Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

Here Comes The Sun

In Around the web on November 9, 2011 at 7:30 am

New York Times

For decades the story of technology has been dominated, in the popular mind and to a large extent in reality, by computing and the things you can do with it. Moore’s Law — in which the price of computing power falls roughly 50 percent every 18 months — has powered an ever-expanding range of applications, from faxes to Facebook.

Our mastery of the material world, on the other hand, has advanced much more slowly. The sources of energy, the way we move stuff around, are much the same as they were a generation ago.

But that may be about to change. We are, or at least we should be, on the cusp of an energy transformation, driven by the rapidly falling cost of solar power. That’s right, solar power.

If that surprises you, if you still think of solar power as some kind of hippie fantasy, blame our fossilized political system, in which fossil fuel producers have both powerful political allies and a powerful propaganda machine that denigrates alternatives.

Speaking of propaganda: Before I get to solar, let’s talk briefly about hydraulic fracturing, a k a fracking.

Fracking — injecting high-pressure fluid into rocks deep underground, inducing the release of fossil fuels — is an impressive technology. But it’s also a technology that imposes large costs on the public. We know that it produces toxic (and radioactive) wastewater that contaminates drinking water; there is reason to suspect, despite industry denials, that it also contaminates groundwater; and the heavy trucking required for fracking inflicts major damage on roads.

Economics 101 tells us that an industry imposing large costs on third parties should be required More…

Unequal Protection — Chapter 13: Unequal Regulation

In Around the web on November 8, 2011 at 8:02 am


There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. -Theodore Roosevelt, speech, August 31, 1910

There’s a side to regulation that most people don’t think about, and it has far-reaching effects if representatives of corporations are writing the rules. Once a regulation is passed saying, “you can emit no more than 10 ppm [parts per million] of mercury,” you can legally emit up to 10 ppm. Before that rule was passed, any amount you emitted might subject you to potential lawsuits from nearby humans made ill by your emissions, by other states, or even by the federal government. The regulatory rule essentially legalizes what a corporation is doing. In the best of worlds, this wouldn’t be a problem. But in practice it means that business interests are often directly involved in writing the regulations that they themselves will have to obey.

Regulations Can Legalize Activity That Causes Public Harm

During the Reagan administration, Robert Monks and Nell Minow worked with the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief. Monks says, “We found that business representatives continually sought more rather than less regulation, particularly when [the new regulations] would limit their liability or protect them from competition.”

Monks and Minow became disenchanted with the process. In their 1991 book Power and Accountability, they say, “The ultimate commercial accomplishment is to achieve regulation under law that is purported to be comprehensive and preempting and is administered by an agency that is in fact captive to the industry.” In this way corporations find an actual government shield for their actions. For example:

  • Tobacco companies point to the government-mandated warnings on their labels, saying that More…

Walmart’s Greenwash

In Walmart Blues Series on November 8, 2011 at 7:54 am


Sustainability as growth strategy

Walmart’s growth has been go-go-go ever since it launched its sustainability initiative. Walmart adopted sustainability as a corporate strategy in 2005. It was struggling mightily at the time. Bad headlines stalked the chain, as its history of mistreating workers and suppliers finally caught up with it. One analysis found that as many as 8 percent of Walmart’s customers had stopped shopping at its stores. Grassroots groups were blocking or delaying one-third of its development projects. Stockholders were growing nervous. Between 2000 and 2005, Walmart’s share price fell 20 percent.

As then-CEO Lee Scott told The New York Times, improving labor conditions would cost too much. It would also mean ceding some control to employees and perhaps even a union. Going green was a better option for repairing the company’s image. It offered ways to cut costs and, rather than undermining Walmart’s control, sustainability could actually augment its power over suppliers. Environmentalism also had strong appeal among urban liberals in the Northeast and West Coast—the very markets Walmart needed to penetrate in order to keep its U.S. growth going.

Since Scott first unveiled Walmart’s sustainability program, the company’s head office in Bentonville, Ark., has issued a steady stream of announcements about cutting energy use, reducing waste, and, more recently, selling healthier food. Most of these announcements declare goals, not achievements. But the goals sound audacious enough to reliably produce sweeping headlines and breathless accounts of how Walmart could remake the world by bending industrial production to its will.

By 2010, the number of Americans reporting an unfavorable view of Walmart had fallen by nearly half, from a peak of 38 percent in 2005, to 20 percent.

What the news media haven’t reported More…

Dirty F@#*ing Hippies Deserve Our Gratitude

In Around the web on November 8, 2011 at 7:50 am


“Dirty hippies” are beautiful and way less dangerous than clean bankers

The soul of this country has always been nurtured by people more interested in freedom than in regular baths: revolutionaries, pioneers, cowboys, Henry Thoreau and Walt Whitman all lived in sweat and dirt.

Yet in mainstream media I see a sentiment expressed time and time again: the Occupy movement would be great if it wasn’t just a bunch of dirty hippies. The implied notion is that to be dirty (presumably to be relatively unwashed- clothes muddied, hair greasy) and to be a hippy (someone committed to ideals of peace, equality, justice– someone more interested in love than in profit) are cardinal, unforgivable sins.

This attitude, popular as it is, is itself a sign of the incredible mental and moral distortion that our country is suffering.

The notion that dirty hippies are wrong and bad for the fact of being dirty and being hippies is a weird, dislocated and perverse remnant of the Protestant-Puritan work ethic ideal. It’s a notion that pretends to defend the dignity of clean, hard-working, upright people who live by the rules and produce the goods. These clean, decent people (we are meant to imagine) are being harassed and put-upon by folks who are so lazy and good-for-nothing that they refuse to even take a bath. The image of the dirty hippy is raised up as a resented foi — how dare someone relax their mandated hygiene schedule? How dare someone adopt principles that aren’t supportive of the existing paradigm when I have to shave and shower and get up for work in the morning?”

In a bizarre manipulative twist, people learn to hate and revile those individuals who are doing their best to live outside the oppressive system More…

Critical State

In Around the web on November 7, 2011 at 8:12 am


[...] Of course, the first order of business is to get corporate money out of politics. Are we capable of doing that? Can we legislate a redefinition of corporate “personhood?” After all, corporations have no allegiance whatsoever to the public interest, only to their shareholders and boards of directors. Who was the Supreme Court kidding when they proposed in 2010 that corporations have a personal stake in politics. Corporations are sociopaths. They need to be tasseled!

The second order of business is to enforce the existing laws in money matters and bring back laws (e.g. the Glass-Steagall act) that were recklessly thrown away in the systematic bid to loot the working public; then move beyond that to contest the web of rackets that make it impossible for Americans to even take care of themselves.

The third order of business is to shut down the war industry and close hundreds of overseas military bases that are draining scarce public capital.

The fourth order of business is to prepare the US public for the realities of the post-Global economy and the post-cheap-energy way of life. Tell them the truth: we don’t have “a hundred years” of natural gas. We can’t drill-drill-drill our way to “energy independence.” We have to get more local, less complex, finer, and leaner. Give the American people a clear sense of where circumstances are taking us, even if it is a tough assignment.

More likely, nobody will step forward to take on the two major parties. In which case, plan now to occupy the political conventions. Google-map your routes to Tampa and Charlotte (Home of Bank of America!). Stake out the campsites and cheap lodgings. Prepare to shame these organized grifters, and to turn their self-serving jamborees upside-down. Full article here

Jesus Is Trending

In Around the web on November 7, 2011 at 8:10 am


Book Review: 1Q84 — Murakami’s Dreamy Return

In Books on November 7, 2011 at 4:38 am

The Daily Beast

[...] Not all of his books are equally good, but they all flow unmistakably from the same pen. As a result, once you get hooked on him, you’ll willingly read whatever he produces. (I’ve dreamed of having something like a subscription to his work—he could just send them along when they’re ready and bill my account.) His vision is unique enough, and pure enough to propel you through even those books of his which do not quite work (South of the Border, West of the SunSputnik Sweetheart) and he is so good at several things that you forgive his few if not insignificant shortcomings. All of these qualities are showcased in his latest novel,  1Q84  (at 944 pages, how could it not include them all?). This the first really successful epic-sized novel Murakami has delivered since his dazzling The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle in 1997, and it is worth the wait.

Murakami paces a story as well as any writer alive. He knows how to tell a love story without getting cute. He understands how to blend realism and fantasy (magical realism if you want to get all literary about it) in just the right proportions. And he has a knack for writing about everyday matters—fixing dinner, going for a walk—in such a way that the events at hand, no matter how mundane, are never boring. Indeed, there is something comforting, even reassuring, about watching a Murakami character dice vegetables for dinner.

Most impressive, he knows how to inject the logic and atmosphere of dreams into his fiction without becoming coy or vague. He’s Kafka-esque to the extent that he’s not interested in why or how a man may have turned into an insect overnight, but in how the man deals with his new situation. And like Beckett, he furnishes his dreamscapes with a mere handful of carefully chosen props—a tree, a streetlight More…

When the Drones Come Home

In Around the web on November 6, 2011 at 8:09 am

Meet the family. The future of US internal security.


Signature strikes target groups of men believed to be militants associated with terrorist groups, but whose identities aren’t always known. The bulk of CIA’s drone strikes are signature strikes.  Wall Street Journal.

Drones are changing the dynamics of warfare in very scary ways.  They make oppression much easier (and cost-effective).

To recap: Drones are extremely cost effective vs. ground/air assets (particularly in that with drones, operators aren’t put at risk). They also enable extremely centralized command and control (as in: operations can be micro-manged in Washington, down to the decision to kill). In sum, a small number of people in Washington DC can control/operate a vast 24×7 killing field for very few $$.

Here’s how they are changing warfare:

  • An Assassination List.  Drones, in combination with other forms of electronic surveillance, make it easy to rapidly find and kill people (even in non-permissive areas). As a result, assassination of threats has become the easy solution to many problems. It has become so popular that the process has become bureaucratized and automated through the development of an assassination list. The US President has one, and he can put US citizens on it via a simple, non-judicial, bureaucratic process.
  • Signature Strikes.  The current practice of the CIA in Pakistan is to kill groups of people that “look” like terrorists or guerrillas. Exactly what a group of people needs to do, wear, or be to trigger the signature of a terrorist/guerrilla group is unknown. The Pakistani authorities are only told about strikes that kill more than 20 people. More…

Surely Something Will Save Us…

In Around the web on November 6, 2011 at 8:00 am


Return to the ancient and honest ways in which humans participated in the web of life on the earth, seeing yourselves and all things as sacred and interpenetrated. Listen to the voice of all life, and feel the heartbeat of Mother Earth.

Wendy Kaminer wrote a brilliant book titled I’m Dysfunctional, You’re Dysfunctional: The Recovery Movement and Other Self-Help. In it she pointed to the pervasive assumptions of dysfunction inherent in the self-help movement and the increasing obsession with emotional and psychological pathology in our culture. She didn’t offer any specific solutions; she had only defined the problem. (Although one could say that her solution was really the most elegant of all: see the problem for what it is and refuse to dance the dance. In this she argued forcibly for people to reclaim their own inherent power and emotional health.)

Kaminer received numerous letters from people demanding solutions to the problems she had identified. She pointed out this irony in a later edition of the book: it was as if the people writing wanted her to suggest the creation of a self-help group or book to help those addicted to them.

Some of the initial responses to the early editions of my book The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight were similar. I received letters, emails, and calls from people telling me with great certainty that the only solution to the problems outlined in the first third of the book would be found More…

After Occupy, What’s Next?

In Around the web on November 5, 2011 at 6:10 pm

How To Save The World

The Metamovement (the umbrella term for the Occupy Movement, the Indignant Movement, the Arab Spring Movements and other anti-capitalist and pro-true-democracy movements around the world) has succeeded in drawing attention of many citizens to the fact that the actions of powerful, amoral large corporations are now much worse for the 99%, and for our planet, than those of large governments.

More importantly, there is a dawning acknowledgement that railing at governments now solves nothing — replacing politicians with others is ineffectual, adding more regulation or taxes on the rich (when there is no political will, no resources for enforcement, and infinite loopholes for the 1%’s army of expensive and well-connected lawyers to exploit) accomplishes nothing, and deregulating and allowing the ‘markets’ (i.e. the capitalist oligopolies) to solve our problems is a recipe for disaster, fraud and bankruptcy. And likewise, we can not possibly hope for or want a resurgence of “economic growth” (which accrues inevitably and entirely to the 1% in today’s hopelessly broken systems) to get us out of the hole we’re in.

The 99% is beginning to realize that, while they definitely need to make demands — for fairness and more equitable distribution of income, wealth and power, for example — to keep the corporatists’ vile excesses from getting even worse, trying to “reform” the present-day political and economic systems is fruitless, a waste of time and energy.

Instead, what is needed is for the 99% to walk away from the current unsustainable, rapacious, soul-destroying and Earth-destroying systems the 1% have so effectively exploited to their own advantage — the political, economic, work, media, education, health, and technology systems More…

Move Your Money!

In Around the web on November 5, 2011 at 8:41 am


According to the Credit Union National Association – or CUNA – more than 650,000 people have moved their money into local credit unions across the nation in just the last 4 weeks – coinciding with the rise of Occupy Wall Street – and Bank of America’s decision to set up a $5 debit card fee… a decision the bank has since backed down from.

More people fled the big banks and joined credit unions in the last month – than they did through the entire year of 2010.

If Congress doesn’t want to do its job and end too big to fail banksters – then the people will just starve the banksters themselves. Move your money!

Will Parrish: The Evolution Of Occupy Santa Rosa

In Guest Posts, Local on November 4, 2011 at 6:29 am


“We are reclaiming those same spaces of public practice that have been commodified, privatized and locked into the hands of faceless bureaucracy, real estate portfolios, and police ‘protection’. Hold on to these spaces, nurture them, and let the boundaries of your occupations grow. After all, who built these parks, these plazas, these buildings? Whose labor made them real and livable? Why should it seem so natural that they should be withheld from us, policed and disciplined? Reclaiming these spaces and managing them justly and collectively is proof enough of our legitimacy.”  — Egyptian Tahrir Square protesters, statement of solidarity with Occupy Wall Street movement, October 2011

A small but promising model for a better world has sprung to life on the previously sterile and generic expanse of lawns at 1st St. and Santa Rosa Ave., location of Santa Rosa City Hall, where participants in the growing Occupy Santa Rosa demonstration have assembled in a protest camp for more than two weeks. It is part of the larger Occupy Wall St. movement, which consists of hundreds of encampments in cities from San Francisco to New York to London. The tactic of occupying physical space to press for demands from those in power was popularized on a global basis by the Egyptian Tahrir Square demonstrators and other protesters throughout western Asia and northern Africa this past spring.

Occupations of public space in New York City’s financial district first began in August, as a means of challenging the corporate greed and democratic unaccountability that characterize the dominant political and financial institutions in the US and also throughout most of the world. While this country’s political punditry has persistently criticized the movement on grounds that it lacks clear goals, much less a coherent policy platform, it’s a laughable criticism More…

Todd Walton: Occupy Yourself

In Guest Posts, Local on November 4, 2011 at 5:00 am


“The young always have the same problem—how to rebel and conform at the same time.  They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.”  Quentin Crisp

In 1972, when I was in my early twenties, I founded a commune in Santa Cruz, California, a collective of eight people (with numerous and frequent overnight guests). We were disenchanted with American society, with America’s wars of aggression, with America’s pyramidal scheme of things, and with America’s environmentally disastrous use of the land, so we decided to explore new (to us) and regenerative ways to interface with the world rather than follow in the destructive footsteps of our parents and forefathers.

To that end, the eight of us shared a house built for a family of four, created a large organic garden (some of us having worked with Alan Chadwick in the university gardens), and pooled our minimal resources for the good of the group. Our experimental community lasted two years before collapsing under the weight of selfishness, immaturity, and a profound lack of preparation for such an undertaking. Our intentions were flawless; our skills and execution abysmal.

Nevertheless, I learned many valuable lessons from that adventure, and my next communal experience was vastly more successful, though it, too, died a sorry death for lack of skills, experience, and commitment by the majority of the participants. We were children, after all, though we had attained the age of adults in other societies; and children, with rare exceptions, eventually need guidance from elders to make the transition from play into self-sustaining living.

A few nights ago, after watching a raft of Occupy Wall Street videos sent to me by fascinated friends More…

The Best Hash Browns Ever

In Around the web, Food on November 4, 2011 at 4:44 am

Your Local Market Blog

My mom made the best has browns ever, but the recipe passed on when she did many decades ago. Since then, I have been trying to recreate her hash browns. After many, many years, much trial and error, and lots of failure, I’ve finally been able to produce Hazel Cox’s hash browns from my very own kitchen, and they are as delicious as I remember them from my childhood.Here’s how to make them.Start by filling a large saucepan with water and add a scant teaspoon of salt to the water. Turn the heat to high and let it reach a full boil.

Use Yukon Gold potatoes. She probably used Russets, a floury type, simply because they were the only potato variety available back then, except for red starchy potatoes. Yukon Golds are choice because they are sweet enough to brown up nicely. Start with about three pounds. Cut them into small, 1/3-inch cubes. I set a potato on its side and cut 1/3-inch rounds to the middle of the spud. I set these rounds, largest cut side down, on the cutting board. There will be three or four rounds, depending on the size of the original potato. Then, very carefully, I cut down through the stack of rounds at 1/3-inch intervals, turn the stack 90 degrees, and cut again at 1/3-inch intervals across the stack. I repeat this with the second half of the potato. It yields a nice pile of small, raw potatoes. I repeat the process with all the potatoes.

Now scoop up all the potato cubes and place them in the boiling, salted water. Stir every minute or so to prevent the potatoes sticking to the hot bottom of the saucepan. In about five minutes, each little cube will be al dente—done “to the tooth” as the Italians say, meaning that they are cooked but still retain some firmness. Remove the saucepan to the sink, pour off most of the water, and fill the pan with cold water to stop the cooking. Set the pan with the potatoes and water aside.

In a large iron skillet over medium heat, lay four slices of thick, applewood smoked bacon. More…

James Lee: David vs. Goliath —Who Has the Rights?

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on November 3, 2011 at 6:23 am

Anderson Valley

This article is in conjunction with the Rights of Nature events being presented @ 7:15 p.m. at the AV Grange on Wednesday, Nov. 9th and the Mendocino Community Center on Thurs. Nov. 10th.  Ami Marcus, Co-Lead of Mt. Shasta Community Rights Project and Shannon Biggs, author of Rights of Nature, will be the guest speakers. Donations appreciated, all welcome.

It may to be not only greatly symbolic, but critically fundamental that the gathering movement for local communities to assert their rights to self determine what goes on in the environment has begun at the foot of Mt. Shasta, where over half of our States water supply originates.Mt. Shasta City, California residents have been uniting for the past four years to assert their rights to self- steward the lands where the live upon. This local movement was begun in reaction to their discovering that PG&E had been seasonally seeding the clouds above their city using  “Precipitation Enhancement” operations. These operations carry no regulatory oversight or notification to the areas below where PG&E is seeding. The local residents derive no benefits since they get their energy from other sources than hydroelectricity.Last August the community was temporarily blocked by a technicality with the county Voter Registrar to put to ballot the right for Mt. Shasta City to decide for themselves what happens in the community. Included in Proposition A was a local ordinance proposal to: allow the rights of Mt. Shasta City residents the right to self-determine stewardship of their environment; ban corporate personhood  as well as the first ever legislation to give Rights to Nature to exist.

On July 23, 2008 the country of Ecuador historically became the first nation ever to vote into their Constitution the Rights of Nature:
“Nature or Pachamama [the Andean earth goddess], where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, More…

Lloyd Kahn: Shelter, Domes, and the Whole Earth Catalog (Homestead Tour)

In Around the web on November 3, 2011 at 5:47 am


Steve Jobs called The Whole Earth Catalog “one of the bibles of my generation”. He went on to explain in his Stanford commencement speech in 2005, “It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions”.

The Whole Earth Catalog was a kind of “unofficial handbook of the counterculture”. It was, pre-Internet, a way for anyone anywhere to tap into a global economy. Founder and editor Stewart Brand set out to create a catalog- like the then-very-practical-and-universal catalog L.L. Bean- that would showcase all of the great tools of the world to help anyone do things for themselves or learn about big ideas.

Lloyd Kahn was the Shelter editor of the catalog. Kahn, an insurance broker-turned-builder, leveraged his experience with Whole Earth and began to publish his own books. First, he wrote very popular books on dome building. Kahn had become “the spokesman for the counterculture on domes” (his dome home even appeared in Life Magazine), but he took the books out of print when he decided the building style just wasn’t practical and “I didn’t want any more domes on my kharma”.

In 1974 Kahn took down his dome and replaced it with a more traditional handmade home. “Built stud-frame house using recycled lumber, doors, windows,” he writes in his 2004 book Home Work, “Relief somehow to discover old ways can work best.”

Today, Lloyd and his wife Lesley Creed run their own homestead in Bolinas, California where they tend an extensive organic garden and bantam chickens, grind their own wheat, make their own sourdough, spin their own wool, and continue to build their own structures (most recently, a chicken coop with a living roof).

James Houle: Taking Action — Occupy Ukiah

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island, James Houle on November 3, 2011 at 5:30 am

Redwood Valley

After the very successful march in Ukiah on earlier this month by a group of 300 activists targeting the three big National Banks, Occupy Ukiah is on the move.

Transfer Your Accounts: Beginning November 1st through November 5th  there will be daily demonstrations at the Ukiah offices of Bank of America, Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan Chase leading up to National Bank Transfer Day on Saturday, November 5th. The big banks will feel the movement’s strength as literally millions of the 99% majority around the country move their accounts to local banks and Credit Unions to protest the outrageous new service charges on accounts. The big banksters have started billing Debit Card holders $5.00 or more per month to allow you the privilege of accessing your own money held in their vaults.

Sit-In at the State street Bank of America Office: On November 12th there will be a sit-In at the Bank of America headquarters in Ukiah at 501 South State Street. We will sit outside the bank’s offices and encourage people not to do business with the B of A. Assembly is at 10 am at the Court House where we will make signs and organize for the march south 1 block to B of A. This demonstration is being coordinated with the Ukiah Police to assure it is non-violent ad respectful of private property.

Contacts: Jim Houle 485-8229,; Kathy Rippey:
See also:

Occupy Santa Rosa

Occupy Marin

Occupy San Francisco

Occupy Oakland

Occupy Berkeley

SHAME!… On the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and CEO Carmel Angelo for Creating Economic Instability in Mendocino

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on November 2, 2011 at 6:54 am


The employees are offering to make great sacrifices while the Board of Supervisors and CEO only care about playing politics!

SHAME ON THEM! The County’s brilliant budget stabilization plan is to remove $7million dollars from our economy so they can save $1.5 million for the County and put the rest in the trash! *The County wants to IMPOSE a 12.5% permanent wage-reduction on ALL 750 employees even though 63% of those employees are paid for by state, federal, and grant funds and the County cannot use that money at all!

SHAME ON THEM! County employees have proposed five (5!) settlement offers to reduce labor costs by 6.5-10% (up to $1.5 million) and the county has rejected every offer.

SHAME ON THEM! For using IMPOSITION as a strategy with every group of employees they have been obligated to negotiate with 2009-2011. Bad faith bargaining is not acceptable!

SHAME ON THEM! Employees offered to take Mandatory Time Off (MTO) a year ago and the County rejected the offer. In that year, the County *could have saved $28,000/week while in contract negotiations with employees.


When it comes to families and our community we need our elected leaders to approve sensible solutions to remedy the 25 years of mistakes! We don’t need another 750 struggling fami- lies in our community! It’s time for a new plan!

Call (707) 463-4441 to demand the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors VOTE NO ON IMPOSITION TODAY AND NEGOTIATE AN AGREEMENT IN GOOD FAITH IMMEDIATELY!

OWS at Valley Forge

In Around the web on November 2, 2011 at 6:26 am


 A (Self-)Graduation Speech for the Occupiers of Zuccotti Park

That library — in fact, those libraries at Occupy Boston, Occupy Washington, Occupy San Francisco, and other encampments — may be the least commented upon part of your movement.  And yet, you set your library up not as an afterthought or a sideline, but almost as soon as you began imagining a society worth living in, a little world of your own.  You didn’t forget the books, which means you didn’t forget about education.  I mean, a real education. This was both generous of you and, quite simply, inspiring.  Who would have expected that the old-fashioned, retro book would be at the heart of this country’s great protest movement of a tarnished new century?

Once the Arab Spring broke loose, people began asking me why this country was still so quiet.  I would always point out that no one ever expects or predicts such events.  Nothing like this, I would say, happens until it happens, and only then do you try to make sense of it retrospectively.

Sounds smart enough, but here’s the truth of it: whatever I said, I wasn’t expecting you.  After this endless grim decade of war and debacle in America, I had no idea you were coming, not even after Madison.

You took me by surprise.  For all I know, you took yourself by surprise, the first of you who arrived at Zuccotti Park and, inspired by a bunch of Egyptian students, didn’t go home again.  And when the news of you penetrated my world, I didn’t pay much attention.  So I wasn’t among the best and brightest when it came to you.  But one thing’s for sure: you’ve had my attention these last weeks.  I already feel years younger thanks to you (even if my legs don’t).

Decades ago in the Neolithic age we now call “the Sixties,” I was, like you: outraged.  I was out in the streets (and in the library).  I was part of the anti-Vietnam War movement. More…

OWS: Wealthy People Show Support for Protests with New Website: “We Are the 1 Percent. We Stand with the 99 Percent.”

In Around the web on November 2, 2011 at 6:00 am

Rich getting richer and poor getting poorer is a path to devastation for all. 

World cannot sustain that way – center cannot hold. 

How about changing the m.o. from whoever has the most toys wins to whoever does the most good wins? 

See Outside the Box Ideas, column left on for more.

I am the 1%.  I stand with the 99%.

Resource Generation and Wealth for Common Good today announced a new website for wealthy people to show their support for the Occupy movement. Already over 100 members of “the 1 percent,” including young entrepreneurs, business owners and wealthy individuals, have posted their support on the new website.

“Those of us with more than we need and who believe in a more just distribution of resources can stand up and tell the truth about how the deck has been stacked in our favor. We need to say that we think it’s wrong too,” said Elspeth Gilmore, co-director of Resource Generation. “Just as the 99 percent has been a powerful rallying cry, the 1 percent has come to represent those who hold the majority of this country’s resources and have created—and benefited from—the financial and economic crises we now face. One hundred percent of us need a different world.”

Organizers were inspired by the “We are the 99 percent” blog More…

OWS: Oakland General Strike

In Around the web on November 1, 2011 at 6:31 am


We are currently busy working on a new website specifically dedicated to aggregating and producing news reports on the OWS 99% movement. The site will not be announced for another few days, but you can check it out here:

An amazing group of people are working on this project. Many very popular journalists / bloggers and activists will be contributing. If you want to be one of the first people to join, you can create your own profile by registering here:

Keep Wall Street Occupied

In Around the web on November 1, 2011 at 5:56 am

A fast, easy, free, and non-violent way to drive the big banks out of their greedy little minds is sitting in your mailbox right now. You just don’t know it yet.


A New Declaration of Independence

Here’s where we are in the course of human events right now: 14 million Americans are jobless and millions more are underemployed. Those still working have seen wages fall after 30 years of stagnation. The 1 Percent of top wage earners could buy and sell the rest of us without so much as a low balance warning on their checking account apps. The tenth-of-1 Percent earns millions more every year in barely taxed capital gains and derivatives while everyone else struggles to pay down trillions of dollars of debt. Massive, growing income inequality is now belatedly acknowledged by political and media elites, but many of them seem befuddled as to its cause and importance.

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