Sunday, February 26, 2012

Obama Odds On

President Obama has a 60.5 percent chance of being reelected, according to people willing to bet on it at the web site Mitt Romney is at 30.5 percent. He has a 79.7 percent chance of wining the Republican nomination.

Susana Martinez is fifth in line to be the Republican vice presidential nominee, with a 6.5 percent chance. The odds on favorite is Floridian Marco Rubio, at 24 percent, but America's first Latina governor is the top woman and her chances are well above those of many more well known figures like Newt Gingrich (1.4) Jeb Bush (1.4) Sarah Palin (.2) and Michelle Bachmann (.2).

Intrade works by people buying and selling yes or no shares, shares of whether or not certain events will happen. Many things are up for bid besides the presidential election: primaries, the stock market closing above 12,000 for the year, who will win the academy award for best actor and actress, etc. After the event, a "correct" share is worth $10, an "incorrect" share worth $0.00. Shares for Obama winning are now selling at $6.09, so if you bought now you'd either lose $6.09 per share or win $3.91.  

I'm looking through the web site now to see if I can bet on whether Jim Baca misses any tee times this year because he fell asleep in the hot tub. Not likely, but you never know. What a payday that would be.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Islamophobia Comes To Albuquerque

Nonie Darwish is one of a small group of Arabs who have learned you can make a living by badmouthing Islam to rabid supporters of Israel. It was her talk that was interrupted last night in Albuquerque by Occupy Wall Street members.

Nonie is pretty well known to people who follow Palestine. She has been repeatedly called out for the eccentric and false claims she makes about things like Islam wanting to take over the world and institute sharia law, but to people who only want their prejudices reinforced, and to people who want the Palestinians to disappear from their homeland, the truth doesn't matter.

The more people like her can stir up fear against Muslims, the more money they make. She is a favored speaker before groups who have been labeled hate groups, which about says it all.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Do Do Do

Announcing The Win A Free Tattoo Contest!

Contest Rules:

Answer the following questions.

1. Should presidential candidates be required to show their tattoos?
2. If Rick Santorum got a tattoo, who would his wife marry?
3. Would I put this picture up if I had a tattoo?

The first person to answer all three questions wins a free tattoo. Contest open to anyone who doesn't already have a tattoo. Winner must submit to having their picture taken with their new tattoo. Picture automatically becomes my property and will be posted here. Contest judge (me) decides what kind of tattoo and where it goes.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

It Seems I'm Not The Only One Who Thinks So

Actually, there is much, much displeasure, even disgust being expressed about Democrats, and not only in Leftist media. Congress has a 10 percent approval rating, meaning that we the people, the 99 percent, know we are not represented by Democrats in government, and that while Democrats pay occasional lip service to working class interests, most of it during election seasons, both parties have willingly abetted a system that has resulted in permanently high unemployment, decimated unions, declining living standards, massive foreclosures and tremendous inequality. A system where the rich openly and blatantly loot the government and we are left with the debt.

You may say, 'Yes, but...'  But the Supreme Court. But the alternative.

But the numbers do not lie.

Disgust with Democrats is one of the impetuses behind the growth of the Occupy Movement, which is heavily influenced by a vein of thinking in the Left and in unions like the old IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, that significant change can only be brought about by working outside the system, by confronting the system on your own terms, by changing the political and economic climate within which the system must operate, the system being the nexus of banks and finance and government, which includes the police, military and prison systems, which we have nominal input into but which as everyone now realizes are controlled by the wealthy. Recall how nothing happened within the system concerning civil rights or the Vietnam War until massive protest outside the system brought about a shift in public opinion. Government -- congress, the president and the courts -- had no choice but to follow.

Likewise, the general strike, a massive walkout that shuts down an entire city or region, has forced the hand of the economic powers that be, as in Oakland in 1946 and San Francisco in 1934.

The three images posted here were grabbed in the past few minutes from Facebook pages of groups that are part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. There's an edgy tone to the discussion today. People are off work, catching up on their reading, and are posting the articles and images that cause them the most anger and indignation. On other days you'll see a lot of discussion about what to do, about organizing, about actions being planned, but today the overall tone of the posts is 'This is why we're so God Damn mad.'

The Occupy movement has gone nowhere. It was evicted from most of its encampments but now occupies the internet. My sense is that Occupy related web traffic is doubling about once a month. The government -- i.e., the FBI, Homeland Security, etc., i.e., the Obama Administration -- if not all of the congress, well knows this. That's why we're seeing Democrats sponsoring internet censorship bills, Democrats voting for and the president signing a law that allows the arrest and detention of US citizens without warrant, why Democrats vote every year to extend the Patriot Act. That's why Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman wants an "internet kill switch." That's why the Obama administration organized the almost simultaneous evictions of the Occupy encampments and why it is militarizing and training local police forces.

As people read and comment on Facebook today, the indignation and anger spreads. As I say, more and more people are participating in these discussions. Things may well reach a critical mass, resulting in millions of people in the streets, too many for the government to subdue.

 The government, which no one can deny represents the interests of the ruling class, the rich, will try to keep the upper hand, and make no mistake about whose side the police are on. Except more violence from them and more draconian laws.

Meanwhile, the capabilities of Anonymous, the Robin Hoods of the internet, which wholeheartedly supports the Occupy Movement, seem to be increasing, too. Much too rapidly for the government to keep up with. According to a Wired magazine interview with an Anonymous member, the group has already infiltrated "dozens" of web sites of government agencies and corporations, without their knowledge, and is just biding its time. Anonymous not only puts web sites out of commission with the relatively simple technique of flooding the site with traffic, but can infiltrate secure sites and access passwords and personal information, all of which, the articles points out, gives Anonymous increasingly more access.

This past week Anonymous shut down Combined Systems, the company that makes much of the tear gas bought with our money being used on demonstrators from New York to Cairo, and several Federal Trade Commission web sites, and now plans a major action once a week, on Friday. Expect it.


Friday, February 17, 2012

 I Almost Bought A TV Today


Basketball phenomenon Jeremy Lin - photo by Liz Rhoades-Queens Chronicle


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One Afternoon In Fortaleza

It's you! Isn't it? My God! It is you. It really is. My God. And so how are you? You remember me, don't you? Aha, yes you do. I can tell. You still have that smile. You do remember me. That pleases me. It pleases me immensely.

 Let me get you something. I'm just here to have breakfast. I'm working. I only have an hour. You'll have to let me know how to get in touch with you. My goodness. You look the same. No, it's true. You do. I'm a truck driver. Yes, you make your choices and live with them. I saw the world, now I'm seeing my own country. I had my dessert first.

This is incredible! I've thought about you so many times. I can still remember you sitting on the red and black painted sidewalk in front of your little shop. The people of Fortaleza wait every afternoon for the sea breeze, don't they? When it makes its way up through the streets, carrying the smells of cooking and of the sea, the sounds of crying, of music and laughter and the arguing of birds and of merchants on the docks, Fortaleza comes to life again, and in those days, anyway, didn't rest until close to morning when the last dance was danced.

But yes, on that afternoon, the city was still waiting and I was making my way up through the narrow streets, and I was halfway up the hillside and came upon your little store, with it's painted walls, painted windows, painted door and roof. You had painted not only the sidewalk but also, it seemed to me, the air all around, and the store seemed to float above the row of small brown buildings it was a part of.

People said you had opened the store with a handsome mulatto, but that he had returned to the interior. No one knew why he left, but when the store was closed for a few days each month, it was said you were in the interior. You simply came back and opened up again, with a new supply of the potions and roots you sold in the store along with icons and paintings and feathers and finely woven things made of alpaca wool, and of course your crystals.

When I came up the street, you were sitting on the steps, resting your chin in the palms of your hands, your elbows propped on your knees. The large birds on your long black skirt, embroidered in gold and red and blue, seemed to be resting, too, waiting for the sea breeze. You looked up and smiled. You gave me that smile of yours.

You saw right away that I was from one of the cargo ships.

"Hi sailor. What are you looking for?"
Your smile remained fixed on me, that sly, I'd even call it sultry, smile of yours.

"I don't know," I said. "I'll know it when I see it."

You looked toward the sea. From your street on the hillside, one could see the mouth of the harbor and the ocean. "I've never found what I'm looking for," you said, and then looking at me and smiling, added, "I thought I had, a couple of times. But I was wrong."

"Are you open?" I asked, nodding toward the door.

"Oh yes," you said, smiling again. "Come in and look around!"

It took a minute for my eyes to adjust to the light, but the strange and wonderful smells entered my senses immediately. Eventually I could see an entire wall covered with roots and dried plants, and the counter in front of it that held rows of glass jars filled with plants and more roots and dried flowers, and there were many clay pots of different sizes containing who knows what. Eventually there appeared glass beads, in jars, and on strings, and woven into necklaces and amulets and bracelets. Then the paintings with gold and silver paint appeared, along with many other things, some of which obviously were not from that land.

A raspy voice from somewhere in the store startled me, "Did you bring your money?" I looked up and saw the parrot perched on the biggest prong of a huge set of antlers of some strange beast, that when they came into focus startled me again, and when I turned around you were standing in the doorway. You were laughing, with those big hazel eyes.

When I had some free time in a city like Fortaleza I would go looking. I was collecting things. I didn't know what I was collecting then, but when something delighted me or interested me, I bought it. I didn't have much space under my bunk, so I had to be selective, otherwise I would have bought the painting of the brown Madonna. I settled for a small one, the one with the cactus plants and a woman's legs, and a book.

I still have that book. God's Little Acre. The painting, well, life gets rearranged. Every time you move on, a job, an opportunity that's not here but over there, a marriage, a love affair, when things finally settle down, the arrangement is different. The lover takes things, they leave things behind. You pick up things and leave them behind. You lose, you gain, you move on, and the arrangement that is your outward life has changed. The little painting is gone, but it's still in my memory, and sometimes, when I remember that painting, the woman, whose legs are walking past some cactus plants, is dancing, like you were.

That same night, some shipmates and I went out. We kept losing members of our little crew, and when we walked into the little cabaret halfway up the hillside, there was only Ahmed and I, and there on the stage, you were, still in your long black skirt with its embroidered birds, but your glittery high heeled sandals were gone. You danced in bare feet, gliding and swirling to the band's sambas. When you stopped dancing and sang habanera, the frenzied dancers on the floor returned to their seats, and everyone sat transfixed. That's when you saw me. You were singing, and you smiled.

Finally, after dancing and drinking for hours, after falling in and out of love with you several times, after consuming the strange steaming bowls of vegetables and meats that kept appearing on the table in front of us, and after, every time I caught your eye, you gave me the same sly, sultry smile, finally, toward daylight, the band members packed their instruments, and you left with the general who the people called O Diabo. Those were the times, of course, before the people rose up, when the country was run by the generals.

When the revolution came, it was said that O Diabo was found in his bed covered with blood, and a long, crystal pendant was embedded in his throat, and all of his papers were missing, and it was said that the papers told where the army kept its supplies, its ammunition, its guns, and even what its plans were if the people should rise up.

The little shop on the hillside was shuttered for a long time. There were rumors, of course, occasionally, but who can tell? Someone would return from a trip and say they saw you selling in a market. Someone saw your picture in the foreign press, another saw it on a poster for a film. In some music stores, there are still records that sound like you, but the name is not the same, and there is a mural in another city that is sometimes attributed to you, but who can say?

And now I hear, just lately, from old friends in the merchant marine, that the shop has been reopened by a young man who makes monthly trips to the interior, and who watches old movies on DVD, a handsome young mulatto with hazel eyes who plays old habanera records, in the afternoon, before the sea breeze comes.

It's strange, how the memory works. Isn't it?  Sometimes I see myself in your store. Sometimes. Ah, your big parrot. What was it that he said? Bring your money? No, he would ask you if you brought your money. But I remember that store, things in it. The roots, the plants, the clay jars. Very pretty, some of them. And the paintings. So many beautiful paintings. That Madonna. It was your mother, wasn't it? You know, years later I can still picture that painting, in my memory.

The young man, in the background. With the red eyes. I was never quite sure. Were they his eyes, or were they red holes where his eyes had been? I couldn't really tell. Light from his eyes seemed to cast a glow over the peasant woman next to him. I told you then that I didn't have enough space to store a painting of that size in my berth. The perspective in the painting was very strange. The young man was as tall as the hill beside him, but he was much smaller than the peasant woman, and when I commented on that you had been silent for a long time, and then you said, "That is my father."

I was going to buy that painting, but I made an excuse for myself. I'll admit it to you now. You know, of course, that I eventually heard the story about your mother and father, about how the soldiers came and found the mimeograph machine they used to copy their flyers. That was your mother, wasn't it? The brown Madonna. In the painting. And the peasant woman, that was you. I was told the story of what happened. And about the resistance, just before they went underground. They broke in, the soldiers, and searched the house and found the mimeograph machine. They found the flyers, many of them. The one in charge was a young officer. He ordered that everyone be tied up. He ordered that they be executed. 

They were all executed that day, except for your mother. She was left to live. After they were shot, the young officer in charge ordered the other soldiers to leave. O Diabo ordered the others to leave that day, and when they were gone, he turned to your mother with a sly, sultry smile.

Note: The photo is by Celso Amorim


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Greece: Low Hanging Fruit

updated at 16:15 MST

"Riots" in the streets of Athens. Spoiled Greek workers who refuse to accept "austerity measures" and youth too lazy to work, are destroying that beautiful vacation destination they are lucky enough to live in, if you listen to the BBC or the Washington Post or any other of the corporate owned media outlets.

Liu Rui illustrations
Not so fast. Greek workers are already near the bottom in wages in the Eurozone. Greek unemployment is 20 percent overall and 45 percent among its youth. The Greek consumers' buying power is already feeble, and weakening it further will ensure the Greek economy continues its now five-year downward recessionary spiral.

So what's going on? 

Neoliberalism is what's going on. The economic paradigm launched by Reagan and Thatcher, quickly adopted by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and eventually by the governments of all the global powers, including the US under Republican or Democratic leadership, is what's going on.

That scheme cooked up by the super wealthy who hold the reigns of power and who were seeing their profits decline in the post WWII years as Labor gained a more just share of the wealth its labor creates, the scheme passed off as an economic theory, designed to slash wages and benefits (austerity measures,) lower standards of living (austerity measures,), and slash government social programs (austerity measures) -- that's what's going on.

After reducing our wages and benefits as much as they could the political processes, the power elite, through their handmaidens the western Capitalist democracies, are now using sovereign debt -- what a nation owes -- and budget deficits created by lowering taxes on the wealthy, to bring workers and the few remaining unions to heel.

The recent series of bank bailouts are part of that plan. Governments have gone further into debt to hand money over to the big banks, and we are now required to pay back the resulting deficits in our respective national treasuries, with our taxes, of course, because the rich pay virtually no taxes any more. We have no say in the terms of these bailouts. The billions are simply handed over, with no conditions. The banks could be forced to ease credit to get the economy moving. They could be forced to halt foreclosures. Instead they sit on the money, use it to make more money by buying bonds from the government, for which we the people pay the interest. Foreclosures are sped up, are done illegally. No banker has been held accountable for anything.

Greece's debt problems are blamed on workers' salaries and pensions and both have been slashed several times, but like in the US, it was bank bailouts that caused Greece's deficits. It's all been part of a scheme of massive redistribution of wealth upward. Greece, which now spends 70 percent of its annual budget on debt repayment, with more debt to come, is overflowing with millionaires, almost none of whom pay taxes or have any intention of helping Greece get out of its current crisis. But that's how the wealthy have been acting all over. Greece is simply where the class warfare from the top down is being focused at the moment.

Earlier, it was Italy. Remember how Berlusconni was forced out and an IMF-installed technocrat took over? (Greece's new IMF-installed president is a banker). Before Italy it was Spain. Remember the mass protests? Before that, Ireland, and Iceland, and Portugal, and so on.

The screws were being tightened in the US, before the Occupy Movement reared its head. Recall how the president and congress were outdoing each other in how much they could slash from the budget, and Social Security and Medicare were in their gun sights. Occupy changed the national debate, and put a different cast on the presidential elections. Now, we're in re-election mode, for the time being, but you can count on the innate Neoliberalism of Barak Obama or whoever takes his place to reassert itself after the votes are counted.

Stephan Steinberg, writing in Global Research, goes into the particulars; how it's playing out now in Greece, and in an earlier piece written with Barry Grey, laying out in broader outlines how it's being done.

More on the subject here, including this late update.

Megan Greene, an economist at the investment advisory firm Roubini Global Economics specializing in Europe, told the BBC this morning that she expects Greece to eventually default on its debt, leave the Eurozone and reissue its currency, the drachma. Others have pointed out that this would allow Greece to devalue its currency, thereby increasing its exports, and pull itself out of its recessionary slide, which the austerity measures being imposed on it by the IMF and the Eurozone are only making worse. Greene thinks the ongoing round of "bailout: loans are intended to be temporary and that Greece will be "cut loose," i.e., allowed to leave the Eurozone and reissue its currency. That step is being postponed until Europe's banks can be propped up enough the withstand the shock to financial markets of Greece dropping the Euro, she said, and until after German Chancellor Angela Merkle stands in upcoming  elections in Germany.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Susan G Komen for the Cure and Cancer, contd.

The very organization getting publicity all these years for fighting breast cancer has a role in causing it, and actively conceals critical information about the sources of cancer from women, according to a report by Douglas A Berg that I posted directly below this one. Others have been criticizing the Susan G Komen foundation for concentrating on a cure and not on prevention.

Now Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez writes in Common Dreams about the relationship between toxins in our environment and "skyrocketing" cancer rates. After the first few self serving paragraphs ("I've never done a Walk for the Cure..." and so on,) she recommends turning in your pink ribbons for green ones. Stop pouring cancer causing poisons into the environment, she says.

Of course, if you're a Republican and think government should get even further off the backs of business than it has after 30 years of deregulation, and of defunding and depopulating those government agencies that enforce regulations, just make sure you have good health insurance.

Finally, I ask that, if several times more women die each year from lung cancer than from breast cancer, as I heard in a podcast even before the controversy caused by the Komen foundation defunding Planned Parenthood, why are there not walks to cure lung cancer?

As the Centers for Disease Control says on its web site, lung cancer is the most fatal kind of cancer. The CDC notes: "Among both men and women in the United States, lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer, accounting for more deaths than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined." 

So why are the Komen group, and the rest of us, obsessed with breast cancer?

Is it sexual? Can we blame our fetish for the female breast, embedded in our psyches by everything from Playboy magazine to Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders bending over and wagging them for the camera, and manifested in an epidemic of breast augmentation and implants?

Or is it that lung cancer deaths are concentrated in the lower levels of the socioeconomic order?

It's them. The invisible poor, and the brown people and the black people.

Yes, that could be the reason. Lung cancer is their problem, not ours.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

The sad story about the Susan G Komen For the Cure breast cancer awareness outfit's ties to the pesticide industry. While its directors make millions and hide the causes of breast cancer from women, a pesticide industry giant gets millions in free publicity. This article is from This Can't Be Happening.

Why We Shouldn’t Be Surprised That Susan G Komen for the Cure is Anti-Women

AstraZeneca has had close ties to Brinker for many years. It gave $97,000 to Komen and its affiliates in the first 6 months of 2008 alone, and it has been a big presence at Komen’s Race for the Cure. AstraZeneca is also one of the largest contributors to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The problem here is that pesticides cause breast cancer.

AstraZeneca solves the problem by no longer advertising itself as a pesticide manufacturer.  It is a “life-sciences” company. Ta da! Problem solved! Well, they still manufacture more pesticides than ever (substances that congregate in the sexual glands of mammals causing cancers, birth defects, etc., etc.,) but “life sciences” sounds so reassuring, yes?

Susan G. Komen has created a lengthy list of risk factors for breast cancer.  Nowhere in this list can you find exposure to toxins, probably the greatest risk factor of all.

Hey Nancy! Didn’t your sister ask you to cure breast cancer? Was her dying wish, “Please forgive them for killing me, pay yourself half a million dollars a year – and oh by the way please protect those poor pesticide manufacturers. They know not what they do.”

Pesticides like those produced by AstreZeneca and Novartis have been linked to cancer, including breast cancerPesticides like those produced by AstreZeneca and Novartis have been linked to cancer, including breast cancer

It gets worse. You’ve heard the famous slogan “The best prevention is early detection.” Think about it: If you get breast cancer, you didn’t see the doctor soon enough. Your fault. Next case.

No wonder AstraZeneca gives handsomely. The focus of Komen and pharmaceutical research is entirely on screening and treatment, not on prevention. In other words, “the cure” focuses on the symptoms and ignores the cause. Less than 5% of the total research dollars in this country are spent determining and eliminating the causes of cancer -- none of that money, you can bet, spent by “life sciences” companies.

You have to hand it to AstraZeneca. Not only do they recognize and reward good propaganda when they see it, they also recognize a great market opportunity. Since the 90’s, AstraZeneca has bought up cancer treatment centers until it owns one of the country’s largest chains. With $13 billion in profits in 2011, it makes billions on oncology drugs, and it makes billions on pesticides and herbicides.
In business parlance, this is “vertical integration.” AstraZeneca causes cancer, they give money to charities that ignore the causes of cancer, and they “cure” us with their toxic drugs. An enviable business model--the worse the product, the more money they make.

And AstraZeneca isn’t the only culprit in this unholy alliance. General Electric is also a large contributor to Susan G. Komen. Mammograms have come under heavy criticism in recent years for needlessly exposing patients to radiation, and for yielding numerous false positives which often result in unnecessary surgeries. Unlike many doctors and charities, Komen continues to recommend annual mammograms. GE, not so coincidentally, is a huge manufacturer of mammogram equipment. Europe has a only fraction of the breast surgeries that occur in the U.S., and yet they have nearly identical rates of cancer deaths.

It is hard not to think of Komen as a pure propaganda ploy, and a great tool for supplying qualified prospects to the cancer industry. Is it any surprise that Nancy Brinker was a bundler of campaign contributions for George W. Bush and also a Bush Pioneer, a title that required making contributions of at least $100,000 to his Presidential Campaign? Is it surprising that the staff of Komen is stuffed full of right-wing extremists? Anyone surprised by Komen’s decision to drop Planned Parenthood?

If you are surprised, you’ve bought Susan G. Komen’s purported mission of “curing” breast cancer, rather than understanding the real mission of the cancer-industry and its supporters in the “life science” of killing insects with chemicals that also kill humans. Putting the spotlight upon this unholy alliance is making some very rich, very immoral people very nervous.

Expect a rash of corporate name changes and massive increases in public relations budgets if the attention lasts much longer. What one should not expect is any change in business practices.

Douglas A. Berg is a computer scientist and children's book writer in Mesa, Arizona. He wrote this article as an exclusive for ThisCantBeHappening!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Occupy: What Now? What is it?

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction."    Woody Allen

Before members of the Occupy Wall Street movement took over a park in New York City, the headlines day after day were about how much congress and President Obama were going to cut from the federal budget. Remember the "debt ceiling limit" dramas that went on day after day? Congress and the president were spending almost all their time setting up one confrontation after another to see who could cut the most and get the most political mileage out of it. The news media raptly followed this circus and did its part to make sure the public took it seriously, and were willingly participating with Democrats and Republicans as they peddled the big lie that Medicare and Social Security had something to do with the federal deficit.

All of that has disappeared from the headlines, which are now about Foreign Affairs -- Syria, Iran, Pakistan -- and the Republican primaries to decide who will oppose President Obama in November.

Notice what the Republican candidates have not been talking about. Not the deficit. Not government spending.

Notice, besides the meaningless blabber about who's the most like Ronald Reagan, what they are talking about. The Midde Class. Restoring the "American Dream." Vulture Capitalism. Even inequality.

The difference is that the consciousness of the American public has been altered, or raised, by the Occupy Wall Street movement, and that is remarkable. Capitalists, and the political class they own, and the media they own, spent years getting the public into a state of mind, a consciousness, in which they sat watching the budget cutting circus and accepted that whatever happened was going to happen. That was undone almost overnight.

For the terms of the national debate to have changed so quickly would be an activist's dream. Things can't change until the people change them, and they won't change them until they believe they can, until they visualize an alternative to the status quo. People ask, 'What does Occupy want?' What more could it want? People wonder why it doesn't set goals. It did. Mission accomplished.

Today's editorial at the Socialist Worker goes into a little more detail about the significance of Occupy's lack of goals, what it's up to now, and where it might go from here. It should give you a clear understanding of the movement.

Also, check out Facebook, where all the individual Occupy groups have pages, where vibrant discussion about all these things is taking place, every day. You can go to my Facebook page and scroll down my "friends" list in the left hand column. Most of them are individual Occupy groups. Click on one and read along with the discussion.

You can also create your own Facebook page, then go to any of the group's pages and request to be a "friend." They will approve your request, then all of their posts, i.e., "the discussion," will be automatically be posted on your page.

The Socialist Worker editorial talks about the violence being committed by some Occupy members. Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer prize winning former New York Times reporter who now writes for Leftist media, has an article at Truthdig going into more detail about this fringe, which, he says, dreams of overthrowing capitalism through violence, sees the Occupy movement as an impediment to their goal, and wants to destroy it. They see Occupy as simply "reformist."

Any reformist movement will only derail the revolution and leave Capitalism in place, according to revolutionary ideology. This is true. But the tactics being used by the revolutionaries at the fringes of the Occupy are only giving ammunition to government, politicians, and the police who would love to snuff out the Occupy movement completely, or, as some democrats want to do, co-opt its energy. The revolutions that have occurred happened when critical masses of people experienced radical consciousness raising. Sometimes that happened after careful and prolonged efforts to educate the masses. Sometimes it occurred spontaneously when peoples' suffering reached a certain point. Those committing violence in Occupy's name aren't doing anything beneficial in either regard.

Finally, what the Socialist Worker doesn't mention, but which should also be kept in mind, is that any time there is violence at a demonstration by any group from the Left, or at any demonstration by Environmentalists, there's a good possibility that it's been committed by agents provocateurs, i.e., undercover cops or federal agents. Police have already been caught posing as Occupy members, as shown in this video posted at the Daily Kos. Law enforcement has a long and ugly history of infiltrating groups on the Left and trying to discredit them by posing as agents provocateurs and committing acts of violence, up to and including lethal bombings.

Almost without exception this kind of law enforcement is targeted at the Left. Tea baggers, and people who line up outside abortion clinics and scream at and try to humiliate women trying to legal health care, and groups that follow Randall Terry type leaders who openly advocate the murder of abortion providers, are left alone by law enforcement.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

Anonymous: The FBI Didn't Expect Them

Most Anonymous videos end with the words: "We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us." Apparently the FBI didn't expect them, as the Robin Hoods of the internet, in one of an impressive series of recent strikes summarized by the BBC, struck the FBI itself.

A conference call between the FBI and police in England discussing various Anonymous members under investigation was recorded and posted online, as was an email from the FBI to other agencies explaining how to connect to the call. The Greek justice ministry was hacked because of the Greek government's participation in internet censorship and its implementation of the latest in a seemingly never ending round of "austerity measures," which is a Neoliberal newspeak term for transferring wealth from the working classes to the wealthy. And a web site police in Salt Lake City set up so people can report each other to the police was taken down.

Posted on Occupy Enschede's Facebook page (Enschede, Netherlands)
Below are two recent videos attributed to Anonymous and posted on one of the YouTube channels I follow where Anonymous videos are regularly posted. One is a call for worldwide marches on Feb. 27 in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. Most Occupy groups in the US were forcibly and often brutally evicted from their encampments over a period of several weeks late last year in actions coordinated by the Obama administration, as fears increased among the one percent of the power of the mass movement, which in a short time has changed the debate in the country from how to take more from the working classes to why is it being done..

The other video is six tips for how to resist, such as using cash instead of using credit. Many people are unaware that what the banks have been successful in having labeled "credit card companies" are nothing but the banks themselves. They are simply departments within existing banks.

In Anonymous videos, the voices usually sound a little strange because they are run through programs that disguise them from voice recognition software. These were posted at Anoyops.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Roseanne For President!

 The number two story on my Google News page right now is that Roseanne Barr has filed as a Green Party candidate for president. The #2 Google ranking is based on the number of web sites currently publishing stories about the topic. (The top story is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's announcement that he will make up $250,000 of the money for breast cancer screening cut from Planned Parenthood's budget by the Susan G Komen breast cancer foundation, which, despite an ever-changing series of excuses for the move, apparently bowed to political pressure from the right wing nut jobs).

As interesting as her entry into presidential politics is, what's remarkable about Roseanne's #2 Google ranking is the fact that the solidly Leftist Roseanne can draw so much attention, because that fact may have great significance for the presidential campaign. Roseanne might well steer the national debate to the left of where it would normally be.

Barak Obama, who, like all Democrats thinks he can take the votes of the Left for granted and tend to the interests of the wealthy, would be happier campaigning just slightly to the left of whoever the Republican candidate is, and to the right of him on some issues, just as he has governed. That may make strategic sense, it might be what's best for Barak Obama, but results in many issues never being mentioned and leaves the country dealing with business as usual and on the same downward, Neoliberal path.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has already forced some of the main economic issues onto the table. If a candidacy by the very intelligent, well informed and well spoken Roseanne is actually taken seriously, not ignored, not taken as a joke, her presence will reinforce that tendency and do the same for social issues. Together these two factors will force the two major party candidates to address the forgotten issues that most affect the forgotten 99 percent.

Obama, who, as preicted, is starting to sound more like a populist the closer the election looms, would have to campaign even further to the left if Roseanne, and Occupy Wall Street, continue to mobilize support and put issues in peoples' minds. And unlike in '08, Obama, if he wins again. wouldn't be able to give the finger to the Progressives who put him into office the minute the votes are counted.

Roseanne hosts a some time afternoon drive time radio show on the Los Angeles Pacifica station, KPFK, which is itself solidly Leftist. I've heard the show several times while trying to get out of town during afternoon rush hour and her politics, as voiced on the show, are somewhere between the left wing of the Democratic Party and Socialism. Very progressive. I never heard her talk about Palestine.

Roseanne also has a new book out, Roseannearchy: dispatches from the nut farm. Roseanne owns a macadamia nut farm in Hawaii, and in fact sometimes phoned in her radio show from there. I've not read the book but from scanning the reviews at it's a hilarious rendering of some of her political views. If Roseanne should happen to raise her campaign's profile enough to say, get into a presidential debate, the book will be widely quoted and sell many copies.

The book cover, with its in your face, over the top Socialist symbolism -- Fidel's cigar, Che's hat and the old Soviet red star -- is classic Roseanne humor. Ironic, but unambiguous about where she comes from.

The Green Party has its foundation in environmental issues but attracts people from all over the left side of the political spectrum. It has many members and supporters in the US but has managed to elect only a few candidates to city councils and school boards. In Europe it's a different story. The Green Party has elected members to the German parliament and to the governing body of the European Union. Ralph Nader was the Green Party's candidate for president in 2004. In 2008 their nominee was Cynthia McKinney, the former Georgia congresswoman whose congressional career was ended by truck loads of outside money supplied by the Zionist Lobby because of her support for Palestine.