"In an environment of confusion and despair, it helps to understand the forces at play, how they operate, and why they feel so overwhelming."
This article is a very thoughtful and compelling summary of America's plight. It should be read by all Americans.
"Many people are mystified as to the specific causes of their fears, with a mass media system that constantly broadcasts propaganda about how great America is and a new digital media system that may be exacerbating the problems for a society under immense and unprecedented duress."
"Virtually every problem we face has gotten worse over the past 40 years, and heavily sped up since 9/11 and the economic crash of 2007."
"The statistics are quite shocking. The poor are suffering—more than 46 million Americans live at or below the poverty level, ..."
"Almost half of middle-class workers, 49 percent, will be poor or near poor in retirement, living on a food budget of about $5 a day.”"
"On the other hand, no one could have predicted Occupy. Is there another upheaval waiting to explode?"
I think that the Occupy movement withered for a few reasons, must mostly because the movement didn't focus on one issue.
And there IS such an issue that is worthy of our concentrated attention: election system reform.
We can use computer technology and the Internet to find and elect the right people, and they in turn will intelligently fix what's broken.
We can (must!) use what's left of our democracy to replace the shills now occupying so much of government. By removing the big money we remove the corrupting influence. This opens the doors for educated, smart, capable and well-meaning, public-service minded people to occupy these offices. There are many good people out there who are not corrupted or beholden to special interests who would take office if given the chance and a respectable paycheck.
But let's get the process straight this time. The election process must begin with identifying the issues, not the candidates. We've been force fed the issues for so long now that we don't even realize it's been working that way.
Therefore the first task of our new system will be to help us develop the list of issues. Then, as this list takes form, candidates are invited to state their positions on each of the issues (think "spreadsheet").
Candidates for elected positions can load up their online profiles with videos of their speeches, links to articles they've written, and if they've held office, their voting record, etc. With this information accessible through our voting program, we can hone in on our real favorites and vote them into office.
Perhaps before too long it will be possible for us to use a program such as IBM's Watson to help us match our positions on the issues with those of the candidates running for the office, but let's get started with a basic apparatus. This is a perfect application for an Open Source development project, where programmers around the world share and improve the code. The program would then be shared by any country wishing to use it.