Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Icon of Capitalism Passes Away

Good cooks never give away their recipe.  Apple CEO and founder Steve Jobs, who died last night after a decade-long bout with cancer, was famous for forbidding his employees to leak company secrets to the media or anyone else.

As the Day of Rage riots simmer and brew, and the unions add more meat to the stew that the organizers have been concocting since before the Tunisia riots, it’s time to reflect on Jobs’ capitalistic contributions and the innovations that made organizing today’s riots so much easier and more efficient.

No blame to Jobs.  I remember when the Apple Computers, particularly the Mac, came out in the early Eighties.  I was a young secretary then.  The company at which I worked had one, and only one computer, an Apple.  I believe it was the new Mac.  At any rate, the Mac had its own room.  I had to sign a security book in order to use the computer and then the secretary unlocked the door and let me in.  There was a rarified air in the room and I felt that I would have to kneel down and bow to it, chanting, “I – O – I – O – I – O” (binary code) before it would allow me to touch it.

Jobs was a creative innovator who saved the world from enthrallment in a DOS-based universe, where you would have to give a command for every function you wished to perform.  Jobs, with his icons and desktop windows applications changed all that.  Eventually, other computer manufacturers got on board.  But it was Jobs who saved the working world, more so than the hypocritical demonstrators, using their Ipods and Ipads to organize their riots, trying to crash Wall Street.

Jobs may have been a Liberal; but he was a smart Liberal capitalist who didn’t look to the government to help him.  He began his business when he was 21 or 22, in 1976, out of his parents’ garage, with co-founder and high school buddy, Tom Wozniak.

Adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs of Los Altos, California, a working-class couple who nurtured his early interest in electronics, Jobs saw his first computer at NASA's Ames Research Center when he was 11.  Before finishing high school, he landed a summer job at Hewlett-Packard.  Jobs enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Ore., in 1972 but dropped out after six months.

Interestingly, given our current situation, he said at a Stanford University commencement address in 2005, “All of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it.  I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out."

When he returned to California in 1974, Jobs worked for video game maker Atari and attended meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club -- a group of computer hobbyists – among them, Wozniak.  Enthusiasts loved Wozniak's homemade computer, but Jobs, the capitalist visionary, saw its potential far beyond the geeky hobbyists of the time.  He and Wozniak started Apple Computer Inc. in Jobs' parents' garage in 1976.  According to Wozniak, Jobs suggested the name after visiting an “apple orchard” that Wozniak said was actually a commune, although Jobs later said he was inspired by the Apple label on the Beatles’ albums.

Like the automobile innovator of another age, Henry Ford, Jobs envisioned a computer for the general public.  Their first creation was the Apple I -- essentially, the guts of a computer without a case, keyboard or monitor.  The Apple II, which hit the market in 1977, was their first machine for the masses. By age 25, Jobs was worth $100 million.

Van Jones, meanwhile, has delivered the Tea Parties, a left-handed compliment:  that he admires the Tea Party’s methods.  Which Tea Party does he mean, though?  Was he talking about the Tea Parties of 2009 or the Tea Party of 1773, organized by Boston’s resident trouble-maker and erstwhile beer brewer, Samuel Adams?  Adams didn’t have much of a head for business, and his brewery failed.  But he did have a head for organizing Boston’s milling, hot-headed crowds.  He bided his time, watching their annual Pope Day battles, between North and South Boston, until he could guide them into a cause worth rioting for:  the American Revolution.  The results were the Boston Massacre, begun by the Bostonians, not the British, and the Boston Tea Party, as well as various riots which resulted in the terrorization of Boston’s Tory citizens (let it be said that they gave as good as they got, though) and the eventual departure of Massachusetts’s provincial governor, Thomas Hutchinson.  The rioting also brought on the introduction of more British soldiers into the Colonies.

The Founding Fathers, particularly Benjamin Franklin and George Washington were not pleased, and insisted that the East India Company be repaid for its lost tea.  However, they also recognized the discontent among the colonists and the injustice of Britain’s trade restrictions.  Defense of free-market capitalism is what drove the American Revolution.  While he didn’t approve of the Tea Party action, Washington was actually glad to see that the fight was finally being brought to a head.

What is happening on Wall Street is hardly the American Revolution.  Certainly, it is not the American Spring, or Autumn, though a cynical wag could call it “The American Fall.”  Here is what our Mainstream Media is telling us about the events in Lower Manhattan, where the rioters are being confined to Zuccotti Park, although they held a protest march to Foley Square, where the Federal courthouse is located.

According to Adam Martin of the Atlantic Wire, “Zuccotti Park, where the Occupy Wall Street encampment is located, is not actually a park (it's actually private land owned by Brookfield Properties) but the guy it's named after is real: he's John Zuccotti the United States chairman of the real estate behemoth Brookfield Properties. He works in the World Financial Center, which is just one of Brookfield's vast holdings. Zuccotti was profiled today by The New York Times's Sam Roberts and he sounds like a guy who is quite happy with all of the attention, even if it's indirect.”

Even Juilliard students are said to be participating.  Make Music, Not War, kid.

Here’s what some of the other media are reporting:

The NY Daily News, quoting a retired salesman from Teaneck, N.J. who’d never been to a protest before:  “I want the wealthy to pay their fair share.  If, in some small way, I can show up and yell and support and march, I'll do whatever I can do to help Main Street.”

“He welcomed the union muscle, saying it gave the protest more substance, ‘so it doesn't appear to be a clown show.’”

WNBC-TV Reporter – “Last night’s protest march was largely successful.”

Unions lent their muscle?  Economic inequality?  The unions are responsible for the corporate flight and collapse. They dare talk about protecting their pensions, when so many private sector employees’ jobs are either gone or are in danger?  Wealthy pay their fair share?  Help Main Street?  These are not 2009 Tea Party tactics; these are socialist mob tactics, more reminiscent of the French Revolution not the American Revolution, not the courage of George Washington and his troops, but the brutality of not cops but violent, uncontrolled mobs bursting into the homes of civilians, Tories though they were, frightening old women and children.  These mobs are beginning to take on the tenor not even of the mobs of Boston, but of Paris.  Boston wanted free trade.  Paris wanted social equality and redistribution of wealth, which is not in any sense “equality.”   All that is wanting is Madame DeFarge and her knitting needles.

The supreme irony is that the unions have “suddenly” joined forces with the student protester – something they undoubtedly intended to do all along.  They’re mounting their numbers, waiting for that tipping point – whatever it might be – that will plunge Lower Manhattan and America into the chaos the anarachists have long awaited.  Nov. 5th is traditionally Guy Fawkes Day, in honor of the anarchist who was within a match’s length of blowing up Great Britain’s Parliament.

Or there may be some other nearer, secret anniversary date which might be approaching.  The growing numbers are clearly an intended menace, though.  WOR’s John Gambling, whose studios are across the street from Zuccotti Park, noted the mounting crowds this morning with understandable alarm.

This is not the modern Tea Party way.  This is not the civilized way.  This is not the American way.


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