Monday, December 12, 2011

he Price, and the Cost, of "Fictitious Capital": Dr. David Harvey


Local democracy, but national feudalism:
Three years after the near collapse of global financial markets, America is still struggling with unemployment, debt, and foreclosure, European governments are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy—and the world's billionaires are getting richer faster than ever before. The current situation is not sustainable. But what changes need to be made to overcome this mounting crisis of our world economic system? How radical an adaptation will be required? David Harvey, the brilliant theorist and scathing critic of postmodern society, looks at what the future holds for global capitalism.

The Dr. S.T. Lee Distinguished Lecture Series in the Humanities brings to the Penn Humanities Forum scholars and artists whose work has advanced our understanding of issues central to the humanities.
If I were still teaching, I would be teaching this.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Beware! American "Heroes" Aren't Part of the People

Lotta folks here in UServille are feeling secure that the US military wouldn't attack the "people."

HERE'S another scummy, reeking, drooling motherfucking shitbucket asswhole in uniform distancing itself from the "people." If this skeevy shitheel is any indication, I wouldn't be so sure.

Read what the shitbag writes!

Woody takes the expression of sentiments like these as the clearest evicence I can think of that certain elements of the USer military would INDEED "fire" on the "people" if ordered to do so...and gladly, without compunction.

Here's another one.

If this moron is to be believed, the Marines are compromised too. I had something to say about this clown last week:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

OWS Stirs CorpoRat Oppo (or not)

More and more, I am coming to the opinion that OWS may well be yet another hegemonic "cell" in the "sponge of domination" which it so expertly deploys to absorb the threats to its/their positions and powers...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Occupy Our "Democracy"!

As usual, Robert Reich's "right," correct, on the money, about what's wrong and what needs to be done.
As usual, too, he stops his exhortation SHORT (heh) of the money quote: Just how are we supposed to do it?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Semiotics of Suppression

(An Occupy Wall Street protestor draws contact from a police officer near Zuccotti Park after being ordered to leave the longtime encampment in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011 (Credit: AP/John Minchillo))
Glenn Greenwald, on Salon:
Following similar raids in St. Louis and Oakland, hordes of NYPD officers this morning forcibly cleared Zuccotti Park in Manhattan of all protesters; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg took “credit” for this decision. That led to this description of today’s events from an Occupy Wall Street media spokesman, as reported by Salon‘s Justin Elliott:

A military style raid on peaceful protesters camped out in the shadow of Wall Street, ordered by a cold ruthless billionaire who bought his way into the mayor’s office.

If you think about it, that short sentence is a perfect description of both the essence of America’s political culture and the fuel that gave rise to the #OWS movement in the first place.

* * * * *

Jesse LaGreca, who justifiably received substantial attention as an insightful and articulate spokesperson for OWS’s grievances, here condemns what he describes as the “1-party bankster owned oligarchy” (for more on what he means, see here).
Read more at the link.

Paz, Hippies...

You Wanna Know "Why?" Really? Okay. Read This and STFU!

It's an image file, not a text. It needs editing, too. But, yeah, read this and if you haven't before, you SHOULD understand. Click on the image to enlarge it.

A Coordinated Attack on the Occupy Movement? Yup!

Homeland Security Coordinated 18-City Police Crackdown on Occupy Protest
Posted on November 16, 2011 by WashingtonsBlog
National Coordination Goes Against Protection of Local Accountability

According to Oakland Mayor Jean said that 18 cities coordinated police crack downs on Occupy protests.

Wonkette reports that Homeland Security likely organized the crack downs:
Remember when people were freaking out over the Patriot Act and Homeland Security and all this other conveniently ready-to-go post-9/11 police state stuff, because it would obviously be just a matter of time before the whole apparatus was turned against non-Muslim Americans when they started getting complain-y about the social injustice and economic injustice and income inequality and endless recession and permanent unemployment? That day is now, and has been for some time. But it’s also now confirmed that it’s now, as some Justice Department official screwed up and admitted that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated the riot-cop raids on a dozen major #Occupy Wall Street demonstration camps nationwide yesterday and today. (Oh, and tonight, too: Seattle is being busted up by the riot cops right now, so be careful out there.)

Rick Ellis of the Minneapolis edition of has this, based on a “background conversation” he had with a Justice Department official on Monday night:
Over the past ten days, more than a dozen cities have moved to evict “Occupy” protesters from city parks and other public spaces. As was the case in last night’s move in New York City, each of the police actions shares a number of characteristics. And according to one Justice official, each of those actions was coordinated with help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal police agencies.
According to this official, in several recent conference calls and briefings, local police agencies were advised to seek a legal reason to evict residents of tent cities, focusing on zoning laws and existing curfew rules. Agencies were also advised to demonstrate a massive show of police force, including large numbers in riot gear. In particular, the FBI reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.

(And for those who are understandably doubtful about as a news source, here’s an AP story from a couple hours ago that verifies everything except the specific mention of DHS coordination.)
As Yves Smith notes:
The 18 police action was a national, coordinated effort. This is a more serious development that one might imagine. Reader Richard Kline has pointed out that one of the de facto protections of American freedoms is that policing is local, accountable to elected officials at a level of government where voters matter. National coordination vitiates the notion that policing is responsive to and accountable to the governed.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Penn State and Berkeley: A Tale of Two Protests

If irony WERE NOT dead--killed, according to Tom Lehrer, by Kissinger's Nobel Peace Prize-- there would certainly be strains of it running through these two disparate discourses. They have a longer history of beating up hippies in Berkeley than they do of bringing the wood to irate frat boys in College Village, or whatever the fuck the name of the podunk backwater tanktown is.
Via The Nation:

Last night, two proud universities saw student demonstrations that spiraled into violence. On the campus of Penn State University in State College Pennsylvania, several hundred students rioted in anger after the firing of legendary 84-year-old head football coach Joe Paterno. At the University of California at Berkeley, 1,000 students, part of the Occupy USA movement, attempted to maintain their protest encampment in the face of police orders to clear them out.

At Penn State, students overturned a media truck, hit an ESPN reporter in the head with a rock and made every effort at arson, attempting to set aflame the very heart of their campus. They raised their fists in defense of a man fired for allegedly covering up the actions of a revered assistant who doubled as a serial child rapist. The almost entirely male student mob was given the space by police to seethe and destroy without restraint.

At Berkeley, the police had a much different response. Defenseless students were struck repeatedly with batons, as efforts were made to disperse their occupation by Sproul Hall, the site of the famed Mario Savio–led free speech battles of the 1960s.

Two coasts and two riots: a frat riot and a cop riot. Each riot, an indelible mark of shame on their respective institutions.

The difference is that at Berkeley, the Occupiers—a diverse assemblage of students, linking arms—pushed back and displayed true courage in the face of state violence. They would not be moved. These students are a credit to their school and represent the absolute best of a young generation who are refusing to accept the world as it is.

At Penn State, we saw the worst of this generation: the flotsam and the fools; the dregs and the Droogs; young men of entitlement who rage for the machine.

No matter how many police officers raised their sticks, the students of Berkeley stood their ground, empowered by a deeper set of commitments to economic and social justice.

No matter how many children come forward to testify how Joe Paterno’s dear friend Jerry Sandusky brutally sodomized them on their very campus, the students at Penn State stood their ground. They stood committed to a man whose statue adorns their campus, whose salary exceeds $1.5 million and whose name for years was whispered to them like he was a benevolent Russian czar and they were the burgeoning Black Hundreds.

Theirs was a tragic statement that proud Penn State has become little more than a company town that’s been in the lucrative business of nursing Joe Paterno’s legend for far too long.

I spoke this morning to a student who was at Sproul Hall and another resident who was a bystander at State College. The word that peppered both of their accounts was “fear:” fear that those with the space and means to be violent—the police at Berkeley and the rioters at Penn State—would take it to, as Anne, a Berkeley student said to me, “a frightening point of no return.”

I would argue that this “point of no return” has now actually been reached, spurred by Wednesday night’s study in contrasts.

November 9 was a generational wake-up call to every student on every campus in this country. Which side are you on? Do you defend the ugliest manifestations of unchecked power or do you fight for a better world with an altogether different set of values? Do you stand with the Thugs of Penn State or do you stand with Occupiers of Berkeley? It’s fear vs. hope, and the stakes are a hell of a lot higher than a BCS bowl.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Guest Post: Seamus O'Sullivan on Occupying Space

In defense of the preservation of Occupy's open space
By: Seamus O'Sullivan

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—The discursive “open space” created by the Occupy movement is driving pundits and bosses of just about every political persuasion absolutely nuts. It’s almost worth the price of admission.

Critics are desperate for anything to discredit the Occupy movement. As soon as a policy statement is developed, the hegemons of public discourse will unleash their rhetorical weaponry to reduce the proposal, no more how sophisticated or reasoned it might be, into an emotionally saturated thought fragment that can force fit into one or more of the available binary oppositional paradigms like capitalism/command economy, pragmatic/ hopeless idealistic, patriotism/treason, unregulated/strangled, liberty/Big Brother, and eventually good/evil. Some critics are trying to discredit the moment with tired, unimaginative claims that it is Marxist/Leninism in disguise or by invoking comparisons with the stinky hippy hedonist stereotype they last had some success with 40 years ago. Dull and insipid yes, but also mean-spirited, which is often useful when dominance not reason is the aim of the game.

Many Americans, it seems, do not need a pamphlet or a written explanation to understand or palpably feel the gross economic inequality fueling this movement. A recent New York Times poll revealed that 46% of those surveyed have a favorable view of the Occupy movement. One of the things I have been struck by as a participant in the Saturday rallies and marches organized by (Un)Occupy Albuquerque is the huge numbers of passers-by who enthusiastically gesture or shout their support. Few people are neutral in their response and even fewer are opposed.

One of the latest tactics of the Occupy critics is the charge that many protestors are breaking laws by violating municipal permit requirements, exercising constitutional rights outside of designated “free-speech zones,” or in the case of Albuquerque for violating the on-again, off-again directives of the president of the University of New Mexico against overnight demonstrations on campus. Where was their pious concern that the law should be applied equally to everyone when it came to investigating the financial elite who pillaged the economy for personal gain in actions that destroyed jobs, emptied out pension plans, and fueled poverty for millions of Americans? Where was their righteous concern for the rule of law and calls for investigations as the evidence mounted that Pres. Bush and now Pres. Obama have ransacked the Constitution in pursuit of the war on terror?

The duplicitous charge of lawlessness is simply a means to an end, justification for the use of state violence against protestors, a shameless strategy that backfired last week in Oakland, California, when police action there resulted in serious head injuries sustained by a 24-year-old Marine veteran, Scott Olsen. Demonstrations around the world last weekend suggested that heavy handed police retaliations against non-violent protesters can also generate new enthusiasm for the movement.

At some point, the movement will be required to articulate a program. The value of the current open space is that it is showing that the most vociferous critics are dull, mean-spirited and eager to deploy coercive violence. Their responses are creating new support. Meanwhile, organizers can use this space to imagine the previously unimaginable, like an economy that values the common good over the obscene accumulation of riches by the privileged few.

Seamus O'Sullivan is a world-traveled scholar and cultural observer most recently back from five years teaching "American Studies" and other things in the American University system in Central Asia, first in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and then in Kabul, Afghanistan. He blogs at
Insubordinate in Albuquerque.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's a Fucking Heist: Goldman-Sachs vs. The OWS Community Credit Union

I like a man who can bring off a fedora!
Greg Palast rocks!

Why I And So Many More Support "Occupy Wall Street!"

Singing To The Choir: Onward, OWS!

My blog-pal, Tricia (aka P.e.Nolan) hung this on her Menopausal Stoners blog recently, aslong with a nce analysis of the problems of raising "special interests" among the larger movement. Go look!

OWS: Embarrassing the US Chamber of Commerce!

It is ALWAYS as salutary outcome when one can cause thje slightest discomfiture among the anointed. Thanks to Kevin Zeese!
This morning around forty of the occupiers from Occupy DC / Freedom Plaza Washington DC marched to the US Chamber of Commerce to call out Chamber CEO Tom Donohue for his destructive policies for the 99%.

The US Chamber was one of the driving forces for the Supreme Court bestowing full personage on corporations and further destroying what little representative democracy we had left in this country.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Positive Branding!

In case you haven’t seen it yet, below is a commercial that was released last weekend from the OWS movement. It’s not a bunch of dirty hippies spouting peace and love, which if you ask me…isn’t a bad thing either.

Business Insider has some background:
Last week, we wrote about Occupy Wall Street’s commercial, which features a montage of protesters explaining what they would like to get out of the movement. Since then, we’ve been contacted by the commercial ‘s director, David Sauvage. He told us that the commercial was on track to air nationally, thanks to the efforts of a San Francisco-based digital advertising start-up called LoudSauce. [...]
Occupy Wall Street started its LoudSauce campaign last week with little fanfare and a goal set for $5,000. Thanks to mostly word of mouth (through Twitter and Facebook), the goal was met by Friday. They’ll be wrapping up the campaign at the end of this week, and the commercial should be on TV in the next few weeks (they said most likely on ESPN).
This may well be the first time a protest movement will air a positive branding ad.

Private Prisons Are A Democratic Travesty

Woody repeats (for the nth time):
No nation or "People" can pretend to true, humane civilization which permits--indeed, even encourages and promotes--private profit to be extracted from the immiseration--the imprisonment, illness, injury, disability or death--of its citizens.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Civic Pride!

The City of Philadelphia rejected the application of the NAACP to post this sign near the entry port of the city's airport. Imagine that?


"No nation, or People, may be regarded as humane, or as even nominally civilized, which would permit--much less encourage and even stimulate--the extraction of private profit from the immiseration--imprisonment, illness, injury, disability, or death--of its citizens." -- Woody N. Konopak (2008)

Testifying! Spread the Word!

This is EXACTLY right, as an appeal to the disappearing middle class.
Of course, it's ALWAYS been true for the poor.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ry Cooder ~~ A "Social Justice" Medley

Reboot, and Restore!

"99% Of The Population Has Lost Political Representation"

Shrinks the big banks, fire the Goldmann-Sachs alumns, and bring up the Banksters up on RICO or fraud charges. The FBI predicted SEVEN YEARS AGO that there was an epidemic of mortgage fraud.

"Just-Us"For All...

Kill a couple of people, they throw ya in jail.
Kill a THOUSAND people, and they throw ya a parade...

These Are GREAT Ideas, But...

They will become law about the time that a mariachi band of costumed armadillos sashays out my ass playing narco-corridos to the Mexican cartels.

That is to say, without explicit LEADERSHIP, ENCOURAGEMENT, and DIRECTION from some iconic, high-level, PROGRESSIVE political figure, these proposals have exactly ZERO fucking chance to be enacted into law over what would be the MOST STRENUOUS objections of the richest motherfuckers in the land.

And something Buffett and his pals leave out, for some reason: The Financial Speculation Tax--aka the "Robin Hood Tax."


"Ask Alice. But I Don't Think She'll Know!"

Probably For The Same Reason We USers Don't Attack Iran

Why do the cops roust the peaceful, unarmed kids at OWS, but leave the murderosu crackkkers with their assault rifles alone?

Like the wisdom in the rest of the world: If you DON'T want the USofA to attack you on some specious, trumped-up charge, have nukes.