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Ed Driscoll

New Car, Caviar, Four Star Daydream

October 23rd, 2011 - 2:05 pm

Homer: Twenty dollars? I wanted a peanut!

Homer’s brain: Twenty dollars can buy many peanuts!

Homer: Explain how.

Homer’s brain: Money can be exchanged for goods and services.

Homer: Woohoo!

– Homer J. Simpson, “Boy Scoutz ‘N the Hood” episode of The Simpsons, November 18th, 1993.

While Homer had to reeducate himself on the fly about the role money plays in the economic system, Occupy Wall Street are having an even worse Start From Zero moment, relearning both about money, and that some portion of it must invariably go to both local and centralized command structures to pay for services needed by the majority. See also: arguments over role and size of government throughout the entire 20th century:

Even in Zuccotti Park, greed is good.

Occupy Wall Street’s Finance Committee has nearly $500,000 in the bank, and donations continue to pour in — but its reluctance to share the wealth with other protesters is fraying tempers.

Some drummers — incensed they got no money to replace or safeguard their drums after a midnight vandal destroyed their instruments Wednesday — are threatening to splinter off.

“F–k Finance. I hope Mayor Bloomberg gets an injunction and demands to see the movement’s books. We need to know how much money we really have and where it’s going,” said a frustrated Bryan Smith, 45, who joined OWS in Lower Manhattan nearly three weeks ago from Los Angeles, where he works in TV production.

Smith is a member of the Comfort Working Group — one of about 30 small collectives that have sprung up within OWS. The Comfort group is charged with finding out what basic necessities campers need, like thermal underwear, and then raising money by soliciting donations on the street.

“The other day, I took in $2,000. I kept $650 for my group, and gave the rest to Finance. Then I went to them with a request — so many people need things, and they should not be going without basic comfort items — and I was told to fill out paperwork. Paperwork! Are they the government now?” Smith fumed, even as he cajoled the passing crowd for more cash.

If Occupy Wall Street’s “Finance Committee” really does have “nearly $500,000 in the bank,” they might be tempted to spend a good chunk of it on this:

Virginia Comito, d.b.a. V.L. Raymer, is a California-based domain investor who bought occupy.com in 1998. Now, she’s selling it to the one percent.

“People who are extremely wealthy, who are philanthropic, who want to help the movement, the concept would be for one of those folks to buy it and donate it to Occupy, buy it and have it serve as a central repository since there is no centralized resource,” said Karen Bernstein, a New York-based lawyer who handles Ms. Comito’s domain sales. ”This would be a perfect match,” she said.

OccupyWallSt.org has been serving as the main hub for updates from the organizers, but it’s not being marketed as an official online headquarters.

Ms. Bernstein hopes to get “six digits” for the domain, which ordinarily would have been worth a few thousand.

Ms. Comito owns on the order of 4,000 domain names, which she started purchasing in the late 90s–cakebooks.com, cherokee.com, thighs.com, citydata.com, sportscoverage.com–many of which are sitting empty or with placeholders.

Ms. Bernstein said that Ms. Comito, who declined to comment, approached her with the idea to sell occupy.com.

“I also started thinking more and more about it and I got more and more excited,” Ms. Bernstein said. “Really they’re a very decentralized group. They’re very tech-savvy. They’ve got their Twitter. They’ve got their social media. But they don’t have one site everyone can go to.”

Still though, since, as Kate Zernike of the New York Times so aptly noted yesterday, OWS still hasn’t worked out their messaging 100 percent, they might to hold off on spending the big bucks for a snazzy domain name.

Which brings us to the next lesson they need: crafting a unique selling proposition for their enterprise — which hopefully won’t ultimately run afoul of the dreaded Department of Regulation, thus forcing OWS to report itself to itself.

Update: Spend the big bucks, buy the URL. The messaging problem has been solved.

Related: “San Fran Occupiers: Hey, Why Can’t People Print Their Own Money?…”

No wonder Krugman loves ‘em.

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