Friday, October 7, 2011

Is #OccupyWallStreet Class Warfare or something worse?

I woke up this morning at 2:00 with a case of indigestion in both mind and body. Don't ask me why, but laying in bed with a roiling gut, my mind was consumed with thoughts of Attorney General Eric Holder's Fast and Furious fiasco, the Solyndra debacle, the bank bailout and a laundry list of other crimes committed under the auspices of government and I had a flash of sobering insight:

Class warfare is what you call it when peasants and slaves fight back against a system designed to legalize oppressive behavior by a tiny segment of the population.

I've spent the last year laughing at the Italian legal system, knowing that Prime Minister Berlusconi isn't going to take any heat for his laughable governance simply because he controls the public perception in the country. He owns the major media and is passing laws to restrict free speech on the internet (Wikipedia Press Release).

I felt so smug because I live in a country where something like that could NEVER happen... except that it has. Corruption in America is so widespread that our government doesn't even apologize for it anymore. In fact, the federal government seems to use corruption as a means of taxation. When a corporation commits TREASON, the Federal Government hits them with a fine and then continues to do business with them. Federal Contractor Misconduct Database. Our military contractors sell our technology to our "enemies" in China and we just pay them to develop new technology (and expect them NOT to do the same thing over again?!)

This isn't a partisan issue. It's so ingrained in the system I rather suspect you can't get anything done in American government without participating at least a little bit.

I remember nearly 25 years ago coming home at a young age to discover Ollie North had taken over television news in the middle of the day. I was dismayed... why was congress interrupting regular programming to ask this guy questions? I was aghast. How ridiculous was it to believe a member of our armed forces was selling weapons to Iran in order to free hostages? I mean... he was all suave and uniformed and it made no sense. Worse... he was using the proceeds from selling guns to buy drugs from terrorists in South America which were then sold in America to fund the purchase of more weapons. Who in their right mind would do something that idiotic?!

Apparently, our federal government would.

North was convicted of three felonies, but deals for his testimony kept him out of trouble. Later, North ran for Congress... and almost won. Then he got a job with Fox News as a military commentator. Who says you can't get ahead in this country with a little hard work?

Now here we are, 30 years after the fact, and we have a different party occupying the White House. Attorney General Eric Holder is embroiled with Operation Fast and Furious where automatic weapons were sold to suspected gun runners as part of a sting operation against Mexican drug cartels. Some of these same guns were used to murder U.S. Border Patrol Agents.

Then there is the whole Solyndra issue. An Obama campaign contributor got more than 1/2 a billion dollars from the government to start a solar panel manufacturing plant and then mishandled the funds so badly that they went under in less than 2 years. George Kaiser is a multi-billionaire, but his project got federal help, while tons of smaller businesses were struggling.

Its disturbing that as you read through the accounts of government misconduct, you see patterns of names occurring over and over. Eric Holder worked for Covington and Burling, an attorney's office that represented Blackwater, Halliburton and Phillip-Morris... and Guantanamo Bay inmates?!

Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush and author of The Patriot Act worked for the same law firm.

George H.W. Bush Vice President when the Iran-Contra drug running plot was dreamed up. The drugs from South America came through a little town in Arkansas named Mena. Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas at the time.

When you read things like "War is a Racket"  by Smedley Butler or "Confessions of an Economic Hitman"  by John Perkins... or if you know what happened with Bechtel in Bolivia, it gets harder and harder to believe in the idea of government of, for and by the people.

It makes me think a little differently about the fight between the 1% and the 99%. We're paying for them to play games with peoples lives and that's all it is to them... a game to see who can garner the most power and influence while we scramble for the scraps. Politicians are not statesmen. Democracy is not incorruptible. It's time to flood the swamps of D.C. and flush out the garbage.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is this: A highly complex set of laws and exemptions from laws and taxes has been put in place by those in the uppermost reaches of the U.S. financial system. It allows them to protect and increase their wealth and significantly affect the U.S. political and legislative processes. They have real power and real wealth. Ordinary citizens in the bottom 99.9% are largely not aware of these systems, do not understand how they work, are unlikely to participate in them, and have little likelihood of entering the top 0.5%, much less the top 0.1%. Moreover, those at the very top have no incentive whatsoever for revealing or changing the rules. I am not optimistic.
Who Rules America

#OccupyWallStreet might be our only chance to gain real control over the policies that are killing millions of innocent people. Policies enacted by men so embroiled in corrupt behavior they have the gall to legislate it. So please... #OccupyWallStreet and #OccupyDC.
Save yourself and find REAL liberty.
We can't let the bastards keep us down.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

#OccupyWallStreet, social media, and the collapse of the heirarchy

I've learned a lot watching the #OccupyWallStreet movement in the past few weeks and I suppose that its time for me to do something with the education I've received.

We're playing by rules that don't apply anymore.

  • Proper implementation of networking can create a direct meritocracy that reflects our social values
    • Reddit style adaptation of new laws (ie Iceland's open-source constitution)
    • Similar Reddit style market to connect investors with ideas (combination of We-pay with patent office to advance development of ideas without needing Wall Street)
  • Redefine the education system so that it more adequately directs talent to appropriate venues
    • Stumble-upon style learning interface that guides students into fields that reflect their personality and proficiency
    • Wikipedia style availability of all knowledge
    • Google + rating system for peer review and accreditation
  • Micro-fabrication facilities for localized manufacture of goods using 3d printers, etc.
    • Reduction in transportation costs
    • Pay directly for the idea
    • Open source community provides opportunity for rapid improvement and modification to more specialized
We've moved beyond the feudalism of the agrarian age and the corporatism of the industrial age. We can tear down the cities and make communities more suited to supporting our needs without taxing the resources of the planet so heavily. Physical closeness to accomplish great things is no longer a necessity, but preservation of the environment and our limited material wealth IS a priority we need to actively pursue.

We can afford to pay people to be creative. We don't NEED all hands in the fields or factories anymore. There is no reason that we shouldn't dedicate resources to the advancement of beauty and creativity as well as productivity and efficiency.

The problem facing the economy isn't that we don't have the resources available to meet the needs of all the population ( at the moment ), its that those resources are being prevented from flowing by a belief that credit (money) should be the first goal. Left to their own devices, most people are not content to merely be consumers. We all have a creative drive within us. If we were liberated from the burden of trying to justify our own existence by paying for food, shelter and healthcare, we could dedicate ourselves to creating improvements that benefit everyone.

We don't need marketing directors or day traders. These are positions created entirely around the concept that producing "profit" is more beneficial than producing product. Society is filled with useless people being paid to create imaginary value instead of real products. Imagine Michelangelo designing cereal boxes or Da Vinci condemned to wallow in a mail room for 60 hours a week.

Our obsession with satisfying the institutional imperative of consumerism is destroying our ability to create culture.

Minecraft is my favorite recent example of what happens when you give innovators a sandbox to play in instead of chaining them to a worthless 80 hour a week job where they can't create. Amazing things are done in a fairly limited environment simply because people feel driven to create.

Lets give the world a sandbox to play in. Let people do what they love 90% of the time with 10% REAL work and watch what we make of ourselves. Kill off the antiquated, institutionalized idea that we need a hierarchy and spread a sustainable lifestyle to everyone and embrace the freedom it gives us.

PLEASE comment on this if you read it. I want feedback and input.