Recent court decisions (re)affirming corporate personhood and premise that campaign contributions are (protected) free speech punctuated the fear of some that politicians—biennially for sale to the highest bidder—would increase in cost and become the exclusive province of the rich, which would give truth to the sobriquet, “the ruling class”.
It is unfair, however, to think only of politicians for sale, when it is politics in its broadest dimension that is for sale. In the instance of campaign contributions, for example, follow the money: campaigns are conducted to amass votes—to urge voters to cast their ballots for the campaigner or, at least, refrain from casting a vote for the opposition. So, is the tsunami of campaign contributions buying votes?…or, in kind, buying not (only) politicians but voters?
If we consider that campaign contributions are (in some way) buying votes/voters, it is awe inspiring to calculate the cost (value?) of a vote or, alternatively the price of a voter [an exercise left to the reader].
Once (in a Chicago-minute, when all politics was truly local) it was more direct to simply pay people for their vote—cash or spirits, take your pick. This stimulus to the economy really did trickle down. Thanks, in part, to exposure by the high-minded media, we have (largely) curtailed this practice. Too bad, perhaps: many citizens, struggling economically, would be delighted with such a biennial windfall. And, if the (contributing) power of unions has declined and shifted to the rich, all the better: doesn’t this represent a compelling expression of transfer payments—something to which every citizen is “entitled”?
This is where the issue of Phil Schneider comes in. He is a UFO whistleblower who spent his short life saying what was, when he said it, seemed outlandish. We are now putting so many of his 30 year old technologies into use, so many are now public or at least to the advanced defense community that more and more of us accept all of it.
If vote-rigging prospers, none may call it vote-rigging. It simply becomes the new norm. Once again, the universal laws of statistics apply only outside U.S. borders. The recall vote in Wisconsin produced another significant 7% discrepancy between the unadjusted exit poll and the so-called “recorded vote.” In actual social science, this level of discrepancy, with the results being so far outside the expected margin of error would not be accepted… Here's where U.S. elections become laughable. A couple of private companies count our votes with secret proprietary hardware and software, the most notable being ES&S. Every standard of election transparency is routinely violated in the U.S. electronic version of faith-based voting. How the corporate-dominated media deals with the issue is by “adjusting the exit polls.”
Keynote announced! The Yes Men will talk about their approach to hacking corporations and saving the world. See the press release at 2600.com.
HOPE Number Nine will be taking place on July 13, 14, and 15, 2012 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. H.O.P.E. stands for Hackers On Planet Earth, one of the most creative and diverse hacker events in the world that's been happening since 1994.
We're planning three full days and nights of activities, including more of the provocative and enlightening speakers that the HOPE conferences are known for. In addition, we have access to a massive amount of space to put together all sorts of hacker projects and assorted fun stuff. In the past we've had huge hackerspace villages, film festivals, Segway rides, lockpicking villages, a wide variety of vendors, art installations, live radio, vintage computers, robots, ham radio installations, electronics workshops, book signings, and the country's biggest supply of Club-Mate.
Now imagine all of that happening right in the middle of New York City, across the street from Penn Station and down the block from the Empire State Building. It seems impossible, but with the hard work and dedication of our huge volunteer staff, we're able to pull it off. You can also become part of the magic, whether by attending or volunteering to help run the event with us. We also encourage attendees to submit ideas for talks or to suggest projects that we may not have ever thought of before.
We'll be adding more information to the various sections of this site as it develops. Please explore and spread the word!
Phi Beta Iota: The least expensive most versatile mind-expanding event in the English-speaking world.
On the one hand, we in the US are watching grotesque income inequality and extreme wealth being used to buy power and more wealth to further control our political and economic systems. On the other hand, we have a grotesque collective failure to formulate and promote a compelling and sustainable moral vision for our country. These two factors go hand in hand, magnifying and enabling each other and driving the US to ruin, at great cost to the international community, to the biosphere, and to future generations.
The 2008 election cycle cost more than 5 billion dollars. This year's US election costs are estimated to top 6 billion dollars – maybe even $7,000,000,000 or more. Remember that a billion is a thousand million. This is not a problem for the ultrarich. The US has 403 billionaires. Together their net worth exceeds that of half of America's households combined. In other words, the net worth of almost 60,000,000 households, all added up all together, is less than the net worth of 403 very rich people.
Just as a mind-bending factoid, this is pretty amazing. As a social reality, it is a tsunami wreaking havoc on our capacity to govern ourselves.
ECO 92 and its discussions led to the structuring of sustainable development around three main pillars: the environmental, the economic and the social. But what is the role of culture in this trinity? Is it subsumed within the social field? Is it an additional 4th pillar? Or, Is there a possible new configuration? In Brazil, we have been exploring these themes in several ways.
During Rio+20, the Ministry of Culture will deepen the exploration of these themes by holding the ‘Unconference: Culture and Sustainability in the Rio +20’ on June 14th and 15th in two warehouses in the port area of Rio de Janeiro.
Themes and Curators:
– Creative and Sustainable Cities – Tiao Rocha
– The Development of Culture to Human Scale – Patrick Belloy
– Traditional Knowledge and the Culture of Sustainability – Alfredo Wagner
– Digital Culture and Sustainability – Michel Bauwens
The concepts of “design” and “association” in this article, related so fundamentally to the creation and contextualization of important information, seems closely related to the idea of open intelligence and the larger meme of open everything. So, fyi.
Joe Costello, author of the new book Of, By, For: The New Politics of Money, Debt & Democracy, has a message for America: our political economy must be democratically reformed. As we confront a moment of massive historical change, Costello explores, among other things, how electronic information technologies are transforming industrial economies. He explains how the understanding of this shaping process, or design, can help us meet the challenge of the next economic era. Hint: We're going to have to wake up to our power as citizens to get there.
“The ordinary person senses the greatness of the odds against him even without thought or analysis, and he adapts his attitudes unconsciously. A huge passivity has settled on industrial society. For people carried about in mechanical vehicles, earning their living by waiting on machines, listening much of the waking day to canned music, watching packaged movie entertainment and capsulated news, for such people it would require an exceptional degree of awareness and an especial heroism of effort to be anything but supine consumers of processed goods.” — Marshall McLuhan, The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man
Humanity's great agrarian era produced agrarian government systems, economies, and cultures. Human life and human identity derived overwhelmingly from the processes of farming. The much shorter two-centuries old industrial era redefined life. The processes of production and consumption became the overwhelming dual identities of individuals and our institutions that evolved to foster the processes of unlimited industrial growth. As we move into the design economy, increasingly the most imperative questions will be what are the roles, identities, institutions, and processes of design.