Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No Country For Sane Men - I Hear America Crying

No Country For Sane Men

  No Country For Sane Men
    One Man's Journey Into The Mind Of America

Last evening I watched a live feed from the Occupation in Oakland, California, wherein Mayor Jean Quang ordered the Oakland Police Department to fire 'bean bags', rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades and volleys of tear gas into a crowd of several thousand peaceful demonstrators. The police responded to say that they did so because a protester threw paint at a police officer and refused to disperse from a public street where they had every right to be.

The Oakland police then said they did not fire rubber bullets or flash-bang grenades even though, for the latter at least, thousands watched them do it live. From the police report:
Q. Did the Police deploy rubber bullets, flash-bag grenades?
A. No, the loud noises that were heard originated from M-80 explosives thrown at
Police by protesters. In addition, Police fired approximately four bean bag rounds
at protesters to stop them from throwing dangerous objects at the officers.
See this video: Does it look like demonstrators were throwing M80s? And this one, right at the 26 second mark.

The Oakland police are absolutely full of shit. They've lied. No surprise there as they represent the monied, the powerful and The System and their job is to maintain, not peace and order, but obedience.

Several hours later, as demonstrators milled around, police fired another volley of tear gas into the crowd: also live on camera.

And then, several hours later they did it again, live on camera.

What could possibly be going through Mayor Quang's mind? We may never know as politicians are famous for spewing bullshit when a straight, honest answer is required and especially when their backs are against the wall.

The Occupation Movement has always been about non-violence but the authorities in Oakland, California have shown they will use wanton violence against US citizens engaged in their 1st Amendment right to peacefully gather and demonstrate.

This event is not unlike British soldiers firing on demonstrating colonists on March 5, 1770 and it means the Occupation is winning.

We are the 99%.

Copyright © 2011 No Country For Sane Men
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

No Country For Sane Men - Five Easy Actions to Support the Occupation

No Country For Sane Men

  No Country For Sane Men
    One Man's Journey Into The Mind Of America

"In America today, 400 people have more wealth than the bottom 150 million combined. That’s not because 150 million Americans are pathetically lazy or even unlucky. In fact, Americans have been working harder than ever -- productivity has risen in the last several decades. Big business profits and CEO bonuses have also gone up. Worker salaries, however, have declined." ~ Sally Cohen


If you still believe the Occupy Wall Street movement is naught but a bunch of "dirty hippies" who are trying to create a Marxist state there are only two suggestions I have for you;
One, come with me downtown so you can see the truth for yourself and/or, 

Second, turn off FOXNews, change your radio station away from Limbaugh and Hannity and think for yourself.
Those most active in the Occupation are not your enemy for they are doing nothing more than expressing your oft-stated dissatisfaction with the way things have become over the past few years. This isn't about taxes. This isn't about liberal vs conservative. This isn't about national defense. It's not about capitalism. But it is about abuses of the system by those who have been able to purchase the government and use it for their own personal gain with the resulting loss of our Democracy to a "Corporatocracy"

(Note: Readers of my old column, "News That Matters", are no strangers to these stories as I've been writing about them for a decade.)

Building on my October 12th article on this subject, "Setting the Record Straight", and to answer the two most frequently asked questions I get I'll say this: the movement does not need a leader and it has no set of actual demands aside from a repair of the system which has allowed so many people to struggle in their day-to-day lives just to make ends meet. You take one step forward and the next thing you know your bank is charging you a fee to walk in the door or your health insurance premiums rise to a point where you either eat or not, keep the lights on or not, enroll your child in dance classes or not. And just wait until your heating bills come in this winter... Is this how to live the American dream?

The Occupy movement is about regaining the American Dream for the rest of us. It's as simple as that.

There's no hidden agenda. There's no socialism (though it wouldn't hurt). There's no dismantling of the government of the United States. None of that. Just a simple readjustment in the rules and there are few thinking people out there who could disagree.

Those who are camping out in cities and towns across the United States and around the world are the vanguard of a greater voice, yours. But they cannot stay out there and they cannot make progress unless you join them and take action. I know, I know, you're too busy. Bullshit. Make the time! This is all about you and your economic survival and if that's not important I don't know what is.

While I understand it's difficult-to-impossible for most of us to sleep in Zucotti Park there are a few simple things you can do to help make the changes we seek and to be active participants in the Occupation:

1) Visit an encampment or attend an event. If you work in New York city it's easy, just head downtown. If you work in Fishkill or thereabouts stop in at the Occupy Poughkeepsie encampment in Hulme Park at 72 Market Street. Any day, any time, any weekend day, make a visit to learn and show your support. If you live near where there is an Occupation encampment anywhere in the nation, go and go frequently. Just spend an hour and lend your physical body to the effort.

Of course, donations are essential but they don't have to be in cash. Warm clothing, an old sleeping bag or even a bag of apples or pretzels or a couple of pizzas will be much appreciated.

The next major event in the NY metro area is Occupy Central Park on November 11, 2011 and I'll bring you more details as they develop but there are marches and demonstrations each and every day in a city near you: Participate in one even if you just stand on the street and watch the parade go by. Be there.

2) Put a sign or sticker on your car that announces you are part of the 99%. There are places you can buy one but, like I did, just run one off on your printer and tape it to the inside of your rear window facing out. Mine simply says, 99%

Let people know they are not alone and when you spot one on another car you'll begin to see the breadth of this silent majority. If you own a brick and mortar store, put a sign in the window. Wear a button or lapel pin. Do something people can see.

3) Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. It does not have to be in support of the Occupation per se, but it should tackle something germane.

For example, your bank's increasing fees or the money corporations have used to buy our Democracy. What happened to fixing Wall Street? Where are the jobs we've been promised? The inexorable rise in college tuition costs (and anyone out there with a soon-to-be-college aged child is shaking in their boots as that day comes closer!). The abuse of the mortgage/foreclosure system. Anything that has been on your mind that speaks to the concentration of power in the hands of fewer and fewer people and your loss of control over your spending choices and the damned near impossible task of making ends meet. Letters are short, usually around 250 words and with most newspapers you can cut and paste and post online.

4) Quit your corporate bank. I did, and it was great. After battling with Bank of America for years over their fee structure (See: The $38 Billion Fee) I quit those thieving bastards and took my business to the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union and I could not be happier. I had no idea how nice it could be and you should experience the same. Whether it be a credit union or a non-corporate local bank, you'll be happy you made the move. And, if you do this before November 5th, you'll be participating in a mass movement that's happening right now, this very minute. See this link for help.

5) Spread the word! Learn what the Occupation is about but not from the talking heads and pompous asses who are paid to tell you what to think, but for yourself. Visit the website. Talk to those who have actually been to Zucotti Park or other encampments around the nation. Ask me!

Whatever or however, once you feel confident in your level of knowledge talk to someone who is not on our side and convince them of the importance of no longer being a Tory apologist for a failed political system but of joining the first genuine economic revolution to come along in more than 200 years.

You know you want to. And while I hate to sound like a Nike commercial, Just do it.

Here are some links to get you going:

General Inquiries:
Press Inquiries:
Help & Directions: +1 (877) 881-3020


Occupy Together

Watch the Occupation Live!

Occupy Wall Street

11 Things You Can Do to Help the 'Occupy Wall Street' Movement

The Occupation on Facebook


"Maybe it’s hard to see your best interests reflected in a sometimes rag-tag, inarticulate, imperfect group of protesters. But make no mistake about it: While horrendous inequality is not an American tradition, protest is.And if you’re part of the 99% of underpaid or unemployed Americans crushed in the current economy, the Occupy Wall Street protests are your best chance at fixing the broken economy that is breaking your back." ~ Sally Cohen

Copyright © 2011 No Country For Sane Men
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

No Country For Sane Men - October 12, 2011 - Setting the Record Straight

No Country For Sane Men

  No Country For Sane Men
    One Man's Journey Into The Mind Of America

The guy responsible:

Send Email. But be nice.
"Is it that radical an idea that human beings take care of one another?"   ~ Sign seen at Occupy Wall Street

"We have too many people out of work. We have a very uneven distribution of income. We have a very frustrated people, and I can understand their frustration." - Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard W. Fisher

"People are quite unhappy with the state of the economy and what’s happening.... Certainly, 9 percent unemployment and very slow growth is not a good situation."  - Ben Bernanke

“I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare,” - Mitt Romney

"If you read the newspapers today, I for one am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country." - Eric Cantor

October 12, 2011
The Real Columbus Day

Man oh man! have the Tories come up with a bunch of hooey to describe what the Occupy Wall Street movement is about. They have really outdone themselves this time with their lies and mis- and disinformation campaigns, sputtering as they are, but gaining strength as I write this.

And why would they be doing this? It's simple: they're finally afraid that the people are so freaking fed up that we've finally been pushed over the edge. That we finally have the truth written out for us in letters large enough even for the likes of Rush Limgaugh to read. Assuming Limbaugh could read.

If Republicans and Democrats don't kill this movement in a sea of lies the movement will kill them in a sea of outrage that is long overdue. And they're trying. Presidential candidate Herman Caine said, "Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks, if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself!" Well, with all due respect, screw him.

So here's the deal:

The folks down at Occupy Wall Street are not a rabble of hippies and trust-fund kids no matter what FOXNews and other Tories tell you.

They are anyone who is un- or underemployed and is fed up with the current economic malaise being borne on the backs of the middle classes while the super-rich keep trying to take more of what we no longer have.

They are people, gainfully employed, who are angry that the very men and women who intentionally destroyed the American empire walked away from that crime without punishment. How many of those guys have gone to jail? How many lost their jobs? And how many didn't get a multi-million dollar bonus - with your tax dollars? Right. You go to jail for stealing a loaf of bread but you don't for stealing billions of dollars? If you don't see something wrong with that you need electro-shock therapy and a visit to a Syrian prison.

They do not want to bring down capitalism. They want a serious repair of the current system which encourages the gathering of immense wealth at the expense of basic morality and community responsibility.

They do not want to take your wealth away from you. What they want is that if you're earning Big Bucks (say +$250,000 a year) that you feel the same pain as someone earning $50,000 a year feels when his tax bills come around. (I will get in to the 53% right-wing propaganda in another column). You have to admit that 25% of $50,000 is a lot more painful than 25% of $250,000 and if you can't make in on $250,000 a year you're living well over your means... and we should continue to subsidize that as we're doing now?

They do not want socialism. They want a capitalist system that is fair and responsible to the community as a whole.

They want the wealthy to pay into social security.

They want every American to have access to adequate and affordable health care.

They want an end to the $150 billion we spend each year - off budget - killing people for the sake of US Corporations.

They want every American to have access to affordable secondary education.

They want every American to be paid a wage that allows them to live with a modicum of security.

They want corporations to pay their damned taxes. Look, I'm behind but paying up. Why can't Bank of America or Exxon do the same?

They want the Republican Party to stop fucking around in Washington and start creating jobs.

They want the Democratic Party to stop fucking around in Washington and start creating jobs.

They want the President to grow a pair of balls.

They want social security and other safety nets to be in place for the future.

They want banks to stop raping and fee'ing us to death for their bad investment decisions.

They want "Too Big To Fail" to be erased from the language for the lie that it is.

They want corporations to be treated as corporations and not as people. If a corporation loses money or makes a risky investment they want those corporations to get the same Federal benefits you or I would get which is nothing. Zilch.

In other words, they want a decent, intelligent and well educated society where the gathering of wealth comes with personal and community responsibility.

Why anyone would be against any of those things is beyond me and in a recent poll 70% of America's wealthy said they'd be more than willing to pay more in taxes if those dollars were spent improving the economy. Why would the Tories misconstrue or hide that? But they are and we cannot let them get away with it anymore. There's a line drawn in the sand these days and that line is here -> | <-

If you get some time head down to Wall Street or the local version in your community and lend these folks a hand. Donate to their cause. Organize a solidarity demonstration in your town or county. Write a letter to your local newspaper. Call your Congressman and tell him you're sick and tired of his bullshit and finger-pointing. But whatever you do, DO SOMETHING. These folks are out there for you. Support them. Join them.


"I think they're really touching a nerve," Sen. Bernie Sanders said Tuesday of protests on Wall Street that have inspired demonstrations from Burlington, Vt., to Los Angeles. "The nerve is that the average American understands that as a result of the greed and the recklessness and the illegal behavior on Wall Street, these guys plunged us into the horrendous recession that we're in right now." Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke allowed that there was "excessive risk taking" by Wall Street when Sanders questioned him on Tuesday about the root causes of the recession and the concerns voiced by protesters. "They blame, with some justification, the financial sector with getting us into this mess," Bernanke told another member of the Joint Economic Committee. "I can't blame them," he added.
Copyright © 2011 No Country For Sane Men
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