SeedSing Classic: It is Time to Repeal and Replace Capitalism

The failure of capitalism is on display with the criminal greed being seen in our corporations and government. We wanted to re-post our thoughts on our broken economic system. The post originally appeared on September 7th, 2015.

What do we really celebrate on Labor Day? History says that the day started as a reaction to the Haymarket Massacre in 1886. The deaths in Chicago that day brought to light the struggles of workers nationwide. Demonstrators at Haymarket Square that day were rallying for an eight hour work day. When we go back and look at how the heads of capitalism treated their workers, who were US citizens, it is frightening. The labor movement needed to strike, rally, and demonstrate just so the capital owners would treat the workers like real humans. We celebrate Labor Day because workers needed to demand, and risk their safety, for a humanity that the capital owners were not willing to provide.

Capitalism is anti humanity and it is not allowing us to socially evolve, it is time for a new economic system. The people at the very top of our capitalistic society are large carnivores that get rewarded for anything that they can consume. There is no humanity to the capital owners. We celebrate record stock markets, and forget we have such a small volume of people participating in the market. We complain about welfare queens, without accepting that some of our richest CEOs get their salaries enhanced by government subsidies. The devourers at the top of the economic food chain have made the people below fearful and reverent at the same time. Capitalism is not allowing us to grow as humans, it is keeping us in cages like the animals that the capital owners need to control.

The way capitalism is sold to the general public is through use of code words like freedom and opportunity. In the world of today there is very little opportunity or freedom for the people not at the top of the capitalism food chain. The use of freedom and opportunity have their roots in trying to keep people non-empowered. If you want to go out and start your own business, you do have that freedom. If you have a great idea that can change the world, you have the opportunity to pursue that dream. Our modern capitalistic system does throw up every hurdle imaginable so the current capital owners have a say over your success. The system allows for the commoditization of people who can steal and exploit other people's work. The defenders of capitalism use opportunity and freedom as defenses for these patent trolls. Capitalism does not create ideas, it creates ways to steal great ideas and give them to the carnivores at the top.

The idea of commoditization has reached a truly dangerous level in our society. We have used capitalism to justify putting a price on the our most important human needs. Healthcare is one of our largest, and wealthiest, industries. We all accept that doctors should be well paid because of their skill and necessity. Our ability to get healthcare, through insurance, is directly related to our income. That is insane. Medical care is a necessity for everyone in the world, why should it be a commodity? Why do we not question this? Most doctors are not builders and creators, they are administrators. When you go to the doctor, it is for maintenance or to discuss something out side of the norm. Your income level rarely dictates the maintenance you require. Your income level can directly relate to the need for a doctor when there is something outside of norm. Lower income people have more severe, treatable, medical issues because of how capitalism financially elevates doctors. Basic human needs like healthcare are not a commodity. Capitalism has set a value to our lives, that is anti-humanity.

The ability to communicate has been the greatest tool for social evolution. The printing press created a new world filled with scientific and social advances. The internet is just getting its legs, and changing the entire world for the better. Many of the innovations related to communication were not done in pursuit of economic riches. The internet was created by the government, and nurtured by the social system, to become the tool we use today. The engineers of the world create things that not only maintain society, but allow it to grow. The Wright Brothers looked to the government for support before they looked to the capital owners. Roads, rails, and bridges are designed and built by engineers with government support, not private business support. Why is it that the government has allowed business to commoditize basic needs like communication? The rise of the telecom deregulation was another sacrifice at the idol of capitalism. We have been told that private business can handle our communication better than the government funded engineers who built the network. Our reward is one of the worst communication networks in the developed world. The telecom companies get their money, the CEOs get their large paydays, and the citizens get a subpar product thanks to the tenets of capitalism. The telecom companies do not have any concern for our ability to communicate, their concern is only to gain money. Our government, and our cultural programming, have allowed for basic communication to be another commodity to be bought and sold. Due to capitalism the more wealth you have, the better communication available.

Capitalism is a wall that stops innovation. The ability to create a commodity out of basic social needs is a large problem. Your health is not something that should be paid for. Your voice and ideas are not things that should be granted by a company with no creators. Capitalism exists to give freedom and opportunity to those already established, and make sure the non established have very nearly no options to compete. We deserve the right pursue our dreams, and not be hampered by our inability to pay for health or communication. Everyone deserves freedom and opportunity.

Capitalism is one of the most destructive forces in history. We need to have a discussion on how to replace this carnivorous ideology with one that rewards innovation and creates an evolving society. In the future we will continue to discuss the pitfalls of capitalism, and start to formulate an ideology that will bring about a brighter future. We encourage your dissent and contribution. Your ideas are not a commodity. Come share them with us.

Happy Labor day. Enjoy this day of rest and remember that protesters died for the right to have a reasonable work schedule. Let us use this Labor Day to start a new movement. The old capitalistic ways need to be repealed, the replacement will produce true opportunity. We can find this new way forward together. The only thing we will lose are the cages the capitalists keep society in.

RD Kulik

RD is the creator and Head Editor for SeedSing. 

John McCain and Neil Simon: The Death of Icons

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Over the weekend we lost two icons of American culture. Eighty-One year old former US Navy Hero, Presidential candidate, and longtime Senator from Arizona, John McCain passed away surrounded by family and friends on Saturday. The very next day, American play, and screen, writer Neil Simon passed away at the age of ninety-one. Both men defined their professions, and their era. Both men leave a legacy that will be studied for generations. With the deaths of John McCain and Neil Simon, the eras they helped create are gone, they were their last champions. We can now only reflect on their lives.

It is easier to look at the life of Neil Simon with reverence. The man wrote plays that were not that controversial, yet they influenced us all. Simon wrote stories that were critical and financial successes. The man penned The Odd Couple, The Brighton Beach Trilogy, Barefoot in the Park, Chapter Two, and Lost In Yonkers, and those are just a few from the top of the head. Lost in Yonkers won the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Neil Simon won all the awards, broke all the box office records, and was the defining comedy playwright of the late twentieth century. Simon's name belongs on the Mount Rushmore of great American playwrights next to Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, and Eugene O'Neill. There is no denying the influence Neil Simon has had on the American theater. He is legendary.

(Ed Note: I also owe Neil Simon a debt of gratitude in that the film version of Biloxi Blues made me want to study theater and I was fortunate enough to play Arty in Lost in Yonkers during my senior year of college and then played the father, Eddie, seven years later. I went from looking sixteen to looking forty in less than one decade. Thanks Neil.)

The death of John McCain is not as easy to find automatic reverence. Many people may be mad once they read that sentence, but it is the truth. When someone spends as long as they did in elective office as Senator McCain, there is a long list of accomplishments, and shortcomings, that need to be part of their life story. 

Let's start with John McCain's military service. Anyone who questions what John McCain went through as a POW in Vietnam is a terrible kind of human being. No person, who holds any elected office in the United States of America, has any right to criticize John McCain's time as a POW. You are a coward, and not a patriot, if you use your platform to criticize a war hero. John McCain did not have to go to Vietnam, his father was a freaking US Admiral. John McCain was connected. He could have had multiple deferments and joined the Arizona National Guard, or claimed to be suffering from bone spurs, but he went to fight. He was captured, and he suffered. Navy John McCain is a goddamn hero. There is no debate.

Once out of the Navy, John McCain was a national hero. He was elected by the people of Arizona to serve in the US House of Representatives and then later to the US Senate. The early years of Congressman John McCain were not notable, except for one scandal. In 1989 Senator John McCain was one of five Us Senators accused of corruption in relation to Charles Keating, a chairman in a major savings and loans firm that was failing. Senator McCain was accused of being corrupt in trying to ease the government pressure on Keating. McCain was later cleared of doing anything illegal, but the Senate still said that the young senator exhibited "poor judgement". Those words would follow John McCain for the next decade.

The new millennium brought a new political narrative for Senator John McCain. The 2000 Republican presidential primary saw McCain challenge the establishment pick of George W Bush. The race started off well for McCain, who was using campaign finance as a center point of his campaign. The Arizona Senator won the first primary in New Hampshire, but the next step was South Carolina. McCain's ideas were not on the ballot, but his adopted Bangladeshi child was an issue. The George W Bush campaign never claimed to be involved, but many people loyal to the Texas Governor's campaign did spread rumors that McCain's adopted daughter was actually a blood relative that McCain had as a result of an affair with an African American prostitute. It will never be known if the lie worked, but Bush won South Carolina and marched his way to the Republican nomination. John McCain was destined to be back in his Senate seat.

Having lost the 2000 Republican presidential primary did not stop John McCain from pursuing his dream of campaign finance. The Republican from Arizona teamed up with John Feingold, a Democrat from Wisconsin, to pass the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act in March of 2002 (the law is usually known as the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law). McCain's embarrassment from the Keating Five scandal was now clean because he was the author of America's first campaign finance regulation.

It was a hollow victory.

The loopholes left in the McCain-Feingold law helped to give rise to "dark money" and "Super PACS". The terribleness of the 2016 election is directly related to what was possible because of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act. McCain-Feingold just put a band aid on a gaping wound.

Yet John McCain's reputation as a rebel in his party, a maverick one may say, was just starting to grow. The media loved Maverick McCain. He is the most frequent guest ever on Meet the Press. Once it was obvious that John McCain would be the 2008 Republican nominee for President, Fox News opened their doors to glowing coverage of the Arizona Senator. Senator John McCain became the goto guy for the Washington DC media. The maverick even landed in political hot water when he had to defend his opponent in the 2008 election from the seemingly slanderous notion of being an Arab. His defense did not work, Barrack Obama easily won the 2008 election for President and John McCain was once again heading back to the US Senate.

It also a very important part of John McCain's political career to point out the fact that he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008. The rumor is that the maverick wanted to bring in former democrat Joe Lieberman, but the Republican party wanted the Governor of Alaska. The maverick lost, and the party won, and America now had to deal with the Palin part of American politics. The Republican Party has been forever altered because of the ascension of Sarah Palin, and John McCain is responsible for that. 

Since 2008 Senator McCain tried to hold onto to his branding as a maverick. He opposed any policy that allowed for the US to use torture on captured enemy combatants, yet he continually supported the "wars" in Afghanistan and Iraq. It should be noted that McCain did express regret for these military actions in the last few months of his life. He sided with his party in trying to defeat the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), yet just a few months ago he was the deciding vote in keeping the law alive. McCain endorsed, and campaigned for Mitt Romney in 2012, yet he would not support Donald Trump in 2016. There was never a clear partisan path for McCain, that is why the Washington media loved him. That is why he was always on the television.  

All the way up to last Saturday, John McCain was called a maverick by some circles, and a politically craven opportunist by other circles. Both are right. That is why looking back at the career of John McCain is so difficult. We all (well almost all) can agree with his heroism as a US Navy pilot, but his second act, his political career, is filled with opportunity and missteps. We must celebrate the man for his service, but we cannot excuse his shortcomings. The hero that is John McCain would not have accepted that.

Neil Simon and John McCain are now gone. They will never do another interview, they will never be in attendance for a standing ovation, they will never offer us another word of wisdom, they are gone. Both men were icons of their era, and they are now confined to being a part of the history of their eras. Society will move on, a new voice of the American theater will be crowned, a new maverick will arise in Washington DC. We can only hope that these new voices can be as influential as Neil Simon and John McCain. For better or worse.

RD

Ryan David Kulik is the Head Editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

A Few Words About "Thoughts and Prayers", the GOP. the NRA, and Another Mass School Shooting

 The color of a person's soul who holds "thoughts and prayers" over the safety of our children

The color of a person's soul who holds "thoughts and prayers" over the safety of our children

Yesterday a Florida high school had a horrific event happen. 17 people lost their lives because of a crazed lunatic. This crazed lunatic somehow found a way to purchase an AR-15 and proceeded to map out a plan to shoot up the school, and the plan went through.

This is a horrific, awful and sad tragedy, that could have been avoided. In fact, all 18 of the gun violence incidents that have occurred since that buffoon took office could have been avoided(ed note: It has been 18 in 2018, over 300 confirmed mass shootings since our glorious leader took office). Yet, when that moron, and the other morons he has surrounded himself with have been asked to comment on these events, they all say the same god damn thing. All of them say that the people who have gone through these terrible events will, "be in our thoughts and prayers".

Before I go any further I need to apologize to anyone reading this, especially my parents, because this piece is going to be filled with bad words.

Back to the whole "thoughts and prayers" bull shit. To them I say, fuck your thoughts and prayers. These people will not get their lives back, their families will never get to see them again, these children won't know the joys and pain of growing up with your god damn thoughts and prayers. That is pure, nonsensical bull shit. That is the cowards way out. That is what you dumbasses have been trained to say. All of you dip shits that use "thoughts and prayers" as your answer, fuck you and your so called Jesus. Your perverted idea of this Jesus person never existed, and if he or she did, wouldn't they have put a stop to this, and you for that matter, a long, long time ago. All of you government people who spew religion in our faces, God or Jesus, or whoever is supposed to be an all loving person. I don't think that an all loving person would allow innocent kids, adults, club goers and live music fans to lose their lives due to some lunatics with guns. That doesn't sound all loving. And before you give me the whole, "it was their time. God only chooses when you go". I say again, FUCK YOU. We are talking about little kids in some of these cases. You mean to tell me that the kids involved with Sandy Hook, it was their time? The kids in these high schools, it was their time? The people at the nightclub in Orlando, it was their time? If that is the case, then when is it Mitch McConnell's time? When is it Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan's time? When is it John McCain's time? When is it that dickhead at the White House time? When is it Steve Bannon and Reince Preibus' time? Why do all these monsters get to continue living, if it is God or Jesus' will, when innocent people get cut down way too young? That doesn't make a lick of sense to me. That is preposterous, and further hammers home the fact that there isn't a God or Jesus or anyone that all these morons and horrible people say they are "praying" to.

I'm literally sick to my stomach today because of what happened yesterday, and what has happened in the past year, and what will continue to happen in the next couple of years while these fascists are trying to run the government. I don't like the feeling of dropping my 6 year old off and school and thinking, I hope nothing horrible happens today. But, due to what the current administration has done, I'm left with that sinking feeling now every morning. It is a relief when I see his smiling face after school now. That is a sad state of affairs. But, do they really care? If they did, why would they only give "thoughts and prayers" to victims of these tragedies. 

Does the lack of care from these cowards have to do with the fact that the majority, if not all of the GOP, have ties to the NRA? I'm sure some Democrats have ties to, which is just as sickening. But, lets not be naive about this. We all know that the GOP loves their guns, and that the NRA is filled with conservative nut jobs. They always seem afraid that a Democrat, or a more popular and super offensive term used now, "libtard", is trying to take away their guns. Well, when a private citizen can get access to an assault rifle, I think that is a bit much. Call me a "libtard" and "snowflake" all you want. But, I want to know why someone who is not in the military or on a SWAT team or in the FBI needs a god damn assault rifle. Why? What do you need that kind of power for? Is your penis that small that you think an automatic rifle will make you feel better about yourself? Is the NRA telling you that you need this gun to "take care of business"? You don't need an assault rifle, you need a hug. You need people around you that want to help. You may even just need to smoke some weed and chill the hell out. But, no. The GOP and NRA want you to have access to that assault rifle you think you desperately need. They want you to get that gun so much that the current fascist administration gutted a bunch of quality laws that Barack Obama put in place so it would be tougher to purchase assault weapons. That is a travesty.

Not only do all of these cowards that went out, purchased guns and did these heinous acts have blood on their hands, so does every government official that has taken money from the NRA. You are all complicit. You are all to blame. You are all cowards. You are all the lowest of the low. You are scum and you disgust me. Not only am I embarrassed to be an American, now I am scared. These are dark days that we are living in, and it is all due to the lowlife douchebags that only care about themselves and their bank accounts.

You fuckers sicken me.

I don't know how you sleep at night. I don't know how you show your face in public without being embarrassed. I don't know how you can live with yourselves. You are a bunch of racist, misogynist, narcissistic assholes. If there is a God, and a heaven and hell, I hope all of you cowards realize that you have a one way ticket to hell. You are cowards and bullies and you can take your "thoughts and prayers" and shove them up you asses. I loathe you and I loathe your me first mentality. Go get fucked with the rustiest wrench that you can find. The GOP stinks and they have countless innocent people's blood on their hands. As for the NRA, they are a terrorist organization ranked right up there with Al Qeadea and the Nazis. You are the lowest of the low. The worst of the worst. You deserve nothing but bad things for the rest of your meager, filthy, stupid and pointless lives. I'm sickened by what our country has turned in to.

If you aren't angry and scared now, get there. We have a hard fight ahead of us, and it all starts in November. Lets vote these fascist fuck heads out. Lets turn our country around. Lets make America a safe place again. We can do it. We just have to show up to the polls.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Election Day is November 6th. Get registered.

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SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

RIP Dick Gregory

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This past weekend we lost 2 world renowned comedians, Dick Gregory and Jerry Lewis. Now, Lewis was a legend, but he was also not such a nice person. He said hurtful things about female comedians and made some unsettling, very racist movies early in his career. Honestly, the best thing I can say about Lewis is, he gave Matt Groening the idea for Professor Frink. That is what I will remember the most about Lewis. I'm sorry he passed away, but he was known as a mean man that did not say nice things about women. I'm sorry, but it is true.

Now, Dick Gregory on the other hand, he was not only a great comedian, but he was a great man and an active man. Gregory was born in my home city of Saint Louis. Now, full disclosure, I knew Gregory was a comedian, but I knew him more as an activist and all the charity work he did. I knew of some of his famous jokes. For example, the joke when he went into a segregated restaurant, the waitress told him they don't serve "colored" people and he said, "that's fine. I wanted the fried chicken anyway". Then, when some guys came up to him in the restaurant and said, "we are going to do to you whatever to do to that chicken", and Gregory took it, kissed it and said, "line up boys!". That is brilliant stuff. So yeah, I knew he was a funny man. He was also the first African American to appear and stay on the couch after his performances on "The Jack Paar Show". He made sure that he could stay on the couch to speak his mind, and they let him. He was a trend setter. His comedy was of the political/satire nature, because of course. He was the perfect person to do this type of humor.

Dick Gregory began his standup career while he was in the military in the 50's too. This had to shape his comedy mind, and later, his political mind. He was also one of the first African American comics to be accessible to everyone, not just one audience. His comedy was universally loved and he was adored by everyone. He also attributes his launch to Hugh Hefner who spotted him in a club and started to get him gigs all over. He would always mock the "establishment" in his routine, kind of laying the groundwork for his later life's work. He continued to do standup all the way into the 2000's, even appearing on wild shows like "Wondershowzen", and was still beloved. He left standup and fully became an activist in the early 2000's. Don't get it twisted though, he was politically active all the way back to the 60's, it was just in the 21st century where he dedicated himself completely to activism. Dick Gregory was a man that was at Selma. He ran for mayor in 1967 for the Freedom party. He then ran for president for the same party one year later. He was always politically involved, he just did more later in life. He spoke at many conventions, college gatherings, cultural movement and protest stuff. He marched, he spoke on TV, he was always there to speak up and speak out for the voiceless. Gregory was an avid feminist. He went to many rallies for feminists. He spoke with and for feminists groups. Gregory was a man that many people, no matter age, color or gender, wanted to hear speak. They wanted to know what was in his brilliant mind.

Dick Gregory was a great man. Dick Gregory was a great comedian. Dick Gregory was a great activist. Dick Gregory was the type of person that all people should strive to be. He was a wonderful man that accomplished many incredible things in his 84 years. He will be greatly missed. RIP Dick Gregory.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. 

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

We Need to Talk About Charlottesville

 This is the only god damn flag a true American should be waving.

This is the only god damn flag a true American should be waving.

Today I was supposed to start my NFL preview. Today I was going to talk about a sport I love, and am very much looking forward to. But, due to the horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend, that will have to wait until tomorrow. I have been feeling so many emotions since late Friday night into Saturday morning, and I did not know how to let them out. I didn't want to do it on Facebook or Twitter. My family is sick of me constantly complaining to them, although they have been a great help to me, letting me vent and go off the entire weekend, about this horrible, disgusting and disturbing "government". I try to stay away from the politics on the site and the podcast, but enough is enough. I have a platform, and I am going to use it to the best of my abilities.

What happened this past weekend was tragic and horrifying. These asshole, never been hugged by daddy, always griping about their dumbass plight cowards, are the lowest of the low. They are the worst of the worst. They are the type of people that are pure nightmare fuel. They are the most uneducated of the uneducated. They are terrifying. Everything about them is wrong. They don't even deserved to be talked about, but what they did in Charlottesville was truly horrific, and it needs to be addressed. These morons are a cancer to society. The fact that they think they are superior to any other person, religion or family is pure insanity. They are not. Just because their skin is white does not make them any better than anyone else. In fact, the white skin makes them worse. They make me upset to be a white person. They act like their lives are so hard, but in reality, white people have it easier than anyone else. So for these terrorists to do what they did, and do, it makes them the worst people in the world. Their only friends are other hate filled cowards that need torches when they have a meeting. The fact that some people have said it was supposed to be peaceful and they showed up with torches, they must have the smallest penises in the world. That is not peaceful. That is the definition of an aggressive meeting. Torches. They brought god damn torches.

Now get ready for some hard truths. When the women's march, the tax march, basically any march that has happened since the tragedy of the 2016 election, none of them were harmful. In fact, they were a peaceful gathering of people that have felt wronged, and rightfully so. What these terrorists did in Charlottesville was not peaceful. They meant to hurt, and kill people that opposed them. They were making Nazi gestures for god's sake. How is that peaceful? They were walking the streets yelling, "Heil Trump". How is that peaceful? They had hate in their eyes. They had the look of people looking for a fight, although I am sure that they would have backed down if they didn't have a weapon because they are cowards. Nothing about this was peaceful. This was meant to hurt people all over the country.

Their hate got so bad that Heather Heyer, who is a true hero, lost her life. She stood up against these monsters, she fought for what she felt was right, in a peaceful way, and one of these terrorists drove their car into a crowd and killed her. How is that peaceful? Why did it come to this? Why is it always violence with the far right? Why can't they use their words? This is a tragedy, and it is one of many that this current "government" has done nothing to stop. The current residents of the White House are all complicit. They all had a part in this. The fact that it took that fat golfing jackass more than 2 days to condemn what happened is horrendous. He is so quick to call out Hillary Clinton's emails, or rail on "SNL", but when a group of his voters, inbred cowards, do something truly tragic and scary, he waits two full days to respond. Why? Is it because that giant blob of human feces? Steve Bannon wants him to keep his mouth shut since he is running the country? Yes. Trump is so stupid he hired a neo Nazi to run this country, and look what has happened. It is scary. Not only Bannon, but people like Mike Pence and Paul Ryan and Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, they are all equally horrible and equally accountable for what has happened, and what will continue to happen while they are sullying the White House.

This is a horribly dark time in America. Everyday I wake up afraid of what may happen next. I mean, before Charlottesville, that golfing douchebag claimed, on Twitter, that he was going to nuke North Korea, and threatened Venezuela with military action. What the hell?! What is happening?! Why is it happening? I just want to feel safe and be proud to be an American. Voldemort and his goons have taken all of that away from me in less than a year. As I said, I wake up afraid all the time. I've never been more embarrassed to call myself an American and a white person. What is happening right now is going to go down as a very, very dark time in the history of America. When my son is in high school and college, and his teachers and my wife and I talk about 2016-17, it will not be good. I imagine it will be a lot like me asking my folks about Vietnam, or my folks asking their folks about World War 1 or 2. This is a very bad time to be in America.

On this day I say to everyone I know that voted for Voldemort, are you happy now? Is this what you wanted? Is this "administration" doing any good? Do you still believe in the current residents of the White House? Do you still stand behind them? Do you still have faith in these lunatics? If you answered yes to any of those questions, I'm done with you. You disgust me. You voted for this. You knew what you were getting yourself into because you wanted an "outsider", a "business man", a guy that "speaks his mind and answers to no one", a "non politician". I hope you are all happy with your choice. I'm disgusted and paranoid. I have nothing but disdain and dislike for anyone that voted for him. I have an incredible dislike for anyone that still stands by him. What has happened, in less than 7 months mind you, has been appalling and horrifying. This country is crumbling because of these monsters, and America is becoming a joke. How much more do these psychopaths need to do before they finally get fired and led to a jail cell? Unfortunately, I cannot answer that.

We are a country divided, and the Charlottesville incident is the lowest of the low. Heather Heyer was a hero and we all need to remember her and what she did. But let us not forget the people that are still fighting. There are still some good, decent people out there. The Keith Ellison's, Maxine Water's and Rachel Maddow's and Keith Olbemann's of the world are out there fighting the fight. But, I want everyone who reads this, if you agree with me or not, say the name Heather Heyer. Say it a lot, and think about what happened, and why she is gone now. These are dark and embarrassing days. RIP Heather Heyer  

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast.

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

It is Time to Repeal and Replace Capitalism

The failure of capitalism is on display with the criminal greed being seen in our corporations and government. We wanted to re-post our thoughts on our broken economic system. The post originally appeared on September 7th, 2015.

What do we really celebrate on Labor Day? History says that the day started as a reaction to the Haymarket Massacre in 1886. The deaths in Chicago that day brought to light the struggles of workers nationwide. Demonstrators at Haymarket Square that day were rallying for an eight hour work day. When we go back and look at how the heads of capitalism treated their workers, who were US citizens, it is frightening. The labor movement needed to strike, rally, and demonstrate just so the capital owners would treat the workers like real humans. We celebrate Labor Day because workers needed to demand, and risk their safety, for a humanity that the capital owners were not willing to provide.

Capitalism is anti humanity and it is not allowing us to socially evolve, it is time for a new economic system. The people at the very top of our capitalistic society are large carnivores that get rewarded for anything that they can consume. There is no humanity to the capital owners. We celebrate record stock markets, and forget we have such a small volume of people participating in the market. We complain about welfare queens, without accepting that some of our richest CEOs get their salaries enhanced by government subsidies. The devourers at the top of the economic food chain have made the people below fearful and reverent at the same time. Capitalism is not allowing us to grow as humans, it is keeping us in cages like the animals that the capital owners need to control.

The way capitalism is sold to the general public is through use of code words like freedom and opportunity. In the world of today there is very little opportunity or freedom for the people not at the top of the capitalism food chain. The use of freedom and opportunity have their roots in trying to keep people non-empowered. If you want to go out and start your own business, you do have that freedom. If you have a great idea that can change the world, you have the opportunity to pursue that dream. Our modern capitalistic system does throw up every hurdle imaginable so the current capital owners have a say over your success. The system allows for the commoditization of people who can steal and exploit other people's work. The defenders of capitalism use opportunity and freedom as defenses for these patent trolls. Capitalism does not create ideas, it creates ways to steal great ideas and give them to the carnivores at the top.

The idea of commoditization has reached a truly dangerous level in our society. We have used capitalism to justify putting a price on the our most important human needs. Healthcare is one of our largest, and wealthiest, industries. We all accept that doctors should be well paid because of their skill and necessity. Our ability to get healthcare, through insurance, is directly related to our income. That is insane. Medical care is a necessity for everyone in the world, why should it be a commodity? Why do we not question this? Most doctors are not builders and creators, they are administrators. When you go to the doctor, it is for maintenance or to discuss something out side of the norm. Your income level rarely dictates the maintenance you require. Your income level can directly relate to the need for a doctor when there is something outside of norm. Lower income people have more severe, treatable, medical issues because of how capitalism financially elevates doctors. Basic human needs like healthcare are not a commodity. Capitalism has set a value to our lives, that is anti-humanity.

The ability to communicate has been the greatest tool for social evolution. The printing press created a new world filled with scientific and social advances. The internet is just getting its legs, and changing the entire world for the better. Many of the innovations related to communication were not done in pursuit of economic riches. The internet was created by the government, and nurtured by the social system, to become the tool we use today. The engineers of the world create things that not only maintain society, but allow it to grow. The Wright Brothers looked to the government for support before they looked to the capital owners. Roads, rails, and bridges are designed and built by engineers with government support, not private business support. Why is it that the government has allowed business to commoditize basic needs like communication? The rise of the telecom deregulation was another sacrifice at the idol of capitalism. We have been told that private business can handle our communication better than the government funded engineers who built the network. Our reward is one of the worst communication networks in the developed world. The telecom companies get their money, the CEOs get their large paydays, and the citizens get a subpar product thanks to the tenets of capitalism. The telecom companies do not have any concern for our ability to communicate, their concern is only to gain money. Our government, and our cultural programming, have allowed for basic communication to be another commodity to be bought and sold. Due to capitalism the more wealth you have, the better communication available.

Capitalism is a wall that stops innovation. The ability to create a commodity out of basic social needs is a large problem. Your health is not something that should be paid for. Your voice and ideas are not things that should be granted by a company with no creators. Capitalism exists to give freedom and opportunity to those already established, and make sure the non established have very nearly no options to compete. We deserve the right pursue our dreams, and not be hampered by our inability to pay for health or communication. Everyone deserves freedom and opportunity.

Capitalism is one of the most destructive forces in history. We need to have a discussion on how to replace this carnivorous ideology with one that rewards innovation and creates an evolving society. In the future we will continue to discuss the pitfalls of capitalism, and start to formulate an ideology that will bring about a brighter future. We encourage your dissent and contribution. Your ideas are not a commodity. Come share them with us.

Happy Labor day. Enjoy this day of rest and remember that protesters died for the right to have a reasonable work schedule. Let us use this Labor Day to start a new movement. The old capitalistic ways need to be repealed, the replacement will produce true opportunity. We can find this new way forward together. The only thing we will lose are the cages the capitalists keep society in.

RD Kulik

RD is the creator and Head Editor for SeedSing. 

The Shuttle Challenger and Confronting My Mortality

 We will return

We will return

Ed Note: Today is the 31st Anniversary of the Shuttle Challenger disaster. This article originally appeared on January 28th, 2016.

Thirty years ago today was the first time I had to confront my own eventual death. I was only ten at the time, and I was on my way to the hospital. There was something going on with my health, and not a single doctor had been able to figure out the problem. My legs were feeling heavy and tired, there was blood in my urine, and in addition to the physical symptoms there were visible red dots showing up on my legs. Every day I would get a few new red dots, and my parents would take me to see a new specialist. Having doctors not know what was happening to my body started me on path to thinking I was going to die, soon. On January 28th, 1986 I was visiting a dermatologist in order to see if the red dots had any explanation. The doctor quickly diagnosed me with having a little known, at the time, illness called Henoch-Scholein purpura. I was immediately sent to the hospital and spent the next few months being released and readmitted as they treated the illness. I was going to be ok, I did not die.

January 28th, 1986 marked the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. This launch was going to be extra special because a civilian, a school teacher, was going to be on the ship. The Challenger was the work horse of the U.S. space program, and this launch was going to reignite the public excitement for manned space missions. Christa McAuliffe's journey to being an astronaut was presented to the entire nation. Many school aged children, myself included, were given lesson plans revolving around the civilian school teacher turned astronaut. McAuliffe's journey into space was going to be the first step to regular civilian space travel. I was convinced that getting off planet earth was going to be as routine and safe as it was to get from my house to school. Seventy-three seconds after the launch of mission STS-51-L the entire planet was reminded of the extreme danger space exploration holds.

The Challenger disaster was the harsh beginning to the end of serious US space exploration. We would not send another person into space for nearly two years. Politicians would use the disaster to dry up most of NASA's federal funding. The public quickly lost interest in all things related to exploration beyond our planet. The country was relating to Christa McAuliffe because she was going to be the first non-astronaut to go into space. The truth is that Christa McAuliffe was put through an immense training and safety program to make her competent to go on the shuttle, she was not like one of us. When the Challenger broke apart over the Atlantic Ocean, the regular persons dream of going into space ended. The thought of death was greater than our willingness to take the risk.

What happened off the coast of Florida on that chilly January morning was not a mere random accident.  Politicians, news people, and businessmen demanded the launch of the Challenger, although many people in the scientific community warned of a looming catastrophe.  NASA administrators were being pressured by people in Washington DC to make the launch date. Many of the engineers at NASA, and around the world, knew that the cold weather could cause issues with vital parts of the shuttle. A failure would definitely lead to disaster. Anti-science hubris caused the death of those seven astronauts, and crippled the US Space program. Many in the scientific community tried to speak out. Mechanical engineer Roger Boisjoly tried to get the launch scrapped in the days leading up to the disaster. Mr Boisjoly was not listened to, was not commended for his ethics, he was shunned by people in his own company and had to resign. Speaking out for astronaut safety was damaging to his career. By letting people who are good at politics make safety judgement calls over the advice of the scientific community was going to eventual lead to disaster. January 28th, 1986 saw that disaster.

When I got settled into my hospital room that night, my mother turned on the news so she could see what had happened in Florida that morning. We had heard from people in the emergency room about the disaster. It was heartbreaking to watch. I felt personally guilty because I was so worried about my own mortality, and just that very morning seven of our best citizens were killed by political hubris. I was still very afraid for my own well being, but I was sad for the families of the Challenger astronauts. They had to deal with unexpected death that day. In the weeks that followed, my ten year old mind was consumed with all the news surrounding the Challenger disaster. I was a child surrounded by sick people, and I was constantly thinking about those seven astronauts. I was constantly thinking about death.

The last thirty years have not quenched my thirst for knowledge concerning the Challenger disaster. As an adult I visit the Challenger memorial every time I make it out to Arlington National Cemetery. I am married to a mechanical engineer who learned scientific ethics from Roger Boisjoly. I work every single day to expose the arrogance and folly of those in the government who care more about fundraising than they do for the safety of their own constituents. Janurary 28th, 1986 was the first day I had to deal with death. It was also the first day that I decided to do something about it. One day I hope to go into outer space.

Rest in piece Gregory Jarvis, Judith A. Resnik, Francis (Dick) Scobee, Ronald McNair, Mike Smith, Ellison Onizuka, and Christa McAuliffe.

RD Kulik

RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing.

 

We Sure as Hell Could Use Martin Luther King Today

 Not pictured, President Elect Trump not showing any damn respect

Not pictured, President Elect Trump not showing any damn respect

Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day. MLK Day has always been a big deal to me.

As a kid, it was fun because I did not have school, but the older I got, the more I came to realize how great of a man Martin Luther King Jr truly was. He was one hundred percent a man that took charge and was for the people. He fought the good fight no matter what he had to deal with. He fought harsh racism, corrupt policemen and politicians, people not believing in his cause, the constant threat of death and he took it all in stride. He was a man with a plan, and he would be damned if he let anyone step in his way. He needed to get his voice out there, and the people back then needed it, and we need it now as well.

MLK would have staunchly fought the new government, and I would love to have seen him do it. This new crew of "politicians" that will be taking office on Friday are some of the most corrupt and racist since MLK was still alive. I know I said I was done with politics, but I cannot in good conscious of one of my idols, sit by and not say anything on this day that we dedicate to him. MLK would have fought tooth and nail with what is coming upon us. Just look at what the great John Lewis is doing right now. Multiply that by 100, and that is what MLK would have done. He would have gathered up so many protests and fought this "establishment" with everything that he could have. And I would have done everything I could to help him out.

I idolized MLK as a child, teenager and now an adult, so if he was still with us, you are god damn right that I would have stood by his side. Like I said, people like John Lewis and Bernie Sanders are doing what they can, but man oh man, if we still had MLK, just imagine the phenomenal speeches, protests and anti government things he would have been able to accomplish. MLK was a singular person in this fight.

Many people stood by King's side in the 60's when he was fighting injustice, but he was the one that stood out. He was charismatic, an exceptional speaker, a great organizer and a natural born leader. I encourage everyone that feels disillusioned and saddened by what has happened since November 8th to go watch one of MLK's old speeches. I have watched three different speeches of his, and damn it, I want to start a revolution. Hearing what he had to say in the 60's holds so much weight right now with what we have coming to us in 4 short days. I was moved to tears a few times because MLK was such a great, great man, and these speeches were just one of the many exceptional things he did in his short life. He spoke with such eloquence, but also urgency to get up and stand up for what you believe in.

King was also a non violent protester, another thing I loved about him. He was never there to start any fights. Most protests that he organized had him and the people with him locking arms and walking slowly. Go look at pictures of Selma and tell me that isn't one of the most breathtaking and strongest things you have ever seen. And it was a non violent protest that corrupt police turned violent, not MLK.

I have three idols in my life, my dad, Jackie Robinson and MLK. Unfortunately for the other 2, they don't have days dedicated to them, but at least MLK does. And I celebrate this day. I celebrate the man that MLK was. I was grocery shopping earlier this morning, and I was telling my 4 year old all about what made MLK such a great man, and he listened to every word. Every time I log on to Facebook or Twitter and see all the great words people are saying about him, or using his quotes, I am filled with joy. The only thing that makes me sad, we need him now more than ever. He would have been a great leader for people that have sense.

For those of us, 56 percent, the majority of us, that did not vote for this incoming administration, he would have been the best person to speak for those of us that cannot, or do not, have the platform. Bernie Sanders and John Lewis are awesome, and I commend and appreciate everything that they are doing right now, but MLK would have done so, so much more.

And by the way, any conservative that sits back and tries to say nicethings about MLK, stop it. You are the monsters that wanted this administration, and MLK would have HATED each and every one of you morons. The people involved with the incoming "government", and anyone that voted for this monstrosity clearly does not stand for, or believe that what MLK did was of any importance. That is sad and disgusting.

MLK was a great, great man that shaped many of my political and social beliefs. I love you and I miss you. You were a revolutionary Mr. King. Enjoy and celebrate this day that we dedicate to this marvelous man. You were truly one of a kind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There will be no one else like you ever.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man. Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

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Flying is Still Pretty Awesome

 Waiting can be the most unpleasant part.

Waiting can be the most unpleasant part.

I just finished a marathon of flying.  In the last couple months, I’ve gone to Philadelphia, Ft. Lauderdale, Phoenix, Anaheim, and Moline for work.  In addition, just a couple days after my latest west coast business trip, we hauled my entire family to Hawaii for vacation.  During this time, I’ve had long layovers at HNL, ORD, MSP, ATL, LAX, SLC, and LGA.  And for the most part, I actually enjoyed it.

Most of you now think I’m insane.  It’s fashionable to bitch and moan about airlines, airports, and the TSA.  And most of this is well deserved.

Domestic airlines are terrible.  Their idea of customer service has sunk ever lower into the blue liquid of airplane toilets.  Gate agents are often crabby and unhelpful (mostly due to problems created by their employers), and flight crews are frighteningly underpaid.  Domestic airports are also terrible, for the most part.  Due to TSA rules we can’t bring water in, so there’s a new cottage industry charging $5 for 16 oz of bottled water.  The wifi never works and the chairs are uncomfortable.  And then there’s security.  The TSA’s absurd attempts at security theatre are well documented, so I won’t go into them here. 

And yet, I still get a little excited as I drive up to the airport.  Bear with me here.

Part of it is that I think planes are, for lack of a better word, “neat.”  We lowly primates have actually figured out how to fly regular people, including the very young and very old, safely around the planet at Mach 0.8.  See?  Neat.

I’ll let you in on a secret.  My business travel profile says I prefer an aisle seat, but that’s a little white lie.  I feel like it’s a “grown up” thing to request an aisle, but secretly, the kid in me wants the window.   Once the plane pushes back from the gate I perk up a little, and crane my neck to look outside.  One of my favorite parts of the taxi is the turn toward the runway where I can see the queue of planes waiting for takeoff.  I always smile a little when I see the variety, sometimes a tiny ERJ-135 lined up in front of a massive A330, or if you’re lucky, a majestic 747.  When we make the final turn, and the engines spool up for takeoff, and we start hurtling down the runway, my inner six year old comes out.  As the nose comes up, and we ascend into the sky, I look down and watch the “toy” cars and the streetscape recede into the distance, and I feel as though I’m off on an adventure.  Even if that adventure is probably going to take place in Moline.

I also spend a lot of time looking out the window once I’m in the air.  I’ve seen some pretty amazing things from 35,000 feet.  Once, on an overnight flight to London, we flew above a thunderstorm over the North Atlantic.  Watching the lightning crackle between the purple clouds below you is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.  On a trip from London to Paris, the sky was totally cloudless, and over the English Channel I could see the southern coast of England and the northern coast of France, and it looked exactly like a map outline.  (And Normandy from the air looks just like central Illinois.)  I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon from the ground, but it’s pretty grand from the air!  The Rockies are, literally, awesome.  On my recent trip to Hawaii, flying from Kauai to Honolulu I saw the remote Kaena Point, where my husband and I had hiked just a few days prior.  Flying into New York, I like seeing how the Pennsylvania farmland gradually gives way to the snarl of north Jersey traffic and the concrete jungle.  Even when it’s an overcast day, I love breaking through to the bright sunshine, and seeing an ocean of fluffy white clouds beneath me.

 Kaena Point is no Moline

Kaena Point is no Moline

Granted, some of my enthusiasm is just nostalgia.  I had a lot of fun on planes as a kid.  I remember having playing cards with the Eastern Airlines logo, back when airlines still gave out playing cards (and Eastern Airlines still existed).  My older sister taught me to play Crazy 8’s with those cards.  When the beverage cart came, for some reason, I always ordered ginger ale.  I still associate ginger ale with airplanes.  The first time I had Diet Coke was a sip from my mother on a plane, right after it came out in the early 1980’s.  I remember not liking it.  Back then, going to India to see relatives was a bit of a project.  (I guess it still is, somewhat.)  Since there were no non-stops, we always had to stop in Europe, and then fly from Europe to India.  Before modern improvements in technology, you needed a big plane like a DC-10 to make a LHR-BOM trip, but there weren’t all that many people on them.  So as kids, we could run around the mostly empty back of the plane (in the smoking section!) and not feel so confined.  You could also push up all the armrests in a center row, and take a little nap. 

So yeah, I kind of like being in the air.  But airports, they don’t have any redeeming qualities, do they?  Well, domestic terminals, not so much.  The intercoms are so fuzzy they sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher.  And I don’t care how many airport restaurants Wolfgang Puck opens, the food is always uninspiring.  Plus, the armrests don’t go up on the seats, which is an extra thumb in the eye of a stranded passenger hoping to get some rest.

But, in a nice big busy airport like ATL or LAX or even ORD, there is fun to be had.  I like to wander over to the international terminals and watch people and planes.  It’s fun to see the big jumbo jets lined up, each with the paint of a different national carrier.  Aer Lingus, Air India, JAL, Qantas, Emirates, and so forth.  They all show national pride in their carefully designed liveries, and they remind me that 12 hours in the air can get me almost anywhere in the world.  That is mind boggling.  In my car, 12 hours would get me to Minneapolis.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with Minneapolis.)

It’s also fun to people watch, in both domestic and international terminals.  Everyone is coming from somewhere, or going to somewhere.  Business travelers, looking blasé or harried, whiz by on their way to some conference in Vegas, or maybe a sales call to Anytown, USA.  Little kids experience a moving sidewalk for the first time, and run in circles laughing their butts off (mine did).  Some brave women zip through the terminal on 6 inch spike heels.  I assume they’re all fashion executives, just back from Milan.  Sometimes you see happy young couples heading off for their honeymoons, and then, like a ten-year flash-forward, you spot a bedraggled Mom and Dad, hauling a stroller, 2 car seats, and 3 rugrats home from Florida.  Some people are happy to be going wherever they’re going, some are just glad to be home, and some are upset for whatever reason, but everyone has a story.  It’s a reminder that life is full of possibility, and that the world is smaller than it has ever been.

So yes, it’s a damn shame that various economic and geopolitical forces have conspired to make air travel far less glamorous and fun than it was in the past.  But if you go in with the right attitude and outlook, you too might catch a thunderstorm out the window from 6 miles up, on your way to Bangkok, or possibly Moline.

Tina S

Tina is a sometime contributor to SeedSing and occasional guest on the X Millennial Man Podcast. She is currently working on a photo series of the best food courts in all of the world's airports. There is not a lot of variety. We made a twitter for Tina, go follow her @TinaSeedsing

Dear Trump Voter

yellow-pad.jpg

I'm hearing some protests from you recently that "we're not all racist/misogynist/etc!"  And I take you at your word. It's not my place to figure out what is in your heart. But here's what I know.

We're all grownups here. We all have deal breakers and priorities.  You voted for Trump for a reason, and I voted for Clinton for a reason. I'm sure Trump isn't your ideal candidate, and Clinton isn't mine. Some things are disqualifying, and some aren't. For instance, I put aside Clinton's hawkish interventionist tendencies. I put aside the dynastic implications. I put aside her ties to Wall Street and the general whiff of graft because they were preferable to what I saw on the other side.  I own that decision. I will not pretend that I can distance myself from the less savory aspects of her candidacy.  If she won and chose to invade Yemen, I'd have no right to be surprised.

You made a different choice, based on your own values. That's completely fair. You heard the divisive language, the racist dog whistles, the calls to violence, the authoritarianism,  the grotesque treatment of women, the suggestion that Latino judges and Muslim gold star families are less American that their white Christian counterparts. You knew that his running mate supports gay conversion therapy.  You chose to set that aside for the things (abortion, guns, making America great, whatever) you felt were more important.  Fine. But own it.

Don't pretend to have hurt feelings that people call you out for your priorities.  Don't even try to equate the discomfort of being called racist or misogynist with the sting of actual discrimination. Don't try to equate being called a homophobe with the pain of not having legal rights with your partner. It's just insulting.

So fine. You're not racist. You're not misogynist. You're not a homophobe. But you voted for so someone who actively promoted that worldview, because for you, that stuff was negotiable.  It wasn't a deal breaker.  That tells me that we may get along fine at a backyard barbecue.  But I can't really trust you. You may not actually think my kid deserves less respect than yours, but you're willing to tolerate those who do.  When push comes to shove, you don't have my back.  You made that choice. That's your right as an American. But deal with the fallout. Suck it up. After all, elections have consequences.

Tina S

Tina is a sometime contributor to SeedSing and a special guest star on the X Millennial Man Podcast. Check out her latest walk on appearance on the X Millennial Man Podcast where she discusses the best political ads ever made. We made a twitter for Tina, go follow her @TinaSeedsing

We Must Halt the Dumbening of Our Society

 The most accurate thing in this photo is the uniform

The most accurate thing in this photo is the uniform

So we now live in a world where a high school freshman is arrested for making a clock.  Although it impressed the science teacher, it scared the English teacher (apparently not enough to evacuate the classroom, but let’s not let logic interfere).  According to the police, said clock looked like a “movie bomb,” because their training came from Die Hard.  And then, with no understanding themselves, the left starts throwing around a word like “genius” as if any bright, curious kid who likes to play with technology is automatically Einstein.  (Apologies to Ahmed Mohamed, who may be a genius, but who might just be a talented future engineer.)  This whole pile of stupid is what happens when lay-people have no functional understanding of science and technology.

How many times have you heard a supposedly educated and thinking person say to you “Oh, I can’t do algebra” or “chemistry is so boring” without a hint of embarrassment?  These same people would never proudly declare “Oh, I can’t read at a 7th grade level,” or “Shakespeare is so confusing” because people would assume they’re uneducated rubes.  But to my ear, these are one and the same.

When did this happen?  Was it when we divided the world into jocks and nerds?   When we decided all science-types had some form of autism spectrum disorder?  (For the record, I know many socially well-adjusted science-types.)  Five hundred years ago, the model of the educated man was someone like Rene Descartes, who was a philosopher (Cogito ergo sum) but also developed an entire branch of mathematics.  Ben Franklin is as famous for being an inventor as he is for political theory.  But now, top caliber universities offer humanities and social science degrees without any lab science requirements, instead granting credit for “Biology for Poets” and other nonsense.

I’m not on this hobby-horse just because it’s a personal pet peeve.  This is important because it informs our public debate. 

Part of the problem is that lay-people do not understand the process and language of science.    I’m sure we were all taught the scientific method as children.  First, you formulate a hypothesis.  Then, you design an experiment to attempt to DISPROVE this hypothesis.  Once that hypothesis survives enough reasoned attempts at disproving it, it becomes established science.  Sometimes, new data or research methods yield contradictions to established science, and we develop a new testable hypothesis and go from there.

The words “theory,” and “law” mean something different in science than in the vernacular.  A scientific theory is not just a harebrained idea that hasn’t become scientific law.  It’s not a science bill awaiting Stephen Hawking’s signature or something.  They’re distinct concepts.  Laws are models that describe HOW things work, whereas a theory is a broader explanation for a set of phenomena.  (For instance, Newton’s laws of motion describe an object’s behavior at sub-light speeds.  On the other hand, a workable theory of gravity must pull together all prior work on the subject, from Galileo to Hawking.)

Prudent scientists are never 100% certain about anything.  But a dishonest media uses that 0.001% uncertainty as a cudgel in public debate to claim that the scientific jury is still out.  Thus, because of prudence on the part of science, we “debate” whether or not man-made climate change is real.  (It is.)  We “teach the controversy” about whether or not the earth is only 6000 years old.  (It’s not.)  Dr. Trump warns that vaccines cause autism.  (They don’t).  And we talk about whether or not these are “differences of opinion.”  (They’re not.)  These are as “proven” as science ever gets.  There is most certainly a debate to be had about policy approaches, but not about the data itself. To paraphrase the late Pat Moynihan, you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own science.

The other factor that allows liars, charlatans, and know-nothings to manipulate the public debate is lack of mathematical literacy.  I remember years ago watching Dennis Miller discuss climate change on Jon Stewart’s show.  He mentioned that the earth’s temperature had risen 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past century, and then dismissed such a small change as insignificant to the future.  Miller made the mistake of assuming that all relationships are linear.  They are not.  A 1 degree change over the past century does not necessarily predict a 1 degree change over the next century.  More likely, this change is exponential:     

 

With only two data points, Miller has no reason to assume that the trend looks like the chart on top as opposed to the second chart (or some other relationship altogether).  But he doesn’t even seem to understand that he made that assumption to begin with!   It requires a functional understanding of analytic geometry to see that (thanks Descartes!).  I’m not suggesting that comedians are considered authorities on climate change.  But they and other lay people influence the debate, and as a society, we need tools to critically evaluate their claims.  And we don’t have them.

We don’t have them because we think that math and science are only done by geniuses, so “regular” people can’t possibly learn them.  Or we think that science is informed by “opinion” and that anyone’s opinion matters.  Neither is true.  For the future of our democracy (baseball, apple pie, the American way of life, etc.), we must teach our kids that science isn’t “scary” and “hard.”  Props to Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, and a host of others for trying.   The next step might be expecting educators to not immediately be scared of an engineering project.  

Science is as easily accessible as history.  We used to teach history as a rote collection of names and dates, but we don’t anymore, because context lends the subject relevance.  Scientific context and relevance should be even easier since you see it around you every day.  But you need reading comprehension to learn history, and you need math comprehension to learn science.  All are essential for an engaged public and a vibrant civic debate.  We know that we can’t leave history in the past.  We must learn that we can’t leave science in the lab.

Fight the dumbening of society.  (Is that how you spell dumbening?)

Tina S

Tina hangs out around the virtual cube farm of SeedSing and throws out world changing ideas. We assume those are home made clocks she leaves around the office. Show off your smarts by writing for SeedSing.

The Ease to Forget: 9-11 and a lost generation.

 The new normal

The new normal

Today is the 15th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks. We wanted to reprint our thoughts about the aftermath of the tragedy and what has happened to our country in the years since that terrible day. This article originally appeared on September 11th, 2015.

At the dawn of the 21st century I was a twenty five year old man who just started to get his life in order. Many of my peers had started their careers, a few had even started families. I was already attempting my second career and had finally moved out of my parents home. I had a college education and skills needed in a booming economy, but various personal missteps had slowed my entry into independent adulthood. In my circle of friends I was an anomaly, someone who just could not figure out how to grow up. Twenty five may have been a little late to grow up, yet I was comfortable that my life was back on a forward trajectory.

September 11th, 2001 was a very sunny and mild Tuesday in St. Louis Missouri. I was on my way to watch the best golfers in the world practice for an upcoming event in the area. I was to meet a fellow friend at a nearby hotel where we would get breakfast and carpool to the golf course. On my way the local radio broke the news that something seemed to hit one building of the World Trade Center. The initial reports said it was a small plane or a news helicopter. Less than an hour later I was standing in a packed lobby of a hotel watching the true horror unfold. This is going to sound like a cliche,  I did not know at the time how much the world was about to change.

Fourteen years later I start my day like any other. It is a bright mild Friday morning in Cincinnati Ohio. Nothing seems out of the ordinary. My life has continued a forward trajectory, everything seems the same as it ever was. I start every morning looking through the news and social media to see what trends SeedSing wants to tackle next week. On the morning of September 11th, 2015 my feed is filled with "Never Forget" memes from  the old and new media.  Like Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Never Forget has become this programmed response everyone feels they should give on this one day of the year. There is very little thought given to what this means. Why should we Never Forget? Who should we Never Forget? What will not forgetting give us?

We have forgotten and society has been radically altered because of our memories. The national reaction, fed by the politicians and media, was one of extreme vengeance. The grounds was still smoking when President Bush boasted of leveling other nations. The public applauded his strength, the press gave the administration a pass on any faulty intelligence, and the congress gleefully accepted war. All of the grand estates of the American society were controlled by greedy baby boomers who were already gearing up for a war in Iraq. The September 11th attacks caused the public to line up behind the warmongers. Instead of attacking Iraq, we were invested in going into another nation. There was no way to question our ill advised blood lust. To question was to not honor the dead. The baby boomers in charge consolidated their power, increased their wealth, and sacrificed the millennials.

The millennial generation were mostly in high school or college when the September 11th attacks took place. The baby boomers and generation xers were in the work force, shaping the future for the millennials. In the aftermath of the attacks, the millennials were called upon to defend their country. The millennials were recruited into a holy war that had not been won by over a hundred generations before them. The ones who belonged to the lower economic classes sacrificed their lives and sanity for our irrational wars.  All the millennials had their economic futures sacrificed by the greed of those in power. Concepts like freedom and patriotism were being co-opted by right wing corporate and religious institutions after September 11th. Our society started to deify rich white CEOs as some kind of economic savior, they were the job creators. We allowed the polluters to have more free reign, so we do not allow the terrorists to dictate our lives. The thieves on Wall Street were absolved because they were the champions of american capitalism. The boomers got rich, the gen xers tried to tread water, and the millennials were lost.

In 2000, at the age of twenty five, I was behind my peers. Searching for a career, living at home, and being generally without direction. This was not society, this was my own doing. Since September 11th, our society has fundamentally changed. What we forget is how the boomers changed this society. It has become the norm for a college educated twenty five year old to be living at home. In fourteen short years we have allowed the politicians, corporations, and media to create an economic wasteland for future generations. The boomers are still mostly in charge, and they have gotten wealthier. The gen xers are still mostly treading water, waiting for their opportunity. The millennials are learning how to survive a new social and economic reality, and they have no guidance. We have failed the millennials, and we need their help to fix our problems.

September 11th and the aftermath has seen way too much death and suffering. On that mild and sunny Tuesday morning all but twenty of the victims were living their lives and looking forward to their next happy moment. The many powerful people who exploited this event for their greed and racism should not be left off the hook. The architects of today's society, one that is leaving the majority behind, have allowed the fear of that day to flourish. They have lost a generation. Never Forget.   

RD Kulik

RD is the creator and Head editor of SeedSing. Have another opinion? Let us know.

 

Making Life a Commodity

 Did the price on males 25-40 rise today?

Did the price on males 25-40 rise today?

Drug maker Mylan and its CEO Heather Bresch are the newest monsters that has channeled the public's rage. The makers, and distributors, of the life saving EpiPen have dramatically increased the price of the medicine from around $100 in 2008 to over $600 today. Since the price increase Mylan has seen its stock price triple and Bresch's compensation has gone from $2.5 million a year to nearly $19 million. The furor over the EpiPen price gouge has even united many in the Republican and Democratic parties in condemning Mylan. Much like the controversy related to the steep price increase in the drug Daraprim, the public rage being directed towards Mylan and Bresch is meant to shame and cause meaningful change. What Mylan and Bresch have done, like Turing Pharmaceuticals and former CEO Martin Shkreli, is increase profits for billionaires at the expense of the lives of poor people with life threatening conditions. In their world the ability to make money is more important than saving a dying child.

In an interview to do some damage control, CEO Bresch told CNBC that "No one's more frustrated than me." about the dramatic increase in the price of the life saving EpiPen. "I'm running a business" is the excuse that Bresch gives to answer why the price of the drug keeps going up. The tone deafness of Mylan and Bresch does nothing to quell the public's rage over the EpiPen price gouge. It should not. The lack of humanity from people like Shkreli and Bresch continues to highlight the gap between the very rich, and everyone else. People are rightfully getting angry.

The problem is that Heather Bresch is right, she is running a business. What Mylan has done by increasing the price of the EpiPen is not illegal, in fact it is encouraged in capitalism. Turing Pharmaceuticals did lower the price of Daraprim, but it still costs 2500% higher than it did before the hike. Mylan bought the rights to the EpiPen (the drug is generic, the delivery system is what has value) in 2007, and has been raising the price 10% or more every year. This is how the for profit drug companies make money. Mylan did no research and development in creating the EpiPen. They do not sell the device at a loss. The EpiPen is a strong, and endless, revenue stream for the billion dollar company. By raising the price of the drug, Bresch has done exactly what she was hired to do, make money for Mylan.

In the United States drug companies can charge whatever they want. One of the core tennets of capitalism is to charge what the market will accept. When you are the sole provider of a life saving medication, the cost of a person's life can be quite large. Other industrialized nations have governmental agencies that negotiate with drug manufacturers to make sure that the cost of life saving medicines are not out of reach to the average consumer. It is illegal in the United States for the government to negotiate with drug manufacturers. The drug companies charge whatever they want, for profit insurance companies pass those charges onto their customers, and the US government subsidizes both the drug makers and insurance providers. The only person losing money is the consumer because they need the drugs to stay alive. US capitalism has put a price on life. That price is whatever the drug companies want it to be.

This is evil. When Mylan bough the rights to the EpiPen, CEO Bresch did not want to save lives. The company bought the product because they could make an obscene amount of money. The company claims to be concerned with the well being of general public by offering coupons and other means to make the EpiPen more affordable, but Mylan still makes over $600 off of the drug. The consumer may not pay the full price, but insurance rate hikes and government subsidies will cover the full cost of the EpiPen. One does not need an MBA, there are a lot of questions about Heather Bresch's education, to understand how to use an immoral system to make money. Mylan saw profit, no matter the consequences. The consequences of price gouging the EpiPen can mean death for those not blessed enough like Heather Bresch and the board of directors at Mylan. 

Mylan is not the first company to buy a cheap life saving drug and use their monoply to make obscene amounts of money and endanger innocent people at the same time. Heather Bresch is not the first soulless CEO to claim to be the victim in a world of bad press. They are not the first, and they will not be the last. The millionaires who are the elected representatives of the United States citizens would rather protect corporate interests than be concerned about the health of their constituents. Being one of the only civilized nations without government oversight on drug prices, the ruling class in Washington DC thinks that american lives are a commodity. Drug companies like Mylan, Turing Pharmaceuticals, and many others keep cozy with Washington so the lives of Americans can be quantified. It is sick and it needs to stop.

The righteous anger over the radical increase in the price of the EpiPen should not go away. An economically challenged child born with a peanut allergy, through no fault of their own, should not have to die because Mylan and Heather Bresch wanted to add shareholder value. We need to be angry, we need to demand change. Bresch's frustration should not be because she is being bothered by bad press, her frustration should stem from the fact that her company is not finding life saving cures and giving them away for free. One's health, one's life, should never be part of the bottom line in any company's earnings report. Mylan and Heather Bresch deserve to be frustrated. 

Healthcare is in trouble, and allowing immoral people to continue to make millions on the broken system needs to stop. The EpiPen battle is just the first skirmish in a war to make American lives valuable again. Call your elected representative, write an impassioned plea on social media, yell through a megaphone, but do not let the furor over the EpiPen die. The drug companies, and their cronies in Washington DC, need to feel the wrath of America. You should be the only one who can put value on your life, not a grotesque company with an uncaring CEO. Life is not a commodity, because life is something more than a monetary value.

RD

RD Kulik is the Head Editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Are drug companies the heroes that the business press makes them out to be? No they are not. Let RD know where he is misguided by writing for SeedSing

 

Kirk Reflects on the Present and Future of Meditation

 Embrace Serenity

Embrace Serenity

According to Wikipedia, Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.

Meditation is often associated with Eastern religions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, or Hinduism. While it certainly has its roots in religion, what intrigued me was some studies done around different aspects of meditation. While there were some very flawed studies on meditation beginning in the 1950s, there is a growing subfield of neurological research that focuses on the processes and effects of meditation. Using fMRI and EEG to peer into the bodies and minds to see what happens while meditating and which changes occur to those who meditate regularly.

Meditation can refer to a variety of different practices, but most research that I see focuses on a type commonly known in Western society as mindfulness. Mindfulness is described in Bhante Henepola Gunaratana’s Mindfulness in Plain English as “a state of presence of mind which concerns a clear awareness of one's inner and outer experiences, including thoughts, sensations, emotions, actions or surroundings as they exist at any given moment”. Personally, until I started the practice myself, it was hard to wrap my head around exactly what mindfulness is. The closest I can come to describing my own experience is to say that it is being present in the experience of the moment and holding that presence without judgement of it.

Research has shown both physical and mental benefits to the practice of mindfulness. According to a study published in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, depression was significantly reduced in patients with three or more previous episodes after mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).  Another intervention known as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has shown promise in helping with physical conditions such as chronic pain. A study from the Journal of Behavioral Medicine shows that during a ten week program using MBSR statistically researchers noted statistically significant drops in present-moment pain, negative body image, inhibition of activity by pain, mood disturbance, anxiety and depression. As a result there was a decline in pain medication use and a rise in level of activity and feelings of self-esteem. Many of the participants of the study remained compliant with meditation as part of their daily lives in the 15-month followup.

Another area where mindfulness can be helpful is in focusing attention. One area shown to improve is sustained attention where those who meditate are better mentally prepared to complete a task. Selective attention is another area where meditators are better able to limit their attention to a specific sensory input. Lastly, executive control attention, the type of attention that we use to inhibit distraction, is improved through practicing meditation.

Many benefits are to be gained by using meditation, but there have been some adverse effects reported as well. In the case of some with certain psychiatric conditions, there have been reports of worsening symptoms. However, these cases have been very rare and more research needs to be done in those cases. It is also worth noting that meditation is not suggested to be used as a replacement for conventional intervention or an excuse to delay seeing a doctor, but there is little risk in giving it a try.

We cannot hope to improve our physical attributes without exercising the associated parts of our body. Similarly, we cannot hope to improve our mental attributes without exercising our mind through examination of our consciousness and learning to become in tune with how we experience awareness in the present moment.

As far as my personal experience with meditation is concerned, I have noticed changes in myself since I started regular meditation in January of this year. Less depressive thoughts, more patience, more empathy, less distraction, a stronger sense of interconnection, and decreased substance use are just some of the changes may have been influenced in part by my experiences in meditation. I have also made conscious efforts in these areas and self-educated through a lot of reading, but I certainly feel that these efforts have been aided by taking a daily time for myself in meditation. The key has been regularity.

If you think you could benefit from some of these effects, perhaps meditation is worth a try. There is little risk and if you find that after trying it for awhile that it is not for you, it is no harder to stop than regular physical exercise.

Have you tried or been interested in meditation? Let me know more about your own experiences in the comments.

Kirk Aug

Kirk is busy finding ideas, and technology, that will improve the world around us. Follow him on twitter @kirkaug.

 

May Day - International Workers Day, the Celebration of Spring, and SeedSing's birthday

 May is the time to blossom

May is the time to blossom

And so it began.

May 1st will always represent the launch of SeedSing as a website. I wanted to use the internationally recognized Workers Holiday as the marking point for what we are trying to accomplish here at the website. May 1st is also widely associated with the celebration of spring. Festivals dating back to the Roman Republic era have been celebrated on the 1st day of this fifth month. SeedSing exists to give voice to the worker and to celebrate the blossoming of new ideas. We are happy to celebrate this May Day with you, and we want to celebrate our own first year of existence.

Having spent the last year working on SeedSing, I have learned a lot. There are the practical skills I have picked up; things like editing an article, which I still have a lot to learn about, creating a podcast, again still a lot to learn, and the overall joys of the day to day work making sure people's ideas are presented in an informative and entertaining fashion. Contributors like Tina S, Kirk Aug, and especially Ty have made this endeavour exciting and fulfilling at the same time. SeedSing would not exist without their ideas, and I can not thank them enough for everything they have contributed to this project. The guest contributors, some known and some unknown, have also been an incredibly valuable addition to the conversation we are having. With one year down, we are excited to keep the ball rolling.

So what is the purpose of SeedSing? We live in a world where ideas are being monopolized by the wealthy and connected elite. Ideas are not commodities, they are the only thing we collectively share. Here at SeedSing we want to let the people take back their rights to having thoughts. We want to give you a voice. The global community is in trouble. The top capital owners have used the media and government to solidify their power. SeedSing is the people's fortress where we can speak freely, and start to fix the world being destroyed by the top 1%. That is the purpose of SeedSing.

Fixing the world through our ideas does not have to be gloomy. Our culture and entertainment is where are voices can be strongest. The writing here at SeedSing concerning pop culture has been our most popular content. We do not discuss the same old baby boomer culture that seems to always overshadow whatever new and exciting is happening. Topics such as who is the Greatest American Band, or what new unknown entertainment you should enjoy, is where SeedSing is leading the way to reclaim pop culture from the baby boomers. Add your voice and let our culture flourish, not decay under the old ways.

The X Millennial Man Podcast has been another avenue where our seeds have been allowed to sing. Most of our discussions have revolved around the pop culture of our respective generations but there have been times that the X Millennial Man has tackled issues outside of the entertainment world. Kirk and Ty discussed their experiences as stay at home dads, Tina S interviewed her mother (a baby boomer) and Tina's friend (Generation X) on their experiences as immigrants to the United States, and RD used the handwritten notes of his deceased grandfather to learn about where RD's family originated from. These are the stories we do not hear in the regular media. Podcasting has been the common persons greatest weapon against a professional media who exists to solidify the status quo. SeedSing and the X Millennial Man will continue to be the voice of people.

Where do we go in our second year?  We continue moving forward. SeedSing is growing, but we need your help. This is a project funded by the money and efforts of a very small group of people. Your help is always appreciated. How can you help? We want your voice. Tell us your thoughts. If you want to write, we want to publish your ideas. If you have an idea, but are not comfortable with writing, tell us your thoughts and one of our regular contributors will put together a piece. If you are not a writer, but still want to support SeedSing - financial support is always a nice thing. Other ways to help us out is to follow SeedSing on twitter, @seedsing.rdk, and to like us on Facebook. We are excited about are second year, and we are even more excited about your continued support of SeedSing.

Happy May Day, International Workers Day, and happy 1st birthday SeedSing. Come on in and join us. Allow your seed to sing and take root. You only have your ideas to set free.

RD

RD Kulik is the Head Editor for SeedSing and the host of the X Millennial Man Podcast

 

Martin Shkreli is the Hero America Deserves

 This is the normal physical reaction when one hears the words "Martin Shkreli"

This is the normal physical reaction when one hears the words "Martin Shkreli"

The internet's latest ragefest is all about "pharma-bro" Martin Shkreli. According to the masses Mr. Shkreli is an abomination of a human being with no empathy and a total disregard for a civilized society. He is a spoiled punk brat who uses his influence to make money off of the backs of the less fortunate. He has no remorse. He has no compassion. He is a monster. Martin Shkreli is so bad, that our incompetent elected officials in Washington D.C. are being seen as the sympathetic party when it comes to Mr Shkreli's testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. When one person can make the idiots in Congress looks good, that person deserves to be demonized.

I am not here to demonize Martin Shkreli, I am here to praise him. I in no way support the idea of jacking up the price of a life saving drug in order to make another billion. That is monsterous. The question I have is what law did he break (there is the securities fraud issue, but he has not been convicted of anything)? The press likes to focus on the obscene mark-up on the life saving drug Daraprim. By raising the price 5556% ($13.50 a dose to $750.00 a dose) Mr. Shkreli put lives in danger. Daraprim is used to treat infections in HIV positive patients, and is used globally to treat and prevent malaria. The World Health Organization lists the drug as an essential medicine. This mark-up on a life saving drug, coupled with Martin Shkreli's arrogance, has made the former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO a popular target for people fed up with corporate greed. The problem is that by raising the price on Daraprim, Mr. Shkreli did not break the law. He embraced a culture that is encouraged by our government and society as a whole. Plus, Martin Shkreli is not the first person to do this.

The practice of pharma companies buying generic drugs and radically raising their prices is not new. Do you know anyone with asthma? There is a very good chance that the asthmatic person uses an inhaler with the drug Albuterol sulfate. This is a life saving medicine for a very treatable illness. In 2013 Albuterol sulfate was $11 a dose. Six months later the price had gone up to $434 a dose, an increase of 4014%. Where was the public outrage towards the pharma companies? The drug was another off patent drug, but the delivery system (inhaler) needed to be redesigned because of new government regulations. The Pharma companies knew the inhalers would be protected by patents, so they jacked up the price of Albuterol to make some extra money (Mother Jones has a nice article describing the situation). I never remember seeing congress scolding at the CEO responsible for this greed?

There are many more drugs, ones not owned by Turing Pharmaceuticals, that have had their prices skyrocket. In 2014 Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) launched a Congressional investigation into the skyrocketing cost of generic drugs. They put together a list of drugs that have recently seen a drastic increase in cost (see the list) and tried to get answers from the pharma companies. There were no answers, there was no public outcry, there was no congressional investigation, there was no prosecution, and there was no change in the laws to make this practice illegal.. These pharma companies were just doing what the United States government allows them to do. 

Now the government wants to get serious because Martin Shkreli is an unlikable fellow. The Republicans (you know the free market guys) and Democrats decide to use Mr. Shkreli as their scapegoat for their own incompetence. They have no case. Representative Cummings  stupidly decided to attack Mr. Shkreli because of the purchase by the former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO of the one of a kind Wu-Tang Clan album. If I had a few billion dollars I would have bought the Wu-Tang Clan album, they are one of the greatest american bands ever. What is the point of attacking the man for having great taste in music. That whole tirade by Representative Cummings proves that the government is showboating. Those Representatives created this America, Martin Shkreli is just getting rich off of their incompetence.

It is also amusing that all the supposed free market Republicans want to attack Mr. Shkreli and Turing Pharmaceuticals for the price gouge. These bozos have been defending corporate greed for decades. Why are we not yelling at the health insurance companies who are making money off of people getting sick? They set arbitrary prices all the time just to make a few extra billion. The same charlatans in Congress who got mad at Mr. Shkreli will turn around and praise government welfare queens like Jamie Diamon and other business leaders who depend on bailouts. The only reason Congress decided to grill Martin Shkreli is because the internet is mad at him. There is nothing that can be done to stop him. Well the government could try to pass some laws to make this practice illegal, but that will never happen. The Republicans and Democrats alike would never upset their big money donors, no matter how many people need to suffer. 

Martin Shkreli is an american hero. He is the embodiment of the modern American dream. Born to immigrants who worked as janitors, Martin Shkreli made his way in the world be exploiting our inhumane economic culture. We celebrate these people as geniuses. America deserves Martin Shkreli. He is the hero we deserve. He got rich with shady legal practices, he increases his wealth with inhuman actions, and he smirks his way through life. He is a modern American creation. Plus he is also quite aware that Congress is full of imbeciles. While kids are getting poisoned in Flint, Michigan, through the direct fault of the government, the US Congress wants to scold a successful business man. That is the mark of a house led by imbeciles. Thanks you American hero Martin Shkreli for speaking the truth.

RD Kulik

RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing. Do you want to sing the praises of the downtrodden? Come write for us.  

Donald Trump and the Extinction of the White Man

 Welcome to the fossil record GOP

Welcome to the fossil record GOP

Contrary to popular belief, Charles Darwin was not the first person to use the term  "survival of the fittest". Philosopher Herbert Spencer used Darwin's ideas of natural selection and incorporated them into the social economic world. In the late 19th century the the use of "survival of the fittest" was being co opted by people believing in the idea of Social Darwinism. Many business men, right wing philosophers, and politicians would use the "science" of Social Darwinism to justify their consumption of natural resources, their lust for war, their consolidation of wealth, and their misogyny and racism. All of the practitioners of Social Darwinism were white men.

Donald Trump is not a Republican, at least not in the way the Republican Party has been trying to brand itself. The current GOP believes that the public sees them as a small government alternative to the tax and spend ideals of the Democratic Party. The Republican PR machine thinks people will vote for their candidates because the party believes in personal responsibility and freedom. According to the GOP, we only need a government for military purposes, and to execute criminals. Everything else should be left up to the individual. 

Unless you are a woman, then the Republican Party wants to be completely part of your life. Equal pay for equal work is something the GOP has been using large government to stop for decades. The personal health of a woman's body has been obsessed over by the Republicans in Washington D.C. for nearly half a century. Oh and if you are a minority, the small government Republicans want use the full power of Washington D.C. to control your life. The absolute desire to allow housing and hiring discrimination are top of the mind when it comes to the GOP in DC. They cannot leave those decisions up to the states, it has to be a federal issue. If you are poor, the Republicans think the federal government has every right to control your lives. One's right to vote or to collect needed assistance has been a key point to Republican policy in the seat of federal power. All the talk of personal responsibility and freedom, that only applies to the class of rich white men.

This true face of the Republican Party is what Donald Trump represents. The face of misogyny, disdain for the less fortunate, and racism. The 19th century acolytes of Social Darwinism, that is the 21st century Republican Party. Donald Trump makes the establishment uncomfortable because he has removed their mask and exposed their true self. Everything Mr. Trump believes, and that the Republican Party believes, is all about keeping established white men in power. They want to protect a social group that is rapidly going extinct. Donald Trump and the GOP are fighting nature and are about to disappear from the world.

Once humankind planted seeds in the ground and started to create communities society began to evolve. We created homes, cities, and countries. The growth of the community caused the creating of laws and social structure. Monarchy gave way to the republic. Plutocracy gave way to economic socialism. Power being held by a few men gave way to nations being led by publicly elected parliaments and led by female prime ministers. Society evolved by including more citizens. The monarchs of France, who would not evolve, lost their heads. The Czars of Russia, who did not listen to the next generation, were shot. The fascists of the Soviet empire, who would not flow with history, were all deposed. Those that fight history in order to keep the status quo always lose. Always.

The GOP has been trying to reverse social evolution for over a century. They dress up their antiquated views with fancy language that appeals to a minority of Americans. Donald Trump has stripped away the fancy language and embraced the core ideas of Republican Social Darwinism. Keep money and power in the hands of rich white men and do what ever possible to control everyone else. These ideas will not make society progress. These ideas are doomed for extinction, and the practitioners of these views are doomed to disappear. The age of the white man is over. They are not fit enough to be part of the future.

RD Kulik

RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing. Do you disagree? Come write for us.

   

 

Empathy and the Myth of Free Will

 A society with an abundance of prisons has a lack of understanding

A society with an abundance of prisons has a lack of understanding

Think of an instance where something terribly unfortunate happened to other people as a result of the actions of a person. Think of the moral judgement placed on the person who took that action. Ideas of what that person could or should have done differently might come to mind. You might think that if you were in their position, you would have done differently and that this justifies the moral judgement and thus a sense of moral superiority.

Now go back to thinking about yourself in their position. Imagine that you were that person. I mean really were that person. You have the same genetics as that person. The exact same set of life circumstances as that person. The same experiences as that person. The whole package. You would also not have your own experiences or genetics anymore. You would no longer be you, but would be that person. Can you say that the choices you made that resulted in this unfortunate happening would be different?

Once you realize the answer to this question, you can start to empathize with this person that you may have started out feeling a sense of moral superiority to. You may start to realize that while we do have choices to make in our lives and we feel the sense of freedom to make them, we really do not have that freedom. We simply make our choices out of a very complex genetic and experientially informed history. The way we experience this is as a sense of free will, but it is an illusion. An illusion we cannot help but fall for most of the time, but an illusion none the less.

So if it is an illusion that is a core part of our decision making process, you may wonder why bother pointing it out or thinking about it at all? One reason is in the example that I stepped you through in the first two paragraphs. It is the difference between seeing someone who does something that causes others suffering as a bad person or seeing them as a person who did something that hurt others. In one case you can have compassion for the person in the other you can dismiss them. One mindset inspires cooperation and understanding while the other inspires aggression, violence, and more suffering. More peaceful interactions and less judgement result.

This is not to say that we should just stand by when people cause suffering and do nothing about it. It does change the way we address it though. The realization that punishing the person directly responsible for the action that caused harm does nothing to address the root of the problem has immense value. We can accept that responding to harmful behavior with more aggression cannot bring any solace. If anything it will bring about more harm.

Instead we can address the person in question with compassion rather than judgement. We may still have to separate a person who is a harm to others from those they might hurt, but not necessarily in a poorly funded cell which provides an environment of fear which often causes the problems which lead to acts of harm. We already recognize the difference when the person committing the act has a known mental disorder. We treat them differently in our justice system than those to whom we attribute an act of free will. What I am saying is that we could apply that sense of corrective potential to any criminal act.

Not only does this realization of the illusion of free will inspire us to be more compassionate toward others, but it leads to more compassion toward ourselves. Most of us have realized the harmful result of our own actions at some point in our lives. When this happens we often beat ourselves up over it. Forgetting the perfect vision of hindsight, we tell ourselves that we should have known better. Instead we can realize that we did the best we could with the resources we had available to our minds in the moment and move on to acceptance. Then we may use the experience to learn instead of dwell and cause ourselves further harm. We can be more aware of the influence of our actions the next time and make more positive changes in ourselves.

Do you think your perspective might benefit from a realization that free will is an illusion? Does the idea inspire any other thoughts in you? Let me know in the comments.

Kirk Aug

Kirk runs the idea farm here at SeedSing. Send us your thoughts, and we will publish them here. Do not forget to follow Kirk on twitter @kirkaug.

 

SeedSing's 10 Most Popular Posts of 2015

 Follow me to great writing

Follow me to great writing

SeedSing was born into existence in May of 2015. The idea behind the website was to bring a common voice to the politics and pop culture of our society. We started with the goal to post 3-5 articles a week and hoped to get around 100 unique visitors in each week. We are grateful that the websites traffic has grown beyond those numbers and are looking forward to all the new readers, and contributors, 2016. Today we present the 10 most read articles on SeedSing for 2015.

10. Thank You for Inhaling: Money, Freedom, and the Legalization of Marijuana  The movement to legalize Marijuana made its way to Ohio in 2015. Head editor RD Kulik takes  a look at the reasons for the sudden acceptance, and failure, of marijuana legalization.

9. We Must Halt the Dumbening of our Society  When Tina S contributes to SeedSing, it is always brings the intelligent discourse up a few notches. As someone who respects science, and facts in general, Tina is appalled that we  embrace and celebrate stupidity in our culture. This needs to end.

8.  The Greatest American Band Debate: The Introduction  SeedSing is filled with music lovers. In July Ty decided we should argue about who is the greatest American Band ever. With this introduction the debate was set, and many bands have been nominated since, with more to come.

7. Marty Will Be Here Soon. Do We Have All the Tech He Needs?  Kirk Aug wanted to kick off the celebration for Marty and Doc's arrival to 2015 by wondering how far we have come in inventing all the tech from Back to the Future II. We have come a long way, and even surpassed, many of the films predictions. Still no time travel.

6.The Ohio Problem  One of the very first posts on SeedSing discussed how the national political parties are leaving the cupboard bare for the local politicians. With the 2016 Presidential campaigns kicking into high gear the Ohio Problem will rear it's ugly head once again. Something must be done.

5. Our Future Source for Meat Will Not be the Animals  One of SeedSing's most recent posts quickly has become one of our most read. Kirk Aug looks at the present, and future, of lab grown meat. On top of the nutritional value, what will be the moral value of meat from the lab?

4. What is Real Food?  The debate of genetically modified organisms and how we label food intensified in 2015. Kirk takes a look at the science, and law, surrounding gmo's. Does the place your food was created really matter to the value of your meal?

3. In an Era of Bad Sports Announcers, Cris Collinsworth is the Worst  Early in the 2015 NFL season Ty decided to blow off some steam and label NBC sports personality Cris Collinsworth as the worst announcer in America. The public seemed to agree. Every Sunday night, SeedSing has seen a spike in readership based solely on Ty's piece. Maybe Cris Collinsworth really is the worst of a bad lot.

2. #ILookLikeAnEnginner Needs to have Meaning  Over the summer the twitter campaign #ILookLikeAnEnginner became a big news story. Tina S, a real engineer, was concerned with how this campaign was distorted the world of engineering. Many people agreed with Tina, and her post was shared on a variety of sites across the internet.

1. Please Leave Me Out of Your Cool Beard Club Ty decided to write a small rant about the rise of "cool beard guy" and why he did not care  for their club like mentality. What was supposed to be a small, humorous, post quickly turned  into the most popular piece ever on SeedSing. Dudes with beards seem to be very protective,  and sensitive, about how others view their facial hair lifestyle. If they are not careful, Ty may  just have a few words to say about their jeans and glasses.

Thanks to everyone for your support in reading SeedSing during 2015. We look forward to bringing more intelligent, humorous, and thought provoking pieces in 2016. We are the only place on the internet where you can read about the future of food, the current structural problems in politics, and the annoyance of the "cool beard guy". What more could you want?

RD Kulik (and the contributors to SeedSing)

RD is the creator and Head Editor for SeedSing. You can make the most read list of 2016 by writing for us.

The SeedSing (half) Year in Idea Farming

 We have a few ideas

We have a few ideas

Part of SeedSing's mission is to highlight the ideas and technology that will create a better future. We call this collection of essay's The Idea Farm. Contributors seek out and discuss these innovations on the pages of the website. What began as a few book reviews posted in the Politics/Society portion of SeedSing has grown into its own community. Join us as we highlight the (half) year in Idea Farming.

Kirk Aug started his posting career on SeedSing by taking a look at the unintentional benefits brought to us through piracy. He stayed in the world of computers and customization with a look at a future without an installed dedicated operating system on our computers. The use of one's electronic devices may one day allow us to communicate with anyone around the world. The pirates of yesterday have become the innovators of tomorrow.

How we conduct our day to day lives through technology is rapidly changing. Your car will soon not need your participation to get from point A to point B. The Microsoft Band and Android Wear watches started occupying space on our wrists long before Apple's offering. Even as we speak, unmanned drones are slowly filling our skies, confusing many of library patrons. The productivity of one's office is rapidly changing. Guest contributor Matthew Young highlighted many new technologies beneficial to the business world.  While there does not seem to be a lot of use for 3-D printing in the home, the technology is radically transforming the world of manufacturing. The technology innovations of today will be parts of our normal lives in the future.

The Idea Farm was not only about looking at future tech. Tina S asked us why we celebrate stupidity in our society. RD wanted to know if it is time we give up on the poisonous ideas of capitalism. Kirk wanted to give a proper name to the communicator he carries around to make calls and search the internet. The future is full of questions and uncertainty. Once we have worked our way through these questions, it is best to relax and mediate.

The Idea Farm was very interested in the food of the future. One of our most popular posts came from Kirk and asked us all what is real food. The rise of lab created nutrition may create a safe and guilt free hamburger. If the idea of eating something that looks and taste to natural turns you off, one could always take a sip of some Soylent. The farms of tomorrow are being cultivated in the lab.

The world we are creating is exciting and unknown. Electronics have moved away from the desktop and inhabited every aspect of our world. Hunger and global climate change can be reversed with some of the innovations surrounding nutrition. We have a lot to be hopeful for, and a lot to be anxious about. When the drones fill you with dread, go home and have a nice meditation session. It will all be ok.

RD Kulik (and the SeedSing contributors)

RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing. Come join the conversation of tomorrow by writing for SeedSing today.