Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's Not You...(The Problem with Ron Paul's Koo Koo Worldview)

I just read this latest quote from Ron Paul that distills his view of the world into a single paragraph:
“[The Washington Establishment] believes that if you have the freedom to keep what you earn and take care of yourself, you won’t do it. They want to do it for you–and they’ve been trying for the past 70 years, since the Great Depression. But we’ve learned that government can’t do it, either.”

The problem with this simplistic inward outlook is that it presents a very narrow, limited view of who comprises the "you" pronoun in the sentence "...that if you have the freedom to keep what you earn and take care of yourself, you won't do it." Sounds great, right? I mean freedom and self-sufficiency, baby, FUCK YEAH! But who is the "you"? Well, first let's talk about who "you" isn't.

It's not you...if  you're one of 16% - 22% of the people who remain unemployed in this country. We're in the middle of a global economic downturn. The policies of unfettered, unbridled capitalism and wanton individualistic greed led us to this point. The same policies that Ron Paul supports--completely free markets without any constraints. Are the same policies that led to the meltdown on Wall Street and the subsequent bailout of the "too big to fail" banks--none of which were constrained by "Washington policies." What does Ron think about that? He doesn't. If you don't have a job, you must have something wrong with you. The good doctor will prescribe the only medicine you need: completely free corporate-run America that "lets" state and local governments pay for virtually everything. Now go get a job, you lazy bastard. After all, Ron Paul had one for most of the last 14 years. Yes, it was a publicly-funded job, but it was still a job, consarnit.

It's not you...if your income has grown at a much lower rate than the top earners. Over the last 30 years, the vast majority of Americans (especially the lowest income brackets) have earned less and less, relative to the richest Americans. The gulf between the "you" that comprises the least well-off and the "you" that make the most well-off has never been wider. But again, if you're not in the 1%, then there's something wrong with you. Only freedumb can lead to this kind of disparity. You're free to be one of the 150,000,000 who make less than the top 400 richest people in the US. What a country. And if you think this disparity is bad--as apparently most Americans do--then wait until taxes for the wealthy get cut to the bone, and help for most vulnerable gets gutted as well.

Source: Wonkette
It's not you...if you think white supremacists are not too fun. In Ron Paul's world, who cares if you cavort with white supremacists, let's smile for the camera! But hey, neo-nazis are people too, with real feelings. Mostly feelings of deep, violent hatred for people who don't look like them, sure, but hey, they still have feelings, for fuxxake.

It's not you...if you think the Federal Government should help when disaster strikes. In Ron Paul's world, Mother Nature happens, and we should all just rally around the community of internal warmth and support to rebuild again. As Paul said about FEMA: "We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960. I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with Hurricanes all the time." Of course, "they" were killed off by the many thousands in 1900 and lived amid pestilence and penury without sturdy housing, so, let's get used to it! Let's bring back that pioneering spirit! Ron Paul in 1900!

Do you see what Ron sees? 
Do you see the flaw in Dr. Paul's logic? Because his "if this, then that" worldview is a lot like the logic of a small-minded selfish child who doesn't understand that sharing is a part of behaving like the big kids do. Like that child, Dr. Paul assumes that just because he has something, then other people must have it too. Ipso facto, there's no need to share! We all have our stuff, and if you don't, wahhh, too bad for you.

Take jobs, for example: Dr. Paul has had lots. He was a doctor and he was a congress man and a senator! So, to paraphrase Stephen Colbert, you can too! Ron Paul went to private school--Gettysburg College. He or someone he knew, could afford to go to a private school so, so, um, you should be able to as well, right? I mean, he did it, so why can't you? Simple. Obvious. Seriously not smart and socially/culturally myopic, but most definitely supercalifragindividualistic! The thing is, Dr. Paul's revisionist "logic" doesn't take into account the fact that one there are about 3 or 4 people for every available job in the US at the moment. And that school funding is being gutted (Texas has been killing teachers' jobs faster than Rick Perry can forget that, uh, er, oops. Anyway, that's not fun math.

The Island of Dr. Paul. 
The squirrely presidential candidate assumes that everyone can afford healthcare because he can afford healthcare! (And after all, he's a certifiable physician, so he oughtta know.) So, you know, people don't have to choose between healthcare, food, and, say, oil-based heating (Hey, it's warm in Galveston! If you live where it's cold, that's your own fault...), because he doesn't have to make that choice. In Dr. Paul's simple island, the only thing Washington does is suck the marrow out of your bones (enjoy wasteful things like the internet, highway system, AIDS research, food safety, regulation of missing nukes, mail? Gee, thanks for nothing, Mr. Government bloodsucker!) That people companies should provide all social services--well, those and church bake sales. Dont' go to church? Ahh, too bad. You should! How else will you pay to get well if you become sick? Not everyone has the same opportunities as everyone else. The logic goes like this: If I made it, so can you! But not everyone has the same ability or opportunity to "make it." Some people are dirt poor through no fault of their own. Some people have intractable illnesses that they "just can't shake" if only they'd pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Some people actually do work for other people because they're government employees. Evil bastards that they are.

Did you get taxpayer money to pay your salary for 14 years? No? Oh. Then you must not be Ron Paul. 
Irony of ironies? Ron Paul was a public employee for 14 years in Congress. His entire ability to preach to people about how bad public employment is is completely based on his bully pulpit as a public employee.  I'm sure he'll return the taxpayer-funded salary he collected for 14 years. Soon.

Logical? Not so much. Don't like it? Get a job. It could be worse, you know. You could be forever digitally enshrined hanging out neo-nazi white supremacists.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Brief Remembrance...

First, apologies for being incomunicado. I've been working ridiculous hours and have had little time to post silly comments about serious issues for a while.  Also, I recently lost a loved one.

You see, back in 1994, two years after the end of the 12-year long republican nuclear winter, as I called it at the time, I was carrying in groceries from the car that my girlfriend had purchased. After I'd brought them all in, she told me that there was one more box left. I went out to get that box, and in it was a very small, very long white cat. This cat, who was born on a farm and was the runt of the litter, would eventually be named "Groobie." She was to spend the next 18 or so years of her existence with me.

But it's funny. Nothing anyone could say about a pet could possibly be conveyed with any accuracy. It's such a uniquely close connection. This random gift of a creature helped me get through the most difficult times, and helped me enjoy some of the most rewarding times of my life. A long and important part of my personal history in this world; that's what Groobie was. Toward the end of her history in this world, she was especially well cared for by the other members of my family, and made comfortable during her last days. I especially want to thank Paula. I'll never forget what you did for her (and me).

At any rate, I enjoyed our time together while we had it; our long and fleeting moments. This blog was named after her, obviously, and I admit that I tend to enjoy the company of animals like Groobie more than many people. People who know/love animals know exactly what I'm talking about.

For fuxxake, I hate it when creatures die. She is missed.

Sleep well, my girl.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Originally 99%'er: George Carlin on Education, Banks, and the 1%

George Carlin was speaking truth to power long before many in the Occupy movement were frisky late-night possible outcomes in their parents' bedrooms. George used to talk about the fact that he didn't like current-events humor. He liked the idea that his comedy would be as relevant today as it was when he first delivered it. Rest in peace, George; you're more relevant than ever...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hard to Watch: Brutality TV...


LOL. Who loves irony? Not the UC Berkeley Police...

...only it's not TV. It's online. And it's the new journalism that is undoing the status quo. One revelation of senseless brutality at a time.

Scene at UC Berkeley: Police attempt to "clear a path" with weaponized pepper. 

These weeds of dissent
won't be easily removed and, in fact, this won't eradicate them. It will only make them stronger. For fuxxake, this is so unnecessary. Brutal. Stupid. Aggressive. Angry. That's how I describe those who violently abridge our First Amendment rights. Oh. And they're outright fuckheads. That too.

(530) 752-1727

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Been on hiatus from my blog, live blogging OWS... Plutocracy Files. My raised-eyebrow/blood pressure digital rants will resume in short order.

Cheers and, oh, btw, pizza is not a vegetable, for fuxxakes...

Source: Gothamist

From the Gothamist:
Great news for the youth of America: the government, which may very well be run by cheese-loving 12-year-olds, has decided that pizza totally counts as a vegetable
A spending bill pushed through this week with a little help from frozen food manufacturers, the salt industry, potato growers and conservatives who don't think the government should be telling kids what to eat declares the following: two tablespoons of tomato paste shall count as a vegetable, and the USDA can't limit the number of starchy vegetables a kid crams down his gullet every day. In other words: more mushy pies and Frenchfreedom fries for all!

So, yeah, democrats suck. But republicans suck even more.

Bottom line.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

As OWS and other encampments are dismantled, it's time to "Occupy the Cloud"

UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I actually do think that physical presence and visibility are critical. In Israel, for example, encampments have gone on (and largely unreported in the MSM) since July to protest the high cost of housing.  This physical presence, in some form or another, is keeps the issue alive and well in the minds of those who need to stay focused on the problems. We in the digital "cloud" (including those on the ground) are important, but we're more facilitators for the message--a vast network of indie journalists spreading the word in various ways. Both are needed for the success of Occupy, but how to ensure that the physical remains in the spotlight without permanent encampments? Hard to say. But the people who have been kicked out of parks in Oakland, Portland, and Manhattan have come back and seem to be more determined than ever. I guess that's because the response of freedom fighters to ever more abuse is strengthened resolve. I wonder why "the man" has never figured that out...

Last night, police busted up and cracked down on the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan. As reported by ThinkProgress:
About an hour ago, news broke that the police began a surprise sweep of Zuccotti Park to destroy the Occupy Wall Street encampment. According to NBC News, “hundreds of police officers, some in riot gear, descended on Zuccotti Park after midnight Tuesday in a surprise sweep of the Occupy Wall Street headquarters.” The raid, only days before a two-month anniversary march in New York City for the 99 Percent Movement, was justified by police because of what they said were health and fire hazards.
Not (entirely) about "Meat Space
Back on October 20, 2011, in response to this post on the OWS Forum (below), I wrote how the movement is ultimately  not about physical space, it's about ideals worth fighting for.  So, yes, the news is depressing about the police raid and heavy-handed dismantlement of the Zucotti Park camp and others throughout the country: this provides a real test of the movement. Can it go cyber? Can we "Occupy the Cloud?" That is, can the ideals set forth by the a decentralized 99% movement live on regardless of whether there are encampments? I don't think that the encampment was ever envisioned to be permanent, at least from what I can determine.

Here's what I said about it a few weeks ago:

America Supports #OWS
Posted 3 weeks ago on Oct. 20, 2011, 11:06 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Supplies and Support Pour into Occupy Wall Street from Every Corner of the USOccupiers Launch Tumblr Website Today: Gallery of Personal Notes of Support from Farmers, Veterans, Grandparents and "Knitters for Occupy Wall St"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities, Two Demonstrations, and Two Police Responses to Both

Wednesday, November 9, 2011: About 5,000 Students in the UK Protest Education Cuts and Tuition Hikes
According to Time: "Supported by the Occupy London movement, it was originally thought that 10,000 people would turn up to protest. (Estimates suggest that around half that number turned up.) Around midday the students gathered in central London, near the University of London and began marching through the city's streets with placards and megaphones."
Source: Time
"Rachel Turner, a 19-year-old protester who is currently on a gap year but plans on attending university next year, said she was marching because, like most of the protesters there, she thought 'tuition fees being raised to 9,000 pounds is ridiculous.' The chants of the crowd agreed with her. Others could be heard shouting 'You say cut back, we say fight back" and No ifs, no buts, no education cuts' throughout the day." "While many protesters complained that the police had come out in unnecessary numbers and were intimidating with their barricades and riot gear, most of the officers seemed to be in a good mood. Many could be seen joking with protesters and prior to the demonstration, several officers were handing out maps to those wanting to join. Harriet Wood, an 18 year old student at the University of Sussex said of the police, 'They're really nice. They're just doing their job really, they have to be here."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011: About 1,000 Students in the US Protest Education Cuts and Tuition Hikes
Source: Think Progress
Think Progress reported: "Yesterday afternoon, 1,000 students from University of California, Berkeley rallied to show solidarity with the worldwide 99 Percent Movement, as well as protest local cuts to state education aid and tuition. The scene at Berkeley's Sproul Plaza quickly deteriorated by midday, when police announced that the encampment was unlawful. In a move not altogether unfamiliar to the Occupy movement, police in riot gear resorted to force to break up the rally."

According to SFist:

"After getting hit by police officers, Shane Boyle, a Cal graduate student involved in the melee, told The Chronicle, "It really, really hurt - I got the wind knocked out of me...I was lucky I only got hit twice." He also revealed a red welt on his chest. Six UC Berkeley students and english professor Celeste Langan were arrested for "resisting and delaying police officers." After the officers left the scene, students quickly replaced their tents at Sproul Plaza."

So, um, yeah. I was appalled by the police's disregard for students who were simply exercising their first amendment constitutional rights and because, well, I haven't incurred brain trauma and I don't watch Fox. I was actually having an "argument" about this clear brutality over at the on my post on the #OWS web site forum (NOT what democracy looks like: OccupyCal - Uber Violence by Police against Students) and was saddened, but not really surprised, to find people defending this police action. But here in the United States, it's clear that we've grown accustomed to having our rights trampled (quite literally), and we accept police brutality as a ho-hum fact of life. 

But as events in the UK prove, it doesn't have to be that way.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What Would Jesus Do? Let 'em Starve.

Michelle Antoinette
Or, at least, I'm pretty sure that's what Michelle Bachmann would say regarding people who are unemployed and struggling to feed their families. See, Bachmann knows that if someone is unemployed and hungry, it's due to some sort of character flaw or just because they're lazy. It makes me wonder: Do the nearly 15 million children living in poverty in the United States understand how incredibly lazy and shiftless they are? According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, the number of children living in poverty in the U.S. is up nearly 20 percent from 2000. According to the NCCP, nearly 5.5 million children live in families that have lost homes to foreclosures and 8 million children live in families where at least one parent has lost a job. Ah, facts and figures. Who needs 'em when you have all the answers in your guts? Your batshit crazy guts.

But I digress.

According to Think Progress, Bachmann promised to "significantly lower funding to social safety net programs" at a recent speech to the far right "Family Research Council." Bachmann, who has in the past hoped that the dire unemployment rate would help her presidential campaign, is a big fan of the FRC and its anti-everything-that-isn't-white-bread-and-god-fearin'-man-on-woman-filial-bliss-without-that-pesky-gangster government-interference view of the world.

So, in an effort to add to her already impressive highlight reel of nutball nonsense, she explains why we should starve the unemployed:

Jesus and Sandal Straps. So, what would Jesus do about the starving in our country? I think Michelle would probably have an answer similar to this: "Hey, ya know, Jesus would have stood firm on this, and although he didn't have boots and such, he knew that it was all about lacing up your sandals and whatnot. I think Jesus would say, 'Hey, I have a message for you lazies out there: You don't lace up your sandals and get to work, you don't get loaves and fish, and that's the bottom line!' and so, yeah, no nonsense from the Lord our God on that front."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Guest Dialogue: "Democrats can no longer speak for us because they no longer are us."

Okay, so, it started with an open-ended rant to a couple of friends about why Democrats were so willing to cut social security and medicare, and a call to action by "Credo" to Tell Harry Reid and the Democratic senators on the Super Committee: Absolutely no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security benefits. 

This bullshit makes me so angry because, well, I'm awake and sentient. So, I wrote to them, ranting about it, the way I do, and here's the digital conversation that followed:
Me: Of course, the sick truth of this is that we wouldn't be in this position in the first place if the Democrats had any sack whatsoever when they controlled both houses of congress and the white house and never entered into a deal to create the anti-democratic uber committee devil. Jeezus, so incredibly not smart...
Hugh: *Sigh* Same old shit
Patrick: *Sigh, aussi*... I second the notion that it is indeed the same superannuated feces we behold.
Now, I was gonna say that until some of them Dems nut up, it's really pointless to even try to articulate the issues they could take advantage of in the next election (e.g., embrace the growing resonance of the #OWS message with the preponderance of the public by introducing meaningful tax/ mortgage/ public spending/tuition/health insurance reforms). 
And then I had second thoughts: it's pointless to point out this pointlessness. 
Because you have to take into account that even a reenergized Democratic majority in both houses in 2012 (miracle of miracles) is not likely to even consider changing things for the better because we have to remember that Democratic Congressmen are just that: Congressmen. --And Democrats way second. 
Do I know you? You look familiar...
This here's where that good ol' Sociology 101 standby comes into play: where your average Democratic representative stands depends upon where s/he sits. And what s/he sits on is a barrel o' cash.
What does it mean to be a "representative" these days? 
It means you are likely to be rich. Roll Call found that fully 244 of the 435 members of the House (including 106 Democrats)  are millionaires, placing them among the One Percenters. The average Senator was worth $7.8 million 2010 (up from $6.5 million in 2008).  Net worth of all 535 members of Congress was estimated to be $2.04 billion in 2010. It increased 25% just between 2008 and 2010.
And the median household income for the rest of us in 2010?   $49,555 (the lowest since 1996).
So how do you draw  a meaningful contrast between: a) the cornhole-the-99% policies of the GOP congressional cabana boys ever ready at the drop of a lobbyist's checkbook to parade around in their  ideological assless chaps for the edification of the East Hamptons arbitrageur crowd; and b) the Dem members' facile support for common people, when they are at least two generations and one trust fund removed from their blue collar roots? It's increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the two expensive flavors on offer. 
I fear that Democrats can no longer speak for us because they no longer are us.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV): 2009 Net Worth
[Source: Open Secrets]
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): 2009 Net Worth  
[Source: Open Secrets]

Patrick is a well-travelled denizen of DC and tends to brook no nonsense--verbal or otherwise--unless, of course it comes from his own grandiloquent self.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Herman Cain: "China is developing nukes!"

Oh. Wait. I almost forgot that they already did that in 1964. And this guy, who probably shouldn't be to any elected office, is the leading republican candidate for president. Really...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"The Beginning is Near"

From the Third Edition: Occupied Wall Street Journal
One thing I love about this movement is the creativity of signs. I just love 'em. It's truly an artform unto itself. I heard from Amy Goodman on the Charlie Rose show mention that the pizza boxes in Zuccotti Park are being used to create signs.

How green and metaphorical is that?

The narrative is changing. Bank of America eliminates a fee. Small stuff. But this thing is growing.

And when the Congressional Budget Office explains that the gulf between the haves and have nots is growing, the Occupy movement gets even more credibility (as if it really required it).

Hitting the big time. OWS is changing the narrative.

And even the mainstream media is taking take notice. As the Christian Science Monitor mentioned recently:
"...the movement has already changed the public debate in America. Consider, for example, last week’s Congressional Budget Office report on widening disparities of income in America. It was hardly news – it’s already well known that the top 1 percent now gets 20 percent of the nation’s income, up from 9 percent in the late 1970s. But it's the first time such news made the front page of the nation's major newspapers...Why? Because for the first time in more than half a century, a broad cross-section of the American public is talking about the concentration of income, wealth, and political power at the top." 
A quick Google search on Occupy Wall Street within last 24 hours revealed the following links in the top 12 or so hits. Yeah. I'd say the narrative is changing....
Source: Here.

Source: Here.

Source: Here.

Source: Here.

Just for kicks, I typed "Occupy sign" in Google images and got...349 million results. Wait. What?

The First Test: Translating Occupation into Action

Read all about it here:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Koch Brothers: The 1% Defined.

Posting this immediately in response to Nation of Change posting today entitled The 1% Have a Stranglehold on Politics. The Koch brothers are billionaire oligarchs who basically took over the Tea Party, and helped it take control of the US House of Representatives in 2010. Old news now, but George Monbiot states it eloquently:
The movement started with Rick Santelli’s call on CNBC for a tea party of city traders to dump securities in Lake Michigan, in protest at Obama’s plan to “subsidise the losers”(6). In other words, it was a demand for a financiers’ mobilisation against the bail-out of their victims: people losing their homes. This is the opposite of the Observer’s story. On the same day, a group called Americans for Prosperity (AFP) set up a Tea Party Facebook page and started organising Tea Party events(7). The movement, whose programme is still lavishly supported by AFP, took off from there. 
So who or what is Americans for Prosperity? It was founded and is funded by Charles and David Koch(8). They run what they call “the biggest company you’ve never heard of”(9), and between them they are worth $43 billion(10). 
Koch Industries is a massive oil, gas, minerals, timber and chemicals company. Over the past 15 years the brothers have poured at least $85m into lobby groups arguing for lower taxes for the rich and weaker regulations for industry(11). The groups and politicians the Kochs fund also lobby to destroy collective bargaining, to stop laws reducing carbon emissions, to stymie healthcare reform and to hobble attempts to control the banks. During the 2010 election cycle, Americans for Prosperity spent $45 million supporting its favoured candidates(12).
"They are radical libertarians..."

For more on these master puppeteers who stole a movement to force it's own plutocratic aims down the throats of an unsuspecting electorate (including many of the duped in the Tea Party), Al Jazeera compiled a documentary about the influence of the people who truly define the 1% in terms of money and influence on the democracy.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Winter Arrives Early: Occupy Wall Street Needs...

I'm reposting this in its entirety from the Occupy Wall Street web site:

Urgent: Winter Donation Needs

Posted Oct. 29, 2011, 10:54 p.m. EST by 
It's been dumping snow here in NYC all day, high winds and 3 inches of slush on the ground. With the NYPD and FDNY confiscating six generators on Friday and this unprecedented October snow, those occupying Liberty Plaza in downtown NYC are in need of emergency supplies crucial for cold weather survival (and occupation).
We've made a lot of headway on getting winter gear here in the last 48 hrs but definitely need more. Please help by purchasing or donating supplies directly. Winter gear and other necessities can be dropped off in person, delivered, or shipped.

insulated gloves, wool hats, scarveslong underwear / smart wool thermal socks
300 hand warmers, 300 foot warmerswaterproof boots in all sizes
disposable shoe coverswinter coats
hot beveragesthermal heaters
all weather sub-thermal sleeping bagstarps
all-weather tentsfoam padding / insulation for inside of tents
wooden pallets to get tents off the groundcots to get people off the ground (don't currently have any - could really use these)

Daily until 9pm at the OWS storage space at 52 Broadway Ave, ground floor.
After 9pm at the OWS Comfort Station on the east side of Liberty Square (aka Zuccotti Park)

Occupy Wall Street
118a Fulton St
PO Box 205
NY NY 10038

Please show your support for the stalwart occupiers who are braving the winter storm!

Filed under "Now why didn't I think of that?": A "conversation" that we should all have with banks...

One of the tools you'll need? A shovel, to dig
out of the mountain of bullshit debt...
The other day, it was announced that student loan debt in the United States will exceed more than $1 trillion before the end of the year. That's $1,000,000,000,000 dollars in student loans. Why has this happened? Well, there are many detailed, technical reasons, but most analysis (including the mainstream one here) fails to mention that, ultimately it's because it's not a national priority. Unlike, say, most European countries. Like everything else in the United States, we have our priorities upside down: $2 - 4 trillion for war, government loan offers for students who pay exorbitant rates for higher education. This is more than all the credit card debt combined. According to NPR, "two-thirds of college students now graduate with debt, owing an average of $24,000. But some borrow far more and find this debt influencing major life decisions long after graduation."

So, what's an impoverished student or recent grad to do? Well, there are strategies for going to community college for the first two years, for those who want to live in the US. That could help reduce some fo the cost. And there are strategies for going to school abroad. But how can students and recent grads with loans let the banks know how they feel about offers of crushing indebtedness, while supporting Occupy Wall Street?  Well, this guy has a good suggestion for keeping the banks occupied (props to Taryn at Plutocracy Files for turning me on to this):

Bonus Points: Help the struggling post office! Hey! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Amen, brother...

Truth to power? Oh, good lord, yes.

It's the ultimate irony that self-described "Christians" are so often the strongest advocates of a system that celebrates the money changers and wealthiest among us, yet reviles and basically hates those who have the least--for whatever reason. Charity is a very specific, and targeted thing for the extremists on the right.

In the midst of the latest data that the divide between the richest and the poorest has never been greater, Michael Moore's comments have never been more relevant--or more ignored.

Can you hear us Michele? Ron? Rick? No? Yeah. Didn't think so....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

UPDATE: WTF is Wrong with U.S.? Police Attack Occupy Oakland with Tear Gas. OWS Reacts.

UPDATE 2: General Assembly votes to donate $20,000 to Oakland Occupy and considering call for general strike (Source: recent tweets)


UPDATE 1: Iraq war veteran who survives the war comes home only to have his life threatened and hang by a thread due to our "civil" society. He was in less danger in Iraq, apparently. According to the Guardian:

An Iraq war veteran has a fractured skull and brain swelling after allegedly being hit by a police projectile.

Scott Olsen is in a "critical condition" in Highland hospital in Oakland, a hospital spokesman confirmed.

The Guardian spoke to people with Olsen at the hospital. Adele Carpenter, who knows Olsen through his involvement with anti-war groups, said she arrived at the hospital at 11pm on Tuesday night.

Carpenter said she was told by a doctor at the hospital that Olsen had a skull fracture and was in a "serious but stable" condition. She said he had been sedated and was unconscious.
"I'm just absolutely devastated that someone who did two tours of Iraq and came home safely is now lying in a US hospital because of the domestic police force," Carpenter said.

But not before they damage you, apparently...
Occupy Oakland were gassed by the Oakland Police Department. Some could run away. Others weren't so lucky...

A woman in a wheelchair in a cloud of tear gas. (Source:
So, while bankers enjoy bonuses made possible by taxpayer bailout
money, people who protest this inequality are dealt with HG Wells style.
That seems fair.

Monday, October 24, 2011

When Minutes Take Hours: Thanks to the MinuteWomen and MinuteMen of #OWS

Putting Together Minutes Takes Hours
I was just reading the Occupy Wall Street minutes from the General Assembly meeting from October 21, and the first order of business dealt with the logistics of laundry. The truth of the matter is that the people "on the ground" in Zuccotti Park face daily logistics that most people have never had to deal with--like, say, $3,000 for laundry. That's when it occurred me that, "You know, it's soooo easy for people to criticize from the comfort of their offices or easy chairs. It's convenient to cast aspersions when you haven't uprooted your life and helped build an innovative, inclusive democracy in under a month without basic necessities, such as plumbing." And meanwhile, #OWS is remaining faithful to the ideal of maintaining full transparency, to the extent possible.

A Window into #OWS
There are so many people involved in the success of #OWS, but for a lot of people trying to find out what's happening, it's the rumor mill or waiting for dribs and drabs here and there. Since the minutes represent one of the only truly "official" sources of information, I wanted to take a quick moment to say how great it is to have such comprehensive minutes from the General Assembly. As a technical writer who has transcribed verbal text and typed it up on the fly, this ain't easy folks. It takes lots of time and it's a pretty thankless job. But it's transparency like this that will continue to bring people into the movement. And for those of us who have made the #OWS movement a big part of our daily lives, this kind of information keeps us connected--even if we can't be down there.
Laundry Logistics: Even revolutionaries
need clean clothes (Source: Flickr)

I also want people to know that what #OWS has put together is not a joke, and that this process--while not perfect (does perfect exist?)--is a far sight more inclusive and transparent than our "professionals in the US Congress" (a place where I worked for over 10 years a lifetime ago). The language of these minutes is clear, to the point, and you can't "revise and extend" entries, like they do with the incorrectly entitled Congressional Record.

So, my hat's off to the folks who take the notes and transcribe the minutes.  You can't see all the people supporting you, but we're out here.

Of Note...Oh, and a quick shout-out to Dicey Troop (@DiceyTroop) who works his Twitter magic at very high speed, as he grinds out live tweets during the nightly General Assemblies. Serious opposable thumb action.

Yours in solidarity.

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Donate. Do it...
Please consider a donation. #OWS can use all the help it can get. Have some shit you no longer need? Sell it and donate the proceeds. They're fighting for you, you should fight for them. More on this subject soon. The main donation page is, and includes the following:

You can also mail a check or money order to the Alliance for Global Justice.
Please indicate “Occupy Wall Street” in the memo line.
Alliance for Global Justice
1247 “E” Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Or CALL at 202-544-9355 to make a telephone donation.
The following donations are managed by some of our groups:
Donate yourself
Come to Liberty Plaza, formally Zuccotti Park. How to get there.
Liberty st and Broadway, Financial District, Manhattan, NY (map)

Donate Laundry and Shower

If you would like to donate the use of your laundry or shower facilities, please contact the Comfort Working Group.

Order Us Food

Our physical address

118A Fulton st #205
New York, NY, 10038
Non perishable, no checks (money orders okay) , any size package okay

Real Time Needs of the Occupiers

#needsoftheoccupiers on Twitter