Thursday, September 29, 2011

#OccupyWallStreet: Hung up on Peripherals

I've been following the news surrounding the protest as closely as anyone, I suppose and I've noticed that most articles come in two distinct flavors. Not pro and con, but content vs. spectacle.

Even news coverage that appears to be in favor of what the protesters are doing gets lost in all the peripheral noise surrounding the movement. When I read a story about the movement, I don't want to hear media people talking about how other media people talked about the protesters. I'm not tuning in because I want to know what is happening with Yoga classes on site or how NYPD is going to handle investigations of violence towards the protesters. I'm sorry... I just don't care.

I'm turning to media because I'm interested in the content of what is going on. I want to know what sort of conversations these people are having with regard to changing the problems the country is facing. I want to hear the dialog that real people are having about how to make the world a better place.

Clever signs, freakish appearances, celebrity endorsements... those are the trappings of an entertaining diversion. It completely misses the point. America is fed up with the diversion. We don't want bread and circus. We are sick to death of "pretty and pointless" and tired of being given the bare minimum to survive. #OccupyWallStreet doesn't need a paparazzi contingent or a sartorial commentary. It doesn't advance the dialog we should be having about substantive issues... and yet a huge amount of "coverage" seems focused on that.

Here is a suggestion for all you media types out there: spend time with the people. Get to know them. find out what the real concerns they have as individuals are. Don't make sweeping generalizations based on spending 30 minutes wandering around the site. The most insightful information I've read has come from the men and women on the ground who are there because they believe its a step towards changing the process.

Journalism in this country is in sad shape. Most major outlets rely on plagiarism of press releases published by the very people the story is about or are ripped from a wire story and hacked until they reflect the view of the entity publishing them. Investigative journalism? Good luck.

So how about we stop describing the appearance of the protesters and start addressing their values. I want to know what happened to these men and women that put them in a position to be there. I want to know what aspects of the movement they agree with, and what they disagree with. There are factions present... what divides them and what unites them. Ask some real goddamn questions for a change, instead of looking for fluffy details about drum circles and masks.

These people didn't show up because they believed it was going to be the biggest party of the century. They showed up because they believe the system is broken and needs a good bunch of mechanics. Give me some insight into whether I should trust this group of people to put their hands on my government. Find out what their vision for America is, both individually and collectively. Stop giving me soundbites and hysterical commentary and INFORM me.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Paradigm Shift and the Public Perception

I'm a supporter of #OccupyWallStreet. I have been since the beginning, and I will continue to support them as long as the goals and objectives they have are in line with my personal views on government. That being said, as a vocal supporter, I do have some criticisms:

1) Awareness of public perception: The people on the ground are limited to the reactions they receive from those they encounter personally. They don't necessarily have access to the stream of media that the average consumer of their message does and as such they may not be aware of how their behavior affects public perception of their goals.

A lot of the language that is being used to advance ideas is steeped in the idea that in order to be revolutionary with regard to capitalism you have to challenge it with socialist ideas. This is NOT an accurate or helpful belief to have in young revolutionaries. Especially not in a nation with such a deeply ingrained fear of socialist thought.

It is more appropriate to use the language of your opposition to engage them than to demand they relearn concepts that they already have a bias against. Terms like "comrade", "proletariat" etc. immediately create negative feelings towards your argument because of ingrained connotative definitions that overshadow any merit your argument might have.

2) Focused messaging: In order to generate mainstream media interest, you need to create a media ready content package designed to generate maximum interest with minimum distraction. A designated media representative is a sad necessity in order to stay on message and create a sense of integrity in a diverse organization.

Unfortunately, in order to get the coverage this movement needs, we are going to have to mold the public interface with the movement into something the established media can relate to. They need a rigid corporate structure they can recognize in order to comprehend the movement. That doesn't change the fundamental democratic principles, but requires the willingness to adapt and incorporate unpleasant artifacts of the old paradigm in order to bring people forward.

3) Engagement on issues: We need to make it clear that we engage on substantive issues, not distracting stereotypes, or irrelevant criticisms. At the same time, we need to acknowledge and incorporate specific criticisms of our platform. We need to learn from our critics about what we can do to reach out to them. We NEED the 99% which means we need to dialog with them and help them understand what we are doing.

Criticism of our goals may be justified. Not everyone will recognize the benefits of all of our objectives. We need to be willing to accept those criticisms and interpret them rationally, rather than emotionally. Are we doing what is best? Are there better solutions to the problem? This movement is about reaching out to people to create the best possible version of society, not excluding them because they have a differing idea. Our core value must be the advancement of the well being of the nation as a whole, which means acknowledging that there are many ideas how to do that. We are just trying to facilitate the discussion by making the democratic process accessible to the people again.

The Point in 140 characters or less.

#OccupyWallStreet doesn't need to justify its existence. It already represents more people than $Billions of dollars in campaign funds.

Democracy is about dealing with issues, not addressing someones choice of cologne (patuli *cough*) The idea matters, the messenger doesn't

When someone dissents with your view on #OccupyWallStreet LEARN WHY and address the issues. Don't accept the ad hominem distractions.

Violence towards protesters is a distraction. We aren't here as an army, but as a congress. #OccupyWallStreet is about dialog.

Trollies don't like it when you demand they address issues instead of using talking points and hippie slander. #OccupyWallStreet

Avoid hyperbole. We are here to be taken seriously. DC can keep the kabuki. We're about results and reason. #OccupyWallStreet

Focus on the message, not the spectacle. There is purpose in what we do and we must be vigilant that we remember that. #OccupyWallStreet

NYPD violence was an opportunity to present our case to the world at large. The violence is not central to the dialog. #OccupyWallstreet

#OccupyWallStreet isn't about race, but we need outreach to minority communities. Native speakers of foreign tongues would help the cause.

The 99% are the job creators, innovators and explorers. The 1% are simplythose who learned to exploit our generosity. #OccupyWallStreet

The 99% don't need the 1% for permission or vindication. WE are the majority. We are the democracy. #OccupyWallStreet

 Americans have a short attention span. If you want to maintain relevance you have to demonstrate intent and ability in a window.

Unlike politicians, I'm not afraid to steal a good idea from someone else. My only agenda is the overall welfare of people

Media would rather focus on elections more than a year away than admit #OccupyWallStreet isn't going to wait that long for change. #Relevant

The media need to learn that we aren't going to wait until 2012 for REAL changes. Kids gotta eat more than every 4 years #OccupyWallStreet

#OccupyWallStreet just because the media has ignored us until now doesn't mean we can't still use them to educate others. PLAY NICE.

We live in an age where we are led by men so myopic they cannot see beyond their own wallets. #OccupyWallStreet and protect yourself.

Don't let your outrage take control. Focus the anger into productivity, not violence. Spread the word. #OccupyWallStreet.

If the only democracy you've ever known was a shadow on the wall, how can you explain what the real thing looks like? #OccupyWallStreet

Friday, September 23, 2011

Can't be there in person? Help #OccupyWallStreet from home.

1) Print fliers and hand them out around town. Especially places where unemployed and homeless people may congregate like the unemployment office and shelters. Those are the 99% who need the most hope. Grocery stores and Wal-Mart work too.

2) Shoe-polish your car windows or make homemade bumperstickers on duct tape with permanent marker and put it on your bumper.

3) E-mail your whole address book.

4) #OccupyWallStreet your Facebook/Google+ status

5) Tweet! High-jack a Twitter trend with #OccupyWashington

6) Blog!

7) Post invitations on craigslist and other on-line classified ads.

8) If you have money, take classified out in your local paper.

9) Put a sign on your front lawn

10) Chalk drawings on the sidewalk in front of the local mall, shopping center or bank.

11) Make a T-shirt and wear it in public.

12) Get caught on camera sporting #OccupyWallStreet gear at a local event.

13) Call your local news outlet and ask for coverage of #OccupyWallStreet.

14) Donate money to the cause: WePay

15) Visit The Occupy Wall Street web page.

16) Mail supplies (not food please) to 118A FULTON ST, #205, NEW YORK, NY 10038

17) Write #OccupyWallStreet on the memo line of your checks.

18) Write #OccupyWallStreet on cash before you spend it.

19) If you work somewhere with a TV, stream the feed from for your customers. Tell them why.

Please add your own ideas in the comments and I will move them up to the body as I see them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

One Clear Goal!

I really didn't want to do this. I really didn't want to have to say what I think #OccupyWallStreet should be about. I had hopes that a strong and vocal leader would rise to the forefront and show people the way forward on this. Clearly, that hasn't happened. The media has taken note of the lack of direction and it shows in how they report on you and the cause.

So here it is as brief as I can make it.

One clear goal: We demand an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States setting specific limits on corporate and union spending for purposes of funding political campaigns and lobbies.

One step at a time. This isn't rocket surgery. Persons are smart, people are stupid. You have peoples attention. Tell them what we want. Once we have momentum, we can address other issues, but start simple.

Remember "No taxation without representation?" That's what this is about. Getting the representation back. Once we have a democracy again... once the money is out of politics... we can address the other issues plaguing this country. Right now corporate lobbying and campaign funding are obstructing the voice of the people. Fix that and the rest of the dominoes will begin to fall.

People are going to bitch about including unions... guess what. This is politics. You don't get something for nothing. You want to fix the problem, you fix the problem and deal with the new ones it creates.

Please, for the love of whatever you honor in the most intimate reaches of your heart, make this statement loud and clear. It's not complicate... its a first step. Every journey begins with one.

Hashtags and Twitter Trends and Bieber; Oh My!

There is a lot of angst appearing over the fact that #OccupyWallStreet and its constituents can't seem to get themselves on the board of trending tweets, despite worldwide popularity and massive volume.

Blame it on Justin Bieber and his army of sycophantic pseudo-lesbian followers and Twitter's sloppy code.

In order to keep certain topics from perpetually trending, Twitter had to lay out some ground rules regarding what qualified as a trend... to keep the Bieber spam to a minimum. From what I understand, the rules aren't that complicated, but what it amounts to is that if you peak early, you're done. If you've been around to long as a tweet, you aren't permitted to trend.

#OccupyWallStreet has been an active hashtag for literally MONTHS. Because of that fact, the Twitter Trend Algorithm considers it ineligible for the list. #TakeWallStreet started to trend on #Sept17, but over night, the volume dropped and a boxing match bumped it off the list. This made it ineligible for a revisit. #OurWallStreet simply never got the volume of tweets necessary to put it on the big board. Sad but true.

So don't feel bad if you don't see #OccupyWallStreet trending. It isn't an attempt at censorship... its just a design flaw in the system. Even without the label of trending, #OccupyWallStreet is important and it is gaining momentum and attention according to the numbers.

Hugs and positive energy directed at all the people on the ground for #OccupyWallStreet. I'll do my part from my secret lair as best I can.

Addendum: @Miaculpa had a suggestion to deal with this problem which was to add a different character after #OccupyWallStreet each day to put it back on the board. I would also float the idea that dating it might work. ie #OccupyWallStreet917 #OccupyWallStreet918 #OccupyWallStreet919

Bank of America Assets

The source for this picture claims that it is one of 4 floors of 90+ day delinquent mortgages at Bank of America.

One shelf represents more money than most people will see in a lifetime and if the source is correct and these are ALL bad mortgages... well, Bank of America may need to acquire Re-Max to unload all this property.

Still think following Buffet on B of A was a good idea?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Missed opportunity for #OccupyWallStreet / #TakeWallStreet

I'm disappointed in myself for not making the connection earlier. Clearly the people protesting on Wall Street this weekend are the ones with means and opportunity. But there is a whole subsection of the population that has a bigger vested interested in the whole mess than college students and anarchists.

Not too many miles from Wall Street, there is a community in Lakewood NJ who probably would love both the opportunity to have their voices heard and probably a few free meals. On top of that, they have a lot of experience at "urban survival techniques" that they could probably share with protesters.

I'm talking about the tent city of homeless people in Lakewood. Its a community of homeless individuals who have been impacted severely by the very issues being protested on Wall Street right now.  All it would take to get these people involved is probably the promise of transportation too and from the protest and they would get the opportunity to share their stories with the people speaking out about the problems.

And there are plenty of tend cities and homeless shelters and community outreaches who can communicate with these people. Use your networks of activist friends to see if unemployed and homeless people would come if offered a round trip. Not just in Lakewood, but everywhere.

These people have more than just bodies to add to the cause. They have some of the most compelling stories about why #OccupyWallStreet is necessary and those stories need to be told. They also have a lot of experience to share regarding off the grid living and resource utilization.

I know that for the "Rally to Restore Sanity" a number of liberal groups provided transportation from metropolitan areas to DC. Maybe a focused campaign to these same donors would yield some efforts to bring those most injured by Wall Street to a place where they can make their voices heard more clearly.

Arianna Huffington, this is pointed at you and your wealthy friends. Forget politics as usual... lets try something REALLY liberal. Lets try democracy 2.0.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hopefully not the most important thing I will ever write:

Through a lifetime of searching for something resembling enlightenment, I think I finally have a grasp on something worth calling "The TRUTH as I see it."

  1. Life is simply an expression of energy finding a way of purifying itself of emptiness. More specifically, it is energy organizing itself into more self organizing energy.
  2. All life is energy based... the machine it functions in may be based on physical elements, but life itself is energy based.
  3. The purpose of ecosystem is to provide a means for evolving better expressions of life; more energy efficient and stronger.
    1. Each expression of life contributes to the balance and direction of life in its ongoing search for its own perfect expression.
    2. The Ultimate expression of life would be intelligent, obedient cold fusion.
    3. Evolution will invariably move in that direction. We can choose how we participate, but there is only one possible outcome.
      1. We can consciously take control of our own evolution.
      2. We can create our successor by means of electronic or genetic engineering. True AI or creating an "intelligently designed" species for the first time.
      3. We can create an environment that exterminates us but creates advantageous conditions to our evolutionary successor. Nuclear winter or global warming... neither one is a win for humans.
  4. We are all, in essence, part of an immortal web of energy and space that is trying to make sense of itself after multiple universes collided.
  5. How you treat people matters. It effects the way that the universe shapes itself in literal ripples throughout time and space.
  6. How you treat the planet has consequences. Know what they are before you do something irreversible.
  7. Currency has no real value. It once represented the measure of someones word, but once it was reduced to a bunch of numbers it became irrelevant.
    1. How much work represents an adequate contribution to society that we recognize our responsibility to support you?
      1. What types of work do we consider most valuable to the community?
      2. What types of work do we provide the greatest monetary incentive for?
    2. We don't pay well for wisdom. 
    3. The idea that the metric of the quality of your life is related to how well someone else manages your reputation (credit) governs our system. Currency is PR not product or a creditable estimation of someones worth.