The Reset Manifesto
CopyrightÂ© 2016 by Lazlo Zalezac
“I guess it is time for you to understand all that your father did for us. He initiated and funded the creation of the Reset Manifesto so that we wouldn’t have to live as slaves to the whims of a handful of people. Many of the young people today don’t realize just how near we came to being slaves.”
Charles and Patricia stared at Rebecca.
Professor Bowlings said, “That’s true, George. Peter told me about his plan to create the Reset Manifesto on the day he started working for me. That was... 42 years ago?”
He was having a difficult time remembering dates. At his age, that was understandable. He had always been a touch absent-minded and didn’t really take note of the calendar as much as many folks did.
“He approached me 38 years ago about writing the Revolution in the Tranton System series as a means of preparing people for the Reset Manifesto’s publication,” Ann Randal said. “When he showed me what was really going on in the world, I had to join him.”
“Peter led a small group of hackers, the best hackers in the world, in a major cyber war to keep the government and business world from derailing it. I didn’t even have a full understanding of what was at stake at the time, but I joined him in the fight,” said a third man.
“We were the hackers responsible for the great cyber Bank Heist. I still miss my old handle.”
“Who were you?”
“I was TexasGoatRoper,” the third voice said.
“Who was my dad?”
“Your father? He was AvengingAngel, IvanNoobie, SoulSearcher, and a dozen other names.”
Charles and Patricia stared at Alan.
Alan added, “I’m of the belief that he was also Metatron, ArchAngelMichael, ArchAngelGabriel, and ArchAngelSealtiel.”
There are a lot of people who believe they are powerful. They strut in public as if they were above it all while dictating demands in backrooms. Heads of state, legislators, judges, business executives, bankers, and pundits all think they are in control. Yet each of them will answer the phone when certain people call, then they will grovel and do whatever is asked of them. It is a price they pay to maintain the fiction of power.
Then there are the truly powerful people. These are the ones who travel around on their yachts that cost more than the annual gross national products of four European countries combined or airplanes that cost more than 200 million dollars. They can pick up the telephone and call anyone in the world to get what they want done. They don’t appear on any lists of powerful, rich, or recognizable people. Yet their whim is as good as law.
For all intents and purposes, the world’s economy is a fiat economy where currencies are backed by governments rather than things. The fact is that the world’s money has about as much real value as the paper money that comes with a Monopoly set. When a currency fails, the money that could one day buy a house loses value to the point where it can’t buy a chicken.
At least, the economy is a fiat economy as far as most people are concerned. The very powerful aren’t in the fiat economy. Their wealth is not measured in currency, but in ownership. They use currency to buy things like buildings in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Dubai, and hundreds of other cities. They own precious gems, artwork, metals, and other items with an intrinsic value. They own mines, oil fields, and forests.
The Reset Manifesto was a direct attack on the people who lived at the apex of power. It might seem contradictory that someone whose wealth is founded on commodities would be concerned about worthless monopoly money. The answer is that their real assets generate monopoly money that they use to gather more commodities that can earn them more monopoly money with which they can purchase more commodities. They are trading something that is essentially worthless for things that have an intrinsic value.
A move to a commodity-based currency hurts them more than anyone else. Why? The answer is simple. Under a commodity-based currency they have to use something with value to purchase something with value. It’s an even swap. You don’t get wealthy that way. The only way to get wealthy is to swap worthless things for things of value.
Peter was convinced that the handful of truly powerful people in the world were the most brutal callous slaveholders in history. They were the kind of people who owned mines and would send people who were effectively slaves down into them without regard for their safety or health. They didn’t even care enough to find out what the working conditions in their mines were. They owned slaves without even having to care how they got fed since the slaves took care of that for them.
Sitting in his office, Peter connected to a computer he had named Archangel. This was a special computer unlike anything that had ever existed before. It was massive, powerful, and fast. It was the big brother of the simulated computer that he had used to free the hackers from the supermax prison.
The previous day he had connected to it and released Metatron. Metatron was an artificial intelligence that he had trained to solve one specific problem – controlling and limiting the exercise of government power to the constraints imposed by law. As government bureaucrats were discovering, to their great dismay, Metatron was very good at performing in its role. Emails were intercepted. Telephone calls were interrupted. Electronic documents disappeared.
Today he was there to release the other artificial intelligences he had helped create. They had been created to take care of the last impediments to the slave rebellion he had initiated.
He launched ArchangelMichael and ArchangelGabriel. These two programs had been created to remove the slaveowners. ArchangelMichael existed to isolate them from their wealth. ArchangelGabriel existed to isolate them from their power. Without constant monitoring and shepherding, their wealth would evaporate. Peter figured it would take ten years.
He launched ArchangelSealtiel. This program existed to guide the process of dismantling of the mega-corporations. People weren’t the only slave owners without conscience. Corporations, which had been granted rights that had once belonged to people, were slaveowners as well. The ten companies that controlled 90% of the food production, the six companies that controlled the media, and the handful of companies that controlled the Internet were about to be dismantled. It would be a long and slow process, but the end result would be the existence of thousands of companies.
Rebecca, with George suckling contentedly on her breast, sat with one arm supporting the baby and one hand holding an eBook reader. Reading aloud, she said, “His father had taught him so much about love: love for the desert, love for his town, and love for people. As tears overwhelmed him, Eddie said, “I love you, Dad.”
“That’s the end of the story.”
“That’s a nice story.”
“I was pleased with it, but I do wish the author would go back and correct some of the more obvious grammatical errors and continuity problems.”
“I did notice a few of those when you were reading to George.”
“I corrected most of them while reading it aloud. You don’t notice the homonyms then, but there are quite a few of them. I’d hate for George to grow up with those kinds of writing habits.”
“I’m sure that we’ll be able to teach him proper English.”
“I hope so.”
“He does seem to respond better to your stories than my technical literature. He falls asleep when I’m reading to him.”
“It’s the tone of voice. You read the articles in a monotone that would put anyone to sleep.”
“I suppose that’s true. How much excitement can one put into a statement about how a process is a program that is executing in memory?”
“He’s finished sucking. Am I supposed to burp him now?”
Mary wondered how many times Rebecca was going to ask that question. It seemed to her that she asked it every time she finished feeding George. Maybe she believed that it was something that only had to be done for the first few feedings.
“Yes. You’ll need to do that every time he suckles.”
Holding up a small hand towel, Peter said, “Remember to put the towel over your shoulder to catch any ejecta when he burps.”
“I know you know.”
“I do appreciate you worrying about me.”
“I worry about you a lot. I worry about George a lot, too.”
“I know. We both worry about him.”
Mary watched the two parents fussing over each other and the baby. In a way, she was shocked by how much attention they gave the baby. They also continuously turned to her for advice on how to do things. This included changing diapers, breastfeeding, burping, dressing, and taking the baby out of the house. George was liable to grow up spoiled rotten.
While Rebecca burped the baby, Peter set about putting out the floor crib. It wasn’t really a crib, but a nice pad that went on the floor with a circular pillow that served as a nice nest. Mary had never seen one like it before, but she had to admit that it was the safest crib that she’d ever seen. There was nothing that could trap the infant like the bars of a normal crib. The padding was thick, but not too soft.
Rebecca put the baby down in the floor crib. With their arms around each other, the young couple stood there watching George fall asleep.
Prince Alawaleed bin Tallala was seated on the covered patio of his yacht. Actually, it would be more accurate to call the 482 feet long yacht a super-yacht. It had a crew of 54. It had cost $170 million when it was commissioned back in the 1980s. It had been refitted in 2006 at another $30 million. He was currently having a new yacht constructed to replace this one. It had been eclipsed in size and he wanted to regain the prestige of having a yacht in the top five.
He glanced over at the scantily clad women sitting around the pool. By scantily clad, it was intended to mean bikini bottoms and nothing else. Out of unconscious habit, they were all posing in an attempt to attract his attention. The women included a Jew and an Arab along with women from Africa, Europe, China, India, Russia, the United States, and South America. Every one of them was extremely attractive.
He had no respect for them. They would do anything for money. He knew it. They knew it. It was a game and one that now bored him. He was going to have to get rid of this batch and bring in a new set when they next came to port.
In the old days, a man in his position would have a harem. In today’s world, keeping a harem wasn’t necessary. He could use women and dispose of them without having to feed, clothe, or shelter them. Once he was done with them, they were leavings for others to use. Who cared about them? He sure didn’t.
The Prince looked over at the captain of the ship. The man was waiting patiently for his attention. The Prince didn’t like to be interrupted even if he wasn’t doing anything.
“We appear to be having a problem with our communications equipment.”
“What kind of problem?”
“We can’t connect to any of the satellites. The ship’s systems are completely cut off from the rest of the world.”
“Hire someone to fix them.”
“We can’t hire anyone since we can’t contact anyone. We’re going to have to head into a port where we can call someone.”
Prince Alawaleed bin Tallala reached over to the satellite phone that was on the table beside him. He opened it and initiated contact with the satellite. He dialed a number. He frowned and then put it to his ear.
“This is ArchAngelGabriel. As of this moment you are subject to a program of isolation. You, your family, and any of your agents are no longer allowed to contact anyone through any electronic means of communication.”
The phone went dead in his hand.
“What the ... What’s going on?”
He tried to connect to the satellite again, but the connection was refused.
“Get Robert to call on his phone.”
Five minutes later, the Captain and Robert returned to Prince Alawaleed bin Tallala. Both men looked upset and nervous; Robert more so than the Captain.
Robert said, “Prince Alawaleed, a voice claiming to be the ArchangelGabriel told me that I would be cut off from communicating to anyone until I quit working for you.”
“Get us to port. I want to get to the bottom of this.”
This was just the beginning of Prince Alawaleed bin Tallala’s nightmare.
“What is this Metatron thing?”
“It’s some sort of supervisory program that’s been installed in our network. It’s limiting what we can do.”
“Well, have our IT guys get rid of it.”
“That’s a problem. Metatron appears to be everywhere and they can’t get rid of it.”
“What does that mean?”
“I don’t know. That’s what the IT guy told me. The program is everywhere and they can’t get rid of it.”
“They’ve got to be able to do something.”
“They said we’re going to have to live with it.”
“Bullshit. Get an expert in here and get it fixed. We can’t operate if our orders aren’t getting delivered.”
“I guess I’ll have to call Sidney.”
He dialed the number for Sidney. The phone rang and was answered, “You have just reached Metatron. You are not allowed to contact the individual at this number since there is no legitimate reason for such a contact.”
“Who are you?”
The phone was dead. He slammed down the receiver.
“This is not good.”
“Metatron intercepted my call.”
“That’s what happened to me.”
“Find someone to run a note over to his office.”
He turned to his keyboard and typed up a letter detailing which of the authors of the Reset Manifesto he wanted Sidney to discredit. It didn’t take long to copy the names from the handwritten list to a Word document. He wrapped a little text around the list. He sent the document off to the printer. He rose and went over to the printer to take it out of the tray. There was nothing there. He waited. Nothing showed up. He went back to the computer. The word processor was closed. He opened the file manager to look for the document. It was gone from the hard drive. He shivered as a chill ran up his spine.
“This is getting creepy.”
The Reset Manifesto took the country by storm. People downloaded it to their eBook readers to read wherever they were. Some had it on their phones. Others had printed it out. Still others had gone online and ordered bound copies of it. People were serious about reading and understanding it. They discussed it with passion, but not a conflicting manner. It was as if everyone said to themselves, “Finally, someone got it right!”
It was obvious that every person in the country had some issue in their life that was addressed within it. That was the secret of it: it struck Americans deep down in their soul about things they individually really cared about. At heart, it was the kind of compromise that had made the country strong rather than a solid stance that divided it. The harshest comment someone might make about a part of it was that they were uncomfortable with it.
A good example was the environment. Everyone cared about the environment, but the way they thought the problem could be solved might differ in approach. That didn’t eliminate their caring about preserving nature and returning land to a pristine state in those damaged areas where man had ravaged it. What was put forth in the Reset Manifesto wasn’t revolutionary or dramatic, but a nice reasoned approach to cleaning things up, saving species, and dealing with the conflict of human needs and nature. Why couldn’t our parks also be a haven for wildlife as well as places for families to walk, picnic, and enjoy a day out? There was no reason. It was the rational approach that appealed to people. The rabid conservationists who wanted mankind to move back into caves and huddle with each other for warmth wouldn’t like the proposal, but they were a very small minority.
Serious social issues such as drug addiction, racial conflict, and economic divides were addressed. The solutions weren’t about throwing money at the problem, but about taking real concrete steps to solve the problem. Legalize drugs, tax them, and use the tax money to offer treatment for those who abused the drugs. It was the kind of approach conservatives could endorse since it was economically sound. It also addressed a problem that liberals felt had to be solved in a humane and compassionate manner.
What’s the problem with undocumented workers? It wasn’t that they were here working. For the conservatives, the problem was that they were in the country illegally. For the liberals, it was that they were being taken advantage of because they were not being afforded proper legal protections. So it was time to address the real problem. Make it legal for them to come here to work. All that took was handing the person a slip of paper granting them documented entry into the country. It was easy enough that one had to wonder why it hadn’t been done before.
In many ways, the Reset Manifesto was a superb concept that had been perfectly constructed. With the way that solutions of one problem worked with the solutions of other problems, it made accepting the whole thing easier. Of course you had to accept that solution to some problem because it made the solution to the problem you cared about possible.
Peter had picked his experts well. They had tackled exceptionally difficult issues and taken the right tone in framing their solutions. Peter had been wise to support them and not to interfere with them.
There were easy actions that people could take locally that would begin the implementation of the ideas put forth in the document. Local governments passed laws. State governments, moving somewhat slower, passed laws.
Prostitution was legalized in major cities, as well as quite a few smaller towns, around the country. Hookers dressed in scanty clothes moved off the streets and into business buildings, ending the litter of used condoms and broken hypodermic needles in alleyways. Local laws dictated restrictions on where businesses could be located. In some places, hotels now had ‘adult business’ rooms for local visitors and catalogs of service providers for the busy traveler. In other places, regular business offices, sometimes even medical center buildings, were specified. Other cities were less restrictive on location, but more so on visibility, feeling that some businesses should be heard about, but not seen.
There were some protests over the legalization of ‘sin’ as some would call it, but they were minor. Those kinds of protests would never disappear completely, but they weren’t showstoppers. Some religious types were satisfied at restricting where those businesses could operate. It was a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.
On a less surprising front, marijuana use was legal in thirty states. The legalization of marijuana for personal use had been an issue for years. It wasn’t even that contested among Americans. It seemed that most of the resistance to the idea had been political rather than social. A common comment was that a lot of people had tried it at some point in their life and had either enjoyed it and wished they could legally do it, or had found the experience no big deal and wondered why anyone would want to do it.
People were filing for permits to sell marijuana the day the law passed. Coffers at local, county, and state level were quickly filling with revenue from the new source of tax money, and that made a lot of people happy. Interestingly enough, Martin’s voyage around the country talking about getting out of the illegal drug business to sell legal marijuana struck a chord with many dealers. This was a chance to go legitimate, and make a good living at the same time. The idea that one might be able to live free all the way through to retirement, was attractive.
The biggest holdout to change was Washington DC. All of these reforms were undermining the status quo which had served those in that city quite well. Yet Metatron had hamstrung bureaucrats in a way that had never been thought possible. The Federal Government functioned on paper. With a ghost in the machine removing papers which were enabling illegal activities from the process flow, a lot of the fight was taken out before it had a chance to begin.
Politicians are resourceful and are driven by self-interest. Some elected officials realized that change winds had blown in, and it was time to get with the new program or face extinction like a dinosaur. The smart ones chose to change. There was a sudden outpouring of cooperation. It appeared that the two parties could get along when it was their future existence at stake, though the changes in laws at the national level still proceeded at a snail’s pace.