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: