Here's the text of the message Noam Chomsky sent to #OccupyWallStreet that the reporter refers to: read more »
I have personally been switching my money (credit cards, accounts, mortgage) away from the big bad mega-banks that screwed Americans with predatory lending and took taxpayer handouts with better banks and financial institution. And I invite you to join me. It is a way of moving your money at least a step away from the worst of Wall Street.
Green America (which I have been associated with since they were Co-op America) has some resources:
And I have some suggestions below. read more »
BREAKING NEWS: TWULocal100 Executive Board endorses #OccupyWallStreet and commits to organize Labor to support the campaign
Just got off the phone from speaking with Chrisine Williams, Executive Board Member of the Stations workgroup of Transit Workers Union's Local 100. I called her to clear up what was the actual position of TWU on the Occupy Wall Street peaceful protest. Unfortunately Business Insider scrapped a member blog post from DailyKos (meaning, it wasnt even from the site's actual editorial group) which was in itself based on tweets by the person who goes by the handle @NewYorkist.
So here's the scoop: The membership of New York City's Local 100 Transit Workers' Union DID NOT vote to march over to #OccupyWallStreet TOMORROW. What did indeed happen? The Executive Board of TWU LOCAL 100 are officially endorsing Occupy Wall Street. read more »
One of the biggest sources of frustration for many who support #OccupyWallStreet is their inability to come to NYC even if it is to bear witness of the occupation. So my very smart tweeps came up with some excellent ideas and "ensmartened" me enough to come up with one of my own: Occupy Wall Street Everywhere.
On the 17th of September, we want to see 20,000 people to flood into lower Manhattan, set up beds, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months.
Like our brothers and sisters in Egypt, Greece, Spain, and Iceland, we plan to use the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic of mass occupation to restore democracy in America. We also encourage the use of nonviolence to achieve our ends and maximize the safety of all participants.
Who is Occupy Wall Street?
Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. read more »
For some time now, there has been an ongoing group-protest on Wall Street and New York’s financial district. The protesters are mainly young Caucasian brothers and sisters, who are totally fed up with where society, capitalism and democracy have been heading for too long now. It is no secret that significant numbers of enlightened folks nationwide are fed up with the many ways money corrupts the political system; and the many ways greed, connections, influence, self-over-indulgence, indiscretion, recklessness, power, unethical behavior and the like, corrupts the economic system. It’s becoming clearer everyday that our nation’s political, economic and social systems are devolving into places where we really shouldn’t want to go. Morality is now a matter of convenience and not consistency. Morality is no longer about values and ideals, but about personal gain and/or self-aggrandization.
We are a nation in crisis. To read the newspapers and/or listen to the network news it is all about economics: the “great recession” to be exact. But it’s not. It’s way beyond that. It’s way beyond greed and corruption. It’s about so many other things. It’s about over-consumption and waste. It’s about the natural and political environment. It’s about a legacy of racism and the attendant ills: caused by racism’s octopussian-tentacles protruding into every aspect of American life. It’s about racism’s denial by most Americans (black, white and other) and the fact that there are real problems therein. It’s about an education system that fails to graduate most citizens, and then set them all up for a life of moral failure. And by morality -in this particular context- I am talking about the way we interact with, are predisposed to, accept, respect, treat and deal with other human beings; especially people who don’t look, dress, talk, worship, sound, believe, and/ or act like we do.
It’s about the five hundred families whose total wealth surpasses the combined wealth of over 250 million people here (that’s 250 million folks/try to wrap your head around that). It’s about the cavernous gap between rich and poor. It’s about the widening wealth-gaps between black and brown and white. read more »
I want to preface this article by saying that Councilmember Brad Lander has been doing some good things recently which I want to acknowledge before I lay into him on this issue. In particular I want to re-emphasize the good work Brad Lander has been doing with the Center for Anti-violence Education (which my wife teaches at) to get self-defense classes for women in the areas where there have been a spate of assaults on women. I should note fellow Councilmember Steve Levin has NOT been involved in helping the community on this issue. Councilmembers Brad Lander, Sara Gonzalez, Tish James have and they deserve credit for it.
But there is another issue where Brad Lander and Steve Levin have made, in my mind, a serious error.
It all started with my building's resident Yenta (by her own admission) asking me why 7th Ave is no longer being cleaned up. Until recently, she observed, men in blue outfits (a collaboration between the city and the Doe Fund aimed to help the homeless and parolees transition back into society and employment) would help the city empty the garbage and clean the streets. Recently those blue-uniformed men disappeared from 7th Avenue and in their place garbage piled up everywhere adding to what my wife already referred to as the "7th Ave. Stink." I have to say 7th Ave. smells worse on average than any other street I personally walk down in Brooklyn or Manhattan. And now that the Doe Fund people have disappeared from 7th Ave. the stink is getting worse.
To me this is not, however, primarily about the cleanliness of our neighborhood. It is about a program that is one of the most successful in the nation in getting homeless and parolees back into society. Here is the description of the Doe Fund from their website:
Ready, Willing & Able is The Doe Fund's holistic, residential, work and job skills training program which helps homeless individuals in their efforts to become self-sufficient, contributing members of society. Ready, Willing & Able has helped more than 4,500 men and women become drug-free, secure full-time employment, and obtain their own self-supported housing. The program targets the segment of the homeless population considered the hardest to serve: single, able-bodied adults, the majority of whom have histories of incarceration and substance abuse. Criteria for acceptance into the program is that the applicant be ready, willing and able, both physically and mentally, to work and maintain a drug-free lifestyle.
Folks, this kind of program saves taxpayers money in the long run. Like vaccinations and education, programs like this are one of the best investments society can make with taxpayer money. And, like cutting education, cutting this program is one of the dumbest moves a government can make because it will COST us all money in the long run. read more »
Truth by its very nature is controversial. And that’s probably because truth has always been subject to individual interpretation. Despite varying perceptions from individual to individual, one can always arrive at the objective truth through common-sense, logic, science, investigation, analysis, reason, technology, and a few other valid and time-tested means. So you see; the truth cannot be hidden all the time: that’s very difficult to accomplish.
Nowadays in the USA, it appears that the search for objective truths isn’t a pursuit of the most fanatical members of the present apology for a Republican political party. It’s ostensibly worse yet, if you are a card-carrying-member of the intellectually-challenged appendage of that entity: the Tea Party. That’s when insincerity, dishonesty, mendacity and the like, become the primary tactics for justifying attempts at political chicanery. That’s when common sense, humanity, moderation and reason flee to brutish beasts. read more »
When banks have been in trouble, they come to you and me, the taxpayers, to be bailed out. Aerospace companies depend on contracts paid for by you and me, the taxpayers, for their bread and butter. Oil prices are kept low by government subsidies and when an oil company messes up and a spill happens, a good deal of the money for clean up comes from you and me. Yet these are the companies that pay the least taxes.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, points out for us the top ten tax dodging companies, and let me tell you I for one won't give ANY of them a penny if I can avoid it.
Sanders compiled a list of some of some of the 10 worst corporate income tax avoiders:
1) Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009. Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings.
2) Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion. read more »
While I was paying attention to the recent election, my wife, who is now a Karate instructor for an all-woman/transgender dojo, has been paying attention to this.
So briefly, there have been a series of assaults in the south Slope, Greenwood Heights, Windsor Terrace and Sunset Park - some attempted rapes and one rape. In response to perceived or actual lack of interest on the part of the cops (for instance, there was a video of one of the attacks, and they were unwilling to look at it), the community got together to pressure local electeds to take some action. People (not sure exactly who) went to a community/police meeting last night, and tonight there is a rally, described below. Brad Lander and Sara Gonzalez asked CAE to hold some workshops, so we are holding three (will send a separate email describing those) - one at the dojo, and two in Sunset Park. One will be in Spanish and English.
Tracy and the dojo have been on the news twice so far - once on ABC (will send you the link), and once on NBC.
The news clips...with ads, of course. read more »
This was sent to me by my wife...will post a bigger diary on the issue per se when I get the chance, but for now here is an important action item for tonight, Wed. Sept. 14th:
"Take Back Our Streets" rally on Wednesday, September 14th
We are organizing a "Take Back Our Streets" rally on Wednesday, September
14th. We want to come together as a community to speak out against recent
assaults and attempted assaults in South Slope/Park Slope/Windsor
Terrace/Greenwood Heights and surrounding areas.
Meet at 8:00 P.M. outside of the Prospect Avenue R Stop (4th Avenue and 17th
Street). We will march along 4th and 5th avenues and proceed to Detective
Joseph Mayrose Park (17th Street and 7th Avenue) by 9:00 P.M., where there
will be speakers, a self-defense class demonstration, and a vigil.
Bring candles, flashlights, and glowsticks. Signs are welcome, too.
Rain Date: Wednesday, September 21st
You can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday's election in NYC was won on the one hand by right wing extremist teabaggers, and on the other hand by corrupt Party Boss Vito Lopez.
Moderate, competent Democrat David Weprin was trounced by radical right wing extremist Turner for Anthony Weiner's Congressional seat. The media wants to spin this as a referendum on Obama and Israel. It wasn't. This is just another right wing myth used for spin purposes. The election came down to one thing primarily, I believe. Marriage Equality. David Weprin, himself a very pro-Israel, mainstream Orthodox Jew had the integrity to recognize that his personal religious views on gay marriage should not trump Constitutional rights in this secular society, so he voted for marriage equality and openly supported it. To me this shows integrity and intelligence because he, unlike so many right wing religious extremists like Rick "Christian Taliban" Perry, recognizes that his personal religious beliefs cannot by law, nor should not be forced upon society at large. They remain, for him personal. read more »
I was the first person in my ED to vote this morning. And the third at my voting machine. It was the first time I used one of the new machines because they weren't working last election at my polling place.
Too often I hear people don't bother with off-year elections. But let me remind you that if you have to go before a judge (housing court, family court, whatever), would you rather that judge was a good, honest judge or merely a political crony of a political boss? It is off-year elections that determine the quality of our judiciary.
This year there is also a special election for Congress and a special election for Assembly. These are both races that can affect the fate of a woman's right to choose and of marriage equality. So they are worth paying attention to.
Below are some endorsements to help your choose.
LAMBDA INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATS:
David Weprin for U.S. House of Representatives, 9th Congressional District
David Weprin has been an outspoken supporter of the LGBT community for many years, and he has consistently voted to support marriage equality as an Assemblyman. His opponents are trying to use his marriage votes against him in their campaign to win the seat. Plus, the national Republican party is pouring large amounts of resources into this race so they can claim to have a mandate from the American people for their radical agenda. Let’s make sure David wins.
Volunteers are needed for Get Out the Vote efforts on September 10th, 12th and 13th. People are needed to make phone calls, go door-to-door, and stand outside polling locations. To volunteer, please contact Brian Linder at Brian.A.Linder@gmail.com or (516) 205-2531. To make a contribution, click here.
Jesus Gonzalez for State Assembly, 54th Assembly District
LID is proud to support Jesus Gonzalez, who is running on the Working Families Party line. The Democrat in this race is both anti-choice and anti-marriage equality. Jesus Gonzalez, on the other hand, is a fresh new voice with a progressive vision for his district. He has been endorsed by New Kings Democrats, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, District Leader Lincoln Restler and many other progressive leaders and groups.
Volunteers are needed for phonebanking at 2 Nevins Street every weeknight from 5pm to 9pm and on Saturday from 10am to 2pm. The campaign also needs people to canvass the district on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Pollsite captains are needed for Election Day from 6am to 9pm. Additional volunteers are needed on Election Day from 6am to 10am and from 5pm to 9pm. Please contribute or volunteer here, or contact the volunteer coordinator, Ivan Luevanos, directly at email@example.com.
Cheryl Gonzales for Countywide Civil Court Judge (Kings County)
Judge Gonzales is currently a Housing Court judge who is widely respected by her peers. On the first day of marriage equality, she volunteered to preside over the civil weddings of dozens of same-gender couples in Brooklyn. Judge Gonzales has a deep knowledge of the law and brings a human touch to her courtroom. She was also endorsed recently by The New York Times.
NEW YORK TIMES ENDORSEMENTS:
For the United States House of Representatives
Ninth District (Brooklyn and Queens): David Weprin
For Civil Court:
Manhattan (Third District): Tony Cannataro
Brooklyn (boroughwide): Cheryl Gonzales read more »
My haters in blog-land do have one legit gripe: I focus too much of my writings on the Brooklyn political scene. Look; it’s my prerogative. Brooklyn is always in flux. The Brooklyn political scene is like Sam Malone’s love life: never boring.
I really tried to stay out of this one; I really did. And, as usual, I will get slapped upside the head (politically speaking) for writing this short column: but here goes.
Presently, there is a race for a county-wide judicial spot in Brooklyn (Kings County) between Cheryl Gonzales and Sharon Hudson. It has heated up over the months. I mentioned it briefly in my recent “Vines” column because Ms. Gonzales was born in my homeland (Trinidad and Tobago); and I did wish her luck. I stopped short of an endorsement, since I wanted to stay out of this brouhaha. I have friends on both sides of this fight. And when you have political friends on both sides of the equation, it is usually prudent to stay out. Well….maybe. read more »
Looking back, I think 9/11 was the day I became a New Yorker. To this day I am a Californian who happened to move to New York because of a job offer, met a woman, and stayed. But after 9/11, without even thinking about it, I started to call myself a New Yorker.
I remember the day very vividly even 10 years later. But there is a huge difference this year. This is the first year since I heard the planes hit and smelled the ashes of the burning World Trade Center that I can feel some satisfaction. This year, finally, after 10 long years, Osama bin Laden has been hunted down and killed. Along with him, under Obama, more top al-Qaeda leaders have been killed or captured than during the entire Bush administration. For the first time since I heard those planes hit I feel like we are on top of the war against al-Qaeda.
This month we can tell Hurricane Irene stories, discuss Libya and think about what comes next for local politics.
I should note that the primary and special elections are at the same time. If there is anyone who wants to skip the meeting to campaign for Cheryl Gonzales or David Weprin, contact Lambda Independent Democrats and tell them you want to help where Cheryl Gonzales and David Weprin's districts overlap (which is basically the Brooklyn part of Weprin's district). That is the most critical place for campaigning.
To volunteer email: LIDBrook...@gmail.com
or call: 917.499.8198 or 917.696.1781
For those who are attending Eating Liberally, please join us at Cafe Steinhof in the South Slope. 422 7th Ave (at 14th St) for some great Austrian food. Check out their menu here: http://www.cafesteinhof.com/html/dinner.html
Read my review of the restaurant here.
But I do urge people to spend some time that day helping out Lambda Independent Democrats or New Kings Democrats elect Cheryl Gonzales and David Weprin. read more »
I have found very little about this in the news...even BBC is letting me down this time. But Daily Kos has had some coverage of large scale protests in Israel. The total number of protesters across all cities amounts to 460,000, 300,000 of them in Tel Aviv. That amounts to 5% of the total population of Israel, Jews and Arabs, taking to the streets in protest of failed right wing policies. The Israeli police have stated that it is the largest protest in Israeli history.
And it all started with one woman.
Here is the first day of protest in Tel Aviv, with one person in early July:
Here is the protest on August 6th with 350,000 (funny how I didn't hear about it at the time...not in American media...not on BBC...):
And here is Tel Aviv today at the beginning of September:
I want to highlight some recent endorsements for David Weprin for Congress in the Sept. 13th special election for the NY-9 Congressional seat. This is a great opportunity to beat a teabagger candidate and support our teachers, firefighters and cops.
From two Firefighters Unions:
Firefighters, Officers Endorse David Weprin
Today, at “The Enchanted Cottage,” Engine 305 in Forest Hills, New York, David
Weprin, Democratic Candidate for Congress in New York’s Ninth Congressional
District, received the endorsement of the the Uniformed Fire Officers Association
(UFOA) and United Firefighters Association (UFA).
"Firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect New Yorkers, and we
need leaders like David Weprin fighting on the front lines for us in Washington,”
said UFOA President Al Hagan. “At every opportunity, David Weprin has stood up
for firefighters--by supporting working men and women at every turn and fighting
to protect the homeland security funding that ensures we can do our jobs safely
and effectively. He will fight against efforts in Washington to cut the Medicare and Social Security programs so many of our retired members rely on, and we
enthusiastically endorse David Weprin for the United States Congress."
Click here for a photo from the event.
"The UFA is proud to endorse David Weprin for Congress. As City Council
Finance Chair, David Weprin fought efforts to shutter FDNY companies that keep
our communities safe and secure. He understands the dangerous and difficult
job of firefighters, and we are confident he will do everything in his power when in Congress to see that the FDNY has needed funding and resources to protect New Yorkers," Jim Slevin, Vice President and Legislative Chair of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, said. "David Weprin is a leader who will protect the benefits firefighters and first responders have earned over a lifetime of hard work. He'll fight the Republican efforts to cut Medicare and Social Security and will stand up for the working families who call Queens and Brooklyn home. That's why I join the UFOA and UFA in my proud support of David Weprin for Congress," said Congressman Joe Crowley.
"We need a strong partner in Congress like David Weprin who will stand with us
to keep firehouses open and ensure first responders have the resources they
need to protect us. Working men and women throughout New York can count on
David Weprin to protect their rights and fight against any cuts to the vital Social Security and Medicare programs they have paid into throughout their entire
careers," said City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, Chair of the New York City
Council Fire and Criminal Justice Committee.
New York City has one of the largest fire departments in the world, with over
11,000 firefighters and over 3,300 EMTs and paramedics.
“I am honored to receive the support of the UFA and the UFOA. Each and every
day, New York’s Bravest make untold sacrifices to keep our city safe,” said
Weprin. “At a time when the financial security of millions of Americans is in
jeopardy, it is critical that those who have sacrificed so much for us – our
firefighters and first responders – know that Social Security and Medicare will be
there for them. In Congress, I will fight to make sure that no first responder, nor their families, have to worry whether the benefits they’ve earned over a lifetime will be there when they need them.” read more »
Recently I got into an argument on Room 8 with a Holocaust denier who at least was willing to admit some aspects of the Holocaust happened, but denied that there ever were actual gas chambers and crematoria. Like arguing with Creationists, 9/11 Truthers and Global Warming deniers, arguing with Holocaust deniers is frustrating work...and never gets you very far. Yet I am the sort who cannot stand letting lies and misinformation stand unchallenged.
The misconception that concentration camps didn't have gas chambers, Stormfront holocaust denial aside, first arose because people expect all concentration camps to be the same. Since many concentration camps have no sign of gas chambers, people started to believe that none of them did. The gas chambers were part of the dedicated extermination camps where work was only secondary and extermination the primary role of the camp. Many concentration camps reversed that priority...death of the inmates was considered a good thing, but using them as slave labor was primary. Gas chambers were used at the extermination camps. These were mostly in the East in places like Poland, so the main US, UK and French military advances liberated mainly concentration camps where slave labor and oppression were the dominant themes while the Soviets liberated most of the extermination camps. Neo-Nazis often claim that Eisenhower, Churchill and de Gaulle never mentioned liberating gas chambers and claim that shows they didn't exist. This claim completely ignores that it was primarily the Soviet army that liberated the extermination camps that had gas chambers. So that Neo-Nazi claim is easily contradicted.
A breakdown of the main concentration camps and their primary purposes can be found here:
The definitive book on Nazi Germany is the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer. I recommend this book to ANYONE who wants to know just how and why Hitler's regime could come into existence. Shirer was a direct witness to some of the rise of Hitler and he describes the era in extreme detail, including the evolution of the concentration camps from mainly housing political prisoners to ultimately being part of the Final Solution, complete with dedicated extermination camps with gas chambers. Shirer's analysis used every scrap of evidence available at the time, meaning the one flaw in the book is that Soviet records were not available at the time, giving the Eastern Front a more sketchy coverage than what happened in the West and in Germany itself. But it still gives most of what you need to know about the policies towards the Jews. Even though I am up on my history of Nazi Germany I learned a lot from this book.
There are two main sources of evidence in any crime scene, and the gas chambers were, quite simply, massive crime scenes. Those types of evidence are eyewitness testimony and forensics. Good criminal cases are built up using both. read more »
It has mostly escaped notice in the political class - if not for want of trying - but there is, indeed, a rather vociferous movement to end the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. Though it has been hampered by rather ineffective organizing, the occasional association with Palestinian terrorism and, indeed, good, old-fashioned anti-Semitism of the kind you may have thought perished in the ruins of Auschwitz, it exists, and now, it is heading for the borough of Brooklyn.
Indeed, it is already here.
Specifically, some members of the Park Slope Food Co-op - full disclosure: I am not a member thereof - want the collective store to de-shelve products from Israel, pointing to that country's often objectionable treatment of Palestinians in Israel proper and the occupied West Bank as cause.
If you think that smells more than slightly like Deutsche, kauft nicht beim Juden, you'd be correct. Like every nation state under the sun, including our own, Israel and its government do things we may find troubling. To give just one example, China is, step by little step, obliterating the existence of Tibet as a distinct entity within the People's Republic.
Yet oddly enough, I'm unaware of any attempts to take Chinese products off any shelves.
The quintessence of anti-Semitism as it relates to the state of Israel is to single it out for treatment not afforded any other state. I have a very hard time believing that the Co-Op would consider being a party to this.
I recently posted endorsements and info on three key candidates running in the Sept. 13th primary/special elections. As a reminder, I am urging readers to vote for:
DAVID WEPRIN FOR CONGRESS
CHERYL GONZALES FOR KINGS COUNTY CIVIL COURT JUDGE
JESUS GONZALEZ FOR ASSEMBLY
For those who want to help stop a particularly horrible right wing extremist running for Congress, you can do phonebanking or canvassing for David Weprin for Congress at the following times and locations:
Brooklyn Phonebank for David Weprin:
Thursday September 1st, 6:30 - 9 PM
Location: TJ Democratic Club. 77 Conklin Ave Brooklyn NY (near the Canarsie/Rockaway Pkwy L station) RSVP/details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brooklyn Canvasses for David Weprin:
Friday September 2nd, Two shifts: 1PM & 5PM
Locations: 1PM Mill Basin canvass from the TJ club (see above); 5PM meet at Key Food(Ave U & 66th) for visibility followed by Mill Basin canvass. RSVP/details: email@example.com
Sunday, September 4th, Two shifts: 1PM & 5PM read more »