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      The smartphone is "the equivalent of the hypodermic needle for a wired generation."https://t.co/EcrLUgH7nc — Dustin Volz (@dnvolz) September 22, 2021
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      Everyone remember the Panama papers? A leak of bank records showing that the ultra-rich are hiding massive wealth, tax-free and often breaking the law to do so? A rather weak set of laws designed to allow tax avoidance by rich people, at that. Found out the other day that the reporter who broke the Panama Papers story was killed by a car bomb. Coincidence, n […]
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Happy Birthday OWS Bat Signal

Courtesy of Marsha.  This one is pretty good.  It shows the Bat Signal team from Occupy Wall Street setting up the equipment and the reaction from on the bridge.

Sooo, good morning to you and happy birthday to me!



Glenn Greenwald has a pretty good piece up about how the Democratic party and its retainers are going to try to co-opt Occupy Wall Street.  And I know some Conflucians have expressed similar concerns.  I’ll get to those in a minute.  But I encourage you to go read Greenwald because I think he gets this movement in the same way that I do.  In particular, Greenwald is disturbed by the SEIU’s endorsement of Obama’s re-election the day before Occupy’s N17 Day of Action and explains why he thinks the SEIU will fail:

Having SEIU officials — fresh off endorsing the Obama re-election campaign — shape, fund, dictate and decree an anti-GOP, pro-Obama march is about as antithetical as one can imagine to what the Occupy movement has been. And pretending that the ongoing protests are grounded in the belief that the GOP is the party of the rich while the Democrats are the party of the working class is likely to fool just about nobody other than those fooled by that already. The strength and genius of OWS has been its steadfast refusal to (a) fall into the trap that ensnared the Tea Party of being exploited as a partisan tool and (b) integrate itself into the very political institutions which it’s scorning and protesting.

As I noted several weeks ago, WH-aligned groups such as the Center for American Progress have made explicitly clear that they are going to try to convert OWS into a vote-producing arm for the Obama 2012 campaign, and that’s what “Occupy Congress” is designed to achieve. I believed then and — having spent the last few weeks talking with many OWS protesters around the country — believe even more so now that these efforts will inevitably fail: those who have animated the Occupy movement are not motivated by partisan allegiance or an overarching desire to devote themselves to one of the two parties. In fact, one of the original Occupy groups — as opposed to partisan organizations swooping in to exploit it — has announced its own D.C. occupation to, in part, “demonstrate the failure of the Democrats and Republicans in Congress to represent the views of the majority of people.”

For a long time, I have believed, and still do believe, that the way to get the financiers to behave and for the corporations to begin treating their employees as humans and not resources, is to change the rulemakers in Washington.  But I also realize that you can’t sweep politicians out of office unless the electorate wants that to happen.  And at this point in time, there is still a significant portion of the electorate that has lost its way.  It is confused by ubiquitous messaging from their elected officials and those officials’ mouthpieces.  And the Democrats failed to interrupt this messaging when it had a chance.  When it had a filibuster proof majority in the senate and majorities in the House and a president of its own party, it should have moved immediately to reinstating the “fairness doctrine” and cementing net neutrality into law and doing a myriad other things that would ensure that a different message from the harsh, mean-spirited, “money is everything” one we get non-stop message we get all day long would be heard.  But the Democrats didn’t do this.  Whether it was through malice or stupidity, it managed to turn down its own volume in the public sphere.

We should have known when it did nothing to curtail the right wing messaging that we were on our own.  Without a voice, we have no way to move each other or politicians to do what we want.  We are easily dismissed as dirty fucking hippies and liberals and no one wants to hear from us.

Before we can change our political system, we have to change hearts to make sure that we don’t keep beating up on each other.  We have to expose the way the socio-economic system is set up right now.  And we have to have a movement of people who are willing to walk away from the current setup that isn’t working for them and set up something new that does.  It’s only by turning our backs on the current political climate and working hard to have our own social safety net and economic system that works for us in the long term that we will be free and it won’t matter who is in power in Washington.

Why should we care who is in power in Washington?  Neither party seems to care to exercise its power for our benefit.  I’m not terribly concerned anymore whether Democrats hold the White House or Republicans hold the House.  They’ve made it clear that no matter who we vote for, the result will be pretty much the same. The same people will be entrenched in power and the rest of us will watch them slowly erode away our standard of living and use excuses to steal the money we put away for our own retirements.  I’m not apathetic.  I’m incensed by that.  Everyday, I wonder how it is they have the unmitigated gall to ignore us.  But that’s the way it is right now and I’m no longer going to tilt at electoral windmills.  I made my mind up in 2008 to only vote for politicians who share my values and aren’t afraid to say it.  It looks like I’m not the only one because loudmouth Elizabeth Warren seems to be doing extraordinarily well these days.

Occupy Wall Street was started by people who didn’t like the way things are going.  Those of us who weren’t in the planning stages but don’t like the way things are going either don’t necessarily have to share the same socio political philosophy.  When movements catch on, maybe it doesn’t matter how each unit of that movement does its business as long as they share a common morality.  And that is Occupy Wall Street’s strength.  It is at its core a moral movement.  It is not a political one.  That moral movement is about the vast majority wanting to correct the vast disperity of wealth that has developed in this country, to correct economic and social injustice,to uphold the dignity of working people, to re-establish a social safety net and economic system that works for everyone and to redefine the meaning of success.  That last one is very important.  The morality of success matters.  Does success mean making money at all costs or does it mean achieving goals of a more personal nature?  Right now, our morality is dictated by the marketplace and the people who run it.  And this movement is about changing that morality.  The way we go about changing that morality and withdrawing our support from a system that fails us is what Occupy Wall Street has yet to decide.  So, calls for it to make demands are premature.

The 1% is going to try hard to disrupt that decision making process.  It is going to try hard to prevent the critical mass from forming (although I think they may be losing that battle).  And it is going to try hard to co-opt.  But as long as the movement focuses on determining how to translate its morality into creating a new economy that works for everyone, the political class can wait.  It is not our job to serve the politicians.  It is their job to serve us.

Scratching Post Saturday Night! My encounter with an Obama canvasser

Hello my gracious Conflucian members of the Rebel Alliance!  Thanks for your well wishes, I was able to shake off some that “lost my contract job due to the bailout” funk.   How did that happen?   I let out a lot of my pent up rage on an unsuspecting SEIU canvasser for Obama.  I will attempt a MadamaB format of a playlet , except that this actually happened.  This is how it went:

[Setting: My little bungalow house in Tampa, FL.  I have a load of laundry in the dryer which outside by the carport.  On my way out with my laundry basket in hand, I hear a knock and open my door.  A 20-something pleasant young woman with a clipboard, some flyers and an electronic device in her hand smiles back.  She didn’t seem like the Cuban Jehovah Witnesses that come around since she had some cute sneakers & stylish jeans and T-shirt so I step out of the house]

ME:  Yes? 

Canvasser: Hi, I’m from the SEIU and we’re canvassing the neighborhood asking people about the November election

ME: You mean the union?

Canvasser: Yes!  [she seemed happy to know that I recognized the SEIU and proceeds to take out some literature and hands me an SEIU flyer with Obama’s picture].  We’re canvassing the neighborhood today to ask you about the November election and –

ME:  [looking down at the flyer and handing it back to her]  You don’t need to go any further because I will not vote for Barack Obama.  In fact, I don’t know who I’ll vote for but it ain’t gonna be him, or maybe I won’t vote at all.

Canvasser: [with a shocked look on her face] But, how could you NOT vote?  Well, who do you plan to vote for if you vote?  [She proceeds to tinker with a Palm pilot looking device with her stylus.] 

ME: You wanna know?  Write this down in that thingy you got there.  I’ve been a Democrat all my life, I voted Democrat ever since I turned 18 and voted for the losers and too few of the winners.  I’m well aware of the way primaries and conventions should run, and despite it all, each Democratic presidential nominee in the past 40 years has won the majority of the votes in the party and without fudging th delegates around.  My vote, a Hillary Clinton vote, was sliced in 1/2 and discounted in the primaries.  Then in late August, my vote was thrown in the toilet AGAIN because the fix was in for Obama to win.  My vote did not have a chance to be heard at the convention.  Delegates were harassed and bloggers were sent death threats all because they spoke out against the vote fraud which, by the way, your UNION pervasively allowed more voter fraud to be committed in the Nevada caucus.  So no, I will not support Barack Obama and I will not support the DNC.  

Canvasser:  Oh, well, ok. [now scared of me and following Obama Camp training manual protocol to disengage target if hostile and armed with a laundry basket] ] Um, will you at least support down the ticket this November?

ME:  Well somebody has to since Obama took all the DNC state staff away from down ticket Dems to serve him and him only!  I’m not happy with Kathy Castor endorsing Obama right after our primaries in February but she’s done some good local work in helping foreclosed families keep their homes, something that your candidate hasn’t done amongst a galaxy of things he has yet to accomplish other than blather about himself.   The DNC stole votes and delegates away from Hillary to push him ahead.  Now how the hell you expect me to support THAT? Look, I’m sorry if I’m being rude, but you asked me how I felt and that’s how I feel. 

Canvasser:   No, no, you are definitely giving me a reason why you aren’t supporting Obama.  Most people in this neighborhood [a heavy Latino neighborhood] just say “oh, I don’t like him, I don’t trust him.”  

ME:  How do you expect us to trust him when he and the DNC stole votes to win?  Anyway, you need to get to the end of this block before Christmas so I’ll stop talking now. 

It ended with a cordial thank you and goodbye.

Rico’s got a “whateva ya want” 2-4-1 special since we’re all broke.  Flo’s mad her 401K at her day job keeping going down and her broker doesn’t answer her calls.  Broker will soon be “broken” if Flo doesn’t get answers quick!  She’s also on the lookout for troll derivatives that sub-prime the comments. 

I felt a little bad about my venting on poor SEIU canvasser, so next time I though about being at bit more gracious, something like this maybe: