Occupy News for Friday, Nov 25, 2011

From “Naked Capitalism” this link to posters from the Occupy movement.

Democrats attempt to co-opt the Occupy movement.  Back off !    Glen Ford also has his take on this: “Gridlock is a Blessing”.

“Counterpunch’s” take on the destruction of the 5,554 books at the library at Zucotti Park last week by Herr Bloomberg.  451 at Zucotti Park

Also check out “Counterpunch’s “Student Loan Fury in the Occupy Movement”.

Where to send new warm socks and gloves, winter sleeping bags, hand warmers, etc.  Check out the individual sites:

For example.  http://www.Occupydenver.org

Occupy Denver
1550 Larimer St box 224
Denver, CO 80202

http://www.occupywallst.org/donate   has a list of other Occupies and their websites.

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Thoughts on Denny’s Congressional Seat

This Is What Democracy Looks Like - Sometimes

I don’t spend much time on national electoral politics anymore, but some thoughts on Jhygirl’s post on 4 & 20 blackbirds regarding Franke Wilmer and her candidacy for our lone congressional seat here in Montana now held by Denny Rehberg:  http://4and20blackbirds.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/franke-wilmer-candidate-for-u-s-congress-speaks-on-the-super-committee-dysfunction/

Franke Wilmer is an intelligent and hard working person.  So I find it disappointing, yes, disappointing that she chose to answer the question on the Stupid Committee by addressing the  meme that the budget deficit is the big problem our nation faces.  No, OWS has managed valiantly to change the dumb ass deficit hawk misdirection into the correct discussion of corruption and crony capitalism that has turned our nation into a non-functioning wasteland.  And besides, the deficit cutting idea is just plain wrong.  Most recent debunking by Martin Wolf at the Financial Times:  http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/448bb4e0-15f2-11e1-a691-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1eOtxqRL7

Now I know she can’t offend Obama and Max, so she can’t say that the whole super committee was a set up–a set up to fail so that the automatic cuts kick in after the election, that is, if they aren’t repealed by the  next Congress.  She can’t say that it was set up to get Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the table i.e. to start the talk about “reforming” i.e. gutting them.

This is not about 12 dysfunctional people sitting in a room going over spreadsheets with green eye shades who were incapable of picking  out waste. That’s deflecting attention away from the rampant corruption of our elected officials and the basic tenet of republicanism that we submit to laws debated in an open deliberative fashion.  Deals behind closed doors are not anything we should submit too whether it’s health insurance or bank giveaways.  And changing the people in the room won’t change the system of “lobbyists” and “consultants” and “historians” in the revolving door between congress and corporate executive offices.

These times call for imagination and alternatives to the status quo not the same old same old finger pointing and the same old talking points like restoring “common sense” and bringing change to Washington.  Change will not happen in Washington.

Today’s Links

Egyptian News anchor  sights the US crackdown of OWS protesters as inspiration for their crackdown and killing of protesters.  That’s right, we are the big dogs of democracy.

@SultanAlQassemi Sultan Al Qassemi
Egypt State TV anchor: We saw the firm stance the US took against OWS people & the German govt against green protesters to secure the state
Occupy Boston’s lecture series continues with Michael Denning, Professor of American Studies at Yale.  I suggest that we get the Occupies certified (by us) and that people get credit for attending the University of the 99%.  http://www.occupyboston.org   Donations of warm weather gear to : Occupy Boston PO Box 51162 Boston, MA 02205
Occupy History is a site worth checking out;  http://occupyhistory.tumblr.com/
The pepper spraying cop, Lt. John Pike, appears spraying protesters in American History.  boingboing.net/2011/11/20/occupy-lulz.html
For more of Lt. Pike spraying the likes of Mickey Mouse and Bruce Willis:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.121452001295014.23430.121408401299374&type=3

The 99% and The Two Americas

(Cross posted at http://www.correntwire.com

Chris Cillizza wrote a piece on October 17 in The Washington Post called “What John Edwards Can Teach Barack Obama”
Cillizza compares the message of the “Two Americas” to “We are the 99%” i.e. that there is one America for the privileged with their lobbyists and influence and another America for the rest of us. He suggests that Barack Obama take a look at this Edwards’ theme. He also admits that Obama is not a natural populist and so donning this message might indeed turn out to be an ill fitting suit making the wearer look a bit comical.

If I tell you where the idea of “Two Americas” comes from, you will see why it’s not a good fit for the current president. The Two Americas phrase itself was coined by an Edwards’ staffer Christina Reynolds. But its roots lay in a deep held belief of the senator that something had gone terribly wrong.

In 2003 I decided it was time for me to scout around and read up on the possible Democratic candidates. I stumbled on a speech by an obscure North Carolina senator and a phrase lept out at me. I had one of those “Oh my God” moments. Here was a phrase and an idea that made sense of everything that had gone wrong since the beginnings of Friedman/Reagonomics that had morphed into Rubin/Clintonomics. The phrase was “we must honor work over wealth”.

Barrett Keizer said, in his brilliant 2006 February essay for Harper’s called “Crap Shoot: Everyone Loses When Politics is a Game”:

“The player, the wise guy, prides himself on his cleverness, but he always perishes from being less clever than he thinks. He perishes because he only knows the relentless, mindless momentum of the game; he knows nothing of the sanctifying rhythms of work and rest.”

“Sanctity”. Wow, that reminds me that Jesus was blue collar. He was a carpenter. God too worked his butt off and then rested. Those are the natural rhythms of the earth; to work and then to rest and play.

Edwards was attempting to redeem the word “work” that Reagonomics had succeeded in replacing with the so-called virtue of “ownership”. Reagan pushed the idea that you weren’t really a player unless you owned shares in America and owned property. Being a “shareholder” was preferable to be called a “worker”.

But, no, the world belongs to people who love work and not to the players in the casinos with their rigged games. It’s long past time for work to take again its dominant place over wealth. “Attention must be paid”, said Linda Loman of her salesman husband Willy. Dignity, respect, justice begins when a person is rewarded for a good day’s work and is honored for it.

Freedom demands shared responsibility that can only be achieved when all work is given dignity and all brothers and sisters are respected. It doesn’t mean we all get yachts. But it does mean that we all get boats. Right now it is clear to the young people that all they’ve got is the instruction manual on “How to Swim” while the Fat Cats speed around them churning up the waves.

The occupiers around the world are finding virtue and truth in the phrase that “many hands make light work”. They are discovering the joy of working together in their assemblies and “work” groups. And they are discovering the joy of playing and jamming after some marching and sweating. They are redefining what is valuable.

Promises have been broken and Liberty has been stolen. Fearful and hollow men seek to exclude and not include. So, it’s time to “kindly” ask those who would serve up liberty without fraternity or equality to step to the back of the bus. Our time is now.

The French got it right in their cry of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity“. “Cut to the Revolution.”

What Do They Want?

Occupy wall street

Is it about what they want? Or something else?I read a statement years ago that the 20th Century was the century of Freud. And with any luck, the 21st Century would be the century of Jung. Not sure who said it but it really resonated with me. My take on Jung was that he emphasized the idea that we are all a part of a whole, with each of us having individual gifts contributing to that whole. When we look at another, we see ourselves. In the BBC documentary “The Century of the Self”, Adam Curtis explores the use of Freud’s theories to direct people away from a communal way of thinking and into rampant mirror-gazing.

The premise of the film is that the birth of propaganda/public relations/marketing began with Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays when he was hired by the Wilson administration to sell the idea of “making the world safe for democracy”. Unfortunately, that meant becoming involved in the hideous carnage called World War I and forcing your neighbors to buy War Bonds or be put in jail. After the war, he was asked by the tobacco industry to use his PR skills to figure out how to sell cigarettes to women. He branded cigarettes “torches of freedom” that would challenge male power simply by lighting up. From then on, advertising would no longer speak to people’s needs, but to their inner desires and yearnings. And freedom would now be defined as freedom of choice.

And so the transformation of the American citizen into the American consumer began in earnest. Americans were sold that they needed clothes that showed their individuality and made them sexy. Men were sold that the kind of car they drove showed who they were; powerful and, yes, sexy. The kind of soap you bought made you happier and more admired.

What we are witnessing in Zuccotti/Liberty Park with the #Occupy Wall Street could be the great turning away from the century of “me” to the century of “we”.
At least it has opened up the discussion of what we really need rather than what we want. The greatest need right now seems to have our voices heard and a need to take back the meaning of words like “public” and “cooperative” and “social”. It is a pushback against all the punditry that insist on a label, logo, banner, slogan, brand, buzzword, sound bite, pitch or demand.

No, we will no longer be defined as consumers. We will no longer be cogs in your machine. We are free men and women. We do not define freedom as the right to choose between 100 brands of cereal. Our definition of freedom is freedom from domination by corporations and their agendas. Our definition of freedom is not to be subservient to the 1%. We are taking back our humanity. We are taking back our public spaces and our commons. We are a community; a community of concerns. We care about each other and the planet we inhabit. There is no expiration date on what is happening around the world and at last in the United States.

No, it’s not about what we want, but about what we need.

“Teachers as Temps”

Check out Glen Ford’s latest piece on blackagendareport.com “Corporate Dream: Teachers as Temps”

Discredit teachers and you can discredit public education.  And then the blood suckers can get their hands on the 800 Billion Dollars we spend on public education.  Always follow the money.

Poverty is the Real Loser Here

So the justice department spent 2.5 years investigating John Edwards and whether campaign funds were used to keep his mistress and love child in hiding. Curious as to its priorites.
Curious that Edwards was the only candidate that built his campaign around the issue of poverty. If you solve poverty, you solve everything; war and peace, environmental degradation, hunger, and racism. He was the one who called out Wall Street time and time again and had specific plans to tame the beast. But like many before him, he had personal flaws.
http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/05/25/john_edwards/index.html
So now we have no mention of the end to poverty by our leaders and instead we have a justice department that goes after a guy who cheated on his wife. It is very telling who this attorney general on behalf of this president goes after as mentioned by several comments on Salon.com; whistleblowers instead of the banksters? adulterers rather than war criminals? WTF indeed.