Tag Archives: occupy seattle

THE LAST MAN…an excerpt from the upcoming novel from W.C. Turck and the Occupy Movement

A crippled and tarnished light fell through a row of high windows at the top of the building. These sooty pinnacles shifted slowly around us, chased and eclipsed by smoke pouring without end from the three great brick smokestacks that even here appeared impossibly tall. The light faded steadily, like truth before a well-crafted lie, so that the scene below remained in a permanent dusk. It merged with a monstrous opera, the thunder of machinery, and the roar of the furnaces and the cries of the dying.

The air held its own character as well. The stink of burning flesh, of vomit and waste joined that of singed stone and brick. They joined with the heat of three great furnaces, whose arched and gaping entrances were akin to looking into the setting sun. I lifted a hand to cover my nose and mouth, but with little effect.     

Even in the murky light of the hall it was possible to discern some long abandoned order to this place, to see where Associates arrived for Reclamation. In that order it was even possible to project a sort of perverted mercifulness on the part of the Corporation.  A sort of triage area where Associates were once injected lethally now stood empty and forgotten, but for exhausted and distraught Reclaimers that were scattered about and among simple slabs of stone, some exhausted, others distraught. But order and efficiency could hardly describe the scene below any longer.   

Bethune and I moved closer to the ledge, looking out across this barbaric theater, the capital lie, the murderous hidden hand of the Corporation. The others remained well hidden behind us. Still we had little to fear. Bethune and I remained protected from view by those shifting talons of light.

Below the windows I spied a blue Sentinel safely confused among a flock of cooing and chattering pigeons.  I left Bethune and stepped right to the edge, near enough that with hardly any effort I could have flung myself off. The cruelty and hopelessness the Reclamation Center evoked were nearly enough to compel me to do just that. Oh, Dante you could hardly have conceived of a crueller or darker hell!

Ten Reclaimers met each new group. These Reclaimers reminded me of the faces I had seen in the Low City. A glance to Bethune brought a solemn nod that confirmed that terrible truth. They were stripped to the waist, soot-stained and blood-smeared, their sinewy bodies painted and scarred by their unending task. There was a heaviness in every movement as they led each Associate to the ovens. It was the weight of a soul that has died in a body that has yet to realize the pointless end awaiting.

A single electric jolt to the neck felled each Associate into unconsciousness. Quickly they were carried forward and thrown alive into the flames. But what might have seemed at first to be a merciful, if horrifying end was instead far more nightmarish and chaotic. Most were quickly consumed. Others, as if suddenly awakened from a stupor, flailed and convulsed in the flames. Others escaped fully alight, only to meet their end and be driven back at the point of long iron pikes. A few of these human torches reached their would-be slave executioners in running, murderous battles beyond any human description. One body, so animated by vengeance, flesh curling and blackening from the flames devouring him, fended off stabbing pikes to drag a Reclaimer back into the oven, like some devil come to claim a soul.

This, this was the ultimate outcome of denying the human heart. This was the logical destination along the road of a history followed blindly. It was not that evil resided in that heart, but that it was burdened by this cursed animal flesh, for all its blind intentions. That flesh is far too short-sighted and far too selfish, conspiring to convince the heart that it is the bearer of ultimate sin. Pondering this I pulled gently at my tunic, as though I might tear that flesh away.

I moved a hand across my sorrowful heart and lamented that the will of the flesh was strong enough to turn mankind from the ultimate lessons of history. Man had instead become embroiled in the episodes of history, confusing one for another. Mankind had confused weakness with compassion, control over reason, and in the process had abandoned its own heart…


If you are not one of the 1% then you are one of the 99%, whether or not you admit to it and vote for politicians that value slogans over substance, corporations over people and confuse unrestrained capitalism over citizen democracy.Occupy is fighting for you, and to keep the nation from collapsing around the 1% too. No charge. You’re welcome. Sleep tight

When you see an Occupier say thank you for being a real citizen and and activist for the constitution. They’ll probably just say, hey, its what we do.

fRoM zUCoTTI pARk TO bLAcK fRIdAY: a sTUdY in hYPoCRiSY

There is a far more dangerous and violent event occurring in America than anything surrounding the Occupy movement, and it is encouraged and celebrated: By the standards of FOX News, Mayor Bloomberg, the cities of Seattle, Oakland and Denver, such unsafe and criminal activities should be shut down. Certainly Walmart’s are at the epicenter of the violence and should be shut down and cleared out immediately. Anything less would lead one to believe the concerted and coordinated attacks against peaceful Occupy protesters over a very small number of incidents-which have yielded no arrests- would be a gross double standard. Such a revelation would lead to the inescapable conclusion that the actions were based upon bias and not the law. A short list of the Black Friday violence:

1. A gun battle erupted between rival groups of men at a North carolina Walmart.

2. 15 were injured by pepper spray by a woman attempting to keep them from reaching an xbox at a Walmart in San Fernando valley.

3. A man was shot and critically wounded during a robbery attempt at a San Leandro California Walmart.

4. A bomb was found in a Walmart employee break room in Cave Creek, AZ.

5. OSHA has warned retailers they will be held responsible for injuries and deaths regarding Black Friday shoppers.

6. A woman was assaulted and shot in the foot at a Myrtle Beach Walmart.

In 2010:

A pregnant woman was trampled at a Walmart in the opening Black Friday rush.

In Madison Wisconsin, a woman threatened to shoot fellow shoppers at a Toys “R” Us over a sale.

3. Walmart refused to pay the $7000 fine for their part in the  trampling death of a part time employee at a Long Island Walmart in 2008. The Walmart was criticized for a negligent lack of security and crowd control. In that incident a 34-year-old woman, a temporary Christmas employee was trampled to death in a frantic stampede as the door opened for Black Friday. Later, at that same Walmart, a pregnant woman who was part of the stampede miscarried. 

So far Mayor Bloomberg has not called for city trucks and police to clear all New York Walmarts and have the merchandise hauled away to the city dump. But then, the 99% in America are learning that caorporate donors are more important to defend than the bill of rights and the constitution. In fact, the 99% are learning that the laws and constitution of the nation apply only for the control of all but the most powerful, for whom the law no longer applies.









Ocuppy Chicago: conversations with a banker.

I scared this poor girl. She was having a conversation with a banker in front of the federal reserve, and I sort of butted in. Surprising, since I rarely have much of an opinion on anything. In my defense, she was struggling. He had facts and knows the system, as he should. it seemed a great opportunity to engage someone on the other side in a friendly and thoughtful conversation. The banker, dressed in a neatly pressed blue shirt had taken the time, very much to his credit, to engage with his fellow Americans. Unlike Congress, he was showing his humility and ,In my opinion, was absolutely  open to what the protesters had to say.

“I’d lower the corporate tax rate, because they are already paying 19%, the highest corporate tax rate in the world,” he said. The girl did not have the figures. This guy lives and dies by numbers. He needed numbers.

A businessman engages protesters in conversation at Friday's protest

“You know, through deductions, loop holes and subsidies, large corporations in this country pay little or no federal tax. When they do, they usually settle for less than ten cents on the Dollar.”

Technically speaking it does have the second highest rate in the industrialized world, just behind Japan. My banker friend pointed that out, but practically speaking they pay much less than foreign competitors, again thanks to loopholes, deductions and subsidies which often do not exist in competing nations.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25tax.html?_r=1  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/business/economy/03rates.html

“So what would you do?” he asked.

I proposed, first, an international minimum wage, tied to an individual nations GDP, which takes the romance out of playing populations against each other in a never-ending race to the bottom. That would level the playing field internationally, keeping corporations at home, and all but erasing potential trade war issues.. He nodded,thoughtfully, but wasn’t convinced it could be enforced. I replied that I was involved in Bosnia and Rwanda, and that the perpetrators of the genocides are now on trial in an International Court, under International law. There are sanctions that are applied to rogue states, The IMF and World bank, all of which are vehicles for compliance.

“All right, what else?” he pressed, accepting the basic premise at least.

Greater enforcement, I said, in the tax code. Success and wealth and prosperity are fantastic and should be nurtured. Indeed, this country-this country-this nation provides a rare opportunity to encourage wealth and success, and that should come at a cost. No one gets to abuse that privilege. If we take a page from the Right, who famously argues that things like health care are not a right but a privilege, can’t we also say that about wealth, or anything in this society? If rights are now completley negotiable, they all are negotiable-for everyone. Perhaps we defer to the anti-choice crowd and say that being a fetus is a right, after that, it is up to the powers that be to decide what is and isn’t a privilege.    

“But do you just take it from them?” he said, truly with sincerity.

Even if it is only in the short-term, corporations have to understand their responsibility to this society as a condition of the privilege to succeed here. If corporations were suffering, but their profits are historic, while the gap between rich and poor becomes obscene. Fiscally that responsibility is no different that a soldier who risks their life for this nation. “When people are suffering you have that responsibility to the nation that nurtures your success. That is, in summation, is what all of these people are out here saying.”

With that we shook hands with a respectful smile and parted ways.


Herman Cain’s Marie Antoinette moment: On the street with Occupy Chicago

“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. It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded”

Seems Herman Cain just discovered his let them eat cake moment. For most of the nation, the so-called 99%-ers, it was hardly surprising. The cornerstone of the corporatist, right-wing ideology in this country if fully and unabashedly one of , “I got mine, you get yours.” It always has been, and since the Bush administration it has vaulted to a whole new, and obscenely perverse level.

Unlike the Tea Party, the Occupy...Movement is made up of a true cross-section of Americans

“…and (if) you’re not rich, blame yourself.”  Take that garbage men and small shop owners putting in 16-hour days. And to you war veterans coming home to desolate job prospects, down-sized workers, students forced to take out mortgage-sized loans for future low-paying jobs, if you ain’t rich, what’s the matter with you?

Cain’s comments came as the Corporate media could no longer ignore the protests, now spreading to dozens of cities, including Dallas, where hundreds marched today. The protests exponentially dwarf the manufactured manipulation of the Tea Party. Still, the media has drawn a narrative about the protests, as disorganized and unfocused. Interviewing a number of protesters in today’s continuing march in front of Chicago’s Federal Reserve branch, I found quite the opposite, and stark evidence regarding the difference between the Tea Party and the Occupy…Movement.

It should have been readily apparent to anyone that the precisely focused anti-Obama agenda of the Tea party was strategized and crafted well before hand by Republican party operatives desperate to challenge the grass-roots efforts that swept Barack Obama to the White House. That they immediately and unwaveringly were in lock step, and “outraged” over issues they’d conveniently ignored under the Bush administration should have garnered suspicion from an independent media and properly informed public. Instead, the Corporate media did all it could to legitimize the minority Tea Party, while undermining and ignoring the 99%-ers.

Stephanie and Marni, a list of grievances bound by a single thread

By contrast, today’s protest, which has grown larger and louder each day, reflects individual perspectives bound by a common theme. Near the steps of the Fed I found Marni  and Stephanie, both professionals downsized from their jobs and nearing retirement with limited prospects in the current market to make up critical financial ground before retirement. Both are among the under-employed, bumped from professional careers and working part-time jobs to survive. Marni is in graduate school. They are smart, educated, well-informed and had a laundry list of economic issues, all of which illuminate the perversity and outright mockery of working people in Herman Cain’s statement.

They pointed to the absolute waste in this country, starting with the tax code and including the grossly bloated defense budget, jobs, health insurance and more. Indeed, to a media all too eager to discredit the movement, such a laundry list could be characterized as unfocused. But all of those issues are related. They are all bound by the common thread of corporate and individual greed that has imperiled the nation for the power and privilege of a few.  And that is the message of this peaceful but stalwart movement. They demand an end to greed, corporate governance and the growing gap between rich and poor that threatens to turn us into a feudal nation.

Protests growing louder and larger each day

The protesters are not animated by fear of change, or immigrants or even other points of view as those in the Tea Party are. They are a chorus or individuals, joining in the truest spirit of “from many one.” The suffering in this nation is now epidemic, and these groups protesting across the nation, in Canada and Mexico have said enough is enough. In this rich nation, wealth and success can well be a virtue, but excess in the face of devastating suffering in intolerable. If you want a clear message about the purpose of the protests let it be that, Mr. Cain.

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