Fascism is the union of government with private business against the People.
"To The States, or any one of them, or to any city of The States: Resist much, Obey little; Once unquestioning obedience, at once fully enslaved; Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, ever afterward resumes its liberty." from "Caution" by Walt Whitman

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

During the 1990s, many clandestine agencies within the USA formed an agreement with all the monopolist IT companies who produced computers and software that such products shall contain hidden doors which the clandestine agencies shall have keys for.
Information about these hidden doors are persistantly made public without publicizing this reality of no privacy.
Worse, in fact, is the derision as "conspiracy theory" such information such as what follows entails.

2011-11-30 "Carrier IQ: Researcher Trevor Eckhart Outs Creepy, Hidden App Installed On Smartphones (VIDEO) (UPDATE)" by "The Huffington Post" by Gerry Smith
A security researcher has posted a video [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T17XQI_AYNo&feature=player_embedded] detailing hidden software installed on smart phones that logs numerous details about users' activities.
In a 17-minute video posted Monday on YouTube, Trevor Eckhart shows how the software – known as Carrier IQ – logs every text message, Google search and phone number typed on a wide variety of smart phones - including HTC, Blackberry, Nokia* and others - and reports them to the mobile phone carrier.
The application, which is labeled on Eckhart’s HTC smartphone as "HTC IQ Agent," also logs the URL of websites searched on the phone, even if the user intends to encrypt that data using a URL that begins with "HTTPS," Eckhart said.
The software always runs when Android operating system is running and users are unable to stop it, Eckhart said in the video.
"Why is this not opt-in and why is it so hard to fully remove?" Eckhart wrote at the end of the video.
In a post about Carrier IQ on his website [http://androidsecuritytest.com/features/logs-and-services/loggers/carrieriq/], Eckhart called the software a "rootkit," a security term for software that runs in the background without a user's knowledge and is commonly used in malicious software.
Eckhart's video is the latest in a series of attacks between him and the company. Earlier this month, Carrier IQ sent a cease and desist letter to Eckhart claiming he violated copyright law by publishing Carrier IQ training manuals online. But after the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, came to Eckhart’s defense, the company backed off its legal threats.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation said the software that Eckhart has publicized "raises substantial privacy concerns" about software that "many consumers don’t know about." [https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/11/carrieriq-censor-research-baseless-legal-threat]
Carrier IQ could not immediately be reached for comment. But the company told Wired.com that its software is used for “gathering information off the handset to understand the mobile-user experience, where phone calls are dropped, where signal quality is poor, why applications crash and battery life.” [http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/11/secret-software-logging-video/]
On its website, Carrier IQ, founded in 2005, describes itself as "the world's leading provider of Mobile Service Intelligence solutions." [http://www.carrieriq.com/]
*A Nokia spokeswoman said CarrierIQ does not ship products for any Nokia devices.

UPDATE 1: Grant Paul, a well-known iPhone hacker who goes by the screenname "chpwn", wrote on his blog that Apple has included Carrier IQ on the iPhone, but the software's default is disabled. [http://blog.chpwn.com/]
UPDATE 2: Want to find out if your phone is secretly tracking you? Check out our comprehensive list of the devices and carriers known to use Carrier IQ. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/01/carrier-iq-iphone-android-blackberry_n_1123575.html?ref=technology]
UPDATE 3: Senator Al Franken, concerned that Carrier IQ's software may violate federal law, sent a letter to the company requesting an explanation of the software's purpose. (Click here to read more.) [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/01/al-franken-carrier-iq_n_1123942.html?ref=technology]
UPDATE 4: Carrier IQ has come forward with a statement regarding its "tracking" software [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/01/carrier-iq-verizon-apple-google-microsoft-att_n_1124779.html?ref=technology]. Many mobile carriers and device manufacturers have also responded to the controversy with statements of their own [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/01/carrier-iq-verizon-apple-google-microsoft-att_n_1124779.html?ref=technology].

Watch video of Eckhart explaining his findings:

2011-11-30 "Cal students sue over police tactics at protest" by Henry K. Lee from "San Francisco Chronicle"
 Two dozen UC Berkeley students and community members filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Tuesday, accusing university police and Alameda County sheriff's deputies of brutalizing them as they tried to set up an Occupy camp on campus.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, said law enforcement officers, under the direction of UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, needlessly used their batons to jab nonviolent protesters outside Sproul Hall on Nov. 9.
The officers and deputies "conducted a planned, coordinated and violent attack against these peaceful protesters" by using "shocking, unconscionable and excessive force," states the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.
The clash with police happened at UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza, where protesters had tried to set up tents as part of an Occupy encampment. Videos of the confrontation led to several investigations and an apology from Birgeneau, who is named as a defendant in the suit along with several top university officials, campus Police Chief Mitch Celaya and Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern.
UC Berkeley spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said Tuesday that campus officials had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment. But she said of the investigations, "We look forward to learning the results. We're committed to a thorough investigation of what occurred to learn what we can."
Ahern said widely circulated videos of the confrontation failed to show protesters kicking and pushing at officers and deputies.
"My troops that have responded to these protests have done nothing wrong and have acted in response to assaults and attacks on them," Ahern said. "We don't tolerate the indiscriminate use of force, and it's not taught in our training."
2011-11-30 "A message to Occupy Philly: The police are not ‘our friends’" by "Philadelphia Workers World Party/Partido Mundo Obrero"
Nov. 30 - Some members of Occupy Philly want to keep insisting that “the police are our friends.” They are “our relatives,” some say.
Some of our relatives may be right-wingers who support what the 1 percent does. That makes them politically “right” but not correct — just relatives. There is nothing one can do about who you’re connected to by blood — but any thinking person can choose whom you consider “friends.”
Friends do not beat up on other friends. Friends do not open cans of pepper spray into the faces and throats of their friends. Friends do not trample each other purposely on horseback. Friends do not stab one another. Friends do not arrest one another. Friends do not bring one another to court — or threaten to imprison one another. Friends do not purposely injure each other so severely that it leads to hospitalization.
When you say “We did nothing to provoke the police,” couldn’t this be interpreted in the oppressed communities that they “did something” to provoke the police? Is this the message the Occupy movement, which claims to stand for social change, really wants to convey?
We ask you to consider how this sounds to members of the Black and other oppressed communities, who also may have relatives who are police, but who have repeatedly been victims of police brutality. These communities are also part of the 99 percent — mostly on the bottom economic rungs.
Some members of Occupy Philly say that “Police are part of the 99%” or that they are “union members.” The Fraternal Order of Police claims to be a “union” representing police. But police have never functioned on behalf of the economically disadvantaged. That is not part of their history. Their role has been, and remains. one of protecting the private property interests of the 1 percent. Failing to do this, they would be fired.
The police have systematically been used to break strikes of other unions, thus calling into question the validity of their “union” status. It does not matter what class or economic strata an individual comes from. What matters is which class or economic strata they serve. The FOP has long ago given up the right to be classified as a “union.” Just ask Black police officers who have been forced to file charges of racism against this organization.
The police department in Philadelphia was formed in the 1800s by organizing gangs of Irish immigrants to be used against the growing Abolitionist movement and later freed Black people moving to the North. This racist history carries forth into the 20th century and to the present.

Black movements targeted by police -
During Frank Rizzo's tenure as police commissioner in the 1970s, the predominantly white police force was feared and hated in the Black and Latina/o communities because of its brutality and racism.
Police attacks on the Black Panther Party, the MOVE Organization and the public led to many demonstrations. This period is chronicled in the documentary film "Black and Blue."
Black journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal wrote about many of these cases. Abu-Jamal was also targeted by the police. In December 1981 he was shot, kicked and beaten by cops and subsequently sent to death row for allegedly killing police officer Daniel Faulkner. Abu-Jamal continues to maintain his innocence. Millions of supporters around the world maintain that he was framed by the cops, who were desperate to silence his "voice of the voiceless."
During a 1978 confrontation with police in Powelton Village, four cops dragged MOVE member Delbert Africa by his hair, then kicked him in the head, kidneys and groin. This brutality was captured on video and later led to the indictment of three officers on assault charges. In February 1981, a judge acquitted the cops. Delbert Africa was subsequently arrested and is now one of the MOVE 9, prisoners serving a 30-to-100-year term. The three acquitted cops went on to participate in the murderous assault on the MOVE house on Osage Avenue on May 16, 1985. A bomb was dropped on the house, killing 11 children, women and men and burning down the entire block.
Philadelphia police are not only brutal. They are notorious repeat offenders.
From 1989 to 1995, there were 2,000 documented citizen complaints against the Philadelphia Police Department. During a two-year period in the mid-1990s the city paid $20 million in damages to 225 people who were beaten, shot, harassed or otherwise mistreated by police. The 39th Police District scandal in 1995 led to the dismissal of 1,400 criminal cases where cops ignored suspects' rights and sometimes framed them outright.
In 2009, a group of Black Philadelphia police officers filed a federal lawsuit against their department, alleging an online forum geared toward city police is "infested with racist, white supremacist, and anti-African-American content.”
Early in the morning of November 30, 2011, hundreds of cops, some on horses, evicted Occupy Philly from City Hall after midnight. Some police violence occurred, with 50 arrested. The video can be seen here: [http://occupyphillymedia.org/video/police-attack-occupy-philly]
Similar raids and attacks took place in Los Angeles this morning. This is not by accident. Yes, the police could have demonstrated more brutality, as they have in numerous other cities where the Occupy movement has come under attack. That Philly and LA showed even limited “restraint” had more to do with the images that the two cities, which are most identified with police brutality, hoped to project, than any other factor.
Had this been a “protest” called by the right-wing Tea Party, there would never have been a police presence. The police would have looked the other way — as they have repeatedly when Tea Party activists show up in public bearing arms.
If the Occupy movement is serious about standing up for the rights of the majority of people whose living standards have been pushed down under the weight of a global economic crisis — which has only benefited the very wealthy — then we also have to be serious about the role played by the state apparatus that protects and defends the economic system that allowed this to happen.
While we were focusing our energy on the arrests of our friends, a piece of legislation passed the U.S. Senate today that should have all of us up in arms.
The Senate voted on a bill that would define the whole of the United States as a “battlefield” and allow the U.S. military to arrest and imprison “American citizens” in their own backyard without charges or trial. This should be sounding an alarm with every Occupy participant across the U.S. because this is directed against the movement we are part of.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Occupy UC Davis becomes a GENERAL SRIKE!!!

2011-11-22 "5,000 protest at UC Davis: General strike on Nov. 28! Occupy camp re-established in aftermath of pepper spray assault" by ANSWER San Francisco with Esteban Hernandez and Silvio Rodrigues
2011-11-21 Photo by ANSWER Coalition

The report below was submitted by the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the ANSWER Coalition. The Party for Socialism and Liberation is a member organization of ANSWER and participated in the demonstration at UC Davis.
Around 5,000 students, university staff and community members joined a mass demonstration at the UC Davis quad on Monday, Nov 21 in response to the cowardly pepper spraying of peaceful protesters by police officers just three days prior. ANSWER activists from Sacramento and San Francisco joined the demonstration in solidarity with UC Davis Occupy. The Occupy camp at UC Davis was re-established, and the General Assembly voted unanimously to call for a general strike in Davis on Monday, Nov. 28.
At the mass rally, several speakers called for UC Chancellor Linda Katehi to step down for her role in the violent police action against Occupy demonstrators. Katehi made a brief appearance in an attempt to save face, but was quickly escorted to her car as protesters chanted demanding her resignation.
Protesters had been occupying UC Davis when they were attacked by police on Friday. Police pepper sprayed students who were peacefully sitting on the ground with arms linked. At no point did the students pose a threat to police or anyone around them. Video of the attack quickly went viral on the Internet, and messages of solidarity as well as petitions and letter campaigns demanding justice and accountability have been circulating widely through Facebook and Twitter.
The UC Board of Regents has approved sharp tuition increases for two years straight, coupled with millions of dollars in budget cuts, including the elimination of important resources as well as layoffs and furloughs. The board has proposed a new 81 percent increase in fees and additional severe budget reductions.

 A quality & universal education is considered a Human Right because most industrialized socities have produced enough wealth to gurantee such a Human Right with no difficulty.
Fascist believe that Human Rights are "anti-Capitalist", and are dismantling the free education systems across the USA in order to replace them with profitable and unequal businesses whose service is "education", usually with little to no regulation over subject matters and no labor-unions to protect the Rights of the employees at these business establishments.

2011-11-29 "Should Schools Be Run for Profit?" by Diane Ravitch
Dear Deborah,
 The next big idea in "education reform" is online instruction and cyber charters. I know that teachers are doing wonderful, creative activities with technology, and there is no doubt that technology can bring history, science, and other studies to life in vivid ways. But there is a cloud on the horizon, and that is the growth of the for-profit cyber charters. I confess that it troubles me to think of children sitting at home, day after day, with no opportunity for discussion and debate, no interaction with their peers, no face-to-face encounters with a real teacher.
 I recently read several shocking articles that have reinforced my concern about for-profit companies that provide virtual schooling. One must-read is Lee Fang's remarkable investigative article, titled "How Online Learning Companies Bought America's Schools." [http://www.thenation.com/article/164651/how-online-learning-companies-bought-americas-schools]
It is a chilling account of a well-developed campaign to persuade state legislatures to endorse for-profit virtual schools. Led by Patricia Levesque, an experienced lobbyist who works for former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the campaign has scored notable successes in the past year, promoting for-profit virtual charter schools.
 Lee Fang seems to have sat in the back row of many a "reform" meeting, quietly taking notes. At a conference last fall in San Francisco, he reports, Levesque recommended that "reformers should 'spread' the unions thin 'by playing offense' with decoy legislation. Levesque said she planned to sponsor a series of statewide reforms, like allowing taxpayer dollars to go to religious schools by overturning the so-called Blaine Amendment, 'even if it doesn't pass ... to keep them busy on that front.' She also advised paycheck protection, a union-busting scheme, as well as a state-provided insurance program to encourage teachers to leave the union and a transparency law to force teachers unions to show additional information to the public. Needling the labor unions with all these bills, Levesque said, allows certain charter bills to fly 'under the radar.'"
So, while the unions are fighting to stave off attacks, the virtual charter industry steadily moves forward, almost unnoticed. See also Dana Goldstein's description of the for-profit charter industry [http://www.thenation.com/blog/164680/explosion-lobbying-around-profit-k-12-programs]. In Michigan, 80 percent of charters are run by for-profit companies.
 What kind of record do these virtual charters (cyber charters) have? Not a very good one. Walt Gardner blogged about these issues last week [http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/walt_gardners_reality_check/2011/11/the_stealth_campaign_to_privatize_education.html]. He sees this movement as "the stealth campaign to privatize education." Gardner says there is no evidence to support the claim that students learn more by technology than in the traditional classroom.
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal ("My Teacher Is an App" [http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204358004577030600066250144.html#articleTabs_slideshow]) said that full-time enrollment in cyber charters has grown nationally in the past two years from 175,000 to 250,000 students. It cited a study by the Colorado Department of Education showing that students in cyber charters had lower scores than those in traditional public schools, in reading, writing, and math, in every grade tested. [ADDED BY DIANE AFTER INITIAL POST: There is an ongoing debate in Colorado about the value of cyber charters. Please read the heated comments posted to this NPR commentary from Northern Colorado. [http://www.kunc.org/post/k12-inc-public-online-schools-private-profits]
 But, despite evidence that students do worse in cyber schools, for-profit entrepreneurs are vigorously lobbying state legislatures to permit for-profit virtual schools. A recent article in The Washington Post [http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/virtual-schools-are-multiplying-but-some-question-their-educational-value/2011/11/22/gIQANUzkzN_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines] detailed their efforts and included a review of the poor performance of cyber charters, such as "At the Colorado Virtual Academy, which is managed by K12 and has more than 5,000 students, the on-time graduation rate was 12 percent in 2010, compared with 72 percent statewide. That same year, K12's Ohio Virtual Academy—whose enrollment tops 9,000—had a 30 percent on-time graduation rate, compared with a state average of 78 percent." But details like these don't seem to have slowed their momentum. In Idaho, online companies supported the campaign of state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, who is a strong supporter of virtual instruction [http://www.idahostatesman.com/2011/02/20/1535065/a-reform-plan-a-long-time-in-the.html].
In Tennessee, one legislator pushed back. Representative Mike Stewart wrote to his colleagues to oppose for-profit virtual schools [http://www.newschannel5.com/story/14664377/online-schools-make-big-profits-from-tax-dollars]. He noted that the chief executive officer of the largest chain was paid $2.4 million each year and other executives also made outsize salaries. The promise of the cyber charter to the state, he said, was the prospect of saving money. The virtual charters do not have physical buildings or libraries or ball fields or janitors or nurses. They have class sizes of 50 students per teacher, instead of the 15.7 per teacher in Tennessee's regular schools. But, he said, the "savings" turn into profits for the company and its shareholders, not returns to the state.
 Stewart's appeal to the Tennessee legislature failed. The legislature authorized for-profit cyber schools, and in addition, it banned teacher collective bargaining, eliminated tenure for future teachers, and removed local oversight of charter schools. Public school teachers have certainly gotten their comeuppance in Tennessee, and the private sector has been unleashed.
 Deborah, don't get me wrong. I have no problem with businesses making a profit when they offer value for goods and services. But there is something about this for-profit education industry that feels unseemly. I find myself uncomfortable about the very idea of making a profit by providing public education. Isn't it—or shouldn't it be—a basic public service available to all at public expense? Shouldn't all the money go directly into improving education rather than paying exorbitant salaries and making money for shareholders?
2011-11-29 "The Global Occupy Movement Challenges the Transnational Corporate Class Propaganda Machine" by Peter Phillips from "Project Censored and Media Freedom foundation"
The international concentration of wealth and military power is endangering not only the personal freedoms and life chances of billions of people, but the potentiality for life on earth to simply exist. The US-NATO military-industrial-media empire operates in support of transnational corporations and the central banks primarily as the enforcer of International Monetary Fund/World Bank’s fiscal policies and the protector of transnational capital flow. The combination of empire enforcers—both public and private military/police—in partnership with the private owners of production and capital’s need for constant growth and profits is resulting in a tragic decline of humanity into a freedomless state of global corporate fascism.
 We are not going to reform the empire of destruction globally through corrupt capital protecting legislative bodies controlled by millionaires and corporate money. We are not going to change the propaganda messages of corporate media—as they are deeply embedded in the destructive empire of power. Corporate media (singular) is the information control wing of the global power structure inside the transnational corporate class of the one percent. The corporate media systematically censors news stories that challenge the propaganda of empire. Specific mythologies of empire are that we live in a democratic societies with fair elections, that governments are primarily transparent and seek to protect the public, that evil lurks in the world waiting to challenge our freedoms, we fight fairly and morally while the others are evil terrorists, governments would never do anything to harm their own citizens, wealth trickles down, we are all trying to be green and capitalism will save us. Occupy challenges these myths of empire as lies and propaganda.
 The time is for the Occupy democracy movement to build our own news, and our own systems of decision making from the bottom up. We no longer need a majority to make change inside the empire. We need only active informed populations in the 10-20% range of society to initiate change producing social movements of resistance and non-cooperation with empire.
 Individually and collectively we can disconnect from employment that supports the empire of destruction, we can keep our work instead with community-based efforts at local sustainability, economic development, and caring. We can shop and bank locally and never enter the Wal Mart’s of empire. We can organize for resistance to counter the billions of dollars a year spent by the military to lie our children into serving the empire of destruction. We can turn off the corporate media filled with its propaganda and lies, and seek our own sources of news from within democracy movements worldwide.
 Power to the people

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Walmart Chairman Rob Walton: The Worst of the One Percent?"

2011-11-28 by Dan Bacher [http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/11/28/18701225.php]
 Brave New Films, the film studio that produced the ground-breaking documentary, “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price,” is holding an online vote to pick the "worst of the 1%." They’re looking for the person who is doing the most with their wealth to exploit the rest of the country - and to privatize public services and public trust resources.
 Walmart Watch (http://www.walmartwatch.org) is urging people to vote for Rob Walton, chairman of Walmart and an heir to the Walton’s family fortune, as the worst of the one percenters. Walmart Watch is an organization that "seeks to hold Walmart fully accountable for its impact on communities, the American workforce, the retail sector, the environment and the nation's economy."
 I also strongly urge everybody to vote for Rob Walton as "worst of the 1%" for his efforts to crush labor and human rights and drive local "mom and pop" operations out of business, as well for funding corporate environmental NGO efforts to privatize the oceans by promoting "catch shares" programs and Arnold Schwarzenegger's privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.
 To vote, go to: http://www.bravenewfoundation.org/dirty-thirty/all/rob-walton.
 "When it comes to the 1%, Rob Walton and the Walton family are it," according to Walmart Watch. "The Walton family has amassed more than $93 billion in wealth, making them the richest family in the country."
 "The Waltons inherited that wealth, much of it was created by paying many workers at poverty-level wages, offering poor benefits, and lowering conditions in the supply chain by demanding ever-lower prices. Walmart’s trade deficit with China alone eliminated hundreds of thousands of US manufacturing jobs," the group ntoed.
 Rob Walton himself has an overall estimated worth of $21 billion running the world’s largest private employer. It is estimated now that 1.4 million people work for Walmart or 1 out of every 222 people in the U.S.
 "The dividends of the Walmart stock the Waltons own alone could go a long way toward making Walmart jobs good, living wage jobs. Instead he chooses to keep the average employee below the family poverty line and cut health benefits for hundreds of thousands employees," the group added.
 The Waltons have used the Walton Family Foundation to advance an extreme anti-worker and anti-human rights agenda. In the last five years, the Walton Family Foundation (where Rob sits on the board) has given money to the Heritage Foundation, the National Right to Work Foundation and other groups that advance the agenda of Wall Street banksters and other corporate operatives who have looted the economy.
 Walmart Watch stated, "In 2010, the Walton Family Foundation spent more than $157 million to support the so-called school choice movement. This movement generally seeks to divert money from public schools to private schools through policies such as vouchers and charter schools. These donations make the Walton Family Foundation one of the largest funders of efforts to undermine public education."

 Wal-Mart gives $36 million to ocean privatization efforts -
 In addition to anti-worker and school privatization campaigns, the corporate giant also dumps millions into "environmental" programs to greenwash the privatization of public trust resources.
 The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), a national grassroots recreational fishing organization, in August slammed the Walton Family Foundation's contribution of $36 million to ocean privatization efforts through "catch shares" programs and the creation of so-called "marine protected areas."
 "Wal-Mart announced this week its efforts to help fund the demise of both the recreational and commercial fishing industry while also working to ensure that the next generation of sportsmen will have less access to coastal fish stocks than at any point in U.S. history," according to a news release from RFA (http://www.joinrfa.org/press/Walmart_081711.pdf).
 In a August 16th news release from Wal-Mart corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Walton Family Foundation announced "investments" totaling more than $71.8 million awarded to various "environmental" initiatives in 2010. The foundation handed over $36 million alone to Marine Conservation grantees including Ocean Conservancy, Conservation International Foundation, Marine Stewardship Council, World Wildlife Fund and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
 The five top grantees were: Conservation International, $18,640,917; the Nature Conservancy,$9,305,449; Environmental Defense Fund $7,086,054; the Marine Stewardship Council, $4,500,000; and the Ocean Conservancy, $3,757,768 ((http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/walton-family-foundation-invests-718-million-in-environmental-initiatives-in-2010-127835788.html).
 Critics of Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world, have blasted the company for decades for being able to sell its products at cheap prices only by employing sweatshops, undercutting competitors, wielding its market power to cripple both competitors and suppliers, and flouting national and international health, safety, labor, and environmental standards. Anti-corporate globalization opponents have long regarded Wal-Mart as a virtual "Darth Vader" of retailers, as documented in the film, "The High Price of Low Cost." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJMYZwL8sPA).

 Greenwashing Wal-Mart's image -
 However, in 2006 the retail giant hired Adam Werbach former Sierra Club president to "polish" its image (http://reclaimdemocracy.org/walmart/2006/green_greenwashing.php). This latest Wal-Mart release is apparently part of a carefully orchestrated campaign to greenwash its image - and extend control over public trust resources.
 According to the release, the Walton Family Foundation "focuses on globally important marine areas and works with grantees and other partners to create networks of effectively managed protected areas that conserve key biological features, and ensure the sustainable utilization of marine resources - especially fisheries - in a way that benefits both nature and people."
 "We focus our work in the United States' primary river systems and in some of the world's most ecologically significant marine areas," said Scott Burns, director of the foundation's Environment Focus Area and the former director of marine conservation at the World Wildlife Fund. "It's important to us to protect and conserve natural resources while also recognizing the roles these waters play in the livelihoods of those who live nearby."
 The RFA countered that these specially managed areas of coastal waters are also referred to as "marine protected areas" or "marine reserves," and the end result is denied angler access, of little or no benefit to the very people whom Wal-Mart claims to benefit.

 Marine protected areas without real protection -
 "A quick visit to the Ocean Conservancy website should be telling enough for anglers interested in learning where Wal-Mart's profits are being spent," said RFA executive director Jim Donofrio. "These folks are pushing hard to complete California's network of exclusionary zones throughout the entire length of coastline, and they've made it very clear that they would like to see the West Coast version of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) extended into other coastal U.S. waters."
 Grassroots environmentalists, fishermen, members of Indian Tribes, civil liberties activists and environmental justice advocates have criticized Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, privately funded by the shadowy Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, for its numerous conflicts of interest and the violation of numerous state, federal and international laws.
 The so-called "marine protected areas" established under the MLPA Initiative fail to protect the ocean from oil drilling and spills, water pollution, wave and wind energy projects, military testing, corporate aquaculture, habitat destruction and all other human impacts upon the ocean other than fishing and gathering. In an extreme case of corporate greenwashing, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association, served as chair of the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force that created these questionable "marine protected areas" on the Southern California coast. She also served on the task forces for the North Central and North Central Coasts.
 When not chairing or serving on these rigged panels, Reheis-Boyd has been busy lobbying for new oil drillling off the California coast, tar sands drillling in Canada (http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Alberta+oilsands+green+enough+California/5530495/story.html?cid=megadrop_story), and for the weakening of environmental regulations throughout the West.
 The Walton Family Foundation release also said that so-called "marine protected areas" being promoted with the foundation's money include those in Indonesia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico.
 "Here's an organization which has publicly opposed creation of artificial reefs used by Wal-Mart's tackle buyers, in some cases openly advocating for their removal, yet the Walton family is handing over tons of money for support," Donofrio said of Ocean Conservancy in particular.
 Jack Sobel, a senior scientist for the Ocean Conservancy, has said "There's little evidence that artificial reefs have a net benefit," citing concerns such as toxicity, damage to ecosystems and concentrating fish into one place (worsening overfishing).(http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/6895)

 Wal-Mart boycott follows Safeway boycott -
 "Shopping for fishing equipment at Wal-Mart is contributing directly to the demise of our sport, it's supporting lost fishing opportunities and decreased coastal access for all Americans," Donofrio said. "I hope all RFA members across the country will remember that when it's time to gear up, but I would also wonder if perhaps our industry can help spread the message and support our local tackle shops by also pulling product off Wal-Mart's shelves."
 RFA in April 2011 announced its support of a national boycott of the Safeway Supermarket chain, including Genuardi's in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, because of that corporation's support for California's widely-contested MLPA initiative.
 "Apparently Safeway has gotten some bad advice from the people in the ocean protection racket, a community to which the California-based mega-corporation is now donating profits," said Jim Martin, West Coast Regional Director of the RFA. "Safeway says it is supporting groups that make a difference like the Food Marketing Institute's Sustainable Seafood Working Group, the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions and the World Wildlife Fund's Aquaculture Dialogues, but it's little more than corporate greenwashing."
 RFA believes it's time that Wal-Mart was added to the angler boycott list as well.
 "The Walton family created this huge corporate entity which has threatened the vibrancy of our local retail outlets, and now they're essentially doing the same thing with our fishing communities," Donofrio said.
 "Much like Safeway has done with their financial investment in the environmental business community, Wal-Mart apparently prefers customers buy farm-raised fish and seafood caught by foreign countries outside of U.S. waters, while denying individual anglers the ability to head down to the ocean to score a few fish for their own table," noted Donofrio.

 Wal-Mart pushes catch shares program -
 The Walton Family Foundation is also working "to create economic incentives for ocean conservation," while candidly pledging their support for "projects that reverse the incentives to fish unsustainably that exist in 'open access fisheries' by creating catch share programs," according to the official news release.
 A broad coalition of commercial and recreational fishing, consumer and environmental groups is opposing the catch shares programs being pushed by NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, a former vice-chair of the Board of Directors of Environmental Defense, because these programs amount to the privatization of public trust resources by concentrating fisheries in the hands of a few corporate hands. Wherever catch shares have been introduced, local fishing communities, fish populations and the environment have been devastated.
 "A catch share, also known as an individual fishing quota, is a transferable voucher that gives individuals or businesses the ability to access a fixed percentage of the total authorized catch of a particular species," according to Food and Water Watch (http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/fish-inc). "Fishery management systems based on catch shares turn a public resource into private property and have lead to socioeconomic and environmental problems. Contrary to arguments by catch share proponents – namely large commercial fishing interests – this management system has exacerbated unsustainable fishing practices."
 Donofrio emphasized, "Our local outfitters and tackle shops along the coast have had to face an immense challenge by going up against Wal-Mart's purchasing power during the last decade, but now that the Walton family is so up front about their opposition to open access fisheries, it's hard for me to believe that any sportsmen would ever be interested in shopping there again."
 "California anglers have been outraged to learn that money they spend at a Safeway grocery store might end up in the hands of anti-fishing groups like the EDF and the Ocean Conservancy, so I hope more anglers will join the national boycott by sending a message to Wal-Mart as well as Safeway," Martin added.
 Sam and Helen Walton launched their "modest retail business in 1962" with guiding principle of helping "increase opportunity and improve the lives of others along the way," according to the Walton Family Foundation website. It is that principle the foundation says, that makes them "more focused than ever on sustaining the Walton's timeless small-town values and deep commitment to making life better for individuals and communities alike."
 RFA said grassroots efforts to combat the corporate anti-fishing, pro-privatization agenda are more than just an uphill climb.
 "The EDF catch share coffers are already filled to the top, while Pew Charitable Trusts has billions in reserve," Donofrio said. "The individual anglers and local business owners are being denied opportunity, and I hope the federal trade representatives are willing to get onboard with their support of real small-town values." He emphasized that the Ocean Conservancy and EDF combined received more than $10 million in Walton Family Foundation grants in 2010.

 EDF: RFA's contention is 'just wrong' -
 The EDF public relations department was quick to respond in defense of their $7,086,054 Walton Family Foundation donation.
 Tom Lalley, communications director for the Oceans Program of the Environmental Defense Fund, claimed, "RFA’s contention that the contribution in question was made by Wal-Mart is just wrong."
 "The contribution was made by the Walton Family Fund and not Wal-Mart," Lalley told http://www.fishnewseu.com. "These are two different entities. There is no connection between the two other than the fact that the fund’s money comes from private holdings of the same Waltons who started and managed Wal-Mart, but none of the money comes from the existing company. So it was the family, and specifically the family’s foundation, that made a contribution for sustainable fishing and ocean conservation, and not the store."
 According to RFA managing director Jim Hutchinson, Jr., the marketing executives at EDF are "some of the best in the ‘astroturfing’ business," but he calls Lalley’s claims "almost comical."
 “So I leave you a $1,000 bill in the cereal aisle at Wal-Mart, tucked under a box of sugar coated corn flakes, does that mean that Wal-Mart actually gave you the $1,000, or maybe EDF would argue it was really a contribution from Tony the Tiger himself,” Hutchinson laughed.
 “The heirs to the corporate fortune have spent two decades successfully building back their stake in this publicly held company to the point they now own over 50% of the Wal-Mart operation. The Walton Family Foundation is Wal-Mart, and the Walton family itself is making billions in our local communities, so to say that the two are separate entities is simply ridiculous. Actually expecting us to believe that statement is borderline insanity,” Hutchinson emphasized.

 Commercial fishermen join recreational anglers in denouncing Wal-Mart's support of privatization -
 Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA), praised the RFA for criticizing Wal-Mart's contributions to ocean privatization efforts and welcomed the organization's call for a Wal-Mart boycott.
 "Wal-Mart is wrong on this issue, just as it has been in the past on labor and community issues," said Grader. "The privatization of public trust resources is the antithesis of conservation."
 "I've been boycotting Wal-Mart for decades and it's absolutely great that recreational and commercial fishermen are together on this," noted Grader.
 It is worth noting that Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy, the two top recipients of Walton Family Foundation funds, are known throughout the world for their top-down "environmental" programs that run roughshod over local communities to achieve their corporate greenwashing goals.

 Corporate environmental NGO 'leaders' support peripheral canal -
 The Nature Conservancy in California is a strong backer of state and federal plans to build a peripheral canal or tunnel to export more Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta water to corporate agribusiness and southern California water agencies. Peripheral canal opponents, including recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, Delta residents, family farmers and California Indian Tribes, believe the construction of the canal would result in the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other imperiled fish populations.
 The Walton Family Foundation's contribution to Conservation International is no surprise, since Rob Walton is chairman of the executive committee of Conservation International's Board of Directors (http://www.conservation.org/about/team/bod).
 Also serving on the Board of Conservation International is Stewart A. Resnick, Chairman of the Board of Roll International Corporation, who is the largest tree fruit grower in the world and one of the biggest recipients of subsidized water from the imperiled California Delta. While making a tidy profit from selling his subsidized water back to the public, Resnick has waged a relentless campaign to divert more water from the Delta through the peripheral canal and has done everything in his power to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt and other listed species.
 Resnick's Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, an agribusiness "Astroturf" group, has also spent a great deal of effort in litigation attempting to eradicate striped bass from the Bay-Delta Estuary by falsely claiming that "striped bass," rather than water exports, are the cause of Delta smelt and salmon declines. For more information, go to: http://blogs.alternet.org/danbacher/2011/11/09/public-voices-100-percent-opposition-to-striped-bass-reduction-plan.

 MLPA Initiative Background:
 The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) is a law, signed by Governor Gray Davis in 1999, designed to create a network of marine protected areas off the California Coast. However, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2004 created the privately-funded MLPA "Initiative" to "implement" the law, effectively eviscerating the MLPA.
 The "marine protected areas" created under the MLPA Initiative fail to protect the ocean from oil spills and drilling, water pollution, military testing, wave and wind energy projects, corporate aquaculture and all other uses of the ocean other than fishing and gathering.
 The MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Forces that oversaw the implementation of "marine protected areas" included a big oil lobbyist, marina developer, real estate executive and other individuals with numerous conflicts of interest. Catherine Reheis Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association who is pushing for new oil drilling off the California coast, served as the chair of the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast.
 The MLPA Initiative operates through a controversial private/public "partnership funded by the shadowy Resources Legacy Fund Foundation. The Schwarzenegger administration authorized the implementation of marine protected areas under the initiative through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the foundation and the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG).

Banker's Dictatorship over the U$A

2011-11-28 "Democrat Calls for Hearing on 'Secret' Bank Loans from Federal Reserve" by Vicki Needham from "The Hill (Washington, DC)"
A top House Democrat is calling for a hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke following a report that the central bank secretly committed more than $7 trillion to save banks during the financial crisis.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings (Md.) sent a letter on Monday [http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/images/stories/20111128_EEC_to_Issa_Hearing_Request.pdf] to panel Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) requesting the committee look into how banks "benefitted from trillions of dollars in previously undisclosed government loans provided at below-market rates."
“Many Americans are struggling to understand why banks deserve such preferential treatment while millions of homeowners are being denied assistance and are at increasing risk of foreclosure,” Cummings said.
The request comes on the heels of a Bloomberg report [http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-28/secret-fed-loans-undisclosed-to-congress-gave-banks-13-billion-in-income.html] that said the Fed secretly committed more than $7 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the nation’s top financial institutions, and that these banks "reaped an estimated $13 billion of income" on the below-market rates.
"Unfortunately, officials from many of these financial institutions declined to comment about these loans, including officials from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley," Cummings writes.
Information about the loans was withheld from Congress as lawmakers debated and passed the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, Cummings said. Banks also failed to disclose the information to their shareholders.
Kenneth D. Lewis, then CEO of Bank of America, told shareholders on Nov. 26, 2008, that the company was “one of the strongest and most stable major banks in the world.” According to the Bloomberg report, he failed to disclose that “his Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm owed the central bank $86 billion that day,” Cummings writes.
The Bloomberg report disclosed that total assets at the largest six banks increased by 39 percent and executive compensation increased by 20 percent in the past five years, or by more than $146 billion in compensation in 2010. 
This “secret financing helped America’s biggest financial firms get bigger and go on to pay employees as much as they did at the height of the housing bubble," according to economists cited in the report.
Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said in the report that “getting loans at below-market rates during a financial crisis — is quite a gift.” 
When Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act, it required the Government Accountability Office to conduct a one-time audit of all loans and other financial assistance from Dec. 1, 2007, to July 21, 2010. 
The report analyzed assistance — including mortgage-backed securities purchased through open market operations — with peak outstanding balances of only $3.5 trillion.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fascists against Occupy Seattle!

2011-11-27 "Community college bosses hold sham vote to kick out Occupy Seattle; Labor, community and students stand in solidarity" by Jane Cutter
On Nov. 23, in a sham of a democratic process, the Board of Trustees of the Seattle Community College voted unanimously to pass an emergency rule solely intended to shut down the Occupy Seattle encampment at the Seattle Central Community College campus. Following a national trend of excuses for attacks on Occupy camps, the stated reason for the shutdown was “health and safety concerns.”
Occupy Seattle mobilized to pack the emergency meeting held at noon the day before the Thanksgiving holiday. Only about half of the many people who signed up to speak in the “public comment” session were permitted to speak.
Among those who spoke in support of Occupy Seattle were the leaders of the campus unions, Karen Strickland of the Seattle Community College Federation of Teachers and Rodolfo Franco of the Washington Federation of State employees. Also speaking out were SCCC students affiliated with Occupy and community-based Occupiers.
Numerous members and supporters of Occupy Seattle spoke, pointing out that they had sought to work with college administration; the administration responded by attacking Occupy Seattle in the media. Occupy Seattle supporters pointed out that they, the Occupy movement, were fighting against budget cuts to higher education and thus were fighting for the community college.
After closing down the public comment session over the objections of those who had been denied the right to speak, the Board showed a mainstream media news piece on Occupy Seattle about an alleged attempted sexual assault at the camp. Occupiers had discovered and interrupted the incident. The alleged perpetrator was not a camp resident; in fact, he had been asked to stay away from the camp previously due to earlier problems.
The college administration is shamelessly exploiting legitimate concerns of women about violence and sexual harassment—concerns that are shared by women in the Occupy movement—as a reason to shut down the camp. Sexual harassment and assault as well as other forms of violence against women are endemic in our society and hardly unique to or more prevalent at Occupy encampments. 
Troy, an occupier, in addressing the concern about allegations of drug use at the camp (Occupy Seattle has adopted a no drugs/alcohol policy) pointed out that “there were drunks and junkies in Capitol Hill” long before Occupy Seattle moved its camp to the neighborhood. In fact, the South Lawn of SCCC was a known gathering site for drug dealers and users. Some of the conflicts that occurred at the camp had to do with the struggle to eradicate drugs from the site. Regardless of the source of the conflicts, the camp Peace and Safety committee has worked hard to resolve situations non-violently.
The policy of the Board of Trustees toward Occupy Seattle is not determined by safety and health concerns. These are mere convenient pretexts to suppress free speech activity and stifle the growing grassroots Occupy movement by a board that is hand-picked by the governor and which, faced with the grievances of a grassroots popular movement, will unequivocally side with the 1 percent.
After allowing members of the public a grand total of 17 minutes (one minute per person) to comment on the proposal, members of the board and administration were given unlimited time to utter innuendos and half-truths about Occupy.
Over and over again, they said that camping on campus was not part of the mission of the college—as if occupiers were just taking a vacation, sitting in their tents as Seattle's famous rainy season begins! They willfully ignored the point that occupying a public place is a means to the end of building a movement that, if victorious, will further the mission of the college to provide a quality public higher education.
There was one sign that the Board was on the defensive. Due to outrage over the recent incident in which 84-year-old Dorli Rainey and other non-violent protesters were pepper-sprayed and hit with bicycles by Seattle police, the board made it clear that they were not going to call for an immediate eviction of the camp. Chancellor Jill Wakefield stated that they would strive for “an orderly process” of transition. The emergency rule must be filed in the state capitol of Olympia on the next business day, which is Monday, Nov. 28. Once that has occurred, college staff will supposedly work with Occupy Seattle to help them make a transition to a new location.
Many options are now on the table as to how this movement will proceed locally. Many Seattle occupiers plan to go to Olympia Nov. 28 for the Occupy the Capitol protest against state budget cuts. Some may join the encampment there, which for now is being left alone by the local and state authorities. Currently, a small group of people who had been occupying at SCCC have independently taken over an abandoned house in the Central District and are occupying it with an eye to turning it into a community center—such occupations have a long and proud tradition in Seattle. Local organizers are mulling over other ideas as well.
Returning to camp after the meeting, the rain continued to pour down in near record-breaking quantities. Supporters from the community were dishing up turkey with all the fixings. Water was puddling up on the brick steps leading down to the lawn area. Three of the canopies used for the information and medical tents were in a state of collapse due to the rain and wind. Thomas, an occupier, was spearheading an attempt to rebuild the information and medical tent areas using some new donated tents. However, they needed to first go get some pallets to lay under the tents to keep water from seeping up.
This reporter donated some zip ties, twine and a tarp to the effort. I also collected some completely soaked jackets and pants from Thomas, which were washed and returned dry later that day. As I came into the darkened camp with the bag of laundry, the rain had abated. I found Thomas and others working at the site of the medical tent. About 15 pallets had been laid down and they were removing the broken skeleton of the old canopy. It was hard not to see symbolism in this scenario—despite efforts to crush it, Occupy continues. It is an embryonic form of a mass struggle that may ultimately clear away the wreckage of an exploitative society, and lay the foundation for a new society ruled by the 99 percent led by the working class.

Friday, November 25, 2011

2011-11-25 "Can moral nations abandon Palestine? UN membership for Palestine should hasten peace and avert an oncoming catastrophe" by Stephen Robert
The writer is co-founder of The Source of Hope Foundation, which provides food, water, health care, education and micro-finance opportunities to desperate populations. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relationsand was Chancellor of Brown University from 1998-2007.
The United States Congress is threatening to cut funds to UN agencies that admit Palestine as a state, along with roughly $500 million in USAID funds to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. That's on top of the $60 million the U.S. is withholding from UNESCO. The USAID mission for the West Bank and Gaza is preparing to dismiss half of its staff. For its part, Israel is withholding $100 million in tax receipts they collect for the Palestinian Authority.
Why does the United States punish the already beleaguered Palestinians for pursuing international recognition, for realizing that negotiating with a potent occupying force, backed by the world's sole superpower, simply isn't a winnable equation? The American government argues that peace can only come from direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. But Palestinian membership in the United Nations does not preclude negotiations. More likely, membership would bring a two-party accord closer by leveling the playing field, and internationalizing the negotiations beyond Washington and its partners in the Quartet, which have proved dismally ineffective.
America is hurting itself. It is not in the country's interest to weaken the United Nations or reduce its voice on environmental issues, nuclear proliferation, the fight against AIDS, malaria, hunger, etc. Much of the world no longer views the United States as a reliable or effective force for Middle East peace. They have lost the moral high ground which served them and the world so well over the last 60 years.
Though a superpower, no longer is America seen as a benevolent protector of human rights.
Can a moral nation withhold humanitarian aid from 4 million desperate people?
Four million Palestinians will not forever tolerate living in an open air prison, no matter what Congress says. An infant born in the occupied territories today faces a life of hopelessness and desperation. Citizens of nowhere, they cannot leave the territories, nor are many foreigners allowed entry. Palestinians are often denied adequate water, medical care and work opportunities, to name a few missing human rights, yet the world dithers while watching a train wreck in slow motion. Like the Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans, Yemenites, Bahrainis and Syrians, the Palestinians will demand their freedom. The longer we wait for the tipping point, the more likely its arrival will be ugly. Hopefully it won't be violent as well.
U.S. President Barack Obama's Cairo speech in 2009 gave hope to the world's 1 billion Muslims that the United States recognized them as full partners in addressing the great global issues. Obama must make good on that hope. Supporting retribution against the brutalized Palestinians diminishes the credibility of his elegant words. After decades of supporting abhorrent dictators in the Arab world, Washington now gives sustenance to the fledgling democratic movements that replaced them. Are the Palestinians an exception?
I was raised to be a strong supporter of Israel. I have been, and I remain one. Yet any system that denies millions of people their freedom is doomed to fail. The question is how many more lives will be ruined, how many more futures stunted, before America's politicians see the light. True supporters of Israel must not stay silent. They must remember that the strongest often stand alone.
A real friend does not let their friends drive drunk, as Thomas Freidman wrote. It is time for the moral majority to speak out, and demand that we stand on the side of freedom, equality and human rights; just as the Obama promised in Cairo.
UN membership for Palestine should hasten peace and avert an oncoming catastrophe. "We can easily forgive a child for being afraid of the dark," Plato said. "The tragedy is when grown people are afraid of the light." Only a Palestinian state can bring light to a Jewish-Arab conflict that has stained both peoples for too long. It is time we stopped being afraid.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

2011-11-24 "Resistance Up Against Nationwide Attacks" by Andy Zee
Andy Zee is the spokesperson for Revolution Books in New York City, and he is a writer for Revolution  newspaper, where this article first appeared (November 27, 2011 issue)
Two days before the two-month anniversary of the start of Occupy Wall Street, in the dead of night, Mayor Bloomberg cleared OWS from Zuccotti Park, in what mainstream media called a military operation with secret training and massive force. Encampments in Oakland, California; Portland, Oregon; University of California Berkeley; University of California Davis; Columbia, South Carolina; San Diego, California; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Albany, New York; Salt Lake City, Utah; St. Louis, Missouri; and Denver, Colorado were assaulted and demolished in what has become increasingly clear were coordinated raids and an emerging ruling class consensus to stop the movement by shutting down its very essence—occupying public space in the face of the symbols of government, finance, and authority, spaces where people have left their “normal lives” behind and are putting their lives on the line every day to oppose and expose the brutal inequities of 21st century USA and in so doing enabling people to imagine, to think, and dream of new possibility.
 On the November 17th two month anniversary, tens of thousands protested in cities around the country and the world. They were inspired by the defiant stand of the Occupy movement against the deep suffering the economic crisis has wrought, the enormous inequalities in the U.S., and a broad feeling that the political system works against the people's interest. They were propelled as well by outrage at the massive police attacks that evicted Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park as well as several other occupations nationally. The day ended in New York City with many thousands jubilantly marching over the Brooklyn Bridge.
We sat packed around a table in a famous pizza parlor under the Brooklyn Bridge late Thursday night, November 17, Wall Street Occupiers and revolutionaries—hungry and cold, really half frozen. Looking around the table there was a sense of accomplishment mixed with a battle-hardened determination reflected in our faces. We had just been through a day of struggle declaring that OWS was not over, defiant in the face of the police clearing of Zuccotti Park, joyous in learning about the protests around the country and the world. We spoke about the long day, the young Occupiers telling of having turned a corner in their lives and not wanting to go back. Sixteen hours ago, as dawn broke, these new comrades in struggle were part of surrounding the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)—facing an army of cops, the young woman with us had been hit hard in the chest by a pig billy club and was still short of breath, one of the guys had been grabbed by the neck and a third beaten several times by rabid police who beat so often and freely that it was clearly the orders of the day. Somehow no one in this group got arrested in this morning.
As they told of the day, recounting the miles they marched, their tales wove with stories of their lives: a midwestern tale of watching a mother die of cancer because the family had no money or insurance; of a young Black man working without any prospects of a meaningful future in Cleveland; and a Black veteran from Brooklyn telling of walking into stores and watching shoppers clutch their bags tight while security kept an eye as if he were a criminal or alien. People spoke of lives of not being treated like a thinking human being and then in two short months being part of changing the world, standing up against all that is wrong—from getting arrested twice for doing nonviolent civil disobedience to STOP “Stop and Frisk,” to living outdoors in the shadow of Wall Street, claiming a patch of land for humanity and thereby exposing the venality and the huge injustices of this system.
The stories of their lives are echoed as you travel through the Occupy movement—by those living in the encampments and the tens of thousands more who visit and support. Students crushed by debt with no job prospects. From the long-term homeless to the recently foreclosed, from a young woman in the media tent in San Francisco volunteering while dying of cancer because she couldn't get insurance, to young doctors outraged and frustrated with how the system prevents them from really providing care for their patients, the Occupations have become magnets and poles of people saying Enough! This must change.
On the evening of November 17, as we marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, there was a giant projection on the Verizon Building that flashed messages of the 99% that were marching in 30 other cities. In New York the attempt to shut down the NYSE met an army of cops who effectively turned Wall Street into a totally locked down militarized zone with barricades, checkpoints, helicopters, and special vehicles. Police wantonly beat protesters with fists and billy clubs—with 170 arrested in the morning, and another 70+ throughout the day.
By mid-afternoon, thousands of college and high school students had walked out of school. Led by a banner that said “Revolution Generation,” students marching past the New School [university] looked up to see more banners hanging from upper floor windows saying, “Occupied.” This has begun spreading to campuses around the country from Ivy League to community colleges. University of California Berkeley became a flash point as a YouTube of police beating protesting students went viral. Students walked out at Harvard University and a tent city sprang up. Video can be seen online of police viciously pepper-spraying students directly in the face who are sitting in at UC Davis, as hundreds of others watch in shock. Swelling the ranks of the thousands who gathered at dusk to march over the Brooklyn Bridge were several unions, with a couple of City Council members and the local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) leaders getting arrested in a nonviolent civil disobedience at the beginning of the march.
The massive turnouts and determined protests in many other cities underscored that the Occupy movement has captured the imagination and aspirations for change of large numbers of people.
It has forced the enormous inequity and brutal injustice of life for millions, from the bottom of society that reaches up deep into the crushed middle class, into the consciousness of and discussion throughout society broadly. Every night for weeks now, local and national news has reported on economic and political inequality; in the actions of OWS, the defenders as well as those who would reform capitalism have argued their cases in op-eds while in the streets and the encampments, protesters were debating and imagining many different ways the world could be.
Revolution, once far from people's lips and minds, is now being discussed. Communist revolutionaries have been in the swirl—a Revolution Working Group was formed at OWS, hundreds of copies of Bob Avakian's BAsics  and dozens of Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)  have been sold, and revolutionary communists have spoken at large mic-check gatherings and in small groups. On Thursday morning, very close to the New York Stock Exchange, a banner was hoisted on the side of a building that said: “For a Future Without Wall Streets—We Are Building a Movement for Revolution—revcom.us” in defiance of police orders and to the cheers of the crowd.
 All of this has been forced into the air because people put their lives on hold, occupied space in the eye of the empire, and set about each day to work together in new ways while taking to the streets to expose and fight against what this capitalist system is doing to humanity and the planet.
Zuccotti Park is one city block of inhospitable corporate marble, yet for two months it came alive with hundreds and thousands debating and acting for something new every day—the library, the collective empowerment of mic check, the communal kitchen, the continual dialogue, the hard yet exhilarating work of discussing the course of action for the day, the tents, and the beat of the drums with all of their rogue spirit and all the controversy, with efforts by the City Council to restrict their constant rhythm that served as yet another way to attempt to stifle this movement.
All of this has captured the imagination of millions.  It has stood in defiance and opposition to the dog-eat-dog of so-called normalcy of life in this most parasitically perverse of cities and cultures. Tour buses came to OWS from around the world. Teachers brought their classes, and one of the young revolutionaries told of how he always made a conscious effort to ask the kids what they thought of OWS.
Occupy Wall Street in its actual and its larger metaphorical occupation of this space, at this time, began to exert a beginning alternative authority that was felt around the world. This is what the capitalist class and their whole state apparatus cannot tolerate. OWS and the occupations around the world enabled people to peel the crust from their eyes that was skewing their vision so they believed that the world could never change, to think, to dream of a better world, to stand up and assert our humanity, defying the status quo, carving open the possibility that things don't have to be this way. All this now hangs in the balance.
All this political initiative needs to be pushed forward, opening up broader and deeper resistance and critical questioning. And this too will continue to have impact and import on the movement we are building for the revolution that is needed to put an end to all forms of oppression and exploitation.  In Bob Avakian's statement, “ A Reflection on the ‘Occupy' Movement: An Inspiring Beginning... And the Need to Go Further”—which really needs to be circulated widely, Avakian says:
“The main—and, up to this point at least, the overwhelming—aspect of these ‘Occupy' protests has been their very positive thrust: in mobilizing people to stand up against injustice and inequality and the domination of economic, social and political life, and international relations, by a super-rich elite class whose interests are in opposition to those of the great majority of people; and in contributing in significant ways to an atmosphere in which people are raising and wrangling with big questions about the state of society and the world and whether and how something much better can be brought into being. It will be a very good thing if these protests continue to spread and further develop, with this basic thrust and this positive impact. And these ‘Occupy' protests can be a significant positive factor in contributing to the revolution that is needed—IF this is approached, by those with the necessary scientific communist understanding, in accordance with that understanding and the strategic orientation and approach that flows from it... [and]... masses of people involved in them are won to, become firmly convinced of, the need to develop the struggle further, into a movement for revolution, with the necessary understanding and organization—yes, including the necessary structure and leadership—that is required to finally sweep away this system and bring into being a radically new system with the aim of ultimately abolishing all exploitation and oppression.” ( See full statement. [http://revcom.us/a/250/avakian_on_the_occupy_movement-en.html])
The question of whether and how Occupy Wall Street will continue is sharply posed. People continue to gather at Zuccotti Park, but tents, sleeping bags, even guitars and bicycles were not allowed the day after  the mass protest. And NYPD detectives prowled NYC churches that are housing some of the Occupiers, counting and observing. All this must be opposed with great determination and creativity. Will the outpouring of broad support in the streets on November 17 be marshalled to re-establish an occupation, or will it be dissipated, marginalized, or channeled into forms of protest that no longer put the ruling class on the defensive, that no longer galvanize people into active opposition to the injustices of the system, that no longer throw up big questions about the direction of society?
There are real stakes in standing up to the attacks and continuing to occupy space. Think about the effect if the movement is able to advance through the current challenges, forcing the ruling class to pay a political price, wrenching more space from which to oppose all that this system does to the people here and around the world. Think about how fighting forward through this can further undermine the legitimacy of an illegitimate, oppressive system. On the other hand, if these recent assaults result in squelching the Occupations one way or another, this will serve to shove the aspirations and anger of so many back under the rug.
The ruling class finds it an intolerable anathema to have the brutal reality of their system exposed through people stepping out of politics as usual and exerting even an embryonic alternate authority. Mayor Bloomberg, as arrogant and condescending as ever, tried to trivialize OWS while planning to crush it, opining: “It's fun and it's cathartic... it's entertaining to go and blame people”—meaning himself and his Wall Street cronies. Even when paying his obligatory, absurd lip service to First Amendment rights to protest while ordering massive and brutal police repression, Bloomberg could not conceal his disdain for the message and people of OWS. The New York Post  and New York Daily News  were filled for weeks with lurid and vile depictions of OWS. Long Island Congressman Peter King, echoing the Nazis' descriptions of Jews as vermin, or the KKK speaking of Black people, said: “These are people who were living in dirt, these were people who were involved with drugs, there was violence, there was rape ... they're angry people who are losers who are on the outside and screaming...”
It must be said that the evictions of the Occupy movement had absolutely nothing to do with public safety, concern for victims of sexual assault, prevention of crime, rules against tents, cleanliness or sanitation. Want to see vermin and filth—check out how well the New York Housing Authority does at keeping public housing fit for human beings. OWS mobilized people to form security, sanitation, and recycling committees that worked to deal with acute social problems in ways which actually serve and respect the humanity of those involved—with an approach precisely the opposite of what the NYPD and city agencies are able to do within the confines of a system where maximizing profit determines what will be done, and where the labor of people is viewed as a commodity to be exploited or discarded.
All of the vitriol about filth and crime was marshalled to develop pretext and garner support for forcefully bringing the full force of state power to wipe out OWS. When you see clubs swinging into the bellies of students at University of California, Berkeley, or rupturing the spleen of a veteran from the war in Iraq in Oakland, the pepper-spraying in the mouth and face of a young woman in Portland and of an 84-year-old woman in Seattle, the use of sonic cannon developed for war zones deployed to evict OWS from Zuccotti Park, and police with assault rifles and paramilitary uniforms in several cities, you witness the brutal strong arm of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, the capitalist class and their state apparatus. Lessons must be learned.
The “1%,” to use that term as evocative of the capitalist class, has a monopoly on the legitimate use of armed force and they will wield it any and every time they feel their interests and rule fundamentally threatened. The police are not part of the 99% but exist only to serve and protect the interests of Capital against all those they exploit and oppress. Thus far, their repression of OWS has been met by more and broader resistance, from the general strike in Oakland to the November 17 protests. Now, with several of the key Occupations temporarily evicted, others under daily assault, the movement needs to steadfastly rise to meet new challenges.
There are those who look at this movement and see opportunity to advance narrow agendas of seeking some reform to benefit a few—striving to bring the movement up under the wing of a section of the ruling class.  Others look at the power of the state and seek an easier path.
These views reflect and even emanate from those in power. Oakland liberal Mayor Jean Quan who ordered the brutal evacuation of Occupy Oakland after revealing that she was part of a 18-city conference call to develop strategy for the evictions, said: “...what I think you're starting to see is that the Occupy movement is looking for more stability. I spent a lot of last week talking to peaceful demonstrators, ones who wanted to separate themselves in my city away from the anarchist groups who had been looking for a confrontation with the police.”
The protests on November 17 across the country targeted bridges as symbolic of the crumbling infrastructure of the U.S. A potent symbol, yet also one that dovetails neatly with the Democratic Party's efforts to corral the Occupy movement to serve its objectives. “The McClatchy Report,” the website of a large newspaper chain in the U.S., wrote: “The protests Thursday in many cities included bridges as a backdrop—mirroring President Barack Obama's call for Congress to boost the economy by spending money on public projects. Indeed, the Washington protesters appeared at the same bridge where Obama appeared earlier this month to press Congress to pass his $447 billion jobs package, which calls for spending billions on road and bridge repair.”
Outpourings of protest where the goal increasingly becomes putting pressure on Congress or City Hall, and where tents become symbolic protest signs can ultimately only serve to channel the initiative away from what's urgently needed. Within the Occupy movement this can take the form of moving on from the encampments to working in communities for the illusion of tangible reforms. This is expressed in the pull to find some space to establish an encampment off to the side in a safe space—a micro protest that devolves into an ignorable part of protest ecology while imperialist plunder grinds on.
Bob Avakian writes in “ A Reflection on the ‘Occupy' Movement: An Inspiring Beginning... And The Need to Go Further :”
“As is demonstrated in the “Occupy” movement, there is a basis for a broad unity among these different sections of the people—in opposition to many of the manifestations of the oppressive and truly murderous nature of this system, and in a basic searching for a better way that human beings could relate to each other—but that unity cannot eliminate nor cancel out the reality and the effects of the profound inequalities that are so deeply rooted in this system and will continue to have force and effect so long as this system remains in power and its relations and dynamics set the fundamental and ultimate terms for things. This is yet another expression of the fact that nothing short of revolution, with a leadership grounded in a communist understanding and orientation, can fully penetrate to the depths of, let alone uproot, the relations that oppress and divide masses of people.”
 The national Occupy movement, with a concentrated expression at Occupy Wall Street in NYC, is at a crossroads that will require determination and creative strategies to build on and broaden while deepening the movement's stand against the whole way that capitalism is destroying people and the planet.
11/28 NYC PSC Calls For Mobilization Against Police Attacks And Tuition Hikes
from Sándor John, adjunct activist at Hunter College [s_an (@) msn.com] (writing in a personal capacity)
...The Professional Staff Congress -- our union -- has called to "mobilize our members" this coming Monday, November 28 starting at 4:00 p.m. in front of Baruch College at Lexington Avenue and 25th Street.
Large-scale solidarity is needed in response to the brutality that CUNY management and security (together with the NYPD) unleashed against CUNY students who were peacefully protesting tuition hikes at last Monday's Board of Trustees meeting, which was held at Baruch.
Defending CUNY students, defending the right to protest, standing up for unionism against the Board of Trustees, against tuition hikes and police brutality -- these are vital issues. (See posting below.)
Let's work together to make Monday massive -- a mass labor/student/community mobilization.
The union and others must reach out to the rest of city labor to come to Baruch en masse on Monday at 4.
Student organizations throughout CUNY and at other schools need to organize intensively to bring masses of student on Monday. GAs and other organizing bodies need to move fast to make sure this happens.
Outreach to community and activist groups fed up with police brutality and racism; with school closings and educational colonialism, tuition hikes and privatization -- to come massively on Monday to Baruch at 4:00 p.m.
Let's make Monday's protest a massive assertion of our rights.

P.S. If anyone asks why, tell them to watch these:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2011-11-23 "Destruction of Occupy Wall Street 'People's Library' draws ire; Mayor Bloomberg accused of waging 'crusade to destroy a conversation' as nearly 3,000 books lost in Zuccotti Park raid" from "[London] Guardian" newspaper
When police seized an estimated 5,000 books from Occupy Wall Street's "People's Library" during the eviction of the camp at Zuccotti Park on 15 November, it drew condemnation from a host of writers and organisations, including the American Library Association and author Salman Rushdie.
The staff of Michael Bloomberg, the New York mayor who ordered the eviction, attempted to defuse the row by promising that property from Zuccotti Park "including the OWS library" was safely stored at a sanitation department garage and could be collected.
But when the librarians arrived to survey what remained of the books, some signed copies given by authors, including one donated the previous day by Philip Levine, the US poet laureate, they found "it was clear the books had been treated as trash", they said.
At an emotional press conference on Wednesday, the librarians laid the torn and damaged books they were able to recover from the garage on a table taking up much of a cramped room in an office block in Madison Avenue.
It was a sorry sight. Only 1,273 books - a third of the stock - were returned to them, they said, and around a third of those were damaged beyond repair. Only about 800 are still usable. About 2,900 books are still unaccounted for.
The librarians, authors and supporters spoke of the loss of what had become a potent symbol of the Occupy movement and called on Bloomberg to restore the library and a public space in which people can use it.
Norman Seigel, the former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union and civil rights attorney who chaired the meeting, said he was not aware of any other instance where a city or state had destroyed a library.
"History informs us that when books are burned there is almost immediately or subsequently universal condemnation of that act. Here, the Bloomberg adminstration lost, damaged and possibly destroyed books. That is wrong."
Seigel described the library as an impressive catalogue of books, including titles such as Shakespeare's Macbeth and Othello, Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, the autobiography of Andrew Carnegie and even Bloomberg's own work, "Bloomberg on Bloomberg".
Seigel called on the mayor to replace "every single book" and to provide a space for a library. He said: "Bloomberg's administration needs to acknowledge that wrong has been committed and that should never happen again in this great city. We also want space for the People's Library."
One by one, the activists involved in building the library spoke of what it meant for the movement.
Mandy Hink, a professional librarian said: "I poured my heart and soul into this library. The heart of this movement is ideas and literature and sharing. The destruction of the library is an attempt to silence and destroy our movement. What type of people are we if we can't create a public space where we can share books and ideas with each other?"
Daniel Norton, a student in library science from the University of Maine at Augusta, said the library was "the creation of a community through a conversation and sharing ideas."
He accused Bloomberg of a "crusade to destroy a conversation" where people came to engage with each other.
William Scott, a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, a univeristy where Bloomberg studied and has a hall named after him, said: "This man threw away so many precious books. They embodied all the values that we struggle to defend in our country."
Scott, who is spending his sabbatical with Occupy, has told of how during the raid, he watched as Stephen Boyer, a poet and OWS librarian, read poems aloud from the Occupy Wall street poetry anthology to the riot police [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/nov/23/peopleslibrary.wordpress.com].
Writing in the Nation [http://www.thenation.com/article/164766/peoples-library-occupy-wall-street-lives], Scott said: "As they pushed us away from the park with shields, fists, billy clubs and tear gas, I stood next to Stephen and watched while he yelled poetry at the top of his lungs into the oncoming army of riot police. Then, something incredible happened. Several of the police leaned in closer to hear the poetry. They lifted their helmet shields slightly to catch the words Stephen was shouting out to them, even while their fellow cops continued to stampede us."
He recounted how the next day, an officer who had been guarding the entrance to Zuccotti Park said he was touched by the poetry and moved at how they cared enough about books to risk arrest to defend them.
Books were not the only items destroyed in the raid. One activist said she had never seen a computer come out of the sanitaion department that was not destroyed.
Gideon Oliver, a lawyer form the New York chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, described the destruction of the library as "illegal and unconscionable" and said they were looking into ways it might be addressed.
Watch video of the NYPD and Dept. of Sanitation destroying the OWS People's Library tent and throwing away all the books. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTkUjQwHf4I

NYCMayorsOffice 2011-11-15 Twitter
Property from #Zuccotti, incl #OWS library, safely stored @ 57th St Sanit Garage; can be picked up Weds yfrog.com/nzdr7ndj

2011-11-23 "The GOP’s Oath To The One Percent" by "ThinkProgress War Room"
 One Oath to Rule Them All -
You’d think the oath that mattered most to our elected leaders would be this one:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."
Republicans, however, seem to be in thrall to an entirely different oath:
"I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."
That is the oath to Republican lobbyist Grover Norquist that almost every single Republican member of Congress and every single Republican presidential contender (except Jon Huntsman) has taken [http://s3.amazonaws.com/atrfiles/files/files/091411-federalpledgesigners(1).pdf].

Why does it matter?
Let’s take the example of the super committee. Here’s Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), one of the Democrats who served on the committee, explaining how Republican lobbyist Grover Norquist was the “13th member” of the super committee [http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/11/21/373269/supercommittee-norquist-13th-member/] and how his so-called “taxpayer protection pledge” solidified the GOP’s continued unwillingness to make the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share:
Kerry: “But unfortunately, this thing about the Bush tax cuts and the pledge to Grover Norquist keeps coming up. Grover Norquist has been the 13th member of this committee without being there. I can’t tell you how many times we hear about ‘the pledge, the pledge.’ Well all of us took a pledge to uphold the Constitution and to full and faithfully and well-execute our duties and I think that requires us to try and reach an agreement.”
And, as Grover Norquist proudly told 60 Minutes this past Sunday [http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7389006n], no Republican has voted for an increase in individual income tax rates since 1990 — 21 years ago.

What It Means: An Oath Of, By, and For the 1 Percent -
The GOP’s oath to Grover Norquist has serious practical consequences — consequences that are bad for our country. Here’s just a few examples of what Republicans oppose en masse as a result of the oath they apparently hold most dear:
* Republicans oppose making the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share
* Republicans oppose making huge corporations pay their fair share (or even any taxes at all in some cases)
* Republicans oppose ending unfair tax loopholes that allow millionaires and billionaires to pay a lower tax rate than middle class Americans
* Republicans oppose ending unfair handouts to hedge fund billionaires
* Republicans oppose ending tens of billions of dollars in handouts to Big Oil
* Republicans oppose ending unfair tax loopholes that pay companies to ship jobs overseas
* Republicans oppose ending unfair tax loopholes for vacation homes and yachts
* Republicans oppose ending unfair and ridiculous tax loopholes for things like wealthy horse breeders or corporate jets
And in these deficit-obsessed times, we know that unfair government handouts to millionaires, oil companies, and giant corporations have to be made up by cutting spending elsewhere in the budget. So refusing to make everyone pay their fair share means programs that benefit the other 99 Percent each and every day get cut deeper as a result of the taxpayer-funded handouts going to the top 1 Percent.
IN ONE SENTENCE:  The only oath our elected leaders should take is to the Constitution, not one to a Republican lobbyist who embodies an unfair system rigged to benefit the top 1 Percent.