Kim Dotcom, Online Renegade, Shakes Up New Zealand Election … It was not an ordinary political rally, but it has been anything but an ordinary election. The hundreds of people who packed Auckland Town Hall on a recent evening were regaled by speeches by Glenn Greenwald, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder; and Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, the last two appearing by Internet video link. At the center of the show was the event's organizer, Kim Dotcom, an Internet entrepreneur accused of mass copyright theft whose fledgling Internet Party stands a chance at winning seats in Parliament in the national elections on Saturday. – The New York Times
Dominant Social Theme: Put this renegade on trial, not at the head of a political party.
Free-Market Analysis: Yesterday we commented on the Scottish election and how Scotland's referendum on leaving Britain was important because of its larger implications.
In this Internet era, elite control is continually waning. While, as we've discussed in the past, there may be a number of global strategic considerations that elevated the Scottish referendum, in the end those who are convinced of their innate "right to rule" may have guessed wrong.
Whether Scotland goes or stays (and at deadline the vote hadn't concluded), the issues that the referendum has raised will remain relevant and discussion about them will only grow. That wasn't supposed to be the result, and yet it is.
This is true in New Zealand, where the US government has been attempting to extradite Mega's Kim Dotcom on copyright racketeering charges. The idea was that his now defunct Megaupload file-sharing firm encouraged illegal downloads.
Dotcom's expensive home in New Zealand was raided (illegally) with the help of the FBI and the US has been trying to pry him loose from New Zealand ever since.
The idea of the raid was to cast Dotcom as a criminal. Instead, he has become something of a hero to many. And now, he's gone into politics and his party may even win seats in the upcoming New Zealand election. Here's more:
"We are going to work really, really hard to stop this country from participating in mass surveillance," Mr. Dotcom told the crowd. "And we'll close one of the Five Eyes," he added, referring to the intelligence alliance that consists of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.
The crowd erupted in cheers. In this remote Pacific island country, where elections usually turn on bread-and-butter issues like jobs and personal financial security, this election campaign has been rocked by a scandal involving the hacked emails of a right-wing blogger that led to the resignation of a senior minister, a campaign finance scandal that forced the resignation of a member of Parliament, and a lawsuit brought by the publishers of the American rapper Eminem accusing the governing National Party of illegally using his song "Lose Yourself" in a campaign ad. (The party denies the allegation.)
The issue that has drawn international attention, however, has been Mr. Dotcom himself, who has become an outspoken character and a significant player in New Zealand politics since he moved here several years ago. Born Kim Schmitz in Germany before legally changing his name, Mr. Dotcom, 40, is fighting extradition to the United States, where he is wanted on racketeering charges stemming from his file-sharing site Megaupload, now defunct.
While out on bail as he appeals the case, he has introduced a new online storage company, Mega; confronted the prime minister in Parliament; released an album; and founded the Internet Party. The party advocates decriminalizing marijuana for personal use, setting a national goal of 100 percent sustainable energy generation by 2025, repealing surveillance legislation, and amending copyright laws to protect Internet companies from "civil liability arising from the action of their users," a fix that could shield hosting services like Mega.
If US government officials had intended to cast Dotcom in a bad light by attempting to extradite him, it would seem they've failed, at least thus far. The same thing may be said regarding the Scottish secession vote.
The idea may have been to deliver Scotland to the EU and the euro, but it could be that those behind the strategy have had second thoughts and decided Scotland would be better off in the union than outside.
The Internet Reformation is unpredictable that way. It's no longer so easy for a group of powerful internationalists to manipulate public opinion. We've been predicting that for years. But lately and belatedly, this message seems to be sinking in – even from the point of view of the mainstream media.
Here's an excerpt from a recent New York Times post entitled, "Scotland's Independence Vote Shows a Global Crisis of the Elites":
When you get past the details of the Scottish independence referendum Thursday, there is a broader story underway, one that is also playing out in other advanced nations. It is a crisis of the elites. Scotland's push for independence is driven by a conviction — one not ungrounded in reality — that the British ruling class has blundered through the last couple of decades.
The same discontent applies to varying degrees in the United States and, especially, the eurozone. It is, in many ways, a defining feature of our time. The rise of Catalan would-be secessionists in Spain, the rise of parties of the far right in European countries as diverse as Greece and Sweden, and the Tea Party in the United States are all rooted in a sense that, having been granted vast control over the levers of power, the political elite across the advanced world have made a mess of things.
… What distinguishes the current moment is that discontent with the way things have been going is so high as to test many people's tolerance for the governing institutions as they currently exist … The details of the policy mistakes are different, as are the political movements that have arisen in protest. But together they are a reminder that no matter how entrenched our government institutions may seem, they rest on a bedrock assumption: that the leaders entrusted with power will deliver the goods.
Power is not a right; it is a responsibility. The choice that the Scots are making on Thursday is about whether the men and women who rule Britain messed things up so badly that they would rather go it alone. And so the results will ripple through world capitals from Athens to Washington: People don't think the way things are going is good enough, and voters are getting angry enough to want to do something about it.
We have no idea why the Times wished to unburden itself this way. The Times is a globalist media institution and there's not much to gain by pointing out that globalism is actually on the wane. Perhaps there's some larger strategy at work that will become apparent over the next days, weeks and months.
But for now, we'll take these admissions at face value. They are proof positive that the globalist enterprise is in difficulty and that the tidal wave of information released by technology is still having an impact – and one that may yet be growing.
The Internet is like a big amplifier and many elite dominant social themes have been revised to keep up with changing popular opinion. Even the legalization of cannabis – and the apparent elite approval – may be an effort by globalist forces to keep up with the times.
Whether it is copyright, secession or elite control of the international political process, the Internet is causing people to question basic assumptions and look for solutions that they might not have considered in the 20th century, or even early in the 21st.
This trend has staggering implications, of course. Here at The Daily Bell, we write about them, but we also try to note how people can take advantage of them from an investment perspective. In fact, that's what the VESTS model is about, introduced in Anthony Wile's 2007 book, High Alert and written about often in these pages. (Click here for free download of the 2013 4th edition.)
We're on the cusp of great – or at least greater – change, and such change brings both opportunity and danger.