiped clean of life by meteors, volcanoes, and ice ages.  It is only by spreading beyond the womb of our home world that humanity can ensure its survival.

Technology also offers the prospect of transforming our societies and cultures in ways we need to examine unless we intend to fly into the future blind.

Wikipedia, the much maligned open user source that is much more accurate than it is generally believed has a good synopsis of what the documentary covers:

First hour

The first hour focuses on the original Star Trek series and the ideas that Gene Roddenberry had about the future of space travel.

It begins with the life of Dr. Marc D. Rayman, the chief propulsion engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and shows how Dr. Rayman became interested in propulsion through Star Trek. It also discusses how NASA’s newest deep space probe’s ion propulsion was inspired by the Star Trek episode Spock’s Brain. Shatner also states that “those pesky trekkies are everywhere in the space program,” hence the name for the first Space Shuttle: Enterprise.

The show then examines the life of Martin Cooper, the chief engineer at Motorola, who invented the cell phone. Cooper states that Star Trek was his inspiration for the cell phone, and discusses the similarities between the modern day cell phone and a Star Trek communicator. He also discusses how Star Trek introduced the concept of computer voice recognition dialing.

Next, Mae C. Jemison describes how Star Trek inspired her to become the first African-American in space, and Seth Shostak, of SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), tells how it led him to astronomy.

The show also explores how Star Trek popularized the notion of the user-friendly personal computer, and how Trek fan Ed Roberts, invented the first home computer, the Altair 8800, named after the solar system Altair (Altair 6) in the Star Trek episode Amok Time. This led to Bill Gates writing the computer programming language BASIC for the Altair and forming Microsoft.

Medical technologies are discussed, in particular the inspiration for non-invasive Star-Trek-style imaging technology.

Warp drive and faster-than-light interstellar travel with theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre‘s theories are mentioned. Lawrence M. Krauss, physicist and author of The Physics of Star Trek, is also featured.

The show then investigates the research work of Kevin Warwick at the University of Reading and considers its links with the Borg. Warwick’s cyborg implants, linking his own nervous system into the internet, are featured.

Second hour The second hour focuses on further programs in Star Trek franchise: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise and their impact and how they differed from the original series.

Next up is Steve Perlman, at the time principal scientist at Apple Computer, who was inspired to invent the QuickTime media player by watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

As eye-opening as this documentary was it first saw the light of day back in 2005.  That was ten years ago, and according to Moore’s Law, based on the observation made in 1965 by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented and his prediction that this trend would continue for the foreseeable future, there has been an exponential rise in computing power every year since.  With rising computing power comes acceleration in the speed of innovation based upon the research and design enhancement that computing power provides.  So where are we today?

Communicators: Remember the two way links provided by those handy little medallions the Star Trek crew wore?  They could speak to the ship and each other.  Never more than a click away everyone was in constant communication.  When we first saw these most of us still had rotary dial phones and only the rich and powerful had something we called a car phone.  Today more people on Earth, six out of seven billion, have access to cell phones than have access to toilets.  And on those cell phones we not only have audio communication on mobile devices we have video, face-time, pocket computers, calculators, and cameras.

Phasers: In the real world we call these lasers, and they have been real for a long time.  Used in many ways lasers have become a part of everyday world with laser pointers and laser cutting.  Today after decades of development and testing they are moving into the world of weapons.  The U.S. Navy has already mounted them on ships and they are being tested on jet fighters, drones, drone killers, and rifles.

Replicators: In the real world we call them 3-D printers and they are already being used to:

  • Print organs used in medical procedures, and to create prototypes for manufacturing speeding up the time needed to develop new products. Anthony Atala at Wake Forest’s Regenerative Medicine department was able to create artificial scaffolds in the shape of an organ with living cells. First the scaffold is printed and then it is coated with living cells. Now the Regenerative Department is working on building 3D printers that can print artificial scaffolds and living cells at the exact same time.
  • Ford Motor Company uses 3D printing to make prototypes of many parts in their vehicles, such as cylinder heads, brake rotors, shift knobs and vents.  3D printing was used at Ford’s Torrence Avenue Assembly Plant for the production of the Explorer and EcoBoostJim Kor and his team of engineers are building a whole vehicle with 3D printers called the Urbee 2. The body of the original Urbee was made through the use 3D printing. However, the Urbee 2 as a whole will be mostly 3D printed. The Urbee 2 will also look more like a production-ready car compared to the original.
  • NASA has fabricated rocket engine injectors. NASA is also going to send a 3D printer into outer space as part of a plan to set up a “mini factory” at the International Space Station (ISS). If astronauts run out of tools, they would simply be able to print out more. Astronauts would no longer have to carry spare parts for each mission.
  • Defense Distributed a high tech gunsmith group created a fully open-sourced 3D printed gun. Fifteen of the gun’s sixteen parts were made out of 3D printed plastic and the body can be etched overnight.
  • Tariq Rahman of the Nemours Biomedical Research facility at the Alfred DuPoint Hospital For Children worked with engineers at the hospital to build a durable exoskeleton that is helping those who cannot walk do so.
  • In Japan, Yahoo! is working with a creative agency called Hakuhodo Kettle to help a school for the blind.  Yahoo! is teaching blind children to search the web using a machine called Hands On Search.  The Hands On Search is shaped like a cloud and it combines voice recognition technology with a MakerBot 3D printer to turn voice queries into physical objects.

It may be a few years before we all have 3-D printers in our homes or before we can merely say, “Earl Grey Tea – Hot” and have it appear in a cup ready and waiting; however, at this rate it may not be long.

Cloaking Device: In the Star Trek universe the Romulans were always popping in and out of view with their cloaking device.  This was a stealth technology so advanced that it not only made their war ships invisible to enemy technology it made them invisible to the naked eye.

Today scientists are hot on the trail of invisibility.  Step by step and inch by inch we are coming closer and knowing the way the military has what we think is impossible long before we know it is reality many believe it is already in use.  In a reversal of the old saying, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you,” invisible war ships, planes, tanks, and men will be extremely difficult to counter.  Except by blind luck you can’t hit what you can’t see

Impulse Power:  This is the slower than light drive used in Star Trek.  It may be slower than light speed but it is way faster than the primitive solid and liquid propulsion systems we have been using to dip our toe into the space faring sea.  The ships of the Federation in the Star Trek universe used it to zoom around inside solar systems and that may be a close approximation of what is looming on our horizon.

The no longer secret development of the Electromagnetic Drive (EM Drive) is about to take human space exploration to a whole new level.  Imagine going to the Moon in four hours or to Mars in ten weeks.  This is what scientist are telling us is the potential for the EM or Electromagnetic Drive being called an impossibility that works because it violates Newton’s Third law of Physics “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” It produces thrust by using solar power to generate multiple microwaves that move back and forth in an enclosed chamber. This means that until something fails or wears down, theoretically the engine could keep running forever without the need for rocket fuel.  Once it starts it is that holy grail of pseudoscience: perpetual motion.  Everyone knows perpetual motion is impossible.  The only problem is that it works.

This is being called a reactionless drive.  Reactionless drives lack the “reaction” defined in Newton’s Third Law so for this to work there must be an as-yet-undefined phenomenon taking place or our current understanding of physics is completely wrong.

With this technology it becomes feasible for humanity to make a real beginning of mass exploration and one day migration to the stars.  We are poised to leave the womb of the world and be re-born as a star faring race.  One day soon we may have cousins on Mars and brothers on the Moon.  One day soon we may leave ourselves and help secure the survival of humanity in this cosmic pinball machine where eventually a meteor will punctuate our equilibrium.

And there is the Borg. Which, according to Memory Alpha, “were a pseudo-species of cybernetic beings, or cyborgs, from the Delta Quadrant. No single individual truly existed within the Borg Collective (with the possible sole exception of the Borg Queen), as all Borg were linked into a hive mind. Their ultimate goal was the attainment of ‘perfection’ through the forcible assimilation of diverse sentient species, technologies, and knowledge. As a result, the Borg were among the most powerful and feared entities in the galaxy, without really being a true species at all.”

Is there any possibility that we are the seed of the Borg?  According to Ray Kurzweil, arguably one of the most intelligent men to have ever lived and demonstrably one of the most prescient futurists of all time in his seminal book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology it is not only possible it is coming soon to a reality near you.  According to About the Book in this book Kurzweil examines,

The next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our own creations.

That merging is the essence of the Singularity, an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today—the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity. In this new world, there will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. We will be able to assume different bodies and take on a range of personae at will. In practical terms, human aging and illness will be reversed; pollution will be stopped; world hunger and poverty will be solved. Nanotechnology will make it possible to create virtually any physical product using inexpensive information processes and will ultimately turn even death into a soluble problem.

If this sounds too farfetched consider these recent headlines:

  • DARPA is testing implanting chips in soldiers’ brains
  • The Age of Enhancement: Technology is starting to give us superpowers once reserved for comic-book heroes.
  • Building the Real Iron Man
  • The Real Cyborgs
  • Plugging In Your Brain and Body – The Future Of Implanted Computers
  • Brown University creates first wireless, implanted brain-computer interface
  • Intel: Chips in brains will control computers by 2020
  • Will Microchip Implants in Humans Become Mandatory?

After even a cursory search of the Net, just a few clicks and these types of stories begin to appear endless.   This isn’t pie-in–the-sky sometime off in the future somewhere, this is today.  This is happening now.  There is a mad dash to enhance and improve upon God’s creation: man.  In our infinite wisdom we have decided that it is time to take control of evolution and kick it up a notch.

When I speak to people about this aspect of the near future I am often told, “I’ll never get any of that implanted in me.”  I always answer with this question, “If someone invents a chip that is implanted with a simple shot that makes you 1000 times more intelligent and you don’t get it, how do you compete with those who have?”

I have yet to receive a satisfactory answer.

As the Historian of the Future I am compelled to point out that the current events of today are the History of tomorrow, and just as the past is always the past the future is yet to be.  We live in a constant present where, as the future slides into the present the present slides into the past and our lives are the History of the future.  So live your life as if it matters. Face the future with a consciousness of the past so that the present can be used to shape what the future will be. Because it is coming whether we want it or not, and resistance is futile.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

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