Tuesday, August 28, 2012

TV Show Idea - Midwestopia

Station - HBO - We need the freedom of nudity + swearing to best tell the story.

Setting - This is a contemporary social commentary on modern day America, using one 'family' as the showcase. We could start it in the mid 2000s to encapsulate the finale of the pre-depression good times into the uncertainty of depression 2.0. Location is a Midwest metropolis that experiences all four seasons, large university in the city itself, plentiful suburbs and even more numerous small towns for odd story lines in episodes, and a diverse mix of people but low Hispanic numbers. This is the anti-Hollywood series as the show will NOT be set in NYC or Southern California. I'd use Chicago or Columbus. A problem is that Chicago's crime issue is a bit too big city non-utopian.

Opening - Mid-20th century American home shot with trees swaying, leaves falling down sound of wind only, no people in the shot, and the white lettering slowly fades in "Midwestopia".

Main Characters - "The Family"

First 3 are Core 3 that most episodes contain 2 specific story arcs focused on them.

1. Primary Lead - Female going to college who figures out she's gay in college - She arrives in Midwestopia as family moves there for this period of time, and her long story arc is the bildungsroman for this show. Her character is the man commentary on the youth culture, college culture from female POV, modern American women under 25, social media, 24-7 connections, and gay culture.
2. Lead - Male entering peak power years - Cousin of lead female. In Midwestopia slightly before lead, but new to area (series premiere explains it). Commentary on modern marriage, modern view of American men, the man-child vs. old school war amongst men, corporate America, straight women being hypergamous, and fatherhood.
3. Lead - Male exiting peak power years - Father of lead female, uncle to male lead. Commentary on aging boomers, obesity epidemic, retiring in modern life, addiction culture, rehab culture, the difference in men between generations, the Boomer - Gen Y gap, aging patriarch, military background.

4. Older male sibling of lead female - Male 2 yrs older than female lead. He's in US before her. Commentary on modern young men, college culture from male POV, changing relationships and roles of young men, bromances, manchild idea, hook up culture, chaos of dating world, loose straight female sexual norms, rejection of standard American male life path. Many ancillary oddball characters linked through his storylines.
5. Wife of young male lead - Part time worker, mostly stay at home mom. Explore flip side of modern working moms, the mommy wars, female identity in modern America, artist life, modern parenting, modern medicine with regards to pregnancy and child rearing. Ancillary characters connected to her reflect the odd circumstances of modern marriage, 30-something attractive spinsters, the rise of fat women demanding good husbands.
6. Wife of older male lead - Matriarch of family. Emotionally stable member of family unit. Glue of show.

Secondary members of "The Family" who have decent screen time.

7. Lifelong friend of older male sibling - Exploration of similar manchild and modern masculinity issues from a different POV than older male sibling character. A more traditional take on the lifepath. Non-college lifepath for Gen Y. Need to show the limited econ opportunities for young men w/o college degree.
8. Female friend of siblings - Stable foil to female lead. Her primary story arc is finding actual love amongst the chaotic world of dating that all other young characters inhabit. Her relationship will be the stable relationship of the young crowd.

All other characters are ancillary characters who may appear to spice up an episode or a few episodes in an arc, but they are not part of family.

Season 1 - Young marriage faces tests of what it means to be spouse as well as outside temptation but survives, entry into college life, assault, and re-entry at school of sibling for positive change, retirement of lead from regular job + adjustment to the marriage. Background is financial crisis, election 2008 Obama hopes, and then reality + job losses.
Season 2 - Pregnancy, alcohol problem/arrests which leads to full on rehab, combined with drug exploration, current youth culture + sexuality awareness season. Female lead switches schools at end, young lead finds out it's a boy, older male lead enters inpatient rehab. Soaring college costs, HCR passes, tea party rises, 2010 election.
Season 3 - This is the new baby season combined with the coming out + sober living season. Leads travel to homeland elsewhere in the country but realize how great it is to be in Midwestopia. Ends with baby walking, older male lead finding new employment and big break up of lesbian relationship. Disappointment in Obama, foreclosures, extended unemployment.
Season 4 - The chaos of young dating life for both young leads contrasted with stable young relationship, parenting + corporate issues for male lead, push-pull of parents adjusting to children growing into adults for older male lead. Election 2012, gay issues, no one paying attention to 100K troops in Afganistan.
Season 5 - Marry off young female friend, young male friend figures out career, older male sibling leaves area, older male lead accepts old man role, younger male lead gets new job/welcomes 2nd kid, and young primary female lead finds real love and accepts her self.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Great Vocalists of Rock: Paul Carrack

As a music lover, I can appreciate a great drum solo, a guitar solo that rolls on and the use of paino or horns to accentuate a song. To reach deep within my music lover soul, I do need a good vocals. Recently, the radio played "In the Living Years" by Mike + the Mechanics. My wife mentioned how good the vocalist was, and I explained how the singer was the lead on 3 big hits she'd know fromt he '80s: "Tempted" by Squeeze and then "Silent Running" and "In the Living Years" by Mike + the Mechanics. She was astonished that the singer did not have a greatest hits album or an awesome solo career. I went to look him up the next day at work, and to my surprise he was also the vocalist on the '70s hit "How Long". His career as a vocalist with 3 bands is better than 99% of all musicians.

I'm posting the great video to "Silent Running", which is a bit of a creepy song. The references are filled with spooky stuff: an unworthy government, fighting nearby, fals lags, and needing to run and fight in shadow battles. That pleading call that starts the song "Can you hear me? Can you hear me running? Can you hear me running can you hear me calling you?" It's incredibly sad. I do envision it as a man gone off to fight God knows what civil war style conflict, leaving behind a note to his wife with instructions and best wishes. The haunting chorus feels like the thoughts in the wife's head of her husband out there. The video kicks the theme up 10 notches by involving the creepy guy from "The Untouchables", a Dad on the run, and a mysterious block that emits strange light. Of course it ends with the son learning the secret and running into the light to join his dad. This was one of those great videos that told a story from the '80s.

When I get thrown in a Gulag or go on the run to escape the Gulag, this will be my theme song.



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Diamond Industry Pushed the Blood Diamond Idea

The diamond industry is an interesting tale from the old British Imperial days that involves daring Brits in exotic lands, horrible industrial practices, and rampant thefts which eventually created a ticketing system for work that laid the foundation for apartheid. A simple discovery of an odd looking stone started the economic engine in South Africa, which was pushed into overdrive when the first gold ores were discovered years later. Diamonds are also a giant scam that represents humanity's materialism at its worst.

Rocks of carbon that are made artifically for industrial use are mined in rough conditions for a natural product, putting many men's lives at risk, just so men and women can wear them on their body to display their wealth or signal status. This Atlantic article from 1982 about the diamond scam is so good that I am useless in piggybacking on it, but it does reveal a potential organized market operation cloaked in the name of humanitarian compassion. The blood or conflict diamond designation and public relations campaign just might be a mechanism for the DeBeers diamond cartel to exclude diamonds from the diamond market to keep prices artifically high.

Diamonds have little real value. The Atlantic article is titled "Have you ever tried to sell a diamond?" for a reason. The reason being they are worth maybe 25% of their price. Diamond mark up is horrendous, and if you try to resell them, a jeweler would give you maybe 25% of the 'appraised' value. One of the best places to buy diamonds now is on craigslist. I'm not joking. A lot of saps or jilted ladies have broken engagements, and they all think the jeweler will give them full or close to full cost for returning the item. Nope. The store offers 20-25% of the purchase price. The now pissed off person puts the item on craiglist for sale at half the purchase price. This is legit. You can take the item to a jeweler for verification and appraisal before buying and get a hugely discounted diamond item for you or your lover. In 2005, a friend of mine did this, spent 3K on a ring appraised at 8K, and his wife still doesn't know. Diamonds are forever a scam.

The Atlantic article did mention Aussie discoveries of diamonds, and that it might pose a challenge for DeBeers. They had already pesuaded the Russians to sell through them. The DeBeers company found a way to cordon the Russian sources up until 2000. DeBeers had a pretty good hold on distribution of Russian and Aussia diamonds until 2000, and then a further erosion of their hold happened in 2006.

If you want to see how powerful the DeBeers company is, check out the economic history of Botswana. Botswana is not a nation but a mining colony of DeBeers. This is a bit of a Michael Moore style circumstantial evidence reach, but the loosening of non-South African diamond sources posed a problem for DeBeers as 2000 approached. Another problem was the discovery in post-colonial African nations of other diamond sources. Unlike Russia or Australia, those nations had poor foreign investment, had nationalized foreign owned companies, had driven out foreign expertise, had poor institutional control, and would be incredibly difficult to talk into coming into the DeBeers distribution network. 

Outside of the DeBeers network and desperate for money, wouldn't the African countries and the warlords forever fighting for power sell diamonds at any price regardless of market reaction to raise money? Wouldn't African countries not care about the marginal revenue on their diamonds as they used slave labor and kept resource stripping costs to a minimum? Yes and yes. The market supply for diamonds would be flooded, and DeBeers and the diamond cartel would suddenly lose money on their investment.

This is where the DeBeers company and the diamond cartel stepped into action. The UN and a wonderful NGO called Global Witness brought to light the issue of warlords using horrible procedures to procure diamonds and fund more violence and destruction. They came up with a great name for these warlord controlled gems: blood diamonds.

What a great name? Who would want blood diamonds? It conjures up images of wearing blood. This compassionate NGO pushed for avoiding blood diamonds (changed to conflict diamonds later). In an incredibly quick move, the diamond industry introduced a certification process that would guarantee that you the consumer were not buying evil blood diamonds. It's amazing how quick the diamond industry shot into action. For the diamond industry, the certification proces and campaign against blood diamonds was a way to exclude non-DeBeers controlled diamonds from the market. Through media manipulation (the movies Blood Diamond, Die Another Day) and careful news reports, women didn't want blood diamonds. Men didn't want to be known as contributing to African oppression. This was pretty smart by DeBeers to appear both compassionate and responsive to a humanitarian issue.

Where could DeBeers have learned this? Maybe they picked up the idea to use a moral outrage campaign to sway consumer decisions after watching the anti-apartheid organizations use economic sanctions to pressure South Africa for years. DeBeers has mined for decades in South Africa. They seemed to take a page out of their opponents' playbook to help keep their market supply sold through legit channels to average Joe consumers stable.

The reason I suspect the diamond industry to be behind this PR campaign is that mining is a dirty business. The arguments against blood diamonds could be made against many natural resources recovered in the developing world. Without 1st world environmental and worker safety protections, most of the raw materials produced in Africa, South America, the Arab world or Asia come with the same ethical problems as blood diamonds. The blood diamond crusade did not expand to all natural resources. Oil drilled in Muslim countries finances terror, anti-women, and anti-gay schools and governments. Raw materials of all sorts fund African warlords (and countless anti-egalitarian ideas).

Rare earth metals are mined with huge environmental costs in China. No one cares. This was a specific campaign (diamonds) with a specific winner (existing diamond producers) targeting a specific audience (upper + middle class 1st world women). This might be a stretch, but the pieces seem to fit with the DeBeers company's prior methods of controlling supply, the modern obsession with compassion for strangers in 3rd world countries + the media saturated 1st world. They couldn't talk the African warlords into joining the club so they shamed everyone from buying their big money export and used tools of the modern world to exclude non-DeBeers diamond sources.

As I wrap this up, let me set up another example. Something that the mainstream media could push, but would never think about as they are cowards and this industry's current power is immense. Coltan is a mineral mined in Africa, especially in the Congo that has killed 5 million Congolese (mostly children) and enabled warlords to keep a civil war going as well as an insane number of murders and rapes per hour. Coltan is used in products that also contain rare earth minerals mined with devastating environmental consequences in China. These minerals create parts assembled in China by Foxconn workers who work near in near slavery conditions. The superstar product is used maybe two years by 1st world consumers. That supply chain and assembly is just as bad if not worse than blood diamonds in global pain and suffering cuased for this product's creation, but no one would ever call it a 'blood Iphone'.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Quick Book Reviews: "The Victorians" and "After the Victorians" by A.N. Wilson

What was the peak civilization on earth? In totality, what do you think was the absolute peak of civilization at any given moment? The ideas of art, justice, economics, income equality, medicine, gender relations, and crime should all be taken into account. My argument is focused on the late Victorian era, but after reading The Victorians and After the Victorians, I will pinpoint the era to the late Victorian-Edwardian-Pre-WW1 era (UK 1880-1914). These two books do a great job of explaining all of the changes, how they fostered the greatest civilization, and how the Brits declined and handled the decline.

A.N. Wilson does a fantastic job of explaining the rapid changes in the world durign the Victorian era, how those changes and the Victorian worldview shaped our world, and ultimately, how it lead to the decline of Great Britain. It is a bit of a revisionist historical take on the Victorian era, but he is quite even handed with his approach to the pros and cons of Victorian Britain. There is much today that we do as a culture or organize as a society that is thanks to the Victorians. He is a Brit, and does make references frequently in "After the Victorians" to the household impact of the big picture items he writes about in the book. Much of the decline was created by the prosperity, the enlightenment of the literate class, and the expansion of the British Empire. I have argued in the past that the decline of Britain was marked with the entry into WW1, but if you read these books, you'll see that the foolish Crimean War + Socialist enlightenment sowed the seeds for their decline. Why should Brits care about far away squabbles by other countries? Why should lbierals switch in their definition of liberal from freedom to using the state to provide for others? The British decision to enter WW1 was just the exclamation point on their 'turn'.

The authors blind spot is his PC soldier mentality, as everything has that blank slate feminist or 'everybody's the same' race point of view. Some of his statements on governing in sub-Saharan Africa look foolish with what we know about sub-Saharan African governments. He also seems to not realize how Muslims govern or the corruption in India that is still a problem to this day. He is good in pointing out how the Victorian society had inequality and some odd views but that there were factions within Victorian England working to change them. One thing that is unspoken but when reading the book, you definitely feel it is how atheist Victorian and post-Victorian England was but how polite the atheists used to be compared to atheists today.

As an American, I did get this weird feeling that one day around 2050 an American author will write a duo of books titled "The Rise of the Americans" and "The Decline of the Americans". There are points in this book that will feel very similar to recent American history, just change the names, places and dates. It must be sad for Brits to know just how wonderful british society was, and how they struggled for Western Civ only to see their Empire + society be wrecked by external wars and undermined by internal do-gooders. The Brits just witnessed an Olympic opening ceremony that celebrated national health care, rock music, and showed participants that were 75% black or Asian (the UK is 90% white). Decline is soul sucking. If you wish to read a book on what a society can be and strive for, then read these two books.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Quick Book Review: From Dawn to Decadence - Jacques Barzun

If you love history or love Western Civilization, please read From Dawn to Decadence. If you recognize that the world around you has slipped down from a great height, please read this book. If you wodner how the world of Western Civ came to be, read this book. If you are an idiot that thinks all cultures are equal, Western Civ is just luck of geography and that individual freedom can be created anywhere easily, please read this book. Civilization can come in what seems like great bursts, but there is usually a great brick by brick process. Jacques Barzun carefully weaves a wodnerful tale of Western Civilization from its dawn to our current state, which the author argues can only be called decadent. I love history. I love what Western Civilization has been, and could possibly be again. This book made me appreciate what came before me even more than my previous love of the past and my ancestors who built the world I live in today. I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

East/West Systems: Causes for the Innovation Gap

Roughly a decade ago, a visiting professor from Singapore lectured my international trade economics class on his native land. He was proud of what Singapore had accomplished in rising from post-colonial 3rd world status to a solid nation near the tops of many socioeconomic rankings. He had one nagging criticism of his country and fellow citizens. They lacked the innovation and creativity of the West. He came back to it often. He even called it an "Innovation Gap". He worried that without creativity, Singapore would have industry leeched away by neighboring lower cost nations. I chuckled as I had many smart Asian friends in college. I had not yet worked in the real world and discovered what so many people realize when working with Asians: they are great at tasks and modifying, but do not have that creative or innovative spark. I'm not saying all don't, but on average that creativity or drive for innovation (Faustian drive) is not found in as many Asians as Europeans/Americans. Ten years into corporate America, and I've heard maybe 100 jokes from a variety of Asians how Indians are the Germans of Asia: great at doing a task, but don't deviate or think on their own. That is an insult to both groups, especially Germans who basically invented the car. Could a reason for it be thousands of years of culture and social forces squeezing it out of people? Looking at how the two groups view the idea of the self as well as how they relate to the world, we can see how the ambition of innovation begets innovation and fosters it within the individual and that the environment for innovation is more fertile in the West than the East.

Americans, and Europeans, take our worldview for granted. It is part of the reason why we think democracy can fit anywhere, but then act shocked that it doesn't yield nice, socially liberal democracies in new locations with different religions, institutions and people. We are a self centered society. Not just in how we view groups, but how we see ourselves. I am my own person. I am me. We see the world through our eyes. Our path in life is our choice. We decide. We engage at the level we want to, how we want to and when we want to. The West has immense respect for the individual. We make fun of people who dive into their roles. We mock "soccer moms", "stuffed shirt corporate executives", "academics", or even sports fanatics. It is considered phony or inauthentic. It's not 'who you are'. It's a role you play and put away, like Superman being Clark Kent out in the daylight. You put it away as you develop your worldview using your critical faculties on your time as you choose to do so.

This has been a process lasting decades if not centuries. Part of this might be the relative youth and low population density that Europe enjoyed in relation to say India, China or even the island nation of Japan. Tribes in Europe were still pushing ever westward as recently as 3000 years ago, and still that drive to push westward lasted until the closing of the West in the USA. The average citizen is still told even today that he or she should make something of their life. The power rests in their hands. Even if it doesn't, the standard assumption is that you can make your own life, control your destiny or forge your own path. You build character through the choices you make and the life you live.

Does this sound like the worldview of any Asian or even Arab friends you have ever had? Arab Muslims constantly say Inshallah "God willing" even now in 2012. Hindu's consider atman, the self, to be part of the all Brahmin. Your soul is part of the 'all'. You are just a piece of the transcendent self that is everywhere. Buddhists want you to destroy yourself, achieve nothingness, deny attachment, etc. You eliminate the ego, the needs, the desires, or the wants. Chinese religion has strong family worship, and their naming convention places the family name before the personal name. Your first identifier is not you, but your family. The focus is on the group, not the individual. The environment is focused on the system, on the religion, on order and hierarchy.

India is a great example, and plays into the anecdote from my opening paragraph. Your role is forced on you in India's caste system; you become the role. Marriages are still arranged to this day. No choice to be made about your life. Life is imposed on you. Life is not what you make it, as life already has a role, a job, and a wife for you. You better not let them down, as the village and religion will enforce the code strictly. You exemplify character through your fulfillment of your duty to society. Somewhere in all of this enforcement of roles, it seems that the role fulfillment is a way to keep the peace in a tightly clustered and heavily populated area experiencing droughts off and on for thousands of years. "Do your role and duty, don't stray, keep the peace, and if you live well you'll be rewarded in your next life". Life in those religions is usually a circular thing that never ends. Western culture has that tremendous gift of one life, then an eternal afterlife from the Judeo-Christian foundation. One life, don't waste it is a common refrain.

With these two very different systems of thinking, should we really be surprised that innovation, creativity and inventions seem to spring more often in the West? Centuries of culture and civilizational development can bring pressure to mold people. After all, liberals come up with new, limited scope environmental causes to explain racial disparities every few years. I admire how the Japanese and Koreans have absorbed technological changes but retained their traditional ways. It might be linked to how strong the societal pressure is to retain roles and honor family, religion, country, etc. The Japanese have been wonderful modifiers, and in recent years have innovated or purely invented new products. I would argue that they are better known for changing that which has already been invented. Time will tell if the spark lights in the East as more Asian countries develop or attain 1st world status. I hope that it does happen as our complex world will need all of the innovation and ambition to push us to the next stage of human civilization.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Occupy Wall St. Vs. the Tea Party - Failure vs. Success

Remember Occupy Wall St? It was a protest of all people from different stripes coming together to protest Wall St's big bad bankers for ruining our economy. The media loved it. Michael Lewis, who I respect and enjoy reading, said he expected it to be more successful than the Tea Party. Bold claim. It didn't have much in the way of a goal, then it demanded goals that read as if out of the Port Huron Statement. Later the normal lefty psychos rushed into the protests, rapes happened, some guys died, and then it fizzled out w/in 6 months. The Tea Party started in early '09 when Rick Santelli went beserk on TV about bailouts (when Obama stupidly doubled down on the Wall St/AIG bailouts + added in GM/Chrysler for good measure), and then proceeded to push an idea of fiscal responsibility before the US goes broke. While they were co-opted by the GOP (mistake by the Dems to denounce the TP) and painted as racist psychos by the press, they managed to fuel the GOP to a giant Congressional win in 2010. Afterwards in an unprecedented parliamentary move with only holding one house of congress they managed a sitting POTUS (a pansy but still) to tie reduced spending to a debt ceiling vote. Just this spring the TP has set two more US Senate candidates for wins in Nov over an incumbent and/or establishment GOP men. What was that about the Occupy movement being more successful than the Tea Party? Here's why Occupy failed and the Tea Party succeeded.

1. The Democratic party is bad soil for grassroots movements. The Dems are a patchwork coalition of victim groups with an uber rich and academic elite at the top. What do these wildly different groups have in common: single women, blacks, gays, Hispanics, Jews, the uber rich, unions, academia and Big Biz? They vote Democrat. Nothing else. This is why Obama won California in 2008 with 62% of the vote but prop 8 opponents only got 47% of the vote. Blacks and Hispanics dont care about gay rights. No ideology holds all groups together like GOP's 'lower taxes, lesser govt'. This is why the Tea Party had broad GOP and some independent support. Simple message of thought, which the Dems don't have as a glue. How could you get a message to stretch across the wildly different groups I listed above that vote Dem? You can't.

2. Campaign funding. Big Biz owns both the GOP and the Dems, but that's not the major source of campaign cash for the Dems. Jewish donors donate 60% of all Dem money and unions provide a lot of the rest. Big biz, Jewish money, union funds are resistant to changing the status quo, which is what OWS was all about. Because the GOP has that lower middle class to under $10 mil rich as a base for donations, TP had base of money outside of establishment that went to insurgent candidates. Overcoming a 30-1 spending ratio is nearly impossible, but overcoming 3-1 is doable when you have the fired up segment on your side. Because the GOP has that married middle class support, they can counter Big Biz money. Just look at the recent win by Cruz over Dewhurst in Texas for the open US Senate seat. A Hispanic Tea Party candidate beat the establishment white guy in Texas with Tea Party money and support. This would've been considered unheard of 5 years ago.

3. High Low strategy. Rich, lawyers and academia w/those that need handouts. It's an Eloi-Morlock strategy, where the centralized clique of a few control the levers of power to hand out gifts for the 'victims of society'. Cant have revolution if the high interests will have their heads on the chopping block. OWS should have realized this when Zucotti Park was split between the Apple product using educated protestors and the riff raff on the other side.

4. Media praised and coddled it rather than criticize OWS to sharpen its message. The media's liberal slant worked against it here. Had the media been tough on OWS, it would have refined their message and policed the protests better. The media smeared the Tea Party with accusations of being racist, anti-immigrant, anti-everything and extremist... yet all they wanted was an end to bailouts and limited spending to prevent currency collapse. A smart move would have been to give the OWS leaders face time but force them to sharpen their message rather than the devolution into a laundry list of change and anarchy. The OWS crowd got cocky with the idea people would always be giving them great PR, and then the Daily Show smacked it down. That was the turning point. No Dem politician supported it after, and the media acted as if it didn't exist or ever have their support. The rape count was also too high to hide anymore.

5. Libs want protests to feel like '68. Romanticizing the protest years, they antagonize cops to get beat for victimhood. Victimhood is the ultimate trump card on the Dem side, so they think everyone will cut them slack if beaten by cops. While I disagree with cops beating down innocent protestors, when a protestor whacks a cop, well then you better be prepared to be whacked back. This doesn't make anyone at home happy, and they will not sympathize when they know you egged the cops on and whacked cops first. This isnt the Vietnam war; you're unemployed + Wall St is looting the public treasury. Gandhi and MLK showed how non-violent protest works to a T.

6. No coherent message. TP was no more bailouts, fiscal responsibility. What was OWS? I think they went with the 'network' social web route too early and that allowed the message to be spread too wide and too thin. They claimed no leadership, but really, all movements need a leader. That leader will either be the martyr or the hero. OWS needed a spokesman.

7. When modern leftism doesnt work (mix of socialism, crony capitalism, cultural marxism), what are the alternatives? Either more conservative and freemarket ideas or further left socialism. many of the fixes they wanted were not aligned with the financial collapse at all. It went back to weird things that just read like the Port Huron statement. Seriously, the left just recycles the same old socialist claptrap.

8. Protesting the Wall St bankers needed to be snuffed out before citizens connected the dots that Obama and Dems currently in power have not convicted a single Wall St banker or mortgage fraudster 5 years after the financial shock. This was a problem as people started to say publicly 'yeah why arent the bankers and fraudsters in jail? where's my change?'. If a single Dem with no Wall St ties and lib bona fides had taken the OWS message to power, you could have had a primary challenger to Obama. Looking at some of his primary results, it migth have worked. I spent a couple of months hoping Howard Dean would do this.

9. Dems are very top down. Union leaders, black leaders, etc. send buses of people to places. It's sad when the Wisconsin recall showed how buses of SEIU goons were coming in on the recall election night with folks from Illinois. Nothing grassroots. Grassroots is when people connect like in the '60s on campuses or use the Internet as the TP did to rush GOP events. The Dem party is all about centralized power with few decision makers that order people places.

10. OWS couldnt be the underdog. TP could be underdog vs. whole system, not just stale GOP, and could be counterweight to Obama-Pelosi duo that was already wearing on America by the obsession with an even crappier entitlement program of health care reform rather going after Wall St and econ reform. OWS couldnt be underdog because they wouldnt go GOP, and there was no way in hell a sitting POTUS would allow people on his side to rush him. Not in an election year, and not with Obama's self centered behavior.

11. OWS was full of young people whereas the Tea Party was a more varied crowd with plenty of middle aged members. Young people do not sustain a campaign anymore. Young people are far less likely to still be around 6-9 months later when primary season rolls up. Young people are more likely to have ADD. The older crowd of the Tea Party was great for organization, administration and outreach. They also were better for a long term idea. This is why the Tea Party got rolling in spring of '09 and still had steam for the primaries of 2010 and Nov elections.

In a perfect world, OWS would have had a clearcut message such as "Break up the too big to fail banks that own 60% of US financial assets, and write down the debt". This is a twin mandate as once you break up the banks (and clear out the derivatives), the sold off pieces would be written down by the purchasing banks. It's normal banking bankruptcy practice. That message taken to Dems in Congress either would have to have been adopted or they would have been primaried this year. With a good face of that movement, say Howard Dean, he could have lent credibility to it and fostered the OWS primary candidates this spring.

I have a friend who was an organizer for OWS in NYC and some other cities. His website (subscription sorry) had updates, times, etc. and he solicited feedback. many of us reported on the events, and some even participated. The overwhelming response was "You need to filter out protestors and control the riff raff". The organizers response to that constructive criticism, "It's CIA operatives". He wouldn't listen to anyone, and he considered all of the publicity good. This was a lost moment on the left. It is over 3 years since the first Tea Party gatherings. The TP movement sent many candidates to Congress, pushed Scott Brown into the US Senate in Massachusetts, helped elect multiple governors in 2010, and even forced a Dem Gov (Cuomo) to immediately tackle the govt ee issue when he entered office. Their candidates recently defeated establishment names for seats to the US Senate (Indiana + Texas). Occupy Wall St started in the fall of 2011. What has it done? Are there any OWS candidates? Are they still selling t-shirts? It's 99% done.

***Thanks Steve Sailer for the link. Please cruise through new readers.