Mayortroy warns of famines from banking & food industry consolidation

“Supply chains have to keep moving if we are going to overcome this pandemic and get food from where it is produced to where it is needed.”

I got into farming because someone once told me farmers feed the world.

After I farmed for awhile, I realized it wasn’t the farmers, it was the bankers and food brokers that feed the world.

I am sitting on enough oats to make oatmeal for 10,000 people, yet I can’t seem to get anyone to tell me where to send it, for this might upset the amazon shopping cart.

Oh yeah, I need a dehuller. Apparently I can only get these from China.

Why you want a cypherpunk in the Mayor’s office

“Back in the 1980s, before movies and video games reduced the genre to a mass of unimaginative violence and body modification tropes, cyberpunk was the literary movement that was busy projecting our fears about rampant capitalism, media oversaturation, and emerging computer networks into fictional futures,” writes Infinite Detailauthor and journalist Tim Maughan.

The 2020s are, in a real, tangible sense, the conclusion of The Long 1980s. Writing in the 1980s, foundational cyberpunk authors were watching as leaders on both sides of the Atlantic pursued a set of political reforms collectively known as neoliberalism. Prioritizing competition in the market above all else, these reforms were fundamentally a political project, aimed at shrinking the public sphere and undoing many of the commitments to social welfare that had been made in the wake of the chaos, upheaval, and deprivation of the first half of the 20th century. The neoliberal turn was a project of unmaking the state for individuals and communities and remaking it for capital.

The election is coming. Remember you only get to vote for the Cypherpunk farmer once every 4 years, and you get to vote with your money, every day, with every transaction you make. Maybe it’s time to reconsider basic income or start playing the long game.

Essential ownership

Who is essential in this economy?

Was it acceptable (or just inescapable?) to the miners and railroaders of America, the factory hands, the men and women who died by the hundreds of thousands from accident or sickness, where they worked or where they lived – casualties of progress? … If there are necessary sacrifices to be made for human progress, is it not to essential to hold the principle that those to be sacrificed must make the decision themselves?

If we are really to make the decision to sacrifice ourselves in the name of progress, we must own the means of production.

Anything less is slavery, and we have a new slave trade in the world today, the essential workers sorting packages for the great and powerful Jeff Bezos so we might enjoy our one-click quarantine, the sanitation workers dying of disease so that we can flush our hoards of toilet paper, and the card-carrying essential farm workers who collect no returns on investment, only a paycheck.

These are the essential wage-slaves of our era, and while we site comfortably in our homes with on-demand 24×7 internet addiction, who is dying to bring us our daily news cycle? Did we give them a choice? Did we give them a path to ownership?

Some of us have been doing this for generations, and some of us own our means of production, and sometimes you see results like when big corporate contracts are canceled as the result of the outcry of some long-standing local connections and farmers who own their means of production.

This is a dramatically different power exchange than the union organizing that went on at Amazon until the organizer was summarily fired for disobeying the mandated social distance between wage-slave and owner.

Do you really want this caste system? That may be fine for some of you city folk who think renting is a great deal (until you can’t pay your rent), however I can tell you it’s going to keep creating more catastrophe until we start having a conversation about essential ownership.

Co-op Upzoning

The New Minneapolis ideal is a home for every single person who wants to make this city a home.

We have a housing crisis, and it’s been proven to cost less to simply give a person a home than pay for the emergency room visits, crime, and other social costs of living without a place to live. We have a start with our conversation on upzoning.

This is part of why I write, and why I run for Mayor, is to keep these conversations going, and make sure we also talk about co-op housing. Single family homes play a very important role in building stable neighborhoods, because there is a chance that if you live there you might end up as part of the ownership class. This is not the case in subsidized low-income housing.

We can do better. We can grow up, with high-density housing owned by the people that live there, and funded directly via Minnesota’s own mnvest equity crowdfunding.

If you are a fiscal conservative, or libertarian concerned with individual freedom, then let’s make a little wager. I’ll bet you the highest return on investment we could make with public taxpayer money is to give homeless people loans to buy a share in a high-density urban co-operative.

You’ll probably only here this kind of straight talk from the farmer-labor party, from the candidate who grew up where the tallest buildings around always had something like this on the top.


Play the long game

MayorTroy is not here for the next quarterly earnings report, the inevitable fall of the trump towers, or which of the 23 presidential candidates in the clown car are going to do battle with the conservative dark side of the force.

I’m here to play the long game, and this game involves some information weed control, or as local cryptographer Bruce Schneier puts it, an information operations kill chain.

On a similar note, it’s time to conceptualize the “information operations kill chain.” Information attacks against democracies, whether they’re attempts to polarize political processes or to increase mistrust in social institutions, also involve a series of steps. And enumerating those steps will clarify possibilities for defense.

I first heard of this concept from Anthony Soules, a former National Security Agency (NSA)  employee who now leads cybersecurity strategy for Amgen. He used the steps from the 1980s Russian “Operation Infektion,” designed to spread the rumor that the U.S. created the HIV virus as part of a weapons research program. A 2018 New York Times opinion video series on the operation described the Russian disinformation playbook in a series of seven “commandments,” or steps. The information landscape has changed since 1980, and information operations have changed as well.

This isn’t about stamping out bad information sown by our enemies. This is about how our culture and community can grow better information and share it with each other, and most importantly, how do we go about evaluating the information we receive each day.

How does it impact the most important vote that we have, the votes we make every day, with every dollar we spend. Do you know what unconscious bias and hostile propaganda went into that decision on where to buy your food?

While you’re thinking about that, I’ll be working on financing a farm and my next campaign.

Freedom to start over

For the past 20 odd years, I’ve spent at least half of my career getting paid to write free software, which means software that gives you the freedom to use and change it however you see fit. This seems like quite the appropriate topic for July 4, where we celebrate Independence Day in the US.

I haven’t been doing a whole lot of politicking recently, since I’ve been spending a lot more of my time on farming and software, and one of the things I’ll be working on in the next few weeks is a public release of the source code needed to compile the first binary code that runs when the computer first turns on.

This is what we call the ‘boot’ code (or bootloader) and it’s critically important because everything that happens after this point depends on what went on when the power first comes on. Two hundred and fourty-two years ago in 1776 we rebooted a new government operating system, in which we declared ourselves to be a country free from rule by a system of hereditary power transfer, and that we the people had the ultimate choice to determine our own destiny.

Now fast-forward to today, and our destiny is determined by the code running on our computing, communication, and electronic financial transaction systems. Do we really have the freedom to set our own destiny?
Not really, as most of the things that most of us use are locked and bound in ways that might give the signatories to the declaration of independence nightmares. What does your laptop or your phone do when you first turn it on? What does the program that first runs do, and what decisions does it make about what you can run that you may not even know about?

So it’s a really great start that I’m getting paid to work on freedom to boot the code you want to, it’s still limiting. There is a lot more to do. We need to make it so the entire design of the chip and the board it’s attached to, including the analog portions, memory controllers, and circuit board layout are something that are available to be changed.

When we get there, I’m going to have a version I call the q3ube, which is a computer that comes with all the software necessary to change any aspect of the design of the computer pre-installed. This means all the tools used to design the computer are available and capable of running on the computer.

So until then, I’ll be working more on infrastructure than campaigning, and when I have this, I hope to to be knocking on your door asking for your vote to take this infrastructure that respects your freedom and re-load our government on a computing environment that is built, maintained, and serves the people in our community, for our community.

Until then, remember that you can only vote for MayorTroy once every 4 years, and you can vote with your money every day, with every transaction. Please spend it on software and technology that supports your freedom.

Dangerous work

The next time you hear someone making excuses for why we have police abuse of power that “Oh, when you are a police officer, you are in the line of fire every day”, have them come talk to me.

The farmers you all make mythologies of for local food wake up every morning and stare down the barrels of fully loaded weaponized debt, ready to go off with a hair trigger notice when some executive decides the numbers on their shareholder reports aren’t quite good enough.

If you think being a police officer is a dangerous occupation, let’s look at the numbers. Let’s take a tour across rural Iowa and Minnesota where your food comes from, and listen to the stories of the family farms that no longer are, after a suicide or farm accident.

Then tell me what you think is more dangerous work.

Where is MayorTroy?

Where is MayorTroy? from Troy Benjegerdes on Vimeo.


You might wonder where I’ve been, and what I’ve been up to. Watch my video for a longer version of what I’ve been doing, or the short version is it’s harvest time, and what you see above is unloading the world’s best tofu soybeans into a wagon with a piece of equipment that I’m someday going to write software to drive to replace myself, so I can campaign full time.

On November 7, remember you can only vote for MayorTroy once every 4 years, and you can vote with your money every day, and the most important thing you can do for this election cycle is pay attention to what Democrats are donating money to send out attack ads.

Secure your Minneapolis identity

So it appears the federal government has figured out social security numbers are not very secure.

What we need to be watchful and aware of is what kind of responses will come out of this, and what companies will benefit from the ‘new order’ of identity.

The first order of governance should be to re-evaluate why we have an opaque credit scoring system monopolized by three companies to begin with. Is this something we want in our city, or is it an example of systemic racial and class bias that tends to benefit the wealthy? Can we do something better?

I am quite sure that some of the members of Open Twin Cities have some good ideas, and I’d like to throw in the idea of a public blockchain currency with a Minneapolis issued Municipal Digital Identity that can, at the resident’s choice, be placed onto a traditional plastic chip card (like your credit card), or held on your smart phone.

If we are going to be a sanctuary city, we need to welcome immigrants, regardless of if they have a federal or state ID, and give them a mechanism to economically participate and identify themselves in our city.

And, given the current political climate, we have a civic duty to be a check and balance to un-american and fascist policies to deport immigrants without due process, or warrantless wiretaps and surveillance.

We can do this with a strong digital ID program like other leading-edge cities that keeps the data in our city, and under our local control, with strong encryption and the ability for our citizens to choose if they want the city to hold the keys for them, or their friends, so that in order to link an digital identity to a human, the holders of the keys must cooperate with whomever is requesting a link be made.

There are many reasons we may wish to have well regulated pseudonymous speech, and ensure that corporate and foreign money cannot buy millions of false voices to corrupt civic discourse as they easily do now, and we have no easy way of identify undue corrupt influence.

Vote for the Cryptographer for Mayor in November, and remember the most important votes you make are the ones you make every day with the choice of your money.

Why Farmer Labor

I’ll be speaking for about 5 minutes today at the Nicollet Open Streets (3637 Nicollet) event between 3:30-4 today, and this is a rough draft of what I’d like to say.

Hello residents of Minneapolis, on this warm day that feels more like August after what seems like September in August. Now I don’t know if that’s because of climate change, or because we have volatile weather, but I do know we need more discussion about this and some of the other important issues I’m going to bring up, and that’s why I chose Farmer Labor as my principle and registered to run for Mayor of Minneapolis.

Every one of the 16 candidates who either paid $500 or took the time to get 500 signatures is a serious candidate, and has something important to say. You may think it’s crazy, unreasonable, unethical, or immoral, and I’d say you have every reason to think so.

What I ask you is please take the issues we raise seriously. Sometimes the only way we can address a serious issue is with a joke candidate, as your media tends to judge the credibility of a candidate by how much money they have to spend on advertising.

Now to go back a little, 4 years ago I thought it was important to have a candidate talking about local control of municipal utilities, local food production, and financing it with local currencies that include a basic income distribution. At that time, no politician was willing to make a statement like “100% renewables in 10 years”, so with my farm energy and engineering experience, I had to become that politician. Today this is not so much a loft grand greenie leftist vision, and more economically inevitable, as the cost of building new wind and solar power is lower than any other source of electric power generation. The only missing piece is storage, and before I moved here I spent 2 years researching a solution to that problem that’s been deployed by our very own University of Minnesota since 2008.

I want to ask you to read what I’ve been writing at for the past 4 years, and give me your first choice vote, your second choice to one of the issue candidates like Captain Jack Sparrow for Basic Income and vote for your favorite media candidate for number 3.

But most importantly, remember our system only counts votes every 4 years, and counts the money every day, it matters more how you vote with your money than how you rank the choices for mayor. Get together with your neighbors and start talking about what you want a local neighborhood currency to do, and start paying each other with it.