Inside the Loop

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The internet’s not broken.

So then why are there so many attempts to regulate it? Under the guises of piracy, privacy, pornography, predators, indecency, and security, not to mention censorship, tyranny, and civilization, governments from the U.S. to France to Germany to China to Iran to Canada — as well as the European Union and the United Nations — are trying to exert control over the internet.

Why? Is it not working? Is it presenting some new danger to society? Is it fundamentally operating any differently today than it was five or ten years ago? No, no, and no.

So why are governments so eager to claim authority over it? Why would legacy corporations, industries, and institutions egg them on? Because the net is working better than ever. Because they finally recognize how powerful it is and how disruptive it is to their power.

areasofmyexpertise:

ALAN MOORE on the use of the Guy Fawkes mask on Occupied Wall Street and various protest movements around the world. 

In terms of a wildly uninformed guess at our political future, it feels something like V for validation.”

Everything I know about anarchy as a political theory I know from comics, of course. But it’s arguable that a picture of a Guy Fawkes mask at Occupy Wall Street is not only the best, but really only adaptation of V FOR VENDETTA possible.

While OWS was and is equal parts inspiring, troublesome, invigorating, and embarrassing, the disorganization and lack of a single, authoritative agenda that its critics attempted to use to discredit it was in fact its elusive and maddening strength. 

What I took from it, at least, was pure anarchy: at the heart of a financial system that seemed unaccountable even to elected government, humans came and said: your control is limited.

You don’t control us. You don’t fully control even this PRIVATE public park. And except by virtue of our consent—or your sheer force—you never did. 

OWS denied their consent to governance, and they were met with sheer force. This was always, logically what would and perhaps even SHOULD occur. But the point was proved.

And you still see that mask around. 

That is all.  

 


(via hodgman)

Bill Moyers interview- they talk about Sallie Mae and private loans for college students at sky-high interest rates, about the decimation of the middle class. Ever cheerful stuff.

wilwheaton:

“This primal cry for democracy sprang from young people who could no longer ignore the angst in their gut — the premonition that their future does not compute, that their entire lives will be lived in the apocalyptic shadow of climate-change tipping points, species die-offs, a deadening commercialized culture, a political system perverted by money, precarious employment, a struggle to pay off crippling student loans, and no chance of ever owning a home or living in comfort like their parents. Glimpsing this black hole of ecological, political, financial and spiritual crisis, the youth and the millions of Americans who joined them instinctively knew that unless they stood up and fought nonviolently for a different kind of future, they would have no future at all.”

Yes, America’s youth are the voice of the 99%, Americans inspired by the Arab Spring revolutions. American youth are fueling “the greatest social-justice movement to emerge in the United States since the civil rights era.”

“This kind of military mindset and violent response to nonviolent protesters makes no sense. It did not work in the Middle East, and it’s not going to work in America either. This is the bottom line … you cannot attack your young and get away with it.”

Repeat that “bottom line … you cannot attack your young and get away with it.” And yet, that’s exactly what Wall Street, America’s superrich, their lobbyists and all their bought politicians are doing: “attacking our young.” Attacking our next generation. Attacking America’s future.

"So the 400 richest Americans, whose total wealth exceeds the combined wealth of the bottom 150 million Americans put together, pay an average of 17 percent of their income in taxes. That’s lower than the tax rates of most day laborers and child-care workers.

Meanwhile, Social Security payroll taxes continue to climb as a share of total tax revenues. Yet the payroll tax is regressive, applying only to yearly income under $106,800.

And the share of revenues coming from corporations has been dropping. The biggest, like GE, find ways to pay no federal taxes at all. Many shelter their income abroad, and every few years Congress grants them a tax amnesty to bring the money home.

Get it? “Big government” isn’t the problem. The problem is big money is taking over government.”

Without men, the feminist movement will never arrive anywhere. Thank you, feminist men!

Without men, the feminist movement will never arrive anywhere. Thank you, feminist men!

neil-gaiman:

I’m ridiculously rich by most standards (including mine, for most of my life), and pay taxes on my income without begrudging it, and I considers myself mostly lucky that the stuff I like to write is the stuff that other people like to read… So this struck a chord…

areasofmyexpertise:

Leon Cooperman the Omega Advisors Inc. chairman and former CEO of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)’s money-management unit….  [wrote that] Capitalists “are not the scourge that they are too often made out to be….’

“[Now] Cooperman, 68, said in an interview that he can’t walk through the dining room of St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, without being thanked for speaking up. At least four people expressed their gratitude on Dec. 5 while he was eating an egg-white omelet, he said.”

***

Max Abelson wrote a story today for Bloomberg about the hurt feelings of many bankers and CEOs who feel they are for some weird reason being cast as the villains in “A Christmas Carol” the bleak economy.

Allow me to tell you a story.

At one point on my book tour, I was approached in the airport by a former banker.

He told me he was a life long Democrat and a huge fan of The Daily Show, but he also felt that Jon and the show had it all wrong.

(Because he was a multi millionaire, he has the right to just start critizing anyone in the airport he wants.)

He said that the bankers were not the bad guys in the subprime mortgage scandal and near financial collapse that they had everything to do with. They were just doing what the government allowed them to do.*

And so: he felt it was unfair and hurtful to make the bankers out to be the bad guys.

I was very happy to finally have the chance to say this to someone’s face:

I told him that as a freelance person, I had no idea how much money I would make this year. I never do.

But during the previous few years, due to hard work and exceedingly strange circumstance, I had made more money than I had ever conceived of making in my life. I had also paid a huge bucket of local, state, and city taxes, and that was JUST FINE WITH ME.

Because I knew that I had very little to worry about when it came to providing for my family and me this holiday season. And I suspected he didn’t as well.

But there are many, many people who are VERY worried about this. And out of consideration to them, it seemed to me a little unseemly for wealthy to care so much about the names they might be called.

“From my point of view,” I said, “I think you and me and other wealthy people should just suck it in and take it.”

I have never said anything like this out loud to a stranger before in my life, never mind a stranger who has money; but as I am now a Deranged Millionaire, I now have that right to speak my mind.

Naturally, he just ignored what I said and offered to consult on the Daily Show if we wanted.

 

***

LOOK: I do not mean to suggest that anyone in this piece is a monster. I am sure they are smart, innovative, and good to their families and employees. I respect success IMMENSELY and I am a capitalist.

However, I know better now than ever that wealth deranges.

It disconnects you from the world. It inflates your self-regard. It allows you to believe that four people congratulating you at your country club makes you a GODDAMN HERO OF AMERICA.

And it leads you to say things like former banker John A. Allison said in the article linked:

Instead of an attack on the 1 percent, let’s call it an attack on the very productive.”

Because of course, you non-millionaires are not productive, and not worthy.

I know this from experience: when wealth takes hold, the brain creates a new reality in order to explain your new fortune over the poor fortunes of others.

It is not enough to say, as some of these men do, “I am wealthy, and I got some lucky advantages, but I also worked really hard and found some opportunities, and I am proud of it.”

You must instead say: “my extreme wealth proves that I DESERVE to be wealthy, because I am better.”

This logical fallacy is the core of Social Darwinism, but you’d think after a while that Homo Robber Baronensis would have bred some thicker skin.

But it’s like no one around these rich and powerful men have ever called them a name or even disagreed with them!

Oh! That’s right: no one has. At least, not for a long time.

Well, some of these guys are childish, and some of them are creeps. 

That is all.

AMAZING IMAGE OF ME AS A POOR DERANGED MILLIONAIRE COURTESY: THE AMAZING APE-LAD.  

*This was his actual argument. It is not an argument an adult makes. It’s the actual argument that TEENAGERS make at prestigious high schools where cheating is rampant: everyone was doing it, and no teacher was stopping them. So they WERE FORCED to cheat in order to be competitive. TEENAGERS ARE NOT JOB CREATORS.

 

westandwiththe99percent:

 Call-In Day TODAY.  Call your Congressional representatives through the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and tell them:

  • Tax me! I support proposals to raise taxes for wealthy households like my own.
  • No budget cuts until we raise revenue from those of us who have benefited the most and have the greatest capacity to pay. 

Join the November 17th Day of Action: 

  • The 99 percent movement is organizing events all over the US, find a friend and hit the streets!

 http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/index.html?action_id=260 

 


Add your name to United for a Fair Economy and Responsible Wealth’s sign-on letter to the Super-Committee, and please forward the letter to anybody that you think might be interested, especially upper-income taxpayers, investors and wealthy individuals. 
 
As people with wealth and wealth privilege, we can make a difference by adding our voices to the conversation at this dynamic moment.
 
In solidarity,
The Tax Justice Organizing Team
westandwiththe99percent@resourcegeneration.org