Henry L. Sullivan III's Blog

February 4, 2016

America is on the verge of catastrophic decline. Alright, what exactly does that mean? In this presidential campaign it is clear many Americans believe this, but it is also clear that, depending on your world view, and political persuasion, this dire warning is based on different perceptions of what is wrong with our society, and reflects different expectations of how our country should look in the future.  

I agree with Senator Bernie Sander's focus on the role Wall Street banks have assumed in our society, and his focus on the relationship wealth and corporations have with our federal government. 


"The problem is, corporations and the wealthy control what happens in Washington."


That is why we are no longer a socially mobile society. That is why the 400 wealthiest people in the country own more wealth than the bottom 150 million. That is why incomes have been stagnant for over 30 years. 

I googled the statement above, one which I've heard Bernie say many times in stump speeches and television interviews, and here were the results

About 105,000,000 results (0.94 seconds) 

How Corporate Lobbyists Conquered American Democracy ...www.theatlantic.com/business/.../04/.... The Atlantic Apr 20, 2015 - Business didn't always have so much power in Washington. ... and its typical problem not the influencing of Congressional votes but finding the .... Young, rich tech engineers are investing their millions differently than the rest of .... Virgin Islands, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Who Rules America: Wealth, Income, and Power - UCSC.eduwww2.ucsc.edu/.../power/wealth.htm... University of California, Santa Cruz This document presents details on the wealth and income distributions in the ..... of wealth, such as stock ownership, can be used to control corporations, .... tax issues from its offices in Washington since 1979, provides the information we need. ..... the three or four CEOs from other companies who will make sure it happens. 

Who Rules America: The Class-Domination Theory of Powerwww2.ucsc.edu/.../class_domination.... University of California, Santa Cruz Members of this upper class control corporations, which have been the primary ... institutions, are able to dominate the federal government in Washington. The rich, and corporate leaders, nonetheless claim to be relatively powerless. ... We know it means "clout" or "juice" or "muscle" or "the ability to make things happen. 

America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic ...www.washingtontimes.com/.../americas-...... The Washington Times Apr 21, 2014 - ... who exert total control over the general population — an oligarchy, ... One finding in the study: The U.S. government now represents the rich and powerful, not the ... which pitted the corporate overclass against debt reduction efforts. ... fix the problem except distort the unemployment numbers and refuse to ... 

The rich and the rest | The Economistwww.economist.com/node/21564418 The Economist Oct 13, 2012 - Washington's superzips are full of the rich: people in the top 5% of the income ... How this happened is a story in three acts. ... In primary and secondary schools the problems are partly financial but mainly organisational. .... The wealthy, in this logic, control the political system and rig it to their advantage. 

Stacked Deck: How the Dominance of Politics by the Affluent ... 
www.demos.org/stacked-deck-how-domina...... Demos However, each of these problems was mentioned as the most important by only 11%, ... Only 19% of the wealthy say that the government in Washington ought to “see to ... taxes—with strong support from wealthy voters and corporate interests. ..... which helped secure GOP control of the House of Representatives, as well as ... 

Who rules America? | TheHillthehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/civil....... The Hill Aug 12, 2014 - The analysts found that rich individuals and business-controlled interest ... University, examined survey data on 1,779 national policy issues for which they ... in Washington and to fill the campaign coffers of political candidates. .... the government takes from us and gives to the wealthy and corporations. But ... 

Goodbye Middle Class - Washington's Blogwww.washingtonsblog.com › Business / Economics Oct 21, 2015 - How will most of us make a living when that happens? ... I do not believe that it is wise to pin your future on a corporation that could ... of living, but would avoid a much larger problem down the road. ... Extreme wealth accompanies extreme poverty. ...... You know, who does control the money supply? 

Wealth and Generations - The Washington Monthlywww.washingtonmonthly.com/.../wealth_...... Washington Monthly Yet there is a big problem with that conclusion: these are not the same people! ... What happens when we use statistics that treat these very different people as if they .... But for today's prime-age men, corporate downsizing, low wages, obsolete job .... do rest squarely within the realm of political economy and public control. 

How the cult of shareholder value wrecked American businesshttps://www.washingtonpost.com/.../ho... Washington Post Sep 9, 2013 - The Washington Post .... While it was this new “market for corporate control,” as economists like to call it, ... One practical problem is that it's not clear which shareholders it is whose interests the corporation is supposed to optimize. ... who as it happened created more wealth for more shareholders than any ... 

Clearly, social science communities all over America have been investigating this problem. This of course includes economists.

This image was taken from a Huffington Post article titled Is American Economic Growth Over? (Thoughts on Robert Gordon's New Book)  




I first heard about the new book by Robert Gordon titled The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War in a PBS Newshour segment by +Paul Solman

-


The best days of American are behind us because the United States will not see technological advances that will fuel economic growth and broad prosperity on the level of


any one of the five Great Inventions that powered economic growth from 1870 to 1970: electricity, urban sanitation, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, the internal combustion engine and modern communication.

That summation of Professor Gordon's thesis was made in +Paul krugman's review of the book. Robert Gordon's argument was so compelling to Gregory Clark that he titled the critique he delivered of the book at the Annual American Economic Association meeting this year in San Francisco Winter Is Coming: T he Future of Technological Advance

Yes, the title was a reference to George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones. 


I titled it that way because I was struck when I looked at the future of the U.S. economy, how much it was going to resemble the medieval economy in terms of the types of jobs that people now are doing. Gardening. Food preparing. Serving. Cleaning. Brick laying. Carpentry. You can get someone from 1400, put them on the job and in two hours they'd be perfectly functional.

This is one view of how America's decline will look. But I believe the truly feudal nature of our governance will be related to the lack of social mobility and the increasing dominance of a smaller and smaller number of individuals in this country.  
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Published on February 04, 2016 07:29 • 4 views

January 25, 2016

If this were the premise for a novel, it would be criticized as unrealistic: two of the three candidates running for president of the United States of America are billionaires. You're just tailoring the premise, some would say, to support your contention that the U.S. is not in fact a country run according to democratic principles of government, but an oligarchy. 

Perception is reality, and the PBS Newshour segment above illustrates the common perception of how income is distributed in America, and therefore how socially mobile our society is. The 400 wealthiest individuals on the Forbes 400 list have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans. But the test developed by the behavioral economist +Dan Ariely reveals that most Americans think they live in a society whose wealth distribution is in fact the distribution of wealth in Sweden, not the United States. 


  

I'm a cynical person, so I don't buy the idea that all Americans are opposed to, but unaware of, how unequal wealth is distributed in this country. Some Americans are comfortable with an unequal distribution of wealth, meaning, this isn't an issue that concerns them. This group of Americans, I believe, is not sensitive, in any way, to ideas related to the distribution of wealth in the broader society. They are only sensitive to their perception of their individual wealth. They want to feel wealthy. Period. I do not believe this group of Americans is ideological. I believe their patriotism lies in the assumption that Americans are people like them. For these people, our government doesn't have anything to do with that notion of America, therefore the details regarding its governance are not related to their believing they live in a thriving democracy. The land of the free. A place where the dream of living a prosperous life is available to anyone willing to work hard.  

+Gabriel Sherman, National Affairs Editor for New York Magazine wrote a piece that will be published on Wednesday (1/27/16) titled The Strongest Candidate is The Strongest Candidate. From his interviews, Sherman concluded Trump supporters are not ideological, but they are drawn to a certain kind of confidence. 


"The main theme that emerged from all of these in depth conversations, these were really deep conversations where we wanted to understand these voters as people ,and what they said is that they wanted someone strong. It's not a set of policy per se, they want someone who can take care of them, some one who knows what they want, and Trump obviously communicates that." In the piece he wrote "Issues didn't really seem to be the point. It was common to hear voters say they could choose any o the candidates across the ideological spectrum."


Two Trump supporters interviewed by a +MSNBC reporter in Sioux Center, Iowa responded this way when asked about their support of a Billionaire:

Terry Baker 
"People who with their own money can do what the people want, and not what the heads of the parties want"

Bobby Anderson 
"I think people are starting to realize that success isn't necessarily a bad thing. You see a lot of times people say 'oh he's a billionaire' and they act like that's a negative term. But if someone's rich that means that they're successful, and we need that kind of thinking for the country to make us successful too."

New York Magazine editor Gabriel Sherman, discusses interviewing a hundred GOP primary voters, and details how Michael Bloomberg could chip away at Donald Trump’s supporter base.
Senator Sanders is clearly correct that some Americans do not want to live in an oligarchy. My question, how many Americans feel that way?
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Published on January 25, 2016 22:19 • 6 views

January 24, 2016

I thought this tweet by +Aaron Diaz was interesting when I read it:
That's the truth, when you get down to it: Bernie Sanders says "Voldemort" while Hillary Clinton still says "you know who."— Aaron Diaz (@dresdencodak) October 15, 2015
For some reason, it feels true. +Bernie Sanders is stating the problem clearly, while +Hillary Clinton seems reluctant to state the problem by name. Nuance is not as convincing as conviction, and not coming straight out and saying how she feels about the issues makes Hillary seem as if she's hiding something.
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Published on January 24, 2016 20:48 • 2 views

January 23, 2016

The first three episodes of my cyberpunk serial The American Fathers will be available as a free download this weekend: 1/23/2016 - 1/25/2016. Log onto the serial page to download. Please remember to write reviews.
EPISODE 1"Smart & sexy!" Set in a near future America, the world is a bit different. Powerful houses run the politics, and hence, the country, from behind the scenes. Sworn fealty to a powerful house can bring the average person a decent paying job in a world where society is scrambling to hold it together. Sheila, a smart lass from Tennessee, sees through this BS and is trying to open the public’s eyes to this power shift. Meanwhile, the Lebanese congressional correspondent Jasira agrees with Sheila, off the record. Yet, despite Sheila’s unarguable attraction to Jasira, she can’t help but question Jasira’s motives. (Excerpt from Book Review - DabofDarkness)

F/F Romance | Lesbian Fiction | Interracial

EPISODE 2 Sheila never expected to meet America's first princess, but Irene Daco is hosting a dinner, and Jasira has invited Sheila to come. That decision would be so much easier if the nature of her relationship with Jasira were clear. When Sheila agrees to go, she finds her principled opposition to dynasty rule challenged by the things she discovers in the world of America's royal houses. 

Science Fiction Erotika | Interracial | F/F Romance 


EPISODE 3American nobility hire the assassin MCM to kill other nobility, but after his first rendezvous with ​a new lover​, the military contractor Devin Wayne discovers he is MCM's next target. ​Devin knew an affair with America's first princess would not be easy, but he is determined to stay with her, even if it means risking his life. Victor Daco is the most powerful patriarch on the board of directors running the United States of America in 2032. He also happens to be Irene's father. Devin isn't intimidated by Victor putting a contract on his head. He's one of the most skilled operatives in the business, but can he survive being hunted by the world's deadliest assassin? 




action romance | cyberpunk | hitman | pulp | thriller | soldier | military
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Published on January 23, 2016 00:35 • 4 views

January 18, 2016

I'm not sure which is harder, writing an author bio or writing product descriptions for my books. If you follow me on Goodreads, you may have been confused when I deleted my author bio and replaced it with a quote from the movie The Big Short. I've been frustrated by the need to have an author bio, never feeling that I was saying to visitors of my author pages what I really wanted to say.












Two nights ago, I had just gotten into bed, when the following statement hit me. You may not consider this a true bio, but I like it. I truly believe this statement tells you more about me than knowing where I was born, where I live now, whether I'm married, or have a dog (or a cat), or any of that stuff. What follows is my new, humble author's bio:

I don’t believe you really care who I am. As an independent author, I’ve read hundreds of bios, and I know they’re as boring to read as they are difficult to write. You, I suspect, are just looking for a good book, and want to know whether I’m a guy that can give you what you want. If you like dragons, you want to know whether I will give you dragons. If you like reading dirty, kinky, sex - smut, not love - you’re looking for a book to make your pulse race and your mouth water. I’m a reader, just like you. I know how it feels. You just want to read a good book.


Well I’ve got a beautiful, young, geeky princess. Irene loves building things and she secretly wants to travel the stars. She’s America’s first official princess. Her father is the most powerful patriarch among the thirteen that rule the country in the year 2032. America’s ruling class was established through legislation, passed by the 118th Congress in 2024. Corporate Sovereignty was the law’s guiding principle, and that law became known as The New Rule. And as the most powerful conglomerate at that time, House Daco became the United States First House.


Irene fell in love with the man who built House Daco’s security forces. The paramilitary organization clamping down on the resistance, and waging war with House Watson, House Daco’s chief rival. The princess’s father does not approve, so Irene’s knight is on the run. Devin is one of the best military contractors in the business, but when Victor hires the assassin MCM to kill him, his only chance of surviving is to get out of New Orleans.


The main resistance to dynasty rule includes a hacktivist group whose mission is to expose the Point One Percent’s (P.O.P) control over the country. These hackers call themselves the P.O.P Watchers. Dynasty style is popular fashion and a pseudo political ideology, but people like the labor economist Sheila McKinley oppose dynasty rule, and have from the beginning. Sheila suspects the alluring journalist Jasira Sayid is a dynasty insider, and although she tries to resist their relationship, Jasira draws Sheila into a world with power she never imagined. So if you like reading about assassins, knights, princesses, kings, activists, American media, rebels, technology, you want to read my books. I will show you an America that will disturb you, astonish you, impress you. You will fall in love with my four couples - Sheila & Jasira, Devin & Irene, Victor & Natalia, Todd & Eve - the stars of Season One of The American Fathers.
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Published on January 18, 2016 15:11 • 4 views

January 16, 2016

If you saw the movie The Big Short you know this quote:


"Truth is like Poetry, and most people f***ing hate poetry"


You also probably love that quote ಠ‿↼ . Obviously, I do. It captures something I was trying to convey in the chapter titled The Truth & The Story (Episode 2 - Part 7). Generally, people are moved by stories, not by facts and information. Which is why entire communities of people will support policies that have been proven disastrous over, and over, and over again. 



I've run across several videos that capture this idea very well. The first one that comes to mind is a +TED Talk by +Simon Sinek titled How Great Leaders Inspire Action. 



In the video, Simon explains things like diffusion of innovation. But the key phrase in his talk is this one:


People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Detailing the day to day activities involved in writing is not as compelling as sharing with you what things motivate me to write. My motivations are much more compelling story elements than the software I use, how many hours I write per day, etc. 

Compelling stories motivate most people. Empirical evidence does not. 

Truth is like poetry, and most people f***ing hate poetry. 


The American Fathers Episode 2 - in which Sheila and Jasira discuss how dynasties came to rule the country, whether that rule was inevitable or not, and why - tries to touch on this dynamic. 

The panelists in this 92Y presentation touch on this topic early on in their discussion - people are clearly more motivated by stories they prefer than by information and evidence, and that is leading our society to make mistakes that are totally predictable for people who are willing and able to accept the truth.

Problem is, truth is like poetry. 

false con·scious·nessnoun noun: false consciousness; plural noun: false consciousnesses (especially in Marxist theory) a way of thinking that prevents a person from perceiving the true nature of their social or economic situation.  

Affinity fraud refers to investment scams that prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, the elderly, or professional groups. The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are - or pretend to be - members of the group.
Oct 9, 2013 SEC.gov | Affinity Fraud: How to Avoid Investment Scams ... 
 



 In an appearance on the +Melissa Harris-Perry | MSNBC show, +Whitney Dow talked about how Americans' perceptions of their situation are not borne out by empirical data regarding their day to day lives.  


"Donald Trump has set the debate in unreality. So, this idea that he said, OK, I`m going to decide that all humans can fly and we all debate like at what altitude. That`s kind of what`s going on with the immigration debate. I mean, every study has shown that immigrants, no matter where they`re from – whether they`re here legally or not legally – that their rates of incarceration, of violent crime are historic – are much lower than native Americans – than I hate to say native Americans, but you know, legal Americans. It`s really interesting that one of them said since like 1993, that immigration has increased – legal immigration increased has tripled and violent crime among immigrants has gone down by 48 percent. So it`s not a rational argument and it goes back to a lot of things that I see when doing the Whiteness Project, is that there is a fundamental disconnect from the reality of people`s experience, objective experience, what the world actually is objectively if you look at the data, and how they`re experiencing it. And it`s very, very strange but it is no question that that cohort of working class Americans are really trying to deal with this new reality."



 The Wages of Whiteness  





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Published on January 16, 2016 21:07
If you saw the movie The Big Short you know this quote:


"Truth is like Poetry, and most people f***ing hate poetry"


You also probably love that quote ಠ‿↼ . Obviously, I do. It captures something I was trying to convey in the chapter titled The Truth & The Story (Episode 2 - Part 7). Generally, people are moved by stories, not by facts and information. Which is why entire communities of people will support policies that have been proven disastrous over, and over, and over again. 



I've run across several videos that capture this idea very well. The first one that comes to mind is a +TED Talk by +Simon Sinek titled How Great Leaders Inspire Action. 



In the video, Simon explains things like diffusion of innovation. But the key phrase in his talk is this one:


People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Detailing the day to day activities involved in writing is not as compelling as sharing with you what things motivate me to write. My motivations are much more compelling story elements than the software I use, how many hours I write per day, etc. 

Compelling stories motivate most people. Empirical evidence does not. 

Truth is like poetry, and most people f***ing hate poetry. 


The American Fathers Episode 2 - in which Sheila and Jasira discuss how dynasties came to rule the country, whether that rule was inevitable or not, and why - tries to touch on this dynamic. 

The panelists in this 92Y presentation touch on this topic early on in their discussion - people are clearly more motivated by stories they prefer than by information and evidence, and that is leading our society to make mistakes that are totally predictable for people who are willing and able to accept the truth.

Problem is, truth is like poetry. 

false con·scious·nessnoun noun: false consciousness; plural noun: false consciousnesses (especially in Marxist theory) a way of thinking that prevents a person from perceiving the true nature of their social or economic situation.  

Affinity fraud refers to investment scams that prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, the elderly, or professional groups. The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are - or pretend to be - members of the group.
Oct 9, 2013 SEC.gov | Affinity Fraud: How to Avoid Investment Scams ... 
 



 In an appearance on the +Melissa Harris-Perry | MSNBC show, +Whitney Dow talked about how Americans' perceptions of their situation are not borne out by empirical data regarding their day to day lives.  


"Donald Trump has set the debate in unreality. So, this idea that he said, OK, I`m going to decide that all humans can fly and we all debate like at what altitude. That`s kind of what`s going on with the immigration debate. I mean, every study has shown that immigrants, no matter where they`re from – whether they`re here legally or not legally – that their rates of incarceration, of violent crime are historic – are much lower than native Americans – than I hate to say native Americans, but you know, legal Americans. It`s really interesting that one of them said since like 1993, that immigration has increased – legal immigration increased has tripled and violent crime among immigrants has gone down by 48 percent. So it`s not a rational argument and it goes back to a lot of things that I see when doing the Whiteness Project, is that there is a fundamental disconnect from the reality of people`s experience, objective experience, what the world actually is objectively if you look at the data, and how they`re experiencing it. And it`s very, very strange but it is no question that that cohort of working class Americans are really trying to deal with this new reality."



 The Wages of Whiteness  





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Published on January 16, 2016 21:07 • 3 views

January 10, 2016

$1.99 

Episode 3 of THE AMERICAN FATHERS serial. 

ESCAPE FROM NEW ORLEANS

SUMMARY: American nobility hire the assassin MCM to kill other nobility, but after his first rendezvous with ​a new lover​, the military contractor Devin Wayne discovers he is MCM's next target. ​Devin knew an affair with America's first princess would not be easy, but he is determined to stay with her, even if it means risking his life. Victor Daco is the most powerful patriarch on the board of directors running the United States of America in 2032. He also happens to be Irene's father. Devin isn't intimidated by Victor putting a contract on his head. He's one of the most skilled operatives in the business, but can he survive being hunted by the world's deadliest assassin? 

action romance | cyberpunk | hitman | pulp | thriller | soldier | military
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Published on January 10, 2016 13:35 • 4 views

December 14, 2015


Sheila & Jasira, which includes episodes 1 & 2 of The American Fathers serial, is available for sale in the Kindle Store and for borrowing in Kindle Unlimited. 

Price: $2.99
Pages: 101
Release Date: December 11, 2015

#147 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Metaphysical 

#305 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Cyberpunk 

#307 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Metaphysical & Visionary
Updated: 12/15/15
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Published on December 14, 2015 20:42 • 6 views

November 10, 2015

On November 11th (tomorrow) I'm running an eBook giveaway for Episode 2 of The American Fathers. The giveaway will last one day. 

Dropping the price of Episode 2 from $2.99 to $0.00 also means the price of purchasing the first three books in the series drops from $4.97 to $1.98.

Here's the synopsis for The American Fathers Episode 2: Dinner Invitation:


Sheila never expected to meet America's first princess, but Irene Daco is hosting a dinner, and Jasira has invited Sheila to come. That decision would be so much easier for Sheila if the nature of her relationship with Jasira were clear.

When Sheila agrees to go, she finds her principled opposition to dynasty rule challenged by the things she discovers in the world of America's royal houses. This is Episode 2 of The American Fathers Serial.


Science Fiction Erotika | Interracial | F/F Romance
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Published on November 10, 2015 19:47 • 7 views