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      Well, if it did. Let me tell a story, possibly apocryphal. Back in the 70s the Russian (USSR) ambassador supposedly had a talk with the Pakistaini leader of the day. This is what he is reputed to have said. ” I do not know who will be in charge in Moscow in ten, twenty or […]
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Whoa! Way to go Occupy with Aloha!

Update3:  Another good livestream from DamaskPortland.  The occupiers are moving from main street to Pioneer Square.  More riot police have arrived.  There are twitters of many arrests.  There are people showing up to stand in solidarity.  The square is filling up.

Update2:  Very strange Tiannemen Square type action going on.  Some guy is scooting on his butt, crab style, right up the the police line.  The police take a few steps back.  He scoots up closer, they step back.  Not sure what that’s all about.  

Update:  Occupy Portland is having a stand off with police right this minute.  The police evicted them from the parks and are setting up fences to keep the public out of them.  You can watch the livestream here.  They are trying to decide where to move or even whether to move.  Right now, they are occupying Main Street. And there are riot police who have promised to use chemical and impact weapons to get occupiers to move.  The whole world might not be watching but over 5000 visitors to the livestream are.  The GA is deliberating calmly and trying to organize a graceful retreat to another location.  If they can’t find another location, well, that becomes a big problem for the mayor of Portland.

I saw this story at Susie Madrak’s blog.  It’s about a Hawaiian musician, Makana, who previously was invited to play at the White House.  At the APEC meeting dinner last night in Honolulu, he was invited to play for world leaders, including Barack Obama.  This security for this meeting was very tight.  They probably thought they would be able to sell us to each other without any protest or interruption.

They wuz wrong.

Makana wore an “Occupy with Aloha” T-shirt under his button down shirt.  When the time was right, he unbuttoned his shirt and played a song he had composed for the event called “We are the Many”- for 45 minutes.

Makana has balls that are tougher than kukui nuts.

Read the whole story here.

Here’s a video from the event. Pass it along to your friends and family.

And here’s the video of the song, “We are the Many”.  Not too shabby.  Sounds very Woody Guthrie/Bob Dylan-ish/ Pete Seeger-esque  Love the graphics.  I was in that crowd at Foley Square in front of the courthouse.

Just goes to show that no matter how hard they try, they can’t get away from us.  We are everywhere.  We play the music, we serve the appetizers, we park the cars.  We are legion.  We are the 99%.  Being an occupier means being creative.  In that spirit, grab a piece of chalk and head out to the sidewalk.

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Sunday: Make this the week you free yourself

Commuting to work in Copenhagen

Thursday, November 17: Shut Down Wall Street

If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, Matt Taibbi has a piece in the Rolling Stone where he confesses that he didn’t “get” Occupy Wall Street at first, but now he does:

What both sides missed is that OWS is tired of all of this. They don’t care what we think they’re about, or should be about. They just want something different.

We’re all born wanting the freedom to imagine a better and more beautiful future. But modern America has become a place so drearily confining and predictable that it chokes the life out of that built-in desire. Everything from our pop culture to our economy to our politics feels oppressive and unresponsive. We see 10 million commercials a day, and every day is the same life-killing chase for money, money and more money; the only thing that changes from minute to minute is that every tick of the clock brings with it another space-age vendor dreaming up some new way to try to sell you something or reach into your pocket. The relentless sameness of the two-party political system is beginning to feel like a Jacob’s Ladder nightmare with no end; we’re entering another turn on the four-year merry-go-round, and the thought of having to try to get excited about yet another minor quadrennial shift in the direction of one or the other pole of alienating corporate full-of-shitness is enough to make anyone want to smash his own hand flat with a hammer.

If you think of it this way, Occupy Wall Street takes on another meaning. There’s no better symbol of the gloom and psychological repression of modern America than the banking system, a huge heartless machine that attaches itself to you at an early age, and from which there is no escape. You fail to receive a few past-due notices about a $19 payment you missed on that TV you bought at Circuit City, and next thing you know a collector has filed a judgment against you for $3,000 in fees and interest. Or maybe you wake up one morning and your car is gone, legally repossessed by Vulture Inc., the debt-buying firm that bought your loan on the Internet from Chase for two cents on the dollar. This is why people hate Wall Street. They hate it because the banks have made life for ordinary people a vicious tightrope act; you slip anywhere along the way, it’s 10,000 feet down into a vat of razor blades that you can never climb out of.

That, to me, is what Occupy Wall Street is addressing. People don’t know exactly what they want, but as one friend of mine put it, they know one thing: FUCK THIS SHIT! We want something different: a different life, with different values, or at least a chance at different values.

Personally?  I want to live in a place like Denmark.  Your mileage may vary.  And I think that’s part of the point of Occupy Wall Street.  If you want to make millions producing something useful like green technology or a new drug or some personal gadget that we can’t live without, by all means, do it!  I would *love* to make a new drug that helps people but I know that the current corporate model for doing that is dead.  But starting a new biotech in this particular kind of capitalism is extremely risky because there are predators out there who see you as nothing but a money machine ready  yoke you to their plough.  They give you the money to get the work done, you hand over whatever they want.

But what if money is not your personal endpoint?  What if doing what you love is your goal but you want to earn a wage that doesn’t leave you destitute?  What if you’re ok riding a bike to work in an urban setting?  What if your starter house doesn’t have to be 3000 sq ft?  What if you are happy living somewhere between Ikea and Pottery Barn?  Does that mean you’re a loser if you don’t want to make millions but only want to discover the next drug?  This society is telling the real producers that they are losers and that the only true winners are the ones who eat what they kill in the free market savannah.

Six months ago on my last day of work, I wrote about what was happening to us.  We are locked into the Wall Street extraction mechanism almost from the first day on the job.  Our pensions are so small and the possibility of getting one is so remote because our careers are  unstable that we are forced to turn to the marketplace to build up our nest eggs.  We invest in 401K’s that are so heavily penalized by taxes that the money becomes hostage to the Wall Street movers and shakers.  And investing in the market makes us the very same shareholders who demand our terminations.  We are forced to put our savings into the global casino so that some assholes on Wall Street can play with making a killing by porting our jobs overseas.  And we’re supposed to be grateful to them for “producing” this great wealth that only they can accumulate and spend and pay for *their* kid’s college education.  Yes, they get a bonus, you get an excise tax bill, to be paid up-front, if you need to take that money out to pay for the hardships produced by putting that money in the market in the first place.  How crazy is that??  How did we let ourselves get talked into this bizarre arrangement? And it’s not real money to Wall Street.  It’s play money.  It’s not *their* money.  And if they lose some after they skim off their bonuses and cry and complain about how unappreciated they are, it’s no big deal.  With the next working guy’s paycheck, the coffers will be renewed from all of those contributions to the retirement account.  This game is set up so that the fund managers never have to feel accountable to anyone but themselves.

I’d rather be free to live modestly than live miserably and precariously with the vague and insincere promises of riches decades down the road.  I want out.