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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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.

 

The Austerity Monster

It’s about time someone punched that austerity monster right in the nose. Go Greece Go! If they were smart and brave they’d give the EU bankers the metaphorical finger, renounce their debts, re-issue their own currency and re-organize their economy from the bottom up. Someone’s got to get this whole world-wide revolution underway. Why not Greece? Spain might join the cause and renounce its own debts and issue it’s own currency as well. Then maybe Italy? Why not? Before you know it, the euro would collapse and all the individual countries in Europe would be forced to issue new currencies and re-organize their economies. The pendulum has been swinging in the direction of globalization for a long time now and it’s about time for the pendulum to swing back towards localization. The only way that can realistically happen is through the democratization or localization of the money supply. If Greece, through its intransigence, does manage to bring down the Euro, maybe some smart young whipper-snappers here in these United States will get their heads filled with bright ideas and declare economic independence for their state or region and issue their own alternative currency. Can’t you just imagine the court battles, the long impassioned debates and the irrationally screaming pundits? And once Vermont or Texas or Oregon has it’s own money, another state will do it and then another. Before you know it, the entire structure of the world wide capitalist system will collapse beneath the weight of it’s competing currencies.

That is my optimistic thought for the day even if it is not likely to occur. In the real world, the Euro is backed by NATO and the dollar is backed by the U.S. Military. And those two institutions have all sorts of ways to apply pressure to reluctant governments. Indeed, the tendency now is for smaller national currencies to be subsumed by larger, more powerful currencies. Some would even suggest that US foreign policy is designed ultimately to achieve the goal of establishing the dollar as the single dominant world wide currency. Is that really what the whole game of international relations and perpetual war is all about? An empire of dollar bills? Accordingly, Greece will probably buckle beneath the weight of economic stress and sell out to the EU banker demands. But hey, I can always keep my fingers crossed and hope.

For me, at least, hope usually happens in the form of metaphor. It’s Greece after all, the perfect setting for an epic clash…

Staring at the monster praying for a chance. All you need is one shot. A single hook right across the jaw. Take the bastard out.

It’s teetering on its hind legs as it is. Injured and delirious; the beast stumbles about in a frantic daze swinging madly in all directions. Too much is going on. The monster is juggling too many hot hand grenades. The aggressive flailing claws are burning; the interior supporting infrastructures are collapsing. Things are breaking loose. The center is not holding. The beast is crazed and swirling out of control. It seems ready to go down down down. All it needs is one good shot to take it out completely.

Then, finally, we can begin again. From the rubble of now, an idyllic future is born. The problem is, of course, the transition… The crazed and angry monster is not likely to go down peacefully. It may get ugly. How do we get from here to there?

Live well.

And have a very happy day.

Not the Typical Indian Guru

Not the Typical Indian Guru

I never had a guru or spiritual leader or specific teacher whose message I follow.  Instead, many different humans have played that temporary role for me for brief periods of time.  This is the story of one of those people… and one of those brief periods of time.

I met Sunny at an outdoor café in Pushkar, India sometime around the turn of the century.  He was, perhaps, the wisest man I ever met.   I’m not sure if holy is the right word but he had that way about him… a sacred sort of presence.  I only knew him for about five days and I only talked with him at the café.  But we had several lengthy conversations over tchai and bhang lassis as we watched the crazy corner street traffic from our outdoor tables.  Truthfully, at the time, I didn’t put much importance on the conversations because I was distracted by a delightful little romance with a pretty young German woman.  But now, 15 years later, I’ve mostly forgotten the romance but I still think frequently about those conversations with Sunny.  I wonder why that is?

When I first saw him, it was kind of a mind twister.  I’d been traveling for several months around India but had only just arrived in Pushkar in the early morning.  As per my usual routine, I dropped my backpack in a cheap room and went looking for a centrally located café.  I found one on the corner of the main square and took a seat at an outdoor table.  That’s when I noticed two blonde haired backpacker guys sitting at the table across the aisle from me.  They were having a very animated discussion with an older local man.  The older man had long greasy grey hair, dark skin and shabby Indian clothes; he looked like he belonged in Pushkar.  He might even be a Sadhu except a real Sadhu would not be sitting in a café.   The strange thing was that the older guy answered the young guys back in their European language (Swedish, Dutch, or German?).  Not just a word or two, but full, complete and apparently complex sentences.  I remember even now how my brain was slightly confused by the situation because the language coming forth did not match the character speaking.

Later in the afternoon, on that same first day in Pushkar, I return to the centrally located café.  The house is packed this time and the server points me to the one empty seat.  I’ll be sharing a table with the strange older guy I saw in the morning.  He speaks to me in English.  It is one of the six languages he speaks.  He says his name is Sunny.

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Change the Metaphor

This is another supplemental essay. A full story will be posted later in the week.

Change the Metaphor.

How do you change the controlling metaphor? That right there is the first and foremost challenge? Maybe it’s impossible. The metaphor is in the government, the metaphor is in the economic system, the metaphor is in the media and the metaphor is in the education system. The metaphor is so ingrained in our life that we hardly even know it’s there. What I mean by metaphor is the made up story that serves as the foundation for our day to day lives. The metaphor isn’t true but if you stop believing it a large part of what you do will be a complete waste of time.

It’s easy enough to change the metaphor for me. I simply don’t believe it. I have traveled a good part of the world and lived among people who believe different metaphors. Thus, it is easy for me to step back and look at my society’s metaphor critically. And when I do so, the metaphor seems kind or ridiculous. Most people who live here, however, believe the metaphor to be true without ever really thinking about it. Indeed, the mass media here is so powerful, that if I just watch it for a little while, I will start to believe the metaphor again. But no, not really, a quick trip to a nearby forest and I am back to reality. Continue reading

The Game

All that love and romance is just wonderful, but now it’s time to return to my non-traditional adventure traveling roots. In that regard, I have been editing and organizing a number of stories from my extensive collection of hand written notebooks. If I don’t get too overwhelmed with stonework, I will continue posting these new old stories in the coming weeks. Additionally, it occurs to me that many of these stories vaguely refer to my radical theories on international politics and economic systems. As such, it might be helpful to occassionally spell out these theories more clearly so that the vague references of my main character (me) have some substance behind them. Accordingly, I am going to start adding short essays “explaining” some of my various theories. The long winded traveling tales will continue, these shorter blogish things are going to be an added feature. This is the first one.

The Game

Let’s not kid ourselves with weasel words like globalization and neo-liberalism, the name of the game is world conquest, and USA inc. thinks it’s going to win. There are, however, several other big players at the table. China inc. and Russia, inc. still have strong positions, and you can’t forget the Euro, inc. or India inc. or Brazil, inc. either. South Africa, inc. is rising fast while Great Britain inc., Canada inc., and Australia inc., still like to pretend they are independent of USA, inc.. A good part of the world consists of subsidiary corporations who operate with a veneer of independence but are mostly managed by USA inc..

Realistically speaking, neither China, Russia, nor anyone else is going to “win” the game. Indeed, some would suggest that they are not trying to “win” but are merely trying to stop USA inc. from doing so. It is, you might say, the ultimate question on the international stage for the 21st century. Are we going to live in a unipolar world with USA inc. as the big bossman with their currency involved in every asset transaction and their military on the scene to provide protection for assets. Or are we going to live in a multi polar world with many smaller governments, decentralized power and localized control of the environment and natural resources?

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