Monday, September 17, 2012

Why Rain Doesn't Always Help Us

Why Rainfall Doesn’t Always Help Us
September 17, 2012

Why rainfall doesn't help us. The geological structure of the greater Austin area is composed of a base of limestone, because most of Texas was the bottom of an ancient lake. Most of the greater Austin area has a very thin layer of topsoil, averaging as little as 4 to 6 inches; and underneath that, solid limestone. This is especially true of the Hill country, which makes up the majority of the watersheds for our 2 main reservoirs, lakes Austin and Buchanan. Because of this geological structure, rainfall general measurements are a poor indicator of the amount of water that ends up in our reservoirs. Our predominant rainfall comes in the form of thunderstorms, which produce brief but torrential rains. The initial 20 min. or so of what is called a gully washer, is quickly absorbed by the dry and parched topsoil. The water fall after that rapidly runs off and ends up in the Gulf of Mexico. So, unless the generalized pattern of scattered thunderstorms produces a storm directly over the relatively small watershed areas of the 2 reservoirs, it adds nothing to our water reserves. Since we live in a County with a high population density, approximately 1.7 million people in the greater Austin area, we are totally dependent on these reservoirs for a constant steady and reliable source of water. To make matters worse, the growth of this area has been in the high tech sector which has attracted people from all over the United States and abroad for these jobs in cutting edge high tech industries. Included, in the high-tech sector are many semi-conductor fabrication plants (approximately 14 in number). These “chip fabs”, as they are called in the industry, use phenomenal amounts of water in their manufacturing process. For example, it takes over 800 gallons of highly purified water to rinse a single 8 inch silicone wafer. Each of these factories produce thousands of wafers every day. An article on the subject, estimated that an average chip fab used an amount of water that would support a city of over 50,000 people. Therefore, these drought conditions with ever declining water levels in our reservoirs puts these chip fab factories in jeopardy. Since they represent enormous capital investment to build and maintain, and require a very highly educated and sophisticated workforce, they have tremendous leverage on the local economy, and thus the politicians who stake their careers on Austin's reputation on a national level as a high tech center which produces a constant stream of highly placed  well-paying jobs.

It has become increasingly evident that this conflict of interest between the high-tech industries that attract people to this area, and the normal and unavoidable need for water to sustain life and maintain other facilities that make Austin such a wonderful place to live within its beautiful lakes and parks and other amenities. This conflict produced a dramatic example last year, 2011, the hottest and driest year in the state of Texas ever recorded.  In spite of the miserable relentless heat, Travis County saw 26,000 people move into the area from all over the country. Then last winter, nature gave us an unexpected break from the relentless heat and lack of rainfall, and we were blessed with 7 straight months of average rainfall. And the result, which is counter intuitive, we saw our reservoirs levels went down. There can be no mistake about the data, for the lake levels are measured several times a day by state of the art techniques using feet above sea level as the standard.  This data is published daily on the LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority) web sight.
The meaning of this is clear, we have simply outgrown what nature will give us in terms of replacing the water that we use from our reservoirs. And I repeat, these 2 reservoirs are our only source of water. The problem is of course not purely a growth issue, but partially due to the fact that only a very specific pattern of rainfall adds a significant amount of water to our reservoirs. Generally speaking, the predominant rainfall pattern comes in the form of scattered thunderstorms, is almost useless. The only rainfall pattern that can be counted on to enter the reservoirs is a slow gentle constant rainfall over a large part of the greater Austin area, which we just experienced over this past weekend, September 15-17.

This is exactly the common rainfall pattern in Seattle Washington. I know this well because I lived there for 20 years. Seattle only receives about 42 inches of rain per year, which is about the same as Houston Texas, and only slightly more than the Dallas Fort Worth area. Yet, the average tree, which is a Douglas fir, is 150 feet tall with trunks 3 feet in diameter. And these are 2nd growth trees. The trees that were present when the loading industry arrived averaged between 250 and 300 feet in height. An average tall tree in any Texas urban area averages about 50 feet, and these trees have the benefit of irrigation. The point of all this is that the slow heavy drizzle type rainfall is so much more effective for plant life, that when compared to a radically different pattern of rainfall such as our scattered thunderstorm, it renders evaluating drought in terms of average rainfall almost completely useless. When assessing drought conditions, and the chances of recovery or worsening of those conditions, rainfall patterns and population density must be weighted at least as much as measurements of total rainfall. None of the standard rainfall maps that are thrown in our faces by the Austin-American newspaper consider anything but soil moisture. The originals of this type of map made sense when the population was spread out into small town's and the dominant industry was agriculture. Our local newspaper ran a front-page story about a month ago stating the case that the drought was getting better. They published a map from an institution that I was not familiar with. I looked it up, and the source was a research organization in Omaha, Nebraska, whose main concern is the soil moisture as it affects their main agricultural products: hogs, corn & soybeans.  Their database covered the entire country and our newspaper selected a portion that included Central Texas which do make it appear that drought conditions were improved.  But this is intentional deception, clearly meant to soften local concerns about our drought. We grow computer chips here, not hogs or soybeans and maybe a tiny bit of corn. As far as I know, and though I readily admit I am not an expert on the history of Travis County. But I do have a good working knowledge of horticulture, and I know that you  can not grow vigorous crops of corn or soy beans on 6 inches of top soil.  The situation a few miles to the northeast of Round Rock (home of Dell Computer), in the area around Hutto and Taylor, the soil is rich and deep and is some of the most productive in the state.  However, that area shares our water shortage and an 8 foot pipeline to supply Hutto with water has just been completed.

As far as I know, there has never been an agricultural basis for the economy here in Travis County. Austin has always been an intellectual and political power center, propelled by the large state government and the huge and highly ranked University of Texas. Since I attended there in the 1960s, this prestigious university have and still has 55,000 students, including over 20,000 graduate students whose research before and after graduation brings in countless dollars and corporate investment and facilities. The highly trained and sophisticated PhD's produce a virtual endless stream of talent for any company doing any type of research and development. Therefore, comparing the rainfall and it's affect on the economy of the agricultural based small town of Omaha Nebraska, to the intellectual research and development mecca with a population of over 30 times the size of Omaha is laughable, as well as being deceptive.  It is disturbing that Perry and his allies stoop to cheap tricks to deceive the public about the level of danger that brewing and getting worse by the day.

I we the people of Travis County do not wake up and see clearly that we are rapidly running out of water, in as soon a six months; AND absolutely nothing is being done to mitigate the situation.   There are not even in plans in the making as to what emergency measures need to be taken IF we run out of water (which is a as close to a scientific certainty as is possible).  We are in a long term drought pattern with no end in sight, and we use much more on a daily basis the the reservoirs can supply, even given an occasional  break from nature.

Climactic change which produces less resources in the form of rain and food production, in a culture whose economic system based on a need for constant growth, and the need for essentially endless recourses, is a conflict so basic it is bound to be profoundly disruptive.  But WE humans must adapt to these changes or we will perish.  No better argument for conservation and “living within your means” has ever been made that the current situation in Central Texas where I live.  It is a heart wrenching process to watch.  We are being tested by nature, and at this point it appears to me that we are going to fail.  But Texans and all of humanity have risen to the demands of worse situations that this, so I remain hopeful.

Morris Creedon-McVean

Sunday, September 9, 2012

South Texas is an Acute State of Emergency

South Texas is an Acute State of Emergency
September 9, 2012 

So that your computer screening algorithm doesn’t falsely categorize these comments, let me state them clearly from the start:  1)  My main concern is the LIVES, safety, and welfare of the PEOPLE of TEXAS.
             2)  Clarify: why, I am certain that the urban populations 
are at much greater risk due to the drought than they believe.
              3)  The reason for their heightened risk is that all public service organizations have failed to informed the public of the SEVERE and NEAR EMERGENCY levels of the reservoirs on which urban communities depend for all the water needs and ALL of the electrical power needs. In this State the only way electricity is generated is by use of the standard steam generator which ,by the nature of it’s design, must run at high speeds to be efficient. Due to a flaw in the design, these generators periodically run too fast and heat up. If they are not immediately cooled with large amounts of water, they explode.  So, no water, means no electricity.  No electricity means no gas, because gasoline pumps require electricity.  Few people are aware of these relationships.
          4)   The most culpable is the State government whose leadership recently declared “there is no water problem…no further conservation measures are necessary.”  This declaration is so contradictory to the fact, that it is not only a bold faced lie, but deprives the public of information that would allow them to make their own decision.  This is simply not the American way of doing things.  I can think of nothing to be gained by sitting back and watching this wonderful city fall apart, when, while we cannot control the drought, we can do many things to mitigate the impact. We can plan for evacuations, stockpile bottled water, install generators. All these kinds of actions require time for planning and execution. My simple calculations suggest that Travis County will be bone dry by the first week in February.  It would take a massive volunteer army of citizens  to accomplish anything substantial, even if we managed to start by October 1st, a mere 3 weeks away.

On June 29, 2012 the combined lake reservoirs of Travis County (Austin) hit a predetermined trigger point that was set during the1951 drought.  The recommendation of the former Texas Water Commission directed by a scientist and Professor of Biology at Texas A&M with an impeccable pedigree and long record of successful management of Texas water crisis, was immediate dramatic cutbacks on our usage of both water and power, including “rolling brownouts”.  But nothing happened. Utilities routinely follow the commission’s recommendations because of their impeccable history of success.  However, Governor Perry intervened and stopped the recommendations from being executed.  A month later, he had the water districts issue a letter to all retail customers stating “There is no longer a water problem; and, no further conservation efforts will be necessary.” He “defined” away the problem.  Meanwhile, our reservoirs steadily went lower.   Then last Friday the LCRA announced a complete change in the Board of Directors, filled with people from the real estate and financial sectors who have an obvious conflict of interest with any conservation efforts or even an honest warning to the general public about the general potential dangers that they may face.  No a single scientist is on the board.  None of the new board members have any experience in water management.

I then did some simple calculations based on the current water supply in the reservoirs : 898,809 acre feet on Sept 2, 2012.  All numbers are in units of acre feet unless otherwise indicated.

898,809 ( *1)  divided by 40,000/week (an average usage rate)= 22.47 weeks =157.29 days= 5.243 months.

Thus, this estimation projects that we will run completely dry by the first week in February 2013.  Draconian cutbacks in power and water will have to begin well before that, no matter what the Governor names the situation.  So, extreme cutbacks should begin as early as October (that is next month) to avoid the risk of running completely dry in 5 short months which would mean1.7 million people without power, water, food or gasoline and no warning that this was going to happen.  That sounds like a serious problem to me.  No preparations of any kind have been made by any organization on any level of government from county/city to FEMA; and neither have any NGO’s (Non-Government organizations).  People in Travis County will be like people in the Sudan, no supplies to sustain life, no way of escape, and no one ready to provide the massive relief necessary. 

That is the course the State Government led by our Governor, who doesn’t believe government has any role is social services, which quite bizarrely includes not warning the public of impending disasters.  But, we are a free people and we are not bound to follow the Governor’s advice (do nothing). We must dramatically reduce our usage of power and water by 50% to buy time to prepare for the day our lakes are empty and total social and economic chaos and panic result.

 The Governor could be impeached and removed from office; so that a person capable of managing this disaster (like a retired Army Coronel with experience in disaster relief) could take control.  But that must happen quickly, in less than a month.  Not impossible, but this state is totally dominated by Perry’s party, which will go down in history as the party that destroyed the State’s capitol out of pure negligence.  The populous is so conditioned to take the word of the party in power that we don’t even question their near-dictatorial powers.   In this case, the lack of a healthy opposition will prove to be catastrophic.   What I am talking about is just Austin.  I have every reason to believe that the situation is even worse in San Antonio and in the Valley.  Eastern Texas cities, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston’s reservoirs are in better condition; but, they certainly don’t have even remotely an “excess” that would enable them to help the critical shortages in South Texas.  To the north, there are catastrophic droughts all the way to southern Minnesota.

My grandparents all lived their lives on farms.  Living off the land with hard work and intelligent use of limited recourses---they wasted NOTHING.  They showed the kind of courage that built this great country and reached its peak of accomplishment after WWII after saving the world from fascism.  Then for the first time in history, instead of pillaging the losers, America rebuilt the devastated German and Japanese economies and installed democratic republic governments. This was to end the cycles of wars causing wars due to the desperation of the defeated, which is exactly what happened after WWI, creating fertile ground for Hitler to gain power by promising hope.

This is not the time for Texans, long respected for their toughness and determination under the most trying circumstances, to be passive and swallow the bold faced lies our government is dishing out on a daily basis.  The Austin-American Statesman has sold out to the Perry fantasy that “prayer “ will save us from the devastation of this drought.  Perry stated this in a speech in December of 2011 when he acknowledged that there was a drought.

 It is normal to be frightened by this unprecedented drought; but, we must act and do our best in spite of our fear.  Courage is the ability to act and do the right thing in spite of fear.  Cowardice is giving into the fear and becoming paralyzed to take action.  We are presently acting more like the later than the former.  I believe we are better than that.  The spirit that our ancestors had is still alive in us; it is just in hiding.  It must be found and roused into action soon.  Thousands of lives are at stake.  The drought is real.  It is already threatening to destroy the economy and the population base of the state, now at 26.5 million.  The World Climactic Change is real; and, Texas is the first State (along with the less populous states of New Mexico and Arizona) to suffer the consequences of these devastating climactic changes that no one living has ever experienced.  We must break through our fear and denial and actively do everything in our power to mitigate the effects.  Just pretend it is the worst hurricane to ever hit the state.  The main difference is that this event will not last a few days and then simply disappear.  This climactic event will last for years.

I was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas.
BS in Radio-TV-Film University of Texas at Austin 1971
DO from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine 1980
I have over 190 credits mostly in science and engineering in the University of Texas System.  I changed majors three times: electrical engineering (GPA of 3.61), radio-RV-Film and Biology.

Since I read Marshall McCluhan’s prophetic The Medium is the Message, warning of the dangers of mental illness from watching television, in 1969, I have not watched television since. I know of none of my peers who responded to his admonitions in such a manner.  So, while virtually everyone else was watching television, I was reading non-fiction text books regarding the latest breakthrough in a vast variety of fields.  When Prozac appeared in the late ‘80’s and destroyed our psychological  model of human behavior, the next decade was an exciting time, a major breakthrough in our understanding of the biology of the brain and how it effected our behavior produced an exciting new book at least every month.  I read them all including new breakthroughs in genetics, linguistic, demographics, paleoanthropology,  the great human diaspora, and on and on.  My family called me “the Book Worm”. I also read dozens of books on finance and trading stocks, bonds, and futures.  I was a full time trader for over 2 years, Until I figured out that every aspect of the world of finance is rigged, in that without the right powerful friends, the common man doesn’t have a chance of making money in any of the markets and keeping it.
Retired in 2011 due to medical disability after serving for 8 years at the State’s largest psychiatric institution, North Texas State Hospital in Wichita Falls and Vernon (where the forensic unit was located).  There, I learned valuable lessons from direct contact with the sickest of the sick.

The above explanation is written to describe my varied backgrounds; and, thus,  knowledge in what I write in order to dismiss any skeptics.

flickr:    Over 22,ooo posts

Morris Creedon-McVean, D.O.
Licensed to practice Medicine in Texas
Not a single malpractice suit in over 30 years of clinical medicine; including 8 years at the largest mental hospital in the State, North Texas State Hospital in Wichita Falls & Vernon.

If this makes any sense to you please forward a copy to everyone you know, especially residneses of Texas, the only way to mitigate this disaster is if we  understand and organize ourselves, and takes the necessary actions in order to save each other.  In spite of the negative outlook, it could be the catalyst for a rebuilding of community in not only Texas but the entire nation.  Wouldn't that be a refreshing change to the Presidential campaign, when seemed to bring out the worst qualities of Americans divisiveness, hatred, a complete refusal to discuss the issue that were most important to the american people.  A condensed summery of Campaign 2012 would be "I don't like you, because your party caused (insert probled) 3 decades ago.  No facts to support the accusation, then hurry on to the next complaint. I can't speak for you, but this script stunk the firts time, and now after 101 repititions it all makes me sick.  Let. vote Tues september 17th and get it over with.  The only event of substance left is the debates and that is such an unfair fight with Obams's skills in that format so much more formable, that it will a skillful vs unskillful exercise in avoidance.  We deserve better than that.

*1  Source;lakevolume  (a service of the Texas State Water Commission calculated in real time using feet above sea level as the methodology.)
*2 Usage rate used at the higher end of the range of variable usage rates because of the high temperatures which are likely to continue and the constantly increasing population, and the Governors written message to utilities that “there is no more water problem and no further conservation measures are needed”

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Clarification of Healthcare Reform

Clarification of Healthcare Reform 
 July 16, 2012

The GOP has taken great delight in venomous deceptive criticism of “Obamacare” by calling it “socialism.”  They gloat on by stating that Obama is going to ruin the country with his “socialism.”  They seem to equate socialism with communism, fascism, devil worship and any other negative connotation that comes out of Rush Limbaugh’s mouth. Equating socialism with these evil regimes lies somewhere between a bold-faced lie and the grandest of deceptions. The GOP still harbors resentment at a deep level against Franklin D. Roosevelt who initiated social security in the 1930s.  This humanistic and prophetic action gave elderly American citizens who had worked until they could work no more a safety net of a minimum amount of income so that they could still live their remaining days in their own homes. What in God’s name is evil about that ? The desire to give the most needy citizens of this country who have worked until the health and the aging process has rendered them unable to make a living a subsistence allowance to live out their days with dignity. Had FDR not initiated social security, which the richest and the most powerful country in the world could easily afford even during an economic downturn, look where we would be today.  Our demographics have changed dramatically such that the elderly make up a much higher percentage of our population than has ever existed in the entire history of mankind. A vast percentage of this previously unimaginable number of elderly are entirely dependent on social security.  Isn’t that a wonderful achievement that this country who has been at the cutting edge of every major arena of human endeavor, is able to provide a safety net for so many millions of needy elderly. 
The Republican Party treats this issue in such a black and white manner that one would think they were dealing with the cost of steel.  Their oversimplification consists of cut social security and Medicare costs and the United States government will save money, reduce our debt, and stimulate the economy.  Striking a blow against the evil of socialism at the expense and suffering of the elderly is all upside and no downside, right?  This not very clever deception reveals a concrete and simplistic view of life that would cause the Founding Fathers to wretch. Abraham Lincoln, the acknowledged father of conservatism, made a clear and concise statement regarding this and other similar issues: “The role of government is to do for the people what the people cannot do for themselves.”

Avoiding the label of socialism, and considering what FDR did through the government, was to help the elderly do what they could not do for themselves. What action could a government possibly take that would fit Mr. Lincoln’s definition more precisely?  In their black and white thinking, the GOP treats the “problem of the elderly “ and the inherent expense of taking care of them, as a simple matter: reduce the benefits of the elderly, save money, and the problem is solved. As much as I hate to burden the GOP with facts, the expense of caring for the elderly will not disappear; it will fall on their families. Millions of currently employed children of these elderly will be forced to quit work, thereby stop paying taxes, in order to care for their loved ones.  It is a very complex issue because it involves almost everyone in society, both socially and economically. 

I challenge the GOP to engage an independent accounting firm to perform a comprehensive analysis of the economic ramifications of their simplistic “sound bite” solution.  Most of the “savings” of cutting Federal spending on taking care of the elderly, will come out of the pockets of their loved ones, lost wages, lost taxes on those lost wages, not to mention the intangible suffering for the majority of families when suddenly responsible for care of the aging loved ones, and lacking adequate recourses, experience additional suffering personally as the see the quality of the care they can render deteriorates.

If avoiding this inhumane and cruel scenario by paying a few dollars more in taxes, is “socialism”, then I for one am very happy to pay it.  Americans, have by far the lowest tax rates of any equally affluent nation.  And what do they “get” for these higher tax rates?  Far superior care of their elderly and better access to medical care for starters.  In comparison to these mostly Western European nations, we Americans want “something for nothing”.  Parents who were raised on small family farms raised me.  They had few “extras”, had to work hard, but were thankful for whatever they had.  This consumerism society is never happy with what they have.  TV and Madison Avenue sociopaths that control it, have taught us to never be happy with what we have.  They will invent a bigger fancier thing that we don’t need, and the TV tells us we must buy it.  In our television stupor we do as we are told, and act like greedy teenagers.  But a few more dollars a year in taxes for grandma, they we are too busy to even visit any more, and we behave like spoiled brats.  And if we have forgotten how to behave like that Rush Limbaugh will teach us how.

The GOP tries to make it simple for us: oppose taxation or we won’t be able to afford the new 63 foot plasma screen TV.  Grow up  America.  Turn of the electronic narcotic, get off your butts, and pay attention to what is important in life.  Pay you taxes with a smile; and vote the politicians that teach us consumerism and greed out of office.

Morris Creedon-McVean

Monday, July 16, 2012

Response to Donald Trump's Response to Obama Care

Donald Trump’s Cheap Shots on Obama Care
Posted on Facebook June 6, 2012

My response: Trump: you have just put together a list of cheap shots. Posturing yourself as a wise man who is deeply concerned with our health care system. You really don't give a damn. Your behavior for years clearly demonstrates you are on of the most antisocial, and selfish narcissistic people in this country. Posturing yourself in this manner is just another lie and deception. The only way you know how to behave. Here are the facts, which you carefully fail to mention. Our health care system is just like everything else in this country: it favors the rich and penalizes the poor. It is a disgrace. Compared to other similarly wealthy nations, we rank so high in very basic delivery of health care, like infant mortality, we rank with developing nations. Obama's plan has many flaws and it is easy to criticize. But at least he had the courage to try. Neither you or any member of the GOP has ever had the courage to do. The forces that favor the rich over the poor, that's you Donald, just sit back and criticize any body else's attempts to correct the disparity. Because, you are happy with the status quo. You have access to the finest care our system has to offer. You have money and status. Not caring that any one else has access, is morally and ethically impoverished.

The systematic plan by the GOP and the super rich to ride this country of the middle class and reduce this nation to an aristocracy, with the super rich as the kings and queens and the rest of us as wage slaves is retarded. History has shown REPEATEDLY that when the gap between the “have's and the have nots”, becomes too great, bloody revolution takes place. And in every case the poor ultimately win. That's your brilliant plan to save America. Save it from what? Being the first nation to succeed in evolving a new form of government that keeps wealth evenly distributed and peace erupts? Giving the challenges of an overpopulated world and climactic changes which combined with the end of oil as a natural recourse, our capacity to feed the world's population will be less than the 3 billion present in 1900. Thus, even if we stop population growth, that still leaves 3.5 billion doomed to starvation in the next generation. To have a CHANCE at survival for our species tribalism (us vs them) my die and altruism (those with more than what they need share with those less fortunate), must be rapidly adopted as the new planetary consciousness, because only altruism can give us the flexibility to adapt to the rapidly changing world that is our future. Just as opposing birth control is a suicidal path for our species, so is aristocracy a suicidal path for our species. Stay focused on your bank account Don, and lead us to our demise.

Morris Creedon-McVean

Review of Literature on the 2012 Presidential Election

Essay on Published Literature on the 2012
Presidential Election
July 14, 2012

This is a review of the current whole-article literature concerning the parties and candidates for President of the United States and the election in November of 2012.

Using the database, I reviewed 5 popular authors representing each of the 2 major political parties. Using a combination of the reviews written by the Amazon staff, and the extensive commentaries posted by readers of these books, I was able to get a very good picture of the structure and contents of each of the books. It is important to note, that many of the reviewers are prominent scholars, politicians, and well-known media personalities. Their comments were well written, very detailed, and, in general, had high praise for the book in question. Admittedly, this is a lazy man's attempt to evaluate this literature, but the time it would take to read ten volumes is beyond my current capacity and time limitations. However, let me add that I have been a high-volume consumer of new nonfiction literature since I was in college. More specifically, after reading The Medium is the Message by Marshall McLuhan in 1969, in which he warned of the hidden dangers of watching television, I stopped that habit and have been consistent in not watching television ever since. I know of no other individual who took Marshall McLuhan's advice; and, so while my peers have been watching television I have been reading books.

The appearance of on the Internet changed forever my reading experience. The brilliant structure of the database included reader reviews, which greatly aided myself and many, many others in making intelligent decisions concerning our next purchase and reading experience. Another splash of breakouts included cross-linking of the purchasers’ buying history, as well as their browsing history. With these two constants, the purchaser would then be offered books labeled as " other books you might be interested in." This soft sell, while at first seeming like a cheap gimmick, actually proved to be affective in helping me find books that I was interested in. Because the database permanently maintains your purchasing history and your browsing history, it was particularly effective for my style of reading. For example, I like to jump from topic to topic, for instance reading 3 or 4 books on recent breakthroughs in brain physiology; and, then switch to an interesting new series of subatomic particles in theoretical physics. In addition, the service was impeccable: fast, accurate, and reliable. The point in all this is that I have learned from 25 years of experience using how to use their system to the greatest advantage in finding books that were interesting and expanded my scope of knowledge. For example, I developed a screening criteria for readers’ comments; and, after a short while, it was obvious which readers’ commentaries were written by a knowledgeable person and which were written by a hack just wanting to spout off.

Given the basis of my methodology, here are my conclusions about the 10 best-selling books concerning the candidates and political parties engaged in the presidential election of 2012.

First, the books were all structured in an almost identical manner. These books began with the philosophical origins of the party. This was followed by a glorified history of the tradition of the political party and a lengthy section on their accomplishments and achievements that benefited the American people.

The majority of these writers wrote in a very erudite manner and were very convincing. But the overall tone was consistently more of a cheerleading exercise than a discussion of important issues of the day. When the current issues of the day were discussed, whether it be the poor state of the economy, the massive federal deficit, unemployment, or the decline in " family values", the emphasis was well focused on blaming the other party for all of these ills. Facts were always sporadically introduced when convenient; and ,only when supporting the claims that all of our major problems are the other parties’ fault. There was a complete absence of discussion of the underlying causes of the problems. When an occasional topic of discussion relative to the cause of our difficulties, it rapidly deteriorated into a high mannered blame game.

I was struck by the world view of all the authors. They wrote as if the world still functions as it did in the 1950s. It made me wonder if either of the candidates, their party leadership, or the writers of these books, have read a single book relative to the astonishing changes in our world view that have occurred in the last 20 to 30 years. In particular, they were totally ignorant of the concept of ecology, which was heralded in the 1950s by Rachel Carlson's Silent Spring. Her idea is that our planet is, in effect, a single organism in which everything affects everything else.  The delicate balance that keeps our environment in balance can easily be disrupted and destroyed by human folly. The entire scientific community has accepted this theory for over 20 years. The Democrats have made some efforts to support ecological agendas, but due to the fact that Congress has become completely corrupt, and every congressman's vote is up for sale to the highest bidding lobbyist, Democratic stance as the defender of the environment has been pathetic. The Republicans, on the other hand, have chosen to ignore the issue altogether, their belief being that anything that benefits the environment is costly to business and therefore reduces profits. They initially and stubbornly refuse to accept that issues like global warming are even real, based on the lame excuses of " we don't have enough information yet" or " scientists are not in agreement on this issue" which is a bold-faced lie.

The other major worldview-altering discovery, that human behavior is at least as much driven by biological factors as psychological factors, was not even hinted at in any of these " comprehensive" assessments of our current troubles. A prime example was the failure of any author to mention television as the technological "Marvel" that was the root cause of the unraveling of every aspect of American life. While the proof of this statement has only recently been proven down to the molecular level of neurotransmitters and brain circuitry, the general principles have been known in the scientific community for at least two decades. Another glaring omission that fits under the category of the effects of biology on human behavior is the discovery of the precise biological mechanisms that cause the overtly antisocial behavior of the sociopath. While sociopaths makeup slightly less than 1% of the human population, some very large and very convincing research studies have shown that these individuals, when they are able to gain positions of power and influence, cause roughly 99% of the misery in the world for the “other” 99%.

Morris Creedon-McVean