Monday, October 31, 2011

Occupy Long Beach protesters have to abide by police rules, Irvine doesn’t


Palmer Luckey | Daily 49er

Occupy protestors walk through the Long Beach financial district on Oct. 7.

Occupy Long Beach protesters remain at Lincoln Park, moving each night to the adjacent sidewalk as they have done for the past several weeks, protesting the financial and government systems they believe create an inequality of wealth and opportunity.

In nearby Irvine, Occupy protesters have gained special permission from the city council to continue to camp in a large group outside of city hall.

"I don't understand a lot of what your message is," Irvine Councilman Jeffrey Lalloway said on Oct. 25 to protesters. "But, by all means, if you want to sleep on our lawn, sleep on our lawn."

In contrast, Occupy Long Beach protesters have been forced to stay on the sidewalk every night after 10 p.m. — Lincoln Park's closing time. Police have also enforced city codes that prohibit sleeping in temporary shelters, like tents and sleeping bags, on city property. The protesters have sought an exception to the rule, but have thus far been unsuccessful.

Near the start of the Occupy Long Beach protests at Lincoln Park, the city of Long Beach installed several diesel-powered floodlights to illuminate the park for safety reasons.

Protesters said the sound and smell of the lights was a psychological warfare tactic, aiming to deprive them of sleep.

"If you make it harder for someone to sleep, they are eventually easier to control, or may eventually blow up in anger, justifying a response that will attain the goal of emptying the park," Occupy supporter Ian Souter said on the group's official Facebook page.

Last week, the city replaced the diesel-powered lights with solar-powered lights that are borrowed temporarily from the Long Beach Airport.

The size of the protest group has been rapidly fading as time passes.

"Of nearly 5,000 members, we had no one show up for today's teach-in in front of Wells Fargo," organizers said on Friday. "A virtual online presence does not constitute participating in democracy."

The group of active protesters in the park has dwindled from nearly 300 at the start to less than 30 now, including several homeless people who had been sleeping in the park before the protesters moved in.

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Randi Rhodes: OWS Endures & Raising Cain

It’s Halloween, and the streets are full of kids, wandering around in colorful costumes. Some of them are trick-or-treaters, and some of them are evicted Occupy Wall Street protestors. Protestors in some cities are having no more success in occupying Wall Street than the people who are facing foreclosure by the Wall Street banks are having in occupying their own homes. In both cases, the money people who run things are calling in the cops to evict people so that they can go on making money. This weekend, arrests took place in Portland, Oregon and in Austin, Texas. Those are two of the most progressive cities in America. This would be like a Tea Party rally getting evicted from Casper, Wyoming! In San Diego, protesters were arrested for “encroachment.” Isn’t that just a 5-yard penalty? They should have declined it and taken the down.

The good economic news is that consumer spending. The bad news is that it’s only a handful of consumers who are doing all the spending. The top 20 percent of income earners now account for over half of total household spending. And that money isn’t going to you—unless your name is Tiffany, Inc. They always say consumer spending drives the economy. These days, it’s being driven in a Mercedes.

Herman Cain may have had his mask removed before Halloween even got here. Politico has published a story saying that Herman Cain displayed inappropriate behavior with two female employees in the 1990’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if Herman Cain said something inappropriate—I’ve yet to hear him say anything appropriate. If Herman Cain is as confusing in his approach to a woman as he is in explaining his stance on abortion, I can see where you would get some mixed signals at the very least.

Team-Cain hasn’t been doing a very good job of answering questions about the allegations. Herman probably misses the good old days when he only had to answer questions like “Who is the president of Uz-beki-beki-beki-stan?” These allegations make it sound like Herman Cain may not be qualified to President of the United States. The good news for him is that he’s still qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Herman Cain ran to Fox News earlier today to confirm the allegations but deny any wrongdoing..

Thom Hartmann: Occupy the Courts - we now have a corporate judiciary!

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The best courts that money can buy. According to a new report released by several voting rights groups - corporate special interests organizations are spending huge amounts of money to influence state supreme court elections. Just three pro-business groups - the Ohio Chamber of Commerce - the Business Council of Alabama - and the Illinois Civil Justice League - have spent 13 times more money on judicial elections than the ENTIRE national labor movement.
We're also seeing the effects of this corporate buyout of the courts - as more and more decisions are handed down to give corporations more rights to pollute, to mettle in politics, and even engage in genocide abroad with immunity from civil suits.
So much for an impartial judiciary - we now have a corporate judiciary.
(Has your state's court been bought? Tell us here.)

A Must Watch for Those that Don`t 'Get it' as well as for those that Do 'Get it'

A few thoughts on Occupy Wall Street, I've been watching it and going down there for a while now but hadn't had a chance to speak on it.

By the way when I say some news media people are "ringers," I don't necessarily mean that they deliberately obfuscate, or get orders from some shadowy figure to do so. I think they'll often just have a personal investment in the system and status quo that's being critiqued/threatened, so they'll naturally--without any need to conspire--have their perception skewed by an instinct to protect the status quo they're invested in. So though it's quite possibly not their intention to play the ringer, it's the function they wind up serving nonetheless.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thom Hartmann: The recovery rooted in wiping out the last of the Middle Class - and that is not sustainable

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The U.S. economy appears to be recovering. Not only did the economy grow at a 2.5% rate during the last quarter - but also GDP in America has finally reached the level seen before Bush's Great Depression. But ask the average out-of-work American, or the average family that can't afford soaring healthcare premiums - or to fill their car up with gas - and it sure doesn't look like the economy is recovering.
The truth about this so-called economic growth is that it's being fueled by debt. The typical hourly wage for the average worker has gone up only $1.23 in the last 36 years - while the price of everything else - from healthcare to college to energy - has skyrocketed. So you do the math - how are Americans keeping up - and spending money in our new economy? By using their credit cards or spending what little they have left of their savings.
So while it may seem like the nation is in recovery - it's a recovery rooted in wiping out the last of the Middle Class - and that is not sustainable.
(How long do you think it will last? Tell us here.)

Randi Rhodes: Heroes & Zeros

It's Friday, ya bastids!

Here’s some good news: doctors say that Scott Olsen, who was seriously injured by police at the protests in Oakland, is responding and completely lucid. Of course, unlike people like the Tea Party protesters, Scott Olsen started out completely lucid.

Wall Street CEO Peter Schiff was down at the protests arguing with demonstrators. He claimed “I am giving the government half of what I earn.” Well then you must be an idiot, because most people in your income bracket are paying next to nothing. But note that Peter said “half of what I earn.” If he’s like most of the 1 percent, most of his income is unearned income anyway—and that barely gets taxed at all. Peter told the protesters “If you raise my taxes maybe I’ll just decide to sell my business and fire 150 people.” Um, Peter, if you sell your business, then those 150 people wouldn’t get fired, they would just be working for somebody else, unless you sell your business to Mitt Romney, in which case he would shut it down and sell the parts. I’ll give Peter Schiff this much—he was extraordinarily civil. But then you pretty much have to be when you’re trying to sell somebody a load of crap.

Pat Robertson is telling his listeners that true Christians should oppose the Occupy Wall Street movement. How does Pat Robertson’s Bible read—“Blessed are the hedge fund managers”? He must be reading parts of the Bible that I’m unfamiliar with, like St. Paul’s Letter to the Hamptons. Robertson warned that this upstart movement “could be used for radicals who want to destroy this nation.” Funny, I think that was exactly the phrase that must have been in the mind of Pontius Pilate when he decided to execute Jesus.

And the GOP-led House of Representatives has announced its calendar for next year, and they have more time off than ever. We have some very serious economic problems—are the Republicans even going to have enough time to make them worse? The House only has three working days scheduled for the entire month of August! I’m starting to see how John Boehner maintains that tan.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

US Marine Sgt. Jay C. Gentile reacts to the attack on his fellow Iraq vet Scott Olsen at Occupy Oakland...

Occupy Images with Links


Thursday, October 27, 2011


Below is the proposal passed by the Occupy Oakland General Assembly on Wednesday October 26, 2011 in reclaimed Oscar Grant Plaza. 1607 people voted. 1484 voted in favor of the resolution, 77 abstained and 46 voted against it, passing the proposal at 96.9%. The General Assembly operates on a modified consensus process that passes proposals with 90% in favor and with abstaining votes removed from the final count.


We as fellow occupiers of Oscar Grant Plaza propose that on Wednesday November 2, 2011, we liberate Oakland and shut down the 1%.

We propose a city wide general strike and we propose we invite all students to walk out of school. Instead of workers going to work and students going to school, the people will converge on downtown Oakland to shut down the city.

All banks and corporations should close down for the day or we will march on them.

While we are calling for a general strike, we are also calling for much more. People who organize out of their neighborhoods, schools, community organizations, affinity groups, workplaces and families are encouraged to self organize in a way that allows them to participate in shutting down the city in whatever manner they are comfortable with and capable of.

The whole world is watching Oakland. Let’s show them what is possible.

The Strike Coordinating Council will begin meeting everyday at 5pm in Oscar Grant Plaza before the daily General Assembly at 7pm. All strike participants are invited. Stay tuned for much more information and see you next Wednesday.

Oakland Policeman Throws Flash Grenade Into Crowd who are tyring to attend Injured Protester

Footage from the Occupy Oakland protest, October 25th, 2011. After protesters ran to the aid of a badly-injured person, Oakland Police deliberately lobbed a flash grenade into the crowd. Whatever you think of the Occupy movement, police behavior of this kind is criminal and should be prosecuted.

Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world

The 1318 transnational corporations that form the core of the economy. Superconnected companies are red, very connected companies are yellow. The size of the dot represents revenue <i>(Image: </i>PLoS One<i>)</i>

The 1318 transnational corporations that form the core of the economy. Superconnected companies are red, very connected companies are yellow. The size of the dot represents revenue (Image: PLoS One)

1 more image

AS PROTESTS against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters' worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.

The study's assumptions have attracted some criticism, but complex systems analysts contacted by New Scientist say it is a unique effort to untangle control in the global economy. Pushing the analysis further, they say, could help to identify ways of making global capitalism more stable.

The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York's Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere (see photo). But the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world's transnational corporations (TNCs).

"Reality is so complex, we must move away from dogma, whether it's conspiracy theories or free-market," says James Glattfelder. "Our analysis is reality-based."

Previous studies have found that a few TNCs own large chunks of the world's economy, but they included only a limited number of companies and omitted indirect ownerships, so could not say how this affected the global economy - whether it made it more or less stable, for instance.

The Zurich team can. From Orbis 2007, a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide, they pulled out all 43,060 TNCs and the share ownerships linking them. Then they constructed a model of which companies controlled others through shareholding networks, coupled with each company's operating revenues, to map the structure of economic power.

The work, to be published in PLoS One, revealed a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships (see image). Each of the 1318 had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were connected to 20. What's more, although they represented 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own through their shares the majority of the world's large blue chip and manufacturing firms - the "real" economy - representing a further 60 per cent of global revenues.

When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a "super-entity" of 147 even more tightly knit companies - all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity - that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. "In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network," says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.

John Driffill of the University of London, a macroeconomics expert, says the value of the analysis is not just to see if a small number of people controls the global economy, but rather its insights into economic stability.

Concentration of power is not good or bad in itself, says the Zurich team, but the core's tight interconnections could be. As the world learned in 2008, such networks are unstable. "If one [company] suffers distress," says Glattfelder, "this propagates."

"It's disconcerting to see how connected things really are," agrees George Sugihara of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, a complex systems expert who has advised Deutsche Bank.

Yaneer Bar-Yam, head of the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI), warns that the analysis assumes ownership equates to control, which is not always true. Most company shares are held by fund managers who may or may not control what the companies they part-own actually do. The impact of this on the system's behaviour, he says, requires more analysis.

Crucially, by identifying the architecture of global economic power, the analysis could help make it more stable. By finding the vulnerable aspects of the system, economists can suggest measures to prevent future collapses spreading through the entire economy. Glattfelder says we may need global anti-trust rules, which now exist only at national level, to limit over-connection among TNCs. Sugihara says the analysis suggests one possible solution: firms should be taxed for excess interconnectivity to discourage this risk.

One thing won't chime with some of the protesters' claims: the super-entity is unlikely to be the intentional result of a conspiracy to rule the world. "Such structures are common in nature," says Sugihara.

Newcomers to any network connect preferentially to highly connected members. TNCs buy shares in each other for business reasons, not for world domination. If connectedness clusters, so does wealth, says Dan Braha of NECSI: in similar models, money flows towards the most highly connected members. The Zurich study, says Sugihara, "is strong evidence that simple rules governing TNCs give rise spontaneously to highly connected groups". Or as Braha puts it: "The Occupy Wall Street claim that 1 per cent of people have most of the wealth reflects a logical phase of the self-organising economy."

So, the super-entity may not result from conspiracy. The real question, says the Zurich team, is whether it can exert concerted political power. Driffill feels 147 is too many to sustain collusion. Braha suspects they will compete in the market but act together on common interests. Resisting changes to the network structure may be one such common interest.

When this article was first posted, the comment in the final sentence of the paragraph beginning "Crucially, by identifying the architecture of global economic power…" was misattributed.

The top 50 of the 147 superconnected companies

1. Barclays plc
2. Capital Group Companies Inc
3. FMR Corporation
4. AXA
5. State Street Corporation
6. JP Morgan Chase & Co
7. Legal & General Group plc
8. Vanguard Group Inc
10. Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
11. Wellington Management Co LLP
12. Deutsche Bank AG
13. Franklin Resources Inc
14. Credit Suisse Group
15. Walton Enterprises LLC
16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp
17. Natixis
18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc
19. T Rowe Price Group Inc
20. Legg Mason Inc
21. Morgan Stanley
22. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc
23. Northern Trust Corporation
24. Société Générale
25. Bank of America Corporation
26. Lloyds TSB Group plc
27. Invesco plc
28. Allianz SE 29. TIAA
30. Old Mutual Public Limited Company
31. Aviva plc
32. Schroders plc
33. Dodge & Cox
34. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc*
35. Sun Life Financial Inc
36. Standard Life plc
37. CNCE
38. Nomura Holdings Inc
39. The Depository Trust Company
40. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
41. ING Groep NV
42. Brandes Investment Partners LP
43. Unicredito Italiano SPA
44. Deposit Insurance Corporation of Japan
45. Vereniging Aegon
46. BNP Paribas
47. Affiliated Managers Group Inc
48. Resona Holdings Inc
49. Capital Group International Inc
50. China Petrochemical Group Company

* Lehman still existed in the 2007 dataset used

Graphic: The 1318 transnational corporations that form the core of the economy

(Data: PLoS One)

Randi Rhodes: OWS Smears & Excuses

In Oakland an Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen is in critical condition after a clash between cops and Occupy Wall Street protestors. But then is it really a “clash” if only one side is clashing? Let’s say that an Iraq War veteran is in critical condition after a beat-down of protesters by cops.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said “Yesterday was a sad day for us.” It was a worse day for Scott Olsen, Mayor. The incident left the city of Oakland with a black eye, but it left Scott Olsen with a critically injured eye socket. The clash came after Oakland officials complained about what they described as sanitation and health issues at the dismantled camp. Hey, if you’re worried about safety, people are more at risk from rubber bullets than they are from food poisoning. Really? Sanitation and health issues? So let me get this straight—you’re protecting the protestors from germs by shooting at them. Maybe tear gas has some sort of disinfectant quality that I’m not aware of.

Bill O’Reilly claims the Occupy Wall Street people are anti-Semitic, based on finding a loose nut case spouting anti-Semitic comments for the Fox News cameras. Fox always seems to find those people. In fact, I think they might be finding them elsewhere and directing them to these events. Let me tell you, if there are news cameras everywhere at an event, it’s going to attract a few nut jobs… unless it’s a Tea Party event, in which case it will attract a whole lot of nut jobs. Or take a look at one of Glenn Beck’s gatherings. It’s not hard to find someone who is deluded, deranged, and possibly mentally ill. All you have to do is look at the podium.

Finally, it looks like this Halloween, Paul Ryan wants to scare us with spooky stories about class warfare. Yesterday Paul Ryan gave a speech in which he spent most of his time viciously attacking President Obama... a speech about rejecting the politics of divisiveness. Sorry, Paul—that went over about as well as the head of the Oakland Police giving a speech about proper crowd control procedures. Ryan titled his attack “Saving the American Idea: Rejecting Fear, Envy and the Politics of Division,” which sounds a lot better than “Hey, That Colored Guy Wants to Take Your Money!”

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Protester calls for a medic ring out as US Marine vet Scott Olsen’s skull gets fractured by police at Occupy Oakland...

Thom Hartmann: The New Gilded Age in America is upon us...

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Occupy Oakland demonstrator - and Iraq War veteran - Scott Olsen is still in a hospital in serious condition with a fractured skull after being hit in the head with a tear gas canister during Tuesday's night police assault on Occupy Oakland. In solidarity - demonstrators returned to the streets last night - and this time police left their military tactics at home. The movement marched to San Francisco across the Bay Bridge - with only a few confrontations with police. There are reports that two individuals were arrested.
Meanwhile - a new report by the Congressional Budget Office this week reminds everyone why they're in the streets to begin with. Looking at income data over the last three decades - most of the new wealth in America has gone straight to the top - to the top 1%. For the lowest 20% of Americans - they only saw a measly increase in income since 1979 - just 18%. For the 60% of Americans in the middle - they saw a modest gain of 40%. But for the top 1% - since Reagan took office - they've seen their incomes go up a whopping 275%. The top 1%'s income has nearly tripled while most everyone else's has been unable to keep up with the rising prices of things like healthcare, gas, food, and college tuition. The new Gilded Age in America is upon us.
But with action in the streets - then the Progressive Era of Teddy Roosevelt who broke up the monopolies - kicked corporations out of politics - and promoted a living wage - may be just around the corner.
(Do you believe a new progressive era is just around the corner? Tell us here.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Oakland's Shame

Riot police have attacked the Occupy Wall Street protestors in Oakland, CA with rubber bullets, tear gas and grenades. The protestors weren’t rioting. Why send in the riot police? I guess they don’t have a squad called the “peaceful demonstration police.”

HOUR ONE GUEST: Joshua Holland of AlterNet–a witness to what went down yesterday in Oakland.

President Obama is busy trying to ease our economic problems without the help of Congress, or to be more accurate, with the active opposition of Congress. Now Obama has a new initiative to find jobs for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. You know if John McCain was president, that wouldn’t be necessary—because they’d all still be staying in Iraq and Afghanistan. This plan is to have community health centers around the country hire some 8,000 veterans. The GOP-dominated Congress doesn’t care about veterans… and it sure as hell doesn’t care about community health centers. For Republicans, hiring veterans to work at community health centers is hiring people they don’t care about to do work they don’t want to see done. President Obama tried working with Congress. Now his only chance is to work around Congress. In addition, the President is taking steps to ease the loan burden on people with student loans. The only plan that Republicans have to ease the burden on those with student loans is to deny them student loans.

The Republicans want Obama to fail, or to be more accurate, the Republicans want America to fail, in the hope that will reflect badly on Obama. It would be one thing if they were just wishing that Obama will fail, but they’re actively blocking anything that would help America. It’s worse than having a “do-nothing” Congress, it’s a “do-something-bad” Congress.

Finally, the Republicans in Congress are pushing a bunch of talking points about what they call their “Forgotten Fifteen” bills to increase jobs. They’re handing out pocket cards to their members listing the “Forgotten Fifteen.” They are so dead-set against actually creating jobs that I wouldn’t be surprised if the pocket cards were made in China.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Thom Hartmann: #OWS - They may find some success w/shutdowns - but they won't find success trying to kill off an IDEA

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For a second night in a row - Oakland police resorted to tear gas and rubber bullets to put down the Occupy Oakland movement - which refuses to step down. Late last night - officers in riot gear confronted hundreds of Occupy Oakland demonstrators in front of City Hall - and used canisters of tear gas to clear the crowd. That was just the beginning though - as demonstrators reconvened after each clash with police - only to be dispersed again by more tear gas and rubber bullets.
The cat and mouse game between Occupy Oakland and police lasted throughout the night. There are reports that 10 demonstrators had to be treated for wounds after being shot by rubber bullets. Oakland police are defending their use of force - force that looks like a military operation - by claiming demonstrators were hurling rocks and bottles at them. Oakland mayor Jean Quan - who was in Washington, DC last night - rushed home as unrest hit the streets in his city. And despite two straight days of violent police crackdowns, Occupy Oakland demonstrators are vowing not to go anywhere.
Meanwhile - in Atlanta - police cleared Woodruff Park in the middle of the night - the site of Occupy Atlanta for the last two weeks. Several people were arrested - and it's still unclear why police stepped in to break up what has been a peaceful occupation for more than 15 days.
There seems to be a concerted effort by law enforcement around the nation to put an end to the Occupy Movement - and they may find some success with arrests and shutdowns. But they won't find success trying to kill off an IDEA.
(How do you think it will all turn out? Tell us here.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Occupy Together: Keith Olbermann on David Letterman’s support of the movement, part 1

Keith talks about his Oct. 24 appearance on “Late Show With David Letterman,” where he and Letterman discussed the Occupy movement. The “Late Show” host supports the protesters at Zuccotti Park and beyond: “I love this. I love people causing trouble. I love it when stuff doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to go. And largely, this is the only way we get change anymore in this country. As I’ve said a billion times now … some of the great cultural social issues in this country in the last 60, 70 years have begun via protest.”

Police fire tear gas at ‘Occupy Oakland’ protesters


Police fired tear gas at “Occupy Oakland” protesters on Tuesday night as a group of hundreds assembled outside City Hall. Early Tuesday morning, hundreds of police surrounded protesters at their small tent city in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. The police firing tear gas and beanbag rounds to clear the protesters and arrested 85 people.

The “Occupy Oakland” protesters later regrouped and marched through downtown Oakland. Police fired tear gas at the protesters after they refused to disperse. A href="">woman in a wheelchair could be seen in the midst of clouds of tear gas. Watch video, courtesy of ABC 7, below:

My Reply to Someone with a Different Opinion then Mine

I understand you point. I am just trying to open the eyes to the people that do vote, to Stop Voting Against their Best Interests, to stop believing the Lies - I agree that EVERYONE should Vote no matter what - even if you have to pick the lesser of evils- If you do not Vote, then you should Not Complain - I will always fight for Justice - I am fighting for Corporate accountability, I am Against Crony Capitalism - I want Money Out of Politics - I want America to invest in itself instead of Out Sourcing to other countries - I am not looking for hand outs - All I am asking for is Truth in Advertisement - Give us what We Paid for with our money, blood, sweat & tears - Invest in Education - Knowledge is Power, which is why they keep cutting funds to education - we are more easily controlled if we are dumb - I believe things will change for the better if enough people care and I am pleased with the response! Thank you my Friend!! oxoxoxox

Thom Hartmann: Don't mess with working people...

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The backlash is underway against Republican Governors who attacked labor unions this year. Next month - voters in Ohio will get a chance to repeal SB-5 - the law pushed by Governor John Kasich to strip collective bargaining rights from public workers.
According to a new Quinnipiac poll - SB-5 is in big trouble with 57% of voters supporting repeal - and only 32% against it. But Governor John Kasich has it easy. While his signature legislation may suffer defeat next month - at least he'll still get to keep his job.
The same can't be said about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who passed similar legislation - and will likely face a recall election next year as a result. Don't mess with working people.
(Is the tide turning against all anti-collective bargaining governors? Tell us here.)

Randi Rhodes: Tex-Ass Warfare

Rick Perry has come out with a plan for flat-tax, to help out his flat-lining campaign. When it was pointed out to him that his tax plan would give millions of dollars to millionaires, Perry said “But I don’t care about that.” It would be bad if Perry really didn’t care. But the truth is worse—that’s what the plan is supposed to do.

Republicans are still refusing to give President Obama credit for ending the Iraq War. It takes a lot of gall to criticize someone for how they fixed your own mistake. Maybe that’s why the Republicans who pushed us into the Iraq War in the first place are so touchy about it. It’s like throwing up all over yourself—you’re too embarrassed to truly be thankful to the person who cleans up the mess.

Herman Cain has released an utterly bizarre campaign ad. Of course, the point of any Herman Cain campaign ad is that Herman Cain should be president, which is utterly bizarre right off the bat. The ad starts off with some creepy guy with a mustache saying “Mark Block here,” like we’re supposed to know him… kind of like “Hey, it’s Vince, from Shamwow!” Block goes on to explain that he’s the “Chief of Staff for Herman Cain and CEO of Friends of Herman Cain,” which has to be the least impressive title since “CEO of Godfather’s Pizza.” The best part is that, at the end of his little speech, Mark Block takes a drag off of a cigarette and looks right at the camera as he exhales a cancer cloud. I’m supposed to listen to Mark Block’s ideas about who should be president? Look, I’m a smoker, but nothing quite screams “bad decision” more than lighting up a cigarette. At least most smokers do not get lung cancer, but if Herman is president, we’re all screwed. Cain should come with a warning from the Surgeon General. “Warning: Herman Cain could be hazardous for your health. And he’s definitely bad for your healthcare.” The worst part of this cigarette-smoking Herman Cain ad is that, if it works, you know Mitt Romney is going to come out with a campaign ad where he pops in a big plug of chewing tobacco.

Glenn Beck said that this weekend while he was out on the streets of Manhattan near an Occupy Wall Street protest “a couple of guys” behind him were talking about “quote, shooting Benjamin Netanyahu in the f-ing head.” Gee, why do I never get to overhear that kind of wild stuff? I guess because I’m not Glenn Beck. Somehow Glenn Beck manages to overhear things that confirm his most basic delusions. Here’s some advice, Glenn—next time you hear people talking like that, make sure the voices aren’t coming from inside your head.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

When even Pat Robertson is getting freaked out by the GOP base, you know we’ve hit a new bottom in American politics...

Occupiers Dance Carefully With Police, Homeless in Long Beach, CA

Occupy protestors in Long Beach, California spend a late night in October with Uno and banter. Credit: Quinn Norton/Wired

LONG BEACH, Calif. — At 10 p.m. every night, the Long Beach occupation moves off the lawn of Lincoln Park, packs up their infrastructure (they aren’t allowed to have tents), and moves onto the sidewalk to sleep for the night. At 6:00 a.m., the police return to the park in the center of the city, wake them up and herd the protesters back on to the lawn before the morning’s foot traffic arrives along the downtown street.

There are often several people who stay up through the night, usually talking about the movement to protest an economy that’s increasingly left the mainstream behind. One person who’s there, up, every night, is Nate. He’s a peacekeeper, and looks after the crowd, sleeping about four hours a day. He’s a skater, easy-going, Irish and proud of it.

He’s also a vet, and he’s written “Occupy the World” on the bottom of his skateboard.

“Hello!” he said brightly, into my recorder. “I’m currently an unemployed and unhoused vet, 21 years old, and I’m occupying Long Beach here at Lincoln Park.”

“Every night I will stay up and make sure that nobody takes any of the stuff from any of the occupiers that happen to be here, whether they’re just occupying for the night or staying for the long haul,” Nate said. “Make sure everyone gets their water, make sure everyone is taken care of, make sure there’s nothing sketchy. Just the general safety of the area. I want to create a sense of peace here.”

Nate, who declined to give his last name, explains how he de-escalates conflicts, mainly with the homeless; secures the area; talks to the occupiers and sometimes hands out blankets.

While he stands at less than five-and-a-half feet tall, he has a soldier’s physique and a physical and psychological confidence that makes the place feel safe.

While being part of a movement might sound exciting, in practice, occupations are often boring.

Last Thursday, a night I spent in the encampment, eight occupiers, all in their early 20s, gathered around a folding table pulled from under the tarp protecting the occupation’s belongings. They played Uno until dawn.

They talked and laughed, and look like nothing so much as a bunch of friends staying up too late in a dormitory common room.

The landscape of each occupation is defined by careful negotiations between that city’s occupiers and the police — sometimes day-by-day, sometimes by the hour. The police represent many things: local customs, their own law enforcement culture, the laws of the municipality and the attitudes of the municipality’s leaders at any given time. Most occupations are tense, and many are under constant threat of eviction, and the tension wears down the occupiers.

Jonah Quest, 17, chose to get arrested in OccupyLB’s only act of civil disobedience thus far. Quest is a clean-cut kid with tired eyes, decked out in a red cable-knit sweater pulled over a smudged collared shirt with one white collar sticking out.

“It’s been difficult,” he said. “I’ve been juggling school and my mom, but I’ve been working it.”

How did his parents feel about him being arrested? “They weren’t too keen on it at first, but they’re okay with it now,” Quest said.

He goes on to talk about education reform, Kant and the categorical imperative, and Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers. He doesn’t speak about his specific needs and fears, but about morality of the system.

“A lot of people can’t find jobs,” Quest said. “A lot of people have found their jobs taken away by unemployed 40 year olds.”

At night at Lincoln Park, I’m surrounded by the quiet chatter of a sidewalk crowd of about 50 people. The street is bathed in the warm municipal street lamp light; but the crowd is drowned in much harsher floodlights.

Three industrial flood lamps, two diesel-powered and one solar-powered, have been trained on Long Beach’s occupation. The occupiers told me the police said it’s for safety. But Tammara Phillips, 44, one of the occupation’s police liaisons, says Deputy Chief Lune went further in a meeting with city staff, telling them the lights were there to make recording the occupiers easier.

The occupation has quickly become familiar with the creature the city becomes at night.

Part of local homeless population slept in Lincoln Park before the occupation showed up, and some of them have joined the movement. Others sleep next to the protest, and the problems of the chronically homeless sometimes spill over into the lives of the occupiers. The untreated mentally ill yell a lot, and even push people occasionally. One of the homeless men, who has joined the occupation, thinks of the occupiers as “playing homeless” and worries about police later retaliating against the homeless who joined the group, if and when the occupation leaves.

The night had its other characters as well; three slouching men with suspicious eyes who several occupiers believed to be drug dealers showed up, followed quickly by police no one seemed to have called. The men mixed in, but not well, with the occupiers. They darted like lithe predators, but the police boxed them up, pushing deeper in the closed park. The police had a bored and bland hostility to the new arrivals, as if they were familiar with them, or at least familiar with their type. The police cleared them out, and left again.

Most of the occupiers, even the ones without a home, don’t face the same problems the chronically homeless do, but under local ordinance, they are treated very much like them. Many occupiers would tell me over the course of the evening that Long Beach has “made homelessness de facto illegal,” in exactly those words.

“We’ve gotten a real eye-opener about how the homeless in our community are treated,” Phillips said.

Even in Southern California, there’s a struggle to keep warm at night. There’s talk of winter here, and at every occupation I’ve visited. No one is sure how to keep this going through even the California winter, much less the Eastern winter everyone knows is headed for the heart of the occupation in New York City. Many occupiers fear the weather will cause the movement to fade as people head for inside warmth, but each of them talk of ways to stay.

The occupiers struggle to sleep. They struggle with morale. They struggle with the health and mental wellness of a growing homeless population that sees them as a resource, and while the homeless support the encampment, they weigh heavily on its resources as well.

But if OccupyLB survives, it will probably be on the back of Nate.

Nate talked about serving in Afghanistan twice, after getting on the plane to basic training on his 17th birthday. He’s proud of being a soldier, and what he learned in the Army, but still he darkened when he talked about his service:

For me (the occupation is) about helping my brothers and sisters … The government lied to me when it told me that’s what I’d be doing over there (in Afghanistan). Instead I was just killing people in their homes, and taking their land from them like was done here so many years ago, happening yet again.

I was only 17, I was very naive and I bought the recruiting speech, hook, line, and sinker. It’s really not so cut and dry, and they use this grand illusion of patriotism and glory to lure young men into the service to do their duty, when really it’s just a privatized militarized force going and colonizing other people’s lands and killing the civilians there.

If the occupation survives the winter, it will be down to people like Nate, veterans and other survivors who have trained or otherwise acquired the skills to endure conditions which most can’t or won’t. Fortunately for the occupation, there are a lot of unemployed vets in America.

Images: Quinn Norton/

This post is part of a special series from Quinn Norton, who is embedding with Occupy protestors and going beyond the headlines with Anonymous for For an introduction to the series, read Quinn’s description of the project.


Introducing The Free Network Foundation

Who We Are
  • We are an organization committed to the tenets of free information, free culture, and free society.
  • We hold that advances in information technology provide humanity with the ability to effectively face global challenges.
  • We contend that our very ability to mobilize, organize, and bring about change depends on our ability to communicate.
  • We see that our ability to communicate is purchased from a handful of powerful entities.
  • We know that we cannot depend on these entities to support movement away from a status quo from which they are the beneficiaries.
  • We believe that access to a free network is a human right, and a necessary tool for environmental and social justice.
What We're Doing
  • We envision communications infrastructure that is owned and operated cooperatively, by the whole of humanity, rather than by corporations and states.
  • We are using the power of peer-to-peer technologies to create a global network which is immune to censorship and resistant to breakdown.
  • We promote freedoms, support innovations and advocate technologies that enhance and enable digital self-determination.
How To Help
  1. Tell your friends. We refuse to use unfree forms of social media, and so it is of critical importance that you spread the word. Many of us are working hard to bring about open alternatives to Facebook and Twitter, but in the mean time, you can use them to help the FNF by posting a link to our site.
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Stay In Iraq

Michele Bachmann essentially admitted that Libya’s Colonel Gadhafi would still be in power if she was president. Of course, if Michele Bachmann was president, Colonel Gadhafi would be the least of our problems. According to Bachmann, the US got “kicked out” of Iraq. Michele, I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but most of us here wanted to get the hell out of there. Bachmann said “we’re being kicked out by the very people that we liberated.” We liberated them! How dare they make their own decisions! Hey, once we liberate you, you have to do as we say. It seems Michele thinks that once you make a terrible mistake, you should just stick with it... kind of like her marriage to Marcus. Sorry, Michele. Iraq was a mistake, and we’re getting out of it. It’s your prerogative if you want to spend the rest of your life with a man who a man who secretly wants to spend the rest of his life with Ricky Martin.

Conservatives seem to think the country of Iraq is our personal property. I think they took the admonition that “If you break it, you own it” a little bit too literally. Maybe these Republican critics would be happier if President Obama made his announcement while wearing a codpiece.

Police forces all over America are facing allegations of abuse of power. But when the police are abusing power, they’re not abusing their own power. They’re abusing the power of the rich... for the rich. If the police ever realize that they don’t have any real power, maybe they’d join the 99 percent.

Rick Perry goes birther! When asked if he thought Obama was born in the US, Rick Perry said “Well, I don’t have a definitive answer, because he’s never seen my birth certificate.” What? The sad thing is, Perry would have looked better if the interview stopped right there. When asked again—somewhat more slowly—Rick said “I don’t know. I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night.” Wow. He makes that sound like an excuse for being confused, like “I don’t know, I’ve been drinking all morning.” Poor Rick Perry! It’s true—if you go into a dinner with Donald Trump stupid, you can only come out even dumber.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Thom Hartmann: Why OSW Is The Next Republican Boogeyman

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The Boogeyman is dead, and Santa is dying.
The Republicans have been, since the 1930s, the party of the Boogeyman. They led the fear-based crusades against Communists, first with the Blacklist, then Joe McCarthy's hearings, then the twin fears of Communist Mao and the Communist USSR. With the death of the Soviet Union, and the corporate embrace of still-Communist China, 9/11 let them turn their fears to "radical Islam."
But when President Obama killed Bin Laden, it took the steam out of their movement. And to make matters worse, Obama had earlier gone to Egypt and said, in essence, "Tear down these dictators!" - helping spark the Arab Spring and totally deflating the Republican fear machine, which now sputters along on the fringes trembling about Bachmann's gays, Santorum's fertilized eggs, and Perry's immigrants. The likelihood of Mormon Romney's presidential candidacy means they can't even add "God" to their traditional "Gays, Guns, and God" trinity of GOP fears.
Read more here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Haters Hating

It's Friday, ya bastids!

The rightwing media doesn’t want to give President Obama credit for having gotten rid of Gadhafi. But then the rightwing media doesn’t want to give Obama credit for being a US citizen. According to Marco Rubio, Obama “took too long to do it and didn’t do enough of it.” Well, I guess Muammar Gadhafi isn’t dead enough for Marco Rubio. Obama took too long? Gadhafi had been in power since 1969, when Obama was 8 years old. In all, Republican Presidents spent 28 years dilly-dallying about Muammar Gadhafi before it took Barack Obama under 3 years to get him.

In 2008, George Bush became the only American president to ever have a friendly phone chat with Colonel Gadhafi. The man was a dictator who kept his own people down. And Gadhafi was even worse! Bush was cozying up to Gadhafi after Gadhafi agreed to pay $1.5 billion to a fund for victims of the Lockerbie bombing, which he was responsible for. Hey, if you want a nice phone call from George Bush, just write a check. It doesn’t matter if you’re a donor or a dictator. George Bush established a dialogue with Gadhafi. Barack Obama just got the last word.

Mitt Romney said it was “about time” that Gadhafi was eliminated. Yes, I’m sure that if Mitt had been president, he would have gotten rid of Gadhafi with a leveraged buy-out followed by a massive layoff.

Rush Limbaugh claimed that the media was “orgasming” over the death of Gadhafi. And that is hopefully the only time you will hear “Rush Limbaugh” and “orgasming” in the same sentence. (It’s actually one of the few times you will hear the word “orgasming,” which I do not believe is an actual word.) To prove his point about “orgasming,” Rush played some clips and did some heavy breathing over them. At least I think that was what he was doing. Anyone as fat as Rush tends to do heavy breathing a lot. The man is so fat that I think he gets winded from breathing.

Muammar Gadhafi was definitely one of the world’s more colorful tyrants. He was to dictators what Herman Cain is to GOP candidates—kind of fun to watch, until you thought about the real-world impact of their crazy ideas.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

As promised, President Obama reaffirmed today that all the troops still in Iraq will be home for the holidays...

Thom Hartmann: Filibustered...It's a dangerous, and heartless political game

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Filibustered. Last night - Republicans proved they'd rather protect billionaires from a one-half of one percent tax increase rather than keep 400,000 teachers, firefighters, and cops on the job. Despite once again acquiring enough votes to pass a portion of President Obama's American Jobs Act under normal procedure - the legislation fell short of receiving the 60 votes needed to overcome a unified Republican filibuster. A handful of "Conserva-Dems" - including Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman - also sided with Millionaires in the vote, but the Democrats still had a majority.
After his bill was blocked - President Obama slammed Republicans, saying, "For the second time in two weeks, every single Republican in the United States Senate has chosen to obstruct a bill that would create jobs and get our economy going again...Every American deserves an explanation as to why Republicans do what's necessary to create jobs." The explanation is fairly clear though - they're trying to crash the economy. Yesterday - it was discovered that a Tea Party Nation activist wrote to members begging them NOT to hire anybody until President Obama is out of office. And then there's what Moody's said about the Congressional Republicans own job creation plan - that it will "likely push the economy back into recession."
The writing is all over the wall - Republicans are playing politics with the economic well being of all of us - hoping that if we all lose our jobs, our homes, our pensions, our healthcare, our livelihoods - then they might win the White House in 2012.
It's a dangerous, and heartless political game.
(When do you think enough Republicans will wake up to the harm their party leaders are doing to all but the richest? Tell us here.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupy Long Beach presents Mayor Bob Foster with a We are the 99% t-shirt

Heather from Occupy Long Beach on the Kevin & Bean Radio Show

Heather on Kevin & Bean discussing OLB by occupylb
Not to happy with the Disrespect, Mocking, Talking Over and Ill Informed way they Handled this Interview - But it was Press - So I guess it is a Good Thing.

Randi Rhodes: Pity the Banks

Herman Cain has a plan to help Americans who are facing foreclosure! He said he “would get the government off the backs of the banks.” Brilliant! You know what might work even better, Herman? An electrified fence. Seriously. Just let the banks wait until you have to step out for a minute, and they can throw up an electrified fence around your home so you can’t return. “Get the government off the back of the banks!” Herman! You were asked how you would help people who are facing foreclosure, not how you would help people who are doing the foreclosing. Herman Cain would stop foreclosures by letting banks do whatever they want to. How would he stop terrorism—by allowing the terrorists to do whatever they want to? According to Herman Cain’s logic the way to secure our border would be to remove all restrictions for crossing the border.

Then Cain said this about the banks: “They want to help people, they really do.” But they can’t because of “the threat of government regulations.” Then Cain added (this is real) that “Some of it is the threat of the whole Obamacare thing.” OK. To summarize—the reason that the banks can’t create a heaven on Earth for us is affordable healthcare. The banks would never foreclose on anyone’s home, if only health insurance companies were allowed to deny coverage due to preexisting conditions. Got that? How does Herman Cain know all this? He said “I’ve had bankers tell me this.” Oh! Now everything is really starting to make sense. Herman! On the list of people to believe, bankers come in near the bottom, below used car salesmen, strippers, carnival barkers, amphetamine addicts, late night infomercial spokesmen, Balloon Boy’s dad, and Nigerian princes.

FYI, Herman, banks make more money from foreclosures than they do by modifying a mortgage—they won’t modify your mortgage because it doesn’t pay. Incidentally, that’s the same reason a banker won’t pee on you if you’re on fire.

Finally, Moammer Gadhafi is dead—before we even were able to agree on a spelling for his name. The news of Gadhafi’s death just broke earlier today. I’m counting how long it takes for conservatives to give the credit to waterboarding.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Mitt Romney shared his foreclosure "solution" earlier this week: help the banks throw you out onto the street even faster...

Thom Hartmann: We're in the Midst of a Global Lost Generation

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Young people have been hit hardest by Bush's banksters' worldwide crash - with more than 75 million young people across the planet desperately looking for jobs. The number of unemployed people between the ages of 15 and 24 has increased by 4.6 million since the recession began in 2008. And the effects of this massive hit of joblessness among young people are on clear display in some of the most developed economies in the world in Europe and the United States. For example, in July of this year - what is normally the peak of youth summer employment - only 49% of young people were employed - the lowest rate ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
These young people are the future leaders of our nation - and as we're seeing with the riots in Greece and the U.K. - and the Occupy Wall Street movement growing here at home - young people are tired of seeing their future ruined by a continuation of 30 years of Reaganomics.
After all - what choice do they have? Live on the streets - or take to the streets. A great transformation is underway around the planet.
(What choice do they have? Tell us here.)

Occupy LBC Sound Cloud updated

The Occupy LB Sound Cloud ( has been updated as well as the interview with Ryan and Jonathan from Occupy LB is up in the interviews archive section at DanoradiO (
and once again the official Occupy Long Beach Ustream ( and Livestream ( were created.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Claws Out, Heads Empty

Wow! The GOP candidates really mixed it up last night. For once, they were mixing up more than the facts. It was Perry on Romney, Santorum on Romney, Paul on Cain... it was everybody on everything, except of course for the man-on-dog sex that so frightens Rick Santorum.

I think the other candidates realize that if they don’t do something about Mitt Romney, he’s really going to happen. Rick Perry, who had been asleep most of the last two debates, woke up suddenly and started swinging like a surly passed-out drunk who’s been rousted by the cops. Perry accused Mitt Romney of having hired a company that used illegal immigrants to do his yard work. Rick Perry obviously has no problems that any illegal immigrants were doing his yard work—after all these droughts, all the grass in Texas is dead.

Meanwhile, the other candidates are going after Herman Cain because now they view him as a serious threat. The fact that somebody like Herman Cain could be a serious threat is itself a serious threat to the Republican Party.

These Republican crowds have a habit of cheering all the worst possible things. Remind me never to watch “Schindler’s List” with a Republican audience. This debate the inappropriate applause moment came for Herman Cain defending his statements defending Wall Street and blaming the unemployed for their lot in life. Cain said that the Wall Street protesters are “directing their anger at the wrong place.” And he is talking to a crowd of schmucks who just cheered Wall Street. Brilliant.

For her “Michele Bachmann Moment,” Michele Bachmann attacked President Obama’s foreign policy by saying “he put us in Libya. He is now putting us in Africa.” Ahem. Libya is in Africa... for those of you who are Michele Bachmann. Repeat after me, Michele—“Libya is in Africa. The battle of Concord was in Massachusetts.” Wait. Maybe you shouldn’t say those together like that, or you’ll start thinking the Battle of Libya was in Massachusetts.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Occupy Wall Street protesters occupied CNN's Erin Burnett & Co. with chants of "Banks got bailed out! We got sold out!" last night before the debate...

Thom Hartmann: No Republican debate is complete anymore without the crowd booing the downtrodden

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Republicans fought it out last night in a CNN hosted debate in Las Vegas. Before the debate - about 100 Occupy Las Vegas demonstrators surrounded the Sands Expo Center where the debate was being held to protest corporate corruption in our politics. But their message didn't make it inside the debate - where all the candidates on stage battled each other to see who supports the 1% the most. It was a lot of the same - a debate over who will cut taxes more for the wealthy and for corporations - who will cut more regulations that keep our air, water, and food safe - and who would repeal Obamacare first.
Some of the most heated exchanges of any debate so far took place between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry over illegal immigration and whether or not Romney hired illegal immigrants for yard work at his home. And of course - no Republican debate is complete anymore without the Conservative crowd stepping in to boo the downtrodden and discriminated. That happened when Herman Cain - referring to the Occupy Wall Street movement - again said unemployed people should blame themselves for not having a job - leading the audience to cheer wildly. I hope the million people who applied for a job at McDonalds earlier this year - when there were only 60,000 positions - were listening to Herman Cain tell them it was their own fault they're out of work. There are five unemployed people for every one job opening in America today.
So - no matter how much Republicans insist it is - it's not the fault of the jobless that big corporations moved their jobs overseas - it's the politicians who've pushed Reaganomics and so-called Free Trade over the last 30 years - and sabotaged economic stimulus over the last 3 years. And many of those politicians were on the stage in last night's Republican debate.
(Who do you think won the debate? Tell us here.)