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Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

A Critical Mass of a Critical Mass

In Liberty and Justice for "Some", OWS, Uncategorized on October 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm

The Occupy DC group has not seemed to be gaining that much traction–dispersed into 2 groups, with the October 6 group being more active (protesting banks and congressional offices), but still small.   Yet it is fascinating that it is so much smaller than other groups around the country, possibly because it has  virtually no (uniformed) police presence?

Re: Officers Jeer as 16 colleagues Are Arraigned in Ticket-Fixing Investigation

I guess if you feel you have a fraternal police \”family\” to protect you, you aren’t necessarily going to feel all warm and fuzzy about The 99%. Feeling that you are a part of The 99% would entail feeling vulnerable about losing a job, a career, a profession, and maybe having nowhere to turn, as manufacturing has mostly been shipped to China, and going back to school entails signing up for indentured servitude of debt. (Yes, even for community college!)

But activism is too little too late, and cannot revive a civilization that relies on thuggary, and rewards dishonesty in all echelons of society.

The hostility of the police towards the OWS protesters makes so much more sense now. The police are, really, part of The 99%, but it’s doubtful they would \”get it,\” even if they lost their jobs.

Evidence of the malfeasance of the financial sector is piled high daily in the pages of The New York Times. But I wonder how many people in society are \”Just Following Orders,\” and so never develop their righteous rage at the injustice.  Instead, they ignorantly call the protesters \”entitled,\” unable to fathom the irony it is the 1% who literally control enough wealth to move continents and planets–those are the truly entitled the police and everyone should be joining the protesters against!

Isn’t this the same type of degenerate cronyism that conservatives cried about in their anti-Communism hysteria?

Re:  Fire Inspectors Remove Generators and Gasoline at Zucotti Park

The LiveStream this morning (around 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.) (http://www.occupystream.com/) showed Lorenzo giving a tour of the park, with signs left over in the generator area indicating that the fuel was biodiesel, not gasoline.

He also showed us a bicycle powered battery fuel generator, with a gentleman who said they had anticipated having the biofuel confiscated. They are trying to move to bike-powered and solar-powered options, because they don’t want to have to use diesel, biodiesel, or gasoline.

The determination and unwillingness to give way to fear or annoyance under adversity, both from Lorenzo, and the people he interviewed in the park, was admirable.

We need a Pecora commission and an FDR to re-establish fairness in a financial market system that is so un-regulated, it creates Madoffs of varying degrees. But given that the international robber barons of finance seem determined to make that an impossibility the world over, these Occupy movements are at least a horizontal respite from the hard rain of vertical financial crises the oligarchs keep imposing. They are spiritual prosperity as a rebuttal to fiscal austerity.

re: Ruth Madoff Says Couple Tried Suicide in 2008

Now I get why Occupy Wall St. is derided, rather than massively embraced by hundreds of millions of Americans who were _systemically_ defrauded under a legalized system of greed in the 2008 financial crash–the comments here show people would rather whine and complain, rather than connect their personal suffering to a larger political, social, and historical context.

Lambasting Mrs. Madoff for her complicity and insensitivity does, indeed, place the commentators into a similarly vapid category, as Jim of PA (#63) notes.

How about connecting the fact that Mr. Madoff’s particularly egregious robbery of billions of dollars was made possible by a theoretically capitalistic system (which it is not really, when it uses a system of socialism for bailouts to the bankers) that prides itself on being “de-regulated”?

A system of finance that PRIDES itself on not being beholden to pesky little rules that would hold back the titans of finance, the “job-creators,” of necessity, creates opportunists like Mr. Madoff. Indeed, such opportunists create handsome little jobs for themselves, collecting and spending gullible investor’s money!

Yet even with the blindingly obvious thrown in their faces, people would rather carp and peck at a few individuals–knowing full well it will do no good–and would throw similar venom towards Wall Street protesters–calling them, “whiny, petulant, entitled,” and worse.

A system that allows wealth to snowball to such seismic inequalities as we see today inevitably causes even the 1% rich to start eating each other, as in the case of the Madoffs. The call for integrity, for regulation, and for reigning in unmitigated greed peddled through dubious, if not outright fraudulent, “investment vehicles” is a call to end ALL of the misery you see in every direction of this story.

If only the people complaining here would get out on the streets and join the Wall St. occupiers, there would be no more Mrs. Madoffs to complain about!

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The NYTimes Refuses to Understand These Times

In Occupy Together, Occupy Wall St, This Is What Democracy Looks Like on October 19, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Re: Times City Blog,  Occupy Wall St, The Documentary

Don’t you suppose there were SOME American colonists who didn’t mind paying taxes to Great Britain–some who thought they _should_ obey the Stamp Act of 1765–and who could not understand what their fellow colonists’ beef was about \”taxation without representation\”? If film had been around at the time, I am sure you could have captured debates just like we witness in the video above.  (Top of Times blog where a guy in film claims to be uncomprehending).
While I think this documentary is a good idea, I hope it will not commodify a needed revolutionary spirit that is sweeping the globe—by placing it on film, it has the danger of becoming just another event to which an audience passively reacts, as if watching a sports event.
The reason this is now a global movement is that people realize that the concept of Democracy—the inherent equality of opportunity, unhampered by birth, of all people–is hijacked by predatory capitalism–a system of commerce that allows greed to run unbridled, and that is not checked by any form of government or laws. When the laws are written to favor a greed so unchecked as to allow a few to own as much wealth as 150 million people combined, while doing nothing to address the plight of famine, unemployment, or to redress inequality—then you do not have a Democracy, but have returned to a system of Kings and serfs–Oligarchy.
The laws have to be rebalanced in favor of the majority, not an over-privileged minority. But in every revolution in history, there have been those who feign, or refuse, to \”get it.\”

~~~~~~~

And I highly recommend the YouTube Channel channel mentioned in the article, with speakers who articulate the problems exquisitely.

“We’re Not Gonna Take It, Anymore!”

In Occupy Together, Occupy Wall St, One Nation, Patient, Persistent, This Is What Democracy Looks Like on October 14, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Great to wake up to the band playing, and the streets of Manhattan filled with people singing, “We’re not gonna take it, no, we’re not gonna take it, we’re not gonna take it, anymore!!” when we found out the park won’t be “cleaned” after all.

All movements in the world started from people.  Kings, pharoahs and monarchs were ALWAYS content with the status quo, and millions of people had millions of reasons for complying with the status quo for long periods at a time, until they decided the status quo was unbearable and revolution was in order.  So we need to make the message simple enough for an 8-year-old to understand.  Once enough people see the simple truth that, without them, the emperor has no clothes, then the emperor no longer rules the people: the people rule the emperor.   Bloomberg and all the politicians will be caught chasing the narrative and trying to spin it to their personal advantage, but people have to create the narrative and lead the politicians, rather than following the politicians, and letting them set the narrative.

For the doubters and the haters and the trolls out there, that are not nearly as abundant as our major media outlets try to make it appear, I ask:

Has sitting at home by yourself biting your nails over the loss of your 401K been working for you?

Has dutifully smiling and sending out 300 resumes a month while you have piles of student debt been working for you?

O.k, to the virtuous who went to community college and have no student debt and no mortgage debt who tell these protesters to “get a job”–do you have a job that will lead anywhere but on a treadmill to nowhere for the next 50 years?
Your wages have stagnated for 30 years–that means they have NOT INCREASED AT ALL, while your work output (production) has.
The increase in your productivity while you sweat at $8 or even $20 bucks an hour has gone only to the TOP.

Corporations are sitting on mounds have cash and have no care how many people can’t find jobs.  It is not their job to create demand for their services by employing more people who in turn can buy more.   Only governments (i.e, PEOPLE, not corporations) can care for the larger general welfare–all the parts of life and society that are larger than the tiny confines of the factory or bank walls.   The corporations are designed to make money, only–that is why we have a Constitution, and a government: to promote the general welfare.

Yet when a government is bought out by corporations, it, like the corporation, refuses to see the broader welfare.  It defines life narrowly only based on the measures of what is happening inside the walls of the corporations and the balance sheet of banks.  That narrow definition ignores the plight of joblessness, hunger,  and debt, as “not my problem.”

When government becomes as unresponsive as corporations to the suffering of the people, the only recourse is to take to the streets and raise your voices.  Or, suffer silently, and quietly die in the corner without inconveniencing the corporations and governments, which they would prefer.  Those who hate and dismiss  the protesters are doing the job of unresponsive government.  Nice work.  People can always be counted on to do the work of their oppressors and to vote against their true best interest.

Your life is short, and you may wake up one day to find it over, and that you lived on the wrong side of history.  Or, like Troy Davis, Joe Hill, and Martin Luther King, you may find that though your body left the earth, you never died, because too many people keep the fight for justice alive.

“I’m 87 and I’m MAD AS HELL”–OccupyWallSt Photo Essay

In Occupy Wall St, This Is What Democracy Looks Like, Uncategorized on October 6, 2011 at 11:57 pm

O.K., apparently you cannot paste and cut photos directly into Word Press posts without using their upload function.  I spent all evening working on  a narrated photo essay only to discover this.  I see now this is why people use photo sharing websites instead.   Alas.  I will try to at least get the opening photo into this post!


Hippies Flying Through Jail House Walls

In Occupy Together, Occupy Wall St on October 4, 2011 at 3:30 am

Full tilt for the Capitol

I must have been maybe about 13 or 14–old enough to take the Metro to Takoma Park by myself–when a guy with a big turban of dreads wrapped on his head got up in front of a group at the Takoma Park Folk Festival and asked, “What is a hippie?  It comes from the word ‘hip,’ which means awareness.   And what is a pie?  It is a whole circle.   So when you put awareness into a whole circle,  you have a hippie.    So wherever a totality of awareness exists, you find hippies.”

So, I’ve always had a positive image of hippies.  None of the labels about them being unwashed or whatever image problem people could come up with seemed to impact the deeper notion to me–cuz aren’t we all here to gain awareness?   From Socrates to Obama to the homeless guy in a wheelchair with no legs and a cup not even that full of coins?

So, just like the animals  and some children (my own daughter included) could sense the massive earthquake that hit  a third of the U.S. anywhere from a day to minutes before most adults had any sign it was coming or even here, I believe we can all sniff fear and freedom on the wind  (though of course Bob Dylan said it better–don’t need a weatherman…) So we know what is authentically a freedom movement, and what is not, no matter how any number of paid or unpaid opinions package it.

And no matter how it is, or is not, amplified through the media or the blogosphere, the Occupy Wall St rumblings I’ve seen/intuited via the blogosphere, Twitter, and their own website/livestream are tantalizing.  The uncertainty  is precisely its beauty, giving it large, forgivable proportions that any one of us are free to sculpt.  The zeitgeist of economic injustice is so obvious it goes without saying, even if it is being yelled continuously in various marches through the day.

And it is a place where all who mourn the injustices of a system that insists on death penalties of all sorts can perhaps find a new way.   For the death penalty is not only in the state-sanctioned death chambers of our injustice system, but in our wars, in our tax-payer funded bloodbaths in Iraq, Afghanistan,  Pakistan, Yemen, and Libya, and in our info wars where disinformation is scattered with equal ferocity as drone attacks, in our unregulated pollution leading to illnesses that lead to death or debt, in the way we keep ripping people out of their homes and stuffing the pockets of banks ever more while letting them steal with impunity, and deny work to those willing to work because somehow it is cheaper to send jobs to other economies….yes, it is cheaper, because it’s a cheap thing to do, and people have been mad for a long, long time, but they have been long distracted by the three ring hologram of our 2 party delusion…or else long ago retreated from politics, not believing the personal is political every second of every day.

From Democracy Now,    they replayed moving segments from Troy Anthony Davis’ funeral this Saturday:

Ben Jealous, head of NAACP,

“We must end the School to prison pipeline.  Don’t see knuckle heads.  See leaders.  See prophets.  See those who will get the job [of ending the death penalty] done. ”

The Right Reverend Doctor Raphael Warner,

“He transformed the prison cell into a pulpit.  I don’ have to preach long today because he’s already preached a sermon.  Turned death row into a sanctuary.  And showed all of us what faith and hope and love look like, and from one of the darkest and  murkiest places of human existence he allowed his light to shine and that light radiated from Jackson all the way to Nigeria all the way to the Netherlands all the way to London brought men and women boys and girls   red yellow brown black and white to his jail cell.  Convicted by a criminal justice system that is too often more criminal  than just.  Stigmatized by the state in a process more obsessed with finality than truth.  Yet he held fast to his dignity while on death row.   And so all over the world people are chanting, I am Troy Davis.  And we say that because, existentially, we all live on death row.   The difference between us and Troy  is Troy knew it, and some of us have yet to figure it out…we all live on death row….”

So I think the Occupy Wall Streeters, some of them, may be in the process of figuring this out.   The 700 who were arrested Saturday may one day in history a few decades from now look back on their arrests as badges of honor.  The Occupy Together movements springing up all over the U.S., may be figuring this out.   For if they are, they can’t be pinned down by a jail cell.    Like I heard a protestor say, “You can’t jail an idea.”

Even if you hide it very deep in your heart and never say a word, it will emerge one day.   We couldn’t sit on our supposed freedom and not demand something more authentic, after what happened in Tunisia and Egypt….because freedom is contagious.   And I believe we will prove it is more contagious than fear or greed.   We can smell freedom blowing in the wind….

The ring arithmetic--as taught by the modern ceasers

Explication of lithographs:

Upper:

  • Date Created/Published: N.Y. ; Washington : Lith. & pub. by H.R. Robinson, 1840.
  • Medium: 1 print : lithograph on wove paper ; 31.2 x 42 cm. (image)
  • Summary: The artist envisions public repudiation of Democratic hard-money policies, and the triumph of administration opponent Nathaniel P. Tallmadge, a conservative Democrat. Tallmadge, on horseback and armed with a lance “public opinion,” rides over a fallen Van Buren, saying, “Roll off that ball, tis the voice of the People, they tolerate no more of your hard money humbugs.” Van Buren protests, “. . . take your horse’s hoofs from off my shoulder; I’ve no room for S̀ober second thoughts’ now.” He leans against a large ball marked “Solitary and Alone,” which rolls over Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton and Treasury Secretary Levi Woodbury. Benton, who wields a quill “Expunger” and holds “Mint Drops,” exclaims, “Woodbury get out of my way, or the ball will overwhelm us both.” “Mint drops” was a colloquialism for gold coins, and refers to Benton’s advocacy of a higher ratio of gold to silver in circulation. (For an earlier use of the giant ball metaphor see “N. Tom O’ Logical Studies,” no. 1837-14.) Editor Francis Preston Blair (seated on a bench at right) says, “Benton out with your old pistols that you shot Jackson with, & pop down Talmadge & his horse, or he’ll reach the Capitol.” Behind him appear the faint outlines of the Capitol. At left former postmaster general Amos Kendall and former New York governor William L. Marcy sit on the ground. Kendall asks, “By the powers tis the Bronze Horse, he carries all before him. Marcy what shall we do?” Marcy complains, “Confound it I’m down, quite down, with my britches torn again.” Marcy’s trousers are mended with a “50 cents” patch. (On Marcy’s trousers’ patch see &2Executive Mercy/Marcy and the Bambers, &1no. 1838-5.) The print probably appeared during the 1840 presidential campaign, when Tallmadge used his formidable influence in New York State in support of Harrison. It is also possible that it appeared during one of his own bids for reelection in 1838 or 1840. Comparison with other 1840 prints by “HD” supports the later date.

Lower:

  • Title: The ring arithmetic–as taught by the modern ceasers
  • Related Names:
    Kelly, Ths. (Thomas)
    Robertson, Wm C. (William C.)
  • Date Created/Published: N.Y. : Pub. by Ths. Kelly, 1871.
  • Medium: 1 print : lithograph on wove paper ; 29.6 x 38.2 cm. (image)
  • Summary: Tammany political boss William Marcy Tweed is portrayed as a bullying schoolteacher giving New York City comptroller Richard B. Connolly a lesson in arithmetic. A teary-eyed Connolly stands on a stool writing wildly inaccurate equations on a blackboard. For instance, “$147 x 2 equals $1380948”). Connolly protests to his teacher, “These figures wont suit my Father the public,” but Tweed responds, “Never mind the public Mind me I will make a rich man of you 12 years ago I was poor, now I am rich by this new arithmetic.” Behind the board are two padlocked ledgers– “City Debt 1871 125,000,000” and “City Debt 1869 30,000,000.” Exaggerated bills for the building of the county courthouse are posted on the wall. The building’s final cost was $12 million, of which two-thirds was fraudulent. In less than three years Tweed’s “ring” of corrupt officials managed to rob the city’s treasury of $30 million.