Dedicated to Intellectual Disobedience and the Pursuit of Understanding, the Last Bastions of Hope

Front Page    Politics & Policy     Technology    Media    Books    Cinema    Environmental Design    Music    Reviews    Art    Fashion    Features    Science    

 News Portal     About    Resources    Contact    Join List   ◄►Election 2012  Economy  ►Occupy Wall Street 

 Volume 1-2012                                                           


The RCJ provides RSS feeds from well-respected news organizations, giving our readers a convenient portal through which to stay abreast of world events and issues. Use the links provided.

The New York Times

The Huffington Post

The Economist

The Daily Beast


Politics Daily

Wall Street Journal

Ezra Klein's WonkBlog - Washington Post

Nuclear Threat Initiative




Rolling Stone





Are You A Slave? A Brief History of the Subject Suggests "Probably"

Moses, Wall Street, Human Nature and Grover Norquist

Concepts of Resistance - The RCJ Provides a Road Map for the OWS Movement

Lance Henriksen - World's Greatest Actor in Reflective Mode

Conspiracy - A Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the New World Order

Elections 2012

What Does it Take to be President?

Rating the U.S. News Readers

The Antidote to Michelle Bachman

Ship of Fools - Why Won't We Save Ourselves?

White House Solar Bomb

What Is Happening to Us?

The Cloud - What It Is

Background on Afghanistan

Economics 101

Global Economic Risks

Islamic Definition

Middle East

Second Amendment Remedies

Sam Broussard - Republicans


Why All the Zombies?

Gun Rights

Leadership Chronicles



Is Belief In God a Sign of Weakness?

Rick Alan Rice - Publisher of RARWRITER.com and the Revolution Culture Journal.

No, but it may be a signal for help, and not necessarily in a bad way.

God is a construction of peoples’ need to have an organizing influence in their lives, standards to live by, and some reason to carry on. In all of those ways, God and everything that comes with it – the afterlife, sense of well being and spiritual comfort, and purpose in all things – is truly helpful to people, as various studies have seemed to indicate. Belief is powerful, almost regardless of its details.

That God, and the belief therein, is a signal for help is endemic to the genesis of the subject, if you will pardon the pun.
Read Post - Comment


Letter to Conservatives: The Party of Wealth – Theirs

Sam Broussard - Writer, Songwriter, Musician, member of Steve Reilly and the Mamou Playboys


Three of the front runners for the Republican nomination are now just memories, pundit fodder: Huckabee and Trump, and Palin recedes into political tinnitus. But the retiring of all three has one thing in common, and it’s money. Huckabee just bought a huge house in Florida and is enjoying his status and salary at Fox News. Trump is more at home on his reality show. And Palin is enjoying both Fox money and reality TV and will probably be the next Oprah Winfrey, although she’ll never get more than twenty percent of the viewers because only that percentage of Americans can identify with her spunky pride in her ignorance. And yes, she’s pretty.

Read Post - Comment


We Need A New Party!

Kenny Lee Lewis - Member of The Steve Miller Band, Guitarist/singer/songwriter, Novelist/screenwriter' www.kennyleelewis.com, www.stevemillerband.com

I am a rock star. Ok, ok, I am in a band with a rock star.  I am also a husband, father of three daughters, and a small business owner who pays his taxes like anyone else. I never got into politics until the last election and wrote and produced a non-partisan PSA video for Comcast called “Get Out and Vote” to help assuage voter apathy throughout this ailing nation. I didn’t vote for either one of the major candidates in 2008. I am all about trying to rally everyone to start voting again so we can possibly support a third political party that makes sense. If we can educate and get people out to the polls again, I believe that there could be a groundswell of voters who could turn the tides in future elections.
We need a party “by the people and for the people”. As corny as that sounds, it is a precept that our nation was founded upon and if we are to lift up and resuscitate this
suffocating political system, we are going to need a leader who actually leads rather than folds like a cheap stroller just to please his parties’ special interests.

(Use the link below to read Kenny's entire post (© Kenny Lee Lewis, 2011 - All Rights Reserved).

Read Post - Comment


The RCJ Posts Issues Questionnaire on Obama - Obama 2012 – Where Do You Stand?

Rick Alan Rice - Publisher of RARWRITER.com and the Revolution Culture Journal. He is also proprietor of A&E/IT Consulting firm Rick A Rice Consulting.

The Revolution Culture Journal (RCJ) invites you to participate in a little experiment to help us understand public perception of President Barack Obama, particularly as it relates to enthusiasm for his re-election in 2012.

We have identified 34 issues in U.S. foreign and domestic policy and devised a scale to determine how well respondents feel President Obama is doing with each. Use this link to go to the questionnaire.

Read Post - Comment


Bechtel’s Long-Term Commitment to Nuclear Disaster

Rick Alan Rice - Publisher of RARWRITER.com and the Revolution Culture Journal. He is also proprietor of A&E/IT Consulting firm Rick A Rice Consulting.

Somehow the idea of using nuclear fission, and eventually nuclear fusion, to boil water, produce steam, drive turbines and produce direct current electricity has found its way back into the list of acceptable alternatives as an environmentally friendly solution. This bit of Houdini depends entirely on comparison to power generation through the burning of coal, which produces carbon emissions and is a primary contributor to rising levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) in our choking environment.

Read Post - Comment


Applying Grover Norquist to Corporation Intellectual Starvation

Rick Alan Rice - Publisher of RARWRITER.com and the Revolution Culture Journal. He is also proprietor of A&E/IT Consulting firm Rick A Rice Consulting.

In my career as a consultant, I have all kinds of opportunities to interact with different personality types at different levels of organizations. Some of these are of the kind that might make others feel that life is not worth living, but the advantage of consultancy is that my involvements are focused, short, and generally sweet, and then I leave the office dramas behind for a quick dip into the next kiln of opportunity. I am like a merry mercenary in that way, unexposed to the daily grind of the organizations with which I work.

Staff people, on the other hand, are subject to hierarchical structures and personality profiles, and their critical path issue is: a) whether or not to stay in the roles they are in, given the odds of rising up to a more satisfying position within the organization; or b) to cast their fates to wind, which is the job market.

So much of life happens at the initial sell-in.

Read Post - Comment


Appointment with Disaster - Republican Domestic Policy

Rick Alan Rice - Publisher of RARWRITER.com and the Revolution Culture Journal.

While the rich are enjoying tax breaks they have no need for and U.S. corporations are holding on to record profits, padding their accounts to ensure that this is not their rainy day, but doing little to further the employment and domestic security needs of United States citizens, word comes that we are running out of money to provide help for a growing population of homeless (see the Huffington Post on this date).
Read Post - Comment



Welcoming the Arab Street to U.S. Foreign Policy

Rick Alan Rice - Publisher of RARWRITER.com and the Revolution Culture Journal.

I was all set to thank the progressive Arab world, or at least the 25 percent of it that is situated in Egypt, for taking charge of U.S. foreign policy and forcing it to make sense. Then those pro-Mubarak thugs showed up and shocked the global community back to reality.
Read Post - Comment



Why Your College Student Can't Read, Write or Even Think

Rick Alan Rice - Publisher, Writer, A&E / IT Consultant

Back a hundred years ago, when I was in college, all the guys who were doing the best in the classes I took all seemed to be Viet Nam veterans going to school on government grants. They tended to stand out because they were older and far more experienced than their classmates. It seems unlikely that they were brighter, but they were fundamentally different in terms of focus and perspective in ways that seemed obviously helpful to them.
Read Post - Comment









In this special feature, the RCJ traces events in U.S. history over the past 60 years that have served as catalysts for change, sometimes but not always in a positive vein.

Our ground zero is South-Central Los Angeles, the societal laboratory that during the pre-Civil Rights era was home to some of the greatest economic advancements for African-American U.S. citizens, but by the mid-1960s became the scene of riots in Watts, and thereafter experienced some of the steepest declines in the fortunes of America's Blacks in the modern era. What happened was that Los Angeles lost its manufacturing base, a newly affluent generation of middle class Blacks found themselves unable to transition to a new era of aerospace and defense industry-related employment, and they were, in essence, ghettoized by housing discrimination laws that restricted growing levels of poverty to a concentrated area of Los Angeles.

We use the terms African-American and Black for further historical reference, for along the way toward racial integration, particularly with regards to the promise that California held for progressive developments in the 1950s, there was a redefinition of this key American culture - a culture that must be fully vested in the future sustainability of the U.S. for the country to thrive - and it was away from accommodation and tolerance and toward an insular urban culture of violent nihilism. It was a generational thing on one level, and on another a spiritual dislocation brought on by change in circumstance and inadequate infrastructure within a society to support transformational developments.

Our intent is to create a context for understanding of global events and changes over the past 60 years so that we may see the linkages and the possibilities presented by reapplication of focus, and redefinition of national purpose. With the film Made In America as our starting point, and South-Central as our study area, we propose a range of solutions, the implementation of which has far-reaching global application. - RAR


Read the chart across, left to right, considering catalysts and markers for each decade. (The "Historic" and "Marker" information is not intended to correlate on a line-per-line basis, but pay attention to catalysts and markers over the period to note broad developments.


Stability/Instability Recipe

The events listed in the graphic are largely, but not entirely, focused on developments within the United States of America over the past 60-plus years, but the theme of the last half-century has been the growing global interconnectedness in all things.  This has been made so by the impact of our human population, now totaling more than 7 billion people, and the networks of systems we have put into place to provide services to people throughout the world.

The relationships of all of those global entities are linked by language, culture, and most importantly infrastructure.

One can transact across language and cultural barriers, but if you can’t bring your product, service, or idea to the people who need it then all else is moot.

Infrastructure – the thoughtful creation of a web of systems, including physical assets and objective-oriented enterprises, to support our existence - is an entirely human conceit and in its ultimate form includes:

  • Housing and life support – shelter, water, sewerage, power

  • Transportation and communications systems – roadways, transit systems, telephones

  • Supply chains of goods and services – businesses, agencies, firms

  • Network of employment centers - industries

  • Education – public and private schools, colleges and universities, training centers

If any one of those five key infrastructure elements is missing, the result is societal Instability.


Keeping it Simple and Supportive

It feels as if policy making in the U.S. is presently overwhelmed by detail, which as former presidential candidate Ross Perot correctly observed is where the “devil” is. America and the world economy could be “fixed” through a combination of courageous policy decisions and a focus on our basic immediate objectives rather than on the minutiae of each aspect of what needs to be done.

In its most basic form, the demands of an economy charge a society with seven primary directives, all of which are aimed at sustaining and further improving the world the society has created, or hopes to create. That means providing:

  • Basic sanitary home support services

  • Public mobility

  • Marketplaces for food, goods and services

  • Education and training facilities

  • Employment development services

  • Industries in which qualified people can find employment

  • Service sector jobs in which people can find employment

Figure 1 illustrates a healthy infrastructure support system in which the entire society is geared toward providing support for seven basic functions listed above. The system has an organic nature to it, with lifeblood consisting of positive human engagement with each aspect of the system and revenues that are distributed equitably to ensure sufficient funding for each of those seven primary functions of a society.

NOTE: As the documentary Made In America shows, remove or degrade the workings of any one of these critical functions and the result is societal breakdown, which cascades to become a devastating flood wiping out portions of all the other critical systems.

Figure 1: A Healthy Infrastructure Support System


In the U.S., there are certain streams, or thematic elements, in the events of our compressed history (1776-present) that are constant destabilizing factors.

1.   Race – In the U.S., the well-being of society is integrally connected to the stability of the Black community. The same could be said of other countries in relation to other ethnic groups, and wherever institutionalized means are used to suppress un-empowered, targeted groups.

2.   Orthodoxy – Societies organize around principles, and monotheistic societies organize around specific sets of dogma. Because members of any one society more or less acknowledge the same or similar sets of dogma, the conflicts that arise are all around interpretation and linkages, justifications for the actions each member of society takes in service to their chosen ways of thinking.

3.   Dystopia – There is an Orwellian feeling about life on Earth in the 21st Century, with three  enormous consortiums circling the Israel/Palestine conflict:

a.       North America, Europe and Japan

b.      Africa, the Orient, the Middle East, and Eurasia

c.       Far East Asia

The Israel/Palestine conflict goes to the heart of human dissatisfaction, representing in the Middle East a dynamic that connects everyone who experiences roadblocks along their paths toward survival, peace and stability. In this case, the roadblocks are in the form of self-interested parties leveraging uncorroborated belief systems to gain advantage, as in “God gave this land to me…”

4.   Financial Power – Concentration of wealth does not happen naturally or in a vacuum. Those who amass wealth realize an advantage of being able to live outside of the system described in  Figure 1. Largely immune from the degradations that accompany breakdowns in an infrastructure support system, the wealthy are also in control of the society’s decision making processes. This disconnect produces policy that often exacerbates the degradation of infrastructure support systems.

EXAMPLE: Deregulation of U.S. industries paralleled business leaders’ insistence that they needed to unleash all powers at their disposal to compete in a world of expanding globalism in which autocratic governments were playing ruthlessly and without rules. A case in point would be the uneven tariffs on goods imported into China from the U.S., compared to those levied by the U.S. on goods imported from China. U.S. business leaders would also point to China’s manipulated currency evaluation as an example of unprincipled competitive behavior that must be countered by equivalent behavior on the part of U.S. capitalists. However, because the U.S. is in huge debt to China, and without leverage to negotiate effectively with China in that regard, American corporations turn their attentions to other non-confrontational strategies that enhance their competitive position to match that achieved by China through its currency and trade practices, not to mention human rights violations. Horribly, among the U.S. business communities’ strategies has been to outsource jobs to China to take advantage of those same human rights violations that are enabling profitability of Chinese industry.

Each of these elements are causing disruptions to the infrastructures of global societies, in one way or another, and creating global instability.


Were the RCJ running the U.S. government, we would take whatever steps were necessary to do the following:

1.   Sign the United Nations resolution to recognize Palestine and endorse the “two-state” solution.

2.   Reset the banking industry through reimplementation of the Glass-Stegall Act that separated daily banking from investment operations.

3.   Criminalize corporate bookkeeping practices that book income other than in the country in which the corporation is incorporated.

4.   Tie corporate tax rates to key indices, including the U.S. content of products and services, i.e., the higher the U.S. content the lower the tax rate.

5.   Eliminate the approximately $170 billion that U.S. taxpayers divvy up annually in “welfare” benefits to corporations and rich people (which, by the way, compares to $14 billion paid annually for social welfare programs, the latter of which largely represent funds that flow directly back into the economic system, lowering the actual costs of social welfare programs versus those of “welfare” to corporations and the rich, which tends to remain out of the stream of recirculating currency, thereby depriving the economic system of some portion of its lifeblood).

6.   Reset the top income tax bracket to 70 percent for those making $2.9 million or more per year, 50 percent for those making more than $400,000 per year, and 39 percent for those making more than $250,000 per year. Allow tax deductions for charitable contributions, educational expenses, and home improvements.

7.   Provide a system of universal basic health care for all U.S. citizens.

8.   End the war in Afghanistan and reduce the presence of permanent U.S. military installations abroad to bring the troops home for deployment in key locations in the U.S., including along international borders and in selected urban areas.

9.   Invest in the re-development of all five categories (defined above) of the critical infrastructure of the U.S.

  • Housing and life support – Replace aging water and sewer systems, put telephone and power lines underground, modernize the power grid

PREPARATION TIME:    6 months to Notice to Proceed                                                    

PAYBACK:                    Measured growth in jobs and supply orders

FULL ROI:                    Years determined by product life cycles                          

  • Transportation and communications systems – Rehabilitate roadways, modernize transit systems, provide universal wi-fi connectivity

PREPARATION TIME:   6 months to Notice to Proceed                                                    

PAYBACK:                   Measured growth in jobs and supply orders

FULL ROI:                   Years determined by product life cycles          

  • Supply chains of goods and services – Divert “corporate welfare” savings into low-interest loans for small businesses, agencies, and firms

PREPARATION TIME:  Next fiscal year                                                                  

PAYBACK:                   Growth in jobs and supply orders two years out              

FULL ROI:                    Dependent upon future policy to protect smaller businesses    

  • Network of employment centers – Aggregate employment listings into easily accessible, neighborhood-focused listings of employment opportunities by industry and role description; mobilize state Employment Development Divisions toward providing personalized services to meet the needs of local employers and workers

PREPARATION TIME:    3 months to Notice to Proceed                                                    

PAYBACK:                    Immediate in terms of messaging, TBD re rate of employment            

FULL ROI:                     Unknown-Long term study of variables including community stability, income, employment, education levels 

  • Education – We need to rescue our K-12 grade students from the un-tethered floating in space that has typified American public school education for the past 100 years. Re-vision public and private schools, colleges and universities as training centers, in which:

a.   Every class, K through doctoral work, is geared toward age-appropriate skill-based training. Kindergarteners learn how to make paper dolls, PhD candidates learn how to make a fusion reaction. Every skill learned along the way should make sense, to the average person, as being a building block to some future objective, defined by the various training streams that students may be placed in based on their strengths and inclinations as demonstrated by their outputs along the course of their education. These streams should allow for crossover as students develop and possibly exhibit potential in areas other than those that were first observed. Otherwise, curriculums need to provide flexibility for students to grow in their interests and curiosities, with the goal to broaden each individual rather than to narrow their range of abilities.

b.   Reading, writing and arithmetic should be taught as disciplines adjunct to the skills being taught at every level. Students learn the vocabulary and do the math required to perform each learned skill along the way, so that each engagement with these “soft arts” of education is tied directly and relevantly to a task at hand (the skill being learned).

PREPARATION TIME:  Start of upcoming school year                                                        

PAYBACK:                   Requires no additional investment; increased levels of student engagement likely to yield immediate results, with first fully-employable high school graduates within 4 years from program start

FULL ROI:                    Revolution in education would yield immediate classroom benefits, which would likely make full ROI a thing measured in terms of graduation rates and performance on tests   

  1. 10.   Create Emergency Community Resource Centers to provide immediate training and employment for under-served U.S. citizens.

  • Mobilized Commitment: In targeted neighborhoods, demolish abandoned structures and temporarily replace with military tent structures. Besides providing the command center for the Emergency Community Resource Center, the mobilization will serve as an important symbol of progressive intent while providing immediate benefits in security and health care.

  • Provide 24-hour training and employment centers.

o   Secured – Patrol streets so near neighbors can walk to facilities safely night and day

o   Staffed – employment development and healthcare personnel on site to handle walk-in clients

o   Resourced – equipment on hand to provide environmental controls and life support, manage documentation, deliver healthcare, transportation, and operations and maintenance

o   Networked – telecommunications connected to other such centers throughout the region

PREPARATION TIME:   3 months  

PAYBACK:                    Immediate in terms of messaging, TBD regarding rate of employment               

FULL ROI:                     Determination would require a measurement of variables including community stability, income, employment, education levels – long term study



Finally, we need to get honest with ourselves and others about how wealth is acquired. At the most basic level, we dig wealth from the earth in one way or another. We invest sweat equity – our time and labor – into trying to extract from the available resources and opportunities those carry-aways that can be exchanged for value in goods, services, and bankable coins.

There are two dynamics at work in this simple depiction of earned income:

1.   Shared Sacrifice: There is almost no human endeavor that yields an income that is not dependent upon the contributions of other individuals in the production chain. Railroad magnates Collis and Henry Huntington, for instance, are credited with expanding the Central Pacific Railroad’s expansion across the American west, and they made fortunes doing it – except that they didn’t really do any of it.  Their fortunes were built on the backs of sledge hammering laborers and iron workers who worked for wages and actually built the rail systems with their bare hands. The Huntington’s walked away with all the money and all the glory because they already had all the money and the glory. This dynamic must be discredited and put in its proper context, including death by stabbing of the illegitimate claim that wealthy people and corporations should pay lower taxes because they are "job producers". Much of what being a "job producer" means in practice is that some advantaged person has a team of less advantaged individuals in place so that he can profit from their labors. Rewarding that dynamic is at the heart of supply-side economics, the focus upon which has created massive inequality in wealth distribution in the U.S. and elsewhere.

2.   Virtual Assets: The power that the wealthy enjoy is, more now than at any previous time in history, ephemeral; based largely on figures on spreadsheets and nothing more. The currency that circulates through an economic system is the physical representation of only a portion of the value within that economic system. The vast majority of that value – particularly since the U.S. went off the gold standard during the Nixon Administration – is nothing more than allocations from the Federal Treasury, not of fungible currencies but of control units, like Booleans switched to “True” for those lucky enough to receive these inputs to their spreadsheets.

What we need to understand is that the Federal Treasury may not be controlled by America’s citizens – in fact, the Federal Treasury is a consortium of private banks – but it does control the value of every U.S. citizen. And that value, measured in buying power, has remained flat since 1969, because every time the Fed dumps more Federal Reserve Notes into the system it devalues the “actual” value of our currency, because the Notes are based on nothing more than the truth of their having been added as additional numbers to the Feds’ balance sheet. This is why we have experienced 625 percent inflation on the dollar since 1960, so that the person working today would need to make around $290,000 per year to have the same purchasing power that a guy making $40,000 per year had in 1960.

The vast majority of the wealth accumulation over that period has been on the interest dividends enjoyed by those who have had wealth to loan to other parties. This is why we have seen this accumulation of the total wealth of the U.S. in the coffers of just a few.

The situation has been exacerbated by the current economic recession, as the Treasury has issued Notes for which there are no buyers, and so been forced to purchase back 80 percent of them themselves, them being the network of regional banks that make up the Reserve system. The net result is that the wealthy owners within this banking system will continue to receive interest payments on increasingly larger outstanding debts, further consolidating the nation’s wealth into the control of the few while the vast majority of U.S. citizens are becoming increasingly poor. The U.S. middle class is disappearing and being replaced by expanding middle class groups, primarily in Asia, while our top one percent of earners grow mega-wealthy.

RESET THE DEBATE: If the Federal Treasury is going to make unilateral decisions that benefit the few and weaken the vast majority of us, then they are running an illegitimate operation that needs to be addressed through tax and criminal code.

The bottom line is that we need policies that distribute wealth equitably on the understanding that no person, however resourceful, achieves anything on their own. Success is always, at points along the way, dependent upon leveraging the support of others, and it is unethical and morally dishonest for any individual to take more for what they contributed than what is apportioned to others for their contributions.

Moreover, income earned from investments and interest payments should not be viewed as productive income. It is not job creating income – if it were, Apple and General Motors and many other major corporations, which during the recession have been sitting on mountains of cash, would have never allowed there to be an unemployment rate in the U.S. - and should be taxed at the highest rate.

Income earned through the production of tangible goods and services should be taxed at the lowest rate. A person, for instance, who is making an engine part of high, sustainable quality, and doing it in a safe, energy-efficient, environmentally responsible manner, should pay next to nothing on his income because that person makes a tangible contribution.

A stock broker, on the other hand, should have income taxed at a high rate because it is impossible to correlate that person’s income to any tangible contribution to society. He may have steered your grandmother into an investment that will secure her retirement, or bilked her out of her savings. He may have secured startup funds for a new technology business, or he may have created exactly the type of annuity the next Adolph Hitler is looking for to secure the long-term commitments of his Army of I-Me-Mine. Trying to parse the value to society of financial services is tricky business, an engagement in abstractions and not, in the end, worth protected treatment.

The next time some rich person decries money taken away from them in taxes, remind them of all the workers who actually created the value of that income. There is a total value there that is not his, but ours.


©Rick Alan Rice (RAR), March, 2012

YOU ARE ON THE Revolution Culture Journal.com ECONOMICS PAGE