Friday, October 28, 2011


ABC/Yahoo! News wants you to know that OWS is dividing family members - driving even (twin!) siblings apart. Is there another (hidden) message here, too? That the OWS is adversely effecting traditionally marginalised folk who have "made it" - succeeded within the system? The twins are African-American women, graduates of two elite colleges. They work in Manhattan, but in different elite jobs. Jill works for a financial company. Nicole "works for a television station" and in her free time organises general assemblies for the OWS in Liberty Plaza Park. ABC/Yahoo! didn't say what kind of work she does, but apparently Nicole's activism hasn't cost her her job, as happened to Lisa Simeone.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ice Cream and Cake

Barbara Cook was born 25 October 1927 in Atlanta, Georgia. I remember her silvery soprano voice in Candide -

but I think you will like this from She Loves Me. Happy Birthday Barbara! Have some "Vanilla Ice Cream" with your birthday cake!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


It encourages me to work for justice and peace and to respect the dignity of every living thing.
'Whether one is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, religious or nonbelieving, man or woman, black, white, or brown, we are all the same. Physically, emotionally, and mentally, we are all equal. We all share basic needs for food, shelter, safety, and love. We all aspire to happiness and we all shun suffering. Each of us has hopes, worries, fears, and dreams. Each of us wants the best for our family and loved ones. We all experience pain when we suffer loss and joy when we achieve what we seek. On this fundamental level, religion, ethnicity, culture, and language make no difference.' - Dalai Lama XIV

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


A member of the 99% - a returning Marine Corps veteran of Iraq - has some strong advice for the NYPD down by #OccupyWallStreet. Both the police and marines protect and serve the state, but I suspect when push comes to shove it's the so called armed services that will not take this shit. Sgt. Thomas is an example, but the cops try to shut him up and move the crowd he's attracted away from him.

Tuesday Topics

Rainy, cold weather has not deterred the #OccupyAmsterdam from abandoning its tents and encampment by the former stock exchange building. And the movement has expanded to the eastern city of Nijmegen, on the German border.

The Indignada movement members were in Brussels last week to make their demands to the EU. A woman had walked with them from Spain and was assaulted by a Belgian police officer & she was interviewed (English) on Belgian tv last evening. Well-spoken with such poise after being violently attacked twice!

Surprising op-ed in a paper that is published primarily for the DC 1% elite: What if working class Americans actually like Occupy Wall Street?
#OccupyWallStreet resonates with New Yorkers.

Max Blumenthal critiques the US coverage of the Shalit release

I recommend Max Blumenthal's latest story. Underreported in USA media (or crucial context about the Palestine occupation not even given) about the Shalit release.
'Reports on the exchange generally did not mention the identities of the Palestinian prisoners, and if they did, they tended to only name those who had committed violence against Israelis. It is of course newsworthy that perpetrators of le...thal violence against Israeli civilians are being freed, and that many Israelis are outraged about it, but the American media made no effort to contextualize the conflict propelling the violence -- the word "occupation" was not mentioned once in today's reports on the exchange. Nor was there been any description of disproportionate Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians, including by Shalit's tank unit, or Israel's routine kidnapping of Palestinians without charges. In reporting the first major Israel-Palestine news event since the Mavi Marmara massacre in 2010, the American media produced an entirely Shalit-centric barrage of coverage that even the Israeli Foreign Ministry could not have matched.'
But it wasn't just US media. Radio Netherlands Worldwide pretty much reported the same way as the Americans. No surprise there, either... as RNW is becoming a propaganda arm of the Dutch Foreign Ministry in the right-wing government (e.g. The Netherlands is 'Israel's best friend').

Saturday, October 15, 2011

OWS Solidarity Rallies Today in Vermont and AMSTERDAM!

It's becoming Occupy World Street, as thousands of rallies started up today around the Earth. RT takes a closer look. At 2 p.m. in Burlington several hundred (looked to me like 200 or so) gathered in City Hall Park. Sara Lee Guthrie (Woody's granddaughter) and her husband Johnny Irion led the crowd in a rendition of "This Land is Your Land." Thanks to Shay Totten for the video. Then they led us up Church Street up the hill to UVM's Waterman Hall. About a hundred or so marched across the UVMM Green to the Fleming Museum - just outside the property boundaries of Fletcher Allen Hospital, in solidarity with the nurses union which is in contract negotiations with the hospital management. In Amsterdam, nearly 2,000 participants were at the Beursplein, next to the Beurs van Berlage, the former home of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. The tram lines on the Damrak (Centraal Station is a major hub for most of the trams into the city centre) were closed. And the action doesn't seem to be ending as many have decided to spend (AT5's link is in Dutch) the night in the Beursplein. Frank Buis of AT5, the Amsterdam community television station has filmed a montage video of today's action.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Down Ampney

Ralph Vaughan Williams was born today - October 12, 1872 - in Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, England. Aaaaah, so his birthplace is the name of the tune for one of my favourite hymns, Come Down, O Love Divine, which we sang as the offertory on my mother's memorial service in 1992. Sadly, I never had the chance to visit the town when I lived in England in 1999, but I have heard frequently the Choir of King's College, Cambridge recordings of the hymn.

Come down, O Love divine

Latin text from the Golden Sequence (13th cent.); English text translated by R.F. Littledale from Bianco da Siena (d. 1434)

Come down, O Love divine,
Seek thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with thine own ardour glowing;
O Comforter, draw near,
Within my heart appear,
And kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn,
Till earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let thy glorious light
Shine ever on my sight.
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
Let holy charity
Mine outward vesture be,
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart,
Which takes the humbler part,
And o'er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong,
With which the soul will long,
Shall far outpass the power of human telling;

For none can guess its grace,
Till he become the place
Wherein the Holy Spirit makes his dwelling.

We've read this shit before or Why I don't trust the guv'mit and their stenographers.

It's too good to be true, which means that it smells fishy.

From Who is IOZ? blog
So the Iranians were going to use an American to hire a Mexican to assassinate a Saudi in Washington. Oh, ok. Let me just read from last night's NPR transcript for you. I have excerpted all you need to know:
SIEGEL: Now, the Iranians have called this a fabrication, someone called it a distraction to keep Americans from thinking about our domestic problems. How convincing is the evidence of Iran's involvement here?

GJELTEN: We really don't know.
Obviously this is going to turn into another case where the FBI tells some half-homeless loser that they're going to set him up with his own moon base and spacekreig Nazi saucer command; dude goes down to the public libarary, poops and shaves in the bathroom, gets online and tells facebook that he is going to launch an interstellar invasion of all the capitals of the planet earth; the Feds pinch the guy; and Eric Holder goes before the American People to cry Klatuu Barada Nikto until the terror cows come home. Robert Meuller says it sounds like a Hollywood script. Like the one that your waiter "accidentally" left at your table, maybe.
PBS devoted nearly all of its program last night to this. The network and our AG & SoS (who last night on the news were just mouthing what they're told to mouth) to be reminded of the Orlando Letelier case. The former Chilean Ambassador to the US (and later, activist) was assassinated by the Pinochet government secret police in Washington, D.C. I don't think we bombed Chile in retaliation;  no we wouldn't as we were friends with Pinochet thirty-five years ago.

Juan Cole thinks the whole tale is dodgy, too.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

UPDATED WITH VIDEOS! -Today in Burlington! Massive Rally in Support of the Occupation of Wall Street!

UPDATED The number of participants today surely exceeded the 150 last week. I reckon close to 400, but - get this: WPTZ Channel 5 reported 'Close to 1,000 March On Church Street'. Gotta be the largest demonstration I've seen in my 11 years back in Vermont. Here are two videos of this afternoon which capture well the spirit and the struggles. Stories the 1% can no longer ignore: ___________________________ From the organisers of the Burlington OWS solidarity actions:
For the past two Sundays, concerned Vermonters have met and marched to demonstrate our solidarity with the Wall Street occupiers and to object to the increasingly brutal tactics being used by the police. We have decided to continue to meet and rally each Sunday until the occupation ends, and we invite you to join us.

We will convene in City Hall Park at 12:30pm and hold a General Assembly to provide updates about the situation ...on the ground in NYC, discuss effective ways of providing support, and plan actions to demonstrate our support locally.

Please make and bring signs that show your support for the occupation and your opposition to the use of police violence to repress it, and spread this event widely!

See the live stream from NYC here:

*Update - Tentative agenda for the General Assembly, which will be run along the same moderated consensus lines as the GA in Liberty Plaza*

-Updates from those who have spent time in Liberty Plaza.
-Testimonials from those who have been personally affected by the current crisis.
-Reports back from working groups.
-Announcements of the formation of new working groups and projects (out of respect for each other's time, please be concise and limit your announcement to two minutes).

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"... the power that comes from the trust and love of other people, doesn’t emerge from a list of policy demands."

"At the forum, two fairly simple decisions were made. One, a nurse’s union endorsed #OccupyWallStreet, and pledged some food and offered nurses to train some of the protesters on first aid. The group accepted this endorsement. Two, some queens endorsed the protest, and offered food. They also said they would perform the next day. The group accepted this endorsement. That was it. These groups figured out ways they wanted to help, and did so. The groups that offered the help gained power based on what they did to build the space. A few days earlier, someone had offered to do a newspaper for #OccupyWallStreet and asked for volunteers. The group gave its approval. And now there’s an “Occupied Wall Street Journal”. There are people who offer to build the space, and then don’t deliver. But they don’t gain power. And that’s the way #OccupyWallStreet has structured its decision-making. Find ways to build the public space, and then gain the trust of the public that occupies the space you’ve helped build. The nurses helped deliver health care. The drag queens made the carnival more fun. This kind of power, the power that comes from the trust and love of other people, doesn’t emerge from a list of policy demands. It comes from the formation of a public, through the appreciation and sharing of a public space. It takes work, but the result is… #OccupyWallStreet."
Matt Stoller: "The Anti-Politics of #OccupyWallStreet" - Read it all here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

UPDATED: Burlington Solidarity with OWS Grows

SEE BELOW FOR IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR ALL VERMONTERS Big story: Front page, above the fold in today's Burlington Free Press. Matthew Cropp and Jonathan Leavitt are interviewed about Vermonters' support for the OWS actions in NYC. Waaaay to go, Burlington and Vermont.
‎'Cropp said he believes the demonstrations are as much about finding sustainable economic options, as they are against the excesses of Wall Street. He favors locally managed credit unions over banks that received stimulus bailouts and that... dole out huge bonuses. “The occupation,” he said, “is less of a protest, and more of a process. It’s bringing people together into these spaces to start working on what needs to be done. “So, instead of saying, ‘we’re going to stay here until you do X, Y and Z,’ it’s coming together to determine what X, Y and Z really need to be,” Cropp said.'
Jonny Leavitt:
“There are a lot of calls to action that put people’s needs first. Having one percent of America making decisions for the remaining 99 percent is a big one — and we’re finally finding our voice.”
In the first photo above, Matt Cropp speaks at the October 2nd rally on the steps of Citizens Bank, College Street, Burlington. In the second, Jonathan Leavitt is interviewed by a local television station after the rally. (Photos were taken by me.) Please come out on Sunday October 9th at 12:30 for another massive solidarity rally in City Hall Park, Burlington, VT! 150 came last Sunday; let's double that number! As Burlington's involvement grows, other cities are joining in. This poster was on Wounded Bird's blog. She's in Louisiana and there's a rally in NOLA today.
UPDATE The Vermont Workers' Center is organizing rallies across the state as well as a trip to New York City. As part of our Put People First campaign we are standing together with people around the country. Join us in:

Burlington Sunday, October 9, 12:30 pm, Burlington City Hall Park Saturday, October 15, 2 pm, Burlington City Hall Park contact:

Brattleboro Saturday, October 15th, 2pm, Wells Fountain Park contact:

Montpelier Saturday, October 15h, 3:30pm, City Hall Steps contact:

Rutland Saturday, October 15th, Time and Location TBA contact:

New York City Contact Heather Pipino if you are interested in traveling to NYC at (802) 595-1671