Monday, October 31, 2011

The Legacy of 2012

The Legacy of 2012

The Mayan Calendar ends with the winter solstice of 2012, heralding a new calendar cycle and a new era in world history. The new beginning is not defined in the prophesy but can be likened to the invention of domestic corn and this latest migration to the Americas, which produced the world in which we now live.

Monumental change will be the result of choices made today. The issue of what choices to make is the most important of the day.

Possible choices divide into three categories: Inevitable and Preventable and Attainable


o Nuclear War

o Biological War

o Huge Income Disparities

o Population Growth

o Deforestation

o Pollution

o Growing Poverty

o Economic Collapse


 Petroleum Depletion

 Mineral hoarding as supplies decrease

 Higher prices for nonrenewable resources

 Climate change

 Competition for resources


 Curbs on population growth

 Due to finite nature of Earth's mineral resources, extraterrestrial resources must be exploited.

 Research into energy sources and energy savings, due to ongoing petroleum depletion

 Protection and regeneration of fisheries

 Development of new agricultural products

 Plan for global climate change to prevent catastrophic food production losses**

 Localize food production as much as possible

If population growth not curbed: constraints will appear in freedom, food, water, living space, recreational space, wealth, and goods. Those kinds of social conditions will result in higher prices, war and depopulation. In the animal world, overpopulation results in a die-off of that population back to a sustainable level. One would hope that civilized minds could avoid such an outcome in the new era.

Social engineering as an action plan might take a back seat to survival economics in a new era. The various social structures found around the world hark back to pure environmental survival, like what did help us survive was perpetuated like immunity in the DNA. The modern world is changing so fast, this kind of adaptability must be supercharged as compared to the past.

Consider myself: Born mid twentieth century, as a child, I have known people who lived in Civil War times long before the telegraph and the automobile. I did not live in those times, but I heard stories of how it was and what you had to do to survive out there on your own in the wild world or in the world of man. I heard it! And just me can remember before TV and when a typewriter was a prized possession. TV came into Tucson around 1950. Ray Bradbury and A.E. Van Vogt were my ticket off the planet. And now just look at us with computers and space stations and wireless and cell phones! As a teacher, I rode the wave of change so I could teach the students the newest and latest in technology. I am so thankful for that opportunity.

What could a new era bring, considering the changes in the last hundred years? Could anyone have imagined satellites and cell phones in 1900? Jules Verne and H.G. Wells were sensations.

What could we invent?

 A mining network including moon, asteroids and Mars.

 Payload delivery from Earth orbit to the surface

 Solar smelting in a vacuum

 Solar Sail technology

 Nuclear energy research

 Wireless research

 New uses for light

 Genetics research

 Magnetics research

 Endless possibilities..

 *Increased lifespan

*Medical research has led to an increased lifespan, which in a sustainable world would result in a slowdown of replacement population. Longer lifespan = lower birthrate. Medical ethics and the prolongment of life are all issues here but cannot be ignored. I think requiring the lawyers and medics to bankrupt the families must be curbed. Balancing the birthrate with the deathrate leading the way is the only way to morally approach the problem. Discouraging excessive population production should be part of public policy and expressed in the tax code.

Worldwide, the problem of immigration caused by overpopulation in Mexico and the availability of jobs in the USA was mimicked in Europe, where Africans immigrate to where the food supplies are, in biological terms. Population stability needs to be achieved without mass migrations. In plain language, most of Mexico has a religion that discourages birth control, so the excess population migrates north to fill up spaces in the USA. Is this fair or responsible? For the political boundaries to mean anything, this problem must be addressed by the Mexican government and their religious leaders. The USA is not a population outlet for nations with high reproductive rates.

The national jurisdictions should be required to publish a research report on population dynamics and an action plan to achieve population sustainability to the United Nations. A recognition of the connection between population densities and wars must be made and the subsequent importance of population growth cannot be underestimated. High unemployment leads to civil unrest.

Capitalism as an economic success is dependent on renewable resources, discovery of new resources and the opening of new markets. The growth mantra has been uttered so often nobody thinks of the philosophy of an ever expanding population within a finite space. Since new resources are now few and far between, any growth must be at the expense of other economic interests. This kind of cutthroat competition and subsequent monopoly causes unemployment. We are now a nation of buyers of goods, rather than a primary producer of goods. The relentless erosion of regional self-sufficiency leaves too many at the mercy of importation of necessities and also leaves many unemployed. Unfair trade policies are not capitalism, but are rather exploitation. The USA has been exploited and now is broke and unemployed and in debt. Foreign interests now exploit our mineral resources while politicians assist and applaud.

Job creation should have a goal of perpetuating the system as well as employment of workers. Makework projects without a clear economic objective are too expensive for the economy to support, so job creation should occur in sustainable occupations like greenhouses, health care, energy production, research and development, where something of value is created ongoing. For example, instead of wasting money on a solar company proposing to use old technology to compete with the Chinese using their subsidized industry, why not consider a solar company that uses solar catchment units that have easily removable elements that can be retrofitted as the industry R&D continues? An adaptive solar unit! Or instead of building huge culverts where it rarely rains, build solar electricity producing units and export electricity, an ongoing profit making enterprise or provision of plenty electricity for that locale.

One example that comes to mind is the federal subsidy of the installation of a streetcar line made under the stimulus program that will leave the city of Tucson in deeper debt, has devastated the water company with borrowing, and has actually created very few temporary jobs in Tucson, but did export jobs to Oregon where seven streetcars are to be built with borrowed money, which raises the costs by at least one third. After the streetcar line is in operation, the maintenance costs will be paid by the city and are estimated to cost several million a year, all out of the general fund. The city of Tucson has borrowed money the last few years in order to avoid cutting programs and this streetcar will only add to the deficit, since no attempt will be made to make it into a paying operation. Thus, the stimulus just caused more debt, a few temporary jobs, and a lasting maintenance charge to add to the city deficit. Proponents of the scheme say that sales tax revenues along the route will be a money maker and more housing will be built, all this in an economy with a huge surplus of housing.

There are skeptics concerning the stimulus spending, long term debt obligations and the effect on jobs. More debt service = less money in circulation. How stimulated is Tucson right now? The streetcar operation and maintenance requires jobs, but these jobs must be subsidized by the city in a deficit situation. In tight economic times, this means cuts elsewhere in order to keep the streetcar running and the unions are demanding top money and benefits. Should the politicians borrow money to meet the added deficit? Already, the 'modern' streetcar has destroyed the efforts of a private outfit running an old streetcar here in town. So much for the stimulus, which also paid for 'Fast and Furious'.

Proposed spending for job creation must be analyzed carefully. Suppose a foreign mining company says they are creating jobs in Arizona by using local workers to extract copper using local water. This slurry will then be shipped overseas for refining and of course they will possess the metals, which raise in value every year. There's a big rush on this so they can quick get their hands on the new monetary standard, the metals. Why not build a state of the art smelter that can do slurry and recycle? There is plenty of room over in Mojave County along the railroad line: it is time for a smelter. Then the state metal resources will be exploited by local workers, the supply stays within the USA and more jobs are created here. And the huge wealth of the metals will remain here.

The old mining law dating from the nineteenth century must be revised. Perhaps the Feds should spend some time considering the critical long term resources of this country, get legislation passed that protects our national interest and revise that antiquated mining law. Jobs based on finite resources will be gone while somebody else makes off with the loot and leaves a big hole and poisonous waste in the groundwater. Being in a hurry to get jobs might hurt the economy in the long run, like selling Manhattan Island for a handful of bright beads didn't help the Indians long term. Selling all you have of valuables without economic replacement is not a way to get ahead.

The issue of excessive regulation must be addressed. The smallholders are tied up by local zoning laws that prohibit home based businesses, which is a violation of land rights. It appears that zoning laws have required someone to live in one place and have a business in another, which benefits those owning 'commercial' property. This expense defines what businesses can exist and the commercial land holders will charge as much as they can possibly get for any use of their properties, because of the liberal tax code that allows for heavy tax deductions for empty units, thus driving up the rents. Nobody cares if businesses cannot exist because of the high rents and the impossibility of using your own property to have a business, anything from a law office, hair salon, candy shop and so on. Of course, not allowing businesses in homes causes one to have to drive or ride the bus somewhere else to shop for everything every time. Excessive regulation and fees and licenses and super dooper inspections of larger businesses discourage investment, when the governments cuts itself in off the top even before any profits are made. Health and safety inspections are one thing that came out of excesses of the sweatshop age, but harassment and favoritism by petty local officials is expensive and nonproductive.

So the legacy of 2012 will be a new direction, either the choice of more and better technology and an outreach to the stars, or face the problems of population sustainability on Earth, with no more population outlets but death and takeover of resources. War and competition must give way to stability and regional sustainability.

Define sustainable regions, producer regions, needy regions.

Sustainable: self producing in energy, food and water @ 33.3% each for initial rating, then refine to exporters of energy, food, water and then consumers of energy, food, water.

For example, a predictable outcome would be heavily urbanized areas require energy and food to be brought in but are sometimes self-sufficient in water, depending on where they are located. Another predictable outcome would be that some cities in the southwest USA are self sufficient in nothing, due to the population buildup after World War II. Recent Central Arizona Project public policy changes undermine agriculture while increasing water allotments for more housing developments, which shows the foolishness of policymakers, who choose a quick buck over long term local benefit. Five days worth of food in the stores is not much of a cushion against a domestic emergency. Mexico is within these spheres of influence because of important food imports.

The old time methods of population control include mass executions, rolling heads down pyramid stairs, gas chambers and other cruelties all aimed at seizure of the properties, ethnic warfare and other extermination campaigns. The world cannot continue these methods in order to cope with overcrowding. In the absence of a migratory population outlet, populations within existing political or religious or ethnic jurisdictions must stabilize without encroaching. World population stability is a job to do and of course there are those who would try to obtain or maintain supremacy, but the vision of supremacy changes with time.


Thursday, October 20, 2011


The first item to be examined is the feasibility of creating any given job, the ramifications of continuing to create that kind of job and the resources needed to create that job.

Energy Independence:

Applying this concept would provide jobs across the country as the resources vary from district to district. Natural gas in several places around the country where jobs would be created exploiting it, solar in other appropriate places to create jobs, petroleum in others, wave action energy production on coasts and so on all creating jobs and a desirable outcome of energy independence. Energy independence would save a huge amount of money for this nation and we would not be paying enemies for energy. Maybe they would be too broke to attack us.

Sponsor a competition for entrepreneurs and students highlighting possible new energy sources or a new angle on an existing resource. Offer prizes, recognition and job offers from sponsors. Make these with a local angle, as in Tucson, Arizona working with solar would be local, or a wind solar combo or solar smelter. Florida might want wave action/solar/wind combo. Natural gas combined with wind generators or something brand new that nobody ever thought of before.

This competition would create jobs and stir up new ideas that we need. The institutions of learning could contribute free tuition and other perks to winners to bolster interest. Our students are so creative and so well educated they don't know the intellectual boundaries felt by others. This money infusion into the schools could be based on sheer size: X number of students=Y number of prizes.

Benefits: money and recognition would be infused into the creative world of entrepreneurs and students. competition for prizes would be stiff but the most feasible improvement leading to energy independence would be rewarded. A big prize for the best research lead should be included.

Recall the huge benefits of government support of Research and Development from back in the 1950s. Sputnik and the push in education for science? We walked on the moon! We can achieve energy independence and free ourselves from the expense of foreign oil. And when oil runs out, we will have developed alternative resources to sustain our civilization.


Construction jobs should be minimal because of surfeit of structures. Renovating and reenergizing existing structures is a possibility. Tax/fee/ licensing breaks for spending money that way for individuals and businesses benefits: homes and businesses are renovated and the community looks better and people are more comfortable. People are employed doing the renovations, which is a continuing profession if the field doesn't get too crowded. Unemployed construction workers can compete for these jobs and they already have the skills.

Space Program:

The space program is a logical extension of the R&D money invested during the 20th century that has changed our civilization with the new knowledge. Exploration of the moon could be accomplished through government R&D and through private investment. The mining companies could be given tax breaks for investing in moon exploration, which could yield plentiful titanium, other metals and minerals. Private enterprise is already funding ventures in space exploration.

Expanding the USA space presence could be funded through the military, NASA and Transportation and other nations. Dream up another academic contest aimed at delivering smelted titanium to Earth from the moon. .. Go for USA creativity because that is where excellence shines in our students. Jobs in R&D and fabrication of units and possibly a new space station terminus. Only fund studies of something new or a vast improvement on existing ideas, like floating a payload in like those satellites that 'fall' but then control the reentry.

Benefits: Immediate employment funding for students, researchers and fabrication and construction of associated units. Long term benefit could be the utilization of the minerals and metals found on the moon, which would enrich our civilization and provide long term jobs on the moon and Earth. Our military could develop defenses for our planet and nation and international cooperation could flourish.


Expansion of the roads has been heavily funded throughout manifest destiny, but now jobs and money should be focused on repair and maintenance and replacement of dangerous structures. Funding for more new roads is like the bridge to nowhere but the land of a land speculator who has contributed to politicos who respond to such stimuli. An elaborate storm drain structure at Quartzite is a good example of temporary jobs that produced no lasting economic stimulus and was basically unneeded because it only rains every few years in the Mojave Desert. Money needs to be invested in what will bring in a return, like solar generating stations at Quartzite would have generated a valuable commodity. The culverts look nice, however. This was transportation money. The transportation lobby needs to cut back and take a look at what will truly benefit the community instead of supporting jobs that drain the coffers without an adequate return in tax revenue that is needed to continue the system.

The key here is what will continue the system. What will continue the system?

• maintaining existing infrastructure

• cut back on debt and consider default on usury and ignore rating agencies

• maintain a strong national defense on Earth and in Space

• continue the innovation that our nation has fostered.

• fund research and development in higher learning institutions

• get insurance out of mandatory status and return to the free market

• free up businesses from mandatory insurance requirements except in hazardous situations

• penalize businesses and countries that abuse trade relations or tax codes

• give tax breaks to businesses established in the USA, the more jobs the higher the percent

• encourage national production of common items

• amend the tax code to prevent lienholders from getting a tax break in any form for foreclosures

• Keep our mineral resources here for job creation

• respect the need for unions with fiscally responsible leadership

• cooperation will continue the system, disunity will not.

At this point in time, analyze data on what professions are disproportionately represented in unemployment statistics. Cut back on training programs in those professions, while encouraging training in professions where job growth is forecast by investment. Teach the students these statistics so they can make their own choices.

In the schools, stress a liberal arts program, because we simply do not know where an increase in R&D investment is going to produce another Jobs/Gates breakthrough that changes our civilization. Stress education in the basic skills of reading, mathematics, and composition plus the use of computers in all areas of learning and researching. An educated individual with those skills will be quick to learn new applications and will be ready for whatever is coming. This is adaptability, a characteristic of our species. A technocrat speaks of the future with hope and faith in the creativity of our students and entrepreneurs.

Gaming the system to acquire wealth by manipulating instead of producing is counterproductive to the goal of continuing the system. At least Caesar had a good motive when he violated the Roman Constitution and created an emperor, thus bringing to an end the Roman Republic. The apparent motivation to control as much money as possible without regard to the social consequences can be discussed... The forethought that should go into the removal of legislation formed by the fine minds of the time in an earnest effort to prevent the economic devastation of another Great Depression apparently was incomplete. The economic gamesters even scooped into tax money to further their 'derivative' schemes and continue the gaming to this day. Hang around a casino for a while and see gaming. Gambling losses must be tax deductable for some, just not for the average Joe. And the games continue, tying up cash.

So now remember what happened to Caesar while there is in the here and how an organized movement protesting Wall Street greed and political corruption on all levels. They hit the streets a while ago in New York and now other cities around the world are hosting demonstrations. This is the direct aftermath of all the gaming and undermining and short term thinking. Sure, Z group won but what did the prize turn out to be?

A flat tax would prevent the use of the tax code to discourage destructive behaviors in the community. Right now the tax code is encouraging population growth. Perhaps deductions per child should be limited to one per adult. Any other children after that would be financed from the family income. Of course the rich will do whatever but common sense will dictate courses of action. The reason is that each child costs the government and disparate groups with high birthrates are increasing at the expense of other groups who have fewer children. Part of parenting is responsibility. An individual should have to pay for increasing the population by more than replacement value. Who should pay, but the person contributing to the public obligation? The same should apply to school vouchers, one adult = one voucher. If you have more children to send to school, then you pay. This political hot potato is never tossed around for comment. Possibly this flat tax would eliminate this deduction.

The issue of population growth must come up when it comes to jobs. High unemployment rates are associated with overpopulation. As cadres of workers come of age, the economy must produce jobs for them. Say X equals population growth, Y equals existing unemployment, then X+Y=unemployment rate. If the economy cannot produce enough jobs, the unemployment rate will grow. Something must happen to restore stability: new jobs, less population growth or a decrease in population to match resources, or the USA will have an ever increasing population with a new lower level of poverty every year. It is time to limit the child deduction to one per adult.

The problem of foreclosures and the state of the housing 'industry' leads to the conclusion that any tax breaks for lienholders for foreclosures should be denied. The foreclosures are a drain on public resources, can become a public hazard and devalue neighborhoods, all which harm the community and cost money. The lienholders should pay this cost because they own the property. Local governments should consider laying a fee on foreclosures. Discouraging foreclosures seems appropriate since a study in Phoenix showed that lienholders were less likely to foreclose on high end properties they held the paper on. So the smallholders are taking the brunt of the foreclosures because their mortgage was 'securitized'. Time to bust some bricks! It's time when a schmuck who took out a loan of $200,000 for a property is foreclosed on and kicked out so his home can be sold at auction to a buddy of the lienholder for $30,000, while the government pays the difference to the lienholder. Of course, the schmuck could have easily paid the payment on $30,000 but that was never an option for him. The more expensive the property, the more likely the lienholder would 'work' with the debtor. Pass moral judgment on that.

In conclusion, after cheap money and massive debt bankrupted so many, there are now fewer jobs and more imports. Unions sometimes demand exorbitant pay and benefits, which drives up the cost of local products, which encouraged investment in importing. The daisy chain goes on and on. Them that has, gets. An old adage come true once again. The problem is in the balance of wealth: "We are the 99%" on a sign at an Occupy Tucson rally, seen across the nation in other cities.

Local job possibilities: The Indians have land and water. What crop could generate local jobs? Cotton is in demand. Cotton spinning, cloth, clothes all made here. Pumpkins grow here. Dried pumpkin? Canning takes water, which is scarce here. Sales in other countries? How about greenhouses? Greenhouses in the winter are cost effective. Research on new plant use at the UA might uncover cash crops we never knew we had, like buffgrass flour maybe. Food crops grown here are to everyone's advantage and could provide jobs and lower everyone's food costs. I think Pima County is a natural for greenhouses, which conserve water. Hydroponics and tilapia farms are also a possibility. There is a successful experimental tilapia farm here, sponsored by the UofA.

Already, jobs are being created in the second hand industry, with thrift stores opening all over Tucson. Recessions generate interest in thrift shopping. This shift has closed some retail stores. Interesting, that the price of antiques appears to have peaked with the real estate boom, as a luxury item not so valued during recession. How about a huge thrift shop on the far east side of the UA like the White Elephant store in Green Valley? Employ students on a flex schedule. Remember, the old Value Village store was on 4th Avenue for years of success.

If the city contracted out the landscaping without demanding union membership, more jobs could be created on the private market. Other jobs could be contracted out also, which would lift the burden of high pay and benefits for city workers. No more can be afforded and more jobs would be created in the private sector.

People should contact their legislators concerning tort reform. The stranglehold the lawyers have on the economy is second only to that of the insurance companies. Study the Texas model. The insurance companies are holding cash for all of us but when a big payout is required, they have to be bailed out. Nice to know that AIG now has a new line of credit, is opening a life insurance program with 40 year payouts and is now hosting lavish meetings at a posh resort once again. This must be part of the jobless recovery. The people should be free of these taxes disguised as insurance and they should be free of the costs of Armageddon litigation.

Zoning is a barrier to home based businesses. Unreasonable parking space requirements, retrofitting and inspecting and rejecting all restrict the right of a person to their own property. The purpose of the city should go back to the original charter, which has been interpreted and ballooned into a puffer fish. More jobs would be created if people were 'allowed' to use their properties to make money, like a wood shop, a cooler repair shop, a sewing shop, a bakery, a consignment shop....

Of course, Tucson needs new businesses who do not use water. We have plenty buildings, cheap solar energy, workers, cheap housing, a major research university...what else do you need?


Thursday, October 13, 2011


Ideas for Tucson

The recent international baseball event at Kino stadium where about 12,000 people attended over three days was such a success to be repeated.

How about hosting international baseball here? League games could be played here while weather in the Southern Hemisphere is cold.

Why not build a soccer field out there on some of that land downtown? Let go of grandiose plans and go for bleachers and field and associated health needs and forget the 10 storey stadium idea. Bring in soccer teams from across the states in the winter for practice and games. Lure international soccer in and get things going again. Build fancier facilities incrementally and avoid debt. Get rid of the moneylenders and go for what we can do here and now. Partner with Rio Nuevo and get soccer facilities over there.


Everybody in this town is charging too much rent, probably because of the debt load. The reasoning goes like this: if we owe a payment of X then we have to charge X+1. So nobody rents it because nobody has enough money and it stands empty. Teams can't afford X+1 so they don't have anywhere to go. If the rent is lowered then the teams would rent the facility and something would be gained. It appears that these facilities are owned by the people but the controllers are charging so much to use it, the people's teams can't use it. Lower the rents for Kino and Corbett and see them fill up.

How about free admission for little league kids plus an exhibition game for them the next time the Mexican league is here? This would boost attendance and stir up interest. Lower the bleachers seats to $1 per person! Kids free! Give families a place to go!


Another problem are the prices the vendors charge for food and drink. Monopolies do not lower the prices and result in price gouging. It's like the TCC that charges exorbitant rates for vendors to set up during events, which in turn raises the prices for the average guy who stumbles in there and the four kids scream for a $5 hotdog after he already paid $8 to park and more money to get in. And they wonder why their events are not so successful or the TCC stands empty.

Get rid of the vendor monopolies and charge a minimal fee to set up. Provide jobs and opportunity for vendors, which is jobs for the community. Let them set up and compete and they make a living, and the people have more food choices and lower food prices. Everyone benefits.


Free parking or $1 for all events. Parkwise reports dollar in dollar out in the revenue/expenditure line, so maybe they are padding their bank accounts at the expense of everyone else.


Get rid of confrontational management. If the facility they are managing is not profitable, fire them. Get rid of management that does not want to work internationally to attract teams and conventions.


In summary:

• Lower rents for Corbett, Kino and TCC

• Lower admission charges

• Free parking

• lower vendor charges

• cancel vendor monopolies

• scale back Parkwise


The winter weather in Tucson is a huge advantage in attracting teams. There are many open rental units in town, which is an advantage unless the landlords demand exorbitant rent. Perhaps reduced rates for visiting teams in apartments, motels and condos could be arranged.

These are just a few ideas for improving the use of our public facilities that will increase revenue and give our families wholesome games and events to attend at a cost that all can afford.

Dorothy Prater Niemi October 2011

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