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NYPD raiding Occupy Wall Street NOW (live video feed)

What’s NEXT

Watch live feed via the Occupy Wall Street network. You can also listen live on WBAI radio.

Watch live streaming video from occupynyc at

Thank you Glen E. Friedman!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Recall Scott Walker efforts in WI kick off with pajama parties

How much MORE hapless-looking can someone GET than beleaguered WI Governor Scott Walker?

The historical efforts to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker will be kicking off Tuesday in Wisconsin with a late-night rally and early morning pajama parties. One hundred events across the state are planned for tomorrow as Democrats and unions begin signature gathering in earnest to recall Walker,  Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefsich and at least three more Republican state senators in addition to the two who lost their seats earlier this year.

“I fully anticipate there will be signatures collected in every single Wisconsin county tomorrow,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate, adding that he hoped to collect at least 600,000 signatures by the January 17, 2012 deadline. 540,000 names are required to trigger the election.

“We’ve made a lot of progress,” muttered the increasingly hapless-looking, politically tone-deaf Walker. “It’s a new day in Wisconsin.”

It’ll be a new day in Wisconsin when Gray Davis is buying you a beer, asshole!

Donate to the Recall Walker effort via ActBlue.


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Eric Cantor gets ‘mic-checked’ by Occupy Houston

A look at lick-spittle lackey of the 1%, Republican House Majority leader Eric Cantor, getting “mic-checked” by Occupy Houston and some Rice University grad students.

There is no schadenfreude quite as satisfying for me as Republican schadenfreude, but when something uncomfortable happens to Eric Cantor in particular, hey, it gets even better!

On a related note, read The Republican Party’s time has come— and gone by Laurence Lewis over at Daily Kos:

The Republican Party needs to be put out of its misery. A functioning Republic needs at least one opposition party, but the current and likely final iteration of the Republican Party is not it. The current iteration of the Democratic Party could be it, should it continue to fail to live up to its greatest history and increasingly mythological ideals, but that would depend on the creation of a legitimately viable progressive party, and for now at least that is not going to happen. But for the Democratic Party to recapture the magic of its greatest history, or failing that for a legitimately viable liberal party to emerge from the wreckage that is our current political system, the Republican Party must be put out of its misery. Whether you are a loyal Democrat, a wavering frustrated Democrat, a progressive Independent, or whether you are dreaming of the emergence of a legitimately viable liberal alternative, the Republican Party must be put out of its misery. All liberals and progressives should be able to unite behind that idea. Because if the Republican Party is put out of its misery, the Democrats no longer will be able to use the Republicans as excuse or foil and will once and for all finally be forced to prove what they are or aren’t really about.

The embarrassment of embarrasments that is the Republican presidential field ought to be the final proof that the Republican Party has ceased to serve any valuable role in our political system. The lunatics have taken over. The Republican rejection of science and rationality once served various tactical purposes, but in previous generations it always was a feint to the theocrats whose primary political purpose for the Republicans was to enable the kleptocrats and the neo-Royalists. But while the Republican financial base continues to be those extremely wealthy who lack all conscience, its voting base now is the ignorant and the reality challenged. Most of the current Republican presidential field is not merely playing to this base, it is of it. No serious person can look at Herman Cain or Rick Perry or Ron Paul or Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum and see a future president. In a less surreal world these would be but cartoon characters. And yet one of them or someone equally absurd still may become the Republican presidential nominee. The base of the party desperately hopes so.

Continue reading The Republican Party’s time has come— and gone (Daily Kos)


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The New Progressive Movement: #OWS signals the end of the Reagan era

In an inspiring Op Ed piece in today’s New York Times, Columbia University’s Jeffrey D. Sachs takes but a few paragraphs to thoroughly demolish the dominant ur-myths of the past three decades of Republican politics, and to illustrate how the New Progressive Era is already upon us.

Both clueless Democrats and ignorant, rightwing assholes like Frank Miller should read this short essay very carefully:

Occupy Wall Street and its allied movements around the country are more than a walk in the park. They are most likely the start of a new era in America. Historians have noted that American politics moves in long swings. We are at the end of the 30-year Reagan era, a period that has culminated in soaring income for the top 1 percent and crushing unemployment or income stagnation for much of the rest. The overarching challenge of the coming years is to restore prosperity and power for the 99 percent.

Thirty years ago, a newly elected Ronald Reagan made a fateful judgment: “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” Taxes for the rich were slashed, as were outlays on public services and investments as a share of national income. Only the military and a few big transfer programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ benefits were exempted from the squeeze.

Reagan’s was a fateful misdiagnosis. He completely overlooked the real issue — the rise of global competition in the information age — and fought a bogeyman, the government. Decades on, America pays the price of that misdiagnosis, with a nation singularly unprepared to face the global economic, energy and environmental challenges of our time.

Washington still channels Reaganomics. The federal budget for nonsecurity discretionary outlays — categories like highways and rail, education, job training, research and development, the judiciary, NASA, environmental protection, energy, the I.R.S. and more — was cut from more than 5 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the 1970s to around half of that today. With the budget caps enacted in the August agreement, domestic discretionary spending would decline to less than 2 percent of G.D.P. by the end of the decade, according to the White House. Government would die by fiscal asphyxiation.

Both parties have joined in crippling the government in response to the demands of their wealthy campaign contributors, who above all else insist on keeping low tax rates on capital gains, top incomes, estates and corporate profits. Corporate taxes as a share of national income are at the lowest levels in recent history. Rich households take home the greatest share of income since the Great Depression. Twice before in American history, powerful corporate interests dominated Washington and brought America to a state of unacceptable inequality, instability and corruption. Both times a social and political movement arose to restore democracy and shared prosperity.

Sachs goes on to state what already seems self-evident to many of us:

This is just the beginning.

The young people in Zuccotti Park and more than 1,000 cities have started America on a path to renewal. The movement, still in its first days,  will have to expand in several strategic ways. Activists are needed among shareholders, consumers and students to hold corporations and politicians to account. Shareholders, for example, should pressure companies to get out of politics. Consumers should take their money and purchasing power away from companies that confuse business and political power. The whole range of other actions — shareholder and consumer activism, policy formulation, and running of candidates — will not happen in the park.

The New Progressive Movement (The New York Times)

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Occupy Wall Street teach-in with Douglas Rushkoff

“They say the Occupy movement has no leaders. They are wrong. YOU are the leaders! The rest of us are your followers! What you do here shows us what we can do out there.”

A history lesson about a 500-year old operating program that’s cramping our style in the 21st century delivered at Zuccotti Park today in downtown Manhattan by media theorist Douglas Rushkoff.

“If you can sleep under tarps, the rest of us can tell your story to our children at bedtime…”

Beautiful. I love it. Please spread this message far and wide. Shot by Janine Saunders.

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Occupy Fox News

This commercial ran three times during Wednesday night’s episode of The O’Reilly Factor. It’s also aired on Bloomberg, ESPN, the History Channel and elsewhere

If you’d like to chip in to buy more national media time for this Occupy Wall Street ad and others, you can do so via Loudsauce.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Ohio Gov John Kasich is an idiot


After seeing over two million voters deliver a whopping 61% to 39% rejection of his party’s strong-arm tactics to strip collective bargaining rights from public employees, Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich did one of those “open mouth and remove all doubt” things they tell fools not to do:

At a news conference Tuesday night, Mr. Kasich congratulated the winners and said he would assess the situation before proposing any new legislation. “It’s time to pause,” he said. “The people have spoken clearly.”

When asked about the people’s message, Mr. Kasich said, “They might have said it was too much too soon.”

“They might have said”? Might? Might nothing asshole, it was a 61% to 39% vote! Even reliably Republican counties voted against harming their friends and neighbors. No one except stupid people in the state ever believed GOP union-busting had anything to do with creating jobs. And to demonize teachers, fire fighters and police officers as lazy, coddled bums? I mean the whole thing was just so… predictable.

“Too much, too soon”? Jon Stewart, here comes an easy work day, courtesy of one of the most tone-deaf politicians in America.. More people turned up to vote against SB-5 than voted for Kasish himself in the last election, even. This man is a fucking plank.

Attention Republicans! Let me spell it out for you:

The majority of the general public—the ones who aren’t braying asses, at least—does not want to cut government programs for people like themselves.

The American people are starting to wise up in an unprecedented manner to the bleak future our corporate overlords and their craven vassals like Kasish have planned for us. And so the Reichwing is starting to get a better sense of how deep the backlash is. This is why the GOP is stepping up their efforts to discourage voter registration among younger, older and poorer voters who tend to vote for Democrats. If you can’t beat ‘em… uh… try to change the rules mid-game, I suppose?

There’s a big problem in their math, though, and it’s a fatal error indeed: There are more of us than there are of them…

99 to one? I’ll take those odds!

As I am fond of reminding myself, demographics are a bitch for the Republican party... Even with the 1%‘s special interest money behind them, they’re still gonna lose and keeping losing until they’re just a minority party of cranky racist stingy “olds.” That’s pretty much what they are now, but when the Baby Boomers start dying off en masse (and it won’t be long before that happens) the Republican Party is toast.

Think of Republicans as newspaper subscribers. That’s how I think of them. Comforting thought isn’t it?

Meanwhile over in Wisconsin, Scott Walker must be absolutely pissing himself as he contemplates how brief his tenure in the governor’s office will have been and what his next career move will be since elected politics will probably not be much of an option for him moving forward…

The Walker recall efforts in WI got a big shot in the arm from labor’s HUGE win in Ohio. If you’d like to contribute to boot that Koch whore from office, you can donate at ActBlue.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Next for the Occupy movement: Debt strikes?


“If you owe the bank $1000, you’re at the mercy of the bank, if you owe the bank $1,000,000,000 the bank is at your mercy.”

A few weeks back, I attended an extraordinary event in New York organized by my longtime friend Douglas Rushkoff called “Contact.” It was a fascinating symposium about fighting corporate influence online and how to affect societal change using social media tools (more or less). The object of the day was to tease out four projects from the participants (a mix of 300 activists, tech entrepreneurs, intellectuals and media types) which could be practically realized, not just “pie in the sky” stuff. Four finalists got $10,000 awards from Pepsi to assist in concretizing these ideas.

At first, the conference, which took place at a stunning former synagogue on the Lower East Side known as The Angel Orensanz Center, got off to a bumpy start. Whenever someone would raise their hand and say something too fuzzy like “I’d like to start an online forum for people to discuss social issues” this got back a politely, yet dismissive “Uh, what, specifically, do you mean by that?” response from Rushkoff, who led the sessions. His firm conceptual herding caused a rapid focusing of the group mind into projects that had not just viability—and utility, of course—but that could actually be manifested within days or weeks.

There were a lot of worthy, even brilliant, ideas kicked around that day, but the first one that really caused me to take notice was when one of the participants stood up and said he’d like to create an online tool to facilitate and organize a mass debt strike against the banks and the government. There was an immediate “x factor” that this notion tapped into (my guess is that Occupy Wall Street was supported by 100% of the room) and “Kick-Stopper,” as the project was dubbed, became one of the four finalists.

When the conference broke down into smaller discussion groups—I was one of the judges of who would get the Pepsi cash—I silently observed the debt strike enthusiasts’ conversation with interest. I was somewhat less enamored of the concept when Thomas Gokey, an adjunct professor at Syracuse University who proposed the idea, said that maybe the money owed to the banks could be held in escrow accounts, eventually getting paid to the banks, but only after they’d agreed to certain demands and reforms. To some of the people seated on pillows in the venue’s balcony, this seemed like a reasonable approach, but at least half the group groaned and expressed the more punk rock sentiment of “fuck the banks, they’ll get NONE of it” which seemed like a much better position to take, to my mind.

Stiffing the fuckers is something they’ll understand…

I’m not sure where they got with it in the end with the escrow vs. the fuck the banks question, but Kick-Stopper, as I mentioned, was one of the four finalists and you can follow the progress they are making here. Sarah Jaffe, who was at the Contact event, wrote about the debt strike concept at length at AlterNet:

“I wanted to do this project because I kept having the same basic conversation with everyone at Zuccotti and everywhere else,” Gokey told me. “When I talk to people about what we could do that would really compel Congress and Wall Street to meet our demands or really alter the current system, we inevitably start discussing what non-cooperation with our own oppression would look like. What does it mean to stop cooperating with the banks? What we inevitably end up describing is some variation of a debt strike, simply ending our own participation in a system that exploits us.”


“The problem is that a debt-strike will take a lot of coordination to make it work,” Thomas Gokey points out, “It can’t just be one person who is willing to risk their financial life, it only works when there are millions of people who are willing to take that risk together, and they are only going to take that risk if they can feel confident that everyone else has got their back.”

That in part is what Gokey hoped to solve by bringing the debt strike idea to ContactCon, but it’s not the only one. Lerner points out that the debt strike also needs targets, demands and an answer to the question, “Who pays?”

“There should be debt forgiveness, but these guys—the student loan profiteers—should eat it, not the government and taxpayers,” he points out. “The banks should pay because they destroyed the economy, they sucked 18-year-olds into predatory loans they are stuck with for life.”

Hear, hear! Imagine the indignity of graduating from college with $100,000 of student loan debt nipping at your heels and today’s nearly non-existent job prospects. It’s absurd.

I’m not an expert in this sort of thing, but apparently you can’t charge off student loans in bankruptcy, they’ll just attach your wages, so a collective action to withhold student loan payments (and credit card debt) at a time when half the country is skint could gather critical mass rather quickly, I’d imagine. Everyone else got a bail-out, why shouldn’t you?

My prediction: You’re going to be hearing the term “debt strike” used a lot in the coming months.

(For the record, I have not a single cent of student loan debt. I didn’t go to college and I have no skin in this game. Education should be free for anyone who wants to learn and better themselves.)

Debtor’s Revolution: Are Debt Strikes Another Possible Tactic in the Fight Against the Big Banks? (AlterNet)

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The Story of Broke: Rebuild the American Dream, better

A must see. Simple, clear, to the point:

The United States isn’t broke; we’re the richest country on the planet and a country in which the richest among us are doing exceptionally well. But the truth is, our economy is broken, producing more pollution, greenhouse gasses and garbage than any other country. In these and so many other ways, it just isn’t working. But rather than invest in something better, we continue to keep this ‘dinosaur economy’ on life support with hundreds of billions of dollars of our tax money. The Story of Broke calls for a shift in government spending toward investments in clean, green solutions—renewable energy, safer chemicals and materials, zero waste and more—that can deliver jobs AND a healthier environment. It’s time to rebuild the American Dream; but this time, let’s build it better.


Thank you Glen E. Friedman of New York City!

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Joe Rogan: Police & Occupy Wall Street

Comedian Joe Rogan rants with some serious observations on what’s going down.

“Is this fuckin’ Chicago in the sixties? What the fuck is this?

Audio excerpt from The Joe Rogan Experience podcast put to some appropriate visuals.

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