Friday, November 16, 2018

Suzanne Adam on Life in Chile and Her Memoir from the Bottom of the World

In this interview, Suzanne Adam talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about her book, Notes from the Bottom of the World: A Life in Chile.



“And I would say, to have an open mind, to want to learn or to be curious about the people and that country.” ~Suzanne Adam

Notes from the Bottom of the World is essentially a collection of essays on a variety of topics that Suzanne wrote over the years, some of which are expanded versions of blogs she had posted. These essays range from childhood memories to travel blogs, and she didn’t intend to have these published in a book when she originally wrote these.

Suzanne was an only child who grew up in a town near San Francisco, after which she joined the Peace Corps. She began teaching after her Peace Corps stint, and it was during that time she met the man who would become her husband, and she went with him when he returned to Chile, and has lived there since then. The couple’s original intention was to return to California, but they wound up settling in Chile, and Suzanne found the process of settling in rather challenging, with one of these being a small-town girl who needed to adapt to a big city. Other challenges included standing in line, during the times of social unrest, to buy food, and getting used to the cold weather.

Suzanne remarks that not having the kinds of foods she had been used to, as well as living frugally, is something that has had a lot of impact on her, and she has noted that there is a lot of waste that is generated today. She has also realized just how important her connection to the natural world was to her, due in a large part to her upbringing in northern California, and she used this to help herself sink roots in Chile. She notes that, in general, people who live in cities tend to be less connected with the natural world compared to those who live in towns and smaller settlements, and that Chileans are becoming environmentally aware at present, with plastic bags being banned in several places and the government pushing for dependence on solar power.

Suzanne notes that Chile’s geography leads to its isolation, as it is separated from other nations by the Atacama desert and the Andes mountains, which has led to the inward-facing society that she saw when she first came over. The nation also wasn’t diverse, socially or culturally, but this is changing now, thanks to interconnectivity and a present influx of migrants from other nations. This immigration is viewed with mixed emotions amongst long-term Chileans, but the reception has been generally positive.

California and Chile are similar, with Chile being a “turned upside-down” version of California where the climates are concerned. Suzanne remarks that the mountainous areas immediately around Santiago, the capital of Chile, tend to be bare of trees, but the southern mountains have a lot of forest cover, and the country’s coast is similar to that of the western United States.

Suzanne admits that her heart is in both the United States and in Chile, as she has lived longer in Chile than she had in the country of her birth. She also notes that Spanish is widely spoken in California, and remarks as well that the golden poppy, which is California’s state flower, grows in central Chile. She notes that Americans could learn to live more frugally, even as she bemoans that Chileans are presently moving towards the same kind of consumer society present in the United States.

To those who would relocate to a land different from their own, Suzanne recommends that they study the local language ahead of time, as not knowing the language would hinder acclimation. She also recommends to learn about the people and the culture and to have an open mind while doing so.

Purchase from Amazon: Notes from the Bottom of the World: A Life in Chile by Suzanne Adam

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Jennifer Cohen on How to Cultivate a Life of Sustainable Abundance

In this interview, Jennifer Cohen talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about her book, which she co-authored with Gina LaRoche, The 7 Laws of Enough: Cultivating a Life of Sustainable Abundance.



“We have to get into what is scarce versus finite. There are limitations, but we are manufacturing most of the scarcity on the planet.” ~Jennifer Cohen

According to Jennifer, The 7 Laws of Enough came about because their publisher asked them to create it, but the book is the culmination of fifteen years of research and inquiry which created the aforementioned seven laws.

“Sustainable abundance” is a term defined by Jennifer and Gina as a form of abundance which is just, ethical and reciprocal, pointing out that the present method of living is unsustainable and that living in a manner of sustainable abundance is a return to a sustainable way of life. Abundance is also the capacity to remember and notice the bounty that is equally available and freely given to all.

Jennifer notes that “abundance” is used in everyday life as a way to justify their excessive consumption, and she notes that reciprocity is about being accountable for returning as much as has been taken. She noted that one of the steps to getting to a knowledge of reciprocity is by taking note of the real cost of producing goods, costs which include environmental impact and impact on people. She gives, as an example the case of Ray Anderson, who owned one of the largest carpet manufacturers in the world, as someone who operated on reciprocity, in that he decided that his company would have zero carbon impact and pollution where the environment was concerned. He succeeded in this aim, and Jennifer notes that there are presently several companies which are also working with reciprocity in mind, as the momentum to do so seems to be “building.”

Scarcity is “the myth of our time,” according to one of Jennifer’s mentors, Lynne Twist, who also adds that this is “the sea and the water that we’re swimming in.” The three elements of this myth are:

  1. There’s not enough to go around.
  2. More is always better.
  3. This is the way things are.

Jennifer points out that clean water being a finite resources is true, but that it has not become a scarce resource until recently, as an example, and notes that, even with present methods used in the international food system, there is enough food to feed seven billion people, although this system might not be useful when feeding nine billion people. She also remarks that, while 30,000 children die every day from hunger, this is not due to an insufficiency of food but because present economic models are based on the mindset of scarcity. Jennifer notes that value is driven up because of this mindset, for everything from diamonds to food. Although Jennifer admits that neither she or Gina are anthropologists, she argues that this mindset began with agriculture, when people began stockpiling and hoarding things that were more of one’s share, and also notes that, biologically speaking, the human brain is designed to survive, and that anyone can steal food from another person when their brain believes that it cannot survive unless it does just that - something which comes from a mindset of scarcity. That said, Jennifer points out that the neocortex enables humans to think beyond limbic system survival programming, and that, while this is the seat of human potential, it is difficult to get to a state of fulfilling human potential when one is bombarded continuously by messages which stimulate fear.

As one of their mentors said, “You treasure what you measure, and you measure what you treasure,” which means that, in a world of scarcity, what is measured - the metrics for success - are stuff owned, achievement and accumulation of capital.

Love is the seventh law, and according to Jennifer, where her co-author Gina is concerned, it is the only law. She also notes that, biologically, human beings cannot exist without love.

The other laws, which enable sustainable abundance and, like love, are the metrics by which a life of sustainable abundance are lived, are:

  • Joy.
  • The depth with which we are resting.
  • Being in alignment with the truths of what it means to be an impermanent human being.
  • Relating to ourselves as all of us human beings belonging here.
  • Declaring and living inside our own “enoughness.”
  • Tell the stories that enable us to live a life of sustainable abundance, rather than of scarcity.

Jennifer noted that leaders tell stories for a different kind of future, then take a stand for those stories and invite people to live into these, giving the examples set by Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.

While the American Dream is essentially for a person to be “self-made,” this is an individualist success point of view, and Jennifer points out that nobody is self-made. Nobody does everything alone, Jennifer points out, as people need others to help them carry out what needed to be done; indeed, she mentioned monks in caves, who need support for them to maintain their meditations, as well as that most people don’t know how to make their own clothes or build their own homes.

To those who are struggling, Jennifer says, “It’s not your fault,” and that this moment just might be enough.

Purchase from Amazon: The 7 Laws of Enough: Cultivating a Life of Sustainable Abundance by Gina LaRoche and Jennifer Cohen 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Scott Stein and His Clever Leadership Hacks & Shortcuts to Boost Your Impact and...

In this interview, Scott Stein talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about his book, Leadership Hacks: Clever Shortcuts to Boost Your Impact and Results.



“If they [leaders] can delegate, they can actually get a lot more things done in less time.” ~Scott Stein

Scott Stein has collected a great number of hacks from various leaders whom he has dealt with in the past twenty-five years, and after sharing these with several other leaders, it often was the case that the latter would ask him to write those hacks - effective shortcuts which help boost productivity - so they and their people could refer to these. The result was Leadership Hacks, which is portioned into sections in such a way that a reader wouldn’t need to read the book from cover to cover to get anything out of it, and instead just check on the section he or she is interested in so they could improve their effectiveness.

The top challenges facing leaders today, according to Scott, is not having enough time for them to do everything they need to do. This results in leaders taking shortcuts which may be inappropriate in the long run, as they will eventually need to work harder and will need to deal with any negative consequences of such actions on their people. Where leadership throughout time is concerned, one of the biggest challenges has been having one’s people take action in a manner the leader wants, and this has been exacerbated at present by the need for leaders to make decisions and take action quickly. Scott notes that leaders today need to be smarter in the way they work, so they can be more efficient while not skipping steps as they go along, and the book provides practical advice and procedures for doing so.

Scott notes that there are quite a few books on leadership out in the market today are done by academics who have never had any practical experience in leadership and also remarks that there are leadership programs available today which might have been applicable a half-century ago but which are not applicable today.

Scott notes three categories of hacks where leadership is concerned, all of which he has hacks for:

  1. Personal hacks - the things leaders can do to help them work smarter.
  2. One-on-one hacks - when a leader interacts with one of his subordinates.
  3. Team hacks - when a leader interacts with his team or organization.

One of the hacks that Scott mentioned was how to hack one’s inbox, which is particularly vital if the leader is in charge of an organization with literally thousands of people. Moreover, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report, leaders spend around two and a half hours of their time each day reading and answering e-mails, which makes hacking one’s inbox important. Scott mentions a four-step e-mail inbox hack which he picked up from a global HR leader who deals with 15 countries and over 10,000 people under her. The process is as follows:

  1. Scan the e-mail.
  2. Delete anything that is not important, to eliminate visual clutter.
  3. Sort the remaining e-mails according to level of importance.
  4. Respond to any necessary e-mails.

Scott also gave some advice on how to get e-mails responded to, and this is by telling the recipient, in the Subject line or at the very beginning of the e-mail, what the desired outcome is. There are five different types of outcomes, which give context to the reader, viz.:

  • FYI - I just need to give you information.
  • I need some information from you, can you share this with me?
  • A decision needs to be made.
  • I need you to take action on this.
  • We need to have a meeting, because what we need to discuss is too complex to communicate over an e-mail.

Where delegation is concerned, Scott notes that, according to a Harvard Business Review article noted that more than half of the companies surveyed were concerned about the ability of their leaders to delegate. Scott believes that most leaders don’t delegate because of the time concerns, as leaders feel that the job could be done more efficiently, and in the way the leader wants it, if they did the job themselves, rather than giving it to a subordinate and having him mess it up. Leaders also might not trust their subordinates, for whatever reason, or might not have trained their subordinates properly, which makes leaders reluctant to delegate, and Scott notes that there are no organizations that give leaders a process on how to delegate, and then remarks that there are four levels of delegation.

Level 1: “Don’t do it, because I’ll do it myself.”
Level 2: “Let’s work together to map out / write down the activities, and the sequence that the activities need to be taken, along with a time frame for doing these.”
Level 3: “Create your own map on what needs to be done, and I’ll check on it before you carry out the task.”
Level 4: “I’ll give you this task to do, and then check on you later.”

Moving one’s staff up these levels, Scott notes, empowers the staff and gives the leader more time to handle other things.

The three ingredients of leaders who are admired by other leaders have three aspects which enable them to get things done in a way that motivates their people:

Mindset - open to learning and trying new things. This is the Growth Mindset mentioned by Carol Dweck in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, as opposed to the Fixed Mindset, as the Growth Mindset is the belief that one can cultivate one’s learning as well as learn from one’s mistakes.

Approach - the steps taken and how one’s subordinates are engaged so that they will take those steps.

Impact - on the people around the leader.

A lot of leaders learn into becoming a leader, according to Scott, and these leaders often guess and decide along the way, where risky decisions and possible new ways of doing things are concerned.

There are four different kinds of team meetings, according to Scott, and these should all be done separately, rather than all mashed together into one major meeting, as each meeting has its own process. Scott notes that meetings are a waste of time, according to nearly half of the recipients of a survey given, and the types of meetings are:

  • Check-in meeting, where the leader checks in on the work done so far.
  • Problem-solving meeting, where a problem is discussed and solved. This may require the presence of people who have expertise in the problem concerned and does not require the presence of those who are not involved with the problem.
  • Decision-making meeting, after which action will be taken.
  • Strategy-development meeting, which is a planning meeting that looks into the future.

Where technology is concerned, Scott points out that, according to all the research done on the topic, technology is highly distracting. Even having a smartphone beside one can reduce cognitive thinking and ability, because of the notifications that come in; and the impact extends into family life, when a leader is stuck to a screen when the rest of the family is around and wants to spend time with him.

Purchase from Amazon: Leadership Hacks: Clever Shortcuts to Boost Your Impact and Results by Scott Stein

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Jennifer Anne Moses on Writing The Book of Joshua | A Novel about Mental Illness

In this interview, Jennifer Anne Moses talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about her novel, The Book of Joshua.



“Find a way to get to the truth.” ~Jennifer Anne Moses

The Book of Joshua was inspired by a real-life friend of Jennifer who was a teenage summer love, Danny. It turned out that Danny would have a schizophrenic break during college, and while he did seem to get his life together (Danny did graduate from Princeton) he ended it by burning himself to death on the front lawn of his parents’ house. These incidents, and Danny’s fascination with her before the schizophrenic break, which wasn’t diagnosed until after it happened, were the inspiration for the main character of Joshua.

While Danny was the inspiration for the story, the main character, Joshua, is similar to Danny only in that they both had a “star quality” and a fascination, to the point of stalking, a girl they were interested in. Joshua, however, is given more hope, and his essential struggle is figuring out who he is, which reflects Jennifer’s own struggle in her own life. The novel describes the effects Joshua’s condition has on them, and Jennifer remarks that mental illness is a “cancer of the soul,” remarking that, even if one had cancer, one was still around, whereas with mental illness, one is destroyed from the inside out. She also notes that addiction has a similar effect, based on her own personal experience.

“Secrets keep you sick,” is a saying that Jennifer remembers, and she notes that secrets have to be “lanced” and aired out in the fresh air and light of truth, lest these consume the one keeping it. This is reflected in Nate, Joshua’s younger brother who, because he is “pissed off” with keeping the secret, provides the breakthrough to enable Joshua to figure out what is going on. The other character with whom Joshua bonds is Elizabeth, and while she has a secret of her own, she is determined to not let that rule her life; and unlike Joshua’s parents, Elizabeth and her mother are on the same page. She and Joshua bond together strongly as friends, and this helps Joshua along in his journey to figure out what happened.

Jennifer remarks that secrets and lies lie heavily on people and on society and the community in general, and that these eventually come out in such forms as gun violence, murder, suicide and other such acts. She believes that the truth should be told, as secrets will eventually get out, and that doing so will release one from the oppression of keeping such secrets. She also believes that one’s power or talent is given to one at birth, and that one should follow that path, which will become one’s journey in one’s life.

Purchase from Amazon: The Book of Joshua by Jennifer Anne Moses

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Keiko Hoshino for Ryuho Okawa on The Laws of The Sun

In this interview, the Keiko Hoshino talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about Master Ryuho Okawa’s book, The Laws of the Sun: One Source, One Planet, One People.



“Life is a workbook to be solved, and we are here to grow our capacity of love and wisdom.” ~Keiko Hoshino

The Laws of the Sun is one of the first books written for Happy Science, and it was written out in a 68-hour period by Master Okawa through automatic writing. The Laws of the Sun is intended to encourage people to think of themselves as members of one community and one human group, as all human beings, for all their differences, spring from one source, and speaks on matters of the soul and spiritual progression.

Keiko points out that there is only one Eternal Father who can be thought of as being the father of all teachers - the Buddha, Confucius, Jesus and the like - so the teachings in the book can be applied in one’s life, regardless of one’s religion. She points out that the spiritual laws that apply to all are the law of attraction / the law of same frequencies and the law of cause and effect, and that spirituality is logical, rather than chaotic in nature.

Spirits, Keiko also remarks, are vibrational energies, and souls are the spirits which inhabit human bodies. Spirits have eternal life and undergo a process of reincarnation for the souls to evolve by learning lessons in each life, to progress to higher planes of existence. We human beings also live in a multidimensional universe, which has nine planes of wisdom, and the more powerful one’s wisdom the higher the plane one can access. Angels are manifestations of great love and wisdom, and aiming to become one of these is one of the goals of spiritual progression.

Master Okawa notes that all human beings are children of the Creator, and there is no sin except to not believe in the Creator. The intent of development is to enable everyone to become a generator of love. The basic essence of love is giving without expecting any return, and the next level is that of nurturing love, which requires wisdom to properly nurture oneself and others. Forgiving love is the next step, as forgiveness is ultimately for oneself. Keiko remarks that it is not possible to forgive from a standpoint of “I am right and you are wrong,” that anger and other negative emotions is toxic to one’s soul, and and that forgiveness is very important for one’s inner peace and serenity. “We are not perfect,” Keiko notes, and we human beings all makes mistakes, which the Creator forgives us for.

Evil is part of the educational process for one’s soul, with evil essentially being an option which one can recognize and then decide whether to select it or not, and the Creator ultimately trusts that each human being will choose good over evil. The anatomy of the soul is explained in the book, where the predilection to follow love or evil is concerned, with negative energy attracting more negative energy, which makes one more prone to choose evil over good. Each of us has the seed to invite evil or happiness, so each of us has to recognize that it is within us to choose our paths.

Wisdom is essentially an understanding of a broader perspective, with the ultimate wisdom being that of being able to understand the mind of the Creator. Understanding where others come from enables people to choose good and love and is actually a form of loving the other person. The negative incidents in one’s life are learning points and are a disguised gift from the Creator, which enable humans to become wiser and more loving.

Purchase from Amazon: The Laws of the Sun: One Source, One Planet, One People by Ryuho Okawa


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Dr. Steven Curley: Stories of His Compelling Experience as A Surgeon Treating Patients Fighting Cancer

In this interview, Dr. Steven Curley talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about his book, In My Hands: Compelling Stories from a Surgeon and His Patients Fighting Cancer.



“There is no blood test for a positive attitude or an upbeat approach.” ~Dr. Steven Curley

In My Hands is a collection of stories about Steven’s patients, with whom he interacted with in his capacity as a surgical oncologist. He would often share stories about his patients with those who were newly diagnosed with cancer to allay their fear and uncertainty, particularly with their concern about having someone to look after them when they are in pain or terminal. Although he was a conscientious note-taker, writing a book wasn’t Steven’s intention, but he finally got around to doing so after he was encouraged by his patients.

According to Steven, 38% of all Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their life, which means that the average American will inevitably know someone who will have cancer. He notes that a lot of progress has been done with treating some kinds of cancer, such as lymphoma and leukemia, while with other forms of cancer, such as pancreatic cancer, not much progress has been made over the years.

Steven admits that he has an advantage over some of his oncologist colleagues, as he is a surgical oncologist, which means he has a chance to actually physically remove a tumor, which increases the patient’s chance of survival. He notes that, as a surgical oncologist, he follows his patients for life, because the cancer can recur and he wants to get rid of it if it does. This means that he creates years-long relationships with his patients, which is a double-edged sword, as he is encouraged by those who survive long-term and gets impacted by those who don’t. The work is thus a “roller coaster ride,” and to handle the physical and emotional stress and concern Steven does physical exercise activities. Not all of his colleagues handle their stresses with such positive methods, he admits, which includes their becoming withdrawn or emotionally distant, as well as falling into substance abuse, which is not desirable and important to recognize.

Steven has always been interested in finding new treatments for patients and is very “device oriented,” so his focus is on creating devices which can kill tumors. He has helped develop needles which can kill tumors by heating these and is also involved with sending electromagnetic waves to the tumors themselves to destroy these without needing to physically operate on a patient, which can possibly enhance the beneficial effects of chemotherapy drugs. He is also interested in alternative medicine, noting that he needs to know what herbal remedies they are taking, so he can be prepared. He is also interested in genetics and immunotherapy research, and his main focus is with taking what’s already present, where cancer treatment is concerned, and improving the efficacy of these, along with reducing any untoward side effects, particularly where the patient’s quality of their life, or even livelihood, are concerned. He admits that his interest in finding new ways to treat cancer stemmed from his frustration in being unable to get to particular tumors without damaging parts of a patient’s body.

In My Hands is an accurate portrayal of Steven’s experience, and not all of the stories are upbeat, given the nature of cancer, and included are stories of patients who use humor to create a positive attitude for themselves - the kind of attitude which, Steven notes, is powerful medicine in itself, as such has likely enabled patients to live longer than their statistical expected lifespan.

One of the lessons Steven has learned is to give to patients the hope that he will be with them on their journey, while another is to be direct and available with his patients, particularly giving them satisfactory information which they can understand. Some patients want to know a lot before committing to a course of action, but others just go for it within five minutes of discussion. Steven notes that clinicians need to respect and honor the trust that patients place in them, particularly with conditions like cancer.

Some of Steven’s long-term patients approach him with concerns totally unrelated to cancer, which leads to Steven occasionally being ribbed by his colleagues for being somewhat overqualified for certain procedures. The wackiest incident Steven can remember is when a female patient, a prim-and-proper lady, the wife of a high profile person, was recovering from an operation and, under the influence of the anesthesia she was then under, began swearing long and hard at everyone around her. She didn’t remember what happened the following day, and over the next few years her family would tease her about the incident.

To those who have recently been diagnosed with cancer, or who has someone close to them who has recently been diagnosed with cancer, Steven recommends that they get as much information as they can and not let the diagnosis overwhelm them. He recommends that patients take care of their entire body, which includes maintaining a positive outlook, eating a healthy diet and exercising. Steven notes that some people are responsible for the cancers they get, such as smokers getting lung cancer, which means that the patients themselves are in control of their own destinies moving forward in their lives.

Purchase from Amazon: In My Hands: Compelling Stories from a Surgeon and His Patients Fighting Cancer by Dr. Steven Curley

Howell Woltz on Restoring America by Returning to Its Constitution

In this interview, Howell W. Woltz talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about his book, Restoring America: by Returning to Its Constitution.



“Can you imagine any other profession, any other job in the world, where you can screw up eight out of ten times and keep your job and not have any penalty for destroying and ending someone’s life?” ~Howell W. Woltz

Howell Woltz has, since 1977, been speaking on the topic of the loss of constitutional freedom, which he attributes to Progressivism. He notes that the constitution is a contract between the people and the government, and in the constitution, what is now known as the federal government was intended to be limited in scope and powers, with the states, through the Senate, and the people, through the House of Representatives, would approve the actions of the government. At the time of the constitution’s implementation, the government had only 17 duties and could only prosecute 3 crimes. By comparison today, the present government has 1.97 million employees, with a pay average of $100k/year, some of whom are responsible for creating 314,000 plus laws in the past 40 years, laws which weren’t voted into existence, even though these laws are supposed to be passed, according to the Constitution, by Congress.

Howell points out that the adoption of Progressivism was where the original constitutional intent was no longer followed. He traced the main event behind the rise of Progressivism (which is a sociopolitical ideology which supports Statism) from a series of lectures taught by John Ruskin at Oxford University to the upper British crust. One of these was Cecil Rhodes, who was one of the driving forces behind British imperialism in the 19th century and who helped lay the stage for the Boer War, and who shared Ruskin's view that it was the white man’s obligation to rule the world benevolently.

Thanks to the 300,000-plus criminal laws, Howell points out that, according to Harvey Silverglate, the average American breaks an average of three felony laws each day, then points out that, which makes it easy for prosecutors to target opponents and take them down. This leads to some 2.3 million Americans being in the federal prison system (compared to about half a million in gulags at the peak of the Soviet Union’s power), with another 7.1 million people under court supervision and 71 million Americans now having a criminal conviction of one kind of another. Because of the Progressivist basis, these laws are outright racist, and Harvey gives the example of the difference in sentencing between a white country club drug user and a black, poor-neighborhood drug user. He points to an article done by undercover reporter James O’Keefe who uncovered evidence of some of the two million Progressives who openly stated that they work for the cause of the Democratic Socialists of America and that they are to promote Progressivism, rather than work for the American people, which is the job for which they are hired.

The first openly Progressive president was Woodrow Wilson, one of whose acts was to fire every black employee in the United States government. He was supported by such Progressivists as J. P. Morgan who, in the 19th century, began buying out newspapers to consolidate news media. Howell points to Ben Bagdickian who, in 1983, wrote that there were only 50 major American media corporations from the thousands that had originally existed. Fast forward to 2018, and only six major corporations in the United States now control 92% of American media content, which includes movies, cable, books and magazines, and that these corporations are controlled by 15 billionaires who support the Progressivist agenda. Howell sees social media as the only reasonable alternative to mainstream media, for all of social media’s shortcomings, and praises millenials for being extremely skeptical about advertising and messages from only “one voice.” That said, he notes that social media companies are now starting to clamp down on messages that don’t support the Progressive agenda.

Howell notes that kids nowadays have no idea what’s in the Constitution, compared to his childhood, when copies of the Constitution were on the wall and classes were taught in civics. Devolution is something which Howell notes may be necessary, in a way that returns the United States back to its constitutional roots, pointing out that, if all men are equal and are to be treated equal and fairly under the law, there is nothing to progress beyond that. He notes that, in the Constitution, power from the government derives from the people, which runs counter to the 17th Amendment, which effectively removed the link between the people and the Senate which, in turn, leads to Senators not being beholden to the people they are supposed to serve.

Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, which laid the foundations for the classical free market economy, noted, according to Howell, that corporations were “a nuisance,” as they bribed and influenced politicians to better their own economic position. Howell points out that corporations have created the present situation where they are beholden to no single nation, and have created monopolies where large banks absorbed small banks which shut down because they couldn’t meet the financial reserves demanded by law - the kind of reserves that only the larger banks could afford. In the Constitution, only the citizens in the district where a politician was running could contribute to his campaign funds, and as corporations are now legal citizens of the United States, they are able to use their own monies to swing things their way.

Corporations becoming citizens sprang from an 1886 case of Sta. Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad, when the president of the Newburgh and New York Railway Company, which stood to benefit from a Southern Pacific Railroad victory, J. C. Bancroft Davis, was made the court clerk on the case. He added, in the court notes, that Chief Justice Waite, who had said that the case was not about the legal aspect of corporate personhood, agreed that corporations were citizens, based on such a statement; and it is because of this entry into the books that corporations are now considered citizens of the United States.

Howell himself has had experience with the system’s injustice, as he was imprisoned for 87 months, consisting of 29 prison moves, until he was released because he was never charged with a crime. He was forced to move to Poland when he was threatened by the marshals of the same judge who sent him to prison to stop writing what he was writing “or else,” as well as harassing his family. He notes that 82% of all people who are imprisoned or executed are either innocent of the crimes they have been accused of or have been charged improperly, with these figures coming from a court review of 5,760 cases over a 23-year period at the state and federal levels, which was reported in a Columbia University study co-authored by Professor James S. Leibman, called “A Broken System: The Persistent Patterns of Reversals of Death Sentences in the United States.” The study also showed that, in 73% of all capital cases, the person involved was executed despite gross violations of his rights. Prosecutors and judges, Howell points out, have judicially granted themselves immunity, which makes them non-prosecutable for the mistakes they made.

Purchase from Amazon: Restoring America: By Returning to Its Constitution by Howell W. Woltz