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Nov 142011

Photo courtesy of @LucyKafanov

For an hour or so prior to the start of this morning’s show, I was simulcasting the live video stream from Spencer (@OakFoSho) as the Oakland PD and law enforcement from surrounding cities once again raided the Occupy Oakland encampment at Oscar Grant Park.

My friend Joshua Holland (senior writer and editor at AlterNet) lives in San Francisco and was once again on the scene as the raid happened.  He joined me by phone at the end of the first hour to discuss what went on during the pre-dawn hours this morning, and wrote about it: “Thousands of Riot Cops Descend on Occupy Oakland, 32 Arrested”.

Tina Dupuy is the managing editor at Crooks and Liars, and has visited numerous occupations in a few countries.  She’s in the Bay Area now, and last night visited Occupy Oakland.   She also joined me this morning to talk about this morning’s raid, as well as the other weekend raids – all detailed at

I told of the Occupy with Aloha “musical occupation at Saturday night’s APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) gala in Hawii, attended by President Obama and a number of other world leaders.

During the gala dinner, renowned Hawaiian guitarist Makana, who performed at the White House in 2009, opened his suit jacket to reveal a home-made “Occupy with Aloha” T-shirt. Then, instead of playing the expected instrumental background music, he spent almost 45 minutes repeatedly singing his protest ballad released earlier that day. The ballad, called “We Are the Many,” includes lines such as “The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw…. And until they are purged, we won’t withdraw,” and ends with the refrain: “We’ll occupy the streets, we’ll occupy the courts, we’ll occupy the offices of you, till you do the bidding of the many, not the few.”

Those who could hear Makana’s message included Presidents Barack Obama of the United States of America, Hu Jintao of China, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, and over a dozen other heads of state.

As she does every Monday morning, C&L’s Nicole Belle joined me in the second hour for our “Fools on the Hill” segment, in which we dissect the Sunday talking heads shows. This week, she gave us these clips:

If it’s Sunday, it’s time for more Republican stupidity. And boy, is there a whole lot of stupidity to share.

Michele Bachmann—who advocated turning this country into China at the foreign policy debate—actually crammed so much stupid into a minute and a half that it’s hard to believe that she hasn’t been marginalized completely off the national stage. When David Gregory asks her about her advocating to bring back waterboarding, she sides with Dick Cheney, saying that she—unlike opponents Colin Powell, John McCain and the generals on the ground—is interested in winning. She also re-asserted that Iraqis need to repay GIs for their service. This time she put a price tag on it: several million dollars each.

Meanwhile, Candy Crowley really, really wants her viewers to blame Democrats for all ills in this country. After asking on a reliably Blue Dog bipartisanship fetishist like LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to comment on national politics and the Super Committee –which he does in a storm of Republican memes of “necessary” entitlement cuts and everyone sacrificing—she asks him what he thinks of the environment in Washington DC (the mayor of Los Angeles, mind you, 3,500 miles away) and he makes the entirely non-controversial statement that it’s the most partisan it’s ever been. Crowley follows up inexplicably with the skeptical “Do you think that the Democrats are blameless in this?”

RNC Chair Reince Preibus also spoke with Candy Crowley and assured us that it’s simply “not true” that the Republicans takes the side of the wealthiest. It’s President Obama that is waging the class war…which Crowley thinks is clearly working.

Bill Kristol—who is never, ever correct—spent a little of his regular air time on Fox News Sunday to trash the Occupy Wall Street movement, because you know, it could hurt liberal causes. ‘Cause he cares.

And George Will—who is actually documented to be the least correct person on the Sunday shows—gets something right when he pronounces Herman Cain a test for Republicans, because those four women (actually, I think it’s five) could mean that there are far, far more.

Nov 102011

It was a busy day!  The first hour included a visit from investigative journalist Greg Palast, giving us the juicy details behind his new book Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores. I finally got the time to start reading it just a couple of days ago, and it reads like a spy novel… but it’s all true.

I’ll let you know when I’m done, but  is definitely worth the read, whether the printed version or the Kindle edition with audio & video.  By the way, if you read the printed version and want to see the video, just visit … it’s all there!

As if that wasn’t enough for the first hour, it continued with John Fugelsang.  John usually joins me for the second hour of my Thursday shows, but he had an appointment today at that time, so we had a concentrated segment talking about last night’s debate, Koch-Cain’s harassment problems, the Penn State- Joe Paterno problems, and the occupy movement.

In hour two, we went over the audio/video of the stuff I spoke with Fugelsang about, including:



Nov 092011

For a guy who says he doesn't know her, Mr. Koch-Cain is certainly very close to Sharon Bialek

I don’t know when or where this picture was taken – but it was obviously a few years ago, and is obviously Herman (Koch) Cain standing right next to Sharon Bialek.  Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive ….

I opened the show this morning with some of Koch-Cain’s more obvious lies and sickening statements…  Then we moved on to some good news.  After hearing today’s  90 Second Summary from Main Street Insider

I spoke with Jeremy Koulish about yesterday’s election results — it turned out to be a pretty good day for progressives.
As Howie Klein recounted at Down With Tyranny in his special election wrap-up, in Ohio – SB5/Issue 2 (the horrible anti-union bill cooked up by the much hated Kasich) went down in a brutal 58-42% drubbing.   And in Columbus,  incumbent mayor Michael Coleman (D) was reelected over Republican Earl Smith 72-28%!

Howie continued:

The other two important ballot measures yesterday were in Maine– to restore same day voter registration that the GOP abolished– and Mississippi’s insane Initiative 26, the so-called “personhood” law that defines a sperm and an egg as a legal human being from the moment of fertilization. Both the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor endorsed the controversial and clearly unconstitutional Personhood thing but it lost anyway (58-42%), extremism getting smacked with a rolled up newspaper across the snout even in backward, ignorant, superstitious Mississippi. In Maine, despite big last-minute spending by teabag Gov. Paul LePage supporters (as well as the crazy, inflammatory attacks that are always associated with right-wing extremism), same day voters registration was restored 60-40%.

Constitutional officers were elected in Kentucky and Mississippi. There were no blue to red or red to blue changes in Kentucky– Democrats for Governor (56% for Steve Beshear), Attorney General (55% for Jack Conway), Auditor, Secretary of State, and Treasurer and the Republican was elected Agriculture Commissioner. Mississippi was the mirror image of what happened in Kentucky. Republicans won all the statewide races except that the incumbent Attorney General was reelected.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as well in Virginia.

Virginia, which will be key for Obama next year, went badly. The Democrats lost their bare 22-18 seat control of the state Senate and the Republicans retained their control of the House. A very radical right GOP now has complete control over the state government and will likely make immediate moves against democratic institutions, particularly voting rights. This was really the worst news of the night.

It was a busy show…  My favorite activist, David Swanson, has a new book out.  When the World Outlawed War tells the story of the peace movement in the 1920s that led to the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which outlawed war!  It’s still on the books, yet no one pays attention.  David joined me to talk about the book, along with the Occupy movement and, and his disagreement with Ted Rall on the way forward (violent revolution vs. non-violent civil resistance).

Jason Benlevi also joined in for a discussion about the internet and digital technology, spurred by his book Too Much Magic: Pulling the Plug on the Cult of Tech.

And my pal Dave Johnson told us about the resurrection of the blog – and the need for it (to expose those corporate and GOP-based lies), and his take on Occupy: “The Occupy Movement is Spreading and Growing“.  I particularly liked these suggestions:

Occupy Everywhere And Everything

Possible new Occupy actions include places that the government is ignoring its responsibilities, and people are sick of just taking it. Some ideas:

  • Occupying polluting companies, until they stop polluting.
  • Occupying privatized public functions — jobs that have been handed to private contractors in order to pay people poverty wages, while making a few at the top very, very rich.
  • Occupying companies that refuse to hire the unemployed.
  • Occupying companies that refuse to hire people over 40.Encouraged by the Occupy Movement, more and more people are finding their voice and speaking out.
  • Tonight, I’ll be live-tweeting the GOP wannabe nominee debate (8pm CNBC)…

    And tomorrow, we’ll finish off the week with Greg Palast (talking about his new book Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores) and John Fugelsang too.

    Nov 082011

    It’s election day! But it’s an off-off year, meaning that many people don’t think they need to vote. However, in Ohio and Mississippi, it’s mandatory today!  Troubles at Occupy Wall Street?  GottaLaff has a new Blunt webisode.  And poor Koch-Cain is in a whole lotta hot water…  All on today’s show…

    Blogger Fritz Tucker has been going to Zuccotti Park to participate in Occupy Wall Street, and made some observations that should be of interest to all concerned about the future of the movement.   He joined me on the show this morning to talk about “A Chill Descends on Occupy Wall Street.”

    My buddy Cliff Schecter lives in Ohio, so I invited him on the show today to tell us what’s at stake with Issue 2... we also took a few minutes to discuss the heinous “Personhood” amendment in Mississippi, and the possibility that Virginia’s evil governor will get a GOP majority in the state senate if Democrats don’t get out and vote.

    Every Tuesday morning, I’m joined by The Political Carnival’s GottaLaff for the second hour of the show…  We talked about and showed these videos, and the following stories:

    The newest Blunt – Occupy Respect!

    And the amazing people of Occupy Chicago as they Mic Check WI Gov Scott Walker

    And these stories:

    PhotOH! Oops! Republican state senator asks voters to thank… a Communist Soviet veteran

    VIDEO- To those who still think Jon Huntsman is a moderate, don’t “confuse a moderate attitude with a moderate record.”

    Gingrich-Cain debate: No Cain (alleged) sexual harassment talk allowed.

    And just because I could…. Koch-Cain…

    Nov 072011

    Koch-Cain’s 4th accuser came forward to tell of his advances. Sharon Bialek (oddly resembling Stifler’s mom) spoke quite eloquently, probably putting the next to last nail in Herb’s political coffin.

    Nov 072011

    Today, I was joined by Jamie Henn – Communications and Development Director of and about yesterday’s massive march and rally at the White House.

    Alan Rosenblatt was my guest to talk about the “Faux 15″ – the 15 so-called “jobs bills” that have passed the Boehner House and are now “stuck in the Senate”… Here’s the list on Canter’s site, and here’s how Nancy Pelosi’s site explains them.

    This is how @drdigipol tweeted them out (posted newest to oldest:

    drdigipol Alan Rosenblatt

    There r the faux 15 #jobs bills passed by House. They kill jobs, kill people, & put air, land, & water at risk. #fail#p2#ows#eaparty

    Faux #Jobs Bill #15-16: HR2021-HR1938-more oil drilling, less oversight, more spills. R they investing in oil cleanup? #p2#ows#teaparty

    Faux #Jobs Bill #14: Oil Cleanup Jobs Act (HR1231)-Opens drilling on Atlantic & Pacific coasts. They need Cleanup Jobs 2! #p2#ows#teaparty

    Faux #Jobs Bill #13: #BigOiL Drill More Act (HR1229) rushes process that caused BP #OilSpill#p2#ows#teaparty

    Faux #Jobs Bill #12: Big Oil Drilling (HR1230) allows more drilling in Gulf w/ less oversight creating OIL CLEANUP jobs. #p2#ows#teaparty

    Faux #Jobs Bill #11: Coal Ash Protection Act (HR2273) helps coal industry keep polluting. Doesn’t create jobs. #p2#ows#teaparty

    Faux #Jobs Bill #10: Even More Dirty Air Act (HR2250)-20K more sent 2 early graves from mercury pollution. Yay… more jobs. #ows#teaparty

    Faux #Jobs Bill #9: More Dirty Air Act (HR2681)… wld send 10,000 ppl 2 an early grave. Guess that opens up some jobs. #p2#ows#teaparty

    Faux #Jobs Bill #8: Dirty Air Act (HR2401)… if pollution was jobs, this bill would create lots of them. #p2#ows#teaparty

    Faux #Jobs Bill #7: Outsourcer’s Bill of Rights (HR2587) creates more jobs… IN OTHER COUNTRIES. #p2#ows#teaparty

    Faux #Jobs Bill #6: Bank Protection Act (HR1315 undermines consumer protection & protects finance industry bad practices. #p2#ows#teaparty

    Faux #Jobs Bill #5: More Dirty Water Act (HR872) allows pesticides 2 feed into our water. Where r the jobs in that? #p2#ows#teaparty

    Faux #Jobs Bill #4: Dirty Water Act (HR2018) kill tourism jobs, fishing industry, rec jobs while polluting our H2O. #p2#ows#teaparty

    Faux #Jobs Bill #3: Tollbooths on the Internet (HJRes37) destroys open internet, which created 3million jobs so far. #ows#teaparty

    Faux #Jobs Bill #2 Increasing Child Asthma Act (HR910) doesn’t create #jobs. It pollutes our air & hurts our kids. #p2#ows#teaparty

    drdigipol Alan Rosenblatt

    Faux #Jobs Bill #1 The Budget Bill that ENDS MEDICARE. What a joke that 1 is. It wld kill 1.7million jobs. #ows#teaparty

    Victoria Jones checked in with the news from the Talk Radio News Service.

    And it’s Monday, so Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars joined in for “Fools on the Hill”:

    Let’s play the latest Sunday morning edition of “You just don’t get it”, shall we?

    Condoleezza Rice wins the “I’ve learned nothing in the past ten years award” for going on This Week for the softest of softball interviews by Christiane Amanpour and using the interview as an opportunity to advocate for war with Iran.

    Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour inexplicably defended Herman Cain by likening these pesky women and their pesky allegation of sexual harassment to another time a fine black conservative rose to prominence and was unfairly subjected to scrutiny: Clarence Thomas and his “high tech lynching”. Of course, as former NM Governor Bill Richardson points out later in the video, Haley Barbour’s understanding of women is somewhat suspect given his support of the heinous Mississippi personhood amendment.

    Meanwhile, Candy Crowley—whom I think it’s safe to assume probably earns enough at CNN to be considered part of the 1% (over $380,300/year)—asks on lobbyists to discuss the economy and asks the AARP representative if he thought seniors were willing to “put skin in the game” to reduce the deficit.

    Jim Pinkerton on Fox News Watch demonstrates his entirely isolated and insular life when he claims that no one could actually be poor and still own a car, house or VCR.

    And finally, Speaker of the House John Boehner held off on the tears but still offered this plaintive cry on behalf of the 1%: How much more do you want them to pay?



    Nov 042011

    Note from Nicole … This post was written by my friend Sara Robinson, a senior fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future.   I hope that any assholes who think they’re acting as part of the Occupy movement will read it and take heed….

    Eric Thayer/Getty Images -- Anarchists in Oakland, Calif., smash the windows of a bank Wednesday during an Occupy demonstration. The group called for a general strike Wednesday and marched on the city's port later in the day, halting operations there.


    Occupy’s Asshole Problem: Flashbacks from An Old Hippie


    By Sara Robinson

    November 4, 2011

    I wish I could say that the problems that the Occupy movement is having with infiltrators and agitators are new. But they’re not. In fact, they’re problems that the Old Hippies who survived the 60s and 70s remember acutely, and with considerable pain.

    As a veteran of those days — with the scars to prove it — watching the OWS organizers struggle with drummers, druggies, sexual harassers, racists, and anarchists brings me back to a few lessons we had to learn the hard way back in the day, always after putting up with way too much over-the-top behavior from people we didn’t think we were allowed to say “no” to.  It’s heartening to watch the Occupiers begin to work out solutions to what I can only indelicately call “the asshole problem.” In the hope of speeding that learning process along, here are a few glimmers from my own personal flashbacks — things that it’s high time somebody said right out loud.

    1. Let’s be clear: It is absolutely OK to insist on behavior norms. #Occupy may be a DIY movement — but it also stands for very specific ideas and principles. Central among these is: We are here to reassert the common good. And we have a LOT of work to do. Being open and accepting does not mean that we’re obligated to accept behavior that damages our ability to achieve our goals. It also means that we have a perfect right to insist that people sharing our spaces either act in ways that further those goals, or go somewhere else until they’re able to meet that standard.

    2. It is OK to draw boundaries between those who are clearly working toward our goals, and those who are clearly not. Or, as an earlier generation of change agents put it: “You’re either on the bus, or off the bus.” Are you here to change the way this country operates, and willing to sacrifice some of your almighty personal freedom to do that? Great. You’re with us, and you’re welcome here. Are you here on your own trip and expecting the rest of us to put up with you? In that case, you are emphatically NOT on our side, and you are not welcome in our space.

    Anybody who feels the need to put their own personal crap ahead of the health and future of the movement is (at least for that moment) an asshole, and does not belong in Occupied space. Period. This can be a very hard idea for people in an inclusive movement to accept — we really want to have all voices heard. But the principles #Occupy stands for must always take precedence over any individual’s divine right to be an asshole, or the assholes will take over. Which brings me to….

    3. The consensus model has a fatal flaw, which is this: It’s very easy for power to devolve to the people who are willing to throw the biggest tantrums. When some a drama king or queen starts holding the process hostage for their own reasons, congratulations! You’ve got a new asshole! (See #2.) You must guard against this constantly, or consensus government becomes completely impossible.

    4. Once you’ve accepted the right of the group to set boundaries around people’s behavior, and exclude those who put their personal “rights” ahead of the group’s mission and goals, the next question becomes:  How do we deal with chronic assholes?

    This is the problem Occupy’s leaders are very visibly struggling with now. I’ve been a part of asshole-infested groups in the long-ago past that had very good luck with a whole-group restorative justice process. In this process, the full group (or some very large subset of it that’s been empowered to speak for the whole) confronts the troublemaker directly. The object is not to shame or blame. Instead, it’s like an intervention. You simply point out what you have seen and how it affects you. The person is given a clear choice: make some very specific changes in their behavior, or else leave.

    This requires some pre-organization. You need three to five spokespeople to moderate the session (usually as a tag team) and do most of the talking. Everybody else simply stands in a circle around the offender, watching silently, looking strong and determined. The spokespeople make factual “we” statements that reflect the observations of the group. “We have seen you using drugs inside Occupied space. We are concerned that this hurts our movement. We are asking you to either stop, or leave.”

    When the person tries to make excuses (and one of the most annoying attributes of chronic assholes is they’re usually skilled excuse-makers as well), then other members of the group can speak up — always with “I” messages. “I saw you smoking a joint with X and Y under tree Z this morning. We’re all worried about the cops here, and we think you’re putting our movement in danger. We are asking you to leave.” Every statement needs to end with that demand — “We are asking you to either stop, or else leave and not come back.” No matter what the troublemaker says, the response must always be brought back to this bottom line.

    These interventions can go on for a LONG time. You have to be committed to stay in the process, possibly for a few hours until the offender needs a pee break or gets hungry. But eventually, if everybody stays put, the person will have no option but to accept that a very large group of people do not want him or her there. Even truly committed assholes will get the message that they’ve crossed the line into unacceptable behavior when they’re faced with several dozen determined people confronting them all at once.

    Given the time this takes, it’s tempting to cut corners by confronting several people all at once. Don’t do it. Confronting more than two people at a time creates a diffusion-of-responsibility effect: the troublemakers tell themselves that they just got caught up in a dragnet; the problem is those other people, not me. The one who talks the most will get most of the heat; the others will tend to slip by (though the experience may cause them to reconsider their behavior or leave as well).

    This process also leaves open the hope that the person will really, truly get that their behavior is Not OK, and agree to change it. When this happens, be sure to negotiate specific changes, boundaries, rules, and consequences (“if we see you using drugs here again, we will call the police. There will be no second warning”), and then reach a consensus agreement that allows them to stay. On the other hand: if the person turns violent and gets out of control, then the question is settled, and their choice is made. You now have a legitimate reason to call the cops to haul them away. And the cops will likely respect you more for maintaining law and order.

    Clearing out a huge number of these folks can be a massive time suck, at least for the few days it will take to weed out the worst ones and get good at it. It might make sense to create a large committee whose job it is to gather information, build cases against offenders, and conduct these meetings.

    And finally:

    5. It is not wrong for you to set boundaries this way. You will get shit for this. “But…but…it looks a whole lot like a Maoist purge unit!”  No. There is nothing totalitarian about asking people who join your revolution to act in ways that support the goals of that revolution. And the Constitution guarantees your right of free association — which includes the right to exclude people who aren’t on the bus, and who are wasting the group’s limited time and energy rather than maximizing it. After all: you’re not sending these people to re-education camps, or doing anything else that damages them. You’re just getting them out of the park, and out of your hair. You’re eliminating distractions, which in turn effectively amplifies the voices and efforts of everyone else around you. And, in the process, you’re also modeling a new kind of justice that sanctions people’s behavior without sanctioning their being — while also carving out safe space in which the true potential of Occupy can flourish.


    Nov 032011

    The people of Oakland California stood up for their rights yesterday, and most of them did it following the rules of the Occupy movement: peaceful, non-violent protests.  That’s the message the stalwart members of Occupy Oakland wanted to present yesterday and, for most of the day, that was the picture.  Unfortunately, as in any large crowd, there are a few who want to play by their own rules.

    Some anarchists and perhaps provocateurs infiltrated and broke some windows, sprayed graffiti, and spread the wrong message.  But they were the minority of the marchers participating in yesterday’s general strike.

    This is what the strike looked like:


    Kids Marching - photo via Wendy Kenin @greendoula

    This is what it looked like late last night:

    15th and Broadway - Photo by @greendoula - Wendy Kenin

    I found a fascinating write-up about the strike and stunning photos in a most unlikely place: Business Insider!

    Around 5:00 p.m. PST Oakland’s Mayor Jean Quan and her fellow officials held a press conference.

    They said that the city had sustained minimal damage during the day’s protest, but that the police were calling in reinforcements from other cities anyway. She also said that the crowds preparing to march on the Port of Oakland were peaceful.

    Most importantly, she said there were only around 4,500 marchers. According to pictures, and reports from other media outlets, to us, that estimate seems low.

    From here in New York, we at Business Insider watched the protests escalate from a peaceful demonstration, to a powerful show of frustration from police, occupiers, and Oakland residents. There were fires, there was tear gas, and there were people who got very badly hurt. You can see it all in these photos from the Associated Press.

    Last night the Occupation showed that it is a force to be reckoned with. That, if it so desires, it can put enough people on the street to cause chaos. Bodies, after all are power. But that power comes at a cost, not just to the city of Oakland, but to the public’s perception of the occupation.

    Listen: stay peaceful.

    Read more:


    This morning, unable to arouse the sleeping protesters in Oakland, I read Joshua Holland‘s twitter stream from yesterday.  It began at around 9am PT with

    Joshua Holland

    JoshuaHol Joshua Holland
    New: #OccupyOakland Attempts to Shut Down City with America’s First #GeneralStrike in 65 Years
    Some of the highlights throughout the day…
    Crowded in #OO camp; spilling into
    This rebellion is in the milling about waiting for something to happen stage. Speechifying about to start. #OO
    About 800 marching on Wells Fargo a block up B’Way. #OO
    March headed out. #OO
    “oh my god, stay close, I don’t want to get separated!” bottle-blonde tv reporter to camerman. #OO
    Oakland economic activity has not been ground to a halt, but there are a number of these. #oo
    At this early hour, protest totally peaceful; minimal police presence. Actually none here. #OO
    Crowd has “taken” intersection of clay and 15th. Can’t hear announcements over ppls mic. #oo
    Maybe 1000 ppl now. Arrived at wells Fargo 12th and bway. #oo
    Funny how people don’t get stupid absent aggressive crowd control by police clad in body armor. Very peaceful. #OO
    Kids at the diner where I’m charging my phone say principle sent memo that school is closed. Trying to figure out if this is widespread. #OO
    Radical icecream truck offers free food, tips for police engagement. #OO
    Awesome schoolchildren’s march. “Play nice and share!” they chant.
    There are approximately 2000 at the plaza, but that’s only part of the total. There are two other marches in the area. #OO
    Now a third wave of protesters from a satellite march approaching the plaza. Earlier reports of 5k protesters now looking accurate.
    Bit of a lull. Crowd has split–half in front of plaza, half protesting banks on 12th st. Blockade of citibank contonues. Very peaceful. #OO
    This is bad. Vandalism, and these are just offices in the same building as wells #OO
    Frustrating: the story today should be how mellow this has been. Just a couple of knuckleheads–or, who knows, agents provocateurs. #OO
    That’s bad mojo. I fear that this will justify whatever actions police take later. Leaving for Port of Oakland soon. #OO
    We have just boarded one of 6 party buses headed toward port. #OO
    Arriving at the sprawling port of Oakland. #OO
    Ton of media at the port. Buses are dropping off groups at different entrances. #OO
    Longshoreman: I love what you’re doing. I been working here 59 yrs. Supposed to be big money, but I’m living paycheck to paycheck. #OO
    Huge number of reinforcements arriving in waves from the plaza. #OO
    Mojo editor reports that port director said operations shut down. #OO
    Been walking past people for 20 minutes. Many thousands here. 5th busiest container port in US is thoroughly occupied. #OO
    Huge crowds sitting down over several miles of access road around port. Quiet, no police in sight. #OO
    You get past one huge mass of people and then there is another and another. Huge turnout. #OO
    Organizers say they are awaiting confirmation that the port is shut down before withdrawing. #OO
    Running home to write. I’ll be back out in an hour or two.
    My very quick-and-dirty recap of the day is up at AlterNet: Headed back out to Oakland shortly. #OO
    10pm PT
    Breaking: I am tired.
    Festive mood at the plaza. Large crowd remains. Long line at the food station. #OO
    Probably 200 ppl still in intersection of 14th and bway. Everyone’s playing music. Think thus is what a win looks like. #OO
    11pm PT
    Probably 200 ppl still in intersection of 14th and bway. Everyone’s playing music. Think thus is what a win looks like. #OO
    Ok, the next phase, I’m told, is to reoccupy vacant buildings. They grabbed a building, and word is police are on their way. #OO
    Could definitely be a rumor. But several 100 occupiers have moved to 16th st. And erected a barricade. #OO
    Barricade, as rumors swirl that police are coking to evict building. #OO
    Helicopters overhead and rumors of imminent police arrival raising tension. Some cries of ‘fuck police’ but most remain kinda festive. #OO
    Things have gotten kinda weird. But there’s every possibility nothing is really happening. #OO
    A somewhat credible report by byclist whio just saw 100+ police in riot gear massing at opd station. #OO
    Barricade getting bigger. #OO
    Around midnight PT:
    16 vans filled with riot police just pulled up at 17th st, one block away. #OccupyOakland #OO
    This will end badly.
    Huge mass of riot police staging 1 block from barricade. #OO
    2 waves of police readying. This is going to be ugly. #OO #OccupyOakland
    Blast, smoke on broadway. Must be a flash bang. No gas masks. #OO #Occupyoakland
    Occupiers have set barricade on fire. Now pretty big blaze. #OO #Occupyoakland
    Flames 15 feet high. Cops at the ready half block away. Repeating order to disperse. #OO # occupyOakland
    Police moving forward.
    Round after round of flashbangs. Maybe 9. #Occupyoakland
    Terrifying scene. Protesters in there must be hurting. #OccupyOakland
    NBC cameraman said a lot of gas was deployed in intesection of 17th and bway–where I heard earlier blasts. #OO #Oakland
    Now on the other side — 14 and bway. Eyes, throat sting from residual gas. Oh, and some guys skateboarding in front of the riot cops #OO
    The scene is best described as post-apocalyptic dystopia with a drum circle. #OO
    And it was such a peaceful day of protests.
    And there’s more, but that seemed like a fitting place to end.  Read Joshua Holland’s full twitter account of yesterday here,  and his reports at AlterNet here.
    This morning on the show, was joined by Crooks and Liars new managing editor, Tina Dupuy, who I found in Washington DC on her way to Occupy Baltimore, and comedian John Fugelsang.
    It was a long week, and I’m getting old.  I shall try to celebrate turning 52 tomorrow and, barring anything that would prevent it, I’ll be back Monday morning…
    Nov 022011

    The last time our nation saw a General Strike was in 1946, in Oakland.  As Think Progress recounts,

    Over the course of two days in December 1946, 130,000 workers in Oakland refused to work out of solidarity with a strike by 400 mostly female retail clerks in which police were intervening. Union officials called the massive strike a “worker’s holiday.” All stores but pharmacies and food markets were shut down. After two days, the general strike ended when the city government pledged police neutrality in future strikes. The retail strike continued for another five months before being resolved.

    AlterNet‘s Joshua Holland, based in San Francisco, has been covering the developments at Occupy Oakland, and tells of the process leading up to today’s massive action:

    At Occupy Oakland’s October 27 General Assembly, activists still sore and weary from a night of brutal police crackdowns (but also energized after re-taking the plaza from which they’d been violently evicted 36 hours before) considered whether to attempt to organize the first general strike in this country in 65 years. …

    “I support a general strike right now to take advantage of this momentum,” said one speaker excitedly at the “people’s mic” that evening. “We should strike while the iron’s hot!” The sentiment was greeted by raucous applause, and the resolution passed shortly afterward.

    Wednesday, November 2, was the date chosen. The strike, said activist Louise Michel at an October 31 press conference, was spurred “by a need to end police attacks on our communities, to defend our schools and libraries against closures, and against this economic system.” The occupiers, Michel continued, called for “a day of action in which the circulation of capital is blockaded, students walk out of their schools and people stage various occupations” around the city. The activists vowed to protest any businesses that keep their doors open during the strike. …

    …n those five days, an enormous amount of momentum has built up behind the action. SEIU, UAW, the Alameda Labor Council – an umbrella group representing over 100 local unions – and several other locals, including two area teachers’ unions, endorsed the strike, coming as close to officially participating in the event as legally possible.

    Today’s a good day to follow Joshua Holland’s twitter stream, as he’ll be tweeting from the midst of it all day.

    This morning, I spoke with Alan Brill, one of the members of the Occupy Oakland media group, who gave us a bit more insight into the day’s plans and reiterating that “we need massive change in the way that our country operates.”

    At the top of the show, I was joined by Vivian Richardson, a resident of the Bayview area of San Francisco.  She expects to be evicted from her home on Dec. 31, after two years of trying to work out a mortgage modification with her lender, a firm based in Delaware.    Just yesterday, Vivian stood alongside her former neighbor, Carolyn Craig, as she announced to the media that she and her family had reclaimed and moved back into the home they were evicted from last December.

    And to finish the show, Sarah Seltzer gave us a bit more info about how things work at Occupy Wall Street.  The AlterNet associate editor and NYC freelance writer penned “Where Are The Women at Occupy Wall Street? Everywhere — and They’re Not Going Away” for The Nation , and totally blew the argument of anyone who claims that the occupations aren’t structured.  Being leaderless doesn’t mean disorganized.  In this case, it’s quite the opposite.

    Being Wednesday, I checked in with Jeremy Koulish of Main Street Insider to discuss this week’s 90 Second Summary, giving us the info we need on the Rebuild America Jobs Act”:


    The first edition of The Occupied Washington Post is out.  Click here to download the pdf!

    And finally, you know that Occupy Wall Street is making its mark on America when South Park does a show about it. This preview from tonight’s episode:



    Nov 012011

    Today’s reversal by Bank of America on their proposed $5 monthly fee for users of debit cards shows that our voices are being heard.  A few people who know what they’re talking about offer some advice…

    Last night, former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer (who probably could have become president if only he could have kept his dick in his pants) appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann and gave the protesters a few ideas:

    Rick Perlstein gave some pointers via his blog at Crooks and Liars

    An excerpt:

    …the reason the Occupiers have changed attitudes in politicians, or at least become a nagging presence in the back of would-be-austerians minds, is a bluntly traditional reason. It is the same reason politicians have always responded to “street heat.” Politicians see a crowd, and count votes. Not just the votes of the people in the protesting crowd—the count two votes, ten votes, a hundred votes for every member in a protesting crowd. They understand people willing to undergo hardship—certainly people willing to make the awesome commitment to keep and hold public space—as people with the motivation to influence voters around them….

    …If sustaining a physical presence in public space is your political goal, well, then we can be very, very happy. But that is not my political goal.

    If figuring out nifty new ways for large groups to make democratic decisions is your political goal, then we can be very, very happy. But that is not my political goal. My goal is…economic justice.

    Change, Occupiers, or die. Scare politicians. Systematically. Do politics—even if it means the messy of forming coalitions with the nasty organizations “that got us into this mess in the first place.” Human beings got us into this mess in the first place. And no one is saying we shouldn’t be working with them. Or if you are, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.


    And this creative young man shows us how to Keep Wall Street Occupied from the comfort of your own living room:

    Today on the show, I pontificated on OWS, tomorrow’s general strike in Oakland, and Saturday’s Move Your Money action.  By the way, should you be in a position and want to donate some needed goods to OWS, all the info is here.  Stay tuned for info on a general fundraising for occupations around the country, and a fundraising effort for Scott Olsen.
    I also read Allen West’s latest “weekly wrap-up” – which is misguided in oh, so many ways.  He ridiculed Occupy Ft. Lauderdale for protesting outside the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show.  Read their take on the action at their website:

    In hour two I was joined by The Political Carnival‘s GottaLaff, for our weekly get-together. Today, we talked about these stories and more:

    News Corp.’s James Murdoch gets a pay raise

    Virginia GOP Halloween e-mail shows President Obama with bullet hole through his head

    Why even President Obama’s highest poll numbers ultimately may not matter

    VIDEO: Herman Cain sings… again. Also plans to “take a nap” on first day of his administration.

    other quotes +VIDEO: Herman Cain on Face the Nation

    Herman Cain, who wants to be leader of the free world, keeps admitting he’s ignorant

    Republican: “We don’t have much tolerance for too many facts or too much information.”

    Occupy Respect

    Jesus Ween


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