What Do They Want?

Occupy wall street

Is it about what they want? Or something else?I read a statement years ago that the 20th Century was the century of Freud. And with any luck, the 21st Century would be the century of Jung. Not sure who said it but it really resonated with me. My take on Jung was that he emphasized the idea that we are all a part of a whole, with each of us having individual gifts contributing to that whole. When we look at another, we see ourselves. In the BBC documentary “The Century of the Self”, Adam Curtis explores the use of Freud’s theories to direct people away from a communal way of thinking and into rampant mirror-gazing.

The premise of the film is that the birth of propaganda/public relations/marketing began with Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays when he was hired by the Wilson administration to sell the idea of “making the world safe for democracy”. Unfortunately, that meant becoming involved in the hideous carnage called World War I and forcing your neighbors to buy War Bonds or be put in jail. After the war, he was asked by the tobacco industry to use his PR skills to figure out how to sell cigarettes to women. He branded cigarettes “torches of freedom” that would challenge male power simply by lighting up. From then on, advertising would no longer speak to people’s needs, but to their inner desires and yearnings. And freedom would now be defined as freedom of choice.

And so the transformation of the American citizen into the American consumer began in earnest. Americans were sold that they needed clothes that showed their individuality and made them sexy. Men were sold that the kind of car they drove showed who they were; powerful and, yes, sexy. The kind of soap you bought made you happier and more admired.

What we are witnessing in Zuccotti/Liberty Park with the #Occupy Wall Street could be the great turning away from the century of “me” to the century of “we”.
At least it has opened up the discussion of what we really need rather than what we want. The greatest need right now seems to have our voices heard and a need to take back the meaning of words like “public” and “cooperative” and “social”. It is a pushback against all the punditry that insist on a label, logo, banner, slogan, brand, buzzword, sound bite, pitch or demand.

No, we will no longer be defined as consumers. We will no longer be cogs in your machine. We are free men and women. We do not define freedom as the right to choose between 100 brands of cereal. Our definition of freedom is freedom from domination by corporations and their agendas. Our definition of freedom is not to be subservient to the 1%. We are taking back our humanity. We are taking back our public spaces and our commons. We are a community; a community of concerns. We care about each other and the planet we inhabit. There is no expiration date on what is happening around the world and at last in the United States.

No, it’s not about what we want, but about what we need.


Poverty is the Real Loser Here

So the justice department spent 2.5 years investigating John Edwards and whether campaign funds were used to keep his mistress and love child in hiding. Curious as to its priorites.
Curious that Edwards was the only candidate that built his campaign around the issue of poverty. If you solve poverty, you solve everything; war and peace, environmental degradation, hunger, and racism. He was the one who called out Wall Street time and time again and had specific plans to tame the beast. But like many before him, he had personal flaws.
So now we have no mention of the end to poverty by our leaders and instead we have a justice department that goes after a guy who cheated on his wife. It is very telling who this attorney general on behalf of this president goes after as mentioned by several comments on Salon.com; whistleblowers instead of the banksters? adulterers rather than war criminals? WTF indeed.

Priceless: Why the Plumber is Smarter Than the Ben Bernank

Matt Taibbi has a priceless link to Zero Hedge’s cartoon using two bears to explain what Ben Bernanke is up to with this “quantitative easing” aka “printing a ton of money”.  It really is worth watching to find out why the plumber is smarter than the Ben Bernank and why we are so screwed.


QE is designed to buy Treasuries and other assets, but the Fed does not simply go out and buy Treasuries itself; it does it through its primary dealers, who include of course banks like Goldman, Sachs. The Fed all but announces when it’s going to be doing this buying and in what quantity, which allows the banks to buy up this stuff at lower prices ahead of time and then sell it to the Fed at inflated cost.

Watch the bears.  At one point one bear says, “Is this an episode of the Twilight Zone?”


Maybe, but for sure we are on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride with the ride operator on a permanent lunch break.

Weasel Words of the Week – “Extremes”

The meme of “extremes” has been around for awhile, but it is become a constant refrain since the election.  It is grating to my ears.  “”The authoritarian left and the authoritarian right are running to ideological corners and not meeting in the middle,” said Steven Weisman, author of a biography on Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan on “Morning Joe”.  (It is a very tried and true propaganda technique to trot out an author who has a book on a dead politician like Moynihan, Lincoln, John Adams, etc.) Joe Scarborough then repeated, “There is a need for all of us to isolate the extremes.” Continue reading

Soldiers and Mercenaries

In John Perkins’ latest book “Hoodwinked”, he compares recent CEOs of American companies to mercenaries.  He says that in the good old days of post war America, CEOs were seen more like soldiers with loyalty to their company and community being number one.  Now, CEOs are loyal to themselves and the guys who hire them.  CEOs used to work for the good of country/company/community, but after 1980 they turned into hired guns who worked for the short term profit and their bonuses.  It was a return to the Robber Baron age only much worse.  Perkins had a professor of Business Management, Prof. Ashton,  back in 1966 who taught that a businessperson was “obligated to serve his customers, as well as his stockholders.  In fact he has a responsibility to the general populace to assure that his company operates according to the highest standards, in the public interest.” Continue reading

Some Things Look Good Close Up

Pink Succulent Buds by Judi Dickerson

Like flowers. But the closer you look at politicians of both parties, lobbyists, media drones, the more they look like this:

Horse Turds

Cow Pies and Autumn Leaves