Swans Commentary » swans.com May 5, 2008  



How Many Connections Does It Take?


by Carol Warner Christen





(Swans - May 5, 2008)   "Republicrats" (1) is a phrase I like turning over in my mind into various forms, such as, "Republic Rats" and "Rats Who Run the Republic." It works better than Republic Cans because cans don't have legs, legalese teeth, and rarely hide so cleverly. Democ Rats convey little to the imagination; they seem to prefer blending in with power wherever and whenever they can, assuming they exist, since they hide so well behind the other kind.

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." (2) This quote from my ancestor fits me to a tee. However, I think my matches must be too wet because reading has fallen off drastically in the United States. Every warning I have written falls on deaf ears which are also blind and speechless.

No one cares; they've all been downloaded to single spaces on vast electronic databases or specially invented phones which suck the human energy out of them. I cannot bear to watch a group of people who appear to be together talking to one or another person over a device rather than each other. This is programmed disrespect to those in one's company.

"You don't get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. Whether it's building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play. That's the challenge...It's not too late, but it's getting pretty close. So let's shake off the crap and go to work. Let's tell 'em all we've had enough." (3)

"Habeas corpus (n.), archaic Latin term, no longer used." (4) Ain't that the truth? We pay a bunch of persons to represent us in the Congress of the United States around $168,000 per year with great perks. What do they do with our trust? They sell it to the best corporate bidders on the planet, the capitalists. Those are the richest of the rich who do not work for a living. What many of them do is scheme for a living with no thought for our tomorrows; but, they live well and dress much better than we do.

Tomorrow is on its way; the Hopi say it is the eleventh hour for humankind and for the planet. The schemers have almost finished pillaging in their "Grand Game." We have lost a right so old and so important that there is no other protection for any of us if these people decide to "lock you up and throw away the key." The key was habeas corpus. Our "public servants" had the effrontery to undermine us for some "rich shits," a derogatory, but accurate, term for them and the fools they bought. Who is so out of sync to think they might escape the fate they have voted for the rest of us? Too many is the answer.

The news is now mind-boggling in so many ways; it is hard to know where to start or what to do. The military manipulates and rewards, mostly retired military persons, for manipulating the people of the United States into perpetual war using the Fourth Estate. No one seems to understand that the military has the biggest stake in the oil crunch; it uses 60% for its planes and ships and tanks. It supports so many corporate killing machine factories that none of us can make a living or compete anymore. To make a base in the Middle East is the only goal of our military. I cannot find where the Founders said this was our ultimate goal. They said war was only for defending our shores, not our psyches; and, they never meant to wantonly kill civilians for the ease of it from air and sea to steal lands filled with oil. We have lost it, all of it. We have debased ourselves.

We have stolen our children's future by de-educating them, and de-funding the school systems. We are importing the technical classes from overseas by ignoring and firing our own engineers and technicians who built wonders for us. Our corporations cut salaries, lay-off and destroy the unions, etcetera, etcetera, and etcetera. Why did we, are we, continuing on this disastrous course? Has consuming eaten our minds, our selves, our respect, and our lives, too?

Copper is now cut out of everywhere it can be found to provide a living -- a good one -- for those who have nothing to lose anymore. When the rest of us lose what little we have left, will the fury begin? I read somewhere that someone said it was time to "get out the pitchforks." That is not pretty. Neither is what is happening to the poor, the sick, the old, the cities, the suburbs, the planet, the politics, the selfishness, and so on and on. We have rationed food as of yesterday!

Will you starve or steal or kill to survive as others are beginning to do? We have, literally, wasted an entire planet. We have a jumble of plastic in the Pacific Ocean bigger than two states the size of Texas. All the plastic we have ever created minus 6% is still with us, regardless of the size of our dumps. Is anyone asking why China is slowly poisoning many manufactured goods it sells to us, from toys to medicines? Why are our corporate entities permitted to outsource everything to China without any oversight on what comes back in? I have no way to test medicines my doctors may prescribe. Do you? Why has the executive branch fired its scientists who protected us in the past and stuffed the bureaus with political meatheads? The White House rewrites the science. What is that about? See Judy Pasternak's article in the LA Times, The Washington Post, and The Oregonian entitled "Politicians Pursuing Scientists," April 24, 2008.

Another weird fact is the number of children on mind-changing drugs. Is it the environment, parental ignorance, bad DNA, scientific malfeasance, Congress, the regulating agencies that have decided to overlook the obvious, or what? Henry Kissinger said in 1974 that the human race would have to be severely culled in the future. Is this Henry's future currently promoting and advocating death for humans to make room for their betters (according to him and his ilk)? I'd lay odds on a better than ninety percent probability.

"The United States is the most powerful among the technically advanced countries in the world today. Its influence on the shaping of international relations is absolutely incalculable. But, America is a large country, and its people have so far not shown much interest in great international problems, among which the problem of disarmament occupies first place today. This must be changed, if only in America's own interest. The last war has shown that there are no longer any barriers between the continents and that the destinies of all countries are closely interwoven. The people of this country must realize that they have a great responsibility in the sphere of international politics. The part of passive spectator is unworthy of this country and is bound in the end to lead to disaster all round." (5) This was written 87 years ago and the disaster of militarism has multiplied and metastasized. "At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst." (6) "Man is subject to innumerable pains and sorrows by the very condition of humanity, and yet, as if nature had not sown evils enough in life, we are continually adding grief to grief and aggravating the common calamity by our cruel treatment of one another." (7) In the 1960s, I was married under a different name for a time to a member of Bell Labs technical staff. Be that as it may, the Labs did research on human communication dynamics. In other words, how many connections does it take to get anything done on this planet from families to board rooms to Congress or all humans?

This is the formula: the number of people times the number of people minus one person divided by two. In notation, that is: (n x n - 1)/2. For a husband and wife, the formula comes up with a one (1) -- i.e., one channel of communication. There is no obstacle between us because (2 x 2 - 1)/2 = 1 when we talk or decide.

Now, let's check out three people: (3 x 3 - 1)/2 = (3 x 2)/2 = 6/2 = 3 channels, which are still workable because all three have a channel to each other. When there are four people, it changes drastically to (4 x 4 - 1)/2 or (4 x 3)/2 = 6 channels. Oh! Oh!

There are now two "secret channels," which begins to change the dynamic of open and direct communication. This is when secret agendas occur. Not everyone is told everything. This, in turn, creates subterfuge, secrecy, special deals, and removes some from doing any actual work if they are not in on the channels of communications directly.

If we calculate a board of directors with sixteen (16) members, what happens? There are now 120 channels of information amongst them for communicating priorities of all types. After a board chooses the managers, the managers will also have channels of information based on pleasing the main two or three board members. All the other channels will be chatter, secretive, or silent.

Congress has 435 members. That works out to 94,395 channels before information might even begin to flow between any of them, except perhaps some three powerful people with secret ties, here and there, in the Congress. We've all read about that.

If only United States adults are equated, then there are over twenty-two quadrillion connections. That puts agreeing on much of anything into another mind-boggling trap. Oregon adults are a mere four trillion connections. This makes for the liveliness of life politically, doesn't it? It also explains why our representatives do whatever they please or what they are paid by their highest bidder to do. Who will know? Who will care?

Granted, people can think; but, the morass we are in, to date, is mind-boggling. Might this be why so many are lethargic or opt out of as much as possible? Is this why my representative never answers my letters on the loss of habeas corpus? Perhaps they are hoping to reduce all the bodies by as many as possible sooner rather than later. The planet is overloaded with us. Without thought for tomorrow, we go on doing the same old things we did today. A percentage of humans cares very much how this will all come out; they work pathetically alone considering the numbers above.

Might this be why the United States government has decided that it will allow one person -- the president -- to run the place because that is easier than the alternative? In effect, we, the People, have been cut out of this huge loop to simplify the terms. Joel Hirschhorn has tried for some time to get an Article V Convention as described by the Constitution. The states have tried over 500 times to have Congress declare a convention to amend the document. No one has succeeded. The status quo for two hundred thirty-years has been upheld without due process and now it's down to two men with one connection: the president and the vice president acting in tandem as they see fit. They share one channel as do husbands and wives.

Those two men also have connections to the corporate war complex, which grows and grows of its own volition by proposing new weapons, more weapons, treasure troves of money for them from the citizens as a boon, no matter the obscenity of so much death included in the payout. The elected go along -- not every one, but most -- and children die for this fiction. When did the world give us title to its lands and resources?

The United States has lost its government, its reason we pay for it at all. We no longer count because the counting is out of all bounds. "Everyone goes through the old motions, following the death of" the Republic, "...and...begins to realize" the "dire situation," America "speaks" its "Tomorrow" soliloquy:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by PNAC (8) idiots (my apologies to Shakespeare), full of
sound and fury signifying nothing. (9)

Politics is interesting in our county here in Oregon (and, no doubt, other counties). The county has only three commissioners who are directly elected. The equation for communication for three is three lines as we saw above. This county functions quite well. Cities are another thing altogether. Cities are corporations with mayors and council persons. The dynamic is the same in a city as it is in any board room as described above in the formula.

The tragedy is the lack of understanding of the current dynamics and the lack of will to change. We've downgraded the education systems so our children will not figure our ploys out and stop them. If we keep this charade up long enough, we will go out with a whimper as hunger overtakes most of us. When will we learn what we have lost? "Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind..." (10)



1.  Larry Pinkney, Issue 273, April 17, 2008, The Black Commentator.  (back)

2.  Samuel Adams, quoted in International Clearing House's opening page.  (back)

3.  Lee Iacocca, 2008.  (back)

4.  "Dictionary of Republicanisms: The Indispensable Guide To What They Really Mean When They Say What They Think You Want To Hear," Page-A-Day Calendar, Workman Publishing.  (back)

5.  Albert Einstein, from an interview in the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, 1921.  (back)

6.  Aristotle, quoted in International Clearing House's opening page.  (back)

7.  Joseph Addison, quoted in International Clearing House's opening page.  (back)

8.  Project For The New American Century.  (back)

9.  Shakespeare's tragedy: Macbeth, Scene V, verse 5.  (back)

10.  Bob Dylan, "Blowin' in the Wind."  (back)


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About the Author

Carol Warner Christen on Swans (with bio)... Woman born 1939, twice married, five children, 7 grandchildren; own a goat farm, rural Oregon after years in Chicago area and Ohio; Associate of Arts, Chicago Art Institute (1 year); artist, editor, mechanical design drafting supervisor; owned two computer companies before anyone had a computer; activist; antiwar; human.



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Published May 5, 2008