Culture Suggested Reading

Election Notes: Romney’s Toast

Update, September 30th: Ryan Refuses To Explain Tax Math

Below is the current state of the race with swing states in grey.

If the election were held today, Romney doesn’t win a single swing state.

Not even NC or Virginia according to the latest polls from RealClearPolitics.

Update, September 30th: The above map still holds true. Romney doesn’t win a single swing state.

Update, October 3rd: North Carolina goes in the Romney column. The FiveThirtyEight blog puts Obama’s chances of winning to 84.7% come Nov. 6, but if the election were held today, Romney only has a 2.7% chance of winning. (In science, a probability of 1 in 100 is considered a virtual impossibility.)

Updates, October 10th: Florida and Colorado go for Romney. It usually takes a week for the polls to come in, so these polls are truly in touch with Romney’s debate performance. For the first time, Obama’s electoral victory drops under 300 votes. Romney’s chance of victory goes up from 2% to 33% on FiveThirtyEight — Don’t worry. this is Romney’s peak unless the President botches the other debates and says something unexcusable.

Update, October 17th: The above map still holds true. Romney keeps his gains a week after the VP debate. 294-244

Update, October 19th: Virginia goes squarely in the Romney column. 281-257

Update, October 20th: NH is now polling for Romney. 277-261 This is the wrong trajectory for the Obama campaign.

Update, October 22nd: NH is back for Obama. 281-257

Update, October 27th: Nevada and Iowa and Colorado are back for Obama. 290-248

Update, November 3rd. The above map still holds true, though Colorado is a tie. Obama wins 290-248

Update, November 3rd. The Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog boldly predicts Virginia will go to Romney, something the RealClearPolitics average does not agree with. Obama breaking 300 EV would be almost a landslide. We’ll find out Tuesday.

Culture Human Rights Occupy

An Occupier Responds to the NYT

“It will be asterisk in the history books, if it gets a mention at all.”

This is how a NYT piece, titled The Frenzy that Fizzled by Andrew Ross Sorkin, starts on Occupy Wall Street. Some culture writer thinks he can rip our movement.

“While the movement’s first days did not receive much news coverage, it soon turned into a media frenzy. Images of the Wall Street protesters getting arrested were looped on news channels and featured on the covers of newspapers. […] By the end of the year, Time magazine had named the protester its Person of the Year, perhaps rightly given the revolutions taking place around the world, but the magazine also lumped Occupy Wall Street in among the many meaningful movements taking place.”

The sarcasm is present throughout. Occupy is wrongfully categorized with “meaningful” events. He gets directly to the point next.

“But now, 12 months later, it can and should be said that Occupy Wall Street was — perhaps this is going to sound indelicate — a fad.

Listen here, you bourgeois writer trying to keep your hack privilege by being a stiff critic and poo-poo’ing whatever is too poor for your refined taste.

I slept for five weeks in that park, and I met people from all over the country who are perplexed by the control corporations have on our country. We fed people, 3000 a day, we clothed and sheltered people, 300 a night, we had free blankets, and jackets, and cigarettes, and did I mention free food? And we never asked a penny from anyone. We had donations from all over the country, and we would have continued our experiment in direct democracy indefinitely had the mayor and police not shattered our society in which we did not even turn away the homeless and the poor.

That is not to say that Occupy Wall Street had no impact. It created an important national conversation. […] Its message has subtly been woven in the Democrats’ position on everything from taxes to student debt. Have any new regulations for banks or businesses been enacted as a result of Occupy Wall Street? No. Has there been any new meaningful push to put Wall Street executives behind bars as a result of Occupy Wall Street? No. And has the movement changed the debate over executive compensation or education reform? It is not even a close call.

Doesn’t the fact that despite our national spotlight, corporations continue to evade any serious oversight, weaken existing regulations, and that there has been no criminal accountability for the massive fraud that led to the 2008 economic collapse only emphasize the virtue of our movement? Doesn’t it speak to what we’ve been crying out about all along, that these companies have too much control and too little accountability to society? Doesn’t it show how badly our movement has been needed?

You can debate our redistributionist principles, or anti-corporate zeal, I would welcome (and we did when the park was fully Occupied) Tea Partiers or Ron Paul types to challenge us on our ideas or economics. But what I cannot stand is some hack writer diss us so he thinks he can demonstrate he has a career.

I am very sorry you will never sleep in a park with strangers and share food and blankets with them under the stars. You probably visited for a couple of hours, but I can guarantee you your yuppie ass did not sleep there, because if you had, you would have found dozens, no, hundreds of young intellectuals ready to confirm your ideas about justice, equality, and a better world. Not a harsh or angry tone would have touched your ears that night, because our movement was never built on hate for the few, but love for humanity.

That love for humanity is still pervasive at the weekly General Assembly’s at Liberty Park around 7pm on Fridays, and there are twenty to thirty people still making time for direct action or whatever they do at General Assemblies. I’m not really an organizational, institutional personal, so I usually skip formal meetings. I believe activism is in talking to people and sharing ideas and building commonality. Building community. We’re still doing that.

I’m really sorry you as a privileged NYT writer desperate to keep your spot, maintain that aura of exclusivity cannot see the immense power we accomplished as a movement, even on the macro-scale of how many thousands of tourists and counterculture types we collected into one spot and built a new society where money was not an issue anymore? We showed humanity there was a better way, we proved it and that’s what was so dangerous. We’ll have to do some things better next time, larger tents and more people for safekeeping — but we transcended the society we lived in, and built a better one. That’s why they had to shut us down.

Every time you see a homeless person on the subway, that’s when our society has failed. We have food, clothing, and housing for this person, but it hasn’t gotten to them. Do you understand that, Mr. Liberal NYT Writer? Can you understand that, having had three meals a day every day of your life? You clearly side with a society that is failing its citizens, a land which is failing its denizens.

Do you think corporate control is a joke, considering that you work for one of the top 500? Do you think anyone thought the corporate voice needed to be more represented in the system before the Supreme Court ruled that they can funnel unlimited and anonymous amounts into political campaigns? Do you think your food and your environment and your country is safe left at the discretion of another man’s profit? Can you even trust your dog’s food?

You probably live in a nice house, have a beautiful wife, in a charming neighborhood. You must have a lovely commute to work. You should know there are 40 or so people, mostly kids under 30, who sleep nearby at Trinity Church every night. On the sidewalk, in the summer heat exposed to the mosquitoes. They’ve slept there for a longer period now than the movement managed to stay at Liberty Park.

You have more money than these kids, but there is something they have that you don’t, Mr. Liberal NYT Writer: ideals. These people have not a dime to their name, but they have ideals. They continue the fight and sleep on church property every night, and deep in every one of their hearts is the Mexican who washes dishes in every restaurant in town, the Polish waitress, the scientist driving a cab, the housekeeper who chooses that over prostitution, the girl who chooses to be an escort, the Filipino nurse who sends money to feed her extended family back home.

At the other side of this, is the employer who’s exploiting five illegal immigrants, the medallion owner doing the same to legal immigrants, the sex traffickers and moneyed men who will pay for abused girls, and the Philippines government for taking a cut of every remittance sent back home from women working abroad in the advanced industrial countries. Most of the time, these immigrants are paying for the care of sick relatives back home if not their entire family.

There are exploiters in this world, and there are exploited — and it is very clear, Mr. Liberal NYT writer who you side with in this world. There is a middle class instinct to look down on those who have less than you, because the middle class is so busy fleeing from poverty — but this is a very ugly instinct in human nature.

We may be scum to you. Our grime and unwashed appearance may cause you to take us less seriously. But I would rather have the grim from my buddies at Occupy than live in the the septic and whitewashed mentality you live in.

In the fall of 2011, questioning anything about the movement was not too popular. Doing so was an invitation for withering ridicule. 

This is not true, besides the Fox types (O’Reilly ran a hit piece every night), mainstream liberal outfits claimed Occupy was just an infantile protest that wasn’t going to accomplish anything and there was no point of going. Liberals like you were hating on us.

I only went to Occupy three weeks in, at the behest of a friend, and I fell in love my first day. Night, rather. I saw two lovers huddled in the rain, lying on some cardboard and tarp. And when one commented it was raining, the other said, “It’s not gonna get any drier” and they pulled the tarp over themselves and went to sleep. These people had a love, I realized that first night, that other people would never experience in their entire lifetimes. You, I am certain, Mr. Liberal Writer, fall in that latter category.

This is the shocking part, you’re liberal and write for the intelligentsia, but you have so much hate for our movement. We did so much good, and you claim to be blind to it. We changed the national conversation, we got two GOP candidates (Gingrich and Perry) to question “vulture capitalism” as practiced during Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital. Obama has stolen our rhetoric and continued his neocon wars. The Democratic platform now calls for raises taxes on the top 2%, something which we can claim was our idea as well. We just handed the Democrats an election, they plagiarized our party platform, and you say we accomplished nothing.

I will admit, Occupy’s message of economic inequality is hardly original. People have been raving about that for years, from Progressive-era farmers, women’s suffragists, striking workers throughout the 20th century, Michael Moore’s numerous films, Jack, Bobby and Teddy Kennedy, Rage Against the Machine, homeless activists, etc.

We didn’t invent the idea of taking public space either. Cesar Chavez and the chicano movement, the takeover of Alcatraz Island by the American Indian Movement, the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committees in the segregated South, Bloombergville in 2010, and Egyptians and others in the Middle East uprisings all preceded us in this.

You can even be a Tea Party-type and challenge us on our ideas directly. But what I cannot accept is some bourgeois liberal writer (and hack) tell us that we did nothing in that park, and deny the effort and sacrifice of tens of thousands of activists nationwide who brought their souls to a park to fight for social justice, their bodies and bank balances be damned.

In ten years, when we have 100,000 people at the Brooklyn Bridge, it will be *you history does not remember, Mr. Hack Writer. I am very sorry you projected your own sorry future onto our movement. Your thoughts have no bearing outside the social circle and accompanying reality you inhabit.

The problem with the movement, as many other columnists have pointed out before, was that its mission was always intentionally vague. It never sought to become a political party or even a label like the Tea Party.

It wasn’t vague, and if you talked to anyone in our movement for more than a few passing hours before you went out to eat at a pricey restaurant with your significant other, you would have seen every single person in that park was intent on removing corporate money from government, corporate influence from politics, and ensuring economic growth helps the entire spectrum of the population, especially the bottom 20%. Perhaps few would articulate it as well, but none would disagree.

Here is our difference, and why I throw epithets at you like “bourgeois” and “liberal”. I don’t believe in the system anymore. I don’t believe you can vote for a guy and he’ll promise to represent you, because he’ll only represent the people who pay for his campaign. I used to believe in judges, but a funny thing happened November 15, 2011, the day we were evicted. A judge had ruled that we were to be let back into the park with our tent and belongings, but several hours later, a superior judge agreed but ruled we could not bring tents and belongings back inside. How hard is it for the mayor to phone a judge and promise to take care of him in the future if he ruled a certain way? Not difficult at all. So even judges are not sacrosanct for me anymore.

So you want me to participate in a political system that gives corporations more power over me? Indeed, you want me to believe in it. Do people look stupid to you? (Apparently they do, because you wrote that stupid piece with its self-circular logic.)

By the second or third time I went down to Zuccotti Park, it became clear to me that Occupy Wall Street, which began with a small band of passionate intellectuals, had been hijacked by misfits and vagabonds looking for food and shelter.

You only went down there two or three times, didn’t you? That was the beauty of our movement. Unlike your bullshit society, we didn’t turn anyone away on account of money. As cities spent tens of millions cracking down on Occupy movements, they shuttered dozens of homeless shelters at the same time just before the coming winter. With less than $600,000 we fed everyone who showed up. Imagine what our movement could have done with the $17 million in security costs to NYC alone.

You deride our taking in of vagabonds, by which you mean homeless people. Ironic, we take flak for taking in the refugees of bourgeois capitalism. From the likes of bourgeois writers for the bourgeois NYT.

I vividly remember watching one protester with a sign that read “Google = Jewish Billionaires.” Another protester ran over and ripped up the poster. The messages had become decidedly too mixed.

Look at the Tea Party sign below.

There are hundreds more such idiotic statements on the Internet. I look forward to your hit-piece on the Tea Party next week. It should contain something about the message becoming decidedly too mixed.

While I immediately reject the anti-Semitic sentiment of the sign you claimed you saw about Jewish billionaires, this was both a strength and a weakness of our movement. We never claimed a monopoly on truth, and hence even had 9/11 Truthers and Ron Paul-types attend the park. I remember during the Occupation, a man read the Bible aloud every morning at 7am. There was no fascist control of speech at our park. I’m very sorry you can’t understand that. You’re almost like the Egyptians who don’t understand that Obama can’t arrest the guy who made the anti-Islam videos on YouTube. But how is that, considering you write for the NYT? Oh yeah, you’re a bourgeois liberal hack, I forgot.

We have not only “rebalanced” the debate, as ruling-class types like Eliot Spitzer must admit — we have touched an immense chord with the public on the way money works in this country, and I guarantee you, we won’t stop until we have some justice on that front. This is what you’re scared of, Mr. Writer, that everyone will have their chance in this country, and you won’t have your priveleged spot. You are very right, Mr. Liberal Writer, far better peoples’ newspapers and media will be built and you will not have a spot higher than others any more, and you should be scared for that.

But even Mr. Spitzer questioned, “We do have to ask, ‘Now what?’ ”

It’s so funny, you published this piece on November 17th, the day of our one year anniversary party. It means you didn’t even wait to see how our big reunion turned out, you and your liberal hit piece crew pulled out the obituary file on our movement and ran it the day of, without waiting to see if our movement was dead or alive. For your information, and more importantly, for your readers, we had several thousand people pack the park that day, and myself and 30 other activists stayed up the whole night in the park waiting for a second police eviction that never came. We took back our park, if only for a night. If you published your piece the next day, after the attendance of thousands of activists and a briefly revived Occupation, your it-will-be-an-asterisk-in-history rhetoric would have looked foolish.

So when you ask “now what?”, Mr Liberal Writer, I suggest you ask yourself that in ten years, if your hack ass is still employed by the NYT, which I doubt it.

Culture Occupy Thesis

Everything in Capitalism is a Lie

Everything in capitalism is a lie. From religious holidays to advertising and notions of beauty, as well as religion and politics. The model you see is not only Photoshopped, but their voice is dubbed over on television; so the result is a deceptive presentation of a seductive personality, and not even a real person. Their words are lies; “we save the most on gas”, “supplies are limited, so call now”, “our clinically-proven formula” — all of this is legal under our bourgeois legal system, where lies in marketing and political campaigns are considered protected free speech. Plato believed metaphor should be regulated by the State, it was too powerful to leave in the hands of every businessman and quack who passed by. Every ad I walk pass on the subway, I note the incredible deception and depth psychology in use. “Hi, I’m Sal. What can Consumer Affairs do for you today?” — Under Mayor Bloomberg, the Department of Consumer Affairs has become a profit center for the City of New York, where agents can fine small businesses for every mislabelled price and common mistakes such as forgetting to give a receipt. Although these laws were enacted for the customer, and consumers should be protected in a large city from store owners who are cheats — the real purpose is to raise money for cash-strapped city services on the backs of the middle class and small business instead of Wall Street.

A healthcare agency brags, “A new team is here in New York.” — A new brand of opportunists is here to exploit people.

A law firm claims, “We fight for millions of dollars for disabled children.” — They will take minimum 50% of your settlement upon winning in court. Disabled children has nothing to do with it, other than that’s how they manipulate the jury.

It turns out the subway ads offering “Free Abortion Alternatives” is financed by religious fundamentalists who will harass and berate a women for thinking about an abortion, without actually providing her with any medical care or abortion alternative.

And don’t get me started on those private colleges, Kaplan University, DeVry, Bramsonort, etc., which promise to give you a high-paying degree as a medical assistant or criminal justice clerk — all of them have been busted for taking in people just for the federal aid they qualify, especially for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. These are the people they exploit.

I hate that I will get a smile for money. A smile while I am taken advantadge of. This hurts more than the exploitation. It’s that you smile at me and shake my hand while you do it. Believe me, that doctor who promises to clear up your skin is no good. If he was good, he wouldn’t have to advertise on the subway.

Diamond commercials promise a man that his potential spouse will be ecastic if you buy your ring from them. It doesn’t matter if you’re always checking your iPhone instead of talking to her, just buy the diamond and everything will be alright.

I guarantee you any excerpts from a review by a critic that a film puts in its trailer is out of context. I know a film or book will be terrible if the selected excerpt is something like “edge-of-your-seat action”. I once saw a quote recommending a book (a new incarnation of the Bourne trilogy), “The rogue spy is one of the best characters in the genre.” — It didn’t even praise the book, it just praised the character as being one of the best in the category.

Culture Hinduism Human Rights Mysticism Thesis


Dharma is the belief in the cosmic wheel of life, that all things have their cycle, that good and bad in life are like spokes on a wheel, and that man must do whatever is right in the moment. Chinese philosophy placed the emperor at the center of the universe, with his palace and royal court revolving around him; thus appropriating dharma for the imperial religion.

“A synedouche is a Greek word for a part that contains the whole. The way a drop contains the ocean.”

So dharmic man is a man who contains the cosmic law of the universe. He always fulfills his role in the moment, but he is no James Bond playboy or angry alpha male. I noticed in every religion, the hero is rarely the crown prince, but usually the shepherd, the son of slaves, the carpenter, the orphan, the beggar. This is contrary to the existing dominance of religion by honorable families and upper middle-class institutions, but religion’s chief founders were illiterate or poorly-spoken men of no social worth or background. Why is this narrative so pervasive in religion? Nietzsche explains this phenomenon from a superhuman/sub-human point of view. (link to future article).

He lives below poverty level, but is more content than a millionaire. He is the omega male, the Jewish hidden saint.

But the man never strays from his moral duty or religion; that man is religion. Very often he has a list of goals or enemies to complete like Hercules and his defeats of  the Hydra, Minotaur, and Medusa. Very often, he is called the son of God, again like Hercules. (See Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey.)

In fact, this deification (“man is god in human form”) is the basis for Hindu avatar theory. – I argue that cosmic man, who manifests dharma, is the common link between all the religions. There has never been any direct proof that God exists, but every religion can be traced back to a lower-class man who decried the bourgeois institutions of his time.

Judaism- Abraham, Moses, Isaiah (peace be upon them)
Christianity- Jesus, John the Baptist, St. Theresa (peace be upon them)
Islam- the Prophet (peace be upon him)
Sikhism- Guru Nanak (peace be upon him)
Hinduism- Rama, Krishna, Rishi Vyas (peace be upon them)

Along with messengers and god-incarnates, the world of religion is filled with saints, who also perform miracles while living below the poverty line. I am astounded to think how religion ever became a bourgeois tool of oppression, considering religion originally revolted against bourgeois oppression. The hero of every religion was a man so poor, he didn’t know where his next meal was coming from.

In fact, one could deny that God exists, but that righteous men come to every nation is a self-evident fact of history, regardless of what their followers do in the centuries to come. Truth becomes distorted, and another iconoclastic religion must come. (Judaism revolted against the Egyptian obsession with the afterlife and Babylonian human sacrifice, Islam against the idols of consumerism, Christianity against Roman gluttony, Buddhism against commercial Hindu priests.)

Socrates (peace be upon him) believed religion was virtue, and every man ought to discover and align himself to what is good and pious and just.

Culture Hinduism History Mysticism

Wikipedia’s Photo of the Day

This gave me the chills. — These ruins in Lebanon were the most magnificent court in the Roman Empire. The now-barren Baalbek valley used to be called Heliopolis — the city of the Sun. Do you realize the importance of a name like that for sun-worshipers?

Great Court of Baalbek

Baalbek in Lebanon is famous for its exquisitely detailed yet monumentally scaled temple ruins of the Roman period, when, then known as Heliopolis, it was one of the largest sanctuaries in the Empire. It can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world, containing some of the largest and best preserved Roman ruins. Seen here is the Great Court of the temple complex.

Culture Suggested Reading

Words I like

-Honorific (sounds fantastic, no?) (an extra word to honor somebody, like His Excellency the Ambassador, Sir William Faulkner)

-Antediluvien (ancient, lit. Ante- Before, Deluv- the Flood (of Noah))

-Zealot (Jewish resistance fighters against Roman rule, ironically the name of the Palestine terrorist group Hamas means Zeal in Arabic. Arab terrorists named after Jewish freedom fighters.)

-Grace, the true goal of any religion

-Histrionic, contrived emotional acting

Culture Mysticism

Definition of Infidel

[On right-wing Americans increasingly proclaiming themselves as “Infidels”].

“Back when the world was more assured in its piety, of course, “infidel” functioned as a grievous insult. To boast of one would be almost inconceivable. The KJV of First Timothy tells us that an “infidel” is one of the worst possible things upon this earth. “To say that a man is an infidel,” thundered the Reverend Timothy Dwight, an early American hounder of the heterodox, “is to say, proverbially, that he is destitute of all moral excellence in both principle and practice.” “Infidel” is what the Federalists called Thomas Jefferson when they really wanted to hurt him. It’s the innuendo that Abraham Lincoln felt he had to deny.”

From the January 2011 issue of Harper’s.

Culture Greek philosophy History Suggested Reading

Defintion of Tyranny

“The rule of men with their consent and according to the laws of state was monarchy, but rule over unwilling subjects, not according to law but at the whim of the ruler, was tyranny.” — p. 92, Socrates by WKC Guthrie

— The root of the word tyranny is “terrible”, ive realized running my life according to my own whims is terrible.

Culture Hinduism Mysticism

Definition of Dharma/Justice/Cosmic Duty

“Everyone, in Socrates’s view, was by nature and training fitted for a certain job, and the mind and way of life of a good artisan were inevitably such as to preclude him from acquiring the knowledge, character, and powers of judgement which would make him an adequate guide in political affairs. Such a view contravened the whole basis of democracy as then understood at Athens, where the dogma that one man’s opinion is as good as another’s was acted on so unreservedly that anyone not a slave or metic might be appointed to office by lot. Politics, said Socrates, was a craft like any other. It needed natural gifts, but above all study and application. Class came into it accidently, and by no means exclusively.

In Xenophon (Memorabilia 3.6), we find Socrates thoroughly deflating Glaucon, Plato’s half-brother, who had political ambitions and the right personal connexions to gratify them, by asking him a few personal questions. How can he propose to take a leading part in government when (as quickly proves to be the case) he is ignorant of such essential facts of life as the source of the city’s revenues, the amount of its income and expenditure, its naval and military strength, the state of its frontier garrisons, or how far it is self-supporting and how far dependent on imports?” — p. 90, Socrates by WKC Guthrie,