Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In the Land of the Free

I just bought an Android system smartphone.  Ooops.
An alarming new video published to YouTube this week by a 25-year-old security researcher seems to reveal a piece of hidden software included on virtually all new Android smartphones that records every last keystroke users make, sending the data back to its creator in secret later on.

Called “Carrier IQ,” the software is supposedly meant to help mobile carriers monitor and diagnose problems with their devices. The company that makes the software insists it does not log keystrokes, but 25-year-old Trevor Eckhart seems to have proved that claim quite wrong.

Not only did he demonstrate the software capturing his keystrokes from a text message, it was being recorded even before the message he typed was displayed.

“It should be noticed that, if we scroll down a little further [in the logs], here’s where the message is actually being displayed in the end user’s inbox,” he explained. “So, all of the IQ agent processes is happening before the end user even sees the [text].”

Eckhart also demonstrated how the software can read Internet searches over secure connections, meaning that not even encrypted communications are completely private on Android phones.

“We can see that Carrier IQ is querying these strings over my wireless network [using] no 3G connectivity, and it is reading [a secure communication],” Exkhart explained.

He also showed how, even after opting out of using location identification services, Carrier IQ still sends phone location data to its creators. Additionally, Eckhart illustrates how the software keeps itself hidden, is impossible to remove through stock toolsets, and gives the user no choice in whether it may run in the background.


“Our action was misguided and we are deeply sorry for any concern or trouble that our letter may have caused Mr. Eckhart,” the company later said. “We sincerely appreciate and respect EFF’s work on his behalf, and share their commitment to protecting free speech in a rapidly changing technological world.”

All of the above was enough for Wired magazine to call Carrier IQ one of the top reasons to “wear tinfoil hats” this holiday season.

  Raw Story

I guess I won’t be contacting Venezuela on my cell.
Android, however, is not the only smartphone operating system with security concerns. Earlier this year, researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden discovered that Apple’s iPads and iPhones contain a database with thousands of location points that gets downloaded every time the device syncs with a PC or Mac.


It includes latitude, longitude, a time stamp, and the IP address for the wireless network the phone was currently accessing.

And as we all know, criminals use burn phones, so what’s the point? Uh-huh. Brave New World.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

UPDATE:  Al Franken to the rescue

Be Very Afraid

Aside from the 91-year-old woman they dragged out of a wheelchair and propped into the Tube of Shame, making her spread her tottering old legs and (try to) raise her hands above her head so the Peeping Tom Security Agent (PTSA) could check her for parts at Houston Hobby, and the constantly running ticker tape at the departure gate in Kansas City International that informed everyone "The Secretary of the DHS has determined airports in Venezuela serving non-stop flights to the US do not maintain and administer effective security measures,"  and the young man who sat next to me from Dallas to KC and was, in his words, "scared shitless,"  nothing approaching terrorism assailed me on my flights.  And the young man was scared shitless due to flying; he never gave a moment's thought to terrorists, so he doesn't count.

The fear we are supposed to feel is from those evil bastards our government designates as terrorists.  Why on earth do I need to know while I'm awaiting a departure flight that the DHS says Venezuela doesn't check their US bound flights?  Hell, they could even be actually sending terrorists on them and it wouldn't make any difference to me waiting to get on a plane for Houston, would it?  The information didn't say what they were doing about the fact that Venezuela isn't up to snuff in the security department.  Just that they aren't.  Thanks for that information, DHS.  Now I can plan my day.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

UPDATE: I'll just get me one of these and I won't have to deal with TSA.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Almost There

Hell, that is.

I don't we really want to be cutting off our supply routes? 

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Hell, I mean. 

The boy who first brought charges against Jerry Sandusky has been bullied out of school for causing dear old JoePa to lose his job.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

See You Soon - and Have a Great Thanksgiving Day

Today is a travel day.  Yippee!  Airport security!  I feel so safe carrying my shoes instead of having them on my feet so I could actually run.    And what are the odds anyway?  Ah, life in these United States.  I know, I know.  Everything changed after 9/11.

I'm probably going to unhook the drip this week and just try to enjoy living in the alternate world where everyone has enough to eat and nice cars and the latest smart phones.

I'm very fortunate.  My family are all doing well enough.  Both sons served in the military.  One who served a tour in Iraq is now in school on the GI bill.  (No, that's not a sweet deal.  It's the least we can do to make up for what we send them around the world to do.)  The other is a successful computer programmer for midwestern federal home loan banks.  My mother is still alive and still able to take care of herself on a productive farm, which I assume is still being supported by your tax dollars to a certain extent. (Uh-huh.  Thank you.)  My two lovely and smart sisters are not in the 1%, but definitely comfortable.  Even I am neither hungry nor on the street and actually still do have a job, whether I want one or not.

While my father and brothers all passed at a young age, my brothers' children are relatively okay, and while it's going to be colder where I'm going for the holiday than I like (and probably than prepared for), I've got two sweet granddaughters whom I haven't seen for two years that I'll get to see and hug.  And I can always stay indoors.

In short, I have a lot to be thankful for.  And I am.

I hope you can consider yourself as fortunate, and if you are, that you are also thankful.  I appreciate the fact that you're awake and interested in knowing what's going on in the world that you don't hear much about on TV.

Anyway, whether you prefer the red pill or the blue pill, hear your heart. 

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

And thanks for being.

What Did Happen on November 22?

Police State - Pike in Memeland

Christina's World

Seen at Dependable Renegade where it is noted that the UC Davis police chief has been suspended.

Occupy's Message?

I’ve wondered about this for a week or two. And I haven’t known quite what to make of it or how to express it. It didn’t start with this pepper spray incident at UC Davis. But that sort of crystallized it further in my mind: the core message about economic inequality is being overwhelmed by a distinct story about (depending on your perspective) street violence and police brutality or excessive militarization of crowd control.

I think Josh Marshall is way off the mark here. Perhaps he’s too far up the economic ladder to catch it, but I don’t believe the core message of the Occupy movement is economic inequality. It’s judicial inequality (Why are the banksters not paying for what they did to the entire country when poor people rot in jail for possessing pot? E.g.) and lack of voice in government, which is simply highlighted by the government goon squads brutally attempting to shut them down.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Robo Response

The UC-Davis Chancellor responsible for the pepper-spraying of her students, Linda Katehi, today went on Good Morning America and explained why she should not resign or otherwise be held accountable: “we really need to start the healing process and move forward.”

  Glenn Greenwald
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Occupy Ratcheting Up

In response to coordinated attacks on the occupations and attacks on workers across the nation:


Already, Occupy Los Angeles has passed a resolution to carry out a port action on the Port Of Los Angeles on December 12th, to shut down SSA terminals, which are owned by Goldman Sachs.

Occupy Oakland expands this call to the entire West Coast, and calls for continuing solidarity with the Longshoremen in Longview Washington in their ongoing struggle against the EGT.


In the event of police repression of any of the mobilizations, shutdown actions may be extended to multiple days.

  Occupy Wall Street
Now they will be labeled terrorists. They will be given no quarter by the authorities. And few will defend them. This will be bloody.
There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, the people who own it, that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all.

--Mario Savio – Free Speech Movement, Berkeley, CA 1964

A Modest Proposal

If the Occupy movement ever decides to create an actual list of demands (although, why should they?), then I'd like to propose they put this on the list:

Required courses in public school curricula beginning at the lowest grades and continuing with increasing sophistication throughout high school on the subject of critical viewing of commercial advertising. The courses should include a list of all the "tricks of the trade," the advertising world uses.  A chapter in the course should include political speech-making, as that, too, is advertising, or as college courses call it, persuasive speaking.  (For my one college speech course assignment to create a persuasive speech, I denounced persuasive speech as brainwashing and propaganda.  I expected a failing grade, but the instructor was impressed, perhaps because no one had probably ever turned the table on the very thing he assigned before, and I received the only A in the class.  Once in a while, it works in your favor to say what you see.)

Arming citizens with this information would make a good beginning of preventing future foreclosure and debt crises.  Of course, if there were such a curriculum, it would be co-opted in short order in some way by commercial interests, since the purpose of a public education in this country is not to turn out informed citizens, but to turn out workers who support the corporate sponsored government without thinking.  But, I am assuming that part of the Occupy demands, were they to be enumerated, would be to give teeth to federal agencies, including the Department of Education, which Rick Perry, for one, wants to abolish, instead of appointing the person most likely to destroy the agency to its head, which has been the trend since George W.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Other Occupation

Imagine you are an ordinary citizen of some Asian country – say, China – and you hear a news report of the American president’s recent remarks to the East Asia Summit, during which he argued:

“While we are not a claimant in the South China Sea dispute, and while we do not take sides, we have a powerful stake in maritime security in general, and in the resolution of the South China Sea issue specifically — as a resident Pacific power, as a maritime nation, as a trading nation and as a guarantor of security in the Asia Pacific region.”


Yes, we do sport a Pacific coastline, but to say the US claim extends five thousand miles on the other side of the ocean is – literally – stretching it. Obama, however, was merely taking his cues from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who opined in a speech leading up to the summit: “By virtue of our unique geography, the United States is both an Atlantic and a Pacific power.”

  Justin Raimondo
So then are Canada and Mexico. Not so unique, there, Hillary. Check your map. And if you don’t quibble with the Caribbean Sea, so are Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama.
The US is a “resident Pacific power” in the same sense the old Soviet Union was a “resident Caribbean power” during the Cuban missile crisis – or in the same sense the British, the Dutch, the French, and the Germans were Pacific powers during the heyday of European colonialism. That is, the US is an invading power, with tens of thousands of troops stationed in its Pacific protectorates, such as South Korea, Japan, and the Pacific atolls and micro-nations which are little more than American lily-pads.
So why quibble? It’s pointless. Everything is ours.
In 1992, in response to rising opposition to the US presence, the last American military base in the Philippines was closed.

Such ingratitude didn’t stop Hillary from descending onto a US warship anchored in Manila Bay and referring to the South China Sea as the “West Philippine Sea” – a name you won’t find on any map, except maybe those to be found in the archives of the Sultanate of Sulu. Boasting of renewed military links to regional “partners,” such as Australia and Singapore, she hailed efforts to extend the American military presence into the Indian Ocean.


Making her way by broomstick across our Pacific empire, Hillary stopped in Hawaii to proclaim that this is going to be America’s “Pacific century.” Referring to the more than 50,000 US troops stationed in Japan and South Korea, she declared that unspecified “new threats to navigation” and other reasons “require that the United States pursue a more geographically distributed, operationally resilient, and politically sustainable force posture.”Yeah, well, there’s that, too....but hey, do what you will anyway.
"Force posture."  Is that what we're calling it now? 

Everything is ours, and we intend to keep it that way.

That politically sustainable part may be difficult.
[T]his grandiose vision of a revived Pacific empire is financially unsustainable.
Yeah, well, there's that, too.

Occupy Wall Street

“All I can say about Mayor Bloomberg, good or bad, he’s earned his own money,” one local resident asserted. “And that’s what we don’t know — what these people have been doing, besides complaining.”

  Raw Story
Go ask them.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Police State

I am not a cop hater.  We need them, and we probably need more of them.  They have an enormously difficult job, and many, if not most, of them are heroes every sadly uneducated and woefully underpaid day of their lives.  But there is a difference between a police force and a goon squad.  America cultivates too many goon squads, and we ought not.

The iconic portrait of the USA.

Occupy Berkeley Report

Robert Hass, professor of poetry and poetics at the University of California, Berkeley, and former poet laureate of the United States, describes the incident at Berkeley where police jammed billy clubs into the guts of peacefully protesting UC Berkeley students, where he and his wife were both innocent bystanders caught in the attack and injured. Excerpt:
NONE of the police officers invited us to disperse or gave any warning. We couldn’t have dispersed if we’d wanted to because the crowd behind us was pushing forward to see what was going on. The descriptor for what I tried to do is “remonstrate.” I screamed at the deputy who had knocked down my wife, “You just knocked down my wife, for Christ’s sake!” A couple of students had pushed forward in the excitement and the deputies grabbed them, pulled them to the ground and cudgeled them, raising the clubs above their heads and swinging. The line surged. I got whacked hard in the ribs twice and once across the forearm.
And, you can’t say Berkeley students aren’t creative.
On Thursday afternoon when I returned toward sundown to the steps to see how the students had responded, the air was full of balloons, helium balloons to which tents had been attached, and attached to the tents was kite string. And they hovered over the plaza, large and awkward, almost lyrical, occupying the air.

Occupy Justice

You’ll be encouraged to know that authorities in Seattle and New York have responded to the police brutality in those cities.
Some of the most notorious instances went viral online, including the use of pepper spray on an 84-year-old activist in Seattle and a group of women in New York. Seattle's mayor apologised to the activist, and the New York Police Department official shown using pepper spray on the group of women lost 10 vacation days after an internal review.

  UK Guardian
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Occupy UC Davis - Further Information

W. tells Boing Boing that Pike sprayed them at close range with military-grade pepper spray, in a punitive manner. Pike knew the students by name from Thursday night when they "occupied" a campus plaza. The students offered Pike food and coffee and chatted with him and other officers while setting up tents.

  Interview with pepper sprayed student
Two UC Davis police officers involved in the incidents have reportedly been placed on administrative leave.


UC Davis student Thomas Fowler, who made perhaps the best-known video capturing the pepper-spray incident: "No tents were confiscated yesterday. The protesters were able to break them down and get them off the Quad before the police officers could do anything about it. Which makes their actions that much more confusing, seeing that the reason they were called to the campus was to have the tents removed."

Fowler said the mood on the campus "has shifted drastically. A lot of the students who were on the fence or weren't following the movement closely are getting very involved now. There [are] a lot of students calling for the Chancellor's resignation in response to what had occurred yesterday."


Bernie Goldsmith of the nearby Occupy Davis: "At Occupy Davis, relations with the democratically elected city council and local police forces have been genial and productive. The authorities have worked continuously to harmonize the occupation's presence with the park and surrounding businesses and ensure that all aspects of the encampment remain non-violent. Those in charge of using force are aware that they are democratically elected officials that are directly accountable to the people.

"Occupy UC Davis, a mere three blocks away, is under the jurisdiction of an undemocratic, appointed regime of force over which its subjects have no meaningful democratic control. The authorities there attacked non-violent protesters with indifference, and, in some cases, a clear display of sadistic pleasure.

"There could be no better illustration of the differences between a democratic, accountable public safety effort and a fascist, totalitarian, unaccountable police state. The students of UC Davis have no meaningful voice, and that is reflected at the very top of the administration down to the officer on the ground who can spice up his day with a confident sense of utter, unassailable impunity."


Mustangs United

The message is clear. I wonder if she hears it.

And after she leaves? OUR university! Katehi resign!

Suddenly I'm feeling a little proud of my alma mater.
Claudia Morain, a UC Davis spokesperson, told The Huffington Post that there were 35 police officers on the scene, 50 occupiers and 200 bystanders [when the police action occurred].

  Huffington Post
Oh, there’ll be more occupiers now.

Occupy Davis - Further Update

Following up to the earlier post regarding Chancellor Katehi’s actions and the call for her resignation…
At a news conference later on Saturday, Katehi said what the video showed was "sad and really very inappropriate.''

The events surrounding the protest had been hard on her personally, but she had no plans to resign, she said.

"I do not think that I have violated the policies of the institution. I have worked personally very hard to make this campus a safe campus for all,'' she said.

Charles J. Kelly, a former police lieutenant in Baltimore who wrote the department's use of force guidelines, said pepper spray was a "compliance tool'' that could be used on subjects who did not resist, and was preferable to simply lifting protesters.

"When you start picking up human bodies, you risk hurting them,'' Kelly said. "Bodies don't have handles on them.''

After reviewing the video, Kelly said he observed at least two cases of "active resistance'' from protesters.

"What I'm looking at is fairly standard police procedure,'' Kelly said.

To our everlasting shame as a country.

"Sad and really very inappropriate.''  Somehow that doesn't accurately describe it, in my opinion.  And who was it who put the whole thing in motion by sending in the cops?  Uh-huh.  The sad chancellor.

A “compliance tool.” And I guess you don’t hurt those handle-less bodies when you pick them up after spraying them? Only before.
Annette Spicuzza, the UC Davis police chief, told the Sacramento Bee newspaper that police used the pepper spray after they were surrounded.

Protesters were warned repeatedly beforehand that force would be used if they didn't move, she said.

"There was no way out of that circle," Spicuzza said. "They were cutting the officers off from their support. It's a very volatile situation."

Armed, riot gear outfitted police had no way out of a circle of peacefully protesting students and curious onlookers. Boy, I bet they were terrified.  They looked terrified, didn't they?

Newt, the Unclean

According to [Rachel] Maddow, “Newt Gingrich’s profession since he got kicked out of Congress under a cloud of ethics charges related to fundraising, his full-time profession has been selling access to himself as someone who is influential because of his time as a public servant. He has been marketing the Speakership of the House for his own private financial gain to anybody who will pay him.”

  Raw Story
Get a job, Newt. After you’ve taken a bath cleaned out your soul

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Not So Super After All

A highly placed Dem source tells our Brian Beutler: “Conversations are still happening, but its mostly about how to put this thing to bed.” In other words, what conversations continue are about mainly about how to fail as gracefully as possible, not how to reach an actual agreement.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Occupy Davis - Update

18 November 2011

Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

Linda P.B. Katehi,

I am a junior faculty member at UC Davis. I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, and I teach in the Program in Critical Theory and in Science & Technology Studies. I have a strong record of research, teaching, and service. I am currently a Board Member of the Davis Faculty Association. I have also taken an active role in supporting the student movement to defend public education on our campus and throughout the UC system. In a word: I am the sort of young faculty member, like many of my colleagues, this campus needs. I am an asset to the University of California at Davis.

You are not.


Today you ordered police onto our campus to clear student protesters from the quad. These were protesters who participated in a rally speaking out against tuition increases and police brutality on UC campuses on Tuesday—a rally that I organized, and which was endorsed by the Davis Faculty Association.


You may not order police to forcefully disperse student protesters peacefully protesting police brutality. You may not do so. It is not an option available to you as the Chancellor of a UC campus. That is why I am calling for your immediate resignation.


  Full letter from Nathan Brown demanding the chancellor’s resignation
The letter also indicates that police forced open the mouths of some of the students and sprayed pepper spray down their throats. I’m thinking the chancellor may be toast, and should be.
The U.C. Davis chancellor has announced that a investigative task force will be formed in the wake of a disturbing pepper-spray incident at Occupy Davis, a protest on the university campus. In a video, police are seen pepper-spraying students even after they had been subdued.

Thank you, Chancellor. Let’s see, number one: who ordered the police invasion?
Beyond the light it is shedding on how power is really exercised in the U.S., [the] UC-Davis episode underscores why I continue to view the Occupy movement as one of the most exciting, inspiring and important political developments in many years. What’s most striking about that UC-Davis video isn’t the depraved casualness of the officer’s dousing the protesters’ faces with a chemical agent; it’s how most of the protesters resolutely sat in place and refused to move even when that happened, while the crowd chanted support. We’ve repeatedly seen acts of similar courage spawned by the Occupy movement.


The protest movement is driving the proliferation of new forms of activism, citizen passion and courage, and — most important of all — a sense of possibility. For the first time in a long time, the use of force and other forms of state intimidation are not achieving their intended outcome of deterring meaningful (i.e., unsanctioned and unwanted) citizen activism, but are, instead, spurring it even more.


Despite all the rights of free speech and assembly flamboyantly guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the reality is that punishing the exercise of those rights with police force and state violence has been the reflexive response in America for quite some time.

The intent and effect of such abuse is that it renders those guaranteed freedoms meaningless. If a population becomes bullied or intimidated out of exercising rights offered on paper, those rights effectively cease to exist.


Implanting fear of authorities in the heart of the citizenry is a far more effective means of tyranny than overtly denying rights.


That’s [...] exactly what the climate of fear imposed by all abusive police state actions is intended to achieve: to coerce citizens to “decide” on their own to be passive and compliant — to refrain from exercising their rights — out of fear of what will happen if they don’t.


The genius of this approach is how insidious its effects are: because the rights continue to be offered on paper, the citizenry continues to believe it is free. They believe that they are free to do everything they choose to do, because they have been “persuaded” — through fear and intimidation — to passively accept the status quo. As Rosa Luxemburg so perfectly put it: “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”

  Glenn Greenwald
Here’s a video of the incident showing Lt. Pig, I mean Pike, making a great gesturing show of the fact that he is about to pepper spray a bunch of kids sitting on a sidewalk. And calling in another cop to join him.

It's Sunday

Authorities in Schaumburg, Illinois have charged a teacher at a Christian school for repeatedly masturbating in class over a period of 10 years.

Schaumburg Christian School fired math teacher Paul A. LaDuke, 75, on Friday after a student reported that she saw him masturbating, according to NBC Chicago.


Several students reportedly told police that they were present in the classroom when LaDuke unzipped and lower his pants and then masturbated.

“Through the course of our investigation, our detectives have come to believe that this has happened several times per year for 10 years or more, possibly,” Schaumburg police Sgt. John Nebel told the CBS affiliate in Chicago.

  Raw Story
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

To Protect and Serve

The banks.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Only Question Is...

Is he a clueless bastard or just a bastard?
“Jefferson said that people that want to be both free and ignorant are asking for something that has never been and will never be,” the former House Speaker told an audience during a debate at the First Federated Church in Des Moines, Iowa Saturday. “Captain John Smith said in 1607 in the first English speaking permanent colony to the aristocrats who paid their way and didn’t want to work, ‘If you don’t work, you won’t eat.’”


[You] need to reassert something as simple as saying to them, ‘Go get a job right after you take a bath.’”

  Raw Story
He needs to look at the Portland crowd if he thinks they’re unwashed freeloaders. And half their complaint is they can’t GET jobs. You dick. And on your way out, take your dickhead friends with you.
The Republican debate audience responded to that comment by filling the Christian church with some of the loudest applause of the evening.
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

UC Davis Update

Here's video. It was worse than even the still photo indicated. But that pepper-spraying dick certainly galvanized the crowd, which drew itself up and drove the police out of the park. In the end, they're chanting, "We're giving you a moment" and then "You can go!" I didn't know the Davis crowd had it in them, and I didn't know there were so many cops.

Kudos UC Davis.

Is It Co-option?

Or just cashing in? Or blending? And does it matter?
A coalition of labor and progressive groups is about to unveil its answer to the question: […] Can the energy unleashed by the movement be leveraged behind a concrete political agenda and push for change that will constitute a meaningful challenge to the inequality and excessive Wall Street influence highlighted by the protests?


Get ready for “Occupy Congress.”

The coalition — which includes unions like SEIU and CWA and groups like the Center for Community Change — is currently working on a plan to bus thousands of protesters from across the country to Washington, where they will congregate around the Capitol from December 5-9.


One idea under consideration — pending various permitting and other logistical issues — is to have a series of tents set up on the lawn outside the Capitol, each representing a state, with the number of unemployed in each state prominently displayed. But the optics are still being worked out.

One goal of the protests, [SEIU president Mary Kay] Henry says, is to pressure Republicans to support Obama’s jobs creation proposals.


But Henry added she salutes Occupy Wall Street for finding fault with both parties, adding: “We agree that on domestic social programs, we have not won the day with either party. And we are applying pressure to both.”

  Greg Sargent
The 2012 election is almost a full year away and nobody knows who is running against President Obama, but that didn’t stop Mary Kay Henry, the D.C.-based National President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), from announcing last week that her organization endorses President Obama for re-election. That’s not surprising — while many unions have exhibited political independence, SEIU officials have long been among Obama’s closest and most loyal allies in Washington — but what was notable here was how brazenly Henry exploited the language of the Occupy movement to justify her endorsement of the Democratic Party leader: “We need a leader willing to fight for the needs of the 99 percent . . . .Our economy and democracy have been taken over by the wealthiest one percent.”


Having SEIU officials — fresh off endorsing the Obama re-election campaign — shape, fund, dictate and decree an anti-GOP, pro-Obama march is about as antithetical as one can imagine to what the Occupy movement has been. And pretending that the ongoing protests are grounded in the belief that the GOP is the party of the rich while the Democrats are the party of the working class is likely to fool just about nobody other than those fooled by that already. The strength and genius of OWS has been its steadfast refusal to (a) fall into the trap that ensnared the Tea Party of being exploited as a partisan tool and (b) integrate itself into the very political institutions which it’s scorning and protesting.


[To] try to cast the Democratic Party and the Obama administration as the vessel for the values and objectives of the Occupy movement is just dishonest in the extreme: in fact, it’s so extreme that it’s very unlikely to work.


[H]aving spent the last few weeks talking with many OWS protesters around the country, [I believe] that these efforts [to co-opt OWS for partisan purposes] will inevitably fail: those who have animated the Occupy movement are not motivated by partisan allegiance or an overarching desire to devote themselves to one of the two parties. In fact, one of the original Occupy groups — as opposed to partisan organizations swooping in to exploit it — has announced its own D.C. occupation to, in part, “demonstrate the failure of the Democrats and Republicans in Congress to represent the views of the majority of people.”


[T]he U.S. desperately needs a citizen movement devoted to working outside of political and legal institutions and that is designed to be a place of dissent against it. Integrating it into that system is a way of narrowing its appeal and, worse, sapping it of its unique attributes and fear-generating potency.


What is missing from America is a healthy fear in the hearts and minds of the most powerful political and financial factions of the consequences of their continued pilfering, corporatism, and corrupt crony capitalism, and only this sort of movement — untethered from the pacifying rules of our political and media institutions — can re-impose that healthy fear.

  Glenn Greenwald
It’s going to get very interesting.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

FollowUp to the Bat Signal

Heartening backstory to the techno signals at Hullabaloo.

Occupy UC Davis

My alma mater.

Clearly, you can see from the picture that Lieutenant Pike is in mortal danger. Fearing for his safety, had no choice but to use pepper spray. So says the U.C. Davis PD:

UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said officers used force out of concern for their own safety after they were surrounded by students.
This really does surprise me. Unless things have drastically changed, Davis is a milquetoast town, white bread America, a university town stuck out in the valley all by itself, surrounded by huge tomato farms; low crime, pretty much dead. Even the trees are imported and have to be watered. Students don't go to Davis for the excitement or the hubbub. There's no history of student unrest or violence. Everybody rides bicycles. All the streets have bicycle paths. Bicycles, which have to be registered with the city, outnumber motorized vehicles. Davis doesn't usually even need a police force. Except to ticket unregistered bicycles.

Lieutenant Pike looks like he's tired of living in an insular community where nothing ever happens. He obviously doesn't get much exercise.


...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Full Speed Ahead

"I think there could be a civil war [in Syria] with a very determined and well-armed and eventually well-financed opposition that is, if not directed by, certainly influenced by defectors from the army," [Hillary] Clinton told NBC.
Coming from the U.S. Secretary of State, a phrase like "well-armed and eventually well-financed opposition" isn't a prediction but a business proposition.

  John Caruso
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

On the Runway

The board of the UN's atomic watchdog has passed a resolution expressing "deep and increasing concern" over Iran nuclear activities, following the Vienna-based body's recent highly critical report of the country's atomic programme.

However, the text of the resolution, proposed by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany and 12 others, stopped short of reporting Iran to the UN Security Council or setting Tehran a deadline to comply.

That’s the next step.

I listened to an interview with Chris Floyd last night in which he and Cindy Sheehan commented that the politicians in charge don’t even bother to be original with their aggressive buildups any more. Sadly, true. They just rinse and repeat. Floyd also lamented that politics draws a certain kind of person; that no one would be in high political positions if they didn’t already think that way. There are exceptions to the first part, but the second part of that is dead on. He also made the same comment about mainstream newscasters, saying they don’t have to be censored, because they are believers. You can listen to the interview here, and while Floyd apologizes for his performance on his website (it was the night his father died), in my opinion, it’s Sheehan that’s difficult to follow.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

He Didn't Make It Out

In a press conference in Tripoli on Saturday, Bashir Thaelba, a field commander in the National Transitional Council, said in Tripoli that Saif al-Islam was captured and would be moved to the southern city of Zintan.

Saif al-Islam, the 39-year-old son of Muammar Gaddafi, had been on the run since the fall of Libya and the death of his father.

He was detained with several bodyguards while trying to flee to Niger, according to a government official. He is said to be in good health.

Well, probably not now.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Friday, November 18, 2011

New York's Finest

From Democracy Now:

[R]etired New York Supreme Court Judge Karen Smith [...] worked as a legal observer Tuesday morning in New York after the police raided the Occupy Wall Street encampment. "I was there to take down the names of people who were arrested... As I’m standing there, some African-American woman goes up to a police officer and says, 'I need to get in. My daughter's there. I want to know if she’s OK.’ And he said, 'Move on, lady.' And they kept pushing with their sticks, pushing back. And she was crying. And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he throws her to the ground and starts hitting her in the head," says Smith. "I walk over, and I say, 'Look, cuff her if she's done something, but you don’t need to do that.’ And he said, 'Lady, do you want to get arrested?' And I said, 'Do you see my hat? I'm here as a legal observer.’ He said, 'You want to get arrested?' And he pushed me up against the wall."

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Portland Occupiers

This looks like as representative a section of middle America as you could get.

Or, you could play, "Where's Guy Fawkes?"

Photo Source

Techno Occupation

Like the call from Gotham to Batman.

Meanwhile in Egypt

The people have not yet won. But they are serious.

Tens of thousands of Islamist and secular protesters have gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square and in Alexandria for a mass rally to press the ruling military to hand power to a civilian government

Friday's demonstration, dubbed as "Friday of One Demand" was called over a document floated by the government which declares the military the guardian of "constitutional legitimacy", suggesting the armed forces could have the final word on major policies


Semper FU

So the GOP members of the "Super" Committee think cutting veterans' health benefits will qualify as cutting defense spending, I guess.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Occupy Winter

I’ve repeatedly said that the protests are among the most exciting, inspiring and important political developments over the last decade. That’s true for several reasons: its innovative, pioneering tactics, its refusal to be pigeonholed with partisan identity, its resistance to translating itself into establishment media language, its organic form, its appropriate contempt for the nation’s political and legal institutions, its singular ability to force discussions of wealth inequality into the discourse. But I think its most impressive attribute is that it has inspired a level of activism and a sense of possibility like few other things have. It’s worth highlighting a few representative examples.
[O]ne of the functions served by the Oakland encampment was that it produced its own food from volunteers in a kitchen that had been built there; they were, in essence, doing something about the problem of homelessness — by feeding them — rather than simply demanding that something be done.
Ever since the Occupy movement began, the blog FireDogLake, with very little attention or self-promotion, has overwhelmingly devoted itself not only to covering the protests but also to creating an amazing new template to help sustain it. Exclusively relying on reader donations, FDL has sent one of its youngest and most relentless activists, Kevin Gosztola, around the country for the last two months, visiting over 50 different encampments from every region in the nation. Gosztola has been able to provide first-hand, on-the-scene reporting from all of these sites, but more important, has built a network of representatives and liasons to enable coordination and communication among site organizers.
In addition to police crackdowns, it has long been assumed that the greatest challenge to sustaining the Occupy movement would be the approaching harsh winter in Northern cities.
Again using nothing more than reader donations, FDL designed and then purchased a full line of winter clothing for free distribution to the various Occupy sites around the nation: hats, sweaters, scarves, gloves, socks, blankets, jackets, thermal underwear, face masks, and more. Every penny FDL raises — 100% — goes exclusively toward the manufacture and free distribution of these products to Occupy protesters. They have thus far raised close to $90,000, and spent roughly $85,000 of it on the purchase of almost 7,000 items. They have also furnished heat generators, tents, and sleeping bags to numerous sites as well.
Rather than indiscriminately dumping the clothing at various encampments, FDL has built a network of liasons and representatives to ensure that it goes to the places that need it most, and that it reaches those who will use it for its intended purpose: primarily, the “sleeper” protesters, largely impoverished, who form the backbone of the camps. Beyond that, FDL has expended great efforts to ensure that the goods it distributes are manufactured not in Chinese sweatshops but rather entirely by American unions — a difficult challenge in this age of disappearing American industry — which in turn ensures that the workers producing the products enjoy health insurance, living wages, and a decent standard of living: aims of the Occupy movement itself.
More than it needs anything, the country needs a potent and effective citizen movement outside of/independent of the electoral system, and nothing in a long time has provided that the way the Occupy movement has.
  Glenn Greenwald
Help them out if you can. Before the police state shuts them down.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Occupy Questions

Who convened the mayors call? In an interview with the BBC, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan alluded to her participation in a conference call with leaders of 18 US cities just prior to the raids on encampments across the country. Mayors' associations do exist, but they do not typically organize police interventions or local decision-making in such detail. Given the abuses of the past, such as the notorious COINTELPRO and other intervention programs that the U.S. government organized during the Vietnam protests, the public has a right to know the details of who organized that call.


Was there an attempt to control press coverage? New Yorkers awoke to front-page stories and photographs in both the New York Post and the New York Daily News. Coverage by the two papers was supportive of the mayor and the police actions but disparaging toward the protesters. An AlterNet reporter, arriving on the scene at 1:30am, shortly after the raid began, could get nowhere near Zuccotti Park due to police barricades (and was subjected to pepper spray while attempting to report on events). How did the friendly reporters gain their access?


...but hey, do what you will anyway.

This Is America

Most of the attention in the New York City police’s raid on “Occupy Wall Street” early Tuesday morning centered on the removal of tents and sleeping bags. But protesters indicate that many other valuable items, including important medical equipment and laptops, were either unrecoverable or damaged beyond repair.

“Everything, everything we had: gone,” said Chris Carter, a New Jersey native and firefighter who has been part of the “Occupy” medical staff since the second day of the protests. “All the medications we had: Tylenol, cough machine, two AED Defibrillators units, vitamins, an asthma inhaler. Nothing left.”

  Raw Story

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Occupy – From Someone Who’s Been There

[Eighty-four-year-old activist Dorli Rainey, who was pepper sprayed in the face by Seattle police] said the protesters had decided to leave the intersection, and that police almost certainly knew this because of the protester’s “people’s microphone” method of communication. But before they could leave, police moved in and fired pepper spray at the crowd.
She said a “wonderful” young Iraq veteran protected her during the scuffle with police, preventing her from falling on the ground.
Rainey, who grew up in Nazi Germany, expressed her displeasure with the mainstream American media, who only reported “soft, fluff entertainment” instead of hard-hitting news.
  Raw Story
I have to say that I am not at all optimistic about the outcome of these protests, although I am highly supportive of them. The reason for my pessimism is this: the American people. Ms. Rainey, who grew up in Nazi Germany, must know what I'm talking about. The parallels between the US and Germany of that time are certainly there. And there are enough American citizens who are in the same economic and disenfranchised boat as the protesters, but who want to see them destroyed just as much as the 1% does. I happened upon a forum while looking up what happened to Ms. Rainey where there was post after post of the most vile and hateful commentary about what happened to her - commentary aimed at her, not at what was done to her. I'd like to say, "unbelievable." But it's all too believable. Humans aren't.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.


I'm too old and tired to spend any more time figuring out what might have gone awry on the You Will Anyway website, and so goodbye to all those years of posts.  Maybe it's a message from the greater universe.  Too bad we don't always understand each other.

So, we go from here.  Fresh and new.  Unlike the world we live in, where the same old shit just goes on and on and on.

Hang in there, everybody.  It only gets worse.