The Conversion of Democracy!

Montecristi, Ecuador 2014

democracy20140917_093130What happens to democracies is quite interesting… or scary!  Obviously some democracies are lost to wars and revolutions, but what concerns me is what is happening right at home and it has and is happening to many other democracies as well.  They are eaten alive by their own constituencies.  Demographically, people that pay little or no income taxes far outnumber the middle class and the rich, and by that I mean basically, poor people.  We could argue that the rich pay little or no tax, relatively speaking, but they don’t outnumber the rest of us.  As this working poor class grows and becomes better educated, they also become politically aware enough to become the largest voting bloc. These previously disenfranchised voters are quick to vote for the candidate that promises them new and wonderful benefits, at little or no tax cost to themselves.  It is obvious that you can only rob the rich and give to the poor for so long, and then either the rich are rich no more and have nothing to give or they leave. If we look back at Great Britain before Margaret Thatcher we can see a wonderful example of this phenomena.   In any event it’s a zero sum game.  Eventually liberal or democratic socialism collapses from lack of funds and often reverts to a despotic state… such as Venezuela.  In the process of receiving all of the new largess of the new government, the electorate is so giddy they allow the leadership to make itself permanent by changing the constitution, hence “Presidents for Life” are created.  This process is well underway in several South American democracies and one Central American democracy, as we speak.  In the United States  it is a much slower process, but it is proceeding none the less.  It is almost humorous to observe that the internet is hastening the process, as is our love affair with materialism or consumerism. The erosion of individual rights goes along with this and we will talk more about that in the future.  But who is paying attention…too much free bread and circus!

What I’m doing on my summer vacation

1410_Haulout LS_620Many of you may not have realized it is summer down here in the Southern Hemisphere, it can be very confusing.  Today, incidentally is the winter solstice for you folks in the Northern Hemisphere but it is the longest day of the year down here below the equator.  To keep up the confusion, here on the coast of Ecuador the land is cooled by prevailing south-westerlies blowing across the very cold Humboldt  Current.  The Humboldt flows north from the Southern Ocean down there at the home of Cape Horn and brings the ice-cubed water of Antarctica along the coast of South America.  That phenomena is responsible for the unusual sea life, flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands, lying about six hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador.  I hope to visit at least Isabela on this summer vacation, after the boatyard chores are completed.  That Humboldt Current is also responsible for my sleeping with a blanket and bedspread and yet I am only a few hundred miles south of the Equator…. hmmm, all very curious.  Truth is stranger than fiction!

Fish Chopper

1410_Fishchopper_597You may not realize that the ocean is rapidly running out of fish!  Our mechanized rape of the sea includes tools like this.  This lovely bird sits on the deck of a tuna trawler, ready to go out and locate schools of fish to be scooped up very efficiently… leaving very little breeding stock.  In all likelihood our grandchildren will have no idea what tuna fish is… canned, fresh, or otherwise.