Search This Site

Loading

Friday, September 30, 2011

It's All Happening (Bombs Bursting In Air)

By The Dawn's Early Light

("It's all happening." - my favorite line from Almost Famous.)

This list, click through to Occupy Together for links to all of these pending happenings:

Democracy Is Coming To The U.S.A. - #OccupyWallStreet


[Update: New Gosztola liveblog up: Live Blog of #OccupyWallStreet: Day Fourteen, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Expresses Support.]
It's coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real,
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It's coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

"I Came Here To Write" - Chris Hedges On #OccupyWallStreet


[Update: Kevin Gosztola addresses the naysayers accusing #OccupyWallStreet as being "goal-less" in The Goal and Message of Occupy Wall Street.]

Last Sunday, Chris Hedges dropped in on #OccupyWallStreet at "Liberty Square" (YouTube above), and amidst the valuable thoughts he shared, he announced, "I came here to write."

And write he did. The essay, The Best Among Us, was filed yesterday at TruthDig, and it's a beautiful stream-of-consciousness piece that will fill anyone's heart (who is on the correct side of the barricades, of course). Treat these excerpts as mere teasers, you really must go read the whole thing.
There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil...

...To be innocent in times like these is to be a criminal...

Choose. But choose fast...

...They have their fangs deep into your necks. If you do not shake them off very, very soon they will kill you...

Those on the streets around Wall Street are the physical embodiment of hope. They know that hope has a cost, that it is not easy or comfortable... This is what it means to be alive. They are the best among us.
[emphasis mine]

Thursday, September 29, 2011

#OccupyWallStreet: Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

Declaration of Independence

[Update 09/30: Revisions to this Declaration will be posted at nycga.cc.]

[Update: Live Blog of #OccupyWallStreet: Day Thirteen, NY Transit Workers Union Executive Board Endorses]

(Received from "Call To Action." Forged at the General Assembly in "Liberty Square," #OccupyWallStreet, NY, NY.)

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies. As one people, formerly divided by the color of our skin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or lack thereof, political party and cultural background, we acknowledge the reality: that there is only one race, the human race, and our survival requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their brethren; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give CEO’s exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated gender inequality and discrimination in the workplace.
They have poisoned the food supply, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have continuously sought to end the rights of workers to negotiate their pay and make complaints about the safety of their workplace.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty book keeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.
They have participated in a directly racist action by accepting the contract from the State of Georgia to murder Troy Davis.

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

#OccupyWallStreet Business Card

#OccupyPortland business card
Couldn't resist this image (h/t Tarheel Dem).

The movement "has legs."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

#OccupyPortland 10/06/2011

#OccupyPortland
Taken about 15 minutes ago in my 'hood, on 37th & Hawthorne
[Update: Egypt-US Activists' Pledge of Solidarity (English and Arabic).]

[Update: Victim of Pepper-Spray Incident Kelly Schomburg gives her account at Alien She. Inquiry launched into useful idiot Tony Bologna's contribution to the movement, and more damning videos, in The Guardian.]

[Update: Live Blog of #OccupyWallStreet: Day Twelve, Postal Workers Enjoy the Occupation’s Support]

[Update: Police softening - from Al Jazeera:
"The police officer told me he was going to cuff me very loosely so it wouldn’t hurt,” said one woman arrested on Saturday. Waiting in the bus she found the plastic strap cuffs were so loose her hands were not bound and she could freely take one out to use her cell phone.
]

[Update 09/28/2011: #OccupyWallStreet liveblog up: Live Blog of #OccupyWallStreet: Day Eleven, Union Interest is Increasing. Quote of the day, Matt Taibbi (h/t klynn):
There are times when one wonders how effective marches are... but in this case demonstrations could be very important just in terms of educating people about the fact that there is, in fact, a well-defined conflict out there with two sides to it.
Also, via Marcy, send some food love:
  • Lemongrass Grill – Thai – 212.809.8038
  • Alfanoose – Middle Eastern – 212.528.4669
  • Toloache Taqueria – 212.809.9800
  • Liberatos Pizza – 212.344.3464
]

Occupy Portland In Peaceful Solidarity with #OccupyWallStreet.

The Blunder

Officer Bologna makes himself useful
In another forum last week, I was engaged in a brief conversation about the nascent #OccupyWallStreet phenomenon:
...I hate to say it, but I think something, er, untoward needs to happen to snap the necks of a crowd, not just larger, but also a little less genteel than the well-meaning organizers of the Oct. event [Rally To Restore Sanity]. And I really do hate to say that.
Another commenter responded:
I don’t think we need to rely on the protestors for that.
To which I replied:
Yes… I was actually thinking of a stupid blunder coming from the “establishment.”
It seems that NYPD officer Anthony Bologna has provided the blunder that I was expecting. It's still too early to tell if this movement - sparked by #OccupyWallStreet and well-tended by the useful idiot Bologna - "has legs," but similar actions have been springing up around the country.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Parallel Our Eyes: Random Thoughts On The Unfolding Revolution


[Update 09/26/2011: Liveblog up for #OccupyWallStreet - Day 10, Building the Hope for Reform, more yeoman's work from Kevin Gosztola. Keep eyes on this!]

[Update 09/25/2011: New liveblog up here. Quote of the day, Chris Hedges: "Power elite will define whatever you do as a failure."]

[Update: Liveblog of #OccupyWallStreet action moved to here. Keep up with unfolding police crackdown.]

Paralleled Eyes

The demands of the individuals are subdued, transformed, and ultimately manifest as the demands of history - there need not be a clear line from one to the other. A pointed criticism of the efficacy of the left to affect change has been the fractious nature of its special interest priorities. The urgency of the revolution, now an imperative of history, has rendered this dynamic irrelevant.

A further signal of this is the reflexive, nearly subconscious, blending of the interests of the left and the "tea-party" right. In spite of a mutual revulsion, their eyes parallelize towards common goals. A side-effect of this, perhaps, will be an untangling and clarification of the modern confusion of what is "left" and what is "right" - what is revolution and what is counter-revolution.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Some Positive News

A Growing Movement
From the rare-good-news department, this trend is reported at Nation of Change:
What the people at the fair shared in common was not their politics, but their optimism.

...Something in our culture is changing. A growing segment of
[20-somethings] don’t want to just buy organic, healthy food. They want to grow it. This new lust to farm seems to cross class, race, and politics.

...So what’s going on? I think we’re seeing the convergence of three major cultural trends:
  • A response to uncertain times ahead...
  • A rebellion against agribusiness...
  • An enhanced appreciation of good food...
Ah, the young.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Earth Words

Cheny/Bush

I like words. I also like thoughtful neologisms. (I once triumph-ally coined a word - benefficient - over 30 years ago, while naively working on a "new" philosophy book, an endeavor long since abandoned. That word has apparently been re-coined, with a definition similar enough to my own - re-coined, as I doubt that the few, if any, times I'd uttered it gave it any traction.)

Anyway, I just wanted to share these Glenn Albrecht neologisms, discussed in this Nation of Change article, When Words Fail: Does a Warming World Need a New Vocabulary?
  • solastalgia - "a term that describes the angst you might feel when the environment around you starts to change, whether because of coal-mining or drought or flooding."
  • soliphilia - “the solidarity needed between people to actually restore and repair damaged environments.”
  • eutierria - "a feeling of elation or oneness with the Earth, something you might experience on a hike or in the garden or when dipping into an ocean breaker."
  • ecoparalysis - “the inability, due to fear or hopelessness, to respond to environmental problems.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hedges: On Rev. Wright And Obama's "Fall From Grace"

The Betrayal
Barack Obama’s politically expedient decision to betray and abandon his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, exposed his cowardice and moral bankruptcy. In that moment, playing the part of Judas, he surrendered the last shreds of his integrity.
So opens Chris Hedges' essay The Rev. Jeremiah Wright Recalls Obama’s Fall From Grace. Rev. Wright has been unfairly savaged in the media, and the Obama the campaigner coldly turned his back on him.
Wright, who perhaps knows Obama better than nearly any other person in the country, sees a man who sold his principles for the chimera and illusion of power. But once Obama achieved power he became its tool, its vassal, its public face, its brand...

...I’ll never forget one of the most powerful things he said to me in my home, second Saturday in April 2008. He said, ‘You know what your problem is?’ I said, ‘What is that?’ He said, ‘You have to tell the truth.’
Please read the piece, and better know the man, he deserves no less. Wright, from the article, on the MLK memorial:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"I Am Prejudice"

To Kill A Mockingbird
I am the enemy of truth - I am prejudice.
- Ralph Van Kirk Von Brandt*
soleri, as he is wont, pointed me to a truthout essay that I had missed, Between Race and Reason: Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. The article sent me to reverie (as I am wont) on just how impoverished, as a practical matter, the intellectual is in regards the battle against ignorance in the political arena, and perhaps in general.

(Pardon the "lofty" language - this auto-didact wishes to establish his credentials as a pointy-headed fellow-traveler. It is to snark.)

Before I proceed, I want to make the brief political note that the excellent essay below, written in 1911, reinforces my strong feelings against authority, which I associate with power, in principle. OK, noted.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Shunning The Money Changers

I Disapprove
[Updates 9/17: Citizens Aim to Occupy Wall Street today. Count on a complete media blackout. (Image) (Image) (Image) (Image) (This site is providing ongoing images and updates.) (Liveblog courtesy Kevin Gosztola at FDL.) (Rumors of cell phone service being cut off at Bowling Green. Fools.) (New Gosztola liveblog up.)]
You always hurt the one you love.
- Allan Roberts/Doris Fisher
That old pop standard, made popular by The Mills Brothers, reveals an interesting aspect of human behavior. It's true - because we are generally on our best behavior when alone amongst strangers.

Think about it. The easy - if insincere - smiles and sidewalk courtesies. Something falls from a passing stranger's bag, and most of us are eager to pick it up and return it. In public, we are strangely desperate of the approval of complete strangers. Contrast that with a typical holiday dinner with the extended family. The same person who enthusiastically excuses and reassures the stranger who has inadvertently trod on his foot while mounting the bus will often display unconscionable contempt towards his brother, his wife, his sister-in-law.
Familiarity breeds contempt.
- Aesop
People are strange when you're a stranger
Faces look ugly when you're alone
Women seem wicked when you're unwanted
Streets are uneven when you're down
- The Doors

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Liberals Lack Perception"

Janet Maslin
Photo from Zimbio
I'm not going to read Joe McGinness' new book, The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin. His subject grew cartoonish enough for me during the 2008 campaign, and I for one have been baffled at the shelf-life of even the most passing interest in her. Nothing she has said or done since - and lord-help-me why the hell do I even know anything about what she has said or done since? - has altered or embellished any assessment of that silly woman an iota. Some claim that she is "dangerous" (or viable,) in that Godwin's law kind of way, so maybe that is what drives the incessant coverage. Maybe they're right, both left and right, but the attention lavished upon her smells of self-fulfilling prophesy.

However, I do have voyeuristic aspect, and I am driven to review a reviewer of Mcginniss' review of Ms. Palin, and that brings me to Janet Maslin of the New York Times.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Krugman Paradox

Paul Krugman

Well, the expected Krugman backlash is here. We shall see where on its arc, this Monday evening on the day after, we find ourselves. Whether it shall be a minor kerfluffle or will have a lasting impact on the economist's career.

I mean, having a neocon war criminal like Donald Rumsfeld cancel his NY Times subscription should hardly give anyone the vapors.

What Paul Krugman has created is a paradox for his critics. In writing about the U.S. response to the September attacks, he said:
The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

Miracle Of Life



OK, a bit preachy overall, but let's enjoy some Yes on the morn after Ooga-Booga Day (update, see this):
Hold on to the miracle of life...

Secret lives of oceans been washed away like mud.
You don't want my devotion;
You'd rather be washed in blood.
Can we turn away from this open anger?
Counting all the prey
Don't you feel the danger to the miracle of life.

Sing when open hearts are calling,
Shout with open eyes (To the miracle of life)
Far below the deepest treasure
To the miracle of life

Living in times of luster, waiting for the flood.
We don't agree with your concepts;
You'd rather be washed in blood.
Is it any wonder? (In my lifetime)
Cold depth of blue water...
Is it any wonder? (In my lifetime)
Rising tides of slaughter - shoulda been washed in blood

Sing when open hearts are calling,
Shout with open eyes (To the miracle of life)
Far beyond your deepest pleasure
To the miracle of life

Pacifica...Atlantica...India...Antarctica...

- Yes Union (1991)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001: Ten Years After

The Butterfly from Hell
[Updated after the jump, with excerpts of my pre-blog reactions, written on the day of the attacks.]

[Update II: What Paul Krugman said:
The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.]

[Update III: A little anniversary cheer: Some real Shock and Awe: Racially profiled and cuffed in Detroit.]

Ten years ago, a ripping of the fabric of the world had begun. It had seen many tears (and tears) before, but humanity's tailors always seemed to manage a stitch in time. This one was different, and ten years after we stand in paralyzed witness of tatters relentlessly growing in the gusts of a still-gathering storm.

I cannot say what happened on that day.

But, ten years after, I can say that humanity has not yet acquitted with any grace.

If there is anything to be taken away, to be remembered on this anniversary, it is that we are often far too willing to sacrifice innocent lives for grievance, or for grand ambition.


[Updated: Below find my reactions, written on the day of the attacks:]

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Good-Natured Shot / At James Wolcott

James Wolcott

[Update 9/15 - 7 days later: The post in question has been "edited."]

I first want to put it out there that I am a huge fan of Wolcott and his blog at Vanity Fair. I check it daily for new missives from the politically and culturally wise, and entertaining writer. And to pile on a bit, I've always accepted the adage that to become a better writer, one should read a lot, and read good writers.

But some things are just too hard to resist.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

To All The Looters: The Good Will Re-Emerge

Looters
Petty Thieves We, on the left, Eater of Worlds on the right.
(I have given on these pages, and will continue to give, a consistent voice to my conviction that we, the people and the "victims," must acknowledge and accept the responsibility for enabling the current state of affairs, but I am going to turn the firehouse around for a moment.)

Looting is despicable. A crime of opportunity that lays bare the poverty of the soul. At least the covert thief or embezzler has the conscience to proceed furtively, with perhaps the spector of shame ever-threatening to multiply his punishment.

That said, 1,000 "street" looters can never approach the amount of damage a single Alan Fishman can inflict on his fellow man. And while either class of looter exacts a price against his own soul, this disparity of scale no doubt apportions that price.

For that reason, I am separating out the grand, hubristic looters skulking in the halls of the corporate world for this diatribe. I was going to say "corporate America" - but these organizations have no country.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Compartmentalization And The "Low-Information" Voter

Puzzle Brain
Image from iPhoneDroid
In my last post, I made a passing reference to Mike Lofgren's passing reference to "the mental compartmentalization that occurs in most low-information voters." This is not a swipe at Mr. Lofgren's descriptive shorthand (he did introduce the clarification of "misinformation" in his article), but compartmentalization and "low-information" (ignorance, in the colloquial sense - although the actual meaning of the word is quite interesting in this context) are two different things entirely. While the former will more likely than not reinforce ignorance (in both its popular and actual meanings), it is more properly an act of will, rather than a lack of knowledge.

I bring this up because there is a lot of trafficking in the concept of the "low-information" voter as being a problem in our democracy, such as it is (for the sake of this conversation, I am going to ignore the various and despicable ways and means that are inflicted upon the public in order to minimize the impact of the vote.) While it is true that the contemporary American public is woefully under-educated, I'll take an illiterate and ignorant individual over the most highly-educated scholar every time, if the latter suffers from compartmentalization.

GOP Senate Budget Analyst Abandons The "Cult" Of Modern Republicanism

Mike Lofgren
It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe. This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant. [my emphasis]
Thus writes Mike Lofgren who, according to his LinkedIn.com profile, was a Budget analyst for the Senate. In this "shocking" Truthout essay, Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult, Mr. Lofgren presents a serious and reasoned analysis of the state of the modern Republican mafia (my word), yet still manages to pull of the literary equivalent of the exploding head. I place "shocking" in scare quotes because there is not much he reveals about the motives of the GOP that are not clear to any reasonably intelligent observer of American politics. What is fascinating is that, coming from a DC insider, the lurid details of the sheer mendacity and hypocracy that he outlines approach the stylings of "shrill" outliers like the late, great Joe Bageant and Len Hart or, ahem, me (not to unintentionally conflate skill or content.) It's a pleasurable, albeit depressing, read, so go over there and do it.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Palestineans Laughing Hysterically Over "Social Justice" Movement In Israel

Israel
Uriel Sinai/Getty Image from Guardion.co.uk
Pardon the Onion-esque title to this post - I have no idea if anyone is actually laughing (and I Googled about desperately to find something, anything - I guess it just isn't funny) - but the "social justice" movement has an obvious problem. And, of course, the Israeli left is split over this problem.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

WikiLeaks US Cables Published... Update

WikiLeaks
Here's a summary of he said/she said on the full, unredacted release of sensitive US cables on the Internet, so far as I understand it.

WikiLeaks, as represented by Julian Assange, claims that reporter David Leigh of the UK newspaper Guardian negligently revealed a key encryption password in a book, WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy, published last February by the Guardian. This has apparently been alleged mainly through Twitter. Assange appears to be mum on the subject of how the encrypted database got out there in the first place - as it had apparently only been distributed to key media partners via secure servers that were taken offline after the distribution.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Kyle Willis, R.I.P.

Kyle Willis
Image from Cincinnati.com
Kyle Willis, who happens to be the nephew of Bootsy Collins, died last Tuesday from a tooth infection. In Cincinnati. Ohio. America.
...He leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter.

Willis went to an emergency room near his home about two weeks ago with a painful toothache,
[Patti] Collins said. Doctors prescribed an antibiotic and pain medication. Willis, who was unemployed and did not have medical insurance, purchased the $3 pain medication but not the $27 antibiotic because he couldn’t afford it, Collins said.

The infection in his tooth apparently spread to his brain...
My deepest sympathies for his family.

It's Out There: WikiLeaks US Cables Published... Unredacted

Wikileaks
[Update here.]

The entirety of the WikiLeaks cache of US diplomatic cables has apparently been released on the Internet, unredacted and sans encryption.

(Click through here to read Kevin Gosztola's report and to view his appearance on The Alyona Show as well: Cablegate Swings Open Forever: All US Cables Now Published by WikiLeaks.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dickwatch

The Big Dick

Lawrence Wilkerson is at it again, bless his heart.

I never thought I'd be nostalgic for the old administration, but this story went well with my morning coffee.

Oh, and this is a perfect headline for the Big Dick: Did Dick Cheney take cheap shots? Oh, aha-haha-hahahahaha...