Monday, January 14, 2013

Deal with the Noise

Been listening to the book "The Start up of You", by Reid Hoffman the co-founder of LinkedIn.

It is a good listen, or a good read.

There was comment he made that made grab a pen and paper. Of course I was driving so I had to wait until I stopped, re-wind and then make the notes.

The quote was 'when the naysayers get loud, turn up the volume'. When you are surrounded by negative people who can't say anything good about the idea, stay true to your idea. This not to say you ignore the wisdom of people who have best interest and can give insight which might also be concern. However we all know of people who are negative for the sake of being negative.

So now the challenge is to discern the difference and keep true to the vision.

Turn up the Volume

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Last Gasp of the Corporate World Order

The Last Gasp of the Corporate World Order
I'm not sure, but I think having the logo of the London Olympics may be illegal according to the draconian rules of engagement that is now in force. Seems anything that gives at very most a hint of the Games is subject to search and seizure. If you have any wording that gives an idea of the Olympics, a cease and desist order may be forthcoming. So much for union of people from across the planet. In all its ugliness, the Olympics is being completely revealed as the shrill of Corporate Branding and Culture. What caught my eye was an article in a recent edition of the Toronto Star. Please don't faint, I do read the Star. Usually when I want to get at the world, I read the Star. Usually they are a source of information and attitude that is all things wrong with the point of view of the Star. Yet I digress. The article in question dealt with the security detail surrounding the events. If the numbers are true, 51,000 people will be involved with the security of the Games, and no doubt, their powers of arrest will be greatly expanded. What I've been thinking about is this might be the true last gasp of the corporate power bloc that seems to be running the western world. I believe the mistake of all power elites is they do something so outrageous that their power can no longer be accepted as the norm. They almost force the hand of those under their control to finally say 'enough is enough'. I'm not sure how it will happen, but the corporate elite, through their flunkies in government will make a mistake, perhaps it will be the killing of a protester or an innocent by-stander that will finally make it stop. With all that security, it is bound to happen. With all the cutbacks taking place in the public sector, there will be an increase in the use of private security companies, that know less of civil liberties and the proper use of restraint. Someone is going to die and that will signal the end of the nonsense that has been controlling society for the last 35 years. The cracks of the erosion of power are starting to show, from nearly 1/2 million people involved in protests in Montreal to the development of 'blue flu' in Chicago, those cracks are starting to show. The issue in Montreal was an over-extension of power. In Chicago it was the commencement to the realization the apparatus of suppression are realizing they are on the wrong side. Police are not the riot gear clad instruments of oppression, they are called to serve and protect the community. The Olympics will be the catalyst of the change because it is too over the top. The Corporate elite that has been controlling the discussion and dialogue will go out of their way to ensure the unwashed do not spoil 'their' party. Even though they will attempt to control the Commons, they can't. When the horrible occurs, I believe it will be like the media will awake from their decades long funk. For too long the media has been in the pocket, more then usual of the Corporate Elite. While they've been busy chasing down the last story of what some lame actor or actress wore, or projecting the lives of the non-talented into our collective conscience, the CE has been doing whatever they like. Now the time will come when that cloud of indifference will be lifted. It will be a glorious moment. It's when we will take back the streets of the world.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Battle against Government Corruption

While doing some research for yesterday's blog I came across a few interesting documents that in way had to deal with the Class War that is going on throughout the world. The first document is called the Prague Declaration on Governance and Anti-Corruption. the purpose of this declaration and that meeting which brought the document into existence was to:
Participants in the first World Forum on Governance, representing governments, business, investors, media and non-governmental advocacy groups from around the world, convened in Prague in November 2011 to analyze the link between governance and corruption and to find practical solutions that can begin improving the situation. The Forum was unique in bringing together representatives of both the public and private governance communities to discuss the problem of corruption in both its broad and narrow senses and develop an integrated analytic framework reflected in the Ten Principles below.
The Conference established that corruption—the abuse of entrusted authority for improper gain—is a significant contributing factor in the worldwide governance crisis that cuts across cultural variations and levels of economic development and modernization

There is actually some good points in the document and that implemented would bring about a change of opinion that people have towards government and corporations.

I think one of the better points of the ten articulated is number 4, it deals with the theme of open government:
OPEN GOVERNMENT. Governments should actively implement open government which, among other virtues, powerfully counteracts corruption. Every government should have and follow a freedom of information law with judicial review available for denied applicants. Government budgets, including both expenditures and revenues, should be fully transparent and take advantage of innovations in integrated financial systems and online disclosure. Public procurement should be subject to laws and regulations that provide for transparent, online and competitive tenders and selection among bidders that is independent, professional, and merits-based. For large bids, an independent and expedited review system should be available to assess appeals by disaffected bidders. We encourage both public and private parties to raise procurement integrity standards through voluntary agreements and monitoring by civil society organizations.

The problem with this document is that it leaves in the hands the very group that suffers from the temptation of corruption, namely big business and big government. While these are great words, what would cause a government to change? Please understand I'm not talking about the third and fourth worlds here, while we tend to think of only those nations when we hear the word 'corruption'. Their corruption is probably minor in comparison to what's going on in the west. As well, their's tends to be straightforward and almost quaint, a simple few dollars to grease some wheels or make sure there is a unnumbered Swiss account somewhere.

However the West does believe in sophistication. Consider what`s going on in the UK right now with the Prime Minister David Cameron; it seems he`s got a bit of a scandal going on and it has to do with influence peddling. He has been accused of inviting some very wealthy people over to his house for dinner. Oh and if they come, they need to bring a cheque book, for his dinners cost a whole lot of money. In fact he raised over £25million. Of course this was just for future elections, after all a party needs money to run a campaign. It`s not as if PM Cameron is the first nor shall he be the last. Even though a nation can have spending limits, there`s always a way around them, and who better to know then the government of the day.

Of course the government has called for an independent inquiry to study the issue, the question is, why study the obvious. If he took the money with the promise to bring about or change legislation that would favour the donors, then this is corruption plain and simple. This is the sort of thing the Prague Declaration wants to end throughout the world, but obviously their comments fell on deaf ears in the UK.

The concern is the government will have whitewashed the whole thing and when the inquiry brings the report it will be quickly ignored.

The problem is not, let me say, the money, it`s all about the elections. In some nations it seems they are on permanent election footing. It could be said that this is the case in the UK, where there is a minority government that is kept alive by a coalition and so they must always be ready. Or consider the US, where the campaign for the next presidential election starts almost the day after the Inauguration. It takes money to operate a three-four year campaign and we`re seeing huge amounts raised to pay the cost of a campaign. The candidates need the money and if that money comes with an I.O.U. then so be it, after all, its not corruption, its simply have other interested parties express their concern and help the government understand how some things need to be directed.

By the way, the Prague Declaration has something to say about campaign finance:
All forms of campaign and party finance should be transparent, with prompt and publicly accessible internet disclosure of direct, indirect and third-party contributions and expenditures. States should criminalize official favors provided as quid pro quos for campaign finance; offer a small-donor matching system or other means of public funding of campaigns; and have bans or strong limits on corporate funding of campaigns and parties. In countries in which corporations are permitted to participate financially in elections, corporate and investor rights groups should target corporations’ political spending practices to establish accountability for their decisions to allocate resources for political campaigns and to require full disclosure of all such spending to the board of directors, shareholders, and the general public.

This has to be the standard, democracy is not a means of raising funds, nor is political office a commodity that goes to the highest bidder. I`m not saying it`s never happened before, of course it has, bribery has to be the second oldest profession but now we the citizens have a tool to keep an eye on them.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why the Occupy Movement will win

I'm on the theme of class warfare for a bit of time, and I'm been watching and thinking about the entire Occupy Movement and how its doing. I know lately the Mainstream Media has gone out of its way to ignore it. They covered the first few months and the times the police have gone in to throw all those smelly hippies out of various parks, but the Occupy people and the Occupy Movement is still going strong.

From what we can gather from the dispatches, its looking not that good. After all, the apparatus of the State is still beating people to near death and tossing as many of them as possible in jail. The 1% still acts like their running the place and their lackeys, the various governments of the world are keeping in step with their orders. Plus there are many who say that the gains, such as they are, from the Occupy movement have lost a lot of momentum. At least that`s what they would have you believe. We need to remember that for the most part, media outlets are there to make sure the point of view of the ownership group is expressed. The best example would be something like the Wall Street Journal. The owner, Rupert Murdoch hates Google and if there is any bad press to be generated about Google it will be reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Look around, its not going so hot. But ultimately that may be the sign we`re all looking for, the complacency There is a sense of confidence that the worst of the protests are behind and they are still in their jobs. However that fails in one point, governments and the 1% are scared. They are so scared they are doing all in their power to deflect. Case in point, the saber rattling going on against Iran and Syria. The Western powers would like nothing more then a military conflict because that`s a great way to fill up the news. Plus it makes money for those vested interests. As well, it sends a lot of young people away to get maimed and killed, the potential leaders of any and all protest movements get hauled off half a world away to get blown to pieces. Please understand, this is not against the soldiers, they are brave men and women called to do a ridiculously amazing job and they do it. The problem is, their governments let them down every time.

Their fear can be found in the fact that a young student was beaten nearly to death by the police and the UK and he faces charges in court. Then again, this is the sort of action that does ultimately back fire against the establishment. They will go to excess and usually go after the wrong group or people and this will be their downfall.

Plus, the excesses of the 1% will become greater because they will be self-satisfied, they will feel protected by the authorities, and so they will do what they want to do, to ever a greater degree. Case and point has to be Dominique Strauss Kahn, the poster boy of the excesses of the 1%. He had everything, wealth, power, was a rising star and then, he decided to treat women like he treated the third world, as objects to use and abuse. Now, he faces even more potential of jail time and his political career is in total tatters. It continues to grow for him too. He is joining a list of former high flyers and the power that are running into problems.

Governments too are beginning to fear. For the most part they are reacting with violence, because that`s the natural result of fear. But they are also afraid of losing power. Some governments are trying to hold on with the tried and true, and by that I mean the last couple of years, of hammering the lowest members of society- because they have almost no rights and certainly no power- so you go after the weak. However, this will be excessive as well and will soon backfire.

But I also think the Occupy Movement will win for another reason, because some where there is one police officer who is beginning to doubt what he or she is doing. Think about the police for a moment, their duty is to Serve and Protect. Who are they serving and who are they protecting, it's supposed to be the community. But the community is the people who are protesting. I think that's why the governments want their police force in riot gear, because it makes them not look like police. It makes them look like Imperial Stormtroopers. When you see a police officer in uniform, you see someone who is there to serve, help and protect you, when you see one in riot gear, you see someone who wants to hurt you bad.

But somewhere there is an officer who is beginning to question all this, he or she looks in front and realizes that this is the community they made a vow to protect. They are not called to protect the pampered 1% who don't pay taxes so don't pay the salary, or the politicians who call on the police to do their dirty work, it's the people with the signs and the songs they are called to protect. In that fleeting moment they have the moment Vaclav Havel wrote about in his brilliant essay, "Power of the Powerless". They become like the greengrocer who refuses to display the sign "power to the people" in his shop window:
The greengrocer has not committed a simple, individual offense, isolated in its own uniqueness, but something incomparably more serious. By breaking the rules of the game, he has disrupted the game as such. He has exposed it as a mere game. He has shattered the world of appearances, the fundamental pillar of the system. He has upset the power structure by tearing apart what holds it together. He has demonstrated that living a lie is living a lie. He has broken the exalted fa├žade of the system and exposed the real, base foundations of power. He has said that the emperor is naked. And because the emperor in fact is naked, something extremely dangerous has happened: by his action, the greengrocer has addressed the world.

When that moments comes, the officer will turn to the next officer and ask "Why are we doing this?". They will have doubt, not of their calling or service but why are they dressed up in riot gear and why has the order been given to attack a group of people who are unarmed and only seek to yell a few slogans in the hope of getting their points across to a government and culture that is isolating them. The next officer will either give the book answer or will look at the same line of people and answer the only honest way 'I don't know, why are we doing this?'. Let me tell you that will spread through the line of police, each one will face that moment of existential crisis and not come up with a good answer.

At that moment, when the call is given to charge the line, the police will move towards the protesters, but the visors will be up and the shield will be at their side, they will join. Then you will see fear in the eyes of the 1% and their government lackeys. Because that is when the revolution will truly begin.

And remember this: