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21 Days in May: an Occupy Novella, part 10

11 Days to the Summit. Chicago’s skyline, like architectural knights to some great and majestic roundtable, glittered in the clear cool night air. Those myriad diamond lights were reflected in the dark waters of Monroe Harbor. The murmur of traffic along Lake Shore Drive was all but lost to a northerly breeze where Congressman Rand stood with Tom Koffer. Rand was having serious misgivings about all of this. He felt trapped and wasn’t sure he could go through with it.

“There’ll be blood on our hands,” said Rand, nervously taking a long drag on a cigarette. He flipped it away and looked at Koffer, smarting as Koffer’s expression was almost disgusted. Rand pressed the issue nonetheless. “American blood, Tom, and I don’t know if I can live with that.”

They were alone beside Rand’s Jeep Cherokee, looking out at the lake and skyline. A black suburban was parked just up the deserted roadway. Two beefy security men from Koffer’s private detail made sure the meeting was uninterrupted.The dull metal dome of the Adler Planetarium was to their backs.

“Live with it?’ replied Koffer with notable disdain. “Like it or not you are into this up to her eyes, like the rest of us.”

“I don’t know, Tom,” Rand pursed his lips, unable to look at Koffer.

Koffer ran a hand along Rand’s shoulder, gripping the back of his neck. Rand leaned forward a bit. It was more intimidating than painful, which was just exactly as Tom Koffer wanted it to be.

“You think you’ve got better friends on the Left? Because I can guarantee you there won’t be a worse enemy.” Koffer leaned close and lowered his voice threateningly. “You’ll see this through, by god, or you won’t even be able to get a job as dog catcher. They’ll find child porn on your home computer or several former gay lovers will suddenly hold press conferences.”

Rand’s eyes snapped to Koffer and narrowed defiantly. “Who do you think you are to threaten me. I’m a goddamned United States Congressman.”

Koffer scoffed, mocking him. “A man of ideology who still believes governments mean shit anymore. The corporation, that’s where the real power is, Rand. We decide which wars you’ll fight and run them. We decide which candidates will make it into elections and who will win. The biggest economies are corporations, not nations.”

“If that’s the case, why do you need me?” It was a feeble protest, Rand knew. It was true, that so-called trans-national corporations had risen to levels that eclipsed the power of whole nations. The media, increasingly owned by a smaller and smaller number of corporations decided who was a viable candidate in elections-particularly presidential elections simply by manipulating their coverage. It was corporations that had promoted and prospered in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, devouring national wealth while the nation itself fell into near destitution.

“Legitimacy, police, infrastructure, and when we call, a mindless flag-waving army. Now be a good puppet, cash your checks and live a nice obedient life,” Koffer released Rand’s neck, his tone even and controlled, “ and one day they’ll name a school or park or a street after you. Can I count on you, or are you to become a liability?”  

It was a moment in which a determined man who stand on principle, despite the cause to himself. It was a line. To one side he stood with patriots, and on the other despots. In the end it came down to moral courage, not in defending one’s own convictions, that was simple. Instead it was rising to champion the dignity of others. Deep down, Joe Rand knew he wasn’t that man. He hung his head and let out a draining breath.

“No worries.”

 

 


Advance offering of The Last Man, by W.C. Turck and the 99%, cover design by Brian Murray, now available on Amazon Kindle ebook. The first Occupy novel from the writer/producer of Occupy My Heart: a revolutionary Christmas Carol

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The Last Man. This is what happens if Occupy fails. we can’t fail. Buy the book. Support the movement. All royalties go to occupy Chicago. Show the world the power of this movement. Stay tuned. Printbook and additional formats coming soon. Key words: W.C. Turck, The Last Man

The Last Man coming to the stage? Stay tuned for details.


A LIBERAL CALLS OUT MSNBC: Moving the ball forward for the Right on election campaign reform

Generally, I enjoy Chris Hayes weekends on MSNBC, but I constantly must remind myself that Mr. Hayes, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow and the rest of their line-up are still part of the problem of corporate and power-elite-status-quo control of the discourse and messaging of critical national issues. While MSNBC is routinely “demonized” by FOX and pundits on the Right as far Left wing, it is not-by a long shot.

To support that, I point to the “buy American” push, particularly by Ed Schultz. Recall, this was a rightwing and nationalist mantra following NAFTA. Just as they did in the lead up to Iraq, MSNBC, for all their Liberal bent has missed the real solution to jobs in America and the necessary equitible trade worldwide, and that is not some pseudo-Ron Paul-esque economic isolationism, but forcing international corporations to adhere to wage and safety and pollution reforms regardless of where they are. If GE-owned MSNBC was truly as Liberal as the Right asserts, they would recognize first that mankind is global, and globalization was the direction of the species from those first steps from an African Valley 2 million years ago.

What prompted this article was a roundtable discussion on Chris Hayes’ Sunday morning show about the 2009 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling that allows Corporations, and Unions, to spend unlimited amounts of money to promote candidates and policy, effectively erasing the one man one vote cornerstone of our democracy by overwhelming free discourse through propaganda and false messaging.http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-205.ZS.html
With a decptively benign name like Citizens United, the group is in fact a filthy little cabal of Republican hacks in the vein of Andrew Breitbart, with a bias towards editing for innuendo over fact and truth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_(organization)

That’s the background, but on this morning’s show Mr. Hayes had Jack Abramoff, the convicted lobbyist who was unequivical in saying that overturning Citizens United would never happen, because it is fundamental to Conservatives in this country. The statement went virtually unchallenged. Aside the traitorous acts committed by Mr. Abramoff, which did immeasurable damage to this democracy, why would MSNBC legitimize such a character? Because, at the heart of MSNBC is a large mult-national corporation, with significant interests in issues ner and dear to the true powers in this nation (Hint: It isn’t Right, Left, Libertarian or even American).

The Corporate media is overt and subversive alike in its crafting and molding of cultures and nations. It does so to create markets as to define and secure them.

Advertising creates ideals, standards and affirms stereotypes on one hand, while the media carries and promotes those messages. The recent purchase of The Weather Channel by NBC Universal, Bain Capital and The Blackstone Group highlights the effort of Multi-national Corporations and firms to devour media outlets and control what Americans sees, hears, discusses and votes upon. Blackstone bought Neilsen-the rating people in 2006 along with other partners like the Carlyle Group. Bain, by the way is owned by Mitt Romney, and owns Clear Channel, the largest owner of radio stations in the country. Its “news” talk format is 90% rightwing, with Beck, Savage, Limbaugh and Hannity leading that charge, despite that 90% of the country does not vote Republican. Bain also owns or invests in AMC Entertainment and Warner Music group.

So there is real pressure, and undeniable evidence that Liberal MSNBC is hardly a Liberal thinktank, but instead has slipped into a market not served blatantly by FOX as a means, not to promote Progressive ideals, but as a means, as prescribed by their corporate owners, to nudge the message forward far more subtley that FOX can do. But the effort is the same, and in the end it comes down to control-not politics.

The strategy is to create paradigms not cultures, as paradigms become absolute realities that are much harder to find alternatives to or see beyond. Imagine what it would be to breath fire, or breathe watter as a means of survival, and that air and wind could be as deadly as we find those others. Those are other paradigms. That is what corporations are evolving to in a greater and greater consolidation of power and influence. Think back over the last 50 or 100 years about where corporations were and where they are today, with interlocking partnerships and boards, and their ascent to controlling almost fully govenments worldwide.

Now imagine this paradigm. With all that power to control the message and assert culture, a group of people have challenged that by Occupy parks have the power elite absolutely terrified. Now that is a message!


Occupy My Heart: The radio Show on Best of the Left

The Play that made national headlines, changed hearts and energized a movement is now available on Best of the Left at the link below:

 
Filled with heart and truth, Occupy My Heart: A revolutionary Christmas Carol is not just a story for the holidays, but a tale of our times. You will be touched in this modern retelling of the Dickens classic.

Please share it with your friends, especially those who still think the struggle of our times is not the co-opting of our great nation by corporate and financial greed.


Art, Occupy and the Illusions of the One Percent

Achievers. The one percent. Winners. Those who are so adamant about not raising taxes on corporations the wealthiest in the nation would have us believe that there is some inherent quality, something unique and sacrosanct in this supposed talent. Set aside the responsibility to the nation fostering a nurturing environment for business(political and social stability, laws, courts, infrastructure, an educated and healthy populace) argument. Talents are for the arts, or sports, for positive intellect and in healthy and uplifting relationships. 

No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe;” wrote John Donne in meditations XVII, in 1624, “every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”

Achiever is in itself an insult hurled at the rest of us by the selfish and greedy. It implies that the jobs we go to daily, the place we’ve arrived at in life is not an achievement. It screams that raising children, running a home, going to school, struggling with poverty, prevailing through an illness is somehow a lesser achievement. It presumes one person’s experience is greater than another’s. It pits one person’s struggle against another’s, which is a fool’s game.

Reverend Billy at the Occupy Chicago General Assembly Wednesday evening spoke about community and the responsibility of the 1%. One is indeed the loneliest number

The way it is used becomes an assertion of power and right and privilege. Their achievement is presumed to have value above all others. It is an assumption of rule and of a ruling class, which is antithetical to the declaration of Independence and of the Constitution.

It also betrays a lie the so-called achievers pretend to themselves. It is the ultimate lie because it ignores the very thing Donne wrote about. Life is impossible alone. A soul alone writing a novel relies upon the history making the computer usable, upon the society nurturing freedom of thought, of the luxury of not having to forage through the day for food, shelter and sustenance, and even of the craftsman who constructed the desk and chair upon which that novelist writes.

A month ago I wrote a play. I am proud of that play, but as such it is little more than a semi-interesting collection of two dimension words upon a page. In the coming weeks a passionate and talented cast will bring those words to life, moving them around in three-dimensional space, adding inflection and history and textures I would never have imagined. We will perform on a radio station, the play expanded and re-envisioned  by a producer who will add sound effects to create a new and as yet unrealized world. We will perform upon a stage built by dreamers who wished for a space that actors might create as yet unimagined works and as yet unwritten words. Those stages are maintained by electricians, lighting experts and others who make each performance possible.

Sadly, what has happened in America is that the one percent has all but convinced us that only the writer matters, and that all the rest should bow before them. The Occupy movement asserts a different reality, one consistent with the constitution, in which all citizens are imbued with a god-given dignity and that all of us have a responsibility to maintaining the greatest measure of human dignity that can be maintained. The limit placed on that dignity is a measure of the cynicism inherent in a heart.

No man is indeed an island, except in his own heart, and upon that island is loneliness and nothing more. There is an old pop song that says one is the loneliest number. If there is salvation from that loneliness, it must be among the 99%.


Halftime at the CNN GOP NSD on TV LOL LMFAO(National Security debate)

Here’s how things break down right now at the CNN National Security debates on CNN, hosted by the same Heritage Foundation that promotes Rush Limbaugh and FOX News. This of course being the 720th Republican debate since August, which some might say amounts to a media saturation to drown out the Obama Administration. Some might say that.  But we are learning some incredibly important things in this paranoid white-guy fest. For example:

1. Ron paul is amazingly lucid at moments, his positions cogent and logical up until the point he drives that car around crazy curve right into nut valley.

2. Try picturing Rick Santorum’s mother spitting on her fingers and slicking back his hair before the debate, and that his underwear is bunched at the top of his pants and he is wearing white athletic socks. “Vladimir Putin, meet the President of the United States, Ricky Santorum.”

3.We also learned from Santorum that Africa, once considered a continent by egg-headed Geographers, is in fact a country.

4. Rick Perry taught us that the Monroe Doctrine which prohibited European powers from interfering in the Americas also applies to that other great European power, Mexico.

5. Iran has lots of mountains. Thanks Herman Cain. Also, Iran has lots of mountains.

6. Amazingly we learned from Michelle Bachman that BARACK OBAMA CHANGED THE COURSE OF HISTORY. Much like superman. She will not change the course of history, but instead will allow it to meander and skip and frolic and, oh, sorry, I thought we were talking about her husband.

7. Iran has lots of mountains. All right Cain, we heard you already!

8. Newt Gingrich is an expert in history, especially the history he rewrites.

9. Mitt believes that amnesty for illegal aliens is a magnet. I agree. Now that American and multi-national corporations have left America, why would anyone want to stay in those poor corporate-raped foreign nations?

10. All of the GOP candidates believe that immigration is a national security issue. Be afraid America of all those dangerous busboys, cooks, cleaning ladies, economic refugees and gardeners.

11. Gingrich stated that “if we were a serious country” we’d drill everywhere in the US for oil. That would collapse the  global price of oil, he said. Wasn’t he  saying the oil companies had a right to their record profits and subsidies a year ago? Now he wants to collapse the industry? How many jobs would that cost?

12, Wolf Blitzer referenced the continuing violence in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. No mention that twice the protesters won, first deposing a brutal dictator, and then forcing an end to military rule in favor of freedom for Egyptians.

13. Apparently no one at the Heritage Foundation or any of the candidates look  at newspapers or anything other than FOX News. If they had, the questionwould have seemed silly regarding a pro-Islamist/Al Qaeda group in Somalia which is now under full-scale military attack from Ethiopia, is hardly a credible threat to anything beyond the sand dunes and ruins of what was once Somalia.

14. And something I never realized before, and that is that China is  a significant threat and enemy to the United States, unless we are talking about cheap Chinese-made Walmart crap, in which case China is good.

And finally, I learned that if Governor Huntsman was a Democrat I might just consider him a second choice to whoever I was actually supporting.

 


Art, Comedy and the Occupy Movement

 It seems like art would be a natural part of the Occupy movement. Certainly the signs can be creative,  as is the resilience of the movement in the face of substantial adversity-from moments with the police, press indifference or outright blackout to the weather and a broad spectrum of society represented that is inherent in any true social assertion of civil rights. Recall it was Martin Luther King jr. who said, and I paraphrase, if there is injustice anywhere there is injustice everywhere. So meeting and prevailing through all this requires no small amount of creativity. That was evident fully at last night’s General Assembly on Michigan Avenue with better than about 200 activists.

The first was the steady progress towards putting on a play within the protest. The play “Occupy My Heart: A revolutionary Christmas carol,” an Occupy take on the classic Dickens tale met with great excitement. dozens stepped forward as the effort moves towards a full outdoor reading of the play Thanksgiving weekend, with hopes to put on a full production Christmas week.

For those unfamiliar, the General Assemblies are critical to getting the message out to all the activists and supporters, but also in maintaining the spirit and morale of those involved. Interesting that the movement is becoming ever more tightly knit and focused with all the other Occupy efforts around the nation and the world. The meetings are structured with well-defined rules of order, allowing and encouraging the views of all involved, from the leadership down to the first time arrivals to the movement.

This creates one problem for the movement, but one of victimization more than a flaw in the movement itself. Critics can easily exploit that for charged audio and selective video. You see, everyone has a right to express their view at the GAs, provided they adhere to the rules of order. No one is shouted down, which can seem, in skewed video and audio to appear as acceptence. In fact, the rules dictate members show agreement or displeasure silently. Open hands up is agreement, down is disagreement.

There  are rappers, musicians and other entertainers adding their dimension and spirit to the movement. Most have now heard of The Hawaiian folk singer Makana who sang an Occupy song, “Occupy with Aloha” at a summit supper before President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao. http://www.metatube.com/es/videos/cid4/Musica/86644/Singer-crashes-Obama-summit-with-Occupy-song/

Last night Occupy comedian Lee Camp performed in Chiacgo, part of a tour to entertain and fire up all of the national efforts. “We learned,” said Camp, “that we’re fighting both sides in Afghanistan. We are paying the Taliban millions to let out supply trucks through in Pakistan so we can keep fighting…the Taliban. We are losing a game of solitaire!”

Occupy comedian Lee Camp entertains the Chicago group Saturday night

He stoked the crowd, a mix of  young, old, professional, students and the unemployed with “the revolution will not be televised. It will be digitized!” The line, no doubt a reference to the virtual blackout, but for negative press, by the media, and the digital and alternative media that has overcome that blackout.

Referring to the pepperspray incident against the UC Berkley activists this week, camp drew laughs and cheers with, “Pepper spray to Occupy people is like pouring watter on gremlins. Spray us and we multiply!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_t2weBucMY


Who speaks for the average man on the Right? Sarah Palin $12 Million last year. Rush Limbaugh, $28 million. Michael Savage, $18 million. Megyn Kelley, $5 million. Michael Medved, $35 million. Neal Boortz, $800 thousand plus. Bill O’Reilly, $20 million. Glenn Beck, $32 million. Sean Hannity, $25 million. Michael Savage, $18 million net worth. Ann Coulter, $8.5 million net worth.

How do they warrant such salaries? Because of their immense popularity? Because they are better than the rest?

In 1949 the Fairness Doctrine was established. Diversity in broadcast communications and media was encouraged and valued through the 1970s. In 1970 the Radio & TV cross ownership rule prevented large media organizations from owning a TV and radio station in the same market, again to promote and protect media diversification and a broad spectrum of views. In 1975, the rule was added preventing the ownership of TV and newspaper in the same market.

In 1980, President Reagan began a push, complicit with his corporate patrons, to reverse this legislation. Under the first President Bush that effort was continued. The court case Meridith Corp vs. the FCC ruled the FCC had no power to regulate and enforce the fairness doctrine. Bill Clinton was no friend of media diversification. The effort continued until most FCC rules were eliminated through the Telecommunications Act of 1996, thanks to a Republican Congress, Clinton and their corporate donors.

America instantly saw a 1/3 decline in  diversification. Corporations continued that theft of public ownership of the airwaves.  7 corporations now own 75% of all radio and TV. the purpose from the start was to eliminate dissent, the free flow of information and unbiased discourse. Evidence the fact that no one in any corporate media in the lead up to the Iraq Invasion ever posed adequate dissent to questions over weapons of mass destruction, and criminality to trick the American public into war. Evidence the complete fabrication that poor people with bad home loans caused the financial crisis of 2008-07, without telling the true story of credit default swaps and speculation on those bad debts far in excess of the actual value of the entire US housing market. Evidence the lack of credible questions and accountability over the 9-11 atrocity. Evidence the assult against Global Warming, the effects of which, through drought and floods and severe climate anomalies we are only just beginning to suffer. Evidence the echo chamber continuation of  Obama’s birth certificate foolishness. evidence that Sarah Palin is not a diner waitress at a truck stop in Alaska. Evidence the slanted reporting on the  tiny Tea party illusion against the massive  anti-war and now Occupy movements. Evidence…


November 17, 2011 Day of Action…Occupy your freedom! Join a march. Organize. Put a sign in your car and in your window saying, “I am part of the 99%.” Call your senators, representatives. Flood radio stations with calls. Join a Credit Union. Let them know this is a country of, by and for the people, not the corporations and banks. And above all be outraged, but with love and peace and respect as your weapons and armor.


The essence of the argument. occupation as a defense

The New York judge that ruled on yesterday’s assault against the Occupy Wall Street activists in Zuccotti Park commented that the protesters, “have not demonstrated a first amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators and other installations.” Judge Stallman ruled. “Neither have the applicants shown a right to a temporary restraining order that would restrict the city’s enforcement of law so as to promote public health and safety.”

The comment begs the question as to whether the judge simply refused to adequately acknowledge the basic First Amendment aspect in this case, or the legal representatives for the movement failed to properly define the unique characteristics of the movement. Based upon the judge’s statement, the latter seems the obvious choice, at which point we can only wonder if the Occupy lawyers had the opportunity to make that distinction or if the judge refused to allow it.Occupation Chicago activists at a General Assembly meeting Sunday

The protesters, “have not demonstrated a first amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators and other installations,” said Stallman. But taken at face value his opinion is fundamentally flawed, an opening the Occupy people should and need to exploit fully. Their premiere argument lies in their name: Occupy. Occupation is not defined as a brief and transient effort, but as a sustained effort whose duration is dictated, again by definition, by the occupiers. Evidence the Right who eschewed any suggestion of leaving Iraq or Afghanistan over the last decade as cutting and running, and certainly not the decision of anyone but the United States to make.

Their First Amendment right to remain is explicit in their name. otherwise we can refer to them as, sy, “Just passing through Wall Street,” or “Fed up folks visiting Wall Street, but not lingering,” or “Let’s go to Wall Street but definitely not stay.” Instead, they are “Occupy Wall Street.” The name defines the movement. It prescribes the action and the place it will occupy. The name is the First Amendment assertion of the movement.

The structures, tents, kitchens, hospitals and library are likewise equally fundamental to the movement and directly support the intent of the protest by means of maintaining safe and healthy conditions within the camp. That speaks directly to Stallman’s statement that “the applicants (have not) shown a right to a temporary restraining order that would restrict the city’s enforcement of law so as to promote public health and safety.” The protesters have not constructed a shanty town, but erected tents, explicitly to protect their members from the elements, and to facilitate an adequate presence to maintain an occupation. The hospital is staffed by registered nurses, who have donated their energies to the cause.

Truck driver Bob Hoffman donates time to serve soup for Occupy protesters

Curious that police attempts to disrupt and discourage the protest through unprovoked violence (see  https://900poundgorilla.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/attacks-and-intimidation-the-war-against-the-occupy-movement/  ) and the dumping of unsavory elements into the park were not presented in this case. The hyped and exaggerated incidence of crime, ballooned by outright falsifications and concoctions were used against the protesters and ruled on by the court, but the best defense remains in the name. By definition, Occupation is the essence of the argument.

Now the question that remains, if it is still possible to prevail on the strength of an argument or if the courts hear only their preconceptions and biases, or if they hear only what they are told to hear? More and more the courts are the tools of the wealthy, the corporations and powerful, rarely favoring indiviuals. Indeed, through the so-called financil collapse of 2007-2008 not a single person was indicted or arrested. Tens of billions were quite literally stolen by banks, financial instutions and corporations, either directly from the treasury or by draining 401K plans and pensions, all while the rich have grown obscenely wealthier. Yet, Occupying a park over outrage for those immoral and anti-American offenses by civilians demanding justice and reform is met by media indifference, partisan propaganda and riot police. Anyone see the insanity in all that?


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