Archive for protests

The success of the #Occupy movement: "Invisible suffering was made visible" #OWS

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ows 99 percent

Rebecca Solnit wrote an inspiring op-ed in today's L.A. Times, one I've been waiting for someone to write. If you need a morale boost, please read it in full. Solnit is an author who spent time at Occupy San Francisco, Occupy Oakland and Occupy Wall Street in 2011. A longer version of the op-ed can be found at tomdispatch.com.

In her piece, she traces movements, activist groups, a unique person here and there, and identifies their transformative moments. She identifies milestones and special people who have made a meaningful difference and changed the world because they galvanized others with their mission.

Real change may at first be incremental, halting, and sometimes frustratingly imperceptible to those who aren't really paying attention, but eventually, it takes hold in ways unimagined.

In other words, the efforts can result in achievements that have lasting impact. And that impact can be on the whole wide world, a country, a legislative body, or on the very participants of a movement. And then those participants pay it forward.

[T]he moment that counts is the one where civil society is its own rule, improvising the terms of an ideal society for a day, a month, a season [...]

Almost as soon as Occupy Wall Street appeared in the fall of 2011, the national conversation changed and the brutality and obscenity of Wall Street were suddenly being openly discussed. The suffering of ordinary people crushed by the burden of medical, housing or college debt came out of the shadows.

California passed a homeowner's bill of rights to curtail the viciousness of the banks, and in late 2012, Strike Debt emerged as an Occupy offshoot to address indebtedness in creative and subversive ways. Student debt suddenly became (and remains) a topic of national discussion, and proposals for student loan reform began to gain traction.

Invisible suffering was made visible. And, though Occupy was never primarily about electoral politics, it was nonetheless a significant part of the conversation that got Elizabeth Warren elected senator and prompted a few other politicians to do good things in the cesspit of the capital.

Change often happens when the brutality of the status quo is made visible and therefore intolerable. [...]

Occupy Wall Street allowed those silenced by shame, invisibility or lack of interest from the media to speak up. ... [T]he media and politicians had to change their language to adjust to a series of previously ignored realities.

Part of what gave Occupy its particular beauty was the way the movement defined "we" as the 99%. That phrase (along with that contagious meme "the 1%") entered our language, offering a far more inclusive way of imagining the world.

Occupy is still working behind the scenes. I know this because I communicate regularly with those who are deeply involved, and I see reports of their impressive accomplishments. The tents are now gone, the drums stopped beating... but Occupy's heart didn't.

patience

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Russian President Vladimir Putin bans rallies and demonstrations during Winter Olympics

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being gay in russia

I wonder if Pooty-Poot is secretly gay, because he sure doth protesteth way too mucheth.

Oh but I kid President Bigotin. He's actually just a small-minded, mean-spirited, homophobic relic. And he's reinforcing that image by banning all rallies and demonstrations during the Winter Olympics that dare to protest his disgusting anti-gay laws.

Well, to be more precise, he's banning any that take place between January and March. The Olympics are in February.

The Hill:

The Russian government newspaper on Friday published a Putin decree prohibiting “gatherings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets” in Sochi between Jan. 7 and March 21.

May there be a sea of rainbow colors be telecast and clearly visible for the world to see during every second of every Olympics activity. And may every gay athlete take home a medal.

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Teen: "Before #Trayvon, we didn't have that kind of feeling of injustice." Plus VIDEO of Tracy Martin.

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Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Demonstrators are participating in nationwide “Justice for Trayvon” rallies, and as of this writing, despite what you may hear from the trolls among us, the gatherings have been 100% peaceful.

Responding to the trial, Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks had a great piece up last week, “Heartsick and numb over the Zimmerman verdict… George Zimmerman’s paranoia became Trayvon Martin’s crime.”

Today's column was equally insightful and covers a relevant topic that I haven't seen mentioned in depth anywhere else: Teen protesters and how they differ from their protesting predecessors. Their mindset and needs differ from those who marched before them for a number of reasons that she explains beautifully.

They feel they are not being listened to by adults. Banks points out how their civil rights battle is different from previous ones, and how they see don't see Trayvon Martin as "a product of centuries of racial injustice or a cry for policy changes," but for them, this is more of a cultural issue about how they dress and look, about guns, and about being profiled because they are young and black.

She makes it clear that "youths ache for adults to let them speak for themselves."

President Obama said this yesterday:

And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African-American boys are more violent -- using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain...

So -- so folks understand the challenges that exist for African- American boys, but they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it or -- and that context is being denied. And -- and that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different. ...

We need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys? And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?

Sandy Banks takes it from there. Quoting Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who heads the Community Coalition who has worked with hundreds of young people in that education and community program:

"This is not your grandmother's civil rights movement … walking slowly, carrying signs... They don't do things the way we do. And we don't know how to organize or control it."

Banks also quoted Timothy, 16, who has been working with the coalition:

"We see the adults talking for us, and we don't really get a chance to be at the forefront. Then when we do get a chance, it comes out kind of violent, like we saw on Monday night."

The civil rights establishment is going to have to change its tactics and its focus to get this younger generation on board.

"Everybody who was born after the riots, we've never really been through this," Timothy pointed out. "Before Trayvon Martin, we didn't have that kind of feeling of injustice."

Banks ends with this:

They're more concerned with getting guns off the streets than putting Zimmerman on trial again. And they don't need to gather in Leimert Park, when they've got hundreds of like-minded friends as near as the apps on their cellphones.

The people of this country have a lot to learn, but only if they're willing, would pay attention, and would take the time.

Please read the entire article here.

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Video- Fox Promotes Conspiracy Theory That New Black Panthers Were Impetus For Zimmerman Trial

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Honest to dog, can't they think of anything fresh? Does it all have to be retreads? Via MM.

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PhotOH! San Francisco Says "No" to Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline

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tar sands dirtiest oil on earth

Tar Sands Pipelines won’t bring the dirtiest oil on earth TO America, they bring it THROUGH America.

A whole lot of people agree:

Big fat major credit goes to @wizardkitten for these. We are posting them with permission.

Her post is here. Please read it:

Some choice shots from the Forward on Climate Keystone protest in San Francisco that drew over 4,000 today. ... Tens of thousands across America raised their voices in concern.

She also linked to this information at HuffPo:

A Nebraska utility says the new route for a proposed oil pipeline that would carry Canadian crude oil through the state will delay work on electric transmission lines for the pipeline. Nebraska Public Power District officials said they won't be able to build the transmission lines by the deadline TransCanada set for the end of 2014.

NPPD Chief Operating Officer Tom Kent said there's no way the transmission lines will be ready by 2015, the Columbus Telegram reported. [...]

Environmentalists oppose the project because they worry the pipeline could contaminate groundwater reserves and threaten ecologically sensitive areas in Nebraska and other states along its 1,700-mile path.

Here's a link to some photos of the DC protest.

And here are more PHOTOS: 35,000 Protesters Demand Immediate Climate Action At ‘Largest Climate Rally In U.S. History’

One argument for the pipeline project is, of course, profit. However, all the money in the world is meaningless if 1) nobody is around to enjoy it, and 2) it's spent on health care that will become increasingly necessary to treat symptoms and diseases resulting from a toxic environment.

The “Earth may be near tipping point.” However, we know why the GOP insists that there’s no climate change. Nevertheless, the GOP insists on pushing a dangerous project like Keystone despite the fact that it would create very few long term jobs, gas prices would increase, dependence on foreign oil would not lessen, and Bill McKibben and NASA’s Jim Hansen both warn that it would be “essentially game over for the climate” if this crackpot project gets the go ahead.

This is a potentially catastrophic project, and once in awhile, it would be nice if people trumped profits, if human lives and health concerns trumped corporate interests, and if *real* pro-life attitudes trumped political "pro-life" bull pucky.

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Yep, still a pig, Reince Priebus

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lipstick on a pig

Taegan found this quote at Politico from RNC chair Reince Priebus:

"It's not the platform of the party that's the issue. In many cases, it's how we communicate about it."

No, it's both, Reince. Good communication techniques are helpful, but first you need a message or twelve that, you know, resonate, or down you go again.

Priebus is now channeling Karl Rove, who said to the GOP: Just don’t *sound* intolerant.

Mitt Romney famously said, “It would be helpful to be Latino.” So he, too, was hoping to appear to be someone voters could relate to, but had no intention of changing his message. Not really. Whatever that message was at the moment.

And Bobby Jindal said, “If we want people to like us, we have to like them first.”

Again, it’s one thing to be introspective and see the error of your ways. It’s quite another to do an abrupt 180 and pretend you care, hoping nobody will notice that you’re pandering your ass off.

Here's what I wrote back in November, responding to Rove's inanity:

So as long as you don’t sound intolerant (or racist, or bigoted), as long as you can pretend you’re one thing while believing another, as long as you put on a good show, you’ll dupe Americans into voting for you. Never mind genuine outreach, just say the right words, sell the right product, be extra careful to couch your disdain in prettier language and voila!

Superficial fixes will pave the way to big election wins if they’re wrapped up real purty with a big bow. Those ignorami will never catch on...

Yet Reince Priebus still believes if his party members use appealing wording and the right catch phrases, yet adhere to the same anti-women, anti-LGBT, anti-voter, anti-civil rights, anti-economic growth, anti-Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security, anti-postal service, anti-union, anti-middle class policies, America will magically fall in love with them and reward them at the ballot box.

The GOP has learned nothing.

They still have no foresight or grasp of the health of our planet and want to do away with the Environmental Protection Agency.

They still want to do away with unions.

They still want to do away with the middle class.

They still want to do away with the Democratic party.

They still want to do away with free speech and expression.

They still want to do away with human dignity.

They still want to do away with civility toward anyone who is not like them, meaning white and/or Christian.

They still want to do away with health care for anyone but the wealthiest AmericansEspecially women’s health care.

They still want to do away with allowing two people who love each other to marry each other.

They still want to do away with privacy and freedom of choice.

They still want to do away with taxes for the very wealthy, not to mention productive spending and job growth at the expense of the health and welfare of this country.

No rewording can do away with all that.

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WTF is the matter with Michigan? Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse...

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Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said that union busting is “pro-workers! It’s a good thing! This is a positive thing for unions!” Then the union busting “Right-to-work for work for less” measure was signed it into law. It's important to remember that Michigan’s “Right to Work” law contains verbatim language from ALEC model bill.

Speaking of remembering, remember King Ricky's appalling financial martial law? That was the legislation that allowed one person to dictate all kinds of things without any input from voters. For example:

He could do away with unions, with police officers, mayorships, you name it. You voted for someone and they won? Pfft, fuggetaboutit. OUT.

You like that school your kid goes to? Nevermind. GONE.

You cherish democracy and thought it would always be The American way? TOO BAD.

Remember all my rants about the GOP’s goal of crushing unions as a way of denying Democrats their political funding which would lead to eventual single party rule? Me too.

And now Michigan's House has passed new version and sent it to the Senate all nice and repackaged under a different name, and they're pushing it right on through as they are wont to do:

The state House passed late Wednesday what the Snyder administration says is a new and improved emergency manager law, but opponents say is a warmed-over version of what voters rejected Nov. 6.

Michigan gun owners with extra training could carry concealed weapons in schools under a bill OK'd by a House panel Yes, guns in schools are A-OK with Michigan's "pro-life" Republicans:

Gun owners with concealed weapon permits could get additional training that would allow them to carry their concealed firearms in schools and at sporting events on school property under legislation approved Wednesday by a Michigan House committee.

The bill, OK'd 7-2 by majority Republicans along party lines, is awaiting potential final votes before lawmakers conclude their lame-duck session. [...]

Public schools - currently gun-free unless someone openly carries a weapon - would have to allow concealed weapons under the bill... [U]nintended consequences - more potential for altercations at football games or students finding teachers' guns in locked places.

Is it the right time to discuss responsible gun regulation yet?

Because Republican just can't seem to learn any lessons from the November elections, they decided to pass a bill attacking LGBTs and women. And to make double super sure that their so-called "small government" keeps their big paws off the rights of individuals, they included a "conscience objection" for health care providers who don't want to give that care when they feel it conflicts with their religious beliefs. Never mind anyone else's beliefs... or non-beliefs.

In other words, they get to discriminate against gay people and female people, even when it means that their well-being is at stake:

The Republicans in the Michigan legislature have passed a bill today that would allow hospitals, nursing homes or any other health care center to deny services that run contrary to the religious teachings or conscious of its leaders. This so-called conscience objection bill would open the doors for healthcare providers, insurance companies and employers to disallow healthcare services to anyone they find objectionable, such as LGBT people and women seeking family planning services including birth control and abortions.

There you have it, Michigan in a very ugly nutshell.

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