Manifest Destiny

Hi everyone.  I’m back. This website is now renewed for another year and my stonework season is finished so I will continue again with weekly postings of crazy travel stories and radical essays.  This is a travel story from my archive of handwritten notebooks.

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Manifest Destiny

Istanbul, Turkey and Amman, Jordan; February 2013

The story is… We have been following each other around the globe for all eternity.  In 1992 I was in Costa Rica and in 1993 I was in Ecuador.  She was in Ecuador in 97 and Costa Rica in 99.  In 2001, we were both in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia).  But we didn’t know each other then.  It’s possible we collided inner-tubes on the river in Vang Vienne or shared a shisha lakeside in Phnom Penn but such encounters are neither documented nor specifically remembered. In 2004, we were both in South America.  She was traveling with her sister and I was on my way to meet an Argentinian love.  We knew each other then, but just barely.  Same hometown. Social acquaintances.  Friends of Friends.  We even exchanged a few e-mails.  Perhaps we will meet up in Bolivia.  But the timing didn’t work out.  I was in a hurry to meet the Buenos Aires Babe and she was on her way to Machu Picchu.  In 2007, we were both in Mexico at the same time.  We were pretty good fiends by then and I thought seriously about going to see her in San Miguel.  But she was involved with a friend of mine at the time and he was not with her.  Avoiding temptation, I went to Chiapas instead.  Then, of course, there was 2008-2009.  My harrowing trip through North Africa where so many things went wrong.  No, she was not traveling in North Africa that year.  She was home in Oneonta reading my travel stories about North Africa on the internet.  She was also the first person I saw on the streets of Oneonta when I returned from that trip broke, defeated and slightly traumatized.  She gave me a hug on Main Street and welcomed me home.  She offered to make me dinner some time for a proper welcome.  She was no longer involved with my friend.  I went to dinner a few days later.  And the rest, as they say, is history…

We’ve been together for almost four years now but I do not discard the possibility that we were together in past lives or future lives as well.  Sometimes it seems as if we have a connection that lasts for all eternity.  We’ve already been on a few long wanders together.  A big romp through Peru and Ecuador was the honeymoon trip and we also went on an extended journey through the campgrounds of the Southern United States.  She’s a good travel partner.  We always seem to find ourselves inside of fun little adventures.  This year, I came to the Middle East on my own for a couple months but she is meeting me for the second half of the journey.  These past two months of traveling is my longest time away from her since our togetherness began.  I just want to put my arms around her and give her a great big hug…

In two more days, I am flying from here in Amman, Jordan to Istanbul, Turkey in order to meet Ms. B.  Before I leave Jordan, however, I really want to see the ancient ruins of Jerash.  It’s only an hour or so away by public transport.

I set out after breakfast in the early morning.  Thankfully, I stop and talk to the guy at reception on my way out the door.  He tells me I want the north bus station for Jerash and he writes it down in Arabic on a piece of paper.  He also gives me a hotel business card with the name and address in Arabic. “If you get lost,” he says, “just give this card to any taxi anywhere and he will take you here.”

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A Little Light in the Election Darkness

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A Little Light in the Election Darkness

I was wrong. It’s feels good to admit that once in a while. The universe just gave me a dose of humility to help round out my soul. I was all wrong about the election. I thought for sure that Hillary was going to win in a landslide. Of course I did not want Hillary to win. I didn’t want Trump to win either. As most people who know me are aware, I don’t vote in Presidential elections as a matter of principle. Democracy breaks down the greater the number of participants. And I don’t see the point in voting for people rather than policies. In my opinion, it’s a great big charade. It’s a friendly competition between two teams of oligarchs to see who gets to screw over the underclass for the next four years. Since both teams of oligarchs have been steadily applying the same policies for the last thirty years or so, it really makes little difference which party wins. This country needs a non-violent economic revolution, not another ruler to love or hate on the tv screen. Nevertheless, I thought for sure Hillary and the democrats had it in the bag. How in the world did the crazy clown pull it off?

For many years I have been fascinated by the intersection of economics and politics and this year’s Presidential election is an amazing demonstration of my theories on that intersection. I was dead wrong about the result but my underlying analysis was more or less on target. I simply misunderstood one little variable and that screwed up my conclusion.

First, the basics. Aside from the 01% who rule things, and the other 01% who are not even allowed to play (incarcerated or homeless), America has two distinct economic classes. It helps to realize what class you are in because the day to day lived experience of the two classes is dramatically different. Indeed, I would suggest that the two distinct classes have such different day to day realities that they do not understand each other at all.

At this particular time in history, approximately 70% of US citizens live survival check to survival check. Their survival checks come from minimum wage jobs or part time jobs or “free lance” jobs or some minuscule government subsidy or private pension survival ration. They have less than a thousand dollars in savings, very little home equity, no stocks or bonds and very high mortgage payments or rent to keep a roof over their heads. In other words, they are one unfortunate mishap away from seriously desperate circumstances. Their day to day existence is one of anxiety and work and more anxiety and more work. They don’t have the time to research detailed articles on politics or economics because they are too busy trying to make ends meet. No doubt they are exposed to large doses of mass media and they have their favorite source of news and information but politics is not something they focus on. I call this class, “the precariate” because their economic reality is so precarious. The majority of the precariate does not usually vote. And when they do vote it is based mainly on instinct and the superficial background information provided by the mass media. They do not vote based on detailed analysis of economics or policy.

The other 30% of US citizens do not live survival check to survival check. They have decent paying jobs, money in the bank, some home equity, and a few stocks, bonds or investments. Although they too suffer through tragedy, anxiety and stress because they are slaves of the corporate organizational structure, they are not one step away from seriously desperate circumstances. They have some leisure time to read the intellectual magazines and to study detailed analyses of economics and politics. They also have time to attend protests and rallies and to participate in the political process. They don’t necessarily understand politics or economics but they have lots of information and ideas to support their misunderstanding. I call this class, “the prosperiate” because their economic reality is fairly prosperous. The overwhelming majority of the prosperiate do vote. Generally speaking, they vote for one of the two teams of oligarchs (democrats or republicans). Their intellectual magazines and detailed economic and political analyses always convinces them that the two political teams are the only “realistic” options.

Generally speaking, it is the prosperiate who decide elections in the US because they are the ones that vote. They believe they are being good citizens by participating in a governmental process. Some people even get very patriotic and proud about it. But, in reality, their individual votes are statistically irrelevant and their opinions and analyses are ignored by the oligarchs. For the most part, the prosperiate vote is divided equally between the Democrats and Republicans with a little fluidity depending upon circumstances on the ground. The single most important variable that controls the outcome of elections is the day to day economic reality of the prosperiate.

I thought for sure that Hillary and the Democrats were going to win in a landslide this year because the facts on the ground are that Barack Obama and the Democrats have been quite good economically for the prosperiate. The economic world was on shaky ground even for the prosperiate at the end of George Bush’s term. The Republican team had fucked things up so bad that Capitalism itself was on the ropes. As such, Barack Obama had a unique opportunity to transform things. But he didn’t transform things. Instead, he just proved himself to be a remarkably good manager of the capitalist system. His team of bankers and Wall Street insiders got the money flowing again. If you are a member of the prosperiate, then you are probably aware of this economic reality. Life is way better at the end of Barack Obama’s term than it was at the end of George Bush’s. If you combine this truth with the fact that the Republican candidate presented himself as a mysoginistic, racist asshole, it seemed obvious to me that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats would win in a landslide. But I was wrong.

The precariate doesn’t usually decide elections because the precariate don’t usually vote very much. They understand intuitively that the process is bullshit and they can’t be bothered wasting their time. Every once in a while, however, a particularly persuasive orator with the right marketing plan will con the precariate into participation. I will call this, the rock star effect.
Ronnie Reagan was probably a rock star but I was too young to be aware of it. The first rock star candidate that I witnessed was Barack Obama in 2008. Since ethnic minorities make up a high percentage of the non-voting precariate, he had a unique advantage in convincing them to play in the election game. By 2012, of course, the jig was up. The precariate was painfully aware of the fact that Obama and the Democrats were full of shit and they went back to their non-voting well justified cynicism. They did not turn around and vote for Republicans, they just did not vote at all. Obama won in 2012 by winning the votes of the prosperiate.

This is the thing that baffles me. Most but not all of my regular social contacts are members of the prosperiate. They still do not seem to believe that the big con happened because they did not really have to suffer the consequences. Indeed, in some respects, they were secondary, minor beneficiaries of it. The precariate, however, is painfully aware of the consequences even if they don’t understand exactly how it happened. What is the economic truth?

Financial engineering. In the last eight years, the oligarchs engineered the largest transfer of real world wealth upward from the lower classes to the oligarchs in the history of the world. Most of the prosperiate class was lucky enough to get their hands on some of that wealth as it passed its way upward so they are still doing pretty good. But a significant percentage of the prosperiate class fell into the precariate class and the precariate class as a whole got slammed.

I don’t blame Obama personally. He was merely the smiling front man. The brain trust at Goldman Sachs probably came up with the concept. Republicans and democrats were both in on it but it was a democratic administration that implemented it. The primary mechanisms they used to pull this maneuver off included TARP, bank bailouts and quantitative easing. They also did not prosecute bankers for obvious fraud. But this is not the place for a detailed analysis of their little economic magic trick. If you have the time to research politics and economics you can probably figure it out. My point is a simple one. The prosperiate class seems blissfully unaware that the magic trick happened. At most they might mention it as one issue among many. But the precariate class has to live with its consequences in their day to day economic reality… Full time “jobs” are now part time “jobs”. The “jobs” available are minimum wage part time jobs in the service sector. The cost of shelter is going through the roof. The only food that is affordable is chemically laden genetically modified corporate garbage. It now costs money to drink water. Indeed, it now costs money to do anything and money is just not available. In other words, day to day economic reality for the precariate class really really sucks. They may not know how or why the system has fucked them over but they do know that it has.

Which is why I assumed that the precariate would not vote. After all, a vote is an affirmation of the system. A republican is just the same as a democrat. Only a rock star conman could convince the precariate to go out and participate in the election game. Which is why I was wrong about the election. I didn’t think Trump was a rock star conman. I thought he was an absurd clown and obvious conman. I even thought he and Hillary were in on it together. He was there to make the opposition look bad so that Hillary could generate momentum for her more aggressive war in Syria. Apparently, the Trumpster was a much better con man than I gave him credit for. The democrats took the bait and responded to his rather unusual candidacy in the stupidest way ever.

In retrospect, it seems obvious to me that Hillary lost the election the day she referred to Trump’s supporters as “a basket of deplorables”. And it wasn’t just her, it was the entire Democratic campaign. They did not debate, discuss, and intelligently criticize candidate Trump’s various policy proposals, instead they insulted the citizens who were “stupid” enough to vote for him. If you have social media or you watch television you were exposed to the barrage of memes and insults. Fascists, nazis, racists, bigots, crackers, white trash, losers, meth heads, stupid people, morons. They would capture an image of the most absurd example of a Trump supporter doing something stupid and splash it all over the news feed. Half of them were probably actors. It all makes perfect sense to me now. The democrats had a lock on the people who usually vote. Donald Trump was entertaining to people who don’t vote. They probably would have just laughed at Trump’s obnoxious character and stayed home like they usually do until the Democrats started egging them on. When the entire media and political establishment joined in the pile on against Trump, a tidal wave of condescending was directed towards his supporters. Action therefore reaction. The entire establishment was telling them not to vote for this guy. Their attitude is; fuck the establishment. So, of course, they voted for him. In other words, President Trumpster is Karmic Payback to Democrats for pissing on the precariate class.

But alas my dear friends who are Democrats, things are not as bad as it seems on this time of election darkness. This was not a cout de tat. The Donald is not a Dictator. Those scary people you saw on television and in Facebook memes are not taking over the government. Team Republican of the oligarchs just beat out team Democrat in a marketing contest. The well-mannered, smooth talking, ethnic minority figurehead is about to be replaced by a rude, obnoxious, clown figurehead. The oligarchs will move a few seats around and the system and the Empire will continue. If you voted for Hillary, you are probably a member of the prosperiate class. Since team republican generally pursues the same economic policies as team Democrat and those policies sort of benefit the prosperiate, your life will probably continue pretty much the same as it is now. It may even get a little bit better. Hopefully, though, with an obnoxious clown on the nightly news every night, you will be inspired to learn about and criticize the dreadful things your government does to others for the sake of your economic benefit. The massacre in and wholesale destruction of the once prosperous nation state of Libya comes to mind. Not to mention the economic warfare waged against your fellow citizens through the aforementioned magic trick.

So anyway, I am finding myself strangely optimistic in the face of the Trumpster’s presidency. Not because I think he will adopt good policy. There is no such thing as good policy in a capitalist empire. No doubt about it, the clown is going to kick the precariate constituency that put him in office right in the head just like Obama did to his precariate constituency. They will probably have a good laugh about it during their Oval Office meeting. Obummer did it as soon as he named his Goldman Sachs cabinet and I will bet you dollars to donuts that the Trumpster names a bunch of old hands from team republican to run his show as well. After all, it is not as if the clown has a plan to run the government. The Trumpster dumpster full of wacky policy ideas he tossed out during the campaign was not even a coherent ideology. Perhaps he will shut down the TPP and improve relations with Russia. That would be good. But I won’t hold my breath.

I’m optimistic about the Trumpster’s reign because I believe his presence will inspire people to act in opposition to empire. I know the media is trying to spin the election result as some sort of manifestation of racism, misogyny and lurking cultural backwardness. But the media is full of shit with a not so hidden agenda. They are trying to incite a culture/race war in order to fend off an economic revolution that is becoming more and more possible all the time. The election of the Trumpster clown to the highest office was a rejection of the globalized capitalist economic system, it was not the choosing of a race-based mysoginist tyrant. And when the Trumpster clown governs just like other republicans, the precariate who put him in office will reject him too.

That’s right, the times ahead look interesting and entertaining as well. Yeah, I know, my democratic friends who are members of the prosperiate are afraid of real revolution. What can I suggest to appease their fear? Try not to worry too much because it probably won’t happen. There is at least a 30% chance that the BS wing of the Democratic Party will co-opt the revolution with a promise of cookie crumbs for the precariate and Capitalism will continue on it’s merry way until it destroys the planet in a climate meltdown or nuclear conflagration. There is also probably a 30 % chance, the Trumpster and his republican team will save capitalism by providing the precariate with decent jobs in the ever growing “homeland security” and “world conquest” industries. How many serfs does it take to build a wall? In which case, Capitalism will continue on it’s merry way until it destroys the planet in a climate meltdown or nuclear conflagration.

That leaves about a 40% chance for economic revolution. It’s not quite probable but it is possible. I will takes those odds. Way better than years passed. I guess it is also possible that the revolution will be violent but it certainly doesn’t have to be. When the European descendants in the precariate become disillusioned with their clown President, the situation will be ripe. The mass media is trying to ignite a culture war between the two sides of the precariate in order to distract them from focusing on the Oligarchs. Don’t feed the media’s fire. Reach out to the precariate no matter what their race or how “stupid” their superficial politics. Love trumps hate. Try to empathize with the desperation a broken economic system has imposed upon them. They were so desperate, in fact, that they voted for a clown. If the opposite sides of the precariate culture war can unify to fight for their common economic interests, the oligarchs will lose. All they need is a plan or theory or concept to get behind.

Not Capitalism
Not Socialism
Organic economics
Reverse financial engineering
DEMOCRATIZE THE MONEY SUPPLY
Quantitative ease the precariate class!
Viva la Revolution

And have a very wonderful day.

This essay is not copyrighted. Please feel free to share it with anyone and everyone.

Happy Election Day

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Happy Election Day!

I wasn’t even going to watch the debates because I think the whole Presidential campaign is a “reality television” bullshit performance to distract Americans from their monetary slavery and continuous war economy. But I thought it might be mildly entertaining and sociologically interesting so I tuned in to see. What I witnessed and the reaction to what I witnessed was absolutely insane.

She said it live on national television during the second debate. I heard it myself with my own two ears. She favors imposing a no-fly zone on Syria. Anyone with even a limited understanding of international relations is aware that Russia is presently flying missions in Syria on behalf of the Syrian government. Imposing a no-fly zone in Syria is war with Russia. She proposed WWIII on national television as a “campaign promise” and all anyone could talk about afterwards was the mysoginistic clown who stalked her around the stage.

Actually, the historians will probably put the start date for the slowly unfolding WWlll on 9-11-2001. Or maybe they will back date even further to when the Soviet Union collapsed and all those psychotics in the council on foreign relations concocted their crazy plan to take over the whole world (The Project for a New America Century). When it started doesn’t matter. The reality is that the US is already up to its knees in war (Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, the Congo and probably several other “theaters”). During the reign of Obama, the expansion of the US military footprint internationally has increased dramatically. More drones, more bases, more weapons, more special forces and more “private security corporations”. In other words, more war because the people who run the economy know that war is very good for business.

Yeah, I know, a campaign promise is only a campaign promise. She doesn’t necessarily have to start an active hot war with Russia just because she says during a debate that she favors such a thing. But the reality is, regime change in Syria and a warm war with Russia would be really good for the economy. Or, at least, it would be really good for that segment of the economy that financed her campaign. I know that and she knows that. The question is; do the American people know that. Do they know what they are voting for?

But what about Donald? Oh yeah, the Donald. You have to be kidding me? You really think they will let that clown become President? Well then, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I will sell you too. Do I have to spell it out for you? Did you watch the debates? He was so obviously “performing” the part of the bad guy it was ridiculous. Hillary and Donald are not competing against each other in a Presidential election. They are working together to sell you a product. The product they are selling is war and empire. Donald Trump is a metaphorical stand in for Putin. He is acting like an asshole on purpose. He is there to make the opposition to Empire look bad. And when Hillary wins the election in a landslide victory, they are going to use her victory as a mandate for a more aggressive war against Russia in Syria.

Is there any other rational explanation for the nonsense we are witnessing? Does the Empire really think they can “win” a war against Russia? Do they want to destroy the whole planet in a nuclear confrontation? Of course not. No doubt they think they can keep it under control. Smart power is the new catchphrase of the regime changers. The whole lot of them played way too much of the board game Risk as teenagers and it seriously damaged their psyches. Now they think they can roll the dice and win the whole planet. Russia and Vladimir are in their sites. With cyber war and financial war and propaganda war and perhaps some missiles and bombs in Syria, they think they can take out Russia. And this little media dance between the Hill and the Donald is an important part of their propaganda.

If I thought elections were real or legitimate I would vote for Jill Stein because her platform of ideas and policies is the most sensible. I don’t exactly agree with her on some things because she does not yet “see” or seem to understand organic economics but at least she is in the ballpark. I do wonder, however, why a nice lady like her wants to be CEO of the war machine.

Anyway, I say vote for whoever your favorite media outlet tells you to vote for. I don’t care if you choose the mysoginistic clown or the war mongering witch or even the neo-liberal pothead. I’m going to like you all the same. But please, when the election is over and HRC wins in a landslide and the hyped up media campaign segways into a full on drumbeat for war in Syria (a no fly zone) stand up and say no. That is the direction the train is heading. That is the product they are trying to sell us. War and Empire. They want to do to Damascus what they did to Sarajevo, Baghdad and Tripoli. If only there was a way to stop them.

A Fairly Simple Plan

I sometimes think that it would be fun and useful to teach a class about how to engineer a non-violent economic revolution. You hear a lot of talk about such things but no one out there in mass media world ever comes out with a plan or a strategy. Everybody gets distracted by the election show and nobody ever focuses on the fundamentals. Well, I do have a plan or strategy. Unfortunately, I also have a fairly significant case of social anxiety. I can medicate my social anxiety with heavy doses of alcohol but I don’t like the way alcohol makes my body feel. Am I willing to sacrifice my health and sanity for the sake of the revolution? Probably not. I would rather build stone walls.

Anyway, if I ever did teach the class, it would involve about 20 detailed discussions of inter-related topics. The syllabus or overview for the theoretical class on non-violent economic revolution is presented here. All you political revolutionaries out there who just got burned again by the election game need something to do. Well, here you go.

A Fairly Simple Plan

Non-violent economic revolution? How to do it? It’s really not that complicated. It won’t be easy to implement but the basic steps to follow are fairly straightforward and understandable.

First, create a not-for-profit corporation that is legally capable of soliciting tax deductible donations to advocate on behalf of the public welfare. I believe it is section 501 (c) of the IRS code that defines such organizations but I’m not sure. Wanted; a few people with good credit to serve as board members and a couple of revolutionaries to file the paperwork and set up official legal bank accounts.

Second, explain the concept of dynamic economics or organic economics (I don’t know what name is better) such that it is easy to understand. The basic idea unifies theoretical communism and theoretical capitalism as the yin and yang of economic impulses and creates a system that utilizes the communal side of human nature and the individual side of human nature. The purpose of the not-for-profit is to implement the concept and donations are collected toward that end from anyone who is interested in the “revolution”.

Third, market the “concept” and collect donations. This is the hard part. I hate marketing and I have social anxiety so someone else will have to do this part. Wanted; good speakers with charisma to “sell” the “revolution.”

Fourth, accumulate money in a centralized account because a fairly large amount is necessary as backing to implement the plan. The total amount collected should always be public knowledge. Indeed, the growth in the size of the account could be part of the marketing plan.

Fifth, define the territory within which you want to implement the concept. The fundamental problem with the U.S. economic system is a centralized oligarchic money system. We wish to transform that not by taking over the large unruly linear money system that presently exists but by creating an alternative localized dynamic money system that works. A main difference between the present economic system and the proposed economic system is that the present system is dependent upon growth/expansion/conquest/imperialism while a dynamic system works within fixed boundaries or established parameters. I don’t know the optimum size of a territory for an independent dynamic currency system. I definitely think the United States is way too big. But perhaps a state is about right. The smaller the state the better. Perhaps Hawaii or Vermont will take the concept and run with it. I don’t know. But, just for the sake of discussion, I am going to localize even smaller. For the last twenty years, I have lived back and forth between Delaware and Otsego counties in upstate NY. I am going to combine those two counties into a single territory for purposes of creating a theoretical currency union.

Six, name the territory. I’m going to call my new theoretical territory “Paradise” because, well, I like metaphors and usually I really think it is Paradise to live here.

Seven, choose a very large number to represent the total theoretical economic value of “Paradise”. A billion? A trillion? The number is arbitrary (a democratic choice?). I don’t know. You want a number high enough so that it can be divided into a practical number of useable pieces of currency (pieces of paradise or pps).

Eight, set about the long and difficult task of convincing people and teaching people to price economic value created locally in theoretical pps as well as dollars. If all of Paradise is worth a Trillion pps, how much to rent that apartment in Oneonta? Please note that most shelter, food, healthcare and education is created and provided locally.

Nine, after you have accumulated enough dollars as backing and educated the community about alternative pricing, introduce the new currency that operates on dynamic democratic principles instead of linear oligarchic principles. This is the stage at which the plan or revolution will run head first into the laws of Empire. According to the Constitution, only the US Federal Government can issue money or create currency. But in reality, private corporations (banks) create money. This is what the revolution is all about. Democracy or Oligarchy. Is money a thing that they control? Or is money the symbolical representation of your legal right to use economic resources in the community where you live? Does money come from the agreement of the people or from the power of the far away masters? I would suggest that the best strategy for overcoming the constitutional hurdles and legal challenges here would be to argue that the currency you are introducing is not really currency. It is something else because it operates on different principles. Don’t worry Feds, it’s not real money, it’s only a game we are playing. These are just game pieces. Come on, we call them pps for pieces of paradise. You can’t take this seriously as a threat to Empire?

Ten, in order to introduce the currency, you have to convince a large number of people who live within the geographic parameters to “play the game” or participate in the new economic system. All people who play agree to accept pps for payment for labor or local good or service provided to other game players. All people who play receive a monthly investment of pps equivalent to the fair market value of food, shelter, education and basic healthcare in Paradise. In exchange for the guaranteed monthly investment of pps, all the game players agree to give 50% of everything they earn back to Paradise. It is important to note that game players are not restricted to using and accepting only pps. They can use dollars or rubles or euros or yen or any other currency. But everything they earn in whatever currency, half of it they give back to Paradise. It’s a good thing for Paradise if it has a basket of currencies in its reserve account rather than just US dollars. Theoretically, game players will do so willingly because they like receiving the guaranteed monthly investment and they like making sure everyone in their community receives their guaranteed monthly investment as well.

If all goes according to plan, at some point, the system should become self-sustaining. In other words, the pps going out through investment are equal to the pps coming in through taxes. When the system runs a surplus, the extra can be used to fund community projects. When the system runs in the negative, you can create more currency to achieve balance.

Theoretically, if the geographic area within the parameters of Paradise has the economic capacity to provide all the people living there with food, shelter, education and basic healthcare (it does), the system should become self-sustaining. People could still use dollars, of course, but they wouldn’t have to. The new money system would run parallel to the old and people could choose which game they would rather play.

For a while, of course, everyone would play both games. They would use both dollars and pps in their everyday lives. Eventually, however, the revolution will have to take the next step. Revolutionaries will have to make a moral choice of conscience. Do you want to trade in the blood soaked dollars of the Empire or peaceful pieces of Paradise?

The reality is, the revolution can only succeed if the people stop using the oligarchs money. In the modern world, this is not practical. If we created an alternative dynamic money supply system, it would be possible. Hopefully, other currency unions will sprout up across the country as well and peaceful currencies will trade with each other. Once enough people stop believing the oligarchs illusion, Paradise is possible. In the meantime, buy local and try to keep your transactions off the big computer (use cash or barter).

That’s about it. The revolution in a nutshell. Good luck implementing it. I have stonewalls to build and a toddler to chase after. Give me a shout if you have any questions.

The revolution is not copyrighted. Please feel free to share it with anyone and everyone.

The Promised Land

 

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The Promised Land

Amman, Jordan; February 2013

I think they are from Iowa in the United States, but I can’t say for sure.  They are middle aged with grey hair, expansive waistlines and Midwestern accents.  “I can’t believe we are really here,” says the woman.  “This is where it happened.  This is where it all began.  God told Moses that the lands of Israel belong to the Jews.  Look honey.  Isn’t it amazing?  The map points everything out.  All of Israel is before us.  Can’t you just imagine God and Moses standing here, on this very spot and God pointing it all out. All this land belongs to your people Moses.” 

“That’s why they call it the Promised Land,” says the man, “God promised it to the Jews.”

I am standing about ten feet behind the couple.  I am politely waiting for them to finish their turn at the lookout before I step forward to check out the special view.  We are on Mount Nebo; another Biblical tourism hotspot.  It is the dramatic setting for the closing scene of the Book of Exodus.  According to the story, God talked to Moses here and gave him the lands of Israel. Walking around the Mountain, it’s fairly easy to understand the origin of the story.  The view is spectacular.  All of Israel is literally spread out before me like a single plot of land.  I, myself, can almost hear the voice of god talking. “It’s all yours my son, it’s all yours.”  No doubt about it, the guy who wrote the story probably sat on this very spot and dreamed the whole thing up.  Sure, why not, a complex metaphor, a well designed plot and lots of interesting characters.  Put it down on paper and it will be a best seller for years to come. 

If you ever find yourself in Amman, Jordan, or anywhere else in Jordan for that matter, you have to try the lamb mensaf.  As a general rule, I like to sample a great variety of meals from the many different cultures I visit and when I arrived in Amman I intended to work my way through the full range of culinary possibilities.  But I had the lamb mensaf my first night there and I could not bring myself to order anything different for the whole week afterwards.  Oh my god… so delicious.  I could probably eat it every day for a year.  One of these days, I’m going to have learn how to make it myself.

When not eating lamb, I drink coffee and tea and smoke shishas.  I move from cafe’ to café and restaurant to restaurant.  I wander along the wide streets and meander through the narrow souks of the big city.  I don’t see many tourists or Westerners; it’s a very Arab and very crowded place.  There are ruins to see in the city; some ancient columns, a citadel and a Roman theatre.  I also have a couple of excursions planned.  I am going to see Jerash on one day and I want to go to the Dead Sea and Mount Nebo on another day.  I’m saving Jerash for the very end though and the Mount Nebo thing is complicated by the lack of public transport there.  I don’t really want a tour and hiring a car and driver for a day is a bit pricey.  While I hesitate, I have a few days to just hang out here in downtown Amman and learn a little about the proverbial Arab Street.  Continue reading

Revolution 101

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REVOLUTION 101.

Don’t get burned again.

Democratize the money supply. Until you do, all the elections in the world won’t make a damn bit of difference.

You are a data point in a marketing algorithm not a citizen participating in an election. Politicians work for their financial backers, not the voters. Voters are just the customers buying the crap the politicians are selling.

Remember Barack Obama, the peace candidate, who has now bombed 7 countries.  Remember George W. Bush, the “compassionate conservative,” that opposed “nation building” who then tried to “re-build Iraq” after he destroyed it. Remember Billy Clinton, the “liberal democrat”, who transformed social services into mass incarceration and let loose the vultures of finance capital onto the carcass of the US economic system. Remember the other Bush who wanted us to read his lips and Ronnie who opposed big government and gave us the largest government expansion ever.

So now Bernie is selling socialism that is not really socialism. In the spectacle of propaganda that is the US election performance, he is playing the extreme left character to counter balance the extreme right character of Donald Trump so that Hillary seems the rational, wise, compromise middle when they crown her queen. If Bernie ever did win, his economic plans would not get through Congress and socialism would take the blame for the next big crash. The important thing about Bernie is, he convinces a whole lot of people that they have a say in the process. Many of these people probably just about gave up after the travesty of Obama. But good ol’ Bernie has them believing again. What does he have them believing in? The empire? In the control of a wise and compassionate man, the power of the empire can be used for good…

I don’t believe in the empire. I oppose the empire. I believe in the decentralization of power structures and the localization of economies. The US empire should immediately withdraw its military and all of its fossil fuel consuming aggressively postured horrible weapons systems from their threatening positions around the world. And until they do, I’m certainly not going into a little booth to pull a lever and pretend that the people responsible for such madness represent me. I don’t care how good their healthcare plan is. That’s what I believe.

As such, I don’t vote in Presidential elections. This country and the world needs a political and economic revolution. Not another figure head sitting atop the same broken political/economic system. The revolution I’m talking about is conceptual and practical and non-violent. We have to replace a linear mechanical economic system with a dynamic organic one. A system that thrives on continuous war must be replaced by one that encourages peace. That may seem like a rather complicated maneuver but it is possible. It’s not going to happen at the voting booth though. The whole voting game is a distraction. But it can happen. All we have to do to make it happen is teach people the truth about how money functions and then democratize the money supply.

I’m serious, money is the tool the oligarchy uses to enslave us. The only way to free ourselves from their oppression is to change the way the money game is played.

What is money? We are taught to believe that money is a thing. Like a chunk of silver or gold that you possess and trade with others for what they possess. The more chunks you collect, the wealthier you are. But money is not a thing. Money is not real. Money is the symbolic representation of your legal right to use economic value within the jurisdiction of the government that issues the money. Understand. Money is your legal right to do stuff. Without money, you can’t do shit without getting arrested. You hear a lot of propaganda about government handouts and welfare queens and lazy people wanting free stuff. But the truth is, what you are talking about is the basic human right of all citizens to interact with their environment. What kind of a bizarre culture gets all excited and enthused about the right to own a gun but never ever talks about the RIGHT to food and shelter?

Next question; who controls the money supply? Is it democratic or oligarchic? When new money is added to the system, who gets it… where does it go? Do you personally have an open credit line with the Federal Reserve Bank? Of course not. In the last several years, the Federal Reserve has added over 4 trillion dollars to the economic system through a process called quantitative easing. Did you get quantitatively eased? Maybe. The money was used to add liquidity to the stock market and the market blew up like a balloon. If you have made money in the ever rising stock market in recent years, then you did effectively get quantitatively eased. Some people got eased more than others because that is the way the system is designed. It is called trickle down economics…. Capitalism…. Neoliberalism… A rose by any other name. The four trillion dollars was not distributed democratically among the citizens, it was given to large corporations and banks and hedge funds. They were supposed to pass it down through the markets to investors and employees and customers and citizens. And they did, sort of, a little bit.

The fundamentals of money supply are fairly easy to understand but rather difficult to apply. Every jurisdiction has an evolving amount of economic value available. Some value gets used up (food is eaten) and new value is added (food grows). The challenge of money supply is making sure the amount of currency in circulation corresponds to the amount of economic value available. If there is too much money in the system and not enough economic value you will have inflation. In other words, you will need more and more money to use comparatively less economic value. If there is not enough money in the system, the opposite happens. Economic value that is available gets wasted because no one can afford to use it. It is the job of the money supplier to find the perfect balance between the two situations. It is important to understand that money is a tool or mechanism that is used to manage underlying economic value. Money itself has very little real economic value (you can’t eat it but at least paper money will burn to keep you warm, the dots on the computer screen won’t even do that.)

How much is a loaf of bread? How much was a loaf of bread ten years ago? I can remember when a millionaire was considered incredibly wealthy. I have traveled in countries with a whole lot of zeroes on their money. When I was in Zimbabwe once, the exchange rate wasp 5000 to 1 when I arrived and 11,000 to 1 when I left two weeks later. After a while, the extra zeroes no longer mean anything. Chop them off the end or add them to the front. The money itself is not real. It is merely a symbol of your legal rights to use economic value. Since a human being cannot exist within modern society without using economic value, money is really a symbol of your legal right to exist.

Think about that for a while. And then think about all the different prongs of the empire that citizens have to crawl before in order to get enough currency to exist. Corporate slave wages, Unemployment, welfare, social security, disability…. Small Businesses have the same problem… they have to beg for grants or loans from their far away masters. Employees get the trickle down that their bosses had to beg for. Don’t you see. The problem is the money supply. When new money is added to the system, it is given to the wealthy. Politicians tend to argue a lot about the re-distribution of wealth. But what about the distribution of wealth in the first place? We presently have quite literally a trickle down money supply system. The revolution I’m talking about would replace that with a bubble up or bottom up money supply system.

Democratize the money supply. It’s that simple. The revolution is not complicated. It is a straightforward concept. A single demand. Democratize the money supply.

Intellectuals and pundits who theorize about such things sometimes refer to the concept of basic income. Another metaphor one hears from the propaganda box is the social safety net. But such metaphors tend to put the person who receives money into the role of loser or victim who must rely on charity rather than into the role of human who has a right to exist and interact with the environment where they live. In other words, we must replace the concept of welfare with the concept of investment.

Get rid of all the multi pronged social service bureaucracies and replace them with a money supply system that makes sense. All citizens receive the same package of economic rights through a monthly investment from the central bank or government. What is the fair market value of food, shelter, basic healthcare and education? In exchange for the monthly investment package, the citizens agree to pay in taxes 50% of everything they earn by participating in the free market back to the central bank or government. Every citizen gets the same deal. Dynamic economics. The monthly package of economic rights through an investment and the 50% tax on everything they earn. Many people will probably pay back more than they receive, some people will break even and some will probably just live off the monthly investment and not earn anything in the free market. But that is okay. In a world of over consumption, an economic system that does not punish people for choosing to live simply is a good thing. The important thing is that the money continually flows through the system; back and forth; dynamically. From central bank to citizens in monthly investments and from citizens back to the government in the form of taxes. It’s a contract; an agreement that all citizens agree to and all citizens benefit from.

So that’s it in a nut shell. The Revolution. Money or currency flows in a cycle that all citizens have access to instead of trickled downward to the lowly from the powers above.

The Empire will oppose it with the full force of propaganda and maybe even violence because the oligarchs who control the Empire understand the truth about bargaining position and the myth of a free market. The corporate business model is dependent upon a “slave” market… desperate people who will do what they are told because they desperately need money to survive. If citizens have economic rights they have bargaining position. They have the ability to not put up with bullshit from asshole bosses. Who is going to work at Walmart if they don’t have to? The US military is dependent on financial slaves as well. That’s why recruiters target poverty zones. A promising career in the military is a way to escape desperate poverty. If all citizens have economic rights, they wouldn’t be so eager to serve in Imperial wars. No doubt, brave volunteers would defend the homeland against invaders but that’s a whole different thing than going overseas to kill foreigners because it’s a good job or career. The US has not fought a defensive war in my lifetime. They are always on offense.

That’s because we have a linear mechanical economic system that requires continual growth to thrive. The clearest way to add economic value (growth) to a government’s jurisdiction is to take control or conquer the economic value of another jurisdiction. Does the economic system cause imperialism and continuous war or is it merely used as a cover story to explain human behavior? If we change the economic system and remove the underlying incentive for war can we stop lots of wars from happening. I don’t know. But it’s worth a shot.

In the natural world, energy (growth) and entropy (distribution) are always engaged in a dynamic balance. Life is what manifests in between them. The US economic system is fundamentally flawed on the entropy side. If we don’t fix it soon, the whole thing will go down in flames.

I believe in real free markets… not fake ones. A market can’t be free unless all the participants have basic economic rights. The right to interact with the environment and provide for your own needs is really the most essential human right. The government restricts that right by dividing the environment into “owned” pieces and enforcing laws that require payment of currency to owners for the use of the pieces. Accordingly, the government must provide enough currency to each citizen so that they can provide for their basic needs or the government violates the most essential human right and thereby renders itself illegitimate. I want to live in a world where empowered citizens seek and create work that inspires and interests them. I don’t want to live in a world where desperate people have to beg for jobs from corporate masters. In other words, I want a non-violent economic revolution. Would you like to join the cause?

The revolution is not copyrighted, please feel free to share it with anyone and everyone.

 

Family Travels Begin

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Dancing in the moonlight… Indescribable joy. An emotion so powerful it overwhelms reality. How did this happen to me? I know, this sort of thing happens to humans all the time on a regular basis all over the world. It has happened throughout history and will happen until the end of time. It is, you might say, the quintessential human experience. But still, I like to think I’m special. Has any father anywhere ever had it so good?

It started with intense anguish of course. All moments of great joy are preceded by tormenting anxiety. That’s just the way the universe is constructed. Joy and anguish… two sides of the same peso… You can’t have one without the other. Before the big moment, there must be the ordeal. In this particular case, the ordeal was intense…

All I want is a scenic spot to park where it is warm enough to camp and a beach within walking distance. We begin the quest in mid February in upstate NY and go south to Pennsylvania. We are hoping to stay the first night in Pittsburgh with friends but we get a late start and little A. has a meltdown in the back of the camper van shortly after sunset. Crying babies on busy highways are super stressful. We end up in a Quality Inn on strip mall road in everywhere America. As a hotel room in a corporate chain it is an adequate prison cell with all the necessary creature comforts. But it definitely doesn’t dazzle with originality. A Bonanza restaurant next door is our only dinner option. Corporate food and a corporate bed. Not surprisingly, I have nightmares and diarrhea. Apparently, my system doesn’t agree with “the system.” Continue reading