Sunday, December 4, 2011

A step closer to Civil War?

This past week the U.S. Senate passed S.1867. The bill is called the National Defense Authorization Act (see full text[1]). While lengthy as many pieces of legislation are (even I have yet to slug through it), sources a divergent as the ACLU[2] and WIRED magazine have decried certain language in the legislation that is currently making its way to the House of Representatives. According to sources, the bill allows, in the words of NewsVoice[3] the entire USA to be a ”battleground” upon which U.S. military forces can operate with impunity, overriding Posse Comitatus [grants] the military the unchecked power to arrest, detain, interrogate and even assassinate U.S. citizens with impunity.” In other words, the U.S. senate wants to perpetuate the dismal failures in Iraq and Afghanistan here in the U.S. That poses a question: Why would the senate pass such a bill, and why now?

Occupy Wall Street and Support Movements

For the sake of brevity, the Senate is full of lawyers. Part of their training is Criminological Theory. That includes discussions on Merton’s Strain Theory (and deviance), and to a lesser degree Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Merton describes four stages towards revolution. This was not by design, but living in 1938 he took into account what was happening in Germany during that era.

The five stages of deviance[4] according to Merton are:

  1. Conformity
  2. Innovation
  3. Ritualism
  4. Retreatism
  5. Rebellion

To understand the Senate’s response to Occupy Wall Street, one has to understand how they have been taught to view the actions of the movement. The key to that are in the last three steps.

It is pretty much a given that the Western World is in a financial mess. This was caused by unscrupulous lenders writing bad loans[5], bundling those in with good loans and selling off the Dirty Paper (High Risk Financial Instruments passed off as safe investments, a.k.a Toxic Asset[6]) as if it was good. To any sane criminologist, that would be called Innovation. Suffice it to say that the acceptable means to accruing wealth were faltering and certain bankers got “creative.” The creativity was ill conceived and has created suffering upon others for the personal gain of the very few. That tends to be a classic definition of crime, by the way.

In response to this mess members in society have pretty much divided into two camps. One camp goes about their lives as they have, but have little hope of achievement. This is ritualism. This pretty much describes the actions of the police in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, New York, Boston, Chicago and other locations (as of this writing Occupy Boston is the last major Occupy Camp in existence—even if the Boston Police Department arrested their kitchen sink[7]). They will even mimic the American Dream theory as if it a magical mantra warding off the evils of the age.

@DevineJim Jim Devine @cliffpotts @NoAdhominem2 Actually I would think they want them to go look for jobs and live the American dream … #ows[8]

For clarification: the American Dream is a fantasy for most (see other blog entries[9]).

The other camp (no pun intended) is the Occupy Wall Street Movement as a whole. As seen through the criminologist viewfinder, the attempt to create an alternative society within the mainstream society[10] is classic Retreatism. The protestors are seen as rejecting the socially accepted goals, and the socially accepted means to obtain those goals. Everything (housing, clothing, food, participatory government) becomes a challenge, if not condemnation, of the current status quo within Western Society. This perceived move towards retreatism, however, may be a wrong assessment, but to congress it is leading to a mass rebellion.

This is where Maslow’s Hierarchy[11] comes into play. People who are operating at a fear of loss level are not thinking in terms of friendship or respect. They fear the loss of control of the people, and the loss of privilege, and by extrapolation the loss of income. Succinctly put, they fear the consent of the governed. As such they are not acting wisely for the nation. They are acting for themselves (see payroll tax discussion[12]).

The Senate get it Wrong … Again.

Truth is, Congress, and the Ritualist, are wrong about Occupy Wall Street. The protestors who Occupy are not engaged in retreatism. They are engaged in public, social innovation. They have learned to live with their own loss. Accepting that loss they are trying to get the government to accept the responsibility of addressing the criminal behavior, and the criminals who committed the massive fraud. The Occupation is the counter movement rejecting the criminal innovation that created this mess in the first place.

Bully with a Billy Club … or Riot Baton

Congress, and the Ritualist, are using the police to coerce the Occupation into accepting the edicts of the criminal element controlling the nation. This is unlike what happened in the 1930s under FDR. As a nation, we’ve yet to realize that the actions of the past 40[13] years have led to this financial and economic fiasco.

This innovation, which came about after the Nixon Shock (see note 13), has brought us to this point in history. Furthermore, based on the work in 2000 by Mark Colvin in his Crime and coercion: an integrated theory of chronic criminality,[14] beating people into submission will not work. Bullies do that. It does not work in the school yard, and will not work with the constituents in the street.

We Owe Them, They Own Us

The final rub in all this is that Congress knows that it too is in debt to the same financial institutions, and the loan sharks of the nation. It turns out that congress dipped into their till to finance the colonial wars to expand commercial influence in the Middle East. U.S. Bankers hold more than half of the U.S. debt.[15] They are demanding to get paid. And, one doesn’t throw ones banker in jail because he is demanding to get paid. Little things like fraud and usury have to be ignored for the sake of ethical consideration, right? The U.S. Senate seems to think so. In addition to assault, unlawful restraint, torture, trafficking in contraband, sex trade, slavery, and other high crimes, congress seems to think that lawlessness is lawful as long as they put a stamp of approval on it.



[1] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:S.1867:

[2] http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/senators-demand-military-lock-american-citizens-battlefield-they-define-being

[3] http://newsvoice.se/2011/12/02/us-senate-declares-the-entire-usa-to-be-a-battleground/

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_K._Merton#Merton.27s_theory_of_deviance

[5] http://mortgage-modification-attorney.com/banker-admits-making-bad-loans/

[6] http://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/toxic-assets.asp#axzz1faqQbMRP

[7] http://m.ibtimes.com/police-raid-occupy-boston-camp-remove-kitchen-260461.html

[8] This morning, December 4, 2011, on Twitter

[9] http://cliffordallenpotts.blogspot.com/2011/11/why-protest.html

[10] http://inthesetimes.com/article/12241/voices_from_the_occupations

[11] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

[12] http://www.whitehouse.gov/economy/jobsact/calculator

[13] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixon_Shock

[14] http://books.google.com/books?id=M65wB4qHN5YC&pg=PA115&lpg=PA115&dq=crime+and+coercion+mark+colvin&source=bl&ots=vwr80KgkMW&sig=jt7FO2bUWGPGSRStd1d8QqzKCdI&hl=en&ei=6pPbTqG3I8jm2gXn8r22Dg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&sqi=2&ved=0CEsQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q&f=false

[15] http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/07/21/who-owns-america-hint-its-not-china/

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Checking In

This is the first Saturday since September 24, 2011 that I was not downtown at OccupyChi. I figured I would take a moment this weekend to check in with my YouTube friends.

This is, as usual, unrehearsed and off the cuff. Even I know that is never a good idea for a broadcast, but it is honest.

The occupation continues pretty much unabated in spite of the interference of the establishment.

On a personal note, I am writing again, and my back is slowly getting stronger. The new blog is http://occupythewhole.blogspot.com/.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Polished

The arguments revisited, clean, and polished; media comes to watch, dismiss and abolish.

Connected to the corporate cast, they look down on the working class.

So chained the advertisement dollar, they refuse to admit to any future squalor.

They insist the American dream is fine, sanctioned, upheld and divine.

And this is how the report Wall Street News, rosy stories, and reviews.

Europe in crisis, Greece distressed, the upstanding Socialist state, crumbling due to Capitalist fate.

They bought Wall Street’s Dirty Lies, bought the fraud, bought the carney barker’s cries.

“Come one, come all, step right up, make a trillion, don’t be a chump.”

“Come on here, do it now, pull that trigger, take the vow, the money changers will show you how.”

“Take that first step on the path to magical wealth; make the journey towards financial health.”

Within each promising bundle of commercial paper, hid a filthy fraud, a marketing caper.

So long as most of the bundled notes were fine, the unserviceable debt sold as vintage wine.

“Put your name on the dotted line. Come on; trust us, in riches you will recline”

That is the story they continue to tell, that is the fable they continue to sell.

This is America all is well! No fraud, we promise, come fall under the golden spell.

Yet, on main street homes are lost. People into the gutter are tossed. No one noticed the hidden cost.

Bankers gamble with other’s money. Taking risk upon risk, they sucked up the worker’s honey.

For that is how they saw the masses, drones, surfs, dumb, stupid, assorted asses.

They still hold the real property, to sell again in a swirl of financial anarchy.

And laugh they do on all hollows’ eve, tricks played, treats withheld, as many more get the heave.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Excerpt: Women Rule ....

Yesterday (November 7, 2011) 43 Senior Citizens, some as old as 100, were cited by the CPD for disorderly conduct, after being joined by Occupy Chicago, in a protest over the threat to life long earned miniscule benefits of Social Security and medicare/medicade and HUD programs. These are not angry young men rebelling without a cause. It does give one pause to what is rising in the USA today. For that, I turn back to my own research from 2007/2008.

From Wealth, Women and War (c) 2008

Right now, we are somewhere in the middle of this process. We are already seeing articles written telling people to lower their expectations. We are already seeing women authors coming out with highly detailed warnings about the dual income “trap.” The business community is responding to the cost of super-sized monthly mortgage payments by proposing 50 year mortgages. This sounds good in the short term but clouds the reality of lowered incomes against the higher cost of housing. The standard measure for income status was at one time that the cost of housing was one quarter of one’s monthly income. Today it can be fifty percent or more of one’s monthly income. While these mortgages look good on paper with an “affordable” monthly payment, it is only to secure the bank’s ownership of the property for a longer period of time. This of course allows the corporations to resell the property after the mortgagee’s loss of it.

Women in the United States are opting, with or without a mate, to take on the role of acquiring the primary economic resources. Thus far, in spite of the warnings, they have been relatively successful. Additionally, those who are on the upward climb hold the belief that through a little more effort they will be successful. They have lowered their expectations, they are willing to work within the framework of a 50 year mortgage, they will tolerate prejudice in the workplace, so long as they can keep within the rules of the current society. They are willing to take on short term losses for perceived long term gains. As long as she can chase the illusionary reward, the woman will not directly confront the mismanagement of the corporation. Moreover, she will not endorse anyone else directly confronting the corporations, either.

The concept that the corporation is responsible for providing sustainable income within a community has been successfully hushed. This has been accomplished primarily by the hue and cry of “individual responsibility.” This has been aided with neo-Calvinist rhetoric emitting from various religious institutions within the United States. The message is that faith and loyalty to Jesus, hard work, and thrift will deliver the socioeconomic status sought in conjunction with the expectations of the current era. The definition of status is constantly being driven home by the media telling us all what we need in life to be happy. Happiness, as defined by the corporate media, is the ultimate goal in life. What one has is never sufficient, one must consume more.

The mandate of individual responsibility, work, thrift, and consumption can carry a society only so far. It doesn’t take long for the opposing goals to be come apparent. Work is only available at the whim or need of the corporation. Thrift and consumption are polar opposites of the economic spectrum. Individual responsibility is only as valid as the visible responsible actions of those who control the corporation. The predatory activities of corporations are vast.[1]

The current situation will probably hold until the next presidential term recession cycle. At that time the liberated women will alter their perception of the current capitalistic system. They will concede that no amount of effort on their part, or their sidelined mates – if the men are still in the picture -- will bring about the economic security needed to survive in the capitalistic system.

Capitalism is amoral. While it has a dark side, it also holds the promise of success. It will not be dumped. It will be altered. Even with a lowering of expectations, and an awakened sense of savvy concerning the aims of the corporations, what defines middle class individualism will be a migration towards some form of collective civilization within the framework of capitalism. Social change will be demanded.

Women political leaders are defined as socially acceptable within the construct of the middle class social contract. John Gray, Ph.D. in Men, Women and Relationships explains it thusly:

As her awareness expands out into the future, a woman is naturally concerned for what potentially could happen. She is motivated to prepare for the future. On the other hand, focused awareness makes men more concerned with efficiently achieving their goals. While the men are worried about getting to their destinations, the women are more concerned about what will happen when they get there.[2]

In preparing … however, the [women] tend to be late in arriving, or the may feel the journey is too risky and let their fears hold them back. It is much easier to be courageous when you are unaware of the possible consequences of an action.[3]

Men drool for the opportunity to use socially acceptable means, legal or not, to make the right things happen for themselves and their mates. Based on what is available on the web, in the bookstores, and in the underground press, men are ready for a change, they are just waiting on the go ahead from the women.

To define the typical U.S. approach, the words of General George S. Patton come to mind. "No bastard,” he said, “ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."[4]

Adjusting the capitalist system to be humane and responsive to the citizens within it may not be equal to war, but the General’s principle is still applicable. The corporations will become responsive to the people, or they will cease to exist.


Note: Excerpts from Wealth, Women and War are not from the edited copy, they are from the second draft; there are still errors within. I just thought I should clarify that.


[1] Mokhiber , Russell . Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the Decade. Ed. Russell Mokhiber . 22 Jan. 2008 .

[2] Gray, J. (1993). Men, Women and Relationships: Making Peace with the Opposite Sex. New York: HarperCollins, p. 84.

[3] Gray, J. (1993). Men, Women and Relationships: Making Peace with the Opposite Sex. New York: HarperCollins, p. 85.

[4] General George S. Patton Quotes (2008). Retrieved June 18, 2008, from http://www.military-quotes.com/Patton.htm