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Thank you Wisconsin (and a GREAT ‘Republican guy totally losing it’ video)


Image via jimspolitico
 
I would be remiss if I didn’t start the year properly, by offering my personal and heartfelt thanks to the fine, morally upstanding people of the great state of Wisconsin. You—and the brave state legislators who got the ball rolling, let’s not forget them—make me proud to be American and one of your fellow citizens. Wisconsin is the birthplace of the American Labor movement and the home of its rebirth in 2011.

The fight against loathsome Republican Governor Scott Walker has inspired and re-invigorated working people across the country—in Ohio, in Michigan, in Zuccotti Park and other OWS sites and events around the country—but it is in Wisconsin where they’re demonstrating to the rest of us how a revolution is won, or can be won, in an appropriately American fashion, at the ballot box.

And the other side just has guys like this mouth-breathing, psychotic reichwing fruitcake—and ridiculous crybaby—Carl Sosnoski, apparently the owner of an Oshkosh sports bar called “Players” and a heating and cooling contractor (Google Players + Oshkosh, if you’d like to order some pizza or… whatever). Little clown-boy Carl got a little bit too close to Robert Bergman—nicknamed “Fighting Bob”—who was exercising his First Amendment rights by soliciting signatures for the Walker Recall effort and this is what happened:

On Tuesday afternoon (12/27/11) I set up to collect signatures in a middle school parking lot. There was no school in session, and it is a public school. I put out my signs, and pretty immediately a signer pulled in. I went to collect his signature. Another truck pulled in behind him. I headed over to it, and asked, “Would you like to sign the petition to recall Scott Walker?” I always ask this, as I don’t want to assume anything. Right away this man asked me why I wanted to recall Walker. For me this is a red flag. Walker supporters want to waste your time. They think you come from out of state, and think you haven’t a clue as to the damage Walker is doing to the state. And they act like you owe them an explanation. At that point I said, “Just one minute - I’ll get back to you,” so that I could finish up with the first guy.

Knowing the man in the truck was there to harass me, I went to my truck and got my video camera. I went to the first signer, and got the clipboard and put it away, so that it couldn’t be destroyed. I started going the long way around his truck because I have learned not to walk in front of vehicles because people will try to run you over. I got half way around when I heard him say, “What are you doing?”

Here’s a transcript of part of their exchange. The last part you just have to WATCH.

Carl: What are you doing?
Bob: I’m video taping you, sir.
Carl: You’re really kind of a jerk, aren’t you? Aren’t you?
Bob: Okay, if you’ve got questions, the reason I’m doing this? (referring to Mr. Sosnoski’s earlier question about his motivation to recall Walker).
Carl: Yeah, I do.
Bob: Okay, the reason I’m doing this is because I don’t believe in Scott Walker.
Carl: What! That’s not a reason! What’s your reason?
Bob: I don’t owe you any explanations, sir.
Carl: Well, then, you can’t use this tape for anything, you know that.
Bob: I can too, sir. I feel like I’m being harassed.
Carl: You are being harassed. And pretty soon, you’re going to be killed! Okay?

Want to see an ugly little Republican man completely losing his shit in a very comical way? Watch the video that many people who know Carl—his wife, family, friends, relatives, and FORMER CUSTOMERS—have also probably watched in the past few days…

Even more outrageous is how the cop—a Walker supporter—handled the matter. The thing is, how “pro-Walker” would this police officer be if the Walker administration tried to fuck over the firefighters and police unions the way he fucked over the school teachers and other state employees? What’s in it for HIM to “support” Scott Walker? What an idiot he is, too. Why would any member of any union support Scott Walker?

You can read the rest of the story at Daily Kos. The Northwestern.com website, a Gannett operation, reports that:

Sosnoski said he has contacted a lawyer and intends to fight the citation and possibly explore further action against Bergman.

Good luck with that, you stupid son-of-a-bitch. HE’S GOT YOU ON VIDEOTAPE MAKING WHAT AMOUNTS TO A PRETTY DIRECT DEATH THREAT, YOU FUCKING FOOL!

Why not call more attention to yourself, Republican loser? Carl must be even dumber than he looks! I have to wonder if when he called the police, he said anything even remotely like the rather obvious truth: “Um, yeah, I just made a, um, like, um, sort of, um, death threat to this guy who had the audacity to videotape me doing it. He’s locked himself in his truck, can you come over here to protect me from him?”

Conservatives are always ready to cry “foul” when their First Amendment Rights get stepped on, but when they’re the ones doing the goose-stepping on other people’s rights, hey, that’s a-okay!

BTW, as reported on Daily Kos, “Fighting Bob” Bergman, who worked a double shift last night as non-union machine operator, has personally collected 1411 signatures to recall Scott Walker, and 1403 signatures to recall Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. So far!

“Fighting Bob” was never political in his life until last spring. Interesting to contrast what Walker inspires in his opponents vs. what he inspires in his own brain-dead supporters like this shithead, Carl here, and the creeps who pulled this stunt. I can’t imagine that Walker’s case benefits much with undecided voters from such self-defeating activities like these on the part of his supporters!

“Fighting Bob” and the people of Wisconsin, I salute you and think you’re all heroes. Thank you, very, very much for the important work you are doing, for ALL AMERICANS (including Fox News viewers too stupid to understand how what you are doing benefits them, I thank you on their behalf, too).

A vastly better world is possible!. Help consign Scott Walker’s administration to the dustbin of history by donating to United Wisconsin.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Fake commercial for the Occupy Wall Street LEGO Set
12.30.2011
12:24 pm

Topics:
Activism
Amusing
Class War
Current Events

Tags:


 
YouTuber Sibirty points out, “Needs moar attack dogs, pepper spray, and firehoses!”
 

 
(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Reddit makes plans to ‘take out’ Republican class war posterboy Paul Ryan


 
The muscle of Reddit is being flexed once again. After their successful actions against GoDaddy, the user-submitted social news site’s group mind is threatening to “take out” Republican Congressman Paul Ryan (WI), pledging its support for his Democrat opponent, Rob Zerban, a critic of the “Stop Online Piracy Act.” Now the Congressman’s office has been forced to clarify his position (well, kind of) on SOPA.

While I’d personally love to see Paul Ryan lose his seat—or worse—it appears that what saw redditors target Ryan initially was his supposed co-sponsorship of the anti-piracy bill, which is not accurate.

Via The Atlantic Wire:

“Contrary to false reports, Congressman Paul Ryan is not a cosponsor of H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act,” said Ryan press secretary Kevin Seifert in a statement. The wrath of Reddit, which was recently tested in a successful boycot of domain registrar Go Daddy for supporting the same legislation, is proving to be more fearsome than one might expect from a website that also trades in kitten photos and WTF ephemera. This week, Reddit’s increasingly ambitious users aimed to unseat a member of Congress who supports SOPA, pointing its attention toward Ryan. “Let’s pick ONE Senator of voted for NDAA/SOPA and destroy him like we’re doing for GoDaddy,” said one user.  As a result, Reddit users began coordinating opposition research campaigns against Ryan and support for his opponent via a money bomb and widely-popular Q&A session. 

Today, in an effort to clarify his boss’s position, Ryan’s flak did not say the congressman opposes SOPA, a law that gives the federal government expanded powers to order American Internet companies to sever ties with foreign domains that offer copyrighted content such as music and films. “He remains committed to advancing policies that protect free speech and foster innovation online and will continue to follow the House Judiciary Committee’s deliberations on this issue carefully,” said Ryan’s spokesman.

What’s fascinating about all this—even if the facts are a bit muddled—is how a nameless, faceless online community has the potential to scare the bejusus out of corporations and rightwing class warriors like Paul Ryan. The Wisconsin pol is considered to be the most vulnerable high-ranking House Republican already, due to voter fears that the so-called “Ryan Plan” that he authored, would end Medicare.

That’s what happens when you piss on the “third rail” of American politics. A Google search for “Paul Ryan” + “vulnerable” brings up over 3.6 million results. Not only that, but the re-invigorated labor movement in Wisconsin hardly bodes well for Ryan’s re-election, either,  I would imagine he realizes that adding to these existing handicaps with a Reddit jihad aimed right at his forehead is not in the best interests of his continuing to draw a government paycheck.

Forbes’ E.D. Kain writes:

[A] politician who supports SOPA might have to worry about political backlash in the form of a highly motivated, spontaneously organized online group – or groups.

Between hacking outfits like Anonymous and communities like Reddit, it becomes apparent rather quickly that the power asymmetry present in our political and media status quo is shifting in ways that are impossible to predict.

Occupy Wall Street has gotten a lot of press these past few months. It may be that Reddit and other online communities have a much bigger impact in the long run than anything ad hoc tent cities and physical protests can achieve.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Rep. Ryan has received political donations of $288,600 from groups who support H.R. 3261 and just $39,950 from groups who are against it. It would appear that his vote has already been bought and paid for. When the House takes up SOPA again in January, it will be telling to see how Ryan tries to squirm his way out of this mess.

Way to go, Reddit!

Below, Paul Ryan gets roundly booed by his constituents for his shameful position on tax breaks for the rich at a “town hall” in April, 2011.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Unaired 1985 interview with Zappa: Too hot for TV
12.21.2011
02:43 pm

Topics:
Activism
History
Music
Sex
Television
Thinkers

Tags:


 
This compelling 1985 interview with Frank Zappa conducted by legendary Washington D.C. deejay Cerphe (Don Collwell) for Baltimore TV was never aired. Either it was too edgy for local TV or, as rumor has it, Zappa refused to sign the release required to broadcast the interview. Which begs the question: why would Zappa, who was always fearless in voicing his opinions, stand in the way of this particualr interview being shown?

Two weeks after the interview,  Zappa testified on Capitol Hill at the infamous Senate Porn Rock Hearings on record labeling. Cerphe joined Zappa at the hearing and strongly spoke against censorship.

In light of the controversy surrounding the hearings, the station scheduled to broadcast the interview may have felt Zappa was just too radical for their viewership. For whatever reason, it remained unseen until it was smuggled out of the studio by someone who realized its value as rock history.

As usual, Zappa takes no prisoners as he candidly critiques the state of modern rock and roll, censorship, conformity, sex, consumerism, MTV and more.

Raw and unedited.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
It’s Phil Ochs birthday: Here’s a terrific documentary on Ochs for your viewing pleasure


 
Phil Ochs was born on this day 71 years ago in El Paso, Texas. To honor the man, I present Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune, an insightful documentary on Ochs directed and written by Kenneth Bowser.

Featuring Michael Ochs, Meegan Ochs, Van Dyke Parks, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Christopher Hitchens, Lucian Truscott IV, Ed Sanders, Sam Hood, Sean Penn, Tom Hayden.
 


Watch phil.ochs.avi in Music  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The roots of OWS: Black power documentary captures the birth of a movement
12.19.2011
02:56 am

Topics:
Activism
Class War
History
Movies
Race

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The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 directed by Göran Hugo Olsson is a timely documentary on the birth of the Black Power Movement that combines recently discovered film footage and interviews from the the 1960s and early 70s with commentary from contemporary Black activists and musicians.

Shot in stunning 16mm black and white and color by a Swedish film crew at the height of civil unrest over Vietnam and racial inequality in America, BPM features compelling interviews with Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, Angela Davis, Huey Newton and other key activists of the period, interspersed with powerful scenes of ghetto life in Oakland and Harlem. Both poetic and potent, the film manages to stir the heart without resorting to hyperbole or cheap sentiment. The subject matter is powerful enough on its own. The images and words speak for themselves…and they speak eloquently.

The only sour moment in the film is when a reptilian Louis Farrakhan spews the Nation Of Islam company line, silver tongue wrapping itself around every vowel like a dung beetle rolling in it’s own excrement and eyes leering with the lascivious gleam of an encyclopedia salesman looking to slip his sweaty hands under the apron of an unsuspecting suburban housewife And Malcolm died for this fucker’s sins.

As scenes unfold on the screen, personal reflections on the era and its influence on their lives and thinking are shared by Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu, ?uestlove, John Forté and Robin Kelley, among others. These were formative decades for a new generation of Black American activists, artists and teachers and the inspiration of the The Black Panthers, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Bobby Kennedy endures.

I have my own memories of this pivotal period in American history. I recall one of my first acts of becoming politically engaged. I was 17 and living in Berkeley. It was 1968. I went to The Black Panther headquarters, an aging, two-story, clapboard house in Oakland, and asked them what I could do to help. After getting over their initial amusement of seeing a skinny, long-haired, white boy standing in their office, two Panthers engaged me in conversation, curious to know my motivations. I told them I’d just read Eldridge Cleaver’s “Soul On Ice” and had been inspired by it, enough to do whatever I could to make the world a more just place. They handed me a stack of The Black Panther Newsletter and sent me out the door. I became a paperboy for the revolution.

While I watched BPM, the parallels between the civil rights and anti-war actions of the 1960s with the current Occupy Wall Street movement were quite obvious. We are still fighting the good fight…and it never seems to end. We make small inroads toward justice and then are slapped back down. But there is forward movement. Historically, popular uprisings that become the target of government suppression may falter but they always find a way to re-invent, resurrect and re-engage. We are seeing it play out at this very moment as the OWS survives against all efforts by the government and its police force to extinguish it. The success of the uprisings of the Sixties remind us that people DO have the power. Listening to and watching the speeches of Stokely Carmichael and Martin Luther King (the night before he was assassinated) not only made me feel proud to have been in the crux of it all at the time, it emboldened me to continue the fight and also angered me in knowing that there is still a fight to be fought. 

The Black Power Mixtape is currently available for instant viewing on Netflix.

Unjustly imprisoned for being an accessory to the murder of a Judge, Angela Davis discusses violence and revolution in this jail cell interview from BPM. Not long after this interview, Davis was acquitted of all charges against her.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Revolutionary, artist and man of conscience, Vaclav Havel R.I.P.


Velvet Underground meets Velvet Revolutionary

Vaclav Havel died today at the age of 75. A former chain smoker with chronic respiratory problems, Havel had been in failing health the past few months and died at his weekend home in Hradecek in the northern Czech Republic,

Czech independence leader, artist and human rights activist, Havel was elected the first president of a free Czechoslovakia since 1948 on December 29, 1989.

A prominent force in the Velvet Revolution, a bloodless overthrow of the communist regime in in Czechoslovakia, which returned democracy to Czechs after fifty years of Nazi occupation and communist rule, Havel was the very definition of a man of conscience. Soft-spoken, humble, impish and possessing a healthy sense of the absurd, Havel was that rare leader who chose the power of inspiration over rhetoric and empty gesture. He was a revolutionary who recognized that artistic creativity was every bit as important as political dogma or ideologies. Without the humanizing force of literature, theater and music and an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things, civilization is a hollow machine destined for spiritual starvation.

Himself a playwright, Havel was perhaps the only world leader who was closer to rock and rollers like Lou Reed, Frank Zappa and Keith Richards than politicians and bureaucrats. It is reputed that The Velvet Revolution was named after The Velvet Underground, whose music was made popular in Czechoslovakia by Prague’s radical avant-rock band The Plastic People.

Havel was a peacenik who somehow managed to navigate the treacherous waters of political power without losing his sense of perspective or soul.

Havel’s revolutionary message—which helped oust the world’s second strongest power from his country, but which Americans and in that moment the American Congress have not always been ready to hear—is that peace does not come by defeating enemies, it comes by making people free, governments democratic, and societies just. “The idea of human rights and freedoms must be an integral part of any meaningful world order. Yet, I think it must be anchored in a different place, and in a different way, than has been the case so far. If it is to be more than just a slogan mocked by half the world, it cannot be expressed in the language of a departing era, and it must not be mere froth floating on the subsiding waters of faith in a purely scientific relationship to the world.”

Today’s world, as we all know, is faced with multiple threats,” he said in 1993 in Athens, on accepting one of the countless honors he received. “From whichever angle I look at this menace, I always come to the conclusion that salvation can only come through a profound awakening of man to his own personal responsibility, which is at the same time a global responsibility. Thus, the only way to save our world, as I see it, lies in a democracy that recalls its ancient Greek roots: democracy based on an integral human personality personally answering for the fate of the community.

Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness,” Havel told Congress, referring to a movement toward democracy, “nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our being as humans, and the catastrophe for which the world is headed—be it ecological, social, demographic, or a general breakdown of civilization—will be unavoidable. If we are no longer threatened by world war, or by the danger that the absurd mountains of nuclear weapons might blow up the world, this does not mean that we have definitely won. This is actually far from being a final victory.”

Havel speaks at the Forum for Creative Europe in March of 2009.
 

 
Part two, plus a clip about how rock and roll figured into the Velvet Revolution, after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Lesbian couple kill homophobic MI mayor Janice Daniels with KINDNESS


 
SUPERB! Pure class, ladies!

“A lesbian married couple and their two daughters powerfully address Troy, MI Mayor, Janice Daniels, at a city council meeting about her derogatory Facebook posting about “queers” marrying in NY.”

They get a well-deserved standing ovation at the end, too.

This Janice Daniels is an embarrassment to her town, the Tea party and to herself. She needs to resign and crawl back under the rock that she came from…

This clip is destined to become a classic. It’s a blueprint for WIN!
 

 
Via Joe.My.God

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘How else WOULD you do it?’: Thom Yorke & Massive Attack’s 3D talk #OWS
12.10.2011
01:59 pm

Topics:
Activism
Class War
Music
Politics
Pop Culture

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Massive Attack’s Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke thoughtfully discuss the impact of the Occupy movement. Recorded outside of the Occupy London Xmas Party on December 6th, where both men DJ’d to show their appreciation for the movement’s efforts.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Not funny: ‘Family Guy’ writer’s Occupy Los Angeles arrest story


 
Patrick Meighan is “a husband, a father, a writer on the Fox animated sitcom Family Guy, and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica.” He also was arrested by the LAPD at the Occupy Los Angele encampment at City Hall. He’s posted the story of what happened when the camp was upended and of his experiences in jail.

His conclusions about the experience are not to be missed:

Finally, at 2:30 the next morning, after twenty-five hours in custody, I was released on bail. But there were at least 200 Occupy LA protestors who couldn’t afford the bail. The LAPD chose to keep those peaceful, non-violent protesters in prison for two full days… the absolute legal maximum that the LAPD is allowed to detain someone on misdemeanor charges.

As a reminder, Antonio Villaraigosa has referred to all of this as “the LAPD’s finest hour.”

So that’s what happened to the 292 women and men were arrested last Wednesday. Now let’s talk about a man who was not arrested last Wednesday. He is former Citigroup CEO Charles Prince. Under Charles Prince, Citigroup was guilty of massive, coordinated securities fraud.

Citigroup spent years intentionally buying up every bad mortgage loan it could find, creating bad securities out of those bad loans and then selling shares in those bad securities to duped investors. And then they sometimes secretly bet *against* their *own* bad securities to make even more money. For one such bad Citigroup security, Citigroup executives were internally calling it, quote, “a collection of dogshit”. To investors, however, they called it, quote, “an attractive investment rigorously selected by an independent investment adviser”.

This is fraud, and it’s a felony, and the Charles Princes of the world spent several years doing it again and again: knowingly writing bad mortgages, and then packaging them into fraudulent securities which they then sold to suckers and then repeating the process. This is a big part of why your property values went up so fast. But then the bubble burst, and that’s why our economy is now shattered for a generation, and it’s also why your home is now underwater. Or at least mine is.

Anyway, if your retirement fund lost a decade’s-worth of gains overnight, this is why.

If your son’s middle school has added furlough days because the school district can’t afford to keep its doors open for a full school year, this is why.

If your daughter has come out of college with a degree only to discover that there are no jobs for her, this is why.

But back to Charles Prince. For his four years of in charge of massive, repeated fraud at Citigroup, he received fifty-three million dollars in salary and also received another ninety-four million dollars in stock holdings. What Charles Prince has *not* received is a pair of zipcuffs. The nerves in his thumb are fine. No cop has thrown Charles Prince into the pavement, face-first. Each and every peaceful, nonviolent Occupy LA protester arrested last week has has spent more time sleeping on a jail floor than every single Charles Prince on Wall Street, combined.

The more I think about that, the madder I get. What does it say about our country that nonviolent protesters are given the bottom of a police boot while those who steal hundreds of billions, do trillions worth of damage to our economy and shatter our social fabric for a generation are not only spared the zipcuffs but showered with rewards?

In any event, believe it or not, I’m really not angry that I got arrested. I chose to get arrested. And I’m not even angry that the mayor and the LAPD decided to give non-violent protestors like me a little extra shiv in jail (although I’m not especially grateful for it either).

I’m just really angry that every single Charles Prince wasn’t in jail with me.

My Occupy LA Arrest, by Patrick Meighan
 

 

 
Via Crooks and Liars

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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