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Maureen Dowd is not favorably impressed by Newt Gingrich. She says he's not as smart as he thinks he is. The line I find really interesting is this:
"Gingrich, a radical precursor to the modern Tea Party when he staged what conservatives considered the second American Revolution in the House in the ’90s...."

Is that what that was? Because if we're calling that a revolution, surely it was a mere counterrevolution to the New Deal, itself following a revolutionary war for workers' rights:

"They say in Harlan County there are no neutrals there."


I went looking for a vid of "Which Side Are You On?" and I found this one I'd missed before, from last December. Note that this is from before the Occupy Wall Street General Assembly got started this fall.


This following is from "Zeriel" on the Straight Dope MB:
I'll happily note [a professional trader] knows more about the technical aspects of some portions of financial trading. That doesn't make his analysis of the global situation or the crash timeline any more correct--as I said, this last little lecture series is pretty much just cementing my opinion of the idiocy of the people making these decisions. To me it's dead simple--it's morally equivalent to a family man maxing out his credit card at the casino because he's won a few times at the craps table and thinks he has a system.


I talk about my dad a lot in these discussions. Smart guy, but all horse sense. Decided that being a general store owner was his dream when he was a kid, did eight years in the Navy and two 'Nam tours to get the cash up, never asked anyone for a loan until he bought a house with 50% down, never carried a balance on his credit cards.

He's doing pretty well, has a house and a business and two cars completely paid off, owes no money to nobody.

He owns the only place to get groceries, fresh meat, and produce within 15 miles, in a poor Appalachia community where most everyone is on some kind of assistance.

If working hard at shitty jobs that are essential to the community paid as well as I keep hearing it does, he'd be Warren Buffet.

Instead he's busting his ass at 80-hour-weeks while in his 60s, and he's going to be doing it until he dies because his stock portfolios got killed twice in the last decade or so, mainly due to stupid decisions being made by people who make more money in a year than he's ever seen in his life (otherwise known as "market risk").

I've never know him to vote for a non-Republican (his truck STILL has a "Don't blame me, I voted Republican!" bumper sticker) but he's a supporter of OWS nowadays. THAT, more than anything else, should scare the hell out of some people.
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So apparently the day after I did my "Which Side Are You On?" post, Billy Bragg did another ad hoc rewrite:


But still it's time to keep that question in mind.

If the army is called out against us (and certainly the police are), there is a need to choose between the people and the command structure.

Oh, and this comment by a Paul Tioxon is brilliant:

If the wealthiest, the 1%, fall all over themselves to get elected into the terrible, awful, tax and spend government instead of taking their valuable time to make more money with the profits they have piled up for themselves, it is because the mechanism of state is the engine of capitalism as well as its sword and shield. The Koch brothers aren’t spending directly on candidates and astro turf groups on a local level because of the ineffectiveness of controlling the elected offices across the land from congressional districts, to governors mansions. Grover Norquist has not tirelessly and relentlessly lobbied politician after politician from offices high and low to sign a pledge to not raise taxes while in office and then hold a knife to their throats if they do not comply by primarying them and replacing them with more cooperative candidates.

If the goal of OWS and the Occupy Movement is not to take power, than what is it they are doing? While they inspire, motivate, and bring forth clarification of our politics from the level of talk show bullshit and readers digest patriotism, they also transmit the urgent need for a democratic change of the status quo. And that is to replace the people in office and then replace the policies of state and use the bureaucratic structure to defend the people operating out in the community as they build their lives, rebuild their broken dreams, and have a better life than the one they are faced with now.

The Occupy Movement is the lobbying effort of the people who can’t afford the rent on K Street. Who can’t afford the Gucci loafers, the high powered PR, the sumptuous restaurant meetings to wine and dine the officials who can make or break legislation. The Occupy Movement is the TV channel that the people can’t afford to preach the 700 gospel of conformity because no one donates money like bible cult members do to hear the same story retold for 2000 years, I guess they keep forgetting the ending. The Occupy movement is all the things that could not be done because the money making machine labels you as a failed artist, a loser that needs a bath, or some other tired, lame attack that crowded out the authentic discussions about what is needed by the public and replaced it with gay marriages, abortion and Obama bashing, right, left, middle of the road talentless Jay Leno observations about personalities instead of the policies in place that persist after each administration passes on into its presidential library and pyramid complex.

...If you want the rule of law, you need the mechanism of justice, the courts, the attorneys general, the oversight committees to operate to root out corruption, prosecute the law breakers, and put them in jail. If you want stable markets that contribute to the social order by producing prosperity for all of the people and not just the ones with the most net worth, you need to control the regulatory bodies. It all goes back to democratic participation in a democratically controlled republic. We do not have to fight to install that, it is already there, we do need to show up in great enough numbers to put candidates in place that will get our message and do what we say.
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Signs of the Times
1998 -- We're living in Okolona, Mississippi, at the center of the US particle-board furniture industry, surrounded by furniture factories. Chickasaw County has the third-highest employment rate in the state. Work is booming. All the parents of the students at the public high school where my husband works who want jobs have them. The better students also all have jobs. The teens always have money in their pockets for snacks, and all wear designer clothing.

2008 -- The factories have almost all moved to China. Chickasaw County now has the third-highest unemployment rate in the state. The adults are now working the minimum-wage stocking and fast food jobs their teenage children used to work. None of the teenagers can find a job. None of them have money in their pockets. Most of them only eat during the week when they're at school. They wear shorts, windbreakers, and flip-flops in the dead of winter. The girls wear short skirts not as a fashion statement, but because they've outgrown their old ones and can't afford new ones.

My husband notices one girl frantically combing her pockets and purse for change. The Food Stamps and the food have all run out at her house. The rest of her family is staying with relatives who still have food, leaving her behind so she can eat at the school. She's looking for enough change to buy a bag of flour and a can of fish so she can go home and cook herself biscuits and fish for supper. She dreams of finding enough money to be able to afford a dozen eggs as well.

2011 -- The jobs are gone. The young people crowd into colleges and community colleges, hoping to get the certificates that will land them jobs elsewhere. My husband is teaching them. Last week a sophomore told him he would be gone over the weekend. The boy had to go home and kill some squirrels so his family would have something to eat through the week.

What do I think of Occupy Wall Street? I think it's about goddamn time people started getting angry and doing something.
foolsguinea: (nature)
We're not looking for your money; we're looking for your voice.
For Patterson, like the other vets I spoke to, the Occupy Movement has provided a way to channel their outrage and their energy. Their involvement has been a plus for the movement, too, because vets are extremely helpful if you are planning a tent city in a park -- they can get things done, and they are used to living in tents. It's worth noting the anti-war movement during Vietnam was given legitimacy after the vets became their voice (John Kerry for example). But the vets themselves take solace in the act of being useful.

Or as Patterson puts it: "I haven't had one nightmare since I've been here."
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Robin Hood Tax, USA version
This article repeats the claim that, "In order to be effective, the tax would need to be implemented in most major industrial countries where trading is done," a claim that the UK advocates of the Robin Hood Tax thought it important to contradict. Sometimes you have to do a thing yourself and not worry so much about others.

To me the biggest problem with the argument of strict constructionists who try to define the Constitution as favoring the bigger, broader Republic of the 21st Century is that the Founders were very blatantly normal oligarchs of their day. They no more than anyone in the UK or the Netherlands would have seen rights as applicable to all, and even in Haiti, with the most egalitarian 18th Century revolution that concept never appears. So the claim that some dead slaveowner defined rights in the 18th Century as we do in the 21st Century is blatant nonsense and itself starts verging into religious territory, treating the Founders as creators of Yanquistani Hadith.

In fact, to extend the analogy, the people who slavishly follow the concepts of the 18th Century want the Constitution to be the Quran, with the Federalist Papers the Hadith, and trusting in the Heritage Foundation as the Ulama expounding unto the faithful the words of the Righteous Ones who waged treason and got away with it. However, oddly, the reality that none of these men when in actual governance every followed any of the rules they themselves created in their own lifetime when principle would have required them to is entirely irrelevant.
foolsguinea: (ooh!)

You can pick your version. For relatively straight renditions, I especially like the Billy Bragg rewrite, but the Rebel Diaz rap brings tears to my eyes.

I was not raised in a union family; my introduction to this song was the Natalie Merchant track, on a folk album she cut.

Now, I'm not a great fan of this song. Given my upbringing, Woody Guthrie's "Jesus Christ" means a lot more to me as a song. But it has some power to it, and tonight I was thinking about reactions to #OWS and this came to mind. Maybe we need a new version for the present struggle. Some will say the labor organization themes are outdated, but maybe it's loss of belief in solidarity that's caused the present trouble.

I think we are living through another 1848. And I know that the 1848 revolutions failed, and this one may as well.

So I think we need something like this song. WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

(ETA: It's pretty straight punk, but the bass riffs on the Die Commandantes cut are delicious.)
foolsguinea: (ooh!)

Now, I know that solar panels are expensive, but nature has been using solar power for hundreds of millions of years. I think the most expensive element involved is phosphorus. Screw solar panels, let's reverse-engineer photosynthesis.

Heck, I'll do it just to make the post office money!

Only 1%? I keep thinking it's higher.


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