Friday, October 24, 2014

The Gadfly Buzz Institute

(a draft proposal.  Please comment)
We The People, seek to form a more perfect union, by exposing to the light the gross illegal manipulations of markets including the money supply, the complete breakdown of the democratic process, the pervasive violation of civil rights, the ongoing campaign of misinformation leading us into war to benefit profit mongers, the shielding of those guilty of treason for crimes against humanity and the propagation of policies that have destroyed the free market resulting in the most egregious inequalities in the industrialized world.  We believe that the American spirit is alive and will come to bear when truth replaces lies and misinformation.  To that end we will establish a network of education centers that will systematically expose those lies and put forth a coherent framework for overturning our now corrupt system and restoring our democracy.
This will be a determined revolution, relying on knowledge of American history, accurate information about the here and now, the prompt discrediting of lies against our assertions and an energetic grass roots decentralized approach of reaching out to a large target population.  Non-violent?  Yes.  Peaceful?  Not so much.  We will be disturbing the peace; upsetting the status quo, identifying criminals, digging into the public record, exposing fraud by and for the Federal Reserve Bank, seeking relief in the courts for unconstitutional surveillance, boycotting those corporations that are guilty of unbridled greed and voting out politicians who willfully obstruct the will of the people.
We will not allow the Oligarchy that is presently in charge to divide us into left and right.  We are the center.  We are the 99%.  We will not be sidetracked by divisive social issues that mean nothing to MiLords, the powers that be.  They only seek to divide us into factions.  Our goal is simple.  We want to restore the American Dream;  free speech, free markets, freedom to benefit appropriately from our productivity, freedom to enjoy privacy, freedom from paying for wars designed to impoverish us and freedom to vote for decent people to represent us.
Our first strategic initiative will be the formation of an education network designed to cover every county in this once great nation.  We will start with the 5% who already know and grow it into 10%.  We will grow from there into the 12% and slowly but surely we will reach a critical mass of educated people capable of critical thinking and able to withstand the folly of false propaganda.  From this base we will bring about the downfall of MiLords, a.ka. the Corporatists, a.k.a. the Military Industrial Complex, a.k.a. the Oligarchy, a.k.a. the Koch Brothers.
We will be provisioned internally, expanding Crowdfunding into Crowd Resourcing.  We will not be beholden to any party, any corporation, any church or any organization.  We The People will prevail.  We will raise up a swarm of Gadflies to question power and thwart hierarchies.
It is easy to get caught up in the controversy of day to day politics, to defend our positions against “the other side.”  What often gets lost in this emotionally charged battle is the story of how we got to be where we are.  Sometimes we need to go back 8 years to look at Fed policy instead of parsing the words of this month’s briefing.  Sometimes we need to go back 13 years to look again at the planned demolition of the Trade Towers and dismantle the lies used to describe the events of that infamous day.  Or we need to go back to uncover the 1970’s roots of the greatest looting of the middle class in our history.  We need to dig deep into the formation of a private bank in 1913 that has been given complete sway over our vital money supply.  We could benefit greatly by studying again the debates over the chartering of the also private First Bank of the United States and how war played a necessary role in the chartering of the Second Bank of the United States a hundred years ago.
To understand the dynamics of multi-national corporations we could go back to the chartering of the Dutch East India Company with its power to imprison, execute its enemies, wage war against nations, tax populations in other lands and practice piracy in the defense of its fiefdoms.  Or go back even further to the role of the Holy Roman Empire in the formation of debt backed currency leading to our fiat fractional reserve currencies of today.  We need to understand the difference between sovereign law and contract law, the latter being so much easier to establish across national boundaries.  We can then take a look at the erosion of the Commons and how patent law has been abused to destroy the Commons to the benefit of large corporations.
Without historical context we are lost in a sea of lies and propaganda. We must understand that we are not operating in a free market system and that democracy is a hollow slogan.  Well meaning people who want to do the right thing are frustrated by the lack of options.  Voting is not enough when both major parties are under the sway of MiLords.  Bill Clinton signed away the last vestige of control of the Wall Street.  George W. started two wars at the behest of the Military Industrial Complex, so well represented by the then Vice President of the United States.  Barack Obama hired on the banksters from his predecessor and his Attorney General takes $13 billion bribes to keep criminal bankers out of jail.  Bribes that are tax deductible.  
We must educate ourselves to be able to sort through the mess we are in.  History, economics, politics, social policy, labor law, money and banking, patent rights, tax policy, anti-trust legislation… the list is long and arduous.  But without a better understanding of these and other topics, we are tilting at windmills and playing into the hands of Milords, who must smile when they hear us rant against them in futility.
Our hope lies in Anarchy.  We cannot succumb to the temptation to start a movement, organize a third party, organize a protest or some other embodiment of enthusiasm.  Robert Michels’  Iron Law of Oligarchy basically predicts that all forms of organization tend toward hierarchy and oppression.  "It is organization which gives birth to the dominion of the elected over the electors, of the mandataries over the mandators, of the delegates over the delegators. Who says organization, says oligarchy."
By Anarchy, I do not mean chaos and violence.  I am not talking about smashing shop windows or marching in the streets.  I am using Noah Comsky’s vision of an Anarchist: 
“Well, anarchism is, in my view, basically a kind of tendency in human thought which shows up in different forms in different circumstances, and has some leading characteristics.  Primarily it is a tendency that is suspicious and skeptical of domination, authority, and hierarchy.  It seeks structures of hierarchy and domination in human life over the whole range, extending from, say, patriarchal families to, say, imperial systems, and it asks whether those systems are justified.  It assumes that the burden of proof for anyone in a position of power and authority lies on them.  Their authority is not self-justifying.  They have to give a reason for it, a justification.  And if they can’t justify that authority and power and control, which is the usual case, then the authority ought to be dismantled and replaced by something more free and just.  And, as I understand it, anarchy is just that tendency.  It takes different forms at different times.”
Let us not get hung up on terms.  Use the above paragraph to describe a state of mind, an approach, a way of looking at power and how it is exercised in the world throughout history.  Call it Critical Thinking, Activism, Anarchy, Liberalism, Conservatism, Libertarianism… I don’t care what you call it.  Just practice it in earnest.  Be willing to challenge long held assumptions.  Be willing to confront the powers that be.
Our challenge then is to recognize and support points of light in every county in this great land, without founding a cumbersome organization.  Our focus is education not structure, information not ideology, attitude not opinion.  Yes we have a goal.  It is quite simply to take back what has been lost in various ways starting with the debate over the formation of the First United States Bank; the loss of freedom to determine our own destiny.  It is not enough to regain the horrific losses to the middle class since the 1970’s although that is a worthy goal.  Raising the minimum wage might be a rallying cry but it does not fully address the profound inequalities that have emerged in our system.
Suffice it to say that the strategy implied here is far away from synoptic planning and perhaps dangerously close to disjointed incrementalism.  We take this risk to avoid the folly of creating a hierarchy to defeat hierarchies.
Our Curriculum Development Approach needs to be established in context.  Our context is characterized by any number of factors but we choose to address five here.  The first is the persistent presence of propaganda that permeates all aspects of our society.  Our school curricula, places of worship, the media, the arts… the list is endless.  You can argue all day whether or not there is a sinister plot to propagate a message, but the outcome is clear.  There is a story being told that is not supported by the facts.
The second contextual condition is an ingrained habit of thinking that mitigates against Critical Thinking.  It is this habit which will thwart our efforts more than any other factor.  Good, honest well meaning people find it hard to first identify and then shake this habit.  The recognition of the problem is of course 75% of the cure.  Getting people to the place of being willing to take a history class will represent a huge step toward fostering Critical Thinking.
The third state is the paralysis of resignation which is rooted in a profound understanding of the truth but is not allowed to flourish into honest inquiry, lest it promote a feeling of hopelessness that is in the end debilitating.  The real danger here is that the threshold of inaction will be raised higher and higher as more and more people sink into a survival mode that precludes the ability to pause to reflect.  Meeting basic needs will always trump the motivation to seek justice in a non-violent way.  This dynamic contributes to the ironic fact that the vast majority doesn’t overwhelm the Oligarchy at the polls but allows itself to be manipulated into not voting or supporting single issue initiatives that don’t threaten the economic status quo.
The fourth reality is that many lies are told and believed.  A case can be made to say that this is part and parcel of the propaganda machine.  I would posit however that there is a difference between flagrant lies and the persistent propagation of myths.  An example of a flagrant lie is the statement that the Twin Towers were brought down by an airplane flying into them causing a fire so hot that is weakened the structure a hundred stories down and precipitated a sudden collapse.  This lie is so preposterous that it will go down in history as a testimony to the gullibility of our general population.  You could not more clearly demonstrate a planned demolition with planted charges than to look at available footage of the collapse of the towers and Building 7 hours later.
The last contextual reality is the undeniable presence of the Deep State, characterized by a war machine in the form of the military industrial complex, the financial establishment as evidenced by private banks led by the Federal Reserve itself, corporatism that controls our food chain, our pharmaceuticals, and our environment, the media which is complicit and finally the government itself which appears to be competitive but only fights about issues about which the Oligarchy cares little.  Obama is accused of being Socialist, but he has not jailed a single known banking criminal responsible for so much suffering.  His economic team came from the Bush Administration.  
Woven through all five of these realities is the propensity to fund the Deep State by propagating war.  Gaming the system to create personal wealth is reprehensible.  Manipulating a society to go into false wars that kill and maim and feed profiteers is treason, pure and simple.
Avoiding The Paralysis of Analysis
One of the most effective tools employed by the Oligarchy for preventing its overthrow is to sow seeds of dissension into every conversation.  This is accomplished by blurring the lines so that liberals, populists, conservationists, libertarians, anarchists, social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, etc. are never quite clear what they stand for.  Clearly any effort to pull together even 10% of the people to foment change, must avoid labels.  The minute we succumb to being labelled, we set ourselves up for failure.  
Our task then is to establish clearly defined goals that transcend a particular political agenda.  This is limiting on the one hand and freeing on the other.  Limiting in that a very significant coming together can’t be used to bring about a much needed change such as preserving the environment.  Freeing in that we can put together a sizable coalition of informed citizens that can withstand the torrential downpour of propaganda and engage the system from a more knowledgable platform.  
Put another way, clear guidelines should never be divisive within the community that is committed to gaining knowledge to promote Critical Thinking.  There is room for conversation about the accuracy of certain facts, but there should be no room for arguing about political agenda in this forum.  While it may be true that the platform of the Democratic Party is more closely aligned with the goals empowering more voters or disempowering the Koch Brothers, we cannot allow party politics to infect this effort to educate.  For in fact the Democratic Party is quite obviously participating in the Deep State.  To align with it is not only folly, but also counter to the goal of creating a broad coalition of informed citizens.
We will return then over and over again to the simple statement, “the system is not working as an extension of We The People, and these are the facts.”
Selecting Content
Or most critical and formidable task is to select content for development.  Our approach to this will be integrated.  That is, each topic will be addressed from a variety of perspectives: social, legal, financial, political, ideological, organizational, economic, technological, constitutional, and environmental.  Obviously the topic of money and banking will be heavy on the financial aspect, but the other nine perspectives will play into the story.  For example the formation of the Federal Reserve arose out of a social phenomenon of people buying life insurance in droves.  Reformers immediately began challenging the monopolistic implications of a private central bank by passing anti-trust laws.  Opinions from all across the political spectrum, especially the right wing, came out against it.  It evokes historical conversations that date back to Hamilton and Jefferson.  And so it goes.
This still begs the question of how topics will be selected.  I will borrow a dated term from economic development parlance from the 70’s, “felt needs.”  We will start with the pain of the present and dig backwards.  Constructing a complete US history or worse trying to build a comprehensive world history is not the goal.  Rather the question is, what do we need to know from the past to better equip us for making choices in our present and future?  It is a moving target that cannot by definition be rigid and fixed.  Finally it should be noted that an effort will be made to blend cogent analysis with the study of primary documents.
Some Ideas for “Felt Needs”
Our purpose here is not to outline the entire Gadfly Buzz Curriculum.  But we can point in a direction by suggesting some appropriate “Felt Needs.” The good news is that there is a plethora of good stuff out there.  The bad news is that there is a plethora of good stuff out there.  It needs to be selected, layered, massaged and ultimately placed into an overall structure that makes some sort of sense.  A daunting task but there is nothing to do but begin.  Here is a preliminary (subject to change for sure) list of topics from which courses can hang and syllabi be prepared:
The Creation and Control of Money
The War Machine
Systemic Inequality
The Deep State
Control of the Food Chain by Corporations
Control of Healthcare by Pharma Industry
Control of Education Method and Content
Understanding Energy Alternatives 
Climate Change and the Environment
Deterioration of the Commons and Innovation
The Labor Movement
The History of Populism
The Organization of Markets
The target audience for the course materials includes: community action groups, the Transition Network movement, environmental groups, alternative energy initiatives, Occupy movements, history projects, high schools, universities, foundations and civic organizations. Content, including videos, course materials, reading lists and study guides will be made available over the internet for a small fee per course for individuals and a license fee per course for local entities.
The local entities administering the courses will be responsible for setting up their own credits leading to a certification if they so choose.  Similarly educational institutions can offer credits or incorporate the content into relevant courses taken for credit.
The goal will be to maximize exposure to the content with revenue generation serving as a means for cost covering. 
Symposiums will be offered to allow instructors to come together to share ideas on presentation, recruitment of students, follow up activities, content accuracy, etc.  These will be cost covering and will not appear in the budget.  An annual Buzz Conference will be scheduled, if demand allows, to bring together instructors, students, stakeholders and the press.ORGANIZATION OF GADFLY BUZZ
High profile individuals who can provide credibility, contacts, informational resources, and direction to the project.  
Target: 12
Governing Board
The legal entity responsible for establishing goals, policy and implementation.  To be selected by founders initially from nominations received from Stakeholders.  Meeting quarterly. 
Target: 9
Editorial Board
Group responsible for overseeing Curriculum Development process.  To be recruited from pool of historians, activists, educators and scholars from nominations from Founders, Governors, and Stakeholders.
Administration will be carried out by a combination of volunteers and paid staff responsible for financial accountability, contract negotiations for curriculum development, video production, etc.,Board of Governors meeting coordination, Editorial Board meeting coordination, etc.
A virtual office will be established with no resources going into rent, furnishings or bricks and mortar.  Computer hardware will be purchased if needed.
Investors in Gadfly Buzz will be accorded licensing credits toward the purchase of videos and course materials for use by physical or virtual communities they designate.  Investor categories are: individuals, foundations, community action groups and corporations.  While there will be no limit imposed on the size of investments, there will be no control ceded to larger investors over direction, curriculum content, board membership or administration.  In other words it will not be possible for any entity to buy out the organization to distract it from its mission.  A large contribution is equivalent to a large purchase of finished product.
Investors will be credited for all contributed resources including time, content, editing services, equipment, cash, etc.BUDGET
Capital Phase I Phase II
Organization $  5,000
Travel                                          45,000
Website Development                      50,000
Curriculum Development @10k          40,000                       60,000
Video Production 4@15k                   60,000                       90,000
Promotion                                     50,000                      50,000
Admin Startup                                25,000                      25,000
Total $  275,000 $ 225,000

Phase III
Phase III activities will commence as budget allows based on the successful implementation of the history training program.  Activities will be drawn from the following list:
Corporate Awareness Which corporations are driving the Oligarchy?
Legal Recourse                         Challenging in the courts our rights to privacy
Exposing Criminals Listing by name the bankers too rich to jail
Counter Propaganda Exposing lies 
School Curriculum Development Promotion of truth in education
Accountability Holding feet to the fire

One dictionary gadfly definition reads: “a person who persistently annoys or provokes others with criticism, schemes, ideas, demands, requests, etc.”  Yes, we intend to be annoying as we take on the most powerful Oligarchy in the history of our world.  Provocative might be a more appealing word but the truth is we strive to be annoying on steroids from the point of view of MiLords. The Gadfly tradition supports the notions outlined by Noah Chomsky in his description of Anarchists.  That is to say we should be “suspicious and skeptical of domination, authority, and hierarchy.”
We start with a simple premise.  Our shared history is subject to a barrage of propaganda in our schools, our churches, the media, our memes, and our political discourse.  We cannot begin to shed the shackles of Oligarchy without first making a more meaningful history accessible to a larger portion our population.  To do this we need to move beyond having the 5% read books, articles and blogs that speak truth but fail to attract the attention of the 10%.
It is important that we do not let a laundry list of issues get us sidetracked.  MiLords love it when we squabble over social issues that to them are meaningless in their obsession with cornering wealth and power.  Our job is to shed light on the origins of our oligarchical system and then expose the lies that prevent us from overturning it.  People from all political persuasions have a stake in this goal.
We need then to distill content from the myriad sources out there and make it available to the thousands of organizations that are arising to promote our well being, clean up our food supply, counter lies, and take back our country.  Curriculum development alone will do little.  But if reliable history can be presented in a systematic way in a format that is appealing, we can provide a tool to the army of citizens that are already awake.
We will do this with a minimum of physical structure and overhead.  We cannot fight the ravages of hierarchy by creating our own.  We will leverage existing resources to the hilt and trust that ten thousand points of light will burn a little brighter for having understood more clearly the intricacies of our subversion into debt slavery.
Our support, in time, volunteer effort, letter writing, ideas, community action on the ground, dollars and footwork will come from the many.  The concept of Crowd Resourcing will be extended beyond the raising of money to the utilization of resources from all quarters.

Phase I will seek to raise $275,000 in cash or in kind on an all or nothing basis.  All resources beyond this level will be utilized to develop as much curriculum as is feasible.