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I am a professional in the computer field whose specialty is databases. I grew up, went to school in, and lived in New York for many years. I have lived in Florida for twenty years now, and it is a wonderful place to see and experience nature. I am a liberal, and though sometimes both left and right use that term perjoratively these days, I think it's time for liberals to stand up and take pride in what they ar.
Thursday, May 17, 2012(5 comments)
Occupy Has Changed the Discussion... and the Song
Two artists from extremely different musical genres--alternative country and heavy metal rap--Soles of Passion and Prozak, respectively, provide examples of a focus on economic inequality coming into the popular discussion; this may be a result of or parallel to what social critics such as Noam Chomsky cite as the influence of the Occupy movement, a change in the national discussion from budget deficits to income inequality.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012(1 comments)
Ten Years of Elevated Military Spending, Still Near WW II Levels
When comparing to an average of the highest spending war years, 1942 through 1945, we see that last year's Defense spending level was 86.3% of average World War II spending. We have now seen ten full years of elevated military spending, much of it during a time of national economic hardship. Last year was the third consecutive year that real spending was 85% of WW II levels.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012(2 comments)
The Next Drones: Autonomous Robotic Warriors
We Robot 2012, a conference which took place last week at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, billed itself as 'the inaugural conference on legal and policy issues relating to robotics.' The focus of this article is on one particular conference panel regarding the use of robotics in military actions, and the next generation of lethal autonomous robots and how they will relate to International Humanitarian Law.
Saturday, March 31, 2012 Occupy Movement Supporters Consider Eminent Domain as a Tool to Help Homeowners in Foreclosure
Activists working with the Occupy Wall Street movement have proposed eminent domain as a wide scale solution for keeping owners facing foreclosure in their homes; the proposed mechanism would have localities (or their appointed representatives) seize large batches of mortgage contracts at or below fair market value, allowing the homeowner to refinance at the fair market value.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 All People's Day Celebrates Diversity
All People's Day, a 39-year old holiday celebrating diversity, will be held in Delray Beach, Florida Saturday, March 31st; the festival honors the similarities and differences among all the peoples of the world. Family activities, particularly those for kids, expose attendees to an array of arts-oriented cultural experiences.
Sunday, March 18, 2012(2 comments)
Nader Proposes $10 Minimum Wage to Jolt the Left and Advance the Occupy Movement
Ralph Nader, speaking to an interoccupy.org conference call, called for the movement to create nationwide pressure for a $10 minimum wage. He sees this as an achievable goal that will win new support for the movement from the working class. He provided clear steps to achieve the goal, such as calling for the movement to "occupy" 535 local Congressional offices.
Saturday, March 10, 2012 Citizens Fight to Save Library After Petition Signatures Invalidated
Renton Washington residents will attempt to gather additional signatures to petition for an initiative or referendum to keep the Renton Downtown Library open, rather than close the building and move the library to a yet to be built, less desirable location. Statewide tax breaks for businesses have depleted local revenues, fueling a descent into barbarism.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012(3 comments)
Occupy Movement Discussion: Bringing About an Economy That Benefits Society
David Korten has credited the Occupy Wall Street movement for calling attention to the root of the problem, namely, Wall Street. In an InterOccupy Conference call this past week, he called out economists for thinking that the economy is only about measuring money, rather than measuring the benefits that economic activities bring to people in the society. We also discussed the steps towards an economy that benefits society.
Saturday, February 18, 2012 Back of Envelope Calculations on the Effect of Iran Sanctions on the Price of Gulf Oil
Price elasticity of demand is "a measure of responsiveness of the quantity of a good or service demanded to changes in its price." Using projections of the effect of sanctions on Iranian oil exports, we calculated that the effect would be seemingly small from the simple drop in production, though the psychological effect upon the market, which cannot be calculated through a formula, could be much larger.
Sunday, February 12, 2012(8 comments)
Occupy Movement and Libertarians, Tea Partiers Find Common Cause in Fight Against NDAA
A coalition of three Southern Oregon Occupy Movements is joining forces with a local libertarian/Tea Party goup called Wake Up America Southern Oregon for a protest in Medford against the National Defense Authorization Act. This is one of the first cooperative efforts between such groups. Others have called for cooperation between the two groups in those areas where their interests overlap, such as 1st Amendment rights.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012(3 comments)
An American Spring is in the Air
In a conference call held two nights ago, Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, two of the movement's best known organizers, both very active in Occupy Washington DC, answered questions about "Occupy Phase 2," the directions that the movement should take in the Spring. The main point was that "Phase 2" should involve setting up alternate economic structures designed to weaken the "pillars of power."
Monday, January 30, 2012(1 comments)
Military "Cuts" Cement Expanded Procurement Budget
Much has been made of the so called "defense cuts," though the corporate media has generally failed to note that the cuts are only to projected growth. By reducing personnel to pre-9/11 levels but maintaining the post 9/11 overall spending level, it clearly illustrates U.S. defense priorities are skewed towards weapons programs and production... which are which are highly profitable.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012(2 comments)
Has the Army Placed a Poor Joke in the "Joint and National Intelligence Support to Military Operations" Document?
An update to the "Joint and National Intelligence Support to Military Operations" document includes a graphic entitled "Link Diagram." At the highest level of this chart is an activity labelled "assassination." Given the single usage of the word within the document, it is possible the chart may have been placed there as a tasteless joke. Or perhaps it is a suggested slide for use as a template in documenting future operation.
Monday, January 16, 2012(1 comments)
China's Foreign Reserves Decline While the U.S. Believes China Trade is Unfair
China's foreign exchange reserves declined in the fourth quarter of 2011. Recent public opinion polls indicate that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Americans believe China practices unfair trade. Of China's top ten trade partners in 2010, only the U.S., Hong Kong, and India had trade deficits. Developed countries, including Japan, Germany, South Korea and Taiwan, enjoyed sizable trade with surpluses.
Thursday, December 22, 2011(5 comments)
Congress Deletes Two Words in the National Security Act of 1947
Congress recently made a small change in the law that established not only the C.I.A. but the Department of Defense. The change to the wording appears to increase in power of the Director of National Intelligence. He appears to now be the next-to-final arbiter of the C.I.A. budget, before the President. The National Security Act of 1947 now provides for "Intelligence," as opposed to "Foreign Intelligence."
Thursday, December 8, 2011(4 comments)
OWS' Goals, Strategies and Tactics -- in the Movement's Own Words
I've had occasion recently to review several Declarations of Occupation from U.S. cities large and small. Many are straight copies of Occupy Wall Street's Declaration. The ones that differ provide additional explanation and perspective upon the national messaging and plan of action of the movement. I extract the Goals, Strategies, and Tactics, summarize them, and present a bibliography of the Declarations.
Sunday, November 27, 2011(2 comments)
Measuring Corporate Tax Dodgers by Industry
A recent article entitled "Over Half of All U.S. Tax Subsidies Go to Four Industries. Guess Which Ones?" caught my eye. With a little work, I was able to roughly extrapolate data and graph out the specific industries that have dodged the most corporate taxes. Have school and library cutbacks in your town? You probably already know why, but this might help focus a bit more on the "who."
Sunday, November 20, 2011(1 comments)
Anti-War and Anti-Wall-Street: Ever the Twain Shall Meet
How does the Occupy Wall Street movement fit in with the anti-war movement? Important OWS documents state that war is one of the means by which the government redistributes wealth to the richest 1%. Recent occupy movement events indicate further awareness of the costs of war, paid for by the 99%. The anti-war movement has embraced the popularity of OWS, picking up tactics and terms, and even merging with them in one location.
Thursday, November 17, 2011(18 comments)
Making the Connections - Why Crackdown on OWS Now?
Why the crackdown on the #occupy movement at this particular moment? Concern with reaction to the forthcoming super committee cuts and the imposition of austerity may have something to do with the timing. Leon Panetta's recent remarks signal a coming capitulation by Obama, and clearing out the camps may be a sign that the administration is worried that its core supporters may be influenced by the movement to abandon Obama.
Sunday, November 6, 2011 Bank Transfer Day And Occupy Wall Street: Fundamentally Different Approaches To Change
Some have noted there is much in common between Bank Transfer Day and the Occupy groups. I think there's overlap in the participants but they're fundamentally different in approach. The Bank Transfer Day group believes that a message sent within the system can persuade a change in the behavior of institutions. I think #ows ia movement of people who have given up hope that this system can change from within.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011(2 comments)
A Report on Occupy Ft Lauderdale
Last night I attended one of many meetings taking place in nearly nine hundred cities around the U.S. to spread the Occupy Wall Street movement beyond New York. The purpose of this first meeting was to provide a forum for individual statements. Here is a summary of those statements, and afterwards, a brief thought of my own regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 Signal to Noise
I took a step back from Facebook and RSS feeds Sunday, deleted or ignored every 9/11 piece I saw, and looked over what was left. I found two items of interest. One, events in Libya are eerily resembling previous events in Libya. And two, someone needs to send BHO a big sign that says "It's The Economy, Stupid!"
Sunday, July 17, 2011 Speakout for Good Jobs Now Tour, Miami, July 16th Event
Yesterday I attended the Congressional Progressive Caucus' "Speakout for Good Jobs Now" tour event in Miami. The format of the talks is for the audience, composed of ordinary people, to tell their stories very briefly, outlining what they need to rebuild the American dream for themselves and their families, and to ask a question. The congressmen respond, and some of the stories get taped and brought back to Washington.
Sunday, May 15, 2011(3 comments)
State Education Cuts, National Defense Increases
In Florida, our state legislature will cut $1.35 billion dollars from classroom spending. Money is fungible, so no matter what politicians say, the increase in defense spending of the last ten years does make less funding available for education. It's easy to visualize our military spending. The 2010 outlay was $694 billion. That is 93% of average spending for full WW II years, 1942 to 1944.