Sunday, November 13, 2011

Checking In

This is the first Saturday since September 24, 2011 that I was not downtown at OccupyChi. I figured I would take a moment this weekend to check in with my YouTube friends.

This is, as usual, unrehearsed and off the cuff. Even I know that is never a good idea for a broadcast, but it is honest.

The occupation continues pretty much unabated in spite of the interference of the establishment.

On a personal note, I am writing again, and my back is slowly getting stronger. The new blog is http://occupythewhole.blogspot.com/.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Polished

The arguments revisited, clean, and polished; media comes to watch, dismiss and abolish.

Connected to the corporate cast, they look down on the working class.

So chained the advertisement dollar, they refuse to admit to any future squalor.

They insist the American dream is fine, sanctioned, upheld and divine.

And this is how the report Wall Street News, rosy stories, and reviews.

Europe in crisis, Greece distressed, the upstanding Socialist state, crumbling due to Capitalist fate.

They bought Wall Street’s Dirty Lies, bought the fraud, bought the carney barker’s cries.

“Come one, come all, step right up, make a trillion, don’t be a chump.”

“Come on here, do it now, pull that trigger, take the vow, the money changers will show you how.”

“Take that first step on the path to magical wealth; make the journey towards financial health.”

Within each promising bundle of commercial paper, hid a filthy fraud, a marketing caper.

So long as most of the bundled notes were fine, the unserviceable debt sold as vintage wine.

“Put your name on the dotted line. Come on; trust us, in riches you will recline”

That is the story they continue to tell, that is the fable they continue to sell.

This is America all is well! No fraud, we promise, come fall under the golden spell.

Yet, on main street homes are lost. People into the gutter are tossed. No one noticed the hidden cost.

Bankers gamble with other’s money. Taking risk upon risk, they sucked up the worker’s honey.

For that is how they saw the masses, drones, surfs, dumb, stupid, assorted asses.

They still hold the real property, to sell again in a swirl of financial anarchy.

And laugh they do on all hollows’ eve, tricks played, treats withheld, as many more get the heave.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Excerpt: Women Rule ....

Yesterday (November 7, 2011) 43 Senior Citizens, some as old as 100, were cited by the CPD for disorderly conduct, after being joined by Occupy Chicago, in a protest over the threat to life long earned miniscule benefits of Social Security and medicare/medicade and HUD programs. These are not angry young men rebelling without a cause. It does give one pause to what is rising in the USA today. For that, I turn back to my own research from 2007/2008.

From Wealth, Women and War (c) 2008

Right now, we are somewhere in the middle of this process. We are already seeing articles written telling people to lower their expectations. We are already seeing women authors coming out with highly detailed warnings about the dual income “trap.” The business community is responding to the cost of super-sized monthly mortgage payments by proposing 50 year mortgages. This sounds good in the short term but clouds the reality of lowered incomes against the higher cost of housing. The standard measure for income status was at one time that the cost of housing was one quarter of one’s monthly income. Today it can be fifty percent or more of one’s monthly income. While these mortgages look good on paper with an “affordable” monthly payment, it is only to secure the bank’s ownership of the property for a longer period of time. This of course allows the corporations to resell the property after the mortgagee’s loss of it.

Women in the United States are opting, with or without a mate, to take on the role of acquiring the primary economic resources. Thus far, in spite of the warnings, they have been relatively successful. Additionally, those who are on the upward climb hold the belief that through a little more effort they will be successful. They have lowered their expectations, they are willing to work within the framework of a 50 year mortgage, they will tolerate prejudice in the workplace, so long as they can keep within the rules of the current society. They are willing to take on short term losses for perceived long term gains. As long as she can chase the illusionary reward, the woman will not directly confront the mismanagement of the corporation. Moreover, she will not endorse anyone else directly confronting the corporations, either.

The concept that the corporation is responsible for providing sustainable income within a community has been successfully hushed. This has been accomplished primarily by the hue and cry of “individual responsibility.” This has been aided with neo-Calvinist rhetoric emitting from various religious institutions within the United States. The message is that faith and loyalty to Jesus, hard work, and thrift will deliver the socioeconomic status sought in conjunction with the expectations of the current era. The definition of status is constantly being driven home by the media telling us all what we need in life to be happy. Happiness, as defined by the corporate media, is the ultimate goal in life. What one has is never sufficient, one must consume more.

The mandate of individual responsibility, work, thrift, and consumption can carry a society only so far. It doesn’t take long for the opposing goals to be come apparent. Work is only available at the whim or need of the corporation. Thrift and consumption are polar opposites of the economic spectrum. Individual responsibility is only as valid as the visible responsible actions of those who control the corporation. The predatory activities of corporations are vast.[1]

The current situation will probably hold until the next presidential term recession cycle. At that time the liberated women will alter their perception of the current capitalistic system. They will concede that no amount of effort on their part, or their sidelined mates – if the men are still in the picture -- will bring about the economic security needed to survive in the capitalistic system.

Capitalism is amoral. While it has a dark side, it also holds the promise of success. It will not be dumped. It will be altered. Even with a lowering of expectations, and an awakened sense of savvy concerning the aims of the corporations, what defines middle class individualism will be a migration towards some form of collective civilization within the framework of capitalism. Social change will be demanded.

Women political leaders are defined as socially acceptable within the construct of the middle class social contract. John Gray, Ph.D. in Men, Women and Relationships explains it thusly:

As her awareness expands out into the future, a woman is naturally concerned for what potentially could happen. She is motivated to prepare for the future. On the other hand, focused awareness makes men more concerned with efficiently achieving their goals. While the men are worried about getting to their destinations, the women are more concerned about what will happen when they get there.[2]

In preparing … however, the [women] tend to be late in arriving, or the may feel the journey is too risky and let their fears hold them back. It is much easier to be courageous when you are unaware of the possible consequences of an action.[3]

Men drool for the opportunity to use socially acceptable means, legal or not, to make the right things happen for themselves and their mates. Based on what is available on the web, in the bookstores, and in the underground press, men are ready for a change, they are just waiting on the go ahead from the women.

To define the typical U.S. approach, the words of General George S. Patton come to mind. "No bastard,” he said, “ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."[4]

Adjusting the capitalist system to be humane and responsive to the citizens within it may not be equal to war, but the General’s principle is still applicable. The corporations will become responsive to the people, or they will cease to exist.


Note: Excerpts from Wealth, Women and War are not from the edited copy, they are from the second draft; there are still errors within. I just thought I should clarify that.


[1] Mokhiber , Russell . Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the Decade. Ed. Russell Mokhiber . 22 Jan. 2008 .

[2] Gray, J. (1993). Men, Women and Relationships: Making Peace with the Opposite Sex. New York: HarperCollins, p. 84.

[3] Gray, J. (1993). Men, Women and Relationships: Making Peace with the Opposite Sex. New York: HarperCollins, p. 85.

[4] General George S. Patton Quotes (2008). Retrieved June 18, 2008, from http://www.military-quotes.com/Patton.htm

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bank Transfer Day

So, how did Bank Transfer go? We don’t know yet. However, we do have an inkling from information inching around the web. This was tweeted by Mark Cassello, Adjunct English professor and writer for the Chicago version of the Huffington Post:


“The Credit Union National Association said Thursday that since Bank of America's debit fee was announced, credit unions had added 650,000 members - vs. 80,000 in an ordinary month - and $4.5 billion in deposits.


Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/133311428.html#ixzz1cxUnrOWZ

Now here is a question, if enough people stop doing business with the mega banks will the fail, finally? I doubt if we are going to get a good indication of what is happening until Monday, if not the end of the fiscal quarter. The main stream media may be dismissing us, but this kind of action cannot be ignore if the Wizards of Wall Street start taking losses because they are alienating their customers.

There has been considerable talk about just how smart are the 1%-ers – I am sure there is a grammatical error there. There is some truth to their above average intelligence, along with their sociopathic and narcissistic tendencies. However, right now, there are thousands of people in the street who are unhappy with the way the nation is run. These people are not hippies and addicts, most of them have jobs, and are helping others along the way. As Judi Bryan posted on Face Book:

“These are people who are your neighbors, your family, your friends...people you work with, people who provide services to your homes and your businesses! They are not the "other", as some would have you believe. They are US! And they're fed up!”

And the 1%-ers just want to fight them. The current tactic is excessive force by the local Police Departments, and running down protestors in the street. Such attacks do not testify to the superior collective intelligence of the 1%-ers.


The real kicker to all this is that the 1% ers and the corporate citizens in general were warned about this back in 2007/08. That is when I published “Wealth, Women and War.” It is an instruction guide to human behavior in the face of crisis and how they will respond to that crisis. I don’t promote it anymore, but it was written to the powerful of the nation to keep us from getting to this point. They ignore it. Their media dogs ignore it. Yet, it still exists as fair warning to what is coming. And like Abby Hoffman at Wood Stock, when I do tweet, or post what is coming, I am ignored, and virtually, but not literally, booed off the stage.

Maybe, someday, I will get the courage up to explain what comes next, but in the meantime, if you have not moved your money into a small, responsive bank, or Credit Union, please do so. It does matter. It matters far more than anything else I can tell you.

More to come ….

A Well Oiled Machine

Organizational Changes made at the Occupy Chicago General Assembly. For more details see OccupyChi.Org

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Why the protest?

It is, in the end, an individual choice. While I can state the goal of the Occupation when it stepped off back on September 17, 2011, I cannot speak for every individual who has marched, chanted, held their ground at one location or another, or has taken abuse from police. I can only speak for myself.

I have written much about the hypocrisy in the United States. My fight goes back to the days of Bush’s first term. All of the technicians who brought the web to the desktop were summarily dismissed after the Y2K scare standardized the net. Bill Gates, who owns 91% of the desktop computer OS (Operating System) market, no longer needed us. At one time, Microsoft would be considered a monopoly. Today it is cherished as a corporate success, and backed by the likes of Buffett. In the end those who could not afford the retraining were simply dumped. We went from being heroes to zeros in a matter of months. Tens of thousands of jobs were tossed in the ash can, and no one even blinked.

To work in IT today, it is no longer what you know, or what certifications you have, but who you know and who knows you. As the BBC pointed out in 2002 – no I can’t cite that reference – the U.S. economy has all the appearances of being a Third World economy. If you like, the term “Crony Capitalism” is as appropriate description as any. Moreover, if you have been out of IT for more than six months, the hiring managers will not even look at you seriously.

In 2000, a Level 1 technical support agent could make $25.00 an hour, or more. Today, the same position pays $15.00 an hour, if you can land one. That is a big if. And, requires far more training than it did back at the turn of the century. In 1992, $15.00 an hour could keep a family of four functional with a bit of disposable income to help celebrate life. Today, November 5, 2011, it hardly pays the bills. That wage is the new minimum wage even if the *expletive deleted* bureaucrats in the *explicative deleted* government, and our supposed *explicative deleted* representatives don’t know this. When a staple like Gasoline to fuel the nation has doubled over the course of 10 years, and wages have not, how can these *expletive deleted* elected officials not see what is going on? Yet, even Mr. Hope and Change in the White House has utterly ignored what is going on. Ignoring the problem and sending his goon squads to trample the envoys who try desperately to tell him, and the rest of the world, what is happening in the U.S.A.

That is why I am protesting. It is hard to put all that on a sign when marching. But, I figure if I am there, and recording events for posterity, it is a sufficient statement.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

For the Sake of the Record

Can’t seem to find the words to describe exactly how it feels. I am proud. I am concerned. I am resolute, and resolved to an “end game” that no one seems to be able to envision.

When Dallas Students for a Democratic Society invited Unions to join us in Solidarity on May 1, 2011, the response was less than specular. They said they passed the invitation to their membership, but on the day of the march, rally, and Bar-B-Que the turnout was less than anticipated. Some blame the rain. Others say it was apathy. Yet, others in high places decried SDS, and the whole idea of street politics. Still, we marched. We were there.

Through Facebook, I met @Anon_pinko. In July of 2011, after an eleven month stint of unemployment, I got a “tweet” from @AnonymousIRC. An invitation to support something called Occupy Wall Street. It was dedicated to the goal of getting corporate money out of U.S. politics. The slogan, according to @USDOR was, “One Citizen, One Vote, One Dollar.”

As I was training for my new temporary job, @OccupyWallStreet began tweeting. Around New York City, General Assemblies were being formed. Decisions were made based on a 90% approval vote. A test sleep-in was attempted by the art’s committee. They were all arrested, needless to say. Yet, the arrests were thrown out when it came before the judge.

As the date of the September 17, 2011 “step off” drew closer I explained my situation and limitations to @OccupyWallStreet and @USDOR. People depend on my income, and could not risk my employment. I would keep passing the information through Facebook and Twitter.

When the Occupation started, I was glued to my Computer. Moving information. Replying to questions. Defending the movement ever as it was forming. Before training, and after work, I stayed up to keep track of what was happening. That week, on September 23, 2011 (the first day of Autumn), @OccupyChi (for Occupy Chicago) popped up on twitter. A new front was forming. It was here in Chicago.

More and more occupations were formed. Despite the nay-sayers and the experts, politics were again on the street and out in the open. Yet, so few knew about it. Even WGN in Chicago was ignoring the Occupation. It was not until the NY Police Department decided to riot against the peaceful occupiers that the media began paying attention. It was as if the media wanted to ignore the thousands around the nation protesting the Greed of Corporate America. The decision makes a certain amount of sense when you consider that the media is paid to keep up consumerism (the fancy word for greed). Over the short time the movement grew.

Twice in October, #OccupyChi attempted to camp over night at Congress Square (the Northern plaza at the entrance to Grant Park at Michigan and Congress). Twice the Chicago Police Department made mass arrest. The ordnance violation usually carries a citation. Rahm Emmanuel ordered otherwise. On October 15, 2011 the #Solidarity March and Occupation ended with 175 arrests. The following weekend, on October 22, 2011 the Occupation ended with 150 arrests.

Events transpired. Over the course of the end of October, #OccupyOakland was raided, at night as always, by the Oakland P.D. They ran the Occupation off using Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets, and Ballistic Bean Bags. A two tour Iraqi war veteran, Scott Olsen, was hit in the head by an OPD projectile. The movement grew again. Now police and Veterans joined the movement in force. And so did the population of Oakland, and San Francisco. People who, weeks before, cussed out Anon for #OpBART protesting BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) Police Brutality, now cheered the Occupation.

Yesterday, November 2, 2011, , at approximately 8:00 PM CDT, Occupy Oakland shut down the port of Oakland, the fourth largest container port in the U.S. in the largest General Strike in Oakland since 1946.

Most of this remains unnoticed by the establishment, as it still strives to sweep the Occupation into the dust bin, and blame the movement for any police violence. I write this because I have been here on the streets of Chicago, and I have witnessed events.

More to come ….