Sunday, October 09, 2011

"repeat after me - john lewis please go away"

Video - ATL OWS decides not to hear John Lewis' tired old gas

The call and repeat is tedious beyond belief, but the upshot of that childish seeming ad hockery - is - that the group is uninterested in hearing any of John Lewis tiresome gas. OK John, we all know you took an epic ass-whooping fortysome years ago for the right to vote - and folks in your district have been voting you into office for generations. Since you've been on the federal payroll - what exactly are the structural changes to the political economy that you've authored and that you have to show for all that electoral loyalty?

What do we collectively have to show for your ignominious fifteen minutes forty six years ago?!?!?!?!?

The cast of geriatric preachers, pundits, lawyers, and sundry assorted oxygen thieves comprising the CBC, governance in a number of unfortunate metropolitan areas, and unelected, unaccountable tenured public "intelligentsia" - are the inevitable negative externality of the civil rights movement. At the risk of provoking Constructive Feedback to have a heart attack - the majoritarian 2nd and 3rd line inheritors of the civil rights movement are the real disgrace and actual leadership vacuum systemically afflicting the black electorate in America.

Drive around any hood near where you live and payday loans, liquor stores, convenience stores, korean "beauty" supply retailers, and storefront churches - comprise the overwhelming majority of what passes for private enterprise in most downwardly mobile and predominantly black neighborhoods today - with the majority of these private enterprises not in black hands except for the churches.

No other factor in the political economy of black America holds a candle to the cataclysmic failures owned by the predominant 2nd and 3rd line inheritors of the civil rights movement.

Things have gotten so bad that the Boule have gone even more despicably race-traitor than their characteristic gatekeeping establishment buffer role has required of them, and have begun an atypically conspicuous orchestrated effort to position economic hit men in the hood to execute public payroll disaster capitalism - and further drive the artificially created, unsustainable, and politically irksome faux black middle class to its knees.

Folk genuinely have no idea what's going on all around them today and the 2nd and 3rd line inheritors lack the knowledge, skill, ability, and administrative courage to illuminate and publicize the real and acute threats to what little political economics black folk have managed to muster from the crumbs swept off massas table.

wallfare: democracy replaced by rule of corporations?

Video - RT All About Greed: 'Corporations + Government = Fascism'

'Occupy Wall Street' movement is more than just a citizen standoff against the big banks. Some of the Wall Street campaigners accuse news outlets there of peddling a view of the U.S. that bears no resemblance to the reality lived by millions of Americans...

a more participatory mode of governance..., um, DEMOCRACY?!?!?!

Video - Aljazeera Protesters looking for a more participatory way of doing things

Discontent with the state of the US economy has drawn many protesters out to demonstrations in major cities in the United States.

The "Occupy Wall Street" movement that started in New York on September 17 has spread to over 90 other US cities.

As the 24-hour encampment continued in New York City on Friday, there were demonstrations around the country, including in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Chicago, Illinois; Austin and Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Washington DC.

Some Republican politicians are criticising the movement.

Republican House Majority leader Eric Cantor called the protesters "growing mobs".

But the protesters are not focused on the US' traditional political system.

"We need to dictate the policy up, not policy being dictated down," Jesse LaGreca, a protester on Wall Street, told Al Jazeera.

"We will be the leaders, and if there's any politicianss who wanna support us in passing policies that we support, then that's the best we to about gaining our support."

Katie Davison, another Wall Street protester, agreed.

"A candidate is sort of the old way of doing things," she told Al Jazeera. "We're looking for a new way of doing things that is more participatory and more meaningful. What that looks like we're still figuring out."

Anthropoligist, writer and protest organiser David Graeber, told Al Jazeera why he thinks young people in the US have reached an especially frustrating point.
In making a demand, you're essentially recognising the authority of the people who are going to carry it out," he said.

"Our message is that the system that we have is broken. It doesn't work. People aren't even discussing the real problems Americans face."

parasites are killing their host...,

Video - RT recaps peaceful class war protest movement

As the Occupy Wall Street movement grows in America, campaigners are getting the idea that they are battling the wealthy minority of their own population that has adjusted the country's legislation to their own benefit, neglecting the sum of things. ­RT's Lori Harfenist found out on the streets of New York that the "Occupy Wall Street" protests have been inspired by "the failure of the system to respond to higher calling for our country."

Saturday, October 08, 2011

right across the street from the federal reserve bank in kc...,

ron paul on occupy wall st. and related matters...,

Video - Wolf Blitzer interviews Ron Paul 10/6/11

Reason | On Friday, after Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) concluded a town hall-style meeting at an old folks' home in Concord, New Hampshire, I asked him what he made of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests, which have included a noticeable contingency of Paul supporters. On Thursday night, for example, a group of young men assembled at Liberty Plaza in Lower Manhattan were wielding anti-Federal Reserve placards and promoting Paul's presidential campaign.

"If they were demonstrating peacefully," Paul told me, "and making a point, and arguing our case, and drawing attention to the Fed–I would say, good!"

I asked Paul if he was aware of the much-publicized incident from last weekend in which Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, a high-ranking official in the New York Police Department, was captured on video pepper-spraying nonviolent protesters without provocation.

"I hadn't heard that, since I have to admit I didn't keep up on all the details of it," Paul said, sounding concerned. "I didn't read the stories about it. But that means government doesn't like to be receiving any criticism at all. And my argument is, government should be in the open–the people's privacy ought to be protected. So I don't like it."

On a related note, during the town hall meeting, Paul was asked to react to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly's recent assertion that his department has the ability to shoot down aircraft. "Yeah, I have concern about that," Paul said. "That's not exactly your friendly policeman on the block to go to when you're in trouble. The militarization of our police force–the SWAT teams and all–I think it's a bad sign."

"I do think that when the federal government gets involved," Paul continued, "and Homeland Security provides a lot of these weapons, and gives the weapons to them–I think it's all a dangerous trend."

"One thing though, that I also don't like, is if there's a drug bust, or the police come and they confiscate a boat or a plane–guess what? The police get to keep it. I mean, that is outrageous! What, do you think there would be a motivation then, for them to crack down and get a truck or a boat or a car? And then they get to use it?"

"So whether it's the Department of Homeland security subsidizing– the local police force should be local. It should not be federal. That's why I complained about the federal bureacracy of a hundred thousand carrying guns to enforce laws on us. So no. Too much militarism. Policing is fine and dandy, but we should try to maintain that in our community. Besides, the police, many of them are very very good–there's some corruption in the police forces–but you know, we're not safe because there's a policeman out here every night patrolling. That's not why you're safe here. You're usually safe, especially in New Hampshire, because people, no matter how rural and remote you are, they're going to think 'Huh, he might have a gun in there! I'm not going in there.' It's the Second Amendment and that perception that makes us safe."

"So we don't need the militiarization of our police forces. And when they talk about the ability to shoot down aircraft, it's pretty bad."

cantor concerned about occupy wall st. "mobs"

Video - Eric Cantor spewing the magical thinking corporatist line...,

msnbc | The second-ranking House Republican castigated "Occupy Wall Street" protesters on Friday, just as Democrats begin cozying up to the weeks-old demonstrations.

House GOP Leader Eric Cantor decried the protests that started several weeks ago in New York, and have spread to major cities across the country. Cantor said in a speech at the Values Voters Summit in Washington that he is "increasingly concerned" about the "growing mobs" represented at the protests.

Cantor's remarks, some of the harshest by a Republican toward the "Occupy" demonstrators, comes amidst a growing political divide over the protests. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi backed the demonstrations, saying, "God bless them for their spontaneity." And other Democrats have been even more open in their embrace of the movement, which has also attracted support from organized labor.

Organizers behind the movement, which expresses outrage toward the conduct of corporate America and seeks campaign finance reform, have hoped it develops into an analogue for the Tea Party on the left, which has helped fuel a Republican political resurgence over the past two years.

"Some in Washington have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans," Cantor said of the protests after accusing the Obama administration's policies of being an "assault on many of our nation's bedrock principles."

Other political leaders have been more coy in their approach toward the demonstrations; President Obama nodded toward the protests as a sign of broader frustration over the state of the economy.

As for Republicans, Mitt Romney accused the protesters of engaging in "class warfare," but has otherwise stayed silent about the demonstrations. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called them the "Obama demonstrations," while Texas Rep. Ron Paul encouraged the protests.

Friday, October 07, 2011

it's a thin line.....,

Video - White shirts working off the donuts

Video - Frustrated "little man" can't wait to hurt somebody.

Fox | While covering the Occupy Wall Street protests on Wednesday night, Fox 5 photographer Roy Isen was hit in the eyes by pepper spray from a police officer and Fox 5 reporter Dick Brennan was hit by an officer's baton.

The protests on Wall Street continued to grow all day. The rallies and their participants are showing no signs of slowing down.

In the evening, crowds surged past barriers and NYPD officers moved in to contain the protesters. By many accounts, mayhem broke out.

Officers, many wearing white shirts indicating supervisor rank, swatted protesters with batons and sprayed them with mace, video from the scene showed.

Fox 5's Isen and Brennan were there and witnessed the chaos. At one point, Brennan was hit in the abdomen by a police baton and Isen got irritant in his eyes. Both journalists were all right and continued to cover the protests and arrests.

personal stories inform political action

Video - On the ground from Liberty Square

The Nation | As mangy tent settlements spring up across the nation, it’s clear that the Occupy Wall Street protesters are gaining an unwieldy momentum, and that no one particularly knows what they want. Critics have noted their lack of an agenda, then gone on to bemoan or excuse it. Nick Kristof and other liberal columnists have suggested a variety of platforms that the protests should adopt. In the meantime, Fox News is arguing that John Lennon look-a-likes who play pipe organs while dressed like zombies should not be taken seriously, and are using such antics to dismiss the protests altogether.

We can't help but think that pundits in search of Occupy Wall Street's political agenda are missing a fundamental component of the protest's ethos; like so many organic populist movements, the Occupyers appear to be emotionally, rather than politically, driven. Many of the protesters we interviewed were motivated by their personal experiences in the economic downturn, and a vague but unshakeable sense that their experiences were the result of much larger structural problems.

Our second interview was with Gaia, a young teacher in Brooklyn who's been personally effected by systemic socioeconomic problems. For more personal stories on how how young people have been effected by the economy, we recommend you take a look at We are the 99 percent.

You can watch our first video from Liberty Square here.

the 99%

The Atlantic | I spent quite a lot of time on the "We are the 99%" website last night and this morning. There's been a considerable amount of carping about it from the conservative side, and to be sure, some of the stories strain plausibility (the percentage of people in the sample who have either taken up prostitution, or claim to have seriously considered doing so, seems rather high, for instance, and as far as I could tell, not a single person on the site had been fired for cause). Many of the people complaining made all sorts of bad decisions about having children, getting very expensive "fun" degrees, and so forth.

But quibbling rather misses the point. These are people who are terrified, and their terror is easy to understand. Jobs are hard to come by, and while you might well argue that any of these individuals could find a job if they did something different, in aggregate, there are not enough job openings to absorb our legion of unemployed.

When the gap between the number of job openings and the number of people who are out of work is so large, there are going to be a hefty number of unemployed people. Maybe these people individually could have done more to get themselves out of their situation, but at the macro level, that would just have meant that someone else was out of work and suffering.

I think it's hard to read through this list of woes without feeling both sympathy, and a healthy dose of fear. Take all the pot shots you want at people who thought that a $100,000 BFA was supposed to guarantee them a great job--beneath the occasionally grating entitlement is the visceral terror of someone in a bad place who doesn't know what to do. Having found myself in the same place ten years ago, I can't bring myself to sneer. No matter how inflated your expectations may have been, it is no joke to have your confidence that you can support yourself ripped away, and replaced with the horrifying realization that you don't really understand what the rules are. Yes, even if you have a nose ring.

I'm not sure that this constitutes the seeds of a political movement, however. For all the admiring talk about bravery and perseverance, it's not really al that difficult to get young, unemployed people to spend a couple of weeks camping out somewhere. They have a low cost of time, they're in no danger, and yes, I have to say it, demonstrating is fun. No, don't tut-tut me. I was at the ACT-UP die-ins, the pro-choice marches, the "Sleep Out for the Homeless" events and the "Take Back the Night" vigils. It's fun, especially when you can see yourself on television. This is not the Montgomery bus boycott we're talking about here.

So my question is, how does this coalesce into a broader platform? Does someone have a coherent, plausible answer for someone whose pricey liberal arts degree has not equipped them for a tough job market? And is it a coherent, plausible answer that they will believe? I don't think those kids in Zucotti park are waiting to hear about QE3 and the American Jobs Act.

if you're not 99%, are you bagging tea?

Video - The Tea Party is ruining America.

The Atlantic | Who Are the 99 percent? - The OWS movement's slogan has been popularized by a "wearethe99percent" tumblr, consisting of about 700 pictures of people holding up signs about why they're angry with the system. Its sidebar reads:
We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.
Does this really describe 99% of Americans?

Let's look at some of these claims:
  • Foreclosure activity may affect somewhere in the ballpark of 10% of U.S. households. That's a tragically high percentage, to be sure. But it's no where near 99%.

  • 15% of Americans live below the poverty line. That's clearly far too high a percentage, but again, it's a small minority.

  • Before last year's Affordable Care Act, about 30 million Americans were uninsured, which is roughly 10% of the population. Of course, with the new law in place that number should approach zero.

  • I have no idea how to quantify how many people are suffering from environmental pollution, but I strongly suspect if you got 100 people in a room and asked them, 99 would not say pollution is a huge problem in their lives.

  • Wage growth certainly has been weaker than would be ideal, but 87.5% of Americans are satisfied with their jobs, according to Gallup. The underemployment rate is 16.2%.

Philosophical Differences
So clearly, not nearly a majority of Americans are accounted for in those conditions listed, but OWS would probably argue for a broader definition of dissatisfaction, which its last sentence may encapsulate. Do 99% of people really feel they are "getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything"? I find this highly unlikely.

What the OWS either fails to grasp or refuses to admit is that most Americans genuinely like the current system. They believe in capitalism. They are okay with the arrangement that some people can get much richer than others, even if that means wealth inequality. Ultimately, they believe that the incentive to work hard and innovate is worth the tradeoff of having some people who are much wealthier than others.

For example, imagine if Steve Jobs had an equal incentive to become a bus driver and the founder and CEO of a major technology company. The former is a nine-to-five job, with relatively less stress (I am not saying that being a bus-driver I stress-free -- just that being the CEO of a giant company is more stressful). The latter requires taking huge risks, living in the public eye, and probably significant personal sacrifice for professional success. Of course, it also takes a unique talent to succeed.

The current system encourages people to use their talents to the fullest, and their doing so benefits everyone. The other 99% is getting something -- the benefit of the other 1% using their talents and abilities to push forward the entire nation. While all workers play some part in economic activity, it's the innovation and technological advances that make significant progress possible.

local teabagger mad about the 99%'s

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Communications Workers of America backs ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest

the rawstory | The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has become the latest union to endorsed the “Occupy Wall Street” protest that started in lower Manhattan and spread across the country.

“The 700,000 members of the Communications Workers of America strongly support the Occupy Wall Street Movement,” the CWA Executive Board said Tuesday in a statement. “It is an appropriate expression of anger for all Americans, but especially for those who have been left behind by Wall Street. We support the activists’ non-violent efforts to seek a more equitable and democratic society based on citizenship, not corporate greed.”

“The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are spreading throughout the country. We will support them and encourage all CWA Locals to participate in the growth of this protest movement.”

The United Steelworkers, North America’s largest industrial union, and a number of local New York unions announced last week that they supported the ongoing “Occupy Wall Street” protest.

The protesters have released a list of demands, which were voted upon by working groups that huddled together the first nights of the demonstration.

That list includes calls to investigate white collar criminals on Wall St., banish anonymous corporate donations from the U.S. political process, elevate public debate by giving free airtime to lesser known political candidates and revamp the Securities and Exchange Commission with independent professionals.

99% Hilo

Video - the people of Hawaii show the world WE SUPPORT YOU!

L.A. councilmen tour Occupy LA encampment

LATimes | In the middle of Tuesday's Los Angeles City Council meeting, where the most scintillating item on the agenda was a proposal to increase ticket prices at the L.A. Zoo, a speaker stood up and told lawmakers they were ignoring an obvious fact: "You are surrounded by tents."

He was referring to the large group of protesters camped a few hundred feet away, on a lawn outside City Hall. The group, which calls itself Occupy LA, has been there since Saturday in a demonstration against economic policies that benefit corporations and the wealthiest Americans. They say they may stay until Christmas.

The speaker, local political gadfly John Walsh, invited the council members to tour the tent city outside. So when the meeting adjourned, several of them did.

Photos: 'Occupy LA' protest

"It's an entourage of peacemakers!" Walsh said giddily as he walked toward the protest with Councilmen Bill Rosendahl, Eric Garcetti, Ed Reyes and Dennis Zine.

"It's the right thing to do," said Zine, who until recently was a registered Republican. "We could just drive by them, or we could go talk to them."

The lawmakers, dressed in dark suits and surrounded by aides, caused a stir when they approached the ragtag collection of tents, tarps and sleeping bags just off Temple Street.

News media and protesters armed with video cameras swarmed as the officials shook hands and introduced themselves. "We are not enemies," Rosendahl told one woman, saying he empathized with the demonstrators' complaints about the role of banks in the foreclosure crisis. "The situation we're in is truly intolerable."

Another woman thanked Rosendahl for his support and asked for a hug. He obliged.

Unlike their counterparts in New York, who have clashed with police during a two-week sit-in on Wall Street, the protesters outside of City Hall have had a peaceful relationship with police, and they have won a surprising degree of institutional support.

Before leaving Tuesday, Garcetti told the protesters: "Stay as long as you need, we're here to support you." A spokeswoman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he plans to visit the encampment Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, Rosendahl will introduce a City Council resolution supporting the protesters.

AFL-CIO Chief Richard Trumka backs Occupy Wall Street protests

LATimes | The U.S. labor movement will support demonstrations around the country by anti-Wall Street protesters, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Wednesday.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Trumka said the labor movement backs the goals of the Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City and elsewhere and will work with such groups “to make the top 1% pay their share.”

“These demonstrations are truly spontaneous,” Trumka said. “We intend to be supportive of them.... We are going to support them in any way we can. We’re not going to try to usurp them in any way.”

Trumka spoke as unions and civic groups in New York were preparing to join with Occupy Wall Street protesters in a march from Foley Square in Lower Manhattan to the financial district. More than a dozen local unions are backing the march.

In his call, Trumka said the AFL-CIO has been pushing a similar agenda as that of the protesters, who blame Wall Street greed for the current sad state of the economy. Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless group whose demands have been as general as its membership.

But the labor leader was specific as he summarized his demands: make Wall Street invest in creating jobs for Americans, stop foreclosures and write down problem mortgages. Paying for government programs would come from a “very tiny” tax on speculation, he said.

The Occupy Wall Street protests have spread to a variety of cities in recent weeks, Trumka noted. In addition to the New York demonstrations, protests are scheduled in other cities, including in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

GOP ticket 2012 - mitt and herman - call protests "class warfare"

Video - Herman Cain and Mitt Romney GOP 2012


Guardian | A march by thousands of Occupy Wall Street supporters is under way in New York, swelled by the backing of more big US unions and backed by a national student day of action.

With a fine autumn evening in prospect, protesters gathered in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan in preparation for the march. Students were due to meet in Washington Square, after classes at nearby New York University. Both groups were due to converge on Foley Square, where union members were gathering.

There were predictions that the march could be bigger than Saturday's demonstration, when more than 700 people were arrested after being corralled by police on Brooklyn Bridge.

In the pre-march build-up at Zuccotti park, legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild gave the crowd lessons in their rights and handed out leaflets with advice on what to do if stopped by police or arrested. In Foley Square. thousands gathered, and a party atmosphere reigned. Follow the Guardian's live march blog here
Karen McVeigh meets the Occupy Wall Street organisers

James P Hoffa, leader of the Teamsters Union, which represents 1.4m workers. confirmed its backing for Occupy Wall Street in a statement. has confirmed. Here's his statement:

No one should be surprised that Occupy Wall Street is gaining support and spreading quickly around the country. The American Dream has disappeared for students, whose reality is debt and unemployment. The dream disappeared for workers forced to take wage cuts by employers sitting on billions of dollars in profits. The dream disappeared for working families who paid too steep a price for Wall Street's greed, stupidity and fraud.

It's clear what this movement is all about. It's about taking America back from the CEOs and billionaires on Wall Street who have destroyed our nation's economy. It's about creating good jobs. It's about corporate America treating its workers and customers with honesty and fairness and paying its fair share to stimulate the economy.

Teamsters all over the country are participating in Occupy Wall Street events, and I support and encourage them. We stand in solidarity with Americans who want better lives for themselves and for future generations

In an earlier visit to Florida, Mitt Romney, (Jack Benny) the Republican presidential hopeful, prompted anger by suggesting the Occupy Wall Street protesters represented "class warfare".

Another candidate, Herman Cain, (Eddie "Rochester" Anderson) also addressed the Occupy Wall Street protests. He said in a Wall Street Journal interview:

I don't have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks, if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself! It is not someone's fault if they succeeded.

occupy wall street picks up some academic hitchhikers...,

Video - Amy Goodman talks with Cornel West about Occupy Wall St. | As the Occupy Wall Street protests grow and spread across the country, media coverage has begun to take them more seriously, the New York Times points out.

One reason is their sheer size and persistence—it’s a rare street demonstration that is still gaining steam after almost three weeks. Another is the entry of media-savvy organized labor groups, with Reuters reporting that major unions representing state and city workers, nurses, communication workers and transit workers were set to take part in a march through Manhattan’s Financial District on Wednesday afternoon. Students, too, are participating en masse, with walkouts planned at some 75 universities across the country. And, of course, several of the usual-suspect celebrities have joined the cause.

A more interesting development, and perhaps an overlooked reason why news outlets have begun to treat the protesters as something more than “aggrieved youth,” is the growing involvement of some of the country’s best-known public intellectuals, who have begun to articulate what they see as the main goal of a movement whose aims so far have been vague: stronger financial reform.

An early backer from academia was Princeton professor Cornel West, who applauded the protesters for fighting “the greed of Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who squeeze the democratic juices out of this country.” He was out on the streets of Boston Wednesday with the marchers, according to the Boston Herald.

While West has a reputation as an activist, the movement has more recently begun to draw in professors of a less demonstrative bent as well. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University gave the New York protests a lift on Sunday with a speech that has been making the rounds via Youtube. Because the protesters were prohibited from using a megaphone, he paused in between lines for the crowd that had gathered around him to repeat his words more loudly. He told the protesters they were doing the right thing by standing up to Wall Street:
You are right to be indignant. The fact is the system is not working right. It is not right that we have so many people without jobs when we have so many needs that we have to fulfill. It’s not right that we are throwing people out of their houses when we have so many homeless people.

Our financial markets have an important role to play. They’re supposed to allocate capital, manage risks. But they misallocated capital, and they created risk. We are bearing the cost of their misdeeds. There’s a system where we’ve socialized losses and privatized gains. That’s not capitalism; that’s not a market economy. That’s a distorted economy, and if we continue with that, we won’t succeed in growing, and we won't succeed in creating a just society.
Stiglitz and West have been joined by Lawrence Lessig, the renowned Harvard law professor, who took to Twitter on Tuesday to urge his followers to join the protests, then wrote in support of them on the Huffington Post on Wednesday, comparing them to the Arab Spring:
The arrest of hundreds of tired and unwashed kids, denied the freedom of a bullhorn, and the right to protest on public streets, may well be the first real green-shoots of this, the American spring. And if nurtured right, it could well begin real change.

be wary of imitations - accept no substitutes!!!

Video - Invade Wall St. video

Village Voice | Occupy Wall Street is in its 18th day. Things are picking up steam a bit: the protesters have a big rally with the Transport Workers Union planned for tomorrow and they've also teamed up with a fancy PR firm, though they deny that they asked for any professional help with their media relations. But now Anonymous is messing with the game plan, as it's wont to do (not that there's necessarily a real game plan here). "Invade Wall Street" is a planned DDoS attack on the New York Stock Exchange. Sounds pretty typical, except Anonymous is denying that it's involved. Or is it? Here we go again.

Remember when Anonymous wanted to destroy Facebook? But they didn't actually want to destroy Facebook? This might be something like that.

The original call to action swears that ""On October 10th, NYSE shall be erased from the Internet. On October 10th, expect a day that will never, ever, be forgotten."

Thing is, Anonymous says the people behind Invade Wall Street are just imposters:
Citizens of the world

We are Anonymous! Recently something very disturbing has come to our attention. You must take all notices and information claiming to be 'Anonymous' with a grain of salt. Consider EVERYTHING.

Operation Invade Wall Street is bullshit! It is a fake planted operation by law enforcement and cyber crime agencies in order to get you to undermine the Occupy Wall Street movement. It proposes you use depreciated tools that have known flaws such as LOIC.

Anonymous would never tell you to use LOIC - Not after the arrests and failures of Operation Payback.

Anonymous wouldn't attack NYSE on a HOLIDAY - It is debatable if Anonymous would ever even attack NYSE.

Be wary friends!

We are Anonymous
We are Legion
We do not Forgive
We do not Forget
Expect Us
Be wary of imitations!
Or is that Anonymous? Christ. We're guessing that this one will turn out the same way the pretend Facebook attack did, but who knows -- if the NYSE is DDoS'able, some hacker out there could really be planning to DDoS the NYSE, whether or not it's Anonymous. That could catalyze the kind of shake-up OWS is looking for, but it's definitely not in in keeping with their M.O. up to this point.

An Occupy Wall Street rep had no knowledge of the Anonymous-or-not-Anonymous plan when we called this morning.

why so many demands for demands?

TheNation | Everybody has a piece of advice for the protesters at Occupy Wall Street. They should put their clothes on. They should stop raising their fists. They should fact-check their handwritten signs. They should appoint leaders who can give pithy quotes to reporters. They should get with an electoral program. Nicholas Kristof even offered to help them out with a neat list of demands, in case those holding signs saying “We Are the 99%” just needed to have the unfairness of the carried interest rule explained to them.

Indeed, their failure to present demands is the most frequently heard criticism of the OWS protesters, not just in the mainstream press but from veteran leftists as well. What do these wan, angry young people want, anyway?

If you spend an hour or two down at Liberty Plaza, as I did with my 8-year-old daughter this past weekend, it’s clear enough. She got the point, at least: especially from the signs that read, “You should teach your kids to share,” and, “Give my mom her money back!! A single working mom…not fair!”

It’s not that the demands being suggested by OWS’s volunteer policy advisors in the blogosphere are not worthy ideas. At a time when we desperately need to rein in financial speculation and change the incentives on Wall Street, a financial transactions tax is a terrific policy proposal. Dean Baker has been talking about it for years. The thing is, we on the left don’t have a scarcity of policy ideas. We are positively bursting with them. Create a housing trust fund! A national infrastructure bank! And, yes, sure, eliminate the carried interest loophole so fat cats don’t get a bigger tax break than working people. (Some even have more radical ideas, which are quite sensible too.) But at best, we get a polite hearing for these ideas, which then fade away or are hopelessly watered down. We simply lack the power to put them into practice.

And in the recent past, even the most smoothly organized, expertly messaged mass demonstrations have not made a whit of difference in this regard. Consider the last big march on Wall Street this past May 12. The coalition behind it was admirably diverse, including unions like the teachers and SEIU’s 1199, as well as local community organizations such as Citizen Action NY, Coalition for the Homeless and Community Voices Heard. The “May 12 Coalition,” which turned out thousands of protesters on the appointed day, presented the Bloomberg administration with a proposal that exhibited great thoughtfulness in its rigor and detail, asking banks like JPMorgan, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley to take a 20 percent cut in their contracts to handle functions like child support disbursements or income tax remittances for the city. This would have saved $120 million, part of $1.5 billion that could have been extracted from the banking sector to prevent the city from having to slash education and social services, according to the coalition.

The May 12 marchers were many things the OWS protesters are not. They were orderly; they truly represented ordinary New Yorkers. They were concrete: they had a plan. But needless to say, the Bloomberg administration did not immediately recognize their plan’s superior logic and fairness and adopt it as a new template. In fact, it received no attention in the wake of the march. It was such a nonstarter that the city didn’t even bother to respond to it. And the media snoozed.

an amorphous virtual mass...,

Reuters | In 2011 in America, what passes for a revolution is a frightening tangle of wires, power strips, routers and gas generators underneath a canopy in the center of a park.

That fire hazard of a mess is at the center, literally and figuratively, of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The protesters who have disrupted lower Manhattan since mid-September have assembled the means to blast out their message -- if they can agree on what they fighting for.

"Whoever controls the media, the messages, controls the culture," read a ratty cardboard sign that Connor Petras held at the corner of a major downtown intersection.

But Petras, juggling his BlackBerry and an apparently stale wheat bagel while also trying to hold the sign, acknowledged the protesters did not have their rallying cry figured out.

"There's not really a main focus point ... and I think that is a problem," the 18-year-old New Jersey native said.

Higher taxes on the wealthy, more equitable treatment by banks, easier financial terms for higher education, better care of the environment -- all are on the agenda at Zuccotti Park, a concrete island in the shadow of the rising World Trade Center, and yet none of them top the list yet.

Occupy Wall Street is movement, but it is also a Twitter hashtag, a Facebook page and a Livestream event, which means the protest does not even need a physical home. By one estimate Tuesday morning, "Occupy" events were happening in 147 cities, and much of that is the result of social media being used to recruit the young and the computer-literate.

"OccupyWallStreet is a hashtag revolt," Jeff Jarvis, a professor of journalism at the City University of New York and author of the blog BuzzMachine, said in a recent post. "A hashtag has no owner, no hierarchy, no canon or credo. It is a blank slate onto which anyone may impose his or her frustrations, complaints, demands, wishes, or principles."

On a cold and gray Tuesday morning, with rain imminent and many of the protesters huddled half-asleep on the ground, there were plenty of subtle signs of technology's influence, such as Twitter hashtags on printed maps, five-day weather forecasts on a status board and a core of computer-savvy volunteers.

Whatever you call it -- data center, media hub, post-production studio -- it would be the envy of a lot of IT departments in corporate America. Laptops, webcams and cell phones vie for precious space with cigarettes (Marlboro Lights are a popular choice) and coffee cups (to the consternation of the "technical staff" worried about spills).

It is anarchy, and the people like it that way.

take a page from the teabagger playbook

'This is Revolution Not Reform' Occupy Wall Street Organizer from Naked Emperor News on Vimeo.

WaPo | A question was asked of me yesterday about the Occupy Wall Street movement that has been a presence in lower Manhattan since Sept. 17. Are there any parallels between it and the Tea Party movement? Yes. But if it doesn’t do four things — 1.) broaden its base of support to include those who share its values or goals; 2.) get specific about what the goals are; 3.) bring the protests to Washington; and 4.) get support from members of Congress — it could squander its momentum.

Both Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party are organic movements. They rose up from everyday people who got tired of being pushed around or ignored by powers they believe are beyond their control. Both movements eschew having one or a crew of recognized leaders who speak for everyone. So far, it’s worked for the Tea Party. For the nascent movement centered in Lower Manhattan, there’s still time for it to get its act together.
Occupy Wall Street is already doing the first and second things I proposed. A look at the calendar on shows rallies with organized labor. And it released a “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City,” detailing its beliefs and grievances.
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 Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
There’s more where this came from. But it’s still having trouble articulating specifically what it’s fighting for. A painful example of this was an interview Al Sharpton did last night with Harrison Schultz, an organizer for Occupy Wall Street. Sharpton asked him several times, “What are the goals?” Schultz just couldn’t articulate any.

po thangs...,

Video - Motorhead Eat the Rich

WaPo | The latest group to claim victim status is the rich. Actually the super-rich, whose wealth ordinarily exempts them from pity. While they are not yet subjected to airport profiling (except for early boarding and club access), they sense that the public is turning subtly against them — otherwise how could President Obama propose raising their taxes?

Admirers of the rich, led by pundits and politicians on the right — from Laura Ingraham to Larry Kudlow — have long derided the victimization claims of African Americans, women, gays and the unemployed, but now they’re raising their voices to defend the rich against what they see as an ugly tide of “demonization.”

At a time when poverty is soaring, unemployment hovers grimly above 9 percent and growing numbers of Americans suffer from “food insecurity” — the official euphemism for hunger — this concern may seem a tad esoteric. At a time when executive compensation is reaching dizzying new levels and the gap between the rich and everyone else is growing as fast as the federal deficit, it may even seem a little perverse.

But even beyond the taxes-and-deficits debate, in which wealthy Americans have been routinely characterized as yacht owners and corporate-jet fliers, the rich have indeed suffered a few blows to their self-esteem. Last year’s film “The Social Network” was unflattering to exemplars of both new and old wealth, and now two new television series are being hyped by some in the media as incitements to class warfare. In “2 Broke Girls,” a couple of young women struggle to survive — not as runway models or high-maintenance housewives but, shockingly enough, as waitresses. And Time magazine titillatingly describes ABC’s “Revenge,” set in the Hamptons, as “a target-rich environment of polo players and stock traders” in which a young woman stalks the singularly overprivileged people who, years earlier, ruined her father. No less a social commentator than “Revenge” star Madeleine Stowe has observed that “we’re dealing in a particular time right now in American history where I think the average American is going to want to see a takedown of the rich.”

You would never guess from all the talk of demonization that the rich enjoy perhaps the strongest PR machine on the planet, far beyond their entourages of agents, publicists and assorted image-makers. The mainstream media, for example, are not owned by collectives of busboys and taxi drivers, and even the “liberal” outlets among them are not pitched toward the impecunious. They may snicker when the occasional hedge fund manager is brought to justice, but they’ve been equally snarky about populist actions against the rich, such as the ongoing occupation of Wall Street, which is newsworthy if only for the levels of brutality it’s elicited from the NYPD. Or did you know that the Transportation Security Administration just won union representation this summer? Probably not, because that’s “labor news,” which has been all but supplanted by “business news.”

In fact, if you keep your ears open, you can hear the praises of the rich ringing out almost everywhere. Evangelical Christianity, for example, once harbored an ancient biblical bias in favor of the poor, but now, at least in its high-profile megachurch manifestations, it has abandoned the book of Matthew for a “prosperity gospel” that counts wealth as a mark of God’s favor.

Nor should we forget those secular evangelists in the motivation industry who have advocated selflessly for the rich for years, as in these instructions from the 2005 bestseller “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind”: “Place your hand on your heart and say . . . ‘I admire rich people!’ ‘I bless rich people!’ ‘I love rich people!’ ‘And I’m going to be one of those rich people too!’ ”

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

very well played...,

Video - NYPD backs off when Occupy protestors chant "The Whole World is Watching"

99% of service men and women are the 99%

Video - Veterans in uniform showing up at the Occupation?

In5D | The Occupy Wall Street movement may have just received an unexpected surprise – United States Army and Marine troops are reportedly on their way to various protest locations to support the movement and to protect the protesters.

Army serviceman Ward Reilly posted the following on Facebook:

“I'm heading up there tonight in my dress blues. So far, 15 of my fellow marine buddies are meeting me there, also in Uniform.

I want to send the following message to Wall St and Congress:

I didn't fight for Wall St. I fought for America. Now it's Congress' turn.

My true hope, though, is that we Veterans can act as first line of defense between the police and the protester. If they want to get to some protesters so they can mace them, they will have to get through the Fucking Marine Corps first. Let's see a cop mace a bunch of decorated war vets.

I apologize now for typos and errors. Typing this on iPhone whilst heading to NYC. We can organize once we're there. That's what we do best.If you see someone in uniform, gather together.

#OccupyWallStreet - "The Marines are Coming to Wall Street to PROTECT the Protestors' | in5d Alternative News | |A formation will be held tonight at 10PM.

We all took an oath to uphold, protect and defend the constitution of this country. That's what we will be doing.

Hope to see you there!!”

Reilly added, “Please note...this is from another veteran, NOT ME. (I was Army, he's a Marine)...and I am on my way to DC, not NYC. :>) ....but this is fantastic, and he's not a VFP guy....just a soldier that is outraged by what we have become in this country, as it should be.

Occupy Washington, DC link

“A LOT of veterans get it,” Reilly stated. “Only one third of one percent of our citizens serve in the military, and we are the ones who sacrifice MUCH, and all we ask in return is that civilians control the people they elect. (miserable failure so far) But ...the image of police, or anyone else, pepper spraying veterans or even confronting them, is "priceless" as they say, and will help slap this country into seeing what we have become.(totally insane, politically and police-state-wise). And EXACTLY what I have requested from my brother and sister veterans in DC Oct.6.”

Reilly added an edited statement: "I'm no longer in active duty or in any way contractually indebted to the military. Nor are any of my friends that are joining me.

To the officers' of this thread: I'm aware of the potential, maybe inevitable trouble I can get in. So too are my friends.

I don't really care about the debate here, the upvotes, the downvotes or anything in here really. Mental masturbation is awesome and all. But fucking hell people get off reddit and do something about it. The decision is made. I just figured reddit to be a useful tool to get the attention of a good amount of veterans."

This tipping point could be the defining moment that sends the Occupy Wall Street movement into perpetual motion.

white shirts gettin they thug on....,

NYTimes | The New York Police Department puts an endless list of tasks on the shoulders of its so-called white shirts — the commanders atop an army of lesser-ranking officers in dark blue.

But the portfolio of the white shirt has now unexpectedly grown to include the role of enforcer.

As the Occupy Wall Street protests, which began on Sept. 17, lurch into their third week, it is often the white shirts who lay hands on protesters or initiate arrests. Video recordings of clashes have shown white shirts — lieutenants, captains or inspectors — leading underlings into the fray.

White shirts led the face-off with protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday afternoon. The episode provided no viral YouTube moments, as the senior officers avoided confrontations with the demonstrators. Yet as hundreds of arrests were made, chants of “white shirts, white shirts” could be heard.

And a white shirt is the antagonist in the demonstrations’ defining image: Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna’s dousing of some penned-in women with pepper spray on Sept. 24, which seemed to surprise at least one of the blue shirts standing near him on East 12th Street, near University Place. The department is investigating the spraying.

Martin R. Stolar, a member of the National Lawyers Guild who is representing protesters, said, “It appears that it is white shirts that are directing the rough arrests.” To him, their actions constitute a policy from on high. Even the chief of department, Joseph J. Esposito, the highest-ranking officer, was mixing with marchers last Saturday, briefly holding two people by the arm and directing their arrests.

Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman, did not return a call to discuss the department’s strategy, but in an e-mail he said most of the roughly 80 arrests made last Saturday “were made by police officers directed by supervisors.”

In everyday policing situations, the one-two punch of uniformed response usually goes like this: Blue shirts form the first wave, with white shirts following. But those roles seem reversed in the police response to the Wall Street protests.

is j.p. morgan getting a good return on its invesment?

Video - NYPD's infamous Brooklyn Bridge barrelfish tactic.

NakedCapitalism | No matter how you look at this development, it does not smell right. From JP Morgan’s website, hat tip Lisa Epstein:

JPMorgan Chase recently donated an unprecedented $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation. The gift was the largest in the history of the foundation and will enable the New York City Police Department to strengthen security in the Big Apple. The money will pay for 1,000 new patrol car laptops, as well as security monitoring software in the NYPD’s main data center.
New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly sent CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon a note expressing “profound gratitude” for the company’s donation.
“These officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,” Dimon said. “We’re incredibly proud to help them build this program and let them know how much we value their hard work.”

Perhaps I remember too much of the scruffy and not exactly safe New York City of the 1980s, where getting your wallet pinched was a pretty regular occurrence. My perception has been that police-related charities have relied overmuch on the never-stated notion that if you didn’t donate, you might not get the speediest response if you needed help. As a mere apartment-dweller, I can’t imagine that anyone could scan incoming 911 calls against a priority list. But the flip side is if I owned a retail store and thought the beat police would keep an extra eye on it if I gave to a police charity, it would seem like an awfully cheap form of insurance.

But what, pray tell, is this about? The JPM money is going directly from the foundation to the NYPD proper, not to, say, cops injured in the course of duty or police widows and orphans. But that is how the NYPD Police Foundation works. From its website:

The New York City Police Foundation, Inc. was established in 1971 by business and civic leaders as an independent, non-profit organization to promote excellence in the NYPD and improve public safety in New York City.

The Police Foundation supports programs designed to help the NYPD keep pace with rapidly evolving technology, strategies and training.

The New York City Police Foundation:

Provides resources that are not readily available through other means – to date over $100 million has been invested in 400+ innovative NYPD programs;

Serves as a vehicle for tax-exempt gifts and grants from individuals, businesses, and philanthropies;

Is the first municipal foundation of its kind in the country, and serves as a model for similar organizations in other cities;

Is the only organization authorized to raise funds on behalf of the NYPD and;

Does not solicit by telephone or use telemarketers.

The Police Foundation works closely with the Police Commissioner to develop a strategic program agenda. The Foundation encourages and supports NYPD programs in two main areas:

Projects, research studies, and equipment to improve the effectiveness of police activities; and

Education, training and skill development to strengthen the partnership between the police and the public.
Given when the NYC Police Foundation was formed, it looked to have been a desperate move during New York City’s fiscal crisis (remember the infamous headline: “Ford to City: Drop Dead”?) When I moved to the city in 1981, pretty much everyone I knew who lived in a non-doorman building had suffered a break-in. Guiliani’s reputation was built on cleaning up a perceived-to-be unsafe city (which he did by hiring William Bratton). Even in the later 1980s, when I lived in a townhouse on 69th between Park and Madison (translation: good neighborhood), I’d be the first out of the building in the AM. The inner door to the townhouse was locked, the outer one was closed but unlocked. I’d always have to navigate my way out carefully so as not to waken the homeless person sleeping in the vestibule.

So while this effort to supplement taxpayer funding has a certain logic, it raises the nasty specter of favoritism, that if private funding were to become a significant part of the Police Department’s total budget, it would understandably give priority to its patrons.

And look at the magnitude of the JP Morgan “gift”. The Foundation has been in existence for 40 years. If you assume that the $100 million it has received over that time is likely to mean “not much over $100 million” this contribution could easily be 3-4% of the total the Foundation have ever received.

Now readers can point out that this gift is bupkis relative to the budget of the police department, which is close to $4 billion. But looking at it on a mathematical basis likely misses the incentives at work. Dimon is one of the most powerful and connected corporate leaders in Gotham City. If he thinks the police donation was worthwhile, he might encourage other bank and big company CEOs to make large donations.

And what sort of benefits might JPM get?
Fist tap Uncle John.

Monday, October 03, 2011

too late for the unemployed?

SeekingAlpha | The debate between cyclical and structural unemployment arose last year. At this point, it looks like Federal Reserve policymakers increasingly favor the structural side of the debate. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking at Jackson Hole, suggested that cyclical unemployment remains the primary economic challenge:
Normally, monetary or fiscal policies aimed primarily at promoting a faster pace of economic recovery in the near term would not be expected to significantly affect the longer-term performance of the economy. However, current circumstances may be an exception to that standard view--the exception to which I alluded earlier. Our economy is suffering today from an extraordinarily high level of long-term unemployment, with nearly half of the unemployed having been out of work for more than six months. Under these unusual circumstances, policies that promote a stronger recovery in the near term may serve longer-term objectives as well. In the short term, putting people back to work reduces the hardships inflicted by difficult economic times and helps ensure that our economy is producing at its full potential rather than leaving productive resources fallow.
Note that he does not conclude the long-term unemployed are by definition structurally unemployed. Still, he continues to suggest that cyclical unemployment can turn structural:
In the longer term, minimizing the duration of unemployment supports a healthy economy by avoiding some of the erosion of skills and loss of attachment to the labor force that is often associated with long-term unemployment.

But, as is well known, he throughs the ball to the fiscal authorities:

Notwithstanding this observation, which adds urgency to the need to achieve a cyclical recovery in employment, most of the economic policies that support robust economic growth in the long run are outside the province of the central bank. We have heard a great deal lately about federal fiscal policy in the United States, so I will close with some thoughts on that topic, focusing on the role of fiscal policy in promoting stability and growth.

But is it already too late? Has the cyclical unemployment turned strutural? This week, serial-dissenter Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Charles Plosser embraced the structural view:

These numbers are troubling, especially when more than 40 percent of the unemployed, or some 6 million people, have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. This underscores that we should not expect any easy solution. Millions of unemployed workers may take longer to find jobs because their skills have depreciated or they may need to seek employment in other sectors. These structural issues will take time to resolve. Jobs and workers will need to be reallocated across the economy, which is a long and slow process.

Plosser takes the rise in long-term unemployment as an indication of structural unemployment. He then extends the point to fight the last war:
We have provided a great deal of monetary accommodation to the economy, and given the stubbornness of the unemployment rate in responding to these efforts, we should be cautious and vigilant that our previous accommodative policies do not translate into a steady rise in inflation over the medium term even while the unemployment rate remains elevated. Creating an environment of stagflation, reminiscent of the 1970s, will not help businesses, the unemployed, or the consumer. It is an outcome we must carefully guard against.
Likewise, the centrist Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart also speaks of structural factors with respect to the long-term unemployed, even invoking a comparison with Europe:

Sunday, October 02, 2011

the best among us

TruthDig | 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. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.

To be declared innocent in a country where the rule of law means nothing, where we have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where you, as a citizen, are nothing more than a commodity to corporate systems of power, one to be used and discarded, is to be complicit in this radical evil. To stand on the sidelines and say “I am innocent” is to bear the mark of Cain; it is to do nothing to reach out and help the weak, the oppressed and the suffering, to save the planet. To be innocent in times like these is to be a criminal. Ask Tim DeChristopher.

Choose. But choose fast. The state and corporate forces are determined to crush this. They are not going to wait for you. They are terrified this will spread. They have their long phalanxes of police on motorcycles, their rows of white paddy wagons, their foot soldiers hunting for you on the streets with pepper spray and orange plastic nets. They have their metal barricades set up on every single street leading into the New York financial district, where the mandarins in Brooks Brothers suits use your money, money they stole from you, to gamble and speculate and gorge themselves while one in four children outside those barricades depend on food stamps to eat. Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged. Today they run the state and the financial markets. They disseminate the lies that pollute our airwaves. They know, even better than you, how pervasive the corruption and theft have become, how gamed the system is against you, how corporations have cemented into place a thin oligarchic class and an obsequious cadre of politicians, judges and journalists who live in their little gated Versailles while 6 million Americans are thrown out of their homes, a number soon to rise to 10 million, where a million people a year go bankrupt because they cannot pay their medical bills and 45,000 die from lack of proper care, where real joblessness is spiraling to over 20 percent, where the citizens, including students, spend lives toiling in debt peonage, working dead-end jobs, when they have jobs, a world devoid of hope, a world of masters and serfs.

it's overdue time to get money out of politics...,

Bailouts. War. Unemployment. Our government is bought, and we’re angry. Now, we’re turning our anger into positive action. By signing this petition, you are joining our campaign to get money out of politics. Our politicians won’t do this. But we will. We will become an unrelenting, organized wave advocating a Constitutional amendment to get money out of politics.

As the petition grows, the wave grows. Email, Facebook, Tweet -- GET MONEY OUT. We are using The Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, and our ability to influence other media outlets as a platform to force this issue to the center of the 2012 elections. Join us.

From our former Washington Lobbyist, Jimmy Williams, here is a DRAFT of our Constitutional Amendment for public debate this fall:

"No person, corporation or business entity of any type, domestic or foreign, shall be allowed to contribute money, directly or indirectly, to any candidate for Federal office or to contribute money on behalf of or opposed to any type of campaign for Federal office. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, campaign contributions to candidates for Federal office shall not constitute speech of any kind as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or any amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Congress shall set forth a federal holiday for the purposes of voting for candidates for Federal office."

To double your impact, send to one other person.

nypd barrelfish's protesters on the brooklyn bridge

HuffPo | Joshua Stephens, 33, had joined the protest march and had ended up on the Brooklyn Bridge. He managed to avoid being one of the 500 or so penned in by the NYPD and arrested. HuffPost reached him by phone, and he provided a first-hand narrative of just what happened on the bridge:

"The people who plotted the march did not give out the route in advance. There were people stationed throughout the march in the procession who were helping guide us when it was time to turn. They told people at the beginning 'we have a route, we're not announcing it.' I think that was a reaction to what happened before when the cops pepper-sprayed those women up in Union Square.

I was a little surprised when we got down to City Hall, and people started turning onto the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge is generally choked with tourists, just choked with tourists. If you are a cyclist, you just never take the Brooklyn's just a really frustrating experience...There's so many people on it all the time.

As we were turning to the entrance to the bridge, one of the protest people, the organizers, appeared to be cooperating with police. They were standing right there in front of cops. This march up until it went on the bridge was all on the sidewalk. The Troy Davis march which I was on, we took the street.

On this march, from basically Wall Street to the Brooklyn Bridge, if you stepped off the sidewalk to go around the signpost you would either be told nicely or as if you were at bootcamp to get back on the sidewalk. There was zero tolerance. If they successfully policed everybody to stay out of the streets up to the bridge, what prevented them from keeping us on the pedestrian walkway?

It just seemed odd to me, all of a sudden, people could go wherever they wanted [on the bridge]. People were splitting off.

The interesting thing is the cops could have stopped people from getting on the motorway at any point. You had thousands of people in that march--easily two or three thousand -- and the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge is not wide. It's narrow. It's the width of a walkway. You can't just rush it. The march slowed to almost a stop. The police would have had plenty of opportunity to prevent people [from going] down to the motorway.

The police were just standing. I saw police standing there. It was all very chill. They were definitely at ease. It was almost like everything was as it should be. Then once we were on the bridge, all these cops came out of nowhere with flex ties and paddy wagons-- that seemed like a whole separate cadre of cops.

At the time, nothing about it seemed conspicuous. There was a protest organizer who was standing right in front of the cops who was directing people with disabilities up to the pathway. We were cracking jokes, we were all packed in there like sardines at the entrance. Wherever you happened to be you were forced to walk in a straight line. I just happened to be positioned to go up to the walkway.

As we started going up the pedestrian part of it, there were lots of middle-aged and retirement-aged people who ended up down at the motorway--and when the cops began to mobilize, they literally started climbing the fence. Six people at a time, hoisting up over these cast iron posts. People were risking being impaled on this fence to get off this motorway. As you get further on to the bridge, the motorway gets further below.

We didn't get far on the bridge before I saw cops mobilize behind us. There was a formation. I could see maybe 15 to 20 cops all with like reams of flex ties--a square formation standing and then marching towards Brooklyn. And they had paddy wagons going onto the bridge in reverse. They were backing up onto the bridge so they could go forward toward Manhattan. That started happening--I think that happened as soon as the last person got on the bridge.

They had cops coming from the other side and stop them from going any further. I couldn't hear anything. I was too far up. I saw the cops march up. At one point, they actually stopped again. And then they advanced forward again. I was just shocked, I looked down and saw all these people. How the fuck are they going to arrest all these people?

brooklyn bridge arrests on bbcnews cut off

Video - BBCNews interview about Occupy Wallstreet protests

BBCNews | More than 700 people from the Occupy Wall Street protest movement have been arrested on New York's City's Brooklyn Bridge, police say.

They were part of a larger group crossing the bridge from Manhattan, where they have been camped out near Wall Street for two weeks.

Some entered the bridge's roadway and were met by a large police presence and detained, most for disorderly conduct.

The loosely-organised group is protesting against corporate greed.

They say they are defending 99% of the US population against the wealthiest 1%.

Occupy Wall Street called for 20,000 people to "flood into lower Manhattan" on 17 September and remain there for "a few months".

Several hundred remain camped at Zuccotti Park, a privately owned area of land not far from Wall Street.

A police spokesman quoted by Reuters said the arrests came "after multiple warnings by police were given to protesters to stay on the pedestrian walkway".

"Some complied and took the walkway without being arrested. Others locked arms and proceeded on the Brooklyn-bound vehicular roadway. The latter were arrested," the spokesman said.

Many were released again shortly afterwards, police said.

Some of the protesters said police had allowed them on to the roadway and were escorting them across when they were surrounded and the arrests began.

"This was not a protest against the NYPD. This was a protest of the 99% against the disproportionate power of the 1%," protester Robert Cammiso told the BBC.

"We are not anarchists. We are not hooligans. I am a 48-year-old man. The top 1% control 50% of the wealth in the USA."

Another protester, Henry-James Ferry, said: "It is not fair that our government supports large corporations rather than the people.

"I only heard about the protest on day one when I came across it. I then decided to go back every day," he told the BBC.
March on police HQ

The protesters have had previous run-ins with New York's police.

On Friday, about 2,000 people marched under the Occupy Wall Street banner to New York's police headquarters to protest against arrests and police behaviour.

Some 80 people were arrested during a march on 25 September, mostly for disorderly conduct and blocking traffic, but one person was charged with assaulting a police officer.

A series of other small-scale protests have also sprung up in other US cities in sympathy with the aims of Occupy Wall Street.

good, the nytimes finally had to take notice...,

Video - Initial RT coverage of Occupy Wallstreet

NYTimes | Ever since the Arab Spring, many people here have been pining for an American Autumn. The closest we’ve gotten so far is Occupy Wall Street.

For two weeks, a “leaderless resistance movement” of a couple hundred people (depending on whom you ask) have camped out and sat-in at a tiny park in Lower Manhattan to protest greed and corruption, among other things. The protests were first called for in July by the magazine Adbusters, which calls itself “a global network of culture jammers and creatives.”

As New York Magazine reported the day before the protest began, protesters would first be meeting at Bowling Green Park for a program that included yoga, a pillow fight, and face-painting. The N.Y.P.D. thwarted those plans.

Still, it feels like a festival of frustrations, a collective venting session with little edge or urgency, highlighting just how far away downtown Manhattan is from Damascus — the hyper-aggressiveness of the police not withstanding.

It has, though, attracted institutional agitators such as Michael Moore and Cornel West, both who seem to ache for an uprising to fit the narratives of their personal discontent.

While it lacks the clarity and size — at least so far — of other protests we’ve seen in this country, let alone in other countries, it does highlight a growing sense of disillusionment among Americans and the failures and ineffectiveness they feel from the current government in addressing their concerns.

transit workers union wields formidable monkey wrench...,

Video - Why the TWU supports the Occupy Wall St. protest

Business Insider | According to Daily Kos, The New York Transit Workers Union (TWU) voted to support the Wall Street Protestors at their meeting last night.

A member of TWU Local 100 told a reporter that they would join the protest Friday at 4PM.

Here's more about them from their website:

The TWU has four main divisions: Railroad; Gaming; Airline; Transit; and Utility, University and Service. The Union has 114 autonomous locals representing over 200,000 members and retirees in 22 states around the country.
Occupy Wall Street has been picking up some decent support from unions in the past few days.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

specious application of game mechanics...,

TechnologyReview | The world is in the midst of a gamification revolution—a mad dash to incorporate points, levels, and achievement badges into nearly every online and mobile experience. According to the hype, these "game mechanics" are a magic potion that can motivate anyone to do anything—purchase brand-name clothing, publicly share location information, or adopt healthy behaviors. Yet like many Internet revolutions, this one is tinged with irrational exuberance. Truly understanding what game mechanics can do requires significantly more nuance.

The intuitive idea is simple and appealing. Games are engaging, so making anything more gamelike should make it more engaging too. The scientific justification seems equally straightforward. Game mechanics invoke reinforcement learning; like B. F. Skinner's rats, we are repeatedly rewarded to produce the desired behavior.

Although behaviorist psychology is sound science, however, it is insufficient to justify gamification. Skinner's rats pressed a lever to get a morsel of food, and there is little debate about whether that constituted a reward. For human beings, what counts as a reward is much less clear. Points, levels, or badges are not inherently rewarding. The reward, when there is one, comes from underlying psychological phenomena such as social status, reputation, and group identification. Very little quality research has been done to show how game mechanics invoke these phenomena, and what the effects may be when they do.

When we look at game mechanics this way, it also becomes clear that they are unlikely to affect everyone in the same way. Some people actively seek status in the eyes of others, for example; other people are actually status-averse. Offering one-size-fits-all rewards may motivate certain people while putting others off. We need to understand more about the types of people who are motivated by specific gamelike rewards.

Another risk is that the extrinsic motivations supplied by game dynamics could crowd out motivations that are intrinsic to an activity. The most active Wikipedia editors, for example, are motivated by a shared investment in activities, interests, and beliefs that form a genuine connection among community members. The same is true in many online systems. Game dynamics, on the other hand, offer rewards that can be comparatively superficial and short-term. We know little about how gamification can undermine or support deeper, long-term motivation.

juan crow? | Hispanic students have started vanishing from Alabama public schools after a court ruling that upheld the state's tough new law on illegal immigration.

Education officials say scores of immigrant families have withdrawn their children from classes or kept them home this week, afraid that sending the children to school would draw attention from authorities.

There are no precise statewide numbers. But several districts with large immigrant enrollments reported a sudden exodus of children of Hispanic parents, some of whom told officials they would leave the state to avoid trouble with the law, which requires schools to check students' immigration status.

The anxiety has become so great that the superintendent in one of the state's largest cities, Huntsville, appeared on a Spanish-language television show Thursday to try to calm widespread worries.

"In the case of this law, our students do not have anything to fear," Casey Wardynski said in halting Spanish. He urged families to send students to class and explained that the state was only trying to compile statistics. Police, he insisted, were not getting involved in schools.

In Montgomery County, more than 200 Hispanic students were absent the morning after the judge's Wednesday ruling. A handful withdrew.