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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy your mind and/or Wall Street

Demands for the protesters at OWS to have more detailed demands begs several questions. Why that is necessary is a good one. One cannot help but think the confusion indicates more about the questioner than the protest itself. We have freedom of speech and assembly, unless you don't detail exactly what you want. Then apparently you must give up and rejoin what Ken Kesey called the "combine." Many who have actually taken the time to go to the site have come away impressed with the spirit and resolve of the occupiers. They are protesting, but they are also happy to protest. Satisfied at the act rather than the program. Affiliated by resolve and community rather than ideology. If they are happy, so am I.

We are learning a great deal because of the movement. We know know that the Mayor of NYC is not the benign option so many people believed. Yes, he is rich and when his people are challenged he shows his understanding of power. Get off my lawn!!! Of course to be fair, he was defending the "poor" underpaid Wall Street workers who the protesters were preventing from earning their lower middle class wages. I was a bit confused about how they were doing that since they didn't seem to have chained themselves to the office doors, but I am sure he is well informed (didn't he start a magazine or something?). It didn't really occur to me that they were protesting against stock exchange workers, but I am sure he must be correct.

Having taken part in some of the demonstrations here in Madison, I guess it simply occurs to me that there are a great many reasons for people to be there--and there is no requirement that you sign off on why everyone else is there. I needed no "papers" proving that I belonged to the protest. I enjoyed the speeches and entertainment, but felt little need to accept it as the reason I was there. True, the protests in Madison were well organized in the sense that specific groups got the permits and permissions for stages and crowd control. On some occasions I used union buses to get to the capital. But is is a mistake to confuse that with the organization of the protesters themselves. Parts of the crowd were there because they were union members directly affected by the Walker agenda. The bulk of the crowd was unorganized! We had no specific agenda but to stand up and say no! Protest, period. Delight in the physical act of being there, of walking around the Capital building, of yelling "this is what democracy looks like." Indeed, the media delighted in finding individual members that could not articulate why they were there. This always made me smile. The agenda to understand is far different from the simple act of doing. You don't need a reason to protest. Like most of human reality--truth emerges, change (like shit) happens.

I don't believe in Truth: Truths are the lies we recite to each other. I do believe in the "ring of truth." Occupy Wall Street has the ring of truth. Stop talking, and listen!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Opinion? I've been getting paid for my opinion! You can too! Check this video out for some amazing opportunities to get paid for sharing your opinion! Follow my link to join Opinion Outpost:

Sunday, July 31, 2011

On the President as compromiser

I find it very curious that there is an argument in the world at large that at once says that the president is the only adult in the room because he compromised, but that he should have fought the good fight and not compromised as much. Somehow you get a better result by nobody wanting to actually govern. I rather like people who try to actually govern. Perhaps this is because I am not a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, or any other identified type.
I am an anarchist, though possibly not a very good one. I have never paid my dues. I have never attended a meeting. I have no bombs to throw (well, blog bombs notwithstanding). I am an anarchist because at the bottom of my heart, I do not believe in politics. It never works! I had a professor in college who said he had just the right amount of anarchy in his politics. I followed this idea for a while, then had to abandon it. Instead I went for total anarchism, with just the right amount of representative democracy. It is a relatively small amount. I vote, I don't expect a whole lot as a result. I believe in the people, well most of them, but not in the politics. More in the democracy that the representing.
I voted for the current President and never once thought he was anything other that what he is: a moderate Democrat. Everything he has done is what I expected. It is not what I would have done: but I didn't run for the job. I will vote for him again, because he will do what I expect him to do. Not what I want, what the country needs desperately to be done. Governing! Compromising! Getting on with the job of existing. He will also do a couple of things that I am interested in: nominate Supreme Court Justices, and extend justice to those who live without it (a list too long to enumerate). He won't nominate the Justices that I want, but he will nominate people who are much less insane than would his opponent. He will not necessarily move as quickly to extend justice, but will move much faster than the alternative. This small differences will result in very large differences over time. Now is not the time to mistake the small but vital interests at hand. Get off your high horses and lower your expectations.

The Party of Business

Of course it has long been said that the Republican Party has been the party of business. I just don't understand why people don't get that it is now the party of bad business. It is the party of the quick buck, profit at any price (paid by the taxpayers though either indirect or direct taxation). It is no longer the staid party of banking--there are no more staid banks. The new business of the Republican party is privately held prisons (meant literally and figuratively). These are horrible businesses that make no attempt to do anything but squeeze as much profit as possible from the taxpayers. In the old system companies bought other companies and squeezed them for money (so 80s), but now the company is formed to go bankrupt (morally and financially) at which point the government (which somehow they are against) will step in and make good the bills. That they don't actually keep the prisons functioning as prisons--lots of people escape--is just beside the point. Google for competing businesses says the newly insane ex-Governor of  Minnesota. Make everything private. Allow the market to set the rules of business. Sounds good, but businesses don't do this. They don't believe there is a single market, only economists and politicians believe this claptrap. It just makes me tired. I am not, nor have I ever been a Republican. I used to allow that they were at least human.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

On the Constitution: Reading assignment

I highly recommend James MacGregor Burns' latest book: Packing the Court

It helps greatly to put much of the discussion of the constitution in proper context. Most important is his explanation of the "invention" of  ability of the Supreme Court to rule laws unconstitutional. Without this perspective much of the banter on the constitution is simply wrong. "Original intent" cannot make sense unless such claims address this question. If one claims to believe in original intent, one must not believe in the unconstitutionality of any law, a position that is held neither by these "constitutionalists" or their political opponents. Make no mistake: nobody currently believes in "original intent."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Second term remedies

There is a lot of hot air in this early political season, but it would be more productive to have a sense of history and reality. Presidents seldom accomplish much in their first terms--they want to be reelected. Strange. Sure, they may pick a few low hanging fruit to please their base, but seldom is there substance. Now as I remember the current president has gone somewhat beyond that level of timidity. Some think he has gone too far. Others demand he immediately agree with their position (always the only reasonable answer). But there is never a single answer. Sometimes there isn't even a path to any answer. "All he needs to do is lead!" you declare. Lead whom, where? Can we accomplish today what we have never done before? That is what is being asked. The audacity of hope is now taken to mean the audacity of the unlikely. Maybe we can. It make me tired. Work hard for the reelection of this president and you will be amazed at what can happen--if the congress is also changed. The unlikely can happen, but only in a second term and after a lot of work and effort.
By the way, if you fear that he will be a one term president:  you have already lost your cause.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Direction is more important than the details

While it is indeed true that I would have like to have seen the President implement a more aggressive removal of troops from Afghanistan, in the end he is president and I am not.

I don't get to have a policy much less implement one, and as such my concern is more with the general direction of things than the specifics. To some this may seem strange and indeed weak, but I really think that is wrong. While willing to march (I have made numerous trips to my capital of Madison to make my views known to our soon to be former Governor), not every decision I disagree with needs to be protested. The need for protest was at the beginning, and it isn't really all that clear when that was. I think that an understanding of the history tells me that given the forces at hand the President is doing fine and doesn't really need my help. I think that he is in an excellent position to make a decision, and I am fine with that decision--agreeing or not.

This is not to say that I think his advisors are necessarily correct or even that the President understands the situation correctly--though I suspect he is doing fine. There is no answer; there are only a great many contradictory questions. It is a little late to be asking why we are there. The situation exists and its tentacles reach many places. Some say we need a new strategy! I say we have had quite enough of those, let’s try to actually leave. I don't care if the pace is too slow for some, or most. I only care that it has begun.