Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tahrir - Freedom


Tahrir Square
Emad Hajjaj, Cagle Cartoons, Jordan

While Egyptians voted this week in the first free elections in their country, for members of parliament that will be responsible for writing a new constitution, protests continue in Tahrir Square in Cairo and in Alexandria and Giza against the military council that has been running the country since the fall of US backed dictator Hosnai Mubarak earlier this year. The council, made up of top members of the Mubarak regime, is simply a continuation of the Mubarak regime without Mubarak and has been maneuvering to retain its power and privileges even after the adoption of the new constitution. Under the council rule, more than 12,000 civilians have been tried and convicted in military trials on charges associated with protesting.

Meanwhile the US Senate Wednesday approved a military budget that contains provisions slipped into it without public hearings being held on them that would give the US military vast new powers to detain indefinitely anyone, anywhere. Under the new provisions, US citizens could be snatched off the street in the US and held forever without any proof being offered for their guilt and without their case ever being reviewed by any judge or court of law.

This comes not long after President Obama began using new powers granted to him that allow him to order the assassination of US citizens "suspected of terrorism," evidence for which likewise is secret and not subject to judicial review or oversight. Both measures are ostensibly intended to be weapons in the war on terror, under which the US has entered into what is looking more and more to be a state of permanent war, against an ill defined enemy.

Whether there even is an enemy is doubtful. Most of the highly publicized arrests of so-called terrorists in the US since 9/11 have turned out to be cases of the entrapment of impressionable young Muslims by the FBI or other law enforcement agencies, or of unbalanced men acting alone. Al Quaeda, the group once headed by the late Osama bin Laden, that was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade, no longer exists as a viable entity, our intelligence services say.

Both measures also coincide with the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Anonymous Strikes Again:
Infamous pepper-spraying UC-Davis cop John Pike outed

Those Internet Lone Rangers, Anonymous, have released the home address, home phone and email address of Lt John Pike, who causally pepper sprayed seated, non violent, non threatening protesters last weekend. Calling it a warning to police in general, who have been guilty of using violence against Occupy Wall Street protesters as a matter of course, and calling Pike a coward, a bully, a tool of the corrupt and the puppet of his masters, they recommend the nation order pizza in Pike's name, send him junk mail, and give him a call to let him know how you feel about the matter.

Saturn 5 rocket with 1-ton Mars rover payload taking off 11/26/11

Albuquerque driver late for work


Saturday, November 26, 2011

"When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw."

Nelson Mandela from Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

The outlaw hacker group Anonymous, those modern day Robin Hoods of the internet who have taken down the web sites of governments, intelligence services and multi national corporations who use their power to commit outrageous injustices against the 99 percent and have outed agents of the 1 percent by posting their personal information for everyone to see, use that quote by Nelson Mandela in their latest video.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Occupy Clear Channel is a platinum mine of music, movies, videos, texts, lectures, podcasts and et cetera, available for free download on the internet. Yes, free download. I don't even know what all is there yet because I've been busy downloading classic rock and roll tunes, most of which I have never even heard before.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Behemoth Staggers Ahead Blindly

(Updated in paragraph 5)

Facebook is simply exploding right now with new Occupy Wall Street groups here and abroad and with support for them, owing to the blundering and violent attempts by the power establishment to put the movement down, attempts which have been perfectly, if unwittingly timed to ensure that the movement's momentum is maintained.

The latest incident is the pepper spraying of seated protesters at the University of California-Davis, which is the Sacramento branch of the UC system. The incident was recorded by many people, and from all different angles. The protesters are so obviously non violent and non threatening that it is almost impossible to portray the pepper spraying as anything but gratuitous.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

In The Face Of Oppression, The Occupy Movement Grows

As expected, the Obama-administration coordinated evictions at Occupy Wall Street encampments around the country earlier this week did nothing but make the movement grow larger.

Screen grab from CNN at

The most obvious sign of this was the massive attendance at "National Day of Action" events in every part of the country on Thursday, the day after the evictions.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

 Barak Obama Versus the People

(Updated below)

"I was recently on a conference call of 18 cities across the country who had the same situation...," Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who was one of many mayors who ordered police to attack Occupy Oakland protesters earlier this week, said in a BBC interview. (Click on the link and scroll down for the transcript.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fear Strikes The Heart Of The Ruling Class:
Wall Street Lashes Out With Violence


The top story in the world right now is this morning's violent eviction of the original Occupy Wall Street protesters from their home park in New York City.

It's the top story, but only half the story.

The other half has to do with the choice New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was faced with. After last Tuesday's stunning series of election setbacks for the ruling class agenda brought home to the ruling class the fact that the conversation has shifted in the United States, that the general population is galvanizing around the beliefs that led to the Occupy movement, Blooomberg could have let the encampment continue, and watched helplessly as the movement steadily gained momentum and continued to raise the political consciousness of working class people in the United States and around the world.

Or he could have done what he did, unleash Capitalism's coercive arm, the police, and watch helplessly as this latest round of state violence, like the others, causes the movement to gain more support and undergo another big spurt of growth.

Encampments in Oakland, Portland, Seattle, Berkeley, CA, and in several other places have been similarly attacked by police over the past few days and violently shut down. In each case, the local Occupy members reacted by immediately holding general assembly meetings and proceeding as if nothing had happened. In New York, where the story was slow to emerge because police kept reporters as far away from the camp as possible while they attacked it and arrested and beat those reporters who tried to cover the attack, two general assembly meetings were already scheduled before the news of the eviction really got out.

Later in the evening, after a judge refused to intervene on the protester's behalf, people began to re-take the park, albeit without the tents and sleeping bags, the media center, the personal computers, the 5,000 books that had been donated to the group's library, or their personal belongings all of which had been destroyed or confiscated by police during the attack.

Expect more such confrontations. Expect more police violence, especially since President Obama this evening through his spokesman gave the green light for cities to use violence against Occupy protesters as they see fit. The ruling class is in panic mode. You'd be, too, if the flames were rising around you.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

We Are The Many - Aloha

 Makana, the young Hawai'in slack key guitar aficionado, took the opportunity of an appearance before the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) conference being held in Hawai'i and attended by President Obama and other world leaders to play his new Occupy protest song "We Are The Many." The White House has not commented.

If you are fond of Hawai'in slack key guitar music or just great guitar playing you can see and hear some of Makana, performing traditional Hawai'in songs and more current rock songs, if you go to and search for his name, Makana.

Slack key refers to a way of tuning the guitar. Legend has it that Mexican cowboys brought the guitar to Hawai'i, taught them to play, and then left the Hawai'ins to devlop their own style. That is the story told by slack key guitarists, although Wikipedia says the real story is "more complicated." Although there have been many great Hawai'in slack key guitar players, the most well known is probably Gabby Pahinui, who was the first to be recorded and who died in 1980.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Goodbye, Smokin' Joe

 I've always had ambivalent feelings about boxing. It's violence, pure and simple. But maybe partly because of that, I have always been fascinated by it, too. I followed boxing at one time, and Joe Frazier was one reason I did, and the news that Joe Frazier has died is sad news, to me.

Around the time I graduated high school, 1971, and for a few years after that, four of the best heavyweight fighters of all time were active. Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and George Foreman, and they all just kept fighting each other.

Some of those fights were televised but most were broadcast only over what they called "closed circuit" TV. I attended some of those closed circuit fights. I had to drive 45 miles from my home town of New Buffalo, MI, to South Bend, IN. The fights were shown on a movie screen at he old art deco theater, the Morris Auditorium.

It was nominally no smoking, but as soon as the lights went down the place filled up with cigar smoke. When the fight began there was as much excitement and hollering and jumping up and yelling as if you were at a live event.

That's how I remember Joe Frazier, in the middle of all that excitement, as a participant in some of the greatest fights of all time, during what I think is the greatest era in boxing of all time. Joe Frazier didn't have the athletic ability of Ali or the reach of Norton or the strength of Foreman. He just kept coming at you, head down, punching. He was quiet and steadfast and determined, in the ring and out of it. Rest in peace, Smokin' Joe.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Earth Moves in Oklahoma

The 5.6 magnitude earthquake that surprised Oklahoma yesterday and the aftershocks that continue today have elicited many news stories quick to point out that the quake happened over a fault. None of the coverage has acknowledged that the hydraulic fracturing method of oil and gas mining, or fracking, now being used in Oklahoma, has been causing hundreds of smaller earthquakes in Oklahoma.
Free Gaza Flotilla Attacked by Israel

 111106 Update: Ma'an News Agency of Palestine reports that the 21 imprisoned flotilla members are refusing to sign statements admitting to entering Israel voluntarily and illegally in return for their immediate release and deportation. (The 21 were taken to Israel by force after Israel Defense Forces stopped their two boats.) As a consequence of not signing the statements, the imprisoned activists will remain in Israeli custody for at least 72 hours until a deportation judge reviews their cases, Ma'an reports.

With the news media focused on a worldwide economic crisis, Herman Cain's sexual harassments, and the Occupy Wall Street movement, it was little noticed when another "Freedom Flotilla" of Palestinian activists and supporters attempted to break the siege of Gaza over the weekend, and like those that went before it was intercepted by the Israeli Armed forces well outside Israeli National Waters. Its members were severely beaten and taken to an Israeli prison, where their condition and fate remain unknown.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Occupy Wall Street, contd

Anonymity and the Common Good

Like the small trickles of water from melting snow that become small streams that become creeks and rivers that become one big river, people of all kinds, with all kinds of viewpoints, are joining the Occupy Wall Street movement.