September 29, 2011

Summerback


It has been a weird summer. In late spring we had a dry spell over here in Holland and many farmers were complaining, it was even noticeable in a person's garden since plants bloomed a tad later. Then came high summer which was downright miserable here in Western Europe. Two decent sunny days in early July followed by almost 4 weeks of continuous rain - some days not reaching higher than 13C. August wasn't much better. The weather guys already calculated that it was the 6th worse summer on record since they started keeping logs in 1901.

Now the leafs are starting to drop and everyone was expecting the fall with its winds and rain, but this week the summer is back. Temperatures soared to 26 Celsius, beach weather. Which is quite unusual for this time of year. I recall this period, late September / early October in 1995 and it was 4C at high noon and didn't got higher. That's another excess weather-wise but it goes to show you what's also possible. The weather has been so irregular this year that I wont act surprised if we have snow in late October or early November. But right now I'm enjoying the last bit of summer.

Smiling Kitty

September 28, 2011

TZM Response To "Occupy Wall Street"

THE ZEITGEIST MOVEMENT: RESPONSE TO "OCCUPY WALL STREET"

www.occupywallst.org

On Sept 17th 2011, a grassroots expression of contempt was launched in the heart of the world's financial center in lower Manhattan of New York City, also commonly known to the world as the institution of "Wall Street". As of Sept 26th, there have been over 80 arrests and many recorded instances of what appears to be violence and abuse coming from the police and security forces there. However, the protesters remain vigilant in what could very well be a landmark event that will resonate for some time to come.

The Zeitgeist Movement would like to extend its public support to this basic expression.

As the world awakens to a failing financial system with growing civil unrest emerging without the bias of sovereignty, religion or political loyalty, a new, unifying perspective is slowly taking hold which transcends the framework many of us falsely assume as empirical to our way of life.

With the slow grind down of the global workforce as machine automation continues to replace human labor for the benefit of corporate cost efficiency, simultaneously reducing purchasing power and hence inevitably stifling so called “Economic Growth”; with the ever expanding Debt Crisis born out of the Fractional Reserve Lending System and the simple reality that money is created out of debt and sold as a commodity in exchange for Interest - Interest that can only again come onto existence through more loan sales; with the looming military programs growing in virtually all major powers as the financial crisis, coupled with a pending hydrocarbon energy crisis, begins to suggest a stage of global conflict possibly never before seen; along with the market psychology of Infinite Growth Consumption that continues to pervade and distort our values and what it means to live in harmony with nature on a finite planet...

...it might be time we begin to see that the social problems at hand are not specific to any general policy, administration, or even so called "corporate greed". The real problem at hand is actually systematic via the very core foundation of what defines our Economic System and the psychology that is supported and rewarded.

The historical illusion that continues to this day is that someone or some group is explicitly to "blame". Rather than focus on the 400 people who have more wealth than 150 million in America or the fact that globally 1% of the world's population has more wealth than 40%, let's instead ask ourselves how such a manifestation is even possible and, more critically, why we would expect anything less? Think about it.

After all, it's the "Free-Market", isn't it? Contrary to the statistically void efficiency assumptions made by most Market Economists, the Free-Market simply means anyone can do whatever they want and maximize however they want within the confines of legal legislation; legal legislation which, make no mistake, is also for sale in the Free-Market as well; as are political officials, regulatory institutions and whatever social entity you wish to consider.

Nothing but maximizing monetary gain is sacred and anytime a person or group brings some detrimental social or environmental consequence of this system to the forefront, pejorative distinctions are usually branded upon their forehead to stifle such concern and frighten other detractors – such as being called a “Socialist” or “Communist”.

Furthermore, while people in protest today across the world continue to condemn monetary influence in social dealings such as the legal reality of Corporate Lobbying, even using such colorful terms as "Corporatism", “Crony-Capitalism” and even “Fascism”, they seem to misunderstand what this system is and always has been.

The Free-Market model of Economics is a haphazard, unscientific anarchy of organization which assumes that any person or group with enough money and hence power will be “responsible” in their actions both socially and environmentally. The problem is that the very definition of being "financially responsible” actually means to be socially and environmentally exploitative, manipulative and negligent, for the main driver of this system is Inefficiency. The more problems in society in general, the more jobs are created and the more rich the upper 1% become. There is an empirical decoupling from what actually supports life and no alteration of the core configuration of the monetary-market Incentive will likely change that.

On a different level, this system, as an historical evolution, is actually based on a culturally hegemonic pretense. Once economic advantage is obtained, it will likely be kept. This is why everything in the system favors the wealthy by its general structure and inherent logic. While the public might complain about the fact that top Hedge Fund Managers bring in over 300 million dollars per year, they often do not find objection with an Interest system that rewards those with high deposits and essentially taxes those using credit. While you may buy your home with a loan, paying thousands in interest a year, a person of wealth can make a CD Investment and gain free interest income simply because they have the money to spare.

Class separation and perpetuation and the growing wealth divide is not a byproduct. It is inevitable. In the Free-Market, one is actually “free” to take away the liberty of others through the mere economic pressures generated from the game. You are only as free as the size of your wallet. The term “Institution Racism” was coined by civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael in the 1960s referring to how often unnoticed underlying policies and structures within the social system undermined African American prosperity and equality. What we have today is a mere variation: “Institutional Classicism”.

Wall Street itself, which is the ultimate manifestation of the pursuit of money as a commodity rather than any form of true creation or social contribution, is naturally a ripe entity for symbolic objection for, at a minimum, it shouldn't exist at all and most certainly not have the grand effect it does on the stability of the global economy today, regardless of the inherent shortcomings denoted.

However, that stated, it must again be made clear that Wall Street and the Banking System are not the source of our problems. They are only symptoms of an Economic System which will continue to fail by the very gravity of its outdated and false assumptions of human conduct and environmental relationships.

The question then becomes, what do we put in its place? ~Z

About:
The Zeitgeist Movement is a global sustainability activist group working to bring the world together for the common goal of species sustainability before it is too late. It is a social movement, not a political one, with over 1100 chapters across nearly all countries. Divisive notions such as nations, governments, races, political parties, religions, creeds or class are non-operational distinctions in the view of The Movement. Rather, we recognize the world as one system and the human species as a singular unit, sharing a common habitat. Our overarching intent could be summarized as “the application of the scientific method for social concern.”

To learn more about our work, please visit www.thezeitgeistmovement.com

Wakeup Photography

The 2011 Zeitgeist Media Festival

The 2011 Zeitgeist Media Festival, Global:

The Inaugural 2011 Zeitgeist Media Festival Global Event set, which enabled a socially conscience Arts and Media platform across 20 countries, accessing about 10,000 people in person and almost 200,000 through free live Webcasts, was a notable success.

Organized by The Zeitgeist Movement , a global, non-profit sustainability advocacy group seeking to change the current social order, this unprecedented concept has generated a resonance that is expected to grow every year as it continues its development. The integrity of the project seems to rest not only with the social intent, but also with the 1000s of Volunteers who worked to make it happen without any financial gain and even severe losses.

In a post event interview with Peter Joseph, the curator/sponsor of the Main Event at Hollywood's "Music Box", he stated "Yeah, I lost about $35,000 dollars when I expected to lose only $10,000. But it was worth every cent for the dedication and commitment of those who helped execute such a large production was unmatched and just glorious. This is what Community is about and we are only just beginning with our efforts to unify the world."

Coupled with its Global Food Drive Initiative via The Zeitgeist Movement's ongoing "Z-Drive", over 12,000 meals were facilitated through regional Food Banks to feed the ever growing the poor and starving population.

"The Zeitgeist Media Festival is a global, Non-profit, multimedia event working to utilize the Arts as an avenue to create sustainable values in the pursuit of a better world. Recognizing the power of art and media to help change the world, "The Zeitgeist Media Festival" engages the artistic community and their power to changes values. It proposes that needed changes in the structural/economic workings of society can only manifest in tandem with a personal/social transformation of values in each of us. While intellectual knowledge serves its role of showing the path, many in the world follow their feelings- not the knowledge. The Zeitgeist Media Festival hopes to bridge those levels, while also illuminating a focus where changing and improving the world is no longer considered a fringe, suspect or ever dangerous pursuit- but rather the highest and most honorable level of personal/social integrity we have."

Select Links:

Main Website:
http://zeitgeistmediafestival.org/

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Zeitgeist-Media-Festival/194115850637429

The Los Angeles Beat:
http://thelosangelesbeat.com/2011/08/zeitgeist-media-festival-at-the-music-box/

Examiner Interview:
http://www.examiner.com/local-music-in-los-angeles/peter-joseph-zeitgeist-movement-founder-on-innagural-zeitgeist-media-festival

The Zeitgeist Movement:
www.thezeitgeistmovement.com

September 21, 2011

Highwayman Donner


Something hilarious just transpired in Dutch politics. Earlier this month on the 9th of September the Supreme Court in the Netherlands decided that upon requesting an ID card, which is done at the local town hall normally, no fee can be asked. The essence of the verdict by the court was that an ID card should be free of charge for every citizen and current legislation doesn't justify paying for it, yet it is normal practice that a town generates revenue with issuing passports, documents etc.

The court even decided that people who had paid for a card the last few months should get their money back. Needless to say that many people hurried to the town hall to request a new ID card. City officials got swamped with work.

Enter minister Piet Hein Donner from the Christian Democrat party (CDA). Just a few weeks have passed since this new approach was put in effect, the good Christian minister just forwarded a new bill today basically reinstating the previous arrangement and where people have to pay (generously) for their new ID cards. Just comical how money takes precedence in the political process seeing how fast these highwaymen, I mean politicians, react when it becomes impossible to rob the citizens of their cash.
Tax decreases 'have to be studied' but new tax legislation can be implemented with light speed so it seems. Donner also slaps the Supreme Court in the face by basically countermanding/overruling their decision. When legislation is quickly changed to suit the profit motive, you can ask yourself what democracy really means.

September 20, 2011

Quote Of The Month (3)

"Pure ideology never works. Just as mutt dogs are strongest, mutt politics are the most effective."
- Sean "Muertos" Munger

September 14, 2011

Greek Tragedy


This morning when I read the Dutch internet newspaper 'De Telegraaf' there were many articles dealing with Greece and their economy. For many months the Dutch government has been trying to support that country with loans and recommendations (austerity measures). The general consensus was, as far as the Dutch government was concerned, if we help out Greece (loan money) everything will eventually be fine. Greece just has to get their economy in order, privatize sectors, raise the retirement age, increase taxation etc.

Well, it turns out that all those measures are in vain. Reports have surfaced that several Dutch banks already have plans in effect for when Greece goes bankrupt and are more or less counting on it. Even the ministry of Finance along with the Bank of the Netherlands and (the Bank of) Germany and their politicians are having high-level talks, according to reliable sources. My point is, is that this scenario - the bankruptcy of Greece - was hardly mentioned in previous months as a realistic scenario. Instead, money should be pumped into Greece and they'll be back on their feet in a few years. That was the pretty picture.

House of cards is what comes to mind. If Greece goes bankrupt, and from the looks of it it will, all those measures and all that money loaned to Greece would have been pointless. And when you really think about it, the economy of a nation or the world for that matter, is seemingly highly unpredictable with (austerity) measures sometimes being inadequate. Both politicians and economists can't predict what will happen next and are basically just preachers of money value who hope to inspire trust in the markets.

Economy resembles religion. We should not lose faith in something like money which ironically is created out of thin air. Otherwise stocks would plummet, markets would crash which all have a relative value when you really think about it. The real fear of economists is when people become 'money-atheists,' that's why they keep pumping money in lost causes just to uphold the belief in an economy. Greece isn't the problem, the real tragedy is when the economy fails and people lose faith.

September 11, 2011

10 Years Later


This week it has been 10 years since the attacks on 9/11 where a bunch of monsters flew airplanes into buildings with the aim of killing thousands just for ideological sake. 10 years ago I was working at Sony Music and in the afternoon it became transparent what had happened in New York. A colleague on the work floor mentioned to me in passing that a plane had flown in the World Trade Center. Not long after I had to go to the mens room and saw a group of co-workers huddled together near a radio. I asked what was up and they replied that America was under attack.

I called my mother on the cellphone and she was watching television at home while the whole thing unfolded. 'It's terrible,' she said. Returning to my workplace I recall starting a conversation with a colleague and he was also aware of the situation. I said to him at the time; 'this is the start of a war,' reciting the attack on Pearl Harbor as a similar if not identical situation. My mother called me again and shared the awful news that the towers had collapsed. I knew right then and there that thousands had perished. Upon returning home I immediately put on the television and watched the images most people have engrained in their memories.

10 years later now and this week was full of remembrance. Most tv channels showed documentaries and Hollywood productions made after 9/11 dealing with this subject. One documentary made by 2 French brothers is particularly hair raising since they were on the scene and in the tower just minutes before it collapsed. Remembering that awful day is a good thing. We mustn't forget that if a person becomes too radical and too extreme in their thoughts, violence is just around the corner. And violence begets violence. Lets honor the victims and their families as well as that notion.

September 10, 2011

Profile Of A Zeitroll


Hey Muertos. Finally have some time and energy to make a rebuttal. Yes that excerpt was written by me on the Zeitgeist forums. Think YouTube user "Justintempler" already figured out I use that forum nickname so that was some decent detective work and internal communication. To clarify, I don't put you in the 'for no apparent reason' category.' It's remarkable that you took my comments and started a thread on the Skeptic Project forums because at the time of the writing I was very careful not to name anyone as an example. Yet here you are.

If you want my personal analysis on you and why you oppose Zeitgeist, here it is. And this is strictly my own observation. Let me just break in through the door. The conspiracy theory angle is not the main pillar on which you build your disagreement with the Zeitgeist Movement. I don't contest that you dislike conspiracy theories and in some cases it could be spot on. What brings me to this conclusion is this.

You have no problem creating conspiracy theories when it involves Zeitgeist so you're not opposed to it in the fundamental sense. A comment on the Zeitgeistmovie YouTube channel directed towards "ronaldodelosmuertos" is instantly attributed to Peter Joseph. How do you know it was him? Can you prove it without a doubt? Recently Peter Joseph commented that some critics are on the payroll. I would love to see some further information on that as well, but more importantly did he name you personally? No he didn't. Yet you take that personally and theorize that it's about you. That's a conspiracy theory Muertos! There are more examples of this kind methodology.

Secondly, I've been observing the Skeptic Project forums and you revealed some personal information at times. You commented that your father was/is in the U.S. Air Force. You mentioned that on the 4th of July that you recited the amendments with your family. To me that suggests a strong cultural identity and influence.
To summon up, in my list of reasons why people oppose the Zeitgeist Movement I wouldn't put you in the 'no apparent reason' or 'against conspiracy theories' category. I'm of the opinion that you are an American patriot with strong cultural ties that leads you to oppose influences that interfere with that. There are a few other elements but this is main one. So that's the bottom line as far as I am concerned. Patriotism, not conspiracy theories.

September 9, 2011

Zeitgeist Netherlands @ Eldorica Festival


Last sunday Zeitgeist Netherlands was in attendance at the Eldorica Festival in Haarlem, Holland. The festival itself was themed around durability and how to get to a better, greener world, and it was organized by students which was really impressive since the set up was perfect. In a park a stage was constructed where bands played live music and dj's played there sets. Food and beverages were available. Many kinds of stands hosted by a variety of people and organizations. Art, skills, dance, you name it. Really impressive that a group of young people pulled this off.

Zeitgeist was generously given a stand (for free) along with a television and dvd player. Naturally we played Zeitgeist Addendum and Zeitgeist Moving Forward practically all day. The festival opened at noon and we immediately dressed up our stand with posters and flyers. I spoke personally to some of the people from the organization and to my surprise they were aware of Zeitgeist (to some degree). A few knew about the first movie yet were unaware of the two that have followed. They were given copies...

Another Zeitgeist member had burned around 200 copies of Zeitgeist Moving Forward, while I and another person arranged for 50 copies of Zeitgeist Addendum. At the end of the day I took the remaining copy of Addendum home with me... I'm not sure how many dvd's of Moving Forward were given away but I reckon at least 100. A council member of the city of Haarlem, who helped organize the festival, also took some copies home with him. The Zeitgeist message is getting out there for sure. I had also printed out a few hundred "Zeitgeist bank notes" but the kids seemed to be really fond of them and collected them wherever they were dropped or hung in trees.

Safe to say that the 6 Zeitgeisters, myself included, had a wonderful day at the festival. My compliments to the organization who also gave us drinks and food. We would love to come back next year. At 8:30 in the evening when it was getting dark, we packed up our stuff and the stand was disassembled. I spoke to the Dutch national coordinator of the Zeitgeist Movement and we both agreed; we should do this kind of thing more often...

September 4, 2011

Grey Mafia


The war in Libya is all over the news, and where Gadhafi is (rightly) portrayed as an evil dictator. Yet in the world of politics things are not that black and white. You would think that since Gadhafi is a dictator, democratic regimes would have nothing to do with him. Think again. Secret documents found in Tripoli highlight close links Libya and intelligence services from the U.S. and Britain. Cooperation was still there. Libyan oil also flowed freely to the West for decades. Other less relevant bits of information - like Tony Blair giving hints to one of Gadhafi's sons for his university thesis - also surface.

Safe to say that the evil dictator was not that evil in Western political circles. But if a "strong man" looses his power the dynamics change quite rapidly. Maybe the best comparison you can make here is to the Italian Mafia. A boss who's in control of his particular turf using force, is respected. Making deals and money is the name of the game. Should he lose his grip on his turf it's only natural that he should be replaced by someone else. Something similar can be seen in Libya. An oil deal was also quickly formed with the rebels in Benghazi when that territory was liberated from the control of Gadhafi. Politics is not black and white. It consists of many shades of grey.